Empire of the Ghouls Session 22 – An Urgent Summons

In our 22nd session, I ran a combat encounter and some downtime in Wolfheim before kicking off Chapter 4: Catacombs of the Ghul King. The characters returned to see old friends and patrons and journeyed on the Shadow Roads. Here’s the write up which contains spoilers for the campaign.

Read past episodes

5th Snowfall, 92 FY

As the characters disembark from the Osprey and head into Wolfheim in search of an inn, heavy snow begins to fall. Hearing cries of anguish up ahead, the adventurers rush into the blizzard towards the sounds. A group of undead – coldlight walkers and winterghasts – are marauding through the streets, killing the dwarven inhabitants. The characters charge in and slay the foul creatures. Bubbles and Zygmunt are both paralysed by the icy claws of the winterghasts during the fight; Penumbra uses the Holy Robes of Sister Adelind three times to blast the undead.

6th Snowfall

Bubbles wakes up shivering; her wounds from the previous day have not healed and her fingernails are turning blue. Zygmunt casts lesser restoration on her and she starts to feel better.

6th – 12th Snowfall

Bubbles makes contact with a pair of ravenfolk thieves called Featherfingers and Nimbletalons and accepts their challenge to steal a silver chain from a merchant.

Louthin spends some time with Mistwalker, a ravenfolk druid, and learns more about the ley lines and shadow roads. He is given the name of a guide to the shadow roads – a shadow fey named Selvyn.

Zygmunt commissions a suit of plate armour and spends time at the temple of Volund. On his last night in Wolfheim he has troubling dreams of bad things happening across the Nieder Straits.

The Gears spends the week making modifications to Herr Biegen. Meanwhile, Penumbra enjoys a few days of rest and relaxation.

19th Snowfall

The characters arrive in Jozht. At the Temple of the Shield Maiden, Jagoda Mazurek shares the worrying news that Archduke Avgost has been kidnapped by the ghouls. Queen Urzula of Krakova has sent a letter asking the party to make haste to Kariessen, along with a platinum signet ring to pay for the use of a teleportation circle belonging to the Stonemason’s Guild.

Queen Urzula of Krakova
Queen Urzula of Krakova

At the Hall of Masons, Guildmistress Beatta Stelen is persuaded of the importance of the party’s mission by Zygmunt and allows them to use the teleportation circle without handing over the ring. Arriving in a granite mine an hour from Kariessen, they make their way to the castle where they meet with Queen Urzula, Zosia Walerska and Alzano Kavanto.

Queen Urzula tells the party that Avgost is being taken to Vandekhul where he will likely be tortured until he reveals the Court-in-Exile’s plans to retake Krakovar. Bubbles shares her thoughts on ghoul torture and says it doesn’t look good for Avgost. The queen suggests the characters travel to the Black Fortress and ask the advice of the undead-fighting dwarves on how best to infiltrate the Ghoul Imperium to stage a rescue. If they use the shadow roads, they can reach the Black Fortress in a single day. She gives them a feather token (bird) to help them on their mission.

Alzano tells the party that Selvyn, the shadow roads guide, can sometimes be found in the woods outside the town. Sure enough, the shadow fey appears between a pair of trees after a short wait in the forest and agrees to guide them. Selvyn has a black star on her shield – she tells Penumbra this is the Ebon Star, a symbol of Sarastra, the Queen of Night and Magic.

20th Snowfall

Entering the shadow road through the green wooden door in Kariessen Castle’s outer bailey, the adventurers set off down the twilit path. Midway through the trip, Bubbles spots a group of shadow fey lurking in the undergrowth; their attention seems to be focused further down the road. Suddenly, they launch a volley of arrows beyond the adventurers at a group of forest marauders – large, tattooed giants armed with rocks and spears. The giants assume the party are responsible and charge forwards.

Penumbra casts sickening radiance as the others move into melee. Selvyn hangs back and fires her bow and the other shadow fey support with additional arrow fire. Then, Penumbra casts hypnotic pattern which incapacitates four of the giants. Unfortunately, the shadow fey don’t realise (or don’t care!) and continue to fire at the hypnotised marauders, breaking the effect. Zygmunt is unhorsed from Magnu and hit with a critical while lying on the ground, and has to heal himself with lay on hands. Once the characters have slain the giants, the smirking shadow fey vanish into the trees. The party have a short rest, then press on.

Selvyn stays in the foothills outside while the characters go into the Black Fortress. General Jaro Whitebeard is extremely concerned to hear the party’s dire news about Avgost. Luckily, the near-deaf sage Trehild Shardspike is at the fortress and meets with the characters to share her knowledge.

Trehild reveals that Duke Morreto Lichmark is the ruler of the Pure City of Vandekhul which lies on the shores of the Sulphur Sea. Bubbles recalls her drug-induced vision of her brother Vicmorn being taken in shackles to an underground city with a yellow river flowing through it. Perhaps this is the same place? The sage advises seeking out the gravebinders of Siwal to learn how to move unharmed among the undead. According to a gravebinder she met called Hidyati, the blessing of Anu-Akma offers protection. A trip to the Southlands via the shadow roads is the party’s next step!

Map by The Modern Lich @ModernLich

Published by richgreen01

D&D gamer | Freelance game designer | Writer & publisher – Parsantium: City at the Crossroads

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