You’ve been tracing through the woods for the better part of a day when you reach a ruined structure half buried and covered in roots. Benavin signals you to stop.
She says “Standard Practice is to shoot anyone we don’t know. I’ll go in ahead and tell them you’re okay.”
A little over a minute later, you hear her yelling: “Alright, come on inside”
The inside is a large atrium, not unlike that of a temple. The mansonry is overgrown with roots and moss. About 40-50 rebels are inside, many of them resting, some practicing archery on captured sets of Faskian armor, others fashioning tools, weapons and arrows or passing the time with a book or a card game.
One of the rebels asks Benavin “What happened?”
Benavin replies, more to the room than to the individual: “We lost Tharil and Maqin, but we got the bastard.”
The rebels show no sign of reaction to the news, as if that kind of result happens on a routine basis. Benavin gestures to you to follow.
Benavin leads you into a small room with a makeshift table in the center, the table is scattered with maps, documents and faskian propaganda posters. Benavin says: “Listen, we need a favor. I don’t want to ask after you saved our hides back there, but we’ve lost a lot of people trying to handle this ourselves. If you get it done, you’ll count on our full support in searching for Laerta’s remains.”
“One of the oldest justifications for hatred of elves is visual similarity to vampires, what with our slender forms and pointed ears. The claim is that we’re barely a step removed, that we’re a lesser form of vampire that can walk in the light. The stories say we have an alliance and that we drink the blood of humans to please true vampires in the hope of becoming vampires ourselves. The latter part is often dismissed as an old nursemaid’s tale, but many people still believe that there’s an alliance.”
“Dawstyn has become the hunting ground of a vampire, and the bastard has been smart enough not to hunt elves. The townsfolk and the guards believe it’s the prelude to some kind of uprising. The magistrate we killed came up with a plan to deal with ‘the elf problem’. He started rounding up elves and branding them with holy symbols. Many were tortured to try to find out where the vampire was, but naturally none of them knew. That was likely what awaited you if that guard had brought you in.”
“With the guards chasing their shadows, the real vampire has had free reign at the expense of our people in Dawstyn. We managed to track the bastard to his lair, an old orcish wayfort in these same woods. He keeps killing our people if they get close and we’re short on hands as is.”
“As a show of good faith, we can start setting up for whatever plan you come up with. We’ll be ready by the time you come back with the vampire’s head. Let me get you the information we’ve got on that officer.”
“He has an estate outside the Great Capital. It’s no fortress, but there are a lot of guards. The man’s paranoid, so all his food is grown on the estate and he harvests it himself. He and his wife are the only people who cook for his family. He’s got two sons. Ages seven and fourteen. We’ve been looking for a way in but no luck, and unfortunately we don’t know anything about the layout inside the house. A frontal assault would turn into a stalemate until Faskian reinforcements showed up. That would take an hour, maybe two if the roads are muddy.”
(players don’t want to hit his estate)
“That might be the safer option, but there’s no guarantee he’d have any useful information on offer. If you want your answers, you have to get into his study.”
(improvise answers to questions)
Players finish planning
You leave the room. Benavin waves over one of the rebels, an elf barely an adult, and says: “We need someone to guide the Paragons to the vampire’s fort. Can you take care of that?” The elf nods his head and waves for you to follow.
players reach the wayfort
It is late afternoon by the time you see the wayfort. The structure is the size of a small cottage, with a large stone watchtower on the end. The ancient orcs used to station small forces in these to protect nomads as they travelled. The structure itself has aged quite well. The clay brickwork covering the windows is considerably more worn than the ancient stone masonry of the walls roof.
Players try door
The reinforced wooden door won’t open, but you see no sign of a lock.
players get inside
The cottage is one large room supported by hexagonal stone columns five feet thick. What little light shines through the door provides a fairly clear picture of the layout. Whatever it was before, it is currently arrayed like a dining room. A long, well made wooden table straddles half the room. A human corpse in farmers’ garb is shackled to the table near the single dining chair at the head. His skin is pale even by corpse standards.
(Spot DC 27 failure)
There is no sign of the vampire in this room. (vampire gets surprise round)
(spot dc 27 success)
You see female humanoid figure, athletically built and wearing the hunting outfit of a Heptusian noblewoman, perched on the ceiling. The figure bares its’ fangs, locks eyes and draws a kama.
Combat, Vampire Shadowdancer