SC7.04: Priorities/Zombie surprise

The level 7 Silvers for this session

In order of advance

Richlen Ilieneiros, high elf paladin;
Dakeyras, wood elf rogue;
Vernon von Longsington, human wizard;
Garth Ironhewn, mountain dwarf fighter

Ably guided by NPC Taba Norley, half-sea-elf ranger

The Silvers begin 100xp below level 8 and end on 65

Part One: Priorities

Meet the council

“Har har, let the fancy-pants talk to the other fancy-pants” Garth mutters behind his hand, to Dak.

Vern, begrudgingly stepping up seeing as how Rich seems really tired, Dak is silent, and Garth would be a disaster, offers the Leilon dignitaries his greeting:

“What up my peeps?”

Garth face-palms.

The Silvers, rowed back from Idol Island with the rescued townsfolk, have been through a small celebration – with promises of more – with their new friends. Now, having supped and eaten a light midday meal, it’s time to speak to the contacts they need to, establish priorities, and a direction to pursue the three main burdens.

A quick reminder: Lord Neverember has hired the Silvers to see to Leilon’s safety and most specifically, investigate cults and privateers.

DM

The town council meets in the Fishery building, one of the most fully fitted-out in Leilon. Grizzelda does most of the talking, as is fit. Sgt Yorum, who is not one to volunteer, stays well to the back. The young clerical type that noticed two children missing is present representing the faith, and the Silvers are introduced to Leilon’s senior wizard, Gallio Elibro. Besides acolyte Elias, a young-looking androgynous sort wearing outdoor gear, and a man wearing about-town clothing, sit at the back too.

Gallio Elibro dosn’t sleep well

Gallio treats Vern as a colleague, but a junior one. Vern comments on Gallio’s tired looks and purple ink stains. Gallio grumbles of ill dreams, and having to scribe spells in an unfinished tower. If only someone could help his useless workmen with that!

Duress isn’t a great technique

Grizzelda, pulling a tired grimace, interrupts. There are more important things afoot than spooks. Firstly, while the Silvers were rescuing the townsfolk, Yorum tried to get more out of Talos’ priest. She looks at the sergeant.

“Aye, but without a spell to see truth, it’s all pretty useless – we can beat him to death and he’ll say anything.”

“So, our problem is that we are without our senior cleric, Merrygold,” Valdi explains. “She went missing a while back, off in the high country. Can you, a paladin, cast such a spell?”

“I can…” Rich says slowly, trying to catch up. He feels as though he last slept a full night about a week ago. “But not right away. I need rest.”

“I could do with some too,” Vern chips in.

“What’s he said so far?” Garth asks.

“Talos has sentenced all the coast to doom, we are all doomed, also we are going to die, and Talos’ forces number many races, and last but not least we are all doomed.”

Our soldiers need finding

“But the most immediate problem we have is that the wagon that those archers were in is our wagon. It was supposedly on its way on the High Road around the mere. We had four soldiers escort, making sure it was safe. So that’s a good driver gone, and four soldiers. We need to know if they are still alive, and who has them or who killed them if not.”

“Never leave a soldier behind! That’s what we used to say in Mirabar,” Garth states. More practically Vern asks:

“Where was it bound?”

“All the way round to West Harbor, by way of the Weeping Willow Inn.”

“And how big of a journey is that?”

“A day there and a day back for mounted folk.”

“So we could quickly investigate, but we do need to rest first.”

Yorum scratches his backside unhappily: “Private Jessup is senior man, good solid type, I dunno that he’d get the lads killed needless, maybe he’s holding out?”

“Oh, yeah, it sounds like time is critical.”

Local help

“What do we know about the folk that attacked?”

The Silvers already noticed that the lizardfolk doing the kidnaping seemed to be under duress

DM

“This here’s a ranger familiar with the Mere and its folk, Taba Norley. We trust him, and he has an opinion. Taba?”

The grey-blue-skinned androgyne stands, walks forward, makes a half bow, and spread out a map. It show the main waterways of the Mere, a lizardfolk lair, and a sahuagin lair, in relation to Leilon and Saltmarsh.

“The lizardfolk keep to themselves except to trade with the coastal folk. Something must have set them off. If you need someone familiar with swamps, I can guide you from where the patrol likely went missing.”

“So if this is out of character” – Taba nods – “we need to head down the Dunwater and speak to the lizardfolk,” Vern comments, “See what’s behind this.”

“That has to be a lower priority than saving some soldiers though,” Rich judges.

“Did I ever tell you about the time I marched for two days straight with no rest?” Garth rises, shaking his shoulders out. “We need to get moving.”

“I agree with Garth,” Rich begins.

“Whaaaatttt?” Garth exclaims!

“…and I marched three days without a break and will be fine,” the paladin finishes.

Storekeeper Aubrey Silverspun makes a deeper bow and introduces himself as one whose merchandise includes magical curiosities. The Silvers are keen. But for now, the road calls!

Part Two: Zombie Surprise

Hazards underfoot

During the celebration and meeting, their mounts have taken a bait and rest, so there’s no delay saddling and hitting the High Road south. It’s a calm afternoon, dead calm. Fog that held in hollows is gone, and the local forest and quarry (the main source of Leilon’s building supplies) are soon at their backs. They make rapid time, intending to push until nightfall.

The High Road passes across a number of well-watered valleys including presumably, the Dunwater’s head. On their left, the ground often rises very steeply into badlands; on their right, the Mere is never too far away. Some parts are more wooded with rolling ground. There are plenty of twists and turns and plenty of places for ambush.

ACTION ALERT: Protect the Owyhee Canyonlands! - Backcountry Hunters and  Anglers

At one such point, as gaps in the low clay hills and wild brushwood suggest that a nearby height holds a tower, Rich is a few seconds too late realizing that the trail ahead is a little too churned up. Suddenly out from under burst five zombies, seizing at Rich’s horse Beans and slamming it down! Rich can’t quite kick out in time and is pinned under Bean’s flank!

Inits: Vern, Taba, Dak, Chimera veterans, Zombies, Garth, Rich

Treachery!

As the others hasten to help Rich, who heaves at Beans and pulls himself partway out, two heavily-armed and armored figures clamber swiftly down a clay bank nearby, and hurry forward, swords drawn.

Meanwhile, as usual, zombies don’t die! One stays on its feet despite being shredded, and Rich desperately fends off the slams of three. Another zombie turns its attention to Vern and the fifth turns on the newcomers.

Taba uses a magical effect that tangles targets in thorns when an arrow strikes home. They seem to be a very good shot. The restraining effect is decisive.

The two armored newcomers deal with their zombie, then race to join the fray – and slice and thrust at Rich, who falls!

Garth Vern and Dak deal with the most-wounded zombie then Vern spills some Healing Potion down Rich’s gullet. He rises, furious! Laying about with Alagondar, he seems in a barbaric fury. One armored foe goes down, the other is restrained by Taba’s thorns. “I give!” he yells, panicking, “I can tell you all about the cult’s plans! I have money!”

The last zombie falls, and Rich is still furious. Garth and Vern hold out their arms and talk him down, sparing the last villain. Who assures them he has a wife and kids.

Breathing slowly and deeply, Rich stoops and heals Beans, and his horse rises and nuzzles their master, which improves his mood. Marginally.

Loot: 220 gold coin worth of coin, mainly silver, some copper, a few gold. Pretty good equipment if Leilon is a sellers’ market.

The law of the wild

Helping their mounts away from the dreadful smell and churned trail, the five drag their captive to a good spot for interrogation.

“Spill it.”

The villain introduces himself as Wayne Oakenhart. Some of his clothing and that of the dead villain suggests that they were seafarers not so long ago. “Wayne” tells them he is a family man:

“I have a wife, Birdy. And two daughters, Polly, and uh, Parrot.”

He is a member of the Chimera Gang, serving Rega Swarn. She has a pet chimera – hence the gang name – and is holed up at yonder tower.

“Well I think we have heard about enough lies,” Rich says, thrusting Alagondar through Wayne’s mouth, and out the back of his skull, killing him.

“Wha – weren’t we interested in taking prisoners and learning enemy plans?”

“Nah, too far, let’s get to shelter, it’s getting late.”

Shelter you say? Let’s go!

Garth scratches his head, reckoning that the Silvers are beyond Neverwinter law’s extent, so fair enough, while Dak silently re-evaluates everything he knew about paladins.

“Well uh Taba, you there?”

Taba ducks back from tending the horses. They are the type to be more comfortable around animals than people.

“So you were saying that tower there is good shelter for the night, we can get there in a few minutes…”

“No no! You understand the opposite to what I said. What I said was, it looks as though those two came from that tower, but I know a good resting-up place, a ruined tower in the swamp.”

“How far?”

Taba seems unsure. They are not used to mounted travel. “Perhaps a half hour if we go at pace, perhaps two hours at a cautious pace.”

Taba made a very schmaverage post-battle Survival: Tracking check to learn about the zombies and veterans, and is simply making an educated guess. If there were more zombies or men, they did not read that in the tracks.

“Right, let’s go,” Rich says, making sure of weapons and loot and swinging into Beans’ saddle. He sets a cracking canter.

And as the resulting random encounter roll results in max danger, and he does not have something this terrifying prepped, the DM brings the session to an early end.

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