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The Architects of Betrayal (TAB) 35: Pants-ocolypse

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Heed what the shirt says.  Help you it can.
Also DMs . . .

{DM's Note: To be clear here, Clint came to me a few months before this particular event wanting to switch characters. He felt that two summoners was a bit redundant. And he wanted to try out the Mystic Theurge prestige class. Pretty sure it was mostly the latter. I agreed because it helped fill in some info I hadn't figured out how to give the party within the story. Clint then insisted that his character must die from pants or trees, or pants and trees. He wasn't picky much was he? Christian then (being the helpful person he is) found the Mimic and suggested I make a Pants of Devouring. Clint agreed . . . while laughing. Remind me never to volunteer to be one of his characters . . .

P.S. Adam had decided he wasn't interested in my campaign for . . . reasons outside the game. I told the group I'd play Oracles, but for some reason they thought that the DM playing their only healer might represent a conflict of interest. Hey, I had to try right?}

As the group (plus one very hung over Kobold) left Arabel they could sense a tangible feeling of dread pervading the countryside. This sense was quickly intensified for Zubat as the group witnessed a Bloodplate Burster rope itself a wolf. This dredged up a memory from a previuos life for Zubat. Or rather, a previous death at the hands of a very similar creature. Basically it roped him, hooking into his pants. He couldn't get them free before being eaten.

Minerva decided she'd like a pet wolf and charged, with the rest of the group in hot pursuit. The burster used its awl spikes dealing quite a bit of damage to the group, and killing the wolf . . . which exploded. It was AWESOME!

But wait; there's more! Because shortly after that the group passed through a small town. For some reason (that quickly became apparent) everyone kept giving the kilt clad Zubat the stink eye. People glared. Kids ran away. Dogs and cats started living together . . . sorry, different weird story.

This state of affairs continued until Zubat was accosted by some old bitty at the center of town about his choice of attire. He tried to explain his experiences with pants but she was having none of it. She kept getting louder and louder until the village constable ended up getting involved. He informed Zubat that the law of the town was that men had to wear pants (yes it's weird but I've seen weirder legislation) in public. Zubat tried to tell him he was just passing through. The man politely but firmly informed him that he could pass through in pants. By this point there was quite a crowd, including several members of The Order of The Blue Flame.

{DM's Note: I screwed up here, just a little bit. I was supposed to tell them that a deputy ran up carrying loaner pants. I forgot, and when I remembered it didn't seem important. This oversight may have had an effect in the ensuing blow up.}

The constable then produced a pair of pants and told Zubat he had to wear them to the edge of town. He eventually conceded. I'm sure you can guess what happened next; as he went to remove the pants they spontaneously became pants of devouring, ate him, and ran off. The entire town (and I mean everybody present) was shocked, horrified, and sickened. I know this because I repeated it several times.

Regardless, Tanic's response was to kill the constable. When I informed Dave that such an act would be evil he told me that if I gave him evil points for murdering an innocent man (yes he doesn't know what happened; which is the point. That's for later in the campaign) he was quitting the campaign. When I repeated myself he quit. Dan then quit too. I informed Dan that he would not be returning to my campaign a second time.

So what to do with three unplayered characters? Well, Dave had indicated that Tanic would kill the man. Zornesk actually succeeded in grappling Tanic, but Tanic had a cape of the mountebank, which he used to teleport to the constable and kill him. He was then met by a hail of arrows from the Blue Flame members, each doing close to 50 damage. (I made Archer(Fighter), Eldritch Archer (Magus), Arcane Archer (prestige class) bow wielders with the same gestalt system the group's been using; it's sick.)

Vex then drew her sword. A warning arrow was fired at her feet. She was told that if she approached the town she'd suffer the same fate. She attacked. She suffered the same fate.

Sadly, Clint spent the next few days feeling guilty for their decisions. I had to tell him repeatedly that this wasn't about him, or what happened, and that I thought they were just looking for an excuse to leave. He eventually settled down about it.

The rest of the group continued, much shaken (players and characters). They reached Ormpetarr just in time to watch them attempt to burn one of their members for failing to get a spell scar. Oracles protested, saying she knew the kid and that he'd been impatient to gain his scar.

Fortunately, a dragon swooped down and saved the kid before they could complete their stake and bake. Oracles then entered the temple to present herself to the high priest, a formality before starting the pilgrimage. She also asked what had happened with her friend. At first she was only told that the kid was clearly a coward that had chickened out of his pilgrimage. He apologized for the zeal of the group, but didn't seem that bothered by it.

The group left, and unanimously decided that they needed a drink. Well, it had been a rough day. So they headed to the nearest bar, and proceeded to pump the bartender for information. He told them that this was not the first occurrence of such behavior. He told them of one kid that had turned out to be immune to spellscars (both the occurrence and the granted abilities) and how the order viewed these people as abominations. He also mentioned that this kid too was rescued by the dragon Tyrangal and brought to her mansion. When pressed he told them to ask the Monastery of Kelemvor at the south of town. He also said that they had been working on charms that would protect people from spellscars, with some limited success.

So the group then asked after the monastery. Oracles waited outside. In the monastery they were offered the talismans 2.0 if they would investigate what the Order was up to. These talismans were supposed to grant immunity to spellscars as well as a 20% chance of negating an ability originating from same. They agreed.

Next, they stopped at Tyrangal's mansion. At first their attempts to gain entrance were to no avail. Then Zornesk stepped up to the door and administered what he referred to as 'The Kobold Knock'. Imagine woody the woodpecker knocking on your door with a beak the size of a mace. It's pretty much like that.

In short order there was a deafening roar. A moment later a small door set in the mansion's massive gate opened and a young man identifying himself as Duvan stepped out. After much questioning he stated that they'd been keeping an eye on The Order. He said they were up to something but they didn't know what, just that they'd been sending caravans into the Plaguewrought Lands. The group agreed to investigate.

So they headed to the Plaguewrought Lands. They hadn't gotten far before a Mu Spore unearthed itself and closed on them. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, the group again executed the time honored maneuver known as RUN AWAY! Unfortunately their horses were no faster than the spore.

As they reached a ridge forming a wall in their path three members of The Order revealed themselves, and took the Mu Spore under heavy fire. (Seriously the thing didn't survive one round.) Afterwards they waved the group over and thanked them, telling them that they'd been looking for this thing for some time.

As they got close enough the group realized that these were the same three archers that had executed their allies. As Minerva tried to stutter out an explanation the leader of the group told her that he'd seen them try to stop Tanic and that he had a rule against blaming someone for another's acts. A rule Tanic would take wise to learn.

Or should have.

You know what I mean . . .

Anyway, they also advised that the group not continued on the heading they were taking. When asked they said they weren't sure, but that the Order was doing something at some ruins in that direction. When the group insisted on heading that away, their rescuers warned them to stay out of sight, and asked if they would bring back intel on what exactly was going on. They explained that a small number of them had been seeing a disturbing shift in behavior within the order, and that when they'd begun asking questions they'd been given inconsequential tasks elsewhere.

Like hunting down a Mu Spore.

More certain than ever that there was something seriously wrong, the group moved further towards their goal. By now that feeling of dread was palpable.

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