Empire of the Ghouls Session 23 – Shadow Road to the Southlands

In our 23rd session, we continued with Chapter 4: Catacombs of the Ghul King as the characters travelled on the Shadow Roads to Siwal in the Southlands. Hopefully next session, we will be able to play face to face!

Here’s the write up which contains spoilers for the campaign. The everpup is from Total Party Kill Bestiary Vol. 2 from 2CGaming.

Read past episodes

20th Snowfall, 92 FY (contd.)

That night in the Black Fortress, The Gears unveils his latest improvements to Herr Biegen. As well as a shooting stick appendage that allows his clockwork companion to act as a handy seat, The Gears has developed a special device to randomly determine who gets which magic item from the party treasure. The Gears activates the device, and the highly sought-after cloak of protection goes to…. Herr Biegen.

21st Snowfall

Meeting up with Selvyn, their shadow fey guide, the characters enter the shadow roads and set off for Siwal in the Southlands. A few hours later they run into a wolf cub under attack from a pair of deathwisps. Rushing in to defend the poor little creature, Louthin is drained of life energy. The Gears turns undead, driving one deathwisp away; the other is destroyed by the adventurers.

Zygmunt lays hands on the wolf cub to heal him and gives him some food. Meanwhile, The Gears casts greater restoration on Louthin and cures his wounds. Zygmunt tries to shoo the wolf cub away without success but is forced to give up. Now nicknamed Snoopy, the animal trots alongside Magnu as the party continues on its way.  

Malia Bitmere

Later that day, the characters are stopped on the road “in the name of the Moonlit King” by a group of shadow fey, led by Malia Bitmere. The enchantress quizzes the adventurers about their mission and asks each of the group for a kiss; Zygmunt and Herr Biegen both acquiesce. 

 That night at their campsite, the characters briefly see a raven fly into a tree and then vanish. A few hours later, while Penumbra and Louthin are on watch when they are suddenly hit by a wave of exhaustion. Looking around, they can’t see anything. When it happens a second time, they wake up the others and try to work out what is causing the effect. Bubbles uses her primeval awareness to learn there are fey and undead in the area; Zygmunt uses divine sense to determine that there is something undead in Selvyn’s tent! He wakes up Selvyn to demand an explanation for what is happening. The guide denies any wrongdoing and suggests Snoopy might be the culprit. Selvyn remembers hearing stories of fey animals called everpups who befriend travellers and drain their vitality while they sleep.

Bubbles rushes to Zygmunt’s tent where Snoopy has been curled up asleep and attacks the cub. Snoopy sneezes a cloud of dust over Penumbra, The Gears and Zygmunt, sending the tiefling to sleep and inflicting psychic damage on the other two as they fight to stay awake. With everyone inside Zygmunt’s aura, no one suffers further levels of exhaustion, and the paladin delivers the killing blow to his furry friend with a tear in his eye.

After the battle is over, Selvyn explains that the Order of the Ebon Star are darakhul who want to overthrow Emperor Nicoforus for forming an alliance with the vampires. Although she is a ghoul, she promises she can be relied on to guide them safely to Siwal. The characters agree to give her the benefit of the doubt.

22nd Snowfall

The characters spot the raven again during an otherwise uneventful day’s travel. That night, they are attacked by overshadows and shadows while they are camped. Bubbles, Louthin and Zygmunt are all weakened by the undead but have recovered by the morning.

23rd Snowfall

The raven is spotted again by Penumbra. Reacting quickly, she fires off an eldritch blast, obliterating the creature. The feathers it has left behind are tainted by shadow.

24th Snowfall

Nearing the end of the day, the party comes across a collection of colourful covered wagons belonging to a shadow fey dance troupe. They invite the characters to join them in their encampment, offering them delicious food and drink, and to see them perform a ballet, The Fall of the Moonlit King. Penumbra decides to stay outside the camp with Selvyn, but the others enjoy the feast (after Zygmunt has cast purify food and drink).

Sugenza, one of the dancers, asks the party where they are headed – Zygmunt tells her they are going to Siwal in the Southlands to seek information from the Gravebinders before heading to the Underworld to fight ghouls. The ballet features talented dancers and magical illusions, and tells the story of the Moonlit King, who was banished by the Queen of Night and Magic to the Tower of the Moon where he remains to this day, desperate to escape.

25th Snowfall

When the characters wake up in the morning, the shadow fey, their goblins, goats and wagons are all gone – only a single unopened bottle of fine brandy remains.

Later, the characters reach an inky black river – the road continues on the other side of the ford. Selvyn warns them that this is the River Lethe and falling in would have dire consequences. As the adventurers go closer to have a look, undead emerge from the trees and from the dark waters…

Map by Jason R

Published by richgreen01

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

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