Rise of the Runelords

Session 18
Adventurers in the Ghetto

Present Players: Eydan, Jaren, Aurelia, Vincent, Purrcival

 

Session Notes:

The game starts with the party still involved in a fairly major combat with the Gnolls that have moved into the Abinor estate. They hew through the last couple of creatures standing between them and the door and begin rushing upstairs to try to save Pellius Abinor's family. The pressure rackets up severely when they start hearing the children screaming and loud thunks. After a stressful few rounds of combat they manage to rush in and roll over the remaining hyenas and Gnolls. There are two young children badly wounded and near death, but a timely channel energy from Vincent makes sure they are alive. The rest of the party try to hunt down the strange pridespawn they saw, but Miverna, Abinor's wife, tells them it went invisible shortly before the party arrived and fled the scene. Its last command to the family's Gnoll captors was to murder them and escape. After everyone has recovered, Pellius tells the party that he was forced to craft a ceremonial dagger with the Pride rune engraved into it or his family would be murdered. Thankfully, he was able to delay long enough that the party arrived and saved the day. He gives them the strange looking dagger and once again thanks the party. Miverna asks the party to inspect the children and herself for magical effects as the creature, "Vistraag" told her that he had enchanted the family with a curse if they tried to escape. Aurelia determines the magic was an arcane mark of the Pride rune, but other than that there is no real magical effect. The party is unable to determine why the rune was placed on the family members. The whole Abinor family is extremely grateful that the party arrived when they did, and gladly accept the offer of an escort back to Magnimar. Before leaving, Abinor tells them to take the remaining weapons in his forge room which provides the party with a couple masterwork shields and masterwork weapons.

 

The journey to Magnimar is uneventful besides the thunderstorm finally arriving and drenching the travelers. The guards at Magnimar's gates offer a bit of resistance to the party at first, but when Pellius makes it known who he is and that the adventurers saved his life they are quickly allowed into the city. The Abinor family offers lodging at their estate, but the party lets them know they have business in town and a upcoming deadline with a ship in Sandpoint so they won't be staying long. Pellius insists at the very least that they visit his estate in the next few days to receive a proper reward for all of their help. With a few final hugs of gratitude the Abinors head toward the Alabaster District as the party heads towards the docks. It becomes immediately clear to the party that Vincent is back at home as he easily leads them about the city and explains some of the many monuments they pass on their way. Their first stop is to deliver the war horse Shadowmist to the Iron Wheel merchant company. The party is momentarily stymied by a wildly incompetent reception (who the party strongly suspects was either hired for looks or due to being an owner's relative), but she eventually realizes they are here to deliver the missing animal and heads off to find Master Merchant, Ernie Thordon. This name, of course, prompts Purrcival to ask if Burt is around also and the reception helpfully replies, "Of course, I'll get him from the docks" before heading off. Sometime later a relatively confused half-orc shows up and introduces himself as Burt. The party, besides Purrcival, are a bit abashed but Purrcival makes some chit chat and asks for a local tavern recommendation. Burt sort of shrugs and mentions Toothless' bar and is impressed when Vincent replies with the bar's name, "The Broke Bow Tavern". He gives a nod before going back to work slightly confused. Sometime later Master Ernie shows up and invites the party back to his office. They crowd in and offer to return the horse hoping for a  reward, but Master Ernie insists it makes no difference to him since he has already gotten the insurance money for the caravan. He goes on to say the creature is no good to him and the party might as well keep him so he can avoid any further paperwork. Jaren is very happy to hear this having grown relatively attached to the temperamental animal, and after a bit of haggling they get the horse's papers. They do a bit of work to rename the animal Shadowmere and 'resurrect' it according to the paperwork and head off to the Broken Bow. Orik says his goodbyes to the party as they head into the Underbridge, saying that he is a known man down there and wouldn't want to show his face anytime soon. He tells them he'll be tavern hopping in the docks if they need him.

 

The Broken Bow is in a very rough part of town known as the Underbridge. Vincent seems very comfortable while Purrcival tells the party of the various dangers that are known to be in the area: murderers, cultists, strange spider like creatures in the bridge stonework, and even Derro are said to roam the shadowy district. The party are all rightly concerned and Eydan especially tries to make sure Vincent isn't playing the long con and bringing them into some trap. However, nothing untoward happens to the party and they manage to make it to the Broken Bow tavern. Thorg the Toothless greets Vincent with a hug and after being introduced to the party makes sure to wrap them all in his large half-orc arms. Vincent hands him a few barrels of Goblin Pickles from Thistletop and slyly slips him a bag heavy with coin. Thorg lets the common room know that these people are under his protection and he won't accept anyone trying to con them in his establishment. The party spends the evening picking up a few magical supplies in Magnimar and getting to know Thorg and his establishment. The tavern is well cared for, if not the fanciest accommodations, and the party has a good night's rest. Early the next morning Vincent excuses himself and goes to check on an abandoned shrine next door to the tavern. It is an abandoned shrine of Sarenrae that was shut down after the owners were murdered after failing to pay protection money to the local gangs. Thorg and Vincent have taken it upon themselves to look after it until it can get properly established. The rest of the party eventually awakens and has a decent breakfast before setting off once more. They get one final hug from Thorg before heading to find Orik and Mersoolian.

 

The party safely leaves the Underbridge after Eydan yells at a halfling cutpurse that was scoping out Jaren. They go to Pellius' estate and receive a warm greeting with wine and fruit. He gladly rewards them with a bag of emeralds and he gifts Feda a special war hammer that was given to him by the Church of Torag for some past work. It is a Forgefather's Sledge, and represents a true friend to Torag. The hammer can be magically lit aflame with a command word and offers minor fire resistance to the wielder. She is very impressed and grateful for the gift. After a bit of small talk, the party tells him they are going to go back by his country home to ambush the Gnolls if they haven't already returned in the night. He  doesn't seem overly concerned about the estate and seems most focused on making sure his young girls recover from the harrowing experience. Vincent asks if Pellius to learn more about the abandoned shrine of Sarenrae in the Underbridge to see if it has any legal owners. Pellius thinks he has a few contacts that may could help in the endeavor and promises it is the least he can for the people that saved his family.

 

The party has a few more loose ends to tie up before leaving Magnimar. They manage to track down Orik again and recommend he talk to Pellius about a more stable job that doesn't involve goblins. He was deep into the cups when they found him, but they leave him a note for when he finally recovers. They also go by Mersoolian's shop and find it closed. After a bit of investigation Purrcival talks to the adjacent shop, a laundry mat with halfling workers, to let him in the backway. They surprise a very busy Mersoolian and tell him that they will definitely go to the Hollow Mountain, but they have to go back to the Abinor Country Estate first. He is disappointed and tries to get them to leave right this instant, but finally admits defeat and tells them he will be in Sandpoint in a few days. The party finally heads back out into the country side, but the Gnolls have already visited the estate. Eydan manages to follow their tracks south west toward the swamp before losing them due to the previous night's thunderstorm. Admitting defeat, the party relays the information back to Abinor before heading back to Sandpoint.

 

 

DM Notes:

  • I wish I had prepared better for Magnimar, but my computer giving me a BSOD before the game stopped a lot of preparation
  • Why is it whenever I plan on having a PC gain something cool, they are almost always not there for that game night?
  • The Gnolls overall were a decent challenge to the party I feel like.
  • I don't think I did a good job of stressing the captive family members early in the fight, but when I started describing 'thunks' screaming the party got motivated.
  • On that note, man Abinor's wife refused to go down against the Gnoll whelp assigned to kill her. The Gnoll could not roll above a 5 to save his life.
  • The party responds well to pictures of spiders. Noted.
  • Vincent went a cool direction with the Broken Bow and abandoned Shrine of Sarenrae. I'll have to make sure that thread stays available to pull.
  • The party seemed unprepared for people wanting to know what to call them.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  •  1200 Gold worth of Emeralds from Abinor
  • Forgefather's Sledge
  • Ceremonial "Pride magic" Dagger
  • Masterwork items from Abinor estate
  • Summon Monster 2 Scroll from Mersoolian as early payment

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  •  Dire Hyena
  • 3 Rageborn Gnolls (Barbarians)
  • 4 Gnolls
  • ~10 Gnoll Whelps
  • 2 Gnoll Warriors (Fighters w/ maneuvers)
  • 4 Hyenas
  • Vastriig the Pridespawn (escaped)
  • Halfling Pickpocket

 

End Date: Spring 27

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Session 17
A Pride of Gnolls

Present Players: Eydan, Jaren, Feda, Vincent, Purrcival (Late)

Session Notes:

The party meets with the town leaders (Father Zantus, mayor Deverin, and sheriff Hemlock) and explain the situation at Thistletop. They are relieved that it went pretty well and that the goblin threat, for now, is gone. Sheriff Hemlock updates the party that Tsuto has been taken back to Magnimar to face trial and he will likely be sent to the Hells. The mayor promises a reward to the group, but isn't ready to discuss it at the time of the meeting. She promises to discuss it when the party returns from their errands in Magnimar. The party goes to visit Ameiko and Shalelu to figure out why Shalelu went missing and never showed up at Thistletop. They find a rather bored but fully healed Shalelu at Ameiko's estate. Shalelu explains she was scouting for the goblins as agreed. She first went to Thistletop but was side tracked when she found a war band lead by Gordknot, the second in command of the Mosswood goblins heading east. She didn't follow too closely due to the danger of being caught but used her survival skills to stay on their trail. After following them for a couple of days she came upon their camp site in utter ruin. Going by the tracks the goblins were attacked by a band of Gnolls. In the center of their camp was a horrific display of Gordknot spread eagle with his ribs broken open. On his forehead was a dark twisting rune that Shalelu didn't recognize. Very concerned about this band of Gnolls she pursued it but she was ambushed while trailing them. She managed to outrun them and stay right ahead of them but it took her way out of her expected path. After a couple of near misses she managed to lose them without leading them toward Sandpoint. She had them heading South-East when she caused them to lose the trail. Shalelu yells for Ameiko who eventually shows up with a sigh at her house guest. Ameiko greets the party and shares the frustrations on being a noble. Shalelu shares a bit of gossip that the mayor is angling to offer Thistletop to the party, and Ameiko advises the party to use her upcoming party as a chance to lobby for support from the other noble houses. Shalelu offers to join the party to hunt down the Gnolls, but admits she is hoping to find some of Bruzathamus' stashes. The party heads to the headmaster of the academy and gets him to agree to make scrolls in exchange for the guardian statues at Thistletop. They then head to the Goblin Squash Stables and are impressed to find a pretty normal looking stable besides the hundreds of goblin ears nailed to the building. The owner admits he is a bit odd, but that he has a particular hatred for goblins. The party swaps some goblin hunting tales before renting a few horses for their trip to Magnimar.

 

On the way to Maginmar Eydan warns the group in two days a big thunderstorm is going to roll through the area. The partial day of travel from Sandpoint passes uneventfully and the party camps in one of the campsites set along the road between Magnimar and Sandpoint. The second day is grey and the air is heavy with the threat of rain. About 20 miles out of Magnimar the party's keen eyes spot fire from a country estate of a local noble. The party knows it belongs to a famous weapon smith that is based  out of Magnimar. The manor belongs to Pellius Abinor, Master Weaponsmith the cousin of the legendary Cheliaxian weaponsmith Henderthanes. He lives there with his family and manufactures beautiful (and functional weapons) for the nobles of Magnimar.  Concerned, the party heads toward the smoke following a nicely made cobble path about 3 miles into the wood. Eydan scouts out ahead and confirms the party's fears that the Gnolls have attacked the estate. Eydan manages to silently dispatch 3 Gnoll Whelps that were on guard around the manor. The party see a large number of Gnolls inside with the majority of them feasting on servant bodies. After a fair amount of planning and scouting, the party comes up with a very direct plan of attack. Purrcival and Eydan rush up to the window; Purrcival opens it with a magical spell and Eydan tosses in a gem from the fireball necklace. It explodes with a whoomf and causes the whole house to erupt in a chorus of hyena-like yelps and yells in Gnoll. The party's fireball has effectively ruined the Gnoll's diner and even manage to remove a few from the fight. Like a kicked over anthill, hyenas and Gnolls pour out of the house. The party is hard pressed as the Gnolls pepper them with arrows and some raging, almost feral Gnolls engage in melee. Dire Hyena mostly taken down by Aurelia. Feda attempts to reduce the incoming arrow fire by casting obscuring mist, but the mists are quickly ripped away as a fireball explodes from an upper window hitting the grouped party. The sudden appearance of the spell prompts the party to look toward the second floor in which they see a strange twisted creature with a lolling tongue between split mandibles. Purrcival recognizes the aberration as a Pridespawn, a creature spawned from the Thassilonian  Pride school of magic. They are vaguely related to the wrathspawn the party has fought in prior encounters. From inside the house Eydan hears a voice they recognize as Abinor, he tells the party to head upstairs and save his family. A couple of Gnoll Fighters jump out the window with a flourish which earns an applause from Vincent and a head shot (crit) from Eydan dropping one instantly. The other fighter pivots and rolls to Vincent leaving a massive bleeding gash across his chest. Purrcival drops the dire hyena that Aurelia has been peppering with magic missiles with a well-placed arrow. The session ends with the Gnoll forces continuing to surround the party near the manor's patio.

DM Notes:

  • Weapons with x3 crits are to be respected
  • I wasn't sure how the party was going to approach this combat, and with that in mind I should have added more area around the house to work with.
  • The party actually has a few friends in Sandpoint. This is a change of pace from my college games where it seems like the PCs had a very antagonistic relationship with  basically everyone.
  • Fireballs were flying from both sides this combat. Pretty good for a level 4 party.
  • I have no idea what challenge rating this whole fight is, but it certainly helps the party I can't roll above an 8 for the most part.
  • Eydan had some really nice stealth rolls around the house. Everyone else, not so much.
  • Everyone learned Jaren is a lot less dexterous than previously thought ("His AC is really that low?"), but man does he continue to hit like a truck.
  • I've played a lot of games where, as a PC, I would love to have a healer like Vincent

Rewards / Loot:

  • A promise of a reward from the Mayor

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Gnoll band. I'll break it down by monster in the next update.

End Date: Spring 25

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Session 16
Malfesh-no-more

Present Players: Eydan, Jaren, Feda, Vincent, Purrcival
 

Session Notes:

The party starts the session with a freshly greased Eydan in the claws of Malfeshnekor. Despite the magical grease covering the archer, Malfeshnekor manages to keep his grip and prepares to squeeze the life from Eydan. However, Feda is able to assist with a magical spell Liberating Command which allows him to slip free and safely out of the barghest's large clawed hands. Growling in rage Malfeshnekor unleashes a demoralizing spell down the corridor hitting most of the party and blocks the doorway trapping Eydan. Purrcival fights against the crushing despair with a rousing comedic routine that boosts the party's spirits. Aurelia once again summons magical grease and in a shocking turn of events (Natural 1) the creature smashes to the ground prone in front of Feda and Jaren who are well prepared to deliver some hurt. Vincent finishes his spell to summon a celestial distraction/Hyena. The creature actually manages to latch onto the barghest's arm before having its head ripped off by a set of immense jaws. While Malfeshnekor is distracted Eydan tries to slip by, but he also has  a large chunk taken out of him as he maneuvers about the small room. Jaren manages to slice into the barghest and the fiendish blood seems to awaken something within his blade. The marvelous blade is suddenly covered in blue and white electrical sparks as it slices into the beast. The over confident attempts to stand but immediately regrets his decision as Feda plants her war hammer solidly on the creature's skull and Jaren lands a solid blow. Eydan manages to get far enough away to pepper the creature with arrows. Vincent blesses Jaren's weapon to cause it to grow with divine flame, and Jaren uses the magical blade to deliver a critical strike removing Malfeshnekor's head from its shoulders. The body quickly disintegrates into lifeless ash leaving the party extremely pleased that such a strong foe was conquered with no deaths.

 

The rest of the session is spent cleaning up Thistletop's loose ends. They loot the barghest's room finding a couple of Thassilonian Guardian Statues, mostly of interest to collectors, and a magical ring that creates a pane of force in the shape of a Sihedron Rune. Purrcival goes on a hunt for secret doors and waves his wand of Detect Secret Doors across the complex, but mostly comes up empty on the hunt. Feda, Orik, and Purrcival go up and begin to repair the rope bridge. It takes a bit of effort, but thanks to Feda's spells and Purrcival's climbing ability they are able to safely secure the bridge once again. Jaren gets the warhorse to cooperate and enlists it in hauling loot from the fort. Eydan and Aurelia are able to finally find the chest associated with the iron key they found earlier, but are massively disappointed that it is in a secret door behind the disgusting privy. Jaren, Eydan, and Aurelia manage to get it out with no unfortunate accidents and find a random assortment of loot that looks mostly to be stolen from unfortunate travelers. While all of this is going on Vincent busies himself trying to find Kyrie's cat familiar, he recovers the cat's bedding and a few well-worn toys from the area. He spends a long time searching the fort before eventually searching outside the walls. During his search he finds a much larger and very angry Firepelt Cougar that belonged to the Goblin Druid. The party debates on how to handle it and after a few failed attempts to gain its trust decide that they should leave the creature under the bush they found it. The familiar, Skivver, is finally find in a tree on the edge of the island and with a lot of prompting deigns to come down to Vincent.  Eydan does a bit of tracking to see if they can follow the Chief and his gecko but he eventually loses the tracks due to the creature's climbing ability.

 

With Thistletop behind them the party heads back to Sandpoint. The party is relieved to see that the town is perfectly fine. They head to the Rusty Dragon and find Amieko missing due to her new busy life as an aristocrat. However, Bethana greets the party and makes them feel very welcome. The taproom lets out a cheer as they enter and the town seems to be in better spirits now that the threat of goblin attack seems dissipated. Bethana delivers a message that has come from Magnimar, Mersoolian's expedition will be launching soon and he should be in Sandpoint in roughly 8 days. He wants to head toward the Hollow Mountain in the Varisian Bay. Purrcival confidently lets the party know that the bay was once part of the Runelord Alaznist's domain before it was sunk into the sea by a rival. The next day is spent coordinating a meeting with the town's leaders (Father Zantus, sheriff Hemlock, and Mayor Deverin). The party also gets rid of some of their loot thanks to the local merchants and the Priestess of Abadar, Sister Arva.

 

DM Notes:

  • The barghest fight went surprisingly well for the party. Malfeshnekor is a well-known party killer for this campaign path, so I'm glad the party was able to handle him.
  • Critical hits from x3 weapons don't really care if you have damage reduction.
  • Jaren's sword gets a bit more powerful though it has already made a number of fights easily thanks to bypassing magic damage reduction pre-level 4.
  • I'm glad they sniffed out the goblin chest. It is a fair amount of loot at this level.
  •  

 

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Ring of Force Shield
  • Thassilonian Guardian Statues
  • 7,432 Coppers
  • 2,490 Silvers
  • 89 Gold
  • 3 Platinum
  • Leather Pouch with 34 badly flawed Malachites (1 GP each)
  • Medium Chain Shirt
  • Medium Masterwork Scimitar
  • Pair of Masterwork Manacles
  • Gold Holy Symbol of Sarenrae (100GP)
  • Jade Necklace (60GP)
  • Fine Blue Silk Gown with Silver Trim (150GP)

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Malfeshnekor
  • Tangletooth, Druid Companion
  • Skivver
  • Rope Bridge

 

End Date: Spring 24

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Session 15
Thistletop - Now Under New Ownership

Present Players: Eydan, Jaren, Aurelia, Feda, Vincent
 

Session Notes:

After a bit of waiting to see if the retreating goblins would rally for a second attack the party followed after them. They soon found the remnant of the goblin forces at the edge of the island's steep cliff where the rope bridge once stood. However, the goblins hadn't had time to repair since Jaren cut it down to save his allies from a watery death. That left them with a single strand of rope across the very wide ravine. As the heroes approached a few put up a token defense trying to slow the approaching heroes, and the goblin warchanter was able to slow them further with an illusionary stone wall. A few goblins and Kyrie tried their hands at balancing across the rope, but none of them managed to make it to safety across the rope besides Chief Ripnugget on his trusty gecko steed. He tried to rally his goblins from a safe distance, but was quickly discouraged once Eydan shot a few arrows his way.

 

With Thistletop cleared of enemy forces the party set about exploring the various rooms thoroughly using mundane and magical means. The party learned that goblins are generally disgusting and the keep was resounding filthy. They recovered various bits of loot that the goblins had squirreled away in the overall refuse. They also found two goblins in the western watchtower that skipped the fighting. Apparently, after pigging out on some purloined pickles from the pantry they passed out with full stomachs. Feda put a quick end to the goblins, brooking no interruption from Vincent's call to capture the creatures. During the party's exploration they were able to find the missing warhorse from the Iron Wheel merchant company. The horse was in a foul mood, but with some luck Vincent was able to calm it down while Eydan provided some food and water. However, they haven't determined how to get the very large warhorse off the island. The party also found a few cages full of rabbits that were destined to be goblin dog chow, but will now be safely released off the island once they figure out how they're getting things off the island. In the Goblin Chief's room the party found a large iron key but so far they've not found the door it goes with. In the eastern watchtower Aurelia laid claim to two queen of diamonds from a mish mash of playing cards the goblins were using. The grand looting tour continued on the lower floors of Thistletop. The party managed to recover the burned remains of Nualia's father, Ezakien Tobyn, from an altar to Lamashtu with the intent to rebury it at Sandpoint.

 

On the lowest levels of Thistletop the party quickly passed the point to which Nualia's group had explored. The first room contained a pillar of golden coins that radiated magic and a stone door depicting two skeletons holding a skull. The party opted for the door and found themselves in an ancient crypt with a statue of a robed man wielding a glaive. Before the party had time to explore much of the crypt they were assaulted by undead shadows. Jaren took the brunt of the shadow's strength draining touch but Vincent's divine magic was able to quickly destroy the undead haunting the crypt. Further exploration found a flooded treasure room in which stood a gigantic golden helmet. As the party was debating how to get the very valuable helmet out of the crypt they were startled for it to stand up and charge them. It turns out a very large (and surprisingly angry) hermit crab had long ago laid claim to the golden headpiece. After forcefully evicting the helm's current occupant the party found themselves with a very large helmet that they have no idea how to remove from the island's treasure room. Purrcival was able to identify a mural showing the ancient lost city of Xin-Shalast, which was rumored to have streets of gold and buildings crafted of diamonds. He didn’t know much of the mythical realm but there is debate amongst scholars to say if it ever existed. Returning back to the magical column they were able to determine the "gold coins" were in fact an illusion. A thorough investigation revealed two narrow slots on either side of the pillar, and once Eydan inserted a couple of golden coins from the treasury the illusion covered stone pillar sank into the floor revealing a way forward. The next room the party explored featured an illusionary image on a loop speaking in ancient Thassilonian: "…is upon us, but I command you remain. Witness my power, how Alaznist's petty wrath is but a flash compared to my strength. Take my final work to your graves, and let its memory be the last thing you…". Purrcival was able to translate but couldn't place the speaker. The next room had a faint glow of transmutation magic and the party found some beautifully crafted surgical implements arrayed on a number of tables with leather straps. On one of the tables the party found a large gold and silver seven pointed star with one side showing smooth polished metal and the other covered in strange nodules and blades. They were momentarily confused until they investigated the final door of the dungeon. It was an impressive one with a magical Arcane Lock spell on it stopping any sort of entry, however, there was a seven pointed indentation that the "key" the party found easily fit into. As the party opened the door they were greeted with a warm room that smelled of burning hair, as per normal protocol Eydan moved in to scout the room for traps and found himself firmly grasped by burly clawed hands as a large creature had its invisibility broken. The creature tightened his grip on Eydan before demanding to be freed to reap havoc on the material plane. Clearly, this did not go over well for the party and they debated what to do with the creature as it tightened its claws around Eydan.

 

DM Notes:

  • The cleanup of the remaining goblin forces was as uneventful as expected. Turns out goblins don't really "rally" after losing a fight so much as panic
  • I was super impressed on far out Kyrie and some of the goblins made it out onto the rope before slipping and crashing into the ocean below.
  • There's a lot of magical loot floating around that the party hasn't been able to identify yet. This is annoying because it means I've got to remember what I replaced the generic Cloak of Resistance / +1 Armor stuff with during the session.
  • The giant hermit crab would have been a lot more threatening if I could of rolled higher than a 5
  • Purrcival has heard a lot of weird ass trivia, he managed to make a very difficult History check and fail to make some relatively (for his skill level) simple ones
  • Woo boy, Eydan is in a rough spot. Maybe I should recommend getting a spare character ready in case the party just shuts the door?

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Pearl Daggers (Set of 6)
  • Silver Holy Symbol to Lamashtu
  • Iron Key
  • Masterwork Small Dogslicer
  • 3500 Silver
  • 630 Gold
  • 42 Precious Stones
  • Jade Amulet (Magic)
  • Giant's Gold Helmet
  • Surgical Tools
  • Sihedron Key

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Goblin Riff-Raff (~3 Goblin Commandos, 1 Goblin Bard, Lyrie, 1 Goblin Dog)
  • Two Pickle Thieving Goblins
  • 3 Shadows
  • 1 Giant Hermit Crab in a Helmet
  • 1 Greater Barghest (TBD)

 

End Date: Spring 23

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Session 14
Prepare for the Horde!

Present Players: Eydan, Purrcival, Jaren, Aurelia, Feda, Vincent
 

Session Notes:

A final session for the battle of Thistletop. The party spent the entire session dealing with the repercussions of aggro'ing the entire goblin force within Thistletop. The party effectively bottle necked the goblin forces in the beginning of the attack, but soon the vast numbers managed to find side entrances and ramp up the attack. The heroes pulled out all the stops using a couple of summon monster scrolls; including the one that they found in the Chopper's dungeon which summoned a fiendish winged python. It effectively barricaded the stairs along with Jaren. Gogmurt made a nuisance of himself by summoning creatures and sending them down the stairs to attack the party. Gogmurt grew a little too confident in throwing his flaming spheres and eventually Jaren was able to destroy him with a massive blow. The chief of the tribe continually prodded the goblins to attack and was rather successful at keeping them moving forward until the two Yeth Hounds that were trapped in the Temple of Lamashtu unleashed their terrifying howl. This caused the entire battle to go nuts with goblins fleeing in all directions (including the chief) and the party being split up by the panicking effect of the magical howl. Purrcival was able to save Jaren from fleeing due to his Saving Finale spell, but Orik and Vincent fled in terror back into the barracks. This scatter caused the fight to get much more intense with the remaining goblins and the two Yeth Hounds nearly ending the heroes' adventure permanently. However, thanks to some very lucky rolls the party pulled through and broke the remaining goblin's morale. The session ended with the party waiting to see if there was a round 2 coming or if they should now pursue the retreating goblins.

 

DM Notes:

  • Man, that was a tough fight. Feda was nearest to death (2 HP from dying) after being bitten from staggered into dying by a Yeth Hound. Could of easily been her end.
  • Aurelia was also knocked unconscious but was able to avoid getting too far into the negatives.
  • Overall, managing combat across maps was a huge pain in the ass on Roll20. I think just moving them into walls and having them appear is a good solution for future combats.
  • It really sucks to panic a PC for 6 rounds. It is just forever in combat and causes them to not have much to do.
  • Touch attacks from a wand did work on Jaren. It earned a lot of animosity towards the druid.
  • Purrcival's Bard Song having an additional +1 on the fear save + Saving Finale probably saved the entire fight for the party. It was the difference in 2 more PCs being panicked for 6 rounds, which would have had the remaining people overwhelmed.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Wand of Produce Flames (12 charges)
  • 2 Masterwork Small Leather Armor
  • Wand of Tree Shape (3 charges)
  • 182 gold (in assorted coins)
  • 4 Masterwork Small Horsechoppers
  • 4 Elf Bane Arrows
  • Masterwork Composite (+4) Longbow

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • A lot of goblins including a goblin warchanter and multiple goblin hunters
  • A whole pack of goblin dogs
  • Gogmurt the goblin druid
  • Two Yeth Hounds

End Date: Spring 22

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Session 13
…They're crazy, can we go?

Present Players: Eydan, Purrcival, Jaren, Aurelia, Feda, Vincent
 

Session Notes:

The party started the session trying to determine how much they trust Lyrie (not much) and how much info they can pull from the wizard. At first Jaren is sympathetic, but it isn't longer before he realizes Lyrie is very unstable and overall not a nice person. After Purrcival sniffs the little bag of artifacts (toenails, hair, etc.) he realizes that they belong to Tsuto. Once the party figures this out they manage to get some decent information from the wizard by showing them Tsuto's journal that talks very highly of Nualia. Once she begins to rage at Nualia the party is much more confident in her cooperation and Lyrie points out the secret door downstairs where Nualia is currently working.

 

Going further down into the bowels of Thistletop the party finds familiar Thassilonian stonework. Eydan scouts ahead to make sure there are no trapped areas. Unfortunately, the trap is well hidden and Eydan stumbles onto a pressure pad which causes two large gates to crash down on either side of him. After the gates crash down two within the narrow area begin to vigorously swing stone glaives. Eydan manages to ensare one with a tanglefoot arrow, but the other lands a couple of significant blows. The party works quickly to break down the grates with the help of Feda's divine touch (domain ability to break constructs / objects) and Jaren's rather large sword.

 

The trap delays the party a great deal and by the time they arrive at the next door they hear someone casting spells in preparation of a fight. By the time the party manages to bust into the room they find a fully buffed cleric of Lamashtu ready to throw down. The following fight is relatively contained with good front to back positioning with Jaren and the clerics holding down the front and the rest of the party throwing spells and arrows over their shoulders. The cleric manages to handle a few rounds hand to hand with Jaren, but soon his blows drop the Nualia with a brutal beheading. The two Yeth Hounds last a bit longer, but Feda is able to bless the party's weapons and negate their damage reduction.

 

After the fight the party heals up with  a channel from Vincent, and they begin to plan their next steps. They want to take out Bruzathamus the bugbear ranger that Lyrie confirmed lives in Thistletop. Lyrie once again helpfully points the party on the way, though mostly so she can go back to reading now that she is satisfied the party is going to take her to Tsuto. The party surprises Bruzathamus who is in his room with a harem of 5 goblins in heavy make up. The two parties quickly clash, but one of the dolled up goblins managed to slip past and run up the stairs screaming bloody murder. Eydan is able to drill Bruzathamus with enough arrows that the bugbear collapses in a bloody pile. However, the party hears the whole fort mobilizing against them, and as a nearby door slams open revealing a heavily armored human they prepare for a dire battle. They are all shocked when the armored human throws down his sword and declares, "the whole fortress as crazy and he just wants off this godforsaken island". He offers to help the party if they'll help him, and they gladly accept the offered sword.

 

DM Notes:

  • We've made it to nearly the end of Book One of Rise of the Runelords
  • After running it by the party, I've decided to drop the revised action economy. I like what it is trying to do, but currently it lacks the rule support and balance I'd prefer. It really breaks low level fighters (Jaren) as far as expected damage output.
  • I managed to end the session on just the right note. The party had just alerted the goblins and things were looking dire, and I was able to have a sudden shift in their hopes as Orik burst through a door and declared these cultists of Lamashtu nuts, can we work together?
  • I expect this will be a difficult fight, but the party has pretty good tactical location options. I expect a bit of a grindy fight, but one that I expect the party will slog through successfully.
  • Normally, goblins morale would probably break relatively quickly in such a fight, but the goblins have limited options given the rope bridge isn't fully repaired yet.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Sihedron Medallion
  • Masterwork Breastplate
  • Masterwork Bastard Sword
  • Masterwork Composite (+3) Longbow
  • Gold Holy Symbol to Lamashtu (100 gp)
  • 7 Platinum Pieces
  • 5 Gold Pieces

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Glaive Cage Trap
  • Nualia, Cleric of Lamashtu
  • 2x Yeth Hounds
  • Bruzathamus
  • Bruzathamus' Harem

 

 

End Date: Spring 22

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Session 12
Tenta-what?

Present Players: Eydan, Purrcival, Jaren, Aurelia, Feda
 

Session Notes:

The party assesses trying to cross the ravine between the mainland and Thistletop, but ultimately decide that they will attempt to use a boat to attack from the rear of the island since there don't appear to be any watch towers around the back. They head back to town and buy some climbing supplies to help some of the less agile members surmount the rocky cliff. While buying from the General Store they grin and bear the markup that Ven Vinder throws on their goods. They also convince Turch Sterglus to take them out on a quick trip to  Thistletop. The trip is mostly uneventful with Turch filling their ears with tales of his fishing adventures. They do learn that the islands near the shore to the south west of Thistletop is known to harbor harpies but they generally aren't too much of a bother.

 

Once they get to Thistletop Purrcival points out an oddity about the structure, it appears to be the head of a large statue. He informs the party that there used to be statues that could defend the realms of the Runelord's and that this head is likely from one such statue. The clerics cast water walk and the party says goodbye to Turch, plodding over the water to the island. On the Eastern side of the island they find a tunnel covered with vines. Purrcival easily climbs up near the hole and sniffs to see if it is dangerous. He smells dead things and hears a soft crunching noise. He decides to stealthily hammer in a piton so his party can climb up but as he does so a large tentacle whips out of the hole poisoning him badly. He quickly retreats and a strange looking aberration crawls to the edge of the hole swinging madly with numerous tentacles. Purrcival identifies it as a Tentamort. These strange creatures have poisonous stingers and often bury their eggs in victims that insides have begun to melt from the insidious poison. This information is no great comfort to the badly poisoned Purrcival who continues to fall back. The party continues to throw spells and arrows at the creature, but it retreats once the meal is out of reach. Eventually Jaren rushes the whole and begins to battle the creature. He manages to defeat it and the party secures the entrance.

 

The Tentamort area appears unused; however, the party does find some desiccated goblin bodies in one side room. One of the bodies has a magical hide armor still covering its frame, but there is also a small bit of movement on the creature that the party spots. After some debate, Feda moves over and stomps the baby Tentamort spilling ichor across the floor. They acquire the loot and try to identify the body. Purrcival is relatively sure that this goblin was once one of Thistletop's lieutenants given the quality of the equipment. With no sound of alarm on the floor the party begins to tentatively explore the floor. Feda manages to identify an 'invisibility' spell being cast in an adjacent room and the party rushes in. They find themselves in a war room where it looks like the assault on Thistletop was planned, and not knowing exactly where the enemy is Jaren charges down one side of the table. He barges over an invisible creature and the party quickly collapses on the prone mage. She quickly surrenders and the party retreats with their prisoner back to the Tentamort area.

 

DM Notes:

  • The party decided to take the side tunnel rather than fighting through the fort up top.
  • Interestingly the party doesn't have any real escape plan until they manage to regain spells. I predict this is going to be very difficult unless they are really clever, but we'll see how they manage it.
  • It is interesting as a DM to try to figure out how the NPCs react. Especially for pre-written modules where the enemies are written in relatively static configurations. The "static" nature of content hardly seems to survive the chaos that players bring to the table.
  • Depending on how they 'train' these enemies together things could get real messy. The party overall isn't adapt at escaping once battle has joined, especially if that battle is in the middle of an island compound.
  • Magic items can be surprisingly hard to identify even the armor that isn't super highly enchanted wasn't identified on a '20'
  • I'm becoming less of a fan of the revised action economy. I'll likely ask the players to stop using it before Book 2. It is causing some oddities with the challenge structure of the encounters (partly to blame for the damage potential so early for martial characters being able to obliterate high level creatures).
  • I was surprised Jaren didn't ask about his sword's lore while he was in town. I had a few tidbits to throw his way. I'm still trying to determine the best way to handle these items that I want to be part of a longer storyline.
  • We're pretty deep into the climax of Book One, but I'm looking forward for some side quests after Thistletop. I'd also like to balance out the RP, Explore, Combat ratio. Lately we've been upping the Explore / Combat (not unexpectedly).

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Magic Hide Armor
  • Masterwork Shortbow
  • Potion of Cure Light Wounds
  • Arcane Scrolls
  • Wizard Spellbook
  • Wand of Magic Missile
  • Shawl of Lifekeeping
  • Various Treasures from the captured wizard

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Gaining entry into Thistletop
  • Tentamort
  • Human Wizard

 

End Date: Spring 22

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Session 11
And we all fall down

Present Players: Eydan, Purrcival, Jaren, Aurelia, Vincent, Feda

 

 

Session Notes:

The session commences with the continued siege of Thistletop's briar patch. The party scouts the area a bit more and attempts to hack through the thick briars before deciding they need to push in through the goblin tunnels to make any progress. The party pushes through taking a number of arrows thrown from retreating goblins. Eventually they make their way to a more open area and face off against waves of goblins. The party gets split up due to the twisty tunnels and small spaces, which allows for a Firepelt cougar to rush past the frontline and flank Aurelia and Eydan. The cat's druid companion manages to throw a few spells but stays further back then before respecting the dangerous members of the party. In the backline the cougar goes to town on Eydan and Aurelia repeatedly tripping them and nearly knocking them unconscious. Jaren begins to absolutely decimate the goblins as he lands critical blow after critical blow, but the druid tries to ensure that there is always a few goblins between him and the angry man with a large sword. Aurelia manages a master class in playing dead and with Jaren pressing towards the druid he whistles to call off his companion. The two of them run off leaving a few goblin stragglers behind to hold off the party. The party takes a few moments to heal their wounds and examine a strange hole that seems to drop 70 feet down before opening into a sea cave. They decide to delay investigating it further and begin pushing toward the rope bridge that connects the briar patch to the rounded island that makes up Thistletop.

 

To help provide cover on their assault Feda moves onto the swaying bridge and casts obscuring mist to keep the goblins watching from the small wooden fort from pelting the party with arrows. As Feda moves out  Eydan is able to pick off one of the goblins and injure another further discouraging arrows coming at the party. Once the spell completes the party begins to rush over the bridge, but suddenly the left rope on the bridge snaps dumping Vincent, Aurelia, and Feda into the churning water some 80 feet below. As they collide with the water from such a height all three of the characters are knocked unconscious and begin to quickly sink into the depths. Jaren manages to avoid falling into the water below, but finds himself hanging in the mist by the right hand rope of the now tilted bridge. Hearing his allies splash far below he makes a quick cut across the rope and plunges through the mist like some man of the jungle. Jaren manages to release the rope during the arc (and avoid smashing into the cliff face of the island) plunging into the water besides his unconscious allies. He begins to swim down to them but things are looking dire as Vincent and Aurelia begin to drown.  He gets close enough to Feda to activate her air balloon bought at Bottled Solutions. Luckily it operates as intended and she is pulled to the surface still unconscious. Purrcival plunges over the cliff wall using his natural climbing talents to get near enough for a very clutch channel energy. This rejuvenating magic manages to bring everyone to consciousness. The three people in the water are not very talented swimmers but with the assistance of Purrcival's bard song, Feda's animate rope spell, and Jaren's natural swimming talents everyone is able to make good progress to the shore. However, out of a nearby tunnel swims a very strange creature looking like a mix of a seal and shark. Purrcival identifies it as a bunyip, and it charges the party with a frightening mouth of teeth. It battles the party while Vincent continues to try to make it to shore half walking on the sea floor, half swimming. The bunyip doesn't make it easy as Jaren tries to land a blow on the aquatic creature. It cleverly uses the water as cover diving at inopportune moments making it nearly impossible to hit, however, Aurelia's magic has no problem repeatedly burning it with magical missiles of force. Aurelia wears the creature down and Purrcival lands a solid arrow for good measure forcing the bunyip to flee further out to sea. Vincent is able to make it out and Eydan uses his message spell to tell the party to explore the cave since he think it connects. The party's guess proves right and they are able to link up out of sight of the fort.


Jaren and Feda spend some time searching the bunyip's lair managing to find a fair amount of loot from its victims. Eventually everyone makes it up the tunnel in the cave roof and mark down day as a success if not a resounding one. They fall back to further in the Thistlewood to rest and regroup.

 

DM Notes:

  • I need to investigate Jaren's Roll20 account to see if he bribed someone. He was rolling so well throughout the session.
  • Druid animal companions are not to be underestimated. I expect next time the cougar makes an appearance they'll have no mercy.
  • The party underestimated fighting goblins in the confined tunnels, I doubt they'll underestimate attacking creatures on home terrain again.
  • The bridge trap went great. Eydan never got close enough to auto-detect it and the people who were trying to make it across rolled low.
  • The drowning situation was very close, but everyone acted very decisively to save each other which was cool to see.
  • I think the bunyip might have been able to get a meal if there weren't magic missiles involved. The improved cover from fighting water creatures from land is tough to pierce at this level.

 

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Wand of Shield (9 Charges)
  • Deep Green Spinel (100 GP)
  • Rusted Kukri w/ Violet Garnet (500 GP)
  • 48 Gold Pieces
  • Flaming Arrows (3)

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • 4 Goblin Dogs
  • 10+ Goblins
  • Bunyip
  • Trapped Rope Bridge

 

End Date: Spring 21

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Session 10
Sketchy Alchemy, Ancient Scrolls, and Prickly Woods

Present Players: Eydan, Purrcival, Jaren, Aurelia, Vincent, Feda

 

 

Session Notes:

The party returns to the town in pretty good shape all things considered, and they take some time to divide up the loot. The various magical trinkets that were recovered are divided among the party, and Aurelia takes some of the emeralds for use in some jewelry crafting. The party feels a bit bad about Farmer Meddles losing all of his livestock so they also spend some money to restock his farm to help him recover from the aggressive ankhegs. After a job well done they decide to rest and spend a day around town restocking while they wait for the sheriff to return with reinforcements from Magnimar.

 

Looking forward to spending some of their loot the party investigates the town's two alchemy shops. They find Bottled Solutions to be very well stocked for such a small town, but Purrcival is aware of some rumors in town that the shop's alchemy items are prone to have some unintended effects. The party cautiously buys a few items from the shop, but the rumors have them a bit nervous so they decide to visit The Pillbug's Pantry for the rest of their supplies. The shop specializes in healing herbs and a few potions and is run by a rather odd looking fellow named Aliver Podiker. Some minor items are bought, but the stronger potions are still a bit pricey for the party. Jaren and Purrcival make a side trip to visit Savah, Jaren is particularly excited to show off his new sword to his crush. He falters a bit after telling his story about his new sword and ends up dragging out a Purrcival barely able to contain his laughter.

 

Next they take the ancient scrolls recovered from the dungeon to The Curious Goblin bookstore. It is run by an old human ex-adventurer Chask Hadlan. When the party they enters they find the proprietor and Brodert Quink engaged in what seems a well-worn argument over a chess match that Brodert seems to be winning (the argument, not so much). Chask mostly ignores the group until Feda bumps Jaren in the back prompting him to show off the strange sword they found. This gets the two chess player's attention and they instantly begin to lob questions at the party while bouncing theories back and forth. For the most part only Purrcival is able to keep up with the two of them in regards to the history of Varisia, but the party is disappointed to learn they don't know much about the sword without further research. Once the two scholars realize the party is carrying a treasure trove of scrolls they beg permission to examine them and in exchange will try to determine more about the sword using their relatively large collection of books and scrolls.

 

The next day sheriff Hemlock returns with a good number of men provided by Justice Ironbriar from Magnimar. The sheriff is happy to report that Ironbriar was relatively prompt to meet him and also sent a long a trusted lieutenant , a half-elf named Elthon. Now that the sheriff is back in town the party tries to interrogate Tsuto but fail to convince the surly half-elf to give out any relevant information. Elthon volunteers to escort him back along with a few other guards so that Tsuto is brought to justice, most likely spending the rest of his life deep in The Hells, the underground dungeon/prison of Magnimar. Now that the party is confident the town is relatively well defended they head off towards Thistletop to see if they can find the humans that were helping Tsuto.

 

The party easily finds the Thistlewood, but they find it a bit difficult to navigate. They spend the majority of the day wandering the wood without much to show for it, however, they do manage to find Thistletop near the end of the day. Eydan examines the thorny wall that surrounds the shore, but is unable to progress much further. The party decides to retreat to town and return early in the morning to do more extensive scouting of the thistle patch. The next morning sees the party quickly returning to the wall and finding the hidden entrance. Eydan is able to scout it out finding a large number of goblins and some goblin dogs. The tunnels are too small for the party to fight in, so the party decides to lure the enemies out towards the entrance for an ambush. The tactic doesn't work out as ideally as the party hopes when the goblins are happy to ping the party with arrows  from the safety of the small tunnels. The attack is further complicated when a goblin wielding a flaming sword walks through the thorn wall and causes the plants in the area to writhe about and entangle the party. Feda nearly kills the goblin with a charge, but he manages to barely escape back through the thorn wall. The session ended with the battle well under way, next time the siege of Thistletop continues!

 

DM Notes:

  • Schrodinger's Mick decided to go with the re-roll from the Dream Journal, so we treated it as him getting knocked out only in the dungeon. It wouldn't have really changed much as the hydra would have still dissipated once the threat to the temple was gone.
  • The party got extremely nervous when I asked them to asterisk their items from Bottled Solutions evil laugh
  • Props to the low charisma people in the party. Eydan is rude and Jaren is awkward, very well done so far.
  • The party nearly tried a water assault. That would have been interesting, but they decided to go through the Thistlewood (can't disagree that does sound safety given the amount of armor some of the party wears).

 

 

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • Nothing in particular

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • Ongoing Goblin Problems

 

End Date: Spring 21

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Session Nine
Well Hydra-ted Farms

Present Players: Eydan, Purrcival, Mick, Jaren, Aurelia, Vincent, Feda

 

Party Levels to Level 3

 

Session Notes:

The party left Ameiko's estate with assurances that the brick wall would be constructed. The party decided to rest for the night and regroup in the morning to discuss the next steps. The consensus was that the party should off load any loot acquired thus far, and wait until sheriff Hemlock is back in town with reinforcements. The loot was sold with little issue beyond a little soul searching on how to handle the prayer book of Lamashtu. About midday Purrcival was approached by a very nervous looking farmer and a curt guard. The farmer introduced himself as Mr. Leon Meddles and he begged for assistance at his farm. Purrcival basically suggested they get someone with more authority and went to find Feda.

 

At the temple Feda gathered the troops at it were and listened to the farmer's story. His farm had been attacked by overly aggressive ankhegs. Aurelia knew the creatures were large burrowing insects that are prone to spit lines of acid when distressed, but they don't generally attack farms and can even be beneficial to the soil. Farmer Meddles explained they ripped his livestock apart and were even attacking the buildings. He and his wife barely escaped to town, and he begged the party to kill or drive off the creatures and determine what was causing them to be so ornery. The party readily agreed to help the man, and after he gave them directions (very happy to not return to the dangerous farm) they left to the ankheg infested farm. They found it badly damaged from acid and mandible bites and were accosted by 3 ankhegs. The creatures attacked the party from multiple angles, but were easily killed with the party only taking wounds from their acidic spittle. The party wasn't able to find the source of the creature's odd aggressiveness so they ventured into the ankheg tunnels leading beneath the farm.

 

After following the tunnels about 100 feet at a sloping incline the party came upon a worked stone room housing an ankheg nest and a glowing red gem. Eydan burst into the room and nearly killed the ankheg guarding the nest with a single blow from his longbow before having his emotional state attacked by some magical effect. The effect caused him to grow incredibly angry, but Eydan was disciplined enough to fight it off. After Eydan's devastating blow the ankheg quickly fell to the rest of the party who were all likewise attacked by some magical effect. The party traced it back to a cracked red gem glowing with arcane energy on top of a sarcophagus in the room. They did a cursory investigation of the room finding a statue to Lissala and one other sarcophagus with no gem. After trying to pry the gem out for a bit they decided to proceed down some stairs at the back of the room.

 

Shortly past the stairs the party encounters three Sinspawn caked in dust from eons of standing vigil. They react as soon as the party comes into view shaking off the dust and jumping into combat with teeth and claws. Aurelia, still affected by the gem, takes the battle to them and gets up close and personal. A few blows are traded back and forth before the Sinspawn are defeated. The party then begins to scout out the surrounding dungeon. Jaren notices his serpent amulet given to him by Mersoolian begins to grow warm and in each of the room torches spring to life in reaction to his presence. The first few rooms mostly consist of supply rooms and don't hold anything of much interest to the adventurers. However, they do spot a wall with gouges and shards of iron beneath it at the back of one of the larger store rooms. The party investigates and finds two alcoves hidden in the wall that seem to have snake indentations on small plates. They detect as magical and when Jaren holds his amulet up to one it snaps into place almost like a magnet. They surmise they'll need to find another amulet to gain access but decide on clearing the dungeon before going back and search the sarcophagus earlier in the dungeon.

 

The next room they decide to enter has a large set of doors locked with another plate that accepts the serpent amulet. Jaren presses his amulet into it and the doors swing open. It reveals a huge chamber dominated by a raised dais with an altar to Lissala and a large demonic looking statue leering over it all. The statue has a feminine upper torso, a large snake like tail, six arms muscular arms, and a fanged maw open in an expression of what could be pain or ecstasy. The two middle arms are clutching a large curved mithril sword that has been plunged through the statues chest. The two lower hands  are extended as if to receive something, and the last two hold wicked looking stone daggers high in the air. The party tentatively enters the room and as they do the shadows in front of the altar coalesce into some sort of hydra with five heads who seems imbued with energy from the Plane of Shadow. There is a bit of confusion on the tactics for the fight and the party gets a bit spread out as Jaren faces down the creature with little back up early in the fight. He valiantly cuts off a head with his sword glowing with holy fire thanks to Vincent's spells, however, it responds with a vicious flurry of blows on its own. It leaves Jaren on the ground unconscious and the party reels on what to do. They are able to heal Jaren and thanks to Feda's magic glyphs are able to temporarily blind the hydra. During this time Mick is able to take the amulet over to the statue and put it into one of the waiting hands which readily closes over it. However, this puts him on the far side of the room as the rest of the party retreats. The party attempts to help each other out by dragging each other out of the room, but it ends up with Feda (damn these Dwarven legs) and Mick still within and the hydra barreling toward them. It pounces on them knocking Feda out before savagely murdering Mick (critical hit when he was low HP). As all the threats to the altar are gone the shadow hydra dissipates.

 

The rest of the session is spent looting the remainder of dungeon and discussing what to do about the dead Mick. Eydan destroys the gem on the sarcophagus and finds another of the serpent amulets and a very ornate robe (which he strips the gems from). Using the second amulet Eydan is able to make the statue release the sword from its chest and he pulls out a marvelous blade (see the section below). Eydan feels a wave of happiness from the sword as he frees it from the abyssal statue and Jaren can barely contain his excitement at the prospect of the beautiful mithril blade. The party finds a pool of water off of the altar room that appears to have been ripped in the dungeon floor due to some cataclysmic event. There are a large number of bones around the pool some of them are split apart as if marrow has been eaten from them, some are leaning into the pool, and some have rusted daggers stabbed through their rib cages. In the pool the party finds strips of fabric and gems from an ornate robe along with another serpent amulet. The party also finds a section of the dungeon that seems to have collapsed and in one collapsed hallway they find a pile of skeletons who appear to have been using their gear to attempt to dig through the earth. In the midst of the rusted gear they find a magical shield which Purrcival identifies as a Frosted Light Steel Shield. The storage room's secret wall is opened using the amulets and reveals a treasure trove of ancient scrolls, magical chainmail that glows with an inner light, and another of the more ornate robes.  They also find a room that looks like it was once used to construct golem like creatures, but the rusty few that stand at attention do not react as the party only sends in those wearing serpent amulets. They are able to recover a few plates of mithril that Feda looks forward to playing with. With the looting done, the party returns to town to tell the farmer his land is once again safe.

 

The Curious Sword:

The sword could easily be one that you would see on parade or in a pampered noble's hands used more for decoration rather than war, but anyone with battle experience would recognize this as a beautiful instrument of war. It is crafted of mithril but mixed throughout the blade are swirls of gold metal. The effect is stunning as it leads to a large crafted in the shape of a silver dragon with its wings spread wide. Near the bottom of the blade you see a strange flowing script that form a singular word. The hilt is well protected with some unrecognizable hide that is a dark grey hue and at the bottom is a large pearl. It stands out from the rest of the blade as it appears pitted and cracked with the expected luminescent shine only barely visible.

 

DM Notes:

  • The rage gem didn't really have much influence as the party don't really interact "in-character" for a lot of stuff. Not a complaint, just an observation when planning future objects of interest.
  • I did not suspect that they would bypass the glowing gem entirely, this hurt them later when it came to searching the dungeon without a second serpent amulet.
  • I think the hydra fight was winnable (but hard). I tried to relay this by making the creature seem intimidating, but I'm not sure I succeeded given the party's actions.
  • Low level combats are annoyingly swingy. This time the creature got a lucky critical murdering someone but it could of easily been the characters getting a lucky hit and murdering the creature. I had given the party a Dream Journal of the Pallid Seer to avoid such deaths, but during the session I forgot about it. I'm going to offer the party a chance to retroactively use it to turn the hit into a normal one instead of a critical allowing Mick to survive.
  • The other option the party is investigating is to get him reincarnated by a druid, though they don't know one off hand who can cast such a powerful spell.
  • Mick is a bit of Schrödinger's cat at the moment until we determine if he is going to retroactively use the Dream Journal or opt for the (expensive) reincarnation + restorations.
  • The party was less willing to go all in on murdering  (reducing DPS) and burning heads (to make it permanent) than I expect against the hydra. I suspect the fight would have been easier if the party had spent time murdering heads as they appeared then trying to apply burns as the headless creature thrashed about in rage.
  • I gave the dungeon a pretty sensible reason to exist in universe, but no one commented on it. DM is disappoint (maybe it was too subtle).
  • As expected the sword elicited a lot of interest and curiosity. I look forward to see how it plays out.

 

Rewards / Loot:

  • 4 Harvested Ankhegs
  • 90 Small Emeralds (900 GP)
  • 15 Large Emeralds (1875 GP)
  • Mithril Plates (400 GP)
  • Frosted Light Steel Shield
  • Chainmail of Quickness
  • 2 Serpent Amulets
  • Ancient Thassilonian Scrolls

 

Challenges / Monsters:

  • 4 Ankhegs
  • 3 Sinspawn (Wrath)
  • 1 Shadow Hydra
  • 3 Clockwork Warriors

 

End Date: Spring 19

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