Dramatis Personæ

Brother Mendel (Herodian)
Dane Sardock (Winston)
Gabriel Auditore (Rigil Kent)
Gestlin the Unpredictable (CommJunkee)
Magnifico the Clown (Feste)
Merasiël Alethmist (Melissa)
Rainald North-Hammer (Gigermann)


Of Death and Afterlife

13 May 2014

The Heroes took some hours, into the afternoon, to rest and heal; Brother Mendel, through his own injuries, set about tending the others’ wounds as he was able, resting here and there to regain his vigor such that he could begin again. The arrows in Rainald’s face were teleported away, rather than digging them out directly. Soberly, the Heroes gathered up the strangers’ gear to see what might be kept of it; much of it was enchanted, no doubt accumulated over years of adventuring—some very valuable indeed—their properties having been recorded in some notes kept by their wizardess, Salren, along with maps and journals relating to the search that brought them to this place (though no mention was found describing what they sought). The dead were gathered outside the Pantheon in preparation for whatever method of disposal the victors deemed expedient, though Radskyrta’s body was wrapped carefully to be prepared for its transport to whatever church was within reach—Hyrnan, on the Northern shore of Keyhole Bay, was the closest Christian-held city they could think of. As Brother Mendel discussed his intention to see Radskyrta resurrected, it was asked whether or not Radskyrta would want to return to the living world, and Brother Mendel cast a spell to Speak with Dead to learn their friend’s preference on the matter; although he felt the spell had been cast without error, he could make no contact with the spirit of Radskyrta at all. He tried again, this time to contact one of the fallen strangers, but again, he could not reach the spirit of the dead man. The Heroes decided this must be a magical place, aspected in some manner such that it prevented contact with the dead, or possibly as an effect of whatever-it-was the strangers sought here. All the while, they saw no sign of the missing dwarf, Hargin, though they remained vigilant.

In time, as their wounds had been healed fully as they could be, a number of the Heroes remained curious as to what exactly it was the strangers had died to prevent them from finding, and peered into the excavation in the middle of the structure’s floor—a dark hole as far down as they could see. Brother Mendel offered his Continual Light coin, and Gabriel dropped it into the hole; it fell a long way indeed, perhaps a hundred feet, before landing in some water. With all the climbing gear lying nearby, already made ready for the strangers’ use, the Heroes gave in to their collective curiosity; the rope-ladder was fixed in place, and Gabriel descended first, followed by Merasiël, then Dane, to scout ahead. They were followed thereafter by the others.

The bottom of the shaft opened into a wide tunnel, flooded with cold seawater up to the Heroes’ waists. The floor of the tunnel gradually rose out of the water as they followed the tunnel forward, with Brother Mendel’s and Gestlin’s light-coins held aloft as their only illumination. The tunnel continued briefly and ended in a heavy stone door, wide open, intricately decorated and covered in runes—Brother Mendel examined it and determined that it was indeed magical, though he could not say what manner of spell affected it, but believed it to be beyond his ability to dispel. After a quick search for tracks of any who might have passed through before them, which left them certain none had done so, they cautiously proceeded through the door. On the other side of the door loomed a large cavern, ending in a wide pool, or perhaps an underground river. A large stone statue, a three-headed dog, stood vigil at the door. As some crossed the cavern floor to examine the skeleton of some large, long-dead creature they could not identify, Rainald went to the edge of the water to see what manner of fish might live there, and found it was littered within with coins—he fished one of the coins out with his spear and picked it up, to examine it, handing it to Brother Mendel who came to see what it was Rainald had found.


Suddenly, some tentacle burst from within the pool and snatched Gestlin away, dragging him into the water with great speed; Gestlin had scarcely enough time to call out to Smil-Blam, which failed to save him from being pulled beneath the surface. Gabriel ran toward the spot where Gestlin had disappeared and called out for Angrist; Merasiël held the knife out, and Gabriel snatched it from her hand as he dove headlong into the water. Rainald had also jumped out from shore, and was met there by two great serpentine creatures rising up suddenly from the deep. He and Merasiël engaged the creatures in melée, as Dane loosed arrows from atop a boulder just ashore, and they eventually slew them both, but not before Magnifico fell to a great gout of acid spat from one of the creatures’ mouths. Gabriel dove down to find Gestlin, and in the darkness, could barely make out a massive black shape before him, a single creature of many heads, and attempted to cut Gestlin free as the wizards struggled. The others had no time to collect themselves, for in the place of the two creatures they slew came now four, smaller, but growing all the while as they attacked without mercy. One by one, the Heroes fell in frantic battle, for each one of the creatures they destroyed was replaced by two more.

CharonIn turn, the Heroes found themselves on the shore of a wide river, much like the one they had encountered before. The colors in this place seemed drab and lifeless, and a gloomy mist rose up from the water. The three-headed dog statue remained, behind them, still vigilant. They gathered at the shore, wondering what had befallen them; they all guessed that they had perhaps died, though they were not in Heaven, nor any afterlife they had heard of. Gabriel chanced a swim out in the river, and after some time, could not find the other side of it, and so returned. Brother Mendel began to despair, most of all, as he was a man of God his whole life, and believed himself now abandoned by his Faith. Some time later—how long, they could not guess here—through the mist, a shadowy boat approached their place on the shore, guided by a figure in a black, hooded robe. Gestlin called this person “Charon,” and the river, “Styx,” and said they should get aboard and cross the river with him. The hooded man held his hand out to each, in turn as they boarded, clearly expecting something of them; Gestlin gave him a coin, which was accepted, and the others followed his example, except Brother Mendel, who refused (rather impolitely, and counter to his usual demeanor), before Gabriel discreetly offered a coin on his behalf.

They found themselves then at another shore, a dock, before some manner of city, of strange construction not unlike the ruined city on the island might have been; Gestlin called this place, “Hades.” As they disembarked, they saw many people there in the city, shuffling listlessly about, going nowhere—among them, Radskyrta. Rainald yelled, but Radskyrta did not respond. The Heroes gathered around him, but he did not seem to see them, nor did he speak, nor acknowledge them in any way—dead on his feet, as it were. Brother Mendel found another and struck him, and felt as if “many souls had cried out,” though the man struck did not. Gestlin pointed to a building with many columns atop a hill, and supposed that would be where the god of this realm, also called “Hades,” would be found—he wondered for a moment, and decided someone called “Persephone” would not be present at this time of year. As they traveled in that direction, having nothing better to do, they also saw the strangers they had fought before, as lifeless as Radskyrta. They could all feel a heaviness settling upon their souls, as if this very place were the cause of the residents’ lifeless state, to which they would also succumb in time.

bs-Hades_1At the temple-like structure, Magnifico stopped them all and explained that if this were truly a god, they should be exceedingly polite, and not look him in the eyes, and not speak unless commanded so—and, better to let Magnifico do the talking. Agreed, they proceeded through the columns to within, and found before them a giant of a man, as a simple description, strangely attired, majestically towering above them and looking down upon them. The Heroes kept their gaze low, and waited for him to speak.


  • After the potential-TPK that was our last session, a number of the players realized their characters were not well suited to this sort of business. After much back-and-forth, the GM decided to allow everyone to rebuild their characters (under certain conditions). Some didn’t change much, some did; mostly, we were ready to get on with it for this session. We had no idea the GM had a “transition” in mind…
  • In case you were asleep, the creature we fought was a hydra—a tough nut to crack, it seems. We had no idea when we engaged it that it was to be an “intentional TPK” as a gateway to the afterlife; some of us figured it out in the middle of it, some didn’t. At some point, when it started to look unwinnable, the GM let us off the hook, and handwaved the rest of the fight