Session 53: Puppetmasters

The party was in the middle of a battle with worm shambling mounds from the source of the creatures. They found that blades and arrows had little effect. 

Cory had taken a pine tar-soaked cloak and wrapped it around the shambling worm creature and found that it seemed to dissolve the worms before running out of power. This attack had eroded the shambling worm mound to the point that something was visible inside. Something white and the size of a watermelon in the head area with tendrils reaching out to the extremities of the worm creature.

Seizing on this opportunity, Reck did the same and eroded the creature from the back. The white creature inside was clearly visible and open to attack.

Meanwhile, hearing the success from around the column, Baughb doused her “Ghayl’s Sword” in pine tar and attacked the creature in front of her. Meanwhile, Mod from the other side was still attempting to stab it. 

Cory and Reck brought their creature down and then shortly Baughb and Mod killed theirs. As the second creature fell to the ground, all the worms retreated and faded from an attacking swarm of flesh-eating zombie-makers to harmless writing worms. Baughb, however, had become quite overrun with worms but Otish DohrKhull performed a Cure Disease to remove them.

As the party looked on with satisfaction, the Orc leaders reappeared, 
Soghurut and Kraol. When they saw what the Party had accomplished, Kraol (the Cleric) immediately left. Soghurut stayed, seemingly determined to hold the door. Mod was only too happy to challenge him and they began a duel. Soghurut used two swords and got a good hit. The party joined in with a volley of arrows, except for Baughb who took the time to clean off her sword before leaping up and getting ready to fire.

By this time Mod was in a flow and struck an epic blow that set the powerful Sogurut on his heels. One more thrust from Mod’s now-lightning sword and the Orc chieftain was down for the count. The Orc’s loot included a Helm of Invincibility (-4 AC) and Gauntlets of Ogre Strength (STR of 18(00) when worn). 

With the Orcs retreating back up out of the caverns, the PCs decided it was time to leave. They followed a ladder that lead up to a larder of alchemical ingredients. Not finding anything of particular value they decided to head outside as quickly as possible. They noticed some Orc acolytes here and there but they were busy and paid the interlopers no mind. They checked in on the chess playing zombie on their way out and found him dead with thick blood oozing from his wounds that should have killed him except for the worms holding him together. 

By and by the party escaped the monastery without incident and headed back down to the road. When they got there they noticed two things:

  1. The Orcs were assembling to the north of the collapsed section of the monastery
  2. There was a large number of disorganized people coming from the north along the road

Oh oh.

The party ran up to meet the refugees, who looked like they had been running for their lives for two straight days. As it turns out, this was because they had been running for their lives for two straight days.

When Queen Isabella caught wind that her people were back she gave them a welcome befitting their choice to abandon the refugees at the crossroads to the north … that is she railed at them heartily. She then told Mod to tend to his daughter Sab who was dying from a worm attack. DohrKhull then performed another Cure Disease and a Cure Light Wounds on Sab and colour returned to her cheeks. Mod (and Reck if memory serves) were visibly relieved. 

There were still 700 refugees left (they had lost over 300 to the zombies and worms and had then proceeded to harry the survivors hence the run for their lives). 

The group was now large enough that the Orc forces, both clerics and fighters, chose to leave well enough alone and kept their distance rather than engage. Perhaps they were rattled by the abrupt halt to their research and plans. 

DohrKhull seemed a bit agitated when he left the Monastery. This could be accounted for by the fact that he is a full Orc in a predominantly romantic-race (Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Gnome, Human) party but there was something else. He kept looking to the skies. Once he was heard muttering: “They said five days.” Then, he jumped up and told the Party “I gotta go. Thank you so much for saving me from that crazy place. I won’t forget it.” and then ran into the forest. A few minutes later a huge insect took off, similar to when Flam left the party after the farmhouse battle.

DohrKhull leaves the scene (time lapse)

This left the survivors with the same problem they had at the beginning of the trip, however. Too many mouths to feed and too many days of travel. But fortune smiled on the group and skyships of Imperial Ward found them and gave them safe passage to either Naramf or Imperial Ward. Queen Isabella chose Imperial Ward and the party followed suit. 

As they were lifting off in the skyship the party could see the monastery down below and the urgency of the Orcs suddenly made sense. The entire structure was being swallowed up by the ground and was soon gone from sight.

The party settles in for the 10-day trip over 2,000 miles to the Capital City far from the Human incursions (+10 HP for anyone injured).

While on the ship refugees mention that the new stars have been “going out” and they are worried about what this portends. For those who don’t remember (or who weren’t there) Seer Florence Tack introduced the new stars:

The new stars as seen from Gate Torak in Florence Tack’s chambers.

It appears some of the fainter stars have been disappearing:

The current star configuration

There is much speculation about what this could mean:

  • The Gods are fighting and we can only hope the anti-aeon gods triumph
  • A Dragon is eating the stars from the sky
  • The Black Runes have been found and collected and the world is heading for chaos

There is also news from the War:

  • Sillil was completely taken, the Slavers Khol-Khan and Tor-Tokken have captured nearly a quarter of the city’s populace presumably for sale in the north.
  • Many escaped using the teleport chamber in the castle and made it to Naramf before it had to be destroyed to keep the Humans from using it (Lady Tira’allara Ealoeth Sillil was sent along to Naramf but Lord Halamar Kymil Sillil stayed with the doomed and defended the castle to the end).
  • The Human forces are heading south, reportedly directly to Naramf and bypassing smaller cities on the way.
  • It is rumoured that the Humans are taking the main roads and avoiding the Old North Road because of local stories of the place. This will mean that their march is over 2,700 miles and they are expected to be 140 days in the endeavor.
  • The Humans are using magic missile wands that have been modified so that a non-MU can trigger them. They are using these en masse to negate the armour of the Elvish forces.

Since I expect that many will want to train for new levels in Imperial Ward please check your treasure… remember it’s 1 week and 100gp per level.

XP: 3,000

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