Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tantris - Session 6

Game Date 7/25/09

Rolan Daan (Bryan) - Elf Rogue
Rhogar Burnscale (Rick) - Dragonborn Fighter
Nara Cavell (Matt) - Human Cleric of Pelor

Nara's Journal:

I'm facing what I hope is only a minor crisis. Nothing so deadly as Orcs or demons or crazed religious zealots this time. This is more a matter of lost trust, and suspicion between friends. I consider myself an excellent judge of character, and I've always found Rolan to be a paragon of morality. But... and I feel bad even thinking this, so writing it down is absolutely painful... I think he's hiding something.

It started when we found out there was a war brewing. Being a loyal servent of Pelor, I quickly returned to my temple and asked what I could do to help. I was given the task of locating a temple in the northern mountains, and finding out whatever I could about it. I was allowed to take Rolan and Rhogar along for help, so we quickly set off in that direction.

We arrived at a mining community called "Miner's Forge", which is just south of the mountain range. We asked around town for information, but either the townsfolk are tight-lipped, or we're way off-course. We decided to check out the mountains themselves. Maybe if we could get high enough, we could actually see the temple on another peak somewhere. But we didn't even get close to a mountain trail before we were stopped by a guard. The miners are quite jumpy about claim-jumpers, so a trio like ours was met with immediate distrust. I was allowed to ask a few questions, however.

We soon learned that our best lead was to look for Elves. It seems that Elves are often hired for scout work, to find new areas to mine. We hoped to find and Elf who had seen the temple during his explorations. We returned to town, and waited at a tavern until nightfall, when miners began to return to town. We saw a group of Elves enter the tavern, but they proceeded to a private back room before we could talk to any of them. Being an Elf, Rolan thought it best if he checked it out alone.

He returned with an appointment to meet them at midnight. I got us a room at a local inn, and Rhogar and I stayed in when Rolan left for his errand.

A bit later, Rhogar and I heard a crash from the room next door, so we went to investigate. No one answered our knock, but the door was unlocked. We could see that the window had been broken, but it was too dark to see anything else. I returned to our room to get a lantern, and Rhogar stayed behind. As I got to my room, there was a man there, going through my backpack. Before I could react, he drew his crossbow and threatened me. I asked him what he wanted, trying to speak loud enough for Rhogar to hear. The man said he already had what he came for, and jumped out the window.

I couldn't follow, because I heard more noises next door, and I was afraid Rhogar might be in trouble. He wasn't. There had been an intruder in that room as well, but he was no match for my Dragonborn friend. In fact, by the time I got there, the trespasser was far to injured for me to revive him.

The only thing missing from my backpack was my book of scriptures. I haven't the slightest idea why someone would take that; it holds nothing of value to any who aren't faithful to Pelor, and there is nothing in there that I wouldn't gladly preach to any who asked. In fact, High Priest Josel has even considered making extra copies of the book to place in the dresser drawers of inns, so that travelers can discover Pelor's light.

So, in order to keep Rolan informed, we went straight to him and showed him the intruder's body. He had been puzzling over a logic problem he had been given, and we helped him solve the riddle. We ditched the body and returned to our room, while Rolan turned in the puzzle solution.

A bit later, the three of us were at the inn, when we heard what sounded like pebbles being thrown against the window. The three of us went down to investigate, which turned out to be a mistake... we really should have left someone in the room. Rolan was the first to return to the room. When I entered, he was holding my scripture book, but my backpack was gone.

Rolan told me that the book was just lying there, where my pack had been. I want to believe him, and the story makes sense... the pebbles were thrown against the window to draw us out of the room, so that someone could break in and steal my pack. But why would they return the book? What kind of burgler returns things? And Rolan's explanation itself seemed suspicious. Not the content, but the delivery - something about his eyes told me there was more to the story, something he decided to hold back.

But then, there wasn't really any solid reason to doubt him, so I let it slide. Rolan once again had to leave for an information hunt, and once again Rhogar and I stayed behind, sleeping in shifts. A few hours later, Rolan returned. He had found my pack, but he was covered in wounds, and collapsed as soon as he entered. Of course my first instinct was to help him, how could I not? It's what I do. As I write this, his wounds are bandaged, the healing power of Pelor is coursing over his body, and he is sleeping off what must have been a very interesting night.

It looks like he fought his way through the Nine Hells to get me that backpack. If I'd known it was going to be such a trial, I would have told him to let it go. I've never been materialistic, and possessions are much cheaper than blood. I respect Rolan, and I appreciate whatever he had to go through tonight. But he still has a lot of explaining to do when he wakes up.

- Nara Cavell

Rolan has been recruited into an organization called the Dark Fang Guild. The logic problem (a D&D variation of the Einstein Quiz) was part of their initiation test. They were the ones who stole the book of scriptures, and gave Rolan the task of returning it to Nara's pack without her knowing about it. And then they went on to steal the pack, for use in their next test.

When Rolan returned to the Guild after the pack was stolen, they put him through one final test. They had him traverse a guildmaze full of dangerous traps. The first room was full of pendulum traps, and Rolan only survived by having a high reflex stat. The second room took the longest, and had Rolan finding his way through a maze of invisible walls, illusory monsters, and enchanted mirrors. The third room had a puzzle involving an hourglass, spinning blades, moving walls, and Nara's pack on a pedestal.

Rolan managed to survive all the tests (though I think the DM gave him a few free passes). He is now an official member of the guild. However, he is not allowed to tell anyone - presumably including Nara and Rhogar - about the guild. It will be very interesting to see what sort of story he tells them when he wakes up.

XP Rewards:
Rhogar - 550 XP (200+300+50) - Total XP now 1564
Rolan - 650 XP (200+300+150) - Total XP now 1668
Nara - 550 XP (200+300+50) - Total XP now 1588

Saturday, July 25, 2009

LFR - Silent Streets and Vanished Souls

7/25/09 - The Game Keep
Module BALD1-4: Silent Streets and Vanished Souls (High Difficulty)

Characters (from my group):
Krusk (Rick) - Level 1 Half-Orc Rogue (Brutal)
Rhogar (Bryan) - Level 1 Dragonborn Fighter (Great Weapon)
Voranna (Matt 1) - Level 2 Eladrin Ranger (Archer)
Also in the group:
Mindartis - Eladrin Warlord
Denier - 2-Weapon Melee Ranger
Eradrinor - Swordmage

This was a very busy day for us. We were in the LFR game from 12-4, and we still played a Tantris session later (blog post to come).

This was my favorite LFR game I've played so far. We only had two combat encounters, and several skill challenges. Nothing about the module itself was specifically better than the others we've played, but I really enjoyed this group of players. We had my favorite LFR DM (Barry, who also DM'ed us through 4/11/09's "These Hallowed Halls"), some brutal fighting, and lots of joking around.

The Warlord character really stood out. He knew how to do his job perfectly, used excellent combat tactics, and constantly gave advice to other players on their turns. If he hadn't been playing a Warlord, I might have thought he was just one of those annoying players who wants to control the whole party. And maybe he is, but if so, the Warlord class suits him perfectly. We were very glad to have him in the party.

The first battle started out great. Krusk, who doesn't even generally act as a melee character, used his opening round to rush the most important enemy, and critted. With sneak attack damage. The rest of the fight didn't go as well, and most of us were hurting by the end (everyone but me, really). But Rick's lucky roll definitely made the battle easier than it could have been, so we were all thankful for that. The final enemy surrendered rather than face our group.

The second battle was also pretty difficult. There was one very large boss surrounded by smaller enemies, but they weren't minions. (I won't say what they were here, as it would be a spoiler for those who haven't played this module.) We all concentrated on the large enemy first, who took a while to take down. Once he was gone, the rest of the pack swarmed us, and tore some of us to shreds.

This was the first LFR game I've played where a character died (the 2-weapon Ranger). Because I shoot from a distance, I went the entire session without being targeted by any enemies. I think that's the second time I've gotten through an LFR game without losing any hit points.

Rhogar - 560 xp, 100 gp, Battlecrazed Greatsword +1
Krusk - 560 xp, 100 gp, Subtle Shortsword +1
Voranna - 560 xp, 175 gp.