Sunday brought about cold, miserable weather along with a pair of adventures through the wild and wonderful places of Berwickshire. And although everyone was soggy and damp by the end of it, I throughly enjoyed slipping under Rowan’s skin. And as one friend has said in the past – “face paint adds about 30% more fantasy”.
Player Mission: North of the Thane
The adventurers gathered in the Newcroft hiring square on a sleet soaked morning, to hear what Master Darnan of the Mages Guild had to say. He sought adventurers to accompany two members of the Demonology School to retrieve an item sought by a demon. When questioned further, he sought to reassure them that they were not retrieving the item for the demon but were merely seeking to protect it by bringing it under their supervision. They knew the ring was in a tomb/monastery north of the Thane and before they set out, the scouts were shown a map and issued with a warning of undead and foulspawn in the area.
The adventurers that set forth were as follows: Errant Stewart DePiercy of the Griffin Order, Master Arthur Lightfoot and Guildsman Tobius DePiercy of the Mages Guild, Thomas Charnock the Alchemist, Uisdean Fell of Clan McTaggart the supplicating Crowan Priest, Mother Anne Turner and Father Johnny Slayback of Longstor, Doctor Leofrick Llew O’Kyle the Physician; and Guildsman Brendan DePiercy and Rowan Tait of Amblevale the Scouts.
Following the river to Nobleford, the adventurers crossed paths with several villagers travelling to Newcroft to look for a Forester who told of undead and foulspawn in the area, then crossed paths with foulspawn battling undead. The mages had warned that they had a tentative agreement with a demonologist Ogre-Magi known as Red Fang, whose tribe were known to roam the area, so Stewart ordered that no foul spawn should be attacked lest we anger our “ally”. Thus the party leapt into battle to warily leave the orcs alone after the battle and moved on to the manor house at Nobleford. The scouts stood on watch as members of the party questioned a gardener about local happenings and soon they turned north away from the river to seek out the monastery.
They came across a number of orcs and goblins picking at a dead man, blocking the path. Refusing the move the party were forced to go around them whereupon they spotted a note and a Fygolian holy symbol around the man’s neck. The note was plucked from the corpse but had to be returned to the creatures when they kicked up a fuss. However, the party’s interest in the corpse had annoyed them and the party were attacked. Putting down the angriest of the foul spawn, Rowan and several others disarmed or chased off the others before continuing on their way.
Undead crossed the adventurers path on several occasions, taking blunt weapons, enchanted blades and holy water to disperse, with Rowan lending her arm to destroying an ogre skeleton and stabbing a ghoul with her enchanted knife when others of the party did not drawn their own spelled weapons. As a large stone structure appeared up ahead, Red Fang and attending troll met the party to reaffirm his deal with the mages, whilst Rowan scouted ahead. The structure was untouched by looters, which seemed strange for an old unused building, with a haze across the entrance. The mages assessed it to be magical in nature whilst Rowan could see nothing with her scout trained eyes. However, in the darkness, she noted two statues that looked similar to ones she had encountered in the tunnels in Dun Mhurdo (ooc – they weren’t. I now know them to be two completely different creatures which are destroyed the same way). She called for blunt weapons and when the mages decided that the magic would take too long to dispel, Father Slayback, Stewart DePiercy, Uisdean Fell and Rowan stepped into the tunnel. The men took wounds to their limbs and all enchanted blades lost their sharpened edge which startled the mages. Once they were back on their feet, Stewart approached the closest statue to see what it would do – of course; it awoke and struck out at him with its weapons. Leaping to action the other three beat the creatures to dust, Rowan proud to have identified the method of destroying them. However, as the mages hurriedly cast dispelling magics on the entrance, Rowan noticed a figure in the distance, weaving to and fro. Was he casting a ritual?
She brought this to Stewart’s attention and once he understood what she was saying, ordered them after the figure to stop what he was doing. Off ran Rowan, chased by Uisdean, but as Rowan drew closer she realised that the figure was not walking a circle and she called out to Uisdean to not attack for she was unsure of the consequences. They skidded to a halt and the remainder of the party caught up. The figure was wearing a silver claw ring and holding a book to its chest, muttering about words to itself until spoken to. As he spoke, Rowan noticed a box atop a stone and went to investigate. However, the creature attacked the party and was Father Slayback tried to dismiss the fiend, Rowan attacked with her mace to see whether it would do any damage, which it did not. With the force of Longstor channelled through his holy symbol, the creature suddenly vanished, ring and book dropping to the floor. Whilst these items were investigated, Rowan took a closer look at the box. Seeing nothing she called for the alchemist, who thought there was something smeared on the box, and a mage, who could see nothing magical about it. There followed orders from Stewart not to open the box, to which Rowan defiantly picked up the box to no ill effect. However, after fumbling with the catch and telling everyone to keep clear, Rowan removed her mittens and opened the box to be poisoned and falling to the ground. However, she had made sure someone was nearby to get her back on her feet and the contents of the box were retrieved and inspected and Tobius was also poisoned from handling the box. As Leofrick roused the foolish pair, the box was smashed to bits to stop any other fool from dying of swiftdeath poisoning. After informing Stewart about her tactical thinking on the matter, Rowan stalked off to clear her head of smelling salt fumes and Arthur’s curiosity got the better of him.
He read the book.
As soon as he read a page he was struck with an excruciating headache and was unable to think or speak properly, too much information rammed into his brain of the contents of the book. After his apprentice knocked him out, Rowan roused the mage to find he was still suffering from the effects of the book and the decision was made that the book was dangerous and we should all return to Newcroft.
As Rowan passed through the entrance of the tunnel, she was wounded on the arm and the rest of the party passed through one at a time to suffer the same. As the party slowly congregated at the other side of the tunnel, Rowan spotted a gathering of foul spawn with Red Fang at their head. The mages went to speak with the ogre and all seemed to be going well, until Brendan quietly mentioned that his brother had told him that some of Red Fang’s tribe were possessed by demons. At this the three priests got very twitchy and when Stewart turned to nod at the party, they attacked with religious fury. Rowan ran to the assistance of the Crowan, but was struck in the back. When all the fighters were down, Tobius requested that they be allowed to heal them, to which Red Fang agreed. Rowan was roused by Brendan and after seeing the others were being tended to, rushed to Stewart’s side and clamped her hands on his body and head to try and stop the bleeding – better lose the limbs than be left to die. With a bit of help from other adventurers, they began to bandage the knight up, his younger brother rousing him as Leofrick began to work on his legs. To stop him from screaming, the handle of Rowan’s mace was forced between his teeth, but soon the knight was back on his feet and the party assessed what had happened. The priests were all for hunting down the possessed foul spawn but they were long gone, Red Fang now in possession of the book which he believed would lead him to the ring.
However … the ring was still in the party’s possession and they passed it into the care of the Newcroft Mages guild.
Monster Mission: Back to Basics
The hiring was conducted by the Carlech Stone Masons who had noticed that much of their needed supplies and goods were not reaching their destinations along the road from Carlech to Sintel. They needed brave adventurers to go and see what trouble was afoot and the ones who answered the call were:
Captain General Catherine Brack-on-Hill of the Berwickshire Medium Infantry, Guildsman Mercenaries Christo and Ronan Eadronhart, Master Ethan Fairbrass the Alchemist, Senior Master Solinarius d’Carranath the Mage, Ranger Ned the Scout, Doctor Georgina Herald the Physician and Brother Benedict DePiercy the Crowan Priest and his attendant family servants (a Crowan devotional supplicant and the family Blacksmith).
They strode out from Carlech to find the first guards post empty or abandoned with no sign of a struggle. Further along they encountered a number of disgruntled Stone and Cloth merchants, complaining about robbers and dangerous types who had attacked them, wounded their guard and chased them off their carts. Advised to return to Carlech, the merchants went on their way, and the adventurers began to grow concerned. A foul spawn scuffle and some noble militia did little to stop their progress and when they came upon the carts, they found them partly dismantled and abandoned. However, on the road ahead they could see more foul spawn, pawing over a corpse in woodland colours. When asked as to whether they had attacked the caravans, the creatures denied knowledge, but they attacked as the adventurers got too close to their “lunch”. However, quick thinking Sol cast an obey on one of the half orcs who turned on his fellows and kill them all before being killed himself. The corpse was a longstorian and after investigating his death, the adventurers rolled his body into the woodland to return to the cycle.
Up ahead they came to a village with a Longstorian shrine. The houses seemed simple, even primitive, cobbled together from bits of wood and some pieces that might have come from the robbed carts, but the villages denied any knowledge – but not very convincingly. They didn’t want to be speaking with these “city” types.
When asked about the whereabouts of their priest, they informed the party that he had left earlier that day in the company of a “city” priestess from Carlech, who didn’t seem to be a bad sort but was a “city” lass. Their Father believed the sickness in the land was caused by the expansion of the cities, that people had turned their back on the true way of Longstor to be part of the natural world and cycle. They gave a description of the girl and bid the adventurers to leave, which they did. As they began to piece together what was happening, they noticed another body on the road, a woman fitting the description of the priestess – green cloak, golden acorn holy symbol and a colourful scarf at her belt – who had taken a blow to the head and was coming round. Startled by the appearance of the adventurers, she demanded that they stop Father Greatham from spreading his mad teachings and offered payment by the Longstorian shrine at Carlech for them to return him alive into their care so they could rectify the damage his madness had caused. The group was attacked by dark elves and elderkin wearing the symbol of Krygan and after fighting off a number of groups, the priestess left the adventurers to return to the village.
But the adventurers pressed on to find a long dark elf scout who led them on a wild chase into an ambush. With the war cry of “Krygan” the party were jumped by a number of dark elves concealed in the woodland and after disposing of these enemies, the party were attacked by a number of dark elf groups – a pair of devotees talking about a ritual at dusk, a poorly hidden ambush and a pair of Kryganites who split the party by acting out a ritual to draw the combat characters into battle. Poison tipped every spear and one dark elf led the party deeper into the woods away from his people’s lair. But the adventurers dealt with him and turned their attention to the ritual.
A dark elf scout spotted their approach and after spotting the Longstorian priest they sought, the party fought the dark elves to rescue the priest from the creature’s dark ritual. They found a letter amongst some abandoned possessions addressed to the Kryganite followers from a mysterious Mother Albricht who wrote of a weak imposter calling himself “High Dark Primate” of the thirteen. The imposter must die.
With this in hand the adventurers returned to Newcroft to lick their wounds and watch what would happen next.