Raygun Encounters: Legacy of the Crystal Shard

How to Succeed in an Evil Cult

...without really trying

Week 9
Dan as Incendius, Human Wizard
Neil as Bud, Ranger
William as Fib, Tiefling Warlock
Sina as Alasaurus, Swordmage
Steven as Etain, Drow Cleric
Fred as Hogar, Half-Orc Slayer
Allison as Mardred, Dwarf Paladin
Josh as DM

The next morning, the heroes awake to hear an alarm bell ringing in the center of town, but the barbarian/yeti combined attack is beaten back without their ability to break through the gate via a skeletal dragon. Etain, who was trancing on the walls, also helps prevent (most of) the guard casualties from barbarian arrows.

A celebratory brunch is held as the invading army seems to have melted back into the wilderness, and the team gets together in the Speaker’s Hall where they are congratulated and thanked by all. But the festive mood is broken when a woman comes in crying, and says that her husband has gone missing! The Speaker asks an aide to take care of it, but Mardred’s conscience won’t let her get back to enjoying the food until she gets the full story. It turns out the woman’s husband is the apothecary who set the adventurers on Slim’s trail back at the beginning! And they realize that they still owe him some money. Awkward. “Well,” points out Hogar, “if we rescue him, that should erase the debt, right?”

The woman claims that a cult has been forming following the Frost Maiden Auril, seeking to appease her wrath with various displays of devotion. Several travelers had gone missing across Icewind Dale and were presumed to have been taken by the cult (there were rumors of bodies found in the wilderness..), but this was the first known incident of an actual resident. Speaker Duvessa and the guard captain said they had no hard leads and had been unable to identify any cultists connected to kidnappings so far, but all agreed that this was crossing a line. They are directed that a self-described prophet of Auril has been spreading tales as he travels his merchant routes – a man named Davrick Fain from Bremen. They agree to go there and seek him out.

They quickly find Fain, and Incendius and Fib enter his shop feigning ignorance and ask about the teachings of Auril. Fain seems to sense that something is up with Incendius and is rather dodgy, openly admitting his devotion to Auril but hotly denying any criminal activity. Fib comes back later with Etain and the tiefling and drow take a slightly different tact – trying to join the cult, playing up their racial stereotypes as less-than-good. This seems to work, although Fain asks some odd questions about whether they have friends or relatives nearby. He arranges to meet them at dinner that evening along with some other “brothers” at the nearby inn.

Fib and Etain meet the gentlemen in question at the inn a few hours later, and they strike up a rousing conversation about the followers of Auril, the heroes’ background and the local happenings in Bremen. Meanwhile the rest of the party position themselves at various places nearby and try to be discreet. The brothers mention a gathering in a few days and say they will be in touch, but offer to keep buying drinks and keeping the fun going. A little bit later, Alasaurus and Bud realize something is up as the inn is clearing out and they see the innkeeper exchanging glances with the cultists. They suddenly notice the innkeeper mumbling to himself and realize he is casting a spell! Everyone draws their swords as the other inn patrons also draw steel and attack!

The battle is fierce, particularly when they realize that both the innkeeper and the server are using dark magic to hold party members in place. Hogar is reduced to throwing javelins (although still strangely effective) as Alasaurus tries to push one cultist into the fire. Mardred keeps the innkeeper tied up although she takes some nasty cuts from the broken bottle he wields, and Etain takes a beating and is almost knocked out before Fib can slow down his attackers and get in the way, taking a few hits himself. Bud hangs out from the stairs and takes potshots, helping take down several cultists as Incendius bounds down the stairs to unleash Burning Hands over the bar, exploding most of the alcohol as Mardred (who has gotten quite good at recognizing the gestures for Burning Hands by now) ducks behind the bar to avoid getting scorched.

They finally kill all but one of the cultists, who Etain is able to keep from bleeding out and finally wake up just as someone shows up with a town guard. As he surveys the scene, Fib is able to threaten the final cultist to reveal that some of the other kidnapped people were being held at a hideout part way up Kelvin’s Cairn before he is taken away by the guard. The guard warns the adventurers that everyone they just killed had been living peacefully in Bremen for years, and while he understood they were acting in self defense, they were his friends too. He STRONGLY encourages the adventurers to leave town as soon as they can, and so they set out towards Kelvin’s Cairn, stopping to camp out for the night a few miles from the village.

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