The Massacre of Maburgh
Foreword: This is the second installment in the Globulite Mythos as another Blood Moon (the only "real" one for a few years!) occurred. This is an important time for Globulah, and the time that It is most powerful. Combined with the Curse of Lamalla meant that it was a truly bloody night... But not all ended well for the Cult of Globulah, as you will see.
Timekeeping: Ritual Preparations 6/11/2022-7/11/2022 Blood Moon 8/11/2022 Return Trip 9/11/2022-10/11/2022
Characters: Vic Sangin (F2/A1), Greg Chapel (C2 - player not present), Fitzpatrick Bateman (C1) [H]
We played out the raid over Discord - Vic Sangin's player and myself - with instructions from Greg Chapel, the leader of the Thropsford sect of the cult. Vic himself is a devout Globulite (as it is the de-facto player-made Evil religion). I told Greg Chapel's player that if he gave me some decent plans for this and made sure it was more miraculous than the Butchering of Baleah I'd let him train to level 3 for free. Then his player went to another country and Vic Sangin got to be in charge. Not sure if he still deserves it but he did invent a patron saint, blessing a mace as the first holy artifact of Globulah in that saints name, and instigated the original village raid in May, so I'll give him this one.
Speaking with Greg Chapel, we rolled some dice and came up with the current Globulite follower count - from 30, it has grown to 70 in the months since May. Seemed reasonable given the huge downtime Greg would have spent preaching, as well as the Curse of Lamalla enhancing whatever Evil was present in the lands. They all have leather armour, wooden shields, and a dagger + club. Prior to setting out, Greg blessed his mace as the Harbinger of Glabgo. He just made that up, further fleshing out and legitimising the Globulite religion with its first saint and religious relic.
The Hamlet of Maburgh
Greg Chapel had scouted out neighbouring villages still holding onto the borderlands around Thropsford's 30 mile campaign hex back during May. They decided they'd go for Maburgh this time. Their initial scouting of it revealed a relatively defenseless settlement with about 70 people. Since the campaign's inception, the well-governed roads and relatively safe borderlands have slowly been beaten back by bandits, monsters, geographical events, etc. and now the kingdom is greatly fractured - cities are more like city states, and the roads between them are dangerous and un-patrolled. Maburgh, being 30 miles south east of Thropsford (the direction of an entirely abandoned city and section of the kingdom - ironically, that area of the world is also the Cradle of the Globulites) would be barely holding on - so I knew that if it was still standing it'd have some sort of defenses and probably a reduced population as people gave up their homes for the security of the city walls. I made up some tables, rolled some dice, and had some contingency plans that would be reasonable for a borderland village in a dangerous world, and so we were off.
Vic Sangin is an interesting character since, as of writing this, he's F2/A3 but hasn't played any sessions. Except for one time he disguised as a Good character for the Good party and used information he gained to rat out a resistance group within the city of Underland and profit greatly off it it. He would later on assassinate a fugitive PC for money, and sell that PCs spell-book. We're getting off track, but this is important because the sequence of events that Vic took led to him being in Thropsford at the right time for him to lead the raid while Greg's player was out.
(Stay tuned for the exploits of Vic as his player suggested that he'd write a Vic Sangin tell-all as behind-the-scenes things become known in the group)
His plan was to have the 70 Globulites (approximately 50/50 split male/female) trickle out of the city over the 6th/7th as couples, with their armour covered by white robes (stained red by the blood rain) and regroup 20 miles south east of the city until everyone was assembled. The leaders (Vic, Greg, Fitzpatrick) rode horses and took their wagon. Aside from some giant rats that wanted nothing to do with the Conglobulation, their journey was peaceful and they all grouped up - performing some pre-raid ceremony, chanting to Globulah, praising the blood rain, performing self laceration etc.
They arrive at the village as the Blood Moon rises. Vic scouts ahead and notices that it's got a timber palisade and is manned by archers, who don't take kindly to him. The Blood Moon casts a vibrant red hue over the land - although it's pouring blood rain, the Globulites notice something of a supernatural clarity. The ghastly red tones and moonlight bathe them - I rule that all the Globulites have +1s on their rolls due to the circumstances. And they can see clearly.
Vic spares a moment to inform the cult of the defenses - and promptly rouses the group into action, knowing that even if they all die it is blood spilled for the blood god. The Globulites come charging through the rain - we go 1:10 at this point - and axemen begin hewing the gates while flanking figures raise shields over them. A few groups, with the leaders, stay about 50 yards back ready to rotate in should the hewers fall. Someone screams from behind the palisade, but soon a figure of archers appears and begins raining arrows down on the axe-bearers - this continues as one, two, three figures of Globulites are totally annihilated. Just peppered and nuked from above. Then some burning oil is thrown from the wall that cuts off the relief Globulites. Vic is firing arrows at the archers, doing decent damage but not enough when another figure of archers appears, pushing the rickety palisade to its limits.
Then, something happens.
The flames subside, and Vic, who was going to call a tactical retreat so they could cut down a tree to use as a battering ram, notices something at the gate.
An intense red glow shines down from the Blood Moon, bathing the pile of 30 Globulite corpses.
The mass begins to writhe and contort. A hand breaks up through the pile. Then another. But it isn't flesh as the body which birthed it - it is inside out. Soon the whole pile of corpses is standing again, but their bodies are muscle, tendons, and bone. These revenants are horrific in both aspect and physical brutality - they hew the gates open as if they were three men. Some scale the walls through the pouring rain and mutilate the archers. One stout leader tries to keep his men together but to no avail - the town is overrun! All hell breaks loose within as the gate collapses.
It's empty. Except for one place, where lights shine through the night and two men stand outside with bows drawn as the horde of Globulites and monstrosities raid the houses. Vic approaches the men, informing them that they can surrender (he withheld the information that they'd be tortured/sacrificed for Globulah with a new ritual of the players devising) or die. The men only begged and wept that their wives and children be given mercy.
"Is that all?" Vic's cold words rang through the night as the men were slaughtered. Inside the church, the 20 women and children were rounded up and crucified with leeches attached to them and left hanging - some outside the church, but most in front of the entrance to the settlement - a tunnel, if you will.
The church was ransacked and the supplies of the town rounded up - besides a sack of mundane gear/supplies for each Globulite the only items discovered of note were:
- A lockbox beneath the priests desk
- The priests desk
- Silk weavings/tapestries
- Silver flagon
- Gold prayer bowl
The Globulite revenants all collected in the village center after the massacre, before contorting, swelling, and bursting into a pile of blood and gore. The Globulites celebrated with their grotesque practices - cannibalism, an orgy, and wild hollering to the Blood God.
The Globulites commence their return home, each cultist with a sack of supplies, the wagon with the desk and silks, while Vic has the lockbox, Greg and Fitzpatrick have the silver flagon/gold prayer bowl.
Their plan is to leave together as 'pilgrims' and, when closer to the city, trickle back in the same way they had before. They do this, except, later in the day, they are waylaid on the road... By none other than the Thropsford Army.
Now I know what you're thinking - come on, that's some storygamey bull isn't it. But it is not! When considering the state of the settlement, I reckoned they'd have a plan to alert the city if they were being raided. This involved sending a lone rider out through a hidden gate and hoping he isn't noticed or interrupted in his journey himself. I made some rolls and... Not only was he not noticed amidst the raid, but he made it safely to Thropsford and the army was prepared and on the road by morning.
They were about 140 yards away with neither side having surprise. Some 100 or more armed to the teeth men, with horseman on the flanks, versus some 45 exhausted and poorly armed cultists laden with loot. The Globulite leaders scream every man for himself and flee on their horses. Suffice to say, the unmounted cultists are quickly rounded up and shackled. As for the leaders, the Wilderness Evasion Rules are consulted and it is revealed that they travel some 18 miles east before shaking off their pursuers - arriving at some wooded hills. They circle back around to Thropsford but find somewhere to camp out of the rain for the night. The next morning (10/11/2022), they head to the city but a pack of wolves chases them - their horses all fail their panic checks and are off. Fitzpatrick is chased by the pack while the others are taken off on a journey before they calm their mounts. Eventually, all is back to normal. Vic disguises himself as a half-orc adventurer called Lancel Lionhardt from Burnett, claiming he is the sole survivor of a group of adventurers from the Baeda Fells north-west of Thropsford. The gate guard, including the indentured Magic-User, totally buy his disguise and, after paying the non-citizen entrance fee, is let into the city.
Later, players in Thropsford would read this message in the Thropsford City discord chat:
Near two weeks ago the Thropsford Army was rallied at midnight in response to dire pleas from a lonely rider who had escaped his village at Maburgh to the south-east. Fanatical raiders seeking blood were at their doors. The next day, the culprits were apprehended on the road, on their journey to Thropsford, and put to trial. They were all zealots of a blood cult, devoting themselves to an entity known as "Globulah". Their presumed leaders evaded the Army and when questioned about this only responded with gibberish such as "Glob glib glu glab" and "Saint Glabgo deliver unto me a torrential bloodletting". It was soon discovered that nobody in the town of Maburgh survived. Lieutenants reported the grizzly and horrifying site that awaited them at the hamlet- it's wooden gates were splintered and hewn as if by great beasts. Women and children formed a funnel outside the gate, crucified on crosses with fat and putrid leeches sucking them dry. The church was defiled and the houses ransacked - with a huge pile of blood and gore in the village centre, as if a pile of bodies exploded. Clerics within the city suspect a paranormal aspect was involved, and that this cult should not be taken lightly. The leaders of this cult are still at large, but in the meantime, all of the apprehended cultists have been judged and found guilty. A public execution will take place on the 30th of November. The City Guard warns citizens that the cult may still be active, and to exercise caution when surveying the religions on the Street. The stall of these "Globulites" has been destroyed, and aside from some bone effigies and a blank tome, nothing of interest was discovered. If you have any information about this cult, please contact the Guard immediately. The following bounty has been placed:
- 10gp for each cult member, alive or dead
- 500gp per clerical level of each cleric, alive, or 250gp if dead
- A special reward from a curated list of contraband lays in store for the individual who aids the Guard the most - particularly if their efforts lead directly to the abolishment of the cult and the apprehension of its leaders.
Treasure & XP: to do
Character Performance Ratings: Vic - (E) In terms of alignment, there need be no further comment. Insofar as playing his role as both a Fighter orchestrating the cult raid to later infiltrating the city without a regard for his accomplices, shows how authentically Vic Sangin behaves as a Fighter/Assassin.
Downtime Requests: Vic would go on to do the deeds I described above - getting himself a cushy F2/A3 without any real session play just some creativity, initiative, and eagerness to master the rules.