Spoiler alert: if you plan to play The Evils of Illmire don’t read this!
Following the advice of @DissectingWrlds who has had great success with his players writing up and in some cases performing session reports, I posed the question to my group… would they like to write up a session report? They didn’t disappoint. Before getting onto that, check out these session reports from @DissectingWrlds White Hounds Holocaust campaigns:
- White Hounds Holocaust Campaign 1 Session 10 Adventure Time ( by Stephen)
- White Hounds Holocaust Campaign 1 Session 11 Battle of San Juan de Rambala
- Campaign 2 Episode 8 White Hounds Holocaust Finale – Bohemian Boat Trip
Back to The Evils of Illmire; the first entry is from @JimjimTheGrim who plays the Fighter Anistor, wielding his fearsome two handed flaming sword Flambolg. It’s written in the form of a ‘from the front lines’ letter to Lord Crellmont, their friend, patron and mayor of Illmire.
Dear Lord Crellmont,
A report on our latest activities in destroying the evil cult plaguing Illmire.
We continued through the old mine and had just vanquished some undead zombies, no doubt victims of the evil cult plaguing our lands. There was a glint in Gravik’s eye as he once again held his trusty flail in his hand instead of the cursed spade that was bringing on a maddening blindness. The glint of silver in the cavern walls may also have contributed to the dwarf’s happier mood, you should wonder using his expertise to reopen the mine once this is all over.
Vigark, our new companion, and Gravik led the way up a set a stairs from which some of the zombies had descended on us. Using his “burning lady” statue (no citizens were harmed in exploring the mine) Kristos joined the search through the debris of the mine. Clearly the cultists had been using the mine for resources to expand their dominion based on what we found. Foul insects have also taken up residence dark recesses of the tunnels.
Gravik showed admirable restraint, only taking a few samples to assay the mineral content of the rocks we found.
We needed to descend further into the mine, using the winch and bucket contraption controlled from the surface. Gravik bravely led us into the dark passages once again…
Reaching a cavern with a door and a set of rusty metal bars, we heard whimpering and growling sounds coming from behind the door. A horrible sight met us as we opened the door, a zombie was chained up to terrorise some innocent citizens of Illmire who were taken from the Weary Wagoner or captured by bandits. Evalore quickly deduced they were held captive like this so that their fear would psychically feed the nearby spawn – once again proving why he is the brains of the outfit. Kristos was of course ready to slit their throats should they be found out as evil cultists – once again proving he is ruthless enforcer of the outfit.
Knowing the Fearspawn lay somewhere beyond the gate, we advanced, trusting to the blessings of the Luminal Star to protect us better than it did the last cleric who joined our band. A horde of zombies were pressing against the far side of the gate, clawing through the bars in an effort to reach us. We prepared a warm welcome for the undead as Evalore lit a bonfire; Kristos and I invited the zombies to join us around the campfire.
The first few through the flames were burnt, but we then faced what seemed like an army of bodies. We set about the grim work of dismembering them as they swarmed towards us. Gravik and I held the front line while arrows and magic rained down on the burning animated corpses. Eventually Gravik succumbed to the relentless horde, failing to the floor with the zombie on top of him trying to eat his brains through the front of his face. Evalore sprang into action, garrotting the monster with a blue bolt of electricity that lifted its head clean from its body. Vigark forced a healing potion into Gravik while I beat back the last of the remaining monsters.
We staggered out of the bloody burning mess and approached the by now familiar slobbering of a fear spawn. Kristos was overcome by fear, not surprising considering his last encounter with one of these creatures, and fled. The creature gurgled in some arcane chaos language and plunged the room into darkness.
Evalore detected the creature using his arcane powers and we attacked! The mages lit up the fear spawn with arcane magic and I was able to finish it off with my flaming sword. We burnt its corpse to prevent the hideous creature regenerating.
If it pleases your Lordship, could you pass this on to my second cousin (once removed on my mother’s side) Aldos the Crier for him to pass on news to my family – he normally shouts it out in the square as half the town are relatives.
Following that we have a wonderfully detailed and evocative write up from from @Dragongirl74 who plays the Magic User Evalore.
Having defeated the zombies on the middle level of the mine last week our heroes climb the steep stairs to the top level of the mine where Gravik and Vigark spot the glint of gold under an upturned barrel with their dark vision.
Calling Kristos, Anistor and Evalore up to join them they lament the leaving of the 10′ pole that Anistor previously carried back in Illmire, and Anistor uses the great Flambolg to poke at the bucket, just in case it has been trapped by one of the Cultists. As the flaming blade pierces the bucket a high pitched squeal erupts from within and 2 giant ticks burst out of it carelessly clambering over the bleeding lifeless body of their brethren fallen to Flambolg’s sharpness.
Kristos, glad that he handed his torch to Gravik so he could inspect the bucket, quickly fires 2 arrows in rapid succession, each finding their target and the scurrying ticks, scurry no more.
Sweeping aside the bugs, Gravik spots the glint of gold again and quickly finds several gold nuggets in the pile of dirt and rocks under the barrel. Enough to recoup the expenditure of this quest and a good nights celebration in the inn to boot.
Realising there is nowhere else to go on this level our adventurers realise that they need to explore the bottom level that can just be seen from the lift shaft.
Remembering the splash made last week as the zombie that was hanging off the bottom of the lift “bucket”, they decide to head back up to the crank room and lower the bucket down to the top of the water, to keep their feet dry and prevent any nasty surprises rising from the pool.
Shoring up the fraying rope with another length found with the harnesses in one of the mine’s out buildings they each climb down into a small antechamber in the rock.
They stand between 2 doors, a wooden one to the north and to the east a heavily reinforced iron gate, chained and padlocked closed. A key to the padlock hangs by the eastern gate.
From the north, faint whimpers and cries for help, interspersed with growling can be heard. Realising that people need saving Gravik opens the door, with Evalore close behind him, an elemental spark at the ready. Chained on the right side of the room are 3 villagers, dirty, emaciated and half dead from fear that the zombie on the left side of the room will somehow break the chains holding him just out of reach. The zombie is quickly dispatched, the villagers freed and fed from the everlasting Dwarven stew pot stolen from the Observer’s tower. The villagers tell their terrible story of capture by the cultists and weekly visits from Father Rancidius, who delighted in torturing them and the others who were here before. There used to be many more of them, but they are not sure what happened to the rest of them. Rancidius has not been to visit us for a while, now they say, only the cultists who come to feed us just enough to keep us alive and in this torment have been here recently. How recently they cannot say as time has lost all meaning for them in the perpetual state of fear and discomfort.
Realising that their fear was feeding the fear spawn, our party know the vile creature must be near. After reassuring them that Rancidius can harm them no more due to his demise at our heroes’ hands, the party help the villagers out of the mine and into one of the out buildings to rest and wait until they return.
Evalore reaches for the key to the eastern gate only to jump back in surprise, more of the zombies are snarling and reaching through the bars, trying to get at this new source of brains. This must be what happened to the rest of the villagers captured by the cult, poor things. Only one way to save them now, the sleep of true death.
Taking the wooden table, stained with blood and flesh of those tortured in the Northern room, and everything else flammable they can find, the party make a bonfire and douse it in flaming oil in front of the eastern gate, ready for Anistor to light with a touch from Flambolg.
Our adventurers then take up positions with Gravik and Anistor in the front, 5′ from the gate, Evalore is just behind and in the middle of them, whilst Kristos and Vigark stand at the back ready to loose arrows.
Evalore sends a portal spell forth and the magic forms a spectral blue key that opens the padlock allowing the chain to fall to the floor in a heap. The weight of the mass of zombies pressing against the gate smashes it open, zombies spilling into the antechamber. The first four of them catch fire, but still shamble into the room, only to fall at the flail, blade and arrows waiting for them. But they keep on coming, it’s hard to count how many zombie bodies are piling up in the space in front of the open gate, but still they keep coming.
Evalore sends elemental spark at each of the zombies coming through the gate, Kristos and Vigark fire arrows into all the Zombies they can see, Gravik uses his flail to take out the zombies attacking him and Flambolg slices through the ones attacking Anistor.
Until one of the zombies strikes true at Gravik who falls to the floor unconscious! Evalore looks on in horror as it then dives on his fallen comrade, ready to start eating his brains and looses an arcane dart at it, the magic creates a stream of blue light that wraps around the undead and tightens like a garrotte, slicing it into many pieces.
Anistor, bravely rushes forward so no more of them can reach Gravik, Kristos tries vainly to staunch the wounds with strips torn off his clothing whilst Vigark searches for the healing potion in his pack. The potion stops the bleeding but Gravik remains unconscious. Anistor, enraged that these zombies have wounded his brother in arms, makes short work of the remaining undead.
All is quiet for a moment. Vigark, Kristos and Evalore discuss what to do with Gravik to keep him safe, should they take him topside and guard him whilst he heals? Anistor hears the familiar, vile whispering in his head, the fear spawn is very near. He steels his nerve and shrugs off the effect, determined to take down the creature before the night is out. Gravik is carried into the northern room, out of harms way and Vigark, Evalore and Kristos head back out to join Anistor. The whispering is too much for Kristos as he recalls how close he came to death when he fought the last fear spawn with only Shalmaneser’s Lion to aid him and runs out of the mine. Vigark and Evalore are determined to join the fight this time and follow Anistor further through the gate.
Anistor and Evalore get a quick glimpse of the slavering fear spawn and then all light is extinguished as Vigark and Evalore feel the darkness spell rush through the room. Evalore sends an arcane dart to the space he saw the fear spawn, hearing it’s cry as the magic hits it’s target. But no-one is fooled, the creature is far from dead and no-one can see it to aim their attacks. Vigark whispers in Evalore’s ear, “it’s a creature formed of magic, it should glow in the presence of a detect magic spell”. Anistor, unable to see the fear spawn stands firm, waiting for it to reveal itself, either by making an attack or from Evalore’s spell.
It seems the darkness is affecting its creator as the fear spawn strikes short of Anistor, merely caressing the chain of his armour rather than causing damage.
Then the fear spawn is outlined in the faint blue glow of Evalore’s spell, making it possible for Vigark to aim a stream of arcane thorns at, striking true. Anistor is able to close into the creature and run it through with Flambolg, but it is not yet defeated. It retaliates, slicing into Anistor, but our fighter is tougher than that. The fight continues with a combination of thorns and blue light of the arcane darts from the magic users and with the searing cuts of Anistor’s Flambolg the creature soon falls.
To ensure it stays dead, flaming oil is poured upon it and set alight and it’s flesh burns to a crisp black powder that cannot be reanimated.
In the corner of the room adventurers find a chest filled with gold, more than enough to make that celebration into a week or more.
Heading back to the antechamber, they collect the still unconscious Gravik and make their way back up to the outbuildings above. Collecting the villagers and cobbling together a rude cart from the lift bucket and the crank wheels they head back to Illmire to rest, heal and prepare for their next adventure.
Wow! These are fantastic, thanks both for writing them. Not only have you saved me a job, but you’ve put a lot more into it than I usually do!