SC7.02: Wayside Inn and Leilon in peril

The level seven Silvers for this session

Richlen, paladin/Oath of Glory;
Vernon, wizard/Conjuration;
Garth, fighter/Battle Master

assisted on a random basis by Dakeyras, NPC this session

The Silvers begin 150xp below level 8 and end on 134

Four shambling zombies, three darting specters, two frantic locals, and a shadowy wraaaaiitthh

Dak wheels his horse back, slides off, and raps:

“Ghouls or zombies at the inn doors! Reckon they already took a few victims!”

He readies his longbow Whisper and Bonus Action Hides. So the others lose sight of him. Vern and Rich walk toward the inn, but Garth, having strapped his shield on and readied the Ungart Hammer, jogs forward.

It seems that some wild optimist has decided that where the High Road is joined by the track down coastward, there could be enough custom for an inn!? Light behind shutters shows those within have barricaded themselves in. But as Garth jogs forward a shutter cracks open – someone has noticed the new arrivals.

As Garth heads directly for the pair of zombies turning from the doors, a shadowy shape, leaning over the huddled victim of zombie terror, raises a glowing bluish thing that bares teeth in utter hate of living things – and darts at Vern!

Specter

This initial stage of the attack on the wayside inn is marked with schmaverage Perception checks. That offsets the non-corporeal types’ disadvantage for still being in daylight hours.

As Rich casts Aid over his comrades Vern punches a gaping hole in the bluish attacker with his trusty Firebolt cantrip. Garth winces as the blast thunders by him! “This is how you do it Vern!” Rich calls, sending an even more powerful Firebolt in: the specter dissipates. Garth half-hears a sigh of relief from the freed soul: but he is busy winding up with his hammer. He delivers two crushing blows into the ribs of one zombie – it staggers but remains up. A longbow shaft buzzes past Vern and slams through the zombie’s head, it falls and Garth calls: “thanks Dak!”

Zombie

Two more zombies round the inn corner and shamble to melee range with Garth. The inn door opens a crack, but Garth can hear from inside:

“Oh! He’s put those undead down! We may be saved!”

Rich moves right, along the coast track, for two more bluish lights have risen from dead bodies that way. They dart swiftly towards the tall high elf. Vern begins backing Rich up then from nowhere (actually from the shadows but Vern makes a poor Perception check) he is ambushed! He takes painful necrotic damage but thanks to Garth’s Inspiration resists the deadly Life Drain effect! As the wraith drops into shadow again Vern returns fire with Magic Missile!

Wraith

Rich runs at the lead specter, adds a second-level Smite to Alagondar’s swing, and the specter disintegrates. Rich definitely hears a sigh of gratitude that time.

Garth’s armor stops all three zombie slams and Dak sinks an arrow into one zombie’s side, with no appreciable effect, as the Ungart Hammer crushes one’s head in. Garth squawks nervously as Vern, who has swung aside from Rich’s path to scurry to a point just behind the zombies, unleashes again, blazing a hole right through the arrow-shot zombie. It holds itself together and keeps attacking!

The the wraith once more attempts to ambush Vern: this time he spots it, but the wraith merely glides after him and stabs him again. Vern is down! (He does make the DC14 CON SV though.)

With an imprecation Rich swiftly deals with the last specter (another Smite) and races back to the inn, while Garth deals with the fire-torn zombie and steps round the other to shield Vern. At much the same time Rich arrives, slaps Ilmater’s healing in, and the two swiftly deal with the wraith. Vern gains his feet and sprints to the inn doors, which open enough for a brawny arm to haul him through! He races on through a mud-room into the common room and yells for something strong!

Within a minute, Rich and Garth join him, and Dak leads the horses to the enclosed stableyard.

XP: lvl8-144

The Wayside Inn – heavy people, heavy atmosphere

The inn staff begin getting over their fright, and both they and a mix of laborers – from the inn yards or fields around it – and croppers or fishermen from further afield – break into a hubbub of relief, speculation, recounting their experience, or marvel at the newcomers’ prowess in battle.

Eventually, the clear tones of a young man who seems to be doing musician duty cut through and everyone calms down enough for introductions.

The most striking thing for Vern is how oversize the inn staff seem to be. While innkeeper Martisha is merely imposing, Backes the barkeep, Teega the smith, and Cooragh the cook are all massive. Set together with brawny rustics the scene is a little overwhelming. Luckily Silla, a halfling part-timer who accompanies young bard Tarbin, and the young man himself, are strictly average for their lineage.

Left to right: Backes, Martisha, Cooragh, Teega. Inset: Tarbin and Silla

A few discordant notes raise suspicions

Backes has already mentioned that he used to be in the privateering business. But how come, on closer inspection, that “trident” pendant he wears is actually Talos’ three lightning strikes? Is Cooragh really just shy, or do those neck tats mean something? Martisha wants to make a pact with Leilon for mutual defense, but the soldiery there are tied down, or so she claims.

All present agree that the attackers must have appeared out of the Mere of Dead Men, which begins near here and runs below the high road well past Leilon. Martisha fears that if her little place has been attacked, Leilon may be in danger. She almost seems to want to add more but checks herself, after looking at Backes.

Backes, who is the life of the common room in a growly way – Martisha seems to have a cold, no-nonsense way about her that douses high spirits – is sure that there’s an undead cult behind the attack. Probably based in the Mere.

“That’s all we need, another cult” – Garth

Dak enters and checks what the deal is for stabling and beds. He doesn’t mind sleeping in the stables if security is a risk, but the stableyard is secure. No, let’s all sleep in the same room, is the verdict. Dak learns that his good comrades have thoughtfully agreed that he can doss down on a straw pallet while they get the available beds. He shrugs, in the “I’ve slept on worse,” kind of way.

The other three do cover costs though. Garth cunningly waits until the paladin and wizard have agreed to pay for beds and stabling and negotiates a cheap set meal and drinks option.

XP: lvl8-140

We will keep this lot in mind, but for now, it’s to bed and Leilon tomorrow

After quietly having a word with Rich, Garth asks Backes outright about the pendant. The barkeep says that all his old crew wear it, to appease sea gods of various stripe – the lightning is supposed to impress them, or something.

Garth is allowed an Insight check but manages a very poor one, so, face value

Privately again, the four check on mission statements. Their patron, lord Neverember, wants troubles in Leilon sorted out. There are three specific heads to begin with:

Already there is a whiff of both Talos and privateering about the region. But they can always come back. According to Tarbin they are only an hour by horseback from Leilon.

So although some basic watch precautions are taken, it all seems safe enough, and it’s time for a

Long Rest

Come the dawn, Rich heads down into the common room and, as agreed with Garth, sweet-talks Martisha. Her heart may be as gold (cold, hard, well-hidden) but the strapping, fine-featured paladin gets a few coy giggles from her. But it has to be said that Backes does eavesdrop on this, while polishing the bar. Martisha says nothing much more than she did the previous evening. And with that, Rich must be content.

Gates open and mounts harnessed it is time to hit the High Road. Cooragh the cook, gratified by the party’s compliments about the dinner, has put up doggy-bags for all of them. She looks at Rich under her lashes and blushes when he winks.

XP: lvl8-139

Is this Leilon or a ghost town?

Within the hour Dak has sighted a tower-top against the Sword Mountains. As they have been told, the High Road does bend towards the mountains so as to pass around the western marshes. Those stretch away endlessly, dismal in a high southerly wind.

As they draw up more level with the town the first building to be seen is a dilapidated tap-room, by the looks of it, outside the town wall and marshward. Just beyond, a partially-made log palisade runs across their way, but is open, gateless. A little chimney smoke rises from the town but no guard or onlooker can be seen. To the east and north, scrub has regrown very near the line of the palisade, an obvious security risk.

“How about I head in that taproom and see where everyone is?” Dak wants to know, and heads in.

I roll a fail on the first Reputation check of the season

“…Well I hope it keeps fine for you too!” – Dak, crossly stomping back out to report. “They really didn’t want to help, but seems to be some sort of palaver south of the town.”

After tossing up whether they should skirt the town or head through, the vote is for the latter.

XP: lvl8-138

Are you saying this is a normal day in Leilon?!?

Noting the tower – with scaffolding – and a shrine – of Lathander – and the general half-completion, half-ruination state of the place, the Silvers exit south toward a settler camp. On a common there, at least three dozen adults are clustered about a very angry dwarf – visible since she must be mounted on a keg or the like – and a bored-looking soldier. The dwarf is trying to make herself heard, but, not until the soldier hammers his sword on shield do the locals pipe down.

“You orta be ‘shamed of yerselves, call that an orderly ‘vacuation? Talk about panic! Darr, ye pissed yer pants, and yer not the on’y one!”

Left to right: Grizzelda the project manager, Sgt Yorum the project security chief, and Valdi the project lead

A variety of yells and protests greet her. Among them the Silvers catch:

“But what was that in the marshes?! I swear it weren’t a fishing boat!”

“But what about the children? Won’t somebody please think of the children!”

At this an acolyte wearing Lathander colors turns pale:

“Mercy! May the Morninglord forgive me! We are missing two of the children. Smithwell and Burnice aren’t here. They were right behind me as we left the town!”

Panic ensues.

Garth, in the firm belief that it’s time to meet a Neverwinter contact and that a dwarf is bound to be a solid one, guides his pony through the mass to Grizzelda Copperwrought, for indeed this is she.

They have just got to the “yes if two children are really missing then we better help” bit when the common comes under threat!

XP: lvl8-136

We don’t mind helping but hey, I see Talos has come a-calling

A high-sided wagon, drawn by a strange beast, heads up the High Road towards the settler camp. Two armed and hostile-looking beings, armor clearly bearing Talos strikes, flank it. These two swing down off strange blue-tinged horses and ready twin shortswords.

As the Silvers begin assessing how powerful or hostile this new party may be, a small flight of four arrows arcs down from on high and thuds around them! Vern’s horse would be hit, but he is wearing a Ring of Evasion!

The two sides shake out, as the townsfolk (and sergeant too) make themselves scarce!

Inits: Archers, caster, knights, Garth, Rich, Vern, Dak

An unseen enemy caster throws Sleet Storm over the Silvers. Garth slides off his pony, readies Ungart Hammer and shield, and jogs easily across the icy ground. Vern slips off his own mount, skates off to a flank, and throws up Mage Armor ready for the fight. Dak (already afoot by this time) holds back and Readies Action for a shot. Rich gallops his steed forward and as Garth and the knights clash, leaps off it and hacks down with Alagondar in one impressive pounce! He brings up Aura of Alacrity and he and Garth begin their usual posture, mutually protecting one another behind a steel and adamantine wall! A Feinting Attack opens a knight up and a Thunderous Smite tells the world hey, paladin here. A brilliant counter-thrust does manage to sneak through into Garth’s flank, but a knight falls. The archers, still protected inside the wagon, attempt to support, but the pairs’ armor is just too good. Rich flanks the lone knight (easily avoiding the Opportunity Attack) and that one is down too! Rich turns in search of fresh victims and makes a mighty leap at the wagon, bounding up, off a wheel and down among the archers!

The caster, who has been quietly throwing up an illusion of an obvious caster, now snipes Vern with a ripple volley of Magic Missile but Vern has prepped Shield and is safe! A massive Firebolt and a longbow shaft rip through the illusion in reply!

“My best Firebolt to date – and it’s a lousy illusion!” – Vern, as the session ends

XP: lvl8-134 so far. A bonus will accrue for capturing rather than killing the caster

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