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The End of the Bardori Campaign (Dark Season 1626)


Gallowglass

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Okay, so... my Dundealos campaign ended nearly 2 years ago. I might be starting a new campaign soon, and as I was thinking back on this one, I felt bad that I never did a recap for the ending. So here it is, nearly 2 years late! This is going to be pretty bare bones, because now I only remember the broad strokes. 

My players and I went through 2 more seasons of 1626, and decided to wrap things up at Sacred Time. I've saved our old character sheets in case we want to revisit them, but I don't know how likely that is. 

CONTENT WARNING! - This Dark Season adventure involved ogres and a very gruesome murder, don't read this recap if you'd rather avoid gory stuff. 

Dark Season 1626

This adventure was wrapped up in a single session, as it was mostly role-playing and investigation. It was near the end of Dark Season, and there had been unusually heavy snow for Dundealos valley.

Given the unstable nature of Sartar at this point in time, the chieftain of the Bardori clan decided to invite a clan of allied Pol-Joni, many of them kinfolk, to the tula for feasting, and a strengthening of traditional alliances (I . The session began with Erindros pulling out all the stops to make sure he threw the wildest party, with the greatest quantity of Esrolian wine available. His efforts were a success, and his refurbished stead was chosen as the site for the feast. 

Right in the middle of the feasting however, a clansman approached the chieftain (Angarr), who then brought the PC's into a private conference. A clan elder named Hantrafal had been found brutally murdered, and partially devoured in his home. Angarr was worried for everyone's safety, and also how this would make the clan look in front of the Pol-Joni. Trolls were suspected, so the party armed themselves and went to investigate. When they arrived, they found two clan militia men under attack by a pair of zombies. He Who Spits at the Devil made short work of them. They looked for clues in Hantrafal's house as to what might have happened. They found that he had been struck from behind by a heavy, blunt object, and then devoured from the chest down.

The militia men guarding the scene shared rumors of Zorak Zorani trolls with zombies on the loose. They had heard this from other Bardori farmers who lived close by. The PC's who had experience dealing with trolls were aware that they sometimes use undead in their attacks, but they were suspicious that trolls would leave behind a half-eaten corpse, and that they would attack a single old man, and not any herds or large gatherings. The guards also mentioned that Hantrafal was being cared for by his nephew Rostand, who was nowhere to be found. Rostand's sister Jareen and brother-in-law lived close by however. The party went to speak to them. 

Jareen and her Tarshite husband Borni were very upset about Hantrafal, and worried about Rostand's disappearance. Egajia sensed that they were hiding something however. While she spoke with them further, Erindros and HWSAD poked around the farm a bit. HWSAD was able to sense the presence of Chaos (I allowed him to sense more zombies, although this is a bit of a stretch I admit). They found another zombie in a state of dormancy, hiding under the hay in a barn. It awoke and attacked. Again, HWSAD did what he does best and it went down pretty quickly. Jareen and Borni heard the commotion and made to attack Egajia and Garkar, but she intimidated them into staying put (at least that's what I remember, this part is kind of blurry). They refused to talk to Egajia, but Jareen said that if Rostand was anywhere, he was probably hiding with the clan's healer, Durri Kind-eyes.

(Jareen and Borni were ogres, and worshipers of Cacodemon. I honestly can't remember if the players figured this out then, or later when they went to speak to the healer. At first they were using Rune magic to mask their true nature). 

Jareen and Borni were tied up and delivered to the clan's militia, who were now patrolling the boundaries of the tula. The next stop was the healer's house near the chieftain's hall. Durri was there, and with some successful intimidation, admitted that Rostand was hiding in his root cellar. He explained what was going on. Rostand was an ogre, although he didn't know it until recently. Rostand, Jareen and Borni were enslaved after the destruction of the tribe. They were one of the few that survived the slave camps at the New Lunar Temple, during the worst of the Great Winter. The three of them had committed cannibalism to survive, murdering another slave in their camp and eating him. This act caused them to transform into ogres, although Rostand had apparently suppressed the memory until recently.

(I took some liberties here, deciding that Rostand's urges and physical nature as an ogre would stay hidden as long as he had forgotten what he had done).

While Rostand was snowed in with Hantrafal at the farm over the past week, Rostand had suffered from nightmares, and then flashbacks at what he had done. He was overcome with the urge to kill and devour the old man, and eventually lost control. Rostand had confessed all of this to Durri, and the healer decided that Rostand was not so far gone that he couldn't be somehow cured, or purged of his curse. HWSAD of course was not happy with this, to say the least. They went to see Rostand in the cellar, who was cowering in a corner. He had transformed physically, his teeth growing into fangs, and his skin turned gray and shot through with black veins. He begged for his life, and Durri put himself between He Who Spits and Rostand. 

(I was inspired by the Chalana Arroy heroquest from King of Dragon Pass for this particular scene). 

The other PC's experienced a brief vision of Storm Bull in a humanoid form, standing over the broken form of Ragnaglar. He was wielding HWSAD's maul. Chalana Arroy stood between them and begged for Ragnaglar's life. She said that Storm Bull must not commit kinstrife, for it would only invite more Chaos into the world, and that if Ragnaglar died he could never be healed. Storm Bull only said, "there is no healing of Chaos." 

The vision ended, and HWSAD's player had to decide what to do. Rather than let his passions decide, he chose to follow Storm Bull's way and execute Rostand, accepting the stain of slaying kin. Before consulting the chieftain or the clan ring, he found Jareen and Borni and killed them as well. 

The PC's then went to tell the chieftain all that occurred. Angarr urged them to keep it a secret, but over the next week this proved to be impossible. The Pol-Joni left, and while they promised not to forsake their alliance with the Bardori, they urged the chieftain to purify themselves of the stain of Chaos and kinslaying, less they invite disaster on themselves. 

The mood was grim in the aftermath of these events, to say the least. 

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