Year of the Demon Lord - Session 1

Pregame Notes

We just wrapped the first session of the Year of the Demon Lord campaign that Marc Plourde is running. Our group of six strangers has nearly solidified into an adventuring party, and we're all getting into the swing of the game. I'll be putting together a first impressions at some point, this post will be a session report. I was slightly late to the party, and my USB devices all died midway through the game so things are a little spotty in certain parts.

Be sure to check out the Year of the Demon Lord summary that I'm updating. You'll find a list of the characters as well as a history of all the posts regarding the campaign.

On the Road

The campaign opened upon a merchant caravan traveling along the roads between Broad Oaks and Blackwater Ford. Sage had been enjoying her time on the road, making friends with the merchants who she was traveling with. There were several odd characters that were also part of the caravan.

(c) 2015 Schwalb Entertainment, LLC

(c) 2015 Schwalb Entertainment, LLC

The young man, Reudan, had ingratiated himself with most of the caravan after a few days. His zealous devotion to the New God was slightly irritating, but he was polite and helpful and Sage found those qualities far outweighed his religious leanings.

Another follower of the New God was part of the caravan, the dwarf Holgar. He may have been devoted to the New God, but he mostly kept to himself. Sage appreciated his calm presence.

Buckets, a goblin who could always be heard singing about the wagons, defied categorization. Sage was fairly certain he never once spoke anything true, though his foolish antics often masked the cleverness in his eyes. He also carried a clockwork on his back which he referred to as Fox, but he never revealed the mechanical creature's purpose.

And then the orc, Runt. He really embodied the orcs that threw down the Empire; strong, confident, ready to take charge when it was necessary.

Ambushed

The roads are not safe these days, and of course the caravan was ambushed by bandits. Arrows rained down from the forest upon the caravan, killing guards and merchants alike. Sage dove under her wagon in an effort to escape the volley of arrows, and the attention of the bandits that were bursting out of the woods and onto the road. As the rest of the group scattered about the wagons, Sage made a mad dash to get away from the bandits.

Reudan and Holgar hurried merchants to safety while Runt tried to spot the head of the bandits in the hopes of ending things quickly. Buckets, possibly in an attempt to frighten the bandits into leaving, gutted one of the dead guards and began dressing in his entrails singing, "You've unleashed the plague!" Sage could swear she saw the madness gleaming in the goblin's wicked smile as she scrambled to get away.

More bandits crashed onto the road. The guards would not be able to hold out for long. Seeing the futility of the situation on the road, the rest of the group turned tail and ran after Sage. 

Runt, recognizing the goblin's dark speech, tried to scoop the goblin up as he ran past. The gore, however, had made Buckets far to slick to pick up. Seeing Runt's hands slide off the bloody goblin, Reudan called out, "No, just grab the entrails, they're wrapped around his neck!" It was a much more effective way to drag the goblin out of certain death.

All this time, Fox was discarded and forgotten on the side of the road. The clockwork boy had not been wound up and would not be moving on his own any time soon. Thankfully, Holgar hoisted the clockwork as he ran by rather than leave him to the bandits.

Out in the wilderness

Several hours passed as the group wandered through the woods, shaking off the bandits and attempting to steer toward Blackwater Ford. They stopped for a bit in a clearing, feeling confident the bandits were no longer in pursuit. The problem now was to get some idea of where they were, but the trees were so thick there was no way to tell what time it even was through the canopy.

Buckets volunteered to perform a spell that would point the group in the right direction, but he would need some blood to power it. Sage cast a dubious look at the little fae creature, fairly certain he was up to no good. Runt, however, quickly volunteered to provide the blood for the ritual. After a bit of scraping, singing, and gesticulating, Buckets excitedly pointed out into the woods and declared the direction the group should take. Just to verify, Runt scaled a tree to get a better view of the area.

Runt dropped back to the forest floor with a look of irritation on his face. Buckets' sense of direction was a bit off, earning him a swift rebuke from the orc. With that, the group was off in the correct direction to get them to Blackwater Ford.

Ghost Busting

Eventually, the group came upon a ruined tower in the woods. With light fading fast, it seemed like a good place to set up camp. Unfortunately, upon inspection the tower was falling apart more severely than the group had hoped for and there would be no way to get a good look around on it. It was, however, a good place to set up camp.

After only a few hours of rest the group was awoken by an unsettling sight. Several spirits had appeared about the ruins of the tower, seeming to go about their mundane affairs as though they were still living. It was a rather shocking sight and it seemed to break poor Reudan's nerve.

"Abominations!" Reudan screamed upon witnessing the spirits. He and Holgar then began praying for the spirits to move on, their presence was an affront to the New God. The spirits took no notice of their antics, and continued about their business.

"Reudan, I believe there is a plant that can be found in this forest that could ward off the spirits," Sage suggested. She suspected the spirits were harmless apparitions and was hoping to get some sleep.

"I don't want to ward them off, I want them to move on!" Reudan cried in desperation.

"Yes... move on. That's what I meant," Sage replied with little conviction.

Before Reudan could protest further a deep red glow from within the rubble of the tower caught his attention. Casting aside a small pile of rubble he came up with a dagger whose blade was glowing crimson. Obviously, he took this for a sign from the New God and got Holgar to bless it. 

Glowing dagger in hand, Reudan approached one of the spirits and plunged the glowing blade directly into its face.

It didn't turn out well.

(c) 2015 Schwalb Entertainment, LLC

(c) 2015 Schwalb Entertainment, LLC

The spirit reacted violently to the attack and attacked the young man who had tried so hard to help it move on. Reudan was no match for a wrathful spirit and fell to it's blows, though he was not fatally wounded. Hoping to keep the spirit from killing the boy, the rest of the group rushed in and eventually banished the spirit. Buckets wisely hid away in order to avoid looking at the spirit. With the creature gone, Sage quickly secreted the dagger away hoping to keep it away from Reudan once he came to. At least now everyone could get some rest.

Wrapping Up

The first session was a lot of fun and I'll be posting my impressions of the system before too long. Be sure to check out Marc's write up, he's got a lot of details in his summary and a lot of thoughts from the GM side of it as well.