Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Life, New Levels

In Utherton the survivors of our band tried to forget the death of their comrade, each in his or her own way. Boniface the holy militant, suffering from a slow-healing cut in his left arm, gave over a large sum of treasure to the maintenance of a goodly hospice of healing, thereby feeling exalted in piety. For her part, Grumpka the dwarf resolved to teach her maimed man-at-arms Balm henceforth the more subtle arts of fighting [1]. 

Postponing lessons for the nonce, his initiation was celebrated through a six-hour bender during which various publicans struggled to satisfy the dwarf’s free spending with mugs and bottles distributed to all patrons. Balm passed out too early to suffer any serious damage. Grumpka woke with a headache, which was quickly dispelled, and racial memories stirred within her; her carousing had earned her the second level.

Presently Joya arrived at the inn to convey a young acolyte of sorcery, classmate and friend of the late Ephemera. Merry and boisterous where Ephemera had been serious of purpose, this Jessera had resolved nonetheless to take up the vacant place in the adventuring band, having already had some experience of that sort in the northern hills and returning with a craving for more. The rumors of dark cults and the formidable Castle ruins only whetted her interest. Taking possession of Ephemera’s spell parchments, crossbow, and dagger of virtuous steel, Jessera set off with her new comrades back to Trossley.

There, the oath to St. Hermas was sworn again with the new associate; or rather, an oath, for the wording on the altar had changed betimes, with words about leaving no party member to die a lonely death that were much remarked and interpreted. Even with arm in a sling, Boniface and the others decided to try the stairs leading down into the depths of the Temple.

The challenges and treasures lurking in that basement were slight indeed. The wire attached to a swinging hammer was spotted through the crack of a door and disarmed; several waves of rats the size of cats, issuing through holes, were dealt with in good order, though not without some tension; a sack of coins was upended and the magically rolling silver pieces chased throughout the brick-lined passages, where their behaviour hinted at a secret door. A scratched graffito elsewhere in the tiny dungeon, after the better part of an hour’s puzzling, yielded the secret of the door’s opening, and the band beheld an offertory chamber, the resting place of coins dedicated to St. Hermas.

And not just coins; for in the heap of meagre treasure Boniface spied his severed ear, which he had thrust through the slot several days back on the advice of a prophetic dream, and now appeared cast in finest silver. It attached itself to the lacking spot and, in premeditated compensation for a miserable initial roll, Boniface was granted an additional hit point. Moreover, the whole adventure had advanced him even more in understanding of sword and cross and he, too, was elevated to second level. A booming voice that had offered stingy advice and sardonic laughter during the exploration now revealed itself. Rather than St. Hermas, it was a wee ventriloquist, Guilfoyle the guardian of the Temple, a former associate of the Most Magnificent Band of Explorers. After inquiring after the mysterious disappearance of the Mad Archmage’s face from the temple’s stained-glass window and several silver coins of his mint – a mystery our adventurers had not yet compassed in their explorations - Guilfoyle bid adieu.

[1] This and several other features of this session make reference to my experience rules, which I'll be sharing over the next several posts.

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