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.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Meet 92, Adv 9, 2/20/10

One of my players - the new leader of the party, Detheron the druid, has been absent for 4 sessions or so lately - and it has kind of had the group not as focused as I'd like - especially as he disappeared it was when the focus of the game shifted to him. So we've had this elephant in the room that hasn't been addressed and it has fractured in my opinion the flow of the game.

Every DM manages flow different - and you know when it is going right - the night just flies by and everything stays on track and the party is just a juggernaut. This meeting was not one of them. There was a lot of pondering of how to take out the treasure and to step it forward without me attaching a cart to the rails - I let them come up with their own ideas. It eventually worked out but that was a rough patch.

Also - we will be having our 100th meeting in 8 more get togethers and I have a REALLY good night planned for them - it will be terrific. I have to scout ahead and see when it really occurs in RL and make sure that everyone shows and comes with their game face on.

Write up follows:

We returned to Baronet Wodenlach’s manor, our charges in tow and nothing but praise from Gelain on our rescue and recovery of his daughter and the other captured women. Wodenlach listened and after the merchant had gone spoke frankly – not happy about the taking of girls from around his area, not happy about the brazen gnolls and the lizard man clan getting “big” for their britches, and finally not happy about potential elven slavers coming to his neck of the woods (swamp) to do their business. He wanted to know if we found something out to keep him in the loop and he’d pay for the info.

After that we wandered the town, looked over the landscape, and took in the sights around Quarantine Docks – getting a feel for what was to come and what we would need to do to take the two chests Wodenlach asked of us.

There were many ideas. Charming a whale and smashing it into the ship. Attacking it from sea. Staving in the sides with a battle axe. Sneaking on invisibly. Using Ignore potions. Making believe as one of the crew. Getting a hold of a Gelatinous Cube and somehow stapling it to the side of the ship. Sneaking boxes on board. Sneaking the chests out.

However, it wasn’t until later in the day that it was thought that we could somehow get hold of a passwall spell and use that to gain access to the ship. Arnog could already breathe underwater and if the chests could be dropped OUT the passwall and to the bottom of the bay, the fighter could haul them across the seabed to the shore and just walk out of the surf.

Such a spell was beyond anyone’s ken or ability and the thought of buying a scroll was going to place it closer to 3,000 crowns to get one – if even anyone in Cymbarton would have it available. At that point Norris took Coruth’tae with him to his warlock contact and through some dropped coin and questioning, learned that a Master Blackshadow, a former adventurer and one time friend of the Baronet either had a scroll or knew someone who had the ability to cast Passwall.

The thought of going to see someone that the Baronet was not friendly with was seen as questionable, especially since the pirate-king was out benefactor at this time. Before taking a rowboat to Blackshadow Manor (a stately 2 story stone and wood keep on a private isle some 300’ off the main coast) Zoltan suggested we talk to Wodenlach first.

The Baronet informed us that there had been a falling out between him and Blackshadow some years ago and that although Rigil (Blackshadow’s first name) swore he’d never live in Eider or “anywhere that pompous windbag claims to rule” ever again – Wodenlach still considered the “gentleman adventurer” one of his closest friends.

We took a rowboat to the Baronet’s place where Zoltan, Norris, and Olthar paid a visit. It was quickly discovered that this was a thieves guild and Rigil Blackshadow was the master of it – and from his own lips controlled most if not all of the black-market business in Eider. Rigil was a older man well past 60, his hair steely grey and black, eyes alert, and he wore obviously ensorcelled leather armor as well as a single silver band and a silvered steel rapier at his side.

We talked to him about the passwall and he admitted he had a staff of such a power – one time belonging to a friend and wizard companion of his some years ago. It had been used 16 times to his knowledge and at least once before it came to his hand and control. That meant there were at most 8 charges remaining in it. He wanted to make sure that they knew to return it with at least a handful of charges still. The group then spun a yarn that they needed the staff to get a shield out of the Armory in Dragonhole and the staff would make entrance and exit easy and swift – two things they needed.

He had heard of the Sundered Chains – learning of their name first almost a year ago after they had dispersed Fulgore Keep, and again recently as they had returned to town with 4 young women destined for slavery. He agreed to lend the staff to the group for about a week – for the cost of 1,000 crowns. He lowered the price to 850 and took the other 150 as payment costs to welcome Zoltan, Norris, and Olthar to the Thieves Guild.

Staff in hand the group reconvened at the Rusty Boardwalk Inn and we talked a bit more on out soon to be daring plan to hoist a bit of piracy against the DTS Rising Current as well as possibly go back to Dragonhole and steal back Gwyn’s shield “Steadfast”.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Meet 91, Adv 9, 2/6/10

We had a serious lack of bodies at the table and I was tempted to cancel for the night but the boys that did show were in good spirits and game - so we did some shopping, wrecked the local economy, and then opted to take a trip into an under 5 room dungeon so the: savethe merchant's daughter from the swamp gnolls quest was borne!

It was a beer and pretzels sort of night and that was fine by me as well as the bodies that came. Not every meeting has to be high fantasy and earth shaking decisions.

Write up follows:

For the next few days the party did some exploring of Eider, making some purchases as well as a few contacts around the seaside city. They were able to get a rough map of Quarantine Dockyards as well as a layout of the DTS Rising Current (the tax ship due in about 2 weeks). Mostly they walked about the town and learned the layout of the swampside port city.

The city was surrounded by a bulwark of mounded earth, roughly 2/3rd of the way about the perimeter, 10’ high, 20’ wide, and topped with an 8’ rough timber palisade wall. A single wide gate allows entrance in and out. The northern section of the town slopes down into the Eider Swamps and most of the homes there north of Raised Road are in danger of eventually being dragged into the sodden ground – it’s where activities even pirates want to keep away from the light of day take place and where purchases and sales are done under the fetid shadow of overhanging eaves.

The most curious item is the sewer system. Baronet Wodenlach had a section of the northern area of town closest to the swamp itself dug out and laid in with stone, creating a tremendous pit the size of 8 homes. He placed walls of stones in strange angles and then had immature gelatinous cubes he had purchased placed into the pit. Every day at 6 AM indentured men and women start at the southern most end of town with buckets and brooms and soak the cobbled and wooden streets, sweeping everything northward and downhill until the muck and filth runs into what has been called the Cubic Cesspit and the cubes within devour it all. Every so often bilges are used to pump out any standing water from within the cesspit because as the Baronet learned some time ago – Gelatinous Cubes float.

Around the 5th of Heatmonth, the party was called to Wodenlach Manor where rounding up what members of the group as we could gather (Soren, Olthar, Coruth’tae, Norris, and Arnog) we met with the hung-over Baronet as he entertained a sniveling and weeping man who was begging his lordship for help. His name was Gelain and he was a merchant who traded in belts and buckles, making the trip from Karon to Eider overland, skirting the Eider Swamp to avoid the trade roads. It seemed he might be also trading other items but the Baronet refused to mention it.

What was the issue was that about 4 hours outside of town he had been accosted by a pack of gnolls, 7’ tall, 270 lb hyena-men who lived along many of the old homesteads and manors that the swamp had been reclaiming over the last few decades. His wares had been upset and two of the mules slain, but Gelain’s daughter had been taken and the merchant bleeding and distraught ran here on mule back to ask for help.

Wodenlach asked us to intervene and bring the man’s daughter back safely. We were loaned 6 horses and Gelain led us back to that area of the swamp, easy to see now as the cart had been dumped over and two of the mules were still on the ground, obviously dead with the choice bits of meat stripped from them.

Soren looked the ground over and assured us that between 3 and 8 gnolls had been here and they had gone into the swamp to a dimly seen overgrown 2 story manor house. It had a number of vines and other growth about it and we wanted to check it out from all sides instead of chancing the front door. Giving the place a wide berth we walked through the swamp, looking it over with a careful and critical eye. It was in poor shape, 2/3rd of it collapsed and sodden. What was interesting was that most of the windows and other doors were stuffed fully with bushes, wood, and ropes of vines – making any attempt to enter or exit that way folly.

Soren was able to identify some of the growth as Assassin Vine – a nasty plant that had a habit of lashing out if anyone got too close to it or touched it. We circled the place, getting stuck in some of the more boggy areas, before returning to the merchant. There seemed only the one way in. Norris wondered if there was a 2nd way out on the roof? The group agreed and Norris snuck closer to the manorhouse and then stomped his boots of levitation down, enacting them and wiling himself upward to about 30’. From there he pulled himself closer bit by bit and was able to deduce that there were no other obvious entrances or exits on the roof. However, from the dark doorway two arrows fired out, striking the floating bard once across the arm and the other blasting into (but not through) his armor. He descended and ran back to the group who decided that it was time to storm the place.

Arnog led the way, shield up and ready, taking arrows at him almost every few seconds. The other 4 members ran behind with weapons waving and we tore into the darkness with sword and steel. Soren and Coruth’tae couldn’t see well enough to fire bows and spells so crept in only far enough to allow their vision to flare into the infrared spectrum. Although Norris and Olthar held their own it was Arnog’s controlled fury that took down the majority of the last gnollish blow wielders and ended the fight. Norris had charmed one of them and we used the hyena-man to answer some questions as to the layout of the place, and learning where the merchant’s daughter (and others!!) was being held.

The manor house was in poor condition inside as well, with strands of assassin vine coiled around shadowy windows and breaks in the walls. We walked onward, picking our way through until we came to a split, taking the right-most hallway and walking past a room with a number of gnolls within. Opting NOT to engage those we didn’t have to, Norris sang up a silence charm on a copper coin and we tiptoed beyond the gnoll room and onward.

We listened (beyond the range of the silence coin) and heard a number of gnolls as well as some human females crying. There was a rutting animalistic sound and it was time for us to do what we could to save them. We charged in, half the gnolls were having their way with 4 battered and beaten human females while others were laughing and drinking – only one of them wearing some strapped plates across his chest and sporting a very large battle axe.

The young fighter tore into the gnoll chief and the two of them traded blows swiftly – Arnog very surprised to feel the chief’s powerful thrusts and ripostes even through his own ensorcelled armor! Norris and Olthar took out a few of the gnolls with stealth and sword while Soren stayed far enough back and shot what and who he could. Olthar was slammed hard and went down, a gnoll trying to stab him. Coruth’tae stood in front of the fallen wood elf, his own Shield spell turning the blows as best as possible.

The melee was furious and blood flowed but honestly once Arnog was able to deliver the death blow on the chief it was only a matter of moments before the rest of the gnolls went down. We freed the human females and learned what we could – the women were captured from the surrounding area and the gnolls were selling them to an elven slaver named Tindion – who came by every number of weeks or so to trade with the lizard tribe in the swamp. The women were all between 15 and 19 and except for the merchant’s daughter, had been here about a week and been used by most of the gnolls violently.

We opened up a secret door in the back of the place and slid down to the swamp below, Coruth’tae making sure to take the “silence” coin with him and shutting the place. We then rode hard and fast back to Eider with the merchant Gelain, his daughter, and the 3 women we saved who were a mixture of numb and hysterical. We ended it after we rode up to the gate on Heatmonth the 5th at 4:30 PM and were discussing what we should be doing next.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Meet 90, Adv 9, 1/30/10

A few weeks before I had asked some of my people to tell me what they would like to see happen, what they enjoy, what adventure's they want to do - and some of them answered me. So for adventure 9 I am DMing off the seat of my pants. I have about 14 or so story threads floating about and possible paths - but the framework is very loose - and whereever the party goes and what they do will dictate the direction the adventure takes until I can see the party laying down rails for me - in which case I'd do my typical 1 week jam session and write up an adventure in advance.

What this means though is that I am very cognizant of the group and what they are doing, where they go, who they talk to, who they piss off and who they please. This has resulted in:

Druid and Dwarf exiled from Dragonhole, accused or warlockry and consorting with warlocks (as well as 16 direct counts of murder, and 8 indirect counts).
Ranger getting a bounty on his head for a crime he did not commit and getting exonerated for it.
Bard and Thief joining Mid-level theives guild and forced to steal from party as well as leave city under suspicion.
Gypsy acting as Herald and voice of the party in the dealings with Lord to acquire release of friends, as well as Baronet to trade group's services for boon.

And that's only after 2 sessions. It requires some mental gymnastics on my part to have this sort of campaign but I've done it before (for almost 2 years once!! Hooray for Zarik, Vyer, and Terril!!) and it did result in some memorable sessions. :)

Write up follows:

That evening, Gwyn was very surprised to find himself escorted from his cell at spear point and led through the prison, up to the main guard room (where he saw some stained areas on the steps and walls where Smokey’s fight took place) through to the street (after passing the trophy chamber where saw a number of trophies abounding – including the tiger’s pelt, Smokey’s mounted head, and his own enchanted shield “Steadfast” on display) and to Vergadain Castle. He was taken before Lord Vergadain where he was verbally berated, snarled at, threatened, and told under no uncertain terms that although he is free to leave now, should he ever return to Dragonhole he would be arrested and then tortured and slain. The dwarf took it all with stoicism and then was escorted to a holding cell under 5 guards’ watch. Eventually Detheron was taken there as well – the druid still in his fingerlocks and murderous hatred burning in his gaze.

As for the rest of the group, they went to the Castle and were made to wait briefly until Lord Vergadain met with them. Once there, the Lord angrily informed them that they could take “the halfer and the warlock back to the pirate and never come back.” There were other words thrown about and at one point it was obvious that Gwyn was released but NOT his gear – following the letter of the missive from Baronet Wodenlach but not the spirit of it. Zoltan and the Lord Vergadain had a private chat afterwards and it was decided that Lord Vergadain would be keeping the enchanted shield in price for the death and embarrassment of his guards. Gwyn could get the rest of his stuff and go.

We gathered up our two friends and the group had to swear that Detheron wouldn’t do anything to the city or people of Dragonhole. We were then escorted outside the city limits to a stately plantation house where a widow put us up for the night – a 5 count of veteran guards watching us. We slept until 6 AM where horses were provided and we rode away from Dragonhole and towards Dilabria.

We opted not to use Coruth’tae’s Run spell on the steeds which made the trip to the capital of the Barony an all day affair. On the way we stopped near where Gwyn and Detheron were arrested and a few hundred yards off the road in the tall scrub we found Gwyn’s 3 bags of coin as well as his crystal ball stand! Untouched!!

At Dilabria we turned our horses in and were forced to turn over bows and other similar weapons. Soren was loath to give up some his special arrows and paid the extra fee to bring them into the city (even under a locked and peace-tied quiver). We took rest at the Dilabrian Arms Hotel, the entire party taking out the top floor and suite of 8 rooms with baths, food, and other riches and sumptuous luxury. We would be leaving in the morning so there was no “shopping”.

Norris went out, taking Olthar with him, the bard and thief going to the Pig and Whistle to meet with Agnandus, the local representative of the Thieves Guild. Olthar was vouched for by Norris and the bard asked for a better job than his last one – something that gave him the opportunity to make some real coin. Agnandus thought about it and said that a group of adventurers who had upset the market earlier this week by spending a fortune at the jewelers had just ridden into town and were staying at the Dilabrian Arms. One of them had a quiver with some silver arrows in it – if the two of them were able to sneak up there and bring the arrows back – he’d pay them 10 crowns – and acknowledge they were capable of a better job next time. Olthar and Norris agreed and left, wondering what to do now. Agnandus did say that one of his people would arrange to get the heavy-set elf out of his room in about 20 minutes, and he did give them a skeleton key that should open the 4th floor doors.

They went back to the hotel. Meanwhile, Soren was fletching some arrows when a knock sounded and a serving wench said he was being given a night meal. He looked; it was roasted duck and some other light foods, compliments of the management. Thinking about it, he decided that he wasn’t hungry and instead went to Gwyn’s room, giving it to the dwarf who took the meal immediately. He ate with much gusto and polished off the duck swiftly – and then his stomach began to ache. The dwarf grew ill and his bowels churned and he ran from his chambers, down the hall to the indoor outhouse, and sat on the seat sobbing as he voided himself.

In the meantime, Norris and Olthar went up to the 4th floor, and at that point decided to have a conversation about what they were doing. They had it in the hall. Outside Soren’s room. Soren, the elven ranger, with REALLY good hearing. He opened the door and confronted them and there was rather unbelievable conversation and gall – but honesty did ensue and the two of them bought the arrows from Soren @ market value price and left, going back to Agnandus and giving the thief the prize.

He paid them 10 crowns for their work, made sure that his girl had helped out, and then asked casually where they were staying. They said they were staying at Westgate Tavern and he wished them well. The two of them were very uncomfortable now and wanted to get Agnandus off their trail, so they went to Westgate and hung out drinking for a while before returning to the Dilabrian Arms.

Meanwhile, Soren went to Coruth’tae and spoke with him about what occurred. The grey elf was pissed and went outside Norris’ room and cast knock – opening the doors on the floor, the shutters, and also the safe inside. Once there he took Norris’ gem bag from the safe and left. In the meantime, Gwyn complained to Soren about the duck he gave him and weakly went to his chamber to get some sleep.

The bard and thief came back and Olthar went to Soren to apologize while Norris went to check his door – noticing that the “hair” he had strung across the entrance was missing. He went in, it looked ok but unlocked – as was his shutters, footlocker, and his safe – and his gems were missing. A low level confrontation happened between Norris and Coruth’tae but the grey said nothing on the missing gems and Norris said that he had meant no harm and was just looking to get in good with the thieves guild. The two were at an impasse and they parted warily and without trust.

We awoke the next morn and Gwyn had another cramping attack, spending another 20 minutes in the lavatory, his groans and the smells making the rest of the group a bit ill. We went downstairs and broke our fast eventually acquiring horses and getting ourselves out of the city. The roads were a bit muddy, but not terribly so and we had a leisurely trip eastward back to Eider.

Once there we rode up to Wodenlach Manor, tied our horses to the hitching posts, and were let in by the guards who seemed to be having another party and revelry. Once inside we went to the banquet hall where Baronet Wodenlach was entertaining some 60 odd guests and we were plied with ale, spirits, and all manner of food. Even bowls of colorful stones were passed about and the people were encouraged to take. Eventually the Baronet had us join him in his study where his affable and good nature continued but his “drunkenness” disappeared.

We told him of our time in Dragonhole and Lord Vergadain’s issues. Zoltan handed the nobleman Vergadain’s written response and to the party’s amusement he tossed it into the fire without reading it. Then the matter turned to his issue.

The tax ship from King Daro was due to arrive in a week or two for the quarterly taxes and levies. Normally in the past Wodenlach would ply the high seas and attempt to capture the ships (failing often) and make off with the plundered gold. However, now as a Baronet, anything like that he would involved with or any of his vassal’s ships or men would have the Baron, Count, Duke, and King’s armies on him in an instant.

He has a 20% levy on him that he has to make every quarter; it translates to about 2 chests worth of valuables. What he is looking for is for the party to squirrel off 2 chests from the tax ship AFTER is arrives and HIS chests are loaded and accounted for. They can take any other town’s/city’s payment in the roughly 2 days the tax ship is in port, he would make sure to arrange the ship to stay.

The party took to the idea with pleasure and for the next half hour they went over the layout of the docks, various plans and plots, and even requested a list of what the typical ship has as far as a compliment of men on board as well as layout. And that’s where we ended it.