EXILES game log


#1

Hey guys, I figured I might make a game log for my first ICRPG campaign I’m calling Exiles, both to curate my time and get suggestions for future sessions. i went for an old school vibe mixed with the tone of Dark souls and some existing assets i had (such as the map below in cloth)

World primer:

The Western Marches are a place of forsaken mysteries. Once ruled by a coven of sorcerer-kings obsessed with immortality, they controlled the known world and were wiped out in a single night by the gods for their crimes. As of now, even their names are forgotten, and hence that is what they have been referred to as since. Their ruins show telltale signs of their obsession with life, as every surface has been carved to resemble placid human faces, so realistic they could be mistaken for living people.

In the centuries since, the Sutherlands have been sending their exiles here to live out their remaining days until their lives are inevitably taken by the harsh wilderness. These exiles formed bands of barbaric cannibals that exist throughout the land. This remained the case until the holy church of Hawethor, storm-god of the law, saw portents that lead to a crusade being waged with the tribes, and established the first foothold of civilization, The Citadel, which was built on the ruins of a long lost city of the Forgotten.

Knowing they could never hold control of a population of exiles already abandoned by society, the church relented and founded the guilds, all of which rule the Citadel as pieces of the whole. Their own Guild of Mysteries looks into the ruins scattered around the wilds of the Western Marches in order to find relics of that civilization of mages and piece together their story.

Our band of adventurers happens to be on one of these expeditions on their first session.

It’s a wonder the ruin had never been found before, having two massive stone heads mark its entrance, but at a second glance, with the mists of the dark forest obscuring vision as much as the massive trees, it was understandable how this building could be missed so far off the beaten path. entering, they find it is an archive, with six massive columns supporting a broken ceiling that lets hazy light wash over the room. a statue of a seated woman with a large open tome dominates the space, and six floors of scrolls flank her. accessible by a staircase that accesses each tier of the room. The scrolls are rotted, and crumble to dust (it’s not like they’d be able to read them, anyway), however on the statue they find a maker’s mark bearing an eight pointed star carved into the open page, and a pendant around the statue’s neck bearing the same.

Upon exploring deeper down, they are captured and knocked out, waking in a hide tent to the acrid smell of burning meat and their commander and gear missing. ever-prepared, their nomad used a hidden blade to free their own bonds and another’s while the scribe dislocated their thumb joint to escape, catching a savage by surprise as he came to butcher another prisoner, ending with his own neck snapped while his corpse was thrown as a (rather effective) weapon against his companions. the ensuing fight on the edge of a chasm, connected by a lonely bridge ravaged the party, but in the end they won, buying enough time to set the camp on fire and burn the bridge behind them as more savages yells echoed through the ruins.

Their chase ended at a set of large stone doors right as the barbarians caught up, finding a deeper level to the archive. one of the savages chased them inside, and was quickly dispatched by its resident in a flash of steel, bisecting him in two bloody halves. A lanky armored figure, with a sword twice the height of a man crouched over the human wreckage, then turned their way.

the armored figure’s sweeps caught the party off guard, though the ranger’s clever use of some salvaged arrows managed to take the beast by force. Darkness coalesced around it and knocked out two party members when it unleashed the blast, a final death knell to the warrior as he collapsed. upon inspection, the person inside was nothing more than an emaciated corpse with its form stretched to this unnatural shape within the armor.

What could have made it, they wonder? Yet mysteries this deadly will wait until the next session.

[small edit, thanks for the great response people!]


ROLL OFF
Hacking together Altered State and The Sprawl
Monster workshop - The Blind Shrike
#2

Can’t wait for the next session’s report! Sounds like a lot of fun! Keep up the great work!


How to run Dark souls-esque bosses?
#3

Session II - A night in the woods

Following the last session, the party killed something bizarre; an elongated man in armor within the Forgotten archive, they discovered a single salvageable tome among the room’s wreckage, squirreled behind a bookcase along with a secret passage. It was a heavy, black-bound text of which they could only make out the title; “The Black Grail”. the inner text, however, was written in a complex cipher and none of the arcane illustrations made any sense to them. An expert would be needed to read its text. Being that it was the only thing they had to show for their bloodshed and the loss of their commander, they took it with them and headed up the narrow, rough-hewn passage.

Exiting, they found themselves outside the archive, around the corner from the stone heads where they entered. The last hints of sunset show on the horizon, and the horses they had brought and tied up outside were gone, stolen, or worse… Being twenty miles from the outskirts of the Citadel, they would be in for a long night.

They bedded down under some leaning boulders and the nomad took first watch. an hour and a half later, however, their eyes shot open and they sat bolt upright as a scream came from the wilderness beyond, like a chorus of agony from a dozen or more mouths acting as one voice. No more sleep for them that night. they packed up hastily and ran.

Bushes shuffled, twigs (or was it branches?) snapped behind them. What sounded like the gallop of an animal followed, out of rhythm with its own step and with far too many feet to be one beast. The archer tripped as they increased their pace, hearing ragged, guttural panting just out of sight, and then — silence. the priest and the nomad went back to help their companion. though silent, the nomad’s pet ocelot looked into that stygian darkness with its hackles raised and hissing, before running away. The party felt they should follow suit.

Their chase ends at a clearing next to a cliffside and a sheer wall. 50 feet below the cliff lies more wilderness and around the clearing are a set of standing stones, carved with runes for some long forgotten ritual. At the edge of the cliff is a gibbet that holds a man, the sole survivor of another expedition left here by barbarians as some sort of offering to the wild. The party wastes no time releasing the man, pulling his cage onto the ledge and working the lock. They’re in this together, regardless of the company they work for.

As they beat a shield on the lock to set him free, a large human hand of pale flesh grabs the ledge. Then another. and another. IT COMES FOR THEM.

It takes the party a moment to realize what they are looking at; a beast made entirely of arms, large and taller than them down to the size of a small child’s hold the beast together constantly readjusting their grips to one another. several massive hands come together to create a mask, like a grotesque shadow puppet, is the closest thing they can approximate to a face. With all the agility of a spider, it charges towards them.

They manage to break the lock and set the scribe free, half of them moving out of the beast’s way and into the ruins of the stone circle while the priest and archer are grabbed, hands forcefully gripping them and suffocating their breath. While in the stone circle, the nomad and the scribe notice runes used for some unknown ritual of the hill folk that inhabit the woods, useless knowledge except for the fact that the runes can be altered to possibly help them instead.

While grasped, the priest drops an alchemical flare they had and are rescued by the nomad’s ocelot as it bites and slashes at the arms holding it in place, allowing the priest to escape and use the flare to set the beast’s “head” ablaze, allowing the archer to escape as well. By now they’ve seen that any wounds they left on the creature seem to heal themselves quickly, sinew sewing itself together and mutilated limbs regrow with translucent skin. killing this thing seems impossible.

The scribe hatches a plan; these runes can be altered to make a temporary magic barrier which will keep anything inside the circle safe from outside harm for an hour or two at most. Not helpful if the beast waits, but it may allow them to escape. Between the scribe and priest, the two are able to alter a majority of the pillars while the archer and nomad lasso and harpoon the beast, using a pulley they salvaged from the dungeon they left, they try to pull it through the stone archway. The beast braces the arch while a couple pairs of hands unfurl from it, pulling the ropes in a bizarre tug-of-war. The priest and nomad work from the other side to break the arms bracing the arch, but the priest is grabbed and slammed multiple times into the pillar, leaving them a hair’s breadth from death.

working together, they manage to pull the creature through and into the circle, quickly exiting as the scribe activated the barrier, giving them time to put distance between them and the trapped beast, escaping down the gibbet’s line into the wilderness, and further west back to the Citadel.

Run ragged, they take a day to rest before meeting with the Guild of Mysteries who hired them to survey the ruins and bring back any items found. they provide the pendant, but the scribe is enamored with the Black Grail tome, and they collectively decide that they will be keeping that piece a secret… for now at least.


#4

Session 3
Upon returning to the Citadel the party takes a much-needed rest, and the wizard dives into the strange tome to little success. The cipher is too tough to crack, but he might know an oddball strange enough to manage it. In the district controlled by the Guild of Mysteries, they find linguist Milosh Kraj, a thin man with a wiry black beard and one bug-eye among a shack with a low door and a narrow path to his desk between mounds of books and paper. He tells them he can decipher it, given enough time, and they give him some coin for his trouble.

Following this they hear a ruckus as they’re told that the Voices of the guilds are convening, Blackwall, an ally city in the east is under siege from the Tribes.
Within the Citadel’s meeting hall, men crowd together to hear the Voices, elected officials that represent their guilds. Three are engaged in an argument at the long table, a priestly man, the voice of mysteries, argues that the blades currently engaged in expeditions on his guild’s behalf cannot be recalled as their work is too valuable. Krast, a grey-bearded man with an accent as thick as his neck, a respected veteran of the Blades argues that nothing is more important than the defense of Blackwall, because its people will be devoured by the barbarian tribes rather than taken prisoner or merely killed, and if the Tribes take Blackwall, they will have a permanent foothold they can defend rather than just scattered camps. it will take everything they have to save the city.


The third figure at the table, a man in a cloak and brass mask stands silences their bickering. He is the Voice of Beggars, the head of the council, and the deciding vote on all issues. his anonymity is part of the position, and he is voted for by the lowest among the masses to keep their interests in check, as the name suggests. He agrees with Krast, in fact he believes they should move faster, as the city’s supplies won’t last long and have the blades in the field rendezvous with the main caravan along the Great Road as they approach Blackwall. The voice of mysteries is pained that their work must be put on hold, and Krast begins barking orders to his men before he even leaves the hall.

As the party exits, Krast flags them down. He has heard their stories about facing the nightmare beast around the pub, and he needs that tenacity in the caravan. they are appointed as a scouting party ahead of the main force and are told to be ready by daybreak, given a sigil with the symbol of the Guild of Blades, three crossed swords, and told to take it to the warehouse, they’ll need to stock up.

Following their stocking spree, their supplies are loaded on a cart. they decide to inform Milosh that they won’t be returning for some time. as they approach his shack, located at the end of a narrow alley, one of the party is shoulder-checked by a large man in a gladiator-like helm along with two others. as he turns they see a familiar black book in his arms. they turn back and see light flickering from within Milosh’s shack and smoke starting to billow from the entrance. Turning back to the thugs, they find them armed with knives and one in the rear has a crossbow. Someone wants that book, and they’re willing to kill for it.

A battle in tight quarters ensues, the rogue saves Milosh, trapped under rubble and beat to a bloody pulp as the building burns around him. crossbow bolts are traded with spellcraft and arrows from the ranger’s longbow. two of the thugs attack up close, a knife in each hand. the first is laid low by the paladin after they take a heavy hit, the other is disarmed by the ranger’s signature towel (always carry a towel) kept on him at all times, throwing his knife behind some barrels in the alley. disarmed and with the book in his other hand, the thug retaliates with some spellcraft of his own, revealing these three are not mere hired muscle. the rogue managed to sneak up on him and target an open wound on the thigh to get him to drop the book as well as end him. Realizing he didn’t stand much of a chance, the crossbowman bolts into the city. on the corpses of the thugs they find a sigil, similar to the one given to them by Krast, an eye within a book. these men were assassins for the Guild of Mysteries, looking to reclaim the tome.

Milosh asks for their assistance, the city is no longer safe for him and he’s now homeless. they agree to let him stay in the wagon they were given as part of the caravan as long as he continues his work on deciphering the book.

The following day they make good time along the Great Road, and are sent to scout forts along the road to see if they might contain threats sent by the Tribes. they are sent along with other scouting parties, and observe signs of the tribes around the tower, but not a soul in sight. within, the temperature drops to a bitter cold, with not a single barbarian to be found. its as if they have vanished. frost flows from beneath the door to the basement, and as they follow they find the remnants of the tribes, now corpses frozen solid and hacked to bits. A gangly figure in the corner begins to move and shed layers of ice from its armored body, ready to strike…

To be continued next session
[gotta say, this one was surprisingly satisfying as it only lasted around an hour and a half. never had a session so short but so good]


Ideas for sanity recovery
#5

Sessions 4 and 5:
COVID really ramped down productivity on this game, we had one session online and one in person since our last episode, so here’s the end of our first arc of the story:
Session 4: INTO THE MAW


The frost knight strikes in the depths of the fort, freezing the party in place and striking at them, yet after a harrowing fight, it was also laid low by the rogue hidden in the shadows with a final stab through the faceplate. Among the corpses of the barbarians, they are able to scrounge together enough outfits to disguise themselves as barbarians.

Within hours they had infiltrated the camp, amassed with barbarians, not just warriors, but entire families supporting the siege of Blackwall. the players are told to report to the Warmaster, a giant twice the size of a man with a skirt of a hundred human skulls at his waist.

they provide false information to the Warmaster while the rogue sneaks in the roof of the massive tent and manages to find some plans for the attack. Evidently, the Warmaster is awaiting the arrival of the last few clans before attacking at night the next day. The caravan the PCs were traveling with wasn’t scheduled to arrive until the following morning and would be too late. The rogue decided it would be best to ride back and warn the caravan to hurry in their defense.

The other party members continued to scout out the camp, happening upon a hill with a trebuchet built for giants to aid in the siege. around it they could hear the chanting of “GROG! GROG! GROG! GROG!” as a very large barbarian was loaded into the trebuchet and flung into the forest with much fanfare. when inquired as to why they’d be launching one of their own, they are assured he’ll be fine as this is the third time he’s been launched and usually comes back in a bit, but as time stretches on, eventually they’re told: “well if you care so much about 'em, why don’t you go find 'em?”
Not wanting to blow their cover in the epicenter, they go take a look, eventually seeing evidence of his landing through broken treetops and finding him standing perfectly fine while distracted by some commotion within a ruined cathedral.
Inside they witness something strange, another of the monsters made of arms being attacked by another armored figure, this time its human proportions remain intact as it swings a massive spiked ball on a chain. Despite the hand creature’s resilience, it is eventually felled by the armor which then turns on the party as Grog cheers for it like a tavern brawl.
white%20knight%20armor

Session 5: The Siege of Blackwall
The armor is a fierce opponent, keeping a constant momentum on the heavy iron ball it swings, attacking single targets and entire areas while using the same immobilizing frost breath that the last armor set used. Anyone sticking around too long close to it is knocked away by the swinging ball. The entire party fell except for Grog, who had more resilience than the rest of the party and beat the armor, then stabilized the main healer so he could save the rest of the party. Meanwhile, the armor shuttered itself, folding entirely within its gauntlet, leaving behind a female barbarian recognized by Grog as Trayla, who had disappeared on the road to the siege weeks prior, still alive within the armor. She tells them of finding it in the ruins of a Forgotten monastery as her tribe headed towards Blackwall. At first, she felt empowered by her discovery, but as she used it, the gauntlet became more and more in control until she was completely under its spell. now out of its control, she wants nothing to do with it. The party’s paladin flips on it with the rogue and wins, keeping it for future struggles.

Back at the camp, they find it in a flurry of activity. Warhorns are being blown and the whole thing seems to be commanded from the hill with the trebuchet. They find out that the Warmaster has grown tired of waiting for the remaining tribes and has begun the siege without them. a chunk of rubble is thrown into the city wall, causing a section to crumble and allowing the first wave of barbarians to attack. The party sees an opportunity to disrupt the violence before it becomes a foregone conclusion, and the paladin puts on the gauntlet to fight the Warmaster.

Grog, caught in the middle of a fight between his chief and those who saved him, sides with his chief and attacks the party. (mind you, the rogue player was playing him and decided this with a coin flip, throwing some chaos in the mix). The Warmaster himself cares nothing for Grog’s safety and swings wildly at anything near him, charging through the fight and summoning barbarians from the crowd to assist him. While the paladin succeeded at landing some damage on the Warmaster and successfully controlling the crowds of barbarians, a third wave of the minions showed up and managed to crit her, destroying the temporary buff the armor provided and actually felling him. Grog, having been laid low by his own Warmaster while still fighting on his side, recklessly attacked his chief and managed to do enough damage to end him as the remainder of the party fell, near death. The Warmaster’s body was carried away by his tribesmen and soon the thunder of hooves came from the Great Road as the rogue returned with Krast and the entire caravan to rout the enemy. Scattered and leaderless, the tribes retreated.

Milosh arrived with their wagon towards the end of the caravan to ask what he’d missed. they explain and show him the gauntlet. Seeing the markings, his eyes grow wide and he rushes back to the wagon without saying a word, retrieving the Black Grail tome and pointing to an illustration of an armored figure
“I’ve seen this before, the Forgotten called them the Great enemy; living weapons forged by the gods and sent to punish them, yet I haven’t found the reason why they were sent. The information on these may be the reason the church why the Church was willing to kill me burn down my shop for info on them. I reckon you should keep that thing close and safe.”

When finished, the paladin feels a strange, almost magnetic pull to the south by the gauntlet. when pulling away she feels a similar pull to the east. In these directions are the Isle of storms and Highlands respectively. The party votes on the Highlands as their next destination. What will be found there can only be guessed.


#6

Session 6: The Silent Valley

After a fortnight of helping with the relief efforts of Blackwall, the party gained a new member who had assisted in the rear assault, a large bruiser with a small trained wyvern. Krast, the voice of blades gave them accolades and a bonus from his own coin purse to assist their efforts. Having stocked up, they headed through the Highlands towards Eastport, via the only land path to it known as the Silent Valley, called such because barely any caravans make it through the trek.


As they take off, the treachery of the path is immediately apparent, yet all other paths found seem to be far worse. Soon they see something in the distance, which looks like a man waving at them in a tree. they soon find out that it was actually a wealthy corpse pinned to a tree, its arm hanging with a bare strip of flesh. This becomes the first of many corpses found impaled along the path. Daylight is eaten away, and they decide resting is better than traveling at night. They are incredibly wrong.

Several hours in, their rogue on watch nearly has her head taken off by a silent attacker, with a hooked blade and wearing the skull of one of the large corvids seen picking at the corpses around here as a mask. a red scar can be seen in the pale moonlight around its throat, and once deflected, it disappears into the shadows of the trees.
CorvusCabal_Spire-Stalker2
The others are awoken, and between them, the silent savages don’t seem to have much of a chance against their combined force. right when they think they are about to kill the last of them, they hear a horrid piercing shriek from the sky and see a shadow envelop the last savage, and in a flash, see him impaled on a branch. they are attacked several times in the same manner and soon realize those who are silent (like their enemies) won’t be targeted. soon the beast lands in confusion, it is massive and ugly in every way, two massive hands ending in long black claws make up its wings, smaller human hands sprout from it everywhere, and its head looks like a large raven, with a second grotesque humanoid head peaking out from within its own mouth. Its blind eyes are unfocused, looking in no particular direction as it twitches and reacts to every creak and sway of the branches.

More savages attack from the shadows, hurling whistling darts to attract the beast to the party while the party does what it can to keep it ground-bound, eventually unleashing the frost knight armor and freezing it. things get dire when it busts free and the frost armor deactivates, but when it does the paladin using it feels a pull stronger than any it has felt before. looking above, they spy out another armored figure pinned to a tree, desperately trying to remove itself from the branch it is impaled on from a previous encounter. they act to remove it. the ranger gets close, and when he does the armor sees what he is attempting to do and reverts to its gauntlet form, letting its host die and dropping to the canyon floor, out of reach. the rogue sends her ocelot to retrieve the gauntlet and puts it on, immediately light as a feather and fast as the beast they are fighting. the next time it lands she rushes across the battlefield and decapitates it, flesh turns to ash leaving only a twisted skeleton behind. the raven savages scatter at the loss of their god and they decide waiting is no longer an option and push through the rest of the way to Eastport.


#7

I’ve been terribly lazy about updating for a long while now, so here’s what the party has gotten up to during the summer:

Session 7, the Isle of Storms:

Reaching Eastport after rushing through the Silent Valley, the party takes time to rest and recuperate in the boomtown. Eastport is known as the only bit of civilization between the sea and the ancient Forgotten temples, dead center in the eastern wastes. because these temples have been picked over for artifacts, the town has gone bust as there are few people to trade with around here.

They feel the pull of the gauntlets towards the Isle of Storms - a place known for existing in the eye of an ever-swirling malestrom for as long as civilization here has bothered to write these things down. they won’t be getting there on their own without chartering a ship. Low on funds, they happen upon a captain of a vessel known as the Sea Raven who takes great interest in the large corvid skull they have been hauling around since their last fight. he offers them a deal; the skull as a new figurehead for his ship in exchange for passage to the Isle of Storms. They accept and embark.

The seas are calm leaving Eastport, but the sky grows darker, winds pick up, and waves become rougher as they have to navigate the barriers of sharp rocks protecting the isle. As they use their grappling hooks to help the ship turn more sharply, they are set upon by a wyvern with coppery scales who discharges electricity with each wing flap. Using their skills with rope, they manage to subdue the drake without killing it, tying it to the front of the boat with the rogue managing to ride on its back, helping them reach the isle, but ultimately smashing on the rocks.

when upon the isle, they find their destination is a tower on the far end of a chasm, with the sea below and long rope bridges connecting stone pillars of wind-eroded stalagmites to the tower. against their better judgment they cross, along the way the rogue on the storm drake is attacked by its mate, a female drake who feels threatened by her presence. An aerial battle between them ensues as the rogue activates the peregrine armor they obtained in the battle against the shrike, and manages to scare off the female as the rest of the crew struggles to make it to the tower on foot.

At the top of the tower, roof long broken by lightning strikes, they find their quarry, and the source of the storms: the Conduit Knight garbed in copper armor and a cloak that resembles the darkest thunderhead. It is flanked by the drakes and seems to be their master. His battle is not easy after being so worn down, the knight blasts chain lightning that hops from character to character, teleporting in a flash, and even summoning the storm to strike everyone with lightning at random.

The rogue wins over the drake in the heat of battle and it betrays its mate as she goes for a killing blow on the rogue, saving her life. In the end, the combined efforts of the party beat the Conduit knight and allow the party wizard to claim its gauntlet as his own.

The three of them feel a new pull, leading them to the Wretched mire, a muskeg in the north known for its poisonous swamps.


#8

Session 8: The Depression

Escaping the isle with the help of the storm drake, the players make it back to Blackwall and rest, feeling the ever-present pull of the gauntlets leading them to the north. Their instincts as artifact hunters for the church indicate they would be heading to the Forgotten Necropolis, long picked over by other blades and since abandoned by expeditions, it is possible something important has been overlooked, and the pull of the gauntlets will help them find it.

Entering the depression from the south, they begin to explore, a large swirling mass of clouds creates a mist that covers any direction they look, and large cliffs surround the depression giving the impression it is sinking slowly into the earth. looking around, the start by discovering a frozen lake with something shambling through the freezing water in the distance. Upon further inspection, they see a very pale person, all pigment in their torn and missing flesh drained out with their vitality, it is a wonder they can move at all, and several others follow them through the mist…

in the battle, they find the pale men easy to kill, yet with time they continue to stand back up. they eventually abandon trying to fight and escape in the direction of smoke they see in the distance. Here, they find a helpful hermit who lives in the area. he trades them for an assortment of mushrooms he has collected with various properties.

In their rest, they are beset on all sides by the pale men, and escape north to an overgrown chapel in the distance which held some interest to them when the saw it earlier. There, they find a chapel with a constant spiraling pattern that reminds them of roots… or possibly worms…

Within a crypt they find a hidden staircase leading to a long forgotten series of rooms. the rogue stays behind to look around on their own while the others head down a hallway with angelic faces carved in the wall, piping in a beautiful choir of voices that become shrill and maddening with longer exposure. They encounter more pale men, the archer loses three fingers in the fray, as well as befriends a skull in his madness of the hall of faces, and upon an altar they discover a pair of sapphire eyes that look like they would fit the empty sockets of a statue found in the chapel upstairs.

The rogue ventured through the other door, across a narrow bridge, and find a large vine-covered undead stuck in a far off room. They bolted across the bridge and it toppled under the beast’s weight, causing it to fall down a deep pit, circumventing a certainly deadly solo fight.

Session 9 - The Necropolis

Escaping the lower levels a little worse for wear, they return to the chapel, a starry ceiling above them and a swirling, sickening pattern below. The hermit confirms the sapphire eyes they found are known as the Eyes of the Icon and allow them to see through illusions, something necessary to see through the mist shrouding the necropolis, far too thick to even see your hand in front of your face. stranger still, the mist leaves a metallic taste on their tongues and only gets worse the closer to the necropolis they get.

they enter, stumbling around and through tombs until they are attacked by something strange, a nightmarish goat made of human parts with a sobbing face attached to its own, and eyeballs protruding from its horns and carrying a lantern. They make out the sobbing face is speaking the language of the Forgotten, begging their forgiveness. It bleats an ear-piercing shriek that causes them to become deaf temporarily, and once it has taken a good thrashing, it disappears back into the mist.
image

They discover the source of the pull; a mausoleum made of smooth black stone. On the entrance, large letters in the Forgotten language show the words " MAY THEIR FAILURES BE OUR LAST " an ever-repeating epitaph found on every tomb of their culture, as if overcoming death was something one should strive for, and be expected to succeed. Inside they see a large man in brass armor, head raised to the sky and disgorging a thick cloud of miasma from his mouth. their presence does not stop him in his task, but the sound of a familiar bleating from the goat flanks them and grabs the armor-bound sentinel’s attention.

The Goat and the miasma knight double team the party, attacking as a unit, the heavy armor defends the Goat whenever it is in danger. The armor disgorges toxic smoke, lowering visibility and corroding weapons to simple piles of rust. This is the hardest fight they have faced till now, and they have to pull out all the stops, using all 3 armor sets to their full potential to kill the goat and have it relinquish control of the armor.

The face on the goat thanks them for ending him, for he had no control over his body for the last millennia. He reveals he was transformed by the ancient sorcerous council of the forgotten known as the Koschei, for attempting to prevent them from making the ultimate transgression, a ritual that would sacrifice the entire population in the pursuit of eternal life. Divine intervention came in the form of the suits of armor they wield - weapons from the arsenal of heaven sent to right the wrongs. since then, the Forgotten and the divine warriors have been in a stalemate, and the sorcerous council has been waiting them out, allowing them to be corrupted and go mad with time, unable to complete their task. These four sets are the only ones that remain of that crusade, and may be the only thing that can kill the immortals. He orders them to go, kill the deathless. Kill the Koschei.


#9

Session 10 - Return to the Citadel

The pull guides them one last time - west, to the citadel. The city has changed since they left all those months ago. The church is burning those they claim to be heretics, and a “tithe of atonement” is planned to happen in a brief time. Krast, Voice of blades plans a coup to end the church’s madness, opposing him is the man on top, a cardinal named Drago from the church in the Sutherlands on a self-exile has taken up the mantle of the Voice of Mysteries.

There’s a cult-like air to the citadel as they return - areas that were once loud and boisterous markets and taverns are somber; hushed tones with an undercurrent of tension. Krast, the Voice of Blades informs you in a corner table about the current situation. In the months since you left to defend blackwall the Voice of Mysteries has been officially been declared as the official voice of the church throughout the western marches. The voice of beggars, previously the defacto deciding vote of the council, has been pushed out by the other voices that have joined Drago’s cause, merchants, entertainers, and smiths, all of which cast their vote in with the voice of mysteries.

It was then that the burnings started, dissenters were labeled heretics and put to the pyre along with their families. Any talk against them was quelled then, but every week or so someone is set ablaze in the town square just to turn the thumbscrews a little harder on the populace.

Tomorrow night, the church has ordered all families with children too young to receive the exile’s brand to come to the dock for what they call the “Tithe of atonement”, Krast intends to stop them there in a very violent and public manner, and wants the players’ help to succeed.

The next night is stormy, families are gathered at the harbor for this tithe, told that the church’s envoys in the southlands would be taking the children to live, and become reeducated in the sutherlands, allowed to live as free folk again outside the exiled lands, but in turn will know nothing of their parents left here to die in such an untamed land. Many leave, some debate, and others line up to give their children a chance they never had.

Three cloaked figures step off the boat to receive the sacrifices - a tall man in ornate armor, and two hulking figures that dwarf him by comparison. The children squirm and cry as they are received, their parents looking at their children for the last time. A perception check reveals that the hulking figures taking the children do not merely take a couple and go back to the ship, rather, undersized arms seem to unfurl from the huge cloaks and take a child, then a new empty arm extends to take another. After taking a dozen or more the figure shuffles back into the ship and another replaces them to accept another round.
image
Krast makes the first move; striking down the voice of mysteries who presides over the event, and with Drago’s brain on the pavement, the ornate fellow unsheathes his saber and silently orders a pair of the cloaked figures into the fray. They are revealed to be the hand creatures the characters have seen before, and if the crowd wasn’t already in an uproar, abject panic fills them now as they see the lies coming to a head.


A fire starts somewhere and they face off with The Hand, a powerful warrior that is on par with their armor (because he is a corrupted version of it) and is able to buff the hand beasts as well as regen himself. Once the hand beasts die the hand leaves on the boat which is being rowed by large oars from its hold out to harbor.

Krast and the players gather a group of willing volunteers to head to their destination, and hopefully save the children: The Old City.