Or in other words,
we had a recent change (not extremly unexpected) in our roleplaying group. Thomas took the seat of a player for once again and Roman traded his for the DungeonMaster’s. Now this is a great thing, since Roman already has thrown a lot of motivation into it just by the action itself. Furthermore (as a meanwhile quite experienced dungeon master) I can only say, I love the aspect other Dungeon Masters bring into the game, especially new ones. For one thing I think it’s the best way to get a grip on rules regarding combat and for a player it’s the sheer aspect of what you usually tend to critisize and now have to endure yourself ;-). No actually I think it’s just a very pleasant experience – a common (pre-)judice Roman excels at all things dwarven, he has a strong favor for the stout people and for me this has already taken shape in the adventure-line. (Maybe by pure coincidence though…)
Well, last time we’ve been travelling by ship from Baldur’s Gate to an island in the far west. On our way we were attacked by an overwhelming force of undead on board of a ghost-ship. The conclusion of our last session left us without in-depth knowledge of our own ship’s status after the battle for the few minutes of fighting left our whole adventuring party stripped by all but their pride. So everything started about one day after the battle when we received word of the general status of our ship which was rather bad but still afloat, we knew we lost about 30 members of 200 onboard due to the attack of the ghosts und other undead so a harsh decision of the captain, against the will of a Helmite on board was made to steer to the closest port in “New Mithril Hall”, a small city located on an island either close to the Moonshae Islands or on one of them by Soinius’ understanding.
Safe for the mourning of the dead and intrinsically tied sea-burials, the coming two days were rather relaxing and this was absolutely necessary for us. Our own upcoming enthusiasm of our arrival in the small port was quickly diminished when Soinius and Sharyl found out that sea-sickness works as well when you arrive on shores and the seesaw is gone. But that did not really slow us down.
Quickly we spread out into the city and while Sharyl and Rei gathered some information on what’s going on, Soinius and Erfenn almost befriended with Darian, an adventurer in service to the Ironthrone in Baldur’s Gate, that almost meaning, probably they would have either befriended or started a brawl since they all three were heavily engaged in dice-games.
Dice needed, 5 dice, 3 with less sides, 2 with more sides. Perfectly suited are bone dice or stone-dice – e.g. 3 with 6 sides and 2 with 8 sides. The game itself is easy, the sum of the two dice is substrated by the sum of the three dice. The highest total wins the round. A pair of the 3 pool dice means double stakes and a triple means stakes are trippled. A pair of the double-pool dice means you loose in the next round one of the 3 pool and throw only 2 [low] 2 [high]. Base-wager is 1 copper. Tie’s form a pool and it’s always the whole wage that’s doubled or trippled!
Screams from the streets were audible and to the surprise of both Erfenn and Soinius it was Darian that was reacting even quicker than they were. In the streets they almost immediately joined forces with Sharyl and Rei, both coming from a different direction than the three of them with only a short protest against Darian’s initial impulse to attack the spell-web slinging elf. The visible threat were zombies conjured or sent against the citizens by a dark figure that managed to escape via the city sewers… With the zombies giving none of the adventureres much of a challenge, it was still a creepy feeling having undead around them and again it seemingly was the human taking charge and forcing a decision that he will stand against the plague and try to help overcome this. Splendid thought by him and it did not take long for the others to join in. Knowing nothing of his true motivations it still seemed a genuine, frank and honest offer and hours later the party’s joined forces met with the Lieutnant of the Flaming Fist, the Commander of the local Ironthrone operations as well as the city’s official.
Things happened in a swoop back then, a story of a seemingly mad dwarf from the mithral mines told of the unexpected vanishing of two exploration groups in the mines – a harbinger of a whole settlement from the miners that returned due to severe troubles there. Not able to find the threat in the canalisation of the city, the decision to go into the mines was formed again very quickly and with Erfenn steering a wagon the two day’s walk was managed in a little more than a day.
The mine itself was the least scary during the approach, with a whole settlement seemingly abandoned, it was an eerie place – in fact all headed straight for the mines to leave this place behind them.
In the mine it was a prayer to Brandobaris that spared them a slaughter with ghules for the magic of Soinius on behalf of his god hid them from the awareness of the undead creatures. It was at least one hour later when they finally arrived on one of the lowest level dungeons, forced to confront with a great evil, chanting in an infernal tongue and seemingly having a strong interest to create immortal followers for himself. What the group faced was hideous – terrifying and at the same time intriguing. A seemingly intelligent undead was transforming an unconscious dwarf into – something. Given the facts that several dwarven zombies were right next to him and only moments later attacking the intruders, it was obviously a dangerous situation for the one (and Soinius really hoped he was still living) dwarf right next to the lich. A vicious battle started with zombies pinned and destroyed, a dwarf saved, though still on the borders of confusion, shock and madness and a lich disappearing in the end. Magical means of the wizard Erfenn were almost depleted by then but the observant team made out a magical portal hidden in the stone. This is where the real trouble started – when Soinius, eventually ridden by Brandobaris himself took the portal to an unknown destination, making a safe call to his friends to stay there and take the other exit in case he would not reemerge within the next moments. But moments later not only Soinius had passed through the portal but Darian, Rei, Sharyl and finally Erfenn and their dwarfen companion made it through – with unnatural cold passing through all and tearing shards of the souls of both the halfling and the human it was another plea for help to Brandobaris (for all he had gotten them into) that shed a silvery light on the longsword of Darian. That reinforced it seemed easy to cut through the bones and rotten skin of the lingering creatures here. They split up and within moments they had circled the lich which himself had summoned a powerful beared creature, a devil to help him. It was a horrible fight with deep wounds for many of the adventurers, when Sharyl and Erfenn both sensed a powerful magical item beneath the lich’s throne, cloaked by utter darkness. The undead himself unable to fight against all intruders and barring them the way it was Darian’s sword that shattered the box after several attempts with his hands gone numb and his body revibrating from the impact.
Cleaving the black casket cleaved in two – the undead bane sword carved deep into the phyllactery of the lich – its very essence destroyed and immortality taken from it – the lich merely transmuted one last time, into dust.
That is where our journey led us. Tymora and Brandobaris both must have looked over us – sharing one fate it is all of the adventurers that might soon be praying to either one of them.