2152 Y.O.L. - Sea Season - Disorder Week - Fireday
While waiting on Silvus the Sly to identify the recently found artifacts, the group ventured around town seeking to pick up a few items. While passing the undertaker’s house, Morr the Black was seen acting very strange, so the adventurers decided to try to stealthily follow him/her (the team is still unsure of Morr’s gender).
Morr acknowledged the group, and summoned them over with a wave of the hand. Team Glarg followed Morr’s lead to ‘The Rest’, the local graveyard of Balcon. Between the animated hand signals from Morr (who is unable to communicate verbally) and the general observations of disturbed earth around the graves, the friends realized something grim has been animating the dead and directing them east. The same direction the Halflings have been disappearing to.
In search of more information and equipment, the group moved onward to Balcon’s blacksmith, Bart. While placing an order for a set of scale mail (due in 2 weeks), Glarg noticed that Bart seemed to act strangely complacent. Observing a familiar looking ring on the Bart’s hand, Glarg asked to see it. As Bart stiffly refused to remove the ring, a zombie controlled by Bart entered from the storage area. Glarg grabbed Bart, and had the team remove the ring. The zombie stood still then, staring at the ring’s captor.
The group decided it was best served to destroy the undead creature. Since losing the ring, Bart aged significantly, becoming an old man almost instantly. Bart confessed he received the ring to control his undead servant from the recruiters that have been claiming equal opportunities for Halflings in the east. With Bart’s age degeneration, Glarg was doubtful of getting his armor, but left it at that.
Exiting the blacksmith’s shop, Alfonzo, Reginald’s page, summoned the travelers to an immediate meeting at Lord Kernan’s hall. Upon entering, Reginald questioned the adventures about their encounters in the cave, and determined the group to be of honest intent regarding the accidental release of the Wampyri.
Reginald hardly acknowledged the missing Halflings, dismissing them as a nuisance that the recruiters were helping remove. Without actual evidence of misconduct, Reginald refused to discuss the matter further.
The group brought up the note found in the cave stamped with Veldman’s seal, but this was also disregarded as Reginald knew that would make Veldman over 2000 years old. He suggested that the document was probably a forgery; some simpleton attempting to scare someone.
Before more could be discussed, Bodo barged in the front door telling Reginald something was wrong a Pringsley’s farm. The group later learned that Pringsley’s farm was a source of Swath, an illegal drug that many Halflings have been partaking of. The group, empathizing with their friend Bodo, set out to see what was wrong at the farm.
Arriving at the farm a short while later, a group of soulless undead (the 7 farmhands) awaited the travelers. After a short battle with dusty bags of bones, several members called out for Pringsley. Hearing no response, they entered the farmhouse.
Nailed to the wall inside was a horribly gruesome scene: Farmer Pringsley, his wife, and three of his four children, hung upside-down shredded and dead. Hearing a young girls voice call for help from the basement, the group rushed down. Hearing the call again, Kelmor slammed through a cracked wall, opening up a hidden area cavern containing the missing Pringsley girl and two fire beetles closing in on her. Glarg rushed over, slaughtering the puny bugs without a second thought.
Suddenly, something on the ceiling shifted and the Wampyri jumped down behind the rest of the travelers. It grabbed the Kyratas by the mouth, forcing his jaw open with vice-like force. The beast slammed its own mouth over Kyratas’s, forcing its own spawn down his throat. Cackling as it ran from the area, Team Glarg distinctly heard it say “Now you are mine! You will obey me! Destroy this nuisance (referring to the rest of the group) and grow more powerful!”
The party was stunned, and left wondering what should be done about this awful predicament.
We're heading into session four with a solid group of seven players that get along well and have fun together. You cannot ask for a better gaming situation than that. Just to review some of the plot threads out there and encourage some dialogue between party members between sessions, here are a few of the open threads:
1) The threat that Veldman is viable and active: why now? what is he trying to accomplish? how might he be thwarted? If Veldman is back (Reginald seems to think not) then Veldman is likely a higher level challenge than the party currently is. So, dealing directly with Veldman might be a mid-term goal.
2) The wolves that are plaguing the local farmers: the party had one encounter with wolves already. This seems like a manageable, low level challenge.
A series of Halfling issues ...
3) The potential for evil activities associated with the Halfling "colonization project": the local authorities (well, Reginald at least seems to be OK with the general idea. He certainly is squeamish about Bad Things(tm) happening to the Halflings, but he has not felt compelled to investigate the particulars.) The party definitely gets the feeling that it will have to bring back proof of wrong-doing before the local authorities will jump in.
4) The broader socio-economic plight of the Halflings: why are the Halflings , generally known for being light-hearted and happy (e.g., Bodo), being affected so negatively? What is driving the doom & gloom? There have been several hints dropped so far. Is there something actually malicious and planned going on, or is this just a naturally occuring series of random events? What is going on with the Swath usage by the Halflings?
5) Rot within Balcon: Why did Bart agree to work with the Colonolizers? Why would he accept a ring that was connected with undead control? Who else in the town might be affected? Why are the other citizens in Balcon willing to turn a blind eye to the plight of the Halflings?
6) Zombie a-Go-Go: what happened to the zombies from "the Rest"? If this has been going on for awhile, why did Mort not notify the authorities? Or, did he and was she ignored?
7) Plans within plans within plans: the really interesting thing is that many of these things appear to be at least partially connected ... there are the recurring ring theme. Some of the folks involved with the Swath distribution also seem to be involved with the Colonization effort ... what could someone like Veldman do with hundreds of innocents? Could there be any purpose driving him? And again ... why now? What is happening or is going to happen in the near to mid-term ... ?
On the Halfling philosophy, much can be learned from listening to this bit from the play "Waiting for Marko" put on by three Halflings.
Of course, the immediate moral quandary facing the party is that one of their numbers has been implanted with a Wampheri spawn and will change into a Wampheri before the dawn if the party is unable to dispatch with him before the transformation occurs. Does the party just allow their erstwhile companion to use them as a power-up snack? Should they just double-tap him now while they easily can? Decisions ... decisions ... What is the absolute good here? What constitutes the greater good?