2018-03-12 - Last Breaths of Ashenport
Part 1: Investigating the Ashenport Bazaar
Guildmaster Shrike assembled a party of guild members to investigate the small coastal fishing village of Ashenport. Each year, the village holds a bazaar with wondrous treasures for sale, scavenged from the depths by their fishing boats. Shrike is very interested in what items are being traded, and has sent representatives the previous two years (clerks from the guild) to act on his behalf. They never returned however which has the old guildmaster more cautious this time, hence the need to send a full party to investigate the town and what's going on.
The party arrive several miles outside of the village amidst a terrible (unnatural) storm. After meeting others also drawn by the promise of the sale, the party settles in for the night at the inn. They are awoken by a terrible sound, a strange mournful wail that seems to come from all places at once and even within them. Some are able to resist its magic, but others, full entranced, begin to walk out of the inn into the cold night without even bothering to dress. Those still with their wits realize that their guildmates, as well as more than half the others staying at the inn, are walking for the cliffs overlooking the ocean. When each get to the cliff's edge, they do not hesitate but step off and plummet into the churning surf below. Slapping, hitting, grabbing, wrestling the entranced, the party is able to save their compatriots and a few of the others.
After the tragic happenings of the night previous, the party investigates the town and its inhabitants. They are aided by the Goldleaf Company (a trading company based in nearby Greyhawk). Attacked at the central grove by robed figures and turned away by the town's leadership to "wait out the storm", the party starts to piece together that a cult has taken root here. The name "Dagon" is uttered by one of the dying cultists, revealed to be the innkeeper the party met already. A defaced idol to the good nature goddess Melora is one of the final pieces to this puzzle. They interrogate Alderman Ritter, the elected leader of the village, and he reveals all. The town turned away from their previous goddess when Dagon made himself known, promising riches and great power. Those who refused to worship the demon lord were killed, and those remaining now use the promise of the great bazaar as a way to lure new sacrifices to their Lord Dagon.
Then, that same horrible wailing begins again, and almost all those who did not succumb the first time do this time. When the party attempts to break the spell, they are set upon by horrid fish men, warriors for the demon lord. They are able to vanquish the creatures, but unable to save the other visitors to Ashenport who plunge into the depths. They have excavated beneath the old church a new place to serve and worship Dagon, and this evening is the yearly special ritual that will cement their lord's favor.
Part 2: Driving Out the Cult
Upon reports of the investigation, Guildmaster Shrike recruits members of the guild to return to Ashenport. He instructs them to wipe out the cult and destroy any footholds of power Dagon has managed to claim in this village. The group is sent through the portal with two things in mind: kill the cultists and don't die in the process.
Descending the steps beneath the church, the party is met with violent cultists and several displaying the power granted upon them by Dagon. The high priest attempts to sway the guild members to stop fighting and instead serve Dagon as they do, and reap the rewards of riches and so much power. Tiak responds with a flung dagger that just misses the priest by inches. More fish warriors come to the defense of the high priest, but after several spells flung in the altar room on both sides, Purity's guild members were victorious if not a little beaten and bruised. While wounds were tended, Smokey investigated the room and discovered a passage beneath the altar that led down into a cave system beneath them.
The time for rest allowed Jamlamin, Jeph Stivswoman-son, and Heivalur time to attune to newly looted magical items. It was at this time, that Heivalur learned of the curse affecting his new wand. He however chose not to share this information with the other party members for fear they might try to persuade him to get rid of the powerful wand.
Once prepared to move ahead, the group descended the rope ladder into the darkness of the caves. Tarkilar scouted ahead to discover a secret chamber with an alter and two skulking demons. He returned to the party to report his finding before the demons could discover him and react. The group then marched into the watery chamber to face these two demons and ultimately an extension of the demon Dagon, a water creature taking the form of a large tentacled monster. Withstanding several assaults from Dagon's avatar, the party was eventually able to vanquish it, successfully completing their mission.
Emerging from the caves, the party found a village that seemed to be dying in front of them. All the homes were empty, abandoned. Even the sacred Ash grove with its hundreds-years-old trees was wilting and dying. Whatever magic Dagon had imparted to keep it vibrant and thriving was obviously no longer present, evinced perhaps most strongly by the passing of the terrible storm that had greeted them to this place. The cultists who survived had taken flight with their lord vanquished. Ashenport was freed, but also perhaps dead as well.
Magic Items Recovered
- Cloak of the Manta Ray - claimed by Zedmore Dawdleblinker
- Staff of the Oppressor - claimed by Jeph Stivswoman-son
- Demon's Finger - claimed by Heivalur
- Shortsword of Life Stealing - claimed by Smokey
- Disciple of Dagon's Armor - claimed by Jamlamin
- Ocean's Barb - claimed by Tiak
- Fey's Despair - claimed by Tiak