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Welcome to Episode 7 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast: The ongoing tale of a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign played by a group of friends in Portland, Maine.
My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.
But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…
In episode 6 The Brunch Club was set upon by a Basilisk who immediately turned Vorjhon to stone. Fortunately the rest of them were able to kill the basilisk. As they debated what to do with Vorjhon, Salys’s spells released a magic surge, an unpredictably occurring side effect of her magic powers. Anything can happen during a magic surge and in a fortunate turn of events, Salys’s very first occurrence of it restored Vorjhon to his dragonborn self, curing him of the effects of the basilisk’s gaze. They made camp as Drusilla harvested cranberries. While the rest of the party was sleeping, a lone bullywug entered their camp and Drusilla killed it with a ladle full of hot cranberry sauce. The next morning they reached the end of the boardwalk, and any kind of a walkable path. They spent the day trudging through the bog. They were attacked by giant centipedes that paralyzed Elora. Fortunately the rest of The Brunch Club was able to kill them off. Vorjhon healed Elora’s paralyzed state with a lesser restoration spell. They then began to make camp for the night.
Episode 7: “Bogged Down”
The Brunch Club made camp for the night with Drusilla taking the first four hour watch and looking over her companions. Vorjhon slept next to his armor. Salys slept in the shadow of a scale mail hauberk that seemed comically big compared to her. She was so powerful for such a small thing. If not for her and her wild magic, they’d have had to leave Vorjhon behind where he succumbed to the Basilisk’s gaze, serving as his own tombstone. Elora had also nearly died, paralyzed and nearly drowned, but saved by Vorjhon. Drussila couldn’t keep the morbid thoughts from creeping into her head. Who would be next to come so close to death? Was it her turn? Was it Salys’s? She sighed. She knew the Raven Queen would come for them all sooner or later, it didn’t do one much good to dwell on when it might happen. She was eventually relieved of her watch by Elora who took the remaining four hours. Being elves who only needed four hours of deep meditation at night in lieu of sleep, they had fallen into this routine of splitting the watch between the two of them while their companions slept through the night.
The evening passed without incident and after a quick breakfast they waited for Vorjhon as he put his armor on gingerly. Being turned to stone and then back to his scaled flesh again had done a number on his body. The dragonborn’s every joint ached and his eyelids threatened to close under the weight of exhaustion. Even so, he stoically joined his comrades to continue their soggy march Westward toward the far edge of the unrelenting bog.
Elora continued to guide them on their way with her compass and map. The bog was still too deep for Salys to walk through, but despite his exhaustion Vorjhon still agreed to carry her. Perched atop his shoulders, Salys kept an eye out for any creatures that might want to do them harm. On that day they encountered nothing to impede their march and traveled a good distance for an exhausted party trudging through tangled marsh grass and mucky water.
As the sun began to set, Salys noticed a dry patch of land in the distance where they decided to make camp for the evening.
Once again Drusilla took the first watch. At the end of an uneventful four hours, Elora relieved her.
About an hour into her watch Elora scanned the area around them. She thought she saw a shape some distance away. She peered into the darkness trying to find it. With surprising speed, the large shape descended into their camp from above before Elora had time to warn the others. It was a terrifying looking creature. It looked like a lion but with a face that was more human than cat. Its wings were large and leathery, like an overgrown bat’s. The tip of it’s disproportionately long tail ended in a club of what looked like two dozen razor sharp spikes. As it landed, it went for the sleeping dragonborn, biting at him with his disturbing half lion, half human mouth. Vorjhon was able to grab his shield in time to block the biting attack and fended off another claw attack, but he could not defend himself against the wide swinging club of spikes that circled around his shield and raked painfully across his back.
Elora quickly notched an arrow and shot it in the beast’s shoulder. Vorjhon groped next to him for his warhammer, found its handle, and swung it at his attacker as it recoiled from Elora’s arrow strike. Vorjhon flailed wildly though, barely being able to see the beast in the darkness. Salys and Drusilla were woken up by the sudden commotion, but could do nothing before the beast attacked again. Vorjhon was ready for the beast’s tail attack and deflected it with his shield, but could not turn himself around fast enough to avoid a deep bite to his shoulder, and a claw attack raking across his chest. Even with his shield, he felt vulnerable without his heavy armor.
Drusilla cast three orbs of light that illuminated the beast. Salys shot as many magic missiles as she could into it. Elora, seeing their foe in full light for the first time, identified it as a manticore as she sunk another arrow into its flesh. Now able to see his target, Vorjhon swung his warhammer and spoke a prayer. When the hammer connected with a satisfying thud, a bolt of divine silver energy crackled down from the sky and smote the beast, but it still clung desperately to life.
The manticore, sensing the odds were no longer with him, turned and flew off into the night, but could not get out of range in time to save itself from Elora’s arrows and another barrage of Salys’s magic missiles.
Vorjhon cast a couple healing prayers on himself. As he inspected his torn and bloodied shirt, he decided at his next opportunity, he was going to buy himself a suit of studded leather armor to wear at night while they were on the road. It would be soft enough to sleep in, but not leave him so defenseless while he slept.
With dawn still a few hours away, and the group not fully rested, they went back to sleep while Elora finished the watch.
Because of the manticore attack, The Brunch Club slept a little longer and left a little later than they normally would, but still managed to move at a decent pace. They were slowed down around midday when a writhing mass of snakes attacked them, but the snakes were a mere nuisance and put down swiftly.
With the snakes dispatched they continued on their way. As the afternoon progressed they noticed the bog was getting shallower and the dry patches of land were beginning to become more prevalent around them. Their spirits were boosted by this as they hoped it meant they were finally reaching the other side of the Lich Bog.
Salys, still perched on Vorjhon’s shoulders, spotted another small hillock in the middle of some dry land. They reached it and set up camp. After dinner Vorjhon began taking off her armor when Drusilla said, “Wait. I hear something.”
They all got very quiet, listening for noises in the darkness. They could hear a shuffling in reeds, like something being dragged, or a creature limping. They heard soft moans as well. The moans were devoid of expression. They weren’t mournful or anguished. It sounded like someone didn’t know how to breathe without making noise.
Drusilla conjured her three orbs of light which she sent circling around the small hill they camped on. As the lights danced around them, the gaunt, pale, gray-green faces of zombies emerged from the darkness.
Vorjhon and Drusilla quickly smiled at each other. Being a paladin and a cleric, killing undead was not only their specialty, it was their pleasure. Vorjhon turned around to make sure nothing was sneaking up on them from behind and saw another creature. This one was taller than the zombies. It did not shuffle or moan. It had no features at all as its entire form was black. It didn’t look like a creature wearing black armor. It looked like a creature of pure darkness. Vorjhon knew it was a shadow fiend, and he was just as happy to kill it as he was killing zombies.
Drusilla said a prayer. The raven emblem on her chest glowed. When she finished the prayer, a faint purple light emanated all around them. Every zombie began to flee, frightened by the divine energy of the Raven Queen channeled through Drusilla.
Much to Vorjhon’s delight, the shadow was unaffected. As his companions began picking off the zombies one by one as they fled, he and the shadow charged each other. The holy paladin and shadow fiend traded blows. Vorjhon was able to deflect many of the shadow’s attacks with his shield. The holy smiting energy he channeled through his warhammer with every landing blow made his attacks more effective against his unholy foe and put the fight squarely in the Paladin’s favor.
In less than a minute the shadow had been struck down, dissipating into the night. All of the zombies lay in pierced and scorched heaps of harmless skin and bone.
The Brunch Club finished making camp, and with Elora and Drusilla watching over them diligently, they slept through the night undisturbed.
This story will continue next week in Episode 8.
Episode 7 was written by Dominic White with help from Brian Messmer.
Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:
- JP Black, who plays Drusilla
- Liz Raychard, who plays Elora
- Anna Flemke, who plays Salys
- Dominic White, who plays Vorjhon
- And Brian Messmer, who plays everyone else
Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!