Session #84: I promise this isn't a Castlevania reference

GM : Ben

Max Player Count :

Level Range : 2-3

Client : Terrisean Royal Intelligence Service

Current Players :

Location : Terrisea

Date : 16 Nov 2019 05:00

Start Time : 2 PM, preferably

Job Link : [[[]]]

Session Description :

Dusty, our usual contact with Royal Intelligence, will be by to provide more details, but I'll share what I have. The first snowfall of the year has come to the Roetwald, and it's a bad one. You'll be posing as caravan guards delivering supplies to a remote manor, occupied by people that Royal Intelligence has an interest in. As far as I know, there's nothing particular you'll be looking for. Just poke around, see what you can turn up. I get the sense that you might turn up something dangerous, hence why we're being hired.

- Lao

Session Summary :

The Squad: Ezren, Susa, Ignace, Rex, and Jackson brought a new fella, a kitsune mountebank named Nagasawa Haru. Tricky illusionist type, but also throws foxfire destruction blasts.

The Mission: Less of a particular goal, more of an opportunity to fill in a gap in Royal Intelligence’s knowledge. Dusty the orcish cowboy came by to brief them. A real nasty snowstorm has hit the northern Roetwald, and people are snowed in, laying low, waiting for it to thaw. But, there’s this one rich family that reports they’re gonna run out of food if this goes on too long. They’re a bit remote, and there’s been a history of disappearances in the area, so the shipment needs an escort. We’re gonna make sure that escort is you guys, and while you’re there, go ahead and take the opportunity to poke around, see what you can turn up. Dusty doesn’t expect anything in particular; like he said, it’s an opportunity.

The family in question is the Schaefers, and they’re in the business of paper, and anything paper adjacent. They make paper, they make ink, they bind books, they enchant paper to hold spells… if you’re a magical researcher on this side of the Valis mountains, you probably use their stuff.

They get to the manor without issue, and begin investigations. Ezren is pretending to just be a dog (Haru’s dog, specifically), by the way. Through conversations they learn that this area was under the control of Arls Geno and Sibo, one of whom is dead, the other of whom is displaced. The disappearances aren’t frequent, every few months or so, but they’ve been going on for about a decade now. It’s never a large group, just a traveler or two, usually drifters or adventurers. They ask: was anything else going on about the time they started? And one of the servants answered “wasn’t that about the time that last blizzard y’all keep talking about happened?” The family matriarch gives a vague non-answer. Clue number 1.

During supper, Haru notices that a pair of servants are taking a large portion of food upstairs, and points it out to Ezren, who follows behind them to check it out. They enter a locked door in the area of the master bedrooms, and he finds that they are feeding a tiefling child. The kid is about 6 years old, has antlers, and looks gaunt and malnourished, but they are feeding him way more than a kid his size should be able to eat. It’s a normal looking (rich) kid’s bedroom, it seems he is part of the family, they’re just hiding him from their guests. Not unusual behavior for a Terrisean family with a tiefling child. Ezren goes and quickly checks the kid out before the servants kick him out. The kid pets him, and his hands are very cold. Clue number 2.

They convene in one of their guest rooms that night to plot their next move. They decide to break into this one room they haven’t been able to get in and see what’s inside. Haru casts invisibility on Rex, Rex picks the lock (and sets off a silent alarm, and gets a magical tracer planted on him). Inside is the family archive. Many books, most of a financial nature, but also the family’s journal. Seems to be a tradition for the head of household to record events for posterity. Rex finds the entries about ten years ago. The current matriarch writes about being snowed in, then about running low on food, and the record becomes suspiciously vague. “One of the servants has died” but she doesn’t elaborate on what happened. And then more die. Until the only servant that survived that winter was the butler, who is still around. Rex finds similarly vague references to “hunts”, and finds the record of the tiefling’s birth. “It seems our hunts have taken their toll on him.” This is enough to confirm their suspicions: these people are wendigos. They cut out the particularly damning pages, and act like nothing happened in the morning.

So lemme show some of my thoughts on the GM side before I continue. The Schaefers knew what was up, that they'd been found out. The uncle (head of their facilities and also security) had, during their investigations, offered to spar with a couple of them. "See how people who fight for coin do it." (They cheat is how they do it.) He was sizing them up. I dunno exactly what he is yet but he ain't just a sword fighter (hinted at by the surprising number of arcane books in the library), and all he was doing was swords. I told Rex, who was giving it everything he had, that it felt like a pretty even match. Didn't wanna give the impression that this guy was super dangerous, which he is. So they talked about what to do, and he figured Maura, their teenage daughter, could handle them by herself. This was a miscalculation because it was based on the assumption that Ezren was, at worse, a conjured companion, not a whole ass wizard in his own right. So they sent Maura to make them disappear on the way home. She confronted them on a snowy bridge, had a brief monologue about threatening her family, claimed that they only hunted people who wouldn’t be missed, and transformed into a horrible deer monster! Roll initiative!

It was a tough fight. Between the snow restricting their movement (and the Wendigo not caring about it in the slightest), the winds eliminating the possibility of projectile attacks, the wendigo’s cold attacks occasionally staggering people, and the Wendigo Psychosis causing people to think that their allies were looking mighty tasty right about now, it was a challenge to make attacks against the monster. Susa almost died, shoutout to 8 AC, but she also did a shit ton of damage with Storm Lord, buuuuuuut she also gave it a lot of health back due to its life-stealing bite attack. Haru snagged the finishing blow with a well-placed foxfire blast, and they were able to stabilize Maura and bring her back to Dusty alive. He was positively DELIGHTED with that particular decision, and expressed that delight in money.

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