Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tantris - Session 4

Game Date 5/30/09

Rolan Daan (Bryan) - Elf Rogue
Rhogar Burnscale (Rick) - Dragonborn Fighter
Nara Cavell (Matt) - Human Cleric of Pelor

Nara's Journal:

It is literally a dark day for the Church of Pelor and all the goodly races.

When I last wrote, we were working for Lord De Rais, escorting a caravan. The mission could have gone better, but eventually we fulfilled our obligations. I am now working on an assignment to locate a missing child of the De Sillis family. Or I was, but we recently learned that the child has been killed. I have been working with Rolan and Rhogar again, who have been very helpful despite their unorthodox methods. I have reservations about putting this in writing, but we suspect that Lord De Rais is responsible for for the death of the De Sillis child, as well as several other troubling events of late.

I won't commit to paper how we discovered this information, but we now believe that De Rais may have hired Orcs to kill the De Sillis child. And when the Orcs failed their task, De Rais manufactured evidence that Gruumsh-followers were responsible for the child's death. We followed an Orc from the De Rais compound, in an effort to interrogate him. But of course the Orc wasn't in the mood to talk, and we had to kill him in self-defense.

Shortly afterwards, the Orc's house was burned down by riders from the De Rais compound. As soon as we confirmed the riders' origin, we returned to Tantris and informed High Priest Josel.

Afterwards, I wanted to continue to investigate this mystery, but we didn't know where to look. However, we did know of one possible ally, an Elf who had recently helped Rolan out of a crisis. We knew approximately where this Elf roamed, and we set out for that area. We set up camp, in the hopes we would be contacted.

Instead, we were found by an Imp. It was a tough fight, but we managed to defeat the foul creature. No longer wanting to stay in the area, we travelled to the De Winter estate. The De Winters are devout worshippers of Pelor, and I previously found their household to be very hospitable. Our mysterious Elf ally also has connections to that area, so it seemed like a safe destination. How wrong we were.

When we arrived, we found the De Winter house to be under seige by demonic attackers, led by what looked like De Rais himself... or at least an unholy, twisted version of the man. We were attacked by some sort of devil (an Evistro, I believe), and we were lucky to survive his onslaught. Rhogar in particular fought valiantly, ready to sacrifice everything to protect us from the damned monster. Once the abomination was defeated, a large number of Elves - who we believe to be of the same group as Rolan's rescuer - appeared and put out the fire using magical arrows and elemental summons.

After the fire, we saw a large symbol on the ground in front of the ruins. It was the symbol of Asmodeus, Ruler of the Nine Hells. We made haste to Tantris, where I once again informed High Priest Josel of the most recent developments.

While the De Winter home may have been destroyed, we learned that the De Winters themselves were staying in their other home within the city. We attempted to visit them, but were not allowed in. I left a message, requesting audience with them at their earliest convenience. But I found out later that they were very ill, and unable to see visitors. This was not an isolated incident; rumors of a spreading plague had many citizens afraid.

We had very few leads, so we decided to pay a visit to the De Sillis compound. Rolan showed considerable skill climbing over the wall, and once inside he witnessed something blood-chilling. Another demon - possibly a Glabrezu by his description - created a planar gate and disappeared through it. It left a symbol of Pelor behind. Rhogar and I discovered that the front gate was open and unguarded, so we entered and reunited with Rolan. We explored the house, and found many dead bodies. It appeared that a battle had been fought, between the De Sillis clan and followers of Pelor. We found no bodies of children, though we knew children had lived there. We eventually found the bodies of Lord and Lady De Sillis themselves, impaled upon the blades of their enemies, frozen in battle in a scene that told the whole story.

...Maybe. I still don't know if this was an actual attack by other followers of my deity, or if there is another layer to this puzzle.

Before we could ponder it for too long, however, we heard others coming into the building. We hid. From Rolan's view under the bed, he saw another Imp run by the door, and he swears it saw him. Shortly thereafter, some people entered the room, but they only stayed long enough to confirm the fate of the De Sillis family. As soon as they left, we decided to leave ourselves. I most definitely did not consider burning down the building, in order to destroy evidence that might put Pelor in a bad light. Such a thought would never occur to me.

Hoping for some answers, we once again returned to Tantris. We arrived in the morning, and I immediately sought out Josel despite my weariness. He confirmed that that this attack was not authorized by our church. So either another church of Pelor assaulted De Sillis estate, or someone else is trying to make it look that way. The types of demons we'd witnessed were not easily controlled, so either the summoner is very powerful, or very careless. When I mentioned the missing children, Josel reminded me that child sacrifices are sometimes needed to summon the kinds of horrors we had seen.

I tried once again to see the De Winters. I was informed that only authorized Clerics of Pelor were allowed to see them, and those were trying desperately to cure their illness. Looks like I found a way in. We went straight to my temple to get permission to join the healers. When we arrived at the church, I noticed an elegant carriage parked outside. I noted that it had the symbol of Coyn on it, but I was too preoccupied for that to sink in at the time.

As I entered the church, I found that High Priest Josel was being escorted out of the building by representatives of Coyn. I tried get Josel's attention, but another of Coyn's followers informed me that I was not allowed to speak to him. Naturally I found this to be a troubling development, but I wasn't about to be diverted from my plan. I knew someone had to be in charge, so I went to the acting High Priest and asked for his permission to assist the healers at the De Winter home. I think having someone else in charge may have actually improved my chances; Josel might have seen through my necessary deception. In any event, I soon found myself with permission to visit the De Winters.

Not that it helped. The De Winters were too feverish to remain conscious, and even if they'd been awake, I wouldn't have been able to speak to them freely with the other Clerics there. So I asked the other Clerics if there was any way I could help them, and they told me they could use some Mandrake root. This rare root is found in the Sleeping Wood. I decided I would use the temple library to learn how to find the root, and we would leave in the morning for the Sleeping Wood.

When we arrived at the temple, I found that the followers of Coyn had an even greater presence. I was starting to feel uncomfortable about their occupation of the temple. Nevertheless, I had a job to do. Rolan told me that he and Rhogar had something to do, so we parted with the intention of meeting up again in the morning. The acting High Priest was in the library, absorbed in his own studies. I soon found all I needed to know about Mandrake roots. I also overheard a conversation between the High Priest and someone else... I didn't catch all of it, but what I heard was somewhat scandalous. I believe he has been paid off by the church of Coyn. As soon as I could, I returned to my room and started getting ready for bed.

Fortunately I was still dressed when Rhogar and Rolan burst into my room. Rolan told me he'd had an encounter with a hooded figure, who had requested his help. The details are still vague, but Rolan expects to be contacted again soon. We no longer felt safe at the temple, so we decided to climb out my window and spend the night somewhere else. As we were about to leave, we noticed something odd. Rolan now had a new sword strapped to his back. It was a bastard sword, much larger than the type of weapon Rolan usually weilds. Rhogar tried to touch the hilt, but it became too hot for him to touch. Rolan, however, was able to touch it with no problem.

We still left through the window, spent the night at Rolan's place (mental note: show Rolan how a broom works), and left the following morning for the Sleeping Wood. It was a day-and-a-half ride, but we didn't run into any trouble. We explored the woods until we found enough of the mandrake root. While there, Rolan had yet another odd encounter with another Elf.

We rode back to town, and I went straight to the De Winter house to drop off the mandrake root. I hope it helps; I will be sure to check up on their progress. We then returned to Rolan's dwelling, where we are as I write this. We have not settled on our next course of action. We will most likely send Rolan out to listen for rumors.

The effects of the spreading evils have even touched the sky. There is no longer a moon at night, though it should be quite visible this time of the month. The daytime skies have turned an ominous gray, as if the impending doom is preventing Pelor's love from reaching the world. Soon I fear we will no longer be able to distinguish day from night, and the grace of Pelor will be unable to find my heart. I strongly suspect that it is Lord De Rais who has been summoning the devils responsible for the plague and the darkness. But at the moment I have no way to prove it, and no way to stop him.

With all my love and all my spirit, I pray to Pelor for inspiration and guidance. For thine is the light and the way.

- Nara Cavell

This was a very exciting session, with a lot of content to absorb. I definitely don't remember everything that happened, but hopefully that was all the most relevant information. At the very least I think I have a few events out of order, but with all that's happened, it's quite possible Nara's memory is as fuzzy as mine. It's funny, in retrospect you notice a lot of foreshadowing that flew right over your head the first time, not to mention the occasional missed plot hook.

When the trio first encountered the acting high priest, Rolan noticed something gold in his pocket. Later, when Nara visited the temple library to research mandrake root, Rolan broke into the priest's quarters to look around (with Rhogar acting as lookout). He didn't find anything, and he made sure not to mention his break-in to Nara later. He was on the way out of the Priest's quarters when he saw the mysterious hooded character, and followed him. After speaking to him, Rolan returned to Rhogar and they tried to walk out the front doors, but were spooked by Coyn's guards, which is why they sought Nara's room instead.

XP Rewards:
100 each for general gameplay, 50 each for the Imp, 84/83/83 for the Evistro (the XP didn't divide 3 ways, so Rhogar got the extra point for being a badass), and some change (50/55/60) for individual acts of bravery, skill, and/or roleplaying.
Rhogar - 284 XP (100+50+84+50) - Total XP now 759
Rolan - 288 XP (100+50+83+55) - Total XP now 768
Nara - 293 XP (100+50+83+60) - Total XP now 783

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