The team were very reluctant to enter the sewers, not knowing what was waiting for them. They made their way back to the tavern, where they settled down for the night.
The next morning, it was decided to ride out into the wilderness again, heading for the Moat House and seeing if they could find some more monsters to kill. They set off, minus Elysia, who was busy resting and relearning her spells, but with a new member of the party, Strider the medium warhorse who Alagon had bought from a horse dealer in town that very morning.
The day was clear and bright but it didn’t stay that way for long as only a couple of hours out of town, the party was set upon by at least seven lions, whose keen nose for horseflesh and perhaps revenge for the lion killed and skinned by Cafaror all those weeks ago (yes, in the very same spot) brought them bounding in for the attack.
Party of adventurers
This can't end well
Alurax, on Warnado, set off at top speed, two lions following him while the rest of the party squared up to face the approaching maned menaces. Ferros, newly raised took on three at once, with some timely assistance from Alagon. Olaf and Cafaror took one each and the fight was on!
Random wilderness encounter turns nasty
Ferros managed to whittle down a lion and finally kill it but the second one mauled him and left him unconscious. Alagon’s new horse, Strider was seized by one of the lions and brought down with a vicious bite to the throat, the heroic paladin managing to fling himself clear. Olaf was pounced on and the lion’s front and back claws inflicted horrible injuries; bleeding profusely, the dwarf was dragged off by the lion for a more leisurely lunch.
Just as things were looking grim, with Ferros, Olaf and Cafaror lying bleeding and bitten by the lions, Alurax came riding back in with his trident.
The lions had meanwhile broken off from dragging their lunch away to chase down and kill the remaining horses of the party but as Alurax came riding in, two switched their attention to him. He managed to kill one and took on the other one but it was intent on bringing down this new attacker and the long-suffering Warnado took yet more damage.
Alagon was trying to hack at his lion with two hand-axes as he had rather unwisely given his longsword to Alurax in exchange for a magical short sword which did the bare minimum of damage on the ferocious animals. The paladin fell to a savage bite and swipe of a clawed paw but the lion was felled soon afterwards by Alurax and his trident.
Everybody in the party with the exception of Alurax was now unconscious and vulnerable to whatever else the wilderness had to throw at them. The trident-wielding fighter could see that Warnado was in no state to carry anyone other that her owner back to town and so off he rode, covering the distance in but a couple of hours. At the gate, he alerted Galzor to the emergency, then made his way to the tavern where Elysia, who had heard nothing from the party, was taking it easy with a scented bath and some illuminating scrolls detailing property for sale in the town.
She swiftly got herself ready when she heard of the disaster that had befallen the party and set off at once, pausing only to hire some courtesy horses from the stables. Alurax was instructed to rest up at the tavern since he was clearly injured and had ridden hard to reach the town in time. Picking up Galzor at the gate, Elysia rode northwards along the river, their urgency multiplied by the sound of wolves howling in the distance.
At the battle site, a pack of wolves, probably the same ones who had been menacing the northern townlands, had come loping down, drawn by the scent of fresh kill. Elysia and the others were an hour away and fortunately for the party, the wolves seemed more intent on gorging themselves on the horse and lion meat than attacking the exposed and wounded party members. The approaching hoofbeats startled them and they took off, leaving the magic user to survey the scene of carnage.
Galzor healed Ferros and between them brought the rest of the party back to a working state of health, although by no means perfect. They rode slowly back to town and were soon ensconced in the tavern again, enjoying a late lunch and bickering over what some saw as Alurax’s craven desertion of his fellows. On the plus side, Zanurax was finally restored to his original form and given some new clothes to wear, since the ones that he had been wearing were still only for a six-inch high human.
Once they had a chance to talk things over, Elysia suggested that they investigate the sewers again; she suspected that something malign lurked therein but decided that the only way to find out was to go down there and hunt it.
They made their way to the vampire house and again, found themselves in the cellar. They passed through the hole in the wall and started wandering along the narrow walkway above the slimy and festering waters of the sewer tunnel itself. At the far end of the tunnel, it branched into two and the party took the left-hand tunnel, after an abortive attempt to investigate the right-hand one. Ferros had gone wandering off on his own, as had Olaf and Alagon in the opposite direction. They had encountered some suspicious side tunnels closed off by very heavy iron portcullises. Now, however, Ferros spotted something moving in the shadows just beyond his torchlight, then came scurrying back to tell the party. Elysia decided that this was definitely worth investigating and the entire party traipsed down the tunnel to the point where Ferros had seen the shadowy form. As she peered carefully around the corner, a gaunt, pale figure with razor sharp teeth and nails leapt out at her but she coolly aimed her wand of Illumination and fired off a Sunburst, which turned the creature and its fellow, who had been waiting at the top of a flight of steps, to dust.
The party poured up the stairs and found before them a choice of two tunnels. Ferros and Elysia took the right-hand one, Cafaror, Olaf, Alagon and Alurax the left. At the corner of the right-hand passage, guarding another set of steps was a third vampire, who did not last long against Ferros’ mace – a couple of hefty swings and the vampire was dissolving into a cloud of gaseous vapour. Ahead, two more vampires appeared, heading for the cleric and the magic user – a Sunburst later and they were dust as well.
Meanwhile, on the left-hand passage, Alurax and Alagon were leading the charge against a pack of four vampires who were advancing on them. The goodness of the paladin meant that the vampires were very reluctant to approach him, instead turning on Cafaror and Alurax. As the two fighters took on the fanged horde, Ferros and Elysia arrived, having taken another passageway that brought them in on the rear of the melee. Another Sunburst reduced the surviving two vampires to dust and left Alurax temporarily blinded. Olaf and Cafaror stayed with him as his sight returned.
Elysia, Alagon, Ferros, Galzor and Zanurax investigated the right hand side of the complex, arriving eventually at a corridor from which four doors opened. Each of them took up position, with Elysia and her all-conquering Wand of Illumination at the ready if the inhabitants proved more than momentarily troublesome.
She blasted the one facing Ferros as he failed to turn it; Alagon was able to pin his in a corner and hack it down by increments. Zanurax and Galzor were having more trouble with theirs as the vampires landed some telling blows on them and left them pale, shaking and weak. As things were getting hairy, Alurax arrived, with Olaf in tow to tell a tale of woe – Cafaror had been felled by a vampire and they had run to get help.
Elysia and Ferros headed off to where Cafaror had last been seen. As they rounded a corner, three vampires appeared – a tough-looking brawny one, a girl and a man who looked familiar.
I was a serving girl but now I handle pints of a different kind....
It was the art lover who had approached Cafaror before the auction and who had later disappeared, leaving a blood-stained bedroom and the elf as a murder suspect. He revealed himself to be the Fourth, the self-styled leader of this nest of vampires. Ferros stepped forward to try and turn them, keen to keep the Fourth alive so that they could use his existence to clear Cafaror of the murder charge. Unfortunately, his effort failed – vampires are serious undead and his faith was not yet strong enough. Elysia blasted the three of them with her wand but although the girl and the brawny vampire were eliminated, the Fourth remained standing and flung himself at the two party members. Ferros managed to grab his potion of Speed and whisked Elysia to safety – as the Fourth came after them, Alurax fired an arrow that hit the vampire and caused him to dissolve into gas.
Still under the influence of his Speed potion, Ferros rushed to find what had happened to Cafaror. With Elysia trying to catch up, they found the fallen fighter with a vampire crouched over him, draining his blood. Ferros rushed in, dragged Cafaror to safety as Elysia fired another Sunburst which destroyed the vampire.
Ferros rushed a bound and restrained Cafaror through the sewers to the cellar of the house, where he was wrapped in curtains in case the daylight burned him and then taken to the Council of Elders. Elysia and the others had finished off the last two vampires and were now checking the various rooms. In a pit in one of the rooms that, until now, they had not entered, they found a hoard of coins, gems, a silver brooch and a bundle of scrolls that made the eyes of the magic user light up with delight.
The party returned to the surface, having restrained Zanurax and Galzor in case they too were infected with vampirism. They would now spend a fretful few hours while the Council of Elders searched through their archives to discover what could be done for Cafaror. And there was still the knowledge that the Fourth, though turned to gas, could yet reform his body and cause them further trouble.
Hexcrawling a City, an early look - One thing I've been slowly working on for the last year is another fantasy sandbox campaign. My prior one was generally map-based, although a city feature...
8 hours ago