Fellow role-players, here are my notes for our first “evil fantasy” game, which Rich C.G. ran at his apartment in Waltham, Massachusetts, on Monday, 18 June 2012:
- “Tomer Raffelli” [Gene D.]-male Halfling Rogue, imprisoned for fraud; NE, Lvl. 1
- “Pestinha” [Josh C.]-male human Monk; LE, Lvl. 1
- “Logan” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf AntiPaladin of Asmodeus; LE, Lvl. 1
- “Danzil’Ka” [Jason E.R.]-female human Necromancer (Wizard); NE, Lvl. 1
- -[Brian W./absent]-male Dwarf Cleric; LE, Lvl. 1
- -[Sara F./absent]-female Gnome Witch, with an improved hedgehog familiar; LE, Lvl. 1
- -[Beruk A./absent]-male Fighter; CE, Lvl. 1
>>After being arrested for trying to pull a scam on a pillar of the community, Tomer is taken to Branderscar Prison, which squats on a desolate island. There, he and others who have broken the laws of the supposedly benevolent theocracy of Talingarde are branded on the forearm with an “F” for “forsaken.”
The Halfling Rogue awakens and finds himself chained to other convicts in a dark cell. Tomer cheerfully introduces himself while quietly swearing vengeance against those who have imprisoned him. Ritually scarred Pestinha says little while straining against his bonds, and Danzil’Ka learns that her feminine wiles are of little use on the faithful guards and shackled skeletons.
Logan eventually regains consciousness ahead of a Dwarf Cleric and a Gnome Witch who are also part of the chain gang. The sentries taunt the blackguard by reminding him that heresy and blasphemy are punished by execution, but the human just laughs at them.
The prisoners hear grunting from a nearby cell, and Danzil’Ka eventually gets a glimpse of an Ogre with infernal blood. Tomer overhears hypocritical soldiers talking about gambling and how Sgt. Tomas Blackerly rigs dice games in the gatehouse. They also mention a Wizard with an owl in a nearby tower.
Sometime in the night, six guards come for Logan, who has a distinguished visitor. They take him to a dining hall, where he sees a strangely compliant Sgt. Blackerly talking with an attractive brunette. Lady Alyssa Senhaven mentions Logan’s murder of her husband.
In fact, the lady is actually blonde cultist Teodora magically disguised, and she tells Logan that a “mutual friend” wants to meet him at a manor on the moors in three days. She slips him an embroidered veil, and the charmed guards take the AntiPaladin back to his cellmates.
Logan tells his new companions what happened, and he pulls the image of a blue vial off the veil, and it becomes an actual vial! Other objects magically stored include two daggers, 100 gold pieces, a coil of rope, a hooded lantern, clothing, and masterwork lockpicks.
Logan manages to toss the picks to Tomer, who frees him and begins working on the others’ manacles. The guards notice some of the commotion and, without going into the cell, tell the prisoners and Ogre Grumblejack to be quiet. It takes Tomer some time to successfully unchain everyone, and he and Logan then sneak toward the guardroom.
One sentry notices and blows a horn in alarm, while another draws a longsword. Logan grins and brandishes his dagger, while agile Pestinha maneuvers. Grumblejack smashes a guard, and Danzil’Ka wakes the Gnome and the Dwarf, who heals the horned Ogre.
Tomer takes a dagger and runs to the next rooms, as Grumblejack pummels another guard. The Halfling climbs down a wide chimney and is singed as he enters a kitchen. He throws a pan, scalding an unlucky woman. Cook Gregor pleads for mercy, but the others stab him after shimmying down the chimney. Tomer takes knives and some oil.
In a dining hall, the escapees confront three more guards. Pestinha blinds one with a well-aimed unarmed strike, and Logan misses with a longsword. One guard hits the Monk, but is hit in return by Danzil’Ka’s Ray of Frost spell. Tomer throws knives but also misses.
Swift Pestinha throws a handful of dirt in the eyes of a second sentry, and Logan slays his opponent. Danzil’Ka casts Chill Touch, killing the third guard. The Dwarf priest attends to the wounded as they press on.
The jailbirds jog through a courtyard, past a fountain and a statue of Denathia the Just, a saint in the religion of Mitra. Pestinha stuns two guards, and Logan, who has donned a guard’s surcoat, bluffs his way to the gatehouse. Kohl-eyed Denzil’Ka and stealthy Tomer pretend to be prisoners awaiting transfer.
The escapees see brawny Grumblejack crashing through more doors and waves of guards as they make a break for the causeway bridge. Volleys of arrows rain from the prison’s watchtowers. Tomer improvises a smoke bomb for partial cover, and Logan tries to shield Denzil’Ka.
About halfway across the bridge, the group realizes that guards are approaching from both sides. One by one, the convicts jump into the water far below. Logan swims to keep Tomer and Danzil’Ka from drowning. They spend the next few hours racing across the countryside, hunted.
Danzil’Ka summons her mongoose, and the Gnome calls for her hedgehog familiar. Logan leads the way, drawn by Teodora’s magic. The adventuring party hikes across the misty moors until it comes to a forbidding manor.
Servants answer the door, and Teodora tells Logan that “it’s about time” he found her. Slaves attend to the newcomers, bathing and clothing them before a banquet.
Teodora introduces the wanderers to Adrastus Thorn, a cardinal in the church of the Prince of Nessus, Asmodeus. The people of Talingarde once worshipped multiple entities, he says. The cardinal also shows that Grumblejack has successfully escaped Branderscar Prison.
Thorn offers Logan and company support if they will swear fealty to him. The escapees reluctantly agree to become the ninth “Nessian Knot,” or band following the nine lessons of Asmodeus. They sign a pact in blood promising loyalty to Asmodeus, Adrastus, one another, and themselves.
In return, each member receives 200 g.p., a silver pentagram, and an Iron Circlet of Disguise. Thorn graciously gives Danzil’Ka her spellbook back. The Ninth Knot rests and prepares for its first mission against the followers of Mitra in Talingarde….
Happy Birthday again to Brian, Josh, and James! I had fun in this adventure path, and we’ll see who is able to attend the next session, currently scheduled for July 2. In the meantime, I’ll be continuing the D&D5e/Next playtest with the Sunday night telecom group, and Jason’s “Glassworks” superhero scenario resumes on June 25. Be seeing you, -Gene