D&D Campaign – Well That Was Unexpected (part 2)

(Before you start reading, make sure you’ve read part 1, which you’ll find here.)

When we last left everyone (…who writes this blog’s) favorite addled half-elf, she was sitting in the middle of a crowded street, in front of the Temple of the sun goddess Pelara. A temple which, incidentally, she had just screamed and thrown a rock at for no apparent reason that anyone but her could see.

Also, it probably bears mentioning that her best friend is the High Paladin of the sun goddess’ paladins, and that the Sunians (the almost scarily devout race of humans who worship Pelara with single-minded devotion) rioted less than 48 hours ago.

This has the potential to be, as my GM would say, ever so bad.

Whether by the intervention of Ilo, Pelara, or just the luck of the insane, though, no one really takes offence at her actions–those who see her are merely (understandably)  puzzled. Because this disturbance is taking place right outside the gates of the temple, the High Paladin, Ninat ul’Balar (who just happens to be there, in another stroke of luck) is alerted and comes to investigate in short order. And she finds her best friend sitting in the middle of the street, eyes tightly closed, looking like death warmed over, shaking uncontrollably, and refusing to move.

Eventually, Ninat is able to convince Piter to open her eyes. Piter attempts to explain what happened, but is mostly rambling and incoherent. Ninat does catch the part where Piter very calmly and rationally explains that she is not sure that Ninat–or anyone or anything–is actually real. Befuddled but needing to handle the immediate crisis, she gently coaxes Piter up and into a back room of the temple, where she has her elven friend lie down on a bed (she looks exhausted, natch.) Piter, of course, refuses to sleep–bad things happen when she wakes up, she explains. Which again makes no sense to Ninat, but at the very least the paladin understands that something bad has happened, and that Piter needs help. A LOT of help. Now. So she goes to fetch her High Priest.

Only, Piter is not there when Ninat and the priest return. Piter watched the Temple disappear  after all–and the longer she sat in the room, the more uncomfortable she became, until she could do nothing but leave. Fortunately for Ninat, Piter was in no condition to make herself difficult to find as she stumbled through the streets towards the center of town, and the paladin has no trouble following her.

Piter, you see, has figured that, if Pelara can’t help her, maybe the Golden Ram (a popular deity associated with health, wealth and wisdom) can. When she arrives at the church, however, the usual kind, smiling priest outside is a kind, smiling, rotting corpse that cheerfully greets her good morning. Piter simply turns, and walks away. She cannot even find it within herself to feel anything anymore.

Finally, in a last-ditch hail-Mary attempt to find something or someone that ccan help her, she stumbles towards the small Alter of Mosaa (Mosaa is the god of balance and judgement–John, another PC, is his Avatar). If Ilo can’t help her, and Pelara can’t help her, perhaps Mosaa can. Surely, after all, it is not balanced to drive an Avatar out of her mind? Regardless, it is all she has left.

She reaches the alter–a large set of scales upon which offerings are placed (and always balanced, of course.) Usually, these offerings include gold, perhaps a bit of food or craftwork. On this particular day, however, the scales seem to be holding a fresh and beating  human heart on one side, and a head on the other. Piter cannot summon the ability to feel afraid, or even surprised. And as the head opens its eyes and laughs at her, Piter’s heart simply gives out, and she falls to the ground in a heap.

Luckily the Mosaan priest and Ninat are both there, and between them they manage to revive her. Piter is properly terrified upon awaking, naturally, but Ninat manages to calm her and get her safely back to the inn the party has been staying at. Though she is not very hungry, Piter eats in the common room of the inn (and drinks. She drinks a LOT, though it doesn’t do much to help her forget.)

Days pass (where important things happen, but not important to this particular story.) Piter is functional, and no longer actively going out of her mind, but things are clearly not right with her, and neither she nor anyone else in the party know what to do.  Ninat tries to magically contact John, who is currently at the main Temple of Mosaa in another country–he has a magical teleport that can take him back and forth. Avatar and all that. (Important digression: the guy who plays John had been out of town for quite some time, which is why John was parked in the Mosaan Temple and not participating in all this. It IS important to note however that, in character, John has been distancing himself more and more from the party. During the last game before he left, after we had just finished a very nasty combat, John’s player had him simply say “bye” and teleport away. In the middle of talking to me. Which is very fitting for where his character is mentally right now, but it’s important you have that context for what comes next so that you know his PLAYER isn’t being a dick to ME. Purely in character stuff.) The response that the party gets, after our mage mindspeaks John with the message “Piter is in trouble and we need your help” is essentially, “I’m busy. I’ll be back when I’m done. Handle it yourselves.” (Which is OOC the response we assumed we would get since John’s player was not back yet. But the GM did a fantastic job of giving John’s response the kind of flavor that the player had been giving his interactions with the rest of the party.)

Ninat, understandably, is infuriated at the cocky, uncaring 18 year old boy who just blew her and her best friend off. Piter doesn’t care (about much of anything, including this.) The rest of the party merely roll their eyes. Yep, that’s John. 

A few days (and sessions, when John’s player is back) later, John makes a casual entrance while the party is eating breakfast in the common room of the inn. He glances at Piter (who looks even worse, though at least she’s bathed. She is terrified of reality shifting again if she has to wake up, so she simply hasn’t slept. And as a half-elf, it takes her a LONG time to get so tired that she simply passes out. That does not make lack of rest any better for her though; she can just go on longer at a semi-functional level than a human) and says, “what’s wrong with you?” 

Piter just looks up slowly, meets his eyes for a moment, and goes back to eating. Ninat is furious, and reads John the riot act while he alternately ignores her and deflects her jibes with his typical jocularity. Finally interrupting their irritating argument, Piter tells him, “I haven’t slept in three days, I’m afraid to go to sleep, and I’m not sure that you, or anything else here is actually real. That’s what’s wrong.”

“So…what?” says John. “You’re just going to stay awake forever?”

Piter just shakes her head and goes back to her food. John decides that he’s going to take the rest of the party to go see our powerful mage ally to see if there’s anything he can do to help. Ninat agrees to stay with Piter, in case Piter decides to do anything stupid. She doesn’t, though she does get up after she’s done eating and head a little ways outside of the city. Ninat follows her, and watches as Piter proceeds to spend her time sitting and playing with the little rabbits that populate the plains.

(All this time, incidentally, the GM has been playing up the whole Inferiority Complex derangement by saying things like, “you know…your friends probably don’t even like you. You should really just kill yourself.” Or, “you know, you haven’t even been able to talk John out of joining the coven. You’re probably doing more harm than good. Really…maybe you should just take yourself out of the equation.” 

I, as a player, fought against this as long and as hard as I could for three sessions. Rationalizing things like, “yeah, but if I kill myself, I’d just make a mess. That would be even more of a burden.” Or, “yeah, but death is like sleeping…what if I wake up?” Just so you know the kind of mindset that Piter was in, here.)

Eventually, John and the rest of the party find Piter and Ninat outside. They cluster together and talk in hushed tones about what to do. Before they can reach an agreement, well…Piter realizes that she has been basically left alone, no one is around watching her. And they’re all gathered away from her, shooting glances at her while they talk. Clearly, they are discussing how to get rid of her. So, Piter does the only logical, noble thing she can do under the circumstances: she removes that problem for them by drawing her hunting knife, and slashing her own throat.

(I have to admit, the look on everyone’s face when that happened, including our GM, was fairly priceless. After playing out part of the rest of the scene, the GM took me into another room and said, “so…uh…will you be needing a new character then?”)

Piter, as a hunter, does a very good job. John rushes her to the nearest temple (The Temple of the Golden Ram–dedicated to health, wealth and wisdom), but they are almost ten minutes outside the city. She has long, long bled out before they can get her there. Of course the priests try to help, but they are clearly going through the motions.   It is at this point that John makes a connection, and runs as fast as he can to Diedrich (our powerful wizard ally NPC) to see if he can somehow protect Piter’s soul before Baelphren can claim it.

Meanwhile, in the underworld, Piter is dead. A lot of stuff happened down there but its a long semi-unrelated story. The important part was that there WAS someone down there, and he DID try to claim her soul. Impaled her right through the chest (which incidentally  doesn’t hurt when you’re a ghost) and told her, “I know you.”

She doesn’t have much time to be terrified though, as her soul is rudely shoved back into her body by Zamiel, our PC mage, who has in desperation used his fine control of fire magic to burn runes of summoning and binding into her flesh. (Into her INNER THIGH, of all the places in the WORLD he could have done it. “But it’s the place he thinks will be least noticeable!” his player protested, off of the incredulous look I gave him.) And so Piter is back–but she is little more than an animated corpse. A zombie with no free will or personality of her own. The party (in, I’ll have you know, an utterly hilarious series of scenes that were a pleasure to watch–I loved playing zombie Piter for this session) tote their animated undead friend around and eventually end up in Diedrich’s tower, which is as safe a place as any when a quarter of the town’s population are necromancy hunting paladins who kill undead things and anything with them on sight. (And who also might have questions if they find their High Paladin hanging around with a zombie.)

John, not knowing what else to do, prays to Aloaster, the god of death and necromancy (his official title is the First Lich.) Now it’s not the first time John’s spoken with him, and Aloaster is receptive to his request–that Piter be brought back. Aloaster  says that’s not just something he can DO, but he can ask John a question–is it balanced that an Avatar of one of the gods be gone at this juncture? Is it balanced for one of the gods to lack representation at the turning of an Age? John says no. Aloaster responds that John’s friend will be given a choice.

So the world freezes for Zombie Piter, and she suddenly feels herself again (though her memory is a little fuzzy), and finds herself standing before a skeleton in a mages robe, wearing a crown. Clearly the First Lich (Piter has met him before, too.) They have a long conversation that boils down to: will you let nature take its course, and die? Or unnaturally preserve the balance of power in the world, and live?

Piter chooses life. Zombie Piter takes a deep breath…and is Piter again. Sort of. Her heart’s not beating, and she doesn’t bleed (though she still has an ugly, unnatural, wicked neck wound from the knife), but she can think and talk and seems herself again.

____________________________________________________________

That’s where I’ll end the long version of the story. To summarize the rest, Zamiel tried to heal the wound in Piter’s neck (almost killed me by casting HEALING magic–thank god Diedrich was there)(Incidentally, can you guess what my vampiric flaw is? 😉 ) That was when Zamiel accidentally cut his finger and bled, and well…Piter frenzied and tried to eat him. (It wasn’t until this point that I, the player, realized that I had been raised as a vampire. Embraced by a god ftw!) Not wanting to kill anyone, and feeling unable to stop herself, she sprinted out of town and into the woods. She tried to warn the party off but noooo, they pursued her, and she almost ate them again. She found cover in a bear den during the day (still fairly feral and having no idea what was going on), while the rest of the party contacted a vampire friend of ours to help. Long story short, they put together a very good plan to catch me and did so (though I came this close to killing one of them. Hey, it’s not MY fault vampires do retarded aggravated damage!) And now, Piter is in the process of coming to terms with what she is, and how she has to live. She has no   idea how an undead abomination can still be favored in Ilo’s sight (though, his bow and armor still work for her–so maybe he hasn’t abandoned her entirely.)

And she really, really misses the sun.

So that was like, 5000 words or something retarded like that on what’s been going on in my game. Feel free to tell me to shut up and keep it short next time. (Alternately, feel free to tell me you liked it too.) I expect my next D&D campaign related post will be a discussion of the powers I chose, why I chose them, and why being a vampire is FRIGGING SWEET (for the player at least.) Either way, thanks for reading this far!

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10 responses to “D&D Campaign – Well That Was Unexpected (part 2)

  1. That was quite a story. I had been wondering if my advice about planting evidence against Lorelei had perhaps led to Piter getting killed after being caught in the act. Wasn’t expecting a horror story about her losing her mind and killing herself. Do you know if the hallucinations were just the result of so much recent trauma, or something more sinister? Does the setting have spells that can cause something like that?

    I’m also wondering if this might be the thing that makes John grow up a bit. Seeing a friend (or at least a comrade) kill themselves in front of you, at least in part because of what you said and did (or perhaps didn’t say or do), is the sort of thing that can cause someone to really take a good long look at themselves. Maybe the wound on Piter’s neck will be a constant reminder of how he screwed up.

    Finally, I was wondering if vampiric Piter has met up with Ninat yet. How does a high priest of an anti-undead religion react upon seeing her best friend return from the dead as a vampire?

    • It was absolutely something sinister. Others in the party have had bad dreams and visions (though NOTHING) like poor Piter went through.) And there is absolutely magic that could do it. There is something or someone out in those woods that we need to find.

      I was hoping it would have that effect in John too. Instead, he accused PITER of not taking responsibility for herself after she bit him during a Frenzy. And he thinks it is really funny to try and scare her to produce the red eye/fang bearing reaction. (Or he did until he realized that she can be vastly stronger than he is and force him to his knees/throw him across the room like he is a little bitch. OOC I took immense pleasure in that. The look on his face was EPIC.)

      And yes. Ninat is conflicted, but she is being loyal to friend over religion. In fact she saved Piters life by leading away a group of Paladins who sensed necromancy and were hunting her.

      • So basically the GM drove your character nuts so the party would know what their next quest was? I’m guessing the party was supposed to discover that the only way to cure Piter was to destroy whatever evil thing is lurking in the woods, but then you discovered an alternative approach.

        John sounds more and more like a jerk, but I guess he is acting like a lot of 18-year olds. Getting chosen as the avatar of a god probably boosted an already over-large ego into the stratosphere. He sounds a bit stupid as well, to be honest – who the hell deliberately startles a vampire? I suppose next will come “hilarious” pranks involving garlic and holy water.

        Pretty heartwarming that Ninat chose to save her friend like that. Though I have a feeling there’ll be consequences later. What happens when someone discovers their high priest is friends with a vampire? Religious fanatics are not known for their forgiveness.

        • Holy crap. I am so used to thinking of it as such a huge open world that I didn’t even read this as a quest hook. But it so totally is. Good thing we’re investigating it.

          John HAS become a jerk. I do wonder if there’s something his player knows about John that we don’t. Maybe the GM has given him certain info or something. Otherwise I don’t know why the sudden change. And if he tries more pranks, I WILL kill him. Although I don’t think he will. Seeing a 90 pound elf with strength 10 shook him up a bit. 😉

          Ninat is pretty irrevocably fucked. She’s going to have to come clean at some point. That or change a religion. I do know Piter would sooner give herself up to be staked out in the sun than let harm come to Ninat on her account though.

  2. Bit late to the party, but I just wanted to say that as a casual follower of this blog (here for the HL2 stuff!), I really enjoyed reading this. You’ve got a knack for excellent storytelling.

    • Yes he is indeed. I love the guy, and share your hope that I may someday be as good as he is. (Bear in mind too, he’s been GMing for literally 20 years. He’s had practice.)

  3. Did you know there is a D&D type game centered around the Cthulhu Mythos? And have you heard the tale of Old Man Henderson? source of “The Henderson Scale of Plot Derailment”.

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