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Håvard and a few other have expressed interest in my current GURPS 4e campaign. Well having spent a few days typing up my notes, I'm in a position to post some blogs.
Against the Darkness - a Gurps Campaign Blogby Gareth Larter
21st Kaldmont 1000AC - 25th Kaldmont 1000AC
The party consists of:
- Tereshka - female Traladaran warrior with Precognition
- Soffia Dar Terenya - female Darine mage
- Talan Brae - male Traladaran megilar
- Klemwocket - male Gnomish mage
- Kalum - male albino Traladaran ranger
The party is formed as they each meet on the Duke's Road heading north from Penhaligon. Tereshka's gift is made apparent when a mischievous Gypsy spikes her stew with some strange mushrooms, leading to a full-blown hallucination-***-vision.
The following morning, Tereshka drives the party to make haste up the Duke's Road to find a stone-built church with a shingle roof. They stop at inns and taverns along the way, speaking to travellers and Darine alike to find out about the road conditions ahead.
A pair of Darine brothers tell Soffia that her reckoning of time has gone awry; that she and her friends only had five days until the dark of the moon. Rumours abound that the Goblins and Orqu have become bolder in their raids, and that people have been disappearing. Amongst their number is believed to be a Roadwarden, one Marius by name.
To judge by the tone of the conversation, Marius is ill-liked as he is known to be Thyatian and bigoted against all those who are not Thyatian. Yet he provides a valuable service and people are prepared to overlook the somewhat abrasive aspects of the man for such like.
Stopping overnight in the village of Marnockham, Soffia arranges to leave her Darine wagon in a local barn, reasoning that the party would make better time without it.
25th Kaldmont 1000AC - 26th Kaldmont 1000AC
The party are rushing northwards to find the village that Tereshka believes will be attacked on the night of the dark of the moon.
As they approach the village of Whigbottom, the horses become skittish. The party looks to Talan for direction. He quickly signals for Kalum to scout ahead.
It takes mere moments for Kalum to discover a trio of wolves, fighting over humanoid remains. A brief fight ensues, in which Klemwocket demonstrates that whilst he knows how to create fireballs, he doesn't necessarily know how to aim them.
Upon investigation, they discover the mangled body of a Roadwarden and surmise from information overheard in taverns along the way, that it must be that of Marius. They collect the body and some wolf pelts, and make their way to the village of Whigbottom.
26th Kaldmont 1000AC
Having arrived the previous evening with Marius' body, the party spoke to the village elder. On seeing the body, he sent a man north to the Duke's Keep to alert the Roadwardens. The party are offered lodging in a cow barn on the edges of the village. Whilst trying to sleep, the party are aware that there is a group of villagers watching them. Talan sleeps in the entranceway of the barn.
The following morning, there is a basket of bacon and eggs waiting for them, and a message from Old Cedric to say that they would have to wait for the Roadwardens to arrive and verify their stories. So they're all left cooling their heels. Klemwocket goes looking for a new staff, and is able to get the blacksmith to make steel endcaps for it. Everywhere the heroes go, they are shadowed by one or more stout lads armed with cudgels.
Around noon, as the heroes are eating, a company of riders enter the village. Talan and Tereshka recognise the riders at the head of the company. Captains Hawk and Fisher are a husband and wife team who have risen through the ranks. They're reputed to be hard as nails but scrupulously fair. The heroes are questioned separately and given the chance to explain how they came across Marius. They're also invited to make their own observations about the body.
The heroes work out that Marius was murdered before the wolves had their way with him, seeing as how his throat was viciously cut across and there were two sets of bite-marks. The Roadwardens insist on being shown where the body was found, and the party has no choice but to lead them there. Kalum and Tereshka cast around for tracks, searching further than they did the previous day whilst Klem and Soffia examine the grove.
The party, in conjunction with the Roadwardens, establish that Marius had been attacked by a different pack of wolves. Intelligent creatures that were being used as mounts. The outlines and tracks of goblin boots are found, leading to the conclusion that Marius stumbled on something important and was slain for it.
After several minutes of whispered discussions with Fisher, Hawk released Klem, Kalum and Tereshka to go on their way. Talan, as a reserve member of the Legions, is drafted to assist the Roadwardens whilst Soffia is asked to lend her medical talents to the investigation. After a series of hurried fare-thee-wells, the remaining trio ride back to Whigbottom where an apologetic Cedric offers them the hospitality of the barn for the night.
27th Kaldmont 1000AC
That morning, the heroes awakened to find Cedric sitting outside the barn with another basket of bacon, eggs and fresh mushrooms. Once again, he was apologetic but was adamant that he'd done the right thing in keeping the party in Whigbottom. After a quick repast, the party mounted their horses and turned northwards once more.
The journey up the Duke's Road was exceedingly dull, to say the least. The monotony of the road was broken only by the occasional rain squall and the breaks for food and rest. By early evening, the party arrived in the main square of the village of Stallanford. Tereshka looks around as the party makes its way to the "Hungry Halfling" tavern, just off the Duke's Road.
Our heroes took lodgings in the tavern, and began inquiring about the local priest. They learn that he is one Father Aralic, and that he has two acolytes who assist him in the church. No-one knows where he is at the moment but they believe that he is making his preparations for the Night of Fire and Beast's Day.
Tereshka goes for a quick wander around the church, and is able to determine that there is a set of double doors which lead into the church proper, and a small locked door on one side which appears to open into a lean-to on the side of the church, probably Aralic's sleeping quarters.
The acolytes make numerous appearances throughout the rest of the evening, fetching and carrying pieces of priestly paraphernalia to and fro. Tereshka questions them but isn't able to get a definitive answer about Aralic's location. She settles down on a bench outside the tavern to keep watch for him.
In her mind, she is comparing the images from her vision with the layout of the village before her. There are a number of similarities but there are also significant differences. The well doesn't appear to be in the right place, and the main door of the church appears to open the wrong way.
Klemwocket and Kalum leave Tereshka to her vigil and circulate with the townsfolk. There are a number of large bonfires that have been built around the south and west of the town, built to celebrate the Night of Fire in the traditional Traladaran style. Meric Butterball, the landlord of the "Hungry Halfling", invites the heroes to join him and his family.
Although Tereshka declines the invitation, choosing to maintain her watch, the others join the Hin family around one of the larger fires. As the sun sets behind the mountains of Highforge, the fires are lit one by one. Ale and food is brought out and the merriment begins. Food and ale are taken to Tereshka, but a certain gnome finds himself enjoying the ale and company of a small band of gnomes who have come south from Darokin.
Kalum wanders from fire to fire, searching for Aralic. Having been to each fire in turn, he decides to head back to the village square and join Tereshka. The pair of them talk quietly about their respective mercenary backgrounds, to discover that they have each worked for the same companies albeit without actually crossing paths.
Eventually the pair drifted into silence, and from there into sleep. Tereshka woke suddenly to find herself looking down on her sleeping form. She looked around in alarm, and began yelling for help at the top of her voice. Her voice appeared to have a strange echoing quality to it. Not getting any response, she decided to walk around the church, looking for anyone who might be able to help.
She arrived at the door to the sacristy just as Alaric returned home. She attempted to attract his attention but he seemed to look straight through her.
28th Kaldmont 1000AC
The party is awakened in the early hours of the morning by cries of alarm. The church is burning and Father Aralic is missing. There are a couple of dead bodies in the main square of Stallenford. One, next to the well, is the body of one of Aralic's acolytes whilst the other, laying on the steps of the church, is the body of a young man.
The remaining acolytes plead with the party to go rescue Aralic who has been kidnapped by the marauding Orqu for some nefarious reason. They introduce them to a old tracker called Janner. His son is the body on the steps. Janner is scornful of the villagers, claiming that they are following a false trail and he can lead them to the right place.
The three heroes quickly pack a few belongings, leaving the rest in the care of Master Meric Butterball and head off into the foothills. True to his word, Janner shows them just how skilful the Orcs have been and trail signs they happened to leave behind. After much hard walking, the heroes crest a small hill and sight a cave. Janner points to the cave and says "There they are, kids. If I were 20 years younger, I'd be fighting by your sides. As it is, I ask that you avenge my son and bring back Aralic".
1st Felmont 1000AC
When I get around to it.
In which the party make the first tentative steps into the Orqu caves, having left Janner to return to the village. They make good progress but are unable to find Aralic or the Orqu chief and his council. The episode ends with Klemwocket chipping away at a stalagmite.
1st Felmont 1000AC
When I get around to it.
In which the party continue their foray into the Orqu caves, and find the Orqu chief and his advisers before battle is joined. The party return to Stallenford, victorious and laden with riches, having released Aralic.
This journal covers some weeks of PBeM role-playing since we missed the first week of 2007 due to illness and family commitments.
1st Felmont 1000AC
GM & NPCs - Gareth Larter
Klemwocket (Gnome) - Richard Lancaster
Kalum (Traladaran Male) - Paul Irving
Elof (Denwarf) - Mark Cason
Markov (Traladaran Male) - Rob Devlin
It is Beasts Day, the day when all Traladarans celebrate the victory of Halav over the Beastmen (Thyatians will celebrate it simply because it's an excuse to party, not because they believe in it).
(Those of you with a modicum of education, will know that the Karameikan calendar denotes this as the 1st day of Felmont in the 1000th year After Crowning.)
As the day moves from afternoon to early evening, the Hungry Halfling tavern is doing a roaring trade.
A table by the hearth has been set aside for the three unlikely companions known to the villagers as the rescuers of the godar Alaric.
The first of this threesome is a Gnome. He is sat on a high stool, waving a mug around in one hand whilst talking animatedly to his friends.
The next is a tall, pale-skinned Traladaran male. He nurses a single mug of steaming tea whilst listening politely to the Gnome and occasionally replying. His green eyes seem restless, moving round the room with purpose.
The last is a stout but homely Traladaran lass with short hair. She speaks animatedly with her Gnomish friend but her eyes seem kind of distracted, as though listening to something else.
On the table between them, there are some items strewn across the table: a sword, a couple of daggers, a goblet. The gnome has an ornate bracelet in his other hand which he is admiring.
Close by, a solitary Denwarf is seated with his back to the wall, staring into a mug of ale as though looking for something.
In the vestry, the godar Alaric invites his guest Markov to join him for dinner at the Halfling. The young man, dressed in simple homespun robes with the symbol of the Church around his neck, accepts graciously and uses a sturdy staff to help himself to his feet. The pair leave the temple and begin walking across the village square towards the tavern.
"...and then the other engineer says 'That's funny, normally it just turns blue!" Klemwocket laughingly delivers the punch line to his companions, who being neither gnomes or engineers, have faint hope of understanding the humour involved.
Not that it phases Klemwocket though, he's having far too good a time to notice. Good food, good beer, and enough adulation from the locals that his ego has inflated to the point where if he took is heavy boots off, he might float away.
"Now take this bracelet," he continues after a quaff of ale. "It's quite pretty, but if it matched that ring I found we could sell it as a set and get far more for the pair. Perhaps enough to find a scholar to translate that damnable Orcish spellbook of mine. Truly Tereshka, he nod to the female warrior sitting opposite,
"You and Kalum got the best of the loot with your magic swords."
"Ho Alaric!" he hoists a mug aloft as the Godar enters the inn. "How are you feeling, young fellow? Come join us for a drink or several!"
(OOC : I can't remember how old the Godar is, but if he is actually older than Klemwocket, just assume Klem is making a humorous quip about the relative longevity of species)
As you display the bracelet to all and sundry your wrist is grabbed and a gruff voice in your ear says "Where did you get that bracelet?"
Turning you see that the dwarf who had been sitting alone at a table in the corner has come over and is studying the bracelet with a strange yearning.
Kalum shifts in his chair, uneasy in the crowded tavern. He takes a sip from the cup while he tries to work out the meaning to the joke that Klemwocket had just entertained them with. Finally he give up and says "So was it meant to turn blue or does that mean it wasn't working ?"
With that Kalum feels the Denwarf approach, and shifts to get a better look at the person approaching.
"We found it while we where rescuing Alaric friend, why do you know something about this bracelet?"
With that Kalum glances quickly over to Tereshka, noticing that even though she has had a fair bit to drink she has moved slightly from the table and he hand hovers close to the sword laying on the table.
He turns back to the Denwarf and continues "Please come take a seat, let me get you another Ale and please tell us what you know about this bracelet"
With that Kalum pulls up another chair to the table and waves orders another round of drinks for the others that are gathering around the table.
The Denwarf takes the seat and the ale, saying "Elof Ardheim is how I'm known and the bracelet looks like it was made by my sister. None of her work should be out in the world".
If anyone is watching his face they might notice a speck of moisture crawl about 1 cm before being engulfed by his beard.
"Klemwocket of the clan Tunneltrotter." Klem says, absently rubbing his wrist where the Denwarf grabbed him. He stares at the dwarf for a few seconds, the passes the bracelet across, figuring if the dwarf tries to grab it and run, he can crank off a spell before the bearded one makes the front door.
"Have a look. We found this in the lair of an Orcish animal trainer, or possibly one of his ferrets, I forget exactly where. We're going back there in a day or two, if you'd like to come along and earn a share of the booty. It'd be nice to talk to someone on my own level for a change," He grins at his companions and takes a gulp of ale. "Talking to small-noses all the time gives me a crick in my neck."
@Klemwocket: Your eyebrows rise at the name given to you by the Denwarf. That name is also a word in Furden. You eye the Denwarf speculatively as you mumble the word to yourself.
@Elof: You take the bracelet carefully and begin looking it over with a craftman's eye. It is a heavy and ornate bracelet, formed of a single, thick band of silver. Incised into the face of the band and inlaid with brushed gold wire, are runes of Furden. They spell out the message "Happy Coming of Age, Dalmund"
The rest of the design is well made with clean lines but to your discerning eyes, there are small mistakes where lines of filigree don't quite meet. You frown thoughtfully, for although the work looks like Karra's, it cannot be because she would never have made such mistakes, and indeed has not since she was an apprentice.
Then there's the name Dalmund. Try as you might, you cannot recall any youngling of that name that you and your sister were friends with.
Elof examines the bracelet closely and mutters to himself "Hmmm, Looks like Karra's work, almost, and who is Dalmund? I wonder..." and he falls silent for a bit and then says "Do you know anyone called Dalmund?"
"I know Dalmund" Kalum turns to the Denwarf, He takes another sip from his tea, "If you talking about Dalmund Harnsmith, the herbalist that lives just south of Penhaligon, but he has been good to me so if you have any ill thoughts about him i suggest you forget them."
Kalum realises that he said the last bit out load, and quickly adds, "So was that who you mean?"
Thinking about it, Dalmund Harnsmith is a Darokinian herbalist, that means he's human and therefore wouldn't speak Furden. From what Elof is saying, this bracelet was crafted for another, younger Denwarf.
From the bar behind you, you hear a shout. As you look up, you see that the innkeep is talking animatedly to a stout, ruddy-faced Denwarf at the bar, pointing him towards you lot.
The Denwarf looks you over and seems to make a decision. He limps over to your table, a misshapen foot a legacy of younger times and callused hands testify to skill at the forge.
"I be Dalmarek. Master Meric, he says that you was asking about Dalmund?"
"Aye, I was asking about someone by that name" Elof replies. "Greetings Dalmarek"
@All: Dalmarek nods to the Denwarf. He seats himself on a stool and gathers his thoughts.
"Dalmund, son o'Barmbur, o'the Stonehollow clan; 'e were named. A youngling, 'e was and all, not too far from 'is Maturity n'ither. Came through 'ere 'bout a season or so back."
"He were full o' spit'n'polish, and th'fire of 'venturing were in 'is eyes and 'is 'eart. 'E 'ad 'eard of the Orqu in't 'ills and wanted to try 'is mettle 'gainst 'em."
"He'd come ta see me 'cause 'is Gaffer were an old army pal o'mine."
Dalmarek pauses, turning the bracelet over in his gnarled, callused hands. With a heavy sigh, he continues:
"This bracelet were 'is prized possession. 'Is mother made it fo'im, and treasured it well, 'e did. They need to know what's 'appened, but methinks that Barmbur, son of Durek, and Dalia, daughter of Filia, wilt be most bereft ath' loss o' their son."
He looks at the bracelet, watching the glints of firelight that play across it's surface. After long moments, he looks up at Klemwocket, his eyes shining in the firelight.
"Will thou allow me to send this home to his family ???" he asks.
@Klemwocket: At the clan name, you receive a shock. The Stonehollow clan used to be your neighbours, they live in Highforge along with your people.
@Elof: You too, have heard the name of Stonehollow but in Rockhome, the name is synonymous with weird. Because they associate with Gnomes and Humans, they're considered to be a bit strange.
Kalum nods, "I don't see a problem with you taking the bracelet, and sending it to his parents. We are making our way back to the Orqu caves soon if you wish we could keep an eye out and see if we can work out what happened to him."
Elof: I'd take it as a kindness if I could come along - Orqu always need teaching that Denwarf should be left alone!
Klem sighs to himself and hands over the loot to Dalmarek, forcing a smile. "Of course, return it his kinsmen in Highforge. I would be pleased to aid the neighbours of my people."
@ALL: Dalmerak blows his nose before taking the bracelet. As he does so, you notice a glimmer of moisture next to his craggy Denwarf nose. He gently takes the bracelet from the gnome's finger and wraps it in a soft leather cloth (think a chamois leather), before stowing it in a pouch secured in his belt.
Dalmarek sighs as he wearily gets to his feet: "Ah'll be 'eading back to m'forge. Ah'll make sure tha' bracelet gets b'ck ta 'is Mother."
As the stocky Denwarf makes his way out of the inn, the low murmur of conversations seem to fill the inn as the four of you are left looking at one another. Kalum is seated with his back to the corner, his restless eyes looking around the dimly-lit common room of the inn.
Tereshka is sat to his left, her legs outstretched beside the table and her back against the wall. Klemwocket is seated on a chair to Kalum's right, a mug of ale in one hand and bright glittering eyes over a protuberant nose. Elof is seated on a stool opposite Kalum, eyes casting over a pile of assorted jewellery and weapons that lay on the table.
At about this moment, the door to the Inn opens and in steps the godar Alaric. He is accompanied by a young man, dressed in a brown homespun robe, cowl hooded over his eyes and carrying a gnarled iron-shod staff. The conversation level in the inn seems to falter somewhat until people realised that Alaric is making his way to your table.
"Aha, the noble adventurers. Might we join you ?? Markov, you take the stool whilst I find another chair. Master Butterball, two ales please!"
The young man named Markov nods with a slight smile. There is the noise of iron knocking on wood as the gnarled staff strikes the stool recently vacated by Dalmarek. As he seat himself, Aralic snags a chair from a nearby table, and a sudden draft causes the firelight to grow brighter, illuminating the shadows of Markov's cowl.
To your collective horror, you realise that Markov's eyes are sunken and withered. There is a scar running across and through both eyelids, the bridge of his nose and into the hairline above his right ear.
@Markov: Okay, you're in now ... get role-playing ...
1st Felmont 1000AC
During the previous night, the heroes Tereshka, Kalum and Klemwocket were sat talking and drinking with a new companion, a Denwarf calling himself Elof. They were joined by the godar Alaric who was accompanied by a young man dressed in the grey homespun robes of the godari. Although this man didn't say anything that the companions could hear, Alaric held conversation with him at various points during the night, and was heard to call him by the name of Markov.
Alaric was brimming with excitement for the rebuilding of the village church. There were many plans in place, and he kept talking about the time it would take to finish the work and the monies that he would have to raise from the tithes. Kalum and Tereshka looked guiltily at one another then at the small mound of coins and jewels that lay strewn on the table between the companions.
After enduring the godar's enthusiasm for as long as they could, Tereshka apportioned the mound on coins and jewels into five shares. She pushed a single share at Alaric, saying for him to take it with their compliments. Kalum silenced Klemwocket's objections with a sharp glare.
For a moment, the godar stared at the pile in shock, his mouth working in silence. Markov was seen to be grinning broadly in the shadows of his hood. All too soon, Alaric regained his voice and he soon began to shower praise and thanks on the group, thanking them for their wondrous generosity. He and Markov gathered up the coins and jewels in a spare sack, and made their way back to the vestry (which had happened to survive the fire without sustaining so much damage that it needed little more than a few repairs).
Alaric speaks to the heroes before he departs, telling them about the grinding and scraping sounds; the voice speaking in Orqu to the chief; the fear of the Orqu; the feeling of darkness and evil in that room; and the Orqu reactions when it went away. He asks them to investigate.
The companions looked at each other in silence across the remainder of their treasure. One by one, they nodded to show that they would return to the Orqu caves on the morning. With little more to be said, they swept the remaining coins into the first of two chests that they had brought out of the caves and the jewels and other items into the second.
The chests were placed into the safe-keeping of Master Butterball, and the companions made their separate ways to bed and a restful night's sleep.
2nd Felmont 1000AC
Our brave heroes rose early the next morning and were treated to a magnificent breakfast feast, courtesy of Mistress Butterball. There were fried mushrooms, bacon, eggs, fresh bread, honey, milk and kaff. Suitably fuelled, the heroes donned their armour, checked their weapons and headed back to the Orqu caves in the Wufwolde hills several miles north-east of the village.
As they approached the caves, Kalum halted the party whilst he examined the ground around the entrance.
"There are footprints here", he said, "no boots but various sizes of bare feet moving away from the caves. Maybe twenty or thirty beings."
The heroes looked at one another, wondering aloud who or what was responsible for the tracks.
"Perhaps it was the females and younglings" said Klemwocket.
Remembering that Kalum had found the Orqu females and younglings near the Chieftain's throne room; rather than slaughter them out of hand, he had thrown them the keys and 'suggested' that they leave the area.
The heroes explore the throne room, and discover the secret door behind the throne as described by Alaric. Elof manages to pick the lock in the throne to open it, the throne drops about 4 inches before pivoting on a hinge at the top and swinging into a passage. Beneath the throne is a stairwell that leads down and into the east.
After following the stairs and a short corridor, the party find a large room with egress to north, south and east. Elof becomes aware of tremors in the stone and the party retreat into the corridor. Two Red Worms erupt from the floor and begin to maul them. The venom causes much pain and injury, and the party are sore-pressed but emerge victorious.
Fearing that they were too weak to continue; they retreat to the throne room. They find the chieftain's keys which appear to have been discarded by the Orqu females. Using the keys, they are able to close the throne, lock it behind them, and return to the village. Kalum is left in Alaric's care overnight whilst Elof takes the time to alter Tereshka's armour to fit her properly.
3rd Felmont 1000AC
The party set off again, heading for the Orqu caves. They reach the throne room and they spend some time examining it closely, in particular the mechanism for opening it from the stairwell. Once again, they make their cautious way down the stairs and into the room. The bodies of the Red Worms are gone, with little or no sign of a fight although there are still the boreholes in the floor.
Looking around, they elect to explore the northern passageway. After a short distance, they find a square room with a solid sandstone floor. In this room are six carved depressions, each large enough to take a human body and covered with a thick slab of granite. Any markings or runes have been eroded but there are patterns to the erosions.
At this point, a Carrion Crawler attacks. Klemwocket is unfortunate enough to be struck by a tentacle and paralysed, but his companions prevail.
Once Klem recovers, the party move back into the first room and head southwards. The passage opens into an L-shaped room with the leg of the L around to the left of the heroes. As they explore, a sallow-skinned, rag-clothed human emerges from behind a boulder.
Kalum begins to experience a strange headache as soon as he sees this human. Klem notices that something appears to be glowing under Kalum's armour. The creature (Ghoul) wails and begins to attack the party. Kalum finds that his movements are faster, surer and stronger somehow but doesn't dwell on this.
Once the ghoul is slain, the glow vanishes along with Kalum's headache. The heroes spread out and search the room; Elof locates what appears to be a concealed door near to where the ghoul emerged. The passage beyond appears to run southward alongside the eastern wall of this room.
The party move onwards, the passage leads them beyond the edge of the previous room and further into the gloom. It opens up in the corner of a dimly lit antechamber, where they spot two figures guarding a door in the far wall.
As soon as Kalum lays eyes on the figure, the glow starts up again and his headache returns. With a low moan, the figures turn and stumble forward to attack. During the combat, Elof finds his footing giving way as the covering of a pit trap falls away.
The fight is not long over when the far door opens. Through it, they see a tall, dark-haired man with cruel green eyes. He is dressed in blackened chain mail armour, overlaid with a white surcoat on which is embroidered a goat's skull with ram horns.
3rd Felmont 1000AC
The party are facing off against a tall, dark-haired man with cruel green eyes. He is dressed in blackened chain mail armour, overlaid with a white surcoat on which is embroidered a goat's skull with ram horns. (This is the symbol of Orcus, which Tereshka misidentifies as that of Thanatos.)
The heroes are hampered by the pit trap, which means that they cannot rush the man. He intones a Word of Power that causes Klem to fall to his knees and start losing his breakfast into the pit.
Meanwhile, Alaric is having grave concerns that the heroes may be out of their depth, and asks Markov to trail the party, ready to assist them if they have need. Markov agrees and Janner takes the young godar to the caves. Markov's divinely guided intuition leads them to the throne room where he opens the throne and leads Janner down to the tombs. At the bottom, there is a brief moment of hesitation before the godar follows the party's trail unerringly. He identifies the corpse of a ghoul in passing.
Tereshka and Elof begin attacking from each side of the pit, forcing the man back into the other room. Kalum follows them, his bow nocked and ready to fire; Klem retches violently into the pit.
Janner & Markov arrive just as the battle passes into the other room. Janner nocks an arrow to his box, moving to support Kalum. As he is moving to follow the party, Markov absently identifies the bodies as zombies. "Halt, demonolater" he yells at the man who smiles evilly and enigmatically.
With another Word of Power, the demonolater strikes Tereshka in the chest. A bilious green light passes through her armour and begins eating at her flesh (Rotting Touch). She bravely fights on, resisting the evil influence but is forced to drop out of combat as she begins to succumb.
Numerous arrow and weapon strikes hit the demonolater but each time there is a flash of black/red light. Klem warns that he has some kind of shielding dweomer active. The demonolater is causing much damage with his mace so Markov grapples his arms to try and make him an easy target. Unfortunately the tactic backfires by making Markov an easy target for another Word of Power from the demonolater. Black/red lightning courses through Markov as he grits his teeth in pain and anguish (2d6 Deathtouch).
It becomes a battle of attrition but the party emerges triumphant when they are able to surround the demonolater and bring him down. With his death, the dweomers expire to leave Klem shaking and Tereshka really weakened.
The room is large, twice as long as it is wide. This chamber is defiled and horrible. The bare walls are spattered with blood, and a pile of old bones rests by the south wall. On a large wooden table is the body of a warrior, half stripped of his chain mail. Blood drips onto the floor from the body.
Searching the body, yields a letter to a wizard named Kavorquian. The contents of this letter give rise to concern but they can do nothing yet.
The other door in the room leads to a small chamber that has been used as quarters for the demonolater, where he has been caching his treasures. Beside a rough pallet bed is a chest. Resting by that was a staff of ashwood. There were a couple of bags on a table, and a black cloak hanging on a peg by the far wall.
They locate a concealed door which leads them back into the previous room by way of a narrow passage. Initially there is trepidation when they hear footsteps in the room, only to realise that they belonged to one of their number.
Spreading out, they locate a final concealed door with stairs and passageways which bring them out on the surface, north-east and not too far from the cave mouth. They return to the village, tired, hungry and in pain and need of rest.
Elof makes an enquiry at the smithy, enquiring about the use of the forge to make some modifications to his hammer. He estimates that it would take him about a month to complete. The village smith is amenable but although he has three anvils, he only has the one furnace. A new furnace will take about a month to build.
As the party meet that night in the Inn, they celebrate their victory over the demonolater. But this celebration is marred when Tereshka hears an all too familiar voice saying "Celebrate for now, children, but the game is only just beginning."
As Klem raises his mug to his lips, he is aware of Kalum staring past him. Elof and Klem turn to see a figure in white with gold embroidery saluting them all with a mug of ale, before the crowds obscure it from view. When the crowds clear again, the mysterious figure is gone.