A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    I felt it would be interesting to share the oddest campaign I ever took part in. I found a bunch of my old notes from this campaign run by a friend and while it was certainly the strangest and least balanced campaign we ever participated in, it was also amongst the most fun.

    The DM:
    It’s necessary to say a few words about the guy that ran this was campaign. First, he had never DM’d before. Second he told us straight from the start “My goal is to kill your characters. If I do that I win. If you stay alive you win.” He was a rather organized individual that also had the habit of winging things. To our advantage I think we were smarter, but he learned quick and his encounters evolved rather quickly.

    The Characters:
    Eek. We were a motley bunch. The least synergized group possible. We rolled 4d6 reroll 1’s with keeping best 3. No substitutions. This was principally a core rules campaign. We got to bring in about three to five things total from sourcebooks other than DMg,PHB,and MM. But it was very sparse. A true 3.5 low op campaign.

    Me-I rolled a houserule “20” for Charisma. We ran a houserule where if you roll 4 1’s it’s a 19 and 4 sixes is a 20 for an ability score. I ended up with Str15 Dex 9 Con 11 Int 17 Wis 14 and Charisma 20 as my base scores. I went Bard. I took Skill Focus Perform and Combat Expertise with the intent to eventually go the trip route. I played this character as more of Viking wanderer. He took Singing as his main performance and would chant in combat. Character name Caramis…but I will mostly refer to everyone by class for simplicity.

    2nd group member rolled Str 13 Dex 10 Con 17 Int 11 Wis 16 Cha 17 and decided to go Paladin. He took Combat Expertise and Improved Trip. Our thought process being we could both work to trip targets and provoke extra attacks. Kyr Prentice was his character name. He worshipped Torm.
    3rd member rolled Str 17 Dex 16 Con 12 Int 9 Wis 15 Cha 14 and decided to go Half-Orc Monk. With +2 str and +2 Wis he had fairly solid stats. He took Combat Reflexes and eventually planned on going for spiked chain to gain reach.

    So we had a Paladin as tank and healer, with a monk as “skirmisher” and self healing and a bard for whatever else came up. I will repeat eek. We really could have used a 4th member as anything but we ended up going with 3 pc’s.

    Spoiler
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    The First Session (level 1-3):

    Our first order of business is to locate a horse. The Paladin desperately wants us to get mounted for mobility and encumberance purposes. We randomly set off for hilly plains territory searching for wild horses to hopefully rear and keep as mounts. Late in the 1st afternoon we stumble upon a wagon caravan that was ambushed by orcs. Half a dozen orcs are looting the three wagons and multiple dead humans are visible amongst the battle scene. We do a quick huddle and decide we need subtlety like only a ragtag group such as our own can accommodate. Its worth noting that I spent 7 or 8 skill points on various languages. Orcish was amongst them.

    So as these six orcs are finishing their clean up on an ambush they hear a very loud and somewhat stilted orcish tongue singing bawdy orcish tunes at the top of his lungs. I expend a use of fascinate to try and gather as much attention as possible. I have these orcs chuckling at me and have their full attention as I sing and incorporate the corpses into even more outlandish lyrics. Enough so that they horrifically fail the Spot checks to see the monk and paladin ambush them from behind. The Paladin taps an orc on the shoulder and says “In your afterlife you would be best advised to wear a helm” at which point he caves in the orc’s head with a heavy flail in the surprise round. The monk flurries and connects killing a second orc. For my surprise action I charge and draw my rapier and roll minimum damage to wound my orc. The paladin has first action in the round and kills another orc. The remaining two healthy orcs bug out, and the monk finishes my wounded orc. The monk charges off after the runners and the paladin checks for signs of life amongst the corpses. The paladin gives me some serious glares for incorporating corpses into my act and in character I promise we will give them every dignity in burial and that I will sing a hymn for their posthumous assistance. We get a bunch of arrows, some shortbows and random weapons from the dead caravan and orcs. We take the best condition wagon and the one surviving horse.

    The Paladin is stoked to start training a mount and is heavily angered when told the horse is very hearty and strong, but no warhorse. We tongue in check name the horse Buttercup and hook it to the wagon. The monk returns to inform us the runners are dead and after proper observances we head on in the direction the wagons seemed to be heading. Hoping to contact someone about the murders. And then the “im out to kill you all “ comes into play. As we are meandering on the loose road to wherever we are headed we spot six very LARGE dead bison about two hundred yards away. We stop the wagon and try to figure out what is going on from the distance. My first thought is trap. Naturally. We steer clear and very purposefully state we are getting nowhere near them and are carefully observing them. Lo and Behold…the “bison” stand up to reveal six ogres that were wearing bison hides as crude gilly suits.

    Quick Math Test for those following. A level 1 Bard in 3.5 rules has a d6 for HD and with max hps I have 6. Paladin has a d10 with +3 for 13 and monk has 9 hps. An ogre does 2d8+7 with a greatclub. That means any swing that connects on me or monk renders us into unconscious or negatives. The paladin can take two swings if they roll for half damage or less on first swing. We do a quick mental check…the horse (big and hearty) is said to have a con of 20. The ogres as best as we can recall have less. Ergo…the horse can run longer than the ogres. We immediately apply the reins and have the horse head hellbent for the horizon. We want absolutely nothing to do with this battle. The ogres begin chasing after us. For amusement I grab a shortbow and start taking potshots from the back of the wagon at the ogres. I am told that galloping in a moving wagon with unsteady footing shooting at a moving target I am -10 to hit. I laugh and replay “I have a dex penalty and no BAB bonus…im already a negative -4 to 7 based on range and my crappy dex…I need a 20 to hit no matter what. At which point the paladin and Monk realize that 3 arrows a turn with a 5% chance to hit is better than nothing. We start taking pot shots off the back of the wagon and all miss horribly after a couple turns the paladin drops a twenty and we plink an ogre for all of 3 damage. We were challenged as to how the paladin could drive the wagon and shoot and the guy playing the paladin put a pencil in his mouth and with pencil in mouth stammers “pencil is the reins” and he then turned in his chair and pantomimed an over the shoulder draw and loose. Our first time DM shook his head and kept him rolling Ride checks.

    After 15 rounds the ogres have to slow down and we slow down Buttercup in turn and start circling the ogres at range still taking pot shots. 10 rounds of circling while they kind of lope towards us and we land about 4 more arrows. At which the point the ogres begin to flee half heartedly. I am ready to celebrate and the paladin grins and says “Torm suffers no cowards and these brutes will not plaque further travelers” and he begins driving Buttercup in a parallel course to continue shooting at the ogres. We are now chasing them down! 25 rounds with three arrows a round and we have about 45 arrrows left. At which point the monk laughs and says “they don’t know that” We play cat and mouse for about 5 more rounds with them trying to reengage and us evading and it is clear the DM is beginning to realize that lack of a ranged option isn’t going to cut it. We hand the reins off to the monk who allows the paladin to focus as our sole archer.

    I inspire courage to give a bonus and we manage to get the paladin to a +2 to hit so a 13 connects. We actually manage to kill 2 ogres before we run out of arrows and the remaing ones are tired and spooked. I actually have to convince the paladin to avoid further chasing since melee will end us in a hurry.

    We kind of haggle over the details but basically we are granted that we overcame a nearly impossible CR for level 1 characters and that merits a boost to level 2.

    I take Sleep and Silent Image as first level spells. But more importantly I roll a 5 for hps and am now able to potentially withstand a single ogre swing.
    We find our way into a small town…to call it a one horse town would be drastic understatement. Our horse is the only horse in town. They do have some woodsmen that are willing to barter with us and we manage to buy another 100 arrows. We ask about the caravan and are told that a family on the outskirts of “town” was expecting family. I should say that the “world” was basically being ad hocked on the fly and we really had no main story to begin.

    I digress…being the good citizens we were (well at least the paladin is a good citizen) we move on to the Miller Farmstead to inform them there family may or may not have been massacred by orcs. We arrive at dusk to see their farmhouse in flames and small lizard like forms running to and fro. We see a small boy run from the flames and a blowgun drops him in his tracks. A quick knowledge check confirms these are in fact kobolds. From a quick Spot check we figure there are at least nine. The Paladin and Monk decide to go in hard and I drop a Sleep from range to try and put down 3 in a group. Only 1 is affected. The Paladin charges and connects for 9 damage…and the kobold doesn’t go down. That does not bode well. We manage to kill 2 of them which by our estimate have about 13 hps each. Before I get hit with a blowgun and get knocked out. The monk soon follows and the paladin decides to play possum. The kobolds strap us to makeshift guernies and drag us off into the woods. I come to a while later tied to an X on the wall of an underground burrow. The remaining family of the farmhouse and the monk are in smiliar positions tied to the wall. The paladin is free and removing his flail from the shattered form of a kobold. They left a cursory guard in the room we were in, and the minute it turned its back he stopped playing possum and wrecked it. I jokingly throw out “so much for bravery” and he smirks and replies “cunning is the greatest ally to courage one can hope for”
    We get cut down and do our best to barricade the crude door to the chamber while reviving the farmer’s remaining family. Mom,Dad, and two youngin’s are dead. Two brothers and a sister are alive along with an aunt. We decide to try and thin the ranks a bit. We drag the dead kobold out of the way and the paladin and monk stand on either side of the door. I stand back a ways and wait. After about ten minutes a pair of kobolds comes into the room and we jump them. I carry a whip for tripping purposes and try to trip the one in front as the other two flank and pummel the trailer. I succeeded on the trip and when he tried to get up he took 2 AOO and went down. We rifled their stuff and found each carrying a clay vial of poison. A Knowledge Check tells me that I am fairly sure its drow poison. Kobolds with class levels and drow poison *sigh*.

    Paladin wants to get out and get family to safety. Monk wants to stay and keep hitting them before they know we are free. I err on the side of getting non combantants out of harms way. But the monk and I are were catching some sleep while getting dragged in here, and the paladin is the only know that has any clue of where we are underground. He thinks we aren’t too deep, but isn’t sure.

    We decide to set up one more ambush then make a run for it. We all make Listen checks and we hear more coming. I guess 3, the paladin guesses 6 and the monk says 4. I translate enough of what I pick up that they are angry that their comrades are “starting dinner” without them and that the chief will be punishing them severely. We set up on the door again and this time there are four, they are more leary this time and cautiously open the door before going in. I end up getting hit with a blowdart and make my saving throw this time. The paladin and I both start tripping and the monk’s combat reflexes start paying off. We kill 3 of the 4 and the fourth takes off screaming for help. At that point we take the opposite path he took and start high tailing it out of there. We follow a straight path about a 100 feet out and upwards and emerge from what looks like a large groundhog hole.
    Sitting near the entrance is our wagon and still hooked up is Buttercup our horse. Almost instantly the Paladin barks “do we see any other way in?”

    DM: Entrances? Just this one. Roll a Spot Check for further details. Monk rolls 20…
    DM:Roll again add the two results.
    Monk: 17…
    DM: You see a small plume of smoke about 20 yards up the hill trailing from what looks like an old well.
    Paladin: I need you all to help me flip the wagon. We are going to wedge it against the ground entrance. Then I’m going up that hill to crack anything that decides to stick it’s pillaging head up from that well.
    Me out of character: Whack a Mole engage!

    We flip the wagon to wedge it against the hole’s entrance. Its close to a full seal. There is a small gap where the tail end of the wagon has a gate. The Monk and I wait at that gap while the Paladin goes up the hill to engage in some heavy flail whack a mole.

    Me: we could use some added incentive to help them come out. Grab as many leaves and brush as you can.

    We are having a kobold slow cook.
    I won’t say it was terribly effective but we started stuffing burning material down the well and into the gap on the wagon as best we could. Within about a minute we started to hear yelling from inside and a kobold popped its head up from the well only to get cracked on the skull. We kept throwing more and more material in and ended up spending about three hours in game time smoking them out. At one point they tried to mass push the wagon out of the way and we had the farmers help us shoulder the wagon and keep them bottled up. In the end we killed about 30 kobolds. During mop up we actually let the mound air out and then went in to “bayonet the wounded” as the monk put it.

    The kobold warren was actually a burial mound as we found several very old carvings and sculptures along with a masterwork greataxe and a chest of silver coins. We also found a suit of full plate that seemed in very good condition. Detect Magic confirmed it was magical but without identify we were not allowed to know what properties it might bear. We took a guess it was at least +1 and gave it to the Paladin. The coins and other goods went into the now very charred and soot encrusted wagon.

    As we are making our way back to the farmstead we get randomly attacked by a lone ogre who is still peppered with about 5 arrows… he charges from the woods and knocks the monk into negative with a single attack. I win init and cast Sleep.

    DM:You get 1 spell per day you already used it.
    Me: I put my stat boost in Cha, I have a 22 that is two spells. Roll a will save
    DM: 9+1…
    Me: Goodnight…
    The Paladin goes to revive the monk with a lay of hands and we all three circle the ogre to ensure proper killing blow.
    The farmhouse is ruined. The livestock dead and barn is ash.

    We take the surviving family back to the village and vow to scour for the area for any further threats. In hindsight offering to search for viable threats would have been much more feasible if one of us could actually, you know…Track. In essence we just wandered around the following day hoping to stumble into something of note. We did backtrack to the burial mound to see if any additional kobolds had returned. I had taken the liberty of hanging the body of the apparent chief on the wall with a message in draconic that said “Justice comes to those who kill the innocent”

    For three nights we go out looking for trouble and come up blank. We have about decided to move on and try and find a town of decent size and on our way back to the hamlet we get attacked by five worgs. I manage to get both of my Sleep spells off and connect with the second, the first saves. Stunning Fist connects on a second. I end up in negatives and monk is one hit away. Paladin smites evil to kill a wolf and he and the monk manage to kill a second. Two worgs are disabled and two are dead. Paladin does a Lay on Hands and gets the monk back up. Paladin is sucking fumes on hp, but they flank the remaining wolf and it bugs out and flees. They stabilize me and kill the stunned wolf. We kill the sleeping wolf, and try to figure out if we can track the survivor. Are limited resources are about spent and we are heavily wounded. We decide to get back to town and then return the next day to this area to look for tracks or easy to follow trails. Purely on a whim I cut off the dead worg’s tails and tie them to my belt.

    Paladin: Uh?
    Me:Anything that wants to take a bite out of me, you better believe I’m going to carry a piece of it as a warning to others…

    We rest up and head out the next morning still pretty banged up, but with all available resources back to being available. We find the corpses and in the light of day do a more detailed examination. We oddly note that each wolf corpse is scarred with frost damage.

    They left very little in the way of a trail but we decide to set out towards the direction we think they came from anyway. We are starting to find a trail even we can reasonably follow, lots of prints and damage to underbrush and the like. At this point a worg leaps from the underbrush and tackles me to the ground. It connects with its bite attack and im back into negatives…
    If there is an upside to this, I was travelling in the middle of our little line. So the Worg tackled me and left itself flanked. The Monk full attacks and the paladin connects.It misses the monk and they both attack again. Both miss. It then tries to run for it and the paladin connects on an AOO and the monk misses.

    Our little healing once again goes towards lay of hands to get me back to positives. We now are approaching whatever these worgs are using as a lair and that they are not happy. We go back to town and tell them there is nasty stuff in the area and that it is no longer safe. We then proceed to rest for two entire days to get everyone back to full capacity. We were close to 3rd level despite the relatively low number of encounters.

    We hitch up the now fixed wagon and buttercup and start heading towards the worg territory. We figure stealth is not our strong suit anyway, and the wagon gives us some cover bonuses and the horse will be another warm body in a pinch. We end up transistioning from wooded forests to some hilly terrain. From this area we stumble upon an old crypt, stone opening visible from the trees. There are two ogres standing sentry and we hear very loud howling and yelping from the inside. They seem more preoccupied with whatever is happening inside than us approaching. We decide to go in guns blazing. I cast Daze to try and prevent one action from an ogre and paladin and monk go for the second. It fails its Will Save and both Paladin and Monk connect with attacks in surprise round. Monk goes first in standard round and flurries connecting once. I daze the previously dazed ogre again and he fails. Ogre misses paladin and they drop him the next round. We gang up on the 2nd ogre and as he is falling (I got a kill shot with rapier! Actual melee damage!!) I get charged by a worg from inside the hill. I take 10 damage…bringing me back to 1. Monk drops a Stunning Fist and Paladin cracks it hard with a crit for about 19 damage. Next round all three attacks kill it. Paladin burns 5 points of LoH to bring me to 6. I take a quick moment to cut off the tail and tuck it in my belt.

    We start creeping inside and see a lot of old stone coffins and statues. Lots of tracks in the dust and grime on the ground. The passage takes us to a central chamber that has three branches. In the center chamber a medium sized gold dragon is chained to the floor and several worgs and a white wolf are nipping at it and harrying it. We count five worgs and a white wolf. Ugh.
    The quick huddle gameplan is fairly similar to what we have been doing. I am going to Sleep and Daze worgs as best as im able. The monk is going to try and use his second Stunning Fist to render the white wolf useless for a round, and hopefully these things are already injured. Paladin says “aim for the worgs closest to white wolf and go for it first”

    I throw a Sleep on the worg to the left of WW and paladin and monk both charge it. Paladin hits it solid and monk connects for mediocre damage. Worg fails its save and takes a siesta. Dragon wins init and breathes on two worgs. One goes down. Monk goes next and tries to Stun the WW…makes save. I throw my second Sleep and connect ( thank you for poor will saves) Dragon is attacked by remaining worg and is knocked unconscious. White Wolf attacks monk and knocks him down to 4. My next turn I draw rapier and move within range of the White Wolf and start inspire courage. Paladin throws a smite evil with +1 from inspire running and hit solids again. Wolf attacks Monk and rolls a 6 on the d8+6 and adds 3 from cold damage….Monk is at -11 and is killed outright. Gack. Remaing worg moves to a flanking position on paladin and hits him solid. Next turn White Wolf hits paladin bringing him next to nothing. Paladin lands a crit for almost 25 damage and we know the WW is got to be close to nothing. I am faced with a gamble…try to Daze remaining worg? Or swing with rapier and hope to take down the WW. I swing at WW with rapier and hit. I get +2 str +1 inspire courage and roll a 2….5 damage, which is apparently enough to drop it into negatives. Remaining worg bugs out and runs. We deliver killing blows to sleeping wolves and then try to figure out what the heck to do next.

    We get stopped and told we advanced to level 3, that the monk needs to roll a new character and we will pick up next session in this chamber.
    Paladin is sticking with the path he is on.
    I am sorely tempted to take a level of wizard for flexibility. Sorcerer would be more spells, but I need options and wizard is wider spells. Cleric is sorely tempting for added healing, but next level of bard is BAB, New spell per day and new spell known.

    I decide to wait and see what the monk rolls into.
    Monk rolls Str 11 Dex 17 Con 15 Int 14 Wis 12 Cha 11
    We have some skills in my bard
    We have some durability in saves and armor with paladin
    We have no tracker, no healing, no stealth, and little casting ability. He elects to go ranger2/rogue1. We will pick up tracking, we pick up some ranged damage and potentially an animal companion in a couple levels.
    Its tough but I decide a level of Cleric will pay dividends. I take Magic and Healing as my two domains. We are desperately in need of healing and Identify is something we lack. My new gameplan is to go Bard 4/Cleric 3 then Mystic Theurge for time being.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    Session 2

    Spoiler
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    Second Session (3-5):
    Quick update on the characters as they stand:

    Paladin-Level 3 in service to Torm. Good Con and Cha, defacto leader and best armored and highest health pool. 33 HP and full plate+1. Mainly still uses a heavy flail. He has Combat Expertise,Imprvoed Trip and Weapon Focus Heavy Flail

    Bard2/Cleric1- Originally I was going to be a trip support character. Lack of healing and casting is shifting me towards cleric. When asked how I justified cleric as a multi class I had a somewhat smart ass response, “In the last week of game time I have been savaged attacked and nearly killed at least four times by forces unlike I never expected. Only the healing hands of a holy warrior kept me from Death’s sitting room. If that ain’t enough to find faith what is?” My feats are Skill Focus Perform, Combat Expertise and Scribe Scroll. I rolled a 4 on my cleric HD so Im at 15 HP. I feel very squishy.
    Monk-dead

    Ranger2/Rogue1:We hadn’t reintroduced his character at this point but had the benefit of at least knowing what he would be playing. He took Point Black Shot, Precise Shot, Two Weapon Fighting and Improved Init. He knocked HP out of the park rolling 10 8 and 8 for 32 total.

    The Action:
    The Paladin and I are standing in a central chamber with four dead worgs and what we are guessing based on the cold damage is a Winter Wolf corpse. A medium sized gold dragon is chained to the center of the floor and knocked out. Paladin stabilized the dragon with LoH knowing that the monk is dead. We don’t really want to go looking for trouble but we also don’t want to get jumped on the way out. And at this moment Paladar was conceived. Detect Evil at will became the Paladin-Radar. This would get silly in creative ways shortly. The Paladin does a 360 degree scan for evil as the monk makes radar “bong” noises. We detect nothing. The paladin smashes the chains holding the dragon and he begins to drag it outside. I take rearguard and look for anything that wants to eat me. We get the dragon in the wagon and then go back for the monk’s body. As we get back I pause to cut off more tails and then announce…

    Me: I want to make a third trip for the winter wolf’s corpse.
    DM: You already have it’s tail…
    Me: I want the whole damn thing.
    Paladin: Why? We have more pressing matters.
    Me: You build monuments to honor your god, you give the fallen all proper dignity and respect. I intend to honor our friend in my OWN way, and right now I want that bastards carcass to make a full damned cloak and boots. Besides…I think the white fur will look intimidating.
    Paladin: To each his own. But make this quick.

    So the two of us uneventfully drag a 450 pound snow white wolf corpse to the wagon where we drop it in alongside the sleeping dragon and dead half orc. Not knowing where else to go we head back to town and do our best to make the dragon comfortable. We bury the monk and then retire to the small inn that has been “home” that night my character prays in earnest and I hear a response…(ahhh cleric spells)

    The following morning the dragon is still out but we know have more healing. The paladin puts 1 point at a time in LoH into the dragon until it awakens. Groggy and still woozy it tells us that it was kidnapped and to be ransomed. When I inquire as to the amount it says “20,000 gold” that gets me sputtering a bit as my next question “did they pay?” is met with “yes”. They were keeping it drugged but shortly after the gold arrived it woke up and that is when we showed up. I am practically drooling at that amount of gold for our level. The Paladin is “kind” enough to remind me any money belongs to the dragon and not us. The dragon was by it’s account captured by drow that taken to this remote nowhere to be hidden. He informs us the drow were taking orders from a bizarre snake woman. Snake woman? Torso and arms a woman, body of a long constrictor. I roll a Knowledge Arcana check…nothing. Knowledge History. That tells me I think they are called Yuan-Ti. Spiders in league with snakes kidnapping dragons? Ok.

    When we come downstairs everyone in the town is milling around all curious to see the dragon. I do a Diplomacy check to try and get everyone to act business as usual. Telling them he needs rest and some peace for right now and that they would be better served erecting a fence or similar barricades for the time being. Its moderately successful.

    We are interrupted by the door to the Inn crashing open. A large man, easily six foot six barges in demanding to know what happened to the Miller Family. A longbow and several weapons bristle amongst his chain shirt and he looks very imposing. Turns out it’s the monk’s new character. He is the mother’s brother and a former army tracker and scout. We fill in Uncle Emilio on recent events and offer our sympathies. He firmly requests we accompany him to the family for them to verify our story. They do so quite readily and we acquire a new party member. I ask him to assist me in the barn with the wolf…

    Me: So you think you can skin this thing? I would really like to wear this one as a cloak and maybe some boots…
    Ranger: I can do better than that.

    A few fluffy minutes of Survival checks and out of character wisecracks and my bard is now wearing a full length white fur cloak with the upper part of the wolf’s head as a cowl. I stand up at the table and in a very exaggerated bravado announce “FROM THIS POINT FORTH LET IT BE KNOWN THAT I-CARAMIS WOLFSBANE WILL SUFFER NO FURTHER INJUSTICES FROM THESE FOUR LEGGED FIENDS”

    I mockingly ask the DM if I can get a DM Fiat’ed Favored Enemy as a cleric….
    He shrugs and says “sure roll a Knowledge Religion check and see if any gods are willing to grant this request” I roll a 9…”nope looks like they are not inclined to grant this request”
    Oh well.

    All three of us set out to the Wolf Den Crypt to see if they left the ransom or anything else. We find about 20 doses of drow poison which the ranger eagerly snatches up, along with several valuable gems and a magic light crossbow. We also recover the 20,000 in coins stuffed into several chests and I angrily agree it needs to be returned. The Paladin does another Paladar 360 and this time he pings something in the direction of a statue. We get a bit closer and do some search checks…nada. But there is definitely evil beyond that statue. We decide not to risk a primary weapon and the Paladin grabs the greataxe we found earlier and starts hammering at the statue. We break through to find a small secret room with a serpent talisman on a pedestal. Hung on the wall is a tapestry, very elegant and by our view very expensive. It depicts a lake of fire and molten slag. You can almost feel the heat coming off it, and both it and the talisman are giving off strong evil. The Paladin takes the talisman and we roll up the tapestry and put it in the wagon.

    I tell the DM I am going to take 20 and do some extensive studying of the talisman for the next day or so to try and determine what it is.
    We also have some questions like:
    Why didn’t this get detected yesterday?
    Did it recently get moved there?
    Was it pre-worg/winter wolf or did they bring it?
    DM mostly just shrugged and smirked.
    DM:Figure it out.
    With a tracker on board
    we start looking to follow some trails, we found several nests or beds inside the crypt and one of the three offshooting chambers was heavily frosted and there appeared to be two winter wolves lairing there. We stay out until late in the evening and at that point the ranger quietly gets our attention in character as he comes back to our wagon.

    Ranger: I got slipped the results of a listen check. Something is out there and I have almost picked it up twice, but its moving quietly and stalking us. It might be listening right now, Im not sure.
    Paladin: We know there is probably a second winter wolf out here.
    Ranger: They tend to mate for life and travel in pairs so that makes sense.
    Me: So how do we draw it out?
    At this point the ranger and paladin both laugh and the paladin in real life leans in real close to me and whispers.
    “You are dressed head to toe in the furs of what could be the dead mate. You have a string of worg tails hanging from your belt….taunt it and im pretty sure it will come straight at you.
    Me: Uh…that could kill me!
    Paladin: We will put you in the middle so that if it charges you it will be flanked.
    Me: And if I die??
    Paladin: Then you will be able to address the god of your newly found faith in person on his failings. I trust in Torm to keep me safe…do you lack even that small amount of devotion?
    (What makes this fantastic is that he doing this all completely stone faced with this condescending “Im disappointed in you fatherly voice” at the table)
    I hold the severed tail of the winter wolf up and shout to the darkness in general…

    “This one died a whimpering coward covered in its own excrement begging for mercy and I gladly took its skin to keep the bite of the wind off my back…will you die the same?”

    And for what must now be the fifth time (maybe fourth) a wolf comes charging from the darkness and leaps to tear my throat out.
    Now I’m wearing a plain jane chain shirt and I have a dex penalty. I have mostly lived to this point by being the least threat. I take a charging bite attack that does 10 damage dropping me down to 5.

    Once again the Paladin clobbers it for a good chunk and now the ranger is swinging with a greataxe. He took Magical Beasts as a favored enemy, so he gets +2 damage which is nice to know when a savage and highly angered wolf is tearing you apart. I attack with my rapier and do manage to connect for my whopping 1d6+2. I roll a 5 so 7, that is respectable right?

    This initiative roll is kinda crucial, strong probability I am dipping into negatives or dying this turn. Ranger wins, following by Paladin, we actually roll the init checks in the open like we are playing friggin marbles I roll a 9-1 for 8, its +5 so I need a 1, or 2 to act first he rolls a 3 in the open. We reroll and I drop a 14-1 for 13 and he rolls a 6+5 11. I get one more action before conceivably dying. Paladin smites evil and misses. There is an audible groan at the table. The Ranger rolls a 19 and Im wishing with ever fiber of my fictional being for that die to flip to a 20. Rolls an 11 and adds+2 from favored enemy and almost frantically I blurt out “he’s flanked you got sneak attack damage!!!!” he adds the d6 and rolls a 4.

    DM is grinning at me. I got a few options. I can poke with rapier. I can try to start a performance and let the effects linger a bit after death. Or I can cast one of my two non domain spells. I prepared Cause Fear and Obscuring mist as my non domain spells. An AOO could kill me, but getting this thing to flee for 1d4 rounds might save me.

    Me: I’m going to give it my best this might be my last action in life grin and cast Cause Fear. I am also going to laugh at it as I cast and chuckle “Your hide will make a fine pair of pants to accompany my cloak!”

    The Winter Wolf rolls an 8 and fails its save. It flees for 2 rounds. (the paladin passes me a note that says”winter wolf has 6HD but I don’t think he realizes that”)

    As it flees it takes 3 AOO and paladin and ranger both hit. As it flees the ranger drops his axe and grabs bow. He puts an arrow into it with sneak attack damage and that slows it down. I take my action next turn to cast CLW from domain slot and roll a 5 so I get back to 13 with +2 from domain and level. We start tracking the wolf and as we catch up to it, the wolf launches a breath attack for 4d6 it rolls 16 paladin makes his save, and I fail. Welcome back to negatives…we have missed you. Paladin and Ranger do manage to finish it off and they stabilize me at -7. LoH gets me back to conscious and I spontaneous my Mist to a CLW for a roll of 3+2. *Sigh* 6 hps and Im nearly out of spells again.

    My next action is to brush self off and then stalk to the wolf corpse.
    DM: You are going to make me skin it and make pants aren’t you?
    Me: Damn Right I am , maybe a a nice waist coat and some gloves too!

    I burn four Cure minors to get back to 9 and we hunker down the night. We actually sleep under the wagon which may have saved our bacon. We set up a rotation of watchers. We light a small campfire and then make our camp just outside of the fire’s range. The Paladin and I are asleep under the wagon and the ranger is waiting in the tree line to our left. At about 3 am fictional time a groaning hiss emerges from our wagon and an eerie crimson light spill forth. Lo and Behold 4 dretches have just emerged from our tapestry and are now standing in our frigging wagon! The strange shuffling and weird groan wake me and the paladin up and he instantly detects evil. The Ranger shouts a warning from the trees and then snaps off an arrow in the surprise round at one of the dretches. 1d8 with no damage bonus + sneak attack gets him 9 damage, but from our perspective it barely hurts the dretch. The next round sees the ranger going first and hitting again this time for 7 damage which is knocked down to 2. I hold my action and the paladin holds his. The dretches jump from the wagon and start to charge the ranger. I sleep one and the paladin tries to trip it from under the wagon. It’s a small creature and surprised and he succeeds despite akward footing. He then takes a move action to get himself upright. Two dretches focus on the paladin and remaining one heads for the ranger. Next Turn Paladin connects on a nasty crit for nearly full damage and pancakes a dretch. Ranger drops bow and grabs the axe, and I am beginning to wonder why he took two weapon fighting. But DR is nasty and big attacks are better than little ones. I sleep the one on the paladin. And then get up from under the wagon. We have one remaining dretch on the ranger and it is not looking too keen on fighting. Paladin renders this a mute point as he charges for a heavy swing. Ranger reacts in turn after eating a claw attack. I wade in with my rapier and prove ineffective against damage reduction. Paladin finishes it off next turn. We are left with two sleepers and we kill one of them. We want to question the last of them but a knowledge planes and arcane is enough to remind me they don’t speak and can only communicate in Abyssal. We elect to kill last one and then figure out what to do.

    Paladin: That was unexpected
    Ranger: And frightening. Arrows barely penetrated.
    Me: I’m more concerned with demons erupting from our wagon. What do we do.

    We argue back and forth for a bit while eying the tapesty suspiciously. I vote to bury it. Paladin vetos that idea. We are leaning towards taking it back to town and having the dragon look at it, but Paladin is leery to bring a potential demon gateway to a small hamlet. We go with Plan C, we will work our way back towards town but stay just outside then flip the wagon and leave tapestry under it. We will then finish sleeping on top of the wagon.

    The remainder of the night is uneventful. I prep Obscuring Mist and Prot from Evil as my cleric spells and CLW in domain slot. Rest gets me back to 12 hps. Paladin and Ranger rest back to full. In the light of day we take the tapestry back to the town only to be informed the dragon left.
    Me Under my breath: so much for giving back the gold.

    The Paladin on a lark decides to detect evil every 2 hours to see if anything changes on the tapestry or the talisman. We do pick up a pattern as the day turns to dusk, it is getting stronger the closer to night. Paladin asks if it is stronger than when we first detected it. Yes, Yes it is.

    We kind of jump to a few conclusions and decide to proceed from these ideas.
    1st. The Tapestry is growing stronger each night and that is why we didn’t detect it the first time in the Wolf Den Crypt.
    2nd This mean it may be completely unrelated to the worgs and winter wolf.
    3rd it gets stronger at night and last night it spit out demons. We are expecting more of the same again tonight.
    4th We need to figure out something to do with the damn thing. The Ranger…fictional gods bless him comes up with this plan.

    Ranger: Is there a well in the town?
    Innkeeper: Yes, there is one just behind the Inn.
    Ranger: lets face the tapestry hanging face down into the well. Then pile up some rocks and logs as falling weapons. How deep is the well?
    DM: About 25 feet.
    Ranger: Is there a temple anywhere near here? Anywhere that sells holy water?
    DM: Maybe half a day’s ride there is a temple to Pelor…

    We kind of chuckle at the half a day’s ride comment and the Paladin grumbles about there not even being a horse, the whole reason we set out in the first place. All is we have is ButterCup.

    We hang the tapestry face down into the well and pile up as many good sized rocks and chunks of log as possible. We have the Wagon up on it’s side to function as a seal to the well and the Paladin and I are on either side of the well waiting. The Ranger is standing ready with greataxe and long bow prepped. We are going to try and last the night tonight then come morning frantically try and make it to the temple to Pelor for holy water and gods willing some cold iron. We light the area as best as possible (DM has not been a tyrant on sight and lighting sources but it never hurts to avoid tempting fate)

    3am or so on night two and the same groaning and hiss with crimson light erupts and a grotesque hideous form plummets to the bottom of the well with a moaning wail.

    Me: I think that was an Annis….nasty hag. Spells are probably not going to do much against her.
    Paladin: Did you roll falling damage for her?
    DM: What?
    Paladin: She just fell close to 30 feet with no way of knowing she was falling.
    DM: She fell into water.
    Paladin…ok, but fair to say we have surprise?
    DM:*sigh* yes.
    Paladin: Dropping a rock into the well
    Bard: Dropping a rock
    Ranger Out of charater: How dignified and heroic…we stalwart three, adventurers and seekers of fortune. Chucking rocks down a well.

    We have fairly decent sized rocks and since she is large size and there is little room to maneuver she doesn’t get a dex bonus falling rocks are treated as 3d6 damage and one hits for about 7.

    After the surprise round Ranger goes first and puts an arrow into her for 9 damage with sneak attack. She then starts casting Fog Cloud.

    Paladin: you know that doesn’t function underwater.
    DM: She is ranging up above at the entrance.
    Paladin: Ok cool, then she is granting us concealment but not her…
    DM: *sigh*

    It wasn’t heroic. She didn’t really have a climb skill, and we kept throwing rocks. In truth the aftermath was the hardest part. We had a dead hideous humanoid sitting in the town’s well. And about a dozen big rocks in there now too. Following morning we lowered the Ranger down and used a bucket to haul her out as best we could. She was rather large and we weren’t exactly the burliest of men. We got her out and the rocks. Then we hitched up buttercup and made hellbent for the Temple of Pelor.

    The temple was a small compound with a central stone church and a few small universal chapels. I swear I heard the DM die a little bit inside when the ranger asked if there was a well. There was not. They created their own water. We inquired about holy water and were told they had about 50 flasks of it available at 25 gp each. We elected to spend some of our own money and buy all fifty. We poured one on the tapestry and one on the talisman to see what would happen. The talisman had no effect. The tapestry steamed and sounded like water on hot coals. The “heat” from that section of the tapestry seemed to dissipate a bit. Hmmm. We ended up filling a trough with 25 flasks of holy water and submgerging the whole thing. It evaporated all the holy water but was noticeably dampening, both with moisture and from the standpoint of its evil emanation.

    Paladin: Well if we had blessed the well that would have worked even better….

    We now kind of had a plan for the tapestry and just needed a bigger church to keep it submerged til it was destroyed or we found a way to destroy it. We were directed to a larger town 3 days ride from where we were. We decided to make a run for it. We donated 500 silver to the temple in return for their trough.

    Ranger out of character: So they make their own water, but have a water trough. They don’t have a horse but have a water trough, yet they were loathe to part with their water trough…

    That night we encountered nothing. Apparently our holy water rinse dampened it enough to give us a night of peace. We elected to not submerge it on day 2, but instead use remaining amount on day 3. Night Two, we flipped the wagon and aimed for whatever it was that popped to pop stuck under the wagon. I think this was the first time we heard a mumbled “f***ing wagon” from the DM. We get the groan and light show and this time a hell hound pops under our wagon and almost instantly it uses its breath weapon to light our beloved wagon.

    It emerged to get a smite evil smash and some greataxe loving. I tried to daze it and it made its save. Next turn it bit the paladin for a fair chunk of damage, I dazed again and it passed save again. Another flail smash and greataxe whack and it went down. We put out the fire as best as possible and while the wagon was still intact its integrity was now in question. This left us in an akward predicament. We still had a lot of coin in chests and that wagon was getting us around encumberance issues. We chanced loading it back and evenly dispersed the weight. The Third Night we submerged the tapestry in remaining holy water and its steamed off very quickly. We got a lone dretch the third night and dispatched it without incident.

    Finally on the fourth day we found a good sized city. There was even a temple of fair repute dedicated to Torm. We had been playing for about five hours at this point and got a “welcome to civilization and thanks for advancing the plot bonus of hitting level 4” We took a pizza break to watch some football and advance characters to level 4. We also received a Sending from our errant dragon. He told us that urgent matters had drawn him away quickly. He urged us to use the money if had been recovered for good. We also got a boon in the form of a stat boost to a single stat in addition to our level 4. Oh lord, the madness that ensued around that extra stat boost…it was embarrassing to be honest.

    Paladin bumped Charisma from 19 to 20 and Con from 17 to 18 he also rolled a 9 for HP. He stayed Paladin He got to 46 hps.

    Ranger bumped Str to 12 for a +1 bonus and Dex to 20 he took another level of rogue to get evasion. He rolled a 3 for hps that took him to 37 total.
    I was very tempted to take both in Charisma to a 24. Instead I bumped Con to 12 and Dex to 10 to eliminate a negative and gain a positive. I went up in bard for BAB, New Spell Known and another spell per day. I rolled a 4 for hps. That got me to 23 with new bonuses and level. I took Hideous Laughter as new spell.

    We ended up being put on a waiting list at the largest church in town and told to come back in late afternoon. We then went shopping. We had 20,000 in gold and about 3,000 left in silver. We had a magic crossbow that was not getting much use and a few mundane average weapons. We split it up 7,000 each and went to go spend it. I bought a wand of CLW (CL3) with 50 charges, a Wand of Magic Missile (CL3) 50 Charges that I could take 10 to UMD. I also bought a +1 Chain Shirt to shore up my AC a bit. We run a complicated haggling system that involves a lot of rolling on homemade excel sheets that the DM made. I also managed to wrangle a +1 Spear.
    The Ranger came back with a +1 comp longbow (+2 str) and a belt of giant str +2 he also snagged several cold iron weapons and about 50 cold iron arrows.

    The Paladin…well the Paladin bought a heavy flail +1 and he started the designs of what became known as Das Vagon. In essence it was a covered wagon with a mounted ballista and several enhancements. The whole thing was reinforced with metal bands and had murder holes for archery on all sides. The Ballista was designed to rotate using a system of gears. He even built in storage for extra wheels. He literally built blueprints for the thing and took a Warhammer 40K Land Raider kit and heavily modded it for a scale model in game. Absolutely bad ass.

    With our new found equipment and a commitment for the Das Vagon to be completed within the week we met back up at the Temple to describe our problem. There was some clunky role playing but we were basically told that they didn’t want the thing in town for longer than a week at which it needed to be removed. They would do everything they could think of in that week to destroy or render it useless. The Paladin made stipulation that they grant him a single request in return we would take the tapestry away from the town and ensure they didn’t suffer from its denizens. We did everything we could think of to burn it, drown it, freeze it, cut it, electrocute it, everything. Holy Water was losing its effectiveness and it was taking more and more to keep it suppressed.

    We did manage to get a lead on the serpent talisman. I was able to discern that it was a Yuan-Ti relic from a tribe that had previously resided deep to the south from where the town was. It was meant as a focus for their sorcerers and enhanced certain Yuan-Ti spells and rituals. We decided to take the tapestry with us and head towards this Yuan-Ti area. We also came up with a stronger band-aid solution for the tapestry. We shoved the damn thing into a bag of holding. We were fairly confident that it wouldn’t work, but it went in with no apparent problems. We collectively decided to watch it for a few days and be leery of the bag opening on its own. Surprisingly it worked flawlessly. As we loaded Das Vagon with our equipment and a stash of holy water the Paladin almost casually requested his favor.

    Paladin: Before we leave I was hoping you could provide us with a blessing.
    High Priest: Of course brother…I will be happy to bless you and your compatriots.
    Paladin:No not us, the Wagon. I want you to make it Hallowed.
    DM: What??
    Paladin: I want them to cast Hallow on our wagon, It will functionally be a travelling temple and shrine for those who honor law and order. For the rider spell Protection from Energy-Fire would be fantastic.

    At this point the Ranger dove right into a movie quote from Ghostbusters where Bill Murray talks about letting the ghost back into the hotel…I damn near lost it at the table. I am also fairly certain that drastic measures would be enacted to destroy Das Vagon but to an extent I think Rule of Cool won out here and we left the town on a travelling Wagon that was Hallowed ground.

    We felt that we know had a decent grasp of the big picture and figured the Yuan Ti would be next best source of information. From what we gathered the Tapestry was at minimum an artifact that allowed creatures to enter the Material Plane in the middle of the night. Our primary goal at this point was finding a way to permanently destroy or render useless the gateway. We thought that the Yuan Ti may have been experimenting to see if a dragon’s breath could destroy the thing as that was historically a main means of destroying artifacts, and that is the real reason they kidnapped the gold.
    We were also pretty stoked that we finally got horses. We had Buttercup still pulling the wagon and we each had light horses that while not fully trained warhorses were at least not overly skittish in combat situations. The Ranger was driving Das Vagon while the Paladin was on top manning the ballista. He would constantly crank the gears to turn it while detecting evil…the Paladar was evolving. As for my squishy self, I was happily inside the wagon with huge cover bonuses and the ability to cast or shoot from the murder holes. We had the horses in a string behind the wagon while travelling.
    We figured ten days in total to reach Yuan Ti territory, and we were maybe eight hours out of town when we caught our first random encounter…
    The Paladin picks up a ping on Detect Evil and from overhead a Manticore launches a rain of spikes at us. Paladin takes 1 spike for 5 damage and the ranger eats 2 for 14 damage. We roll for init Ranger pops off a solid shot 11 damage and Paladin announces he is going to fire the ballista
    DM: With what?

    Paladin: A Ballista bolt…
    DM: Did you actually buy any…
    Paladin: Well ****…ok I move to the wagon front seat to provide cover for the ranger and then hit him for 10 on a LoH
    Me:How far away is it?
    DM: Just under 60 feet.

    That rules out most of my spells so I lob a Magic Missile. I do a little fist pump as I roll 4 4 for 10 damage.
    The Manticore tosses another six spikes and this time he hits the the paladin twice for 15 and the ranger twice for 11
    Next Round Paladin expends remaining 6 points of LoH on ranger and Moves down from the wagon to create distance.
    Ranger fires again this time and rolls a 20…confirms crit with a roll of 16 and drops an 8 and 6 on d8’s, add 10 from bonuses and we got 24 damage, we can see its in rough shape but its not fleeing.

    I lob another missile and put 7 more damage on it. We are pretty confident that if we hit next turn we can kill it. We just want to use as few resources as possible in doing so. I roll a 20 for init and lob a third missile for 6 damage…and the manticore comes plunging from the skies. I use my domain slot CLW on the paladin and expend a charge from wand on Ranger. We hold off on further healing for the time being and search the manticore corpse. I make the connection that the manticore bears a sigil that resembles the sigil on serpent talisman. So we are potentially being targeted. We stop to make camp at that spot as we are approaching evening and we are still worried about demons and other such entities emerging from our bag of holding. We vote against opening it to check and just remain careful through the night. I expend all my Cure Minors and CLW from spont casting as we rotate watch. We are at nominally full resources come morning and pass the night without incident.

    Mid afternoon we come to a small temple that now lies in ruins. From about 150 feet away we see several statues amidst the ruins. For sake of paranoia we convince the ranger to put an arrow into one of the statues from range. It connects and the statue shrieks in outrage and at least four others take wing and are coming in our direction. Ranger confirms they are gargoyles. I throw a sleep on one from range and it fails its save falling the 20 or so feet to the ground. The falling damage actually wakes it up…*Sigh* Ranger puts an arrow into the lead one, the one he already shot and within one round they are in range. As they start to attack us in range of the wagon I smirk and mention…

    Me: Hallow functions as a magic circle against evil…only the one who fell and the one we shot can pass the range of the wagon. The other three will have to wait outside.

    The DM actually references the spell and realizes that only two can approach us. Paladin cracks the injured one with a flail and ranger puts another arrow into it bringing it down. I daze the one that fell and it makes its save. It claws for 5 damage on the ranger. Next turn with spear, flail and bow we all hit the gargoyle. It launches a full attack on the paladin and hits twice for 9. Next turn we kill it. We now have two dead ones and 3 that are chomping at the bit to get closer to us and are stopped by Das Vagon. We form up in a triangle on top of the wagon and the ranger and I send an arrow , magic missile volley at a gargoyle who can now move past the ward, where paladin is waiting to hit him. We repeat this process three times taking some damage from each one, but nothing critical. We creep the wagon up on the ruins and Paladar does a scan for any further gargoyles. Nothing pings so we decide to examine the ruins and gargoyle corpses. No markings or sigils on the gargoyles but we do find some gems and about 500 in gold pieces in a small trunk.

    For sake of not exhausting detail on each encounter I will say this. Over the next eight days we got hit from every side. The 1-3 encounters a day went away and we started getting five and six a day. Das Vagon more or less saved our bacon several times through cover saves and magic circle against evil. We leveled to 5 by the time we got to the outskirts of where we expected the Yuan Ti to be located.

    Paladin stay Paladin(5) and now can summon a heavy warhorse. He rolls a 4 for HP and caps at 54
    Ranger2/Rogue3 he takes a 3rd level in Rogue for sneak attack boost and rolls a 6 for HP bringing him to 45
    Bard 4/Cleric 1, I go to 4th in bard to get 2nd level spells and the limited selection is brutal. I badly want to take Cure Moderate Wounds and Mirror Image, but I also really want Glitterdust, Summon Monster 2 and Hold Person. I go with Glitterdust and Hold Person. I roll a 6 for HP which I am stoked over. I now have 30 HP.
    This was a 13 hour session as we started around 12pm and went til nearly 1 am.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    Third Session 5th-6th:

    Spoiler
    Show
    This session was our first true Dungeon Crawl. Ten days of travel had brought us to a swampy marsh territory with stifling humidity and the stone face of an ancient temple beckoning us to enter. This left us in a very uncomfortable spot. We were going to have to leave the wagon behind. We were very reluctant to do so, and the Paladin most of all. He ended up removing all the wheels from the wagon and loading them in the back. He placed all the necessary pins and bolts into his backpack so that if anyone wanted the wagon they would have to drag it. We crudely camouflaged it and for the first time in ages we had to pay close attention to encumberance and what we were carrying. As we entered we assumed what would become kind of our standard marching order. Ranger in Front, Me in Middle, Paladin in Rear. The temple had a central tunnel that led down and in running about 100 feet.

    50 feet in the Ranger spots a large snake coiled in the shadows of the ceiling in a partially hidden alcove. He fails to spot the one hidden in the alcove behind us, and the paladin takes a surprise attack and get grappled. I snap off a glitterdust at the snake ahead of us and it fails its save. The Ranger does an about face and yanks a pair of short swords and finally two weapon attacks the snake on grappled paladin. The paladin cracks it with flail and takes more constrict damage…to the tune of about 30 damage in two rounds. The glitterdusted snake misses me outright from concealment and take a five foot step away from it. Paladin and ranger both swing away and we argue a bit as to the flanked status. We are given the benefit of the flank and ranger connects with two hits and gets to add 2d6 to each, that ends up being huge as he rolled 15 in sneak attack damage. Enough so that the snake lets the paladin go and launches at the ranger. I grab my spear and jab at the heavily injured snake , and I do a whopping six damage. Next turn the ranger takes a full bite attack and fails his grapple and gets constricted. 1d8+10 x2 is nasty damage for level. Paladin can probably kill it with a solid hit, and he naturally misses. Ranger hits once and the snake looks damn near done. I jab it with the spear and do 7…toppling the snake down. Glitterdusted snake manages to bite me and I horrifically fail the grapple…roll of 6 and roll of 4 +20 and the snake brings me to zero. The Paladin and Ranger maneuver to try and reflank the glittered snake and do about 20 damage.

    Its enough for the snake to leave me unconscious and attack the paladin. He is the only one with armor high enough to have a negilible miss chance and concealment saves his bacon. They manage to kill the second snake but we are in tatters from first encounter.

    Ranger took 30 damage or so, I took 30 and Paladin took about 40. We end up using 15 LoH healing, the paladins CLW, my CLW, and eight charges from the wand. I made one half in character half out comment about a snakeskin belt and three voices all shout NO! at the same time.

    We decide to press our luck and push forth, we examine alcoves for any treasure and come up blank.
    As we press forth we find a lot of abandoned chambers and blood spatter, but little in the way of inhabitants. We end up going down a flight of stairs deeper into the temple and see a room with several large stone chests inside. There is an ornate framework on the door and it seems a bit out of place to have random unguarded treasure. I roll a knowledge arcana check and I make the guess that the chests may in fact be Mimics.

    We set up ranged as best we can and send a Magic Missile, Arrow Volley (paladin even snaps off an arrow from shortbow) and pepper the front chest. And it sprouts arms and starts to charge us. We put a second volley into it then proceed to make reflex saves every time we swing as it starts adhering weapons to itself. We kill the Mimic and after retrieving our weapons I confidently stride into the room to see what the real treasure is.

    Remember what I said at the very beginning about our DM getting trickier over time? That ornate doorway…it was a second Mimic. And it had my ass cold as I walked into the room. I take a full attack and get pummeled. The Ranger start pumping arrows into it and the paladin gets his flail stuck on the mimic he grabs my spear from the ground and that gets stuck to. The Mimic full attacks me again and I drop to -4. It then starts heading for the ranger. Paladin is out of weapons and uses the last 5 of his LoH to get me conscious. The Ranger is back pedaling to avoid a full attack but he is still slam damage. I hit it with a magic missile and the ranger drops it with a his fifth arrow. We burn another eight charges from the wand of CLW and put test arrows into damn near everything in the room before even attempting to open anything. We find 1 item in a secret compartment of a chest, everything else is empty. The one item is an Iron Golem Manual. THAT is a very interesting item.

    As we press further into the bowels of the temple we begin to hear draconic voices. Almost instantly we all recognize the voices as belonging to kobolds. There is a stone room with two kobolds standing sentry they are chatting to themselves about the big find. Each one has a spear and they are carrying slings. We have no clue what type of class levels or tricks they may have so we decide to go in heavy. I lead with a glitterdust in surprise round and Ranger and Paladin both charge with weapons drawn. They both fail their saves and the combat is rather one sided. They do take almost 40 damage each which means they are packing some serious class levels. We back off a bit from the noise of the battle and wait to see if anything is coming for us. Nada. Detect magic shows the spears are magical. They are functionally short spears for us, and the Paladin straps them to his pack. We open the door to the stone room and find a snake woman bound with adamantite chains inside the room. She hisses at us and seems surprised to see us, she also seems to know who we are.

    Yuan Ti: You should be far from here humans…and moldering as corpses by now.
    Me: We do tend to surprise.
    Paladin: We found your tapestry….we thought it would be polite to return it to you.
    Yuan Ti *very depressed*: It is not mine. But it was my responsibility.

    We spend about ten minutes chatting with the bound yuan ti and a lot of the puzzle pieces fall into place. The tapestry is an artifact that brings creatures to our plane. It grows in power with darkness and bright light and holy water can dampen it. For millennia the Yuan Ti kept it hidden and dormant in their temple. A few months back they were attacked by a force of kobolds led by a black dragon that began assaulting their warriors and protective wards. An empire’s wealth was buried under the temple and the dragon discovered this. The Yuan Ti hired drow and a mercenary band of ogres/worgs to remove the tapestry beyond the reach of the dragon. They believed that a gold dragon’s breath may be enough to destroy it, but they were unable to convince or capture one strong enough or old enough to make a full attempt. The Yuan Ti were wiped out and she is the last of their tribe. With adequate resources and some rare materials she tells us that she could temporarily restore the protective barriers that kept it safe. But it would require the focusing talisman to make the wards strong enough.

    ME: We have the talisman and the tapestry but how can we trust you?
    Yuan Ti: Where is the tapestry.
    Ranger: We stuffed it into a bag of holding…
    Yuan TI *enraged*: YOU DID WHAT? YOU FOOLS. It gathers strength from darkness and you put into a space beyond space that is nothing but darkness. There is no light no substance…only the dark of the void between dimensions. It will feed like a man dying of thirst and gorge itself beyond all measure.

    Paladin: So what happens when we open the bag.
    Yuan TI: We all die. Everyone and everything.
    Me: So we don’t open the bag….ever.
    Paladin: Until it decides to open itself. I am inclined to believe you snake woman, even If I bear no trust in your motives truth is truth. We might be willing to provide this talisman and allow you to raise these wards. But we lack the means to break these bonds and we are outnumbered by forces beyond our ability to vanquish.
    Me: If the dragon failed to destroy it, what was your next plan?
    Yuan Ti: Then my minions would have taken it to the Tomb of Coiled Kings.
    Me: Which is?
    Yuan Ti: The burial chambers of our most revered god-kings, the resting place of those who chose undeath to serve the greater causes of our kind. They are amongst the most powerful and most knowledge creatures in existence.
    Paladin: Why didn’t you take it to them to begin with?
    Yuan Ti: My tribe hoped to control it for our own gains. We failed.
    Ranger: How do we get there? Can you tell us?
    Yuan Ti: No, you must bear the mantle of a Sarrukh to gain entrance to the Tomb. A mantle is amongst the wealth our empire held beneath this temple. But the cursed dragons kobolds are constantly excavating and bringing their spoils to their master.

    From that our new short term goal is to try and make it to the treasure chambers and eliminate kobolds and hopefully avoid the dragon.

    Me: So we are carrying a constantly expanding Armageddon in a small bag of holding that may erupt with arcane forces of evil beyond all hope of salvation. We are outnumbered and out equipped by a superior force that knows the terrain of this ancient temple that was the pinnacle of an advanced race that kept this thing under wraps for the better part of 2 thousand years, and we struggled to manage it for a week. And now we are going to pilfer treasure from a dragon that will have us for breakfast without a second thought if it sees us.
    Paladin: Things could be worse…
    Me: How…How could they worse…
    Paladin: There could be more wolves…

    We end up sneaking around very poorly and manage to dispatch four more groups of isolated kobolds as we work deeper inside. I am out of bard spells and have a single Cause Fear prepared as a cleric spell. The paladin has burned both smites and is tapped out of LoH. I have 2 CMW remaing for stabilization and we have 27 charges left on CLW wand. So we are kind of sucking fumes on resources at this point. We are deep in the temple and clearly in an underground segment now. We come to the bottom of a stairwell that opens up to a wide open chamber. The Ranger bellies down as he is the closest to a stealth character we have. Holy Monte Haul Batman…
    The DM hands a sheet to the ranger who reads it over then in an excited voice the ranger comes back to tell us what is in the chamber.

    Ranger: We found the treasure chamber…its half full.
    Us: ok.
    Ranger: I mean like a 200 foot wide 100 foot high circular chamber that is half full with weapons, coins, armor, and everything else you can imagine. There are kobolds filling wheel barrels with treasure and they are bringing it to a chute and just dumping it in.
    Paladin: how far away is the chute…

    Ranger shows us the sketch of the room and it is about sixty feet down and to our left on the wall to the right of where we are. From a rough count there are 30 or so kobolds in the room. We narrowed down they are fifth level variants of fighter and sometimes a caster. So Cause Fear could spook one of them. We can’t take 30 of them though.
    We elect to run a misdirection and then run for the chute.

    Me: One problem…assuming they are dumping this to the dragon’s chamber what do we do if the dragon is there?
    Ranger: Try to reason with him?

    The Paladin summons his mount and its first course of action is run a suicide mission as a distraction for us. He sends the warhorse full speed ahead making as much noise as possible in the opposite direction of the chute. We then all make a break for it and try to dive down the chute. It works almost flawlessly…except for the one kobold who is dumping his barrel down the chute. He starts to raise an alarm and shout and we are told to roll for init.
    The Ranger wins and announces he is going to bull rush the kobold down the chute with us. He is larger and charging and manages to pull it off. The full plate paladin is the slowest and last down the chute. We are told that the Mount is killed off screen and the paladin will now be without a mount for 30 days or until we gain a level, and he gets a -1 to all rolls. Such thoughts would soon be rendered moot. The chute did in fact lead to the dragon’s chamber and by providence or DM fiat the dragon was not home at that time. We more or less just maul the lone kobold and take him out.

    It was the motherload. Our somewhat sub par wealth just went through the roof. We are basically operating under the assumption that Big Daddy Dragon will be back any minute or any round. We are frantically rolling Spot checks to try to line up what we are looking to grab. The Paladin announces armor, longswords, and the mantle are the three things he most fervently searching for. The Ranger is looking for weapons of any kind, and I announce that I am looking for bags,rings and staves.

    On the third round I spot a bag amidst the piles. I hastily pull it open and just start shoveling in everything around it. If it keeps taking it all then its probably a bag of holding, and I score a bullseye from the get go. I am basically just ransacking piles of treasure and shoving them into the bag. On round five we spot the mantle and the paladin snatches it. We are running around like mad men grabbing items as we spot them and on round nine we hear a loud roar…oh **** Big Daddy is back.

    Paladin: I don’t see a way out other than the ceiling.
    Ranger: Im searching for a way out.
    Me: I am going to roll a Spellcraft check to try and blindly identify the school of magic associated with magic items I see. I am looking for Conjuration.
    DM *somewhat confused*: ok DC 30…
    I have eight ranks in Spellcraft and +3 int modifier so a 19 or 20
    I roll a 17…
    DM: Next Round…the roaring is closer and definitely angry
    Ranger and Paladin haven’t found a way out.
    Me: Ok Im doing a bardic knowledge check to see if there is an open of great power that would be known to be my appearance especially anything that can move us. Anything that would be in stories…
    DM:DC 25…
    I have four levels in bard, +3 int and get +2 bonus for knowledge history synergy. So a 16 or higher and I can decipher something.
    I roll an 18. We actually kind of pause in game as the DM consults what is easily a 30 page printout of magic items in the room. After about five minutes of consulting he very slowly says
    DM: You do see a strange Cube that is tickling something at the back of your mind.

    I run to the cube and see six sides with different symbols. I have to make Knowledge Planes and Knowledge Arcana Checks and am able to determine they are symbols of different Planes. I figure out which one is the Material Plane…and I then attempt to activate it blindly.

    UMD on activating blindly is 25…I have eight ranks…a +6 cha bonus and get +1 from one of my domains being Magic. So a ten works. I roll a ten on the dot. And open a random gate to a spot on the Material Plane. I do make an offhand comment about how I caught flack for taking magic as a domain.

    DM: I seriously expected you to all die in that room. I never expected you to pull a runner into the chamber, not for at least 7 more levels.
    Me:So where are we?

    Where we are ends up being 1,000 miles on a d12 for direction away. We roll a d 12 with each number corresponding to the direction of a clock. We roll a 3, pushing us about seven hundred miles east from the town we had set out from. We average about 20-25 miles of travel a day so we are about 40-45 days away from the dragon at our speed. That is where we are geographically in relation to the plot. Where we are in terms of the present is a sprawling dense bog. We are also advanced to level 6. We have no means to really identify magic items and I get the impression that I have used up any discretion in terms of knowledge checks and bardic knowledge. We are just going to have to wing it for a bit longer.

    Paladin decides to take a level of sorcerer as he has decided to take some levels in Dragon Disciple. He takes power attack as his feat and very nearly takes Identify as one of his spells. We have a lot of items and not much to go on in terms of what they do. They could very well be cursed and part of a trap. He takes Shield and True Strike. We are banking on making it a large enough city to identify them and when I hit level 3 cleric I get identify as a domain.

    Ranger2/Rogue3 adds….barbarian he rolls an 11 on the d12 getting to 58. He takes Rapid Shot

    I level up in Cleric which adds BAB, Saves and another spell per day. I roll a 3 so I move to 34. I take leadership as my feat.

    We very badly want to rest and regain spells and abilities, but we are in the middle of unknown territory and in high tension mode. The ranger tells us that this is bad terrain and we shouldn’t stay here long. We elect to push west. An hour of rough travel through bogs and dense marsh and we pick up shapes moving towards us fast. Ranger makes the highest check on a Knowledge Nature and gets a small note passed to him.

    Ranger: So we do have any fire?
    Us:Nope
    Ranger: Well…we got trolls coming in fast

    Smelling dinner we have three trolls heading straight towards us. Paladin cues up a true strike and then preps all his BAB into power attack. Ranger takes shots at range and we all focus on the lead troll at range. As they close paladin cracks the damaged troll for about 20. The ranger drops his bow and goes for both short swords and then goes into a rage and attacks damaged troll. The lead troll engages paladin, one goes for ranger and one comes for me. We start taking claws attacks, and in second melee round they drop one troll then move to flank the one on me. Sneak attack damage is making a big difference coupled with rage str bonus. We are taking some nasty damage but we get the second troll down. I am dipping real low in health and the third troll has maybe two or three rounds left in him.

    Paladin: I’m going to try and trip him. I need to beat him by 8…
    Dm rolls a 5 Paladin rolls a 14…and we have a tripped prone troll. I dance back and drop spear and grab wand to use a CLW on myself. The ranger and paladin wreck it as it tries to get up. We end up burning another 11 charges from the wand and are down to about 15. We spend four more to get everyone back to full health and make sure all three trolls are dead.

    We get attacked by three more groups of trolls two sets of 2 and a set of 3. We mostly end up fighting in an organized retreat trying to pepper them at range and isolate one at a time. We still burn seven more charges from the wand and are getting very desperate. We are performing coup de grace on the dead trolls but are still leery of them regenerating back up since we have no fire. Its deep into the night and at this point our characters have been going for about 19 hours, in real world time we are at about 1am. The swamp is starting to thin out and the ranger thinks we are close to breaking through to more open ground with hopefully less trolls. When we come to the edge of the bog and see lights from a house in the distance we cheer in character and out. We end up covering about five miles at a hustle to the lights in distance. It’s a real fringe territory hunting lodge. We are spotted and several rough looking swamp folk with crossbows bark out orders to stop. Going back and forth a bit they are willing to let us sleep at their lodge for the night but they want my cloak. It seems that white wolf fur is a rare thing at the swamp’s edge. I offer them a 500gp gem instead. The ranger practically chokes and the paladin shakes his head. What can I say, I didn’t want to part with my cloak…

    The swamp lodge hotel ends up our home for 3 days. We fully rest up and try to take stock of what we grabbed from the dragon’s lair. There is a moment of sheer panic when I open the bag of holding and start pulling everything out, cause a large rolled up tapestry comes out…

    Paladin: What in Torm’s name are you doing??? You opened the Armageddon bag???
    Me: No you are carrying that bag…
    Ranger: So now there are two tapestries…?
    DM: Why don’t you unroll it.
    So we unroll it and its about 5 feet by 10 feet. I prep all my 0 level slots as Detect Magic and at least manage to sort everything by strength of aura. Inside the bag of holding we kind a very ornate dark cherry hard wood case that looks almost like a folding wardrobe. When opened up it has a veritable kit of items. There is a pair of rings, a rod a staff and a longsword. We end up with the following list:

    Ring1: Wardrobe Ring-strong conjuration
    Ring2:Wardrobe Ring-mod evo
    Ring3:Faint trans
    Staff:Wardrobe-mod evo
    Rod:Wardrobe-strong trans
    Amulet-moderate trans
    Belt-strong trans
    Carpet-Mod Trans
    Cube-strong conj
    A second Iron Golem Manual
    Bag of Holding Type3-we just stuffed it til it couldn’t take anymore and came to conclusion that way
    Headband-strong
    Longsword 1:Wardrobe-mod evo
    Longsword2:mod
    Greatsword:mod
    Comp Shortbow: Too much for any of us to draw strong
    Morningstar:mod/strong

    We are assuming there is some real horsepower in there but the DM is not budging without Identify. For fun I invite anyway to go through core rule for DM guide and try to fill in the blanks of what each item might be from these descriptions. We started to putz around with this a bit but ended up just deciding it was worth the wait. We ended the session here at about 3am staring down a pile of swag and surrounded by swamp people.


    4th Session:

    Spoiler
    Show
    We start our fourth session with the swamp people and are trying to fill in the world map so to speak. Ideally we need a large city and the nearest the better. They direct us to a massive city amongst the world’s largest 10 days southwest from where we are. Somewhere around two hours after we leave the hunting lodge we hear a ton of noise and loud hisses coming from behind us. The terrain is sparse forest and mostly open ground. The Ranger and I split and grab some cover behind trees with the paladin waiting in the middle. I have my wand of magic missiles at the ready and for what seems like the first time in ages I have a full compliment of spells. Driving six giant crocodiles are four of the trapper/hunters we just rested up with. The trappers are all carrying bows with knocked arrows.

    Me: Are you f-ing kidding me?
    DM: Was that in character or out?
    All three of us in unison: Both

    They are close enough that I can just about hit all four trappers with a glitterdust and maybe catch a croc. We hastily throw out a slightly different battle plan. I am going to drop an obscuring mist on the position we are in after glitterdusting the trappers. The Ranger and I are then going to peel off in separate directions and plink the crocodiles from range while the paladin goes solo against the trappers. The ranger and I spend about four rounds dropping arrows and magic missiles on crocodiles while the paladin closes range with four blind trappers, he is scoring a fair amount of AOO’s as are dropping bows and grabbing melee weapons. He kills two trappers before the glitterdust wears off and we have aggravated but not killed any of the crocs.

    They elect to surrender and one of them blows a whistle which causes the crocodiles to back down and basically defend the squares they occupy.
    Their leader was apparently one of the two that was killed and he intimidated the other three into following his plans to bushwhack us. They tell us that he overheard our assessment of the items we found and figured it was worth the risk to ambush us and try to get the magic items.

    I decide to make what I feel is a rather convincing bluff check…

    Me: In my hand I hold a cube…each side of this cube corresponds to a different plane of existence. With the press of my finger I can open a gateway to say… the Plane of Fire, or Limbo…or maybe even the Abyss. It would take minimal effort to shove both of you through the gate and simply amuse myself with the thoughts of what might happen. However…I could decide to let this matter rest as is…IF…you tell me whether or not there is actually a city in this direction. Tell me the truth and you can head back to your swamp. Lie to me and we will let fate decide your final resting place.
    Everything I said is true…each side goes to a different plane and I while I have a general idea of which side is which, I don’t actually know.

    The youngest one starts stammering and saying that they were telling the truth. The second one is in shock. The Paladin is in favor of binding them and bringing them to local magistrates. The ranger just keeps eying the crocodiles. We do a quick huddle and decide to leave them, prisoners is too much work with our limited resources. As we are preparing to leave the younger one, the one that talked asks if he can go with us. Says his name is Boy…they never gave him a different name and he has always wanted to see a real city and they never let him off the countryside. I ask what level the kid is and what skills he has. DM says he is level 2 1 level of ranger and 1 of barbarian but without rage. He has ranks in Handle Animal, Craft Trapmaking Spot and Profession Hunter/Trapper. I tell him that I would be willing to take him along providing he can earn his keep. I promise him hard work, certain peril and a fair and generous hand for diligent service.

    And lo it was on the fifth day of the sixth level that I Caramis Wolfsbane acquired my first follower. A second level woodsman…

    Boy had mediocre stats, 12 str 11 Con Dex 12 Int 9 Wis 12 Cha 9 he pretty much close to baseline with elevated dex and str from hard work and elevated wis from being self reliant and living off the land. He had Skill Focus Craft Trapmaking as his level 1 feat and Track as his human feat.

    At this point you may be asking yourselves why I originally alluded to this being an Adversarial Process. At this point we are gaining levels, getting treasure and while some of the encounters are outlandish for the level and group make up we have gotten very good discretion in terms of rules or skills going our way, and for the most part surprise has worked in our favor where it wouldn’t always do so. We much later found out this was because we had thrown the DM for a loop by tossing the tapestry in the Bag Of Holding and disrupting his plans, and then later we disrupted him again by escaping the dragon’s treasure room. I will add the original plans as an appendix to the end of this campaign.

    The party gets back on the road with all three of us keeping an eye on Boy, but we start making good time and for several hours we run into little trouble. The terrain gives way from scrubland loose forest to open plains and with the change in scenery comes a new encounter.

    The Ranger hears heavy panting and running but we can’t see anything. From seemingly out of thin air a Web drops onto our group and a cackling gnome riding a dire weasel loses its invisibility as it streaks by us in a flash. As soon as the web lands from almost 350 feet away a pair of hill giants puts two boulders into the air heading towards our pinned position.
    All three of us: Oh ****…

    The Paladin makes his reflex save and the rest of us fail, so he can move a bit, but not quickly. I take a boulder for 12 damage and the ranger has one veeerrrry nearly take his head off, it just misses and then careens away. Next round the cackling gnome must have won init because he chucks a flaming sphere at us then turns invisible again.

    Paladin: Did he just drop two spells in one round?
    DM: Yep…
    All three of us: OH ****

    Ranger tries to snap off a pair of arrows and first misses due to concealment, second just stops dead in it’s tracks in mid air. Paladin gets free of the Web effect with five foot move and double moves to try and get close to the gnome. I ready an action to Hold Person the gnome once I can see him. Ranger gets hit with flaming sphere damage and burning damage from the web. Then more boulders come in. The paladin eats one, and I get missed by the second. As im stuck in a now burning web where a rolling ball of fire is heading towards me the gnome reappears to cast another spell…and I try to Hold Person the little bugger…We respectfully request an open roll for it’s Will save…and I swear I have never a 20 sider roll longer and wobble to settle on a 20. FML. The Web gets consumed and we try to scatter. The paladin managed to get within range of the gnome and snaps off a trip attempt. Small size creature with unsteady footing (mounted) and he yanks the little bugger off it’s weasel. Boy puts an arrow into the weasel. The hill giants start running towards us and we assume they ran out of rocks. The ranger rips both shortswords free and charges the prone gnome for a single sneak attack.

    I toss a CLW on myself and move towards the gnome as well.
    The ranger and Paladin just absolutely unload on the gnome who just eats sneak attack and power attack damage like it’s nothing. As the giants get within range I cast hideous laughter on 1 and it fails, then falls to the ground laughing hysterically. The second manages to close range and bull rushes the Paladin off the gnome with a charge. The gnome eats an AOO from the ranger as it casts a spell in melee range then Teleports away. Hill giant is flanked and starts taking sneak attack damage from the ranger and gets some solid hits from paladin. I lob magic missiles at it as the dire weasel nips at paladin. Ranger eats a full attack from club and gets knocked down to single digit hps. Boy tries to keep shooting the weasel, the only thing he gets any bonuses against since his favored enemy is animals but without precise shot he has crap bonuses shooting into melee.

    We manage to drop the active hill giant but he knocks the ranger into negatives and cleaves the paladin for substantial damage. Hideous Laughter is about gone on 2nd giant and Paladin eats an AOO from weasel to LoH the ranger for everything he has. I daze the Dire Weasel to give the two warriors a chance to get up on 2nd giant. This frees up the Boy to shoot freely and he wounds the weasel enough for it run off. I put a CLW on the ranger to get him in the 20’s as the second giant stands up. Ranger and Paladin both take AOO, and then I try to renew the hideous laughter to buy more time. It passes save and clobbers ranger who is now back to 10 or so. I get one more hideous laughter out and this time I connect. Ranger steps back and Paladin steps back. Paladin burns his CLW on self and I burn 3 rounds worth from my spells and wand on both ranger and paladin. Found before the laughter wears off Paladin cues up a True Strike. I start inspire courage and Paladin rocks out a full power attack/smite evil/inspire courage boosted AOO. The ranger lands sneak attack damage and the giant just gets absolutely rocked. He lasts another round but we drop him and are once again looking at depleted resources with our second encounter of the day. I get us back nearly to full health but we have 1 charge left on wand and paladin and I are out of healing spells. I have some zero level cmw available and the paladin has a 1st level spell…we are out of smite evil for what meager boost that is. Upon closer examination the giants are dressed in remarkably strange clothes, like satin and silk strange, and their clubs are sculpted with bass relief and intaglios.

    Ranger: I think
    …I think they actually tried to brush their hair.
    Paladin: I have NEVER even heard of giants that acted this way.
    Boy(through DM): We should probably follow the weasel back home…
    All three of us: Wait what?
    Boy: Them giants didn’t pop out of thin air…they must have walked here, and when we train up riding animals they learn to go home almost from the get go. Thar weasel prolly just limped back to wherever they came from.
    Me: Do we want to go follow the wild cackling gnome that was tossing two spells a round at us?
    Paladin: He is injured and used up spells just like us, chances are these giants were the best offense he carried we may be able to catch him off guard.
    Me: And if he is still feeling psychotic?
    Paladin: You could always try to reason with him…
    Me: Like with the dragon?
    Paladin:Gnomes are far different from dragon from what im told
    Boy(through DM): Yeah and they are much better in stew.

    The trail to follow the weasel is surprisingly easy to pick up with two trackers and within an hour we have tracked it a small valley with a squat stone tower. It was surrounded with immaculate gardens,ornate flower beds, and flowing banners dripping all over the walls. Half a dozen gnomes were gardening in the flower beds and a Hill Giant was holding an enormous watering can and watering the plants. Four gargoyles sat on the four corners of the tower, they were all wearing cherubic type toga’s and were obviously posing in uncomfortable positions like bizarre cupids. A Stone Giant in full butler regalia exited the tower’s entrance and starting distributing drinks to the workers.

    Me:Well…this is certainly not what I was expecting…
    Paladin: Maybe we tracked back to the wrong place.
    As he said this the DM told us we could see the dire weasel limping in through the front door. Shortly after the weasel went inside a pair of goblins in absolutely shining plate armor rode out on mastiffs bearing a white flag on the end of a pole, they immediately headed in our direction.
    Paladin: I guess they wish to parley…
    Ranger: This is just seriously strange.
    Paladin: Be alert, but polite. Perhaps we CAN reason this out. It would be nice to actually talk to someone instead of killing them for once. So far about the only thing we met that hasn’t ended up dead is the serpent priestess Yuan TI…

    The goblins ride up to us and stop a respectful distance…in somewhat gritty Common they beckon us to meet with their master and discuss reparations for the earlier inconvenience.

    Me: Inconvenience! A half crazed wizard burst from nowhere to engulf us in flames while giants hurled boulders at us.
    Goblin Herald: Full crazed to be accurate, but we can explain…please follow
    Ranger: I’m game. Based on the exterior of this tower I can’t wait to see the inside.

    The party follows the two heralds into the stone tower and the inside is positively immaculate. A testament to opulence and splendor. The Stone Giant offers us refreshments which we somewhat cautiously accept. The goblins drink first and we follow suit. It is a type of goodberry punch that has curative effects and grants us an additional 8 temp hps. The inside of the tower seems impossibly large compared to the outside and from a staircase that ascends the center of a massive hall the gnome we saw earlier descends. He is now dressed in the most expensive silks you could imagine and he is carrying his arm in a sling and walking with a limp.

    Gnome: Reginald Barchester Covington Winthrop the 4th, master of this tower and humbled host to you our honored guest…if you would but give me the honor of your names I will happily seek to make recompense for my earlier and unfortunate behavior….
    Me: Caramis Wolfsbane…
    Paladin: Kyr Prentice…paladin in service to Torm
    Ranger: Emilio Miller…
    Ranger out of character: Feels weird to actually use our character names…
    Reggie: Splendid I am eager to hear the details of your exploits and what brings you to our territory. But first I do sincerely apologize. I am afflicted with a curse that I have been unable to dispel, and on occasion it seizes control of my normally benign nature and causes these dreadful outbursts. I am truly sorry for you coming under peril due to my condition and would happily offer you the sum of 10,000 gold as a means of showing my repentance. I don’t suppose that Bernard and Ernst followed you back did they?
    Paladin: Who?
    Reggie: Bernard and Ernst the two large hill giants that were at my side.
    The three of us have an uncomfortable moment of wondering what happens when we explain they are dead…
    Paladin: I am somewhat pained to say that they fought bravely and fiercely but ultimately in defense of our own lives, we caused them to lose their own. They must have been extremely loyal to have fought so vigorously.
    Reggie: That is sad news indeed. I supposed another donation to the church of Waukeen for payment to resurrect them will be in order. Fonzworth!
    Fonzworth is the Stone Giant butler and he bows to the gnome and awaits instructions.
    Reggie: Hitch a wagon up and recover our two brothers, the priests of Waukeen will attend to them. Now…can I invite you to join me for dinner?
    Paladin: We are grateful for the offer of monetary recompense and for the meal which I am sure will be exquisite. I speak on behalf of my companions when we say we would love to stay for dinner, but we can’t accept money. If you did however have the means through which to identify properties of enchanted items that would be a wonderful boon…
    Reggie: I am afraid that divination is amongst the disciplines that I have forsworn.
    Me ooc: Damnit…..
    …but I may have a scroll or two that could be put to use in such a fashion.

    That is the single best news we have heard in ages, we have a bag full of items that have been burning a whole in our pockets for days now and we can’t be safe that they aren’t cursed and we have little clue on their function. We are given the ability through scrolls to identify 3 items, we are pretty confident the carpet is a carpet of flying, we can’t think of or find a single other magic carpet. We ultimately elect to identify the rod hoping it could be a metamagic rod, the greatsword, and the bow. The greatsword turns out to be a frostbrand which is rather cool and a definite two hander upgrade. The paladin has all but given up on tripping at this point and it seems like a good fit for him. The bow through trial and error with the giant is determined to be a +3comp shortbow (+5str) of speed. The ranger nearly drools over this but he lacks the strength to draw it. We have a magic belt that could very well be a belt of giant str and an upgrade for him , but no way to identify it yet. The rod…is a rod of flame extinguishing. *sigh*

    Reggie the sometimes psychotic gnome wizard tells us how he angered a druid with his excessive spending and was afflicted with bouts of pure insanity. He had tried dispelling, remove curse and half a dozen other means including a sizeable amount on procuring a wish to remove it to no avail. He had gathered several unusual members of their collective race who now lived a mostly good life. They were very grateful for a chance to be something other than fodder for stronger members of their race and all were loyal to a fault. He basically ran a valley of misfit toys turned good.

    We are a bit leery but decide to share a palace sized single bedroom and stay the night. We still set up a watch and rotate through the night. Come morning we begin our farewells to our bizarre host and his strange retinue when one of the goblin heralds comes running into the dining hall in sheer panic.

    Herald: The Green Man is coming! And he brought every troll for a hundred leagues with him!
    Reggie: That is peculiar, we did pay him his monthly sum for keeping the trolls in the swamp didn’t we?
    One of the gnomes grabs a ledger and confirms that they did in fact pay him.
    Reggie: I didn’t kill any trolls during my little tiff did I?
    Me: Um, why would killing trolls be bad?
    Reggie: Oh, its just that the druid who cursed me controls the trolls in this region and I have been paying him protection money for nearly 10 years now to keep them in the swamp, in return he promised to someday cure me. Part of our agreement was that if he found his trolls murdered he would wipe me from the earth and grind my bones to dust.
    All of this was delivered to us with cheer and apathy.
    Ranger: Did I hear this right? There is a mafia-oso druid who is shaking down people for protection money then using trolls as button men? How much weirder can things get
    Paladin: Well we did kill trolls…
    Me: they tried to eat us…
    Paladin: This Green Man probably doesn’t care. All men who try these types of schemes always grow greedy and try to push for more. I am amazed that our host has managed to gather such wealth and still remain so gullible.
    Exiting the tower we find out just how bad things are. There are nearly a hundred trolls gathering at the mouth of the valley and at their forefront is a seven foot tall gaunt elf with moss growing in his tangled hair. A pair of dire bears at his side.

    At this point I actually slammed my pencil at the table and groaned holding my head in my hands. We got dozens of trolls descending on us and we just identified a rod of flame extinguishing…and a sword that puts out magical fires. *sigh*

    The group and I looked at the clock and decided we would set up a gameplan and then pick up events at the next session. The DM gave us a full breakdown of the gnome’s forces and the resources he could put available. At our disposal:

    Warm Bodies:
    Reggie: 9th level gnome wizard (barred schools divination and necromancy) specialist evocation. Reggie had a Rod of Lesser Metamagic Quicken Spell, a Wand of Web CL 9th and boots of teleportation. He also had decent bracers of armor +5 and a huge Con of 29…he used his massive wealth to acquire a +5 manual.
    Four standard chaotic good gargoyles
    Six gnomes all with 2 levels of expert (a lawyer, an accountant, a sculptor, a decorator, a carpenter and a tailor)
    A hill giant named Oscar…also chaotic good
    2 Goblin Heralds (Fighter 4) with Mounted Combat and lances…basically chargers
    Two Hill Giants and a Stone Giant that are currently MIA and a long shot to potentially return tonight but very likely by the middle of day the next day.
    A stone tower with ample interior resources and decent defenses. Walls are thick and 30 feet high with crenallations and good cover. The gate is the weak point and could be breached. There is no moat to speak of or siege type equipment.
    Gear:
    Wand of Bulls Strength 9 charges at CL 9
    Wand of Acid Arrow 40 Charges CL 9
    2 scrolls of Wall of Fire CL 9
    12 Potions of Cure Moderate Wounds CL 6
    I really wish there was more to add to the list but this is what we were given. There a couple options as we see it…
    Pop the Material Plane Side of the cube and roll the dice to see what happens. That is assuming we can get it to work.
    Try to kickstart the Carpet of Flying and fly out if we can somehow get the weights right. Paladin is opposed to leaving good folk behind to be massacred
    Make a break for it and run like hell
    Hold the line and get some giants as reinforcements and try to resist an overwhelming force that has fast healing, druid support and strength in numbers
    Or…”try to reason with them”

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    I have to say, this stuff is gold. I about died at Das Vagon. :) keep it coming

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    Fifth Session (6th to 8th):

    Spoiler
    Show
    Well…we didn’t reason with them, we decided to do the dumbest thing possible and try to defend the keep against 100 trolls and a druid. Our gameplan was for the gnome to load up on fire spells and use the gate leading into the keep as a chokepoint and throw Walls of Fire when we desperately needed to regroup. We put the unidentified belt on the ranger and hoped it would lead to a bigger strength boost. We stockpiled a bunch of heavier objects on the roof and assigned the gargoygles the duty to bombard the trolls from the air. The gnomes were put to work building crude barricades inside the tower where we could fall back. We put Boy, the Ranger and Reggie on the Roof. The paladin, hill giant and two goblins were tasked with holding the doorway. I stayed with the giant and paladin to provide support as healing and crowd control. We were banking on the belt being a higher strength bonus and hopefully with bulls strength the ranger could use the bigger bow and passdown his bow to the Boy.

    We were allowed to re-pick spells for the day in prepation of what we expected to be a pitched battle.

    The gnome got prepped with: 5 Enlarge Person and 1 magic missile for 1st level. Enlarge Person and Bulls Strength would definitely get ranger to 20 str and we figured same thing wouldn’t hurt on paladin either.
    2nd Level:6 Scorching Rays
    3rd: 5 Fireballs
    4th 3 Walls of Fire
    5th 2 Walls of Force
    We loaded him up for full blown explosive goodness and some walls to slow down trolls with walls of force to maybe set up a trap or stop them cold.
    The two goblins get hit with bulls strength from the wand as does the paladin when the trolls first charge. The gnome high tails it to the roof and gets Ranger. First wave of trolls is about 20 in total coming from 500 feet or so. At a flat out run the trolls are going to need 4 rounds to get to us. That means I can get four acid arrows in the air or the gnome can get four fireballs in the air before they get to us. Ranger can take long shots with penalties but with speed and rapid shot he can drop a lot of arrows now. The gnome drops a pair of fireballs at range and we pepper them with arrows. As they close the gnome scrolls out a Wall of Fire in front of the first group. Then can’t slow down and have to run full through it, none are outright killed from the initial volleys but they are all banged up bad and most don’t last more than two rounds. The goblins fight the first wave from horseback and mostly maneuver to get the paladin flanks. It’s somewhat counter intuitive but the cold damage from the frostbrand makes a formidable difference. The Hill Giant cracks skulls and for the most part I plop a few magic missiles and toss a CLW on the hill giant who ate the most damage.

    The Green Man waits out the fire wall before having a second group of trolls start heading towards the keep. These are strung out and spaced instead of being bunched together and this time there are only 10 of them. Ranger and Boy focus on the one on far left and I launch a pair of acid arrows at the straggler far right. The goblins get green lights to take a charge at the center troll then they split left and right to swing around for the ones on the corners. They pull off two sort of figure eights to work back to the wall for when they all approach. Triple damage from a lance is pretty sweet and the troll getting peppered by ranger goes down. We end up with six at melee range and the gnome starts dropping some nasty scorching rays. We take moderate damage and take out the remaining wounds ones.

    There is a lot of furious arm waving and posturing from the distance and for several hours we sit tight as nothing happens. It becomes apparent to us that the “rush and claw” method is no longer going to be relied on. As we approach evening the trolls are seen bringing in additional forces and gathering rocks, timber and lots of hides. Before nightfall we see them assembling crude tower shields and battering rams along with large and nasty looking slings and spears. Perhaps scarier is the sudden chanting and roaring as a MASSIVE troll with armor and a wicked looking falchion enters the valley horizon. The troll voices all start a thundering chant of “Puxdool! Puxdool! Puxdool!”

    We settle in for a long and tense night, and try to figure out for next step. The good news is that we advance to level 7. That opens up some additional options for the morning. Paladin takes a level in Dragon Disciple which bumps him to two attacks per round and gives him a slight edge in natural armor. He rolls an 8 and gains some solid health.

    The Ranger/Rogue/Barbarian adds a level of fighter…he takes improved two weapon fighting as fighter bonus feat and rolls a whopping 4 for hps.
    I go to Bard 4/Cleric3 and pick up level 2 cleric spells and I can now cast Identify as my domain slot. Never has lack of a level 1 spell been so vexing. Roll an 8 for hps and do a small in seat happy dance. I also get some staggering news about future levels. I got a greenlight to take Sublime Chord as a prestige class. So if I take Mystic Theurge as my 8th,9th,and 10th levels I can then take Sublime Chord as my 11th, then go back to MT and “level” as a chord. Oh my that is huge news in a limited rules campaign. I also get a greenlight to take Practiced Spellcaster which will help immensely.
    The following morning we see that the trolls and the Green Man have been busy little bees. There is a line of crude hide covered tower shields assembled along with a turtle. A battering ram covered with soaked hides and timber. There is also a line of trolls forming up with javelins and slings, at the center of this all is the large troll Puxdool who we can hear from the tower. He is barking out orders to move faster and threatening to kill the slowest workers. The Green Man is following him around like a puppy. The gang is setting up in a similar fashion to the day before when the Green Man, The troll captain, and the two dire bears comes to about the 300 foot range holding a white flag.

    Paladin: I think they want to talk
    Me: I’m pretty sure they want to kill Reggie, but they think talking will save them time.
    Paladin: Well yeah that is what I meant.
    Because we are foolhardy and PC’s we of course leave the confines of a secured and defensible position to ride out and treat with superior forces in open territory.
    Green Man: My lord and liege demands the surrender of the accursed wizard and orders you to give him into our possession to answer for his crimes.
    Me: Who is your lord?
    Puxdool: I am.

    Up close the troll is bad news, he is clearer larger than the rest of the trolls and he speaks stronger giant than they do. He is also wearing armor and bears an absolutely wicked falchion.

    Me: Well we are not opposed to giving up the gnome depending on your terms. He does seem a bit dangerous.
    Paladin (as an aside): Not opposed?
    I gesture to “go with it” and proceed to say “What crimes has he commited? And what shall be his fate?”
    Puxdool: He has killed five of my tribe, one of whom was my offspring and protégé. I will strip the flesh from his tiny frame and season our cookpots with the marrow of his bones.
    Me: So not a stern warning?
    Green Man: I can think of no warning sterner.
    Paladin: And if he is innocent of these charges?
    Puxdool: He is not. The druid has ways of knowing when the curse is upon him and it was the day my heir was killed.

    And in what has to be the worst timing possible the Bag Of Holding that the tapestry is inside starts glowing a bright red and smoke starts billowing forth…
    Green Man: What trickery is this?

    The paladin just shouts “Run!” and we scatter. In midstride the bag of holding slips free from the paladin and just sits there in mid air, lightning and thunder swirl above it and a massive groan loud enough to make us stumble fills the valley a swirling vortex of oh holy **** that can’t be good rips a hole in the sky and the Green Man, Puxdool , and the two Dire Bears get sucked into it in an instant and then everything goes quiet and the bag falls to the ground sealed shut. The paladin does an about face and grabs it then we hightail it back to the tower as the trolls forces start to rouse themselves for all out attack.

    Me: Well that was a neat trick.
    Ranger: We did that on purpose?
    Paladin: I am certain we didn’t, and that can’t bode well for the future.
    As the three of us run back to the keep Reggie greets us with a smile and pat on the back “nice trick…wish I knew that one”

    All hell broke loose at that point. We had taken out 30 trolls and there was now at least another hundred outside the walls. All with some means of cover and now armed with missile weapons. All one hundred formed up in thin ranks and just started stampeding for the tower. We gave up all pretense of holding outside the keep and just barred the door as best we could. The Hill Giant and Paladin along with the gnomes and goblins just kept piling up stuff on the door to try and hold it fast. Reggie, the ranger and I myself started unloading every ranged resource we had at the oncoming horde. The gargs we sent up as high as they could reasonably go and had them start dropping makeshift bombs.

    To get height and avoid javelins and slings they could only manage a rock or stone every 3 rounds that did 3d6 from falling damage. They basically got a % chance to hit based on target density and for the most part they added peripheral damage and not enough to be game changing. We organized a code word so that if things got dicey they would descend to melee range and start slicing and dicing. I had about 38 charges on the Wand of Acid Arrow, I burned the thing out. Whenever they bunched up even a little bit the gnome would drop a fireball and we kept a wall of fire up around the front gate as best as possible. The trolls were fighting like absolute berserkers and they took the fire damage as almost a cost of doing business. We ate a lot of damage from thrown weapons and after about 20 rounds the front door starting giving way.

    The inside of the tower had a pair of parapets to either side of the door. The Ranger set up at the window of one parapet inside the keep and started peppering the trolls working there way through the gaps in the door while I worked on them from the other window parapet. Reggie kept sniping from atop the tower but he was almost out of spells. I gave him the magic missile wand and kept plugging with the acid arrows. Our fourth wall of fire was burning at the entrance and we had severely wounded or killed 30+ trolls, but we were running out of spells and walls. We dropped a wall of force and dropped back to regroup, we chugged 8 of our 12 potions and the paladin and I used a few CLW spells. We had 60+ trolls remaining all injured with fire and acid and we were almost out of resources. Gnome had a Scorching Ray and a Wall of Fire, and 1 Wall of Force left. I had used everything but my cantrips and a level 1 bard spell. I had a 2nd level cleric domain slot for Cure Mod Wounds and the Paladin had his lay of hands remaining. The gnome had several hundred arrows for us to use, but even those were dipping below the 100 mark now that we were dropping 3 or 4 a round with the Boy shooting too.

    A loud crunching noise from outside got our attention and Boy took a few steps down the parapet…

    Boy: There are a couple giants out there lobbing some of them shields and other stuff at the trolls!

    Reinforcements! And there was much rejoicing. Most of the trolls turned to attack the targets they could reach and we decided to push forth and try to punch through the middle to join them. The Hill Giant formed up at the head of a wedge with the Paladin to his left and ranger to the right. The goblin knights split to either side with me and Reggie in the middle. We punched through the center group at the gate as the wall of fire expired and we took off heading for the three giants. The Gargs stop their bombing runs and joined up with us and the goblin knights were set loose In the field to snipe charges where they could. First couple rounds go ok. Then the goblins get bull rushed off their mounts and then swarmed and killed. The little buggers were doing good damage and losing two warm bodies hurt. We lose the hill giant despite trying to keep him healed and the paladin starts taking the brunt of damage. We do manage to kill about 3-4 trolls a round as most are injured good with fire and acid. But they are taking big chunks out of us and we lose 3 of the 4 gargoyles. Me and Reggie start eating some missile damage and Paladin can’t get any breathing room. One of the newly resurrected giants goes down and the Stone Giant (who is in a fencing stance and using a rapier) starts to get overwhelmed.

    All told we are something like 50 rounds into combat and we spent every charge on our wands and every scroll. I am down to jabbing things with a spear and keeping an open for people that fall and need to be stabilized.
    The Stone Giant kills a troll on the Paladin and he finally gets free space to use a full LoH on himself. We remember the Wand of Web and with the trolls strength its not a major deterrent but we lob some webs at isolated trolls and that slows them down some. Several of the trolls begin limping off, generally the ones most damaged by fire and we survey the battlemat and count 7 still engaging. The Paladin and Ranger are both in single digit health and Im at like 18. The gnome has eaten a lot of damage and is down to about 15. Boy is knocked out but not dead and both hill giants are down, maybe dead. The Stone Giant is sucking fumes on health and we have one gargoyle left. We divvy up the last 3 potions and Paladin, Ranger and Stone Giant all drink one. We are working hard to avoid full attacks on us and trying to maneuver flanks. Ranger eats a few more hits and drops into negatives, -2. I risk an AOO to toss a Cure minor with the hopes of expending a second next round and getting him conscious. Stone Giant takes two hits and is wobbly on it’s feet. We kill two more trolls and have five left. Paladin kills one next round and then is hit and brought to 3 hps.

    We are agonizing over every roll at this point and Reggie is reduced to using a sling for next to nothing in damage, but every little bit could count at this point. Fast Healing on the trolls is brutal with no more fire damage available. Reggie gets isolated and ripped apart by 2 trolls. Ranger gets up and managed a full attack on a troll and garg finishes it off. That is just enough to swing things in our favor. Paladin get knocked to negative 6 and I use last Cure Minor to stabilize him. The ranger starts backing up and shooting one arrow a round. Remaining Garg goes down and the Stone Giant dispatches another with a crit. I eat a Cleave attack and am dropped to 6. Remaining two trolls are killed and he are left with an empty battlefield. There are about a dozen trolls fleeing, but in total we killed 86 trolls…

    As a final tally the survivors of this battle were the Stone Giant-Fonzsworth, the Boy, and Ernst the Hill Giant. Paladin finished the battle at -5 with no spells or LoH left, Ranger finished at 1 health, and I finished with absolutely nothing left in terms of resources and 6 hps. Fonzsworth assures us that Reggie will be resurrected shortly and that we should await his return at the Keep. The gnomes meet us back at the keep and we re-barricade the door. In character and at the table we were completely exhausted at this point. I mean just spent. We started first wave of trolls at about 11:30 AM and the collective battles took us literally all day. On the plus side we didn’t spend long at level 7, the conclusion of this encounter put us at level 8.

    Paladin takes another level of Dragon Disciple and gains a bonus spell and str boost on top of BAB. He rolls a 10 for health…which is huge.

    Ranger takes another level of fighter bringing him to Ranger2/Rogue3/Barbarian1/Fighter2 he takes Weapon Focus:Swords

    I take a level of Mystic Theurge…I take Cure Light Wounds and Cure Moderate Wounds as my two new bard spells. I can now cast Identify as my domain spell and DM gives us the boon of letting me prepare in in my normal slots too. We stay defensive minded for a full day and when nothing rears itself at the valley mouth or from the bag I load up on Identify. What I’m about to say may shock you and it nearly got the table flipped at our DM. Here is our fully identified item list…

    Ring1: Wardrobe Ring-Ring of Spell Storing
    Ring2:Wardrobe Ring-Ring of Elemental Command-Fire
    Ring3:Ring of Feather Falling
    Staff:Wardrobe-Staff of Fire (48 charges)
    Rod:Wardrobe-Rod of Flame Extinguishing (pre-troll battles)
    Amulet-Amulet of Natural Armor+3
    Belt-Belt of Giant Str+6
    Carpet-Carpet of Flying (duh-but now we have activation word)
    Cube-Cubic Gate (Material Plane, Limo, Plane of Earth, Plane of Earth, Plane of Water, Plane of Air)
    A second Iron Golem Manual
    Bag of Holding Type3-we just stuffed it til it couldn’t take anymore and came to conclusion that way
    Headband-Headband of Intellect+4
    Longsword 1:Wardrobe-Flametongue
    Longsword2: +3 keen
    Greatsword:Frostbrand (pre troll battles)
    Comp Shortbow: +3 comp shortbow (+5str) speed (pre troll battles)
    Morningstar:+4

    Yes…in our possession the entire battle was a flipping Ring of Elemental Command Fire, a Staff of Fire nearly full charged, a Flametongue and a Ring of Spell Storing. Note that all the fire items were in the dark cherry folding wardrobe. We identified the absolute wrong items out of that case…Add access to 20+ Walls of Fire or 48 8d6 fireballs to that encounter. Add unlimited CL 15 burning hands and a pair of flamestrikes and a pair of Wall of Fire and some flaming spheres….(he actually gave us a few scrolls because he felt bad about us going into the fight without the items)we took 100+ trolls with those sitting in a bag. I can say with 100% adamant fervor that we NEVER played a single session of D&D ever again without access to identify. In one fell swoop we just went through the roof in terms of firepower and wealth by level.

    I get the Ring of Spell Storing, the Staff and the Ring of Elemental Command. The Ranger takes the two longswords and the paladin takes the Morningstar. Paladin also takes the Amulet. We end up taking three days to get all our ducks in a row, we also get our hands on a decent world map and get a good concept of where we are and the places we have been. We figure we can actually make the trip to a major city in 30 hours if we push the flying carpet non stop and rotate to sleep and rest. We call it a night there and meet back up the next week in town.


    Sixth Session (8th):

    Spoiler
    Show
    This was without a doubt a unique session. We reached The City. No title no description just The City. The world’s largest metropolis, a haven for just about everything. Our DM is an accountant who lives and breathes Excel and he went completely off the deep end with this place in terms of magic items. He wrote several excel formulas based around Appraise, Bluff and Sense Motive that affected the price of items in the town. He had something like 100 pages of magic items and materials that were present in the town and organized by vendor. Every item had the Vendor’s appraised price of what he thought the item was worth and a Bluff ceiling of what he would offer on a given item. For one game session we stopped being adventurers trying to rid the world of a cursed wall hanging and we became middle men market speculators. I don’t mean we puttered around for an hour and threw some dice. I mean we broke up assignments and spent 13 hours haggling and bargaining. The paladin kept a ledger that showed what we could buy or sell a given item at, and the ranger made a wish list and distributed potential item packs to each of us. I had to role play each “haggle” and mostly make the rolls. Amongst the biggest items on our list were:

    Ring of Elemental Command Earth:
    Ring of Protection +5
    Cloak of Resistance+5
    Belt of Giant Strength+6
    Cloak of Charisma+6
    Cloak of Charisma+4
    Gloves of Dexterity+6
    Holy Avenger
    +3 frost shortsword
    +3 shock kukri
    +4 Full Plate
    Chain Shirt+5
    Heavy Steel Shield +5

    All these were items available in The City and our goal was to acquire as many of them as possible. I won’t go through everything we did because it was a full 13 hour day of item shopping.

    *We got 225,000 for the Cubic Gate. I positioned it as being a safe means of acquiring special materials and having strong application by attuning to each elemental Plane.
    * We nearly got into a fight after a horrific price on a Cloak of Displacement Major. It led to a long recurring joke where someone would shout out at random “80,000? I might as well kill my own blink dogs and make my own for that price!” I got a bit confused and mistook blink dogs for displacer beasts…kind of a “you had to be there moment” but it stuck with us.
    * I got an offer of 15,000 for my +1 spear…we took that almost faster than the DM could blink…
    *We had a very shady wizard offer us 300,000 for the Armageddon bag…we turned him down.

    Collectively we ended up selling the Cubic Gate, the Morningstar+4, The Headband of Intellect , the Ring of Feather Falling, and all our +1 stuff. We resold and haggled over the better part of 150 items and collectively we ended up purchasing the following….
    Wand of Cure Serious Wounds CL7th 50 charges
    Wand of Cure Moderate Wounds CL5th 45 charges
    Wand of Bulls Strength CL5th 50 charges
    2 Scrolls of Permanency
    Heavy Steel Shield +5
    Chain Shirt+5
    Gloves of Dexterity+6
    Belt of Giant Strength+6
    Cloak of Charisma +6 and +4
    Full Plate +4
    Cloak of Resistance+5
    +3 frost shortsword
    Ring of Protection+5
    Manual of Strength Boost+1

    We put the Holy Avenger on a sort of strange layaway. We put 20% of asking price as a down payment and are given a bag of holding. It takes all coins and gems and gives a fair market price for them then when the sword is paid off the Holy Avenger will be drawn forth from it. Quirky.

    The other two big developments from this session became campaign changing. I scoured for a cohort during our time in The City. I specifically was looking for a Wizard and a Druid. We ended up with candidates for both. I will get back to them in a second though.

    The biggest thing we did was arrange for two bodies to be built for our golem manuals. We spent every last scrap of coin we had left and traded back in the Cloak of Charisma+4 but we got two fully functional Iron Golems…One was made in the semblance of Torm and was an armored warrior shell. The second was made to be a minotaur…look up Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger…yes just like that.

    Back to the cohorts. We had a half orc druid level 6 that was eager to join us, he was had Augment Summoning, Natural Spell and Extend Spell as his feats and from our perspective a summoner. Anything that could flood the battlefield or help with flanks was welcome and we liked the idea of having buff spells and extra healing

    We also had a Level 6 dwarf wizard that was an abjurer (barred schools necromancy and enchantment) that had our attention. Much like Reggie the gnome he had some monster con and could provide buff spells.

    I ultimately ended up taking the druid as my cohort. We more or less agreed to treat him for purposes of EXP as a full pc and forgo the cohort rules. He just couldn’t close more than two levels from me.

    Boy was also bumped to level 4 and he got some decent hand me downs
    Our wealth by level is off the charts at this point and we are strapped to the gills for level 8 characters.

    We ended up looking something like this by the time we got back to the real action:
    Kyr Prentice (Paladin5/Sorcerer1/Dragon Disciple2) Str22 Dex10 Con18 Int11 Wis16 Cha20 with a Frostbrand, Flametongue, Heavy Steel Shield+5, Full Plate +4, Amulet Natural Armor+3, Ring of Protection+5, Cloak of Resistance+5, Belt of Giant Str+6 and an Iron Golem under his Mental Command. He was loaded up with AC and could build up some nasty single strikes by prepping true strike then Power Attack Smiting.

    Emilio Miller (Ranger2/Rogue3/Barbarian1/Fighter2) Str20 Dex26 Con15 Int14 Wis 14 Cha 11 with Chain Shirt+5, +3 comp shortbow (+5str) of speed, a longsword+3 keen a +3 frost shortsword, belt of giant str+6 and gloves of dexterity+6 and a full complement of arrows and a cache of cold iron arrows. He had bow feats and two weapon fighting feats. He also took the +1 str manual and his level 8 stat boost to get to an unbuffed 20 str to pull the bow back.

    Caramis Wolfsbane (Bard4/Cleric3/Mystic Theurge1) Str15 Dex10 Con12 Int18 Wis14 Cha 26, with Chain Shirt+1 Cloak of Charisma+6, Ring of Elemental Command Fire, Ring of Spell Storing (2 Cure Mod and a CLW) a Staff of Fire, a few wands and an Iron Golem under my mental command
    Boy aka Trollbane (Ranger3/Barbarian1) Str 14 Dex 12 Con12 Int 9Wis12 Cha9 with a Belt of Giant Str+2 a comp longbow (+2str)+1 a masterwork greataxe and Skill Focus Trapmaking Track, Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot as feats.

    Pudnokker (Druid 6): Str 16 Dex 13 Con 14 Int 11 Wis 17 Cha 11 with a +1 quaterstaff, leather armor+1 and Natural Spell, Augment Summoning, and Extend Spell

    Party Possessions:
    Bag of Holding Type 1: With a nasty world ending evil artifact tapestry
    Bag of Holding Type3: Caches of extra arrows, a rod of flame extinguishing 2 scrolls of permanency. And a few cold iron mundane type weapons. We have some assorted odds and ends like rope etc as well.

    We also have a Yuan Ti relic that functions as a focusing talisman and a Mantle that is worn by a Sarrukh. We were told that the mantle would enable us to find a Yuan Ti holy place called the Tomb of Coiled Kings. In our frantic escape from a treasure hoard we never forgot about that small detail.
    The City should be a place to get more answers and for the most part we come up surprisingly blank. The Bag of Holding is definitely unstable at this point and we are very worried about another lighthouse that could suck down a whole city block. Holy Water has no more visible effect and every mage, druid, cleric and loremaster we track down comes up with nada in terms of advice. We reluctantly make the paladin wear the Sarrukh Mantle and see what happens. We figure with his saves being the best if bad things happen, it will happen the least to him. The Ranger does helpfully point out that if the Mantle takes control of him we are pretty much screwed as we won’t be able to dent his AC and he has the best saves of us all. Putting on the mantle he describes seeing things in a haze and he has multiple rapid visions that show various landmarks in quick glimpses. From that and our map we are able to fix a good starting location to search. We have been bounced all over the continent and are now on a south west course from where the original dragon lair was at.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    These are the last two sessions i have recapped and prepped.

    Seventh Session (8th to 10th):

    Spoiler
    Show
    We pick up events the next Saturday with our group leaving The City and heading towards the Tomb of Coiled Kings. I am alone of the flying carpet and overhead about 40 feet from the rest of the party with the Armageddon Bag, and the Paladin is out in front with the Ranger in the Rear. We have Pud and Boy in the middle and they are flanked by the Iron Golems. From the map and our rate of travel we are five days from the area we expect to find the Yuan Ti burial ground, and that will put within a hundred miles of where the Dragon’s Lair is at. Had we not Cubic Gate’d to the middle of nowhere we would have been there long ago. We are on day 3 of our journey and come nightfall we come under attack from a Kobold Commando Squad.

    As we are prepping for the night we are doing some of our ususal paranoid stuff, sleeping away from the campfire we had lit etc. Just as we are bedding down a trio of magic missiles slams into the Paladin and we are set upon by invisible attackers. By our count there are six attackers, all with Greater Invisibility. Boy gets knocked out with some type of poison and is unconscious, and there are two attackers on the Paladin, Two on me and 1 on Pudd and 1 on the Druid. We take a bit of a pounding as we try to figure things out, and I take a nasty AOO when I try to glitterdust the paladin’s vicinity. Glitterdust reveals two kobolds on the Paladin. I won’t go blow by blow other than to say it was pretty ugly. We sent both golems on one glitterdusted kobold and the paladin and druid lit into the second one. The ranger was trying to fight his invisible attacker and on my next turn I decided to heat things up a bit. I dropped a pillar shaped Wall Of Fire on myself. I ate an AOO and dipped to about 15 health…but two kobolds screamed out in pain as they went up in flame. DM wanted me to roll for my own fire damage, but the Ring gives Fire Resistance and I kind of grin as they burn next to me. The Wall of Fire is enough to get them off of me and as they back up I toss a Burning Hands at them. With cover blown on four of them we clean up the remainders. The Golems are superstars in this, the DR is insane and they come through unscratched. We examine the corpses are the reason for the heavy damage we took becomes apparent.

    The group was five warrior/rogue types with a caster that buffed them with a Wand of Bulls Strength and scrolls of greater invisibility. Each of them has a weapon with human bane and we are all human except for the half-orc druid. We strip them of their gear and debate on destroying the human bane items, they strike us as evil and the Paladin is against any type of profit in their use or resale. We keep the Wand of Bulls Strength (10 charges at CL 11) and there are two scrolls of Greater Invisibility CL 11 that we elect to keep. There is a scattering of small coin that we toss into the layaway bag.
    The Ranger actually clues in on these kobolds wearing some clothes that resemble the ones from the kobolds we encountered carting treasure to the dragon’s lair. Ruh oh. It seems that the dragon may be sending out squads to intercept us. We all figure on a dragon attack at some point soon. At the first sign of trouble we all concur that acid resist is our first priority.

    The next afternoon we get hit by another commando squad, but this time they are flying kobolds and they all have human bane bows. We take a lot of damage in this fight. The ranger is a stone cold killer at range, but the rest of us are rather lacking. I burn five charges from Staff on Fireballs. We can reload a staff with two spells slots expended to match 1 charge in the Staff, Im not sure if this was a house rule or a standard rule, but it meant we could reload the staff with extra juice. I didn’t have 3rd level spells, but the druid did and he could expend two 3rd level slots to replenish a fireball in the Staff of Fire…

    Day 3 became a constant swarm of tactical kobold teams, I swear the DM had a friggin kobold fetish because we had been fighting the buggers since level 1. By the end of the day we get hit by an all monk kobold squad that spammed stunning fists, an all sorcerer kobold squad and a group of five axe wielding berserker kobolds. All of whom had human bane weapons. By the end of the third day we were ragged on resources and pissed off both in character and out. Collectively we had 30+ human bane weapons that we needed to figure out what to do with. The Golems are so overpowered in these encounters it wasn’t even funny. And for the first time since we had to abandon Das Vagon we hear a grumbled “****ing golems”…and there was much rejoicing.

    Day four goes without much incident and we can now see in the distance a hazy fog over what looks like a verdant jungle valley. We push on deep into the night and make camp just at the outside of the jungle. We spend almost two days resting and making sure we are full on everything. No more kobold hit squads attack us and as the Paladin puts the Mantle back on the haze parts and the jungle gives way to a shadowy entrance leading into the ground.

    Paladin: I think we are here.
    Me: Do we really want to go in?
    Ranger: Better than random lizard assassins….
    Me: A shadowy hidden entrance to a burial ground of certain peril?
    Ranger: ANYTHING is better than kobold hitmen at this point
    Paladin: Damn Straight.

    We wind our way down lots of staircases and open chambers filled with bones. We are jumping at just about every shadow and we assume every bone belongs to a skeleton ready to leap and attack us. We travel for hours and figure ourselves to be miles underground when we finally come to a squat underground pyramid. Standing sentry to the entrance of the pyramid are two shadowy figures that were once Yuan TI…we all make knowledge checks and I get a short note passed to me.

    Me: I…I know what they are…
    Ranger: Well?
    Me: They are Sarrukh…Dread Wraith Sarrukh.
    Paladin: That…that spells neigh unto certain death.
    Me: Then let’s talk to them….put on your snake shoulderpads and reason with them.
    The Paladin approaches with cautious footsteps to these sentries while wearing the Mantle and with exaggerated slowness they heft their ghostly glaives and turn to look at him.

    Wraith: you bear the Mantle of our Egg-Fathers…speak your purpose
    Paladin: We need the knowledge and wisdom of your lieges

    The wraith nods and the two of them turn and drive their glaives into the stone….a snake head emerges from above the doorway leading to the pyramid. He very slowly places the mantle on the snakes head and the wraiths disappear from view as the door to the temple opens. The pyramid is one massive chamber. Inside are several hundred adamantite and mithral coffins. In the Center of the Room is a massive pure diamond throne, and upon the throne is a Sarrukh covered in dust motionless, the moment we enter the chamber it looks up at us and in a voice that sends shivers down our spines it speaks…

    Sarrukh Guardian: No human has ever stepped foot on these grounds in ten thousand years. How have you found this place?

    We give a stammering explanation of the tapestry, the Yuan TI priestess and the mad escape from the dragon who is pilfering their heritage. The guardian listens to everything then gestures for the bag holding the tapestry. He stares at it for close to an hour as we stand there in silence and when he speaks it is a voice from a whole different dimension.

    Guardian: This is an evil that existed before my people rose to power. It does not drink the darkness…it breathes in the night and exhales doom and death. You have suffocated it with darkness and soon that darkness will spread. You are wrong to call it a gateway…the denizens that emerge are native to no plane and beholden to no master. They are their own masters and only heed the word of the one that resides at the heart of this darkness.
    Ranger: The heart?
    Guardian: This is not a portal, it is a prison and the captive yearns for freedom it’s anger and rage and deceit are manifested in the creatures that come forth. The tapestry can’t be destroyed until it is.
    Paladin: How do we destroy it?
    Guardian: You must go forth into the prison and travel to the cell in which it is held, there you must vanquish this presence only then will the dark give way to light. You are not prepared to face what lies ahead.
    Me: Are you?

    A loud hissing emerges from all over the chamber and the lids of every coffin are thrown open and hundreds of Yuan Ti emerge from their tombs. I whisper…”I think I pissed them off”
    Guardian: No…we are not. But we can push back the darkness to buy time for you to make yourselves ready.

    The guardian rises from it’s throne and pounds a scepter on the arm of its throne. Every Yuan Ti in the room comes to attention and faces him.

    Guardian: The Sleep of a thousand generations is over. Our end time has come. Rise with me brothers to fight back a force we are responsible for. We will not be wiped from this plane as a mere whispered legend. Let it be known that our last legacy was to provide a light that pushed back the darkness of infinity.
    Paladin: I detect Evil….
    DM: Seriously?
    Paladin: Seriously…
    DM: Ok…to describe the evil of this room as overwhelming is an understatement. Every single Yuan Ti in this room is a lich with at least 10 class levels and they are all evil. You are knocked senseless for at least the next couple hours.

    As the paladin passes out and we start to panic the Guardian tears open the bag of holding and hurls it to the far end of the chamber A gaping vortex opens on the wall and almost instantly dozens of demons begin pouring out. The collective liches of the room start launching every spell imagineable and the carnage is unreal. The Guardian comes to us and gives us a scepter, on it are hundreds of lights and as we see a lich literally torn to shreds by a Marilith a light goes out on the scepter.

    Guardian: We will stem the tide and clear a path. You must return before the last light goes out and face the darkness inside. Go back to the temple where the priestess is held, and place this scepter at the heart of the reliquary where the mantle was found. It will open a chamber that leads to the vault where are our most hated items were hidden. Take forth these items and return. GO NOW!

    As he screams he opens a satchel and removes a dozen Gems of Brightness, and the Yuan Ti liches start blistering the portal with blinding flashes of light. The flood of creatures abates and the liches push back the ones in the chamber. We frantically high tail it out of there and try to recover. This is all seriously above our pay grade…I mean damn.

    We drag the paladin out and the DM has me make a Diplomacy check for both Boy and Pudnokker, they are rethinking their service with us. I assure them I won’t make them risk their lives needlessly and that they don’t have to enter the tapestry when the time comes. We know the dragon is pissed and any attempt to re-enter that treasure room is going to be met with stiff resistance. We aren’t too sure what approach we can bring and we need to figure that out in a hurry. When the Paladin comes to we fill him in on events and he is adamantly in favor of marching in and just tearing apart the dragon’s forces and the dragon himself. We decide to basically go Matrix lobby on the dragon’s lair and just bring some offense.

    In route we finally encounter something other than kobold bushwhackers. From my vantage on the carpet I spot four fire giants lobbing rocks at something darting through the air. We are too far away to determine what it is, but we decide to investigate. Pudnokker tosses bulls strength on the melee and we set up a hasty ambush. As we get closer we see that the creature evading is a gold dragon…in fact…it is the gold dragon we saw what seems like ages ago. We send an Iron Golem to two of the Fire Giants and the Paladin closes in for a flank on one, while the druid summons a hippogriff to provide a flanker on second golem’s giant. I have a DC20 on Hideous Laughter but they get a +4 bonus and we are now encountering creatures that have some real Will Saves…I got about a 35% of connecting and I decide to try to and incapacitate one of the remaining two. He rolls a 2 on save and I have a little fist pump moment.

    The remaining Fire Giant stops focus on the dragon and tears into a golem. The Paladin’s first swing is a charging attack with true strike prepped, full power attack with smite evil and a frostbrand against a cold vulnerable creature. He rolls a 19…rolls to confirm and Rolls a 16, We added up close to 70 damage on one swing. Ranger puts a full attack with rapid shot and speed and sneak attack into the second flanked giant and he hits high 60’s for damage. The Boy snipes at the ranger’s target and I start to wonder who’s follower he really is. Our summoned Hippogriff gets cleaved into oblivion, and the druid summons another one to take it’s place. The Paladin and Torm Golem combine to kill their giant and the Minotaur Golem on the ranger target connects on both slams bringing his giant down. The remaining upright golem bugs out and runs. We surround the laughing golem and within two rounds he is brought low as well. The gold dragon lands and is clearly exhausted.

    Gold: I never expected to see you again…
    Paladin: What happened? Why didn’t you flee.
    Gold: Sadly I can’t…
    Me: Why…?
    Gold: Because I’m bait….

    As he says that we get ambushed from all sides as invisible kobolds pour into the area flinging spells, darts, spears and some just come howling swinging axes. All told 23 varying dice enter the battlemat, color coded by “type”. We get absolutely smashed in the surprise round. The Boy is killed outright…the Druid is brought to single digit hps and the Paladin even takes close to 30 with his out of this world AC. I get knocked down to 15 and we haven’t taken an action against them.

    Out of character I shake my head and grumble “ all right time to whip it out put it on the table and measure who’s got the biggest. “

    The paladin drops his greatsword and draws shield and flametongue as he moves closer to me. The Ranger draws his longsword and shortsword and moves to me as well. I drop a Wall of Fire on my Golem and step into the flames. We send the Golems as a pair against single targets and let them burn and slam one at a time.

    We got Green Dice Kobolds with bows…
    We got Red Dice Kobolds with axes…
    We got Blue Dice Kobolds with wands…
    And we Got Black Dice Kobolds with Spears and Armor…
    We focus on the blue dice first.

    The Druid moves closer to us and casts a Cure Moderate on Himself. Red Kobolds advance on our wedge and Green ones are shooting at us. The blues are all trying to Slow the Golems. The Black Dice ones are casting spells that we can’t identify but they seem to have no real affect on us. We still take some ugly damage but for the most part they aren’t rushing us. Next Turn the Paladin full attacks a red kobold and kills it with 30+ damage. The Ranger takes one out as well, and I Wall of Fire the second Golem. That sucks two charges from Staff. Druid puts a Cure Mod on me for his action. Golems are killing two kobolds a round and they are start running from the golems. 3rd round all the remaining kobolds try to dogpile one of the golems and they manage to get 15 or so damage through. With a grin I remind the DM that my golem have fast healing…

    DM: Golems don’t have Fast Healing…
    Me: Burning Golems do…they heal 1hp per 3 fire damage and mine are taking 20 or so fire damage a round from the walls…so Fast Healing 6 give or take.
    DM: ****ing golems!

    We take 11 rounds to kill the 23 kobolds and I end up using just about all my cleric healing and the druid runs out of prepped healing. We start to regroup and find the gold dragon right where we left him. The Gold informs us that he had a Geas placed upon him that prevented him from leaving the area, he was there to bait out our group, and let the kobolds get into place and ambush us. The Fire Giants just happened along and felt like having a bit of fun. We give Boy a proper burial and the Paladin says a quiet prayer for the fallen swamp boy turned adventurer. I was a bit angered by his death. The hatred of kobolds was set in stone for all of us by this point.

    We can’t do much for the dragon and opt to try and kill the black dragon who is the presumptive caster of the spell. We press on towards the dragon’s lair with the goal of camping and resting and then assaulting it at first light. Given that we advance to 9th level and make camp.

    The Paladin takes another level of Dragon Disciple he is following the Silver dragon path and picks up a cone of cold breath weapon that brings him to Paladin5/Sorc1/Dragon Disciple3, and for his level 9 feat he selects Cleave
    The Ranger takes another level in Fighter bringing him to Ranger2/Rogue3/Barbarian1/Fighter3 and he takes Improved Critical

    I advance to Bard4/Cleric3/Mystic Theurge2 and pick up level 3 cleric spells and sadly no new bard spells. I take Practiced Spellcaster as my feat to fix the MT gap.

    Pudnokker is advanced to level 7 and that means fourth level spells, that opens up Dispel Magic, Reincarnate, Flame Strike and Ice Storm. From that we actually back track and go back to try and reincarnate Boy…we bring him back and roll a 28…so he comes back as a gnome…now a level 3 ranger gnome that gets a Con boost and loses Dex. We re-dub him Manuel and call him Man for short.

    It cost us half a day and a fourth level spell but from a compassionate or loyalty standpoint we felt it worth while. 48 hours have passed since we left the tomb of coiled kings and of the 204 lights on the scepter 199 remain lit. The Paladin has a blinding moment of obvious on the way back to the dragon’s lair.

    Paladin: I want to go find our Wagon…

    There is a chorus of “Das Vagon!” from the table and we burn another half day to go beating the brush for Das Vagon. We are positively shocked that it is right where we left it the first time. We take the same route from first trip in, even broke out the graph paper we used to map it and take same path in. This time we have Torm Golem in front and Minotaur Golem in Back with Ranger and Paladin spread out in front and the other three of us in middle. As we are getting deeper and deeper we are finding nothing. All the rooms are empty, no patrolling groups, no color coded kobold assassins leaping out from the shadows….just empty halls and empty rooms. The chamber where the Yuan Ti priestess was being held…empty. We travel all the way to the massive treasure chamber and there not even a single copper piece left in the room. The chute that led to the dragon’s treasure chamber…sealed. We start cautiously searching the deserted chamber figuring that kobolds will start leaping from the woodwork any moment. Hidden from view we eventually find a pair of small tunnels that descend out of the room in separate directions. As medium sized character we can squeeze in the tunnels but the golems won’t fit. For a few minutes we debate on re-preparing a bunch of Stone Shape, Soften Earth spells etc to try and widen the passages, but ultimately we get a slight DM foreshadowing that says the tunnels run for several hundred feet and it would take a solid week to widen them enough to fit the golems.

    Its heartbreaking given their utility so far, but we leave one at each entrance to act as sentries. Never Split the Party…that has to be Rule #1 of D&D paranoia. We follow the rules and elect to go with the passage to the left, the Paladin goes in front, me second, the druid third following by Ranger. We actually leave Mannie with the golems and he has orders to haul ass through the tunnels if anything pops in and starts messing around. We figure that with the two healing capable members in the middle we can reach both melee for heals and get maximum spellcaster protection. As indicated we follow the tunnel for several hundred feet and finally come to a fork. We continue going left and take that for a several hundred feet, that tunnel ends in an opening about 10 feet off the ground inside a worked stone room. It’s large and filled with lots of weapon racks and metal working supplies. We drop in and start surveying, as best we can tell it’s a foundry where the kobolds have been getting there weapons. 20 of the weapons show magic when we use a Detect Magic and we have already seen 50 or so human bane weapons so we can tell these are more of the same. More intriguing is a section of not yet finished items that are being made of adamantite…hmmm someone is getting tired of DR/Adamantite Golems apparently. We pile nearly a hundred pounds of adamantite metal into the bag of holding and keep moving. The foundry opens to a training facility, and there are a dozen human sized training dummies all peppered with arrows, darts and spears. Vital organs are outlined on the dummies and there are anatomical charts on the walls of the room.

    Ranger: This is seriously strange, like a damned Kobold Dojo.
    Paladin: So where are all the students? And where are their masters?
    Me: Maybe we killed them all…
    Doubtful right?
    We find a fully stocked but unattended larder, and a fully stocked research laboratory that we happily pilfer. Lots of scrolls, lots of potions and several wands. The noteworthy find being a Wand of Greater Invisibility with 10 charges left on it.

    As we are exiting the training facility we finally hear something other than our own footsteps, a slow shuffling sound is audible from the hallway outside the training facility. We go to the door that leads out and try to key in on what we are hearing. Whatever it is, it is heading towards the door and we elect to take cover in the room and wait for whatever it is to enter before acting. A few rounds later we are all still holding actions when the door slowly opens, and a plate armored, mummified figure with a holy symbol enters the room. The paladin hisses very quietly after getting a note for his Knowledge Religion check…Mummy Lord. As we are announcing our actions the Mummy Lord chuckles in a raspy gravely voice and two scorpions drop from its bandages and rapidly grow into huge sized scorpions…oh crap.

    The Mummy Lord is a crackling voice rasps: “Find the little hiding mice and devour them”
    I get first action and decide to drop a big bomb from the Ring…
    Me: Flamestrike…targeting the Mummy.
    I roll 42 damage…we add 50% for vulnerability to fire , but only half is fire damage so it ends up being 53 damage with 10 knocked off for resistance so 43 damage…not too shabby.

    Paladin charges with a smite evil from the flametongue he adds a solid chunk and we think that we may be able to drop him within the round. The Ranger only lands 1 arrow and damage reduction takes a good chunk of the sting off. Druid fails his despair check and is basically cowering.

    Next Round the Mummy jumps up two more huge scorpions just in front of him and then exits the room. The first scorpions start taking shots at the paladin and they are unable to really hit him. The rest of us all back up and start taking ranged shots at the two newest ones. I expend a fireball from Staff and hit both well. It takes us the better part of six rounds and while the two on paladin can barely connect the rest of us are playing hide and seek with the two on us. I use Burning Hands every round and we avoid poison damage. We get all four down and I top off the bit of damage we did take from the Ring of Spell Storing. The Paladin pokes his head out the door and the Mummy Lord is nowhere to be seen. We go right out of the training facility and head down the hall we believe the Mummy Lord originally came from. We make a few more turns through halls that differ widely in design from everything else we have seen and start to descend down a new stairwell, the steps going down are heavily worn and save for a few sparse tracks are covered in dust. We enter an old tomb and find two hallways branching off once again…there are tracks going to both. We again go left and this time find a MASSIVE pair of double doors, they are carved from marble and covered in glyphs and relief. It takes all four of us pulling hard to open one of the doors, which opens into a burial chamber the Mummy Lord is waiting for us and he has six buddies with him.

    Me: Listen, we don’t care about you…we are here for the dragon!
    The Mummy lord doesn’t appear to be relaxing but he is not attacking…
    ML: Lies…all who desecrate the rest of the fallen seek ill gotten wealth and and can’t be trusted.
    Paladin: He is speaking the truth…We want the Dragon…
    ML: The cursed wyrm dug too deep and it’s lust could not be sated. It roused me from slumber and it’s minions paid the price. The wyrm itself eluded me…he has taken his hoard and fled the wrath of my might.
    Me: Then we will let you return to that peace…leave us be and we will leave you be.
    The mummy lord shakes it’s head: If only it were that simple. That one (he gestures at the paladin) will never compromise. His very nature compels him to drive this confrontation. I have felt his sting and can’t abide his leaving.
    Paladin: Then let this be a test of wills, Single Combat you and I. If I am proven victorious my companions will leave this place untouched, but you will be no more. If I fall they leave my remains for you to do what you will and they may then leave unharmed to never return.
    ML: You would subject your mortal remains to my touch?
    Paladin: I have faith that is unshakeable I will not break my word.
    ML: Then prepare yourself…Say a farewell to your companions…
    We are given three rounds to “prepare” and as we start brainstorming buff spells the Paladin waves off us.
    Paladin: Just me and him, no spells from anyone else.
    DM: So you are going in unbuffed?
    Paladin: No **** that noise…Im prepping Shield, True Strike and Protection from Evil from my paladin list. Then Im going to frostbrand power attack and smite him back to dust.

    We burst out laughing and had to stop playing for a good five minutes.
    They roll for init and the Mummy Lord leads with Searing Light and blasts the paladin for 18 with no save. The Paladin sinks 8 points into a two handed power attack with smite evil boosting another 5. So he is swinging for 2d6+16(powerattack)+7str+5smite+3enhancement+1d6fr ost he deals out 42 damage in one swing. Not too shabby for level 9. The next round Mummy goes first and casts Slay Living, DC20 and he gets +18 on Fort Save…so 10% chance…we wince a little bit as he rolls a 5. He swings again this time no power attack boost and no smite and he does about 15. A couple of searing lights and a few more swings later and he takes the mummy lord out. He took about 60 damage in the process but he takes it out. He actually pauses and says a quick prayer over the dusty remains.

    We are a little anxious about leaving mummies behind but we insists that we made a pact and we turn about and head back up to our golems and Mannie. The Golems are waiting and Mannie is nervous but has nothing to report once we get back. We squeeze back into the right hand tunnels and this time we end up in a maze of criss crossing tunnels and crudely formed rooms. There are dozens of small nests dug into the walls and loads of clues that these were kobold warrens. We stomp around and squeeze through tunnels for what seems like in game hours and finally come to an underground grotto. There is a small island amidst an underground lake and it is barricaded with an assortment of just about everything. Behind the barricades…small lizardlike heads are visible and we hear panicked warning cried out in Draconic. There are maybe ten kobolds behind the barricades and none of the class level apparent signs we are used to seeing. We spot one ornately equipped kobold on the island who is barking out orders to the rest of his warriors. As I speak draconic I approach them looking to parley

    Me: We don’t want trouble with you, we are looking for a black dragon that was once here.
    The kobolds all get riled up at the mention of the dragon and the “leader” freaks out screaming for them to hide. He pushes them all behind him and vows to defend his people to the death. There are tears streaming down his face.

    I actually break out something I haven’t used in I can’t remember how long and fascinate them with a soothing chant. Anything to calm them down and get them to listen. As they settle down they fill us in on what has happened.
    We are the two legged devils with thumbs…for years the black dragon has fostered their tribe beneath his lair and constantly pushed them and tested them to cultivate the strongest of their race. These he trained in the various disciplines and honed their abilities to be his troops. Their brightest and best were constantly plucked from the teeming warrens and transformed into powerful warriors and sorcerers. And for the last several weeks the dragon grew more and more furious with their failures. After the treasures were depleted he forced them to dig deeper and deeper in search of more and their uncovered the mummies. The mummies slaughtered nearly the entire tribe and raised them as zombies and they were forced to destroy their own re-animated dead. A few days back the last of their warrior elite left in a final surge and were not seen again. The dragon himself transported his treasure hoard and fled. He also found an unbreakable sarcophagus well over a thousand pounds, more akin to a house than a coffin which he took with him. They are all that remains and they are absolutely terrified of us. After multiple kobold ambushes and seeing the little buggers come at us in frenzied waves…we kind of feel bad for the little guys.

    Me: I have an idea…follow my lead and act scared.
    I turn to the huddled mass and their leader and in a loud firm voice chant
    Me: You are right to tremble, for our wrath is terrible to behold. Those who are undeemed unworthy will be stamped out and vanquished. Those who show their worth will be rewarded and spared. We are not devils, we are your saviors. You have suffered much and that suffering ends today. I shall walk through flames and burn away the weakness you have displayed, when I emerge you shall be spared and allowed your freedom. Should the flames consume me, then my anger will ignite and consume you all.

    With a flourish I create a wall of fire beyond the range of their island and the rest of the party cringes in feigned terror. Arms out and hands empty (well empty except for my staff and the ring that gives me fire resist) I walk through the flame and exit in exaggerated slowness to kneel before their barricade.

    Me: The flames have deemed you worthy and you live in freedom from tyranny for the remainder of days.
    Our DM is laughing his ass off at my theatrics and with his head shaking declares…
    DM: Congratulations Mr. Melodramatic you now have a cult of kobolds that worship you and are devoted to your personage. Add 11 level 1 followers and a level 4 cleric kobold thanks to your leadership.
    Paladin: I can’t allow this. Ultimately these are still evil creatures that have had access to human bane weapons, I can’t risk them having a cache of those weapons hidden and for them to one day decide to honor their new leader by raiding a town and making sacrifices to the flames or other such nonsense.
    Ranger: Yeah…that would be bad
    Me: Then convert them…build a statue to Torm and erect a small knave or something. Make an alter to Torm…you got a few hours to preach before we probably need to get moving.
    Paladin: You can’t find faith in an instant…
    Me: I did. Just took some wolves trying to tear me apart. They have had everything they hold tear ripped away and destroyed. A devotion to protection and Law is probably an ideal they would embrace.

    Kyr Prentice, a paladin in service to Torm, a slayer of ancient evils and stalwart bastion of protection and law…sat down with 12 kobolds and brought them to the light. They were shifted to LN and vowed to preserve the basic ideals he put forth. They vowed to seal off the mummy’s tomb and leave it undisturbed. And somewhere in my gamer’s heart I smile at the prospect of Paladin Kobolds in full plate riding forth….

    Exiting back to the original treasure chamber we more or less confirmed what we already knew. The chamber that the dragon took with him, was precisely what we had been sent for. Three more lights were burned out on the scepter and we were starting to feel a time crunch.

    A lot of spell slots had been expended and we were nine hours into this session. He pressed forth without resting and tried to brainstorm the next place to go. Our line of reasoning was that the dragon must be nearby. He couldn’t transport all that treasure over vast distance in a short time, and the “trap” was not all that far off. As we brainstormed the Paladin had Torm Golem grab the wagon and start pulling it. Buttercup was long gone…but we know had an iron golem that would never tire to pull our wagon. We had reclaimed Das Vagon…now with Golem power! Our means of picking next location was very thought out and scientific…

    Paladin: Where is next closest mountain?
    DM: Fifty miles north there is a hill large enough to be considered mountainous.
    And we’re off. We rested in transit and traded off golems to let the other controller rest. We ended session with a reward of level 10 for bringing peace to the old lair, slaying the mummy lord and forming a new kobold church in honor to Torm.

    Paladin took a fourth level in Dragon Disciple to gain str boost and natural armor boost, then he planned on resuming Paladin.

    Ranger went to level four fighter and took Weapon Specialization: Bows

    I went to Bard4/Cleric3 Mystic Theurge3 and unlocked third level bard spells. I took Invisibility as second level bard spell and for 3rd level Haste and Remove Curse. Next level I planned on taking Sublime Chord then dipping back to MT.

    Pudnokker hits level 8 and boosts his Wisdom to 18

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    If this gets enough traction I will try to write up the remainder which ended up being about a 15 session dungeon crawl that was taxing beyond belief. It will probably take me a good two weeks as in word format these first eight sessions were about 90 pages.

    Eighth Session to 11th level:

    Spoiler
    Show
    The gang picked back up the action at the foot of a mountain we hoped was the dragon’s new lair. There are several paths going up , and we take the one to the far right. We have Torm Golem pulling the Wagon and Minotaur bringing up our rear. I am inside the wagon with our few loose possessions. Boy and Pudnokker are on either side of the wagon and Paladin is up with Torm, and Ranger is back with Minotaur. We are a few hundred feet up the paths and it is getting narrower. Ranger makes a spot check and sees forms flying in at us…definitely dragon in shape…and there are eight of them. Eek. As they approach they were identified as Wyverns. On the plus side…Paladin gets to try out his breath weapon….on the negative side they target Pudnokker and myself, or at least our wagon. Pudnokker gets snatched by a swooping wyvern and thrown off the mountain. Five Wyverns dive bomb the wagon and try to knock it off the path. The Paladin has to make a reflex save to command the golem to grab the wagon. He pulls that off but the wagon with me in it is too heavy to prevent from falling. I ask if I have enough time for a standard action before falling….long pause followed by yes.

    Me: Let it go, keep the golem in combat.
    Paladin: alright…

    As Pudnokker plummets from the mountain and the wagon plummets from the mountain a few things happen. The ranger starts lighting up a wyvern. The paladin breathes fire at a flyer-by, and then the druid turns into an eagle and swoops back in to the group. This is shortly followed by my bard pulling a silver surfer as he emerges from the wagon riding on the flying carpet. I follow suit and swoop back into the group. We start plinking them with arrows the occasional fire breath and I hold actions to throw burning hands as they swoop in. The golems are constantly trying to grapple them as they come by. As the golem hugs one it gets crushed by the paladin and other golem. We kill three in this fashion and the remaining ones bug out. I am tempted to throw some fireballs, but hold back, im sub 40 charges on the staff and we aren’t sure what else is ahead of us.

    We see a lot of wyverns on the path up, but they mostly just circle and hiss at us. The ranger snaps off the occasional arrow and they circle away much further. The ascent continues and maybe 500 feet up we come upon a cave entrance with an opening in the ceiling that leads from the mountains top. The second we break the plane of the cave entrance alarms go off all over the place. From the ground eight huge earth elementals take shape and begin to advance towards us. As the earth elementals move to engage the Wyverns start to dive through the hole in the roof and we have about 4 wyverns taking flyby attacks at us as well. The Golems and Paladin form a tank line with the rest of us lobbing ranged attacks and supporting with heals. The Golems are taking damage from the ele’s and I shout for the Paladin to move left as I wall Of Fire the one on far right. He actually steps back a few steps and I shift left to try and get an angle where burning hands will hit the second golem and catch an ele as well. Pudnokker holds his action to try and catch a pair of wyverns and some elementals at same time with a flamestrike. We are holding our own quite well, the earth elementals have deep health pools but the golems are sturdy and the paladin has great AC. The wyverns are more nuisance than fatal. Then we fail some spot/listen checks.

    I feel a slight tremor behind me and turn to see a pair of earth elementals on either side of me from behind. Oh yeah they can walk through earth, and just went under us and around. My AC is garbage, and they can only miss me on a roll of 1, technically a 1 still hits. I eat two slams get rocked. 2 more with almost certainly drop me to negatives, or kill me outright. They are on me and will be able to full attack next turn. Next turn Pudnokker hits me with a cure serious wounds, but that won’t be enough for me to take four attacks. Paladin moves to support me and ranger grabs his swords and starts swinging in melee. I move out of the threatened squares and eat two AOO, hoping for mediocre damage…no such luck, I get cracked and cracked hard and end up at -7, I end up prone and dying in the wall of fire aura. It’s bad that I feel safer on fire than upright. The earth elementals are doing some serious damage now that they are past the golems and paladin, the ranger is getting pummeled and Pudnokker is taking heavy damage as well. We dance around for a few rounds and Pudnokker stabilizes me before he goes down as well. The ranger ends up down and Mannie is killed again. (ranger says “we may have to re-name him Kenny”). Paladin goes completely defensive and stabilizes Pud and the Ranger. My minotaur golem is still burning and following my last command to destroy the elementals, and Torm Golem has taken 50+ damage but is still swinging. Paladin is the only one still up and we have five golems and currently three wyverns left active. So….quick breakdown on Paladin’s armor class

    Base 10…Full Plate+4 brings him to 23…Heavy Steel Shield+5 brings him to 30….Ring of Protection+5 brings him to 35…Amulet of Natural Armor+3 brings him to 38…he gets+2 boost from Dragon Disciple to Natural Armor….so 40. Huge Earth Elemental gets+19 to hit…but with a flank they can hit on a 19. So he pumps one point from Combat Expertise to boost AC to 41…Natural 20
    is the only thing that hits him.

    Around 15 rounds later the Wall of Fire expires and amidst the smoke left in the room and the haze, the Paladin stands alone covered in mud and grime with a badly battered golem that is an icon of his god. He actually pauses to toss a one liner before getting us back on his feet…

    Paladin: Those in service to Torm are made of harder stuff than earth…we are steel and iron.

    We use all of our prepared healing, and I use all my bardic healing and keep some cleric spells prepared and available. We still have to drain the Spell Storing ring again and use 8 charges of Cure Mod Wand. I burning hands the Torm Golem back to full The wyverns want nothing else to do with us.

    Me: Well they know we are here.
    Paladin: Good I would like a challenge for once…
    Me: We need better defenses *gestures to everyone but paladin*
    Ranger: I imagine there is better protection amidst the treasure hoard.
    Paladin: Then let us go “reason” with the wyrm

    The cave descends into the mountains core and gives way to a deep well shaped chasm that drops into the mountain itself.

    Me: So how do we get down there?
    Ranger: We have the carpet…
    Me: Golems are too heavy for the carpet.
    We have no feather falling (sold the ring), no one has levitate prepared, and we cant fly outside of the rug.
    Paladin: Falling damage caps at 20d6 just throw em down and burn em back up.
    Me: And if we immediately get attacked by the dragon?
    The ranger who is looking through the inventory in our bag of holding breaks out laughing…I mean big time hardcore laughing.

    Ranger: We have scrolls of permanency.
    Me:…yeah.
    Ranger: So cast Wall of Fire on both of them and make it permanent. We are lighting them up like candles all the time anyway, saves recasting.
    Paladin: And when we go into town or through a city with two walking towering infernos? Get me around that and I’m on board….

    With his stomach shaking from laughter he points to a line on the inventory list…Rod of Flame Extinguishing…we actually have to look it up and are a bit disappointed to see that is capped with charges…but we look up the Frostbrand…which will work perfectly. The druid loads up us with buff spells we all have protection from energy Acid and Bulls Strength, Cats Grace and Bears Endurance are loaded up. I put an eagles splendor on the paladin and I have a Bestow Curse available for the dragon. We light both golems up and cast permanency then have them step down the well. The rest of us pile on the carpet which is absolutely groaning as we are right at the weight limit. And start the descent down.

    We hear the golems thud at the bottom and hear a distinct metallic ring, we can see the fire from the walls and they are about 200 feet down from us. We can see that they are fighting things in the space below but its hard to tell what. We get to make attack rolls and we get update on the damage they are taking. Entering the cavern at the base of the well we see a trio of night hags engaged in battle with the golems. They are getting their asses handed to them on a silver platter. They got nothing that can really affect the golems and while the fire isn’t hurting them the slam damage is. We have much larger and scalier problems to deal with very quickly. A huge old black dragon is waiting for us, it has a strange harness strapped to its back and there are five kobolds buckled into the harness. The dragon immediately lets loose a line of acid. 40 acid damage is coming our way. Paladin makes the save with ease, and the rest of us fail miserably. We scramble off the carpet with the Ranger going left, me going right and the Paladin staying on the carpet as he charges the dragon. He has a true strike prepped and is swinging the flametongue. He hits solid but is now in air with dragon who can full attack him next round.

    Next rounds init roll is very intense…Dragon rolls an 8 and with bonuses is at 12, Paladin rolls a 15. He misses standard attack and moves away, he eats the bite as an AOO and even his 40 AC is not enough to be safe. I toss a fireball from Staff that gets spell resisted into uselessness, based on what I need to roll, any spell I have has a 40-50% chance of actually breaking spell resistance. The kobolds act before us and from we spot and spellcraft they cast healing spells and what we are taking a long shot to assume is fire protection. Damned dragon has kobold cleric duct taped to its back…*sigh* The Ranger snaps off a full attack from the speed bow and pincushions a kobold. Pudnokker throws his flamestrike at the kobolds and 2 of the remaining four blow their saves. Dragon makes a spell resistance save…The Paladin is having trouble actually hitting the dragon without true strike and it takes us three rounds of the paladin playing aerial tag and eating AOO’s to kill the ride along healers and have the golems kill off the night hags. Ranger stops rapid shotting and just uses full attacks with speed to plink arrows at the dragon. With the golems free up we desperately want the dragon to land. Paladin swings down with carpet to try and get me on board and close enough to try a Bestow Curse. We are pretty spread out and the dragon launches the acid line at our golems on the ground. Paladin gets close to me and I hit him with a Cure Serious and Pudnokker follows with a Cure Mod from wands.

    Without dragging this description out ad nasuem we fought a very delicate tactical fight the streams of acid got through our protection and we fell back to resist energies and the scant remaining protection from energy. We were doing damage from the arrows that hit and the occasional crit from paladin, but the acid was going to win out over our spell protection before we could kill the dragon. I was burning through charges on the staff like crazy trying to land some damage and as we were running out of time. We go for broke with Paladin dropping shield and snatching the frostbrand he loads up a true strike with power attack and smite and I jump on the carpet to try and get the Bestow Curse off, I got 28 acid resist left on my protection and I know full well that if we juke at the wrong time I could get full attacked into a new character sheet. Paladin lands a monster shot from second true strike and my Bestow Curse penetrates spell resist but Dragon makes its will save. Pudnokker is damn near out spells and is basically just a cure wand monkey at this point. The Paladin is out of true strikes and smites, and I got fumes for spells. We spread out and try to keep mobile on the ground for a few rounds and finally the dragon dives for the ranger who is at this point the biggest threat in the fight.

    Ranger eats a bite attack and we lose init badly the following round…he eats all six attacks and while his AC is better than mine he gets ripped up bad…I mean from near full health to low single digits in a heartbeat. We sick both golems on the dragon and Paladin has Torm Golem try for a grapple…its like a 20% chance and it fails…Minotaur Golem ends up trying the same and he fails. We end up flanking the dragon and Paladin puts two hits in one a crit on a natural 20. Ranger is kind of stuck where he is and he drops bow and draws swords. I move in close and try a burning hands…actually make the spell resistance check and do some piddly damage. Next round ranger full attacks and lands a crit with sneak attack damge, the paladin full attacks and hits once for standard damage and Torm Golem wins a grapple check. Minotaur Golem rolls a 19 on its grapple check…dragon rolls a 3…Minotaur Golem wins its grapple check. Hmmm. Dragon tries to take off and we all stop for a minute. Based on dragon’s strength, the fact that he is huge and a Quadruped we calculate around 10,000 pounds. Golems weigh about 5,000 pounds each and for a moment it looks like the dragon is about to take off with both golems in tow. But sometimes life gives you a moment…
    Ranger: He has five dead kobolds too…add (flips through Monster Manual) 45 pounds each times 45 pounds plus gear. He is just a bit beyond heavy capacity.

    We went absolutely berserk at the table…dragon was literally a few dead kobolds above capacity to move. It wasn’t going to last long but a round or two but that was enough for us to unload everything we had for full attacks and golem slams. We had the thing staggered and in rough shape, the walls of fire are still burning and with sneak attack damage trickling in from ranger we got him on the ropes. I expend my second Flamestrike from the ring for the week and manage to beat spell resistance...the golems basically wash in damage as the fire helps them but I get through some good damage and the dragon goes to a knee…its is burning and ripped up bad…the Paladin lands the killing blow two rounds later a crit from the frostbrand and we celebrate.

    We burn a lot of charges healing everyone back to full and aside from healing wands we are down to nothing (we spent a lot of time in that situation) The Golems are still burning and are back to about full. There are three adjunct chambers to the main cavern and all three are loaded with treasure. We retrieve weapons and get ourselves reorganized and the Paladin enters the first chamber…alarms sound once again and 6 huge earth elementals form up from the ground and begin to engage…*sigh* We have the Steel Curtain (Paladin and both Golems) try to keep them occupied while Ranger plugs away with bow and I throw a flaming sphere.

    Pudnokker is assigned “don’t let any damned elementals get behind us duty” and clean up pretty efficiently. We repeat this process for the other two chambers and dispatch 12 more elementals. As number 18 goes down we do a little fist pump…and are then almost knocked from our feet as the whole cavern trembles. From each of the three treasure rooms an absolutely massive Greater Earth Elemental arises and from the central chamber a dozen earth mephits erupt as well. Torm goes for one of the greaters, Minotaur on the second and Paladin on the third. That leaves us waist deep in mephits that are spraying pebbles and rocks as breath weapons. The Ranger eats a couple AOO to snipe off three of the little ones in a single round and I am burning hands them two at a time. Pudnokker actually swings a melee weapon for what might be the first time. We eat 60 or so damage spread out from the mephits before we drop them, and the big ones are putting some real damage on the golems and Paladin. I get behind paladin and I am putting a cure serious into him each round and he is still dropping slowly. It gets easier when the first one goes down and we can double up on a remaining one. We weren’t really in danger but it was stressful.

    No more elementals burst out and we start to examine the treasure. My first priority is to cast detect magic in each chamber then look for bags….we find two bags of holding and quickly calculate that provided these are bags of holding and not bags of tricks, and are type 4, we wont be able to fit a fraction of what is here. We decide to stay here overnight and rest, and load up with a new set of spells. We take every earth shaping and affecting spell along with identifies that we can acquire. We get the greenlight for level 11 and are allowed to process the new level as part of prep process for next morning.

    Paladin goes back to taking Paladin level and goes to Paladin6/Sorc1/Dragon4

    Ranger wants to take a level of Paladin…he is shifted to LG and loses any barbarian perks such as rage and fast movement. That makes him a quite silly Ranger2/Rogue3/Barb1/Fighter4/Paladin1.

    I get permission to dip into Sublime Chord and then return to the Theurge route. That makes be Bard4/Cleric3/MT3/Sublime Chord1. I pick up Stoneskin,Stoneshape and Shout as level 4 spells. And Break Enchantment as level 5

    Pudnokker makes level 9 and he takes scribe scroll for 9th level feat.
    We are faced with some tough choices the next day, we have a mountain of treasure to sort through, and no clue what else may be gunning for us in the area. I will include the full list minus minor items. I added our eventual sell price for each item

    Medium Armor:
    1.+3 armor full plate- 6,000
    2.Darkwood Shield-100
    3.+2 shield animated-light wooden shield-5,000
    4.+1 shield heavy steel shield-500
    5.+1 shield heavy steel shield-500
    6.+2 armor improved silent moves-10,000
    Major Armor:
    1.+4 armor improved sonic improved fire full plate (Kept)
    2.+4 shield tower-8,000
    3.+4 armor hide-2,500
    4.+4 shield heavy steel shield 12,500
    Medium Weapon
    1.+2 defending short sword 14,000
    2.+3 short sword frost shock (Kept)
    3.+3 dwarven waraxe 6,000
    4.+3 greatsword 15,000
    Major Weapon
    1.Frostbrand (Kept)
    2.luck blade 2 wishes (Kept)
    Medium Ring
    1.Ring of Protection+3 (kept)
    2.Ring of Invisibility-15,000
    3.Ring of Spell Storing-Minor (kept)
    Major Ring
    1.Ring of Evasion (kept)
    2.Ring of Energy Resist Major Cold (kept)
    Medium Wands
    1.Wand of Owl's Wisdom 22 (kept)
    2.Wand of Invisibility 32 (kept)
    3.Wand of Acid Arrow 42 (kept)
    4.Wand of Bear's Endurance 15 (kept)
    5.Wand of Bull's Strength 5 (kept)
    Medium Wond Item
    1.Robe of Scintillating Colors-20,000
    2.Circlet of Blasting Major-15,000
    3.Iridescent Spindle (kept)
    4.Pearl of Power 5th level (kept)
    5.Lyre of Building (kept)
    6.Cloak of the Bat-15,000
    7.Bracers of Armor+3 16,000
    Major Wond Item
    1.Tome of Understandng+4 (kept)
    2.Manual Quickness of ACtion+5 (kept)
    3.Bracers of Armor+6 (kept)
    Bag of Holding Type 3 x 2 (kept)
    Medium Rod:
    1.Lesser Metamagic Silent -1,500
    Major Rod:
    1.Rod of Python (kept)
    2.Metamagic Empower (kept)
    3.Lesser Metamagic Quicken (kept)
    4.Greater Extend (kept)
    Medium Staff
    1.Staff of Illumination (kept)
    Major Staff
    1.Of Abjuration (kept)
    2.Conjuration (kept)
    3.Staff of Fire -25,000
    750,000 copper pieces
    250,000 silver pieces
    125,000 gold pieces
    20,000 Platinum
    Assorted 50,000 in gems…

    Collectively we have three bags of holding type 3 and can carry 3,000 pounds of gear in bags and then our carrying capacity. The Staffs are a huge bonus in terms of group capability and having metamagic rods is salivating worthy. There is a set of awesome full plate and a luck blade with wishes. There are some stat manuals and a few decent weapons. The paladin spends hours pouring copper pieces into his layaway bag and when the copper is expended he goes to the silver. The bag eats a huge amount of coins and we are into the gold pieces when the hilt of the holy avenger appears. Chalk off all the copper, all the silver, and 75,000 of the gold. We pack up as much of the remaining coin as possible and load into chests which we pile on the flying carpet. We manage to fit everything except some minor items in the three bags and then stop and look around.

    Ranger: Uh…is there a way out?
    DM: You haven’t looked for a way out yet, so you don’t know.

    We end up searching the whole place high and low and for the most we are coming up completely blank. We do find a ring stuck on a stalagtite on the cavern roof. A Ring of Elemental Command Earth. From what we gather from some fluffy lore checks the dragon uncovered a means to bind earth elementals as parts of alarm spells using the ring. We can’t find a way out so we put the druid on soften earth duty and have the golems use the +4 tower shield and a heavy steel shield as crude shovels. I also get gently reminded that I am in fact a bard with perform ranks and the lyre of building is thrown into my lap and I enact the lyre to help with the excavation process. During this process we pack everything else up and we get a confused response again from the DM…

    DM: Why not just take turns with the carpet and fly out.
    Me and Paladin: We aren’t leaving our golems…

    Time is our biggest constraint right now and wedesperately want to make it back to The City to turn over some of this hoard into more ideal items for our group. We are somewhere around 3 days from leaving the Tomb of Coiled Kings and 30 or so lights are out and they are going faster. We figure we have five, maybe six days. We don’t have time to haggle over every single item like the previous time so we decide to have the paladin bulk n buy while the druid and I scribe scroll like mad. We get a not so subtle nudge from the DM in the form of a Sending from the Yuan Ti Guardian

    “The heart is buried deep in darkness, none who have entered have returned. Time grows short. “

    Me: So we can expect a long nasty fight with no easy meaning of backing out?
    D: Yep

    Our five day gameplan is to prepare for a very long haul. We cash in as much of the garbage-y magic items as possible and look to shore up our weaknesses. With all the items we sold we have around 475,000 in liquid funds to play with.

    *We pick up 4 Efficient Quivers, 2 for Ranger, one for me and one for Pudnokker. (470,000)
    *Ranger gets Greater Bracers of Archery for 22,000 (448,000)
    *We find a Robe of the Archmage and I turn in the Bracers of Armor+6 and 50K to pick it up for myself (420,000)
    *Wand of Cure Critical Wounds 50 Charges x2 42,000 (378,000)
    *Wand of Stoneskin (33,500) (344,000)
    Wand of Protection from Energy (CL10) x2 45,000 (299,000)
    *Two +3 adamantine Morningstars 50,000 (249,000)
    *3 amulet of natural armor+4 96,000 (153,000)
    *4 Boots of Speed 48,000 (108,000)
    *Cloak of Charisma+6 36,000 (72,000)
    *Ring of Protection+4 32,000 (40,000)’
    *Staff of Frost that brings us to zero
    *Crafted Scrolls 2 Break Enchantment 3 Stone Shape 10 Identify

    We spent four days crafting, shopping and equipping. I took the book for wisdom boost, and the ranger took the dex boost. By the time we were ready to roll out only 40 lights remained on the scepter and we figured that would dip to the teen’s by the time we got there. We reached the Tomb encounter free and as we entered the central chamber with the Yuan Ti undead the scene was far different than when we first left. Of the two hundred coffins, seventeen were still intact and the scant remaining Yuan Ti were haggard beyond belief. Demons, Devils and other evil creatures were still coming through the gate. I’m going to spell out a few things in perhaps too much detail, but for good reason. The DM was at times a bit lax in terms of being strict about spells prepared etc, we had default marching orders based on situations etc and default spell lists for travelling,wilderness etc. He firmly requested exact details on who was carrying what item and how, along with exact spells prepared and marching order. Here is the group composition as we entered this gaping chasm into a world of twisted nightmare and darkness…

    Kyr Prentice (Paladin6/Sorcerer1/Dragon Disciple4) Str22 Dex10 Con18 Int11 Wis16 Cha26with a Frostbrand strapped to his back, a holy avenger sheathed at his hip a adamantine morningstar+3 on the other hip , Heavy Steel Shield+5, Full Plate +4 improved sonic, improved fire, Amulet Natural Armor+3, Ring of Protection+5,Ring of Major Resist Cold Cloak of Charisma+6, Belt of Giant Str+6 , Boots of Speed. and an Iron Golem under his Mental Command. With a 16 Wis he gets a bonus spell and from dragon disciple he gets 3 additional bonus spells so he has five 1st level spells he prepares:Lesser Restoration,2CLW, 2 Divine Favor. He again has access to his mount which has not been summoned or used. He is also carrying a Bag of Holding3:A

    Emilio Miller (Ranger2/Rogue3/Barbarian1/Fighter4/Paladin1) Str20 Dex31Con15 Int14 Wis 14 Cha 11 with Chain Shirt+5, Ring of Protection+4,Ring of Elemental Command Earth Amulet of Natural Armor+4,Cloak of Resistance+5 +3 comp shortbow (+5str) of speed, a longsword+3 keen a +3 frost shock shortsword, an adamantine Morningstar+3belt of giant str+6 and gloves of dexterity+6 He had bow feats and two weapon fighting feats. He has two efficient quivers one loaded with arrows and a second with cold iron arrows. He is carrying Bag of Holding Type3:B. He also has Greater Bracers of Archery and Boots of Speed. He also has a frostbrand strapped to his back

    Caramis Wolfsbane (Bard4/Cleric3/Mystic Theurge3/Sublime Chord1) Str15 Dex10 Con12 Int18 Wis18 Cha 26, with Robes of the Archmage Amulet of Natural Armor+4 Cloak of Charisma+6, Ring of Elemental Command Fire, Ring of Spell Storing (2 Cure Mod 1 CLW) Boots of Speed And an Efficient Quiver and Bag of Holding 3:C. My Cleric Spells prepared are:
    1st1.Shield of Faith2.Entropic Shield3.Obscuring Mist4.Protection from Evil*CLW2nd1.Eagles Splendor2.Hold Person3.Lesser Restoration4.Resist Energy*Cure Mod3rd1.Bestow Curse2.Dispel Magic3.Stone Shape*Cure Serious

    Pudnokker (Druid 9): Str 16 Dex 13 Con 14 Int 11 Wis 18 Cha 11 with a +1 quaterstaff, leather armor+1,Amulet of Natural Armor+4, Ring of Protection+3 and Natural Spell, Augment Summoning, and Extend Spell and scribe scroll. He is carrying a scroll of Stone Shape and the Staff of Fire (50charges) and an efficient Quiver. He has prepared: 1st.CLWx5 2ndCure Modx53rd1.Stone Shap2.Stone Shape3.Stone Shape4.Wind Wall4th1.Air Walk2.FlameStrike3.Ice Storm5th1.Baleful Polymorph

    Caramis Efficient Quiver:
    18 Slots:Wand of Cure Critical 50 charges, Wand of Protection from Energy (50 charges), Wand Cure Mod 22 charges, Wand Cure Serious 25 charges, Wand of Acid Arrow 42 charges, Wand of Bears Endurance 15
    6 Slots:Staff of Illumination,Staff of Conjuration, Staff of Abjuration, , Metamagic Empower Rod, Lesser Quicken Rod, Greater Extend Rod
    Pudnokker Quiver:
    18 Slots: Wand of Bull's Strength 5, Wand of Invisibility 32, Wand of Owl's Wisdom 22, Wand of Protection from Energy 50, Wand of Cure Critical Wounds 50, Wand of Cure Mod 18 , Wand of Cure Light 40 (CL5)
    6 Slots: Rod of Python
    Bag A: Flying Carpet, 500 feet of rope and assorted pitons, hamers, pry bar portable battering ram
    Bag B: 1500 arrows
    Bag C: All our scrolls and 6 months iron rations.

    There is a brief lull at the gate and Paladin and Torm golem lead the way in, Me and Minotaur Golem go next and Pudnokker and Ranger enter 3rd.
    The three pairs of us all go through the gate and end up in 3 different locations. The permanent walls of fire on the golems are dispelled and 3 charges from Pudnokkers protection from energy wand are snuffed out. We end the session split into three different two man/construct teams and wait a full week to find out what is in store for us.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    If this gets enough traction I will try to write up the remainder which ended up being about a 15 session dungeon crawl that was taxing beyond belief. It will probably take me a good two weeks as in word format these first eight sessions were about 90 pages.

    Eighth Session to 11th level:

    Spoiler
    Show
    The gang picked back up the action at the foot of a mountain we hoped was the dragon’s new lair. There are several paths going up , and we take the one to the far right. We have Torm Golem pulling the Wagon and Minotaur bringing up our rear. I am inside the wagon with our few loose possessions. Boy and Pudnokker are on either side of the wagon and Paladin is up with Torm, and Ranger is back with Minotaur. We are a few hundred feet up the paths and it is getting narrower. Ranger makes a spot check and sees forms flying in at us…definitely dragon in shape…and there are eight of them. Eek. As they approach they were identified as Wyverns. On the plus side…Paladin gets to try out his breath weapon….on the negative side they target Pudnokker and myself, or at least our wagon. Pudnokker gets snatched by a swooping wyvern and thrown off the mountain. Five Wyverns dive bomb the wagon and try to knock it off the path. The Paladin has to make a reflex save to command the golem to grab the wagon. He pulls that off but the wagon with me in it is too heavy to prevent from falling. I ask if I have enough time for a standard action before falling….long pause followed by yes.

    Me: Let it go, keep the golem in combat.
    Paladin: alright…

    As Pudnokker plummets from the mountain and the wagon plummets from the mountain a few things happen. The ranger starts lighting up a wyvern. The paladin breathes fire at a flyer-by, and then the druid turns into an eagle and swoops back in to the group. This is shortly followed by my bard pulling a silver surfer as he emerges from the wagon riding on the flying carpet. I follow suit and swoop back into the group. We start plinking them with arrows the occasional fire breath and I hold actions to throw burning hands as they swoop in. The golems are constantly trying to grapple them as they come by. As the golem hugs one it gets crushed by the paladin and other golem. We kill three in this fashion and the remaining ones bug out. I am tempted to throw some fireballs, but hold back, im sub 40 charges on the staff and we aren’t sure what else is ahead of us.

    We see a lot of wyverns on the path up, but they mostly just circle and hiss at us. The ranger snaps off the occasional arrow and they circle away much further. The ascent continues and maybe 500 feet up we come upon a cave entrance with an opening in the ceiling that leads from the mountains top. The second we break the plane of the cave entrance alarms go off all over the place. From the ground eight huge earth elementals take shape and begin to advance towards us. As the earth elementals move to engage the Wyverns start to dive through the hole in the roof and we have about 4 wyverns taking flyby attacks at us as well. The Golems and Paladin form a tank line with the rest of us lobbing ranged attacks and supporting with heals. The Golems are taking damage from the ele’s and I shout for the Paladin to move left as I wall Of Fire the one on far right. He actually steps back a few steps and I shift left to try and get an angle where burning hands will hit the second golem and catch an ele as well. Pudnokker holds his action to try and catch a pair of wyverns and some elementals at same time with a flamestrike. We are holding our own quite well, the earth elementals have deep health pools but the golems are sturdy and the paladin has great AC. The wyverns are more nuisance than fatal. Then we fail some spot/listen checks.

    I feel a slight tremor behind me and turn to see a pair of earth elementals on either side of me from behind. Oh yeah they can walk through earth, and just went under us and around. My AC is garbage, and they can only miss me on a roll of 1, technically a 1 still hits. I eat two slams get rocked. 2 more with almost certainly drop me to negatives, or kill me outright. They are on me and will be able to full attack next turn. Next turn Pudnokker hits me with a cure serious wounds, but that won’t be enough for me to take four attacks. Paladin moves to support me and ranger grabs his swords and starts swinging in melee. I move out of the threatened squares and eat two AOO, hoping for mediocre damage…no such luck, I get cracked and cracked hard and end up at -7, I end up prone and dying in the wall of fire aura. It’s bad that I feel safer on fire than upright. The earth elementals are doing some serious damage now that they are past the golems and paladin, the ranger is getting pummeled and Pudnokker is taking heavy damage as well. We dance around for a few rounds and Pudnokker stabilizes me before he goes down as well. The ranger ends up down and Mannie is killed again. (ranger says “we may have to re-name him Kenny”). Paladin goes completely defensive and stabilizes Pud and the Ranger. My minotaur golem is still burning and following my last command to destroy the elementals, and Torm Golem has taken 50+ damage but is still swinging. Paladin is the only one still up and we have five golems and currently three wyverns left active. So….quick breakdown on Paladin’s armor class

    Base 10…Full Plate+4 brings him to 23…Heavy Steel Shield+5 brings him to 30….Ring of Protection+5 brings him to 35…Amulet of Natural Armor+3 brings him to 38…he gets+2 boost from Dragon Disciple to Natural Armor….so 40. Huge Earth Elemental gets+19 to hit…but with a flank they can hit on a 19. So he pumps one point from Combat Expertise to boost AC to 41…Natural 20
    is the only thing that hits him.

    Around 15 rounds later the Wall of Fire expires and amidst the smoke left in the room and the haze, the Paladin stands alone covered in mud and grime with a badly battered golem that is an icon of his god. He actually pauses to toss a one liner before getting us back on his feet…

    Paladin: Those in service to Torm are made of harder stuff than earth…we are steel and iron.

    We use all of our prepared healing, and I use all my bardic healing and keep some cleric spells prepared and available. We still have to drain the Spell Storing ring again and use 8 charges of Cure Mod Wand. I burning hands the Torm Golem back to full The wyverns want nothing else to do with us.

    Me: Well they know we are here.
    Paladin: Good I would like a challenge for once…
    Me: We need better defenses *gestures to everyone but paladin*
    Ranger: I imagine there is better protection amidst the treasure hoard.
    Paladin: Then let us go “reason” with the wyrm

    The cave descends into the mountains core and gives way to a deep well shaped chasm that drops into the mountain itself.

    Me: So how do we get down there?
    Ranger: We have the carpet…
    Me: Golems are too heavy for the carpet.
    We have no feather falling (sold the ring), no one has levitate prepared, and we cant fly outside of the rug.
    Paladin: Falling damage caps at 20d6 just throw em down and burn em back up.
    Me: And if we immediately get attacked by the dragon?
    The ranger who is looking through the inventory in our bag of holding breaks out laughing…I mean big time hardcore laughing.

    Ranger: We have scrolls of permanency.
    Me:…yeah.
    Ranger: So cast Wall of Fire on both of them and make it permanent. We are lighting them up like candles all the time anyway, saves recasting.
    Paladin: And when we go into town or through a city with two walking towering infernos? Get me around that and I’m on board….

    With his stomach shaking from laughter he points to a line on the inventory list…Rod of Flame Extinguishing…we actually have to look it up and are a bit disappointed to see that is capped with charges…but we look up the Frostbrand…which will work perfectly. The druid loads up us with buff spells we all have protection from energy Acid and Bulls Strength, Cats Grace and Bears Endurance are loaded up. I put an eagles splendor on the paladin and I have a Bestow Curse available for the dragon. We light both golems up and cast permanency then have them step down the well. The rest of us pile on the carpet which is absolutely groaning as we are right at the weight limit. And start the descent down.

    We hear the golems thud at the bottom and hear a distinct metallic ring, we can see the fire from the walls and they are about 200 feet down from us. We can see that they are fighting things in the space below but its hard to tell what. We get to make attack rolls and we get update on the damage they are taking. Entering the cavern at the base of the well we see a trio of night hags engaged in battle with the golems. They are getting their asses handed to them on a silver platter. They got nothing that can really affect the golems and while the fire isn’t hurting them the slam damage is. We have much larger and scalier problems to deal with very quickly. A huge old black dragon is waiting for us, it has a strange harness strapped to its back and there are five kobolds buckled into the harness. The dragon immediately lets loose a line of acid. 40 acid damage is coming our way. Paladin makes the save with ease, and the rest of us fail miserably. We scramble off the carpet with the Ranger going left, me going right and the Paladin staying on the carpet as he charges the dragon. He has a true strike prepped and is swinging the flametongue. He hits solid but is now in air with dragon who can full attack him next round.

    Next rounds init roll is very intense…Dragon rolls an 8 and with bonuses is at 12, Paladin rolls a 15. He misses standard attack and moves away, he eats the bite as an AOO and even his 40 AC is not enough to be safe. I toss a fireball from Staff that gets spell resisted into uselessness, based on what I need to roll, any spell I have has a 40-50% chance of actually breaking spell resistance. The kobolds act before us and from we spot and spellcraft they cast healing spells and what we are taking a long shot to assume is fire protection. Damned dragon has kobold cleric duct taped to its back…*sigh* The Ranger snaps off a full attack from the speed bow and pincushions a kobold. Pudnokker throws his flamestrike at the kobolds and 2 of the remaining four blow their saves. Dragon makes a spell resistance save…The Paladin is having trouble actually hitting the dragon without true strike and it takes us three rounds of the paladin playing aerial tag and eating AOO’s to kill the ride along healers and have the golems kill off the night hags. Ranger stops rapid shotting and just uses full attacks with speed to plink arrows at the dragon. With the golems free up we desperately want the dragon to land. Paladin swings down with carpet to try and get me on board and close enough to try a Bestow Curse. We are pretty spread out and the dragon launches the acid line at our golems on the ground. Paladin gets close to me and I hit him with a Cure Serious and Pudnokker follows with a Cure Mod from wands.

    Without dragging this description out ad nasuem we fought a very delicate tactical fight the streams of acid got through our protection and we fell back to resist energies and the scant remaining protection from energy. We were doing damage from the arrows that hit and the occasional crit from paladin, but the acid was going to win out over our spell protection before we could kill the dragon. I was burning through charges on the staff like crazy trying to land some damage and as we were running out of time. We go for broke with Paladin dropping shield and snatching the frostbrand he loads up a true strike with power attack and smite and I jump on the carpet to try and get the Bestow Curse off, I got 28 acid resist left on my protection and I know full well that if we juke at the wrong time I could get full attacked into a new character sheet. Paladin lands a monster shot from second true strike and my Bestow Curse penetrates spell resist but Dragon makes its will save. Pudnokker is damn near out spells and is basically just a cure wand monkey at this point. The Paladin is out of true strikes and smites, and I got fumes for spells. We spread out and try to keep mobile on the ground for a few rounds and finally the dragon dives for the ranger who is at this point the biggest threat in the fight.

    Ranger eats a bite attack and we lose init badly the following round…he eats all six attacks and while his AC is better than mine he gets ripped up bad…I mean from near full health to low single digits in a heartbeat. We sick both golems on the dragon and Paladin has Torm Golem try for a grapple…its like a 20% chance and it fails…Minotaur Golem ends up trying the same and he fails. We end up flanking the dragon and Paladin puts two hits in one a crit on a natural 20. Ranger is kind of stuck where he is and he drops bow and draws swords. I move in close and try a burning hands…actually make the spell resistance check and do some piddly damage. Next round ranger full attacks and lands a crit with sneak attack damge, the paladin full attacks and hits once for standard damage and Torm Golem wins a grapple check. Minotaur Golem rolls a 19 on its grapple check…dragon rolls a 3…Minotaur Golem wins its grapple check. Hmmm. Dragon tries to take off and we all stop for a minute. Based on dragon’s strength, the fact that he is huge and a Quadruped we calculate around 10,000 pounds. Golems weigh about 5,000 pounds each and for a moment it looks like the dragon is about to take off with both golems in tow. But sometimes life gives you a moment…
    Ranger: He has five dead kobolds too…add (flips through Monster Manual) 45 pounds each times 45 pounds plus gear. He is just a bit beyond heavy capacity.

    We went absolutely berserk at the table…dragon was literally a few dead kobolds above capacity to move. It wasn’t going to last long but a round or two but that was enough for us to unload everything we had for full attacks and golem slams. We had the thing staggered and in rough shape, the walls of fire are still burning and with sneak attack damage trickling in from ranger we got him on the ropes. I expend my second Flamestrike from the ring for the week and manage to beat spell resistance...the golems basically wash in damage as the fire helps them but I get through some good damage and the dragon goes to a knee…its is burning and ripped up bad…the Paladin lands the killing blow two rounds later a crit from the frostbrand and we celebrate.

    We burn a lot of charges healing everyone back to full and aside from healing wands we are down to nothing (we spent a lot of time in that situation) The Golems are still burning and are back to about full. There are three adjunct chambers to the main cavern and all three are loaded with treasure. We retrieve weapons and get ourselves reorganized and the Paladin enters the first chamber…alarms sound once again and 6 huge earth elementals form up from the ground and begin to engage…*sigh* We have the Steel Curtain (Paladin and both Golems) try to keep them occupied while Ranger plugs away with bow and I throw a flaming sphere.

    Pudnokker is assigned “don’t let any damned elementals get behind us duty” and clean up pretty efficiently. We repeat this process for the other two chambers and dispatch 12 more elementals. As number 18 goes down we do a little fist pump…and are then almost knocked from our feet as the whole cavern trembles. From each of the three treasure rooms an absolutely massive Greater Earth Elemental arises and from the central chamber a dozen earth mephits erupt as well. Torm goes for one of the greaters, Minotaur on the second and Paladin on the third. That leaves us waist deep in mephits that are spraying pebbles and rocks as breath weapons. The Ranger eats a couple AOO to snipe off three of the little ones in a single round and I am burning hands them two at a time. Pudnokker actually swings a melee weapon for what might be the first time. We eat 60 or so damage spread out from the mephits before we drop them, and the big ones are putting some real damage on the golems and Paladin. I get behind paladin and I am putting a cure serious into him each round and he is still dropping slowly. It gets easier when the first one goes down and we can double up on a remaining one. We weren’t really in danger but it was stressful.

    No more elementals burst out and we start to examine the treasure. My first priority is to cast detect magic in each chamber then look for bags….we find two bags of holding and quickly calculate that provided these are bags of holding and not bags of tricks, and are type 4, we wont be able to fit a fraction of what is here. We decide to stay here overnight and rest, and load up with a new set of spells. We take every earth shaping and affecting spell along with identifies that we can acquire. We get the greenlight for level 11 and are allowed to process the new level as part of prep process for next morning.

    Paladin goes back to taking Paladin level and goes to Paladin6/Sorc1/Dragon4

    Ranger wants to take a level of Paladin…he is shifted to LG and loses any barbarian perks such as rage and fast movement. That makes him a quite silly Ranger2/Rogue3/Barb1/Fighter4/Paladin1.

    I get permission to dip into Sublime Chord and then return to the Theurge route. That makes be Bard4/Cleric3/MT3/Sublime Chord1. I pick up Stoneskin,Stoneshape and Shout as level 4 spells. And Break Enchantment as level 5

    Pudnokker makes level 9 and he takes scribe scroll for 9th level feat.
    We are faced with some tough choices the next day, we have a mountain of treasure to sort through, and no clue what else may be gunning for us in the area. I will include the full list minus minor items. I added our eventual sell price for each item

    Medium Armor:
    1.+3 armor full plate- 6,000
    2.Darkwood Shield-100
    3.+2 shield animated-light wooden shield-5,000
    4.+1 shield heavy steel shield-500
    5.+1 shield heavy steel shield-500
    6.+2 armor improved silent moves-10,000
    Major Armor:
    1.+4 armor improved sonic improved fire full plate (Kept)
    2.+4 shield tower-8,000
    3.+4 armor hide-2,500
    4.+4 shield heavy steel shield 12,500
    Medium Weapon
    1.+2 defending short sword 14,000
    2.+3 short sword frost shock (Kept)
    3.+3 dwarven waraxe 6,000
    4.+3 greatsword 15,000
    Major Weapon
    1.Frostbrand (Kept)
    2.luck blade 2 wishes (Kept)
    Medium Ring
    1.Ring of Protection+3 (kept)
    2.Ring of Invisibility-15,000
    3.Ring of Spell Storing-Minor (kept)
    Major Ring
    1.Ring of Evasion (kept)
    2.Ring of Energy Resist Major Cold (kept)
    Medium Wands
    1.Wand of Owl's Wisdom 22 (kept)
    2.Wand of Invisibility 32 (kept)
    3.Wand of Acid Arrow 42 (kept)
    4.Wand of Bear's Endurance 15 (kept)
    5.Wand of Bull's Strength 5 (kept)
    Medium Wond Item
    1.Robe of Scintillating Colors-20,000
    2.Circlet of Blasting Major-15,000
    3.Iridescent Spindle (kept)
    4.Pearl of Power 5th level (kept)
    5.Lyre of Building (kept)
    6.Cloak of the Bat-15,000
    7.Bracers of Armor+3 16,000
    Major Wond Item
    1.Tome of Understandng+4 (kept)
    2.Manual Quickness of ACtion+5 (kept)
    3.Bracers of Armor+6 (kept)
    Bag of Holding Type 3 x 2 (kept)
    Medium Rod:
    1.Lesser Metamagic Silent -1,500
    Major Rod:
    1.Rod of Python (kept)
    2.Metamagic Empower (kept)
    3.Lesser Metamagic Quicken (kept)
    4.Greater Extend (kept)
    Medium Staff
    1.Staff of Illumination (kept)
    Major Staff
    1.Of Abjuration (kept)
    2.Conjuration (kept)
    3.Staff of Fire -25,000
    750,000 copper pieces
    250,000 silver pieces
    125,000 gold pieces
    20,000 Platinum
    Assorted 50,000 in gems…

    Collectively we have three bags of holding type 3 and can carry 3,000 pounds of gear in bags and then our carrying capacity. The Staffs are a huge bonus in terms of group capability and having metamagic rods is salivating worthy. There is a set of awesome full plate and a luck blade with wishes. There are some stat manuals and a few decent weapons. The paladin spends hours pouring copper pieces into his layaway bag and when the copper is expended he goes to the silver. The bag eats a huge amount of coins and we are into the gold pieces when the hilt of the holy avenger appears. Chalk off all the copper, all the silver, and 75,000 of the gold. We pack up as much of the remaining coin as possible and load into chests which we pile on the flying carpet. We manage to fit everything except some minor items in the three bags and then stop and look around.

    Ranger: Uh…is there a way out?
    DM: You haven’t looked for a way out yet, so you don’t know.

    We end up searching the whole place high and low and for the most we are coming up completely blank. We do find a ring stuck on a stalagtite on the cavern roof. A Ring of Elemental Command Earth. From what we gather from some fluffy lore checks the dragon uncovered a means to bind earth elementals as parts of alarm spells using the ring. We can’t find a way out so we put the druid on soften earth duty and have the golems use the +4 tower shield and a heavy steel shield as crude shovels. I also get gently reminded that I am in fact a bard with perform ranks and the lyre of building is thrown into my lap and I enact the lyre to help with the excavation process. During this process we pack everything else up and we get a confused response again from the DM…

    DM: Why not just take turns with the carpet and fly out.
    Me and Paladin: We aren’t leaving our golems…

    Time is our biggest constraint right now and wedesperately want to make it back to The City to turn over some of this hoard into more ideal items for our group. We are somewhere around 3 days from leaving the Tomb of Coiled Kings and 30 or so lights are out and they are going faster. We figure we have five, maybe six days. We don’t have time to haggle over every single item like the previous time so we decide to have the paladin bulk n buy while the druid and I scribe scroll like mad. We get a not so subtle nudge from the DM in the form of a Sending from the Yuan Ti Guardian

    “The heart is buried deep in darkness, none who have entered have returned. Time grows short. “

    Me: So we can expect a long nasty fight with no easy meaning of backing out?
    D: Yep

    Our five day gameplan is to prepare for a very long haul. We cash in as much of the garbage-y magic items as possible and look to shore up our weaknesses. With all the items we sold we have around 475,000 in liquid funds to play with.

    *We pick up 4 Efficient Quivers, 2 for Ranger, one for me and one for Pudnokker. (470,000)
    *Ranger gets Greater Bracers of Archery for 22,000 (448,000)
    *We find a Robe of the Archmage and I turn in the Bracers of Armor+6 and 50K to pick it up for myself (420,000)
    *Wand of Cure Critical Wounds 50 Charges x2 42,000 (378,000)
    *Wand of Stoneskin (33,500) (344,000)
    Wand of Protection from Energy (CL10) x2 45,000 (299,000)
    *Two +3 adamantine Morningstars 50,000 (249,000)
    *3 amulet of natural armor+4 96,000 (153,000)
    *4 Boots of Speed 48,000 (108,000)
    *Cloak of Charisma+6 36,000 (72,000)
    *Ring of Protection+4 32,000 (40,000)’
    *Staff of Frost that brings us to zero
    *Crafted Scrolls 2 Break Enchantment 3 Stone Shape 10 Identify

    We spent four days crafting, shopping and equipping. I took the book for wisdom boost, and the ranger took the dex boost. By the time we were ready to roll out only 40 lights remained on the scepter and we figured that would dip to the teen’s by the time we got there. We reached the Tomb encounter free and as we entered the central chamber with the Yuan Ti undead the scene was far different than when we first left. Of the two hundred coffins, seventeen were still intact and the scant remaining Yuan Ti were haggard beyond belief. Demons, Devils and other evil creatures were still coming through the gate. I’m going to spell out a few things in perhaps too much detail, but for good reason. The DM was at times a bit lax in terms of being strict about spells prepared etc, we had default marching orders based on situations etc and default spell lists for travelling,wilderness etc. He firmly requested exact details on who was carrying what item and how, along with exact spells prepared and marching order. Here is the group composition as we entered this gaping chasm into a world of twisted nightmare and darkness…

    Kyr Prentice (Paladin6/Sorcerer1/Dragon Disciple4) Str22 Dex10 Con18 Int11 Wis16 Cha26with a Frostbrand strapped to his back, a holy avenger sheathed at his hip a adamantine morningstar+3 on the other hip , Heavy Steel Shield+5, Full Plate +4 improved sonic, improved fire, Amulet Natural Armor+3, Ring of Protection+5,Ring of Major Resist Cold Cloak of Charisma+6, Belt of Giant Str+6 , Boots of Speed. and an Iron Golem under his Mental Command. With a 16 Wis he gets a bonus spell and from dragon disciple he gets 3 additional bonus spells so he has five 1st level spells he prepares:Lesser Restoration,2CLW, 2 Divine Favor. He again has access to his mount which has not been summoned or used. He is also carrying a Bag of Holding3:A

    Emilio Miller (Ranger2/Rogue3/Barbarian1/Fighter4/Paladin1) Str20 Dex31Con15 Int14 Wis 14 Cha 11 with Chain Shirt+5, Ring of Protection+4,Ring of Elemental Command Earth Amulet of Natural Armor+4,Cloak of Resistance+5 +3 comp shortbow (+5str) of speed, a longsword+3 keen a +3 frost shock shortsword, an adamantine Morningstar+3belt of giant str+6 and gloves of dexterity+6 He had bow feats and two weapon fighting feats. He has two efficient quivers one loaded with arrows and a second with cold iron arrows. He is carrying Bag of Holding Type3:B. He also has Greater Bracers of Archery and Boots of Speed. He also has a frostbrand strapped to his back

    Caramis Wolfsbane (Bard4/Cleric3/Mystic Theurge3/Sublime Chord1) Str15 Dex10 Con12 Int18 Wis18 Cha 26, with Robes of the Archmage Amulet of Natural Armor+4 Cloak of Charisma+6, Ring of Elemental Command Fire, Ring of Spell Storing (2 Cure Mod 1 CLW) Boots of Speed And an Efficient Quiver and Bag of Holding 3:C. My Cleric Spells prepared are:
    1st1.Shield of Faith2.Entropic Shield3.Obscuring Mist4.Protection from Evil*CLW2nd1.Eagles Splendor2.Hold Person3.Lesser Restoration4.Resist Energy*Cure Mod3rd1.Bestow Curse2.Dispel Magic3.Stone Shape*Cure Serious

    Pudnokker (Druid 9): Str 16 Dex 13 Con 14 Int 11 Wis 18 Cha 11 with a +1 quaterstaff, leather armor+1,Amulet of Natural Armor+4, Ring of Protection+3 and Natural Spell, Augment Summoning, and Extend Spell and scribe scroll. He is carrying a scroll of Stone Shape and the Staff of Fire (50charges) and an efficient Quiver. He has prepared: 1st.CLWx5 2ndCure Modx53rd1.Stone Shap2.Stone Shape3.Stone Shape4.Wind Wall4th1.Air Walk2.FlameStrike3.Ice Storm5th1.Baleful Polymorph

    Caramis Efficient Quiver:
    18 Slots:Wand of Cure Critical 50 charges, Wand of Protection from Energy (50 charges), Wand Cure Mod 22 charges, Wand Cure Serious 25 charges, Wand of Acid Arrow 42 charges, Wand of Bears Endurance 15
    6 Slots:Staff of Illumination,Staff of Conjuration, Staff of Abjuration, , Metamagic Empower Rod, Lesser Quicken Rod, Greater Extend Rod
    Pudnokker Quiver:
    18 Slots: Wand of Bull's Strength 5, Wand of Invisibility 32, Wand of Owl's Wisdom 22, Wand of Protection from Energy 50, Wand of Cure Critical Wounds 50, Wand of Cure Mod 18 , Wand of Cure Light 40 (CL5)
    6 Slots: Rod of Python
    Bag A: Flying Carpet, 500 feet of rope and assorted pitons, hamers, pry bar portable battering ram
    Bag B: 1500 arrows
    Bag C: All our scrolls and 6 months iron rations.

    There is a brief lull at the gate and Paladin and Torm golem lead the way in, Me and Minotaur Golem go next and Pudnokker and Ranger enter 3rd.
    The three pairs of us all go through the gate and end up in 3 different locations. The permanent walls of fire on the golems are dispelled and 3 charges from Pudnokkers protection from energy wand are snuffed out. We end the session split into three different two man/construct teams and wait a full week to find out what is in store for us.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    How long has all of this taken to do, real time?

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    We played every saturday for months. I think this campaign ran almost six months every saturday. In terms of the actual write up, I spent about 30+ hours referencing notes and writing down the events. Hardest part was tracking down the sections for sessions I haven't written up yet. The guy who played the Paladin has boxes of all our old campaign stuff and I had to hassle him to find the maps for the never ending dungeon crawl that finished this campaign.

    We very rarely went past 10th level with a group of characters. This was one of three campaigns we ever did that hit high teens for character levels. This one stood out for some of the remarkably unbalanced encounters and staggering jumps in magic items. It was absolutely the longest dungeon we had ever done as well. But I couldn't resist the urge to recap it after reading the SilverFang horror campaign journals.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    I have to hand it to you guys, very inventive. I loved how much use you got out of a simple wagon and the Iron Golems were priceless.

    I've actually gotten quite a few ideas from what you've posted up here. Really enjoyed it.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    Originally the end plan for the Wagon was to convert it to glass steel and use permananent illusions to allow us to see out while nothing could see in. The paladin actually at one point wanted to hook up multiple flying carpets and attach them to each wheel to make it fly. It was deemed excessive and veto'd.

    And yeah the Iron Golems were all stars. Coupled with elemental command fire ring they were wicked. We got way more mileage from them than I ever dreamed possible.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    9th Session:

    Spoiler
    Show
    An interesting fact about the guy playing our Paladin. He is meticulous in mapping. I swear he has asked for angles of elevation and included 3D scale to his graph paper maps. He has stock keys for symbols: the works. The next several month were like heaven to him. We were A Team, B Team, and C Team. He kept separate maps for each of us based on what we ran into, and when we did meet back up, he re-rendered the map to sync up as a single structure. Restrictions on meta gaming were devastating here. We knew a lot of what was happening but had no means in which to interact with other party members. I will recap most of the next couple sessions in chunks from each perspective. A few quick notes first…

    *Food was rarely ever a concern, we had a ranger and we spent a lot of time in the wilderness. It was assumed we hunted/forages etc. With a deep dungeon delve we were instructed that food would matter. Hence the extensive iron rations.
    *Our 0 level slots were typically used on the fly and this was one area where we didn’t get absolutely hammered.

    Paladin:

    The Paladin was in fairly good overall shape for his solo portion of this campaign. He could self heal with LoH, and he had Cure Light Wounds. He had huge AC, great saves, and resists. He had a flanking buddy in his golem and he could create water. He also had a holy avenger in a place filled with evil. I will give some basic descriptions to identify rooms because this place was massive and room backtracking became integral.

    P1:The Room Stolen from Cube
    Paladin finds himself in an all steel room with doors on three of the four walls. The room is completely empty save for himself and the golem. All three doors are locked and detect evil shows a constant evil everywhere. With no way of unlocking the doors he resorted to his “lockpick” the adamantine Morningstar. He opens all three doors by mangling them beyond belief. The forward door advances to a descending stairwell, and the two side doors lead to hallways. He follows the hallway to the left to see where it leads and it comes to a dead end. The hallway to the right does the same thing. The stairwells go down to another locked door. This one receives the lock pick treatment as well and he enters…

    P2: Minotaur Hotel
    P2 is a series of columns and stand alone walls. Loud Snorting and Footsteps are audible but no visual is available. As he tries to get a gauge of the room and it’s layout he turns a corner and takes a greataxe to the face from a fiendish minotaur with class levels. It swings then maneuvers out of vision behind other columns and segments of wall. After about five rounds of playing hide and seek with a minotaur in a mini-maze he realizes there are more than one. He goes back to back with the golem and just starts attacking walls with the Morningstar trying to knock them down. He goes through some nasty back and forth with a total of 3 minotaurs and he knocks down half a dozen walls in the process to clear room. Between his holy avenger and the golem’s slams they kill all three and ensure the room is clear. He takes close to 40 damage in the process and burns two Cure Lights to recover 22. The Minotaur Hotel room is 90x90 feet with two exits, one going further down and one to the left. The stairwell going down is long and winding. The exit to the left locked. He smashes another door and this one opens up into a fiery lava pit with dozens of fire mephits. He sends in Torm Golem and just waits in the doorway for the horrified screams of mephits to die out.

    P3:Mephit Hot Tub
    The Mephit Hot Tub is an open chamber filled with pools of lava and searing rocks. Movement is possible through the chamber, but the extreme heat results in a day’s worth of water loss in minutes. From the entrance he can’t see a whole lot of the room. He decides to go down before trying to investigate the Hot Tub Room.

    P4: The Giant Freaking Door with Keyholes
    The winding stairwell ends at a giant door with three keyholes. The lockpick method is ineffective on this door. With little other choice he is forced to backtrack to the Hot Tub room and investigate.

    Navigation is difficult as he has to follow winding routes to avoid lava and steam. He does find a boulder on the far end of the room that the golem pushes out of the way to reveal another winding staircase. This one branches off to three separate rooms. The Black Room, The White Room, and the Blue Room.

    P5:The Black Room
    All polished obsidian and onyx. Razor sharp columns and reflective obsidian make this room a nightmare to see anything or discern location. Making things worse it prevents functional camouflage for the Dread Wraith and 8 smaller Wraiths that make this room their lair. Incorporeal is brutal here. The Holy Avenger is nasty when it connects, but 50% of the time he is swinging through mist. They were treated as having concealment so he also had a 20% concealment miss chance. We really thought he was going to be left a wraith that gets killed by his own golem. He ate two Con Drains from the Dread Wraith and lost 8 Con, once the dread wraith dropped the remaining ones weren’t too hard to contend with. He took another 15 damage and used 10 points from LOH to stem a bit of the damage. He uses a lesser restoration and gets back 3 of the Con. He drops all the way back to the Cube Room and has the Golem stand sentry while he removes armor and tries to rest. We will come back to the Paladin in a little while

    Ranger:

    R1:Spirally Tower
    Pudnokker and the Ranger emerge at the top of a tower with windows that open to nothingness. There are three staircases winding their way down. They go down with the ranger at forefront and decide to start with the left first. That path takes them on a long winding path down which ends at a deep well with no visible bottom.We will refer to that as the Bottomless Well R2. They backtrack up the to the top and take middle that one takes them outside the tower…but while the stairwell extend four or five feet out, after that there is sheer darkness all around them. They estimate that they climb a good 500 feet up just spiraling up into darkness. As far as they can estimate they are easily a 1,000 feet above their original starting point when they find an anvil with a glass dagger driven into the steel. It is just sitting on a step that seems to end the ascent. The Ranger tries to pull it with no luck. They try to pick up the anvil…no luck. They use a 0 level detect magic…yep its magic. They then try to push the dagger further in…it slides in with little resistance and the anvil splits in two, freeing the dagger and revealing a small empty locket. They take both and start the long climb back down. The Long Winding Stair is R3. The third stairwell takes them to a underground bog teaming with moss, lichen and pond scum.

    R4:Naga Pond
    Cobblestone form a path through the murk to a tunnel at the far end. Midway through the room, snakelike creatures with humanoid faces emerge from the bog and start throwing spells at them. A full nest of four dark naga start flinging magic missiles, scorching rays and lightning bolts at the two. Pudnokker throws some fireballs from his staff and ranger start pumping arrows into them. They take a fair amount of spell damage, but they take out each naga within a total of four rounds. Pud uses a cure mod and cure light on each of them to top them off near full and they finish their trek across the room. The tunnel is very long, like winding for miles. They are three-four miles in when they decide it might be worthwhile to backtrack, but as they decide to do so, they emerge at the top of a stairwell that has a split anvil in it. There 2 hour walk down a tunnel at least 4 miles long just spit them out at the top of the Long Winding Stair. WTF.

    R2: Bottomless Well
    Seeing practically no other choice they decide to explore the bottomless well. Druid wild shapes into an eagle and tries to glide/fly down the shaft. He casts light on himself and the glowing bird goes down the well, he glides down a few hundred feet and emerges in the Naga Pond. Double WTF.
    They join back up at the Spirally Tower Room and try to figure out what to do. The dimensions of the tower make no sense, and there is no way out other then the empty void of darkness outside the tower. They play around with the glass dagger for a bit and nothing happens. They open the empty locket and on a whim push it out of one of the tower windows. THAT gets the ball rolling as the darkness is sucked into the locket at an alarming rate. As the dark disappears into the locket the three stairwells merge into one singular path that levels out in the tower and goes forward in a forked tunnel.

    Me:
    My opening room is a limestone tomb B1. With no doors, entrances or exits. Just a 100x100 tomb with two dozen stone coffins. In the walls of the room are carved niches the same size as the coffins. There are 21 niches in the wall and 24 coffins in the room. I do a few search checks and use a detect magic to determine the coffins do have magical effects going on. I also determine that the coffins are on primitive rollers and that with heavy exertion I could move them on my own. But luckily I have a big ol golem to do the heavy lifting. I get the Minotaur to lift the lids on all 24 coffins and they are empty. I also determine that there are eight symbols in sets of 3 amongst the 24 coffins. So if I put seven sets of 3 in the walls I will be left with a set of 3 on the floor. I use every knowledge check resource at my disposal and come up with 8 probable meanings to the symbols on each set.

    Earth,Water,Fire,Shadow,Air,Limbo,Astral,and Death. Ok then…the golem puts 21 coffins in the wall and we leave the 3 coffins that are marked fire in the middle of the room. The whole room shifts somehow and air escapes from the lids of the three coffins on the floor, the three coffins on the floor all flow together and shape themselves into a large doorway. Flowing forth into the chamber from this doorway are four average salamanders and a noble salamander.

    Me: Well greetings planar travelers. Do you by chance know where you are?
    Salamander Noble: Yes…we exist in the master’s nightmare. The nightmare breathes and lives and now we draw breath as well
    Me: Do you like it here?
    I think I really confused the DM by talking here instead of lobbing spells.
    Salamander Noble: We have no choice
    Me: If I could offer you a choice? A chance to live on your own and act in your interests?
    Salamander Noble: Tempting but impossible.
    Me: You see this ring? It grants me power over flame. You see this Iron Minotaur? Fire fuels it and drives it. Nothing is impossible, only difficult. You know what this ring symbolizes and you know that in order for me to bear it, I am not to be trifled with. Tell me where this master is and I will do the impossible. In return for this information I will give you freedom to set your own destiny.

    I put the DM back on his heels enough to trigger a diplomacy check with some nice bonuses. They yearned to believe what I offered, and having the ring does grant me a healthy measure of respect from denizens of the Plane of Fire. They don’t exactly know where the Master is located but they do give me a general layout of the world inside the tapestry. There are five portals that lead into the tapestries world. One is sheltered by an Infinite Staircase (Ranger+Pud), One by a twisting puzzle of stone (My entrance) a third is bound by an unbreakable door (Paladin) a fourth is a small platform surrounded by a twisting mass of ravening vermin and a fifth rests on a platform of razors and chains. Each portal is isolated and leads to a central defensive structure, the Master resides in the 9th level of this structure and each is protected by a puzzle or trap.

    Me: Will you aid me in escaping this entrance?
    Salamander Noble: Hope drives us to desperate measures. But we would rather miss an opportunity than provoke disaster. Prove to us you are capable and we may assist you in our own manner.
    Me: How can I prove myself?
    Salamander Noble: Face Death….
    Me: Open the gateway to Death?
    Salamander Noble: Eight Seals must be opened to leave this place. Defeat Death and we will aid in breaking the remaining seals. Fail and join the guardians.
    Me: One question…what does your master want?
    Salamander Noble: To destroy the light…

    The Salamander keep a wary eye on me then retreat back to a segment of wall, which opens to reveal a secret door and small crystal room. They seal themselves inside the hidden room and the coffins all start to align on their own volition. I move back and cast Stoneskin on myself. As the coffins realign the room shrinks by a few feet and a huge portal opens in the room’s center. A very large basilisk comes out, a greater abyssal basilisk to be accurate. DR,SR and a Petrifying Gaze attack, oh goody. Golem and Basilisk start duking it out and Minotaur is taking some serious damage. I cast a Wall of Fire from Ring on the Golem and for the most part try to look harmless. I dip in to spray some burning hands which helps top the golem, but does next to nothing against the Basilisk. Even with the Wall going and the burning hands, the Golem is starting to lose the race and I hastily look through character sheet for non fire based options. I do have Shout, which gets past SR. I let one loose and 5d6 comes up 20 damage. That swings the race in favor of golem who outpaces the basilisk. He is pretty banged up when the Wall runs out and I start Burning Hands him back up.

    Me: Death is no match for me
    A voice slowly whispers in the room “That was not death…only my hound”
    Over my shoulder is a towering Mass of Shadow in humanoid form. It’s a Nightwalker. I am caught by surprise and it leads with an Unholy Blight…Caster Level 21…I eat the 10d6 cut in half after failing save. On my turn I’m fairly stumped on what to do. It has big time spell resistance. The Golem starts dutifully wailing on it, but I know he ain’t going to take this guy single handed and burning hands won’t cut it. I am loathe to dip into Flamestrike from the ring as I only get two and I really want those for the potential Master. I ultimately elect to take a move and eat an AOO. On my move I draw the Staff of Illumination and cast Sunburst from the Staff, the staff is caster level 15 and I get +2 to overcome Spell Resistance from the Robes of Archmage that gives me a 12 or higher success to overcome spell resistance. I roll a 14 and hit it with 15d6 in damage. 54 damage…it makes its save so 27. Still respectable. Over the next four rounds it damn near kills my golem. I go through 15 charges from the staff and connect 2 of 5 sunbursts. I launch a 6th and it fails this save eating 43 damage, that is enough to topple it. I ate a cone of cold and a second unholy blight and with my limited hp pool I am in real bad shape. I drain my ring of spell storing and use the cure mod domain slot. As im standing there cursing the salamanders emerge somewhat impressed.

    They set up a cordon around the next gate and the 3rd triggered gate was Water. Packs of Chuul start lumbering through the gateway and are quickly engaged by salamanders and Minotaur Golem. Lots of fire damage and ambush advantage and the water gate is vanquished.

    Ranger:
    The Ranger and Pudnokker leave their starting room and make their way into the dungeon proper (they don’t know this yet, but meta-wise we do). The long tunnel opens into (D1-1) an alien metal room with complex doors to the left and right. The moment they enter the room the locket start vibrating violently, it floats to the room’s center and darkness bursts into the air. It dissipates quickly and they are left scrambling to find the source. While looking Pudnokker spots something in the room’s ceiling corner, something that promptly puts a poisoned arrow into him knocking him unconscious. The ranger recognizes the arrow as a drow design but more wicked and otherworldly. They were fiendish Driders, a trio of which was clinging to the ceiling of the room’s corners. Two of them starting peppering the ranger and the third came to engage him directly. He moves back into the hallway and eats an AOO, then puts an arrow into the grounded drider. The next round all three descend and start engaging him at range. He fails a fort save and takes 3 str damage from poison. That is nastier than you can imagine…it means he can’t pull back his bow. He draws both swords and runs further back the tunnel. He wins init next round and readies an action then waits. The first of three drider comes up the tunnel with the trailers close behind.

    Ranger: I am ready for my held action…
    DM: Go for it…
    Ranger: Wall of Stone from the ring to cut off the lead one from it’s two buddies.

    1vs1 the drider is outclassed and the ranger rips it apart. The trapped duo is hammering at the wall and chipping away…after killing the lead drider the ranger backs up further and readies another action. When they finally break through he stone shapes the wall of stone to form a blockade cutting one off from its partner. 1vs1 he tears it apart again, though he does eat another failed fort save and takes 2 more str damage. He dispatches the 3rd one and comes through having taken not a whole lot of damage, but eating five str damage is brutal since it renders his bow useless. He goes to wake up Pudnokker and Pud hits him with a cure mod wounds. They can cast a Bulls Strength from Wand, but that is not enough to get him back to 20. They plan on resting and re-preparing Restoration spells.

    DM: Ok, then we will cut back to Caramis until he rests.

    Me:
    For the sake of a feigned brevity I will gloss over the remaining elements of my opening room. With each gate vanquished the room gets a bit smaller. I expend all my cleric spells except for Dispel Magic and Bestow Curse. I have a scattering of bard spells remaining by the time the last gate is destroyed and a new tunnel opens up into the dungeon proper.

    At this point I decide to rest and regain spells and recharge the ring of spell storing before continuing on. I expend bard spells to recharge ring and use all my remaining spell slots to get 3 charges back on the Staff of Illumination. I need to repeat that last sentence…I expend ALL my spells slots. As I announce that I am going to rest and pray with the golem standing sentry the DM informs us of the following.

    DM: While the inter-dimensional space inside an interdimensional space didn’t cause a rift into the Astral Plane, it is creating the side effect of making divine contact exceedingly difficult. All attempts to prepare a spell of divine origins is subject to a 90% chance of failure. Already prepared spells are unaffected and can be retained. And I think I heard the door bell….sooooo I am going to get the pizza while you all pick up your jaws from the floor.
    This is world shattering and enormously game changing.

    The Paladin expended two cure lights and a lesser restoration. He is aching for Con ability repair and decides to roll the dice on regaining 3 lesser restorations. He fails all 3. He is also told that he has now gone an entire day without water or food.

    Pudnokker used 3 spells and can abandon slots to attempt to re-prepare other spells. Getting the ranger’s bow back online is a huge priority and he is left with a nasty choice, give up spells in hand for potential spells needed and most likely lost? He gets ruled against rolling for the 3 spells and then giving up prepared. All decisions on preparation must be made prior to rolling. He decides to reroll all 5 1st level slots for lesser restorations and try to regain the 2nd level cure mod. He goes 1 for 5 and gets back a lesser restoration, he fails the cure roll. I have never seen a d4 roll with so much anticipation. He rolls a 4. There is a huge sigh of relief at the table. The alternate was to constantly pepper the ranger with bulls strength.

    I roll miserably for regaining cleric spells. I get a Lesser Restoration for a 1st level and a Stone Shape at 3rd level. That is it. Bard spells are going to be my main staple until we find a way to circumvent the 90% failure…if there is a way.

    We also fully understand the tighter restrictions on metagaming.
    Here is the real rub. I have plenty of food since my back has all the iron rations. But I need to create water to drink. Suddenly that is a resources issue. The Paladin and Pudnokker can do the same, but they are in even more desperate straights for water and don’t have food. That became the overwhelming arc to this section of the campaign. We needed to join up to share food and figure out a means to procure consistent water.

    We more or less called it early this week and decided to restrategize a bit. We also had to take time to really research different cleric spells and the rules on starvation/thirst.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Virginia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    Let me applaud you and your group, sir. With the DM giving the "I win if I kill you" statement at the start, I figured you'd be doomed pretty quickly, but you've been doing brilliantly!

    I'd also like to compliment you on your records. These were all interesting to read, very detailed, and I look forward to finding out what happened next...
    The Silverclawshift Campaign Journals Two FANTASTIC campaigns detailed here. An absolute must read.

    "Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it." George Bernard Shaw

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    I cut a lot of the detail oriented stuff and tried to stick to events, somewhat shorter update.

    10th Session:

    Spoiler
    Show
    I am going to forgo the detailed descriptions of encounters from this point until the party starts to get back together.

    Paladin:
    Rested, and low on spells and still suffering from Con damage the Paladin takes his golem back to the mephit room and basically lets him soak in the fire until fully repaired. He then makes his way back to the Black Room and takes twenty to search it as best as possible for anything he misses. Nada is discovered.

    He moves on to the Blue Room which is made from pure sapphire. An entire 30x30 room that is entirely constructed of sapphires. It’s breath weapon is a cone of cold. It is also stronger than his golem and despite his efforts his golem is finally destroyed. It takes nearly all the damage and it was close but Torm Golem is destroyed and he finishes off the Sapphire Golem two rounds later. We practically have a minute of silence at the table. The paladin is definitely frustrated and somewhat irked. He searches the blue room top to bottom and stumbles on an orb hanging from the ceiling. He breaks into the bag of holding and uses rope and pry bars to pull it down. Its maybe the size of a bowling ball and kind of slippery. He backtracks to the Black Room and with looking for it specifically he finds a similar orb on the ceiling almost completely concealed.

    He advances to the White Room and as he enters a pair of Ice Devils engage him. Their melee attacks are next to useless against him, and he makes just about every save you can imagine with his high charisma and paladin-ness. He has cold resistance which renders their spells almost meaningless and holy avenger cuts them to shreds. He retrieves the White orb and takes all three to the Giant Door with 3 Locks. In proximity to the door all three orbs change into keys and he is able to enter the dungeon proper.

    Ranger:
    The Ranger and Pudnokker start their session with entering the dungeon proper.

    The moment they enter we all get a monologue from the DM…
    DM:As you all enter the dungeon proper a fast whispered voice enters each of your minds, the words are coming so quickly that they are hard to decipher and they are rapid cycling through multiple languages.

    “Hasten your destruction by seeking my embrace. I yearn for fresh memories to purge and corrupt. I will twist your souls into thread for my new puppets just like the rest…Come to Me”

    We all make assorted Knowledge Checks, and I get a small clue in the form of the accent or dialect being Drow in origin.

    Dungeon Level 1-Ranger
    The first level of the dungeon is like an alien spaceship crash landed into the underdark. We see a bunch of extraplanar creatures that you generally just flip past in the Monster Manual, and they are all modded with class levels, templates or bizarre tactical sets. There are long winding tunnels that tend to spill out into smaller joined chambers in sets of typically four or five rooms. Almost the entire structure is comprised of foreign metals and obsidian/marble. At this point the Paladin made what ended up being the GREATEST SINGLE LINE of this entire campaign and a very accurate description of the dungeon

    “Its like David Cronberg hijacked HR Giger’s subconscious and mind raped Labyrinth”

    The Ranger and Pud start out making slow progress and they are getting help with mapping from the Paladin who is basically our cartographer. He is making the slowest progress and tends to cede “playtime” to the ranger and I. They run into a lot of Bodak’s and Devourer’s with fighter levels and the occasional caster level. They also find several chaos beasts, but nothing they can’t handle. Their biggest concern is healing resources. With casting difficult to recover they are loathe to expend any spell slots, but also don’t want to burn through wands. They clear about ten rooms and have killed maybe 8 Bodak’s and 6 Devourer’s and a pair of Chaos Beasts, nothing too threatening.

    Then they hit the first creative encounter. It was years later that I heard the term “Tucker’s Kobolds” we knew of this independently from a campaign the Paladin had run. We knew what smartly run monsters could do. We met the Tuckers Kobold equalivents in Ethereal Filchers. They weren’t exactly ninjas…they were more like fremen or nomads. They all had cloaks of displacement and thrown splash weapons. Their lair was a large open cavern similar to the dragons with stalagtites made of glass everywhere. The minute he entered the cavern an adamantine portcullis slammed shut behind them and a floating apparition appeared in mid air at the room’s center.

    It was our first glimpse of The Master

    The Master was a frail albino drow with actual diamonds for eyes. I mean the actual gemstones were present in his eyesockets. His voice was quivering and faint but their was real malice in his words.

    “Have you enjoyed a taste of what I have been forced to endure for these countless millennia? Do you savor the despair? I sense your discomfort and it pleases me. So far you have barely scratched the surface of my jailors, now I feel it is time to meet creations of my design. They are far less blunt”

    As it finishes speaking a dozen ethereal filchers all move to the Material Plane, they are hard to focus on with the cloaks and the glass stalagtites and stalagmites make their reflections even harder to pick up. They played the most wicked game of cat and mouse I could ever imagine. They would toss varying styles of grenades with acid, fire, a kind of homebrewed liquid nitrogen that did frost damage and even some home brewed lightning damage bombs. The moment their bomb was away, they would jaunt out. Even worse some of them had boots of levitation and they would drop the glass stalagtites from the ceiling as falling bombs. The concealment bonuses made this tedious. The Ranger could take one out in a full attack, but between cover and concealment he rarely got to set up on one. He and the druid were too busy diving around making reflex saves. They took a lot of damage and had to burn 10 charges from the Staff of Fire with Fireballs, they also burned all 18 charges from Pud’s Cure mod Wand. They recovered 12 cloaks of displacement major and 4 boots of levitation. They piled them all in the bag and tried to figure out an exit from the cavern.

    Dungeon Level 1 –Paladin
    The Paladin probably caught the worst of it from this point on. He fought against similar Bodak’s, Devourers, and Chaos Beasts, but he found a small polluted oasis. Very akin to the underground bog the ranger started out near, but this one was clogged with dead ironwood trees and small bogs of fetid water choked with algae and lichen and mold. He too gets treated with an appearance from the Master

    “Such strength, such bravey, such stalwart fortitude. It makes the crackling marrow of your friend’s bones all the more succulent. I have not feasted this well for an eternity. I do wonder if brawn is a match for speed? I imagine not, as my most stalwart captor also discovered, that which you can’t catch you can’t kill.”

    From the knotholes of the ironwood trees a trio of Grigs fly out. They are clearly demonic and each carries a tiny longbow of brilliant energy. So that means the Amulet of Natural Armor and the Ring of Protection still apply, but not the plate, or shield. They hit for 1d4-3+1 so 2 damage…never more never less, just 2. They have levels in something as they get 2 attacks per round.
    We are a bit worried here. If you have been following this whole adventure he doesn’t really have a ranged weapon. He does have a breath weapon through dragon disciple that does 2d8, but as he found out after a few rounds, their cold resistance makes this nearly useless. He is taking 4-10 damage per round and getting fed up quick. He true strikes up an attack and flings his Morningstar as a thrown weapon at one with penalties and all and he hits hard. He then flings the frostbrand and finally the holy avenger, then calmly goes about picking them back up while taking arrows. With his upgraded Charisma he manages to get 5 sorc spells per day and uses up all five true strikes and manages to kill 2. The third plinks him for multiple rounds as he throws weapons and misses. He took a total of about 80 damage by the time he knocks third one out of the air. He falls all the way back to the opening room and again tries to rest. He does recover a single restoration and is nearly back to full Con. He is exclusively using LoH at this point.

    Dungeon Level 1-Me
    My salamander posse more or less refuse to go deeper into the dungeon and they do some funky stuff with the remaining coffins and disappear. I am back to just my golem and me. I descend into the dungeon proper and am treated to the same baddies as everyone else. I am kind of in heaven though, Bodaks and Devourers take fire damage just fine and the golem is practically untouchable by them. In time I reach my “creative” room and get my own personal message from The Master

    “The screams of the holy man were the finest music these ears have heard in ages. His wails a testament to my own suffering. But you…you will make a sweeter sound than even he…of this I am sure”

    Me: You can expect only the sound of my laughter as we crush you into dust.

    The image had started to fade…but as I responded it flared back up.

    Master: You dare to mock me! I will rend your soul into chafe and flay your mind into ribbons you horrid wretch.
    Me: Do your worst chicken****…I’ll settle up later
    Paladin out of character: A Blade quote? Really?
    Master: Chicken? I had a different sort of fowl in mind. *wild cackling*

    As he says that nine harpies with frost longbows start swooping throughout the room and they drop 24 arrows into my golem. I laugh that off as they the most damage they can do with a single arrow is 18, so with DR 3 damage is most they can do. Unfortunately…the golem doesn’t fly, and my carpet of flying is with the paladin. That means I need to dig into the quiver…and whip out the Staff of Frost.

    Paladin: Gahhhhh! I really need to pay better attention I had the carpet all along.

    I try to back myself into a corner and use my golem for cover as the harpies keep launching arrows. They stay spread out and keep moving to render the Cone of Cold’s less effective and I still end up eating a couple arrows each turn. I cast a Stoneskin on myself and tuck in for the long haul. I am eating a lot of arrow damage and going through staff charges like mad. The harpies outlast my Stoneskin and I am through nearly 20 charges on the Staff. I am also sucking fumes on hps with stoneskin expired. I end up burning a Stone Shape scroll to create a bunker for myself. I expend all my first level spells for Cure Light Wounds on myself as the harpies bank in and screech and try to get arrows through my bunker. I get just about back to full then go back to Coning. I take more arrows and manage to finish off the last of the harpies after burning through 30 charges on staff. I declare my intention to stay in my makeshift bunker and rest with golem on sentry.

    We are declared to be at a good spot and get bumped to level 12. That means, Stat Bump, New Feat and a very welcome and unexpected Re-Training. I am backdated and allowed to switch out 3 old bard spells, and we are allowed to change out 2 feats if we so desire.

    *Paladin changes out Combat Expertise and Improved Trip for Improved Init and Iron Will, he bumps str to 23

    *Ranger keeps his feats as is and bumps dex to 32 he takes Improved Precise Shot and Levels in Paladin

    *I take another level of MT and bump Cha and I change out Combat Expertise and Scribe Scroll for Spell Penetration and Improved Init, I take Greater Spell Penetration as my 12th level feat.
    I replace Sleep, Silent Image and Hideous Laughter with Grease, Feather Fall, and detect secret doors
    That opens up fourth level spells in cleric list (if I can make the rolls) and to be honest I am going to be leaning very heavily on bard spells for healing until we find a way to get clerical healing back in force.

    Dungeon Level 1-Ranger
    The ranger and Pudnokker find a path leading out of their cavern and follow it to a strange underground bog with ironwood trees. From there they find the shattered remains of 3 grig and back track through all the way to the main tunnel. They come upon the Paladin who is sitting at his starting point with chapped lips and a sunken look on his face. There is much rejoicing at the table as some of the party is brought back together. Combined the three of them circle back to the portcullis’d chamber and work to find another path to follow, they are confident they will find me soon. They actually do find the segment I am in, but not before I manage to get myself into a spot of trouble…

    Dungeon Level 1-Me (Mini BBEG)
    I work my way out of my segment and stumble upon a path down, basically a long winding staircase that descends deeper into the level of the dungeon. From there I find what I jokingly think of as The Freezer. A room encased in solid ice with ten doors carved from ice. Upon entering the room a mist begins to form. I almost jump out of my skin as I stammer out “Casting Stoneskin and drawing Staff . In total mist rises from all ten doors and then forms into ten Frost Giants…frost giants with pale white skin and the predatory look of vampires.

    Me Out of Character: Are you describing Vampire Frost Giants….
    DM (with an amused grin): Why yes, that is precisely what I am describing.
    Me: Ten?
    DM: Ten.
    Me out of character: Well this should be fun…someone hand me a blank character sheet this could get messy.

    I am fully expecting to die at this point. With the Paladin at the forefront, the ranger peppering them with arrows and Pudnokker lobbing fireballs we might be able to take out ten frost giants, add a vampire template and that is brutal. Alone…I don’t like my chances.

    Me: Good morning, or is afternoon? So hard to tell these days. Just passing through…
    Largest Frost Giant: The Master told us you had a smart tongue. He wants you coherent when he shatters your mind, he wants to see how smart that tongue is when it has tasted the bittersweet of oblivion.
    Me: How coincidental, we are aching to meet your master as well, and since you need me alive I suppose you could just direct me towards him and I will be on my way.
    All ten giants chuckle…
    Largest Frost Giant: Alive? We said nothing about alive. Only that you be coherent.
    Me: oh…well in that case…
    I throw wall of fire on the golem and draw the Staff of Illumination along with the empower rod. They all scatter and return to gaseous form and I am left standing there ready to unleash the full fury of the sun at the slightest movement. I am slowly working to back out of the room but the entrance I came through is blocked.
    The Master voice fills the room.
    “My minions need never sleep, they are eternally vigilant and loyal. You must close your eyes eventually, and when you do…you are mine.”

    We ended the session at this point and it felt like a real cliffhanger.

  16. - Top - End - #16
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    Any chance of another update? I'm really enjoying reading this!

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    This is great stuff.

    The people have spoken. Give us more.
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    The amount of truth contained in this single post is like the sun compared to all the other puny little candles of insight.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    It's not a game until I can lose it.

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    Session 11:

    Spoiler
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    We picked up session 11 with the Paladin and Ranger moving back through a now mostly vacant series of tunnels and caverns. They were searching for me to reform the party. I was stuck in a room filled with gas formed hiding frost giant vampires. I have Sunburst with empower capabilities online and am stuck playing a waiting game. It takes the better part of six hours in game time but the Paladin and Ranger find the room I am in and as they approach a trio of vampire giants attacks them.

    I get a nasty surprise when a FLYING vampire giant engages me with spells from the roof of the ice chamber. What does this giant with massive melee bonuses etc do? It casts grease on my staff. Grease. What a **** move. I fail the reflex save. My vampire boom stick is now on the floor and the mists start reforming in the room. I do what any reasonable person would do given the circumstance, I yank out the Staff of Frost… and make myself a little ice prison. I then declare this to be my “home”, I get vetod on the whole a vampire has to be invited weakness. I am told that while I can call it my home, this lair is their home, and I am basically just hiding under the rug in their living room.

    The three giants outside the chamber mostly just tie up the paladin and ranger, they keep moving and evading defensively. The seven inside are pinning down my golem with heavy damage and pounding away at my ice wall. I really wanted to avoid using them, but I elect to drop a Flamestrike from the ring to hit four giants. I put some real damage, and since they are fire vulnerable it reallys connects hard. I use second Wall of Fire on the Golem and then move, eating an AOO to get a bit of distance. I am trying to get close enough to the golem to stand within the fire. The entrance to The Freezer was blocked with a wall of stone which the paladin starts punching through using the lockpick. Loss of Con actually makes these giants lower in hp even with the d12. I use the second flamestrike and it looks like I just might be able to fend them off long enough. Then I get grappled by the big vampire and he starts draining me. The surviving vampires all converge on the golem, and the trio harrying the group outside gang up on the golem as well. Minotaur golem goes down for the count. Paladin is just about through the wall and I am cringing at each d4 con damage roll. 4…3…3…the giant who is draining me wins init and if he rolls a 1…I am barely alive…a 2 and Im vampire kibble. He rolls a 4. Paladin and ranger break into the room on that turn and within a few rounds they route what remains. Pudnokker grabs the staff of illumination and lets off a sunburst…there is nothing but frosty dust left of the giants, and my dead corpse.

    I am looking for a character sheet when the DM hands me the details for Vampire Template.
    *blink* *blink*
    Me: Uh…
    DM: Welcome to Undeath…
    We have to stop everything for a minute to try and figure out what this all means game wise and party politics wise. Hear is the long story short. What it translates to is this:
    *I am now a vampire under The Master’s control.
    *I am shifted to CE and lose all my contact with my previous deity.
    *I become an NPC under the DM’s control and disappear from the room
    *If…if …if they can find a way to free me or redeem me its possible I could return to PC status
    *All my possessions are taken with me, and the Staff of Illumination is left behind.
    *But sadly Caramis Wolfsbane has met his current end and it is time to roll a new character.

    I will introduce what I rolled up when the character joins the action.
    The Paladin and Ranger smash apart the frozen coffins and do the final kill steps on the frost giant vampires. With their destruction a long winding staircase descends to the dungeon’s next level. Pudnokker was my cohort…but its not like he has many options other than going forth and he becomes the pseudo companion of the Ranger. As they are preparing to move on the paladin makes an offhand comment that radically alters things.
    Paladin: I wish we still had the golems….

    The ranger who has been reorganizing inventory lists with my departure realizes that we have a luck blade with two wishes. After a lot of at table haggling the cloaks of displacement, the brilliant energy pixie bows and any other random stuff we picked up are offered up as gp value sacrifices to fuel a pair of wishes to restore our two golems. The Paladin gets Torm Golem back and the Ranger gets his own which he shapes in the form of a Large Bipedal Wolf. The Staff of Fire has 18 charges remaining and Illumination has 15.

    They descend down the stairwell to see what awaits below and find… a pathway leading deeper into the dungeon is revealed. If level one could be described as alien, the second level is simply described as draconic. The winding path down opens up into a wide open landscape with a lightning streaked sky. For all intents and purposes we walked down a dungeon and came out into a wilderness. Five squat temples are spread out across several miles and atop each is a beacon that is firing a ray of energy at a swirling portal in the center of this valley. It looks like each temple is fueling a shield around a portal. We figure the portal is most likely the path to our next segment and that we will need to disable each beacon. Also of note is a single shaft of light that is descending on a random spot amidst the valley.
    The shaft of light becomes our first priority and we make our way to that location first. The terrain is comprised of a strange very fine sand that makes movement troublesome. We figure five hours or so to each the point of light and from our in game “character time clocks” that will be the end of a long day. Passage is going fairly well when the first of many like encounters begins. A flight of half dragon sphinxes drops from the lightning strewn sky and start buzzing us with fire, cold and lightning breath weapons. The Paladin grumbles and unslings his bow taking pot shots from the ground while the ranger goes into full blown Legolas mode, snapping off lots of arrows very quickly. Pudnokker tries to isolate fire vulnerable sphinxes and chucks a couple fireballs to stay busy. They are not threatening but they do make us absorb more charges from staffs and from healing wands.

    There are a pair of surprises waiting for us at the shaft of light. First and foremost, the moment we enter the shaft the divine interference vanishes, and we feel that connection to our deities again. Second and more pressing waiting within the beacon are Puxdool and the Green Man and boy are they surprised to see us.

    The troll is sitting on a small boulder and the druid is kneeling in meditation. As we enter the light the troll looks up at us and with desperate anger struggles in rising to his feet. The wicked falchion rests on his shoulder and his knees are trembling…the druid painfully rises as well and the two look like they have been through the ringer.

    Puxdool: For months we have survived against all odds. We have preserved against hell itself and witnessed terrors NO mortal should be subject to. My only strand of hope was to one day take off your heads and shrink them into my totems to decorate my grave. Now you have come to take even that from me.
    Green Man: What devious treachery is this? Months on end without respite and the moment we find peace these honorless bastards come to finish their butchery.
    Paladin: It was only days ago that we had our unfortunate parley, I assure you the circumstances that brought you to this place were accidental and beyond our control. We are here to set that mistake aright. I have no qualms doing so after we bury you. Perhaps your revenge can wait long enough for a fulfilled parley.
    DM: They are exhausted…both literally and game wise. They are willing to do just about anything as long as they can sit down and relax.

    The troll and his second join us in the most uncomfortable parley you can think of. From their perspective they were sucked into this twilight realm of temples and dragons nearly 3 months ago and since then have been constantly harried by half dragon and draconic creatures of all manner. The trolls regeneration and clever use of druidic magic kept the alive. A few hours ago the beacon came down and they managed to reach it and discover its ability to restore divine communication.

    *time is flowing far differently in this place, and it is ever shifting in shape.
    *dragons dominate the landscape and hold control of each temple.
    *In short order we realize the beacon is closing and that time is short.
    *The Master is aware of their presence and wants them as playthings.
    *The druid found an onyx crystal ball of drow origin that keeps calling to him.

    It is determined that the beacon will close or vanish within 10 hours so we all agree to not kill each other and try to tactfully rest/pray/recuperate to the best of our abilities. The Paladin comes to an agreement with Puxdool and Green Man…they are still enemies ready to take each other’s heads, but they will put that battle on hold until we are free of this place…then all bets are off. We talk strategy with the duo and press the benefits of strength in numbers and the whole enemy of my enemy thing. They don’t join our group but they will reluctantly accompany us and provide aid and support that they feel doesn’t endanger themselves.
    Pudnokker prepares:

    Pudnokker:5/5/4/4/2
    1st:CLW 5
    2nd:Resist Energy 5
    3rd:2 Cure mod 2 Protection Energy
    4th:FlameStrike 4
    5th:Stoneskin 2

    We don’t know what Green Man prepares but we are told he is level 11 and that Puxdool is a level 12 troll barbarian with great con and str.
    The Paladin loads up on lesser restoration and cure light wounds.
    The five temples are each controlled by a different dragon, the troll duo knows that a white, black and blue are in control of 3 of the 5, they aren’t sure what the other two are. We assume a green and a red. The consensus is to approach the white temple first. Three sets of flying sphinxes buzz us on the pathway to the white temple. As we get near 3 huge white dragons all take flight and start circling us far overhead . Resist Energy Cold goes up from Pud on himself and Puxdool, and paladin has the ring. The Paladin mounts up on the flying carpet and Puxdool joins him. . I’m not sure how to describe what the paladin does, its mostly like jousting. In real time this battle takes forever. The dragons are constantly moving and weaving in and out of spell range. It feels more like a baseball game than a true battle.
    (Side Note: We rarely ever use flight in ANY of our games. Its practically an unspoken rule that Fly is no go. It becomes a game requirement that flight become an option once it is initially used. So levitate is as far as we normally go)

    The dragons have deep health pools and with resists and them mostly using breath weapons they eat a lot more damage than they put out. We take a slight change of tact, the Paladin lands from the carpet and the ranger and pudnokker go dragon skeet shooting. The Paladin takes both golems and Puxdool/Green Man into the temple while the dragons keep up their evasion tactics. THAT gets things changed up.

    Upon entering the temple they locate a crystal column that is emitting the light. The Paladin immediately starts bashing the crap out it with his “lockpick”. The ranger manages to kill one of the dragons with a pair of crits in one round and the remaining two head back in a fury to the temple to disrupt the paladin. Torm and Wolf Golem get their hands on a landed dragon and get to smashing. The paladin and puxdool do very unnatural things to the second one and rip it apart in devastating fashion. It takes a fair amount of swinging but the column is destroyed and the light being emitted is destroyed. The fluxing vortex/portal thing becomes a bit easier to see into and a gargantuan human shape is visible.

    The team next assaults the black temple. No large dragons or sphinxes encounter them on the path leading to the temple. Instead they are faced with a three pronged Half Dragon Centaur squadron. There are flying black dragon centaur archers, a group of black dragon heavies with lances that are using a series of interconnected hallways to perform ride by attacks and a group of well armored half dragon two weapon fighters. The lancers focus on Pud and Green Man while the ranger is getting a taste of his own arrows and the flyers all light into him. Paladin Pux and the Golems get tied up with the two weapon fighters and collectively they all hold their own quite well. The lancers are the biggest threat, they land some nasty hits on our casters and they dip into some stone shapes to create obstacles for the self mounted centaur chargers. More healing charges are expended and already it feels like we are hitting more spell desperation for prepared slots.

    As the second column is destroyed the shield around the portal starts to waver ever so slightly and movement is visible inside the vortex.
    The third temple goes deep into the ground and resembles the arc chamber from Indiana Jones. A loose sandy floor in a wide open high ceiling chamber with the crystal column in the center of the room. This room is guarded by a quartet of four adult blue dragons. This one got hairy. Lightning all over the place, dispel magics to get rid our protection/resists and stoneskins, blue dragons bursting from the sand to attack then burrowing back under to pop out in a different spot, and worst off…lightning slows the golems and they are our all stars for pinning down or grappling/flanking enemies. There are some real close calls with failed saves and we are groaning over every failed dice roll that makes use another wand or staff charge. He keeps us dancing a lot, trying to avoid getting full attacked, the blues work together to constantly be shifting and always have at least one in the air, and one moving below ground.

    When they can line it up and get a full attack or power attack lined up the troll and paladin are just devastating in tandem. They are happy to eat a dragon dance full attack if it means they can deliver two in return. The ranger ends up focusing exclusively on whatever target the paladin is on and they start to turn the tides when they kill the first dragon. Pudnokker starts going for broke as they are all fairly injured and he starts dropping flamestrikes. Green Man puts a lot of support spells and healing into the mix and golems slam attacks are taking their toll. Being a man down hurts even with the golems back. Then the Ranger confirms three critical in a single round. 19,20,17 for his attack rolls and he confirms all three. We get it described as him putting in an arrow in each major artery on both sides of a dragon’s neck with third one penetrating the windpipe. The dragon drops like a stone down a well. We play conservation from that point and nickel and dime the remaining two who fight to the death with no thought of escape. With all four dragons dead the column smashing commences. Except we get an added effect this time around. As the column smashes and lights flickers out, the sand starts draining from the chamber and exposes an adamantine box, there are mithral chains surrounding it and its damn near impossible to stop ourselves from opening the thing. As the paladin smashes the last lock a hissing gush of air escapes and they all jump back. Amidst the smokey gas and clearing dust a immense 7 foot tall man in pure adamantine plate with a hulking sword strapped to his back stands up. Behind him a slim creature that is clad in the most basic of robes and unarmed. It is clearly not from this Plane.

    DM: As the dust settles a voice that sounds like it has lain silent for centuries booms out in a strong tone a guttural roar and stretches. It is muscled beyond belief, making the paladin seem slight by comparison. It is clear to the naked eye the sword strapped to his broad back is adamantine. It speaks…

    Me: FREEDOM. I thought it only the faded vestige of a dream long turned nightmare. Under what auspice have you entered this realm? State your intentions clearly and without delay, 2,000 years in captivity have dulled my patience.

    Meet Lord Rasmusen….the long captured crusader and holy man who attempted to conquer the evil of this place long ago. Rasmusen is a cleric/thaumaturgist from a long dead civilization that acted as a seeker of fugitives and wandering judge. His deity preferred greatswords and he is head to toe in adamantine. He considers himself incorruptible and has a cohort level 10 monk that is planetouched.

    I ended up with :
    Str 26
    Dex 14
    Con 16
    Int 11
    Wis 22
    Cha 16
    I decide to go Cleric 7/Thaumaturgist5 with War and Destruction as my domains
    Feats:
    Human:Spell Focus:Conjuration
    1st Power Attack
    3rd Cleave
    6th Leadership
    9th Spell Penetration
    12th Greater Spell Penetration
    I was instructed to take up to 400,000 in treasure for “starting gear”
    I take +5 adamantine full plate (45,000)
    +5 holy adamantine greatsword (140,000)
    Ring of Greater Fire Resist (44,000)
    Ring of Greater Cold Resist (44,000)
    Belt of Giant Str +6 (36,000)
    Periapt of Wisdom +6 (36,000)
    Amulet of Natural Armor+5 (50,000)


    Spells Prepared (7+1…6+1…5+1…4+1…4+1…3+1)
    1st: Divine Favorx3 CLWx4 Inflict Light Wounds*
    2nd:Bulls Strengthx3 CMWx2 Hold Person Spiritual Weapon*
    3rd:Dispel Magicx2 CSW x2 Bestow Curse Magic Vestment*
    4th:Summon Monster x3 Divine Power Divine Power*
    5th:Flamestrike x 5
    6th:Heal,Heal,Planar Ally Harm*

    My monk cohort is level 10 and has some outsider ancestry. He got 150,000 in gear and ended up looking like this:
    Benedict-Monk10 Str 20 Dex 24 Con 14 Int 11 Wis 20 Cha 12, Gloves of Dexterity+6, Belt of Giant Str+6 , Monks Robe and Cloak of Resistance+5 and Periapt of Wisdom+6
    1st Iron Will
    MBF Stunning Fist
    MBF Combat Reflexes
    3rd Lightning Reflexes
    6th Improved Initive
    MBF Improved Disarm
    9th Great Fortitude

    We ended session with introduction of my new character…the slightly crazed gigantic cleric of war and destruction.

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Roguenewb's Avatar

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    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    Excellent work sir, I can't wait to read the next installment.

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    Very nice read. Thank you for sharing it. I can't wait for the next part. Again thanks.
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  21. - Top - End - #21
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    Dragon level write up almost done. For those following these recaps I ha e a question. Next couple sessions are very room by room intensive do you want the small detail stuff or just main story of what we are encountering?

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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaveman26 View Post
    Dragon level write up almost done. For those following these recaps I ha e a question. Next couple sessions are very room by room intensive do you want the small detail stuff or just main story of what we are encountering?
    I vote that you go with what you enjoy, because I like aspects of both. I enjoy the overall story and ideas of the rooms, but I can't fully appreciate when something impossible is pulled off unless I am given the small details.
    The Silverclawshift Campaign Journals Two FANTASTIC campaigns detailed here. An absolute must read.

    "Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it." George Bernard Shaw

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    PirateCaptain

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    Yeah, go with what you feel like illustrates the story best. Details are awesome, but can slow the story down. I have faith in you though
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    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigbrother87 View Post
    I vote that you go with what you enjoy, because I like aspects of both. I enjoy the overall story and ideas of the rooms, but I can't fully appreciate when something impossible is pulled off unless I am given the small details.
    I agree with that. I would enjoy both version. You could use a miw of both only giving the general happening if it's nothing special and for the more important event give more detail.
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    DruidGuy

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    While I'm normally against the "GM is the enemy" mindset, I have to say, this is a refreshingly fun take on that. Especially given as he said it up front, and seems to be using it not as an ego trip, but to force you guys to be awesome in order to succeed.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    One thing you could've done. Y'know that bag of holding with the tapestry in it? Stab it. With a dagger. Would've ended the campaign right then and there.
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    Yohalles, the Wanderer
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    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    We had thought of doing exactly that, we were also pretty sure that DM Fiat would cause it to not work in that fashion.

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    Session 12-14:

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    There is some head shaking at the table as I unveil my towering cleric and some chiding for taking a divine caster given all our interference with recovering spells. Personally I just wanted to play a big home run hitter with healing and summoning abilities. I was banking on capabilities to recover more spells and in a pinch cut stuff in half. I was allowed to start with a cohort from leadership, but not from the prestige class. That would have to occur in game. I also knew ahead of time that my leadership cohort would be replaced by my planar cohort but it was assumed that I would have a cohort in similar fashion to the druid…where else would he go?

    In game we abbreviate an extended meet and greet where I establish my character and his nature and we get our characters caught up to date with details of where we have been and what we are doing. A interesting element of what I was allowed to bring is details of The Master. My character knew several things about our eventual end game villain.

    *He was an albino drow with a crippled physical frame.
    *His mental abilities were on a level unparalleled in known history
    *The nature of his abilities is considered unique and unduplicated for the framework of our campaign.
    * He has been imprisoned for the better part of the world’s history and this is his third known escape attempt. Never before have his minions exited the realm of the tapestry.
    * His name is Dayvid Allain Ko

    We are marshalling our forces and are debating on pressing on to the next temple when a sudden *pop* noise encompasses the entire valley. We rush out to see what the noise is and bear witness to the other two lights extinguishing. The swirling shield around the vortex fades and as it does A Titan immediately begins running hellbent from where the vortex was centered. As it runs a dragon takes flight from each of the two remaining temples, a collassal red and a collassal green. They start strafing it with breath weapons and just as we are starting to weigh in on options to assist the titans…a second shape emerges from where the shield was held. It dwarves the dragons in size and lets out a roar that leaves us all trembling. 70 feet long and well over 100 tons, we watch as the Tarrasque takes off at a run to intercept the titan. If it wasn’t in unison it had to be microseconds away from being in unison but all three of us said

    “We disbelieve!”

    DM: I would tell you to roll Will Saves, but I will save you the time…it is not an illusion. You watch in horror as the Tarrasque and a pair of ancient dragons rip the titan asunder, unfortunately for the dragons the Tarrasque is none too interested in their assistance and it manages to catch one of them and proceeds to become a snarling pile of horns and fangs as it rumbles with the red. The red’s breath weapon is useless against the fire immune tarrasque and within minutes it twitches it’s last. The green decides it has had enough and flees through the vortex now vacant from the titan and tarrasque.

    As the tarrasque roars in frustration a slight figure appears from the vortex, it is floating in a crystal chair and even from this distance the voice is audible…it is the Master
    Master: Is embracing death too much to request you simple brute? Perhaps you would prefer your own existence? Yes I think that is precisely what is called for here.
    You can’t tell what happens but the Tarrasque seems to fade through a gap in reality to what you are guessing is the Astral Plane. The Master turns in his chair to face you and mutters a single phrase
    “I will be waiting for you”

    We really felt like this was an over the top moment in terms of drama and hyperbole, but I guess it served the purpose of showing we are up against a very powerful foe. As I said what feel likes ages ago this was his first campaign DM’ing and I felt like this was the first real stumble in terms of feel so far.

    We perform searches of the other two temples and come up with very little. The paladin smashes the other two columns on instinct. The group then approaches the swirling vortex and we hesitantly step through…

    Dungeon Level 3-Megiddo

    I had once heard that Megiddo is the phrase for where the final battle between heaven and hell will be fought. Megiddo is the best description I can manage for the third dungeon level. We emerge in a cordoned area in the midst of a pitched battle. There are four Solar-Angels at the compass points of the circle and maybe a dozen trumpet archons and a dozen Astral Devas. Everywhere beyond the circle are swarming masses of every demon you can imagine. The angel cordon is contained within a beacon and we can feel the connection to our perspective deities. Our group draws some double takes especially my cleric, but almost immediately we are urged to join in and assist. Most of the smaller demons are apparently unable to enter the circle and the ranger starts plunking them at range. The larger demons such as Nalfashae and Marilith are able to pass through and we set the golems and Puxdool to assist wherever possible against these. The Paladin is positively chomping at the bit to spot a Balor. Thankfully we see none of those.
    We engage in about 20 rounds of combat with most of the angels rolls and activities more or less happening off camera. Our presence helps turn the tide and the snarling masses of demons fall back. We get some very important plot/informative advances from the angels. They are responsible for the beacons of light, it seems they too found a way to enter the tapestry and these beacons are residues from their very nature and fade over time. They have been working their way past the various levels for weeks and originally there was three times their number. They are not familiar with the means in which the realm was created, but they confirm that we are in a different plane altogether and while entry is not exceedingly difficult, exit proves neigh impossible. We also get these tidbits:

    *There is more than one tapestry, at least three are known to exist
    *The Master…is older than even the angels recall
    *They recognize the insignia on my armor and are very surprised that anyone from my civilization still lives.
    *There is a gateway under heavy guard across the battlefield that they have been unable to reach.
    *The Master is capable of reshaping the very fabric of the realm but he does have limitations. He can not kill an entity outside of his core prison cell…not yet at least
    *He is still bound to the core prison and what we saw is most likely a projection of himself.
    *The Tarrasque was actually brought here in a gambit conceived by a wizard centuries ago. He found a way to teleport the tarrasque here but it was contained in a stasis prison with one of the original jailors, a titan of ancient lineage.
    *They have knowledge of other guardians inside the tapestry realm, but have been unable to contact any of them. The titan was definitely one of them.

    They also drop a bombshell on us. By their very nature they can’t enter the gate that leads deeper into the prison. Only non immortal beings can pass through. That is what they think anyway. We pause at table to lament possibly losing the golems, but as the paladin reminds us, the hundreds of demons preventing us from reaching this gate are a more pressing concern.
    The Solar’s have a plan…they are confident they can provide us with a much more condensed version of the cordon they have in place. If they combine all their divine prowess and ability in a single aura sort of a metamagic concerted consescrated/hallowed protection from evil bubble we should be able to reach the gateway untouched. There is one big giant nasty “but” in this plan. If there is a Balor out there it might be able to still breech the circle. They need two days to prepare the spell and as soon as they begin…they will not be able to support us in protecting the cordon.

    WE take that to mean “everything that can be thrown at you for 48 hours is about to pop off and the big guns are offline”

    There is a lot of at table meta gaming at this point as we try to formulate a playbook. We all argue about the best course of action in terms of supporting/resting etc. After a good deal of back and forth we break down the following:

    *We have lots of “tanky” type personnel. We have the Paladin,2 Golems,Puxdool and my Cleric
    *We have 3 divine casters with healing capability
    *We have one very nasty ranged combatant
    *Resource management has been the single most critical part of this extended dungeon trip and our staves are running low on charges.

    The resource management was the biggest thing we got caught up in. If we have to leave these angels behind the chances of us finding another resting area to recover spells is much lower. The Paladin and Puxdool take 12 hour shifts along with both golems to function as tanks. The 2 druids will take 12 hour shifts as well to provide healing and tactical support. The monk is held in reserve to help with any overwhelming scenario. The Ranger is basically going to be roaming support as much as humanly possible. My Cleric is tasked with pouring every ounce of casting he possibly can into the staffs and charging the ring of spell storing. We figure I can get 3 bursts of all my slots to charge staffs. I can get both staffs back to 50 charges and finish with enough time for the two druids to also rest and refill their slots in the 48 hours we have available.

    The DM had an unusual means in which to show what was being deployed against us at any given time. He had five bags of dice, each with about a hundred dice inside ( I will one day post a screen shot of the Paladin’s dice collection…it is immense). Black six siders were Bebiliths, blue were Glaberzu and red were Hezrou. Nalfashnee were 12 siders and Mariliths were twenty siders. He shook up the bag and then just started spilling them out around our graph paper safe cordon. Where the dice fell is where they stood and then he would begin to maneuver them from there. I don’t know how he timed it, but periodically as a “wave” was being cleared or forced to flee a new wave would get dumped out. We quickly realized that the Nalf and Mariliths were critical, taking them out would often cause several lesser demons to flee or teleport away.

    I will be honest though, this part of the campaign ran almost two full sessions and for lack of a better term it was tedious. The Paladin is a holy terror against demons and his saving throws are just disgustingly good. We had to scramble quite a bit to heal the golems…angels don’t have many fire spells so we ended up summoning a crap ton of Fire Mephits to constantly breath on the golems and use their 1/hour scorching rays to help keep them in fighting shape. I basically turned into a weak fighter with a holy greatsword as I was consuming just about every spell I had in recharging staffs. I was not in the same league as the Paladin but I contributed a lot of damage and held my own.

    Collectively by the end of day two we had lost 4 Trumpet Archons and 5 Angels. As the Solars were approaching completion of their spell we got hit with one last huge wave of demons that forced us to disrupt our staff charging plans. We got to 40 charges on each but with 4 mariliths and a ton of lesser demons in final wave I had to keep my prepared spells to help hold the line. The two session long marathon chess match turns into all out brawl. The protective cordon and some nice bonuses disappear in the last hour and angels and archons start dropping like flies. The table is just loaded with dice and nothing is running away now. I start pouring out healing like water on sand and it is barely stemming the tide. Every spell like ability, full attack and every grappling type ability gets amped up by the demons and even the paladin starts taking HEAVY damage.

    *Green Man gets overrun and torn apart by a Marilith...
    *Puxdool goes into a big time rage and starts cleaning house
    *My monk fails a pair of saves and ends up at -11

    Its getting VERY dicey. I end up expending both of my Heals to keep paladin and ranger upright. It gets to the point where we are sucking fumes again on abilities and spells and it is looking like a TPK in a few rounds. We are getting pretty desperate and then the Solar’s finish their thing. The whole area is flooded with pure white light that rapidly shrinks and becomes a 40 foot diameter around our group. All demons within that range are vaporized, everything else for a hundred yards is forced to recoil back. A small shaft of light rises from the distance and one of the Solars shouts out “the gate is through is the light. The salvation of all Planes rests with you”.

    We head at an urgent pace towards the shaft and we see the remaining angels go all out and start reaming demons behind us.

    Its well over an hour at a hustle to the gateway and we can see the light growing dimmer by the minute. The gateway itself is almost visible when a Solar appears before us. It is in very rough shape…I mean it should be dead five times over from its wounds bad shape. It hands us a small silk satchel then smiles weakly.

    Solar: I fear that our assistance has reached its limit. From this point forward you are all that stands between the drow’s escape and the end of our reality. I can offer you one last boon…I give my life force to allow you a short respite. Stay strong and fight back the darkness.

    The Solar bursts into another light show and for a short time we are transported off Megiddo and into a peaceful and tranquil garden, in this place our ability damage and wounds start healing rapidly and we feel at peace for the first time in weeks. We are bumped from 12th to 14th level and end session after opening the bag.

    Inside the bag are five marble rods with gold filigreed runes. Each bears an symbol of what it provides. The five rods are described to us as item enhancements in condensed form.
    We have a rod of bane
    A rod of speed
    A rod of +4 to a stat (any item)
    A rod of +2 bonus to any X
    And a rod of flaming burst

    Any of the rods can impart their enchantment to an existing weapon or item, and the process is nearly instant. We end session to process levels and try to figure out where to use these enhancements.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    Session 15: Partial Session

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    After some serious deliberation the Paladin takes two more levels in Paladin, the Ranger adds Barb 2 and 3, and I add two more levels in cleric. Pudnokker advances to 12th and adds a dire bear animal companion from our garden respite. He takes Natural Spell as his feat

    The Paladin adds +2 bonus to X…and by X I mean we don’t know. He had a whole separate breakdown with the DM and after some serious head shaking/chuckling the rod is used in secret.

    Paladin also adds speed to his holy avenger and I take his Boots of Speed
    The Ranger adds Demon-Bane to his bow and +4 to his Charisma to gains saves and loh/smite damage from his Paladin levels.

    I get to add Flaming Burst to my greatsword

    We pick up the action at full strength and full capacity once our little garden break is finished and are immediately returned to the place we left off. Our group is moving at a hustle because we have no clue how long we have in our little bubble. The gate comes into view and it is not alone. There are lots of demons all around it and standing dead center in front of the Gate is a Balor with a Marilith on either side of him. We are given added descriptions of the Mariliths as they bear insignia unlike any we have seen. My Cleric and the Paladin both immediately know what they are. They are blackguard elite…the most foul and brutal of all Marilith and higher in rank than some Balors.
    Collectively the following facts become rather important…Paladin has a +22 fort save and a +20 Will Save without buffs. Add our consecrated aura and he gets +4 to all saves. With Eagles Splendor he picks up +2 more across the board that means he is +28 fort and +26 Will at the start of this encounter. His AC is in the 44-45 range. He attacks at 4d6+11 against demons and has a to hit bonus of 26/21/16. That is before Buffs. He gets Eagles Splendor, Bulls Strength, Protection from Energy Fire, Bless , Stoneskin and Divine Favor. That gets him to 30/30/25/20 and he attacks for 4d6+16 with the holy avenger and speed.

    Not to long ago I mentioned him positively aching for a shot at a Balor. I wasn’t joking. He is seriously amped up both in character and out of character to lock horns against a Balor at level 14. To an extent we have to talk him out of trying to fight it one on one! The whole group gets their similar buffs up and running with me waiting to trigger Divine Power at the last second. We actually match up fairly well in this fight. We all can overcome damage reduction, we all have fairly good saves and we can dish out a LOT of damage against demons. But this really comes down to two factors.

    1. Does the Balor dance away from the Paladin while he tries to Implode someone else that can fail the save?
    2. Does our Super Holy Aura help prevent unholy aura and blasphemy? If it does then we have a chance. Otherwise CL20 on those two spells means we are hosed.

    We stop short of the Balor and his guards, we measured it at 100 feet. The Paladin is flanked by the two golems in the front, the Ranger is at the rear and I am directly behind the Paladin. Puxdool and Pudnokker and are behind the golems on either side of me. The Paladin steps to the outer limits of our circle and “tries to reason with the Balor”

    Paladin: I require passage through the gateway you are presently blocking. If you wish to avoid a 100 hundred years of ridicule for your failure to defend this path, by all means step aside and the matter is ended. If not prepare yourself.
    DM: The Balor looks at you with amusement then begins to chuckle very slowly and softly. The five hundred other demons all join him with great waves of laughter.
    Balor: Bravery in the face of oblivion. So typical and so misunderstood. The Master has grown weary of your antics and desires you to be gone. In his endless mercy he is willing to you offer a single chance for this to end. Leave this place now and spend what time you have left with those you deem kin. He will open an exit to leave this place and allow you to escape. Otherwise I will bring your corpses to his side to serve as playthings in undeath. He tells me that the screams of your fallen companion are everything he had hoped for. Such a lovely voice as it howls in agony.
    Paladin: I trust in my god to ensure we will not share the same fate as he.
    Balor: Your god? Your Precious Torm has no power in this place. He has abandoned you…

    I swear I have never seen a bigger grin on a player’s face in my life.

    Paladin: My god is ALWAYS with me. He has been my side from the moment we stepped foot in this place. His likeness has fought by my side against forces I never imagined possible. Perhaps you would like to see him for yourself?

    The DM is shaking his head during this little monologue and he seems to already know what this is about. The ranger and I are just looking at each other and shrugging our shoulders.

    The Paladin turns to face his golem and kneels placing both his hands on the pommel of the holy avenger he starts praying to his golem…

    Paladin: Salvation may be found through service. Every failure of duty diminishes Torm and every success adds to his luster. Strive to maintain law and order. Obey your masters with alert judgment and anticipation. Stand ever alert against corruption. Strike quickly and forcefully against rot in the hearts of mortals. Bring painful, quick death to traitors. Question unjust laws by suggesting improvement or alternatives, not additional laws. I come to you upon humbled knee and beseech you aid me in this the darkness hour.

    As he finishes his prayer the spectral image of a celestial steed comes tearing across the broken landscape, it is moving FAST…I mean very FAST. It charges directly into the Golem and for a shining moment the Golem pulses with energy and looks like a shimmering vestige of Torm himself. As the energy fades the Golem grows more substantial, the battered iron starts to shine like the finest steel. Mithral chain and adamantine plates fuse into place and the girth of its arms and span of it’s shoulders expand.

    The paladin turns back to the Balor and rolls his shoulders bringing the shield and sword into a ready position.

    Paladin: A true servant to duty and justice is NEVER abandoned…
    We are sitting at the table…somewhat awestruck.

    Me (OOC): What the hell was that?
    Paladin (OOC): I gave up the ability to summon my mount and the ability to remove disease and used the +2 rod to turn my golem into my companion and a backup holy symbol. Twice per day for 10 rounds each he gets +10HD +8 Str and +8 NA. He also gets the other perks a paladin’s mount receives.

    The DM coughs before we can get much deeper into his upgraded golem and says

    Balor: Impressive, but futile. Your vampiric bard has shared many details to earn a respite from his suffering. You will all still die quickly.

    We roll for initiative and the Ranger with Improved Init and Huge Dex goes first. He launches a full attack…His BAB is 13/8/3…he has weapon focus…greater bracers of archery a +3 bow, Cats Grace, Bless, which brings him up to 33/28/23 and he attacks at 1d8+2d6+11 for an average hit of 21…he has speed and rapid shot So he has 31/31/31/26/21 the Balor has an AC of 35, he lands four arrows, and puts 109 damage on the Balor in 1st round.
    The Balor has second action, he moves up 40 feet and casts Implosion…he first targets the druid, and instantly kills my old cohort. Well so much for wasting it on the Paladin…he apparently got the scouting report from my vampire bard.

    The Mariliths follow suit and move up to either side of the Balor.
    Puxdool has next action and he charges the Balor with roar and goes into rage mode. He lands a solid shot on the Balor for 25 and is left there.
    The Paladin grunts in frustration, with speed he can make it to the Balor in a charge, but the troll is in the way. He elects to charge the left Marilith and he Torm goes with him soon after. I take a full move with speed and cast Destruction from my domain slot to target a Marilith. I overcome its spell resistance, but it makes its save…I deal 24 damage.

    The second round ranger wins initiative again and he puts 3 arrows for 55 damage into the Balor.

    The Mariliths both move to target the Paladin and he takes four hits from the 12+ attacks. He collectively eats 65 damage from the longsword attacks. 40 of which gets absorbed from Stoneskin.

    The Torm Golem slams the Marilith it is targeting but the damage reduction renders his damage below 20. Wolfie the Ranger golem adds about 10 more. The Paladin takes a five foot step and puts a smite evil into the Balor he connects with two attacks and does 66 damage. That is 240+ damage on the Balor. The Balor blows its concentration check and loses Implosion. It moves out of combat and eats 25 damage from AOO. I move next to the Paladin and cast cure critical wounds to get back 30 health.

    The next round the Balor drops a fire storm on us and then moves away again. Puxdool howls from the fire damage and the Mariliths put 12+ attacks into Puxdool. He is killed outright amidst the flame damage. We are so used to our Paladin being the brick wall it is a bit disheartening to see what happens when you don’t have super high end AC. If the Balor dropped Unholy Blight the protective aura around us seems to be disrupting it. I cast Cure Serious Wounds Mass and try to top most of us off. Ranger puts another volley of arrows into the Balor and lands 3…he does another 55 damage which puts it above 290…and it isn’t down.

    We also realize that we have a slight problem…the Balor is 80+ feet away and the protective aura seems to recenter wherever it can cover the most of us. The Ranger who has not yet moved is out of the range of our circle. The Golems each start a grapple with a marilith and try to hold them in place. Torm wins, and Wolfie fails. The Paladin debates chasing the balor and ends up putting a full attack on the wounded Marilith. He confirms a pair of crits and lands three attacks for almost 100 damage. The wounded/grappled Marilith goes down.

    The next round the Balor teleports right on top of the Ranger.

    The remaining Marilith lights into Wolfie Golem and puts some serious damage on him. The Paladin takes a double move to get back towards the Ranger but is still some distance away. I take a full move to get next to Paladin and cast another Cure Serious to get him back to full. That puts the ranger just outside the range of our circle and me and the Paladin in it. The Torm Golem acts next and makes a single attack against the remaining Marilith then takes a move action, eating an AOO to move back towards us. Wolfie Golem…is now isolated, and unprotected. The Marilith and the slavering horde of other demons all barrel into him.

    Ranger: Oops….

    We are in a very good and bad situation now. One Marilith dead, and the Balor is HEAVILY wounded. The ranger can probably put him down with a full attack…but he is vulnerable to AOO and the whip can trip him and then really put him in trouble. The Death Throes are also a concern. Puxdool, Wolfie Golem, Pudnokker are all toast.

    The fifth round Init breaks down like this:
    Ranger
    Balor
    Marilith
    Cleric
    Torm
    Horde
    Paladin

    The Ranger grins at the Balor and flips it the middle finger. That particular finger also holds the Ring of Elemental Command Earth, which he triggers to form a Wall of Stone between him and the Balor.

    The Balor growls and casts Blasphemy. The Ranger is dazed, no actions for a round, he takes 7 str damage from being weakened and is paralyzed for 3 minutes.

    The Marilith moves up on me and cracks me for about 15. I cast Divine Power and eat the AOO. The Paladin casts true strike, and moves forward enough for aura to protect ranger. Torm grapples the Marilith and wins its roll.

    The Balor flies up 90 feet in the air then uses quickened telekinesis to fling a nearly 400 pound boulder at my cleric. I get clocked for 40 damage. The Paladin pushes everything he has to power attack all out in a charge attack on grappled Marilith and rolls a 19…he confirms critical and lands a monster shot for 50+. I full attack the Marilith and with a +5 holy greatsword and divine power, bulls strength and divine favor I put almost 100 damage on it. Marilith 2 goes down.

    I win init the following round and move to the ranger and cast Heal. The Paladin moves up to me and uses LoH to bring me back to full. The Balor uses quickened telekinesis again and flings another boulder at me. Torm golem waits near us but we are almost out of enhanced golem time.

    On the 9th round the Balor divebomb charges me and connects for 30+. The Ranger gets back to his feet and takes a full move action away. Torm golem grapples the Balor and loses its roll. The Paladin casts another true strike and holds his action. I take a full move action to get some distance and cast CCW on myself. I eat an AOO for the movement but I have some burly strength avoid getting whipped back in.

    The next round ranger wins init and takes a move action to get further distance and snaps off one arrow at full bonus he hits for 24. The Balor is absolutely tattered at this point and our only concern is getting out of blast range. The Balor full attacks the Paladin and brings him to about 60 health. I am at the very outer range of the 40 foot zone and the Ranger is beyond it, he is more than a hundred feet away and the horde starts charging him.

    Paladin: If I fail the save…I will see you in the afterlife.

    He puts 5 points into power attack and full attacks the Balor…80+ damage and the Balor goes boom. He has a +18 reflex against the death throes so he needs a 12 or better. The ranger stops him before the save and we scavenge to check every possible means in which that number may be affected.

    Ranger: Haste gives +1 bonus and he has boots of speed.
    Me: I took the Boots of Speed and he has the weapon enhancement. So no +1
    He rolls a 14…
    The table goes wild.

    We unceremoniously grab Pudnokkers remains and Puxdool’s and stuff them in a bag of holding. We had done similar with my monk cohort and the Green Man and it retrospect we should have ransacked their gear to augment their own. Looking their gear got the Ranger thinking about the extra bonuses we might have access to. The remaining horde is unavailable to pierce the cordon which is starting to grow smaller, it is down to 30 feet by the time we pass through the archway that the Balor was protecting.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: An Adversarial Process-Campaign Recap

    Session 15-Continued

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    Dungeon Level 4: The Prison Block

    There is a dramatic lurching sensation as we cross the threshold of the gateway and we are badly disoriented as we stumble into an all metal room with a single towering door. It has a very hellraiser feel to it. Crimson lanterns cast an errie red light and everywhere are black metal chains hanging from the walls. The door has a wheel like you would see it an submarine, but its almost four feet across and it takes the Paladin and Golem turning in unison to open it. Before we go through we top off healing all three of us and set the golem as a sentry on the gateway we just came through.

    The Paladin takes the Periapt of Wisdom and Gloves of Dex from the monk’s corpse. I take the Cloak of Resistance+5. We feel a bit dirty but ultimately we decide that if we make it out alive we will return the items and resurrect them. I can physically cast the spell if we find the diamonds. Somehow that seems unlikely.

    Apparently this level is not subject to the same divine interference we have previously experienced as I can feel my deity, as does the Paladin. We elect to pause and reorganize in this room and put ourselves back together. I take the time to cast Planar Ally. I bring in a Trumpet Archon to bear as my planar cohort. We give the archon the monk’s belt of giant str+6. We actually work on summoning an additional pair of Trumpet Archon’s through the standard Planar Ally Spell. We barter to get 1 week’s service as support for the trip to confront the drow master and since its clearly in line with their endeavor we get support in this regard. We give away several of the troll’s magic items in payment, and have a trio of Trumpet Archon’s in our service. The DM who is a big time music fan names them Alice, Neill, and Ozzie. Ozzie is my cohort and Neil and Alice are the contractors. We alternate resting in the prison chamber then refresh spell lists and decide to press forth. I wont do a full spell list but here is what I prepped for 5th through 7th

    5th: Flamestrike*Rightous Might Flamestrikex3
    6th: Harm*Blade Barrier,GDM,Heal,Summon Monster 6
    7th: Disintegrate*Summon Monster7x2

    The very large door opens to a long hallway with a grate on the floor. Beneath the grate is a pit 50 feet deep with multiple gargantuan black puddings. The dead and rotting remains of all manner of humanoids are being dumped in from places we can’t see. To us it seems like a macabre garbage disposal. The hallway runs for quite some distance and eventually branches off in three directions. We roll a six sided and assing 1,2 for left, 3 and 4 for center and 5,6 for right. We roll a 1 and in scientific fashion take the branch to the left. A few hundred feet in and find a circular stairwell moving down. From the stairwell we hear lots of metal on metal sound and we send the ranger ahead to do some scouting. He creeps down the stairwell then reports back that it opens up into a foundry area where several Bearded Devils are forging torture instruments and weapons. He spotted four Horned Devils, but there could be more. There are multiple prison cells around the perimeter of the central foundry and moans, screams, whimpering, howling and weeping are all audible from the prison cells.

    This opens up a lot of possibilities. There could be potential allies amidst the cells, there are definitely people suffering that we can’t allow to continue and this could certainly be a trap. The staircase is rather wide open and despite the metal construction we are worried about the golem breaking the stairs. We decide to go down as quiet as we can, and have the golem jump down and just eat the 5d6 or so falling damage. The gameplan is for the trumpet archons to provide us spell support while we try to take out the horned devils.

    The fight begins much as we expected it would, the ranger gets set up on the lower portion of the stairwell and the paladin and I nearly make it down unseen/unheard. A bearded devil spots us as we are about to engage and an alarm is raised.

    The ranger full attacks a horned devil and the Paladin and I go charging in on the ranger’s wounded target. I got Divine Power up and running and we have bulls strength up on all of us. We put a big time hurting on the first one and then everything descends into pure chaos as bearded devils snatch glaives and tear after us.

    There is a very loud thud and the Torm Golem makes its entrance. The trumpet Archons put a holy smite volley amidst the various devils and every failed save gives us a little fist pump. Within a few rounds we have taken some non neglible damage, but most of the bearded devils are down and 2 of the horned devils are down with the other two banged up. Then the Foreman…or more accurately the Forewoman arrives with half a dozen Nightwalkers.

    The Forewoman is a lean Succubus studded with piercings and a black silk clingy body suit. Her wings are gone, the stubs are heavily adorned with rings and she is unarmed. The ranger who has an actual perception check worth something sees what he believes to be poison on her talons. Spell Like ability hell breaks loose as cones of cold, fireballs, unholy blight, and lightning bolts starting going off like popcorn.

    Our tidy little ambush gets frantic in a hurry. I gave Ozzie my cohort The Staff of Illumination and Sunburst becomes huge. We are all backed into a corner with the Paladin, Myself and Golem forming a wall. The ranger is up on the stairs behind us with the archons as they toss heals and lob arrows/spells over our heads. We are once again gaining control and getting tempo in our favor, and then from the cell areas six more nightwalkers and 4 more Horned Devils arrive as back up.

    Paladin activates the enhanced Golem and I step back to cast Flamestrikes on the nightwalkers. This whole time the Succubus is barking out orders and seems to evade or save every spell that comes her way. She is staying well out of the action and has not yet engaged us. In total we take down 18 nightwalkers, 12 Horned Devils a handful of Bearded Devils and expend 15 charges from the Illumination Staff and 4 from the Staff of Fire putting Wall of Fire on Torm Golem. The Succubus flees down one of the halls when the tide turns. We hear a cell door open and hear a loud scream in Common “No don’t!” then there is a loud crack and the scream is silenced.

    Me: I think she is killing the prisoners…

    The Paladin swears and pulls the Torm golem with him chasing her down the hall. We are still in clean up/recovery mode and have a pair of horned devils still fighting. So much of how we are able to endure is based around him being such a durable tank, and with him out of the way the ranger and I eat a lot more damage. The three of us and the 3 archons are all pretty banged up and spell lists are feeling strained. It takes us a couple rounds to finish the devils and follow in pursuit.

    The Paladin is trying to catch up to the Succubus but she is moving in a blur. We figure she is covering at least 60 feet a round or more. Every cell has a small antechamber with a pair of bearded devils. They are of little consequence to him, but they do get in the way. She is running room to room and killing the prisoners, and as she exits the room the 2 sentries leave their now dead prisoner and slow down her pursuer. As we try to catch up the Ranger throws a wall of stone in front of the succubus and we are positive that her running at 50+ miles an hour means she is going to faceplant into it. She instead runs up the walls and pulls off a tight turn, the SECOND she turns she starts lobbing a crap ton of darts in our direction.
    She throws 15+ darts in 3 rounds and they sting a lot. After 3 rounds the bearded devils are cleared out and we start dialing in on her…and she then promptly teleports to the other side of the wall and resumes her coup de grace scurrying.

    I have to waste my Greater Dispel on our own wall of stone and we are once again in pursuit. We turn a corner and see her sprinting down a 300 foot hallway…she covers the entire distance in just over 6 seconds. At the end of the hallway is a narrow bridge suspended with wires. Standing sentry on the the near side are a pair of horned devils. We watch as she flings a handful of shuriken to either side of her and then connect with support wires on the ceiling. Plink Plink Plink Plink, four support wires are severed and the bridge starts to fall. She clears a 40 feet gap that leads down to the pudding garbage disposal and then starts to unlock a series of complex locks on the final cell.

    As we are scrambling and watching this the paladin is fumbling with his bag of holding and he fights to pull out the carpet of flying. He doesn’t stand up on it so much as he throws it out in front of him and lies down on to it. The second the ranger is within range he pulls up short and starting trying to pump arrows into the succubus. Several of which she just snatches out of midair like its nothing.

    The Paladin gets some air and starts flying over the gap to attack her. The Horned Devils make moves to knock him out of the air. One of them rolls a natural 20. He tries to make a Dex check to recover. He rolls a 2…and is knocked from the falling carpet and plummets the 50 feet into the pudding pit.

    He does manage to mentally command the Torm golem to engage the devil that knocked him down and it starts slamming away. I tie up the second devil and the Trumpet Archons fly above us and start peppering the Succubus with more spells. They put up a Blade Barrier at the doorway and the succubus starting dancing between the blades, the archons keep putting fireballs and a second blade barrier up, even adding a wall of fire so that we now have a burning blade barrier in place.

    I am damn near pulling my hair out as the DM keeps up a constant stream of “She made the saving throw, takes no damage”

    The Blade Barrier gives her a cover bonus and the ranger is pumping arrows like a fiend, but many are deflected or snatched away. The ones that land hit solid and she is clearly not happy with them.

    The Paladin is knee deep in gargantuan ooze and he is eating a lot of acid damage. The flying carpet is just kind of hanging there in mid-air. He hollers for a trumpet archon to come help him, and Neil dives down to grab the paladin, as he does the Succubus makes a leaping bull rush tackle to grapple the archon in mid air. She basically bull rushes the archon into the walls and then tries to pin it’s wings. They are caught up in a kind of controlled fall and the archon manages to recover and right itself. I do something very stupid and jump for the flying carpet. I miss terribly but manage to grab the carpet and at least drag it down with me. My horned devil turns to the ranger who is forced to backpedal back and start targeting the devil.
    The Paladin and I scramble to get on the carpet and as we do the Succubus lands a Stunning Fist on the archon…uses the wall to slow her fall then lands amongst the oozes.

    This leaves us in a very tight spot. More oozes are coming and the archon is going to get acid hugs from just about everything if we don’t aid him. The ranger is now backpedaling from a partially damaged devil and Torm golem is mostly just trading damage with his target. We make the decision to assist Neil and get back up to the prison cell. The Succubus blows us a kiss and then sprints through the ooze pit.

    We regroup up top and kill the two horned devils. We ferry everyone across to the last cell and dismiss the blade barriers. We have Torm take a Wall of Fire bath until it wears off. As we start burning through wand charges to provide healing the Ranger pauses and snaps off

    Ranger: That bitch don’t play…

    Our best guess is that she is some kind of nasty monk hybrid. For the most part she handed us our own asses and saved/evaded just about everything we threw at her.

    Entry into the final room is painstaking. The door is sealed with a series of interlocking bolts that form a crude puzzle. They have to be turned and drawn in a specific order to open. We spend about twenty minutes turning the locks and finally pop open the cell.

    Inside, bound with thick chains and spread eagle in the center of the room is a bizarre four limbed reddish creature with mandibles and loads of scar tissue. It weakly raises its head and looks at us with what think of as apathy. The Xill communicates telepathically with us…

    Xill: New tricks? After months of torment this is the best you can come up with? Just kill me already, I know nothing else.
    We all give each other some odd looks and then the ranger responds
    Ranger: I honestly have no clue how we can prove that we are not your captors. I am open to suggestions though.
    Xill: There is no way for me to believe you.
    The Paladin wordlessly takes a damaged limb from the Xill and heals 5 points of damage through LoH
    Paladin: No creature of evil can replicate that effect through any means. You can believe us

    The Xill then proceeds to spill his life’s story. And by His…I mean the Master’s. The xill was his first mentor and the first to recognize what he was.
    I will go through a summarized version of what the backstory he gave is, the DM gave us like a 20 page short story from the Xill’s point of view. In essence Dayvid Allain Ko-The Master was one of the last remaining drow deep in the future. Outsiders took full control of the Material Plane and the drow were reduced to a band of guerilla fighters in the Underdark. While Githerzai and Githyanki, Rakshasha, Xill and other outsiders fought for control the drow clung to survival. The Psionic powers of these outsiders was something the Material Plane had never manifested…until him. The Master was a psionic wilder of staggering capability. Long deemed aberrant and twisted by his own race his visions of other planes and the horrific events he had witnessed were dismissed. The crippling injuries he acquired in his sleep were considered self induced.

    In reality the drow was subconsciously created demi-planes through the Genesis capability and then his true heritage was causing them to be twisted. Somewhere in his families bloodline was a coupling with a hag. The twisted nightmares a hag was able to visit upon their prey had become manifest in his dreams generations later. The twisted visions were then brought to creation by uncontrolled Reality Revision and Psionic Major Creation. He was creating new realities in his sleep and his nightmares were being turned real. The Xill was a psion of great capability that discovered this psychic juggernaut and sought to train him, then subvert him to his own means. Once they brought control to his abilities, the drow quickly ascended to nearly complete dominance over the Material Plane and began his invasion of other planes, by bridging his demi-planes into theirs. An ancient drider sorcerer helped him craft four tapestries spun with silk from Lloth herself, these tapestries functioned as the means for him to connect his realities to the other Planes. A concerted effort from nearly every outsider capable of psionic powers managed to trap him within a prison of his own mind. They found themselves unable to destroy the tapestries and instead flung them to different periods of history hoping the separation in time would make release from the prison more difficult.

    The knowledge of psionics in our campaign was non-existent at this point. During character creation psionics were not an option and unknown to the world we were playing within. That was because according to the DM psionics weren’t discovered in this world until much later on.
    The back story let us know several things.

    *The Master was a very powerful Wilder, easily capable of manifesting 9th level powers.
    *He was twisted beyond all reason by his very nightmares becoming reality.
    *His prison was eroding. The guards that were meant to contain him were overrun
    *The Xill and several other high priority targets were held in this prison block.
    *The majority of the Xill’s powers had been stripped away and by his reckoning he had been tormented for millennia.
    *He considered himself the Teacher. The Student, and The Hunter were two other captives he had knowledge of.
    *The shackles that held the Xill were unbreakable by the means we had.
    *The “Mistress” was our Succubus monk. She was responsible for overseeing the torture and control of this section. The Xill found her to be seductively cruel. He assured us she was deadly.
    *With no means to free him, he firmly asked us to kill him. There was some back and forth over this but ultimately we elected to honor his wishes and my Cleric took his head off.

    We were tempted to spend a night in the prison cell figuring it was the most secure location we would find. We also were granted Level 15 status for rescuing the Xill and getting a big plot advancement. The DM said we were nearing the end of events…one way or another it was all going to be over soon. On that note we advanced to level 15, had Torm Golem stand sentry and block the doorway so we didn’t get locked in, and then hunkered down.

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