Monday, April 13, 2020

The Dead Walk in Daitsu

The Dead Walk in Daitsu
Our online D&D game set in Ravenloft continues.

The Characters
Tekla Vardagen, half-elf warlock
13 Shattered Mirrors, tabaxi warlock
Tank Orkerson, half-orc fighter
Gnagar the Bloody, kobold monk
Al', drow cleric

The last adventure ended with the House of the Dragon collapsing in upon itself and the fortuitous arrival of a black carriage. The party let the carriage take them to their next destination: a meeting with Lady Shizu, agent of Lord Yami Shinpi. Lady Shizu explained that the group had fallen victim to a known phenomenon: the land sometimes uses strangely thick mists and fogs to abduct people from other worlds and transport them to the world of Ravenloft. 

She also informed them that Lord Yami Shinpi was currently at war with his brothers over control of the island nation of Rokushima Taiyoo. Since the party had proven themselves useful in dispatching the dragon cult led by Noriko Sato, she had an offer for them: if they would travel to the village of Daitsu and discover why their shipment of rice for Yami Shinpi's army was late, Lord Shinpi would give them information about a route back to their homeland.

The party were given a skiff and directions to follow the river down to Daitsu. Along the way, they heard the lonesome sound of a flute as a shack on stilts came into view. Reconnoitering revealed that the house belonged to an unkempt young man who had the unnerving habit of staring through people instead of at them. Aside from a flute, he had a book of haiku with an inscription that indicated that his name was Ren and that he had a brother called Mako. Since he had plenty of food and water, the party decided to leave him well enough alone and continue on to the village.

They arrived at Daitsu in time to see a solemn procession carting a shrouded corpse up to the village's cemetery. Oddly, the corpse was not just covered with a funeral drape, but also wrapped in chains. As the village's priest intoned the last rites and the body was lowered into a cairn, the corpse began to twitch and convulse. Clearly, something was horribly wrong in Daitsu.

Investigation and questioning the locals commenced! For the past three weeks villagers had either been disappearing or dropping dead without warning only to rise again as the walking dead. A number of red herrings began to pile up: red bean paste candies found at the scene of disappearances (that were probably actually murders); Master Botan, the village priest, was spotted entering the woods, which he had previously avoided; the village blacksmith blamed foreigners for bringing the death cult of a god named Vecna to the village.

The group also met the most annoying bard in the world: a man named Duncan from Kartakass who had traveled to Rokushima Taiyoo in order to learn the songs of the rice paddy he could then appropriate said music and claim it as his own. Later, the group would discover that Duncan transformed into a ravenous zombie. They likely took great joy in dismembering him and knocking his corpse into a fireplace.

To get to the bottom of the situation, half the party followed Master Botan into the woods and watched as he unmoored a boat and set off down the river. The party followed "stealthily" in their skiff (Can you boat stealthily? That is the question) and found out that Botan was responsible for the fresh food and water being delivered to Ren. 

The other half of the party staked out the manor house of the town's governing family. When no lights were lit and no activity inside was detected, they decided it would be best to break in and explore. The first floor was full of expensive furnishings, but seemed abandoned. However, a few members of the group felt like someone was watching them. They discovered that the walls formed a hollow perimeter throughout the house replete with peepholes...and stairs leading to a hidden door on the second floor of the house.

Both halves of the party reconvened at this point and climbed up to the second floor. The smell of rotten meat inundated the air. The party found Jiro Daitsu, headman of the village, dinning on corpses with a number of his servants! Blackened windows were broken in hopes that the sunlight would weaken the undead monstrosities, but that had no effect. A combination of spells, axe blows, and martial arts carried the day.

As they exited the house, the party saw that the storm that had been threatening to break was now in full downpour. They also noticed that the workers in the rice paddies were all standing stock still, despite the inclement weather. It quickly became obvious that with the coming storm the workers had died and risen again as the living dead.

After resting at the inn, the party was given a few helpful artifacts by the town's dwarf shopkeeper: a magical katana, six magic arrows, and three potions of healing. Ren reappeared, now recovered from the temporary insanity that had rendered him mute. He offered to lead the group to the source of the affliction: the tomb of his eldest brother Mako. Down in the tomb, the party found the zombiefied Mako and the first of his victims who had been turned into the undead. A brutal battle ensued, but the group emerged victorious. 

They also discovered a throne made of bones that was hiding an accursed book of black magic...perhaps these will offer a solution that could lift the pall of undeath from Daitsu?