View Full Version : Journal Assassins in Artreia (5e Campaign Journal)

2015-02-07, 09:09 PM
Greetings playgrounders!

Having been inspired by the likes of Kaveman and SCS, and having my first chance to DM in a long while I thought I'd take the opportunity to write a journal for everybody to read as well as recap purposes.

So I'll get stuck right into it.

The campaign takes place in a world of my own design, using a randomly generated map from this awesome site (http://donjon.bin.sh). The place is called Artreia and I have some basics hashed out which I will describe here for those interested.

Artreia - The Civilized World

Time Scale:
- A day is 24 hours
- A week is 10 days (also called a tenday)
- A month is 3 tendays
- A year is 12 months (so 360 days a year)
On the subject of time it is notable that the known multiverse (pretty standard planar setup, going off the PHB) is no more than 10,000 years old. Just old enough for the first created dragons and other long lived creatures to be dying of old age, but not long enough to have forgotten languages or ruined cities of fallen empires.

The powers are pretty standard, though I try to cut down the multitudes in favor of a smaller group of more defined and developed ones. I say powers because entities like Asmodeus are equal in standing and power to gods but not actual gods themselves. To the average mortal it makes no difference, but some care about that sort of thing.

Also pretty standard, humans are the most numerous (though not by much), Dwarves are clan based living in mountainous terrain, Elves like the forest, etc. A notable exception is that the Drow and other underdark races are not innately evil nor corrupted, they are the descendants of the first explorers to colonize the underdark, and are simply a product of their environment. A similar tale is told for Tieflings and Aasimaar, and others that have been touched by the planes they have traveled to. Warforged also exist and have their own city, and Goliath are present too.
Most civilized races have a territory they call home (Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Dragonborn, Warforged, Gnomes/Halflings to be specific) and some are more metropolitan than others. Each is considered a city-state of sorts and after a civil war not too long ago (within an elven or dwarven lifespan) everybody has agreed to pursue an uneasy peace.

A product of peacekeeping attempts between the Races/City states and the main premise of the plot, Expeditions are organised treks into the wilderness in the interests of expansion and profitability, often comprised of multiple races acting as representatives. Contributing to an expedition is seen as a sign of goodwill between peoples and serves as a way to show the public that the diplomats and other leadership are trying to steer away from another conflict. A multiracial organisation comprised of ambassadors, diplomats and other figures called the Racial Compact (sometimes nicknamed RacCom) organizes, funds and is responsible for Expeditions.
Expeditions are organized every three months, making four per year and each usually being sent in a different cardinal direction on the map.
On a personal level it is considered a great honor to be elected to join an expedition, and those that return quickly become celebrities.

Everyone starts at level 2 with the stat array 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10 before racial modifiers
I also give the request that they have a reason to be part of an expedition, or at least respectable enough to be chosen to join. That saves me from starting everyone meeting in a tavern since they likely are from different places and gives them a joint purpose from the get go.
Everybody also has all the mundane equipment they might want (including up to 4 extra items like basic poison, alchemist fire and healing potions, but excluding expensive gear like full plate) as well as 100gp. This replaces the starting equipment and gold.

Nat 1s are always fails, nat 20s are always successes.

HP per level
You can choose the 'take half' option after you roll for HP when levelling up, ie you can never get less than half.

If players roll better than the monsters (using the best initiative modifier amongst them) they go in that order, followed by me acting for all of my guys in any order I like and then the party in any order they like. It proceeds back and forth in that manner until combat ends or someone else gets added to the combat. We like it because it makes combination tactics much more effective and keeps everybody paying attention. I trust my players not to make multiple turns.

If you are brought back up from 0 hp you gain a level of exhaustion.

Sorcerers regain 1 spent Sorcery point for every 2 hit dice they spend during a short rest.

Warlocks choose one expanded spell from their pact per spell level to gain as a spell known in addition to his regular spells known

Barbarian rage lasts 1 minute, and can be maintained longer via the means described by the ability. Ie it doesn't end early unless you choose to end it.

Paladins get one bonus 'spell slot' usable only for smites, that is recovered on a short rest. The spell slot is 1st level until it becomes 2nd at level 5, 3rd at 11 and 4th at 17

Dragonborn have 60' darkvision and their breath weapon scales as such: 2d6, 4d6 at level 5, 6d6 at level 11, 8d6 at level 17.

Agnor the Barbarian
Our newest addition to our gaming group has elected to be a Dwarven barbarian posted at a somewhat remote outpost in the mountainside. He's a captain in the dwarven military but due to disciplinary problems he was moved to a somewhat remote outpost in dwarven and then later volunteered for an expedition.

Prof. Owen Endicott, the Warlock
A human scholar, Owen willingly and knowingly sold his soul to Asmodeus (or so he believes) in return for a great deal of information and a little magical power. He is a learned man that can and will read anything, and I will be playing the part of his patron in the form of messages and ritual communication for the time being.

Michel Trevelyan, The Sorcerer
A human noble of Greyheath, our youngest player is playing a young man bred specifically for magical power, and it using a custom subclass that I threw together called Arcane Prodigy which gives him better use of his sorcery points / metamagic and a few bonus spells known. His family is somewhat high up on the chain of command in Greyheath (There is a council of five, each member of which has an advisory committee. His father is one of the Archmages advisors).

The Twin Assassins, Fox and Hound
The last two of the group usually alternate between DMing, and so rarely get a chance to play together as players. They took full advantage of their chance and made twin drow brothers, one charlatan assassin rogue and one criminal trickster rogue. They represent a Drow organisation and are evil to the core.

We start everybody off already at the ceremonial process for the expedition they are a part of, which I left to the players to decide apart from the warlock who I sent a message on behalf of his master. They are given their equipment, supplies and directions as well as introduced to 7 NPCs who they will be travelling with. The NPCs have very simple character sheets i wrote up and distribute them to the PCs, encouraging them to give them some personality beyond the framework i have provided. Some take better than others, but they are there and thats the important thing.

Other information provided is that this is Expedition number 37, nicknamed aboleth because that is the most interesting secondary objective given to them, discovering more about whatever this 'aboleth' is (a previous expedition uncovered it in some sort of myth, so anything more that can be found out would be rewarded). The expedition is comprised of 12 people and 10 horses leading two wagons and a caravan stuffed full of supplies as well as a locked cache in the caravan.

So their orders are to head north from the ceremonial grounds at Taford, meeting a RacCom agent named Arven Mugjaw at the Dwarven Stronghold and capital to deliver the cache. After that they are to proceed beyond dwarven lands and into the wilderness beyond, rendezvousing with any other expedition they come across that might need help and making their way to the frontier settlement of Essealon in the northeast. Their contact there is a Tiefling named Beade and will have further instructions.

Other secondary objectives are to explore and clear as much land as possible for colonization, the aforementioned information on Aboleth and locating any valuable materials (specifically Wildwood, Starmetal and rare flora/fauna products).

And so off they go, north through the hillside and into the mountains of the dwarven kingdom. About three days in they come across an abaned dwarven outpost with a couple of rough humanoids making camp out front. The sneaky types (two rogues and the halfling NPC) creep closer for a better look but one is spotted, and it turns out that these men look like bandits. One made the mistake of insulting the courage of one of the twins and they immediately responded with crossbows in the soon to be common strike and fade tactic, using their cunning action to remain undetected or unreachable while laying down sneak attacks. The barbarian rode in after a couple of combat rounds to see the bandits not looking healthy, but now they saw a target they could get to so he got attacked by most of them. His rage and iron hard Abs saved him from the worst of the assault and the twins joined him in the mop up, letting none escape. There was little loot, just a few gold and some more supplies not any better than their own as well as a strange tattoo on one brigand's neck. But the decrepit outpost lay open before them and they couldn't resist setting up camp themselves and having a look inside.

The place was still standing strong despite its disrepair (Dwarven architecture) but the insides had been looted long ago, the party only finding signs of campsites, graffiti and broken furniture. The back wall had a sizable hole in it and they were perceptive enough to notice a pair of badly hidden creatures waiting beyond. A sort of standoff ensued as both groups waited for the other to do something before they gave up and went first. The dwarf used the dodge action and tumbled through the hole, avoiding two prepared attacks and then two opportunity attacks as he rolled past a pair of half-ogres wielding large clubs and wearing large grins.

From there the party SWAT-teamed in, overcoming the brutes with numbers and good rolls but took a hit or two in the process. Again the loot wasnt very impressive unless you consider giant-kin hide armor a good find, but the rear section of the outpost's inside was now safe for them to poke around in. The dwarf knew the basic layout of these structures and easily located the two semi-concealed trapdoors that lead into the downstairs storage and holding areas. These were the first locked doors in the whole place, and after mangling a lock they descended into what looked like a holding chamber with dwarven torture equipment (For dwarves or made by dwarves? And why is there a pair of clippers here? This began the long line of beard and hair based humor for the next few hours).

In their investigation the party did not notice the grey ooze sitting on the damp walls, and it touched the barbarian with its acid pseudopod to drop him screaming onto the floor. The party scrambled into action and downed the new threat in a heartbeat (DYK they aren't resistant nor immune to weapon damage?) and the warlock searched the nearby cabinet for something useful. He saw a vial of knockout poison, a vial of truth serum, a dose of assassins blood poison and two vials marked 'reset', and fed one of them to the barbarian who had just rolled a 20 on his first death saving throw. Luckily it was indeed a healing potion and a sip later the barbarian was up and nursing a new acid burn on his shoulder.

They also found a set of keys, which they used to get into the other trap door room. This one was stocked with building materials that besides a little water damage were in very good condition. They resolved to find a way to get it back to town for a bit of cash via messenger and courier and headed back to camp outside to rest up and head on.

After their extended rest the party changed tactics a little. Since they had plenty of members with darkvision they could take turns traveling and resting and would only need to stop for the horses to feed and rest. So the party began to travel at night as well over the next few days as well, which made things smoother but not necessarily faster.
Another four days passed without incident before they were stopped by a rockslide along the road from a nearby hill. It would take a bit of time to clear but it could be done, so everybody dug in and got to work. However a pair of resident gargoyles were very much ready for them and broke their cover amongst the road along the top of the ridgeline of the hill to rumble more rocks down onto the party, forcing dex saves from those caught (i consistently rolled 12 on the damage rolls for the rockfalls this entire encounter). The entire area was difficult terrain and the gargoyles could fly so they merrily threw stones and made smaller rockfalls while the party scrambled for cover or grabbed their ranged weapons. The barbarian had little luck with his javelins and the other noncasters suffered the sting of resistance to nonmagical weapons but the MVP was the casters with their Fire and Force damage attacks. The poor sorcerer had been reduced to 0 but luckily he had some help from the NPCs who could bring him back, but then daddy gargoyle popped up. He wasn't having such a fun time as his now dead children were, and so after his initial attacks also throwing stones he flew up with some bigger ones and maneuvered for a bomb drop on a cluster of party members. He managed to release his rocks which forced another dex save from those beneath him but on the party's following turn they popped him right out of the air with more bolts and cantrips but unfortunately that meant he fell 50', crushing two already injured NPCs that couldnt get out of the way.

The party didn't even bother with loot, they just wanted to be gone from there. They worked for hours to remove the rubble from the new slides as well as the remainder of the initial barrier and left after a quick burial and moment for the fallen.

At this point the cache became a big deal. Like nearly PvP big deal. The warlock really wanted to get a look inside, and so did the twins, but neither trust each other. The sorcerer didnt want any of that and argued against opening the cache, and much back and forth was had over it for the next hour. To be honest I couldnt keep up with the interparty negotiations at this point and let it play out. The sorcerer fell asleep so the warlock tried his luck on the cache, but the twins caught him and made him back off before opening it themselves, keeping a close eye on the other two (the Barbarian was fast asleep in the front wagon). Inside was:

- 3L of fine aged elven wine
- Two bolts worth of fine cloth, silks, furs and leathers
- Mithril elven chain enough to make three chain shirts or two suits of chainmail
- A silver ring with blue gem set into it
- Two fine dragonborn daggers
- Two sealed wax boxes
- Two ingots refined adamantine
- Two ingots refined mithril
- Two pages of notes and diagrams

The twins touched nothing except the notes, which they examined and could only read half of based off their known languages. The warlock was still interested in the note and the rest of the contents but the twins locked the cache and didnt let on anything. They made a copy of the note then replaced it and after a bit of negotiation showed the warlock a portion of it, and he confirmed their initial readings that they detailed an experiemmental process to create a Adamantine-Mithril alloy, labeled Mithantine. The warlock was capable of reading the whole document but the twins did not want to share it, and so the notes are not known in their entirety.

But it was enough to start thinking, of which the twins did plenty of. Meanwhile the sorcerer spoke with the others and the dwarf was informed, and everybody got on the same page. Nothing was going to be taken from the cache, and it will be delivered as specified. The warlock relayed what he had found out to his master in private and the last of the travel to the dwarven city of Minas Caisi was uneventful aside from being watched by dwarven sentries.

The arrival at the dwarven capital was smooth thanks to the dwarf present in the party, leading them to the embassy almost immediately in order to hand the cache over to Arven. He was a jolly, rough type that invited the party to stay and have a drink while he sorted things out with their horses, accommodation and compensation. He opened up the cache and shared out the wine, and as everyone got more relaxed they ended up using the daggers for a knife throwing contest while talking about how valuable mithantine potentially is, both economically and in its use. Arven detailed the leadership of the dwarves, which was primarily economy based (they are nicknamed coin lords, with the highest ranking (most sucessful) ones wearing coins as badges of office. There are only half a dozen mithantine coins in existence and denoted the most influential coin lords. The party was given some of the cloth and chain as well as the daggers and ring (it was flicked randomly to the sorcerer) and in addition to food and lodging for a week Arven called that even for what they were supposed to be paid.

Over the next few days the twins went hard at work working on the mithantine angle, looking for people interested in it and people they could use. They located some lesser Coin lords (silver and electrum coin rank) they could mess with and in conjunction with the barbarian arranged a meeting with the silver fellow, an ambitious younger dwarf named Murdoc. Murdoc showed interest but not commitment, and so the twins went to work looking for a way to give him a nudge up the local ladder by discrediting a direct competitor of his, the owner of a local cafe. They tossed up the idea of rumors and poisoning his stock but then it turned into a full blown conspiracy involving insanity, jealous rage, a party and poisoned liquor.

Again I lost track as the twins pulled people aside to speak in private at least half a dozen times, but after three days of planning and organization here's what they did:

The party organized a party to celebrate a coin lords 85th year in business, they specifically chose one of the electrum ranked lords for this. His name was Bafflebeard.
Then the twins paid a visit with the barbarian to the owner of the establishment the party was to take place, the competitor that ran the Brown Bean (not two blocks away from Murdoc's little cafee he has invested in). They jump him immediately, using a disguise kit on the barbarian to doppelganger him and send him to the black bean with a story and a bottle of spirits they picked out specifically trying to counteract dwarven resistance to poison. He delivers the bottle to be used that night at the party and leaves again, a damning story involving his wife and shaving his beard covering his retreat.

Meanwhile the twins have the real owner tied up in his room, making efforts to professionally minimize external factors and spin their story. They have his dog locked outside and wait for his wife to come home in the afternoon, and thats when things get messy.
As soon as she steps in she is killed by one of the twins, who drags her into the bedroom and they both get the setup going. They shave the owner, deface the family protrait and clean up other evidence, laying down false leads and putting the empty poison vial in his pocket while knocking him out with the KO poison. They then leave the scene and dispose of the evidence in a direction different to both the party and where they are staying, heading back to the estate they are staying at afterwards. This starts at around 6pm and they're gone by 9.

Meanwhile the party starts at 7, with the barbarian and sorcerer present, as well as Arven who had heard about it separately. Everything goes swimmingly though it is a little odd the owner isn't present, especially when a coin lord is going to be present. 9pm comes around and the toast is made, the main table has the poisoned drink where Mufflebeard, the Barbarian and the Sorcerer are all sitting with some other guests. Everybody makes the save to take half damage except those three, Bafflebeard rolling a 1 and falling unconscious while the other two take a fair amount of damage and begin to hurl.

The party is suspended and people sort of mill around until some officials show up about half an hour later, asking questions and disbanding guests. An employee that was dispatched to find the owner just before the toast returns in time to tell an official of what she found at his home, and the officials get a lot more serious.

Come morning everybody is back at the lodge and Arven comes in to question them. He often works with city officials and is responsible for RacCom members such as the party, as such he is obliged to question them especially since two of them were there. Bafflebeard died that night, and from what Arven can gather the poisoned drink was intended for the owner to drink as a little something from his wife, as what was found at his home indicated some sort of severe domestic. However there are things that don't quite fit, such as messages written in the room being in common (the twins don't know dwarven), the wine rack having no sign of that wine, the vial in the owners pocket, no sign of the things the wife had been accused of (i'm keeping this PG, but it involved beards and crabs) and the owners story not following any of this. He claims he answered the door in the morning to a duplicate of himself, then was knocked out to wake up in the predicament much later that night. The officials and Arven are baffled, but the party plays the "He's obviously gone mad or been bewitched" card and Arven persues the matter no further than asking the Warlock (who has been in the lodge's reading room the last 3 days) to run to the temple of moradin with a note he has written out requesting a speak with dead spell.

Later that day the twins meet with Murdoc again who promptly agrees to rearrange his asssets to take over the cafe and break into metallurgy with the portion of information the twins pass onto him of the Mithantine notes in return for future favors rendered, to be discussed when required. He also arranges an item to be sent to them the next day to facilitate communication when they leave town (a message stone) while one of them is out shopping for alchemical ingredients and the odd poison with the money they got from selling the Elven mithril chain.

Happy with their subplot simmering away nicely the twins reconvene with the party to recollect their wayward NPCs (they are off carousing for the week) and grab their hoses and wagons for the next leg of the journey. Arven also warns them of giantkin in the foothills, the dumber ones have been a little more aggressive lately.

6 days of travel sees them exit dwarven lands and officially pressing into uncivilized territory, the wilderness, the wildlands. They notice a beaten trail off the path and scouting ahead the twins see another expedition caravan, as well as a rope alarm hanging from some nearby trees. They inspect it and notice the half elf sitting in the tree on watch, bow in hand who notices them at about the same time. An awkward exchange establishes that neither side are bandits and both seem legit, and so a cordial conversation ensues and the rogues depart armed with the knowledge that Rocs like to hunt around the plains around where they are for cattle and such, roosting back in the foothills and mountains.

They press on, keeping cover in the trees where they can to avoid swooping eagles the size of houses but in the process walk into a gnoll pack ambush (6 gnolls, 2 pack leaders). They roll terribly for intiative but their first longbow volley from the cover of the trees is very effective, forcing a couple expedition members into cover and hurting a few of the NPCs. The party strikes back but are unfocused in their attacks and allow most of them to live a couple rounds damaged instead of dropping one or two completely per round. They use bow attacks for a second volley that drops two NPCs then close together for melee, cackling in the process. The party then gets their act together and the barbarian moves to strike in front of the assassins who are striking and fading amongst the foliage while the warlock and NPCs plink away. The sorcerer does something risky in the 4th round and moves forward for a burning hands, which connects with 4 gnolls and drops two. The rest of the party kills the pack leaders and one surviving gnoll makes a run for it, getting four rounds of retreat in before getting caught by the twins' crossbows.

The gnolls have patchwork armor but also bows, spears and a pair of glaives and some javelins. Once twin defaces a gnoll then notices another tattoo (more a brand since theyre furred creatures) and takes that as well, while the barbarian finds a few +1 arrows and gives it to the halfling scout as a reward.

We stop there, the party resting for a bit of recovery and deciding what to do now that they are down to 8 expedition members between 10 horses and 3 transports that need driving.

And that's session 1! I hope to maintain the once per fortnight pattern, and i'm hopeful that this campaign will go better than the last one I ran.

2015-02-21, 03:26 AM
Session 2
This was only a half length session, a couple of us had things to do in the afternoon/evening so we couldnt go on through the night.

So the party are down some NPCs but otherwise nothing a rest cant fix, they clear up and press on.

They get through a day of travel before anything of note happens. They meet a cloaked and cowled man travelling in the opposite direction, and he is low on rations. He trades a potion and scroll for food and a horse but when the warlock questions him about his odd tatoo (three teardrops in a spiral) he slips into another unkonwn language to threaten and insult him, which triggered an attack from the assassins who thought he was casting a spell.

He takes a lot of nasty damage and immediately retreats with an invisibility spell, and the skeletons hastily hidden in the surrounding shrubbery rise to defend him. The party deals with the skeletons attacking them separately while the twins try to faerie fire the fleeing mage. The skeletons fall quickly but scare off the traded horse, and the mage loses his invisibility and uses a fly spell instead, still fleeing with a handful of HP.

The warlock leaps upon a horse and chases him down with eldritch blasts, eventually forcing him to fail a concentration check and he falls to his death. Recovered on his corpse is some gold, the traded rations and a spell pouch.

The party reconvenes and carries on for another day, and just as they are beginning to look for a good place to stop and set camp they spot a hill giant in the distance. As he closes the warlock uses a comprehend languages spell to communicate, and the dull creature is intent on grabbing the rations in one of the wagons for dinner. The party attempt to cow him but he is not dissuaded, quickly stuffing rations into his pack and picking up a horse at the expense of his greatclub to beat a hasty retreat with his spoils. The party attack but he manages to disengage with hit points to spare. They do not give chase.

Four days past the brief hillside they press into open plains, which turns out to be a bulette's territory. They manage to avoid him for a while but eventually it bursts from the ground beside where the barbarian is riding a horse and gulps it down in a single impressive critical for 60 damage. The barbarian is left mountless and beside a hungry bulette, promptly raging and attacking. The bulette stays for another round to see if it can snap up another meal but it find the party too tough to stomach, retreating back underground to chase another of the group's horses that had run away. The party decide they are having no more of this and decide to set a trap for the bulette, using the remaining horses as bait.

14 hours of waiting pass and the bulette makes a reappearance, again bursting in to swallow a horse almost whole. But this time the party is ready, and before it can retreat though the clay ridden ground (difficult terrain for its burrowing) it earns a pair of crossbow bolts and several scorching rays for its trouble, one of which is a critical and immolates it from the inside out. The party claim their trophy in the form of bulette armor plating pried from its smoldering corpse.

The remainder of the trip to essealon is uneventful, though they need to rearrange horses to properly take the wagons and caravan.

The party arrive at the frontier town, mostly wooden structures surrounded by a pallisade and crude farmland. They are ushered in by the guards and take a day or two to get acquainted with the town. They get some information on most of the prominent people/places around town:

The Lodge (Town Hall)
Where 'leadership' takes place, usually where people can find Beade (Tiefling 'Mayor') and his missus Koda (also tiefling) as well as Saariel, who is the closest thing to a sage or intellectual in town and does most of the paperwork and document work.

The Rabble's Rest (Tavern)
Run by a cheerful half elf monk called Cedric, the Rabble's Rest is a very well stocked and rowdy tavern where all types mingle. Terry can often be found here and is the towns best fisherman. He is well known to have an ear to the ground.

The Alcove (Inn)
A more respectable establishment more for bed & board rather then a drink, the elven lady that runs the Alcove is called Arana. Joe can also be found here, who is the head stable-man for the stables joining the alcove.

Taywick Trades (Workshouse)
A series of workshops linked together, the Tradehouse is run by the Taywick family (2 parents + 4 children) that supply the majority of trade labor to the town such as smithing, carpentry, masonry, leatherworking and tailoring. They are also all a part of the town militia and they clout around town is well known.

The Guardsmen's Den (Barracks)
Focal point of town defense and the location for Essealon's Militia and guard, the Den is the home and workplace of Barlowe, a half-Goliath, half-orc. Barlowe is the Guard captain and takes his job seriously.

Bits n' Bobs (Shop)
Located by the markets, this place caters to a lot of odd types with dabblings of alchemy, petty magic, doodads and other curios. The owners Orgol and Lorgo (Dragonborn cousins) are hard bargainers and are always on the lookout for more supplies.

The Divine Smile (Temple)
A street that looks like a smile on the map, hence the name. It is dotted with shrines and at the centre a temple with more shrine within it. Most give lip service but there are a few dedicated priests, foremost of which is Nargon (Dwarf Nature cleric of an unspecifid deity).

So the party meet with a couple of people, do a bit of trading and get a feel for the place. The Barbarian organises some brewing, the twins message Murdoc, the warlock meets with koda and the sorcerer meets with beade.

At the end of it all, important bits of information are as follows:
- Information on Aboleth can be found at Brithimlor, the other frontier settlement to the west
- A small supply of Wildwood is southwards of town and can be recovered for moneys.
- A pack of gnolls are uncomfortably close to Essealon and its farms, Beade and his associates would reward those getting rid of them
- The plainsfolk (primarily centaurs and satyrs that live by hunting/gathering) are usually good neighbours but trade has tapered off recently. Being almost the sole source of trade a solution or at least more information would be welcome
- Orgol and Lorgo have a list of items of interest they would gladly pay or trade for, mostly gem dust and alchemical supplies.

The party deliberate and speak at length on what to do, while the NPCs inform them that they will be staying in town until further notice now that the original charter is fulfilled by technicality. The twin human warriors working with the sorcerer agree to stay in touch. Individual PCs have side objectives to organize themselves but after a bit of to and fro the assassins get the others to get mostly on board with the goal of world domination.

Grand plans aside, the party opts for the immediate quest of currying favor with the townsfolk and earning some cash by killing off the gnolls that were getting too close for comfort.

The gnolls are suspected to be in the hills two days east, and so they set off on foot without the wagons to slow them down. They walk into a sentry killzone and attacked by 4 gnolls with longbows but take little damage dealing with them, then the twins scout forward and see two gnoll guards by a cave entrance. they go around and drop down on them, but this reveals their location to some other gnolls that heard the cackling and moved to patrol. They all fall without much issue and the party checks the cave entrance.

The barbarian stands at the mouth of the cave inviting the gnolls to come n get it, and earns a volley of arrows and cantrip attacks. He shrugs it off and barrels in to start hewing away, and the party follows. The gnolls make a fighting retreat into a second chamber where a tougher one resides, regrouping the surviving gnolls and managing to drop the barbarian and warlock. Unfortunately a stray bolt also hit the warlock's new imp familiar as well, which did not end well.

The gnolls are dealt with and the fallen healed up with what potions and bandages they have and they stop for a short rest at the first chamber, the drow scouting forward to prevent counter-attacks. The third chamber looks inhabited by devoid of gnolls, and the passageway beyond ends with bright light around the corner. They hesitate to press forward and a gnoll steps out to throw a vial of acid blindly down the corridor, catching the twins in the splash for minimal damage. They retreat and make sure nothing comes down with crossbows ready while the others rest up and spend their hit dice then join them. A good deception roll and the use of minor illusion to mimic a gnoll's cackling reveals gnolls beyond the corridor.
The rogues then opt to move down first and spot the caltrops at the end of the corridor, carefully sweeping them out of the way and braving the good illumination that means no sneaking for them.
In the final chamber is a hole in the roof with a tattered cloth covering it as well as a respectable fireplace providing light. There is also a half dozen mroe gnolls ready for invaders to round that corner with bows and more vials of acid.

The fighting gets tense as the rogues move to allow the others to get in through the confined space, while three gnolls at the rear throw vials for area attacks and the front gnolls use their bites and melee weapons. A bit of too and fro and eventually the party pushes in and gets into a better position, the pack leaders falling first followed by the more average gnolls. One tried to make an escape through the skylight via a hanging rope but fell and got a rapier to the throat for it.

The party clean up and inspect their earnings:
- Fine boots (25gp)
- fine belt pouch (25gp)
- tribal mask (25gp)
- assorted gemstones (5x 50gp)
- assorted coins (roughly 55gp each)
- a potion of greater healing

Then they head back towards town, taking an extended rest along the way.

The Twins
The drow assassins belong to a widespread organisation that remains nameless, and have extended the opportunity of membership to the other party members. This organisation is based around a legendary assassin of days long past

The mithantine subplot continues with Murdoc's cafe business floundering with people not trusting the food & drink after the poison incident and Bafflebeard has been raised from the dead at significant financial cost. He has however hired himself his first smith.

The sorcerer is the son of a council member's advisory committee in greyheath, and as a noble's son can make political amd financial decisions on behalf of the family in some cases.

The warlock has a pet imp straight from his fiend patron that is teaching him infernal and allows for stronger lines of communication. He has a second set of directives to complete.

And that is where we stopped. Unfortunately I skim over a lot of party interaction which would otherwise be much better, Im going to try and get more of those details in.

2015-03-08, 08:31 PM
Session 3

I say Essalon now because thats what the players call it now. So long as they remember it then i'm happy.
The trip back to town is uneventful and they report their success to Beade and Koda, who are pleased to hear the news but have little in the way of a reward. They do however have a house in town that they are happy to lay claim to if they can find out why nobody else wants to live there. They immediately named the house Breezehome. Beade also offers some time through the week with Barlowe the guard captain training should they be interested, and they can't pass up a chance for some professsional advice.
After selling off some of their loot the party splits for the first day, the twins and barbarian straight to Barlowe to report for duty and the warlock and sorcerer to Breezehome.

I run the players through Breezehome first. It's a single story wooden house with a thatched roof, much like most others in town. There is one main room and three side rooms plus a cellar, and there is no trouble getting in with the key provided by Beade. The first thing they notice is the chill, it is very cold inside despite the warm morning weather. The warlock cautiously enters and looks around while the sorcerer goes around the side to grab some firewood from the pile left by the previous tenants. The interior is furnished in a spartan but comfortable manner with the exception of things like bedding for the bedframe, cooking utensils, etc. The sorcerer, being a noble in origin, is trying to chop wood the wrong way which gives the warlock plenty of time to snoop around. In one of the side rooms, supposedly the spare room, he sees faint glowing lines on the wall. Upon closer inspection his invocation that allows him to read all text reveals to him a name, Thiva. He backs away and investigates the cellar, the trapdoor to which is unlocked. It is as bare as the rest of the house with but a barrel or two and a crate, but there is a bloodstain on the packed dirt floor. He doubles back up in a hurry and fetches the sorcerer.
They both return downstairs and inspect the blood, long dried but curiously not soaked into the dirt. The sorcerer looks around for a source or explanation while the warlock is busy studying it and sees the faint outline of a humanoid between them and the stair/ladder back up. He gets the warlock's attention and they cautiously approach, and the warlock's superior vision sees a faded greyscale woman staring that them with bruising, small cuts and a clearly broken jaw. She points to the blood, then to herself and the game of charades begins. They don't get much information other than she was killed here and Thiva had something to do with it. Thats all they need to piss off quickly.

Meanwhile the others have arrived at the Guardsmens den and been initiated by Barlowe. He is a confident and competent man, towering over the players and speaking like a giant drill sergeant. He begins to run them through both physical and mental fitness exercises to ascertain their abilities and give them a taste of what their in for. The process will take just less than a week, about 6-8 days and will be counted as their downtime activities on those days.

The Breezehome investigators spend the rest of their day researching town records and asking around for more information on this Thiva individual. The town records show that it's in fact a Gnome lady who lives somewhere in town, and the sorcerer's expensive trip to the tavern and speaking to a fellow named Terry there gets him the general location of her residence not far from the wharf, along with the tidbit that she is a cruel bitch and bosses around a couple of thugs.

The day spent, the party meets at Breezehome. The writing and ghostly figure have dissapeared, though the bloodstain remains. They exchange information and plan to hunt down this Thiva wench in the morning. The sorcerer is taught how to properly chop wood and they get through the night despite the chill.

Next day the party sets off to the block of houses Thiva can be found around, according to Terry. They see one place boarded up and (to the Twins at least) obviously set up as a safehouse. They huddle for a brief plan and step up to the house, the twins hiding from sight from the cracks in the windows.
The sorcerer knocks hard, and a good perception roll from most of the party can hear hushed voices stopping from inside. A clear "what?" can be heard as a response to the sorcerer and he begins to bumble his way through a bluff, attempting to pass himself off as an interested buyer of less than legal wares.
The voice inside is understandably suspicious, this being midmorning and all, and he tells him to come alone through the back door. The twins stealthily climb up the thatched roof to peer through the smokehole while the others wait for the sorcerer. The warlock cleverly instructs his imp to go unseen and follow behind the sorcerer, using its senses in place of his own.

The sorcerer (and imp with a acrobatics check) are permitted through the rear door and it is barred again behind him. There is a female gnome and half a dozen assorted humans, elves and half elves in the four room safehouse, all with eyes clearly focused on him. The barbarian begins examining the door, planning the best way to knock it in when necessary.

The sorcerer then proceeds to stall, going over what he could make a deal for and what exactly they have to trade. There is assorted alchemical, poison and trap supplies and a small stock of weapons and armor as well as some items of much higher value and some spell components, some black onyx particularly of note. Unfortunately he botches a roll and unwisely mentions Breezehome and items to deal with ghosts, which sets Thiva on edge. The twins immediately pick up on the thieves cant signal she uses to alert her thugs and they make their move, each dropping in on their respective victims and starting a frantic brawl in the now crowded house. Thiva attempts to escape through the back door but the sorcerer bars her escape while the barbarian crashes though the front door with a well placed kick to the lower hinge and the warlock's imp poisons a thug. Forced on the defensive, the minions are dealt with handily in the next round but Thiva dances through the Sorcerer's space and makes a run for it, and the twins give chase while the others force the remaining two thugs into surrender.

I tried out the chase rules for this one, and I can say they were pretty fun. Thiva got a full 4 rounds in before losing her persuers, and went deep underground over the next few days. The twins really hate Thiva, their targets never get away.

The party returned most of the goods to their owners in the marketplace while keeping some of the nicer stuff and destroying the poison/traps before the twins returned. Of the loot was:
- An immovable rod, which was active at the time of location. The warlock spent the next full day trying to come up with the command word before he eventually figured it out and claimed it.
- A pair of Boots of the Winterland, which the barbarian found far to comfy and stylish to give up
- A wand of magic missile which the Sorcerer nabbed and tested to be fully charged

When they returned that day to Breezehome they found the chill gone and the bloodstain faded but not gone. It resisted any attempts at removal.

The remainder of the week was spent shopping and training with Barlowe. They overheard a few reports of goblin sightings around farms but paid little attention due to the lack of reward and continued to work hard at their physical and mental training. The mechanical benefit of this I allowed was adding half their proficiency bonus (rounded down) to saving throws they are not already proficient in. They were very happy with this.

However on the 9th day of their week back from the gnoll cave they were awoken just before daybreak by a loud banging at the door. They answered it to find Barlowe, fully armed and grim accompanied by a team of militia. He said there was something they should come to see, and they followed him to the town hall where as many militia as possible were being gathered. A messenger hawk sat on a beam outside, and all the town leaders were already present and organizing the forces.

Beade read out a letter, written in very efflulent common. It was written by a Thukan, claiming to be the leader of the Goblinoid forces now at the town's main gate. He stated in no uncertain terms that here was here to claim the town, and that any who wished to surrender or leave before the attack was going to take place would be allowed to at no risk of aggression from him nor his peoples. Those that resisted would be met with brutal force.

The militia wavered at this slightly, they had faced raids before but not quite of this size and apparent organisation. Barlowe made a rousign speech with the full backing of the party which put some resolve back into the towns defenders. Then they strapped an insulting and provocative response to the messenger hawk and began preparations for assault.

The twins' first move was to get the remaining citizens to safety, locking them in the inn, tavern, a warehouse and the town hall for their own protection until the fighting was over. They also raided Orgol & Lorgo's Bits n' Bobs store for all the alchemist fire and other useful things they had. They found an Alchemist's Jug and took that too, leaving it in Breezehome for the time being.

They had more plans, but they had to wait as the first attack began. a wave of goblins with hobgoblin lieutennants stormed the front gate, bugbear shamans with twig blight bodyguards tearing great gaps in the wooded pallisade and gate with Warp Wood spells while a few gnolls approached behind the wave of goblins sniping those on the pallisade's 'battlements'
with their longbows. The twins watched from the rooftops as the militia and rest of the party opened fire on the approaching horde and met them hand to hand when they breached the wooden defenses. The force was pushed back at some losses to the Essalon guards but some of the priests and healers managed to mimimize casualties this time. The twins meanwhile saw two similar forces splitting from the main camp and going towards the walls to the sides of the main breach, and got a message to Barlowe leading the defense on the ground. He reinforced the guard on both sections as best he could and the party on the ground went to the eastern attack, faced with a similar force with less aid from the guard.

This attack was smaller but equally as brutal, more militia fell and another gap was made in the wall before the party forced the attackers into a retreat, maintaining single digit health themselves. Meanwhile the western front had opened with goblins lobbing alchemist fire, acid and tanglefoot bags at the wall and those on it, lighting up the wall enough for some bugbear shock troops to barge in with heavy weapons demolishing what remained of the barricade. The fire worked both ways though, and the guard there narrowly managed to beat back the forces there at severe casualties also.

And that was just the first hour of daylight.

Over the next two to three hours probing and skirmishing attacks were made with much smaller squads of troops harassing the defenders while the party took a chance at a short rest and organised the defenders with Barlowe. They set up makeshift barricades around the breaches and laid down timbers from rooftop to rooftop for archers as well as setting up killzones and road blocks to direct the flow of attackers should they get into the town proper.

Then they got word of a small force skirting around the eastern side of town again. The party weighed their options and concluded that an attack on this force would be better than letting them reach their destination. They requisitioned some braver guards from Barlowe and set out to intercept the team, the Twins staying behind to watch and organise more defenses in town.
The goblins and hobgoblins spotted the approaching PCs and counterattacked with shortbows, doing a nasty number on them before they were able to close to melee range. The brawl was tough thanks to a bugbear and hyena protecting the goblins, hobgoblins and single gnoll but the party at this point had learned to target the hobgoblins first to weaken the morale and leadership of the goblins, and after the bugbear and hyena were felled to the raging barbarian the force was routed, only a few of them living to retreat back to the main force. The interception was a success, at the cost of the lives of guards and militia the PCs took with them.

The twins were busy looking for sappers and tunnellers when the rest returned, taking the chance to receive some of the last healing offered by the town's healers and priests before called to the front again. Thukan had lost only about a third of his numbers at this point, about the same as the towns forces, and was massing his remainder for what seemed to be his big push just after midday. The PCs would have one window of opportunity to act before the next assault began in earnest.

Hound checked on the civilians and Fox gathered some of the hunters amongst the militia for a sneaky operation and the other PCs manned the wall. Fox led his team to a grassy hill just south of the main force to the west and sniped a few hobhoblins before retreating, breaking command somewhat on that section. The goblins were getting visibly rowdier as their handlers were disappearing little by little. Fox also rolls a great perception during this and catches a glimpse of a single humanoid creature far off in the distance, apparently spectating the whole event.

Then Thukan had his warhorn sounded, and the horde of goblinoids approached the town defenses between the main northern gate and the western breach. The warlock and sorcerer did their best to snipe approaching hobgoblins and bugbears and the forces on the wall did the same, but they closed quickly enough that the forces on the pallisade had to be careful of return fire. Goblins used more flasks of Fire, Acid and tanglefoot bags, hobgoblins threw ropes upwards and bugbears smashed their way through the warped wood to get at the inside of town, forcing the defenders to retreat to the rooftops and barricades in a secondary defensive line. The goblinoids streamed in, goblins falling left and right in a never ending mass while thebigger targets roared above the din trying to direct the assault. The barricades and dead ends coupled with the rooftop sniping forced the goblins to pay a heavy price, most of the leadership falling to concentrated fire despite the gnolls at the rear taking up position to countersnipe. Without the direction of the larger hobgoblins the goblins foundered and spread out, their spearhead broken into a rabble. The militia gained a measure of confidence at this point, managing to push back the wave and the name of the game turned from defense to damage control and mop up, the gnolls retreating back through the breaches. The spotters reported the camp being hastily disassembled the remaining forces beating a retreat westwards.

There was no time to worry about that though because some building had caught fire during the conflict, and the wounded needed tending to. Bits n' Bobs was well alight, as was Essalon Lodge, The Rabble's Rest Tavern and the Alcove Inn. The party responded quickly and efficiently, breaking down the doors to the establishment to free the trapped civilians inside and aiding in efforts to control the fire. Many were killed by the flames and many more were burnt, crushed by panicked townsfolk or suffering from smoke inhalation.

All in all, despite the successful defence of their homes over a third of the population of Essalon had lost their lives in the conflict.

The next week was devoted to recovery, funeral services and other matters. But more importantly, the party leveled up!

Agnor, Dwarf Bear Totem Barbarian 4 took the great weapon master feat that reflected his cleaving of goblins during the assault.
Prof. Endicott, Human Fiend/Chain Warlock 4 took the spell sniper feat that reinforced his sniping tactics in the fights, picking sacred flame as a backup attack spell
Fox, Drow Assassin 4 took skulker as his feat, and negotiated with me to trade the negating dim light benefit of it for avoiding the disadvantage vs direct sunlight that drow get (though this would not help against most spells like Daylight.
Hound, Drow Arcane Trickster 4 took Observant for his feat, gaining the top passive perception of 18 in the group.

Amongst the remnants of Thukan's camp that was not taken with the goblinoids there was a stockpile of intercepted messages and packages from couriers and supply caravans, amongst which was a letter for the Sorcerer. It was an officially sealed note informing him of his fathers death in Greyheath dated a week prior, and requested his presence for the reading of the will and organizing the house after his departure.

The scout also got back to report on where Thukan went, west through the Forest of Runes. The party made it their mission to hunt them down and got prepared for the trip, but the sorcerer chose to bid farewell to his companions at this point to turn back southwards in order to return home and defend his claim to succeed his father on the archmage's advisory council.

Following the scouts advice to track westwards, the party travelled for a full week without any sightings. One day a storm blew in from the northern waters and buffeted the party with heavy winds and heavier rain. They sought shelter in a semi-enclosed cave in the hillside and found it already occupied by an orgre, as grumpy about the weather as they. Not being able to speak a word of Giant coupled with the ogre not knowing more than a handful of words in common inevitably led to bloodshed, the party utterly mauling the giantkin before he collapsed on a heap on top of the barbarian. Before they could settle in though Hound spotted burrowlines similar to what was left by a Bulette, and a sharp warning led the party to flee and climb nearby trees. The poor barbarian, still under the ogre, missed the memo and by the time he managed to heavy the stinking corpse off him he was beset upon by four Ankhegs, each of which breathed a spray of acid upon him. Still raging, he dutifully began to drive his greataxe into them as Hound also heard a spectacular crunch in a nearby tree following a streak of lightning in the sky. The twins moved to investgate while the warlock took up a position to blast at the ankhegs and the barbargian tried to maneuver into a better position.
The ankhegs did not want to lose their meal and kept up their attack, while the drow located the source of the crash under the broken limbs of a tree. In a small crater lay a creature that could be considered half way between a dragonborn and human if it werent for the tattered wings upon its back. He was fully armed with a large blade and armored in older styled chainmail. He stood and hailed the twins in an unknown panguage to them, and they briefly went through a list of their known languages before settling on an archaic form of common in order to speak. In order to identify friend or foe they used the most tried and true method, a quick spar. In a storm. While under attack by monsters.
They were equally matched, but their bout was interrupted by said ankhegs and the barbarian hollering for help, and so the three joined the fight and dispatched the ankhegs with little further trouble.
After they caught their breath the warrior identified himself as Ulrich, Paladin in service of Bahamut. They spend the night under their newly won shelter trying to stay warm and dry without a fire then set off again in search of the goblinoids in the morning.

The paladin's backstory is that he has been a member of Bahamut's divine host for a great deal of time after 'ascending' from being mortral many a year ago, hence the older styled speech and armor. He had failed to follow through with a command from his lord and god and been audacious enough to question his deity on a fairly imporant matter, and thus has been stripped of his rank and memory and sent back to the mortal world to redeem himself. He has good working knowledge of divine matters and a single name guides him towards his atonement: Ixjengathir

The tracks they followed led straight into the forest, and so the party followed. This forest was known for the strange magic runestones that literally grow on trees here, as well as the fact that its residents grow very large and no intelligent life is known to live here.

Mid afternoon on the first day sees their first encounter. They see a ragged and desperate group of hobgoblins and goblins fighting a losing battle against a small group of dire deer. The party waits and watches the deer gore the goblinoids to death and turn their attention to them. The paladin manages some impressive animal handling checks to use his lay on hands ability on a wounded deer and they leave them in peace. A quick check of the goblinoids leaves nothing of note but their resolve is reinforced, certain they are headed in the right direction.

During the walk the Paladin also spots a rune covered stone the size of a berry hanging frm a tree. He plucks it and the tree branch recoils slightly, and using detect magic along with an arcana check determines that this rune is usable essentially as a scroll, or it would be if it were fully formed. They keep their eyes peeled for additional rules but are wary of the trees.

The first night comes, and despite nothing attacking Fox, the Warlock and the Imp are beset by terrible nightmares and intense fear. They are the first victims of the forest's effects on intelligent life, and are frightened until they leave the forest.

The second day the party almost blunders into a dire boar scrounging for food, but Hound stops them just in time. The boar does notice them however, and positions itself for a charge. The party scrambles, and the barbarian finds himself locked in a wrestling match with the pig. The party gets the brilliant idea that a dire boar would make a fantastic mount, and focus on shove attempts and nonlethal damage to subdue the boar so it can be hogtied and later trained.
The plan goes off with naught more issues than a tusk to the side of the barbarian, and soon the pig is unconscious and tied ready to be dragged with them and handled. However the ever vigilant Hound misses the three net-casting spiders that have positioned themselves above the ruckus for an easy meal, and the barbarian and warlock find themselves trapped in spiderweb nets being hauled upwards before anybody realizes whats going on. The warlock's Imp however finds this hilarious.

The warlock panics and sends a scorching ray in a spray in front of him, burning away the web and sending him tumbling to the forest floor in a heap. The barbarian cannot use his greataxe and draws a smaller blade to try and cut himself loose. The paladin is too shocked and far away to be able to get at the spiders and the drow are nervous that attacking them would displease Lolth.

The spider hauling the dwarf brings him close enough for a nasty bite while the other two try to catch additional targets with fresh cables of webbing fired straight at them. The warlock is having none of it and flees into the forest while the others begin to attack. The spiders dangling from the canopy are relatively safe and continue to try and drag up victims but the barbarian manages to hack himself loose of his net and falls into the arms of the paladin, waiting patiently. The drow fade into the underbrush and begin shooting with their hand crossbows while the spiders attempt to cable new victims.
But the paladin has a bright idea. He grabs a cable and attaches it to his armor, allowing the spider to drag him into convenient greatsword range. The drow pick off one spider while another swings away into the canopy, its easy meal having escaped despite its poisonous bite. The last spider gets a bit into the paladin before getting felled by his massive blade, and he falls back to the ground.
The drow retrieve the warlock before he can get himself lost and they pull themselves together with a short rest to try and figure out this hog business.

The third day is slowed by having to half drag a reluctant dire boar with them and the barbarian also succumbing to the fear inducing effects of the forest. They spot another rune, this one the size of a pear, hanging from a tree and that they decided to leave be. At the end of this day they exit the forest, relieved to be clear of it.

They camp a ways away from the forest's edge and keep travelling west the next day. On this day they spot what seems to be a downsized dwarven fort, much like the ones found in their mountain territory. Upon approaching they see a dwarf with a crossbow on a watchpost instead of the expected goblinoid, and opt to investigate. They hail the dwarf and the Barbarian notices he is clearly branded as an outlaw (Thankyou Kid Jake for the idea, the players love it). They converse in dwarven for a while and are invited into the courtyard where they meet some of the other resident exiles and take the chance to relax and share a story or two.

As it turns out the 7 Dwarves (Deserter, Adulterer, Murderer, Thief, Blasphemer, Rebel and Coward) are all wrongly accused and actually rather cool dudes, each with their own tale to tell and bearing their brand proudly. They made this stronghold over a long time (even by dwarf standards) and hope that one day others that do not fit in with 'ideal dwarven society' can come and join them in freedom out in the northern wildlands. They also breed death dogs for hunting, protection and company.

The party spins their tale also and manage to concince the dwarves to send aid to Essalon for a mutually beneficial arrangement, as well as bolstering their commitment to their cause. They stay the night and then turn north towards Brithimlor, the other frontier town 5 days away.

Along the way the trail they were following finally ends. They find the disheveled corpses of about a dozen hobgoblins and a few goblins, each of which died exhausted, fearful and with their eyes open. There is no evidence of physical damage on them that was not caused by over a week of forced hard march but the shaman/witch doctor accompanying Thukan holds a note in his pack. It reads that their attack has failed, their benefactor will be most displeased, the Triple Talon Mark that was supposed to protect them and ensure victory was useless and that their god Maglubiyet has forsaken them. A detect magic on the symbols that each hobgoblin has tatooed on them brings up a residual divination aura.

With more questions than answers, the party continues to brithimlor. The town is not walled like Essalon but curiously is built on top of a cleared out dungeon, much of which has been cleared out and re purposed to fit the town's needs. They spend two days gathering information on various sibjects individually:
- The Paladin discovers the name Ixjengathir belongs to a Green dragon that lives somewhere in the forests of the wildlands. As an evil dragon Bahamut demands its death.
- The twins uncover very little about the Tri-Talon Tatoo, save that a few goblinoids and reptilian humanoids around Brithimlor were found bearing it.
- Fox finds someone else that has seen 'The Watcher', a hunter/adventurer that every now and again spotted something watching him from a great distance when he was out hunting reptilian humanoids along the coast north of Brithimlor
- One of the town's three leaders is an Aasimaar, and knows nothing of the Tri-Talon Tattoo
- The twin's received more correspondence from their colleague Murdoc in Minas Caisi, bearing news of their ventures into Mithantine creation.
- The warlock's imp is notably and suspiciously absent for this time

Then they reconvene, spend a comfortable night in real beds, then return southwards to the dwarf stronghold. Along the way they notice the absence of the goblinoids corpses, but there are signs of scavengers.

When they return to the dwarves, they are not in such high spirits as before. They lost one of their number, Thief, to an Imp that they found and killed just after Muderer and Adulterer left for Essalon, and Rebel is suffering a bit from its poison. They warn the party that more calamity might be around, and the party gazes hard at the warlock.

And that's this session. Big developments, and big plot dump! Some of the players had a moment when the sorcerer was being switched out for the paladin, but I think they settled into the change and are getting on a lot better now.

2015-03-09, 12:16 AM
Ok this is a pretty cool Story so far. Can't wait for more.

2015-03-22, 07:18 PM
Session 4

So one of the players was a little late so the rest passed the time arguing about what to do next while playing board games, the Warlock primarily trying to convince the others to allow him to take ownership of the fort, with or without the dwarves' consent. When everybody was present they arrived at their course of action. The warlock would stay at the fort while the rest of the party took a trip up to Brithimlor, giving him a week to do his thing.
When the others left the Warlock almost immediately locked himself in the cellar to prepare the ritual he intended to use. The dwarves got a bit suspicious after a few minutes and organised themselves but were completely unprepared for what happened next.
You see the warlock had been given a scroll by his benefactor to deal with the situation. When he completed the ritual involved in its use he was surrounded in a small cloud of red mist, rising slowly into the air until he hit the ceiling of the cellar and becoming incapacitated, his own life being used to maintain the spell.
From the cloud fell 9 fiends, each one wielding a spear and encased in dull grey plate mail. They acted as a single entity, forcing their way through the cellar door to confront the dwarves awaiting suspiciously with their dogs just beyond the kitchen. The dwarves were rightly surprised but put up a valiant effort to remove the devils from their home. Unfortunately since two of them had left for Essalon and one been killed by the Warlock's imp a few days before what could have been a fair fight was instead a rout. The devils overran the dwarves in less than a minute, mercilessly killing every one.
The warlock however was incapacitated in the cloud, losing HP every minute that passed until either he was forced to make a concentration check and failed (the ritual did not force them, it had to be external) or the 10 minute duration of the ritual expired. Since he was never even threatened during the whole event he was forced to continue maintaining the ritual until he fell unconscious from the ritual's damage. He passed his death saving throws and awoke an hour later to see the corpses of the dwarves and a single note that said 'Thanks, berk' in infernal. There were no signs of the devils.
The warlock killed the last two dogs in the dwarves' kennel and dug them hasty graves, then rested up and took a better look around the fort.

Meanwhile the rest of the party were in brithimlor, doing some digging around and enjoying some time off. The paladin reacquainted himself with mortal sleaze (rolling 95 on carousing) while the twins had a closer look at the town's economy and leadership and the barbarian gathered some brewing supplies and a saddle for his new mount.

After two days the warlock's associates arrived, a half dozen cultists led by a man named Cynric. They ingratiated themselves under the Warlock's control and quickly got to work housekeeping on his orders. The next day another small group of travelers passed by but the Warlock encouraged them to move along towards Brithimlor.

The rest of the party met the same travelers on their way back down, a half elf man named Numerus claiming to be their leader. They were traders and entertainers, and the dwarf took the opportunity to purchase some of the spices they had remaining. The party passed on a friendly warning about the three talon tattoo and asked if they were to find anybody bearing it to send word to them.

Over the next few days the Warlock got impatient and went north towards Brithimlor to find the party, and they met just a day north of the fort. He tried to explain what had happened without giving away too much but the twins were too suspicious to simply walk back into the fort, seeing as the warlock killed everybody in there seemingly effortlessly and replaced them with his own men. They instead opted to go hunting dire deer in the forest, the dwarf following them while the paladin accompanied the warlock back to the fort. Cynric welcomed their return and reported no developments, aside from one man on watchtower duty reporting he felt watched, as if from a great distance. The hunting party successfully took down a dire deer at dusk and returned to the fort the next day, Hound and the Barbarian having a more close inspection of the fort and revealing two hidden backdoors, a long term storage room and a labratory. Inside the lab were dwarven schematics for a magic crossbow along with a half-completed prototype and several bolts with capsules for heads instead of points. Each capsule held an alchemical substance that splashed over a target on impact. The dwarf took the crossbow and schematics and Hound took the bolts.

The crossbow in question is a +0 Heavy Crossbow that automatically loads itself from an extradimensional compartment that can hold up to 24 bolts, essentially negating the loading quality of the weapon. The user can decide which bolt is loaded next if more than one type is in the storage space.
The plans can be adapted for other crossbows, and functions in the same way. The only difference is that light crossbows can hold up to 12 bolts and hand crossbows up to 6.

And so the party had captured themselves a fort. They leveled up to 5, we stopped for lunch and the question of what to do next was raised.

Emboldened by their success and the information they had uncovered, the party conceded to the Paladins request to hunt down Ixjengathir the Green dragon, presumably in the jungle and swampland in the valley to the west of the fort. They got lost within two days of entering but that didn't stop them, and after wandering around aimlessly Fox and Hound spotted some lizardfolk. They had not been spotted themselves, but the lizardfolk were aware of the three louder party members and were steering clear of them. They carried hunting spears and bundles of fish so the twins followed, leaving the others to find their own way.
They ghosted the lizardfolk to their village, and devised a plan. Hound hid in the trees while Fix poisoned his blade and approached the settlement with his rapier sheathed and above his head to try and convey the idea of no violent intent. The lizardfolk were cautious but one that spoke rough common stepped up and opened conversation. An elder and shaman also came forward and the common speaker translated for them. These particular lizardfolk restricted their diet primarily to fish, and kept well away of Ix's territory and that of the black scaled lizardfolk of that area. They were surprised and happy to receive an offer at trade with the fort, promising fresh water and fish in return for quality hardwood and metal. They knew a little about the talon symbol too, and were pleased to have had a dealing with other humanoids that did not end in bloodshed.

Meanwhile the other three of the party were lost knee deep in water in the middle of nowhere for the better part of four hours before the Warlock finally got his bearings and led the others to dry land where the twins were easily able to locate them. They shared information and it was decided that the blackscales were their next point of call, and set out the next morning.

The blackscales were in more swampy territory than the greens, so the party ended up wading through waist deep water for much of it. Unfortunately, this attracted flesh eating fish that swarmed those in the water (the Barbarian and Paladin's mounts as well as the warlock. The twins were traversing by tree). The feeding frenzy caught the attention of some blackscale hunters as well and the party quickly found themselves in a dangerous situation. The blackscales they could see were attacking in the water, while the party had scrambled onto higher ground to avoid being eaten. They managed to kill off two unluckier ones and Hound charmed one more, which meant that they had a chance at parley.

Despite languages barriers being a problem again, the party managed to get the lizardfolk to back off. They said they were here for the dragon and the dragon alone, and through a combination of persuasion and intimidation the blackscales relented. They disclosed his general location and withdrew, they wanted nothing to do with what happened one way or another. So the party continued on their way, careful to avoid more bodies of water, until they were interrupted by a voice seemingly all around them.

Said voice spoke proper draconic and sounded almost like the definition of pride. It commended them on their relevant success so far and expressed interest in them. Fox and the paladin both attempted to goad what they assumed to be Ix into the open, but neither of them were successful. Ix was amused by their words, and switched to common to explain there was no need for this encounter to end in violence. After all, a being like him values allies and assets, surely a pair of fellow chessmasters could understand that.

The twins were swayed but pride clashed against pride and neither side were willing to accept that they were mere pawns, even if they could work together. Ix ended the debate by roaring "CHECK" as his Horned, crocodilian head appeared from the canopy and engulfed the entire party in his breath weapon. He then took off above the treeline, far beyond the party's means of chasing him.

This is the point where the party reconsidered their position and intent. With that one breath attack Ix had reduced almost everyone to less than 10hp, Fox to 0 immediately. In addition to that the Paladin, expert on dragons that he was, noticed that his was not a normal Green dragon, for its scales were far too dark for its age. That in combination with the half poison, half acid breath weapon meant some horrified looks on my players faces. This was a young half green, half black dragon, and it had both outsmarted and overpowered them.

So they fled. They hightailed it back to the green lizardfolk tribe. However the twins reconsidered, peeling off and tracking down Ix to his obvious lair much deeper in the jungleswamp. By the time they got there he was sitting out front of his cave on some vines staring intently at the water around him. The twins hid and waited, and watched as a water elemental arose and made its way north. Ix then noticed the twins, beckoning them forward. They obliged and conceded defeat, offering their allegiance and servitude in return for control of the Blackscale lizardfolk. Ix was greatly amused by their audacity, and ordered an unseen lizardfolk to retrieve a chess set from within his lair. He would play the Twins for control of the Blackscales.

Now my players were keen on an actual game of chess, but that would have taken too long with only two players and the others waiting and I'm also not that great a player. Certainly not good enough to emulate a dragon. So instead I used a 4e style skill challenge, the best of 5 wins. The twins used deception, distraction and intimidation to beat Ix and he held his end of the bargain, handing over his attendant lizardfolk, 'The speaker'. It turned out the speaker didnt speak common though, so Ix killed him and sent a message to the tribe demanding a new one that did. The twins gracefully took their leave and left for the Blackscale village.

Meanwhile the other three party members had got back to the green lizardfolk and passed on what had happened, warning them to be careful of the drow and taking their leave towards the fort.

The twins met their new speaker, a shaman in training named Hissat. They ordered him and a dozen of the most cunning lizardfolk to report at the fort within a week and left to meet the others before they arrived.

By the time the party had returned to the fort and swapped stories two more cultists had joined Cynric and the warlock. The paladin disapproved of the methods the twins were using to learn about Ix in order to kill him but conceded that the direct method obviously didn't work.

And so the party prepared themselves for the lizardfolk and took some more downtime. The twins hunted some more deer for a feast, the barbarian finished the uncompleted crossbow, the warlock led the rennovation of the fort and the Paladin took a chance to visit some nearby locations in order to pray, meditate and think. His mind was filled with doubt and he was questioning more and more why he was really sent back down to the mortal realms.

And so the lizardfolk recruits arrived, were welcomed and began their training under the twins to become assassins. This would take months, and each full moon the Barbarian would hear a howling that nobody else could. There was also an emissary from Brithimlor sent to ensure that the arrangement between the Fort and mengaul (one of Brithimlor's three leaders) was still in effect. Although the Fort was no longer operating under the same masters the trade route agreement remained, and the fort would continue to receive the stipend in return for keeping the route open and safe. The Paladin and Barbarian also engaged in a friendly duel to see who was the better warrior and show the lizardfolk how real fighting can be.

Let it be reiterated, D&D is not built for PvP. The entire fight hinged off the initiative roll, and they both rolled the same. The reroll put the paladin first and he opened with his channel divinity to grant advantage to hit on his opening attacks, both of which were crits. He pumped a smite into the second hit and felled the barbarian before he had a chance to rage and negate the sheer amount of damage delivered in one go.
We let the barbarian roll to see how well he would have done if he went first, and he Reckless Power attacked for two swings, one of which was a crit. His rage and great weapon feat damage bonus would have also dropped the paladin in one turn if he got to do it.

The other important news that happened over this time was that supplies and trade that should have been arriving from Essalon was not coming, and rumors of bandits along the route were rising. The party got off their backsides and organised a fake trade caravan to lure out petty raiders. About a week into the trip towards Essalon they were beset, the Bandits guffawing at the 'Heroes of Essalon' and how they had heard all about how they would save all the other people they had victimized. The warlock could not hide his grin as he unleashed a fireball at the foolhardy bandit, immolating a pair next to him and the Paladin unhitched his horse from the wagon in order to charge his new opponent.
Then the rest of the party leapt from the back of the caravan as the bandits opened fire with longbows, crippling the warlock in one volley. The paladin made a charge on his horse and demolished a bandit, and the twins fanned out for a spot to hide while the barbarian used his new crossbow to drop one more bandit.
The bandits again volleyed with their longbows, but with the new targets presented their attacks were not as focused and effective. The twins then got attacked by Thiva of all people, appearing from the same cover they sought for a substantial amount of damage to Fox. His uncanny dodge helped, and the twins focused suicidally on Thiva while the others scrambled to take out the bandits before they could finish off the warlock and overwhelm them. Two bandits were particularly hard marks as they strode forward with their twin blades each, but the party pulled through thanks to the barbarians reckless power attack and paladins charges minimizing time between targets.

The twins knocked Thiva unconscious while the barbarian helped the warlock up and Paladin interrogated a bandit that attempted to flee about the camp and remaining bandits. They took a short rest to recover and Thiva woke up, which was when the twins started torturing her. I won't write the details here, but suffice to say the paladin objected to it. The twins tried to explain and get the paladin to back down but he would not be swayed, and so they resorted to using their darkness power to cover themselves. This didn't move the pinned Thiva however, and she had no chance of escaping the paladins breath weapon, killing her. By the time the darkness cleared the twins had disappeared.

The remaining party members went straight to the bandit camp, killing the last three effortlessly and taking stock of their loot. There was a significant amount of coin and valuables, including a few ornamental pieces, but no stone or other supplies. The three Teardrop tattoo also appeared on a few of the bandits.

An overall success, the party continued to Essalon to deliver news and some of their findings to their rightful owners. They met with Adulterer from the fort and they found out that his companion, Murderer, was killed by the same bandits they encountered on their way to Essalon. They also tell him that his kinsmen at the fort are also dead, and offer him Breezehome with their condolences. He has no wish to return now so he takes him up on that offer.
They also meet with Barlowe, exchanging the Capsule Bolt schematics for a quiver of 20 to be sent to the fort every month.

The twins are still nowhere to be seen. Fox has returned to the keep to continue the Lizardfolk's training and Hound has been shadowing the party.

The next thing on the party's bucket list is to find the plainsmen, and maybe a unicorn or pegasus while they're at it. They gather some supplies and set off southeast from Essalon, but they see no sign of Humanoids nor feyfolk.
Three days of searching leads them to a couple anomalies in the plains and woodlands. These small spots are visibly wavering, like a heatwave on the horizon. The scholarly warlock correctly guesses they are weak points between the realms and the feywild, and the barbarian figures the easiest way through, taking the others with him. Hound loses his prey and decides he may as well find a giant to kill so he can let off some steam.

The feywild is a vibrant replica of the party's homeworld in a state of constant twilight, and they run the risk of becoming both lost and fascinated if they remain long. They quickly find a grig that in typical fey fashion is no help to them whatsoever, but then they come across a lagoon with a satyr, centaur and more than a few nymphs at it. Here is where i realize that Nymphs are not in the 5e Monster Manual. The PCs approach anyway and though a bit vague the satyr informs them that the plainsfolk fled to the feywild to get away from the giants a while ago. They were being captured and enslaved by the giants, but they like it here anyway. Also there are no unicorns nor pegasi around that they know of, at least not recently.

So the barbarian gets fed up with the fey who to him are just high, and goes back to the real world. The other two take a chance to spend some time and endulge with the nymphs, being careful not to look at them too closely face to face, before returning also.

The barbarian and Hound meet up before the Paladin and Warlock return, so they both go giant hunting. They come across a Hill giant three days north east and take the chance to poison their weapons before they ambush him. The Hill Giant is taken completely by surprise and dies after a single turn, only doing moderate damage to the raging barbarian. The pair take a trophy of the giant's ears and return to Essalon to meet with the Paladin and Warlock, then on to the Fort.

And there we go. There was a lot of plot hooks the party could follow from last session, so I left this one really open on what they wanted to do. It impacts my planning but I think its important to have a balance between my plot and the party's self-conceived objectives.

2015-03-23, 03:10 AM
good to see you are still going. i was begining to fear this one had died(i missed the once a fortnight part).

2015-03-23, 07:03 AM
No no, we're still going every second saturday. Though we might have a pause over easter as one player (and our venue host) will be going overseas for a couple weeks over the break.

Good to see i have an audience though :smallsmile:

2015-03-23, 03:35 PM
No no, we're still going every second saturday. Though we might have a pause over easter as one player (and our venue host) will be going overseas for a couple weeks over the break.

Good to see i have an audience though :smallsmile:

Campaign Journals tend not to get a ton of post. But they do tend to get a decent amount of views even if they are not posting.

2015-03-23, 03:47 PM
Also the party did not locate the Hobgoblin Warlord and his army's remnants correct? Unless he was in the small group that got killed by Dire Deer in the forrest.

2015-03-23, 03:59 PM
Thukan and his remaining forces are presumed to be the assorted goblinoids found in the forest and on the way north to brithimlor. Their equipment and a few other bits and pieces like the shaman's note and the talon tattoos gave them that indication.
And thats also what they told Barlowe when they got back to Essalon last session.

2015-03-23, 07:11 PM
good to see you are still going. i was begining to fear this one had died(i missed the once a fortnight part).

Ditto that! I do have a question. How do you keep your players that are seperated in the game world, still on track with what you've planned?

2015-03-24, 01:21 AM
I simply plan as little as possible. I think out and provide the world the players inhabit, then from there its pretty much just keeping track of things that might be happening in the background while doing my best to keep up with the players.
It also helps that in this particular case my overall plot is rather simple and overarching. A lot of what they are doing is their own idea, all i have to do is weave it back into the main points i hashed out when first thinking of the campaign.
As far as players splitting up, we understand te boredom of waiting for someone else to finish and try to link up asap. Also i dont filter CR as closely as some, so teir best bet of surviving encounters is being smart and staying together. Ix was a good example of this i guess.

2015-04-12, 08:55 PM
Session #5

The party (minus Fox) met up back at Essalon to plan their next move. They took stock and noticed they were running dangerously short on funds and so did a bit of information hunting for lucrative resources that might be in the surrounding area they could plunder. A couple of falling stars had been recorded recently (as in a decade or so) and they got the general location of a site somewhere between the forest of Runes and the lake shore, then geared up and headed out.

The trip was uneventful, and they found a small crater along the treeline after a day or so of searching. Fragments of a meteorite bearing Starmetal were scattered over the slopes and they managed to recover enough to make the trip worthwhile. Since they were closer to the fort than anywhere else they made their way back there, the barbarian spotting a suspicious game trail and cave along the way.

Meanwhile Fox had received a task from Ix, and sent some of his lizardfolk into the Forest of Runes to collect a sample of Devilweed, a potent psychoactive drug. A few of them died in an encounter with some ettercaps but the rest returned successful. In the days before the rest of the party's return he got an additional instruction from Ix: Slay all creatures that bear this appearance on sight.

The party reunited at the fort and discussed events, weighing up what to do next. They figured they would check out this cave, being the closest thing of note to them. They skirted the edge of the forest to avoid encounters with the beasts within and went down the path to the mouth of the cave.

The entire party has darkvision or better, so i have to stop myself every time I say 'its dark inside' or anything similar. The cave appears natural but it has within it some stacked crates, barrels, pottery and a wooden table, as well as a three teardrops symbol engraved on the east side wall. As they step inside they trip a small wire that causes a bell to jingle, and they prepare for the worst. Hound notices a serpentine looking creature laying in wait behind a crate and a jelly like ooze on the wall by a barrel. For a long while neither the party nor the creatures in the cave make a move, both waiting to see what the other does. One of the twins goes for a shot and I call for initiative.

The party successfully identifies the camouflaged creature as a grick, and it moves in to attack. The barbarian and paladin step forward into melee range while the others hang back, but they are not aware of the other gricks in the room that rush in to attack on their turn. The warlock panics and fireballs half of the cave while the others scramble against the Grick's tentacle + bite attacks. The gricks appear to shrug off the majority of damage dealt to them and press in, forcing the warlock into melee and swarming the barbarian while minimizing a lot of the twins ability to move and avoid attention, though their ability to halve damage they take for their reaction pays off in this fight. The party collectively manage to down one or two gricks before the oozes move, one on either side of the room. They brush over the gricks and move to attack the cluster of party members by the entrance, the lone paladin sitting low on HP deeper inside. The barbarian bears the brunt of the attacks and eventually he takes enough that even his rage cannot save him, and falls to the assault. The paladin heals himself up and charges back into the fray, and the warlock uses his knife for the first time ever to let the twins get in some sneak attacks.

Another pair of gricks fall, only one left along with the oozes now. They attack the twins and warlock but even though they land some solid hits the twins get to halve the damage and the warlock still has enough HP to see him through it. Now with the paladin flanking from behind the party cleans up the remainder, though one of the oozes split in response to being cut by a greatsword. I actually used an encounter planner for this fight, and i'd say it was a bit more exciting for everyone.

The party healed up the barbarian with a potion and had a short rest while checking out what was not destroyed by the fireball. Some coins and gems were all that was worth recovering, but more intriguing was a small path at the back of the cave hewn by humanoid hands.

The dwarf found the work to be a rough mine, and as they worked their way down the narrow, winding gap he successfully identified it was an iron vein. The party were also lucky enough to spot a gelatinous cube sitting in a bend before they bumbled into it as well.

The cube sat there passively, aware of food being present but not smart enough to realize that its food had noticed it. When the twins shot it it lurched towards them, engulfing the barbarian. On the party's turn they unloaded on the poor thing, dealing upwards of 100 damage altogether. The thing bubbled away as it died barbarian was cut free before he took any more damage from the corrosive ooze.

Just as they were catching their breath Hound heard the sound of stone moving from beyond the corner, and the paladin poked his head around to investigate while the twins grabbed themselves a sample of cube acid in the hopes they could use it to coat a weapon or some bolts in it. The paladin received the equivalent to an angry landslide to his face for his trouble as an earth elemental barreled into him. The party rushed to the corner to help him but the confined space kept them from attacking in melee, and the elemental simply stepped through the stone wall to appear behind them and crush them with his slam attacks. Caught unprepared for such a mobile bruiser the party retreated slightly into a wider section of the mine and the elemental chased after the last foe that hurt it, the warlock with his bolts of force. The warlock copped some solid damage as the elemental earthwalked around most of the party but the barbarian had a plan and knocked him prone with a shove, which forced him to engage more conventionally with those that would slow him from moving. His high AC, HP and resistance to damage made him a much tougher solo fight than other the party had faced and did some respectable damage before being hit by the paladin using a thundering smite, causing upwards of 60 damage. It crumbled into a loose pile of stone, dirt and precious metals that scored the party a bit more gold worth of profit.

In the final room of the mine the party found abandoned tools and a minecart that had been dissolved of their non-metal and non-stone parts, figuring the oozes had gotten to them after the mine was abandoned. The dwarf had a good look at the vein and gave a good chance that it could still be followed and mined with a bit of hard work.

The party wasted no time in leaving and heading back towards the fort. However after a day of travel it was the time of month for a full moon, and the barbarian was again haunted by the sounds of a wolf howling, closer and louder than ever. He asked the party for their opinions on the matter and none of them knew a thing (they ALL rolled below 10, the warlock twice!). His fears turned out to have good foundations though as Hound saw a ghostly figure appear in the sky strafing toward the Barbarian from hehind. It appeared to be the ghost of a werewolf-like creature, but missing its body below its torso. Nobody had any idea what this thing was as it attempted to claw the barbarian then flew back upwards to turn for another pass.

The party wasted no time readying weapons and spells as it returned for a new run, savaging the barbarian with his claws. Its flight took it beyond melee weapon and hand crossbow optimum range so the barbarian pulled out his heavy crossbow for some shots while the warlock attempted to blast it and sent his imp to harass it also. The thing totally ignored the imp and continued to focus on the barbarian until it took damage from the warlock and Hound, who had started to use holy water capsule bolts. Its strafing tactics was having a great benefit of being beyond melee and sneak attack range but the paladin had had enough. He prepared an action to attack it as it made a pass with the highest smite slot he could spare, and sure enough as the thing made another swipe at the barbarian the paladin who stood next to him landed a mighty swing that cut it in half at their feet, slowly dissipating until it left nothing but its forearms. The barbarian picked them up to inspect them but as soon as he did he felt the bear totem within him under great duress. He was forced to make a charisma check as the wolf spirit attempted to destroy or remove the bear, and he managed to throw off the assault. This left him with a pair of gauntlets that gave him a functional +2 to strength and allowed him 1d6 slashing unarmed attacks that counted as magic.

After that the night passed uneventfully, the barbarian only hearing a single distant and mournful howl.

The party returned to the fort and took the chance to rest up and plan out their next move. They were luckily interrupted by another envoy from Brithimlor, asking about bandits in the region and some supplies that haven't reached Brithimlor that should have. The party relayed information about what they had encountered a few weeks ago on the way to Essalon but besides that had no news, but they did have a mine that they were interested in either selling or renting out. The envoy had no authority to make such a decision but was happy to have the party accompany him on his return to Brithimlor to report to Mengaul, the town's financial leader.

One day out from town during the trip north the party again spotted the watcher, far in the distance observing them. Fox made a gamble and tried to approach, and it stood its ground. He got within shouting distance and the cowled humanoid spoke in stunted undercommon, which surprised him. He managed to get a little closer (about 120') and speak to it, though its conversation skills were quite lacking. He felt it staring into him, but managed to gather some useful information. Apparently the watcher worked for the same entity or entities as the twins, though Ix was himself not the master. The drow wanted to subdue the watcher but it made a retreat once they attacked, using a dimension door to clear the area and make his escape. As he fled the party saw the form beneath the heavy cloak:

But the party did not dwell on their loss, instead continuing on to Brithimlor. The enjoy told them they would have time before Mengaul would be available, probably sometime in the afternoon and so the party split for some individual activity.

The paladin immediately went carousing, running into a beautiful but strongwilled dragonborn lady that he had an encounter with the last time he was around town. Unfortunately he was far too drunk to remember last time so he suddenly had bigger concerns than he intially planned for.

Fox and the warlock went to the library, only to find that 90% of its contents had been methodically destroyed. Apparently two librarians disappeared immediately after the incident, which was about a month ago, and have not been seen since. The warlock then met the barbarian at the tavern to drown his sorrows and Fox disguised himself to gather some information around town, heading to the barracks after hearing a few things from the tavern.

Hound went underground to find some contacts and do some information hunting as well as purchasing.

Some of the party also put a bit of effort into identifying the watcher for what it really was, a Nothic. Nothics in this campaign are almost the same in flavor as described in the MM: magic-users corrupted by unfortunate exposure to things beyond their control or comprehension and warped into these creatures over time, drawn to the source of their corruption.

Through each of their various actions each party member found out individually that Mengaul had held a public speech just a day or two ago about local banditry and other lawlessness, and the locals were steering clear of people that might catch the attention of the town guard, for example the party.

By the time the chance to meet Mengaul arrived only the paladin and barbarian were both available and willing to attend, the others either indisposed or laying low. Mengaul greeted them warmly and they sat to discuss this mine business, and after much deliberation they opted to keep the mine themselves and organize equipment and manpower through Brithimlor, using the 'Run a business' downtime option to roll once per month after an initial 20gp investment for wages and basic tools and 10gp maintenance cost. Simple and dirty rules but they work in a pinch.

The party convened after the meeting and exchanged notes. The major tidbit of information was that Kley, the leader in charge of protection and armed forces in town, had over the last few days been very up in arms about banditry and other such crimes, acting a little out of the ordinary even for someone like him, as if pressured by someone or something else.

So the party decided to get some answers. They chose a good spot in town to lay a trap and Hound used his underground contacts to send word of their presence to Kley, who was out on the job somewhere around the markets. The party got themselves into ambush positions with the warlock acting as bait in a dead end street, the twins above him on rooftops, the barbarian hidden in a barrel and the paladin 'passed out drunk' in a haystack at a nearby stable.

Sure enough Kley showed up, outpacing the guards with him and roaring as he saw the warlock at the end of the street. The paladin stepped up as he passed by and spoke to the guards approaching briefly, his conviction and intimidation adding up to their doubts about Kley over recent days and convincing them to stay out of this.
However Kley had charged the warlock during this time, leaping above the boxes the warlock was sitting on and throwing his belt behind him, then attacking for ferocious damage. The warlock got off a fireball but aftetr that Kley's belt turned into a steel snake behind the warlock and also attacked, dropping him to 0 and constricting him.

The paladin held the guards back while the twins and barbarian moved to take down Kley, dealing significant damage. Hound attempted a charm but he passed the save, though he felt that Kley was already being influenced. Kley continued to wail away at his attackers and the serpent moved to assist, and what the party thought would be a straightforward takedown turned into a hairy battle. Hound's second charm attempt had a strange effect. Kley was already under mental influence, and a charisma contest between charmers meant that the prior effect was overridden. Kley however passed the save and ended up essentially uncharmed by anyone.

Free from charms but confused in his current situation, Kley attempted to commit suicide by throwing his sword into the ground and leaping upon it from the crate he was standing on while the serpent went uncontrolled and attacked everybody around it. Fox and the barbarian both made dex throws to push the blade out of the way and push kley away from it and he was subdued in short order. The serpent took another round or two but eventually it was reduced to 0 and returned to its belt form, which Fox claimed. The paladin grabbed the sword and healed the now stable warlock while the guards carefully bundled up Kley and took him to the barracks infirmary, followed by the party. Everybody also dinged to 6!

For those interested in the magic items recovered this session:

Wondrous Item, Rare (Requires attunement)

Hollowed forearms and paws of a spirit wolf, these gauntlets provide a +2 to its wearer's strength (above and beyond the normal cap of 20) and can be used when making unarmed attacks to deal 1d6 slashing damage that counts as magic for the purposes of overcoming resistance to nonmagical weapons.

Greatsword, Rare (Requires attunement)

This large curved blade is superbly weighted for its size, and gleams with an inner light. Undoubtedly the work of a master of his craft, you can feel this sword thirsting for the thrill of combat.

Havoc is a +0 Greatsword that can score a critical hit on a roll of 19. While being wielded in combat its user cannot be disarmed of Havoc, and if destroyed it reforms from the largest of its pieces in 24 hours time. Upon command (or if it wishes), Havoc can also shed red light with the brightness of a torch.

Havoc is also semi-intelligent. It revels in heated combat and savors every moment it is embedded in an opponent. It shuns cowardice and holds a particular hatred for reeds and wicker cord which sometimes extends to rope.

The Steel Serpent
Medium Construct, Neutral
Armor Class 16 (Natural Armor)
Hit Points 30
Speed 30'

Skills: Perception +2, Stealth +8
Senses: Darkvision 60', Passive Perception 12
Damage Resistances: Cold, Fire, Psychic, B/P/S from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities: Poison, Lightning
Condition Immunitites: Charmed, Diseased, Exhaustion, Frightened, Paralysed, Poisoned

Activation: Lukir can be activated as an action by its wearer using its name as the command word. It takes a space adjacent to its wearer and acts immediately. Lukir can be issued new directions with a bonus action on subsequent rounds and acts on its wearer's initiative.
Once activated, Lukir returns to belt form after 1 hour or if reduced to 0 HP, or using a bonus action from the wielder. Once returned to belt form, Lukir cannot be activated again for 24 hours.

Sapience: Lukir is a semi-intelligent magic item. It has its own personality and its power reflects that of its owner, as well as its accordance with them.

Multiattack: The Serpent makes two attacks, one bite and one tail
Bite: Melee Natural Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5', one target.
Hit: 12 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage plus DC 12 Constitution saving throw or take 4 (1d6) poison damage
Tail: Melee Natural Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5', one target.
Hit: 12 (2d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage plus DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or be grappled by the serpent.

And thats where we ended. This session was a shorter one due to Hound's player going on a 7 week holiday soon so the twins might take a back seat and Fox's player will be back with a new character while he's away, which also means a new venue for us. I've been informed it will probably be a Dwarven Cleric of Moradin.

The barbarian will also be taking a homebrewed level 6 totem: the Boar totem. This will give him the ability to use scent and smell as part of perception checks (at advantage where appropriate) and grant advantage on rolls to avoid being knocked prone or forcibly moved.

2015-04-12, 09:02 PM
Incidentally, that's an amazing-looking site. The "bin.sh" part of the URL is unfamiliar to me; how well can you guarantee its security? (Not much of a computer guy, in case you couldn't tell.)

2015-04-12, 09:13 PM
You mean Donjon? I've been using it for a while now, I can only report that nothing nasty has come of me using it.
It's got some fantastic resources, a big hats off to its owner.

Don't quote me, but I believe .bin is a file type (short for binary) and .sh is a linux thing.

2015-05-04, 10:54 PM
Session the 6th

The twins have temporarily retired until the return of our group member on holiday, and so the player of Fox will be joining us just after half way through with a dwarven cleric. My brother was also present this session as his sport was washed out for the day, he was the guardsman ranger that accompanied the party into the Brithimlor underdungeon.

We return right where we were, staring at Kley as he stirs in the barracks. The twins have slinked off to return to the fort so the warlock, paladin and barbarian quiz Kley as soon as he’s lucid. He doesn’t know much, but what he can tell them is:
- The last thing he remembers was heading into the underlevels of Brithimlor. A guard present informs the party that that was months ago
- Kley doesn’t remember having the belt nor the sword prior to that trip, which his companions Mengaul and R’Hissen accompanied him on but were separated for some sections
- There is a standing reward for threats and space cleared out in the underlevels, both as a sort of bounty for keeping the town above safe and payment for land made available for expansion
Armed with these tidbits the party huddles and discusses the idea of a dungeon crawl. They agree and drag along one of the more competent looking guards that went on the last trip down there, requesting a few others aid the ones on standard watch duty in case anything comes back up.

As they press down into sublevel 2 (the first being a portion of Brithimlor), the air is still and reeks of decay. The lighting is poor but fortunately all present had darkvision and although greyscale, provided a means of seeing without using lights that could draw attention. Throughout the dungeon mushroom and fungi grew, some of them apparently the juvenile form of mycanoids.
The first chamber of note they pass through was riddled with cobwebs and cocoons, all of which were open but not all were empty. As they cleared a way through a half dozen carrion crawlers slithered out and attacked, fresh food having presented itself. Their attacks caused little damage but the poison from their tentacles proved very debilitating when their attacks were spread out over multiple party members.
But the poison aside the crawlers were no serious threat, and the party cleaned them up within a few rounds. The warlock sent his imp looking around invisibly while they cleaned up the cobwebs and encountered a new entity on his telepathic link, not so much communicating with words and concepts than images and instincts. The party decided to take a breather and held the doors while they had a break, then pressed forward. They ran headlong into the Otyugh wandering the corridors and the paladin copped a nasty bite, although he was luckily immune to the disease of the disgusting, tentacled beast. Also luckily its tentacles missed their targets and the party returned fire with just over 90 damage in one round with combined greataxe, greatsword, eldritch blast and longbow hits. The party cheered and wasted no time pressing on, Imp first as a scout.
The imp was subsequently pestered by jeers, slaps and pinches so he retreated and pouted in the warlocks pack, not at all amused at his role in the group. The party had a look around and saw nothing but a murky mist on the ceiling, and the warlock picked up on some arcane words used in summoning. When they got into the middle of the chamber, huddled around the paladin for the benefits of his 10’ aura of protection a swarm of mephits made their move, each breathing their sprays of steam, ash and mud onto the party. One cast their sleep spell and got only the Imp, but thanks to said aura of protection the party shrugged off the vast majority of the breath attacks. The mephits closed to claw range and got beat off one by one, the gathering puffs of smoke and mud as each one exploded making a bigger and bigger mess of the battle grid. After three waves of mephit attacks and the paladin being whittled down to 0 the party managed to finally beat off the last of them, getting a potion to the paladin just in time. They then retreated down a corridor, closed the rotten door behind them and collapsed for a sleep, relying on the Warlock’s Imp and barbarian’s boar to alert them of any danger while they rested.
The Imp did indeed see something, and dutifully awoke the Warlock (only because he rolled high enough to notice the Imp deliberately being as quiet as possible). He saw a mycanoid standing amongst the party, is alien face impassively observing. It responded to the warlocks greeting by touching his face, apparently unable to communicate by verbal means. First contact having been established, the fungus left leaving nothing but an interesting story for the warlock to tell and a smell resembling lavender from its spore pods.
Now fully rested, the party continued onwards. In a chamber just beyond the mephit room the warlock found a hidden cache behind a loose section of wall containing a bundle of gold and an elemental gem, undoubtedly the reason the mephits were around. Fascinated, the warlock asked if he could unlock its secrets instead of using it like ‘any old rock that summons a water elemental’. I told him that if he were to study it (most likely destroying it in the process via experimentation) he would be able to add the Conjure Minor Elemental spell as a spell known when he reaches level 7, which would also require some time spent to perform the work.
And so the party moved on, encouraged by the promise of more wealth to be found. They came across a collection of connected rooms characterized by a klacking sound ringing through them with no discernable pattern, the first of which they looked into was filled with what looked like brood sacs, and a horrible smell of stale blood. They peeked into two additional rooms and found in one a swarm of stirges and in the other a half dozen skeletons milling around. Initiative was not in their favor, and the warlock barely managed to get off a fireball before he was sucked dry by the flying terrors, frying himself to 0 in the process. The ruckus roused the skeletons who approached a doorway to meet the paladin and barbarian waiting for them with weapons ready, their bones flying back into the room from which they came. As they battled the guardsman ran to administer a potion to the warlock, and the two of them joined the fray to see the bones of the skeletons rolling away to the far side of the chamber they originated from, just outside of their darkvision range.
The clamor of skeletons being demolished also attracted the creators of the klacking noise, a pair of hook horrors. They entered the skeleton chamber from the far side also, just as the party finished with their current opponents and approached to get a good look at where these bones were rolling off to, a dense collection of them forming not far from the hook horrors.
The bone mass moved moved towards the party, collecting and ignoring opportunity attacks from the hook horrors to charge into the barbarian with full force. The hook horrors moved and made a token attack at the bone mass before spotting much tastier prey and also lunging towards the party. The paladin focused his smites on the skeletal mass, including a thundering smite that luckily only deafened the warlock in the confined space, while the rest of the party focused on one of the hook horrors. Their claws dealt some serious damage to the paladin and barbarian but apart from the skeletal mass recollecting any bones scattered by the hits it took in order to reconstitute itself the combat ended in the party’s favor with little incident, low HPs aside.
The mass of skeletons left behind a few more pouches of coins and an intact suit of armor. The warlock tried it on and concluded that its light chain shirt over a leather underlay provided the benefits equal to a suit of +1 studded leather armor and also fortified his mind against psychic damage. It made contact with him via his psychic connection with his familiar and made an impression on him with its insatiable curiosity linked with its lack of all senses except touch. He named it George.
That was sublevel 2 cleared, and we stopped for lunch.

Sublevel 3 is noticeably different. Its halls are not well cut and square, more roughly hewn and winding. It is colder and more damp, and though the air smells just as fetid it seems more from stagnant water than scavengers and their meals. Rotten wooden doors and furniture is far scarcer, though the fungi and sounds of rats and insects scuttling around are just as prevalent.
The first chamber after the descent is round with a closed portcullis on the far side and an idle automaton sitting complacently within. As soon as the paladin and barbarian step into the room the guardian roars to life and the room is filled with dark, rubbery tendrils slapping around everything they can reach. The ranger and warlock stay just outside of their range at the entrance to the chamber spitting ranged attacks at the construct while the bruisers attempt to close through the difficult terrain, dealing ineffectual damage on their first turn. The guardian responds with a cluster of magic missiles that slam into the warlock and two pummeling strikes into the tanks in front of it, dealing out respectable damage. Meanwhile a ragged dwarf was running for his gear’s life from a rust monster clumsily pursuing a snack, making an unfortunate wrong turn and ending up between an iron portcullis and the hungry beast.
The party continued to wail on the golem, dealing out upwards of 90 damage in a focused assault and causing it to change tact, moving into the center of the chamber and unleashing a Thunderwave spell, nearly nocking the warlock to 0. The rust monster missed the cleric’s chain armor and he responded with a Spirit Guardians spell, causing enough damage to force a retreat but dying to a hammer blow as it ran.
The party finished off the guardian with another round of solid hits and the tendrils faded, leaving the two surviving sides eyeing each other off from opposite sides of the portcullis.
A short discussion revealed that the dwarf was a cleric of moradin, choosing to have a look under brithimlor for the chance to be alone as well as a possible chance to earn and learn while he was here. He was happy to help guide the party around the level he was familiar with and join them as they went deeper.
The cleric outlined a few threats on the sublevel, namely monsters and traps, and the party decided to deal with each one individually. The first on the list was a mimic that changed locations every few weeks and was currently masquerading as a door, which was no trouble for the party having been forewarned. The second was a basilisk roaming the chambers and was no issue from beyond the effective range of its gaze, and the next was a gorgon that held the same pattern, although there was a scare when it managed to charge close enough and the cleric failed his first save against its petrifying breath.
After that the group decided against hunting down the pack of gricks roaming the halls and went straight down, hoping that sublevel 4 would be the best and last.

Sublevel 4 could not accurately be described as a true layer of the complex. It was actually a huge natural cavern that was almost entirely flooded, its rounded shape providing a sense of space and grandeur not encountered thus far.
The party approached the waterline from their descending corridor to find it surprisingly deep, more than 30’ or 40’ in some places. As some waded from one spot of dry land to another I gathered initiatives, and a watcher emerged from the water and observed them from the far side of the chamber. A hag also emerged, cackling as a voice rang out in each of the character’s heads in telepathic speech. Deep and ancient, the voice greeted them to his home and inquired as to the reason of their presence, to which none wished to adequately respond. It seemed amused, and set his minions against them which began the combat rounds.

I ran this combat in the traditional way, one score at a time, because of the number of different creatures involved. The Nothic and Hag died before they got the chance to do anything of note, but a water elemental arose from the depths and threw the barbarian into the water. The water also began to churn and threatened to pull the warlock, ranger and cleric in but only succeeded against the Paladin. In the water the Paladin and Barbarian were attacked by two Chuul and two Merrow, attempting to grapple and drown them. The melees managed to drag themselves ashore and focus on the elemental as the chuul clambered up behind them and attacked, reducing the Paladin to 0 just after the elemental. The psychic voice spoke to the characters individually, attempting to sway them with promises of the things they desired most deeply and forcing a few Wisdom saves that luckily everybody passed. The paladin also benefitted from visuals in a pseudo-vision since he was unconscious during the process, seeing the creature for the slimy tentacled monstrosity it was as well as the floating head of Ix brought in for the conversation.
The Chuul dealt out ferocious damage with some lucky crits but the merrow stayed in the water, meaning the party had the advantage of focus fire and numbers back on their side as long as they stayed out of the water, which they took pains to do. Once they gritted their way through the thick carapaces of the chuul and managed to avoid their grappling claws long enough to defeat them and gather themselves enough to attempt to goad the speaker out into the open. Its defenders almost depleted, it lurched up out of the deeper parts of the water onto the stone on the far side of the cavern, gesturing with its tentacles in what could be interpreted as either a wave or a middle finger, then dove back down.


The cleric was incensed, diving in and pursuing until he spotted an underwater tunnel it had undoubtedly swum down and opted to return to the surface and try again later with a Water Breathing prepared. Meanwhile the guard and paladin were taking a breather before turning to make the trip back up to the surface and the barbarian and Warlock were discussing methods of systematically searching the flooded chamber for information and loot. A few good perception, athletics and arcana rolls later they had found themselves a nice pile of jewelry and other valuables, a Pearl of Power and a Gem of Brightness. They divided up their prizes somewhat equally (Pearl to cleric, Gem to Barbarian) and hurried to catch up with the others.

The paladin was hailed as a hero upon reaching Brithimlor, oddly enough. He was awarded a sum of gold for clearing out the sublevel’s depths and ensuring the safety of the people. Setting aside some for his companions when they returned, he then went to the barracks to check on Kley and make a case for becoming the new captain of the guard. He made the final shortlist of nominees but narrowly missed out at the final decision.
The others got back to the surface and were also hailed as celebrities, collecting their share of the reward from the paladin then going shopping. The Cleric went to resupply then carouse, the barbarian and warlock searched for someone in town adept with magic items, the guard took his leave to get some R&R and the Paladin left town for the fort. A suitable magic craftsman was located (in fact the only one in town) and the warlock gifted him his immovable rod in return for some store credit to be cashed in at a later date while the barbarian paid a hefty sum to try and get the Gem of Brightness incorporated into his warhammer. While they waited they spent a few days helping out at the library, doing a little bit to fix the place up while the cleric looked around for news on his brother (coincidentally, one of the dwarves at the fort that was convinced to go help out at Essalon. He was the one killed by bandits). After the barbarian received his newly enhanced Warhammer and the Warlock was done dismantling the Elemental gem they took off south to catch up to the paladin again.
The paladin was the first to get back to the fort and get a report of activity in their absence. A bandit & mercenary raid hit the fort and its newly built surrounding structures and led to a few lizardfolk and cultist casualties but nothing critical thanks to the Twins being present to help. Also word from Essalon has ceased flowing, it seems that something has silenced the town although the structures still stand.
Noting the news the Paladin also reconvened with Ninlis, who had arrived and was awaiting him in a lizardfolk hut she had claimed as her own. She brought with her a mercenary with a teardrop tattoo and a confusing story. Although the mark was clearly fresh he was under the impression that he had it since he was a child, and that he’s always been told that he can trust others that have it. He couldn’t recall if anybody else in his family had the mark, although his father is a retired farmer and living just outside of Brithimlor.

At the end of today most characters walked away with a new magic item and/or at least a couple hundred to a couple grand gp profit. The Barbarian's hammer now has the ability to once per day attempt to blind an enemy he hits for a minute (DC 14 Con save negates) thanks to the Gem of Brightness embedded in it.

Other things of note:
My players should be reading this and tell me what I missed, so that’s what will be going in here.

2015-05-05, 05:18 AM
you missed the gambling aka. battle royale.:smallsmile:

2015-05-05, 09:01 AM
Ah yes! While waiting for the magic man to do his thing with the warhammer, the barbarian went for a rumble at the local fistfighting club accompannied by the cleric. The two dwarves put their heads together amd came up with a plan. The barbarian would enter in the next fight alongside another random newcomer, the others being two regulars and two veterans. The winner would fight the champ.

But the cleric would use bless as a means to cheat, as well as betting on the barbarian to win to grab themselves a big payout.

The rules of the fight were simplee: each contestant rolled five attack rolls and added them for a final score, highest wins. Thanks to bless the barbarian won by a hefty 20 or so points, and the pair opted to double or nothing their bet against the current champ.

Unfortunately the champs position was well earned, and despite the bless and an enhance ability (str) thrown in for good measure the champ won by a narrow 4 points, throwing the gathered spectators into a frenzy at the bout. The dwarves left a little hgold poorer but much more renowned in the ring. They vowed to return and get that title and belt some day.