Session #8: July 6th, 1:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Prior to the beginning of the session, David’s wife Wendy announced that she would be introducing a character: Mr. Whiskers, a catfolk monk. We also clarified some rules, resolved to be more mindful of OOC conversation during combat, and determined a default marching order, which Andy pointed out was conducive to our party’s “tank and flank” strategy. After lunch, which consisted of chicken, bow-tie pasta with tomatoes, and sliced watermelon provided by David and Wendy, we were ready to continue our adventure.
The pooling darkness coalesced into four shadows and a swirl right next to the enclave entrance. Peter noticed a couple of lit torches – described as looking a little like tiki torches – protruding from the ground near the entrance, and Kvitte noticed a pothole off to the side. Ezzy shot one of the shadows with an arrow as Peter, Kvitte, and Albricht moved to engage them in melee, and Himani closed to attack the last one. Kvitte and Albricht struck their targets with claws and sword respectively, but Kvitte was weakened by the touches of two of the shadows. Ezzy quickly moved in and spent an action point to help him with restoration and cure light wounds, and the troll once again traded blows with a shadow. The swirling darkness began to concentrate, and Ezzy continued to heal the troll’s wounds. The sounds of the battle attracted the attention of Mr. Whiskers, who scrambled to the top of the enclave entrance and tried to pounce on one of the shadows. Unfortunately, he missed, but the shadows that attacked Ezzy and Himani and the two that attacked Albricht did not. Albricht was forced to heal himself, and Ezzy channeled energy to keep her allies in fighting condition as the swirling darkness continued to take shape. Peter, concerned for the safety of the troll and the paladin and frustrated by the ineffectiveness of his rapier, shouted a warning and lobbed his alchemist’s fire into the enemy ranks. The flames consumed one of the shadows and seriously wounded another, which prompted Albricht to pull one of the torches out of the ground and swing it at a shadow. His aim was not as true as that of his allies, and he and Mr. Whiskers both felt the shadows’ chilling touch. As the swirling clouds of darkness sprouted limbs, Himani pulled the other torch out of the ground and hurled it at one of the shadows, leaving it a prime position for Peter to grab it and singe a shadow. Mr. Whiskers finished the shadow with a swipe of his paw, and the last two shadows were absorbed by the coalescing darkness as it took on a large, manlike shape, which chilled Peter with its touch. Himani engaged the large shadow in melee while Albricht, inspired by Kvitte’s cries of “Book!” and “Fire!”, pulled the book of shadows out of his backpack and hurled it into the smoldering flames. Ezzy shot the large shadow with an arrow while Peter struck it with the torch and moved next to Himani, who wrapped a strip of cloth around one of her arrows. Ezzy cast bane on the large shadow, which extended tendrils of darkness in all directions and struck Mr. Whiskers and Kvitte. Peter, who managed to avoid the attack, lit Himani’s arrow on fire, though she did not manage to hit the shadow with it. Albricht recovered his sword and drank his potion of divine favor while Kvitte and Peter burned the shadow with the torches and Himani shot it, then closed in and smote the shadow out of existence.
Licking their wounds, the party recovered the book from the fire. It had not been consumed or even visibly damaged by the flames. Kvitte advocated leaving the book in the forest, returning to town, and forgetting about it – as evinced by his cry of “Town!” – but Albricht insisted that an item with such dark and dangerous power should not be left lying around. The troll did not seem convinced by this line of reasoning, leading to the following proposal by the players:
Andy: I can make a Diplomacy check…
David: …against my Intimidate check and we’ll see who wins.
Ultimately, Albricht was able to convince Kvitte that a world full of shadows would not be a world full of tasty food, and that finding out more about the book would help them stop more shadows from appearing in the world. The party then greeted and introduced themselves to their newest companion, who had been out hunting when he heard the commotion. He proved very amenable to petting and required little convincing to accompany the party on their quest to learn about the book and how to be rid of it. With a clear course of action in mind, the party made camp near the enclave entrance and rested while Albricht and Ezzy healed their wounds and restored their lost strength. Once everyone was in top shape again, the party returned to the enclave entrance and descended the stairs into a dark, narrow corridor with sarcophagi lined up along the walls. Albricht took point until he heard a click under his feet, and barely managed to leap out of the way as a stone panel opened to reveal a 30-foot-deep pit. Mr. Whiskers climbed into the pit and found the remains of more careless adventurers at the bottom, then climbed up the other side while the rest of the party bridged the gap with a sarcophagus. The monk and the two rogues went ahead to scout out a ring-shaped chamber at the end of the hallway, in which they saw several caskets lying on the floor near the center of the chamber or tucked away in alcoves. The rogues noticed doors in each of the side walls, and Peter saw a third one as he drew closer to the wall opposite the long hallway. He also heard a couple of growls, which issued from two dessicated corpses with burning eyes that were ambling toward him. The lids of several caskets near the center of the chamber slid open, and five skeletons emerged to do battle with the party.
Ezzy and Mr. Whiskers, being the most perceptive party members, noticed that there were four fountains in the corners of the room and the caskets were made of dry wood. The wights closed on Peter and attacked him before he could recover from his shock, clawing him once and bestowing him with a negative level. Two skeletal champions with swords and breastplates emerged from caskets in the far alcoves as Kvitte hacked the closest skeleton apart. Peter withdrew to his allies’ side, and Ezzy reduced four of the skeletons to dust by channeling energy. Mr. Whiskers lit some of the caskets on fire, and Albricht moved close to Peter and Kvitte to form a defensive line. As Kvitte and Albricht engaged the wights in melee, the party heard pounding on the doors and the skeletal champions drew nearer. Ezzy fired an arrow at one of them, prompting an amusing exchange:
Brittany: I’m shooting an arrow at that thing. (Points over the combat map in an indistinct direction.)
Andy: At the DM or the skeleton?
Himani sank an arrow into one of the wights, and another blow from Kvitte’s axe finished it. The skeletal champions missed Mr. Whiskers and Peter, who teamed up on the remaining wight with Himani and Albricht. Ezzy channeled energy a second time, and Mr. Whiskers landed a couple of solid blows on one of the skeletal champions. A bandage-wrapped arm punched through one of the doors as the skeletal champions struck Kvitte and Mr. Whiskers, and Kvitte retaliated with a savage bite. Peter finished off the wight by running it through with his rapier, and Ezzy defeated one of the skeletal champions with some timely healing. Himani and Albricht rushed over to help Mr. Whiskers fight the other champion, and saw another bandaged corpse tearing through the door. Kvitte sank his teeth into the skeleton while Ezzy blessed the party, and Peter and Mr. Whiskers tried to stop the mummies’ advance by setting one door on fire and blocking another with a burning casket. They were unable to reach the door on the far wall, however, before a mummy smashed it into splinters.
Pausing in mid-battle, the session ended and experience was distributed. No time was chosen for the next meeting, but we opted to discuss it and find one that would be convenient for everyone.