Eberron: Dreaming of Riches

21.7.2013: Massacre

It was retconned that Theo and Ravasys actually stayed behind when Ricard came to pick them up since those two had a few too many secrets to risk by participating in an interrogation session. Also, the players had come up with new characters.

As such, Destir ended up being questioned by Ricard and Glan (Surasek) alone. He told them everything he knew about Ryle Galt, Dawkens’s death and the stolen box. Of course, he knew nothing about what was inside it. In the end, Destir volunteered to help people from the Tower regain the box and whatever was found in Irontown. Ricard also assigned on the duty to avenge Dawkens and regain the honor of House Kundarak.

Gwen d’Tharask found Revan and Leon in the library and told them that she had foreseen that the mission to regain the missing item would be of great help to them in their futures and in their respective quests if they were to participate and return alive. She gave them no reassurance concerning their fates if they were to volunteer, though. Both agreed and at that point, Gwen also informed them of the official reward for volunteers, should the mission succeed: they would receive a Limited Wish each. She also told them that Ricard d’Kundarak was waiting downstairs with a bunch of House Medani members.

Destir was told to return to the inn and wait while the Dragonmarked picked members for the quest. To his surprise, Theo and Ravasys had left with some boy earlier. The only volunteers ended up being Revan and Leon. Since Leon wished to pray to Aureon for a divination, and this would take quite some time, Ricard went ahead to keep Destir from becoming unnerved. Leon ended up asking something along the lines of: “Should we succeed in this quest?” Although he meant to ask whether they would succeed or not, Aureon seemed to be displeased by the fiddling, for his answer could be translated as: “Yes, for the fate of the Nations might depend on it.” Leon was clearly frustrated with having chosen his words carelessly and having ran out of time and incense.

The rest of the trackers followed Ricard and met up with Destir. Both Destir and Leon were surprised to have come across each other on the opposite side of the continent than where they became acquainted. They agreed on the half-elves scouting the city for possible clues while the rest would attempt to track down Ryle Galt using his trademark armor as a focus for Revan’s Locate Object spell. Destir described it to him to the best of his ability and Revan managed to imagine the item in sufficient detail to feel it in the East. They followed it for a while but lost track of it eventually, the item having left the scrying area. However, with knowledge about local locations, Leon deduced that Ryle Galt must have headed for the domain of Maher ir’Skylex. He also remembered that the nobleman in question was a known collector of grotesque artifacts, causing Ricard to immediately hold him as the one responsible for the theft of the box.

They followed Galt’s horse’s tracks (as well as the tracks of whoever had gone with him) to the gates of ir’Skylex manor but were turned back by the guard there. However, some diplomacy convinced the guard to try and persuade for an appointment between his master and the trackers the next day. The half-elves had been unsuccessful in their attempts to find any clues.

The next day, the team left early to meet up with Maher ir’Skylex. A different guard greeted them but conceded that the characters had been awaited. However, he sent someone to inform the people at the mansion of their arrival before letting them in. When they arrived and saw Maher’s statue, Leon remembered some more details about Maher and how many facts hinted at him having killed his family to rise to his current position.

Once they went inside, the portcullis dropped to keep them from leaving. Jaive greeted the party, holding Theo, disguised as the late Belenthidas, as a hostage to keep the party from using destructive area effects. He then promised them that there would be no retaliation to avenge them for the beasts of Nightwood would wander here at times, causing sad casualties. Instead, their foolish approach had made it easy for him to massacre them.

Combat ensued. Leon and Revan attempted mind-affecting spells at Jaive but to no avail. Instead, the demon valet’s rapier was snapped in half by Ricard’s Shatter spell, causing the now unarmed demon to retreat. However, he left Theo behind and once Destir, who was convinced that it was really his late friend, tried to untie him, the changeling revealed having faked his capture all this time by dropping his bondage act and sinking his poisoned dagger in Destir’s side. The dragon’s bile affected the psion starkly, causing him to lose control over his body. Theo escaped before the rest could react: however, Ricard shattered his now more or less useless dagger just in case to keep him from finishing Destir off.

They dragged the psion around and finally settled in hiding him under the table of the meeting room while they searched the rest of the mansion. They paid no special attention to the portraits or the quotes. Leon had detected magic in the display room’s door and inside there (as well as in the torches everywhere) so Ricard used dispel on the door before they barged in. However, since they were suspecting a trap and there seemed to be nothing of interest inside, they left the room as it was. They then investigated the dining room and the kitchen and realized all the hints that cannibalism had taken place here. They did not bother with the locked door of the servants’ quarters, instead opting to go downstairs into the cellar.

In the cellar, they searched around a bit to find anything useful but only found the pickled human innards. However, Revan smelled the blood and the urine originating from behind the hidden door which caused Ricard to use his spell to detect hidden doors. He found the secret door, and inside they saw the forest troll and the owlbear. The troll beckoned them to come closer, even going as far as to vomit and show them its treasure. Eventually Revan went too close and was attacked by the choker. While the troll had already started celebrating their catch, the necromancer actually broke free. After firing a few bolts at the monsters, the party simply decided that freeing the troll would be hazardous even if it only meant to escape.

They returned upstairs, and Leon took the lead. When they were returning to the hallway, Jaive ambushed them with the Nine Lives Stealer he had pleaded Maher to lend from his collection. The baron cambion’s brutal attack was stopped short by the archivist’s armor, however. Battle ensued and the three were overwhelmed by Jaive’s simple pattern of stepping to catch up with them and attacking, eventually wearing down the magical defenses of Leon (Sanctuary and Mirror Image) who had managed to summon a Troll Skeleton to fight for them. The undead troll managed to scathe the relentless demon but eventually evaporated without causing serious harm. Meanwhile, Jaive finished the last of Leon’s defensive spells and managed to skewer the archivist. Ricard had escaped upstairs in a desperate attempt to find something helpful. When Leon was killed, Revan followed his example but the demon caught up with him. Before being killed, he managed to see Ricard, whose head had just been split in half by a surprise attack from Ryle Galt.

Destir was eventually found and slaughtered by Jaive.

10.7.2013: Strife

Once the characters woke up after the Night of Quelled Moons, Ravasys ordered something to eat from the sleepy barkeeper. Theo turned out to remain solidly unpleasant and depressed due to the lingering effects of the encounter with Vergen and Destir’s ego whip used to stop him. After eating breakfast, the party began searching for clues about Ryle Galt’s whereabouts. Ravasys merely loitered around Atur and Theo refused to co-operate with Destir. Having received no clues, Destir came to the conclusion that unless Atur was Galt’s destination all along (and the encounter with him in Grey Waters seemed to hint otherwise), his most likely action would be taking the lightning rail to Korth. He was reminded of the fact that such a line exists by a few quibbling, hungover Blood of Vol worshipers.

Destir set out to buy the party tickets to the next train to Korth. He ended up with steerage class tickets since that was all he could afford. Meanwhile, Theo made arrangements with the Blood of Vol cultists to have them mug him of his ticket. However, Destir did not trust him sufficiently to hand him the ticket which caused the plan to crash.

In the train, Ravasys set out to seemingly look for Ryle Galt in the better carts. He bribed the House Deneith guards to let him through and began exploring the standard class carts. In there, he overheard people speaking of the sad legend of the maddened killer and his ghost on this line. Having gone through the standard class carts, he stepped into the ghost cart and was greeted by the ghost of the little girl. Ravasys simply told her to stay there and stepped forward, his mind darkened by dark suspicions. And indeed – as he stepped over the boundary, the cart turned into its true form. He immediately made an attempt to escape, casting Knock and hurrying to the door. The allip charged him but Ravasys managed to escape it outside. However, he bothered to close the door which cost him the chance to avoid the maddened spirit’s touch completely. The allip reached him through the door and managed to fill his mind with maddening visions of a ravaged battlefield with the slaughtered soldiers staring at him, both their killer and victim.

Having escaped his encounter with the allip, Ravasys returned to the rest of the party. He remained silent about his encounter with the ghost cart and once the food trolley reached them, he simply filled his stomach with two helpings (both Theo and Destir bought one for themselves) of soup and cast a sleep spell on himself. However, the Quori were ready and Ravasys’s mind was twice ravaged: he dreamt of the nightmarish battlefield only to be interrupted with a Quori who began probing his mind. Ravasys was reminded of a case in his childhood, in which one of his teachers had been surprised during a feast on Ravasys’s friends’s brains. The shock awoke him but he pretended not to have seen anything but a bad dream. While Destir spotted that he was hiding things, the psion preferred not to press the matter at the time.

Once in Korth, Ravasys realized that he had never managed to obtain a set of identification papers. However, he managed to sneak past the White Lions guarding Northgate using an invisibility spell. Theo, on the other hand, hid his extra identification papers in his boots and buried his thieves’ tools in a pile of rubbish between storage houses in the lightning rail station. As such, he passed the security without trouble. Destir was not as lucky. The guards found the identification papers of Belenthidas on his person and took him in for interrogation. Destir managed to convince them of his innocence and even had the White Lions place a search warrant for Ryle Galt. He was told to stay in the inn near the Tower of the Twelve for he was needed as a witness in case the man would be caught.

For reasons unknown, Theo decided to swap disguises and he surfaced from an alley in his dwarven guise of Gindrick. Having seen the corresponding identification papers, Destir recognized him and paid no special attention to the change while Ravasys was baffled by the disappearance of Theo and the surfacing of this mumbling dwarf – not to mention Destir’s casual welcome of him. All this meant that Theo realized Destir having memorized his identification papers while he had been out cold. Since he remains very protective of his identity as Jared Aarland, this would cause him considerable pressure to silence Destir before the psion could destroy everything.

They arrived in the inn which was filled with members of all the Dragonmarked Houses and their companions who had been left outside the tower. Gindrick and Ravasys ordered whiskey and beer respectively, both a sizable amount, while Destir was happy with a room. Gindrick wished to interrogate Destir about how much did he know and whether or not that would spell trouble for both of them but the psion managed to plant a suggestion for the changeling to go to bed early and delay the inevitable clash. After all, the dwarf had seemed deadly serious about the matter.

Both Gindrick and Theo were visited by the Quori. They saw each other in their dreams (Destir saw Theo in his familiar form of Theo Dranista). Theo’s dream was situated in a summery park in Thaliost and Destir was sitting opposite to his bench. Destir, on the other hand, was dreaming of a lecture and saw Theo sitting a few rows in front of him. Both were interrupted by the Quori materializing and they saw on the other’s visage what was happening to themselves. With a considerable mental effort, Theo managed to break free and wake up. Destir, however, was to reflect on everything that had happened again and again, listening to the Quoris’ fervent questioning. In the end, he was robbed of his memory of what the Dwarven scripture on the puzzle box means (and actually, of Dawkens ever having told him at all). At that point, he woke up.

The next morning was grim, to say the least. First thing in the morning, Gindrick began questioning Destir. Destir was forced to admit that he had indeed looked through the identification papers and that he knew who Gindrick really was, as his actions had led to understand. Furious but still unsure of what to do, Gindrick left things be for the time being since their mutual dreams were brought up. Destir also remembered Ravasys’s concealed checking of the back of his neck when he woke up and began suspecting that he had also been visited by the Quori. Since they were working with minimal clues, a lot of accusations were thrown around (mostly by Gindrick at Destir). The psion’s test whether or not the things in their dreams had indeed been Quori by speaking their alien language did not help matters. However, they remembered their original mission to speak with representatives of the Twelve and asked the halflings of House Ghallanda in whose inn they were staying about how to reach the Tower. The halflings promised to convey the demand for entry if the party would state their purpose. In the end, an emissary (Ricard d’Kundarak) was sent immediately to fetch them since their message had been deemed a priority. He took them under the tower and began floating them up a stone platform underneath the floating academy.

18.6.2013: Carnival

The characters were forced to sleep with Belenthidas’s body, and Theo used the chance to steal many of the paladin’s valuables, including his identification papers. The next day, Dawkens set out to sell their horses while Theo and Destir went searching for the shrine of the Silver Flame. They found it after explaining the reason to a local who happened to despise necromancy. The priest promised to take care of their friend but knew nothing of Ryle Galt. When Theo went to the Fireplace to ask Lukar about Belenthidas and Ryle, he learned that Lukar had indeed spoken with Belenthidas but the innkeeper managed to hide the fact that he also recognized the name “Ryle Galt”. Meanwhile, Belenthidas made an offering of gold to the Silver Flame in order to receive a healing potion. Theo ended up searching for an alchemist instead. He asked the man about the possibility of a truth potion but Elixir of Truth ended up being too expensive. Instead, he sold the silversheens he had filched from Belenthidas’s corpse after having them evaluated and bought a pair of healing potions.

Dawkens hurried the characters after returning from his errand. The money he had received was to be reserved for lightning rail tickets. They boarded the train and left for Atur. During the journey, Theo overheard people speaking of the Night of Quelled Moons. He had actually learned of the legend and knew that a grotesque carnival would await them in Atur.

While in Atur, the party skipped all the festivities, walking right past Brandon’s and Vespillo’s shows. They did see Vespillo’s gag about a gut feeling being examined by his ghouls. Also, Vergen spotted them at that time and began following them. Theo and Destir saw him but let it be for the time being despite the man’s eerie silence (disregarding his constant taunts). Vergen let them understand that he wanted a man dead and he wanted them to kill him, an offer which intrigued Theo. However, Dawkens kept up the pace and Theo guided them to Grey Waters. He was not supposed to have brought anyone else with him but Destir had insisted that they stay together every time he brought up leaving the group to scout.

Vergen followed them inside through the door, making his incorporeal nature evident. Destir actually managed to identify him as a taunting haunt. Ravasys was the only customer present when Dawkens, Destir and Theo ordered something to drink, despite Dawkens’s complaints about Theo guiding them to a tavern instead of an inn. Theo was taken to a private cabinet on a thin excuse and in there, he met face to face with Ryle Galt. Vaunn explained the situation and provided Theo with Zav’s further instructions. However, Vergen became bored with the others and insulting their mothers. He instead floated inside the private cabinet and began loudly insulting both Theo and Ryle, making a mention of Ryle’s golden armor. This caught the attention of both Dawkens and Destir, causing Dawkens to rush to the cabinet. Theo asked for Ryle to hit him, a request the fallen paladin filled with pleasure. He then escaped into the night before Dawkens broke through the door. Dawkens began questioning Theo and managed to see through his excuses by expending his psionic focus. He knocked the changeling unconscious and began pursuit. Ravasys became interested in the turn of events and interrupted. Vaunn managed to have Theo dragged out while clearing herself of most suspicions. She then poured everyone something to drink, also slipping Ravasys orders to help Theo, revealing that he was a member of their order.

Ravasys began “waking Theo up”, instead checking if there was any condemning evidence on his person and taking it into custody. He managed to filch Zav’s new orders before Destir realized that he should also check Theo’s possessions. He found Belenthidas’s as well as all the fake identification papers which infuriated him. Destir bound Theo with his rope before allowing Vaunn to wake him up. He questioned Theo about everything but Vergen who had been providing insults and commentary intruded and made Theo slip out unintended lies such as having taken Belenthidas’s papers to help him assassinate the Keeper of the Flame. Destir took everything said at face value and since the taunting haunt had also used glibness, it kept spouting believable lies at both Destir and Ravasys. It told them that Theo was a murderer. It also told Ravasys that the half-giant should avenge him because it was his grand-grand-grand (and so on) child. And that Destir was a distant cousin of Ravasys’s.

Eventually everyone decided to leave as they grew bored of Vergen. Destir left to look for Dawkens while the rest went the other way. However, the haunt would not leave them alone unless they killed Vespillo or defeated it in a battle of wits. Ravasys eventually succumbed and attempted to defeat Vergen. If he was to lose, he would have to make an attempt at Vespillo’s life. He could start and designate arcane lore as the first contest, easily winning. However, Vergen also challenged him to a specialty of his – comedy – and won hands down, sending the characters roaring with a rare funny joke. Ravasys made the next contest about Atur. He barely scratched together information unknown to Vergen and managed to win. However, Vergen continued to play dirty and chose nobility and royalty as the next contest, winning by default. Ravasys was out of subjects so he cheated and chose Thrane lore as the next competition. He had even considered lying. Vergen managed to win the round, though, and both Ravasys and Theo were forced to abuse his moment of triumph to turn invisible and hide respectively. Vergen failed to track them down and they were able to escape. Ravasys used the mindlink he had forged with Destir earlier to discuss their next step. The psion had failed to find Dawkens and wanted them to gather in the inn area. They agreed.

However, Destir finally found Dawkens. The dwarf had been hidden on an alleyway, left for dead. He was bleeding badly but was barely alive, allowing Destir to save him with a healing potion, restoring a minuscule amount of his lost health. He then rummaged through Dawkens’s items to dinf a clue of some kind, only taking the hammersphere since he realized it was magical. He attempted to have a stranger help him move the dwarf, eventually succeeding but with horrifying results. The man he had chosen was a hooded pupil who immediately attacked Dawkens with his sharpened teeth and sucked him to death. Destir was horrified and attempted to escape, only to be paralyzed by his heart failing due to the hooded pupil’s ability. The man caught up to him and began crushing him under his feet. Destir managed to stave off the effect, though. He then began parleying with the man but was forced to resort to a suggestion power to have him leave.

Theo and Ravasys eventually caught up with Destir and helped him move Dawkens’s corpse to a local Banker’s Guild bank. They were greeted with alarmed dwarven guards and Tordek the Dragon, the banker. Tordek questioned them about Dawkens and their connection with him and eventually became convinced that the warder had been carrying something of great importance, something which needed to be retrieved at all costs. He promised to inform the House Kundarak people in Korth about Ryle Galt and gave the characters his letter of recommendation to have the poeple sent from there co-operate with the party. He also made sure that they understood that any further involvement with the puzzle box was up to their honor and not any demands from House Kundarak. However, Destir, Theo and Ravasys promised to chase after Ryle Galt for what he had done and to retrieve the puzzle box.

12.6.2013: The Chase

Having reached Vulyar, the characters were guided to Heart & Hearth by Dawkens who said he wanted to discuss something with them. However, first Belenthidas sought out the widow of the man he had executed and gave her what her husband had sent her before his death. He had also added a dozen extra gold pieces since he was the killer of her husband, after all. When he tried to explain the situation, the widow burst in tears and seemed to lose consciousness of the world around her. Belenthidas left her be, his conscience echoing her crying far longer than it should have reached him. Meanwhile, Theo attempted to find someone who could help him forge the signet on the binder he had stolen. His queries were met with silence.

At Heart & Hearth, Dawkens and Destir ordered something to eat. While waiting for the meal, they discussed relatively trifle matters. Theo was first to arrive at the scene, followed by Belenthidas after the meal of rye bread and pea stew had already arrived. While they ate, Dawkens proposed that the characters follow him to Korth. He had already learned to trust them and knew that the man in golden armor had not given up. His offer was 200gp and the gratitude of House Kundarak to each man helping him. Belenthidas agreed to accompany the rest to Vedykar since he would need to go through the city in any case to track his quarry. The others agreed to come with Dawkens as long as he would go through Atur. Theo managed to reveal the glamered nature of Dawkens’s armor and he became interested in the warforged attending to the hearth. He discussed the possibility of Bombard joining them with it but was told to speak about with the halflings.

The next day, Dawkens told the characters that he would sell the swords they obtained during the train raid and use the money to buy horses and supplies. The first Belenthidas did that day was sending a message for Flamekeep about the mysterious man in golden armor, wearing the insignia of the church. After his return, their breakfast was cut short by a hobo stabbing Destir since Theo reacted ever so slightly late to his dagger. Destir managed to stave off the poison but Theo’s call for help from Bombard caused the Warforged to launch a pair of magic missiles at the assailant, killing him and triggering the elixir of reckoning which caused Theo to suffer terrible wounds. The explosion was also used as an excuse by the guard captain whom Ryle Galt had already bribed to rush in and claim a warrant on the characters and the illegal artifact they were carrying. While Theo and Belenthidas realized that the captain was clearly lying, Theo failed to fade into the crowd and was taken into custody with the rest. Destir badmouthed the guards, calling them filthy, and was silenced by a backhand from the captain. They found the condemning evidence since Dawkens ended up surrendering it to them, seeing no other way out of the situation. When the characters wanted to come to the barracks alongside the box, they were “temporarily” arrested.

After spending a few hours in jail, the characters received confirmation that the captain’s warrant was fake. They were released due to not having committed any felonies, only to find that neither the artifact, nor the guard captain was nowhere to be found. They heard that a man in golden armor had recently ridden out of town with a big saddle bag fastened on his horse. Dawkens rushed to buy them horses for the chase while the rest used the time he would take to buy supplies and gather further information. Belenthidas went to buy healing potions and was pointed to Salvetion where Emnoti tried to sell him poisoned potions. He realized that she was actually attempting to kill them but assumed that the gnome was overreacting to his haggling and let it be in the end. Meanwhile, Theo and Destir attempted to receive healing from a priest of the Six only to learn that there were no miracle workers in town. They ended up buying basic necessities such as rations, winter blankets and waterskins. Just before they left, Theo was attempting to persuade Bombard to come with them but there was no time to discuss in the necessary depth. When they rode along the main lane of Vulyar, someone found the guard captain’s corpse and made a ruckus about it.

The party pushed their horses to their limits to close the gap between them and the man in golden armor. Eventually they became within a few hundred feet of him but Theo and Destir lost control of their horses when they tried to squeeze even more out of them and Dawkens fell off his steed. Ryle Galt managed to escape by accelerating his pace when the characters needed to rest their mounts in turn. However, they eventually reached Vedykar without further trouble. Within the city, Theo finally found another changeling to forge him the signet for 150gp. Destir scouted the city for possible libraries but found out that they all belonged to private people such as nobles and were off limits as a result. Belenthidas was unsuccessful in locating the shrine of the Silver Flame he only knew about. They stayed in Hospitalital and Dawkens shared his intuition that the enemy would most probably use the lightning rail to leave city. There had been no trains in the time since the enemy’s supposed arrival so he would have to take a train the party coild board with him. Theo went to buy elements for a disguise to conceal their identities from the enemy. Belenthidas actually received a letter which summoned him to the shrine and was marked with the seal of the Order of Illumination. Once he reached the shrine of the Silver Flame, a man by the inn next door, Fireplace, beckoned him to come there. The man was wearing a ring with the Order’s symbol and Belenthidas followed him inside.

Inside, he was taken to Lukar the Hearty who revealed himself as a Shadowbane Infiltrator. Lukar had information about the beastmen Belenthidas was tracking. Foresters had found them in the Nightwood and his sub-ordinates had managed to gain the location of the beastmen’s camp from them. Lukar also told Belenthidas that the beastmen were led by a half-orc. He then questioned the templar about his companions and whether they would help or hinder him in his quest, the priority of which he reminded Belenthidas. According to Belenthidas, they would probably end up helping him (he was not aware of Dawkens’s plan to take the next train towards Atur). Lukar believed him and used his scroll of atonement to return Belenthidas in the light of the Silver Flame. He also shared two vials of silversheen with the once again blessed paladin to use against the beastmen.

Before returning to the inn, Belenthidas questioned the people of Vedykar about the man in golden armor. Luck seemed to be on his side – he learned that a man matching his description had actually enrolled at the Hospitalital inn. After his return, Belenthidas bribed the halfling barkeep to reveal to him the room number of the man in golden armor. The halfling did tell the paladin that a man like that was inside room number seven and that he had asked not to be interrupted except at designated times for his meals to be brought in. Theo was still away, retrieving his forged signet. Dawkens, Destir and Belenthidas came up with the plan to ambush their enemy. Dawkens would wait outside and Destir and Belenthidas would sneak to his door. While Destir tripped on his robe, Belenthidas did manage to avoid Ryle Galt’s notice. He knocked on the door to be answered with a familiar, harsh voice speaking with a Thranish accent. Belenthidas spoke with Galt and Galt realized he was being ambushed. He provoked Belenthidas by revealing his identity and connection with the Order. Had the Order lied to Belenthidas about what happened to brother Galt? Besides, was Galt not fighting evil by pouring resources at other evildoers? In the end, Belenthidas ended up breaking the door to Galt’s room down. His success was where his luck ended. Galt had already readied himself for the attack and hit Belenthidas with his smite. Destir successfully attacked his mind before he could attack again but it did not even cause him to flinch. He injured Belenthidas one more time before the paladin managed to ready himself. His smiting counterattack was ineffective and he withdrew to the doorway and alarmed Dawkens. Galt activated his armor, followed behind Belenthidas and struck him dead, flinging him down with his weapon’s special ability. Destir panicked since he was alone and already weakedned by overchanneling. This allowed Ryle Galt to escape through the window with the box.

Dawkens rushed to Galt’s doorway but he was too late. The halflings alarmed the tavern to not allow them to escape. Three men took up the job and told Destir to stay put. He was too scared to obey and attempted to escape. The men chased him down and one of them downed him with a critical hit. Luckily the man was only trying to knock him unconscious with that blow to the side of the telepath’s head.

When Theo returned, he was greeted with the sight of guards questioning Dawkens who was openly telling them that it was about House Kundarak business and the retrieval of an item stolen from his care. Destir was still unconscious. Theo also saw the body of Belenthidas, covered in a bloody tablecloth, and he knew something had gone terribly wrong while he was away on business.

10.6.2013: Desperation

The survivors began their first night outside. They assigned guard duties in which the first half of the night was taken care of by Dawkens and the other by Belenthidas. Theo was sleeping on his own, unaffected by the snow and his hunger satisfied by the rations he had filched. Destir had requested that he would be allowed to sleep a full night’s rest since he needed to recharge.

During Belenthidas’s turn, he spotted a great white wolf stalking the survivors at a distance. He noticed the unnaturalness of the wolf straight away, given away by the way it hovered using its burnt stumps. When he set himself against the wolf, there was a short moment spent circling and evaluating each other. However, the wendigo eventually began wind walking and charged straight past Belenthidas whose attack went right through it. There was panic at the camp and Belenthidas was unable to find the enemy in the middle of it. It turned out that it had bitten two people – on on the leg and another one near his shoulder. It had also dragged away one of the survivors.

Based on Belenthidas’s description, Theo and Destir identified the creature as a “vindigo” of Karrnathian folk lore. They realized that it was a spirit of cold and hunger. However, they did not remember its infectious bite. As such, the next night, Belenthidas and Theo were patrolling when Theo noticed that something was already crouched over someone inside the camp and munching on something. He alarmed Belenthidas to the presence and they charged it after it became apparent that it was someone munching on the entrails of another. Belenthidas woke up the camp and they managed to grapple the killer. It turned out that it was the man whose leg had been bitten. He claimed innocence, confused by the taste of blood in his mouth. He had no recollection of smashing the victim’s head with a rock and gutting him. Belenthidas made the judgment that clearly the bite had infected the man and he needed to be executed for the safety of the rest. The man was convinced that it was for the best and he accepted his fate as long as Belenthidas would bring his meager earnings to his wife in Vulyar. The other man claimed having no urges to eat human flesh and pointed out how the killer had admitted hearing things while he had not heard anything inside his head. However, he too was executed with a swing of the paladin’s sword.

Later, when the vindigo attacked during Destir and Dawkens’s guard duty, three more people were bitten. Two more were killed by it. Belenthidas executed the bitten woman, dwarf and traumatized man. The woman pleaded to be tied with rope made from her dress instead, especially since Destir had finally realized that it was a disease which could be cured. However, Belenthidas claimed that they did not have the resources to keep someone as dangerous as that as a burden and executed her. Since he had killed an innocent while it was unnecessary, he lost his paladin powers until atonement. The dwarf accepted his fate solemnly. The crazed man had completely lost his sense of reality and claimed everything being just a dream until the sword arched.

Many people left the group the following day, despising the brutality of Belenthidas’s judgment. They were also afraid of the cannibal spirit and thought that a smaller group would be safer. By now, there was no food and people had been receiving frostbites. There was enough lumber for one more night. It turned out for the better since there was no trace of the vindigo.

The next day the survivors stopped a bit earlier to hunt and cut firewood. They managed to build a bonfire that kept most of them warm – luckily enough since the night was especially cold. However, people did not have shifts around the fire and almost twenty of those too far from it died from the cold.

The tragedy heralded a change in luck for the survivors, though. First, they found an abandoned inn by the wayside. In there, there was a lot of decayed wood which could be burned. Also, there was one and a half barrels of dried beans which was more than most could have dreamed of. Second, they reached the village of Voldom by night. The villagers welcomed them and with the help of Chantalyn in the chapel, everyone was housed for the night. However, Theo had to promise her 10 volunteers for her experiments. He managed to convince 12. Belenthidas managed to remain ignorant of the truth about the village and slept soundly in the stables of the cultists.

Early teĀ“he next day, Chantalyn began her experiments. She took one of the survivors and attempted to cruximigrate her. Destir observed as she was nailed on a log and held up. Originally she seemed willing but after her arms were nailed down, she started screaming and kept doing it for hours. However, Destir did not intervene. When Theo heard the screams coming from outside of town, he realized that he would have to distract Belenthidas or he would anger the villagers by attempting to smite them as heretics. As such, he changed shape to a dwarf and ran to Belenthidas, claiming that there had been a murder. He made a ruckus to conceal the distant screams and led the paladin in the opposite direction, out of the village. Once outside, he made several feints such as disappearing and turning into a bloody orc raider and turning into a damsel in distress, having been tackled by the orc. However, while he was helping the disguised Theo up, Belenthidas saw through his illusive clothing and tried to knock him down. There was a short scuffle during which Theo summoned his monstrous centipede and ended up changing to his “original” form that Belenthias knew. Suspicious but no longer outright hostile, Belenthidas questioned Theo who admitted to having lured him out of the village since if he were to be there, “innocent people would be killed”. After Belenthidas promised not to kill anyone, Theo told him that they were staying in a village dedicated to the service of the undead and how they had been asked for an offering of volunteers.

Meanwhile, Dawkens and Destir had mapped the situation with the remaining survivors. Almost one hundred wanted to stay in the village and wait for the patrol that had most definitely been dispatched from Vulyar. They also managed to negotiate about supplies with the villagers. They had had a good harvest this year and as such, they could actually provide a surprisingly large amount of food for a decent price. It would probably last for six days with the amount of survivors continuing their journey. However, all this took long enough that continuing the journey that day would not have been wise. As such, the party stayed another night in Voldom. Destir was once again woken up by religious rituals, this time the mourners for the survivor who had been unsuccessfully cruximigrated. Belenthidas covered his ears and focused on leaving.

After a few more days, this time of relatively comfortable travel, they were reached by the horse patrol sent from Vulyar. The horsemen ended up prioritizing those left behind, especially those still by the train. However, they left ten of them behind to protect the party and the survivors. The rest of the journey was a breeze compared to its start.

6.6.2013: The Beginning

The characters began their adventure on 20nd of Aryth. Having rested on their turn in the sleeper cart, they sat in their cabin. Destir and Dawkens were immersed in their respective books, Belenthidas was polishing his gear and Theo was watching them. The silence was broken by the waiter and his cart, from whom Belenthidas, Theo and Destir managed to extort some water and rations.

Soon, the attack began. Dawkens’s friend warned the characters about it and went to intercept them. In two time glasses they arrived at the scene. Belenthidas and Theo had heard the one on the roof but they were too late in escaping. The lights were taken out and Belenthidas’s sword was the only thing illuminating the cart. Three dwarves hiding behind scarves and wide-rimmed hats assaulted the cart from one side while one attacked from the other. When Dawkens was trying to break through, he was stopped on his tracks by a fountainhead bolt. The rest of the assailants fired their fountainheads in the ceiling above the characters, showering them and a few civilians in a cabin Theo had tried to hide in with acid.

Dawkens managed to kill the lone attacker but he could not advance because Kellark exposed himself. He had taken a woman from his cabin as hostage and used Shield Self on her. If he were damaged, the woman would die first. Belenthidas was mowing his way through on the other side of the cart with Destir trying to provide psychic support to little prevail. One of the assailants was wounded badly and had to retire from the battle, after which Destir managed to melt the brains of the last assailant.

Theo, having hidden when the fountainheads were fired, sneaked behind Kellark and managed to save the woman from him. Dawkens tried to call Kellark’s bluff that Theo’s intervention changed nothing (it was no bluff, though) but missed him. Destir managed to suggest that Kellark surrender and the jeweler had no objections since he was left alone. However, Ryle Galt had used the delay to detach the carts from the engine. He was eventually contacted by Belenthidas using Kellark’s ring but the paladins did not recognize each other. Belenthidas merely learned that someone from Thrane bearing the symbol of the Silver Flame was allied with the enemy.

The party realized the situation they were in and checked if anything of use could be found in the cargo cart. They packed a few days worth of rations and went to check the dysfunctional engine but Theo had left them behind to incite an angry mob ready to lynch Kellark for causing them to be left for dead. Belenthidas eventually managed to have a Karrnathi noble promise that he would protect Kellark if he were left by the train’s remains but the rest of the mob were left unchecked.

They parted with a vast majority of the survivors (340) choosing to follow them. Rations were divided according to the number of people and everything but two coaches of the train was pillaged for firewood and cloth. Theo chose to scout ahead but nothing of note was encountered during the beginning of their travel, only a few hours long since not one opted to travel by night.

With Theo gone (he had opted to rest by himself, keeping the lead he had built), Dawkens trusted the party enough to show them what he was guarding. He revealed the riddle box but admitted to not knowing what was inside it. He also revealed that he was to take it to the Twelve in Korth and translated the riddle for Belenthidas and Destir.


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