1. - Top - End - #82
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Feb 2008

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

    (EDIT: The TLB, I like your ideas, still thinking of exactly how to implement)

    We had a GREAT session tonight, really fun, really engaging. I wished to try for the episodical session structure, leading towards a climax, but the party took things in a totally unexpected manner, and despite me trying to adjust, my intention didn't work. Damned players! Despite that, we had a hoot of a time, and I hope you'll have fun reading this as well!

    This was a 9 hour session (We decided to play longer due to the long delay), So I may seperate this into 3 parts, we'll see how it goes.

    Session 11, Part 1- Vescavor remains, A dispute at the approach

    First thing first- after the battle in the magical trap, the party armies and leaders got quite a bit of Mass Combat experience, and got to improve some things:
    - Sena chose the defensive tactics boon, upping his mongrelfolk defenses
    - Andera learned flexible tactics.
    - Mad dog trained some sniper support
    - Julian trained her forces as sharpshooters.

    The party was feeling as if they were gaining experience, becoming more seasoned. Time to move on.

    Worldwound woes
    As they moved on they faced great oppressive heat (the random "events table" I mentioned). This affected the Lions of Sarkori, The Bartlet hounds and The Silver Banner. The effect was decreasing provisions and hit point by 2, and moral by 1. This posed two problems: The provisions were becoming problematic. The armies started with provisions enough for two weeks. They were coming on the end of the first week, abd they didn't have enough to finish up the second. They hoped to raid some in the Drezen surroundings.

    Secondly, more importantly, The Bartlet were 2 hit points down. To most armies it didn't matter much, but the mounted halflings are a fragile troop, with 10 hit points total! This started a discussion about wounds, which led to a bit of a surprise where we found most units were already wounded, mostly the Queen's knights, and the tieflings. The silver banner and lions were also a bit wounded but not much. The Sarenrae healers and Sean's channel energy helped somewhat, but left some to be desired. "We're not exactly coming to Drezen top shape, are we?"

    Spoiler: events in the Worldwound
    The adventure doesn't have anything like that. The second module says the third does, but the third just has a table of wondering monsters, so I made something up! The idea was that there will be events to affect moral, provisions, hit points, and such- things that grate on an army, and wear it down slowly. Enough to feel that the Worldwound is an inhospitable place, and that it takes it's toll. It worked quite nicely.

    Basically the party rolls 1d6 3 tiems for an event (I was a bit lazy here), and the leading survival expert (Mad dog) throws against a certain DC and can help circumvent or mitigate the event. Also, in most cases, being down the canyon helps.

    The table was initially planned if the party will try to reach through the plateau (West to the first mass battle. Villi... something ford.) but it had been slightly adjusted here.

    Vescavor lair, or "The furnace!"
    The party progressed, still 4 of their forces above the canyon, and 3 inside of it. Anevia came back with strange news- there was a narrowing of the canyon, which seemed lined with some ores. There were many gaping holes in the ground there, about 10 ft diameter each, about 20 of these holes. In a flash of an idea, Nurah calls this "The Furnace"- a were molten ores slip from the abyss to this place, and cool down. Sometime the demons come mining different metals here. (Which also explains the Vescavors)

    The place is eerily quite, like nothing lives there. Now, those who've read the module will go: "There are supposed to be huge swarms there!" Bear with me, I'll explain a bit later.

    The party curses. They decide to let Sena scout ahead with the mongrelfolk. They approach above the canyon, above the holes. Sena's keen percpetion hears some sort of a buzzing, but faint. he descnds, making some noise as he nears the holes. The vescavor swarms from inside rise up to meet him, and he uses mythic power to meld into stone. He notice the entire area covered with a slight goo with bluish freckles inside (Vescavor poo! ) but first eh tries to resist the confusing jabber of the swarms. He easily makes it (Will 13?! Really?!)and the swarm doesn't notices the mognrelfolk, and returns to their caves. (2 swarms total). With some time left to his spell, he goes to explore the twisting caves, the humming echoes through the tunnels.

    He even find remains of a bigger creature, as big as an ogre, which left claw marks like a large insecticide."The Queen!" and in typical gaming fashion- "We need to findher and kill her, and dissipate the swarm!" Who watched enoguh alien movies, who!? Sena returns to this troops, and they return to the main force.

    Aravesh recognize the creatures and their ability to devour objects, confuse and traumatize. He assumes that this has been some sort of a hive, or breeding grounds, but knows not what have made it move. Oh, and as a tiny swarm, they are immune o weapon damage.

    Bug hunting!
    The party starts to think what to do. One idea they have is to use their engineer core to build some sort of a cover, keep the swarms down with wall wind (Mythic power), till they cover them up, and then pass quickly. But the crisscrossing tunnels kind of nullify that... After this idea and that they decide to go and kill the swarms, bringing Arvash with them since he got one more fireball (But he also gets full XP! )

    They try to sneak, but Sena's full plate makes enough of noise, and they welcome the rising swarm. Julain unleashes a prepared "Diamond Spray" (Cool spell to bypass demon's resistances) which I accept as effective damage since it fills an area, Aravash follows with a fireball, but they have resistance. Regardless- nicely wounded. Sena tries to stop the jabber with an area silence. "Hey, turn the humming off! Silence!"

    The swarms approach and cover all except for Andera (Who took time to hid a bit away. "I just watch and take XP!") All except Julian manages to move away, so the swarm doesn't devour their belongings. Julian, lacking anything big, has her wand of hold person nearly destroyed (Broken, we decided it has some misspell chance). Mad dog gets confused by the jabber (Ok, so 13 IS worth something ) and... hits himself!

    Sena has a "dope!" moment as he remembers his signature abilty, comes close, and channel energy (evil outsider) and decimates the swarm.

    We done here, right? "Hey Mad dog, roll another will save" (Rolls and fails)

    Spoiler: What did I do with the Vescavor swarms?
    I decided to "relocate" them. They are now in Drezen, and will act as another "retaliation" other than Soltengrebbe. I wanted to pose them as a threat to the army, and give them a more meaningful, more stressful, more interesting place other than a "monster on the way to destination". The queen, and her massive swarm, will appear later...

    Why did I leave these two swarms? Well, as a build up mostly, (Now they know there will be such a threat, and it will be more exciting!) but also as a fun "starter battle to the session. We are coming upon Drezen itself, which is full of mass combat, I wanted to give the party a bit more "party" time.

    Here we go again! or "You don't want to get me angry!"
    As Mad dog failed his save, he once more underwent the transformation of becoming a sort of a half demon- bigger strength, spikes, bloodlust and wanting to kill his friends, the works! Only this time the DCs were higher... Andera tries to trip him but fails, and mad Dog charges and the surprised Julian, and knocks her down to 1 hp! (The player used rage and all). Julian, stunned, moved back and used her half broken wand which held Mad dog thankfully (Not such a high will save.

    (Party in joke: "Beauty & the Beast!!)

    Sena heals Julian, while Andera grabs his sword. Sena tries to cast protection fro mevil (As they suspected would work) but it fails. They then quickly manage to subdue him since he can't break the enchantment, until he makes his save to control the rage and returns to himself.

    Immediately, Mad dog apologizes to Julian, offering to be her bodyguard and protect her from now on. "From whom exactly?!" She exclaims. Sena's players (Always looking to spice things up) raises up an important question "Wait, you also went through something, no? How do we know you won't try to kill us as well!"

    "Oh it's completely different! I don't have a blood lust, I just have many voices in my head trying to confuse me!" Andera becomes alarmed "Many voices in your head? Can they learn about us?" (Interesting idea there ) Julian, with her usual talent, deflect the issue back to Mad dog. "Aravash, do you understand this?" The wizard is unsure. "We need to explore it. I'd say it's some sort of a curse, but a very powerful one, or some sort of a transformation trigger. It seems that the unbalancing of his mind by this Vescavors managed to trigger this."

    With no real answer at the moment, they decide to head back, Deeply frustrated that they found no real solution to the problem. Sena speaks one more thing to Aravash. "What went here, stays here, ok?" Aravash agrees, but is obviously weary of Mad dog.

    Spoiler: Aravash new role
    With Harry gone, and Julian focused nearly entirely on the Arcane, I just realized that Aravash can assume the role of "NPC sage" for the party. I originally assumed that Harry and perhaps Sena will conduct some research to the matter, but now it seems that Aravash for a dispenser of some plot or the like. Could work quite well really!

    He is also the most likely NPC to follow them in missions. I need to restat him for this adventure.

    7th day of travel, and trouble brewing at camp!
    The party manages to go past the vescavor breeding ground and make camp further along. Tomorrow they are supposed to reach Drezen at mid day. But the party decides to move only half the distance tomorrow, and let their army rest (heal up a bit) They wish to come to Drezen at full strength. They are worried about their provisions, but decide to risk it.

    The days travel bring them to hauntign grounds (random event), where tormented spirits wail and moan, affecting the moral of about half the armies. (-1) they bypass another heat wave, and finally rest in the canyon, near the ramp that will lead them into Drezen surroundings themselves.

    They start making camp, and send Anevia with a few mongrelfolk,and a few bartlets to scout the grounds, a mission that will take all night. (I had the possibility of roleplaying a scouting mission, but the party decided to skip it, and use the basic info). But not all was well.... They could hear some commotion. And they could see Arles Jhestander, The second in command for The Queen Knights, a respected soldier, veteran of many battles, also an ex paladin (Still good, but lost heart at one time) rises with his horse on a small uprising, and address the vast armies.

    Spoiler: Arles Jhestander
    Arles appears eariler in the module as a simple social challenge, speaking of dismay and despair. I wanted to make his appearance at a more opportune time, and nothing liek just before enterign Drezen! But his words are not fully his. He believes them so, but they come out of conversations, manipulations and even 1-2 suggestions by our dear friend- Nurah.

    "Look at us... Like sheeps to the slaughter! We are doomed! We are going to our end. I have stayed my words till now, out of respect to the Queen's wishes, respect to our leaders, praying for Iomedae's guidance, but I can hold my tongue no more! For if we I will not speak, I am as responsible. We are 700 only! 200 of which are tielflings! About to tackle the most fortified fortress build in the Worldwound! Led by cursed leaders, and an evil omen over our heads! We must head back, and do it now!"

    Mad dog to my surprise, tried to tackle him: How can a coward 9Speaking of his past and when he lost his paladin status) speak of turning back? How can one who lost his way, try to show us a new one? How can one who was punished for turning back, ask that of us now?"

    Arles answered "And how can one, with a demon inside him, can speak of fighting demons? One who's own troops fear to follow?"

    We decided Mad dog's attempt will count as "Adi another", (since it is easier), and he got a bonus due to tacking an "aspect" of Arles, but poor dice roles screwed that.

    Sena however, sought to be heard. He took off his helmet, and strode forth. "Well Arles, it is such an interesting time you have chosen to bring this up! We've been striding in the Abyss for several days now, and now, just before we finally come to do what we were sent for, you bring this up? You held your tongue due to... respect? We are not dictators, you could have spoke at any time! what is behind this?"

    "I have prayed, and sought guidance, and I have found it! Iomedae showed me the way! You are leading us into a trap, and your leadership is not worthy at all! One who had the demon in him, one who consorts with tieflings, one who consorts with the sons of the worldwound, and one who's lost more than I ever did, and is cursed till this day!"

    It was at this point that they rolled their diplomacy, adjusted according to the deals they made. Both were considered to hold a similar regard, though Sena a bit more. And Sena won this. Again, I ran this as a contest.

    Currently: Group/ Arles= 1/0

    But the party was worried. Arles seemed to be speaking the truth. They thought he was manipulated, perhaps through his prayers, and "Iomedae's guidance" (Close to the truth, Nurah helped to "interpret" her will...)

    But Sena was furious now. "You can say what you want about me, but the mongrelfolk have SAVED Kenabres, and you will not besmirch them or their contribution and loyalty! I hear only slogans, hollow words, Understand this- The First Ascendents are OUT of this bantering game!"

    Julian strode forth, and gave one hell of a speech! "Quuen's people, brothers, sisters... How many times have we heard the word "Impossible?" Not so many days ago it was siad that Kenabres was "Impossible to save.". And yet it is saved, and safe... because of us. Silver Banner. ("Mmmm? Aye?") how many times were you told the battle is unwinnable. ("HA! More times than you got years youngling! Why, I'll tell ya of...") Lions of Sarkoris- You have been driven away from your homes, and told not to fight, for the land is lost, that it is impossible... is that so? ("No! For Sarkoris! We shall restore you!") Queen's Knights, did the Queen ever sent you on a mission where there was no hope, on a futile mission? Do you wish to disappoint her now? ("For The Queen! For Galfrey!")

    and she went on! "Fear... I know fear. Arles knows fear as well. He was punished for fear (zing!) But I call for you- have courage again! Iomedae faced the impossible several times as a mortal, and accomplished it every time. (Here he started making accounts of such acts.) Arles, it is human nature to fear, it is a knight's nature to overcome. Become what you have always been, deep inside, and let us storm this fortress together!

    - Arles retorted with word more shaky It is said that you too have some influence in your mind, that you hear the words of demons. (Party perked up "How does he know that?!" Excorius told Nurah.) and all your words come from the words of tainted, cursed, warped and worse!

    We decided these will be 2 rolls. Julian had massive bonuses (+5 to one argument due to deal. 3 tiems +5 for the 3 armies who's aspects she tagged very, very nicely) Still, one was a lousy roll (we decided he misquoted some facts about Iomedae, and religion, verging on blasphemy), so one success, one failure.

    Currently: Group/ Arles= 2/1

    Arles, seeing he was losingthe argument, lashed out more: "Why should we trust them? These.. sweet talkers? We are so amazed by their power, but where did they get it?! They said they have met with the Worldwide Witch Areelu Vorlesh, and that they managed to SURVIVE"? She is said to be second only to Deskari itself? And yet they met her, and walked away? What did they sell for their lives? Their souls? Or maybe OUR souls? All of us, led to the slaughter, in the demons game- play with your prey, taunt it, torment it, and only then kill it! Raise their hopes, and crash them down! Do not be fooled!"

    Andera then strode and spoke a bit sarcastically. "I agree with Arles! There are demons in an unconquerable city, so lets turn tail, head back to the Queen, hide behind the broken Wardstone, and wait for the demons to come to us... Arles you say we are the work of demon's trickery? How do we know it is not you who is tricked, used? Ye,s we have met Vorlesh, and she tried deception with us, (And here he went to explain it all truthfully)..." Andera then turned to the entire army, shouting to be heard. "Don't you see? They are trying to make us work against each other! Turn on each other! Will Iomadae give her hand, her consent to this?"

    A good speech, and a good roll, and the party won! There were chorus of people suddenly trying to think of all these words, and of the bigger task ahead, and putting away their differences. Arles rode down slowly, Kamilo turned to speak with him. The party wished to do so as well, but Sena first wished to address the entire army as well. (Some of this speech may be a bit familar. )

    "Army of Kenabres! Tomorrow we march on Drezen! Let this be the glorious fight that it should be! I think I may say this- even if Mendev will stand for a thousand years, this may be our finest moment!" He let some cheers go up, but cut them quickly with a glare and clang on his armor. "But let me say one more thing- there is another crusade amongst us. We WILL NOT attack the weak amongst us! We WILL NOT prey on easy targets! If ANY of you have any problem with the mongrelfolk or with commander John, you have a problem with ME! They have proven themselves many time, and I will not stand and see their reputation be dragged in the dirt no more!"

    Sena, as can be imagined, was really fed up with this (As a character).

    Oddly enough, the party did not pursue to talk with Arles no more, and though they understood that SOMETHING was going up, they still suspected some sort of outside influence, or at the worst- Excorius.

    From the crowd, Nurah smiled, but inside she was thinking "Time to up the stakes"....
    This is so far for this update. The next one will include the stormy entrance into Drezen territory, a twist of plans, and... casualties!

    Hope you enjoy! I will try to update as soon as I can.

    +1 moral to all armies (Some needed it)
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2014-10-18 at 10:31 PM.

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