Ravenholme: Shadow City

Jungle Ruins (by Li Shuxing)

Briefly, this session went rather well. I possibly need to tighten up scene framing, but everyone sounded like they were having fun. Also I’m a little concerned that we’ve still only moved a day onwards. “Balance” isn’t really a thing in this game – the Shadows were very very dangerous, and a couple of bad rolls might have resulted in a TPK. It was a near thing as it was!

=====Session 2=====
Players
Andrew (fighter) Big hairy guy
Burr (thief) gregarious halfling
Cyrus Ravenholme (fighter) noble from disgraced family
Richard Tanner (fighter) past his prime soldier looking for a windfall
Veris Strakeas (magic user) on the run eastern scholar

The bodies of the croc-men lay cooling as the crew unbound the grateful prisoners. The three of them (Luther, Arthur, and Joquain) had come to the isle a week ago on the Siren’s Edge. Their own crew (Iron Blades) had spent much time in the “Old City” south of the Violet Citadel and had leapt at the chance for an untouched location to loot. They had scouted some of the area around the Ruins – spotting a tower on the north slope of the nearest volcano, and some scattered remnants of croc-men on the southern slopes. In the Old City they had specialised in hunting for leathers (hunting swamp-dragons) and so scoured the south slopes for more prey. But they were ambushed and captured by a tribe of blue-scaled croc-men. The three survivors were more than happy to sign on to a new crew and help skin and butcher the dead bodies.
The crew discussed their options and decided that Cyrus, Veris and Richard would scout the ruins while Andrew, Burr, and the three newcomers would find a defensible location and make camp.

Andrew and Burr had some discussions about the best place for a camp. Andrew wanted to head back to the beach and keep a wide flat area around them, while Burr wanted a place with a good view over the ruins. He got the three newcomers talking about their experiences on the Isle and felt their fear of things in the night a great reason to get a strongly defensible position and to keep lookouts. Looking over the ruins from the beach they spotted a tall, mostly intact tower which was decided as their best potential site.
Burr and Luther (the chatty one of the newcomers) shared stories about Westport and the Isle. There had been eleven in the Iron Blades, but the ambush had seen 8 fall, and the three of them captured. They were forced to show the Croc-men where the “great ship” arrived to drop off and collect the “invaders” – which was where they found rescue from the Ravenholme company! Meanwhile Andrew scouted around the building, finding weak points, alternate exits, and possible traps to hider anyone (or anything) trying to come get them.

Richard, Cyrus, and Veris found themselves wandering through the jungle-coated ruins. One particular group of building drew their attention: great columns surrounding what appeared to be a forum or marketplace – statue filled rubble, possible remnants of fountains and even some broken symbols laying around. Veris was distracted on one edge by sets of symbols he could almost recognise. He waved the others forward while he investigated. The symbols reminded him of the spell-symbols from his studies! After some work gathering broken bits of stone he managed to assemble what appeared to be a stone page of writing and images. The translation confused him though – it was a menu of foods for sale. He found a blank page in his spell book and copied out the symbols anyway, perhaps his interpretation was incorrect?
Richard and Cyrus found the rubble filled market even more interesting. Odd bits of statues and “art”. Some badly rusted metalworks and hidden under the rubble some strange “orange crystal” coating (one surrounding a severed hand – quickly storied in a backpack!) Richard managed a lucky strike, spotting a glimmer of yellow in the setting sun. He pulled out a heavy gold statuette, excitedly exclaiming its value. But Cyrus wasn’t really paying attention as he’d found another strange inhabitant. A thick orange liquid was seeping through the cracks in the fountain – slowly forming a quivering mass which was stretching itself out of the fountain – towards him! Backing away slowly Cyrus tried some experiment with thrown rocks and movement. After some time “playing” with the orange slime, he understood that it didn’t sense the world clearly, but reacted to loud noises or fast movement. Richard eventually put an end to the investigations by pointing out a number of other slimes appearing at the shadowed edges of the marketplace. Glancing around Cyrus realised that the Orange Slime had been toying with him, and trying to lead him into an ambush. The pair of them turned and fled the darkening marketplace – pulling Veris up from his squiggles. Veris saw a perfect opportunity to try out a theory – using magic to dissolve a gold trinket he had found and using the resultant shards to scour the first of the Slimes. It wailed and retreated, shedding half its mass in an orange dust. The other slimes reacted by surging forward. All three redoubled their speed and ran for the high tower where they could see Andrew on lookout.

The crew gathered on the second floor of the tower. They had a pleasant fire going, bedrolls scattered about in comfortable nooks, 4 croc-man skins hung up and drying out of the heat of the fire, while Joquain expertly cooked croc-meat kebabs on the edge of the fireplace. There was concern over their exit should the Orange Slimes come hunting them, so once more they tried to investigate some other ways out of the tower. They found an interesting room in the “basement”. It was built more like an entrance hall with what looked like a huge gateway built into one wall (that should have led straight into the ground). The gate led only to a blank stone wall though. The writing convinced the others to grab Veris from his lookout on the roof.
“Suurten käytävien päälle kylpypaikasta Valosaarella”
Varis stared carefully at the clear symbols, trying out various translations in his head. Then he spoke in common “Into the Great Hallway from the Place of Baths on the Island of Lights.” The moment the words were finished everyone had a sudden sensation of falling, and the stone inside the gateway rippled and glowed for a moment. Luther called out from above “what the hell just happened?!” No one spoke, but everyone carefully left the room and retreated to the illusionary comfort of the fireplace.

Watches were drafted, and people slept uneasily in the humid room. Torches were made from cut wood and placed on all the walls, trying to drive away the dark night and the terrors hidden there. Cyrus was actually enjoying a quiet moment on the upper floor watching the trees swaying in the moonlight, but the shadows were moving oddly. After a few moments of study he could make out three human-shaped shadows flitting along the street towards the tower. They moved in short dashes, and seemed to be looking around or smelling uncertainly at each pause. He returned downstairs to warn the others of trouble approaching. They hurriedly discussed options on how to combat ghosts, with the winning option of using Richard’s golden statue to make gold spearheads to fight them. Torches were lit, supplies packed in preparation of a fast move, and Veris given the statue to dissolve. His voice echoed in the tower as his arcane power split the gold into ten arrowheads.
At the same time, Richard saw the three shadows jerk to a stop and turn to rush towards the tower…
Just as he shouted warnings, the three creatures flowed through the walls into the fire-lit chamber. No one moved. The shadowy figures looked humanoid, with elongated heads, jaws and claws. Burr stepped forward holding a torch, and tentatively tried to ask what they wanted. Their answer was to slap away the torch and scatter the fire, before descending on the campsite and ripping apart the sleeping rolls.
Cyrus, having attached one of the gold-shards to a large pole, tried slashing at the shadows. One of the shadows was hit – releasing a dark smoke from a wound across its back. It turned and wrenched away the pole – which began to dissolve whenever the Shadow’s claws passed through it. Burr spotted one of the Shadows turning its attention to the Croc-skins and leapt forward to try to distract it. He quickly tumbled backwards with vicious slashes across his body. Cyrus retrieved the gold-shard and tried to come to the defence of Burr, but was thrown back with a blackened wound across his chest for his troubles, the Shadow stalking him as he scuttled backward. Richard gathered the defenders and charged in behind the Shadow – in the tumult Joquain had his face ripped off before the others tore apart the Shadow with their golden Shards.
Andrew came roaring down the stairs, drawing the attention of everyone. Without pause he kept into the fray and downed a second Shadow, his arms covered in dark smokey ichor. The final Shadow paused above Burr, and decided that discretion was the better part of valor and dissolved through the walls back into the night.

The survivors quickly gathered whatever they could carry and ran into the night. Dashing through the streets they felt watched – eyes and movements surrounded them in the darkened streets. But the crew didn’t pause in their escape until the jungle surrounded them. They spent a restless night watching for shadows among the trees, and everyone sighed in relief as the sun peeked above the eastern horizon.
=====End Session 2=====

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