@TheMountainThatRoars @Rapterror Finally finished the very first night in detail. Enjoy and let me know what you think ^^
We open to John entering a room. The room is within an abandoned building, likely what was once the lobby of an office building. John is sweating slightly from the last vestiges of heat in the summer. There is a lantern with a candle inside near the center of the room. Light is coming in from outside, but is fading as the day nears its end. John is making his bed and preparing for night time. As he ruffles through his belongings, he notices something that doesn’t belong: what appears to be a scroll, bound with a purple silk ribbon. John opens the scroll and finds a note on it that reads:
You’ve proven your worth and guile. I’ve watched you for years as you toiled in the human wastelands. Time and again you have beaten the odds - you’re still alive. Are you sick of toiling, scraping… just surviving? Are you ready to have your world back free of filth, free of disease, terror, and monstrosities? If this is appealing to you, meet at the gates of Vaiport two weeks from today at noon. Come prepared for danger and excitement.
The first noticeable detail is that the RD is glowing and on fire. The fire itself is a deep dark purple, and isn’t burning the paper itself. John reads the note, re-reads the note, and makes a decision. Despite not knowing what may await him at Vaiport, John is resolved to make the journey, if for no other reason than curiosity. He gathers all of his belongings, spread out among his makeshift workspace, and lays down for the night to contemplate the possibilities. Eventually he falls asleep, dreaming of exciting things to come. Upon waking up, John gathers his bedding and disables all of the traps in the area meant to redirect or destroy zombie threats. He takes one last look back at the place he’d been staying at for the last couple months, then sets out for Vaiport.
Two weeks later…
It’s been a long journey, most of it on foot, but John has finally arrived at the outskirts of Vaiport. The wall is just as imposing as has been rumored. 200 feet tall and a mile long, crafted from stone with steel plating welded in patches over the front. There is a large gate for caravans to enter near the center, and an entrance for individuals off to the side. At two equidistant points, the wall has a cylindrical section which serves as a lookout post for any city guards. Just outside the individual entrance there are two guards, one on either side.
As John approaches, he takes notice that there are two other people also heading for the entrance. John wanders over to one, and calls to the other to join them.
“Hello”, John says, “It’s rare to see anyone coming to a city outside of a caravan, and even rarer to see 3 arriving separately at the same time. What brings you to the city today?”
The first man answers “I’ve been led to this city through a fishy letter”
The second man simply brings out a scroll bound with a purple silk ribbon and nods at it.
“How strange!” John muses aloud, “I’ve also been brought here thanks to a similar note. My name is John, what are your names?”
The first man identifies himself as Alistar Dark, while the second man identifies himself as Xalydyn.
“It’s nice to meet the both of you! Since we’re all here for the same reason, we should group up and travel together in order to unravel this mystery.”
Alistar agrees, and Xalydyn nods silently. John motions for them to follow, and they all walk for the individual entrance as a group.
“Halt. What is your business inside of Vaiport?”, the first guard inquires. “My acquaintances and I were invited to stay by a mysterious third party, and we’re interested in visiting your city to find answers”, John explains cheerily.
The first guard stares for a moment, trying to decide if John is lying or not. Eventually he turns to the second guard, and after a moment of hushed whispering says to the group “You may enter, but if you cause any trouble we will not hesitate to throw you out”.
“Excellent! I appreciate you letting us in!”, John exclaims. The guards knock what appears to be a signal on the entrance, and the gate opens. John takes one last look back, in case any other “adventurers” show up. He sees no other figures, but notices a fog rolling in silently. John can’t quite place why, but the fog unnerves him. He decides to enter quickly in order to get away from the fog. Once inside, John asks his companions where they would like to go. Both Xalydyn and Alistar agree that the first place with the most information on outsiders is likely the local Tavern.
After this conversation, John takes stock of his surroundings for the first time. The city is on the coast of a large body of water, with docks for fishing and import/export. Nearest the coast are a couple of large mansions, one with a smaller building still larger than a normal house attached. To the right of the mansions are the agricultural fields of the local farming community. Left of the mansions are the housing for the rest of the villagers. In the center of the city is a kind of amphitheater with a large, glowing, pulsing green tree in the center. To the right of the tree appears to be a barracks, the local bar, and the Inn. Far to the left up against the wall of the city is the market as well as an apparently unused building. Immediately to the right is the Builders Quarters, and past that is the city stables.
After fully taking stock of his surroundings, John motions for both Xalydyn and Alistar to follow. As a group, they head for the local bar. Inside there is only one group of people in a corner drinking and playing darts. The bartender is behind the bar, and nods once John and his group enters. As John approaches the bartender, Xalydyn approaches the group in the corner. One of the gentlemen misses his throw, and Xalydyn picks up the dart and takes a position to attempt a throw. The dart leaves his hand and appears to be on track for a bulls-eye, when halfway towards the dartboard it falls and simply impacts the wooden buffer between the wall and the floor. The group in the corner immediately burst into raucous laughter at the failed attempt, prompting Xalydyn to glower and flush with embarrassment.
“You should be happy”, one of them manages to say upon calming down, “normally we rough up anyone who attempts it without permission, but it was just so pathetic we’re going to give you a pass this time”.
Xalydyn, clearly embarrassed and now looking for an escape, slinks away and rejoins the group. (Author’s note: Dylan rolled a 19 on the dexterity check and then a 3 for strength)
John waits for Xalydyn to rejoin before turning to the barkeep. “Hello sir, my name is John. This is Alistar and Xalydyn. We were wondering if you’ve seen anyone strange come in within the last two weeks, or noticed anything strange happening around the bar itself?”
The barkeep smirks at John and rubs his thumb between his middle and index fingers, a clear “bribe me” sign. John smiles, then slips the barkeep 5 gold and nods. The barkeep seems taken aback for a moment, looking between the gold and John. He hastily grabs the gold before clearing his throat to speak.
“A couple of weeks ago, there was a stranger in the bar. He never spoke to me or even nodded in my direction. He went to the table in the center of the room, and fiddled with it for a moment. Since that day, no one in town or visiting has been able to approach the table. Anyone who has tried has found themselves turning and moving to a different table without even realizing.”
John arches an eyebrow, clearly intrigued. He looks between both Xalydyn and Alistar, and both of them nod as well. The group immediately all begins walking directly towards this table. On the way to the table both Xalydyn and Alistar walk away from John’s side and end up at the same table, a few feet from the intended table. Alistar gives an arrogant laugh before looking around and realizing he’s landed at the wrong table. Xalydyn blinks and seems confused at how he landed at the wrong table.
John on the other hand had managed to successfully make it to the strange table, and glanced around to check on his group. After taking note of all of the occurrences, curiosity immediately overtakes him. John thoroughly checks the entire top of the table, confirming in to be an ordinary table. As he bends down to begin checking underneath the table, he is met face to face with a strange man. Without flinching or even a hint of surprise, John says “Hello! I’m John, nice to meet you.” 1.
The strange man climbs out from underneath the table without a word. As soon as he moves, John notices something written underneath the table: “Enjoy the festivities”. Clearly a message from RD, as it glows in the same deep purple fire as the RD on the note itself. A few moments after reading the text, it begins to fade and shortly disappears.
Once the text disappears, John stands up and takes full notice of the man who seems to have appeared out of nowhere underneath the table. While John is sizing this man up, Alistar and Xalydyn both move toward the table and find no resistance, making it to John with no problems. 2.
(Author’s note 1: Alistar and Xalydyn failed the will checks, where John rolled a nat 20.)
(Author’s note 2: after reading the text and the text disappearing, the enchantment was lifted returning the table to normal)
John looks the man from top to bottom. He is 6’7 with fair skin, fiery red hair, and emerald green eyes. He seems to be made entirely out of muscle, is wearing a black tank top, blue jeans, and black boots. He radiates an aura of command, as if he’s used to being in charge.
The stranger takes stock of his surroundings, then finally looks at John, Xalydyn, and Alistar. He turns to John and says, “Hello. My name is Arthur. I am a military General among my people. I have come from a different plane called Avatos. I am here to create diplomacy between my home and this world. Do you happen to have a leader or representative for your world I could speak to?”
After a moment of quiet deliberation, John speaks, “I regret to inform you that we do not. According to my research, we used to have several of all our various countries. Unfortunately, since that time over 100 years ago, almost the entire population was wiped out by a plague of undead creatures named Zombies. Since that time, Humanity has taken to creating barrier towns, cities, and villages. With all of us unable to properly congregate, there are currently no leaders or representatives that could be said to speak for the majority.”
Arthur silently takes all of this in, expression neutral. After John finishes, Arthur nods and says, “Well, in that case I’ll just have to wipe out all of the zombie threat and help your people establish some kind of leader. With my immediate mission having changed for the time being, may I ask where I am and what you are doing here?”
John brings Arthur fully up to speed on the circumstances, including the information he currently has on both Xalydyn and Alistar. (Author’s note, which is that they both received the note that John did, and their names.)
After the explanation, Arthur appears to take in this information, then speaks. “That is curious indeed. Most interesting that this note has led to me in all of this. What is your goal?”
John explains “I want to eradicate the zombie threat, and take my planet back. I want to ensure that no one ever loses a friend, a lover, or a family member to zombies ever again. I want to find out what was responsible for this atrocity. I want to synthesize a vaccine for humanity, and if any of the perpetrators are still alive,” for the first time in years, John’s facial expression shifts to something dark, “I want to see them pay for their crimes one way or another.” Mere seconds afterwards, John brightens again.
Arthur listens without interrupting, and once John has finished Arthur takes a moment to think. Once he has finished, he grins and says “Well, it seems our goals are very similar. If you have no objections, I would be happy to join your group and we can work as a team to accomplish this goal.”
John breaks into a large smile, and responds “That sounds fantastic! Happy to have you along, General.”
With that settled, Arthur joins the group. John turns back towards the barkeeper and says “I’ve fixed your problem with this table. Before I leave, I have one last question. Do you happen to have any parties, festivals, or anything that your village participates in this time of year?”
The barkeeper nods and informs the group “It’s the fall festival. We hold it around this time every year. The villagers all meet at the amphitheater in the center of town to drink and be merry while the elders watch. It lasts into the night, and upon waking the next day the Elders lead the village in a ritual to the tree for protection.”
John thanks the barkeeper, then quietly asks the group what they would like to do with this information. Arthur defers to John so he can better learn how things work between the inhabitants of the planet. Alistar expresses interest in the fall festival. Xalydyn nods agreement. With an equilibrium among the group, they set off for the center of town. As they leave, John notices that the sun is heading for the horizon. It looks to be getting close to evening time.
The group makes it to the center of town, where there is clearly a party happening. Most of the villagers are milling around in groups and speaking to one another, everyone seems to be included. On the eastern section, there is a line of guards sitting in front of around a dozen people, all well into old age, sitting in what appears to be very comfortable wooden thrones. In the amphitheater behind them and off to the side a bit is a young girl who appears to be a teenager, but from this distance it is a bit hard to tell. Alistar breaks from the group and immediately heads for the young girl. John heads for what is clearly the village Elders. Arthur and Xalydyn both follow along with John.
John and company reach the line of guards, who immediately assess the “threat” and then go back to standing vigilant for other threats. John gets into polite conversational distance, and politely waves at one to get his attention. “Hello! my name is John. Is there any way I could get past you in order to speak with one of the village Elders?” The guard laughs, shakes his head, and declares “There is no way you’re getting past us. Only those with permission from the Elders themselves may pass.”
John takes this in, and makes a split second decision. He turns to Arthur and Xalydyn as if he’s planning to leave, while keeping watch on the guard from the corner of his eye. As soon as the guard decides John isn’t going to try something stupid, the guard goes back to scanning for “actual threats”. The moment the guard is focused elsewhere, John walks directly in front of the guard with the intent to make it past him. Time itself seems to slow down for everyone except John. John simply sees a path directly between the guards where before there was none. He walks right through as if he belongs, leaving Arthur and Xalydyn on the other side of the guard line. The guards themselves take no notice of this occurrence.
Once past the guards, John heads for the nearest village Elder. The Elder seems to be an ancient woman, of at least 90. As John approaches, he smiles and waves for her attention. The Elder notices but says nothing as John arrives in front of her.
“Hello! My name is John, it’s nice to meet you! Before I start asking you questions, is there anything I can get you or do for you?”
Taken by surprise by both the forwardness and politeness of John, the Elder says in a slightly raspy voice “I would love a glass of water, if you wouldn’t mind. Here is a token of my station, so that the guards will allow you back through without issue.” The Elder hands John a coin, which he immediately places in his pocket. He nods politely and says “I will be right back”, and proceeds to leave her presence and head for the guards. On his way, he notices that the token is a coin from the time before, with a depiction of Washington on one side and the symbol of the long-collapsed United States on the other.
Once back to the guard line, John politely taps the one he spoke with on the shoulder and stands perfectly still. The guard turns to see John standing behind him, and without a word immediately picks John up as if he weighs nothing, does a 180 turn, and places John on the ground where Arthur and Xalydyn are both waiting. John thanks the guard and asks “Do you know where I can go to get a glass of water?” The guard stares at John for a moment, then directs him to a table where the refreshments are. John thanks the guard again and makes a bee-line straight for the table. Once there, he wastes no time and immediately gets a glass and fills it with water from a barrel marked with the word “WATER” in caps on it.
Heading back to the guard line where Arthur and Xalydyn are both observing, both with obvious amusement on their faces. John makes it back to the same guard, and produces the coin from his pocket. The guard isn’t even paying attention, so John waves at him. The guard turns to see John once again and immediately says “WHAT?!” before noticing the coin. Immediately upon noticing the coin, the guard apologizes and allows John through the line without a word. John thanks the guard and immediately heads for the village Elder. Upon reaching her, he hands her the glass of water and smiles.
“Thank you dear. Now what did you want to talk about?” As soon as she finishes asking that question, she begins drinking her glass of water while waiting for John’s reply.
“I have some questions about your city, if you don’t mind. I was wondering what the festival is about, what the tree is, if anyone is allowed to touch it, and how the town came to be founded.” John is very interested and animated throughout this barrage of questions. The Elder gets several gulps of water while John walks through all of his questions. Once John finishes, the Elder begins speaking.
“A long time ago myself and my fellow Elders”, she gestures to the other wooden thrones, “were in hiding together. We were wandering the land avoiding the Zombies when we happened upon this tree. It seems to have the curious property of repelling the undead. Once we realized this, we started building at the edge of where the zombies could reach until we properly had a wall. After we finished the wall, we sent word to other groups of survivors to have them join us in safety. Once there were enough of us, we set to building the manors near the coast, with a bunker for shelter attached to one of them. After we finished the manors we created housing as necessary for everyone else.”
At this point the Elder takes a moment to drink more water and catch her breath a bit. John is listening intently, thoroughly enjoying the explanation. Learning about the world is one of his favorite hobbies, after all. Once the Elder sufficiently catches her breath and finishes her water, she begins again.
“As for the tree, none of us are sure what it is. Every year we gather around it in celebration, and afterwards we perform a ceremony to praise it for keeping out the zombies. No one is allowed to touch the tree, the penalty for which is death.”
As the Elder finishes answering John’s questions, John dips his head and thanks the Elder for her time. “I greatly appreciate you telling me all of this, it’s been wonderful talking to you. Before I leave, do you happen to know if there are any other nearby cities or villages?”
The Elder thinks for a moment, then says “To the northwest, maybe a couple of days walking distance from here, lies the destroyed city of Dweller Furnace. It’s from before all of the undead came. I’ve heard there are some people living in groups somewhere inside of it.”
John smiles and thanks her once more, then politely excuses himself and heads back to Arthur and Xalydyn. Once he reaches the pair, he informs them of all he’s learned. Once he’s caught them up, he looks up in search of Alistar. He doesn’t see Alistar anywhere, but does see the young girl Alistar left to speak with earlier. The group heads directly for the young lady. Before reaching her, John smiles and waves to get her attention. She looks directly at the group and then waves back. John walks directly to her, and says “Hello, my name is John! I was wondering if you had seen my friend?”
Upon closer inspection, John notices that the young lady has a pendant on, in the shape of Anubis. It appears to be made from onyx with rubies for eyes. She’s short, roughly 5’2 and small. She has black and blue hair done up in twin pigtails on either side of her head which reaches down to the middle of her back. She’s dressed in a black leather bustier with black leather pants on.
The young lady laughs nervously and manages to say “Hi John, my name is Aisa. I’m not sure if I know your friend…?” John replies, “I saw him heading towards you earlier. His name is Alistar, did he speak to you?”
(Author’s note: pronounced like “aye sir” but shortly so aye-sa)
Aisa frowns and takes a step back “That man was your friend? He creeped me out. He asked me a couple of questions and then told me he was heading off for the inn on the west side of town.”
John thanks Aisa for the information, and then apologizes for Alistars poor behavior. “We’re going to get our of your hair and go track Alistar down before he causes any more trouble to the town.”
Aisa relaxes a little bit, then sits down as she realizes you’re planning to leave, already lost in thought again.
With this information in mind, the group heads back to the inn to speak with Alistar. The sun has lowered beyond the horizon, and night has fallen. There are several light sources inside of the city providing light and direction for villagers and visitors alike
As they leave the amphitheater and are about halfway to where the inn is, John stops and notices something peculiar just on the edge of his vision. He looks towards the wall where the entrance is. At the top of the wall, just beginning to crest and gather, is the fog from before. As the fog finishes gathering and begins spilling over into the city just inside of the gate. The second the fog touches the ground inside, a deep resounding BOOM echoes as something impacts the wall itself. A large dent appears on the inside of the wall. A glance back toward the amphitheater reveals that everyone has gotten so drunk they’ve begun passing out. Beyond that no one inside seems to have noticed this phenomenon.
This in mind, the group is no longer calmly walking but running to the inn. Upon reaching the inn, they go inside with haste as another BOOM echoes throughout the city, only slightly muffled from being inside a building. John immediately approaches the night desk-person and asks “A man named Alistar looking like” John gives an accurate description “headed here and probably rented a room for the night. What room is it?”
The desk person is taken aback by the urgency of your request and stammers out a room number completely out of surprise. Without another word, John and the group immediately head towards the stairs for Alistar. When they reach the floor another BOOM resounds throughout the city. Coming upon the room, John knocks and tries to open the door. Finding it locked, and with no response from inside, John immediately leans back to kick the door. Reality seems to distort slightly, and when John’s foot impacts upon the door it ceases to exist on this plane. Immediately inside is Alistar, with a shocked look on his face. “No time to explain, we need to find cover much farther away from here!” John exclaims in a rush. Alistar immediately bolts upright, grabs his pack from the floor, and rejoins the group.
With Alistar in tow, John stops for a split second to think. “I know exactly what we’ll do. Everyone follow me!” John immediately takes off, moving rapidly down the stairs with the group close behind. He doesn’t stop to say anything to the desk clerk, rushing past him and immediately outside. Once outside, another BOOM resonates, and with a glance at the wall it is clear it can only withstand maybe two more of these.
Breaking into a run, John and company make a bee-line straight for the bunker attached to one of the mansions. They just manage to make it to the entrance when it finally happens. With screaming and a very rough metallic screeching, the group turns to see the wall explode inwards. One of the stone debris flies straight through the inn, obliterating it. The rest of the detritus crashes and decimates the city, crushing half the housing, destroying the decrepit building to the east of the entrance, and leaving a hole inside of the bar on the west side. The pieces of stone and steel flying through the air impact an invisible wall on the north section of the amphitheater, and fall harmlessly to the ground.
From behind, John turns to see a wave of what appears to be imps sweeping across the water and burning the ships in the port before impacting on an invisible wall that prevents them from moving inwards.
From the entrance of the bunker, John can clearly see the village Elders in a circle around the tree inside the amphitheater, chanting and praying to the tree. The tree is pulsing violently, seemingly gathering energy with each pulse, glowing brighter and brighter as the praying continues. John looks up and sees a massive creature has erupted through the wall itself, with a smaller man-sized creature riding on top of what he assumes is the head.
Enter Lieutenant Maezoch and Musculus the Behemoth. Musculus is 35 feet tall, 120 feet long standing on 20 powerful elephantine legs. He has no eyes, but an overlarge vicious mouth full of sharp teeth. The entire front of his body and head looks to be plated in steel. His general body shape is that of a salamander.
Maezoch is 7’4, extremely muscular, no discernible head. He has a high-speed EM Railgun cannon. Details are hard to make out at this distance.
“Good job Musculus”, crows the imposing figure, “Since you busted the wall down, I can finally destroy this damned tree!”. With that said, he pulls out what appears to be a gun and charges it. After a couple of moments, he fires it.
John can’t see whatever the bullet is that appears to fire from this, but it solidly impacts the tree and tears straight through it with enough force that everyone nearby is immediately thrown to the ground. When this happens, zombies immediately begin pouring through the hole underneath Musculus. Checking behind the group, the imps are no longer being stalled. John and the group quickly jump inside the bunker, shut the door, and seal it as fast as possible.
(Author’s note: thus ends the first night of our campaign.)