Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tantris - Session 7

Game Date 8/22/09
Rolan Daan (Bryan) - Elf Rogue
Rhogar Burnscale (Rick) - Dragonborn Fighter
Nara Cavell (Matt) - Human Cleric of Pelor

Nara's Journal:
I don't know what to do next. We've tried a few mountain trails, and we thought we saw a temple in the distance. But when we later took another trail for a closer look, that temple turned out to be ruins. Was my church mistaken? Were those ruins the source of the rumors that sent us here? We've asked many local miners and explorers about the region, and no one has seen a temple. I don't know how much longer I can keep searching random mountain trails. It is unfair to keep Rolan and Rhogar in my service, when they would probably be happier pursuing more profitable opportunities. Rolan has already complained that we're on a wild goose chase, insisting that he "just knows" that the temple doesn't exist.

But of course, Rolan has been exhibiting all sorts of suspicious behavior. One night, when we were camping on the mountain trail, Rolan went out to hunt. When he returned from hunting, he immediately left to wash his prey's blood stains from his backpack. He didn't come back until the following morning, with an outrageous story about being attacked. I didn't press the issue; I have enough problems. If he is hiding something, I can only hope it's not something too sinister.

We encountered an
Army from Everesk, and Rolan's ability to lie most likely saved our lives. And shortly after the battalion passed us, they were slaughtered by an unknown force. I don't know what to make of that. And more recently we encountered a party of Orcs, who we defeated thanks to Rhogar's battle prowess. But I seriously doubt it was Orcs that defeated the Everesk troops.

I think we're running out of options. Every path has been a dead end, and I currently have no leads. I hate to return to Tantris empty-handed, but I don't see that I have much choice.

As always, I pray to Pelor for guidance and insight. For yours is the one light, the true light, and the brightest light. Honor to your name.

- Nara Cavell

We had an audience! Matt2's and Bryan's significant others decided to sit in on this session, to see what it was all about. Oh, and Bryan's dogs were present as well, but they didn't get as much out of it.

When Rolan disappeared overnight, it was to meet with the Dark Fang Guild, of which he became a member in the previous session. The guildhouse had a very dangerous method of entry, a path worthy of the Umbrella Corporation. Rolan is still not allowed to tell Nara or Rhogar of his membership in the guild, and all three of us will be in danger if he lets it slip. Nor is he allowed to let us find that temple. After asking another guild member for guidance, Rolan was given the tip of guiding us up the path which gave us a view of the ruins.

XP Rewards:
Rhogar - 165 XP (100+65) - Total XP now 1729
Rolan - 170 XP (100+70) - Total XP now 1838
Nara - 165 XP (100+65) - Total XP now 1753

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Praktas - The Bounty Hunter Guild

Game Date: 8/22/09

Drew Baker (Bryan) - Human Fighter (Tempest style)
Damakos Redhorn (Rick) - Tiefling Rogue (Brutal style)

Okay, so maybe we're a bit nuts here, a bit D&D obsessed... we were already having a busy gaming day, with an LFR game in the morning, and a Tantris game in the evening. But we had a couple of hours between sessions, and I knew this one thing would only take about 20 minutes. So I had them take the test to become members of the Bounty Hunter Guild.

Some background info:
Trasa does have town guards, but they spend most of their time preventing crimes. They do not have the resources for city-funded criminal investigations. If someone must be found, they generally rely on the Bounty Hunter Guild. Bounty Hunters in Trasa work with the full support of Trasa's government. Rewards are usually posted by the families of murder victims, people who've had treasures stolen, and so on. Sometimes rewards are posted by groups or organizations, sometimes a collection is taken up to pay a bounty, and in rare cases, for serious crimes, Trasa's government itself might post a reward. But most of the time, bounties are posted by those who can afford to pay a reward. For this reason, justice in Trasa is often considered to be a rich person's luxury, even though Trasa's actual courts are extremely fair.

Not just anyone can post a bounty on anyone - To post a bounty in Trasa, the fugitive has to be accused of breaking a law in Trasa. The purpose of the bounty hunters is to retrieve these fugitives so they can get a fair trial in court. Of course, most fugitives do end up being found guilty, since the truly innocent ones are more likely to trust the courts than to run.

Bounty Hunter Guild Rules:

1. All bounty hunting within Trasa must be done by guild members. Otherwise it is vigilantism, which is illegal in Trasa.

2. You must register for a specific bounty before you are allowed to actively pursue their capture. You may not register more than three bounties at a time. If you happen to encounter a fugitive whom you are not currently registered to capture, it is still permissible to detain them and collect the reward, provided you do not interfere with another guild member's capture. (See rule #5.) However, if a guild member frequently collects bounties without having registered for them first, the member might be investigated.

3. All reward amounts posted are for live capture. If bounty is killed, the reward is halved. If dead, the hunter must bring in the corpse (or at least head) as proof. There are spells to confirm identity, lest a hunter attempt to deceive the guild with a fake corpse.

4. Bounties should only be killed in self-defense, and excessive force should only be used as a last option. Many fugitives will later stand trial in the Trasa Court, so a hunter who kills is acting as judge, jury, and executioner. If a hunter appears to have an unusually high kill rate, they will be investigated by the guild.

5. Stealing another hunter's captive is called "Carrion Hunting", and is not tolerated. The guild tries to distribute hunts so that multiple hunters are not hunting the same fugitive at the same time. If another member's captive escapes, you may assist the recapture, because apprehending the criminal is always more important than the distribution of the reward. In such a case, Guild Council will decide how the reward is to be divided.

6. While within Trasa's city limits, you must not break any of Trasa's laws while pursuing your prey. If your hunt requires you to visit another city, you must follow that city's laws while there. Many of the areas between cities are considered lawless, but the Guild rules always apply on any bounty.

Failure to comply with the above rules may result in expulsion from the guild. The Trasa Bounty Hunter guild complies with all of Trasa's laws, and will not protect its members from prosecution.

- Jordan Darkwynde, Head of Trasa Bounty Hunter Guild

Joining the Guild:
It usually costs a total of 5000 gp to join the guild. It costs 1000 gp to take the test, and if you pass, you pay the remaining 4000 for the Bounty Hunter License.

You must pass test to get the license. If you fail the test, the 1000 is non-refundable. You can retake the test as many times as you want, as often as you want, but it costs 1000 each time.

The license itself takes the form of a magic glowing tattoo of dagger on your wrist (right or left is your choice, as is tattoo color). The tattoo gives off a small amount of light, so the guild recommends you wear a wristband over it. If a wrist tattoo isn't appropriate for your character (like if he has no arms, or doesn't have normal skin), alternative locations and/or identifiers are available.

If you quit or are expelled from the guild, you must have the tattoo removed at your own cost (done by guild wizard, 1000 gp). Ex-members who display the tattoo will be hunted and arrested. If you are unable to pay for the 1000 for the tattoo's removal, the guild will either burn it off (100 gp), leaving disfiguring scars, or cut off the hand above the tattoo (free).

Guild test:
First there is a written test, followed by some physical challenges and skill tests. In total there are 10 skill checks. Some skill checks have two skills listed; the applicant may choose which one to roll. One time during the test, you may spend an action point to reroll a low roll. You must keep the second roll. If you roll a natural 20, you get 5 additional points. (Points for style)

Once I add up all the results, I divide the total by 2 (rounding up), and that is the final score. You must score 70 or above to pass. Higher or lower scores can have some additional bonuses:

100+ - Perfect score, and they will waive the 4000 membership fee, for the honor of having such a skilled hunter.
91-99 - They charge you half price on your entrance fee, 2000 instead of 4000.
86-90 - They give you 10% off your entrance fee, 3600 instead of 4000.
70-85 - Passing. Still have to pay the full entrance fee of 4000.
60-69 - Fail, but will let you retake the test once for half price (500)
Under 60 - Flunk, must pay the full 1000 to retake test.

In addition to passing the test, you also get 1000 xp to represent the following weeks of guild training. This is a one time bonus (i.e. you couldn't repeatedly leave and re-join the guild for xp).

Quick Breakdown:
01. Written Test (History/Insight)
02. Basic Fighting (Athletics/Acrobatics)
03. Endurance Fighting (Endurance/Heal)
04. Defense from Magic (Arcana/Religion)
05. Sneaking and Hiding (Stealth)
06. Open Lock (Thievery/Dungeoneering)
07. Searching (Perception)
08. Information Gathering (Streetwise)
09. Convincing (Diplomacy/Intimidate/Bluff)
10. Forest Tracking (Nature)

You are taken into a room, where you sit down at a desk. (If both, mention someone standing over them making sure they don't cheat.) You are handed a sheet of paper filled with general knowledge questions, as well as questions about Trasa's laws and Bounty Hunter lore. Some are multiple choice, some are fill-in-the-blank, and some are True/False. You are given a quill and some ink, and 15 minutes to fill out the test. (History or Insight Check)

Your tests are taken away and graded. You are then led down some stairs and into what appears to be a training room. It is a large, open room, filled with fighting rings, training mats, attack dummies, and archery targets. You see many guild members sparring and practicing their skills. Some members are watching you from a distance, sizing up the fresh meat. You overhear a pair of guild members placing bets on your performance.

Your trainer stands on a balance beam, and instructs you to stand on the other end. Then he raises his fists, and instructs you to attack him unarmed. The two of you fight for a while, having to maintain your balance while trading blows. (Athletics or Acrobatics Check)

Then he gets you off the beam, and continues to test you, mixing boxing and wrestling. He is much more skilled than you are, and easily avoids your attacks, but he doesn't seem to be trying to win so much as studying your level of skill. He changes his fighting style often, and at one point gives you a choice of fake weapons so he can test your armed fighting skills. You fight for a very long time, until it seems to be a test of your stamina as well as your fighting skill. He is clearly trying to see how long you can last. (Endurance or Heal Check)

Then he picks up a wand and starts casting spells. The spells are harmless, causing pain but no damage. He is testing your ability to avoid them, negate them, or counter them. (Arcana or Religion Check) Finally he declares that part of the test is over.

Next, he takes you into a long, dimly-lit room, with several columns at 10-foot intervals. Every 15 seconds the room's lights come on, and stay on for 5 seconds before going out again. At the far end of the room is a large chest. The instructor hands you a lockpick, and a pair of noisy metal boots to wear. You have to walk from one side of the room to the other, making as little noise as possible, then figure out how to turn the lights off for good, and open the chest. Whenever the lights come on, you must hide behind the nearest column as quickly as possible. (Stealth Check) When you reach the chest, the lights stay off. You must use the lockpick to open the chest, or find another way to open it. (Thievery or Dungeoneering Check) You struggle with it for a few minutes, finally opening the lock.

Inside the chest is a drawing of a man's face. The trainer asks you, "When we were in the training room earlier, and you saw the other guild members training, where was this guild member standing?" (Perception Check)

He leads you up some stairs, then leads you back outside the guildhouse. "You're almost done. Now you just have to tell me my name. Ask around the West side of Trasa until you find out. (Streetwise Check) Eventually you will find the right person to ask, but you still have to convince them to part with the info. (Intimidate, Bluff, or Diplomacy Check)

Then come find me. I will be hiding in the forest outside Trasa's Western gate." (Nature Check) You follow his tracks, and find him hiding up in a tree. He leads you back to the guild house to tally up your score.

Damakos passed on his first try, with a score of 85. Drew failed on his first time, with a 62. His score was high enough to rate a half-price retest, and he passed the second time, with a score of 86.

XP Rewards:
1000 xp each, as a result of the six-week training period that follows membership.

LFR - Lost In The Fog

8/22/09 - The Game Keep
Module WATE1-5: Lost In The Fog (Low 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)
Merric (Matt 2) - Level 1 Halfling Rogue (Trickster)
Also in the group: Another fighter and another Halfling Rogue.

A lot of people signed up for this game, so they divided it into two groups. At first, our group was just the four of us, which was a bit disappointing. After all, one of the fun parts of LFR is playing with new people. Then two more joined our table. It was a very unbalanced party - no spellcasters, no healers. We *almost* had a bard, but the character had already played this module, so that's who became the second Halfling Rogue.

We did... poorly. There were two combat encounters, and both of them had most of us getting pounded into the ground. But nobody died. In the final encounter, Voranna was the last one standing, and had to chase down the final enemy before he escaped.

Everyone received 400 xp and 75 gp. Rhogar and Krusk got a healing potion, and Voranna got a +1 Thunderburst Longbow.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Praktas - Small Sacrifices

Game Date: 8/14/09

Tirah (Misty) - Deva Wizard (Wand)
Dorath (Bryan) - Goliath Fighter (Great Weapon Style)

Misty had never played before, and just wanted to see what Bryan had been doing all these Saturdays. So, I threw together a short adventure, just long enough to show her how the game works. Predictably, she enjoyed the roleplay parts more than the combat, while Bryan was the exact opposite.

I was hoping that we'd have at least one more player, but since we didn't, I had to nerf the difficulty a bit so it would be survivable. Bryan was originally going to play a Shifter Rogue, but I convinced him a sturdier fighter would be better for such a small party.

This adventure was inspired by "Hall of the Spider God", which appeared in "Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition For Dummies". The players heard about child kidnappings, on the poor side of town. The only witness saw a short purple-cloaked figure taking a child into the sewers. After descending into the sewers, the PCs followed some strange tracks until they found a secret door. The door led them to a set of hallways, with five rooms:
Doors 1, 3, and 4 were wooden and unlocked. Door two was a sturdy stone door, and was locked. Door 5 was gold plated stone, with religious symbols on it. It was also locked.

First they listened at each door. At door 1, they heard kobolds talking in Draconic, something about preparing the next sacrifice for the worm. At door 3 they heard some orcs arguing about wanting to eat one of the children. Since door two was the strongest, they figured (correctly) that the children were hidden in there. Dorath attempted to knock it down, but failed horribly, and the noise drew an orc into the hallway.

After defeating the orc, they realized the key must be in one of the other rooms. They tried room 3 first, fought an orc and two kobold minions, and found the key to door 5. Then they tried room 1, fought four kobold minions, and found the key to room 2.

In room 2, there was a cage holding three children. There were two skeletons standing perfectly still, guarding the cage. As one of the players prepared to step into the room, one of the children called out, "Wait!" The child had recognized that the PCs weren't kobolds or orcs, and warned them that stepping on the floor activates the skeletons. The child explained that whenever the orcs come into the room, they wave a wand around which controls the skeletons.

The PCs then tried room 3, fought another orc, and found the wand. Back in room 2, they freed the children, and took them back to the surface. They rested for the night, and returned the next morning to tackle room 5.

After a religion check, Tirah recognized the symbols on door 5 as those of "The Cult of the Purple Worm". They entered the room, both wearing purple cult robes they'd acquired in previous rooms. They saw two kobolds chanting in front of an altar. Upon the altar was a boy, tied-up but otherwise healthy. Tirah managed to convince the kobolds that she was their leader (she rolled very high, and the kobolds were very stupid). She ordered them to leave the room, and they complied. As Tirah started to tend to the boy, the ground began to rumble. Suddenly a giant purple worm burst out of the ground.

Note that a purple worm is not an appropriate encounter for a pair of level 1 characters, but this wasn't really statted like an actual purple worm. As I pulled out the miniature, I told them (OOC), "Don't be scared by the size of the mini; it's not as bad as it looks." To which Bryan replied, "Isn't that what you said a few months ago, right before our first characters were killed?"

Dorath kept the worm busy while Tirah grabbed the boy and took him to the safety of the hallway. Then she returned and helped Dorath finish the creature off. Tirah found a scripture book, and flipped through it. Reading between the lines, she realized the true story: This was actually a very old, decrepit purple worm, on its last legs (so to speak), and too weak to fend for itself. The kobolds found it, started worshiping it, and fed it children they had kidnapped.

Having cleared out absolutely everything (I forgot about the pair of kobolds that Tirah ordered out of the room), the party took the child back to the surface and claimed their reward.

XP Rewards: 360 each.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Praktas - The Pirate Queen

Game Date: 8/8/09

Drew Baker (Bryan) - Human Fighter (Tempest style)
Damakos Redhorn (Rick) - Tiefling Rogue (Brutal style)
Ruu - Drew Baker's pet bear
Jacob - Damakos Redhorn's pet wolf.
Hector Goldheart (NPC) - Dwarven Cleric of Moradin

House Rule Clarification:
One small change to the house rules set up in the last session. Last time we had the players and their pets both rolling initiatives. Now we're just having each player's pet go after their owner.

Last Session Wrap-Up:
When we last left our, uh, "heroes", they had defeated the Necromancer Predek. Their vampiric curse now broken, the adventurers set out from Predek's Tower to turn in the evildoer and (more importantly) collect their reward. They wanted to loot the tower, but Hector forbade them from doing so. "These objects belong to the church now," Hector explained. "We 'ave to make sure none of it is cursed. You try to use anythin' you find 'ere, and it's as likely to blow up in your face as to do ya any good!" Since the objects were mostly arcane in nature, and therefore unlikely to be useful to our melee-oriented adventurers, they didn't push the issue.

As they left the tower, the building vanished behind them. Hector cursed and muttered something about unholy necromancers and their extra-dimensional lairs. They passed back through the town of Mil, where the halfling citizens were very happy to see Predek in captivity, and offered to pay a reward if the necromancer were to be released into their custody. Knowing that a much larger reward would be waiting for them in Trasa, the PCs declined the offer and continued their journey.

It was a two day ride back to Trasa on horseback. The first night, they set up camp, and Drew had the first watch. About two hours in, he heard something shuffling in the woods, and so he woke up his companions. They soon found that they were surrounded by undead monsters, bent on freeing their dark lord. All in all there were four normal skeletons, a blazing skeleton, a skeletal wolf, a zombie, and a wraith. Hector immediately recognized that the wraith was the only enemy with any sort of intelligence, and warned the others not to let it reach Predek, lest it find a way to undo Predek's magical bonds.

It was a decent battle, but in the end, the so-called good guys won the day. The rest of the ride back to Trasa was uneventful. They turned in Predek, got their reward, and checked in at the church of Moradin. The High Priest looked over their vampire bites, and declared them completely healed and curse-free. As a parting gift, Hector gave each of the adventurers two scrolls of recall, which can be used to teleport back to Trasa in a pinch.

The Pirate Queen

A few days later, Drew and Damakos were having lunch at "Dreg's Shanty", a run-down seafood restaurant/tavern near Trasa's southern docks. They noticed an odd woman sitting at another table... she was dressed in mismatched clothing with messy hair, and had a rather obvious facial tic. But what really got their attention was the way she kept talking to thin air. She noticed them looking and waved them over.

She introduced herself as Madeline "Mad" Starkraven, and introduced the empty seat next to her as Merea Scorne. Madeline seemed to be a bit on the eccentric side, saying random things and having violent mood swings. Every few sentences I would roll this die to determine her next mood:

Mood Die

Madeline explained to them that Merea was a ghost, and was haunting her as revenge. Madeline had once been a member of the Hell's Fury, an all-female pirate crew commanded by Merea. One day Madeline grew a conscience, set the ship on fire, and swam for shore as the ship exploded behind her (they'd been storing explosives on board). Ever since then, Merea's ghost had been tormenting her. Madeline believed that if she could just give Merea's body a proper burial, then the spirit would finally leave her alone. Madeline still remembered the exact location where the ship went down, and gave the adventurers instructions for procuring a ride. As payment, she offered them some gold and an enchanted shortsword. Madeline also gave them a Wanted poster, which revealed that there was a bounty out for Merea and her crew.

I was waiting for the players to ask her how they were supposed to breathe underwater when they found the ship's wreckage (a question which would have prompted her to give them a couple of potions of water breathing), but apparently the thought didn't occur to them. Actually, there were a lot of questions I'm surprised they didn't ask (would Merea's body still be at that spot at the bottom of the sea, after all this time, and after the ship exploded?), but I'll be kind and assume they didn't believe it would come to that. Once they saw the wanted poster, they probably figured out that the pirates would still be alive.

Drew and Damakos found a ride on the ship of a fisherman named Captain Jarran. A few days into the trip, they were in their cabin, when they heard shouting outside. They walked out on deck to find they were under attack by pirates. The pirates had secured the ships together with grappling hooks, and were in the process of setting down a boarding plank between the ships:

This was a fairly large battle, with six pirates (all female), Captain Jarran, six of Jarran's crew, Drew, Damakos, and their pets. It began with the crews of both ships firing crossbows at each other from their own ships, until two of the pirates started crossing the plank. Damakos used a rigging line to swing to the other ship, and took out more than his share of pirates. After a few minutes, three more pirates came on deck, including the acting captain Risha Thryst.

Risha was a bit exasperated that her crew was having so much trouble with a simple fishing vessel. Soon she was the last one standing of her crew, and she surrendered once she realized she was so outnumbered. They interrogated her, asking her questions about Merea. It turned out Merea was alive and well, having escaped her ship before the fire had spread to the explosives. She called herself the Pirate Queen now, and rarely went out on missions herself any more, preferring to send out her captains on raids.

Risha refused to reveal the location of Merea's hideout. Damakos searched her cabin, and found several sea charts, showing a lot of the ship's routes. All of them had the same origin point, a tiny isle labeled "No-Man's Island". They managed to get both ships back to Trasa, turned in Risha and her crew to the proper authorities, then piloted the pirate ship to No-Man's Island.

They anchored the ship a bit off shore, and took a landing craft to the beach. Jarran took six of his crew members, all of whom were wearing red shirts, and the large party began exploring the island. They were eventually ambushed at the base of a hill in the middle of the island, but managed to take their attackers down pretty quickly. They noticed that a couple of the pirates had emerged from hidden hatches in the side of the hill, so that was the next place the party explored.

They found a long, well-lit tunnel. Parts of it were just natural caves, and other areas had been carved by sentient hands. They reached a place where the tunnel split. Jarren took his crew left, while the PCs and their pets went right. Soon the players passed a door on their right, and chose to investigate this side room before continuing down the tunnel. Damakos showed amazing stealth ability as he quietly opened the door and looked around. It was the living quarters, filled with bunk beds. On the opposite side of the room, there was another door, through which he could hear running water... and singing. They decided not to check it out any further, and continued down the tunnel.

The road not taken: Had they investigated, they would have found that the far room was a bathroom and shower. They would have seen a woman showering, her back to them as they entered the bathroom. They might have assumed that she was oblivious to their entrance, or they might have realized it was a trap. It would be obvious to them that she was unarmed, so they might have felt safe even if they were expecting a trap. As soon as they prepared any sort of attack, she would have turned around and smiled, before casting Acid Orb, then turning into a cougar. Callexia Galean is a Druid assassin, and her name was also on the Wanted poster they'd seen earlier. Upon hearing their cue, four exceptionally sneaky pirate minions would have rolled out from underneath their bunk beds, thereby sandwiching the PCs. Of course, this was all dependent on the players not attempting to look under the beds on the way in.

Anyway, they didn't fall for it. They reached another door at the end of the hallway. Damakos rolled very high on his stealth check, and managed to peek through the door without being seen. It was the training room, filled with combat dummies, archery targets, and weapons racks. There were two other exits from the room - one small door identical to the one Damakos was using, and a large set of double doors. There were four pirates in the room, barricading the double doors. Damakos rolled another high stealth check, tip-toed into the room, and clobbered one of the pirates with a sneak attack.

After the four pirates were defeated, the PCs sat down to rest, and Captain Jarran came through the opposite small door, alone. His group had been ambushed in the dining hall. Only two of his crew were still alive, but one was greatly injured, and the other was tending to his injuries. Jarren joined the PCs as they unbarricaded and unlocked the door.

One hallway later, they found the throne room. Damakos was not as successful in getting through this door silently, but it probably wouldn't have mattered if he had, as Merea was well aware of the invasion. The Pirate Queen sat on her throne, flanked by her caster Lyyra Syyr, and her Dwarven bodyguard Bruta Grax. There were also four minions standing about the room. After a short bit of dialogue in which Merea refused to surrender quietly, the battle began.

Merea, Bruta, and Lyyra were tough customers. All three were completely custom, thrown together using whatever powers I thought suited their personalities. Merea was a dual-wielding swashbuckler, Lyyra was a powerful caster, and Bruta was an armored tank. Under normal conditions, it would have been a very long battle.

However. In a previous session, I allowed the PCs to find a very powerful grenade-like weapon, the, um... *cough* Holy Hand Grenade. *cough* I statted it myself. It has a complicated list of instructions for throwing it, but it does colossal damage, and has a huge blast radius. Where it lands is based on the player's die rolls, and Bryan unfortunately rolled fairly low. It bounced off a few walls, and still managed to do a lot of good. It vaporized all four minions, and stunned and knocked down all three bosses, along with Drew. The rest of the PCs were unaffected, because they were still hiding in the hallway.

While the bosses were stunned/prone, the PCs took every possible advantage of the situation. Later, when Lyyra created a zone of fire, the PCs kept pushing Merea into it, and blocking her from exiting in any way that didn't result in her getting flanked. It was still a long fight, but the Grenade made it a lot shorter. I was planning to have Lyyra teleport away when she reached 1/4 health, but they managed to finish her off too quickly. When Merea got down to 1/4, she surrendered, as she was the only one left and surrounded on all sides.

After the battle was over, the adventurers rooted through Merea's personal quarters, and found some treasure maps labeled "Arachna Island". Everyone returned to Trasa, and turned in the pirates they had captured, including Merea, Bruta, and Lyyra. They went back to the living quarters on their way out, but it was completely empty. Apparently Callexia knew Merea had been defeated, and felt it was better to escape now and fight another day.

Madeline Starkraven didn't take the news well. The revelation that Merea was alive meant that Mad was truly crazy. Still, she stayed true to her word, and gave the PCs their reward. That's where we ended the session. Next time, they plan to check out this mysterious Arachna Island. They also plan to join the Bounty Hunter Guild, whose entrance exam is quite extensive.

Funny note: The most damage any player took in this session was party inflicted. At one point Drew rolled a 1, and using the fumble chart I introduced last session, he rolled a low number. He ended up throwing his weapon, which hit Damakos in the face, and critted. Ouch.

XP Rewards:
I know I designed the adventure, but I was actually surprised there was as much XP as there was. Sure, the battles were large, but the players had some sort of help with almost every battle, which should have soaked up some of the XP. They had their pets with them at all times, and were often joined by numerous NPC allies.

Stat-wise, they were some difficult encounters. However, I rolled absolutely horribly on my attack rolls the entire night. So much so, that it became a running gag. I kept switching out my d20s, but that didn't help. But even with my ineptitude, I do feel the players definitely earned what they got.

Encounter 1 (Undead): 500/5=100
Turn in Predek: 300/3=100
Encounter 2 (Pirate Ship): 600/11=55
Turn in Risha: 100/3=33
Encounter 3 (Hell's Fury Ambush): 400/11=36
Encounter 4 (Training Room): 400/4=100
Encounter 5 (Merea): 700/5=140
Turn in Merea & Associates: 400/3=133
Total each: 698

Drew and Damakos both reached level 3.