Here’s that summary, Mark Tygart. 🙂
Four players, including a rare at-table appearance by Wife Katrina and Daughter Adrienne, made up characters. The party consisted of Adeer (Christopher’s elf wizard), Sue (Alex’s dwarf barbarian), Brandon (Katrina’s elf ranger), and Billy Ray (Adrienne’s halfling druid). Q & A at the beginning established that the party had left their civilized stomping ground behind for Carcosa because Billy Ray needed to retrieve the fabled Volume IV from the Lovecraft Library in order to learn more about an unnatural menace threatening Billy Ray’s forested home.
The game began with Carcosa in the distance, its spires rising above the treeline, the sun setting, and a strange alien moon rising in the sky. While Sue hunted, Adeer and Billy Ray rested and Brandon strolled down the hillside into the forest to scout a bit. Brandon found an ancient road leading into the forest in Carcosa’s direction. Brandon followed the road a bit, spotting a lone woman in a gown staring up at the starry sky. As Brandon watched, the woman turned, left the road, and walked quickly into the forest proper.
Curious, Brandon followed, but quickly realized that the woman must follow strange trails, for she seemed to disappear and appear in unnatural ways. Nevertheless, the ranger tracked her all the way to the edge of a deep ravine out of which echoed the bubbling of rushing water. The woman, it seemed, had vanished, her trail ending at the ravine’s edge.
Back at camp, Sue returned with a few rabbits and wondered aloud what was taking Brandon so long. Concerned, the party followed. Billy Ray turned into a coyote and started to track the ranger. A few minutes later, the trio heard the sounds of a fight, including the barking of Sammie, Brandon’s dog companion. Rushing forward, they saw Brandon and Sammie fighting a giant spider at the ravine’s edge.
The spider had jumped down from the trees, taking Brandon by surprise. Brandon had already wounded the monster. Billy Ray turned into a bear and charge the spider, knocking into it air over the ravine. As the spider projected a strand of webbing, Sue rushed forward, spotting a shadowy figure on the far side of the ravine. The dwarf jumped after the spider, axe in one hand. Sue did not catch the spider so much as it caught him as its web struck a tree and pulled taut. Adeer raced to the ravine’s edge casting magic missile, but misfired, taking out the loose earth near his feet. With a yelp, Adeer vanished into the ravine.
The rest of the fight was fast but furious. The spider ended up falling into the rushing river after Brandon cut its web. Billy Ray turned into a great golden eagle and rescued Sue, carrying the dwarf to the far side of the ravine toward the shadowy figure. Brandon stopped Adeer from following after the spider.
The shadowy figure turned out to be a bizarre effigy made of sticks and human bones draped in dirty yellow cloth. Adeer recognized it as a crude representation of the King in Yellow, the mythical founder of Carcosa. No sign of the mysterious woman was found, but, upon hearing her description, Adeer revealed that she had frequently appeared in his dreams, whispering, “Remember me?”
The party camped for the night, and then hit the road in the morning. As they neared Carcosa, the forest gave way to pasture and field. The locals invariably stopped what they were doing to gawk at the three strangers riding a moose, which turned into a halfling once the city gates were in sight. The Carcosans were all dressed very much alike, men, women, and children, wearing some sort of headdress that concealed their hair and ears, and long skirts that dragged the ground. By this time, the road as well as the city walls were covered with carved designs, the most prominent being a simple spiral. Adeer knew this to be the Yellow Sign, the symbol of the King in Yellow.
The gate guards asked what business the party had, and Brandon said they sought the Lovecraft Library. The guards explained that no one could enter the city dressed as the party was, for local custom forbade showing of hair, ears, and legs. While suitable attire was brought for the visitors, the guards explained that the party had arrived at a fortuitous time because the annual celebration of Carcosa’s founding was just the next day. It would be celebrated with feasting, revels, and a special performance of the “The King in Yellow” in the public amphitheatre.
After being suitably attired, the party ventured into Carcosa. They still drew stares, for not a single dwarf, halfling, or elf could be seen anywhere. The Lovecraft Library had obviously been a fortress at one time, but since repurposed as an impressive repository for tomes, scrolls, and plaques. The party entered the library. They saw a large, impressive fresco depicting the King in Yellow, completely concealed within his yellow robes, sitting on his throne. The stacks stretched in both directions. A upper level balcony ran around the main floor. A number of locals were in the library, and Brandon noticed that guards were surreptitiously following the party.
In the center of the library was a large desk, winding in shape like the Yellow Sign. Several yellow-robed librarians attended the desk. Billy Ray asked about Volume IV, and was informed that its section was off-limits to the public. Brandon attempted to negotiate, discovering that only the Baron could authorize their entrance to the closed stacks. Sue grew visibly irritated and jumped up onto the desk. At this time, the guards started to encircle the area, and an older librarian approached the group, urging calm.
Adeer attempted to use charm person on the older librarian, but, even though the casting was a success, the spell had no effect, a fact from which Adeer quickly concluded that the librarian was not what he appeared but instead had to be some sort of monster. At this time, Sue lost his mind, ripped off the local garb he had been given, and screamed for assistance.
An epic library brawl erupted. The five librarians revealed themselves to be monstrous horrors made of tentacles and gnawing mouths. The guards pulled back to seal the library. Billy Ray turned into a sparrow and, while flying about, saw the spiral stairs going down through the floor in the center of the spiral desk. Billy Ray abandoned the others. The battle in the stacks was fierce, and, although the party performed well, they were horribly outnumbered. Adeer and Brandon especially suffered serious injuries.
Below the fight, in the closed stacks, Billy Ray, after getting turned around a bit, found his way to the central chamber. A yellow-robed librarian stood behind another desk, making notations in a ledger. Billy Ray retreated a bit and gathered together several dozen rats, moths, and beetles, rallying them into a verminous army of sorts. While these allies made themselves into a serious nuisance, Billy Ray snuck into the chamber and absconded with Volume IV. He then moved quickly back to the spiral stairs, his critters following close behind.
By the time Billy Ray climbed the stairs, the fight in the stacks had nearly drawn to its inevitable conclusion. Brandon and Adeer were nearly dead. Sue was seriously injured. The yellow-robed librarians had been slain, but a number of city guards remained, the exits were blocked, and a strange chanting had summoned the fearsome book golem. Billy Ray transformed into a rare forest mammoth and charged down the main aisle, knocking guards aside left and right, and smashing open the barred main doors. Brandon and Adeer followed close behind while Sue held off the book golem.
Back in halfling form, Billy Ray sent his company of vermin into the streets, creating chaos. Brandon loosed an alchemist’s fire arrow at the book golem, giving Sue a chance to escape. Billy Ray shifted back into moose form, and the other three adventurers mounted their druid ally, who then raced full tilt through the city streets, making it out of the main gates before the bewildered guards could close it.
With Volume IV in hand, the party had succeeded in their main objective, and we’d pretty much run out of time for the game.