In the Shadow of Balaur Mormant, session 5.
A NIGHTWATCH campaign.
Previously on ‘The Shadow of Balaur Mormant’…
Our heroes returned from a zombie-infested mountainside village with evidence of supernatural malfeasance and untoward necromantic practices. While the provincial governor was already convinced of the unnatural threat, the captain of the garrison remained skeptical and suspicious. One reanimated blacksmith and a live key-witness were proof enough, and gave our heroes sufficient leverage to request reinforcements for an expedition to the peak of Balaur Mormant – the apparent source of the recent troubles.
AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR …
Three of the seven regular had scheduling problems, so it was down to Chris’ Barbarian, Dillon’s Alchemist, Matt’s Mancer, and Tom’s Tracker to tackle this session’s challenges.
Unfortunately, ethnic tensions in the capital had boiled over in the party’s absence and while our heroes aided in the capture of a separatist leader, (see the previous session) there were still injured civilians to tend to, fires to put out, and pockets of rioters and looters to deal with.
Our heroes next concern was to locate a trapper and woodsman named Vikrir, the only trustworthy local who could guide them to the top of the mountain. Last seen heading toward the old abbey of St. Drogo, (patron saint of unattractive people. And coffee shops) the reduced party grabbed two garrison soldiers and headed into the ruins.
DOWN INTO THE DARK WE GO
On reaching the site, it was simple enough for the party to follow the fresh tracks to a narrow passage at the rear of the main building where a set of steep stone stairs led down to the crypt of St. Drogo.
“Let the new guys go first.”
A CRYPT CONCIERGE?
Thick darkness, low ceilings, the smell of damp stone, stale air, and rust. Boot prints on the dusty flagstones lead further into the crypt. The perfect place for a bad death.
Torches blaze to light. Swords are drawn, lanterns are lit. In the antechamber, a polished obsidian mirror shimmers and a skeletal figure emerges clutching a smoking candelabra. A voice speaks, coming as if from a great distance. “Turn back, foolish adventurers. Peril and death are the only certainty waiting in these chambers. No mortal treasure is worth your life.”
The apparition developed a French accent at some point in this exchange, which it seemed to detract from the gravity of the situation. Kinda hard to take spectral warnings seriously when they’re delivered by Pepe LePew.
AN ABUNDANCE OF ARACHNIDS
I’m informed the proper collective noun is a clutter or cluster of spiders. Those words feel insufficient, given the increasing size of these things. A complication, a contortion, a crush might be more accurate. Whatever it is, there were a lot of them. And they only got bigger.
Dropping from the ceiling, scuttling on the walls, emerging from cracks in the floor, they were everywhere. Our heroes suffered a number of bites and gashes as they moved from room to room, but it was the two garrison soldiers who took the brunt of the spider attacks. Both of them went down and needed to be revived by the main characters. And given that the party is moving into the final arc of this adventure – and there are no shops on the way up the mountain – those health potions are going to be increasingly valuable.
THE INNER CHAMBER
Wouldn’t you know it the boot prints went all the way to the forth and final room. (it looks like the rest of Vikrir’s party was killed after reading the forbidden text left open on the bronze claw stand – 50 Shades of Death)
Our heroes prodded the still groggy soldiers into the last chamber and followed at the ready. (Don’t look at me that way – that’s what meat shields are for.) Crossing the threshold triggered a pair of phantoms and one last spider champion. (or at least a major arachnid influencer) A vulgar brawl ensued.
The phantoms were dispatched quickly. The big spider was a tenacious bastard. Chris’ barbarian can absorb and deliver a load of punishment as was evidenced in the battles in the other two rooms, but it was Dillon’s Alchemist and Tom’s Tracker who finally took down the huge creature.
When it was all over, the crypt walls were spattered with ectoplasm and spider guts. Vikrir was found webbed and clinging to life in one corner. A hasty search revealed some vital supplies and an artifact, Selune’s Breath, that can not only revive a downed character, but restore them to full health. I have a sense that will come in handy in the near future.
Vikrir will recover and has agreed to guide the party to the summit. Our heroes decide to bind their injuries and sharpen their weapons as they wait for two more garrison soldiers. Meanwhile, a mysterious storm has settled on the mountain peaks. While these four intrepid Nightwatch hunters hope their other companions will rejoin them, they know they must see this to the end.
Who knows what awaits them at the top of Balaur Mormant?