Upon a pale horse... (The Mists of Ravenloft)

Book One, Chapter One

Heroes meet and escape the sewers

August 30, 747Helen of Verbrek, Evan Moreau, Villim Steinadler, Boris Strugalla, and Lydis Solnychnev (i.e. the group) awaken to find themselves in prison beneath the Harbor District of Mortigny. With them in the cell is Ivan Bogdana (an innkeeper) and his daughter Ana Bogdana.

Villim shocked to discover that his captor is his older brother Eckhardt, that he was sent to capture and return to Falkovnia by his father, Wolfram. Eckhardt taunts him and says he is now running a mercenary company and is doing the dirty work for whoever pays him enough coin.

Ana is then tortured and disfigured by Eckhardt with the aid of a hideous brute referred to as “”/campaign/ravenloft-game/wikis/the%20thing/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>the thing".

The group escapes the run-down cell, but is barred from escaping from escaping by “the thing”. They are able to defeat the brute, but are still trapped in the below-ground prison. Eckhardt pours burning oil into the complex, forcing the group into the Mortigny sewers through a bloodstained trapdoor in the floor.

In the sewers they discover that the bodies of the dead from the prison are being retrieved by a group of unintelligent undead, chopped into small pieces, and dumped into a pipe further down into the sewers. The group defeats the zombies (including a undead monstrosity called “”/campaign/ravenloft-game/wikis/the%20butcher/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>the butcher," which was a huge, bloated corpse that had its arm replaced by a huge meat cleaver). Boris claims the cleaver as his own.

Also amongst the carnage, Evan discovered the remains of his colleague and a strange and remarkable tome.

The group could hear strange sounds coming from down the gore-covered pipe, but it was far too narrow to even consider going down.

They traveled deeper into the sewers and discovered the spirit of a cleric that was once a great hero to Anchorites. Through diplomacy, they reveal that the cleric was betrayed and murdered by those who he thought loved him and that has been keeping his soul trapped down in the sewers. Lydis performed a ritual of burial on the remains and puts the spirit to rest. Before departing, the spirit bestowed to her the Holy Symbol that had served him so well in life.

The group rested by the bank of a large underground river. Lydis tended to Ana’s wounds.

They advanced along the bank of the river and began to see evidence of intelligent, tribal beings living in the sewers. They also began to feel as though they were being followed and watched by the rats.

As they trudged deeper into the bowels of the sewers, they were twice ambushed by rat-men and swarms of flesh-eating rats.

Eventually they came to a massive pit that was host to a unthinkably large swarm of rats and to their horror, discovered that these rats were being fed the body parts from the kidnapped immigrants. They made their way out onto a metal catwalk and to do battle with the rat-priest that was “feeding” the rats. Upon his defeat, he threw a lever and the bridge collapsed into the rat swarm, giving the rats a pathway up out of the pit.

The group gave one last look at Ivan and Ana, who had been hanging back on the other side of the bridge and were now completely cut off from the group, before fleeing for their lives up and out of the sewers.

They emerged from the sewers inside the sewage room of the newly built Opera de Mortigny during the opening gala. With the help of the foreman they were able to use the sewage room’s flush system to divert water from the Musarde River into the sewers and drown the swarm of rats.

Their actions did not go unnoticed and they were approached by agents of Louise Reiner who said that Louise would like to meet them.

Comments

DM’s notes:

The point of this, as with all “first sessions” of a campaign, was to get the players together and get them to work towards a common goal. I did elect for the 2nd most cliched beginning to any campaign: “You are all captured” (#1 of course is “You all meet in a bar”), but in some cases cliches are cliches because they work.

This adventure was also very much a classic “dungeon crawl”, far more so than any other adventure in the entire campaign. The reason for this was 4e was just released and we all needed to learn the rules. In addition, several of our players were playing a RPG for the very first time ever and we needed to teach them the basics of the rules. It also would give a major clue to the increased wererat activity in Mortigny due to Jacqueline’s secret plans. Something that the players would not put this together until the finale.

The sewer foreman was nothing more than a throw-away character, but through the magic of gaming Vilim’s player embraced him and he developed into a background NPC throughout the campaign. It is funny how those things come together.

The separation from Ivan and Ana was completely unintentional, but it lead to a great twist in Chapter Seven.

Book One, Chapter One
tarokka

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