Worms: Apocalypse

Session 11: The Labyrinth of Vecna
In Which Mystery is Not Enough.

The adventurers looted the kenku corpses and then regrouped in the chamber west of the entry hall. Healing magic was applied for those in need, and once everyone had caught their breath Mom asked, “What next?”

“Everyone takes a light and we keep going,” said Xan. They each took a sunrod taken from the bodies, ignited it and began following the rogue as he stalked through the twisting paths of the stony maze.

They came under attack by a pair of dire weasels in the northern part of the labyrinth. Sam and Xan slaughtered the first, and though one got a grip on Mom, Drake kicked it off of him, crushing the beast’s skull and splattering it against the wall behind Sam. “Huh,” the alchemist commented. “Didn’t think it would get so much…distance.”

Sam looked over her shoulder and her eyes followed the weasel as it slid down the wall. “Squishy.”

“Thanks, Drake,” said Mom, looking disturbed.

Liberty covered a smile. “You all right there, Mom?”

“Gah!” he exclaimed. “I’ll laugh later, but for now, GAH!”

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Session 10: One Down
In Which the Slaughter of Hextor(ites) Concludes.

Drake cracked his knuckles and looked at the corpses. “Well, these guys looked scarier than they were,” he grumbled. Mom grunted in agreement and proceeded to use the wand purchased in the Free City to begin healing those who had been injured in the fighting.

“Truly,” said Xan. “Though I can only imagine it gets worse from here, so don’t get cocky.”

Light from a pair of torches cast strange shadows across the blood-red walls of the dead priests’ chamber. Two wooden chairs were set opposite each other at the round table in the corner. Upon the table rested a thick, leather-bound book, a rusty dagger, a quill, inkpot, and several sheets of parchment. A wooden screen blocked off half the room near a large bed covered in blankets and furs.

Xan spearheaded the looting, stripping the bodies of all valuables, and searching the chambers through which the combat had spanned. The adventurers found a not insignificant amount of coin and valuables, mostly lavish jewelry, but also a handful of magic items, including another healing wand and a couple of divine scrolls. Once they had completed their search, they proceeded into the chamber from which the zombies had come.

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Session 9: The Temple of Hextor
In Which the Smack is Laid Down.

24 Planting, 595 CY

Liberty and Xan had little trouble finding the off-duty dwarven guards employed by Ragnolin Dourstone. A few drinks and a sizeable bribe later, they convinced the men to look the other way while the adventurers made a night-time incursion.

The mines were crude passages and tunnels hacked into the ground. Torches were set into the wall every fifty feet, but half of them were burnt out and useless. Liberty evoked her own light to help the party navigate the tunnels. “So, we’re looking for this secret elevator,” she said.

Xan pointed out some signs warning the miners to keep out. “Secret,” rumbled Drake.

Forty feet from the main entrance, the passage to the elevator cut down and to the left from the main tunnel. Timbers and planks nailed to the wooden frame of the passage’s entrance blocked access to the area beyond. Mom offered up his crowbar and Sam pried the crude barricade open.

The tunnel to the elevator stretched to the west and had a sharp, downward slope. After four hundred feet, they came to a chamber in containing a large wooden platform with a five-foot wall built around its edges. Struts rose ten feet from each of the platform’s corners, joining in an X above the platform. A thick iron chain ran through the X’s midpoint to a large wooden spool set in the middle of the platform. The chain was wrapped around the spool, and it appeared that as the car descended, the spool would spin and the chain would play out above it.

Drake pointed at the apparatus. “Brakes, wheel. Release the brake. Turn the wheel.”

“Sounds easy enough,” said Liberty.

“Shall we?” asked Mom, stepping onto the platform.

“Let’s,” said the sorcerer. She and the others stepped aboard.

The elevator creaked, but held their combined weight. Drake released the brake and the car lurched, but the alchemist’s strong arms took control of the wheel and they began their descent.

* * *

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Interlude: Smolderhaze
In Which Drake is Coerced Into Service.

Posted by GnomeSplosion

14 Planting, 595 CY

The door opened into the dark hovel and a large shadow blocked the meager light coming through the doorway. The shape slumped and practically fell through the doorway, a jug hanging from one hand. A skittering noise rasped on the floor and a bundle of beaked fur slammed into the shape’s legs as he stumbled in knocking him over and began clawing up his shins drawing specks of blood here and there. “Gods be damned, Devil! Hell-off-a-me.” And the form shoved the pup owlbear off of his legs. Cornelius Drake stood up, closed the door to his shack-home and slumped against the door, barring it with his own weight.

He had gotten back to Diamond Lake and set up the owlbear cub in his home earlier, laid out some raw meat slivers and scraps and water for the beast. Then he’d grabbed his sack of gold and set out to the closest place to buy a drink. Being dry for two days was not okay with him, and he planned to drink himself into the Nine Hells if he could, so that’s what he did. He now found himself, in the middle of the night, slumped, taking heavy pulls off of a half full gallon of grain alcohol and trying to forget every second of every vivid dream he’d endured sleeping in that abandoned office at the Whispering Cairn. Liquor wasn’t helping much and the memories of his life burned before his eyes, he retched onto the floor; hot, burning spirits issued forth from his gut – hot like fire, hot like blood – and he forgot everything in one instant and all was black, and he found peace.

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Session 8: The Lesser of Two
In Which the Adventurers Treat with Balabar Smenk.

23 Planting, 595 CY

The adventurers returned to Diamond Lake in the evening, having made the trek to and from the Free City to sell the loot they’d taken from the Whispering Cairn. During the trip, they had discussed looking for additional muscle to help them deal with the cult – once they found it. To that end they made their way to the Spinning Giant, where the garrison soldiers tended to congregate after a long day.

Xan crossed the commons to the bar and began chatting up the grizzled barkeeper to catch up on the last week’s news. The man was cleaning a glass, as was the habit of his profession, and filled the rogue in on the latest and greatest. The others scanned the room for anyone they knew. Mom smiled when he saw his friend and fellow militia member Samantha Claiborne sitting at a table drinking alone. With a grunt he took a seat opposite the young woman, and Liberty joined them.

Sam nodded to the half-orc, then kicked him lightly under the table. “Hey!” he complained.

“Hey yourself, green man,” she said pleasantly.

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Interlude: Three Meetings
In Which Liberty Revisits Friends (and Foes).

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

16 Planting, 595 CY

Liberty arrived at the Midnight Salute early with a basket of corn muffins. As she reached the front entrance, the door opened, allowing the corpulent form of Balabar Smenk out into the Vein. The sorcerer had just enough time to realize how unusual his presence here was before a spark of recognition flashed through his eyes, freezing her in place. “Ahh Miss Grace. The other Miss Grace. I was just speaking with your sister. Lovely girl. The stories she does tell.”

“Boss Smenk,” she managed; she couldn’t get “Talking’s all you’d better do with her” or “Leave my sister alone” to come out. I’ve hated this man for years, Liberty thought. Even before I knew that he’s the sort to traffic with necromancers. But he doesn’t know that I know about Filge, so maybe I can play this cool. If I don’t choke on the stink of his perfume…

“I’m afraid I can’t stay to chat. One of my tenants was assaulted in his home. Terrible business. I suppose I shall have to leave it with the authorities…” His glance had all the subtlety of an ogre’s fart.

Hellfire. He knows.

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Session 7: The Tomb of Zosiel
In Which Rewards are Hard Earned.

Liberty and Xan dropped by Drake’s place again, but there was no answer to their knocking. “If he doesn’t come to the door next time, I’m going in there to make sure that little bastard hasn’t eaten him,” said the sorcerer.

“I doubt it,” said Xan. “I can’t imagine that after the first bite of Drake, it would actually want to continue.” Liberty laughed aloud.

The pair caught up with Mom before he made it to the abandoned mine office and helped him carry the loot the rest of the way. Once it had been stashed, they took the sacks of bones and returned to the old Land farmstead to bury the bones of Alastor’s family. After putting the last shovelful of dirt over the graves, the cleric said a few words over the graves in an attempt to appease their spirits. Then they returned to the Whispering Cairn to see if their efforts had paid off.

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Session 6: Small Town Plots
In Which the Intrigue Begins.

“Oh, wow. That’s a lammasu pelt,” said Liberty, pointing at the large rug as she crossed the room to the nightstand.

“Magic on the desk, the glasses, and…the head,” said Mom after a moment’s concentration.

Xan nodded to the cleric and approached the small mummy cautiously, alert for traps. Satisfied that there were no hidden threats, he produced a copper coin from his pouch and crouched down near the woman’s head until he was eye level with the platinum piece upon the bloated tongue. He deftly scooped the coin up and swiftly replaced it with the copper… at which point the mouth animated and started screaming, “INTRUDER! INTRUDER! INTRUDER!”

“Oh, hellfire,” cursed Liberty.

Panicking, Xan grabbed the head and tossed it onto the rug. He wrapped it up to try to mute the noise, which worked to a limited extent. They heard shouting from above, and Mom leveled his recently acquired crossbow toward the stairs, ready to let fly at the first sign of trouble. Xan scooped up the rug and tossed it down the stairs before taking cover behind the desk and drawing his short sword.

Watching his antics, Liberty muttered, “That’s gonna be worth something to somebody.”

“Arise, my beautiful monstrosities!” cried out a nasal male voice from the uppermost floor of the observatory.

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Session 5: Feral Observations
In Which the Adventurers Investigate a Grave Robbery.

Drake did not show up for the meeting at the bakery, but the others decided to start the discussion of what to do next without him.

“Well, we could just go and talk to Kullen,” said Liberty. Mom grunted.

“I’m going to go ahead and guess that it’s a topic that he wouldn’t be too eager to discuss,” said Xan.

“Naturally. How can we approach him, then?”

“Maybe we could,” said Mom. “It would save time if he just told us what he knew without being…coerced.”

Xan shook his head. “That would also mark us as immediate threats to whomever is behind all this. Let me think for a moment.”

“That’s true,” said Liberty. “Assuming Kullen’s involved, he isn’t exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.”

“I think first I’d like to spend some time getting new information on his gang and their recent activities. I have a few contacts I could talk to without raising much suspicion. Information brokering is kind of a hobby of mine. People know this.”

“Okay… As long as it doesn’t take too long.”

“Why don’t you guys go find Drake and relax somewhere,” said Xan. “We do have cause to celebrate a bit after all. I’ll meet up with you shortly.”

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Interlude: A Bit of Mystery
In Which Liberty Calls on Allustan.

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

14 Planting, 595 CY

Liberty walked up the cobblestone path which wound through the healthy, manicured grass, toward the little red-and-blue house. The house’s paint never faded, and the grass never withered or ran riot. She had never seen anyone working out here, and the house’s lone occupant never revealed his secrets – to her, or to anyone else. That suited Liberty just fine; as the wizard so often said, “Life’s more fun with a bit of mystery.”

She found him in the meditation garden next to the house. He sat cross-legged on the ground among the vertical stones and small pools of concentric circles, his eyes closed. There was a bit more gray in his short, dark hair than he’d had at their last meeting, and a few more silver threads wove through his braided beard. He wore his favorite scarlet robe, the one she always pictured him in. “Hello, Master,” she called, though the wizard always heard her coming. Liberty had never officially been Allustan’s apprentice, of course, but the man commanded that kind of respect – as far away as the Free City of Greyhawk.

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