Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Terrinoth #18 - Bad Moon Rising Part II

Percy encounters the werewolf

Campaign Diary

Entana, Gio, and Percy watched A'bomb'we's wolf form disappear as he raced north, tracking the scent of the ferrox, and then they ventured into the woods.

(Click here for PC profiles)

Percy led the party westwards, guided by her sense of direction honed from years of living in the wilderness. After an hour, the brambles gave way to a clearing. In the daylight, the party saw that in the clearing there were shallow mounds of bare ground, aligned in a single row. Each bare patch was about four feet long and two feet wide, with one being only three feet long.

With a sense of foreboding, Entana summoned up a magical servant to excavate one of the mounds. When about two feet of earth had been removed, the stench of decay became apparent - lying in a shallow grave was the body of a gnome, perhaps not two weeks dead. His clothing suggested he was a merchant, and the injuries on his body were those made by weapons and not the claws or teeth of a werewolf. Percy searched the clearing and found human tracks leading north.

Entana ordered the magical servant to rebury the gnome, and the trio made a promise to have all the bodies relocated for a decent burial, and they continued westwards on the trail of the second ferrox.

After an hour the party arrived at the cave which Percy had seen the ferrox take refuge the night before. Inside, they found the wounded creature and slew it.

As they returned to Nornholt with the carcass of the ferrox they were met by the burgrave's guards. A crowd gathered around them as the hideous form of the ferrox made its way to the towerhouse. The party was met by Gleeson the Steward, who paid them the reward promised, and the young burgrave, who declared a feast in the trio's honour.

Over dinner Gio regaled the guests with the heroic deeds of the party, while Reynard, the burgrave's half-brother and chamberlain, tried to seduce the shy Percy, without success. After his performance, Gleeson took Gio aside and handed him more silver, and bade him to keep the news of the slain gnomes a secret and leave the town the next day and not return to the woods.

After the dinner the party made their way back to the inn where they had taken rooms. There, Gio noticed that they were being watched from afar by the burgrave's guards.

The next morning the party made a great show of leaving town, but once out of sight of the town walls they returned to the woods followed the tracks from the clearing north. After an hour, they came upon smoke from a cooking fire rising from the ruins of a tower.

Sneaking closer, Gio found six armed men sheltering in the ruined tower. Around them were crates and barrels of goods. They grumbled about the cold, and spoke of "doing one last job" before returning to town.

Calling upon the magic of Fortuna, Gio took the form of a gnomish merchant and approached the men, pretending to be a lost and asking for their help to find his way back to the road and his cart. So convincing was he that the bandits fell for his ruse. However, as Gio led them closer and closer to the clearing, they grew nervous and drew their weapons on him. But Entana and Percy were laying in ambush, and after a short fight the leader of the bandits was killed, and the others surrendered. Our heroes disarmed the bandits, and a quick interrogation revealed that they had targeted gnomish merchants and had buried their bodies in the woods while spreading rumours of werewolf attacks. The party bound the hands of the bandits and began to lead them back to Nornholt to face justice.

The sun had set when the party emerged from the woods, where they found themselves met by a patrol of the burgrave's guards. After hearing their story, the guards offered to take custody of the bandits... and when they were handed over, the guards cut their bonds and passed them weapons, and together they turned on the party!

Although already wounded from their early encounter and outnumbered, our heroes fought with a fury, and soon overcame their enemies. Two of the bandits fled back into the woods - Percy gave chase, but before she could catch up with them, a large, dark, shape emerged from the undergrowth and mauled them. Under the light of the waning gibbous moon, Percy saw a towering creature, half-wolf, half-humanoid, blood dripping from its claws and jaws - she turned and ran back to the party.

When she had regained her breath and her composure, she told Entana and Gio what she had seen. But to their relief, the werewolf had not pursued her.

As our heroes pondered over whether they should return to Nornholt or just continue on their journey to Greyhaven, they spotted someone approaching from the direction of the town - it was Gleeson, alone, but clad in armour.

Gleeson surveyed the scene with a look of frustration, and asked why the party had returned to the woods despite his words. Our heroes in turn accused Gleeson of conspiring with the bandits, a charge which he angrily denied. The steward once more bade them to leave town, promising give the gnomes a proper burial, but would not say more than that he had acted to preserve the honour of the burgrave's family.

Unable to get more from him, our heroes decided to continue their journey to Greyhaven... but they will cross paths with Gleeson again...

Prepping and Running the Game

As mentioned in the previous post, this post covers the second half of the session.

I had expected that the players will track down the bandits immediately after they have killed the ferrox, and so had to improvise a whole feast scene, which actually gave me the opportunity to flesh out the NPCs.

Again, I am impressed by how the players have decided to seek justice for the gnomes even though it would mean further delay to their main quest.

I had expected them to attack the bandits in their lair instead of luring them out, which was a creative touch. Gio's player's original plan was to lead them to the burial ground, hoping that it will lead them to reveal their involvement in the murders, but unfortunately the dice meant the bandits became suspicious of him before they arrived - had he been successful, I thought it would be cool if he took the illusion of the dead gnome to spook a confession out of them.

Once again I was able to dupe the players and put them in a disadvantage at the start of combat, this time by having the guards free the bandits. I fear they may become paranoid after this encounter.

The whole story behind Gleeson's involvement is still not revealed to the players (and to the reader either - I must apologise) and there are speculations to the identity of the werewolf. I hope to return to this mystery in a future session, so stay tuned!

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