Saturday, October 26, 2019

World of Prime: Campaign Journal #17

Return to the Lake of Ill Repute

The party returns to a warm welcome at their old village inn. The innkeeper has kept their room open, as promised, though given that this village is on the border of the kingdom and nothing but wilderness lies beyond it, there aren’t any other guests. There used to be various people visiting the sorcerer Grayson and the occasional merchant in the honey business, but those sources of revenue are gone now. On the other hand, the demons and giant bees are gone, so the innkeeper doesn’t complain. Instead he hands the party a package that had been mysteriously left on his doorstop. Although he can’t read the writing on the box he knows it’s obviously meant for adventurers.

The box contains a jar, and the jar contains a head: the boiled and burnt head of their old contact Lodvun, who had hired them to find a clear path to Varsoulou for the spice trade. The party doesn’t know what to make of this message. The cleric feels guilty that they took his down-payment and didn’t deliver, but mostly the party seems happy to consider that plot thread snipped off and sewn up.

Meanwhile the innkeeper, after serving them dinner for free, mentions that there is a small favour the village would like to ask of them. The victims from Grayson’s murder spree have crawled out of their graves and into the lake, and their relatives would appreciate the party returning their corpses for proper re-burial. Everyone would sleep more soundly if they knew their recently departed weren’t cavorting with a bunch of orcs and fishmen at the bottom of the lake, you know?

The next day the party descends into the dungeon and spends several days doing battle with various traps and undead monsters, including a giant spider (which naturally died to the ranger's epic dagger), but with their advanced rank and the remains of the blasting rods from Rialto they are never particularly in danger. One notable battle involves fifty heavily armed and armored zombies in a small room, which the party struggles to beat down with several wave attacks – and all to virtually no profit, as the constructs yield little tael and less gold. They do collect a sufficiency of corpse dust to return to the village, some of which even comes from the corpses of the villagers that got dusted during one of the cleric's many Turn Undead chants. When they find another room of full of the creatures they sensibly retreat and close the door. The monsters remain quiescent and the party moves on to the final room, where they encounter the master of the dungeon, the undead orc lord Xerxes and his massive undead wolf pet.

The wizard magically seizes control of the pet, and the skeletal lord goes down in the second round under a barrage of attacks. The party collects a handful of tael and the thousand gold coins that made up the studs on the skeleton’s armor. Exhausted with being underground in foul air and surrounded by dead things, they retreat to the inn where they left the bard to drink off his most recent romantic disaster.

They join him at the bar, hoping for a dramatic song about their exploits, but even in his cups the bard has a strong sense of the dramatic. “That can’t be right,” he slurs from the bottom of a mug of ale. “All that dungeon for a sack of gold coins? Something doesn’t add up…”