Crown of the Dead [D&D v.3.5] – Part 15

This adventure was Friday June 26, 2015. T.F., E.G., and C.H. were present.

Barry and Summer, two of the Redmond Brigade peasants just arrived at Riddley’s Crown, are on the verge of panic. Temsz, the half-Orc gate guard, determined by Detect Undead spell that they have been infected with the zombie plague. Though they look otherwise healthy, these two travellers are not permitted to enter the enclave. Death, then undeath, seems their fate.

Cleric Jere Collado joins Gnome Barbarian Wee Jack and half-Orc Ranger Xorn outside the gate. The trio considers their responsibilities here. Other Redmond Brigaders, -Jim Lansky, his sister Carol, and friend Steve- are angry and fearful. Although they may enter Riddley’s Crown, out of loyalty they struggle to leave their friends behind.

Xorn and Collado quickly settle on ‘professional indifference’ as their reaction to the newcomers’ plight. They loiter by the gate, more likely to back the guards’ enforcement of the rules than make any effort to help the stricken peasants. Wee Jack’s initial response is the same; but his good heart weakens his grim resolve, and the Gnome resigns himself to help.

First calming the lot of the newcomers, Wee Jack thinks quickly. His direct experience with the zombie plague is limited; though he has gleaned that it progresses relatively slowly, and can be cured by successful Fortitude saves or certain spells or treatments. Dwarf trader and healer Dredburn is an option, but Wee Jack goes first to Sister Janus.

The strange Cleric is grinding components for potions. Pleased to see her little Gnome friend again so soon, Sister Janus surprises Wee Jack by declining to assist the new arrivals. Her disinterest almost verges on callous. She does have spells prepared that could cure the strangers; and they have not been infected for too long; but the absentminded Cleric fails to see why she is obligated to help complete strangers who probably lack the means to compensate her. Despite an expectation of her residence in Riddley’s Crown to provide services to locals and visitors, Sister Janus is comfortable with her interpretation of who or what constitutes a ‘visitor’.

Wee Jack is taken aback. Mindful of his own lack of empathy for the newcomers at first, the Barbarian tries harder to sway the Cleric, looking to make it worth her while. Sister Janus thinks of her private conversation with Jere Collado, and decides that the Gnome could prove a useful ally. She agrees to come lend her expertise, secretly scheming to rook Wee Jack into her plan some time later.

At the gate, Temsz watches carefully as Sister Janus motions the two infected peasants closer. The Cleric looks over these wounded travellers, pauses briefly to consider the precedent she is setting, then casts a Remove Curse on them both. Simple as that. Walking away, Janus tells Temsz that they are cured, and perfectly safe to let in.

The Redmond Brigade rushes through the gate. The party saunters in after them. Jim and his associates thank Wee Jack for his intercession; Barry and Summer are wordlessly in awe of the little Barbarian. It starts to get embarrassing. Jere Collado announces he is going to the blacksmith’s shop to sell items; suddenly Wee Jack needs to help him with that. The newcomers turn their attention to Administrator Lumberg as the party slips away.

After commerce with smith Riis, apathy sets the party’s agenda. No-one is motivated to go out slaying, or even to forage. Cleric Collado divides up and pays out each party member’s share of today’s sell-off. Wee Jack has enough gold saved to commission a Masterwork Small-sized Great-axe from the smith. Ranger Carson Readey, and the Corinthians, are all out on the plains. Xorn takes a table in the main hall and has a drink in the peace and quiet.

Planning to weigh down his hammock for a few hours, Wee Jack first drops in on Jim Lansky and his Redmond Brigade at the stables. The Barbarian does his best to reason with the peasants, to convince them to give up the foolish notion of treasure-hunting Undead enemies far out of their league. His words are powerless in the face of determined optimism. The Redmond Brigade is set in their plan to start exploring and hunting tomorrow, after a good night’s rest. Nonetheless, they remain extremely grateful for Wee Jack’s help today, and promise him welcome and lodgings at their home village should the Gnome ever find himself out that way.

As a last-ditch effort to save their lives, Wee Jack suggests Jim’s group consider enlisting Ranger Readey as a guide and escort when they meet him. The Gnome might not like the exuberant Ranger very much, but he will likely protect these idiots, if only for a while.

No drama besets the enclave or the party this evening. Weapons are cleaned, clothes and armor mended, then early to bedroll after a satisfying meal.

It is now evening on the 24th day of March, by the local calendar.

 

(end of Part 15)

 

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About d20horizons

D&D player.
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