The Village of Cwansit hugs the variable shoreline, its docks and wharves competing with one another for access to the sea.
To the West lies the rocky shoreline where the mountains meet the sea.
In the great semi-circle southward, the village extends out to meet the farmers’ fields and the thick forest that carpets the foothills.
Off the to the East, one can easily see the powerful outline of the Fist rising above the landscape. Through the haze of cookfires and road dust between here and there, few details can be discerned.
The Fist only rises to a quarter the height of the mountains beyond, but still towers over its surrounding villages.
The streets of Cwansit extend out from the docks, at first like spokes in a wagon wheel, then with seemingly random turns and cross-streets breaking up the outline.
In some places, a ten-foot high wooden palisade wall rises within the village.
It seems the population, over time, expanded beyond a protective wall that encircled the village and disassembled sections for building materials.
It’s been a very long time since anyone felt they needed a wall.
In the center of town, a temple of all-faith stands.
Being the only three story building in the village makes it easy to see.
Stone statues to each of the major deities stands upon the edge of the roof, gems and gold bringing a sparkle and glitter to the heights.
This building also houses the garrison of the Fist, a detachment of city militia that serve as street patrol and protectors of the peace.
On the western edge of town sits a cloistered monastery.
Its disciples wear the same colored robes and mostly keep to themselves behind their stone walls.
More important to the villagers than worrying about what may lay behind those walls, the monastery lends two of their members each day to the street patrol.
Their presence always bringing a balanced, just resolution to interventions.
The city militia is also bolstered by a volunteer brigade of villagers, men with more heart than skill, but dedicated to keeping the peace in Cwansit.
The mayor leads this brigade in spirit, but each year a Sergeant-at-arms is named from the volunteers who acts in the village’s best interest.
Normally, the militia spends its days playing dice and stepping between arguing family members.
Today is not a normal day.
Today, the forest is on fire.
Session 1 recap:
Here’s a barebones version of what occurred during the session:
When the fire is noticed, the senior staff of both the monastery and village militia run south to assist in its containment and aid citizens in need. They leave behind Rhox and Kesh, two members of the monastery and volunteer squad of the militia, to man the monastery in case of further need. Their friends, Flitt and Rowan happen to be visiting.
Soon, the mayor’s sister-in-law, Sabrina, appears seeking help in a missing persons case. Unfortunately, the missing person is supposed to be dead, but was seen walking through the western woods. Since the mayor and the sergeant-at-arms are off fighting the fire, she settles on asking the four youths present for their help. In describing the situation, the team realizes something strange may be going on… Rhox remains at the monastery while the other three move out.
Hikes to the woods and back don’t turn up any clues, so Rowan called upon a neighborhood dog who started sniffing its way from the western woods towards the now extinguished fire. The team marches to the fire site and meets up with the sergeant-at-arms who delivers one piece of information: a single death has been determined. He points out a charred human corpse mixed in with equally cooked animals in a burned out barn. The team waits for the sergeant-at-arms to wander off before investigating. They find a wedding ring on the hand of the corpse.
Returning to the monastery, the team find Sabrina and show her the ring. Of course, she faints when she sees its her dead husband’s wedding ring. Dead for almost a year, that is.
More investigation leads them to the village cemetery. The team searches the gravediggers’ building, but turn up no leads. They eventually find the mausoleum of the dead man’s family. Despite Kesh’s objections, they open the door and let themselves in only to find it completely vacant. Where placards show the name of the person lying upon each bier, the team finds no dead people. Now, they start to worry.
Searching the crypts to either side of the first reveals a dank smell from one and a moveable statue in the other. Again, NO BODIES! Moving the statue is difficult but that reveals yet another thing: a dug out tunnel descending straight down! A miasma of charnel stank rises out of the hole, but the team decides to climb down. They find a tunnel going in either direction, so they head right until they see another hole in the ceiling, right under the original crypt. Further walking confirms their fears that each crypt has a tunnel dug underneath.
Kesh makes a marker out of a burned piece of wood and the team proceeds down the tunnel, always choosing left whenever a choice is presented to them. At regular intervals, holes rise up from the ceiling, leading the team to believe each goes to another crypt. Eventually they come into a nexus of tunnels where six of them come together. The smell is overpowering. For good reason too, there’s a pile of dead bodies lying to the side.
Flitt determines to investigate the bodies for anything of note *coff*value*coff* and is grabbed by the hand of one of the dead bodies! Suddenly some of the bodies are rising up and trying to grab the whole team! Kesh knocks one back, while Flitt pops one in the head. Rowan first slices the arm off one, then nearly decapitates another. In all, four bodies rose up and were put back down.
The team decides discretion is appropriate and follows their charcoal markers back to the first crypt. They crawl out into the fresh air and debate their next move…