Sunday, April 29, 2012

Session 53: Vision, Earthquakes, and Country Manor Raid

Date: 2/26/2012
PCs: Innominus (Clr. 7), Dak (Dwf. 6), Yor (Dwf. 6), Vivuli (Assassin 5 / MU 5), and Uncle Junkal (Rodian Bard 5)*
NPCs: Gorgo (Dwf. 4), follower of Innominus

This session began right where the last one left off, at midday on Day 175 of the party's Arandish adventures, with the group standing in their silver mine, over the recently slain bodies of three dark grey stone giants.

And lo, the many-sexed one, the deity Endra, did appear to Innominus, conveying to the faithful priest a vision. Entranced, Innominus saw a horde of undead -- skeletons, ghouls, wights -- issuing forth out of the darkness in a stone chamber, which he knew to be in the deep basement of Baron Kaminster's country manor outside Fortinbras. The foul undead monsters, with hateful glowing eyes, surged forward in the vision, overwhelming the cleric with their sheer numbers.

Innominus awoke from his trance state, and collapsed to the floor, filled with the spirit of Endra. A few minutes later, as he came back to his everyday senses, the cleric relayed what he had seen to his companions. He also noted that the content of his vision -- Kaminster's country manor being overwhelmed by a vile undead horde -- felt as if it were imminent, maybe already happening, maybe just about to occur.

YOR: At least it's not happening right here! We'll lose our Fortinbras house though.

DAK: That's okay, we're just renting.

Since the stone giants' emergence from the southbound tunnel (last session) had de facto completed the PCs' excavation of the barricade and rubble barrier previously blocking it, they could now peer down into the long, descending tunnel beyond. The dwarves felt that something was "off" about the place. It was very dark, and Beastarr, with his keen bobcat senses, smelled a sulfurous, balroggy smell wafting up from the depths.

INNOMINUS: We've broken the metaphorical hymen of this birth canal of evil!

VIVULI: Damn, maybe we should sell this mine before anyone figures out there's hell at the bottom of it.

The PCs decided to investigate this foreboding tunnel, and set off carefully southward, down into the darkness. Vivuli affixed a fire gem to an arrow; Innominus cast find traps.

The cleric discovered that the whole goddamned tunnel registered as a trap!

Hearing this, Vivuli inspected the sloping tunnel's side walls more carefully, and noticed that the dark tint of the stone was due to the fact that the walls were permanently charred. Taking this as a bad sign, the party decided to turn around and hastily retreat back uphill and northward. It was a smart move, but almost came too late: as they hastily retreated, there was a heat surge from behind them, and then a huge, searing flame blast swept up the passage. Some of the party took damage, and Beastarr had his fur burned off.

Reaching the main mine tunnel once again, the group decided to re-seal the barrier blocking off the southbound flame tunnel to hell. Just as they finished rebuilding the barricade, the PCs were interrupted by a sudden tremor running through the mine. The stone underneath their feet wobbled and undulated, and Innominus, Vivuli, and Uncle Junkal, the non-dwarves, stumbled around awkwardly for a few minutes. Then the tremor subsided as suddenly as it had started.

The dwarves felt sure that what they had just experienced was an aftershock to a distant earthquake. Other than some rumbling, there had been no apparent damage to their mine.

That afternoon, the PCs left their mine and headed down the mountain, to warn Prince Arkus (camped outside the blighted city of Farn Junction) about Innominus' vision of imminent undead doom. They reached the camp at dusk, and Dak and Yor immediately urged the Minochian monarch to dispatch people to the nearby dwarven steel mines to negotiate for large numbers of steel weapons for Arkus' troops.**

Having warned the prince, the party rode on toward Fortinbras, anticipating reaching the town by the wee hours of the morning, just before the dawning of Day 176 of their Arandish adventures. It was a cold, clear night, with snow covering the ground everywhere, crunching under their horses' hooves as they headed south.

Once ne1ar town, Innomius headed straight to the country manor, there to reconnoiter with Prince Arkus. The rest of the party swooped into town to their rental house, and rested there until after dawn broke.

All was eerily quiet at Kaminster's country manor. Prince Arkus' troops surrounded the place; Innominus and Arkus stood at the front gate and concocted a plan for entering and investigating the manor: they would send soldiers and clerics in, Innominus in the lead, to sweep though the upper floor and secure it, then to sweep back down  to the ground level.

Innominus headed to the manor house door, accompanied by Clever Jim, Arkus' guard captain. The door was locked and barred from the inside. They decided to circumvent the whole property, casing the place, and waiting for Innominus' companions to arrive from town.

At dawn on Day 176 of the group's Arandish adventures, an earthquake rocked the mountains west of town, and potent tremors coursed through the Rogaland Valley, in which lies Fortinbras and the country manor house.

Vivuli, Dak, Yor, and Uncle Junkal felt the tremors in town, where small items rolled off shelves and the citizenry wobbled around on shaky legs for the duration. But the tremor passed without major damage to buildings or structures.

After the earthquake -- the second, according to locals, in as many days -- Yor and Uncle Junkal circulated Fortinbras, seeking hirelings for a mission to the (presumably undead-infested) country manor. They started, of course, at the rangers' bar The Drunken Yeti, and soon found two dwarves, two fighters, a rodian, and an experienced ranger to accompany them.***

Meanwhile, Viv consulted with Larry, the local wizard, about obtaining potions of fire resistance. Larry sold him three such potions at 200gp apiece. Dak visited the Temple of Carcoon, requesting elixirs of healing and vials of holy water. He was given six potions of extra-healing and Brother Lawrence (Clr 3) agreed to accompany the party members back to the country manor as well.

Vivuli, Dak, Yor, Uncle Junkal, Brother Lawrence, and all the newly hired NPCs arrived back at the country manor east of town in the late morning of Day 176. Chief Guardsman Clever Jim told them that it was highly unusual for there to be no movement, sound, or candlelight on wither the ground or second floor of the manor house. And uncanny silence and lack of activity prevailed.

Partial map of Prince's chambers, second floor of the country manor house.

Vivuli sent a couple of his rats into the manor house through an arrow slit on the ground floor. The rats saw no direct signs of life; the ground floor was empty. There were signs of recent armed struggle here and there, including a few bloodstains on the floors and a menacing looking scratch near the secret door to the basement level, but no living thing stirred.

The rats went upstairs, and smelled an incredibly foul death-smell emanating from the Prince's suite to the right of the stairs. The long hallway to the left of the stairwell was empty, all the doors on both sides closed. Viv sent a third rat into the manor, having it scale the group's recently acquired rope of climbing to a window on the second floor. After confirming the coast was clear, the PCs followed the rat up the rope to a room on the north side of the west wing hallway. Viv went downstairs and opened the manor's front door, granting access to the NPCs and Arkus' soldiers. Then he went back updstairs and the PCs smashed down the (barred) door to the Prince's chambers.

Inside were nearly a dozen undead beings, mostly wights, with two leaders that looked a bit more lich-like then their companions. Innominus turned most of the undead right away, then cast wall of law to entrap the remaining three abominations while the rest of the party pelted them with holy water until they disintegrated. 

Then the PCs saw a grisly scene: the various wights and lich-things in here had been busy torturing and disemboweling Grand Vizier Krock, who was strapped down to the Prince's former bed. Sadly, in addition to physical torture, the gang of wights had also somehow turned Krock undead; he was no longer human, and his eyes glowed with the evil hunger of the cursed not-quite-living. Out of mercy, Innominus ended the poor Grand Vizier's suffering by turning him; the vizier finally died a true death, falling back on the counterpane, and was at peace.

The PCs then searched the suite area, and Innominus said last rites over the corpse of Grand Vizier Krock. That is where the session ended.

Rodian power!

* As of this session, Hazel's player is on long-term hiatus from the campaign.
** If you are wondering why Prince Arkus is described as the "monarch" of Minoch, it is because Minoch is technically a province of Achelon; the Prince (or Princess) of Minoch owes allegiance to the Queen of Achelon. That said, it is traditional for the Achelonian Queen not to meddle much in the affairs of Minoch.
*** The newly hired NPCs are: Cage (Ftr 2), who follows Yor, Abbideck (Dwf 1), Dunsdonger (Ftr 2), Fozton Sarabekian (Rodian 1), Flipwayter (Dwf 2) and Claude the Ranger (Ranger 3), all of whom follow Uncle Junkal.

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