Journal of KinKal Issue 4/5
[Session 4 did not get proper attention in the Journals – I had to prepare for a 1-shot adventure – but I did write a brief email that went over the basics so I’ll include that. Sorry for the short entry.]
The heroes were at a standstill, trying to gather information about the whereabouts of the evil slavers. Much evidence pointed to the neighboring town of Zelbrass. Just as our intrepid adventurers thought the trail was getting cold (it is winter after all…) they were ambushed by men in purple robes!
After the harrowing combat that included a nasty “ghoul-in-a-box” dropped from a roof, we found a few items, but no further clues.
After some discussion we realized that the apothecary was the only business in town that was not being hit up for money by the thugs so we went to have a little “chat”. Though we were far too nice to the nasty half-elf, it did allow enough distraction for KinKal to deftly steal the map to the cultists’ base.
So off we went (the Dragonborn deciding to take a dip in the river on the way across) and followed the map to a location right outside of the Dire Wood. Not surprisingly we found an encampment of purple robed cultists, who started marching off into the woods, chanting.
Though we are currently not noticed by the robed figures, the overconfident, impatient, and impulsive halfling is about to do something rash.
Finally we had tracked the nasty slavers to their lair on the outskirts of the Dire Wood, only to see them march into the wood.
I feared that we would lose their trail so was itching to go in after them when we heard a sound from behind us. More cultists? Reinforcements come to warn them that their attempt on our lives had failed? No, it was that hick sheriff from Loudwater, Captain Harrowleaf along with his band called Riley’s Rangers (he is apparently Captain Riley Harrowleaf). They claimed to be here to “arrest” us but I think that they knew better than to even try. Plus they noticed the purple cloaked figures heading into the woods as well and decided to help us stop that menace first, then question us a bit more.
Yeah, bright idea Captain.
So we split up and moved into the forest. Harrowleaf assigned each one of us a band of men to lead through the wood – I guess he figured they’d get lost if he tried to keep track of them all. His lieutenant seemed to be a competent sort – a big hulking fighter with a flail.
So into the Dire Wood we marched. There seemed to be several hazards to overcome but none were all that difficult for me. Some of the others lost a couple men but most of them came through fine.
Some pixies that had followed me finally spoke up and gave us 2 options – direct up to the hill-top or through a series of caves to the hill-top. The former was faster, but we would be noticed. The later was more dangerous (dark and we could be eaten by a Grue) but we could come upon them unnoticed.
The captain and his men took the direct route while we went through the caves. The lieutenant came with us to “keep an eye on us”.
As we went through the tunnels it was extremely dark and everyone lit up what light they had. Even then, the light seemed to pierce the darkness less than it should. I tried scouting ahead, without my light and was somehow mentally attacked at the very edge of the light.
Ok, important safety tip, stay in the light.
We saw another light up ahead and, as we peeked around the edge of an opening, saw several purple robed figures. We quickly leapt to the attack and started cutting down the evil cultists.
A few of them were a bit tough but we worked together and cut them down. One made a break for it, but he got the “fill’em full of arrows” treatment. He was running toward a ladder up and no sooner had we gathered the worthwhile gear from the fallen foes than we heard the sound of battle from up the ladder. With no time to rest, up the ladder we went.
On the top of the hill there was a large flat area with an ancient stone circle surrounding a central altar. The captain and his men were engaged with a group of purple robed warriors on the far side of the circle, but were not making much progress. On each of the stones defining the circle was a purple-robed cultist and chained to the stone was a slave. Additionally 4 crystal globes in metal holders stood at each of the cardinal points away from the center. In the center another cultist was manipulating a sphere of magical energy that was fed by the crystal globes.
The only other items of note were 2 ghouls locked in small cages off to the side. Clearly the cages were old and rusted, and certainly did not look like they would hold agitated ghouls for long.
Seeing slaves chained to the stones was bad enough, but to force them to be part of some nasty ritual…well, suffice to say it was time to act!
We all charged forward, and I fired at the main cultist in the center. The arrow bit deep but the wound seemed to immediately heal. The cultists seemed to be in some sort of trance as when my second arrow struck one by a stone he “awoke” and moved to the attack.
In moments a brutal battle broke out as the cultists fired evil magics at us. Suddenly the guy in the middle did something and a beam of energy fired at one of the robed figures by a stone. That figure shaped the energy and directed it into the slave chained to the stone, turning him into a ghoul!
We continued to press the attack – my focus being the breaking of the cultists’ trance so that they could not turn anymore slaves into ghouls. Every wound we did to the ritual leader seemed to heal immediately so we concentrated on the evil warlock assistants. Though they wielded foul magic, they were not very strong and fell beneath blade and shaft.
As we moved forward several people smashed down the crystal globes that fed the ritual energy. This seemed to make the sphere in the middle spin out of control. Just as we finished the last of the purple robed cultists the globe of energy seemed to fly out of control. The ritual leader screamed as energy leapt out of the sphere and transformed him into a twisted being of flesh and tentacles!
The strange beast attacked, grabbing at us with tentacles to draw us into its disgusting maw. We gave it everything we had left and our combined might finally seemed to kill it.
As the aberration fell and was absorbed by the now out of control energy there was a flash as the energy broke free. Suddenly all was strange – we could still hear the battle of the captain and his men…but it sounded distant. There was a deep fog surrounding the area, too thick to penetrate and our footsteps echoed strangely.
The fog slowly faded leaving the 5 of us – myself, Colibri, Ahrjan, Rong, and the Lieutenant from Riley’s Rangers – standing on a dark, dusty, crossroads. The signpost read in one direction: Town of Barovia, in the other direction, Castle Ravenloft…
/cue dramatic music /fade to black