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

    Session 16, Part 2- Lord of the Swarms, Random Encounters, Demonic dealings

    First of all a small debt, which I couldn't put in the previous post due to space:

    DM design
    Spoiler: Jerribeth encounter
    Yes, she was supposed to be strong. She and Xanthir (Though I consider her more) are the half-of-the-campaign BBEGs. She needs to be a real threat. There were a few reasons for this encounter:
    - Build up for Jerribeth. They had enough through stories and such, the needed an in-person meeting.
    - Build up a spite. Nothing gets players more than n enemy who has gotten the best of them. Now they'll be looking for revenge.
    - Spice up things more in Drezen, though this has backfired a bit. (In the next part).

    Why didn't Jerribeth just kill the players? One, she was worried that if she stays there long enough the party might get enough help to hamper her. Secondly- She is somewhat sadistic, and likes to toy, and seek the city on the players. Last, but far from least- she has some plans for the players, for which she needs them motivated enough, but hopefully without the support of Drezen (Leading her to Arulashee, getting the Codex of Paradox, and oof course- Killin Xanthir Vang for her)

    I'd just say that I was also fully prepared that the party will find a way to beat her. They've continuously surprised me in the past. If that was to be, that was to be.

    "Stay down demon!" Arabeth told Mad dog. Her voice strained.
    Mad dog didn't like to be threatened. "Move your sword."
    Arabeth didn't waver "What the hell just happened? How do I know you won't turn on me demon?!"
    Mad dog spoke menacingly. "You don't, something really bad happened, but this won't help. MOVE your sword!"
    Andera was close by, and came quickly, trying to diffuse the situation (Sena was between the confused population, trying to mitigte the effects of Jerribeth's confusion spells): "Arabeth, C'mon! This is bad, but we know this was the demon's fault! It's not the first time demons tried to make us turn on each other!"
    Arabeht shot him a glance. "I know, but... I heard the demon's mind!" (Some other people nodded) "This was in you? All along? And you... didn't tell us?" (Broadcasting telepathically is a free action, no? )
    Mad dog tried to stand up, but Arabeht pushed her sword down on him "Stay down!"
    Mad dog was still quiet. "Look, I'm not going to attack you, but we need to deal with this!"
    Arabeth was unsure "How can I trust you now Mad Dog?"
    Not knowing quite how to deal with this, and seeing a lot of confused, frightened, but also angry town folk nearing in Mad dog bellowed "SEEENNNAA! GET IN HERE!"
    Andera still tried to convince her "How many people here killed others due to confusion spells... How many..."
    But Mad dog cut him off "SENA! JULIAN! Get here NOW!"

    Julian comes in first, Sena a bit later. The mood in Drezen is not a pleasant one. The party speaks quickly in whispers amongst themselves.
    MD: "We need to teleport away from here quickly!"
    J: "I agree!"
    But Andera and Sena wish to speak, to try and make the others understand. They call in to the leaders at least. (Arabeth relents with her sword).
    A: "You have seen what have happened. We will fight Jerribeth on her own grounds. You are now in charge on making things better, she will not come for you, she wants us- to posses us, to control us."
    S: (Turns to the general populace) "My people, sons and daughters of Kenabres. The enemy may shatter our bodies, but may not shatter our spirit. Even now they tried to cease it by force. We cannot imagine what awaits us, and so they cannot either. Jerribeth of the Jade indeed came here, but as you see she eventually ran away. (Shouts of "Ran away? She strolled away!") I ask of you now, to be strong, to be united, don't forget our achievements we made until today, and how the evening began! You need to understand that all of you fought bravely against superior powers before, and we were triumphant, and it may not seem that today we had the upper hand, this is only a set back." (This final comment angered the crowds, were some people still hugged their dead fellows "A SET BACK? You call this a set back?")
    Julian spoke more to the point: "You have not come here to fight, to die, to fall to the demons, we were surprised, Jerribeth tricked us, sent us against another. And yes, today we have lost. There is only one way to respond. We will kill Jerribeth of the Jade, and bring back her body. We will go now, to ensure your safety. We return with her head to regain your trust." She then turned to the party grimly "Lets go demon hunting!" With an empathic nod from Mad dog, the party then teleported.

    Sena's speech did not go well, but Julian's speech has (With the help of Andera) and they JUST BARELY managed to pass the DC to calm things down partially in town.

    DM Design- After math of Jerribeth
    The party chose to Teleport away, but they didn't quite have to, as they have succeeded in their diplomacy, the crowd would have been placated well enough to allow things to continue, if more somber. And then they would have to deal with explaining Mad dog and Julian's condition to the rest.

    I think it's this latter part that drove them away (Combined with the belief that Jerribeth will focus on them, so if they leave the town, they reduce trouble to it considerably). Again, I should have expected it. Mad dog's player has faced a similar situation twice before, and at both times chose to utterly distance himself from the population. The first in another campaign (Te FATE core post apocalyptic campaign. In my log if interested), and more recently, while they waited in Drezen.

    Sena's player really wanted to stay and try to work out things in Drezen, but he was outvoted. The party has exiled itself...

    Strategizing and plans
    The party teleported to the hex west of the cloud in the forest they've seen (In the module, where the Wintersun palace is. They rely on the clue from Quendys about distorted forest). Julian created a secure shelter, and they got inside to talk.
    J: I'm as dumbfounded as you are about this... I just... cared for myself, for my profit, and how to screw all else. I wasn't myself... I think"
    A: "You disappeared. where did you go?"
    J:"I... I sought to steal the sword of Valor. Use my magic to move it, then teleport to the demons, as they would surely offer a great price. Only it wasn't a suggestion, a compulsion, it was... me..."
    S: (Rubbing his temples) "So you tried to take the sword of Valor, mad dog was killing people, and Jerribeth didn't even much glance at the rest of us, we barely scratched her!"
    J: "If we can't stop this, I will leave you. I endanger you more even than Mad dog! Mad dog killed lots of people, but had I stolen the sword of valor, I would have doomed Drezen!"
    S: "I... I need to think." And with that he left outside, to meditate. The rest turned to sleep.

    A few moments later however Julian received a sending from Brian. "Don't know what happened. I am still an ally. Send for me for a secure place, if you need a place in town." Sena also received a Sending fro ma surprising source- Horus! (Good UMD) "You don't like me, but You are our best hope. If you need to resupply, send me where and when." This quite surprised Sena, but he continued his meditation, with an emphasis on "Jerribeth of the Jade".

    2nd dream from Arulashee
    In his dreams, Andera met Arulshee again. This time near the cliffs where she saved him as a child. "I remember you. We have met before… I saw you, foolishly inside the Worldwound. You were courageous, adventurous, where I was trying to be cautious, hiding, biding my time, learning. You acted, and from that I learned, and became courageous as well. For you I have exposed myself to the demons, For you I have made my first step on the difficult path. I am glad to see it was worth it." (She smiled softly). "You have grown much Andera. A man who will stand for what he believes in. What do you believe in Numerian man?"
    This time Andera did answer: "For now I believe only in my own intuitions, everything around me is changing all the time. I know that we have to stop this evil, and I think we can do it. Where are you now?"
    Arulashee inquired further, not yet ready to reveal her position: "And what do you call, consider... Evil, what must you destroy?"
    Andera answered resolutely. "What we have seen tonight. Jerribeth". Arulashee backed away in pain.
    "Yes, I know of your connection."
    "So you know she is my sister?"
    Andera pushed on. "For all my life I was looking for you, I was trying to find a way to make us equal, to repay the debt. We gave each other a chance. I now need your favor again. I cannot fight Jerribeth alone."
    Arulshee backed away, as if taken back by the idea "I... I'm not sure I can fight her, she is still to strong, and I'm not fully..."
    "We CANNOT fight her! She can control two of my companions!"
    Arulashee seemed confused. "Maybe, maybe you can find me and..." But then there were sinister runes in a circle appearing round them, and the dream broke.

    Day 34- The Lord of the Swarms
    Waking, the party made their way into the woods to the east, into the cloud. The "cloud" turned out to be swarms of vermin of various types. They made their way into the wood, always to where the swarms were thicker. Sena used a "Repel vermin" spell (Using mythic power) which did good in protecting them. till they reached a small canyon, a sort of a rupture in the ground, from which the swarms erupted. (In this location they had to roll against swarm distraction as long as they weren't in Sena's repel vermin protection)

    From the chasm rose two Vescavor queens, about 6 vescavor swarms, and last but not least- The Lord of the Swarms- A mythic Derakni (Again, using the stats by Scorpion). Fight!

    More tolerable buzzing soundeffects
    (Mad dog's player couldn't stand the ones I used for the Vescavors

    Julian opens with a mythic empowered fireball for 15d10 damage! she wipes up 4 swarms, and damages the queen nicely, the Derakni less so. The Lord of the swarms hisses "My swarms!" and shoots a quickened enervating ray at Julian, and launches his personal swarm at her, which poisons her. Andera and Julian focus on the swarms' master, while Sena heals up poisons and lashes with holy smite, while Mad dog kills the other queen. All in all an easy fight though Julian was close to dropping (12 hit points, 3-4 con). Sena casts two restorations to bring up the ability damage by Julian and Andera, and the party goes exploring. They find a bit of treasure (Andera like the demon slaying arrows.

    DM Design
    Spoiler: Lord of the Swarms
    The encounter is a bit "off". There is nothing special to gain story wise from it. It exists for 3 reasons:
    1. To remind the party of the "Deskari- vermin demon lord" theme.
    2. Nice "let loose" fight".
    3.Originally the swarms were supposed to take the role of the Grunhuld Wintersun barbarians- disrupt supplies and harass the city. But the party got to them before they could act. This is becoming a habit!

    As the clouds of vermin disperse, the party debates what to do. This IS a forest, but the ground is baked, not soggy. Despite that, they decide to explore the hex fully (Will take 2 days).

    Day 35- The Wandering Village, The Glaberzu and the wish

    As the party explores, the roll positively for a random encounter. Andera sees what looks like a deserted village. They go into in, but other than hearing echoes of a once living village, find nothing of note... except for the mists. Mists surround the village, though they are not harmful. The party leaves the village, to find themselves... somewhere else, definitely not the forest! They are in a great canyon, with an ashen river, and two Plateaus on far off to their sides. (I let the party roll a percentile dice. All hexes are numbered. They came in the same hex where in the module it's supposed to be Scorsizor's lair. "L", middle of the map. I gave them a new map, they started mapping from it.).

    It is already night, but they feel like they are on aa time pressure. So they rest for an hour using Recuperation, and keep going. At first they think to use teleport to go to a known location, but then decide to check the closet plateau first (Left) They get to it, but then roll for another encounter, and again- positively.

    As they reach the base of the plateau, they see a demon chained to strong magical chains to it, and protected by some sort of a disruptive field. Quick knowledge notes it's a mighty Glaberzu demon! The thing writhes in torment. "Release me! And I'll give you a wish!" (Glaberzus can grant wishes to mortals 1/month)

    A: "Who bound you here?"
    G: "My master, long ago, I have failed it! Release me! No tricks! No manipulation! Just release me and let me begone!"
    (The party don't trust him, rolls a bunch of sense motive, but find nothing)
    J: "I don't think it is worth it! He will just go around killing more people!"
    G: "Noooooo! I'm done with the mortal plane! I will go back to the abyss! Release me!"
    A: "We need the wish! We need any advantage we can take! It could help us find the places we seek! (it could) It could help with Julian and Mad dog's situations (It could, but they didn't really discuss it)
    MD: "It will do not good. He is a demon, it will bite us."
    (In here I described my philosophy on wishes. Basically, I think that 9th level spells should be useful, and not require epic rule lawyering. The wish is granted by the intent, not the wording)
    G: "No tricks! No lies! You get the wish you chose! I don't care! Just free me!"
    A: We can try to teleport to the expedition's site!"
    S: "We will only cause evil..." but Andera interrupts him
    A: "Cause more evil? How much more evil will the demons do while we blindly search for it! We have no clue! I have sacrificed as much as you- don't preach me about doing evil, you who have allied with some unknown force!" He turns to the demon "Will you attack us, block us after we release you?"
    G: "I don't care mortals! Just let me be free and I will let you be!" (more sense motives, more nothing. A high bluff and poor roles)

    They decide to vote. Andera and Julian wish to free it, Mad dog wants to kill it (Though the strange spell it is in protects it. Julian makes a roll and I mess up the DC, so I tell her she doesn't know what it is. It is a variation of imprisonment). Sena is... undecided.
    Andera remarks: "Well, aren't we holier than a paladin now. How more will die while we fool around aimlessely?"
    They think of perhaps using the wish to teleport to Arulashee, or have Arulashee be summoned here! (Awesome idea! Even if it subverts a whole part of the adventure)
    Andera asks a few more questions: "Will your master know?"
    G: "I don't think he even remembers I exist!"
    A: "What will happen when I free you?"
    G: "I will grant you your wish, and grow to the abyss" (Andera rolls just 1 below the demon's bluff, and I tell him he feels the demon is tense, at unease, but they disregard it)
    They decide to risk it. They describe what they know of the expedition site (I rule they just need to identify it clearly, like in scrying) "Once we free you, teleport us there!"

    Wish granted, with a twist
    Andera touches the imprisonment chains, and the demons does become free, only to be replaced by Andera! The glaberzu then whispers "And now for your wish! Mohagrk thanks you!" and teleports the other three to the expedition site! (Just in the connection of the ashen river with the northern lake). The party curses, and finds itself in a primitve looking sarkori hut. As they go outside they see what looks like withering trees and plants in semi wet ground (A bit like a marsh, but not quite so), and a large tree in the distance.

    Julian studies the place enough for a teleportation spell, and then teleports back to Andera's location, now bound with the chains. Cursing they try various methods- a summoned creature, break enchantment, disable device and so on. Julian finds out it's imprisonment. Which means they need the Spell Freedom, a 9th level spell to free him. Despair strikes the party...

    They realize they must find another creature, at least of half of Andera's power to touch the chains willingly. Andera thinks of maybe using the gift of the Orb of Souls the tieflings gave him, but doesn't find how to do so.
    Sena: "This will teach you a lesson not to do deals with demons! They always screw you up!"
    Julian: "We need some evil bastard and trick them…" (Too bad the trickster is taken ).
    They even bring up maybe calling Qulin Longshadoow, to "take one for his master", but don't consider this seriously (Would have been a GREAT piece to play out!)

    Sena has an idea, buffs his will save sky high, and tries to release Andera. He makes his save, but does not free Andera. Another idea is to teleport to Nerosyan, and look for a scroll of Freedom, or maybe talk to the Queen?

    Some desperation grasps the party. They start discussing leaving him there. (And t the table, jokingly, making a new character. This surprised me. Giving up so easily? C'mon!)

    Sena and Mad dog get annoyed again: This. is. why. you. don't make. a .deal. with. demons!
    Andera's player seems quite amused by the entire situation really. The party decides on Julian's plan- Find suitable demon, find a way to bring it back with them, and then a pumped up suggestion spell.

    They try to teleport to the expedition, roll poorly, find themselves on the plateau to the east, and teleport again. (Julian is burning through her mythic power like crazy with these)

    DM design
    Spoiler: Random Encounter- Chains of eternity
    I quite liked it. And for the record, I think Andera did the right choice- it gained them the location of the expedition earlier than expected. (Which they could find by wandering about, clever use of divination spells, being clever with some clues, or through Arulashee) and it makes for a MUCH more interesting story than "Hey, you'll just trick us, lets leave you here."

    This was a challenging encounter, mainly due that I had only very brief info on the encounter:
    "Chains of eternity
    A Glaberzo (Name is Mohagrk) persuade 30, (Friendly), bluff +23 sense motive +15 (Due to imprisonment)
    Variant Imprison spell. Free by touching chains, switch places. Will 28 to save."

    I kind of improvised all else. Julian's player was upset that his spellcraft/ arcana roll should have figured out that it's an imprisonment spell. While this my be true we:
    - Don't back track.
    - I have myself forgot many things about enemies and such, and we do not back track.
    - I'm not at ll sure what difference it would have made- they would have still known it's captured by a mighty spell, and offers a wish in release.

    Andera's player was a bit upset after the session that many things they tried didn't work, and the Demon's high bluff. I may have not judged some things correctly, that's true, but I do not apologize for the demon's bluff (Which was lowered by 5 points, and mainly Andera tried to challenge it. I wonder why Sen didn't). Plus, they got one hint, but didn't use it. The entire Encoutner was a trickery encounter. Oh well...

    As to the solutions suggested: They had a few quite creative ones. Early in the encounter I decided on this: Freeing Andera needs to require something that isn't simple, since Imprisonment isn't tricked that easily, and the demon would have been freed some time ago.

    It is not the base for why some ideas failed. (I for would go with Qulin, or using the Orb of souls in an imaginative manner. They just thought touching it.

    This encounter added a significant complication, added some lovely roleplay, and took the adventure in an unexpected direction, which are all big pluses in my book. The party are worried they would lose Andera, but I think they just need to be creative, and don't lose heart.

    We had a small discussion about how this encounter was ran. I may have done some mistakes, but I will try to learn and move on. On the whole I think it will be a very memorable and fun encounter.

    Lost expedition- Vrock Fight!
    As they reached the place, Julian casts fly on Mad dog, to fly up and try realize where they are (That enabled maping the hex), but as he came down, a trio of Vrocks (One mythic), all with mirror images rose to him from the direction of the great tree. They damaged Mad dog nicely, but Julian noticed the battle. Together she and Sena blast with Smite evil and Empowered mythic fireballs, as Mad dog dives! dives! The vrocks retreat, but the two casters manage to take out two of them, as the mythic vrock (The one from the Molten Scar encounter in the module, just better stats) gets back to some sort of a... nest in the big tree.

    It was middle of the night. They don't really know where they are. Julian has 2 mythic power left only, Mad dog is moderately wounded. Andera is captured. And ahead lies the unknown expedition site, with the strange tree, and it's vrocks... And lets not forget that Jerribeth is still out there... somewhere...

    So we decided to end the session here!

    Each player's XP: 119,200

    So.... this was a bizarre session indeed. From the Canyon of worlds, Julian's "odd behavior", Jerribeth, the demon and such. It took the party into a whirl. Impressions were mixed after the session. Andera's player was half amused, half upset. Julian's player seemed tense, but he said he liked it- he liked the new challenge. Sena's player was a bit bummed out- a lot of things he planned didn't go as he planned, and he doesn't like to be surprised. But he too seems to have liked a "worthy opponent", finally.
    A: "So, when are you taking the Divine Source ability?"
    S: "Don't know. I don't feel so godly after this session".

    So it's a definite change, though other than the Jerribeth encounter (Which I was fine if it took the opposite direction), I didn't plan for.

    I do love the random encounters. Half of the table (20 encounters in all) is combat, half is "weird stuff" happening. I like that kind of stuff happening, and it was interesting to see. Hope you're liking the read so far, drop a line if you can!

    On final note: Next game will be on the 13th of march, which is Friday the 13th, which might work quite nicely, with some of the things I have in mind...
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2015-02-25 at 12:45 PM.

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