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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Session 1, part 1- When all hell brakes loose! (Literaly)

    The celebrations of Aramasse came close to the city of Kenabres, Mendev's border city, on the edge of the infernal lands known as the Worldwound. Lands of demons, corruption and hellish manifestations. Kenabres was protected by the mystical holy Wardstone, repelling all demons from the city.

    The PCs were each accepted to finally join and participate in the crusades, and as such were called to the Clydewell plaza for the midday celebrations. It was a day of glory, rejoicing, and purpose.

    Introductions at Clyrdewell Plaza
    We started with each player coming to their seats (conveniently quite close together, on the third row), to start some humble introductions. Andrew, paladin of Iomedae came and met an elderly woman with white silvery long hair, looking like some sort of a wealthy merchant. He exchanged pleasantries with her, learning that she was one of the supporters of the crusades, and liked to come and meet the new crusaders. "The crusades are... injured, we need new blood. It always warms my hearty to see the young ones with their fire joining the cause!"

    Next came Sena, nodding towards his cousin Andrew. He made some more conversation with the old lady, trying to ascertain her place in the nobility of the city, and discussing a bit of the "need to clear the blood, not just replenish it". Harry came close behind, but said little, acting all out of place, awkward and somewhat clumsy. John mad dog followed in, a big hulking man, with an air of "I don't give a sh*t about anything!", sat like a crouching lion. (His player was still uncertain of the situation, taking her time to get accustomed to it). Last came Andera, a bit of a peculiar sight here, with the lady's eyes immediately going to his sword, and welcoming him. He replied courtly, but otherwise kept his silence.

    They chatted a bit more, but the players were etching to get things going, and so we did.

    The Storm King cometh!
    Trumpets were heard, and silence came on the crowd. Holrun, leader of the city came to make his speech, but then suddenly a new sunrise was coming from behind him... from the west? He too looked surprised and managed to turn when the church suddenly erupted and collapsed on him, as the Kite, the fortress holding the Wardstone exploded and disappeared in a great fire!

    Moments later a fiery fiend appeared- the Balor known as The Storm King! The lady beside the characters suddenly roared in a voice not of a lady "Defenders of Kenabres, protect the city!" and lunged herself, shapeshifting in mid jump to Terendelev the silver dragoness, protector of Kenabres, and clashed with the fiend lord! H himself roared, and the fabric between planes weakened in many places over the plaza, bringing many demons of various kinds to fight the new crusaders!

    Now, the adventure starts below the city, AFTER these events, but for reason I'll explain later, I wanted to play this out. Time for initiative! The Battle was a bit complex- The PCs were in the third row, but already earthquakes rocked and shattered the place, making gaping maws in the arena, with some people falling into them. Although there were quite a few people fighting nearby, the battle focused on the demons attacking the party, and the "showed cut scene" of the battle between Terendelev and The Storm King.

    Accompanying music for the fight, United we stand, Divided we fall. (For this campaign I'll be using a lot of Two Steps from Hell tracks, preferably those great long repeating tracks)

    "Deskari! Let your swarm devour allll!" Out of the air appeared giant locusts, of an obvious fiendish origin, with sickening colors, multiple eyes with a slight wicked intelligence. They were as big as small dogs, but flying and full of malice. the creatures sought targets, and 3 of of these fell on the characters, one latching to Mad dog's back, starting to hum strangely. Seeing this Harry blasted the locust with a magic missile, surprising the big man who didn't expect this from the feeble bespectacled man. Andrew, calling on Iomedae rushed and killed another.

    But there were more! 2 dretches and a quasit also came in, and attacked the party. The others in the crowd were all fighting similar demons. Sena's keen senses however saved them from surprise, as to their astonishment two of the "crusaders" drew short swords and attacked them! "The demon lords will win this day! All shall fall to their glory!" (Two rogues).

    The party was surrounded from all sides, with each having enemies to beset upon them. Meanwhile Terendelev and the storm king clashed and fought, with fire, ice, talons and swords, as the ground of the plaza shook.

    The party also noticed some other individuals, a human woman archer who shot at the imposters, and tried to help Harry a bit, calling to others "Alert Arabeth! The city must not fall!" and a haughty looking tall elven male wizard, who sought to help Terendelev, trying to cast some spells to help her. (These are Anevia and Aravashnial, whom I'll call Aravash from now on. For those unfamiliar, these are two of the 3 PCs that will join the party a short while later). I forgot to portray Horus however. Oh well...

    As the party attack back they are somewhat thwarted by the DR of the quasit and dretches, but Mad dog splits one in half with a great critical. (The player was very happy, she wanted to kick ass!). Andrew however is beset by the rogues, who manage to flank and SA him, while Sena tries to deal with the baffling quasit, who can't get past his defenses.

    As Aravash takes a horrific fiery whiplash to the face, Andrew is brought down by a Dretch. The player is not happy. Harry manages to somehow tumble a bit back, and unleashes burning hands only to realize that... the locusts and the dretch all have fire resistance. It is then that he remembers that he should use his maximized knowledge skills...

    Alarmed, Sena moves towards Andrew and heals him, despite distractions. Mad dog comes to aid him flanking. So does Andera, who manages to SA a cultist and kill it. Andrew is back in the fight, but with a grinning Dretch in the face. He decides to call upon Iomedae, and uses his smite evil ability (On a Dretch?", "Hey, it's either that or I'm dead!") and manages to kill it with his sword and shield spikes.

    However ,things are still bad, as another Dretch fells Harry, and more and more people in the arena seem wounded or dead. More locusts appear, and one start harassing Andera. Sena curses, and uses a channel energy charge, restoring Harry enough, and even Anevia and Aravash a bit. (Aravash is down, shocked). Terendelvel looks badly hurt, and thoguh crusaders come to aid her, the Storm King lives up to his name and unleashes chain lightning, killing most immediately.

    We continue the battle for 1-2 rounds more, before two huge fiends climb the sides of the arena, and unleash a great earthquake that tears it apart. Just as it happens, Terendelev is sqewered by The Storm King's fiery sword, killing her. As she falls, the party sees her casting with her last breath one last spell- feather fall, protecting the party falling down to the bowels of Kenabres.

    The players were somewhat stressed. This was a big opener to the campaign, and they felt somewhat overwhelmed. But they did like it!

    DM notes- Battle at Clydewell Plaza
    In the adventure the party begins in a cavern deep below (the next part), and the DM tells them of what happened. They then go on journeying killing... maggots... cockroaches... flies and such. This felt wrong to me. This is an Epic campaign of a great fight against demons and it should start as such! So I scooped up the XP from encounters that seemed redundant to me, and used them for this one big massive encounter.

    Goals of this encounter:
    1. Open the Campaign with a bang!
    2. Give the initial shock, desperation and chaos feel of the invasion.
    3. Give the party an initial taste of demons and their abilities and such.
    4. Unfortunately, AP assumes some measure of railroad, so This encounter also included a sort of "cut scene" of the fight between Terendelev and the Storm King, and the final fall to the bowels of Kenabres. I don't like this much railroading, but the players agreed to this when we discussed the adventure. Had they found a way to avoid the arena and escape, we would have played so.
    5. Show a bit of the supporting NPCs.

    Some Design Notes
    The players seat are all in a row, the battle grid includes some big feasures. Going up a row requires jump DC 5, going down a row is free, and elevation bonus counts.
    As to enemies: I had two dretches, ,one imp, two rogue 1 cultists and 3 "soul eaters" attack them at first. The soul eater is actually a fiendish stirge that sucks 1 point of the highest mental ability when it attaches. I wanted some sort of a very low CR locust fiend creature, to symbolize Deskari's involvement somehow, which I felt was missing. Thankfully there are stirge swarms in the bestiary so it will be easy to upgrade!

    The party was to survive for 5-6 rounds (forgot exactly), where new soul eaters appear every 1d3 rounds, and one dretch can replace fallen ones.

    In the Bowles of Kenabres
    As per the adventure, the party "somehow" lost consciousness, and "somehow" the ceiling closed above them (Debris and such? I'm no engineering expert) They were in darkness, and their city was getting decimated above. But first things first. Sena cast light "Is everyone allright?" Andrew rose to his feet, and used detect evil to make sure no presence of demons was found.

    He didn't find any demons, but he did find quite a few bodies, and 3 live ones, other than the PCs. The party started getting up and gathering themselves. Sena immediately channeled more healing energy, bringing the burnt elf out of his stupor. "Where... where are we?! The Storm King! We must... My sight! What's happening?" It became apparent that the wizard was blinded, but more than just blinded- his face was heavily burnt, and his eyes were beyond repair.

    They were comnforted to see the archer there "We need to get to the surface, quick! Help me get u... .AYIE!" Apparently her leg were broken. "You need to get message to my wife, Arabeth of the Eagle Watch!" (The party: "Wife? Adventures are getting progressive") Apparently the archer's leg was broken in a few places.

    There was a third figure, surprisingly unhurt, an irritated and annoyed looking wealthy merchant. "Yes we must get up. The demons cannot be let to take the city. You lot seem capable enough, I'll pay you a handsome reward to get me back up!")

    And so were introduced Anevia (the broken legged archer), Aravash (The blind elf wizard) and Horus (The merchant). For thos unfamiliar with the adventure the 3 PCs can tag with the party, but they each bring their own problems to the journey, and are conflicted between them. If the party helps them they later prove beneficial, but other they all have... how shall we say... somewhat grating personalities to deal with. I love them since they present opportunities for roleplay along the way, in a long way fraught mostly with combat. So it's good.

    The party took an instant liking to Anevia. She winced in pain as Sena tried to check her (By the adventure curing enough can't mend her leg), and asked them to let go, but Andrew would have none of it. "We ALL come out of this!" He started to work on making a crutch for Anevia, when Horus, interrupted. "We are going to lug a blind man and a cripple through unknown tunnels, while the city burns above?" Mad dog's player agreed with him surprisingly (She's a new player, and as we've seen in a previous campaign quite cold in her calculations. It amuses us greatly. "He's right! Let's dump her!") But Andrew replied coldly. "As I said- we ALL come out of this!".

    The adventure calls for a DC 15 heal check, but none in the party could make that. So I said they did manage but caused her another 1d10 damage. Aravash started issuing commands. "Right! Paladin, you'll lead in the front! I need someone to act as my eyes. Under proper guidance and with caution we shall make these demons rue the day!" The party exchanged glances, but Harry went to support the blind wizard (Hoping to gain access to spells in the future?)

    The party search the cave a bit, there is only one way out, but they also find some silvery sheets. Aravash whispers with awe "Terendelev's scales?" and when Sena touches one he feels a special blessing in it- a refreshing power that can rejuvenate 10 people after a short rest as if they had slept an entire night. There are 5 such scales, and they are a 1-time magic item. The party takes these, and then seeks to head on. There are some more minor arguments exchanged, and Horus gets on Andrew's nerves. "You escort Anevia, I hold YOU responsible for her safety, if anything happens to her- you're to fault!" Horus hrummphs and seems to take affront, but does as requested.

    Hoping they won't be too late, the party heads into the darkness, to the bowels of Kenabres...

    DM notes- NPCs interaction
    The adventure gives award for using the diplomacy skill to make the other members friendly or even helpful. I find the skill a bit lacking, and as said in the house rules section in the first post, we use a different version of the skill, that doesn't change the attitude, but persuades someone to do something.

    I decided to let the party roleplay their interactions with the 3 NPCs, and just see where it will lead. They will gain their friendships if they do things to merit their friendship. Diplomacy can still be used to convince them to do stuff.

    DM notes- Terendelev's scales
    The road through the tunnels of Kenabres is long, way too long to do in one "Adventuring day". Which means the adventure assumes the party sleeps a few times at least in the caves. Only knowing the party- they will see the attack on the city so dire and ongoing, they would not stop unless they are broken from getting above.

    In the end of the adventure there is a dungeon crawl that also assumes several "attack and retreat", which make no sense whatsoever.

    I decided to give the party a tool to "keep on going" despite the urgency and superior challenges, but still a limited resource, which they must use wisely. I dislike the original Terendelev's scales in the adventure, which give some thematic powers usable some times a day for no reason. So I hope this is a good replacement.

    Ok, here we'll end this for now, I gotta run. I hope you enjoyed reading, and will probably update the second part of the session tomorrow- Road to Neathholme, and an interesting tale of potential redemption?
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2014-01-04 at 09:23 AM.

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