Monday, 25 June 2012

[AD&D] The village of Hommlet session 8 summary

From the notes of Alric Brethencourt of Veluna

Godsday turning Waterday, 19th day of the Readying, inside the ruined moathouse east of Hommlet


Our last night in this evil place. All the preparations have been met; all that remains is one more night. The source of corruption that permeates this place remains unknown, but it will have to wait. Our charges, the Ross brothers, cannot hope to live another day without proper medical aid, and our company too is tired and in need of rest in safe and hospitable surroundings. We made one last round, down in the cellars of the moathouse, as we feared the evil influence might awaken the dead from their eternal slumber. My companions deemed it prudent to decapitate the ogre Lubash, and Weebrian suggested the idea of impaling the head on a spike and displaying it as a warning sign in the courtyard. Let us hope it will be to some avail. We investigated the cells but found them strangely clean and empty, and no sign was found of a hidden passageway which could explain the secretive perambulations of the Blackhand leader Hal.

We took turns keeping the last watch. Not long after midnight strange cries were heard coming from down below, confirming that our enemies still dwelled there unmolested. One more night, and we can depart.

Dawn came, and with it two familiar faces. The elf woman Ellaria returned from Hommlet, accompanied by none other than the ranger Elmo. Ellaria had relayed our findings to lord Burne and sir Rufus during a town meeting, and had hastened back afterwards. Elmo was his usual thick self, but made himself useful by taking the fate of the Ross brothers out of our hands. I fear for their safety in the hands of that oaf, but they need to be returned to Hommlet forthwith, and my companions have made it clear that they wish to investigate the source of the sounds in the cellar, before we set off. With a heavy heart and a sense of foreboding I put on my armor, and make ready to descend one final time.

We found the cellar devoid of bodies. The mystery of their disappearance was soon solved, however. Our intrepid companion Chryseis led us back to the ogre’s room, where she discovered, in the nick of time, a tripwire in the doorway, leading to the larder. The halfling rascal Basil immediately set to work in neutralizing the trap, but the chosen method of doing so - namely pulling the wire - proved more hazardous than at first surmised. The sound of shattering glass could be heard, and a billowing cloud of gas started filling the room. Most of us withdrew at once, but Chryseis and Kazireh succumbed to the expanding cloud. Bravely - and foolishly - Madrak charged in to haul them out, but his attempt proved no more successful. Once we had reached a safe distance, we heard a scraping sound coming from the ogre’s chamber, and I suspected our companions were in peril. I charged in and withstood the ill effects of the gas long enough to discover the source of it in the larder, attempted to douse the flame and look for my companions. Only discovered two of them, before the gas became too overpowering and all I could do was to leave the room before I too collapsed.

Awoke later in the courtyard. Philius Tilm had apparently managed to drag out Kazireh and Madrak on his own - quite the feat for one of such a diminutive stature - but Chryseis had vanished without a trace. Without wasting more time we returned below once again to find our missing comrade. By now the smoke had all but dissipated, and thanks to the keen eye of Ellaria we soon found a secret passageway leading from the ogre’s room. It proved to be the very same passage Hal had used to escape the strong room above, but it also led even further down through yet another secret door. We descended a flight of stairs, evading an obvious trap, as Kazireh followed a trail of yellowish gas residue, to find ourselves in a set of narrow tunnels leading off in two separate directions. It was not long before we were beset from either side by a band of bugbears, but they proved no match for our prowess and the keen edge of the song spear. Soon after we heard the sound of approaching dogmen; they too will fall before us.

[Here the notes end abruptly; in a different handwriting the following is scrawled in the margins of the page]

 A trap! Chryseis taken hostage by foul beasts, and Ellaria, Alric and Wilstan suffered the same fate!

[In a third handwriting, slightly different from the first, the notes continue]

And at that moment, I prayed. Heironeous, hear me now in my time of need. Bestow upon me, your faithful servant, your blessing, infuse me with your living spirit, make me an avatar of your divine will on this mortal coil. Take this sinful flesh and make it strong, so that I may wreak righteous vengeance upon these evildoers. Grant me the power to protect the innocent and the weak, and to punish the guilty and the oppressors. May my bonds become undone and the glorious light of justice illuminate these dark halls and blind the impure. May my spear strike true, may it become a lightning bolt descended from the wrathful heavens, to pierce the black hearts of my captors. May their resolve falter and their numbers scatter like so many leaves before the wind. May law triumph over chaos this day, may justice be brought to those who have none, may the reign of these wicked men end and their wretched corpses be cast down into the bottomless abyss. Hear me now, Heironeous, your faithful servant, in my time of despair.

Friday, 1 June 2012

[AD&D] The Village of Hommlet session 7 summary

From the notes of Alric Brethencourt of Veluna

Godsday, 18th day of the Readying, inside the ruined moathouse

Tired to the bone, after an eventful night of keeping watch. First the walking dead poured forth from the bowels of the moathouse, then the Blackhand leader Hal tried to make his escape, fortunately being ridden down by Madrak before he could get too far. As dawn was nearly upon us, the others woke to the piercing screams of March, our captive. When we checked up on him, we discovered, much to our shock, that the black mark of Lareth had formed on his forehead during the night. The man was rambling uncontrollably. Ventured to say that now might be an opportune moment for returning to the village of Hommlet, but my companions deemed it preferable that we'd investigate the cellars of the moathouse first, to ascertain if more undead might be lying in wait. Had a bad feeling about this decision. Fortunately the elf woman Ellaria saw reason, and she agreed to return on her own through the marsh to report our findings to sir Rufus and lord Burne. While we breakfasted and said our prayers on the holy day, Madrak and Wilstan went to scout the level below. Without a doubt Wilstan is a most curious cleric, am sure there is more to him than meets the eye. Looked for some seclusion to give thanks to Heironeous, and humbly beg for his continued blessing. Around this time none other than the ranger Elmo appeared, with the halfling Basil in tow. My nerves were spared further aggravation as Elmo quickly disappeared again, but his sly cohort stayed behind.

Madrak and Wilstan returned shortly, shouting at the top of their lungs. Seemed that before very long they had encountered green slimes, lurking on the ceiling of the cellar. Grabbed the Song Spear; more killing would have to be done 'ere we would be able to depart this evil place. Descended the narrow staircase, together with Madrak, our other companions in close pursuit, and found ourselves in a small, dark room with only a torch to light our path. Madrak came upon the aforementioned slime and then things took a turn for the worse. Trying to stab the slime, I must have overreached and lost my balance, as before I knew it I tumbled down the stairs, tearing the strap of my shield, rendering it useless. Madrak for his part tried to chop the creature in two with his axe, but miscalculated and the slippery ooze fell upon him and rapidly started to envelop him. Our companions then proceeded to try and wipe the slime off him, believe there were even shouts of setting fire to the creature and dousing it with oil, but its spread went unchecked. As Madrak was in danger of suffocating, it became necessary then to use the power of the Song Spear to lull the slime into a magical trance, which bought the others sufficient time to wipe the slime off of our unfortunate companion; his leather and metal armour, but for his enchanted shield, meanwhile having dissolved completely. Another slime crept by quite near, and was quickly dispatched of.

Two heavily reinforced doors barred our way into the armory, but thanks to the brute force of Madrak and the lockpicking talents of Basil both doors soon ceased to be impediments. Inside we found dozens of sturdy weapons, suits of armours, shields and other implements of war. Quickly the plan formed to haul as much of it as we could carry back to Hommlet, to supply the town's militia. The inquisitiveness of Wilstan caused a temporary interruption, as suddenly a horrendous wail alerted us to the presence of more of the living dead. A fierce skirmish ensued, but the vile claws of the wights proved no match for the keen edge of our arms, and the holy wrath of Wilstan caused the creatures to flee in terror. Relentlessly Chryseis and I drove them out before us, following them into a grisly torture chamber, the results of the Blackhand's handiwork in plentiful evidence. There we finished off the haggard remainder of the group of ghouls and finally had a moment to catch our breaths. Set to repairing my shield while my companions scoured the armory, but the reprieve was short-lived indeed.

As the old proverb goes: curiosity killed the cleric, and Wilstan had got himself into trouble again. Following a door out of the main hallway, which was lined with small cells, our indomitable companion found himself facing a foe much larger than himself, an ogre by the name of Lubash, dressed in a bloody leather apron and an executioner's hood. The ogre wielded a shortened bardiche in one hand, as if it were a cleaver. Madrak had followed Wilstan into the small corridor, but before their cries could reach us the ogre had already dealt a devastating blow to the cleric, who slumped bleeding to the floor. Tuffnell and Weebrian unleashed their mysterious magic on the ogre, resulting in the creature lighting up with an unnatural glow. Madrak had kept Lubash at bay, allowing me to get a clean blow in with the Song Spear, gravely injuring the ogre. Subsequently the ogre dropped his weapon and made clear he wanted to parley, but at that Madrak shouted "No mercy!" and killed the ogre with a final blow of his axe.

Though the ogre was clearly an evil creature and lackey of Lareth, this breach of the sanctity of parley could not be tolerated. Hit Madrak in the face, addressing him in the only way the brute would understand. Guess I should have expected such behaviour from him, the Orcish taint in him is far greater than mine after all. He then made the unwise decision to insult my mother, blessed be her troubled soul. Next time I'll do more than just cuff him. The healing clay quickly restored Wilstan to his former self.

In the ogre's room we made a macabre discovery: a private 'larder', in which we found two humans and a gnome hanging from meathooks. Fortunately all three of them were still alive, the gnome being only lightly beaten, unlike the humans which had been maimed. The gnome, named Philius Tilm, from the Kron Hills, apparently had attempted to investigate all by himself the disappearance of his people and the involvement of the hill giant. The two farmers, the Ross brothers, on the other hand remained unconscious and due to the severity of their injuries could not be moved before they had had sufficient rest. Thus we formed the plan to load the cart and the horses with as much of the gear as could be transported - including the dismantled ballista, though it took me great pains to convince some of my companions of the value of the siege weapon for the defense of Hommlet.

Returning to the courtyard we ran into another, unexpected setback. Spugnoir, whose only responsibility had been guarding our captive March, suddenly discovered that the latter had died in the throes of agony, any unrevealed information dying with him. As some suspected the evil presence in the moathouse might be the source of the living dead, we deemed it prudent to burn March's corpse. Afterwards we set to work, dismantling the ballista and packing the horses, preparing to set out the next morning.

Late in the evening Kazireh and Basil went to investigate some strange sounds coming from the crumbling attic, where they ran afoul of a swarm of rats, including a few specimens as large as a cat or small dog. As the rodents proved quite mettlesome, the druid Tuffnell and Spugnoir had to call upon their powers to disperse and soothe the creatures. Slashing the throats of sleeping rats has perhaps been the happiest we've seen Spugnoir so far.