Badlands Session #3

Bloodied and battered, the party decides that they need to rest for a few hours while spells are cast, and bandages applied. They hole up in a bedroom that looked like it hasn’t been used in quite some time due to the thick layer of dust.

For the 8 hours the party rested, splitting time between sleeping, healing, praying, and keeping watch. During that time, the party heard much activity as day faded into night.

Sounds of construction echoed throughout the stone halls. Clanging of shovels, pickaxes rang throughout the break. Additionally, the party could hear things being dragged, wood on stone.

Just as the party decided that they had rested enough, they heard a halfling voice scream for help. Gwan, being slightly slow in the mind, decided to poke his head out and see what all the commotion was before anyone could stop him. Opening the door, Gwan sees a small halfling being dragged, hands and feet bound down the corridor. Responding in pure rage, Gwan attacks the two undead dragging this living being.

Dispatching the guards, and freeing the prisoner, pleasantries were exchanged. Introduced as “Elvis”, the party decided adding another adventurer couldn’t hurt, especially one with mage ability.

Together, they party decided they should get back to town to report what they found. Sneaking around the corridors, they spot Gwendolyn, Kardon’s daughter they were hired to rescue. Sending the rogue to shadow Gwendolyn, much information is discovered:

  • The well that was discovered earlier had been opened up to be much larger. This must have been the sounds of construction that was heard all night. The bottom of this well was a grisly sight: fresh corpses were being dumped from above, landing with a sickening thud. The rogue observed several bodies being dumped, bringing the count of the corpses to well over a dozen bodies.
  • A skeleton was seen dragging a sled down the corridor with 3 very large glass beakers of red-thick liquid. This looked similar to the items they found earlier in the laboratory.
  • Gwendolyn seemed to be free to walk around the undead without fear of being hurt…

As the party followed Gwendolyn, she dipped into the room that houses the black altar they discovered earlier. Saril, the hand maiden, upon seeing her lady disappear from sight, runs to catch up. Choosing to rush into the room without knowing what is to discovered, the party turn the corner to see a gruesome display.

A caster stood in the corner, performing arcane rituals – a freshly dead corpse lay upon the altar, limbs bending in ways they do not normally bend. The skeleton who dragged the sled with the urns of red liquid are unloading the urns near the altar.

Gwendolyn doesn’t even acknowledge the party’s entrance. Now that she is closer, the party is able to see that she is undead. You can see flesh starting to decay, the skin so transparent that you can see the muscle underneath. The smell of death in this room is familiar.

“I am Zelinth Starlis – you will not stop me. This is my families right…”. After a very difficult few rounds of combat, Starlis casts invisibility. The adventurers lose track of him in the fray, and one of the mages spots a chalice being dipped into the urn, filled with the red liquid and then being poured into the mouth of the corpse on the altar. A few moments later, arms and legs begin to twitch. The invisible being drops the chalice, its deed done and attempts to escape.

Luckily, Elvis using his big brain, grabs some dust/dirt from the corner of the room and blowing it over the room, landing on the invisible caster. Now that the mage is visible, the party quickly dispatched the caster. Very pleased with their performance, they loot all the bodies, and drag all the corpses they can find and pile them on the altar. Gathering up damaged furniture, and burnable items, they create a funeral pyre, set it on fire, and add a half bottle of the elixir that Godwinn gave them earlier. Within moments, the fire turns blue-green, and quickly consumes the corpses.

After a few minutes, the altar cracks from the intense heat. The amulet’s red glow subsides. Surprisingly, the hammer vibrates, glows light yellow, and slowly fades.

However, the fire quickly gets out of control, and black bellows of smoke quickly force the party to escape before they expire. Barely outrunning the flames, fleeing to the well room, they get a grappling hook up, working as a team, they barely escape before the fire completely engulfs the building. Trying to get to the front door from the outside, it is clear that the fire is burning through the entire building. Without spell protection, it is impossible to go back into the building.

Making their way back to town, they are greeted by a very bloody scene. While the party was looking for the source of evil, the town was in a battle for their survival. Around the town are evidences of terrible combat. While the town won the fight, the cost was very high as townsfolk bodies are tossed onto burning pyres. Upon the destruction of the altar, many of the undead just collapsed to the ground, no longer animated. This allowed the town to overcome the remaining undead putting them down with what remained of the defenses. Brother Godwinn is spotted performing funeral rites, and tells you to meet him later.

Kardon is sought out and the sad tale of his daughter is told. He asks the party if a proper burial is possible. Upon being told no, that she was burned on the altar to prevent further reanimation, Kardon is distraught. He agrees to pay the amount agreed upon, and the handmaiden joins him at his side. A few hours later, a messenger brings the party a huge sack of gold from Kardon. Apparently, he had extra gold, but was not willing to spend all of it to rescue his daughter and blames himself.

After a few hours, everyone meets again at the church. Godwinn heals all the hurt members, and listens to their story.

The party asks him to identify items – Godwinn, a cleric, normally has no ability to do so, but said he will pray upon it.

In the morning, Godwinn seeks out the party, gives them their identified items, and tells them that he has had another vision, and believes he knows where the source of evil is.

Badlands: Session #2

Group decides to town to resupply, and seek out advice from the local clergy in regards to undead.

The highest ranking priest in town introduces himself as Brother Godwinn. When you try to address him by his rank, he waves his hands, and says, “Please, my friends, I am just a simple man – I have given up titles long long ago. Please call me Godwinn, or if you must – Brother Godwinn.” Godwinn’s eyes glaze over as he remembers the past. You can almost see the memories being recalled through his facial expressions. Godwinn apparently was quite a renowned undead hunter. He told stories of his glory years, and offered the party some items and advice to combat the undead. The priest also laid a pretty heavy guilt trip upon the party as the orcs and raiders they killed have been reborn as undead – the party should take responsibility for their actions.

He offered 2 potions (one potion of heroism, one potion of healing), a magical hammer that he used in service many years ago. The war hammer is 1d6, but counts as a magical item, allowing damage to be dealt to creatures that are immune to normal damage. Additionally, once a day, the hammer can cast the spell “spiritual hammer”. He also provided a ring of detect evil (able to used once a day).

He also offered a ring of mirroring. As he placed the ring in the parties hands, he warns that this ring is very powerful but dangerous at the same time.

“When you cast a spell (once a day), you twist the ring as you are casting. After the spell goes off, the next round the ring will repeat the same spell, regardless of the outcome. Level 1 spells have a 90% chance of duplicating, Level 2 spells have a 50% chance of duplicating, Level 3 spells have a 10% chance of duplicating. Be careful, the energy must be directed. If you cast magic missile and wish to trigger the mirror ability, the first missile comes out, the next round, the caster’s turn is consumed as the ring must be directed. A copy of the first spell gets released. The caster can direct the missile at a foe, but if no foe is available, it must be targeted to a similar target. If you magic missile down an orc, and no orcs exist after the first missile, the missile will fizzle and strike the caster if undirected (although the mage may direct it into a nearby fighter, or NPC). Like I said, this can save lives, and sometimes it costs lives…”

He also was able to determine that a ring found during adventuring was a ring of protection +1.

He provided the party with 3 bottles of a special elixir that when added to a fire (when burning corpses) the fire burns at such an extreme temperature the flame turns blue-green and within minutes only ash will remain.

Advice wise, the priest offered the following:

  • The undead seem to keep coming back to life, burning their corpses should prevent their unholy resurrection.
  • As he was looking over the loot the party brought back, he noticed the silver dagger that was looted. He commented that a fatal blow caused by a silver weapon might prevent their reanimation.
  • He proposed that if burning corpses or silver weapons were unable, dipping the weapons in the viscous elixir that causes the fire to burn blue-green might deal the permanent death blow.

During the night, riders from different directions brought back reports of swarms of undead, far more than the party might have been responsible for. To see for themselves, the party ventured out and spotted hundreds of undead moving slowly (very slowly) toward the town.

Unable to defeat such a great number head on, they retreated to town. Great discussions were happening in town, ranging from abandoning the town, sending riders out in every direction begging for assistance, to strengthening the meager defenses the town had. In the end, the town decided to do several strategies: shore up the defenses, and send out riders.

The party rolled up with sleeves to pitch in and was interrupted by an alter boy that said the head priest needed to see them immediately. The high priest had been fasting and praying for many hours and was rewarded with a dream:

“I see a black cave, an ominous feeling of dread as I approached the opening. The darkness has a feeling of thickness to it like thick smoke mixed with very dense fog. I could see in my mind’s eye 3 rooms – to the left, I could see birds’ nests with eggs. To the right, I saw racks of weapons, lined up along the wall. The middle room was so dark I could not peer within, but I could feel true evil. Ice fingers of dread reaching from the darkness sending chills through my soul as my dream ends.”

The high priest shared the dream with the party in hopes that it will be helpful to the defense of the town. This dream resonated with the party. They believed that the cave they saw earlier in the week, matched the dream. The nests & eggs represent the female orcs that are missing, and the weapon racks represent the abandoned barracks.

The party found a hidden wall in the middle room, and decided to venture inside.

Many undead were dispatched within these hidden chambers cut into the cave. During their skirmishes, Saril, the serving girl was rescued from a jail. She was shaken by what she had witnessed and only kept repeating that “he wants to make her his”. Gwan, simple minded as he is, shook Saril trying to knock some sense into her, but that caused her to curl up into a ball. She would trail behind the party, close enough to be protected, but far enough away to avoid fights. Other than her repeating that “he wants to make her his”, she provides no additional clues.

Of note, the party found many rooms of laboratory equipment, and a big black stone altar with a slightly concave top. Searching the altar, the party finds a recessed shelf that had a goblet with a dark red liquid in it, as well as a chain with one manacle attached to it. Adding some of the special “holy fire” elixir to the goblin, turned the liquid from red to clear. The party poured it on the floor and it drained under the altar.

After a few hours of fighting, the party decided to hole up in a room that looks like it hasn’t seen much activity, and rested for a few hours to regain their strength.