After a dinner of turtle stew, Milo’s idea of a joke, Enfys says “I hate to bring this up now, but we still have a two-day voyage to Gorch’thul and the bodies of the fallen will soon start to become risks to everyone’s health. Since we can’t bury them in home soil, I will work with some of the clerics to give them all a burial at sea. Will you join me? It would mean a lot to the survivors.”
Reilly, Myran, Harxen and Milo agree immediately.
(if players attend)
Two other clerics and a host of volunteers have already laid the bodies at the stern for burial. Enfys steps behind the helm as a makeshift podium and speaks: “Friends and Comrades. We gather here under sunlit blue to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of Irythan and the world we all hope to find. The fallen who lay before us did not know their fate when they walk out the gates of Caer’Daugh or when they boarded the gangplank of the Dawn of Orthalyn. They knew what it was worth to them and their children and they marched ever forward into darkness knowing that whether they would see it or not, there was a bright future on the other side. I know not the faiths of the dead, but the Sun father and the Martyred Maiden would welcome the righteous gentile and the pious hero to their arms in equal regard. They who stare into the abyss and falter not in aims nor in resolve are they who will be remembered on earth and in the stars, for this world and the next belong to the daring. We now commit them to the sea, with the full honor deserved by all martyrs of a worthy cause. May they rest knowing that we, their comrades carry ever forward for a new world.”
One by one, other clerics say the names of the fallen and slide their shrouded bodies off the ship. Enfys leads a group of archers in a volley of arrows burning brightly with incense and oil. The ceremony then concludes and the attendants file off the deck.
Enfys calls a meeting in the war-room.
Inside the room is a table laid out with an ancient map of the fortress. Myran speaks up: “First some history. Gorch’thul was built before the scourge by the ancient Orcs. Now, the Orcs lived semi-nomadic. They built permanent cities, but would regularly leave en masse to hunt, trade and gather resources on route to another city. This allowed them to build massive structures without worrying about resources. Whenever they left a city, they would depend on a very small group to stay behind and guard it against attack. Orcish cities are the pinnacle of military architecture for this reason. Even the mighty Faskian army couldn’t take Orcish strongholds. During the scourge, the Orcs abandoned all the cities they had in Irythan in order to assist the beleaguered settlements. Two of them remain, Gorch’thul and Chak’tarral. The latter is the primary fortress of Bastion’s forces. Kaptal purchased Gorch’thul from the Bastion navy a few decades ago in exchange for a fleet of steam-dreadnaughts. It’s been a prison ever since. The good news is, it’s massive and nearly impossible to seize. The bad news is, it’s massive and nearly impossible to seize.”
Enfys chimes in: “Luckily, we have an edge. I know of a tunnel that will take us straight to the foundry. Myran and I used it to escape a few years ago. We covered our tracks after our escape so the guards wouldn’t find it, so it should still be intact. If we can get to the main guard tower, we can open the gates and let the ship into the dock. Reilly will stay behind and command what combat forces we still have in the initial assault. After that, it’s a matter of clearing the place keep by keep. Any questions?”
“The tunnel is accessible by sea. Although it’s too well illuminated to guarantee we won’t be spotted by boat. I’d recommend swimming. Since we don’t know exactly what we’ll be up against, try to be ready for anything. We should reach Gorch’thul just before dawn. Get some rest and prep your magic. I don’t want us getting caught with our pants down.”
You are awakened after midnight by the smell of strong tea. Milo has already poured several cups and leaving to brew more. Enfys is already up preparing for the attack. She says: “We’re about a mile away from Gorchtul. I’ve ordered all deck lights extinguished. The rowboat can drop us off a quarter mile off, but then we’ll have to swim. If you wear armor, I’d recommend stowing it until we get to shore. The sun will be up in an hour, so I’d like to be on the rowboat within 20 minutes. Once we get to shore, we’ll have to climb into a sewer pipe. Last time I was there, it was a slippery climb. After that, it’s a dungeon crawl. Veterans like you should know what that means.”
(players elect to send Veil’s Eagle to do surveillance) The eagle communicates that it saw several dozen bodies in gold-colored uniforms that had been ripped apart by tooth and claw. Some of the uniformed bodies had not been ripped apart and seemed to be walking around or feeding on the corpses. The eagle also reports the strong scent of decaying flesh coming from the yard.
(if Enfys is told of the eagle’s surveillance prior to boarding the boat) Enfys replies “Sounds like undead. Good. I like killing undead. Feels like closure. As an instrument of St. Laerta’s free crusade, undead are a personal specialty of mine.” Enfys passes each of you a steel cast of the Martyred Maiden’s fist, a holy symbol of St. Laerta. She also hands each of you a vial of holy water and holds up what looks like a grenade. She tosses the grenade up and down in her hand and says “This is an incense bomb. I’ve blessed the herbs inside so that any undead who smells the incense is temporarily weakened. Who wants it?”
“Solid. If you have any questions about killing undead, let me know.”
After prepping your gear and downing several cups of tea, you head to the rowboat. Myran is already on board at the oars.
(if Enfys is told of the eagle’s surveillance after boarding the boat) Enfys replies “Sounds like undead. Good. I like killing undead. Feels like closure. As an instrument of St. Laerta’s free crusade, undead are a personal specialty of mine. I just wish you had told me earlier. I left my extra gear on the ship. If we go back for it now, we blow the element of surprise. I have one extra holy symbol and two vials of holy water I can spare if anyone wants them, though.”
Myran slows the boat down about a quarter mile from the shore and says “This is as far as I can go without the risk of being spotted. We won’t be able to see the gates open from the ship, so how do you want to signal that we should move forward?”
“Got it. Safe travels. I’m heading back to the ship to help prepare for the assault.”
As you prepare to swim to shore, Enfys says: “Wait a fucking minute. I know that symbol.” She points to an icon that depicts a silhouette in mages robes jumping over a wall into a sea of red with his staff and sword drawn. The icon has been painted on several large war banners on the battlements
“That’s the icon for the Paragon chapter in Termalyn. What the fuck has Kartha gotten herself into?”
“Kartha was a friend of mine from Termalyn. She and I escaped the Conclave in Sethralis together. It was her who told me to seek out the Paragons in Weslyth. She was an enchantment specialist and ended up as the de-facto commander of the Termali Paragons. She’d better have a damn good explanation for this.”
(swim check DC 16 to make it to shore)
Once on shore, Enfys leads you to a rocky outcropping and points to a hole in the wall about 20 feet up. “That’s our entry point,” She says. “Start climbing”. (DC 20 climb check).
At the top is a sewer pipe about 10 feet in diameter. You can hear a gutteral snarling sound echoing down the passage and smell the distinct scent of carrion. Enfys whispers “Gear up, but be quiet about it. Once we’re set, you need to decide who will take point.” (move silently, opposed to +5 listen).
The sewer pipe is running with a mix of blood and fetid rainwater, though it is impossible to guess in what ratio. After about 20 paces, you see a ladder off to the side. The passage appears to continue on ahead of it in a fork. Enfys says that when she escaped, she took a right at the fork.
There is a trapdoor at the top of the ladder (dc 15 listen check will reveal the sound of shambling footsteps and a breeze).
(peek through the crack, +2 to hide check vs 5x +1 spot check) You can see a multitude of shambling corpses in Kaptalis guard uniforms and prisoner’s tunics. Some still have a modicum of decayed flesh and dessicated skin, while others have been chewed down to the bone. A few are roaming around on all fours eating corpses that are not moving.
You enter a large Cistern 40ft by 40ft. Near the far corner, you can see a large humanoid creature sharpening it’s massive claws on the stone wall. It is borderline skeletal with a series of sharp teeth and spines extending from it’s head It has a tattered red robe with Termali symbols embroidered on it and it reeks of rotting flesh.
combat with boneclaw
After the abomination falls, Enfys kneels over the body and dumps a vial of holy water while whispering a blessing. She explains: “My code demands that the dead must be released from their mundane trappings. I’m curious how this thing slipped past Kartha. She taught me half of what I know about killing undead.”
(players voice suspicion)
“I’ll let that slide because you don’t know Kartha. She’s one of my oldest friends and she saved my life more than once. There is no way in any realm that this is her doing. It’s just not possible”
After slaying the creature, you continue down another pipe adjacent to the cistern. A pile of rubble blocks the path forward, but you can see another ladder off to the left with a trapdoor at the top.
(open the trapdoor)
(Trap: DC18 spot check. DC12 disable device. Reflex save 18 half Damage 2d8 ballistic)
(trap detected) You spot a thin wire affixed to the top of the trapdoor. Further inspection finds that the wire leads to a flintlock trigger affixed to a barrel that has been placed in a hole deep in the stone ceiling.
(disable succeeds) The wire is snapped and held in place while enfys moves ahead to defuse the flintlock trigger.
(trap not detected or disable device fails) You hear the telltale metallic ring of a flintock fuse and hear a sparking sound from just above the trapdoor. (reflex save)
(trapdoor opened) You emerge into an armory with a large number of weapons on the racks, ranging from simple maces all the way to Faskian muskets, as well as a variety of chain-shirts, scale male and a few suits of half-plate. Several crates of ammunition also line the shelves, including a small keg of gunpowder. There are two exits. One of them is a steel door with three heavy deadbolt locks. The other is a basic wooden door under which you can see flickering torch-light.
(steel door leads to yard, see (B1).)
Behind the wooden door is a 10’ wide corridor which turns to the right (beat). Around the corner you see another door labelled “main barracks” (listen check dc 16: You can hear a gutteral snarling sound coming from the other side of the door and more than one set of humanoid footsteps).
Combat with two wights, a third may appear You can see two gaunt humanoid figures with desiccated flesh and clawlike fingernails. Multiple rows of needle-like teeth stand out among their skeletal faces.
There is a door on the opposite side of the barracks which is labelled “main tower and warden’s office. No entry without escort by captain”
Enfys says: “Okay, now I’m sketched out. A DreadClaw in the cistern is one thing, but she would have known about these wights. Shit, I think she may be in bad shape. We have to go find her.”
(players are still suspicious) Enfys is fuming: “I told you, it’s not possible. She hated undead and we took down more than one necromancer together. Tell you what. If she’s behind this, I’ll put an arrow in her throat myself.”