This session started with the most exciting of feelings for me as the Game Master: I had no idea what would happen. Given the conclusion of Session 10, it could have gone a few different ways. I asked the player of the Paladin two questions before the session: Was this “I cut myself” or “I stab myself all the way through,” as in seppuku or similar? (It was the latter.) Is everything fine, or are you tired of this character or even perhaps the game? (It was the former; we talked a bit just to make sure communication remained open and healthy.)
The player of the Thief was unavailable due to a family event, which let the other characters catch up a bit in XP…
As the session began, the Paladin had fallen unconscious from a self-inflicted wound due to her fear that the sealing of a demon within her flesh was failing. The Angel of Death visited her and informed her that, in fact, her time had not yet come, but that one of her sisters would speak with her.
The Archangel Guinevere then appeared and imperiously informed her that she henceforth would serve the Iron Choir as an avenging sword upon the land in their endless war against fiends. She didn’t really present this as an option, but as a command. In fact, the Archangel stated that the holiness and power of the saints paled next to that of the angels themselves. She then placed the mark of the Iron Choir on the Paladin, whose red hair now glimmers faintly as if aflame. The tattoo ink on the seal on her abdomen also now pulsates red rather than the plain black of before. Since the party members could see Archangel Guinevere (though not the Angel of Death), the Fighter found his faith secured.
Once the angelic visitation concluded, the Fighter returned to the top platform where they could see an altar they’d previously neglected. The altar had blood running down it and collected at the bottom, and eldritch runes covered its surface. Since the Fighter could not exactly read them, he took a rubbing of them and returned to the floor. The only other significant loot they found were two wands belonging to the defeated witches. The Paladin attempted to cast Speak With Dead on the corpse of a witch, but failed and instead it simply exploded, unable to contain whatever magical power it still held.
After some debate, the group decided to burn down the lighthouse and thus destroy whatever might remain of this foul location. The Bard called once again upon her newfound arcane power and fireballed the whole place. That, however, ended up being the last straw for their hireling Rudolpho, who felt this all indicated too much involvement with, and perhaps even dependence upon, infernal forces. He ran off, unpaid.
By the time that the group returned to the city proper, the hour had grown quite late: sometime after midnight. The Fighter’s epiphany could not wait and he accompanied the Paladin back to a cathedral of the Church of Saintly Blood, where they informed Brother Leon of his desire to have this faith confirmed. The priest therefore withdrew a small vial of blood hanging on a necklace, smeared some of it in a circle on the Fighter’s forehead, and carried out a sort of baptism ritual.
The next morning, when they arose, the Bard found she had received a letter from her sister. Apparently their brother and the Bard’s spurned intended (for an arranged marriage) had decided to head to Piskaro and bring her back to complete the union. She immediately started packing to leave, which fit the Paladin’s plans to journey to the seat of the Church in the nearby city of Chancel.
Sometimes having a quick friendly conversation with a player can reduce any conflict or dispute, especially if it turns out one doesn’t really exist!
Honestly, we could have ended the campaign here. I didn’t think about it until later, but we’ve completed another major story arc. In some ways, this provided even more closure than the first, because now they intend to leave the city where all the adventuring has previously occurred. Scheduling will get extremely difficult soon; after this coming week’s session, we will miss 3 out of 4 due to my own travel. Sometimes I think weeknight campaigns create more trouble than they’re worth.