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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    If you read my campaign recap An Adversarial Process then a few things are going to be far different and hauntingly similar. In tone and scope this was a much different adventure with an experienced DM. There were far less over the top hijinks and loads more role playing and character involvement. The guy that played the Paladin (Kyr Prentice) was our DM for this Pathfinder+3.5 dips campaign. It was a much shorter campaign and almost completely centrally located. Worth noting:

    *No Flight,Overland Flight, Psionic Flight etc. No carpets of flying, no potions of flying. Basically no flight what-so-ever. Levitate is fine. This is a long standing house rule and nearly universal rule for our games.
    *No reincarnate, no raise dead, no resurrection. This is a DM Rule. Dead is Dead…unless its undeath. He heavily frowns on rolling into a new character, generally when someone is killed we end the campaign. If it’s a strange circumstance then sometimes players get a pass and can start a new character.
    *If you roll a 20 on a skill check…you roll again and add the results together.

    The premise of this campaign which took place in a FR style homebrew setting was that our characters were enslaved and forced into gladiatorial roles. We started the campaign at level 3 and were told that level 9 would be the high cap for the saga. Our hook was that a new fashion in arena combat was groups working together to overcome challenges. Our individual characters were brought together and more or less forced to work as a team in the arena. At the onset of the adventure we were vastly restricted in terms of privelages, equipment and privacy. We were going to have to prove our worth before being granted favors and freedom of movement. The characters are:

    Corwin-Half Elf Fighter3 Str 19 Dex 14 Con 16 Int 12 Wis 14 Cha 17. HP 33 Feats:Skill Focus:Intimidate, Weapon Focus: Swords, Dazzling Display, Intimidating Prowess, Persuasive
    Corwin is the current local crowd favorite and a natural showman. He embraces his servitude as a means to attain glory and fame. He yearns for freedom for far different reasons than the rest, he wants profit and riches to accompany his fame. This is my character .

    Gilpin Burrows Halfling Rogue3 Str 12 Dex 19 Con 14 Int 17 Wis 12 Cha 15 HP 22, Feats: Weapon Focus Dagger, Weapon Finesse, Two Weapon Fighting.
    Gilpin was originally a circus performer whose caravan was ambushed. His skill with daggers and throwing convinced the slavers that purchased him to train him for the arena. He is a natural schemer and excels at misdirection skills he honed as a circus performer. Servitude does not suit him and he is anxious to breathe free air. He has a great fondness of apples. (This was played by the guy that previously was our Ranger in Adversarial)

    Paddok Took Gnome Sorcerer3(elemental earth) Str 8 Dex 16 Con 19 Int 13 Wis 15 Cha 17 HP24 Feats: Scribe Scroll, Extend Spell. Spells Known: Burning Hands (Acid), Enlarge Person, Reduce Person, Sleep
    Paddok was found living amongst the tunnels and warrens of a dire badger colony. His education was spotted and more oriented towards his natural talents as a sorcerer. He is fiercely against cramped unnatural spaces, like metal cages. First and foremost he cares about his own hide and is adverse to taking risks that don’t benefit himself. (Real life brother of the guy playing Gilpin-newer player)

    Thorgrim Human Cleric3 (Death, Destruction) Str 14 Dex 12 Con 16 Int 12 Wis 19 Cha 15 HP:27 Feats: Spell Focus Conjuration Spell Focus Necromancy, Selective Channeling.
    Thorgrim was part of a cult that worshipped death and snatched up from his desert temple, the sole survivor of an ambush he is dedicated to death and destruction. Somber beyond all measure and mirthless he is willing to do anything to escape and is not afraid to trample anyone that gets in his path. (The Cleric was played by the guy that was DM in Adversarial)

    Brom Half-Giant Psychic Warrior3 (Assassin’s Path)Str 19 Dex 11 Con 16 Int 10 Wis 17 Cha 11 HP:29 Feats:Psionic Weapon, Expanded Knowledge, Weapon Focus:Falchion, Power Attack. Powers Known: Expansion, Call Weaponry, Energy Ray, Force Screen
    Brom was born into slavery and bred for combat. He is a tactical warrior that relies on position and his mental prowess to overcome adversity. Perpetually silent, he rarely speaks or provides input, content to follow the lead of others. (A long time friend and newer player that wanted to try out psionics)

    There are two crucial NPC’s in this adventure. They are the principal antagonists and our captors. They are:

    Mistress Jezebel, a half-drow wizard of unknown level. She owns and operates the training school and desert compound in which we are held. She has a fierce reputation for her proclivities towards maiming and dismembering those who displease her. Protection of profit can stay her hand and belay her sadistic endeavors, but we are told in no uncertain terms…you do not want to cross her.

    Brother Benedict, a human monk of unknown level. Benedict is by outward appearances a dandy, and foppish to a stereotypical degree. He is also faster than a mongoose and has been witnessed to toss hill giants with ease. He is a living weapon with a reputation for fits of unfettered rage. He is always dressed in fine silks and adorned with sleek but remarkably expensive gems. One tidbit brought to our immediate attention, while his style is always immaculate and he is never seen wearing the same thing twice…he always has the same belt and bracers. An early action item for us is to somehow steal those two items.

    Over the first three sessions we would assemble a list of the compounds guards, merchants and notable guests. Our goal is escape, secondary to that is survival. From our initial overview our daily life consists of being exercised into a state of fatigue or exhaustion daily. Pre-1st session we are all granted a boost to Con as a means of expressing the grueling physical regiments our characters have forgone for several months. Everyday for the first month we are drilled in various skirmishes against Benedict’s lackeys and trainers to gauge our potential and merit. At night we are placed in small solitary confinements and shackled overnight. Those who display magic or psionic ability are sequestered in special holding cells with added security surrounding them. The Sorcerer, Cleric, and Psychic Warrior are all interrogated in severe settings and pushed to reveal the extent of their abilities. From these “interviews” the sorcerer reveals his ability to use all of his spells save for Reduce Person which he gains the night before the campaign starts. They are fully aware of Thorgrim’s cleric abilities including his ability to spontaneous inflict wounds. The Psychic Warrior is confined to a special cell with spikes along the walls to inhibit his Expansion ability. Long story short…security is tight to start…very tight.

    Session 1:
    After the background information is presented to us, our characters are all escorted into a group holding cell where our shackles are removed and we are allowed access to our soon to be comrades. No one is allowed any weapons, equipment or armor. We all have basic clothes and sandals and nothing else. Eating utensils are all dull and wooden as are plates and cups. These are secured in a box that is unlocked from the outside. There is a basic toilet and a sink that is attached to an external cistern. There are five cots, 1 of which is oversized and 2 of which are small sized.

    There are some tense and awkward exchanges as everyone introduces their characters. Especially from the Cleric and Psychic Warrior who are trying to stay in character as their sulky selves. The Rogue makes the best first impression as he escorted to the cell literally soaking in chains, he has an extra pair of guards all of whom are watching him like a hawk. I ask him why such a little man needs large protection like that. He responds by making an acrobatic check to do a handspring off the wall and land with a single hand supporting him in a headstand on his cot.

    Rogue: Because I won a bet!
    Sorcerer: What bet was that?
    Rogue: I bet a guard I could knock an apple off his head from 50 feet with a single stone.
    Fighter: Did you?
    Rogue: Of course! It was the other two that broke his nose that got him mad.

    My fighter and the rogue would go on to become the de-facto leaders of the group. After sharing backgrounds almost across the board we agreed escape is something we are interested in. I am the lone dissenting voice as I enjoy the chance at becoming famous, but I also tell them that I won’t interfere with their endeavors as long as it doesn’t endanger my welfare. The following morning a cadre of guards all approach and have exit one at a time, where we are bound and then escorted to a training circle larger than the ones we have been drilled in. Brother Benedict comes to the top of a small pulpit overlooking the hard dirt floor and then gives us his welcome speech.

    Benedict: You are hear to provide amusement to those who revel in bloodshed. Your deaths will serve as a minor footnote to an otherwise forgettable afternoon’s revelry. I do not expect you to live against impossible odds, I expect you to die in a fashion that will make people spend money. You may think that death is the worst possible outcome…you are mistaken in that regard.

    The foppish monk snaps his fingers and the dead body of a burly warrior, whose fatal wounds are clearly upon his back is thrown to the sand in the arena. With a second snap of his fingers a hidden gate opens from the circles side and a wight emerges at the end of a rope. It ravenously devours the fallen warriors legs and arms then is drawn back into it’s cell. Within a minute the fallen warrior reanimates as a wight himself, only one without arms or legs.

    Benedict: He ran from the killing blow…my clerics will restore a shred of his memory so that the eternal hunger of his undeath will claw at his stomach for centuries. If you wish to avoid a similar fate then you will do what we ask in the manner in which you ask.
    Fighter: Then give me a sword and I will give you a show…
    Benedict: Do not seek to impress me with bravado…appease me with obedience. My mistress has instructed me to give you a stronger test…no blades will be furnished. Horace!

    An attending guard wheeling a cart snaps to attention and rushes to give a clenched fist salute to the monk “Yes Brother Benedict”

    Benedict: Give them clubs and bring forth the summoner.
    Horace rings a gong and a wispy human in arcane regalia comes forth to the pulpit he bows and then kneels before the monk.
    Benedict: Give me a pair of hounds…see what they can manage. Give them a ten count.
    The “Summoner” comes to the edge of the pulpit and presdigitates a clock that counts back ten ticks, before he does so Horace tosses five clubs to the arena floor. The Rogue is forced to use it two handed like a greatclub. The Cleric and my Fighter scoff a bit as they pick up their club. The gnome leaves his where it drops. The Psychic Warrior who so far has only said “My Name is Brom” and then shrugged when asked if he sought escape ***** his head to one side as he looks at the club in the sand. He then scribbles a small note and slides it to DM. DM confirms with us that he is using Call Weaponry to get a falchion.

    Rogue: you are going to take this silent thing seriously aren’t you?
    Psy Warrior: head nod yes.

    Unarmored and drastically unequipped we are given a 10 count and then a pair of hell hounds are summoned into the arena and we are told to kill them. The Halfling is scrambling for a rock or any stone to throw…nada. The psychic warrior *sighs* and a shield of force pops up around him. He makes a wordless roar and charges the nearest hell hound. I follow in behind him on the same target and take up a flanking position. The Sorcerer puts an acid burning hands into the second hell hounds face and the Cleric stays back and holds his action. The Rogue holds his action as well. As our two warriors start swinging at the first hell hounds, the second one starts to tear into the gnome. Once the gnome is engaged the Cleric steps up to flank and takes a swing. The Rogue moves into a backstabbing position and two handed swings his club for sneak attack damage. With no armor we are easy targets to hit, but with flanks, sneak attack damage and the Psychic Warrior’s damage bonuses we make short work of them.

    The monk crosses his arms and gives us the barest of head movements…so subtle it can barely be called a nod. Horace, the arms wagon vendor, seems much more impressed and is visibly awed that the monk gave us even that slightest acknowledgement. We are reshackled and taken to a workout yard where they put us through a grueling workout. As we are being escorted back to our cell the Halfling starts to make a combination Diplomacy check and Gather Information check. He is actively chatting up Horace to get information about his work and the other guards. From those checks we erase our init whiteboard and start to create a board with guard information.

    I follow that lead and work to talk with the Summoner, whose name ends up being Arnulf. I would highly encourage anyone who has not seen the HBO show The Wire to look up that show. There is a clip where one of the police investigating criminals creates a corkboard to organize suspect and persons of interest in their investigation. We ended up creating the D&D proxy. We get the following…

    *Horace is the quartermaster of the compound. He answers to Jezebel, Benedict, and the compounds finance manager a man named Shiethied (Shy-Theed). He is in charge of maintaining weaponry, food, wine, and all manner of supply. From what we gather he is neutral/friendly to the rogue after their conversation and he confides to the rogue that the monk rarely shows any expression of respect for his slaves.

    *Arnulf is a conjurer in service to the Mistress. He is a former slave and currently enjoys a comfortable salary serving as a conjurer for his masters to test and train new gladiators. He reports to Jezebel, Benedict and the head of arcane services a woman name Kjellin.

    The group starts to fill in a map of the compound as we get details about location and position. We are being held in an eastern wing of the compound and we pass three other “group cells” in route to our own. Visible beyond our cell are a pair of two more. So there is the capability for six groups of our approximate size to be housed in a single wing. In addition to our standard fare of rations there is a cut of prime rib that is shared amongst the five of us as reward for our morning trial. A few hours later a cleric is escorted to our cell and we are healed of our wounds. Come evening we are again escorted from our cells and returned to the previous arena. This time Jezebel herself is present along with Benedict and an unidentified man in red robes. There is quiet conversation between the three that we can’t pick out. Arnulf comes forward only to have Jezebel pull him back “I will test them personally.”

    This time we are granted light armor (mostly chain shirts) and weapons of our choice along with wooden shields. I take a scimitar and shield, the Psychic Warrior takes a falchion, the cleric takes a Morningstar and shield. The Rogue takes a vambrace of five daggers and then selects two additional daggers. The gnome takes a quarterstaff. The group forms up in a circle in the middle of the arena and wait. We get a ten count again and in that ten count the Psychic Warrior takes a deep breath…then Expands to large size.

    A pair of large fire elementals are summoned forth into the arena and we are off again. I win init and use a full round action to perform a dazzling display. Against a DC of 18 I have 3 ranks+3 trained bonus+3 skill focus+4 from Int Prow +3 cha I roll a 12 so I have a 28…3 rounds of them being shaken. The rogue throws a dagger into the front one, and since it’s flat footed he adds sneak attack damage. The Gnome then casts Enlarge Person on me. The two elementals engage the two biggest targets, me and Pscyhic Warrior. Burn damage hurts a lot, but as the rogue starts adding sneak attack damage we do quite well. The acidic burning hands is nice as the gnome maneuvers to get both in one cast. Our cleric puts a cure light into the psychic warrior and myself and we handle the pair without any major danger.

    As the second elemental is dispatched the Mistress looks at us, then at the man in red…he gives her a hand gesture and she makes a return gesture along the lines of “whatever you say” and two more fire elementals take form. The second set are much more dangerous. We don’t get a prep time and they are summoned right on us. The rogue and cleric are both targeted from the onset and we have to work to get them screened. It’s dicey with our limited armor and health. Burn damage is adding up and what limited healing we had on the fly is about expended already. We get one elemental down and everyone except the gnome is in rough shape health wise. The cleric gets clear and casts cure moderate wounds on himself…despite myself being the target of the elemental and in lower health. The gnome uses his fourth spell of the day to cast burning hands again, and the rogue manages to land a sneak attack crit that brings down the fourth elemental. If he hadn’t I would have been knocked into negatives the following turn.

    The Mistress again looks to the man in red and he makes another hand gesture she gives a small bow to him and then claps her hands. The gates open and guards start filtering their way in. The Rogue makes a sleight of hand check to try and palm a dagger and hide it in the folds of his shirt. He seems to make the check, as no one really notices. We all specifically pay attention to Horace who does get a frown on his face as he collects the weapons and places them back in his cart. If he realizes he is short, he is not sure and we are led back to our cell. We are fed again and for the second time a cleric returns to our cell and provides us healing. A new guard with insignia on his jacket comes to our cell and tells us that we can prepare to bed down for the night, we are done for the day. The rogue tries to talk to him, but gets little other than his name and title. Rufus…head of the night watch. Another name goes up on our board.

    The minute we are alone the Halfling asks if he can fit through the cell bars. Nope, even at small size he is too big.
    Rogue: What if I was tiny?
    DM: It would be a tight fit, but with an escape artist check you could probably squeeze through.
    Rogue: How many spells you have left Paddok?
    Sorcerer: Two…
    Rogue: So I got 3 minutes where I can move around and be back and you will still have a spell?
    Sorcerer: Yep.
    Me: Are you sure you want to be escaping the cell the very first day?
    Rogue: Not escape…just exploring.
    The psychic warrior finally speaks up “They don’t like escapes. First time they break your leg. Second time they give you to the monk…no one comes back from the third”

    Not to be dissuaded the rogue checks for nearby guards then has reduce person cast on him. He squeezes out from the bars and starts stealthing his way down the hall. He is not gone for too long and back within two minutes. The last two cells are empty, the one adjacent to ours looks like it has been empty for some time. He informs us that he stashed his stolen dagger under a cot in the next cell. We add a new action item for our “to do list”, just underneath the “steal the monk’s magic items” is “make sure the guards let us know when the next cell is about to be used”

    Everyone hunkers down and we try to rest up for the next morning. We are put through something approaching a routine for 2 or 3 days. Our handlers keep working us in the exercise yard and we are faced with 2-3 encounters against summoned creatures each day. The manner of encounter changes, sometimes it is swarms of smaller creatures, sometimes one much larger creature and by day three the encounters are getting more varied. Only 1 of the 3 nights leave us a chance for more exploring. Night 3 the gnome held back nearly all his spells and the pair of small characters reduce themselves and make a midnight recon mission. By night 4 we have a trio of daggers hidden in the cell next to our own along with six arrows and a bowstring. We have our wing of the compound mapped out in good detail and our whiteboard now has 6 mook-guards listed. Anyone that doesn’t have a title or special role just gets numbered and a brief description on their disposition towards us.

    Our little routine is interrupted on day 5. We are removed one at a time by Horace and several “elite” guards. He takes us to a separate wing (the northern wing) where we are all fitted for personalized armor and weapons. I get set up with a suit of full plate armor, a +1 elven curved blade and a belt of giant str+2.
    The Cleric is fitted with a Breastplate+1 , a large wooden shield and a Headband of Wisdom+2
    The Rogue gets a Chain Shirt+1, and a pair of masterwork daggers. He also gets Gloves of Dex+2
    The Psychic Warrior gets full plate armor, Belt of Giant Str+2 and a falchion+1
    The gnome gets a Cloak Of Charisma+2, bracers of armor 3, and a masterwork quarterstaff.

    None of these items is entrusted to our possession, but they are designated for our use in the central armory. We discover that Horace has cart blanche to remove any mundane equipment he sees fit, but the removal of any masterwork or enchanted/enhanced item requires an added form to be signed by him. Requests for items above a certain value require the added signature of Benedict or Jezebel. Action item number 3 goes on our list “find a way to forge Horace’s signature”

    We are not exercised and instead of a morning training against summoned creatures we are all escorted to a central courtyard where we are put on display. Many people we don’t recognize all pass us and there is plenty of whispers about potential and to a certain extent people seem to have knowledge of us already. My fighter specifically. It seems that my displays to demoralize opponents have drawn considerable attention.

    The entire group is taken to a completely different section of the compound, and put into individual holding cells. Each of us is given separate notes describing our predictaments, what is boils down to is that we are having our first public combat. Our group of five against a nest of 6 ankhegs. The Psychic Warrior is suspended from a cage in the middle of an open coliseum floor. There is a netting that runs the whole length of the arena and a second cage on the ground level holds my fighter. The Rogue,Cleric and Sorcerer are all free to move about the floor. A Wall of Ice has created a holding pen for the ankhegs and they are spitting acid to melt their way out. The three non caged characters are weaponless. Their weapons are in our cages. The stadium style seating can hold maybe 500 people, and maybe 200 are seated. They seem interested but in a polite non overwhelming manner.

    The Rogue immediately runs for the nearest wall and starts climbing to try and reach the net above. The Sorcerer full runs to the cage I am held in and starts using his burning hands to try and melt the lock on my cage. The Cleric runs to my cage and tries to hide near it. The Halfling is going hand over hand to ceiling climb the netting and reach the Psy Warrior. As he reaches the cage the psy warrior passes him up a dagger which he starts sawing through the ropes with. There is a 20 foot drop…but from our perspective, that can’t be avoided. For added fun…the psy warriors falchion is in my cage and my elven curved blade is in his cage.

    The Wall of ice is just about broken through when the third burning hands melts the lock off my cage, I come out running and with the falchion in hand. As I get broken free the Psy Warrior comes crashing down…he comes rolling out of the cage (woohoo for assassin path acrobatics) and activates shield of force. At the table he just makes a hand gesture for his falchion which I toss to him as he no looks tossing the elven curve blade behind him. The crowd lets out a roar as I am charging and we make the weapon exchange in mid air. We form up in a wall and as the Ankhegs break free he expands and I get Enlarged and another roar comes from our crowd. The Sorcerer sleeps the slowest ankheg and the Cleric takes up a position on my flank after retrieving his weapon and shield. The Halfling tumbles from the netting and rolls a 19…he improvises this as landing on my shoulders striking a “Ta-Da!” pose then rolling off to take up a position to the Psy Warrior’s left. The ankhegs come straight for us and we start hacking away. The Rogue is trying to avoid getting too caught up but is ducking in for sneak attacks wherever he can. The cleric is holding back spells and smashing to support the psy warrior. The gnome mostly just hangs back and when it looks like ankheg is on the ropes he jukes in to tap it with the staff. The crowd is pretty into the fight and we are holding our own. We are approaching what we think of as the clean up phase and The Psy Warrior Rolls a natural 20…he rolls to confirm and rolls a natural 20…in our games that means you keep rolling to confirm the critical on your critical…he rolls a 15. This gets translated to him transecting and cutting the last ankheg in half.

    Everyone except the Cleric and Psy Warrior starts mugging for the crowd. I go through and do a dazzling display as more of a flexing muscles impressing the crowd action and get a nice roar from the audience. A few people in the audience start throwing ceramic chits to the arena floor, and we are encouraged to pick them up. As Horace is stripping us down of our goodies we ask him what the chits are for.

    Horace: Congratulations. You survived your first real fight. Traditionally anyone that lives through their first is granted access to the commissary. The mistress believes in positive reinforcement.
    Rogue: how kind.
    Horace: Hardly…it just makes the negative reinforcement much worse when you have something to lose. Anyway, you will be moved to a new cell tomorrow and with the new cell comes new privelages.

    Doh! We are getting moved. We end the session with our group being marched back to what will soon be our old cell. On the plus side, we are soon to be getting new accommodations and added perks.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    This is amazing and I already can't wait for more. Or, in other words....

    Do want.
    Spoiler: Those That Came Before
    Yohalles, the Wanderer
    Lonel, Gentleman Luck
    Jongo, God of Sea-Life

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

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Session 2:
    The group consensus is that our meager cache is not worth trying to relocate along with us. We figure A) if no one takes that cell for a while it may just stay there or B) they bring in a new group and heat gets deflected to them or that wing’s guards and not us. Bottom line it can be spun to our advantage. We inquire about what we need to be able to “forge documents or other items” We are told that Profession:Forger will give us an ability to replicate items if we are given the proper tools and similar materials. The stat bonus for this is the average of dex and int.

    The following morning we are all escorted to the west wing of the compound and in the process of moving a note get handed to the cleric. Our new cell is a bit roomier than our previous cell, there is a stall for the toilet and the cots are closer to beds than just racks with stuffed straw mattresses. There is also a wardrobe cabinet and changes in clothes awating each of us. Our soiled and torn up outfits are taken away and we now have 3 changes fitted to each of us. After getting accommodated we are rounded up and taken back to the workout yard where we undergo a less vigorous workout.
    That afternoon we are taken to a common area where lunch is provided. Armed crossbowmen patrol a gantry way above the common room and no more than two other groups are seated in the commons at a given time. Our attempts to chat with the other prisoner groups are brushed off with rudeness. One half orc comments that he may have to kill us after lunch and that it’s not worth being friendly.

    After lunch we are escorted to a commissary where we are given the value and benefits of our chits. There are seven types of chit and differing values for each they are:
    Rest Token: basically you can skip a morning workout
    Lodging Token: based on the value listed you can receive nicer overnight accommodations
    Hedonism Token: You can spend a night indulging yourself in drinking, drugs, or other “nocturnal endeavors”. Once again the value listed greatly affects the manner and duration
    Canteen Token: These tokens let you buy added niceties to your room like pillows, mattresses, or crafting supplies. These really get our attention.
    Liberation Token: These are treated as literal cash bonds that can be put against your fair market value. They let a slave buy his own freedom. Highly sought after.
    Expendable Token: Also mockingly referred to by other slaves as “crutches”. They can be turned in to provide yourself boons like healing potions, charges expended from a wand etc.
    Blood Token: These tokens are tied to a specific gladiator and give you the right to “call out” that gladiator in 1-1 combat.

    All these tokens are purchased by spectators and distributed as they see fit to the gladiators they see fit to provide them to. Rest, lodging and hedonism are generally thrown as a free for all. While the rest are typically hand delivered to a prisoner of choice. They also function as a defacto currency amongst slaves. We received 5 chits. 2 rest tokens, a lodging token good for a “fine tavern room” and 3 hedonism tokens good for 2 pints of ale each.
    As we are heading off to our “practice session” I end up chatting with a new wing guard named Boris. Boris is a little slower than the other guards we have interacted with…and much larger. From him we do uncover a not so secret dirty little secret. The guards do exchange favors with the slaves for chits. The Rogue lays on the big time schmoozing, and ends up cashing in all 3 of our hedonism tokens in exchange for Boris taking us the long ways back to our cell so we can see some of the gladiators (translation fill in more of our map and get distances, locations etc). He make a great diplomacy check and we have the closest thing to a friend so far.

    By the time we get back to our cells we have more names for our board…Boris the Brute, and Cewell the commissary clerk. The Cleric also gets our attention and quietly informs us that in the course of our little field trip he identified 5 separate faded symbols in the stonework that are symbols from a rival death god deity.

    Cleric: His methods were more restrained than my own god’s but we all learned a good deal about their faith. If the design of this place was an overlay to that order’s temple then I may be able to locate several hidden chambers within the bowels of this compound.

    Basically Thorgrim’s death god was like the Coke to this death god’s Pepsi. Except that with Thorgrim’s faith when someone designed New Coke…they didn’t get fired…they got burned at the stake and their ashes served as toothpaste for demons. At least that is how he metaphorically explains less restrained. If he is right though, that means this compound was basically a converted temple, and there will be several hidden antechambers and alcove beneath the structure.

    Our gameplan is to win over some of the guards to at least look the other way for certain activities, and hopefully create a small workshop amongst potentially hidden chambers. Once we can get enough resources to equip and arm ourselves we will try to make a break for it. If we can earn the crowd’s favor then hopefully some perks will give us the fiat to make some bargains. So far on our board Horace and Boris are our two most developed contacts.

    Our daily routine becomes more predictable. Morning Workout. Lunch. Then a full contact fight for survival, followed by dinner and a trip to the commissary.

    Day 7: Our encounter of the day takes place in the arena, but the hitch this time is that Walls of Stone form a miniature maze within the arena. Our weapons are spread throughout the maze and we are pit against Earth Elementals. The elementals can earthglide and basically just walk through the walls, given their earth senses they know where we are at all times while we are mostly blind. Once the Psychic Warrior and I are enlarged we pick up the rogue and sorcerer and boost them to the wall tops. They provide lookouts and ranged attacks and help guide us towards our weapons. This fight really sucked. Against DR and with few means in which to gang up and get flanks/sneak attacks we are heavily taxed. The Sorcerer’s main offensive spell is useless , sleep is ineffective. The Cleric ends up knocking the psychic warrior into negatives when he channels negative energy. He gets shot a nasty look from the mostly silent half giant, and he just shrugs it off….”you lived”

    No chits get thrown to us…the fans were rather bored with the fight. Our trip to the commissary is replaced with a second workout that leaves us exhausted. We are returned to our cells with meager gruel and little else as punishment for a lackluster fight. The Rogue and Sorcerer get directions from the Cleric on where to look for triggers that will open the concealed chambers and with four spells remaining they both break free from the cell and start to do some exploring. There is an added level of danger as the gnome is not very stealthy and they are both still fatigued. They come up blank and return empty handed.

    The next day Brother Benedict personally comes to our cell and informs us that today’s fight will be special.

    Benedict: Your first outing drew interest from some of our more generous benefactors. They were far less pleased with your second. So we have arranged special circumstances for your third fight. Make this fight memorable and you will get a weeks stay from further combat and workouts. Fail and I will have something to throw to our ghouls.

    The rogue and sorcerer are escorted out and taken to a separate area. The rest of us are soon thereafter taken to the armory where we are outfitted with our weapons and armor. We are all given a tindertwig as well. The three of us are then taken to an outdoor arena and it is the first time we have left the compound in over 3 months. A few hundred yards from the compound is a much larger open air arena with more seating. These stands can hold closer to 1500 people and the stands are mostly full. The entire arena floor is littered with columns and rope thick spider webs that are remarkably sticky to the touch. We are taken to the dead center of the arena where a bare patch exists. The gnome is at one side of the arena caught in the webs and the rogue is at the other end in a similar predictament. Held in a cage suspended from the center of the arena is a Drider that looks awfully mad.
    Gak. We mull over several possible outcomes. If we stand fast in the center where we avoid getting tangled we get plinked from range. If we go into the webs after the sorcerer and rogue we are splitting forces and at a severe mobility disadvantage. If we group together and head towards one in force, then the other may end up as a drider snack. We could light the tindertwig and burn the webs, but that also serves to make for crispy small sized party members. The crowd seems to be aware of our dilemma as there are howls of laughter and cackling.

    Psychic Warrior: I don’t like being toyed with.
    He passes a note to the DM who has to pause and look up something in the Players Handbook then he shakes his head and says “alright go for it”
    Psychic Warrior: Get the runts I am going fishing.

    He Expands, and after expanding he Call Weaponry himself a huge net and holds his action. The Cleric splits off to go for the gnome and I split off to head for the Halfling. I go through a sword twirling routine that ends with me growling at the drider for a dazzling display, the drider has some will and hd and I only effect it for 1 round. I manage to make the strength check to power through the webs and get some forward progress towards the Halfling. The Cleric gets to the web’s edge then lights his tindertwig and tosses it at the gnome. It lights up the whole web and the crowd roars its approval as the sorcerer howls in pain from the burning strands.

    The Drider is released from it’s cage and is immediately targeted by the Psychic Warrior who nets him and starts to drag him to the middle with the trailing rope. Treated as huge with a monster str score the Pscyhic Warrior is reeling in the drider. I am racing to reach the Halfling before the fire does and the crowd is howling as the whole arena is aflame. The drider ends up in close proximity to the psy warrior and he drops the net and starts to swing his falchion. My fighter reaches the Halfling as the flames are catching up. I slash him free from the web and try to physically throw him behind me. We both eat flame damage but he finishes in a tumble that leads him towards the clear middle. The Cleric casually walks up to the burning sorcerer and casts cure moderate wounds to relieve the damage. There is definitely some growing anxiety between the two now.

    The Drider is freaking nasty against level 3’s and the psy warrior starts to get his ass kicked. He is below half health by the time we get free and headed to assist him. My fighter comes charging out of the smoke and ash and delivers a two handed slash against the drider. The rogue tumbles into a flank position and starts slashing at the soft underbelly. The Cleric casts true strike from his destruction domain and moves within range to attack. We have the thing surrounded and are starting to pound the silk out of it. It casts web and then uses a strand to carry itself up the cage it was held in, the cleric expends his true strike in an AOO and clobbers it. The Drider is barely phased and it pulls a shortbow and starts to put arrows into my fighter. We are inhibited by the web and the psy warrior plants his falchion, then calls forth a longspear to attack with reach. The sorcerer enlarges me and the rogue wants me to throw him up to the drider. I make the strength check to get him free from the web, but blow the strength check to throw him. He makes an acrobatic check to basically land on my shoulder and waits on top of me.

    The Cleric puts a cure light into the psy warrior then hunkers down in the web for cover. Rogue makes a standing jump to try and mount the drider, he fails the grapple check and is thrown loose, he makes a reflex save and manage to grab the cage after dropping his daggers. The Pschic Warrior starts poking it from reach and we try to get free from the web effect. Come the following round the Halfling draws another dagger and slashes the rope holding the cage above the arena floor. The whole cage and the drider come crashing down, landing on my fighter who gets pinned beneath. The drider can maneuver in the webs, but the cage can’t and he is effectively trapped in the webs with us. I ask if the either of the Halflings daggers fell close to me, I manage to grab a small dagger and try to make some slashing attacks from my prone position. The cleric drops an inflict wounds, the gnome gets clear of the web and the Psy Warrior drops the spear and grabs his falchion. Vision is hampered with the thrashing, the cage and the web we manage to kill the drider and when it is still twitching I tell everyone to scatter. They fight their way free of the web and I drop my tindertwig to light it up.
    The end effect is that everyone breaks free from the carnage and then amidst the suddenly billowing flames and smoke my fighter lifts the entire carcass of the dead drider overhead and then fling it to the ground with a roar. It left me with 5 hps, but visually was totally worth it. The crowd loves it. We get rained with ceramic tokens and Mistress Jezebel comes out to address the crowd.

    Jezebel: Such valor in the face of a monstrosity. Applaud these who sacrifice their blood and sweat…

    Benedict himself comes out at the head of a processional of guards and escorts us back to our cell. We get a full course dinner and healing. We come out with 17 new tokens and earn the bump to level 4.

    I take weapon specialization:swords, and I bump str to 20
    The sorcerer takes minor image for his 2nd level spell. He bumps cha to 18
    The rogue takes weapon training and gets weapon focus daggers he bumps dex to 20
    The Cleric bumps cha to 16
    The Psy Warrior bumps his str to 20 and takes Animal Affinty
    Our 17 tokens break down to:
    5 lodging Tokens
    5 “2 drink” tokens
    4 Crafting Tokens
    3 Expendable Tokens (good for a 1st level scroll, or potion)

    Everyone rests up and plans on enjoying a full week away from life or death combat. We also start to make extensive plans to liberate ourselves.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
    Daftendirekt's Avatar

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    Feb 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Well-done arena campaign, nice! I'll be following this.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Colossus in the Playground
    CoffeeIncluded's Avatar

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    Oct 2009
    New York

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    I am liking this very much.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    *No reincarnate, no raise dead, no resurrection. This is a DM Rule. Dead is Dead…unless its undeath. He heavily frowns on rolling into a new character, generally when someone is killed we end the campaign. If it’s a strange circumstance then sometimes players get a pass and can start a new character.
    I give you boys and girls, D&D-Hardcore Edition.

    No comment on the actual logs at the moment.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?

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

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Session 3:

    Without over indulging the minutia of gaming I will summarize our one week worth of activity. We cash in all of our crafting tokens to get access to some basic carpentry supplies. We end up making ourselves some very nice hollow wooden reliefs and sculptures that we can stash things inside of. Everyone takes a different crafting skill to aid our endeavors. The Psy Warrior takes craft stonemasonry, my fighter takes carpentry, the rogue takes trapmaking and forgery, the sorcerer takes bowyer/Fletcher and the cleric takes blacksmithing (arms/armor).

    On day 3 our tiny explorers manage to locate one of the secret chambers that the cleric alluded to. Down several winding flights of old stone stairs we find an alter room that looks untouched for quite some time. It becomes our defacto base of operations. All the stuff we manage to steal/craft/stockpile starts going there. There are a series of passageways that are heavily trapped leading out of our little base, and with the inclusion of minor image we get braver and braver leaving him out for longer stretches. As Boris makes his rounds and pokes his head inside the gnome is quick to put a minor image of the rogue asleep in his bed. Our lodging tokens let us get nicer beds and mattresses that make it easier to lose him amidst the bedding. He spends some long nights throughout the week trying to disable traps and get us online for moving around the bowels of the temple.

    The three expendable tokens we hold onto for trade and barter. Day 5 of our vacation sees my fighter get invited to a special display from Benedict. I am escorted to a courtyard with a series of training dummies and the Psy Warrior and I are put through a series of maneuvers to test martial prowess. There is a booth above the courtyard with several unseen persons murmuring to themselves. While there giving a show we meet Ivan. Ivan is an independent merchant that works alongside Jezebel. He is sort of a more barbaric talent agent and slave broker. We manage to learn a prospective buyer made an offer for us and that he requested this little demonstration. The offer was declined.

    The Cleric gets his own private escort to a separate part of the complex and he returns very excited. They brought him there to consult on a symbol found on a dead slave. Our cleric was able to identify it as a sigil for a sister-cult that has been defunct for some time. He provides them a common passkey used and it triggers a secret compartment on the symbol exposing a valuable little ruby. They are impressed enough to give him an expendable token for the swift results. He flips that token to us rather disparagingly and instead tells us what he thinks is the important part of this trip.
    Cleric: They brought me to a mass grave not fifty yards away from the compound. It is downwind to keep the smell away and most of the corpses are well preserved by the heat and dry air. I am positive one of the passages below the temple connects to the mass grave.

    Sorcerer: So what… we have a good spot to dump a dead body?
    Cleric: You don’t understand the complexities of death little gnome. My god assures me the time draws near when I can command the dead to rise up and dance to my own tune. I need prove myself only a fraction more (translation: at level five he can animate dead)

    A fourth action item goes on our list. Once we find a connection to dumping ground…
    *At level five the cleric desecrates an alter and raises a miniature army from the mass graveyard.

    There is a breaking the fourth wall type moment when we ask if it’s possible (given the design of the campaign) to actually escape by level 5.
    DM: Escape is possible at level 3. It is unlikely before level 7, but you could find a way. The smarter question is “Will we stay free?”, having a well connected wizard with the means to track you down creates all manner of headaches for undocumented slaves on the run.
    Action items number 5 and 6 go on the board.
    5. Acquire documents affirming our freedom that will hold up in court.
    6. Render the Mistress incapable or unwilling to seek us after eluding captivity.

    By week’s end we have a nice cache of weapons and gear stowed away below level. The Halfling nearly cleared his way to a new chamber, and we have something approaching a masterplan for escape. We have slings, and staffs along with a vambrace of daggers and some arrows stashed for weaponry. We are crafting some sling stones that are posing as board game pieces in our cell and we are all well rested and have a good working map of our prison wing.

    The masterplan breaks down like this: Draw as much attention away from our wing as possible. Stage fires, plant contraband on sleeping guards, file the bars on empty cells anything to divert attention. In the middle of a pitched one-one battle (we are banking on getting some kind of grudge match token eventually) the remaining members of our group will start a riot in the central compound by unleashing a mass of zombies/skeletons. During the ensuing chaos we will try to steal any items we find in Benedicts and Jezebels personal chambers. We will then ambush her inside her own room and try to “persuade” her to let us go.

    In game Day 8 finally comes and we are returned to our routine. Ivan again comes to meet us and tells us that we are longer being used as an afternoon warm up, but are instead the precursor to the main event. As such we have to wait until the early evening for our fight. We are once again in the big arena and it is a packed house. Everyone is raucous and the guards surrounding the battlefield are tripled. There is a tangible wall of force, more a dome of force surrounding the entire battlefield, and spread throughout the field are rocks providing cover. Every boulder has a pool of water surrounding it, but shallow. We are all given our equipment and allowed to enter as a team. A passageway opens at the far end of the battlefield and a chained blue dragon is unleashed into the arena. Its wings are clipped and only the stubs remain. It is considered “large” but just barely. Its somewhere between young and very young.

    Me: Great…they provide us cover, but we have to stand in water to get it.
    Sorcerer: I can reduce person to give us some bonuses on reflex save.
    Rogue: That is our ace in the hole for escaping our cells, we can’t lose it.
    Cleric: I prepared a good deal of healing this morning. I won’t risk being electrocuted to provide it, but I can triage a lot of damage.

    I get Enlarged (against my better judgement, but probably in our best interests) and take point to draw attention with some taunting. The Rogue and Sorcerer sneak off to get cover and the Psychic Warrior and Cleric both take up flank position on either side of me. Psy Warrior uses animal affinity to get himself a strength boost and activates shield of force. Cleric gives me resist energy: electric and I act as bait for a charging dragon. It bull rushes me and tackles me to the ground.

    The Psy Warrior and Cleric both step up and crack it as the rogue moves into backstabbing position and the sorcerer hits it with a burning hands. I eat a point blank range lightning breath to the face for 19 and resist energy clips it to 9. The next round it moves away and eats an AOO from the cleric that misses. It gets maximum distance from us and then holds its ground.

    Rogue: He is waiting for his breath weapon…
    Me: We can’t let him do that.
    Cleric: Go stop him…I’ll wait here

    We all spread out and try to re-engage and when we move in, the dragon disappears below ground.
    Rogue: He must have burrowed…

    I get a cure light wounds as we all scramble for cover and try to sense when the dragon emerges. The blue ends up emerging right next to the psy warrior who eats a bite attack. I charge in swinging and the rogue swings around to try and get a flank. The dragon wins initiative and hits three of us with the breath weapon for 15, he then burrows again. The crowd is laughing as we scurry like ants to avoid being in a line that gets us fried. The Psychic Warrior decides blunt force is more important than elusive and he Expands. When the dragon emerges again he is this time right on the gnome who eats a bite attack. We are expecting another breath attack, and in a 180 everyone but the cleric basically rushes the dragon. We get a lot a of damage on him in a single round. The Psy Warrior in particular with his damage bonuses and a str of 30 with Animal Affinity and Expansion (and a huge falchion) drops a bomb on the dragon. We get another breath weapon…this time for 18 and the gnome and rogue are both dropped into negatives. The Cleric is the only one with full health.

    The cleric moves into position to heal one of our little folks and instead he casts inflict moderate wounds on the dragon. The dragon is reeling from its wounds and it is hissing like a teapot. Psy Warrior wins init the next round and delivers a nasty slash that gets translated into the falchion cleaving through the dragon’s collarbone and being stuck as it penetrates a lung. Founts of blood come spewing from the death wound and the crowd goes silent. The Cleric calmly stabilizes both the sorcerer and rogue then kneels before the dragon. Amidst the silence his low voice is audible

    Cleric: I give unto you this sacrifice, a scaled minion who has served your cause well bringing death to wherever it treads…I offer it onto you a testament to my own devotion. Let it be known….those who seek to offer us up unto your grace will take our place by your side.

    Then a voice from the silenced crowd shouts “Encore!”, the shout becomes a chant from the crowd and we are bit flummoxed. Mistress Jezebel comes to the lip of the arena and gives us a look that is a cross between admiration and scorn. She raises her hands and the crowd goes silent again. She summons forth a Kyton to the arena floor and we are pitched into a second round of battle against a chain wielding abomination. The Cleric cures lights wounds on both the gnome and Halfling and gets them upright.

    The cleric ends up taking a pounding as does the psychic warrior. The psy warrior gets dropped to negatives and the rogue goes down to -6. The gnome lands a good acid hands and with the melee damage we put onto it we do finish off the kyton as well. We are in tatters, everyone is severely injured and on the cusp. I deliver a bow to the Mistress and then pick up the Halfling with one arm and the gnome with the other and move to where we are to be collected. A small scattering of tokens falls to the ground the cleric picks them up as our weary team makes their exit.

    Horace takes away all our equipment and he looks very pre-occupied.
    Rogue: What’s wrong Horace? You aren’t your usual self
    Horace: The Mistress doesn’t like to be upstaged, when you killed the dragon you made it look like you were better than she expected. The crowd wanted more and she had to oblige.
    Me: That is good, if they want more then they desire what we are offering.
    Horace: You don’t understand how her mind works. She arranges these fights and tries to walk a razor’s edge to make the crowd unsure of the outcome. You have not been severely tested yet despite her efforts.
    After we get stripped of our equipment a few clerics come and attend to our wounds. As the guards take us back to our cell, there is an added convoy of 3 guards in onyx robes. Boris the Brute stops us short and snaps to attention.
    Boris: The Mistress awaits you in your quarters.

    The five of us cautiously walk in to find the half-drow surveying our wooden sculptures. She is barely over 5 feet tall, and can’t weigh more than 80 pounds. Somehow she seems more menacing and terrifying than the dragon.
    Jezebel: At first you pleasantly surprised me with your capabilities. Now I am growing vexed with your success. I feel that you have all been holding back your true potential. I am torn on your fates. My profits are exceeding initial forecasts for this month. That could be attributed to your arrival, or strictly be coincidental. I am inclined to give you a chance for leniency. I was going to torture you all one by one to see what you have been holding back. Benedict thinks you are better served passing through The Crucible. I am curious to see how you fare.

    The next morning Brother Benedict awakes us in the pre-dawn. He puts us in a covered and secured wagon, we have hoods placed over our heads and spend several bumpy hours travelling somewhere. Somewhere is a deep narrow canyon lined with spectators for over a mile. There are five humanoids all nailed to X’s at the entrance to the canyon. One of them is the half orc that told us off in the commissary area. Their legs, arms and necks are all clearly and extensively broken. Benedict is nearby washing his hands and muttering about the sand in his hair.

    Sorcerer: what did they do?
    Jezebel emerges from a large silk tent, she is clad is shimmering while satin and the same three onyx robed escort follows her.
    Jezebel: I felt less lenient with the band that was originally slated to enter The Crucible this morning. Soak in the sight of their failure. I should not need to elaborate further on your fates if I feel displeased.

    Benedict approaches us and gestures to a trio of wagons. At his gesture tarps are thrown back to reveal six dire lions of disheartening size. They are bulging out of the cages and each of them is furious and slavering.

    Benedict: The terms of this little excursion are plain. In one hours time these cages will be opened and these cats will be loosed upon the valley. They haven’t eaten for several days and are quite ravenous. If you are still in the valley at that time you are more than welcome to feed them with yourselves or attempt to fill their stomachs with your blades. I am apathetic to either outcome.
    He gives us these terms as we are being fitted in our armor and given our weapons…
    Benedict: I nearly forgot…we wouldn’t want anyone wandering off or trying to deprive our lions of a well deserved meal…therefore you will all be chained together. Break these chains and the consequences will be dire.

    Everyone is bound together with iron chains and we can manage about ten feet of separation each. It also means no expansion or enlarge person, two of our more consistently used abilities so far. It is the group’s intention to move at a quick pace and get distance. Progress is hampered by the chains and we are struggling to get going. 200 hundred yards in we come to a pen of giant centipedes all swarming over a slaughtered ox.
    Rogue: Anyone see a way around?
    Sorcerer: Nope
    Psy Warrior: then we go through.

    It takes us three rounds just to juggle everyone into the position we want. Cleric in the center, me and Psy Warrior at the front points of a square with rogue and sorcerer to our rear. The consensus being…we cut a path through the middle then keep going. We start wading in amidst the centipedes who are more damage soaks then serious threats and try to hack our way through. The minute we make contact the slaughtered cow disappears and buckets of blood and intestines are hurled from shelves on the cliffsides directly onto us.

    Our cut through the middle strategy becomes a pitched bug smashing session as we slash and hack through half a dozen huge centipedes. It takes 11 rounds to hack our way clear of the centipedes and while we didn’t take any real damage it slowed us down.

    At the six hundred yard mark there is a slight bowing from the narrow walls and almost before we realize it, a pair of stone camoflauged minotaurs with greataxes come from the edges to charge us. The rogue eats a charge attack and then a full attack the following round that nearly drops him to zero. There is a bunch of cursing both in character and out as we try to juggle chains and get a stronger body to tie up the minotaurs. What healing the cleric had prepared (or at least what he offered for our use) is expended in short order. The masses are following us from above the cliff side and we have a captive audience.

    We are finishing off the second minotaur when a gong sounds “30 minutes remaining” we are not quite halfway through and 30 minutes remain. The heat is oppressive and after 30 minutes of wearing plate armor and heavy exertion we are being forced to make Con checks around dehydration.
    The 900 yard mark sees us encountering some very nasty rubble and tricky footing. None of us has a climb score really worth anything and with armor penalties and the chain weighing us down it is tough work to overcome a simple obstacle. It costs us valuable time again and we are all given a fatigued status from the effort and heat.

    The 1200 yard mark sees another challenge, this time a grizzly bear stuck in a cage…the cage is lifted as we approach and it immediately comes charging at my fighter. The Psy Warrior wordlessly drops his falchion and calls weaponry a longspear, he steps in front of me and plants it versus charge. He rolls a 20 for a critical and with his strength bonuses he does enough damage to kill the bear in a single supported thrust. The cliff walls are shaking with the crowd’s excitement and our adrenaline is really pumping. Everyone has their fatigued status removed and we are told for the next 2 minutes we have a +2 str and +2 con boost from the adrenaline surge that comes from that moment. As we are approaching the hour mark we are just about to the 1500 yard mark. At the end of the valley Is a portcullis and beyond it the waiting guards from our captors. The end is in sight. All that stands between us and the exit is a wyvern. Actually for level 4 characters with limited resources, and no more healing…that is a big freaking obstacle. A gong sounds as we approach the wyvern and a great roar surges from the crowd.

    Me: They loosed the lions.
    Rogue: How long do you think it takes a ravenous dire lion to run a mile?
    Cleric: If we wait I fear that we will find out
    Me: We need to go for broke. I’m going to break the chains when I do Enlarge me.
    Sorcerer: *cough* remember dire consequences?

    The DM says that a roll for breaking free of the chains is not needed, they were built to be clumsy and bulky, not secure. They are meant as an impediment not a security precaution. I tear off the chains binding to my waist and the sorcerer enlarges me. I go charging at the wyvern with a roar. I try to pull its attention directly towards me and screen to give everyone a chance to approach unimpeded. It works but I end up eating a full attack after my charge for the effort. I blow the save and take 2 con damage along with 19 standard damage. The psy warrior gets animal affinity rolling again and he and the rogue are tearing into the wyvern for some serious damage. I eat a second full attack and drop into single digits for health. I make the fort save the following round, and it looks like we just about have him down for the count when it takes flight and then moves itself to the exit, taking up a position guarding the portcullis.

    Judging from the roar in the crowd…dire lions move very fast as we are getting crowd noise that is closer and closer. This time the psy warrior takes point as I hang back and we all head for the finish line to finish off the wyvern. It comes forward and engages us again this time it lights into the rogue who starts to get savaged. He fails a fort save from the sting and eats 4 con damage which is just brutal for him. We are hitting for heavy damage but he has a fairly deep health pool. The Halfling blows another con save and drops to negatives. The cleric stabilizes him but if he fails another save he is toast.

    The lions come into view as we are starting our actions the final round. The wyvern full attacks the psy warrior and misses its sting, it lands the bite and wings and Psy Warrior is in rough shape. He counters with a big two handed swing that nearly opens it from navel to throat, but its still alive. The Sorcerer puts a point blank burning hands into it that brings it down. As the wyvern drops the portcullis starts to drop. We all make a break for it and with me being the closest I make a check to hold the portcullis. They have to literally drag the unconscious Halfling through but everyone makes it and as I prepare to drop the portcullis the lions are bounding across the last fifty yards or so. I fail another fort save and con damage reduces me to negative as I collapse on the safe side of the portcullis.

    The Halfling receives some immediate attention as do I, along with much needed cool water. A lot of the more wealthy spectators paid to be near the exit area and we get a lot of congratulations and thanks for bets paying off. There is apparently a lot of different wagers that can be placed on a given combat. (action item7: if we can find a way to bet on ourselves…we need a piece of that action)

    The whole group is restored to full health and have our ability damage repaired. We are whisked away from our new found fans and loaded back into the wagon and immediately returned to the compound. There we get a nice feast with wine and suckling pig. As we are putting our feet up and kind of high fiving the sweet timing, Brother Benedict arrives at our cell. I am singled out and taken away with the monk.

    My fighter is taken to a section above the main level. There is a second story to the whole complex and I get taken to a torture chamber. In that chamber the Monk removes his elegant clothes and dons a simple monk’s robe. I specifically enumerate that NO MATTER what my sole principal focus is to burn into my mind every detail of his bracers and belt.

    Benedict: I do admire the sheer bravado you display little warrior. You were bred for this manner of servitude, it is truly your calling. My calling is far different. I did advise you that there were consequences for breaking my rules. Mistress has been very perturbed with you usurping her control. She told me I had permission to bring you to the cusp of lifelong paralysis. A skilled torturer can make that cusp feel like a chasm far longer than the one you traversed this morning. A man with a calling such as my own…well not to brag but you are going to feel like you have crossed an ocean.

    I got my ass kicked. I mean pummeled into goo. For twelve hours I got worked over like a training dummy. A group of five clerics were on hand to constantly heal me and repair damage. I got to witness first hand just how hard this dandy can hit. The minotaurs had nothing on him. When he finally finished I am returned to full health, but a considerable amount of ability damage…all to dex is left. I can barely walk out of the room as my dex has been reduced to 6. A standing order is given to our cleric, guards and all other clerics that anyone repairing the damage to me will experience the same treatment.

    Me: So breaking the chains was definitely a bad idea. Did we get anything good token wise?
    Cleric: We got none.
    Rogue: Arnulf came by earlier and mentioned that no tokens were sold for Crucible events. The mortality rate is too high.
    Me: Wonderful.

    That night the Halfling goes back to exploring the chambers below us and as he makes his way into the second chamber he takes the graph paper overlay of the map and places in under the map of our prison cell wings. We put a few landmarks on each layer to try and provide relative scale. If our mapmaking is correct then the rogue has just uncovered stairs cut into the wall that would lead right into our cell. If he is wrong, then the ladder will open up somewhere else.

    Rogue: So if I trust my mapmaking we could probably blow this campaign wide open. If I screwed up then I’m about to blow the best thing going for us.
    DM: In a nutshell yes.
    Rogue: fortune favors the bold I am going up the ladder to see where it comes out.

    Everyone at our cell is in the midst of working on little projects for our escape when a stone tile in the center of our cell starts to make a grinding noise, it moves ever so slightly and in a whisper the rogue’s voice calls up…
    Rogue: Guys I found a way out of our cell, but I don’t have the strength to turn the handle to open it up.

    All attempts we make from the top are futile. We now potentially have a means through which we can all leave the cell, but the 2 group members that can reach that section aren’t strong enough to operate the control to do so. We end our session at that point and try to think of ways we can open the hidden opening. A big hearty congratulations to the first person that comes up with a solution given what resources we have available to us.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Colossus in the Playground
    CoffeeIncluded's Avatar

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    Oct 2009
    New York

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    I was so excited to see you update.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    I for one love this story and love how quickly and regularly you update. My idea to open the door would be this:

    1.) Get an Expendable token and use it to buy Bulls Strength potion.
    2.) Sneak it back into your cell somehow
    3.) Give it to the sneaker and allow reduce person to wear off before drinking it.

    This would give you a +6 strength bonus to opening the hatch. You could also craft a leaver designed to give you more torque on the hatch and that might be enough to give you a +2 circumstance bonus on it. If you can lift it enough to give your caster Line of Sight on you, can't he cast Enlarge Person on you as well to make you Medium and give you another +2 bonus to strength?
    Last edited by jguy; 2012-05-29 at 09:25 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post

    DM says: WHY!? WHY!? WHY?!
    DM means: NO! NO! NO!!!

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

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Session 4:

    There is a quick brainstorming session as to how we can manage to get the mechanism to turn. (jguy pretty much grasped what we were going to attempt on the first shot). We decide to get both casters into the hidden section and after reduce wears off, the gnome will cast enlarge person to get the rogue to medium size. It’s a real gamble with a short window since the sorcerer also is responsible for casting minor image to give us a decoy. We have maybe 30 minutes between patrols and precursory cell checks to pull this off.

    The following day we request a trip to the commissary to purchase a bulls strength potion for use in the days events. That request is granted and we are told that the potion will await us with the remaining equipment for that day. We need to get through the days combat with the gnome pretty much casting nothing. We need two reduce persons to get them out, an enlarge person for the rogue and if all goes well they will be able to get in from the secret entrance. If not we will need a pair of reduce persons to get them squeezed back in from the bars. So 3 1st level slots is a minimum and very risky. 5 is safer and our goal.

    The day’s fight is once again at dusk and we are the run up to the main event. My fighter is still dragging because of his dex damage and we are rather apprehensive for today’s fight. Everyone is geared up and ready to go and the rogue is carrying the bulls strength potion. We are taken into the arena and the whole place is flooded to resemble a swamp. The crowd are all wearing strange goggles and laughing and pointing at something we can’t see. Have I mentioned yet that our DM for this campaign has a morbid sense of humour? As we all shuffle around awaiting whatever is going to attack us (we are thinking trolls) out of nowhere a shock of electricity singes my fighter, and a small glowing light materializes.

    Me: Oh HELL NO…
    Everyone makes checks to see what details are characters have. The cleric rolls high and gets to examine the manual entry for Will o Wisp. It doesn’t look good. AC 26, immune to magic, natural invisibility and a touch attack that is pretty much an automatic hit against us. Every round the wisp shocks someone, turns invisible, we all try to make attacks…the following turn it moves and shocks, then repeats its process. This means there is a 2/3 ratio of attacks, basically two shocks per three rounds. Pretty much across the board we need 17+ to land a shot and with concealment we end up flat out missing quite a bit. We get run through the wringer and everyone is singed and shocked into low single digit health.

    The Psy Warrior and Rogue eventually kill it after a crit that connects and a sneak attack that rolls big damage. The gnome cast a single enlarge person so he has the required 5 spell slots. The Cleric is tapped out of healing spells and the rogue makes a nifty sleight of hand check to palm the potion.
    As we are complaining about the fight and getting stripped of our equipment we are already table talking to decide our plan of action once we get to the sub level. Then we get hit with a curveball. As we are being escorted out a guard at the equipment room drops his glaive and stops us in our tracks.

    Mook Guard: I registered a faint magical signature.

    Benedict comes to attention from the other end of the room and works his way over to us. He gestures to a guard who runs down the hallway and returns a few minutes later with a tiefling in robes. She is referred to as Kjellin and from our board we know she is the head of arcane services for the compound. She does a thorough examination of everyone and singles out the Halfling. They run detect magic on everyone leaving the area to ensure no contraband of value can elude them. The rogue forgoes denials and goes straight for the ignorance route.

    Rogue: I wanted it to aid in defending myself in our cell. Sometimes the half-giant gives me funny looks and I don’t want to fail a grapple check against someone his size if you know what I mean.

    A few of the guards snicker and even Benedict cracks a microscopic smirk. They confiscate the potion and return it to the inventory control room.

    Benedict: You will be allowed the use of this potion during arena activity only. All further attempts to remove items from this area will result in harsh treatment. This is your first and only warning.

    As he starts to walk away he pauses and snaps off a roundhouse kick to the rogue’s abdomen, he follows this up with 2 more strikes that leave the rogue crumpled on the floor and groaning from broken ribs.

    Frustrated and now armed with the knowledge that sneaking potions or scrolls out is going to be tough we brood on the return to our cells. We can try to see is two characters working together both enlarged will provide enough force to turn it, but that is a big gamble. Next level the Psy Warrior could take Compression as an ability and reduce himself two sizes, wait for it to wear off and then use animal affinity to get a str boost, if he also expands that would have to be enough. But that means he needs to burn a feat for expanded knowledge or use his next power known for compression. It also means he needs to preserve almost his full power point pool to pull it off. By our math we are close to level 5 but this DM tends to make leveling slower and instead of going up every session or sometimes twice in one session we can go three sessions between levels.

    We decide to gamble and have both the small characters reduce to tiny, they sneak out and make their way to the hidden entrance. Once below they wait for reduce to wear off and both enlarge, they make a decent roll at 14 and the secret trapdoor almost opens up. There is a 3 or 4 inch gap but they can’t get it to make the final turn. They use the final two reduce person to get back into the cell and disappointed we all hunker down to rest for the night.

    The next day is a day off. All activities are suspended and from what we are gathered on our guards everything is a hornet’s nest of activity on the day off. People are running around like mad and everyone is on their toes. No one wants to talk about anything with us and it takes some heavy schmoozing to get Boris to tell us that “The Caliph is coming”. We peace together over the full afternoon that every year a gladiator house is selected to host a tournament of various events. The Caliph is an appointed Pasha that selects the host compound and the associated profits that come along with it are life changing. Mistress Jezebel is a finalist for hosting the games and he is coming to make a personal inspection of the grounds and her warriors.

    A pair of clerics and one of Jezebel’s onyx robed guards all come and do a full sweep of our cell. They heal us all to full and cure any ability damage (including my dex penalty) and then the onyx robed guard reveals herself to be tiefling as well, she is a wizard and does a detailed sweep of our room. We are on pins and needles as she examines the sculptures and the tile that hides the secret entrance. She commands a guard to smash one of our sculptures and is by no means surprised to find it hollow. She is surprised that it is empty.

    Cleric: We find that hollowing them out makes them lighter to move.

    Nothing is lost in this cell search as we have transported everything to the below ground secret temples, and we actually learn a few valuable things from the sweep. Kjellin is the head of arcane services and the onxy robed guards are all tiefling wizards and personal guards/sergeants to Jezebel herself. They are all on edge with the coming visit, and the rogue decides to have a bit of fun with this.

    That night he gets free from the cell and visits our first cache. It is still right where we left it and he takes the few daggers we had hidden there and puts them in much more obvious positions in other occupied cells. He also makes a nail biting trip to the upper levels where he tries to locate any of the tiefling’s quarters. He lucks out and spots one leaving her chambers. He takes a huge gamble and sneaks in, inside he finds what you would expect in a wizard’s room and he helps himself to a supply of ink and parchment. He also locates several forms for equipment requisition and a pile of forms that spell out other slaves and their upcoming assignments.

    The Rogue returns to our cell and hastily duplicates the schedule of events for the next few days. He takes the original and slips out a second time to go to another groups cell. He slips the scroll taken from the guard’s chambers into their cell and then comes back.

    The next day all hell breaks loose. A few of the contraband daggers are located AFTER the cell sweeps from the day before. Benedict is furious that such oversights could occur on this particular day, and he personally oversees a resweep of all the cells. When he finds the schedule of events and a brief note requesting further payment he absolutely loses it, shrieking in a high pitched tone he demands the arcane guards report to him. When he determines which one is at fault he marches her out to the courtyard and word gets back to us that he beat her to death. The two surviving guards are named Echo and Whisper. They go on the board as well.

    When the Caliph arrives the whole compound is walking on a razors edge. Jezebel is flanked by the two remaining guards and Benedict trails her like a teapot ready to explode at the slightest provocation. The caliph personally looks us over and seems interested. That afternoon we get our first serious glimpse of the other teams. There are 11 gladiator teams in total and we are assembled in the courtyard where we are put into a large scale “skirmish”, the weapons are all dulled and non lethal. We put a good showing in and for the most part we hold our own in the wild brawl. Our desire to preserve spells probably kept us from making a run at last ones standing, and we are actually getting concerned that our lack of magical aid will start to raise red flags.

    We are rewarded with making level 5 and we get stuck into making some short term gain versus long standing gain decisions.

    I take level 5 fighter and Power Attack as my feat.
    The Sorcerer goes to level 5 and gets Scorching Ray as a bloodline spell, he takes Disguise Self as 1st level spell and Bulls Strength as 2nd level spell. He takes Improve init as his feat
    The Rogue takes Improved init as well
    The Cleric takes Augment Summoning
    The Psy Warrior takes Cleave and picks Strength of My Enemy he also takes Improved Init as his bonus feat
    We roll init every round and I.I is practically automatic for most of us as some point.

    There is heavy banking on the gnome being able to bulls strength, enlarge person the rogue and that will be enough to pop the trapdoor. Come nightfall the two slip out and repeat the process this time with bulls strength…and finally success. The opening is tight but everyone can fit down it. All systems are now go for everyone getting egress from our cell. It has to be opened from the inside, but now that the initial locking mechanism has been released opening it is far easier.

    I am going to sum up about four hours of gaming rather briefly, because it is all prep work that has been alluded to. We have three more encounters and three more nights of clearing traps and investigating that culminate in us finding the means to reach the mass grave. The Cleric desecrates an alter in the vicinity and he reanimates 20 HD worth of zombies. We have a Drider zombie, 4 ankhegs and 2 medium skeletons that are in essence now our sentries and guards for the temple level.

    There is now a crude workspace and staging ground where the sorcerer can scribe scrolls and we can craft added items. We also acquire a time table. In 60 days the tournament is going to be hosted at our compound. From our gather information and contacts amongst the guards it is revealed we are very likely to be sold or killed during the tournament. That means we have 2 months to get the heck out of dodge or all our plans are going to be for nothing.

    As we fully open up the temple level we start to gain access to other areas of the compound, including an office that serves as a crossroads for most orders and documents for the daily activities. We do a test where we change out the scheduled combat (we are slated to fight a trio of manticores) with the summoning of a single dire rat.

    Hijinks ensue when the following day our now rather popular group is prepped into an arena where Arnulf summons a single dire rat. The crowd is baffled and my fighter just walks up to it and transects it with his blade then flings it off and shrugs. We all make a big show of yawning and sitting down and the crowd is cracking up. We get to witness one of Benedicts little tantrums and Arnulf firmly shows him the orders to summon a single dire rat… we hear “your orders are to follow these instructions to the letter…that is exactly what I did”.

    We never found out the name of the clerk that was in the office that day, but the next night the Cleric finds a human with a broken neck, shattered ribs and lots of bruises along with inkstains on his clothes.

    Most pretenses of the rogue being N are abandoned and he is officially NE. For the most part that is fairly accurate for all of us. The session ends with us in charge of several undead, we now have the ability to come and go from our cell almost as we please and several important areas of the compound are available to us. We have sown aggravation amidst the guards, created tension for the antagonists and deflected extra security to other segments of the prison.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Awesome session and I am glad I was right. Benedict seems to be a monk of at least mid level or so, since he looks to be able to flurry for 3 attacks in a round. The zombies look to be your best best against him since they would be very resistant to his bludgeoning damage. I wouldn't put it past your DM to give Benedict the feat that allows you to deal piercing and slashing damage as well with unarmed strikes.
    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post

    DM says: WHY!? WHY!? WHY?!
    DM means: NO! NO! NO!!!

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Averis Vol's Avatar

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    Jan 2012

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    absolutely loving the deception; and i'm lovin Benedict's hissy fits =P
    A thing I made! The Spirited Blade; warrior of the mind come by and tell me what you think.

    May glory flow forever more to The Mad Hatter for bringing Haeros; Master of the Transcendant Style to my avatar box!

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

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Session 5:

    I feel obligated to comment a bit on how we handle Stealth. The Rogue has been zipping back and forth and moving quite freely once out of the cell and I rarely reference any rolls of things like that. For the most our DM handles stealth as a take 10 check. When you reach for what you are doings. I.E. sneaking under a table that where four guards are playing poker, you better hope to roll fantastic, but for the most part as long as you are just avoiding notice and going through areas that most people aren’t looking a Tiny Rogue is hard to spot.

    The Rogue really only triggered a handful of “you need to roll” type situations, mostly when he was entering the Tieflings chambers. Having said that we had to work hard to avoid getting overconfident. The big tournament was in essence the pinnacle for this campaign and I will list everything by in game day from this point forth.

    Amongst the documents we located and stole was a ranking assigned to each group. There are 11 teams at the compound and we are ranked 3rd on the depth chart. When the tournament arrives there will be a veritable bazaar of merchants, services and hangers on. Lots of caravans that we could potentially slip away and merge into. Horace turns out to be a gambling man and we get him to open up on a variety of topics for how the tournament structure is run. Teams are seeded by their rank and placed in a march madness style bracket. Favorites and well regarded teams get easier draws early on. That means there is something at stake for us to be regarded 1st at our compound.

    Schedules of events are drawn up in three day increments and it becomes standing policy that we duplicate the schedule of events so that we know what we are up against. Prior to day 1 we manage to cash in a few tokens with Horace who becomes our defacto bookie. We get him to place bets on us and he cashes in the winnings. We agree that a 70/30 split in his favor is fair (we know it isn’t and that he will most likely make it 80/20 or even worse, but we are desperate for anything approaching liquid funds). In our favor…we know what is coming and can prepare a bit more specifically based on this. He describes to us a lot of factor, the biggest of which is time. The faster we prevail the higher the potential payouts.

    Our three day forecast breaks down like this: Day1: 3 Trolls Day2: 2 Cyclops Day 3:Dark Naga
    The sorcerer is going to be needed on day 1 and that means no real hijinks that night. With little reason to hold back that is the fight we decide to put some money on. Not a lot…25gold but it pays 5-1 odds if we can kill them within 8 rounds. If we can pull it off in 5 rounds then we move to 11-1 odds.
    In the seconds leading to our entry into the arena the gnome preps my fighter and the psy warrior with bulls strength and enlarge person. The Psy Warrior gets Strength of My Enemy started as soon as the gate is opened and he leads with an Energy Ray from distance the second he is able. We all dogpile onto the first troll with no regards to tactics. Everyone goes charging in and with the sorcerer hitting with acidic scorching rays we have the trolls on their heels. The crowd gets into it right away as this is a departure from our standard tactics. The Cleric puts an inflict serious wounds and within the first round we bring down the first troll.

    Everyone shifts to get a second troll flanked and we do over 40 to second troll in round 2, we finish the second troll in round 3 and put some damage on the third. My fighter and the rogue have both eaten some serious damage but we are going for broke and attacking with recklessness, we finish off the 3 troll at the end of round four and we are pumped up. Our 25 gold turns into 83 gold and we have never felt so elated over such a paltry amount. We get rained with tokens, a good deal of which are drinks and hotel room style chits, and we get another expendable token (this one good for a potion up to level 3). We also get a liberation token for the sorcerer worth about 100 gold. Unfortunately no one caught where it was thrown from because that would have been interesting to know.

    It also seems that our stolen goods are starting to reflect in the compounds inventory as there is another sweep of the cells, this time a very bookish elf, presumably the head of finance accompanies the guards with a ledger. By day 2 every item we are provisioned has a serial number stamped into it. The consensus is that we lay off stealing weapons and armor scraps etc for a while. We have a good little stockpile of daggers, slings, slingstones, staves, and even some armor pieces and shield all cached. There is also a good amount of parchment, ink and some dried goods and waterskins.

    We know that scheduled are a pair of Cyclops. The group gets in contact with Horace and we ask what the betting lines look like. The news is not good, our effective outing the day before has driven most of the betting conservative and the odds are not very favorable. We end up putting 75 on ourselves to win, but it will only return 25 or about 8 gold after our split. Something is better than nothing and we place the bet on ourselves.
    The same kamikaze strategy is repeated and it almost gets us in real trouble. The rogue eats a critical that almost puts him into negatives in a single swing and we have to scramble to recover. The Cleric is going all out with offense and using inflict wounds spells and we rely on house healing afterwards. As we are finishing off the second Cyclops a hush falls over the crowd.

    From the stands an Efreet materializes. He is huge for an efreet and from the gasps and awe he is also apparently an Efreet of note. The Efreet casually tosses a platinum token to my fighter’s feet and bids me to pick it up. He waits silently, just standing there scaring the living hell our of everyone until I do so, at which point he nods and vanishes.

    As we are escorted back to the inventory area to be divested of our gear the Mistress and Benedict are awaiting us. They grab the token from me in a near panic.
    Me: I think that was meant for me
    Benedict: Silence cur!
    The Mistress waves him off as she examines the token, she finally hands it back to me, almost as if afraid it will lash out at her.
    Jezebel: You have attracted the attention of powerful benefactors. I have trained and seen slaves fight to the death for nearly two centuries and never once have I seen a token such as this. Enjoy yourself, I fear fate has greater designs for you than are justified.
    Rogue: What is it?
    Jezebel: It is a day pass to the Elysium, a palace where anything can be indulged. You have been granted a single day’s admittance without escort to do as you wish.

    I am going to jump out of order a little bit and describe what happens during my day out and then jump back to what happened in my time away.
    The mistress herself teleports us to the Elysium and once we arrive at the gates a trio of attendants await me. They politely ask her to wait outside and they vouch for my secured return. Once inside I am escorted to a room fit for a dozen kings where every manner of food, drink, drug and entertainment imaginable is at my disposal. Before I truly get a chance to sit down a figure in red robes announces himself from a corner of the room.
    “I wasn’t sure where your tastes ran…so I will leave other accommodations to your liking. I need but a few minutes of your time then the remaining hours belong to you…”
    The red robed man pulls back his hood to reveal a complicated face and head tattoo. A tattoo that is unmistakable. He is a red wizard of Thay.
    Me: My minutes are yours…what should I call you?
    “You already serve a Mistress…you may call me Gaird. I have been following your budding career with some interest. Ivan arranged a brief exhibition where I saw your talents on display. I am more interested in your future than your present. The fashion of these team battles has spread to Thay and there is a growing following for similar fights. I have been tasked with locating suitable talent to bring back to Thay. My initial offer to gain ownership was rebuked. Therefore I am exploring other means through which to recruit your services. “
    Me: Surely the might of Thay outweighs that of the Mistress. Take what you want by force.”
    Gaird: Thay has the ability to do just that, but we lack the reason to act so forcefully. Such rash actions lack finesse. We do not wish to form a scandal.
    Me: so what do you want from me? And why me?
    Gaird: I have seen many great warriors, but few that have your presence. I want someone that excels at knowing the mob and not just surviving due to their prowess. You are on my short list of candidates that could fulfill such a role. Simply do what you have been doing. Grow the strength of your name and build fear around your sword. If you ever need a push, or a few things to swing your way just know that you have a friend. In return, when you do achieve freedom then perhaps I could sign you to a contract that will mutually benefit each of us.

    Meanwhile…the group decides to get into some serious trouble with me gone. The gnome gets into the underground level and while there he casts disguise self and then exits the mass grave secret door to fully escape the compound, he goes to the central betting office and places a late night bet on ourselves for the following day, 75 on us to win. It takes him just over 30 minutes and he is scrambling to get back to make the patrol check.

    The dark naga proves to be a nasty fight. Spells, and a good health pool and AC make it a tough encounter. Lightning bolt, magic missile and scorching ray leave us in a tight spot. Our aggressiveness is coming back to bite us. Without much prepared healing we are getting to the point where a blown save or a bad roll or two could spell death. We squeek by this fight on fumes and get chastised by Benedict for a lackluster fight. We also end up in awkward predictament. The gnome just about cast out during the naga fight and he can’t get back to collect our winnings until the following day. We can’t send Horace, because then he would know we are starting to cut him out as the middle man.

    Come nightfall we run into a major snag. The rogue got the last spell slot to reduce and get us access to the sub level for the night. While he finishing up his searching for the night (we are still clearing more traps on the sub level) he finds someone else down there. A Halfling from another group has found one of the secret doors leading to the old temple. What follows is some brutal 1-1 rogue knife fighting. Our rogue BARELY takes the fight and we have an ugly position in front of us. How do we explain our rogue being slashed up and badly wounded, despite us not having an edged weapon in the cell? And what kind of **** is going to hit the fan once they do a headcount the following morning and find a missing prisoner?

    We agree that the following night we are going to drag the dead body into the desert and summon something with teeth to gnaw at the corpse to try and obscure some of the wounds. Our immediate fear is that they put 2 and 2 together and it is revealed we can get out of our cell. The group is mostly coming up blank for ways to explain this off and we elect to try and hide it. That little plan fails miserably. The cursory patrols are abruptly interrupted come morning when alarms go off all over the place. Everything goes on big time lockdown while the missing prisoner is searched for.

    Benedict is conducting room by room interrogations and when he gets to our cell our blank expressions and shoulder shrugs for the Halflings knife wounds are getting zero traction. The jig seems to be up when the Psy Warrior speaks up…
    Psy Warrior: I like them little, makes me feel bigger. He tried to fight back and I had to convince him to play nice…
    As he says this he manifests a dagger through call weaponry and basically cops to attacking his teammate.
    Benedict seems genuinely confused with this admission…but the seeds had been planted for this a few days ago and it all does more or less make sense. The Psy Warrior is taken to spend a day with the monk who treats him to the same treatment he gave me.
    Cleric: This is officially the most evill campaign we have ever ran.
    (I would disagree with this assessment I ran a city based campaign that had much more sinister goings on-but this one approached it in certain regards)

    When my fighter returns the next morning, everything is on very high alert, and the psychic warrior is walking like a geriatric. I get filled on what happened below ground along with the fictional forced knowledge of the rogue. We now have a corpse of a fellow prisoner that needs to be disposed and patrols are suddenly much tighter. Getting out from the cell is not going to be a cakewalk. We were unable to steal the assignments and schedule for Day 4 and have to go in rather blind. Our winnings are also still hung up.

    The Psy Warrior is in rough shape with dex penalties, and our extra-cellular activities have been suspended until things cool off. Our ususal 1 and done day is also altered. As the powers that be start ramping up for the pending tournament our challenge level is increasing. Echo and Whisper along with Arnulf are all awaiting on the pulpit and we are forced into an extended battle against multiple summoned elementals and fiendish creatures. The Psy Warrior seems to be getting singled out and he ends up sponging just about all the healing our cleric can provide. The fight extends well past 20 rounds and when the flood finally ends we are completely spent for spells and manifestations. No tokens are thrown. Grr

    The group actually ponders the thought of trying to flat out escape that night. I have a ring that when cracked will send a preformed sending to my Red Wizard contact, we contemplate making a break for it and trying to cut a deal with Thay. We actually veto that idea after consideration with the thought that such an end to our situation would be too easy of an out.
    I cash in a lodging token to get a night in finer accommodations and while there I write out a request for a wand of major image. I address my request to Ivan and instruct him to contact Gaird.

    Day 5:
    This ended up being a day off. Everyone was sheltered into the common area and a manual total headcount is performed. The missing prisoner is still MIA and presumed escaped. We are all reinterviewed and the cleric ends up revealing his ability to cast 3rd level spells.

    The following night we find our wand stuffed into the corpse of a dead orc at the mass grave site. There is also a response in a waterproof (and I guess blood and intestine proof) case. Gaird tells me that such boons are well within reason, but will bear a cost down the road during contract negotiations.

    The Rogue and Cleric follow through on their plan to take the other dead Halfling to the desert and they summon some rats to gnaw up the corpse pretty badly. They also make some rounds to examine the full range of area we have uncovered. In the course of re-surveying the temple the rogue uncovers another secret door trigger that opens a stairwell going further down. The Cleric is clueless as to its existence and we assume this is not part of the standard death god temple building blueprint. As they begin to peek their heads down a simple zombie comes shuffling up to them moaning. The Cleric calmly commands it and we come to the realization that we now potentially have a dungeon level under our current prison.

    At the crack of dawn we are all drawn from our cells and the Cleric is instructed to prepare Stone Shape as his 3rd level spells for the day. We are taken outside where a number of oxen driven sleds are bringing huge blocks of stone, timber and supplies to the compound. An area for a foundation has been cleared and every slave in the compound is being put to work in constructed a new outdoor arena and grandstand. Our little Gladiator-esque tedium is now being morphed into us being commited as brute force labor. The gnome is instructed to Enlarge the burlier workers and the cleric is set to stone shaping various blocks. The rest of are brute labor and transport. By late afternoon everyone is fatigued and we are given a break for dinner. By nightfall we are all still fatigued and the gnome has managed to hold back a reduce person. We want nothing more than to call it a night, but given our narrowing window we decide to use the wand to put images of everyone in our beds and then slip down to explore our dungeon level.

    The Cleric is in necromantic heaven as the first several hallways are basically holding areas for shuffling undead. As we get three or four together he commands them and we add to our merry little band. Initially we are just running into standard zombie mooks. As get we several hallways deep a few ghouls rear their heads, but once again negative energy+command=lackeys. The dungeon is not very expansive and we only run into a single creature of threat which is a Mohrg. The Cleric rolls to command and rolls high enough to command it. This one will require a new roll everyday and we don’t know if we can pull that off.

    We question the mohrg a bit and discover this was the once upon a time cult leaders workshop and sanctuary. It leads us down a hallway and into a fully stocked workshop and depository. There is a wide range of materials, tomes, plants, residues, compounds, and metal stock. We are told the sky is the limit up to 200,000 in total value for crafting just about anything. Ladies and Gentleman we have now found our wealth by level…now we just need to be able to do something with it. First thought is…cleric and sorcerer both take item creation feats at 7th level. Downside…we are going to be heavily time crunched to craft anything. The rogue settles on taking assassin at 6th level and a new action item goes on our list…”poison the water supplies to our advantage”. The rogue is going to research and mix poisons that can be ingested.

    The Cleric commands the mohrg to more or less just stand there and take and we pound it into dust. With time growing short we cut our little sojourn short and return to the comfy confines of our cell. The cleric leaves his commanded undead zombies in the workshop to defend it from anyone other than us.

    Day 7:
    We are brought down to the smaller arena in late evening and are the headliners for the night. The crowd is small, really only a few dozen and that actually irks us a bit. Without access to the schedule of events we are once again left in the dark for what awaits us. There is a lot of noise leading up to our opponent(s) coming out and the walls are shaking a bit. A heavily muscled and imposing Hill Giant comes into the arena and a pair of guards toss a huge spiked club down near his feet. Jezebel puts a wall of force in front of the hill giant and announces him to the crowd.

    Jezebel: Meet Grunthor chieftain of his people and a champion of his race.
    She is met with polite applause, and with a flourish of her hand the wall drops and a pissed off hill giant chieftain comes barreling towards us. He nearly bull rushes the Psy Warrior over and brings the club down with way more force than he has any right in doing. The cleric immediately gets the hell out of dodge and backpedals away. The Sorcerer hits him with a scorching ray that barely seems to phase him. The Rogue is hanging back and basically says until he can line up a sneak attack with minimal risk he is not getting involved. Damn characters with their survival instincts. The Psy Warrior and I are trying to turn the giant and get him into a position where the rogue can easily bob in. He hits very hard and after we each get hit twice we are on the cusp of going down from a strong hit. The Psy Warrior moves to the Cleric who heals him with a cure serious then the cleric backs away further. The gnome is burning through spells and sniping from a distance. The rogue jukes in for a sneak attack when he can, but this battle has us on pins and needles.

    I roll nearly max damage and bring him down to his knees, he retaliates with a final desperate swing that knocks me into negatives. The Rogue flips a dagger and hurls it from inside point blank range and pins it in the hill giants eye socket finally killing it. The crowd has remained quiet and attentive throughout the fight and we are somewhat panicked over the reaction. After a few moments we get some polite applause and then a satchel of ceramic tokens is tossed onto the floor. We a get a dozen expendable tokens and five liberation tokens valued at 100 each. These prompt the question…just what is our current fair market value? It also teaches us that the main event draws a different style of crowd then the mid-day mob.

    The answer comes from the financial advisor Shietheid who arranges a sit down meeting with us. He presents us several charts and scrolls attesting to our current legal slavery along with an estimation from the Caliph’s office on our fair market value. The Psychic Warrior has the highest value at 35,000, my fighter is worth 30,000 and the Rogue and Cleric value at 27,000 each. The Sorcerer is valued at 25,000.

    Rogue: What is to stop us from just cashing out everything in the sub level and just buying ourselves free right now?
    DM: You might get 50% of the market price, which could conceivably be enough to free most of you, but how will you explain acquiring 100,000 in gold while locked up in a cell?
    Cleric: We could bribe some random guy to use the 100,000 to buy tokens which he throws to us.
    Sorcerer: We are going to trust some random guy with a 100,000 and hope he honors his word? Don’t think we have met too many lawful types lately.
    Me: We got Horace…
    Rogue: Horace is a gambler…he will just blow in on dicing or some other nonsense.

    The buy ourselves free plan gets scrapped in a hurry but would have been a nice curveball. The Rogue spends most of the night working below ground in the lab and the rest of hold down the cots in our cells.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Aug 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Session 6: Rather short

    Session 6:
    Day 8-20:
    The daily grind of combat and crafting goes on long term hiatus as everyone is put into full time construction duty. Our priorities shift into sizing up the other gladiator teams and building fully functional barracks, staging grounds, corrals, raising luxury tents, building latrines and completing a massive spectator grand stand and arena. There is a central main event arena and five secondary ones that are built around the main event hub. One of our bigger obstacles is removed when the announcement comes down that we are allowed to bet on ourselves. There are restrictions and prohibitions to prevent sandbagging and throwing matches (apparently not every fight is going to be to the death) but we can wager our liberation tokens as currency.

    A few noteworthy points:
    *We begin to see ourselves amongst the other slaves. What I mean is that characters or character types we have played in the past are identifiable as competition. The DM played what I feel is our most signature character of all time…a dwarf wizard/runesmith named Kemen Sarn (Tolkien elvish for Stone Brother…or so I was told). We see a dwarf wizard barking out orders with stone runes woven into his beard…the Kemen signature. There is a gnome in a loincloth rippling with muscles that resembles a gnome barbarian we had played in a previous campaign and several others we recognize. My favorite is the goliath hulking hurler flinging massive boulders up to the workers assigned to the grandstand. We had a hulking hurler that was somewhat optimized, but not cheesed out and he makes a cameo appearance.

    *Some of the caravans with merchants, gamblers, etc are already showing up and staking out territory and setting up their tents. The moment the first one arrives we are taken to a foundry in the compound and fitted with iron bands around our wrists that will signal an alarm if we exceed a staked perimeter around the camp.

    *We are given the “Player’s Full Map” of the compound. In essence a prepackaged and indexed/footnoted version of the whole camp with tournament structures included. Everything is included and spelled out excepting the labels for the second story of the main structure. We need to figure out who lives where on our own there.

    *There are a few scattered impromptu skirmishes arranged to keep us on edge, but nothing terminal or overly noteworthy.

    *This session was much more of a social session and set the stage for what was to come.

    *One of the things we had more or less suspected and are eager to take advantage of is the cistern system that provides water to the camp. There is a central line that is gravity fed and provides water flow to the compound, the central line branches out and empties into cisterns mounted around each cell area. That means if we poison the main line the whole camp is poisoned, if we dump the poison into a proximate cistern, then that cistern is poisoned and the remaining camp is unaffected. The Rogue researches how to make batches of dark reaver which does con and str damage, hemlock to affect dex, id moss to affect int, and a fortified striped toadstool to affect wis. If you don’t see where this is going you will find out pretty soon.

    *On Day 20 we get to level 6 based on the merits of our planning and preparation.

    I take Vital Strike as a bonus feat
    The Rogue takes a level of assassin
    The Sorcerer continues on his path and takes Haste for his 3rd level spell
    The Psy Warrior takes Dissolving Weapon and through Martial Power can transfer 4d6 acid to a melee attack which is pretty sweet.

    We are allowed to rest on Day 20 and the announcement is made that arena games will resume the following day as trials will take place in the new arenas. Late at night we get caught back up on some stealing and get a duplicate of the next 3 day’s events. The forecast reads like this: Day 21: Skirmish against 4th ranked team, Day 22:Azer Pikemen, Day 23: Dragon Turtle in flooded 3rd arena (main event)
    Day 21:
    We decide to test our intelligence and the rogue mixes up some hemlock which we dump into what should be the 4th ranking teams cistern. The actual stealth outside requires a roll and we are biting nails, we need an 11 or better for him to go unnoticed and he rolls 11 on the dot. The following morning we compete in a skirmish against a separate team that consists of a pair of rapier wielding rogues, a sword and board fighter and two druids. Everyone but the fighter is noticeably sluggish and struggles to react. The Halfling makes a little checkmark near the item about using poison to our advantage.

    That evening the rogue and I spend most of the night going through every detail I can recall about the monks bracers and belt. We want to replicate the appearance and style as closely as possible and try to make a switch. We also decide to throw the works at the azer pikemen and we put up all our liberation token currency on ourselves to win. The action is terrible, we are putting 600 gold up and if we win we get back 675, but there is no betting accepted on the dragon turtle bout yet.

    We have to fight against a phalanx of 10 azer with bucklers and pikes, they form up a wedge and basically just jab at us from a distance. The sorcerer gets us buffed with enlarge, bulls strength and haste and the combination of two brute warriors and the buffs lets us churn out some big time damage in short order.

    The five of us are taken to a small banquest hosted by Jezebel. Everyone is a little on edge but for the most part it is a civil encounter.
    Jezebel: I have rarely seen so much consistent success from a group thrown together. The average life expectancy is typically four fights. You have now survived over 20.
    Cleric: We have received proper motivation to seek avoiding death…and Benedict
    Jezebel: indeed. Yet what amazes me is your optimism. So many of our guests experience such boredom and depression, they seek attention through almost any means, even self destruction. You have been marvelously content. Even after the attempted violation by a teammate there was been no retribution or requests for transfer. That is virtually unique.
    Rogue: We spend a lot of time discussing the eventual murder of you, Benedict, and the other captors here in the compound. We also talk at length our desire to poison the entire place and make a profit from it in the process. You know the little things that make the time fly by.
    Sorcerer OOC: That may have been the single greatest truth to avoid triggering discern lies I have ever heard.
    Jezebel: That sounds remarkably treasonous, attacking one’s owners is a crime punishable by death. Perhaps you are not worth the risk after all.
    Me: Just wait for the tournament…we will win.
    Jezebel: A bold statement.
    Me: We are bold…you have more or less admitted as much.

    The Mistress does not execute us, but they do have more patrols going through our section which makes getting out much more difficult. We decide that a bigger distraction is needed. The Cleric takes his commanded zombies and stations them outside the mass grave. They have instructions to attack the first person that approaches. We mark them with a small carving that resembles the holy symbol of another cleric we saw during construction…his cell is in a different block and we figure first suspicion will go towards him. We also put trace amounts of the hemlock compound on their tattered clothes on the long shot that they put two and two together, perhaps they will also take the blame for poisoning a competitor.

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

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    Nov 2008

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    I have got to say, if your DM had the entire underground compound preplanned and whatnot, he is a genius. If not, he's got some good ideas brewing from what you have all presented him with.
    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post

    DM says: WHY!? WHY!? WHY?!
    DM means: NO! NO! NO!!!

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Aug 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    The two sub levels were pre-planned. He is our favorite DM for detail. For the most he is OCD to the point where he has it noted if a door opens in or out. I don't think he expected us to run the direction we did for certain things but he adapts very well.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Colossus in the Playground
    CoffeeIncluded's Avatar

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    Oct 2009
    New York

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Oh, nice! I can't wait to see where this is headed.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Aug 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Session 7-8:

    Day 23:
    The following morning is frantic. Metaphorically we just shoved a stick in a hornet’s nest, stirred it around then ran away to see the fallout. Alarms start sounding out of nowhere in the predawn hours and guards leap to high alert and instantly start doing headcounts on the various cells. In very short order every prisoner is the compound is taken to the still being constructed grand arena and we are all lined up for inspection. Rumour spreads quickly and boils down to several janitorial type staff carting out the previous night’s losers to the mass grave and being ambushed by zombies.

    In the following sweeps of the area for further threats the somewhat dessicated and heavily chewed body of the missing Halfling is located. Benedict, Echo and Whisper conduct a full search and scan of everyone in the courtyard and as we hoped one of our rival clerics is pulled aside for further inspection of his holy symbol. He protests up and down that he has no idea where the zombies came from our how his symbol got carved into the zombies. His protests more or less go unheeded and he is taken to a wooden post in the courtyard, there he is bound to the post and a very concerned looking Horace wheels out a wheelbarrel filled with shuriken.

    Benedict: I give you one last opportunity to name your accomplices and the manner in which you escaped the confines of your room.
    Cleric: I don’t know anything. I didn’t have anything to do with this.

    The Monk starts hurling shuriken almost faster than we can see, they hiss through the air at a high enough velocity to whistle…he puts five in the air in one pass and they all go arcing towards various extremities. He puts over a 150 shuriken into the cleric and just shreds him, the poor guy is nearly flayed by the time he passes out from the pain and blood loss.


    A pair of clerics practically charge the slumping soon to be corpse and flood him with healing…with a gasp the cleric comes back around and starts sobbing, pleading for mercy and swearing up and down that he is innocent.
    Now we are gamers at heart and while this gut wrenching in one respect…what we are thinking is this:

    *five shuriken in one round means he is probably level 11ish
    *He must be holding back or doing something to dampen damage because if this guy had 150+ health then we are boned in the future.
    *Amidst the chaos the Rogue creeps over to the cart where an attendant is holding Benedicts coat and he makes a sleight of hand check to sneak a set of keys. He calmly makes his way back to the formation and puts Benedict’s keys into the robes of Echo.

    For us that was one of the greatest gaming moments of all time. It definitely ranks top five for me because of how ballsy and random it was. A few minutes later the cleric is dead and Benedict in a huff grabs his coat and starts storming out of the courtyard, guards immediately start organizing us and prepare to take us back to our cell. Less than thirty seconds pass and Benedict comes running back into the courtyard in a crimson faced rage. His perfectly kept hair is a mess and he is absolutely quivering.

    Benedict: One of you mongrels…you base curs has stolen my keys. I swear upon the name of the Mistress that the person responsible will face a justice that makes the treacherous slaves punishment look like a vacation.
    DM: Without over describing what happens we all know that after an extensive and exhaustive search the keys will eventually be found on Echo.

    The Mistress is called for and when she arrives she is equally furious at the potential treachery of her assistant. Jezebel calls for Kjellin who at first tries to back her underling but ultimately decides her fate is better served not being thrown in with the thief being caught with the keys on her person. If you have ever seen a vicious dog at the end of a leash that is instantly soothed when it’s master touches it that is exactly what happens with Benedict. He is shaking with rage and looks likely to go completely berserk…Jezebel puts a hand of his shoulder and he settles down in a heartbeat and starts to fix her hair.
    Jezebel: Fetch your basting kit

    Benedict gets the greatest look of glee you could ever imagine on his face and he sprints out of the courtyard like the freaking Flash. He is back very quickly with a satin lined cooking tool case. Jezebel makes a low burning fire in the courtyard and conjures up a roasting spit. I don’t know what combination of healing/fire magic/ etc is used but Benedict cooks the tiefling alive. Her whole body is crackling and grease is bubbling out from the fissures in her skin but she is not dead. Everyone is shocked into silence as we are returned to our cells and the shrieks of the tiefling go on for several more hours.

    Rogue: Guys…I am starting to rethink the whole “make them mad” to sow dissension strategy. If it comes down to having this guy get a hold of me or being a slave I am kinda leaning towards just being a slave.
    Cleric: They can discern lies…they can force truth, they just sided with blunt facts with no further research. They have no souls. No loyalty. No honor.

    A new and very much bolded and underlined item goes on the list.
    *Benedict and Jezebel can not be allowed to live.

    We are pretty amped up by nightfall and chomping at the bit to work out some frustration on the dragon turtle we are slated to face. The cleric preps some resist energy and he gets fire resist on the Psy Warrior and my Fighter. We are planning on coming at it hard and are in for a shock when we get through the door. No flooded arena awaits us. No dragon turtle. Instead we are faced with two teams of gladiators. Or at least the 8 surviving members of the two groups we have trimmed. With two groups down a member the Mistress pulled a switch and is putting us against the 8 combined remaining members. There is a catfolk monk with a longspear (a former pc we ran), a pair of spiked chain fighters, what we think is a radiant servant of pelor, a ranger with a longbow, a dwarf monk with tortoise blades (a hybrid from an old dark sun companion updated to pathfinder) and a fighter/mage who utilizes web and flaming sphere (one of my old 2nd edition characters), and lastly a druid with a pet lion.

    Me: I got a bad feeling
    Rogue: Yep
    They set up a lot like we did when we ran similar characters. The spiked chain fighters set up a radius where they just about overlap…the monk with longspear and reach sets up just behind them and in the middle bunched up are the archer and cleric. The wizard and dwarf form a roving band that can move about and engage webbed opponents.
    Me: Hold Person would be nice…
    Cleric: Yeah…if only we hadn’t prepared for a Dragon Turtle…

    We set our sights first on the fighter/wizard. Almost immediately the Psy Warrior and I are webbed and the dwarf monk comes tumbling into the web to attack. The gnome puts a scorching ray into the wizard and the rogue takes off in his direction only to get tackled by the druid’s lion. The Cleric moves up pretty aggressively by his standards and drops a channel negative energy that selectively avoids the psy warrior, himself and my fighter. It catches just about every npc though.

    The Psychic Warrior and I kill the dwarf in a single round, we figure he was max level 4 and he drops in a hurry. The scorching ray and channel have the wizard backpedaling for cover.

    While the spiked chain fighter set up is great defensively, it’s not too effective without people attacking directly. The Cleric continues to stand at range and just channel negative energy to soak damage everwhere. With the monk dropped we step forward to engage the druid’s cat, the gnome snipes the wizard again and drops him in his tracks. The rogue is stabbing wildly from his prone position and the druid more or less just recalls his cat. The archer is hitting for piddly damage and barking out orders for everyone to hold the formation.

    The rogue dusts himself off and I take a round to do a dazzling display.
    The Cleric goes through his third channel and rolls a 17 on 3d6…the druid cluthes his temple and shrieks as the negative energy rips him apart and he collapses to the ground. Their little formation scatters and the psychic warrior and I chase down the fighters and slash them apart. The rogue gets behind the archer and sneak attacks him to death.
    DM: I think I should have made them all fifth level and given them better Con. This was too easy.

    We all get another liberation token worth 100 each and a severe looking gnoll in nomad attire throws a blood red clay token…a blood token with an open opponent to challenge as we see fit.

    That evening they serve a roast BBQ meat…no one eats it just in case.

    With drastically heightened security and the grizzly spectacle from earlier, we forgo our exterior cell endeavors and get a much needed good nights sleep.

    Day 24:
    While we have exceeded our expectations on sowing dissension…we have probably riled up the powers that be too much. Lots of new faces are visible amongst the guards and most are hired help from outside. There are too many patrols to securely get free and move about on reconnaissance. We push our focus towards securing relationships with our known contacts Horace, Boris and Ivan. We have about 400 gold in liquid resources below ground and close to 1000 in liberation currency. We cash in most of our lodging tokens and hospitality type stuff to help curry favor. Once again we are put on stand by until late in the evening and this time we are again the main event draw.

    We pre-cast bulls strength and enlarge person and are grateful for those buffs. We get no lead in time…the moment I enter the arena I get charged by a girallon. Three girallon are all running amok in the arena floor and I am getting pummeled and rended right from the get go. The Psychic Warrior gets boosted with haste and lays into the one on me. The Rogue engages my target as well. The two remaining girallons attack the Psychic Warrior and the Cleric. The Cleric has solid con, but the rend damage is adding up real darn fast. On the plus side…we are in the big arena and it is a packed house. As we cut down the first, a second one starts to tear into me…the Cleric is too much of a survivalist (see:coward) to help me out directly and I get tossed into the wall with 3 hps left where I play dead.

    The sorcerer is burning hands like crazy and the cleric is frantically self healing and trying to get clearance. The Rogue is hamstringing and juking some good thrusts on the psychic warrior target. The Psychic Warrior is ganged up on my the second girallon who leaves the cleric and he gets shredded down to -4. The Cleric more from self preservation than altruism tries to cure serious him and gets charged by the most damaged girallon. I had been holding my action and playing dead and I make an intercept course to charge the charging girallon. I cut it down in midstride and I kill it with a strong stroke…the now dead girallon slides to a stop in front of the cleric who gives me a mouthed thank you as heals the psychic warrior. The Sorcerer gets pancaked and tossed like a ragdoll and everyone is scattered with a single girallon remaining. We start to surround it and it holds action looking at all of us wearily. Neither warrior wants to wade in as we are both on fumes for health. The gnome shoots off a scorching ray and the psychic warrior launches an Energy Ray. The Rogue flips a dagger from his vambrace and flings it at point blank range. The Cleric holds his action…and as the girallon is spinning it settles on charging the cleric…the cleric puts an inflict serious wounds with his held action and gets bull rushed back a few feet as his attack kills the third girallon.

    This was a furious fight with some cool cinematic type moments and we get showered with dozens of tokens. We are loaded up with crafting supplies, free drinks, free hotel rooms and another 3,000 in liberation currency. For the first time we are allowed to kind of play to the crowd for an extended period and we mug accordingly.

    That night the rogue makes the gamble to get out from the cell and he makes his way to the second story where he cautiously seeks to get some rooms identified. It’s tense and very slow going but he does find Benedict’s chamber and what he believes is Horace’s as well. He nearly gets caught twice and has to do a fair amount of scrambling. He makes his way below ground and does a quick check of our workshop and our caches to ensure they are undisturbed.

    Day 25-30:

    We are awoken at dawn by Benedict who takes us to the central grand arena which is now all but complete. He forms us up and addresses us:
    Benedict: Despite several concerns as to your loyalty and motives, the Mistress has decided that you will be our 1st ranked team in the tournament. She has tasked me with ensuring that you are prepared for that honor and act in a manner that will bring respect and profit to her establishment. As a reward, if you perform to her expectations she will grant you a limited measures of freedom. You will be granted private quarters, exceptional food and beverage and even be granted limited freedom of movement through the compound. Should you survive and win in the tournament she is prepared to rescind your status as property and instead offer contracts that stipulate your indentured servitude with options for profit and eventual placement in her household as staff. In time you could be granted full freedom coupled with a handsome stipend for your achievements.
    Rogue: So what will you want us to do?
    Benedict: I will push you to the brink and mold you into an elite force. Prepare for the most grueling experience of your life.

    The entire remaining arcane staff (at least those we haven’t gotten killed by their own people) reports to the grand arena along with the better part of 10 clerics. We are put through extensive and prolonged battles against summoned devils, elementals and and fiendish animals. The whole time we are pushed to perform group support actions at the monk’s behest like some bizarre boot camp. As we are knocked unconscious or badly wounded clerics rush to attend us and push us on further. Day and night for five days in game they push and push us. We are given checklists with certain situations like:
    *bull rushing a caster
    *grappling a larger sized opponent
    *disarming a wand etc

    It serves as an interesting (if repetitive) story development and a good refresher/trainer on nearly every combat tactics, action and modifier like cover and concealment. Some of our newer gamers really benefit from this and it serves the secondary purpose of highlighting how important this tournament is to our antagonists.
    The prolonged combat training and tactical checklists encompass two entire sessions and propel us into 7th level…
    I take Cleave as my 7th level feat
    The Psychic Warrior takes Vampiric Blade as his 3rd level power and he takes Great Cleave
    The Rogue takes another level in assassin and takes Skill focus Stealth
    The Cleric takes Craft Wonderous Item
    The Sorcerer takes Lightning Reflexes as his bonus feat and selects Charm Person as a new 1st level spell, Bears Endurance and Fireball as a 3rd level spell. He also takes Craft Arms and Armor as his 7th level feat.

    The next thirty days are going to see us have 1 training session a week and the remaining time is given to us to rest. We don’t rest too much, instead we get crazy on some crafting and try to prep for an escape during the tournament.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Averis Vol's Avatar

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    Jan 2012

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    ooooooo, and the plot thickens. :D
    A thing I made! The Spirited Blade; warrior of the mind come by and tell me what you think.

    May glory flow forever more to The Mad Hatter for bringing Haeros; Master of the Transcendant Style to my avatar box!

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    This campaign is nothing short of inspiring. Easily the best thing I have read on these forums. Thank you for taking the time to post.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Aug 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Session 9:

    Day 31-59:
    Our first order of business during our downtime, and to fully take advantage of our increased freedom is to forge some assassination appropriate weapons to dispatch our captors. The focus is going to be on making a pair of human bane daggers and a human bane large falchion. The rogue and psy warrior are slated to take point in assassinating the Mistress. If we can manage it, they are going to try and add human bane to my elven curve blade as well, but that is a lower priority. We are granted that we don’t need a half drow bane, that human bane will suffice for both the monk and Mistress Jezebel.
    The Cleric’s crafting focus is Boots of Speed for the rogue, sorcerer and psy warrior. We figure we can get three sets in our thirty days. Collectively that is going to cost us just under 60,000 in resources. We sink every remaining dime into poison.

    A few other critical points during those 30 days…
    *We convince Benedict that with other groups arriving and setting up it is in everyone’s best interest to allow us to retain our weapons and armor for self defense.
    *Boris falls victim to a Charm Person spell…it was borderline overkill but we needed an inside man for part of our master stroke.
    *My red wizard contact arrives as part of an envoy from Thay. His is definitely the largest caravan from afar.
    *With the all the added entourages and hangers on…security is stretched thin. That is something we definitely can work to our advantage.

    Day 59:
    There is a massive banquet arranged for all the visiting nobility, patrons of wealth, and house leaders. There are even a few former champions present. Everyone is wining/dining and making wild side bets on the action to come. In the midst of the party my fighter strides in and walks right up to the monk. I take the blood token and toss it onto his plate sending a splatter of food into his immaculate clothes. He practically leaps across the table and I slap him across the face as hard as I can manage. Before he can attempt to rip me apart a Wall of Force goes up between us…I can see Gaird the Red Wizard has just completed its casting and he looks remarkably entertained. Everything goes dead silent in the hall and from my side of the Wall I speak in a loud and deriding tone.

    Me: I am calling you out for being a cruel sadistic bastard. I am done watching you strut like an ignorant overdressed peacock. I demand the satisfaction of combat…tomorrow morning before the tournament begins.
    Jezebel: You may only call out one who has set foot in the arena.
    Me: He has set foot in every arena, he has spilled blood in each arena…including my own.
    Benedict: But I have never fought as a gladiator.
    Gaird: Technically that is irrelevant. You have physically set foot in the arena…he has the right to call you out. If you refuse…you must set him free.
    ( I think we caught our DM offguard here. He had to improvise a bit on the fly as to where everyone was at the night before the tournament and it took him about five minutes to react to my initial challenge with the wall of force and the following banter…for us that bodes well)

    I then announce that I will be spending the rest of the night in a vigil inside the grand arena so that if any misfortune should befall me before morning…there are plenty of witnesses to see it for themselves. I challenge Benedict to do the same. He eagerly obliges.

    While I am doing this…the rogue makes the single greatest gamble of this campaign…he sneaks into the vacant monk’s quarters with our replica bracers and belt and makes the switch. Everyone at the table goes wild when the switch goes off smoothly.

    After the other four meet up they convince Boris to let them slip into the central documents office where they make some modifications to our ownership papers, basically they make it appear that we are only a few hundred gold away from being completely liberated.

    With me having stirred the hornet’s nest and drawn a great deal of attention to the central outside arena the rogue then pours every bit of poison we have into the cisterns that lead to the second level of the compound. Yep…more than 100,000 in poison that attacks just about every stat. Then they go hunting…on their list, Kjellin, Shiethied and Whisper. They hunt down and ambush each of the higher ups in their own chambers. Isolated and unprepared they take out all three with minimal fuss.

    The cleric gathers his undead and starts a small riot outside designed to get the guards attention. The zombie ankhegs and drider get most of the guards scrambling but with most of the command structure now dead in their room or standing with their thumb up their posterior in the arena the only person they can find is Jezebel. Furious beyond all reason she wipes out the undead singlehandedly then storms off towards her chambers.

    The Rogue, Psychic Warrior and Sorcerer are waiting for her in the hallway outside her room. We figured it was too high risk to enter the physical chambers and we settle for being just outside. She enters and we hear water being poured amidst the swearing and cursing.

    Rogue: We got her…we wait 15 minutes for the majority of the posion to kick in, then we take her.

    The Cleric comes back from the sub levels with Boris and we have Boris knock on the door to check on the Mistress…we also tell him that we found Kjellin, Shiethied, and Whisper dead and she needs to know.

    She is coughing badly when he enters and she is realizing that she has been poisoned. As she exits her room the Halfling is all over her with his daggers and the psychic warrior charges from the hallway, expanded, with vampiric blade, dissolving weapon and bulls strength. I really hate to make this sound anticlimactic…but a wizard that is caught flat footed with Con damage against sneak attacks, drow bane and a huge warrior that can deliver a ton of force in a single swing…our BBEG goes down inside of 2 rounds.

    Our DM is equally impressed and vexed. He had expected a nice big tournament with lots of cool twists and encounters he had spent weeks developing. Instead…we staged a coup on the eve of the big tournament.
    They stash the dead wizard in her chamber and ransack the place in a haste. There is a good amount of wizardly goodies but the most important thing we find (at least the rogue thinks it is) a scroll of Alter Self…
    Rogue: Guys I have a plan…

    Day 60:
    The morning of the grand tournament Boris enters the arena with a package of my remaining equipment….except that my belt of giant str has been replaced with the monk’s belt and there are the monks bracers inside the bag along with my boots of speed. I put on the added items and get the longest most drawn out *sigh* possible

    DM: I would force you to identify them ( he glares at the Cleric who was our DM in Adversarial Process) but the effect upon wearing them is almost unmistakeable. You feel a tremendous surge of Strength, Speed and Health…it’s a belt of physical perfection+6….
    Me: Oh hell yeah…
    DM: The bracers slide on and the world seems to slow down around you. There is a tangible field around you that you can sense.

    The bracers were a converted from an old second edition version…they were bracers of blinding strike. They imparted haste on their wearer and provided a +6 deflection bonus to AC. Absolutely friggin bad ass!

    The rogue then hands a note to the DM who starts chuckling under his breath.

    DM:The monk is growing more and more perturbed…when Jezebel comes to the grand pulpit and tosses him a bag of similar goods he smiles in relief. Chained and shackled trailing behind her are the rogue, sorcerer, psychic warrior and Cleric. She is flanked by Kjellin, Whisper, Shiethied and Boris. The monk is giving you a look of supreme confidence as he slips on his own bracers and belt…and his smugness quickly turns to confusion as he does NOT feel the same bolster. Frowning he ruffles through the satchel and locates a potion with a note in Jezebel’s writing. Whatever it says he happily drinks it, and quite quickly you can see he is unsettled, but he adjusts rapidly.

    The potion was a batch of poison the Halfling had cooked up that should have attacked just about everything it was labeled “greater heroism and barksin” but the monk made his saves and was unaffected.

    The DM has insisted that I more or less be sequestered after my little stunt in the dining hall (great for immersion and I got to catch most of a tigers game while everything else was going on but it did leave me pretty damn confused)

    The stands are packed beyond standing room and judging from the vendors, there is some damn heavy betting.
    I feel pretty confident that I can take the monk 1-1, especially with stat boost and haste.

    The monk has much greater mobility and he can flurry for five attacks a round, but I have some burly AC with the deflection bonus and armor training. I am confident that I hit harder especially with massive strength bump. I am more worried about Stunning Fist…a failed save could leave me as bait. I don’t see any ranged weapons, so it should be a straight up fight. Before anyone really goes off I make a Dazzling Display to taunt the monk and I fail. The Mistress silences everyone with a wave of her hand and then drops a silk scarf to single the start of the battle.

    The monk wins initiative and he makes a charge attack at me…and hits me with a full attack/flurry at the end…
    Me: WTF…
    Psychic Warrior: That was a psychic lions charge…he know psionics.
    The DM and by proxy the Monk both grin at me…he has been sandbagging the Monk has Psychic Warrior levels too. Oh crap.

    He doesn’t hit too hard…he connects twice for about 7 eac. I counter with my own full attack and I hit much harder…I get + 12 from str, +1 from enhance bonus, +2 from weapon spec and +2d6 from bane, I hit once for 28 and a second time from haste for 30. The monk suddenly realizes that without his belt and bracers he is not as bad ass as he thought.

    The DM plays off the remaining encounter as the monk having a complete and total meltdown..he runs screaming and weeping around the arena in an attempt to evade me. With his out of this world movement I can’t catch him and the crowd turns on him in a furious fashion. They are belting him with garbage and boos and he is simpering like a coward and begging to be let out. He comes before the Mistress pleading for assistance…she simply shakes her head and turns her back. He falls to his knees sobbing and rocking himself.

    My fighter walks up behind me and looks to the crowd…I get thumbs down signs and thumbs drawn across the throat from all over the place. I take a running start and power attack everything I have to swing for the fences against what is virtually a prone target. The weight of the blade and speed of the stroke drives through the monk’s collarbone and splits his spine nearly to the opposite side of the ribcage. The blade is stuck on a rib bone and I can’t quite free the blade.

    A chorus of gasps and roars of approval wash out the monk’s final death gurgles and the whole arena is showered with tokens. As the entire crowd rises and howls its appreciation…the Mistress gestures for silence. As she speaks…the illusion falls and it is revealed that the Rogue, Sorcerer, Cleric and Psychic Warrior were posing as the Mistress and her lackeys. The dead…and now zombified Mistress, and her support staff are revealed to be chained behind them.

    The whole arena is swarmed with guards and command staff from the other houses and we are all escorted to a pavilion tent where the powers that be are trying to figure out just what to do with us.

    A lot of lawyering happens behind the scenes and it is eventually determined that based on appropriate paperwork we have “earned” our freedom. It is also determined that while we are guilty of murdering our captors, there is no one left to really press charges…especially when we suggest they can simply dissolve the assets of the compound amongst themselves and run the tournament as planned.

    We voluntarily surrender everything but the bracers and belt, I make the claim as spoils of combat and they are rightfully mine. I then sell the Belt and Bracers to Gaird for a reasonable price and all told we are granted our paperwork affirming our freedom along with 15,000 each in liquid assets after the sale of our items. When faced with becoming a indentured servant in Thay and selling off the sweet magic items we sided with selling the sweet magic items.

    The Cleric volunteered his services to assist the controlling of the undead that were shackled inside the compound’s arena. He then took a position as chief officer amidst the new owners of the compound. What he kept to himself was the location and knowledge of the entire sub complex of the compound. He took on a pseudo Phantom of the Opera persona and over a course of several decades did all the proper research and acquired the funding to make the transformation into a lich. His cleric became the BBEG of a later adventure.

    The Sorcerer moved to the coast and lived out a life amidst the cliffs and shores as something of a hermit.

    The Psychic Warrior became a volunteer gladiator and toured the various nations as a visiting champion.

    My fighter joined with the Psychic Warrior and we would go on to compete as one of the most dominant duo’s amidst the fighting nations.

    The Rogue became our agent and controlled our finances and appearances. He would hire himself out as an assassin in leaner times, and when the rest of us had our fill of bloodshed he opened a travelling circus, with himself the ringmaster.

    The final session was a series of events that kept our DM reeling and trying to play catch up. He was bummed that all his tournament encounters went unused, but he applauded our creativity and how we used the resources provided to facilitate our escape.
    Last edited by Kaveman26; 2012-06-05 at 12:36 PM. Reason: I added a few other options as a seperate post

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Aug 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    For those that enjoyed reading this campaign recap would you rather see...

    An open sandbox style campaign of a more chaotic but not exactly evil nature, where I was the DM.

    A more traditional overland adventure with dungeons run by the guy who played the rogue in this recap and played the ranger in the Adversarial Process recap.

    A dark and ruthless campaign set in the city run by me as DM

    A short "follow up" campaign to the Adversarial Process where we played in the same world with some more expanded rules.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground
    Daftendirekt's Avatar

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    Feb 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    I'd enjoy any campaign of this caliber. Keep us posted.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Colossus in the Playground
    CoffeeIncluded's Avatar

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    Oct 2009
    New York

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Whichever one you want!

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Bugbear in the Playground

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    Dec 2011

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    I agree with what they said. Whatever you decide to do we'll be waiting eagerly.
    Spoiler: Those That Came Before
    Yohalles, the Wanderer
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  26. - Top - End - #26
    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Nov 2008

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    I would love to read the campaign with you as the DM in the dark and ruthless city campaign
    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post

    DM says: WHY!? WHY!? WHY?!
    DM means: NO! NO! NO!!!

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ogre in the Playground

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    Jun 2010

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Quote Originally Posted by jguy View Post
    I would love to read the campaign with you as the DM in the dark and ruthless city campaign
    Got to go with Jguy on this on.
    We can wait for a bit but to hearing about a campaign you dmed would be especially interesting
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    Rogue vs. Dog. (The new Cat vs. Commoner, only not amusing!)
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    You are making the assumption of rational planning. After 37 years of dungeon crawling, I still have zero evidence that the average dungeon was designed by the sane.
    "Sleep is optional, just ask Vknight" Someone I Forget but thanks... I don't

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    zagan's Avatar

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    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    I would enjoy anything in the same vain as what you've already give us. That said the follow up on the Adversarial Process sound great.
    Latest homebrew: The Avatars of Magic, powerful monster each dedicated to ne school of magic.

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    Mirar, Bizarre human Focused Conjurer/Master specialist (summoning specialist)
    Xilef, shifter Druid 8//Barbarian 5/Weretouched master 3
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  29. - Top - End - #29
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Sampi's Avatar

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    Aug 2005
    On a Squidship

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaveman26 View Post
    For those that enjoyed reading this campaign recap would you rather see...

    An open sandbox style campaign of a more chaotic but not exactly evil nature, where I was the DM.

    A more traditional overland adventure with dungeons run by the guy who played the rogue in this recap and played the ranger in the Adversarial Process recap.

    A dark and ruthless campaign set in the city run by me as DM

    A short "follow up" campaign to the Adversarial Process where we played in the same world with some more expanded rules.
    I choose option E: All of the above, in whatever order you like.
    My first character was a first edition thief.

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    1st commemorative BEAST award, for displaying BEASTLY qualities in overcoming tricksy obstacles.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Halfling in the Playground

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    Apr 2010

    Default Re: The CalimShaw-Shank Redemption-Campaign Log

    This was really cool, and reminded me a lot of the Order's current predicament! 5 stars!

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