The Architects of Betrayal (TAB) 8: The Haunting of Augerhead
Updated: Jul 20
With a prank-less night behind them our band of opportunistic do-gooders was able to set out close to dawn. As they exited the curtain wall once more they noticed a lit tower in the town. As they watched it went out.
Failing to heed the cautionary tale of the cat, they chose to indulge their curiosity and investigate. Tanic ghosted on ahead of the main group managing to wrack up sneak attack kills on two Apocalypse Zombies before the rest of the group could intervene. Feeling left out Zornesk decided to sneak along with him . . . in full plate armor.
This had the regrettably obvious consequence of alerting the next group of zombies they ran into. Worse still, the sounds of fighting drew still more zombies from neighboring avenues, including a large group from the direction of their goal.
It is possible the group might have managed to hold their own, outnumbered as they were. Of course, its also possible their would have been six new zombies to replace some of those they'd killed already. However, before the contest could be decided a group of four gnomish clerics charged into the fray, taking up strategic positions around the battle. As one, they channeled positive energy, killing all of the undead in the area.
The Cupcake's saviors beckoned them back to their church where they'd managed to hold off Armageddon for the time being. There they learned that this small group had emerged from a week long ritual to Garl Glittergold held in their temple's basement to find nearly everyone dead. Well, undead. They'd managed to find a few survivors and scavenge some food before the first wave of zombies hit. From the clerics' leader they learned that the waves of zombies they'd been fighting off had all come from that path that wound away from the town proper and up the mountain. They also learned that there was something wrong with the town's main water supply.
Tanic took it upon himself to retrieve a sample for examination in short order. He then spent more time than the mission itself would have convincing Zornesk that he was ill suited to this endeavor.
That task out of the way he successfully snuck all the way to the well indicated on his map by the clerics, filled a vial, and returned, with the zombies none the wiser. Of course, few zombies could ever have been called wise to begin with. Once back Calith was able to identify that the water had been tainted with an incredibly powerful cursed poison, the likes of which none had ever seen. The only certainty was that it was so powerful it might even kill a paladin or monk.
The group suggested that the clerics should leave with their charges. They refused, stating that Augerhead was important in its location and must be preserved. The group pointed out the difficulty of trying to clear a town of some 800 gnomish zombies. The leader then told them of a secret to Augerhead. He said that there were towers set at the points of a pentagram around the town. Three were church towers in the town proper, and they were certain they could reach them. But the other two were located up the mountain from whence the zombies come. One was the Mayor's Tower. The other was at the school. If they could get access to each of these towers they believed they could lay to rest all zombies in Augerhead. Of course they needed to consult a tome in the school's library for the undead uprising ritual. He claimed it would allow him to create a counter ritual. It was even possible they might neutralize the cursed water in the town well.
And so, vowing to avoid the local watering hole, our group of would be heroes promised to stem the tide of the zombies. The fact that they're whole purpose for this journey lay in that direction must surely be coincidence.
Fortunately, they'd already cleared the path out of town up to the gate. But instead of making their customary left turn towards safety our protagonists turned right. As they started to follow the path that wound around a peak, they could see the tower they'd been told was one of their destinations rising from the cliffs above them. Below that, cut into the rock, was what turned out to be the stable. Not willing to deal with the smell, the group moved on.
They encountered only slight resistance from a couple of zombies loitering on the far side of an overturned wagon. As it turned out a much greater inconvenience was revealed about half way around the bend as they found that a large part of the path was missing. All that was left was a ledge barely a foot wide for them to use.
Tanic took the lead as the group edged the rest of the way around the peak, only to discover another welcoming party where the path widened again. Four Skeletal Archers were there, displaying their ilk's natural aversion at marksmanship. They may have hit the party once before Tanic crossed the gap and was upon them.
As they made it around the peak up to the tower the group was suddenly passed by figments of gnomish warriors charging into the open door of the tower. The sounds of massive blows and screams carried back out, promising not pleasant things for trespassers. Before they could decide what to do they were again passed by those same spectral shapes, as if in a rerun. Realizing they were witnessing a haunt of some sort the intrepid group decided to head back to their quarters to rest.
The next day showed an uneventful trip back to their point of furthest progress. So they set out to solve the mystery of the haunt. Fortunately for them, their DM had correctly ascertained the groups proclivities. As they entered the tower they saw a once tidy waiting room with stairs spiraling upwards on the right. Amidst the specters being hammered into blood stains on the walls were five gnomish undead. Re-killing them ended the haunt.
Feeling safer, they began to head up the stairs, only to run smack into another haunt, this one manifesting as the Choking Hands Haunt. However, unbeknownst to the DM, Vex just happened to have a pair of manacles. A quick blessing from the Paladin and the haunt was locked within.
The group ran into no further haunts in their explorations of the tower, but they did run across a number of ghosts. On the third such encounter one of the ghosts finally (I did say dice don't like me much right?) managed to possess Tanic as he scouted ahead.
/*A bathroom break was called here, wherein Beth asked me what I could make Tanic do. I informed her that I could make him jack off in a corner if I so chose. Then, in my own attempt at casting hideous laughter, I said I'd let him have control of Tanic's face; so they could all see the horror and embarrassment on it . . . I may also have suggested that the ghost might mutter something about missing such actions. Dave almost passed out laughing. So close . . .*/
Once Tanic attacked the group, they realized quite quickly that he was possessed. Unwilling to harm their colleague they left his neutralization to Calith and Zornesk. It was quite anticlimactic in my opinion.
Almost out of spells, channels, and lay on hands the group decided to rest again before tackling the final level of the tower.