Shattered Star: Happy Mouthers Day

Game Date: 5/16/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 26
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Fellany Mertien (Matt, subbing for Cliff) - Human Fighter
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger /Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard
Tai Lindro (Angela) - Human Monk/Warlock

The Session:
So, we're making our way through the dungeon beneath the library, looking for the last couple of members of the missing expedition group.  In one room there was a sand floor with bits of armor scattered about.  Up on a balcony was a throne overlooking the room.  Two Gibbering Mouthers showed up on the sand, while a brain with tentacles watched from the balcony.

"Sir Slancio ran away..."
This had the potential to be a difficult encounter.  However, Slancio won initiative and started things off by casting Hypnotic Pattern.  Then he ran out of the room, past the rest of the party, and hid from the encounter - Slancio doesn't like to mess with mind-affecting monsters.  All three monsters were stunned by Slancio's spell, and we could have taken them out one at a time, but we didn't focus fire.  Bjertha was blinded at one point by a Mouther's spittle.

Still, it wasn't too hard.  We managed to kill both Mouthers without waking the brain, and Tai managed to kill the brain with one hit before it could take any actions.  There was nothing of value in this room, so we went back to the main hall and tried another door. 

In the next room the ceiling was enchanted to look like the night sky (Hogwarts should sue).  The floor was covered with vines, and there was a giant flowering plant in the center.  A nature check later revealed it was a "Moonflower" - a plant from outer space.  Bjertha attacked the Moonflower while Slancio fled down the hall.  Bjertha and Meruca both got swallowed during the fight, but they survived.  Once we'd fully destroyed this mean green mother from outer space, we took a short rest.

The next room was perfectly cylindrical, with a small platform in the middle.  Sitting in the center was a gnome bloatmage, one of the explorers we've been searching for.  He greeted us, showing delusions of grandeur, then pulled a lever.  The room started spinning like one of those centrifuge rides at the fair.  While we were pinned against the walls, the gnome explained that it wasn't just the room, but the entire world that was spinning around the gnome.  He was probably fooling himself.

Using all our strength, we made our way to the center of the room, pulled the lever, and grabbed the gnome.  He kept using fireballs and fire shield spells, damaging us greatly.  His fireballs damaged himself as well as us, but he was too crazy to care.  His final fireball burned himself to a crisp.  On his body we found a jar of magic leeches.  We took a short rest and did a LOT of healing.

At the end of the main hallway there was a small, bright room.  Inside there were three small fey, called "Lurkers in the Light", who were nearly invisible in bright light.  Tai used darkness to fight them, but they just countered with daylight spells.  The rest of the party had difficulty seeing them either way, but we managed to kill them.  We took another short rest.

Another room was partly filled with water.  In the center was a large fish in a cage.  The fish had some sort of metal plate attached to its head, with wires coming out of it.  Slancio tried talking to it with a Speak With Animals spell, but it didn't respond.  Bjertha, Tai, and Fellany entered the room, and steel doors slammed shut, with Slancio and Meruca still in the previous room.  The room started filling with water.

The party wasn't separated long.  Slancio opened the door with a Knock spell, and joined the fray.  The room still kept filling with water despite having more area to flow into.  Every once in a while the fish would electrify the room, hurting all of us.  Bjertha delivered the killing blow on the fish, which exploded.  The room then drained.  It turned out the fish was magical, functioning like a "Create Water" spell.  We spent some time playing with its organs before taking a long rest.

In the next room we found the last explorer, a naga.  She was trying to figure out a puzzle to open the next door.  There were paintings on the walls, one of a dark forest and one of a subterranean city.  There were runes on the door representing the seven deadly sins, and a spot in the middle where you could draw runes.  If you drew the wrong one, you would get shocked for a ton of damage.  The naga had already tried once, and wasn't willing to try again.

All of us but Tai gathered in the previous room, while Tai tried drawing a rune.  She was shocked.  Then Bjertha tried a different rune, and was shocked.  But Bjertha has a Sword of Vengeance, which makes her fly into a rage when attacked, so she attacked the door while taking shock after shock.  She finally destroyed the door with one hit point left.  That's one way to solve a puzzle.

The next room was a natural cavern, with a stone bridge over a river.  The naga tried to talk us into leaving her, but we refused to leave.  Then two Hydrodaemons burst from the river, one of which summoned a Water Elemental.  The naga joined their side, giving us four large enemies to fight.  Slancio used an Entangle spell to control their movement.  Fellany got engulfed by the Elemental, and retreated to the previous room with Slancio and Meruca.  Tai used Darkness spells to solo her targets, which worked well but prevented us from giving her much help. 

After the battle we found a Ring of Mind Shielding on the Naga's tail.  We took the Naga back to the librarians, and went back to the cavern.  Around the corner we met another brain creature, and a pair of monstrosities with two mouths.  They were friendly to us, and offered to teleport us to the Dark Forest so we could find the next shard.  They warned us that the forest is the domain of the "Black Rider". 

We all took a long rest and leveled up.  Next session is on 5/30.

Shattered Star: Chain Gang

Game Date: 5/2/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 25
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Fellany Mertien (Matt, Subbing for Cliff) - Human Fighter
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger /Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard
Tai Lindro (Angela) - Human Monk/Warlock

The Session:
Following a lead from the Augers, we decided to check out the mysterious closing of the Therassic Spire library.  The librarians didn't want to let us in at first, but they were more forthcoming when we revealed we were seeking the Shard.  They explained that they'd recently found a passage to the Underdark under the library.  About a week ago they'd sent an expedition to explore the tunnels, but no one had come back.

Four people were missing:  A female human monk, her halfling rogue husband, a male gnome bloatmage, and a female dark naga.  We offered to look for the missing explorers while we sought the shard, and the librarians offered a reward.  We will receive 2000 gold for each one we bring back alive, or failing that, 1000 for each body we return.

We descended to the lower levels of the library, where several librarians guarded a stone door.  We entered a twisting passage and came out in a small square room.  In the center of the room a purple blob asked us a question in another language.  Slancio attempted to cast Comprehend Languages.  The blob turned into a rune which hit us with a despair effect, followed by fear.  Slancio fled out the room's opposite door, and Bjertha pursued to catch him.  Meanwhile Meruca fled back towards the library, and Tai had to retrieve her.

Once everyone overcame their fear, we regrouped in a hall and started trying doors.  The first door led to a round room with a seven pointed star on the floor.  There as a disembodied snake head floating above the star.  The head said, "I'm so sorry my friends."  His body appeared, that of a celestial snake with feathered wings.  It attacked.

Tai stunned the snake, and we spent a round pounding on it before it surrendered.  It turned out it was actually a good creature, but he had been under a compulsion effect when he attacked.  We asked him a few questions, Slancio flirted with it a little (he's like that), and it gave us three feathers we can use to summon it later as a planar ally.  We let it leave, and went back into the hall.

We opened the next door and saw three beautiful women dressed only in chains, beckoning to Slancio.  We stayed back, but these chain devil sisters summoned their chains down from the ceiling to grab us.  Bjertha was the first to get caught, and her inability to make her escape checks kept her out of most of the fight.  And since she was blocking the door, things got complicated.  But we persevered, muscling through the chains to fight them.  Meruca delivered all three killing blows, one at a time.

We found two cloaks of protection and a  cloak of elvenkind.  We went back into the hallway and took the next door.  This led to a large round room with a model of the planets in the center.  By playing with the levers and gears, we could make it show the solar system or the town we were in, and we could make time move backward or forward.

We saw a dark spot growing in the sky above us, and two "Hounds of Tindalous" jumped out of cracks in the walls and attacked us.  Bjertha had been looking through one of the cracks when they appeared, so she got hit hard off the bat.  After we killed the two hounds, we went through a door on the other side of the room.

In the next room we found two of the missing explorers.  The halfling rogue was on the ground, and the human monk was crying over him.  The monk had been driven mad by her husband's death, and she attacked us.  Meanwhile, a swarm of wasps escaped from the halfling's mouth.  So we had to beat the monk down without killing her, and wipe out the swarm.  It wasn't easy.

After the battle, we found some books of Undercity lore on the halfling's body.  We took the body and the bound monk back to the librarians, and took a long rest.  We ended the session there.  Our next session will be on the 16th.

Shattered Star: TROLL SMASH!!!

Game Date: 4/25/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 24
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Carlie Nackle (Cliff, subbing for Chere) - Gnome Wizard
Fellany Mertien (Cliff) - Human Fighter
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger /Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Angela, subbing for Thomas) - Human Bard
Tai Lindro (Angela) - Human Monk/Warlock

The Session:
Last session we fought several tough plants and clockwork enemies in a tinkerer's mansion, and ended with a long rest (in a magic hut) in the manor's front yard.  Today we finished up the rest, during which we saw a winged person fly by a few times.  Then we explored the last few rooms on the first floor, and headed up the stairs.

 On the second floor we found a shrine to the goddess of inventors and constructs, in a room full of clockwork devices and torn tapestries.  Another room had been turned into a nest, apparently for some sort of very large avian.  There was a catwalk leading to the other side of the upper floor, but the bridge shook when we tried to walk on it.

On the other side of the catwalk, two enemies attacked us from a distance.  It was a Catfolk named Kanya, and her lover, a Harpy named Herifax.  To kick off the battle, Herifax sang a song which charmed half the party, compelling them to come closer to her.  Then she flew off, causing the charmed party members to jump off the balcony in their attempts to follow her. 

The fight against Kanya was tough at first because there wasn't enough room to get near her - because of her position in one corner of the balcony, there were only two squares adjacent to her.  But as more party members went after Herifax, this freed up room on the balcony.  As the harpy fired on us from the air, Carlie fired a web spell at her, causing Herifax to crash to the ground.  The party members who had followed her earlier now surrounded the fallen harpy.  Having made their saves against the compulsion, they happily ganged up on her.

Maruca dealt a final blow to Kanya, using one of her "roll every die on the table" attacks that was a combination of a crit, hunter's mark, inspiration, sneak attack, and probably a few things I've never even heard of.  Herifax made one last attempt to fly off, but Tai hit her with a sleep spell, and Carlie finished her off with a simple firebolt.

On their bodies we found two rings of protection, some keys, and a potion.  One of the keys opened a trunk in the harpy's nest room.  The trunk contained a skull, a Golembane Scarab (which removes damage reduction from golems), a ukelele, and a journal.  Now across the bridge we found a bedroom, a bathroom, and another set of stairs.  We went up one more flight, and found the tinkerer's workroom. 

In one corner was a troll, the very troll we'd been sent to rescue.  Agustille the troll was in terrible shape, being held in place by an apparatus which drained his life as quickly as he could regenerate.  Across the room stood the troll's kidnapper Berkanin, wearing mechanical wings and threatening to use us for experiments.  His familiar, a small clockwork dragon named Petey, and two mechanical soldiers also faced us.

At 20x30, it was a small room for so many people, and some of our party members were stuck down the stairs for a good portion of the fight.  Meruca spent most of her turns trying to free the troll.  Berkanin tried to fly off, but was stopped thanks to Bjertha's "Sentinel" feat.  Then Berkanin used a mind spell to dominate Bjertha, commanding her to "Defend me."  Then a clockwork soldier attacked Bjertha.

This caused a bit of a conundrum.  The dominate spell meant Bjertha should attack her own party members.  However, Bjertha's Sword of Vengeance required her to attack the last creature that damaged her.  After a quick DM ruling and a couple of will saves, Bjertha attacked Meruca.  Meanwhile, Tai kept trying to stuff Petey in a bag, but the dragon was having none of it.

Berkanin flew off.  There was some open air between the top of the wall and the city's ceiling, giving flying characters a great use of cover.  Berkanin cast Evard's Black Tentacles on the room, which was very harmful but it dropped Bjertha's domination.  Carlie flew out of the room, and Slancio dispelled the tentacles.  Most of our party was still clustered in the corner, and Berkanin took advantage by casting Fireball.  At this point we were starting to really hurt on hit points, healing up at every opportunity.

Meruca freed the troll, rolled 20 on a persuasion check, and Augustille joined our party.  His first act was to destroy one of the clockwork soldiers. Berkanin cast another fireball, which thankfully killed the other soldier but still left us hurting.  Carlie, now in an aerial battle with Berkanin, hurled a fireball of her own at her winged opponent.  Meruca climbed the walls and fired a few magic missiles from her wand.  Petey flew off for good.  Then Tai climbed the wall, jumped over to Berkanin and grappled him in midair.  Performing the most spectacular aerial bodyslam in wrestling history, she drove him to the ground, finishing the battle.

Back in the lab, Augustille the troll went berserk, attacking all of us.  Slancio used a mass hypnosis spell to calm the troll, and ordered the rest of us to tie Augustille up.  When he finally came out of it, he was calm and rational again.  We looted everything we could find.  We picked up a third Ring of Protection, a Wand of False Life (7 charges), Berkanin's wings (which give a fly speed of 30), 81 platinum and 121 gold.

We took Augustille back to the Auger Temple, and met with his sister Vargun.  Before we left, he gave us a prophesy:
The owl will seek but will not find,
but spire of knowledge pays in kind
in secret kept in secret keep
in forest dark and cavern deep.

The abbey of the glutton moon
will flow with blood, the wind in tune
to finish that begun before
and open wide the doomsday door.

The shattered star with seven shards
for seven lords with seven swords
the queen of blue in distant skies
will kindle new the ancient wars.

The seas will rise and men will drown
And what was lost shall claim the crown.
We also picked up a few more rumors.  Word on the street said that "The Council of Truth" (an order of scholars and engineers) has returned; their owl sigil had been seen around town.  Also the Therassic Spire library had mysteriously closed, and was connected to rumors of the next shard.  We ended the session there, preparing for to a visit to the library. 

Notes:
Since Chere will be out for the month of May, we're just going to leave Carlie back at the hotel for now.  So our library expedition will be sans wizard.  Also, the party may have caught on that Bjertha's sword is cursed.

Shattered Star: Feed Me, Seymour!

Game Date: 4/11/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 23
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Carlie Nackle (Chere) - Gnome Wizard
Fellany Mertien (Cliff) - Human Fighter
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger /Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard
Tai Lindro (Angela) - Human Monk/Warlock

The Session:
Last week our party arrived in Kaer Maga.  We began today's session still settling in to town, and wrapping up some minor business.  Tai took care her cursed bracers, and Maruca somewhat clumsily delivered a severed hand for the Nightscales.  We spent the rest of today's session trying to break into a house.

Our search for a missing person led us to a wealthy home.  The richest dwellings in this town are positioned on ledges, where the elite can reside above the rest of the rabble.  When we reached the site, our first task was to find a way up ledge.  There was a set of stairs, and an elevator powered by a system of pulleys and gears.  We chose to give the elevator a try.

The elevator broke down on its way up.  Most of us took falling damage, then additional damage as components of the elevator rained down on us.  As we climbed out of the wreckage, we saw a small mechanical dragon fly by.  Then the house's security system went off.  Several eyes opened up in the stonework and recited a "No solicitors" message.

Not willing to take no for an answer, Tai climbed the wall and let down a rope for the rest of us.  At the top, Tai found that the opulent house was surrounded by gardens.  Two huge plants started moving, quickly closing the distance and grappling Tai.  Slancio and Carlie used fly spells to give her some support, and the rest of us climbed the rope.  Bjertha made it to the top after a couple of rounds, but Meruca and Fellany spent most of the fight trying to get up the rope.

The plants kept grappling Tai and Bjertha, doing a lot of damage and trying to eat them. Tai got swallowed at one point, so it was a scramble to finish them off before our monk was digested.  Carlie used her lightning wand for some decent damage, and Bjertha delivered the killing blow.  We cut Tai out of the plant's stomach, just in the nick of time.  We licked our wounds a bit while exploring the area.

Fellany approached a gazebo in the middle of the garden.  Gazebos have something of a history in D&D, and this one was no less dangerous.  A Lurker Above descended from the gazebo's ceiling, and grappled Fellany with its long tendrils.  The lurker had unbelievably high attack rolls, but there was only one of it and six of us.  Carlie hit it with a lightning spell for 37 damage, and Tai finished it off. 

Now we were really hurting, but we didn't want to rest in this area.  After a brief discussion about the appropriateness of adding advanced Pathfinder templates to D&D 5e monsters, we downed some healing potions and kept on.  We opened the front door of the house, where we saw a pair of clockwork soldiers.  We tried to talk to them, but got no response, so we just attacked.  Meruca finished off the first one with one of her "roll every die on the table" moves.  Slancio, in a rare melee moment, showed his swashbuckling skills by dispatching the second one.

There was a lot of clockwork in this room.  Carlie was fascinated by the work, and confiscated a small eyeball creature called an Arbiter.  Bjertha salvaged some of the gears for a side mission she's been working on.  We kept looking through the house.  In another room we saw a pair of terra cotta statues.  We were genre savvy enough to know they would attack, and we weren't disappointed.

Shortly after the fight began, another construct joined the fight.  It was a "tupilaq", a large-jawed creature carved from whale-bone.  It came up from behind Carlie and started chewing on her.  Carlie tried to cast Sleep on it, but centered the spell on the creature instead of at a point farther away.  The spell didn't affect the tupilaq but unfortunately caused Carlie to lose consciousness.  The tuplilaq took Carlie to 0 followed by Tai. 

The rest of us kept wearing down our foes.  Meruca finished off the tupliaq, Slancio killed one of the terra cotta soldiers, and Bjertha defeated the final one with an opportunity attack.  We then had a long discussion on whether we should take a short rest or a long one, finally settling on a long rest using a "Leomund's Tiny Hut" spell.  The hut should keep us safe from harm, but it's going to stick out like a sore thumb in the middle of the garden.  We won't know until next week if we're going to be discovered during the rest.

Reminders:
Daniel is out on 4/18, Thomas is out on 4/25, and Chere is out for the month of May.  We might make a group trip to the RenFest sometime in May.

 

Shattered Star: The Search for Gluttony

Game Date: 4/4/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 22
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Carlie Nackle (Chere) - Gnome Wizard
Fellany Mertien (Cliff) - Human Fighter
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger /Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard
Tai Lindro (Angela) - Human Monk/Warlock

The Session:
I couldn't make it to the session, so here's a recap courtesy of Thomas:

We were in Magnamar and made our final preparations to leave town.  Sheila Heidmark booked us passage on a riverboat to make the journey to Kaer Maga in search of the Shard of Gluttony.  The riverboat was captained by Othlo Janke and his crew of halflings.  We had the boat to ourselves as Sheila had booked the entire thing.  The boat had a magic paddle-wheel that allowed it to make the journey upstream in 2 weeks instead of the months it would normally take.

On the way when we were making camp less than a week into the journey, we came under attack by some bullywugs and their king, Krugulk Throatcaller.  He had a pet giant dragonfly, Chuggie (?) who was the most formidable of our opponents.  Bjertha and Slancio were on watch when the attack happened.  Chuggie nearly took out Slancio in the first round, but then the other party members awoke and made quick work of him.  The rest of the bullywug attack party fell shortly thereafter.  Slancio and Maruca provided some emergency healing to the halfling crew members and thankfully none of them died.  

When inspecting the bullywug leader's body, his belt had the name Eando Kline engraved on it.  This is the name of the Pathfinder that found the ioun stone that goes with the Shard of Gluttony.  We have heard tales that he's no longer associated with the Pathfinders, but no one knows of his ultimate fate.

We made two stops other stops on the journey, one at Wartle and another at Whistledown.  The party took the opportunity to go carousing all night on these stops.  At Wartle Carlie turned up unconscious and pickpocketed and Tai somehow came into gambling winnings.  Coincidence?  Then at Whistledown Slancio made even more money gambling, though Bjertha and Felony's night took a different turn.  They both ended up drinking with members of the Aspis Consortium, a prominent trade consortium.  Felony could not help but make crude mis-pronunciations of their name, which they did not take kindly to.  Then on the way out, Bjertha added to the insults by making some crude gestures of her own.  We're pretty sure that the whole Aspis Consortium will soon learn of that night.

When we finally arrived at Kaer Maga, the city itself is on a very high, sheer cliff over the lake.  To get from the port to the city itself, we had to traverse the Half-Light Path under the guide of the Dusk Wardens.  While waiting in line to see about passage, Abra Lopait, a Dusk Warden Ranger, pulled us aside and offered us a discount on passage if we would help as guards along the path.  And by that, he meant that he would be the only Dusk Warden to accompany us.  We also had a man (Bolga) and his two young servants (Tugus and Marro) pulling a cart to protect.

The path itself wound up and up, sometimes underground, sometimes along sheer cliffs.  At one point of the path, part of the brick that had blocked a side passage exploded and three creatures out of nightmare rushed at us.  We quickly found out that they were Seguthi and had a crippling confusion aura that made most of us staring blankly into space.  Slancio got turned around and ended up decapitating one of the boys pulling the cart.  He's not sure which one, he could never tell them apart.  Tai put her new magic bracers to good use during the fight.  However, she soon found out that while they provide a significant armor bonus, they are cursed as to where if she does get hit, it's always a critical.  Abra proved to be an able-bodied fighter and stood alongside Bjertha.  Carlie made good use of the Wand of Lightning Bolts and once those started flying, the fight ended quickly.  Abra was so thankful to Carli that he gave her a Dusk-Light Charm that would call him to her side once a year, instructing her to only use it in dire circumstances.

We finished going up the path and then entered into the city proper.  Of course, the way in was through the slum shanty-town with children crowding begging and offering to work as guides.  One particular person, Gavnally (not a child) locked eyes with Tai and seemed to be a knowledgeable person to show us around.  He led us to one of the finer inns, the Sorry Excuse, to stay for the night.

Inside the Sorry Excuse, a troll by the name of Vargun was nursing a tankard of ale.  Having heard of a troll clan that had skills in divination, Slancio struck up a conversation with her.  She was indeed a member of the Augers who were said to be mystics.  Her brother, Argustille, was one of those who possessed the gift, though he had recently been taken by Berkanin of the Ardoc family.  The Ardocs were the most powerful family in Bis, a section of Kaer Maga.  Vargun doesn't know what Berkanin wants with Argustille, though Berkanin is known to be kind of like the red-headed-step-child of the Ardoc family.  And so perhaps the party may be able to talk to other members of the Ardocs to shed some light on Berkanin's intentions or to negotiate for him to release Argustille.  However, Tai's first stop will be to help her remove the cursed bracers.
 

Shattered Star: The Power of Lust

Game Date: 3/28/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 21
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Carlie Nackle (Angela, subbing for Chere) - Gnome Wizard
Fellany Mertien (Cliff) - Human Fighter
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger /Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard
Tai Lindro (Angela) - Human Monk/Warlock

The Session:
Our party fully rested after a fight with a group of Gray Maidens, today we proceeded to climb a large spiral staircase.  We ended up in a room with eight alcoves.  Seven of the alcoves had statues featuring each of the seven deadly sins.  It took us a minute to figure out which statue represented which sin.  The one confusing us most was greed, because it appeared to be offering a gift to one of the other statues. 

Some words carved in the floor instructed us to "embrace the lady and the lie".  We took this to mean the statues of Lust (because it was a statue of Sorshen), and Greed (because the statue was deceptive).  We hugged the statues, and the empty alcove filled with mist.  Stepping into the mist teleported us to another area. 

We wound up in a pair of seven-sided (and hard to draw) rooms with serpent mosaics on the floor.  At first this separated the party, but our rooms weren't far from each other. As our two groups reunited in the large connecting chamber, another woman stepped out from a room on the opposite side.  It was Oriana, leader of the Gray Maidens.  She began to address Tai (who looks like her master the Runelord Sorshen), but our ex-Maiden Fellany wasn't in the mood to talk.  Fight!

There wasn't a lot of moving around in this fight.  We pretty much surrounded her early on, and just kept whacking away.  Oriana's full plate made her hard to hit, and her Great Weapon Master ability meant that she hit hard.  Luckily, Slancio used effects that gave her disadvantage on attacks, so she missed a lot.  Tai finally delivered the killing blow. 

We looted the body, and took a short rest while we identified her items and attuned ourselves to our new equipment.  Bjertha got a Sentinel Shield (advantage on initiative and perception), and unfortunately accepted a cursed +1 Sword of Vengeance (which compels Bjertha to repeatedly attack anyone who damages her... not much of a change from her usual strategy anyway).  Tai got a Cloak of Spell Resistance (but later gave it to Meruca).  Fellany donned Oriana's armor, and took the Maiden's Helm (advantage on Intimidate checks, and the Command spell 3/day).  We also found the key to a locked chest we found in an earlier session.

The floor had two large snake mosaics, and a couple of wheels which rotated the entire mosaics.  We experimented with aligning the snakes in different ways.  When the two snakes were head-to-head, a golden mist appeared, and we hopped in.  This teleported us to a large round bedroom.  The room had several columns, some of which bore the bodies of tortured Maidens.  On a raised platform was a canopy bed, upon which the real Sorshen watched us appear.  She made some playfully suggestive comments, and Tai attacked her.

On Fellany's turn, she used her Maiden's Helm to command Sorshen: "Faint".  While the Runelored was prone, Bjertha attacked her four times.  Then Sorshen commanded Bjertha to attack Fellany.  A confuse spell hit Meruca, Bjertha, and Fellany, mostly causing them to walk in random directions. 

Sorshen was easy to hit, but she had powerful mind spells and multiple fireballs. These fireballs knocked a few of us down to zero.  Finally Tai hit Sorshen with a crit, combined with one of Slancio's inspirations, for a total of 35 damage.  This dropped the Runelord.  We did some healing and looted everything that wasn't nailed down.

Tai got some Boots of Speed, which is going to make the Monk a mobile monster.  Slancio got a wand of Dimension Door (14 charges left, not rechargeable).  We also found a few healing potions.  There were two gems on the bed's headboard, which matched some slots on more snake mosaics in the room.  Slancio used his Whispering Coin to get a hint on which mosaic to use, and we teleported once again.

We appeared in a magic-filled room filled with still more loot, including the Shard of Lust we'd been seeking.  We grabbed everything and sorted it out later.  We made our way back to the Gray Maidens' barracks, opened the locked chest, rested more, and took stock of our inventory. 

The chest had over 4,000 gold.  We also ended up with an Orb of Consumption, a Bag of Holding, a Breastplate of Fortification (AC 16+Dex, 25% chance to negate crits), Boots of Striding & Springing (walk 30, jump farther), an Immovable Rod, Goggles of Night, Ring of Lightning Resistance, and some valuable gems. 

During the night, Slancio - who is carrying the Lust shard - became overcome with a "longing" (if you know what I mean), which gave him the same effect as poison.  (Thomas: "If this lasts more than four hours, I should see a doctor, right?")  Tai helped him overcome it, but without that shard's Ioun Stone the feeling would come back every 12 hours.

We made our way back through the bowels of the Lighthouse.  We recovered Jasper's body, put it in Sorshen's crypt, took Tai's original body, and finally left the building.  Back through the swamps.  Eventually we reached Hassani's compound, but it was now a smoking ruin.  We investigated the bodies and found that some had died of axe wounds, and others had been chewed up. 

After days of travel, we got back to town and headed straight for Heidmarch Manor.  Sheila gave Slancio the Ioun Stone, calming his loins and giving him a +2 Charisma.  Sheila also went ahead and gave us the stone for the next shard we'll seek, the Shard of Gluttony.  Bjertha is carrying this stone, which gives her +2 CON.  We learned that the next shard is in the far away town of Kaer Maga.  We'll begin that journey after about twenty days of downtime.

Glad to have a second chance at life, Tai returned her original body to her mother.  While Tai tried to hide the fact that her mind was in a new body, her deception may not have been successful.  Slancio got a visit from his girlfriend.  Bjertha was visited by a gnome named Mortimer, who gave us a side mission in Kaer Maga: there is a family of Golem makers there, and he wants some of their scraps so he can reverse engineer the process.  Meruca got a visit from a member of the Nightscales criminal organization, who wants her to deliver a severed tattooed hand to Kaer Maga.

We all leveled.  With much updating of character sheets and plenty of downtime before our next trip, we ended the session.

Shattered Star: Dance Off!

Game Date: 3/21/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 20
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Carlie Nackle (Thomas, subbing for Chere) - Gnome Wizard
Fellany Mertien (Cliff) - Human Fighter
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger /Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard
Tai Lindro (Angela) - Human Monk/Warlock

The Session:
Last session once again ended with us teleporting teleporting to an unknown location.  Today began with part of the party surrounded by lust-themed Sinspawn.  Once the full party had arrived, we tried talking to the Sinspawn in various languages.  Carlie said something in Thassalonian, but it only riled them up.  Despite her attempts to apologize, and Tai's attempts to command them, a fight was inevitable.

We all moved to protect Carlie from the Sinspawn.  Luckily the enemies clustered, making them a good target for Carlie's Shatter spell.  Meruca took a lot of damage in this fight, getting hit with a Lust effect (similar to poison) twice as well as getting stunned.  Fellany finished off the final Sinspawn.  We had a choice between a flight of stairs and a side tunnel.  We tried the stairs first.

At the top of the stairs we could hear the sounds of a party.  We quietly opened some doors and found a balcony, which overlooked a grand ballroom.  It was full of masked dancers.  Sorshen sat on a throne at one end of the room.  We suspected that the dancers were an illusion.

We split the party - Carlie, Maruca, and Tai stayed on the balcony, while Bjertha, Fellany, and Slancio took the hallway until it led to the lower level of the ballroom.  When we finally made our presence known, the crowd stopped dancing, and Sorshen rose from her throne to make a speech.  Tai attacked one of the dancers, proving it was an illusion.  One dancer attacked us, so we all ganged up on that one.

The non-illusory dancer - actually a Sinspawn called Chanukrah - held up a wand and fired a lightning bolt at Fellany and Bjertha.  It was a huge amount of damage, enough to drop Fellany.  Bjertha also got hit by a fear spell, causing her to drop her axe and flee down the side door.  She missed the rest of the fight as she kept running down the hallway. 

The illusions dropped, and the rest of the partygoers vanished, including Sorshen.  The Sinspawn fired another bolt of lightning, this one dropping Tai.  She got healed, got back up again, and got dropped again.  After her next heal she finished off the Sinspawn.

On the Sinspawn's corpse we found three very useful wands - Fly, Acid Arrow, and Lightning Bolt.  Fly has a limited number of charges, but the other two recharge some uses each day.  That Lightning Bolt wand is going to prove very useful.  We also found a secret door.  We took a short rest before trying to enter it.  The door was trapped.  Tai attempted to disable the trap, but failed.  However, nothing went off, so we didn't know what the trap did.  Carlie opened the door with Mage Hand, and we passed through into an octagonal room with mosaics on the walls.

In the next room there was a large column / spiral staircase in the center, and some torture devices.  Six Gray Maidens stood before us, but since Tai looks like Sorshen, they didn't attack right away.  Tai called Carlie over and introduced them to the Maidens, and Carlie fired off a shot from the Lightning Wand.  She only hit three, two of which saved, but they still took significant damage to start off the fight.

The Maidens started ganging up on Carlie at first, so we had to protect her.  Meruca made use of the staircase for some ranged attacks.  During the fight, one Maiden banged on another door to call for reinforcements, and several more joined the fracas.  Once again Carlie got to use Shatter on a  cluster of enemies.  At one point Tai nearly died, failing two death saves before getting healed by Slancio.  Carlie also went down during the fight, but survived.  Fellany delivered the final blow on the last Maiden.

Bjertha took a +1 longsword from the leader, Slancio leveled, and we took a long rest.  We ended the session there.  Next week we'll head up the staircase.

Shattered Star: Daefu! Gesundheit.

Game Date: 3/14/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 19
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Carlie Nackle (Cliff/Thomas subbing for Chere) - Gnome Wizard
Fellany Mertien (Cliff) - Human Fighter
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger /Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard
Tai (Angela) - Human Monk/Warlock

The Session:
Last week we lost Shemus, and left off on an underground beach with two tunnels and a secret door.  We could smell death down one tunnel, and heard screaming down another.  While we wanted to take a rest, the screaming was too urgent to ignore.  Tai scouted ahead.  The tunnel ended at more water, and on a small island she saw a Sea Hag torturing a bound woman.  Tai taunted the hag into following her into the tunnels.  The Sea Hag, who called herself Daefu, dove into the water, along with her minions, a bunch of dog-faced Gremlins with lobster claws.

We tried to bottleneck them in the tunnel, but they came down both tunnels so it didn't work like we'd hoped.  The gremlins were easy to kill, but they could throw water balls that restrained their targets.  Daefu managed to cast "Death Glare" on Bjertha, instantly dropping the Dwarf to 0 hit points.  Then one of the gremlins cast sleep on Tai (also hitting another gremlin), leaving the party tankless.  But Carlie, Maruca, and Slancio still managed to finish off the hag.

After waking Tai and healing Bjertha, we rescued the tied-up woman.  Her name was Fellany Mertien, one of the Gray Maidens - a rival group we've been tracking since we got here.  Fellany had betrayed the Gray Maidens, so she was happy to join our party and help us form a strategy to take them down.  She told us that behind the secret door we'd find some rooms the Maidens had been using as a base. 

Before going on the attack, we looted the area and rested.  In the Daefu's nest we found a bag of gems, and a couple of magic stones containing trapped elementals.  We also found a talisman that helps protect the bearer from disease and poison.  When we were ready to move on, we went through the secret room and opened the next door.  We disturbed a group of six Gray Maidens sitting at a table playing cards.  Tai tried to bluff them, but failed.  The fight was on!

At first the fight was contained to the doorway.  The Maidens had special pack advantages when they were near each other, so Carlie cast a Web spell to help control their movements.  The Maidens had unusually high AC, so we missed a lot.  As their numbers dwindled, they moved across the room and we followed.  Carlie cast an Illusion spell depicting another Web spell, but it didn't fool them long.  One of the Maidens knocked on the door on the other end of the room.

We tried pushing the room's large table forward to block the back door, but it was so heavy we couldn't push it fast enough.  The door opened, and four more Maidens joined the fight.  However, these women had apparently been bathing, and hadn't had time to put on their armor.  After a couple of rounds they closed the door again and fled.  Once we finished off the last of the armored Maidens, we went through the door and pursued the bathers.  We passed through a bathing room, and went down a grand hallway.  They tried to ambush us from behind some statues, but they kept missing.  It didn't take long to finish them off.

We looked around.  In the room where they'd been playing cards, there were several crates full of supplies.  There was one sturdy locked chest we couldn't get open, but Fellany informed us that Orianna, the leader of the Gray Maidens, held the key.  In the hallway there were several statues, and some gold plates on the floor.  Down one secret passage there was a room full of traps.  There was a vial of something hanging from the ceiling, but we set off a trap while trying to investigate.  The trap cast a confusion spell on Slancio and Meruca, so we held them until it wore off.  At the end of the statue-lined hallway was a trash room.  Bjertha burst through the door so hard she nearly fell into the trash pit.

We studied the statues more.  There was a message: "By my touch you may enter the glory of my inner sanctum."  Sorshen's double entendres are not particularly subtle, but then we are looking for the Lust shard after all.  We experimented with standing on different plates while people touched different statues.  After touching a combination of statues, we all teleported... but not all to the same place.  Bjertha, Carlie, and Slancio wound up in the trap room, setting off more confusion traps.  In her addled state, Bjertha went on a short rampage which destroyed a lot of perfume vials.

We realized that we must touch the four statues in a specific order, then stand on a specific plate.  Once we finally got everything right, we teleported again, this time to the same place as the rest of the party... hopefully.  We'll find out next session.

Shattered Star: Rock the Boat

Game Date: 3/7/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 18
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Carlie Nackle (Chere) - Gnome Wizard
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger /Cleric/Rogue
Shemus (Cliff) - Elf Ranger
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard
Tai (Angela) - Human Monk/Warlock
...and special guest star James as the monsters.

The Session:
When we left off last week, we had just kissed the feet of a painting, and vanished.  Today we found ourselves standing on a stone platform, in an enormous watery cavern.  There was a carving of a demon on one wall, with the word "Farewell" in another language.  There was a waterfall on one end of the cavern, and three rowboats docked at our platform.  There was another platform farther down the opposite wall, so we decided to set sail for it.

We put Tai, Slancio, and Bjertha in one boat, Maruca and Carlie took another, and Shemus took the third.  Shemus checked out the waterfall while the rest of us took a more direct route towards the other dock.  A few yards in, we saw several bony hands reach out of the water.  Our ships were surrounded by several lacedons - aquatic ghouls.  We tried to turn around and head back to the platform, but the ghouls were too fast.  They started tipping our boats, dumping some of us into the water.

Fighting in the water was pretty tough.  We had disadvantage on most attacks, and our movement speed was halved.  Some of the ghouls' attacks also paralyzed us, making it difficult to swim.  Luckily, Shemus still had a scroll of water breathing, which he cast on the party.  Tai hit a couple of ghouls with Frightful Presence, and Carlie blasted a few with a Shatter spell.  Meruca nearly died at one point, and Tai finished the fight with a couple of Sleep spells.

After the fight, we continued to the other platform.  We docked and found a red door with some panels depicting Sorshen.  We pressed the center panel and the door opened.  Through the door was a large hall.  There was a center row of columns, and the walls were covered with more lewd frescoes.  The hall ended with a throne room.  Sitting on the throne was a Cave Giant, surrounded by chests and guarded by two monitor lizards.  The giant spoke with Sorshen's voice: "Kneel to me now, and I will only eat one of you."

Tai replied, "I think you're sitting in my chair."  There was a bit more banter, then the fight began.  During the battle, the giant would throw the chests at us, which turned out to be full of rotting meat.  The lizards didn't give us a lot of trouble, but the giant hit hard.  It knocked Tai and Carlie down to zero during the fight, but they recovered.  After it finally died, we took a long rest in the throne room.  We also found a platinum plaque on the wall, which we carefully pried off to sell later.

Back in the boats, we continued to explore the underground cavern.  Past the second platform the passage narrowed.  As we floated down one wide hallway, a pair of giant bat creatures swooped overhead.  We sailed on without a fight.  Eventually the cavern opened up into another large chamber, with a beach at one end.  Some of us started hearing whispers.  Suddenly Slancio, Carlie, and Tai stood up and started removing their gear.

Tai was the first to finish disrobing, and she was compelled to dive into the water.  Carlie was farther behind, while Slancio would take many rounds to remove his armor.  The rest of us did our best to restrain Carlie and Slancio, but Tai was long gone.  As Tai swam towards the beach, a pair of giant eels emerged and grappled her.  We had our hands full trying to fight the eels while restraining the bewitched party members.

Tai eventually made her save against the compulsion, but Carlie got loose and made it to the beach.  The gnome started digging wildly at one of the walls.  One of the eels pulled Shemus under the water, grappling the ranger and dragging him away from us.  Tai and Meruca fired after the eel with their ranged attacks, while Bjertha chased it in one of the rowboats.  We finally finished off the eel, but we were too late to save Shemus.  Our ranger had been chewed to death by the eel.

Back on the beach, we found a secret door where Carlie had been digging.  Once the door opened, Carlie and Slancio went back to normal.  We entered the secret room, and ended the session there.

Shattered Star: Gnome Baseball!

Game Date: 2/28/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 17
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Carlie Nackle (Chere) - Gnome Wizard
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger /Cleric/Rogue
Shemus (Cliff) - Elf Ranger
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard

The Session:
Today we started out resting on the beach, recovering from last session's epic fight with a statue.  After a long rest, we tried the nearby door and peeked into the next room. On the walls were murals depicting wanton acts between otherworldly beings and the Runelord Sorshen (whose body is now a party member named Tai, having changed her name after Sa'oa's mind took over Sorshen's body.  Confused yet?)  The murals were signed by an artist named Amivadeus Yasrin. 

Around the next corner was a gate.  Maruca picked the lock and we entered the next room.  A crimson-clad man approached and asked us for a password.  We quickly pointed out that his master Sorshen was with us, and he grudgingly let us pass.  In the next room we found a few more statues of Sorshen, but one was missing a head.  Two other statues' heads suddenly came off and grew legs.  We soon found ourselves in battle with a pair of sentinels.

Once they were destroyed, we saw another statue around the next corner.  We took a preemptive strike on this one, and killed it in a couple of rounds.  Through the next hall we saw more dirty murals.  Meruca, Slancio and Bjertha triggered a pit trap, but only Bjertha failed her save and fell.  She managed to land between the spikes, and didn't take much damage.

We spent a while figuring out how to get the party across the 15-foot long pit.  We did lots of tricks with ropes and pitons, some climbed across, others jumped.  Bjertha performed a Fastball Special on Carlie, easily tossing her across the pit.  Once we were all across, we made our way down the narrow hallway until we reached a door.  We kicked the door in, and saw a chanting Incubus.

The Incubus started out by trying to charm Bjertha, but failed.  We ganged up on the creature, and after a couple of rounds he vanished.  When he reappeared, he proclaimed, "If nothing else, the imposter must die!" and attacked Tai.  Bjertha finished the Incubus off with a double crit.

The next room was very warm.  It was a large room, with a two-tiered raised area in the middle.  In the center of the highest platform, a gray flame burned.  There were two side chambers, one of which had a set of doors.  On another wall there was an obvious secret passage - a dull gray section of wall next to an unlit torch.  Meruca got the idea to light the torch from the gray flame. 

When she touched the torch to the flame, four animated balls of fire jumped out of the flame and attacked us.  While we fought the fireballs - actually Cacodaemons - Maruca put the torch back on the sconce, and the secret door opened.  Carlie used a Shatter spell to damage all four fireballs, and it didn't take long to finish them off.

Note I had to leave the session early, but here's what I'm told happened next, courtesy of Rusty:

Shemus impetuously opened the doors to the west.  They found a hallway with ten doors; five on the south wall, and five on the north wall.  All but one of them said the same thing, translated from Thassilionian by Jasper: "Thou wouldst enter? Then thou must touch!"  The remaining door, the closest on the north wall, was covered with frost.  It said, "Thou wouldst enter to enjoy the company of the Runelord of Lust herself? Then thou must touch!"  So Shemus touched it.   Shemus, Slancio, and Carlie received a large amount of Cold damage.  The rest of the rooms were luxurious bedrooms.  Maruca and Slancio helped themselves to the sheets.  Shemus found a secret door in the west wall, which led to an even more luxurious bedroom, complete with a 10 x 15 ft bed.  Leaving that room, they found another room with benches and a starburst pattern on the floor that detected as magical. The group decided to back out of the room at that point.
 
Going back to the flame room, the door had shut again.  Bjertha lit the torch again, with no ill effects. They then spent several minutes trying to figure out how to shut the door again, and how to open it from the other side.  Eventually, Shemus had put the torch out, and went back up to the flame to light it again.  The Cacodaemons reappeared, showing a new ability, flame breath.  One breathed on Shemus, but he escaped the worst of it.  Another got Bjertha, Maruca, Tai, Carlie, and Jasper.  Jasper got dropped.  No sooner had he been brought up when another one breathed again, killing Jasper outright.  Shemus was dropped again before they were all dealt with. 
 
Finally going down the stairs, they came upon a large lascivious painting of Sorshen, arms outstretched in a welcoming embrace, lips twisted in a faintly cruel smile.  A phrase in a foreign tongue was inscribed in gold across the top of the mural.  The feet of the mural showed wear.  Slancio used his comprehend languages to get, "Prostrate thyself and demonstrate proper devotion, my sweet slave, if you wish to enter my domain."  Maruca, Slancio, Shemus, Carlie, Tai, and Bjertha kissed the feet and vanished in order.  That's where we stopped for the night. 

Shattered Star: Looking For Lust In All The Wrong Places

Game Date: 2/14/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 16
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger/Cleric/Rogue
Sa'oa (Angela) - Elf Monk/Warlock
Shemus (Cliff) - Elf Ranger

The Session:
We're still looking for the Shard of Lust.  Last session we finally approached the lighthouse called the Lady's Light, and we started exploring some Bullywug-infested tunnels.  Today we continued searching those caverns.  Around one corner we found a room filled with mud.  We were soon attacked by three giant frogs and their bullywug master.

Sa'oa and Meruca were hit by the bullywug's fear power.  One of the frogs grappled and restrained Bjertha, who took a lot of damage over the course of the fight.  Fearing for the safety of our tank, Sa'oa finished the boss off with a Sleep spell, allowing Meruca to perform a coup de grace.  After the battle, we looked around the room.  We found two glass jars, filled with some sort of weird bug-repellant substance.  We took the jars with us and kept on going.

Sa'oa scouted ahead and brought us back news of the next chamber.  It was infested with insect creatures.  Most of them were just bug-sized, but there were three huge Albino Cave Solifugids on the walls.  While Sa'oa was hoping to ask them for directions, Bjertha rushed in and attacked the only one she could reach.  Maruca set the insecticide jars on the ground and removed the lids, and threw them on the Solifugids that ventured too close.  It was SUPER EFFECTIVE and by the end of the battle, all three insects were unconscious.  We tied them up and tried talking to them.  Unfortunately they didn't understand us.

There were three more exits from the room.   Sa'oa scouted one, which eventually led to a hydra.  It saw Sa'oa, but luckily it couldn't fit through the tunnel.  She sauntered back to the main chamber.  The next tunnel didn't go anywhere interesting, but the final tunnel led to a square room with a pit in the center.  There were several statue-shaped columns surrounding the pit, four of which came to life while we were examining the pit.

This fight was difficult because attacking them could potentially break ours weapon.  We discovered this when Sa'oa hurt her hands with some unarmed strikes.  Not wanting to do any more punching, she pushed one of the statues into the pit.  Rather than seeing it fall all the way down, it vanished after about 10 feet.  Jasper and Slancio both broke their weapons attacking enemies, but luckily the fight didn't last much longer, and they were able to fix their weapons with a mending spell.

Now that we were safe, we examined the pit.  We experimented with dropping various objects into it.  Everything disappeared about 10 feet down.  Sa'oa and Shemus secured some ropes and climbed down.  Once they entered the dark area, they found they couldn't speak.  As they got closer to the bottom, they saw the statue Sa'oa had pushed.  It was still fine and tried to attack her.  Unable to use vocal spells, she fired an arrow at it.  The arrow flew too slowly to do much damage.

They climbed back up, experimented a bit more, and realized that inside the pit was a zone of darkness, silence, and feather fall.  Sa'oa climbed back down, got low enough to be out of the zone, and used Eldritch Blast on the statue.  It jumped up and grabbed the rope.  Sa'oa cut the rope beneath her, dropping the statue.  The statue picked up a magically-lit stone our party had dropped earlier, and threw it at Sa'oa.  Sa'oa finished off the statue with Eldrich Blast.

She came back up and convinced us to follow her to the bottom of the pit.  At the bottom, there was a room with several statues and a a sarcophagus.  Bjertha and Sa'oa worked together to remove the lid, revealing a body.  The body was of a beautiful woman, who looked just like the statues around the room.  She didn't look dead, so we nudged her.  Suddenly Sa'oa was stricken with images of her estranged family, and took a huge amount of psychic damage.  Bjertha pulled her away from the sarcophagus and tried to help her.

Every time we healed Sa'oa, she took more psychic damage on the next round.  Maruca and Shemus tried doing various things to the woman in the sarcophagus, like stabbing her or removing her jewelry.  Nothing we did broke the psychic connection, and Sa'oa soon died.  Then the woman in the sarcophagus opened her eyes, sat up, and looked around.  She told us to let go of her body, meaning Sa'oa's.  We soon realized that Sa'oa's mind was in this new body.

The woman Sa'oa now possessed was human, with purple eyes and long black hair.  She turned out to be the Runelord Sorshen, who Maroux had told us about last session.  Or at least she used to be.  Now, she's Sa'oa.  We agreed to take Sa'oa's old body back to the surface when we're done down here.  We kept looking around.

There were two tunnels to choose from.  One dead-ended at an underground river.  The other one led to a door, which opened after Sa'oa pressed some panels on the wall.  The doorway led to a beach on the same river, with two skiffs tied up.  After a little bit of reconnaissance, we all took the skiffs down the river into a large open room.  There was another beach along one wall, and there was a seven-sided island in the middle of the room.  On the island was a large glass statue of Sorshen.

We tried casting detect magic on the statue, which came to life and attacked us.  This was a long, difficult battle.  We discovered early on that most of our weapons could not hurt it, giving some of us little to do in the fight.  Those of us who couldn't damage it played support for those that could, providing healing potions to those who needed it. At one point Carlie fired off a Shatter spell, which wasn't as effective as we'd hoped it would be.

Eldrich Blast hurt it some, Thunderwave spells also worked, and Slancio's sword worked pretty well.  When Slancio finally went down, Shemus grabbed his sword while the bard recovered.  Shemus dealt the final blow, bringing the statue down.  We ended the session there.  We each got 500 xp for the session, bringing a couple of us up to level 5 (as soon as we get a chance to take an extended rest).

Shattered Star: The Most Dangerous Soup

Game Date: 2/7/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 15
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Carlie Nackle (Chere) - Gnome Wizard
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger/Cleric/Rogue
Sa'oa (Angela) - Elf Monk/Warlock
Shemus (Cliff) - Elf Ranger
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard

The Session:
Last session we nearly finished our trek through the swamps, looking for a lighthouse called the Lady's Light, home of the next shard of the Shattered Star.  As we resumed our journey today, we found the remains of an ancient battlefield.  We searched the area, and saw a suit of armor and a helmet floating towards us.  Not knowing if it was friend or foe, we waited for it to attack first.  Which of course it did.  We took out the helmet quickly, but it rejoined the battle as a floating skull.  It still didn't take long to finish off.  The armor itself had a lot of hit points, so it took a bit longer to defeat.

During the battle Jasper got confused, and kept trying to attack Bjertha.  Maruca nearly died, failing two death saves before we finished off the armor and healed her.  After the battle, we took a short rest and explored the area.  We found about 600 gp worth of muddy gold trinkets.  Note, the armor was an Invisible Stalker, and the helmet was a Wisp.  We received 550 xp for the encounter.

Our guide Jasper led us to a small island, on which sat a small hut.  We greeted the owner of the hut, Maroux the swamp witch.  She was an old half-orc with one eye glazed over.  We asked her for any information she could give us about the Lady's Light.  She offered to help us, but gave us a task first.  She was in the mood to make some soup, and for that she needed some seaweed called Kelpie's Hair.  She told us to go to a nearby shipwreck, where the seaweed grew in abundance.  Being genre savvy, we used a scroll of Water Breathing before attempting the deed.

We swam towards the shipwreck, and Carlie began using Mage Hand to pick some seaweed.  Seven undead pirates emerged from the ship, led by their captain.  It reminded us of an iconic scene from Pirates of the Caribbean.  The pirates didn't take a lot of hits to kill, but the captain was pretty tough.  We took them out one at a time.  Carlie killed the captain with a Thunderwave, and Slancio finished off the final pirate skeleton.  We looted the captain's weapon, a nifty-looking +1 rapier with scale hilt and a blade made of coral.  It glows with an enchantment that keeps it clean, and inspires the wielder with great confidence.  We let Slancio keep the rapier.  We received 175 xp for the encounter.

We went back to Maroux's hut and had some stew.  While Bjertha found it to be quite tasty, Slancio and Shemus had trouble keeping it down.  We stayed the night, and Maroux drew us a crude map, and gave us some info about the Lady's Light.  Apparently some knights came through recently, led by a woman named Oriana.  They were also on a mission to loot the lighthouse.  They took advantage of the rivalry between the local bullywugs and trogs, pitting them against each other and using them to take control the lighthouse.  Maroux doesn't know how that turned out, so who knows if what we'll face once inside.

We set out.  We passed through the Trog area, thinking maybe we could befriend them.  However, the Trogs had been so badly defeated that we couldn't even get a response from them.  We kept going until we reached the bullywug village.  Since we knew Oriana's knights were female, and our party was fairly female-heavy, we concocted a plan.  We disguised our male members as slaves, and hoped to convince the bullywugs that we were there to join with Oriana.

The name dropping didn't work.  As we reached they bullywug huts, we tried to communicate with them but just got blank stares.  They regarded us warily as we walked the long way around their village, blocking entry but taking no hostile actions.  We gave the village a wide berth and kept going until we reached a cave.

Inside the cave we saw a large carving of a multi-headed frog demon.  Four bullywugs were crouched around a pile of colored stones.  They threw javelins at us as we approached.  It was a pathetically easy battle.  The bullywugs wound up at the bottom of the initiative, and we nearly wiped them out before they even had a turn. 

After the fight we looked at the stones they'd been protecting, and found a lot of copper, silver, gold, bloodstones, agates, garnets, and a platinum necklace.  This fight netted us 33 xp.  We ended the session there.


Shattered Star: Are You A Good Witch Or A Bad Witch?

Game Date: 1/31/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 14
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger/Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard

The Session:
Last session we left off preparing to enter the swamps, to make our way to a lighthouse called the Lady's Light.  Today we entered the swamps, led by the doomsayer Jasper.  We noticed that it was unusually cold for this time of year.  On our first night, Bjertha took the first watch.  A Half-Orc came out of the woods and approached the camp, but he was peaceful enough.  He warned Bjertha not to wreck the swamp, and left us alone.

The next day we saw some smoke in the distance.  We headed that way until we came across a small cabin, and heard sobbing inside.  The door was partly open, so we peeked in.  A woman was crying on her bed.  She told us name was Grizelda, and that she had just given birth, but a witch named Hassani stole her baby.  Some party members started searching the grounds for Hassani's tracks, leaving only Slancio, Jasper, and Bjertha alone with Grizelda.

Slancio attempted to give Grizelda a medical exam, but due to a bad die roll ended up offending her greatly.  She barred the door and turned into a disgusting old hag.  Jasper cast a "Calm" spell on her, and she apologized.  She claimed she was just hungry.  We unbarred the door and left.

Later we found a camp full of grubby children.  In the distance we saw a Tengu about to slay a newborn baby.  As we closed the distance, Slancio called out, "If you harm that child, your life will be forfeit!"  The Tengu put down her knife and answered, "Don't be alarmed! It's not what it looks like!"  She turned out to be Hassani the witch.  Her modus operandi was to kidnap the children of evil races (goblins, trolls, hags, etc), kill them, and resurrect them as kinder races (elves, humans, etc).

It was a hard concept for us to accept.  It's a different type of morality, and each of us had to think long and hard about whether we should accept it.  Yes, she was making the world a better place.  But she was also killing infants.  Sure, she was also bringing them back to life, but still...  We finally decided that it wasn't really our business, and that the issue was between Hassani and Grizelda (and whatever other monster parents Hassani had stolen from).  Maybe we'd have felt differently if Grizelda hadn't tried to eat us.

Hassani offered to let us stay for the night, and we accepted.  We spent the evening playing with the children, telling them stories, and teaching them how to sing, fight, and pick pockets.  Because we're good influences that way.  The next morning we continued on our way.

We came to a clearing full of quicksand.  We saw a path around it, but there was a very poorly-hidden Manticore preparing to ambush us.  While we debated on the best way to attack the beast, he started shooting spikes at us.  He flew at our faces, and hit Jasper with a confusion spell.  Bjertha kept held the Manticore back from the party, and the rest fired at it from the woods.  Maruca dealt the monster a particularly powerful blow, and it soon surrendered.

The Manticore offered to give us his treasure if we would let him live.  Bjertha and Maruca got on his back, and he took us to his nest.  He gave us a box which included a gold ring (with a ruby), a spyglass, a pouch containing 150 gold, and a potion of water breathing.  He brought us back to the party and flew off, and we made our way around the quicksand.

Later we came to a sign that said "Chalos the Sage".  We followed a path from the sign down to a bog, where a hydra was resting.  One of the heads was rational and polite, and was a bit embarrassed by the actions of his other heads.  We chatted with Chalos for a while, asking him questions about this area.  Slancio payed him 100 gold for a romance-related prophecy, but unfortunately Chalos predicted bad luck for Slancio's love life.  Eventually Chalos asked us to leave; it seemed he was having trouble keeping his other heads from attacking us. 

That night Bjertha was on watch when several Lizardfolk walked past.  Bjertha let them pass peacefully.  One of the Lizardfolk was holding up a frog adorned with jewels.  Bjertha asked them if the frog was sacred, and they said it was their god.  Bjertha bowed respectfully as they passed.  Later, on Maruca's watch, it started to rain heavily.  Lightning struck the ground nearby, and the party rose to find better shelter.  We finally found a cave at the mouth of a river.  We had to tie ourselves together to avoid being swept away.

The rain died down, and by morning it was feeling a little warmer.  As we resumed our trek we were soon able to see the Lady's Light off in the distance.  The lighthouse was a giant statue of a woman holding a lantern, facing out to sea.  We ended the session there, with our destination in sight.

XP: 300 each

Shattered Star: Bring On The Swamps

Game Date: 1/17/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 13
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
iCarlie Nackle (Chere) - Gnome Wizard
Kelson (Matt, Subbing for Ben) - Half-Elf Warlock
Maruca (Daniel) - Human Ranger/Cleric/Rogue
Shemus (Cliff) - Elf Ranger
Slancio Brioso (Rusty, Subbing for Thomas) - Human Bard

The Session:
We left off taking a short rest in a crypt.  Today we turned the corner and approached a door, but Bjertha and Meruca set off a Glyph of Warding.  We made our saves, but still took 13 damage.  Then we opened the door which revealed a shrine. 

There was a person kneeling before the altar.  He stood up and turned around to face us, revealing himself to be Henric Slidell, a former party member.  He fired off a Silence spell at our party, which rendered several of our party useless until they left the zone.  We used some of our best attacks, taking him down a lot faster than we were expecting.  Oops, guess he wasn't the real boss. 

There were two side rooms that appeared to be prison cells.  We heard someone calling for help from one of them.  We let the prisoner out and grilled her for info.  She claimed to be a follower of Sarenrae, who had been captured by evil cultists of Shax.  There were holes in her story - she said she was a washer woman, but her hands were too smooth, and she detected as magical.  Bjertha trusted her enough to stand a little too close, and paid the price.  The woman hugged Bjertha and gave her a "Draining Kiss", which did 29 points of damage - exactly enough to bring Bjertha to 0.  Worse, it reduced Bjertha's max HP by the same amount, giving Bjertha a max of 11.

The prisoner then altered her form, revealing herself to be a Succubus.  The party had to face her without their tank, everyone keeping their distance so they could lob spells and arrows.  Bjertha was healed a little late in the fight, but only got one revenge whack in before Kelson dropped the Succubus.  After looting the bodies and finding a hidden stash in one of the cells, we found 2500 gold, a magic dagger, and scrolls of Greater Restoration, Cure Wounds, Divination, and Cure Disease.

We went back to Heidmarch Manor.  A long rest cured Bjertha's ailment.  We received 3000 gold for solving the crime, and spent the next day knocking around town and doing research.  We learned the order we will be finding the shards, since each shard leads to the next.  We already have Pride and Greed, the next one will be Lust, followed by Gluttony, Envy, Wrath, and Sloth. 

We're to search for the Lust shard in a lighthouse called the Lady's Light, which is south of Magnimar.  We had to choose whether to take a boat, or trudge through the swamps.  Unfortunately it's hard to find a boat willing to go there, so swamps it is.  Looks to be about 40 hours of travel.  It was suggested that we seek out someone named Jasper, who knew his way through the swamps.  We were also warned to "be patient with him."

We went to an area of Magnimar called "Beacon's Point", where it was pretty easy to locate Jasper.  He was an evangelical kook, shouting doomsday prophesies to passersby.  When he saw us, he seemed to recognize us.  As he approached our party, another party approached him.  Three members of a gang called the "Black Kiss Boys" attacked Jasper.  I can't say I blame them, but we needed Jasper alive, so we had to intervene.

We made short work of the clowns, and we introduced ourselves to Jasper.  He'd been having dreams about our party, and believed we would be the ones to bring on the end times... and he seemed to be pretty happy about it.  He agreed to lead us through the swamp.  We asked him (and some shopkeepers) what we should expect to encounter in the swamps.  We should be prepared for Troglodytes, Bullywug tribes, Maroux the Swamp Witch, as well as crocodiles and will-o-wisps. 

We made a few more preparations - waterproofing our gear and buying magical bug repellant, and ended our session ready to leave for the swamps.

Rewards:
300 + 450 = 750 XP each
2500 + 3000 / 6 = 916 gold each
+1 Dagger (Kelson)
Scrolls: Greater Restoration, Cure Wounds, Divination, Cure Disease