Worms: Apocalypse

In Which We Meet the Free City Adventurers.

Posted by zero

6 Growfest, 595 CY

Auric was really enjoying Growfest. As reigning champion of the Free City Arena, he was the recipient of a great deal of attention, adulation, and more free drinks than even his prodigious thirst required. People oohed and ahhed as the gladiator told and retold “war stories” from last year’s Games, and they broke into wild applause and cheered when, at the climax of the tale, he heroically vanquished all other contenders and laid claim to the coveted Champion’s Belt. Those moments were his favorite.

As he finished another drink, he caught his companion Tirra’s gaze and gave her a wink. She rolled her canted eyes, but he saw the smirk before she covered it with another sip of wine. He waved to his friend Ricard, the owner of the Green Dragon Inn, for another round of ale, and drew another cheer from the crowd. He liked the rough-and-tumble tavern, and was more than happy to attract more business to it with his presence.

Auric waved his audience off and made his way over to Tirra’s table, taking a seat beside her and propping his feet up on the empty chair adjacent. “Helluva crowd tonight, eh?” he prompted. She muttered something non-committal, and he frowned as he looked her over. He had known the elf less than a year, and she was, to him, something so many other women were not – interesting. She had rebuffed all of his advances so far, but he thought that he was growing on her. He felt sure it was only a matter of time before Tirra succumbed to his obvious charms.

Prelude: Aetherwracked
In Which We Meet Cornelius Drake.

Posted by GnomeSplosion

589 CY

Dampness and dust swirled in the air, the smell of earth permeated everything. Cornelius Drake grabbed the charge powder and vials and hung them from his belts. He picked up the shovel and pickaxe and made his way farther into the tunnels with his supplies. Drake paused and sniffed the air, it smelled wrong, felt wrong, more damp than usual and there was something else that he couldn’t put his finger on.

Shrugging his burden higher he began his trek again deeper into the tunnels. He passed a few other miners headed down the split path, and they were carrying on as normal. He joined the other group of men who quieted around him and headed down his branch as he handed out the vials. The other men took them, kept their distance and began making their way down ahead of Cornelius.

There it was again, that smell, the feel, dampness down to the bone and a blur of something in his path causing him to pause. Something was wrong here, something was going to happen but he couldn’t figure out what. The blur was dust, swirling down from the roof of the tunnel making him squint through his light. “Men,” Cornelius stated loudly, causing the men ahead of him to pause. They turned and all heard it.

Prelude: Mindfire
In Which Drake Acquires a Map.

Posted by GnomeSplosion

4 Planting, 595 CY

Cornelius sat, resting in the lounge lobby of the Midnight Salute, apron slung over the arm of the chair next to him. His brow still beaded with sweat from his recent session with Constance Grace. His pocket now a few gold short from his weekly take at the lab as was his weekly habit, but damn if it didn’t help ease his mind, that girl was worth every piece. He rested his forehead in his hands as he leaned forward, a sign of both physical and emotional exhaustion. Cornelius hadn’t slept right in, well, years.

The alchemist was tired, hungry, angry and just on his way to drunk (the latter two just about as normal as you can get). Readjusting his posture and position in the chair he reached for his flask and took another long draw from its contents, the burn racing like liquid fire into his belly, a familiar heat in his blood. Purple Prose took notice of him but paid him no mind as this was his usual spot for the evening before he either called it a night and went home or passed out. The other girls tittered and moved around the room paying him no mind. He was no bouncer, the Salute had those, but he was harmless to the girls and her guards and known to be rather dangerous to those who would look to harm the former so she had no immediate reason to kick him out yet.

Prelude: An Unexpected Friendship
In Which Drake and Xan Become Business Partners.

Posted by Jasper from a conversation with GnomeSplosion

5 Planting, 595 CY

It had been only a day since he had acquired the map and Cornelius Drake was getting antsy to get it out of his hands for the time being. He had left note to his contact, Alexander Quinn, to get in touch with him as soon as possible. It was while he was staring at the parchment that he heard the shuffle of something at his door. He lumbered out of his bed and picked up the small slip under his door frame. The slip was plain and simple, saying “Meet me outside Lazare’s.”

Drake sighed deeply, and took stock of what he needed. He was probably being needlessly paranoid, but the man had promised riches with this map. Drake didn’t know what in the deepest hell that meant, but any chance at riches meant trouble in Diamond Lake. He grabbed his jacket, a few vials of liquids and his flask and made his way to Lazare’s, keeping his eyes open and watching every alley and shadow on the way.

Prelude: Blood Will Tell
In Which We Meet the Grace Sisters.

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

6 Planting, 595 CY

Liberty Grace climbed the steps to the second story, her battered, patchwork top hat in her free hand, remembering the days when every stair creaked underfoot. But those days were gone; even now, with no diamonds left to find in Diamond Lake, and every miner desperate to find anything else of worth beneath the earth, business was booming at the Midnight Salute. And, though it pained Liberty to think it, her sister was a big part of the reason why.

She made her way down the narrow hall, trying to ignore the sounds coming from behind the occasional door, even at this early hour. A man wants what he wants, Liberty thought, fighting down a sigh. And, like as not, there’s a woman willing to charge him for it. At least you don’t have to be the one to take their silver nobles.

She came to the end of the corridor, then transferred her wicker basket from one arm to the other so she could tap on the door with her quarterstaff. No one else ever bothered the Salute’s biggest earner this way, and she never had… callers this early.

The dull thumps of bare feet on hardwood floor grew louder, and a key turned in the lock. That’s got to be the only locked door up here, Liberty thought. How important is she to this place, anyway? The door opened, allowing Liberty into the room; Constance Grace, completely nude, closed and locked it behind them.

Prelude: Sharp Blades and Wild Hearts
In Which Liberty Grace Meets Tirra.

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

7 Planting, 595 CY

The Feral Dog was no different tonight – packed to the rafters with people, noise, and smoke. But with nearly everyone crowded around the dogfighting pit, Liberty was relatively free to squirm through the taproom to the beginning of a short hallway. The elven adventurer, Tirra, stood there, nudging the toe of her boot to the edge of a line drawn on the floor in chalk. A trio of men – grubby miners, not Kullen’s thugs – crowded around her; the things they said to each other were lost in the din, but the looks on their faces made the meaning all too plain.

As Liberty approached, Tirra squared her shoulders, then took a deep breath. Her hands flashed down to the trio of daggers sheathed along her belt, whipping them with blinding speed at a straw dummy at the end of the hall, thunking into the red spots crudely painted on its vitals. She smiled broadly as the miners pressed coins into her outstretched hand, offering her many colorful swears as the men made their way back toward the taproom.

All right, Liberty thought as Tirra went to retrieve her daggers. This is your chance. You can do this.

Session 1: The Sarcophagus
In Which the Adventurers Enter the Whispering Cairn.

13 Planting, 595 CY

At Xan’s suggestion, the four would-be adventurers had left town separately, to avoid drawing attention to themselves, and one-by-one, they gathered at an abandoned mine office about an hour north of Diamond Lake. They wasted little time at the gutted structure, and made their way east, navigating by the landmarks on the old map that Drake had acquired from a thug just last week. They walked perhaps ten minutes before they found what they sought – a wide monolith-lined portal partially obscured by underbrush and boulders.

“Let’s have a look around,” Liberty suggested, eyeing the darkened interior of the cairn and casting a simple light spell to illuminate her staff.

“Stay here for a moment,” Xan suggested. “I want to check out the entrance first.”

Drake glanced around, then turned to Mom and said, “Let’s look for some way to cover the entrance a little better, eh?” They half-orc, who had been gazing southwest towards Diamond Lake, nodded agreement.

Session 2: A Face in Darkness
In Which the Adventurers Go Up, Then Down.

The company briefly discussed what to do next, and it was decided to attempt climbing the chain for the glowing blue lantern to the upper level they’d seen. Drake managed the climb then tied a rope around his waist and tossed the other end down to the others. A few minutes later, all four adventurers stood at the end of a thin passage extending into the shadows to the northeast.

“Hey, look at this,” Liberty said. “Here on the floor.”

“Hm?” Drake said. She pointed at several long scratch marks.

“Looks like something was dragged to the edge here,” Mom suggested.

“That’s what I was thinking,” Liberty agreed.

Xan took point as they moved down the hallway, scanning the area for any threats. Before they’d gone far, they saw that the passage ended after about seventy feet in what appeared to be an enormous stone face, its mouth open in an angry scream. The physiology of the face was identical to that of the near-human sexless figure depicted in bas-relief upon the sarcophagus below. The screaming visage dominated the entire ten-foot-square wall at the end of the corridor.

“This is a dead end. Let’s go back for now,” Mom advised as they drew closer. Xan turned his head to offer up agreement, when he heard an ominous click and felt the floor shift slightly beneath him. A pressure plate!

Session 3: Lair of the Architect
In Which the Adventurers Engage in Quality Looting.

14 Planting, 595 CY

None of the adventurers slept well on the hard and uneven floor of the mine office. Drake seemed to suffer the worst, but if any of the others heard him talking in his sleep, no one mentioned it. They began to stir as the sun rose, stretching, cracking bones, and/or beginning a morning workout routine, as each was inclined. The alchemist stepped outside and lit a cigar, while the others made the most of a breakfast of hard tack.

“By my count, we have made a few hundred gold already,” Xan announced. “Who is up for a little more today?” Mom grunted affirmatively, and Drake echoed the half-orc from outside the building where he sat on a stump mixing chemicals.

Liberty’s demeanor seemed to improve at the mention of money. “I am,” she confirmed with a bit more excitement than the other men.

“Should we leave some of the loot here?” the rogue asked. “I think I can find a safe place for it.”

“Aye,” Drake said, coming back inside. Mom grunted again.

“All right,” Liberty agreed. She pulled a folded letter from her belt pouch. “I’d like to leave this too.” The alchemist cocked an eyebrow but said nothing.

“Of course,” Xan said. Once he’d stashed the loot and the sorcerer’s letter, they set out for the Whispering Cairn once more.

Session 4: Silence of the Lands
In Which the Adventurers Make a Deal With the Dead.

“Whoa!” Drake cried, jumping back a step from the small rock man. Xan immediately drew the enchanted short sword and advanced on the earth monster. He hacked at it with his blade, and sliced off the end of one of its “arms”. Mom bellowed and charged into the workshop from the hall, but his wild swing missed its mark. Liberty brought her quarterstaff up defensively, and turned part of the creature’s stony body to slag with a fiery ray. The alchemist downed a protective elixir, and moved between the elemental and the sorcerer.

Denied access to its preferred quarry, the monster slammed its “fist” into Xan’s chest. A couple of the rogue’s ribs cracked from the force of the blow, and he crumpled to the floor, senseless. Mom took a cautious step back, then touched Xan’s prone form and prayed to Kord’s healing strength. Since the men stood between Liberty and the elemental, she strafed to the side and struck it with fire again. In a fury, it lunged for her, but between Drake’s mighty fists and Mom’s greatsword, it was smashed to stones before it could reach the sorcerer.

“Thanks,” Liberty said, kicking a couple of rocks away.

“What was that?” asked the cleric. No one seemed to know.


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