Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rise of the Runelords - S&W whitebox

Wow, it's been a very long time since I've actually written any of my thoughts on my daughter's game. But I thought that maybe I'd better write this down in order to keep things straight. And what better place than here?

The characters:
  • Coral, a fourth level Elven Adventurer.
  • Quick Silver, a fourth level Gnome Adventurer (I've modeled this as a mix between a halfling and dwarf, something more akin to 1E AD&D's gnome.)

A quick recap of past events: Sandpoint has been saved from the goblin incursion but now a murderer is loose. And it turns out to be none other than the foppish noble, Aldern Foxglove. For the twist, he has fallen for Coral.

The depravations that he has enacted upon the innocents of Sandpoint are clearly some type of twisted sacrifice to "his love", Coral. It comes to the fore that not only is Aldern a murderous maniac, but also some type of horrid undead, a ghast by all estimations!

His murderous spree in the surrounding countryside has created an army of ghouls, which over the course of a few weeks provides no end of action for Sandpoint's militia. The only known cure for this horrid outbreak is to figuratively cut the head off the snake, and that means that Aldern must die.

Help is sent for and a iron-hard holy man of Pharasma is sent from Magnimar. A certain Solomon Kane (I know, I know...I just couldn't help myself. Could you, if your audience had never heard of this wonderful character?) shows up on the front stoop the church in Sandpoint, calling for Coral and Quick Silver.

His specialty is the hunting and slaying of abominations, specifically the undead. He is also interested in hearing what the two adventurers have found during their escapades earlier in the area. Apparently he's also a high ranking official in the Pathfinder Society, and an invitation to the two is given, provided they prove their worth in the upcoming fight against the ghast.

Gathering up the necessary supplies (plenty of oil and holy water) the group, consisting of Shalelu the Elf, Mock Rockson the dwarf, Coral, Quick Silver and of course Solomon Kane, ride of at first light, heading for Foxglove manor, better known as "The Misgivings".

Arriving a few hours into the morning, the group finds the horrid abode surrounded in odd-acting ravens and crows, chasing them away is not hard though, led by Kane's faith in his goddess. Yet, they don't go far. And this is troublesome.

Figuring that the best way into the house is either through the back, or down into the well, the party follows their noses, figuratively. And thus select the well due to the taint wafting up on the air currents.

Mock is first down due to his aversion to heights and climbing. He makes it w/out difficulty, lights a torch and secures a "beach head". The others follow quickly and they slowly make their way into the darkness.

As the natural tunnel widens out into a limestone cavern, they are beset upon by an enormous bat. The battle is brief though as the group ply their bows to good affect, bringing the beast down w/ nary a scratch. One of the bodies in the cavern proves to be a well known criminal, known by both Shalelu as well as Solomon. A bounty of 500 gold can be collected for proof of his demise. They take his ring, gold, sword and hat as proof. His rotted carcass is well beyond "ripe" and no one is interested in carrying it.

Further in the group runs afoul of a pack of ghouls. They quickly slay them but not before the noise brings four more. Solomon proves his worth and destroys three of them as they approach w/in 30'. (Turning range in my game) Carefully the group moves yet further into the dark, mold strewn caverns.

A huge natural ampitheatre is stumbled upon, wherein a ramp winds its way down to the surface of the water. And along this ramp opens the mouth of a tunnel as well as a stone door. But the group has not the time to explore much beyond a glimpse as out of the dark come howling yet more ghouls. These were once goblins, but are yet fierce opponents.

Arrows take down the first few while the last two are brought low by Solomon's turning. (He can do this but three times / day) Breathing hard the party takes stock of their situation and in the course of this a door is heard to bang open... Light spills forth as Aldern steps out, calling for "his love" to join him.

Coral sneers and throws curses his direction. This enrages Aldern, screaming obscenities, he sprints up the ramp towards the group, waving his gore encrusted razor the entire way.

Solomon steps forward and turns the ghast at the last possible moment! Yet Aldern strains as if against an invisible force to reach is one true love, Coral. And then, he spins on his heel and disappears back down the ramp, the door slamming in his wake.

The group rushes down in pursuit to find the door locked from the inside. Not having anyone in the group who can "force" a lock, they use their hammers, pitons and climbing picks to quickly chew through the rock holding the hinges. Soon the door is laying on its face upon the floor...Revealing a horrid sight.

Once used as some type of laboratory, the room is now a mess of trash, body parts and even stranger, a mass of black and dark blue fungus growing in the shape of a man on the far wall. The overwhelming stench that roils forth causes Shalelu and Quick Silver to collapse to their knees, retching.

By this time Solomon's control over the powerful ghast has ended, so both he and Mock rush into the room to put an end to this abhorrence. Cackling and asking Coral to "join him", Aldern lays into Solomon and instantly paralyzes the holy man. Spinning and kicking him over with his heel, he then faces off with the stout dwarf.

Coral hurls her knife with a curse, but the ghast sees it coming and easily avoids it. Mock and he trade blows with neither seemingly getting the upper hand. Shalelu and Quick Silver shakily get to their feet and advance. Quick Silver pulls her sword and slides beneath the table to take a hack at Aldern's exposed legs...she lands a blow but nothing telling enough to cripple him.

Meanwhile Shalelu stands astride Solomon's body, guarding him from further depredations. She slams home her blade (rolled a 20) and deals the ghast a horrid wound, nearly severing his arm...The creature snickers and lashes out w/ his grisly razor, only to have it pass harmlessly over her head.

Soon though the ghast succumbs to the combined attacks of the four assailants and dies w/ a curse on his lips. Mock brings Solomon back but the fever is running its course through his veins and the priest has already cast his cure disease for the day. He knows though after looking about the room that this was a failed attempt at lichdom and that the abomination on the wall is what is left of Vorel Foxglove...

This place must be cleansed by holy water, fire and then blessed. But is there time? Solomon knows that the disease in his blood will soon take affect but he also knows that this MUST be taken care of. So they quickly make preparations and after two solid hours the job has been done. Though it was not easy, as the house above seemed to groan and moan in protest.

As soon as they are finished they leave as quickly as possible and are greeted by the sight of a collapsing "Misgivings". Apparently the house was held together by the sheer hatred and evil force of Aldern's great grandfather, Vorel.

The trip home is nondescript and they get Solomon to Father Zantus in time as he hurries him into the back to cast the disease from him.

Healed, Solomon pulls the two heroes into his room the next day to officially invite them into the Pathfinder Society and to ask if they would accompany him to the great city of Magnimar, where there are murders taking place that are eerily similar to those perpetrated here in Sandpoint. Coral and Quick Silver agree to go and pack their meager belongings...

It is here we ended. Great session. It was a load of fun and I can't say enough about how wonderfully the Swords and Wizardry White Box rules seem to work for the girls. They love the flexibility and simplicity.

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