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Monday, June 18, 2012

Rappan Athuk Castles & Crusades Campaign - 2

After the escape from Zanzer Tem's Dungeon, and the freeing of dwarven and gnomish slaves along the way, Guruck, our barbarian of Altanis (if you know what "Altanis" is kudos to you) and co. found themselves on a road headed north, back to Bard's Gate and Reme.  Several days north our "heroes" arrived a a crossroad.  It was here that this party was to split, our cleric going home to Bard's Gate and Axl heading to the northwest to Reme.  Guruck, having not decided upon which way to go, only that he wanted revenge on Zanzer Tem for his imprisonment, stood with his companions pondering.  All looked up as the priest of Odin pointed toward the north eastern road.  They watched, warily, as a shrouded figure approached, seemingly oblivious to their presence.

Caught off guard when spoken to, the mysterious man, now known to be a wild elf, jumped a bit when the barbarian called to him.  He introduced himself as Lucien.  As Fate would have it, the dark stranger also had business with Zanzer Tem.  What was more, he also wanted Zanzer dead.  Of course Lucien was assured that the wizard had fled from his mine, and it was also known that he would not readily return to Bard's Gate.  the logical conclusion, they decided, would be to head toward Reme, all save the cleric who took his leave from the party and headed off home to Bard's Gate.

The party traveled along the north west road for several days before arriving at  El Marsh lake.  As the sun set over the lake, the reflection seemed to cause an issue with every party member's sight, as they seemed to have missed a curious hut at the edge of the lake until they were nearly upon it.  The hut was small and brown, and surrounded by a wooden fence, topped with glowing eyed skulls.  Upon approaching one of the skulls began to speak and told our bold (anti)heroes that this was the hut of Baba Yaga.  The witch was summoned by the party to answer questions regarding their quest.  Baba Yaga agreed, but under her own conditions.  Knowing, in here vast supernatural mind, that Lucien was not only an assassin, but was such under the watchful eye of his patron deity, a divinity worshiped in the far off lands of Khemit, Anubis god of the dead.

The witch assured the party that Tem had fled to Reme, but would not be there long.  She spoke long winded about a quest that would eventually lead them to their objective, the quest of that of stopping the plans of the cult of the Demon Prince of the Undead!  It was foretold that their journey would begin to the north of the lake in the village of Malforten, which was forced to pay tribute to a gnoll deserter named Gritznak, who had abandoned his own people and deity to serve this dead Demon God.  She stated that Lucien would have his prize if he could defeat this cult (to which it was revealed that Zanzer Tem was a member) by going through trials and tribulations in some of the harshest, blackest places in the known world, not the least of which being the fabled Dungeon of the Graves.  So it was, armed with this information, and the promise that with the final goal of the downfall of Zanzer Tem, that Lucien would return to Baba Yaga, that the party set forth for Malforten.

Upon their arrival the party learned many strange and sometimes ignorant rumors surrounding both the region and Gritznak.  They did learn that Gritznak would send goblins to the village to gather "tribute" to feed his men and fund whatever it was that his goal happened to be.  Axl, board by this, and not truly wishing to do any work, left and headed toward Reme.  The remaining duo, sought harder for information and learned that even Eryl the Hoskin, head of the village militia, believed that there was a mole in Malforten, giving information to Gritznak about the militia's plans to remove him.  Gritznak always seemed to be one step ahead of the plans.

Armed with this information the assassin and barbarian set about finding the mole.  Learning of the village priestess, Amanda Rhyan the Paish, in the service of Freya and "missionary" of Shandril of Fairhill to the wilds surrounding Malforten.  From what they gathered Amanda had the villagers in the custom of leaving offerings to the local fairy folk, that they not play pranks and whither the crops to drive the settlers off.  They also discovered that on nights of the full moon she would lead villagers to the edge of the wood where they would pray and leave such offerings, while the priestess herself would enter the woods to commune with said fey.  Suspicious of this, believing she was perhaps consorting with the goblins while unwatched in the wood, Lucien set to follow her.