Wednesday, October 23, 2013

RL #10: Morningsong

"I'm confused."

That seems to be a recurring theme in this campaign. But that's kind of what Ravenloft is all about, so I try to play it up as best I can. ;)

Tonight marked the tenth session in our game, which is now just over a year old. We started off with the PCs exiting Chatain on horseback en route to Stangengrad; over the vast, green countryside they rode, descending a low valley on the second day of their journey as the road wound northwest, deeper into Falkovnia. That night, as they prepared to camp, they heard the distant clangor of what sounded like a veritable army mid-march within the valley.

The noise grew louder, and soon the PCs shuffled off their hillside to avoid whatever was making its approach. But no matter where they moved, the racket only became more thunderous and frightful, booming in the companions' ears as they found themselves fleeing in a dead run. When finally Aginot tumbled over a jutted root, the commotion suddenly stopped.

The PCs had wandered far off of the road, and at a distance, Alaric spotted a mounted rider wearing a great helm and braided beard, and carrying a shield emblazoned with a lion's-head crest. Again and again the figure slipped away into the foliage and then reappeared again, always barely out of reach, as the companions diligently followed it, eventually discovering a hidden trail that led further into the forest.

They took to the trail by the moonlight, losing sight of the rider but arriving at the edge of a small village, nestled secretly within the surrounding groves. Warily, they entered a lamp-lit tavern bearing the same lion's-head insignia on a banner outside. Inside, the patrons and proprietor met the PCs with suspicion, and particularly so when Alaric told tale of the horseman, whose description elicited the name "Lord Hanwey." One tavern-goer dashed out to fetch Jorah, the local cleric, and after a sultry greeting, arrangements were made for the party to take refuge for the night at the pub.

The village, Morningsong, was home to only a hundred or so villagers - that number made fewer in recent weeks when a handful of able-bodied hunters inexplicably failed to return from the forest. The next morning, the PCs met Dowding, the militia captain, and Lady Silva, the town governess, who rode on horseback, accompanied by a non-mounted escort of two casually-outfitted men-at-arms and a lowly-looking servant who appeared to suffer from mental illness. Through exploration and questioning, the party learned a bit of history behind the town's modest chapel, whose signpost out front bore the following scripture:

"Let this chapel stand for eternity
As a reminder of the consequences of sin."
As explained by Dowding, some twenty-five years prior, two fair sisters fell in love with a brooding, young soldier from a faraway land. The younger girl, Ellidora, was to be married to the the gallant, but out of jealousy-turned-hatred, the elder sister, Angelina, slew Ellidora, slitting her sister's throat on the steps of the chapel where she was to be wed. Three days later, Angelina was stoned in the chapel courtyard by the light of the full moon. As she was bound to the totem, she vehemently denied wrongdoing and accused Ellidora of being a witch, possessed by evil.

In the wake of the sisters' deaths, the young gallant rode off into heavy mists one cold autumn morning and was never heard from again. A month after ordering the execution of his eldest daughter, Lord Hanwey, the town's governor, was slain by orcs in a great battle to protect the village (which the militia ultimately won).

We ended with the PCs pledging their aid to Lady Silva as village sought to learn the fate of its missing woodsmen.

DM's Commentary

No XP to award at this time. Players can feel free to use this thread (or just email) to ask questions or carry out menial dealings and conversations in the village. Not much else to add other than I thought this was a really good session, with fantastic atmosphere throughout.

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