Or Hallowe'en Defeated!
Sir Istvan the Vulgar Knight (Foul Changeling Fighter)
Sir Uein of the World (Human Fighter)
Abraham, Lord of the Prison (Human Rogue)
Father Kozel of the Wood (Fair Changeling Cleric)
Mother Johanna of the Church of St Santa Claus (Human Cleric)
- With Sir Frederick van Bull away at his trading post in Frogguts, and Stavros Chrysophylax Balsamon taken by some strange and debilitating mood, the leadership of the Howling Kommandos did not wish to again enter the bowels of Nightwick Abbey perchance to face Great King Death.
- Instead, Kozel suggested that they help open the road between Lychgate and Nightwick by destroying a monster that had been rumored for some time to be attacking those passing through the ruins of Vollage - a being known as the Shape.
- Thanks to the "rescue" of his "daughter" in the last session, Halfdan the Black was predisposed to helping them and allowed Kozel to use his library to ascertain the nature of the Shape. Research showed that it was a fiend of some nature and likely would be immune to normal weapons.
- This in mind, the assembled members of the Howling Kommandos set off on foot without companions on the morning of Shocktober 16th.
- Early on their journey was halted when Istvan, scouting ahead of the rest of the party, noticed that one of the burned-out peasant houses in the shadow of Nightwick village had recently had some repairs.
- Exploring further, he and Abraham (armed with Abraham's medical paraphernalia and Istvan's inhuman constitution) found that the house had recently belonged to an alchemist.
- A goopy pile of "rot" was found within the lab, and Abraham's supernumeracy allowed him to quickly ascertain that the "pile" contained roughly the same mass as an adult human. The party decided this must have been the alchemist himself, killed by his own experimentations.
- They looted what they could from the lab and then set the house aflame, hoping that no miasma would drift towards Nightwick Village.
- A sudden, freezing rain beset the party and this setback meant that they would arrive in the ruins of Vollage well into the night and exhausted. Kozel, the party's guide, decided the best way to avoid this would be to ride instead for the Witchfort (now retaken).
- However, when they left the road where they thought the path to the Witchfort should lay, they saw no such path and soon found themselves inside the Witchwood. Greatly alarmed, Kozel decided to redirect the party west, hoping this would land them around the outskirts of the Witchfort.
- They exited the forest, but much to their surprise it was not at the Witchfort. Instead they found themselves looking on the Hamlet of Vollage - not it's ruins, mind you, but the hamlet as it once was. Alive!*
- Disturbed by this turn of events, and the lights burning in the windows at such a late hour, the party decided to first visit the Church of St Toad, which lay closest to where they entered the hamlet.
- There they saw a number of priests gathered around a man in armor. This man was blessing his weapon before going forth to fight some evil. As soon as he left the candles in the church blew out.
- Withdrawing their light sources the party could see the temple was now in a great ruined state. A great secret door had swung open revealing a tomb bearing the visage of the man they saw in armor in the earlier vision.
- Kozel and Johana discussed using augury and speak with dead to assess certain facts about the village and the corpse. Speak with dead revealed that the man had indeed gone to fight a great enemy, but it was the White Lady, not the Shape.
- This led to some discussion of the ability of Armadeus to create "false pasts" which affect the world as though they happened, though it was admittedy by the scholars within the party that none of them quite understood the concept (or had a postive INT bonus).
- The corpse did know of the Shape, stating that it was an assassin in the service of Armadeus - "one of many but the only one which wears a mask."
- Augury was then used to determine if the mace he had with him in the tomb could be taken to fight the shape, and soon it was in the hand of Sir Istvan.
- Their next target was the inn of the Wanton Wench. They found this full of patrons, including a whole adventuring party!**
- One of the Howling Kommandos (I don't remember which) noticed that none of the patrons had any glint of life to their eyes. Istvan observed they were "like the dead eyes of a shark."
- From the barkeep, the party learned that the shape murdered those who passed through the village and took them to the ruined tower that once protected the village. The party knew that this tower had been the scene of horrible starvation - where even the priest in the tomb found earlier that night had perished after participating in cannibalism.
- At the end of the story about the shape, the lights went out in the Welcome Wench. Lightsources were taken out anew and revealed that all that was left of each patron was their shadow.
- These struck in rapid succession, but the combined holy might of Kozel and Johanna destroyed nearly all of them. The more martial members of the party took care of the few remaining with their magic weapons, Istvan's new mace proving particularly efficacious.
- Armed with the information about the tower, the party made the laborious climb up the artificial mound of the old motte. At the top they found the ruined tower - partly collapsed and lacking the recent signs of life found elsewhere in the village.
- Inside Abraham was able to see a pale mask move within the shadows of the cracks in the stone, and after directing the party towards it he jumped off the stairs to avoid tangling phyiscally with the fiend itself.
- The Shape was a thing of living shadow, crowned by a great white mask of a face; however, the battle was fairly short, especially due to Istvan's new mace.
- Upon defeating the Shape, seemingly forever, they rested in the tower and waited until the morning to gather their loot.