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Friday, January 30, 2009

A Brother's Revenge: Infection!

This is part five of a series of encounters and events featuring the Bandits of Lope as the primary antagonists. The previous articles in this series are:
In this article, Renis makes his first overt moves against the party and their friends.

Pestilence Upon You!

Renis will use his newly acquired Diseased Sending ability to infect friends and associates of the party with the Plague of Yullic. In his mind the party was responsible for the loss of his brother, so he will seek to inflict similar loss upon the party. Diseased Sending can be used at a great distance, so this method of attack is very low risk for Renis. He will target the following groups for infection:
  • Any miner or prospector groups the party has encountered.
  • Farmers or other local party associates that live outside town.
  • The caravan guards Bero, Galim and Tesudo mentioned in Early Indications.
  • Small groups of travelers on the road north of town.
Renis will place himself so he can watch the attacks in progress. He will also inscribe the mark of Yullic in a prominent location near the attack site (usually chalked upon a large stone or boulder). The sendings are easily thwarted, but the repercussions will not be immediately apparent. Each attack should result in one or more victims being infected with the Plague of Yullic. Over the course of a month or more victims will become Fungal Zombies, then transform into Fungal Brains. Over the course of two weeks Renis will carry out a dozen such attacks.

From the party's point of view the attacks might seem unrelated to the bandits. They may view it as some disease affecting the local wildlife. Eventually the effects of the Plague will become evident and more overt attacks occur.

Farmer's Daughters

Late in the evening one or more party members will encounter a pair of shaken and dirty farm girls looking for the town watch. If the party gets involved the girls will tell the following story:

The two girls, Tara and Fiera, were heading home along the main road south of town. They were approached by several armed men who harassed them. One tore Tara's dress and when she kicked him in return he shoved her to the ground. Fiera grabbed her sister and the two slipped away from the three men and ran towards town. The men followed a short distance, then turned into the woods and headed north towards the Dale, a rocky vale with a spring-fed stream that is often used as a campsite or for trysts. The girls are clearly shaken by the event, claiming they often walk home after dark and have never been attacked before. Tara will mention the men smelled funny.

If the party decides to check out the Dale they will come across the three caravan guards, Bero, Galim and Tesudo, camped near the spring. They will claim they were camping out to save money since their ill fortune of their previous employer. They believe they have been in camp all evening and have no recollection of assaulting the girls.

The trio are in the early stages of becoming Fungal Zombies. Their assault on the girls was the trio's first loss of control. If the party attacks, or forces them to return to town the stress of the situation has a Good chance of causing them to revert to Zombie behavior. If the opportunity presents itself, all three show signs of infection (gray streaks under the skin, lumps and bumps on their torso).

Wild Dogs

While outside town on some errand, one or more members of the party are attacked by a small group of wild dogs infected with the Plague of Yullic. The dogs present little threat beyond the chance of infection. If their bodies are examined the the signs of infection should be obvious.

The Lost Child

The party crosses paths with a young girl, no more than five or six, staggering towards town. She is filthy, thin and obviously afraid. If the party helps her (she is healthy but extremely hungry and suffering from exposure), she will tell them her tale.

The girl's name is Sandra Kalia. She lives with her parents and two brothers on the family farm several miles to the north. A few weeks ago while her father and brothers were in the fields she saw several men watering their horses at the stream that runs behind the farm. She watched the men bury something in the muddy embankment on the far side of the stream.

The event slipped her mind, but she mentioned it to her father several days later. He ignored the girl's tale, but her two brothers investigated a few evenings later. They stayed out all night, and eventually Sandra's father went to retrieve them. All three men came back together, but the girl will mention that they smelled funny, and then break down into tears.

After she calms down she'll tell her listeners that her father and brothers became sick, first staying in bed, then hiding in the cellar, claiming the light hurt their eyes. Her mother also became sick, and Sandra was left to fend for herself. She'll mention that her father looked funny the last time she saw him, puffy and bluish.

Sandra got scared when her brothers killed a cow and started eating it raw. She hid in the barn for several days. When she went back into the house she couldn't find her brothers or her parents. She will mention being terrified by a big black thing in the root cellar.

The men Sandra saw were Renis and several of his followers. He planted a Seed of Decay near the stream behind the Kalia farm, which sprouted into a Fungal Brain. The Brain has infected the entire Kalia family.

Next Up

The next article in this series will cover the encounter at the Kalia farm. Stay tuned!
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