Session 6 (30th June 2014)
Note if as a player your GM is likely to run Retribution by Raging Swan please DO NOT read any further. Retribution is one of the most superb adventures, very far from a standard dungeon crawl and would be truly spoiled to play by the information contained below. If you’re a GM I really recommend buying and running Retribution, so far it’s been a blast and even an entire session without once rolling for initiative hasn’t put the party off.
We left our party standing at the bottom of a huge chasm in the caves beneath the Priory of Cymer tracking down those who had desecrated the abbey. In the massive chamber the parties light did little more than illuminate the vast darkness around them, in front a single tunnel led into the ebon darkness. This tunnel sank deeper into the solid rock, it’s cracked and damp walls obviously eroded over centuries. Checking the few side passages to ensure that nothing lurked there the party soon noticed the sound of waves crashing onto rocks and realised that there was a salty tang flavouring the air. Hypothesising that those they sought had gained entry to the caves from a beach nearby all where surprised when they turned a corner to find their way blocked by a large pool all but filling a sizeable chamber. Suddenly water surged from a hidden passageway deluging the slick rocks that pierced the pool’s surface, spraying the air in foam and hammering the wall to their right before receding as quickly as it had come. Even at low ebb the water looked deep, cold and uninviting and our heroes huddled against the spray discussing the best way to cross.
It was decided that with his long legs Elrohir would make an obvious candidate for jumping from rock to rock carrying a length of rope (both to help others across and to help him get back if necessary) and therefore he tied said rope around his waist and jumped to the first rock. While the rocks were slippery from the spray the barnacles covering them gave some extra grip and taking his time and judging his jumps carefully he was able to get to the other side of pool with nothing more than a nasty scare when a particularly large surge almost sent him spinning into the swirling foam. On reaching the far side of the pool he had no sooner turned to shout to his comrades than he felt a terrible stabbing pain in his right shoulder blade as an arrow plunged from the darkness into him. Badly wounded he turned and drew his sword trying to calculate which of the rocky alcoves concealed the hidden archer. Dvadi leapt, heedless of the danger, from first one slippery rock to another while Hederas jumped to the first rock and called upon the power of Irori to heal not only Elrohir but the rest of the party as well. Dvadi and Hederas felt the divine blessing of Irori return them to almost full health but, possibly due to his distance from them, Elrohir was barely healed at all. With the possibility of shedding the blood of the goblins he hates so much Elrohir ran to the entrance to the nearest niche and discovered some half breed spawned of human and goblin clutching a bow. As the elf swung his longsword the archer dropped his bow and fell back, Elrohir’s blade harmlessly crashing into the rock where the creature’s head had been moments before.
Back at the pool Dvadi threw himself forward, desperate to get himself into the fray. Ignoring some sort of magical bolt that flew above his head he managed to mistime his jump and slipped on landing plunging deep into the icy water around the rocks. Somehow he managed to grab the rock that he was leaping for and dragged himself back up just in time to see Elrohir fall backwards from the rock alcove obviously grievously wounded. Hederas more cautiously following the dwarf didn’t even make it off the second rock before a wave caught him and tipped him from his precarious perch. As his head broke the surface he barely made it to the rock he was moments before standing on when another wave tried to pry his fingers from where they clung.
Armitage felt the fey power of the magic inside him rise and released a sleep spell at where Elrohir lay hoping that it would bring the assailants down. Then he too leapt to the first rock, nimbly managing a gap that was far greater by comparison to his small frame than those who had gone before him.
Dvadi struck out for the edge of the pool and with a massive effort swam to the shore. Heaving himself, beard streaming with water, onto the shore he lay low taking a moment to gather himself before charging where he now believed a second adversary was hidden. As he ran to the second rock alcove Hederas who had regained the rocks jumped from the last rock to the shore. As Hederas reached the cave where Elrohir lay he found the half goblin who had so badly wounded his comrade asleep. Dvadi likewise found a slumbering form in the niche he ran to, another half goblin, this one wore tatty robes instead of armour. Dvadi pulled his axe from his back and decapitated the creature in front of him while Hederas, after checking that Elrohir was in no immediate danger of death, drew Elrohir’s sword and used it to put an end to it’s master’s assailant.
Armitage joined his companions, having crossed the rocks without incident, as Hederas called once again on his God to revive his fallen comarade. The divine power of Irori closed the wounds of the ranger and he awoke heartened to see his foe fallen by his own sword. Searching the bodies resulted in a three items of note. The first a well crafted set of studded leather armour, definitely not of half goblin design, which fitted Hederas perfectly. The second was a strange heavy ring made of six strands of a black metal woven together to form a single item, one of bands had strange letters raised on it in characters unknown to any of the party. The last was a scroll case made of what appeared to be goblin skin, which contained three scrolls. Studying the ring revealed a faint aura of divination magic but left the both Hederas and Armitage confused as to it’s purpose, they were however able to identify two of the three scrolls as Expeditious Retreat and Identify spells while the third remained a mystery.
The group realised that really they could do with taking some time to heal and rest however soaking wet, cold and with no fuel to light a fire they decided that the only real option was to press on. Over the next hour they trawled the maze of passages finding various chambers containing an empty dormitory for goblins, a pool of drinking water, a cave spattered with blood and gore from a partially eaten goblin corpse and a cave emptied of it’s stalagmites and containing a small locked iron chest. Pressing on the flicker of firelight from a chamber ahead of them alerted the group to the possibility that they had reached the end of their explorations for the moment.
Taking advantage of Dvadi’s ability to see in the dark the party covered their lights and sent him ahead to scout. As he peered from the mouth of the passage he saw before him a large natural chamber. The walls were daubed in blood with fell symbols and a rocky plateau rose in the centre of cavern. Atop this a bald figure stood stationary it’s back to the dwarf, it’s head bowed before a rough rock altar, one hand aloft holding a short staff with a mutilated skull fixed to the end. Torchlight flickered from sconces around the room illuminating a pit filled with corpses which lay open immediately before the platform. Beckoning the party forwards Dvadi became aware that the corpses in the pit were not entirely stationary, appearing to shift even from this distance. The party took up positions ready for action and then, taking a deep breath, exploded into action.
As Dvadi sprinted across the carvern, an axe in each hand, Elrohir released an arrow which sped at the figure before the altar. As the arrow found it’s mark and the figure began to turn Dvadi saw the corpse-pit begin to undulate as three half formed amorphous blobs of melted flesh oozed from the pit. As they moved towards him he noticed half-formed clawed arms as their dripping faces turned towards him. Realising that he could pass them and mount the now visible stairs on the south side of the plateau he kept running noting that they turned and lurched slowly after him.
Hederas charged to close the gap between him and these new enemies holding the aspergillum given to him by Marel. As he approached he noticed at the same time as Elrohir and Armitage that the figure facing them before the altar was Ythel, head shaved and wearing robes far different from those of the worshippers of Darlen. From behind the altar a goblin in similar robes became visible and Elrohir, shifting his position for better aim, let off another arrow at this goblin. Armitage, aware that his store of magic was running low, let off the last of it in another desperate sleep spell. As his spell hit Ythel slumped into a heap however while the goblin behind the altar reeled she did not succumb and rounded the altar to Ythel’s side shaking him to awaken him.
As Ythel came round Dvadi leapt atop the profane altar and swung down at him, his axe biting deeply into his enemy. At the same time Hederas closed into combat with one of the repulsive lemures trading blows, the holy water from the aspergillum hissing as it bubbled on the skin of the foul thing. Elrohir’s next arrow finished the panicked goblin as it scrabbled away from the enraged dwarf wildly swinging at his master. In a matter of moments Ythel lay unconcious and bleeding by the altar and Hederas banished his foe back to whatever hell it was summoned from. Between them Dvadi and Hederas took care of the last of the foul hell spawn, hammering them in a flurry of blows.
Now they group turned their attention to Ythel. Although mortally wounded and unconscious he was not beyond saving and Hederas again called on Irori to save the wretch even as he was being bound. As Ythel came round he initially seemed unsure of where he was. As realisation dawned he let out an anguished scream and pulled at the ropes binding him. Gradually as Hederas spoke to him he stopped spitting, pulling and squirming and unexpectedly instead began crying huge sobs punctuated with curses. Eventually they began to make some small sense of his ramblings. Ythel was distraught that “HE”, eventually they realised that “HE” was Ruan, would go unpunished, that the sacrifices made and horror undergone by Ythel had been wasted. He seemed caught between loathing for what he had become and anger at a lack of justice. Darlen for all his talk of justice would give him none and then Braal who at least offered him revenge has taken all he respected about himself before abandoning him as well.
Slowly they pieced together a tale of a young and inexperienced Ythel served under Ruan in a fanatical cult of Darlenists called The Unalterable Way. Any minor infraction or error was punished brutally by violence, both physical and mental. After three years Ythel finally transferred away from Ruan to a more mainstream order but he was left as mentally scared by the ordeal as he is physically. For years he served Darlen however he held on to a deep seated hatred for Ruan that never left him. Three years ago when Ythel came to the Priory he was shocked to find that Ruan was in charge and although the curate had long since renounced The Unalterable Way the lust for revenge was rekindled to burn if anything more fiercely than before. As the years went on Ythel realised that his lust for justice would not be met by Darlen and Braal started to speak to him in his dreams promising revenge. Braal led him to the caves, gave him minions and helped him prepare for his final goal. Now that his plans had been uncovered and stopped he could see no path before him. He sold his soul to Braal by murdering Tomas, an act he appeared now to feel genuine shame for, and gained nothing for it, used and betrayed once again. As his story finally concluded he slipped into near catatonia only showing life through occasional mumblings too quiet to hear.
Here we leave our adventurers, trying to digest what they have learned and figure out their next steps…