One of the great things about D&D is that when you're not forcing things onto rails, adventures and stories can take so many wonderful twists and turns. Well, the session I had this afternoon illustrated that beautifully.
We had just cleared a catacomb, vanquishing a
necro-alchemist that had taken residence there, using the dead for his
experiments. After finding our way to the entrance below to the keep, we
headed to there to plan our next moves with the Lord Warren of the
city. As we passed through the grounds, wa saw a small cadre of soldiers
known as the Midnight Duelists; though their duty is constant, they're
an elite force that hunts vampires, lycanthropes, and the like. On
nights where the moon is full or creatures are expected to be on the
prowl, the city imposes a strict curfew; for the protection of the
citizens, and to let the duelists work unhindered. Tonight the howlpack,
a large group of werewolves, has been seen in the woods beyond the north-east wall.
within the Keep, how someone might have infiltrated the catacombs and
where they could procure alchemy equipment so very rare is the topic of
discussion so that it can be determined how to proceed. When our
dragonborn excuses himself, yet asks if he can borrow a small scroll.
Though puzzled, the Warren complies. Striding down the hall, the
dragonborn finds a study, the walls lined with books and scrolls
containing census records and the history of the city; presumably
belonging to the Lord Warren. He manages to fake the Warrens
handwriting, giving himself permission to shadow the midnight duelists.
He also finds and uses the wax seals which give authority and legitimacy
to the Warrens letters.
Finding them assembling, with a letter
'from the Warden' in hand, he is invited to shadow them, and is given
the padded leather armor and runed silver swords that are the equipment
of the duelists. In the woods, the howlpack is heard in the distance.
Heading to a prearranged location, two groups meet in a copse of trees,
yet have alerted the howlpack to their presence in their haste. The
copse is made of tall oaks with thick, fanning branches, and ropes
hanging down. Scrambling, they make it into the canopy, and await the
werewolves. The great beasts stalk into the clearing, fanning out,
snuffling about the trail of brush the duelists ran through in their
rush for the trees. They soon find their way near the base of each tree
where the duelists are. Giving a signal, he jumps down, his dragon
breath engulfing the closely clustered wolves and setting the battleground alight. Plunging with his new silver blade, it lands
between the shoulder blades of the wolf nearest him and presses it farther as it ruptures the creatures sternum. The others, pressing the
advantage, plunge upon the beasts that panic in the flames ending many
of them, though one duelist does nearly meet her death at the claws of
one of these beasts. Yet soon, amongst the charred underbrush of the
clearing, the six duelists stand victorious over the slain werewolves.
As the dawn shows itself over the distant mountains, a pyre is lit to
set these lost creatures to rest.