Sunday, April 24, 2011

ToEE: Adios Ashira

Game Date: 4/23/2011
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Ashira (Jesse): Dragonborn Battlemind
Durbin (Jesse): Dwarf Battlerager Fighter
Jerry (Nick): Human Cleric
Kossack (Nick [Cliff]): Minotaur Fighter
Krusk (Matt/Jesse [Rick]): Half-Orc Monk
Kryla Bloodfang (Matt): Dragonborn Cosmic Sorcerer
Nyx (Leigha [Bryan]): Halfling Thief
Pixie (Leigha): Gnome Wizard

The Session:
We ended the last session in a column-filled room, after killing a bunch of Ghouls. After a short rest, we explored the area.  We opened the door to the North (A), and fought four more Ghouls.  Then we went West, then South, and found a room with a pair of Ghasts (B).

Early in the battle, Ashira fumbled, then got hit hard by both Ghasts.  In a single round, she was killed by massive damage.  The battle was a bit harder without Ashira (one of the Ghasts made three crits that encounter), but eventually we managed to defeat them.  Afterward, we found a secret passage to the East that took us back into the room with the columns.

While Jesse ran off to build a new character, the party retreated from the temple and headed back to Nulb.  We wanted to get rid of some of the treasure we'd found.  First we spoke to the smithy, who seemed like a nice guy.  He told us to be careful who we spoke to about clearing the temple.  Then he suggested we go to see a hag named Mother Screng.

We went to see Screng, but she didn't have enough cash on hand to buy our loot.  Jerry pissed her off trying to haggle for more money, so we left her alone and headed for the inn.  We saw the smithy again at the bar, but he pretended not to know us.  After we booked some rooms for the night, we started looking around the inn for potential party members... we weren't liking our odds of getting much further without Ashira.

There we met a burly-looking Dwarf named Durbin (Jesse).  He claimed he was looking for action, so we let him in on our quest.  The next morning we set out for the temple once again.  We went back in the same way as before.  After descending the stairs, we encountered four Ghouls at the first intersection (C).  We had to chase one of them a bit down a hall, but we finally killed all four of them.

Then we went North to the next intersection (D), then headed West.  At the next side hall (E), we were hit by a couple of crossbow bolts coming from the North (F).  At the end of the hallway, a hatch kept opening up, and more crossbow bolts kept hitting us.  Kossack charged the wall and whacked it with one of his powers.  Nick: "...And I push the wall  one square and knock it prone."  DM: "No, you don't."  He did, however, damage the hatch.

There were doors to the East and West.  We opened the West door, and found a room with five Gnolls and a Bugbear (G).  Thinking the two rooms were connected, and wanting to surprise them from the other direction, Kossack opened the East door.  Unfortunately the rooms were not connected, and he now faced five Bandit Soldiers (H).

So now we basically had two encounters going on at once.  Kossack and Kryla worked on the East room while the rest of the party fought the West.  Nyx made a bad fumble on this encounter, giving him a penalty to ranged attacks for a while.  An Arbalaster (a walking crossbow construct, which is what was shooting us through the hatch) came out of an alcove (I) and joined the fun.

Pixie used Fountain of Flame in the West room, while Kryla used Blazing Starfall in the East, making some nice controlling zones.  One Bandit Soldier ran away down the hall.  We didn't want anyone escaping who might come back with reinforcements, so Kryla chased after him.  She followed him down a hallway, until he took refuge in a room full of his friends (J).  Well, crap.

In an effort to keep them from charging her, Kryla threw down a Blazing Starfall, then spent an action point to place a second Blazing Starfall in a different area.  Blazing Starfall creates a zone that damages enemies if they try to leave it.  Since most of the enemies were minions, they were inclined to stay put.  But Kryla knew she was still in trouble, because her enemies all had crossbows.

On her next turn, Kryla had planned to lay down another Blazing Starfall (the zones only last one turn), then hide around the corner so she wouldn't be hit by all those bolts.  Unfortunately, one of her attack rolls fumbled.  She drew a fumble card which caused her to teleport to a space adjacent to her enemy.  She had to use her move action to teleport (Spatial Trip) a few squares away, but she was still too close for safety.  She used her minor action to draw a healing potion, but couldn't drink it yet.  On the Bandits' turn, they took her down with a few bolts.

Kossack ran down the hallway to aid Kryla, but they took him down as well.  Kryla & Kossack spent the rest of the battle on the ground.  Kryla rolled very well on her death saves.  Out of 7 or 8 saves, she only failed one.  Though it still would have been nice to get a 20 in there somewhere.

As the fight against the West party gradually took out the Gnolls, the Bandits (who no longer considered Kryla and Kossack a threat) started running in to join the battle.  Pixie fumbled an attack on a Bandit, and drew her fumble card, but Rusty vetoed it because it would have drawn out the battle even longer.  The original fumble card would have summoned some mirror images of the Bandit.  Instead, Rusty had her draw another card.  This one had Pixie's spell going off in her face, hitting herself with a critical.  That's fine, she was at full health, she could survive a crit.  But it was a crit, so she drew a critical card... and it caused her to summon a mirror image to attack her.  Some things were just meant to be.

It took a long time (the battle took nearly 3 hours in real time), but our party finally killed off everyone, and managed to get to their fallen teammates before it was too late.  They killed the last cowering minion, fed Kryla her healing potion, and we called it a night.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

TOEE: Into The Temple

Game Date: 4/17/2011
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Ashira (Jesse): Dragonborn Battlemind
Jerry (Nick): Human Cleric
Kossack (Nick [Cliff]): Minotaur Fighter
Krusk (Rick): Half-Orc Monk
Kryla Bloodfang (Matt): Dragonborn Cosmic Sorcerer
Nyx (Rick [Bryan/Tamara]): Halfling Thief
Pixie (Leigha): Gnome Wizard

The Session:
Last session ended with us just barely defeating a group of Bugbears.  Kryla was killed, and the party took her back to Hommlet to be raised.  While in town, Krusk joined our party.  We headed back to the moathouse to check out a some stairs we'd seen last visit.

We thought it would lead down to another level of the dungeon, but instead it just went to a small room with a pool.  Kossack bravely jumped into the pool to investigate.  (This is Nick running Cliff's character.  Ever notice how much braver your characters get when someone else is playing them?)  Kossack was immediately attacked by a giant crayfish.

The crayfish was tough, and did a lot of damage.  Some of the melee characters had a little trouble finding a good place to stand, especially when the crayfish submerged (which granted him concealment).  But it was still a one-sided battle, since we outnumbered him by so much.  Once it was dead, we explored the pool some more.  There was a short tunnel in one of the walls, but it didn't lead anywhere.  We found a some gold at the bottom of the pool, some bones, 3 rituals, and skull with a gem in it.  A couple of sessions ago, the church asked us to look for a missing woman.  We wondered if this might be her skeleton.  We decided to take the gem back to Hommlet to see if it belonged to the her.

Back in town, we asked about the gem, but were told it didn't belong to the woman.  Good for us - that meant we could sell it.  With the moathouse cleared out, we decided it was time to head for the Temple of Elemental Evil itself.  We had a long discussion about whether it would be best to buy a cart with horses, or individual horses, or just walk.  Finally we decided to buy a cart and two horses. 

We rode until sundown, and used a "Create Campsite" ritual scroll (one of the scrolls we found under the crayfish).  We had a good night's sleep.  In the morning we saw some wild boars rooting around, but they didn't attack us so we let them be.  A few hours later we reached the small town of Nulb.  It wasn't much of a town, really; it was more of a slummy hub for pirate activity.

We rode into town looking as tough as we possibly could (which isn't very with Jerry in the party).  We parked out in front of a tavern, where Ashira and Nyx went in to find out more about the Temple.  The bartender told them that the Temple has ears, and they should be careful what they say.  He also told them that "The Earth Temple controls most of the first floor.  But the Fire Temple pays more."  Finally he told them that if they decide to join the Fire Temple, to say that Wat sent them.

Outside, our cart became surrounded by children looking for handouts.  Jerry threw them a few coppers, but they picked his pocket for some silvers.  That was about as much as we could stand of this town, so we headed on to the Temple.  The road became more and more overgrown, until finally we decided to continue on foot.  We reached the ruins of the gatehouse, and Kryla used her Blazing Starfall power to clear out some of the vegetation.  We saw some birds circling - they looked like ravens, but much bigger - but they didn't bother us.

At the temple, was saw some large stairs heading up to some massive bronze doors.  There were runes inscribed on the doors, and we realized that the doors were designed as much to keep things in as they were to keep things out.  We had a bad feeling about this, so we looked for another entrance.  We found some similar doors further down the wall, but kept looking.  Finally we came to some smaller doors that didn't fill us with as much dread.  Kossack climbed up the wall and attempted to peek in through a window.  Unfortunately it was a stained glass window, so he didn't really see anything.

The door was locked, but Kossack hacked at it until he broke through.  Nick: "Heeeeere's Kossack!"  We entered the Temple and started exploring the extravagant hallways.  We reached an altar that appeared to be designed for human sacrifice.  Nearby there was a pit, which was too deep to see the bottom.  There were some 1-foot wide stairs spiraling down the inside of the pit, but none of us were brave enough to investigate.

At one point we saw some words inscribed on the wall:  "The Power of Elemental Death Brings Mortals Low, But Raises the Nameless One High."  We saw a grand staircase heading down, but passed on that one for now.  We saw a lot of colored tiles - red, white, brown, and green.  They were in specific patterns, and we tried to figure out if it was some kind of puzzle.  We attempted to interact with the tiles in various ways, but we didn't get any results.  We explored a bit more, and found two silk robes - red with lavender lining.  We're assuming these go to the Temple of Fire.

In another wing, we found a small skeleton in pool of black water.  We discovered three more robes, these were moss green with black lining.  In this area we found another set of stairs.  We started to go down them, when a couple of Ghouls came running up the steps.  We fought them from the top steps.  After they were gone, we proceeded down the stairs (A) to the lower level.

1 Square = 10 Feet

At this point we pulled out some graph paper and started mapping out the lower level.  We explored several empty hallways and a few old rooms (B).  Nyx found a decent magic crossbow.  As we were heading North in the Eastern hallway, we smelled the foul odor of death from a hallway to the East.  Jesse: "I smell dead people."

Being the sort of people who make inexplicable decisions, we explored that hallway immediately.  We came to a large room with eight columns (C), with excrement on the floor.  As soon as we'd entered the room, a barred gate came down.  It slammed shut in front of Nyx, trapping him in the hallway, while the rest of us were stuck in the room.  This wasn't such a bad thing for Nyx, since he could still fire his crossbow through the bars.  But it's a good thing nothing came down the hallway behind him, or he would have been slaughtered.

The party was soon attacked by a pair of Harpies.  They weren't particularly damaging, but they had an annoying power that could daze and immobilize a large area, so most of us spent a large portion of the battle rooted in place.  And since the Harpies could fly, those without good ranged attacks were pretty useless.  We failed a lot of saving throws that battle, so we didn't get to move around much.

Just as the final Harpy died, a door opened (D), and some Ghouls started to join the battle.  It was a total of six Ghouls, but they came through the door one at a time.  We took them out fairly quickly, so we never fought more than three at once.  Still, it wasn't an easy battle.  Ashira kept failing her saving throws from back when the Harpies had immobilized her, and she has no ranged attacks, so she spent most of the battle standing off to the side and cursing.

Kryla rolled a 1 on her Daily Power, and as a result of our Critical Fumble Deck, she lost the use of a random spell for the encounter.  She ended up losing Acid Orb, which left her with burst attacks only.  She had to be very careful not to include party members in her blasts.  Pixie rolled a crit on another enemy, and due to the Critical Hit Deck, she sent him to another plane.  He even took damage as he left for leaving Kryla's Blazing Starfall zone.  Nyx fumbled and drew a card titled "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out," causing him to crit himself in the face.  On his next turn he fumbled again, but the card just made him provoke Opportunity Attacks from all adjacent enemies, of which there were none.  So he got lucky there.

Despite all our fumbles, we eventually defeated all the enemies, and ended the session there.

We ended after the battle, but haven't taken a rest yet.  We got 1 action point after the battle, so those who didn't spend theirs earlier now have 2.  Kryla still has one more milestone to go before she stops rolling -1 to everything.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

ToEE: Bugbears 1, Kryla 0

Game Date: 4/9/2011
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Ashira (Jesse): Dragonborn Battlemind
Jerry (Jesse subbing for Nick): Human Cleric
Kossack (Cliff): Minotaur Fighter
Kryla Bloodfang (Matt): Dragonborn Cosmic Sorcerer
Nyx (Matt subbing for Bryan/Tamara): Halfling Thief
Pixie (Leigha): Gnome Wizard

The Session:
Last session ended with the heroic death of Razz the Githzerai Swordmage.  The party took him to Hommlet's church, where it was suggested we burn the body to release his extraplaner soul.

Then we poked around town and told our story to several townsfolk.  We got a few offers to accompany us on our next moathouse expedition.  A Tiefling named Spugnois joined our party because he wanted to locate some family heirlooms.  We also met Ashira, a part-Dragonborn who could almost pass for human.

We returned to the moathouse.  Nyx led us through a secret entrance that took us closer to the areas we needed to explore.  After a bit of sneaking around, Nyx spotted some human guards in a hallway.  They were dressed in the Temple of EE robes, so we knew they had to die.  It was a pretty easy battle.  We fought some minions first in the hallway.  Kryla kept using her Blazing Starfall at the far end of the hallway, discouraging the rest of the enemies from entering the battle.  When the boss - "Lareth the Beautiful" - finally joined the fracas, he didn't have a lot of support left.

Once they were all dead, we found some spiffy rooms full of expensive items and lots of gold.  It was a decent haul, though we learned later (out-of-character) that we missed an item worth 15,000 gp.  D'oh!  We also found some incriminating letters written "From H. to L." - we're pretty sure the L stands for Lareth, but who is H?  We suspected the village elder Hestra, and decided to look into that later.

We headed back to town so we could spend our cash and equip ourselves a little better.  We went on a spending spree, gaining a lot of notoriety in this usually quiet town.  Spugnois decided we were a bit too hardcore and left the party, asking for half of his share of the loot to be paid in residuum.  Later we went to confront Hestra about the letters, but she convinced us she was innocent.  She suggested that the H probably simply stood for Hommlet.

We celebrated a bit more, with Jerry buying a lavish dinner for our crowd of fans.  We partied well into the night and set out the next morning for yet another trip to the moathouse.  We went back to the room where we fought the Gnolls last session, but they were no longer there.  We found and disabled a secret switch on one of the doors, but we couldn't quite figure out what the switch was supposed to do.  (In a later room we found a similar switch which turned out to control a portcullis, so this one was probably attached to one as well.)

We went down several more tunnels, and discovered another secret exit from the dungeon.  We explored a few more tunnels, until we found a room almost identical to the Gnoll room.  Kossack stood watch while some of us checked out the room's various doors.  Unfortunately, his perception wasn't high enough to see the six Bugbears that came sneaking down the hall.

The Bugbears got a surprise round and won initiative, so they got two turns in before the any of PCs got to go.  Those two turns were all it took to drop Kossack and Kryla.  So before our team even made a move, we were already down two party members.  When Pixie's turn came around, she used her Fountain of Flame daily to create a zone that damaged three of the Bugbears.  Then she spent her action point to use Burning Hands, unfortunately catching Kryla's body in the blast.  Kryla had been right at 0, but the Burning Hands did 16 points of damage... and Kryla's negative bloodied value was only 14.  Kryla expired without ever getting a turn.

It was a long, difficult battle for obvious reasons.  All the party members went down at one point or another.  Jerry tried to keep up on healing, but as a Companion Character he doesn't have all the abilities he has when his actual player is present.  Eventually they got it down to one Bugbear, who surrendered and fled.

The party went back to town once again.  The church offered to raise Kryla for 500 gp, which was just about the value of the treasure we'd picked up this trip.  The group let me decide whether they would raise her or have me roll up a new character.  I chose to have her raised.  I think if Kryla had died due to a mistake I made, or even bad dice rolls on my part, I might have let her rest in peace.  But given the "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies" nature of her death, I felt a little bit cheated, and I think she deserves another chance at life.

We ended the session in town.  We will probably head back to the moathouse next session.  There is one set of stairs we haven't explored, which lead down.  Could this be yet another level of the dungeon?  We also never checked out the natural tunnels leading from the crypt, but I think we may have decided to pass on that one entirely.

Due to the taxing nature of returning to life, Kryla will take -1 to all d20 rolls until she reaches three milestones.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Token Storage - Solution

Not long ago I posted a plea for someone to make storage sheets designed for tokens. Thanks to this thread at WOTC's D&D forums, I have a solution I like for now. These pages are made by Brent-Krueger. They are just the right size for the smaller tokens, holding 30 tokens per sheet.

It works pretty well so far.  The tokens fit snugly, so they don't fall out easily.  In fact, it's actually a little difficult getting them out when I need them, but I like it that way.  It's really nice having them all in one place, where I can just flip through and find the ones I want.

If you want to order some of your own, go to this page. For small tokens (The ones that fit in a single square), order this:
LD30 - Lead Dog Vinyl Coin Page 30 pocket page for 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" mylars or flips.

For large tokens (2x2 squares), order this:
LD12 - Lead Dog Vinyl Coin Page 12 pocket for 2 1/2"x2 1/2" mylars or flips.

While it looks like the right size for larger tokens, don't order LD20 (2"x2"); I'm told that they're slightly too small.  I don't yet have a solution for the 3x3 tokens, but those are rare enough not to be a serious problem.  Right now I'm keeping them in some old sheets designed to hold floppy disks.

My order arrived quickly, and the sheets seem to be sturdy.  My only real complaint is that the shipping cost was a bit high.  So if anyone reading this happens to find another website that sells this product, or knows where I could buy them retail, let me know.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

ToEE: All Fall Down

Game Date: 4/2/2011
DM: Rusty

The Party (Level 1):
Jerry (Rick, subbing for Nick): Human Cleric
Kossack (Rick, subbing for Cliff): Minotaur Fighter
Kryla Bloodfang (Matt): Dragonborn Cosmic Sorcerer
Nyx (Bryan): Halfling Thief
Pixie (Leigha): Gnome Wizard
Razz of the Three Moons (Jesse): Githzerai Swordmage

This was the first session Rick could attend, and he didn't have a character of his own yet, so he ran both of the companion characters for the two players who weren't here.  Meanwhile, Bryan is playing a character that he will be sharing with Tamara.

The Session:
When we left off, we had cleared out the ground floor of the moathouse, and had just started checking out the basement.  As today's session began, there were still a couple of small green slimes on the stairs behind us (point A on the map below).  It was Kryla's misfortune to be in the back of the party, and was hit by both of their opening attacks.  She nearly died in the opening round, but Jerry healed her.  

At this point, about ten zombies started shuffling around the corner towards the party.  What we didn't know (at least, in character) was that a Halfling named Nyx was hiding in a nearby cell.  Nyx managed to tiptoe to a column (B), where he avoided detection from most of the undead.  Unfortunately, he couldn't outwit all of them, and he quickly found himself on the ground rolling death saves.

These zombies were Zombie Shamblers, from the Monster Vault.  They're minions, but they have the ability to get back up after they are killed, if they roll high enough.  I won't be drawn into the debate over whether this is a good idea, but it certainly was an interesting encounter. 

Once all the enemies were dead (well, the zombies were already merely dead, but now they were really most sincerely dead), we explored a bit.  It would have been metagaming to head straight around the corner to help Nyx, since we didn't even know he existed yet.  So we checked out our immediate area first, and found a locked door.  Rather than bash it open, we searched the rest of the room, "discovering" the halfling.  Jerry got him back on his feet, and Nyx joined the party.

Nyx helped us get into a couple of secret storage rooms, where we found some stolen goods and some robes (C).  The robes were especially interesting, because they had the symbol of the Temple of Elemental Evil on them.  This was significant because the Temple had (supposedly) shut down a long time ago... and yet these robes appeared to be brand new.  Dun-dun-DUNH!

A couple of rooms later, Razz opened a door and saw an ogre (D).  Razz quickly shut the door, but the ogre slammed it back open.  However, the ogre spent most of the battle stuck trying to squeeze through the doorway, making him an easy target.  We finished him off in just a couple of rounds.  The ogre's chamber had a side room (E) which held a few prisoners (aka "ogre chow").

We took a peek another room, which turned out to be empty, except for a secret passage inside a column (F).  We decided to help the ogre's captives get back to town before exploring any further.  We loaded up as much loot as we could carry, and headed back to Hommlet.  Back in town, we received various rewards, including an extended stay at the local inn.  We bought a couple of magic items and some healing potions.  We talked to a few people, and the church asked us to look for a missing cleric.

We went back to moathouse, and headed straight for the secret passage.  It was a vertical shaft that we each had to climb down one at a time.  Razz descended first, and found himself in a room full of sarcophagi (G).  He was soon attacked by four ghouls.  Kossack was the second one down the ladder, and for a while they were the only ones fighting, as the rest of the party scrambled to climb down the tunnel.

Once the ghouls were dead, we found two more exits from the room.  One looked like it might lead into some clawed-out cave tunnels (H), but we passed that one up.  The other led into a winding hallway which eventually took us to an open room (I).  It was in this room that we were ambushed by a large number of gnolls.

This was a very difficult battle.  We used every action point, every daily power, and every trick we knew to stay in the game, but the gnolls were too much for us.  Razz went down hard, finally giving up the ghost when he hit his negative bloodied value.  The rest of us went down one by one, until it was all over. 

But the gnolls didn't care about killing us, they just wanted our loot.  Everyone but Razz woke up a bit later, in bad shape but still breathing.  All of our gold was gone, as well as our healing potions.  On the plus side, the gnolls rolled low on their Arcana checks, and didn't notice some of us had magic items.  So at least we still have that.

With our tails between our legs, we dragged Razz's body back to town and gave it a proper burial.  And that's where we ended the session.