After nearly four years of monthly(ish) gaming, starting in person, then moving online during Covid, before going back to in person again, we finished our Empire of the Ghouls campaign last Saturday.
Here is the final write up from what has been one of our most memorable campaigns! This session write up contains spoilers for the adventure.
New to Empire of the Ghouls? Start here.
28th Deep Winter, 92 FY (contd.)
After applying ghoulbane oil to their weapons and doing some healing, the characters explore the side chambers leading off the Fane of Hunger. Penumbra sends Kalo down some worn stairs into a network of tunnels. Realizing this isn’t where they need to go, the party continue south.
The Gears opens the doors into the Hall of Gluttony where two iron ghouls are standing guard. Zygmunt, Louthin, and Bubbles engage the undead in melee while Penumbra and The Gears attack with spells from the doorway. The ghouls are joined by three black puddings which splash the characters with acid when struck, so Penumbra pushes them back with her Repelling Blast, and Louthin and Bubbles shoot arrows into them. Unfortunately, Louthin gets too close to a pseudopod and hit with a critical for 57 hp damage!
Once the puddings have been killed, Penumbra uses her Ghostly Gaze to peer through the walls of the side corridor, and the door into the Inner Sanctum. Bubbles drinks a potion of gaseous form and floats under the door to find out more. Drifting onto the balcony, she spots a group of ghouls standing beneath a giant statue of Vardesain, including Duke Morreto Lichmark and the high priest Radomir Marrowblight. As she takes in the scene, the Fifth Gong sounds, and Archduke Avgost is lowered into a pit of hungry worms!
Zygmunt bursts through the door and casts fireball, then Bubbles drops out of gaseous form and follows up with spike growth. “What took you so long?Get me out of here!” cries Avgost from his cage.
Bubbles’s spell doesn’t last long as Radomir casts harm on the shadow fey and she loses concentration. Worse still, Duke Morreto closes with her, and drops her with his bite and rapier attacks.
Penumbra uses her Repelling Blast to shove the ghoul priest Tozar Hungerbrood away from the winch, then Louthin misty steps across the room and jams the mechanism to stop Avgost’s cage falling any further. The Gears banishes Annika Graveskin, the Duke’s consort, and Vicmorn reaches Bubbles with misty step and pours a potion of healing down his sister’s throat.
Zygmunt kills one of Duke Morreto’s bodyguards, and Bubbles misty steps to attack Radomir with her rapier, but she’s only on 7 hp and soon goes down again. Louthin kills Tozar, The Gears turns the second bodyguard, and Vicmorn attempts to rescue Avgost by pulling the cage towards him with his crossbow.
Penumbra hears the voice of Sister Adelind in her head, urging her to use the Holy Robes to unleash a fiery explosion. Realizing this will almost certainly kill half the party as well as the ghouls, she turns invisible instead and moves closer to Radomir, slaying the high priest with her Agonizing Blast. Zygmunt heals Bubbles, and Vicmorn leaps onto the cage, and manages to pick the lock, freeing Avgost who leaps to safety.
By now, only Duke Morreto is left standing. As Zygmunt takes down the ghoul noble with his staff, a trumpet sounds, heralding the arrival of the Dread and Eternal Emperor Nicoforus and his soldiers.
The Emperor of the Ghouls thanks the characters for their assistance in rooting out the traitors and apologizes for the injuries they have suffered, then advises them to leave the Underworld as fast as they can. The party don’t need to be told twice, activating the portal stone they were given in the Southlands to return to Zobeck with Avgost and Vicmorn in tow.
The adventurers are hailed as heroes by Queen Urzula and Jagoda Mazurek at the Temple of the Shield Maiden in Jozht on their return. The Court-in-Exile and the dwarves of the Wolfmark go on to form an alliance to drive the ghouls and vampires out of Krakovar. Meanwhile, in the Underworld, Emperor Nicoforus is too busy hunting down traitors for a while to concern himself with plans for further conquests on the surface world.
Zygmunt joins the efforts to liberate his homeland of Krakova from vampire occupation and becomes a war hero.
Louthin uses his newfound fame to improve his status in Zobeck and to impress his family, acquiring an entourage of minions and hangers-on to show just how important he is.
The Gears claims to possess the same fiery revolutionary fervour and to fight for kobold rights, but he has become part of the establishment now, and enjoys a cossetted existence as part of the Clockwork Goddess’s clergy.
Penumbra continues to develop her magical powers as a warlock and now has nothing to fear from the Cloven Nine. Several of them leave the criminal gang to work for her.
Bubbles gives birth to her baby, then opens a high class brothel with her brother Vicmorn in Zobeck that specializes in catering to vampires. The punters go in, but they don’t come back out…
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Main image by Roland Deaconu