Friday, May 28, 2021

Howl of Oblivion: The Blazing Omen [Parts 1 & 2]

Iron Seer presents Howl of Oblivion
** Howl of Oblivion Campaign Page **

Part I

A few days after their last adventure, the party relaxes in Yecha.  In the evening however, their rest is inhibited by an unsettling feeling.  That ill-ease eventually develops into full blown nightmares...familiar nightmares to the spellcasters in the party.

The Blazing Omen 1
The Blazing Omen 2

The nightmares once again rob spellcasters of their ability to cast spells, but the effect is also pronounced on the entire populace of Yecha.  The city is strangely subdued, and the outright loss of magic is more than concerning.  Meanwhile, the party pores over it's treasures...

The Blazing Omen 1
Here's a spellbook.  It's a book, but it also has spells.  Actual spells.

Fasha is expectantly waiting a caravan in the morning, citing 'business partners'.  It is in later in the morning as the characters are performing whatever tasks they had set about that the players are approached by several red-garbed men and the Khan's Guard. They are summoned to the House of

There, they are made to wait and then brought before Ekbiya-Baklun Lyzandhan, the High Priestess Obertorop and Da'shikir the Unwilling (Yecha's priestess of Istus), as well as several red-garbed Jasidans and other temple folk.  All were clear about one thing - something momentous is happening. All the clerics feel the strong presence of their gods.

The Blazing Omen has them ALL concerned.  The priestess Da'shikir has divined that this omen bodes ill for all the people of the Oerth.  All spellcasters have seen the omen in their dreams again, but what that means is that the servants of evil gods will most likely be activated as well.

A greater council must be convened, and someone with the requisite lore must be found to interpret the omen more specifically.  Gesherem of Geshtai could be instrumental in finding other clerics, if he himself does not understand it the omen.  In return for their aid in finding Gesherem and / or information on the omen, the House of Lyzandhan offers the gratitude of the khan, temples and city.  The party agrees to search for this man and return him to Yecha.

As the party prepares to leave, a caravan of Mouqol arrives in the city, and Fasha is keen to meet with them.  Turns out, not only are these acquiantances of Fasha, but they have come to authenticate some of the artifacts the party has managed to acquire.  The party meets Dhamikan Han, servant of Mouqol, as they hand out alms to the city's poor.  The priest and his traveling guards just returned from Ekbir.

He brings his greetings to Fasha Daouda'shi, and kith and kin.  The caravan has brought grains and metalware from Ekbir, and as they offload in the market the party is given introductions.  Lots of folk flock to the wagon-shrine to Mouqol. Dhamikan and his party are kind to the beggars, with coin, bread and even fabrics.  The priest wanted to meet the lucky adventurers who found the jewels of A'ta Sevaya.

Dhamikan's take on the Blazing Omen - something is coming. Coming HERE.

The party departs and makes for the shrine of Geshtai to the south.  The players wander into the shrine near dusk, and they immediately hear shouting and a strange noise that reminds them of ... gnolls.  Sure enough, they are shortly attacked by men and what appear to be trained hyenas.

The Blazing Omen 2

Engaging with this unprovoked foe, the party advances along the stream and sees a man with a stick fending off several attackers ahead.

The Blazing Omen 3

However, the party meets with resistance when they try to force their way through the press of gnolls to help the man.  They are held up for several rounds by a smaller squad of gnolls, while the man with a stick fends off those surrounding him fairly well.  The gnolls prove to be challenging opponents.

The Blazing Omen 4

The battle goes fairly poorly...and a few of the adventurers are momentarily struck down.  The man with a stick proved to be Gesherem himelf, though he also was nearly killed.  The healers use what magic they can, but with the omen last night, the party has no spells.

The Blazing Omen 5

Part II

The party rests at the shrine with Gesherem, and the next day their magic returns as normal.

Gesherem explains that he himself sought more insight to the omen.  To this end he means to seek out Sul Dhan Ared, a druid of a sect known as the Tree-Tenders.  This circle tends to a massive tree called the Tree of 100 Fruits.  Sul Dhan Ared is wise in the ways of the stars, and Gesherem hopes to collect his divinations.

On the way to the Sacred Grove, the party encounters the aftermath of a battle.  They count several corpses, both gnoll and man (and hyena) and Gesherem means to burn all the corpses before they befoul the stream.  On closer inspection, the men are worshippers of Erythnul.  

During the work of dragging bodies and building a large fire, a few of the adventurers saw the glint of metal in a nearby tree.  Upon investigating, they find it is a dead birdman in a tree. He was wounded gravely, and must have flown to the tree to die. His weapons are bloody and his spear has fallen to the bottom of the tree.  They collect a razor-sharp bone spear and a shining scimitar from the corpse before speculating as to how birdmen would tend their dead.

When the party arrives at the Tree of 100 Fruit, Gesherem explains that the druids are paranoid and insular.  The sacred grove where the massive, mystical tree they tend sprouts upwards of 100 kinds of fruit, and it is their work to tend to it.  A stream waterfall feeds the center of the grove where the tree grows.

They are greeted with unease at first, but once Gesherem makes himself known, the druids guide them around the bend into their sacred grove where Sul Dhan Ared is leading a prayer in Ancient Baklunish.  The party is all given gourds, and silently bid to join the druid's procession.  As the lead druid casts various spells, the party joins in the ritual, gathering water from the clear-flowing stream and sitting in the circle.  As one, the assembled group drinks...though Anverth is sure there is some enchantment upon it.

The drink affects the assembly by altering perception.  Now, a comet-like haze can be seen in the sky...and it horrifyingly resembles a massive eye.  The great eye seems to loom and leer at each individual, and it is under this monstrous gaze the druids begin to speak of the omen and it's meaning.

Sul Dhan Ared and the other druids recognize Gesherem, and welcome him and his folk (the party). They bid everyone welcome to the sacred grove, and know there is much to speak of.  The druids are obviously aware of the Omen -  but they seem to greatly fear what is coming. They feel a fell gaze upon them - and after drinking from the Pool of the Tree of 100 Fruits the party understands why.

Everyone can all feel the eye 'looking' at them. At all times.

What is revealed during the nights' oratory is that no one very far from Yecha experienced the dream. The druids believe this means the omen is meant to affect something near the city.  The druids are NOT certain where it's from or what it means, but are certain it heralds only great evil. 

The party asks Gesherem and Sul Dhan Ared to accompany them back to Yecha to attend the priests' council. Sul Dhan Ared is reluctant, but understands the need.  However, there is a problem that needs his attention first.  Alarmingly, there is a war-camp of Erythnul not far from the Sacred Grove that is growing in power.  It is known the Slaughtergod's minions also experienced the omen. Gnolls and barbarian dervishes have harried their sides for days.  This lines up with the party's encountering of servants of Erythnul across the countryside.

Sul Dhan Ared sent word to the Guardians of Al'akbar to ask for aid against these cultists, but they are not expected for perhaps weeks, if at all.  If the War-Camp is dealt with, Sul Dhan Ared can travel with Gesherem to Yecha.  The druids know the location of the War-Camp, and the party agrees to deal with it to expedite a return to Yecha.

The Blazing Omen 6
"Nerull" is just another way to say "Tharoth".
As the party approaches the camp, night has fallen.  The camp's fires can be seen through the trees, and intermittent yelling can be heard all around.  The cultists around the fire chant the name "Cho Bet-Serati!" and the party can make out an armored figure among the firelight.  Gnolls and an ogre are also seen.  The party hears gnoll yips from the south, and decide to investigate.  They stealthily head south, avoiding the camp.

The Blazing Omen 7
Very sneaky...
They see gnolls near a small bridge over a stream, shouting challenges into the wood.  Soon, they begin to see shadowy figures closing in on the camp and hide among the bushes and trees.  The figures close in on the war-camp...some coming within scant feet of Khaine, invisible in the shadowed hedges.

Soon, the figures emerge from the treeline and challenge the gnolls.  Insults are hurled at this "Cho Bet-Serati" and the gnolls engage the newcomers on the bridge.  The cultists at the camp are oblivious to all this, and neither do the newcomers notice the party.  The party encourages those at the camp to investigate by killing one of them with an arrow...

The Blazing Omen 8
Entangle has a fairly large area of effect.
It seems that this is a rival darkling cult, this one devoted to Tharoth the Reaper.  They form battle lines and prepare to engage one another, though the gnolls on the bridge seem to have the advantage over the men.  Once they are all squared up, Walkul uses an entangle on the whole area, trapping all but a few of them.  An oil of burning is applied then, and all the remaining cultists are picked off by the party as they attack from the north.

The remaining Tharoth cultists south of the stream flee into the night, and the party investigates the camp.

The Blazing Omen 9
Many adventurer's favorite part of the job is the "Take Their Stuff" Phase.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think about that?