Session Six Summary (Graveyard of Empires: After the Fall)
Session 6, August 5th 2020
The party has arrived on the outskirts of Montoa village near the evening of the 8th of Tenrilden. Approaching stealthily via hunting trails, they prepare to deal with any Shemmites who might still be lurking in the razed village ...
Just before sundown there is a commotion to the South and all ten of the warriors we saw and ten more pour out of the chief's hut and go talk to another Shemite who is out of breath and he has an unconscious companion.
We rush to the chief's hut and find Ajax a trader/cleric who the Shemites captured. We free him and he helps us rush the leader and we severely wound the leader and drop several of them. The leader calls some to stand with him, and tells the others to run.
We slowly drop those opposing us and our missile fire only wounds the fleeing Shemites.
Alea is knocked down and Fisher and Braadlur pull her out of the fray and tend her wounds.
Then Fisher snares the leader and several of our party beat the leader while the rest face those left to fight so the rest can flee.
The leader is killed and only one who stood and fought managed to flee with several arrows in him.
The only survivor is the unconscious one with a dark elf sleep bolt in him. Rallion binds him and we take Alea to the lake and the wounded all get healed up.
While Rallion and Laris go to retrieve the refugees, Kauri, and Oskar, the rest of the party searches for the vessels and can't find them. They question the prisoner when he wakes up and take down the bodies of the Montoans before the refugees return.
Questioning the prisoner reveals that the dark elves had an ambush planned for someone else, and they appear to have trapped what we believe to be Vikram, trapped in some form of magic circle. Rallion was unable to find the tracks to lead them to the ambush location somewhere Southeast. So Rallion said they had to keep the prisoner alive to help us find this location. We don't know if the dark elves were after us or someone else. Perhaps catching Vikram was a coincidence. (Maybe they were after the DVLs that Vikram saw eating the duck billed dinosaur in Session 5?)
Kauri asks Tik Tok what he knows about the dark elves still having magic, and a daemon, Lolth, is their patron. She hates Asmodeus, like the DVL who tried to recruit us. Tik tok says their may be others acting as patrons, but most Daemons (DVLS who went mad) are not able to organize like Lolth. Loth treats the dark elves like they are her children.
Braadlur is able to find a walled up area and it was not meant to be opened. Inside is an ancient necromantic sanctuary to the "old ways" of the Matriarchs. Each Matriarch is represented in their cardinal direction and each has a symbol, in ancient common, carved in their arms. Cerida has "storm of ice" with icicles down her arm, Britta has "speak with animals", Feldma has "light" the light from Rallion's feather glitters, and Oswitha has entangle.
Each Matriarch also has a moon cycle above: Cerida Double Full Moon cycling through the left moon first, then the right moon. (Not sure yet which represents which) To East with Britta is is Double Half Moon Waxing, To South is Oswitha with Double New Moon, and to West with Feldma is Double Half moon waning.
Ajax tries entangle and Kauri sees a glow, but there are no plants down here, so nothing happens that the rest of us can see.
Braadlur tries speak with animals and has a nice conversation with Fisher that just sounds like clicks to the rest of us.
Under the altar is an ancient non-magical dagger. It has "Praise to the Matriarchs" in ancient common.
We plan to wait til morning and have our prisoner guide us to where Vikram was captured.
Kauri, Laris, and Ajax take copious notes. Braadlur seals up the chamber since Kalea says the old ways are wrong.
Shady Shemite Sacking and ...Sleeping?!
Enter the Drow. Vikram may be subject to shenanigans?
Tenrilden 8 Sundown
As we plan our attack to take place at near dark things take an unexpected turn. There’s a commotion to the south and the 10 warriors we observed are joined by about 10 more plus a leader-type in a dark purplish cloak who emerge from the chieftain's lodge and head toward a southerly commotion. We take advantage of the tactical situation and make our way successfully into the lodge avoiding detection by the Shemite party.
There are 2 Shemites that have arrived from the south, one not moving and the other out of breath.
We find a bound figure in the lodge. He’s a cleric of some sort I think. The rest can work that out, I’m watching the door. Can’t have a mass attack while we’re distracted. After a short conversation with the prisoner, he finds his belongings and along with Rallion and Felix, charges the Shemites. The rest take shots, and Bavmorda moves more cautiously. Maybe I’m rubbing off on her.
This guy, Ajax, wow. Not much thinking, lots of acting. Fits in really well I guess. We route the main Shemite party. With Fisher’s help, take down the leader. Alea is taken down but not killed. One of his lieutenants gets away with a few arrows sticking out of him, along with the majority of the raiding party. They’re headed SW, all asses and elbows, toward the village of Shem.
Peronell arms herself further with a spear and shortsword from the fallen facilitators of Montoan destruction. Lambertus claims the chainmail of the leader. Maybe he’s happier… nah. He’s still in a funk.
Now that the area is clear, Rallion and I head for the refugees and lead them back.
On our return we learn: Bavmorda cleared the Shaman dwelling finding an underground chamber that had been ransacked. No blessed jars for transporting the healing waters were left.
The unconscious Shemite that came in from the south has, what was determined with Braad’s help, a Drow bolt laced with a sleep poison. Once he came around they had questioned him and almost executed him. He feels vindicated in the massacre of the Montoans. His stance is they were warmongers. Sabotaging the peace talks, attacking the Shemites after the conference broke down. Shemites think that less martial ways to peace. Make deals not war. He’s satisified in the fact that even though he may die, his progeny will be at peace as it’ll take the Monotans a generation to rebuild. Captain Elchior was hired by the Shemites to raid the Montoans to put an end to their martial threat to peace.
There was restraint enough not to kill him until Rallion returned to question him further. Peronell guarded him and Bavmorda patrolled the perimeter while the rest did their best to clean up the camp’s violent remnants in preparation for the families and children to return. Silk purses from pig’s ears come to mind...
We explore the Shaman’s ruined hut and Braadlur finds a secret room that was walled off. He begins to take down the wall.
Thank goodness for the restraint and not killing the guy. After we finish questioning the Shemite, we learn that there is a group of Drow nearby that had an ambush set and caught who we think is Vikram in a circle on the ground. Could be chance, as they use DVL enslavement through Lloth (we learn this from TickTock) and with the influx of DVL’s, they could have been hunting them?? At any rate, this news is our only actionable intelligence on Vikram’s whereabouts. He says it’s less than a mile to the E-SE.
More information from TickTock: Lloth: a Daemon. She doesn’t like Asmodeus. The only known one who has retained the ability to organize. She’s adopted the Drow as almost her ‘children’. They call her the Spiderlady, she’s the Drow diety. He asks about Vikram, he can sense he’s not nearby. According to Braadlur, her priestesses are bad news. The drow are the bullies of the Underdark and the Silence stands up to them.
The Room Beyond: The room to the south Braadlur uncovered has similar things to what we found in the grotto of the lone Shaman. A bowl shaped ddepression with a stone alter in the center stained dark. There are pictures of the Matriarch’s in their NESW directions however they’re different than ones we’ve seen before and associated with the 2 moon’s phases. Darker depictions with mutilations in complex symbols which once we got a good look at them, are Ancient Common symbols.
- N – Cerida, Double Full Moon, Blood hangs in icicles from a symbol cut into her arm of “Storm of Ice”
- E – Brita, Double Half Moon Waxing, Birds and animals drinking from a pool of blood from the symbol cut into her of “Speak with Animals”
- S – Oswitha, Double New Moons, Pool of blood with various plants blooming, symbol cut into her is “Entangle”
- W – Feldma, Double Half Moons Waning, Pool of blood with sparkling reflection the light of a feather. Symbol cut into her “Light”
- The moon phases cycle through the left moon first, then the right. We’re uncertain which is which.
Currently, the moon phase is: the day after the double new moon.
I search, ‘cause that’s what I do, and find a ceremonial dagger under the alter inscribed as the grotto Shaman’s necklace was: Praise to the Matriarchs.
Ajax and Braadlur play with cutting themselves… They may have a problem… But their experimentation does prove useful. We determine that the symbols cut into the arms of those with spellcasting power will bring out the powers described.
I’m greatly disappointed that it seems my spellcasting talents have been removed with the worldly changes that are happening. … this is an unfortunate turn. One that causes me some minor angst.
Kauri, and I copy the drawings, depictions and symbology that we find on the walls of the chamber. Ajax carves the spell symbols on a stick of wood.
Braadlur starts rebuilding the wall to the chamber housing the alter and pictures. Keliha is very uncomfortable with the Blood Magic/necromantic tones of what we’ve found.
We intend on keeping our shemite prisoner alive so we can follow up on the potential lead to Vikram first thing in the morning.
I’m a bit distressed about that. I feel like time is of the essence. I’m going to talk with Kauri and see if between Peronell and I we can figure out some of the symbols for spells in the spellbooks we have. Maybe start with invisibility and fly. Given that, I may go scout for these drow. If Vikram is held in a circle, breaking that might be the simplest way to free him. If we can get to him in time. Maybe TickTock can lead us there depending on how far away he can sense Vikram.
Otherwise, maybe we can bargain for Vikram’s freedom. Trading the information on current events and possible eventualities. Maybe they’d rather have multiple DVL’s and the ones after the duckbilled lizards might be worth trading knowledge of. If they’re opposing Asomodeus… Funny sometimes how fast friends enemies make in troubled times. Whatever it takes, hook or crook… or maybe as usual, some charge in while others work out the DVL in the details… We shall see.