Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Crypts and Things Session 2: Wolves in the Night and the Bride of the Spider God

Having disposed of Darius Khas, Zardoz and his hirelings, along with Motard make to leave the city which has now become infected with a religious revolution.  They quickly encounter Regulius, a warrior who also has no desire to spending another minute in a city that has been overcome by madness.  As they make their way to city gates, they encounter bands of religious fanatics looking for the Darius Khas. It appears that despite his now god like status, Ragnor has not forgotten Khas’ betrayal.  Zardoz pointed up the street and yelled “He’s there, a few blocks north of here”.  Not being terribly bright, the band of religious fanatics took off in that direction, leaving the gate out of the city open.  The group immediately flees and heads for the nearest trade route.  If anything, they want to warn any travelers that Belthaar is no longer a safe place to visit

Not long after fleeing the city, the party meets a caravan with a handful of wagons headed to Belthaar.  Zardoz quickly informs the travelers that Belthaar has fallen to a rebellion lead by a power entity in human form.  Sefu, the apparent leader of the caravan thanks Zardoz for the warning.  He had hoped to stay the night in Belthaar but given that the city was in chaos, he decided that the caravan would continue on to the city of Zul-Bazzir. He and his men are escorting a single man and woman across the desert and Sefu offers the group a chance to make a little extra money by joining the caravan as guards.  Never one to turn away from money and holding to the belief that there is safety in numbers, Zardoz and company agree to join the caravan with the hopes of arriving in Zul-Bazzir for a new start.  It is clear that the man and women that they are escorting are in the silk covered wagon but they have no intention of revealing themselves to anyone.

After traveling for a day, the caravan encounters a group of riders wearing wolf’s skin cloaks.  Motard quickly identifies them as members of the wolves head clan.  Not trusting them, Motard readies his axe.  Sefu meets with them and manages to negotiate safe passage through their lands.  As he rides back to the group, he tells Zardoz, Regulius and Motard that the riders will be back and that they should be prepared when they camp.  Motard agrees with Sefu’s assessment:  There is no love lost between Motard’s clan and the wolves head clan.

Night falls and guards are posted.  As they are making camp, Zardoz and Motard actually catch a glimpse of what appears to be stunningly beautiful woman under the silk covered wagon.  Before they can linger, a wrinkled hand with a large ring closes the curtains.

Sure enough, the wolf head warriors attempt to sneak up on the caravan under cover of the night. The fight is short but intense.  Two of Sefu’s men are killed but Motard slays three of the wolf head warriors and Zardoz and the mysterious “master” slay two more with magic missiles. One of the wolf head tribesmen is captured alive but he dies under Zardoz’s dagger in the morning as Zardoz requires a sacrifice to regain his spell.  Another day on the road, the caravan arrives in the city of Zul-Bazzir.

Sefu informs Zardoz, Motard, and Regulius that they are going to head to the House of the Dragon, the mansion of the sorcerer   Zheng-Ya, a friend of the Sefu’s mysterious patron.  He tells them that they are more than welcome to stay on as he could use good sword arms and powerful magic to protect his master.  Regulius declines and leaves the group, declaring that he is going to catch a caravan to the west and head home for his arranged marriage that he had been avoiding.  Motard agrees, as does Zardoz, although he plans on getting setup with his one place.

Upon their arrival at the House of the Dragon, Sefu is surprised to find the place abandoned.  There is no sigh of Zheng-Ya.  Sefu quickly setups up camp in the courtyard of the mansion as his “master” and “mistress” take up residence in the mansion itself.  Zardoz and his hirelings head out into the city to find a place to rent, Motard heads to the tavern for food and drink.  Sefu also heads out into the city with his own shopping list.

As night falls, everyone returns to the House of the Dragon.  Zardoz has found a place to rent that fits his purpose but it will be a few days before he can move in so he and his men take residence Servant’s house.  Motard takes residence in a guest home.  Sefu returns with three slaves and a new hireling named Ludaius, a warrior that fights with a scythe.  Sefu takes the slaves to the mansion and post guards in several positions around the courtyard.  Ludaius retires to a guest house and Motard decides to don his armor, grab his battle axe and take a watch.
The House of the Dragon.  I am including this because I forgot to take pictures of the battel
It is a dark night but there are torches about.  Motard is watching the court yard when he notices something:  One of Sefu’s men is down, lying in front of the mansion.  He approaches and notices that there is a crossbow bolt in his chest.  Motard runs back towards the guest house, sounding the alarm when he is attacked from behind the bushes by a cloaked figure.  A short sword bites into his back.
One of Zardoz’s henchmen is posted outside the servant house and realizes that the mansion is under attack.  However, before he can fire his crossbow or cry out, he is killed when a crossbow bolt takes him in the throat. Zardoz’s second henchman returns into the house, wakes the other and begins looking for a target through the window of the house.
Motard splits the assassin’s head in two and makes to Ludauis’s guest house and tells him that they are under attack.  Ludaius immediately don’s his armor while Motard continues to search the courtyard, dodging crossbow bolts the whole time.  He slays another assassin and finds that all of Sefu’s men are dead at their posts.  Zardoz’s second henchman finds a target and begins shooting at him.  They exchange shots and wound each other.  Motard spots the crossbowman and runs up and buries his battle axe in his groin.  The fight for the courtyard is over but now they must take the mansion.
As a group, they cautiously make their way into the mansion.  There is a large gong that Motard bangs to formally sound the alarm.  Sefu arrives on the scene.  He his wounded but the blood on his sword obviously isn’t his.  He tells them he believes that his master and his mistress have fled to the basement.  They make their way the stairway that leads down into the basement, with Zardoz taking a quick inventory of the master bedroom, just in case the currently occupant no longer needs it or the items it contains.  Zardoz also checks one of the bodies.  The dead man has a spider tattoo on the back of his neck.  Zardoz decides to take out his dagger and remove it for later.
As Motard and Sefu move into the basement hallway, they are immediately attacked by more cloaked figures. There are two on either side of the door and a third one at the end of the hall at a set of closed double doors.  Motard, Sefu and Ludaius make short work of the two ambushers and the charge down the hallway and dispatch the remaining crossbow man.

It appears that the three were trying to get through the door. These men also have the spider tattoo on the back of their necks. Sefu cries out “Yetara!  Daniya!  It is Sefu, it is safe for you to come out now.”  There is the sound of a bar being raised and the double door opens.

Behind the door is a beautiful woman, obviously the woman that Motard and Zardoz caught a glimpse of back on the road from Belthaar.  She appears to be in tears. Sefu moves to comfort her.  This large room appears to be a shire to some kind of spider god.  Coal burning slowly in a large brazier illuminates the room with a flickering light, casting long shadows onto the walls. The marble floor is inscribed with arcane symbols and summoning circles. To the north is a clean marble slab, five feet tall upon which lies a sacrificial victim. To the east is a raised platform, 10 feet tall, with stairs leading up from the lower floor and towards a recess in the eastern wall.  Hung on the eastern wall, left of the raised platform, is a large black tapestry embroidered with a purple spider.  More disturbingly, there is a large cocoon on the south side of the room.
“Where is Yetara?” asks Sefu.  “In the cocoon.” She says.  He conducted some kind of ritual and drank a potion and the next thing I knew, he was incased in that cocoon.”  Zardoz has found a storage room and managed to put together some flammable items just in case things go sideways.   Everyone stands around, waiting for something to happen to the cocoon.  It doesn’t take long before something does happen and a half human, half giant spider creature crawls from the silk.

Zardoz calls out for Yetara and Motard strikes the thing with his axe.  His axe strikes true and black blood spews everywhere.   The thing cries out in rage.  Immediately, Sefu and Daniya attack Motard, Daniya declaring that he will suffer for attacking the spawn of the spider god!  The spawn of the spider god bites Motard before he can strike again and he falls to the floor, a webbing substance forming around him.  Ludaius strikes the abomination but his blade bounce off harmlessly.  He is immediately attacked by Sefu and Daniya as the spider god spawn moves down the hallway.

Zardoz continues to try to talk to it by referring to it as Yetara.  When that doesn’t work, his henchmen set the hallway on fire.  The monster ignores the flames and moves to attack, taking out one of Zardoz’s two remaining henchmen.  Zardoz casts mirror image as the last of his henchmen also falls to the spawn of the spider god.

Ludaius finds himself on the altar of the spider god as he battles the fanatical Daniya and her secret lover Sefu.  Ludaius slays Sefu and then knocks Daniya unconscious.  In a last bit of desperation, before fleeing and leaving Ludaius to his fate, Zardoz manages to cast magic missile which actually slays the creature from the abyss. The fight is over.

Zardoz and Ludaius tie up Daniya and discover Motard and Zardoz’s two henchmen are still breathing but trapped in a webbing substance.  They also find a secret door.  Behind the secret door, they find the body of an old man with a look of surprise on his face that appears to be stabbed in the back.  At first they think that it is the body of Zheng-Ya but the body is too fresh.  They then deduce that this is the corpse of Yetara.  Then what was the spider spawn?  They find webs along the thighs of Daniya.  It appears that the spawn was her son…..

Zardoz eventually integrates her and discovers that she claims to be worth a lot of money to the church of Yot-Kamoth, the spider god as she is a bride of the god itself.  Disgusted and deeming her two retched to sacrifice, he kills her with a dagger thrust.

In the meantime, Ludaius and Zardoz set out to find a healer.  They are directed to Yazd, a brewer, a baker, and supposedly the best healer in the city.  They also hear that he is an opium addict.  On his way to his place of business, he finds an alchemist and purchases a large dose of opium.  Without stating a price, Yazd immediately grabs his healer kit and some scrolls and follows Zardoz back to the House of the Dragon.  He uses his scrolls to save Motard and Zardoz’s henchmen.  Zardoz immediately gives him a stack of coins and the dose of opium.  Yazd is very grateful and tells him that if he needs his services again, he knows where to find him.  With everyone healed, it looks like the house of the Dragon belongs to the survivors.

A few days after the attack, a very well dressed man and his body guards show up at the House of the Dragon.  Zardoz insists that the guards leave their weapons behind but from the look of these men, they may not need them. The man identifies himself as Aetius, the master of the slaver guild.  Apparently, he did a lot of business with Zheng-Ya and now; he wants to do business with them.  It appears that Zheng-Ya disappeared on a mission that Aetius had sent him on and he wanted the party of adventures to find out what happened.  In return, he would give them 3,000 go pieces now, and 3,000 more when they returned with evidence of what happened.  He also said that he would be more generous if they found the artifact that Zheng-Ya had been looking for:  The Horn of the Bull God.  Eventually, the party agreed and Zardoz was looking forward to what would hopefully be a very lucrative business relationship.

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