Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Session 8: Ode to Akillian - we barely knew him

This session opened with the characters descending in a lift to the second level of the sinkhole, with a large party of forewarned Redcaps waiting for them on the landing platform.  Their overwhelming numbers were no match for a Sleep spell, though and what should have been a very challenging fight turned into a walk in the park.

The party began their ingress into the level by making their way along a ledge bordering the Gaping Pit of Infinite Depth that is the Murian sinkhole.  A hail of arrows fell upon them, fired by Redcap archers on the other side of the sinkhole.  Melfynn, the torchbearer was killed instantly before the party could react.  Jin cast a Light spell on an arrow and fired it across the pit, illuminating their attackers so that fire could be returned.  The Redcaps were quickly dispatched and the party continued along the ledge.

The ledge ended abruptly as part of it had crumbled away leaving a 10 foot gap.  There was much debate about jumping over the gap, but several party members were peering over the edge into the aforementioned Gaping Pit of Infinite Depth, and decided that one slip would result in a very long drop.

Akillian decided to scale the slimy, wet sinkhole shaft and make his way across to the other side of the ledge.  By himself.  He got to the other side and made his way along the ledge eventually finding another lift cage that would descend to the third level.  He also found the four Redcaps that were guarding it.  They threw their spears at the interloper, impaling him four times and killing him instantly.

The rest of the party heard four wet, fleshy thunks, a cry of pain, and Redcaps cheering victory, followed by their squabble over the shiny silver dagger looted from Akillian's body.  Spurred to action, the party decided to try and jump the gap and see off the Redcaps that killed Akillian.  Everyone made the jump safely, except for Caitlin, who stumbled as she leaped then failed her save to grab the ledge and fell into the pit.  The remaining party members heard her screams fade into the distance over many long seconds.

The party elected to take the lift down to the third level, circumventing the second level entirely, and get closer to their goal: the necromancer, Sothiss.  For the first time, there were no hostile forces assembled to contest their landing, and they were able to make their way into the third level without incident.  After battling some gargoyles and mutated Redcaps, the party came upon a lone human monk battling four ghouls.  They lent a hand to a fellow human and together they defeated the ghouls.  The monk, Valkryss, was the sole surviving member of another adventuring party that was exploring the Crater of Murias.  They had been captured and taken before Sothiss, who killed Valkryss's friends to use in necromantic experiments, while Valkryss he saved for the entertainment of his pets.

I mourn the loss of Akillian.  He was a dagger-throwing prodigy with an unorthodox but pragmatic sense of strategy and I'll always love that he convinced the party to smear themselves with Warg poop.  In death he serves as a valuable object lesson: never explore dungeons on your own.

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