Drakkenhall Blues

Olaf's Journal, part three
session three

The one thing Olaf didn’t expect at having a job is that you have to work a lot. By 3PM his friends were already pushing him out of bed to get ready for the next day. Still, Olaf hadn’t held a job for this long in a while, so he was going to make every effort. He got up, got ready, and greeted his friends in his new mask. It worked perfectly! Not even his friends could recognize him.

Continuing the investigation, Olaf and his friends went to visit Mr. Rain. He was the one that rented the wagon that was used to block one of the exits in the town square attack. Mr. Rain was very friendly and told the group about the 2 people who rented the wagon and said we could find them at the old, abandoned dwarven brewery. The old brewery was rumored to haunted, but fortunately Olaf wasn’t scared of ghosts.

The old brewery unfortunately did not have any beer whatsoever. Olaf had been hoping, but he knew it was a longshot. They did fine the 2 people that rented the wagon and arrested them. As it turns out, the brewery was indeed haunted by a ghost dwarf ghost named Welgard. Olaf and Welgard immediately hit it off as friends. Welgard was distraught since there was no more beer in the brewery. Olaf could understand how that bad was and gave him a big, warm hug, except the hug didn’t work as he past right through the ghost. Welgard didn’t understand. Olaf explained to him that he was actually dead and should move on to the afterlife. Welgard agreed and they departed friends. It’s always good to make new friends even if they’ve already dead.

The 2 wagon renters directed them to Paulos (provides payment for body) and Torso the Dreammaster, at the old theater. This was their base of operations for the Shivvel distribution. On the way to the theater, they met a group of orphans led by young man named Artful Dodger. Artful was very friendly and asked for a donation for the orphans he was helping to support. Olaf gave him what little money he had and Artful thanked him graciously and left. Olaf friends were upset with him again. Apparently they were not as generous with orphans as he was.

A police raid! How exciting. Olaf and his fellow officers, arrested everyone in the entrance room and burst into the main theater room where the drug lord called the Dreammaster operated. Despite the fierce resistance, they arrested all of the Dreammaster’s employees, and charged up onto staged to arrest the Dreammaster himself. Before they could, he disappear through the floor. Olaf moved over to the place where the Dreammaster had disappeared from as the rest of his friends searched for clues. When Olaf got there, he heard the creaking and snapping of floor boards beneath him. He looked up at his friends and said,
“Oh no!”

The trapdoor the Dreammaster had used was apparently not designed for someone of Olaf’s girth and broke open under his weight. Olaf fell through the floor and belly rolled down a slide the Dreammaster had used to escape. Olaf’s friends followed him down. The slide led to a basement room where the Dreammaster was hiding behind 2 cute and cuddly drakes. There was no escape for the Dreammaster this time. Olaf and his friends arrested him and put end to the drug dealing.

Olaf looked back at debris from his crash, fall, and roll. His mask had been completely destroyed. Without his ingenious disguise life was about to get a bit more complicated.

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Olaf's Journal, part two
Session Two

When Oswald told him they were going to Eldolan, he tried to smile but was filled with a sense of dread. He had passed through Eldolan over five years ago on his way to Drakkenhall. Even then, the town was familiar to Olaf from the stories his mother told. It was a place of power for followers of the Great Gold Wyrm. It was the place she had first heard the voice of the Great Gold Wyrm and this changed her path forever. Eldolan was a good town, but for Olaf it was place too closely tied to his past, a past that someday might catch up with him.

Then a brilliant idea came to him. Surely no one would recognize him if he wore a disguise. With some twigs and dead grass he fashioned himself a fake mustache. That with a pair of old spectacles he looked completely different. Olaf greeted his friends in disguise and they all complimented him on his new look. Of course they recognized him, but that wasn’t the point. He just had to make sure the casual observer didn’t spot him. He told his friends to call him Sven to go with his new look. They bought it. Maybe they were more naïve then Olaf realized.

Olaf’s friends had varied business to conduct in Eldolan, but Olaf insisted on dinner first at the Beached Whale. The place was full of Crusader and Great Gold Wyrm followers, but Olaf didn’t recognize any of the Great Gold Wyrm folks from the old days. His identity was secure, but there was another issue. It seemed there was a rivalry fight brewing between the Crusaders and the Great Gold Wyrm followers. Olaf pictured the brawl and imagined neither side coming out unscathed. There must be something he could do to avoid this disaster. Something that could make these people happy. Yes of course. Olaf got up on the bar and started to sing one of his favorite song from childhood. Singing always made hime happy, maybe it could make everyone else happy too. Several of the Great Gold Wyrm followers joined in. It was working, they were happy. As the song started to wind down, Olaf noticed Crusaders were definitely not happy. Ah, wrong song. He needed something more inclusive to the Crusaders. Olaf thought back to his classes on what he knew about the Crusaders. He had read a Crusader’s fight song once. It was worth a try. He tried to put the words he remembered to music. While he was sure he wasn’t doing a great job singing, a couple of the Crusaders recognized it and joined in. Olaf could see the smile on their faces as they bellowed out song. Ok now both the Great Gold Wyrm followers and the Crusader followers were happy. Olaf had saved the day again.

Now that 1st dinner was complete, they were off to business. They were meeting Therilsa Stormhand in the town square. Just as Olaf gave her his standard greeting, “Hi I’m … Sven, and I like warm hugs”, the town square was swarmed by zombies. Olaf charged forward to protect Therilsa, but halted abruptly when the smell caught him. Kasam had opened the sandwich cart! The situation was now all too clear to Olaf. The sandwiches were on freshly baked bread. He could actually hear Kasam bite into one. It must have been toasted. Oil and vinegar dripped down the roll. Was that prosciutto and cheese? He tried to retreat back to the sandwich cart, but the zombies were now grabbing and jumping on him. Olaf flailed desperately to reach the sandwiches, but the stupid zombies would not get out of the way. He watched painfully each and every time as Kasam bit down, only to watch him smile and wipe his face. The agony of the situation was almost too much to bear until Kasam swallowed the last morsel. Eventually the zombies were dispersed and Olaf stomped back towards Kasam angrier than he had ever been at his friend. Then Olaf realized there were still 7 sandwiches left. Happy day.

As part of the investigation, Oswald convinced the group to track down Aerto at a place called the Squirming Mermaid. Olaf was a little skeptical at first, but was surprised to find out that the Squirming Mermaid did have the best swill and fish stew he had ever tasted. The drinks were a bit on the strong side, but not all-together bad tasting. When Oswald suggested they tail Iairtoe, Olaf suggested he remain behind to check for any other suspicious characters. It seemed like a good deal, until he realized his “friends” had left him with the bill. Ah well, not the first time for that. A couple of drinks always mends any hurt feelings. The next part was a little fuzzy.

Olaf had woken up from more than one drunken night in his life, but never like this. He was lying on the floor in some dark warehouse. Kasam was trying to treat some sort of acid wounds he had sustained without out a clue of how to do it. Olaf was in no mood to find out what had spit acid all over him. Some nights it was just better not to know. His friends filled him in that they were assaulting a warehouse of necromancer cultists that were responsible for the zombie attack. Why Olaf had agreed to do this at 5 in the morning was beyond him, but at least it would soon be breakfast time. The cultists must eat breakfast, right?

After a bit of searching, they found the secret entrance (there is always a secret entrance) to the cultist’s lair. They jumped in on some demonic ritual and beat up all the cultists in the first room. Without even catching their breath, the team burst open the heavy doors to next room.

They were too late. The head necromancer cultist was completing a horrifying demon ritual. He had his dagger raised in the air and was about to sacrifice a poor, innocent sailor. There was no way any of the group could reach him in time. They were all doomed, especially the poor, innocent sailor. Nothing could be done. Well there was one thing. One thing that Olaf had tried to forget for many years now. In this final moment of desperation, the old words came back to him effortlessly.
“By the authority entrusted to me by my divine birthright, I summon the power of the Great Gold Wyrm.”

As he started to say the words everything started to slow down and by the time he finished everything stopped in time. The cultist dagger was still mid-thrust inches above the sailor. His friends and enemies were all frozen. The silence made the booming voice all the more terrifying.

“How dare you!”

The image of the Great Gold Wyrm’s head materialized in front of him. It seemed larger than the room itself. Olaf tried to reply but his voice now seemed to sound like that of a small child.

“The sailor will die without your help and the ritual will complete.”

The anger in the Great Gold Wyrm’s voice increased,
“What gives you the right to call upon me!”

Olaf did not know the answer. He could only think of the helpless sailor in front of him.
“There was no other way.”

The anger seemed to dissipate and the tone changed to that of disappointment.

“Olaf you must decide your path. You cannot deny your birthright and then call upon when you choose. The world has many helpless victims waiting for you to step forward. You must choose Olaf, and you must choose soon.”

The image of the Great Gold Wyrm vanished and suddenly time resumed. The cultist’s dagger thrust toward the sailor and was blasted back by the power of the Great Gold Wyrm. The cult was defeated and Olaf’s friends and of course the sailor thanked him. Olaf was not in congratulatory mood though. Using that much power here in Eldolan was sure to be noticed. Only one thing was for certain.

Olaf was going to need a better disguise!

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That was the Other Cult
Session Two Recap Quests and Clues

When the group finally wakes up and pulls themselves together they find:

Aerto is gone.

A review of the warehouse records and other documents reveals several items of note:

  • Aerto is involved in a Lich King cult called The Seekers of the Lost. The Seekers of the Lost have infiltrated Eldolan, perhaps over many years.
  • The Seekers of the Lost appear to have at least one member planted the Dead Vaults.
  • No indication of any additional members of the diabolical cult appear. No survivors.
Open Items
  • Dead Vaults lead (Hawker’s Square, diabolical cult)
  • Rumney Twosilvers, a merchant, recognizes the cart used (Hawker’s Square)
  • Interview street folk in the Commons lead (Mission of Lost Hope)
  • Aerto and the Seekers of the Lost cult lead (diabolical cult)
  • Surgical knowledge lead (Hawker’s Square)
  • Dream Master quest (Owen Bastable – Prince of Shadows)
  • Therilsa Stormhand quest (Group – Great Gold Wyrm)
Drakkenhall tasks
  • Pythoness House deed (Kasam Awarth)
  • Dark Arts books (Mal Keshar)
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Quests and Loot #2
Session Two Recap Admin

Eldolan reputation

  • Dispatched the zombie menace in the square
  • Masterfully organized care afterwards, calming the populace.
  • Therilsa Stormhand lives. (Penalty avoided.)
  • Crushed the diabolical cult in Eldolan.
  • Rescued the sailor, Anatoly Danilov.

Oswald Bastable has a quest to stop the Dream Master’s shivvel operation, offered obliquely by Rodolfo Roundbottom.

Kasam Awarth has a deed to the Pythoness House in Drakkenhall. It might be worth something.

Olaf Mountain is aware that Eldolan has a large concentration of Ordo Aurum knights and retainers and Templar soldiers; typically an explosive mix.

Mal Keshar is seeing some real world necromancy being practiced. He also finds some works on the Dark Arts in the demon worshippers’ basement. These may prove useful at the Blue Celestial Institute.

The group recovers a little money from the demon worshippers.

Items

  • Rune (+1)
  • Holy Relic (+1)
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Gamesmaster Comments
Session Two Review

The group made very strong headway. Both criminal investigation and the bar crawl through the docks provide nearly perfect fits for Bastable and Kasam Awarth respectively. Not only did most checks go against their primary background, but both have high charisma and rolled well. Clue discovery was not an issue. Two of the five bar contacts have hostility to high elves, but Kasam sailed through these even with a -5 modifier. Could have had a nice fail forward bar fight, but Kasam was on fire.

The group formed before I saw this module, and it’s hard to imagine something that has a tighter fit – necromancy, police, investigation, and bars. Most adventures won’t be like this.

The group showed urgency in pursuit, and found Aeorto night one.

First two sessions have each involved using Mal Keshar’s Sorta Dead talent with a warehouse.

They also showed nice flair in using Icon rolls thematically. Crushing clue collection at the Square and Olaf spending one point to lead a round of singing at a bar filled with Ordo Aurum and Crusader Paladins felt thematic.

Disrupting the dark ritual and then having the head cultist sacrifice himself when they group denied him the sailor on the altar was one of the most satisfying finale’s I’ve done in some time.

I havei increased the difficulty of every fight a bit; the guidance provided makes everything too easy for my taste.

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Another Sunrise - Time to Sleep
8th of Sidegloom, CE 345, almost dawn

The Beached Whale

Still covered in gore, demon ichor, and perhaps a little residual zombie goo, our heroes return to the Beached Whale. The late night crowd has already gone to bed, and our heroes do the same.

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We All Need to Make a Few Sacrifices
8th of Sidegloom, CE 345, hours before dawn

Cavern Under the Warehouse, the Docks

Our heroes approach cautiously and identify the traps.

They engage with four cultists and two cult elders. Mal Keshar ritually dispells the outer summoning while the group takes a short rest.

The team forces the door and engages with the cultists the moment Mal Keshar’s ritual finishes.

The burst into the summoning chamber and see Jeskill preparing to sacrifice a sailor tied down on the altar.

Olaf calls on the Power of the Great Gold Wyrm (burns a 6 icon roll) to spend a daily spell to shield the sailor on the altar.

Too dramatically awesome to deny. – gm

The group grinds down the cultists and engages with Jeskil, taking damage. Jeskil, apopletic that he cannot complete the ritual with the sailor, sacrifices himself once he is staggered, summoning the demon, a Fargtu.

The Fargtu starts tearing up the group, already battered from fights in the square, the warehouse, and the outer ritual chamber. In the end, the group prevails. Mal Keshar evaluates the ritual materials and other gear and Bastable returns to the warehouse office for further investigation. The sailor, Anatoly Danilov, is hysterical, but grateful.

As dawn approaches, the group heads back to the Beached Whale to get some sleep.

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Another Night, Another Warehouse
8th of Sidegloom, CE 345, hours before dawn

Warehouse, the Docks

Our heroes put Mal Keshar and his faithful minion in a wagon, and head to the warehouse. They follow drop protocols and manage to pull a few diabolical cultists outside. The fight with the cultists activates the Abyssal Guardian, which gets in a few good hits.

The group tidies up and heads underground.

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Body Talk
8th of Sidegloom, CE 345, hours before dawn

Squirming Mermaid tavern in the Docks

The group has a talk with Aerto.

He gradually is persuaded to come clean with his body trade. He describes the transactions as “just business” and points out that he is only delivering corpses, not actually hurting anyone. Bastable is less than satisfied with this, and eventually presses Aerto to reveal his buyer and details on how the drops are done. Despite the long day, Bastable presses the group forward.

Sadly, the group later discovers that Aerto had more than one buyer. But he’s in the wind by then…

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It's a Dirty Job, But...
7th of Sidegloom, CE 345, evening

Every bar in the docks Kasam can find

Kasam takes the task of finding about Aerto. Bastable can’t walk into a bar without police investigator stamped on his forehead. Kasam’s desire to drink and gamble is sincere.

Kasam diligently drinks and gambles his way through the Docks. He is very thorough. He gambles brilliantly and hardly loses any money. He also gets an incredibly valuable deed for a property in Drakkenhall called the Python House.

Olaf enthusiastically matches Kasam drink for drink and meal for meal at the following establishments:

  • The Beached Whale
  • Dwarves’ Home Alehouse
  • Lusty Dolphin
  • Sailor’s Respite
  • Squirming Mermaid
  • West Wind
  • Wild Wave Inn

By the middle of the night, they successfully obtain Aerto’s location and some background information. Aerto is a fixer, he connects people who have a need with people that supply the need. He’s been operating out of the docks for a long time and keeps a moderately low profile. The group reassembles and prepares to confront Aerto.

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