Saturday, December 31, 2016

All Quiet on the Hommlet Front



Hommlet is a sleepy little village. Aside from the orcs burning down the 'bad part of town' 6 months ago, the elf cultists burning it down again yesterday and another elf 'oracle' prognosticating words of doom to all who would listen, it is quite a lovely place to pass your days.

Four brave and perhaps highly expendable adventurers have been summoned to the sinister home of the town cat lady.

Our characters:


Burbank, the Hobbit Halfling Paladin and local Folk Hero
Princess (S)Elfie, the Elf Bard and Princess of Hommlet
Airaborne the Half-Elven Ranger and former urchin
Axel, the Goblin Rogue and wanted criminal

The cat lady has lived in Hommlet as long as anyone can remember, and has demonstrated preternatural insight into threats to the village as well innovative veterinary techniques.

Stepping bravely into the home, the party is greeted by a ravishing young woman sitting in a rocking chair petting a cat... Princess and Airaborne both note that some of the cat's flesh appears to be dropping off as she pets it, mostly due to it being a very undead cat.

This does not sit well with Airaborne, whom is a sworn enemy of all things undead. Burbank is only aware of the fact that they have entered a building.

Axel notes the presence of what appears to be two body bags behind the cat lady's chair...

After some brief discussion on whether or not to attack the cat lady/necromancer outright, the cat lady is allowed to deliver here required plot exposition.

"Hommlet is in grave danger. An Elvish cult is working to fulfill an ancient prophecy to bring about the end of the world as the folks of Hommlet know it."

"The two former brave adventurers behind me (referring to the contents of the body bags that Axel is quietly pilfering) were sent to retrieve the head of the Great Druid of the Great Forest, whom they had accidentally and improbably killed earlier."

"I was going to use my... magical training... to get information from him regarding this threat, but alas, I need the rest of his body for the ritual to work."

Axel quickly pockets the 20 gold he found on the bodies, but leaves the severed head of the Great Druid alone due to its questionable re-sale value in the already over-saturated severed heads market.

After some quick discussion, the Burbank the Paladin finds that the idea of a bit of grave/tomb robbery is in line with his noble purpose and after a brief stop at Garth's Equipment shop for provisions, they set out on the Eastern Road to ElfHolme to find answers about this cult. 

They were on a cart pulled by a horse with no name along with Lankershim, Burbank's new undead cat friend. 

As the sun sets on the following day, shadows stir along the road and two crossbow bolts miss the party as they are beset by what appear to be four of the reputed cultists.

Airaborne finds himself adorned with crossbow bolts, but thanks to a botched casting of Faerie Fire by one of the cultists that only illuminated his colleagues the party emerged victorious as the last cultist ran north into the woods screaming "They are here!".

Lankershim whispers to Burbank that they should consider fleeing south and abandoning the cart. Answering cries from other 'cultists' to the north quickly convince the party to flee into the woods.

The forst gradually thins out as they head further south until they emerge into a clearing bounded on the far side by a ~20 foot wide stream that appears to run in parallel to the Eastern Road. Across this stream is a blasted hellscape, the ruins of a once great city can be seen in the distances, as can dozens of what appear to be slaves shackled together and being herded into the city by strangley attired warriors that seem strangely familiar to the party.

Everyone finds their sight to be familiar, but only Burbank recalls anything specific.

He was fighting these warriors, over and over again. His side was losing and everyone was fleeing towards a faint hope of safety.

The more he tried to remember, the more it slipped out of reach in the same way that dreams fade after waking.

Lankershim licked Burbank's cheek, but his little undead tongue fell out and he looked at Airaborne and laughed an evil little undead kitty laugh.

An uneventful night followed as the party camped to recover spells and rest, with Lankershim taking the watch.

Without further misadventure, the party makes its way to the beautiful city of Rivendell ElfHolme. Princess (S)Elfie presented herself as royalty to the guard, and after a stirring performance of patriotic Elf songs on her bagpipes, was granted an audience with the Empress after being informed that the Great Druid would be laid to rest that night in the palace.

On their way to the palace, they are flanked on both sides by columns of elves attired in the same attire as the 'cultists' that they encountered enroute to the city, after making it to the palace, the escorting columns of what they learn are the 'Imperial Druidic Order' depart.

A snobby encounter between the Princess and the Empress follows wherein veiled insults are traded and bagpipes are played.

Finally, it is revealed that the whole region has been under a 'protective enchantment' for centuries. All of the people of ElfHolme, Hommlet and the other surrounding areas were in fact refugees from a great war that was lost over 300 years ago.

Part of the enchantment included selective amnesia, to keep the residents docile, and prevent any dangerous mucking about that might endanger their safety or reveal their presence to 'The Enemy(TM)'. 

The Empress also revealed that the reason they were attacked on the road was that there is an agent of the Enemy that made it into the sanctuary with the survivors that they have been unable to find. They believe that this agent was behind the murder of the Great Druid, and she fears that an attempt will be made to steal his body, which could be used in a ritual to reveal how to tear down the protective enchantments keeping them safe.

Oops says the party, shortly before they notice that Lankershim is gone.

The doors to the throne room open, and a breathless guard enters to tell all assembled that a some undead feline beast, similar in form to a were-beast tore through the guards in the funeral chamber, and escaped into the forest with the body of the Great Druid.