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.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Meet 55, Adv 3.5, 2/1/14

I had reminded the group a few times that Mahr's Tower is not a "destination adventure" - you know, designed for 4-6 players from 3-5th level. There was a serious mix of dangers and challenges within that did not scale and their exploring of it was at their own risks.

Which they finally seemed to realize when meeting Mahr finally. The venerable mage gave a number of hints as to his recent (and not so recent) history and the group quickly surmised that he was probably far above their skill set. So they left.

Without giving anything away - DAMN SMART!! :)

Write up follows:

Hundreds of spiders erupted like a fountain, crawling all over Fist’al as the elven thief skipped and leapt, trying to get away. Auri gave single sweeping hack of her blade and then tried to move back towards the door to escape. Mummus warded the doorway, yelling for everyone to hurry up so he could slam it closed. Flimflam was calling for everyone to escape, make their way out of here and down to the 4th floor. Fergus ran into the chamber, trying to help Auri in their combat against Grongellar.

The spiders were biting Fista’l, their poison slowing him down, making his movements stilted. Fergus was bitten as well, the paladin’s limbs stiffening up. Blows were raining on Grongellar and his shadowdogs, but not enough to slow or stop them. The thief stumbled out of the chamber and made his way slowly to the stairs.

The combat in the chamber was stealing strength and mobility from Auri and Fergus, the two of them barely making it out of the chamber as Mummus slammed the door closed, trapping half the spider swarm inside the rapidly reeking chamber – the scent of feces swelling terribly. We heard many barks and howls inside, and Grongellar phased through the wall, attacking the group again. We formed up battle lines at the top of the stairs and plied out attacks against the shadow mastiff.

Meanwhile, down below on the 4th floor, Marcus was playing around with an idea. He took one of the Bunsen burners with the thick fuel inside of it and shoved a flask of oil deep inside, using a bit of cloak like a wick. Link reminded the elven mage that the fuel in the burner was pretty volatile and most likely explosive. Nodding happily, Marcus crept back up the stairs with the intention of helping somehow with his improvised bomb.

The combat continued along, Grongellar portalling his mastiff’s into the fight every few minutes until the shadowfiend finally fell and the struggle ended. Healing was passed around and we had to wait for Auri, Fergus, and Fist’al to regain full range of motion as the spider’s venom eventually faded. We were running low on spells and resources but wanted to press on and look around.

We snuck back to the 5th floor and took stock of the landing once again. The door to the north had led to the chamber with the skeleton, spiders, and Grongellar – so we checked out the eastern one instead. We testing it completely, until sure it was trap free. After that we pushed it open to reveal a chamber/corridor maybe 25’ or so long, an ornate double door on the north wall. A single wooden stool was there. Once more Fist’al entered.

He gave the chamber a good once over, eventually convinced that there was nothing for it except for the door. So with great care he approached and the party watched on. It was as he got within a few paces of the door itself that he seemed to have a surprised expression and then…disappeared.

To Fist’al he fell…15’ straight down, just missing impaling himself to death on a floor of spikes. His infravision kicked in – 5’5’15’ pit, sealed ceiling top... Great. He yelled and yelled and yelled – and heard nothing, including his own voice.

We were worried (those up top).Especially since the door slammed closed and we heard the unmistakable sound of Grongellar storming about the chamber and many howls and cries. After 4 minutes it ended and we were able to open the room – seeing nothing (except for a ruined stool).  Fist’al was shouted for, but no answer. Where was he? Do we rush in? How to find? What happened? We all agreed it was the door that had him disappear so we approached with care, spears being used as poles as we tested the ground every foot with undue diligence.

In the pit, Fist’al tried using grapple and rope, but only went straight up and rang on the ceiling. The wall was not climbable (slippery) and there seemed to be no way out. In his searching, he noted that 3 of the spikes did move on the floor, one on the north, one on the south, and one in the middle. Lighting his lantern, he was able to note bloody hand prints on the walls but nothing new. He moved one spike – nothing. Moved a second – and the ground opened up beneath him and he fell another 15 down. His lantern shattered on the wall as he plummeted to waiting spikes…again, coating the wall in a streaking line of oily fire. There were skeletal remains here though, maybe half a dozen of them. Pretty hurt, Fist’al took the time to look the bodies over and loot them for what trinkets and armor they had.

Like a set of elven chainmail. And what seemed to be ensorcelled bracers. And a strange stiletto. Maybe half a dozen or less rune encrusted crossbow bolts. Feeling better with his finds but only sporting 4 hp, he gave the chamber (also 5’ square) a good look-see and found a small door – 3’ tall, and just a bit under 2’ wide. Gathering himself he opened it and crawled in to the narrow dusty corridor and tried to find his own way out.

As for the rest of the group, there was nothing for it but to approach the door again. But no one wanted to chance it. So we actually popped the hinges off the main door to this corridor, slid it across the floor, and shoved it at the door on the north wall. And the sliding door disappeared as well. The hinges still on the frame made a whirring sound for 4 minutes but eventually quieted down.

We didn’t know where Fist’al was, and thought maybe we’d try to find him elsewhere in the tower. A look on the 4th floor showed nothing, and back to the 5th was a blank. So we were going to reopen the door to the former spider/feces/grongellar sitting room. Weapons ready, we gripped the handle and pushed.

And saw a 4’ tall humanoid figure made of feces stumbling towards us. The reek was unearthly and we all bolted, running away down the stairs away from the foul, feculent golem like creature.

Meanwhile, Fist’al crept through the confines, hearing strange giggles, and too many spider webs, and the reek of urine. A few “T” intersections and he were unsure of where to go. He opted to pick one and came upon a slumbering beast. Naked, hairless, maybe 5 long and bipedal. Stiletto drawn he lunged and the two of them scrambled in the dark, biting and stabbing and snarling at one another.

And Fist’al finally slayed it but was down to 1 hit point. He needed a plan to get through this. And maybe skinning the beast would work. So he began the gruesome work of slitting its guts in the dark with some hope of wearing it’s carcass like a 2nd skin.

As for the rest of us, we retreated to the 4th floor and the crap golem was still in pursuit. Unable to navigate stairs properly it sort of rolled down them, leaving greasy brown stains behind it. It was here that Marcus had his brain storm. He took his Bunsen bomb and a 2nd one, placed it at the base of the steps on the 4th landing, made a trail of oil to the room, had Link light it, and yelled at Auri to slam the door closed now.

The golem rolled onto the bomb just as it went off and the tower shook from the blast. 40+ points of damage later. The impact powerful enough to tear the door open and send Auri flying backward 8’ to land on her ass slightly stunned. We looked outside and saw no sign of the beast again – only smears on the wall.

As for Fist’al, the concussive blast was felt by him as well but it dislodged loose stones from above and he was brained, knocked unconscious.

We went into the chamber that had the golem before and looked again more. We did note the south wall had a strange section that seemed too perfect, almost like a step and repeat pattern. We tested it – illusionary wall.

Following along, we were now in a kitchen area. But there was sort of recent foods in here – nothing older than a week or so it seemed. Looking about the chamber we did find another illusionary wall – this one on the east side. Entering here was a dining chamber with seating for 12. We entered and smoky servants appeared, taking cloaks and packs, and seating us at the table to eat. Food was being prepped in the kitchen and a meal was coming in to us here to eat.

It was about half way through the meal that at the head of the table a smoky mostly solid figure of a man appeared. Advanced age, worn and tired. He identified himself as Mahr and informed us that he had not been here for 30 years or so – exploring the Shadow planes and furthering his knowledge of the cosmos. He had his attention brought back here slowly from people around his tower and old wards he had placed were bringing him back here. He was tired and weary from his journey and would love for the group to finish eating and then come upstairs to chat. Especially Marcus. Oh, and hey, Flimflam and Fergus too!

We had some back and forth with him and learned that he was able to absorb spell power with a handshake – taking two from Marcus, 1 from Flim, and 1 from Fergus – and this was to find and bring Fist’al to the group from where ever he was and boost his hp to 1. Each time he took a little power, he seemed to become more confident, more sure, and more alert.

We finished dinner and said we’d see him soon, as he faded away. And then with no hurry but with deliberate steps, we left the tower from the way we came in, got Codron and Thrish and our horses, and then we left Mahr’s Valley and camped two hill tops over where we talked about what happened and nursed Fist’al back to positive hp’s and wakefulness.

We detected some magic and found the armor, bracers, ring, and bolts to be magic. Some further testing was done on the bombard potion vials we had, getting a mix of effects from boils and fire to healing and smoke.

It was 10:30 PM now and we wanted to rest but it seemed there was some fury on Fist’al’s part on what he had found, sharing with the group, and being left alone in the hole with no one finding him.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Meet 54, Adv 3.5, 1/18/14

The group had gotten the wrong idea from a "trigger" encounter on a stair. Every time they came to the floor, a pair of eyes and disembodied hands would spring towards them, and they constantly fled. Even when they tried to circumvent the steps, they were sent back down the stairs. It wasn't exactly combat oriented - so what was it?

A clean spell.

This floor is where Mahr had done some alchemy and needed a "clean room" atmosphere. Since at the time he was an active tower he had servants up and down and all over, stray dirt and filth would get in and around. So he had an automatic "clean" spell trigger when anyone would get to the landing - giving it some human touch with a set of hands and eyes.

I had two meetings of enjoying the way the party reacted to the hands and eyes reaching for them that when they finally got passed it by saying "Me" every time (based upon some scrap of paper they had found earlier) I felt like I had to let them know what had them so worried each time they approached and triggered it.

Write up follows:

The party talked about our options and at this point we decided that having the gargoyles at our back as potential threats was not an option so we went back down, surrounded one of them, and began whacking the hell out of it. Two of the 3 remaining came to life and assaulted us while the group tried to concentrate their attacks on one at a time. When the 1st fell, the 3rd became animate and charged the group, swerving at the last moment to attack the party on its less protected flank. Blows were fast and furious and eventually the stony menaces fell over.

Healing was dispensed and being it was only 1 PM or so at this point, we were dismayed at how beaten we were already and how many spells we had gone through. We wanted to make it to the 4th landing but were continuously stymied by the disembodied eyes and hands reaching for us. We settled on Marcus summoning a monster (orc), giving him a rope, and sending him up.

The orc made it past the step, reported a small landing with a single door and more stairs going up. We had him open the door and tell us what was inside. He shouted back “Some potion looking room, some glass beakers, and two doors!” Knowing time was of the matter we had the orc tie the rope to the door, grab as many potions as possible, and run back down to us. We took the 7 large unwieldy bottled from him, thanked him, and he faded away.

The potions had no markings on them and we didn’t want to risk testing them now so we deposited them in our packs and dared to approach the 4th floor one at a time, using the rope as a guide to lead us past the 5th step down. One by one the party made their way until after the 5th of us made it past and there was a strange blast and light – the rope was cut and the two parties were separated. What the hell?

The one group already on the 4th floor looked everywhere for some sort of lever or device to reconnect the two parts of the tower – finding nothing. They did note though that in the alchemy room were a number of poorly covered Bunsen burners with a thick and very flammable gel on the inside. There were 2 other doors in this room. The one on the left was shut hard and yanked closed so much so, that it bowed the inside of the frame and seemed to be under the effects of a Wizard Lock spell. Some listening revealed that there WAS something on the other side and it was snoring. We opted to leave it alone.

The other door was on the eastern side of the chamber and there were 5 bloody fingerprints at chest height pressed into the door, no other markings. Listening revealed no noises.

As for the lower group (almost all the fighters and Link) they could not proceed past the 5th step again without triggering the eyes and hands so they retreated back down to the 3rd floor to pour over options. They looked for levers or knobs or anything, finding nothing. From here they went down to the 2nd floor and stopped – seeing all 4 gargoyles were once more together and watching still. They tiptoed back to the 3rd floor and discussed the possibility of getting past the eyes and hands. It was here that they remembered a scrap of paper that had said “4th floor – Me.” So they went up to the 4th floor, stopped and when the hands and eyes appeared – said, “Me.”

The hands wiped filth from their cloak and boots and let them past. One by one we went through the landing and the party was rejoined once more. We looked over the last of the potion bottles (5 of them) and gave the alchemical chamber a final once over. We decided NOT to mess with the “snoring” door and went instead to the one with the fingerprint markings.

It was after we duplicated the position of our hand on the marks and pushed that the door opened. It was a largish chamber, taking up 1/3 of the tower floor. Along the far wall were two long tables with stands and chimes and candles and holders and whatnot. There were 4 torches on the wall – but the light they gave off was a purply/yellow mix that seemed to drink in the light from our own torches, making them dimmer.

The center portion of the room was completely bare and it seemed as if nothing was there except an almost living feeling of darkness. Fergus gave the room a once over and announced that the entire room was radiating evil and we should avoid it.

A single rock was tossed in and it bounced unearthly across the dark part of the chamber before hitting the far wall with a series of clicks. There was some talk about getting the scrolls and stuff off the table, but no one wanted to chance entering the chamber. We shut the door and moved on from here, not wanting to risk any of the chambers on the 4th floor.

On the 5th floor landing we noticed two doors, one north and the other east. There was also a narrow corridor (2’ wide) that circled the central stairs should anyone want to walk it. We checked over the north door and found it to be unlocked and open. Two of our party each walked the narrow circular corridor, swapping torches along the way to keep the place lit. But it was while coming out of the darkened part of it a spectral figure appeared and assaulted us while trying to back up. A couple of light spells forced it back and then blasted it apart after Marcus hit it with a push spell – staggering it backwards into the light.

We opened the north door and beheld some sort of meeting or smoking room. 7 wing back chairs, 3 tables. On one of the chairs was a skeletal figure in moldering clothes and sporting a large faintly yellow glowing diamond ring. Fist’al gave the skeletal figure a once over, Mummus watched the door, Fergus and Auri were giving the room a once over – the half-orcish girl taking the far end of the chamber.

It was while Fist’al was trying to get the ring off the figure that the shit hit the fan. The ring fell free and turned to sludge and feces, piling on the floor and swelling. The chest of the skeletal figure burst open and hundreds and thousands of spiders came swarming out and surrounded Fist’al. And finally along the south wall a black fire erupted and Grongellar, the shadow fiend, appeared – along with 3 of his shadow mastiffs.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Meet 53, Adv 3.5, 1/11/14

Sorry for the long delay between actual play and posting - I have been doing some freelance work in my evenings and had Hernia surgery as well - so computer time has been limited at best.

The group had returned to Shakun for a bit, resting up, dropping off, and re-equipping - before going to go back to Mahr's Tower. It also allowed them to get the next bit of the actual adventure and reveal under their belt - Johan Smith and his slow but methodical dissembling of the town and it's pillars of support.

There is an over-arching story behind it and the group is bit by bit plumbing out the details. The return to Mahr's Tower was expected but their second trip will not give them the treasures and riches they are hoping for.

Write up follows:

The party awoke the next day, Workmonth the 2nd, at the late hour of 9:30. We putzed around the Hall, going over some of the treasures we had brought back, and played with the accordion divider. It was easy enough to restretch to its original shape and we did learn another feature – camouflage. If the two ends are placed against a corner, the surface will look like the wall behind. It doesn’t deaden sound, and at 6’ tall, it would not prevent/hide anyone who would look over the edge.

At 11:30 we travelled enmasse to Castle Canastal where with met with Baron Taugis, Marshall Westwinter, and a few other notables. We caught them up with what we had learned, spoke about Dolomys, and the way to ease the Goblinwater effects is by drinking alcohol. The Sheriff and the party again did not see eye to eye and the lawman stormed out, feeling the lifting of some of the bans were running contrary to the smooth operation of Shakun.

This then led us to learn of the latest misfortune to hit Shakun – eggs. There are 3 poultry suppliers in the surrounding area: Conner, Eriks, and the Sperthik homesteads. The eggs have been coming in less over the last few weeks; eventually a mere 20 tops and those eggs had very fragile shells and some sort of unwholesome greenish tinged yolk. Before going to check it out, we wanted another search of the barrels in the basement – and learned that some of them DID have the cross-hatch markings that Goblinfour had revealed to us that indicated goblin water.

It also further explained the party – people were drinking a mix of goblin water and alcohol – so they were getting the negative mental effects but none of the long term beneficial ones as the alcohol was counteracting it almost immediately. We ate lunch and then moved on to the homesteads.

After talking with the Conner and Ericks farms, we were able to learn that the homesteads have switched their chicken feed over the last 6 months to dried corn – something not grown locally but is much better for the poultry. The price has been coming down each tradeday until it was at a paltry 1 and a half nobles for a 20# odd bag of feed. Who supplies it? Johan Smith of course.

Flimflam purified each of the bags and instructed the farmers to keep him informed if Johan comes back to sell some of the corn again. We also thought about how we would grow some locally or maybe come up with another possible caravan source of it for the farms.

As for the Sperthik family – that was entirely different. Giselle, one of the main antagonists in the teen anarchists, was responsible for having her family beaten and tied up, dumped in the root cellar for 2 days before they were run off. The locals were not trusting of the Sperthiks, almost all of their livestock and seed stock had been eaten by the youths that crashed on the homestead of the 2 days – and they had no way of paying this upcoming tax burned next month. Master Sperthik was going to go to Baron Taugis, sell back his Homestead, take what seedmoney he could from it, and then caravan the rest of his family either westward to Orland and Waterdale, or consider it a loss and head back to serfdom in Gul and Argosility.

We then detoured to the Herbalist and gave her some of the corn, shared some of the latest news, and moved on to prepare for our trip back to Mahr’s Tower tomorrow. Link, Ben and Urthar were happy to rejoin us and we then went to hire Codron and Hagan to guard our camp and horses during the day. Supplies were bartered for (still no Sern’s General  Store) and we rested well that night.

Leaving bright and early at 7 AM we set off towards Mahr’s Tower, the air already warm and temperature going to rise to 90 and then some. We arrived there @ 11, set up a camp @ the stables, had some water from the basement brought over, and entered the tower ready once again @ 11:30.

Our passage through here before seemed to have been erased. Drawers and doors we had left open were now closed, the gargoyles were again in full repair and watchful. Even the couch we had smashed against the closed door 2 or 3 days earlier was once more back in the hallway and showing no sign of wear other than age.

With care we made our towards the 4th floor but it was just shy of the landing, maybe 6 steps, that 2 sets of disembodied glowing eyes and oversized hands appeared and menaced Fergus and Mummus who turned tail and ran. The phantasm’s gave brief chase and then stopped, fading away. Ok, spectre? Evil spirit? Illusion? No one was sure, so Fist’al was willing to go up (with Fergus to guard) to check it out. He spent some time searching and did discover some sort of arcane trigger across the entirety of the 5th stair that seemed to summon the ghosts.

He tried to remove its effect by scratching a line between the arcane couplets, but failed and the hands and eyes appeared again, so the party retreated once more. This time it was thought to step past the 5th step and Fergus volunteered for it. He stepped exaggeratedly past the 5th step upward and leaned in – disappearing from there and reappearing facing the other way halfway down to the 3rd landing. He wind-milled his arms and fell – down two flights of stairs.

Hurt and breathing hard, he shuffled himself to a sitting position in time to see one of the gargoyles marching towards him. Cursing his luck he clambered up the stairs with the gargoyle following behind. At the 3rd floor, he and Mummus picked up the heavy couch, held it ready, and when the gargoyle came into view, hurled it DOWN the stairs at the stony foe and sent both of them crashing down to the 2nd floor again – this time broken and unable to pursue.