We began the third gaming session of the City-State of Zhilin campaign with a full complement of players. In fact, my two daughters stepped into a couple of roles so that we had even more folks around the table. Here’s a refresher of the cast of characters (human unless stated otherwise):

  • Bartholomew “Bart” Fatima (Jonathan) – Cleric of Mitra
  • Solo (Isaac) – Holy Knight of the Undying
  • Hansel (Kevin) – Dwarven Fighting Man
  • Dagara (Robert) – Shaman of the Wilds
  • Avil (AJ) – Magic-User
  • Tyrion (Mickey) – Halfling Thief

We did a brief recap of the story so far and then picked up where we left off: entering the level of the tunnels above the underground village of Haven where Falco, leader of the Goons, has asked them to find their missing man Brun and eliminate the ratling threat. Styo, the Goon, wished them the best of luck as they ascended into the darkness above.

As they re-entered the tunnel, they let Hansel go first with his ability to see in the dark, and eventually they all followed close behind. Hansel slowly headed east from the ladder to Haven until the corridor continued straight or branched south. And by this point, the party decided they needed a little illumination. With a lantern lit at either end of their gang of six, they proceeded southward until they saw a small, dark puddle.

There was some debate over the type of puddle (even with the copper scent in the air) it may be until Bart stuck a gauntleted finger in, scooped some up, and held it to his lantern. “Blood,” he announced clearly, as they began to see drag marks away from the puddle continuing south. They followed the path until it diverged back to the west, but about then they started to hear a mad cacophony of squeaks and snarls straight ahead.

Leaving the bloody trail, they headed for the noise and found at least a dozen giant rats attacking a lone, furry humanoid in their midst. Pausing for just a moment, they watched in silence as the humanoid shredded first one, then two, of the rats with nothing more than its claws and teeth — turning the rodents into a mess of shredded skin and viscera spread across the tunnel.

Avil, apparently tired of waiting, decided to sling a rock into the fray and hit the furry human squarely in the chest. Any other figure may have staggered after taking such a blow, but this one ignored it and continued to focus on the rats around him. Tyrion then fired an arrow at one of the rodents, spearing it with a squeak and doing significant damage. Others begin moving into position to take pot-shots into the combat, wading in with weapons drawn. But none  of the party were sure as to which side of the battle they should focus on: the humanoid figure or the rats?

It wasn’t until Bart petitioned Mitra for some clarity on the humanoid’s purpose, casting Detect Evil, that their decision began to shift. He gained quick and clear insight into the figure’s very soul, determining once and for all that it was… evil. Hesitation was over for the priest, and he charged into battle with his weapon high!

Solo however continued to raise the spectre of doubt… Could this be Brun, the Goon they were sent to find?

We’ll leave it there and continue our tale next week!

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