Chapter 07: The Big Bad

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Session Number: 17
Date: Sunday 26 April 2009
Venue: Alain's
PCs & Players:

Emily Ftr2/Rog1 (Tammi) (kills: none)
Enok Rgr3 (Alain) (kills: 1 ghost)
Krag Clr3 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal3 (Craig) (kills: none)
Vor-wrek Mnk3 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: enough for 4th level

After some debate the decision is made to tie the unconscious kidnappers before rousing them. When asked, Jeremy expresses a strong preference to appear tied up also, to preserve his status within the group. Emily makes herself scarce as the task is done. Krag then casts healing cantrips to awaken the kidnappers.

One by one Emily's kidnappers regain consciousness. Krag begins an unnerving display of running his crowbar through his tusks, making a horrific metallic scraping sound. Rowaine leans over the leader, Dave, who drove the wagon, and speaks.

"This is how it's going to go. You're going to go that way," (pointing west) "and we're going to go that way," (pointing east).

"Sure - fine!" Dave says.

"If you follow us, we won't hold back next time…" Rowaine continues.

"No problem! We have no quarrel with you. Whatever you say!"

Rowaine then motions the party to head east, leaving the kidnappers still bound alongside their wagon. It is then that they notice that Emily is not merely concealing herself - she is gone.

"Wait!" cries David. "You can't leave us here! There's things out there! WAIT! Let us GOOOOO!!"

The party continue to walk away, debating the wisdom of returning as they move out of earshot. Conscience wins and they return, weapons drawn. Enok throws a knife at Jeremy's feet and the party again leave the scene. Rowaine detects evil and notes that the unknown spectators in the woods have now split up - five follow the party and four remain grouped around the kidnappers. Krag looks over his shoulder, noticing Jeremy making a grand display of sawing through his bonds.

Dusk turns to night and the party travel the road. An hour later they catch up with Emily, sitting on the roadside. "Hi," she waves. "Mind if I walk with you?" Emily is carrying a heavy-looking metal-bound chest. Rowaine offers to help her carry it. The two girls quietly whisper girl stuff as the night trek continues. Looks behind reveal torchlight that appears to be closer than the site of the encounter with the kidnappers - are they pursuing, despite the warnings?

The night is cold and long. The younger members of the troupe - the ex-slave teenagers in particular, are dragging their feet as dawn approaches. As the sun begins to light the sky the party make camp by the roadside in a new watch pattern that includes Emily:


The rest period passes without incident - no travellers interrupt the group's daytime slumberings. As night approaches Vor-Wrek and Enok wake the others and the group resume travelling east. Rowaine casts her mind outward and notes that one of their mysterious companions seems to have departed - there are now only two presences either side of the road.

The night passes and the miles trickle by. Shortly before dawn conversation turns to Enok's experience of approaching the road's edge and feeling an unnatural cold tug on his bowhand. Emily's ears prick up, and she moves closer to the road's edge, listening. She thinks she can hear the wind making a low moaning sound. Odd that no wind can be felt on the road…

Emily extends her arm towards the trees bewond the road's edge. Immediately she feels an icy grasp on her hand, tugging her off the road! She cries out as she sees a shimmering figure grab her hand.

Rowaine feels the chest lurch away from her and pulls back. Enok hears Emily's cry and turns around, helping to anchor Rowaine. Emily feels yet another taloned hand trying to grab her forearm but it slips off, tearing at her flesh. She pulls with all her strength, aided by Rowaine and Enok, and manages to steal back a couple of feet - enough for Krag to target a Protection from Evil spell upon her. The creature immediately breaks its grasp and the trio lurch sideways, Rowaine losing her footing in the process. Whatever lies beyond the road does not pursue…

Krag checks on Emily, whose arm is badly hurt. "What were you thinking?" Rowaine admonishes Emily, as she heals her. The bodily wounds disappear but Emily remains oddly distant. The party continue walking east through the night, making camp as dawn approaches.

Fully rested, the party continue walking the following dusk. Rowaine notes that yet another of the invisible evil presences has departed. An hour into their third night of travel, Enok senses a change in the surrounding woodland - it somehow feels different. Two hours later, he can hear the sounds of nocturnal animals going about their business. Enok inwardly breathes a sigh of relief as he lets the others know. Rowaine no longer sense any evil presences in the area. The party continue walking until around midnight, then camp until daybreak.

Happy to be travelling during the day again, the party move off the road and head north-by-northeast, intending to bypass the coastal city of Aghome at the end of the strange road. The day passes, as does the night. The following day the party continue their cross-country forest trek. Several hours later Enok and Krag notice a salty tinge to the air. The trees soon give way to coastline. The party gasp in awe, having never seen so much water before. They can just make out a city in the distance to the north. Their spirits lighten as they they head in that direction, walking between the woodline to their left and a small trail to their right.

Not long after, Enok spots movement off to their left, amongst the trees, and raises the alarm. "What is it, Enok?" Rowaine whispers, unable to see anything but sensing evil where Enok indicates. Vor-Wrek paces north with his charges as the rest of the party close ranks. Moments later a shimmering humanoid figure quickly closes the gap and lashes out at Krag, doing not only damage but sapping the half-orc's intellect (if it can be called that).

Krag's reasoning ability is now subhuman - Int 2!

Enok shoots the ghostly figure. It is hard to tell but he believes the arrow wounded the creature as it passed through. Rowaine cries out "For Moradin!" and rushes at the creature, arcing her waraxe in a dramatic attempt to Smite Evil. She misses.

The creature becomes more corporeal, its shimmering outline giving way to the form of a middle-aged yet unnaturally withered man. Unnatural enmity scores its face as it howls its anger!

Fort saves all round - all successful. Phew!

Rowaine is the creature's next target. It hits her easily, the blow disrupting her coordination as well as injuring her.

Enok and Emily pepper the creature with arrows. Krag attempts to Turn Undead and rolls some awesome dice (13HD worth of creatures with 6HD or lower) - but nothing happens. Krag looks confused… Later he mutters a weapon-enchanting prayer over his mace and wades into melee. He slams the creature (crits it for 20 points damage). He is however struck again for physical damage as well as Charisma loss.

Krag - Ugly Dumb Bastard!

Vor-Wrek secretes the youths away in a safe place and rushes in, but his chops and gouges fail to connect. Rowaine faces off against the creature - she misses a further three times while the creature chips away at the paladin's vitality, physicality and intellect!

Ro's ability damage: 1 Str, 2 Dex, 6 Int! Ouchies.

5 rounds and 60 points of damage later, the creature is still snarling away. It glares at all but Emily; most fight off the effect but Rowaine's fortitude finally fails her. The force of the gaze sweeps her aside and she crumples to the ground in unnatural angles.

Ro had 1 hp remaining; she took 18 damage. Even bigger ouchies.

"Rooooooo!" cries Krag awkwardly. Enok fires another arrow at the creature that finally severs its connection to this world; it dissipates. Krag rushes over to Rowaine's shattered form and calls upon Moradin to restore his chosen. Moradin answers. Krag pours even more healing prayers upon Rowaine's slow-breathing form and she awakes with a start.

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