The Stonelands Expedition

Restless dead

Session five.

The following days of the full moon, Beltan continues to try healing Ignace and Ragnar. Ragnar recovers on the second try, but Ignace’ disease persists, and he turns every night until the moon wanes. However, he achieves some control over his condition, and on the third night he manages to change back to human form before the moon goes down.

Terjon deposits Saeyir in his tent for interrogation. The fey’ri admits to actively working against the expedition’s success, and his attacks on sr. Harlock. Unfortunately, he escapes his bonds before any more information can be extracted. He calls down a patch of magical darkness, before he sheds his disguise, grows a huge pair of bat wings, and flies away into the distance with a cackling laughter. Terjon returns to his duties in silent rage.

A few days later, a line of caravans arrive in Deadgoblin. They are mainly reinforcements for the Purple Dragons, but are accompanied by a single mobile home, drawn by horses and steered by a young half elf. The soldiers dismount, and their leader acquaints himself with Gunnar, the old sergeant.

While they start reorganizing the forces, an old, tall elf exits the mobile home. He walks up to the nearest worker, asks for the camp leader, and marches straight into Sr. Harlock’s tent. Meanwhile the driver, Volatile Log, fasten the wagons wheels and releases the horses.

Log has no idea why his master wants to visit this hellhole, but he’s apprenticeship is his only alternative to professional pickpocketing, so he asks no questions. While the old fart might have dangerous research to do in the wilds, all Log has to do is look after his things while he’s gone.

A few of the camps inhabitants greet him curiously, Terjon and Cromweld among them. He presents himself as “Log, apprentice to Criil the conjurer”, but it sounds less impressive than he had hoped.

After exiting the war tent, Criil walks out of the camp and casts a spell. The workers stand in awe as he summons a phantom steed, which carries him west over the horizon.

The following days, the camp is quiet. The reinforcements let the soldiers stand guard 24 hours a day without exhausting themselves. Log makes himself comfortable in Criil’s home, and Horst and Ignace finally get their distillery going without being bothered by Terjon.

The priest is preoccupied with his Master. Sr. Harlock seems more and more devastated by his actions under the full moon. They decide to send a letter to the church in Suzail and have the high priest decide what to do. Edwin dictates his confession to Terjon, and Terjon also writes his own account of the events.

The answer arrives after four days. Sr. Harlock is relieved of his command and his title, and must return to Suzail to atone. Meanwhile, Terjon will take over his post until a replacement can be found.

Cromweld is still helping feeding the camp and mingling with the working folk. He hears some of the men talk of a ghost roaming the area. They say the site of the battle against the goblins is haunted. Some have seen strange lights in the middle of the night, others claim to have heard voices when they go to gather wood. Intrigued, Cromweld go down to check on the rumor, but finds nothing but a few scattered goblin bones.

He waits until nightfall, and goes to look for the ghost again. After a few minutes he comes face to face with a giant rat. It flees into a nest under a bush, but Cromweld runs after it and casts burning hands down the hole. He hears the rat thrash and squeal, and as he’s about to cast the spell again a ghastly figure rises from the ground. The ghostly creature looks like the one armed corpse of Bagnak, the goblin chief. It lets out a horrid moan, which sends Cromweld reeling back with shock. He runs panicked back to the camp.

He tells Terjon what has happened, and they go back to the rat’s nest to look around. The place is deserted, but after casting detect evil Terjon senses something down in the rat’s nest. They fetch a pair of shovels, and after chasing away the giant rat they find a small skull hidden under the ground. The skull is covered in dried blood and grime, and the priest can feel an aura of malice surrounding it.

Terjon holds the skull up above his head.

“Show yourself, Bagnak, or I’ll smash it against the ground!”

With a loud rasp the ghost rises from the ground. He starts moving towards them, but Terjon interrupts him.

“What do you want?”

“My arm.”

After a short argument Cromweld concedes and goes to pick up the goblins arm. They lay it on the ground in front of him.

“Now, will you leave the camp alone?”

“No. Give me the rest.”

“We burned and scattered your remains. If you want us to go chase ashes on the wind, forget it.”

The ghost growls and casts a spell. Lightning shoots from the sky and hits Cromweld square in the head. Terjon yells for reinforcements while trying to hold the ghost back with his magic. The rat creeps out from its hiding place towards Cromwelds lifeless body.

Sounds of lightning from the clear sky draw the attention of the rest of the group. Log, Ignace and Horst come running in time to see the rat rip Cromwelds throat open, while Terjons spiritual weapon chases Bagnaks ghost into the earth.

The group carries Cromweld back to the camp. Terjon holds a small ceremony, and they bury his body in a small plot north of the town after Log loots the sorcerer’s tobacco.

To prevent the Bagnak from rising again, Terjon decides to burn his skull in holy fire. They grind their silver coins to dust and spread it around the camps fireplace. Terjon casts consecrate, and they throw the goblins remains onto the coals. Desperate, the ghost summons a spirit into the fire, taking the form of an elemental. It snatches the skull and flees the camp, but the group catches up and destroys it.

Horst decides enough is enough, picks up the skull and covers it in his corrosive breath. As the bone melts and falls apart, Bagnaks ghost appears screaming above them. It casts produce flame and starts setting things on fire, but they batter it with spells until it fades away.

The last thing Cromweld can remember is his flesh boiling, while gurgling a prayer to Tymora.

An old woman walks unnoticed into the burial plot, and descends into his grave. She examines the corpse while muttering prayers to her vile goddess. Magical energies consume the carcass, and a new body starts forming.

Cromweld wakes up in the cold dark of his grave. He coughs and sputters, and starts clawing desperately at the dirt above him. After a few minutes he digs his way out from the ground while gasping for air.

His first impression is that everything seems bigger than it was. It takes a few moments for him to realize he has shrunk to the size of a child. He staggers back to his wagon, gathering frightened looks from the guards on watch, and creeps horrified into his bed.

Terjon is awoken by a pale faced guard.

“Sir, I think you should see this.”

He leads the priest up to Cromwelds caravan and knocks on the door. Cromweld yells for them to leave him alone, and starts sobbing uncontrollably.

“It’s just me. Please open the door.”

The door slides open. Terjon urges the guard to leave, enters, and finds the sorcerer curled up on his bed. He sits up, and it becomes apparent how tiny he suddenly is. Somehow, during the night he has been remade as a halfling. Terjon tries to console him, but has no idea what to say, and soon Cromweld starts wailing again. He leaves him to his misfortune and goes back to bed.

DMs note: For those who didn’t get it, the ghost had druid levels and the rat was its animal companion. He tried to make it gather his remains together, but trying to make a rat find a certain set of bones in a corpse strewn wilderness can be frustrating.

DMs second note: Cromwelds reincarnation was a result of his player whining. It was a moment of weakness, but I plan to make the most of it.


Lughart Lughart

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