Our adventure begins with the young hunter from Geman, Dillant Groveborn. His normal routine of checking his small game traps is interrupted by the discovery of bear tracks, a rarity in these parts. Thinking of both the payoff for such a valuable catch and the potential danger of such large game, he eagerly preps his rifle and begins tracking the beast.
Dillant’s pursuit is not in vain, though with concern he notices his quarry is headed straight toward The Ruins of Kaj, a place that seems to repel local wildlife. Carefully concealing his presence, Dillant observes a strange sight! The bear walks to the center of the ruins and lay upon one of the stone slabs that were buried in the earth. After a few moments, a massive Stag enters the ruins from the Northern edge and approaches the bear. Though it would normally avoid a potential predator, it stands over the bear for a moment as if compelled. With a bleat of surprise from the mighty buck, a black essence pours forth from the eyes and ears of the prone animal and siphons itself into the chest of the stag! The Stag flees from the ruins ensorcelled by the black essence.
Upon inspection of the ruins afterwards, Dillant notes that the bear reeks of decay and its flesh falls apart at the slightest touch. Wisely, he retreats back to town.
Brandwise Burrows, a local outrider, is sent to see Trader Joe by Captain William. The captain, who owns the only warhorse in town, needs new spurs and heard there was a saddle that may suit Brand’s wolf mount. Though Trader Joe’s stock is rather awful and the saddle is useless, Dillant is present and telling his strange story about the bear and stag to the merchant. Brand offers to buy the local hunter a few drinks if he’ll lead him to where the incident took place. Dillant accepts and they both head to the local tavern, The Guzzling Wench.
Lyre, a ninja on a mission from her master, Thanis, arrives seeking Troy. She is sent with a solitary purpose: “Deliver this scroll to Troy. If you cannot, open the scroll yourself.” Deciding that the best place to find information on a local would be the Tavern. Lyre heads to The Guzzling Wench. There, she learns from a local soldier, Brand, that Troy has been dead for nearly two years now, having been killed by The Greytroll, a local menace.
Lyre decides that she should now open the scroll case and read the message sent to Troy. Privately, she reads the scroll.
I have great need of The Soulgem. Bring it to me when you can. -T
Having decided that she must retrieve this gem for her master, she begins gathering as much information as she can regarding Troy. Checking two major leads, she first attempts to search his former home to no avail and later found that he was buried near the Ruins of Kaj. Knowing that is where Dillant had his encounter, she agrees to accompany him and Brand on the morrow.
The other stranger to the town was Azdara Azdgari. The vengeful witch came to investigate the somewhat famed local wizard, Huey. However her attention is attracted by the boastful story of the local hunter, Dillant. Dillant regales his tale multiple times at the tavern and embellishes more and more with each retelling. She notes that the consistent theme, that of a dark spirit, might be beneficial to her to investigate and decides to offer her aid to the local hunter and soldier should they head out toward the site where the bear lies dead.
The next morning, the group head out to The Ruins of Kaj to investigate the site. Once they arrive, Dillant points out the blackened sludge that is all that remains from the Bear. Lyre takes this time to locate Troy’s grave and begins to open it, much to the dismay of the goodly Brandwise.
Shortly after, the possessed stag, significantly less intimidating than Dillant’s story would have Geman believe, returns to the scene. It walks over to the sludge-remains of the bear and lay upon the stone slab.
Dillant observes an elven warrior striding toward the center of the Ruins from the far side. Thinking quickly and springing into action, he runs over and tackles her, breaking her out of a trance that was leading her to her apparent doom. Dillant learns that this woman hails from far Alarond and she claims to have no memory of how she traveled so distantly from home.
As the newcomer and Dillant return to the main group, Lyre finally finds a jet black gem within the remains of Troy. Though Troy was ripped in half by the Greytroll, he had the gem concealed somewhere unfound and buried with him. Lyre reburies Troy’s remains and rejoins the group, being carefully watched by the newcomer, Azdara and Brand.
As Lyre approaches the group with the gem, Brand’s wolf mount, Fade, begins to act strangely and is compelled to approach the dormant stag, possessed in the center of the ruins. Brand, ever protective of Fade, was able to snap him out of his trance with a german suplex.
The unnamed warrior shares what she knows about the spirit within the ruins, that it is a spiritual parasite, and it seems to be compelling creatures of weaker wills to sacrifice themselves to its hunger. The newcomer seems knowledgeable of such things. She tells of a spirit called a Soulhopper. They feed upon the connection of living bodies and their souls. They grow in power based on what they consume, but if you have the tools to consume the soulhopper, a tool such as that Soulgem, you could gain the power of the Soul Hopper.
Grudgingly, Azdara—who had asked to see the gem and not returned it—allows the warrior to use the Soulgem. She manages to release a black mist from the gem which slowly expands into the sky. Once purged of whatever was inside, the gem became clear as glass. Azdara then successfully used the gem alongside Brand to trap the soulhopper from the body of the Stag, though it attempted to assault her. Once captured within the gem, the soulhopper causes the gem to radiate a dimming aura, as if simply being near the gem wreathes objects in shadow.
Once the danger passed, Lyre demanded her master’s gem so that she could return to Thesda and complete her mission. Azdara refuses. Before violence breaks out over the gem, Dillant notices the black mist that had come from the gem has been hovering over Troy’s grave. As his ruin skeleton starts to erupt from his grave, Dillant smashes it to pieces. The party understands the gravity of the situation as the black mist continues to grow and blot out the sun.
Temporarily putting the gem argument on hold, the group rushes back to Geman with the black mist in pursuit. Once they arrive, they begin to prepare a defense in front of the graveyard where they expect dead to rise and assault the town. Brandwise gets a few able-bodied men as well as Captain William ready to fight. Dillant prepares a small defensive ditch from which to fire his untrusty rifle. The elven woman readies arcane defenses to bolster her martial prowess. The wait with uncertainty as the black mist dims the light of day above the graves.
After a few tense moments, the long dead rise as skeletons and the newly dead rise as zombies and begin to pour out of the graveyard. The battle goes well until the dead begin to rise faster and faster and soon they are barely being held from the town proper. The town guards save Brand and William fall to the claws of the dead. Flight and fear pass through the minds of each of the combatants as a wicked vampiress emerges from the black mist. Though retreat would be wise, none of the fighters are willing to abandon the others or they simply have no position to flee to.
The dead finally cease to rise but the Vampire enters the fray. Though she does not strike the defenders, she offers a barter. “Thank you for freeing me. Give me that stone and I will spare your lives.” Azdara attempts to release the soulhopper against the Vampire, but as she attempts to release the spirit, the Vampire seizes the stone! Dillant tries to disarm her, but she manages to return to a mist form and flee up towards the black mist.
With the largest threat gone, the group still must contend with the remaining hostile corpses. Captain William downs several skeletons and zombies, but is overwhelmed and torn apart by zombies defending the rest. Buying time for Brand to get the distance needed to repeatedly charge the zombies, Dillant Groveborn falls. Using the distraction provided by Dillant, Brandwise is able to finish off the zombies with a series of cavalry charges.
As the battle winds down, the freshly killed soldiers begin to rise but are quickly put down. A pyre is built to dispose of the corpses and to honor those who died preventing the destruction of Geman. If no defense had been mounted, the dead would have certainly killed people and swole their ranks and overrun the town.
XP: Each surviving party member receives 1650 Experience for surviving the battle, roleplaying rewards and story advancement.
- The Flanged Mace of Captain William
- Survivors are exalted as Heroes in the Town of Geman
- The Elven Warrior – Who is she? How did she get here? Why?
- The Greytroll – Where has it gone? Is it still around?
- The Vampire – Who is she? Why did she take the Soulgem?
- Ninja Master Thanis – Why does he need the Soulgem and does he know what was inside?