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.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Meet 89, Adv 9, 1/23/10

The party was split which does happen - especially with larger groups. And I was faced with the problem of two members of the party captured and being held responsible for their heavy-handed methods against locals.

Their stories did not mesh, which made the magistrate suspicious of them both. Detheron's was truthful (mostly) which went long towards exonerating him - but I had him saddled with the problem of being labelled as Warlock - in a low magic and distrusting area.

And it was here that another planned reunion blew up in the party's face - Smokey the druid's companion showed up and tried to get to the druid - in doing so attacked the locals and brought more headaches on the party (including the druid who had lost his tiger - and NOW his bear!).

I was very happy with the sideways striking of the problem by going to the pirate-lord and getting his aid - and that has opened up a new avenue for me to run the group through.

Write up follows:

The party entered Dilabria and asked around for the jewelers (after getting a list of rules from the gate guards and had some of their weapons held). Once there they divested themselves of much of their heavier coin, turning them into smaller gems (garnets, topaz, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds), making the jeweler VERY happy in the process. From there the party visited some of the local merchants for weapons, bows, foods, and some other sundries before splitting up.

Norris found himself in Cheapside scouting some of the local bars and places after getting a set of boots with some hollow places. He met with a local rep from a guild of thieves and spent some time familiarizing himself with the people as well as doing a couple of low level jobs for them. Olthar on the other hand did not meet up with Norris (the bard had skipped out on his appointment with the wood elf) and took a room at a local tavern.

Coruth’tae did go to a divinicist, an older crone who claimed her visions came from Loki. She spoke clearly and with some authority, answering both of Coruth’tae’s questions with minimal obfuscation and then gifted him with a thin potion that would make him appear dead for 10-60 minutes after drinking it. He thanked her and left.

The other party members waited outside at a camp area outside the gate, sending other travelers on their way with a mild rebuff and lack of interest. The grey elf told us of what he had learned from the seer and that Detheron and Gwyn were in Dragonhole and in a dungeon and had about 3 days coming to them before it was all over.

Meanwhile Gwyn and Detheron had some more answer time with the magistrate and the torturers – the dwarf getting his ears worked on with pliers and his nose broken and twisted across his face. Detheron continued to claim his innocence and provided the magistrate with more information about Vanir as well as his standing. The back and forth with the Melvin of Chipmunk did not go well and caused more issues for the two friends. They slept poorly if at all.

The group reconvened in the morning and Coruth’tae went in to get horses as well the clothes he ordered the night before. Norris informed the party of the aviaries that his guild friends had intercepted and read, confirming Coruth’tae’s tale as well as filling in more of the gaps. It was decided – we would have to go to Dragonhole and get them out? But how? Lord Vergadain was not a kind man and it was well known that he was a supporter of the Witchfinders from the Order of Thor.

It was Zoltan who decided that we should hit the problem from another angle. As a Lord, Vergadain was an absolute power in his city. What we needed instead of a straight on assault was someone with more power in our court. Baron Dilabria was out, as a public supporter of the deposed and assumed slain usurping ex-count Delarrin Sedaris, he was known to be no friend of mages and untrustworthy. However, there was Baronnet Wodenlach in Eider.

This ex-pirate had clawed his way upward from nothing to notoriety to finally achieving land and title (in a way to get the seemingly uncatchable and unflappable mercenary ON the side of the law). He had the original lords of Eider tossed out and set himself up gaining the populace’s trust and support by throwing open all the coffers and gifting what treasures the former nobles had stored there. As a Baronnet, he is over Vergadain and as much as the Dragonhole lord might dislike it, he owes fealty to Wodenlach. It was just under 30 miles to the east from here, on the southern end of the Eider Swamps and against the Mastelic Ocean. We mounted up and rode on, Coruth’tae enchanting our steeds to run tirelessly.

Making it to the pirate city, we made our way to Wodenlach Manor and met with the Baronnet (who’s castle was in the midst of some revelry and celebration). The Baronnet was in his early 40’s and had a hard look to him and numerous old scars, but he did have a hearty and ready laugh and took pleasure in meeting with the group. Zoltan and Coruth’tae spoke with the nobleman and he was honest – there was NOTHING they could give him or buy him or his services with – he was the man who had done it all and had everything.

BUT, he would like to have the services of a swelling adventuring party for some local issues regarding the tax ship to come from Daro – and for that and their word, he would pen a missive to Vergadain demanding the release of the two missing companions immediately and clearing on all charges. We slept that night and left at 1st light the next day with Coruth’tae once more ensorcelling the rented steeds on our run to Dilabria and then Dragonhole.

As for the dwarf and the druid, it was not a good day as more torture was planned and more questions asked. Gwyn was presented to a priest of Thor who was willing to cast a Zone of Truth spell in the area which had Gwyn sweating – but the stubborn dwarf was able to muddle his way through the enchantment and kept up the fallacy of the truth as he picked his way through all the lies he had said before and tried to twist it that he was actually looking to take of Vanir. The priest of Thor was receptive to Gwyn and vouched for the dwarf – which eased the magistrates mind a bit.

But fate stepped in that afternoon as Smokey, Detheron’s companion, finally caught up with the group – spurred on by Frey, and attempted to storm the militia house and prison. The two friends heard Smokey’s signature roar and his presence both bolstered and terrified Detheron. He was clamoring to be set free, the one guard eventually trusting him that he could calm the animal. The bear was tearing through the guards with ease and was working his way down the stairs as bolts and arrows slammed into him. He crushed a guard to death, tearing the man’s spine in half. The druid tried to run forward and yell to stop to not hurt him and the melee grew frantic and Smokey was speared as he made it to Detheron and fell at his feet, staring up at him with a sloppy smile, happy, and then the light in the 450 lb bear’s eyes went out.

Detheron was clubbed and dragged back to his cell and the guard that had let him free was chastised and more calls for “burn the warlock” went out. He sat on his bench and said nothing.

The group made it to Dragonhole where they went immediately to Vergadain Castle – and presented the Lord with Wodenlach’s missive. It went…poorly. The lord was wroth, furious, and railed against it – but he had no choice and agreed the “halfer and the warlock” would be let free. Come back in an hour and get them the hell out of my city.

We then went to Greystone Manorhouse where Soren spoke with Chalt and the other Greystone nobles to clear his name of the suspected arson of the orphanage. The bounty was dropped and we moved on back to Vergadain Castle to meet one last time with the angry noble and spring Gwyn and Detheron.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Meet 88, Adv 9, 1/16/10

Being on the surface again and having to shift gears from "kill em all" to "blend into society" has not gone well for the group - and to make matters worse, they have been split into two - a larger main group and a second one with the party leader (and group healer) and the main fighter.

And I continued to not guide them along or help them extricate themselves from inserting foot into said mouth.

And now we have a problem with two of the party captured and the rest of the group not hearing anything.

It does indeed get interesting and as a DM who is winging it at this point (there is no script short of what happens at that moment) and handling two groups - its going to end very badly for someone.

Write up follows:

Detheron and Gwyn made decent time away from Dragonhole, skirting what few patrols were in the area and eventually slowed down long enough to take stock of their situation. It was growing late in the afternoon and the last the druid had planned with the group, they were going to travel east for a bit and then get back to the road, eventually rejoining either before or AT the walls of Dilabria (capital city in the Barony, some 30 miles away to the east). Detheron clad himself as well as able to in the rag he had taken from some of the peasants and the two friends and the druid’s animal companion travelled eastward, getting closer to the road but trying to keep at least a quarter mile from it if able to to avoid identification.

Meanwhile, Soren led the rest of the party on the rented steeds overland for a few miles, using Zoltan’s map as a guide and assuming they were close to 2 miles or so north of Dragonhole. They stayed east, south east, moving at a slow clip to allow for those unfamiliar with riding to stay together. It was about an hour or two after they had started off when the ranger scented wood smoke not too far from here. The wind was blowing from Northwest to Southeast.

Scouting the land about there was a thin copse of trees a half mile to the east of here and Zoltan was to lead the party there while Soren (and Coruth’tae) went North and west to make sure that the fire we smelled was not bounty hunters, monsters, or anything that could cause us trouble. It didn’t take them long to come upon a caravan encampment – three covered wagons, a half dozen oxen, and maybe a like amount of rangy looking horses. From the furrows running northeast, it was obvious they had not come from Dragonhole. It seemed they were setting up camp for the night and there were close to 20 of them that the two elves could see.

They went down to talk and learned that the group was a party of spice traders from Flatrock on their way to Huntington to sell various spices to the elven city. They were taking the overland route to avoid Northedge as the local lord there was not able to stop the rampant thievery against merchants and they were also avoiding Dilabria to skip out on paying a tax on moving wares through the city.

We were invited to stay and camp with them and Soren offered to go get the rest of the group, Coruth’tae stayed behind to chat with them and offer what services he could. The party was mostly human, with a couple of half-orcs and a single elf (high).

Soren rejoined the rest of the party who had decided that coming into a strange encampment with bags and bags of money was not a good idea. In the copse of trees they buried their goods and covered it with fallen leaves – enough to hide it for a single night and then rode with Soren to the spice traders. We shared our food with them (including almost 70 pounds of sausage!) and they with us and we chatted for a while. There was some talk about maybe buying a bow from one of them but they were not keen on selling what they saw as a necessary tool to a strange group of travelers. Norris bought some spices from them (pepper, salt, and meat seasonings – a pound of each!) and we stayed mostly quiet.

Coruth’tae and Soren did try to have a private conversation with the elf who gave some of his impressions of the locals and the towns up here, giving us one demi-human’s view of life in the barony of Dilabria. We also were unhappy to note that our cover story as to why we were out in the wilderness at night didn’t hold up under even light scrutiny but since only the lone elf was talking with us about it, and he was not going to break the bonds of “race” and let the caravan leader know of what he had gleaned about us, what concerns we had on the matter passed. Eventually Zoltan spoke with the trader and we shared the night watch, walking pickets and always making sure that one of us was up at the same time that one of their men was.

As for Detheron and Gwyn, they had travelled for a few hours and the sun was setting and still no sign of the party. They had noted at least two armed and armored patrols wearing the livery of Dragonhole had been on the road travelling east, most likely looking for them. Taking the road was not seen to be a good plan and the sun had set. Where would they go? What would they do? They walked on in the twilight for a bit until they saw a light ahead from the road.

Gwyn stripped his money and some of his weapons and told Detheron to stay here with the tiger while he went to investigate. It was a wayfarer’s rest, a single thatched wooden cottage that some homeowner had added a covered outhouse and a small corral to. Four horses were currently there and the sounds coming from within showed there to be a bit more than the same number of people inside. Deciding quickly, the dwarf walked up to the door and opened it.

There were 6 vassals from Dragonhole in studded leather and tabards, armed with broadswords and maces currently eating some bread and stew in the large main room while and older man and woman told Gwyn to come in and shut the door behind him. The dwarf walked up and asked for a nip to eat and some whiskey that the innkeep said he made himself. The food was filling and the drink strong and Gwyn listened carefully to the 6 riders talking about the tiger and the dwarf and the fire and whatnot.

It was at this time that one of them tried to talk to the dwarf (a seemingly uncommon sight in these parts) and Gwyn’s answers were…less than stellar at best. Where are you from? “My mom’s vagina.”…What’s your name? “Melvin.” …Really? Of what clan? “Chipmunk”…Where have you been living? “Anywhere. You know, in the wilderness?”…Ever been to Dragonhole? “Umm..3 weeks ago?”

The guards wanted to take Gwyn to Dragonhole for questioning and the dwarf sighed and agreed. They took his weapon belts and shield and then Gwyn said he had to go to the outhouse as he was feeling cramped up and it was a few hours ride to the city. Two guards went with him and he sat on the privy and brought his backpack around where he reached in and casually drank an Efreetiskin potion. The guards were not happy with that and he said it was water and that he was feeling dehydrated. Then he snatched a flask of oil out and the guards grabbed his backpack and called out for the others.

He smashed the oil on himself and was dragged out of the outhouse and pressed to his knees while 4 guards were around him. One of them tried to take his helmet off and he realized that it was now out of hand so he elbowed one of them in the knee, took a few blows to his skull, staggered to his feet and was going to try to run through the wall of the cottage and throw himself into a torch or the fire and then trust in the oil and efreetiskin potion. However he misjudged and slammed into the support beam and slumped to the ground where the guards beat him into unconsciousness and then trussed him up with chains.

Detheron was waiting almost a half hour when he saw and heard the patrol of guards from Dragonhole coming the OTHER way, back towards him from the “light” that Gwyn had gone to investigate. He crouched by the side of the road with his tiger and watched the 4 horses ride by, each of them with a torch and rider. The 1st and 4th steed had 2 guards mounted on each, the 2nd horse was a single rider and some heavy bundle wrapped in front of him, and the 3rd was similar but also sported Gwyn’s specific looking shield and some of his weapons. And then they were past.

Damn it.

Thinking quick, Detheron called a Sleet storm to pound in front of the riders to slow them up. The 1st three steeds skittered through but the 4th fell over and one rider jumped free while the other landed awkwardly and broke his thigh bone. There were calls from ahead and one of them blew his whistle on seeing the tiger storm forward and assault one of the guards. Some of the torches went out and other continued to ride on ahead of the main party. And then it went poorly as Detheron was forced into the melee and his tiger was shot from the dark by one of the dismounted riders using a bow and sleep elixir slathered arrows. Maces smashed the druid and he slumped unconscious as his tiger fell over and dropped to sleep.

The other party awoke well rested and thanked the spice traders for their generosity. Their water skins and the horses’ feed bags were refilled and we wished each other well. They went back to the copse of trees, gathered their buried coins and treasures and rode southeast to the road and then eastward to Dilabria, making it to the city’s gates by 5:00 PM. No sign of Detheron, Gwyn, or anything. This bothered Zoltan who said that it was not like Detheron to disappear. There was talk of walking into the city but the gypsy said that the city was large and finding the druid in there was not going to be easy if at all possible.

He was going to wait outside to see if the two missing companions would show up before the gates closed (gates shut at 8 PM). The rest of the group went over ideas and plans and we opted on the group going in and turning in the steeds to the stablery. Arnog was going to bring the two girls and drop them off at the brothel and ask there and around if anyone had seen either the druid or the dwarf (both of them not common to the area). We would then turn most of our coin into easily carried gems, grab some quick provisions, and rejoin Zoltan outside the city gates. Norris and Olthar would stay inside the city and attempt to find out through their “seedier” contacts where the two missing friends might be. If we heard nothing of them by morning, we would make a better decision as to what to do next.

As for Detheron and Gwyn – they both eventually woke with aching heads, stripped of all but a thin rag of cloth, in a 10x10 stone room with a single metal door, chained to a metal cot by short lengths of stout chain. Neither of them were near the other and neither knew where the other was. Each was visited by a purple robed official and a 4 count of guards. Gwyn was being held and accused of attacking with his demonic tiger and causing the death of 6 members of Dragonhole’s militia and 10 local peasantry in Slopeside. They had his name as Melvin of Chipmunk and claimed that he was also a cohort of Vanir, a sorcerous brigand with a 5,000 crown bounty on his head who was blamed for attempting to set the Orphan’s Cap Tavern on fire. (damn…some of the party’s plan came home to crap on their bed).

As for Detheron his story was filled with holes. He was honest about his name and some of the local peasants from Slopeside said that he had come from the crater and had been naked and robbed by the dwarf and his friends. But then his tale grew fragmented and filled with inconsistencies and the magistrate was calling him a warlock and that the tiger was a familiar. He was in fingerlocks so he couldn’t cast spells OR change form and he said that there was a priest of Thor in Ponyboro who could speak for him, but it was a false name and all it did was buy him about 4 days for the aviary to get to Ponyboro and then a response come back.

The two of them were given a poor meal of gruel and water and Detheron was told that if he was found guilty of magery he would be burned at the stake. Later he had learned that the magistrate had his tiger killed for being a part of the attack on the people of Dragonhole as well as supposedly Detheron’s sorcerous familiar. This hardened the druid’s heart and there was murder in his eyes as he faced off against the magistrate, dismissing the other man with fury.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Meet 87, Adv 9, 1/9/10

Having the chance to get out of a dungeon and get back into a town - especially a town the party had never been in before - I was assuming would be an opportunity to sprinkle some new "hooks" in front of the party to follow and/or pursue any older strings the party might want to follow.

But what happened was a group very used to solving most issues with blunt force, spells, and fire - and when the first "hook" was presented at them, the majority of the group opted for lawlessness and banditry (and arson!) to solve the problem.

Which has them now OUTSIDE the city after the unlawful death of at least 6 members of the guard and a 10 count of peasants.

I'm going to let them either dig themselves out of this or get hung further - depending on their actions. But never go with the belief that townsfolk are just yokels or fodder to be cut through or ignored since they aren't "player controlled". That kind of thinking will eventually get you killed.

Write up follows:

Before emerging into the daylight of Dragonhole, it was decided that the treasure be made invisible and that Zoltan take the lead. We were laden down with treasure and goods and needed to get it not only out of the crater and safely to an area we could hole up at.

Soren had been living here for the last couple of years and assured us as soon as we got upcrater there was a tavern not too far away. We queued up and began our ascent. The local area was a ragged crater close to a quarter mile in diameter. There were three steps running along the western rim, each successive one larger and sporting more ramshackle dwellings. Rough hewn stairs ran to the surface of the crater’s lip.

We picked our way through muck, filth, garbage, and other city leavings. As we approached the lower tier a half-elf of some advanced years waited for us, extending a hand and offering to help. Zoltan took it gingerly; the half elf identified himself as Doulis. We noted that most of the people in the area were poor, in foul health, and were either predominantly half elven or half orcish. Doulis offered to escort us to the surface and we mentioned we were on our way to speak with Lord Vergadain (the local ruler).

We were watched during the climb but no one took any steps against us. We passed a misery of humanoid suffering, even spotting a number of recent dead just lying in the street. At the crater’s rim we beheld the rest of Dragonhole. Two main streets ran perpendicular with a number of smaller ones branching off. There were 4 keep/castle structures, two in good repair and two not. The further one got from the crater, the better the quality of homes and businesses. We thanked Doulis and went on our way. Olthar took a small bag of copper coins (over 500 of them) and handed it to Doulis in “thanks”. The half elven male walked back happy but a few of us had an uncomfortable feeling that Doulis was not going to live long to enjoy his new found wealth.

Soren brought us across town by the Melbourne monastery and we stopped outside a tavern called “The Orphan’s Cap.” He mentioned we should wait with Detheron (in mule form and laden with treasures) and the elven ranger went in to secure rooms. The innkeeper, a muttonchops sporting bloke named Betrebes, was surprised to see the wood elf. It seemed that a fire at the Greystone Orphanage was blamed on Soren (he had been guarding it just before he was captured) and that a bounty was placed on him in the amount of 100 crowns.

Uncomfortable about all this but wanting to get the party off the street, Soren gave Betrebes 100 crowns of his own and asked for a room just for a day so they could find out what’s going on and get to the bottom of it. The innkeeper brought him through the kitchen and to the “root cellar” where 4 sizeable rooms were situated. A set of doors opened behind the inn and Betrebes went upstairs to get some food while Soren went around the front and escorted the party around back and down the steps.

We followed with many questions and Soren informed us of the charges against him. He wanted to talk to Sir Greystone and clear his name but wanted to make sure that Betrebes wasn’t out to screw him. Zoltan disgustedly went upstairs, set up a room for himself (the best in the place) and had a bath drawn, food brought up, and a tailor sent for. Olthar went up eventually and got himself something to eat (meatpie and mead). Arnog was anxious to eat and got two women of ill-repute to keep him company. The party was enjoying the Orphan’s Cap and its amenities for the time being. Betrebes was talking to some of the locals but so far, no calls for the watch or lynch mob ran to arrest Soren, although Olthar did see the wood elf’s name in the ledger and “starred”.

We came up and discarded a number of plans on going to see Sir Greystone (who after more talk with Betrebes we learned it was Sir Chort Greystone, the elder of the nobleman’s two sons, that leveled the bounty on Soren to be brought in for questioning) as well as possibly acting as Soren’s representatives. But for each discussion we brought up, there were enough reasons not to take the chance. Eventually it was decided that we would try to leave Dragonhole quietly and quickly and solve this problem from afar. As an aside, we did learn that Detheron’s tiger really enjoyed uncooked sausage.

But there was a problem – Soren’s name was in the tavern’s ledger as a boarder AND Betrebes was seen talking about the “fire” to a 3-4 count of locals during the last hour. We would need to remove Soren from the book as well as talk to Betrebes and see who he spoke to and about what exactly. Our latest plan was to have Norris attempt to charm the innkeeper and have him tell us what we could. If that failed Olthar would try to lift the book. Gwyn was sent along as muscle.

So, we have Zoltan on the 3rd floor relaxing and waiting. Arnog on the 2nd floor with two women and doing what suddenly rich 19 year old fighters do the first day they return to town. Norris, Olthar, and Gwyn in the common room approaching the innkeeper. Detheron, his tiger, Coruth’tae and Soren hiding in the basement and waiting to see what the party turns up.

Norris whistled a ditty and sangsong a bit and tried to convince Betrebes that he was friends but the innkeeper was merely perplexed by the pushy minstrel. Taking advantage of the situation, Olthar reached OVER the counter and successfully lifted the ledger! Well done! But…now what? Soren’s name was still in it – and any second Betrebes would notice it missing. The elven thief seriously contemplated just splashing acid on the pages but was getting flustered. Instead he grew frantic and tried to abort the plan and put the book back.

And that’s when Betrebes caught him.

He was blamed, words were exchanged, and Olthar was told to leave now. The thief tried to apologize (and get his poison ring into play) but Betrebes was having none of it. His bouncers picked up the wood elf, pummeled him twice in the knee and shin, and then opened the inn door with his face and threw him into the street. Gwyn tackled one of them from behind and rode the bouncer to the ground, the dwarven fighter bashing his head repeatedly. The guard was whistled for and Betrebes was shouting.

Norris shook his head and opting not to get involved picked up a mead from the bar and watched. Olthar squared off a few of the locals and Gwyn took on more of them. Watching from above Zoltan worked his way to the window, climbed down the side of the building and went north to get horses, stopping long enough to send a spell-message to Detheron that the shit had hit the fan.

The druid and his tiger came out through the back door and Coruth’tae went up through the kitchen, Soren in tow. Most of the people had wandered into the street to watch the melee. Coruth’tae told Norris to go get Arnog while the mage used his unique curse to sour the two casks of mead by trying to drink from them. Meanwhile seeing Gwyn was now using his scimitar (but flat of the blade) and was wailing on the guards, Detheron sent his tiger in and the armored feline tore through the locals. Blood was drawn and the crowd was howling.

The guards were en route now and in force. Coruth’tae rewrote over Soren’s name in the ledger, replacing it with Vanir’s. And then someone took the buckets of lard and splattered them across the kitchen – setting the place ablaze. In the street, seeing his friends were struggling to escape the crowd and run north, Gwyn drank his potion of Beastmaster and mounted the druid’s tiger! Then howling and roaring and ripping through the crowd, he ran south east and led the guards and militia across the streets and away from the inn and his companions.

The grey elf made an illusion of Vanir appear as the smoke was coming out and laugh uproariously that he set the inn on fire and then disappear in a flash. Cries of “Witch”, “Warlock”, and “Fire” resounded and the group moved north as fast as possible while heavily laden with treasure and bags and sacks. Detheron kept track of his tiger with a locate animal spell but eventually Gwyn and his companion wandered out of range.

We caught up to Zoltan who had wrangled us 8 steeds with bit, bridle, bags, and enough food for a day or two it would take us to get to Dilabria (the next city to the east). We rode north for a mile and then took stock of our situation. Going back to Dragonhole was out of the question. Arnog had also brought both women with him. And Gwyn had no idea where we were. We talked on plans and it was decided that the party would ride north two miles or so and then go east/southeast across the plains and wilderness on the road to Dilabria. Meanwhile Detheron would assume falcon form and still with his spell of location enacted, find his tiger and hopefully Gwyn.

We wished the druid well and he took flight circling the town until he felt the “ping” of his location spell coming from the 2nd tier down in the crater on the northeast side of town. He circled the crater 3 times until he was able to identify the tiger’s location in one of three building (but no easy way in). Instead he flew down the hole at the bottom of the crater, assumed human form, and found some old barrel bottom to use as clothes.

He climbed up the slope again and was met by some locals who he convinced he had been robbed but adventurers, one of them a dwarf with a tiger. The peasants admitted there was one and the dwarf was hiding out. They also said he was rich. Detheron gave them a song and dance about he wanted to go and find this dwarf and get his stuff back. So an 8 count of half elves and half orcs grabbed makeshift and rusted weaponry and crawled up to the house where they waited and then sprung inside.

Detheron tried to shout that this was not the right dwarf and tiger but it didn’t matter and melee was joined. He called to Frey and a 240 lb prehistoric weasel appeared and tore into the two closest peasants. Meanwhile Gwyn and the tiger were at a disadvantage in the ramshackle hut as it was cramped and restricting. But one of the half orcs smashed the support beam along the back of the hut with a terrible fumble and the entire structure slid down the 30 degree slope 90’ to the next tier and exploded – sending wood, canvas, and garbage everywhere. Gwyn remounted the tiger (both a bit dazed) and they climbed up the slope again to Detheron.

All rejoined now the druid suggested they get out of here NOW and the three of them climbed to the top of the crater and picked their across town, alley, and road until they were lost in the thin trees and then in the outskirts of Dragonhole.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Meet 86, Adv 9, 12/26/09

Ah - the last meeting of 2009

And I wanted to do TWO things before the party left the Underdark - one was to fight a T-Rex, the other was to fight a dragon.

The T-Rex had been in my mind for a long time as I like the idea of fighting dino's - its the old school X1 Isle of Dread thing that totally blew me away years ago and still makes me smile.

However after it was time to do it - the T-Rex is NOT a pushover fight. Far from it. A horde of hit points, terrible damage, outrun just about any group member - and as a really honking huge creature, damage reduction (my work around for larger creatures). So I changed the fight from how I had it in mind to a running fight at a distance. And I was very dissatisfied. Horribly.

So I expect there will be a revised dino fight in the future for my group.

As for dragons - I but two small modified flightless black dragons in their way - one sleeping, one awake - separated by enough distance and cave that it would be 4 rounds before dragon b could come and help dragon a. At their size and age there was no dragon fear, no magic resistance, no spell use, 1 minor innate power, and hit points and breath weapon range was low enough for the party to handle.

And here they did very well. The first dragon went down FAST - faster than I expected. In fact I caveated the dragon's hit points on the fly during the 1st round of battle when it occurred to me how devastating the party was - including the party's ranger and his favored enemy bow use against the scaly beast. So the dragons got an instant bonus 16 hit points, raising them from 80 to 96 immediately. And the damn 1st one still went down in round two. The 2nd one was a bit harder and the group did a terrific job.

They got a pile of coin, a 5-6 count of magic items, and the fun of the logistics of dragging such a booty out of a cave. They aren't aware of it now, but the fight was easy in some way and generous to them. The next ones will not be. :)

Write up follows:

We spent the better part of 2 weeks plus with the gnomes, healing, reoutfitting ourselves, studying with what lore and masters they had, and learning of what would come. Firstly we had to cross the Embering Fields, a lava cracked blasted stretch of stone some 2 miles in length to the Ironcrags, a set of cliffs where the caves we would need to work our way out of the Underdark were located.

The Fields were dangerous and travel through them were usually short distances as there were a number of larger lizards that lived there. For longer journeys the gnomes used a conveyance called the Argentum Arbelest. Three long iron carts that traveled as fast as a horse and floated a good two feet off the ground, fueled by gnomish steamworks and strange magics – this was our best possibility to make the trip.

There were two engineers, 1 breakman, 1 steamman, 3 loaders, two sets of 2 gnome ballista teams, two heavy crossbows and two long spear wielders. The party was welcome to join wherever they wanted to and if possible, use their skills and magic to help drive off the thunderous lizards if and when they arrived (it seemed the largest bull took anything that went through the Embering Fields as a direct affront to its superiority and often attacked).

Past here it was 8 days to the surface and the gnomes would leave us a few hours shy of the last pair of caves where a pair of burrowing brown dragons lived. These dragons were about 50 years old, breathed acid, and were too big to get out to the surface but not strong enough to dig out yet.

For now though the party dealt with the immediate issue and that was making the trip across the Embering Fields. Norris, Coruth’tae, Olthar, and Detheron’s Tiger rode inside the last car. Arnog, Detheron, Gwyn, and Soren rode on top of the same car with the ballista crews. Zoltan rode up front with the drivers. The Argentum left the gnomish encampment and began the run across the Fields. For a short while there was nothing except for the gentle rocking of the train. Detheron changed his mind after some time and crawled his way to the front car where he sat with Zoltan and some of the gnome drivers. A thought out Locate Animal spell followed and it wasn’t long before he felt at the distance the first “ping” of a large – very large, and angry dinosaur closing.

The shaking was felt throughout the Argentum as the beast ran towards us but it was still far outside visible range. So Detheron then changed his focus and instead cast Sleet Storm at maximum range – just in front of the area the thunderous lizard was running. At 500’ away we heard the T-rex stumble on the icy sleet covered ground and 8 tons of 50’ tall dinosaur fell over. The steam boiler was fed more and we went faster.

A couple of Pterodactyls strafed the train but they were easily dispatched. Meanwhile the T-rex ran closed. A 2nd sleet storm was fired off but the T-rex side stepped it and ran onward. Ballista were fired, heavy bolts as well. Poison was discovered to be ineffective against anything that huge. Fireballs were only marginally effective and served to infuriate the beast. But we made great time and a with the Ironcrags in sight Detheron used Lavender’s ring and scared the hell out of the T-Rex who never had any of its food talk to it before. It stopped and ran off and the gnomes drove us with no further issues to the caves.

The 8 days passed with little issue. We avoided any concentration of underdark civilization, the gnomes kept us moving steadily northward and upward, we had a few small altercations with subterranean fauna but nothing that was memorable and eventually we arrived at our destination. The gnomes wished us well and the group moved on.

Olthar scouted ahead and after a few hours we came upon the first of the caves. It was sizeable, well over a hundred and fifty feet in diameter, close to 50’ ceiling in the center. There was a slanting corridor on the other side that went onward. Inside this room was a pile of loose silver and copper coins and on top of it was a sleeping 60’ wingless brown dragon.

We looked upon the sleeping beast and avarice took over the party. They wanted to take the dragon down and do it fast. If we did it with sudden fury we could be ready for the 2nd one in the next chamber. Plans were gone over and we used a number of decent spells and options for what was to come.

Norris cast Silence on a Blessed Bolt of Sutur while Detheron had Protection for acid on both Arnog and Gwyn, while a lesser version was on half of the rest of the party. Bows were handed out, bolts poisoned and blades readies and Soren fired the Blessed bolt at the dragon. Silenced the telltale crescendo of rising energy was never heard and it wasn’t until the flame blast tore through the Dragon’s flank that anything made any noise.

Fireballs and bolts went next while Olthar and Zoltan crept along the side wall. Arnog and Gwyn ran in and the dragon was reeling and in terrible condition when the swords began swinging and arrows pelted it. It tried to breath on the fighter but the acid just poled off Arnog who tore his enchanted blade into its scaled hide. IT pitched and rolled and in short order, the young brown dragon slumped over dead.

The group ran up and tried to get ready for the next. Gwyn was nailed by an acid blast from the next brown dragon but he was able to fire his last Blessed bolt and the fire from the enchanted bolt tore the back scales off the other dragon. It roared in fury and buried the dwarf under its bulk but the magic shield he carried kept him from being smothered and he was trying to get out from underneath.

Soren’s deadly arrows did unending damage to the dragon and Norris tried to scale the animal’s flank but was unable to pull himself too high even with his hand axes as pitons. Zoltan was kicked and his attempted blow instead smacked into Arnog, the blade “Bleeder” stabbing the fighter in the arm and causing the gypsy to shrug and mutter a sorry.

This fight was a bit longer but the combination of spell and the ranger Soren’s fantastic bow work brought the other dragon down and in no time the battle was done and won. Healing was dispensed and the group then began gathering treasure. A search for magic ensued and between mystical swords and platemail, wands and other items plus tens of thousands of silver and copper and even gold coins we bagged, boxed, and gathered all we could (including loading Courth’tae’s Floating disk spell until it groaned and threatened to spill over) and began working our way to the dim light of the exit and the emergence into the surface world once again.

At the bottom of the crater in the center of the northern baron of Dilabria’s city known as Dragonhole.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Meet 85, Adv 8, 12/12/09

The party split up.

How many DM's love that? It's a great way to identify which characters are powerhouses and which are not. Wizards and archers kick royal ass at a distance, clerics and fighters rule up front, thieves bards and monks do the whole solo adventuring with finesse and panache.

It's when the archetypes find themselves in situations that are outside their comfort zone. Such as recently.

But they got to shoot some blessed bolts of Sutur. And fireballs do wonders. But not everything can be solved with a fireball.

And not every group should be split up either.

Write up follows:

(To identify which split party was doing what, look for the indentation)

Gruglin led the way out of the south end of the chamber, Arnog and Gwyn right behind, then Detheron, his Tiger, Norris, and Zoltan. Staying behind was Olthar, Soren, and Coruth’tae. They watched the dark northern hall while Olthat grabbed a short bow and a 10 count of arrows. Spells were gone over and strings checked.

* The other group turned down corner after corner, weaving away from the 3 elves and hoping to stumble across the entrance soon.

The sound of the charging Troglodytes grew louder, testament that the force had reached the dim corner and were running towards the party. Soren and Olthar began shooting into the hall, arrows flashing into the darkness. Cries of angered troglodytes grew loud.

* The group turned a last corner and ran westward. Norris charged closed to the front to aid Gruglin but there were 3 of the 7’ tall antmen ahead of us in a smooth chamber, ready and each armed with a pair of bows. They fired. Arrows hit the party and Norris and Gruglin were lightly wounded. The scrag grew wroth and charged ahead furious while the bard twanged out an angry version of Fear – startling one of the antmen.

The Trogs were closer now, just getting to the visible light when Soren nocked a Blessed bolt of Sutur and the rising crescendo of sulfurous winds and strange ash billowed about him and then was launched down the hall like a stream of fire from the fire lord himself. It decimated the Troglodytes, slaying over 20 of them instantly. Only a 4 count survived the inferno. But there were still more – and an angry female leonine voice.

* Gruglin tore one of the antmen’s arms off. Arnog ran forward to aid, Norris drew closer and whipped one of them about the arm, holding him in place. And then Gwyn threw his hydra spear and blasted one of the remaining antmen to death. With a final frenzy the last one was taken down and the group made to run onward.

Coruth’tae drew out his fireball scroll and got ready to read it as more trogs entered the northern hall and charged closer. The leonine voice was also chanting a spell and the grey elf knew it was Lightning bolt. It was a race to see who would complete the enchantment first but the female did a split instant earlier and a shaft of electric energy slammed Coruth’tae backwards into the wall, burned the mage, and then slammed back through him again – killing him. Soren and Olthar grabbed the mage and dragged him just out of the room as the female roared for the Trogs to charge.

* We ran southward and the corridor split into 3 – the group opting to run straight ahead as it seemed the ground sloped upwards. They heard the tell-tale sounds of the Blessed Bolt as it had gone off and weren’t hoping to stick around. A quick look left and right showed short corridors and then some chambers in each, but they didn’t want to stop and look. Onward!

A hastily applied potion to Coruth’tae had the grey elf back in the positive hit points and then the two wood elves lifted him up under his arm pits and ran as best they could, knowing that the pursuing trogs were seemingly faster.

* We ran harder up the slope until we came at long last to a ceiling door, and beyond it was the gleam of light and the sound of gnomes! Gruglin banged on the door but it didn’t open and Norris shouted in gnomish to open up and let us out! The gnomes above began unlatching and unchaining the portal.

The three elves ran past 3 turns and then into a chamber with a dead antman in it – but from the echo the Trogs and their leonine sounding leader had reached the room they were standing in a short while ago and running onward – less than 50’ away!

* The portal opened and the group staggered out. A 15 count of armored and armed gnomes were here in some large fenced enclosure bordering the underground sea. On seeing Gruglin they made to dispatch the scrag but Gwyn and Norris shouted to stop and that they were friends. The gnomes decided quickly and after a short back and forth, they could hear the trogs down the deep hole below and behind.

A bow was snatched off the ground and the leonine female, a 9’ tall centaur like creature with a lion’s body and upper torso and head of a woman, shot off a three count of magic missiles that scored the three elves deep and hard. Tired and weak, Coruth’tae used one of his precious charges from the Staff of Power and hurled a fireball BACK at the trogs and leonine female – past them, and into the hall behind in an effort to displace the concussive blast and NOT hurt the group. The fireball expanded, raced over the multitude of enemies, and then ran a the elves who tried to outrun the fire – and failed, getting burned for their efforts. Including setting the grey elf on fire and killing Coruth’tae again.

* The gnomes in military aplomb grabbed heavy crossbows and handfuls of bolts with larger heads that they filled with oil. Then they got in position in front of the opening and pointed down – 1 row of four firing prone, 1 row of 4 firing kneeling, and 1 row of 4 firing standing. Two gnomes stood to either side of the opening concentrating and fingers spread as if casting a spell. Gwyn asked and once given the go ahead, snagged a crossbow himself and joined the gnomes. Zoltan lit a sling stone with a light spell and hurled it down the long hall sloping into the floor as a lure for the still fleeing companions down there.

The three elves sobbing and exhausted, all of them suffering from painful wounds, shone the healing rod on Coruth’tae, bringing him AGAIN to the north side of 0 hp, and then staggered together and ran onward. At the 3 way split, they ran north towards the light stone. The trogs and the leonine pursuer rejoined the chase, fury and snarling evident in their cries.

They turned the corner and ran, the trogs now only 40’ behind and closing. Breath whistled out of their lungs and their legs ached. The gap of light with gnomes crowding around was close but the trogs were getting closer – 35’, 30’, 25’.

The three elves hit the surface and were whisked to the side. And instant later the two gnomes on the sides of the cavern opening enacted their burning hands spell and sheets of fire consumed the air before them. The 12 gnome crossbow wielders and Gwyn shot their oil filled bolts through the fire wall, down the sloping corridor, and into the pursuing horde.

The heavy bolts knocked most of the enemy down, including the leonine wizardress. Everyone hit was also splattered with oil and a rolling wave of fire stopped the trog pursuers in their tracks. The gnomes were winching back their crossbows for a 2nd volley, mechanically loading the next round of bolts. Some of the party also shot their own arrows and sling stones down the slope. Another round of 13 crossbow bolts hit the trogs and leonine female – reversing the charge as they tried to flee and slaying the centaur creature. The gnomes then shut the portal, rebarred it and locked it tight.

We exchanged greetings, explained who Gruglin was, asked for succor and rest (granted 2 days), and were told that King Yikzarch had spoken well of us and that the gnomes expected to find us 3 days ago on ship. We caught them up to what had happened as we healed our hurts and eventually learned of what was next before us.

The way out is across the fields through some cavern in what the gnomes called the Iron Crags. It’s about 1-2 miles away. Some large lizards live there (hence the palisade around the gnomish encampment) and the gnomes have a way to get us across swiftly, but it often attracts a large 50’ tall bull lizard that takes the gnomish conveyance as a challenge to its territory. There are also some flying lizards but they shouldn’t be a problem. Not taking the conveyance would not attract the big lizard but it COULD attract it – and there are plenty of smaller vicious ones that make travel a bit of a pain. The gnomes don’t have any powerful mages (equivalent of 1st or 2nd level max) in their town so haven’t been able to deal with the bull lizard any better than lots of crossbow bolts and moving fast.

Beyond here it’s about a week travel to a series of three caves that a dragon used to live in but was slain some 50 years or so ago, caving in part of some town (the group identified this as Dragonhole, a city in the Barony of Dilabria just north of the group’s home). However, there were two offspring dragons that have survived down here during that time and although are too big to get out of the caves to the surface anymore and too weak to claw their way free – they do measure some 30’-40’ long not counting another 30’ of tail. The gnomes would bring us near the dragons but getting past the beasts would be our problem.

After we had healed up and rested, we opted to take the gnomes up on their offer to train us and the next two weeks were spent honing our skills, pouring over what tomes they had, and learning from their own people and what skilled people they could bring to us.