Worms: Apocalypse

Interlude: Sins of the Father
In Which Xan Learns Terrible Things.

22 Flocktime, 595 CY (A few days before…)

Xan collected the items for sale in the group’s bag of holding and headed out to the market to make some money. He knew several people in town already that would give him good prices on what they found in the swamp, so he wasted no time. Within a couple short hours, his coin purse was full and he was heading back to the inn.

Unfortunately he would never make it. Halfway down one of the quieter alleys, something felt very wrong and Xan stopped in his tracks. He carefully scanned the alley, looking for anything out of place. But he saw and heard nothing. Shrugging, he relaxed and started down the alley again. And then there was only blackness.

Two men quickly scooped Xan’s limp body up and threw it into a crate waiting on a nearby wagon. Within seconds they had disappeared into the crowd.

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Session 25: The Sodden Hold, Part 3
In Which the Adventurers Kill Themselves.

After everyone had rested and healed up, Drake said, “So… We ready to head back to the inn? Also, we leaving the crazy prisoner here?”

Xan shrugged. “Is there anything left of this place? Just behind this door, right? Let’s take a look, and we might find we don’t need to come back.”

“Sadly, no trace of them was ever found,” muttered Liberty.

“Please do not open any other doors,” Mom requested.

Liberty paused. “If Mom needs his spells back, then we should rest.” She nodded thanks to him for the healing.

“If you all want to go, that’s fine,” said Xan. “I’m just worried that it will give the doppelgangers time to clear out any evidence we might find.”

“I’m game for closing this out,” Liberty decided. “Now that I’m mended, anyway.”

Drake shrugged. “I’ve only got one potion left to do any wound patching, but I’ve got plenty of stuff to bolster us.”

“I guess I’m outvoted. Let’s do it,” said Mom.

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Session 24: The Sodden Hold, Part 2
In Which the Adventurers Face the Unseen.

Liberty removed her spectacles, frowning down at them. “I can barely see in here as it is. Why did I do that?”

Drake lowered a rope and helped Mom climb back up out of the unreasonably deep spiked pit trap. Once he was back among them, he healed his leg.

“So,” said the sorcerer, trying to hide her smile.

“You may laugh, Liberty,” said Mom. She decided not to, edging around the pit to see if the north wall concealed any more secret doors. If so, they were very well hidden, and she turned back to shrug at the others.

“Um… How about we go through the passageway up here?” suggested Xan.

“Perhaps we should,” said Mom, somewhat acidly.

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Session 23: The Sodden Hold, Part 1
In Which Things Are Not What They Seem.

In various states of inebriation, several of the patrons all started to speak at once, and Fargus continued his panicked accusations. Mallak stood up and said, “Hold on, everyone. Don’t panic.” In the chaos, Liberty turned to Drake. Trying not to betray her shock and horror, she simply said, “Help Tarquin.”

The alchemist nodded and pushed past Marta to circle the bar. He checked the gnome’s vital signs and muttered to Liberty. “He’s alive, just. I can save him, but I don’t have my potions with me. They’re up in my room.”

Liberty briefly offered thanks to the gods then turned back to address the commons in a commanding voice. “Mallak’s right.” Once she had their attention, she addressed Fargus. “And I find it confusing that you accuse us of a crime you didn’t witness.”

“The half-orc brushed past me on the stairs, blood all over his clothing. What else am I to assume?” Fargus blustered. He whirled on the off-duty guardsman. “Mallak! Do your duty, and go up to arrest the half-orc!”

The sergeant began nodding at the suggestion, but stopped short when Liberty said, “Hold on, Mallak. Mom is the most upstanding man I know. He would never do something like this; there must be some other explanation.”

“Not for nothin’,” said Rolf the carpenter, “but lass, we all saw him plunge the blade in. It don’t make sense, no, but…”

“That’s what we saw, yes, but magic might be at play here,” Liberty said, pulling a wand from her sleeve.

Fargus’s eyes widened and he shrieked, “Fell sorcery!” The other patrons began to panic, moving away from the sorcerer and talking over one another loudly.

“Everybody calm yourselves!” Liberty protested, struggling to be heard over the din. “I’m using this wand to heal Tarquin.”

“Lies!” screamed Fargus, ripping a short sword from his belt and rushing Liberty in a frenzy.

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Session 22: The Crooked House
In Which New Friends are Made.

“Shall we have a look at this Crooked House?” asked Liberty once the adventurers were once more outside the wizard’s manor.

“Couldn’t hurt,” rumbled Drake. “I need something functional so I can bring my lab in.”

“We can start looking for something more permanent once we’ve set up there,” she said.

“I’m for it,” said Xan. Mom grunted his assent.

They made their way back to the Foreign Quarter of Greyhawk, a diverse and busy neighborhood, packed with shops from dozens of nations and numerous inns that catered to merchants and travelers from faraway lands. The buildings there reflected this diverse ethnicity, as few look alike and construction styles vary wildly from building to building. Structures were made from stone, fancifully carved wood, and countless other more exotic materials.

Asking for directions to the Crooked House, they were directed to an older part of the Foreign Quarter, in which the houses and hovels sagged and leaned, and stone surfaces were weathered smooth like gravestones marking forgotten souls. Above the streets, towering chimneystacks rose high above rat-infested shingles, and ravens called into the perpetual twilight of the cavernous alleys beneath.

The locals called this corner of the city Midnight’s Muddle.

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Interlude: At the Sage's House
In Which Liberty Sums Up.

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

20 Flocktime, 595 CY

Liberty carried her backpack toward one of the parlor’s gilt-edged tables. With one look at her pack’s shabby, dusty state, she set it on the floor instead, and took a knee beside it. “This all began a few weeks ago,” she told Eligos, “when we found out about a necromancer who’d been robbing graves around Diamond Lake.” She’d rehearsed this presentation on the road, so she could include everything of importance, and omit everything that wasn’t. Eligos didn’t need to know about the Whispering Cairn, or the ghost that sent them to the Land’s farm, where they’d found the desecrated ground. “One of the local mine managers had hired the necromancer to research a secret cult, which had set up shop, as it were, in one of the mines.”

She opened her bag and carefully lifted the velvet-wrapped jar out, standing to set it on the table. With a bit more drama than might have been necessary, Liberty whisked the velvet away, revealing the segmented worm, suspended in green fluid. “We found this in the necromancer’s lair,” she said. “The mine manager stole it from the cult’s hidden temple.”

Eligos stood, walked to the table, and peered into the jar. “What is it?”

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Session 21: Laws and Libations
In Which the Adventurers Cross Town and Secure Lodgings.

“Hello! The name’s Xan Quinn, and these are my companions Drake, Liberty, and Charles.” The rogue flashed a smile at Mom upon using the half-orc’s real name. “We are making another journey from Diamond Lake to do some commerce and maybe take in the Champion’s Games. If there is anything that could be done to help make your job easier today, please let us know. We are eager to see the city again.”

The guard grunted, casting a sidelong glance at his partner before turning back to you. “Great! Let’s have a looksee at whatcher bringin’ in to our fair city.” The other guard moved to investigate their possessions.

As he frisked Drake, the alchemist muttered, “Usually have to pay for this kind of attention.”

The guardsman scowled at Drake and retorted, “Of course you do.”

Drake shrugged. “Yea. Pretty much.”

The guard looked very suspiciously at all weapons and unusual gear, especially odd talismans, jars containing green worms, and obviously magical items. After his inspection, which was conducted with a healthy dose of concerned looks and disapproving sighs, the guard said, “I’m afraid some of your possessions are questionable and may need to be confiscated.”

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Session 20: Getting to Greyhawk
In Which the Roads Become More Dangerous.

17 Flocktime, 595 CY

Allustan helped the adventurers compile the notes and discoveries they’d made about the Ebon Triad in Diamond Lake and the spawn of Kyuss in the Mistmarsh. He provided them with an address for his associate Eligos, a sage in the Free City, whom – it was hoped – could put greater resources to bear to figure out what exactly the cult might be plotting.

The journey from Diamond Lake to the Free City was about eighty-five miles along a spottily patrolled road through the hills. Most of them had made the trip a time or two already between their previous adventures and they didn’t expect any trouble on the road, but they passed several other travelers on the road – traders, farmers, pilgrims, and a couple of groups of soldiers – who indicated that the way is not as safe as it once was. The Free City would be hosting its annual Champion’s Games soon, and the increased traffic seemed to be enticing bandits and monsters to take advantage of that.

They made camp along the side of the road and had just finished up dinner when Mom and Xan heard the sound of something large prowling toward the horses. Mom grunted in warning, but it was not a terribly informative sound. Xan leapt to his feet, prepared to meet the threat, but not quite prepared for what leapt out of the trees.

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Interlude: Embers
In Which Drake Says His Goodbyes.

Posted by GnomeSplosion

It was a dim hour when Benazel heard the knocking at his door. He wasn’t expecting anybody, especially this late. He cracked the door and peered out at the imposing figure standing there and stated “I’m sorry, it’s late, I don’t know what you want but the lab isn’t open please leave.” The figure stood there covered to keep his identity to himself and spoke gently “Sorry Benazel, just wanted to come say goodbye and good luck.” Benazel’s eyes widened “Get in here you fool before you attract attention to yourself.” He reached out and grabbed Drake’s arm and pulled him through the door closing it behind.

“You fool!” Benazel stated. “You absolute fool! I’m having a hard enough damn time after what you did… ‘He was your apprentice Benazel!’ ‘You knew he was trouble Benazel!’ … Do you know what that damn stunt accomplished?” Drake pulled the cowl from his face and hands exposing the scars covering him, the melted skin, the thin mouth. “Oh… I guess you… Dammit Drake, why? Why did you have to be such a brilliant pupil… And such a dangerous prospect.”

“I had to clean it, burn away, I needed to be reborn.” Drake spoke softly. “There are other ways. Let me get you some salve, we can fix the scars.” Benazel began unthinking, and then stopped. “Why haven’t you… It’s something you could easily do with the right unguents…” He began to stare at Drake confused. “I need to remember, that’s all, I earned these burns and I will keep them.” Benazel cocked an eyebrow “Well hells, I can’t tell you what to do, but you sure are sticking with that ‘fool’ thing.”

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Session 19: First Contact
In Which the Unkillable Undead are Put to the Test.

Only one of the lizardfolk soldiers was standing guard over the prisoners from Blackwall Keep when the adventurers returned to the shaman’s chamber. Hishka looked up anxiously and asked, “It is done?”

Liberty nodded, holding up Shukak’s magical amulet. “I don’t think he’ll be a problem for you anymore.”

The shaman nodded, looking both relieved and apprehensive. A splash was heard from a western side tunnel that the adventurers had passed on their way to the king’s audience chamber. Another lizardfolk soldier rushed into the chamber, speaking rapidly to Hishka in Draconic. Drake and Liberty caught something about “eggs,” “kobolds,” and “danger,” but he was speaking too erratically for them to make out much more.

The shaman hissed with bared teeth when the warrior finished speaking, then turned to the humans (and half-orc). “I know it is not your concern, but still I request your assistance. It seems there is a threat to our eggs – from those meant to protect them.”

“Show me,” said Liberty without hesitation.

Xan was a bit more circumspect. “What do you mean?”

Hishka explained on the way. “Ilthane the Black left one of her eggs among ours as a token of trust, but she did not leave it unguarded – kobold servitors remained to defend the nest. When I heard about Grraak’s death and the worms that infested him, I began to suspect… Well, let us see what we see.”

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