Alright'y, Week 5 (aka Session 4) is a go
Three points ahead of time:
- the "Slayer of the Pigmen" will now be known as TrashMan; I was kinda ticked off at the advice I was given by him earlier (I felt it was a bit disrespectful) but due to the stress I was in back then, I got very intense in the PM. I apologize for that and welcome him to the group.
- The lack of practice in the last weeks shows a bit. Some of the screenshots are badly timed.
- There are still three Heroes without a name, a Hellion, a Grave Robber and an Occultist. Seeing the Roster is nearly full, I really would like to have people who are interested to take up the mantle of any of those three before asking for one the established classes.
The vote for the quest for this session:
- One vote was cast for Quest B (Scout the Weald)
- Two votes were given to Quest D (Skirmish in the Warrens)
Updated the first post.
While a group of our Heroes was out questing during the last week, a lone traveller dragged himself back to the Hamlet. His story was gruesome as he had been captured, violated and parts of his body been cut off to feed his captors which he identified creatures half-man and half-pig. Before he died he was able to roughly outline a way to the Pigmen's Warrens.
Having heard that story, a group of our Heroes - TrashMan, StarSlayer, deathfun and Scourge of Ages - resolved to find the entrance to these Warrens and to begin challenging the leaders of the vile Pigmen.
With Lepanto, the Heroes only dedicated hero, currently resting for the her last forray in the Weald. Our current party has to rely on Rations as well as the (rather limited) Healing powers of TrashMan and StarSlayer's ability to tend his own wounds.
(Spending so much on rations did seem excessive for a short quest, but without a Vestal to heal the party I was going for "better safe than sorry" - also accounting for the time that had passed since the last session)
Our heroes arrive at the Warrens, the entrance was right were their former prisoner said they could be found. The Warrens are a filthy place, dark and stinking for end to end. It is a wonder that no one had found it by the unmistakable odours alone...
... but it takes more than stench to deter our Heroes and Quest begins in earnest.
The Pigmen are known to be terrible hoarders, which explains their dirty dwellings. But to an adventuring spirit this means one thing above all:
But the prospect of riches which the Pigmen might have accumulated unwillingly also attracts rather shady figures who either trade or steal with the creatures of the Warrens.
While it is hard to decern what intentions brought the party of Brigants before our Heroes, their raised weapons do speak clearly of their opinions on their mission to rebuild the Hamlet and drive away Evil.
After an awful lot of dodging, the first blow that connects is from a Bandit.
Yet just because they drew first blood it does not follow that Bandits are a match for our Heroes:
TrashMan proves that he is more than apt in killing men as well as swine and StarSlayer once more shows that a big sword trumps all finesse. (At this stage I realized that I had missed on equipping StarSlayer's newly learned Hew-skill which would have been very useful)
Among what the Pigmen drag down to their Warrens are many curious items for which the half-creatures have little use.
But just as their indiscriminate looting brings items of great value into the possession of the Pigmen, they too steal things that banal and mundane - to the disappointment of Scourge of the Ages.
The next room is of ancient construction but it is filthy beyond measure.
Clearly someone or something has been here previously but not anymore.
Just because they are uncultivated savages it does not follow that the Pigmen know nothing of defence, obviously our Heroes have been expected and their passage has been blocked with rubble. A crude defence made with crude tools and by crude minds.
(Someone please remind me to buy shovels)
After having cleared the rubble with brute force, our Heroes go on and find what appears to be remnants of Brigand camp but there is no sign of the ruffians but the backpacks they left behind.
And of course there is something to be "returned to the good cause" from these backpacks.
So far there had been plenty of signs that indicated the presence of Pigmen, but none of them had shown. But as our Heroes make it to another room on their route. Before entering they can hear the unmistakable grunting of the half-creatures. Undisciplined as they are, the Pigmen have no sentries and so are unprepared for the sudden attack of our heroes.
Scourge of Ages once more proves her mastery of blinding powders to enhance the Party's advantage over their enemies.
TrashMan shows off his signature move - Holy Lance.
Profiting for TrashMan's strike against the Pigmen Drummer, deathfun is able to kill the creature with Grapeshots.
The Pigmen's filthy living conditions make them all but immune against toxins and disease, still Scourge is able to find a poison that hurts the hideous Pigman.
While the Pigmen are indeed formidable fighters, they cannot last against the blades of our Heroes.
Worse than the profiteers that trade or rob the Pigmen are the Cultists of the Old Gods. These dark fellows may not venerate the strange half-creatures but do use them for their purposes, teaching them the faith in the Old Gods in all it's wicked and bloody fashions. At times they even lead the Pigmen into battle, though to them they are hardly more than fodder and shock troops.
In this fight, the swift knife trimuphs them all. deathfun seems to be there when troats need to be slit.
The spoils of this victory are cultists' camp which is promtly searched:
The reward for their search is a map of this entire area of the Warrens, including routes on which the Pigmen and Cultists patrols, the locations of traps and obstacles.
At the edge of Cultists' camp is weird contraption. Looking like a tanning rack it seems harmless until further inspection which reveals it be a marker of the Old Faith - complete with mind-bending symbols straight for the Abyss.
Daring deathfun takes a look many and let's the madness of this sight into his soul.... which is bound to have consequences.
The Map, taken for the Cultist's camp, shows a "Market" beyond the next door. Curious as to what the marker meant, our Heroes proceed and stumble across another party of Brigants, lead by a massive brute.
Before the Brigant Fussilier can scramble for cover, the deathfun dispatches the gunman with headshot from his flintlock.
But deathfun is not the only one with a pistol in this fight, the brute pulls his gun. His weapon might be crude and not very well maintained but TrashMan's armour is no match for bullet.
The gunshot is nearly deadly, pushing the Crusader to the brink...
... but it is the blessing of the God that keep is injuries from becoming fatal.
At any given time the miraculous rescue from the Death by the end of a deity might be comforting, but right now struggling against the Brigands this straining everyone’s nerves.
deathfun is the first to crack under the pressure and his responses become slightly removed from reality.
Despite the effect this battle has on everyone's psyche, it ends like all others:
First, Scourge's poisons claim a Brigand. Then the Brute is struck down by StarSlayer's sword.
After this fight, the Party tend their wounds and stills their hunger. Depleting half of the provisions in the process.
Backtracking through the Warrens, the Darkness closes in grasps for another soul....
But TrashMan, assured that the God is watching and blessing him on this quest, only becomes more focussed as the Darkness become more oppressive.
(I usually don't mention the disarming or triggering of traps, because the first is rather boring and the latter regularly happens to fast for me to capture. But still this happens:)
After having tracked through a full half of this region of Warrens our Heroes arrive at the first new sight in a while. But it is a sight them might not wish to have seen: the chamber that lies before them is a storehouse for meat which doubles as a crude butcher’s workshop as it seems. While much of the meat can no longer be identified, much of the bones scattered around the room are human....
Once more a groupd of Cultists is encountered...
... and once more the servants of the Old Gods are quickly dispatched.
Another crude barrier blocks progress and once more our Heroes long for a shovel.
Books in the hands of the Pigmen are not a rare sight, but that they are well preserved and the writing is legible is a rare occurrence which makes Scourge of Ages curious.
Too bad that these books were not written with the soft-hearted in mind, their contents are not for those of sensitive tastes and sensible minds.
But when a soul is shaken, it might just reveal it's sturdy construction.
The room ahead appears to have served the Acolytes of the Old Gods as a shrine but no one is to be found there.
Once more that "packrat-culture" of Pigmen gives our Heroes able opportunity to loot:
While their shrine was deserted, the Cultists are still roaming the paths through the Warrens...
... but killing dark Cultists is the bread and butter of the Party.
The final marker on the Cultist's map, looted earlier, reveals the room ahead to be the domain of "Devourers". The meaning of the cipher reveals itself to our Heroes (if they didn't guess already) as they enter: In this room the Pigmen have housed their pets - Carrion Eaters, giant worms which feast on rooting flesh that even the Pigmen will no longer eat.
The worm's bite is dangerous, not only are their mouths filled with toxins, rot and disease, but their teeth easily pierce plate armour.
To StarSlayer the Carrion Eaters apparently hold a deeper horror than to anyone else.
TrashMan lances the Pigman Herder in daring move.
With their master gone the Carrion Eaters are reduced to easy prey for our Heroes.
As the victorious Party goes through the contents of the room, they discover a heathen altar and a strange trinket.
The trinket, unlike many of it's kind that can be found anywhere in the Realms of Man, is useful without restriction.
And as he approaches the Altar, StarSlayer is infused with great power from an unknown source - which at this point is useless.
The only Hero that gained Quirks from this Quest is StarSlayer, who shows to be more resistant to Disease due to his Leprosy and to have some rather strange romantic attractions which even the Brothel in the Hamlet cannot satisfy.
The Hamlet in Week 5
What happened during the quest in Hamlet?
- As result of his Stress-relief, FireSpawn's character contracted an STD (Accuracy, HP and Damage down). Despite this his stress level is down 32 of 100.
- Patriot's stress-level dropped to 38/100 and his affliction is now cured.
- Lorric's stress-level is now 31/100 but he developed the God Fearing
-Qurik, which limits is his future stress-relief options to Prayer and Flagellation.
- Lepanto was able to shake her Paranoia, reducing her stress-level to 34/100. But her chosen method for the last stress-relief (Meditation) obviously will not serve her any longer.
At the Coach Station, two new Heroes await:
Dekker, trained and studied Medicus and Alchemist.
And a strange foreigner who travels with more books than the average libary in the Realms can call its own.
With 5 negative quirks, StarSlayer's character wins the Madness Award for this week...
... as price he is confined to the Sanatorium to cure his Zoophobia.
The Heroes decide to spend their collected Heirlooms to updrage the Tavern and Abbey, ensuring that the costs in either institution of the Hamlet go down.
Meanwhile Scourge of Ages and TrashMan retire to the Abbey to recupperate from the strain of the last quest and to dwell on their recent experiences.
deathfun just goes to buy himself a fleet of drinks at the Tavern.
The recently looted Trinket goes to Lepanto, considering she might get the best use out of Dodge bonus.
Again we have 4 questing opportunities ahead of us:
Despite our depleted gold I would encourage to go Quest Option B. The Ruins are familiar enough to me to make it with as little supplies as possible on a Medium-length quest. That should give us a good return in Gold and Heirlooms as well as bring us closer to a stab at the Necromancer boss.