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Ten years ago, the Ghoul Imperium of the Underworld and the vampires of Morgau marched into Krakova and conquered the kingdom entirely, establishing the Greater Duchy of Morgau and expanding the borders of the Blood Kingdom.

The undead occupation has been kept in check by resistance from the Court-in-Exile, as well as opportunistic reaver dwarves who sailed across the Nieder Straits.

But the hidden machinations of the ghouls swirl beneath the surface. Rumors abound of an even more sinister plot that threatens not just one kingdom, but the entire world of Midgard.

Empire of the Ghouls is designed by Richard Green, and published by Kobold Press. It takes place in Kobold Press’ fantasy world of Midgard.

Previously on Empire of the Ghouls

Chapter 2: The Holy Robes of Sister Adelind
Episode 1: The Mountain Road

Active Party:
Alaric, level 3 dhampir Death Domain Cleric
Bahn, level 3 kobold Bard College of Whispers
Kovac, level 3 ratfolk Dawn Blade Rogue
Lucian, level 3 dhampir Clockwork Soul Sorcerer
Ry, level 3 shadow fey Black Powder Sorcerer

One week has passed since the party disrupted the Cult of Forbidden Ecstasies, and successfully rescued Rozalyn and Melancha. The blacksmith was so pleased to see his daughter again that he offers to make a +1 weapon or armor of the party’s choice. They elect Kovac the rogue, who orders a shiny new +1 rapier.

The party bums around Zobeck tending to various personal matters, when Melancha summons them to the Council Hall. They’re introduced to Chairman Firedrake, a boisterous dwarf and the most senior member of the Zobeck Consul.

Melancha and the Chairman are very concerned with organized undead beneath their feet. They hire the party on behalf of Zobeck to journey north into the Ironcrags and consult with the dwarves, who spend much of their lives battling undead from Morgau on their borders.

They also dropped a few clues for the party, gleaned from interrogating the captured enemies from the temple: Sister Adelind, holy relic, blood marriage.

Sister Adelind was a powerful warrior who slew a vampire lord during the invasion of Krakovar, ultimately losing her life in the battle and becoming a martyr. What does the Blood Kingdom and the Imperium have planned? Hopefully the dwarves will know more!

The party is all too-willing to take up the just cause. They’re given an advance payment of 200gp, along with a potion of healing, to help fund the journey (they also keep various treasures found in the cult’s temple).

The party buys a wagon and some riding horses. Alaric and Ry mount their own horses, while Kovac drives the wagon with Lucian and Bahn.

The journey on the Mountain Road should take over two weeks.

The first couple days are easy; the roads around Zobeck are safe and well-maintained. Much of that is due to the Griffon Knights, an order of mounted knights who provide watchful services for the city.

The party runs into a married pair of particularly mischievous knights on their fourth day, who strongly suggest they receive a generous donation for their services.

The party carefully sizes up this potential threat: two confident knights, mounted on trained griffons. Lucian tosses them the silver spear Melancha was wielding in the temple, pleasing the Lady, while Alaric uses his Predatory Charm to convince the Lord to let them pass.

It works, and the griffon knights bid them a safe journey onwards. The party hurries quickly before the charm effects wear off!

Empire of the Ghouls chapter 2 episode 1 the mountain road

A few days later the roads grow narrower and rougher; large mountains loom on either side.

While making camp one night, Lucian spots a small patch of ground rumbling and scratching. He quickly rouses the others when a pair of dogmoles burst out of the ground, searching for food.

Despite the rude awakening, the party makes short work of the furry, burrowing creatures. The cranky kobold immediately goes back to sleep (after nearly refusing to wake up in the first place).

Over the next several days of rough travel the valley opens into the picturesque dwarven city of Gunnacks. The party enjoys dwarven brewskis and warm beds before heading back on the road for their final leg of the journey.

Another few days pass. As the sun sets on their two-week journey, they start to look for a place to make camp when they spot some folks on the side of the road, seemingly crouched over a pair of bodies.

Kovac notices ghouls among them, tearing into the bloody corpses.

While the others begin making a plan (“can’t we just go around?” whines Bahn), Alaric wastes no time twinning a Chill Touch on the nearest creatures. They turn and growl, and the fight is on!

Lucian steals the thunder by casting Web in the middle of the enemies, restraining the three human procurers for the entire battle (and the darakhul for much of it). The human cannibal cultists struggle to escape, occasionally firing their crossbows, but rarely hitting due to disadvantage.

Adding insult to injury, Bahn layers them all in Faerie Fire.

A pair of feral ghouls charge. One of them is swiftly cut down by Kovac’s impressive anti-undead Dawn Blade abilities, but the other paralyzes him with its claws.

Ry and Lucian pepper shots from relative safety, while the darakhul finally frees himself to run menacingly at the party.

Darakhul are intelligent ghouls who formed an entire kingdom deep underground: the Ghoul Imperium. They helped the vampire kingdom of Morgau invade and conquer Krakovar ten years ago, but little has been seen of them since, and they rarely leave the (relative) safety of their sunless kingdom.

This one is annoyed at having been caught, but the party wisely gangs up on the threatening ghoul, first with Ry’s Magma Spout spell, then with Bahn’s Dissonant Whispers.

Finally the darakhul charges back, snarling at Alaric, calling him a half-blood mongrel. He critically hits with his claws, downing the cleric in a single blow, though he withstands contracting darakhul fever.

The creature’s triumph is short-lived. Bahn critically hits with a Psychic Blades-empowered attack, stunning the undead with the massive damage. Weakend and bloody, Kovac shoves him into the still-spouting magma spell, and the whimpering ghoul burns to ash.

Mopping up the still-struggling procurers is laughably trivial for the rest of the party. Web for MVP! (and a point of Inspiration for Lucian).

When the magical magma cools the party recovers some coins and gems that hadn’t yet melted, as well as a sealed tube. Inside is a rolled up parchment that depicts a charcoal sketch of a man. Nobody recognizes him, but Alaric is certain he’s Krakovan.

With more questions and concerns than ever, the party makes the final trudge toward Grisal, the Black Canton, infamous dwarven fortress for repelling the undead, hoping to get some answers.

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