Blackmarch

Thirteenth Session Recap

An enemy revealed!

The PCs step through the portal Boss Hoger created and find themselves on a barren plain at night. In the distance they see the bulk of Facility 13 silhouetted against the stars. Searchlights mounted on towers sweep the desert floor, and when one of them catches a fleeing figure, it narrows into a beam of energy that incinerates the poor wretch. The party decides to camp out for the night and enter the prison in the morning.

The rangers use their ranger skills to determine by the position of the stars that they’ve been teleported all the way to the Red Wastes.

Day breaks, and the party approaches the prison. They’re met by clockwork guards who, after they scan Hochnor Half-Hand‘s Inquisitor badge, escort them inside to meet The Warden. This jolly fellow’s cheerfulness is a sharp contrast to the looming menace of Ironhoof, a gearforged minotaur who is the captain of the guard at Facility 13. After a mix of forced pleasantries, veiled threats and bureaucratic negotiating, the Warden allows the party to deliver their letter to Milas Scull

An older, white-bearded man with dragon-scaled skin, Miles Scull lived peacefully in the town of Shatter Creek until he crossed the ogre mage Boss Hoger. He reads the letter sent by the Three, and delivers some bad news: Thurash Many-Rocks, Smasher of Elves plans to invade the town of Burnham and seize a magical dragon’s skull which will allow the Orc Lord to command dragons. Since MIlas is locked up in the Eye, the task of stopping Thurash will be left to the PCs.

Scull also explains that Hoger’s zeal for fighting demons is matched only by his greed. Since taking over Shatter Creek, the ogre mage has imposed high tariffs on merchants passing through and high taxes on local citizens. He also has a cozy arrangement with the warden of Facility 13. The prison turns a nice profit by charging its inmates for their room, board, and “services” such as their own torture. The prison gives Hoger a percentage of the take from prisoners that he sends there, and he’s been convicting people in Shatter Creek on trumped-up charges to fatten both his coffers and the Warden’s.

Next, the party is escorted to the floor where Colonel Alafar Dunwood is held in solitary confinement (though first they discover that the prison’s corridors are kept clean by gelatinous cubes.)

Dunwood pleads with the party to get him out: he has secrets — top Imperial secrets — and if whoever runs the prison figures that out, they’re going to extract those secrets from him. There’s something fishy about his story, and he admits to having some pretty nasty magic items in his possession — though he claims to have a license to use them. The party decides to take Dunwood into custody in the name of the Inquisition.

After retrieving Dunwood’s things from the evidence locker — including the aforementioned nasty magic items and the license to use them — they lead Dunwood out of the prison in shackles. As Dunwood talks cheerfully, Elanesse starts having flashbacks to when she was imprisoned and experimented on by servants of the Archmage. And when Dunwood says, “How do you want to do this?” she recognizes him at last: Dunwood was one of the people who experimented on her.

Just then, the trap is sprung! Thirteen mind-controlled, possibly demon-possessed elves teleport in along with several evil wizards commanding them. Dunwood’s shackles unlock and fall to the ground. Elanesse loses control and her evil self Essenale emerges, more powerful and uncontrollable than ever.

The battle is brutal and bloody. Dunwood pleads with Essenale to return with him, calling her “my Lady” and saying “we have so much to learn from you.” Essenale will have none of it, and reduces him to a heap of ash.

Our heroes are battered and exhausted. But there’s no way they’re going back in the prison, and there’s no rest to be had here in the Wastes. They re-open the portal and return to Shatter Creek, and whatever awaits them there.

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