Session 20 Summary

Started by David Roomes, June 20, 2017, 09:53:47 PM

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David Roomes

Session 20 Summary

The Player Characters  (aka the "Heroes")

Winlock – orc/dwarf barbarian, wearing heavy chain mail armor and wielding a big war hammer
William – the party's wizard, human male, robed and armed with a broad array of spells.
Belkor – the dashing human swordsmen/mariner wielding twin scimitars
Listig – the elven thief/archer equipped with several different enchanted arrows

The Current Non Player Characters

Almahdi - A likable Padashani beggar with quick wit. Talkative. Funny. Fluent in several languages. Street smart, but somewhat cowardly.
Halimir - An elven ranger, who has fought along side the party for several game sessions now. Has proven to be very lucky.
Nassan - A Padashani priest of Hram. Dour, sullen, doesn't talk much. Skilled at herbalism, alchemy and healing.

The session started with the party still in the cavernous chamber beneath the Hram temple in the city of Qazadeen. The party had just defeated the cultists and freed all of the prisoners. During the battle, Groot had died. The rest of the party survived.

The two alchemists began brewing a second batch of the antidote while the party slept. Several hours later, the party was rested and the antidote was done. The antidote was a milky white syrupy solution. The party took 5 bottles of the antidote each while the rest of it was dumped into the river. The alchemists also had written down several copies of the formula so that it could be reproduced. The party planned to take both the antidote samples and the formula and distribute it as wide as possible.

Several of the freed prisoners had opted to stay and help out. These individuals were told to get out into the city and start spreading the news that the river had the antidote in it and could be used to cure the infected.

Finally, the party was able to turn their attention to their prize... the second Talisman... the Talisman of Blood. The party discussed who should carry it. They knew it had powerful healing powers besides other functions. They decided that Winlock, their barbarian, would carry it. He was always in the front lines of battles and taking heavy damage. He could take advantage of its healing powers the most.

Armed with 5 bottles of antidote each and several copies of the antidote formula, the party ventured back outside the temple. The city was quiet. It was early afternoon. It appeared as if the breach at the south gate had been successfully contained and the inner city was still free of the infected. The party made their way back to the blacksmith's shop and back to the secret tunnel entrance. They had previously made a deal with Kalrotus of the thieves guild that, in exchange for safe passage through the tunnel system, they would share with him anything they had found. Once they reached the hidden chambers of the thieves guild underground, they met up again with Kalrotus and what remained of the thieves' guild. They shared with him the antidote formula and gave him a bottle. Kalrotus was very pleased with this. Needless to say, they have secured an ally in this city. The party continued on through the tunnel to the far end, emerging back at the Broken Tooth tavern in the outer city. The outer city was still a "dead zone"... the only people left were either infected or hiding. Having done everything they could for the city, they headed out of the city and made their way south to meet back up with Almahdi and their wagon.

Almahdi and the wagon, however, were not at the agreed upon location. Instead, off in the distance, they saw what looked like a flag fluttering in the breeze. They went out to it and found a hastily erected wooden pole, pile of stones and a "flag" consisting of a silken scarf. Sticking out from the stones was a scroll. It was a hand written note, hastily written in Southern, stating "I had to move the wagon. We are hiding at the top of the tallest hill to the south west".

To the southwest was a cluster of lightly wooded hills. They headed in that direction. At the top of the tallest hill was a small stony ruin which looked like it was someone's farm house now. As they approached, the party could see more than a dozen infected crawling all over it. The windows and doors had been boarded shut and inside came the sounds of hammers, men shouting frantically, women screaming and children crying. The infected were tearing away the barricades trying to get inside. Their wagon was parked beside the farmhouse building.

As the party ran up, several of the undead noticed them and began to advance. Listig threw flasks of oil on the ground which ignited a second later as William threw a fireball. The fiery explosion engulfed several of the infected who died almost immediately. Other infected came running through the flames of the oil, oblivious to the fact that they were ignited themselves.

Halimir and Listig pumped arrows into as many as they could while Winlock and Belkor cut them down. It didn't take long before there was only one left. They managed to wrestle him to the ground and force one of the antidotes down his throat.  Immediately the creature began to convulse violently. The convulsions lasted less than a minute and the creature went limp, breathing rapidly, but sound asleep. The party waited awhile and observed and, very gradually, the blue spidery veins and lesions began to fade... the skin began to regain its color. It looked like it was beginning to work.

The party freed the people inside, Almahdi among them. Now that they were reunited with Almahdi and their wagon, the party decided to begin their journey to the next Talisman. According to the Talisman of Dreams, the Talisman of the Sea was in the southeastern corner of Qeshir, a journey of several hundred kilometers. That was the Talisman they had decided to pursue next. Their plan was to go south to Kassar's Bay and see if they could acquire a boat or passage on a ship and travel to the far eastern part of the Qeshir. No matter how they got there, they were facing a long journey ahead of them.

The party restocked the wagon with water (from the river which carried the antidote in it) and provisions from the farm house and began their journey south.

By the time they were ready to leave, more than an hour later, the infected that had been given the antidote had recovered and was conscious, coherent and talking... on the road to being a normal human again. Conclusive proof that the antidote they carried worked.

It was about a nine hour journey to the next village, a small mining village called Kuuf. After seven hours on the road, they rounded a bend and came across a large group of infected. There were about twenty of them and they were slowly shambling along, following the road south, perhaps driven on by instinct or some dim memory of the road. In either case, they were in the party's way and moving too slowly. The terrain was too rocky to leave the road and there was no enough room to go around them.

They decided to fight their way through. They brought the wagon up behind them. The infected heard the wagon coming, turned and charged. A well placed fireball took out most of the infected, but a particularly big one came charging through the flames. Belkor yelled "I've got an idea... we need that big one as a new henchman! He's mine!" He pulled out an antidote bottle and leapt off the wagon and charged. He threw the bottle which shattered, splashing the antidote all of the chest of the big infected. He then drew both his swords and began to do battle with it. Meanwhile, the others fought and picked off the rest.

Instead of trying to kill the big infected humanoid, Belkor danced, dodged and parried. While the big creature swung its huge meaty fists again and again, Belkor made no attacks of his own. It took almost half a minute, but eventually the big opponent slowed, stopped and then collapsed into convulsions on the ground. After a few more seconds, the convulsions stopped and the creature was unconscious. The reversal of the infection had begun. Judging by the size of him, he was an ogre, full blooded most likely. He was about 8 feet tall, 400 pounds and all muscle. He had several tattoos, scars and brands on his body.

The party now knew that skin contact with the antidote worked as well, although it took more than half a minute to take effect, whereas ingestion was immediate. Good to know.

The party hoisted the unconscious ogre up on top of the wagon and tied him down securely with rope. The last time they had used the antidote on one of the infected, they shoved it down his throat... direct ingestion. That method resulted in a transformation in just a couple of hours. They were curious how long it would take with only skin contact. William suspected it would take eight hours or more.

They resumed their journey and reached the mining village of Kuuf three hours later. Kuuf was a small, unwalled village nestled in dry, rocky hills. Outside of town there was a small group of men burning bodies on a pyre of oil soaked wood. Several bodies lined up next to the pyre showed signs of infection.

Several armed guards moved to block the path of the wagon and barked something at them in Padashani. Almahdi conversed with their captain while the guards walked around the wagon inspecting it.

"They want us to show them that we have no infected wounds, no bite marks", said Almahdi.

The players disrobed to show that none of them had bite marks or other signs of infection. The captain of the guards was satisfied, but they refused to let the ogre on the wagon in (who was clearly still showing signs). The captain wanted them to leave. After some conversation, they agreed that the ogre and the wagon would stay at least a bow shot distance from the village. Nassan and Halimir would stay with the wagon and ogre.

Winlock, Belkor, William and Listig went into the village on foot. Almahdi accompanied them to translate. It was dirty and crowded. It was clear that this village had taken in hundreds of refugees from Qazadeen. Make shift shelters and tents were set up wherever there was room.

The party told several people that they had a cure and they were told to see the umani. Almahdi explained that every village had a kaliph who was like a mayor and most villages also had an "umani" who was sort of a spiritual leader.

The umani and several village elders came out to speak with the party. They gave him a bottle of the antidote and a copy of the formula, along with a full explanation. The elders were skeptical, but agreed to give the antidote to one of the infected that were being kept in a quarantine building.

That evening, the party made camp outside of the village at the wagon. The next morning, the ogre was awake and talking. His skin and eyes looked much better and he had regained his strength. They asked him who he was and what he remembered, if anything.

The ogre began by thanking them for his life. He explained that he had served on a pirate ship out of the Pirate isles, but that ship had foundered on rocky shoals during a summer squall off of the coast of the Border Clans region. The survivors were attacked by the natives there, the mandalars, and several were killed. The remaining ones were captured by a Padashani military patrol and they ended up as slaves in the Empire. He was a slave for years. He fought in gladiator pits in various cities, before he turned on and killed his owner. Deemed too valuable as a warrior to execute, he was then sold to the Qazadeen militia who used him in their civil war. During his last engagement, the battle was interrupted by a swarm of infected. Soldiers on both sides ran. He was bitten and that's all he remembers. Everything since then is a foggy nightmare of blood lust and feeding. He then remembers waking up on the wagon.

During his pirating days, his ship mates called him "Grim Rigor" or "Grim" for short. A nickname they bestowed on him for his temperament and rigorous adherence to the captain's orders. He has gone by that nickname for so long that he doesn't care to remember his real name.

The party brought the ogre, now cured, into the village. The other "test patient" in the quarantine building, was also cured. The elders and the umani were very pleased and immediately began working on gathering the necessary herbs and alchemical components to start brewing the formula themselves.

Having brought a working antidote and formula to the town, the party was thanked profusely. The umani and the kaliph invited the party to stay as honored guests. The party stayed for another day. William helped with the brewing and administering of the antidote while the others feasted and drank. The next morning, the town restocked the party's provisions and saw the group off many thanks.

The last mining town within Padashani territory was a village named Badir. It was an eight hour journey over a winding dusty road through the rocky hills.

During the trip, Winlock began to feel a connection to the Talisman of Blood. He could feel its power beginning to seep into him and he noticed that his cuts and bruises from previous fight were healing very quickly.

After a few hours of travel, the wagon came round a bend and they saw a single infected humanoid on the road ahead. It was alone, shambling along the road in the same direction they were going.

The party talked and decided that this one may been a straggler from a larger group. William sent his raven up to scout out the region around them. The raven returned a half hour later with news of a "large group of bad things heading this way".

William needed more information. So he cast Arcane Eye with his Talisman of Dreams and sent it in the direction the raven had returned from. It took a while for  the eye to get there, but he eventually spotted a group of 70 to 90 infected. They were following a small trail that made its way through the hills and connected to the road they were on. The group would undoubtedly end up reaching the town of Badir in a few hours.

The party decided to raise ahead and warn the village. They rode right by the single infected. It gave chase for awhile, but could not keep up.

About two hours later, they came across a long stretch of road that went down a long narrow stony canyon with sheer rocks on either side. It was only three or four times wider than their wagon. At the south end, the walls dropped away and the canyon opened up into a broad flat region in which the village of Badir sat. This narrow canyon would make a good "choke point" where the infected horde would be forced to gather tightly together. It would be a good place to fight them. The players made a note of this.

The mining village of Badir was like Kuuf, small and unwalled. Again, outside was a small group of men burning a body. The players rode their wagon up to them and halted. Almahdi spoke for the group. In Padashani, he explained that they had a cure, that it had been tested, that they had copies of the formula and would be willing to help the village make more if they had an herbalist or alchemist. He also explained that a horde of infected were coming from the north and would arrive very soon.

As he spoke, other villagers came out to listen. Suddenly, a balding man in armor and robes pushed his way to the front. He looked like a priest, but did not seem Padashni. The bald man began yelling at Almahdi in Padashani. "Who is this?" asked Belkor. As soon as the bald man realized the party spoke Southern, he switched to that language, which surprised them.

"Liar!" He screamed. "There is no cure. This plague is a punishment to these people for worshiping false gods, for laying sacrifices before false idols. You're not the first to peddle snake oil and false promises. So take your wicked charms elsewhere. Be gone! You're not wanted here!"

The party tried to argue with him, but the robed priest was adamant. Very quickly they realized they were arguing with a deranged religious zealot who was on the verge of calling for guards to back him up. The party quickly became frustrated with the irate priest and decided he and the village were not worth the aggravation. They began going around the village.

They would have left this village in their dust, but before they had made it out of sight, a villager came running after them and waved them down. Almahdi translated as the man, nearly weeping, told of his sick daughter and begged them to save her if they had an antidote. The party asked him who the priest was and the man explained that he and six others had come weeks ago and taken over the village. They wielded powerful magic and weapons and had somehow swayed the kaliph and the umani both to yield to him, granting him power over the town. Many of the villagers suspected some foul magic was at play. A number of the best fighters in the village had also been swayed. There rest of the village was at their mercy, unable to fight back. These foreign priests held the village completely in their power and would not allow anyone to leave. They also held that the plague was a punishment. He again begged them to help.

Well, this party of adventurers are heroes are heart and could not leave the village be. They decided the only way to save the village was to kill the seven priests outright. Hopefully, the charm spells would fail when they died. Then, after that was done, they could deal with the horde of infected coming down from the north. (William's best guess was that the horde was less than two hours away).

They asked the villager his name. He said he was Baharan. They told him they would help and that he should rally together as many men as he could to help fight. Baharan said he would need only minutes to gather a group. The party said they would be along shortly.

Baharan ran back to the village while the party prepared. They decided to leave the wagon out of sight. They would approach on foot and sneak into the town. Baharan had told them the village was built around a central plaza with a well. The party would add antidote to the well and make their stand there.

Their newest comrade, Grim, was much too big to sneak into a village of Padashani. He would stand out. So instead, they had him hide behind a boulder that was a stone's throw from the nearest building at the edge of town. They wanted him to be able to come charging in when they needed him. They would send William's raven for that. Meanwhile, the rest of them would go into the village. Hassan would stay with the wagon.

The group discussed a ploy that might help undo some of the charm spells. Belkor would take his drellisite crystal (which generates a short range anti-magic field) out of its lead container and put it in a pouch around his neck. This would, of course, nullify his magic boots and flaming dagger. However, it would also undo the charm magic on the fighters and two village leaders, if he could get close enough. That was the hope, at least.

William, Listig, Belkor, Winlock, Halimiar and Almahdi all went into town. It was not a large village and they headed straight for the plaza. Several of them looked distinctly not Padashani and they did stick out, but it was a short, rapid walk to the well. A number of villagers were in the plaza including one of the priests who was lecturing to several villagers. Listig and Halimir vanished behind corners and scaled buildings, each taking up a rooftop sniper position. Belkor and Winlock followed Almahdi and William toward the well.

Almahdi hopped up on the edge of the well and began calling out to the villagers, exhorting them to cast of the foreign priests and fight them. William dumped a bottle of antidote into the well.

The priest saw this and stopped his lecture. He advanced, tugging his mace free and yelled at them in Padashani. It looked like he was going to grab Almahdi and throw him down the well. Belkor struck first, carving him up with his twin blades. Villagers around the plaza gasped, cried out in fear and ran. The priest screamed for help as he fought back. One of the charmed soldiers in the plaza raced to the priest's assistance only to receive the business end of Winlock's war hammer.

Very quickly, a grand battle erupted in the plaza. Another two priests and two charmed fighters came running into the plaza. Listig and Halimir rained down arrows into the plaza. William picked up one of the charmed fighters telekinetically and hurled him toward Belkor and the drellisite crystal, but the fighter managed to blow a horn he had on his belt.

The horn blast summoned more priests and charmed fighters. Between blades, hammer and arrows, the party managed to cut down two priests and two fighters quickly. Baharan appeared with a group of men who took out another of the fighters. The drellisite crystal worked and as each fighter engaged in battle with Winlock and Belkor (who are fighting side by side), the charm spell on them failed and they faltered - confused and dazed - and no longer attacked. One of the priests near Belkor also had two spells in a row fail to work.

One priest managed to fire a purple bolt of energy at Winlock and he went down, paralyzed. But by this time, three priests lay dead on the ground

Almahdi was, the whole time, standing on the edge of the well, yelling to the villagers in Padashani to take up arms and fight the priests. Several of the fighters, free of the charm, turned on the priests. Villagers, cowering at the edges of the plaza, saw this and charged forward to join the fray. The tables quickly turned and the remaining priests found themselves quickly outmatched.

Very quickly, only the head priest remained and he turned and fled. He dashed down an alley away from the plaza with Belkor and William in pursuit. Listig fired his teleport arrow in a high arc across the plaza and to the far end of the alley and, in a flash, became the person closest to the fleeing high priest. He fired and sank an arrow into the man's back.

William got within range and used his telekinesis spell (which had been active through the whole fight) to grab the high priest and drag him back. The idea of keeping the priest alive was briefly discussed as the man hung helpless in the air (telekinetically). Belkor said "he's too dangerous to let live" and chopped off the priest's arm from his body with a single stroke. William let the corpse drop to the ground.

A search of the plaza and surrounding buildings found no other enemies. They counted up the bodies of the priests... seven. All of those charmed, including the kaliph and umani, were free of the spell.

It was a vicious and bloody battle, but necessary. Stories of the villagers came forth like a torrent, telling of horrific oppression under the cruelty of the priests. The villagers rejoiced and thanked the party for slaying their oppressors.

Williams searched the bodies of the priests. He also found writings of the high priest in the building that the priests had been using as their home. Judging by their holy symbols and other clues, they were priests of Imarus, militants specifically. However, judging by the endless mad rantings that filled journal after journal, the high priest was insane and these priests had fallen far from the true faith of Imarus.

There was little time for celebration. There was still a horde of infected coming toward the city. The party told the villagers about the horde. The party met in the plaza with the kaliph, umani, village elders and the (formerly charmed) fighters to discuss a strategy. Some wanted to evacuate the village and flee. Others wanted to stand and fight. The party discussed the idea of using the antidote in water to cure the coming horde of the infection. The problem was that they had only a few bottles of antidote and not very much water. The well could provide water, but only one bucket at a time and they would need enough water to thoroughly drench or immerse up to 90 infected. They had no time left.

Then they struck upon another plan. This was a mining town in an arid region where lumber was scarce. The blacksmiths here heated their forges with refined whale oil obtained from trading with coastal villages to the south. They also used the oil to heat their homes, cook their meals and light their lanterns. In other words, they had a LOT of oil. The party ordered the villagers to bring all the oil they had and every barrel in the town. The blacksmiths rolled out barrels of oil. Villagers brought out their cooking oil, lantern oil and began filling barrels. Very soon, they had 32 barrels of oil loaded onto 3 wagons.

The party led a group of villagers and the three wagons to the north road. Just north of the village was the narrow canyon which the horde would have to pass through. They positioned the barrels on the dusty road. As soon as they spotted the horde on the road, they began to smash open the barrels and let the oil flood the road. Very soon, they had a huge oil slick, twelve meters wide and thirty meters long. As the horde got closer, the infected spotted the humans and wagons and charged. Listig fired one of his pyrotechnic arrows (obtained from the river camp several sessions ago). With a whoooosh, the lake of oil burst into a swirling inferno of flame and black smoke. Having no sense of preservation, the infected charged into the inferno in an attempt to get to the humans. The infected were utterly incinerated. By the time the oil burned out, every single one of them was ash.

This is where we ended session 20.
David M. Roomes
Creator of the World of Khoras