Shattered Star: Mite and Magic

Game Date: 10/11/2014
Location: The Game Cave
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 6
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Looplily Timber (James) - Gnome Cleric/Fighter
Maruca Notyet (Daniel) - Human Ranger
Sneex (Cliff) - Dwarf Rogue

The Session:
When we left off last week, we had just been defeated by Anya, the were-rat leader of Tower Girls.  We started today's session still tied up.  Anya probably would have killed us, but she was impressed that we'd been able to solve a puzzle last session, when we opened a door they'd been trying to get through.  Now short-staffed (thanks to us), she needed our help exploring the corridors beyond the door.  So Bjertha, Sneex, Looplily, Anya, and Maruca (Anya's last remaining minion) proceeded to explore the halls.

A few corridors in, we came to a room with a balcony overlooking a scum-covered pool.  We saw one side tunnel that was too small for us to explore, with tiny footprints inside.  We decided to worry about that later.  As we searched the room, a couple of pseudopods erupted from the pool, and we had to fight a pair of oozes.  Bjertha tried to bypass the fight entirely, but Anya reprimanded her.  The oozes weren't particularly difficult, but they did split into two when damaged, prolonging the battle.  When the oozes were finally destroyed, we went down the next hallway.

In the next room, we awoke a swarm of bats.  Bjertha fended them off until a few got into her armor, sending her into a panic.  Finally Looplilly used her magic to make a loud noise that drove them off.  Sneex found a bracelet in a fountain, and attempted to pocket it without the rest of the party seeing.  Some of the party did see, but we didn't make an issue out of it.  We went through more corridors and down some stairs.

We came out into a room filled with large mounds of dirt.  Bjertha disturbed one of the mounds, and a giant ant climbed out.  Four more ants eventually joined the battle, some of which had scorpion-like stingers.  Bjertha and Sneex lost a lot of hit points that fight, so we took a short rest afterwards.  In one wall there was another one of those tiny passages.  Then in the next hall we found a tiny secret door, scaled the same as the other tiny tunnels.  We wondered what little creatures could be living here.

We found out in the next room.  We encountered several pint-sized goblinoids called mites, two of which were riding giant spiders.  They didn't do a lot of damage, but since there were a lot of them, they still inflicted their share of pain.  Some of the mites could cast Bane, which gives you a negative d4 to attack rolls and saving throws.  Anya finally helped out in this battle, killing a few of the mites, which made it go a lot easier.  The final two mites tried to flee, but we killed them on their way out the door.  We kept one of their bodies and took it with us.

We went down a spiral staircase and had a choice of two directions.  The corridor we picked led us to some halls lined with empty cells.  We reached a large room with a heavy stone door and torture instruments.  There was one more cell, but this one actually had someone in it.  There was a crazed humanoid with a half-melted face, attacking the bars.  Looplilly lobbed a couple of spells at him, and we considered finishing him off, but then decided to leave him alone for now.  We ended the session there.

Shattered Star: Hide and Sneakx

Game Date: 10/4/2014
Location: The Game Cave
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 5
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Bugg (Daniel) - Human Warlock
Looplily Timber (James) - Gnome Cleric/Fighter
Sneakx (Cliff) - Dwarf Rogue

The Session:
There was a bit of confusion about the order of last session's encounters.  Some of the rooms couldn't have been conquered in the order we did them, requiring a small amount of retcon.  This session began with us entering a room containing five enemies - three Tower Girls and two rats.  Bjertha lost initiative, but she still managed to kill both rats before the rest of the party did much of anything.  Then Natalia, Bugg, and Looplily each killed one of the Tower Girls.  Sneakx spent most of the battle finding places to hide to set up a sneak attack, but missed when the time finally came.

The room contained a life-size statue of a beautiful woman, wielding a polearm.  We all failed our history/arcana checks to identify the subject, so naturally Looplily drew a mustache on it instead.  There was also a barrel of whiskey in the room, which Looplily took with us.  Rolling the barrel through the hallways and bouncing it down the stairs didn't do any favors for our stealth checks.

A later room contained several doors.  One set of doors had the words LISTEN and THE EYES written on them, on moveable tiles.  We rearranged the letters to spell SILENT THEY SEE and the doors unlocked.  We decided to rest for an hour before proceeding through the doors, but we failed our stealth check and drew some unwanted attention.  Three were rats, one of which was much larger than the others, burst into the room and attacked us.

We quickly killed the two smaller rats, but the big one gave us a lot of trouble.  It was resistant to ordinary weapons, so we had to get creative to damage it.  Sneakx kept throwing dirt in the rat's eyes, causing temporary blindness.  Bjertha had a silver dagger she'd picked up in a previous session, which helped a lot.  She rolled well on the next couple of hits, but so did the rat, and soon Bjertha was making death saves.  While Bjertha was down, Sneakx grabbed her dagger, and took over dealing damage.

Meanwhile, our guide Natalia fled the room and braced the door closed behind her.  Thanks to a heal from Looplily, Bjertha got back up, but without the dagger she could no longer damage the were rat.  As the fight went on, Bjertha went down again, along with Bugg and Looplily.   Now alone, Sneakx ran out another of the room's doors, followed closely by the rat.  Natalia came back into the room and healed Looplily a little bit.

Sneakx fled out a door into an X-shaped hallway, which contained another door back into the room we'd been fighting in.  The were rat proceeded to chase Sneakx in a circle - through the first door, down the hall, through the second door, back through the battle room, and so on.  Meanwhile, Natalia started rolling the barrel into the hallway, no doubt with some clever plan involving igniting the whiskey.  This plan would never come to fruition, however, as the were rat killed Natalia on the next pass.  Eventually Sneakx fell as well, finishing off our party.

We woke up a few hours later, all tied up.  One by one the were rat interrogated us.  When Bugg refused to answer any questions, the were rat killed him.  Looplily, on the other hand, was much more cooperative, spilling the beans on our entire operation.  We ended the session there.

Next session:
There are several questions we need to ponder before going forward.  For starters, the party Bard, Slancio, wasn't present this session.  We need to decide where he was in the hopes he might be able to rescue us.  With most (or all) of the Tower Girls dead, the were rat seems like she wants to recruit us.  Daniel will have to bring a new character next week, so that might also be a factor in our escape.

Shattered Star: My God, It's Full Of Stairs

Game Date: 9/6/2014
Location: The Game Cave
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 4
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Bugg (Daniel) - Human Warlock
Looplily Timber (James) - Gnome Cleric/Fighter
Natalya Vancaskerkin (Lanessa) -Human Rogue/Sorcerer
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard

The Session:
Last session we found the first shard that will eventually make up the Shattered Star.  Then our characters took a week off to do more research.  During this week, Slancio had a vision about the location of the next piece.  It was at a place called the Crow, a piling in the waters of Outcast Cove.  Natalya led the way, knowing that her former friends the Tower Girls were using the Crow as a hideout.

We had to take a rowboat there.  When we docked, we spent a while bickering about whether to damage the other docked rowboats, but finally decided against it.  Natalya led us through a secret tunnel, where we passed the privy and headed up some stairs.  On one landing we saw some empty stone boxes and some yellow dust, along with some human and rat footprints. 

The waaiiting is the hardest part...
Up more stairs, and on the next floor we saw a giant rat flee up the next set of steps.  We figured it was going to warn the others an come back, so we set up an ambush.  We had Natalya stand in the middle of the room and announce her presence, while the rest of us hid off to the side.  Then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Well, it was a good plan anyway.  We finally got bored and continued up the stairs.  Natalya led us up landing after landing, checking for traps on the way. 

At the top of one flight of stairs, Natalya was attacked by some Tower Girls.  Because of the stairs, it took an extra turn for the rest of us to catch up to the fight.  It was an odd-shaped room, with several nooks and crannies to hide in.  Two of the Tower Girls hid behind an overturned table, firing at us.  Each of our party members rushed from one side of the room to the next to get closer to our enemies, while taking cover behind the corner.  Finally Bjertha took point and rushed the table.  She got some good hits in, but a were-rat joined the fight.

The were-rat was tough because she was resistant to non-magical damage, could make both bite and claw attacks each round, and could disengage as a bonus action.  Still, our party eventually surrounded her, hacking at her from all sides. Bugg tried to hit her with Eldritch blast, but was at disadvantage due to using a ranged attack at melee.  He rolled a 20 and a 1.  What a waste of a potential crit!  Still, he hit anyway by using an inspiration die.  The were-rat attacked the Warlock back, and Bugg's Hellish Rebuke reaction finished off the creature.  When she died, she reverted to her human form.

Afterward, we looked around a bit and found a secret door.  Well, it wasn't that secret, seeing as how the door was propped open with a dagger.  Knowing it could be a trap, we followed the secret passage.

In another room we had to cross a rickety rope bridge, suspended 200 feet above some boats.  It was nerve-wracking but we made it across safely.  Next passage, Bjertha triggered a tripwire, setting off some warning bells.  A couple of sleepy Tower Girls attacked us, fleeing down the hall as they fired their crossbows at us.  We caught up to them and killed them quickly.

A half-collapsed side room contained a sealed amphora, and a small statue.  At the end of the hall was another set of stairs, going down.  We were about to head down the stairs, but it was getting late so we ended the session there.

Next week (spoiler alert):  More stairs!

Afterthoughts:
This is the second time I've been a Pathfinder campaign that switched systems a few sessions in.  Last time it was the Unlikely Heroes campaign, where we switched to D&D 4e after a couple of months.  I believe some of the players were disappointed in a few aspects of Pathfinder, such as the slow healing.  This time we're switching to 5e, but it's not due to any failing of Pathfinder, it's because we're excited about D&D's new edition.  Only time will tell if we stick with 5e or switch back.

Bjertha was the only character in the party that directly converted, because she's the only one with a race/class combination found in the 5e PHB.  Some of the others are similar in spirit, but it's still a very different party.

Funniest roll of the day.  Too bad he had disadvantage.

XP:
Since the numbers don't really convert easily, we just decided to start this session with everyone at level 2 (300 xp).  We earned 160 xp for the session, bringing us up to 460 xp.

D&D 5e: Web of Doom

Game Date: 8/23/2014
Location: The Game Cave
Campaign: N/A
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Looplily Timber (James) - Gnome Cleric
Moe (Thomas) - Human Monk
Ramas (Daniel) - Human Warlock
Torgga (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter

The Session:
Last week I couldn't make it, so the remaining players tried out D&D 5e.  Today we were still down one player, and didn't feel like returning to our Shattered Star campaign quite yet.  So we continued the story they started last week.

They'd left off in a narrow hallway, outside a room full of giant spiders.  It was a large cavern, filled with approximately sixty giant spiders.  There was a cage in the center of the room, with skeletons in it.  We knew there was something important about the cage, but couldn't agree on a plan to get to it.  Among our assets was a sample of purple mold, which reproduces quickly and puts nearby creatures to sleep.

We decided to... well, we never actually decided anything, which was our downfall.  We tried a bunch of different stuff, had some communication issues, and generally got our asses kicked.  We threw some mold in there, letting it spread so that it would put some spiders to sleep.  Then we tied a rope around the monk, and had him tiptoe through the room to reach the cage.  Problem was, he kept failing his saves against the mold, and we'd have to pull him back out again.

So we tried it again with the fighter, who had better saves against poison.  She managed to reach the cage, but got attacked by a spider.  As she started to come back out, she found herself trapped by two spiders and restrained by webbing.  The monk tried to help, but he got knocked out again.  Both the monk and the fighter were covered in spores, and due to suffocate within a few rounds.

The cleric and warlock managed to save the monk, but they couldn't make it to the fighter.  As the cleric pulled the monk to safety, the warlock got caught up in the webs, and couldn't make it out.  The fighter and the warlock both died, but the monk and the cleric lived to fight another day.

Reminders:
There's no game next week.  Our next session will be on 9/6.

Shattered Star: Pride Cometh Before The Fall

Game Date: 8/9/2014
Location: The Game Cave
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 3
System: Pathfinder
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Bugg (Daniel) - Goblin Alchemist
Sneex (Cliff) - Sylph Rogue
Toad the Toad Summoner (James) - Human Barbarian/Wizard
Henric Slidell (Thomas) - Human Oracle

The Session:
When we left off, Bjertha had found Natalia in the rafters of a ruined building.  Holding a crossbow trained on Bjertha, Natalia informed the Dwarf that she would rather not return to the Pathfinder Society, because they might take the trinket she had found.  Natlia held a metal shard, which seemed to possess magical properties.  To keep the rest of the party from climbing up to help, Natalia used the shard to set the ladder on fire.  Then she used the trinket's power to charm Bjertha into being her new bodyguard.

It turned out the fire was an illusion, but Natalia proceeded to charm Slidell, and asked us to take her to Heidmarch Manor... not to turn in the artifact, but in the hopes of making it her new home base.  She gathered a group of charmed goblin followers, and ordered us to lead the way to the mansion.  Sneex tried to run off, but Natalia charmed her as well.

This left only Toad and Bugg free from her influence, but those two followed along anyway - Bugg was happy to be in the company of goblins again, and Toad just enjoys chaos.  Besides, let's face it, our mission was to return Natalia and the artifact, so in a way she was playing right into our hands.  As we approached the next section of town, the town watch stopped us.  They were a bit concerned about us leading a bunch of goblins through town in the middle of the night.  Such worrywarts.  We told them that we meant no harm, but they escorted us through the area just to play it safe.

We arrived at the mansion of Sheila Heidmarch and knocked on the door.  A manservant answered, but was repulsed by our gaggle of goblins, and shut the door in our face.  He opened a slot on the door and asked us what we wanted, and we ordered him to fetch Sheila.  An impatient Sneex climbed up the wall and broke in through a second story window.  Two of the goblins worked on setting up a crossbow to fire as if it were a mortar, while the rest of the goblins got into general hijinks.  When Sheila finally answered the door, Natalia ordered her goblin minions to attack.

Because of all the charming going on, this battle was a bit confusing.  Several of the goblins ran around the sides of the mansion to cause more mischief, so we didn't have to fight them.  Bjertha broke her charm and tackled Natalia, pinning her to the ground.  Toad killed a couple of goblins, shouting "I surrender!" after each one.   Bugg killed a goblin or two with his crossbow.  Sheila attacked Toad and took him down on one turn, using nonlethal damage.  Slidell managed to wrestle the artifact away from Natalia, only to succumb to its effects himself.

His mind suddenly affected by delusions of grandeur, Slidell refused to turn the amulet over.  Sheila managed to convince him to combine it with an Ioun stone, which broke the spell.  Now that no one was being affected, we cleaned up and let Sheila lead us to a meeting room.  She briefed us on the artifact we'd recovered.

It turns out this trinket was just one piece of a powerful relic.  When complete, the Shattered Star had seven points, each made of a different metal.  Now in pieces, each shard represents a different one of the seven deadly sins.  The one we recovered represents pride.  We also learned that properly used, each shard could guide its wielder to the location of the next shard. 

Looks like our mission is obvious.  We're taking a week of downtime while Sheila does more research on the shards.  We ended the session there.

Rewards:
+336 XP each
+200 Gold each

Reminder:
Next week I will not be there, and the remaining players are planning to try D&D 5e instead.

Shattered Star: Choked and Grappled by Grappling Chokers

Game Date: 8/2/2014
Location: The Game Cave
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 2
System: Pathfinder
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Bugg (Daniel) - Goblin Alchemist
Sneex (Cliff) - Sylph Rogue
Toad the Wet Sprocket Toad Summoner (James) - Human Barbarian/Wizard
Henric Slidell (Thomas) - Human Oracle

The Party
The Session:
When we left off last session, we were trying to learn Natalia's whereabouts from a disgusting informant called Fenster the Blight.  We took a quick trip back to the Pathfinder Society so we could enjoy a nice dinner and added Sneex to the party.  Then we went back to the Underbridge district to take another crack at Fenster.

We considered several options, including beating the information out of him, but rejected that idea because it would involve touching him.  Finally we took the high road and bribed him with a garnet.  He told us that Natalia had been seen at a local boarding house.

We headed for the boarding house.  On the way, we were attacked by five chokers.  They won a surprise round, grabbing most of the party and dragging us in different directions.  Bugg the goblin was dragged up the wall.  Bugg broke and reversed the grapple, briefly grappling his grappler before the grappler regrappled the grappler's grappler on its next turn.  Or something.

Bjertha struggled against her choker, consistently failing to hit it with any attack rolls.  Toad fared much better, gradually killing chokers one at a time and freeing up other party members.  Sneex climbed the wall after Bugg's choker, attempting to save the goblin.  Just as Sneex reached the goblin, Bugg broke free and dropped to the ground, leaving Sneex alone with the choker.  Then Bugg threw a bomb at the choker.  It didn't do much to harm the choker, but the splash damage finished off Sneex.

We used some tokens to save Sneex's life, but the rogue was not happy with the goblin.  Bugg should sleep with one eye open for a while.  Once the chokers were all dead, we continued to the boarding house.  The building turned out to be in extremely poor shape.  After a few minutes of deliberation, Toad charged through the front door... and fell into a pit of sewage.  He climbed out of the collapsed floor, now covered in filth.

Much of the house's floor was similarly collapsed, so we decided not to just barrel through that part of the building.  Bjertha kicked in a side door, and encountered two angry thugs.  Bjertha attempted to apologize, but Toad taunted them and they attacked us.  On Slidell's turn, he convinced them to stop fighting.  We prodded them for a bit of information, then persuaded them to leave the premises.

Around the back of the house, we knocked out a few of the boarded-up windows.  We saw the same thing in all the rooms - collapsed floors, and some ladders leading up to the rafters.  In one room there was a chimney with a ladder in it.  Sneex climbed through the window and tried to climb up the chimney, but a Goblin Snake attacked her.  The rest of us gradually climbed through the window, and Bjertha dealt the final blow to the snake. 

Once it was dead, Bjertha climbed the ladder up to a landing.  At the top of the ladder, she found a crossbow aimed at her head.  The weapon was held by a gypsy woman, who we believe to be Natalia.  We ended the session there.

XP So Far:
+378 (7/19)
+760 (8/2)
= 1138


Shattered Star: Bribing Your Way To Victory

Game Date: 7/19/2014
Location: The Game Cave
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 1
System: Pathfinder
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Bugg (Daniel) - Goblin Alchemist
Toad the Toad Summoner (James) - Human Barbarian/Wizard
Henric Slidell (Thomas) - Human Oracle

The Session:
We each received a letter summoning us to Heidmarch Manor in the city of Magnimar.  We were to meet with Sheila Heidmarch of the Pathfinder Society, who had a proposition for us. Upon arrival, Sheila greeted us, and asked us to wait in the library while she tended to other matters.  To give us something to do while we waited, she gave us a puzzle box to figure out.

This "Pandora Box" had runes etched on some of its stone sides.  One side had runes that spelled out "CRUEL", but the letters could be rearranged.  Bjertha tried changing the word to "LUCRE", and the lid popped open.  Two Pugwampi (dog-faced gremlins) suddenly appeared, and started tearing up the library.  We tried to restrain them.

The Pugwampi weren't very powerful - their attacks did 1d2 minus 4 damage, so we weren't very scared.  But they did manage to damage Toad's weapon.  During the battle, Henric noticed some treasure was in the box, including three garnets, a scalloped ring, and a silver dagger.  (I wonder what would have been in the box if we'd spelled "ULCER".)  He stuffed everything in his pockets while the rest of us dealt with the gremlins.

We killed one of the pugwampi, and knocked the other out.  As we were tying up the survivor, Sheila came back into the room.  She was pleased that we had passed her test, and briefed us on our mission.  There was a missing informant named Natalia, who is connected to a gang called the Sczarni.  Rumor has it that she recently found a rare artifact, then disappeared.

It's possible Natalia wanted to keep the artifact for herself, and ran off with it.  Or perhaps the artifact had magic powers and disintegrated her.  Maybe someone else killed her and took the artifact.  It's our mission to find out.  Our party will receive 500 gold if we return the artifact.  If we also return Natalia alive, we'll get an extra 500.  And if possible, we're to try not to out Natalia as an informant.

Sheila also gave us a lead.  A fortune teller called The Amazing Zograthy had a business over on the poor side of town.  We headed for the docks, where we paid a kid some copper for directions to Zograthy.  We finally reached the seer's shop, and paid him 20 gold to tell us what he knew.  He told us that many people have been disappearing.  The Sczarni is also looking for Natalia, and there's rumors that she had gone mad.  Natalia had also been seen hanging out with a faction called the Tower Girls.

Once we'd learned all we could from Zograthy, we started looking for other people to ask.  Henric failed a diplomacy check and got mugged.  As he tried to flee his attackers, we tried out a card game mechanic that used skill checks to flee.  It was a pretty interesting game style, though it didn't work out very well for us today.  The muggers caught up to Henric and beat the crap out of him.  When the rest of us tried to help him, we got arrested by the town watch.

The guards took us back to police HQ to sort things out.  Eventually they let us go, and we stopped by the Heidmarch Manor.  We left a few of our valuables behind this time so we'd have less to steal, and all wore cloaks so we would look more impoverished.  We headed back to the slums to follow our next lead.  We met with Fenster the Blight, the disease-ridden landlord for the Tower Girls.  He required a bit of bribery before he would talk at all, and he still wants more before he'll tell us anything useful.  This is shaping up to be an expensive quest. 

We ended the session there. It's hard to say whether we'll acquiesce to his demands next week, or try threatening him.  Perhaps we'll find a third option.

Character: Bjertha Brawlbaker

This my character for the "Shattered Star" Pathfinder Campaign.

Name: Bjertha Brawlbaker
Race: Dwarf
Class: Fighter (Armormaster)
Alignment: Neutral Good
Deity: Gorum
Age: 53
Height: 4'4"
Weight: 199 lbs
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Ruddy Brown






Rolled Background Details:
Homeland: Underground.  Janderhoff, Mindspin Mountains.
Parents: Both living, artisans.
Siblings: Two older, one younger.
Social Standing: Born middle class. 
Romance:  Bjertha has had several significant relationships, but they always fail.
Early Life: Bjertha was bullied on the street.  She was influenced by a mercenary.
Moral conflict: Bjertha told a lie to a gangster, because of jealousy.  She has mixed feelings about it.

Traits and Flaws:
Veteran of Battle (Religion) - +1 Initiative, If can act on surprise round, can draw weapon as free actionDefender of Society (Social, Shattered Star) - +1 AC

Known Associates:
Bugg (Daniel) - Goblin Alchemist, and Bjertha's hunting companion
Toad the Toad Summoner (James) - Human Barbarian/Wizard
Henric Slidell (Thomas) - Human Oracle, and drug dealer
Sneax (Cliff) - Sylvan Rogue

Mini - Dwarf Shieldmaiden (Dungeons of Dread #33)

Dragon's Demand: The Final Chapter

Game Date: 7/5/2014
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Dragon's Demand, Session 16
System: Pathfinder
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Halfbeard (Cliff) - Dwarf Ranger
Lilith (James) - Tiefling Paladin
Raz Furian (Matt) - Human Sorcerer
Tanith Tularn (Thomas) - Human Cleric
Vires (Daniel) - Human Alchemist

The Session:
I missed a session,during which they followed a tunnel out of the monastery, rescued the Druid's wife, closed the Dark Portal, and fought a tree-like, charisma-draining Yangethe (which nearly killed them).  The session ended right as a large, green dragon made his appearance. 


Which meant today we jumped straight into battle with the final boss.  This dragon had a high AC and an impressive reach.  On the bright side, his defense against ranged touch attacks was pretty low... but his spell resistance still kept Raz from landing any of her best spells.

As the fight began, one of us played a Pathfinder plot card that summoned a Sea Hag... who didn't really affect the battle. On the dragon's first turn, he hit most of the party with some highly damaging acid breath.  Then he flew away through a hole in the roof so he could recharge his breath weapon.  We did a bit of healing while we waited for it to come back.  The Druid used this time to buff his wife with acid resistance.

When the dragon returned, Halfbeard let loose an Arrow of Dragonslaying, which he'd been saving for a while.  It did an extra 50 points of damage.  Good start!  The Druid cast entangle to keep the dragon from flying off again.  Tanith, Lilith, and Maffei boxed the monster in, taking lots of damage while using their best remaining attacks.  Tanith went down at one point, but stayed alive.  It was Halfbeard who finally took the dragon down, with a pair of Dragonsbane arrows.  

Our quest now over, we wrapped things up quickly.  The final battle felt a little bit anticlimactic, given how some of the previous bosses nearly killed us.  But then, we had prepared for this fight with all our anti-dragon arrows, so I'll chalk it up to good planning.


Coming Up:
Next week we start working on a new campaign, "Shattered Star".  Our characters are in various states of completion.  Here's what we know so far:
Bjertha (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Bugg (Daniel) - Goblin Alchemist
Toad the Toad Summoner (James) - Human Barbarian/Wizard
? (Thomas) - Drug-dealing Cleric
? (Cliff) - Possibly a Rogue or Rogue/Wizard


Dragon's Demand: Are You My Mummy?

Game Date: 5/31/2014
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Dragon's Demand, Session 14
System: Pathfinder
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Halfbeard (Cliff) - Dwarf Ranger
Lilith (James) - Tiefling Paladin
Raz Furian (Matt) - Human Sorcerer
Tanith Tularn (Thomas) - Human Cleric
Vires (Daniel) - Human Alchemist

The Session:
When we left off, our party had just finished taking out Aeteperax's fourth lieutenant, a giant grioth.  Hurting from battle, we headed to the naga's room to rest.  During the night, we heard the sound of a large creature leaving the grounds, and returning an hour later.  It's hard to say for sure since our room had no windows, but we're pretty sure it was Aeteperax.  Or at least the dragon impersonating him.

We interrogated both of our prisoners - Thaena the now-blind naga, and Pentosh the nearly-dead alchemist.  We asked about the whereabouts of the druid's wife.  Apparently Aeteperax keeps her in his cave, which isn't far from here.  We learned that the naga had an unrequited crush on the dragon, but unfortunately for her Aeteperax is too obsessed with the "Dark Window" to notice Thaena.  We asked what the Window was, but she couldn't be more specific.

We visited our druid frenemy Azmur for more information.  He didn't know much more about the Dark Window, except that it was connected to the "Dark Tapestry", a term we'd heard before.  He did, however, offer to lead us to where it might be.  But first we headed to the monastery's kitchen to see if Pentosh had left any alchemy supplies that Vires could use.  We found some chemicals that, once combined with some dragon scales we'd collected, yielded five potions of acid resistance.

Continuing on to the Dark Window, we found a library that hardly had any books in it.  In one corner was a secret door, leading to a passage that circled the room before ending at a locked door.  (Crazy architects; putting the secret door on the opposite side of the room would have saved the poor monks a lot of walking.)  The door's lock was of the highest quality.  It resisted all attempts to pick it, and the door was too sturdy to force open.  We even tried knocking, but got no answer.  Though that's probably a good thing.  Eventually we turned around, resolving to explore more rooms in hope of finding a key.

Later we found a room full of metal coffins.  It wasn't what we initially thought, though.  These coffins were actually sensory deprivation tanks the monks used for meditation.  There were some rocks placed on one, which just screamed "plot related" to us.  We cleared the rocks and opened the coffin, revealing a dead human.   For once in our lives, the dead guy stayed inanimate rather than attacking us.  Azmur recognized him as one of Aeteperax's former lieutenants.

We used a Speak With Dead scroll, which allowed us to ask the corpse two questions.  First we asked what Aeteperax's real name was.  The corpse answered, "The name he used before is unimportant; he is Lord Aeteperax now."  Then we asked where the key was, and he answered, "Aeteperax never needed the key."  Well, that was a waste of a scroll.

We explored a few more rooms, and when we were satisfied that we'd seen everything in this building, we headed to the next one.  We found a prayer room, with a large mosaic in the floor.  After a bit of searching we found a trap door under a rug.  A small tunnel led to a chamber, where a mummy sat on a throne.  We tried talking to the mummy.  It said it had to test us to see if we were powerful enough to prevail.  And then it attacked us.

It was a long, difficult battle.  I wish I could say it was an epic battle, but honestly it was just teeth-grindingly frustrating.  Seriously, if more battles were like this I would quit RPGs forever.  It made D&D 4e battles look brief by comparison, but at least in 4e you feel like you're accomplishing something during the fight.  This was a curbstomp battle.  Several times I thought it might turn out to be a "hopeless boss fight", the kind you're supposed to lose for plot reasons.

I mean, sure we survived, but only because we used up a lot of party resources.  We turned in several Pathfinder plot twist cards, and Lilith had to redeem some tokens to keep from dying.  The mummy had insanely high attack rolls, generally only missing if he fumbled.  He often did enough damage per round to flat-out kill a character.  As a monk, the mummy had flurry of blows, stunning fist, damage reduction, and a few other surprises.  Most of us could barely hit him, much less actually cause real damage.

On the bright side, he was vulnerable to fire.  Twice during the battle, Raz hit him with a maximized Scorching Ray, which did a good deal of damage.  One plot twist card caused him to become exhausted, and one fumble caused him to bleed very slightly.  We critted a few times, but never could confirm because of his high AC.  One final fumble left him fatigued, and he collapsed from his own bad die roll.  His last words were, "Finish what I could not, destroy the beast, and restore honor to the monastery." Gee, thanks, now that you've depleted a lot of the resources we were saving for Aeteperax.

As he died he handed us a key.  Hopefully the key will open the door to the Dark Window, but we haven't tried it yet.  On his body we also found an Amulet of Mighty Fists, and a Belt of Giant Strength.  We heard that something big is supposed to happen in town in the morning, so we wanted to get a move on.  However, we were just too beat up to risk running into another fight, so we took an extended rest.  And that's where we ended the session.

Dragon's Demand: Mind Over Matter

Game Date: 5/17/2014
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Dragon's Demand, Session 13
System: Pathfinder
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Halfbeard (Cliff) - Dwarf Ranger
Lilith (James) - Tiefling Paladin
Raz Furian (Matt) - Human Sorcerer
Tanith Tularn (Thomas) - Human Cleric
Vires (Daniel) - Human Alchemist

The Session:
When we left off last session, we were underneath a monastery, in a room partly full of water.  Vires had just had a little exploratory swim.  As he attempted to climb out of the pool, a shark-shaped mass of water followed him to shore.  Two water elementals burst from the surface and attacked the party.  They had the ability to form vortexes, one of which sucked up Tanith and Halfbeard.  They were spun around in a vicious whirlwind, eventually bringing Tanith down to one hit point.  But we managed to kill the elementals, and got Tanith healed up.

It took a few minutes to negotiate all the pools of water in order to reach the tunnel on the other side of the room.  We made our way through a couple of harmless rooms full of statues (which didn't attack us for a change), and found a secret door.  A hallway led to a large chamber containing two large liquid-filled globes, along with the remains of a third.  There were two cabinets in the room.  The one on our end was full of satin cushions.  A note on the door read, "Herein lies safety, but know that to rely on such crutches is to fall from the path."  The cushions did not detect as magical, and we weren't sure of the purpose at first.

Lilith made her way to the opposite side of the room, to examine the other cabinet.  Meanwhile, some of the party members felt odd compulsions.  Halfbeard was overcome with the desire to approach the center globe, and attacked it until it shattered.  This released a flying tentacled Brain Ooze, which attacked the party.  Vires and Maffei were also soon dominated, and Tanith was dazed, staggered, and knocked out.

Meanwhile, Lilith opened the other cabinet.  This one's note said, "Return here what is no longer needed."  This cabinet also contained cushions, but sitting on these cushions were some pearls.  We theorized that these pearls were used to cross the room without getting dominated.  We attempted to get these pearls to some of the dominated party members.  At one point during the battle, the brain hit Raz with an mind-draining power, reducing her intelligence to 5.

Whenever a party member was forced to attack a friend, they got to make a will save to end the domination.  As we gradually regained control of the party, we gained the upper hand.  Halfbeard was particularly valuable, rolling multiple crits and giving chase when the brain finally tried to flee.  The brain flew down the hallway, too fast for us to keep up, and it looked like it was going to get away.  Luckily Halfbeard managed to finish it off with a long range shot.  After the fight, we took the far exit and explored the next tunnel.

We came to a dead end, but found another secret passage.  We passed through what looked like a training room. The tunnels finally looped around and we found ourselves on familiar ground.  We went back to some doors we'd passed up earlier, and wound up in a large room that radiated a feeling of serenity.  The corners of the room had octagonal alcoves with pillars in them, and most of the middle of the room was taken up by a shallow pool of water.  There were two Grioths in the room.

As soon as we attacked, one of the Grioths fled down a small carved tunnel.  We killed the other one pretty quickly.  Then we pursued the fleeing Grioth, but after following the tunnel for several hundred feet, we decided to go back.  The water seemed to radiate transmutation magic.  Lilith drank a little but nothing happened.  We headed back out the way we came, out of the basement and up some stairs.

In a book-filled room we encountered the last of Aeteperax's four lieutenants, a very large Grioth.  He attacked as soon as Lilith reached the top of the stairs.  It was difficult for all of us to get into the room, because the Grioth had reach and could make several opportunity attacks in a round.  He did massive amounts of damage, so getting to the top of the stairs to join the battle meant nearly dying.  He nearly killed Tanith (it was a bad day for Tanith), who had to redeem some campaign tokens to stay alive.  He lived, but was knocked down the stairs and out of the battle. 

All this danger convinced us to use our most powerful attacks.  Vires delivered the killing blow, and we tended to our wounds.  We ended the session there.

Reminder:
No game next week.  Next game should be on 5/31.

Dragon's Demand: For Whom The Bell Tolls

Game Date: 4/26/2014
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Dragon's Demand, Session 12
System: Pathfinder
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Halfbeard (Cliff) - Dwarf Ranger
Lilith (James) - Tiefling Paladin
Raz Furian (Matt) - Human Sorcerer
Vires (Daniel) - Human Alchemist

The Session:
Lots To Do
When left off last session, we'd just encountered Azmur the Druid at the old monastery.  Azmur couldn't help us directly because he was being forced to serve our enemy.  However, he still managed to give us a little bit of helpful information.  We have a lot of quests on the table.  We need to find and defeat (or recruit) Aeteperax's four lieutenants:  Azmur, Goladryth, Thaena, and Pentosh.  We need to learn Aeteperax's true name, since we're pretty sure it's not the real Aeteperax.  As long as we're at the monastery, we should try to figure out where all the monks went.  We also need to restore our friend Maffei to her original strength, befriend a few people and factions in Belhaim, and oh yes, if we find the time, actually defeat Aeteperax and save the town from his threats.  Should be a busy fortnight.

Earlier we'd seen someone ringing a bell, so we decided to head in that direction.  We entered one of the buildings and wandered the corridors, passing by most of the doors and looking for ways up to the bell tower.  We were walking through an area filled with sleeping cubicles, when two shadowy creatures attacked us.  They were insubstantial, making it difficult to damage them with anything but spells.  It was difficult to fight them because they could walk through walls, making positioning our party difficult.  They didn't physically damage us, but they had mass compulsion powers and the ability to drain our wisdom.

Eventually we managed to kill them, but the party was a lot stupider afterward.  We continued our search, climbing some stairs and searching more halls.  Eventually we entered an open room with a small overgrown garden, and encountered the naga Thaena.  We tried bluffing her at first, but the naga saw through our lies and turned invisible.  We really wanted to defeat her without killing her, because we thought she might have information we need.

During the fight, Thaena used a power that fascinated us, so some of us wasted a few rounds staring at her pretty scales.  Lilith really turned the fight around with a critical hit to the eyes, permanently blinding the naga.  Once Thaena was defeated, we tied her up and healed her a little so she wouldn't die.  Then we holed up in the naga's bedroom for an extended rest.  Once Thaena was awake, we questioned her, but she wasn't as helpful as we hoped.  We left her tied up and kept searching the building.

At the bottom of the stairwell to the bell tower, we were ambushed.  A human woman - Pentosh the Alchemist - led a group of bat-like grioths.  Pentosh opened the battle by throwing a bomb at us, a move she repeated several more times during the battle.  Halfbeard won initiative, and critted on his opening shot, badly damaging Pentosh and causing her CON bleed.  However, the alchemist was under multiple AC-boosting buffs, so our following attacks missed her a lot.  Raz took advantage of her never-missing magic missiles, but they didn't do a lot of damage.

But difficult as Pentosh was, the grioths were a piece of cake.  We took them out pretty quickly, finishing them off right around the time Pentosh decided she'd had enough.  She fled to another room upstairs.  We pursued, but it took a few rounds getting up that spiral staircase.  Using his boots of spider climbing to bypass the stairs, Vires was the first through the upper door.  He immediately got blasted in the face by a trap Pentosh had set.  The rest of us finally entered the room to find both Vires and Pentosh down.  Despite having survived the fighting, Pentosh had finally succumbed to Halfbeard's CON bleed.

We healed up Vires and tied up Pentosh.  We climbed the rest of the way up the bell tower, where we had a beautiful view of all the surrounding areas.  We cut the rope to the bell to make it harder for anyone else to sound the alarm, then headed back down, down, down.  Exploring the lower levels, we found a secret door leading to an oval room.  There was a pit in the center, with a two-foot wide ledge around the sides of the room.  This could have been tricky for a party so bad at acrobatics checks, but Vires still had his spider boots active, so he helped the party get around the edges.

In another room we found a pool of calm water.  Vires used a water breathing amulet to search the pool, but didn't find anything  As he climbed back out of the pool, something followed him... but that's all we know for now.  Our next session will open with that encounter.


Dragon's Demand: Funny, He Doesn't Look Druish

Game Date: 4/12/2014
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Dragon's Demand, Session 11
System: Pathfinder
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Halfbeard (Cliff) - Dwarf Ranger
Lilith (James) - Tiefling Paladin
Raz Furian (Matt) - Human Sorcerer
Tanith Tularn (Thomas) - Human Cleric
Vires (Daniel) - Human Alchemist

The Session:
I missed last week's session, in which they explored more of the tomb.  They dealt with a few floor tile traps, fought a few wights, and had a difficult battle with an incorporeal wraith.  As today's session began, the party was still hurting badly, with some of them suffering from stat damage.  The first thing we wanted to do was find a place to rest.  We considered resting in the tomb, but we really wanted to head back to town instead.

We exited the tomb, and immediately saw a few flying monsters.  It wouldn't have been a difficult battle, but the party was in bad shape and we got hit early with some bad effects.  Maffei was hit with a confusion power, and Halfbeard was exhausted.  It wasn't easy, but we finally managed to finish them off.  The rest of the trip back to town was uneventful. 

In town, we rejoined Raz and healed up. We asked the town historian about the Wraith we'd fought, and she said it must have been an important person in life.  After taking care of some other various business in town, we headed back to the tomb. 

Down a few levels, we found the last room we'd yet to explore.  The final tomb featured a large tile mosaic of a black dragon.  As we entered the room, we heard the ghostly voice of Tula Belhaim.  She knew we'd defeated the wraith, which she informed us was her husband.  She thanked us for setting his spirit free, and asked us to return his wedding band to her tomb.  It took a few tries to open the sarcophagus, due to a bout of poor strength checks.  But we finally got it open.  Inside was a corpse adorned with several magic items.  The voice told us to place the ring beside the body's head, and the rest of the loot was ours. 

The magic items included a +1 keen composite bow and some arrows designed to kill dragons, which we gave to our ranger Halfbeard.  Tanith took the +3 Breastplate of Luck, which looks pretty funny on him since it was designed for a woman.  Lilith took a magic longsword.  We couldn't identify it yet, but Lilith thought she heard it speaking to her.  Having found the equipment we may need to defeat Aeteperax, we left the tomb for good.

On the road again, we encountered another fire drake.  It started the battle by blasting us with fire, and we chipped away at him with our weak attacks.  On Lilith's turn, she hit it with her new found sword, and... damn.  Turns out it's a Dragonsbane weapon called "WyrmSmite", and it certainly does a number on dragons.  The drake didn't last much longer.

Next we wanted to check out the monastery where we're eventually supposed to present Aeteperax's ransom.  As we approached, we noticed a lot of kobold tracks around.  We explored the grounds, following the paths around the buildings.  Eventually a kobold voice called out to us, speaking through a building's arrow slit.  They asked if we were here to deliver Aeteperax's treasure.  We lied and said yes (actually we gave the neutral answer "We have gold"), and they directed us to see Aeterperax's "pet human." 

Instead of following their directions, we sneaked into the building where the voices had come from, and attacked the kobolds.  They were a bit tougher than most kobolds we've fought.  Shortly into the battle, we started to hear a bell clanging in the distance.  After the battle, we exited and saw a human clanging the bell from the top of a distant building.  We wanted to shoot him, but he was well out of range.

We walked into the courtyard, and saw a human sitting on a rock.  It was Azmur Kell, Belhaim's resident druid, who we'd been tasked to find earlier in the campaign.  He told us that his pregnant wife, Rima, was a captive of Aeteperax (if it really is Aeteperax, which we doubt).  Azmur must serve the dragon for one year in order to get his wife back.  The druid wasn't confident in our ability to defeat Aeteperax, and wouldn't give us much help for fear of betraying the dragon.  Still, he gave us a little bit of information about the area and some of the enemies we might fight... or hopefully recruit.  We ended the session there.



Reminders:
There is no game next week.  We'll resume the campaign on 4/26, though our cleric won't be able to make the game.

Dragon's Demand: Halfbeard's Hellish Hickies

Game Date: 3/22/2014
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Dragon's Demand, Session 9
System: Pathfinder
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Halfbeard (Cliff) - Dwarf Ranger
Lilith (James) - Tiefling Paladin
Raz Furian (Matt) - Human Sorcerer
Vires (Daniel) - Human Alchemist

The Session:
Last session we attended the auction of Hunclay's estate.  This ended in bloodshed (like pretty much everything else we do), as four batlike grioths and a red drake attacked the auction house.  No sooner had we saved the day, then the true villain made his appearance.  Aeteperax - a centuries-dead dragon of great renown - swooped down from the sky and threatened the town.  Perching on a roof where he could be seen by all, the dracolich ordered Belhaim's citizens to fulfill a deal he had made with the late Hunclay.  We are to locate and deliver some books of great power, along with nearly 800 thousand gold.  We have two weeks to fulfill his request or he will destroy the town.

So to recap, the dragon has made his demand, and now the campaign can now truly begin.  Today's session began with an emergency meeting of the town council.  They realized that there isn't nearly enough gold in the entire town to complete the dragon's request.  We suspect that Aeteperax knows this, and is looking for an excuse to destroy the town.  Predictably, the council asked us for our help to defeat the dragon.  To help us, the sheriff reluctantly gave us his +2 Ring of Protection, which Lilith now wears.  A retired adventurer also donated a Flametongue weapon, which we are giving to Tanith.

On day 1 of our two week time limit, we set out for Tula's Tomb to see if Aeteperax's bones were still there.  We used the tunnels under our keep to avoid the spying eyes of dragons.  On the way, we tried to check on our kobold friends to see if they could provide any aid.  However, we discovered the entrance to the kobold tunnels had been destroyed, and we found no signs of life.  We continued to the tomb.

Arriving at the tomb, right off we saw the dragon bones were still there.  A fifty-foot long dragon skeleton covered the graveyard.  So if these are, indeed, the bones of Aeteperax, how could he also be out and about to terrorize the town?  There was a mound of dirt beneath the bones, with a locked door.  We already possessed the key, but before we could enter we heard a noise coming from the dragon's skull.  It was some sort of mindless chattering, full of meaningless words and psychopathic babblings. 

As we approached the skull, an amorphous mass of mouths and eyes slithered out and attacked.  In the opening round, the gibbering mouther used its babbling power, and we all failed our saving throws.  We all started the fight in a confused state.  Then the mouther grappled Halfbeard, covering him with damaging hickies.  On their turns, Raz and Lilith attacked themselves instead of the enemy.  Next round the mouther engulfed Halfbeard.

Most of our attacks were absorbed by the mouther's damage reduction, but fortunately magic was still effective.  One of Raz's missiles finally finished it off.  We healed Halfbeard as well as we could, and debated whether or not to continue on.  Well, we'd come this far, and really wanted to see what was inside the tomb.  We used the key and opened the door.  Inside there was a five foot alcove leading to a long shaft.

We used a rope to lower Lilith down into the shaft, intending to pull her up if she faced something too heinous.  Nothing immediately ate her, so we followed down the shaft.  We were in an ovoid room (which reminded me a little of the Slave 1) with two small side rooms containing sarcophagi.  Lilith detected an evil presence from one of the caskets, so we opened that one first.  We saw a child-sized body with the head of a deer skull.  The room then filled with whispering sounds, like soft whimpers or sighs.  As Lilith leaned over the body, it bit the paladin's arm, causing fatigue.

It's wasn't a long battle.  Vires critted with an attack, causing the additional effect of fire vulnerability, but that never mattered because Halfbeard finished the creature off a few seconds later.  We then thoroughly explored the tomb, finally finding a secret door at one end.  The passage led to a spiral staircase, which led us further downwards.

The next level was shaped a bit like a cow's udder.  On the floor there was a large mosaic of a red dragon, which detected as magical.  An inscription on the on the mosaic instructed us to "give the dragon her due".  We tried applying fire and gold pieces, but neither caused any reaction.  There were a few more sarcophagi in the room, one of which had a magic aura. Inside was a soldier's body, wearing a magic ring and shield.  The latter is a +1 shield with 10 acid resistance.  We haven't identified the ring yet, but we know its enchantment is related to necromancy.

Three of the side rooms contained black marble pillars, which had niches holding urns.  We felt magic coming from the pillars, but not from the urns themselves.  There was another spiral staircase on this level, leading even further down, but Halfbeard was still hurting and we didn't want to push it.  We decided to head back to town for now.

On the road back to Belhaim, we encountered an angry flame drake.  He wouldn't listen to our attempts at diplomacy, and shot toward us, blasting us with fire.  Most of us took 20 damage before we even got a turn, and it was enough to knock Raz out.  Lilith, who still hoped to get past the drake without a fight, picked up Raz and started to run.  The next round took out Vires, at which point there was no getting out of a battle.  It was a scary fight.  Maffei finally killed the drake, taking great advantage of the creature's vulnerability to cold.

We limped back to town, badly damaged but alive.  We healed up and sought out Bassy, the town historian.  She was quite impressed by everything we told her about the tomb.  We asked her how those could really be Aeteperax's bones if the dracolich was out and about.  Bassy didn't know, but she was a bit suspicious as to whether that had really been Aeteperax the previous night.  She wasn't sure, but there were subtle clues that pointed to the dragon being an illusion.  Interesting.

We took care of more business in town, buying more healing potions and such.  Lilith and Halfbeard gained a level, the ranger acquiring a dog companion. The next morning we prepared to head back to the tomb.  We ended the session there.

Reminders:
It is now day 2 of 14.  Since Tanith wasn't with us this week, we decided he spent the day studying an indecipherable book of power.  It takes 48 hours to get any useful information from this book, so he's now halfway done.  Next session it will be up to him whether he wants to join us at the tomb or keep studying the book.

I will be out next week, and James and Thomas are iffy.  There probably won't be a game, but if there is, someone please give me a recap to post here.  It doesn't need to be as detailed as my blogs. A short paragraph is fine.  I'm also iffy on 4/5, but I'll let you know as soon as I can. 

By the way, this is what goes through my head whenever I see the name Aeteperax: