Tuesday, March 15, 2016

[D&D 5e] Princes of the Apocalypse 2016, Post 6

Well the Dragon Turtle seemed somewhat dazed, confused by some sort of monk it referred to inside itself. Though Ander the rogue shot some arrows, it seemed to not notice them terribly much and after a seconds reflection, party members back up along the ravine or spider climbed up it and away, as it released a steam blast that cracked the very side of the ravine, revealing a chamber and a dwarf inside, a trapped victim of a cave in who free now, fled along with the party and joined them!

Deciding to approach the water cultists fort from land rather than water, the party helped each other climb the cliff or just did it on their lonesome as the new dwarf, Travok, did.

The approach to the keep involved the recently named bard, cursed with looking like a child, and the paladin Rikarian trying to infiltrate with the story he needed to drop off the ‘child’ as he was going to a dangerous place. There might have been some confusion as to whether the rest of the party was going on, because after knocking on the door Rikarian found himself walking in with the ‘child’ and looking over his shoulder, seeing no one else following.  This ended up in a negotiation with the boss of the keep, to which Rikarian only had to pay 20 gold to get rid of the child – which he took from ‘the child’ to pay it. The child was then immediately put on dish washing duty, so Rikarian bid his farewells and started to walk out the door of of the bosses hall, only to see the rest of the party being escorted in. Considering averting his eyes and walking past, the party heartily greated him. Turns out they had gotten frisky and climbed the north wall of the keep – and had promptly been found by a patrol. Curiously with a few words they had avoided bloodshed and instead the patrol had escorted them in. And now Rikarian found he had to turn on his heel and follow them right back in before the boss of the keep!

The discussion went well as in there wasn’t a huge fight. But by the same token it went poorly enough that the party was assigned to dish washing duty along with the ‘child’ in the next room. Which they weren’t very good at…Rikarian broke several plates. The guards tried to beat him with the sides of their swords for it, but ironically he was wearing plate.

Pliskin slipped out and started investigating the base and after some time the party was done with their washing chores* (the ‘child’ pleading for a break) and were told to leave. Which they took to mean ‘snoop around our fort’.

Eventually they find a cave under the fort that takes a river, deep into the earth. They steal a boat from the fort, pick the lock on the gate on the cave front and start rowing…only to have their boat shaken by a force from under the water! The ghouls show their presence, reaching for everyone in the boat!

* Instead of having one player be the only one doing anything for some time before the supposedly long plates chore was done, I had the player do some investigation, then basically said time passed as the players PC looked around and now the rest of the party were out.

Note: I kinda messed up and didn’t filter out a player do a massively metagame thing that had significant character effect – ie, someone making their character basically suicide for no reason other than they wanted to play a new character (when they are free to simply bring a new character if they want to. Previous character doesn’t have to die to do that). So I’ve basically edited out of the story where the barbarian went to fight the dragon turtle as everyone else backed away and the barbarian was killed doing it because he wanted his barbarian killed. I fell into this error, not identifying how it was going against what I wanted/a high character effect based on a highly metagame effect – oh well, just keep it in mind to try and avoid next time – live and learn!

Monday, February 29, 2016

[D&D 5e] Princes of the Apocalypse 2016, Post 5

Part of the town of Red Larch shattered, Pliskin walked in and headed to the Swinging Sword tavern as if nothing was amiss – for him, anyway. Lucian hefted horse troughs of water and help put out various blazes across the affected part of town, which looked like a bomb had gone off through it.

Lucian investigated, despite Pliskin’s disinterest. The taverns proprietor Kaylessa let him in on what had transpired : Turns out earth cultists had arrayed themselves outside the town around some sort of glowing casket and insisted the town turn out the heretics who had invaded and slain the mud sorcerer. These cultists had probably headed out during one of the times the party had been sleeping in Master Quarbo’s chamber – the vengeful cultists traveling by mere yards from the party who had contributed to the mud sorcerers death, as well as his actual murderer! Possibly some sort of disdain the lower fortress cultists had for the upper cult fortress (being based on earth, after all), it likely forstalled a communication between the two that otherwise might have seen the party murdered in their beds (well, Quarbo’s beds, strictly speaking)!!

But something had gone wrong with the glowing casket, the cultists had fled and then there had been a mighty explosion outside of town, the blast radius reaching into Red Larch. And it was at that point that the party had arrived, after a brief but shocking encounter with willo wisps.

The party were thanked by and said good bye to the former captives they had freed and escorted to Red Larch. The dwarf amongst the captives tried to mention something about being part of a missing delegation and was thoroughly ignored by the party, who rested the night with Lucian insisting he was going to sleep on the floor of Pliskin’s room – seems like a token romantic sub plot, guys! But having rested and recovered their resources, much of the party investigated the crater outside of town, taking glowing fragments they found as samples. But there was no particular lead here – this was simply an event that had occurred, though the source (the earth cultists) was clear.

So now they headed toward the water cultists! Something completely different! The water cultists location shown in the tome Pliskin recovered when he regained half of his family heirloom – the silver runed disk. The text said the water cultists had split it in twain in their theft attempt of it and had taken it away! Some of them flying away, strangely enough.

The party resupplied and made their way out, heading west toward the Dessarin river, where they would turn north, following it up to the water cultists keep. But along the way they spied from a distance a caravan being held up by the stoney armoured cultists – the same sort of banditry that saw the paladin Rikarian slain some months back (fortunately his god saw to it that the resurrection ritual succeeded and had returned Rikarian to life). Indeed, one of the caravaners seemed to be being forced into stone armour himself by the other guards!

Though they could have tip toed around, the barbarian in the party, as barbarians are wont to do, pushed to charge. Battle was joined and the party showed much prejudice to the cultist priest and guards – the former warlock of the party, having be repudiated by his patron and made a lowly bard now,  argued to the earth armoured caravaner to not join the other earth cultists, in between saying mean things to the other cultists. The warlock-now-bard’s words swayed the former caravaner, who did not know who to join. Until the last earth guard tried to surrender, at which the former caravaner, turned by the bards words, went to slay the cultist – at which the bard cried out no to him, staying his hand again.

Turns out the cult had been trying to force the caravaner to join them for some time. Lucian wanted to kill the captive expediently, but the former caravaner said no, he would take responsibility of the earth cultist and turn him away from his dark path. The party agreed. If Lucians palm was greased a little, first.

Onward they went, to find other cultists called burrow sharks hunting for new Bullette mounts. Again they could have skirted around the cultists, but chose to engage. During which Lucian was stabbed to unconscious to the ground with their earthen spears. But battle was won and the barbarian stabalised! Why wont he die?

Then after further travel and another bad night of sleep the party had made it to the Dessarin river! They turned north, following the river that entered into tight ravines, keeping them close to the water.

Until Pliskin heard the water speaking in a form of elemental. Saying the monk told it to be here – the monk that talked inside of it. Tormented it!

From the waters, the maw of a dragon turtle burst forth!! The stone wall of the ravine at the parties back, trapping them!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

[D&D 5e] Princes of the Apocalypse 2016, Post 4

Everyone wanted to cross the chasm, for some reason. The strange, half hidden path, the opening in the wall near it that showed a chamber filled with horrified statues, did not dissuade them.

Fortunately they worked as a group in their stealthy attempt, so as to make up for the clanking armour wearer amongst them.

Pliskin sensed his family artefact had been moved and a moment latter with a spell cast, flew across the chasm quickly and came to it – only to find it was only half of the silver runed disk!? It had been sundered! He snatched up the tome of research next to it, that hinted water cultists had stolen it (though some had flown away after the theft, strangely). There was a note about the water cultists surface settlement. That settled it for Pliskin – that was his next target.

So they snuck back along the thin path above a hundred foot drop, trying contradictorily to be both observant but not at all look into the statue chamber where a medusa might be lairing. The same male medusa that they had just looted the treasure chamber of!

They made it across, only to find a group of armoured earth cultists guards investigating the room the chasm path lead to. The barbarian Brogue growled there wasn’t enough of them, he wanted more than this – and indeed more did run in through the door until there were five guards against the parties own five. Battle was joined! The guards, though armoured and swift in their blows and strength, merely bruised the party and demanded the healer turn his healing magic upon himself. One guard was sent into the chasm by the goliath barbarian, Brogue, to brake upon the stones below. They were victorious.

Pliskin, having gained at least part of his artifact, felt he was done here. They made their way back through another arrow slit the goliath had adjusted and headed across the zig zag bridge to the two hundred and fifty foot set of stairs. Others laboured up, only one becoming partially exhausted and Pliskin used the remainder of his spell of flight to make his way up without effort.

Back at the sacred stone monastery, master Quarbo sought to question the group about their dealings below and why they were back, but Pliskin rebuffed him in his haste to leave. This almost agitated the master of the monastery, until mention was made of slaying water cultists, at which, along with the memory of the party having slayed the beast in his the basement, made him bite his tongue. The party left, the front door guards putting up no resistance this time.

Soon they had re-united with the captives they had freed before and hidden away outside. One of them was a dwarf, who now come to his senses having eaten properly, introduced himself as one of the Miribar trade delegates gone missing long ago and…the party pressed on. This was not their business – their aim was Red Larch, to drop off these captives!

A Bullette encounter in the wilderness, perhaps a reflection of the elemental imbalance of the region, with a knocked out barbarian and many shield spells, three chilled or nightmarish nights. After all that just as they get to Red Larch, they start to see the damage to its buildings – with people running around with torches, trying to put the town back together again. In fact, some lights danced in the nearby woods as well.

The party thought better of that and tried to walk past, straight to town. Which meant the will o wisps did not get their ambush – only striking with mighty bolts of electricity several party members and evading with their speed. Scorched near to unconsciousness, the party wins against the dread whisp lurkers – but what has happened in the town of Red Larch?


Sunday, February 14, 2016

D&D Princes of the Apocalypse 2016, Post 3

The flames were hot and bright – and yet also tainted with shadow, somehow.

On a kitchen table amidst the flames a scroll lay, like master Quarbo had hidden before, with secrets on the family heirloom that Pliskin was here to take back. And from the other door the shouts of captives and the smell and heat of smoke emanating from that door. Plistkin’s knowledge of arcana would let him douse only one set of flames. Which would a man like Pliskin choose?

‘There are always more peasants’, might have been the words muttered as he brushed away the flames from the kitchen and went after the scroll!

Lucian and Brogue looked at each other and went for the door, despite the fiery supernatural blast that even being near it seemed to sap the strength, let alone running through it. The amnesiac warlock, despite seeing the flames were not natural, decided he would be fine – and had to turn back after much burning. Inside the room, Lucian wrapped two captives in blankets to jump back through the flames, while Brogue decided the inside of a nearby arrow slit would prove a good place for the goliath to craft a new doorway, so he burst through with two captives of his own!

And having split the party now, they attempted to re-join, heading west then south to the statue room, then the long east corridor and attempting to shield the captives from the hob goblins and the Bullette rider in the room at the end, who merely waved congenially to the party, having been bribed quite nicely already and less inclined to look closely as such.

The left by the battered north doors and there, decided what to do? Escort the former captives all the way back to town? Or try to hide them somewhere here? Either way, they’d have to get them past Master Quarbo upstairs. Though now that Brogue had re-joined the party and was Quarbo’s favoured one, perhaps this would not be as difficult?

As they argued, something crawled up out of the chasm to the north, something of stone, up the bridge and then lumbering towards them. The remnants of the armoured elemental that they had fought on the bridge before, now pulled itself together sans armour and lumbering toward them. The warlock looked at it startled and muttered something about why would it attack because they argued. As if speaking takes no time in the bowels of the earth with threats all around. Barbarian charges and blastings of magic ensued!

>> Just another small sample of play from the session!


Monday, February 8, 2016

D&D Princes of the Apocalypse 2016, Post 2

The priest called and something came.

But before that the others, in full plate made of stone had stood up from their meals at the tables, turning to the intruders.

The intruders tried to greet them. As if they expected the cultists at the table to respond cheerily like a neighbour.

The cultists decided to cleanse. And the priest called – and was shaken to the core by the power of an elemental wearing metal plates itself, thrusting itself out of the ground at the beckoning. And it seem to have come for the man with no shadow. The barbarian, Lucian.

It strode past the wizard Pliskin who had lead them into the room, striking massive blows with it’s maul twice upon Lucian who had not a moment to draw upon a resistant rage.

The other stone clad soldiers descended on the wizard and Rikarian the paladin. Their maces blows sometimes only bit into armour – other times they sunk heavily into flesh. Arrows and beams sped from the rear lines of the party, Ander the rogue and the amnesiac warlock into the priest, thinking this would banish the terrible elemental before them. But the priest was merely gravely wounded and did not fall.

The reign of blows was too great – word of retreat rang amongst the party. They withdrew as they could from the maces of their enemy, until Lucian back away and slamming the door shut, braced himself against it as the other made their escape.

Finally the door exploded, frame splintering around Lucian, from the massive blows of the elementals hammer.

He fell back, raced along the corridor as the creature of earth and the cultists guards chased the fleet footed barbarian. Down the corridor, past the statue room and east, side stepping blasts of web streaking down the corridor. Shot by Pliskin further up the passage, which splashed and stuck strands all around the statue room just behind Lucian, making it slow going for the elemental and the guards to catch up. Then the party all ran – until they got to the room with the hobgoblins and the Bullette and it’s rider. At which point they tried to appear casual and walk naturally to the north exit. As they had merely lightly bribed them before and who knows how suspicious you can act on just a mere few gold? Upon reaching the north exist, they dashed again across the zig zag bridge across the chasm, to the base of the 250 foot stairs…

>> Again, this is an abbreviated excerpt of the parties adventure. Writing it all out would take so much more.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

D&D 5e Adventure League continues!

I find it hard to write an account of absolutely everything that happens in my D&D adventure league game - but worse is to write nothing at all! So here is a sample of a highlight that first came to mind, then all the stuff I had to explain to show how it came about and all the stuff I had to explain about what happened next. And it still didn't cover the two hours! I'm hoping to continue like this through the year, as there have been quite a few game sessions already and it's time to catch up!
The party had managed to somewhat impress (or frighten) Master Quarbo of the sacred stone monastery after fighting a great beast he’d set upon them as a ‘test’. Also some attempts to speak charmingly had gotten him a little more on side.

After sleeping overnight in Master Quarbo’s quarters (and having a nightmare battle with shadows during that, as provoked by Lucian the Barbarians past sacrilege in a tomb), the party awoke, having rejuvenated themselves with a long rest. As the group decides to pry around the room Pliskin hears the whisper of ‘the cleaner’ by his ear, a mysterious man seen in the distance of a dungeon some time ago. Though the cleaner is no where to be seen here. The cleaner has a tip to impart - that a scroll of secrets on the silver disk Pliskin is pursuing are held in the remains of a plinth in the monastery. One formerly the roost of a gargoyle but it was defeated in their past escapades!

Pliskin leaves the others and investigates on the tip of the mysterious voice, finds a secret panel – but somewhere inside something slithers. Something multi legged and fanged! Hesitating for a moment, Pliskin decides to face his fear of that particular threat and punge in his arm in to grab the scroll within – something snaps at him but only gets ahold of the cloth of his robe, which is covered in a sickly coloured poison when he quickly pulls his arm out again with the scroll in his grip.

With the scroll in hand he meets up with the others who have finished rummaging around the bedroom and decides to leave the monastery to read the scroll, to avoid prying eyes (like that of the owner of the scroll!)

The monks on guard duty at the front door think little of the parties attempts to charismatically influence them that they are free to leave. Having failed to convince them, it seems the paladin Rikarian steps up and connects his mace with both guards heads with a sharp crack each time – leaving them unconscious but alive on the floor! The party leaves the compound, except for the amnesiac warlock – who decides to loot the unconscious guards. This does not go well! A Duergar employed at the monastery, investigating the sounds of bodies slumping to the floor, finds the amnesiac warlock pawing over the bodies…the warlocks excuses mean little to the dark dwarf and he leads him to explain himself to Master Quarbo. The same master who would rather the Warlock was put back inside a stone golem to be it’s power source.

Meanwhile, outside Pliskin has covertly read the message and found Quarbo had been monitoring his boss, Madros, who has the silver disk with him, deep below sacred stone monastery. They return to the monastery with this knowledge, only to find the front door closed and bared…

This is just a fragment of the two hour session. If I tried to cover everything, it would go for much longer!