Gather round, friends! Its time for another story update. Everyone had a lot more fun this session, so lets go!
Abraxis flew the party back to the church, depositing Jacques in a tree, gently setting Ayleth and her raptor down and glaring at Rohies until she climbed off his back. Then he turned to Ayleth and angrily growled at her. "That was stupid. You're demoted." With that, he flew up to the top of the church to keep a lookout.
The party was brought into the church where Bastian, the de-facto mayor had talked Brother Severen out of some of his fuge and had him heal up the returning adventurers. ( giving 10 vitality back to Rohies, Jacques, and Abraxis.) He questioned Ayleth about what happened. She began to explain the rootwalker attack when, from above, Abraxis shouted "You might want to start barricading! We've got company!" Which Ayleth quickly translated for the party.
Pews were piled up in front of the Church's doors and Rohies and Jacques searched for lantern oil. (Rohies got an action point for good thinking) They found three pints and prepared burning grenades.
From Abraxis' vantage point, he watched as Wiltweevil and a horde of over a dozen raveners approached the Church. As the raveners lined up, a man in black armor with a silver circlet around his head walked out of the fog and up to the sadistic rootwalker.
"Wiltweevil! What is going on here?"
"Master! Another group of foolish adventurers has come! They've holed up inside the church with the survivors."
"That is all? Surely you can handle this."
"Of course, Master."
"Very good. When you are done, join me at the graveyard, I will be gathering the army."
With that, the Master walked off into the mist, leaving the party to endure Wiltweevil's siege.
(Bo had me a bit worried as he postulated flying off and eating Master before he could return to the graveyard. I think he saw the look on my face and decided against it. He could have tore Master up. It also is worth noting, at this point, that I had significantly toned back all the NPCs and fixed some things that were missing or redundant. One of the condition immunities on the Grave Wurm was redundant with the Undead traits, for example.)
A group of the raveners charged the chruch doors and began clawing at the barricade. Rohies threw one of the pints of oil at the pack of Raveners, catching one on fire, killing it and the fire began to slowly spread. Abraxis took off from the Church roof and engaged Wiltweevil, pelting the rootwalker with lightning fire while it picked up large rocks from the landscape and threw them at the mountain drake.
The group took what potshots it could at the raveners outside while the fire spread and the raveners continued to beat on the barricade. Amazingly, it held and the fire didn't spread into the church doors. Abraxis then landed and put his powerful limbs to work and grappled the rootwalker. The two continued to struggle until Abraxis got the leverage he needed and tossed the rootwalker into the fire. Wiltweevil was quickly consumed by the flames (which had gotten extremly damaging by this point).
Abraxis then turned his lightening on the raveners as a dozen mounted men-at-arms arrived. The knights drove off the raveners and put out the flames. Seeing armored men, Abraxis returned to the roof.
The captain of the mounted soldiers sought out Ayleth, who had sent the SOS. He explained they were the advance troops the Baron sent, and asked to be informed on what was going on. He was handed Barald's journal and after checking it over, he asked if the party had any plans. After a bit of arguing between Ayleth and Abraxis, who was sticking his head through the doorway upside-down, the party left some of the troops to guard the survivors while the rest followed the party through the game trail, letting them get a good, unguarded approach to the graveyard.
The party approached the main part of the graveyard from all sides and then the remaining cavalry charged and engaged the raveners, keeping them distracted. As the party entered the area, roused by the activity, the Grave Wurm burst through the ground. (As I prepared, Bo was saying "Oh sh*t! I remember this!" since they knew about it from the journal.) The party engaged the wurm, dealing some damage to it.
"Enough!" the shout echoed across the battlefield (and for hilarity, the music playing on Bo's laptop also paused as I said that). Master had stepped from the tomb, he regarded the party as the Grave Wurm and the raveners stopped moving. He began to applaud, "Impressive!" (I got to use my booming-over the top voice) "You show promise for defeating Wiltweevil. Join me! And together, we shall conquer the world!"
The party all looked at each other and Abraxis opened his mouth really wide and lolled his tongue out. Then Jacques mimiced him. Master grew irritated, "You're insolence does not amuse me! Now you die!"
Jacques charged Master, attempting to Bull Rush him off his feet to claim the Soul Star from his armor. However, Jacques ran into a wall of steel, which only got a laugh from Master. The party quickly dealt with the Grave Wurm, spliting open the beast in a shower of gore. Master was also taken care of fairly quickly, with Abraxis pinning the human down while Ayleth and Jacques pried the soul star from his chest.
Master was arrested by the Baron's troops, and reconstruction of Andra began.
A member of the Church arrived and questioned the party about the events, taking Barald and Hertiger's journals and the Soul Star. Upon being asked what was being done about the artifact, the church man responded, "It's being examined by top men." "What sort of top men?" "Top. Men."
The Soul Star sits on a pedistal, in a room made totally out of stone. The camera pulls back and a large iron door slams shut and several mundane and magical locks are put in place. A couple of guards are posted and the camera continues to pull back through a labyrinth of similar tunnels and rooms, out into a grand cathedral and out to reveal the capital city (and I improv'ed most of that while the ending music to Raiders of the Lost Ark played)
So, everyone leveled up and had much more fun than they had the last time, which made me happy. I hope you all enjoyed this adventure and the adjustments I made to Darkest Hour.
I won't be running Cleansing of Black Spur like I thought since it's very similar to Darkest Hour: A dungeon crawl without the dungeon. So, next week, it'll be all me. If you like, feel free to post feedback or questions.