Saturday, August 21, 2010

Scarred Lands - Island of the Dead

Game Date: 8/21/2010

The Party:
Aria Thatcher (Matt) - Half-Elf Bard
Blast Flashing, Jr. (Nick) - Gnome Warlock
Shade (Jesse) - Drow Rogue
Thorfin (Ted) - Goliath Fighter

This session introduced two new characters. Ted is playing Thorfin, the Goliath Fighter, while Jesse has started a Drow Rogue known as Shade.

Last session we saw the death of Alek Corman. The party was very broken up about it.

According to Ted, Alek's last words were, "I must be going. No guest shall stay in one place for ever. Love will be lost if you sit too long at a friend's fire. Farwell my friends." (Which he ripped from a Norse poem called Hávamál.) Just for the heck of it, Jesse has decided to roll up a new character as well.

The Session:
When we first met Alek Corman, he had been on a pilgrimage to Hedrad. His last wish was to be buried there. Since we were on our way there anyway, we were more than happy to oblige.

Our boat trip ended at a small town called Barel, where we bought some mules and continued our journey. After a while, we encountered a Taurosphinx, like the one in Aria's dream (last session). This one seemed friendly, but it could be a bad omen that it ate the entire party in the dream.

The Sphinx claimed to be the Herald of Hedrad. He told us that the answers we seek would not be found in Hadrad, and that we should instead seek the ruins at Skykeep. He mentioned that he'd been trying to find us, but for something had been blocking his ability to locate us.

That something turned out to be the brooch Alek had "stolen" from that merchant in Lave. It was a magical device that prevented the Sphinx's scrying... but most likely enabled scrying for certain parties. So, we attached the brooch to one of the mules, and sent it running away.

Skykeep was not close, but the Sphinx offered to fly us part of the way there. This is where we parted company with Gorn, who elected to continue the journey to Hedrad in order to give Alek an honorable burial. Aria and Blast climbed onto the Sphinx's back, and they were off.

The Sphinx dropped them off at a small fishing village called Mansk. There was some sort ruckus in town, so we decided to investigate. We found that a lynch mob was preparing to hang a couple of prisoners. Thorfin was being executed for being a Titan-spawn. Meanwhile Shade was accused of committing some murders in town, but it was their distrust of Drow rather than actual evidence that convicted her.

Though they were scary-looking and possibly evil, Aria felt bad about these two getting executed simply for their race. So she sweet-talked the leader of the mob, and ended up paying 100 gold to have the two released. The four of us continued on together.

Beyond the town, we found we had a lake to cross. We managed to get free passage on a ship, due to a letter of credit we had from the Vigil of Vesh. Even that turned out to be overpriced, as the trip proved to be a disaster. Partway through the voyage, we encountered a bad storm. The weather turned out to be the product of a Storm Hag, who delighted in throwing lightning bolts at the ship.

The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of fearless crew... well, the ship was pretty much lost anyway. Our party managed to escape in a rowboat. Thorfin even made a hero of himself by jumping back onto the sinking ship and helping some of the NPC crew to escape. We rowed on until morning.

Eventually we saw a small island in the distance. The first thing we noticed was a church steeple. Obviously a sign of civilization, but this island wasn't marked on our map. Thorfin rowed the boat ashore (hallelujah). We hid the boat and investigated the island.

The island was home to a small town. The people on the island acted oddly. They didn't seem surprised by our unusual mix of races, and they wouldn't give us any helpful answers, sometimes completely ignoring us. However, one guy - who seemed a bit drunk - called out to us. He said, "You shouldn't be here. I've seen things you can't unsee." He then offered to let us stay at his house for the night.

...And then, he was shot twice in the face by a crossbow. (We still haven't ruled out Shade as the killer.) We decided to stay in his house anyway. We hadn't been there too long when the church bell started ringing. Then the temperature dropped, the sky grew dark, and the whole world seemed to change. In a transformation reminiscent of Silent Hill, everything - walls, floors, etc - started to look old and weathered. We looked around the town, and all the townspeople were lying on the ground. Then they started getting back up, but now they were undead.

The next battle was incredibly long, but to be honest that's probably our own fault. We were mobbed by hordes of infinitely-spawning zombie minions (and a few non-minions), and we should have taken the hint earlier that this battle could not be won through fighting. Instead we just fought and fought, killing zombie after zombie.

We went through all our healing powers, and some of us were picking off zombies from the roof, when it occurred to us to use that vantage point to look around town. We saw that the zombie crowd was all over the city, except around the church. So we fled the encounter and made for the church.

Unfortunately the church door was locked, and was protected by some sort of Rune of Warding. It had a very specific-shaped keyhole, and so Shade started sneaking around town hoping to find the key. Meanwhile, the rest of us tried to find other ways into the church. Thorfin thought about climbing to the bell tower, but the walls shocked him at the touch.

Blast managed to dispel the Warding with an Arcana check. With the ward gone, the door was now pickable, but of course our lockpicker was exploring the town. And worse - it turns out the Rune of Warding was the only thing keeping the zombies away.

The bell tolled again, and all the town's zombies started walking our way. Shade took the hint and sneaked past them, while Thorfin kicked the door open and shoved Blast and Aria through. Once Shade arrived and we were all inside, we slammed the door shut.

The door then vanished, turning into a blank wall. And that's all we know for now; we haven't even looked around our current room yet.

Aria paid for Blast's mule, and the 100 gold to free Thorfin and Shade. She does not actually expect to get paid back, but she wouldn't object to it.

We haven't had a chance to take an extended rest, so we might be going into the next encounter with fewer healing surges and Daily powers.

All characters are now Level 5.

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