Saturday, September 25, 2010

Scarred Lands - Gnomes Are Brain Food

Game Date: 9/25/2010

The Party:
Aria Thatcher (Matt) - Half-Elf Bard
Blast Flashing, Jr. (Nick) - Gnome Warlock
Shade (Jesse) - Drow Rogue
Thorfin (Ted) - Goliath Fighter

Last week ended with a bit of a cliffhanger. We had fought our way up to the third floor of a four-story church. After clearing the level, we found and solved a puzzle box. Soon a figure began to coalesce, and...

The Session:
...we found ourselves in a battle with a gasty Nast (make that a nasty Ghast) and a ghostly Shadow. Additionally, some disembodied heads we saw earlier grew bodies and became undead minions. This was a difficult battle. Cecil and Paige (whose players were not present) stopped moving, as if they were frozen in time. This left the four of us to battle the monsters. The worst of the bunch was the Shadow. It spent a lot of time floating over a pit in the middle of the floor, which made it difficult for us to use anything but ranged attacks.

At one point, Thorfin tried jumping at the Shadow and grabbing it in mid-air, but he fell down to the second floor below. To be fair, Ted knew it wasn't the best idea, but he likes to try interesting things. Eventually the Shadow escaped up the stairs to the fourth floor, while our party retreated back to the second floor for an extended rest. We slept in the room where we'd fought a bunch of spiders in our previous session. We went ahead and left Cecil and Paige in the spider room, then proceeded to the fourth floor.

On the fourth floor, we found a Wraith, the Shadow we'd fought earlier, six Skin Kites, and a Giant Brain. The Brain was hooked up to a lot of tubes and wires, giving us the impression that it was controlling things. This was an incredibly hard fight, and for some of us, it was our final battle. The Wraith had a natural aura that harmed anyone who stood adjacent to us. The Skin Kits could adhere themselves to our faces, simultaneously restraining us and blinding us.

While Thorfin was up and down several times throughout the encounter, Blast was the first one to actually fail his third death save. Shade and Thorfin barely survived the encounter, but Aria wasn't so lucky. She put up a good fight, rolling some of her highest numbers in the session, but it was just one too many rounds. She failed her final save right after the last hostile was defeated, but before the encounter was officially over. Shade and Thorfin then teamed up on the Brain itself, smashing it to pulp.

As they beat up on it, the building shimmered, and they saw quick flashbacks of the creatures they'd defeated. When it was finally pulverized, the building started to collapse. Shade and Thorfin grabbed their teammates' corpses and started looking for a way out.

From a hole in the third floor's ceiling they could see a bell on the fourth floor. But oddly enough, no such hole or bell existed on the fourth floor. It was an interesting mystery, but they didn't have time to solve it. They remembered seeing a grate on the bottom floor, and rushed to open it. But they couldn't get it open. Then they remembered that there was one room they never explored. Inside they found a chest full of gold (550 gp), and another grate. They opened this grate, and climbed down into a tunnel.

After a bit of running, they found themselves in a room full of zombies. This is where we ended the session, and it might even be where we end the campaign. Next week we're going to give Nick a turn at DMing, in a Forgotten Realms campaign. We've got a couple of other possible campaign ideas in the works as well, so it might be a while before we get back to the Scarred Lands, if ever.

Next week we need to bring some Level 3 characters. So far we've picked our roles, but are still deciding on the actual classes/races. What we've decided so far:
Rusty - Defender (probably Paladin)
Ted - Controller (probably Wizard)
Matt - Striker (probably Elf Avenger)
Jesse - Leader (knowing Jesse, probably some sort of unholy monstrosity who can kill you by looking at you)

On A More Personal Note:
This is the first time I've had a character die in a pencil-and-paper campaign. I've been wondering for a while how I would handle it. As it turns out I'm not too upset - it's just ink and paper after all - but I do feel a little bit hollow. I mean, I had plans for this girl! I spent a long time working on her backstory, and fleshing out her personality. Just a few hours before the session I was perusing paragon paths on the Compedium. Heck, I even went as far as to memorize a bunch of dirty limericks just in case her comedy skills ever came up in session.

I don't think the fact Aria died bothers me nearly as much as the senselessness of the death itself. It wasn't a very heroic end, and the girl who dreamed of fame very likely won't even get a public funeral, and instead might be left behind as zombie chow beneath a collapsed building. Her parents will never know what happened to her. But that's D&D for you. If things were always supposed to turn out the way we planned, we wouldn't even use dice.

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