Monday, November 1, 2010

SR25: Betrayal and Insanity

This session happened Friday, October 29, 2010, and was the only session I ran this past weekend. This game starts only two days after the end of the previous session as opposed to a full week. Also, I ran some stuff with Sal’s player prior to the actual start of the game to get some dice rolls out of the way. You’ll see why both of those are significant below. Heh, heh, heh.

Adventuring Group:
Su Bel (human cleric)
Tycho von Helmont (elf alchemist)
Agnes Sunbeard (dwarf rogue)
Sal Ty (elf wizard)
Thorngrim (half-orc sorcerer)

Note: the list of player characters is in player sitting order, from my left and then clockwise around the table.

Two mornings after the finding of the shrine to the Forbidden God, Su Bel could not find her dog. It was a well-trained dog that Thorngrim had trained for her and she was looking for it in Drop-off Tower, whistling for its attention, when a rather nervous Sal approached her, starting the conversation with, “About that – I need to tell you a story.”

Before Sal would begin his story, he required Su Bel cast zone of truth, so she would know he was not lying to her. Suspicious, Su Bel cast the spell while Tycho, Agnes, and Thorngrim stepped closer to hear what the nervous and agitated Sal had to say.

Sal explained that back when he was scanning the shrine of the Forbidden God using detect magic two days ago, he saw the face of the deity on the blank statue…and the Forbidden God saw him! The Forbidden God placed a geas upon Sal to “sacrifice one of the members of his party on the Blood Altar”. Sal felt the geas take hold of him, locking its way into his mind, and he could not speak of it while it gripped him.

Sal had no idea where the Blood Altar was, although some of the wall paintings the group had seen suggested what it would look like. When the group found the room with the blood pool on the ceiling, Sal said he knew they had found the Blood Altar. The geas started slowly nudging Sal to make a sacrifice, an urge that Sal could only fight off by actually planning the deed. Through a complicated process of elimination, Sal had decided that Mog would be the sacrifice, until he noticed Thorngrim working to train his dog in a new command. Sal said he realized that the dogs were also part of the group and would meet the letter of the Forbidden God’s geas, but still (hopefully) defy the Forbidden God.

Sal then related how he had used sleep to capture the dog the previous night, placed it in a bag of holding along with some kindling and firewood, and snuck down into the chambers below Drop-off Tower, using the key he had been given when the locked doors were put into place. Outside the Blood Altar room Sal had bathed the sleeping dog in holy water and then summoned an elemental to place the firewood and kindling on the altar while Sal wire-bound the dog’s feet. Sal then directed the elemental place the bound dog on the altar and light the firewood, making a burnt sacrifice of the dog. Sal then fled using haste and flight to avoid anything that might happen as a consequence of the sacrifice. Sal did not relate the howls of agony he could hear the dog making as he fled.

The other adventurers were floored by Sal’s admission. Questions were asked and words were said. Agnes asked for Sal’s key back. Sal did not hand it over, but no one pushed the matter either. After much argument and discussion, it was decided that a trip to the Iron Keep was necessary so that Sal could replace the dog. There was an unspoken consensus that things could have gone far, far worse.

The next day Sal cast mount five times and the group rode the magical horses along snow-covered Gravemarker Road. Due to the heavy snow on the ground, they are only able to make it to the empty Woodcutters Camp before needing to camp. Early in the evening a stampede of auroch charged at the adventurer’s campsite and Sal cast rope trick so the group could escape above the stampede. The auroch lingered in the area for hours until a dire tiger attack drove them back onto the plains. By the time the rope trick spell ended, the area was clear of (living) aurochs and predators. Shortly after dawn Sal cast mount again and the adventurers arrived at the Iron Keep mid-morning.

Dropping off much of their gear in their rooms at Spider’s Bar, the group scattered through the town, each looking in their own way for information. Agnes spent time chatting with Spider about the morlock tokens and the rumors that there are many tunnels under the forest and that the Obsidian Cube might be magical. Tycho sought out a wizard who knows arcane sight, trying to gain a copy of the spell. The wizard snubbed Tycho, stating that he was not taking on any apprentices at this time. Later in the day, Thorngrim ended up talking to the same wizard and they got chatty, talking about many things arcane. Thorngrim made such a good impression, the wizard sold Thorngrim a scroll of arcane sight, minus the Baron’s 40% mark-up. Tycho now hates that wizard, and spent some time contemplating what it would take to burn down the wizard’s stone house.

Sal went looking for information about the Forbidden God. Unfortunately for him, an arcane caster looking for that information after claiming to have found a shrine to the Forbidden God, tends to make people wary.  Sal spent the rest of the day being questioned by a pair of inquisitors. Su Bel, using her priestly contacts, got a better response and offers of help to purify the unholy shrine and statues. It was recommended she go speak to a pair of inquisitors who were new to town and ask them for assistance. Sadly, the inquisitors were unavailable as they were questioning a potentially dangerous and deranged wizard. So Su Bel took the wergild Sal had given her for sacrificing her dog and purchased a new dog.

The next day the adventurers returned to Drop-off Tower (after Sal and Thorngrim remembered to use their magic to clear the snow from the road, allowing faster movement). Just past Jericho’s Grave, a dire tiger was spotted stalking the adventurers. Several fireballs (and fireball-like attacks) from the adventurers drove off the (now heavily wounded) dire tiger. The adventurers arrived at Drop-off Tower near sundown and settled in for a comfy night in their new home.

The next morning (after some discussion), the adventurers descended below Drop-off Tower once again to investigate the secret trap door they found in the room with all the elven swords. A new protocol was initiated, requiring both Thorngrim and Sal to periodically use detect magic on the party, looking for new auras of enchantment as a method of avoiding more unpleasantness. The secret tunnel led east-northeast and came back up in a sleeping room. In addition to a bed and table, there were some shelves of books, mostly in abyssal and draconic. This led to some speculation about what kind of elves used to inhabit this area. Sal was able to identify three of the books as radiating magic and Su Bel identified that all three also radiated evil. Tycho picked one up and started flipping through the pages.

Tycho was hit by a symbol of insanity, which shattered his already tenuous grasp on sanity, which is to say it took a while for the other adventurers to notice. When Thorngrim discovered the new aura, steps were taken. The book was taken away from Tycho, who babbled a bit over it. Agnes, supported by several of Su Bel’s divine spells, was able to disable the symbol on each book [scoring beau coup experience points for the party in the process]. Sal started scooping books into a bag of holding for later review and the elegant bed was disassembled to be hauled back upstairs to the Tower for Agnes to use (after being magically cleaned and mended).  A secret door in the sleeping room led to the hidden library between the Obsidian Cube room and the Blood Altar room.  The adventurers returned to the surface.

Sal and Thorngrim spent some time examining the spell on Tycho and determined that it is beyond their ability to defeat. In fact, there is no one back in Iron Keep who will be able to beat the spell until the spring Blessing of the Mines, when high-level clergy from the mainland visit. The adventurers settled in for a long winter wait with their insane friend.

*End of Session*

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