|My wife snapped this picture at our session.|
My daughter and wife dropped by quickly,
and my daughter Joy rolled her first d20!
For what's come before, check this list of all of my posts tagged with "World of Samoth", but in particular, this most recent full recap.
I'm going to combine the caps from the past two sessions since I never really wrote one for our session back in May.
The 21st of Saarh, 504 D.E. (Dorrenic Era), Arile, Esoría
While Jeremi was being accused of heresy and arrested by the Pontifex Rex, Cristobal Arino, for crimes against Ætonism, both Sameer and Sombra chose to stay outside the city walls, drinking at a tavern. Eventually, Sombra left to go seek the help of an apothecary for an analgesic ointment that could sooth the awful "armor rash" he had acquired after Sameer forged a new breastplate for him. [Editor's note: this was how we explained the absence of Sombra's player, Nick, from the May session].
Meanwhile, Shao, curious about Western culture, used his abundant step ability to bypass the city walls and look around. He soon discovered someone tailing him and did his best to lose the tail. He eventually returned to meet up with Sameer, and they later discovered that they were also being followed, perhaps by the same person who had been following Shao earlier. The two comrades set up a quick trap and cut-off the potential assassin and attempted to question him. The assassin was in some sort of disguise and chose death rather than to reveal who had hired him, and Sameer disaptched him quickly and with honor. On his death, the assassin seemed to change back to his natural form, that of some sort of crow-man, a legendary race from Shao's homeland in the exotic East.
The two comrades then searched quickly for Sombra, who had not returned at the appointed rendezvous time. They tracked down the apothecary where Sombra had purchased his ointment, and the proprietor stated that Sombra had, in fact, been there earlier, but he had not seen him since. He also mentioned news of the heretic priest who had been captured and was to be tried and executed in the square in front of the basillica the next day. The two heroes realized that it was quite probably their fellow adventurer, Jeremi, and then Sameer had a chat with Shao to explain his past interactions with Jeremi and why he thought it might be a good idea to try to rescue him. Shao, for his part, had not had many interactions with the members of the Company, having just joined with them, but eventually decided that trying to rescue Jeremi was the right thing to do.
The 22nd of Saarh, 504 D.E. (Dorrenic Era), Arile, Esoría
Dawn seemed to come much too early for Jeremi, as he waited in his cell. He had been stripped of his holy symbols and material components, but unbeknownst to his jailers, he would have been able to escape at any time suing the arcane magic from his mother's side of the family. However, he chose to face his accuser and plead his case in front of the public, hoping to turn them over to his way of thinking.
Sameer and Shao blended into the crowd, weapons stowed but ready to strike when needed. Arino sat at the top of a high 20 dias, lounging on a luxurious golden and be-jeweled throne, and with his robes of office draped regally on his noble figure. He was surrounded by a group of hand-picked guards, including one hulking captain who appeared to have some sort of giant blood in him, as well as two lightly armed and armored attendants. While Arino's herald read the charges against Jeremi, the heretic priest was tied to the stake some two hundred feet away from Arino. Even at this distance, Arino's and his herald's voices rang clear through the noise of the crowd. Jeremi was also able to see, to his astonishment, that on some tables behind Arino were displayed some of the evil artifacts that he and his comrades had discovered in the Bane Vault in distant Verundhi, and which they thought had been secreted away when they closed the gate that tied the Bane Vault to our world.
Jeremi of course plead his innocence, claiming that he acted on his own authority regarding the will of Æton, not on the church's authority, but this concept seemed to difficult for most of the crowd to grasp. Jeremi asked to be allowed to prove his innocence, and Arino indulged him by allowing Jeremi's hands to be untied, whereupon Jeremi cast a simple healing spell as an attempt to prove to the peasants in the crowd that Æton had not forsaken him. The peasants in the crowd, however, were unaware of what was happening, and Arino used this uncertainty to his advantage - his herald declared that Jeremi had tried to attack the Pontifex Rex, rightful ruler of the Ætonist church, and that the heretic must be destroyed. Arino, meanwhile, cast a Silence spell on the two attendants standing near him, who they proceeded to move with seeming unearthly speed toward Jeremi. Shao noticed that their movements reminded him of the monasteries where he had been taught the mystic and martial arts in the East.
Sameer quickly and secretly cast a spell to reverse the Silence spell on the two monks, thereby preventing them from stifling Jeremi's spellcasting abilities. He and Shao jumped over the barricades to Jeremi's defense while the peasants began to flee and a general panic ensued. Sameer dispatched the two monks relatively quickly, while Jeremi hung back, lobbing ranged attacked spells on Arino from a distance. Shao, in the meantime, used his mystic abundant step ability once again to appear on the throne behind Arino and engaged him in hand-to-hand combat. Arino was ready and cast a powerful spell that dropped Shao nearly dead immediately. The giant-blooded guard captain, meanwhile, charged to Jeremi but was intercepted by Sameer, who cast Righteous Might to increase his combat capabilities. Jeremi, too, cast a powerful spell that enveloped him in a magic visage of the Most Hallowed Prophet, Dorren, founder of the Ætonist church. He and Arino then took turns calling down flame strikes on each other, and then each healing himself in order to stay in the fight.
All of Arino's guards, including the giant-blooded captain, were eventually defeated, and Arino realized that he was outmatched by Jeremi and his warrior companion. Arino did attempt to persuade Sameer to stand down and turn himself in for judgment, but Sameer politely refused and struck down the leader of Universal Ætonism on earth.
In the confusion and the aftermath, Jeremi summoned as many local priests as he could find and asked them to attempt to Detect Evil on Arino's corpse. Roughly half of the priests who did agreed that Arino did seem to be evil, but the other half claimed that Jeremi must have done manipulated things to prove his innocence. Jeremi's former cohort, Estacio, also showed up with a contingent of warriors, mentioning that he was in Arile and had rushed to the scene of the planned execution to help his former master as soon as he could.
Estacio mentioned briefly that while the Company had been gone in the Lugalate of Nur and in the Free and Independent City of Ryn, the war between Esoría and Courrisseux had escalated, to catastrophic casualties on both sides. The Imperial Theocracy and its dwarven army, the Tharría Imperia, had entered the war on the side of Courrisseux, and the Rijnbösch Republic was preparing its navy to make a coastal strike on the western part of Esoría. Estacio mentioned that the tactics on each side had gotten better and more viscous, and there were rumors about new military leadership on either side of the conflict.
Although Jeremi wanted to immediately to go inside the Basillica to face the Ætonist Council and figure out the aftermath of his actions by being party to the execution of the Pontifex Rex, Sameer and the recently healed Shao advocated for a quick exit in order to find out what had happened to their friend and companion, Sombra.
The three adventurers eventually discovered that Sombra had been captured by perhaps the most famous bounty hunger of the age, Pirro ("Red-Headed"), a half-elf who works for anyone for the right price. The adventurers tracked Pirro down at an inn, where he had holed up to await making a safe exit from the city un-noticed, in order to deliver Sombra to his employer, alive. The Company convinced Pirro that he could still honor his contract by delivering Sombra, but that they would like to accompany him as well to the final meeting place. They, and Sombra, both assumed that the Radillar family were behind Sombra's capture, and it may be time to face the powerful family once and for all. Pirro accepted, seeing no need to get into a fight with three seasoned adventurer. They also got the impression that Pirro really didn't look very favorably upon his employers that had hired him to track Sombra halfway around the world.
NEXT TIME: Sombra and the Company versus the Radillar family... or worse?
So, a few things happened during the last two sessions that I felt kind of bad about. One was that, in the last session this past Sunday, my friend Nick drove all the way from Thousand Oaks to my friend Brian's house in Glendale to play D&D (which is about at least a 45 minute drive), but since his character, Sombra, had been captured in the previous session and was not involved in the combat with Jeremi and Arino, he actually never got to play. He just patiently sat there waiting and the combat (and requisite chit-chat about movies, work, etc.) took way longer than I had anticipated, leaving Nick with nothing to do. About 45 minutes before we were supposed to wrap-up, Nick mentioned that he was going to be leaving soon and I felt awful, as I had completely lost track of time. So, I tried to wrap things up quickly in order to try to involve Nick before we ended.
The second thing I felt bad about was the "end" of Arino, who has been an NPC in my campaign since pretty much the very first session way back in May of 2001. I don't feel bad that he died - I wasn't really attached to him. But, his death just seemed a bit anticlimactic for someone who had lasted so long in the campaign. He just sort of... died. Got struck down by a falchion. No grand speeches, no glorious back-up contingency plans... nothing. I did have him try to talk his way out of the situation and had a momentary thought of letting the group take him captive and turn the tables by having him tried for crimes against Ætonism, but it just didn't seem to be in his character to allow that to happen to himself. Jeremi never confronted Arino directly - they each stay far away from each other and just used ranged attack spells, so there was no big "movie-type scene" where the two combatants come face-to-face and stare each other down, each determined to win the fight.
There are lots of things that need to be worked out next time, not the least of which is - what is the Company planning to do with the evil artifacts that Arino had on the tables behind him? They high-tailed it out of there pretty quickly after Arino's death. Why did Arino have the artifacts, and how did he get them? Was he evil before he got the artifacts, or did they corrupt him? Who is really behind the capture of Sombra, and how did they find him after he's been gone for 10 years or more?
Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: tap water
Listening: "Welcome to Jamrock" by Damien Marley