Three men went to Dunnsmouth (S02/P06)

If you want to know what has happened before, read here.

Cormagh and Angus hacked through the boards that were used to nail the entrance shut. It did not took all to long, as the time and moisture had taken their toll on the wood already and most of the iron nails were rusty. All the while, Jasper had an eye on the captives who did not said a word but glared at the heroes in with anger and frustration. The sliding gate creaked awfully in its hanger assembly as Cormagh pushed it aside, and Angus kept his sword in hand while he held his torch inside to light the half-dark inside of the derelict sawmill. Little light fell inside from the still open latch in the roof and numerous little holes in the roof. They saw the old slight that was used to bring the trunks inside, the huge and now rusty saw blade that once turned the trunks into lumber, a large metal plate that had been used as a fire place and around it a number bedrolls, sacks and backpacks that gave testimony that this place had indeed been used as a hideout by the bandits. Just as they counted the sleeping place and try to assess the few belongings strewn around the old fire place they noted a movement up in the shadows under the roof…

Again, I failed as a GM in regard to the game mechanics: I am pretty sure that I forgot to let them roll for surprise AND during the following fight, I forgot to the take HD of the monster as a bonus to its attack. Poor monster… poor players who know believe that their characters are up to the task…

To their shock, they had to realize that there was a gigantic, hairy black spider sitting in the roof framework, the body all in all the size of a small bull. Four glistening insect eyes reflected the firelight as the monster stared at them and mandible that were about a feet long began to click as it came for them! Cormagh made a few steps back to get ready… and fell into the swamp water as had forgotten that he had been standing close to the threshold of the sliding gate. Angus reacted quickly and threw his torch at the monster, only then he would walk out of the door frame and onto the very small, slippery ledge of the foundation so that he would not have to face this beast inside of the sawmill. The torch hit the beast in the head and made it scuttle back in irritation for a moment..but that was it.

Jasper, not really knowing what was going on turned to aim the bow at the immense shadow that moved inside, but to his surprise the shackled brigand throw himself at him, crying “NOOOOO!” like he would be throwing himself into a shot to protect a love one! The spider made its move and came to the door after Jasper´s arrow had missed, Cormagh had raised himself while Angus got in position. The monster tried to get at Cormagh which its long and point limbs but was hacked at from the side by Angus who defended his comrade. The dwarf in turn grabbed small crock of lamp oil and threw it into the sawmill and towards the torch Angus has thrown, with all his might. While Japser pushed the captured brigand down into the swamp water and readied a new arrow, the inside of the sawmill went ablaze and the unnatural spider screeched. The air began to fill with the smell of burning wood and hair as Cormagh and Angus fought the beast and blocked its was out..or tried to. The dwarf was overwhelmed by the spider, but hacked at its underbelly. He would still have ended up beneath to many piercing limbs and dismembering mandibles wouldn´t it have not been for the warrior Angus who not only removed some of the creatures legs but beheaded the best in the end.

They withdrew from the sawmill and gathered both the corpse of Shelly-Ann and the shocked Herod who had been witness to the whole scene. Tommy, the brigand, cried like he would have lost a beloved brother or wife. As they headed back to the church in their swamp boots, Japser slowly tried to question the brigands, as Dunc Samson was still out cold (they had hit him over the head pretty hard in order to shut him up). Tommy was reluctant to talk to them, in grieve and bitter about the characters deeds as well as hopeless in regard to his own life: he knew that they were bounty hunters, and that the gallows were waiting for him in Spillswick. Still, Japser managed to learn from him that the four of them had came to Dunnsmouth over the mountains, as Edward had told them about an old hideout in the nearby mountain they could use to whole up till nobody would be searching for them anymore. In Dunnsmouth, they had planned to steal or rob a few provisions… and to see if their would be anything of value in the church. They started there, but as they entered into the church one of them stepped into a bear-trap between the pews and next thing they knew where that a large bearded men attacked them with a double-headed ax. He got Edward, so the rest of them fled as far from the church as they could. They stumbled through the swamp and the mist for a good while before the reached the river and decided to follow it to the coast (it was better than getting lost in a swamp!). They encountered Dunc Samson at the river and had been able to surprise and capture him. With a blade to his throat, he told them about the old sawmill and that they could hide there. But inside, “she was waiting for us”. They tried to fight, but “were subdued by her quickly,by her and Dunc… but she did not kill us… no… she enlightend us…made us one of the family… allowed us to stay with her”. The decided to stay as guards for now, and Dunc brought them some provisions now and then. He did so “for her as well.. but it was surprising how little she needed indeed…”. Still, they had scouted there surrounding and had of course had an eye on the mansion across the river.

Jasper noted quickly that he never called the spider for what it was, and always referred to her as a female being of superiority and adoration. He began to question the shocked Herod and feared that he would be part of it as well (after all, he had pointed them to the sawmill), but as he called the monster as monster, the simple poucher believed that Herod would be alright. Just before they reached the church, the brigand try to strike deal: if they would not deliver him to Spillswick, he would show them were the hideout is. “I am pretty sure that there is still something to loot there. Edward talked about traps that were left behind to deter intruders. It had been the lair of a different band of brigands who ended up in a trap of the soldiers a decade ago. Nobody made it out then but Edward, and he was reluctant to return. The three decided not to accept nor to decline the offer yet.

At the church the three did their best to look surprised as the gathered people of Dunnsmouth (really, just a few dozen souls) told them about what they found inside… but they were really surprised their own tale about monstrous spiders and people serving it was neither doubted nor something that caused shock, disbelieve or panic. Instead Obediah asked them if there had been any “religious objects… or cult objects… perhaps made of gold…?” And he did not asked in a way that seemed that he was keen about the answer… nor that he would expect anything but a “yes”. The three were witness to a quickly settled but bitter disagreement about what to do with Dunc Samon. The present Dunlop (all but Pierce and his household) wanted him to be hanged, Dicky made it answered that with a “dontcha dare touchim!!” while he raised not only his voice but his club as well. Obediah, speaking for the Duncasters as it seemed, told Dicky to “shotyadmanmouth! That´s not a time for this!” While holding his own club low, but firmly. The three asked who, by the by, would happen to be the leader of the community… a Dunlop who had introduced himself as Albert stepped forth exclaiming that “By tradition, and as it always had been, the Dunlop fami…” only to be silenced by Obediah and Dicky who shouted “SHUT THE FUCK UP” in unison.

At the end, it was ruled by Obediah (with the consent of the others) that Dunc would leave and never come back. Johan von Kaus later explained a few things to the three heroes… what this would mean for a man “around here, in the swamps”, how there had been a time, when Obediah was young, were there was a strange cult up in the mountains that had been uprooted and squashed by the folk of Dunnsmouth back then, how there were stories about those cult worshiping blasphemous monsters…

In the end, the danger was declared over, the three packed their belongings and became the guests of Edwin and Edwina Dunlop till the ship would arrive. They went back to the sawmill, to lock through the burned down ruin, but found nothing of interest in there. But they noted that the spider head that Angus had chopped of was nowhere to be found…

To be continued when the adventures of the three are continued.

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Three men went to Dunnsmouth (S02/P06)

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