Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Colony - Turn 29 - Field and Stream

More corpses in the wilderness. What could they mean?

Start Date: August 5, late morning
Start Status: No Poking the Corpses
Start Location: Hex 39,24

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

After examining the corpses and determining their facing, the group moves on without touching anything. They're unwilling to risk whatever enchantment or poison affected the flies and birds. They continue northeast into more open grassland. As they get closer to the coast, the grass gets sparser and coarser, and the soil becomes sandy and soft. Near the shoreline, Aaron spots something in the distance rising above the grass. The group changes direction toward the odd object. It is a huge scaly arm and clawed hand reaching up out of the ground. The exposed portion is a good 100 feet high and only shows the hand and part of the forearm. The material used to make the statue is unknown, but it feels warm and flexes a bit when touched. Xon's blade leaves no mark when he tries to scratch the surface.

Beyond the arm, the sandy ground drops off sharply to the sand and gravel beach below. A few rocky outcroppings serve as poor landmarks along this stretch of shoreline. The barren wastes to the south are visible from here. To the north, the coast curves and more sand is visible in the distance. The party takes its leave of the giant arm and heads north-northwest into the grasslands there. They spend the rest of the day exploring the unremarkable terrain, which is bordered to the north by low, wooded hills. The only unusual thing they notice is a herd of antelope moving fast from the north to the southwest as evening turns to night.

Meanwhile, back at the Tulip, Brigg, Kessel, and Adrienne pay a visit to Lieutenant Durhel, hoping to get a letter of introduction that will allow them to travel around the colony freely. She says she has no authority to issue such a writ, and it's really unneeded. Anyone is free to travel anywhere along the public roads or beyond the borders of the colony.

August 6

After an uneventful night, the group wakes early as clouds, wind, and rain roll in from the coast. They make a cold breakfast and set off early, moving southwest through the grassland and generally following the line of hills and trees to the north. The rain hampers the group's exploration efforts considerably. They make a wet and dreary camp just beyond the trees.

Adrienne, Brigg, and Kessel press on with their plans for a day trip to Pleasant Vale despite the weather. At first glance the village lives up to its name, but closer examination reveals many boggy patches and rocky, tree-covered mounds in the fields.

The village itself is fairly poor, but most of the homes are made of the limestone cut from the nearby quarry. The general store carries a variety of basic goods, and the so-called tavern serves up a dark, slightly sour brew. The quarry workers and barkeep are a dour lot, and have little to say about topics other than farming, the miserable weather, or the bad vein of rock they recently hit in the quarry. The barkeep does tell Brigg that Lord Luko and his staff, aside from the house guards, are not here. They're in the city. He also mentions that the watch tower guards don't visit the village much. They have barracks at the tower.

The group enjoys their pint as best they can before heading to West Peak Watch. When they arrive the guards on duty ask their business and relax when the group explains and mention Lieutenant Durhel's name. They're willing to chat with the group and their sergeant joins them after a few minutes.

None of them are aware of any obelisks in the area, but they repeat the rumor that there's one beneath Raven Rock. When Adrienne asks why the tower was placed here, the sergeant asks the group to leave their weapons with the gate guards and follow him inside. He leads them up to the roof where they can see several miles of forest and beyond that, mountains. When Kessel spots a large scar on a mountain to the north, the sergeant explains that it is Korvak's Pit, an open pit mine that was abandoned in the plague years. It's part of the Luko land grant, but it hasn't been reopened. There were deaths there that no one was ever able to explain, and some stories say strange shadowy people were seen in the nearby forests. After taking a final long look at the land beyond the colony's edge, the group thanks their host, heads back downstairs and retraces their path back to New Kavlin.

August 7

The rain continues throughout the night and turns into a heavy downpour as morning approaches. The solid clouds overhead show no signs of breaking up, and those in town decide it's probably not a great day for sight-seeing.

Those in the wilds are not so fortunate. They press on at a very slow pace, heading north into the woods, mapping as best they can in the driving rain and mist. Two hours into their travels Aaron, Maarek, and Xon cry out at almost the same time, then keel over and fall to the ground. As Rennard turns to help his fallen comrades, Jinx scans the surrounding trees. "There!" Jinx points to a pair of large trees 30 feet to the left. A figure lurks in the shadows beneath its branches, a dark shape with eyes that give off faint blue light.

"No, there!" Mendel points ahead to another humanoid shape next to the narrow game trail the party has been following.

Rennard holds up a long feathered dart with a nasty stone point. "Aaron is out cold and won't wake up, and the others look about the same. What now?"

[Aaron 4 damage, Xon 2 damage, Kessel 1 damage]

As Mendel prepares a spell, Jinx fires at the shadowy figure beneath the trees, but the shot is wide of the mark. Mendel casts hold person at the foe in front, who freezes in place. Rennard moves to engage the nearest visible foe, glowing sword in hand.

Jinx spots movement out of the corner of his eye and whirls, astonished, as a shadow-shape seems to materialize out of thin air behind the group. The figure has allies still hidden from sight, because more darts come from the nearby trees. Mendel is struck, but manages to shake off the feeling of lethargy that envelops him [2 damage]. Rennard is hit by two darts and falls to the ground, incapacitated [7 damage].

The two remaining adventurers fight on, but it's clear the situation is hopeless. The shadow figure appear and disappear willy-nilly. Eventually, the pair succumbs to the poison darts.

Sometime later...

Rennard is the first to shake off the coma-like sleep. He blinks several times, but can't see a thing. He fumbles for his sword and is relieved to find it in its sheath. He calls its light, which reveals his companions on the stone floor nearby. He shakes them awake one by one, and then the group turns its attention to their surroundings.

They're on a raised stone platform surrounded on three sides by bubbling black water. There is a domed ceiling 30 feet overhead, supported by several pillars carved to resemble tree trunks. The side of the platform with no water leads out into a space that, by the echoes, is fairly large. There is a human skull in the center of this path, skinless and preserved. Beneath it is a piece of parchment with a message scrawled on the back of one of Aaron's maps in blood. "Next time, this is your fate."

Jinx surveys the black shadows surrounding the group. "Well, now what?"


Total Damage:

Aaron 4
Xon 2
Kessel 1
Mendel 4
Rennard 7
Jinx 3

End Date: August ?
End Status: Kansas. Not.
End Location: In the dark

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