Badlands Session #4

After a long day of back breaking work repairing the repealed undead attack damage, our adventures are found feasting & drinking in their favorite (and only) tavern. “Brother Godwinn would like to see them at first light!”, the young boy proclaims from the tavern doorway. Upon noticing sheer number of empty mugs on the table, adds – “If yee remember this at all!”. Gwan half jumps up, knocking beer all over the table, shouts back, “We’ll be therrrrrrrree”.

Meeting Brother Godwinn just as the sun rose starts to break the horizon, pleasantries are exchanged. He immediately launches into a very dynamic reenactment of his reoccurring dream. “My Lord is speaking to me… I don’t what it means.”

“There is a hill illuminated by a full moon. A bright column of light pierces the sky – all the way to heaven. Once the light passes through the clouds, symbols fly out of top of the hill like bats escaping a well. I do not recognize the symbols though – they feel ancient to me. The symbols morph between colors and shapes – sinister looking – a feeling of dread. The clouds turn black – the moon even darker – darker than blackness. I always wake up drenched in sweat, heart racing, feeling like my soul has been tainted. I should have told you earlier, but I didn’t want to send you on a fool’s errand. Does this mean anything to you?”, the priest asks.

After a few minutes of discussion, this dream didn’t lead to any clues like the previous. “Maybe my Lord will deliver unto me more direction with more intense fasting and prayer. I keep thinking about that full moon. A full bright moon being swallowed into complete darkness. The next full moon is just 3 nights away!”

“Between not sleeping, I sent word of the town’s fight against the undead, undead that I thought we destroyed long ago. How destroying the black altar seemed to turn the tides of battle, to my old guild, The Order of Flame. I just received a message from them. Turns out the surname Starlis means something. They were a very old family that lived in this area as best they could tell ~500 years ago”, he says as he hands you a map. “Here is a map of where their mausoleum should be, according to old tax records. Head this way (as he points with his finger), then when you see a big circle of stones, head due west. “

As the party mounts up to ride out, the priest reminds them, “Remember, a full moon is soon. Time is most precious! Here are some potions to help!”, and hands the nearest rider 3 healing potions. “These are special healing potions – their healing power decreases a little each day – within a week they will be rendered inert!”.

Along the road, the party encountered 2 wagons that had a peculiar payload. The payload was a young boy, wrapped up in canvas. The parents tell a sad story that the party listens to: their son a few days ago developed a fever and passed away. Before the child was able to be buried, his body started to move. Convinced that an unholy spirit had inhabited the body of their son, the family wrapped the boy in a large piece of sailcloth to prevent him from clawing at them, and are traveling to the nearest priest – Brother Godwinn in Old Morgansfort. Story told, each party continues their way, not wanting to tell the grieving family that the boy was now undead, not possessed by a spirit. Undead have not been seen in this area in more than many generations – parents tell children of undead as a way to get them to go to bed.

After following the map, they come across an old mausoleum in fairly poor condition. The front stone doors had been smashed in, broken into many small pieces. It appeared some amount of activity had recently been happening based on the trampling of foliage. Inside, there were many sarcophagi – many with the covers smashed in, some with the lids slightly ajar, and a few with the tops securely attached.

The party decided to explore the unopened coffins first. Taking 3 strong people lift it enough to slide it off, a pungent sickening smell escapes, nauseating all, forcing them to their knees, coughing spastically. During the coughing spell, the lid dropped, and broke. A necrotic ooze blobs out of the coffin.

After several intense rounds of combat, the goo was put down, and the coffin was checked. Treasure was found. The remaining 3 unopened coffins had similar goo waiting them as well as treasure in each one. Holy water was effective. These goos, when hit hard enough, would split into two smaller goos. The clerics in the party could not turn the undead goo, but felt that they were indeed within the presence of undead.

After dispatching all the goos, and most of their spells, the party decides to check out the coffins with the lids slightly ajar. These lids were even heavier than the sealed sarcophagi. A thick metal band ran all round, with braids of copper adorning the fancy ornate glasswork.

Legs braced to push with all their might, the lid just barely budges a loud “click” is heard. “Oh shit!”, mutters Morgane, as a powerful electrical charge arcs from the metal band, blasting everyone back a few feet. Taking lots of damage, the party divide up their healing potions and imbibe. Searching the resting place, they indeed find treasure. The subsequent sarcophagus again dealt them a fierce shock. Getting tired of being shocked, Sebastian asks, “What if we insulate our hands with some sort of cloth?” – a few minutes later – the lid slides off, even though they heard the click. Each coffin yielded treasure, magical and monetary.

Exhausting all spells, and healing potions, Gwan, being touched in the head, decides to explore the final unchecked tomb. It is the largest sarcophagus, and the most ornate. Getting on his knees and brushing the dust off the name, he makes out a name. The first name was not readable but the letters “arlis” was easy to read. Gwan continues to dust off the stone looking for more clue. A ghastly presence is felt – followed by a ghostly being rising directly through the cover of the tomb.

“Who are you?!? This is my place. This is my family’s place. You are not a Starlis. You do not belong. Trespasser.”, as a bony looking finger is raised and pointed over the party.

“Who are you? My name is Sebastian – we intend you no harm”, asks Sebastian.

“I haven’t spoken to living soul in so many generations. I am the 15th of the house of Starlis. Mauta is the name given to me…”

“We are not trespassers. We are trying to stop an undead invasion. We are trying to help….” Morgane gasps out between waves of fear at seeing this specter.

“You are the first living being I have felt in more than 500 years. You are robbers! I was buried with my shield. It has protected me for so long. Where is it?” as he points to an indention where something rested on the sarcophagus’ top. “You are grave robbers. Give it back to me!!!!”, Mauta’s ghostly voice echoes, and begins to scream. As the scream gets louder and louder, the ghostly body starts to look more solid. Flesh seemly starts to grow on this ghastly body.

Fleeing for their lives, the party runs out of the tomb as quickly as possible.

“Get to the horses and ride!” someone screams during the exodus.

“Zombies!!!”, someone yells.

“Careful! They are everywhere!!!”, another yells.

A sicking scream echo off the hills. Peering over shoulders, galloping at full speed, the party sees Bork pulled off his horse by the pack of undead . Even more disgusting is the silence that quickly follows. Knowing that Bork is gone, the party decides the should find a safe place to camp. Taking turns at watch a few hours of restless sleep is acquired.

Hoping to find the body of their comrade to give him a proper burial (and prevent him from rising as undead), a brisk ride brings them back to the sad scene. The body of Bork is partially chewed on, being loaded onto a sled. The sled carried two large glass vessels with a dark red thick liquid.

A plan is laid out, and executed. After the dust settles, all the undead, plus Bork are burned to ash. Not wanting to tangle with Mauta Starlis, ghost or not, they ride back to tell Godwinn what they found.

Treasures found:

  • Gems/Gold/Jewelry: 1727 gold (if sold)
  • A small wooden figurine of a horse (magical)
  • Chainmail +1
  • Mace +1, +2 vs Giants (named “Giantsbane”)
  • 17 +1 arrows
  • Potion of Healing
  • Mage: Scroll of Stoneskin
  • Any: Protection from lycanthropes
  • Cleric: Scroll of [Remove Fear, Speak with Animals]
  • Mage: Scroll of [sleep, protection from evil]
  • Cleric: Scroll of [Protection from Evil, Sleep]
  • Cleric: Scroll of [Bless, Remove Curse]
  • Small Map
  • Bronze Ring (magical, unknown)
  • Recipe book with unreadable symbols/codes