Friday, February 8, 2013

A strange sense..

The Tephra campaign has started, and gone off without a hitch! Nolrem is very good at pulling random monsters out of his ass the abyss; no, quite literally, the abyss. This post describes two sessions of game play, and with all the information it is a bit lengthy, but please do continue reading.
I have placed in bold character's names so that if you have a certain character you are interested in following it will be easier to find them in the reading.

Session one: The Road to Nowhere
 Kova, Poratus, Devak, and The Artist begin their journey in a company owned town, of which no one thought to ask the name of. The town is owned and run by Major Logging Inc. (ML), a corporation that has become concerned about their employees just up and disappearing. ML has found our group of mercenaries adventurers and asked for their help in both finding their missing people, and figuring out/putting a stop to whatever it is that is causing them to disappear. The group, without question, accepted the mission offered to them, at a price of 20 princes* per person.
Our band of rag-tag heroes boarded the train the next day and set off to the swamp, where the disappearances have been happening. After an uneventful four hours of bullet train transportation they arrived at the station. An ominous aura struck the adventurers as they stepped off the train car and it seemed to be coming from the ticket sales office. Being the brave men they are, they decided to investigate. Kova and Devak stepped up to the station office and looked inside to see a pale man stamping papers and tossing them to the side, thump, thump, shuffle. Devak spoke up and asked the man if he knew anything about people going missing in the swamp. The man stopped for a moment from his tedious task and replied, stating that people have gone into the swamp, but haven't been seen from again. He went on to say that this is a fairly recent occurrence, and the swamp used to be much livelier. The air wasn't hazed by mist, there was no weird feeling of being stared at, and travelers would constant the road between there and the town. He told the group that down the road is a crossroads, one way leads to the town of Hallows End, one leads to a sinkhole named Earth's Swallow, and the other leads deeper into the swamp, towards the logging company's main site.
After receiving the information, the group began their trip down the 15 mile stretch of road. The Artist, having heard something in the foggy mist of the swamp, looked over to see what appeared to be a woman's face. He was compelled to lean in for a closer look when suddenly the anomaly grabbed his small, gnomish body, and began pulling him into the muck. Devak, acting quick, grabbed the gnome's legs and heaved him out of the thick mud, saving him from certain death. At this time Kova looked into the swamp to try and find the source of whatever pulled the gnome in, but failed to see anything but the gray abyss formed by the fog. After much debate as to what the gnome might have seen, the party continued onward, cautiously eying their surroundings, and careful not to fall prey to the swamp's devious tricks. Kova had the good sense to look up into the trees that loom over the road, and saw what appeared to be monkeys following the group. At this time he grabbed the lute out of The Artist's hands, which the gnome had been playing the entire trip down the road, and held the strings to silence the instrument. Upon the deafening of the lute, the monkey looking creatures stopped and lost interest, disappearing back into the mist from which they came.
Soon after the past incident, the heroes arrived at the crossroads. They bickered for a while about which road to take, before finally deciding that heading to town would be the best, if not safest, idea for the time being. As they arrived at the town a police officer stopped the group. He asked why they were here, explaining that they don't trust outsiders as of late, and accidentally spilling some information about a suspect they had, who escaped custody and disappeared as well. Poratus and Kova decided to see the police chief and ask him about this 'suspect.' Meanwhile, The Artist headed to the inn to gather information from the locals, and Devak made his way to the temple to see if the priest knew anything about what was going on.
The police chief was not very helpful in the acquisition of knowledge as to anything that was happening, and he also denied that there was ever a suspect or such an investigation happening. Upon no information being gathered, the two Ayodin figured it was best to just investigate on their own. At the inn, the gnome had run into some problems of his own. Once he entered the building, everyone in the inn went silent and turned their backs to him. This little guy, being the chatterbox he is, tried to speak up to get their attention, to which no reply was ever given. A feeling that the crowd was becoming angry drove the gnome out of the inn, and he went back to meet up with his group. In the temple, Devak had made contact with the priest. The holy man had more information than anyone else in the town, and was willing to share it. He told our cleric that whatever is happening was not of this world, explaining that these demonic creatures, that have been causing the disappearances, cannot be harmed by conventional means. Standard weapons and bullets do nothing but bounce off the vile creatures, and only divine powers could bring these foes down. After receiving as much information as the priest had to offer, Devak thanked the man and left to find his group again.
Session Two: The house of undead horrors
The Artist, Kova, and Poratus have come to an agreement to search a few nearby abandoned houses that they have found, though it was really all Kova's idea. They snuck behind the houses and Kova, on his second attempt, skillfully picked a lock to a window, granting access to one of the homes. As he entered the room, a creepy feeling loomed over him, and he saw what appeared to be a young girl skipping out of the room and into the hallway. Poratus saw the girl as well, and being the gentle soul he is, hopped into the house with the intention of helping the little girl out of the abandoned building. Once he entered the room, the same ominous feeling weighed on his shoulders as well. Soon after the Ayodin were already in the house, the gnome flopped in behind them, experiencing the same dark cloud feeling. Kova shrugged off the feeling, dead set on investigating this house for possible clues as to what the heck is going on in this swamp and town. He entered the hallway, Poratus and The Artist right behind him. He silently approached the first door he saw, opening it quietly as to not alert anyone, or thing, to his presence. However, he was not very successful in his attempt to be silent, and popped the door open rather loudly. 
The light from a torch The Artist had lit emanated into the room, and all three of the party members saw what appeared to be a black figure in the shape of a person. The figure was completely devoid of any features other than the silhouette of a humanoid. It heard the door open and shot forth a wave of energy that knocked Kova back into the hall. Poratus was curious, and moved into the doorway to see what it was that pushed his friend back. As he came into view of the figure, it lashed out at him, gripping his neck with dark tendrils, and attempted to strangle him. He was able to resist the choking and broke free from the strange entity. At this time The Artist began to sing himself a happy song, not wanting to frighten the beast, or make himself appear threatening to it. Kova pulled forth his leaver-action rifle and shot the void creature in the head, killing it instantly with a well-aimed shot, and causing the figure to mysteriously fade into dust. The three looked at each other to make sure they weren't crazy and all saw the same thing, when suddenly a creepy song began filling the hallway. A chilling song, sung by what sounded like a group of little girls, was echoing through the halls, sending shivers down the party member's backs.
Devak had finally arrived at the house, and knowing exactly which one his friends went into, having seen them enter through the window earlier, he decided to pick the lock on the front door. His attempt at picking the lock caused the sound of a jiggling handle to reach the ears of the party members within the house. Kova became dead set on ridding this house of the tainted filth that had claimed it, and upon hearing the jiggling doorknob, began heading that way. The Artist and Poratus kept pace, not letting Kova go alone in this horrifying house. Kova found another door in the second hallway just as the sound of the jiggling knob had stopped. He figured it was coming from that door and decided to investigate, silently opening the door and peering inside. What he, and the other two behind him, saw was somewhat unsettling. It was a children's room, with old, rotten furniture, and dust everywhere, with the exception of one area in the room. A small table, not rotten or appearing to be aged, was near the center of the room, and on it was a little tea set, completely pristine, and with no dust on it. In the chairs around the set up were stuffed animals, which slowly turned their heads and seemed to stare right into the souls of the three party members. Having been tastefully crept out, Poratus called forth a small swarm of moths to eat away the stuffed animals. The plethora of insects devoured two of the four stuffed animals before one of the animals, a frog, opened its mouth and sucked the insects into its gut with a strong vortex. Once it had cleared the air, it turned its attention back to the doorway, which Kova was standing in, and shot forth its sticky tongue. Kova was too shaken by what he just saw to have a fast reaction and was struck by the frog's slimy appendage. It stuck to him like glue and the frog pulled him into the room. After he was unwillingly dragged into the room, the other stuffed animal, a bear, ran over and shut the door behind him, then proceeded to hold it closed.
            Kova, being unfortunate enough to be pulled into the room, now witnessed what appeared to be a dark portal to the abyss open up in the center of the room. It had a strange, red glow, and had eight sets of what appeared to be children's arms sticking out of it, all of them reaching for him! He had to get away from this monstrosity, so he shot at the frog, dismembering its arm, as he began to pull away from whatever the hell was spiraling in the middle of the room. The Artist needed to help his friend, and began pushing the door open, though only by a few inches at first. Poratus tried helping, kicking at the door to open it. They both witnessed a red glow filling through the small gap in the door, but couldn't see anything more than that yet. At this time, Devak had finally made his way into the abandoned home, and began hearing the strange, chilling song. He pulled out his chalk and attempted to purify the room he was in with a holy symbol, failing as he completely blanked on what his god's symbol looked like. Devak, at this time, is completely unaware of what is happening to his friends. Kova is ready to act again and fires off another shot at the demonic frog, taking off its other arm, and he attempted to pull away again, managing to make it another few feet back from, what can most accurately be described as, the portal to hell. The Artist once again attempts to push the door open, fighting with the bear that is trying to keep it shut. He manages to budge it open a few more inches, but still cannot see the commotion that is happening inside. Poratus continues to help the gnome out by using his staff as a lever and attempting to pry the door open, succeeding in moving it another inch or so. Devak heard what sounded like a silenced shot, and recalled that his Ayodin friend does, indeed, have a silenced rifle. He decides to start making his way down the hall to where he heard the noise from. However, he gets sidetracked as the sound of a blade being sharpened draws his attention into the kitchen. What he sees is a seven foot tall, faceless elf, sharpening a butcher's cleaver.
The faceless elf stops sharpening the cleaver and looks over to Devak, staring right at him with the blank flesh that is its face. It approaches the cleric and stops right in front of him. Kova, meanwhile, is still fighting his way from the demonic vortex, and decides to aim at the frog's head, hoping to keep it from being able to pull him any farther. His shot rings true, and the frog's head explodes into dust as the rifle round screams through its target. The Artist has finally pushed the door open enough, with Poratus' help, and is able to squeeze his way into the room. Horrified by what he sees, he tries to help further by attacking the bear to get it to stop holding the door shut, which works. Poratus is able to move into the room now and uses his willow branch to whip the bear's leg, grabbing it and with a swift move, slamming the demonic thing into the wall. Devak has engaged into combat with the faceless elf, entering his battle stance, and bringing his axe down onto the creature with his holy strength. The elf takes the full brunt of Devak's divine attack, and ruthlessly attempts to strike back with its cleaver. It hits, but the cleric's armor proves to be too strong and completely absorbs the blow. The creature then touched Devak's face with its free hand, and with its icy touch, sucked a great deal of strength from him. Devak attempted another attack, swinging his divine axe at the demon, and cutting its right arm clean off, disarming it of its weapon. The being, however, still had its hand on the cleric's face, and sapped more of his energy. Devak, feeling weak at this point, stayed true to his faith, and delivered a holy punch to the creature, harming it more, but it wasn't enough, and the demon was able to suck all the strength from the holy warrior.
Kova, The Artist, and Poratus had finally arrived at the kitchen, after witnessing the swirling portal fade to nothingness once the stuffed creatures were destroyed. However, they did not see their friend there, nor did they see the faceless elf. The Artist looked around and found what appeared to be gouges in the floorboards where it looked as though something heavy was dragged along the ground, undoubtedly being their cleric. The three followed the markings, through the kitchen, to a door on the other side. Kova silently opened the door, and a sudden burst of chilling air flushed out from the room. It appears they had found the freezer. Using a torch, Poratus stepped into the room to light it up. The room, now lit, was quite possibly the most disturbing sight one could think to come across. Large meat hooks, hanging from chains, dangled from the ceiling, and blood stained the floor. Hanging from eight of the hooks were the skeletal remains of what looked to be little girls, because they were all small and wearing old dresses. Kova had mustered up the courage to look deeper into the room and past the horrible scene. He saw Devak leaned up against a wall, and proceeded over to his friend to snap him back to reality.
The Artist was standing in the doorway, left there to guard the entrance and make sure nothing locked the rest of the party in the freezer. The kitchen had suddenly become pitch black, and he heard the sound of someone sharpening a blade. He lit a torch so he could see, but certainly did not like what he saw. A seven foot tall, faceless elf was lumbering over him, staring right down into his very being, standing there, sharpening a cleaver. The two foot tall gnome nearly passed out from fear. At this time, Kova had finally slapped Devak out of his slumber, and the cleric looked over to the doorway to see his now mortal enemy. Having a huge grudge against this demon, Devak stampeded his way to the doorway and “axed the faceless elf a question.” He invigorated his axe with his divine powers and once again brought it down upon his foe, dealing massive damage to the demonic being. Kova, having seen his holy friend’s reaction to this creature, got into position and set forth a righteous, in his mind, rifle round into the being, dealing miniscule damage as his bullet literally bounced off the thing’s skin. Poratus attempted a shot with his bow, but nothing seemed to phase this beast other than Devak’s righteous fury. After many failed attempts at dealing damage both by Kova and Poratus, along with many devastating attacks dished out by Devak, the creature was finally defeated and the creepy feeling, along with that scary ass song, faded away from the house.
Having determined that the house must now be clear, Kova searched around for any sort of clue as to what might be happening here. He found a dark coin, with strange letters on it, which were emanating an evil, yet weak, aura. After they had searched the house, only finding the coin, they went to the temple and spoke with the priest to tell him about their find. The priest directed them to someone who knows more about the occult than he does. He then offered the weary party members stay in his temple for the night, an offer which they happily accepted.

And there you have it, two very detailed sessions of game play. There will be one update each week, as we have one game each week. Though, next Thursday is Valentine’s Day, so there could possibly be no game that day.
If you read the whole thing, then more power to you! I trust you enjoyed the read and will continue to return each week to delve into our character’s world again for another exciting chapter of unimaginable horrors.

* - Currency in Tephra consists of Dukes, Princes, and Kings. A king is worth ten princes, a prince is worth ten dukes, and a duke is the lowest tier of currency in the game world.

This, and more, next time in.. The Den of Quick Demise.


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