As a result, Ahkmed’s player was unable to come at the beginning of the session because he had made previous plans to see The Avengers. Interestingly, when he finally showed up to ask what had happened, the answer given by some of the players was, “We haven’t accomplished much today.” Indeed, much of the session was spent wandering lost through wilderness and even this only resulted in two combat encounters — the only combat of the whole session.
However, we all had a great deal of fun not accomplishing much. This was a session where the vast majority of the time was spent roleplaying where lots of discussion happened at the table in character. In a way, this was a very necessary step as the campaign has opened an entirely new chapter.
Up until this session, the campaign largely revolved around the desires and goals of Hamlen and his brother Dn. Goram. While Ahkmed has been a huge catalyst for many things evolving in the campaign, he has done so happily tagging along with the two brothers. Now that Hamlen is dead and buried and Dn. Goram is retired, the group needed time to figure out who they were, where they were going and why.
With Gillek reincarnated as a troll, the party was not particularly keen on having him as the de-facto leader of the party. It was thus decided that Dn. Swibish, being the highest level cleric in the party, should take the reigns. This was also, in part, an experiment by the players because Dn. Swibish’s player is now the most experienced of our youngest players.
It was thus decided that they would head north and investigate all the hubbub surrounding Redwraith. As I stated earlier, this did not go as planned. There was an encounter with an ogre mage (which the party mistook as some kind of orc) and was hilarious due to the extensive use of charm spells. There was also an encounter with large spiders (which talk and love elf-meat). This also was entertaining due to the fact that despite happening a couple years ago at the beginning of the campaign, the first encounter with these type of spiders was memorable enough to get a great reaction from my players.
Raine, the half-elf thief, was bitten and failed his saving throw and therefore had 1d4 turns left to live. At this point, Dn. Swibish got roundly criticized for not having a Neutralize Poison spell at the ready (something Dn. Goram always made sure he did). Therefore, there was a discussion about what Raine wanted to do. He had three options:
- Die and get reincarnated.
- Die and get raised by the now NPC Dn. Goram.
- Get turned to stone prior to dying and hope that the party finds a Stone to Flesh spell at some point in the future.
Surprisingly, he chose the latter.
Needing a new character, he rolled up a rather pathetic set of scores, and decided to give a shot at playing a half-orc fighter named Gog. He entered the picture as a slave of the Dwarves at the dwarven citadel north of Headwaters (which the party eventually did finally find). A lot of fun was had as this new character was introduced into the party.
Eventually, the party was able to contact the bishop of Redwraith and scout out the environs of the Black Tower. Here is a summary of the information they managed to gather:
- Redwraith was not always ruled by necromancers. In the days when the area was a colony for the Empire, Redwraith was established with its own bishop. The necromancers came to power when the magic-users of the city decided to fight fire with fire when the Black Tower arose and attacked the city with an army of undead. The Redwraith necromancers have been obsessed with making sure the Black Tower stays destroyed ever since.
- Since Dn. Swibish is under a sentence of death for conspiring with the necromancer Xerxes (someone the party is convinced they killed, but have no evidence — he was eaten by the dragon in a bag of holding), the bishop of Redwraith has been marginalized by the leaders of the city. Things are so tense now, that if he makes a misstep, he may himself be accused of being a Black Tower spy and executed.
- The Black Tower is surrounded by six obelisks etched in glowing runes that the party recognize from items used by the Sons of Cyn. They emit a magical shield which is, in essence, a giant Protection from Undead spell, making it impossible for the Redwraith army to attack the Black Tower.
- There is an army gathering around the Black Tower, all within the confines of the Protection spell. It is largely made up of local goblin tribes led by ogres and a black-skinned type of goblin the party encountered beneath the castle in Trisagia many moons ago.
- At the center of the protective ring some kind of structure is being built. It was of similar appearance to the machines the party saw in the brain lasher city.
- The party also caught a brief glimpse of someone wearing a golden mask working on the machinery. This coincided with a very brief opening of a portal where the machinery was being built.
- Ahkmed has been slowly working on translating a manual on the mining and use of Azoth (aka liquid magic). His endeavors have resulted in the discovery that the mining of Azoth has a tendency to create tears in the fabric of time and space. Therefore, machinery is required to contain these tears so that they don’t become catastrophic. It was here that the party realized that the Brain Lasher city was an Azoth mining colony and that they had, in fact, destroyed the machinery that kept their tear in check. They began to wonder what kind of consequences this was going to have.
The session ended with the party convincing the necromancers to give them some scrolls to aid in scouting out the Black Tower camp in detail.