Our cast of players:
- Achmed (Dave): Human Thief, level 4.
- Albrecht (Rick): Human Priest, level 4.
- Pioden (Craig): Elf Warrior/Wizard/Thief, level 2/2/2.
- Tether (Dan): Human Warrior, level 3.
- Tomas (Alan): Human Paladin, level 3.
- William (Max): Human Warrior, level 3.
Total XPs awarded from the previous session: 1,495
You all back away from the closed door, weapons drawn, Pioden melting invisibly into the walls of the corridor. A few tense moments pass before Tomas decides to break the stand off and impulsively steps forward to open the door. Beyond is a cluster of townsfolk and behind them the shadowy cowled figure, eyes burning red. Tomas tries to dispel the evil of the creature with the power of his holy aura and on seeing this has no effect steps back and to one side, opening up the doorway to Achmed who is ready, his reloading crossbow cocked. Taking careful aim, he looses off two bolts but disaster strikes as his first hits one of the townsfolk crowding around the doorway and knocks him flat to the ground, instantly killing him.
His aim is true with the second bolt, but the result no less pleasing as it passed right through the cowled figure with no apparent effect, hitting the wall at the far end of the chapel as if it had passed through nothing more solid than a sheet of parchment. A mocking laugh echoes around, emanating from the empty space inside the hood, “fools! Your puny weapons cannot harm me. Now, my servants, stop those who would seek to foil our plans.”
William, shield to the fore, now charges at the packed doorway seeking to barge his way through, bashing the flat of his shield into the faces of the townsfolk gathered there. The mass of bodies is too much for him though, and he makes only a small impression. Albrecht pulls out his holy symbol and advances to the doorway, seeking to drive the foul creature away but has as little impact on it as Tomas’ prayers and Achmed’s crossbow bolt.
Deciding he has nothing to lose, Achmed retrieves from his pack the last of the precious holy oil you took from Suto Lore’s body at Skulltop Hillock and pours it into the magazine on his crossbow. William tries again to force his way through the doorway and this time is more successful, knocking two of the townsfolk, stunned, to the floor with bashes from his shield, then enters the room stepping to one side to let Albrecht in, who charges the cowled figure with his glowing mace, only to see it too pass straight through the insubstantial figure with no effect.
Tomas now enters the room, clumsily clubbing one of the townsfolk to the floor with the flat of his blade, but he then takes up a fighting stance, fearless and ready to engage the real enemy. This opens up a gap through the throng and Pioden seemingly steps out of the corridor wall where he has been hiding, longbow drawn with one-arm Tarik’s lucky arrow notched and ready. He lets fly and is crushed with disappointment to see the arrow that has never yet let him down pass straight through your adversary. Dismayed, Pioden retreats to the far wall of the corridor once more while, undeterred, Achmed leaps forward into the room, nimbly jumping over the pile of bodies in the doorway, his crossbow now primed with the holy oil at the ready.
The hooded abomination steps forward, right through one of the townsfolk as if he weren’t there, and reaches forward a clenched skeletal fist to Tomas who instinctively throws up his shield in defence. This is of no avail, the hand passing straight through Tomas’ shield deep into his chest, causing the normally resolute paladin to shriek in pain and spasm, becoming noticeably greyer and more haggard in the face. Vitality leeches away from him and he is left gasping for breath and considerably shaken.
Tether now enters the room, twin short swords at the ready, and fearlessly engaged the creature, striking two substantial blows, much to everyone’s surprise, and causing it to recoil. Emboldened by this, Pioden gets himself into position once more and snaps off a blast from the kobold shaman’s wand, this time hitting home and causing noticeable damage.
Having identified a potential threat, the creature turns from Tomas and Tether and once more reaches forward deep into Tether’s chest, seeking to squeeze the very life direct from his heart. The effect is the same again, leaving Tether holding his chest and gasping, weakness flowing from the point where the skeletal hand passed through him.
Acting on a hunch that your opponent is composed largely of negative energy, Tomas, literally taking his life in his hands tries to reach out to the creature and channel positive healing energy into it. However, Tomas’ hand is stayed as he finds the creature is surrounded by an invisible wall of force preventing him from making any physical contact with it.
Achmed now fires off one of his newly oiled bolts and this time the effect is remarkable, not only does the bolt strike true but the creature emits an eldritch wail and disintegrates before your eyes, its now empty robe falling to the ground and lying still. The three remaining townsfolk also collapse to the floor, holding their heads in agony before passing into unconsciousness. Tomas pokes the bundle nervously with his sword, before rubbing his chest involuntarily with a grimace of pain, as a cold sensation shoots through him.
Never one to be perturbed by the supernatural, Achmed is practical as always and quickly searches the bodies of the townsfolk, helping himself to the odd silver coin as he does so. William makes his way over to the body body pinned to the wall by the bastard sword and examines it. It is a male human wearing chain mail and a plain white tabard, facing away from you. William pulls out the sword and the body slides slowly to the floor. It is a blade of obviously fine quality and glows with a faint golden light. William takes the sword over to Albrecht, who has the replica of the Sword of Conviction he bought from the blacksmith in Blessings-Be and finds it to be identical, other than the engravings.
Tomas, meanwhile, shows a little more respect for the body and gently picks it up, placing it on top of the altar in a position of gentle repose. Both Achmed and Pioden have a nagging doubt about the body and move to examine it closely. There is some blood on the tabard where the sword was thrust through it, but of other signs of massive injury there are none, and there is no blood on the floor in the corner. Achmed picks up one of the body’s arms and lets it fall. It is quite limp with no signs of stiffness or decomposition, but the body itself is stone cold. The unfortunate clearly died some time ago but appears fresh, as if newly killed.
As they are bending to examine the body, Pioden’s keen elvish senses begin to tingle and he examines the rear of the altar closely. As he stares, the faint outline of a hidden compartment becomes apparent to him. Achmed can see nothing until Pioden traces its perimeter for him with the tip of a dagger. Looking even closer, Pioden sees the outline of a hinged keyhole, cunningly disguised against the stonework and looking as though it swivels about a central point. The gaps and cracks are paper fine, with no prospect of forcing anything into them and Pioden can just make out a thin horizontal wire running through the centre of the keyhole.
Calling Tomas over, the pair ask the paladin to concentrate on what may lie beyond and as he does so, he physically recoils, disgust on his face. There is a potent source of evil lying concealed within.
To be continued…