Here’s what happened in our 27th Scarlet Citadel session, which took place in the ruins of Erdovar in the White Forest.
We had four players this week – all three clerics as well as Farthrum the gearforged fighter. In this session, the characters came up against the Night Cauldron of Chernobog, one of the evil cults featured in Demon Cults & Secret Societies.
I kicked off the session with a battle with a snow hag (one of the monsters I designed for Creature Codex), a wight, and some shadow goblins in the characters’ snowy camp not far from Erdovar. I used a cool battle map created by Dice Grimorium featuring a frozen lake so it was fun when Tunde cracked the ice with her eldritch blast.
During the encounter, the snow hag uses her sleet storm to complicate the battlefield but Clairmont is able to simplify things (as he is wont to do) with fireball. Afterwards, the characters capture the hag and tie her up, taking her granny wax – a magic grease that can be rubbed on a broom to make it fly. Tunde interrogates her, mistaking the crone for an ally of Baba Yaga and the vila she is looking for. When the hag claims allegiance to Chernobog, Tunde kills her.
The next morning the adventurers arrive in the ruins of Erdovar where they are confronted by a group of alseids (deer-like centaurs) and wolves. Explaining they are here to see the vila, the characters are escorted to a ruined winery where Dutberta is holding court.
When Dutberta quizzes the party on their intentions, Tunde explains they seek her advice on how to close the portal to the Dry Lands in the Scarlet Citadel which is continually calling forth undead. The vila offers to perform a reading for them if they get rid of the Night Cauldron cultists who have seized the Temple of Yarila and Porevit and are looting the ruins. Dutberta is worried the cult will disturb the terrible dragon Bulukanna who has been asleep beneath the city for several years.
The characters agree to the quest and head towards the temple. Tunde sends her bat familiar to fly over the darkness-shrouded building but it is quickly shot dead with an arrow. Unsure what to do, the group opt for a frontal assault, attacking the wights at the entrance. Clairmont casts daylight to counterattack the darkness, and both he and Maya have spirit guardians active as well as spiritual weapons.
The fight soon spills over into the central part of the temple where a huge cauldron stands, spewing forth dark shadows. Farthrum, Maya and Tunde all go unconscious (not at the same time) and Clairmont drops to 1 hp, as the group battle Verrazi Pinth, gnome leader of the Night Cauldron, his dark folk sidekick Quexxl, and several dark servants.
Then, reinforcements appear and Farthrum is poisoned by the gnome’s blade. Things are looking grim but the gearforged is able to recover enough to land critical hits on both Quexxl and Verrazi, killing them. With the cult leaders dead, the cauldron’s magic is broken and the survivors – several shadow goblins – run away, allowing the characters to gather up the loot.
Tunde has now reached 6th level. Next session, we will find out what the vila has to say about the portal….
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Main image by David Auden Nash