A Necromancer’s Request
John – When we last left our party they had been confronted with a host of zombies at Old Owl Well. The encounter was suddenly interrupted by a red robed figure who, after sensing a diplomatic option was at hand, gestured the zombies to halt.
With the zombies in proximity the party were introduced to Hamun Kost, who appeared to be a researcher of sorts. The keen knowledge of both Aurelia and Asterin were able to deduce from Hamun’s robe and tattoo that Hamun was a red wizard from Thay who mastered in Necromancy. When queried on his choice of schools, he simply shrugged indicating that –
“In other lands, the undead are nothing to be feared, merely meat that can be put to work. You get used to the smell.”
This didn’t sit very well with Wendel at all, who appeared to be quite agitated by the mere presence of Hamun. Hamun avoided any direct questions about his work, but he did reveal that it was archaeological in nature.
*Hamun Kost I decided to play as a bit of an enigma for now. He won’t reveal much to the players. Depending on how future sessions play out, Hamun may come back at a later date. Perhaps he will be a villain? Perhaps he stumbles upon something and needs more of the players help? Who knows? *
The players’ presence presented an opportunity for Hamun and he offered the group a job. A roaming band of Orcs had recently scouted his dig site and seemed inclined to cause trouble. He offered to pay the group to clear out the camp which was half a day south at Wyvern Tor.
Recalling the wandering group of refugees, the party decided that it would be best to eliminate the orc band before they could cause more trouble in the region. Leaving the necromancer to his work, the group set off south. During this time Aurelia dug into Wendel’s agitation at Old Owl Well to find out why he was so agitated. He claimed Necromancy was simply evil and shouldn’t be practiced.
Thus, began an ethical conversation concerning cultural practice in other regions which would last several sessions.
*Seriously, three sessions later and the characters are still talking about it. The fact that both Aurelia and Asterin come from a completely different culture has allowed them to see and have acceptance of other cultures. Wendell on the other hand, hasn’t been exposed to cultures beyond the Sword Coast. *
Half a day of walking and debating cultural differences, the group arrived at the foothills of Wyvern Tor and began to immediately track down the Orc’s camp site.
*These sorts of skill checks can be annoying, as they can completely halt the groups progress. I prepared in advance for the group to stumble upon a disgruntled Orc made to fetch water who could lead them to the camp should they fail the roll. Wendell aced the roll, so “Wetback – the Under Appreciated” wouldn’t make an appearance today. Saved for later. *
Following a series of tracks, the group made it to the mouth of a cave where a lone Orc sat watch on a boulder outside. One sneak round later, the Orc was dead. He didn’t even get a chance to stand up. The group remained undetected and continued into the dark of the cavern.
Light could be seen around a bend in the cavern, but before the group had a chance to turn the corner, Asterin misjudged the side of the wall and scrapped her shield along the rocky surface. *She rolled a 1, goodbye stealth. * Five orcs approached the groups position to investigate the source of the noise.
With few options left to them the party kept to the narrow section of the cave as the Orcs screamed their war cry and charged them. Another group of Orcs quickly arrived on the scene the following round complete with a Chief and an Ogre. *This is going to hurt. *
Fortunately, the Orcs were bottlenecked which was a good decision by the group and they were able to take them out gradually. By the time the Ogre was in the fray, the group was forced to spread out to prevent it from targeting the magic users.
Aurelia was heavily injured in the fight with her sister keeping her going with some well timed heals. By the end of the fight the group had defeated six Orcs, one Orc Chief and an Ogre. The cave had suddenly gone quiet except for the rapid intake of breath of the group and the crackling of the large bonfire in the room beyond.
Moving forward into the main cave the group entered a single large cavern, a large bonfire lite up the room that was filled with bed rolls, barrels and a chest. Over in the corner was a woman in rags chained to the wall. She was fearful at the groups approach. Aurelia shooed the rest of the group off to check out the rest of the room so she could comfort the woman.
The woman introduced herself as Kayla who had been captured during an orc raid over a week ago. There had been another captive prior to her arrival, who had been used as target practice and she pointed over to the area with the barrels. Kayla looked eerily familiar to the group.
A successful roll later, they realised that Kayla looked like Erica – the refugee girl from the other day. The group had just found Erica’s mother who everyone thought was dead. Aurelia of course used the opportunity to regale Kayla with vary colourful remarks concerning her husband and informed her that her family was safe and headed towards Phandalin. Kayla burst into tears at the news.
*Gotta love Aurelia’s approach to things… “Your husband’s a bastard, but your family is safe and well.” *
Wendell and Merric investigated the area with the barrels. A quick look on the figure against the wall confirmed he was long dead. The only contents were an odd note. The barrels were filled with what appeared to be cinnamon sticks that smelled of fungus, inside each barrel was a signature mark. Merric recognised both mark and contents instantly. This was one of MacGregors drug shipments of Wrymwood.
Asterin examined the note but indicated it wasn’t a language but was instead a cypher. Merric shocked everyone by taking the note, proclaiming he was familiar with this cypher and could translate it for them. Upon finishing the translation Merric growled and handed the note to the group to read.
The High Captain and his wolves are becoming suspicious of our shipments at the Cliffside Cranny and are keeping watch on all eastern shipments at the North Gate. Change of plans, avoid Mirabar and instead you are to personally take the next shipment of Wrymwood west to Neverwinter and get in contact with Skins at the usual spot. He’ll have the shipment sent north. On your way back to Triboar stop in Phandalin to see our mutual friend. He pays with gold dust and his last payment was a little on the light side. Remind him of how I treat skinflints.
Waiting for an explanation from Merric, he proceeded to give a brief description of his past. Merric explains he used to be act as a bruiser for a Luskan based drug runner by the name of MacGregor, the job was not voluntary. Furthermore, it appears as though Griska was MacGregor’s dealer in Phandalin and that the barrels were full of the drug Wrymwood, a psychedelic prepared as a tea.
Wendel was completely surprised by the small glimpse into Merric’s history. Aurelia and Asterin seemed more interested in the drug. Several members of the group grabbed some “samples” and decided to burn the rest. Before doing so though they investigated the fallen orcs and the chest coming away with the following haul.
- 3x vials of perfume.
- 3 samples (9 sticks) of Wyrmwood.
Throwing the remaining drugs on the bonfire, the group left the cave intending on escorting Kayla back to her family and report to Hamun on the clearing out of the Orcs. We ended the session with the group on their way north back to Old Owl Well.