The Temple of Elemental Evil
Unlike Dan, I’m not a published author. I’m just an engineer trying to make his way through life. So I apologize for all grammatical errors and my complete inability to use a semicolon. I also wander between first-person and third-person perspective. I won’t even bother to apologize for spelling mistakes.
I attempted to reduce my opinions but there are still some left. If any of those opinions offend anyone, sorry about that.
There’s a bit of a bias towards G’Kar’s glories and failures mainly because 3-4 days later when I get around to writing these, things that happened to my character tend to have stuck in my mind better. If you want better representation for your character, write your own summaries.
Occasionally there are summaries based on inputs from other people for games I missed. So if there’s content you don’t like, maybe somebody else wrote it.
A special thanks to Brian Wade for running this game for 3 years.
The cast of characters:
Rock Gnome Wiz, Guild Artisan (Alchemy) Background. Likely to go with Transmutation Arcane Tradition. (I thought this might fit best with Alchemy?) Jebeddo started as labor for the guild making inks, and became a mixologist, also making potions and alchemical mixtures. Because of his ability he was hired constantly by mages and clerics. Some mages who realized my magic potential let him trade my expert inking and alchemy ability for Wizard training. After years of working with inks and mixtures, the constant exposure has stained his skin (esp. hands and face) a slightly blotchy blue discoloration. He's self-conscious of this and whenever he can he wears gloves and scarves and cowls to hide his skin. He is hoping that with magic he can one day permanently erase the discoloration."
Jon (Nim) also has a Gnome who took one level of Cleric to get armor et al and then will stay with evocation wizard. He also has a scholar, alchemist background. He has a long lost brother (Nim) who’s been rumored in the area.
Dan (Kithri) has a Halfling who took one level of Barbarian to get rage and Con based AC bonuses et al and then will stay as a Druid with emphasis on combat shape-changing. She’s from a tribe that rides giant owls and has some sort of telepathy to mitigate the non-talking limitations of wild shapes. She recently escaped the Drow with Brian and Wade’s character.
Kithri Underbough grew up in her settlement of fellow Ghostwise Halfling in the Chandalwoods. Her community focused on being a part of nature and was unsurprisingly full of rangers and druids. A large portion of the clan’s military protection was the Nightriders, the elite warriors that bonded with giant owls and flew on them in defense of their community. During one such defensive action of the settlement, during the fierce fighting with raiders from a nearby human settlement, Kithri’s mount was slain. The breaking of this bond sent Kithri descending into a spiral of despair and anger. In order to protect those around her she left the settlement to "find herself".
Wandering aimlessly through the wilderness from forest, to desert to mountains she saw many wondrous vistas and strange animals, both monstrous and mundane. The sheer majesty of nature slightly took the edge of her rage soothing her soul, yet it wasn’t enough. Kithri still tended to obsess over her lost bondmate, attempting to deal with it by carving likenesses of her deceased bondmate into any available deadwood in the area during her travels. During her nomadic travels she often came across settlements either gone bad, hostile or through misunderstanding, conflict arose. To help assuage her anger she started to raid those she perceived as preying on innocents. Eventually, she was well known enough that she, whether deserved or not, had a reputation. Who can say if her targets were even as villainous as she thought. Since she mostly routed and terrified them (ghostly whispers in their head) before running screaming and hitting through their camps to get them to flee in terror, the stories mostly paint her as a "pirate/bandit". Ironically, combined with her penchant for leaving carvings of owls wherever she went it earned her the name "Raging Spirit Owl" or sometime just "The Spirit Owl".
After years of such wandering Kithri came across a drow raiding party. She attempted her tried and true methods, however the drow were more inured against fearsome creatures and she was quickly captured by the leader of the raiding party leader, Charlindra. Thus began years of captivity that ranged from being part of a zoo of oddities along with large varieties of monstrous aberration to simple monstrous or exotic animals. Once the visitors became bored with the mad frothing furious woman she was sold as a gladiator to an arena to fight against other slaves and animals as well as against monsterous animals in small teams. None of this helped curb her anger issues. Finally, despite her popularity with the crowds she was deemed too annoying to keep and was donated to the priesthood for a sacrifice. That way her owners could keep good relations with the priesthood and still get some benefits as her “fans” came to witness her final hours. She was rescued by Felyndiira, a Szarkai drow that had a bout of conscience and acted to rescue Kithri and her fellow captives. Now owing the rogue drow a life debt she is determined to follow her, hoping to repay her while trying to calm her ongoing rage which this turn of events has only made worse.
Wade (St. Deveer) was a Drow Warlock (fiend patron) who seemed to think she was a Paladin. Her pact blade was her magic hair. She seems to be trying to atone for the evils her father did. She also has voices in her head. She has now been cleansed from the evil corruption and has returned to her true self. A dex based Paladin with no levels in Warlock.
NOTE: My brother and I are Szarkai (Drow Albino) - minor appearance change, no ability changes.
"My story starts with my grandfather, Vizeran DeVir, a powerful Drow Wizard. Even as a male, his power earned him and his family a position of power and authority among the Drow of Menzoberranzan. Vizeran began to have religious visions...visions which did not feature nor even include Lolth...worse yet, he began to preach to others about these visions. His perceived heresy against Lolth destroyed his base of power and put him on the verge of ex-communication. Vizeran left shortly thereafter, following instructions from one of his visions.
NOTE: My (not entirely correct) memories of these visions were that they were of some Mystical Eye.
The above events nearly destroyed my family, leaving us destitute. To atone for my grandfather, my parent's left us with the intention of capturing or assassinating him. My siblings and I survived for several years as not much more than urchins. My sister, hungering for our family's previous position of power, pursued every possible lead that would get her even a tiny scrap more of magic. Her rapidly growing abilities in Sorcery brought the family back onto the fast-track to power.
On the other hand, I was demonstrating many undesirable traits. Worst among these being compassion, often sharing food with the young and helpless. This was despite any "coaching" provided by my older sister. My fellow urchins gave me the nickname of Saint, a not so subtle insult (which went right over my head) in return for the help. I found the "love of my life" (really a trickster and power hungry surface dweller that disappeared after he got what he wanted) and gave birth to twins. The scandalous half-elf children were sold individually to surface dwellers to hide the stain I put on our family honor.
I began having my own religious visions, but rather than my grandfather's visions of a Mystical Eye, I had visions of Eilistraee (Good aligned Drow goddess). Hoping to finally squash this bad habit, my sister brought me in on one of her newly assigned duties; questioning, torturing and sacrificing a group of explorers from the surface. Following instructions of "The Dark Maiden (aka Eilistraee), I displayed the unDrow-like trait of mercy and released then guided these intruders back to the surface. This was the point where I took up the name of Saint, my former insult-nickname, and quite literally don't recall going by any name previous to this.
Desiring to see the moon, the trees and many other things of beauty, I never returned. With a map from my Grandfather in hand (specifically of the Dessarin Valley) and guided by the voice of "The Dark Maiden" in my head, I too set off on the path used by my Grandfather many years earlier (giving me the Far Traveler background). Pledging to undo the evil of my Grandfather and also pledging my services to "The Dark Maiden" (Elistraee, Drow goddess of Light and Nature), I was in turn rewarded with budding Warlock powers.
Let's face it. Saint is quite literally insane at this point. Voices in her head to the point she believes she is a Paladin but actually performs as a Warlock. At least her Patron, the Dark Maiden, appears to have good intentions."
Andy has a Wood Elf Ranger (Isidor Dupre) who is switching back a forth with Rogue. His intent is to zoom around the battlefield, attacking the mages in the back ranks and do as much damage (using sneak attack) as possible. He’s a local folk hero, having lived in the area longer than anyone else, but I think he has some spy stuff in his background as well.
"My name is Braegor Blackmoon. My mother was a Drow princess of a noble house that had fallen from favor … at least that’s how I remember it. My memories of my young childhood are pretty hazy, and all that really stands out was the constant prejudice and persecution – being a half-breed among Drow was bad enough, being a bastard made it worse, and being from a family that was suspected of being “good” was worst of all. I survived the first several years of life by the grace of my mother, by being utterly paranoid, and through stealth and deceit.
Eventually, my Human father came to “rescue” me. He took me to Waterdeep, where he raised me among murderers and thieves, committed to developing the potential he saw in me. As I grew, as I became better and better at the various illegal and unpleasant tasks he set for me, I began to realize that he didn’t have my own best interests at heart. By the time I had entered young adulthood, I’d discovered that my father was a Warlock, and his patron was Lolth – which is probably what drew him to the Drow and, despite her goodness, to my mother. The seeds of good which she’d planted in me were struggling to blossom and grow even as my father was honing me into a tool for Lolth’s evil purposes. But the skills and talents I was learning could just as easily serve my purposes, and so I studied and learned, fought and killed, lied and stole, and waited. The last job he had for me was the acquisition of a book which he, and presumably Lolth, wanted destroyed. But instead of destroying it, I took it and fled north, hoping to start afresh, escape the clutches of my father, and find, perhaps in the book, some means of protecting myself from him and his patron."
Brian is a Half Elf Bard (Myrrdin) who is a Harper spy, specializing in going deep undercover. Previously he posed as a Half Drow but has now transition into a charming half elf to better serve the needs of the group. Who he really is, no one can say. It was eventually revealed that Braegor is his half-brother and St. Deveer is their common mother.
"Spirited away from my real parents when I was young, I was raised to be a deep-cover agent working for the Harpers (Unbeknownst to y’all) to . My known alias is that of a go-between negotiator of the less than savory variety. Having travelled with the rum and monkey enough times (as an agent working for your employer) the longer term members of your group know me to be a better man than my underworld reputation would suggest. (Was on an underdark mission to negotiate a surface to deep trade treaty when I uncharacteristically helped to smuggle Saint and her Halfling slave to safety).
While not a guard, per se, I never failed to fight alongside the rest of you when danger reared. Since I am between missions, I would like to help secure you some commissions to get your independent company off to a good start (and maybe earn some coin along the way)."
Dave Green has a Dragonborn Fighter (G’Kar) with heavy armor and a polearm. He’ll get to the combat superiority dice archetype at 3rd. His background goes back a ways but most recently, prior to caravan guard work, he was as a butler for a local noble family.
G’kar of clan Bathesar of the Fire Mountains
According to the Feruin material on the internet, the only Dragonborn homeland is on the east coast, far from the Sword Coast or Red Larch. Their land, ruled by a meritocracy, was reasonably prosperous although they had trouble finding trading partners due to their monstrous appearance. “Recently” one of their neighbors, ruled by wizards, attacked and has taken over the vast majority of their lands. I’ve decided to key on this “once great now downtrodden” aspect. It made me think of those dragonish aliens (Narn) in Babylon 5 and so I’ve taken the name of the Ambassador G’Kar character.
He was the child of an important noble family (Clan Bathesar) but when the war with the wizards went poorly, the country was overrun and his life was upended. (He’ll have a built in distrust of mages from this.) Most of his family was probably killed but he was too young to be a threat. He was sold into slavery, which is common back there, to work in the mines of Gamora. As a teen, he saved the life of a visiting merchant. That merchant from the west bought him and turned him into a general laborer. Since you could not hold a slave in the west, he was an indentured servant. G’kar worked hard, and being relatively intelligent (for a mine slave) and from a noble family, he worked his way into the household staff. Eventually he paid off his debt but having no marketable skills and no other home, he stayed on.
One day a merchant Kerbin Dellmon and his wife Gydia from Red Larch visited and the wife took a liking to him. (I’m shoehorning here to link up with a family in Red Larch.) She had never seen a Dragonborn and being small, it amused her to think such a monster could be at her beck and call. Mistress Glydia convinced her husband to hire him away. He became part of their household staff as their butler. He stayed on for 10 years, being the only pseudo-family he’d had in a long time. The husband never liked him and continually reminded him of his low station. The oldest son, Perd thought like his father however his two little kids, Lvi and Thrade grew up to think he was “cool” and enjoyed using him in their games. The oldest daughter, Dreena was embarrassed by him, forbidding him to show his “lizard face” when her friends were around. She probably more tolerant now that she’s older. The youngest son, Fyndrick used him as a monster in his fighting games during which G’kar actually learned a thing or two about fighting. But then Glydia died. Kerbin was eager to rid himself of G’Kar but didn’t want to upset his grandkids so he gave G’Kar the “opportunity” to find other employment, getting him a job as a caravan guard. Whether he was hoping the high mortality rate of the position, especially for a butler, might rid him of him for good is debatable. But G’Kar has survived and succeeded, once again tapping into that inner strength that has kept him going these many years.
His key aspect is “proud but defeated”, obviously a conflicted statement. He is striving to claw his way back up from nothing. He’s utilizing his natural strength to become a fighting man to survive. A little vengeance someday might be nice too. I expect there are groups of ex-patriots in the world at large that he can interact with. He is uneducated and can only read a little bit and generally unexperienced in that he’s been living on estates for the last 15 years and worked in mines before that.
As for background, I would like to create a Servant. Skills needed would be Persuasion which covers etiquette among other things and Insight which covers anticipating someone’s needs. (Both are on the Fighter list, by the way.) For feature, I’d go with Connected in the sense that he knows both upper class (former employers and guests) and lower class (former servants and working-class in town) however he doesn’t really belong in either camp. He’d pick up Elvish, being a servant of the upper crust. No tools come to mind for a servant so I’d like to take woodcarver. He’s a whittler in his spare moments and likes to give little figures to the kids in the area. Personality: Proud but defeated. Ideal: Self-improvement, one step at a time. Bond: I protect my clan, whether they be family or teammates. Flaw: Protects the downtrodden (since he once one.)
To “justify” the polearm feat, I added the following enhancement to my history. The Bathesar Clan of the Fire Mountains is known for their squads of heavily armored fighters using a Draken Klaue (Dragon Claw in the common tongue) which is equivalent to the glaive. G’Kar was too young to fight but did get some training in this hereditary weapon and has continued to train with it over the years. I picture the technique with a lot of twirling which requires more upper body strength than dexterity.
We are based in the town of Red Larch on the north part of the western coast. We all were/are in a caravan guarding business called the Rum and Monkey. It is a company that has been around for decades however due to turnover G’Kar is currently (reluctantly) in charge mainly because he’s been with them the longest. Bad things are happening in the area so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to try to get to the bottom of it. It might be good for business but it’s bad for our health and the health of those in the area. Various characters have various ties into this evil cult on the rise.
Game 1 – 1/15/16
While talking to the town constable and butcher, he mentioned he had a lead on a group of bandits including the location of their current camp. The Rum and Monkey squad volunteered to investigate. No stinking badges were provided. Several of the spy-like characters started to discretely slip out of town as to avoid tipping off any bandit friendlies in the town. Jon’s Gnome decided to announce their intentions of saving the town with fanfare and fireworks so it didn’t work out so well for the spies. The heroes traveled south.
The Ranger and Rogue scouted ahead and spotted the camp. There were a half dozen bandits plus a bear in a cage. They circled around to the trees on the other side while the rest walked into the camp. They, of course, denied being bandits. “Yeah, those bandits are the worse.” Some town crates were spotted. G’Kar finally concluded the chit chat by telling them they’d have to come in for questioning. Initiative! The heroes had them out numbered and out gunned. The bear was never freed. That said, despite their massive offensive advantage, their meager 1st level hit points meant those that were hit, were hurting from that one shot.
All but one bandit was killed. Some time was spent on how to release the bear without being mauled by it. Eventually it was decided that it only a matter of time before it bashed its own way out so they just left it. The bodies and booty were loaded up and they returned to town. The constable promised a quick unbiased trial followed by an equally quick unbiased execution for the bandit. The loot was sold and divvied up. Some cash was added to everyone’s sheet. Wade decided to accelerate the progression and granted enough experience so that we made 2nd level. Next game is on the 29th.
Game 2 - 1/29/2016
G’Kar and the Rogue went to question the captured bandit from last time. After some good cop bad cop, he revealed that his gang had recently moved up to the area, hearing that the bandit business was good. He hadn’t been around long enough to have any contacts or inside men, he claimed. Jon cast his find familiar, an owl. Dan’s Barbarian switched to Druid. Jon’s Wizard switched out of his Cleric and into his true Wizard class. The Bard talked to his Harper contact. He said a local kid said he saw a ghost in the hills to the northwest. Yikes. The Harper said he heard that there were goblins up there. Much better. The Bard then went to a town elder in hopes of getting hired to deal with it. This town is too small to have enough government in place to hire anyone. He managed to get him to agree to pay him (us) with a small shiny rock to introduce him to the concept of paying us. Maybe next time we’ll all get shiny rocks? We headed off to deal with these goblins.
We found an ancient dwarven tomb carved into the side of a hill. We talked about searching the area before moving in. I’m not sure if that happened but they didn’t do a good enough job anyway. The door was rigged so that anyone bigger than a goblin would make a big noise going in. Dan’s Halfling slipped in and tried to disarm it but failed. We moved into a big room. There we met a ghost. Yikes again. He told us to get out. The Bard heeded that advice and left. The rest started arguing/questioning the ghost in initiative order. He claimed no goblins had come in this far. Maybe they were just using the hall portion. And then the Bard was attacked outside. He got lucky in that he got missed a couple of times. He still took a major hit with a javelin. He ran back in to warn the rest. So we fell for their trap. Out smarted by a goblin! The shame! We now had 3 half orges and a goblin waiting for us outside and an angry ghost inside.
Movement being limited, the first round everyone positioned themselves towards the entrance, ready to attack. It was soon obvious they weren’t coming in. The Warlock sent out a distracting Dancing Lights spell. The Rouge used his new “free disengage” ability to dash out, avoid the attack of opportunity and make for the trees. Dave’s gnome used his Expeditious Retreat spell which gave him a free dash and did much the same. G’Kar went next and, embolden by the fact that there were now 2 friendlies outside, just went out and engaged one. They went next but with 3 targets instead of just one, no one was killed. The rest came out as they could. The fight only took a round or two. The goblin ran for it. With the fast Ranger and the magically dashing Gnome going after him, he didn’t get away. We returned to town. The Bard got his rock and gave it to the kid who saw the ghost. We left the ghost where it was. The local tavern owner asked us to investigate something nearby offer some gold for our services. Our Bard negotiated adding a fine meal and we agreed. So next time. A small amount of exp and cash was awarded.
Game 3 - 2/12/2016
Minor shopping was done. The group had to briefly deal with a pre-breakfast time kitchen fire at the Swinging Sword (seems to have been an accident rather than something nefarious). Then they made their way to Lance Rock and eventually a cave with several rooms with zombies/skeletons (suggesting a necromancer is at the end). The group accidentally (sort of) triggered two simultaneous encounters about 100 feet apart. The group with just the Bard and the Warlock got their asses kicked (both put to zero, but the Bard managed to roll a natural 20 on his first death save, so he got away), but the larger part of our group rescued them after easily (mostly) dealing with their encounter. Got 110 exp or so. Treasure amounts to maybe 6 short bows and short swords.
Game 4 - 2/26/2016
The company decided to take a short rest in one of the rooms with only one entrance. Nothing disturbed their rest. Self-healing was taken by the wounded and some good berries consumed. They took the south fork and luckily avoided the trap to the north. They entered a large room with bodies and limbs, 3 stone tables and one cloaked zombie. People piled in and discovered a large number of skeleton archers on the far side of the room. As they looked for cover, the body parts animated and attacked. And then the necromancer showed up and tossed a spell. People started to fall back, taking cover behind the tables. The zombie withstood 3-4 killing blows with his “why won’t he fall” zombie power. People started to panic.
The spellcasters were quickly out of “good” area effect spells but even though the body parts did decent damage, they only had two hit points and they got cleared out pretty fast. The skeleton’s effectiveness was diminished by the cover from the tables which everyone got behind pretty fast. (Good thing that necromancer didn’t have a fireball as we were pretty tightly grouped.) The company traded fire as they advanced. Once in hand to hand, they were dispatched. The guy in charge fled after a couple of rounds. Once again the Bard was the only one to be dropped.
After a quick search and some good berries, they chased down the necromancer. He was vastly outnumbered and was dispatched after a round and a half. He had goggles (of night which went to G’kar), a wand (of Magic Missile that went to Jeb), and a healing potion (that went to the Bard). There was a statue (illuminated by a light sphere that went to the Druid) that had the same symbol as the Warlock’s map. His spell book was much desired by the wizards but after hours of searching, it was not found mainly because he was a cleric and didn’t own one. (It would have been too great a reward at these levels anyway.) Wade wanted to play the journey back to town so we finished there. We need to find a pearl worth 100 gp so that Jon can cast his identify ritual when we get there. The good news is that it isn’t consumed by the spell. A portion of the treasure, taken off the top, was allocated for this. More experience was given but not enough for 3rd level yet.
Game 5 - 3/11/2016
Our heroes decided to overnight in the cave of the necromancer, once the body parts had been burned, rather than face the exhaustion rules trying to return to Red Larch. The head was preserved in a bloody sack as proof of their success. During the night a group of birdmen showed up to rid the valley of the necromancer evil once and for all. There was 30 minutes of clever banter before reaching that conclusion. Once informed of his defeat, friendly introductions were made. They were from the mountains. They spent the night, served a delicious breakfast of seeds and bugs, and the two groups went their separate ways. Both agreed to stay in contact although I’m not sure if the details got worked out on how to do that. They avoid cities and consider the tiny town of Red Larch to be one. The other thing that happened is that Nim asked them about his brother Nim (pronounced Nim not Nim. I guess it’s a Gnome thing.) that disappeared in this area. They did know him and last they heard; he was leading a team into the nearby mountains to the north. Nim was eager to follow up on this lead.
Once in town, most went to take a bath to get the stink of corpses off them. They then went to the tavern to get their reward. (She did not want the head, by the way.) Nim led some to the market where they purchased a pearl for his identify spell. They met a dim witted half orc who sort of guards the market. Grund? They went back to the rooms to cast. The goggles were indeed goggles of night. The sphere was a bit more than just light. In addition to continual light, once a day it can cast a daylight spell. It can also be commanded to float besides the carrier and will follow. Neat. The wand was of magic missile. It has 7 charges and recharges 1d6+1(?) per night. One charge cast a 1st level up to 3 charges for a 3rd level. Dave pointed out that since 1st gets you 3 missiles and 3rd gets you 5 missiles, it’s not likely to be used for anything but a 1st. Still awesome and technically usable by any class.
G’Kar led a group to the “mayor” and inquired about a house for rent or purchase. Since this seems to have become a base as they transition from the caravan guarding business to the Red Larch guarding business, they were hoping to save on lodging costs. There didn’t seem to be any guidance on the cost of a house in the books. (And whatever arbitrary number Wade came up with, we wouldn’t be able to afford it anyway.) There was a big house, two story with a basement and attic, near number 13 on the map but not pointed to by 13. Wade decided it was owned by number 13 but not in use. It was in fair shape. Rent of 20 gp per month was agreed on with an option to buy. (In a month we’ll be 15 level and living in a castle in the clouds anyway.) They started moving in. The (not attending Bard) was put in charge of hiring people to start fixing it up. Nim was eager to head into the mountains to find his brother but the adventure happened before they could leave.
A large sink hole developed very near number 13 on the map. Oh the PC trouble magnet irony. Several kids fell in. As the players leapt into action, several town elders tried to talk them out of acting. “We’ll take care of it. Nothing to see here.” The Ranger threw a rope at G’Kar and climbed in. Several followed suit. There was a stone cut corridor now exposed. The kids were rescued. More town elders showed up to try to get the players out. One was questioned by the Rogue but he revealed nothing. The rope was tied off and guarded by the not attending Bard. The elders ran off. Jeb was itching to follow them to the airport but decided to stay with the adventure. Everyone joined in on the dungeon crawl.
The first room had some Wade rats chewing on some bodies. No attempt to avoid them was made and Nim just started firing. Several characters got munched. Berries were consumed but no short rest was needed. The next hall had two dwarf statues acting as doors. If you recall, there are some dwarven ruins in the nearby hills. The next room had a stone floating in the middle of it. Some investigations were made. It seemed to be an ordinary stone and an extraordinary spot where anything would defy gravity. The next room had a large dwarven warrior statue on a pedestal. It seems to have been reconstructed from several big pieces and held together with a wooden frame work. It had a plaque like one would see in a museum with a date of about 30 years ago. G’Kar recalled that the quarry was opened around that time. There was a circle of gravel around it about 5 feet away. Inside that circle were coins, a ring and a nice dagger. Nim tossed a coin in, declaring we were only here to help and not to disrespect. Jeb decided to cast detect magic requiring 10 minutes. The dagger was indeed magical as was the ring but nothing else in the room was. He grabbed the dagger and noticed some writing on it. Wade told him but not us. Right then, the door G’Kar was guarding, burst open.
They faced about 10 thugs. Luckily they rolled really poor on initiative. St. D. fired. People moved to attack however one of them was that dim witted half orc. These were likely townsfolk so we weren’t sure what to do. Nim cast sleep but only affected 3, one of which saved. They certainly had murder in their eyes. In the room they came from was a child on a stone altar, restrained by large stones on his limbs. This, plus other hints from Wade, led us to believe we should fight. Things were going pretty well until they got to go. They employed intelligent (i.e. player) tactics, concentrating their attacks on one guy. That guy was G’Kar. He took 3 straight hits, 20, 17, 17 and then thankfully two misses, dropping him from 22 to 2. Screw subdual! Kill them!
By the time G’Kar went again, his allies had managed to drop those engaging him. He backed away, using his second wind to recover 3 whole hit points. They had crossbows and spells (and wand charges) were used against them. The half orc was trying to get everyone to stop fighting so he was subdued. The last bandit was asleep and therefore unharmed. We stopped there since it was 1:30. What a mess. Only G’Kar was in the red but spells were depleted. No chance for a short rest. Maybe we’ll use that potion of healing if the Bard shows up. We’ve got two guys to question, which will get us nothing, and then to deal with. Have we ruined our standing in the town? How many are in on this and what are they up to? We know that some of the townspeople were surprised and confused by the sink hole and the elders pleas to keep us out of it so I think not everyone is in on it. Some sort of evil cult or maybe just a conspiracy to cover up treasure extraction? Secret society at any rate.
Game 6 - 3/28/2016
(We started the night with retroactive play to bring Brian into the game. This sort of nullified what we had said he was doing last time but whatever. This also allowed Wade to inject some extra information.) When the sink hole opened up, he was on the other side of town being hired to find some missing merchants from the north. He arrived about the time the town elders that Jeb wanted to follow, ran off in a huff. The Bard decided to follow them. He saw them head into the “thug hotel” and lead the thugs the rest of the players would soon fight, out. They headed to a shop and down into a secret tunnel into these caverns. The Bard followed them in the shadows (amazing what you can do when you’re not rolling) and caught up just in time to miss the fight. So these were hired thugs and not townspeople so it’s not as bad as we might have feared. I.e. we didn’t kill the barber’s son.
The child was freed, given a berry to offset his starved state, and questioned. He is the son of a town elder and was being punished for failing to deliver a note between two of the “believers” fast enough. He provided a list of townsfolk who are believers. He said that there were “delvers” down here that were not to be disturbed. The original occupants? Dwarven spirits? He said that the elite believers interpreted the moving stones and provided guidance based on that. (Seems like a scam.) We told him his punishment was over and he should go home. He was concerned his father would be displeased so we told him to avoid home for the rest of the day. Sometime during this, G’Kar spotted someone peeking through the last door but since any surprise was long since passed, it didn’t really matter. Lastly the thug and the half orc were just left tied up, figuring it just wasn’t worth the time to question them. They weren’t likely going to know or say anything useful since one was dim witted and the other was a hired gun.
We opened the last door and found an older townsman cowering in the corner. He was just “working for the man” and didn’t know much of anything. Soon enough, we just let him go. That corridor opened up into a huge room with many huge boulders lying about. According to Wade, they were supposed to be moving but the game mechanics of that were too much so that aspect was ignored. They still caused plenty of problems. We heard a booming voice commanding us to “leave, you are not believers”. Some characters claimed to be believers but once people started moving in, initiative started.
The priest was not in view so the high initiative rollers cautiously moved into the room. When he went, he cast the 2nd level AE Shatter spell doing serious damage to our spellcasters in the back. Nim went out, Jeb was hurt but must have saved because he dragged his fellow gnome to safety. A couple others were also hurt. The net effect was that almost half the group was down to a handful of hit points, including G’kar who was still down from last time, and the rest were worried. This guy was walking on the ceiling, using the boulders and distances for cover, and hard to spot. People moved in at their respective rates, spreading out for fear of another AE, and trying to get a shot at him. He cast two more Shatters and by the end, over half the group had been out. Eventually people got across the room and cornered him. The quick footed Ranger continued to save every time but couldn’t seem to hit him with his bow. The priest opened a secret door to flee but the Ranger managed to grapple him for a round or two to keep him around long enough for the Warlock to finish him off with her cantrip.
He had splint mail which, once adjusted for size, is a heavy armor upgrade for G’Kar and some coinage. Some of the coinage was from the north which might tie into those missing merchants. The dagger found in the other room was a +1 and will glow when its name was said. The Ranger took that since he can use it in his off hand. There was also a ring of mind shielding. It blocks spells that try to read minds, detect lies, know alignment, etc. It sounded pretty great except that it doesn’t work against skills, only spells, and if 7 of us have thoughts of killing the evil cultists, and one is shielded, it’s not really going to help much. It went to the Rogue but could have also been nice for the Bard. (Their spy concepts are very similar.) We took a short rest in case we had to fight our way out. I’m not sure if we’ve left yet. I’m not sure where we go from here. Obviously, despite our list of believer town elders, we’re going to have to be on our guard in this town from now on. That’s assuming we’re not railroaded out of town on trumped up charges or killed in our sleep.
Game 7 - 4/8/2016
After some debate about what to do, and much discussion about their new 3rd level powers and spells, the heroes emerged from the sink hole to the general cheers of the townsfolk. Many questions were asked and some answers given, mostly out of character. Despite the urge to start shopping to fulfill the needs of the new level, they headed to the sheriff. They stopped by to talk to the Bard. He had left earlier via the secret door he came down from, and headed to the house to recharge his health. He reminded them of the missing envoys from the north that the sheriff had asked their help in searching for and the tie in to the priest who was carrying some of that currency. The sheriff was very concerned by these serious accusations. To my personal surprise, he and the rest of the town sided with the relatively new arriving players and against the established town elders. Evidently they had been using their influence to enhance their businesses and standing in the town for some time. This was the last straw. They were demoted, publicly sanctioned and some put in the public stocks. So not much of anything. The Ranger resized the dead priest’s armor for G’Kar. The Rogue commissioned a large banner with the Rum and Monkey logo and hung it on the rented house. The wizards bought new spell components for their new spells.
The last known location of the missing envoys was in a small village of Beliard to the north east on the other side of the Sumber Hills. This also happened to be more than halfway to the last known location of Nim’s missing brother. Immediately upon entering the hills, they were stopped by a group of barbarians that didn’t speak common. Or any other known language. It was obvious they wanted them to go around. I believe Paul suggested the Bard use his performance skills to act out their desired to simply pass in peace. After an aided high roll, they agreed. There may have been a promise of handing over the Drow Warlock as a bride but it was hard to tell. At the end of the day, they camped by a small pond. We joked that this is likely a common camp site, being exactly one day out of Red Larch. During the first watch, a party of 6 half water elementals arrived and demanded the usual, we want to fight, stuff. The guarding Druid and the Fighter moved to protect the rest of the camp by heading them off on the edge of the pond. Various characters woke up at various times and rolled various initiatives.
So they had 4 girl thugs was swords, a cleric-ish and a mage-ish. The first thing that happened is that the cleric cast a massive Hail Storm (3rd level spell) over all the players that caused rough terrain (half movement), obscured visibility (disadvantage to hit and to be hit) and those that failed to save, fell prone. This dominated the fight from then on. The slow moving Gnomes were particularly screwed and it was frustrating for all, given that mobility and distance had such a big impact on the last fight as well. No one could make that save but someone quickly realized you could crawl prone at 1/3 rate and that got most out eventually.
A couple of things. Even though it really screwed with us, it did cause the thugs to avoid it and come around. This meant that when the Dire Wolf Druid and the Fighter got out, they were engaged with the two spell casters whose protection had just left. They, the mage in particular, spent more time casting defensive spells than doing much damage. Those two tried to take out the cleric to drop the Hail Storm spell but he made all his concentration checks (not a hard roll) but eventually he cast another concentration spell, right about the time the last player got out of the storm. The wizard cast invisibility and headed away but the Ranger hit him anyway. He missed his concentration roll and G’Kar got a free hit on him however it wasn’t enough and he just cast it again and was never caught. The thug’s swords did an extra 1D10 damage against unarmored foes, handy against all those who didn’t sleep in their armor. Several players were knocked out but several weren’t hit at all. All were vanquished except the mage. Next time, we were going to search the pond for treasure, thinking this was an important spot for them. I wonder if we can use those swords? So we didn’t make it too far.
Game 8 - 4/22/2016
We tried tracking the water elemental wizard to no avail. We did remember to mention searching the pond and Inksplutter used an Altered Self spell to produce gills and web fingers. He found waterproof crates with another symbol (water?) on them that contained a bunch of rations. Hey, free food! We then finished our long rest. The Bard spotted three giant birds at high altitude (perception roll of 21) just after dawn with humanoid riders (too high up to make out much details) flying north-by-northwest. They flew on, apparently uninterested in us.
We made it across the stone bridge into a smaller than Red Larch town. There, we found that the envoy had headed south intending to inter a deceased comrade in the next town’s cemetery? They had been watched by a monk in a golden mask, who left town an hour before they did. Also, five vulture riders were seen following the envoy’s caravan.
Apparently Nim’s brother Nim was also seen in this town with other gnomes. Much hilarity ensued (not really) as the town folk kept mistaking our Nim for his twin. The brother Nim apparently headed north into the hills a few weeks earlier and our Nim wanted to abandon our current mission to go find him. We took it to a group vote and while Nim and Saint voted to go north, the rest chose to continue our current trail.
So, heading south the next day we were “randomly” attacked by three Perytons (Stag headed big-birds). Myrddin rolled a 20 perception roll to warn the team (avoiding surprise, as everyone else rolled like 8 or lower). Andy was rolling horribly all night and had a 9 initiative. The Bard and Jebbado rolled 20+ initiative and each hit the Perytons with a Shatter spell. We made short work of them from that point.
Forty five minutes down the road (so the Bard could not finish a short rest and heal up the 10 points he took from the Perytons), five vulture riders attacked us. (Again, the Bard rolled over 20 in perception and initiative. Guess lying in the back of the cart he was staring up at the clouds or something). The leader of the riders was bearing down on the cart, so the Bard hit his vulture with a Dissonant Whisper (only did 5 pts damage but made the bird use its reaction to fly away from them). This gave them enough time to move the cart out of the immediate combat.
The vultures were nasty, each having multi-attack with pact tactics, so with advantage on every attack if you fought more than one. The riders, except the leader, weren’t all that effective. The leader attacked Saint, who threw up a Darkness. So none of us could help her. She managed to grapple the leader with her pact weapon whip (her hair), tying him up for a round or two.
Meanwhile, three vultures attacked our dire wolf druid. Jebbado decided it was worth shattering all of them, including Kithri. He did 12 dmg, with only 2 of the 7 targets managing to save for half. 60 pts to enemy and only 12 to our side! One of the vultures attacked our Ranger. Everyone went and did some damage. The next round the Bard jumped off cart and ran to get an angle to Shatter the vulture and rider on the Ranger, while also getting one vulture on Dan. This took out the rider (Andy had hit him the previous round) and one of Dan’s vultures. Andy then took out his vulture, while Nim scorched one of the riders fighting Kithri.
The leader flew out of the darkness to see what is what. Jebbado took out the wand and full autoed his vulture (six magic missiles). The mount died and the leader fell back into the darkness with a scary hair-wielding “Paladin”! Basically the rest was pure mop up. (I think we took the leader alive.) We found a map of the region with “The Spire” marked on it, not too far from Red Larch. This is roughly on a line from where the Bard initially saw the three bird riders flying from. Treasure amounted to nothing magic, and a bunch of throwing daggers.
Game 9 - 5/6/2016
The last surviving knight was questioned. Despite some good intimidation rolls, he didn’t have much to say beyond the usual, “I was just following orders”. Basically his squad patrols the area (evidently Wade had told us that the players regularly saw guys flying around the region) and had been told specifically to be on the lookout for anyone asking about the missing caravan. And kill them, evidently. He claimed not to know the fate of the caravan or why his superiors were interested. We intended to release him at some convenient point but he’s still with us. We headed back on the road to the cemetery and the Ranger spotted some shallow graves. We gave them a decent re-burial and rifled through their pockets. (They were already looted.) These were definitely part of the caravan. We also found a body that was prepared for ceremonial internment which we surmised was the body they were taking. We concluded, based on the lack of horses and goods, that the remainder were taken away and that there was no point in continuing to the town.
We followed them, with difficult tracking rolls, as they veered off the road away from the town and towards the Spire. Our Ranger’s knowledge of the local area helped manage our wagons through the rough terrain. Evening fell and we feared losing the trail so we stopped. At first watch (once again G’Kar lucked out and was wearing his armor) we were attacked by a random encounter of 4 stone plate wearing knights and 5 crossbowmen. Paul made a joke about needing “sleeping armor” which actually isn’t such a bad idea. If leather is okay to sleep in, we all need leather PJs. No long rest had yet been accomplished and the wizards were complaining although I think they still had enough left.
The Druid raged, changed and yelled a warning. G’Kar, who actually spotted them, rolled the low initiative again and just stood there. Everyone else woke up. The knights pounded the dire wolf repeatedly. The Warlock put up her Darkness field and coupled with the nearby pond, it really limited the mobility of all. Neither the water’s edge nor the darkness was really a barrier but everyone treated it as such. The knight’s AC was high and they got two attacks. It was a mostly an uneventful grind. Dan got knocked out of his dire wolf form but then just changed again the next round. (There was some debate between him and Wade as to whether he transforms into a druid with weapon and shield in hand or not but it was deferred.) I rolled terribly. I made 4 double attacks all night and only hit twice with the butt end. I rolled so bad, I didn’t even bother using my +1D8 to hit maneuver. I could have been better at using my powers but it was 45 minutes between turns and I was having trouble maintaining interest. The foes weren’t very interesting either.
No magic treasure and very little of anything earned, being a random encounter. The plate wasn’t really plate so we couldn’t use it. We did finally complete a long rest by morning. We started out anew, struggling to follow the trail however it seemed obvious we were heading to the Spire. We stopped the next day with an Orc attack coming. Wade claims we should be 4th before we reach the dungeon at the Spire. So maybe 4th soon.
Game 10 - 5/20/2016
Another late start due to the remote access technology, this time getting Jon hooked up. Once again, once we got it all working, it worked well enough although Jon kept losing his Skype connection. The game started with a group of angry orcs charging the heroes while they packed up after breakfast. According to those that could understand orcish (the Ranger) they said something about relinquishing our women and valuables. (The fight quickly bogged down with discussions about how Dan’s wild shape and rage should work in tandem. The upshot seems to be that because the barbarian must either take damage or make an attack each round to maintain his rage, Dan can’t shape change and rage in the same round because he wouldn’t have an action left to attack with. Rage and attack not rage and change.) The orcs were quickly routed. As they fled, the fast-moving characters cut them down. There was some discussion about letting a few go so that they could be tracked to their camp but since our primary mission was find the envoy’s party and not killing wandering orcs, they were just killed. No treasure as usual. The trail we had been following of the group we thought had attacked the envoy’s caravan was quickly lost in the hills. (One bad roll and you’re done.)
There was a debate as to what to do next. Evidence pointed to the aerial knights at the Spire but there was no known way to cross the river here. Trail or no trail. Either we could backtrack and re-cross the stone bridge in the north or proceed south to the next crossing. The suggestion of giving up and looking for Nim’s brother was rejected. Eventually, G’Kar was told to decide and he decided to proceed south to the town we were pretty sure the envoy’s party never made it to and see what could be learned. At least it’s new territory. The captured knight was still in tow. When allowed to speak, he expressed confusion. He was told to protect the caravan and attack any who asked about it (us) but it was becoming clear to him that we were looking to help/save the envoy. The Bard’s insight indicated that the knight was starting to doubt his orders. So perhaps not all the knights are “evil” and some of them are just being miss lead by their leaders.
The next town was a fortified paladin stronghold by the name of Summit Hall. The lady in charge was consulted. She was surprised by our charges of attack by the knights. In fact, several were in the town and she seemed to think they were noble enough. She added very little information when questioned. The caravan never got this far, as we figured. She did say that they were carrying some rare and expensive goods such as an ancient dwarven book. (Link to dwarven ruins in Red Larch?) She said there was indeed no way across the river here, especially with horses and wagons. Our would-be paladin was fascinated by these paladins and was perplexed as to why they were wearing heavy armor and not casting warlock spells. The captured knight was left there and was likely returned to his comrades. We decided to continue south to the bridge and then back up to Red Larch. The Spire can be reached from there as easily as anywhere and we’d probably be better off without the wagon and mounts this time.
At the next crossing, there was a small village by the name of Womford that, because of the “legendary bat”, locked their windows and doors at night. Across the bridge was a fortified keep called Bargewright Inn that only allowed people to come in at night by hauling them up the walls with ropes (for a fee) for the same reason. We decided to camp outside the village and take our chances with the “bat”. As camp was set up, a band of merry Halfling pilgrims came by. Our Halfling was sent out to greet them and it went so well, they decided to camp with us. The players expressed their usual paranoia. That night 6 of them turned into jackal beasts. (Paranoia justified again!) They had a “save or fall unconscious” power and did decent damage however their main power was that they ignored non-magical damage. That caused some concerned but we had more than enough spell power to deal with them. The martial guys couldn’t do much. G’Kar breathed fire (once) and the Ranger used his magic dagger. The Druid reverted back to Halfling and cast spells. The Rogue couldn’t do anything but the fight only lasted 2-3 rounds so he wasn’t ineffective for long. They were dispatched. G’Kar made a lore roll and declared that these were not true “were” creatures so there was no risk of infection. We continued on to Red Larch. So we did the grand circle around the valley but accomplished very little in 4 game sessions. No treasure and still 3rd level.
Game 11 - 6/3/2016
They left Red Larch and headed to the spire which is situated in a small valley of a tributary of the Desseran River. There they hooked up with those good birdmen who have had this valley under surveillance for some time. From them and their own investigations the players learned some things. Some sort of ritual occurs where innocents captured by the 4 groups of the valley (4 elements) are lead into a heavily fortified (i.e. don’t attack here yet) dungeon gate at the bottom of the valley. The victims never come out. This has been happening less often and the conclusion was that whatever they are up to is getting closer to completion. It takes 4 elemental keys to open that gate. (I.e. we need to defeat 4 groups to get the keys to gain entry) They also learned that people are occasionally flung from the tower to their deaths. (Everyone needs a hobby.) The tower is built on the top of a natural spire. The only way in, short of flying, is across the narrow draw bridge or climbing up the spire from the valley floor.
In the course of the night they fought 4 Gnolls, 1 Featherknight mounted again on a vulture and 2 Griffins. I think the gnolls and knight were a patrol they tried to avoid but ended up fighting. At one point they tried to hide in a cave and found the griffins. They found two Griffin eggs which St. took ownership of. She returned to Red Larch because it was determined that they would need 16 hours a day care for the next 1-3 weeks to insure they hatch. What the plan is after that, I’m not sure. The rest decided to return as well in order to hook back up with G’Kar and Nim to increase their firepower before another assault. Whether they will wait for the eggs to hatch or leave St. behind will be debated.
Game 12 - 6/17/2016
As suspected, we spent a lot of time discussing what to do with the griffin eggs. Various arguments about practicality, treasure allotment, value of selling, etc were voiced but ultimately it came down to the fact that Saint had “bonded” with them, triggering deep-seated issues in her background and she simply could not be talked out of it. So we hired some servants for the house and tried to move on. When late-arriving Jon got there, he was stunned that we hadn’t decided to sell them. We then debated the best way to assault the feathergale knights’ tower. Based on the evidence last time, it seems pretty clear they were evil and in need of destruction.
There were two options, talk our way in or sneak our way in. The Bard had been asked by someone in Waterdeep to inquire about one of their recruits. While a possible option, it didn’t seem likely to us that they’d let one bard with a letter and his 7 heavily armed friends into the tower. (Evidently, that is how the module was written but perhaps it makes more sense with 4 characters than 8.) The fear was that the talks would break down and we’d be fighting flying guys on the narrow drawbridge over a 200-foot drop. The other option was to sneak in. Either we could sneak in across (or under) the draw bridge (not likely) or climb up from the valley below. Someone pointed out that the Druid could change into a giant spider that could climb without a roll, has a decent stealth skill and could carry two characters at a time. We went with that plan. Sneak as close as possible to the base of the spire and then go up, two at a time.
Since the spider didn’t have to roll, she couldn’t fail so she carried everyone up, two at a time. First were the stealthy guys, then the not stealthy guys and lastly the heavy really unstealthy dragonborn. While that climbing was occurring, the first load Bard and Nim looked to enter into one of the barn doors at the bottom of the tower. He bravely leaped from ledge to ledge, not realizing until several rolls were made that it was much tougher and dangerous than he was visualizing. He was trying to find an unoccupied room. (It occurred to me, after the fact, that Jon’s familiar could have been helpful at this time.) Eventually, the animals sensed something and started to make noise and that got the attention of their human caretakers. He then opened the current door and faced a hippogriff.
Initiative started but the hit point buffers (G’Kar and the spider) were still on the valley floor. They missed the first 3-4 rounds of combat. The hippogriff was killed quickly as everyone else moved into the room. (The Rogue climbed up to a window at the next level which was an empty barracks.) When a knight headed to the door, they started blasting in the center main room. Some squires were there but they didn’t have any armor and few hit points so they didn’t last long. The knights were tougher with good armor and 2 attacks. The level was cleared and we paused. It was 12 and Brian and Jon wanted to go no later than 1. Wade was confident we could finish in an hour. (lies!) So we pressed on.
Next, a squad of knights and better-armed puds headed down the stairs. The rogue slipped in behind them but unfortunately, the head guy then stormed in behind him. Luckily he used his rogue moves to get out of that spot the next round. That guy was tough. He had 3 attacks and spells and it turns out a magic draken klaue (glaive) and a magic breastplate. Everyone pretty much targeted him although the spellcasters were running short of spells. The Bard hit him with his Heat Metal. Late arriving G’Kar was rolling great and did tons of damage. Two more knights and their mounts also showed up. When Nim got knocked out, Jon packed up and hit the road. Quickly on the ropes, the head guy used Misty Step to get near to the window and then jumped. People were worried he might get away but the next round the Heat Metal finished him off. Splat. Sometime after two, Brian asked if we could storyboard the last of it so he could kick us out and get 3 hours of sleep before his early morning. The last knight jumped out the window and we keep playing until he was killed (magic missile, eldritch blast, longbow) before he hit the ground. Good night.
After the fact, via email, Wade declared that we finally made 4th. We’ll have to level up next time but I suspect everyone has had plenty of time to think about what they’ll do so it’ll probably just be updating character sheets and hit point rolls. (Yeah, right.) We will also find the following treasure:
+1 Glaive (aka Draken Klaue)
Potion of Heroism
Scroll of Catapult (level 1 sorcerer, wizard)
Scroll of Beast Bond (level 1 druid, ranger)
Scroll of Skywrite (level 2 bard, druid, wizard)
Air Pendant -
1/4th of the key to the door in the valley
+ ring of feather falling
There is also treasure of ~110 GP each after ransacking the tower
Who gets what will be debated. We need to find and defeat 3 more conclaves but Wade says that they will present themselves through the course of play. We will have to debate the 8 flying mounts and this tower as well. Do we sell or mount up? Do we move in?
Game 13 - 7/1/2016
We spent a bunch of time discussing various options for people for the new level and updated our online character sheets. We also argued the merits and risks associated with moving into this tower. Eventually, the “let’s be reasonable” arguments lost out to the “It’s DnD. What the hell. Let’s go for it” arguments.
We searched the tower and found the magic items previously discussed. The pendant went to the Druid, the glaive to the Fighter and the breastplate went to the Ranger. In addition, some gliding cloaks that gave the wearer the equivalent to featherfall to aid in flight training were found. Each has 3 charges and there were enough for everyone. Jebado used his detect magic ritual to scourer the whole tower. There was also an extensive search for secret doors but none were found. It came to light that this tower is hundreds of years old, likely built by the dwarves, and these riders had only recently moved in. No more people were found nor any maps. There was a letter from a fabled, winged elf queen to the head guy, congratulating him on their defeat of the stone cultists (?) and the capture of a noble from Waterdeep. No captive was found however this may be an indication that these 4 elemental factions are not as friendly as we might have thought.
We cleaned up the bodies and set up shop, picked rooms and mounts, etc. The Gnomes, and the Fighter got a vulture and the Rogue, Ranger, and Bard got a hippogriff. I don’t remember which the Warlock and Druid got. They were pretty equivalent. I think the vultures are stronger but the hippogriffs had a better con. The vultures were a bit more intelligent but not as pretty. The hippogriffs also have a decent ground speed. Flight training was started. A couple days later a merchant caravan came by on their "usual route". Our Bard bluffed them into thinking nothing had changed. “I’m the new guy. What’s the usual arrangement?” He bartered the unwanted captured arms and armor for supplies. We now have supplies for months including feed for the animals. A couple more days passed and 4 servants from Red Larch came by. Evidently the merchants went to Red Larch next and their description of the new Drow Bard at the spire made the people at the tavern think that we had moved in. (Since they were mostly (i.e. all) human and we are not human, tending towards way not human, I guess we shouldn’t have expected to fool anyone.) They headed over to offer their services. One of them is the 14 year old girl that is sweet on Myrrdin to complicate his life. Plus a cook, maid and handyman/stableman. Several characters took quick trips into town for various reasons. Myrrdin talked to the girl’s mother. Nim bought some sleeping armor. Etc. The Rouge got the Rum and Monkey banner.
After several weeks we achieved competence in the flying mounts. (No skill defined in the system so no skill needed.) We decided to follow up on the search for Nim's brother and fly off to the mountains to the north east. Wade figured we could make double time in the air. It would still take a couple days. On the first day, we spotted a burning farmhouse. We landed and saved the owner and livestock but not the house or barn. G’kar used to live in the area and recognized the farmer. The orcs had taken his wife and some household goods. The Ranger easily tracked the 4 orcs and they were quickly overtaken on foot. They had a cart of loot being pulled by two exhausted farmers. The orcs were dispatched without much issue although some spells were used. The wife was saved and the two farmers, freed. Evidently orcs have been raiding the area and all the farmers were gathering at the biggest estate for safety and possible joint action. We stopped there with the intent of flying to the estate next. By the way, this is the estate where G'kar used to be the butler. (I need to review the character history I wrote 7 months ago.) Next game is tentatively scheduled for the 5th of August.
Game 14 - 8/5/2016
St. Deveer elected to escort the farmers on foot to the Dellmon Ranch while the rest of the players flew. (I believe Brian was looking to reduce his workload, given the large numbers of orcs we were about to fight, however, with one Wizard and the Bard already missing, it left us very short on spell power.) A 10 foot high wooden palisade had been constructed between the main 3 buildings, creating a defensible perimeter. The players landed outside and requested entrance. The guard was new and did not recognize G’Kar but soon members of the Dellmon family did and let everyone in. They were mostly farmers with pick forks with a few fighting folks including most of the Dellmon family and a couple of other adventure types including a Paladin from the north. G’Kar had some discussions with the family to link into his background but it didn’t really impact anything. Basically orcs were invading from the northern hills. Someone said something about them being displaced which we should probably keep in mind.
There was some debate as to what to do. All agreed that someone should take to the air to get some intelligence. The main question was whether to take the players outside the walls and engage them in the field to save as many lives as possible (and engage them on our terms) or stay behind the walls, hit them with range weapons and converge on any breaches. The Ranger had some knowledge of their tactics and said they usually attack at dusk which was 10 minutes away. (Since they had darkvision and human don’t, I’d think at night would be better but I guess they have their reasons.) As we debated, Brian loaded the map with Orcs. He then shared the map and we instantaneously realized there were 80 orcs plus two clerics and one leader. So much for engaging them outside. To the walls! They popped into existence very close to the wall (i.e. on the map) so any plans of arrow fire was nullified. (Or assumed to have happened, I suppose.) Brian decided to split the battle in two, half going against the player’s side (30 plus the 3 bosses) and half against the NPCs “off-camera” on the other side. We climbed up on the blacksmith shop roof. The Rogue wisely suggested placing some tables up there to give added cover which in retrospect probably saved the day.
The building was 20 feet high on our end but sloped down to 10 feet on their side. Only those who beat the Orc initiative got a chance at a ranged attack. When they went, most threw javelins which almost all missed due to our superior cover but some climbed onto the roof. (As it turns out, the buildings and walls weren’t much of a barrier to these strong athletic Orcs.) In the opening rounds it was the dire wolf, G’Kar and the Rogue on one side and the Ranger and Wizard on the other. The Wizard wiped out a lot with a couple Shatters while the Ranger tried to protect him. Their cleric was among the first up and most hacked away at him. However, after only a couple of rounds, the roof was full of 12+ Orcs and us. Brian started rolling to see if the roof would hold. (It held longer than we thought.) The dire wolf got knocked into a Hafling after a couple rounds of battering. The Wizard and Ranger, who didn’t have a wolf absorbing damage on their side, also got knocked out but unfortunately for them, they didn’t turn into Halflings. The Rogue, due to his tactics and luck didn’t really ever get hit. G’Kar continued to be effective with his +1 weapon, new 18 strength and their low AC. As usual, the monsters had low AC and hit points but did high damage.
So then the roof started to give way. The Rogue and some orcs fell through. Then G’Kar. The Ranger recovered, aided the Gnome who had already missed a death save and they Feather Fell down. Then the leader jumped onto the second instance of the wolf and it all came down. The wolf was soon taken out again. (In retrospect, her amulet should have kicked in, causing her to featherfall down. The damage was minimal but I think she was prone until she could move and that had an impact.) There were still ~8 orcs left plus the leader but they were all hurt to some degree. The Rogue and G’Kar thinned their numbers but without area effect attacks, it was going to take a while. The Druid, risking attacks of opportunity to get a good shot, fired her Thunderous Wave and nearly cleared the field. Then the Wizard popped up with his one hit point and hit the leader with a full load of magic missile wand and it was over. So two players knock out, two okay and one knocked out as a wolf twice. Brian assumed the other half of the battle went the same way. So no dead, lots of wounded and lots of structural damage. We stopped there. No one seemed interested in wasting time questioning any dying Orcs so I assume next time we’ll be tracking this Orc hoard back. Shouldn’t be too hard, given their numbers. No treasure of real value and I believe we agreed to donate it all to the “widows and orphans fund” so Brian doesn’t have to calculate it. He said we earn “a lot” of experience however, having just made 4th, 5th is a long ways away.
Game 15 - 8/26/2016
So we cleaned up from the battle, aiding and repairing as best we could. The Bard arrived in time to do his song of healing which benefitted not only the players but the injured NPCs. Evidently some wood elves, alerted by one of the Dellmon daughters (a Druid) had arrived during the battle to help out on the non-player side. Nim thanked them and tried to exchange information. They were of the opinion that this was a “random” orc incursion that happens from time to time. I.e. part of the overall rising of evil in the valley and not something that needed to be followed up on. We questioned the Dellmon family and got pretty much the same story. We took the hint from Wade that this was a side plot (to link to G’Kar’s background) and not something that needed to be pursued. The Dellmon patriarch did say that the Paladins back at Summit Hall usually rewarded people for taking out orc chiefs. He gave us a letter to support our story and a hardy handshake in thanks. We spent the night and flew north in the morning to resume the search for Nim’s brother.
So the Sumber Hills is a big wilderness area and the only lead we had pointed to a general area where he may have been spotted months ago. The only thing of note that was spotted was a recent (weeks not days) burn. We landed to investigate. It appeared to have been someone practicing a fire spell (Nim’s brother?) followed by efforts to keep that fire from burning down the whole damn forest. (Definitely Nim’s brother.) Nothing else was found except… 5 Ankegs emerged from the earth amongst us. Other than threatening the low AC, low hit point Jeb briefly due to proximity, they weren’t much of a threat. Multiple Shatters did most of the damage and after 2-3 rounds, it was over. No treasure was found but Jeb did extract a couple acid glands. The Wizards used their Sky Write ritual to put messages in the sky in hopes that Nim’s brother would send up a signal. Nothing came of that so we headed back to Summit Hall.
There we were granted an audience with the chief Paladin. The Bard, aided by Nim’s Cleric +1d4, provided a riveting tale of the battle (rolled a 19 plus like 8 plus 4 from Nim) which was greeted with much acclaim. She then took the leader G’Kar aside and gave him 200 gp which got distributed. She also told him she had information that a big bandit group is in the area between the Bargewright Inn and Red Larch and asked the Rum and Monkey to look into it. She promised another 200 gp. The Harper Bard checked in with his local drop box and got very much the same story there. (This ties into both of their rumors from the start of the game.)
There seemed to be two courses of action. We could pose as a caravan and hope to be attacked or we could use our flying mounts to spot them from above. For plan A, the Bard thought it wise to try to “borrow” horses and wagons from Summit Hall to lessen the costs instead of trying to buy some at Bargewright. We could also hook up with the next caravan leaving here heading that way. At best, that would take 2-3 days to get there. The concern was that maybe some other caravan could be attacked in that time. We decided to go with plan B and fall back to plan A if we couldn’t find anything, joining the next available caravan down in that area. We spent the night and flew down in the morning. By air it only took most of the day. Since we had hours of daylight left, we went searching. Someone (Dan?) made a great perception roll (odds are good with 7 rollers) and spotted a well-hidden camp just off the road.
The Rogue and the Bard snuck up to their camp and spotted 3 bandits hiding under trees, keeping watch. They could only get within 100+ feet before breaking their cover and going out into the open. They Messaged the others. The Rogue then fired an arrow, killing one guy instantly, to start off the fight. We were granted a surprise round which most used to get from the “waiting in the wings” location to the “last of the cover” location. The problem from there was that no one could move fast enough. It was basically a choice of move once, have no one to attack and be a big target in the open or double move and maybe get to someone but not be able to attack them and be a slightly smaller target with some cover. The spell casters didn’t have anything good that could reach that distance either, especially with their cover. When they got to go, a dozen bandits with bows emerged from the main camp which further deterred bravery. In addition to the bandits were two of those waverider chicks with the big swords and two of the spell casting blue guys. Luckily this time everyone was armored so they didn’t get those extra damage dice with those swords.
The Bard advanced on the side, away from most of them, only to find a sword chick behind the tree he got to. G’Kar was next to charge across the field, reaching the 1st tree which gave him some cover against some of them. He found the second sword chick behind his tree. Jeb joined G’Kar but despite the dangerous-looking G’Kar, she attacked the little Gnome, mainly because G’Kar took the best spot behind the tree, having gone first. A spell caster used a Hold Person but it was realized they didn’t have the range either and cast Blink instead. The other did the same. With 7 players, lots of monsters, and all the range calculations, each round took a long time. Plus by the time you got to go again, everyone had moved around, so it was hard to plan ahead. For example, Brian suggested G’Kar do something but an hour later, when his turn came up again, there was something more pressing (saving Jeb) to do.
So the Warlock put up her Darkness to grant some cover for those that hadn’t moved up yet. The Dire Wolf hung back the first round and so was late arriving to the action. (One round means something when it takes 2+ hours to do 3 rounds.) Obviously a lot was happening. At 1 AM we agreed to stop. Luckily this program should remember where everyone was. I think about half the bandits are out. One sword chick was out. The spell casters are pretty much untouched but at least engaged. Anyone that attacks them has disadvantage due to that Blink spell. Our spellcasters have been trying to hit them with save spells for which no to-hit roll is needed but they’ve had limited opportunity and success. I think Jeb and the Bard are under half hit points but I’m not sure if anyone else is. As long as no one else shows up or their spell casters don’t wreak havoc with some area effect crusher, it seems like we should win without too much risk.
Game 16 - 9/2/2016
We leapt right back into the action, after the usual technological delays. The Ranger returned from his scouting at the bottom of the map. He tried to help the Bard by picking off the guy that had him engaged. Whenever he succeeded, another bandit would pop up and hamper the Bard’s options. At the end of the last night, G’Kar managed to kill the two guys engaging Jeb which allowed him to withdraw into the trees. Unfortunately, there were enough bad guys around such that he was still hit and lost his concentration on his Ex Retreat spell. (Despite his new War Caster feat.) In fact there were a lot of missed concentration rolls in this fight, mostly by our casters. Jeb was then knocked out. No one else was. It was basically a slow attrition for the bandits. Their casters caused some concern but were taken out quickly enough. Those last couple bandits started to flee but all were gunned down. The last tried to surrender to the enraged Dire Wolf. That didn’t go well for him.
We cleaned up. No real wealth was found and no magic. The cash-starved Bard inventoried all the arms. We took a short rest and then overnighted at the Bargewright Inn. The Rogue revealed that he once ran with this bandit group, run by Grimjaw, but left when they started becoming more evil. They now seemed to be linked to these water cultists. He knew where their keep was located, very near the spire as it turns out, and even recalled a “secret” way in through the river tunnels underneath. We flew back to Summit Hall. The chief Paladin was busy so we got an audience with her in the morning. There was another successful story told. She paid another 200 gp plus the sale of the captured arms. We then discussed this bandit keep. She offered another 200 gp for taking care of it.
We then discussed how to infiltrate this keep. There was a suggestion of talking our way through the front door but in this multi-species system, that’s really hard to do. I suspect people in this valley have started hearing stories about a group as species diverse as ours. The sneaking plan had difficulties too. Mainly how to get multi people to make multiple stealth and swim rolls when only half of them had the needed skills. Jon also pointed out that attacking a water cultist keep from the water seemed like a bad idea. Ultimately we decided to “stay on the rails” and sneak in as shown on the module map. Wade mostly “hand waved” the effort and only a few rolls were required. Of note was the fact that Jeb allowed Nim to transcribe his Alter Self spell so that they could both breath underwater. We ended up at the bottom of an iron spiral staircase where the armored guys were able to put on their armor. It was sort of early at this point but too late to start a major fight. We ended with the door at the top being opened to reveal a large dining hall, filled with bandits including Grimjaw himself. (That was a surprise. Who puts a secret door in the middle of a public area?) It’s going to be tight quarters and major bottleneck at this secret door. I’m not sure what side this favors. The next game might be in 3 weeks, without the Bard, the Druid or the Fighter.
Game 17 - 9/23/2016
They started by backing up a step. The secret door had not yet been opened. This allowed time for strategizing (aka arguing) and for the GM to reset the scene to his liking. It also allowed a short rest for Jebeddo and Nim to regain the slot used to cast Alter Self. They opened the door and piled in. The room initially had two bosses, Jolli Grimjaw (5thish fighter/werebear), Ungsnora (5th priest?) and 4 Reaver guards (those bikini warriors). They concentrated on Jolli first, as he was near the secret door. Unfortunately, his immunity to non-magical damage made life suck for the melee characters. Breagor’s perfectly executed surprise round sneak attack with advantage bounced harmlessly off him. When Breagor found out that Ungsnora had cast Vampiric Touch, that guy became the new prime target. They burned down the first four guards and then 9 more guards from balcony above came down. They were able to use a couple Shatters and Hair of Hadar to take out like 6 of them. One of those guards did manage to unlock the double doors into this room. As the rest of the guards were cleared, two more guards came in. DeVir put Darkness outside the doors, which made the others outside wander randomly to find the doorway before they could come into the room. Breagor had a tussle with two guards who were trying to jam door open. Breagor got the door loose but unfortunately, the guards were in the way so he couldn’t close them. Another Boss type and guard came in. That Boss cast a Hold Person on DeVir and Breagor and seemed to have a supernatural ability to gain cover from an ally. Nim hit that boss with Guiding Bolt and Jeb caught him and the two guards beating on Breagor with Burning Hands. Isidor was standing far away, shooting his bow with his one HP. When that Boss went down they used the opportunity to close the door and lock it.
When they quit for the night, they were still in combat with two or three cultists; a priest and a Reaver (and maybe one more heavily wounded Reaver). Combat-wise the players had a clear upper hand. The priest was sorely wounded and grappled (by Saint's hair, nonetheless), and most of them had their turns due up before the Reavers go again. Saint’s darkness field on the other side of the door should buy a little time, but almost certainly not enough for even a short rest. They need to tie up/interrogate one or two people and search the boss’s bodies. They also need to search the three areas – the main T shaped room, the balcony area, and one or two rooms that circle around the secret stairway which look like servants’ common rooms. One servant was ushered into a room and may be willing (or made) to talk. The castle is certainly alerted to their presence.
As for the current states: Isidor – knocked out twice. Jeb – knocked out once. Both at 1 hp. Nim – at full HPs? St. DeVir – around 1/2 hps. She got hammered but the temporary HPs from her fiendish pact kept her in good shape. Breagor – around 1/4 HPs? The Vampiric Touched rocked him early, but after that, his AC held up pretty good until near the end. Of course, Kiefry, G’Kar and the Myridan are unharmed since they were on a union mandated coffee break during the fight. (We don’t want any trouble with the caravan guard union.) Jeb used two Webs and his Shatters. He only has two first-level slots remaining and 4 charges in the wand of Magic Missile. It is unknown how much Nim has left but he’s certainly depleted as well. A short rest would reset the Warlock if we can get one. The Ranger and Rogue should be good to go if we can get them some hit points. The reintroduction of the Druid and the Fighter would certainly inject fresh hit points into the mix and the Bard should have a Shatter or two ready for the next horde. The big debate will surely be to short rest or not.
Game 18 - 10/14/2016
The characters that were missing last time were “explained” by saying they were down in the cave, taking on some ghouls that popped up just as the secret door was opened. (Brian had skipped that encounter previously.) The remaining foes from last time were dispatched without much issue. Jeb started his 10 minute Detect Magic cantrip while the rest searched for mundane treasures. There were servant quarters and a kitchen beyond the unopened doors as suspected. In there were about a dozen cowering servants which were ignored. The Bard searched the bosses and grabbed some papers and an amulet. One of those papers, in a distinctive yet unrecognized hand, seemed to be from Red Larch, alerting Grimjaw to the growing involvement of the Rum and Monkey. (We probably need to look into that.) Upstairs were some thug quarters. Down the hall was a library which was mostly dustily empty except for one shelf of navigation books. G’Kar, of all people, spotted a secret door in there which lead to Grimjaw’s private room.
We continued to debate the merits of taking a short rest which Brian had ruled would only take 15 instead of the book’s 60 minutes. While Jeb was still casting, someone began beating on the double doors, requesting a parley. And a group of 6 bugbears were approaching the door accessing the top of the wall. It was clear we were running out of time. The wounded voted for a rest and unfortunately, not enough time to finish the ritual. We decided to use various deceptions to appear to have fled down the secret stairs from whence we came but really hide in Grimjaw’s secret room. The hope was its presence was not known by many and those that knew were dead. That worked well and we were not discovered.
During that time we surveyed the books, not of real interest, but worth some cash. Grimjaw had significant cash on hand in the library and in his bedroom. We also found a scroll of Haste and Water Wall, both being 3rd level mage spells. Haste was on Jeb’s wish list. Water Wall, while an evocation spell, was defensive and I personally don’t think anyone would be memorizing it. By the way, on the subject of magic, the only other item was the amulet which serves as the second key to the module and can create an air bubble when underwater. That was considered more valuable than mere water breathing because you should be able to cast in it. The Bard found it and kept it.
So after the short rest, the Rogue crept out and discovered a heated discussion occurring in the main room between the various factions. He crept closer and learned that the bugbears thought they should be in charge now that Grimjaw was dead but the bandits (pirates really) were arguing against it. The cultist seemed to be quietly off to the side. Paul had a brilliant idea. Somehow use magic to get these sides fighting. The Bard realized he could accomplish this by using a Messaging to whisper into the dim witted bugbears words about “let’s just kill these bugbears and be done with it”. Mayhem ensued. We decided to retreat to the bedroom and cast that Detect Magic (now covered by the noise of battle) and await the winners. (The Detect Magic detected nothing we didn’t already know.) When we emerged 10 minutes later, the room was filled with bodies. None were left alive. Our analysis concluded that the bugbears, though bigger and tougher, were outnumbered and slain. The surviving pirates left the castle and sailed away on their river boat. (In retrospect, I don’t see how all that could have happened in 10 minutes.) I do not recall if we got a clear picture as to what happened to the cultists. So we defeated the module by avoiding the fight but it made for a dull night.
We engaged the servants to start clearing the bodies while we searched. There was a full armory but not much else. Within the 4 towers and the walls was mostly empty courtyard. One of the servants revealed that they all had been captured in the area (including a couple from Red Larch) and forced to work. G’Kar promised to see them safely to Red Larch in the morning. Some carts were constructed to carry the armory. We returned to Red Larch. Those from there were returned to their families. The rest are at our house while we find caravans or other means to get them home. All told the wealth was about 1500 gps which doubled the party’s combined wealth. All agreed (except G’Kar who got out voted) to give/loan that money to G’Kar so he could buy plate mail. The local blacksmith can do it but it’ll take some time. It will be debated about what to do with the castle. All agree that if left empty, someone (maybe the pirates returning) will occupy it. Some want to take it over. Some want to sell it to the Paladins. I might suggest we use our flying mounts to track down those pirates. Depending on how many survived, they could still be a threat, especially if any spell casting cultists are still with them.
We made 5th. Dave will take Slow and he’s still debating as to his other 3rd level spell. (He got Haste for “free”.) Brian stuck with Bard. He’s getting 3rd level spells as well and now his bardic dice reset on a short rest. Wade also gets access to 3rd level spells but he’s weird. His list is very small so he’ll have to lose a 1st or 2nd to get a 3rd. I think he gets a new incantation as well. Dan gets water shapes (e.g. giant octopus). He doesn’t get 3rd level spells due to his level in Barbarian but he does get a feat. Similarly Jon gets a feat (or +2 stat). All the casters have their damaging cantrips increase. On the martial side, Andy switched to Rogue, forgoing the extra attack another level of Ranger would get him. (Dave tried to talk him out of it. As usual, there are pluses and minuses. I think the sooner he gets to cunning action (at Rogue 2) the better but I think he’s eager to get his next feat. Mage Slayer is the cornerstone of his concept so he’d rather get that at 8th that 9th. A long way away though.) Paul switched to Warlock. He’ll get those new cantrips (Green Flame and Booming Blade) to augment his Rogue fighting. G’Kar stuck with Fighter and will “merely” get an extra attack. Fighters pretty much get “more of the same” from here. At least 3 people rolled max hit point this level.
Game 19 - 10/28/2016
There was a debate as to whether we could catch up with the river pirates that got away last time. It was quickly agreed that we couldn’t leave until a long rest was taken. We’d use the remains of the day to do various things in Red Larch and then go get our flying mounts at the spire in the morning and give chase. The wizards copied spells into their spellbooks. The Bard tried to trace down the author of the letter with distinctive handwriting we found in the possession of Grimjaw. Unfortunately without any real government, there wasn’t a central location to search. He asked several people including his Harper contact and the local school teacher. All to no avail. He did pick up a cat for his future wife at the spire. G’Kar put in an order for his plate mail. The Ranger asked around for rumors. Someone had left a letter at the inn for Nim. It appeared to be in his brother’s hand. Nim eagerly opened it. It said that he should stop searching for him and then exploded. Several nearby people were hurt and the innkeeper was killed, leaving an orphan daughter. Nim concluded that it must have been a forgery since his brother would never do such a thing. (I.e. can’t take a hint) The Warlock talked to the local priest. He told her that there was a monastery called the Stone Fist Monastery or some such. Given the troubles with elementally named groups, that seemed suspicious. And it happens to be very near the previous two sites. So now we knew where the adventure was. (Now that we’re 5th, evidently, it’s full speed ahead.)
We got our flying mounts and chased the pirates. Long story short, we didn’t find them. We then flew over the monastery and found it was situated at the back of a box canyon with only a narrow path to reach it. We debated as to a plan. One problem was that we had no evidence that they were “bad guys” however nobody wanted to just walk up and say “howdy” either. Eventually, we decided to fly to the top of the canyon and use our various featherfall magic to drop down at dawn. That went well. (Our options to get back up are much more limited so this had better go well.) The Rogues opened a door into an inner courtyard we saw from above. The Ranger crept in but despite his great roll, 4 gargoyles magically animated. He decided to move back out so that they’d get bottled necked at the door but we discovered they just went back to stone when he left. We decided to sneak over to the next door and try that. The Rogues could not open the door but the Bard was able to do it with their aide.
That turned out to be a storeroom, attached to the kitchen. We attempt to subdue the first couple monks but there were always more. The Ranger used his multiple attacks and mobility to dart through the kitchen staff to try to block the other door in the room. He came up a little short and was quickly surrounded. The Bard decided to take advantage of the grouping and blast all of them with a Thunderwave, including the Ranger. Unfortunately, the Ranger failed his save and took some friendly fire hit points that he really needed in the coming rounds. But as it turns out, he got moved 10 feet by the spell and that put right in front of that door. That became critical for the group although unfortunate for him. The monks were not pushovers, certainly not servants. Everyone piled in and tried to clear out the staff. The Druid couldn’t hit anything all night. And then the door the Ranger was guarding opened and a blind monk attacked. She had an attack that stunned him. He had a handful of hit points left and now couldn’t move as well. Not good.
The monk was a “monster” monk and not a full up character class monk. So she was tough (extra hit points and damage) but simplified. Others engaged her so that the Ranger could fall back and get out his bow. We could see more monks behind her so the casters started tossing area effects into that other room. That caused, we assume, them to scatter a bit. But then they had a caster who cast his own Shatter spell. Now it was our turn to wish we could get through the doorway to get at him. The Wizard broke out his shiny new Slow spell which worked pretty well but then theirs did the same. The named monk was finally dropped after absorbing 100+ hit points (G’Kar couldn’t seem to miss.) but when that happened, they stepped into our room before we could clog the doorway again. They included two plate mail wearing knights and more monks. When we stopped, 4-5 guys had poured in, mostly around G’Kar. Their caster was out of sight but still lurking. Damage hasn’t been too bad. The Ranger is very hurt and the Druid has used up one of her forms but the rest are okay. Still plenty to do. The knights have the same symbols as the evil cleric we fought under Red Larch so long ago so we could now assume they’re evil.
Game 20 - 11/18/2016
When we left off, Mistress Po had just been dropped and before the void could be filled, several knights and monks came into the kitchen. G’Kar was surrounded and the dire wolf was well engaged as well. So it looked a little dicey but before those two slow players went, and more importantly, before the bad guys went, the rest of the party had wiped them out. (I think they were all already injured from the AOEs cast into the dining room.) So the dire wolf, followed by G’Kar, went into their room in search of that spell caster. He was found and engaged and there were several monks still alive in there as well. It looked like we had them on the ropes. But then out of one door, 5 underdark dwarves came in, half of which had enlarge spells on them for double damage and reach. And then 2 large Minotaurs came in from another door. Suddenly the two front-liners were surrounded again. Things looked dicey, for G’Kar in particular since he was further from the door. He was hit several times, including a critical hit for 20+ points and went from barely harmed to barely standing in one round. However, enough supporting fire was mustarded to clear a path so that they could retreat back into the kitchen without being hacked to pieces by OAs. The dire wolf then clogged the doorway again and G’Kar used his reach to fight around her.
Meanwhile, the Ranger continued to hold the back door with some good strength rolls and a bunch of bad rolls from the group outside. There were some attacks against them but mostly that front was a stalemate. (The Warlock’s darkness also helped.) The spell casters pumped some more AOE into the dining room. The Bard gave G’Kar the potion of heroism which gave him some temporary hit points. Those, plus a couple healing words, kept him up and swinging. Their numbers started to drop. The wolf and G’Kar dashed in and then out to strike the priest in hopes of dropping him but he still stood. Then the Rogue bravely dashed into their room and finished him off. About then, the back door was finally breached. Dan had to leave and the dire wolf disappeared off the map. Our armored gnome stepped into the doorway (with much coxing), facing a charging Minotaur, but G’kar dropped it with an opportunity attack over his head as it got there. We surged into the room and the back door foes were cut down. At that point, Wade storyboarded the rest.
We figured we finished off everyone except some of the monks who were too fast to catch. (We weren’t in any condition to start chasing them around the area.) We took a short rest and healed up. The earth key was found along with 3 normal keys but nothing else of value. Wade said there were potentially more encounters to be had so we stopped there. We haven’t spent the time to identify the key’s magical properties yet but Wade hadn’t decide what they are either. Something stone or earth related, we figured. Most of us “mostly” reset with that short rest however I think the armored gnome and the Bard are about empty of (non-cantrip) spells. Dave says he held some firepower back (as usual). The plan is to play in two weeks on the 2nd.
Game 21 - 12/2/2016
We started a search for enemies through the rest of the level. We split into two groups to speed it along. Of note, we found some more gargoyles guarding a central alter room with a stairs going down another level. The Bard found some robes and masks that, when worn, prevented them from animating. Various rooms, storage, office, library, etc. More stairs down. A brewery of sorts. Doors into the garden.
At the far end we came into a mage’s lab with an old mage working at his desk. He dismissed the players, not noticing (or caring) that they weren’t monks. The Bard recalled this was the brother of the founder of the Paladin order. We could have used a bit more information out of Wade at this point. Players, being players, ignored his warnings and crept in. Soon, he acted. The Ranger threw his readied magic dagger and then the mage cast a Time Stop (9th level spell), tossing the gnome out of his bedroom, disappearing we assume into his bedroom, and then casting a Cloud Kill in the lab. Several players took significant damage as they fled the room. The magic dagger went with the Lich, unfortunately. Evidently this guy was once a hero of the realm, 200 years prior, and since he was human, he must be pretty powerful. I.e. Lich
The damaged players took another short rest. The wizards started using their detect magic to search the level. The Bard politely entered the mage lab again. He informed him that the monks were defeated which the mage seemed happy enough about. Basically he was locked into he studies and unaware of much else. He requested some history of magic type books that the Bard took note of but did not return the dagger. The mages found 4 scrolls of earth-type spells from the supplemental books. Some cash was found plus the usual piles of gear. Eventually, we headed down to the next level. G’Kar decided to use the backdoor (?) rather than the stairs in the alter room.
In the first room was a well, an Ogre and 6 ogre/orcs. The Ogre demanded the password. Since we were still in the monk’s robes, the Rogue bluffed him by dropping the master’s name and tell them the password had been reset. That worked. Next we found a network of mine tunnels. At one end was 3 pens of slaves. At a crossroads, we were attacked by some easy to hit slime. When it became clear the tunnels weren’t stopping any time soon, G’Kar suggested taking out the Orges at our back. There was much debate on how to do that. While arguing, G’Kar positioned people more or less the way he thought they should be when the Orge came down the hall to take a piss. We attacked and it was dropped before he could act.
Someone suggested calling out to the ogre/orcs for help against the tiger (Dan) on the loose. Unfortunately, they just barred the door. “Good luck with that tiger!” The Bard picked that lock and we charged in. These guys were tough. Jeb cast his Slow spell which effected all of them. They all saved soon enough but it really helped. We nervously eyed the far door but they were never able to get to it before they were dropped. At this point we pretty much-storied boarded it. There was a blind Umberhulk guarding the main stairs that we avoided. The slaves were freed and put into the kitchen. I assume we’ll be marching them out of here next time. One of them was the envoy from that missing caravan. He said they were attacked and captured by the flying guys who were then attacked by these monks. The only other thing of note is a crypt attached to the Lich’s lab which the GM assumed we’d avoid. I think he’s giving us too much credit for intelligence but we’ll see what happens next time.
Game 22 - 12/16/2016
We left the monastery without much issue. The only “wealth” to be carried were several suit of plate mail which could be distributed amongst our flying mounts. We decided there was a better chance of selling them at the Paladin Keep so we headed that way, escorting the released slaves. Plus they were the ones seeking the delegation from which the rescued dwarf was from. Besides navigating the river crossing, there were no issues. At the keep we told the Lady our heroic tale. The dwarven envoy told his sad tale as well. Her keep could not buy so much plate mail and recommended going to a big city. Privately we told her about the Lich. The Bard inquired about the books the Lich wanted but they had none. (They’re not a mage order.) We took a long rest and flew back to the spire in the morning, leaving the freed slaves there. There we took a couple more rests and the mages copied some spells. The Bard made plans with Pell, his bride to be. G’kar checked with those running the Spire on our behalf. We then headed to Red Larch.
In Red Larch, the Bard talked to his future mother in law about his plan to ship his girl to his parents to learn how to be a Bard (and get her out of harm’s way). That didn’t go well (poor roll) but Pell is working on her. He also planned a harvest party in order to use his new plant growth spell to increase the local harvest. And increase his standing in the community. The Ranger reconnected with the people. G’Kar checked on his armor. Supplies were on order but it’ll be a while. Nim inquired on the orphan girl whose mother was killed by the letter allegedly from his brother. The tavern was currently closed. The plan was to ship her north to one of the big cities via the next caravan to be raised by family there. Since we needed to go to a big city to sell the plate and find books, we signed on to guard them. There was some debate about whether to use our flying mounts. G’kar and Jeb decided to forgo the mounts so that at least some of the players were with the caravan instead of circling above. The rest brought theirs.
A couple days out, the lead wagon was struck by 10 fire arrows. The bandits then retreated into the woods. The always alert Ranger attempted to head them off but by the time he got down from the sky, all he really managed to do was isolate himself from the rest of the caravan. So he was fighting 120+ feet away from the rest of the players. Those with flying mounts took to the air to help. Jeb and G’Kar stayed with the caravan, afraid this was a diversion, and tried to put out the fires. The Bard then cast his new Plant Growth spell which made movement 1/4th normal over a large area, no save. The thinking was that we (the Ranger, wolf and Rogue really) have good movements and would be less impacted than normal bandits. That plus most of us had flying mounts. It did make it near impossible for G’Kar and Jeb to participate though.
The fight went painfully slow. There was lots of cover from that spell which help our defense but theirs as well. Nim and St. D cast spells from above while the Ranger shot arrows. The Druid, despite her potentially high movement, realized she’d be too impeded by the spell and cast a couple spells herself instead. Her concentration Spike Growth caused them to target her mount. With its modest AC and low hit points, it didn’t last the round. Luckily she had the featherfall key and with a good strength roll, managed to keep it from dying from the fall. The fires were put out eventually but no second attack was launch. At the end of the night, another 2 dozen bandits came over a ridge beyond the first group. Evidently their engagement was also impeded by that spell. The last round, they fired a ton of crossbow bolts at those in the tangled forest but with that ¾ cover, none hit. Next time, we’ll have to figure out how to overcome the spell and get up to them without getting peppered with bolts. Those without flying mounts need not attend because they’ll never make it.
Game 23 - 1/20/2017
Everybody attempted to stay in cover, avoiding the barrage of crossbows ready to fire. Those with spells and bows popped out, fired and fell back. Those without like the Dire Wolf attempted to make their way up the cliff. All were impeded by the magically difficult terrain. Much cursing of the Bard was heard. The “not attending” Bard gave his mount to Jeb and G’Kar and stayed with the wagons. G’Kar made one move into closer cover rather than two moves to engage them for the same reason everyone else was staying in cover. Jeb fired an area spell on the way since he was just riding along. These bandits were weak and several area effects really cleared them out. The next round, G’Kar made it into hand to hand and started on the tougher bosses. He hit 4 times and the guy didn’t drop. But a round or two later, they were done. The last one was about to surrender when G’Kar loped off his head. No treasure beyond modest quality arms and armor.
The caravan moved north from there and encountered no other problems. The orphan was successfully delivered. A couple of magic shops were visited but a poor roll from the Rogue only yielded one of the books the Lich wanted. Wade announced his intent to allow us to buy magic items but no one was prepared so no one knew what to ask for. We agreed to let people research and use retroactive play to put in their orders. There are many issues with this new ruling to be worked out. Nim bought some books to start his library. Another poor roll and Wade arbitrary said the books he got were all cheap romance novels. Nim still brought them home, figuring you’ve got to start somewhere but plans to pad those with some more conventional books before opening the library. We were contracted to return with the caravan which would be ready in a couple of days. We tried to find a quick local job but found nothing beyond the “people disappearing” stuff we were already dealing with. We returned to Red Larch without issue.
Our only lead was to return to the Lich to try to get the Ranger’s dagger back but before we could do that, we ran into St.’s sister at the last standing restaurant. St.’s suggested leaving out the back door. The Druid suggested killing her. Evidently there’s some back history (which was briefly explained but none of the other characters really knew). About then, 8 hell hounds burst through the windows and doors. The sister seemed just a surprise as everyone else but she was a Rogue of significant level so didn’t panic. (She had evasion.) No magic weapons were needed to hit but they did good damage with extra fire dice and had pretty good breath weapons. The only real issue was that we couldn’t save some of the innocents. Too many, can’t disengage without getting wacked, can’t get there in time, etc. On round two Braegor did free up and could possible reach the last waitress at great personal risk. He was taunted into acting and Wade ripped him to shreds for his bravery. He did grant him a retroactive hero point which Paul prompted used to reroll a 2 save. He rolled another 2 and went down. Andy went to revive him. Combat went on. G’Kar continued to roll great and with his rarely used fire resistance did very well. Spells were used. Damage was given and taken. Dan was knocked out of Dire Wolf form but then just changed next round. We won. The restaurant still stands but around 4-5 innocents were killed. The hounds had the next elemental evil symbol on their collars. Fire, of course.
We made 6th.
Game 24 - 2/3/2017
We started by leveling up to 6th level. Most people had already started that process so it went pretty quick. We also had a bunch of discussion on magic items. Brian has sent out via email, a fan-created pricing list which makes more sense than the “suggested price ranges” in the DMG. Some of the DMG prices were just nuts. So these are the prices, modulo Brian right as DM to override. For the most part, the prices were higher than in the DMG so our purchasing power is less than initially thought. So how it’ll work is thus. You put in an order with a broker in a major city. He keeps his ears open and next time we’re in town, he’ll tell us if he’s found a match. (So it’s still a DM decision as to what’s available. In theory that’s somewhat based on game balance and such.) That broker might have the item (so you’re done), ask for a deposit so he can buy the item (which would likely add another trip north to the timeline) or put you in touch with a seller directly (which might invoke a quest like suggested in the DMG). Selling, by the way, is half the buying cost and would also likely require a broker found buyer.
Brian said he’d retroactively allow us to put in orders when we were last in YarTar. Paul was the only one with a specific request. A frost brand finesse weapon for which he’d have to borrow to get. A +1 weapon is only 1000 which is likely affordable for most. A +1 wand of the war mage (mage equivalent) is 1200 although it only applies to attack roll spells and not save spells. Most everyone seemed to want more expensive things that, given our accumulated wealth at 6th, seemed far off. Dan was targeting rings and amulets that he felt would transfer to his animal forms (with paws and necks) but those are pricy. Dave was cash poor (due to mage costs) and was targeting scrolls which are on the cheap side and can add to his book. G’Kar already spent 1500 on plate mail (mostly borrowed money) so he’s cash poor as well. Unfortunately for Brian, the bard instruments are now ~26k and unattainable. Unfortunately for Wade, the +1 rod of the pact keeper (much better than the mage version) is 12k. Ultimately it may just be a couple +1 weapons and not much else. The wild card are the magic items people have and don’t use that might provide some funds. Paul’s mind shielding ring, for example, is worth as much as a +3 weapon (full price) although it doesn’t seem like he’s interested in giving it up. It makes sense for his concept although not very practically useful in a group of 8.
So back to the game. We cleaned up the restaurant and helped the wounded and dead. G’Kar rushed out to see if there was someone commanding these hell hounds but found nothing. The surviving waitress thanked Braegor for his heroic attempt to save the other waitress. No clues other than the fire symbol on the collars however a farmer in the crowd remarked that those symbols had been found on the cattle at a farm in the hills. Tell us more. St. went to have a bath with her sister and catch up. Everyone else took a long rest at our house in town. The Druid was contacted by a message bird, requesting her presence at a ceremony somewhere nearby in 3 days. (Next adventure.) G’Kar pick up his plate mail in the morning. Anti fire cultist spells were chosen by Jeb and we flew off.
The farm was run by an extended family of Halflings. The daughter in law was nice enough but her husband was evasive and her father-in-law was gruff. These symbols were “appearing” on a couple cows a night. No one had seen it happen. A week ago, an old tomb in the hills burst into flames, and that’s when the trouble started. To the tomb. The patriarch offered to guide us but we just ask for directions to keep him out of the way. Due to the fire, there was no cover left so we just parked the mounts and walked into the entrance. There was a long tunnel lined with inscribed rocks and continual flames which ended in a crypt area. There was a central slab with some bones and two side slabs. “Respectful” searching commenced. Jeb suggested G’Kar guard the door so he went halfway to hopefully keep an eye on both sides. There had been a fire and there was lots of dust and ash. A good tracking roll revealed small unshod footprints. Hmmm. Suddenly the chamber went ice cold and a barbarian spirit arose. He said that he knew we weren’t the desecraters but demanded to know why we were there. The Rogue quickly spoke up and said we were here to bring the desecraters to justice. The spirit then said that the desecraters were near and flew towards the door. And then the entrance collapsed and the lights went out.
Two large earth elementals emerged from the floor, surrounding the isolated G’Kar. Luckily the hall wasn’t that long and the dire wolf quickly joined him. These monsters had two attacks at +8 for 2d8+5 each. The Dire wolf took two hits before she could rage and was reeling. G’Kar took two hits and was wounded but he got back 6 points from his heavy armor feat and was just above half. The rest moved into ranged attack range as no one wanted to face that kind of damage. They were resistant (half damage) to non-magical weapons by the way and we were short one wizard and Bard. The next round one tunneled under the front line guys and then used reach to slugged Jeb anyway. As usual, after two rounds, it looked dire for the heroes but we kept swinging and their AC wasn’t that good. The big factor was that Jeb’s Shatter did double damage because they were not alive. They fell after a couple of rounds. Everyone got a scare from the damage amounts but no one went out.
The spirit continued to dig, claiming “they” were still close. We pitched in, mostly the Druid and her move earth cantrip and got out faster than a short rest. Once out we found a hoard of barbarians eager to worship the spirit. They sped off towards the Halfling ranch. With our flying mounts, we managed to get there in front of them. The wife said she thought the old man and the husband had gone with us and were not home. We questioned/threatened some of the folks but none knew anything. And then suddenly the barbarians were on the map and in the compound, demanding blood. Wade put Dan on the spot since she happened to be in between them and the front door. He reacted in character and basically said go ahead and kill them all. The Rogue managed to hold them off from that. The spirit said the guilty were in the house. G’Kar demanded they come out and answer for their crimes in order to save their family. They said “hell no”. So he went in and carried the old man out. Lots of intense negotiations. He handed him off to Braegor and grabbed the other guy from under the bed. The guilty Haflings were searched and stone cultist symbols were found along with two used scrolls. About then, the wife turned on them, blaming the old man for leading her husband astray. So eventually we turned the two over to the barbarians and they were quickly slain. The rest of the farm was spared but the barbarians took about ¼ of the cattle (in compensation) and road off.
All that was left was arguing what exactly happened. Several theories were proposed, each with logical holes in them but it was only a module so it didn’t have to be iron clad. With some info from Brian, we came up with the following story. These guys were stone cultists looking to avenge our previous activities. They branded their own cattle (found the brand) and planted the rumor to get us up there. They burned the hills and set us up. A good arcana roll revealed the scrolls had been summon earth elemental. (Not sure how they cast them.) They’d hoped to trap us in the tomb with the elementals and kills us off. So this was a dead end as far as the fire cultists. No treasure found or earned. Next game is in two weeks where we’ll attend the Druid ceremony.
Game 25 - 2/17/2017
This was the first game where everyone played remotely. Jon had trouble with Skype and DG’s microphone was very faint but other than that, it worked pretty well. At least from a technology perspective. Not as good from a social perspective. It did force us into another late start. Jon was brought up to speed, along with everyone else, about what we did last time. Questions about the logic (and morality) of our decisions last time were evaded. The next lead was this Druid ceremony that Dan was invited to. I thought that magic bird message was from the Emerald Enclave, a group of some importance although afterwards, there was some discussion as to whether it was all a trap. We hung around town a couple of days, got our rest and then flew off. The visibility decreased and eventually, we had to land and walk in. I believe we left the mounts with the Bard and the Rogue who had to depart before we even started.
There was an old tower on the top of the hill with ruins around it. We could just see a large, vaguely man-shaped bonfire behind the old walls. Around the hill were numerous encampments with fires and folks. The first group we talked to seemed nice enough. They were there for the Wickerman ceremony. They asked some vague questions about where we were from and what we did. They claimed to be from the other side of the valley and complained about the orcs and other mysterious happenings of late. There was some debate as to how much we wanted to reveal about ourselves. We likely revealed too much. The next group was a group of Druids and were a little more nosey and left us a bit suspicious. We decided to set up camp. Nim, when faced with sleeping on the ground, started considering taking the Tiny Hut spell as one of his new 3rd levels. (After Fireball, of course.) Once settled in, some (which became all) decided to head to the top of the hill. We didn’t get far before a large hairy barbarian type blocked our way. He quickly took a dislike to our Gnomes. The usual half in character, half out of character banter occurred. It is debatable as to who started the fight however when he demanded Nim apologize, we knew that wasn’t going to happen.
So the first thing that happened was that the 2 became 4 due to our party size. Next, they turned into werewolves. More bad news for the magic dagger less Andy. Based on our earlier fight with the werebear, they were immune to normal weapons. Spells were unleashed. The Druid, also unable to affect them in beast form, started casting spells too. She hit a couple with a Thunderwave and pushed the fire into a tent along with a werewolf who got tangled up in it. The Ranger did some grappling and tried to shove one into the flaming tent. I believe Wade was rolling really bad and we had them on the ropes when …
Another group approached from the northwest. Led by a fire priest were around 10 fire thugs in breastplate and shield. “What’s going on here? No fighting!” Their first action was to fire a Fire Ball which got everyone. Ouch. So much for “no fighting”. A few saved. G’Kar and Jeb fared well with their resistance to fire damage. (Bronze dragon and transmuter stone) That would prove to be critical throughout the night. We scattered. Nim replied with his own Fire Ball. Luckily his feat negated any resistance they may have had. And that proved critical time and again. That and another AOE thinned them out pretty fast. But ….
Then another group, the suspicious Druids, attacked from the southeast. They were led by a Wave Priest who cast his hated Sleet Storm. That does nothing but reduce the already slow combat to half the rate. That caused friends and foes to scatter even more. Since he cast it at the center of the map, everyone made for their closest edge, with a huge zone between them and the rest. Jeb and the Ranger cast their extra movements but the rest of us were pretty screwed. No one could even get close to the caster. Their Druids cast Thunderwaves, pushing those that had crawled out on that side, back in. The Mages were cut off and Nim was dropped by one of those Thunderwaves. Things grinded down. He made one death save but then took an automatic miss from another AOE. St. gave him a berry in the nick of time. Jeb was also reduced to a handful of hit points. Lots of spells were used and we got the upper hand again when…
From the north, 4 more fire priests emerged from the tower. They cast two more Fire Balls which thankfully didn’t overlap and two light spells so that they could see what was going on. The Wave Priest was hit and his Sleet Storm finally went down. At this point, we argued the merits of fleeing. Both wizards and the ranger were down to a handful of hit points. Nim had one Fire Ball left. G’Kar argued that we couldn’t outrun the range on a Fire Ball and if we fled, they’d just kill us anyway. Better to attack, which he did. Using his Action Surge he managed to engage one priest, hitting him 3 times. The expectation was that the rest would follow however next to go was that Wave Priest. Faced with a barrage of Fire Balls, he put up another Sleet Storm, centered on himself once again ruining movement speeds and mostly isolating G’Kar. But then the wave priest was quickly killed and the storm thankfully went down. The Dire Wolf charged. Nim fired his last Fire Ball, again ignoring their resistance. The Ranger charged forward with his crazy movement and fired arrows from cover. G’Kar’s priest was taken out with a reaction Riposte and the Dire Wolf’s with an opportunity attack. A couple of rounds later, all the enemies were dropped. But …
So it sounded like everyone was again ready to strategically retreat and take a short rest at least. G’Kar, at the request of Nim, searched the two fire priests near him. The Ranger jumped his initiative order and looked into the keep. There he saw 10ish bowman on top of the half rebuilt tower. He also noticed that the Burning Wickerman seemed to be moving. I.e. Fire Elemental. Crap. So again we’ll be trying to decide if we should (or can) run. (Again we need magic weapons.) I think that elemental can outrun everyone but Andy and maybe Nim if his Ex Retreat is still going. Nim, Jeb and the Ranger have almost no hit points. The Druid has gone through one form and has taken some direct damage as well. I don’t know how St. is doing but she can’t be good with all these AOEs. G’Kar is less than half. The Bard and the Rogue are unharmed but currently missing (i.e. not present). The Mages have likely used up most their spells and certainly their high-level ones. St. doesn’t get that many and we haven’t had a short rest to reset them. The Druid has one more shape change and has used some spells. If the Bard attends with a fresh supply of Shatters, we should be okay assuming there’s not yet another wave waiting for us. I’m not sure what the rest of these campers have been doing during this. Fleeing, if they’re smart. Hopefully, they’re not coming for us too. What a battle. Welcome to 6th level where you’re expected to have magical attacks and be able to take 4-5 Fire Balls in a night.
Game 26 - 3/10/2017
Brian decided to work our strategic retreat as a skill-based chase challenge. This was difficult to grasp, especially with a tactical battle map on the screen, and we struggled. When late-arriving Brian and Andy logged in, it had to be explained again. Basically you had to describe your action to either aid us or imped them in terms of a skill. So G’Kar used his Athletics to barrel through debris and leap over obstacles to cover more ground quicker. Casters could use their spells, such as Sleet Storm, but it became a casting stat roll rather than a spell. (Although it used up a casting slot.) The DC was a 15 which was easy for skill-based characters but not so easy for the rest. With generous interpretations, everyone managed to be attempting relatively easy rolls but with 8 players attempting 2-3 rolls, odds were we’d fail occasionally. Several 14s were rolls and by round 2 or 3, Brian declared that we were “caught” resulting in the fight we were going to fight before the time was spent on the chase.
The good news was that the Fire Elemental did not come nor did any casters. We did face 6 crossbow/long sword guys with 32+ hit points and 4 Hell Hounds. Those that had a handful of hit points from the last fight were forced to stay back and fire at range as best they could. The Bard and Rogue didn’t fight last time but aren’t built to be front line fighters and they stayed back too. That put G’Kar and the Dire Wolf (who at least had full hit points on her second wild shape of the day) back at the front. The depleted spell casters manage to pull out a few AOEs and then fighter types could then finish them off. The Bard broke out his new 3rd spell, hypnotic pattern which incapacitated 5 of the 6 crossbowmen. The sixth guy was targeted but we just couldn’t do enough damage to take him out. G’Kar left the last HH for the Dire Wolf and Rogue and charged up the hill. He figured at worst he would be facing one guy or maybe two guys, with one wasting his action waking up the 2nd. Unfortunately, Brian ruled that #3 could wake up #4 and #4 could wake up #5, etc. So the next round, they were all ready for action. Not a pleasant turn however the spells kept coming and G’Kar kept finishing them off and soon we had won.
The mounts were close and once flying, the spire was close so we decided to go there and get a long rest. Whatever consequences of that delay, we’ll have to face them because we simply could not go forward on a short rest. We decided to take a side trip to the (alleged) Lich, give him the books we bought him and ask for the magic dagger back. Facing Elementals and Hell Hounds, we really needed it. The Bard took all the advantages he could get and then rolled a 20. Success. Next time, it’s back to the fire tower. I’m not sure if the ceremony has been canceled by the fighting or stuff like that happens every year so it’s on with the show. We’ll likely be sneaking into the tower before the ceremony, regardless.
Game 27 - 3/24/2017
Once again the mounts had to be parked a distance away. As we approached, we recalled that this tower was at the top of a hill with no cover at all. Our choice was to wait until night and try to sneak in or just approach via the direct path and fight. Since the ceremony was to conclude this night, we decided we didn’t want to wait and risk some sort of impact from that. While approaching we encountered the same friendly group we encountered last time. Their leader was aware of our fight and flight and was impressed. He said that pretty much everyone had either left or gone into the tower except his group and one other. We approached that other group which consisted of a man and a couple of sprites. They had no useful information or if they did, we were unable to extract it. We also searched the other encampments for any “clues” (i.e. treasure) but none were found. So eventually we just walked up to the main gate. We could see the burning man still burning, some crossbowmen on the tower and several others milling about. They were aware of us but didn’t take any action.
Once close, initiative started. Each moved up and took as much cover as possible. When G’Kar went, he told them to “Surrender or Die”. This got a Bugbear’s attention who came to the gap in the wall and told us to go away. At this point, St. blasted him to get the party started. Unfortunately, the only one who hadn’t acted yet was Nim so he was about the only uncovered target left on the path for the Bugbear javelins and crossbows. Luckily their range was long and his AC high so he was he was barely touched. The crossbows fired from their perches but didn’t hit much the whole fight. About 6 Bugbears moved up, tossing javelins and got into hand to hand when they could. The quick-moving Ranger was the furthest forward and quickly had several on him. The Rogue bravely dash forward, aiding the Ranger while taking cover from the crossbowmen. Unfortunately, the next to go were 4 large Worgs, one of which made a mighty lead and crushed the tent the Rogue was hiding behind. Another crunched him and knocked him prone. The Ranger managed to grab him and drag him back but the Worgs soon followed.
About then, the fire elemental moved. It “sat” on our Dire Wolf, doing damage in addition to its two attacks. Anyone hit by it or hitting it in melee was ignited and took continuing fire damage until they spent an action to put themselves out. The point being, it was doing the equivalent of multiple attacks per round. G’Kar dispatched his Bugbear in one round and bravely engaged the elemental, figuring he had the only good magic weapon and he was resistant to fire. Unfortunately, we found that it evidently had resistance to slashing weapons, even if magical. Frankly, it was the spell casters that would do all the damage on it anyway. Jeb cast a Shatter that took out a couple of Bugbears and did damage to others. Nim then cast his penetrating fireball. It was debated if he could avoid damaging the Dire Wolf if she and elemental were occupying the same space. The wording supported that he could but the GM ruled otherwise. So he targeted pretty much everything but it to avoid hitting her. He hit 6 things, killing 5 of them. Boom. The remaining Worg fled. The elemental continued to fight and do damage. The loss of actions due to being on fire also took a toll. But eventually, it was dropped. (Many versus one.) A couple of 2-3 level spells were used. G’Kar is currently hasted. The Rogue is pretty hurt as well as Nim but the rest are okay. The crossbowmen have fallen back into the tower. That’s where we must go next time.
Game 28 - 4/7/2017
As usual, some of the characters were battered and in favor of a short rest to regain hit points and some were relatively uninjured and eager to press ahead. We attempted to let the resters rest and let the sneakers sneak ahead and scope out the tower however those that were supposedly resting could not stop themselves from participating in the recon activities and Wade could not initiate the short rest as he was being peppered with questions. So ultimately we all took a short rest. (They knew we were there and another 10 minutes wasn’t going to make them any more prepared.) Then we all discussed how best to attack. Eventually, it was decided to use our climbing, our giant spider in particular, to get to the top of the tower and attack down to hopefully achieve some surprise. The Rogue and the Gnomes were on top but as the spider was heading back down to get another load, a swarm of giant bats erupted from a hole in the roof. Initiative.
The Rogue slipped into the attic. Nim used a Shatter, injuring lots of bats, but not killing any. Some of those players below fired up. The Ranger decided to open the front door rather than try to climb up. He needed a great roll to do it which he got. So a second front was opened, for better or worse. The tower had like 5 levels. The module did not provide maps of each, only of the side view which was a little tricky to visualize. We faced about 6 armored fighter types, around 3 flaming guys and one spell casting evil Druid leader type. There were lots of holes in the floor so those with forced movement powers, such as eldritch blast and thunderwave, had some success pushing people off levels. The Evil Druid hit Nim with a 4th level Blight spell which sucked away most his hit points. The next round, he was knocked out. Unfortunately, he was pretty isolated and hard to aid. On his first death save, he rolled a 1 leaving him one more 50/50 roll from death. But the Bard, with others clearing the way so he could get line of sight, cast a healing word and Nim was saved. The other Gnome also took a Blight and also went out but by then, the bad guys were on the ropes. There wasn’t much drama once Nim was saved.
One last fighter was left alive. He was questioned but claimed to merely a hired hand. (We always seemed to be left with grunts that don’t know anything but since we attack the leaders first and often, I guess that’s not a surprise.) All we got out of him was that he thought the leader was getting orders from the dungeon below. The leader had the 4th key (magical properties TBD but likely fire protection) and a pipe that can summon a tiny fire elemental thing. No treasure to speak of other than the usual used (and bloody) gear. Next time we’ll prepare for the final assault on the dungeon. We think each elemental keep has an isolated dungeon so we’ll likely go back to the first one under the spire. We might also attempt to buy magic items first. We made 7th so there are various leveling up tasks to do with spell choices likely being the most time-consuming.
Game 29 - 4/21/2017
It was decided to assault the air dungeon first. The keys fit and we walked ‘couple hundred feet’ to an archway with Dwarven statues on either side. Through that, was the bottom left corner of the actual map! Hooray. Area to our left (above us on the map) was a cliff/chasm going down a long way. Ahead was a diagonal wall with what looked to be a door in it with no handles. Andy searched and found it reacted to pressure and it actually spun on its central axis. Through that was a zig-zag corridor heading north and east about 60’. (10’ up 10’ right 10’ up 10’ right, 10’ up 10’ right, etc.) There was an arrow slit on every wall face on both sides. Isidor peeked into one or two arrow slits and eventually saw some bird-man (Kenku? – looks like a “crow”-man) who shot him. Isidor ran up the corridor where there was another door like the first. He was shot like 3 times. Ouch. He pushed door open but saw an empty corridor heading east. Jebeddo saw Isidor get shot and said he could make a doorway in Gnomish, but by then Isidor was already heading towards the door. Myrrdin made a glowing humanoid (Dancing Lights cantrip) and moved it up the zig-zag but no one shot at it. Jebeddo used Stone Shape to make a 5 foot hole where an arrow slit was on the east side. The rest of the group piled through the hole into a fairly large barren room with 4 Kenku. The room is roughly shaped like a triangle with the zig-zag along the hypotenuse, and the right angle wasn’t there (a bit of diagonal wall face was there.)
Kithri moved in and swatted one, killing it quickly. (His new form is a cave bear.) It was argued his attack could invoke intimidation on the birds, but his charisma is only an 8, which doesn’t make sense. BW said tough but Kithri’s average roll on intimidation was sufficient to send the others scurrying out a door near the top right of the room (spin door again.) They were chased and killed easily.
Meanwhile, Isidor moved along his east corridor above us which became a crossroads of sorts where a north corridor intersected 15’ in and a south corridor intersected 30’ in. The corridors are like 15’ or 20’ wide. There were pillars (5’ wide) with very gaunt people tied to them in the north corridor. Eventually we found out they were there trying to gain sustenance from the air itself and being tied was to force them to try to ‘eat air’. Good luck with that. The south corridor was to the room we found the 4 birdmen, so we met up with Isidor. Further east along the main corridor it looked like a two doors and a corridor but we didn’t go that way. In the north corridor with the pillars and ‘air eaters’ was double doors made of Brass (?) along the west wall. There were weird flute noises coming from there. Invisible Braegor looked up further north along the corridor and there was water on either side of the corridor, and a wall in front. It looked like a large square room with a large square room inside of it, with a moat and small walkways on either side of the moat. If that makes sense?
We ‘snuck’ into the brass door room where some people were playing bone flutes… badly. Except for one, a Windharrow (WH), who was trying to teach the rest. The room had a large well/cistern in the middle and nothing else. 3 walls and the west side of the room was open to the cliff/chasm from the opening before the first door. Somehow WH noticed someone and asked if they could play. Myrrdin of course stepped up. So we were asked if any/all of us could play. They were practicing to play for the ‘Great Lady of Air’ and needed to play for her soon. Myrrdin and DeVir did well on their rolls. Jeb said sure and pretended to play but used Prestidigitation to make the music. He was at least better than the bad flute players. He made a second performance roll without prestidigitation and rolled well. He’s a natural? Some refused? But we said they could be backup or percussion or something. Braegor may have stayed hidden.
WH gave us the cloaks of the flutists we replaced, so we all look like we belong, and said “You’re ok. It’s time to go perform for the Lady.” We were led up the northern corridor and around to the east side of the room with a room in it. Corridor extended east from there but there was a door on the east side of the ‘inside room’. We wandered in (I forget what this room looked like) but we were led up some stairs. The upstairs room had a relief map of a city on the floor, and behind that was a throne with the Lady of Air. We ended there.
Game 30 – 5/5/2017
We were down 3 players so someone joked that St was going to have to pull her weight for a change. Boy, that came back to haunt us. So we were lead into the audience chamber of the “Lady”. She had wings but also looked vaguely Drow like. The number of bad guys had dropped since the last game, given the smaller number of players in attendance. We rolled initiative but nothing was really happening. We didn’t really come in with a plan. Do we jump them or pretend to play in their band? Bluff or fight? So the first round everyone sort of positioned themselves. Then Braegor got behind St, pulled out the crystal dagger that came to him in a dream and stabbed her. What now? She sort of poured out radiant light. He then recast his invisibility and disappeared. The Lady said something like, “Not my daughter!” Say what now? Nobody knew what to do, including the players. G’Kar positioned himself within a move of the Lady, pretending to interpose himself between her and the surprising violence. Izzy pretended to look for the invisible Braegor. Jeb simply started playing his flute which made about as much sense as anything else.
So G’Kar kicked off the fun, accusing the Lady of bewitching Braegor into attacking St, then attacking her. He’s got a mistrust of mages in his background after all. He hit her, tripped her, then hit her twice more with advantage. All totaled, he took about a third of her hit points. Unfortunately, it also made him a big target. She went next, stood up, cast invisibility and likely headed to the corner. G’Kar was then attacked by 2 Invisible Stalkers, each of which got two attacks with advantage and still stayed invisible. Jeb and Izzy had positioned themselves in the corners so a couple of grunts attacked them each but pretty much the rest came after G’Kar. Luckily they were fairly weak, attacking with daggers, and a couple ran into the backs of the stalkers which they couldn’t see either. Wind Harrow cast Confusion on G’Kar but he made a wisdom save for once. Izzy tried to pull the dagger out of St and got 10 points of radiant damage for his troubles. Braegor went to St, cradled her in his arms and said: “Forgiven me, mother”. What now? She continued to take radiant damage and bleed out.
Jeb, bravely ignoring the grunts around him, cast his 4th level Ice Storm in the corner we thought the Lady had to be. He also got the stalkers, some grunts, I think the WH and G’Kar. The latter saved as did most however the lady missed her concentration check and became visible. With only 4 active players, no one could get to her until G’Kar’s turn. Braegor did hit WH with his massive back stab attack, but did not drop him. It did put him on the defensive however. G’Kar used his Action Surge to Disengage from the stalkers, jump off the dais and engage the Lady again. This time he only hit with the butt attack. When she went, she cast Chain Lightning, a 6th level spell. Holy crap. She targeted all 4 players (St was already out) doing 10d8 and avoiding her friends. Luckily G’Kar saved, Jeb had lightning resistance from his stone and Braegor was relatively unhurt thus far so they survived. Izzy did not and dropped in a twitching heap.
Things were dire. 2 players out and 3 with handfuls of hit points left. All of the enemy heavy hitters were up and we couldn’t even target the stalkers if we wanted. And then the Lady blew the big horn in the room, summoning re-enforcements, we figured. Jeb cast his Ex Retreat and ignoring the OAs from the grunts, raced across the room to finish her off with a full load of Magic Missiles. Her body turned to wind and disappeared but her stuff stayed behind. One of those things was her spell book! Braegor got to Izzy, posed to give him a Goodberry. About this point, St awoke, transformed into a 7th level Paladin. What now?? I’m not sure if her equipment changed as well but she was wielding a rapier so she’s still dex based. (In retrospect, perhaps we should have waited for her transformation to finish before attacking but we had no way of knowing.) Additionally, Wade recalled he meant to invoke Izzy’s family artifact when he got knocked out. When Braegor got there, he found that Izzy wasn’t out after all? Get back to work! It was unclear whether it was electrical resistance or some sort of instant heal. (Ring of Protection) The WH got taken out around here too. About then, more grunts from below came up the stairs. A couple were tougher and one was an invisible spell caster.
Izzy got up and got his bow out. His first attack rolls of the night, both of which missed. St got up and did a lay on hands on G’Kar for 35. Maybe we’ll live. Then that spell caster became visible and cast a lightning on G’Kar, St and Izzy. Somehow G’Kar saved again but then these new grunts went. They had electrified dart burst, one of which hit him and one of which critted him. Down he went. Damn crits! He made one death save. When St went, she cured him. When they went, the caster cast another lightning on the same people and he went out again. Another death save. Another cure. But somehow we took them out. We could hear the door in the room below being battered. (The re-enforcements.)
We were in no condition for another fight and there was nowhere to hide up here. We decided to run to the as yet unopened double doors in the downstairs room, hoping we could get through before the doors gave out. We’d hoped they go upstairs and maybe we could slip away. We moved as fast as we could. We almost made it but not quite. The Genie came in with a couple of beasts behind him as the last of us was going through the door. Damn. And we found nothing but a narrow walkway on the edge of a waterfall with a massive drop on the other side. Not good. We stopped there, figuring we would need fresh hit points from 3 characters who had evidently been out scouting. We grabbed the Lady’s spellbook which Jeb noted contained Chain Lightning at least as well as some jewelry which we assume is not magic and her ornate spear which she never got to use. Assuming we don’t flee and jump down the waterfall, we should have plenty of time to sort it all out since its “us or them” as usual.
Game 31 – 5/19/2017
We faced the usual problem when we jump into a new night in the middle of an old combat. Those who missed last time were eager to fight. (Jon, Dan and BTO) Those who got the snot beat out of them last time were looking to flee. Unfortunately, only some of those move fast enough to have any hope of fleeing. The best the rest could hope would be to hang back. So when initiative was rolled, we had no agreement as to what we were doing. So the Ranger went first as usual. He fled and with his crazy movement, was barely on the map after 1 round. Nim went and fled but didn’t get far on his short legs. G’Kar got a bit further and positioned himself at the T of the corridor, hoping to provide a bit of cover as others withdrew. The genie forced his way through the door. The Rogue hit him, thus eliminating its OAs on him, and then positioned himself north of the door, away from everyone else. The Bard went and used a spell to force it to move away, figuring he could buy everyone a round. The Cave Bear used his Sentinel feat to get an AO as it fled and then chose to stop its movement. So after a round, are we fleeing or not?
On round two, some were fighting, some were fleeing and some didn’t know what to do. The Rogue headed north. G’Kar advanced to the next corner, hoping he could survive a round and use his Sentinel feat to slow down anyone that came around that corner. The Cave Bear and others beat on the genie who turned invisible. Around the corner came a Manicore with a spell caster on its back. G’Kar got his OA but then it went, hitting twice and then pumped him full of poison for another 6d6. He dropped. Jeb fired a Shatter and was forced to put G’Kar in the area due to range limits. The Bard assured him that would be okay as he was poised to cure him. So G’Kar took an automatic miss on this death saves. Then their spellcaster went and included G’Kar in another AE lightning bolt. Another automatic miss. Unfortunately, the Bard didn’t go until after G’Kar so he was down to a 50/50 roll to live. Rolled a 1. He then used an inspiration point to roll again and failed again. The DM allowed the Bard to give him his inspiration point and he failed again. So dead.
Another pair showed up and start tossing lightning and poison as well. The genie showed up next to St and because she had the magic horn, asked her bidding. So he started fighting on our side although he didn’t have much in the way of offense. Spells were cast. G’Kar’s body must have been hit 3-4 more times in more AEs. We won. The genie was enslaved by the horn so we freed him after we questioned him and got nothing of use. The leader’s spear was a +2 finesse lightning spear which just happened to be perfect for her daughter’s new paladin form. She also had some expensive jewelry and the spellbook full of air spells up to 6th level. Not much else of worth or note. Research was made and it was found that a raise dead spell (within 10 days) was a reasonable 1500 gold, on par with the worth of the treasure we just got. Brian storyboarded the finishing off of the dungeon. We traveled to the Paladin’s keep who cast it for free (one time only) in gratitude for our services to the greater good. We’ll need to wait 4 days for G’Kar to recover from being dead. The mages will want to copy spells around too. Next on the list is the water dungeon.
Game 32 – 6/2/2017
Despite attempts by some to rehash the story boarding from the end of last time or open up discussions about the best way to assault the water element dungeon, Wade eventually just placed us on the rails. Full speed ahead. So we entered this portion of the Dwarven city via an underground river on two row boats. We approached the dock and encountered a group of guards. The leader demanded our papers, the caster hung back and the rest milled about. The Bard started his song and dance, pretending to search his bags for our papers, as others started getting out of the boats. Soon enough, he rolled a 1 and it was initiative. Combat ensued. I don’t think their caster ever got to go. Jeb hit them all with a Slow which helped. The only surprise was a giant shark which tried (and missed) to take a bite out of Nim as he waited for his turn to get out of the boat. Miscellaneous nothings were earned. The leader had a lance which some thought might be magical but when we encounter more of her type with the same; that thought faded.
The next room was empty. Some searched it anyway so that the sneakers could sneak ahead. The next room had a squad of cleric types, I think. This time the Warlock convinced them he was one of the guards from the dock. He told them the dock was under attack. Most of the non-stealthy party were still in the empty room which cause a bit of delay. Most of the bad guys headed out the other door where they encountered the Ranger and Cave Bear. Combat ensued again. Other than the Cave Bear being knocked out of her shape, not much happened. If they had spells, I don’t think they ever got to cast. When all 8 players show up, we can do a lot of damage really quickly. Again nothing of worth was found.
The next room had another squad, this one looking a bit tougher. Again the Warlock, with his many faces power on, managed to bluff them. This time Nim stepped up and tossed a Fireball into the room, instantly killing all the grunts and damaging the rest. The players moved in but they were all dead before some could even get into combat. The only wrinkle was that their leader used a Misty Step to get out of the room, down the hall and through the next door. The Warlock gave chase and killed him just on the other side of the door. In that room were several “cave creatures” that evidently had some sort of physic powers. His ring of mind shielding seem to protect him. The Bard hit them with a Confusion but then Jeb killed all but one with a Lightning Bolt so there didn’t seem to be a point. We stopped there. I think there’s a gargoyle by a fountain still. From the map, it seems we have cleared one side with the bosses left to go.
The rest of the night was taken up by discussion about what Brian should do with his Bard. He’s just not being effective nor having much fun with it. Start fresh with Cleric? Sorcerer? Add 2 levels of Warlock? TBD. Next game in 2 weeks. The next game after that will be with Andy in town and perhaps Paul too.
Game 33 – 6/16/2017
We were down one gnome and a Bard which was hard on Jeb who had to carry the arcane damage load. The first order of business, after getting everyone logged on and refocused, was the captured knight left over from last time. G’Kar offered to let him live if he revealed the map and told us who and where the boss was. The knight countered with he’d talk if we let him go now and not after we were done. Jeb argued against it, stating that only by keeping him tied up, would we be certain of the validity of his info. Brian made him make an intimidation roll which was a 1. Evidently he was not impressed by the threatening Gnome. The Paladin then stepped up, and using her goodly glow, persuaded him we would let him live and then rolled well to back that up. He revealed bits and pieces of the map, claiming he doesn’t go everywhere. Truthfully it was of no real use since we were going to open every door along the way anyway. He did say he’d heard that the boss was deeper in the dungeon, summoning help as he’d heard that the air queen had recently been killed by some mettlesome kids and their pet cave bear. Anyway, the knight is still tied up.
We crossed the bridge. Disguised Breagor led the way but when he went AFK, the Ranger took over. He was peeking through a door when Jeb moved up and rolled a bad stealth. The Ranger saw a troll and heard him tell someone else that he had heard something. His declared plan was to use these pivoting doors, allowing one troll through and then hopefully blocking the door. Unfortunately no one was listening or didn’t care. The Rogue moved up and fired an E. Blast at it. Then Jeb moved up and fired an Erupting Earth through the door, hoping to slow down any friends he might have. Then the Cave Bear awaited the Troll’s arrival, blocking the door in the process. St and G’Kar positioned themselves a bit back. The troll, even if he wanted to go into a room with at least two casters and a cave bear, couldn’t get through the bear anyway. So he summoned his troll wits and simply closed the door. Crap. Andy was pretty annoyed.
The Ranger reasoned he wouldn’t fair well on a str vs str roll against a Troll and didn’t want to go diving into a room with at least 2 trolls in it anyway. G’Kar pointed out that based on the portion of map we could see, if he went north and around, he could likely reach the other door into the room. He triple moved but couldn’t quite reach it in one round. St followed him. The bear did force her way into the room and found 3 trolls which quickly surrounded her. Jeb cast his Slow, all failed their saves, which reduced them from claw, claw, bite to just claw among other benefits. They were still tough and regenerated 10 each round unless they took some fire damage that round. People piled in and started swinging. The Ranger got to the door and found it blocked by that Erupting Earth. So he started running back around the other way. St went and made her strength roll and open the door just enough. The Ranger then came back around. All and all, it was a pathetic showing by most. There was a lot of poor rolling but luckily Wade was rolling bad as well or it could have been much worse. We took a short rest although I’m not sure why. No treasure unless you’re collecting gnawed fish heads.
We pressed on, electing to stay on the edge of the map rather than straight into the heart. We found a brewery with some big vats. Invisible Braegor went into the work room next door and after a lovely description of it, was informed that there were 3 bikini chicks and a blue caster dude in there working. Braegor came back into the vat room to discuss what he saw. Impatient Jeb started sneaking around to the north entrance. He gloriously made like 4 rolls although it really didn’t amount to anything. Meanwhile one chick came into the room, got some stuff and then went back. The Ranger had intended to jump her but didn’t really get a chance to say so. So Braegor went in and got next to the caster. He sneak attacked. The Ranger also charged in and did his assassinate thing. The other 3 were poised to enter when 6 Water Weirds came out of the vats. Those things had reach, did 3D6+3 plus grapple and restrained. St and G’Kar were grabbed but the Bear was missed. The problem was that it took an action to attempt the DC13 roll to free yourself. Without another action, you couldn’t disengage and move so all you could do was move. Then they got an OA, usually two with their reach and numbers, and if they hit, you were grabbed again. You could fight while restrained but at disadvantage while they had advantage. It was a tough spot unless you had a cunning action which none of them had.
The caster used Misty Step to get away from the assassins and out of the room. Jeb cast another Slow on the chicks. Braegor used disengage to chase the caster only to find another troll waiting for him on the other side of the door. Another would arrive the next round. The Ranger left the room, circling around to help the vat people, I think? I’m not sure what he was doing. St could not break free. The bear chose to attack, mainly because he didn’t realize how screwed we were. G’Kar did and using his one Action Surge use, did a Disengage and then got out of the room. His hope was that they were stuck in the vats, which turned out to be true. Once in the main room, he missed on one Riposte attack and then was hit by a Fear. He dropped his weapon and fled. So that left Jeb and Breagor with 3 chicks, a troll and a caster who kept running in and out of the room. It didn’t go well for them. Jeb used up a lot of spells. Meanwhile, St got free only to be grabbed again by the OA. Same for the bear.
The next round (or two) St got free and their two OAs missed and she got out. The Ranger tried to pull the Bear out but couldn’t beat the OA. G’Kar came around and thankfully ended his 2nd fleeing round near St whose goodly aura gave him +4 on his measly Wisdom save. He just made it. One of the chicks was also feared but rather than run past those in the hall and face several OA, she went north and jumped into the river. Unfortunately no one could stop her. She likely recovered and went to warn the rest of the dungeon. However it was doubtful that with all the thunder attacks, that there was anyone as yet unaware. The Ranger failed again to help the bear but then St helped and they succeeded. Stay out of that room! St and the Ranger then headed south in hopes of avoiding the trolls and getting behind the caster. They ran into him and his 4 mirror images, sneaking away. The Ranger, with his horde breaker, could attack two images a round but he kept missing. The caster got as far as the edge of the river, ready to jump, but they finally finished him off. In the other room, the chicks were finished by a Shatter and however Jeb was knocked out twice by the trolls. The trolls were finally taken out as the bear and G’Kar arrived. DG made one reaction attack the whole fight. Fun, fun.
We’re currently held up in the brewery next to the vat room full of WWs. Dave asked if he could cast a 10 minute Detect Magic before we quit. Wade said no which means we’ll likely be attacked before then. So no short rest and certainly no long rest. The last thing we heard before ending the night was the roar of something that sounded like a dragon. Yippee. Jeb is at 1 hit point and out of 1sts, 3rds and 4ths. He has his arcane recovery but I don’t think we’ll get a short rest in. Breagor is below half. I think most everyone else is pretty good. Many couldn’t get into the actual combat so they didn’t take much damage. I think the Druid has one shape change and one enrage left but she used several spell slots to heal herself. The Paladin used her one “+4 to hit deal” in the first Troll room but she still has her lay on hands healing. The missing Bard and the Fire mage should have gotten a short rest when we rested earlier, assuming they attend next time. I assume next level will be reached after we finish this water dungeon so experience doesn’t really matter anymore. Assuming we end this level at 8th, the next at 9th, the last at 10th and then perhaps one last one under the 4 elements at 11th? If it takes 3-4 nights per dungeon, it may be awhile. Xmas?
Game 34 – 6/30/2017
We started with the usual mid-dungeon debate, to short rest or not to short rest. Those that were battered, Jeb and Breagor, wanted to rest and the rest wanted to press on. Jon mentioned that his Tiny Hut spell lasts for 8 hours so we could, in theory, get a long rest but that seemed too unreasonable in the middle of a dungeon. In the end we decided to try to take that short rest. If we were attacked and fell short then so be it. If those that most needed to rest could refrain from fighting, they could still get it in. So during that rest, G’Kar saw through the arrow slit, a huge sea turtle raising from the water but it could not fit down the corridor. Whatever cultists were left decided not to attack without its support. So the short rest was had. We found some stuff. One of those glass vessel backpacks was magical. According to the identify spell, if a water weird is loaded into it, at a water node, it would attack on behalf of the wearer. Weird but given the troubles they gave us, useful if we can charge it. G’Kar has it now but once we see what it actually does, perhaps there’s a better host. We also got some keys from the caster.
We headed south and found another beach on the river with some old ruined boats. There was a locked gate which one of the keys opened. From the location on the map, we concluded it lead to another dungeon so we relocked the gate and went back. The only other way to go was over the bridge where we saw the turtle. We made it across without issue. In the fountain room, there was a door with strange runes on it. Eventually it was opened. In there was a bunch of orges. I don’t recall any talking but soon enough we piled in and started swinging. In the back room was a sea hag. She caused fear to all who saw her but the Bard fired up his never used before Countersong ability which gave us all advantage once he went. I think the Rogue was the only one effected. When she went, she hit the Rogue with something that sent him directly to 0 hit points. Save or die indeed. Obviously she got everyone’s attention and didn’t live long. She had some expensive furniture as treasure and a magic short sword with warm red gems on it. It turned out to be a dragon slayer. G’Kar was not thrilled.
The next room had a bunch of lizard folks. The Bard, disguised as the caster, tried to bluff them into splitting up but they wouldn’t go for it. Skill versus general obnoxiousness. Again we piled in and started fighting. Jeb slowed them. Soon enough one fled to the next door. When we chased him, we found another big room with the remaining cultists including some grunts, some chicks and a blue caster. They had cover from some tables so it was a risky move to charge across especially since the damage was starting to add up. The Bard headed up and round to come at them from a different direction followed by G’Kar. Eventually the lizardmen were done and everyone charged into the other room. The Bard put up a Darkness to help those trying to cross and in particular, to impede their caster. This also blocked the view of the corridor to the north and the water to the west. The Rogue could see through the Darkness and notified us that something was bubbling in the water and there was a large lizard thing coming down the corridor with more lizardmen behind it. The water was a source of consternation by the way. To the players, it looked like a wall but it was obviously steps into water to the DM. The fact that he didn’t reveal the water on the map didn’t help. Not that it would have changed anything.
So the fire mage tossed his last fireball into the north corridor. That instantly killed the remaining lizardmen and hurt the lizard-like demon. Once again that feat that negates fire resistance paid off. That thing was tough with a high AC, did lots of damage and made anyone near it sick. People were panicking when the dragon turtle came out of the water. He positioned himself perfectly to hit most of the players with his cone. 15D6 of steam (fire) damage but on a Con save. The druid was dropped out of her last form and Braegor was out. Several saved, used bardic dice, paladin bonuses or inspiration to boost their rolls. A new problem, to say the least. Some, led by Jeb, voted for fleeing but most kept fighting. The Bard used his Mass Healing Word which instantly brought the unconscious back to fully functional. Its breath recharged and it did it again. This time it rolled above average and almost instantly killed Braegor. It would have likely killed the mages but they were hiding in the wings. Things looked dire as most were out of spells and the turtle’s AC was very high.
The demon was killed soon enough. Whatever spells were left were tossed at the turtle. The Ranger poisoned his blade and waited for someone else to engage it so he’d get his sneak attack damage as well. G’Kar, who had saved twice and was resistant to fire, charged with most of his hit points and engaged. The Ranger hit and it blew its con save. 8d6 of damage plus poisoned. The next round, it wanted to attack the Ranger and tried to back up. G’Kar used his Sentinel feat to hit it and stop it. As a reward, it attacked him instead. A crit bite and a claw later, G’Kar went from not bad to out. The spare claw hit the Paladin. So people were dropped and then popped back up. They used every bonus, spell and edge they had and a couple rounds later it was dropped with much fanfare. Epic. We stopped there at 2AM. Next time will be clean up. Brian says we can get some fire resistant armor out of the turtle hide.
Game 35 – 7/14/2017
We leveled up to 8th. We took a short rest and with the Bard’s song of rest and the Paladin’s healer’s kit, boosted our hit points. Unfortunately the casters were not able to recover any spells but we felt it unwise to take a long rest before the dungeon was fully explored/emptied. We ventured up the map and found the empty throne room. It did not have a water nexus to charge the water weird backpack unfortunately. It must be the next level down. Beyond that we found a room with stairs down to the next level. It was guarded by two demons or maybe devils. They did decent damage but the main complication was that one cast Darkness. Most players were thwarted (for an agonizing 6 seconds) but when the Bard went, he dispeled it. Once they could be seen, they were dispatched without much issue. One tried to flee but it didn’t make it far. They had nothing of value. We did not yet have the upgraded keys to go down the stairs. (artificial plot constraint)
We doubled back and went into one last room. In there was some decent quarters and a wand of wonder which the Bard took. We headed back to the dragon turtle room but it was pointed out that there was one area across the river we hadn’t explored. So still without a long rest, we checked it out. It was full of water ghouls with paralysis touch. It could have been dicey but the DC was low and our ACs high. Only the Fire Mage was affected. The casters used their cantrips and the fighters fought. They were taken out quick enough. The Bard used two charges of the new wand but it did nothing of use. Nothing was gained. Back at the turtle room, we debated how best to search the river bottom for its lair. With a fly spell to scout, a control water to move water and water breathing its treasure was scooped up without much issue. No magic but some significant coinage.
We then carved up the turtle. After much debate, we went for the “easy” 2 suits of +1 scale with fire protection and a +1 shield without. The roll was good enough to get enough material for an extra suit. The scale will go to the Fire Mage and the Druid. The shield will go to the Paladin. I believe the Fire Mage’s fire protection key was transferred to the Paladin. We went back to Summit Hall where their chief blacksmith said he could do the work. He was already working on mithral plate for the Paladin. His price was that extra suit which seemed pretty steep but no one wanted to argue about it. Several expressed a desire to head north to spend some of this treasure on a magic item. We’ll see if we’re given the chance. Next up is the earth dungeon under the Lich inhabited monastery.
Game 36 – 7/28/2017
We returned to the Spire after stopping at the blacksmith master at Summit Hall. The amount of time needed to create our magic armor is TBD. Wade needs to balance “reasonable” time with “comes into play before we finish the module” time. We got one long rest. The next morning we saw a plume of smoke in the direction of Red Larch. That’s 2 hours away by flight so it must have been something big. Since the Ranger spotted it during his morning patrol, he flew off to investigate. After waking a couple others of course. But there was no action, only investigation so splitting the party didn’t really impact anything. There was a massive explosion in the middle of town. Lots of damage, lots of wounded and some deaths. The mages determined it was earth based magic. G’Kar questioned the town gossip and she said a group of strangers came into town, unloaded a strange box with strange ruins on it (earth cultist symbol) and then left. Soon after, it exploded. The rest of the group aided the townsfolk.
So we went into investigation mode. Remember that the trail was several hours old. The Ranger managed to track the wagon (great roll) out of town. We found the wagon, abandoned off the road. A search of that found some food supplies with the same symbol but nothing else. Another tracking roll concluded that the people scattered in different directions. At this point we were faced with splitting up and stopping random people in the area. Wade then announced that Fylindara was going back to help Red Larch as she felt this was pointless. Hard as it is to get players to stop turning over every stone, we took the hint. The Bard asked what purpose this attack could serve. G’Kar suggested spite. If you remember, it was stone cultists that tried to seal us in that cave with the barbarian ghost. Someone else suggested it might be a distraction. Attack on the Spire? So a couple flew to the Spire and the rest back to Red Larch. There was nothing happening at the Spire. Bandages, healing berries, etc. We put up the orphans at our house in town. And that was about it. So it seems it was a means to keep pressing the action. (I.e. no trip to buy magic items) To the next dungeon! It was pointed out that they were probably planning for our immediate frontal assault because of the attack. The Bard suggested attacking from the linkage passage from the water keep instead so that’s what we did.
The Ranger used his new Pass with Trace spell which gave everyone within 30 feet of him, +10 on their stealth rolls. Andy rolled two 20s to start and the rest managed to do okay. We found a sleeping Ettin and snuck right by him. We went a bit further but when we came to a room with 4-5 exits including one with blacksmith sounds coming from it, we decided to double back to the Ettin, not wanting to start a combat with it behind us. The Ranger made another good stealth roll however Wade had since discovered that 1 of its two head was always awake so it was now not asleep. We rolled initiative. Again Wade reread the surprise rules. Those surprised cannot act but they roll initiative. Until their initiative, they are flat footed but once their turn comes up, they are not flat footed. The upshot was that because Andy rolled average initiative (still 3rd best) and it rolled well, it was no longer subjected to his assassinate ability by the time he went. He was not happy. However it lost a round and it was 7 against 1. I think it got to go maybe twice before being taken out. The Bard’s magical secrets derived Spirit Guardians did very well, by the way. It had some treasure under its sleeping skins but we left the 5,000 copper behind for later.
The Bard’s spell would last for 10 minutes if concentrated on so we pressed on. Again we all made our stealth rolls. The blacksmith room had a huge Doa (earth based genie, I think) and 4 underdark dwarves. This time Andy rolled well. He dashed past the flat footed dwarves and assassinated the Doa for a big hit. The dwarves were taken out by various area effects targeting the Doa. Again that Cleric spell the Bard cast did a lot. When the Doa went, she passed through the stone floor and reemerged on the other side of the room. She then put up a Wall of Stone, isolating her and the Ranger from the rest of the room. It looked bad for the Ranger but luckily the Gnome had a Stone Shape spell. Several delayed until his turn. He opened a small gap into which G’Kar reached and the Fire Mage cast. The Doa then conjured a Fire Elemental from the forge. That caused concerns as it started putting people on fire.
But again it was 7 against 2. The Doa, despite her continual successful saves, was taken out. The Elemental was taken out a couple rounds later. Some were damaged but some were mostly untouched. There was talk of pressing on while those two spells were still going but it was already 12:30 so we called it a short rest. The Paladin did her healing feat. We gathered some treasure. Jeb did a detect magic and the only thing was some gauntlets. Nim identified them as Gauntlets of the Umber Hulk. They grant a 20 digging speed and can go through solid stone at a much lower rate. They’re also a 1d8+? strength attack but you can’t use objects while wearing them. So no bows, tools, doors, etc. I think the Bard got them. They’re a utility item not a combat item (IMO). There’s still some debate as to whether they’d be better sold but since we’re not going to do that anytime soon, it’s moot. The wizards used some high level spells which, assuming this dungeon lasts another 2-3 nights, might become a problem again.
Game 37 – 8/4/2017
We snuck up to a torturer chamber. There were a several guards and a head guy as well as 4 captives in cages along the wall. We attempted to bluff them but they weren’t buying it. Soon enough they sprung their trap, blocking the talkers in the room. That trap didn’t go well for them. Soon enough it was just the head guy who had enough cunning actions to get out of the room only to run into the rest of the party. We tried to get them to surrender but he insisted on fighting to the death. He almost maneuvered his way past but was ultimately cut down. One of the prisoners was a cultist who dared question the sanity of theirs plans and was placed here. One was a female dwarf. One was a human who had been tortured out of his mind. The last was a half elf nobleman who assumed we’d be escorting him to safety ASAP. We questioned the cultist. She said that the head guy was a Medusa but I think she said he had recently fled down a level. They decided to stay with us until we won rather than wander out by themselves. If you remember, we came in via the long passage from the water keep so it’s a long way to safety. We let them take their gear from a big chest although I think we withheld the cultist’s weapons. Of note, the half elf pulled a wand out of his pile of stuff. Doh!
We found a den of Ogres who, based on the corner of the map they inhabited, we figure were guarding the passage way to the fire elemental dungeon. The Bard attempted to lure some of them out so we wouldn’t be instantly surrounded. He first pretended to be a water cultist in the wrong room and quickly back away. They were unconcerned or uninterested. He then walked through the door and fired his wand of wonder. This time he got a fireball. Unfortunately they still didn’t come out after him, only scattered, so we had no choice but to charge in. I think one tried to block the door but our bear overpowered him. We piled in. Area effects and multiple attacks ensued. A couple tried to flee out the backdoor but they were run down. The Bard cast his See Invisible, fearing there were Ogre Magi in the room, but he only found one hiding under some bed furs. We let that one live, being good guys now. He didn’t know anything useful. We let him leave down the corridor. The optimistic figured he’d be killed by the fire cultists at the other end. The pessimistic figured he’d join them and we’d have to fight him later. They had no treasure. I think we took a short rest.
We snuck up to another room. It had armored guards, guards without armor and casting cultists. Once again the skilled characters attempted to get some of them to leave the room. “The Ettin’s room is under attack. Follow us!” Once again, it failed. The unarmored guards start to put on their armor and the others were going to wait. Nim slipped in and fired a fireball to end the talking portion and start the fighting portion of the encounter. It did not go well for us from there. They cast a Slow on those in the room which prevented Nim from getting out among other headaches. Most of us were still outside the room. They cast a Slow through an arrow slit, getting several of them as well. So they were slow to get into the action. Jeb was searching the blacksmith’s shop for a shiny shield to use against the departed Medusa and was late arriving as well. Some of them left out the back door. Some of those came around the hall to run into a slowed bear. We cast spells but so did they. Shatters on both sides. Nim went out, got revived and then went out again. The Bard cast his spirit guardians zone but couldn’t get past the bottle neck at the door to get enough of them. We stopped after a couple rounds as it was late. I’m sure we’ll win but we’re using up hit points and spells like crazy. Some of them have gotten away so at best, the rest of the cultists are warned and at worse, they’re on the way. Those Slows stink, especially for those that have limited movement, poor wisdom saves and employ multiple attacks to do damage. I.e. G’Kar. Plus we’ll lose the Bard’s zone because he can’t play next time.
Game 38 – 8/18/2017
We picked up right in the middle of the action. Paul’s character was placed at the spot where BTO’s character had been occupying which was a little too close to the action for Paul’s liking. On the main front, now that the heroes had managed to get into the room, the tide started to turn. One caster did another Slow but aided by the Paladin’s aura, I think everyone saved. The other caster did a Shatter which took Nim out again. But their casters were soon engaged and taken out. On the back door front, Jeb tossed an AOE (shatter?) to support the bear. After that weakened them, the bear finished them off in a round or two. Breagor ran through the back door, seeking those that fled but he stopped short of entering the next room. The Ranger went next and ran through the next room. There was a corridor to the north and one to the east. Halfway down the east was a door which he stealthfully listened to. He heard people but then used the rest of his movement to come back out. Next two Bullets arrived on the map down the east corridor, each with a rider with a long spear. G’Kar went next, heading east towards the door the Ranger mentioned only to run into the Bullets. He used his 3D6 breath weapon to get all 4. Brian added that as a power on his sheet but it took a bit of time to get it right. (Fantasy Grounds was a bit quirky all night.) He rolled well and did quite a lot of damage when all totaled up. Love those AOEs.
G’Kar bravely stayed in the corridor in hopes of keeping them from the main room however the raging cave bear soon stood in front of him. Next was Breagor. His assumption was these had a high AC from the front but perhaps less from back. (A AD&D notion?) He decided to use stealth (aided by invisibility) and acrobatics to get behind them all. Wade said that since they couldn’t see him, they wouldn’t be resisting but since they took up most of the corridor, it would be a 15 roll for the first and then a 20 for the second, if he made a 15 stealth first. He rolled a 1 so we decided he yelled at G’Kar as he ran past, “Hey G’Kar, check out this move!”. Rather than bailing out, he went ahead with the tougher acrobatics roll, rolling another 1. So a big risk and a spectacular failure. He ended up between them, but still invisible. Not that it helped him since it turned out they had tremor sense. The next couple players had the same bottleneck problem. The Ranger switch to bow. Nim moved up and fired something. Then they went. The first one attacked the bear. The rider had 3 attacks. The bullet did 4d12+. Then the second performed its deadly leap. It jumped over the other bullet and the bear and landed on G’Kar and Nim. G’Kar used his pole arm to hit it as it flew in. He then tacked on his maneuver strike and basically push Nim out of harm’s way. (A bit of a rule stretch but fun.) That attack did 3d6+ crushing plus 3d6+ slashing. Strength save for half. On a failed save, you’re prone. So an ideal attack for G’Kar to take but it still hurt.
We tried to concentrate fire on the rider hoping, 1) they’d have a lower AC, 2) would have lower hit points thus reducing the attacks coming at us faster and 3) without a rider, maybe the Bullet would wander off. None of that seemed to work out to be true. Breagor cast his Faire Fire on the back pair so most of the attacks went against that back rider. G’Kar put a ton of damage on the front rider but it kept taking it. He and the bear buffered a lot of hit points. And then the door in the corridor open and a guard or two plus a half dozen acolytes spilled out, surrounding Braegor. And then a priest, some guards and some more acolytes came down from the north. (Basically Wade was emptying the dungeon.) A Shatter and the last Fireball cleared out the puds but now we had a bunch of slightly wounded guys. One of those guys knocked Nim out again. The Ranger was then attacked from behind by a shadow demon and people started to panic.
The shadow demon turned out to be not too tough though. It had a great out of the shadows attack but it missed against Andy’s great AC and then it didn’t have much else. Braegor used his never used Fey pact charm on the guys surrounding him and fled into parts unexplored. He used his many faces and bluffed the guys he ran into. Eventually he started to backstab them but never made it back to the main fight. Jeb used his Fire Wall down the east corridor to wear down those guys. They started dropping. St used her divine power and burned spells for extra damage against the demon primarily. The riders fell but the Bullets fought on. The Bullets were hardly ever attacked directly and were taken out mostly by collateral AOEs. The last Bullet leapt again and again landing on G’Kar and Nim. This time both were taken out as they were sitting on 7 and 1 hit point respectively. The bear was left with 1 hit point. But somehow we held on.
Nim was totally out of spells and Jeb was almost out. Nim went out at least 3 times and had one critical death save miss to add to the excitement. When the last fell, Nim immediately announced he was erecting his Tiny Hut and we’d all be taking a 8 hour rest. Not so fast. Everyone wanted to do stuff. Search, detect, identify, etc. I’m not sure if we ever made it to that rest or not. I can appreciate that he’s got no spells but we don’t want our treasure to wander off either. I think with a short rest, which we did get, we can at least gather up stuff. I think it’s clean up from here but there are still rooms yet unexplored. There may be more to do. It was late and we stopped. By the way, it seems the Medusa was indeed gone, with the shadow demon apparently left in charge. And those freed prisoners are still with us, which I think exceeds the hut capacity.
Game 39 – 9/1/2017
Wade circumvented any debates about whether we were going to take a long rest, short rest or no rest and just said we took a long rest. (Good thing, given what was about to arrive.) Nim had placed his tiny hut in the doorway of the last room we fought. At the end of 8 hours, we debated about what to do next. (No story boarding the rest of the dungeon.) We heard a small voice and saw a young female gnome approaching. She said she had been told to tell us to surrender or face death, starting with hers. The Bard exited the hut and tried to negotiate. He could hear voices from behind the statues, threatening her. He also noted that she was avoiding the statue nearest her. When he made a (poor) perception roll, all he could get was that there was some sort of glimmer to it. At this point Wade forced the action by declaring initiative. But we faced the usual issue of no real targets. People readied and delayed. The Ranger got out his bow, an action he always seems to regret due to the time it takes to switch back to sword. The Rogue turned invisible and ran out quietly. He saw various groups hiding but really couldn’t tell anyone about them without revealing his location. Nim turned off his dome and readied a Fire Bolt. The Gnome (Ruk) went and at the Bard’s suggestion, ran into the room now that Nim’s turn had turned off the hut.
Finally the Paladin’s turn came up and she ran out and engaged some platemail guards and cultists in one corner. Next was G’Kar who followed much the same path but ended a bit shorter, next to a statue. A Black Pudding formed and attacked. When it missed, G’Kar used his riposte to hit it. This began the game of, “What do you fight a Black Pudding with?”. Not a slashing attack which split it in two. Each half got half the hit points but all the offense. Another formed from the other glimmering statue. It hit G’Kar for some damage and then another 4d8+ acid damage plus a permanent loss of a point of AC as his platemail corroded. Boo. It then moved in front of the door, trapping most the party. Needless to say, anyone with a non-magic weapon or non-magic armor was not eager to engage it. A slow/shatter caster then popped into the room, fired a Slow to ruin everyone’s day and then popped back out of sight. Between that Slow and the pudding, it was a real bottleneck. The wounded NPCs had also gotten a long rest and armed with full hit points joined the fight. Sort of.
The Rogue chased after the slow caster and hit him for a bunch and at least dropped his concentration. Jeb hit a pudding with a Ray of Frost and did nothing. Nim hit it with a Fire Bolt and did full damage. Fire good! G’Kar breathed fire on all 3 but, despite their -3 dex save 2 saved and he did minimal damage. The Paladin had her hands full with 5 guys. 5 more cultist showed up to aid the caster with the Rogue although their “to hit” was so low, I kept telling everyone to just ignore them. The Bard cast Greater Invisibility but it took 2 rounds due to the Slow. In the middle of all this, the gal in charge popped out from a corner and fired another Shatter. This knocked out some NPCs which took up more actions to keep them from dying. The NPC caster, by the way, had 2 hit points when full up and was killed instantly. (How he could consider himself an adventurer, no one could figure.) The Bard tried to get his Umberhulk gloves out of his pack, dig a hole through the arrow slit so they could exit and avoid the pudding and pocket the dead NPC’s wand. That was ruled 3 actions and he had 1 so he just grabbed the wand to the consternation of Jon. The Ranger tossed oil on the big pudding in the hopes of extra damage from the next fire spell. Eventually Nim’s turn came up again and, finally seeing how dangerous the puddings were, fired a Fireball, killing 2 including the one in the doorway with the oil. The Ranger then came out and engaged the caster in charge and her 3 platemail guards. Jeb came out to support him and was knocked out in a round by the guards.
However once she was engaged and with two pudding dead, she casted her Ex Retreat and started running off. The Rogue tried to stop her as she went past but he had his hands full already. Mostly it was clean up while the fast guys tried to catch her. The Rogue is fast but the Ranger is crazy fast and they took her out pretty quick. She exploded as a parting shot. The other caster then started to run but was also quickly caught. We took a short rest. We got bogged down for an hour over the NPC’s magic wand. The Bard wanted it but the Paladin and the Jr. Paladin (Nim) argued we had to return it to his heirs. Eventually we agreed to use it until we could find his family. We got a bunch of stuff but the only magic was a suit of elvin chain (not technically magically) which went to Jeb and the wand (magic missiles) that went to the Bard. There were enough suits of plate to replaced G’Kar’s damaged suit. (Luckily his magic weapon was un-afflicted.)
Once again we tried to story board but evidently there was more to do. We wandered about the unexplored areas. Eventually we found 4 Bullets but they were restrained by massive chains so we left them there. We then found an alchemist lab with a bunch of statues, half of which were melted or blasted. In there was a guy, the Mud Wizard the gnomes had been searching for since level one as part of their background. Unfortunately, despite the Ranger’s Pass Without Trace spell giving all +10, someone blew the stealth roll so we do not have the jump on him. Wade said this was too significant a battle to start at midnight so we stopped there. There’s only one guy on the map so we expect some of the statues to come to life. So still 8th and still in the same dungeon. Another game in two weeks.
Game 40 – 9/15/2017
When last we played, we were about to face off with the Mud Mage. Evidently this guy led a raid on a caravan that the Gnomes were traveling with, prior to become guards. Most everyone was killed, the Gnomes being among the few who got away. He started by trying to parley. He offered to “fund” us to go fight the Fire Cultists and leave him alone. He said he’d pay 100 gp a head. The usually in and out of character banter occurred for a while but ultimately he was a known evil dude. Somehow G’Kar had the top initiative so he moved across the room and told him he’d have to answer for his crimes. The Paladin and Ranger did the same. The Ranger had enough movement to attack him but missed miserably. Others moved in. And then, to no one’s surprise, 4 of the statues started moving. They were lightened versions of stone golems. One used its slow vision on the 3 around the Mud Mage. (Only G’Kar saved, at least the first time.) One double slammed Jeb, putting him into heavy damage. One hit G’Kar. The last one crawled through the door to engage those that hadn’t gotten into the room.
The Mud Mage upcast a Shatter on those not in the room. That put Nim into heavy and instantly killed another of the NPCs. Everyone started swinging. The Bard used his action to swap places with Nim before the golem could smash him to bits and then did his mass healing word for all he could see. The Mage then cast Polymorph and changed into a T-Rex. “Foul! You said PCs couldn’t use that spell.” But it didn’t last long. Nim upcast a Fireball, doing a ton of damage, which broke his concentration. The Bard then finished him off with his “loaner” wand of magic missiles. Once he was down, the statues stopped. He had some cash and one Water Breathing potion. We buried the dead NPC Gnome. We searched the remaining dark nooks on the map, finding nothing until … Up in the corner of the map there was a bridge across a deep chasm. Once we were on the bridge, we were “surprised” by 6 flying gargoyles. Luckily they rolled low on initiative so most of us were not surprised by the time they actually went. They were trying to grab and toss people off but their “to hit” was low and it wasn’t much of a fight. That corridor went to the fire dungeon, I think.
At this point we got bogged down for over an hour on a couple of things. We argued whether there could be any treasure at the bottom of the chasm. Some could not let that go so eventually we had to figure out how to lower Jeb down there to look around. He found nothing but bones and rusty bits of armor. And surprisingly none of it was magical but he still had to cast it. We then argued about what to do with the chained Bullets. Let them starve, set them free, train them, set up pony rides in Red Larch. Round and round we went. In the middle of this, Braegor noticed the hag finger bone the Bard had tied to his rapier a while back. No one seemed to remember him doing this or were doing an excellent job of roleplaying. Braegor freaked and started searching the rest of his stuff. The Bard picked up the discarded rapier. Everyone started trying to solve the mystery, searching, detecting, discussing. It came to nothing except to amuse the Brians. When the Bard realized it wasn’t a magic rapier, he returned it. Jon and Nim found the whole thing upsetting. And back to the Bullets. Once again, we couldn’t let it go. The Ranger, boosted by the Bard and the Cleric made a good animal handling roll so now we’ve got 4 trained-ish Bullets. As a reward for this effort, Wade said we could haul most of the forge equipment back to the Paladin’s water keep.
After some more go backs (But did we…, before we left I wanted…, couldn’t we have…, etc.) we finally officially left the dungeon. We story boarded a trip to Water Deep to sell all this stuff. We each got over 1k, if I remember. I opened a can of worms and asked if we could shop for magical items. Wade rolled percentile and if you could match-ish his roll, you were luckily enough to find what you’re looking for. No one did. I rolled on Dan’s behalf for a ring of protection but we didn’t find one. When I logged off, it had been one request per player. It’s possible they kept hammering at him after that. We did not level up. Wade said there was one more encounter prior to the fire dungeon and that we’d be 9th after that. He also said our fire resistant armor would be ready by then. I suggested Nim’s fire resistant key should go to Dan when his shield was ready and no one had a problem with that.
Game 41 – 9/29/2017
We made it back from Water Deep without incident. Also without any new magic. We found a small encampment across from our drawbridge at the tower. It turned out to be 2 Gnomes (and a few retainers) who were our Gnome’s main magical instructors. They were checking in and seeing how they were progressing with their independent field studies. The usual paranoia ensued but nothing bad happened. In fact, they really had no impact at all other than use up some time and grant the Mages an inspiration die for tying into their back history. Everyone was doing a variety of mundane things when one of our servants cried out about something approaching. Only G’Kar and the Ranger heard them initially.
The Ranger was at the top of the tower and had a good view. 4 fire cultist guards were carrying a large crate which looked a lot like the one seen in Red Larch just before half the town was leveled. There were two fire priests on the mainland, canting. There were also two guys on fire and some more guards over there. He raced down the stairs but couldn’t make it to the door. G’Kar made it to the door and saw the guards with the box. He called out and everyone but the Bard made that roll. (Evidently the Bard had his headphones on.) The guards left the box and went back, pulling out crossbows. The Ranger readied his bow and covered the door. Others ran to the windows or headed towards the door. When G’Kar went he opened the door, was greeted by a readied fireball (love that fire resistance), went out and was greet by several crossbow bolts (love that heavy armor damage resistance). He picked up the box that 4 guys were carrying and rolled well (plus his 8 athletics). He tossed it over off the drawbridge and as far away from the spire base as he could. With the rest of his movement, he went back behind the now open door.
The mages started firing spells (Shatters, etc) from the tower. Pretty much every time they did, they were hit by a readied Fireball. There was a debate as to whether the tower had windows and if they could be opened. Ironically, after this fire fight, they’re all probably blasted away anyway. The open doorway was also hit by a Fireball. Two guards charged into the tower but thanks to all the AOEs when G’Kar went, he killed them both. This allowed the Bear, the Paladin and the Ranger to charge out. More AOEs. Jeb cast his Wall of Fire, getting most of them but all had fire resistance. The on fire guys had fire immunity which even Nim’s fire could not penetrate. The Bard cast Greater Invisibility and then glided from the top of the tower. At that point, it was the usual slugfest. Almost everyone was heavily injured but no one went out. About the only other interesting thing was the G’Kar used his new pushing maneuver to shove one of the on fire guys off the cliff. (The Bard had tried the same with a Thunderwave but it saved.)
The visiting Gnomes did not help or stab us in the back. There was no treasure to speak of. No spell books, of course. The bomb did not go off and we did recover it. Maybe we can figure out how to use it without blowing ourselves up. It might come in handy at the fire dungeon although it might not be smart to bring it back to them. Our armor is ready at the Paladin’s keep and we made 9th. Next game will be the assault of the fire dungeon. They certainly know we’re coming but hopefully there are fewer of them now.
Game 42 – 10/13/2017
We should have known things would go wrong on Friday the 13th…
We started by completing a few odds and ends with 9th level – rolling HP die’s, DS groaning over what spells to add at 9th and what spells to memorize, etc.
We had no trouble getting back from Waterdeep, getting to Paladins to pick up the various armor upgrades, and making ready to go in. We marched out to the Abandoned Tower (where we fought some fire guys during the Druid ceremony), unlocked the door and went down and got to the entrance no problem.
The first area had 9 hobgoblins. We attacked and the hobgoblins were dropping like kobalds. The boss took 3 hits to die but most others were one-shot. As we mowed them down there were 4 armored (fire warriors?) on the stairs behind the boss who were labelled “Razorblasters”. They were a problem. They didn’t do egregious amounts of damage when they hit (they turned their weapons into flaming versions for a bit more oomph but 4 of our 6 had partial resistance). But they were hardy and had 3 attacks. The combat worked out that they all lined up at the top of the stairs, so Jebeddo moved over and hit them with a Lightning Bolt! Crackle! Then Boom. A heavily damaged warrior went down from the lightning bolt, and exploded, sending his armor as shrapnel in 15’ radius. The 6D6 piercing attack did 29 damage to 3 of our party. Since most of our group was melee and some of us were backed in corners, the exploding bodies from the remaining 3 did a lot of damage to the unlucky. We had to rest and use up healing dice to get back in fighting shape.
Moving on, was a room with 4 pillars (with glowing veins lacing through them) which we ignored. Further on, the corridor turned left/south, and there was a small corridor with shadowy alcoves. We ignored the alcove and went straight. Moving down the main corridor south a ways, it came to a large stairs down straight ahead, a small stairs left/back west, and a small corridor with 4 doors to the right/east. Isidor, with his Pass Without Trace spell running, explored the south stairs which was a dozen or so steps and became a very large room with runnels of lava. It was the smithy, lots of heat, fire and noise, with an Efreeti running the place, a couple salamanders and at least 3 “Razorblasters”. They seemed to be creating weapons in a great hurry. We were reluctant to take them on with only 75% of our group. At the same time, Braegor spied out the small stairs, as he was invisible. He moved up and it turned back up to a small room with a bunch more hobgoblins. He came back and told us and we told him to explore the back opening, so he went through the hobgoblins and found another small room which was empty except for wooden training weapons and a door. Jebeddo talked to him with Message cantrip and got this information and we decided to hit the hobgoblins then so that they wouldn’t be behind us when we hit the forge group.
We like hobgoblins. They went quickly, especially the two that were sleeping. We paused long enough to search and found 4 potions. (Afterwards Wade informed us that when we do have time to identify them, we will find that 3 of them are potions of fire resistance.) We then opened the next door and there were 3 Ogres that didn’t really fit in an 15’x15’ cubby, with an opening to another corridor. One Ogre moved out to confront the puny people who didn’t look like fire people, and he died in a cloud of red spray as Breagor backstabbed him. Isidor ran in and stabbed both ogres and continued through, Fiiliindiiriia moved in and finished one, and Bear-Kithri squeezed in and finished the other.
The 10’ opening on the south side of the cubby (adjacent to the door we entered) was another small corridor west. The corridor runs about 60’ and opens into 25’ x (100’) room whose length extended south. There were two doors on the west wall of the room, quite a distance apart. However, back at the start of the corridor, 5 cultist warriors (normal) filled the corridor. We were taking them out easily enough as our heavily armored people were dishing more than they were taking. (These warriors did make their weapons ‘flaming’.) After the first few fell, a few unarmored cultist warriors showed up at the far end of the corridor (next to one of the two doors in the room) with heavy crossbows, but they were not hitting often. After dispatching the last two armored cultists in the corridor, Breagor and Isidor ran up to the unarmored crossbowmen who dropped the xbows and pulled out swords and made them flaming. There was no one else in the room. The rest of the group tried to catch up, Kithribear made it almost to the rogues. Jeb ran to the edge of where the corridor opened into the room.
And then a Genasi (half fire elemental) popped out of the closest door, yells back for others to “get in here” and then cast a 44 pt. fireball!!! He was just able to hit everyone in the group. Boom. 44 pts of damage. Each. No one took all of it (4 of the group have Fire Resistance), but most took 22 damage, a few took 11. I don’t remember if anyone was able to go after this. Then from the south door, 4 Fire Priests move into the room. And cast 3 fireballs (Wade realized after 3 that a 4th fireball would KILL Isidor so the 4th guy just moved up.) And that was that. Every fireball hit every character. Every damage roll was above average. Isidor got wasted by the first Priest’s Fireball, and the next two fireballs each gave him a failed death save. Breagor saved vs. every fireball but didn’t have Resistance, so he only had 5-6 hps. A 4th fireball would have knocked him out. Kithri was knocked out of bear form, but was in better shape than others. Jeb was down to 13 HPs – a 4th fireball would have been save or out. G’Kar (and Fiiliindiiriia?) have Resistance and a lot of hit points, but were down more than half their HPs.
We figured the Genasi and 4 priests all had the capability to cast more than 1 fireball. Also they were effectively split two groups (Genasi + 2 unarmored cultists + 1 priest, 3 fire priests) and completely unharmed. Meanwhile we only had two moderate damage-dealing spellcasters (although Kithri prefers animal shapes to casting) and everyone was already in heavy damage or out. We decided to run and started working out movement rates and carrying capacity. G’Kar went next. He ran up to Isidor and popped a goodberry in his mouth, then ran back (not too far). Isidor stood up, grabbed Breagor and dragged him his half move (still ridiculously far.) Kithri said he could turn into a Giant Stag and we could all ride him, but part-way through planning this strategy out he realized his size would be Huge, and we would have difficulty maneuvering through corridors, and be unable to squeeze through a door. So it was decided a large warhorse would work, so Kithri-horse started running through. G’Kar, Fiiliindiiriia, and Jeb hopped on with excellent athletics/acrobatics rolls and we zoomed out. Luckily the people in the smithy didn’t look up to see a large warhorse carrying 3 characters run through their dungeon!
Isidor and Braegor didn’t quite clear a door so were potentially in range of the bad guys. One crossbowman did a full move to get up next to them. Braegor cast darkness and dragged Isidor through the door and away. The Darkness may have dissuaded all the others from being reckless so they were no longer a factor. Isidor turned on the overdrive and sped out on his own. Breagor used an action to make himself invisible and then used his rogue’s cunning action to double-dash. The Efreeti managed to catch up (teleport?) as he yelled orders but Breagor managed to get out. We briefly debated whether to hold up somewhere near or just go back to base but our movement rate was so high, we decided to just go home and lick our wounds.
Game 43 – 10/27/2017
The GM assumed we headed back to the Spire. The next morning, someone shot a message arrow into it. The message read something to the effect of “Your meddling in my affairs has become intolerable. I will start striking at your families. A package similar to the one delivered in Red Larch (i.e. the bomb) will be delivered at high noon (i.e. in 4 hours) to your leader’s (i.e. the Bard) wife (i.e. his fiancée Pel in Waterdeep).” The handwriting looked much like Nim’s which we assume looks much like his brother’s. An investigation into the origin of the arrow only found a fire cultist symbol burned into the ground at the launch site but nothing else. This sparked a big debate. Despite our flying mounts, we had no means to get there in time. The only possible solution, other than attempting to elicit aid from NPCs very quickly, was retroactive spell section. Jeb hadn’t chosen one of his free spells for turning 9th. He could take Teleportation Circle which could get some of us there, assuming we assume he had established an anchor point at his school in Waterdeep, but we’d likely have to walk back. Or he could take Sending and send a warning to her. Since that was only a 3rd level spell, it would be a “waste” of a free spell that could be a 5th. But ultimately the Bard retroactively swapped one of his known spells to be Sending and sent his message. It’s a shame since he gets so few. Wade said that eventually we will find out that the bomb was hijacked on the way and wouldn’t have blown her up anyway.
Next we debated on the best way to attack the fire dungeon again. (Maybe we should hire those hijackers.) We had enough fire resistance potions to give the 3 lacking in protection enough for an hour. There were 3 proposed plans. Use the UmberHulk gloves to tunnel in from some surprising direction. Despite the potential aid from a variety of spells, it just didn’t see possible to target that dig with any confidence. Next was to go back in the front door and use the gloves to avoid walking by the forge and get directly into the cultist barracks. We were worried about guards, noise and whether it would do any good. Lastly, and the one picked, was to come in from one of the other dungeons, hopefully on the side of the cultists, thus avoiding the forge. We looked the map of the valley and the map of the dungeon and made our best guess. (Guessed wrong) After a few false starts (but first …) we approached the edge of the map.
The Rogues saw some Ogre guards. Breagor used his mask of many faces and convince them he was a cultist, returning from a scouting mission. He got behind them in hopes of preventing any from warning the rest of the dungeon. We then charged in in initiative order and took them out in short order. Next was a hall with statues that looked very much like a trap. The Bard had his 15 minute cleric spell going so time was of the essence. The Ranger sneaked through, triggering one trip wire that dropped an axe, but he saved. While this was going on, Nim, Jeb and Breagor searched the Ogre bodies despite complaints about lack of sufficient time. Several guards were spotted across the hall, the crossing to would be in view of the forge. We decided to charge them and hope for the best. There weren’t any other options really.
They were 4 of the heavily armored guards. That was going well enough when the 4 columns turned into 4 magma men but their “to hit” was low. And then some hobgoblins from the front room also joined. They were all dispatched and somehow no one else heard or if they did, no one came. By the way, the searchers found two potions (more fire resistance?) and an ornate box on the Ogres. We then decided to use the gloves to go directly into the barrack area after all. That only took two minutes. The Bard broke through and saw several armored guards sitting around. Again we charged in. That fight went okay. There were several additional guards that were asleep as well. The main concern were the two doors from which the fireballers emerged last time. That and the noise of the Booming Blades and Shatters. The Bard lost his concentration despite his Warcaster feat but the duration was getting near the end anyway. At the bottom of the room was a bridge over a river of lava. That river lead to the forge room but whether there is a land connection was TBD.
The bottom door was held. The top door was held when G’Kar match the named villain, 20 for 20. Jeb could hear a spell he didn’t recognize being cast in there. Breagor remembered this guy having Dimension Door. When that room was opened, it was empty of bad guys. (This good fortunate will actually be bad fortune since this guy will likely join the upcoming forge fight.) The bottom door was blasted by multiple fireballs and eventually busted open. The Paladin charged in followed by the Bard. The Bard cast his Hypnotic Pattern. All 4 failed to save (as well as the Paladin), becoming incapacitated until awoken with an action or attack or lost concentration by the Bard. At this point it was after 1AM. The Cave Bear finished the round by running in and waking the Paladin. Next time we will debate the best way to kill (or restrain) these guys without waking any of them. If the forge people don’t attack during that, we’ll have to figure out the best next course. I think the forge is the only next option. I think we’re in pretty good shape, hit points and spell wise but that’ll change fast.
Game 44 – 11/10/2017
We started right back in the action with 4 incapacitated fireballing cultists to deal with. We debated about whether we had to kill them (most agreed) and how to do so without waking them out of their stupor. There seemed to be no instant kill rules and most of the players were hesitant to introduce one for fear it would be turned against them. Ultimately we resumed initiative order and ground through their hit points, one at a time. The assassin Ranger was up first and did a ton of damage to the first one with his backstabbing critical but not enough to take him out. Several others went next, finishing him off before he could act. The Paladin refused to participate and she and mages guarded the rest of the area, on the lookout for the next wave. Eventually each were killed without them getting to act but each was a bit close for comfort.
Meanwhile the Paladin inched across the stone bridge over a river of lava and could see the forge area. In there were an Effreti, 3 Salamanders, the chief cultist who Dimension Doored away last time and a bunch of miscellaneous cultists including a couple of those annoying guys that exploded when killed. The good news was there was no way, short of flying or teleporting; that they could reach us without going around. A couple of spells were tossed including two charges of the Bard’s Wand of Wonder both of which did nothing. (Grew leaves on a Salamander which immediately burned off and grew green grass in a 60 radius.) Soon enough, they vacated but no one saw whether they went up towards the path we knew or down into parts unknown. G’Kar went up to try to hold that line. The quick footed Ranger was sent down across the bridge to explore. He ran into a half dozen hell hounds which quickly overtook him. Some supporting spells and his mobility feat got him out of there. They were worn down pretty quickly, being the only enemies on the map for a round or two.
Next to show up was Nim’s brother who, as we feared, had the same spells as Nim. Of greater concern was the fact that he had a DC of 17 (high for a “monster”) and that feat which negated the fire resistance we all had on. I think he had the Salamanders with him. The Effreti flew up and put a Wall of Fire between most of the party and the exit. Only one of the summoned dire wolves and G’Kar were on that side. G’Kar could hear some guys approaching from that direction although it took another couple rounds for them to get there. Jeb tossed a spell and then ran through the Wall. With his Gnome bonuses to saves and fire resistance, he didn’t take too much (1/4 damage). When the Bard went, he up-cast his Dispel Magic and dispelled it. The Raging Cave Bear moved up and held the line on the bridge, holding back numerous attacks mainly from the Salamanders. With his fire resistance and weapon resistance, it was death by a thousand cuts. Evil Nim flew past her and launched a major fireball causing most to head into the rooms for cover. His feat indeed negated our fire resistance and his saves were tough at DC17.
About then 6 armored cultist and the head guy arrived to the north. G’Kar was looking at being surrounded by 5 and used an action surge to get into the newly carved tunnel so that he only faced 3 at a time. This didn’t quite “hold the line” but kept most of them occupied for a couple of rounds at least. The Bard and the late arriving Rogue hid in the room near him. That cultist did a fireball that the GM ruled could get them because the door was assumed open a crack so they could see what was going on. That was debatable but he gave them advantages to the save and again with the fire resistance, it wasn’t too bad. They worked on that front. Meanwhile on the other front, our Nim cast his big save or die spell, banishing the Effreti that the Paladin was going toe to toe with. Yeah. However then Evil Nim went next with another fireball and knocked him out, breaking the spell. Boo. (Frankly it wasn’t doing that much damage.) The Paladin was using most of her spell slots for extra damage against it. At the bottom, the Cave Bear was holding her own and with the occasional spell from the mages, was making progress. It was clearly Evil Nim that was the real threat.
At the bottom, the Cave Bear was finally taken down. The resulting Druid tried to push the last 3 off the bridge with a Thunder Wave but only got one. (He fell a great distance but still survived.) The Effreti was also overcome. At the top, the caster did a Wall of Fire, trapping everyone in those rooms. I believe everyone eventually just ran through it. The Rogue charged his poison dagger. The Bard cast his Spirit Guardians but once again, he lost concentration by the next round. G’Kar kept swinging, finishing off the most wounded. Finally the armored cultists were taken out. The Rogue charged out and did a boat load of damage to the caster including the extra 2d10 of poison. Then G’Kar went, finally able to get at him. He hit, tripped, hit and hit and that was enough. That left Evil Nim. Our Nim went out a couple of times and kept getting brought back. The Paladin could just reach him with her spear. The Ranger switched to bow. Others started move that way.
At this point it was almost 2AM. Jon had already dropped off. Wade story boarded the rest. The two remaining on the bridge were assumed killed. He declared that Evil Nim was either taken out by the bow fire and fell into the fiery chasm or got away. (I.e. no body) That was his right although it was met with initial consternation after so much effort to get him. At this point, we stopped. Wade says there is more to do in the dungeon. We’ve been to the top two corners and the boss laden middle but there’s sure to be some more at the bottom two corners. If any treasure gathering was done, it happened after I left. I’m sure we’ll take at least a short rest before pressing on. The depleted casters will likely argue for a long rest again. The next game will be after Thanksgiving.
Game 45 – 12/1/2017
We got a very late start due to serious network/Fantasy Grounds issues. Andy gave up and dropped out before we started and Jon joined late. We started by searching the area we battled in last time. We found some cash, 1 potion and Thermador’s spell book. Since the fire protection potions were going to run out, we didn’t spend the time studying the book or identifying the potion. Nim was able to identify one of the two potions found in the Orge room (reduce as per the enlarge/reduce spell which is about useless) while Jeb did a Detect Magic to aid in the search. We also took a short rest. Rather than go across the lava bridge, we went to a corridor just before the forge area. That corridor had a series of small rooms/cells. The first held Isador’s mother and sister who had been held captive for some time. Isador enjoyed a reunion while the rest pressed on. 3 other rooms held Salamanders. Braegor, disguised at a cultist, talked to the first who said he was being held because he refused to work with the hated Azers. 2 rooms held a couple Azers each. They said they could not work with the vile Salamanders. We debated about what to do with them (visions of getting them to fight it out) but ultimately deferred until later.
We went through the forge area but didn’t spot anything extraordinary. We didn’t spend the time for another Detect Magic but certainly will before we leave the dungeon. We found a couple of rooms with nothing of any real interest. Next we came upon a barracks with 4 platemail guys. The disguised Bard and Warlock went in and told them they were new recruits. The Bard tried to talk some of them into coming out but they were off duty and wouldn’t move. (That never seems to work.) Their commander was behind the next door. The guards told them to shovel shit in the next room. They came back out to discuss with the rest of the party. Meanwhile, someone looked down the stairs into the next room and saw a Chimera (goat, lion, dragon headed beast). Yikes. They went back, complaining about the Chimera and the guards all laughed. Combat started eventually and everyone burst in. The commander was one of those “on fire” guys but we mowed them down pretty easily. We found some more wealth including some expensive books but no obvious magic.
It turns out there were 2 Chimera in there. With their 3 attacks, whomever they attacked got munched pretty bad however they were outnumbered. Our area effect spells wore them down pretty fast. The one round they breathed, their breath was “only” fire so people were taking ¼ damage. They only lived long enough to do it once. G’Kar and the Bard got munched and the casters used up more spells but we won without much issue. They had a treasure pile but again, I don’t think there was any magic items. (We’re going to walk out of here with a lot of cash but since we can’t buy anything with it, I’m not sure it matters.)
At this point it was 1 AM and we stopped. The casters want a long rest to get their spells back. Do their Hut thing. Since there’s only 1/5th of the dungeon left, I’d vote for a short rest and press on to finish it off but will probably be out voted again. We don’t yet know what’s in the spell book but we suspect a lot of fire spells. Hopefully we can finish this dungeon off next time.
Game 45 – 1/5/2018
We got off to another late start. This time Jon had Fantasy Grounds issues and Paul had Skype issues. Once those got all settled, it was difficult to get everyone refocused. The first issue, other than remembering where we were a month ago when we last played, was whether to take a short, long or no rest. Nim only had 3 1st level spells left but Jeb had a decent selection. (They had already benefited from getting a few spells back on a previous short rest in here.) The Bard did not attend. No one else particularly benefited from a long rest. Plus we ran the risk of being surrounded again afterwards or more likely, the dungeon being cleared out when we emerged from the hut. The expectation was that there was only 1/5th left so likely one encounter with some guards assuming they hadn’t been pulled into any of the previous fights. The need for a short rest was briefly debated but several classes got stuff back from that and the Fighter and the Paladin were at less than half hit points so a round of healing was worthwhile. So we took a short rest. I didn’t realize until I wrote this that we forgot about those who were getting fire resistance from a potion. With a long rest, the fight we ended up fighting would have been easier. Without a short rest, it would have been dicey.
As we finally started moving, the GM reminded us that we never investigated the room with the rows of rotting dirt. Investigations from the doorway revealed nothing. The Ranger snuck in, expecting some sort of undead to arise but no. He was hit by a cold attack when he got near the back wall but no one saw a source. G’Kar suggested Nim blast away with a Firebolt cantrip but it did nothing. Just about when we were about to give up, Jeb used his cold cantrip. This cleared off some of the dark stain on the back wall. Turns out it was a mold or slime. He cleared it away from a safe distance with more cantrips. An up close investigation revealed that these were in fact rotting book shelves. G’Kar suggested returning later with a Detect Magic to make sure there wasn’t a magical book hidden in the debris. Next was a room with a deep pool of water. Nothing came of that. We then turned south and paused while we waited for Wade to load all the monsters into the program.
The next room had another room to the south and doors at the east and west. In there were 4 cult fanatics (new guys) and around 10 cultists. The disguised Rogue went in and asked them if they had heard anything. No. He tried to convince some of them to come with him. No. He came back and we debated. The pacifists argued for leaving them but the murder hobos reminded them that these were the guys that blew up Red Larch. Think of the orphans. We decided to simulate the sounds of battle and have the Rogue and Ranger try again. Once again, that didn’t work. One of the CFs told them to follow him into the next room. In there were 8 Magmamen. He then led them behind a tapestry and into the boss’s room. Unfortunately at that point, they were out of sight and out of Message cantrip distance. Our spies were uncertain as to whether they were buying it or about to attack them. So the Ranger attacked.
He cast Silence (brilliant) but the boss cast a Counterspell (damn) and stopped it. Our guys rolled bad for initiative and the first round of attacks. The CF brought in the Magamen. The Rogue cast Darkness which screwed everyone including the Ranger. The boss cast Greater Invisibility (we figured out eventually) and slipped away. Meanwhile, the rest of the group didn’t know what was going on. A round later G’Kar of all people noticed the Magamen’s light going south rather than north like we wanted. We rolled initiative along with the remaining monsters and again, we rolled poorly. The Paladin moved into their room first and was hit by a Hold Person from one of the CFs (damn). So we were spread out across 3 rooms and short on area effect spells. Plus there were a lot of monsters which slowed the turns down.
The Rogue and Ranger were fine however it was slow going. The Ranger was swinging blind, sometimes hitting. The CF was taken out with massive Rogue hit however he could only attack once a round. We found that the magamen could be one shoted by a backstab but not an Eldritch Blast of which he got two. The magamen exploded when taken out but with our fire resistance still in place, it was minimal. The rest piled into the north room. Two of the CFs went into rooms to rally the soon to arrive hobgoblins. The invisible boss went through another door. Jeb cast his Animate Objects which slowed everything down again while they figured out what it did and how to do it in FGs. And that added more actors to the board. The Objects fought well but couldn’t open doors. Plus Jeb could only issue one command per bonus action so it was hard to split them. All and all, things look manageable at this point.
And then 4 fireball priests (damn*4) arrived from the door the invisible boss went through and cast 4 simultaneous fireballs again through the open doorway. Everyone but G’Kar (and the spies) was in the area effect. Despite the fire resistance, it still hurt. The wizards were almost out and certainly couldn’t take another barrage. The Objects and the regular cultist were about cleared out. The Cave Bear charged them. The Paladin also went through that door and closed it behind her. Unfortunately she couldn’t get past the bear and was less effective with her bow. G’Kar couldn’t get to anyone so, given that he couldn’t know what was happening to the spies, he headed south to check on them. A Hobgoblin charged out of another door and was taken out by an opportunity attack. He exchanged (i.e. yelled) status between the two groups and begged them to “hurry up” if able. Nim couldn’t really do much of anything without his high level spells and spent most of his time trying to decide whether to fight and likely taken out or hide. G’Kar was hit by a Hold Person about the time the Ranger finally made it out of the darken room. Soon enough, the door was blasted open by the repeated fireballs on the Cave Bear and Paladin.
The Cave Bear was taken out twice. The casters were knocked out by another fireball, causing people to scramble to aid them. Jeb was at two failed death saves but was saved by the Paladin just before his next roll. The invisible boss tried to cast some sort of charm on Nim and then Izzy but they saved. The Cave Bear finally took out one of the fireball guys. At this point, it was almost 2AM. Wade story boarded the rest which was unfortunate given that we were finally getting the upper hand. Since none of us could counter the greater invisibility, even if we could spot her, he declared that she got away. Given that her 10 rounds were about up, maybe we could have caught her but it was too late at night to argue. And we still haven’t finished this dungeon. We’ve got to search, Detect Magic and Identify this whole place. I assume we’ll return to base to copy spells out of the captured spell book at the very least. Wade said “something will come up” before we go down to the next level.
Game 46 – 1/22/2018
Once again we started with the debate about what kind of rest to take. Since we thought we’d finally cleared out the cultists, we thought it was safe to take a long rest inside the tiny hut. There was some debate as to whether some of us should search around while others rested but we decided to stick together. Afterwards we did invest some time searching for secret doors in a couple of promising areas. A secret room was found south of the throne room, yielding a couple of spell scrolls. The extra-planar guys we found in the cells were “assumed” to have been dealt with so we didn’t have to spend any more time on them. All and all, we found lots of loot. As far as magic, we found the head guy’s spell book, various scrolls and a couple potions all of which got distributed. The biggest ticket item was a Manual of Clay Golems, found in the decayed library, which Nim took. Unfortunately it takes a ton of money to make one so that won’t be happening any time soon.
Upon exiting the dungeon, we made 10th level and then spent the next couple hours working on that. Mostly it was the wizards and bard deciding on which new spells to choose. We spent time at the spire while the wizards studied. Some of the others went into Red Larch to do various things. The Bard was contacted by his Harper contact. Evidently to the south is a Shadow Dragon disguised as the “Dark Lady” who lives in an abandoned estate. Several elemental cultists have been seen entering and exiting. It was not clear if she was working with them or not but Myrridan (i.e. us) was asked to “look into it” and “deal with it” as “appropriate”. We flew down and entered the nearest town. We used some skills and did some roleplaying but didn’t really gain any new information the Harpers didn’t tell the Bard already. There was some amusement when Nim offered to spend 100 gp while asking around the bar. He was convinced that was a ludicrous amount. Even the 20 gp he spent caused a stir in town but again, nothing really came of it except for plans of the thieves’ guild to rob him. That was a mistake on their part and quickly thwarted.
We attempted to sneak up to the estate under the guise of the Pass without Trace spell. Despite that, 3 characters rolled 1s so that didn’t work. A very powerful Drow woman came out to greet us. The Bard asked her a few questions and it was quickly determined she was annoyed by the cultists and sent them away. We exchanged some information. Evidently the Paladin’s grandfather started this whole evil cult many years ago. (St. came out of the Drow Underdark to attempt to atone for his evilness.) There are 4 elemental princes each wielding a powerful weapon. That spear she got from her mother was one such, I think. We inquired about each but didn’t really learn anything we didn’t know (the earth guy is a Medusa) or couldn’t figure out on our own (the fire guy casts fire spells). She had no interest in being more helpful than that. Soon enough, the audience was over. As a parting shot, the Ranger said that her “secret” (that she’s a dragon) was safe with us for which she tried to slap his mind. He saved. He then tried to leave without shaking, making another save, but she was obviously pretty powerful.
Since we were near Water Deep, we stopped by to try to buy some magic items. In particular, a scroll of greater restoration was sought in case our only caster of it (Kithri) was turned to stone by the Medusa. I think we got a line on one but would take some time. That would be okay since we decided to do the water dungeon first in hopes of charging the water weird backpack. G’Kar, because he asked first, also got a line on a Ring of Protection but that entailed some tasks (which Wade will have to come up with). I’m not sure when we’ll have to time to do them. Maybe after the water dungeon. It’s a powerful enough item such that we might make the time. Nothing else was found but Wade pretty much had to limited everyone to one request or we’d still be there. The plentiful fire resistances enjoyed last time will be sorely missed against the cold(?) casting water guys.
Game 47 – 2/2/2018
We started still in Water Deep. We did indeed have a line on a Ring of Protection for G’Kar however the seller was in YarTar, on the other side of Red Larch. They wanted list price in addition to a TBD “favor” to be redeemed later. As we waited for more players to call in, we agreed to just go get it for fear of losing it. Wade story booked that. Not troubles getting there, no additional magic items available, let’s get on with the adventure. G’Kar had enough cash to pay for it, with a few platinum left over for snacks. Wade also added Dan’s new giant scorpion form to the system. He did not have a scorpion token and used a fly instead which provided much amusement to everyone. (More so to Wade and less so to Dan.) And then it was off to the water dungeon. (Probably nearer 9PM than 8.)
We entered through the “front door”, down the stairs from the previous dungeon, into a big natural cavern with a stream, pool and waterfall. There were no torches in the walls but there was dim light from a natural lichen on the ceiling. Luckily Kithri’s new scorpion form had blindsight so we didn’t need a light source. We had the Pass Without Trace spell on which caused everyone to have to be very close to the sneakers. There were several natural passages out and we went east. The next room had a suspicious mist on the floor. We could see a depression on the far side. Over there were 3 guys chained to the wall moaning sorrowfully. The creepers crept in but it was Jeb who fell into the pit which was obscured by the mist that no one trusted. In there were a couple of man sized insects. Jeb called out for help. So much for stealth. Initiative.
Some fired at the bugs. G’Kar used his pole arm and strength to hoist Jeb out of the pit. The bugs easily climbed out and attacked Braegor, deftly avoiding G’Kar’s reach. Turns out they were attracted to metal armor and Braegor’s studded leather was the only suit that wasn’t dragon, mithral, adamantine and or magical. They were dispatched without much effort. We questioned the guys. The first claimed to be a river sailor, captured by pirates. We asked follow up questions and it all seemed reasonable. The other two basically said, same for us but on a different ship. That didn’t sound as convincing. DG asked if they were dressed differently. That prompted an Int roll which G’Kar of all people made. They were dressed in fire cultists garb. The Paladin and Braegor escorted the sailor to the stairs while Jeb went back into the pit to search for treasure with Nim holding the rope.
In the first room, 4 water weirds attacked from the pool. Once again we started combat spread out. Kithri was grabbed and pulled into the water as was the prisoner. (At least the players had a Water Breathing on.) Braegor was missed and disengaged and started firing cantrips. The rest tried to get into the room. G’Kar, being the furthest away, got left out again. The Paladin pulled the unconscious NPC out but Kithri got hammered, being the only one in range. (His new form definitely seemed like a step up however his poison and grapple attacks did not work on these particular things unfortunately.) The main problem was that they were invisible while in the water. Braegor and one of the Drow cast Faire Fire to help with that but some of them saved. Nim cast Fly and cast some minor spells. G’Kar ran but couldn’t reach a visible one. To make a long chaotic battle short, Kithri lost a form and some spells were used but nothing was gained. (By the way, G’Kar’s backpack requires 24 hours in a water node to recharge so the repeated advice for him to use actions he didn’t have to command one of these things into it was for not.)
The NPC was bandaged and sent on his way. The other two were left on the wall. No treasure was found and no rest needed. We headed north in the direction of the stream where the water weird tried to flee. It seemed like these tunnels were going to twist and cross anyway. Not far along, we came upon a small side passage. It would be a tight fit for the big folk but not a problem for the still flying Nim. He followed it a bit until it opened up into a large chamber with maybe 20 lizard folk including several shaman (according to the combat tracker). Nim managed to make a stealth roll and back away. At this point it was after midnight so we stopped there. Two rooms done and a whole lot of map yet to do.
Game 48 – 2/16/2018
We started with a major problem. Wade’s computer stopped working due to a dog induced coffee spillage incident so he had to reinstall the game on his new one. Once that was done he discovered that the server’s last version of our characters was 8th level. On our local machines, was the full 10th (for everyone but Brian) but we couldn’t figure out how to upload those without risking losing everything completely. So the upshot was that everyone had to recreate the last 2 level advancements. That was easier for some than others. A couple jotted down some key numbers like cash on hand and hit points from their local copy before getting on to darkrolldarkroll. Others just had to wing it. That made for a slow start, to say the least.
We debated about what to do about the tribe of lizard folk we discovered last time. There was some talk of a parley but the “they’re in the 3rd level of the temple of elemental evil; we can assume they’re bad guys” opinion won out. The two Gnomes would approach via the small side passage and blast them while the rest snuck around to the entrance to the south and finished them off. Unfortunately no plan survives initiative. Braegor went first and reasonably snuck forward to make sure the corridor indeed went to the lizard folk room. He rolled well enough but the guard rolled a 20 and started to sound the alarm. Braegor leapt forward to silence him and missed. Next was the Paladin who also moved forward and killed him but the alarm had been sounded. Next was G’Kar who moved forward but had no one to attack.
Then their casters went, before ours. One cast a Spike Growth area effect on top of G’Kar and the Paladin. Reduced movement and take (minor) damage for each 5 feet moved. One checked the side passage, spotting the Gnomes, he cast the same over there. Then one cast the Plant Growth spell. Normally there were no plants down here but Wade ruled that the thorns from the Spike Growth could be grown, making the terrain even worse (1/4 movement). Their last caster cast a Fog Cloud over all their casters so we couldn’t see them. It looked like it was going to be a hard fight. However then super Nim went. Since he was still flying, his movement was unimpeded. He couldn’t see but he flew into their room, feeling the ceiling as he went. When he got to the rough center of the room, he cast a Fireball directly below him, with a hole on him. Up cast to 5th level. Boom. Two casters were killed outright and the thorns went away. The plant growth caster lived but without the thorns, there was nothing to grow so that went away. The fog stayed up but not for long. We piled in and finished them off pretty quick.
The next room had a bunch of fungi growing everywhere. Braegor was certain something bad was going to happen (like every other room?) and refused to go in. So the Bard became the Christian and triggered the attack. A bunch of violet fungus sprang forth along with a flying Greck which was some sort of fungus jelly fish? Initiatives were rolled and we piled in. As usual it took the slow non-sneakers who had to hang back a round or two to get in there. The Bard cast his Spirit Guardians and did 20 points to most all of them. But then he lost his concentration the next round. I think he cast it again but by the time they got to go to trigger the damage, they were all pretty much dead. It only lasted 3 rounds. I think the Paladin did his medkit thing to the Bard while we searched for no treasure found. And then it was midnight and we called it a night.
Game 49 – 3/5/2018
The next room had high ceilings and several exits. And bodies all over the place. This and the next battle room is leading us to believe there are battles going on between the different elemental factions. Someone went into the room and something started singing an enchanting song. Luckily the DC was low and the two that failed the save were next to the Paladin and her plus 4 made them save after all. For some reason, people were concerned it had some sort of gaze attack. Jeb came in and using a mirror and a great Int roll, managed to get a glimpse of the harpies on ledges far above the doorway. Everyone piled in. The harpies had a ton of flight and swooped down and tried to grab people. Two managed to grab the Ranger but couldn’t get him too far up in one round. The large scorpion managed to reach one but G’Kar could not. Mostly it was the ranged spells. Of note, the Ranger was dropped and the Bard’s attempt to catch him ended in a humorous heap. And G’Kar missed a save and started climbing up to one of the harpies. But all were killed quickly enough. We were certain there would be treasure in their nests, 80 feet up. The Ranger took the challenge and with some good rolls, aid from the Cleric and Bard and one dicey moment, managed to get up there. He found some treasure and a potion of extra healing that Nim identified and kept. Several short rests were had.
The next area had parachutes, vertical shafts that we thought would lead back to the surface (or the air dungeon) and a weird passageway that looked like the mummified bones of a giant worm. The Ranger and G’Kar did some climbing but ultimately it lead back around to the harpy room. There was a weird cloudy orb on a pedestal with a zone of lack of clutter around it. Nim made an arcana roll which told him to avoid it, which we did, but it’s gnawing at the Bard and Jeb. We may come back to it. I think it’ll cause some sort of whirlwind.
The next room had another battle scene. This time there was an air elemental thing in armor and wielding a flail. He asked G’Kar who he served. He said the side of good which was not the right answer but it did kick off the fight. Its first attack per round did a ton of extra damage. It had a high AC, lots of hit points, good saves and a bunch of immunities. G’Kar tried to disarm it but it had a +9 on its strength save. The Bard tried to hold monster it but it was immune to paralysis. The scorpion tried to grab it but that didn’t work either. Jeb did slow it and that worked. It never managed to save out of that. The main issue was that the fight took place in the narrow entrance into the room which made it hard for some to get at it. That and we couldn’t seem to stop it from getting at the mages. But it was 7 against 1 and Wade rolled poorly. Nim got battered a bit but no one went out. I’m not sure if this was the “big boss” of the level or not. (Not) It was tough but alone. It went back to its plane but its flail stayed behind which means it’s probably magical (Not again). Unfortunately no one can really use it. We’ve got 4 finesse guys, two mages, a scorpion that couldn’t use a metal weapon anyway and a fighter whose character defining feat requires a pole-arm. I think the Ranger is the only finesse guy who could even wield it but it’ll have to be pretty good for him to start using his strength instead of his 18 dex.
Game 49 – 3/23/2018
We did a Detect Magic and Identify on the flail left behind when the elemental air knight was vanquished last time hoping it was one of these weapon of the prophets the shadow dragon mentioned. (Like the Paladin’s spear.) But it was not even magical. We proceeded into the next room which was very large with several exits. In the center was a huge statue of, according to Nim’s made religion roll, a Drow ooze god. It had a large tempting gem in its offering plate but of course we viewed it with great suspicion. We decided to avoid messing with it until we had a better idea what was down the unknown corridors. G’Kar led the way but as he passed the statue, two ochre jellies formed from it and attacked. Since we all expected it, no one was surprised. About the only difficulty was that it was immune to G’Kar’s slashing glaive (although not his bludgeoning butt). But they were vanquished in a couple of rounds without much fuss.
With the “trap” triggered, Breagor decided to mess with the gem. Aided by Isadore, he checked for traps and found none. He touched the gem and had to make a Will save. He rolled a two and turned into an ochre jelly. We spend some time amusing ourselves as to whether the characters knew if he was still Breagor or a monster. And whether he could communicate. Then we had to work on a solution. Jeb suggested putting the gem back on the plate. He attempted to put it in a cloth and move it without touching it but as soon as he caused it to move, he had to make a save. Luckily Gnomes get advantage and wizards get proficiency on Will saves. Braegor ooze tried to move it but it had a -2 dex roll and he couldn’t manage it. The Paladin said she had Remove Curse but would have to take a long rest to get it memorized. A long rest in the middle of a hostile dungeon made no sense but it was that or Paul might as well sign off for the night. With a planned long rest, the Paladin tried her Dispel Magic but that didn’t work. Jeb tried his TK and had to make another save. We slept in a Tiny Hut and despite 30 enemies in the next room, were not disturbed. (Dungeon logic) The Removed Curse worked and we moved on.
The next cavern was huge with a ziggurat in the middle with an altar on top. At the altar was a named spell caster guy riding a giant crocodile. At the base were about 28 of the reevers (sword chicks), 7 to a side. There was also a guy tied up next to the altar. Along the edges of the room were pools of oily water that were on fire. The guy welcomed us and invited our surrender. While others considered their options, G’Kar told him that it was they who needed to surrender. Eventually it was initiative. The Ranger went first as usual. He thought better of charging into the room of 30 and pulled out his bow, getting behind G’Kar. We were currently in the corridor so it was fairly defensible. G’Kar could not reach anyone either so he stood his ground, hoping some of them would charge up. The Paladin went next and stood beside G’Kar forming a secure wall of defense. However then Jeb went and he could only get line of sight if he moved in front of that line. He wanted to cast Control Water on the flaming water but Wade ruled he couldn’t really translate into an attack. Good thing since their caster also had that spell. It was just too complicated to figure out. So he just did a cantrip which wasn’t worth his moving up.
Then they started going. The guy cast an ice storm. Half rolled great and half rolled terrible and damage was taken by all. That left residual difficult terrain for a round. Then reevers went. They moved up and threw javelins at Jeb. Ironically those at short range mostly missed and those at long range mostly hit. He got peppered. From there it was basically a Cloudkill from Jeb and Fireball from Nim that cleared most of them out with the rest of the party finishing them off as they moved into the room. Isadore got to their caster first, once Jeb dismissed his cloud. The croc was having trouble hitting but did a ton of damage with its jaws (with a free grapple) and tail (with a free trip). G’Kar used his trip to knock the caster off it at which point he started thinking about fleeing. The only real dicey moment was when he cast hold person on G’Kar, Isadore and Braegor, all of which failed their saves. Annoying but then we realized any hit on them, say from a giant crocodile, would be an automatic crit. That would likely take any of them out. But then Nim cast another Fireball and that took him out. The Hold Person went down but the croc still crit Braegor with an actual 20, knocking him out anyway. But it was dead next round before it could swallow him. Also the tied up guy was saved by the Paladin with a Revivify spell since he was caught in a couple AOEs although the number was debated.
The caster was one of those prophets and was wielding a +1 +1d8 cold trident. Wade declared it was “extra long” so that G’Kar could use it as a reach polearm. I suppose he could have declare it a light weight finesse trident for Andy but who am I to argue. No one could really use it as it was. I go from 1d10 (5.5) to 1d8+1d8 (9). We stopped there. It was also pointed out by Wade that this is not a “water” dungeon per se but a combination dungeon. Earth and water make fungi. Water on fire, etc. The point being that there are not 3 more elemental dungeons followed by a final one or two. He would not say how much more there were but the module might end in the summer instead of Xmas. That said, we’ve been in this one for 4 games and we’re only 2/3 done, averaging 2 rooms a night.
Game 50 – 4/6/2018
We started with a short rest. As usual, the damage was uneven but Breagor was at one hit point from the giant croc crit. The Paladin did her healing feat and some people used hit dice. Breagor used all of his. During the rest we searched (and found nothing besides the trident) and questioned the captive. He said he was blindfolded most of the time so couldn’t help with the map. He said this level was a common level where the 4 elemental factions could meet, compete and fight. He thought the two remaining leaders had fallen back to their home bases below. He said the earth guy was a Medusa melee guy and the fire guy was a Tiefling fire caster. Not really new news. We escorted him to the stairs where he would make his own way out.
From there we headed north of the fungus room and found a Dwarven hero tomb. There were pictures of him vanquishing Minotaurs and Grimlocks on the walls. There were brief discussions about seeing if there were any magic items in the sarcophagus but when we saw him vanquishing a Mind Flayer on the wall, we decided to leave it alone. The next room had large pyramid that served as a stairway up, likely to an earth level since it was made of stone. There was nothing else of interest. We have found an exit for each element in addition to the entrance we came in. Half go up and half go down. I’m not sure if the ups go back to levels we’ve already done and only the downs go on or what. There’s definitely some suspension of logic when it comes to how these dungeons connect.
The next room had a mine car and track running through it. One end of the track continued south and the other end was collapsed plus two doors. And there were several specters of grimlocks. What are the level drain rules these days? So we used some tactics and put the fighters up front and others behind. Unfortunately these guys could walk through people and walls. Andy got critted for big damage but they weren’t too tough except... They were immune and resistant to lots of things. And you had to make a Fort save or the damage becomes “permanent” in that your maximum is reduced by that amount. We figure a Greater Restoration or maybe a long rest will cure it but it certainly got everyone’s attention. But the save was low. I think Andy lost 8 and someone else lost less. Kithri had one memorized but she’d have to lose her scorpion form to cast it so we pressed on.
Andy checked out one door and found a Minotaur counting coins at a table and a strange one eyed Gollum like thing. His great stealth beat its great perception and he backed away unnoticed. He tried the next door and found a short hallway ending at a door. He could hear stones grinding and came back. Lastly he went down the tracks and found a barracks room with two more Minotaurs. Again he successfully backed away. We were sure the two rooms would link up on the far side so it’s pick you poison. We decided to attack the first room because there was more room to maneuver, fully expecting the other two to join soon enough.
We let Jeb go 1st and cast Ice Storm but both saved so the damage was minimal. Isadore went next. He charged in, did his assassinate thing and did a ton of damage. Unfortunately it went next. The difficult terrain from the Ice Storm wasn’t difficult enough and it head butted Isadore but failed to knock him off his feet. It also attack recklessly getting but giving advantage. We charged in. G’Kar only made it into combat that first round because of the Longstrider Isadore had put on him. He would have been 5 feet short again. The named Minotaur was critted 3 times because of the recklessness but it had a ton of hit points and fought on. The other thing had a mental gaze attack that did decent damage. It also tried to deceive vs deceive as a free action to get Isadore to “spill his secrets” but Andy rolled just well enough.
With the gaze and the 2d12+6 great axe attack Andy was hurting so he ran back down the stairs, covering the door. Then the two other Minotaurs showed up on the other side of the room. G’Kar did his reach sentinel thing and actually managed to stop one out of its range for a change. But then it breathed fire. 6d6 in a small cone. Wade rolled well with those fire attacks but most of us have good dex saves and many still had fire resistance so they didn’t have that big an impact. The big guy managed to knock Jeb down but not out. He cast a Slow on all of them but with one attack and no spells, it wasn’t as good as it has been in the past. Then two more showed up about when the big guy finally went down. And then 4 more came from the stairs on the other side where Isadore had fallen back to. Isadore was prepared to hold the door but rolled bad. We joked that they probably didn’t notice him. Wade said if he could roll a 25 stealth, he could hide behind the door. 26! Never tell Andy the odds. Luckily the Giant Scorpion was at the top of the stairs and they couldn’t get by it.
G’Kar and Breagor were doing lots of damage but they kept taking it. G’Kar tried several times to frighten one with his menacing strike, correctly noting their Wisdom saves were much less than their Strength saves, but they saved every time. Not so menacing. Jeb next cast Cloudkill on the 4 in the room. That did a bunch but next round they step towards us and the cloud moved away 10’ from Jeb so it only did damage that one round. (Still a lot.) I think G’Kar managed to stop one from getting out for a round. It did finally take out that gazing minion as well. Meanwhile on the other front, Isadore tried to sneak out from behind the door but didn’t roll well enough this time. He simply disengaged and ran. Two rounds later he came in behind the other 4 with bow in hand. By then Jeb had dispelled the Cloud since they were all out of it. One tried to disengaged and go after Andy but G’Kar sentineled him.
Somehow Jeb stayed alive long enough to cast Fire Wall down the stairs, encouraged by the fact that they weren’t resistant to Braegor’s Greenflame despite their fire breath. Now they were in a spot. They couldn’t get past the scorpion so they kept taking damage. A couple ran back and around. But then Dan had to leave and he disappeared of the map. Crap. Thankfully before they went, the Paladin stepped up to hold the line. She managed to make a couple strength rolls and with the Firewall damage and other blows, those two went out. Isadore with his handful of hit points managed to finish off a couple in the room. G’Kar managed to get into the corridor before the two that came around could get into the room. He got knocked down by a head butt but caused enough of a bottleneck such that they never made it into the room. Unfortunately the last one fled and in one round managed to get on the fire elevator and get away.
So there is at least the “stone grinding” room to do. Probably one more session here. We definitely need a short rest as many got battered although towards the end the Paladin did her healing hands on Isadore so he’s probably good. Jeb used up a lot of high level spells and will likely want a long rest but assuming Nim and the Bard play next time, we should have plenty of firepower to finish the level with him just tossing cantrips. It may come back to Braegor since he used all his hit dice last time. If he’s really hurt, we may need to long rest, but I think he got missed a lot so shouldn’t be too bad. From there, do we press on or go back to base? I say press on. Assuming each exit goes to a new element dungeon (or areas in the same dungeon), attack the water and air since they’re without their prophet?
Game 51 – 4/20/2018
It didn't take too long to modify characters to 11th level. Spellcasters gain their spell slots but will need at least a long rest to memorize the new spells you get for levelling up.
We were down to 5 (Dave Dave Dan Andy BW). The previous game we had just killed some fire-breathing Minotaurs in a semi-carved, semi-natural cave setting. We picked up the gold off the Minotaurs and took a short rest. We then started filling in the map by following cave tunnels that likely connected to previously explored locations. This led to another cave with a sarcophagus which seemed to depict something dark (dark elf?) inside it. Frescos and ornamentation were all around the walls and sarcophagus. Jeb had a Detect Magic up from the Minotaur rooms, which BW said just ran out as we noticed the sarcophagus. There was something magic there but the spell ran out so he couldn't exactly make out anything but the most general observation of "magic in the area". He made an okay Arcana roll and was fairly sure there was a protection spell there. So the magic aura he detected was likely there to keep the (evil elf) inside? We decided to leave it alone. We also found a room with a huge demon summoning (?) rune on the floor but it was worn with time and thought to be nonfunctional. It became clear to us that this level predated the ancient dwarven city above.
There was one last room that Isidor sneaked and peaked and saw 4 hill giants playing tic tac toe with stones. We argued a bit (but not too much) about how to draw them out into an area where several of us could attack them but hopefully they could only attack us one at a time. We had surprise, but due to initiative order, Isidor went first and decided to run in and assassinate (not part of the plan) and then run back up our corridor. Jeb then lightning bolted them (the plan) to get them to run after us, which two did, but two did not. They were beefy but we handled them pretty easily given the circumstances. Isidor got his Horde Breaker ability for 3 attacks/rnd. Filyndira gets an extra 1D8 radiant damage with her attacks now at 11th, and was hitting pretty consistently. G'Kar gets 4 attacks (3 main attacks, 1 butt). Jeb was using cantrips because he was down more than half his spell slots and those cantrips now do 3D8 (Ray of Frost) or 3D12 (Poison Spray.) Even Kithri was tossing spells and did some AOE damage (Erupting Earth) since there wasn’t room for her Giant Scorpion. (He now gets an elemental form by the way but it takes both wild shape uses.)
The two hill giants in the back of their room ran out two doors. We assumed they were going to go around either side to flank us, but they also could have been fleeing to another level like the last Minator did last time. Isadore and G’Kar (with the Longstrider) gave chase. With some good tracking rolls they determined they were indeed coming around but with the head start and 40’ move, they got around before they could catch them. Good thing we did this room last or we could have triggered multiple room encounters during that chase. So when they attacked, two of the fighter types were not there. Kithri had summoned a couple wolves which absorbed some blows and eventually turned into a Scorpion when she got critted. (It’s nice to have backup hit points.) But G’Kar and Isadore caught up soon enough and the HG’s hit points started giving out. The last one ran for the pyramid stairs but was gunned down by arrow fire. Nothing but money on them. Myrrdin showed up near the end of this combat.
We now had the complete map of the cave complex we were in and there is an "up" and a "down" for each element. We assumed up went back to where we’d been and down went on. We talked about whether we should start one or go back. Wade said we couldn’t take another long rest here so soon after the last one so we’d have to leave and come back to do so. Since Jeb was the only one reliant on spells who would significantly benefit from getting in a long rest, we decided to continue. We picked Water because we had killed the Water Element Leader recently and we thought it would be weak without him. So we climbed down the stairs leading into the lower water (temple).
We came to an area with a large pool with a waterfall into it, and a river at the other end but no land to speak of. There was a 5 person boat so we had to drag Scorpion-Kithri behind us. Paddling down the river, we came upon a cage hanging from the roof, which was 90% submerged in the water. There were a dozen humans inside trying to get gasps of air. A few had already drowned. They had the Water Mark tattooed on their brows. We decided to save them. G’Kar pulled the cage to one side (walkway) using the rope Isadore attached and the Rogues picked the lock. At this point they all burst out of the cage and started attacking in gratitude. Luckily they had no weapons, so they were doing minor damage, but they had plenty hit points. When G’Kar finally got to go at the end of the round, he raised his captured Trident and intimidated them to stop fighting. It worked. They said they were being punished for transgressions. Rather than risky them wandering the dungeon and warning others, he order them back into the cage. Jeb expressed concerns about them drowning so the Paladin raised the chain a bit. We left them there. Maybe we can try to reverse their brain washing later.
We paddled around some more and avoided going down a level with a good athletics roll. (We assume that’s a good thing?) Eventually we came upon an area with a few nets spread over parts of the river and a spit of land just north of the nets. G’Kar started to cut the nets with his trusty draken klue, figuring they were there to force a particular path when two crabs attacked from the nets. They were Huge! For crabs. Otherwise you would say they were man-sized. And then a bunch more jumped up from the land and from under water. Between Myrrdin's Spirit Guardians and our whirlwind of steel from the fighters they went down pretty quickly. It was suggested that someone search for treasure under the water. (Easy to do with Jeb’s perpetual Water Breathing rituals.) They noticed large doors underneath the water to the south. They had octopus tentacles painted on either side of the doors. That's where we stopped. Next time we can shoot down one of the two waterfalls we avoided earlier but these doors are probably the way to avoid the most trouble. Are we facing an underwater adventure from here?
Game 52 – 5/4/2018
Andy, Jon, DG and BW called in first. Jon leveled his character up to 11th. We realized he hadn’t chosen any spells 5th level spells from 10th. He’s probably only played once at 10th anyway. He took Cone of Cold and a transportation spell(?). I can’t recall. His arcane tradition at WIZ 10th gets him his INT bonus to damage for all evocation spells. That’s not much for a high level like Fireball (although multiplied by multiple targets it’s not insignificant) but it adds up for a cantrip. At this point Wade had to drop off to deal with issues on the home front. The rest continued to talk (mostly about AiME) and Dan called in. Andy was about to give up when Wade returned with Paul joining soon after. Paul also leveled up. He took Rogue with an eye to Evasion next level. At this point it was almost 9 but we decided to go ahead and start. DS called in a bit later as well.
We had a choice of opening the underwater doors or riding one of the two waterfalls down to the next level. Wade said the fall wouldn’t be dangerous, that we could see, but it’ll be hard to get back up. We decided to take advantage of our water breathing and open the doors. Maybe we’d surprise someone. Underwater rules are as follows. Half movement unless you have a swim speed which no one had. Disadvantage on attacks unless you have a weapon on a small list (piercing I think). Ironically everyone had one. Trident, spear, dagger and short sword. (Not sure about the scorpion but he wasn’t taking disadvantage, that’s for sure. The tail is likely piercing and maybe the claws.) Disadvantage on range weapons outside of their short range which made no sense, especially with bows but it didn’t come up. Lastly, and most significantly, if you can breathe, you can cast although anyone in water has resistance to fire damage.
We opened into a large underwater chamber with a big statue of a demon octopus thing. In there were 5 Kou-Toans praying. Isadore swam in and attacked. Nim, eager to try out his new Cone of Cold, fired and killed 4 of them outright. The rest moved in but didn’t get far at half rate. It looked like a cake walk but then 6ish more swam in plus 4ish of a tougher version. The regular guys put Isadore in a net or clawed. The others had a claw claw bite thing. Isadore was quickly surrounded. At the top on the round, several swarms of quibblers (Parana) zoomed in. They occupied your space (making targeting with spells hard) and had resistance to weapons (which effectively gave them lots of hit points). They were the toughest. Nim then cast a Fireball. Wade ruled that his Elemental Affinity negated the underwater fire resistance. He did a ton of damage to a lot of them but didn’t kill that many. Breagor decided to try to protect Nim by putting up a Darkness field after moving amongst most of them. Unfortunately they had super senses and ripped into him with their claw claw bites. The Darkness went down after the first hit. The rest tried to finish off the wounded as best they can, as usual. Nim fired one more Fireball but rolled really bad. Soon enough the swarms were the last ones standing. One Kou-Toa ran from the room but Isadore caught him and finished him off. It all took maybe 4 rounds. There was no treasure. From there was another massive double door and a corridor that eventually lead to another waterfall down. (I think Wade brought in some of the guys we should have found there into that first fight.)
So we opened the doors rather than go down a level. There were stairs leading out of the water and up to a temple and altar. In the room were several more tough Kou-Toans and a couple of priest types. We decided to quit there, rather than start a big fight. The last thing Wade said was that we could sense a powerful evil presence, pressing on to our minds. So likely a boss battle next time. I see tentacles and hear evil mental powers and think invisible Mind Flayer but that’s just me.
Game 53 – 5/18/2018
We started right in the action with initiative. The room we were in was mostly underwater but the room we were heading into was half underwater with a stairway leading out, up to an evil altar with a big chest. There were 2 priest types in front and 4 of the tough armored Kou-Toas behind. Isadore went first as usual. He surged forward to do a sneak attack on a priest, followed by a normal attack, followed by a hoard breaker on the other one. He did lots of damage to the first but its color barely changed from green. G’Kar went next. Because he was near the door and still had the long strider on him, he managed to get up to a priest despite the slowness of getting out of the water. He did a ton of damage to the same priest but it still stood. The Paladin went next but could only get out of the water. Next was the invisible evil presence. It attempted to dominate Isadore however with his elf advantage to charms and the nearby Paladin’s +4, he laughed it off. Then 3 tentacles attacked him from the murky water below. Each did 20+ and he was dropped. No one was laughing now. We then realized that we hadn’t taken a short rest since the last fight and several were very short on hit points. (We hadn’t been able to take a long rest for several game sessions so we were short on healing hit dice anyway.)
Nim went next and unloaded a super-charged Fireball. He killed the normal Kou-Toans straight away, burned away the tentacle that still had a hold of the unconscious Isadore, but the priests still stood. Next were the priests. One cast a group cure but for minimal points. The other cast that spirit guardian spell that the Bard has used to such great effect. We were now worried. The rest moved up as best they could but the half movement rate in the water slowed them down. Jeb managed to fire off a Magic Missile. (The lack of long rest has left him short on spells since he plays every session.) Isadore made a death save but it was pointed out that he was in the spirit guardian AOE so that became an automatic failure because his body took damage. Next the water surged and knocked Isadore, the Paladin and one of the wizards back into the water. But then G’Kar went and tripped the priest controlling the spirit spell. (Once he took his spirit damage, of course.) He hit him 3 times and took him out. The other priest went out soon after, I think from Scorpion poison. The thing in the water tried to dominate G’Kar who saved without a point to spare, and then it fled the room. We never got a good look at it let alone a shot at it.
We fished Isadore out of the water and gave him a good berry. However his color was bad. No one could make a Medicine roll but we knew something was wrong. The Paladin used her last spell slot to Remove Curse but that didn’t work. She then used her last 5 healing hands points to cure disease and that worked. We took a short rest and checked out the chest. I had a lot of coins and a Rod. Nim identified it as a Rod of Fish Control with 3 charges. Basically it can dominate something with a swim speed. Could be handy against the right foe but probably won’t work against the demon boss thing. Next was the short rest or long rest debate. Short was winning but then Wade pointed out that he could not cure any more diseases until she got a long rest and that tipped the scale over. Since we took a long rest a couple hours ago (6 weeks ago) Wade said we’d have to go out and come back. So we went back the way we came, up to the river keep. The Paladin had been spending cash to fix it up so we had a good night sleep and some fresh food. The casters got their spells back, access to their new spells from 11th level and we recovered some HD. And then back to work.
We decided to use Nim’s Arcane Eye to explore down the (3) waterfalls that lead to the next level before committing to a path. He found an empty room with a high ceiling, obscured by mist. (Is there such a thing as an empty room in this place? We suspect not. But nothing was triggered by the arcane eye anyway.) Next was a room with 3-4 wrecked river boats in a circle. On them were inert skeletons. (Yeah, right.) Next was a huge room. At the center was a big glowing ball of blue water (the water node we’ve been seeking?) being orbited by 3 smaller but still big orbs of water. There seems to be 2 other exits but from the map it seemed obvious that all roads (rivers?) lead down here. When he attempted to move the eye out of the room, the water rose up and pushed it back much like it had in the altar room. (There was some debate as to whether the spell could be “pushed”.) The water was trying to drag it towards the big orb and Nim decided not to resist in order to see what would happen. He saw that same tentacle water beast with a gapping maw of teeth. He felt it trying to control his mind through the spell. Some argued whether that was possible (it’s a demon fish thing so evidently it was) but Nim just dropped the spell.
We got distracted by a similar orb of water at the first room that we had ignored but it looked more interesting now that we’d seen a few more. Basically it was a transportation bubble that would (slowly) take air breathers down, we presume, to the main room. We debated whether to ride it down but it was decided to fight our way down so that we wouldn’t have to fight our way back out after. Plus it would be nice to have our boat to fight from. Kithri had changed into a Water Elemental during that investigation and decided to stay that way. It doesn’t do as much damage as the Scorpion but could be handy in a water dungeon. At the very least, it isn’t slowed by the water. We did get a short rest so she could recover those shaping changing slots. We decided to take the path not scouted. (I’m not sure why. Hopes for vast riches?) The falls down looked like it could damage the boat so Jeb Levitated it down to minimize that and then the Elemental couriered us each down afterwards. We pressed on and entered a room. There was a body with 2 keys on it, an island with a drum and the cackling of a woman (another hag?) from the next room. A couple spotted two underwater tunnels exiting this room so we checked them out. One had a gate but the key from the body opened it. It opened into a foul smelling room full of ghouls and ghasts and they were eager to get out. Initiative.
We attempted to get Isadore and Nim out and close the gate but they were just a bit too quick so we ended up fighting them. They were pretty tough. (The days of easy foes are over.) Nim blasted them with a Fireball but despite their terrible DEX saves, none dropped. The Paladin turned a couple but ghasts (and ghouls near ghasts) get advantage against that. Jeb hit them with a Shatter and killed the already scorched ghouls. The remainder tried to muscle through our bottleneck at the tunnel but could not. One hit the Paladin with a crit and then did max damage, which hurt, but no one was paralyzed. Basically some spells were used and damage taken but not enough to need a short rest since we came in fresh. The last one managed to get past but was killed 3 times by 3 attacks of opportunity. No treasure but no one was very motivated to dig around the diseased garbage. We put the bodies back in the room, said a prayer and relocked the gate.
From the map, there’s one or two more rooms on this path before being dumped in the final room. One of those rooms has the cackler. The other path down looked like there wasn’t room for any rooms along that path. So soon enough, we’ll be facing this water elemental demon fish thing and whatever minions it might have at its disposal. If it can Dominate at will, how many saves can we make until one of our own turns on us? If it can Dominate x per day, then we let it reset by taking that long rest. Do Dominated friends become foes or just become nonparticipants? Will we even be able to target it in its cloud of murky water? That’ll likely be harder on the melee guys. And how many will be diseased when we’re done? No one said it would be easy. Next game in 2 weeks.
Game 54 – 6/1/2018
We went down the second underwater tunnel which opened up into an empty room. We spent some time searching around to prove to ourselves there was nothing of interest. The next room was a dead end. It had an island with a throne made out of coral and seashells. Resting upon it was a gem encrusted narwhal horn. The usual rolls were attempted but ultimately someone had to pick it up and use it. Braegor did. Eventually we discovered that this was a scrying room. The wielder could see any room but only in this level of the dungeon and only rooms he had seen previously. So not very useful. Jeb determined that the true magic was in the water and the horn was merely the trigger. Braegor did scry the beast but it was just swimming around the big room which we knew already. So all and all, just a big time sink. We took the horn, figuring it was at least valuable.
We doubled back and headed up into a super cold room from which the cackling was coming from. In there was a frosty pirate dude surrounded by Ice Mephits. (Paul said we had faced this guy before but he fled with a Misty Step. I do not recall that.) Isadore charged in and attacked. Most the rest were surprised or at least had to wait a round before we could act. When Nim went, he unleashed an overpowered Fireball and vaporized most of the fire vulnerable Ice Mephits. I think those that didn’t save took 70+ points but since they likely didn’t have that many, I’m not sure it counted. After that, there was a round or two of clean up. Some of the slow meleers never even got to participate. There was no treasure.
The next room had an island with a small hut on it. We sailed our boat and got onto the island. After making all the appropriate rolls, Braegor opened the door at which point we were jumped by several Water Weirds. Inside the hut were 4 backstabbing knights with lances who ripped Braegor a new one. The Weirds had reach so it was tight quarters. Nim did another Fireball and Jeb did a Slow to hopefully help the casters get out of trouble without taking attacks of opportunity. Our Water Elemental was very useful. Isadore got grabbed by a Weird but it was killed before it could take him away. (Having water breathing made that less concerning.) Braegor got grabbed and was taken away. He was then knocked out but soon afterwards, they were all dead so he was easily rescued. We took a short rest for those few who got wacked about. There was no treasure.
The next room, unless we double back to the skeletons, is the main room. At that point it was almost 12 and we decided not to start a boss battle at that late hour. So, in theory, maybe we’ll finish this level next time. We’ve got 3 more elements to go. Since this one will have taken at least 5 games and Jon’s game may slow progress, it may be another year before we’re done. Ridding the world of evil takes time.
Game 55 – 6/22/2018
We attempted to come up with plans on how best to take on the tentacled beast swimming in the next room but we really didn’t have anything. Mages don’t really get bonus to saves, see invisible, dispel magic type spells. We could have used the Bard to be sure. So ultimately we just carefully rode the boat down the last waterfall and into the massive chamber. Despite our foreknowledge and being on full alert, we were somehow surprised when the water rose up and attacked. Everyone except Jeb managed to save, aided by being shoulder to shoulder with the Paladin in the boat. Jeb was tossed 40 feet away and knock prone. Although being in the water, that didn’t mean much. Luckily that toss didn’t do damage in addition. The beast then attacked him with its tentacles and he was hurting none the less. Isadore cannot be surprised so he alone got to act that round. He jumped into the water and swam to Jeb. He had to use his bonus action to grab him so he didn’t quite make it to the island with him. But a crustacean based abomination (Chuul) rose out of the water between where he got to and the island.
On the new round, Nim went first. He cast Fly and got 40 feet above the island. Smart play. I think Isadore went next and attacked the Chuul but didn’t make much of a dent. They went next. The boss went back below and we lost sight of it. It was invisible in water and only when its tentacles were out could we even get a disadvantaged attack on it. It did it’s enslave thing and Nim missed his save. (With advantage for being a Gnome.) Ut oh. Another Chuul appeared and attacked the Paladin in the boat. Those got 2 claw attacks which automatically did a grapple on a hit. It then followed the grapple with a free tentacle attack (no attack needed) with a Con save. Somehow no one missed that save but they weren’t around long. When the last player finally got to go, G’Kar, he was the only one still in the boat.
So on Nim’s turn, he told us we should stop fighting and parley. He then cast a Command on Jeb who saved. We pretty much attacked the Chuuls because we couldn’t see the boss. Jeb broke out his 6th level Disintegrate and did 77 hit point to a Chuul which didn’t kill it. Damn. The boss next tried to Enslave Jeb but he saved thankfully. Nim’s next turn, he received more precise orders and fired a supercharged Fireball that hit all of us and he put holes for all of them. Ouch. By the way, he did not get a save at the end of his turns. Even if we wanted to attack Nim, not many of us could even reach him. Isadore got poisoned and could no longer breathe air. It wasn’t looking good so after a second Fireball from Nim, it was time for a desperate play. We had been debating the big blue orb in the middle on the room. We were certain it was the gateway to the elemental plan that the drow/dragon told us about but how to close it and would that do us any good was still in question. Isadore thought maybe his water key would but it showed no signs as he got closer. G’Kar’s trident however did show signs. Faced with a beast we couldn’t see and a Nim we couldn’t reach we decided to close the portal and see what would happen. It couldn’t get any worse, right? G’Kar couldn’t get there but the Paladin took the trident from him and touched it to the orb. BOOM!
So it erupted into a 44 point tidal wave of water (save for half) that hit everything in the room including them and Nim. That damage finally afforded him a save which he missed again however he did miss the concentration on his Fly and fell into the water. He missed another save opportunity due to that damage. The water elemental was then Enslaved and was told to attack however the only things he could get to was the unconscious Isadore, the boss and Nim. Whatever instructions he got allowed him the latitude to attack Nim, taking him out. So two players out, one enslaved, and the other 3 in the red. Then Jeb broke out his “rabbit out of the hat spell”. He cast Control Water and parted the water in the chamber, putting everyone except him who was on the island, onto the floor. Unfortunately the boss had a land speed and could still move and attack but at least now it was visible. It attacked G’Kar, leaving him with 1 hit point. But then G’Kar went. He grabbed his trident from the Paladin. He hit, tripped, hit, scared, hit and missed but used precise attack to hit. And did a ton of damage. But not enough. Then the Paladin went and chose to attack the tripped foe rather than heal someone. She hit twice and did all the extra smite damage she could. And it still lived. Then Jeb went and debated hitting it with a Cone of Cold or a Shatter but couldn’t without getting an unconscious player in the AOE. He decided to use the full power of the Magic Missile wand and that killed it. How many foes has that wand finished off over the years?
Whew. We helped the unconscious. The Enslaved snapped out of it. There was no treasure other than, as Wade put it, the treasured memory of ridding the world of evil. He did allow us to say that the Water Weird backpack G’Kar has been carrying for 2 years was “magically” recharged during the explosion. Nim, of course, insisted on a long rest however we realized that we had just had a long rest a couple hours ago. So Jeb let back in the water and we took a short rest. The Paladin did her feat thing and most everyone used all their hit dice to get mostly back. The only remaining room was the wrecked ship room with a skeletons however it was noted that to the west, there might be room for another room. So aided by our Water Elemental we went up a waterfall.
So that room had 5 feet of water, a ceiling 40 feet up and two platforms 30 feet up. On each platform was a bikini chick and we saw one Chuul in the water. We attempted to convince them that their boss was dead and they should just go away but they weren’t buying it. We attempted to ignore them and just sail by but they attacked. Oh and another 5-6 Chuuls showed up. We quickly discovered what that CON save from the tentacles was. Paralysis which is one of the worst conditions. You can’t take any actions, all attacks have advantage and all attacks are considered crits. Isadore and someone else were quickly frozen and we wondered if, after that last epic battle, would we be dying here? Then Nim did a supersized Fireball and did tons of damage to most of them. But many saved and none went out. The rest of us hacked at the most wounded. Thankfully Paralysis does give another save at the end of your turn. Nim did another Fireball and dropped many of them. The rest were hacked down. The chicks had pocket change but that was it as far as treasure. At that point it was after 12 so we called it a night. I think there are two rooms left, one of which probably have skeletons and based on the difficulty level of the rest of this level, I’m betting they’re harder than normal ones.
Jon’s game next week.
Game 56 – 7/6/2018
The first thing we realized was that about half of us were down significant hit points. Unfortunately we had expended most (if not all) of our hit dice after the last fight so a short rest wasn’t really going to help. (And Nim was almost out of Fireball slots (i.e. 3rd or higher) as well.) Likewise, it was still only 11AM so we couldn’t really take a long rest either. So after lengthy debate, there was really only one option. We avoided the last room with the wrecked ships and skeletons (which we assumed would animate) and went back up to the water keep. (It was my opinion that we could have done that fight with half the party “hiding in the back” but that would leave several players out of the fun which isn’t desirable.) There was some logistical debates on how to get back up the 3 waterfalls but ultimately Jeb had enough utility spells to do it.
There, we took two long rests. The wizards copied some spells into their books and the rest did not much of anything. Oh, the Warlock found an extra shiny coin in his pouch. A Detect Magic said it was magic and an Identify said it was some sort of necromancy magic but wouldn’t say if it was a curse or not. Eventually he requested the Paladin cast Remove Curse on him and the coin. It was still magical however and so on the advice of the mages, he threw it into the river. Time well wasted. Sooo then we debated whether to go back to finish the water dungeon or just move on. Pluses and minuses on both side but the majority just wanted to move on. We decided to do the air dungeon next since we’d already killed that boss (the drow elf mother) and had her spear. We went back to the combination level, put on the single use Featherfall backpacks (aka parachutes) and jumped down the hole. Not sure how we’re going to get back up but I’m sure we’ve got plenty of magic to do so. We’ve got an air elemental (aka Druid) at the very least.
The first corridor ended in a dead end where we saw the bodies of a variety of creatures. Someone made a great perception and spotted 3 holes in the walls on that end where the wind was whistling through. An obvious trap however there was a drow body with nice armor (elvin chain shirt) and jeweled daggers. We sent air elemental forward, figuring correctly that she was immune to most stuff and she retrieved the treasure without a fuss. But then Jeb insisted on going in to gather “spell components” from the various bodies. He missed his Con save and couldn’t breathe. Isadore grabbed him and we gave him first aid for another save but he failed that too. Someone suggested we put him in water since he still had the Water Breathing spell on. That worked as we hung him upside down in a helmet full of water and he finally saved. Then someone suggested we used Isadore’s amulet that creates an air pocket bubble. That worked and Jeb was able to collect his samples. All and all, a huge waste of an hour for no gain but amusing, I suppose.
We wandered a bit and the sneakers came upon an air elemental. With Isadore’s Pass Without Trace, they had no trouble backing away unseen. We sent ours up to talk to the 4 of them. They were instructed to stay in this area and rip apart any bodies that fell from the chasm above. We figured it linked to the first air dungeon level. When she found that this area was also a dead end and with no treasure in sight, we decided to avoid the fight and just move on. We next went through an area where players started hearing whispers either in their ears or heads. It was trying to turn us paranoid and/or against each other. But since there was nothing to attack and it wasn’t really doing anything, we decided to just walk on through. Not sure if this was a trap, an invisible foe, or just a distraction. The next room had cave dwellings in the high walls and bodies of smallish (gnome sized?) creatures. As we entered, we were attacked by half specters of some sort. Only the Ranger and Jeb (I think) were not surprised and got to act that first round. By the second round, they are on us. But then Nim blasted them with a Fireball and they were all finished off before G’Kar and Jeb ever got to go. No treasure.
The next room had two demon things and things got difficult. The upshot was that they could cast at will Darkness, Mirror Image, Dimension Door and Dispel Magic without using an action. Needless to say they were tough to hit and when they started teleporting around in the darkness, tough to track down. It was a very annoying fight. As Wade put it, they were using their powers like a player would. I can’t recall the blow by blow. Events of note are. G’Kar used his drift globe to cast Daylight (once per day) to dispel their Darkness but they just cast it again. A round later they dispelled the Daylight. Jeb’s Slow was also dispelled with ease. They split up, splitting the party. The Warlock’s Devil sight could see them but he didn’t want to “waste” his sneak attack against the Mirror Images so he used his 3 blasts which did very little damage overall. And then they just put it up again.
Once again it was the Wizard’s area effect blasts that ruled the day. They ignored the MI and could target the whole Darkness area however even Nim was hampered because he couldn’t put holes where he couldn’t see. Once they started standing and fighting (otherwise it would have never ended) it was a matter of swing wildly, getting lucky on the disadvantaged attack and the MI, them blowing their concentration roll and the Darkness going down. At which point anyone who could get to them would chance the MI and pounded them before they TPed and put up Darkness again. It was a long, boring, annoying fight but eventually we won. They didn’t do a ton of damage so I don’t think we’re too hurt but the Wizards used a lot of high level AOE spells. No treasure.
I think we’ve cleared about 2/3 of the level already. There are definitely fewer monsters on this level plus we avoided one or two encounters. Hopefully we can finish it off next time. Despite the fact that we killed the boss previously, I assume there’s a “big fight” somewhere in here but maybe we just did it.
Game 57 – 7/20/2018
We started by leveling up to 12th. As usual, some players were more prepared for that than others and some classes are more involved than others. It took some time. Again the casters could not memorize a new spell without a long rest but could use the new slots. We cleaned up from the last fight. The Paladin did her healing feat and a couple of the most damaged used hit dice. We questioned the prisoners. One was an Aconda (the good flying guys we have meet in the area). She was captured, questioned, tortured, etc. She didn’t really have any useful information. The Drow claimed to be investigating for the Drow and with our Drow heavy group, most were inclined to believe him. The other two were dressed as cultists. We’ve seen this on all levels. Cultists that run afoul of the bosses are punished with great severity. After much debate, we agreed to take them all back to the entrance. The Aconda can fly the Drow out from there. The cultists would be left there and we’ll deal with them later. (i.e. left for dead because we never remember to go back to them)
The now attending Bard said he had a True Sight spell so we went back to the whispering room. He did not see anything. Again it was Jeb who was receiving secret messages from the GM leaving the rest of us out of it and confused. We agreed to move on but again Jeb stay behind. The Bard went back and convinced him to return to the group. We did more wandering. (There is a lot more empty space on this level than any we’ve done before.) We found a chasm with narrow ledges around it. We sent the Elemental across and she found some cultists in some sort of trance. They ignored her. We pushed on, hoping to avoid that death defying skill check by finding a way around. We found a lake room to the south with an island in the middle. On it was a coffin. The Ranger was sent to check it out and triggered a mold trap but he was too fast for it. The Elemental was sent over to clear it out with her winds. The coffin had a Dwarven inscription about this being some great Dwarven hero so we left it alone.
We went around the lake and found a couple of dead ends. At the 2nd, we were attacked by 2 “deluxe” Black Puddings. The last time, a slashing weapon split them in two and unfortunately we found that a piercing weapon did the same. We did learn that they didn’t re-split once split. They also did splash acid damage for anyone who attacked them in melee and whenever they missed. That also damaged non-magical weapons and armor. All and all, they’re tough on melee guys. But the casters blew them away fast enough and we moved on. We had to face the chasm next. The Bard was in a hurry because his Spirit Guardians spell was still going. It was a modest acrobatics roll to cross but the risk was high. Wade decided to roll initiative and do it in that order.
The Bard went first and ran across with his damage zone. The Ranger went next and pulled out a bow. The Air Elemental grabbed G’Kar and flew over. Then they went and most took damage from the Bard’s zone but none dropped. They then went and they all attacked the Bard with thrown daggers which they had advantage with. I think they hit 7 out of 10. One miss was from his Bardic mocking but 2 hits were crits. He got messed up and despite his War Caster feat, it was only a matter of time before he missed one of those 7 concentration checks. When G’Kar went next, he hit 4 times, finishing off 4 different guys. They were wiped out post haste. Their priest leader tried to make a run for it but was gunned down. Nothing was gained. The Bard was quickly healed and we pressed north. When we found armored cultists guarding an entrance to an altar room(?), we called it a night. We might finish this level off on the next night. That will leave us with the earth level with the Medusa or the fire level with the blaster left to do. Both daunting.
Game 58 – 7/27/2018
We left off, facing 8 platemail wearing knights in the corridor ahead. Since the Air Element was in front and big enough to block the sight of the rest of us in the narrow corridor behind, we decided to continue with the ruse that Fylindera was her mother, returned from the elemental plane. Unfortunately this necessitated that Brian talk to himself. He made a good performance roll and they cast their eyes down in respect and fear. She waved the rest of us forward and they didn’t say anything but seemed uncertain. Unfortunately again, the corridor did not go far before it dead ended at what was obviously the air plane portal. It was guarded by 4 air elemental humanoid shaped entities and we still had the unharmed knights behind us. We decided she should just go up and close the gate. She made another good performance roll and they allowed her to approach. (Being her daughter was certainly helping with all this.) She then ordered two of them to go back through the portal and await further orders. (I think this was Wade’s way of adjusting the difficulty since we were down two players. Good thing as these turned out to be tough.) Everyone else backed away, remembering the explosion when we closed the last portal.
She closed it with her mother’s spear and unleashed a chain lightning of significant damage upon herself and the two elemental beings. I think all saved and all had lightning resistance though. At this point they knew something was not right and initiative was rolled. The elemental beings got 3 attacks and had a power that electrified one of those attacks. Both attacked the Paladin and that electrified attack critted for massive damage. She was almost out in one round. The rest started to act and shot at them or moved up and attacked. The Bard was in the back and went back to the knights. He told them the lady had been attacked and needed their help. Some questioned as to the wisdom of that action but I think they knew something was up and were going to be moving anyway. What it did allow was for the Bard to get behind them as they went past. G’Kar positioned himself around a bend at a choke point in hopes of holding them off but it wasn’t quite that tight. So he stopped the first with his sentinel feat but the rest were going to get past on their next round.
Most attacked the elemental beings. They had a good AC and a ton of hit points. Without the crit, the damage wasn’t too bad but they did get three attacks. The Paladin disengaged and got behind our elemental and the Ranger. Other than trying to keep the Paladin up, it wasn’t too tough although two more of them would have made it tougher to be sure. Jeb slowed them but only one failed his save and then saved at the end of his turn. On the other front, the Bard did his Hypnotic Pattern. He could get 7 of the 8 without including G’Kar. Amazingly all 7 failed their save. Until awoken or damaged, they were out of it until concentration was broken (and there weren’t any foes back there) or 10 rounds (which is an eternity in a fight). So the only fear was the 8th guy waking one who would wake another, etc. G’Kar used his pushing maneuver and moved him 15 feet, and then moved behind him and hit and pushed him again for another 15 feat. At that point he was 30 feet from his mesmerized friends and engaged with the Ranger, Jeb and G’Kar. He never made it to them. The fight was soon over. We debated what to do with the knights. We decided to have Jeb cast his Wall of Stone and trap them in this dead end. By the time they dug through the wall, we’d be gone. We got some pocket change and that was the end of this level. We storyboarded our exit and return to our keep.
Wade declared we made 13th to our surprise. Evidently we need to be 13th for the next two dungeons. So that gobbled up some time. (By the way, Dan asked and received permission to chuck his 1 level in barbarian as he said he wasn’t using it any more. Elementals get normal weapon resistance already. Wade said he’d need to come up with an in game reason for that. Anger management counseling?) We also took a trip to the city to do some buying. The usual randomness was had with the following up shot. We found a +2 scimitar which is a finesse weapon but not on the rogue, bard or warlock list. But it worked for the Ranger. He then gave his dragon bane short sword to Braegor who gave his venom dagger to the Bard. We also found an ion stone for dex. Since all the dex based fighter types were already maxed out at 20, again the only one it helped was the Ranger, putting him at 20 like the rest. Lastly everyone bought 100 gp of diamond dust in case they are turned to stone by the upcoming Medusa. The Druid can cast Greater Restoration with the dust so as long as she doesn’t get effected, we should be good. The stone dungeon is next with that Medusa boss with the fire one saved for last. I’m not sure when.
Game 59 – 8/10/2018
They went into the Earth dungeon and faced 4 Earth Elementals and 4 Acolytes in the first room. Since Earth Elementals take double damage from thunder damage, they fired several up-cast Shatter spells. The Bard cast his hypnotic pattern and got 3 of the 4 Acolytes however the one that saved woke up the rest on the very next turn. But it took a round and with the collateral damage from the area effect spells being used on the Elementals, they were taken out so quickly, they were a nonfactor. Only our elemental took any serious damage. Since all those Shatters meant the element of surprise was gone, they took a short rest so that she could recharge that form. Even at these high levels, she only gets 2 forms per short rest and an elemental form takes two uses.
The next room had a Xorn being feed gems by various cultists. “That’s our treasure!” It made some threatening remarks and combat started. The Bard hit it with his Otto’s Dance spell and it failed its save. (Since it could taunt us, it was judged it could be effected by it.) It’s not a “save or die” but it’s pretty screwed. Can’t act or move but Wade decided it could merge into the stone (i.e. tunnel) so it fled. But our elemental could also tunnel and went after it. She pounded it and it kept missing its save each time it was damaged. Meanwhile the rest of the cultist were wiped out without much trouble. Unfortunately Dan had to sign off before the Xorn was defeated and since no one else could fight it within the stone, it got away to fight another day. More high level area effect spells were used. That fight was quickly over and they stopped for the night. So two rooms, two fights, several spells used up but no one is really that hurt.
Game 60 – 8/24/2018
With both Rogues late arriving, the Bard stepped up to sneak ahead. He came upon a room full of stalactites and stalagmites. Everyone expected them to animate in some manner but despite his good perception roll, the two Ropers still surprised him. And since he was the only one in the room, it didn’t go well for him. They got 4-5 rope attacks (with a big reach) that didn’t do damage but did grapple and restrain. Then they pulled to the mouth which did one big bite attack with advantage from the restrain. He got grabbed and bit twice. The next round he cast his Spirit Guardians and did some damage but then they went again and this time a bite crit him. Despite having War Caster, he rolled two 1s and lost his concentration. (With that crit damage, it was going to be a stiff roll anyway.) After two rounds, he’d taken ~100 hit points. He disengaged and fell back.
The rest moved in. Well the Fighter, Paladin and Earth Elemental moved in and the Mages and Warlock stayed out and fired in. The Warlock cast Fairy Fire which effected both Ropers and the Fighter. (The Paladin saved.) That gave everyone advantage to hit (which was needed because their stone hide gave them an AC of 19) but gave them advantage on the Fighter. But since he was restrained, they had advantage already so overall it just offset his disadvantage to hit them. But he couldn’t seem to hit. The Fire Mage was hampered because he couldn’t avoid friendly fire on his usual AOEs because of the grapples so he was regulated to Fire Bolts. Jeb fired his Disintegrate which did a ton of damage to one of them but not enough to destroy it. It was dropped soon after though. They had a lot of hit points but it was down to many versus one so it was over in a couple rounds. The Bard was the only one seriously hurt. We found a Ring of Swimming which the Paladin took and a high level elemental scroll that the mages didn’t find very useful. While those identifies were going on, the Bard took a short rest and used most of his healing dice.
As we approached the next room we heard a haunting scream. We entered a room littered with bits of bone, armor and arms. The only thing of note was a dwarven helm that looked valuable. We decided to avoid it and just pass through however the trailing Bard grabbed it as he went past. When distributed, a specter appeared to warn us about taking stuff (too late) from the dwarven spirits and then 20 more appeared. Several players attacked but then Nim went and cleared the room with a Fireball that once again, ignored their resistance. Only the first spirit survived that spell but he was finished off before the last two players even got to go. The helmet protected against physic damage and allowed the wearing to grant inspiration dice (3 a day) with a bonus action. I think the Druid took it as it would transfer into her wild shapes.
The last room of the night had a river of mud flowing through it. On the other side were two deluxe earth elementals and many mud mephitis. Nim went first and unleashed his 6th level Freezing Sphere that had a huge AOE and did lots of damage. And froze the mud. He didn’t roll great damage though. Those that saved lived but it certainly softened them up. The mephitis were gone soon enough but the elementals were tough. They had an electrical power up (on a recharge) that did a ton of extra lighting damage on their normal two attacks. Each blow came with a strength save to stay standing but the front line Fighter and Druid had good strength saves. Once again, we kept swinging and they were out pretty fast. We took another short rest so that the Fighter could be bandaged. And then stopped there for the night.
Game 61 – 9/7/2018
We got a very late start. Jon and Andy could not get Fantasy Grounds to connect. Eventually Jon watched via Skype and had Paul operate his character on his behalf. Andy just gave up and went to bed. Hopefully it’ll work for them next time. Fantasy Grounds is constantly being updated so we’ve seen some inconsistency. The delay did allow the late arriving Brian to play. So it was after 10 but we decided to take on one room before calling it. The next room was at the bottom of a canyon with loose rock debris and more bones littering the floor. We knew something was going to spring forth but despite various skill rolls and caution from flying Braegor as he entered; there wasn’t much to do but trigger the encounter. At least we weren’t surprised. From the cliff faces, over a dozen Hooked Horrors emerged. Their AC was low but their hit points were high. As for attacks, they got 2 per round for decent damage (2d8+ ?) but at least they didn’t do anything special. I.e. no trip, grapple, etc. They did have reach however which impacted things. And no enemy spell casters but we were down one Gnome ourselves.
The biggest issue was probably poor rolling by the players. In particular the Fire Mage rolled low on his Fireball damage so when he did his patented round 1 blast, it didn’t even move them off green. And the Fighter, despite needing only a 4 to hit, managed to miss a lot. (Luckily his whining about never critting paid off with several crits towards the end.) The Bard managed to put 3 in the back into a hypnotic trance and the GM ruled that these things were not smart enough to snap their friends out of it. It was going to be a grind but then a couple more burst forth next to our casters in the back. This caused some scrambling. The Earth Elemental and the Paladin ran to their aid but then the Bard Dimension Door’ed himself and the mage to safety. But that wasn’t safe for long, given their reach, numbers and relatively tight quarters. About when we had the upper hand, 4 rolling rock things attacked. They were smart enough to realize the mage was doing most the damaged and tried to take him out. But he stayed up, barely. When we were down to a couple monsters left, Wade storyboarded the rest so we could end the night. Most everyone took significant damage but no one went out. The mage was almost out of spells so we decided to take a long rest. I think we decided to go up to a cleared level, build a Tiny Hut and hope for the best.
Game 62 – 9/21/2018
We had just finished the battle at the bottom of the chasm. We did a search and found nothing of value. I didn’t realize until Monday that we didn’t investigate the bridge at the top of the cliffs but I assume it’s up at the previous level. We got battered but since none of the Arcane spell casters attended, we could get by with a short rest. But this area was very exposed for a rest. Braegor scouted the next chamber but it had two more exits as well. We decided to go back into areas that had been cleared and pick a room with just two entrances. We were not distributed. Healing kits and healing dice were expended. The Druid recycled her Earth Elemental form and cast Longstrider on herself, G’Kar, Breagor and the Paladin with a couple of 2nd level slots.
The Rogues snuck into the next room. With their expertise and Pass without Trace, they were all but undetectable. They saw an armory with 3 letter tokens and 4 of those psychic cave dwellers. Traditionally letter tokens mean named villains which are tougher. The first was the mud mage we had faced (and killed) on the last level. He was a caster who polymorphed into a T-Rex last time. Next was a guy in armor with a black rod of some sort. Cleric? Lastly was a Dwarf with no armor or weapons which Braegor worried meant he was a spell caster as well. We had no spell casters in attendance and considered sneaking away to clean out some other section of the dungeon and returning with more firepower. But we decided to go for it. At this point, Brian had to pick up Aaron so we took a break for an hour.
Breagor cast Blink on himself and then Invisibility on him and Isidor. They snuck in and attacked the mud mage, doing a ton of damage. Breagor then blinked away, leaving Isidor alone in the room. Bastard! The stonemelder hit him with the rod. The rod did minimal but he powered it up with some sort of ability so that it did 30+ for one hit. Others piled in and beat on the mage. When he finally got to go, he was already heavily wounded so he turned into a T-Rex again just like last time. Both Isadore and the Druid had mage slayer so the plan was to batter it until it failed its concentration roll and then finish him off. Unfortunately he had the war caster feat which offset the mage slayer advantage. It made 7-8 rolls but eventually failed one. He attempted to cast a stone wall but was killed by the mage slayers opportunity attacks. The T-Rex attacked twice but never hit. The stonemelder was disarmed by G’Kar but just conjured another rod from the stone floor. That action did subject him to an opportunity attack though. I think he hit G’Kar once more for 20+ but went out. The Nostics were annoying and did some damage but didn’t impact much. The Dwarf turned out to be with the delegation we’ve been chasing and fought on our side. He was almost killed but Isadore managed to save him with a last second healing spell. There was some modest wealth and a +1 breastplate made out of crystal. Since Isadore was the only one that uses a breastplate, he took it but I don’t think he’s put it on until a proper identify could be done. Wade was implying it was just +1 but late arriving Jeb thought maybe it might have a side benefit from the exotic material. Lightning resistance? I’m sure he knows better than the GM.
The Dwarf said he’d been forced to make arms in hopes that his friends would be spared. We told him we had saved some of them already and that made him happy. He seemed to be fairly high ranking. He decided to stick with us until we left rather than try to find his way alone. At this point, we are pretty deep. In retrospect, I’m sure he grabbed some armor from the room. We pressed on. The sneakers went into a room with a couple Bullettes and some sort of keeper. Isadore snuck through the room and found that there were in fact 12 in these stables. We decided to defer dealing with them. The next room was huge. At the end of it was a stone monolith that seemed to be shifting. This is likely the earth elemental portal we are seeking. On it was a guy with snake like hair. Beside him were about 10 plate wearing stone knights and upon the columns on the approach were about 10 gargoyles. We stopped there. I do not know if they saw us. I wonder if this guy is a caster as well. Hopefully the Bullettes will not attack from behind. Without riders, maybe they won’t. The distance is great so it’ll likely be a caster fire fight with the meleers trying to get into the game.
Game 63 – 10/12/2018
We were missing the Bard, the Fire Mage and the Ranger. Thanks to the great stealth skills of the advanced scouts, the Medusa and his minions were not aware of our presence so we could strategize. The Gnome scanned his spells and found that the Freezing Sphere had a range of 300 and a big AOE. It was also realized that our Earth Elemental, being already made of stone, would be immune to the petrification. So after much debate, that was the plan. The Elemental tunneled around and got under the Medusa. The invisible Rogue moved in a bit and then the Gnome unleashed his ice ball. Initially the Medusa failed but he invoked some sort of legendary power (near portal?) and saved for half. All the rest took damage as well. The Elemental emerged and pounded him. The rest moved in as best they could, boosted by the Longstrider from last time.
The first thing the Medusa did was draw from the portal and heal himself 36 hit points. Dang. He then attacked the Elemental with his snakes which didn’t go much and then with his short sword which did plenty. Both the Gargoyles and the Knights had multiple attacks and did plenty as well. No one looked at the Medusa, fighting the minions instead but if he could heal himself like that, the elemental would need help. The Gnome tried to target him with a Magic Missile but failed his perception roll to target through a hand mirror. He cast Slow instead but again, he saved via some boost. The others worked down the minions. I know that G’Kar was put into heavy damage but they started falling. The Medusa left the Elemental and engaged the Rogue. Since he couldn’t see him, he attacked with advantage. He mock him, daring him to turn and fight. He did not. He acrobatically disengaged and finished off a gargoyle instead.
He then cast Earthquake but everyone saved except ironically the Paladin. But that’s a concentration spell so we’d have to save again next round. He then attacked G’Kar, who was running out of hit points, again mocking him. G’Kar turned and faced him, to his and Brian’s surprise. He was bolstered by the nearby Paladin, the fact that he was the only(?) character who was proficient in CON saves and the fact that he had 2 inspiration dice at the ready. He saved with ease. He missed but then hit with a trip. The Medusa missed his strength save and either he had already used his save bonus power or it only worked against magic so he fell prone. G’Kar hit him twice more with advantage and then used his action surge. Internet research said that the extra action could be used for a full attack action which for him was 3 attacks. He hit him 3 more times, putting him into the orange. The last one broke his concentration on the earthquake. Paul says that was a total of 87 points of damage. The Gnome went next but didn’t have anything that didn’t need targeting besides his Wall of Fire. But the prone Medusa managed to save and took no damage. Next was the Paladin who turned to face him as well, saved and hit him twice with as much extra holy smite dice as she could manage. The last hit killed him.
The Medusa turning into mud (as opposed to into wind) but his stuff remained. The sword is a +2 short sword with an extra die (8?) of thunder damage. The Rogue took it but I think most agreed it should go to the Ranger since the Rogue does plenty of damage with his Warlock cantrips. (Brian revealed that these legendary weapons are supposed to turn to dust when they close the gates but he decided to leave them in play.) One knight managed to dive into the portal but the rest were killed. We gathered some treasure and then closed the gate. Rather than unleash damage, it caused an earthquake that started to collapse the chamber. The Druid cast Wind Walk which turned everyone into flying mist and we exited.
The Gnome was eager for a long rest but we weren’t sure if there was anything left. We flew to the water keep and left the saved Dwarf there. We then took a short rest and returned. (That Wind Walk spell lasts 8 hours and allow you (and 9 of your friends) to go in and out of flying mist form with an action. Powerful.) We returned and found that only the portal room actually collapsed. However Brian said there wasn’t much left of any interest. He said any cultists had already fled and just story boarded it. We debated where to take the dwarf and decided we might as well take him home to Waterdeep. We stopped there in case there was anything anyone wanted to do while there. We also leveled up to 14th. All present could not roll above minimum hit points. So that leaves the Fire Dungeon left. Put on your asbestos underwear. I wonder if Evil Nim is waiting there for us. Hopefully good Nim will be with us.
Game 64 – 10/26/2018
Everyone was eager to just press ahead and start the final fire dungeon however when we realized how many of us did not have fire resistance, we invoked retro-active play and purchased fire resistance potions while in Water Deep. Initially Wade said we could find 3 but when that proved to be short, he allowed a luck roll and we found 5 instead. The Bard still had one and the Gnome had his transmutter stone but that’ll still leave someone out if we need a 2nd dose. An added “problem” was that everyone showed up so we needed more. Next time, if a couple can’t make it, several could be safely tuck away in that “player not attending” dimensional pocket. But the upshot is that we were entering with fire resistance for everyone but it only lasts an hour. So no long rests and at 15 minutes, probably no more than 2 short rests, depending on what happens.
We rode the platform down which ended in a pool of lava. There were stepping stones to the middle corridor and another corridor above and below. But there were bad guys too. Above were two fire mystics which we hadn’t seen before, middle were two of those razor guys that explode upon death and below were 2 fire cultist that cast fireballs at will. There was some arguments about whether we should have been allowed to take action on the way down but it was just too complicated to back up and we just started at the bottom. Initiative. Brageor cast Fly and engaged the cultists. Isador ran across the stones and attacked the razors. The Bard cast Dimension Door, upcasting to include G’Kar, dropping him off at the mystics and then running forward and finding a couple more razors. The Paladin joined G’Kar, the fire mage joined Isador and our fire elemental walked across the lava. So we successfully got off the platform but we also spread our forces which was about to spread our damage.
It was a tough battle and I can’t remember the blow for blow. Some highlights. The razors had a ton of hit points. The cultist cast Blur but then started casting fireballs mostly at the middle group. The mystics had hypnotic pattern, fire shield and fireballs. G’Kar pushed a mystic into the lava but it turns out he was immune to the fire and simply swam away. Our elemental realized these guys were immune or resistant to his fire attacks and changed into an Air Elemental. Only the cultists were “only” resistant to fire which made it hard on our fire mage. After a couple of rounds, all of the bad guys were hurt, some with heavy damage, but none were out. About then two fire giants came down the hall. AOE spells were hurled at them since they did a ton of damage.
The fire mage cast his freezing sphere and the other gnome cast a cone of cold for serious damage. There were a lot of crits on both sides but there were a lot of attacks per round so that’s not too surprising. As usual, some characters got racked up and some took very little. None of went out but we used a ton of spells including the Paladin for extra damage. They finally started to drop. The fire giants got in a couple of licks but with all the fire power they drew, they weren’t around long. The last to go were the razors who almost had as many hit points as the giants. And the damage they did when they exploded was not insignificant either. Everybody lived. We decided to try for a short rest but didn’t actually do it yet. So we’ll start there next time. So that was two rooms in one night. We used up maybe more than half of our spell power and half our potion duration. Something tells me we’re going to have to leave and come back at least once to make it through this.
Game 65 – 11/9/2018
We took a short rest, then explored northward through the secret passage which was 20' up the wall in the chamber where the Fire Giants were. A 15' corridor opened into a roughly 35' diameter roundish cave, full of poisonous air, which was presumably coming from a couple dozen niches around the circumference which were filled with oddly flaming skulls.
To the North of this cave was a hole, with extremely hot air coming out of it.
To the East of this cave, after another 15' corridor (both corridors were full of the poisonous gas), there was a huge cavern. Here's the description:
The tunnel opens above a pool of lava, the surface of which is thirty feet below. A metal catwalk suspended 10 feet from the ceiling by iron chains connects to another tunnel on the far side, as well as to a stone column rising up from the magma. The catwalk passes through a hole in the column. In the lava below, serpentine creatures glide and splash. To the south, the lava cascades into the pool before the current continues down a channel to the north.
Anyway, there were 6 Salamanders (which, Wade very explicitly pointed out, were armed with plenty of nasty looking harpoon/spear things) and 12 Fire Serpents swimming around in the lava, so we decided to explore elsewhere.
Southward there was another corridor to the East of the Fire Giant area, which opened into a stone bridge/causeway over another pool of lava. This pool of lava flows into the waterfall that fills the previously described room to its North. Isidor explored it, and surprise, surprise, wasn't surprised by the "Magma Roper" that floated up out of the lava and attempted to trap him in its tendrils. But Izzy won initiative and boogied back to the rest of us. There was also a gong suspended over the lava, not far from the bridge. We started thinking maybe if we rung the gong, maybe the Salamanders in the other room might come to investigate, giving us a way past them. Myyrdinn used one of his many magic items, a smoking pipe, to summon a Smoke Mephit, which he commanded to ring the gong. The rest of us fired up our flight spells and/or jumped into the arms of Kithri the Air Elemental in preparation to zoom through the poisonous air room and over the catwalk, once the Salamanders were out. The Smoke Mephit managed to ring the gong, just before the Magma Roper ate it.
Izzy, being immune to the poison gas thanks to his amulet, was in the skull room watching the Salamanders, which didn't seem to be reacting quite as we'd hoped. While everyone else was waiting for them to move, Breagor took the opportunity to fly down the hole in the North of the skull room, where he found another round-ish chamber, inside of which was a burning ring of fire, stretching from floor to ceiling and providing no more than 5' of clearance between the cavern walls and the flames. Ending your turn in the room caused like 5d8 of heat damage, with no save, although the Fire Resistance potions helped.
We couldn't see around to the other side of the room, and we were hoping that there was another way out, so Kithri came in carrying Myrrdinn and Jebeddo. Myrrdinn dispelled the ring of fire, and we discovered four prisoners who'd been incarcerated inside. They were well dressed, so we figured maybe they were the nobles we'd been looking for for bloody ever.
We started escorting them out, but once we got into the skull room, several of the skulls animated, declared that the prisoners were not allowed to escape, and began attacking.
They rolled poorly for initiative, though, so we managed to kill two before they got to go. They were immune to fire and being knocked prone, and resistant to piercing, lightning, cold, and thunder damage ... and maybe even more that we didn't notice. They could shoot 3d6 fire rays from each eye, they could cast Blur and also Fireball. Yeah, Fireball. Luckily we were a bit spread out and the Fire resistance potions helped, so the Fireballs they were flinging around weren't completely overwhelming, although a couple of the NPCs got a little toasty. Kithri and Jebeddo did their best to get the NPCs to safety while the rest of us tried to bottle up the skulls and take them out. In one of the more amusing moments, Myyrdinn used his Wand of Wonder and got the following result:
You are stunned until the start of your next turn, believing something awesome just happened.
They had a crappy AC though (13), so despite all their resistances they didn't last too long. Also of note, Myyrdinn used a Circle of Power spell to rather good effect, giving everyone within 30' of him advantage on saves, which made a significant difference when all those fireballs were flying around.
Afterwards, we finished escorting the NPCs out, and decided we needed a long rest, which forced us to need more potions of Fire Resistance, so Brian storybooked a few days and we managed to get several such potions (two each for everyone who wanted them).
Game 66 – 11/30/2018
We returned to the fire dungeon after a 3 day shopping trip to Waterdeep to acquire more potions of fire resistance and began debating what to do about the salamanders in their pit of lava. There was much debate. Getting into a fire fight with them seemed like a bad idea since half of our group (the meleers) wouldn’t be able to help. Plus it would use up a lot of spell power. There didn’t seem to be any way around them unless we wanted to try tunneling but that would take too long. We have various stealth enhancers but there was no cover across the walkway so Wade warned us that even a 40 roll would not hide us. Various invisibility and teleportation options were considered along with stone walls for cover, etc. Charms won’t work because of the language barrier. G’Kar’s idea of enhancing our movement and just “running for it” was gaining ground. We figured either they’d ignore us or have to come up to engage us, either of which was better than a fire fight over a pit of lava. But then Jeb suggested using his 5th level Seeming spell to make us look like cultist and we’d just walk across like we’re supposed to be there. It’s a shame to use up such a high level spell slot but at least it’s only one. So that was the plan but…
Just about when that was settled, Wade mentioned that the dragon slaying short sword the Ranger had was vibrating while we were in the dungeon last time. What? We decided we need some more intel so Nim cast his Arcane Eye. After some debate, he did so from the level above. The first thing he saw was that the 1st room had been re-populated. There were 2 casting cultists across the steps and 2 exploding meleers in each of the 2 other passageways. (So fewer than last time.) The salamanders were still in their pit. Beyond there were living quarters and several more cultist of both types. Up the stream of lava sat a (named) red dragon on a rocky island. The dragon sensed the invisible eye and blew it away. And that was the end of the intel. Jeb suggested that maybe these fire cultist aren’t so bad? Live and let live anybody?
So we refought the battle in the first room. We did that a bit more efficiently, concentrating fire on the casters. They didn’t get much off. The exploders did some damage. They have a ton of hit points which took time to grind through. Our casters didn’t want to “waste” any good spells, using mostly low levels, wands and cantrips, knowing there were two epic battles coming up. Most of the damage taken was from the explosions when those guys dropped. We did not do a short rest to conserve potion duration but St did her healing kit thing on those that needed it. We then cast the Seeming and bypassed the lava pit room. One distraction was that on the stone pillar between the walkways, sharp eyed Izzy noticed a stone with the cultist symbol on it that seemed to be covering a hole or something. Each player managed to resist messing with it including the Bard. We’ll get back to it eventually. In retrospect, I suspect it’s a ladder down to the lava so that they can come up or we can do down. But we stuck with the plan and ignored it.
We then walked into the living quarters and Nim’s evil brother Nim greeted us. He started to welcome us (villain soliloquy) but Nim declared his intent to start blasting. Wade said he’d let Jon do that as an opening salvo but then the other casters started saying they wanted to fire away also. So I suspect it’ll be initiative next time. I think it’s about the same foes as the 1st room plus evil Nim. And a red dragon waiting in the wings. I don’t think he’d fit, even if he wants to join in, but we shall see. Wade said that there was much more dungeon after this which, I assume, includes confronting the actual head guy. Evil Nim and a dragon are merely warm ups.
Game 67 – 12/14/2018
Before we started, Jeb retroactively cast his Copy (I can’t spell the right name) spell, making a duplicate of himself. It has all his abilities and spells but could not recover slots with a rest, half his hit points and none of his equipment. Formidable but vulnerable.
We started, facing evil Nim and his cultist allies. Those being a couple of the exploding guys with a ton of hit points and a couple of the fireball casters. Jon had declared his intent to cast a spell which would end the discussion part of the encounter and kick off the combat. Wade still had everyone roll initiative but I think he let Nim go at his maximum initiative. Isadore still went first so he moved into the room but couldn’t reach anyone and attack. Nim then cast his Cone of Cold, putting a hole in it to avoid hitting his brother. Everyone else moved in however those that could get at evil Nim “forgot” to do subdual. Isadore ended up in an alcove and a nice looking elf approached him. She asked if we were cultists or not. (We still have the Seeming spell on but we were fighting them.) Since he still had his held action, he attacked her. She then turned into the large red dragon Nim’s Arcane Eye had seen last time.
It was the usual combat chaos in tight quarters. The dragon breathed, doing think 16d6 of damage. Thankfully we all had fire resistance and most were near the Paladin. I think Nim went out. Evidently he didn’t realize how much damage he still had from last time. One of the Jebs cast a Cloud Kill onto most of them however in addition to doing lots of damage, it obscured the area so they could not be targeted. So the next round, most attacked the dragon. The Paladin laid hands on Nim and then Nim drank a healing potion. The Jeb copy stayed in the back but one of the exploders, which evidently we lost track of in the lava last time, came up and ripped into him. The casting cultists were wiped out pretty fast by AOEs. Evil Nim then cast a Fire Wall on top of G’Kar, trapping Izzy and Braegor is the alcove. And that fire ignored any resistance just like Nim’s.
G’Kar took another dose of Fire Wall damage, used his mobility feat to avoid the cultist and the dragon and attacked evil Nim. And missed 3 times. (G’Kar missed a lot this night.) Isadore, risking the potion mixing rules, drank a potion of giant strength. He got double effects on that one from the random chart and was super strong. He then did much the same thing as G’Kar and attacked evil Nim. Then Breagor, after debating whether to cast a defensive spell before entering a room with a dragon, did about the same and but critted with his sneak attack and did over 70 points. That dropped him. Then our Nim cast his freezing sphere but ran out of holes. He chose to avoid his brother’s body and included the Jeb copy which took it out. It lasted two rounds of combat and cast two spells. 1500 gp not so well spent. Somewhere in there was another dragon breath so when one of the exploders exploded from the sphere, the collateral damage took out our Nim.
The dragon still had a ton of hit points as did the razors. Then Braegor critted the dragon with another sneak attack and did another 70+. She scooped up our Nim and looked to run. Nim was hit twice with collateral AOEs and had made one death save. She threaten to kill him. Isadore was the only one to speak up and answered with threats upon her life. So she killed Nim and then she was dropped that same round. However the Paladin cast Revivify the next round and Nim lived again. The whole thing only lasted 3 or 4 rounds but took a lot of time. At these high levels, people have lots of options to choose from and actions take a while.
Everyone wanted to do stuff. Jeb cut out the dragon’s heart and gizzard. We all took a short rest and the Paladin did her healing feat. Isadore restrained evil Nim. Nim erected his tiny hut because no one could teleport out of it. He and the rogues then questioned evil Nim. He claimed that the cultists were holding the younger brother Nim in some unknown location and was forcing him to help them. He saved against the Zone of Truth spell and if he was lying, no one rolled a high enough skill to catch him at it. So he was spared. Whether he’ll be allowed to fight with us will be debated. He said the cultist were attempting to gate in a fire god as we spoke. Despite that warning, we still couldn’t move forward. The mages want to do their detect magic and the Ranger want’s to skin the dragon to make more armor. Hopefully we can put those off until the world is saved but we shall see. We certainly can’t afford a long rest so we’ll be heading into the final battle down some fire power but our fire resistance potions should still be good. Any bets as to whether the Head Fire Cultist has that Elemental Affinity feat?
Game 68 – 1/4/2019
With the threat of an Evil Fire God bent on world destruction being summoned, we resisted the urge to go searching for dragon treasure and rummaging through chests of drawers looking of magic socks and pressed on after a short rest. But we had to decide what to do with Evil Nim. We decided to untie him but withhold his wand which, according to Nim, should limit him to only spells without components. The Mage Slaying Ranger also said he’d stick by him, figuring he could whack him if he tried to do anything against us. And so we brought him along. We entered the next room which turned out to be the final altar room. There was a long stone outcropping into a pool of boiling magma with an altar at the end. It was supposedly very hot in here but the module gave no guidance as to what that meant. Wade figured our fire resistance potions were enough to ignore it. Beyond the magma, at the back of the chamber was a creepy looking stone head with lava pouring from its eyes. To the side was an island with a metal walkway where the dragon had been perched when Nim’s Arcane Eye first spotted it. Oh and bad guys, of course. At the altar was the Fire Mage, busily chanting. He had two fire elemental knights guarding him and there were two more on the island on the side. And there was a large fire elemental that, just as we entered and the mage finished his incantations, became a huge Fire God.
Initiative was rolled but because we still had the Seeming spell on, there was an attempt to do some bluffing. After some talk, the Fire Mage ordered the captured Nim to be brought forward by two of us cultist while the others went back to await those meddling fools. There was some debate about what to do and who was to do it, so Nim just cast his Cone of Cold and cut all that short. Nim went last so we started at the top of the order. The Fire Mage went first and tried to dominate Nim but he saved with his Gnome-ish advantage against spells and his nearby Paladin. The Fire God went next and moved up. He did a ton to Nim, setting him on fire. Breagor went next and bravely took an opportunity attack by the Fire God to get engaged with the Fire Mage. He took a lot from that attack.
Let’s talk about that Fire God. Anyone that started his turn within 10 feet took 5d6 of heat. He got two slams (with reach) that did like 8d6. He had legendary actions which he could do on turns that weren’t his own. One of those was a 20d6 Con based fire attack (save for half) that set you on fire for another 3 or 5d6 of damage unless an action was taken to put it out. (By the way, since it was Con based, Breagor could not evade it.) He also had +13 on his saves and made all of them with advantage. It also had over 1000 hit points, not that we ever did more than a 100 to him. And moved via teleport.
The two side Fire Knights joined the Fire God and effectively bottle up the rest of the party. The other two reversed their charge and went back to defend the head guy from Breagor. The Knights had 3 attacks but only the first did significant damage via a fire boost that had to recharge. Mostly they were hit point buffers and movement impeders. The mages fired their high level cold AOE at as many foes as possible however they had to stay in the wings as they couldn’t stand against those Fire God attacks. Breagor did a ton and with the AOEs, the head guy went into heavy damage pretty quick. He was getting advantage on saves for being near the portal, by the way. But then he stayed at heavy for quite a while. The rest beat on the God and the Knights. Jeb put out the burning Nim so that Nim could try to banish the Fire God. It laughed. We figured it would have to roll 2 rolls of 4 or less for that to work. Our Air Elemental only lasted two rounds. She reformed into a Fire Elemental, realizing her fire attacks would be useless but hoped she’d be immune to most of its attacks as well and could buffer more hit points. That worked some but they quickly stopped attacking her.
Breagor was flying so he got over the lava so that he could attack the mage and hopefully the Knights could not reach get him. (A dangerous move since he was concentrating on that spell.) The Knights just moved the Mage out of the way and kept beating on him. Since they were immune to the lava, they weren’t that concerned with being on the edge. The Mage tied to dominate him but he used some inspiration to make that save. Actually I think his mom gave him one of hers. The Fire Mage attempted 3 dominations, all of which were saved against, some run away stuff but not much else. The Ranger (still under the influence of the giant strength potion) finally got past the bottle neck but then the Fire Mage Misty Stepped to the top of the head making it impossible for the melee guys to ever reach him. And the range was such that our mages couldn’t reach him with much. Evil Nim cast several defensive spells but eventually cast an AOE, evidently finding some spell components, at the end.
We were taking a ton of damage. Breagor flew to the head and continued to attack. One of the knights went down and the rest were taking damage but we hadn’t made a dent on the God. It became pretty evident that we had no chance to live long enough to grind through all its hit points. Glorious attacks were made and massive damages taken but ultimately it was all up to Breagor. He got down to a handful of hit points when the Fire Mage finally dropped. He then grabbed his flaming rapier and flew into the fire portal. According to the module, all the fire elementals, include the god, then got sucked into it and back to the elemental plane. Thankfully it didn’t explode like the previous portals because everyone was in heavy damage. I’m not sure how many would have survived. On an amusing side note, our Fire Elemental also got suck away. But given some time, she could memorize a Plan Shift and get home.
Wade said all the treasure we thought we had been shorted these last 3 years was in the dragon horde. Along with the magic items we were all owed. We also made 15th, not that it mattered. Evil Nim admitted he lied about their other brother being held hostage. He joined of his free will but then realized these guys were bent of ending the world and had second thoughts. But couldn’t get away. Wade said that these nodes could be reopened in the future and assumed that one of us would take ownership of each elemental keep to guard it (for the rest of time?). I’m not sure if that’s a viable long term solution. But the world has been saved for now. And there was much rejoicing. Yeah!