The Northern Alliance

Skull Session: A brief foray into slaughter

Updates all around from our June 15 session, which incorporated elements from an encounter in the “Open Grave” sourcebook:

  • Thoumont offered his shop in The Souk as a place for Lia and Redgar to stay indefinitely. It’s not exactly zoned as an inn, and the amenities are spare, but the price is right. He’ll exchange free rooming for a little extra security around the old homestead.
  • Lucas, under secret orders, returned some of the Beggar King loot to his masters at the Thieves Guild, who raised an eyebrow that the amount was so … paltry. Thanks to some fast talking, he staved off further inquiry into the matter with promises that he had an in to the House Ferod, where he had achieved great favor for rescuing the Duke’s eldest daughter from slavers. By curious circumstance, the Guild’s own agents inside the Ferod household had gone silent, feared dead – or worse, off on vacation with ill-gotten gains they did not share with the Guild. Lucas is allowed to leave the Guildhouse with his life…
  • Gareth, having identified in the Beggar King’s haul a stack of silver ingots stamped with the mark of House Ferod, offered to return the ingots to the Ferod estate. He met with the Duke himself who seemed taken aback at the sight of the lucre. He soon informed Gareth of his unending thanks and trust, and promised a fete for the band of adventurers as soon as his household recovers from the wedding revelry.
  • Until then, however, the duke had a delicate favor to ask: A family heirloom – no more than a curious onyx skull – had gone missing. He had bequeathed it to the church (the Sacred Cathedral of the Holy Breath of Podru) where his house had been a patron for generations. But he received word the day before that this worthless curio had been removed from the vault where the priestly scholars had stored it. Some of the duke’s retainers – skilled and doughty men, all – were dispatched to investigate at once but he had not heard from them since. Gareth agreed to round up his new allies and follow up with Father Rumpus at the cathedral, returning the onyx skull at once if possible.
  • To the cathedral! The big bloody corpse hanging from the altar was a dead giveaway: Something was amiss at the church. But the party didn’t know for sure what kind of trouble until the ghoul dropped out of the rafters and began to feast on their living flesh. Snicker snack, and that was that, except for the two ghouls who escaped out the back.
  • To the graveyard! Many prominent families of Punjar had crypts and mausoleums in the ancient bury patch, including a grand structure bearing the Ferod name. Lia heard plaintive cries coming from there. A separate mausoleum had its door wrenched open—Lucas saw bodies of dead acolytes just inside. But they followed the sounds into a room filled with zombies, skeletons and a tall humanoid, ghastly and white, with a fabulous mane of rock star hair. The beatdown resumed, the pale reaver found himself outmatched, and he ran away through a wall. Brother Tickles cowering in a corner warned the party that the reaver has captured Father Rumpus.
  • The party followed down to the undercrypt of the neighboring tomb. Bad things down there, including the two ghouls, some ratty minions and what was left of the pale reaver—which was still quite a bit. After Lia remembered she was Eladrin, she fey-stepped next to a sarcophagus where an onyx skull emitted purple light and generally whipped the undead into a frenzy. She pocketed the skull, debuffing the undead, who put up less fight and had the decency to die quickly.
  • The party rescueed Father Rumpus from inside the sarcophagus where he was bound, covered in arcane runes written in blood. He was unsure of what the beasts intended to do with him, though sacrifice is a pretty safe bet. All he can tell the party is that the vault holding the skull had been unsealed and removed improperly – all the priests permitted to study it know proper ways of handling it, but none was authorized to do so.
  • The party returned the skull first to Thoumont, at the mage’s request, so he could examine it. He turned it over in his hands a length and said very little, other than that it appeared to have been broken or sawed off from something larger. He listened to the stories of undead antics with interest, but stopped short of calling the skull evil. When Lia asked what they should do with the skull, Thoumont replied that it would be unwise not to return it to Duke Ferod as he requested. “How far and how fast could you run?” were his exact words.
  • Duke Ferod receives his lost heirloom happily, if a bit surprised to see these scrappy heroes survive the encounter. A feast is promised within the week to commemorate the heroes. The Overlord of Punjar himself has even been invited to make an appearance at the fete…

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Stately_Wayne

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