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."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Session 12: In Service to the Sun God

Having put the tawdry unpleasantness of last session's blood-thirsty murders behind them, the warriors, Ebin and Balinor, joined by Xuphor the sorcerer returned to the necropolis to further their exploration of the catacombs that lie beneath.

Bands of mutant mongrel-men have been more active of late, prowling the corridors and shortly after entering the dungeon the party turned a corner and found a large band of them lurking at a four-way intersection just ahead.  Each group was surprised to see the other, but after the surprise passed they set upon one another with violence.  The feral-mongrel men were beset by a frenzied rage and fought to the last man.

Xuphor cast a will'o'wisp spell and sent his glowing orbs down each corridor to illuminate them, and hopefully draw the attention of any hostile creatures, but the corridors seemed deserted in every direction.  Just south of this intersection the party entered a large chamber full of burial niches, one of which contained a jade idol of Orcus.  East of the intersection, the corridor ended abruptly.  Xuphor was certain that this signified the presence of a secret door and as he stepped closer to search, a trap door opened beneath his feet and he tumbled to a pit below.  His fall was broken by the decaying remains of another adventurer who had apparently also been searching for a secret door and after looting some supplies from the dead man's backpack, Ebin and Balinor lowered a rope into the pit and pulled Xuphor out.

Exploring north of the intersection, the party discovered two alcoves containing stone statues of of Orcus, and Namtur, the demon lord of hatred.  The corridor ended with a quartet of crypts, one of which contained two runic tablets.  Xuphor read both tablets and was favoured with the blessing of He-Ka, the Atlantean god of mysteries and the great beyond, bestowing a +1 bonus to all attack rolls and saving throws for the remainder of the session.  The second tablet permanently enhanced his Constitution score by +1.  Luck was indeed with him.

Having fully explored that branch of the dungeon, the party moved further south to explore another branch.  They traversed a long hallway flanked by six crypts, ending in a door at the far south end.  The first crypt they opened contained four apparently fresh naked corpses, and a stone tablet in the far corner.  Xuphor went for the tablet, while Balinor prodded at the corpses with his ten-foot pole.  Ebin and the hirelings remained outside to watch the corridor.  The corpses were, in fact, ghouls who had been laying in ambush, and they now leapt up and attacked Balinor and Xuphor, who was in the corner and cut off from the entrance.  While Balinor laid into the ghouls with his sword, Xuphor cast light of Aten, in hopes that the the undead would flee before the radiant luminescence of the sun god.  Unfortunately all four ghouls passed their morale checks, leaving Xuphor out of spells with only his staff to fend off the ghouls.  He succeeded in keeping one ghoul at bay while Balinor slew the three others, and Ebin entered the crypt and killed the one menacing Xuphor.  Xuphor read the runic tablet, which he was disappointed to find inscribed with Suleiman's sovereign of purity, a spell that he already knew.

The next crypt contained a dead adventurer laying face-down in pool of congealed blood.  Balinor flipped the corpse over with his ten-foot pole, spilling entrails on the floor.  The dead man had a pair of ornate gauntlets, which Ebin immediately claimed and donned then began to test to see if he had become any stronger.  He hadn't.

Within another crypt, the party found a cowering Mongrel-man, sickly and lame, cast out by his tribe and forced to fend for himself.  Xuphor offered the mutant some food, which the twisted creature snatched and gobbled up hungrily.  The mutant agreed to accompany the party in exchange for more food.

The other crypts were empty and so the party proceeded to the end of the hallway and opened the door into a huge octagonal room with a large obelisk in the center.  Eight skeletons milled about the room searching through urns at the direction of a black-robed, skull-masked necromancer.  The two mercenary crossbowmen fired, killing the necromancer before he had a chance to act, and the skeletons were quickly dispatched by Balinor and Ebin.

Out of spells and low on hit points, the party decided to call it a night and return to Catapesh to spend some of their hard-won loot drinking and wenching.  As they made their way north up the long corridor, however, they encountered another party of six adventurers coming south.  Without even pausing to parley, Ebin hurled a throwing axe at one, killing him, and so the fight was on.  The rival party was killed to the last man and looted, though they had little gold on them.  Once they got to the dungeon entrance, they parted ways with the Mongrel-man, who refused to leave the dark recesses of the dungeon.

Back in Catapesh, Xuphor discovered that the looted gauntlets were enchanted, and so Ebin took them to the temple of Thoth in hopes that they could be identified by the scholarly monks.  They identified the markings of Aten, and recognized the gauntlets as a relic of the templars of Aten and that the gauntlet's enchantments would likely only work for a holy warrior sworn in service to the sun god.  Ebin suddenly found religion and visited the temple of Aten to swear his vows and become a templar of the order.  One must suspect that the sudden religious zeal of one of the bloodiest cut-throats since Astagar the Thrice-damned owes more to his devotion to a shiny new magic item than to the sun god, but it is said that the radiance of Aten can illuminate even the darkest soul so perhaps Ebin will leave aside his murderous ways, hold true to his vows, and adopt the code of honour and virtue that exemplifies a templar.  It could happen...

No sooner had Ebin donned his new white surcoat than he was arrested by the city guard for dueling.  His trial went well, however, and the magistrate ruled that the other party was at fault, and Ebin was awarded 500 gp in compensation.

Xuphor spent his down time engaged in arcane research and made a pact with the minor demon, Gzozzer.

Meanwhile, after a long bout of bacchanalian debauchery, Balinor awoke with an aching head to find the naked widow of Jerhyn Dragomere, the guard captain that Ebin had so recently murdered, lying next to him. Any hope of discretely extracting himself flew out the window when Balinor's paramour, Lena, entered the room and found the two of them in bed together.  Balinor's hang-over was not improved by the shrill insults nor the stoneware that Lena hurled at Zsofia Dragomere and himself, nor the fact that an awkward and embarrassing encounter was now public knowledge throughout the entire inn.

6 comments:

Trey said...

I dig these write-ups. Sounds like a fun game.

DaveL said...

Indeed! A tale well told, unencumbered by game mechanics. Thank for posting!

Sean Robson said...

Thanks, guys, I'm glad you like them! It was a very interesting session, and I always enjoy seeing post-dungeon sub-plots unfold.

Kiltedyaksman said...

A fun read. The alternative spell names are very cool.

Balinor said...

Twas a fine night of adventuring for sure. I gotta lay off the suace though - its starting to get me into trouble... :-)

Sean Robson said...

@Kiltedyaksman: I find many of the standard D&D spell names very utilitarian and bland, so I've reskinned them for a sword & sorcery setting. In some cases the way that spells work have been tweaked, too. For example, I've renamed Light to Light of Aten and in addition to illumination it forces undead in the radius to make morale checks. I've eliminated clerics, so this replaces turning.

@Balinor: No, don't stop drinking, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun :)