Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Terrinoth #14 - The Road to Damnation and The Golden Banner Part II

Campaign Diary

Our heroes raced through the abandoned streets of Dawnsmoor, as A'bomb'we in his wolf form followed the scent of the assassins south towards to dock district. Then, out of the corner of his eyes, he spotted a green glow approaching from the south. Gio, Entana and A'bomb'we hid and waited for the green glow to come closer.

(Click here for PC profiles)

As it came near, the party saw that the source of the glow was a disembodied skull, floating purposefully towards the north, at just below the level of the roofs. It seemed to be headed towards the Venier residence!

For a while the party was unsure if they should return to the residence in case the skull meant to do the people there harm, or if they should carry on to find Geldrey's girl before she was killed, but Gio made the decision for everyone when he used the magic granted by Fortuna's coin to conjure an invisible hand to tug at the skull. This certainly got the skull's attention, as it turned around and started charging at the party! Entana threw magical flames at the skull, but it seemed unaffected by fire.

"You will not find it so easy to kill me this time!" the skull cried, before it shot beams of sickly green light at Entana, who felt his limbs weakened before he fell to the ground, unconscious. A'bomb'we caught hold of Entana's robe and hoisted him onto his back, and together the trio fled down the streets, pursued by the skull.

They were able to shake their pursuer by ducking into an alley, but Entana was still unconscious and growing weaker by the minute. Faced with no other option, A'bomb'we resumed his orc form so he could heal Entana with his druidic magic; but this meant he could no longer take wolf form and find Geldrey's girl. Undaunted, Gio climbed to the roof to see where the skull had gone. To his relief, the skull seemed to have changed its plans and was now heading south! Sending A'bomb'we to return to the residence to give them a warning, Entana and Gio resumed their journey to the south, until they came to the docks, where Gio saw the skull disappear at the base of a warehouse building.

Approaching the building, they found light coming from the basement windows. Moving closer, they looked into the basement and saw the skull in conversation with an elf and a few men.

Ravik, said the skull, has failed in the mission, the skull argued, and that they should kill the girl as planned. At his order the men began to move the crates by a wall, exposing a hidden door. Despite the odds, our heroes decided to take a risk: Entana jumped through the window and summoned a gust of magical wind, throwing the skull against a wall and causing the elf and some of the thugs to fall. He then followed it up with a magical fog, and under the cover of this Gio rushed into the secret room, where he found Geldrey's girl and led her out. With their enemies still in confusion, Gio helped Entana lift the girl to the basement window, before returning to the room to grab a chest and some papers he saw on the table inside the room. Out of the basement, our heroes ran as quickly as they could back to the Venier residence, where Geldrey was reunited with her grand-daughter.

Our heroes examined their find from the secret room. The chest held several hundred Gros. One of the paper was a promissory note for the sum of 300 Gros, issued in Nerekhall to one Maczko Neihart; the other was a letter addressed to Faenwyn (an elven name), informing him that "Mondock has failed but he still serves our Undying Master", and that Ravik was now in command.

Suddenly the skull's words made chilling sense: Mondock was the name of the necromancer they had killed and decapitated several weeks ago, whose head was displayed on pike on the walls of Skydown Castle, and had subsequently gone missing!

As Gio and A'bomb'we returned to their rooms, Entana was summoned to meet with his father. The elder Venier thanked his son and his friends, and finally gave his approval for his choice of a career in the magical arts. He too had a longing for adventure in his youth, he revealed, but had been prevented from pursuing this path due to his obligations. Now, he planned to hand over business to his eldest son, and travel to the lands of Al-Kalim, where he had seen but briefly during his "business trips", but had never had the chance to explore.

The next morning, our heroes joined in the procession as the relic made its way through the city to the docks, where it was carried across the river on a barge to arrive at Kellos' Landing, and there in a pompous ceremony formally presented to the Temple of Kellos.

The party took a well-deserved rest in Dawnsmoor, and after two days they set off to Greyhaven, where they hoped to learn more of the pendant that they had found on Mondock's body.

Prepping and Running the Game

The report above covers only the first part of the session - I have broken it down into two parts for narrative purpose.

This part of the report is essentially the continuation of the previous episode. I had introduced the floating skull as a dramatic element, knowing that A'bomb'we had run out of Wildshape slots for the day, and that the party would be forced to choose between saving the girl, returning to defend the house, or else split the party. I had expected them to split the party, with Entana returning home and Gio and A'bomb'we carrying on to the docks. I had not counted on them drawing the attention of the skull right there and then, and had to improvise so they still had a chance to locate the villains' den.

I made "props" documents for this session as I thought it would be an interesting way to present the clues to the players. These were made in a rather "primitive" way: I first searched for free fonts of the appropriate type, then created the text. I then looked for png-s of wax seals, and pasted them onto the respective letters. To give the parchment look I first printed a parchment pattern onto the paper, then printed the text onto the same sheet of paper.

The use of a font type to represent the 'handwriting' and the use of a seal will allow me to present future letters as further clues to my players, which is something I plan to work into the future scenarios.

Entana's father's retirement and his acceptance of his son's career choice resolves part of the arc for the character. The choice of traveling to Al-Kalim is however not random - the player has come up with the idea that the family wealth came from trade with Al-Kalim, and as I plan for the next arc of the campaign to be a larger sandbox encompassing all the lands outside of Terrinoth, this will give me a hook to draw the PCs to Al-Kalim if the players chose to explore that region of the setting.

1 comment:

SteveHolmes11 said...

Quite a thrilling episode.
So much at stake, and a floating skull to contend with.

A quick "Smash and grab" seems like the perfect approach, catch the villains unaware, and get out before they get organised.

I can't wait for the concluding part.