Jan 28, 2016

Game Session: Pilgrimage (Part 1)

Some time after the events of the previous game session, Duncan is given a task by Lady Miranda, his superior in the Church of Kiri-Jolith. It seems a group of lay followers of the church have recently gone missing during a pilgrimage to the shrine of Arden Brightheart. The party is several days overdue, and Lady Miranda would like Duncan and his friends to quietly check out the shrine and its caretaker, Jarson Tender, and find what happened to the missing people.

At this point, the party consists of:
  • Duncan - Cleric of Kiri-Jolith
  • Ataraxia - Monk
  • Rainos - Apprentice mage
Arden Brightheart was a legendary Knight of Solamnia around the time of Huma Dragonbane. His shrine sits on the sight of his greatest battle, destroying the necro-lich Dread Watcher. The site also serves as his tomb, as the brave knight did not survive the battle.

To aid the party, she acquired the services of Rainos, a local apprentice mage. Rainos' mentor, Santos, is a powerful and well respected member of the Saltmarsh community.

After meeting up with Rainos, the party sets out in the direction of the shrine. It takes them about a day and a half to make the journey. Along the way, the party is forced to camp out under the stars and keep watch, but being so close to the city, nothing bothers their campsite.

By the middle of the second day, they arrive at the shrine. From the outside, it appears to be nothing more than a cave opening in the side of a hill. The real majesty of the shrine was inside the cave. The finely carved entrance stood nearly 20 feet wide. The walls curved to a rounded ceiling nearly 15ft overhead and on each side of the hallway, alcoves held ornate statues depicting Sir Arden Brightheart, along with placards detailing his many heroic achievements, including:
  • Defeating the One Thousand Fists goblin tribe
  • Slaying Sunfire, an orange dragon
  • Discovering the Helm of the Squire
  • Defeating the Plague Lord of Morgion
The last statue in the hall, seemed to be in much poorer condition than the other statues. When Ataraxia went to look closer, he set off a trap that caused the huge statue to fall on him. The monk dodged most of the attack, taking only minimal damage.

While the party was helping Ataraxia back to his feet, several stalactites that hung from the unfinished portion of the hallway appeared to break and fall to the ground. Before hitting the floor, the "stalactites" starting flying through the air toward the party. Only then did they realize that they were being attacked by magical beasts known as darkmantles.

After dispatching the creatures, the party continued down the finished hallway. They came across two doors, one on each side of the hallway. From the door on the right, they could hear monstrous noises coming from within, but the door seemed sturdy and the lock was strong, so they decided to leave whatever was inside the room there.

Across the hall, they found the door to this room unlocked. As they listened at the door, only small clanking and chipping noises could be heard. They opened the door slightly to look inside. Within, the party could see about half a dozen people all in tattered travelers clothes. They were all tending to a huge mural, depicting Arden Brightheart's conflict with Dread Watcher, that filled up three sides of the room. The people made no notice of the party when they entered.

The people within this room all seemed to be under some magical compulsion to tend to the mural here. But it was only after careful examination that the party realized these people were not caring for the mural, but instead making changes, big and small, to the narrative it presented. In one case, the mural was altered to show Dread Watcher killing Arden Brightheart. On another part of the mural, it was modified to show Dread Watcher leading an army of under toward a town. This town, newly added to the mural, had a clock tower at the center -- matching exactly the clock tower in Saltmarsh!

After some discussion, the party decided to leave these people in this room. It was the party's hope that they would find the source of this compulsion further within the desecrated shrine, along with the remainder of the missing followers of Kiri-Jolith.