Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pahvelorn - Tragedy and Plunder



“If it lives underground in an undead infested catacomb and can see in the dark – doesn’t matter how human it looks, it’s evil, and it’s going to try to eat you.”  - The Wisdom of Beni Profane

Ginny Bo - maniac torchbearer
Beni Profane, the rat catcher, archer, killer and would be smuggler from Zorphath has grown in skill and power since his first tentative steps down the path of delving into ancient a haunted ruins.  He's grown in wealth to but it just doesn't stick to his fingers.

After having departed Zorphath and the Pits of Pahvelorn due to a string of companion deaths, close calls and returning bruised and shaken without plunder, he and his band, the self-styled "Order of Gavin" headed North to the white fortress city of Illum Zugot, home of the purportedly wise and undoubtedly arrogant "Priest King".  It's unclear how effective the Priest King is as a ruler, his hatred of the Necromancer lord to the South and his piety apparently overwhelming his common sense at either clearing the undead filled barrows which pock his domain or the addressing the battalion of demonic infantry now infesting the tombs of the patriarchs he holds dear.


Upon investigating one of these barrows, a cactcomb carved into the side of a cliff and holding the bones of various men holy to the “Vanished Empire” the party came away with a good deal of loot in the form of gems and grave goods, but discovered both undead infestations and a legion of otherworldy “demon” invaders supplying a cult of savage humans within the necropolis.  The situation left Beni wondering more deeply about the holiness of this Imperial faith, which despite the miraculous powers of his companion clerics allowed the tombs of its most venerated dead to become infested with the undead.  The tormented corpses of Orcus worshippers were one thing to find in a cursed barrow, but when the bones of monks and priests leap out of their niches under the statutes of saints one has to wonder about the potency of a faith.

Beni sat out the next expedition on religious grounds, drinking and catching rats to honor his rat goddess, the Mother of Thousands, with his orphan apprentice Donkeyteeth.  His companions could have used them, as when they returned Druna the veteran warriors was dead, along with the orphan sorcerer Genk, and some other new henchman.  Tarvis the Cleric was badly singed, as was the rest of the party, and while they carried a great deal of wealth it was unclear if it had been worth the cost. The scars on you Eryaria weren’t going to do her any favors if she ever turned from the path of demon worship and necromancy, and the loss of his fellow orphan took some of joy out of Donkeyteeth when he realized the deadly seriousness of tomb robbing.

Bolstered by the recruitment of an earnest young missionary who looked like a brute and brought two ratling converts with him, the next expedition departed for the cliff face barrow.  The party proceeded cautiously, with Beni using his stealth, razor edged sense and a ten foot pole to lead the way down a flight of stairs beyond where the band had suffered greatly in a battle with cave savages and demon foot soldiers.

The New Guy
Stealth was a good tactic, as beyond the stairs a door was cracked and Beni heard the guttural debased maundering of a pack of demon worshiping cave brutes.  Ushering the rest of the party close, a plan was concocted to firebomb the brutes, slam the door and massacre any who escaped with arrows and a few hidden daggers in the dark.  The plan fell apart when after a successful firebombing, Tarvis and his henchmen Darullin (who had been with the band longer than anyone else and changed from farm boy to hardened warrior) refused to leave and decided to fight the remaining, burning savages without aid.  Eryaria slammed the door, but despite Darullin receiving a set of burns from a fanatical savage who embraced him while on fire the cleric and warrior proved that once again they were true masters of slaughter, and dispatched the entire mob of hulking fur clad brutes with ease.

While looting the smoldering chamber the new recruit failed to spot three demonic foot soldiers creeping down the stairs. In the ensuing battle, Eryaria’s new torchbearer, an octogenarian named Ginny Bo proved himself brave to the point of foolhardiness.  It’s hard to fault a man that, unarmored attempts to punch out a demonic legionary, so when Ginny was grabbed by the demon as he futilely flailed at it and carried off, the lightly armored Beni and Donkeyteeth pursued and rescued him with a few well-placed thrusts.

The delve continued, with Ginny Bo earning himself a demonic longsword and helmet due to his suicidal bravery.  The brief danger of a flaming barricade of furniture was avoided and the savages behind it ensorcelled as the band of plunderers proceeded, determined not to make the mistakes of the time before.

After confrontation with an elderly cave savage, who lacked the glowing eyes of his demon worshipping companions and was willing to talk once bludgeoned into submission, Beni learned a lesson about compassion and the party gained a petulant informant.  Beni offered him 100GP and stole his magical armor, but the party gained a map and knowledge about where the savages leaders and treasure was before having to cosh the wailing lunatic into unconsciousness.

An assault on the barricaded cave savage worshippers proved successful – the lighting bolts and javelins of the defenders no match for the party’s Orcus cursed magical death arrows, sleep spells and Ginny Bo’s wild charges soon the band of savages and a demon legionary lay dead amongst perfumed divans and other sybaritic surroundings.  The only casualty was Eryaria, who was blinded by a magical light one of the demon legionaries bespelled her eyes with.  The sorceress was concealed behind several couches and left with the ratlings to help her as the rest of the adventurers, crazed with gold lust from the wealth of the worship chamber, marched on.

After dashing through a short hall, the party encountered a summoning in mid ritual.  Beni’s death arrow (only 5 of the magical arrows remain) taking the demonic chanter in the chest and sending ritual disrupting chunks of the demon ricocheting around the chamber started another furious assault.  The party continued to fight well with Ginny Bo and Fitzwalter the mercenary dispatching a pair of savages while Tarvis and Darullin slashed a demonic brute wielding a magical gauntlet, and slowly forced the beast back bleeding from numerous wounds.

Then things went wrong, and a pack of seven savages charged the rear rank of the party, having crept past the blinded sorceress, and brutally spitted Donkeyteeth and Beni on their spears, even as Treacle the dog tore out one savages throat.  Whiel Donkeyteeth’s young life drain quickly into the tomb’s stone floor, Beni struggled on, twisting away from spears and slashing wildly.  When the melee was over Beni and Treacle had survived long enough for the party’s front line to dispatch the demon legionary and charge into the four remaining cave brutes as they pinned a snarling, saber slashing Beni against the wall with their spears.  The only other loss was Tarvis’s often ignored pitbull, which died with it’s teeth in a savage’s throat, but despite its long membership in the party lacked the killer instinct of Treacle.

Saddened by the death of the second orphan, but loaded down with treasure the party returned to Illum Zugot where Beni tossed the evil old savage in a ditch, loaded down with a bag of 100 gold pieces before secretly laying Donkeyteeth to rest following the rituals of their shared rat deity.

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