This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Meet 76, Adv 8, 9/19/09

I like demons, and unfortunately never get much opportunity to use them in my games. At some point it becomes a one-upmanship and the flavor of the campaign gets a bit skewed. However, from way back 2 years ago, I had sketched out the rough plot of the campaign and KNEW that demons would make some appearance in the game. (ie: the author of the 2 grimoires: Necordius and Thakulis).

I was going to make sure that the limits would be put in place and not get a horde of Demons coming up and in to take over the world in a growing swell of the damned. This campaign was Slaver/Mage oriented - and the appearance of the damned would only add to the story, not become it.

So the group met one, and got a slimy feel from him (er..the slimy man!) and then there was some Manes (I think of them as demonic kobolds) who never fight in groups of 6 or 10, but in hordes of 60, 100, or 150, and finally this meeting their first encounter with a Vrock. The weakest of the "Type" demons, I played him true to his skills and abilities and he was VERY cunning - but not "intelligent" - and he gave the party a large and painful time. There was no real TPK threat - but he was dynamic (teleport every round, attempt to gate in another Vrock every round, globe of darkness every round, see invisible (didn't come up), telekinesis 200# every round, AND 5 attacks every round!) and really tested the party's ability.

I am sorry to see the group Byforteville soon but know they want to move on to other places. And other places are waiting for them in the dark shadows under the stone of the earth.

Write up follows:

Both Arnog and Damian came to the front, weapons at the ready, and they opened the door. It was a sizeable chamber, cold and chilly, done up in themes of yellow and grey. A heavy chair of some sort of lumpy stone was near the shadow clad bulk of a stone slab with a partially eviscerated goblin bound on top of it. A moment passed and then a 9’ tall vulture like humanoid stood from behind the slab and squawked at the party. At that the shadows before us took on form and we were assaulted.

The fighters did battle with the shades while Damian tried to charge the vulture demon. Gwyn shot at it but his blow was ineffective. The paladin’s blade fell with the fury of Baldur and smote the foe, tearing through his flesh and drawing black ichorous blood. There was some jockeying in the hall as the group tried to race past the shadows, most of their weapons failing to strike the beasts. Then from the OPPOSITE side of the room, bow fire sung out and the vulture was struck from there!

Zoltan used Gwyn’s crossbow while the dwarf had his own bowstring snap. Arnog tore through the closest shadow, his blade tearing it to shreds. Meanwhile Damian was yanked into the room from the demon’s telekinetic pull and a globe of darkness fell on him. Then the demon portaled into the heart of the group and tore into Coruth’tae, his ensorcelled protection wavering but still holding.

The mystery bowman was trying to jump in to help but his cover (a pair of tower shields) were yanked telekinetically in front of him and sent careening through the air to slam into Damian. Zoltan switched to his silver sickle, Detheron pulled out his enchanted pillow and began beating shadows – actually killing one (the pillow IS ostensibly +5)! The air around the demon wavered as it tried to gate in another one, to no avail.

Damian emerged from the ball of darkness and coated his blade with the vial of Sif’s Tears ready to do battle but a telekinetic pull had his blade torn from his grasp and thrown across the room! The mystery bowman, running towards the group, was yelling for help as a shadow tried to tear into him. Arnog intervened; getting hit himself but badly wounding the shade. The bowman picked up the blade.

The party struck at the demon as well as they could but their blows were turned aside by its thick hide and otherworldly flesh. It pointed at the chair and the heavy furniture slammed into Olthar, pinning the young thief under its considerable weight. The demon portalled away this time into the room and hit the group near Detheron again. Gwyn switched to Elfsplitter while Detheron was able to hit another shadow, shredding it apart.

A globe of darkness fell on Damian again as the demon portalled back into the hall, slamming the chair BACK on Olthar who just managed to shove it off of himself. And the air behind it shimmered and another Vrock appeared in a blast of brimstone and fire. Fuck.

The group redoubled their efforts and took to setting themselves up tactically against walls and in pairs, eventually taking down the 1st one and wounding the 2nd. Arnog tried to grapple with the Vrock but it portalled WITH the fighter and tore into his armor and flesh – but the group was ready and Zoltan, Coruth’tae, Damian, and Gwyn fell on the vulture demon before it could portal one last time and slayed it at long last.

We tended to our wounded and came into the chamber, shutting the trapped door behind us. The mystery bowman was named Soren and was a slave that Olthar had freed about 2 months ago and had been running with him around the 3 baronies until a portal had pulled everyone (it seemed) down here. He fell into a city with Duergar who took him in and helped outfit him. They were working against Kashtir and could use an elf of his bow skills. He kept his ears and eyes open for any sign of Olthar, eventually hearing of it. Purchasing a scrap of a map from one of King Yikzarch’s supporters, he came to this place hoping to find his friend and savior but was turned aside by the deep pool under Bruhndi and was going out to find another way through when the shadows attacked him and drained him to unconsciousness. He awoke to the sounds of battle and joined the party forthwith.

Olthar spoke of Soren and the two of them corroborated each other’s stories. We looked over the chamber and looked at his map, also relying on Zoltan’s remembrance of the Sifian angel’s warning of what was ahead. Supposedly an altar to Orcus was in the next room and we were going to go onward when Zoltan wanted to look around. He discovered a hollow under the slab and the party shoved the stone aside. Inside was a gold plated goblin skull fashioned like a drinking horn, a golden 12” statue of a coy succubus, a book clad in elven skin and a small sack that when opened had almost 300 platinum bars. Platinum. Holy smokes! Some of the party members took a vial or two of the Vrock’s blood (just in case) and we readied ourselves to move on.

The book was evil (according to Damian) and he took hold of it (even though Coruth’tae REALLY wanted to look at it) and Zoltan snagged the bag of money and the mug. We moved on and saw the next room as described by Soren. There was a VERY evil looking altar complete with bowl of rotting maggot covered pits of crud, candles, braziers, oil, goblet of blood, and above it a larger than life-sized depiction of Orcus with huge curling ram’s horns that stuck over the altar. It looked down and had an opened mouth.

Yes, it was evil. No one was allowed to screw with it or touch it (even though Damian pulled out the sledge and was ready to start whacking). There was something about burning tongue, horns and Sifian sword. Hmm. We did note that according to Damian the altar was evil, but the statue head above it was not part of the altar. The mouth was looked at – was hollow and emptyish. The party was expecting it to fire off flames and no one wanted to step in front on it.

Eventually Zoltan decided to climb the wall NEXT to it and climb ONTOP of the statue head, both of his feet on the bald head, his hands braced on the ceiling. He stepped on one horn, it went down 9 inches and then back up. Nothing. He did the other, same thing. Suggestions came out rapid fire. He tried both and nothing happened- but he DID feel something click in the wall against his back! Ah ha! There was something back there...but how?

Then the group went back (at Soren’s suggestion) to pouring something in the statue’s mouth. A flask of oil was used (Gwyn wanted to take the oil from the altar but decided against it) and then set alight. After it was burning Zoltan then hit both horns – click – and the entire 10’ section of wall slid out to the right, pivoting to reveal a 10’ square room. There was a pair of sickly green glowing circles and pentagrams, a bronze broadsword in the center. Both Detheron and Coruth’tae told us they were warding circles – and from the runes were protection from LAW and GOOD.

The group thought about this until Gwyn took out his grapple, sprinkled it with demon’s blood, and dropped it through the circle and over the sword. Then Damian took the rope and pulled the sword free. He took it and Gwyn took his grapple back. As the oil guttered out in the statue’s mouth the wall slid closed and Zoltan jumped down.

We were faced with two ways out, Soren came from the left. The warning said the right was wrong and had walking dead and shouldn’t go there. Ok – we didn’t! Going left we walked some 30’ or so to the door out on the left hand side (Soren verified it), but there was a simple chain and lock on it (which was NOT there before!). Using the key Soren had Zoltan opened the door and then he FELT/HEARD something scrabbling at the wall in the back of the hall. Damn it – the Manes were coming.

We ran into the room, 20’ square, while Damian slammed the door closed and spiked it. There was building equipment down here and in the back, 11’ overhead was a hole that led out to the surface, a metal mining ladder attached to the wall inside. The group reacted fast, half of them using sawhorses and lumber to make a platform and then one on top of it. Zoltan scrambled up and using Gwyn’s grapple and rope, hooked it on the bottom rung and then climbed up and out of the room up the chimney.

Something slammed into the door from outside and we heard clamoring for our souls. Soren was next and the ranger made it his way out. Detheron cast reduce animal on his tiger as Olthar went next. The door was forced open slightly and Coruth’tae shot a lightning bolt down the hall, vaporizing the hording manes. Damian and Gwyn spiked the door again as Detheron was hoisted up and with tiger on shoulders was next out of the room. Arnog helped Gwyn up there and the dwarf was next as the Manes were once more in the hall. There was rock dust falling from the walls and the grey elf went next, scrabbling for safety.

Damian told Arnog to go and the fighter clapped hands on the paladin’s shoulder and climbed up next. The door was shoved in and demonic hands and arms were reaching through. Damian hacked at the limbs with Bruhndi’s sword, the strange blade compelling him briefly to stay and kill more demons. It was his friends calling him and his own will that had him resheathing the sword and making his way out, pulling up the rope and grapple and kicking the stacked sawhorses over.

We made it to the streets and shut the storm drain, sliding both of the pin locks into the grate and thanking our stars for getting out alive. At this time we brought Zoltan up to speed on where we were and what was going on, the highlights of Byfortvile and how we came to be here. We reidentified our goals which were to get with Grix/Yikzarch and arrange to get the way to Dragonhole, make it to the surface, Take out Vanir, take out the rejelling Lycos Suns, Get to Principia and find the unicorn’s head (Detheron’s geas), take down Djohrgahd.

We went to the Raging Horn and rested, awakening later to feeling better and stronger and our equipment cleaned thanks to Coruth’tae’s skills. From here we went to see the Splitskulls and Jarul first since we were very close to them. Our visit went well and Jarul told us that our names have come to Kashtir – and the Duergar Thane might be reacting to them soon. The time to leave the goblin city was coming up. A ship was going to be at the closer western dock that would be “available for the next 12 hours” – this was our chance to get away. We had to take the ship across the Underground Sea westward to the northern tip of the Outsider’s isle where a “slum” was situated – a home to Duergar NOT loyal to Kashtir. From there they would smuggle us across the water again to a gnomish settlement where we would meet someone who would guide us out.

We need the name from Grix/Yikzarch to make this happen and it was next on our list. Before going Jarul was offering to sell us some of the contraband stuff he had – at 2 to 5 times normal price. Zoltan took advantage of it, unfortunately finding some of his ORIGINAL gear up for sale! He had to buy his own stuff again which was a bit disconcerting, but the entire group grabbed food, oil, equipment and we paid for it (most from the diamonds that Zoltan had found on the dead drow he had “stripped” of belongings). And that’s where we ended the meeting, on our way to see Grix and hopefully get out of Byfortvile.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Meet 75, Adv 8, 9/12/09

I had the benefit and good will to bring back one of the party's long dormant and thought for dead members, Zoltan. Amityville Mike took some time off for personal and professional reasons and I know that the party and table was much lessened and reduced not having him there. However, through a number of well thought out steps and some doggedness on the group, they were willing and able to take a side quest and bring back Zoltan Janaki-Jast, Prala of the Frost (and a host of other nomenclatures).

This also meant I had to present my take on Demonics for the first time. I am of the decidedly old school mentality where the DEMONS and DEVILS of the 1st edition monster manual are staples to be used (not ba'atezu and whatever else they called the abyssal bad guys). Demons are STUPIDLY smart and even the most base and ravenous of them are cunning, heading off issues and problems with a decidedly sideways slant at problem solving.

It's a short side quest, 13 encounter little ditty to give the group a good looksie at some old-school dungeon stuff (a trapped door that will not stop firing off, deadly encounter corridors, treasure hidden that needs the group to THINK, not just make search checks, etc...) for 1 or 2 meetings before they go traipsing into the real old school crawl I have for them.

Write up follows:

We awoke the next day to both Arnog and Damian with much cleaner and polished equipment thanks to Coruth’tae’s new cantrips (thanks!!) and spent some time readying our spells and equipment. Detheron and Damian went to common room to get some morning stew from Ann where they asked the ogre if anyone had come looking for them. He replied, “The undertaker”. “Solon?” Yeah. “Where is he?” You were sleeping. “Is he waiting somewhere (looking around for him)?” NO. You were SLEEPING. “So did he leave?” Yeah, I threw him out. “Um…Why?” BECAUSE YOU WERE SLEEPING.


The group gathered up their equipment and belongings and went off to the Graveyard, fighting whether or not to go right across the center of town or to take the long way around. It was eventually decided to go the short way and we went, looking about everywhere for drow, goblins, anyone wanting to do us harm. Damian was scanning for evil the majority of the way. Coruth’tae noticed that we were being shadowed by a half dozen goblin toughs and Damian noticed the male drow from yesterday was hanging out of a 2nd story window.

Be as it was, we were left alone and made it to the cemetery. A quick look by the paladin showed that there was an aura of evil but it was coming up through the graveyard from under the ground. Strange. Two of the gravediggers let us in and we followed Undertaker Solon in and through the cairns and mausoleums, eventually going to one larger than others. Once through the doors we were affected by a low level but intense confusion spell, making mapping the area practically impossible. We followed the big goblin further and further in and under the ground, 2, 3, maybe 4 levels down until he stopped up in front of a double doors and wished us well with the slimy man.

We knock and were bid to enter. The room was maybe 20’ square with the back corner partitioned off with gauzy curtains of some sort of gray material, obscuring all but the shape of a 7-9’ tall heavy set fat humanoid figure seated there. There were some candles lit and the smell of some pungent incense was strong. There was a narrow set of stairs past his position further down. He spoke to us at length and the party had the feeling that he was more in touch and knowledgeable than he let on.

Calling himself Nex he filled in some of the missing bits of knowledge the party needed. The glass spheres were called soulspheres and were used because certain strong sorceries needed the deaths of numerous living sentient creatures to fuel the magic. Since it was sometimes impossible to arrange that, the deaths could be “captured” and saved – released at the sorceries completion to fuel whatever rite was needed. Children, virgins, elves, persons of inner strength – whatever the rituals needed could be captured.

We showed him Zoltan’s ball and he smiled, admitting he had helped make it. He then kicked Zoltan’s body out from behind the curtain and told us that it was there for us to use. Downstairs there was a “pool of rebirth” that he had set up because there were often times a soul needed to be returned to the body. We could use it. It would cost us a favor – any one of us. Detheron opted to take it against the ok from Damian and Coruth’tae (Gwyn suggested that Detheron take it).

As for the books, Necordius Fenrir Codex and the Thakulus Grimoire, Nex told us where they came from. Some 7-8 centuries during the GreenMountain Wars (dwarven and elven conflict) the dwarves of Wodenvarelse consulted with a summoned powerful creatures (ie: demonic) on how to defeat the elves. This lord, Necordius, wrote down a specific set of rituals that would help the dwarves should they dared to use it. The dwarven mystics then convinced Necordius to summon HIS lord, Thakulis and commanded THAT lord to expand on Necordius’ rituals, penning the 2nd book.

Prior to their banishment back to where they came, Necordius secreted gated in 3 of his subordinates with explicit instructions to watch over the dwarves and the books. One was named Deacon and he eventually followed those dwarves that went to the surface where he blended in and aided in the war against the elves – disappearing from sight some 5 centuries ago.

Another was named Krelia and she stayed local taking on the appearance of a dwarven matron and eventually also going to the surface where she was slain during the Ogrewars some 60 years ago, interred and buried by those dwarves that had followed her.

The last was Nex who stayed with the books, bored for 6 centuries until some human named Dargan came in 50 years ago and took both books. Since his “mission” was now defunct, Nex eventually wandered down here to Byfortevile where he helped the goblins now and again against the Duergar who follow the Outsiders – a degenerate race of half-breeds with the little brains and no concept of their strength.

We thanked (??) Nex for his words, learned how to use the pool below (silver dipper, over the soulsphere resting on the body’s chest and step back) and hoisting Zoltan’s rotting corpse went down the narrow corridor and stairs, counting some 33 steps. The sizeable chamber was lit by a faintly reddish glow from a pool in the back with a painted white marking where a body should lay. There were 2 sets of 4 cell doors on both sides on the way to the back and some sort of noise was coming from one of them. Coruth’tae and Detheron felt something about the pool was dulling their connection to their magic and god respectively. Hmm.

Damian brought Zoltan to the marking and looked for the silver dipper (on a shelf with a worn brass key and a green vial) when he was told that either Coruth’tae or Detheron would take care of it. As we did come closer to the pool we heard a voice from one of the cells on the left asking to be released.

Who are you? Name’s Olthar, been here for so many weeks. How’d you get here? Used to work for Vanir and the Lycos Suns and… YOU WHAT!?!? At that point we had to listen to Olthar spin his tale a bit faster. Was hired a while ago, used to do jobs for them, nothing special – until he was assigned by Vanir to be a part of slavery. This was too much for the wood elf who not only fought about it with the caravan master but also eventually slew him and freed the slaves.

Then Olthar and the escaped slaves spent weeks dodging Vanir and his bounty hunters who were searching them out – culminating at a massive fight in a box canyon where Vanir himself showed and opened a portal where Olthar and the remaining 4 or 5 slaves fell in and were under the lash of cruel demonics for some long time. Now he’s been moved to this small cell and there are voices on the other side of the walls saying that he was weak and they were going to eat his soul.

They party was swayed enough to think about letting him out but ZOLTAN came first. They made Olthar hand his weapons though the cell door and then Coruth’tae performed the simple ritual with the water, the soulsphere, and zoltan’s corpse. The water kept siphoning out of the pool, running over and through the body – seeping into it and soaking it and healing it and STILL the pool emptied. And then there was a “SNAP” that ran through the room and the soulsphere cracked and Zoltan soaking wet gasped for breath and stood up head shaking.

The pool had drained almost 6’ down. A set of silvered bars slammed into being in front of the passage out, preventing exit that way. Something was different, but the party didn’t know what. Only Coruth’tae and Zoltan “FELT” something was wrong and amiss. Damian let Olthar out and the wood elf was returned his belongings. The group looked briefly in the other cells, seeing bodies in 6 of the others (one of which Damian said was actually undead – others were just dead bodies).

Detheron tried to shape stone around the silvered steel bars and the bars just filled in the space made. Coruth’tae snagged the green vial off the shelf, Zoltan took the key from the lock, and the rest of the group made their way at the thief and the grey elf’s STRONG recommendation to get to the pool and make their way out because something was coming and coming soon. A review of the pool showed that it was about 4’ of water at the bottom and that it ran under the north wall through a 6’ diameter round tunnel. Arnog and Damian went in first and helped down Olthar and Gwyn. The druid cast a water breathing on his tiger and the group made their way into the red glowing tunnel.

Meanwhile Zoltan and Coruth’tae looked though the bars of the cells and with a detect magic going they identified two to chance: a rotting drow female in elven chain and a duegar male with a magic amulet on his neck. Zoltan used the key on the female drow’s cell, opening it but the key snapped and Coruth’tae used a knock spell on the dwarf’s cell. A run spell followed on the two friends and they moved as fast as they could to the pool as the feeling of “IT’S COMING” was screaming in their heads.

As for the rest of the party, about 20’ down the narrow wet tunnel they came to a set of portcullis of silvered steel down, the operating wheel on the other side of the bars. They couldn’t reach it and even with weapons in their hands, couldn’t turn it. So with Gwyn bracing his 7’ iron bar under the lowered bars, Arnog and Damian both ducked under the water and garbbed the bottom and LIFTED – the 3 of them hoisting the heavy bars UP to about waist height. Then Detheron went through and spun the wheel to pick up the slack and locked it in place.

As Zoltan and Coruth’tae jumped in the pool they felt something unseen crawl against their skin, screaming to the primal fears deep inside. And then the walls crumbled away as clawed hands tore the stone and a cacophonous cry of demonic glee roared and shouted and sang as they spilled into the pool chamber and ran/staggered/leapt towards the party. Each was perhaps 4’ tall, 70 lbs, baleful yellow eyes and oversized need toothed fish-like mouths – crying that we were weak and they were going to swallow our souls. (Bars of Lordi’s “Hard Rock Hallelujah” rang in the background (normally I use Apotheosis for demonic attacks but screw it – let’s rock those demons out a bit). Obligatory Music Video link follows (from Eurovision ’07 Opening act): and the actual video for the song if interested: )

Propping his elbows on the pool’s edge Coruth’tae stuck his staff of power over the side and let fly a precious Fireball which filled most of the room but did consume the entirety of the raging demonics, turning them into pillars of smoke, giving us a bit of a reprieve. But new ones were coming through the walls and they were massing up. Most of the group was going through the raised bars and Damian was calling for the last two, not going to leave until they were safe.

The grey elf climbed on Zoltan’s shoulders and tried to fire his own fireball but he was wet from the pool’s water and his magic was retarded and failed to fire. The two friends RAN for the bars and got through ahead of the demonic horde and Damian let the lock go, whacking it with his sledgehammer a few times. The small creatures were hurt from the silver bars but wanted the party, so after a minute they turned to the WALLS on either side of the bars and began gnawing at them! We moved and got out of the water.

It led to another pool and we emerged into a chapel to some demonic entity, sulfurous incense smoking. But it was OVER the pool, stapled to the wall that the party stopped and stared:

A woman with long braided blond hair, alabaster skin, clad in torn and rented remains of chainmail armor that wraps around her buxom form, a pair of 15’ wide white feathered wings spread open is nailed to the wall with a number of spikes through her body as well as an oversized serrated black blade piercing over her left breast and stapling her back to the stone. She is covered in her own blood, the sanguine fluids splattered everywhere, staining most everything you can see. Her eyes gaze downward at the thin rivulets of blood leaking down her torso, legs, and then dripping one drop at a time into the pool; feeding it just as surely as the small fountain of water emerging from a natural crack in the wall below her. Her mouth moves faintly but her words are difficult to hear.

We stared and wanted to take her down. Detheron told Damian to get down as the paladin was trying to climb up to help her and the paladin ignored the druid, Coruth’tae telling Detheron to back off. The paladin poured his healing touch into the angel and she regained a bit of consciousness. Identified herself as Bruhndi, a Sifian angel, a valkyrie from Asgard. She had been here for 40 years after thinking she was able enough to take down Nex (her sin was pride) and was bested by him. She cannot be freed from her torment until Sif herself knows where she is and what happened and a valkyrie can be dispatched to get her. No one has been here in the 40 years except for Nex except for yesterday when a wood elven ranger named Soren was here looking to free someone named Olthar.

Zoltan asked her why the gods’ sent him back and she said it wasn’t the gods, it was her own blood. The god’s didn’t know of him since his soul had been stolen before it could go to Hel. Now that he was back in his body he once again appears to the gods and he will go to his final reward should/when he dies. She tells us that the green vial contains Sif’s Tears, a potent water adorned to a weapon that would allow it to do massive damage to demonic and necromantic creatures.

She was fading in and out of consciousness and we asked her what we could expect. She tranced for a moment and recited:

‘Tween ember mastiffs and quarrelling spines
a Departure portal and fetid felines.
The carrion eater is apt to fade
screeching in and with the icy shade.
A sacrament of sacrilege to the Reaping Lord.
Burning tongues. Devil’s horns. Sifian Sword.
Right is wrong are dead are walking.
Fetish charm eternal stalking.
Door to the light, ascend among
the ever hating Devouring throng.

After that she passed out. Detheron berated Damian for not listening to him and Damian pretty much told him he’d follow him and his advice except for matters like this. Coruth’tae tried to call for a vote of no contest against Detheron but as Zoltan said as he was stripping the drow female for her armor and clothes and weapons that this was NOT a good idea to do now. The bard took point with Olthar and the two of them went down the corridor until it was crossed by another, the smell of coal strong, a single arrow lying on the floor.

Using his stolen mirror he peered around one corner while Olthar looked around the other. There was something down the lft moving and down the right was some dogs and then a blast of flame in the wood elf’s face. Hell hounds. Damn it.

Zoltan ran across the corridor, spinning and tumbling and diving wildly, trying to make himself a difficult target – arrows were flying all around him and his long remembered reflexes had him dodging flame blasts with ease. He came to a stop on the other side and looked back at the group with a smirk. Damian was impressed and nodding to the party he braced himself and RAN across the corridor. Arrows peppered him and one found its way into his armor and he ran into every flame blast!. Hurt and smoking and stunned he was safely across (BADLY HURT) but gave a victory sign to the party and we laughed with and at him.

The group didn’t want to chance it and we came up with some plans on taking care of the enemy. Damian took a couple of potions and got his bearings back and then we took the fight to the enemy. Zoltan and Arnog charged the hellhounds and stabbed and slashed them while Damian took his faith in Baldur against the skeletons and turned the closest 5 back. Gwyn charged with his scimitar flashing and struck the skellies. Olthar hung back and Detheron quenched the hounds –their inner fires killed actually slayed the beasts!

The rest of the fight went fast and the last of the enemy were taken out. We checked out the area, little in either room. From here we went on, the corridor turning to the right and going 30’ to a door clad in iron and painted blue, fanciful designs of roaring lion’s heads in a checkerboard pattern across the surface. A large keyhole was underneath the handle.

Zoltan, referring back to Bruhndi’s vision went to the door and looked carefully at the mouths, noticing that they were each sporting a tube. Damn, most likely poison gas. The trigger was a wire inside the keyhole. It would need to be crimped to stop the trap, a failure meant it would fire off. Detheron stayed close to Zoltan and the rest of the party hung back, the druid offering a “guidance” of Frey to the gypsy’s skills and Zoltan did his thing.

And set the trap off. The poison gas billowed down the hall and both Zoltan and Detheron were coughing and choking in the aftermath, both weaker and in some pain. Gwyn shouted that, “Since it’s already gone off, at least it’s safe now.” And then Zoltan tried to remove the trap again – and again set it off, succumbing to the chlorine gas. In pain and unable to see clearly he made his way out of the gas zone and rested while Olthar was willing to try, the druid going with him. Detheron cast a spell on the wood elf making him temporarily immune to poison.


Zoltan, sucking down healing potions and getting healed by Coruth’tae’s wand looked at the druid like he was crazy. So you are saying you could have made me IMMUNE!?!?! Why didn’t YOU!?!?!?!? Detheron said that he had remembered Zoltan as almost legendary and didn’t think he was going to need that. Hahaha.

Gwyn was convinced it wouldn’t fire a third time, but was proven wrong as Olthar screwed up and triggered the trap. It was the 4th attempt that ended the constant poisoning and the trap was removed at long last. Then the lock picking tools were given to Zoltan who was a bit better and he was asked to pick the lock, “since you are much better than us”. The gypsy went there and took his time, opening the lock with a definitive click. And we ended it here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Meet 74, Adv 8, 8/29/09

Town Adventuring - sometimes drudgery, sometimes exciting. This one was exciting. The party had some plans, followed them through, reacted well, and got the job done. Then they were into uncharted territory as they have now a strong dislike/suspicion of the goblin who has been sending them on missions. There are roughly 2 more encounters planned that rely on the facilitator and then the party moves off the goblin city and onto the rest of the adventure - but now they have a problem with the "quest giver" (someone joked that he had an exclamation point over his head ala EQ2 or WOW).

It's things like this that I like as a DM - when the party takes my loosely guided rail cart and nudges it onto a side track and spur that I didn't expect. If I wanted a static linear game I would go back to MMORPGs - I WANT the party to mix it up, take different roads, and not follow every crumb I hand out.

On another note - I have made the long dormant and wanted to decision to go back to 2nd edition thieving skills. It's been bugging me for over a year - having them under the umbrella of skills/crafts as 3.5 and I never liked it. Pick Pockets, Open Locks, Find/Remove traps, Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, Climb Walls, Read Languages - it's all there. It comes at a good time since Zoltan is coming back and one of the new Mike's I'm grabbing to play wants to try something thiefy as well.

Write up follows:

It was decided not to climb the Ironbeard Stalagmite and we talked long and hard about what we wanted and what was our course of action. End all be all, we wanted the goblins to play us straight and tell us which way to go, guiding us to the right caves and eventual road out of here. And that meant being Grix’s messenger-boys and doing what he wanted – not to go site seeing and poke around. So we opted to go back to the Rocking Table and get some watery beer and shut-eye.

We awoke the next day and after some time were summoned to the goblin Burghermeister Grix once again. The repulsive goblin had a singular mission for us – transport the offering crate from his office across Byfortevile to the bridge and give it to an Ogre guard there named Malador. The crate was filled with silver and gold, tribute from King Yikzarch to be given to Thane Kashtir.

Grix was rather blasé about the fact that once the party left his office, they were fair game and should take pains now to avoid notice and theft of the box and its contents. Our job was to deliver it and get it done, returning to him and informing the goblin functionary of anything Malador had to say.

We weighed the box, had to mass 80 lbs. One of us could carry it but it would weigh and slow them down. The chest was sizeable, but could be carried by 2 as there was a handle on each end. More plans were tossed about and we settled on Coruth’tae making the chest look like a bedraggled gnoll. Arnog and Damien picked up the chest and the grey elf altered the illusion so that it appeared they were grabbing the gnoll under the armpits. It was then given some touches such as a muzzled snout, bound hands behind its back, and its feet shackled together as well.

We were going to have Gwyn walk first with his crossbow at the ready, Arnog and Damien following behind with the illusioned chest between them, then Coruth’tae walking slow to maintain concentration on the image and adjust it if need be, then Detheron and his new tiger following afterwards, Heimdall’s Bulwark out and ready.

We nodded to Grix and informed him we’d be back soon and Gwyn opened the office door.

The party was noticed immediately by the wandering goblins but once it was observed that we had a gnoll with us, the greenskins went back to whatever they were doing. We made it outside the Manorhouse and stopped in the street just off to the side, debating on what we were to do next.

The group had to go to the bridge and we could take Goblin Row to the Statue of Odin and then veer south, staying on the crowded main path. There was much discussion about this as it was potentially very dangerous and could attract too much attention. We went over many different plans until we were zeroing in on taking the longer way around vie the Aquifier and Ironbeard Stalagmite, a much further walk but less issues for us to concern ourselves about.

However our presence in the streets of Goblin Row were not ignored and in time a group of goblinoid mercenaries came up and started to berate the party. The observing goblins were watching and getting a bit egged on by the mercenaries continuous bashing against the group, wanting them to drop the gnoll and they’ll bring it to Kashtir for questioning (the excuse we gave). It was getting to a head and we were worrying that we would have to resort to weapon play (which was a big no no against goblins according to Grix) when Coruth’tae changed his illusion slightly. Over the head of the gnoll captive, he made the disembodied head of King Yikzarch’s head of security/main throat slitter, “Gangrene” appear and give the goblins bothering us a stern warning to get the fuck out of here or face his anger.

It was not the most subtle illusion, nor was it entirely “accurate”, but it did diffuse the situation and the goblin mercenaries wandered away with some trash talking and face saving comments. Not wanting to attract anymore attention we opted to go to the right and take the long way around as it had been discussed.

At the end of Goblin Row was the hissing, steaming, clanking goliath of the gnomish Aquifier, a number of goblins and the like outside awaiting the chance to trade/barter/purchase any of the salt there. We made it past the queue without making a row although the ogre, Ann, from the Raging Horn, recognized us and wanted to know if we were coming back as we said we were going to. Detheron spoke with the simple Ogre for a bit and we made it on our way without further incident.

We circled Ironbeard Stalagmite and stayed close to the spire of rock, not daring to walk past the alleyways behind Goblin Row. From here it was a toss up, go through the main thoroughfare and a short trip down the main road to the bridge, or go by the Vermin Farm and the Boatbuilders and come up to the bridge from the west.

The party didn’t want to wander that close to the wharf and not knowing the area well enough, opted to cut through the intersection and head south down the main road past Punishment Wall to the Bridge. Most of the roadway was fairly empty, a smattering of goblins wandering about, doing whatever it is they did. It was when we entered the actual intersection that a single figure stepped out from the roadway ahead.

A male drow, perhaps 6’ tall, clad in tight fitting elven chain of some heavily carbonized metal, a pair of curved sickle-like daggers in a pair of hip sheaths, and very calm with both of his hands in his pockets stepped from the corner ahead of us and just stood there – blocking our way. We slowed and came to a stop, Gwyn at the closest maybe a dozen strides shy. We asked him to move, he said nothing at first and then told us to drop the “gnoll” and back away. He’ll take care of it. The party tried to convince him otherwise but he was not going for it.

Coruth’tae told the two fighters to “put down the gnoll” and whispered that we should only pretend to put it down, to actually stand up and try to act casual – as he was going to hopefully mask the drop with an illusion of the gnoll on the ground. It was not working out and the drow told us that we were testing his patience. Damien squinted and felt outward, detecting the distinctive “evil” taste of the drow talking to us as well 3 others nearby – two more “drowish level” evils on the roof’s of the flanking building above us, and one more generic on at the opposite corner near the drow male.

Quickly whispering to us his feelings, the party steeled themselves for the attack which came suddenly and swiftly. Two drow females emerged from the roves some 25’ feet up, each one of them pointing a hand crossbow at the party. One of them, the one on the right, clad in red leather and sneering, pointed at Coruth’tae engulfing him in a sudden globe of darkness while she shot at the fighters, her bolt hitting but the poison failing to take affect. Meanwhile the other drop female shot at Detheron, hitting the druid and dropping him to sudden venom induced sleep.

From around the corner came a snaggle toothed goblin sporting a crossbow who ran out from his hiding spot so fast that he tripped and smashed himself in the head on the building’s corner, stunning himself briefly. The last drow, the male pulled his hands out of his pockets and with a single arching overhanded motion let both of his dagger flail across the intervening space and smack into Arnog – the vemoned blades dropping him to sleep.

Coruth’tae backed out of the globe. The drow sorceress on the roof pointed at the chest and levitated it out of Damien’s grasp until it was level with the roof line. The red clad drowess slid a whip off her belt to snag the chest. Gwyn poisoned one of his bolts with wyvern venom. The grey elf let fly a bolt of lightning so that it would streak across the two roofs and hit both drows. The sorceress was lightly affected as she skipped out of the way, maintaining her levitation. The bolt skewed through the chest, the stone box crackling apart and exploding, sending flaming bags of gold and silver to rain out of the sky, pelting the unconscious Arnog. The lightning ended at the other drow female but her innate magic resistance kicked in and the lightning faded away.

Damien charged the lone drow male, throwing his armor class to the wind and trying to smite the warrior, dismayed to find the knives he had thrown shimmer and reappear back in his sheaths. The two exchanged blows, the paladin unable to strike a solid blow. The red clad drowess shot Coruth’tae, the bolt slapping against his shield spell and fading. Gwyn took aim and fired at the sorceress, scoring her deep in the leg. She slipped back, stumbled, and fell off the building, hitting the ground with a thud and succumbing to the venom that was pushed into her arteries.

The other drowess on the roof gave a command to her “brother” to “go, cut our losses” as she ran away overhead and was gone from sight. The drow fighter stayed long enough to knife Damien twice, a new dosage of poison hitting him and sending him into a slumber, before melting into the shadows and running away.

Gwyn went and got the groaning goblin, trussing him up quickly and smacking him with the scimitar until he passed out (making sure NOT to kill him as the battle had attracted some 30-40 goblin onlookers who would report if we broke taboo and knifed a goblin). Coruth’tae snagged a ring of the drow sorceress’ finger but hesitated to put it on as it was barbed along the inside. We waited for our companions to wake up from their slumber and then took stock of what we had. The drow had not stolen the money, but they did destroy the box. Damian and Detheron took off their cloaks and split the money between the two fabrics, tying it into a pair of crude sacks.

From there we opted to crowd close together and not waste any time getting to the bridge. We walked the main road, Gwyn carrying the unconscious goblin, the party looking huddled and worried. About halfway down the main crowded street we noticed the two drow just standing on the side of the road, watching us. We gave them a birth as we passed, unnerving smiles following us.

At the foot of the bridge we had only a short time to wait before one of the ogre guards came over. He demanded the payment even though we told him we wanted Malador. There was some yelling and the ogre went to hit Coruth’tae, the mage’s armor holding. So the ogre used his club, and although rippling around the mage’s enchantment, did not strike him. Thinking something was wrong with his weapon, the ogre smacked himself in the head and knocked himself clean out.

Another Ogre came to investigate, stripped the fallen one of his money pouch, and upon hearing from us on what to do, went off to go get Malador for us. The ogre in question came up and asked for the chest. We didn’t have the chest, but we DO have the money. Malador was adamant that he was SUPPOSED to get a chest and a chest was SUPPOSED to go Kashtir who would eventually give it back to him and he would bring it back here for Yikarch’s people to get it. No chest means that Malador could NOT do his job!

The party was looking around when Detheron used a number of stone shape spells and made a crude stone box out of the floor which the group then dumped the money into it and slapped a simple cover on it. Malador looked it over and took it with him, trudging across the huge bridge to the distant city of the Outsiders.

From there we went back to Grix’s office, unconscious goblin in tow, and were shocked to find the red leather wearing drow female sitting there! Damien tried to draw his sword but was restrained by Detheron. She was there complaining that bunch of surfacers had attacked her in the street unprovoked, i.e. – us. We got into some heated words and eventually Coruth’tae was speaking to her in her own language (after a quick trip in the hall to cast an ESP spell) trying to get her to slip up (mentally) on where her and the male drow were staying. He couldn’t find it, but he did stumble upon the fact that she had come to Grix BEFORE the robbery and was going to cut the goblin Burghermeister in for 10% if he would tip the drow off on the day that “box” was going to be delivered to Malador.

He verified this by reading Grix’s mind. The drow had no malice other than sowing chaos and have been playing the Duergar and the goblins off one another for years. Grix occasionally takes advantage of his position but honestly figured the group could take care of themselves and the defeat would snub the drow who have treated him like he was stupid over the years.

Some final threats were slung, we left the unconscious goblin in Grix’s hands, and then the group left the office and went back into public. We were not going to stay in the Rocking Table anymore, feeling that the drow would pay a visit on us during the night. There was also much talk about NOT working for Grix anymore – but the discussions ran hot about it. We needed Yikzarch’s blessing and help to get out of Byfortevile and the goblin king had assigned us to Grix. But Grix played us sort of false.

We settled on a few tentative measures – we would not go back to Grix now, instead go to Jarul of the Split Skulls and see if we can use our notoriety with the goblin filchers to get them to help us out. If/When we do go back to Grix, we would be tough and let the goblin know that we caught onto his bull, and by doing so no let him think he can get away with it again. And finally, if the opportunity comes for us to get out of here, don’t dicker about it – just get it done.

We went off to the Split Skulls area, the warehouse near the eastern docks and spoke with Jarul who was happy to hear from us. We told him what happened and he commiserated with us, but did say that he was not surprised. Grix is a fairly influential goblin and stealing is something goblins do well – even if it is against each other. Having a different take on it, the fact that we beat the drow and even killed one, speaks better volumes to Grix that having a party of powerful adventurers on his side is a damned good thing.

He will keep his eyes and ears opened for us and will let us know what we can do and how we can get off Byfortevile. He did tell us a few things we did not know. There are OTHER colonies of humanoid cities on the other side of the Underground Sea: Gnomes, Duergar, Drow, even a sort of cosmopolitan one with surfacers and other types all together. But since the Duergar run the boats and crossing the bridge is most likely suicide, we would need someone or something on the inside to get us out of here. As for the drow female, her name is Yasmina and she’s been around here for a few years, there are 4 in her cabal: her, a female sorceress, a quiet drow female with a penchant for grays and blacks, and a male.

From there we went to the Raging Horn and got a room from Ann where we tried to explain to him if anyone comes looking for us and they are drow, we are not here. We bedded down in a room that was used apparently for drying fish maybe a half hour before we rented it, relaxed as much as we could, and called it a day.