This session was run on November 6, 2023.
15 Thawmist 4434
The party decided to approach the hilltop camp where they saw an explosion at the end of the last session. They climbed the hill to find the small wooden huts completely leveled and only three, badly wounded, goblin survivors. In the center of the devastation, the saw Rock, covered in soot. As they approached it, Uggmar got a vision of a warrior laying in to a sea of foes with a warhammer.
Duycken gave each of the wounded goblins a goodberry and they pulled one, named Zang, to the side to interrogate him. In accordance with a plan they started developing while in Byrny, the party decided to convince the goblins that Creng was some kind of goblin chosen one. They told Zang that Creng had caused Rock to explode and that he should prepare the Bone Crushers for Creng’s return. Initially, Zang asked that they prove that Creng was able to make Rock explode by having him do it again. They argued that, if Rock exploded again, they would all be killed. Zang found their logic to be impeccable and agreed to do as they asked.
In return for providing him with the good news of Creng the Savior, Zang agreed to give them some information on the Bone Crusher tribe. They learned that the Bone Crusher tribe lived in caves and that the camps they had been seeing were set up to defend the tribe from the Centipede Brothers tribe. He told them that it had been several weeks since the last time the Centipede Brothers had attacked and that there were rumors that they had been defeated by the White Worm tribe. They decided to let the goblins go and head towards the Centipede Brothers area.
As they moved through a thickly wooded valley, they came across six remarkably detailed goblin statues. The goblins were posed as though they were in the middle of battle and the statues showed little sign of weathering or stains from age. They poked around the statues for a bit and all agreed to be on the lookout for monsters that could turn them to stone, unless they were monsters with gaze attacks and then they would not look at them at all.
As they drew closer to the valley where the Centipede Brothers tribe were said to live, they noticed that each of the six hills had a thirty-foot-high statue of a centipede rearing up at its peak. Each centipede appeared to be facing down into the valley. They made their way up the southernmost hill and saw that the north side of the centipede, the side that was facing the valley, was heavily pitted by acid. Up close, they could see that these statues were not of the same, fine workmanship as the goblin statues they had seen earlier. Since the style was more representational and there was a prepared base beneath it, they decided that these were not likely actual petrified centipedes.
Looking down into the valley, they could see it was filled with muddy ice. Tree tops poking through the ice gave them the impression that they might be looking down on a frozen, flooded valley. Uggmar snuck down to the ice, which was uneven, and cleared the snow off of one of the mounds. He could just make out something white a few feet below the surface. While he could not tell how big it was, it was larger than he could view in the few feet he had cleared.
Uggmar attempted to punch through the ice without success, so the rest of the party joined him and Vargr broke through the ice with a crowbar. Beneath, they found something white, frozen, and leathery. They cleared more snow and ice and revealed that the object was a cylinder with a large radius that extended beyond what they had cleared in each direction. At this point, they theorized that it might be the worm they fought during the battle in the White Worm village, so Duycken poked it with a torch. The ice began to shake beneath them and they ran back onto the hill.
They decided to test their theory that this was the giant worm by heading to the nearby White Worm village. When they arrived, they found it was abandoned. They investigated and saw some signs that there had been fighting here after their battle. There were some arrows and broken weapons in areas they had not fought, and Duycken found soot on the side of one of the white domes that seemed to be from the spell burning hands.
As they approached the large, broken, central dome, Stranger could hear two human male voices talking inside. They peered inside and saw Roderick Warden and Son Pau Kang, from Filmoth Village, inside. After a brief reunion, they learned that the two had been in hiding since the tournament. When Lady Rixia sent an order that Kang was to be one of the judges, he knew he had to go on the run. Kang explained that he and Rixia had a long history together.
He had served in the mercenary company she commanded in the service of the Overlord. During this time, they had a love affair and she became pregnant. They returned to Kitai and she gave birth to their daughter. Unfortunately, they belonged to two different religious sects. One, the sect Kang belonged to, believed that the One Thousand Gods were each separate individual beings. This sect reflected the views of the emperor and the majority view of the people in Kitai. The other sect, which Rixia followed, believed that The One Thousand Gods were merely aspects of one god. There had long been tension between the sects, but it rarely affected the lives of the average person. Shortly after they returned, the emperor gave a speech in which he stressed that the belief that there was only one god was heretical. In response, Rixia’s sect attempted to assassinate him and burned several grain silos. Rixia fled back to the Wilderlands and told Kang that, if he followed her or attempted to influence their daughter, she would kill him.
Kang lived in hiding in the Byrny area for years, watching his daughter grow up from afar. Somehow, Rixia had learned that he was in the area and ordered his appearance to draw him out. He and Roderick fled, first to Cozsari’s abandoned cave and then to the hills. The bad weather had forced them to find hardier structure and they followed rumors that the White Worm village had been abandoned.