As we prematurely ended a campaign due to people unable to attend in the weekend, i decided to end on a, hopefully memorable one shot.
After succesfully negotiating a truce with an orc encampment, further reinforcing the standings of a village the players had to build, I send the party on a quest to investigate the dissapearing merchants traveling inbetween two cities. Most notably around a new village that people traveled trough. One of the details i gave them about this village is its 'recent' appearance as well as that any traveler going there is requested to yield their weapons or travel around the village instead.
So the party consisting out of 3 players at this point, set out to go there. Sadly we had juggle around the presence due to one participant being later than the agreed upon time and another having to leave early. So to describe the party we had a tabaxi rogue (mastermind) called Ethereal, a khalastar ranger (beast master) called Eliza and a loxodon druid (Moon circle) called temuhjin.
prior to this one shot there were others, but to this story they are irrelevant. the three of them had gone onto a fair few adventures and created a rather interesting dynamic where Ethereal and Temuhjin were inclined towards evil tendancies as well as corrupting Eliza, whom in turn was a good natured person trying her best to get her 2 companions to become good like her.
the party went and entered the village after a little scouting to try and see what they can see inside. they could gather about half a dozen guards patrolling the walls (the village wasn't very large) and 2 on each gate, of which there were 2.
upon entering they could tell the village had a simple circle like infrastructure, one road in the middle with a market square in the middle and another straight road leading from the mayors mansion to the cities keep. in the remainder of the city there were roads in a circle around the market square. the church was located between market square and the mayors mansion.
the party started off by going to the keep in order to inquire with the captain of the guard to see what they could learn about the missing merchants. upon entering the keep, the party was halted by a guard on his break whom requested to await an invitation when the captain is ready. As they did so, the wolves (which were the animal companions of Eliza) started to feel uneasy as they got muzzled. Upon the invitation given by the captain, the party was escorted to the captains quarters. the captain was a friendly dwarf with an open mind, happily helping the party. they were told that there were bandits roaming around attacking rather frequantly, at least once a week and their scout was currently on route and expected back by sunrise. he also pointed to the barracks which could be rented by them if they needed a place to sleep. after their conversation, Ethereal snuck around in order to try and find more information, sadly she found none as she got discovered right before she went into a room where she wasnt allowed to be.
and thus the party, decided to gather more information at the church and wished to speak with the priest. on their way to the Church, the wolves grew ever more restless as thei started to behave as if scared by something. Upon arrival at the church however, it turned out this praticular church had no priest and was a place of open worship where the building was divided into many smaller open spaces with a few closed ones. At this church everyone was welcome to practice their religion in peace and currently there was a halfling meditating, 2 dwarfs reading from a holy book, a half orc flogging himself in order to bring discpline and a human preaching in a whisper to himself in an enclosed space. The party tried to silently scout out if there was anything noticable that would give away a hint.
as the party entered the church, Temujin could finally make it to this session and joined in, as he did, he started to interrupt the half orc because he started asking question by interviewing the human. The half orc angrily told Temuhjin that he was unhappy about the interruption of his repentance. Ofcourse, knowing Temuhjin, he started asking the half orc questions. The half orc replied, growing more agitated, that after the death of his brother in arms he wished to be left at peace for he needed to repent for his sin. Temuhjin, uncaring for this as he was, further inquired and discovered that the half orc lost his brother in a battle to vanquish the bandits, succesfully. As temuhjin treid to further ask questions for information he got told off by the angry half orc, which is when he told the half orc that he and his companions were send after the same bandits that were killed the day prior. This send the half orc in a fit of rage as he stormed towards the keep.
Whilst all this happened, Eliza tried to communicate with her spirit (which is part of her background) and was told something felt wrong at this place, almost as if things at the edge of their sight differed from reality. after telling her companions this, they too managed to reach out to this spirit and were told the same: "keep an eye out at what happens around you, when its close, its normal but i feel uneasy about what is further away".
Sadly this is where ethereal had to leave as the player had to leave prematurely. so we moved on with the remaing two players, seeing how we would end this campaign and leave these characters.
As Eliza and Temuhjin walked outside, they found the wolves now terrified as they shivered, with their tails between their legs. Eliza cast speak with animals in order to try and gather what was wrong. With some difficulty Eliza learned that the wolves smelled death and old blood wherever they went, it mattered not for the smell was everywhere and they just wanted to leave this place, badly. Temhjin wuickly turned into a spider to traverse the the church's tower and see what was amiss in the distance. By doing so he could see that people only appeared around the storming Half orc as well as around Eliza.
As Eliza tried to quickly follow the half orc, afraid something might happen to him, Temuhjin raced to the fur of one of the wolves in order to hide himself. Temuhjin barely managed to make it on top of a wolf and ride along.
as they followed to half orc towards the keep they were unable to catch up with him, with the wolves only becoming more and more frightened. they could sense that this village was a death trap. the wolves were muzzled in order to keep the guards safe as well again.
Upon entering the keep, the half orc had already stormed upstairs towards the captain as Eliza was asked to take a seat. As she complied she walked into the trap, which did not yet spring. the guard started asking questions why she had returned, and poor Eliza, as honest as she is, said she came after the Half orc since things weren't making sense and she wanted to talk to the captain about this. The guardsman replied by stating she need not worry about the half orc and started asking about the curious looking spider and the missing compannions. Eliza look on her face betrayed her
seeing this triggered the trap laid out, i asked for multiple strenght saving throws with disadvantage, since she was surprised. naturally she, as well as the wolves failed their saving throws and were restrained as mimics revealed themselfes to be the muzzled, the floorboards, the table and the seat Eliza sat on. This promted Temuhjin to quickly jump onto the wall, where he too failed his strenght saving throw, now being restrained as the spider. The player had hoped to outsmart me by reverting to his original size but this worked counterproductive as now the floorboards and the entire wallsection came alive to restrain his massive form.
Eliza just looked on in horror as she was held down by this sudden surprise and was afraid to do anything since the mimics did not hurt them. The wolves were completely stuck and neutralized since the muzzle and floorboards were also tying them down. Temuhjin observing this dire state decided to start casting the spell Tidal Wave. This ofcourse started initiative since he clearly showed a hostile move. Luckily for me, i managed to roll higher in initative with the guardsmen present so i pleaded for him to listen and not attack the guardsmen as they revealed their true form. They were doppelgangers.
Hesitantly, Temuhjin stood down and requested, in turn to be let down if they were going to talk to them. This immidiatly ended initiative as the doppelganger explained that this was a peacefull community of doppelgangers and mimics, trying to live their live like normal humans. Ofcourse they had to be carefull since practically no one would be able to allow them to do so due to their ill repute. Temuhjin surprised them with their response and showed understanding since humans had a tendancy to be highly racist and unaccepting, the prior city they were in being a prime example. Temuhjin upon the idea to offer them a place in their city, where they would be accepted, just like the orc guard squads send by the orc warchief. he offered them this so they could live openly and peacefull as they were accepted. Ofcourse terms were set by Eliza. Their abilities would limited as they were prohibited from using their ability to read surface thought as well as their ability to change their shape. With a succesfull persuasion check they managed to appeal to their desire for a peacefull living. The doppelgangers appreciated the offer but had to gather the community in order to decide upon their future.
in order to do so, a stage had to be set, luckily mimics are perfect for quickly setting up a stage. as the keep's base floor reassembled to mimic a stage as the walls peeled outwards, the players got to behold the sight of seeing the entire village dissasemble and gather in spherical shape in from them. this created a wall of eyes looking at them as a few doze doppelgangers now stood before them and an uncoscious half orc lay behind them. Temuhjin repeated his proposal before them but now added a request as well. he asked for volunteers to create a small group of spies to infiltrate the city of humans in order to track down hostile movements against their village. He also made it very clear that their decision to join or to not join had no impact upon their invitation to join New Tella.
The doppelgangers decided to join as 4 of their number offered to partake in the espionage for the betterment of the New Tella and the safety of the citizens. As long as they did not need to harm anyone.
The walls too now broke down as they dissasembled and formed into carts and building materials in order to travel incognito for the time being. luckily, the doppelganger procured a few horses along the way. Thus the half orc was left behind, on top of a small hill, where once a village stood, a grassplain remained.