The party appeared one by one in a featureless field with a dark sky.
- Sardis woke first, seeing a giant, angry pig, oinking angrily at him. He was confused, but he figured out it was a dread Piggoleth.
- Pikya awoke to see the pig and the man. He was curious about its bacon-content and drew his knife to sharpen it.
- Mila awoke and saw the display. She also recognized the pigoleth.
- Sleet appeared and double checked that Pikya was alive. She then tried to figure out where she and Pikya were, but was unable to find anything useful.
- Auben appeared and tried to appease the beast. He failed miserably and it attacked.
- When Auben saw Sleet transform from beast to humanoid, he stopped trying to negotiate with the beast and attacked her. Sleet dodged the strike, and after successfully lying to him that she was just a razorclaw shifter, he backed off for the time being and returned to the pigoleth. It proceeded to eat him.
- Eventually, Pikya charged toward the beast. Sleet then ran in to try and protect him. Once Auben escaped the pigoleth’s maw, it proceeded to eat Pikya. Auben attacked it as it attacked Pikya; Sleet greatly appreciated this.
- When Sardis attacked the creature with his punishing attack, the party (minus Pikya) saw runes appear on the left side of his glaive before it struck the enemy.
- When questioned about the origins of his runes later, Sardis explained that they were holy symbols of his people, the genasi. As genasi are rare creatures, they weren’t the sort of things anyone other than collectors would have seen.
- With Pikya still inside, Sleet and Mila tore open the stomach of the pigoleth. Immediately, the world went dark around the party as their reality reset.
Eventually, the party awoke inside cold, dark, extensively armored prison cells. In the background, they could hear sounds of torture, and in each cell, there were waiting ornate pendants with symbols of chains and grasping arms.
- Upon awakening, the party was greeted by a balding man wearing a copy of the medallion. The balding man informed everyone that they were now slaves, and eventually sacrifices for, The Soldier, in whose temple they now were imprisoned. The party took to that about as well as you might expect, but despite extensive resistance and ingenuity, the whole party was subdued and forced to wear the pendants.
- Several other slaves, Marcillish, were killed in his attempts to get us to submit
- Pikya actually put on his own pendant out of curiosity. (The whole table facepalmed.)
- He informed the party that their first command was to raid the nearby village, kill people, steal their potatoes, and return.
- Sardis figured out that the pendants contained indentured souls, perhaps demons. Their only evident goals were to make sure those wearing the pendants followed the exact orders given. If they failed to follow orders, they would restrict the pendants and condense the necks to nonexistence.
The balding man explained that the necklaces assured that we would be forced to follow orders.
- In his monologue, the balding man also told the party that they were currently somewhere on the Swerglaand Peninsula, in the Vodakan Empire. He also called the Vodakan Empire evil and the Hrilish kings stupid.
- He also mentioned a prophecy of some kind but did not dwell on it.
- Once the party finally gave up for the night, a fellow captive named Jeanat struck up a conversation. She said that she was the leader of a band of adventurers who had also been captured, and like the party they all had muddled memories of what had happened before they arrived at the Soldier’s temple. She and the party made a pact to try and help each other if either group figured out how to escape.
The party was a awoken while in the best part of sleep. They were shown to a room containing their gear; a window in the room showed them that they were in a castle of some sort in a high valley, near a stream, in the middle of autumn.
- The balding man ordered the party to go to the nearby town, “kill some people (there?)”, take their potatoes, and “return” to the temple.
- Auben noted that he never ordered us to not kill him and swung at him as soon as he got his gear and mordenkrad—his hammer didn’t even slow down. It was like killing Louis C.K. with a mordenkrad.
“That… was unexpected. Did… did no one else try that?”
- The guards paused to consider escaping their necklaces at that exact moment, but one found out that they were still bound by their magic and died outright. The rest honored their previous orders of “stop them (from escaping)” and came after the party.
- After the party had killed a few of them, Auben, using the logic that we were not ordered not to remove other’s collars, took the collar of one of the heavier guards. The collar popped his head off.
- Auben tried again against another guard as an offensive measure, but he was met with heavy resistance; that guard had decided he didn’t want to die.
- Several other slaves were watching the fight, all eating tasty potatoes.
After killing the last of their guards, now in peace the party tried to figure out if there were any exploits.
- It seemed that the demons in their pendants had acknowledged the balding man as their master, but now that he was dead, they were somewhat ambivalent about who could give orders; however, they still expected the party to follow their previous orders (go to town, kill some people, get potatoes, return, don’t try to escape)
- Pikya tried to remove his own with magic tricks, and it knocked him out for an hour.
- While Pikya was unconscious (and so he couldn’t mess things up further!), the party cast a “speak with dead” ritual on the balding man’s mangled corpse. They asked him if he wished to release them if they did something for him; he responded with a gloating “No.”. The party then asked him how they could remove their collars.
- In response to this, the balding man told the party of “The Huntsman and the Doe.” The Huntsman was, as it sounded, a hunter, and he chased the Doe for a week. He set traps, the tried ambushes, but each time the Doe would evade him. However, after a solid week, the Doe was too weak to continue the chase, so she stopped running, lay down, and accepted her fate. However, the Huntsman had fallen in love with the hunt (and possibly
the Doe), and he tried to convince the Doe to get up and continue the chase. However, the Doe told him that it was his place to chase and hers to be chased, and to deny the end of the battle would be to deny her purpose in the world. With sorrow in his heart, the Huntsman heeded her words and killed the Doe.
- The point of this story, it seemed, was to tell the party that they just needed to sit down and accept their fate, for better or for worse.
- Somewhat confused by the story and out of brilliant ideas, the party decided to perform their task in the nearby village and hope for the best