RECAP: Age of Ashes, 5-7-21

The dead city has a number of factions; the creature we met is of the Whispers, in league with the Shadows. The Armored faction, warriors generally, were mostly wiped out by the Eshemourne. The Starved are corporeal undead that are always hungry, led by a ghast armed Fallrock, who abandoned King Harald; the Starved control the Pawns, who are mindless, corporeal undead. Lastly, the “Bound” are mindless shades attached to a location; they recognize no King but Harald.

The undead dragon’s name is Veshemourne. He is under the impression that he has killed Harald, so the king keeps a very low profile, which contributes to his feelings of inadequacy and treachery.

The party arrived at a stone palace, in disrepair with claw and scorch marks on the stone. We enter through a set of broken doors and meet a ghostly dwarvish footman who will not give us his name or the name of the building. In the central hall, surrounded by ghostly dwarves with green glowing eyes, is a dias layered in bones. Upon it is the ghost of King Harald, and he eyes us with hate. “Judge me not!” he says, thumping his large dwarven hammer against the dais. “I was once like you, although I wish it wasn’t so.” He’s insufferably self-righteous, wallowing in his self-pity. “I am cursed – cursed by the gods! The same gods that abandoned this, my beloved city. Well, they may have abandoned it, but I never shall.”

The party treat Harald with deference, despite his challenging nature. In response, he turns maudlin. “I’ve ruled this city longer in death, than I ever did in life. Veshemourne smote me, and my knights. The foul lizard grafted my fallen soldiers’ armor to its filthy body. But Veshemourne doesn’t know that I yet linger here. In that, I have the advantage. It is my hope that you have come to defeat Veshemourne and his new allies.”

The party agreed to attempt to hunt and kill the undead dragon, and Harald’s disposition mellowed. He provided additional information. “Some of the factions have switched sides, over time,” he explained. “A cluster of pawns are hidden at the top of the pillar in the center of the city. You would not be able to close with the pillar, before they would storm. Further, Starved line streets nearby. But if you can kill Fallrock, it will scatter the Starved. It is his leadership that holds them in thrall.”

“Go to my old home, and acquire my regalia,” Harald continued. “My old subjects will recognize them. It was once my robe of office, but they are no use to me now.” All evidence and Harald’s description would indicate that the regalia is a Robe of the Archmage.

The party proceeds through the city toward the Pillar, but the Pillar can’t be reached in a signle day – the dead city is enormous. The party discovers a building that radiates – is infused – with so much necromancy magic that it’s essentially keeping the building intact. Looking for shelter, we enter and find a pile of old boxes, and while we examine them the roof falls in upon us, as if thrown by a malevolent spirit. These are “soulbound” ruins. But this one contains a haunt so sever that it’s the entire building itself. A lot of people died here, and they were infused in the very stones and mortar. A bit of investigation reveals that the building is vulnerable to positive energy and exorcism, anything that affects spirits will affect this structure. Deeper in the building, amongst the rubble, something shrieks in anger and rage. The party is hectored with rocks and trash thrown by angry invisible spirits. They are good at obscuring their locations, and they continue to bedevil us.

We move off to go further into the city and look to find and defeat Fallrock. We question a dwarvish wraith, and it tells us that the ghast inhabits an ancient mine, glowing inside with shafts of lazulite, a glowing mineral from the darklands that is harmful to living creatures, but is appleaing to undead. There is some speculation that exposure to this mineral may drive derros insane.

We entire the ravine, then the mine, and we follow old minecart tracks down to a fork. There are statues…