Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Session 29: The Gall Crone

The party had just defeated the decidedly non-vegetarian werebats, including their leader, El Aviador, taking some heavy damage and expending a lot of resources in the process. The party took some time to search their lair, finding a nice tiara for Volodemir in the process. Alarmingly, they also felt a sickly feeling as the castle began to fall from the sky as whatever arcane power held it aloft wore off. Wasting only a little time, the party bolted for the rope they had used to ascend, with Lynnya leading the way. They all climbed down the now sagging silk ropes as the castle and rock below plunged into the water. They then kept running to avoid the inevitably large splash it produced. Standing clear, they saw the entire structure sink into the lake below.

The party next rested up for a little to pray to remove the curse from Flint to avoid dealing with any unexpected consequences of the werebat bites he suffered, then made back for the inn in the forest. After checking on the horses, the exhausted party went to bed for a well deserved rest. On waking, however, the inn seemed a bit creepier than before. Dark rain fell outside to intermittent thunder. The innkeeper was in denial, however, claiming that the lighting of black candles and setting of knives point up were merely local customs. Hearing screaming and seeing a woman coming by with bloody towels sealed the deal for the party to intervene, however.

Upstairs, they found a woman in a birthing bed, but where a pregnant belly would be, instead there was a large parasitic gall. She said her name was Jedza, and claimed that there was a demon within her that would surely swallow her soul when it emerged and begged us to help her by retrieving a special jug from her sister nearby. Flint recalled the bizarre wizard creation that is a magic jar and asked the woman how having one would help her now. She said she was far more concerned with her soul being devoured than her body destroyed. Tucking that info away for now and hopefully remembering to warn his comrades about the danger this plan entailed later, Flint held his peace. He would research whether protection from evil would suffice as a defense/deterrent later.

A gall
 She claimed that some other gypsies had been sent for it but had not returned. Another woman was nursing a sick child, and claimed that they wanted the woman to survive so she could cure the babe. A little disturbed by all the demonry and unlicensed and decidedly secular medical practice, Flint decided to cast a spell to cure the cut on the woman's abdomen, and provide a potion of keoghtosis to the babe. As a precaution, he left behind an additional one for the demon hostess, to prolong her survival if the party were delayed.

In order to get to the sister's house, they were warned that a magical seal would not let them pass without the woman's imp familiar by their side as the party was not family. The dying woman produced a cage from the innkeep's wooden leg and handed it to Goblin.

After some debate, the party hurried off to find the sister to retrieve the jar to store the woman's soul while they would do what needed to be done with the demon and her body. In the woods along the way, they found a man dressed in gypsy clothes clinging to some vines and badly injured. Assuming he was being pulled into a bog or quicksand, they went around and pulled him to safety. He confirmed that he had been sent on the same errand and was attacked by some horrible lizards. He was confident that he could make it back to the inn unharmed and set off to return.

Not long after, the party came across a centaur graveyard and some unruly centaur skeletons attacked. The party dispatched them with a combination of bludgeoning and magic and kept going towards the location of the sister's home. Along the way, they met a suicidal centaur with some form of body dysmorphic disorder. They managed to talk the creature out of suicide and attempted to enlist its help on the mission at hand. Hopefully within a few hours, the jar will be in the hands of the party and a plan will be hatched for how to deal with the demon and its hostess. [Surely, nothing else will happen to complicate things! -ed.]

Monday, April 10, 2017

Session 28: It'll drive you batty

Bats are curious and magical creatures. Despite their cute and fluffy appearance, they carry many diseases and are much less fun to play with than they appear. As night fell at the inn, we resolved to set a trap for whatever corrupt force plagued our friend Bickle. I dressed myself as Mickle and rode out into the darkness on horseback while the others trailed behind in secret. Otters are very protective of their friends so, naturally, Dmitry was resistant to trailing behind with the others but, with a perturbed chitter, he agreed.

Everything seemed quiet at first but then, as a cloud obscured the moon, I heard a high pitched shrieking and a loud flapping sound swooping down toward me. I narrowly dodged to the side as two were-man-bat monsters tried to grab me. I quickly found my voice and screamed for the others to spring their attack while the were-man-bats hovered overhead. I then conjured a cloud of choking vapors amidst the creatures. While one of them managed to keep its focus, the other was taken by the vapors and, retching and convulsing, plummeted to the ground. While Lynnya loosed arrows at the flying were-man-bat, to reduced effect, Flint charged forward to attack the grounded monster. As Goblin unleashed magical fire, our new friend Marcus unexpectedly brandished a giant weasel from a small pouch and tossed it at the grounded were-man-bat.

So distracted was I by the sudden appearance of the giant weasel that I was taken unawares when the flying were-man-bat caught me in its talons and prepared to wing me to certain doom. Rallying, my friends mounted a vicious attack against the creature until I was able to thrust upward with all my might to end this threat. Meanwhile, Flint worked to destroy the other, which had since recovered from my spell. The creature, in a flutter of wings and fangs, managed to bite the dwarf, no doubt hoping to corrupt the cleric with its impurity but, due to his stalwart nature, he merely growled and bashed the monster to a pulp.

Bloodied but victorious, with Goblin hoisting the bodies of the were-man-bats on either shoulder, we returned to the inn. Upon our return, we found the corpses had shed their batty attributes and had become men. We questioned the innkeeper and other patrons on the identities of the two men thus revealed and were told they, though somewhat malformed, resembled a certain Erik and Ted.

Not seeing Pickle among the crowd in the inn, we decided to visit his room and inform that he was now safe. To our horror, we discovered the window had been smashed in and Bickle was nowhere to be found. We ran outside to scan the horizon to no avail. Luckily, several passersby informed us they had seen what looked like large birds flying to the northwest.

We gave chase, tracking the were-man-bats and our dear friend Mickle into the forest. After a hard day of travel, we came upon a clearing with a small lake at its center. To our astonishment, a keep, darkened and decrepit with age, hovered fifty feet above the waters. As if from thin air, a large raven appeared on Marcus’ shoulder. With a few words of instruction, the raven flew up to the keep to anchor a rope.

Flint was the first to begin the arduous climb up the rope. He was nearly at the top when a great cry sounded over the glade and its source, a giant eagle, plummeted toward the dwarf. Surprisingly nimble for a boulder with feet and hands, the dwarf managed to scramble the rest of the way up the rope, though not before sustaining a sizable wound from the attacking eagle. Meanwhile, the rest of us began our own climb (except Dmitry, who patrolled the lake). Flint summoned a hammer of light and faith to harass the eagle as we climbed, distracting the raptor from its prey. Though the climb was difficult, we were all able to reach the floating keep intact and, by the time we got there, the threat of the giant eagle was no more.

Making our way into the decrepit keep, we began searching for our friend Bickle. The guard towers, ruined and decaying, were empty so we made our way into the courtyard and the keep proper. We came upon a room where the floor and part of the wall had collapsed in, possibly as the keep was ripped from the ground. In the room below, there was a great pile of refuse and the half eaten remains of what used to be an ogre. Goblin carefully climbed down to the lower floor to see if there was anything salvageable within the remains. Unfortunately, his movements stirred the scavengers, hiding within the refuse, that had feasted upon the ogre and a pack of ghouls emerged.

No stranger to the cravings of the wretched undead, Goblin called upon his faith to castigate the creatures, causing three of them to cower, huddled in a corner of the room as far from the Goliath as possible. The damned hunger of the other two helped them overcome their fear and attack. A quick spell of thunderous potency obliterated the three cowering in the corner while an axe and arrows raining down from above felled the remainder.

Continuing our search for Pickle, we came upon the Great Hall of the ruined keep. There, seated at a large table, with flickering candles casting shadows over them ominously, were two more of the were-man-bat monsters. While one of them, with an air of gentility, plucked pieces of mango from a platter of fruit, the other sipped from a bowl of red, viscous liquid that I hoped was gazpacho but feared was not. To our surprise, the were-man-bat eating mango eloquently introduced himself as El Aviador, and his companion, Bob. They invited us to their table. While Marcus and I sat and chatted at the table, the two clerics quickly made for the kitchen, hoping for a sign of Mickle. Instead of Bickle, they found a human chef stirring a large kettle of boiling red liquid over a fire. He greeted them warmly and, seeing their discomfort with the kettle, assured them that it was only animal blood and, regrettably, claimed he had not seen any sign of Pickle’s whereabouts.

Goblin and Flint rejoined us at EL Aviador’s table where we briefly discussed the nature of were-man-bats. Eventually, the conversation turned to our dear missing friend, Mickle. Sympathetic, El Aviador gave us free reign of the keep to search for Bickle and sent Bob with us as guide. Our first stop was back at the kitchen where we questioned the cook once again. As conversation turned to the pantry, the room became tense. As we made for the pantry door, Bob and the chef attacked. Once again conjuring his magical weapon, Flint harassed Bob with it and then withdrew to meet El Aviador in the Great Hall who, hearing the commotion, was moving in to flank us. Meanwhile, I once again proved my comedic prowess and incapacitated the chef in fits of hilarity. Bob uttered the words of a spell and his fingers began to crackle with electricity. Just then, Marcus hissed a word of power and the corona of electricity Bob held suddenly winked out of existence. Marcus then threw the giant weasel at him for good measure. Out in the Great Hall, Flint fought El Aviador but the creature was a skilled combatant. Maneuvering through the dwarf’s defenses, the were-man-bat sank its fangs into the cleric. This time, the dwarf was not so lucky as he felt the creature’s plague wash over him.  The battle was fierce but, with perseverance, we were able to prevail and, at the end, three were-man-bats were no more.

Suspicious of their sudden tension at our interest in the pantry, we searched it and there, at last, found our friend Mickle. In conclusion, as I said in the beginning, bats are cute and fluffy but much less fun to play with than they would appear. They are best avoided if possible and never to be trusted if confronted.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Marcus the Red Warlock

Marcus was born a noble, but as a third son he was almost universally ignored. His education certainly is left wanting, and he often doesn't grasp exactly how everything works having himself never needing to know anything as he lounged his days away in his family's castle. Eventually however boredom gets the better of him and he starts asking questions of their fiefdom that people don't appreciate, and quite by accident he learns how his noble family has stayed in power by rather dark means, mainly worshiping Mephistopheles. His family brings him to Mephistopheles as an offering. Mephistopheles however sees a charming, rather athletic, and most importantly easily influenced mark and strikes a deal with him, form a pact and become a warlock and he will continue his support for his family. He gladly accepts, realizing the alternative would most likely be murder at his family's hands and tries to take his new found power and find a use for it. He is given an imp as a familiar to be his guiding 'conscience' and he goes out into the world for the first time.

Asmodeus and the Devils

When Hadeth rebelled, and was cast out of heaven, many of the powerful spirits joined her in her rebellion. These spirits had many different reasons -- Asmodeus thought that he could bring a stronger order out of the chaos she would create, one that had him as it's master. Dispater out of loyalty to the dark general. And Mephistopheles out of resentment of the new order that Fayon had created after his ascension. During the war, especially as it grew more desperate, Hadeth grew more crazed, seeking allies wherever she could find them -- most infamously, Miska the Wolf Spider. The devils grew more and more concerned, but they would do nothing. They had, after all, sworn her oaths. They served her loyally during the war, but once she was imprisoned in Hades, they did not believe serving her would bring any more gains. So under Asmodeus's leadership, they crafted realms in the underworld they called hells, and seek to increase their power by corrupting creation.

When they are not engaged in creating enormously complex plots of betrayal and counter-betrayal, the devils are trying to corrupt souls. The economy of hell runs on souls, but the only way devils can get souls is to convince a mortal to freely agree to give theirs up to them (typically, a soul is claimed by Hades upon death). Fortunately for the devils, men are greedy and short-sighted, and are often willing to make a deal. Asmodeus has proven adept at maintaining power despite many upheavals.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Session 27: The Otter-Tack of Senet

Last week the Abolitionists went back into the crypt to finally put to rest whatever was causing the undead infestation. They made their way past the pillar of salt that were the remains of a woman and into a room with multiple alcoves.

Mattock had been keeping to the shadows and once he entered the room he saw three ghostly shapes. Not wanting to waste his opportunity he took a shot at one of the apparitions dealing a bit of damage. Now alerted to their presence the specters turned their attention to the Abolitionists and a fight ensued.

One of the ghosts moved up and let out an unearthly yell to Mattock who had struck the banshee. This was enough to cause him to keel over in fright falling unconscious. As well as causing Volodemir, Gilyf, and Lynnya to flee in terror. Volodemir and Lynnya managed to regain their bearings and turn back to fight quickly so as not to leave Flint on his own. Gilyf however ran for quite sometime before finding his courage and turning back around.

Volodemir gave some healing words to Mattock while Flint summoned spirit guardians to help them defeat the ghosts. Mattock barely had time to stand when the undead let out another terrible scream, this time giving Mattock a fatal heart attack. Volodemir was able to recover and the group fought back against the banshees and specter, finally besting them.

Upon inspection of the crypt Volodemir found tack suitable for a giant otter, and the group made their way back to the inn to recover from the ordeal.

Inside the inn they encounter Marcus, a robed individual who seemed to be talking to himself. He smells ever so faintly of sulfur and happily introduced himself as a warlock currently without work. The Abolitionists were down a man and Marcus seemed charming, if not a little dull, and invited him along.