Shattered Star: We Get The Shaft

Game Date: 2/6/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 45
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Fellany Mertien (Thomas, subbing for Cliff) - Human Fighter
Gustav Greycastle (Graham) - Human Necromancer
Maruca (Daniel) - Elf Ranger/Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard

The Session:
Last session we fought a huge sea monster.  Today we started out by looting the monster's hoard, and looked for a place to rest.  We started to explore a small island, only to stumble across an invisible shaft.  We sent Gustav's raven down the shaft, and found that there was a room at the bottom.  We took a long rest in Gustav's magic mansion, then debated on where to go next.

We decided to check out the rest of the islands first.  We flew around a bit, looking at various small beaches and islands.  One landing had a trail of broken stalactites, and we found evidence of a giant purple worm.  We saw the worm's tunnel in one wall, but didn't investigate it yet. 

Another island hosted six Nagas performing some sort of ritual.  Slancio hit them with a Firestorm spell (from a magic harp he'd obtained from the sea monster's hoard), and the battle was on.  We hit them with a lot of good attacks before they got a turn, so by the time they got their footing (so to speak) we'd already killed half of them.  It turned out they had some decent mind attacks, taking Bjertha out of the battle with a hypnotic stare.  But by then it was too late for them to take control of the fight.  Fellany delivered the final blow,  and we looked around the island.

It looked like the Nagas had been trying to create a portal to the Abyss.   We trashed the place, so when they reincarnate later (as Nagas do), they'll have to start from scratch.  At this point we'd seen all the islands.  We had to decide whether to go down the shaft, or into the purple worm's tunnel.  The party voted, and picked shaft.  We made our way down the long shaft, with help from Meruca's mechanical wings.  At the bottom of the shaft was a small room, with a short tunnel leading to a door.

Bjertha (who is currently really an Intellect Devourer) detected an alien sentience beyond the door, but didn't tell the rest of the party.  The door was locked and trapped.  Meruca failed to unlock it, so Slancio tried the Knock spell.  We were blasted by a powerful gust of wind, leaving some of us confused.  Gustav was controlling two ghouls at the time, and both got confused and attacked their master.  The first hit paralyzed Gustav, so he was unable to tell the party his minions were just confused.  Thinking the ghouls had turned bad, we killed them.

Through the door was a long grand hallway, with a faceless sphinx at the far end.  As we walked through the hall, some of us were suddenly slowed.  A "Flying Polyp" appeared and attacked.  This thing was tough.  It used powerful wind attacks and had a Frightful Presence.  Gustav used a lightning wand, and found it the monster was vulnerable to lightning damage.  It countered by hitting Gustav with Windwall.  Gustav went down three times during this fight.  It was a long battle, but Meruca finally finished it off.

We examined the sphinx statue at the top of the stairs, but (oddly for this game) it didn't come to life or try to eat us.  We saw one side door that we will investigate next, but for now we ended the session.

Shattered Star: Legen... Wait For It... Dary Actions

Game Date: 1/30/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 44
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Fellany Mertien (Cliff) - Human Fighter
Gustav Greycastle (Graham) - Human Necromancer
Maruca (Daniel) - Elf Ranger/Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard

The Session:
Last week we had some visions, re-fought the Curator, and Bjertha got taken over by an Intellect Devourer.  Today we went up some stairs and wound up in a room with three sets of doors.  No, make that two sets of doors, and a wall painted to look like a third set of doors.  Naturally we tried the fake doors first, and were surprised to find that they actually opened.  Wile E Coyote would be proud.  Inside was an opulent mansion, filled with ghostly servants.  Gustav immediately recognized this as the "Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion" spell.  It seemed like a safe place, so we took advantage of the hospitality.

In another room (outside the mansion), there was a window that kept changing scenery.  A jackal-headed creature in one of the scenes psychically attacked Fellany, leaving her with INT and CHA of 1.  We all took a long rest in the mansion, most of us having bad dreams.  Fellany dreamed about the next shard... she saw a room with seven doors, but she knew the correct path was behind a hidden eighth door.  She fell under the effects of madness, and awoke wanting to kill people (well, more so than usual).  She rushed us through breakfast and began her search for a fight.

Don't blink.
Through another door we found a very long hallway, filled with stone columns.  The columns were carved to look like faceless angels. Two of them animated and attacked us.  It was not a difficult battle, and Fellany was happy to have something to hack into pieces.  In fact she kept hacking away long after they were rubble, but it still wasn't enough to satiate her insanity.  We continued through the hall, barely keeping up with Fellany's search for more opponents.

We wound up on the broken edge of a bridge, overlooking a huge water-filled room.  There were still two rows of pylons sticking out of the water, remnants from where the bridge used to be.  The room was dark and vast, and the walls were too far away to see.  Gustav sent his raven familiar to explore the area.  Able to see through his raven's eyes, Gustav learned that there were a few small islands, and a couple of beaches.  One of the beaches seemed to lead to more tunnels.

While we were discussing our plans, something affected Bjertha's mind, and she began hopping from pylon to pylon away from the party.  The bloodthirsty Fellany was afraid Bjertha would steal her kills, and hopped after her.  Not wanting to be left behind, Gustav and Slancio cast "Fly" on their undead Fire Giant follower, and rode it in Bjertha's direction.

Fellany soon missed one of her hops, fell into the water, and was grabbed by a tentacle.  She was pulled under by a large sea monster ("Ognathooga").  Gustav's turned his flying giant around to aid her.  Bjertha saved against whatever was compelling her, and also turned around to aid Fellany.  It was a tough fight.  The sea monster was hard to damage, and had advantage on saving throws against spells.  In addition to its own turns, it had three "Legendary Actions" per round, allowing it to make extra attacks after other players' turns.

Fellany fared the worst in this battle, spending most of the fight restrained by tentacles.  Slancio and Gustav stayed on the flying Fire Giant.  They swooped back and forth for strafing runs on the monster, eventually picking up Meruca for even more firepower.  At one point the monster exuded a cloud of gas at our flying party members, causing Confusion and Wisdom damage to some of them.  When Fellany reached 0 hit points, Bjertha poured a healing potion down her throat.  Then the monster grabbed Bjertha as well, and swam off with both fighters in its grasp.  It pulled them into an underwater tunnel. 

Bjertha broke free and swam to freedom.  The monster followed.  Once it was back in open water, Meruca donned a Cap of Water Breathing and dove in.  Then Gustav dropped poured out a bag of zombies to give the monster more things to target.  Bjertha tried using her Intellect Devourer powers several times, but the monster kept saving.  When Fellany hit 0 for the second time, Meruca used a powerful healing spell that restored 70 hit points and cured Fellany's madness.

The monster took off with Fellany one more time, dragging her back into the tunnel, and adding her to its treasure hoard.  Our casters used some Freedom of Movement spells, greatly speeding us up as we swam towards the monster's lair.  The sea monster used a Dominate spell on Meruca, but she was cured before her turn even came around.  On Meruca's turn, she finally finished off the monster.

It was a long battle - like "4e" long - but it was full of exciting twists.  By the time it was over, it was well past the time we usually end our sessions, so we stopped there without dealing with any aftermath.  Given all the damage we took (especially Fellany), it's likely we'll take at least a short rest before continuing.  And we should probably check out the sea monster's hoard... that sounds promising.

Miniature Spotlight:  Thomas paints a mini for Daniel.  Great job!



Shattered Star: Visions and Vestibules

Game Date: 1/9/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 43
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Fellany Mertien (Cliff) - Human Fighter
Gustav Greycastle (Graham) - Human Necromancer
Maruca (Daniel) - Elf Ranger/Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard

The Session:
Last week we fought the ghostly curator of the dungeon's museum.  Today we took a short rest and continued exploring the next hallway.  The next significant room was a large cathedral.  On the North and South sides of the room were several alcoves, holding statues of faceless winged women.  In the middle of the room there were four large vats full of green liquid.  Each vat contained a different creature - a young adult Silver Dragon, a Roper, a Badger, and an eviscerated Phase Spider.

We walked past the vats, and found the opposite doors to be trapped.  Gustav tried to dissipate the magical trap, but ended up setting it off instead.  There was a sonic boom which damaged the party and broke all the glass vats.  Some of the creatures began to stir.  Meruca and Slancio attempted to use diplomacy on the Dragon, while Gustav attacked the badger.  The Dragon acted erratically, and attacked us.

Most of the party engaged the Dragon, while Gustav's zombie horde kept the Roper busy.  The Dragon hit Bjertha with a psychic attack which stunned her, with after effects that resonated deep within her character sheet.  Once we defeated all our opponents, their bodies dissolved into ooze.

We went back to the museum and took a long rest.  Gustav climbed back up the tower and camped up there, while the rest of us slept at the tower's base.  Gustav had a pleasant night, but the rest of us had bad dreams.  Most of us had identical dreams involving being chased by spiders across a tundra.  We woke exhausted.

We went back through the cathedral and tried the doors again.  The next room contained a large pool of water, from which two Water Elementals attacked the party.  They did a lot of damage to Meruca and temporarily killed our largest zombie, but in the end we prevailed.  We went up some stairs and found a room with two water globes on the walls.  As Meruca stepped too close to one of the globes, she had a harrowing experience.

From Meruca's point of view, she suddenly found herself underwater, facing a giant sea monster.  At first she tried swimming away from it, but it was much faster than her.  She fought it for a few rounds, taking a lot of damage, until suddenly the vision ended.  While the event lasted several rounds, for the rest of us it was instantaneous.  All we saw was Meruca stumble a bit as the vision faded, down a lot of hit points but not visibly damaged.

The room also contained a Helmet of Water Breathing, and a horn adorned with a Pearl of Power.  Meruca discovered she'd caught a disease from her fight - her skin became translucent, and she had trouble breathing oxygen.  Slancio cured her with a Lesser Restoration spell, and we went back down the stairs to try the next door.  Through a small vestibule, we reached a room with an altar.  Slancio entered first, and had a vision of his own.

A pair of Gargoyles came to life and attacked Slancio.  The doors shut behind him, and one of the Gargoyles grabbed him and carried him miles up into the air.  He finally defeated the Gargoyle and the vision ended.  The rest of the party saw none of this; the doors never actually shut, and we just saw Slancio throw himself onto the ground.  We helped him to his feet and went through some doors on the left.

In another vestibule, we saw a skeleton holding a satchel.  Gustav grabbed the bag, and a figure coalesced in front of us.  It was the ghostly Curator we fought last session.  He angrily shouted, "You will not defile my body!" and attacked us, ignoring our attempts at diplomacy.  He got the ball rolling by casting Prismatic Spray, hitting three of us with different effects.  Then he used Chain Lightning, which did a good amount of damage to four party members.

On the plus side, Bjertha's Undead Bane Longsword was quite effective on him, and we managed to take him before too long.  After the fight, we looted the body.  The satchel was a Handy Haversack, and we also found a Cloak of Protection and a Helm of Intellect.  We healed up a little and ended the session.

Shattered Star: The Great Curator

Game Date: 12/19/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 42
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Fellany Mertien (Cliff) - Human Fighter
Gustav Greycastle (Graham) - Human Necromancer
Maruca (Daniel) - Elf Ranger/Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard

The Session:
We left off faced with a round, foggy room.  The room was a giant pit, but the fog obscured the bottom.  We could see a tunnel on the other side.  Gustav sent his bird familiar across the pit, and confirmed that the tunnels on the other side only led to places we'd already been.  Then he sent his bird down into the fog to determine it was safe to proceed in that direction.  Once we were ready, we all descended into the pit using ropes and fly spells.

Once we were past the fog, we saw that the room below us was a library.  There were four doors, one in each cardinal direction.  There were high bookshelves all over the place, and several robed people walking around.  As soon as we were detected, the robed people vanished, and the books started flying of the shelves and expelling a black mist.

As we landed, a pair of giant scorpion constructs attacked us.  They were powerful creatures that hit hard.  They had multiple attacks, poison, grapples, damage reduction, and a fear effect.  Gustav was knocked down to 0 before he even had a turn, and our Smilodon friend was killed in the first round.  Fellany soloed one (not by choice - she was grappled) while the rest of us ganged up on the other.  Bjertha dealt the final blow on the first one, and one of Gustav's zombies finished off the second.

Once the scorpions were dead, we searched the library.  Slancio found a set of thin metal plates that, when spread out, showed the anatomy of a large aquatic creature.  As we explored and looted, a glowing ghostly Curator appeared and told us to put everything back.  We asked him about the area, and he told us the South passage was full of interesting curiosities.  He said we could look, but not touch.  We took a short rest and proceeded through the South door.

This door lead to a series of hexagonal rooms.  As promised, they were full of interesting relics.  A ghostly voice welcomed us and reminded us not to touch anything.   We were very respectful and kept our hands to ourselves.  Yeah, right.  We saw a lot of neat artifacts.  The entry room had several statues of people with four wings and no faces.  One room housed a statue of a Sphinx, the front half buried under rubble.  Another room contained a fireball frozen in time.  Another artifact-filled room had a mummified snake with an Ioun Stone in its mouth.  Slancio grabbed the stone and waited for retribution, but nothing immediately attacked us.

In another room, Gustav found a spiral staircase, which took him to the top of the tower.  Up on the roof, he saw a forest one one side and a tundra on the other, which was odd considering this dungeon is in the desert.  He also saw some butterflies carrying a miniature version of this tower.  Or maybe he imagined the whole thing.  He came back down and told us about what he'd seen.

Meanwhile, Fellany also saw something strange.  While examining the butt of the Sphinx statue, it turned around and faced her with its faceless face.  The entire world seemed to fall away for a second before Fellany snapped back to reality, and the Sphinx was back to the way it was before.  Gustav came to help Fellany to investigate the Sphinx, and found a crystal ball.  Slancio tried to pocket the ball, and the Curator appeared and attacked.  The Curator was beyond talking to, so we had to fight him.

The Curator was tough.  He was insubstantial, had a lot of high level spells, and he had the ability to steal spell slots from our party's magic users.   Slancio hit him with Dispel Magic, which took away his Mage Armor.  The Curator dominated Bjertha early in the battle, and she fought Fellany for round before another Dispel Magic returned her to normal.  Angry at having been controlled, Bjertha finished the battle by hacking away with her Undead Bane Longsword. 

We ended the session pretty quickly after the final blow, so we haven't rested yet.  The party is getting low on spells and Hit Dice, so we could really use a long rest.

Reminder:
There is most likely no game on  12/26 or 1/2.  We should play again on 1/9.

Shattered Star: The Pie Is A Lie

Game Date: 12/12/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 41
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Mr. Coffee sits in for Thomas
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Fellany Mertien (Cliff) - Human Fighter
Gustav Greycastle (Graham) - Human Necromancer
Maruca (Daniel) - Elf Ranger/Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas / Mr. Coffee) - Human Bard

The Session:
When we left off, we were in bad shape after a battle with Giants and Rift Drakes in a disgusting trap-filled room.  We started today's session by finding a decent resting spot and leveling up.  Then we passed back through the entrail room, double-checked for additional traps, and went through the doors at the far end.

Eventually we reached a large circular room.  It had a slatted wooden floor, with boards laid far enough apart that we had to be careful not to step in holes.  On each side of the round room there were gigantic holes in the wall.  One side led to some lava tubes, and the other side opened up to a makeshift throne room filled with Giants.  We faced four Hill Giants, a Fire Giant, a Chieftain, and the Chieftain's mate.  A few rounds into the battle, three more female Giants joined along with a Smilodon.

The Chief cast fireball early in the fight, which hurt a lot.  We noticed that one of the spikes on the Chief's club was actually the shard we've been searching for.  That seems a little early in the dungeon, we thought.  The first big turnaround in the fight occurred when Gustav cursed the Chief, keeping him from taking actions.  This kept us alive for several rounds.  When the curse wore off, the enraged Chief rushed past all other combatants, straight for Gustav.  One round later, Gustav was down.

Fellany chased the Chief and finished him off, while Slancio revived Gustav.  Meruca killed the Fire Giant and the final Giantess.  The Smilodon ran off, and we started looting the area.  There was a chest with a boulder sitting on it.  Once we removed the boulder, we found some furs, gold, silver, a Rope of Entanglement, seven gold Dwarf skulls, a Ring of Spell Storing, and a few other odds and ends.  Gustav cut off the Chief's head and eviscerated some of the other corpses, because he's like that.  The Chief's shard was indeed the Shard of Wrath we'd been looking for.

While we were searching, the Smilodon attacked us.  It was still badly hurt from the fight, and we decided to befriend it rather than kill it.  We healed it, fed it, and used a "Speak With Animals" spell to find out more about the area.  He told us the dragon would be returning at some point.  We used the Wrath Shard to point us to the next shard (Sloth), and it is indeed further down in this same dungeon.  Two for the price of one!  We explored one of the lava tubes.

At the end of one tunnel, there were two Fire Giants guarding a door, which was also blocked by a boulder.  They were also guarding a pie.  We showed them the Chief's head in hopes of intimidating them, and asked them what they were guarding.  They told us that the door was keeping the monsters from coming through.  We asked them to leave, and tried to strike some sort of deal.  They wanted us to bring them a cook.  Apparently their pie - which was made of Hill Giant - wasn't good enough.  Slancio tried to bluff them by conjuring an illusory pie, but this only made them angry and they attacked.

These Giants hit hard, but we used some attacks early on that kept the battle from getting too intense.  The Smilodon pounced on one Giant, knocking him prone, while Gustav blinded both opponents.  Fellany killed one Giant, Meruca finished off the other.  Meruca tried tried to keep hers alive, but Fellany decided to coup de grace it.  We moved the boulder, opened the doors, and faced a round, foggy room.  Meanwhile, the Smilodon ate the pie.

We'll pick up there next week.


Shattered Star: Don't Step In the Entrails

Game Date: 12/5/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 40
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Fellany Mertien (Cliff) - Human Fighter
Gustav Greycastle (Graham) - Human Necromancer
Maruca (Daniel) - Elf Ranger/Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Daniel, subbing for Thomas) - Human Bard

The Session:

Last week we fought our way through the gates to Guiltspur.  Today we climbed the hill to the metal spire, stopping at a building.  We decided to investigate the building before approaching the spire, so we wouldn't get attacked from behind.  Gustav animated the body of a Fire Giant we'd killed last session, and sent it in to intimidate the giants inside.  They laughed it off, and invited us in to parlay.

Turns out this group of giants was of a different faction from the ones working for the dragon.  They offered to show us the way down into the dungeons, if we would do them the favor of eliminating their enemies.  We didn't necessarily trust them, but since they were asking us to do something we were going to do anyway, we accepted their help.

We went downstairs, and immediately got in a fight with three Fire Giants. It didn't last long, though we found out later the DM had accidentally under-calculated their damage rolls.  After the fight, we saw there were three tunnels leading out of the room.  The Eastern tunnel looked the most traveled, but we sent Meruca to scout the other two first.  While she was exploring the North tunnel, three Hill Giants came from the East passage.  This fight didn't take too long either.

Once we were satisfied the North and South tunnels didn't go anywhere important, we explored the East tunnel.  With Meruca scouting in the lead, first we came to a small room with a seven-sided pillar.  There were runes on each side of the pillar, but they were so worn they were almost impossible to read.  After a very high perception roll, we were able to read this much: "..who sleep in Guiltspur’s shadow shall know this fear, and what waits beyond shall..."  We kept going.

The next tunnel opened up into a long hall.  The first 65 feet were covered in gore.  Entrails, heads, and other body parts strewn about the floor, hanging from the ceiling, and fastened to the walls.  This grizzly area counted as difficult terrain, and we spent a while trying to decide how to get across.  Partly because we were afraid there might be traps in the gore, but mostly because it was just plain icky.  On the other side of the gore we saw three horribly scarred Hill Giants. 

Slancio hit two of them with a lightning bolt from across the gore, and Bjertha used her Boots of Striding and Springing to leap over the difficult terrain.  Bjertha killed one of the giants, then fell through a trap door.  One of the Hill Giants knocked out Gustav's zombie Fire Giant.  Meruca flew Fellany over the gore, and Fellany managed to kill one of the Hill Giants in one round, doing over 100 points of damage from all her attacks.  Then Fellany fell into a different pit trap.  The final Hill Giant fled out the far door.

At the bottom of their respective pits, Bjertha and Fellany faced a lot of discarded enemies.  Bjertha encountered a Fire Giant and two Hill giants, all of whom were missing their hands.  At first she considered reasoning with them, but they were mad and feral.  Fellany's pit was full of Trolls.  Both pits also contained a fire breathing Rift Drake.  Fellany used her Helm of Command to get one of the Trolls to toss her back out of the pit.

By this time the rest of the party had finally made it across the pit.  Meruca slid down into Bjertha's pit, and flew her back out.  Slancio helped Fellany get the rest of the way out of her pit.  We were all low on hit points and ready to find a place for a long rest.   This would have been the worst possible time for three Rift Drakes to fly into the room through side doors, but guess what happened next.

Gustav transformed into a Stone Golem, which turned out to be a very good match for a Rift Drake.  Hurt as we were, we managed to take out all the Drakes.  We're now limping pretty badly, but we ended the session before we could take a rest.

Reminder:
We've gained enough experience to reach level 12, but won't do so until we get a long rest. 

Shattered Star: Valley Of The Jolly Hill Giant

Game Date: 11/28/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 39
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

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

The Session:
During our downtime between adventures, Slancio received a request from the madam of the "Shucked Oyster" brothel.  She was jealous of the wyvern head on a competitor's wall, and wanted a more impressive decoration for her own business.  She offered Slancio a Sentinel Shield in exchange for the head of a dragon, any color.  Plus "lifetime services" for Slancio and a few of his friends.

We concluded all our business in town, and prepared for our next mission.  A blue dragon in Guiltspur has recruited some tribes of hill giants and fire giants in order to excavate some ruins.  The dragon is looking for a valuable treasure, presumably the Shard of Wrath.  Slancio learned a new teleportation spell, which he used to teleport us to Kaer Maga, a few hundred miles south of Guiltspur.  From there we traveled north, riding Gustav's zombie-horse-drawn carriage.

Halfway to Guiltspur we arrived at the town of Urglin and spent the night.  Urglin was a rough town, mostly populated by Orcs.  We looked for refuge in the "Pinkskin" area, sort of a ghetto for non-Orcs.  Slancio managed to earn a free bath and dinner by performing for some locals.  Bjertha attended a Bloodbowl game at the arena.  She rolled 107 on her carouse check, and got called in as a substitute player.  She returned to the party with a MVP badge.

We asked around for advice on our mission, and received such gems as "Watch out for Death Worms" and "Fire Giants are dicks."  Maruca and Gustave both rolled "romance" on their carouse checks, and woke up the next morning in bed together.  We packed up the carriage and left Urglin, continuing North.  We crossed a river, camped again, and eventually reached a valley.

Blocking the entrance into Guiltspur was a large gate guarded by hill giants.  We made several attempts to talk them into letting us enter, but they kept warning us to turn around.  Finally they started throwing rocks at us, damaging the carriage.  Some ballistas threw larger rocks at us from somewhere behind the walls.  The gate opened, and a few hill giants and mastodons came charging towards us.

Gustave opened the battle by hitting all the enemies with Circle of Death.  Then his zombie army formed a wall keeping the giants away from himself and Slancio.  Bjertha charged the gate, engaging a giant and a mastodon on the way.  Meruca flew around firing at various targets.  It finally came down to one hill giant on the roof of a guardhouse.  Bjertha climbed up top and fought him until Meruca finished him off.

From the top of the building we could see three more hill giants firing the ballistas, a fire giant, and three mastodons covered in tar.  As we made our way in their direction, the fire giant ignited the mastodons, which came charging down the winding hill towards our party.  It took Gustav several rounds to reach the party, because he was cleaning up the undead he lost earlier.  Once he finally caught up to the group, he was hit by a rock an went down.  It was up to Slancio to save him.

We took out the flaming mastodons first.  Then the fire giant reached us and engaged Bjertha and Meruca.  The hill giants finally left their ballistas and hopped down to join the fight.  Gustav brought out his zombie army again, Bjertha killed the fire giant, and Gustav blinded the remaining hill giants.  It had looked a little bleak before, but at this point we knew we'd won the battle.  Once the final hill giant was down, we ended the session.



Shattered Star: Catching Up

Game Date: 11/21/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 38 (-ish)
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Gustav Greycastle (Graham) - Human Necromancer
Maruca (Daniel) - Elf Ranger/Cleric/Rogue

The Session:
So I missed a few sessions due to real life problems.  Today we didn't play a full session, we just caught up a bit.  Apparently the last session ended messily, so we retconned it a little.

 During their explorations of the passages beneath the abbey, the party found a peephole through which they could see the final room of the dungeon.  Tai teleported each party member into the room, skipping a fair portion of the adventure.  There they fought a massive 3 hour battle against the forces of evil, including some unholy tentacles trying to enter our realm. In the end, Tai sacrificed herself to save the party and recover the shard of Envy. 

Not wanting to fight through the rooms we had skipped, we worked on finding a way out through the peephole.  Bjertha chiseled away at the hole, hoping to widen it, while the rest of the party discussed what spells they had available.  Finally they found that Slancio possessed a wand of Dimension Door, which we used to escape.  We wrapped things up and returned to Magnimaar. 

Back at the Pathfinder Society, Sheila Heidmarch introduced us to our newest party member.  Gustav Greycastle came highly recommended as an expert on the undead.  We received details on the next shard, which is located about 500 miles away in a place called Guiltspur.  It's the site of some Thassalonian ruins that was used as a laboratory and an embassy for extradimensional travelers.  We also heard that a dragon had moved to the area and enslaved a bunch of giants to use as labor. 

Should be an interesting trip.

On Hiatus

I'm going to stop attending my D&D games for now.  My wife is in the hospital, and once she's gets home, I'm going to spend as much time with her as possible while she recuperates.  I'll probably be unable to game for at least six weeks.  For more information on her condition, see my personal blog.

Shattered Star: The Werebear Stare

Game Date: 8/29/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 34
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Maruca (Daniel) - Elf Ranger/Cleric/Rogue
Slancio Brioso (Thomas) - Human Bard
Tai Lindro (Angela) - Human Monk/Warlock

The Session:
I missed last session, in which they unlocked the Doomsday Door, fought a bunch of skulks, and cleared out several rooms in the dungeon below the abbey.  Today we continued exploring the level.  We searched several empty rooms before finding one with an ice-covered door.  The room contained four ice-covered statues.  As Slancio inspected one of them, they came to life and attacked.  Tai quickly teleported Slancio farther down the hallway, then joined Bjertha at the entrance.

This battle looked pretty grim at first.  Tai and Bjertha thought they could keep control of the fight by blocking the entrance to the room.  But the statues hit hard and could cast "Cone of Cold", and soon Bjertha and Tai both found themselves at zero hit points.  Slancio healed Tai for a few hit points, and she teleported down the hall.  Then Slancio healed Bjertha, but she played dead for a couple of rounds as the statues left the room.

This is where the fight really got interesting.  The party was now scattered around the various hallways, and was able to use hit-and-run tactics to fend off the statues.  Slancio managed to hit two with a wand of lightning bolts, causing a good amount of damage.  Tai teleported Bjertha around to help the much slower dwarf get into a better position.  Eventually the final statue went down, leaving us hurting for hit points.  We took a short rest and used up a lot of hit dice.

We went down one hall, which turned then stopped abruptly at a dead end.  We didn't trust this, so we tapped on the wall until we were sure we heard the distinctive hollow echo of a room on the other side.  Bjertha attacked the wall until she made a hole big enough to see through.  The hidden room was the spiked bottom of a pit trap.  Tai teleported inside, and forced her way through the ceiling trap door.  The trap was located in the ruined cathedral above us.  Somehow we'd actually failed to set off a trap when we were up above.

Satisfied that we'd now explored every inch of this level of the dungeon (except for another Doomsday Door), we peered down the stairs to the next level.  Tai went on ahead, using her great speed and stealth to see where all the hallways led.  The rest of us stayed at the top of the stairs, waiting for a signal to join her.  It wasn't long before Tai triggered an encounter with a pair of Water Elementals.  They chased her back to the stairs, where the rest of us joined the fight.

Digging through his pack, Slancio found a pouch full of "Dust of Dryness", a magic item he'd been holding onto for a while.  It was super effective against the Water Elementals.  Best moment of the battle:  After the DM told us one of the Elementals looked close to death, Tai said, "Wanna see a trick?"  Then she stepped back one step, deliberately provoking an OA from the Elemental... and when it attacked her, that provoked an OA from Bjertha's Sentinel feat, which finished the Elemental off.

The other Elemental engulfed Slancio, but he managed to kill it not long afterwards.  The sounds of our battle attracted a group of Werebears.  Tai attacked one of them, but felt bad about it later.  With more time to plan this battle might have been avoided, but once we started it we felt it was best to keep going.  Soon a Shoggti (big pale tentacled monster) joined the fight, followed by a second one a bit later.  Tai charmed three of the Werebears and had them attack the first Shoggti.

Slancio hit three of the Werebears with Lighting Bolt, and soon there was only one left.  The Shoggti were resistant to our weapons, even though the weapons were magic.  Meruca figured out that they could be harmed by cold iron weapons, so those of us who could switched out our arms.  Bjertha finished off one Shoggti, and Meruca killed the other.  We spoke to the final Werebear, who was friendly to us despite our having just killed his family. Turns out they'd been hostile because they were under the control of the Shoggti.  A pity.

We offered to help the Werebear in any way we could, and we took a short rest in a nearby temple.  Not wanting to get caught up in any more long battles this late in the day, we ended the session there.

XP Reward: +8850

Reminder: There is no game next week.  Our story will resume 9/12.

Shattered Star: "Sorry, Bjertha"

Game Date: 8/15/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 32
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

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

The Session:
We had a long rest, leveled up to to nine, and resumed clearing out the abbey.  We went up the stairs, briefly splitting the party but reuniting in the upstairs library.  Scrawled in the back of a book we found this poem:

Two to left for annis hag.
Three to right for banshee nag.
One to west for greenie crone.
Two to east for spinster lone.
Two to dusk for wife in tears.
Three to dawn for witch's leers.

...yeah, we got nuthin'.  But hopefully we'll figure it out when we need to.  We kept searching the upper floors.  We opened some doors and entered a large room, with twenty-one chairs arranged in a circular pattern facing a fireplace.  Sitting on one of the chairs was an undead monster named Luthask.  Three mummies also wandered the room.  We had a brief conversation with Luthask, in which he revealed that he was going to kill us, but was disappointed that he wouldn't be able to enjoy it.  There was probably a deeper story behind that, but really, that seemed like his problem.

The mummies weren't too bad.  They had pathetically low AC, and the biggest threat they presented was the risk of catching mummy rot.  Luthask was a bit tougher - he could hit three times a round for a lot of damage, but luckily he had a lot of bad die rolls.  Bjertha delivered the killing blow to Luthask, finally doing her share of damage thanks to the Undead Bane Longsword we picked up three sessions ago.

 In the next room we fought a pair of Vrock Demons.  After the rest of the party finished making bad Vrock puns, Tai finished off both demons.  We opened the next door to find a nice-smelling room with a round bathing pool in the center.  But before we could go hot tubbing, we had to deal with the room's occupants:  a hill giant, a redcap, and a Medusa cleric named Sufestra.  A statue stood nearby, which we guessed was a victim of Sufestra.

Tai ran into the room, past the giant and the redcap, and tried to pull a bag over Sufestra's head.  Failing that, she tried to use magical darkness, but Sufestra dispelled it.  As Tai continued to solo Sufestra, the other two baddies left the bath house and fought us in the previous room.  Slancio used his favorite Heat Metal spell on the redcap.  After a couple of rounds, Carlie cast a fireball that killed the giant, and left the redcap hurt enough for Bjertha to finish him off next turn.

We joined Tai's fight in the bathing room.  Now outnumbered, Sufestra tried casting Mirror Image but Slancio dispelled it.  Tai finished off Sufestra, and put her head in a bag.  Then we turned our attention to the statue.  We recognized her as Koriah, one of our Pathfinder Society associates.  We restored her using an item we found on Sufestra.  Koriah filled us in on some details.  She also identified a key we'd found as the "Doomsday Key". 

Koriah told us her father Casamir was holed up in the lighthouse, defending it from the abbey's attackers.  She led us to to the lighthouse, and her father let us in.  Casamir thanked us for rescuing Koriah, and told us where to go next.  Next stop, the "Doomsday Door".  He also told us we could use the lighthouse as a safe place to rest.  He even gave us our own lighthouse key.

We planned to clear out the kitchen first, then come back for a long rest, then head for the Doomsday Door.  In the kitchen we saw a lot of sausage.  From one large sausagey mass burst another Nyogoth, the gross intestine monsters we fought last week. Slancio got sickened by the sight of this creature, and kept failing his saves, keeping him out of the fight.  Bjertha once again borrowed Tai's club so she could avoid piercing the Nyogoth, then stood against the creature to keep it from the rest of the party.

Then we played a few rounds of a game we call "Sorry, Bjertha."  Since Bjertha was the only one standing next to the monster, she was the only one to get hit by the acid damage that occurred whenever other party members hit it with piercing damage.  At one point the Nyogoth cast Cloudkill, but we dispelled it as soon as we could.  Bjertha delivered the killing blow.

We healed up a little and ended the session.  Next week we plan to clear out the rest of the kitchen area, then take a long rest, then head for the Doomsday Door.

Shattered Star: Intestinal Distress

Game Date: 8/8/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 31
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

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

The Session:
We left off having just barely defeated a party of Redcaps in Windsong Abbey.  We started this week low on hit points and ready for a short rest.  Unfortunately, we had just started getting ready to relax when more Redcaps appeared.  Four swung down on ropes from the upper floor, and their boss, "Roy", came running down the stairs.

Early in the fight, Fellany was hit by a fear spell, and spent a couple of rounds cowering under a table.  When he rejoined the battle, he got his revenge by cutting one of the Redcap's ropes.  Meanwhile, Slancio cast Heat Metal on the other Redcaps' steel boots.  Tai went down at one point, but Meruca healed her.  Once Roy went down, the battle got a bit easier.  Slancio cast Dominate on one of the Redcaps, making it attack another one, and at that point we knew we were going to win.

Once all the Redcaps were dead, we looted the area and investigated the upper floor.  From Roy we got a garnet eye and a key ring.  Upstairs we found a treasure chest filled with gold, silver, gems, and silverware.  Satisfied that we were safe, we took a long rest.  Then we continued exploring the abbey.

In one hallway, we encountered a pair of Nyogoths.  These creatures were flying masses of intestines with fangs, somewhat resembling the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  This fight got off to a rocky start.  These disgusting creatures bled acid, damaging anyone who attacked them with cutting weapons.  They were also resistant to spells, leaving us with few options.

Early on one of them cast Cloudkill, which Slancio quickly dispelled.  Their Horrific Appearance caused Meruca and Tai to flee the battlefield.  Tai returned quickly, but Meruca missed most of the fight.  Eventually we figured how to make the most of bludgeoning attacks, and things started to turn around.  Tai landed the final blow, and we tried the next door.

The next room held four Ettins, the leader of which was named "Kob".  Tai started things off by hitting one with Fear, causing it to run out of the room.  Slancio managed to hypnotize one of them, but Carlie followed up with a Fireball.  The fire did a decent amount of damage, but it annoyed Slancio by wasting his hypnotism spell.  Tai attempted to solo Kob by using her Darkness spell.  Tai managed to get Kob's hit points down, but Carlie finished him off.

The Ettins had pretty low AC, so Fellany made the most of it with power attacks.  Once the final Ettin was down, we looked around.  Tai found a crown in the next room, but accidentally set off a glyph trap which took her down to zero.  Then Slancio fell into a pit trap trying to retrieve the crown.  Eventually we managed to grab the item without killing ourselves, and went to find a safe place for a long rest.  We ended the session there.

Reminders:
We received enough experience points to bring us to level 9.

Shattered Star: GIANT SIZE ISSUE!

Game Date: 7/18/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 30
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

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

The Session:
We started with a little downtime, during which each of us did some carousing.  Tai and Maruca became legendary carousers, but Fellany and Bjertha didn't fare so well.  Once we'd have enough fun, we got ready to start our search for the next shard.

We were to travel to Windsong Abbey, which is known for its lighthouse, and for hosting Clerics from all over.  One the way we were to stop at a small town called Sandpoint, to meet with a fortune teller named Pilla Linuveshi.  It took a couple of days to reach Sandpoint, where we met Pilla at the tavern.  She told us she'd recently seen a giant, and had found a blood-soaked cap.  The cap was the style that is often worn by Redcaps, a violent breed of fey.

We continued our trip.  A couple more days on the road and we reached a scene of devastation.  Houses had been destroyed and fields had been burned.  The abbey's lighthouse still stood behind a high wall.  The wall itself was partially crumbled and its gate stood wide open.  In one of the nearby houses we found a pair of sleeping Hill Giants.  While we readied a plan, an Ettin approached.

Tai shoved her Immovable Rod into a sleeping giant's nose.  This could have been a difficult fight except the DM kept rolling ones.  Tai killed one Hill Giant, Fellany killed another, and Meruca finished off the Ettin... right around the time reinforcements arrived.  Two more Hill Giants and another Ettin joined the battle.  After a few more rounds we finished them off too.

After the fight, Tai climbed the battered wall to assess the situation.  Around the abbey, more buildings had been ruined, and she saw a few more giants waiting for us.  She came back and told us what we'd face, and we discussed our options.  We had Carlie turn invisible, intending to fireball the giants, but by the time she reached them they were hiding in the ruined buildings.  So Carlie retreated, Tai ran in and got the giants' attention. 

It was yet another Ettin and pair of Hill Giants.  A few turns into the battle, Carlie managed to get off her fireball, killing a Hill Giant.  We made short work of the rest, and headed into the abbey.  Tai ran ahead to scout each room.  As we followed her, the ceiling collapsed on the rest of us.  We could hear snickering from up above us, so we searched for stairs to the upper level.

Tai and Meruca were first up the stairs, where they met four Redcaps.  These guys were pretty tough. They each had two attacks per turn, and could only be damaged by cold iron weapons.  The Redcaps started the battle by hitting us with a fear effect, which Slancio and Fellany failed.  Slancio saved after one round, but by then he was so far away he spent a couple of rounds getting back to the party.  Meanwhile, Fellany barricaded herself in a room, and missed all but the tail end of the battle.

Bjertha went down several times in the fight, her party members healing her mostly so they'd have an extra meatshield.  Slancio used a Heat Metal spell on a Redcap's iron boots, which was super effective.  As usual, Meruca and Tai did the most damage.  It took some doing, but we wore them down and finished them off.  We ended the session there.  We haven't rested or done any post-battle healing yet.

Reminders: We each received 5,333 xp, bringing most of us up to 44,686.  Also, we each received 4 renown points.  There is no game next week. 

Shattered Star: ...Aaaand We're Back.

Game Date: 7/11/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 29
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

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

The Session:
To recap, we got our asses kicked last session.  Bjertha, Meruca, and Carlie were dead.  Fellany, Slancio, and Tai were at zero hit points in a hostile environment.  Today, Slancio opened his eyes to find an undead woman squatting over him.  She seemed friendly, though she had gone through our backpacks and collected all our gold.  Slancio got up, rummaged through his backpack for his last few healing potions, and used them to revive Fellany and Tai.  Then they gathered up all their belongings (including their fallen comrades) and went back through the portal.

Back at the library, Slancio realized he'd need the gold to get us raised.  So he asked the undead woman for our gold back.  It looked like there was going to be a fight, but Slancio rolled a 30 on his persuasion check, and the woman agreed to take a much smaller share of the gold.  Then Slancio pointed her to the undead-friendly parts of town and she went on her way.

The next order of business was to raise the dead party members.  Bjertha and Carlie just got raised normally, but Meruca got reincarnated as an Elf.  They also went ahead and got rid of Bjertha's cursed sword.  We bought a few more supplies, then took a long rest before heading back to the pocket dimension.

In the other dimension, we explored the final few rooms of the keep.  We found the stables and a jet black carriage.  In a room containing a statue of the dark rider, Slancio tripped an arrow trap.  But he survived, and came away with a hideous new harp made from a dead pixie.  Meanwhile, Tai found a skeleton key hidden on the statue.

Next we looked in the room with the pool, where we fought the Mohrgs last session.  Tai tiptoed around the edge of the pool, looking for the source of something magical we had detected.  Behind a loose stone, she found a magic club.  We'd now double checked all the rooms we'd previously cleared, and it was time to open the last few doors we'd yet to explore.

We used the skeleton key on some double doors.  The next room was empty except for a small round well.  We could hear a hum coming from somewhere, and the water detected as magical.  We tried a few things, but could figure out what the pool had to do with anything, so we continued on.  There was another set of double doors on the other side of the room, which also opened with the skeleton key.

In the final room we saw a horrifying pillar, made of both mechanical and organic parts.  Integrated into the pillar were the corpses of three angelic beings.  At the top of the pillar was our prize - the Shard of Gluttony.  Once we took the shard, the entire dimension started to shake.  Maruca and Carlie failed a save and were inflicted with the "Curse of Living Death" (disadvantage on CHA checks, and treated as undead for certain effects).

We headed back to the portal to leave the dimension.  As we approached the portal, we encountered our questgivers.  A Chrestomath (brain) and two Caulborns.  They demanded the shard, and we had to fight them.  We tried to control their movement with Evard's Black Tentacles and Entangle spells.  We concentrated on the brain first, doing our best to keep him from using mind powers on us. 

Meruca was hit with a confusion spell early on, but kept rolling high on her confusion rolls, allowing her to act normally.  Tai finished off the brain after a couple of rounds.  Carlie hit the two Caulborns with a lightning bolt.  Meruca annihilated the final monster with a hit that did 30 damage (even though the monster only had 2 hp left at the time).  The battle over, we tried to use the portal.

Nope.  It was powered by the creatures we just killed.  Now we had no way home, and the dimension continued to shudder like it would dissipate soon.  So now we went back over every room with a fine toothed comb, trying to find what we'd missed.  In one secret door we found a jet black longsword (undead bane), and a helmet with ram horns (hat of disguise).  In another room we found a picture that kept changing landscapes.  We thought it might be an alternate portal, but no, it was basically just a screensaver.

We tried driving the carriage, but that didn't accomplish anything.  In the library, we found a magic book and a magic pair of women's legs (the less said about, the better).  We went back to the well, to see if maybe it was a portal.  No, it was actually regenerating the body of the dark rider.  But we did realize that the room's hum wasn't coming from the well.  The hum led us to a secret door, filled with the machinery that keeps this keep running.  A bit more searching, and we found some scrolls of Plane Shift, which we used to get back home.

Instead of transporting back to Kaer Maga, we skipped the long ride home and transported straight to Magnimar. We found ourselves on the city's giant bridge.  We headed back to Heidmarch Manor to update Sheila, took some downtime, removed Meruca's and Carlie's curse, and prepared for the next leg of the campaign.  Next session we'll begin the quest for the next shard.  Our search will begin at a place called Windsong Abbey.

XP:  We each received 1950 experience points, bringing us up to 39,353.

Shattered Star: Heads Will Roll

Game Date: 6/6/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 28
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

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

The Session:
When we left off, we were exploring the Black Keep in the pocket dimension.  We had just finished fighting a pair of Hungry Fogs and a Manananggal (porcupine guy).  It was a tough encounter which left us low on hit points.  Today we continued to explore the keep and get our asses kicked.

In one room we found a library.  There we encountered a corpsey-looking guy with a big forehead.  He introduced himself as Maligast of Eox, and told us he was doing his own research on the shards.  He sensed that we carried a few of the shards ourselves, and politely offered to take them off our hands after killing us.  We turned down the offer and the fight began.

At first it looked like it was going to be a deadly battle, especially when he cast Cloudkill.  But we managed to break his concentration enough to dispell the effect before it did too much damage.  We took him out quickly, possibly using more resources than we should have because he looked tougher than he really was.  Still, we were hurting, and we decided to attempt a short rest.  We suspected it wouldn't work, but we had to be sure.

No luck.  Before we could benefit from a rest, three wraiths phased into the room.  They weren't hard to kill, but it did convince us not to try resting again.  We kept on exploring, next finding a large dining hall occupied by six Shadow Mastiffs.  Carlie won initiative, throwing a fireball into the pack.  Unfortunately they were resistant to fire, but it still took them down a few hit points.  Then Slancio hit three of them with Faerie Fire, allowing Bjertha to slaughter one on her turn.

Once we'd killed four of them, a door opened and the Dark Rider entered.  He wielded a spinal column as a flail, and rode a rather bitey horse.  We were doing well at first, but then he used his signature move.  He hurled his head at us, doing huge area damage (41 damage, half on a save).  This brought Bjertha down to zero, and the Rider took Bjertha's head and put it on his belt.

Then Bjertha's body turned into another Shadow Mastiff and attacked the party.  Tai charmed the Rider for one turn, giving us a few seconds to breathe easier.  Meruca used Mage Hand to pickpocket Bjertha's head, but she didn't keep it long.  When the Rider could act again, he killed Meruca, taking both her head and Bjertha's for his collection.  Then Meruca's body became another Mastiff.

Carlie hit the Dark Rider with a lightning bolt, bringing him down just low enough for Fellany to finish him off.  The party finished off the final two Mastiffs, and pondered what to do next.  They took stock of all the healing potions left in the party and downed a few.  Then they put Meruca's and Bjertha's bodies into a bag of holding.  They considered heading back, but we'd been warned not to leave the pocket dimension unless absolutely necessary.  We'd already killed the Rider, what could possibly be worse here?

...yeah.  In the next room, the party met Olanna the Nuckelavee, the Black Rider's consort.  Her body was fused at the waist to a skinless horse, and she angrily accused us of murdering her lover.  During the fight she used a powerful breath weapon, which took down everyone but Tai.  For the next few rounds, Olanna chased Tai around the keep, through different rooms, and finally out of the building.

Meanwhile, Slancio, Fellany, and Carlie were making death saves.  Slancio and Fellany stabilized, but Carlie failed three saves and died.  Tai tried to reenter the keep only find the door locked.  So she climbed the nearby tower, jumped back down and came in through the side door.  On her next turn she finished off Olanna. 

Tai used healing potions to revive Slancio and Fellany.  They kept exploring, with Tai scouting ahead.  In one room there was a statue of the Rider, and a musical instrument hanging on the wall.  Tai was afraid it might be a trap, so she left that room alone.  On another wall in the keep, there was a small round stone.  It was the same size and shape as some marbles we'd found earlier.  Touching a marble to the stone on the wall caused the stone to fall off, so they kept it.  Then they went around collecting other similar stones they'd noticed.

In one room there was a pool, with something magical underwater.  Tai stepped into the pool and was attacked by three Mohrgs.  These long-tongued skeletons grappled Tai, while Fellany ran to her rescue.  Fellany grabbed Tai and pulled her out of the room, but fearless Tai just ran right back in and kept fighting.  They soon realized the Mohrgs were vulnerable to bludgeoning damage, so Fellany switched to her flail.

...but before she did much damage with it, Fellany went down.  Slancio went down soon after, leaving Tai alone against the foes.  She used her great speed as best as she could, crossing the room a few times and trying to stay just out of their reach.  But then she misjudged how far to move on one turn, and a Mohrg caught up to her.  The creature got in one final hit, bringing Tai down.

We ended the session there.  Bjertha, Meruca, and Carlie are dead.  Slancio, Fellany, and Tai are at zero hit points but still breathing.  We've been instructed not to roll up new characters, so we'll just have to see how things unfold next session.

Reminders:
Our next session isn't until July 11th.  For those interested, June 20th is Free RPG Day.

Shattered Star: Mananana(nggal)! Do dooooo do do do...

Game Date: 5/30/2015
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 27
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (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

Full party today.  Left to right: Bjertha, Tai, Carlie, Fellany, Slancio, Maruca
The Session:
When we left off last week, a friendly brain was about to teleport us into a pocket dimension, which is not a sentence I've had to type very often.  We arrived in the Dark Forest, standing by a trail that led to the Black Keep.  The keep was a fine example of bizarrchitecture, with many wings that had been added with no structural support, stubbornly refusing to obey the laws of gravity.

Immediately after our arrival, we were attacked by two swarms of rot grubs.  These could not be harmed by our physical weapons, so we moved away from them.   Meruca got hit and several grubs burrowed into her skin.  The swarms moved slowly, so we kept our distance while Carlie used Burning Hands and Slancio viciously mocked them.  Bjertha burned Meruca's grubs with a torch, and eventually Carlie used Shocking Grasp to painfully cure Meruca.

Meanwhile, a trio of flying Wyverns joined the fight.  They had poisonous bites, which one immediately used on Slancio.  Tai teleported onto the back of one Wyvern, grappling and stabbing it with glee.  Then Tai stunned her mount, causing it to crash to the ground.  Fellany finished off Tai's mount while Bjertha killed another Wyvern.

All the while we were still playing keep away with the grub swarms.  Carlie hit them with spell after spell, until they finally dissipated.  The final Wyvern perched on top of the keep, and Tai tried her mounting trick again.  This time she rode the Wyvern into an area behind one of the keep's walls, out of our view.  When the Wyvern finally resurfaced and attacked the main party, Slancio finished it off.

Tai's adventure behind the wall allowed her to find a side door, which we used to enter the keep.  We entered a great hall, with sculptures of a headless knight and suits of armor in the corners.  Tai went back outside to get something when the doors slammed shut, separating her from the party.  A green mist fumed out from the suits of armor, coalescing into two large foggy shapes.  Then a head with bat wings flew into the room.  We faced a pair of Hungry Fogs, and a Manananggal.

Slancio cast Knock at the front door, alerting Tai so she could join the fight.  First we ganged up on the Manananananawhatever, until Tai killed it.  This left us with just the fogs.  They only had +2 to their attack rolls, so it looked like an easy fight...  until Fellany failed a fear save, fleeing until she opened the next door, triggering the next encounter early.  This side room held a porcupine-person called a Pukwudgie, and four Wights. 

This is where things got difficult.  The Wights were hard enough as it was, but they could heal themselves by entering the fogs, making for a deadly combination.  Carlie, Fellany, and Bjertha all went down at least once this fight, nearly staying down for good.  Tai killed one fog, then used her great speed to rescue Carlie from the thick of things.  Meruca, Slancio, Carlie, and Tai went out the front door and attacked from a distance, but the Wraiths followed them out the door and off the battlemat.

Once the fogs were gone we did a little healing and started to make some progress.  Bjertha, Slancio, Meruca, and Tai each killed one Wraith, and Meruca finished off the porcupine guy.  We ended the session there, licking our wounds and taking stock of our immediate surroundings.  We would really like at least a short rest, but in this hostile dimension it might not be in the cards.

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.