The Story So Far, Part 1

(Written on a Treo on public transit. May need some tidying!)

At the start of the campaign, four heroes were called to a meeting with General Rostov, a gruff but not unkind man, used to authority and bearing a long scar on his face. Rostov explained that the heroes were needed for an important mission, but whenever he tried to explain why, the heroes would “blank out” and not remember anything. The heroes were given a location and two tasks: find somebody who looks important and hit him in combat, even just once; if possible, take his sword.

They went into sewers, down a crevice filled with trickling filthy water. Fought kruthiks, goblins, hobgoblins, and a cloaked and hooded figure (“The Runner”). While fighting the Runner, he raised a zombie/spectre combination (from corpse of goblin covered in white powder, who was killed with a dart from the Runner). Appearance of the Runner kept shifting, except for Mailee after she hit him.

Passageways were carved in an odd way, with very flat, smooth sheets and sharp “cliffs” separating them. Almost like roughly laid square or rectanglar paving stones, except carved from solid rock, and walls and ceilings were like this as well.

The Runner fled during combat, leaving orders to “kill them all, start with the elf”. After he fled, the heroes heard a deep pounding noise that sounded like a hammer nailing together a gallows—chilling to the soul. This was followed by a loud crash, like rocks falling.

The heroes defeated their foes, then went after the Runner. Found a passageway sloping upward, which ended in a vertical wall too high and smooth to easily climb. Shelf of rock lying at the base was split with a large crack down the middle, and had a small protrusion at the back that matched a similar protrusion halfway up the rock face.

After leaving, Rostov was able to explain what was going on. “The Runner” was one of the Duskrunners, an organization of criminals that have been plaguing Tasavalta and Sarykam. The Duskrunners use magic to make them difficult to fight: one enchantment makes it impossible for someone to remember what a Duskrunner looks like, or remember anything about them; another enchantment gives them an alarm, effectively warning them of the proximity of certain previously identified foes. The first enchantment can be broken by violent acts against one who bears it, but only for the individual who commits the act of violence. (A powerful wizard can break the enchantment for others who were physically present at the time, and this was done for the rest of the party.)

The Duskrunners have installed agents in many parts of the Tasavaltan military and Sarykam guard, and virtually every noteworthy member of either body has been identified by the alarm enchantment. This means that only those who are new to the forces or who are insignificant have any chance of getting close to the leaders of the Duskrunners. An attack en masse by the grunt troops would be too obvious to succeed, so the Tasavaltans devised another solution. The heroes were selected because they showed a great deal of skill in carrying out their duties, but would likely have been unimportant enough to escape notice. Their success at the initial mission has made them into the most valuable tool available for fighting the Duskrunners, and Rostov relieved them all of their normal duties during their debriefing.

The magic that caused the dead Goblin to rise as two distinct undead is a rare and powerful necromantic ritual. For this to work, the subject must eat food with a particular additive (which tastes not entirely unpleasant), then be injected with a fast-acting poison which kills the subject and triggers the enchantment. Now that the Duskrunners are known to possess such a power, the heroes have been ordered not to eat or drink anything from an unknown source.

After a night’s sleep, Rostov summoned the party again with an urgent mission. A cemetary at the edge of the city has been under observation for some time, and it is known that the Duskrunners have been up to something there. After the heroes’ escapade beneath the sewers, a flurry of activity was observed there and Rostov suspects that they are scared and rushing to accomplish something.

(Continued in Part 2, which contains details of the heroes escapades at the crypt.)


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