Kyle's Princes of the Apocalypse

Politics is Hard
Fifth Session

Politics is the redistribution of power…

The group, having unearthed an evil Element Earth cult under Red Larch, returns to the surface with a prisoner in tow. They confront Ilmeth, the owner of the Wagonworks and unsatisfied with his answers, take him into custody and close the Wagonworks. Along the way, they meet up with Dirkhan the Bounty Hunter, who’s got some time to kill. Ander B heads off to get Father Elias, then heads for his bed. With a growing train of captives and a new party make-up, the group heads to the Constable and wakes the poor guy up.

Interrogating Ilmeth (Chopster plays bad cop to everyone else’s not-as-bad cop) reveals that nearly every important person in Red Larch is a member of the cult. This crimps the groups original plan of grabbing or killing (Chopster’s version) the cultists – there’s too many, and it’d break the town. A new plan is needed, and it’s decided to just bring in old cult leader in town, Alec Dornan, to get more information.

Continuing the parties use of tricky-shit, a complicated plan is concocted. Ander L will disguise himself as the Wagonworks owner and get Alec’s trust. Meanwhile, Dirkhan and Chopster will watch the back of his place, while Thogal and Father Elias will wait out front for Ander L to give the code “The moon is rising!” to bust in. Thing go somewhat to plan, except for the part where Ander L gives the wrong response to a challenge-response test, and Alec makes a break out the back-door – and right into the pommel of Chopster’s short sword.

Questioning Alec back in the Constable’s increasingly crowded butcher shop does lead to the revelation that the original cult was more or less a casual weekend get-together thing, until this guy Larek and his armed buddies showed up and turned it into something serious and sinister. Larek apparently came from some Monastery in the Sumber Hills, and is part of something bigger.

The party decides to get some sleep, and then to deal with things in the morning. And by deal with things, the party means gathering all the important people of the town up to reveal the existence of the cult in their midst. Promises are extracted that the cultists will not return to their evil ways (“Or else!”), and that their activities will not be so secretive. As part of this, the group leads the townsfolk into the secret underground temple, where embarrassingly, they discover a dehydrated and hungry little boy pinned to a punishment stone in the one room the group neglected to find.


Thar’s Cults in them thar hills!

The boy rescued and the town set right, the group decides to head into the Sumber Hills to find this Monastery. Gearing up for a few days in the hills, in the morning the group set off. Thogal, now accompanied by a blood hawk named Rex, uses his familiarity with mountain life to set a brisk pace and with the help of the hawk, the group finds a tower on a hill. With a burning wicker man, lots of tents, more tents, and even more tents. This is clearly not the monastery they’re looking for – but a note is made to possibly check this place out later.

The next day, heading more south and towards the river, the group stumbles onto Rivergarde Keep. Which, it turns out, is more of a castle than a keep. And looks fairly well defended, plus isn’t the Monastery. They continue searching, again making a note of the Keep’s location, since Father Elias wants to come back soon.

Finally, the group finds the Monastery, not actually that far from Red Larch. While the rest of the group observes from cover and at a safe distance, Dirkhan makes a recon. He claims to be a weary traveller, and is able to get some water from the stone-masked monk who answers the knock on the door. He also learns this is the Monastery of Stone, that there’s three entrances, and the place seems under-defended.

At this point, there’s some discussion of whether or not to do a hard recon (kick in the doors and start killing anyone who resists) or a soft recon (sneak in and look around), but nothing is decided before we break for the night.

Every town has its secrets
Fourth Session

The group heads back to Red Larch, the Necromancer of Lance Rock in tow. We turn him over to the Constable, who admits that the old guy had been run out of town a few weeks before for trying to recruit followers. He’s locked up, and we head over to the Inn to collect our 50gp (split 5 ways) for solving the mystery of the Rock.

Father Elias wanders off to resume preaching, while the rest of the group opts to head to the Tavern. Thorgal wants to follow up on rumors of weirdness at the Wagonworks, since he’s concerned about the Earth cultist at the quarry and now an Evil Eye cultist at Lance Rock.

The Best Key is Gold

While Ander L. hits the stage for a nightly performance, the rest of the group cases the tavern looking for Wagonworks employees. We find one in a corner, a halfling nursing a lonely ale. Thorgal brings the ale company, and Chopster takes the lead in interrogating the suddenly nervous worker. While initially reluctant to talk, some gold coins loosen his tongue and he reveals to us that his boss and a handful of strangers dress in robes and disappear in the Wagonworks on some nights.

This is easily a mystery worth exploring, so a crafty plan is constructed.

The Plan

Ander B and Ander L, along with Chopster, will dress in a dark robes and infiltrate the Wagonworks. Thogal will wait outside the Wagonworks, figuring that his 8’ size makes it unlikely he will escape notice, and come to the rescue should anything go wrong.

As it is, nothing does go wrong. Instead, Chopsters keep eyes notice a worn trail leading to the salvage yard behind the shop, which ends up leading to a trapdoor. Thogal joins the group in the salvage yard, and down into the revealed tunnel the party descends.

This Ain’t Your Father’s Sewer

The tunnel leads to an unexpected dwarven complex, with long corridors and dwarven statues. As the party explores, they find a room with some corpses and giant rats – the rats are swiftly dispatched. Another room contains an anti-gravity field with a hovering black rock.

But its the room with a life-like dwarven statue, 5 stone-masked cultists and a pile of loot that provides the most interest. Naturally, Chopster leads the charge, telling the cultists they’ll die for what they did to his family. The cultists put up a good fight, including knocking Chopster down to death checks. A well-timed Healing Word from Ander L, plus a sweet critical from the newly revived Chopster, turns the tide, though.

In the loot, a magical dagger is found and quickly claimed by Chopster, who discovers it glows when its name Reszur is spoken aloud. The rest of the treasure is stored away for later.

Climactic Fight … After This Break

Leaving the statue room, the group finds an elderly guard who is swiftly taken captive and questioned. He spills the dirt (pun intended) on the Black Earth Cult. Apparently, the black stone speaks to them, telling them of upcoming disasters, weather changes and events. Naturally, the running joke the party latches onto is “Did they tell you about this? *party proceeds to unload a can of whupass”.

Chopster, being a fine judge of character, establishes that the old guy is lying when he says the cult doesn’t perform human sacrifices, but that he’s telling the truth about there being just the Head Priest of the cult in the room he’s guarding.

While Thogal wants to take on the priest immediately, Ander L and Chopster advise for a rest. The captive old guard is stored in the anti-gravity field, and the party takes a moment to plan and rest. The plan is to burst into the room and unleash whoop-ass on the priest inside.

Best Laid Plans

Of course, the plan doesn’t quite work that way. The room turns out to be huge and full of menhirs, which makes finding the priest initially difficult. One he turns up, he is swiftly dealt with. The group is helped by the underwhelming effects of the evil priests Shatter spell, and the DM forgetting to deploy a Shield spell against Ander L’s Wand of Magic Missiles.

However, victory is still claimed by the heroes. But a bigger question is now raised – just what the heck are all these cultists doing around here? And how many people in Red Larch are members?

Lance Rock 2: Electric Boogaloo
Third Session

Our Jurisdiction Ends Here

After dealing with the improv zombies, the group decides to pull out of the caves and hustle to catch up to Chopster and the muttering Father Elias. Veladrin is eager to write a paper on his experiences, while Ander Brightwood complains of a headache, so both of them split off once reaching Red Larch.

Father Elias goes in search of the Constable, to ask about missing people in the area. Meanwhile, the rest of the group goes to the Inn to inform Kaylessa that Lance Rock is only plagued by ZOMBIES! She’s shocked, and encourages the group to deal with the problem. Thogal asks if there’s any other adventuring types in town, and she suggests checking the Tavern.

Unsurprisingly, the Tavern is home to a new adventuring type – DirKkhan, a drunk genesai bounty hunter. Father Elias has already started an unofficial drinking contest with the bounty hunter, who is persuaded to join the group in returning to the zombie cave by the suggestion that it might help him find the flame-haired murderer he’s hunting.

Rock You Like a Hurricane

When Dirkkhan decides to go to bed and indicates he’s going to camp near the edge of town closes to the Quarry, the rest of the group discusses the rumors of strange masked people watching the quarry at night. It’s decided to camp out by the quarry that night, keeping Dirkkhan company along with investigating the reports. While everyone else settles in for the night, Chopster and Thogal decide to do a patrol.

Chopster’s keen eyes spot someone on a low hill overlooking the quarry – a cloaked figure keeping to the shadows (but not doing a good job of it). A quick plan is hatched – Chopster will sneak around behind the figure, and Thogal will confront him or her. The goal is to take a prisoner to question. Against all odds, the plan works!

(Editor Aside: our successful ‘tricky shit’ ratio is pretty high at this point)

The figure bolts, running straight into Chopster whom he attacks with a scimitar. Unfortunately, the man is wearing a stone-mask, which triggers Chopster’s memories of the death of his family. With a loud “DIE!”, the elf sinks his shortsword into the chest of the mysterious figure, ending the man’s life.

A quick search of the body reveals it has sand-covered skin, a cheap scimitar and a stone mask. Thogal suspects the man might have been a elemental cultist, but isn’t sure. He carries the body back to camp, and it’s agreed to take it to the Constable in the morning after a good nights rest.

In the morning, the body is brought to the Constable. Chopster takes some pride in announcing he killed the man (“He attacked me. What was I supposed to do, let him kill me?! chuckle”) and the Constable hand-waves away the possibility of charges, while suggesting the man looked familiar and could have had a room at the boarding house. symbol.pngIt turns out he did, and a search of his room turns up papers with notes about the comings, goings and progress of the Quarry. More importantly, a strange emblem is turned up, possibly confirm the cultist theory. That investigate ended, the group gathers up Father Elias from breakfast and heads back down the Long Road to the Rock.

Deja Vu

At the entrance to the cave, the group runs into two zombies and makes fairly short work of them. This time out, Father Elias doesn’t Bless the dead, and when Chopster gets smashed, actually steps up with a Cure Wounds spell. The presence of new undead at the entrance suggests the “Lord of Lance Rock” has been busy, so the group plays it extra-careful going back into the cave.

For the most part, covering the parts of the cave already explored is peaceful. A room with two chests is discovered, but the chests prove empty. A pair of peepholes are discovered looking in on the chest, but no secret doors. (It will later be clear that the peepholes are part of a room overlooking the chests with a lever. Pulling the lever would release a rock fall trap on anyone by the chests.)

Down a different winding passage is a huge cavern, nearly 60’x 180’. This place has a zombie in robes, who gets dropped fairly quickly. The crawling hands that swarm out the baskets he was standing by prove a creepier fight, but are also swiftly dealt with, thanks to a Bane from Ander Lackman and some nasty tomahawking by Dirkkhan. Clearly, the group is on the right track.

At the farthest end of the cavern, guarding an exit, is four skeletons. Father Elias’ belaying pin is handy here, as is another Bane spell, and the skeletons are unable to stop the group from proceeding. Going through the exit leads the group to room of tapestries and a glowing orb on a stand. cropped-Header-EE-Seagreen.jpg The orb contains a strange symbol that Thogal recognizes as another, different Elemental cult sign. What is going on?

You’re Under Arrest

Movement from behind a tapestry alerts the group to trouble, and when they check it out they find a very small, old human hiding. “My life’s work! The eye watches all!” he says. Clearly, the “Lord of Lance Rock” is, like all men behind curtains, less than he appears. As the group prepares to take him into custody and shackle him with Dirkkhann’s manacles, the old guy whips out a wand.

“Drop it! If you hurt my friends I’ll kill you!” shouts Chopster, just seconds before stabbing the old man. With that, the fight is on … for about two or three seconds, as axe blows rain down on the old guy. He drops the wand, tosses his hands up, and surrenders.

Ander Lackman does a quick questioning and finds out where the old man keeps his treasure, which the group confiscates as the proceeds of necromancy (civil forfeiture is a harsh mistress) along with the wand of magic missiles. The orb, now no longer glowing, is tipped into a tapestry, and the group departs the caves to return to Red Larch, prisoner in tow.

A Walk in the Park
Second Session

To Catch a Predator?

Having returned to town, the group decides to follow up on the lead provided by Kaylessa and go to talk to the Tarnlar boys. Along the way, the meet up with Chopster, a vengeance-seeking elf rogue. Some group discussion establishes that perhaps having 6 heavily armed strangers questioning some young boys might be the wrong message to send to the town, so instead it is decided to send Ander Lackman, teenage bard, to handle the discussion.

Which does not at all end up seeming creepy and weird. Nope. Not at all. After Ander L is chased off by the boy’s father, it’s established that the kids had been out by Lance Rock when they had encountered a crotchety old dwarf who told them to stay away from his rock, unless they wanted to catch the disfiguring plague-disease that afflicted him. The group is naturally suspicious of such a warning, and decide in the morning to head out to the Rock to investigate.

It’s Just a Rock

In the morning, the group gathers and over Father Elias’ protests, heads out down the Long Road to find the boulder that is Lance Rock. The walk is uneventful, and the group snacks on the various berries and such found by Thogal, Ander Brightwood, and Ander L along the way. After a few hours walk, its time to cut off road and into the light woods to find the rock.

Which, it turns out, is a very big rock with no crotchety dwarves hanging around it. A check for tracks turns up a lot of foot traffic, with most headed to the Long Road or to a trail that heads to Red Larch. But fewer tracks head towards a ravine, which seems to be the kind of place a dwarf might set up camp. A few steps into the ravine, and there is a sign warning all to turn back lest they be infected with the Plague. The group decides this is a clue.

A Cave with a View

At the end of the ravine is a cave entrance, with another warning sign (or, being that we are heroes, an “invitation” sign). Father Elias deploys a Detect Poison & Disease spell, and sees no signs of contagion. The cave entrance opens into a fair sized chamber, with a corpse. Veladrin and Ander B opt to check out the body, while the rest of the group looks around. Father Elias, hoping to help the body pass on, casts a Bless on it. Imagine the surprise when the body turns out to be a zombie that attacks!

A rather lengthy fight ensues, not helped by the fact that the zombie enjoys the benefits of Father Elias’ Bless for far too long. When it is finally cut up, the group waits while Father Elias casts another Detect Poison & Disease via ritual, and then moves deeper into the cave.

Chopster, in the lead, narrowly avoids getting brained by a box of rocks when he passes into the next chamber. The box is soon followed by a pair of zombies, who this time are a bit easier to deal with thanks to not being Blessed. The new chamber has two other exits. “My father always said ’Right is always right”’," says Chopster as he chooses to lead the group through the right-hand passage.

Something Weird is Going On

At the end of the long fissure, Chopster discovers a strange sight. Three zombies (not in itself that strange by this point): one dressed in a bear costume, one dressed a noble lady, and one dressed in jester’s garb. Chopster returns to the group and passes this information on. Which leads to a hasty retreat and the decision to maybe go left.

The left passage is shorter and leads to a small room filled with bodies in various stages of decay. Examination leads to the conclusion that the bodies are likely local farmers or peasants. In the course of the examination, three of the bodies rise up as skeletons and another fight begins. In this one, Chopster gets sorely wounded by a rusty sword, but the skeletons are brought down by a combination of fire bolts, sword & axe blows, and the harsh insults of Ander L.

This leads Father Elias to question what the group is doing in the cave, to point out that no one has reported anyone missing, and to suggest that the group should just return to Red Larch and let the authorities deal with the problem. Arguments pointing out the Constable would likely just tell us to investigate anyway, and suggesting that as heroic adventurer-types we might want to figure out the mystery have little success.

Yes, but…

Father Elias and Chopster opt to leave the group and head back to town. Chopster, in a not very successful whisper, lets the rest of the group know he’s just going to keep an eye on Father Elias and that it has nothing do with him being nearly killed. But he was nearly killed, you know, so maybe the cave’s not that safe.

The rest of the group decides to go deal with the undead acting troupe. In a rush, they burst into the scene and break up the improv weirdness with a flurry of fire and steel. In the end, though, it is the repeated “Yo’ mama” insults thrown about by Ander L that brings down the zombies.

The ‘stage’ chamber has two exits, but deciding that perhaps some fresh air and sunshine is in order after nearly an hour in the cave, the group decides now is a good time to head out and regroup. Clearly something weird is going on in the cave, but what?

A Gathering of Misfits
First Session


We had a bit of a late start, but that just gave people time to finalize their characters and transcribe them to character sheets. We established that the PCs had all been in Red Larch for around a week, so knew a bit of the town. Thogal, who claims to have seen everyone in a prophetic dream, became kind of the hub for contact for Ander Lackman, Veladrin Vasco, Father Elias and Ander Brightwood.

The Constable’s Charge

Thogal was approached by the Constable Harburk Tuthmarillar and asked to range to the south and deal with the bandits preying on trade along the Cairn Road. Thogal then recruited his new acquaintances to assist. Father Elias made a point of negotiating with the Constable for a reward, and got agreement that the group could keep a portion of whatever was recovered from the bandits.

With the plan established to head out the next morning, the group spent the evening in preparations. Thogal talked with Kaylessa the Innkeeper about her theory that all the recent bad stuff was connected, and learned that she was offering 50 gp to any group that would scout Lance Rock, just off the Long Road. The rest of the group seemed to spend their time making fun of Ander the Bard’s musical stylings.

On the Road Again … for the First Time

In the morning, the group headed south along the Cairn Road. Father Elias took charge of navigating, while Thogal and Veladrin kept an eye out for trouble. The two Anders spent their time scavenging food and water along the road.

A cunning plan was developed at Veladrin’s suggestion (he’d written a paper on such plans, perhaps you’ve read it?). Ander the Bard would pretend to be a lone, wealthy traveller on the road to lure out the bandits, while the rest of the group would hang back hiding to ambush the bandits.

Against Expectations the Plan Works!

Amazingly, despite Ander the Bard overplaying his role and the Ander the Fighter crashing through the brush in bright chain mail, the plan works! Four bandits step out and demand Ander turn over his purse and goods. A volley of arrows, bolts, fire, harpoons, and some harsh words about mothers and personal appearance quickly drop two of the bandits and put the other two to flight.

They are unable to run fast enough to escape Thorgal’s longbow, and are also dropped and taken as prisoners. After a break for lunch, and to give the bandits time to wake up, the criminals are interrogated. It’s now that we learn that half the group is looking for very specific people, and that the bandits really don’t know who they are.

The group also learns that the bandits have a camp in a cave not far from the road, and that there’s no more bandits. The group decides to recover the loot from the cave.

Bears aren’t Loot, Right?

At the camp, the group finds an angry bear in a flimsy cage on a wagon. By way of explanation, the bandits say “We ate the pig, and then we caught the bear”, which isn’t very helpful. Ander the Bard suggests feeding the bear and letting it out of the cage. With a couple minor tweaks, that’s what the group does (tweak one – while the bear is eating, Ander opens the cage door, tweak two – the party runs away before the bear gets out of the cage).

Another cunning plan works perfectly, and the bear ambles off into the wilderness after finishing the food. In the cave is coin and goods, which are loaded into the wagon along with the prisoners. The whole lot is carted (hah hah) back to town.


The Constable is a bit surprised to have prisoners, but does admit we did “deal with” the bandits. The coin and a portion of the goods values is turned over as a rewards, and the group agrees to meet up again the next morning to talk to the Tarnlar kids (who might have some knowledge of the Rock), and then explore Lance Rock. 50 gp, even split 5 ways, is nothing to sneeze at.

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