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Too late to stop the Shadow Warriors (part 1)

My second playthrough of Legend of the Shadow Warriors. Let’s see if I can do better this time.

Skill 11 / Luck 8 / Stamina 19   I dig the 11 Skill, but I remember a lot of luck tests so I dunno…

So, I’m sitting in the tavern one day, a retired soldier now turned into a freelance adventurer. And a guy comes up, says that the village of Karnstein is being terrorized by The Shadow Warriors. Of course, they’re fictional and I figure it’s just some hooligans. It’s a long walk to Karnstein but the weather is good and the guy’s offering me 200 gold.

I finish my drink, and head to the market to pick up food and armor. So far so good.

Then I run into a tax collector and a retinue of city guards. The jerk was following me, and says I owe them 600 gold in back taxes. I’ve only been in town for a few days! So I do what any reasonable and law-abiding citizen would do: I run for it. I cut left, have some good luck, sneak through some squalid alleys, and hide out on the grounds of a temple. The temple itself is really nice, the grounds still green and the fruit trees still producing well into the autumn. It’s really pleasant.

Which makes it all the more surprising when I’m ambushed by a horde of priests wielding sickles, who take me prisoner without even a dice roll! They ask if I know the difference between equinox and solstice, which of course I do. This convinces them that I’m a good nature-loving pagan like themselves, and they immediately entrust me with a mission to save the world of Titan from the ravages of undead, industrialization, overpopulation, and so on. I’m so confused. I just kind of nod my head and let them pin a brooch onto my lapel. They give me a hearty slap on the back and send me back out onto the street. Wow. No specific mission, no map or other help, just go save the beauty of nature.

Still in kind of a daze, I roam the streets a bit. I wind up at a square where people get on platforms and yell at the crowds, kind of like in Life of Brian you know? There’s a lady yelling about how wizards are evil, who is then silenced by a wizard turning her into a frog. Nice. And there’s a war-mongering guy who feels that our birthright is being stolen by foreigners. I get fed up with this, and slug the guy – show him that “might makes right” doesn’t feel so good. This starts a small riot, and I sneak the hell out of there as the guards close in.

Finally, I make my way to the gate and sneak out. No sweat.

I meet my contacts, and we start the walk toward Karnstein. About a quarter of the way there, in a mountain pass, it seems the “shadow warriors” have decided to ambush us. But then I get a hell of a surprise: they’re undead of some sort, and they’ve killed both of my friends in an instant! Oh crap – Shadow Warriors are real! Since I’ve already blown the mission by letting my employers die in a cut-scene, I turn tail and flee. This works reasonably well, and I even turn around and kill one of them with only slight injuries. But as I watch it dissolve, I’m told that it’s merely reincorporating and isn’t destroyed at all. Bad news! I’m also told that I’m continuing my mission to Karnstein, because this evil cannot be ignored.

But first, I should consult a hermit that lives a few days journey away. Like all hermits in these books, he’s also a nice guy and an oracle who will know what to do. And, he’s a pretty decent cook too! Sure enough, he knows the backstory:

  • Long, long ago a warlord named Voivod raised an army of undead. Funny, because a voivode is an archaic term for a warlord in Eastern Europe.
  • The forces of nature defeated Voivod but could not destroy him, only imprison him. Like Greath Cthulhu, dead but dreaming.
  • The army of undead seeks to find his tomb and awaken him, at which time blah blah blah. We’ve heard this story before.
  • The key to stopping them is a book of numerology which would be a key to deciphering something.

Then there’s a knock at the door. The hermit’s son calls “let me in, it’s so cold…” and it’s a total The White Vault moment. When the hermit says that his son has been dead for 7 years, then goes to open the door anyway, I try to stop him. He gets a lucky roll against me, and I leave him to it. And… yeah, it’s an evil revenant. It tears the hermit’s head off and I flee out the back door.

Back on the long road to Karnstein.

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First published January 8, 2022. Last updated January 7, 2022.