Part Three of ‘In the Shadow of Balaur Mormant’
A NIGHTWATCH campaign.
Previously on ‘ The Shadow of Balaur Mormant’…
Three of the six regular players were absent, so our heroes split the party. Those in attendance investigated reports of a missing farmhand and slaughtered livestock at a nearby farm, then trekked to a logging camp where strange creatures had been sighted. You can read about it HERE.
Off-screen, it was decided the other three characters would pursue leads regarding a local named Sando Prede. He is a merchant whose trade caravans travel the mountain pass between the rival kingdoms of Veradna and Szek, and allegedly a witness to the brutal ambush of a military patrol.
I’m pleased to say both sections of the party accomplished their tasks relatively unscathed.
The full group finally reconvened last Saturday to compare notes. It was discovered that Mssr. Prede was overdue for his usual check-in with the provincial commander and garrison commander. While the governor is fully convinced supernatural forces are behind the recent attacks, the garrison commander remains skeptical and refused to give the party any more help. (Their last guide – a young local and fresh recruit – was killed by a poison arrow before even they left the city. Not a good first impression, eh?)
Off to Kopsou
Sando Prede’s home is in Kopsou, a small village in the foothills on the Veradnan side of the mountains. If he had indeed returned, that’s where he’d likely be. That meant it was time for another hike.
After selling a Dire Wolf pelt for some extra silver, the party hired a sell sword at the local tavern. Nothing like having a
meat shield erm… little extra muscle around in case things got feisty again. L’il Kev as he’s known in Kistilek, was pleased at the chance to earn some extra coin. He spent the entire journey either telling about his stint in the garrison troop, or bragging about his younger brother who had just signed up the previous week. (oops. awkward…)
It’s quiet – too quiet.
The party reached Kopsou early afternoon and was unnerved to hear… nothing. No children laughing, no hearth fires crackling, no mills grinding, no animals lowing in the fields. Not even bird song.
The party entered the village and proceeded down the central thoroughfare, noting several points of interest. They had just approached the first – a largish house with its front door swaying slowly in the wind – when people finally appeared: sickly pale and shambling, carnivorous as well as cadaverous.
“Now we know why it’s so quiet.”
Forlorn groans filled the air, echoed among the huts and houses of Kopsou as the reanimated villagers swarmed the party. Our heroes circle up and prepare for a fight.
“Blood is really warm. It’s like drinking hot chocolate but with more screaming.”
And it’s on: Zombies go down. Zombies get back up. Zombies just keep coming. Shamblers, shufflers, exploding pus-bags… The group slowly fights their way down the main street toward the headman’s house. Nearly overwhelmed several times, Hannah’s Alchemist clears out those stubborn revenants with well-placed grenadoes. (Game MVP) Between explosives and Occasional Tom’s Tracker methodically placed head-shots, our beleaguered pact of hunters arrives at their destination.
The headman’s head…
Is missing. (his body is face down, in the dirt) But there are four figures outside his house. Two are battering down the front door while a rather Goth-looking spell-slinger is caught in the act of re-animating the village blacksmith. The party approaches. The two large monstrosities stop their pounding and turn to face our heroes.
A brutal fight ensues: the NIC (necromancer-in-training) orders the creatures to charge, then sends gouts of filthy green flames from his hands. Matt’s Mancer counters with Arcane Blast against a gross blubbery thing with a fanged maw. Chris’ Blade gets into a slugfest with the revenant champion while Jasmine’s Tracker is sniping the flank. The rest of the party – Tom, Hannah, Seamus, and L’il Kev – hold the rear against the last wave of hungry, hungry peasants. Our heroes take wounds. The undead keep coming.
Up the Ante
Combat in recent games has been much more difficult. Gone are the days when our heroes could stroll through a mob of D6 evil minions like they were drop-kicking puppies. Adding monster traits to flavor even regular enemies ups the lethality and ratchets up the challenge several notches.
Our heroes fended off the necromantic onslaught carrying wounds, sucking down healing potions, and using up the last of their explosives. Cold, black ichor mingled with warm crimson blood in the dirt of Kopsou’s street. Our heroes hacked, clawed, and head-butted their way to victory to finally stand bruised and panting over the bodies of their malevolent foes.
Fortunately for our heroes, a wounded Sando Prede had barricaded himself in the headman’s house. He provided them with critical information (and an unknown magical artifact) before falling unconscious from his wounds. The party also decided they’d had enough of the garrison commander’s skepticism and bundled up some hard evidence. (The reanimated blacksmith was flash-frozen by the Frost Rune on the barbarian’s battle axe.)
Time to head back to Kistilek. Our heroes have proof of unnatural threats, a lead for the next step in the investigation but are in dire need of resupply and reinforcements. Night comes swiftly in these mountains.
Will they make it down safely? Will they convince the garrison commander? Who or what evil force is behind these attacks? Is the Szek Empire involved? What will happen in the next session of In the shadow of Balaur Mormant?
That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by. Have a good weekend.