Our heroes begin the session between a rock and a hard place. Stuck in a small town between two armies, with their only means of escape now confiscated, the PCs are out of options. At this point, their only chance is to meet with a Corporal Burnot, commander of the local army detachment, and current owner of thier ride out of town.
Corporal Burnot is a grizzled military veteran, and he opens by saying “I’m sorry boys, but your ride belongs to the ‘great’ Almast war effort. Sorry for the bad luck. I figure that since I took your boat, you got a right to to bitch about it, so here we are. Normally, that would be that. But! I then heard about some kinda tussle up in the Poven Mines… so know this: I also have the right to release your boat, if given a justification to do so. Do we understand each other?”
The PCs realize that Burnot is hinting that the players can reclaim thier ship, if they can make it worth the Corporal’s while. They also understand the discussion itself is a test; Burnot is gauging not only capabilities of the party, but intelligence and personality as well. The debate that follows is spirited, with the players using various skills and abilities to convince Burnot of thier competence. Over the next day or so, the players undercover or complete various side quests:
- Last session, the players heard rumors that the Lamat army was short on medics. Elarath spends most of the day providing healing services to the ill and wounded. Moreover, he provides spiritual and religious rites to for the traumatized and deceased.
- Graven hits the streets to look for problems in need of fixing. He discovers that Lamat’s military buildup has abosorbed the local militia, leading to an outbreak of small-time looting. While Graven isn’t always the smartest guy in the room, he understands thugs and how to deal with him. After some serious intidimidation (and humilation) of some local street gangs, the looting problem vanishes.
- Also last session, the players saw a posting that the Lamat army was seeking armed couriers. At first, Burnot is skeptical, and explains that a proper courier requires several special skills. They need to be able to navigate in wilderness and they need to avoid Dunner patrols. Most importantly, the recipient is an Oracle, an unstable breed of person at the best of times, so couriers need to possess outstanding tact and regious knowledge. The party successfully demonstrates every one of these skills in turn, so Burnot gives them the job. However, the courier run isn’t needed yet.
- Finally, the players research local history and discover that a death cult operates nearby. The cult worships the evil god Vecna. While the cult has always been a problem, it has become more serious lately. Burnot has a standing commitment of troops to keep the cult under control, troops that he now needs for the war effort. If the players can eradicate the cult once and for all, this would greatly help Burnot. As before, Burnot requires proof that the players can accomplish this task, and party proves their abilities.
The deal is thus struck. If the party destroys the cult and then delivers the message, Burnot promises to release the ship.
Burnot first directs the players to meet with High Seeker Vadoon, leader of the local Ioun congregation. He has masterminded the struggle against the Vecna cult for years, and has valuable information.
When Vadoon meets the players, he provides them these things:
- maps to where Vadoon believe the cult is located: an abandoned dwarf mining colony deep in the swamps.
- a magical pearl that will destroy the cult’s sacrifical alter, severing their connection to the dark god and thus striking a mortal blow to the cult. Vadoon stresses the mortal part, destruction of the alter will not lessen the immediate threat of the cult to the party, but the cult will wither and die in time.
- a holy magical implement.
- a divination. As Ioun is the good of prophecy, a Ioun priest’s divination is a potent and valuable thing. The telling’s exact words are: “I have forseen that Luck is against you, but Fate is with you. Evil will speak lies, but you will hear truths. You will leave this place, but not without loss.”
The Vecna Cult
todo: battle at the mill
todo: battle at the bridge
- Party Experience: 3E (1513 XP)
- Holy implement of Life +1 (PHB pg 237)