Click here for session 1.
- Balko, dour dwarf
- Father Egg, cleric of peculiar smells, carrying a slight injury
- Twig, chipper elf, wounded shoulder
SPOILERS TO FOLLOW – DON’T READ IF YOU HOPE TO PLAY THROUGH THE EVILS OF ILLMIRE IN THE FUTURE.
SAFE FOR CURRENT PLAYERS TO READ.
Session 2 – 22 April, 2021
Day 1 | Morning – Temple of the Luminal Star
At the look of fear on the four newly-freed acolytes’ faces at the sound of voices beyond the boarded up window, the party drew back into the main hall and assessed their options. There were possibly still other hooded cultists in the temple, which made it too risky a prospect to continue ‘compensating themselves’ for rescuing the temple occupants. They couldn’t be sure of any unaffected authority figures in Illmire if the temple and militia were compromised, so the surviving cultist in their charge couldn’t be easily handed over to anyone. The presumed spokesperson, Bexa, noted that there was a lumber camp nearby which had dealings with Illmire but was independent of the town, and the adventurers decided this was probably the safest bet for the time being, with the circus they’d spotted on their way in to Illmire a back up should the woodcutters prove dodgy.
The one main exit through the front doors would take them out into Illmire in full daylight, and a secret exit through the catacombs. Nobody fancied the prospect of descending down there, so the group stripped the five cultist corpses and one prisoner of their purple robes, and left the survivor with a message that this ‘Mistress’ had better watch out for this merry band of heroes, name as-yet-undecided. They divided the robes out between the Father Egg, Balko and four rescued temple workers, and walked right out the front door with Twig in their midst looking for all the world like a battered prisoner. Wary eyes watched them go from windows and doors but made no attempt to stop them.
Bexa led the robed gaggle out of Illmire and into Redthorn Forest. At Balko’s suggestion, they took a less travelled path, risking the dangers of the wilds to avoid being overrun by any possible pursuers. Fortune favoured them, for some uneventful hours later they found themselves in a clearing before the palisades walls of the lumber camp. Presenting themselves and their rescued companions to one of the armed figures up a rudimentary watch post, they were escorted in and shown to Rigdorf, a seven-foot pillar of muscle and beard with an exquisitely-forged axe hanging at his belt. The party explained their plight, and the towering lumberjack agreed to offer them shelter for the time being, though he couldn’t promise a long-term arrangement since the camp was suffering shortages.
The group slept and recovered in a log cabin whose previous occupants had recently perished in a raid by the fishfolk. The next morning they joined the first watch of the day who, glimpsing several of the creatures lurking in the edge of the trees, described a bit more the gradual increase in regularity and severity of attacks over the last half a year, they hadn’t troubled the treebound community of froglings know to reside further into the forest – though they apparently had troubles enough of their own with a new threat from an army of mantisfolk, for whom trees proved little obstacle.
Rigdorf soon joined them and noted that, though staggered, lots of strange new threats had been surfacing over the last few months, as well as these peculiar rumours of hidden wealth attracting treasure hunters to the area. He explained how these raids were draining the community of its resources, which were now also being hit by reduced trade from Illmire and a recent spurt of bandit activity along the main road.
This bandit activity was concerning, but the camp’s most pressing concern was the fishfolk. Other adventurers had come and gone, or come and gone no further, but if this party would be willing and able to end the scaled menaces once and for all, then the community would be in their debt. When prodded for a more specific number, he offered his decades’ earnings of a thousand gold coins and his treasured axe, for which he’d have no more fish-chopping use.
Goodwill and greed operating hand-in-hand, the party opted to go fishing with a twist and, rather than risk returning to Illmire to source one, spent much of the rest of the day putting together a large net. With the aid of a guide, Broadbury, her facial scars a legacy of a fishfolk attack, they staked out a known route that the raiders favoured, finding a spot from which they could just make out the great Misty Lake. The rigged up the net over a handy branch, stationed the unhurt and reasonably armoured Balko as bait and positioned everyone else with some requisitioned bows up in the tree above.
However, it was those up in the boughs who first encountered life – a troop of bright green, dwarf-sized froglings appearing from seemingly nowhere, though Twig’s elven ears gave them enough warning to be looking in the right direction. At Broadbury’s hissed suggestion, the party remained still. The amphibians stared at them for a little while, croaked a bit to each other, then continued on their merry way, twelve large frogs springing meters from tree to tree.
Unaware of the exchange of stares above him, Balko heard some splashing coming from the lake. He lifted the cover on his lantern and was quickly rewarded with four fishfolk bursting into the light from the amongst the trees, spears raised.
Father Egg ‘sprang’ into action – judging the point at which he might catch them all, he toppled off the branch with the rope in his hands, his stout form and armour haul the net up quickly around its targets. Unfortunately he was only able to hoist two of the fishy menace, but Twig quickly loosed an arrow into one and the last one turned tail and fled back towards the lake. The party opted not to pursue.
Despite Broadbury’s warnings, Father Egg was overcome at the unpleasant odour emanating from their two captives and, not wishing to dishonour the Lord of Peculiar Smells, tried to palm some of the slime coating the netted scales. The cleric, and only the cleric, heard a voice boom, ‘qui odoratusque est, fecit’, and he leaned back to look up. A webbed claw shot out of the netting and sliced just where his throat had been, shaving a few stray hairs from his neck. A warhammer swing later and the limb hung limply and uselessly. Egg proceeded to solemnly smear the goop over his face in supplication to his deity.
Keeping a greater distance than normal from the fouler-smelling cleric, the party dragged their quarry back to the camp and, while Egg recovered from his near miss with death, Twig and Balko tried to interrogate the fishfolk. Alas, combined with an evident language barrier, the prisoners appeared disinclined communicate. After some hours they looked in considerable discomfort, gasping through dry lips.
Rigdorf checked on the party’s progress and warned them that while they’d been gone a group of Illmire militia led by Captain Frey had been asking after any fugitive adventurers. He hadn’t given them away, but it would seem that they hadn’t gotten away scot free.
As he was imparting this information, the one of the palisade watch posts began ringing their bell frantically, and the camp inhabitants started rushing towards the noise with bows and axes in hand…
67 XP to the four characters present for encounters overcome.
Save vs Death successes to date
3 / 3
Note to self: make these summaries more succint in future. It’s not a creative writing exercise.