Light Warriors

To Catch a Cultist
Graveyards always come with sleepy and/or creepy groundskeepers

The group awakens and, after hearing various rumors for some time, decide that there may be something worth looking into as far as these graverobbings are concerned. Before they can get started on that, however, a detective named Joel Sanford enters the inn they are staying at, walks up to Jax, and starts asking questions about who killed Codrey, and what the hell happened that night . Gwyn and others provide truthful answers, and even though Joel is initially suspicious of them, after he interviews them he continues on his way, and even buys them some beer.

With Law and Order out of the way, the heroes proceed to one of the graveyards which had been the target of the rash of grave robberies. It lies a few miles outside of town — they arrive and talk with the groundskeeper, who doesn’t have a lot going on upstairs, and his dog, who is almost constantly asleep. They don’t get much help, the groundskeeper is both sleepy and incompetent, and doesn’t really remember anything about the last few nights. He says the party is welcome to investigate, derp derp derp.

The heroes decide that they’ll set up surveillance on the graveyard from a nearby tower and, if they see anybody coming, they’ll confront them. Sonya and Gwyn go off to get some dark cloaks to help them hide, and Leroy talks with the guards at the tower (who somewhat recognize him due to a hit single). Leroy talks his way up to the observation floor of the tower, and buys a spyglass and gets it polished up so that he can see the road to the graveyard. The girls come back with horses and wait a short distance away.

As night approaches, fog rolls in, but Leroy thinks he spots something coming along the road. They spring into action, and run into a group of scraggly farmers wearing dirty clothes loitering outside the graveyard. They don’t really respond to any questions, they just say they’re camping. The heroes leave them be and go into the graveyard proper, and hide among the tombstones. They notice a lot of very smelly, rotted flowers on some of the graves. Hours later, some of the men from the wagon approach with knives and, spreading out to the flower-marked graves, start chanting a spell of some sort. The party attempts to distract the nearest cultist, but he is intent upon his spell. Finally they physically restrain him (via Kaida), but his comrades knife themselves and fall forward onto the marked graves.

A short battle ensues; two ‘leader’ cultists appear and toss earth magic around at the heroes. Meanwhile, the slain cultists sink into the marked graves and arise as a number of horrible zombies. The heroes defeat them all, and capture the cultist restrained by Kaida.

The groundskeeper and his dog slept through the whole thing.

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Leroy, leroy, leroy
What happened?

The next few weeks the party, minus Merrik Lee (who is distributing monies to relatives of his merc company), spends time tending to Leroy. They spend those weeks resting and readjusting Leroy back to normal life, although he’s sworn off drinking and questions his faith in Olidammara. They hear rumors about a war starting up out of Tower’s Edge, a town or city disappearing (Toye? Noye? Noyo?), and a rash of grave robbings in the area. Eventually, the party and Leroy have recuperated, and decide to investigate the grave robbings.

*Note meanwhile, at this same time, a man named Jakar has encountered a horde of undead outside of the town of Whisper. Being a lawman within that town, Jakar begins to hunt them after the immediate threat to the town has ended to figure out where their lair might be.

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Killing Codrey
Two men, together in hatred

The crew wakes up the next day; Gwyn and Merrik remain slightly hungover from their massive redecorating effort. Everyone heads off to Codrey’s place, which is fairly easy to find because, being a rich asshole crime lord, everyone in town knows where he is. He lives in a fortified compound with patrolling guards, nicely landscaped grounds, etc.

As the heroes arrive, a small band of miscreant-looking people leaves the gates. Merrik, Sonya, and Jax follow that band while Plexar and Gwyn continue to watch the gate and attempt to get inside. Merrik, Sonya, and Jax tail the suspicious band into Sparkle and down some alleyways, where they seem to rough a few people up before turning down a dark alley and, after speaking some password, go into an unmarked building. The heroes throw things at the door to try and get the doorman to step out into the alley, but he doesn’t do so. Finally, Merrik goes up to the door and just says “”/campaign/light-warriors/wikis/pocketwatch" class=“wiki-page-link”> POCKETWATCH" and is given entree. He sits down and has a beer, and listens to the gossip in the room. Apparently there’s a meeting in the basement; he goes down there and begins to listen in as the criminal types appear to be having some sort of council against Codrey. The major players view him as soft, not crazy enough, and want to showing Sparkle what “real crime” looks like.

Meanwhile, Jax gains entry by barging in the door and concocting an elaborate tale(?). Sonya still has no way to get inside. Merrik comes back up, hearing the commotion, and helps Jax toss out some of the remaining people in the speakeasy. He then intimates to Jax that there are a lot of rats in the cellar. They set the building on fire and lock the basement door, killing all the criminals under the speakeasy.

Jax, Sonya, and Merrik run off as authorities and fire quenching types arrive, but the building is going up in raging flames. Sonya is extremely upset with Jax and Merrik for killing all those people willy nilly. She rides off, while Jax and Merrik continue on to Codrey’s compound.

Meanwhile, Gwyn and Plexar have managed to infiltrate Codrey’s compound. Plexar disguised himself as a simple farmer and got in by playing the part of a petitioner. Gwyn wasn’t able to sneak in with him, but she follows by tricking a guard and pretending to be his wife with a message for him. She follows Plexar to a locked door where Plexar is discussing working with Codrey and how he kind of hates Leroy. Gwyn is shocked.

Gwyn and Plexar meet up with Merrik and Jax outside of the compound. Plexar says that he wants them to attend a gathering that evening where Leroy is going to be, and they can save him then. Gwyn tells them about Plexar’s plans to betray them, but nobody really believes her. They leave and decide to return that evening. Sonya is still upset at Jax and she doesn’t plan to attack Codrey’s compound with them; she plans to remain outside.

Nighttime comes, and the heroes converge again on Codrey’s. Codrey is in his courtyard with Leroy tied to a poll, obviously badly beaten. He has a number of henchmen around him. The heroes arrive and challenge Codrey, but suddenly a large, fiery man leaps onto the grounds and one of the grain silos nearby explodes, knocking Codrey’s henchmen down and knocking Gwyn unconscious. It rasps an oath of vengeance against Codrey, and proceeds to bound across the grounds toward another silo. Merrik and Jax just shrug, and rush into the fray, slaying some of the helpless henchmen while they are stunned.

Plexar heads straight for Leroy, and starts beating him up screaming that he killed his father. Leroy does nothing because he’s already near unconsciousness. Popping/crackling sounds start coming from the silo the fiery demon went into, and it begins to smoke — Gwyn is dangerously close to it. Plexar notices and stops pounding on Leroy long enough to rescue Gwyn, moving her just far enough away before the building explodes and the fiery man leaps into Codrey’s mansion. Sonya takes the opportunity to move in, grab Leroy, and teleport them both back to her horse.

Jax and Merrik soundly defeat Codrey, who crawls back into his mansion. One of the henchmen grabs a horse from the nearby stable and begins to ride off — it has bags on it that Merrik instantly recognizes as his Fox Company bags. Merrik attacks the henchman and reclaims his horse, which still has the widow money in it. Plexar rushes into the house to loot some of Codrey’s treasure, and discovers that it’s on fire. As he rushes around grabbing loot, the fire gets worse, and he hears more popping/sizzling sounds. He can’t find his way out, and he’s loaded down with treasure. He tops to drop the heaviest thing he’s carrying and try to run out. The building explodes with himself and Codrey inside.

In the aftermath, Leroy recovers over time, and Merrik leaves to give out the Fox Company treasury to the relatives of his men.

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Plexar gets an Exorcism
And the best 80's cleaning montage this side of Sparkle

The group arrives in Sparkle with Plexar feeling/looking progressively worse. Plexar actually looks sort of creepy. The group runs interference for him lest he be mistaken for some sort of demon, and they ask about the whereabouts of a priest. Some snarky guard jabs his thumb at the hundred foot tall spire marking the Temple of All Faiths, a veritable smorgasbord of religious flavorings and spices. Inside the temple, the group delivers Plexar to a kindly priest who senses a grave curse upon him, and offers to cure it.

The party enters the exorcism room and watches while the priests work their magic. After some advanced special effects, what looks like the spirit of the cultist leader eventually flies out of Plexar and he lies exhausted. The priests mention that he’ll be sleeping for some time, and they’ll take care of him.

Onward to Sparkle, but wait, the church of Olidammara has been ransacked by thugs! Apparently, some douchebag noble bard guy came through, robbed them blind, smashed their stuff, and took off. Asshole! The place is a mess. Who was it? They say it was some guy named Codrey, who smashed up the temple as a way to cause Leroy some anguish. Double asshole!

Sonya and Jax venture out to try and sell some of her gems from Kets, and meanwhile Merrik and Gwyn offer to help clean up and restore the church. Sonya and Jax find a nice jeweler who is willing to buy some of her gems after a while of window shopping and haggling, and Sonya comes out pretty wealthy. On her way back, some perceptive bandits attempt to steal her huge wad of gold, but fail due to the awesome powers of her bag with a secret pocket. Some meta hijinx ensue, but Sonya keeps her gold.

Meanwhile, Merrik and Gwyn have learned the true meaning of Olidammara and gotten completely smashed off a variety of seasonal flavors of Oli’s Ale, and been singing any song you care to name while they move things around, move things in, sweep, and hang out with those nice priest guys. By the time Sonya and Jax return, the church of Olidammara looks less like a destroyed and pillaged room and more like a very poorly, drunkenly decorated room. Critical success!

Plexar wakes up, and despite Merrik’s drunken urgings to go kill Codrey now, the group decides to call it a night and let everyone sleep everything off.

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Enter the Magikarp
And improbable barricade

The next day, the heroes wake up in the cave to some stunning developments. Plexar awakes and looks a little… off. He sees his reflection in a pool and sees a snake demon creature. Jax has blockaded the entryway into the cave using some of the group’s horses, because a local authority figure discovered the slain bodies of the cultists and in investigating, discovered the cave. Jax panicked and blockaded the doorway. The heroes, looking for a way out, pushed on through the water filled room.

The water-filled room was full of fish-like and snake-like creatures. The players defeated them, with the exception of a large karp-like creature. Jax was dragged under water and nearly drowned before freeing himself.

At the end of this battle, the lord came in through the horse blockade and demanded to know what the party was doing slaying people on his lands. The heroes explain the situation to the lord, who thanks them and sends them on their way.

The party gathers more proof for the Council of Roses, and decides to venture to Sparkle in order to figure out what is going on with Plexar.

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Clearing The Roads
Of dinobandits and lack of proper signalling

The heroes set forth on their horses toward Sparkle, carefully trying to avoid being seen. Eventually they see some odd shapes roaming the road ahead, and they set Jax up as bait. They attack; they’re some medium-sized lizard creatures.. maybe raptor-like, and they spit acid. Eww.

The heroes dispatch the raptor-creatures and cut off their talons. There’s a plume of smoke rising out of the wood nearby, and the party follows it. Plexar volunteers to go up and scout the area. The others stay behind and wait for his signal. Plexar inches forward and finds a lot of cultists standing around doing some divine rite. They’re suspiciously evil looking. As many things go, nobody ever planned for what the signal should be, so Plexar has no way to signal the rest of the band. Drats. And there’s a sentry coming up who may just spot him laying there. Hmm.

As fortune would have it, the rest of the group gets tired of waiting on Plexar, and Gwyn comes back from her minor scouting mission to tell them Plexar is still down there. The party moves down and confronts the cultists.

The cultists introduce themselves as followers of the arch-demon Manon, and they’re doing an evil sacrifice to spread evil and death and corruption. Maybe you all would like to join us? Jax disagrees and attacks the group — following this surprise attack, the rest of the party will attempt to come up with a signal word for “I’m going to attack these guys now”, and come up with POCKETWATCH. Anyway, combat begins and the head cultist guy goes into some weird trance with a protective bubble around him. The heroes quickly destroy his cultist minions, but can’t impact the leader. Until Sonya unleashes the souls she has stored up in her Helm of Seven Deaths, and C-C-C-C-Combos that with her Chosen ability from the Tower of Trials into an epic fireball of volcanic death. Not so tough now, are you, lead cultist guy? Anyway, his bubble breaks and he gets a Light Warrior beat-down. With his dying breath, he murmurs something and points at Plexar.

The party notes that there’s a small cave just behind the group of dead cultists. They don some of the less burned or shredded cultist robes and attempt to sneak their way into the cultist hideout. They are accosted by some snake people who are living down there (more worshipers of Manon), and although they initially trick them into believing they’re simply new recruits, somebody gives them away and they wind up fighting. After another brief battle, in which the final enemy alive attempted to pull a shiny red lever, the heroes find themselves enthralled by this red lever and have a sudden urge to touch it and pull it. Once pulled, there is a sound of rushing water from a hidden room beyond; the heroes can see more snake-like snakes moving in the water.

The party decides to go outside, hide the bodies, and sleep in the abandoned cultist tents. sleep in the cave.

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Welcome to Roses
Orphans are evil...

The party arrives in the town of Roses, a relatively small trading outpost. Merrik immediately greets some locals that recognize him. A merchant has just come into town who lost everything due to some troublesome things on the road; not much is known about them, but it seems to be a common occurance of late and is impacting the local economy. It’s not exactly a happy homecoming for Merrik anyway condsidering Merrik’s mercenary company was destroyed and someone stole all their money. The local widows and widowers are none too happy as Merrik goes around, telling them their husbands and wives are dead, and that he has no money to help support their families. At some point they’re told that they can come by a council meeting the next day to discuss the road security problem.

Meanwhile, Plexar picks up a lovely barfly whose name I don’t think we caught, but she’s definitely not Samantha. Plexar loosens her up with a tall glass of extremely expensive alcohol, and she agrees to go to bed with him in the penthouse. She fixes his wagon.

However, Plexar was supposed to share the penthouse with Merrik and Jax, but they are put off by whatever is going on in there. Merrik and Jax make other accomodations, and Sonya sleeps soundly.

In the morning, the bar fly has gone, and fortunately didn’t steal anything from Plexar. The heroes venture off to fill the morning. Some little non-orphan waif steals a shiny jewel? a box? something? from Sonya, and scampers off with it. The heroes track the little bastard to an abandoned warehouse where the little guy is showing the shiny object to his little raggamuffin friends. The warriors of legend bust in on the scene, and the kids take off, but not before Jax apprehends the little thief (roughly). Plexar mentions that they should brand him “Bad Kid” with Eternal Chalk, but Merrik unfortunately doesn’t approve of branding children and suggests that they take the kid to his mom for lawful punishment.

The small child whines and says he’ll show them a secret if they let him go. The heroes let the little guy go, and he shows them a dry well and says there’s stuff down there. I may have made the last few things up, but that’s generally where this went. The little non-orphan then runs home to his mother, presumably. The heroes stare down the gaping maw of the dry well a moment before descending. It’s completely dark, but there’s a big treasure chest with some elven items in it. Merrik speculates that perhaps in times past, some aquatic elves lived in this place. Everyone climbs out, but not before Plexar creepily attempts to corner Gwyn in order to help her out? – I forget the exact circumstances. Anyway, everyone got out fine.

The heroes, now flush with ancient elf-loot (not elf bucks), attend the Council of Roses gathering. After some boring procedural stuff, the heroes bust in and announce themselves. The council seems mostly positive and they negotiate a contract for killing some creatures that are ambushing merchants and travelers. Since I’m writing this in the future, we’ll say it was 5000g up front and 5000g after its done. Cha-ching! After some haggling, the heroes accept and, shortly after walking, remember they have horses, and go get them to ride.

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Triceratops and Tiki Torches
And a trip gone horribly wrong for some.

The heroes rode South from Kets, back through Note, where the villagers they had saved were evacuating for Tower’s Edge. The party briefly entertained settling down and living a nice life ruling over the simple people of Note, maybe running a tavern, but decided to save their kidnapped friend instead. The heroes continued East on the road towards the forest.

The party came upon many dangers and wonders as they rode through the forest. The first was a patch of poisoned darts, a few of which were inside one of the bandits. This bandit had some of Leroy’s gear and coin. Farther down the path, there was a giant beast of some sort sitting by a bush. The party wisely avoided this powerful beast and continued on. Next, in a clearing, another bandit had been slain by a knife to the back. Also in the clearing, a set of portal stones were set at its corners, red, blue, orange, and green. Through each portal the party could see a different image.. a castle on a hill, a simple cottage, a field, and so on. The heroes were tempted to stick Kaida through one of the portals to see what happened, but duty drove them onward after their friend.

Continuing on, the party came upon a greenhouse filled with plants in the middle of the forest, and a set of tiki torches lining the path to a kindly old woman’s house. This woman gave them a place to rest and refreshments. The party declined to go visit her greenhouse and her ‘creations’. Though she was concerned with some of the happenings lately (re: earth attuned people going insane), she didn’t appear to be insane herself. Plexar purchased one of her everburning tiki torches, and also a cap to go on it. The party continued on and took the fork that took them to Roses (rather than the longer road to Sparkle), which was close enough for them to reach by nightfall.

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The Chase is On!
Oh wait, we're not so bright.

Immediately after the kidnapping and seamless integration of Merrik into the party (ahem), the adventurers started off down the road chasing the bandits. The three bandits were on horseback, however, which the party eventually realized was a sizable disadvantage over being on foot. About half an hour of of town, the bandits a large dust cloud in the distance, the party turned back and acquired some horses from Tower’s Edge.

The heroes were near the town of Note, and decided to try to acquire horses there. Instead what they found was a ruined town filled with vines. Shortly thereafter they were attacked by plant creatures, which attempted to ensnare them. After a brief skirmish the large queen plant creature arrived, and was vanquished by the heroes. Searching the city, they found that some of the citizens had been hiding in a basement for sometime, and were led by a mad cult of deranged uh.. cultists. Anyway, they were holding the city’s population hostage. The party was able to dispel the cultists persuasive hold on the population, leading them back out into the sun. Then Merrik killed the last holdout cultist guy and took his baby tooth necklace.

Once again bravely road off in search of their captured friend (and gold!), they decided to head North to Kets. Kets, a city of half-giants, was less than welcoming. Inside, they attempted to pawn some items they discovered in Note. Sonya haggled with a merchant and came away with only a large sack full of large precious gems. Gwyn and Merrik, meanwhile, went to an arena in the town which had some horses in it. There Gwyn bartered with a goblin stablehand who allowed them to take 5 horses for a pittance in elven coin.

Now far behind Leroy, the party pushed on ahead with all speed to rescue him.

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Trial of Failure and Aftermath
Oh. Shit.

The final trial is a version of one possible future where the group failed. They arrive just outside of Tower’s Edge via a portal. The portal is set to return at noon of the next day. The smoking ruins of what looks like a massive and heavily fortified city, crowned with a broken silver tower in the middle. This is five years from today.

The city is broken and the only humans still alive and about are a group of late teen to young men who call themselves the Stingers, who serve Jax, the lord of the city. In all there are maybe 500 people left in the massive city, there are bodies everywhere although in some areas there seems to have been an effort to clean them out. There are some massive graveyards, followed by some mass graves. The city was destroyed by a combination of elementals, elves, and undead. With Xaltoon dead, the city was defenseless.

The minor enchantments left behind by Xaltoon keep the city alive. Time is still slow, and some small crops can still be grown although food has become more and more scarce as supplies from the larders run low.

Jax killed Xaltoon after the last other human city fell. Having grown frustrated with Xaltoon’s defensive attitude, Jax slew him and took over the city. This proved disastrous, but Jax still rules the ruins. Jax’s child soldiers from Jaxus are now his trusted guard as he plans defense for the city while knowing he can’t win. Jax has become even darker and more prone to anger.

Leroy is now an evil cleric in the service of Tiamat. Even that service is really only lip service; Leroy is out for himself and a cruel laugh at someone else’s expense. He is still a drunk, and only stops drinking long enough to play some cruel trick on the remaining people within the city.

Gwyn has become an abomination, like all elves. Due to their intimate connection with nature, the corruption has directly effected her body and mind. She and her mangy companion Kaida now stalk the area around Towers Edge, seeking to capture humans for her pack.

Sonya has become exasperated and doesn’t know how to deal with their defeat. She is angry and has a short fuse. She frequently unleashes her power at random objects just to sate her rage, and is always toying with fire in some form. Everyone’s concerned about her mental stability, but none question her.

Plexar has begun hording luxuries and people. He lives by himself on the other side of the city, not wanting to live in the military dictatorship of Jax, and on this day Jax assaulted his compound and killed him for defying his rule. Before his death, Plexar married Samantha and several other women, and continued to seek out and acquire wealth even though it was useless.

Edith is a stone statue sitting next to a lake in the center of the city, where grass is still green. She has a split from her forehead down the middle of her body. No magic can turn her back to life. Orion’s grave is nearby.

In this trial, future-Jax has just slain future-Plexar and looted his mansion, and as the players arrive Sonya destroys the tavern Leroy is in when they get into an argument over a decision gone wrong three years ago (sneaking into the guard house in Lyr vs. talking to the captain). Leroy comes out near dead but fighting and he and Sonya begin to fight near the players.

The players walked around with their future selves for some time, mostly Leroy and Sonya. Gwyn attacked them as they entered Sonya’s workshop where she’s been trying to find a spell to destroy the Corruption. Sonya looked askance at the real Gwyn, and told the players they couldn’t trust her, she would turn on them at some point. After staying the night there, Sonya left. The players attempted to leave and go back to the portal, but found that Gwyn was trapped inside the building. Sonya returned and informed them that they could leave, but Gwyn had to stay. She then departed to go deal with Jax. Gwyn and the players tried several methods for getting out of the house before Gwyn decided to polymorph herself using a potion in Sonya’s house. Gwyn turned herself into a cat, which allowed her to bypass the spell.

The heroes ran back to the portal, which had just opened. As they stood watching, the Corruption of Earth attacked and destroyed the city.

In the aftermath of the trial, the dragonkin boomed their names out as champions and warriors of the light. This was heard by everyone. They left the tower to wild cheering, and journeyed back to Tower’s Edge. As they rested, Leroy wandered off to make some more Oli’s Ale, and was kidnapped by bandits. Those bandits then stole some horses and rode out of town. A man ran out of the tavern yelling that his horses had been stolen, and the party realized that Leroy was strapped on to one of the horses being ridden out of town.

The man introduced himself as Merrik Lee, and offered to join the players in tracking down their friend and his horses.

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