Dr. Skull's Conan Cult Campaign : Session 11 Back to Dr. Skull's Conan Cult Campaign

Session/Game: Conan #11         Date: 8/8/04

Episode 11, "Rebirth"
Campaign Date: Year of the Falcon, Grigglenov 2 - 8
GM: Andrew Smith
Grodd, Cimmerian, Barbarian, level 5 (Bob LaForge)
"Bloody" Turpin, Border Kingdom, Soldier/Thief, level 3/3 (Dave Nelson)
   Slink, Follower of Turpin, Thief level 3 (NPC) Vegeta, Southern Islander, Barbarian, level 6 (Marlon Kirton)

Following the fall of Mus Sheol’s temple in Arenjun there was a lot of upheaval. Troops, thieves, commoners, and thugs who used to be magically loyal to the priest were left stunned and without direction. We stepped in and used the renown we gained as the ones who finished off the cult to attract some of these folks to our cause. Then with our newly found troops, we headed off to Brythunia to try and seek our fortune. We thought that we had found just the place. Two city-states aching for each other’s blood, and we were set to cash in -- or at least we thought so at the time…

Vegeta and Turpin left Arenjun with a group of troops in the fall of the year of the bear. Vegeta led approximately one hundred light Hyborean infantrymen, soldiers from Mus Sheol's army who were looking for a home now that the sorcerer's spell had been broken. Turpin ended up with two hundred and fifty of the slimiest Zamorian dirt bags ever. These two mercenary forces signed on with the army of the Brythunian city-state of Shihar working for the Count Bramwell.

The Count sent the mercenaries out after a bandit force that had made off with the Count's eldest daughter, Oriel. The well-armed bandits broke through an entire legion of the Count's cavalry to take the young woman by force. Unfortunately, the heroes were put under the command of a haughty nobleman named Burke. As our story started, the hero’s forces were charging into a blind canyon where the bandits were cornered. Burke sent the heroes' units supporting a band of two hundred serf infantry who were completely undisciplined and unused to fighting. The better-armed bandit forces made feathered many of Turpin's goons with arrows and crushed them with better armor and charges by light cavalry, and had locked Vegeta's light infantry in a tight struggle. Only once all the bandit forces were committed did Burke finally move in with his heavy cavalry to destroy the remaining bandits.

Burke sent the heroes into an icy cave the bandits were defending, where they discovered a sorcerer in robes of Acheron assisted by four warriors in ceremonial Acheronian plate battle armor. The heroes charged into the room, looking to free the young Oriel from certain death at the hands of the sorcerer. Turpin charged into the room along with his lady friend Slink, slaying a soldier immediately -- only to be held in place by the pain of black sorcery. Vegeta held off the rest of the soldiers while Grodd rushed the sorcerer. Grodd managed to land a solid blow on the man in robes, but not before being injured badly himself. As the Cimmerian fell to the ground of the cave with his lifeblood ebbing from his prone form, one of the soldiers named "Sledge" pulled a hidden lever which collapsed a section of the caves and led he and the sorcerer named "Raichlen" out into another tunnel. Vegeta and Turpin (now out of the clutches of the sorcery) managed to finish off the last of the soldiers. Slink was nearly slain by the life-draining evil magics, except for a queer twist of fate that spared her life.

Inside the cave, the heroes find Oriel and three ancient Acheronian treasures recently taken from the nearby city-state of Urbander. The Kettle of Acheron is a gigantic gold-inlaid iron kettle filled with a black-inky liquid. Vegeta takes this treasure along with an 18-inch golden rod shaped like an Acheronian wizard standing on a globe known as the Phallus of Acheron. Finally, a solid-gold bust of an Acheronian sorcerer named the Bust of Acheron found its way into one of Turpin's sacks.

Oriel is relieved to be saved and immediately takes a liking to Vegeta. She removes Burke as the leader of the legion and puts the South Islander in charge. Turpin is approached by two of his mercenaries, the short, mouthy "Barber" and his huge and quiet companion "Dogfish". Dogfish and Barber know that Turpin has scored some treasure and insist on getting a piece of it. Turpin showed them the solid gold Acheronian bust. Barber and Turpin trade some vague insults with Turpin intimating that Zamorians enjoy the company of young boys a bit too much, whilst Barber suggests that those from Turpin's home of the Border Kingdom are fond of defiling innocent sheep. At one point, Barber even chipped the nose of the statue off. Turpin was careful to get that piece of the bust back again. Turpin knew that the two Zamorians had to die. He offered to let the two take the bust to "bury it" for him until things weren't so hot later that night.

Meanwhile Vegeta is attacked by two more knights in the Acheronian armor, despite being at the center of a sizeable armed force. His two guards dead, the South Islander ran for the only people he could at least trust not to kill him -- Turpin and Grodd. The group returns and finds that the knights disappeared as mysteriously and quickly as they appeared. Vegeta and Turpin make a plan to do away with Dogfish and Barber.

Turpin brings the illiterate Dogfish and Barber back to his tent and gives him a scroll with a big 'X' on it. He tells the two Zamorians that 'Captain Vegeta requires this document to allow the two to leave'. Eager to get their hands on the gold, Dogfish and Barber sprint to Vegeta's tent. The South Islander sees the 'X' -- part of the plan with Turpin, and orders the two secretly executed. Vegeta's men take care of the bloody work and Dogfish and Barber are both never seen again. Next morning, Turpin berates his men, screaming out at anyone who knows 'What happened to those two thieves Dogfish and Barber!'. With the bust tucked secretly away with a loyal follower, the armies move out.

The entire trip back to Shihar, Oriel flirts with Vegeta. The South Islander will have none of it and spurns her advances. Grodd attempts to win her fancy, but all she can do is ask the Cimmerian what he knows about Vegeta. After several meetings, and after their safe return to Shihar, Grodd learns that Oriel is in fact pregnant. As far as she knows, she has never brought a man to her bed. Grodd suspects sorcery of the foulest sort.

Count Bramwell insists that the heroes slay his arch-enemy, the kind of Urbander who he believes was behind the kidnapping of his daughter Oriel. However, the plan is cut short once it becomes clear that Oriel is missing again. Turpin does some detective work and learns that the sorcerer named Raichlen has built an altar in the center of Lake Galab in the Graaskal Mountains to the North. The Count begs the heroes to go after his daughter, offering a small fortune if they are successful.

The heroes find the lake and notice a rowboat where the sorcerer and his goons must have disembarked. As they approach the small island, they see Oriel pale, bloated, and bloody laying on a damnedable altar of ancient stone carved like the back of two-headed serpent. Between the young woman's thighs, the sorcerer in Acheronian robes named Raichlen seems to be chanting and preening the young woman, coaxing what appears to be a full-grown man pushing his way out of Oriel's obscenely distended belly. Also on the island is the barbarian Sledge and a handful of undead warriors with gigantic axes. Grodd rushes the sorcerer, but he is pushed away by the living bones of long dead Acheronian warriors. Turpin charges Raichlen next and lands a mighty blow, but the sorcerer manages to shake off the attack and returns the favor by draining some of Turpin's life force. Meanwhile, Vegeta and the barbarian Sledge trade blows near the boat.

Just then, Oriel lets out a low, rattling groan. The young Brythunian's ribs and hips give away and he flesh tears revealing the rebirth of an unnamed long-dead wizard of Acheron. Unbelievably, he is already dressed in the slick, blood red robes of Acheron with his face covered. His mocking laugh seems to stop time in its place as he steps over the shattered corpse of Oriel and walks calmly across the surface of the lake and into the mists. The Acheronian's dark laughter recedes into the distance, and it is as though everyone can once again breathe and act. Turpin's paramour Slink finds her way behind Raichlen, and Turpin's next strike finds the sorcerer's heart. Grodd and Vegeta put up a fighting retreat against Sledge and the heroes manage to escape the island with their lives. The barbarian curses the three from the shore of the island for a bit, and then returns to his own rowboat to escape the damned island himself.

Vegeta buries his treasure, the Phallus of Acheron near Shihar. He takes care to note the position nestled between a unique stand of trees. Turpin buries the bust further to the North in an ancient forest, but keeps the nose from the bust for a memento.