The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes rescued the people of Cherat from a vampire festival, hid in a cottage in the woods, discovered the missing vampire hunter Rosette Vanator, and defeated the Viers family of were-boars. But there is still one Vanator missing…
Play time: 4 hours
- Drew the Eldritch Knight – Level 5
- Ward the Gloom Stalker – Level 5
- Rainen the Beast Master – Level 5
- Hugo the Knowledge Cleric/Time Wizard – Level 1/4
- Tiodhloc (Asmund) the Divine Soul Sorcerer – Level 5
Deadpool Baby Leg
With the were-boars defeated, the party tried to convince Rosette to let them rescue her. They started to annoy her, and she pushed herself up one her one leg to threaten them with her sword. Her blankets fell away, revealing that her severed leg was severed no longer! She was growing a new leg, which currently looked like a chubby toddler limb dangling from her thigh.
Rosette and Bianca made it clear that Rosette needed a little more time to heal, and then come to terms with her new life as a were-bear. But then she would go back home to see her father. Eventually.
Rosette was more concerned about her “idiot” brother Yakov, who had gone off to the ruins of Castle Dalca. He was obsessed with finding cool magic weapons. And while a great fighter, he tended to get himself into trouble and need rescuing. So go rescue him!
The party headed east to Castle Dalca and found the bridge over the River Moroz. But there were strange bodies lying on the bridge, each killed by an arrow. As they crept up to investigate, a shuffling humanoid began crossing the bridge toward them. An arrow flew from the trees and killed the stranger, taking its head clean off!
Ward called out to the unseen archer, who quickly climbed down to meet them. He was a polite young man named Gavril from Cherat. Handy with a bow, he liked to come here and shoot fungus zombies to keep them from getting close to his home. He walked them out onto the bridge to show them some of the re-animated corpses covered in bright orange fungal growths.
With the sun setting, Gavril headed down to his hammock under the bridge to hide from vampires, and the party proceeded toward the ruined castle. But then Ward spotted a large golden deer in the woods. He ran off to investigate, and followed the deer to the ruins of a cottage away from the castle. There, he saw the deer was actually a buzzing collection of bronze discs, whirling through the air in the shape of a deer. This being stomped its hoof to reveal a hole in the ground, and then flew away into the woods.
In the hole, Ward found an Amulet of the angel Kasimah, a being of the wild, who was worshipped in ancient times by woodsmen and hunters.
Inside the Ruins
With the sun setting, the party headed into the ruins of Castle Dalca. They found one tower intact, but the stairs were blocked by debris. They could also smell a heavy weasel-like musk nearby.
Then a new young man arrived, telling them to put out their lights and stop being so loud. It was Yakov Vanator, looking cold and shaky and manic. He led the group into the ruined keep where there was a safe room. Yakov was excited to have some backup, but worried the party might try to take all the magic loot for themselves. Earlier today, he had successfully found and blown up the entrance to the Dalca catacombs. Surely there was cool stuff in there!
The party was extremely suspicious of Yakov’s behavior. Drew tricked him into smoking Pyotr’s Pacifying Pipe, which put him to sleep. Tiodhloc and Rainen then examined him, and found Yakov had been bitten. The wound looked infected, with black veins around it. Vampire bite?
Ward slipped outside to look around and found a smoking crater on the side of the keep, revealing the entrance to the catacombs. A couple of unhealthy humanoids crawled nearby, sniffing. There was a quick debate about whether to wake Yakov and demand more answers, or to go into the tombs looking for a cure right now. They decided to wait for morning.
Hugo took first watch, but was totally engrossed in his reading. Still, he looked up just in time to swat a bird out of the air just before it dive-bombed him. It appeared to be a giant hummingbird, or a thrush with a needle-beak. Hugo healed the poor thing, and it promptly flew away.
Drew took the second watch. Soon he heard a vampire wretch creeping up the stairs. He hurled a flask of alchemist fire, setting the monster alight. The wretch leapt onto Drew’s chest and bite his neck, drinking his blood and healing while still on fire! Then Ward woke up and shot the wretch, incinerating it right in Drew’s face. Tiodhloc inspected the wound and declared it clean. Drew was not a vampire!
Ward took the third watch. Sitting on the roof, he watched the sun come up.
In the morning, the team told Yakov that the bite on the back of his shoulder looked bad. He was majorly bummed. But he convinced the team to let him come with them into the catacombs. Hopefully they could find the source of his infection, and maybe a cure.
Outside in the courtyard, Tiodhloc spied an old forgotten shrine of Saint Eravo the Blessed. The stone statue held an offering bowl and a stone likeness of an Amulet of Virune. Tiodhloc placed his real amulet on the stone one, and made an offering of herbs to the bowl. The herbs incinerated themselves and his amulet glowed with the saint’s blessing. But what was the blessing???
Level One… Fight!
The team could already detect the undead moving about in the catacomb ahead. They entered the dark chamber, seeing dozens of dusty sarcophagi. And eighteen vampire wretches!
The battle was fast and furious. Hugo summoned clones and warped time. Ward shredded the air with burning arrows. Drew blasted the wretches with spear and fist. Rained exploded the undead with her hammer. Tiodhloc tore them apart with his spells. And Yakov Vanator leapt onto the sarcophagi in dramatic fashion, flinging his wooden stakes with (mostly) deadly accuracy.
They searched the chamber, finding it to be the 900-year-old resting place of Wise Queen Aurelia Dalca, and her family and retinue. There was little in the broken graves except a lone golden figurine of an owl.
The chamber sloped downward to another door, shattered and gaping, leading to another, deeper chamber.
And that’s where we ended!
Another solid session. We wrapped up the Rosette business pretty quickly, and I think everyone was satisfied with that part. Meeting Gavril at the bridge was fun, and Ward and Rainen seem keen to recruit him into their new ranger lodge. Ward also really liked his first encounter with the angel Kasimah, so I’m looking forward to developing that.
Meeting Yakov Vanator was also fun. It quickly raised a lot of questions about what had bitten him and whether they could save him. Tiodhloc waffled hard between trying to heal him and threatening to tie him up in the sunlight and leaving him to die.
The first battle in the catacomb went exactly as expected. The team cake-walked the wretches, which were basically minions. But they also took some damage and burned some spell slots. One keen-eyed player noted that he could see my thumbnails of the other four levels of the catacomb. I guess this made him nervous? Good!
Next session will be the rest of the catacomb, so a lot of dungeon delving and combat. My goal is to make the combats very intense without being very long. That usually means enemies who can do serious damage but don’t survive very long. We will see if that is the case next time!