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Campaign Report – Evard’s Black Orchestra*, the Grossdunkleweg Variation

25 October, 2014

*the greatest musical show that hasn’t happened yet, name subject to revision (it is noted as such on all their posters).

Welcome to  Grossdunkleweg

Scenic Grossdunkleweg

So, our heroes(?), well, the band is en route to Vine for the Dominion Court Music Tournament, traveling by coach overs the mountains.  The band, with all of its hangers on, is so large that they have to be split between two coaches.  The second coach hits a rock and damages its rear wheel so they have to unload the passengers and husband the  coach to the nearest town, Grossdunkleweg, luckily only a few miles away for repairs, a sleepy little mining town.  The first coach, having Imperial post to deliver, continues on.  Thus do Amethyst, Jet and Ren, along with the three dancers, embark on a new adventure.

The first thing that greets them in the town is the spire of the Church of the Undying Sun, which makes Jet unhappy as he has had . . . issues with Sun Sects in the past.  The coach crew, Klaus and Ahmed, take the damaged wheel to the town’s blacksmith, Hilda, an ex-soldier.  Ren decides to stay and help and learn a bit about blacksmithing, which ends up mostly being told what a blacksmith does and working the bellows.  Amethyst, Jet and the dancer head to the inn, the Black Dog, for drink and food.  There they are served weisswurst, dark beer and rye bread while they try to convince the innkeeper, Hannah, to employ them as entertainers.  This meet with less enthusiasm than they think they deserve, so they head out to find the mayor, Ren joining them.

Outside the city hall is an old man clad in shabby elegance smoking a church warden pipe sitting on a bench with a silver handled cane next to him.  Amethyst imperiously demanded of him “Where can we find the mayor?”  And the old man pointed to himself with the stem of his pipe.  Wrong-footed, Amethyst pushes on, offering the talents of the band in a performance that evening to which Ren add, “for Free!’  Much to the distress of his siblings.  Amethyst and Jet hustle him off and promise the Mayor that they will finish the discussion later.  Amethyst and Jet try to explain economics to Ren with increasingly fanciful examples.

Next, they visit the local baker seeking sponsorship.  Jet manages to totally bamboozle the apprentice they first meet and leverage that into a tentative agreement with the baker, though Jet’s vision a giant loaf of bread baked to act as a stage is foiled.  The baker does craft a symbol for the band  (a seven-pointed star with wavy rays) to stamp the loaves with for tonight’s show with.  Outside, they met the mayor again, along with the city council, four other equally old men, and they agree to let the show proceed.

A montage of set building follows with Ren mostly hanging back until he is asked to acquire the bellows from Hilda, to use to blow flour to create a fire blast.  He demurs and Jet then spins a sad tale about how their father on his deathbed wanted nothing more than to have been able to make up with Ren and apologize for his failures as a father, wishing nothing more than for him to join the family as a full member.  It is all total nonsense, their father is still alive, but Ren eats it up with a spoon and vows to help out as he can, even Amethyst is taken in by the sincerity of it all.  His obvious desire to help impresses Hilda and she loads him her reserve bellows.

At the Mayor’s insistence, the show begins with a hymn (the whole town joins in) to the Red Earth Mother and Black Stone Father.  Amethyst’s poppy numbers and Ren’s acrobatics are well appreciated but, again, Jet’s darker numbers do not seem to find the audience but they do like the bit where he almost sets himself on fire.  Afterwards, there is food and drink, lots of drink.  Jet vanishes, no one is concerned, the dancers vanish, Ren wonders where they went.  Hilda suggests that Ren comes and sleeps in the forge, he realizes that something is wrong and gets Amethyst and they retreat into the smithy.  Hilda explains that Jet and the dancers have been taken away to be sacrificed to the Black Stone God.  Ren convinces her to show them where, she eventually agrees, leading them through the back ways to avoid the villagers.

Meanwhile, Jet awakens tied to a pillar in a cave, the dancers are similarly tied, and there are thirteen robed and chanting figures around a dark pit.  One of them approaches Jet, it is the Mayor, who says, “You should be honored.”  Jet, unsurprisingly, disagrees.  Hilda brings them to the mouth of the cave and tells them it is up to them now.  Up from the pit rises a huge not quite formed man made of glistening tar-like substance.  Jet uses his eldritch blast to escape his bonds while Amethyst and Ren use magic and martial arts to scatter the cult.  The Mayor uses his pipe to wreath himself in smoke and then casts it to attack Jet, the child of the black earth is also trying to catch Jet but he manages -barely- to avoid both.  Ren leaps over to engage the Mayor, grabbing him and tossing him over the edge of the pit.  The Mayor catches the edge of the pit and starts pulling himself up when a crossbow bolt pierces the back of his skull and he falls.  When he does, the child of the Black Earth wails and its arms split and stretch, grabbing the rest of the cultists and dragging them back down with it into the pit.  Helda enters into the light, a crossbow slung over one shoulder.  “I decided I could not leave you alone.”  She explains that the sacrifices  are made to protect the miners and that they need to go and wait for the coach down the road because if they return to the town they will be killed.

A chilly evening (and early morning) wait later, they flag down the coach and continue on their way to Vine.

Notes: I wanted a good Hammer Horror sort of adventure on the lead up to Halloween.  Everyone had a good time.  J was unable to make it, thus the splitting of the coaches.

Photo adapted from the one by Accrochoc on Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license(s).

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