24/03/23: Darktide's Night

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Back to the troupe, maybe?

Score 1763

06/08/24

12/14/1212. night of Darktide, just after midnight

character ex ex+ ac hp kit   details
Odin 1 x 16 13/17   hd: 0/2; spells: 0/3 lv 1; beast shape: 2/2
Wen Mei 1   18 22/22 x hd: 0/2; lay on hands: 0/10; divine sense 1/3
Kasma -   15 16/16   hd:1/2; spells: 0/3 lv1; ring -mage armor, identify, burning hands; wand: 1/5; -arcane recovery; mage armor in effect
Jordian -   14 12/15   hd: 2/2; spells: 0/3 lv1; healer's kit doses: 2; eyes of the grave: 1/4;
staff: 3/5; channel divinity: 1/1
Es’tonza 1   14 17/17   hd: 0/2; spells: 0/3 lv1; beast shape: 2/2
Taeleen 1 x 15 13/15   hd: 0/2; 
Jonas 4   10 5/11   hd: 0/1;
Ripper 1   12 1/5    
mastiff #2 1   12 5/5    
mastiff #3 1   12 5/5    

The party defeated Doofer and Floyd several minutes ago, then Es'tonza befriended the two other mastiffs by healing them. Meanwhile the rest of the party collects the possessions of the last two Butchers.

Floyd has a pages torn from a book. Prestidigitation can clean it enough for several pages to be read:

  • …and the stunted creatures she had enslaved were then commissioned with the forging of the great tower door. Few were there that could work that dread material, but they brought forth all their considerable talents and secret knowledge, and so wrought each of the queen’s terrible curses into it, even as it burned their flesh with unnatural fire…
  • …and two guardians were ensorcelled to keep eternal watch over the entrance to her lair… locked away forever in stone… but ready at all times to defend her demesne…
  • …thus all feared her wicked name throughout the land. The imposing edifice she had raised was a reminder to all of the suffering she would unleash upon those that displeased her…
  • …however it was but one of many raised at the command of the dreaded witch queen, and her darkness spread across the land like a horrible sickness…"

 

It is likely getting on toward midden-night when the party leaves the farm to return to the Mangy Hound Inn. As they start back down the dirt track to the Mangy Hound Inn, night has fully settled over the area. The lights of the Butcher Farmstead soon disappear behind them, and the woods become profoundly dark. A chill wind pulls a thick layer of clouds across the sky, blocking all starlight and frequently hiding the face of Luneós.

Strangely, though, the red star seems to never be hidden behind cloud cover, and its grotesque crimson light does not seem to dissipate. The forest feels unnaturally quiet, with only the occasional gust rattling dry branches to disturb the stillness; yet the black spaces between the trunks still seem watchful as you pass.

The night is grim. Though Luneós is full – as is Vixen – the light from the red star casts a sickening pallor on the world. You wonder what it means, this sign of the gods, and what will be in the days to come. As you walk, you think on the Blue Veil. You hope that the troupe was able to contain the fire. And that Borag, Calnassé, and Kray have returned – though you fear they have not. An Owl hoots in the distance… low and melodious. For some reason, it is a comforting sound, like a friend welcoming you home. After a few more minutes of walking, you see the glow of lights from the Mangy Hound Inn.

Four townsguard stand watch on the porch, and one opens the door as you approach to quickly usher you into the warm interior. The constable stands at the bar speaking with one of his men, and when he turns to see you have returned, you see surprise – and the ghost of satisfaction – appear upon his face.

 

Most of the party see a slight sense of relief cross Constable Rolf’s face. Just after the party enters, he will turn and speak to his guards. “Go join the watch outside; it’s Darktide, after all. Never know what could be lurking around,” he barks at his guards. They shuffle out, leaving Rolf to speak with you alone. The guards have shackled Shiners. The inkeeps are serving the players some food and drink upon their return.

Rolf will be genuinely appreciative and will gladly give them their pay of 50 golds. It’s obvious that a lifetime of prejudice won’t be expunged, even with such actions displayed by the players, but Rolf is being forced to rethink his opinion of the Hanataz, or at the very least of the Blue Veil.

Rolf knows that some of his men are 'on the take' and is leery about speaking in front of them. Rolf is excited at seeing his nephew alive; though he will try to maintain his professionalism. Jonas won’t be up for much conversation though, and the innkeepers will take him to one of the rooms to rest and have his wounds treated.

While the party is speaking with the constable, you hear the voice of a stern female guard question someone outside. “halt, who goes there?” 

The muffled reply sounds much more relaxed, you recognize the smooth tenor voice as belonging to Greyson, “Just out for a quiet stroll under Luneós’ light my friend. Thought we might stop at the inn for a pint, and mayhaps a sturdy bed.

Right… a stroll in the moonlight… on Darktide. With some evil red star shining in the sky. State your real business brigand, or you’ll be singin’ a different tune from the stocks.

The party heads out with Rolf,  “What’s going on out here Corporal Loveen?” Rolf will question the guard who had been speaking with Greyson, and now has her halberd half-pointed in the bard’s direction.

Caught this lot lurkin’ ‘round in the shadows, sir,” the guard responds without taking her eyes off the four in front of her. You see that Grelda, Vestia, and Skizzig are standing with Greyson, who lets an almost amused grin curl the corners of his lips at the townsguard’s irritation.

Once the party greets the troupe members, Grelda responds, “we’ve been looking everywhere for you! The twins told us someone had robbed Mother Salvensa’s wagon and said you had gone after them, but they weren’t much help beyond that,” she says with a hint of exasperation in her voice. “Did you find the thieves?

The party acknowledges that they found the thieves and dealt with them... and rescued a guardsman. 

Rolf will tell the guards to let the four pass once he is aware of their identities. The players will have the chance to tell the tale to the other members of the Blue Veil, and can return the stolen items. Rolf will interject with the assignment he gave to the players at the appropriate time. The Hanataz will not be happy that he coerced their young members into such a dangerous mission.


When the party returns to the camp, they will see that the fire has been put out, and the Carnivalle is fully packed up, save for Anton’s tent where he and Selvra have been tending to Mother Salvensa and Vezzy. The troupe is ready to depart at any time once Borag, Calnassé, and Kray have returned.

Kasma inquires about Mother Salvensa and is told that she is still unresponsive and Vezzy still will not speak and continues to look up towards the sky, now precisely where the red star is located.

You collapse into your bedroll around the fire, and find yourself swiftly drifting off into exhausted slumber. Even by Hanataz standards, the day has been remarkable, but you and your fellow Zatis have proven yourselves more than tough and capable enough to be worthy of the name. You feel a great satisfaction at being trusted by the senior members of the troupe with tasks vital to the Blue Veil, and the vindication of that trust today feels even better. Still, that elated feeling is severely tempered by the fact that Borag, Calnassé, and Kray are as yet unaccounted for.

During the night, Es’tonza lets out a blood curdling scream, waking the group. Apparently, a spider had been crawling on her face.

Hours later, Wen Mei is awoken by the sound of Kasma throwing up. They discuss Kasma's dream.


12/14/1212. morning. portents [10,17]

 

You awaken the next morning sore but rested. You’ve never had such a series of fights before, and the strange, vile things you saw under the time of Darktide seem almost like a dream in the bright, clear air of dawn. No… not a dream. A nightmare. And the reminder of the horrors you experienced hangs in the sky above you – the strange, red star can still be seen, dimly shining, even in the light of the Sul.

The morn finds you with a surprising lack of purpose, as most everyone is milling about having already completed the preparations for moving on. You see Jannig wandering aimlessly through what is left of camp… a pair of dark streaks forming under his eyes from many fearful tears.

 

character ex ex+ ac hp kit   details
Odin 0 x 16 13/17   hd: 1/2; spells: 3/3 lv 1; beast shape: 2/2
Wen Mei 0   18 22/22 x hd: 1/2; lay on hands: 10/10; divine sense 3/3
Kasma -   15 16/16   hd:2/2; spells: 3/3 lv1; ring -mage armor, identify, burning hands; wand: 5/5; -arcane recovery; mage armor in effect
Jordian -   14 15/15   hd: 2/2; spells: 3/3 lv1; healer's kit doses: 2; eyes of the grave: 4/4; staff: 4/5; channel divinity: 1/1
Es’tonza 0   14 17/17   hd: 1/2; spells: 3/3 lv1; beast shape: 2/2
Taeleen 0 x 15 15/15   hd: 1/2; 
Ripper 0   12 5/5    
mastiff #2 0   12 5/5    
mastiff #3 0   12 5/5    

Read or paraphrase the following when Freasha comes. “Hey!” you hear someone call out. As you look in the direction of the shout, you see Freasha bounding over to you. “You…” she gasps slightly out of breath. “Anton… needs you now! Mother’s awake!

The party run, jog, or walk to the tent.

Upon arriving in Anton’s tent, they’ll find mother sitting up with both her hands clutching Anton’s. Vezzy will also be lucid and voraciously tearing into a loaf of bread and a hunk of roasted boar meat. Upon seeing the party, Mother Salvensa will reach a shaking hand out to them

She reaches her trembling hand out to you. “Zatis… someting… someting comes. Ve must make haste and leave dis place immediately! Der is no time to lose.

But, mother… I have already told you… Borag, Calnassé, and Kray have yet to return.” Anton states in a quiet tone. The dark circles under his blood-shot eyes plainly showing his exhaustion.

Mother turns back to face him and grabs his arm with surprising strength...

Ve must not vait. Danger comes. Zey vill need to catch up to us on ze road… or zey vont find us at all….” She looks to your group once again. “Look at me, my Zatis. You are no longer Frenta. I name dis as a Prema Bonduran ov da Blue Veil. You vill help protect da troupe now as full members ov da Hanataz.

You are taken aback. Never has a Frenta been so elevated. And while you are honored as you have never been, there is also fear in your heart. Something has driven her to this extreme decision. Something dangerous. Something dire.

As you watch, the milky white in Mother’s eyes starts to ebb away and her eyes clear. Were it even possible, she looks more frail and weary than before. Her posture slackens, and she appears as though she could collapse back onto the pillows beside her at any moment. Anton wraps his arm around her to keep her from falling over, and her eyes close as exhaustion takes her.

Then, Selvra interjects, “Borag, Calnassé, and Kray are more than capable of dealing with whatever is thrown at them, and they’ll have no trouble finding us later. If Mother says we need to go now… then we go.” She looks to the party. “Zatis, you should take the lead wagon. I shall take the rear with Tranoov and Meega.

You are again taken aback. Riding lead wagon is a significant honor, and a great responsibility, for those who do so. Typically, Kray, Brayan, and Calnassé are the ones who “Ride Lead” for the troupe… however, given the current circumstances, you are in no position to argue.

And I shall ride with you,” comes a voice from behind.

It is Vestia, the Mistress of Secrets. She continues, “Anton, Selvra… you are both exhausted. Skizzig shall take the rear for a few hours along with the bards to give you some rest. We shall put Brayan on first wagon and our three gamblers at center wagon. Our defenses are thin, I know… but we have little choice.

Selvra nods her head at Vestia. “Agreed, my sister. And thank you.” She then turns to your group. “Now my friends, we go. We have little time to waste!

As you start to file out of the tent, Selvra calls after you, “And my Zatis… understand this responsibility. There can be no shirking of duty. We put the entire caravan at risk if we are not fully alert. You’ll have to take turns driving and keeping watch for bandits, vile creatures, hazards on the road, forage, water sources, and good pasture for the animals.


The lead wagon also travels some hundreds of yards in front of the main caravan, so there is also some additional level of risk. Vestia will explain all this to them in the roleplay session.

 

Soon thereafter, the wagons begin rolling, and the Blue Veil begins the long haul to Prondadol. The journey will take quite a few days – and will likely see you need to camp in the midst of a winter storm – but apparently Mother Salvensa was adamant that the troupe get to the town before setting the hard camp for winter.

 


 

After a few hours on the road, you round a bend and can hear running water. At this point, the foliage opens up some, and before you can be seen Blackwater Bridge. You peer back, behind the wagon, but cannot see the rest of the caravan. Looking down upon the road where it meets the banks of the river, you see exactly why the bridge is so named, for the water that drifts beneath it is nearly jet-black in color with strange flickerings of fluorescence flashing ever so slightly beneath the surface. They are much like firebugs sparkling in the air on a dark night, and it is strange that you can see them so well in the daylight. It must be quite a show when night comes. The bridge is narrow and has a wood base.

Only one wagon can traverse it at a time, as it is not wide enough for two to pass. Beyond this, you do not think the wood slats would hold much more weight than a single wagon in any case. As you regard the bridge, you notice something floating in the gentle current. A body is floating face-down in the water!

 

10 brigands had been lying in wait and attack the party. They are put down.

With the brigands defeated, Vestia scans the area, and points out a dirt track leading away to the north on the western side of the bridge – you can see some rather fresh tracks in the dirt.

I’d wager that trail leads to their camp, more likely than not. We can’t take the chance that more of them will attack the rest of the wagons as they pass, we’ll have to clear them out. Not to mention, we could always use any supplies and coin they’ve stolen off less fortunate travelers. They should be no trouble for our mighty Zatis!

Vestia will stay with the wagon to ensure it isn’t stolen by other brigands lying in wait.

Items claimed.

  • Wand of the War Mage +1.
  • Zyranthean Ecology.
  • 5 plats, 53 copper, 5 lecs, 13 silvers, 12 coppers.
  • fine set of blue-green robes.
  • box 6x home rolled cigars (poor quality).

Attack the camp

  • a large wooden crate with a dozen labeled potion bottles;
    • 5x are empty
    • 3x Potion of Healing.
    • 1x Potion of Greater Healing
    • 1x Invulnerability Potion
    • 1x Potion of Vitality.
    • Vial of Clearwater Poison.
  • 1x Vial of Green Acid
  • set of weaver’s tools
  • a set of bagpipes
  • 10x baskets full of grain
  • a wooden cart
  • a tapped (and half-empty) keg of Gonsulver’s Red Ale – a rather strong and hoppy ale
  • 3x unadorned wooden shields
  • a chain shirt
  • 3x daggers
  • 40x arrows
  • a short bow
  • 2x scimitars
  • 20-foot of light metal chain
  • a small wood box
  • a tin of andvallan spice smoking leaf (it smells of nutmeg and pepper).
  • 1x antitoxin
  • an oil flask
  • 3 lanterns (one has the glass broken out of it)
  • a hammer and a handful of nails
  • a shovel
  • 3x trunks full of various mens’ and womens’ clothes, and pouches with a total of
  • 19 plats, 37 lecs, 73 golds, 122 silvs, and 60 cop

After collecting what you could from the brigands’ camp you return to the road. You see the rest of the Blue Veil has caught up and is waiting to see what’s going on.

Vestia and the other leaders will expect that some of the take be given to the troupe, but you can decide how it gets divided up. They will not be stingy with the party as they were the ones that liberated the items. After the loot is distributed, the caravan moves on.

- end of session -

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