Campaign of Evil

Bloody Entrails, Burnt Flesh, and Brandy
Kenmei's Account

We awoke to the smell of bloody entrails, burnt flesh, and brandy. Is that a penis in the corner of the room? Oh yeah. It was all coming back to me. Brandy. Not at all like the rice wines from home. Zuzu was already awake, cleaning blood from her knives and sharpening them while humming a song I couldn't quite place. She is so beautiful. Always positive and outspoken, and apparently immune to brandy. I love her. I should tell her more often. After breakfast, Kiaran and I took some time to prepare some spells. We needed to focus. There were giant ants clearing the forest and we wanted to know why.

 

Back out in the village we noticed movement around a small, mundane church a short ways away and decide to check it out. There appeared to be several individuals working the grounds and someone inside. Perhaps we could learn something about these ants. Keeping our distance from the ants, we made our way to the church and went inside.

 

We were greeted by a priest who I thought may offer us some information about the ants. However, Belo's style of questioning quickly led things in another direction. A few misplaced blows to the priest sent him to floor where he lay in agony, continuing to forgive Belo for putting him there. Belo's brutal inaccuracy was something to behold! After some coercing, the priest agreed to take us to the ant queen. Belo let him up from the floor. As we followed the priest to the back door of the church, I loaded a bolt into my crossbow, knowing that he had companions outside and certain that he wasn't planning on taking us to the ant queen. I saw Zuzu ready her knives. I began to doubt we would get any information from the priest.

 

Upon reaching the door, the priest flung it open and yelled to his three companions, "Run!", at which point Zuzu put a knife through his back in a way that made me think of our Father. As the priest slumped over in the doorway, I pushed my way past him, hoping to cripple one of his fleeing companions with a bolt from the crossbow. Maybe they had useful information about the ants? Aim for the leg…take a breath…exhale…fire…and right through the heart. Damn. Brandy. By this point, the other two targets were far out of range and none of us were interested in giving chase.

 

Zuzu and I went out to investigate the grounds and the dead church member with a crossbow bolt in his back. When we got back to the church, Belo and Kiaran were doing arts and crafts with bits of the dead priest. Repainting the walls with his blood, basket weaving a container for his removed heart, that sort of thing, converting the church from a temple to Belo into a shrine to Landrew and Rajelai. Looking around inside the church, we noticed as strange sculpture of a man who appeared halfway trapped in the wall of the church, as if he was struggling to escape it. After a closer look, we realized that the sculpture was a mere illusion. Not entirely sure what to make of this, we decided to leave the church, and head towards the ant mound.

 

The path up to the mound was lined with hundreds of dead and decaying ant carcasses, which led us to believe that the ant colony as a whole was in poor health. Someone had the idea that we should cover ourselves with the stench of one of these decaying creatures as a disguise. Not a bad idea, unless you mix it with a hangover. Brandy. After bathing ourselves in with an ant-gland tincture, Zuzu proceeded to do one of the cutest things I'd seen since we were children. Removing the head of one of the ant carcasses, she fashioned it into a helmet, which she wore around, making clickety-clack noises and waiving her arms, claiming she was an ant. Stinking of dead ants and with Zuzu looking cute but ridiculous, we made our way to the opening of the ant mound.

 

Kiaran cast dancing lights down into the darkness of the opening, and after some debate about who would go in first, she herself was cast down into the hole by Belo with a swift kick in the backside. We all followed. Our first encounter in the mound was with two rather large ants who appeared stunned by Zuzu's disguise. No confrontation, just stunned. Venturing further down into the mound, we discovered a large room full of sick and dying ants. As we suspected, the colony was in poor health.

 

Further still into the mound, we met what could only be considered the ants' librarian. This ant spoke very broken common language, allowing us to communicate somewhat. The librarian appeared to be the caretaker of a massive library of scrolls, detailing, among other things, human history over centuries. I found this very intriguing and could've spent days pouring through these documents. However, we had other issues to deal with, like why the ants were clearing the forest. And we needed to deal with it soon, because the ants had started to seal us in the mound.

 

After some difficult "conversation" and frantic moments of panic in which I burned a bunch of ants alive, we were able to learn that the ants were fleeing from a "Sun Emperor" in the far east. To keep from being sealed alive in their mound, we convinced the ants that we could help by bringing them food and protection from the Sun Emperor if they would stop clearing the forest. As a final gesture of peace which ultimately led to our release from the mound, Kiaran was also able to heal hundreds of sick ants.

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An out of body experience
Session 46 and 47

Oh no, not again.

At least this time I’m not stuck in that crazy lady’s head.  Landrew was a real nut job.  Kinda nice floating around and flying about all free.  Reminds me of when we used to go up to the type of the gain silos back in Muncie to let the balloons free.  Whoa!  There’s, Landrew, again!  I need to steer clear of that one, seems like I almost got stuck last time.  Last time…. It’s happening again…. Maybe I should talk to Dr. Crane when I get back – if I get back.  Hmm, I can hear him now “Woody, you’ve suffered what we call a scitzographic break, we need to have you committed.  Now I have a colleague who …”  Yeah, I’ll keep my mouth shut and ride this one out or they’ll do to me just what they did to oldman Ross.  No way I’m letting anyone lock me in a padded room just to be filmed drawing ‘happy little trees’.

Oh! Here’s a group that’s leaving, I’ll just follow Mr. Stovepipe hat and see what happens.  Wow, these guys are flying too!  They seem a bit scrunched together, almost like they are in a giant net – only I don’t see anything.  What could that mean?  Ok, good – they are back on the ground.  Let’s see, we got us a Mr. Stovepipe hat and three young girls.  I’m not sure I like where this is going.   It seems that stove pipe is called Belo Cutting – obviously a butcher based on the wagon he brought with.  The three girls he travels with are Kiaran, Shizuka and Kenmei.  Kiaran seems to be the natural sort since she’s always checking out the plants.  Took me a minute, but it seems as though Shizuka and Kenmei are twins – the kind that don’t look the same.  Ok ok, let’s see – Kiaran, like her sister, look Asian.  She is a bit mysterious.  I haven’t figured her out yet, but one thing is for sure: she’s cooler than the other side of the pillow.  Sizuka on the other hand is always fidgeting with a knife – she seems to have a vicious streak hidden behind her doll face.  That girl’s darker than a bag of black cats.

I think I’ll just follow along and see where they go.  Right, stash the wagon, it isn’t going move to easy through here.  Next – walking down a path followed by suspicious words with a stranger – and we are running for no reason?  Suddenly – wolf fight!  Mr. Cutting pushes forward with his cleavers.  He’s a whirlwind of blades but can’t seem to land any blows.  The rest take pot shots from distance, a few trees may have lost their lives.  Next time I decide to fall off a ladder and have an out of body experience, I need to bring popcorn.

Back on the road for a while and we seem to stop for no reason – what gives?  Oh, I see them now – giant ants?  Oh man, Dr. Crane would have a field day with this one.  Maybe I should ask Mr. Clavin?  The party is edging around the ants toward a small village.  I’ll go in closer for a look see.

Ok, here’s the scene at the village.  The three girls go into this inn, Mr. Cutting stays outside and listens at the door.  I take a quick spin around and notice some murdered bodies dumped out back.  Uh-oh.  Not very chivalrous to lead them go inside without an escort.  I don’t have a good feeling about this.  Looking around the rest of the village – it’s pretty much abandoned.  A few other people but that’s about it.  Heading into the house – it seems my quick tour was longer than I thought.  By the time I entered the building I beheld a sight that will stick with me a while.  An old woman is slumped in the kitchen with a meat cleaver protruding from her forehead.  Two mean are blathering drunkenly.  One of which with his pants around his knees, he apparently had his, umm privates cut off?  And he still trying to neck with that girl Shizuka!  She’s not having it and pulls out a rope to strangle him!

Meanwhile, Belo and Kieran were asking him questions about ants.  In the end, Kieren cuts disembowels him like he was a doe – but then pulls all the entrails out, spreads them around, and starts reading them?  I take it back, I’m not talking to Mr. Clavin or anyone from the gang at Cheers about this!

They seem to be deciding to spend the night in that inn – there with the dead bodies, gasp.  Well, I’ve got no body at the moment, no need to sleep.  Guess I’ll do a bit of exploring.

<time passes>

Whoa!  What just happened?  I remember following the ant trail for a while by moonlight.  Next I’m telling Ms. Howe about butchering hogs and blending drinks, now I’m back here and it’s daylight?  It looks like the group I have been following has gone into the ant mound.  On my way there I notice that the people who were in the nearby church have disappeared.  There were some drawings on the walls in blood and a wicker basket with an actual heart in the middle on the alter…eeeewww.   I’ll investigate more later, for now I need to get to the mound.  It takes me minute to find which chamber they are in, but easy enough – they aren’t far off the entrance. 

There seems to be a negotiation of sorts happening between some important ant guy and the group.  The group is promising to bring the food and help with their enemies if they stop cutting down the forest.  Negotiations get tense for a moment, but ultimately the ants seem to agree to make drone worshipers for the gods Landrew and Rajalei …. Holy crap, those guys were gods?  This they would do in exchange for food and toppling a god-emperor to the east.  Seems reasonable?

I really should be writing this down.  I’m pretty sure Mr. Gains knows some Hollywood types.

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B02C02 a la Shizuka
The Hole In the Ground

We slept in a bit and woke refreshed despite the brandy. Stepping into the sunlight, we noticed some activity near the temple to Belo we had passed the day before. We decided to check it out and maybe learn more about these giant ants.

We crossed the ant trail without incident and walked into the church as we found the door unlocked. I won’t bore you with banal conversation we had with the kindly (boring) religious (boring) fat (boring) man (boring). But when Belo the Butcher had had enough of his platitudes, he punched the priest in the nose, kicked him in the gut, and ground his boot into his hand. The whiny priest just kept forgiving him, refusing to fight, and never giving us any information. He finally did agree to take us to the ant queen and help us negotiate with her, so we all stepped outside.

As soon as the door opened, the man started yelling to his three young companions “Run!” “Run!” “Run!” which was not part of the agreement (less boring), so I stabbed him from behind between his ribs (also less boring). He died. I harvested a thumbnail. That makes 17!

Then my exquisite sister Meimei shot an arrow straight through one of the running boys from almost ¼ mile away. She is so lethal it warms my heart.

We came back inside to quite the spectacle. Belo had removed the boring man’s heart and with much grunting and cursing was weaving a basket out of the dried and dying hop vines outside. He said this was to honor Landrew (who is also my patron goddess. I must have missed the basket weaving lesson!). Kiaran had covered her hands in the boring man’s blood and was making intricate hand prints all around the church to honor Rajelai. “Don’t you see the deer antlers and the faces of wolves?” she asked.

Ultimately, we decided we should advance up the ant mound. I should however mention a particularly strange work of art in the church. A blue-tinted sculpture (of the blue that was used in Pellan art centuries ago, but not since the church had been built say 80 years ago) of a man who was struggling to emerge from the sculpture … or trapped by it perhaps. The most astonishing thing was that the sculpture was merely an illusion, and one’s hand could pass through it. (Or one’s head, if you are Belo the Butcher and forget there was a wall behind it.)

As we walked toward the ant mound, we passed hundreds of dead ants in varying states of decay. Even the living ones a ways off were not of the best health. Belo and Kiaran decided to rehydrate the scent glands of the dead creatures to make a tincture to cover our bodies so we could go among the ants undetectd. A master of disguise, I joined in the planning and removed an ant head and began scooping out the dried matter inside with my fingernail scoop. I pricked holes in the eyes using my sewing needles and popped that head right over my own head. Having bathed in the cumin-scented ant secretion, I was confident I could pass as an insect myself. Too bad we didn’t have time to make helmets for the rest of the party.

At the top of the mound, we dithered about how to proceed. Belo, being our much elder, made the decision and booted Kiaran straight down the hole, shouting “Oopsie daisy!” as he jumped in after her. Meimei and I went right behind them and began traveling the hewn tunnels as dancing lights lit our way. (Thanks, Kiaran).

We took the first right down a corridor that smelled strongly of vinegar. Suddenly, two large ants blocked our way and began doing menacing ant stuff. I shoved the rest of my party aside and stood at the front, knowing I was well-disguised. I made some ant chirps and some arm waves and head bobbles. I must be a genius at ant speak, because the two guards were scared stiff. They froze and never moved again! But the scent of vinegar grew stronger and two more guards appeared, so we turned and went back to the main passageway.

We took our next right and entered a cathedral of a room littered with sick and dying ant bodies. Of no real interest to us, we turned and crossed the main passage and came to a tight tunnel that looked like a repository for stones. As soon as we had entered, ants began to seal the entrance, so we were trapped. Then a strange ant noise that resembled the common language kept saying things like “peace” and “contract.”

Now I am an excellent negotiator, and not scared to bend facts a bit to purchase acceptance and freedom. I quickly found that these ants were of a peaceful sort and had fled the Far East in terror from the “King. Sun. Emperor. Death.” They didn’t understand concepts like “assassins” or “gods” but we were able to convince them that we’d go to our “queen of queens” and bring them food and protection so they could stop clearing the sacred forest and go back the way they came. I said a lot of stuff that I had learned from the boring priest like “peace happiness love goodness” and they seemed to like it because they gave off a lavender scent then.

Now we promised a lot for the ants, and I’m guessing if we do it, then everyone would be happy, including Rajelai. In fact, in return for the murder of the Far East Terror Death Emperor, the ants agreed to breed a class of ant dedicated to the worship of Rajelai, which apparently is something gods like quite a bit.

Of course, all this contract making, and they still weren’t letting us go. But then Kieran healed quite a lot of the ants with her witchiness, and that gained us trust enough that the ants let us out.

P.S. Almost forgot that we were shown a massive library where these giant ants had been recording human history for centuries. In my homeland, there are stories of giant ants, but we had never thought them true, until now. Of course, in my homeland we have a saying, “Cumin is tasty because it is full of history and the threat of death.”

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B02C01 a la Shizuka
The Itchy Goddess

We were given our first mission, to find the “itch under my skin” for the nature god Raj. Our destination lay across the great bog, the one that seems endless, full of bloodsucking monsters and forbidden islands. But after listing all the dangers, the funny cute boy with the stiff face simply moved us across in a cold tangled mesh of transportation that took only an instant.

My companions (the incredibly intelligent young witch Kieran, the rather cranky old butcher guy named Belo, and my exquisite sister Kenmei) and I found ourselves in the woods pointed down a deer path. Belo had ostentatiously brought a pony cart, so we spent some time covering it with leaves and shit so it wouldn’t be stolen. I thought I’d cover myself as well, being a master of disguise, and I’m sure some of my party couldn’t even tell I was there half the time!

Only a short ways down the trail, Kieran’s huge feline Grim began caterwauling. Kieran said she was trying to warn us of something and peered into the dense forest exclaiming that there were large glowing green eyes. Well, I did what any sane person would do and hopped myself high up in a tree to get a better view, while Belo trudged right toward the menacing growls we now heard.

Turned out it was just three midsized wolves, so I climbed down and helped my party fight them off with a couple quick jabs of my daggers. Of course, they move really fast and have thicker hides than humans, so I wasn’t able to complete a kill. Meimei is such a talented wizard, cunningly magical and effectual in all she does … except for using the crossbow. I need to tell her she should practice more.

We still did some damage, and the wolves whimpered and fled, so we went back on the path and met a stranger. Funny, we never got his name. The rest of the party immediately treated him as an enemy—bristly and suspicious—but in my homeland we have a saying: “A hen lays eggs before you eat her,” so I thought he might be useful before we killed him. I played the lost foreigner and he told us of expanding devastation in the forest. At my prodding, he even offered to show it to us, so we began following him, and I noticed he must have some sort of lice as he kept patting his head.

Well Grim started howling again, and before we could turn to look, Kieran runs by us with the cat in her arms. Kenmei and I didn’t need much convincing: if it could rattle Kieran, we’d better run too. Belo seemed to agree, and we all went running for our lives, only stopping when our sides were splitting and we had to catch our breath. We outran the monster – Kieran said it was a frost giant! – but lost our guide along the way. Funny thing, there were circling birds in the sky that Kieran swore were golden dragons. Do I trust a genius naturalist or my own eyes? I’ll answer that when it matters.

We reached the devastation and found it was caused by a giant colony of ants cutting trees and clearing the area. Needing more information, we decided to check out the nearby town. Only when we had left the shelter of the woods did we realize that there were no signs of animal life or human life in the town except for one smoking chimney. So we made our way through the abandoned Hoveltown and knocked on the door of the pub (the one with the smoking chimney). A lot of drunken and disorderly shushing could be heard, so I sweetly said that my girlfriends and I were scared of the large bugs and wouldn’t they please let us in, to which we three girls were quickly let inside while Belo remained on watch outside.

Drinks were offered all around. Kieran went to help in the kitchen with this old bitter broad named Mazy. Meimei and I sidled up to the men – one young and dumber than a chicken, one old and hornier than a cock. Meimei has this cool trick of emptying a cup without having to drink it, and I’m pretty good at bluffing drinking myself, so the man with an actual brain at least thought we were getting tipsy. He invited us to the bedroom, and my sister and I knew it would be death, so we joined him.

Now this guy—the Lord of the Manor—was smelly and handsy and generally disgusting, but something in me was thinking he could be the source of all this giant bug business. I mean, everyone in the house was under some idiot spell, acting almost under compulsion. I’m sure it was a hex. We found dead bodies out back, so maybe the townsfolk had called the Lord of the Manor out on his ant-kingship and that’s why they were dead. I just say all this to explain how things got so far.

Basically, I had his little dick gripped in my hand. And he liked that. I sprung open my razor and held it to the base, and he liked that too. So I dug in a good finger’s width. I hate how much dicks bleed. He got a little upset then and grabbed my hair. Meimei dazed him a bit at that, but we were still questioning him asking about ants and whatnot and he really seemed to have no clue. So I cut the dick off. And it sprayed blood all over my face. I need to learn to dodge such messes in the future. He was whining and simpering over the lost member, so I garroted his head down to the spine. I knew he’d bleed out, so I counted that as a kill and started to pry off his thumbnail, as I do. I think he could still feel it though because his eyes darted around crazily. Bet that was a different threesome then he was expecting.

Belo had already thrown a clever at Mazy that landed perfectly in the middle of her skull. So, while I was garroting and prying, the rest of the party made good work of idiot Stephen. He was knicked up pretty bad from Belo’s knife tricks (that’s one love the hot-tempered old man and I have in common) and his breeches were on fire (though for some reason he kept fumbling with the laces and never could get them off). Mercifully, Kieran disemboweled him and tried to read his entrails … a smelly ordeal that really didn’t tell us anything but proves she is an interesting traveling companion.

We took some shots of peasant brandy and discussed our next move against the ants. Being the type of girl who likes to be liked, I said, “What if we try to get the ants on our side rather than going in like a band of superheroes against an impossible army?” They probably just thought I was drunk.

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Session 45: Conclusion of Book One

After a brief wait to lick their wounds the party blinked back into the city and were pleased to find no dragon, even when Drax tried to lure her in again.  Turning the corner they find themselves in a square sided with a cathedral and the Pilgrim's Arch.  Within the arch is a defensive line of dwarfs and humans all wearing a joined H and N.  the party deduces that this is the combined force of the towns Hauteveldt and Neuholm, the groups the party had attempted to put into conflict with their terrorist actions.

Suddenly Miska, riding a flaming warhorse, appears from the shadows.  Using diverse tactics, such as: assisted-suicide, child style, hiding bows under leaves, climbing buildings, smashing enemies, etc. the combined forces are vanguished.  Miska charges into the great circle beyond the arch with the rest of the party following behind.

There is a little pig farm in the middle of the circle, with a Spectral Guardian blocking the front door.  A cavalry force appears from behind the party.  The Spectral Guardian turns out not to move but rather emits damaging bursts of radiant light.  However, the little piggies quickly become angry boars.  There is much conflict, the most dangerous portion to the party being when Landrew punched the ground so hard she went in all the way up to her shoulder.  Drax was turned again but the party helpfully injured him.  The cavalry are frightened off.  The piggies are killed.  Rajelai enters the hut and starts touching the priest and the little girl who are inside.  They don't like it.  For some reason Guillaume does not enter, but climbs the roof, makes a hole in the thatch and assassinates the girl.  Victory!

However, just when Guillaume had become the present incarnation of Belo, Vecna appears out of the shadows and snatches Guillaume away into Vecna's own plane of existence.  However could he be rescued?

The great threat of Good has been thwarted.  The party has up to a year without being bothered by outside influences.  The castle, fighting pit, temple of The Rope etc. are all completed.  The Church of Belo is in disarray throughout the region, without leadership and damaged on all sides.  Most believers believe that this is a trial that must be met with self-denial, poverty, and humility.  The pellan Empire has inally found some peace with their new emperor, and the expelling if the hierarchy of the Church of Belo.

The Bog expands to cover several square miles, seamlessly joining with it's neighboring ancient terrors.  Rumors of a more terrible Wild Hunt spread everywhere.  Drax spends a fair amount of his time wandering in the area, trying to "find himself."  He seems conflicted and increasingly upset with Vecna who he believes has used them, stolen their comrade, and then conveniently disappeared.  Miska has returned to Manassar in the north and his Temple of Vecna.  All communication ceases.

For victory 5,000 xp and a long vacation.

I have some ideas to continue the campaign should people express some interest in the future.

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Session 44
DM viewpoint

The party starts in the middle of combat.  On one side are two paladins in hand-to-hand combat with Drax, who is raging.  A third paladin is drowning in the river.  Behind the paladins are four clerics of Belo.  The other side has a crowd of schoolgirls each carrying a pair of jugs.  The crowd of schoolgirls has been thinned by the application of the spell Spike Growth, which has also killed the host of Rajelai.  Guillaume is taking a bonus action to hide.  Landrew is across the river, armed with a special bow.

Drax does some severe damage to a paladin but does not kill him.  He is then turned by the clerics and runs off into the city.  The schoolgirls sprint towards Rajelai and dive onto the cobbles, smashing their jugs which have been filled with oil and holy water.  Immediately Raj ascends with her painbow, and casts Spike Growth again, killing all the schoolgirls.  Landrew shoots a number of arrows from his bow, and upon landing each produces a deafeningly loud obscene tirade.  After a while he fumbles the bow into the river below and goes in after it.  Guillaume shoots an arrow and hides as a bonus action, climbs the wall of a tenement, hides as a bonus action, starts kicking a hole in the roof, and hides as a bonus action.  Somehow he <s>manages to </s><s>steal</s>, <s>cons Rajelai out of,</s> is handed the painbow by Rajelai.  A rainbow is shot, Rajelai yoyos through the tenement causing terror, and a little waif is treated like a Capri Sun by Guillaume.  The remaining enemy retreats in good order.

Attracted, as instructed, by rainbows and screaming inappropriate suggestions thirteen members of the invading force arrive.  An ancient, drunk God of War is pulled out of a bag and pointed in the direction of a fortified bridge and told to attack it with the unfortunate thirteen.

A strange bird flies overhead.

The party, in fine evil form, uses the deaths of their loyal followers as a distraction while they attempt to stealthily infiltrate from the rear.  Drax decides to scream up into the heavens in order to attract the strange bird.  The strange bird turns out to be a huge dragon that wants the money the party stole from him.  Drax attempts to negotiate, then control the dragon.  The dragon breaths lightning and Drax is on the very cusp of death squared.  A sudden piece of inspiration by Guillaume results in an instant plan to distract the dragon and return Drax to the Bog for healing.  Rajelai distracts the dragon so well she is zorched by lightning too, but being incorporeal etc. she remains just mostly dead.  The plan works, Drax existence comes down to a flip of the coin, and this time the Gambling God is merciful.

The session ends with the party in full health, in The Bog, the return point being a street with a building crushed by a dragon landing on it.  By the calculations of the party they must be very close to their objective, a holy pig farm in the middle of a city.

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Session 43

Woody Harrelson was here.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/3f1dzF1MuNg

<iframe height=“360” src=“http://www.youtube.com/embed/3f1dzF1MuNg” width="640"></iframe>

So was Matthew McConaughey.

 

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Session 42
Beloman Part III

Dreams of Landrew.  A looping dream sequence.

…So as I was saying, I'm in dire need of some rest.  I suppose I could carry on a for a bit longer, but not much.  My comrades and I are standing about in the middle of a street which is full of dead Beloman troops.  Seems like a good time to test the out this new amulet thing.  I shift us all to the Shadow Realm so that we can converse in relative privacy.  Weighing our options, we settle in on two paths: either a short rest now or we cross the bridge and take a long rest. 

As this is happening we get a surprise visit from the boss.  Vecna appears and asks what we are up to.  I explain that we are deciding on a course of action for rest, Gilly does some kind of odd handshake and some sort of communication happens between the two.  Vecna then offers use of a comfortable lodge right adjacent to our current location.    Eager to do a bit of exploring in the new realm, we take him up on his offer.

We are led to walk directly through a few walls – pretty bitchin – by Vecna's toady and find ourselves in a large comfortable chamber with several four poster beds.  It's really quite relaxing in here.  Gilly hops in bed first and almost immediately falls asleep.  I'm a little suspicious and test to make sure he's ok, finding nothing wrong, and barely able to keep standing myself i grab the next bed and fall asleep almost immediately.

The most comfortable bed ever, I'm asleep almost immediately.  Odd, I'm going to sleep inside my own dream?  It must be time to wake up?   Feeling the most rested I have ever felt in my life, I stroll back outside to check the situation.  My comrades and I are standing about in the middle of a street which is full of dead Beloman troops.  Seems like a good time to test the out this new amulet thing.  I shift us all to the Shadow Realm so that we can converse in relative privacy.  Weighing our options, we settle in on two paths: either a short rest now or we cross the bridge and take a long rest. 

As this is happening we get a surprise visit from the boss.  Vecna appears and asks what we are up to.  I explain that we are deciding on a course of action for rest, Gilly does some kind of odd handshake and some sort of communication happens between the two.  Vecna then offers use of a comfortable lodge right adjacent to our current location.    Eager to do a bit of exploring in the new realm, we take him up on his offer….. this seems really familiar, de-ja-vu! – anyways, I'm beat, time for a nap!

We are led to walk directly through a few walls – pretty bitchin – by Vecna's toady…..

 

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Session 41
Beloman Part II

Landrew POV

…continued…

… As I'm grasping this Amulet that I pulled off of "Ragnar", The entire scene shifts.  We are able to have a brief, private conversation with my lord, Vecna.  He explains that this is a realm where much is not as it seems.  He warns, of our journey ahead that the pigs are not to be trusted??  Before any of this can sink in, we notice that a large heavily armored Knight enters the tavern and executes Ragnar.  Gilly shouts a warning and we all jump to attention.  Shoving the Amulet back into into my shirt, the room seems to instantly become less shadowy.  

Soldiers are now trying to enter the front door as battle is joined.  Raj quickly possesses Faux Raj, the rest of us jump into combat.  There are a great many troops outside the door lined up to enter.  It dawns on us that we could probably sneak out the back and let our dopplegangers take the fall for us.  Creating a diversion, we try to quickly exit out the back – bribing the tavern keeper as we go.  On retrospect, we probably shouldn't have let him live.

There is a sewer drain in the back courtyard which we use to make a speedy exit, but it's too late.  We've been noticed.  As we find ourselves running thru the sewers, Raj works a little magic to slow down our pursuers.  I find myself wondering if we would have been better off remaining in the shadowy realm and letting the guards cut down our dopplegangers before shifting back to the real world.  Would they have been able to see us?  I'll have to do a more thorough investigation of this thing later.

We reach the end of the sewer line and pop a head up through the gate for a look see.  A troop of dwarves and a large war engine are dispatching some of my army.  Fools, I told them not to waste their lives in such open warfare.  Hopefully the more savvy of the troops are still out there sewing havoc from the shadows.  I'll need to find a way to make examples of those who are wasteful with my property – but that is a matter for another time.  Clearly, we have gone the wrong way in the sewers - we had expected to be approaching the river.

We hightail it back in the direction we came.  As we approach our original entrance, there are troops trying to make their way down.  Several of our party starts to engage, but they are deterred as they feel themselves being drenched in oils from above.

It is decided to lead the guards on a bit of a romp through the city sewer.  We are able to put some distance between us as I aid the party moving through this underground filth like only an experienced street urchin could, yet still they come.  After passing several possible exits, we decide to pop the grate to the surface but then carry further down the tunnel.  I focus my Ki to create a silent area which will hopefully mask the fact we are continuing to rush through the sewers.

Our rouse seems to work briefly, but ultimately they continue the chase – persistent bastards.   Deciding to try out luck on the surface, we head up the next ladder.  We are in luck as the river is near this location.  Following the river for a time, we note a bridge in the distance.  We don't exactly blend in with the populous running thru the streets covered in sewer filth.  Raj, Drax, and I take a quick dip in the river to quickly rinse off.  Gilly won't go near the water.  He may look like an old man, but clearly he is still a small blue boy.  Mental note: remind him to wash his hands before his next feeding.

Our quick side trip to rinse off is enough for our pursuers to catch our tracks again.  We head for the bridge with all possible haste.  It is my intention to duck into an ally and use the ritual of Pass Without Trace.  All those years of walking on rice paper are about to pay off….wait, why didn't I think to use this with my army earlier.  Curse the dimness of my Intellect!

As we round the corner to the ally, we see our old friends from the Valahalla Tavern.  We spend a few moments talking and catching up.  Several brigades of troops pass by and seem to pay us no mind.  Gilly takes some mad bets rolling bones.  His opponent is clearly cheating, but still they seem to pay off at first.. until they don't and he finds himself back at square one.  Drax scores himself a shiny mug of endless ale – i'm sure we'll put that to good use!  I make a similar bet with rolling bones, only i won't be so easily cheated and palm a special trinket – if cheating is allowed, well two can play at that game.  I walk away with a shiny new satchel – it seems to be one of those fancy 'bigger on the inside' deals I've heard drunken fools discuss in pubs.  Maybe there was something to those tall tales.  Learning my lesson, I walk away while I'm ahead.

We talk for a bit longer with our friends.  They are not able to help much with locating the child.  The god of war longs for an army to command.  I tell him we'll keep an eye out and see what we can work out.  We explain that we must take our leave, but will return soon.  He offers to come find us if we are taking too long.  That might come in handy?  Perhaps, in the final battle yet to come, I can reassemble what remains of our troops and give them over for him to command in combat.  Surely the god of war can imbue the green recruits with the benefits of his skills.

Heading toward what seems to be the center of town, we fall behind another brigade of soldiers on the march.  We don't really make much of a point of disguising ourselves, ultimately one of them notices us.  As the battle is about to begin, we all scatter.  Taking a step into a nearby shadow, I find myself arriving in the wrong shadow.  I'm in a small room with two figures writhing about in a rhythmic fashion, outside i can hear a battle raging.   Deciding to try my hand at a little mischief, I try to possess the body of one two figures using the cursed quarterstaff.  She is surprisingly strong and able to repel my  attempt.  Feeling a bit dazed, I abandon hopes of a clever plan – it's not really my strong suit anyway.  Quickly knocking out one of the male, I present his limp, unconscious body to the female.  "Will you accept the blessings of your god in exchange for this one's life?",  I ask.  I take her screams as intent to decline that invitation and therefore neatly snap his neck before silencing her screams with a quick boot to the head.

Taking my leave of that room, I set out to join the battle which seems to have gone silent outside.  Eventually finding my party, I can see that they have dispatched the brigade outside and are collecting spare munitions.  Gilly is informed about the snack I left for him upstairs as I go about seeing what remains of the carnage.

Long night, I'm exhausted.  Some of us still need to sleep.  Time to find a place for some shut-eye.

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Session 40

Landrew POV

After my failed attempt to sneak into the city earlier in the evening, i found myself sitting around a campfire outside the city gate spit balling alternate ideas on entry.  One thing we know for certain is that we are uninterested in laying siege to the city.  Our army lacks the size and experience for such a feat, plus we don't have that kind of time. 

Many ideas are batted around:  We discuss Raj fly over the wall to possess someone on the inside, but discard this idea believing it would be nearly impossible for her to do this without being seen.  Another idea:  starting the systematic slaughter of the pilgrims outside the gates until they were flug wide and the army of Bello rode out to deal with us was discarded as too 'noisy'.  Ultimately we decided it was worth a shot to attempt bribery.  We certainly have plenty of cash, might as well give it a shot.  Gilly was nominated to try some silver tongued wizardry.  He was gone for quite a while – I never found out what happened.  All I know is that someone threw a cow at us and he came slinking back a short time later.

Continuing to scratch our heads, I had a moment of Inspiration.  Perhaps the damaged sections of the wall might offer us less resistance to rushing the main gate head one.  While we might well need to do some fighting to get in, the resistance and defenses would be minimal, comparatively.

We decide to march around the wall until we find a caved section that has been filed with rocks and debris.  The four of us decide to take point and lead the army over the wall personally.  As soon as we set food atop the wall, an alarm sounds – much like my failed attempt to enter at the main gate.  This time, however, we had time to prepare a counter attack.  Drax went beast-mode and pretty my single handedly took down two full units of guards as the rushed in to investigate the alarm, my new army was able to pick off the rest without issue.

I was anxious to get off the wall and into the city as quickly as possible.  I wouldn't do to keep setting off alarms and have the full might of the Goods come down on us while we are vulnerable.  The way of Landrew is to work from the shadows.  Pitched battles have their time and place, but neither have yet come:   While the guards were distracted by the combat, i slipped over the wall with some ropes and made some runs for the rest of the army to slip down quickly.

While I am coordinating the infiltration of the army, Gilly runs into a mouthy old man.  I'm not sure what happened over there, but I think he did a vampire thing.  He says we need to return for him in a days. 

Just as we are getting everyone assembled, we can hear the approach of a large war machine.  Drax has a great idea:  we don't know where we are going, and we aren't exactly going to do it stealthily with a small army marching the streets.  Time to cut these guys loose and let them do what they do best:  cause as much trouble as possible.

I issue commands to the army.  They are to disperse and cause as much mayhem as possible.  We want security forces in town running around in every direction trying to figure out what is happening.  Burn, pillage, murder – all in the name of Landrew (and Vecna and Raj).  I instruct them to do these things, but not be reckless with their lives.  Their lives belong to me, and I am a frugal god.  We will be searching out our target under the cover of their distraction.  The signal to come together will come in the form of the Pain Bow and the Lewd Bow.  When they hear/see these signals, they are to converge for the Final Battle.

We all looked on proudly as the scurried off into the night.  A basement ale house seems to catch our eye, however and several of us feel drawn to investigate.  Inside, we seem to be seeing versions of ourselves as we were when we first met all those months ago.  As the others mingle in, I notice that Gilly is striking up a conversation with "Ragnar".  While our Ragnar has not been traveling with us for some time, we have sorely missed the use of his Amulet of the Planes.  I decide to try picking this "Ragnar's" pocket – the pocket from which i have seen Ragnar draw that amulet so many times.  Wouldn't you know it, I am able to pluck out an amulet without his notice!   Shortly thereafter, the entire room shimmers and we ourselves alone.  I examine the amulet and find it to be The Amulet of the Planes – only this one has a weird shimmer and only seems visible in the shadows.

(to be continued)

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