Sunday 17 September 2023

Turn 23: The Thrappled Lemmings and the Scheming Heretic* (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

 *Being a polytheistic culture with animist leanings, where people have 'personal' relationships to the gods, Utavoll does not really have a concept of heresy per se. Instead, heretic is a term used of those who use their powers to disrupt the natural order of things

The Lemmings were happy. They had beer and they had cash, which meant they also had potential beer in the future. They had not got in any fights recently, not been thrown out of any taverns in a week, and the weather had been bad so the bad guys had been keeping their heads down too. Wido and Fulrad had used the break to train and were quickly improving as warriors.

Lysanthir took time to listen to rumours and learn more about the Synod of Reason.

"Lads," he announced as the bad weather started to lift once more, "There's something not right down by Elsfjord Kloster. I think the Synod of Reason is interfering with the monks* and their brewing. There have been raids on caravans out of Elsfjord lately. It seems that someone is raising the dead and using them to raise a ruckus. We need to do something about it."

*Monks in Utavoll are cultists, but they are the good type of cultist. They devote themselves to the gods and do good works. The ones at Elsfjord Kloster are mainly devoted to Ægir, Brewer To The Gods (may his name ever be blessed).

The others were getting a bit of cabin fever and agreed that a trip to the Kloster would do them good, especially if it involved trying the beer at its source. They packed their bags and set off.

The journey to the Kloster went smoothly and they quickly tracked the raiders to a deserted beer hall, where their leader, a thoroughly disreputable looking person appeared to be expecting the Lemmings. The other raiders were standing patiently on guard. As the Lemmings approached, they moved to attack and the chill fog that the Lemmings had come to associate with the Synod's presence rolled in once more to chill them to the bone and reduce visibility massively.

"So, Thrappled Lemmings, we meet at last."

The cultist's voice echoed eerily in the fog.

"I wondered if you would turn up, when you heard that I was disrupting your beer supply. Well, that will be your last mistake. Now it is time for you to die!"

The Thrappled Lemmings charge towards the beer hall. Two skeletons stand behind the trees to their left. The heretic and two skeletons stand in the yard of the hall. Not in shot is an unknown enemy marker,

Sir Thiebault shrugged as he and Drogo munched down Springwind Berries for a little extra speed in closing with the Heretic. He had heard it all before. Lysanthir chugged down a Potion of Fortune.

"Come on, Lemmings. Let's show this idiot what's what."

He led the charge towards the enemy before the Heretic and his minions could even respond.

The skeletons lurched towards the Lemmings and their leader moved to a position where he could begin using his nefarious spells to take over the Lemmings and to get them to fight among themselves. Lysanthir countered his abilities by casting Fog on him.

"That'll fix you," muttered Lysanthir, pleased that his arcane knowledge had finally come in useful.

Can't enspell what you can't see, eh?

With the Heretic fogbound and unable to use his Charm spells, Drogo stepped into the fog and began waving his axe round madly. There was a cry of pain and when the fog cleared, Drogo found himself standing over the corpse of the Heretic. Meanwhile, the others were slowly carving up the skeletons, who did not really want to be put down again. As they did this, three more skeletons emerged from the fog. Drogo and Sir Thiebault charged these new enemies only to be pushed back. Lysanthir stepped into the breech and cut both of them down in quick succession.

Once more the Thrappled Lemmings held the field (and the beer hall), and this time Drogo had not even been wounded! Looting the deserted beer hall, they found a selection of valuable spices and a gilded mead horn that they could sell.

They made their way quickly into Elsfjord itself, where they took rooms at the Frolicking Carthorse and encountered a destitute merchant called Karl. The poor man had been travelling to Elsfjord with cartloads of supplies for the monks but had been robbed by Orcs along the way. He was looking for investors to get him back on his feet and promised big profits if only they would take pity on him.

Lysanthir and Sir Thiebault discussed this and concluded that they could lend Karl 6 Marks. Karl promised to leave their loan and profits for them with his factor in Haitabu.

The locals were also in an uproar about strange goings on down the coast from Elsfjord. Clearly there was something to investigate here too.

I must admit that I was worried about facing a Unique Foe, and the thought of him charming one of my characters was quite scary. However, it all worked out fine and I discovered that not all of Lysanthir's spells are useless!

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