Session 9 marked the beginning of the final chapter of March of the Phantom Brigade. It has been quite a ride so far, from Hammerfast to the ruins of Castle Inverness… and now the adventurers find themselves back in Hammerfast where it all started eight sessions ago. Manning a guard post on the walls of the dwarven town are Atreyu (human thief), Belgos (drow ranger), Halitin (Dragonborn paladin), Jarren (human wizard), and Melek (tiefling mage).
As the heroes watch a vast army of spectral soldiers march toward one of the largest settlements in the Nentir Vale, they think back over what has transpired since the destruction of Inverness. Salazar Vladistone has traveled throughout the vale, building up an unstoppable army of ghosts. During that same time, the adventurers have worked hard alongside the citizens of Hammerfast, bolstering the town’s defenses. They’ve also spent time in the Grand Library, assisting Faldyra with research about Vladistone and the group he used to adventure with over sixty years ago, the Silver Company.
As the heroes prepare to fight alongside the inhabitants of the necropolis, they see the unmistakable figure of Salazar Vladistone striding among the soldiers of his spectral legion. They watch as the Phantom Brigade’s commander makes his way to the front of his army. When he speaks, his words ring out unnaturally, like a clap of thunder.
“Hammerfast. Your walls spawned the corruption that fouled the grave of my love. Send out your Lady of Gold. Let the High Master pay the price for this transgression.”
The defenders manning Hammerfast’s walls are angered by Vladistone’s demand that they turn over Marsinda Goldspinner, the town’s High Master (chief executive), to him. As an angry murmur flies through the soldiers stationed on the walls, a young dwarf messenger approaches the heroes. He has an urgent message from Faldyra; she has made an important discovery regarding Vladistone and needs to speak with the heroes.
As the adventurers start to leave their post, turning it over to several dwarf warriors that had been accompanying the messenger, they hear Thora Longhammer taunt Vladistone. Thora, sergeant of the gurads, calls out, “Go lie with the dead! Leave the living to walk over yer grave!”
The heroes see Vladistone’s face twist into a mask of pure anger. But when he responds, it’s with unnerving calm.
“I have warned you not to defy me. I have given you a chance to save yourselves by acceding to a simple and justified demand. Still, you refuse me foolishly and with unseemly coarseness. Now, you will pay the price. I command the ghosts of the Nentir Vale… all of them.”
The defenders on the walls look at one another with trepidation. After all, Hammerfast is a community filled with the dead.
As the messenger prods the heroes, the first screams begin deep in the town. They grow steadily closer and panic begins to spread like wildfire among the soldiers on the walls. Everyone realizes that Salazar Vladistone has commanded the ghosts of Hammerfast’s dwarves and orcs to turn on the living inhabitants of the town.
As the adventurers wind their way through the streets toward the Grand Library and Faldyra, the sound of battle grows louder with each step. As they get close to the library, a group of ghosts suddenly passes right through the walls of a nearby building and spills out into the street. Setting their eyes upon the heroes, the spirits advance menacingly.
The heroes used much better tactics this week, but it was still a difficult fight for them. The orc and dwarf ghosts were tough opponents. Belgos and Halitin were cut down during the encounter, and Melek barely avoided taking a dirt nap when he was reduced to a single hit point. Jarren had climbed into one of the houses and was being stalked by one of the orc ghosts, but the wizard overcame his fear and used timely applications of Magic Missile to KIA two of the dwarf ghosts. Atreyu was bloodied but unbowed as he Tactical Tricked and Backstabbed his way across the square where the fight took place. It was a close run thing, but in the end the heroes were able to pull out a marginal victory against the 3 dwarf and 2 orc spirits. __________________________________
Although the adventurers have dealt with a small group of ghosts near the Grand Library, many other spectral squads continue to maraud through Hammerfast. If the heroes are to have any hope of stopping Vladistone’s vengeful assault and ending his control of the Nentir Vale’s ghosts, they must reach Faldyra and learn what she has uncovered at the library.