This session, Redtower’s long-awaited Lantern Festival didn’t go to plan.
You can read earlier posts here. This post contains spoilers for Scarlet Citadel.
Back in Redtower after their latest expedition to the Scarlet Citadel, the adventurers have a few days of downtime before the Lantern Festival. They share out the magic items and other loot found in the dungeon, then head to the Treasure Chest to spend some of their hard-earned cash. Each character buys an item for themselves, and they also exchange the communal flute for a pair of talking tablets, planning to leave one at the newly restored Temple of Khors when they go back to the Citadel.
Sister Yemeth and Father Egyed arrive from Peltzenheim, bringing 15 glass baubles enchanted with continual flame, while Skekni Mudshout at the Block and Tackle has ordered in lanterns for the parade. Meanwhile, Tunde spends three days fasting and casting a ritual to summon her new familiar – a wicked skull.
On the day of the Lantern Festival, Clairmont and Mayor Broz lead the torchlit parade through Redtower; the kindly cleric has given out continual flame baubles to the village’s poorest children. Everything goes well at first, but the celebration is interrupted by a mob of wicked frost fey – beli and fraughashar – led by a wilderness crone named Faraga. It seems as the inhabitants of Redtower have forgotten to pay their customary tribute to the fey lord known as the Holly King, in all of the excitement of the Lantern Festival, and he is not pleased.
As the fey attack the terrified townsfolk, but Tricksy casts fog cloud allowing a large group of villagers to escape into the nearby houses. Faraga exhales a cone of pine needles which knocks out the mayor, Constable Roch, the merchant Jordyn Gentleblood, and Ambrozy and Ariadna from The Cage. She follows up with blows from her staff, and Clairmont falls unconscious.
Tunde attacks with eldritch blasts from a rooftop as her familiar distracts the fey with its insults, Tricksy uses his boots of striding and springing to leap into the air to attack a flying beli, and Maya launches a guiding bolt, killing Faraga. Also battling the fey are Barrett and Konrad the former war mage.
Eventually the last few fey are driven away and Tunde is able to channel divinity to heal the unconscious villagers. As the characters go around helping the injured, a mysterious grey-haired figure appears among the crowds.
“So you’re the adventurers that have causing me so much trouble, killing the Gaoler, Cagoth-Ze, and dear Danashka,,” he says. “You’re very persistent, aren’t you? Most groups would have given up by now. But not you. Let’s see if Imortra can deal with you next time….”
Before the characters have a chance to react, he vanishes. Have they just met Gellert the Gruesome?
Spotting Tymon, Gellert’s (self-proclaimed) “top man”, in the crowd, they ask him who Imortra is, learning that Imortra the Debased is a diabolist living on Level 4 of the Scarlet Citadel, also known as the Bat Caverns, because of the presence of cultists of Camazotz the Bat God.
Once order has been restored and everyone who has been injured has been healed, the parade resumes. Clairmont casts daylight to light up the Temple of Khors. Tunde, wearing his familiar as an ivory phallus, berates the hapless Mayor Broz for neglecting to ensure the Holly King received his tribute.
On the following morning, the characters visit Zula to ask how Redtower can make amends to the Holly King. The witch explains that if one of the adventurers is willing to swear fealty to the Holly King, that might appease him. Tricksy puts on Faraga’s holly badge, thinks about it for a bit, but stops short of pledging himself to the fey lord.
That evening, a wintergrim named Zinsalor visits the adventurers at The Cage. He tells them that a magical staff belonging to the Holly King was stolen from him long ago and lies somewhere in the Scarlet Citadel. If the characters recover it for him, he might forgive the people of Redtower for their disrespect….
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Main image by David Auden Nash