Blood And Darkness

GM Notes: Port Steel

(Coming Soon)

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GM notes; Catching up Part 2
After meeting with the Arch Druid you continued back to Haven. On the way you met Toriel Kargenok, a wild elf from the bear clan to the far north. He explained that he overheard your conversation with the Arch Druid and wished to follow you in hopes of redeeming himself and finding a cure for himself. From there you went back to Haven to rest and inform Forgrim of what you found at the Arch Druid’s home.

Leaving Haven, you then made your way back to the camp. At the camp several things happened.
First, Korel and Youfgeni spoke with the rest of their clan and found that Firdeth had left, with the suspicion that he had gone to join the vampires. Korel’s mother gave him the charge of finding Firdeth and if he has joined the vampires, to kill him.

Second, Toriel met with the vampire children and attempted to teach them how to control their hunger.

Tanwen, that night received a message from Terwyn informing her that he was alright and would attempt to meet with her when it was safe to do so.

Soon after the party left the camp heading north for the ancestral hunting grounds of the Gysse-Mitore clan, where they suspected Yuseela had taken residence.

Along the way you met up with Terwyn again, he came with a Paladin named Victor and explained that when he had been unable to find any leads in his search for Tanwen he found Victor and his paladins, the Sons of Valeria and admired their courage and purpose. He joined with them and started down the path of becoming a paladin himself.

After the reunion, Terwyn continued on with the group to find the vampire clan.
Once there you set the place on fire while dragging Yuseela and Firdeth out. From them you learned that Firdeth had been promised a place among them for helping them to get at the rest of the clan. There were references to someone named Vincent.

You got the ashes of Yuseela and returned to the camp. ON the way you ran into a few vampires waiting for you underwater who nearly Drowned Korel and killed Quintessa. With a little bit of luck you managed to kill them and get away.

You made it back to the camp which then moved to Haven. Bringing the children to Forgrim you concocted the potions and performed the ritual bringing them all back to the land of the living.

This done you made for the valley behind Snowspire mountain. Once there you met up with Victor and his paladins again. When night came you witnessed a ritual the vampires were performing which appeared to cast darkness over the entire sky, blotting out the sun. During the ritual a being was summoned that appeared to be the avatar of Azmoriel. They mentioned something about finding the shards of a blade to bring their Lord back to his former power.

Leaving the area, Victor took you back to the stronghold of the Sons of Valeria, which as it turns out is in the mountains to the southeast of Snowspire Mountain.

There he explained to you his knowledge of the origins of the first vampires and his ideas as to what they must be looking for. He mentioned that when Azmoriel had walked the land of Evahr before, when he was defeated and banished, his sword had been shattered. He believes they are attempting to reforge it and use its power to bring Azmoriel back.

Victor suggested that to defeat a God, you may need the help of a God and thus told you of a plan that he had been concocting for several years and which now seems prudent to undertake.
He suggested finding the ancient temple of the Sons of Valeria. The order, back in the olden days had constructed a communication device for communing directly with their goddess.

His suggested course of action is to use magic to disguise yourselves as vampires, and thus get into Port Steel. Find the crypt below the old temple of Valeria there and resurrect one of the ancient order to lead them to the location of the ancient temple.

In the meantime you have summoned the Arch Druid to Victor’s stronghold and the Arch Druid explained that he has been unable to contact Firalla directly but will attempt to aid your endeavors by searching for the shards of Azmoriel’s blade, hopefully to head them off before the vampires can get to them.

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GM Notes; Catching Up

(So it’s been a while now since our last session. I’ve been forgetting to do these for a while. So I’m going to try and sum up all the ones I missed here at once.)

After saving Forgrim from his nightmare and explaining to him your goal, he provided you with some supplies for the trip and bid you farewell.
You then spent the next few days trekking along the base of the mountains until you reached the path that led to the summit of Snowspire mountain. It took most of the day to make the climb, but you managed to get to the top with little harm aside from one incident where you encountered a feral vampire-like creature living in a cave on the mountainside. You managed to keep it at bay for the most part.

Once at the summit you found a long path lined by massive gnarled oak trees set into the stone of the mountain. The Arch-druid’s sanctuary itself appeared to be a tower made out of a giant hollowed out redwood tree at the end of it. There was a little difficulty on the approach as the arch druid’s defense systems activated and the roots of the trees burst up from the rock to ensnare the legs of those trying to approach. However through a little bit of agility and some brute strength on the part of Khul, you managed to get to the end of it, and stop the tree traps.

Once there you found that the door appeared to be made of vines and bramble and Tessa noticed what looked like a pit trap in front of the door. For reasons unknown, she decided it would be a good idea to jump onto the pit trap, and thus fell 20 feet down through thorn and bramble to crash into a pile of hard thorny vines at the bottom. Eventually you managed to pull her out and get the door open.

That done, you found that the Arch Druid was noticeably missing and his place was torn asunder. Obviously someone had been here before. Rushing up the stairs to the top level where Youfgeni saw a magically inscribed message on the wall from the Arch Druid. It was obviously left behind for any other druids who may have come to find it and contained a riddle hinting at where to find his most valuable work. After some time you managed to figure out the riddle and found the entrance to a downward spiraling staircase leading into the mountain. At the bottom of the staircase you found what could only be described as a research lab. In it were shelves of strange liquids and herbs and other odd alchemical ingredients. Also there were a couple of bodies strapped to the tables. Further inspection indicated that these were human bodies, though dead. After some searching you found the Arch-Druid’s research notes where he indicates that he had discovered a way to reverse the Vampirism curse, though it was tricky. It requires 3 components, a cure disease potion, a substance of the Arch Druid’s creation called liquid sunlight, and the ashes of the vampire who turned the person you’re trying to cure. Furthermore this merely removes the curse. The curse is what was animating the person’s dead body, so while it turns them back into what they were before, they are still dead and require a resurrection spell in order to be brought back to the living.

While you were perusing the Arch-druid’s notes, you were attacked by a group of vampires who initially thanked you for showing them where the Arch Druid was keeping this stuff. You managed to defeat them and then promptly left, taking as much of the Arch Druid’s things as you could… strapped to a table which you pulled along with rope like a sled.

From there you made your way down the mountain with only one minor incident on the way where a frozen corpse attacked you while you were split up. On your way down you noticed you were being followed by an owl. The next day as you were walking through the woods, that same owl found you and landed in front of you. The owl transformed into an elf, and you realized it was the Arch Druid. He told you that he had seen you leaving his tower and followed you down here to discern your nature. As for the state of the tower he explained that he had been found and attacked and was forced to flee. He barely had enough time to leave the message on the top floor. He explained to you a bit more of his findings in depth, taught Youfgeni how to make liquid sunlight, and provided you with an amulet that could be used to contact him, though he warned not to use it unless absolutely necessary. Finally, before he departed he mentioned to you a gathering of vampires behind Snowspire mountain that he has been tracking for the past few days. Vampires from all directions appeared to be making some kind of pilgrimage there. Most of them wearing the same style of clothing with similar symbol emblazoned on them. He asked that, once you are done with your mission to save the children, that you check it out if you can.

(More to come)

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GM Notes Third and Fourth Session

After leaving the haunted house, the party continued their path along the mountains for 2 more days. These again passed uneventfully, until late afternoon on the third day when Tessa heard the sound of moaning and cries of pain coming from the woods to their south. The darted in that direction and disappeared into the shadows while the rest of the party wondered where she went. Korel followed a ways behind. Tessa found a man, bound and gagged, with his leg stuck in a bear trap. Tessa was not strong enough to move the bear trap from his leg, so she pulled the gag off him. The man then promptly yelled, “it’s a trap” just as seven mean in black leather armor with black cloaks and hoods jumped down from the trees around her, surrounding her on all sides with bows drawn on her. They tried to convince her to come quietly and lay her weapon down, even bribing her with the possibility of being turned instead of enslavement. A fight then ensued with Tessa frantically hacking away at her attackers as Korel saw what was going on from outside the clearing and started loosing arrows into the attackers. The remainder of the party, hearing the commotion later followed and did manage to subdue or kill the attackers.
The party at first captured the leader of the band, but Tessa decided to kill him and take a tooth from him rather than bothering with trying to interrogate him. On his body they found a note indicating that this was a human blood pack hunting down humans in the area because someone named Vincent (presumably a vampire in charge somewhere) had noticed a large amount of number of captures and “successful hunts” in the area and believed there might be a camp or settlement in the area.
The party, fearing that the vampires were closing in on Haven, quickened their pace, taking the man who was in the bear trap with them back to Haven.

In Haven they discovered that the mayor of the town, a dwarf named Forgrim, was incapacitated and the whole town was on high alert already. The party went to Forgrim’s house, spoke to his Adviser, Merivan, and discovered that Forgrim was trapped in some magical nightmare he could not awaken from.
The party agreed to partake in a ritual that would allow them to enter Forgrim’s dream and bring him out of the magical sleep. They entered their own individual nightmares, Tessa being quite at home in her own personal nightmare, and eventually managed to find each other at the base of a mountain which appeared to be part of Forgrim’s dream. The party delved into the tunnels and found a large cavern where dwarves were battling ravenous vampire spawn. They found Forgrim buried under piles of rock in a cave in near the battle. When they tried to free him the party was attacked by the image of a humanoid figure clad all in shimmering tattered black robes that flowed like liquid darkness, wielding a serrated longsword, with only darkness where a face would be, broken by two small points of light for eyes. The party managed to defeat him, just barely, as they pulled Forgrim from the rubble and awoke from the dream.
After a few minutes to rest, Forgrim explained to the party that he had tried to perform a ritual to contact his god in attempt to divine the source or origins of the vampirism plague. He had found a ritual that would allow him to contact Gallanock directly. As he worked the spell though something evil detected what he was doing somehow, as though it was intercepting any communication with Gallanock, and then used Forgrim’s own spell against him, putting him into a nightmare he couldn’t escape from. Worse yet, whatever did it, he felt was using that connection to close in on the location of Haven.

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GM Notes Second Session

Making your way North following the Chillmoon river the party set out on the journey towards Snowspire mountain with the goal of finding the Arch Druid, and hopefully finding out that he has devised or is close to having found a cure. The first couple days were more or less uneventful. The cold got to Tanwen and Tessa a little bit, but nothing so severe as to impede the journey. There was some small degree of dissent in the ranks as Korel insisted on pushing forward and resting as little as possible, while Tessa attempted to run on a few hours of sleep. Eventually the party was forced to slow to allow their party members to rest.

On the third night a wolf approached the encampment. Korel attempted to feed it and speak with it. Ultimately he ended up staring the wolf down and it backed off for the night.

The next day as you entered the woods where Lake Frostvein meets the Broken Spine Mountains, you found a small cabin in a clearing. You were initially content to leave it be, but then the voice of a young girl cried out from within for help. The party rushed inside at which point they discovered that their initial apprehensions may have been justified. The same voice that beckoned them in seemed to be happy to keep them trapped inside as the doors shut behind them and would not budge.

In the kitchen Tanwen was entranced by a vision wherein she saw the kitchen as it was when it was in use and a young girl beckoning her to a tea party at the table. She was about to drink from the cup when Korel saw her about to drink some blackish liquid and knocked it out of her hands.

In the living room, Youfgeni attempted to break the windows out of the house only to see the glass fly back and reform itself. He then saw the semi-transluscent image of a young girl sitting at the table in the center of the room, sitting across from a large, hefty looking man. The girl kicked her legs and insisted she was thirsty. The image of the man seemed ill at ease from this, attempted to tell her they’d already gotten her a drink. The girl shook her head and grinned coldly saying she wanted something else, something “good” to drink.
The image of the man disappeared and the girl remained, sitting in front of a chess board. She beckoned for Youfgeni to sit and play with her. Unable to resist, Youfgeni sat and found himself shrunk to the size of a chess piece and replaced a pawn on the board. At this time Tessa also was in the room and saw Youfgeni appearing comatose in his seat. She attempted to wake him up and then tried to stab and destroy the chess board. The furniture around them then lifted and flew at her. A bookshelf and a desk flew across the room to hit her. Eventually Youfgeni managed to win the chess game, albeit having to sacrifice his own piece to do so, which caused a bit of a jarring feeling when coming back to consciousness.

In the sitting room Tanwen found a music box that began piping out a haunting melody. She stared in fascination and then saw a beautiful woman in the chair who stood up and began dancing with her. Youfgeni and Korel at this point had come to the room and seen Tanwen dancing with a corpse. They knocked it away from her. At this point they also noticed a family portrait in the room where the faces on the picture had changed from when they first entered. The expressions of the little boy and the man and woman had turned to expressions of fear and disgust, while the little girl’s face had turned to a sadistic grin. In this room the party also found a book entitled The Witch Hunter’s Manifesto, which they found out was essentially a guidebook to killing undead.

Upstairs the party found three bedrooms. Upon entering one of the bedrooms they found the image of a young boy who saw them and seemed excited at first. He begged for help, he began to tell the party that they needed help and that ‘she’ was going to be mad if she found he was trying to help them. At this point the boy writhed in pain and his image dissipated.
In another bedroom, you find what looks like a young girl’s room. A bed lined with pink frills and lace, muted by age. On the far wall there was a mirror. Those looking into it saw the image of a young girl admiring her reflection in the mirror. This was then replaced by the same young girl frantically shaking the mirror in frustration, this time her reflection did not show in the mirror. In this room the party also found a diary where they began to piece together that the girl had been turned into a vampire and was keeping her family hostage. The last entry read “Mommy and daddy have stopped bringing me food. I think they are upset with what happened to Gregor. I shall have to remind them not to displease me again.”

Lastly there was the master bedroom. In this room. the party found a woman’s body hanging by a noose from the ceiling of the closet. Tessa found a journal and discovered that the girl had indeed turned to a vampire and her parents tried to satiate her at first.
Entry: “We tried to… manage Lia’s condition at first, but is has grown out of control. She demands more and more. I fear that we are slowly losing our humanity as we give in to her desires.”
And in the end, Entry 2: "This is it, the final straw. This Lia is not the daughter I once knew. We refused to bring her the “drink” she asked for and she grew hysterical, she killed her brother and drained him dry. We have to put a stop to this now. I am convinced that that thing in the other room is no longer my daughter. We shall have to kill her."
Upon reading the journal, Tessa began to have a vision. In this vision she saw a child, her face covered in blood, then flashes of a man and woman arguing, then that image fades and lastly you see the same woman weeping as she holds the girl’s body in her hands. The girl’s severed head sits on the floor. Nearby the man you saw before lies, bleeding profusely from multiple wounds.
Finally Tessa was overcome with the notion that Tanwen was her daughter who must be destroyed. Under this spell Tessa attacked Tanwen and nearly killed her before Korel knocked her out.
When this was all over, the ghost of the same woman appeared crying “The basement, her body is in the basement. You must draw her out and get rid of her… then we can all be” The woman then cried in pain as her spirit dispersed and the eerie girlish voice said again "That’s not very nice mother, turning my playmates against me.

That being done the party went to the basement, here they found a dungeon of sorts. The walls of the basement were lined with metal poles set into the stone with shackled hanging from them and long dessicated corpses lying across the wall. They gound the grave and dug it up, finding a skeleton missing its head. It was at this point that a battle ensued as the ghost of the girl appeared and tried to fend the party off. The party set the bones on fire, Khul attacked the bones, trying to smash them. The ghost animated the chains and used them to attack. Eventually the party managed to disperse the ghost, but it was a temporary solution. While the party tried to figure out what to do, Tessa ran upstairs, remembering the vision from upstairs with the girl’s decapitated body. They found the skull in the master bedroom closet and destroyed it.
That being done the girl’s ghost disappeared. The ghosts of the father, the son, and the mother, appeared to thank the party before dispersing as well. Badly injured, but more or less victorious over the horrors of the house, the party then set out to travel an hour or so from the house before making camp.

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First Session GMs Notes
GMs Notes

It is several days past the third new moon of Autumn. Exact date is unknown as calendars are scarce. As we join our party, they convened at a meeting of representatives for the Refugee camp’s various groups and families. The first thing that was discussed was the need to return to Haven temporarily for supplies. The camp is running low on medicine and other perishables. Ultimately this idea was put on hold for the time being as Blood Packs (groups of mercenary vampires who hunt for humans to sell to blood farms) have been spotted in the area. Not wanting to risk the lives of the camp, and more importantly not wanting to accidentally give away the location of Haven, Jace Ironclaw opted against setting out for Haven.

The topic was then brought up by Galusen that there had been rumors that the Arch Druid Malusedde may be working on or has found a cure for vampirism. Galusen mentioned that the Arch Druid mentioned nothing specific about a cure, but believes that Malusedde may have been intentionally vague for fear that the communication might be intercepted. The proposal was put forth to have a group venture out to the summit of Snowspire Mountain to meet the Arch Druid. This proposal was also ultimately tabled by Jace as he did not want to risk the few warriors the camp has on rumors and possibilities.

Lastly, Jace brought up the topic of a club that the children of the camp had formed. A club of mostly orphans calling themselves the Night Hawks. There are reports of them sneaking out of camp at night. He insisted that no one, children especially, are to be outside of camp at night.

After a day’s rest,Sylonna Eilar asked the party to look more deeply into the club the children had concocted. She feared that the children would not heed Jace’s warning and most don’t have parents to watch out for them. So that night the party, with the exception of Youfgeni, watched in hiding to track down where the children go at night. Youfgeni’s wolf Voja venture out in his stead. They saw several children, 15 in total (with little Terwyn being one of them) sneaking out of camp, following Sasha Winnithelle, a human orphan girl who appeared to be leading the group.

After following for a few minutes the children stopped and began playing hide and seek. This continued on for about an hour when they convened in the clearing, lit a fire, joined hands, and began singing a song of praise to Firalla ( The Pantheon ). After a few minutes of this a woman in black robes approached the clearing from the other side. Korel recognized the woman as a former Gysse Mitore clan member, Yuleesa Veress, the mother of one of the children that was there Coravelia Veress. The woman dragged a bound and sedated faun along with her and while chanting a prayer to Firalla, slit the faun’s throat and cracked it’s neck open while the children lapped up the blood. At this point, Korel jumped out of hiding, aiming his bow at the woman. In response she gathered up the children around her and she and the children turned into a mist and sank into the ground.

At this point Voja ran back to get Youfgeni, while the rest of the party searched for where the mist had gone. After a little searching they found blood on the roots of a nearby tree and a shallow handprint at the base of the tree. Placing a hand on the handprint caused all between the roots to be sucked down into the earth. After a moment of near suffocation, they then fell into a pitch black underground tunnel, soon after followed by Youfgeni. The tunnel came to a bend where a magical alarm sounded and as the tunnel opened up into a larger cavern Youfgeni’s light spell was extinguished. As Tanwen came into the cavern with her lamp, she looked up and noticed the dark shapes hanging from the ceiling. At this point the children, along with Yuleesa dropped from the ceiling and attacked. Early on, one of the children knocked the lantern out of Tanwen’s hand, shattering it on the ground and extinguishing the only light source. In the darkness the party fended off the children fairly well, with only one death when Quintessa beheaded one of her attackers. Korel meanwhile managed to take down Yuleesa with his bow at which point the children all stopped attacking and appeared dazed as though awaking from a nightmare.

Korel and Quintessa had a bit of a disagreement over whether it was necessary to kill the Gysse Mitore child. Korel expressed his dissatisfaction by tackling Quintessa to the ground and punching her a couple times before he was dragged off by Youfgeni. Jace then arrived, having been alerted by Astrid, Quintessa’s friend and fellow assassin and lead everyone back to camp. In camp a healer examined the children and determined that they had been under some sort of enchantment, and they had all drank of vampire blood. As a result they would all die and rise as vampires within a week or so. At this time Jace asked the party to undertake the mission to go to Snowspire Mountain and find the Arch Druid to determine if he has actually found a cure. Jace said the children would be kept in isolation and then kept sedated and restrained until the party returns.

It is now the next morning and the party is ready to head out. A seven to eight day journey lies ahead. Jace recommended stopping by Haven along the way if possible.

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