Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tears of Vummor Session 57: Crossroads (7/26/15)

The end of the Keep?

-The party, alongside Lord Barenor, watched Sharablog walk back down the road to rejoin the army. Silence reigned for a full minute as everyone in the Keep contemplated the Bloodface's demands, but all at once the people seeking refuge there began speaking at once. Barenor stared at the army encampment for a while longer and asked the party to meet him in his private quarters to discuss the options that lay before them.

-The party joined Barenor some time later, where he sat going over maps and charts with his advisors, the elf Tatharon Sunleaf and St. Cuthbert cleric Murdock Frey, captain of the guard Richard Firgol, the wounded Heironeous cleric Roderick Graven, and Duncan Von der Linthe and his cronies. (Duncan wore simple leather armor and was without his powdered wig; this was the party's first time seeing him without his extravagant Gold Coast finery and were disappointed to find him mildly attractive without all the powder and velvet.)

-Lord Barenor asked the assembled group for their thoughts on the situation. He stated that Gurzuzzar Bloodface was known to abide by a code of honor, and that if he did meet him on the field of battle at midnight he believed the warlord would keep his word. Only, however, if the Tears of Vummor were surrendered.

-Murcock Frey thought it best for Lord Barenor to surrender the Tears and fight the orc; he knew Gurzuzzar was fierce in battle, but he had fought alongside Barenor enough to trust his companion's prowess.

-Tatharon Sunleaf and Roderick both agreed the Tears could not fall into the hands of Elizabeth's agents. Roderick and the party reiterated Elizabeth planned to use the Tears to bring about an age of undeath about on not just New Solinheim, but all possible worlds. Tatharon and Richard Firgol thought it best to let the competent guard do their job and defend the Keep, for it had been built to withstand such forces and had done so in the past many times. Besides, word was likely reaching nearby cities already; reinforcements were surely on their way.

-The Bloodface, however, were a tenacious and fearsome enemy. They would not stop until most of their number were broken on the walls, and should any of their number find their way into the Keep and escape with the Tears, Elizabeth would be one step closer to succeeding. The party wondered if there was some way they could smuggle the Tears out, just in case the Keep should fall. The effects of the Tears (their ability to reanimate any dead within 100' and the near-debilitating sense of grief and sorrow experienced by anyone handling them) would complicate matters, and Ingrid did not think her god would approve of raising the dead in such mass quantities across New Solinheim. Besides, where could they even take such a powerful artifact?

-Ymanie mentioned her mentor Dornius Gorthrew had been researching ways of destroying the Tears, claiming that mundane methods would only unleash their effects upon the world in the process. He mentioned investigating an ancient dwarven legend of The Anvil of the Freezing Moon, a magical tool the dwarves used to make cold iron while at war with the fairies long ago. Dornius hypothesized the powerful properties of the anvil could freeze the Tears, allowing them to be destroyed. Dornius had mentioned a frog god in the Black Mire swamp holding information about the Anvil. However, Ymanie hadn't been able to reach Dornius via her scroll of communication in several days and expressed concern.

-Ingrid decided to consult Jarl, as the sentient helmet's clairvoyant and precognitive abilities had proven useful in the past. She donned it (him?), slipping into a seizure-like state. 

-Jarl greeted her warmly, and Ingrid pretended he hadn't told her he loved her last time she spoke with him. She asked him if he could tell her the location of the Anvil of the Freezing Moon. He expended some effort, but saw them in a dwarven fortress at the source of the Ironflow River in the Kuln Mountains to the South. She then asked him if the Tears could be destroyed in the way they sought, and he saw that only a weapon of great power could destroy them if used with the Anvil. She asked him if he could locate such a weapon, but he stopped her, claiming that despite Ingrid's strong will, he risked hurting herself by using the helmet's power more. Before she took Jarl off, he told her he needed to speak with her soon about something important, but wouldn't explain further. When she came out of her trance her nose was bleeding.

-Tatharon said watching Ingrid use Jarl reminded him of Barenor (before he became Lord) and his experience with a certain necklace back in their adventuring days. When pressed, he merely smiled and said if the Keep survived the siege he would tell them another day.

-Ymanie suggested using the Somberlain to escape the Keep. She was practically an expert--not only had she read all of Greyfavell the Wanderer's tomes on the subject multiple times, she claimed six successful trips (five, if you counted the time her fellow student Jeremy was trapped there and aged by forty years, which she claimed was his own fault.) She was confident the Somberlain could be a relatively safe way to keep the Tears away from the Bloodface. She explained some of the properties to the group, even opening a portal with the Somberlain stones she kept in her bag. She stated that while the road was lined with tombs, she didn't think the Tears would cause many problems there because the tombs were permanently sealed (and she had tried EVERYTHING to crack one open, trust her). 

Basically, this.
-A plan was formulated: take the Tears and use the Somberlain to travel south. Ymanie clearly visualized a spot on the Berrywine River close to the village of Berryton; with this strong memory, she was confident should could lead the party to this spot using the otherworldly road. She calculated this would travel three days on the Somberlain but it would take only a few minutes in New Solinheim. They would be at least a day away from the Bloodface, and from there could find a boat to take them down the Berrywine. As for the undead creation issue, they came up with a plan. Party members would hold the Tears and use Shepard's boots of levitation to float while being pulled along with a rope. Like the saddest balloon ever.

-Thinking of the coming full moon and the fact that she would need the tongue of someone she killed unarmed in single combat in order to perform the ritual to contact Yeenoghu, Shepard asked Lord Barenor if they could take a few of the bounty hunters imprisoned in the dungeon along with them. He didn't like the sound of it, but the party convinced him after Tathatron Sunleaf argued in their favor. 

-The party headed to the storerooms to stock up on supplies, and then headed to the dungeon. They decided to put Jarl on the leathery female bounty hunter and let Ymanie charm the younger female bounty hunter. Jarl, speaking through the woman known as Kitty, said she was very strong willed and he could use her for several days before depleting her life force. The younger bounty hunter, mistrustful of the group but friendly towards Ymanie, asked what they had done to her mother. She explained that they, along with the Sam Elliot looking old guy in the cell, were a family and sought the reward offered on at least one member of the party to pay a healer to magically cure the affliction of their youngest, Samantha. The party then felt rrrrreally bad and nixed the whole thing, returning the prisoners to their cells and making arrangements with the captain of the guard for their release after the siege. 

[This was a short one; we played at a different time than usual, took a break mid-session so Jenn and Jane could pick up spicy noodles, and I've also been stupid depressed so it took me a while to shake the brain fog. That said, we spent almost the entire session just roleplaying and everyone seemed to have a pretty good time. I always take it as a good sign when my players are having a blast and we're not rolling any dice or killing any monsters.]