Summer/Fall Campaign Session 4 – Seeking Eziko’s Bane
We now return to a time when, to quote a great author of antiquity “men were men, women were women, and small furry creatures from alpha centauri were small furry creatures from alpha centauri…” We rejoin our band of valiant heroes and brave if slightly kleptomaniacal furry animal kin on their quest.
Having rescued the remaining townsfolk from the mine, the mighty band purchased equipment and furs (those who didn’t have a naturally occurring coat) and booked passage to Severdim, using the reward and various treasures found or subtly purloined. Severdim they had found was the home of the Master Swordsmith Eziko 200 years before, and hopefully would yield the answers they sought. They were able to locate a well-kept junk captained by a roguish… well let’s just say privateer (he likely has a letter of marque somewhere, right?) named captain Slythe, and his skilled and remarkably well armed crew. They were fortunate to find a crew that knew the way to Severdim; despite being a coastal town, it was seldom visited and far off the merchant routes.
The journey took several weeks across waters cold and storm cloud laden, lengthening the journey as the crew fought wind and rain. Aside from minor squalls and a bit of incomplete sinking, the trip was without significant incident. Several times on the clearer days, sails were spotted in the distance as if someone were following just beyond the horizon. Finally they arrived in Severdim.
Winter Solstice approached on the morrow.
The crew did not leave the ship as the town guard would let no one pass. Barnaby Blackfur led the way off the ship with Din Caran “Red”, Helga, Tamelin, and Juniper, the platypus mage in tow. They confronted the guard who vehemently refused to let them pass until they bribed him with an offer of a highly valuable scientific telescope for the town’s observatory. The guard knowing the mayor would reward him for that select bit of bribery, let the group pass.
As they passed the guard shack a woman in a kimono stopped them and asked in a conspiratorial tone if they knew which one was fated to die… then vanished in a puff of vapor as if she had never been there. The town stood in a shallow valley and surrounded a stone circle. Helga sent out her Stone Touch senses and felt what could only be described as a vibration across the whole valley; not a physical vibration, but the feeling as if the whole landscape was stretched taut and humming with force just below the feel of normal senses. Barnaby felt it as well, and was on edge, being quieter and rougher in response then normal as he struggled successfully to keep his animal side in check.
They continued down into the town and to the home of the Town Elder. Juniper and Tamelin passed inside whilst Barnaby, Red, and Helga kept watch. Juniper presented the mayor with the Telescope, a fine gift, and was rewarded with the knowledge that there was a man who lived on the outside of town across the river who had a map of the area that might be useful. The elder also mentioned in passing that no one ever crossed the river. He didn’t know why, just no one in the town ever did within his memory.
As they were having their discussion with the mayor, a tall ship rounded the corner of the natural bay in which the town rested. It was the very same ship that they had spotted on the rough seas. Armed men in rags and rough-spun clothing lined the rail and rigging growling in anticipation. Barnaby, realizing they were about to be seriously outnumbered, rushed back to the ship with jewels from Juniper’s stash and offered captain Slythe a ruby and a small diamond to serve as a mercenary force against the pirates. The captain agreed to loan seven of his men including several archers and halberdiers, accompanied by himself to the band as additional fighters.
As they were leaving the ship the pirate ship landed. Ragtag pirates leapt off the ship to the dock will yells of “Arrgh”, and “No quarter” as the pirate captain yelled down “Give us your gold, and the Map… or die!”. Rushing forward headless of words or gestures, the pirate crew slammed into Barnaby, the captain and his men and mêlée ensued. Several minutes of battle flowed with the skillful sound of clashing metal and stamp and thrust. The pirates were no match for the seasoned privateer, and Barnaby’s axe, and many of the mob fell. But more pirates surged the rails heedless of their comrades fate, the gleam of gold-lust in their eyes.
Seeing the ensuing mêlée, Tamelin, Red and Helga returned towards the ship and yelled for the embattled crew and Barnaby to join them as they slung rocks and arrows into the pirate mob. A slow retreat began as the crew attempted to disengage. Juniper couldn’t seem to get away from the elder, but finally left taking a bite of some food in a crate on the way out. Seeking to win time, Tamelin and Juniper came up with an insane plan and dove into the river mouth below the ship swimming unseen toward the pirate vessel.
As they broke the water’s surface something crested the river’s surface upstream swimming quickly towards them.
With effort, the otter and platykin climbed into a cannon porthole and boarded the ship. They slowly prepped a loaded cannon facing out onto the dock… and lit it off. The ensuing blast cut down three pirates and knocked as many more to the ground giving the crew and Barnaby a chance to fully retreat. Only one of the crew was pulled down and killed by the pirate mob before he could escape.
Through the entire battle the towns folk stood by and did nothing. They did not even seem to really notice or care about the pirate attack. Even the guard on the dock stood by and watched the battle without interfering except for a random target of opportunity.
The band and the hired crew retreated into the town as more pirates jumped onto the dock to reinforce their dwindling brethren and follow the band into the village. A running battle ensued with the pirates attacking and retreating as the band of heroes circled outside the stones towards the far river crossing. The band soon realized their fortune as a pair of pirates running in retreat ran through the circle and faded into oblivion before their eyes. Juniper re-bribed the captain Slythe who was considering cutting his losses and leaving with his crew.
The band crossed the waist deep river as quickly as possible, the sinister splashing up stream obvious as it approached. As the last couple crossed the river, Barnaby being one of them a serpentine nāga hag, long hair matted black locks leapt up out of the water to grab a meal. Barnaby let loose his gift, and morphed into bear form to better match the hideous creature in strength, and halberdiers struck and kept her back. A crushing blow with Barnaby's fist and the creature was knocked into the water while Tamelin carefully lined up his shot and sent an arrow flight directly between her eyes as they resurfaced. The creature fell back with an awful splashing until only stillness remained. The last crew member crossed over, and something else moved up-stream coming under the water’s surface towards the crossing. Red found and picked up a broken ceramic pot with odd characters in the woods where the map bearer stood.
On the far river bank they met the map bearer, who mumbled about the foretold ones and gave up the map to them laughing madly as he too vanished into the mists followed a few moments later by. A further search yielded another similar ceramic pot fully intact and sealed with a lid found by Juniper. Realizing the entire town was made up of vanishing ghosts (hence the disregard by the townsfolk of the pirate threat)… Juniper is a bit worried about that bite of food…
The remaining five pirates crossed into the river only to be attached by another nāga anew removing them as a near threat to the band across the river.
The map was unfurled and laid out a ramp leading into an underground passage… they saw through the trees the broken ruin of a castle with a stone ramp just as in the map. The warband moved up the ramp and entered the ruin keep. There on the floor was a circle with 3 circles spaced evenly about the larger circles edge. A broken vase sat within one of the three. Red placed the broken vase on the second circle, and Juniper placed the intact vase on the third circle. A tense moment, but nothing happened. After several vain and futile attempts to first open the vase, Juniper smashed the vase down onto the third circle. A mist of ancient dust escaped and blew away regardless of the lack of wind in the room, fading with the sound of mad laughter… and the sound of grinding stone could be heard as the floor began to drop. The band stood against the walls as steps lowered in a spiral within the main circle leading down into the depths. With careful tread the band descended into a vast room beneath the castle.
The band stood in awe staring up at the ancient monument that stood before them. There, lined up in long straight rows, were ancient statues of clay samurai, and a massive bronze sculpted chariot with a hulking samurai nearly twice the height of a man, and lead by four bronze mounted samurai…
[This was setup underneath the castle into which the band descended]
To be continued… who will fall to Eziko’s Bane?
Tamelin the otter was the hero of the day - Coming up with the cannon plan and successfully defeating 5 pirates, and the Nāga. 7xp and 1 Hero pt for combat, character growth (actually not shooting first at everything, standing stones, clay statues, etc) actually pulling off the somewhat insane cannon idea
Juniper the Platykin – 3xp for extensive use of loot to bribe and advance the story and for actually managing to leave the elder’s house after 6 turns of failing rolls once combat ensued and actions were being taken. 1 Hero pt for the assist on the cannon escapade and braving the river waters, brave indeed for a timid character. And 1 mystery to be revealed later… did eating that ghost food affect her?
Helga – 3xp for combat, sensing the vibrations, and keeping the band clear of the standing stones
Din Caran – 3xp for combat, moving the scenario along during combat, and keeping the rest of the team including the added crew alive
Barnaby – 5xp for combat, defeating a pirate and Bear-ing up to knock down the Nāga while standing in the river on its own turf which facilitated the kill
Time to use up XP and Hero Points gents... The next session will be a grand finale!