Sins of Our Fathers II - New Art Uploaded - 1/25
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    Sins of Our Fathers II - New Art Uploaded - 1/25

    Author's Note: This story hour explores some decidedly mature themes. The following posts recount the exploits of a group of characters played by a handful of thirtysomething players. This is a "low fantasy" campaign, rife with moral ambiguities. I want to entertain, not offend. If I inadvertently accomplish the latter, please accept my apologies.

    Thanks to EN World member Greyhawk DM, we've now got a complete and total archive of the first Sins of Our Fathers story hour. The three Word documents attached to this post include all the updates from the original Sins story hour thread, and may make for easier reading for newcomers.



    If you're new to this tale, please head to the original Sins of Our Fathers story hour. This thread is the second installment, and begins where the first left off. There is no summary here of the story thus far, so new readers may be lost. Of course, old readers may be lost as well - but that's part of the fun.

    You can head to our Rogues Galley - Fiends & Friends thread to see some of the behind the scenes (read: stat blocks) info. I'm going to attempt to update that thread more regularly than I have in the past, as I still have much of the game-related information from these more recent sessions. Perusing some other threads on the boards seems to indicate readers like seeing the mechanics behind the tale - if this is not the case, let me know, and save me some time.

    The Sins group gets together 2-3 times yearly. Each session typically lasts from Thursday evening until the wee hours of Sunday morning. There are seven PC's and myself (that makes for a lot of empty beer cans). Our most recent players have been with us for nearly three years, and the Old Guard has been rolling dice and frolicking in nerdom since 1987. We cut our teeth on 1st Edition, added so many house rules it becamse a wholly new (and wholly confusing) homebrewed system, and finally saw the light of 3E about 2 1/2 years ago. We haven't looked back since.

    This campaign, as it now stands, is entirely 3.5E. There are some differences, of course, and I'll try to note those as we move along in the story.

    Lastly, the mountain of notebooks and feverish scratching that comprises the campaign world has been published by Different Worlds just prior to GenCon Indy. Some of the information in this story hour is at odds with what's in the published manuscript (namely the pantheons). Um...enough about that.

    Let's get to the story, eh? It's been too long.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Destan; Wednesday, 26th January, 2005 at 03:16 AM.

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  3. #3

    Chapter I

    “I would rather have noise and thunder and storm-curses than this cautious, uncertain feline repose; and among all my minions, I hate most of all soft-walkers and half-and-halfers and thinking, hesitating puppets. Steal, I say, only when you cannot plunder! Revel in warfare as a means to more of the same! Cast down the weaker and delight in the power of the stronger. Would that my armies be filled with the blood-lust of birds of prey, and would that all conscience and compassion be erased from the red stones of the Rorn!”

    - Loroth Witchking, Lamia Imperator, 30 B.E.




    Chapter I

    Raylin smelled onions.

    He tried to open his eyes, but failed. He tried to raise an arm, but failed. He tried to open his mouth…and did not fail. “Water,” he croaked. The single word rattled upward from his chest, a throaty groan.

    Raylin felt – I can feel! - a hand squeeze his chin. A moment later water splashed onto his face – wonderfully cold. He tried again to open his eyes – most of the hardened mucous had disappeared with the deluge. He squinted, albeit barely, and relished in the pain brought by the sudden sunlight.

    The Larrenman feared few things, but he had been taught since a child to fear the darkness. In the black of night was when the vissiti would come to spirit away wayward youths. Being held immobile by the poison of the spider wasp was not without its own terrors, but having been paralyzed with his eyes closed - trapped in complete and utter darkness...that had been nearly too much for the clansman to endure.

    “Water.” Again his voice was nothing more than a rasp, but it was stronger now.

    A face rose upward before him, floating in the multihued blindness caused by the sunlight. It was a hard face, a mean face – but it was a man’s face. “Please,” Raylin ran a parched tongue along his cracked lips, “water.”

    The man exhaled heavily, the stench of onions once again flooding the glade. The disembodied face turned to look above and behind Raylin. “This one yet lives.”

    A hand grabbed Raylin’s newly-sprouted beard, forcibly turning his head to either side. “No wounds - other than the hole in his gut. And that looks scabbed well enough.” A pause. “Malach! Did you hear? This one here is alive.”

    “I hear you, fool – not so loud, eh?” came a distant, annoyed reply. “And the others?”

    “The dandy is dead,” answered yet a third voice, somewhat hushed, “but the bald one in the breastplate is still breathing.”

    “Wake him up, Lans.”

    “I tried - he just snores louder when I poke him. I don’na think he wants to wake up.”

    A second man stepped into Raylin’s blurred vision. He wore a chain shirt beneath a green cloak. “I am Malach mac Calahen. Do you hear me?”

    Raylin weakly nodded. “Water…”

    Malach squatted on his haunches and stared at Raylin like a huntsman taking the measure of his kill. He reached out and rubbed crust from Raylin’s face with a thick thumb. “He may be the one. See his cloak?” Malach swiveled his head to stare at someone outside Raylin’s sight. “He’s a Larrenman, alright. Or perhaps he killt one and stole his cloak. Either way, we’ll be needin’ to bring him with us.”

    The onion-breath man stood, scowling. “Ain’t no Larren riding on my horse, Malach.”

    Malach stood as well. “Lans can carry him.”

    “Like hell. You take him.”

    “Fine, but there’ll be no turn at the watch for me tonight.” Malach gave further orders without waiting for a reply. “Lans, throw the bald one over your saddle – he ain’t no Larren, so don’na be givin’ me backtalk.”

    “Aye. And what of this here other one?”

    “He’s dead, right? We don’t need no dead ones to slow us down.” Malach frowned, eyes glinting like coins. “Did you strip him?”

    “I did. Had a bunch o’ crowns and bits in his purse, and more hidden in his boots. A walking treasure chest, he was.”

    “Good.” Malach drew on a pair of riding gloves. “We’ll divide the spoils tonight, not a moment sooner. I want to push west as far as we can whilst the light holds.”

    Raylin craned his neck. It was difficult, but he was able to twist his head just enough to see a crumpled form laying in the weeds not ten paces from him. A pair of green-cloaked clansmen stood over John’s body. “I ain’t digging him no grave,” one of them spat. “He looks like a southlander to me. Looks womanish.”

    One of the clansmen bent and grabbed something laying in the weeds near the half-naked corpse. Raylin winced as the man plucked a single, discordant note on John’s lyre. “’Lest I miss my mark, this little music-maker belonged to dead southlander.”

    Yet another clansman strode into Raylin’s view, hand outstretched. “Give it here.” The man took the instrument and strummed a series of twangs. “Oh no, oh no! Here I lie dead as the gods, with no grave to be dug…um, shat in my breeches and was killed by a bug. Oh no, oh no!”

    The other Calahen clansmen erupted into a laughing chorus, their earlier attempts at stealth forgotten. “Oh no, oh no! Killed by a bug! Oh no, oh no!”

    Raylin had seen enough. He closed his eyes and - for once - welcomed the blackness.

    ***

    The knock, when it came, startled the Archmage. Was I asleep?

    Destan stood, gathered his food-stained robes about him, and crossed the short distance to the arched door. He opened it. “Your Grace.”

    Mariadon quirked a brow from outside the doorway. “You only use my title when you are desperate.”

    “Or when I am good and well drunk.”

    “I smell no wine about you.”

    Destan sighed. “I know, damn it all.” The Archmage surveyed the empty nave behind the priest. “Come in, come in.”

    Mariadon waited for Destan to close the door and join him at the small table before both men sat. Destan hiked up his robes and itched a bony knee. He squinted at Mariadon. “Thank you for coming.”

    “Yes, yes,” Mariadon waved a hand dismissively, “but I have many things to attend – you do remember this is one of the holiest days of the Dawngod. Please, do an old friend a favor – go against your nature and get directly to the point.”

    Destan feigned being hurt for but a moment. His face turned serious. “None of them have arrived, and I have had all the roads watched since you had been able to scry and exchange messages with Sir Anar. They should have been here by now – at least the three of them that split from Anar at Lonely Heath.”

    Mariadon’s own face was smooth. “I imagine the three of them would have skirted the Marches – those lands are unkind to foreigners. If they did not use the roads, Destan, then they are not yet late.”

    “Mayhaps.” Destan’s reply held no sense of comfort.

    “Friend, why summon me here?” The Archbishop of Lathander looked about the small chamber. “You could have discussed these matters with me at your own estates, at my Cathedral, or even magically.”

    “My estates are watched, as you know. And your Cathedral is filled this day with many faces unknown to me.” Destan tugged on his gray-white beard. “As for magic…did I tell ever tell you the story of the burrow gnome Pandit?”

    By way of reply, Mariadon produced a small flask from his robes. He pulled the cork and set the open bottle between the two of them. The priest understood without doubt that his old friend needed to talk, and Destan had precious few people who would listen.

    “Pandit? No, I don’t believe you have,” Mariadon lied.

    “Ah, yes, well,” Destan sat straighter in his chair. “He was not unaccomplished in the arcane arts. But Pandit grew overly fond of teleportation. At first he would teleport only great distances, but soon he was bouncing from one town to another, one block to the next. The little burrow gnome, near the end, even used to dimension door from his den to his privy and back again, rather than make the simple walk.”

    “You don’t say…”

    “I do, I do.” Destan’s gaze alighted on the flask as if spotting it for the first time. “What is it?”

    “Arn brandy. Aged twenty.”

    The Archmage could not hide his glee. “Only a sip.” Destan reached out, took a pull, and sat quietly while color invaded his cheeks. “By the gods, that is good.”

    “I know. Take a care to leave some for me.”

    If Destan heard the Archbishop, he made no reply. “Well, as I was saying – Pandit grew old. Even burrow gnomes grow old, Mari. And his senses began to leave him. One by one he forgot his spells, and his sight grew so bad he could barely read his books. In the end, it is said, he soiled himself daily while sitting in his study. Old Pandit forgot he couldn’t dimension door as he once could – at least, he forgot until the smell reminded him.”

    “Fascinating,” Mariadon deadpanned. He watched Destan take a second, and a third, drink. “Why here, then? This is the house of Helm.”

    “I know, I know.” Destan smacked his lips and held the bottle before him as if reading a label, though there was none. “Bishop Thular has always been our friend in this. And smaller rooms are much easier to magically ward.”

    Mariadon opened his mouth to reply but was interrupted by a discreet knock. “Enter.”

    A Helmite acolyte opened the door and stepped within, dipping his head low. “Forgive me, gentlemen, but His Grace commanded me to come at once.”

    “Speak,” Destan barked.

    The acolyte blushed. “Archbishop Mariadon, you are needed at your cathedral.”

    “Who sent for me?”

    “The Sun Brother Demetrius.”

    “Did he say why?”

    “No, Your Grace, only that it was urgent. He awaits you on the steps outside the nave.”

    Mariadon sighed audibly. “Thank you. You may go.” The Archbishop waited for the acolyte to bow and depart before sharing a look with Destan. “Duty calls.”

    “Go, go,” Destan grumbled. “We can talk later.”

    Then, only after Mariadon was safely out of earshot, did Destan call, “Mari! You forgot your flask!”

    ***

    Mariadon strode purposefully from the nave to find his man standing upon the marble steps outside. “What is it, Demetrius?”

    “Your Grace, there is trouble in the temple. Brother Daladon escorted two men into the catacombs. You had bid me watch him, and so I have.”

    “Who are these two men?”

    “I do not know. Both look sorely used. They are filthy and could not walk without assistance.”

    “What did they wear?”

    “The one wears an old breastplate-”

    “Sunal!”

    And with but a single word, Mariadon was gone.

    ***

    “I am Brother Daladon.”

    Kellus tried to sit upright but could not – his joints were still stiff and painful from the recently faded paralysis and the hard ride to Val Hor on the back on a Calahen mount. “I am Bro-…I am Kellus. Of Tarn Cal.”

    Daladon smiled. He was a young priest, his face shining, his hair the color of the Dawngod’s nimbus. The yellow robes of Lathander matched the amber hue of his eyes. He steepled his fingers in front of him. “I am glad I – we – have found you. Others look for you, Kellus.”

    Kellus was beyond caring. There was a void in his emotions where John had once been.

    Daladon continued. “I regret that I cannot heal you. At the moment. I must pray first.” The priest, again, gave a silken smile. “And indeed I shall, but first we must discuss issues of utmost importance.”

    Kellus dragged a hand across his face. “Something to drink.”

    Daladon nodded. “Guards,” he called. A man wearing the burnished hauberk of Lathander opened the room’s only door and looked within. “A bottle of wine, please. Two glasses. Be quick.” The man nodded and shut the door without a word.

    Daladon stood and walked around the table to hover over Kellus. He pressed smooth fingertips against the Rhelmsman’s cheek. “You have suffered.”

    Kellus drew back. “Not as much as others. What is it you want?”

    “There is a traitor in our midst. One of our Order who has forsaken his vows. You have met him.”

    Kellus squinted with thought. “Anar?”

    “The very one.” Daladon laid a cool hand upon Kellus’ stubbled pate. “You are fortunate he let you live. You could do great harm. To his cause.”

    Once again Kellus drew away from the priest’s touch. “Anar is no traitor.”

    “How can you be so sure?”

    Because I detected no evil in him. “Because he gave us aid when none else would.”

    Daladon sat. “Yet, now I give you aid. Do you trust me?”

    No. “I might…provided I get some wine.”

    At that, the door opened. The guard placed a decanter and two goblets on the table. Daladon walked back to his chair, sat, and poured two glasses. He slid one across the table. “Drink.”

    Kellus ignored him and the offered cup. “Where are the others of your order? Why have my companion and I been separated? We have made no slight against Lathander’s flock.”

    “As to the first, doubtless they are preparing for our festival. This is a holy day, friend, one of the holiest – for us. As to the second, we must be sure you and your companion are who you say you are.”

    “So…” Kellus looked about and recognized the room for what it was – a cell. “This is an interrogation?”

    “No, no,” Daladon laughed, his chuckle oddly reminiscent of a demon Kellus had seen loosed within Borbidon’s tomb. “This is merely…prudence.”

    Very well, I will play your game. “How has Anar betrayed his church?”

    “His former church.” Daladon’s face clouded. “He did not. Anar – the true Anar – is dead. A feratu has taken his place.”

    Kellus mentally thumbed through memories from his Catechism. Feratu. Demons? Shapeshifters? Both. “Perhaps,” Kellus allowed. He was on his guard, now. “How does this concern me? The last I saw Anar he was riding south from the Duskingdell.”

    “Really?” Daladon leaned forward. “Truly?”

    “Yes.”

    “Are you certain he did not accompany you as far as…oh, perhaps, Lonely Heath?”

    Kellus was quiet.

    Daladon licked his finger and rubbed the tip against the rim of the wine glass. The sound was disconcerting.

    But what Kellus found even more disconcerting was the fact that Daladon’s fingertip was nearly touching the rim…but not quite. There was a hair’s breadth of distance between the man’s finger and the glass’ edge.

    Kellus sat back, composed himself, and disbelieved.*

    Then – and only then – did Kellus see Daladon’s true form. Or, rather, the true form of the demon that had doubtlessly slain the young priest.

    ***

    Mariadon appeared from his word of recall in a hidden room attached to the inner sanctum of Lathander’s Cathedral in Val Hor. The Archbishop threw open the secret door – barely remembering to speak a word to pass the symbols upon it – and practically sprinted down the corridor.

    He prayed – prayed as fervently as he ever had – that he was not too late.

    ***








    * When this session was ongoing, I still allowed PC’s to “disbelieve” illusions without “interacting” with them. That’s the way we had played in the past, prior to 3E. Unfortunately, as I began to toss more illusion-wielding bad guys at them, the PC’s would shout “Disbelieve!” whenever they met someone new.

    Ever see the movie Finding Nemo? Do you remember those seagulls that shouted “Mine! Mine!” incessantly? That’s the memory I have of my players and the constant calls for disbelief.

    So, eventually, I went with the rules – or, at least, what I interpreted the rules on illusions to be – and that’s the way we do it now. No more seagull chatter of “Disbelieve!” PC’s gotta interact with something before getting a save.

    Of course, some would argue that sitting across a table speaking with an illusion-shrouded demon is interaction…bah! Damned illusions. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t make the half-orc pretty without ‘em.

    I uploaded a cheap digital pic of a feratu on our Rogues Gallery thread.
    Last edited by Destan; Wednesday, 24th March, 2004 at 04:25 PM.

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    Great to see the story back up again Destan. It's also great to be seeing some more of it from Raylin's perspective. I didn't expect this to be continuing for a long while yet, it's definately a pleasant surprise. Looking forward to the sourcebook, and the new gods.

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    Hooray!

    Destan,

    Good to see ya back...off to a stellar start !

    ~ Old One

  6. #6
    Rejoiced to see this on the road again My appologies for never being able to email those critters, my laptop was stolen (again, second time this year by a burglar) and afterwards no internet for 5 weeks. Sigh.... and I was so hopen to see some creation of mine in a storyhour ...

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    I guess this means your done with the supplement - good for you! I'm sure that is a load off. Great start to the story hour.

    If it is between spending time on an update or adding to the Rogues Gallery I vote work on the update.

    Quote Originally Posted by Destan
    Ever see the movie Finding Nemo? Do you remember those seagulls that shouted “Mine! Mine!” incessantly? That’s the memory I have of my players and the constant calls for disbelief.
    It has never been more obvious that you have three children! The other day I had the Dwarves dig, dig song from Snow White running through my head for hours!
    Last edited by pogre; Wednesday, 24th March, 2004 at 09:17 AM. Reason: Added some babble

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    Quote Originally Posted by Destan
    Of course, some would argue that sitting across a table speaking with an illusion-shrouded demon is interaction…bah! Damned illusions. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t make the half-orc pretty without ‘em.

    I uploaded a cheap digital pic of a feratu on our Rogues Gallery thread.
    And while it's damned familiar, I simply can't place it.

    A great start to the continuation of the story hour!

    That is one gutsy demon, to cuckold the followers of Lathander right in their own home. I'll be interested to see who the new members of the group turn out to be.

    Disbelieve! <snicker>

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    WOOOHOOO, GO DESTAN GO, GO DESTAN GO

    D E S T A N, HE'S OUR MAN

    (cheerleaders dancing and chanting in the back)



    OK, I admit it, I'm a bit weird.

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    Just jumping in to subscribe so I don't miss anything and say "Welcome Back!" its gotten a bit quite around here of late.

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