Sunday, November 27, 2011

Unlikely Heroes: Magic Carpet Ride

Game Date: 11/26/2011
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Dalia (Matt): Human Ardent
Durp the Oblivious (Cliff): Half-Elf Bard
Glynnyn (Tamara): Elf Druid
Keyanna (Chere): Half-Elf Sorcerer
Marrick (Greg): Dwarf Knight

The Session:
Last session we barely survived an epic battle with a Beholder and a gaggle of Wights.  This left us in a poor state, and our plan to take an extended rest was foiled by the arrival of several more undead.  We huddled in a side room, while our only escape was blocked by a large number of Kobold Zombies.  We hadn't even managed to get a short rest in, and our party was desperately low on healing surges.  Things looked pretty grim.

Only 16 of 'em?  Bring it on!

Fortunately, they were all minions.  Keyanna took out a good number of them with her blast attacks, and none of us took much damage during the fight.  After our victory, we finally took our well-deserved extended rest in the side crypt, while Payday and his lumberjack cronies guarded the door.  Once we were rested, Marrick climbed up the walls of the Beholder's chamber, through the magical fog, but didn't find anything of interest. 

The next room was full of rubble from old statues, making the entire room difficult terrain.  Marrick and Dalia were the first to enter, and were quickly hit by crossbow bolts.  We suddenly faced a pair of Undead Kobold Marauders, four Zombies, and their leader:  the newly-reanimated Kobold King Merlokrep, whom we had defeated a few sessions ago.  It wasn't easy, but we came out on top.

The final room contained a large sarcophagus made of carved coral, and four bound lumberjack prisoners.  Inside the sarcophagus we found a Mercurial Rod, and a stone tablet inscribed with a strange language.  Inside the Kobold King's skull we found an amber gemstone with floating runes inside.  While holding the gemstone (a "Polyglot Gem"), Keyanna found she was able to read the text on the stone tablet.  It read "Zelfin Cova" in the Azlanti language.

When we got back to town, Kreed finally unlocked our tower for us.  We reunited with Durp in town, even though he was supposed to be out of town with Ranell for a couple of weeks.  (Derp: "I forgot my lute.")  The next morning, we discovered that we'd all contracted Mummy Rot.  On our way to the church to get treated, we heard that several of the lumberjacks from our party had died overnight, including the four we'd rescued.  Apparently we'd brought back a plague, and the Rot was spreading through town.

The cleric at the church was working on a cure, but it would take a few days and require some materials that weren't found in town.  Kreed came to see us again and asked us to go to the town of Olfden for supplies to fight the plague.  (Aren't his own employees good for anything besides cutting down trees?)  Marrick volunteered first, but Kreed hasn't really trusted him since the dwarf threw a hammer at him last session.  Instead, Durp made the trip solo, using a magic carpet borrowed from Kreed.  (Everybody now, "I can show you the world...")

He was gone four days, during which the rest of us had to make heal/endurance checks to stay ahead of the disease.  He did a little shopping while he was there, and traded a Sacrificial Longsword we'd found for a more useful Songblade.  By the time he got back to Falcon's Hollow, the rest of our party had been cured through die rolls.  But the supplies were still needed by the town, so it wasn't a wasted trip.

We then learned about some murders in town.  Three people had died by the docks, and had wounds that might have been made by an animal.  We headed straight for the church, to see if our favorite Teen Wolf Jevra had been involved.  The priestess didn't seem to think Jevra had been getting out, but she did say that Jevra had been a discipline problem ever since she learned about the deaths of Vex and Davor.

We decided we needed to get Jevra out of town fast.  We didn't want to chance the townsfolk pointing fingers at her, and we weren't so sure we trusted her ourselves.  We'd been planning on taking her to the local Druids soon when we had the time, to see if they could cure her lycanthopy.  Off we go!  Wait, not yet.  We had to postpone our trip for legal reasons.

We'd been waiting for a certain lawyer to come to town, so that we could finalize the legality of our adventuring company.  We didn't want to have to rewrite our tower's lease every time our group's membership changed, so we legally established a name for ourselves.  No longer are we just unlikely heroes, from now on we're officially known as...

(We briefly considered the name "Durp's Bitches".)

We also signed a three year lease on the tower.  We have a remodeling contract for the tower for 10,000 gold (we already have 4 thousand towards that from our dealings with Kreed).  It should take about 8 months for the work on the tower to be completed.  We also decided to go ahead and employ a couple of hirelings to stay in the tower for upkeep and security purposes.  For this, we sought out some of the kids we'd worked with on our previous adventures.

We knew that Hollin's sister Ralla was working as a prostitute, and figured it might not be the best job for a girl her age, so we looked for her first.  We arrived at the brothel, the Rouge Lady, but it wasn't open yet.  Nevertheless, Durp knocked repeatedly on the door.
*knock knock knock* "Hookers."  *knock knock knock* "Hookers."  *knock knock knock* "Hookers."

A window opened up above us, and a couple of annoyed guys dumped a chamber pot on Keyanna's head.  She wasn't thrilled. Merrick and Durp kept knocking, and one of the men upstairs aimed a crossbow at them.  Durp shot him with his own crossbow, and Merrick broke into the brothel through a window.  After Merrick let the rest of the party in, a noseless Half-Orc angrily entered the room and asked us what the hell we were doing here.  It was Kabran Bloodeye, head of thieves guild.

We asked to buy Ralla's contract, which he agreed to do for 300 gold.  Afterwards, we found Ralla and Hollin, and put them to work in the tower.  Now that we'd tied up a bunch of loose ends, we got ready for our trip to find the Druids.   And we'll pick up from there next week.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Unlikely Heroes: I Only Have Eyes For You... And You... And You...

Game Date: 11/19/2011
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Dalia (Matt): Human Ardent
Glynnyn (Tamara): Elf Druid
Keyanna (Chere): Half-Elf Sorcerer
Marrick (Greg): Dwarf Knight

The Session:
Last session we fought a small kobold army in a lumberjack camp, resulting in the deaths of three party members.  As long as the party was going through drastic changes, we decided to switch systems, abandoning Pathfinder and returning to D&D 4e.  We're also trying out the "inherent bonus" system (DMG2 p.138), and keeping magic items to a minimum.

The surviving party members headed back home, devastated by their recent loss.  Upon reaching the city, their first order of business was to take care of their dead.  Since their players were absent, Durp and Ranell volunteered to deliver Davor's body back to his family.  This left Keyanna and Glynnyn to plan the burials of Vex and Adrilar.  They headed for the church to make arrangements.

Meanwhile, Dalia Lockwood arrived in town.  She is a member of the Eagle Knights, on an undercover mission to learn more about Kreed.  Her organization has been suspicious of him for a while, but they haven't successfully gathered any evidence of his misdeeds.  Lately there have been rumors about a group of adventurers who refused to join Kreed's payroll.  Dalia hopes to speak to these heroes and see if they've seen anything that might help her.  Her first few attempts to learn of their whereabouts were fruitless, but eventually she spoke to the right people and learned where to find the party.

A thick-skinned dwarf named Marrick came to town as well.  He is looking for information about the Dwarven Monastery, and has been searching for his lost uncle Glintaxe.  After asking around a bit, he was pointed in the right direction.

At the church, Keyanna had the sad duty of informing Jevra (our young lycanthropic ward) about the deaths of her adoptive parents.  Jevra didn't take it well, but Keyanna promised her that the rest of the party would still take care of her.

Soon, Marrick entered the church and introduced himself.  Keyanna told him what she knew of Glintaxe and the monastery, and Marrick joined the party.  Shortly afterward, Dalia also arrived and introduced herself.  While the adventurers couldn't provide her with any additional evidence against Kreed, they were exactly the kind of group Dalia was looking to join:  people who have done jobs for Kreed without actually aligning themselves with him. Dalia plans to stay with the group for a while, so that she can collect the information she needs.

The party attempted to return to the tower, but found that they were now locked out.  Apparently our contract was in the names of Davor and Snidely, both now deceased.  We spoke to Kreed about the issue, but the meeting did not get off to a good start.  Marrick lost his temper quickly, and tried to attack Kreed.  Keyanna quickly stepped in and prevented the fight from going further.  Once things calmed down, Kreed offered us a deal.  Fulfill our obligations with him - that is, make up for the mission we just botched - and he would alter the contract to cover all the members of our ever-evolving group.  We're not allowed to enter the tower again until the mission is complete.

Reports say zombies have taken some human prisoners at a place called "Cold Marsh".  We left town right away, accompanied by Payday and more of Kreed's men.  We reached our destination, a gargantuan burial mound.  As we started down the stairs into the crypt, we were attacked from behind by a pair of Shadows.  Dalia never managed to hit once this encounter; not a good start to my character. We continued down the stairs and found a room full of fountains, where we defeated three Lesser Water Elementals.

The next room was a large open area with what appeared to be clouds up above us, obscuring the ceiling.  There was a smaller room to our left from which we heard moaning, and we could hear laughter coming from the hallway on the far end of the room.  Marrick was a few steps into the room when a blast hit him from above.  A Beholder floated down out of the clouds. 

The Beholder hovered above us, forty feet in the air, which was frustrating since most of us don't have ranged attacks.  Since she couldn't hit the enemy, Glynnyn decided to explore the adjoining room, which was full of sarcophagi.  She found a magic sword (that's good!), but she also woke the dead (that's bad).

The Beholder finally came down, and we hacked at it with all our might.  As it got closer to death, the battle was joined by a Wraith, three Wights, and two Deathlock Wights.  It was a difficult battle, and we lost a lot of surges.  By the end of the battle, Glynnyn was completely out of surges and low on hit points.

After the fight, our immediate plan was to hole up in the smaller crypt room, and take turns guarding the door so we could take an extended rest.  However, as we moved towards the crypt, we heard some noises approaching from down the hall.  We ended the session on that unsettling note.

Character - Dalia

This is my new character in the "Unlikely Heroes of Darkmoon Vale" campaign.

Full Name:
Dalia Lockwood






As a teen, Dalia lived a charmed life.  She wasn't from a wealthy or prestigious family, but somehow she was unusually popular with her peers.  Doors were always opened for her, both literally and figuratively.  She never thought much about why, she just figured she deserved it for being pretty.  The idea that she might have some latent mental powers, and that she might be subconsciously influencing people with her mind... well, her thoughts just didn't run that deep.

When she was twenty, she met a soldier named Duncan Cwyburn.  He was an officer of the Eagle Knights, a militia devoted to justice.  She was surprised to find that he was immune to her charms.  What's more, he recognized her psionic abilities for what they were, and convinced her that she could be more than just a pretty face.  She joined the Knights, where she learned to control her psionic abilities, for battle and for defense.  More importantly, they taught her to be a responsible person, instead of a petty socialite.

Dalia has always had a knack for the healing arts, so her primary training is in the field of combat medicine.  Two years have passed since Dalia began her training, and her superiors have decided it's time for her to get some field experience.  Recently stories have begun to spread about a group of busy adventurers in Falcon's Hollow, and their refusal to cooperate with the unscrupulous aristocrat Thuldrin Kreed.  The Knights have been eying Kreed's suspicious dealings for a while, but have neither the evidence nor the legal power to take any action against him.  Perhaps these new adventurers might know something?  Dalia has been sent to check it out.

Personality, Mannerisms, and Appearance:
Dalia has red hair and attractive features.  As a representative of the Eagle Knights, she is the epitome of courtesy and chivalry.  Her psionic-enhanced empathy, combined with her social training, sometimes allows her to gain control of conversations in order to get what she wants.  When insulted, she keeps her temper in check, and responds with the civility one would expect from a knight.  In short, she's nice... until it's time to not be nice.  Once things turn physical, she has no qualms about smashing faces and severing limbs.

Creating this character:
This character came together pretty much by itself.  I rolled her race and class randomly to get Human Ardent.  Our party has been greatly lacking a healer, so I mostly took healing options when building her.  I picked the "Knight Hospitaler" theme and the "Surgeon" background, after which her combat medic background practically wrote itself.  Going through my miniatures, I only found one that really fit the build, so I based the character's appearance on the mini.

Her name also sort of evolved by itself.  I wasn't really thinking about names while building her, so I kept calling her "Ardent" in my head.  Subconsciously this evolved into "Dale", probably because of Flash Gordon's "Dale Arden".  But I didn't really like the name Dale, so I morphed it into Dalia.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Unlikely Heroes: Kobold Katastrophe

Game Date: 11/12/2011
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Adrilar (Greg): Elf Sorcerer
Davor (Ted): Half-Orc Sorcerer
Glynnyn (Tamara): Elf Druid
Keyanna (Chere): Half-Elf Dragonblood Sorcerer
Nishallivexiania "Vex" Corman (Matt): Half-Elf Monk
Ranell (Michael): Halfling Barbarian

The Session:
Last session left off with us checking out a lumber camp.  When we got there, we were ambushed by a bunch of kobolds.  Adrilar went down, others were wounded, and things looked grim.  We ended the session on that cliffhanger.

So, after dreading this potential TPK for over a month, we started right where we left off.  We faced a large number of enemies, mostly kobolds and kobold zombies.  Ranell briefly considered shooting Vex in the leg and fleeing into the forest.

Adrilar was the first to go.  He got swarmed by kobold zombies, who continued to attack him after he went down.  They didn't leave him alone until they'd eaten his brain.  I'd make a joke about how it must have been a small meal, but I'll refrain out of respect for the dead.

(But I'm still thinking it.)
When the battle first began, Davor had been poking around in a small, two-room shack.  He heard some noises from the shack's other room, so he blocked the door by pushing a desk in front of it.  He then left the shack, and investigated a large shed.  In the shed he encountered a giant beetle, which very quickly killed him.

I think this picture speaks for itself.

Once we killed all the outdoor enemies, we had a brief respite.  We looted Adrilar's healing items and used them to get ourselves back up to full.  The survivors - Glyynyn, Keyanna, Vex, and Ranell - started looking for Davor.  None of us had seen him run into the shed, so we didn't even know he was dead yet.  Ranell and Vex went into the small shack, pushed the desk aside, and fought a few more kobolds and a swarm of bugs.  We'd had bad luck with swarms before, so after a couple of rounds we sealed the room again and went back outside.

Once outside, the giant beetle came scuttling out of the shed.  It was very hard to hit and did copious amounts of damage, but we stood our ground (for some reason).  Keyanna tried to cast Sleep on it, and rolled a crit on her attack roll.  Unfortunately, it turns out there is no attack roll for Sleep in Pathfinder, and Sleep only affects creatures of lower level than the beetle anyway.

The beetle knocked Ranell out and buried him in the ground.  Keyanna spent her next turn pulling Ranell out of the ground so he wouldn't suffocate. Vex was messily killed by the massive insect.  It was Glynnyn who finally delivered the killing blow against the beetle.

The final survivors were Glynnyn, Keyanna, Ranell, and of course Durp (because his player was absent, Durp stayed on the sidelines).  They found a cart and loaded it up with the bodies of their friends.  They decided to head back to town, and ended the session there.

In an earlier blog I compared the pros and cons of Pathfinder and D&D 4e.  One of the bigger issues was combat length.  Part of the reason we switched to Pathfinder was that we were tired of 4e's incredibly long encounters.  Well, this entire session was a single encounter.  To be fair, we started a little late and ended a little early, but it was still a pretty long battle for Pathfinder.  I wonder how it would have played out in 4e.

Our party has just changed so drastically, and some of the players have been getting a little annoyed with Pathfinder.  We've decided to switch back to D&D 4e next session.  We're going to continue with the same storyline, and the surviving party members will be converting their characters to 4e versions.  I rolled my race and class randomly, and I will be playing a Human Ardent.

For those party members still alive to enjoy it, we now have blueprints for our tower.  It's probably going to cost a good deal more than we have right now, but it's a long-term project.  Pix below:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Miniatures: Exotic Mounts

A while back I posted about some Horse Mount Miniatures from It's a great idea: these horse miniatures are offset on their base, giving you room to set your rider mini on the same base.  But why stop at mundane horses?  More recently they've added some Exotic Mounts.  Your minis can now ride panthers, drakes, unicorns, griffons, and more.  So far I've only ordered one of them, the Tourqen Panther.  I plan to order a few more of them when I have some extra money.  These cost a little bit more that the horses, but they probably use harder-to-find minis.  They do have a buy-4-get-1-free deal, so you can save a little money there.

Here's some pics of my panther (click to view larger):

The Tourqen Panther

Panther with Rider

Mounted Party