Dr. Skull's Conan Cult Campaign : Session 7 Back to Dr. Skull's Conan Cult Campaign

Session/Game: Conan #7         Date: 6/13/04

Episode 7, "Trick or Treat"
Campaign Date: Year Of The Bear, Month of Glumble 27-31
GM: Andrew Smith
Conrad, Hyperborean, Soldier, level 4 (Joe Fryer)
Lord Hieronymous Valanus, Aquilonian, Noble/Soldier, level 2/2 (Mike Miller)
"Bloody" Turpin, Border Kingdom, Soldier/Thief, level 2/2 (Dave Nelson)
Vegeta, Southern Islander, Barbarian, level 4 (Marlon Kirton)

Shamar, Aquilonia
It is autumn in Southern Aquilonia, and Valanus has managed to win himself a place in the final jousting tournament of the season in the Southern city of Shamar . Shamar starts off its harvest festival by hosting the great regional tournament, a nobles’ banquet, a general faire, and finally a nightlong masquerade that stretches throughout the city. It is hosted by Count Durka, a widower and regional ruler of the Shamar province.

The young Aquilonian’s other comrades-in-arms have joined him. Talk is that there is money to be made in the area for mercenaries. Vivienne, the heir of Shamar is the only heir to the throne of the local government, and a neighboring province wishes to put its sons at the heads of both houses. This tournament represents a time when these sons can meet and potentially impress Vivienne.

Conrad falls ill after spending some time in a serving tent near the lists and festival grounds. It is not the amount of drink that sickens him, but the monster impregnated inside him by a half-woman aberration several months ago. He vomits a sickening amount of blood on the muddy ground and collapses to find himself surrounded by a half-dozen thugs. Although the fight goes against Conrad at first, he manages to draw his weapon and systematically cleave each one down. Conrad stumbles away, fighting the corruption growing inside him.

Vegeta is astounded by all the people gathered in one spot. He stares in wonderment ad the strange behaviors of civilized men. A young pickpocket makes off with his change purse. Vegeta gives chase, but cannot fit through the narrow bars of a sewer gate. Vegeta begins to hack and kick at the gate to gain entrance to the sewer.

Turpin spends his morning lifting purses in the crowd as they watch the tournament. At one point, he makes off with a fine gold necklace and bracelet from a young noblewoman. No one notices the young thief as he makes off with his prizes.

Meanwhile, Valanus lowers his lance and charges at his opponent across the list. Sir Gilbert of Aquatine was notorious in jousting circles for aiming for his opponent’s head to knock them from their horse. On the first two passes, the two contestants managed to turn away each other’s attack. On the third pass, Gilbert successfully struck Valanus square in the face of his helm with his lance, knocking him from his mount. Only the hand of fate allowed Lord Hieronymous to simultaneously knock Sir Gilbert from his steed. The contest continued on foot, but Gilbert’s steel proved to be no match for Lord Hieronymous’s blade. Gilbert fell to his knees after a single blow and begged for quarter. Valanus was the ultimate victor. In a quick ceremony, the young Aquilonian is rewarded with a cut glass bowl and matching candlesticks marking the victory. More luminous than the gifts is the lovely Vivienne. Valanus flirts with the lovely woman, but she seems uninterested for the most part.

That first night, Conrad and Valanus entertain guests in the Aquilonian’s tent. Conrad makes for a most efficient bodyguard and manservant, even if all he does is grunt and look menacing. Valanus receives many minor noblewomen, but he hears no word from the lovely Vivienne.

Turpin scours the city looking for the “coolest thing”. He stops by his old friend “Toothless Marvin”. After a quick discussion with Tony the henchman, Turpin is pointed to the scepter of Shamar. Of course, Marvin explains that Turpin has little chance of getting the scepter since it is carried at all times by Vivienne’s father as a symbol of rulership over the city of Shamar.

Vegeta eventually breaks past the sewer gate and finds his young thief slain – all the blood drained from his body and two deep burn marks in his neck. Later that night, Vegeta meets with a sweaty Shemite named Nodrue at a tavern in the nobles’ quarter of the city. Nodrue is a scholar of some note who had recently arrived in Shamar. He offers to remove the South Islander’s curse in return for information about who is controlling the vampire that is slaying people in the city.

The next morning, the festival is in full swing. The festival grounds are crammed with people of all walks of life playing games, gorging themselves, and enjoying the fall weather

Conrad decides to pick a fight with some of Akula's men. His insults and cajoling raise their tempers, but the knights do not wish to fight a completely armed and armored man when they are without their mail. Conrad approaches their tent to continue his tirade and things get to be too much for the proud knight and his men at arms. They take their best shots at the Hyperborian, but eventually they all fall to his steel. Conrad finds in the tent a map detailing a plan for mercenaries to sweep in to the city and take it over the night of the Masquerade.

Vegeta meets with some city guardsmen who say that the vampire monster has attacked mostly in the poorer section of the city. Vegeta begins to search the warrens for any sign of evil doing. He asks anyone who will listen that he is searching for whatever evil is causing these killings. Several villains approach the South Islander later and trick him into thinking that a pile of trash conceals another victim. Unfortunately for Vegeta, the trash did contain a large spider that jumps at him to try and strike his unprotected neck. The arachnid misses and Vegeta crushes the vermin underfoot. The villains die even faster. Those unfortunates that Vegeta meets later are more civil toward the barbarian’s questions, but none of them have seen the source of the attacks firsthand.

Valanus sends a note to Vivienne trying to woo her. Again, she is more or less unimpressed.

The group meets again, and Conrad explains what he has seen. The group decides that they need to inform the Nobles of Shamar that their guests plan to take advantage of them as they celebrate. Turpin walks into the Aquatine camp under the guise of “Turpin the Border Warden” with a story that Valanus is in fact a commoner and not at all a knight. He continues, saying that he plans on meeting Vivienne out in the wilderness later that evening in order to steal her away. Sir Gilbert travels to the palace of Shamar to share the news.

Meanwhile, the heroes plan an ambush figuring that the entire Aquatine camp would arrive. Unfortunately, Sir Gilbert instead saw a chance to kill two birds with one stone and sent some of the Shamar loyalists out to fight those who challenged Vivienne’s honor. Only by Valanus’s quick tongue and impeccable diplomacy did the heroes manage to convince the loyalists that they were set up by the Aquatine camp and that they are in fact the villains in this case. Turpin introduces himself as “Fred the Muleskinner”.

The heroes arrive back at the palace of Shamar. Sir Gilbert arrives, and Valanus challenges him immediately. Gilbert, hobbling on a crutch since Valanus bested him at the tournament sends his second to fight the young Aquilonian instead. Valanus nearly cuts the man in half, guiding his blade with the hand of fate and breaking the blade of the greatsword deep within the man’s armored breast.

Gilbert tries to do some fast talking, but Valanus’ diplomacy is as sharp as his steel. Once the plot is revealed, Count Dirka orders Valanus to kill Sir Gilbert. Lord Hieronymous buries the splintered remains of his greatsword into the knight’s traitorous breast.

The heroes are recruited to break the mercenaries’ assault. Turpin and Vegeta take out scouts allowing their mounted force to strike the mercenaries as they awoke in the morning light. The heroes steel easily triumph over the weaker mercenaries scattering them into the forest and breaking the unit’s collective will.

Vegeta goes exploring again for any sign of the vampire. Just at sunset as the shadows lengthen, he runs into the actual monster as it takes another victim. It is an invisible killer, floating in the air like a giant, lethal jellyfish. Its tentacles burn into the victim’s flesh and then suck the blood at an alarming rate. Vegeta tries to take two stabs at the beast before it consumes its victim’s blood and becomes invisible again, but the beast’s burning acid wounds the South Islander gravely and he is forced to flee.

The next evening brings the masquerade itself. The streets of Shamar filled with people dressed in all sorts of costumes and masks. Valanus polished his armor up to appear as a shiny knight, while Conrad stained his mail to appear as an armored skeleton. Vegeta put a fake hook on his now-famous warspear to appear as the grim reaper, and Turpin dressed as a muleskinner.

Turpin takes it upon himself to find out what lies in the throne room of Shamar. He climbs the walls easily and looks down into the marble hall from the open skylight above. On the throne sits the bejeweled scepter of Shamar. It was as if by fate that Turpin manages to snag the bauble with a well-thrown rope and jerk it from its perch. As he does so, a panel opens at the base of the throne and thousands of black, squirming spiders fan out across the hall slaying anything that moves with poisonous fangs. Screams of dying guards follow Turpin as he runs from the spot, pulling the scepter in behind him. He drops from the three-story building into a convenient garbage cart and flees into the wilderness.

Valanus and Conrad manage to get an invitation from Vivienne to meet at the masquerade, but the date is cut short once the theft of the scepter is discovered. Vegeta finally gets a stroke of luck when he befriends a lithe woman in the street wearing a headdress of six eyes and four extra arms for a costume. The two of them drink the night away, and Vegeta wakes to chanting in the next room. The woman finishes her curse, but it does nothing to the South Islander. Apparently, his curse grows on its own, and her magic is rendered inert. Instead she takes up a knife and attacks Vegeta. The South Islander cuts her down with one stroke of his spear.