Campaign of the Month: October 2010

Wyrmshadow Campaign Setting

War is Hell - The Dead Rise To Claim Us


Starring:
Paul Vilbig as Shaden “Leech” Liixe
Derek Romano as Cade “Blindsight” Haarkoth
Greg Mann as Khulvos Hooftorn
Michael Graziano as Daegys Sahii
Christine Scott as T’Saira Behntrilo
Vincent Pecoraro as Elosian Sylvres


(Duskreign’s Note – In this session, the party was split into three smaller sub-groups. Rather than write this adventure log from Khulvos’s perspective as usual, I have decided to instead write from the point of view of one member of each group. Every section of this write-up will take you, beginning-to-end, through the session from the perspectives of Adon Thunderclaw, Elosian Sylvres, and Darien Vale. The Denouement will be from Khulvos’s perspective once again. To everyone that reads these things, thanks for the opportunity to express my creativity. To the players, thanks for the inspiration and the clever roleplaying. To Chelsea Bosco, who sat-in on this session, thanks for coming and joining in our wacky, nerdy Friday-night antics!)

Adon’s Story
    There was a horrendous unease in the room. It was palpable. I could taste the fear and confusion in the air. We were in a banquet hall full of demons, devils, and other such beings, but having previously prepared for such a situation, we were at (relative) peace with our predicament. However, the dynamics changed when the ground swelled at our feet, the stone tiles of the floor cracked and exploded outward, and scores of undead poured forth from their newly unearthed sepulchers…
  • I remained in my seat, aware of the approach of one of these undead creatures, but unwilling to allow their presence to unnerve me. As it neared me from behind, reaching out with its gnarled, festering hands, I looped my left foot around the front leg of my chair and performed a forward rolling somersault onto the table, sending my chair, and the zombie, hurtling back across the banquet hall and into the waiting, eager arms of a violence-prone Blood Fiend. The fiend caught the zombie by the chest and thrust it down to the floor with such force that its chest cavity exploded and its limbs spilled outward, sliding across the ruptured, crowded floor.
  • It was at this moment that I became aware of the fact that these were no mere zombies. Despite the fact that the arms and legs were all that remained of the creature, the limbs continued their movements with deliberate intent, the fingers digging into the floor to drag flesh-strewn bony arms behind them, the legs flailing awkwardly to move along the floor in a manner not unlike that of a coiled snake. I reached up to my neck to take in hand the vial of Trueself Serum and smashed it at my feet. As my demonic disguise was magically dispelled, revealing my proper, human form, I saw Laurence leap onto the table next to me and follow suit. While Cylia, Maerlyn, and Regult did likewise, Laurence called out to the banqueters with authority: “Fall back to my position if you want to live!”
  • Across the banquet hall, I could see Daegys and Cade doing their best to fend off the waves of encroaching zombies. Daegys used his Elemn gifts to wrap himself in a sheath of air, gliding over the fray and toward our position. Cade was unarmed, but managed to hurl a darksteel candelabra with vicious precision into a small crowd of zombies, buying himself the time to bound over to join us in forming a defensive line.
  • As raucous and shrill as this situation was, a noise from beyond the nearby wall was even more thunderous. Suddenly, only inches from where Cade now stood, the wall just below Daegys’s floating feet burst inward, shattered stones and splintered blackwood carried on luminous tendrils of lightning, brilliant and deadly. Crashing through the outer wall, beyond which we could see the courtyard overrun with the living dead, was an enormous creature, a monstrous dragon-like beast most in this banquet hall would be totally unfamiliar with. However, Laurence, Cade, Daegys and I shuddered with the realization that Crossel had chosen this moment to make good on his earlier warnings. There would never be a good time to face my fallen Sankatte brother, but the current situation, these unexplained zombies, made the situation all the more volatile.
  • Laurence made eye contact with Crossel as several zombies were about to pounce on him, and to our surprise, our old friend turned to unleash a savage lightning-breath assault on the zombies, vaporizing the walking corpses in their tracks. He looked back to Laurence, who wore a faint, hopeful smile and gave Crossel a nod of respect. I saw the wave of emotions in Crossel’s face, and I realized too late that Laurence’s gesture of friendship would backfire. Crossel turned his head skyward, let out a roar, and sent a bolt of lightning screaming into the vulnerable body of Daegys.
  • Daegys crumpled against the ceiling, the lightning coursing through his veins and erupting from his face, hands, and feet. He then collapsed to the floor, a smoking, charred corpse. The zombies turned their attentions away from some of the other banqueters, and it seemed that all eyes were on Crossel and Laurence. I knelt to check if Daegys could be salvaged, but his body was too damaged, and the life was gone from his eyes. Laurence hopped down from the table and knelt to close Daegys’s eyelids, his seared flesh sticking to Laurence’s gloved fingertips. Laurence then looked up from Daegys and into the eyes of Crossel once more. Crossel reared back to blast Laurence with lightning, but before he could manage the attack. Laurence sprung forward and buried the blade of his flaming greatsword deep into the belly of our fallen comrade.
  • Crossel unleashed his attack nonetheless, but it was for naught. Laurence’s eyes, nose, and mouth began to emit tendrils of smoke. Wings of smokey flame sprouted from his back, and a ring of fire formed afloat over his head. The Holy Flame of Greenmeadow, Laurence’s sword, burst outward with a massive blade of solid flame, tearing Crossel in twain from his guts to the top of his head. I breathed deeply, aware that this tragic end was a sort of mercy for Crossel, whose continued existence would only have brought more pain and given him a chance to truly earn the moniker of monster. I would mourn him as I would Daegys, but I would not regret his end at Laurence’s hands. Then, Laurence did something wholly unexpected…
  • Laurence reached out his hand to the quivering mass of Crossel, and his soul was pulled upward into the palm of Laurence’s hand. Laurence spun on his heels, knelt to the ground, and planted the soul into the body of Daegys, whose every wound sutured, every bone mended, and every burn healed. Daegys’s eyes fluttered open as he gasped for air once again. I looked into his eyes, and into his Inner Sanctum, and determined that it was indeed Daegys who breathed and lived once more. Laurence had used the power of Crossel’s soul to restore Daegys’s body and soul to life. It was a miracle. It was a miracle, and everyone in the banquet hall just bore it witness, and would be changed by the experience forever. Thus Wrath, the God of Retribution was born.
  • Cade and I helped Daegys to his feet, and as he met Laurence’s eyes, a fire of righteous fury grew in his heart and, indeed, in all of our hearts. Human, Tiefling, Elemn, and Demon alike rallied behind Laurence, empowered by his presence, emboldened by his spirit, and from our faith, Laurence drew immense power. Our every attack brought zombies to their ultimate doom, and not a single drop of our own blood would fall from that moment onward until the end of our battle. As we stood victorious, we were keenly aware of the fact that our victory was a brief glimmer of light, a moment of glory amidst a great torrent of expanding darkness. The zombies in this room were dead, but countless more loomed just beyond view. Still, Laurence had gained the faith and admiration of dozens of Infernians this day, and in so doing, he brought us one small step closer to a peaceful future.
  • Laurence collapsed from exhaustion shortly after our battle was ended, and his limp form was carried out by Daegys, who had for obvious reasons grown substantially closer to Laurence. The demons joined us in pushing into the manse and locating our other allies, each of whom had their own share of deadly encounters, and some of whom had answers to the questions that now burned deeply in our minds: How did this zombie plague begin? Who was to blame? How long did we have to save this city from being annihilated by the roving hordes of undead?

Darien’s Story
    I did it. I opened a window for my father, the God of Death, to reach into this world, a fleeting opportunity to make an impact here in Infernia. Of course, he left the finer details out. I would be less of a disposable pawn if I knew what would happen. Well, that’s fine. He used me so that I could use him. Like father, like son… I should remember this when I return to grant my own son the peace of death. Then again, I am but a mortal, for now. I might not live long enough to see Jaden’s life drain from him, to see the reflection of my face in his dying eyes. In fact, I may not even survive the night.
  • Leech stumbled into me as I was about to deliver Veil’s Deathshade into the heart of the Eye of Abaddon. I had no time, nor any inkling, to explain myself to this felblooded tiefling, but as he worked with Laurence, I had no intention of letting him die as a result of all this. I didn’t know that once the Deathshade dove into the crystal orb father called the Eye of Abaddon, it would cause all of Infernia’s dead to rise from their graves. As the shade left me, I felt some of the chains that shackle my power loosen. I grew stronger. I felt as if a great pressure was released from around me. Then, the floor beneath our feet trembled and cracked, and zombies by the dozens began to lurch outward from the accursed depths below.
  • Leech asked me what I had done, and I was obliged to at let him know that I was acting as a messenger of my father. He asked who my father was, and I said that it was the God of Death himself. He looked at me as if that meant nothing to him. Somehow, I think that after this day, should he survive, he would not be so oblivious to the weight the name “Veil” carried. In a way, I was saddened by this. It gave me a bit of satisfaction knowing that father’s touted infamy didn’t reach this place. Well, it did now. I saw to that. Well played, father.
  • We made it out into the corridor connecting to the banquet hall before we were overrun by the zombie menace. Without hesitation, Leech stepped to my back and stood his ground. Foolish, but surprising. I didn’t expect such noble bravado from a felblood like this. However, nobility is the surest way to wind up a meal for these zombies, so I told him to make a break for the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to be the banquet hall, where Laurence and the rest of the party could be heard amidst their own battle for survival. The zombies were pouring into the corridor faster than we could kill them. No, the only way to go was to the right, deeper into the manse, whence Gygax (and Khulvos) just adjourned.
  • As we fought our way through, we began to realize that no matter the punishment we inflicted upon them (and between us, the punishment was quite brutal), these were no ordinary zombies. As a rule, when one destroys the necrotic brain of a zombie, or severs it from the whole of the body, the zombie falls permanently dead. Such was not the case with these special zombies my father just had me unleash. I wondered how quickly this plague could spread to encompass the whole of Glyph, or indeed, all of Infernia. I also wondered over the fate of my daughter, Firakkys, who had been missing from us for so long that I had honestly already given her up for dead.
  • Caerdwyn believed that had Firakkys been home with us, she would have been a polarizing influence on Jaden, and perhaps softened his heart enough to foil his brewing thoughts of insurrection and war. Had I known such betrayal to be within him, I’d have crushed the whelp in his uncracked shell and rid myself, and his poor mother, of the burden of him. I’m certain my own father feels the same way. Otherwise, his “test” of my worthiness would not entail leaving me at ground-zero of his genocide device.
  • We succeeded in reaching a pair of closed doors at the end of the corridor, but the moment we burst through them, turned and slammed them shut in our wake, we realized that the situation in this room wasn’t much of an improvement…

Elosian’s Story
    I cannot express my relief that Khulvos and Laurence are alive. When Niska taunted me with the grisly details of their deaths, unexpected emotions clouded over me. I never felt so alone. Friendship isn’t really a thing here in Infernia. I don’t think I was ever prepared to make friends, and I damn sure wasn’t prepared to lose them all at once. I lashed out, and somehow, I killed Niska without anyone noticing. From that point, I contemplated taking my own life… I was in the stronghold of my enemy, my left arm (and only source of power) was torn from me, and I could not fathom a way out of this, save oblivion. However, that was when I struck upon a plan…
  • I had just gotten finished explaining to Khulvos the bare basics of my plan. I took the guise of Lord Niska shortly after hiding his remains in the commode compartment of his throne, tickled by the fact that his ashes now swam in his own disgusting waste. I would try my best to convince those around me that I was the real Niska, seek out a few like-minded individuals among his men, if any, and begin to sow the seeds of dissent against Asmous the Foul. I had no intention of handing Glyph over to Pylea, though. No, the Groosalugg has had over fifty years to settle this war, and he has done nothing but prolong it, simply due to his desire to rule Infernia after the ashes of Asmous fall at his feet. In my dream of the future, Infernia is free of all tyrants, including the Groosalugg.
  • One of his newfound allies, a former slave from the Cauldron, entered the chamber to join him. Her name was T’saira, though I noticed that Khulvos went back and forth calling her “Hachi” at times. She explained that Khulvos and his friends weren’t the only ones crashing this party. Laurence was here, disguised magically as the bearded devil sitting at our table! Khulvos was about to begin formal introductions when fate revealed it had other plans in store for us…
  • That was when the floor began to shake and shudder, and screams echoed outward from the corridors. The stone tiles beneath our feet cracked asunder, giving rise to a flood of zombies into the room. Thirty feet to my flank, my throne… Niska’s throne, exploded outward, sending shards of metal and wood hurtling through the chamber. In the wake of this explosion, pulling the stake out of his mending chest, stood Lord Niska himself! He threw the stake from his hands, embedding it into the skull of a nearby zombie (which I noted remained standing and undetered by the damage to its head… a disturbing revelation indeed). He held his arms outward from himself, looked skyward, and bellowed forth the words “I HAVE RETURNED!”
  • I was frozen with disbelief. I watched that foul creature crumble into a pile of dust with my own eyes. I hid his remains in that throne, donned his robes, wore his role and his name as my own… and now, he was here once more, flanked by dozens of zombies (at least… from the sounds of it, there were a great deal more outside this chamber), and I, Khulvos, and the female Tiefling named T’saira were completely surrounded!
  • Our battle was difficult, but I was frankly amazed at the prowess and teamwork I saw from Khulvos and T’saira. They performed a tandem maneuver, a spinning vortex kick from either side of the same cluster of targets, that sent their foes scattered and shattered across the chamber floor. However, no matter what damage they inflicted, the zombies did not falter. In my time here in Glyph, in the absence of Revenon’s influence, I had begun to study some of the dark magics written in the journals of the ancient Aetherlords of Glyph, which I found in a hidden study deep within the bowels of this manse. Using this power, I was able not only to grow a new (albeit demonic) left arm, but to tap into the darkness of every shadow and animate it to suit my desires. I had become an Aetherlord myself by the time I planned this banquet. I decided that, here and now, I would put my accomplishments to the ultimate test.
  • Khulvos and T’Saira tried to beat a path toward the door as I held Niska and the zombies closest to him in check. In truth, despite all the power I had amassed, I was no match for Niska. He seemed to have all of the powers he once possessed, likely from when he was in his prime, but amplified. How did this happen?
  • Suddenly, the doors burst open from the corridor, and two more of Khulvos’s allies entered the room. One of them was a Rhak Tiefling. The other… was Darien Vale?! I was dumbfounded, but I had little time to ask questions. Khulvos, however, began shouting toward Darien accusingly, saying that he believed this was his doing. Darien essentially admitted that he unleashed this mess upon us, but the Rhak, a warrior going by the name “Leech,” claimed that it was not Darien’s fault, but that of his father, the God of Death, Veil. That would make sense. Only someone as powerful as the God of Death could unleash this kind of plague upon Infernia. How, though, was a question that would have to wait until later.
  • The number of zombies in the room with us was mounting, and we were being swallowed by the undead horde. Suddenly, the cathedral ceiling of the chamber exploded inward, and we were joined by more allies. As unwelcome a surprise as it was to see Darien Vale, I was thrilled to see Borgamat descending on wide-stretched wings into the room. He was accompanied by a dire hyena that appeared to have the ability to instantly teleport from place to place, like a blink dog. Apparently, his name is Cackle. I instantly understood why.
  • Other friends, members of a band of minstrels, lowered ropes through the gap in the ceiling, beckoning us to climb up. Seeing the odds stacked against us, I was inclined to agree. Borgamat unleashed a tremendous attack which knocked Niska and a majority of the zombies off their feet, and I followed his strike with an Aetherlord ability, Chains of Shadow, which bound the fallen enemies to the floor for a short time. Khulvos tore an emblem from around the neck of Niska and handed it to me, saying that this would prove that I am the real Lord Niska, and this undead mockery was an impostor.
  • We made our escape from the building, but it would take the better part of the night and into the next morning to work our way out of the growing zombie infestation and to the outskirts of the city. We collected in the D’hakla’sz district in an abandoned apartment building the minstrel band called home. There, I was reunited with Laurence Van Drake for the first time since our capture at the Hellryft nearly five months ago…

Reunited

Laurence is unconscious. According to Cade, he fell after unleashing a tremendous display of raw power which caused everyone in the banquet hall, allies and demons alike, to rally to his side. Here, now, we have more allies than ever. The demons and devils that witnessed his miracle, his resurrection of the fallen Daegys, have sworn their undying fealty to the Sylvres and his cause. They have faith. It is a wholly alien concept for them. Some of them are handling it differently than others. A marilith came up to me with tears in her eyes saying how sorry she was, and that she didn’t know. I asked her what it was she didn’t know, and her answer shook me to my core.

She said that she didn’t know there was a such thing as evil. She didn’t know that’s what she was. She only ever acted on her base desires. Laurence’s miracle was not just in resurrecting our fallen comrade. It was in creating a conscience for every demon and devil in that room. He made monsters into men.

And he killed Crossel in the doing.

A part of me will always resent him for that. I think he would understand that, though. I understand what happened. Adon, as usual, was crucial in helping me come to terms with it. Crossel was too far gone. If allowed to languish, he would have proven to be every bit the monster he feared he would become. Laurence spared him that fate. I should be thankful for that. Hell, maybe I should have been the one to give Crossel that release. Maybe that’s why I resent Laurence. I don’t know. I don’t think I ever truly will.

Lord Niska’s scouts reported back to him that the zombie infestation is spreading at a slow, but steady rate. By midnight tomorrow, the whole of the city will be infested, and the plague will spread outside of the walls of the city. Borgamat claimed to understand now what the Soothsayer was trying to tell us. The only way to stop this plague from spreading, from wiping out all life in Infernia, would be to destroy this city, here and now, before the curse could take root beyond the walls of Glyph. Her prediction was that an ally would die, and if it was Borgamat who died, Laurence would simply let the city burn.

Instead, it was Daegys whose death, and resurrection, spawned this newborn power within Laurence. He was empowered by the faith of those who bore witness to his miracle. He was truly a Hellgod, now. If Borgamat had died, he could not have used his power to resurrect him. Only the Inevitables, and potentially Veil, could accomplish such a feat. So, Laurence’s new role, as the Sylvres, meant that we had a chance to save this city before having to resort to incinerating the entire city and everyone within its borders.

As Laurence roused from his unconscious state, he demanded to see Darien Vale. Darien was defiant, even proud of what he did. He claimed that he had no idea this was what his father had in store for Infernia, but that he did what he had to do in order to pass his father’s test. I didn’t hesitate to question where his mind was. What about his daughter? She could be out there somewhere. He replied that his son, Jaden, and all of his people were back in Materia, and if he didn’t pass these tests, he wouldn’t have the power to set things right there. So, I asked him whether he thought killing everyone here in Infernia was a worthy price to pay, he smirked and implied that such a feat would be like a bonus to him. Icing on his cake.

Laurence grabbed him by the throat and smashed him out of the window of the apartment building! He held him at arm’s length, suspended by his left hand, and glared into hie eyes, roiling licks of flame shooting from his eyes, smoke billowing from his mouth and nose.

“Do you think it wise to cross the threshold between our worlds and bring war to our doorstep, child of Death? Is this world not worthy of your respect, Darien Vale?”

He then hurled him down to the street! We are eleven stories up! Laurence dove out after Darien, all along screaming at him, and T’saira followed closely behind. I and several others dashed down the stairs. I missed what happened by mere moments, but Darien was alive, on the ground, clutching his throat, and Laurence was falling unconscious again into the arms of his loyal followers. T’saira helped him up the stairs and he weakly called out to Leech: “Bind his wrists and gag him, or I shall surely destroy that man, piece by wretched piece.”


To Read The Next Chapter of Wyrmshadow Adventures: War is Hell, Click Here!

To Read The Previous Chapter of Wyrmshadow Adventures: War is Hell, Click Here!

To learn more about the Dreamers, click here

Chapter 1: The Dreamers in… Hellbound
Chapter 2: The Dreamers in… Life In The Cauldron
Chapter 3: The Dreamers in… The Waking Nightmare
Chapter 4: The Dreamers
Chapter 5: The Dreamers in… Escaping The Cauldron
Chapter 6: The Dreamers in… Wrath of the Beholder
Chapter 7: The Dreamers in… Hounds of Hell
Chapter 8: The Dreamers in… Hideous Laughter
Chapter 9: The Dreamers in… The Tomb of Caenus Graymane
Chapter 10: The Dreamers in… Allure of the Wispwaters
Chapter 11: The Dreamers in… Goodbye, Impy
Chapter 12: The Dreamers in… Sole Survivor
Chapter 13: The Dreamers in… The Iron Fist
Chapter 14: The Dreamers in… Battle at the Ancient Wall
Chapter 15: The Dreamers in… The Long, Hard Road
Chapter 16: The Dreamers in… Hunted
Chapter 17: The Dreamers in… On Fields of Ancient Dead
Chapter 18: The Dreamers in… The Woods of Woe
Chapter 19: The Dreamers in… Divine Intervention
Chapter 20: The Dreamers in… The Standing Stones
Chapter 21: The Dreamers in… Cherished Memories
Chapter 22: The Dreamers in… Hero of the Night Sword
Chapter 23: The Dreamers in… Well of Slivered Souls
Chapter 24: The Dreamers in… Dreams of a Lost World
Chapter 25: The Dreamers in… What Might Have Been (Part 1 of 2)
Chapter 26: The Dreamers in… What Might Have Been (Part 2 of 2)
Chapter 27: The Dreamers in… Shimekiri Sankatte (Part 1 of 2)
Chapter 28: The Dreamers in… Shimekiri Sankatte (Part 2 of 2)
Chapter 29: The Dreamers in… A Long Black Day
Chapter 30: The Dreamers in… No Justice In Hell
Chapter 31: The Dreamers in… The Soothsayer’s Tower
Chapter 32: The Dreamers in… Harrowing Revelations
Chapter 33: The Dreamers in… Tonight We Dine In Hell
Chapter 34: The Dreamers in… The Dead Rise To Claim Us
Chapter 35: The Dreamers in… Wrath
Chapter 36: The Dreamers in… Shadows in the Distance


Comments

I DO not know why this is taking me so long. Too many other things I want to do.

We haven’t played in a few weeks, so I am not really behind on this, but I really wish I could just concentrate long enough to finish this damn post. It was a big session, to be sure.

 
Duskreign

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