The issue with town adventures is there are little rails and the group often wants to wander about and explore, checking out the new areas and just doing things that don't involve kicking in a door and looting the bad guys they kill. So that means some things that I might have planned don't come up.
That was this meeting. It was all off the cuff and made up as the group wandered the roadways and looked around. We had LARPing up the whahoo and I was pretty much half a sentence ahead of the ground as they did their thing. Don't know about them, but I had a great time.
Also had a chance to whip out the TOM and hit the Quest Spells. When the TOM first came out I was fascinated with the one shot spells that were listed and always sought ways to weave them into the game. And tonight I got to use Storm of Vengeance - a soft spot for me for 2 reasons: 1) it was the first Quest spell I had ever used so so so long ago, and 2) it was the name of my guild in EQ2 back in the days when I had disposable time and no life.
And I killed a PC, and almost killed a 2nd one. Not what I was planning, but it happened!
Also, it was the return of the "sound effect death". With the first group we had the backstab "Hwachaa" noise popularized by Zoltan - and used for months afterwards. For this group, Avulstein used the eponymous "F-Pwaap" noise to simulate coup de grace-ing a sleeping opponent. I suspect this noise will come up again for months at a time.
Write up follows:
After the party went to bed, Avulstein stayed up thinking about the list of items he was going to need for the Deathspeaker of Hel. It ate at him and ate at him until he decided to get up and take a walk. He wandered down the slopes of Slagbottom, making his way west to the Enderlyn River and then south to leeching pits and the foulest section called Slagend. Even this late at night there were still the off person on the street and some late night festivities going about.
As he made his circuit back to Grand Boulevard, he had an idea on finding a fixer or broker from one of the lesser taverns to be found in the danker areas of Slagbottom. So it was back to the SW section where he went off one of the main streets and hit the first hole in the wall tavern he could find. The taproom could serve 20 and it was mostly filled as it was.
He went to the bar and some coins and question later had him directed to a man named Dalullia who was willing to talk to the budding necromancer. They went out to the alley to discuss two items: midnight water and how to capture a final breath. It cost Avulstein a few things but he did learn that there was item called a Nornian Skein which Dalullia could get for Avulstein for 25 crowns. Money he did not have.
They dickered for a bit and eventually Dalullia and Avulstein came to an arrangement. Part of the Skein would be paid for in coin, the rest of it would be released from Avulstein doing a favor for Dalullia. There was a woman who read fortunes a few blocks from here who had a couple of knuckle-dragging half-ogre sons. She refused to pay any money to the neighborhood watch, was a bit of a recluse, and always had her sons nearby to discourage Dalullia and his compatriots from collecting. This had been going on for a while.
What he wanted was someone not known to him or his people who would go with them while they tried to shake down the fortune teller. If someone could sneak into the house and threaten her with a knife, the sons would back off and Dalullia could get his money and go. Avulstein could fade away and never worry about repercussions since he’s not associated with Sorton or Dalullia. Avulstein agreed in principle and asked for a little bit to get some help.
He went back to the Pennywhistle, woke up Connal, and explained to the monk what was going on and that he needed his help. Connal agreed and the two of them left most of their belongings in the room while they made their way back across Slagbottom and the Dalullia and his thugs. Introductions were given and a rough of the plan was hashed out.
The group walked the 3 blocks to the fortune teller’s house, Avulstein and Connal and Dalullia and four of his men. At the home they stopped and looked. The shutters were closed, smoke was coming from the chimney, the gates were closed. It was a 2 story home that was falling to pot. A large wrap around porch was the central theme to the place. We opened the gate and entered, Avulstein and Connal making their way to the side of the home while Dalullia and his crew made a lot of noise and wandered up to the front door.
From the side they heard the sounds of conversation at the front door and other voices answering Dalullia. With care they approached the side door and checked in through a few of the broken panes. Kitchen, messy, dishes and pots stacked on the counters, dirty and a faint musty smell. The door was unlocked. Turning the knob the door opened and made a faint squeal as it did so. Connal dove in, kicking the door closed behind him, hiding behind the island counter. Avulstein stayed outside and crouched lower behind the door. One of the half-ogre’s had entered the kitchen and was looking around.
Tall, slope headed, thrusting jaw, canines obvious. He stood there and was sniffing the air. As he stepped further in, Avulstein grabbed a handful of petals and pushed them through the hole in the door, reciting arcanic words and a blast of somnolent energy flowed out and hit the half-ogre – dropping him to sleep. The same energy hit Connal but he didn’t fall over as there wasn’t enough power to affect him as well.
Sadly, when the seer’s son fell over, he hit the counter and spilled dishes everywhere making a hell of a lot of noise. Connal then ran for the corridor beyond the kitchen at the same time the 2nd half-ogre came in and stumbled over his sleeping brother. Holding onto the wall for support, the monk kicked out and took the turn out of the kitchen and into the living room as Avulstein sent off another sleep spell, dropping the 2nd brother.
There was a woman in her 50’s, grey haired and steely looking, had just slammed the front door closed and turned to face Connal who whipped out a knife and tumbled around her in order to try and hold her still. Meanwhile Avulstein snuck into the kitchen and approached the first sleeping half-ogre. Connal was struggling with the older woman who was shouting for her boys, and meanwhile we heard banging on the front door as Dalullia was trying to force the portal open. She pulled out two knitting needles and stabbed backwards, hitting Connal in the face. The angered the monk who was struggling to hold her at bay.
And then Avulstein stabbed one of the half-ogres in the throat and killed him.
The seer screamed terrible fury and the house felt wrong all the sudden. Her skin flashed to super-heated and a glow of frantic lights were billowing from her mouth, eyes, and nose. Connal charged her forward and the two of them hit the front window, blasted through it, and hit the porch amidst broken glass and shattered wood.
From outside the night sky had turned black and storm clouds formed over the house, spiraling and moaning as the wind slashed sideways through the area. Lighting filled the sky and Dalullia and his men were staring up with shocked expressions.
And then one of the bolts arced down and tore into Dalullia, momentarily illuminating his skeleton from within and then he exploded, leaving only a pair of boots smoking on the ground, one of them showing a burned shin bone sticking through the top.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
The other thugs turned and tried to run and Avulstein approached the 2nd half-ogre when a 2nd bolt tore out of the sky and hit the house, pouring through the roof, the attic, the 2nd floor, and charred the ceiling of the 1st floor. She was still screaming as the power of the gods flowed out of her, fueling the storm above. Connal was hoping to get away but was afraid that if he let the seer go, he’d be targeted next.
And then Avulstein killed her 2nd son.
The furious wail was all that we heard before another bolt tore out of the sky and sluiced into the house, scouring the ragged edges of the holes it had made earlier and then vaporized Avulstein in a single stroke of god borne lightning.
Connal was terrified and the seer told him to run and never come back. Another bolt tore out of the sky and hit the closest fleeing thug, sending chunks of burnt meat to splatter about the pavement. The monk got up and tore ass away from the house and the screaming seer as the heavens opened up and acid rain poured down, melting the iron, the stone, the wood, everything for hundreds of feet while burning hail then pulverized the neighborhood.
Connal ran after the three thugs who hit the safe house they had used earlier, gotten entrance and joined in with the terrified thugs as they let the house leader know what happened. He seemed flustered and the entire thing was a mental mess for all of them. Connal was pragmatic enough to ask for the Nornian Skein as payment even if it didn’t go as expected. He was given the skein and then left, skirting the area around the fortune teller’s house and the late night emergency people and watch who had arrived on site. Finally back at the Pennywhistle he slumped into bed exhausted and contemplating what occurred.
The next morning at breakfast the group welcomed Darius back from his torturous night with his family and his father’s heavy-handed attempt to control his life and then listened as Connal informed everyone of what happened and Avulstein’s death. The facts were corroborated around the Common Room as the frenetic storm and damage was the talk of the town.
We then went to the Third Reeve Theros’ office and sat down for the conversation about what jobs were available (nothing real – except clean up detail for the broken sections of road bed and cobbles from the storm) before accepting that tomorrow might be a better option. We were told that House Illytch was supposedly having a hiring faire today at the Tradegrounds in Central Quarter about 2 and we should make ourselves known and available at that time.
Negan was approached again about joining the League of Odin but turned it down for now. Larry bid the group farewell for now and would see them later at the Tradegrounds. From the Pennywhistle, Larry went south and west, skirting the area that had been ravaged and hoping to find where these thugs came from as well as keep his eye open on the seer’s home.
Thinking about everything that happened, Connal took the skein and went to Central Quarter where he then made his way to the Vault of the Heorot and asked the adherents there for audience with the deathspeakers. He dropped Avulstein’s name as his purpose, bantered with the Witness and candle lighter, and then was granted audience.
The Deathspeakers kept a curtain drawn to obscure themselves but listened to Connal as he spoke of what happened. Then the monk asked if it was possible to bring Avulstein back. Yes. He’d be tied to Avulstein’s fate but it was possible. He’d have to bring three willing people through the door and if he did so, then the Deathspeakers would do what they could to reincarnate the fallen necromancer.
Connal left, brokered the purchase of a Watcher’s robe from one of the adepts, and then made his way across town to Slagbottom and the safe house he had gone into last night after the failed mission.
Meanwhile Larry was watching and the seer motioned him to come over and he did so. She looked at him, her skin paper thin now and she had a watery cataract eye that made the half-elf’s skin crawl, She said something about knowing that his companion had something to do with what happened last night and he should make sure never to come her way again. She then tossed the runes for him and told him that a 1200 noble quest would be resolved soon but not in the way they hoped it would be. Larry then fled back across the street and resumed watching.
He noted Connal come up, the monk dressed in a follower of Hel’s robes. The streets were crawling with lots of clerics so he blended in. Then Connal went up to a house, knocked on the door a few times and we let in.
Inside he pointed to the three who had escaped last night’s debacle and told them that they had to come to the Vault about what happened. The house leader was swayed and in the robes and hood, Connal was disguised enough that no one caught onto him. So the three thugs followed what they thought was a priest of Hel out of the safe house and across town to the Vault.
At the vault the four…five men went to the Witness of the Dead, did the candle ceremony and paid their coins for the candles, and then went on their way through the halls until they arrived at the Deathspeaker’s audience chambers. They were escorted in and the door closed behind them. Five men lined up (at this point Larry made as if he was on the thug’s side by Canting to them) facing the three feared Deathspeakers.
There was talk of finishing and Nifleheim and the price and three and bringing back the lost soul. And with mounting horror everyone was listening to the Deathspeakers pretty much say the first three who DIED here now would power the spell to bring Avulstein’s soul back from the land of the dead.
So everyone turned on Connal, knives flashed out and were swinging when Larry backstabbed one of the thugs and dropped him immediately to 1 hit point. The battle was on. Lot of slashing and stabbing and cutting and hacking. Wounds were numerous and piling up. Connal was holding off two of the thugs when finally one of them slipped up and took a deadly blow. He fell over and floated in the air and the deathspeaker’s intoned “one”.
The four remaining men struggled back and forth and then Larry took a wicked slice and stab and the thief fell over and hit 0. But it wasn’t a death blow. The thug fighting him didn’t realize it and assaulted Connal who was also getting a bit hurt.
He resorted to a flurry of blows before the thug could coup de grace Larry, dropping that thug to 0 hit points – also not a death blow! There was one thug still standing, Connal, and two on the ground unconscious at 0 but not dead. It was back and forth and then Connal managed to land a killing blow on the last thug and he too began to float while the speakers intoed “two”.
A drop to the third thug and the price was paid. The speakers spoke of breaking the veil and price paid in threes and returning the fallen from Hel’s domain in whatever form the gods decree and then there was smoky screaming rent in the air and Avulstein’s soul swarmed back into the chamber…and coalesced into the compact form of a wolverine.