Session/Game: Marches 3e #29 Date: 10/21/2001
Campaign Date: Povem 29 — Odec 3 IY 469
Sarissa Lin, human, monk, level 9, LN, Charles Tillinghast
Sir Ostler, human, cleric, LN, level 10, Joe Fryar
Ragnar, human rogue-10, CG Shaun Sipple
Angus McNasty, gnome illusionist-9, CG Dave Nelson
Bevis McNasty, gnome barbarian-6, CG cohort
Tharoil, elf, paladin-15, LG NPC
Argent, Juvenile silver dragon, LG, cohort
The heroes emerge from the Serpent Lair the same night they went in, and experience some confusion because of the irregular way time ran inside the lair. Several hours had passed and only seemed like moments outside. Tharoil takes Lady Adia home to Elfwind with him. The heroes rest the night in the chapel perilous. The soft snowfall lasts throughout the night leaving about an inch and a half on the ground.
The heroes travel back to Blacksword. There is a discussion with Sven the guard about the scruffy fellow who had come to visit Whitefire, but was spooked off when a monk of the order of St. Mirabel appeared with a message for Sir Ostler and Sister Sarissa from Archbishop Daas. The message turns out to be a subpoena for Baron Richard Goldhaft. Whitefire shares a passage he has recently read that points to the quiet man in fact being a ghostwalker of Bor. A halfling youth arrives and leaves Gabriel off to the North. Countess Flavia arrives with Bishop Dumbric and over 100 troops of Storm Eagle. She shows a message from Goldhaft ordering the surrender of Angus, Sarissa, Rannos, and “Whitefire the Scoundrel”. Whitefire flies into a rage and threatens to fornicate Goldhaft’s wet, meaty skull – or to at least have Rannos do it. Dumbric explains that he knows that the Avenging Avatar of Bor has in fact been summoned. The appearance of this avatar marked the fall of the Empire of Dawn, the original secularly-ruled empire that embraced Bor. The heroes prepare for battle in the morning. Sarissa does some high-speed scouting south along the Baltburg road, but does not spread her search into the wilderness due to darkness and cold. She catches a spy. Mr. Fabulous interrogates him by changing shape into Baron Goldhaft and questioning the rascal. The heroes make ready for bed, and Countess Flavia is seen slipping into Rannos’ room before the lights are doused. Later that night, a scream is heard from Rannos’ room. The heroes investigate to find that a bloody battle has taken place silently in Rannos room, and that he was abducted after he was subdued by the Quiet man. A search of Whitefire’s room confirms signs of a struggle and abduction there as well. During the inspection, Angus casually picks up Whitefire’s summoning wand and drops it into his pocket.
Away from the characters, Baron Goldhaft outlines his plans for his army to his subcommander Hogan. Hogan is a frost giant druid working for Goldhaft in exchange for some artifacts that bolster the frost giant king’s power in the North.
The scene returns to the heroes. They let the scout think that they are setting up their stand in Ludwig, but once they let him escape they move their line farther South down the Baltburg road. Sir Ostler does a divination on Baron Goldhaft, and catches him shape changed into a peasant milita man. Out of sight of the scry, Ostler hears a sinister voice speaking to the Baron and warning him of the scry attempt. Bishop Dumbric tries to scry the sinister voice, and he is sickened by the sight of what he describes. The details of the description point to this outsider being the Avenging Avatar. Other elements of the Storm Eagle army arrives as Sarissa and Ragnar search for elements of the Goldhaft army. Sarissa eventually finds them on her travels. The heroes prepare to ambush the army themselves. Ostler tries to rout the army with his spells, but he is counterspelled by Hogan the frost giant druid. Sarissa charges a spellcaster hiding in the midst of the army. After two strikes, the spellcaster changes shape into a large humanoid that looks similar to the descriptions they have heard of the Avenging Avatar. Sarissa flees the confrontation with little damage, but she is stopped by Marx, a frost giant monk. The two monks face off in a duel as the Goldhaft army looks on. Ragnar joins the fight, putting well-placed blows in Marx back. Angus fells several knights with a cloudkill spell and launches magic missiles at targets as they become apparent. Ostler and Hogan duel magically, trading flame strikes. Sarissa nears the end of her endurance and flees. Ostler’s pegasus perishes 200 feet above the ground just as Ragnar is struck unconscious by Marx’s blow. Thoril arrives suddenly and saves Ostler and Ragnar from certain death by swooping in to catch them Ostler and pick up the bleeding Ragnar. Angus and Beavis flee after seeing Ostler and Ragnar fall, but not before bringing Marx to an early end. However, in a queer trick of fate, the frost giant monk is reincarnated into the body of another frost giant monk. The attackers press on, spending the night outside the walls of Ludwig near the graveyards where foul necromancy is at work all evening.
That early morning, mists swathe Blacksword. The ground is muddy ground from the snowfall two days earlier. The Goldhaft force moves out of Ludwig just in time to reach Blacksword and attack it at dawn. Both Ludwig and Blacksword were ordered cleared by order of Countess Flavia and the heroes. No one was hurt in the attack, but Blacksword is gutted and two thirds of the retaining walls destroyed. Anything of value left in the fortress is lost. After three hours of tearing at the place, the heroes attack. A big machine appears in the mists surrounding Blacksword. The machine appears poised to launch formidable ballista, catapult, and boiling oil attacks on the sacked fortress. Many of the armies of Goldhaft charge the machine until the silver dragon Argent appears and drops off all the characters onto the top of the mage’s tower. Argent’s dragon fear scatters the armies of Goldhaft. The giants, however are not amused. They attack the heroes by throwing boulders and advancing their troll, ogre, and hill giant allies toward the tower. Ostler banishes what he believes is the Avenging Avatar. Bishop Dumbric launches a fireball at several of the Goldhaft undead. Sarissa slips down the tower and into the blockhouse. The other heroes make a stand at the base of Whitefire’s tower. Ragnar slips out and does some damage to Hogan, eventually killing him with Argent the dragon’s help. Ostler makes a stand within the tower, felling a hill giant. Mr. Fabulous makes the best of his offensive spells to disperse the giant threat. Sarissa finds herself confronted by the Baron Goldhaft himself. As they engage, walls of flame erupt in the blockhouse, surrounding Sarissa and Richard. They fight, with Sarissa taking the upper hand almost immediately. After several successful stunning blows, the baron is weak and woozy. He drops his weapon and falls stunned to his knees. The Bishop Dumbric appears and changes before Sarissa’s eyes. The Avatar has been disguised as the bishop the entire adventure. The real bishop is dead. The true Avenging Avatar stands tall above her and speaks:
“I require someone of your dedication to the law of Bor for my needs. He is helpless! Take this one’s life! Drink of his blood and see that Justice is served! It is no less than he would do to you! I would reward you for doing your duty as well. Take his life now, and I will bestow a gift of power upon you. Choose wisely.”
Sarissa rejects the deal, fleeing through the flame of the walls and taking massive flame damage. As she leaves, the Avatar grabs the Baron in anger and tears his head from his shoulders with his bare hands. The frost giants flee. Marx could escape but Sarissa slows him from escaping. The other adventurers try to keep Marx from attacking, but the frost giant turns and kills Sarissa, already burned badly from her escape from the flaming prison of the Avenging Avatar. The Avenging Avatar appears and offers Sarissa the deal one more time. Sarissa curses the Avatar, even as he casts the 9th level cleric spell Soul Bind on her as she perishes. Unable to be raised from the dead, the adventurers take Sarissa’s broken and burnt body to Ludwig to regroup and consider the future.