Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Crypts and Things Session One, chapter 1: Nyogtha returns to Zarth

I actually started this campaign with a different technique that I have never tried before. Although all three players had created characters for the game, I gave everyone a 2ndlevel fighter and told them that they were part of a bandit group led by a warrior named Ragnor. What had just happened to them was that Ragnor’s lieutenant Darius Khas had betrayed them to the forces of the city of Belthaar by leading them into an ambush. The three characters and Ragnor himself were the only survivors of the ambush and that they were desperately trying to get away from the city’s soldiers that were in hot pursuit of them. We never gave them names but I will give them names for the sake of the narrative: Orsic, Rand, and Harmel.

Ragnor told the characters that their only chance of survival was that they make it to the ruins of an abandoned temple deep in the mountains. Ragnor believed that the pursuing troops would not dare enter the place. Orsic commented that seeking out the old abandoned temple couldn’t be any worse than ending up with a rope around their necks.  With almost certain death behind them, the three characters all agreed to follow Ragnor deeper into the mountains in search of the ruins. With the moon to giving them light, they soon spotted an ancient ziggurat at the bottom of a nearby valley. With the sound of the horses of the city guard growing closer, Ragnor and his last remaining warriors descended into the valley.

There was an obvious opening at the base of the structure. Cautiously, the desperate group approaches. From out of the shadows, a robed figure appears. With a voice that sounds like it had choked on the dust of an ancient grave, the figure in the robe speaks. “Fear not Ragnor. You have nothing to fear from me or my brothers. You will be safe her. Come, follow me.” The robed figure turns and passes through the portal. “Be ready men. Keep our blades bright and our intentions clear” says Ragnor as he draws his sword and steps into the darkness. Fearing treachery but having no other options, Ragnor’s men follow him into the darkness with steel bared. The robed figure has a torch waiting for them although it is all too apparent that the robe figure does not require it to see in the darkness.

The strange, cloaked figure leads the four desperate men deep into the temple, eventually opening into a large room with a round platform suspended over a dark pit.  A small green light can be seen shining from an object on what can only be an altar.   Ragnor and Orsic enter the room.  Harmel and Rand hesitate.  “What are you?  Cowards?” barks Ragnor.  More afraid of Ragnor than they are of what lies in the darkness of the temple, Rand and Harmel enter the room.

Ragnor and his men enter the lost temple of Nyogtha

“That object on the altar is your only hope of salvation Ragnor.  Take it.  It is yours” rasps the robed figure.  As if in a trace, Ragnor walks out to the altar and reaches out for the glowing object.

When Ragnor grasps the object, a massive humanoid being appears before Ragnor.  Ragnor screams in terror.  Massive tentacles shoot out from the pit. Orsic cries “Treachery!” and strikes the robed figure with his sword.  The robed figure cries out in pain as his far too black blood spills on the warrior.  Through the cut in the robe, Orsic can see that whatever is under the robe is not entirely human.  Much of the skin is green and molted.   Rand and Harmel stand trembling in terror, unable to move.

Ragnor has summoned a nightmare from beyond space and time
One of the tentacles strikes out at Rand.  There is a sickening thud as the blow crushes him.  The tentacle begins to convulse as Rand is swallowed whole.  His boot is only seen for a moment before it too disappears into the tentacle’s mouth like orifice to the sound of crushing bones and squishing organs.  Now driven by terror, Harmel strikes out with his sword ineffectively.  The robed figure slashes Orsic with a dagger.  Orsic attempts to remove the robed being’s head from its shoulder but misses with his sword.

Rand is about to be devoured
Ragnor disappears into the dark tendrils from the massive figure before him. The figure quickly compacts and shrinks.  It appears as the humanoid figure has been absorbed by Ragnor’s muscular frame.

Two tentacles strike Harmel, one grabs his head, the other his feet.  They raise his body high in the air and rip him in twain, his blood and internal organs spilling on the ground.

Ragnor turns around to face Orsic.  A wide smile is on his face and his eyes are glowing with a bright and sickly green.  Orsic screams in terror.  With what was left of his sanity has been driven from him, Orsic jumps into pit, hoping to bury his sword deep into one of the massive tentacles and ride his blade down the side of the tentacle.  However, his sword fails to cut the tough, leathery skin of the tentacle and he crashes into a pile of bones and filth at the bottom of the pit.  The debris seems to be alive as now hundreds of tentacles pile upon him.  The horror is too much for his shattered mind to handle and he slips into blissful unconsciousness…

Orsic stands alone against the nightmare from beyond
Orsic awakens to find himself tied to the altar deep in the forgotten temple.  Ragnor, or whatever has taken his place, gazes upon him, his eyes aglow with inhuman green light.  “You will be the first of many” he says as his hand rips through Orsic’s breastbone and pulls out Orsic’s still beating heart.  He consumes the heart in single gulp as Orsic passes into oblivion….

Days later, the city of Belthaar celebrates the death of the bandit lord Ragnor.  His treacherous second in command Darius Khas celebrates the fall of Ragnor with his blood money as he buys everyone a round of drinks in the Inn of the Midnight Rose, unaware that his new found wealth has drawn the attention of someone very dangerous.…..

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