The story starts way back in time, so bear with me. The intent of telling this story is a reminder for most of the players, the first time hearing the tale for one of the characters and possible just brand spanking new for some of the existing players who may or may not even be reading this.
Awhile back, there was a group of adventurers who found themselves stuck on a continent far across the ocean from one they call home. War was breaking out and these heroes wanted no part of it. While coming into the wharf section of a Port City, the heroes witness a run away horse drawn cart with a Diva character trying to stop the horses from charging. This is Ota and she is trying to repay a debt she owes to the Priests of the Raven Queen. At the moment, she doesn’t seem to be doing a good job of it. To shorten the story up, the heroes help her stop her cart, rescue some children that were almost trampled over and all in all do what heroes do.
Ota invites the heroes to join her from some drinks and food at the local tavern. Here we meet some NPC characters, of special note is a hafling boy named Toby. The most handsome, charming and all round fantastic hero of the group, Nim Bell, wins via a 3 Dragon Ante game passage for the group (um with the exception of Nim himself as the Captain of the ship thinks he may have been cheated but can’t prove it) on a luxury cruise liner back to their home continent. Ota, who is assigned by the Raven Queen priests to escort her cargo of bodies (people from across the sea who were not as lucky as our Hero’s in leaving this war alive) back to their homes, finds herself on the same ship. As an amazing coincidence, Toby’s family of halflings will also be on the same ship.
As it turns out, the ship is actually a floating city. And our band of Heroes soon find themselves caught up in a murder mystery when a body falls from a tall building right in front of them. They track down many clues, get themselves deputized, find themselves a target of an hour glass bombing, end up fighting a baby dragon and saving only one of the intended targets. The murder is revealed to be a changeling female named Ziki, who lost her sanity when her only son was killed by a baby dragon while visiting a circus. The circus trainer who was responsible for caring for the baby dragons, was distracted from his duties by his affair with the wife of the circus owner. Shortly after the death of her son, Ziki gets word that her husband was killed in the war. Ziki snapped and begin to kill every member of the now disbanded circus. The last couple of members were residents on the floating city. Our heroes only clue to identifing this changeling who can make herself look like anyone is her right hand. It has only three fingers, two of which were lost in her attempt to save her child from the baby dragon’s rampage. Our Heroes were able to stop Ziki before she was able to kill the last member of the circus, captured her and put her in jail. Much celebration on the ship happens as the serial killer is no longer at large. The captain of the ship offers the Heroes a reward and permanent residency on the ship. But the celebration is cut short when all the dead bodies being taken back across the ocean start roaming the streets and killing people.
Once again our Heroes fight their way through the restless undead, losing their cleric along the way. They discover a vampire barbarian and necromancy sorceress performing some type of ritual that is animating the bodies. The sorceress leaves immediately telling the vampire that this was not what the Master wanted and that he is on his own. Our Heroes recognize the barbarian from a couple of earlier encounters: he was a shadowy figure in the bar who was watching Ota very closely, he was seen taking small personal items that belonged to the Heroes from a very blurry eyed Toby, this items were then given to Ravens who flew off the ship. But it was in this battle that our Heroes learn that this vampire barbarian has the ability to dominate the wills of others. The battle was hard but our Heroes were able to defeat the vampire and stop the ritual. The Barbarian got away by turning to fog, but not before he did the required “I would have gotten away with it if not for you meddling kids” line and he threw in an extra “I should have killed you when I had the chance” line to Ota as well.
More celebration is required and the journey proceeds without any further incidents, but of note was that Ziki killed herself by hanging in her cell about three days after the undead attacks.
NOTE: the story will continue in the next blog posting.