And so, your Storyteller returns. I wanted to start back up again with a shiny unexpected blog post, but as the semester has begun and my D&D group starts up again on Sunday, I needed to finish their recap from last semester so everyone would know where we were starting.
Before I begin that however, I want to say an additional "thank you!" to Nathaniel, the fellow who entertained you all with his guest post in my absence. I know that I'll be adding it to my DungeonMaster Journal as it's got some great advice in it. He actually just started up a blog called Exfanding Your Horizons which I highly suggest checking out. That blog will deal with a very wide range of hobbies, some of which (or all of which) might interest you. So check it out!
Anyways, onto Brodert's final bit of the story before our "heroes" start adventuring again. Recaps from this point on will hopefully come after every session and will be a lot more detailed. These have just been designed as a general overview for my players over the summer. This post ends where they left off however. Enjoy!
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Brodert continued without pause, as the crowd hung on his every word.
"The first few swings against Aldern could not even touch the strange man, as he ducked and dodged out of the way. The former noble lashed back with his war razor, wounding the party and sending them nearly running in fear. When Slavla finally struck the man however, something happened. Aldern was himself once more, but not for long. In his brief moment of sanity he asked for forgiveness and told his tale.
Seeking to reclaim his family's property, Aldern settled into the house of his great uncle, hoping to claim the manor as his own. Of course, Vorel's spirit had other things to say about this, and lashed out slowly but surely at Aldern's mind causing him to kill the gyspy woman he'd come to love - Iesha. As his ancestors were part of the secret society known as the Brothers of the Seven, he too was a member and sought their aid in dealing with this "accidental" murder.
Little did Aldern know however that the Brothers of the Seven were actually a front organization for a much more sinister group known as the Skinsaw Men - a group of murderers who killed not for the money, but for the pure joy of snuffing out a life. The Skinsaw Men saw to it that Aldern would pay handsomely for their assistance, and in the meantime caused him to become hooked on Dreamweed, a highly addictive drug.
As Aldern fell deeper into the hands of the Skinsaw Men, he was finally able to meet their leader - a woman named Xanesha. He was told to go home and salvage some of the mold which seemed to grow all around the mansion, but, not being willing to return to the site of Iesha's death, Aldern went to Sandpoint instead to clear his mind. There he fell for the beautiful Deanda, seeing in her a chance to start over and a chance to right the wrongs he'd committed.
Returning to Magnimar, Aldern told Xanesha he would have no more part in her schemes. That was when she turned him into what he was...
No sooner did Aldern begin to speak of this however, then he seemed to be attacked from within. His eyes grew red as he spoke in a changed voice, sealing the coming doom of all who opposed him. Donning a mask, Aldern took on the very appearance of Deanda, the woman he'd lusted for, and resumed his assault.
The battle was drawn out and bloody. Aldern was more formidable in this state then any others the heroes had fought before. Finally though, through a combined effort, they were able to bring the beast to rest. Aldern Foxglove was dead.
With little time to celebrate, the party made their way to Magnimar. Along the way, Deanda called upon the power of the forests in order to bring Blayne's spirit back from death. Blayne's spirit had been so brutalized however, that the spirit could not return intact. Rather then forming a new body for Blayne through her reincarnate spell, the spirit found it's way into a squirrel. The party's newest, and squirrelliest companion.
Upon reaching the City of Monuments, the heroes sought out Aldern's townhouse where they were attacked by a pair of shapeshifting abberations known as Faceless Stalkers who posed as Aldern and Iesha in order to spring a trap on the all-too-inquisitive adventurers.
After dispatching their would-be assassins, the group found a large number of financial documents which led them to the Seven's Sawmill, where the Skinsaw Cult supposedly had it's base. Invading the sawmill was more difficult then the group had originally imagined. Fighting in cramped spaces, and almost being pushed into log cutters and saw blades added a new shade of terror to the already heightened danger that our heroes faced. Finally they found one of Magnimar's chief justices as the Cult's leader. Though he fought back with keen skill and strange magic, turning the party against each other at some points, he was finally killed, and the cult was defeated.
Or was it? The woman named Xanesha was still at large after all, the cult's "true leader". Reaching a room high in the sawmill, our heroes found a room where messenger ravens were kept. Releasing one of them, the party followed the dutiful bird to a building beneath the Irespan - a great shadow-casting relic of Thassilon build as a crumbled bridge. The bird flew to a decrepit clocktower, vanishing within the high rafters.
Within, there was silence.
Soon however, the rubble was torn asunder as a creature unlike any they'd seen before emerged. A strange beast made of stitched flesh dressed in the garb of a farmer with a deadly-looking scythe. Kiikii found his spells almost completely ineffective against the beast, while Kraca and Jaime charged in - buffed by Nakor's spells. A few shots were made against the beast successfully, before it sliced it's wicked scythe into both of the would-be heroes, sending them reeling backwards from the pain. The group all silently wished that Slavla hadn't chosen that day to go drinking... Kraca and Jaime decided the battle was too much and ran to find Slavla, while Deanda moved in to assist. Nakor offered what magical assistance he could, fighting the beast himself under the enhancing effects of his transmutation spells. However... the fight was too much. With a horrific blow, the monster lodged it's scythe neatly between the shoulder blades of the young and beautiful druid.
The elven woman... was dead.
Infused with anger and a need for revenge, the small group that was still there attacked with all they had. With the aid of fire, they caused the flesh golem's movements to lock and slow as they fought off the creature with every passing moment. Finally, with a great swing of his quarterstaff, the solid skull beneath the golem's flesh exterior cracked. The beast fell.
Deanda's blood pooled, and there was nothing but silence."
There was not a dry eye in the house as Brodert paused, looking around. All the townsfolk of Sandpoint knew that this event had not been the end of Deanda... but they knew what had happened at the end of the story...
Brodert sighed and continued.
"Nakor, bearing Deanda in his arms, along with all of the other heroes, rushed the druid to a temple of Nethys. The clerics were hesitant, and unsure of how to respond, but thanks to Nakor's... insistful nature, they quickly fetched the head priest. Now you must remember, fair Sandpoint's citizens, in these days the heroes were not very wealthy. They offered what they could however, in exchange for bringing Deanda back to the land of the living. She was back, but she was changed.
They all were.
Fighting off goblins and chasing headlong into the fray in search of fame and glory had been all well and good in their young minds. They were indestructible. Young and strong adventurers fueled by their childhood dreams to bring good to the world. But now they saw a very real truth to the concept of 'being heroes'. There was death. Though they gave no thought to bringing it upon others, now this... game was a little bit more real.
Now, they were all too aware of their mortality.
And fueled by revenge.
With this new challenge to prove themselves, the heroes marched on the watchtower. Making their way up the rickety stairs they dodged falling bells, battled off more Faceless Stalkers, and finally reached the peak itself. And within it, they found Xanesha.
Xanesha was a creature known as a Lamia Matriarch. Powerful arcane beings with great resistances and both magical and martial capabilities. Her resistances to magic and deadly spear almost proved too much for our heroes as they battled against illusions and magical silence to fight her. After their fight against the golem though, they made sure to do this battle right. The heroes worked in perfect unison, trading blows for blows with the matriarch, until she finally laid in a heap at their feet.
Within her belongings, they found a list marked with several names. This list was labeled, "Sihedron Sacrifices". After informing the Lord Mayor of Magnimar that his name was on the list, the party was hailed as heroes and invited to a grand feast. They lived out the next several months in Magnimar in style. Of course, no peace lasts forever... and it wasn't long before the Lord Mayor of Magnimar laid a task before our intrepid adventurers.
What lies next for our heroes? What trials will they face in the future?
Well that's a story for tomorrow."
Brodert smiled, and closed his book. He stood and took a slight bow to the loud applause. In the back of the room, a squirrel perched high in the rafters let out the slightest of grins.
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