The Shores of the Holy Apostles

Module : The murder of the seven points

PCs: All

Recurring NPCs: Donathos Beltasor, Herbert the Duck, Wogan Pook

NPCs: Loremaster Syle, Highmore, Callam, Loab, Garl, Denaz

Slowly the puzzle pieces are brought together and the team is starting to see the pattern.

The visit to the Loremaster (an ancient elf named Syle) reveals the purpose behind the murders and the ominous background that precedes it.

Wintershiven used to be protected by 7 elven princes who had been rejected by their race. When a necromancer foolishly attempted to bind a greater demon, the summoned fiend broke the bonds and consumed the summoner taking his place. The princes led an army of commoners to their doom in order to combat Urneil the she-demon of bile and wastes. In the end only two princes were alive, one mortally wounded. The last standing prince did not only cut down the demoness but also imprisoned her for five centuries by carving the demon’s symbol (7 pointed star) on her face and burning her remains.

It was now obvious that someone was trying to break this banishment and bring back Urneil. The murders were performed in conjunction with the moon’s position each night. The 8th murder had to take place in the same spot the first one did if this story held any truth. Indeed the team had no doubts about the validity of this scenario, everything pointed to this ritualistic killing in the order of drawing a seven pointed star around the town of Wintershiven. What had delayed them from realizing this was the horrible mistake by young officer Callam who had confused the third and fourth killings by mistake.

The party’s next step was the sole heir to the seven princes’ legacy. This half-elf named Highmore lived a secluded and withdrawn life in his tower. His blood was directly linked to the sole survivor – Highmore was his son! The party’s met the decrepit old man who was obviously nearing the end of his life. With a hand undeveloped from birth, a debilitating coughing disease and an attitude of in-deference the old half elf met and discussed with the adventurers with words dripping cynicism and disdain. With Callam’s vouching support though he was convinced to offer more and the party was more than happy to depart with a magical cloak that was used to wrap two of the seven’ princes magical weapons : The Luminous Blades.

Nemen’s sorcery quickly identified the amazing powers of the two blades and the cloak. Regis was more than happy to hang on to the elven threaded cloth; the ancient race had an amazing skill in threading this material that seemed half-cloth half-shadow essence. Drawing the hood over his head the rogue could become next to invisible! The two blades had an amazing yet troubling power. When drawn the blade would bite the wielder’s hand drawing upon his soul to feed it’s power and be sheathed in an elemental aura (one was fire the other was lightning). The wielder could then willfully allow the blade to suck more of his life essence, giving the sword the power of a full burst that sheathed it in its respective element. Eman kept the fiery one while Cirith hang on the lightning producing one.

With all said and done the party split up to hastily prepare for what seemed like their last stand against the rise of a demon! They made plans and each went on their own, planning to return where the final murder was to take place in order to set their traps and ambush. Their plan was almost ruined from the beginning though as bad news kept rolling in. Returning at the tavern they found that Herbert, Donathos and the kids were missing – having disobeyed the agreed plan to stay low until the murders case was solved. Attempts to find volunteers fell on apparently deaf ears as the fear of the murders and the curfew imposed by the city watch deterred most commoners. Finally arriving at the scene of the first crime the party was disturbed by an even worse coincidence: a wagon full of manure broke and spilled its contents right were the team was to make its ambush.

Cirith was gravely disturbed by the latter incident, remembering that Urneil was the demoness of wastes and so the party with the few people that they managed to gather made cleaning the place and transporting the manure – via a new wagon – away from the enviros their top priority.

Regis was setting some warning traps around the area when he discovered the final addition to the ambushing party : Highmore! The half elf apparently moved by the words of The Heroes of Duvik’s Pass had worn his ancestors ceremonial war tunic and carrying a dagger had come to assist. This last action brought peace and hope to the heroes’ heart as the sight of the decrepit elder was enough to move everyone present to double their effort.

Alas fate had decided to be cruel that night. Even during the work, Highmore claimed he heard something and – surprising everyone – climbed with agility on top of the new wagon that was now full of manure. He spend a few seconds scanning the darkness for his target and then revealed his true colours:

With the following laconic words the half-elf drew his dagger forcefully across his neck bringing the demonic ritual to its final eighth murder:“It was me.I am sorry. It is almost over”.

The party rushed in panic to stem the bleeding but it was too late. Sulfurous debilitating clouds of smoke and steam hissed from the bleeding manure that seemed to ooze itself through the wooden wagon into the earth. As the dying half-elf gurgled : “Let the cycle complete!” those who got too close where paralysed with inhuman coughing fits, dropping to their knees with tears in their eyes.

The demonic creature that oozed out of this hell pit was more than enough for the commoners and Urneil’s aura drove them away in fear. The same magical effect cast its inhuman claws into Regis heart and the poor man also turned and fled – as soon as he managed to stop coughing.

The remaining party though together with Denaz, Loab and Garl and the young Callam charged with great abandon unleashing everything they had on the demoness. Like the old days the demon was brought low again, even though her magic was great and abyssal spells kept raining upon the defenders with debilitating effects. In the end the body of Urneil become nothing but a puddle of slowly regenerating ooze and even the host of skeletons and zombies she brought forth to protect her defenseless form were nothing compared to the might of her aggressors. Eman carved the seven pointed star on her rapidly reforming head and let his flaming sowrd finish the banishment. Her screaming form let out curses and promises to her banisher as she was sucked away from this world in an inter-dimensional hole in the sky!

Congratulating each other and retrieving poor Regis – who had reached the western river branch and was swimming away – the defenders caught their breath and looked on to a brighter future.

Comments

DM Notes: - This module needed much much much more prep than I had calculated – I should have really fleshed out the last scenes more as they were too “dry” in the module itself. - A surprising come back by the party which had some really nice ideas. In fact in the end I was very close to letting them foil the ritual all together and extending this module into a fourth session (DAMN!) whereupon Highmore would be seeking vengeance on them. But the idea of a fourth session in what was a one-session planned module just turned me away – I ended up granting them much more XP than necessary. - Turns out my calculations for the last battle did not go that well. I was expecting Urneil to give more than what she did and the end result with no casualties whatsoever left me a bit empty :-)

The Circle is (finally) complete
netlich

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