Sunday, December 02, 2018

Terrinoth #17 - Bad Moon Rising Part I

A'bomb'we is ambushed by a ferrox

Campaign Diary

Nine days after they left Dawnsmoor, Entana, Gio, and A'bomb'we were traveling on the road to the town of Nornholt when they heard a commotion ahead of them. Moments later, a riderless horse came charging towards them. Entana caused a burst of light to appear before the horse, which caused it to panic and run into the brambles on the side of the road, where it became trapped. A'bomb'we calmed the frightened animal and led it back onto the road, and our heroes found that it appeared to be a draught horse.  Proceeding down the road with the horse, they found a cart tipped on its side. The contents of the cart were spilled onto the road, and a gnome was pinned under it; another gnome was standing next to the cart, looking helpless.

(Click here for PC profiles)

Gio approached the gnomes and offered the party's help. Together, they lifted the cart and pulled the gnome out from under it, but he was severely wounded. A'bomb'we's offer to heal the wounded gnome was met with doubt by his companion, but Gio "explained" that the orc was his servant and could be trusted. Calling on the healing powers of Nature, A'bomb'we mended the broken ribs on the gnome's chest. The gnomes were profuse in their thanks. They explained that they were merchants from Nornholt who have decided to leave the town for good after a spate of attacks in the recent months on gnomish and human merchants traveling to and from the town. The attacks were blamed on werewolves, although there have been no survivors or witnesses to the attacks. The gnomes informed the party that their horse had been jittery all afternoon, and that something in the woods seemed to have spooked the horse just now, causing it to bolt and upsetting the cart.

Even though they were by now close to Nornholt, our heroes (being heroes) decided to accompany the gnomes back south towards the nearest village.

Later that night, as A'bomb'we looked out of the window of the inn where the party was staying that night, he felt a strange presence in the woods outside. The party ventured out of the inn to investigate. A'bomb'we caught the scent of death as he entered the woods, and it became stronger as the party traveled deeper in. Then suddenly, a humanoid form glided from the side of a tree nearby and landed onto A'bomb'we and attacked him with its clawed hands. Entana and Gio raced to help A'bomb'we, but two more of the creatures leapt down from nearby trees and engaged them. After a short, sharp fight our heroes slew one of the creatures, but the other two escaped by climbing onto trees and gliding from tree to tree. One had torn a lock of hair from A'bomb'we's head before it fled.

Under the light of the gibbous moon our heroes saw that the dead creature had pale green skin and hook-like claws at the end of its fingers. Thin membranes which stretched between its arms and torso had allowed it to glide. Entana recognised it to be a ferrox, a creature said to be a servant of Waiqar the Undying, but which was seldom seen outside of the Mistlands. A'bomb'we was anxious to hunt down the ferrox which had taken his hair, fearing that dark magic would be done to him with it, but it was impossible to track the swift creatures.

Our heroes decided to continue their journey to Greyhaven the next day, and arrived at Nornholt that evening. Chatting with the locals at the inn, they soon realised that the people of Nornholt were a superstitious lot who seemed to attribute every good or bad thing to supernatural causes.

The cause of the recent attacks on merchants was attributed by many to the prophecy that bad things would happen to the town if the position of the burgrave was not passed on to the eldest son of the previous burgrave: the previous burgrave died two years ago, but as his only son had died before him, leaving only an elder, illegitimate son and a younger, legitimate son, the position had passed on to the younger son; some townsfolk believed that the elder grandson should have been made the burgrave, as the previous burgrave had recognised his grandson after the death of his son, but others argued that the prophecy referred only to legitimate sons.

The next morning our heroes sought an audience with the burgrave to inform him that the so-called werewolf attacks were in fact committed by ferroxes. When they arrived at the towerhouse they were conducted into the great hall, where they were met by Gleeson, the burgrave's steward. Gleeson listened to their tale with concern, and then told them that the young woman also in the hall had arrived before them with the news that she had spotted a creature matching the description of a ferrox entering a cave in the nearby woods. Steward Gleeson offered the party a reward for the carcass of the ferroxes, which he hope would convince the townsfolk that the culprits of the attacks had been eliminated.

The young woman introduced herself as Percy Hazard, and claimed to be a servant of Kellos. She told them that she had traveled to Nornholt from the north the night before, and had spotted a strange creature in the woods which she trailed to a cave. Wary to entering the cave alone, she decided to bring her account to the burgrave, and now she offered to lead our heroes there. As our party was about to leave the hall, a young man dressed in rich clothes entered. He introduced himself as Reynard, the burgrave's half-brother and his chamberlain. He asked about their story and listened with interest, and his eyes lingered on the face of young Percy, before he wished them good luck on their journey.

The party left town and made their way towards to woods. Just outside the woods, A'bomb'we picked up a scent on the road leading north: it was the same scent of death he had met two nights ago. Hoping that it was the scent of the ferrox which took his hair, he took the form of the wolf and turned to track it, leaving Entana, Gio, and Percy to hunt down the other ferrox in the cave.

Prepping and Running the Game

This campaign diary actually covers one-and-a-half session - I have decided to cover the first part of the second session for better narrative flow.

The scenario is based on Bad Moon Rising, from Frog God Games' Quests of Doom compilation. The module has a rather interesting background, which I have more or less adopted 'as is', but the bulk of the session we ran was focused on the ferroxes.

I had introduced the ferroxes not just as an encounter combat, but to impress upon the players that their characters have now earned the attention of the dark forces.

I had initially assumed that the party would continue on their journey to Nornholt after they helped the gnomish merchants, and had planned to launch the attack on them when they were closer to the town. I did not expect them to go the extra mile and accompany the gnomes southwards, effectively losing a day of travel time - I had earlier impressed upon them that winter was closing in and that they had a narrow window to reach Greyhaven and/or Nerekhall to pursue the plot-hooks. I had to adjust things a bit to make sure the attack still took place, but I was proud of their decision.

I had one of the ferroxes grab A'bomb'we's hair as I was planning to curb the character's Wild Shape ability - the original plan was to have the bad guys utilise some form of voodoo magic to perhaps enchant a collar, which when placed on the beast form of the character would "lock" it in its beast form; finding a way to remove the enchanted collar would then be a challenging side-quest for the party, and an interesting (I hope) roleplaying opportunity for the player.

Unfortunately, A'bomb'we's player had to drop out of the A Team, so the whole hair thing became a plot device to separate him from the A Team. At the same time, Whisper's player asked for a spot in the A Team too, which helped me fill up the roster.

So far A Team has suffered three drop-outs, but I am happy to announce that Strigoi's player will be rejoining the table in January next year, which will add some much-needed melee power to the party.

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