The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes explored the town of Rukesti, regrew a nose, commissioned some clothing, and punched an old man. Now they set out on a new adventure to save a family of lost vampire hunters!
Play time: 4 hours
- Drew the Eldritch Knight – Level 4
- Ward the Gloom Stalker – Level 4
- Rainen the Beast Master – Level 4
- Hugo the Knowledge Cleric/Time Wizard – Level 4
- Asmund the Divine Soul Sorcerer – Level 4
Hugo continued reading the Black Book of Undeath and discovered information about creatures called Revenants. Powered by intense feelings of honor or revenge, these souls can resurrect bodies forever until their goals are achieved. Sounds like Irina the Inescapable! But there was no mention of a way to beat one.
Meanwhile, Rainen told Asmund the story of the group’s adventures up until their meeting with him.
Vampire shooting gallery
As everyone settled in for bed, Armand Vanator came upstairs to summon Ward for his first vampire-slaying lesson. They stepped through a hatch to a roof-top blind and spent the night together shooting vampire wretches. The wretches leapt and dashed across the roofs of Rukesti, but Ward learned to anticipate their movements and make killshots with heartwood arrows.
When morning came, Ward was exhausted but he had learned a new skill: Slayer’s Shot! (a one-hit kill ability against low-level vampires)
Carlos served up delicious crepes while Armand explained that his family had been gone for a worryingly long time. His daughter Rosette had gone vampire hunting in the abandoned town of Brishta. His daughter-in-law Amelia had gone to investigate the village of Grashta, where the people gave pigs to the vampires in tribute. And his son Yakov, the reckless goofball, didn’t say where he was going, so he was probably going to the old mining camp Narat, very close to Castle Torescu!
Carlos packed a delicious picnic basket for the team, and they headed out to find the missing hunters.
As they headed out of Rukesti, Drew was bumped by some kids playing with a dusty vampire skull. He immediately noticed that his purse had been stolen! The kids scattered in three directions. Drew took one, Rainen took the second, and Sasha bounded after the third.
Drew ran down a little boy and carried him back by the ankle, but he did not have the purse. Rainen heroically chased down a little blonde girl in very nice clothes, and recovered the purse! Sasha came back empty handed, having been out-maneuvered by a wily child.
South of town, our heroes followed the road into the forest. After a few hours, they found a creek. Some small bits of ice flowed by at high speed. Carefully, Rainen and Sasha waded out into the creek holding a rope, but they were swept away! Asmund tried to swim after them, but he was swept away too!
What followed was a wild series of misadventures as the heroes tried to save each other from the perils of a chilly creek. Rainen saved her dire wolf, and with a few clever rope tricks, everyone made it to the southern shore alive and well.
Yakkity yak (and sheep)
As they recovered from the dangers of a small amount of cold water, the team was approached by two raggedy men. The strangers soon transformed into a were-yak and a were-sheep, and attacked! Fortunately, the team blitzed the two Shifters and slaughtered them with little issue.
As evening fell, our heroes arrived at the dying village of Dinesti, where only one family of yak herders still survived. But they had neighbors! The herder Virgil pointed out an old house where several vampires were living.
Asmund flew into a rage! Vampires??? Alive??? Here??? He stormed over to the house and demanded entrance. From inside, they met the vampires Octavian and Georgiana who claimed to be pacifist vampires who escaped from the service of the blood queen Dragoslava. Asmund was baffled, but decided to wait until morning to interrogate-slash-murder the vampires.
Virgil invited the team to spend the night in his deceased parents’ house, which they did. During the night, Rainen and Asmund kept watch, and noted some violent storms to the south over the mountains. They also heard strange scratching noises from the vampire house.
During Hugo’s watch, a vampire wretch leapt onto the roof of their shelter. Hugo woke Drew, and the two of them punched and book-slapped the vampire silly. Then the dire wolf Sasha rushed up and tore the stunned creature to pieces.
In the morning, Asmund returned to the vampire house and demanded answers. The vampires Octavian and Georgiana explained that they were the Vampire Liberation Front. They didn’t want to be vampires, and they didn’t want to hurt people. So they escaped from Castle Torescu and came to live in Dinesti, locked inside a house where they can’t hurt anyone.
Asmund demanded useful intel! The vampires revealed that there is a secret entrance to Castle Torescu through the Naduum Forge, which can be accessed through a stone door down the mountain side below the castle. And this Forge is a place where “small folk” make weapons. They also revealed that there were three powerful vampire knights named Adrian, Nicoletta, and Lucien.
Lastly, and most tragically, Octavian and Georgiana explained that there used to be eight vampires in the VLF, but the other six had starved from lack of blood and devolved into feral wretches. Octavian and Georgiana knew they were soon doomed to the same fate, but accepted that as the cost of their freedom and pacifism.
Asmund clearly still wanted to kill these vampires, and demanded they open the door. Rainen intervened and insisted they they leave the VLF in peace.
Drew ate a sandwich. This would prove important very soon.
Back on the road, the team headed south, looking for the first missing vampire hunter. Along the way, they found a strange tiny hut of sticks balancing impossibly on a single pole in the middle of the road. The witch Wyoma One-Eye sat in the hut, hidden in shadows, reeking of garlic.
In a wonderfully creepy voice, she offered to buy their magic items for diamonds. She also offered to heal them. She also offered news of the world brought to her by her pet bat, Bartholomew.
After a brief negotiation, Drew stepped up to create the finest sandwich in all of Torescu to earn a diamond. Succeeding massively at Charisma to sell this idea, Intelligence to find good ingredients, Wisdom to arrange the ingredients, and Dexterity to assemble the final product, Drew crafted the Master Sandwich. Wyoma rewarded him with a diamond!
They also gave Wyoma an Instrument of Illusion to heal Rainen’s nerve damage from a battle many days ago. Wyoma provided a rotten plum, which Rainen ate, and she quickly recovered. After confirming that Amelia Vanator was indeed in the nearby village of Grashta, Wyoma’s strange hut toppled over and she vanished!
A few hours later, as the sun began to set, the heroes emerged from the forest and saw their destination: Grashta.
And that’s where we ended!
This session included a lot of fun shenanigans, but also some heavy character and plot moments. Ward got special training. Asmund and Rainen had deep debates on ethics. Hugo got in some physical combat. And Drew made not one but TWO sandwiches.
Here at Level 4, I’ve found that “random encounters” like the two Shifters are less interesting and valuable than they were at Level 1. However, a simple event like “crossing a creek” or “getting robbed” are absolutely wonderful fun for everyone.
I think we’re at a point now where the actual combats will be entirely plot-based or character-based. Probably. There are so many serious enemies in my campaign setting now, I think we will all enjoy it more to have every combat do double-duty as a plot point with serious consequences.
Until next time!