Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rumors for Session 8

The Missing Young Woman (by Mongibello)
Last time, the party slew a mighty dragon, and retrieved much treasure. After dealing with that treasure, they left Solove to Pechen, where Ieho bought a townhouse, and continued on to Ishpeming. There, they heard rumors of a haunted house, and lights out on the bay, and decided to investigate.

1. The Chapterhouse of the Priestesshood of Gwynnyth is seeing fewer wounded adventures than they used to, probably because the Sisters of Fire and Water are doing such a great job.
2. A young woman has disappeared in Ishpeming
3. There is a coven of elven witches near Lesnime
4. Ishpeming is well known for its beer
5. There have been very few raids from the orc barbarians over the past few years.
6. Skilled thieves often make use of a Hand of Glory to commit their crimes

It is the 1st of December, 79. It is cool and partly cloudy.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Session Seven: From Darwain's Perspective

Following their encounter with the yappy kobolds across the lava bridges, the party decided to regroup and rest. Figuring a position upstream would be more easily defensible, or at least harder to sneak up on, a watch was set and the recuperation began. During their new ally Vasily's watch, a loud splashing and grumbling was heard. Awaking his comrades, the fighting man shone his lantern at the source of the noise to find a hungry ogre! After some quick talking, the party were able to convince the ogre that a less dangerous, albeit stringier meal was downstream: kobolds. The rest of the night passed uneventfully except for the disappearance of Bob the cleric.

The following morning, Darwin proposed a new strategy to avoid the kobolds, "Just go left." After a number of branches and intersections, the party found themselves at the bottom of a rock slide. Beginning to climb it, Darwin heard the telltale rattle of a snake. Not one to meddle with poison if avoidable, he doused the area in military oil and lit it up. After a few minutes, the fire died down, and there was no snake to be found.
Some number of left turns later, the group found some unusual sleeping lizards between them and a heavy stone door. Very carefully skirting the lizards, the party was able to force the door open. Inside was a small room holding a skeleton clad in plate armor, a sword, and some arrows. Guessing by the apparent lack of wear on the sword and armor that they were magical, Vasily reequipped himself courtesy of this room's long-dead occupant. Finding themselves at a dead end, the group searched for hidden passages, and Ieho found one. Opening it, the group found themselves at the tail end of a slumbering red dragon atop a huge mound of treasure!

After a strategical retreat and lengthy discussion, it was decided that if the red dragon stood between them and freedom, it would have to go. Furthermore, if it had to go, this backdoor should form part of their strategy for defeating it. Before that, however, a search for other exits was to be conducted. Turning around and sticking to their always go left policy, they found the scorched remains of some kobolds. Assuming these to be the dragon's handiwork, and not wanting to reveal themselves to the dragon, the group backtracked. They found a couple of staircases leading down, which they ignored, not wanting to plunge deeper into the earth than the lair of a dragon.

They then found a magically blackened room. Darwain entered silently, and made his way around the left wall, and back out the door. Having heard no noise from within and found no other exits, he invited his party to help him search for secret doors in the dark. All seemed fruitless, and they were about to leave, when Vasily tripped over something. Dragging it out into the light, it was another skeleton, but this one had a backpack. Within were several large potions and a scroll. Recalling his extensive medical training, Darwain attempted to identify the potions by taste. He recognized one as two doses of healing potion, couldn't place the taste of the second, and knew the last one to be two doses of invisibility. The party mused that the dragon didn't seem as daunting with these in tow.

Checking the rest of the corridors they had skipped, they snuck up behind two separate kobold snipers atop cliffs looking down, and quickly dispatched them before they could react. Further exploration yielded no sign of an exit other than the one spotted in the dragon's den, so they backtracked to the secret doorway. After some tactical debate involving the potions and positioning, the group concealed themselves as best they could and took the snoozing dragon by surprise. Two bolts, from the arbalests of hidden Darwain and Ieho, seemed to strike true in the dragon's most vulnerable spots, and with that, the beast was slain before it could act. After a great deal of celebration and treasure counting, the group followed the dragon-sized tunnel and even the dwarves were grateful to find fresh air and sunlight greeting them at the end.

The companions debated a party name as they returned to Solove without incident. Once there, they proceeded to make a great deal of investments and attempted to identify and sell some of their magical loot. Not finding a sage capable of the identification, they did find a wizard who was willing to bargain. He identified their items in exchange for a magical scroll they had found and one (reasonable) favor to be named at a later date.

After some listening for rumors and other carousing, the party heard that the Mad Dogs had headed back to Threshhold after clearing out the goblin den that had claimed Honest Mercy. They also heard that there was adventure to be had in Ishpeming, and there was some witchcraft afoot in Lesnime. Seeing as Ishpeming would give them a chance to pass through Pechen and try selling their merchandise again, they decided to embark in that direction. In Pechen, Ieho purchased a townhouse with a laboratory, and crafted his first mechanical man. With this new automaton in tow, the group headed for Ishpeming and tried to learn more about the adventure opportunity therein.

Rumors of a haunted house on the edge of town were swirling, and the group secured an interview with a member of the village council, Ivan. He gave them the location of the house and some foreboding warnings, which our hearty adventurers promptly disregarded, and they set out to explore the property....

Session Seven: Into the Dragon's Lair

While they did not suffer any casualties, the Cobalt Cavers were tired and wounded. They retreated back to the second level of the caves to rest for the night and treat their wounds with some comfrey. In the middle of the night, they were shocked to hear a creature stomping towards them. "So hungry," the ogre cried. The party, not wanting to fight an ogre, were quick to suggest the ogre might find the kobolds downstream better targets for his stomach. The ogre agreed, and left them behind.

Back on level 3, the Cavers came across a rockslide. Darwain went to climb it, and he was halfway up before hearing a rattle. Darwain must have some childhood snake trauma, because he dumped a vial of military oil all over the rockslide and set it afire. Once the fire burnt out, there was no more rattling, and the party continued into a room with a dead fighter. They promptly helped themselves to his gear, and behind him, found a secret door. They cautiously opened the door to see a dragon behind them.

This was not something they had planned on. They quickly shut the door and argued about what to do next. Ieho was not keen on fighting the dragon, but Darwain thought they had a good chance. In the end, they decided to explore some more first. "Maybe we can come around and fuck him from behind," remarked Darwain. This doesn't work so well -- they found a passage that looped around back to the dragon's lair, but from the charred kobold corpses, it appeared to be more of a front door than a rear entrance. After more exploration, the Cobalt Cavers decide the only way they're getting out is through the dragon.

Steeling themselves for an epic conflict, the Cavers burst open the secret door and charged the dragon. Darwain was able to get the drop and inflict double damage with a arbalest bolt to the kidney, and Ieho's bolt to the heart ended the drake's life. Underneath the dragon was a massive pile of treasure, though, fortunately, not so massive that Ieho couldn't fit it all into his bag of holding. The copper pieces they found were placed in a new magical bag. It turned out to be a bag of devouring. Ieho gave Geoff a 1,000 gp bonus in return for not giving him the magical plate armor they found, and everyone got just short of two levels. Darwain sent 5,000 gp back to the dwarves as a sort of tithe.

The Cobalt Cavers decided to head to Pechen to sell some of the magical items they didn't want, after hearing that the Mad Dogs cleared out the goblins on the outskirts of Solove. (The Mad Dogs, incidentally, left a note saying they were on their way back to Threshold to look into some stuff.)  Ieho bought a townhouse, but then the party decided to investigate Ishpeming, where they heard there was adventure.

When they got to Ishpeming, they discovered that there was a haunted house, and weird lights off-shore...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Session Six: From Ieho's viewpoint

Last week Ieho was suddenly deposited in the town from his journey through the fey realm. He had lost a couple weeks of time but was none the worse for wear. Though he did have an interesting souvenir, his hair and his beard were both bright blue.
He spent a day or two orienting himself and selling the items he had left from his last adventure. Though he was unable to find a buyer for a magical long sword. 

While in town he met up with two other adventurers, Bob and Gawain. They were able to tell Ieho of some of his friend's fates, death at the hands of goblins. Not to let this go unpunished, and to investigate the rumors of a hobgoblin army forming the party set out to the monetary once again. 

They had no trouble getting to the main building and began exploring the lower level. They dispatched several hobgoblins, some carnivorous giant flies, and a mad cultist, who seemed to be keeping the old religion alive down in the underground caves. After the finished exploring most of the cave they went back to the barracks and where they felt the hobgoblins had been staying. 

However on the way Geoff and Bob fell down a ramp which dropped them 50 feet down into another level. After some considerable debate about how to get them out they decided the only way was for all of them to enter the lower level and try to find a way out together. 

Once they were at the bottom in an octagonal room they were almost immediately set upon by a group of men who had gone mad. They slaughtered them and started looking for a way out. They ran across more men overcome by madness, and a gelatinous cube, and finally found a river. Deciding this was a good chance to find a way out they followed it downstream. 

The river led them to another cave, which appeared to be inhabited. They found a store room and them a crevasse with flowing lava that had three bridges stretching over it. As soon as they approached the bridges kobolds attacked. 

Their spears were dangerous and at one point the party felt they had the upper hand when reinforcements arrived in the form of 12 more kobolds. The party was able to kill quite a few, Bob back away worried that they were going to be overrun as Geoff was taking considerable damage. But the kobolds retreated. The party also pulled back and there was a standoff. As both sides looked across the bridge at each other. 

They attempted to parley, but once the kobolds demanded gold the party began firing bolts into their midst forcing the remaining kobolds to scatter into the cave. 

The party, heavily wounded, made their way back to the store room which they barricaded to try and have a night of rest.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Session Six: Fantastic Slide

Picture from Of Dice and Men
Present at the session were Darwin, Ieho and his companions Geoff and Devabriel, and Bob the Cleric. The session started with the party recovering from last week's debacle. Ieho returned from Faery mostly intact, though his hair turned an unnatural shade of blue. Bob attempted to scout out the goblin warren, but was unable to learn anything new from his attempts. And Darwain relaxed. Ieho wanted to sell his sword +1, but couldn't find a buyer in Solove. Geoff looked on enviously while Ieho debated whether to go to Pechen to sell it. But eventually the party regroups. One of the rumors going around was that the Hobgoblin king was raising an army, and the Do-gooders decided they should take care of that before he can completely regroup from his losses of two weeks ago.

They made their way back into the catacombs, where they used their Dwarven intuition to figure out what passages they had not been down yet. The corridor was largely uninteresting, with two locked rooms to the west. However on the eastern side of the corridor, they found a door leading to an evil shrine. The shrine was dominated by an idol, similar to the grotesque depictions they had seen elsewhere. It had gems for eyes, which immediately led to attempts to remove the eyes for the monetary gain of the party. They looked for traps, but must have missed something, because upon removing the first eye, four carnivorous flies attacked the party! Fortunately, they were dispatched without incident.

Searching the room a bit more thoroughly, now that the obvious treasure was taken, the party found a secret door. Bursting through it, they found an evil cleric who was not only completely surprised, but very quickly dead. They looted his chambers, getting together a pretty nice haul, and just pausing to dispatch a thoul throgrin. Having found all of the chambers in this area of the catacombs, they decided to head for the hobgoblin king, to end his threat once and for all. Hopefully without dying this time. But before they could get to his chamber, they passed over a trapdoor. Geoff was able to pass over it without incident, but Bob triggered it and Bob and Geoff tumbled to an octagonal chamber in the tunnels below.

They chose to go through the northern door, using spikes to mark it. As it happened, this was the door a group of crazy berserkers were about to come through, and a combat ensued. The party won, and they continued to explore the winding corridors, returning periodically to the octagonal chamber. They were surprised by a gelatinous cube, evaded a pit trap, and fought off more berserkers (this time with reinforcements), when eventually they found a stream. The dwarven sense of direction told them that this was the best way to return to the surface, so they followed the stream to level 3.

They see a small group of kobolds here, who immediately run off to warn their compatriots. The party cautiously follows to find a room dominated by a magma flow in the middle. Three stone bridges cross the chasm, and 12 kobolds are arrayed at the other end, javelins in hand.  Missile weapons flew back and forth, and both Geoff and Bob made failed sorties, but in the end, despite reinforcements, the kobolds were outmatched. They retreated back out of the range of the missile weapons, and offered to let the party leave for 100 gp. The party responded with another flurry of arrows, and the 10 surviving kobolds retreated back into the cave.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

XP Bonus for Session Summaries

I've enjoyed writing up the session summaries each week, but I don't always include all the details that might be interesting to people. Mostly because I forget. So to get different perspectives, I'm encouraging my players to write summaries by offering an xp bonus based on their level. It needs to be posted in a public place, either on this blog or elsewhere on the internet, reasonably detailed, and before the next session. The awards are roughly based on 5% of the xp the fighter needs for the next level, and are as follows:

1   100
2   200
3   400
4   800
5   1500
6   3000
7   6000
8   12000
9   20000
10 25000
11 30000
12 35000
13 40000

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Rumors for Session Five

Last time, the party was sounded defeated by hobgoblins, then goblins. As the surviving members lick their wounds, they hear the following rumors:

1. The Chapterhouse of the Priestesshood of Gwynnyth is seeing fewer wounded adventures than they used to, probably because the Sisters of Fire and Water are doing such a great job.
2. There are hobgoblins preparing for war near Solove
3. There is adventure to be had in Ishpeming
4. A mad wizard in Czerny gives spellbooks in exchange for ivory
5. The local priest saw bad omens a week ago.
6. Skilled thieves often make use of a Hand of Glory to commit their crimes

It is November 10th. The weather is cool and overcast

Faerie Abductions

Last week, I had a problem not uncommon to D&D groups: one of my players was out of town. Not only that, but another player, who had missed the past couple sessions, was back. I was going to handwave it, perhaps having the returning PC (Hugh) be a hobgoblin prisoner, but I thought it would be more interesting to have them swap places. Because Faerie. And that was supposed to be it, and it was, until I remembered some work Beedo had done in a couple posts about faerie abductions and some consequences thereof. With Bryan's permission, his character will be subjected to the following random table:

1-2 Timestream Displacement: Age five years
3 Long Nap: Age ten years
4 Fount of Youthfulness: Become five years younger
5-6 Faerie Marked: +1 to reaction rolls with faerie folk, -1 to reaction rolls with clergy
7 Witch Marked: Baba Yaga has marked you for her own. -1 to all reaction rolls, but gain one minor spell like ability usable once per day
8-9 Mortal Lover: Some personage in Faerie has taken you as a lover. This will come up later.
10 New Friend: Gain a Fae henchman
11 Future Sight: +1 to initiative once per day
12 Our bread is true bread: Gain +1 to constitution
13 Faerie Aura: Gain +1 to Charisma
14 Arcane Experiments: Gain +2 to your prime requisite, but lose 2 from Charisma
15 Favored: Gain a random minor miscellaneous magic item, or one of your devising (subject to DM  approval)
16-17 Faerie Makeover! Gain blue hair for the next month
18  Offended Hosts: -1 to all d20 rolls for the next week
19-20 Scarred: You don't know what happened, but faerie folk make you mad. +1 to damage when fighting them

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Goblin Wars Session Four: The Slaughter of the Innocents

In which four characters, belonging to three players, die quickly. To goblins.

It started out in the dungeon of the hobgoblin king. Reginald, Dr. Bolyai, and Honest Mercy were all there, Honest Mercy enjoying the company of the wolves he had just met, as they left the barracks where they had slaughtered 14 hobgoblins. To their astonishment, Ieho disappeared, and was replaced mysteriously by Huge. Must be fairies. The proceeded down the corridor to a set of double doors which led into the throne room.

Inside the room were six hobgoblins, two bodyguards, and the hobgoblin king himself. The party charged in, cutting down the hobgoblins quickly, though losing Huge in the process. Seeing his troops dead, the king roared and charged at the party himself, his bodyguard leading the way. The party, especially Reginald, quickly eliminated one of the champions, but the king and his second champion proved to be too much.

The trickster cast an illusion of a wolf which attacked the king, but the king swiped his glaive at it and it disappeared. Then Reginald injured and nearly killed the second bodyguard, but before he can finish it off, the bodyguard kills Dr. Bolyai. The king cheers and promptly stabs Reginald through the chest. Honest Mercy can see the score, and flees. His wolves, smelling failure, abandon him once they are out of the catacombs.

Honest Mercy spends a day catching his breath, then goes out looking for a new party, and a henchman. A promising candidate rejects the hiring offer, but the second one, named John Smythe and perhaps more average, accepts. In addition, two other PCs join up -- Darwain, a first level delver, and Bob, a first level cleric. They spend 2 days returning to the monastery to get the weapons stash back. Some of them also try their luck with the fountain. Darwain receives a +2 to his dexterity, making it a 20. John is not so lucky. He takes a -1 to all stats, and decides that adventuring is not for him. Nevertheless, Bob decides to take a go at it, and is rewarded with paralysis for his trouble.

Back in town, they spend a day looking for the Mad Dogs. They are unable to find them, but leave word regarding the difficulties they had with the hobgoblin king. For their own part, they decide to investigate a goblin warren they heard about outside of town. The entrance the goblins use is apparently an old well. They climb down, and Darwain and Honest Mercy edge forward. Lacking infravision, Bob hangs back. They see some goblins to the right, on top of a sloped ramp, but the ramp is slick, and they find it too hard to climb. Further along, they come to a room featuring two raised platforms with several goblin archers. Showing some sense of foreboding, Bob flees at once.

The party trades arrows with the goblin archers, but the numerical superiority of the goblins proves to be too much. Honest Mercy is shot down, and Darwain is nearly killed, saved only by his nearly superhuman dexterity. Darwain flees, leaving the goblins behind to jeer.

Of The First Demon War

Once there was peace in heaven, and all the gods were at peace, and there was no war. Hadeth, general of the legions of heaven, was ever a rival to our Lord Fayon, but it wast a friendly rivalry, and no violence was done. Yet upon a time did a madness descend upon Hadeth, and she descended to the earth, and slaughtered many. And two-thirds of the legions of heaven fell to earth with her, and they didst number 666 angels and potentates. But Fayon gathered the remnants of the legions of heaven to himself, and fought against the chaos sweeping the earth. And Tiamat laughed.

Vassa and Soren did great deeds as well, saving many who wouldst otherwise have been slaughtered. Soren took many beneath the earth, into the great fastness of Ziggur-Azul, and defended that fortress with his famed hammer. And Vassa sailed the blue ocean, gathering those she could find and trusting to the sea for her rampart. And so the slaughter was not what it might have been.

And lo! Though the slaughter was great, yet Fayon prevailed, and there was again peace in heaven. Hadeth was cast down to Hades, that prison that no one, be she mortal or god, may escape. But her power was and is such that even yet does she sow chaos on the earth, setting nation against nation, and seeking the means by which she may be free of her gaol.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pavlov's Bell

Pavlov's Bell was created as part of a now-lost psychic experiment. When rung, it will cause all canines in the area to salivate uncontrollably. 3 times per day, the Bell can cause a nearby canine to act as a Decanter of Endless Water. If the 'geyser' effect is used, canines smaller than man-sized with less than 1 HD are killed. Canines with 1 HD or more, or larger than man-sized, are knocked over if they fail a save vs. paralysis.