Lizard and Lunk

The continuing GURPS adventures of eight men who really should find better uses for their time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Three Months in Nine Paragraphs

18 April 2012~

So... After spending some time in a larger port city resting, re-equipping, and spending some of our money, we accepted a bounty-hunting job chasing down a particularly nasty bandit lord named Navarro and his followers. Following rumors of his movements, we came to the small village of Grassguard, where we discovered that Navarro and his band had struck only a few nights before, destroying a farm house and murdering the resident family before retreating into the shelter of the nearby "haunted" Wildwood. Actually, according to the town's halfling mayor and an insane half-elven bard, the wood was indeed haunted, and the ghosts in residence were particularly dangerous to elves, who they would try to lure to their deaths with some sort of song. We decided to enter into the woods anyway, and tracked the bandits to their point of entry.

At that point we waited until night to foray into the woods, trusting on our stealth and night vision to give us an edge- which it did. We came upon a small bandit camp in the dark, and slaughtered the bandits almost to a man. Then Kevin decided to raise a couple of them as zombies, and gave them orders to attack their fellows should they return. We ventured further into the woods to look for the other bandits, and soon came upon the ruins of an ancient elven city. Looking out over the city, we could see the bandit camp on the other side of the ruins, but then we were attacked by a group of dire wolves. We killed them quickly, and then Kevin animated several of them to serve as cannon fodder and night-time guards. We covered Piran's (my elf samurai) ears to block out the ghost song and camped for the night, but we didn't get much sleep, as a number of distant screams and shouts seemed to indicate that the bandits had encountered some of the less pleasant denizens of the region.

That might have worked out anyway, except that Kevin woke up in "fluffy bunny" mode (in which he is necrophobic) and panicked at the sight of the undead dire wolves. He cut loose with a fireball, and suddenly we were embroiled in a melee with zombie wargs that Kevin had created! Of course, as luck would have it, a small group of ellyllon had approached us at dawn, and they joined in the fray thinking that we were being attacked. We were embarrassed enough not to disabuse them of their assumption (after all, we would have been crazy to have undead dire wolves with us, and even more crazy to attack them if they were ours), and we proceeded to learn a bit about the elven city nearby. It seems that centuries ago a small elven community had been destroyed by some sort of vengeful tree spirit, and that the ghosts of the elves still rose and sung an unearthly song every night, calling other elves to their doom. There were also three elven sisters living nearby in a swamp, and they appeared to be connected somehow, although the ellyllon didn't know much about them.

We decided to approach the sisters, and discovered their island in the swamp was guarded by a number of undead ogres, as well as an undead hill giant swathed in tied-on suits of elven chainmail. After defeating them (and there were some scary moments), we saw a vision of one of the sisters, and she begged us for help- explaining that they were trapped underground inside the island. We proceeded inside with caution, following the sisters' instructions until we came to a hall that apparently led to a cell door. Unfortunately, the hall itself was an illusion, and when we were halfway through we discovered that the hard way- a huge and unfriendly water elemental came through one illusory wall and slammed Michael's dwarf off the bridge we were on and into a large pool of water. As we reassessed the situation (and Michael began to drown in his heavy plate armor), the creature came back for more of us, and we blasted it with everything we could muster. We eventually defeated it, only to discover the elf sisters facing us, now revealed to be banshees, and another fight was on just like that! After a harrowing melee, we finally killed (re-killed?) the three of them, and discovered a serious trove of treasure, including a magical silver harp which could (as we understood it) lift the curse of the elven ghosts.

We returned to the city and played the harp, which summoned the malevolent tree demon, which turned out to be every bit as unfriendly as you might guess. Another battle ensued, and eventually ended in the destruction of the tree demon (at the cost of a cool magic healing/hurting rod) and the lifting of the curse.

We returned to Grassguard to claim our reward, and the mayor told us that he had more need of us, if we were so inclined. It seemed that in our absence the village had received word that the Duke of Listonshire (the local liege lord) had died, and the mayor needed to travel to Castle Liston to pay his respects. We agreed to go, since we needed our reward money anyway, but when we got to the castle we found that there was yet more intrigue. The Duke, it turned out, had been foully murdered,- along with his family,- and the local priest (Father Barclay) was suspicious of a certain Baron Kendrick, who stood to take over the duchy in the absence of a living heir. Father Barclay didn't believe that his Baron had committed the deed (there is, after all, a powerful curse on the land that has attracted all sorts of unpleasant monsters to the area), but was concerned that the Baron had not publicly announced that one of the Duke's family had not been found at the ambush site, and thus might yet be alive. On the Mayor's recommendation, we were offered the job of finding out what had happened, and off we went!

Our first stop was the family crypt, where there were a couple of restless dead folks scaring off the priests. We re-killed them, too, and then Kevin spoke with some of the dead spirits of the place and learned that the curse was probably connected to an old cult dedicated to a being known as the "Lord of Plagues," and that the Baron- while opportunistic- probably didn't kill the Duke. We also learned that there had been suspicions of a local shrine to the Lord of Plagues, although none were quite sure where it was. We then traveled to the grave of one of the Duke's guards, who told us that he had seen one of the ladies in waiting (Lady Darnelle) flee the ogres that had attacked the Duke's party on her horse, carrying the Duke's youngest daughter, princess (and now heir-apparent) Linara.

We decided to visit the site of the ambush, and stopped at the small village of Brond to have dinner, where we were asked to take a quick look for a missing carpenter. We went out the next morning to seek him, and eventually tracked him down around noon- he having been charmed by a dryad. We convinced her to release him, then took him back to town, and left on such good terms that the dryad let us know that she had seen a lady ride by on the night of the ambush, that the lady had been carrying a child, that she had ridden for the village, and that she had been pursued by ogres. We took the carpenter back to the village, where we were all warmly welcomed and thanked by the populace. When we mentioned the lady, however, they claimed to have no idea what we were talking about, although two of the villagers looked uncomfortable at the question.

Bill bought one of the villagers a couple of drinks and tried the friendly approach, while Kevin (in bad-to-the-bone necromancer mode) and Craig intimidated another, and both eventually gave up what they knew: the lady had been seen riding alone out of town late that night, and that a group of the Baron's men was out scouring the area for the child- just like we were, although they had given off a much more negative vibe.


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