Lunchtime Lairs: Death and Taxes

Having found a dazed Blegrim in the tunnels under the dragon’s mountain, Faqual had found himself confronted by a troop of guards. The bumbling conjurer proved unconvincing and was captured, along with Seneca. The fate of the Beak Squad – six mutated intelligent penguins – is unknown…

Waking up in a dungeon, Seneca and Faqual find themselves reunited with Hector and Romula. They wait in their cramped cell for two days, with nothing to eat but more snook (where’s the Beak Squad when they’re needed?) Eventually, they are visited by Commander Fencer, who is looking for volunteers. Complete a job and earn your freedom. Well, of sorts.

Our brave adventurers volunteer, as does Moloch the Thief (Dan, joining our adventure for his first RPG outing). Stepping out in to the bright sunlight, they are presented with their task. The Regional Governor has a dispute with a small town two days journey away. It seems the town’s primary business has changed in the last six months and they have since stopped paying their taxes. Several expeditions have been sent to the town to speak to the new Mayor – none have returned. The Governor, having noted the alleged crimes of our merry gang, wishes to enlist them as an expendable enforcement team that are known as the “Red Shirts” (this despite the white shirts with which they have been presented)

Seneca saw this as an opportunity to scarper, but Fencer had a few surprises in store. The snook they had been fed contained miniaturised canoes (an oddly specific way of storing transport that was defined in the previous campaign). The Governor’s resident conjurer could use his crystal ball to monitor the progress of the Red Shirts. Deviate too far, and their waistline would expand by several feet.

By way of demonstration, the conjurer showed the previous party that had been tasked with this job. One moment, they supped beers in a tavern, the next moment five canoes occupied their spaces at the bar along with a lot of fleshy bits and bodily fluids.

Convinced, the adventurers set out.

They were advised that the road to the town of Celebration was a two day journey. The landscape was open and flat. There was only one notable place to shelter for the night – a church halfway between both towns.

After a weary day of travel, the group approached the churchyard. But something was off. The church itself appeared a little…ventilated. The churchyard was scattered with rubble, the church roof and bell tower had crumbled and the shattered altar looked to be the scene of some magical explosion.

More alarmingly, the weathered and aged graves looked to have been recently exhumed.

A lone mausoleum, decorated with a hop motif, was locked. Seneca picked the lock. Inside, they found ten coffins. The newest was judged to have been placed less than a year ago. Two of the oldest coffins had been tampered.

Deciding to set up camp within the mausoleum, the gang carried the coffins out to the church – in case any of their residents decided to go for a walk. The two oldest, tampered coffins were empty.

They set a decoy fire in the ruins of the church and Hector and Moloch took first watch. After a few hours, they heard an approaching wagon. They roused the rest of the party and readied themselves. Moloch stepped out in to the road to hail the driver, but the driver was already slowing the wagon down. Two horses, two men and a large contained wagon.

Moloch tried to charm them as a lonely adventurer, but one of the men trained a crossbow on him and told him to send his party out from the church. Another attempt at charm failed and the driver became aware that the campfire was a decoy. As he bade the horses on, the bowman took fire, catching Moloch and depleting his armour. Seneca failed to hit a horse, as did a charging Hector. The coach driver was thrown from the carriage and Hector flung his iron rod in to the wheels of the carriage, forcing the horses to break free and bolt. The bowman was flung forward, his neck snapping as he landed head first on the ground.

Moloch darted to the driver and held him captive.

The horses are scattered and the driver is captured. Where did they come from? What was their intention at night in a graveyard?

Lunchtime Lairs is a weekly roleplay session held at Justplay Games in Liverpool, Wednesdays 12:00-14:00. We are currently running The Black Hack.

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