The Great Game, Harvester 17-22, 596 CY (Including Days 5-9)
Following much debate and a regrouping of the entire party, they forewent any continued search for the Baron, who all now agree is a wampyr. Choosing instead to explore the seemingly abandoned castle, the group went up a large tower that had and entrance in the interior part of the castle’s ground floor. Nearing the top of the tower steps, their light sources activated a magical device appearing as a giant, hanging gemoid. The gem shot out beams of light striking all members of the group, causing 8 of the team to drop to the stairs, dead.
Day 5 (continued)
After seeing their compatriots fall en masse, Fezgil zooms over to the stairs (utilizing his still active Fly spell) to begin collecting the bodies of the others into the Bag of Massive Capacity. Riko stubs out his light source and Killian shuts her eyes to avoid the red light pulsating from the gemoid. Zebediah Obadiah begins to cast a prayer and Henna Tallowleaf rushes to Paxalor’s prone form. Immediately, slender sections of the stone wall lash out at those still standing, striking Killian. Bodies are hastily shoved into the Bag until another pulse of light from the gemoid strikes, causing Fezgil and Killian to fall. Zebediah Obadiah is struck down by the flailing limbs of the wall. Riko and Henna are able to collect all the remaining bodies and race down the steps, being struck by the limbs a handful of times before reaching bottom.
Within the Bag, Morton reunites with old friend Yip, who had apparently hopped aboard before the trip to the Lorridges began. Yip and Morton sit talking, keeping an eye on Wilbert and Halanel, the two villagers from Hope that were forced inside for safekeeping. They are all surprised as inert, cold forms of their friends start appearing nearby, obviously put in by others. One after another are gathered and stacked aside for safekeeping until Morton is retrieved by Riko.
As Morton and Yip are removed from the bag at the exterior stairs to the tower entrance, Morton gets a full disclosure on the recent happenings, then Shadow Walks the remaining four people to the Church of Luvvia in Pottsylvania, the only likely safe place nearby. Introducing Yip to Darrovick the priest, Morton and Riko give both of them an update as to the whole situation and misadventure. Darrovick proclaims all the bodies as dead, and is shocked at any thought of resurrection. Dead is dead to him. Morton offers Darrovick a full nights rest in a magical spell of Tempus Fugit, who agrees, if reluctantly. After 8 hours within the spell and 3 without, Darrovick seals up the church for everyone to spend the night.
With the concurrent mission in complete chaos, Morton considers his options and discusses the next actions with Riko and Yip. Thoroughly unhappy and more than a little concerned about his friend Shoshana, he starts to clean up some loose ends. He removes Halanel the root collector and Wilbert of the Town of Hope from the Bag, telling them they are free. Wilbert is skeptical, claiming he was told he’d be brought somewhere safe and refuses to go. Morton gives the pair to the count of five to leave, which Halanel takes, running off into Pottsylvania. Wilbert continues to refuse to leave without some assertions he’s in a safe area. Morton ends the discussion with a well-placed Prismatic Sphere, sending the long Wilbert situation to a final conclusion.
“Riko, you’re part of the cause of all this.” ~ Morton (undated)
The remaining four members head into Pottsylvania during daytime hours, visiting the central inn. Questioning the innkeeper, they learn of baronies to the North and South of Pottsylvania, and the length of time to reach them by roadway. They return to the church to remain for one more safe night.
“We should sleep at the church because I’ve slept in some pretty nasty sewers before…” ~ Yip (undated)
Once morning arrives, Morton offers up Phantom Steeds to the others for a travel to the Southern lands of the Baron Morggin. Before leaving, it is discovered that Zebediah Obadiah is awake and alive in the Bag, though weak. He’s left in there to his own devices. Riding the steeds to the outside of town, they reach the arched gates on the road to Pottsylvania, which the magical beasts refuse to pass beyond. As the gates are closed and he had done so to enter, Morton dismounts and tries to walk around the arch. Vegetation moves to bar his way, keeping him from passing. Casting a Dispel Magic on the gates, Morton opens them and the group moves beyond the archway and into the mist. They arrive on a well-maintained road leading to a large castle with keep, but Yip begins to start hacking loudly. Before they can react, the other three start coughing as well, though not as strongly as Yip. He soon passes into unconsciousness, forcing a return through the mists and the gate to Pottsylvania. Riko tends to Yip as Morton considers options, noticing Henna Tallowleaf did not return with them.
Choosing to Shadow Walk to the other side of the mist as an experiment, Morton arrives just behind Henna, who stands staring at the castle beyond. Morton immediately starts a hacking cough, just barely able to return to Pottsylvania utilizing his Headband of Speed through the mist. On the other side of the gate, Riko watches as Morton passes out running at top speed, landing in the dirt some feet away. He gathers the others up and returns to the church and some aid from Darrovick. The priest assures Riko his friends should be fine the following day, but is not surprised they are less one person.
Morton and Yip awaken, none the worse for wear. They and Riko then return to the town’s inn to speak with the trio of Carna that seem to always be there when they enter. There they ask the Carna if they can send a message to Zito that the group would like to speak with him, which is agreed upon. The remaining party members then return again to the church and await Zito.
When the church opens its doors the following morning, Zito is outside waiting for Morton, Riko and Yip. When he is asked, Zito claims he might be able to help the group find their way home, but they would have to join him at the Carna encampment. Agreeing, Zito leads them once again to his home. On the hours-long walk, Morton opens the Bag and removes the lifeless forms of Gerrit and Graham, depositing them both on the side of the road. Zito does not seem to care, or notice. Yip and Riko don’t disagree with Morton’s assessment of ‘dead weight’.
Arriving at the Carna camp, Zito informs the others that they have a horse from the Baron that was taken some days before that might have been owned by someone in the group. He offers it up for purchase and is declined. Morton presses for the aid offered by Zito, who explains that some from outer lands find it difficult to leave Pottsylvania. For those that press the matter, the Carna have a solution they sell to those in need, which Zito offers. A thoroughly unimpressed Morton quickly quaffs an ESP Potion for a little more insight into Zito’s intent. Discovering Zito is not only lying, he’s horribly insulting and terribly evil of mind, Morton summons a pair of woolly mammoths as a blackmail aid. As the mammoths run amok in the camp, Morton tells Zito to give them a working potion to allow them to leave Pottsylvania unharmed or he’ll have the creatures flatten everyone there. A terrified Zito runs off, returning with an armload of water skins full of liquid allowing those drinking it to survive the mists. Dispelling the mammoths, Morton and the others quickly return to the arched gateway to the South, drink the potion and walk through, returning to the Lorridges of the World of Greyhawk.
Shadow Walking to Dyvers and the temple of Zilchus, Morton hopes to have the party brought back to life with payment of a large bag of gems he acquired some weeks before. Leaving the bodies in the care of the temple priests, the trio of Yip, Riko and Morton await results of Shoshana’s return through the night.
The following morning, the 22nd of Harvester, the priests of Zilchus are saddened to inform Morton and Yip (Riko having been blacklisted from the temple for a previous error in judgement) that Shoshana is unable to be revived as her spirit is inaccessible. They performed cursory exams of the others and feel that all of them are in the same situation. Thanking the priests for their continued service, the bodies were reclaimed and placed in the Bag. Zebediah Obadiah and Giraud were let free of the Bag and given the curative drink, and a magician was searched out for consulting. With the mage thinking that the others were subjected to a Magic Jar spell or something similar to it, he was able to give somewhat of a positive outlook on an already bad ending. With that, the remaining member of the group returned to the FoJ HQ, not that far away from the City of Dyvers.
At HQ, the start of a long discussion began as to whether or not it’s worth the risk to return to Pottsylvania and a rescue of the spirits of the ‘dead’.
“Put your f@%&#g phone away and make a decision, because these things matter!” ~ Unnamed player, January 11, 2016