Saturday, November 26, 2016

OAWYM: Decisions, Decisions...

Game Date: 11/26/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 14
System: Shadow of the Demon Lord
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Byzun (Gary) - Human Sorcerer
Grim Stormheart (Eric) - Dwarf Assassin
Malcer (Graham) - Human Warlock
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Orc Paladin
Dene Ledford - Val's Companion
Tatio - Malcer's Companion

The Session:
I missed last session, but I'm told they continued to party in town, met lots of new people, and Byzun got in a fight with a false prophet. Today the High Priest of Sarthal met with Byzun.  The priest asked about battle with the prophet, and gave Byzun a pouch full of money.  When the hour of the Feast arrived, we all put on our formal attire, and enjoyed a night of food, shmoozing, and dancing.

Dene wanted to dance with Val as much as possible, but other guests kept cutting in.  One woman in particular kept asking Val to dance, which angered Dene.  Val managed to calm Dene down, promising to dance with him more in the future.  (Note to self: Decide Val's sexual orientation.)  Later in the night, as our party all sat down together, Dame Gold joined us and asked a favor.  She wanted us to meet her just before dawn, to discuss another job.  We got in a night's rest, and went to meet with the Dame.

Gold swore us to absolute secrecy, then revealed that her brother was stricken with lycanthropy.  This brother, Hassan Gold, was currently bedridden in another city, on an island about a week's journey away.  Dame Gold gave us a potion that would cure Hassan's disease.  The catch is that it only has about 40 days of potency left, so time is of the essence.  The current protector of the potion, a Dwarf named Grim, was assigned to join us.  We left right away, riding towards a coastal town where we intended to book a ship.

After a few hours on the road, we realized we were being followed.  One of Gold's servants was riding hard to catch up with us.  His horse gave out and we turned around to speak to him.  "Disaster!" he gasped, and told us that Gold's manor had been raided and burned.  We rode back and investigated.  The manor was indeed now in ruins, many were dead, and many more were missing.  The Dame was nowhere to be found.

We looked for clues.  Rumor had it that the raiders left in ships with black sails.  We found a dead raider, who sported a blue and orange fish tattoo.  We discovered a journal in his possession, poorly written but still useful.  Between the journal entries and the direction the ships were seen retreating, we estimated where we could find the raiders.  Having memorized the contents of the journal, Malcer handed it over to the guards.

So now we faced a big decision.  Two possible quests - Continue to deliver the cure to Hassan, or follow the raiders and hopefully rescue Dame Gold?  It was a tough call, and we talked it over for a bit.

Hassan's medicine delivery had a strict time limit, due both to the potency of the potion and the advancement of his disease.  Besides, even if we did rescue the Dame, she probably wouldn't be too happy to see us if it meant we'd let her brother die.  On the other hand, if Dame Gold dies, there will be no one to pay us for saving Hassan.  And Gold's situation might have an even tighter schedule than Hassan's.  It's hard to say since we don't even know who has her and what they're planning to do with her.

We finally decided Hassan was the more pressing of the two.  We booked an inn in town, intending to leave at first light.  Before bed, we sat down in the inn's tavern to talk about the situation.  Soon a messenger entered and told Val to meet him outside.  Val went out alone, but told Dene to watch from the door.  When Val got outside, the messenger was gone, but a Tiefling was waiting for her.

He told her that the Iron Circle wasn't finished, and handed her a bloody sack.  The bag contained the head of one of our former contacts, a man who had helped us fight the Iron Circle earlier.  Then the Tiefling drew his sword.  Val charged, and the fight was on.  Dene reentered the inn and alerted the rest of the party.  Meanwhile, a Dark Adept and an Iron Defender joined the fight outside.

The fight lasted a few rounds.  Val hit the Tiefling with Divine Smite, taking off a large chunk of hit points.  Most of the party surrounded the Iron Defender, and Tatio finished it off when it provoked an opportunity attack.  The Dark Adept channeled "The Fury of the Demon Lord", which amplified his powers.  Byzun kept losing control of his magic, making small explosions at the end of each round, one of which finished off the Tiefling.

The Dark Adept cast a large zone of darkness, but Grim and Val had no problem seeing in it, so they continued to whack at him.  Tatio dealt the killing blow, ending the battle.  We stood there a moment, pondering the ramifications of this encounter.

So... at this very moment, the Iron Circle might be reasserting their power back in Albridge, rendering our previous victory moot.  Meanwhile, Hassan Gold is dying and needs the medicine in our possession.  And meanwhile, Dame Gold may be the captive of raiders, facing an uncertain fate.  Three possible quests, all needing immediate attention.

We turned in for the night, and ended the session there.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

OAWYM: Here's Your Skull

Game Date: 11/12/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 12
System: Shadow of the Demon Lord
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Byzun (Gary) - Human Sorcerer
Robb (Daniel) - Human Rogue
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Orc Paladin
Dene Ledford - Val's Companion

The Session:
Last week we defeated Lord Nazin Redthorn, and returned to town. We did a few things in town and prepared to head for Sarthel, where we're supposed to deliver a magic skull.  We were also pursuing some of the remaining Iron Circle terrorists, but they had a couple of days head start. 

We left a few party members in Albridge to help wrap things up, but they'll catch up to us later.  After half a day on horseback, we passed through Harken village, where everyone was putting out fires and tending to their wounded.  The Iron Circle had attempted to torch the village on their way through. 

We kept on, eventually camping in the Elven woods.  Just before dawn, we saw some magical sparks around our campfire, and heard some laughter.  Some invisible fey creatures were teasing us.  Val set out some treats for them, and they left us alone.  We rode on through the day.

The next night, a giant spider called a Shadoweaver attacked us during the night.  It had the ability to vanish at will, and it did so after every attack.  It had some powerful poison attacks, but we outnumbered it and took it down in a couple of rounds.  Robb managed to harvest some spidersilk from the corpse.  The next morning we continued our ride.

The next town was called Bell Well.  It had a lot of empty buildings, but the remaining population was pleasant enough.  We stopped at a saloon/pawn shop called "The Cock and Balls".  The proprietor was very friendly, and we bought some potions and had a nice meal before resuming our trek. 

The woods thinned out and we rode on through some meadows, until we reached a crossroads.  There we faced a group of Iron Circle soldiers.  Two Lackeys, another iron dog, and a Watch Commander.  We thought it was going to be a fight, but we managed to convince them that we'd been sent by Lord Nazin.  They let us pass and we rode on.

We reached a caravan of merchants called the "White House".  It was the same merchant company that had hired us earlier, and they let us join them.  The next five days were uneventful, and we finally reached Sarthel, the City of Silver.  It was impressive, larger and fancier than any cities we'd visited to date.  As we entered we were warned that the unauthorized use of magic is not allowed in this city.

We asked the White House where to find our contact, Dame Gold.  We were directed to a large manor in the nicest section of town.  The Dame greeted us and led us into her lab, where she opened the box and examined the skull.  Satisfied with the artifact, she paid us and asked us to stay for a while.  There is a party coming up in a few days, "The Feast of Edoira", and she would like us to attend.  We agreed, and she even gave us a little extra money to buy some nice clothes.

We did a bit of shopping in town, and ended the session.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

OAWYM: Have Fun Storming The Castle

Game Date: 11/5/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 11
System: Shadow of the Demon Lord
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Byzun (Gary) - Human Sorcerer
Corbin (Daniel) - Human Wizard
Falling Leaf (Skye) - Pixie Sorcerer
Malcer (Graham) - Human Oracle
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Orc Paladin

NPC Companions:
Dene Ledford - Val's Companion
Robb - Corbin's Companion
Tatio - Malcer's Companion

The Session:
I missed one session, in which we escaped from prison and rescued the Baron Stockmer from his own keep.  Today we returned to the keep so we could confront the evil Lord Nazin Redthorn.  The pixie Falling Leaf joined our party, and we approached the keep after dark.  We considered several plans before finally sending in our invisible pixie friend.

Falling Leaf went in through one of the arrow slits, and saw several sleeping Iron Circle soldiers.  She explored several rooms of the keep, passing through the kitchen and going up two flights of stairs.  On the third floor she found a room full of enemies, including a clockwork dog.  The dog detected Falling Leaf, so she proceeded back down the stairs as fast as possible. 

She returned to the party and gave us the layout of the keep.  We decided to sneak in and take out the sleeping guards.  Falling Leaf used a shrink spell on the door, and we entered through the kitchen.  One of the guards was awake, and the fight was on.  After we took him out, we went into the adjoining room and killed the sleeping soldiers there.  Then we started up the stairs.

On the second floor we fought two more soldiers, one of which started knocking loudly on a side door.  We finished him off, but the door opened revealing a room full of foes, and more enemies started coming down the stairs from the third floor.  We faced several assorted baddies, including a Tiefling spellcaster, that mechanical dog, and Lord Nazin himself. 

The battle took a while, and it was difficult because of the layout of the room.  With the one doorway and the narrow stairs, we had to do a bit of repositioning to let all our melee fighters reach the enemies.  Falling Leaf had a plethora of healing spells and kept us on our feet.  Lord Nazin had a lot of hit points, but we managed to keep him prone and blinded for much of the battle.  Our most dangerous foe was the Tiefling, because she kept casting dangerous spells.

Eventually we finished off Nazin.  Corbin dealt the final blow.  But then the Tiefling cast a spell that made Corbin's eyeballs explode.  He is now permanently blind, at least until we find a way to regenerate his eyes.  When it was down to three enemies, one of them fled, provoking three OAs which killed him. The final two enemies surrendered.  We tied up the prisoners, took Nazin's head, and returned to town.

Afterthoughts:
So far this has been a D&D 5e campaign, but today we decided to play using Shadow of the Demon Lord rules.  I'm enjoying learning the new system.  I love D&D 5e, but I also like shiny new things and this one is pretty interesting.  I like the simplicity of it, and the variety of races.  I hope to play a pixie of my own at some point. 

The fact that it was so easy to make Corbin's eyes explode is a bit of a concern for me.  I'm not a very hardcore player, and at our level we shouldn't be facing a lot of "save or die" spells.  But SotL appears to be a more deadly system than D&D.  Officially I'm not fond of tough systems like that, but it fits the mood I've been in lately.  Only time will tell if I enjoy playing this as much as D&D, but for now I'm happy to give it a few months.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Shadow of the Demon Lord: First Impressions

Game Date: 10/22/2016
Location: The Game Keep
System: Shadow of the Demon Lord
DM: Rusty

The Party:
B'omarr (Matt) - Clockwork
Grakas (Gary) - Gnome
Torstein (Daniel) - Jotun/Skinchanger

The Session:
Today we didn't have enough people for our normal game, so we tried out a new game - well, new to me, anyway.  Not knowing much about the system, I decided to roll all of my character's traits randomly, including the race (or "ancestry").  I was pleasantly surprised at how quick character creation was.

I ended up with a spider-shaped construct with a religious background.  A devotee and temple ward of the "Cult of the New God", he was the last survivor when a plague wiped out his temple.  Now he wanders the world looking for a place to fit in. He has a strange and unsettling appearance, and has a determined and obnoxious personality.  I named him B'omarr, and if anyone at the table got the Star Wars reference, they didn't mention it.

My companions were a gnome named Grakas, and a giant wereboar named Torstein. We were an odd looking party, with Torstein towering over the rest of us.  We had been hired to protect a caravan which was on its way to a small town called Fletcher's Rest.  A group of bandits had ambushed the caravan, and the three of us had fled into the woods.  We began the session lost in the woods, hoping to find our way to town.

We spent a long time wandering through the woods, making really bad checks, and climbing trees to get our bearings.  Eventually we came upon the bandit camp, but saw more enemies than we thought we could handle, and retreated without being seen.  We kept wandering until it was too dark to continue, and we camped for the night.

The next day we continued getting lost, until finally five bandits attacked us.  As the fight began, Torstein picked up both Grakas and B'omarr and tried to make a run for it.  It was a hilarious sight, this giant fleeing from the humans, holding a gnome and a mechanical spider under his arms.  The bandits were faster than us, so we didn't get too far.  We did manage to leave two of the bandits behind, but the other three stayed on us.

We realized we weren't going to be able to stay away from them, so we fought.  We traded blow for blow until there was only one bandit left.  It was close, but we managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  As the largest target, Torstein went down first.  Grakas and B'omarr kept on hitting, but we just couldn't hack it.  With his last breath, Grakas exploded (apparently gnomes can do that here), which finished off our party but not the bandit.  TPK.

Afterthoughts and First Impressions:
Shadow of the Demon Lord is a very interesting game, but I didn't get to see a lot of the really distinctive elements of the system.  So forgive me if I'm way off base on some of my impressions.  Before the game I jumped around the rulebook, skimming here, skipping there, and giving a few sections an in-depth reading.  But that's no substitute for actual gameplay, and I can't wait to see more.

I'm not in love with the title of the game.  "Shadow of the Demon Lord" sounds more like a module than a system.  However, I'm used to playing games with more universal applications - meaning, D&D rules work well for a lot of different fantasy universes (Greyhawk, Dark Sun, Eberron, etc).  But SotDL's rules appear to be designed to complement the world in which it takes place, and might be more difficult to divorce from the setting.  In that context, "Shadow of the Demon Lord" is a perfectly appropriate title, but it still wouldn't have been my first choice.

I notice the rulebook has a Forward, a Preface, and an Introduction... clearly these people have difficulty getting things started.  But now I'm nitpicking.  My next issue was that there weren't enough races in the core rulebook.  I've since learned that there are a lot more in the splatbooks, but I'm such a fan of fantastic races that I would have liked more available in the core book.  I do like how they allow humans to have a wide variety of unusual skin colors. 

There are several unusual mechanics, some of which I've considered in my own homebrew RPG ideas.  At level one, you don't have a class, just your race.  You don't get experience points, instead the entire party levels when it seems appropriate to the story.  There is no rolling initiative, instead the party goes in whatever order they like, partly based on how many things they want to do on their turn.  These are all really fun things, I definitely approve. 

There's a boon/bane system for adding extra d6's to help/hurt your d20 rolls.  It's interesting, but I haven't decided if I like it yet.  Rolling multiple d6's and only taking the largest roll is a great way to set a maximum result (6), but still have a point to rolling extra dice (for the extra chances of getting that 6).  It keeps the math from getting out of hand but still motivates you to get as many boons as possible.  Not long ago I was telling a friend about the “Hero Kids RPG” (I keep hoping he’ll try to get his kid interested in RPGs, but it ain’t gonna happen), which uses that sort of rolling throughout.

I did not get to see the Insanity rules in action, which is a shame because it looks like a major part of the system.  Whenever I see “Insanity” on a character sheet, I know it’s going for a specific genre.  Most systems have sanity rules in there somewhere (even if it’s just effects from specific monsters), but if they actually have you track it on the character sheet, you can expect it to be used with some regularity. 

I’m generally skeptical of insanity rules, because I’m afraid some DMs will overuse the concept.  I think some will have you have you roll sanity checks in situations that most people would find scary and disgusting, but not necessarily insanity-inducing.  Call of Cthulhu gets a pass because the creatures actually have psychic powers that can damage mental stability.  I assume SotDL’s universe has something similar (probably involving the eponymous Demon Lord and the whole “the end of the world is coming” theme), but I haven’t seen those elements yet.

Exactly what has the potential to drive people insane is obviously going to vary from person to person.  I once knew someone who lost four family members simultaneously (both parents, sibling and sibling’s spouse), due to a bad car wreck.  She had a nervous breakdown, quit her job, and moved to another state to live with some other family members.  Of course she didn’t go insane, but it was a few weeks before she could handle the stresses of everyday life.

I recently read the creepypasta “NoEnd House” (because it’s going to be a TV miniseries next year), and while it’s no “The Shining”, it had some imagery in there that I could see challenging someone’s sanity.

And now that I've typed all that it occurs to me that I'm basically talking about the plot of "The Killing Joke".  The Joker has a very bad day and it drives him insane, so he wants to prove that everyone's sanity is just as fragile.  But his experiment fails, because that's not how sanity works.  It's not just about bad experiences or seeing something brutal.  For most, there's either a chemical imbalance in the brain, or an entire childhood full of unhealthy experiences that keep the adult mind from being able to handle stress.  In the Joker's case, it could have been either of those (or something else), and his bad day was just the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm not saying an adult can't be driven insane by a few isolated incidents, but I doubt it's common enough to be tracked on a character sheet.

Note I feel the same way about fear effects in D&D.  If a creature has a magical fear aura, fine.  But being afraid just because it’s a dragon or zombie – when that character is a professional warrior who has already defeated both creature types in the past – is silly.  It just seems sort of random to me when this brave fighter hacks his way through dozens of monster-filled rooms, then suddenly turns around and flees because this monster’s a little scarier looking.  But in "All Flesh Must Be Eaten" (for example), the fear effects made a lot more sense. It's all about the setting.

Anyway, I obviously have strong feelings about the how insanity and fear are instituted in RPGs, but I'll hold of judgement here until I've seen it in action.

Final Thoughts:
I don't know if I would want to play this game indefinitely.  D&D will probably always be my go-to game for long running campaigns.  But I'd love to play SotDL for a few months at a time.  It looks simple enough to learn quickly, and it uses several ideas I would have thought of myself.  It's a bit dark for my tastes, in fact the entire setting is depressing to the core.  As a fan of optimistic stories, I don't know if my psyche could take this degree of grimdark week after week.  But overall it looks like a blast to play.   And lets face it, I automatically approve of any system where gnomes explode.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

OAWYM: Not Our Finest Hour

Game Date: 8/27/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 9
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Corbin (Daniel) - Human Cleric/Wizard
Byzun (Gary) - Human Sorcerer
Malcer (Graham) - Human Warlock
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Half-Orc Paladin

NPC Companions:
Dene Ledford - Val's Companion
Robb - Corbin's Companion
Tatio - Malcer's Companion

The Session:
We began the session still at war.  The Iron Circle have been advancing on Albridge, and last week we fought a couple of skirmishes.  Today we took a short rest and kept on going.  Since their players weren't present, Marcella and Tamir headed for town to help the fight there, while the rest of us proceeded to a more active battlefield.

This group was led by a Champion, local leader of the Iron Circle.  We also faced several of his Rabble minions, a Brigand (who was ordered to protect the Champion's horse), and a pair of Tar Devils.  We won initiative, but didn't manage to get much accomplished in the first round.  On the Champion's first round, he hit Val hard and she went down.  Bad omen.  Corbin revived Val with a healing potion on his turn, but next round she went right back down again, along with Corbin.  Finally Dene revived Val, who revived Corbin.

We discovered the Champion was more powerful when adjacent to his teammates, so we decided to take out those weaker minions as quickly as possible.  Malcer dropped three Rabble at once with Burning Hands, and we gradually picked off a couple more.  The final Rabble did an impressive job of surviving, taking multiple hits and nearly escaping before going down. Val tried using her Channel Divinity to turn the Tar Devils, but they both made their saving throws.

Corbin concentrated his attacks on the Brigand, who was too busy protecting the horse to fight back much.  Once Corbin managed to get a good hit in, and used that opportunity to hop on the horse and ride away.  His companion Robb also disengaged and fled.  The rest of us were unconscious by this point.  Having won the battle, the evil Champion stabilized us and took us prisoner.  Corbin and Robb returned to Albridge, where the battle was almost over.

With their leader distracted by us, the people of Albridge had managed to drive away their foes.  The Iron Circle returned to their keep (Harkenwold), with their prisoners. We ended the session there.

Coming up:
Val, Byzun, Malcer, Dene, and Tatio are now prisoners being held in the keep. Either they will try to escape from within, or Corbin, Robb, Tamir, and Marcella will try to break them out.  Or perhaps both will happen at the same time. On the bright side, we've received the benefits of an extended rest.

Will they try to sneak into the keep or go for a frontal assault?  Will the people of Albridge help us in our rescue attempts?  Will the now-fired Brigand change sides and help us out?  Tune in next week!

Sneak preview of the keep.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

OAWYM: War!

Game Date: 8/20/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 8
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Corbin (Daniel) - Human Clizard
Byzun (Gary) - Human Sorcerer
Malcer (Graham) - Human Warlock
Marcella (Lanessa) - Human Bard
Tamir (Other Matt) - Human Archer
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Half-Human Paladin

NPC Companions:
Dene Ledford - Val's Companion
Robb - Corbin's Companion
Tatio - Malcer's Companion

The Session:
Last week we killed an undead wizard.  Today we took a long rest, then returned to our Elven questgivers.  This secured our relationship with the Elves, who agreed to send fifty archers to aid our war with the Iron Circle.  Having sealed this agreement, we returned to our Druid questgiver.  The Druid told us to head back to town to see the Dar, the leader of the resistance.

The Iron Circle's army was marching towards the town.  We had two days to plan before they got here.  The resistance had gathered fighters from various nearby farms and towns.  We discussed various traps, making the bridge into a chokepoint, where to put barricades, and combat tactics.  When we finally felt we were ready, we skipped forward to the battle itself. 

We hard our first skirmish in a farmhouse before the bridge.  As several soldiers marched by, we caught their attention and rolled initiative.  We faced twelve foes, including an acid-spitting drake.  The drake won initiative, taking off half of Val's hit points with his lethal loogie.  We had a decent opening round - Tamir killed one right off, and Marcella and Malcer each hit multiple targets with Shatter. 

But the drake kept using his acid spit, which would harm several of us at once with its splash damage.  And the head soldier had a sweeping blow move that could hit all adjacent targets.  So we did well, but we took a lot of damage.  It finally came down to the boss, one soldier, and the drake.  Val took out the boss, and the remaining soldier tried to make a run for it.  Corbin's companion Rob ended up finishing off both the soldier and the drake.

We managed to squeeze in a short rest while we traveled to the next battle point.  One of the resistance rode up to us and told us Dar needed our help.  He pointed us in the right direction, and warned us that some of our enemies weren't human.  We caught up to the fight, and faced nine enemies.  It was a mix of cutthroats, rabble, a cleric, and two "Tar Devils" (which we dubbed "Tarduckens"). 

The Tar Devils were particularly vicious.  They could restrain us in flaming nets, pulling us to them where there was a zone of flaming tar.  They were also resistant to our weapons.  Several of us went down multiple times in this fight, and we used up almost all of our healing resources.  The evil cleric kept hitting Val with "Inflict Wounds" which took her down to zero twice.  Eventually Val delivered the killing blow to the cleric. 

Rob killed the last cutthroat, leaving us with just the two Tar Devils.  It was especially stressful because whenever a Tar Devil brought one of us down to zero, that meant the unconscious body was adjacent to them in their damage-inducing zone.  This meant our death saves would auto fail, so we had to try to rescue downed party members as quickly as possible.  The zone also slowed us down, so it was that much harder to get away from them.  We kept our distance as best we could, but not all of us could do ranged damage.  Finally we finished them off - Tamir killing one, and Rob dropping the other.

We got in one more short rest after this battle, and ended the session.  Unfortunately, we still have at least one more battle before we'll have the chance to take a long rest, and it looks like it will be a doozy.  With so many of us out of spells and healing options, it is mathematically improbable that we'll be able to survive the next fight.  But no guts, no glory, right?  Wish us luck.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

OAWYM: ElfQuest

Game Date: 8/13/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 7
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Corbin (Daniel) - Human Cleric/Wizard
Byzun (Gary) - Human Sorcerer
Malcer (Gary, subbing for Graham) - Human Warlock
Marcella (Lanessa) - Human Bard
Tamir (Other Matt) - Human Fighter Archer
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Half-Orc Paladin

NPC Companions:
Dene Ledford - Val's Companion
Robb - Corbin's Companion
Tatio - Malcer's Companion

The Session:
Last week we picked a fight with a town full of goblins - not the best idea - and barely avoided a TPK.  Today we continued our actual quest (well, subquest) of seeking out the "Woodsingers", a tribe of Elves who might help us defeat the Iron Circle.  We picked up a new party member, Corbin the Cleric/Wizard, and his companion, Robb the Rogue.

We headed into the forest, making a few survival chec - ...wait a minute, the rogue's name is Robb?  How did I miss that during the session? Anyway, we kept tromping through the forest, and of course with the noise we were making, it was the Elves who found us.  They told us to halt, and we explained our mission.  They took us to see their leader, Ariel. 

The Elves agreed to consider our request, but only if we would help them first.  Not far away was a ruined Elven sanctuary, now controlled by an undead wizard.  We were to cleanse the sanctuary of the wizard's presence.  Ariel gave us a vial of green dragon's blood, which would be required to teleport to the sanctuary.  The Elves gave us directions and sent us on our way.

After some travel, we saw our destination - a stone structure that looked suspiciously similar to the sundail we fought near a few sessions ago.  We could see the teleportation pedestal we needed to use, but unfortunately we could also see some goblins and giant spiders.  And worse, they saw us first. Most of our party members were surprised, and there were horrible initiative rolls on both sides.

The spiders skittered right up to us while the goblins fired at us from a distance.  Marcella killed all three goblins early on with a well-placed Shatter spell.  The spiders kept gumming us up with web attacks, but we kept at it and finished them off.  Once everything was dead, we poured the dragon blood on the pedestal, spoke some magic words, and teleported to the Elven sanctuary.

We appeared in a wizard's laboratory, surrounded by goblins.  There were also some caged rage drakes, and the leader was a goblin mage.  In the first round, the boss ordered his minions to release the drakes.  We used our area effect spells early to clear out the goblins.  Malcer and Byzun both took out multiple goblins with Shatter spells, and Corbin hit a couple with Thunderwave.  Tamir killed two goblins in the first round by using an action surge. 

Very soon we were down to the goblin leader and the drakes, but those drakes had a lot of hit points.  Then the leader jumped up on the table and cast a mass charm spell.  Roughly half the party was calmed.  They didn't turn on their friends, but they declined to spend any more time fighting.  But we dealt with it, and it looked like the battle wouldn't last much longer.

...And then the goblin leader cast Cloudkill.  For a few rounds we dealt with this large damaging zone.  Corbin and Robb went down at different times, but were healed within a round.  Then Val went down while inside the zone, which was nerve wracking because she could have died of massive damage if she started a turn in the cloud.  Some of the other party members tried rushing into the zone to pull her out, but then the the zone dropped when the boss lost his concentration.

Corbin finished off the boss with Booming Blade, only rolling 3 damage on the final blow.   At this point there was only one drake left, which was soon executed by Robb.  We took a short rest in the goblin mage's office, then investigated the doors to the next room.  There were two sets of doors, and both were locked.  Robb unlocked the left set of doors.

The next room contained a giant spider, two skeletons, and an undead wizard.  We could also see a partially assembled dragon skeleton.  Tamir tried firing off a shot at the wizard, who immediately hit him back with a Ray of Frost, before turning invisible.  We rolled initiative, and tried to wait for them to come to us.  Unfortunately they were uncooperative.  Tamir ran through the left doors to get a better shot, and fell into a pit trap. 

While Val helped Tamir out of the pit, some of the party members listened at the other set of doors.  They could barely hear some chanting, and with an arcana check determined that it was an attempt to reanimate the dragon skeleton.  We decided we couldn't risk waiting any longer, and had Robb unlock those doors as well.  Once opened, Corbin rushed through the right doorway... and fell into a pit trap. 

As soon as Corbin climbed out of his pit, the giant spider knocked him unconscious with a powerful poison attack.  Byzun killed one the skeletons with a single blow.  Then the undead wizard hit four of us with a Fireball spell, hurting us badly and taking Tamir down.  The giant spider leaped through the doorway, and attacked Dene, Malcer, and Robb with sticky webbing.  Dene spent several rounds trying to get the webbing off his face.

Malcer dealt a killing blow on the spider.  At this point the undead wizard was all that was left.  The wizard brought Byzun down to zero with a Magic Missile.  We kept attacking the wizard, but found that he was immune to non-magical weapons.  We kept at it, healing our wounded and using whatever attacks would damage the boss.  Finally the wizard used one last Fireball, but included himself in the zone.  This spell brought three of us down to zero, but killed the wizard as well.

We used up our remaining healing resources getting everyone back on their feet.  We searched the room, found some jewels and gold in a treasure chest, and took a long rest.  We ended the session there.

We each received 1118 xp, and 20 gp.  We also picked up some jewels and a nice ring that we'll sell/split later.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

OAWYM: Goblins, Goblins Everywhere!

Game Date: 8/6/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 6
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Byzun (Gary) - Human Sorcerer
Malcer (Graham) - Human Warlock
Marcella (Lanessa) - Human Bard
Tamir (Other Matt) - Human Fighter Archer
Thokk (Daniel) - Half-Orc Barbarian
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Half-Orc Paladin

The Session:
Last week we ended the session mid-battle, so today we just jumped right into things.  Thokk was down and making death saves, and Marcella had recently come running to his aid.  The rest of us were over by the cart, debating on whether to keep fighting or start running.  Meanwhile, the enemies ventured ever closer. 

We kept fighting.  Marcella healed Thokk, and Val ran up to drag him back to the cart.  Then she went down herself.  The enemy Adept critted on Tamir with an Inflict Wounds spell, doing a ton of damage.  We healed everyone as best we could, and kept going.  Every round we discussed running off, but it just never worked out.  We refused to leave anyone behind, and some of us (*cough* Thokk *cough*) just wouldn't flee. 

But things got better.  Thokk finished off the Defender (mechanical doggie), and Val brought down the Adept with a Divine Smite.  Byzun Thunderwaved a couple of enemies off the bridge, and the remaining foes started to flee.  Tamir drove the cart towards the fleeing enemies, running over one of them.  Val killed the final enemy with a javelin, and we rode back to town.

Back in Albridge, we went directly to the resistance, who weren't too happy with us.  Riding straight to their hideout in our battle-worn, arrow-strewn cart might not have been as inconspicuous as they would have liked.  Still, they gratefully took the weapons and armor we'd gathered from our fallen enemies.  To throw off suspicion, we had them mock-chase us out of town.  Next we headed for the Druid's grove.

The Druid let us take a long rest in her care.  Then she told us about some Elves called the "Woodsingers", in a forest not too far away.  She wanted us to head there to recruit them to help fight the Iron Circle. She suggested we not take the cart, as it would draw too much attention.  She gave us directions to the forest, and we were on our way.

During the journey there, we passed through a camp of survivors from the destroyed town of Marl.  The Marlites (if that's not what they're called, it should be) told us their town had been razed when they had refused to submit to the Iron Circle.  We asked them if they wanted help getting their town back, but there wasn't much town left to salvage.  They told us that some goblins had moved in to the ruins, so we decided to go check that out.

We marched straight into Marl, and were immediately greeted by a metric crapload of goblins.  In all, I counted 38 opponents, a wide mix of goblins including hexers, riders, and cutthroats, as well as some giant rats, guard drakes, a rage drake, and a swarm of monkeys (conjoined at the tail).  Thokk tried talking first, asking them if they would help us defeat the Iron Circle.  It's hard to say if they even understood him, as they just attacked right off.  The fight was on.

Thokk took the first hits, getting rushed by the giant rats.  This set off his Berserker Axe's curse, sending him into an uncontrollable rage.  Byzun managed to hit five enemies with Shatter in the first round, killing three.  Malcer hit another five with a spell called "Arms of Hadar", but rolled low on damage.  Next round Byzun Shattered a few more.  Unfortunately we ran out of area spells pretty early on.

At first our fire wasn't very focused, with each of us concentrating on our own little groups of goblins.  It seemed like most of them were easy kills, going down with just a few hits.  But then we realized that one of our opponents was a true monster.  One of the drakes was a rage drake, which must have been many levels higher than the rest of the crowd.  At one point Val managed to do 40 damage to it, after which it still wasn't bloodied.

Val and Byzun both got hit by crits, but per our house rules, we allowed our shields to break instead of taking the extra damage.  As the goblin ranks dwindled, a few of them started to flee.  We kept hacking away round after round, healing our wounded, picking off the weakest foes, and pounding on the rage drake.  At one point the monkey swarm ran past several of us, and our combined opportunity attacks finished it off.

More goblins died, and even more fled.  Thokk went down several times during the battle, and we kept healing him back up.  Val finished off the rage drake with a Divine Smite, and at this point we were just mopping up.  Which is why it was such a surprise when Thokk failed his final death save.  Dene and Malcer each finished off a guard drake, as the final goblins fled, screaming for reinforcements.  We gathered up our injured and ran.

We went back to the survivor camp.  They allowed us to take a long rest there, where we healed up and ended the session.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

OAWYM: A Bridge Too Far

Game Date: 7/30/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 5
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Byzun (Gary) - Human Sorcerer
Malcer (Graham) - Human Warlock
Marcella (Lanessa) - Human Bard
Tamir (Other Matt) - Human Fighter Archer
Thokk (Daniel) - Half-Orc Barbarian
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Half-Orc Paladin

The Session:
Having just finished clearing out a bullywug cave, we untied their Halfling captive and asked him some questions.  He was a member of the nomadic "Reedfoot" clan, and we escorted him back to his people.  We stayed with them overnight, and returned to Tor's Hold.  There, our questgivers thanked us for stopping the bullywugs, and told us they'd meet us in Albridge later so they could help fight the Iron Circle.  Then they gave us some supplies to deliver to the Druid near Albridge.

When we reached the Druid's circle, she warned us that the Iron Circle had been looking for us.  She told us to head back to town and meet with the leader of the resistance.  We disguised ourselves as Iron Circle brigands and headed into Albridge. The resistance leader berated us for our silly disguises, and told us of a supply wagon the Iron Circle was going to send out the next day.  We decided to head out first and ambush the cart.

We headed a few miles East, passing several farms, and hid in a stonehenge-like sundail.  When the wagon finally arrived, we rolled badly on our stealth checks, and failed to get the drop on them.  It was a long fight, made worse by our efforts not to harm the cart.  We faced seven Iron Circle fighters (Brigands and Cutthroats), led by a spellcasting Dark Adept.  They also had a clockwork hound with them called an "Iron Defender".

The Defender ran out ahead of the wagon and engaged Val and Byzun in melee.  Then the Dark Adept conjured a spiritual weapon to annoy Val.  These two were the biggest problem.  The Defender was difficult to hit, and the Dark Adept kept healing his allies.  Tamir climbed on top of the sundail for a better sniping angle.  Malcer hit two of the fighters with Burning Hands, and Byzon hit three with Shatter.

At one point the baddies started moving the wagon again, so Thokk threw a javelin at one of the wheels.  It got caught in the spokes, breaking them and popping off the wheel.  Malcer jumped into the cart to engage the Dark Adept.  The Adept cast bless on some of his allies, raising their attack rolls.  When we were down to six enemies, Thokk got hit and succumbed to his cursed axe's Berserker rage.  He spent a few rounds mindlessly attacking anyone nearby, so we wisely kept our distance.

We were down to three enemies - including the Adept - when they started to retreat.  We kept attacking them from a distance.  Tamir finished off one Brigand, and Marcella stopped the Adept with a Sleep spell.  Unfortunately, one enemy (a Cutthroat) got away.  We calmed Thokk and tied up the Adept.  The Adept had a key to a lockbox in the cart, which we opened.  We interrogated the Dark Adept, and decided what to do next.

The wagon wheel was broken beyond repair.  Marcella took a horse to one of the nearby farmhouses, and bought a wheel from them.  We fixed the wagon and headed back to town.  On the way we had to cross a well-guarded bridge.  Malcer tried to disguise himself to fool them, but rolled a 1 on his deception check.  FIGHT!

We faced a combination of enemies similar to that of the previous battle.  Val's companion Dene blessed three party members right at the start.  Tamir, who had been driving the cart, moved it sideways so we would have cover.  Byzon used Thunderwave on two enemies, pushing both of them right off the bridge.  Then he used Shatter to hurt three more.  Thokk went berserk again, surrounded by enemies, while most of us were safe on the other side of the cart.

Thokk took a lot of damage, and Marcella did her best to keep him healed from a distance.  Tamir finished off another Dark Adept, and Thokk killed another Iron Defender.  Things were looking pretty good, but then Thokk went down, and more enemies started running up from farther down the bridge.  We had to end the session mid-battle, so we'll cross that bridge later.

This is how things left off:
Thokk is down, Marcella is adjacent to him, healing him.  There is a swarm of nine enemies near the pair, the closest one being seven squares away from Thokk.  Malcer and Tamir are in the wagon, Val is next to the horse, and Byzun is behind the cart.  Val, Thokk, and Malcer are blessed. 

We are considering grabbing Thokk and running.  Thokk should be calmed when he wakes up.  Here is a picture of how we left off:




Saturday, July 23, 2016

OAWYM: Sidequest Inception

Game Date: 7/23/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 4
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Byzun (Gary) - Human Sorcerer
Malcer (Graham) - Human Warlock
Marcella (Lanessa) - Human Bard
Tamir (Other Matt) - Human Fighter Archer
Thokk (Daniel) - Half-Orc Barbarian
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Half-Orc Paladin

The Session:
Last session we fought some brigands from an evil organization called the "Iron Circle".  Today we headed for the town of Albridge, where we were told we'd find people who wanted to fight back against the criminal group.  We reached Albridge and entered a tavern called "The Mallard Inn".  All the patrons became silent as we entered the building.  Several of the customers were Iron Circle members, and they told us it was against the rules to carry weapons around.  We refused to surrender our weapons, and fighting ensued.

We faced seven foes - two brigands, two cutthroats, and three rabble.  Malcer won initiative, and took out an enemy with his first shot.  Thokk took some damage, and went berserk courtesy of his cursed axe.  Byzun hit a few enemies at once with Thunderwave.  Marcella used Calm Emotions on Thokk, and the barbarian fled the battle so he wouldn't go berserk again.  When we had two enemies left, one of the cutthroats critted with a sneak attack, knocking Val down to zero.  Once she was back on her feet, Val finished off the final enemy.

The bartender told us to get out.  She was afraid to be associated with any resistance to the Iron Circle.  We left the inn and encountered some village people (we refrained from singing "YMCA"). The villagers told us we should see the village elder, a halfling named Jared.  So, we went to Jared (we refrained from buying any jewelry, but we did make a few Subway jokes).  Jared told us to leave town, and wanted to make sure the villagers saw us leave so they could honestly tell the Iron Circle they witnessed our departure... but with a *wink wink* he also told us to visit the local druid outside of town.

The druid was an very ancient elf who told us to visit another village called "Tor's Hold", so we could defend them from some bullywugs.  Keep in mind our main quest was just to pass through these towns to deliver a skull to Sarthel, so this is a sidequest within a sidequest.  In Tor's Hold we met the inbred-but-friendly Bran Torson, who allowed us to stay overnight, and even threw us a party before pointing us to the bogs.  In the morning we set off to slog through the bog, finally finding the bullywug cave.

In order to enter the cave, we had to climb a small cliff next to a waterfall.  Malcer, Thokk, and Val climbed up first, and the occupants attacked us before the rest of the party made it up.  We faced a few stirges and several bullywugs.  More bullywugs kept joining the fight throughout the fight, but they weren't terribly tough.  The biggest danger came from a pair of grey oozes, which did some major damage to Malcer.

In the middle of the cave there was a large dragon skull. A bullywug spellcaster hid inside, firing spells at us. At one point he cast Entangle, creating a large zone of difficult terrain that lasted for most of the battle.  Thokk managed to go about half the battle without becoming enraged this time, but eventually he failed a Wisdom save and the madness took over.  We made sure not to get too close to him.

Thokk attacked the back of the skull, trying to break through to the spellcaster. Once everything else was dead, the rest of us fired ranged attacks into the skull's eyeholes, until we finished the caster off.  We kept him alive so we could ask questions.  Malcer knocked Thokk out so his rage would wear off, and we dragged him to the cave entrance.  While the rest of the party looted the room, Val worked on healing Thokk.  It was at this point that several more bullywugs and giant frogs entered the cave.

Most of our new opponents were easy pickings, but one bullywug was an enraged barbarian who was resistant to physical damage. At one point the bullywug grabbed Thokk's cursed axe and started wielding it.  The two struggled over the axe for a few turns.  We managed to hurt him a bit with magic damage, then Val landed the final blow with a Divine Smite crit.

These last bullywugs had been dragging a prisoner, a tied-up Halfling named Heron.  We released the Halfling and ended the session there.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

OAWYM: Axe of Rage

Game Date: 7/16/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 3
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Byzun (Gary) - Human Sorcerer
Malcer (Graham) - Human Warlock
Marcella (Lanessa) - Human Bard
Tamir (Other Matt) - Human Fighter Archer
Thokk (Daniel) - Half-Orc Barbarian
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Half-Orc Paladin

The Session:
Last session we defeated the evil Necromancer and recovered our employer's stolen box (which turned out to contain a scary-looking magic skull).  We took a long rest, walked back through the temple, and into the goblin cave.  The cave now contained several skeletal orcs, feasting on the goblin corpses.  Outside the cave, there was a skeletal horse and rider, a Tiefling mage, and a Wererat.  We rolled initiative.

The skeletal orcs surrounded us right off, but they weren't that hard to defeat.  At one point Malcer used burning hands to hit several at once (and Val).  The skeletal rider was pretty rough - he hit hard, and had some great movement.  Last session Thokk picked up a cursed battle axe, which now caused him to go berserk and attack his own party members.  We probably faced more danger from him than our enemies this session.

Val eventually used Turn the Unholy on the skeletal rider, who rushed out the door (provoking multiple OAs), and we never saw him again.  The Tiefling also eventually fled.  The Wererat was immune to non-magical weapons, but to his surprise we found ways to damage him anyway.  We kept him alive and asked him some questions.  All he could tell us was that they had been hired to retrieve the skull.  We let him go, and returned to our employer.

We rode on to Fallcrest, where we met up with a trade guild called "The White Lanterns" (no, not these guys). We asked them about the skull we'd retrieved.  They told us it was one of three necromantic skulls.  None of them were very powerful on their own, but when put together they would become a powerful magic artifact. They had planned to take this skull South to the city of Sarthel, but now that they knew others were trying to steal it, they wanted a new plan.

They decided to send a very public decoy caravan North, while secretly sending us to Sarthel with the skull.  Byzun joined our party, and we left town the next day.  We traveled for five days without incident.  As we approached the outskirts of the Harkenwold region, we saw smoke in the distance - there was a farmhouse in distress.  As we got closer, we saw several brigands and a pair of wolves threatening the owner of the farmhouse.  Tamir recognized their clothing as belonging to "The Iron Circle", slavers who worship Asmodeus. 

We took them out pretty quickly.  Byzun cast Shatter on two, and Malcer hit four (and Val) with burning hands.  Thokk went berserk again, and Val had to grapple him to protect the final brigand (who had surrendered).  Marcella used a Calm Emotions spell to end Thokk's rage.  While Malcer and Val looked the other way, the party killed the surviving foes so they wouldn't report back to the Iron Circle.  The farm was owned by a middle-aged Half-Elf woman.  She said these Iron Circle guys pass through occasionally collecting "taxes", and last time through they killed her husband.

We asked the woman more questions about the area.  She told us to avoid Harken village, as it's been fully taken over by the Iron Circle.  However, we might find allies in the village of Albridge.  Marcella gave the woman a few gold pieces, and we prepared to journey to Albridge.  We ended the session there.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

OAWYM: Battle Chess

Game Date: 7/9/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 2
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Addamon (Gary) - Human Druid
Malcer (Graham) - Human Warlock
Marcella (Lanessa) - Human Bard
Tamir (Other Matt) - Human Fighter Archer
Thokk (Daniel) - Half-Orc Barbarian
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Half-Orc Paladin

The Session:
Last session our employer asked us to retrieve a box stolen by goblins.  We fought several battles against goblins and kobolds, while exploring the twisting halls of an old temple.  After one intense battle we took a long rest.  Today began with two more of our companions joining the party.  Our employer, Traevus, had sent Marcella and Tamir to check up on us.

We started by looking into an unopened door on the opposite end of the map.  We encountered a (relatively) small dragon, but we managed to avoid a fight, and continued our explorations.  In another room we discovered a giant chessboard, containing several life-sized chess pieces.  It took us a while to figure out, but we were supposed to move like specific chess pieces, using the pattern assigned by which square we started from. 

If we moved incorrectly, we took some psychic damage.  After a couple of failures, the chess pieces on the other side of the board came to life and approached.  We faced four pawns, a queen, a knight, and a rook.  It was a rough fight - several of our party members went down more than once.  Tamir stayed outside the room, firing arrows from a distance.  Eventually he was the only one still standing... at which point, since no conscious party members were on the chessboard, the enemies retreated to their starting positions.

Tamir managed to reach Val and drag her out of the room.  Once she was on her feet again, Val lassoed each of her allies one by one, dragging them out of the room as well.  We healed up as well as we could, but Addamon was beyond saving.  Malcer destroyed the remaining chess pieces with ranged attacks.  Then we made our way across the board again, using proper chess moves this time. 

The next room contained a couple of statues, and four human guards.  We tried talking to them first, but they were committed to following their orders.  This battle wasn't as difficult as the previous one, but we still had trouble staying on our feet.  Once our enemies realized they weren't going to win, one of them turned against the others.  We saved that one for last, and made a truce with him.

We kept our defeated foes alive this time, and tied them up.  The one that helped us turned out to be a doppelganger rogue named Jinx.  We asked him why he helped us, and he said he wasn't getting paid enough for this.  He gave us an extra healing potion, told us what to expect in the rest of the rooms, and joined our party for a bit.  We headed for a storage room next, where Jinx told us to expect some goblins and a bugbear.

The goblins were a breeze, going down in one hit each.  Then the bugbear charged into the room, taking Val down to zero in one hit.  Jinx turned out to be a worthy ally, and a few rounds later the bugbear was no more.  We healed up again and searched the room.  We found some minor loot, considered resting, and (stupidly) decided to go through the next door instead.

It turned out to be the room of final boss, the necromancer Malareth.  He was guarded by three skeletons and a zombie ogre.  Barely looking up from his work, he nonchalantly ordered his followers to kill us.  Jinx changed to look like the bugbear we'd killed earlier, and tried bluffing Malareth.  Jinx told the necromancer that we were prisoners, and Malareth told the bugbear to kill us.  We closed the door again, and made sounds like we were getting killed.

Of course the ruse didn't work, and the skeletons opened the door to attack us.  This battle might have gone better if we'd been at full health, but it still would have been pretty difficult.  We killed two of the skeletons pretty quickly, Jinx finishing off one and Marcella insulting the other to death.  Then the ogre zombie reached us, and things got tough.  Jinx finally took the zombie down, but that's when Malareth decided we'd been a nuisance long enough.  His Shatter spell hit all of us, and taking four of us down to zero.

Of the two remaining party members, Jinx fled and Marcella closed the doors.  Jinx continued to run all the way out of the dungeon, untying his former allies on the way out.  Those guards took a different hallway to check up on Malareth.  Marcella used some ropes to tie the doors shut, keeping her safe while she tried reviving her teammates.  She used the party's final healing potion to bring us to our feet, and we used up whatever healing powers we had left.

We're using a house rule where we don't start rolling death saves until someone checks on you, at which point you roll all the death saves at once.  All of us survived except for Tamir, who failed too many saves.  Feeling it was our darkest hour, Malcer said a prayer to Pelor.  He rolled a 1 on his prayer roll, which was the best he could have rolled.  The light of Pelor gave all of us some major healing, and brought Tamir back to life (as well as Addamon, who we had left back near the chessboard). 

Take two!  We reopened the doors, still having to face Malareth, the third skeleton, and the guards Jinx had freed.  The guards were still low on health, so they went back down pretty quickly, and Malcer took out the final skeleton.  Val and Marcella both went down during the fight.  Thokk faced Malareth in melee, while Malcer and Tamir each made ranged attacks from the safety of the hallway.  Malcer made the final hit, bringing down the evil necromancer.

We searched the room, found lots of wizard stuff, and made sure none of us were still dying.  We ended the session there.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

OAWYM: What's In The Box? What's In The Box?

Game Date: 6/25/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: OAWYM, Session 1
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Addamon (Gary) - Human Druid
Malcer (Graham) - Human Warlock
Thokk (Daniel) - Half-Orc Barbarian
Val Ravensword (Matt) - Half-Orc Paladin
Dene Ledford (NPC) - Val's Companion
Tatio (NPC) - Malcer's Companion

The Session:
To start off this new campaign, our characters were hired by a merchant to accompany his cart to Fallcrest.  As the sun started going down, Addamon heard footsteps in the trees.  Goblins!  Twelve of the little monsters burst from the trees, surrounding us.  Only Addamon beat the goblins' initiative, and he missed on his first roll, so our enemies got in the first hits.  Not off to a great start.

But things got better.  Malcer critted on his next attack roll, and Thokk pulverized a goblin with a crit of his own.  Then Val... got the first fumble of the campaign.  She continued to miss a lot throughout the encounter.  Addamon managed to hit three with a Thunderwave spell, killing one of them.  Then he took a hit which brought him down to zero.  Val brought him back up on her turn.

During the battle, one of the goblins climbed up into the cart, grabbed a box, and started to run off.  The remaining goblins also began to flee.  We pursued, killing off all but the box thief, who disappeared into the trees.  Thokk managed to find his trail, but the merchant called us back to him.  He gave us each a Cure potion, and implored us to get back that box.  It seemed very important to him.  We agreed to follow the trail.  We asked our NPC companions, Dene and Tatio, to stay behind to protect our employer.

The treeline finally broke and we saw the goblins running through the hills.  In the distance we saw a human mounted on a dark horse, watching us.  The goblins ran past him, and the rider rode off in their direction.  We tracked them to a cave.  There were two visible entrances: one open, and one blocked by a boulder.  We decided to see how difficult it would be to move the boulder, in the hopes of attacking the goblins from behind.  We only moved it a couple of inches, noisily, and gave up.  So we headed for the open entrance.

There were several goblins inside.  While we entered the opening, a few goblins squeezed out through the boulder entrance and attacked us from behind.  Thokk killed one with a single hit, and Malcer took two out with Burning Hands.  After a bit more fighting, Val dropped the final one.  We kept this last goblin alive for questioning.

Our captive told us he worked for a human wizard named Malareth.  We asked him a few more questions about the area, but he wasn't very forthcoming because he wasn't afraid of death.  But he did mention something about a large white dragon.  We tied him up and promised to release him on our way out.  There were two sets of doors leading farther into the caverns.  We took a long rest, picked a doorway, and opened it.

In the next room we met a pair of goblins who asked us to leave.  There was a horse tied up on the far wall, but it looked well cared for.  We couldn't reason with the goblins, so we fought.  The battle was immediately joined by a guard drake and a third goblin, this one a hexer.  The hexer kept trying to cast Command on us, but kept failing.  Thokk and Val ganged up on the drake, though Val kept missing.

After several misses, the hexer finally got one good hit in - an "Inflict Wounds" spell on Malcer.  This did enough damage to kill the Warlock outright, but since Malcer was born on the the Plane of Positive Energy (something that came up when we were rolling character backgrounds using Central Casting), the DM gave him a break and ruled that the Negative Energy spell didn't do the full damage.  Instead, Malcer was stricken with a fear of goblins.  From now on he will have to make a Wisdom save at the beginning of every goblin fight.

When the battle was finally over, all four party members had exactly 1 hit point left.  We explored the area.  In one alcove we found an eternal flame, connected somehow to the Elemental Plane of Fire.  In the drake's room we found some water that functioned like a Cure spell, and we each recovered some hit points.  Once we felt ready, we opened some more doors.

In one room we found an altar to Bahamut.  A pair of kobolds stared at us, and Thokk and Val growled at them.  Thokk critted with his first hit, killing his kobold.  The other one fled around the corner, where another pair of kobolds waited.  Malcer killed two with Burning Hands, and Thokk killed the last one.  Then we opened some more doors, and fought four more.  We took them out quickly, Addamon delivering the final blow.

In this series of connected rooms, there were several altars to various gods.  Instead of heading deeper into this half of the dungeon, we went back to the horse and tried out some of the unopened doors there.  In one room we saw a giant rat, which Thokk took out quickly.  After that was a room with three goblins.  Thokk, Val, and Malcer each killed one, and we kept going.

In yet another room we faced a goblin and another rat.  Thokk killed the rat, but the goblin brought Val down to zero.  Addamon healed her.  Thokk and the final goblin attacked each other simultaneously, and both went down together.  We healed Thokk, looked around a bit more, and decided to take a long rest.  We went back to the drake's room as it seemed the most defensible, rested, and leveled up.

We ended the session there.  Here is what we have explored so far:



Sunday, June 12, 2016

Character: Val Ravensword

This my character for our upcoming 5e Campaign.

Name: Valchra "Val" Ravensword
Race: Half-Orc
Class: Paladin
Alignment: Lawful Good
Deity: Raven Queen
Background: Inheritor

Personality Traits:
If someone is in trouble, I'm always ready to lend help.
I have a strong sense of fair play, and try to find an equitable solution to problems.
Ideals: Fairness - No one should get preferential treatment.
Bonds: I protect those who can not protect themselves.
Flaws: I'm convinced of the significance of my destiny, blind to my shortcomings.

Rolled Background Details (from Central Casting):
Cultural Background: Civilized (+4 culture)
Social Status: Well-to-do (+2 social)
Birth Legitimacy: Legitimate
Family: Mother & Father, no aunts or uncles
Siblings: Two - One older Sister, one younger brother
+10% Starting Money
Birth details: Born in hospital, no unusual circumstances
Parent occupations: Father did not work, Mother was basket-weaver.
Childhood Event 1: Village destroyed, no loss of life, rebuilt better.
Childhood Event 2: Ran away from home and never returned.
Adolescence: Inheritance. (Starting Money x10)
Saved someone's life, became her companion.
Companion: Male, in love with Val.
(Companion is secretly the god of luck in disguise.)


Misc:
(from Inheritor background): Has also inherited a secret that she believes to be part of her destiny.

Val's family pronounces their surname "Raven Sword", but she has learned they have been mispronouncing it for several generations.  It was originally "Raven's Word", relating to some sort of forgotten pact in her family's history.  Val hopes to one day find out the whole story.

Other Party Members:
Daniel - Half-Orc Barbarian (Immune to disease)
Gary - Human Druid (Has a magic foot)
Graham - Human Warlock (Born on another plane of reality)

Miniature: Pathfinder Irabeth

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Shattered Star: Xindgame

Game Date: 6/5/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 56
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

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

The Session:
When we left off, we'd just finished off a rune giant, and took a long rest in Gustav's magic mansion.  Then we took an automatic stairway to the next level.  In the next room there was another one of those arcane chairs that Gustav keeps playing with, this one focused on Necromancy.  There was one door, which opened into the lair of Xin, our campaign's final boss.

It was an epic battle that took up pretty much the entire session.  Xin's skeleton was housed in a clockwork reliquary, and he was guarded by three Axiomites and a couple of Elder Crystallises.  We all used our best powers.  Gustav started things off with a lightning bolt, while Slancio used a Shatter spell.  We put down a zone of Silence over the enemies.  One Axiomite tried Hold Monster on Bjertha, but Slancio had already buffed Bjertha with Mind Blank.  Bjertha finished off the first Crystallis.

The second Crystallis was Hasted, but Slancio dispelled that.  Fellany got off several crits on the Crystallis in one round, and Meruca finished it off.  Xin fired off some powerful darts that ignored armor, and dispelled the zone of Silence.  Xin's armor kept transforming, which effected what effects he was under.  Sometimes he was hasted (giving him five powerful claw attacks), and other times he auto-passed all saving throws.  His armor also had poison spines.  However, whenever Xin would roll a one, he would become stunned for a round, due to his unstable mental state.  At one point he was both stunned (auto fail all saves) and in the "auto pass all saves" mode at the same time, a contradiction that nearly destroyed the universe.

Another Crystallis appeared from a crystal in the center of the room.  Slancio hit it with Shatter, to which the Crystallises were vulnerable.  Gustav's zombies stayed in the first room, strafing across the doorway while firing Magic Missiles.  Gustav would sometimes strafe with them, using his wand of lightning.  At one point Gustav used Meteor Swarm on the enemies.  The Axiomites managed to evade the spell, but Xin took 142 points of damage... bringing him down to "bloodied". 

Bjertha kept two of the Axiomites busy and away from the rest of the battle.  The two Axiomites kept trying to use sneak attacks on Bjertha, but the fighter's Displacer Cloak kept them from hitting.  One Axiomite was brought down by a Magic Missile, and Meruca killed another.  Then Xin used Chain Lightning on Slancio, Gustav, and Gustav's guards.  Xin kept trying to use something called "Mage's Disjunction" on our Sihedron, which never worked but made us nervous.

Slancio used a polymorph spell to turn Gustav into an adult Silver Dracolich.  Then Slancio put down another zone of Silence on our remaining enemies.  Xin and Gustav faced off.  Xin hit the Dracolich with a blood power, making Gustav vulnerable to all of Xin's attacks.  Then Xin prepared to use five consecutive claw attacks, which probably would have hurt a lot... but Xin fumbled again, stunning himself. 

Yet another Crystallis appeared.  Meruca killed the final Axiomite.  Fellany made made one final attack on Xin, doing a couple of Crits for a total of 101 points of damage.  This destroyed Xin, causing the Crystallis to die as well.  The crystal tower began to shudder and crumble apart.  We loaded ourselves up however possible, and escaped the tower.

With Xin destroyed, the tower collapsed, and we headed back to town to celebrate our victory.



Sunday, May 22, 2016

Shattered Star: The Dancing Giant

Game Date: 5/21/2016
Location: The Game Keep
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 55
System: D&D 5e
DM: Rusty

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

The Session:
We left off still teleporting through a series of rooms.  Today's first room contained a black crystal shelf holding some silver bars, and a 15-foot tall statue of Xin.  Of course the statue came to life and fought us, that's just what statues do.  If Bjertha ever rules Magnimaar, the first thing she's going to do is throw all sculptors in jail. This statue was difficult to hit due to being obscured, and only certain weapons could harm it.  It had heat and cold powers, and the room itself also kept running hot and cold on us.

When the room would go cold, it got difficult to walk. When it got hot, we took damage.  We finally wore it down, and Fellany made the final hit.  The room continued to get hot and cold after the statue died, so we didn't stay long.  We gathered up the silver bars (which were skymetal) and teleported again.

The next room was full of poison gas. We held our breath when we could, but it we knew we had to get through this one quickly.  We met a Marilith named Belmedra.  Slancio flirted with her a bit, and she revealed that she wished to be released.  The two were really hitting it off until she noticed Maruca opening the exit door.  Fighting ensued.

The door led to a long hallway, and the more vulnerable party members headed there while our tanks held off Belmedra.  Surprise, she can teleport!  She reappeared in the hallway next to Slancio and Gustav.  With six quick sword attacks, she did a massive amount of damage to Slancio.  But despite her multiple attacks, she wasn't that tough, and we quickly finished her off.  We took a short rest and opened the door on the other end of the hallway.

The next room was filled with gears and golem parts.  We were almost disappointed that nothing tried to kill us.  Gustav used his Orrery to see visions of the past.  He saw scenes of Xin working with gears and building an army of clockwork soldiers.  When we were done looking around, we proceeded through another door.

The next room had crumbling walls, and was filled with a smoky haze.  On the ground was the body of a 40 foot giant. Gustav got a vision of Xin, who had just finished building a war machine.  A giant appeared behind Xin and attacked him.  With his last bit of strength, Xin killed the giant with an explosive spell.  Once the vision was over, Gustav wanted to revive the giant's body for his undead horde, but the giant was one step ahead of him.  It started climbing to its feet.

Gustav tried talking to the giant in Thassalonian, arguing that the enemy of our enemy is our friend.  The giant replied that he had to kill us because he had a contract.  Fight!  Slancio started things off by casting an "Irresistible Dance" spell on the giant.  This kept him dancing for several rounds, which helped us out tremendously.  Plus it was a funny mental image.  Gustav tried using Command Undead on him, but he saved.

The giant was immune to fire, cold, lightning, and probably a few other things we didn't try.  He had gems embedded in his skin that would sometimes explode with bursts of sparks.  At one point he used a powerful "Hellfire Orb" spell.  We hit him with a lot of powerful attacks, Bjertha's Undead Bane longsword coming in especially handy.  In the end, though, Gustav finished him off with a cherry-tapping Magic Missile.

We ended the session there.  Gustav might still raise the giant for his army.  We reached level 17 with 228,030 XP.  We're going to take a long rest here to level up.