Empire of the Ghouls Session 24 – Battle at the Standing Stones

In our 24th session, we continued with Chapter 4: Catacombs of the Ghul King as the characters finished their journey on the Shadow Roads and arrived in Siwal in the Southlands. Hopefully, I’ll have a copy of the Southlands Worldbook in time for the next session and can use Tommi Salama’s excellent map of Siwal in the game.

Here’s the write up which contains spoilers for the campaign. 

Read past episodes

25th Snowfall, 92 FY (contd.)

As the characters stand on the banks of the River Lethe, creepy little orphans of the black move towards them from the trees to either side of the road and undead spirits rise from the inky waters.

The Gears activates his clockwork holy symbol and turns the undead, obliterating the spectres with the holy power of Rava. The wraith and the spooky children are not so easily dealt with, however. The wraith drains The Gears of half of his life energy, while the orphans of the black incite Penumbra to violence against her companions and inflict psychic damage on any who attack them. By casting spirit guardians, the kobold cleric is able to keep hurting the nasty fey each round, but the fight ends with all the characters badly wounded and Herr Biegen in pieces.

With their enemies dealt with, the party has a short rest, then discusses how to get across the river. Penumbra sends Kalo ahead to scout, and the little pseudodragon doesn’t spot any danger on the far side. Bubbles boldly strides across the ford and is deafened by the magical waters. Penumbra casts dimension door and brings Selvyn with her. The Gears climbs onto Magnu and Zygmunt rides across with Louthin following on foot. The kobold is high and dry but the other three get wet and are all poisoned. 

Art by Will O’Brien

Later that day, the adventurers reach a circle of seven standing stones with a larger menhir in the middle – the gate to the Southlands. Lurking between the stones are Elthas Morellien, an elven hunter and servant of the Moonlit King, two ghouls wearing the livery of Duke Morreto Lichmark, and three shadow fey.

Zygmunt nearly rides Magnu into a hidden hunter’s trap, but his trusty steed leaps out of the way in time. Bubbles and Louthin are not so lucky – both get caught in painful traps as they advance on their foes. Elthas casts poisoned volley, sending Magnu back to the Infinite Halls and Zygmunt tumbling to the ground in front of the ghouls. Louthin activates his gem of brightness to blind the shadow fey and Penumbra casts sickening radiance, catching all enemies in its area. The shadow fey fall first, then the ghouls. Elthas makes a run for it but is brought down by arrows, guiding boltsfire bolts and eldritch blasts.

After searching their opponents and healing, the party settle down for a long rest. The Gears puts poor old Herr Biegen back together yet again.

26th Snowfall

The next day, Selvyn activates the gate, and the characters step through to arrive inside a ring of seven palm trees in a park in Siwal, City of Gardens, in the Southlands. Selvyn bids them farewell and returns to the shadow road.

It’s a hot evening in Siwal, and the streets are bustling with merchants, camels and carts, urchins and storytellers. The party make their way to the Green Monkey Coffee House and ask the locals about a good place to stay. The nearby Weary Camel Inn is recommended, so the characters head there, rebuffing a swaggering heru (ravenfolk) who offers to act as their guide. 

After settling into their rooms, enjoying a bath or massage, and having something to eat and drink, the characters relax in the courtyard. The innkeeper has sent a young lad called Ali to be their guide. Ali will take them to see the Gravebinders in the Grand Necropolis in the morning and will pick up parasols for the shadow fey and The Gears en route. He tells the party that the undead are not sticking to the laws of the Necropolis and have been seen prowling around in the daytime.

Map by Jon Pintar

Published by richgreen01

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

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