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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Having read some excellent journals in the past (SilverClawShift, Kaveman, Saph, Piratecat etc EDIT: and Sagiro's Story Hour, all 900,000+ words!) and having posted some excerpts from this in the Funny Stories thread, I figured I’d go ahead and try to get the whole thing up here Some sessions I wrote the recap later that night, while some were months later going by scribbled notes and initiative sheets…

    Since the group contained a mixture of 2nd edition vets, 3.0 vets, and complete newcomers, I figured I’d throw together a few standalone sessions vs random bandits and monsters, encouraging people to change characters every week until they decided which class would be the most fun for when the “real” campaign started. Backstories consisted of things like “I was chased out of the village of Connecticut for beating up farm animals.” But then a lot of people just wanted to keep the same ones…sooo I basically worked the standalones into the main story and there we go. It’s not as in-depth as I would normally do (we’re creating the map as we play!), but this campaign has been a bit more light-hearted so it works ^_^

    And as this is written from the DM’s perspective, I will occasionally complain about illogical decisions they make and such…but really this is the most fun group I’ve ever gamed with, and I look forward to each and every Geek Night.

    As I start this, we have completed 38 sessions and are still going! Edit: Now 59 sessions. Comments, questions and critiques welcome!

    The cast:

    "The Old Man", Neutral Good Human (silver) Dragon Shaman 14
    -The Old Man doesn't remember his real name; he vaguely remembers he was a farmer, who might have had a family...but then he started dreaming about dragons, and traveled the land to right wrongs.
    -Wears a wooden shield as a silly-looking hat, keeps his sword sheathed in his walking stick, and Glamoured armor to look harmless until needed. High social skills, tanky, support-oriented and a bit of Metabreath for offense. Weilds Gemslinger, a powerful sling that converts ordinary stones into elemental-summoning gems, and Raikiro, an elemental sword that empowers him when harmed by fire, frost, or lightning.
    -Player had never played DnD before this campaign; was semi reluctant to learn the rules to a new game when he barely had the free time to play the games he already knew/owned, but has had a lot of fun and attended very consistently. :)

    Aria, Lawful Good Half-Elf (archery) Ranger 10/Scout 4
    -Aria is by far the most Paladinish of her primarly Neutral Good/Chaotic Good group. Loves nature, though doesn't feel quite at home in the unnatural Kyrpra forest. Hates goblins with a passion, having seen her hometown assualted for years by the little buggers.
    -Archery style, currently wielding a Hank's Energy Bow commissioned for a small fortune at a draconic weaponsmith. The character was originally going to be played by his wife; the stats she rolled were like 17, 17, 16, 15, 12, 10 or something, and she can do massive damage from a distance. Very high Spot, Listen, and Survival skills as well. Animal companion used to be a bird, abandoned for a bear, replaced with another bird who every once in a while remembers to make a Spot check or something.
    -Player is a DnD veteran, who in this campaign previously played Roscoe and Rickven. Of the group he is the most likely to spend 10+ minutes talking to Stable Boy #3 or any other NPC, which at times has given the players valuable information and other times merely prompts some spontaneous worldbuilding from the DM :)

    Ricallen aka The Tall Man, Neutral 8-foot Bard 14
    A drumming savant, who strives for better music and instruments while tolerating the fame that comes with them. Fond of Bluffing for the heck of it, and preventing fights with Diplomacy, but can buff and debuff very well when needed. His "Drumstick" is an effective melee weapon as well.

    Gort, Chaotic Good-ish Dwarf Fighter 6/Crusader 5/Mineral Warrior
    -Gort started the campaign far less Chaotic. He took pride in his Dwarven heritage and Dwarven armor, paying handsomely at taverns and defending the weak. After some harrowing encounters and unpleasent magic, his attempts to do the right thing have become much more unpredictable...
    -Stone armor, heavy shield, and heavily enchanted Dwarven Waraxe "Elfcutter." Tanky, strong, a touch of support from Crusader maneuvers. Charges to the frontlines whether his team follows him or not.
    -Player has quite a bit of DnD experience, and in this campaign previously played Brumblefarf and Digos, abandoning them for a less ethically-challenged character who would fit in better with a Good group :P There's rarely a dull moment with Gort around, as if nothing's happening, he will make *something* happen...

    Roman, Chaotic Good Chaos Gnome (chaos) Sorceror 14. Of chaotic chaosness.
    -Roman Gnome spent many years roaming as a statue from his hometown of Travelo City *rimshot* . He loves exploring the world and experiencing new things with his new friends.
    -Roman has a smattering of offensive, support, and utility spells, with an emphasis on random effects. He also has a custom Chaos Chart that has a chance to cause minor things to happen every time he casts a spell.
    -Another player who had not played DnD at all before this campaign.

    *NPC* Morok, Chaotic Neutral Floating Skull Sorceror 12 of different chaotic chaosness.
    -Centuries ago, Morok was a powerful mage involved in the magical war that created the Kyrpra Forest. After being trapped in a floating pyramid for untold years, his mind is not quite what it used to be...but he likes adventuring with his rescuers!
    -Morok is Undead with the boons and banes that implies. His unstable magic has a chance to misfire into entirely different spells than what he intended to cast; when first found, this included 9th level spells and most metamagic, but a powerful enemy has reduced his power considerably.
    -Introduced in the forest as a potential enemy, the party (wisely?) chose to befriend rather than attack him. Whee!

    *Hiatus* Gunther, Chaotic Neutral Human Cleric of Olidamara 9
    -Was a regular attender (and host!) of our game nights until schedule changes forced him to drop out indefinitely. Gunther left the party to help rebuild a temple in the city of Tealport, and when his work is finished there he might rejoin them.

    *Hiatus* Thezir, Chaotic Good Tiefling Rogue 10/Exemplar 2
    -Thezir grew up in a very bad town, with rampant crime, demonic influences, and undead slavery to look forward to. He escaped as quickly as he could, and seeks to fight corruption wherever he can. Does not enjoy having an undead party ally...
    -Started with an expensive knife, which unfortunately was quickly cursed and replaced. Still very skilled with a slew of weapons, and an assortment of skill points boosted by his Prestige class. A magical glove helps him UMD a variety of wands, as well.
    -Player, like The Old Man, had not played DnD at all before this campaign. Started as Llosidian the druid, who
    became the first PK after dozens of sessions.

    Currently on Hiatus while finishing a degree. Thezir was hit with a sleeping poison the last time the player was here, so ingame he's snoozing safely in town until his return.

    Turbo164, Neutral DM 99+
    -Has played DnD off and on for over a decade, primarily 3.5 but a little 3.0, 4.0, and PC games. "Good writers borrow, great writers steal," and I've borrstole from a variety of sources for a homebrew campaign in a homebrew world. I try to say "yes" as much as I can :)

    Chapter 1 (A Horse, a Tower and a Pig), Chapter 2 (From Mudhole to Kyrpra), Chapter 3 (The Face, the Tree, and The Monstrosity)

    Chapter 4 (Welcome to Tealport!), Chapter 5 (The Weren'tNoRat!), Chapter 6 (A Dangerous Toy and a Pile of Gems)

    Chapter 7 (The Hydra Sermon, and Consequences), Chapter 8 (Boxes and Beyond), Chapter 9 (Fighting Flaming Orcs for Fun and Profit)

    Chapter 10 (Snakes...why did it have to be Snakes?), Chapter 11 (The Obsidian Tower), Chapter 12 (Boss Music and something Very Scary)

    Chapter 13 (Jack), Chapter 14 (Morok), Chapter 15 (Crossroads, and the Second Tower)

    Chapter 16 (EEEEVIL Goblins), Chapter 17 (Wherein the DM's mind bluescreens), Chapter 18 (Flamey Guy)

    Chapter 19 (Bugz! And Jack Comes Back), Chapter 20 (A Nice Meal), Chapter 21 (Buzzard Bridge)

    Chapter 22 (Fiendish Frog), Chapter 23 (Subtlety and Improvised Weapons), Chapter 24 (Well that's handy)

    Chapter 25 (Mysterious Elves and Dwarven Treats), Chapter 26 (Hostage Negotiation), Chapter 27 (The Shalar)

    Chapter 28 (The Council), Chapter 29 (Gifts, Volcanos, and Itchy Trigger Fingers)

    Chapters 30-32 (SO MANY DICE)

    Chapter 33 (Recaps and Relaxation), Chapter 34 (Zoo, Shady Deals, and the Third Tower begins), Chapter 35 (Squish)

    Chapter 36 (Third Tower Finale!), Interlude (The Dice Revealed!)

    Chapter 37 (Curses, Fish, and Shopping Sprees), Chapter 38 (Crossroads and Darkness)

    Chapter 39 (Which way is up?), Chapter 40 (Rock vs Rock vs Rock vs Morok. And More Rocks.)

    Chapter 41 (Oh crap oh crap oh crap), Chapter 42 (Time for some pruning)

    Chapter 43 (See, They ARE Evil!), Chapter 44 (Gone Batty)

    Prequel: (J R aRia Tolkien's Backstory), Chapter 45 (Someone Gets Smashed)

    Chapter 46 (The King is dead, long live the Elf!), Chapter 47 (Shopping Around), Chapter 48 (Social Skills)

    Chapter 49 (More Cowbell), Chapter 50 (Multi-course Meal)

    Chapter 51 (Return to The Hill That Shall Not Be Mentioned), Chapter 52 (Charisma is not a Dump Stat!), Chapter 53 (Enhanced Legion of One)

    Chapter 54 (The Blue Tower Begins), Chapter 55 (Stress Management)

    Chapter 56 (A Shocking Development), Chapter 57 (The Eyes Have It)

    Chapter 58 (That Which Man Was Not Meant To Know. Also, PUPPEHS!), Chapter 59 (What's the Buzz?)

    Chapter 60 (Hanks for the Memories!), Chapter 61 (Finding a Rogue in less than 12 Parsecs)

    Chapter 62 (Cutting a Rug), Chapter 63 (Paranoia)

    Chapter 64 (Doubling Down), extra info (Opposites Attacked), Chapter 65 (Awake and Alive)

    Chapter 66 (Old Habits Die Hard), Chapter 67 (Hunka Hunka Burnin Love), Chapter 68 (Backlog)
    Last edited by turbo164; 2016-05-16 at 10:21 AM. Reason: Red Tower and MYSTERY

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 1 "A Horse, a Tower and a Pig"

    Once upon a time, a group of "heroes" left the town of K'netiket:

    Gunther, Chaotic Neutral Human Cleric of Olidamarra. Leans good, but furthers the goals of Chaos and Luck.

    Roscoe "the Borrower", Chaotic Neutral Halfling Rogue. Usually returns things he borrows.

    Brumblefarf, Neutral Evil Human Fighter. A farmer more skilled with an axe than with animals, who views humans as superior to all other creatures.

    Llosidian, Neutral Good Elf Druid of Elhonna. Was hugging trees outside of town when he met the others, decided to join them to make sure they didn't burn a forest down. Yet ends up discovering that he’s a bit of a pyro himself. Hmm. (Had not played DnD at all before tonight, the rest were veterans of various editions)
    *Duke - Llosidian's Wolf companion, who apparently has very precise teeth.

    After some weeks pass on the road and minor misadventures occur, the group encounters a man named Pont (not that anyone asked) riding a horse named Pasha (which they did ask). [Not asking names becomes one of many running jokes this campaign]. Brumblefarf’s less-than-stellar Appraise check convinced him that one of Pasha’s horseshoes was extremely valuable, and he begins plotting to steal this “treasure.” Pont had a crossbow bolt in his hat, received when he passed a crumbling tower near the road to the north. The group "borrows" Pasha to carry their stuff to the tower to fight the evil creatures within, though Gunther suspects that Pont himself is a demon (thanks to a less-than-stellar Knowledge check…this won’t be the last time). A successful Handle Animal check does get the horse to kick the greedy Brumblefarf in the chest though.

    At the tower, the group engages in a pleasant conversation with some bloodthirsty Kobolds. Roscoe sneaks up to a tower window and misses a point blank shot against a flat-footed foe, prompting the kobolds to stop talking and start shooting back, and the heroes to stop talking and start running to their diminutive comrade, who falls unconscious before they arrive. (Meanwhile Pasha runs back to her master).

    The mighty Brumblefarf crashes into the door, zapping himself on a trap but failing to gain entrance. Gunther performs his priestly duties of healing the halfling, then successfully smashing the door himself, then smashing one of the kobolds inside, while Brumblefarf continues to miss. The final kobold shouts a warning to his allies underground, then leaped from the tower, only to be chased down by Duke.

    Underground in a tunnel of much poorer quality than is standard for Kobolds, the group encounters the one called “Boss,” a kobold mage wearing a fancy hat and hopped up on shrooms; and Bonnie, an unhappy boar who is digging for said shrooms while chained to two equally unhappy kobold animal handlers.

    Llosidian's attempt to Charm the animal fails, but the kobolds are so intent on their work that even the clankiest of the heroes is able to sneak into melee range before being noticed. In the ensuing chaos, Boss burns friend and foe alike, Bonnie tramples friend and foe alike, Llosidian bisects a kobold with his d6-1 Scimitar, Boss's shroom-fueled delirium keeps him on his feet after a lethal blow, and Gunther decides that grabbing Bonnie's leash is a good idea.

    When the foes are vanquished and the dust clears, the heroes find a boar-dragged Gunther at -8 and the druid has no healing spells. After seeing Boss's tenacity in battle, the heroes decide to cram a shroom down the unconscious priest's throat (after Borrowing part of his backpack), which gets him back on his feet long enough to heal 2 of his own injuries and 3 of his imaginary friends', hooray! Roscoe pockets the last shroom while the party loots the rest of the tower, has some fresh Bonnie bacon, and retires for the evening.

    Chapter 2 "From Mudhole to Kyrpra"


    The party awakes to find Brumblefarf and Roscoe gone, but they are soon joined by some colorful new companions:

    Bait, Chaotic Neutral Female Human...Fighter? Dual-weilding Large Greatswords and decked out in full plate, a strange hat, and occasionally a One-Man-Band suit. Sometimes riding in the hat is Rickven, Chaotic Neutral Halfling Wizard/Rogue. She is his Familiar. Ah. (Played by Roscoe’s player. He really wanted a humanoid mount and wasn’t high enough for leadership, so we houseruled a “Improved Familiar” for him.)

    Digos, Chaotic Neutral Human Rogue/Wizard. A compulsive trophy-hoarder with aspirations of becoming the world's greatest hypnotist. (Played by Brumblefarf’s player)

    The Old Man, Neutral Good Human (Silver) Dragon Shaman. A strange old farmer with a stick and a funny hat, who weilds a Rapier, Shield, and frosty breath when the need arises. He has forgotten his name and much of his past. (Played by a new player completely new to DnD)

    ?, ? Human Monk, who has taken a Vow of Silence but apparently seeks to serve Justice with his fists. (A veteran of older versions; didn’t take an actual Vow of Silence *feat*, just did it for flavor. Which was awkward when the majority of the early session was interacting with townsfolk, and then he had to leave to pick up his kid before the main fighting started… this was also his only session due to scheduling conflicts >_<)

    After getting partially acquainted, the tower is hailed by two kobolds who are apparently returning from a trading expedition with a bandit camp further north (which is apparently being sponsored by a mysterious dwarf named Baradel Bonebeard). Duke is again happy to chase them down as they flee (and is joined by the Monk!), forcing a surrender. Digos ties them up and drags them north to find a jail and/or the second bandit camp. The group first finds...Mudhole.

    Mudhole is a town consisting of 4 central buildings, surrounded by a few farmhouses and several miles of...mud. And turnips. The Tavern/Inn/Brewery/City Hall serves boiled/stewed/fried/roasted turnips, and turnip beer/wine/whiskey/vodka. Nothing else seems to grow in the strange mud, which collects water from the surrounding terrain, including the Kyrpra Forest to the east.

    The Kyrpra Forest was the site of a clash of epic wizards of centuries past. The raw magical energies forever changed the forest, making it a difficult place to traverse safely. Apparently the second bandit camp is within the fringe of this mysterious place, as confirmed by the cowardly Mudhole citizen, Percy.

    The group spends the night, with Digos insisting on a private room...well, private except for his Kobold prisoners, who take advantage of the lack of guards and escape overnight. Not wanting to lose the element of surprise, the group charges across the mudflats and into the forest, hoping to catch the escapees before they can warn the other camp.

    The outskirts of the forest don't seem terribly magical, with the only oddity being pine and palm trees growing alongside (and sometimes INSIDE) oak and elm. The group doesn't get too deep however, before their forward scout, Digos, despite his stealthy skills, is spotted by foes with far too many eyes to escape. The rogue finds himself at the center of a magical Web, being attacked by Goblin crossbows, slingstones, magical bolts, and spider cavalry. His companions rush to his aid, with Bait ripping him out of the web with pure strength, but the ranged warriors find that some Zombies have been hiding in the dirt at their flanks. They are quickly burned by the pyro druid.

    Despite their superior numbers and element of surprise, the goblins find themselves beaten by the superior skills of the heroes (and Duke begins his tradition of dropping foes to exactly zero health.) One spellcaster escapes with the aid of Invisibility, but the other foes are slain and looted. The Goblin camp has, among other things, a wooden pull-cart which contains the backstabbed/throatslit corpses of the Kobold escapees. Apparently the goblins annoyance at being ratted out overcame their gratitude of being warned. Digos adds a kobold head to his trophy collection, and the group heals up and spends the night in the enemy camp.

    Their sleep is interrupted by the approach of more undead; the mute monk's awareness of his surroundings alerts him soon enough to shake the others awake with time to don their armor, rekindle the fire, form a perimeter, and hide in trees/carts, as applicable. The group is once again harassed from afar by the goblin caster in the trees, but they quickly find that the undead corpses surrounding them are of higher craftmanship than the ones encountered earlier that night. Multiple heroes find themselves poisoned, diseased, and/or paralyzed by the terrible Ghasts; and Gunther, lacking 5 ranks of Knowledge Religion for the +2 bonus, fails his Turn Undead check by ONE point, before succumbing to poison, disease, paralysis, AND unconsciousness. Digos and Rickven win the firefight with the Goblin, prompting another Invisible retreat, and their shots combined with Bait and Duke's defenses are enough to rescue the others (and Duke drops another foe to exactly 0).

    A quick prayer to Olidammara prompts a giant spinning arrow to appear in the sky with the words "he went thataway"; a Natural 20 causes the arrow to stop spinning, and points down the rough trail made by the pull-cart. A chase commences, but the group quickly slows as they encounter...the Stone Face.

    50 feet tall, ancient-looking, and always facing the party no matter their direction, the cart path appears to pass through the mouth and out the other side. With dense trees making it difficult to veer around the obstruction, and a goblin escaping for the second time, the party bravely sends Bait through. She passes through unharmed, but comments in broken Common that she heard a very loud cough as she reached the center of the tunnel. A few more people pass through, also hearing the stone cough echo through their skulls, and noting that despite their flames, the walls and ceiling of the tunnel appear solid black. Oh, and the second group to pass appears on the other side, but cannot see Bait or the stragglers. And Rickven's empathic link with Bait snaps, which normally only happens if one of them is unconscious and/or over a mile from the other.

    Bait panics and rushes back through for her little halfling friend, repeating until she appears with the group yet to pass. After multiple tries, everyone except Rickven appear on the other side; Rickven decides to take the "safe" route and detour around the face entirely. As soon as he's in view of the others, everyone but Bait takes off in pursuit of the goblin before his lead increases. However, as Rickven rounds the trees and comes in view of the face itself, his skull explodes with a thundering roar, deafening him and dropping his health considerably. Apparently the face was displeased with his spurning.

    The goblin is overtaken, and dispatched with an anticlimactic arrow from Digos (who adds another head to his collection). Returning to the camp, the entire group decides to take Rickven's detour, having not seen his "turbulence" (and him having not said anything). The ones who had passed through the face once receive a slightly painful growl, but Rickven gets a second roar, which drops him to the ground with blood oozing from his ears. Gunther heals his lack of consciousness, but not his lack of hearing, which persists for several more hours. The group returns to a well-earned sleep at the goblin camp.
    [DM Note – the Face was something I came up with on the fly while trying to think of another weird magical thing to be in the forest while they chased; I expanded the idea to become a bit of a plot point once the main story started]

    Chapter 3 "The Tree, the Face, and the Monstrosity"


    Their resources drained from the previous day, the group spends a day in camp, treating each other’s’ diseases, crafting some scrolls, and recharging spells in preparation of meeting Baradel Bonebeard, who they presume is at the other end of the cartpath. However their second morning finds their group changed yet again. The Monk, Dragon Shaman, and Cleric are nowhere to be seen, but joining them are:

    Roberto, Chaotic Neutral Human Cleric, who wakes up in Gunther's bedroll wearing some of Gunther's equipment. He has no idea how he got there or where Gunther went. (hastily created character sheet to fill in for the fact that Gunther didn’t show up and didn’t tell the DM…played by Llosidian alongside the druid himself)

    Aria, Lawful Good Elven Ranger from Rickven's hometown, who shares some private news with him. (originally going to be played by Rickven’s player’s wife, but he ended up playing it instead when she decided she wouldn’t have time)

    And the return of Brumblefarf, having returned from his solo expidition for wealth and power, and abandoned in the woods by his new "subjects." He is convinced that they were not lying when they told him of a loot-filled Tower in the woods. (3 players with 2 characters each, since I statted the encounters for Gunther+Old Man+Monk, not knowing they would be no-shows. I have since started preparing multiple sets of stats, ie “The ogre has 45hp+8 per player and has 3/4/5 pet wolves” or whatnot, although sometimes they just get extra rewards for overcoming a tough fight while undermanned ^_^)

    [Also of note since I had the players level up super fast since the “real” campaign was designed for level 6, the group was under WBL at this point; so I had everyone give me a wishlist of stuff, which was looted over the course of this session]

    The group heads back to the Face (except Rickven, who stays in camp). They try chipping the walls with a hammer (nearly shattering their arms in the process), and again take several attempts to pass through and appear on the correct path, noticing that the goblins appear to have marked the trees slightly to help them know the way. Digos decides to light a campfire at the tunnel's exit, for a more noticeable marking should the group be in a hurry. Soon after the flames leap to life, Aria's keen elven ears detect the rumbling of stones, and unlike the coughs, growls, and roars from their previous encounters with the face, this noise does not originate in her own head...

    The group quickly kicks out the fire, but the rumbling continues to grow, and the ground shakes. Everyone but Digos puts some distance between themselves and the face; Digos also ends up further away, but only from being knocked aside by an invisible force. That force soon takes visible a several hundred foot tall Giant spirit rising from the Face, which even Rickven can see from camp.

    The giant stretches, rumbling "It's about damn, where's that stupid Halfling?" Again, Rickven (his hearing restored) can hear this from camp, and promptly hides. The giant squints at the group before him, recognizes a few, and rumbles "Hmm, well if you see him again, tell him I'm sorry I guess. Now, as for this..." Slowly raising a massive, ghostly fist, he shatters his stony prison, winking out of sight instantly as the shards of stone scatter across the forest.

    Uncovering their heads, the slightly battered heroes find the face is gone, leaving a circular crater in the path; and Digos quickly discovers that many of the stone shards glitter with gems. They spend some time searching the blast radius, and end up loading several hundred pounds of valuable stone into the cart, which Bait is happy to pull. Thus enriched, they continue on their path (but only after the Lawful Good Aria has a half-hour argument with Digos over him trying to add an extra stone to his trophy collection, rather than dividing the loot evenly; they eventually compromise by giving him the smallest stone of the lot, which Digos happily notes had a particularly valuable gem). [Aria’s “Paladin-ness” is the reason Digos and Brumblefarf disappear after this session…]

    The strange trees get more diverse as they plunge deeper into Kyrpra, and they also encounter magical berries that increase and decrease their physical and mental attributes, as well as chirping squirrels (the Druid is unsuccessful at Animal Empathying these strange critters). The next oddity is a clearing split by a 30 foot crevise, with corners so sharp it looks like it was cut by a massive sword from the skies, extending far out of sight in both directions. The only crossing seems to be a wooden bridge, which appears to be guarded by a humming tree.

    The treant calls out a friendly greeting, saying that he was planted there centuries ago by a man with "many roots on his face" (a beard?) who lived in "a big rock on the other side" (a house?), who ordered him to not let anyone cross that couldn't defeat him. The clever tree said that defeating him in a battle of wits would be sufficient, and asked them to answer a question that he could not answer himself; "What is the world like outside the forest?"

    The heroes give various answers, which seem to delight the tree, and he gives them small prizes he had stored in his trunk (like potions and Haversacks), and each hero takes their prize and crosses the bridge while the next hero gives their answer. Aria goes last, and spends several minutes asking the tree if there's any way she can help him see the world for himself, by talking to his master or by breaking the guardian spell themselves. He is touched by this kindness, so when she prepares to cross, he sadly holds out a limb to block her path and says, "Stop. The real over there."

    Players: o_0

    Meanwhile, at the bottom of the ravine, Digos picks himself off of the pile of bones, noticing a few things in the process. The bridge they tried to cross was apparently an illusion, which fooled the previous owners of the bones he's clambering on. He appears to be deaf, or the ravine blocks all sound entirely; presumably the latter, or his falling scream would have been heard by his allies. And his vision kept flickering, as though something invisible was passing in front of his face. Hmm.

    More heroes fall into the ravine, with various amounts of success of finding nonpainful landing sites. They soon realize that Bait, with her fullplate, greatswords, and cart full of hundreds of pounds of rocks will soon be overhead, and they frantically signal each other to not stand at the anticipated impact zone. They also learn that the flickers are caused by a giant Chameleon, flicking his long poisonous tongue at their eyes to blind them. With the Silence zone making their ears useless as well, it takes them quite a while to hack the thing to pieces (especially when it climbs the walls out of axe range, but Brumblefarf is pretty good at jumping apparently), and they manage to avoid most of the rocks when Bait joins them. Thankfully the treant is too touched by Aria's desire to help him, and is not helping the chameleon as he normally does.

    Roberto finds a Robe of Useful Items on one of the corpses (which was from Gunther’s wishlist), which among other things contains three Ladders. Useful! Clambering out of the pit, they give the treant a stern talking to, but he is bound by his master's spell, and they did indeed fail to defeat his battle of wits (the real battle was knowing that the bridge was not so obvious!). Aria still wants to help and convinces Brumblefarf not to axe the poor enslaved tree, and the group continues.

    [Great line from Brumblefarf/Digos’s player while in the ravine: “Guys, how did the GOBLINS figure this out and we couldn’t?” (truthfully some of the bones in the pit were from the Goblins who didn’t figure it out in time :P )]

    They quickly find the "rock" that the bearded man lived in, which is a crumbling mansion that has been abandoned (and looted) for many years. The group spends the night to recharge the spells spent slaying the chameleon; they are in no hurry to reach Baradel apparently. Leaving the mansion the next morning, they find more magic berries, more strange trees, and then find dying trees; around a small mountain that stinks of corpses, the palm/pine/oak/elm/doonkleberry trees appear to be rather unhealthy. Inside, the group finds goblin-sized sleeping quarters, Ghast-sized tombs, and dozens of traps designed to slice intruders to bits while opening the Ghast tombs (and casting Fear spells to send them running across the traps rather than disarming or avoiding them!). Thankfully the rogues are able to handle most of them, and the Ghasts are not in the tombs, having been hacked to bits at the goblin camp 2 nights ago. They are startled by a laughing dwarven voice echoing through the cavern, telling them "Take all the time you need!". The second time this occurs, they recognize it as a magical recording. Is Baradel even there?

    Past the traps and illusion-covered door, they find two more rooms. One appears to be Baradel's bedroom, which also contains his journal. It tells a ghastly tale of his undead experiments, overseen by the mysterious "EL," and how the *shudder* LIVING goblins he had hired to supply him with corpses and supplies, were defeated by some disruptive hoodlums. His masterpiece must be ready in time! Dun dun dun...

    The other room was sealed by a huge, dented door. Inside was the dwarf's workshop; sitting in the corner, munching on a leg, was what was presumably Baradel's masterpiece: the Monstrosity. 15 feet of undead flesh, stitched and magic'd together from dozens of corpses, with 4 arms and 3 heads (one of which was on an arm). A slightly chewed head on the ground appeared to be Bonebeard himself; his rush to finish his creation made him unable to control it. The rest of the workshop was smashed and stained with corpse juices, as the Monstrosity apparently spent the past few days eating all of his siblings. Yum.

    Duke is the first one in the room, and finds the ponderous pile of flesh to be a rather easy target. He also finds that the thing gives off even worse poisonous fumes than the Ghasts, and that it is capable of backhanding the dog for 80% of his max health. Duke and Llosidian both yelp. Bait and Brumblefarf both bravely enter melee with the thing, while the others attempt to snipe from a distance and/or heal Duke. Aria's hatred of undead fuels some very powerful arrows, but undead flesh is notoriously resistant to piercing, and she rolls 3 natural ones. Rickven's Searing Rays burn vast chunks of flesh off, and he uses the hallways (and his allies!) to stay at a safe distance for most of the fight. Complicating matters is the appearance of a few ghosts drawn to the commotion, whose wails send the heroes stumbling into walls (or Monstrosity arms).

    The carnage continues. One of the Monstrosity's arms fires magical bolts at Rickven, but Brumblefarf makes a mighty leap and chops the offending limb asunder. Two of the Ghosts are Turned by Roberto, granting his allies much more control over their own movement. The Monstrosity uses its remaining limbs and heads to smash and poison everything it can reach, and also vomits some of its previous meals [it was able to swallow a lot of corpses while the heroes spent so many nights sleeping }:) ] to glue his victims to the ground. Horrifically it also manages to grab Digos with two of its arms, pinning him against one of his heads, which begins draining his blood. Digos's max health drops to NINE by the end of the fight, with current health at -8. Roberto charges in and attempts to heal his ally, but the Monstrosity's movement causes Roberto to Cure the undead instead, ironically delivering the final blow. The group quickly applies additional heals to Digos and pull him from the puddle of Monstrous flesh.

    Grouping up for the return of the Ghosts (except Digos, who stumbles across the hall and hides in the late Baradel's bed), they find the spirits' tactics have changed with no Monstrosity to assist them. Rather than herding the living into monstrous jaws, they combine their ghostly wails in an echoing chorus of destruction, blasting the clustered heroes and knocking Aria's hawk unconscious instantly. The heroes had enough time to heal, buff, and summon themselves enough strength to withstand the assult, destroying the ghosts with no additional casualties.

    Finding an unsmashed locker in the corner, the heroes help themselves to Baradel's wealth (that which wasn't already digested by the Monstrosity; anything Baradel was wearing himself was beyond salvaging), and return to the crumbling mansion for another night's rest.
    Last edited by turbo164; 2014-12-10 at 03:46 PM.

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 4 "Welcome to Tealport!"


    [All 5 players are back, and final-ish characters are decided on]
    Awaking at the mansion, they find that Brumblefarf, Digos, Roberto, and Rickven have departed, though some may have been more intentional than others (half of the rocks are gone, along with Digos's trophy collection which had expanded with a kobold head, goblin head, chameleon eye, and Monstrosity arm in addition to the rock). Gunther and Old Guy have reappeared, and after some catching up, the group crosses the (real!) bridge to talk to the tree. They tell him the root-faced man in the rock appears to have died many years ago (Llosidian thoughtfully suggests that he blew himself up with his own magic, so the treant never failed in his duties), and using Llosidian's druidic magic and the group's collective nature knowledge, they enable the tree to unroot itself! It is quite grateful, but unused to its mobility so they continue without him after suggesting he go check out Mudhole where the people are quite nice and the ground is soft. After leaving the forest it occurs to them that if their directions were unclear, the tree may end up walking to the logging town of New Leafhaven. The group reeeally hopes they don't see any chairs with Treant faces being sold up north...

    Returning to Mudhole, they relate their adventures over some Turnip Beer, meeting a new ally at the Tavern/Inn/Brewery/City Hall:

    Gort, “Neutral Good” (drifts toward Chaotic Neutral throughout the campaign) Dwarf Fighter/Crusader. A dwarf so dwarfy he wears STONE armor! Played by Brumblefarf/Digos's player for someone more "heroic" (and who would hopefully spend less time arguing with the Ranger, heh)

    Llosidian is also eager to use his Druidic magic (upgraded by their encounters in the forest) to grow some new plants in Mudhole! Sadly the townsfolk gave up on non-turnip seeds years ago, and don't have anything to plant at the moment. The group offers to head north to Tealport (where the Turnip goods are traded for non-turnip goods) and return with seeds. The grateful townsfolk supply the heroes with several wineskins of top-vintage turnip wine.

    They have a surprisingly uneventful weeklong journey to Tealport. Their first order of business is to sell their loot from their Kyrpra adventure (at least, the loot that wasn't carried off by former party members, purposefully or not!). Gunther finds a surprisingly high price for his share of the face-rocks with a rather desparate man in a back alley, rather than the reputable jewelry emporium; but his lottery plan has less success(Prize: “Become my minion!” *townsfolk start picking up rocks…). Llosidian finds a fellow druid who agrees to take seeds and magic to Mudhole, eager to see this natural anomoly for himself.

    Gort meets some friendly fellow dwarves at an armor shop, who become even friendlier after being treated to a night of booze at the ritzy Red Sun Inn, rather than the cheaper Belly Up. Their night of revelry is interrupted by a frantic old man named Fazeel, who was chased by ruffians and rats into the sewers, where he lost an amulet that he claims is key to his love's heart. The heroes quickly agree to assist him, especially after he explains his distrust of the "Peace of Mind" security company, who he claims cause as many problems as they solve...

    After a quick discussion of rats with a mushroom vendor, the group descends into the sewers, frying, freezing, and chopping various sized vermin as they go. After disposing of a large group, they are startled by a man running toward them hollering "That weren't no rat!!!" Dun dun duuun!

    Chapter 5 "The Weren'tNoRat"


    (Aria’s player is missing, and in what becomes a running gag, we say she “ate a Kyrpra berry and poofed away.”)
    The flustered man introduces himself as Boro, explaining he and his friends encountered a giant "lizard rat with antennae". Wracking their brains for a creature to match that description, the heroes decide the most likely culprit is the dreaded Rust Monster. Borrowing some metal bait from Boro (and promising to return what they can to him at the Belly Up), they descend deeper into the sewers.

    As the tunnel reaches a natural cavern, a scrabbling noise is heard from within, and several of Boro's friends are found on the ground, slain. Interestingly, one has an unrusted, uneaten sword... the group readies themselves, and toss a dagger into the cavern as bait. The scrabbling stops; they have the beast's attention...

    Gunther begins the battle by calling upon a Celestial beetle for assistance. The magical creature appears, giving the party a brief glimpse of the not-rat as it devours the beetle in seconds, sucking down its magical aura in addition to its flesh. It appears this "rust monster" has an unexpected diet; magic, not metal. Gort quickly drops his wooden club to heft his metal axe once more, but his blade has difficulty reaching the creature as it bounds from floor to ceiling, biting chunks of arcane and divine power from the supernaturally gifted members of the party.

    As crossbow bolts and javelins puncture the creature, Gunther unfurls the very ladder Roberto used to escape the Chameleon chasm, propping it against a wall to provide a path to the beast. The Dragon Shaman, lacking wings, stumbles in his attempt to ascend, but Duke charges past his two-legged ally and clamps his jaws around the not-rat, dragging them both to the ground!

    As the creature becomes more injured, it resorts to expelling previous meals to try to apprehend his current one. Waves of partially digested magic wash over the party, entangling and recoloring them. It is still overwhelmed by their prowess, eventually retreating through Llosidian's field of fungus to the tunnel, but finally meeting its end at the fangs of a summoned Dire Bat. In another dimension, a blizzard cuts the celebration short... (real-life weather meant some people had to leave while the roads were still drivable)

    Chapter 6 "A Dangerous Toy and a Pile of Gems"


    With the ground thawed, the heroes have a chance to examine the cavern. Aria is still missing, but the others are able to find some interesting things regardless. The beast's belly exploded with more magic when cut open, but also contained a not-quite-yet-digested jewel that appeared to have a fondness for Gort. A hole in the wall that the beast was scrabbling at contained a rats nest, filled with the usual filth; but also several dozen gems, with magic oozing from the entire pile making it difficult to determine their properties. Gunther's Robe of Useful Items provided a pole to reach all the grimy goodies, which included the missing necklace! Tying the bodies of Boro's friends to the ladder, the group exits the tunnels, back to the fresh sea air of Tealport (and a surprised mushroom vendor!).

    Boro is found at the Belly Up, drunk and telling tall tales of his “brave” exploits. The elf drags him outside, where he sheepishly loots his former comrades. The temple of Elhanna accepts the bodies, to rejoin the circle of life in their gardens. [And no guards ever noticed them dragging the corpseladder through the streets. I rolled for it hehe]

    With that taken care of, the next order of business is returning the necklace, but suspicions have been raised about its magical nature. Fazeel is found at his toy shop, and as the conversation progresses he becomes increasingly frantic and unstable. The heroes attempts to soothe him are unsuccessful, as is his attempt to wrench the amulet from their hands; he dashes back into his shop, bringing several of his creations to life in an attempt to take his prize by force.

    While the heroes fend off the cheerful murderous constructs, Duke latches on to the man's arm, preventing further magic. The group tries to mercifully knock the man unconscious, but his last-ditch effort causes the amulet to shatter, awakening a very large "toy" in the back. Rather than defending his creator, however, the golem vaporizes the evil man with a beam of shimmering light. The group cautiously welcomes the metal man to follow them, dubbing him Burton, after a colorful wizard from another age. [the guy from Reading Rainbow, since he was awakened by multicolored jewelry and used Rainbow Beam to fry the evil toymaker]

    *Burton – Warforged Factocum, Cohort of Gunther.

    Fazeel’s journal reveals an unhealthy obsession with a woman working at the Peace of Mind, with the golem being his plan to “rescue” her by force. After an eventful night, the party retires to the Red Sun, with Gort stopping to get his armor re-cleaned (and his tankard refilled!) with the dwarves, recounting his adventures in the process. They recommend an elf named "Brefadus or something, wizards and their syllables!" to identify their remaining magical jewelry. Heeding this advice, the group finds Beredinfalas at the Raven's Eye shop, where the elven mage is flabbergasted at the sight of 3 sewer-fragranced customers and a clean dwarf! (and also a metal man, which seems less surprising).

    Despite repeatedly preaching the superiority of his scholarly profession to the lesser, brutal vocations of non-wizards, Beredinfalas proves to be very qualified in his field and explains (and de-grimes) all of the jewelry with perfect accuracy. The majority of the gems are sold to the wizard himself (including all 4 pearls, 2 of which are real Pearls of Power to assist in arcane spellcasting, while the other two are the same run-of-the-mill junk that sailors drag into his shop every day), but a few are kept to empower the heroes, and a few new items are purchased as well.

    Leaving the shop, the group heads to the office of the City Guard, to see if there's anything they can assist with. The terse Hobgoblin behind the desk, Sergeant Thesso, is not very helpful, but the group again gets the impression that the Peace of Mind are truly running the town. Deciding to head there next, the group is interrupted by two things. First, a familiar horse appears with a slightly less familiar man; it is Pont and Pasha once again! Pont had left Mudhole shortly after the heroes, after a fellow villager named Garup returned from the Kyrpra Forest with news of a fantastic discovery: a temple from the lost Zuura civilization! Garup's nephew Ansom is returning to the city by ship to assist his uncle, estimated to arrive in about a week.

    The other interruption is a vision, sent to Gunther by his patron Olidamara himself. After seeing a giant golden coin, adorned with a skull on one side and the Peace of Mind logo on the other, fall to the ground and land on its side...he interprets it as encouragement to preach repentance to the former believers of the shady company. A disbelieving Llosidian boldly asks for proof of the vision, and is rewarded with the sight of his wolf companion changed to a barking cat with a pink ribbon. Duke eventually turns to normal (but only at the most amusing moment available, thanks to the Laughing God).

    Gunther delivers his divine message to an unconvinced employee. The rest of the group attempts to contact Fazeel's "love" Jezella, but receive conflicting information of her whereabouts. The Old Man flexes his acting muscles by appearing to be a bashful admirer of hers (and a less creepy one than Fazeel), but fares no better. They exit the office...
    Last edited by turbo164; 2014-12-16 at 03:05 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 7 "The Hydra Sermon, and Consequences"


    In a flash of Kyrpra magic, a leaf-covered Aria meets the group outside. After some catching up (and introductions with Burton), they are hailed from a (guarded!) alley by a secretive woman who turns out to be Jezella. After expressing exasperation at being sought by a second old man, she explains the Peace of Mind company in a bit more detail. Much of their bad reputation has been earned after they took in some EL members some months ago; Llosidian and Aria recognize the name as the same group that helped Bonebeard craft his Monstrosity! This does not bode well.

    With the EL gaining strength and calling the shots, Peace of Mind began losing money, employees, customers, and boats to the flood of exotic creatures being shipped in and carted off "somewhere to the north." With Captain Tyrus and Lieutenant Illoro still out of town from an ominous meeting at the capital (a sign of potential war in the future), no one in the city has the strength to oppose the EL. She has managed to acquire some information on future events, however, and suggests that after the next wagon leaves in 2 days, that two nights after that most of the company will be supervising a special shipment at the docks, and if the heroes wanted to make a move, they would rarely find a better opportunity to enter the building themselves. The group also considers ambushing the wagon as it leaves, but have trouble finding allies to assist. In the meantime, there seem to be several more escaped creatures on the loose from an incident a few days ago, and the city would be safer if they were found.

    After some asking around, Aria finds a dock worker less tight-lipped than his coworkers, who shows the group some hastily-hidden broken crates from the incident (and then promptly takes his reward money to the Belly Up tavern). Duke and Aria's tracking skills confirm that one of the crates held the magic-eating monster from before, as well as at least one other escapee in the sewers, which turns out to be a Hydra. Gort's fervent new fighting skills prove valuable at evading the hundreds of teeth seeking his flesh, and the beast falls with minimal injuries to the heroes. Now, what to do with 4,000 pounds of monstrous flesh? Drag it through the streets, what else? [to make it easier to move, they removed a few hundred pounds of entrails first; the Monster Manual is slightly lacking in weight values for monster organs, so I Google'd some cattle numbers and rolled some dice :S ]

    Leaving a trail of blood, sewage, slammed windows and curious onlookers, the heroes plop the fragrant remains on the very doorstep of the Peace of Mind office, and the devout priest of Olidamara (with some assistance from his friends!) fires up a small crowd with a stirring sermon on the evils of the Peace of Mind and their animal trafficking. The office remains closed, but the action finally attracts the notice of the previously oblivious city guard, who take statements and prepare to clear the street. After tossing this rock at the hornet's nest, the group cheerfully heads back to the Red Sun for a night of armor cleaning, drinking (the elf invites Garrup but is rebuffed, leaving him with only the dwarves to share a table), and peaceful sleep.

    ...The sleep is first interrupted by a note-wrapped dagger at their window, thrown by an incredulous Jezella. Their stunt has certainly got the EL's attention, and the wagon left ahead of schedule (containing remains harvested from both of the slain escapees). A plastered Gort explains their logic at the toy shop, while draining Gunther's turnip wine. Jezella relates what recon she managed to gather about the remaining EL forces, then quickly heads back to the office before her absence is noticed. The heroes return to bed for a second attempt at peaceful sleep.

    ...Which is secondly interrupted by a poisoned dagger in the chest for Gort, planted by a man matching Jezella's description of the eyepatched "leader" of the EL. The eyepatch hides an even darker secret, paralyzing the dwarf. Burton opens the door just in time to see both victim and attacker fade away, seeming to use ethereal magic rather than mere invisibility. He hollers (and whistles!) for the others, who search the room in vain. Grabbing some of their friend's possessions, they rush to the temple of Elhanna, finding a priest capable of Scrying upon his location. After a tense hour, they are only able to discern that he is tied up in a room with some boxes, with muffled voices (and growls!) nearby. During the casting, Llosidian also finds Jezella's head (and that of one of her loyal coworkers) has been tossed into the toy shop, with no sign of her body or her murderer. The priest is only willing to aid them further with some temporary empowerment spells, and with that the incomplete group rushes to the Peace of Mind office, desperate to rescue their friend.

    The building is shut tight. Burton analyzes the back door, and is able to overcome both a lightning trap and a lock. The heroes charge in, and find several EL members have been expecting them. The rearguard is no match for their righteous fury, however, as a cloaked man with an axe and an unnatural arm is slain before he can use either, and a limber Gnoll is bleeding as he leaps from the room (using Gunther as a springboard). The old man catches an enormous green fist with his face as he follows, discovering a bulky orc and a scaled halfling in the next room. As the forces converge, a familiar eyepatched man enters the room, afflicting several heroes with the same paralyzing magic that cursed Gort. The EL fight viciously, but several drop and the heroes are still on their feet. Meanwhile, the background growls rise to a roar...

    A ferocious beast crashes into the room; its bearish and owlish features match that of the already strange Owlbear (and one of the animated toys used by Fazeel), but its eyes have been replaced by antennae, and four monstrous spider legs extend from its shoulders alongside its feathered bear claws. It quickly snatches Llosidian into a crushing embrace, wraps him in webbing and hurls him painfully into the wall, reaching for a new victim. The eyepatched man also takes this opportunity to plant a dagger in the elf's back, but his attempt to fade away is interrupted by Gunther's famous demon-slaying mace. His head crushed while between worlds, his body flickers briefly before splattering the walls with bits of multicolored flesh. The lone owlbeast fails to enwrap the old man, and falls to an arrow to the throat launched by the mighty bow-arm of Aria.

    A quick glance at the room confirms all six foes are dead, and loaded with useful equipment, and some currency shines next to an ominous list. But what is in the boxes, and where is their dwarven friend?
    [This was a very high level encounter, as I assumed they would fight the EL in smaller groups later on. As a reward, everyone earned a custom feat.]

    Chapter 8 "Boxes and Beyond"


    Gort is found bloody and bound in a nearby storage room. After some healing, he stumbles back to the inn to sleep off the attack (and the booze). His comrades scout the building, discovering that someone or something hastily left through the front door, but the rest of the building seems empty aside from the boxes and other furniture. Re-locking the doors and placing a "Health Violation" ward on the front, the party rests to recover their strength for the boxes, and the explaining they'll have to do to the guards.

    With Gort still snoozing, the others inspect the list more closely; it catalogs a number of beasts with checkmarks (presumably successful deliveries), some marked "Corpse Recovered" (such as the Hydra from the previous night), some marked MIA (including a Doppleganger and a Blue Dragon), and some unmarked entirely (a Dire Crocodile and a Black Dragon). Fearing what may be in the boxes (especially when several radiate magic), the group contacts the Guard, who after a rather hectic Hydra night aren't too happy to see them...but they're even less happy to see the monstrous criminals that had brought the hydra in the first place. The party is deputized by the hobgoblin sergeant, whose attitude toward them has greatly improved. Attempts to identify the "alterations" on the corpses reveal Lizardfolk scales on the halfling, Phase Spider bits on the dimension-hopping eyepatch man, and an unidentified soul-draining arm on the first villain to fall; Gunther quickly removes this threat with some acid. They also feel it's safe to inspect a desk too small to hold any dragons; alongside some gems and potions, there are some mundane-looking papers, with a hint of magic...

    Returning to the Raven's Eye shop (after a quick bath at the inn!), they manage to knock the wizard's ego down a few notches with several items he is unable to identify! One of the gems radiates magic so strong as to blind those able to sense its aura, and some of the potions seem to be a mixture of too many magical effects to narrow down. The magical papers have a coded message hidden in the border, which the scholar begins deciphering.

    The gem is powerful enough that he recommends the enigmatic "Jack" take a look at it. The Old Man's arcane trivia reveals that "Anywhere Jack" is a travelling merchant who has been seen in many lands for many years, always with an inventory of obscure and powerful treasures. Also of note is his willingness to sell items on credit so long as you're willing to owe him a "favor." This last fact makes the group cautious, but they encourage their local wizard to contact the man.

    Gort finally awakens, and after some breakfast (and a bill for the noise last night, with the bartender not finding his kidnapping story believable), he heads to his dwarven smith friends to modify his trusty axe with the deadly new axehead looted from the EL. With the entire group rested and reassembled, and ready to open boxes! Some are empty, some hold coins, and one holds a nice painting. The beast-sized crates contain an interesting tale, as Jezella's headless body is found with her headless companion, but her sword is also found embedded in the throat of an enormous, poison-leaking Lizardfolk, plus a less venomous but more pointy EL corpse. Apparently Jezella was able to go out fighting; her Pyrrhic victory gave the heroes a massive advantage in their nighttime rescue, not having to face the choking fumes of the hulking reptile at the same time as the mysterious eyepatch and friends.

    [DM note: after the Hydra stunt, I rolled a crapton of on-the-fly dice to see how the NPCs would react, then if Jezella would get caught visiting the party, then if she took down any EL with her, then *which* EL she killed. The Lizardfolk was definitely one of the luckiest foes for her to remove from the equation (and numbers-wise, her offscreen fight would have needed a LOT of crits for her to win lol, hence finding the sword embedded in his throat)]

    The magical boxes also prove interesting. A silver statue depicting a large man wrestling a shark looks quite valuable (though heavy) on its own, and radiates Enchantment besides. The final box contains a beautiful shield of brass and mithril that looks very strong...but also radiates raw heat. Oh Mr. Wizard...!

    Returning to the Raven's Eye, the group discovers that the statue is of Captain Orca, who owns the Belly Up tavern, while the painting belongs to the Red Sun. The shield has no obvious owner, and the wizard discovers that the heat is produced by a creature trapped inside the shield! With a book fetched by his Raven, Rook, he is able to confirm the occupant is a legendary Phoenix. Excited by the opportunity, he offers to free the creature at no charge if the party can acquire the necessary materials; while he has many already, to create a proper nest for the mystical beast's rebirth, several rare woods are needed. The lumber company supplied by New Leafhaven happens to have most in stock (and is willing to lower prices for this publicity stunt!), the wood of the mighty Towercap is not easily found by those working in the "safe" borders of Kyrpra. Perhaps some can be found while visiting the temple with Garup and Anson?

    [the shield was extremely powerful for characters of this level, but they left it at the shop for safekeeping instead of using it in combat >_< I think they were afraid of it catching on fire or something, but it actually gave fire resistance among other things…]

    Garup meanwhile has heard of the heroics and generosity of the group, and reluctantly agrees that they are trustworthy enough to accompany him on his family business once Anson arrives in a few more days. The painting is returned, and while returning the statue Gort has an enjoyable afternoon at the Belly Up, meeting the boisterous Captain Orca in person, sampling the cheap but solid food and booze, bargaining with the always entertaining drunkard Jaren, and glimpsing the beauty of of a sea-loving woman named Isthmus. He keeps his room at the Red Sun but expresses interest in returning. [had he returned, Orca would have let him win the magical statue in a drinking contest…it’s funny how often loot gets left behind when other times players are trying to sell random body parts and chunks of floor! No one tries to talk to any of the Peace Of Mind employees either, as they were happy to be rid of the unprofitable but unfireable EL and had a few trinkets to give]

    Gort's afternoon grows less fun however, as after the wizard decodes the magical papers ("We are sending more men with the next shipment. Please don't waste these." and "Yes, proceed with the temple operation."), he volunteers the observation that the dwarf is far more magical than he was at their first meeting. He has faint auras similar to those of the unidentified potions, as well as a hefty dose of Enchantment and Divination. The source of the divination is narrowed down (with the help of some wine) to a small crystal embedded in his chest with the knife wounds. A visit to Pelor's temple (with the help of some wine) painfully removes the object, which is identified as a scrying aid. The party quickly takes the bloody shard outside of town to shatter with a hammer; but who was on the other end, and how much did they learn in the meantime?

    Soon after, Captain Tyrus returns to town, with his nervous lieutenant in tow. After being briefed on the situation, he asks to see the EL's list of monsters, and quickly theorizes that there will soon be a Black Dragon arriving on a boat...the party concurs, and asks some allies for help. Captain Orca (armed with statue!) and the Druid from Elhanna's Temple answer the call. The Old Man disguises himself for stakeout duty at the docks, noticing nothing out of the ordinary. Overnight, Tyrus quietly informs the party that the meeting he was called to at the capital was to warn the officers about infernal energies building up in the northeastern Kyrpra forest, and to provide them with a supply of Holy Water to bring back to Tealport. This (un?)fortunately is the quietest part of the evening, as no dragon-filled boat ever shows up! The next night is equally quiet...

    Fearing that the Dragon boat has shifted course thanks to the scrying crystal (and hearing nothing from Jack), the party waits for Anson's ship instead. After a brief introduction, they buy some horses and rush to the woods. Is the "temple operation" referring to the unguarded one in the woods, or the local shrines to Pelor and Elhanna?

    Having become used to the strange trees (though keeping their eyes open for Towercaps), the party's first few days are otherwise uneventful, especially with Garup leading them around the most dangerous areas. [DM note: Garup *could* have been convinced to lead the party to the temple without waiting for Ansom, but depending on how they did so, he would have led them into far more dangerous territory and tried to ditch them.] The first surprise comes from a boat embedded front-first into the ground, with fresh wood toward the bow and mossy barnacles toward the stern. Skittering noises inside cut the investigation short, and several monstrous scorpions emerge as the group attempts to depart. Despite their size and appearance, the pests are quickly dispatched (and the Druid loots some stingers, hoping to use them in Alchemy later).

    Chapter 9 "Fighting Flaming Orcs for Fun and Profit"


    In a flash, Gort is replaced by Aria. In this forest, not unexpected.

    Further investigation of the outside of the boat uncovers no new information, so the group bravely sends Duke to investigate the inside. The loyal wolf takes one step, yips, and leaps backward. Where's the stone dwarf when you need him? Guess the elf woman goes next. Luckily, Gunther first decides to light her way with a glowing coin...which falls upward. Well that would explain the dog's confusion!

    Aria, anchored by a sturdy rope, begins her upward descent. The ship seems somewhat empty, but contains some usual clutter, and some remains from the scorpions' meals. At the back/top of the ship, three chests are discovered, which the elf stows in her backpack to open on the ground. One appears full of coins from all over the world; one of slightly tarnished silverware; and one of several dozen golden pearls. Nice things to find in the woods! Aria also remembers to look for a Towercap tree from the heights of the boat, and luckily spots one towering to the northeast; slightly off the course of Garup's route to the temple, but probably their best chance.

    After making camp, the woodsy elves rush to the tree, skillfully avoiding the snares of the undergrowth. The massive tree is a sight to behold, and thankfully is surrounded by enough fallen branches that no axes are needed. (one branch even holds a seed pod!) On the way back, they notice that a tree has un-fallen since their first trip; the druid allows a branch to be cut from this miraculous plant, which grows several feet by the time they return to camp. Sadly the growth eventually stops, stymieing their plans for infinite wood.

    Garup continues to guide the party past the most dangerous sections of the forest, which seem to have not changed much since his original journey. Is that a good or bad sign? Regardless, the temple is reached on the expected day...but someone has got there first. A sentry that strongly resembles the EL Gnoll from the Peace of Mind office is on the front steps. Utilizing the trees for cover, the heroes unleash a volley of fire and wooden missiles, dropping the creature before it can cry out. Despite their stealth, someone inside still hears the body fall, so the group rushes forward before any more foes become roused.

    Shrugging off some poison dart traps protecting the entryway, the group charges into a room full of enemies. The scout appears to have been the out-of-breath Kobold archer at the front of the room, as a group of pick-wielding men and zombies is still advancing from the back wall. A kobold mage and an orc swordsman also ready themselves to defend their claim. The heroes act quickly however, blasting all but one of the miners before they can even react, and scare the wounded archer into a poorly chosen escape route, killing him as well.

    The frustrated mage casts his first spell, surrounding himself and his two remaining allies with a shield of flames. He and the orc stagger out of the grease and flaming hailstones the heroes have launched, then begin their counterattack. The mage manages a blast of fire before falling to Aria's arrows...and his body is consumed in another fireblast. Looks like that shield he cast earlier does more than just defend! The heroes cautiously detonate the last of the miners before focusing on the orc.

    The orc is in no hurry to explode however; displaying skill with a shield, he ducks and weaves under Aria's arrows, and the blows that strike his flesh seem not to bother him. Meanwhile his massive sword chops considerable chunks from his foes, particularly the Old Man whose frosty breath has caused considerable damage to the orc's former allies. There's enough healing magic to keep the man on his feet however, and the only life lost was the orc, going down swinging with a toothy grin on his face (followed by fire.)

    With just a moment to catch their breath, what will the group find in the temple?
    Last edited by turbo164; 2015-11-23 at 11:47 AM.

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 10 “Snakes…why did it have to be Snakes?”


    As the smoke clears, the heroes are happy to see their dwarven friend hustling from the woods. With the group reunited, stories (and loot!) are swapped. Gort hasn't felt the same since his unpleasant evening with the EL, but stoically declines to tell the group. Aria's share of the loot alerts her to the fact that the "pearls" the group found earlier were scorpion eggs; a quick stomping session leaves her with a lighter backpack and a slimy shoe.

    Turning their attention to the temple, they find some broken statues, and walls covered in carvings; the words are of an archaic language none of them recognize, but assume to be the native tongue of the Zuura. Snakes feature prominently in the artwork (which prompts Garup to mention that the people supposedly worshiped snakes), but not much information can be gleaned. The miners apparently were tunneling through a secret door; what they were searching for is unknown (the EL Gnoll had some gems in his bag from somewhere) but one of the miners set aside a curious jar with a snake head sculpted onto the lid...which promptly begins vibrating. And glowing slightly. And glowingly slightly more when the dwarf hurls it against the wall, cracking it.

    The snake moves, then speaks, asssking them if they were Zsssuura. When the party explains the Zuura had been missing for centuries, the snake's voice softens, and his appearance shifts to a different reptile, which to the Old Man, resembles a Silver Dragon! They exchange words in Draconic, then Common, each gaining some information from the other. The dragon learns of the party's encounters with the EL, and is able to finally enlighten them to the source of those initials: the Enhanced Legion. He also explains, apologetically, that he caused the Zuura's worship of snakes; as wishing to avoid revealing his true form, he took the shape of a snake long ago to help the Zuura's king. After learning how much this influenced their culture, the dragon created the jar, to speak to them in snake form and make sure they didn't try to call for future divine interventions with things like human sacrifice. But that was long ago, and the jar had been silent for years; not even he knows what happened to the Zuura. But he agrees to the group's suggestion to take the jar with them, providing advice where needed (such as translating the ancient language!), with hope to meet in the flesh later after he takes care of some things in his area of the northern forest.

    With the jar carefully packed, the group plunges deeper into the temple. The Old Man puts his disguise skills and silver tongue to use after more miners are discovered; but by tripping a trap that a real miner should have known about, his cover is blown. Thankfully the remaining miners lack the strength of the flaming orc, and surrender after a single casualty, confessing that the EL hired them (at rather high wages!) to come to the dangerous forest and dig for "something," no questions asked or stories told. The dwarf doesn't trust the orc or his kobold coworkers, but Aria hires them for double wages to continue digging while the party searches.

    The third major room raises some eyebrows; the black obelisk that could be seen from outside (which Garup claims was not there a few weeks ago) appears to have cut cleanly through the ancient temple, and its unnaturally smooth obsidian walls contain the remains of a battle between the EL and miners versus a group of creatures of fire and stone. The opposite wall holds a door leading to a dark spiral staircase...whiiich can be looked at later. But perhaps not too much later, as the center of the ground floor holds an ominous hourglass that looks to expire in two days. Would the tower disappear as mysteriously as it appeared? Hmm.

    The back room is featureless aside from a massive, rune-covered door. The dragon appears unavailable to answer the jar, and the party can't decipher much on their own...but it appears to be a sealing spell of some sort, and one too powerful for Gunther to dispel. His attempt does draw attention to the mouth of a snake carving however, which fails to open to Gort's hammer but appears to have a slot to fit a gem-shaped object. Remembering the bag the Gnoll had, the group carefully inserts several gems, getting blasted by any Rubies attempted but finally succeeding with an Emerald. Gunther continues his streak of successfully opening doors, and the party begins exploring...

    The chamber matches the shape Llosidian discovered through divination; an 80 by 80 room with no other exits. A round stone slab, covered in runes, occupies the center; bones of squirrels and other small animals litter the corners, along with some scraps of rather large snake skin; and only a small crack in the ceiling provides light, aside from torches and a glowing coin from Gunther. The group carefully inspects the piles, walls, and slab, leaving only Gunther and Burton at the door...who hear a swishing noise overhead. A potentially snakelike swishing noise. Coming from that stream of descending dust...which is moving toward the hallway...

    Alerting each other, the group pursues, but smacks into an invisible wall; based on the magic words that were whispered, it appears to be a powerful arcane force effect. Gunther's stone magic gets him around the barrier, but his detour causes him to lose sight of the invisible creature, which apparently grabbed a Kobold snack on its way out. The force wall eventually dissipates, and the trackers of the group are able to follow the blood trail to the remaining chunks of kobold, dumped at the base of a tree with burning green letters emblazoned upon the bark. Using what they've learned of the language, they assume the message to read: "Thanks."

    Deciding that further pursuit would be a waste of time, the group heads back to the obelisk, hoping to discover its secrets before the hourglass runs out; Ansom, Garup, and the miners continue exploring the rest of the temple. The second floor of the tower resembles a darker version of the first, but the hourglass there gives a scant 10 seconds after the door is opened! The party bravely dashes to the opposite door, but it fails to open like the others. The entrance slams shut before they can return, and a grinding noise rumbles from the ceiling...

    Chapter 11 “The Obsidian Tower”


    Trapped, the heroes search the darkened room, noticing a slight wedge shape cut into the otherwise smooth ceiling. After a few seconds, the wedge opens, and a quartet of dog-sized roaches descends. The pests are dispatched with minor difficulty, but after another period of ceiling grinding, a pair of larger bugs descend to avenge their brethren. They bite a little harder, but are also squished quickly. The rumbling ceiling next disgorges a single monstrous roach, nearly twenty feet long! But even its tough shell is swiftly punctured. The ceiling rumbles for the fourth and final time...dropping half a 40 foot bug with a splat. As the doors open, the heroes scratch their heads until Burton deduces that each wave had twice the size but half the population of the previous. Whoever built this room had a sense of humor, or was bad at math.

    The door leads to another staircase that spirals around the previous room, leading to the entrance of the third floor. The door opens to reveal a similar but brighter room, also with a mere 10 second hourglass. It is at this moment that the dwarf blocks the door and recommends sticking a ladder through the door. Cramming several minutes of debate into 10 seconds, the group eventually agrees...and the ladder is cleanly severed. And apparently a 12 foot ladder failed to complete the third floor's challenge, because the tower teleports the group to the now-reset first floor door, several hours later. Ouch...

    Rushing through the elementals and cockroaches, the party returns to the third floor and hustle into the room. This one is distinguished by a large rune-inscribed triangle on the floor, which soon produces a stone golem. The golem bashes the heroes a bit, but is soon chipped to rubble. The triangle next summons what appears to be a golem made of...scrolls? The scraps of magical parchment peel away to send magic careening across the room, blasting random targets (and also randomly enhancing Duke....), while the golem's arms entangle the stony dwarf. The construct is shredded quickly, prompting more scrolls to discharge randomly...including a Repair spell. The golem continues its onslaught with a summon spell, but is quickly killed a second time...and Repaired...then finally killed for good. Tragically, the final death throes avenge the golem upon one of its killers; a bolt of raw necromantic power reduces the noble Duke into a shriveled husk. [Random scroll rolls Enervation, random target rolls Duke, attack rolls hit, damage rolls maximum; he was 2 hit points short of surviving T_T ]

    The party has little time to mourn, as the scrolls' summons appear (into a pile of arcane grease and divine fire!), followed by the third golem...which appears to be made of blades, such as scissors. Who built this place? [DM Note: the rock/paper/scissors theme was noticed by the players, but they assumed it was fluff-only. The Stone golem would have taken massive damage from any Scrolls used, or been Slowed/Blinded by any paper thrown at it. Paper golem took bonus damage from blades, did bonus to the happened-to-be-wearing-stone-armor dwarf. Scissors golem took massive damage from rocks (slingstones, or pieces of the first golem!) but could not hurt the stone dwarf. In retrospect I probably should have had the scroll golem *before* the stone one to maybe encourage them to try one of their newly looted scrolls…?] Burton's Grease spell limits its mobility, and it is rapidly reduced to shrapnel. A few lootable golem pieces are collected along with the wolf's remains, and the group prepares to ascend again...but the Old Man feels the call of the jar!

    The dragon and group are both in a hurry, with the dragon apparently hiding from hostiles and the heroes racing against the hourglass. Duke's burial is delayed as the jar is rushed to the runic door (despite Gort's protests at listening to the “darn snake”), where the ancient reptile translates a sad and troubling tale of the Zuura priests learning advanced magic to turn at least one of their members into the invisible snake creature from before...which consumed several of the others before being successfully sealed for hundreds of years. If the Enhanced Legion knew of the transformation magic involved, that would explain their interest, given their previous experiments. On the way back up the obelisk, the dragon shares what he knows of the towers (mostly that there are several, that they present various challenges, have various sizes, and hold various treasures). He also offers a long-range blessing from a distance to the Dragon Disciple, granting the Old Man early (but limited) access to his silvery wings!

    The fourth floor is the first floor to not immediately spew monsters at the group, instead presenting a challenge of the mind. A statue's arms hold various objects, with more in several trays before it. The exit door releases waves of magic when touched, which seem based on the objects held by the statue, such as a sense of drowsiness from an Hourglass and a floral aroma from a metal flower. The group quickly discovers that the door is harmless when the statue's hands are empty, and that it opens if touched while all 6 trays are full. The dwarf seems regretful they didn't try the mug at least once though.

    The fifth floor also appears to be a puzzle; and like the 4th floor was the first to not throw monsters, the 5th is the first to not slam the entrance, and in fact has no hourglass to be seen! Instead the floor holds an engraved star, with a magically sealed chest and a tray at each point, and one line of the pentagram magically aglow. Many theories are discussed and tried. Eventually the significance of 5 floors and 5 trays seems to be the best lead, and it is confirmed when objects from previous floors each seem to open a specific chest. In the process, the party discovers that the objects from the 4th floor can be replaced by similar objects (such as putting real plantlife in the metal flower's tray), and that the objects are magical items in their own right. Each chest yields further goodies, but as the 4th opens, the familiar sound of a slamming entrance door is heard...what trial awaits them now?

    Chapter 12 “Boss Music, and something Very Scary”


    With the puzzle solved, the tower's final guardian appears at the center of the chests. Resembling the slender, 4-armed statue from the 4th floor, he briefly tells the party that while the loot was intended for others, they are welcome to it if they survive. He then rips aside his semblance of humanity, becoming a floating semi-skeleton of crystals engulfed in green flames. Gulp!

    The heroes remain brave, and fight valiantly. The creature's arms seem to operate in pairs, with the upper set launching powerful spells and the lower set inflicting physical trauma. His teleportation and intense concentration make the fight more interesting, but his biggest threat appears to be the massive energy blasts he charges up. Llosidian recognizes their destructive force and warns the others… before charging in and losing consciousness when it detonates (which seems to amuse the creature greatly).

    The combatants continue to exchange blows. Summoned roaches are blown aside by the Dragon Shaman. Lightning arcs from hero to hero but is quickly dodged and/or healed. Aria's strong bow arm fends off an attempted neck grab from across the aether. Gort cracks the creature's infrastructure with a hammering blow from his axe. A conscious Llosidian uses his beastly form to engage the lower arms in melee. Gunther and his metallic ally provide ranged support.

    With resources dwindling, the group's courage wavers when yet another energy ball begins gathering. Torn between fighting and running, it is up to the heroic priest! His powerful Dispel is enough to delay the detonation, and his famous demon-slaying mace shatters the crystalline skull. Unfortunately the energy looks like it doesn't need the mage's help to detonate; Gort brilliantly cleaves the growing sphere with his axe, inspiring Aria to do the same with an arrow; together they scatter the deadly energy harmlessly across the back wall. Whew!

    The defeated tower disgorged its remaining loot, including a sizeable quantity of non-magical diamonds, and an obviously magical gem that appears to be a green sibling to the blue one recovered from the EL. After patching their wounds and packing their bags, the party triumphantly descends the stairs...and find the Zuura temple to be rather nonexistant. Glancing at the central hourglass, they apparently spent 6 days longer than they thought, and the tower has reappeared elsewhere. This particular elsewhere is a dreary, snow-sprinkled landscape, with thin streams of lava trickling from cracked hills. There's also an elf at the entrance who looks about as confused as they are; he is used to cold weather, but not being warped to this crazy forest from his NORMAL cold weather!

    [forgot name], Lawful Good Snow Elf Monk. (new to DnD, and sadly only makes 2 sessions before his schedule becomes too busy with a newborn…)

    Llosidian's top priority is to bury Duke, and intone the forces of nature for a new ally. People looking closely at the gravesite notice Olidimara's pink ribbon draped tastefully in memorial; clearly the god was sad to see the amusingly lucky dog pass. Aria joins him in prayer, having no idea how far away her loyal watchbird is, and seeking a companion that can follow the group into danger.

    The rest of the group has some minor excitement as they wonder why the dwarf is denying the fact that he was spotted eating rocks...and they are then contacted by Jack! The enigmatic salesman has managed to send a communication spell through Kyrpra's interference [the latent magic requires most divination/teleportation spells to pass a caster level check to get through the “static”], and gives the party some options on how to return to civilization. Declining his expensive teleport offer, or the path that takes them to "one of the faces" (presumably like the one that was mad at Rikven back in the day? No one feels like asking for clarification), they decide to head east to where they hope the coast is, where teleportation will be simpler and cheaper.

    The next surprise is less pleasant. An enormous patch of freezing fog billows in from the south, eventually revealing the silhouette of a slow, slender giant with glowing blue eyes. Believing it to be an extremely dangerous undead (with some urging by Olidamara), the group rouses the praying nature-lovers and hides in the tower. Even behind three closed doors and a pile of dead roaches, everyone feels some hint of the cold and raw terror eminating from the creature. Llosidian keeps most of his wits about him, returning to bear form to help barricade his stricken allies as safely as he can. After several tense minutes of scraping and howling outside, the danger departs.

    Once their confidence returns, the group returns outside, finding a few frozen animals before resuming their prayers for a pair of bears.

    With furry reinforcements in tow, the journey to the coast is surprisingly uneventful. An abandoned coastal town is raided for supplies (including some very nice wine for the dwarf to have 'on the rocks' ), and Gunther gets enough of a signal to Jack to get the teleport started. Are they ready to make a deal?

    [DM notes: while splitting the party is usually a Bad Idea, I intentionally made the giant slow to allow someone fast like the new monk to lead it away from the meditating animal-companion-seekers. When they wanted to fight it instead, and Gunther’s Knowledge Religion check was not enough to scare them off, I had Olidimara send a warning. The forest does have some foes far beyond their CR, but up until now they’ve kinda assumed I would scale everything exactly to their level, heh.]

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 13 “Jack”


    A flipped coin and a conjured portal later, and the party is on their way back to civilization! The group sells a small fortune worth of goods, including both of the mind-twistingly powerful gems (which apparently are relics from the great Mage War). Many of Jack's unique treasures (pulled from a fold-out stall from a seemingly bottomless backpack) are ignored in favor of more common (though certainly powerful!) enhancements, but everyone does eventually purchase draws from his mysterious "Deck of Minor Things." Everyone gains a mixture of curses and boons from the whimsical cards, which among other things grant the Dragon Shaman and Ranger over 10,000 gold worth of gems each; a metallic beard for Burton; some stat increases and weapon enhancements for various people; and the ominous DOOM card for both Gort and the Monk. Jack is knowledgeable about many things, but he's not sure what the DOOM card does because *he rarely gets to talk to DOOMed customers again.* Eep! [The fact that the Monk's real-life daughter is born before the next session, causing him to miss every following session, makes us joke that Gort will similarly be "doomed with parenthood"] Overall it is a profitable and informative session for everyone. Jack offers to have some of his acquaintances inspect the potions from the EL, and also sells some wand charges to help cure the still-infected dwarf.

    [Jacks Unique inventory changes every visit, as he buys and sells new ones during his travels. All of them are undercosted for what they do, but what they do might not be exactly what the players want (how often is Constructbane useful?) and some of them are slightly cursed, and Jack’s descriptions of them are sometimes quite vague. One of the most powerful items currently in his shop is a bow named Thorncaster that grows magical flowers that can be spent to empower arrows with goodies like ignoring armor, hitting multiple targets, dealing Con damage, or healing allies; but it needs a drop of blood to grow new flowers. Aria refuses to get near the “evil vampiric bow.” We start joking about her not eating “evil vampiric corn” that was fertilized or using her existing “evil vampiric bow” that grew from a tree that ate dead forest critters etc :P Some players eventually buy some of his uniques in future visits, and for the most part are quite pleased ]

    Back at Tealport, the heroes have the hearty Towercap wood to complete the Phoenix ritual…but the rest of the wood apparently burned up when the Temple of Elhonna was attacked by a flaming dog of some sort while they were gone. They buy new wood and ignore the fact that there might be a Hellhound loose in the streets? Ok then. They also learn that the dragon boat from earlier was found drifting at sea without a living thing aboard…

    The group encourages spectators to view the phoenix from outside the expected blast radius, and gives the lumber company some good advertising for “sponsoring” the event. The wizard completes the ritual, the bird bursts from the shield…! and rockets to the southeast without a word. The crowd responds with nervous applause, and the Dwarf finally feels the shield is safe to use [though it is weaker without the magical bird empowering it].

    Hoisting their shiny new gear, the heroes first head southeast to Mudhole, having heard that the druid there was having unexpected results. From a distance, the town looks great! Fields once full of nothing but mud and turnips now have various bushes, trees, grasses and cornstalks sprouting to great heights. Upon closer inspection, many of the otherwise healthy plants seem to be growing turnips rather than the berries and grains one would normally find. The Treant is happily helping plow the fields, and the druid is drowning his confusion with turnip beer, so the heroes say their goodbyes and head northeast to the Zuura temple, although they hope that Anson has already been rejoined by his crew!

    Re-entering the forest, the group discovers what one of the (multiple) curse cards did to Gort; he now has an irrational hatred of squirrels. By crossbow or by axe, he longs to slaughter the furry little things as they chitter and tweet and bellow in the trees...wait, bellow? An enormous crocodile-squirrel charges the group, but can barely twitch its tail once before getting mauled by bear jaws and magical weapons. Time for squirrel steaks!

    Chapter 14 “Morok”


    Continuing through the woods (thanks to Aria's excellent directions, before she is once again whisked away by real-life obligations), the group is perplexed by the sound of thunder coming from a sunny sky. After seeing a nearby tree explode as though struck by invisible lightning, the sound becomes less confusing and more terrifying. Seeking shelter, the heroes stumble upon a floating, gyrating stone pyramid that seems to ward off the worst of the storm, which passes quickly. Inspecting the pyramid closer, Gort hears a voice calling for freedom when he presses his ear to the stone; between his mallet and the elf's magical assault (which *mostly* miss each other...), the stone crumbles away to reveal...Morok.

    Morok is a floating, bejeweled skull (which Gunther's less-than-stellar knowledge check reveals to be a type of Kraken...and he refuses to be convinced otherwise. EVER XD). Many centuries of spinning alone in his stone seal has not helped Morok's mental state either, but he seems friendly to his rescuers. When asked if he can help them fly to join him up in the air, he cheerfully summons a wolf engulfed in cold flames. "I don't think that was a fly spell." His magic is obviously very powerful but incredibly unstable; the group carefully helps him practice, hoping to improve his control. Progress is slow, and a small forest fire is frantically extinguished after yet another unintended spell.

    Another morning saw the group awake to another of Morok's "practice" spells, which is eventually deduced to be an Empathy spell, causing a tree to attract hundreds of...squirrels. [yes, I rolled for it. The odds were slightly in their favor since I wanted to roll a die smaller than a d9999, but yeah]. Gort starts emptying his crossbow, while Llossidian carefully shifts to a squirrel himself to talk to the others. He resists the tree's enchantment, but definitely feels its pull. Realizing there's magic at work, someone asks if Morok can "fix the tree".

    [Morok spell chart rolled] Wall of Iron! *SQUISH* *CRACK* *SQULCH*

    Llosidian survives and hurries back to the group in elf form, while the boltless dwarf switches to his axe. This time, someone asks if he can *get rid of the spell on the tree*.

    [roll] Maximized Disentigrate. Tree is gone, and so is the spell! Wait, the tree was the only thing holding up those squirrels...and the Wall of Iron...and Gort is still there with his axe...

    A bunch of damage dice later, Gort pulls himself out of the squirrel paste. Burton utilizes his crafting skills to make a squirrel-fur cape for the dwarf and a full cloak the skull; maybe they can pass him off for human in town? Both seem happy, though obviously the druid is not in the best of moods.

    Onward to the temple!

    [DM Note: I kinda assumed Morok would get attacked with no questions asked, but the group actually chose to befriend him. The bloodthirsty Ranger missing might have had something to do with that (as she took some convincing once she "poofed" back in a later week lol)...keeping him alive led to a lot of fun moments]

    Chapter 15 “Crossroads, and the Second Tower”


    Morok continues practicing his spells and seems to be getting slightly less unpredictable with them (though his eagerness to help his new friends still leads to some "literal genie" moments). The Zuura temple is found after only minor disasters...and tells a grim story. Anson, his uncle, his crew, and the diggers are nowhere to be found, but recent bloodstains show their departure was not a smooth one. The room previously occupied by the black tower is amazingly in one piece! Llossidian builds a small shrine to Elhanna in the now-abandoned temple, and Gort soberly helps water the plants. Nice to see them getting along!

    So, the group is at a crossroads. The following situations could use their attention:
    -The EL is out there somewhere. They were having animals delivered by boat, and were then shipping them somewhere north of Tealport by wagon.
    -The invisible snake-mage-thing from the temple is out there somewhere.
    -Anson (might) be out there somewhere.
    -There's evil energy building in Northeastern Kyrpra.
    -Their dragon friend is in Northern Kyrpra "surrounded by foes" (and has not spoken through the jar in weeks)
    -According to the list found at Peace Of Mind, there could be a Manticore and a Doppleganger loose in Tealport.
    -A Hellhound attacked the Temple of Elhonna in Tealport.
    -WTF is up with Morok?

    Putting their heads together, the group decides to head northwest to Belania, the capital. It's a possible destination for the EL shipping, and might hold some answers to other mysteries.

    On the way, another surprise is encountered (though in this forest, the players seem more surprised when trips are uneventful!). A black tower, shorter than the one previously explored but obviously of similar design. Outside the tower is a small shrine dedicated to Kord. Last trip was profitable, inward!

    First floor, once again, appears to have been cleared by a previous group. The skeletons of several massive creatures litter the floor, and make no movements to stop the heroes as they press toward the stairs in the back. Amusingly, the STAIRS prove to be one of their greatest obstacles in weeks, as the gravity in the stairway is incredibly high. Gunther declines to magically aid his group because “It’s a fourth level spell!” (which becomes a catchphrase, as in the future people gasp when he actually casts one, and when he learns 5th level spells he sometimes frivolously casts them because “Hey, they’re not 4th level!” etc ^_^ ) A Mass Bull's Strength from a successful Morok roll helps the weaker members lift their limbs, and pulling each other with ropes eventually gets everyone to the next room.

    The second floor has no door at the back; is this the top already? There's a large pit in the floor, and a closed chest at the back with ancient runes reading "Endure". Some suggestions result in Morok softening the pit into some incredibly dense obsidian mud, which prompts the druid to try to grab a sample. Turning the latch on the chest slams the door, and something starts moving in the pit...a puddle of viscous ooze wells up and begins slamming acidic appendages at everything nearby.

    The chest's message stays fresh in everyone's mind as gallon after gallon of ooze surges up almost as fast as the group can scatter it; some puddles become smaller oozes, which continue to grow as they stay near the pit. At one point a METEOR SWARM is rolled from Morok...which even with the Mass Energy Resistance from Llosidian, would outright kill several members. A DM-fiat reroll occurs...for the EXACT SAME SPELL. A desperate Concentration check is thrown, and it is decided that Morok botched the botched spell and only does partial damage. Everyone is smoldering but the Ooze suffered far worse.

    More blades are swung and wounds cured, and the Ooze finally explodes in a grimy shower, and flows back into the pit. The chest latch now turns the rest of the way, revealing...a pinch of diamond dust. Looks like that shrine outside was a sign of victory from whoever cleared this place earlier. Thankfully, closer inspection shows that the softened floor somehow held some treasures from an even older, unsuccessful expedition. A massive axe is pulled up, along with a necklace and undissolved metallic gloves. Not quite the valuable gem the group was hoping for, but probably worth the burns (and the Druid grabs some of the obsidian mud, which ends up selling for a decent amount later on). The journey to the capital continues!
    Last edited by turbo164; 2015-09-24 at 04:20 PM.

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

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    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 16 “EEEEVIL Goblins!”


    With fresh loot in their bags and ooze in their shoes, the party continues their trek to the capital. This time they are interrupted by something smaller and noisier than a black tower; a group of goblins, most armed with backpacks rather than weapons. The goblins seem to just be trying to peacefully exit the forest, but the suddenly-racist Aria attempts to murder them in cold blood. She is eventually calmed by the less-racist Dwarf, after the Old Man uses a dragon-breath-fueled Intimidate to end the fight with minimal bloodshed.

    The goblins were collecting fruit in a normally-safe grove in the northern part of the forest (none of the party knows nor cares what their "KC" logo stands for), but this time they were attacked by demons! Many of their friends fell to the flying and/or flaming monsters. Recognizing the forces of the Abyss as enemies to all that is good, Aria reluctantly agrees to side with the goblins, who are also willing to risk their lives and their livelihood to avenge their fallen.

    Trekking east, toward the "usually safe" grove, and near their dragon friend (possibly a connection?), the group encounters a scouting party of demons far west from the northeast corner that Captain Tyrus had warned them about. Morok squishes the first one with a massive magical slap, and the heroes blast away with arrows, spells and blades, though the demons are resistant to much of their arsenal. Gunther summons a Hound Archon at one point (“A fifth level spell!”) which then gets Polymorphed by Morok into a White Dragon… Tragically, Aria's new animal friend Baloo is ripped apart by a Vrock's talons, but no other casualties are sustained (even the goblins survive! even though 5 of them spent the entire battle fleeing from a Fear spell). The dead demons meager loot is collected, and now the path is clear to the "big flamey guy" and endangered dragon to the east!

    Chapter 17 “Wherein the DM’s mind bluescreens.”


    Aaand the Lawful Good/Neutral Good/Neutral Good/Neutral Good/Chaotic Neutral party decides to ignore the endangered dragon and flaming demon and dead goblins, and continue to march to the capital instead. The DM is rather flabbergasted at this, and hastily starts filling in the incomplete Belania section of his notes, as well as rolling some dice to see how the dragon fares without the player's support. Hmm.

    The goblins sure as heck aren't going to fight alone, so they follow the brave warriors as they happily march away from the vile demons to Belania. On the way, they are visited by the Phoenix they freed earlier! His story was that he used to protect a town that started having its farms burned and plundered; a shapeshifted Red Dragon named Tyralus convinced the townsfolk that the phoenix had turned evil, and gave them a spell to seal the bird away. Which then gave the dragon the opportunity to reveal his true form…present day, the Phoenix had lost track of the years spent trapped in the shield, but not even ashes remained of his beloved town. He thanks the party for freeing him, and before he leaves to hunt Tyralus, he grants them each a draught from a magical elixir brewed from one of his feathers; each character now dies at -20 instead of -10!

    (And had the dwarf been less rude, the phoenix also would have restored some power to the shield…but they never used the shield while it held the phoenix, so he didn’t even know what he missed out on lol. [and as the “Dwarf is rude to potential-quest-reward-givers” becomes a bit of a recurring theme, several chunks of loot over the course of the campaign get converted to Roleplaying XP ^_^ The group stays significantly above WBL regardless])

    [the group also meets another new-to-dnd player with a Halfling Barbarian, but after two sessions he decides to chase chickens in Minecraft instead :/ ]

    At the capital, they rest at a tavern, report their findings to the bureaucracy, check the backstreets for some leads on the EL...and don't find much. The Chaotic Cleric even buys some toy Hydras to place in the streets...most of which are stolen by the next day, but it's hard to tell if it was by EL or by random beggars and thieves who saw something that wasn't nailed down. The EL are probably avoiding the public eye after the Hydra incident in Tealport...

    With their reports delivered and the goblins completely ignored (quest rewards, who needs em?), the party decides to head back to Tealport to see if they can stumble upon some plot there. They probably will!

    Chapter 18 “Flamey Guy”


    Back on the road, the group has a few unpleasant nights; one morning they wake up to find Morok missing, with some scorch marks around the area he was practicing spells...and the next night their sentry awakens them to the sight of "the flamey guy" they ran from earlier strolling toward them. After TRUTHFULLY ANSWERING(?!?!?) the demon about where they found Morok, battle commences!

    The Flamey Guy hurls fireballs, swings a flaming sword, burns the bear hugging it, and seems quite resilient. Aaand after most of the party charges towards him...the Cleric at the back finds himself being hugged by a Succubus. Some of his allies charge back to his aid! He resists her charms and throws a summoned Griffon at her face (which thankfully is NOT interrupted by the flaming hailstorm dropped on his head by the pyro druid!). Several quasits fall to the hailstorm, and one retreats after the Succubus is slain.

    Flamey Guy continues to dish out pain, teleporting several times to avoid enemy swords and swing his own at the heroic spellcasters. He narrowly avoids being turned into a squirrel by Llossidian, and retaliates by summoning a putrid-smelling toadlike Hezrou demon. Both are eventually slain, but there is a lot of non-demon blood on the ground.

    The only notable loot is a very beautiful knife from the succubus...whose sheath held some silver probably-dragon scales. Uh oh...

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    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 19 “Bugz! And Jack comes Back”


    After healing and resting, the group continues toward Tealport. Their next obstacle [the timing just seemed to line up for several things at once] seems far less evil than their last few adventures; a broken caravan alongside the road is being munched on by glittering bugs, which are quickly identified as Gem Scarabs (of which they had found a stone long ago in the sewers of Tealport). The Druid Handles the not-quite-Animals, successfully taming the hungry little buggers without harm. However, one unnaturally large specimen emerges from the ground, blasting the group with stronger spells. It is squished fairly easily, and its valuable gems and husk are harvested. Bloody and partially eaten papers are found that suggest the caravan was delivering the bugs (legally!) from Tealport to a zoo in Belania. The fact that the bigger bug showed signs of EL modification seems quite important.

    Speaking of which, Jack contacts the group, having shown the EL juice to his alchemist acquaintances. After hearing of their adventures since their last meeting, he postpones an appointment to quickly meet them in person. He tells them that the juice appears to slowly destroy and rebuild the body, allowing for easier transformation into the hybrid monstrosities employed by the Legion (and by now, the rock-eating juiced Dwarf has become part rock himself!), and confirms that the beetle was exposed to such fluids. He also tells them that Morok was a prominent mage in the great wizard war that created the Kyrpra Forest ages ago (and that he is probably not a Kraken, but Gunther remains unconvinced.) After being shown the dragon scales, he attempts to Scry on both the dragon and Morok, failing in both attempts...that's not a good sign.

    In happier news, the party is able to buy and sell some useful goods, with Gunther and Gort both agreeing to owe a "favor" for a particularly tantalizing but otherwise unaffordable item. Caveat Emptor? But as they learn to use the items they appear to be quite powerful. Jack thanks them for their business and hurries to his appointment, while the heroes once more continue toward Tealport.

    [Gort purchased the Grip Of The Master gloves, which grant Aptitude and Skillful to any weapon he carries. Gunther got the Elsewhere Ring, which builds up teleportation charges each day, with multiple charges increasing the distance, speed, and/or passenger limit. Gunther also becomes extremely worried when he learns that the succubus’s dagger was Bliss, whose wounds cannot be felt and reduce Wisdom…he checks himself very thoroughly for knifeholes but finds none. (Honestly she probably *should* have stabbed him to reduce his Will Save before going for the Charm/Kiss combo, but his Charisma is high enough that she went straight for the lips instead ) ]

    Chapter 20 “A nice meal”


    With their pockets fuller and/or emptier, the group continues their journey. Slightly less coincidentally, they are once again delayed. A pair of travelling merchants appears to have a cart of pottery for sale, including some that resemble their magical dragon jar. After some light conversation, the group notices they are somehow inside a Zone of Truth...what kind of merchants are these? After further conversation about their jar and what they knew about it, the group is welcomed inside of a Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion for refreshment and more privacy. Once inside, they get to know each other better; the leader of the merchants seems to be Anya, a beautiful mage; Gar, her armored bodyguard who never spoke a word; and one of the horses was actually a Sapphire Dragon named Saraha. They inform the heroes that the silver dragon from the jar was Arazhel, a "colleague" of theirs, whom they had lost communication with some time ago. They came to the group after detecting the jar while Jack was scrying through it. They ask the heroes if they would be willing to travel to Arazhel's lair in the Kyrpra forest to investigate, and they quickly agree. While telling their new friends of their adventures, the subject of the phoenix prompts a growl from Saraha; she tells the heroes that if Tyralus is still around, he is NOT to be trusted. EVER.

    Grabbing some gourmet rations from the Mansion's magical tables (although the Cleric keeps encouraging people to eat Create Food porridge, and the Druid prefers foraged Kyrpra food despite the side effects...), Anya teleports them to the northern edge of the forest (with the scarabs chittering happily in the Druid's backpack), before Planeshifting her own group away.

    [DM note - given the group's track record, I expected them to continue to Tealport before heading to the forest, so their promptness surprised me a bit. I had prepared for both though, unlike the capital earlier ^_^; ]

    [Also OOC, the group said they felt kinda poor, since there was a bunch of cool stuff in the Magic Item Compendium that they wanted but couldn’t buy without a favor. We tallied everyone up, and everyone was 1-3 levels above WBL already…just a perception thing I guess, since it tends to come in chunks]

    Chapter 21 “Buzzard Bridge”


    Having been in Kyrpra multiple times by now, the sideways rainbow trees and wild wildlife do little to surprise the intrepid explorers. What little sky peeks through the trees eventually gives way to...more trees. In the sky. Growing downward from more ground. Huh.

    Eventually a large canyon on "their" ground prompts them to seek a way to the other side and/or other ground. After a *very* long look at their spell lists, carrying capacity, equipment, class of them flies up and sees a bridge to the east <_< The bridge is a bumpy, porous tube, diagonally connecting the upper and lower grounds, with a twist to account for the gravity shift halfway up. Before they get far, they are attacked!

    A flock of greasy buzzards squawks and launches projectile vomit through the holes of the bridge. There is quite a bit of cover to protect against direct hits, but the puddles are very slippery, and the dwarf barely manages to avoid sliding out of a hole at a great height. Arrows from Aria cut their numbers greatly, and the Dragon Shaman's wings allow him to perform a beautiful diving charge attack on the last one. He finds a slimy but shiny gem lodged in the craw of one of them, and then flies up to join the others on the upper ground.

    Their new ground continues a while before sloping "upward" to join the other ground at a great wall, with a tunnel. Through the tunnel is ground of indeterminate orientation...and sky! And the mountains they were told to search are visible! The Ranger's nature skills guide them there without further mishap, and a sloping trail is discovered that leads to a cave. The group clusters around the entrance and shouts inside...A sound tactic!

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    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 22 “Fiendish Frog”


    [the Druid was unable to make this session. We typically have missing members get randomly teleported by the magical forest to magically re-appear later...but the group really wanted his bear. So they instead decided to have the Druid get turned into a plank of wood?!? which they tied to the bear.]

    The heroes are answered by a pouncing, croaking, severely mutated demonic frog, who reaches several people with his Stench aura, and the rest with a Confusion effect. Eep.

    Thankfully friendly fire is kept to a minimum, as most of the Confused heroes spent their turns babbling, fleeing, or retching. Although the bear did get some good swats on his teammates, glad he was there! :P

    As the Confusion fades, the frog is slain before it is able to do much damage. Inspecting the corpse, it appears to be a Hezrou like they fought earlier with the flaming demon...but this one has spines, a bulging throat, cracked skin, and eyes in the back of its head. Is the EL working on Demons now?

    Chapter 23 “Subtlety and Improvised Weapons”


    The druid returns and unties himself from the bear. (He later writes an essay "My life as an Elvish plank" upon encouragement from the group).

    The cave looks like a battlefield, with magical blood-splattered walls. The dwarf decides to stay outside (as he was the one to have a frog jump on his face when they first shouted into the cave), while the others discover the back wall seems to be an illusion...

    Ranger: I step through!
    DM: *rolls dice* Make a Fort save
    Ranger: *low number*
    DM: You see a wave of fire and a splash of acid coming at your face, and then, blackness.
    Ranger: I STEP BACK! Do I see anything?
    DM: Nope, still nothing.
    Teammate: Are you ok, Ranger?
    Ranger: *to DM* I'm not on fire or anything am I?
    DM: No, you're not on fire...
    Ranger: Yeah, I'm fine! *pantomimes brushing dust off of sleeves*
    Teammate: ...
    Other teammates: ...
    DM: ...
    Ranger: What?
    DM: Maybe I'm being too subtle here. You saw fire and acid coming at your face, then failed a fort save, then saw "blackness" and "nothing." YOU ARE BLIND.
    Ranger: *pantomimes brushing dust off other sleeve* Wait a minute, where's my arm...HOLY CRAP I'M BLIND!

    More spells start coming through the wall. The ranger sprays arrows semi-randomly as the others try to pinpoint the location(s) of the enemy, but it takes several turns before anyone is brave enough to step through the wall again. (it also takes a full turn before the Dwarf hears the battle and charges in. Upon being teased by the ranger for his slowness, he replies that it took him less time to hear the battle than it took the ranger to notice he was blind!)

    Eventually the wall is breached, and a Dispel Magic reveals the invisible Quasits that have been causing so much trouble. With visible foes, many more attacks find demonic flesh, although it makes little difference to the blind ranger...until the Dragon Shaman decides to drop his piddly javelins and use the ranger as an improvised crossbow...?

    DM: All right, um, guess we'll have you make an attack roll to see how well you aim him, and add or subtract from his roll accordingly.
    Shaman: *rolls low*
    DM: Eh we'll call that a -4 I guess. *rolls concealment three times* well one of your arrows makes it through the blindness, now make your roll with the penalty
    Ranger: *natural 20* *confirmed* *almost max damage*
    DM: ...Alrighty, the blind archer manages to pin the final Quasit to the ceiling.
    Shaman: I knew that would work better than a javelin! ^_^

    With the quasits dispatched (and identified as also being Enhanced in various ways), the second room is explored. Broken, ransacked furniture is scattered around, along with more blood. Powerful magic protects the back wall of this room, but it seems to respond to the Dragon Shaman...and the group is able to proceed deeper. The back room holds un-ransacked bedding in human and dragon sizes, along with a bookshelf filled with journals and notes on history, magic, bestiaries, etc. The Dwarf uses his stone powers to Burrow around the mountain a bit, but is unable to find any more rooms (player: "THERE HAS TO BE A HOARD HERE SOMEWHERE!"). The Dragon Shaman and Warforged both read some of the journals, expanding their Knowledge skills a bit, and eventually all but the Warforged settle down for a night's rest.

    Chapter 24 “Well that’s handy.”


    Morning! The cleric prepares Sending (once) to tell Anya what he learned. Fails the caster level check to break the Kyrpra Forest magical static. Welp. Try again tomorrow!

    The journal documents, among other things, a disturbing decline in the wildlife to the southeast. Whether EL related or not, it seems worthwhile to check out.

    The forest grows quieter, with even the insects thinning as the group goes deeper. Some wheel ruts are found among flattened undergrowth, leading to a second path further on. Eventually, an unnatural smell becomes noticeable...that of dead things that refuse to rejoin the forest as healthy fertilizer, but rather continue walking, and feeding.

    The heroes open fire on a pair of zombies, which fall fairly quickly, but act peculiar. More zombies (both humanoid and animal) emerge, and all appear to be missing at least one limb. Those limbs are eventually found as a horrific sight rumbles up the path. Dozens upon dozens of undead hands and claws scrape at the makeshift road, connected by long strips of linen to an enormous, coffin-laden wagon. Most of the party begins to thin the crowd of appendages, dropping Flamestrikes and Turn Undeads, but there are many still remaining, and coffins slam open on the wagon to send dozens more into the area. The hands don't hit very hard, but seem focused on dragging their victims deeper and deeper into the sea of undead...the dwarf burrows under the swarm to strike at the wheel, coming 2 damage short of chopping it clean through, but spends the rest of the battle scrambling his way out of rotten hugs. (The Cleric had an easier time, thanks to excellent use of his new teleporting ring he bought from Jack! But neither he nor the Druid had Freedom of Movement today >_<)

    After many tense rounds, enough dark energy has been drained from the wagon that the hands fall lifeless, and a chorus of ghostly wails scream from the coffins. It seems to be dead...LOOT TYME!

    All of the corpses in the coffins are missing limbs, as expected. Some seem very old, some very fresh, and some quite rich! The party pockets some smelly but powerful equipment as they examine the corpses further. Also of note are some mysterious, rune-inscribed flasks...

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    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 25 “Mysterious elves and Dwarven treats”


    [Due to DM illness and some other scheduling problems, it is 6 months before the group can meet again. Gunther goes on indefinite hiatus, and agrees to be NPC’d until his character can find a way to bow out of the story, possibly to return in the future.]

    The archeology session is interrupted by something approaching from the woods. The group hides, and sees an elf cautiously approach the wagon, then frantically start digging through coffins. They make themselves known, and have a discussion.

    The elf is Riko, who claims to be a courier delivering some potions to an alchemist who lives further south. His companion was consumed by the wagon, along with most of their cargo. The heroes keep their flasks hidden, but show him the shards of some of the flasks that were found broken. They decide to accompany him south to see if the alchemist can provide any information. [and they fail to notice Riko signal his other companion in the woods. multiple times.]

    Riko speaks little during the trip, not wanting to draw attention from any more undead horrors. The dwarf's cheerful, slightly offkey singing is muted by bribing him with some [finds mineral list online, rolls...] Apatite to eat. Oh these crazy dice. Some Scooby Snack jokes are made and the trip continues. That night...

    Chapter 26 “Hostage negotiation”


    The group awakens to see Riko digging through their packs, and a cloaked man standing over Gunther with a knife to the cleric's throat. As the party starts to rise, he warns them that they need not resort to violence, just turn over the flasks. They respond by trying to tackle Riko and shoot the cloaked man. "So this is the path you have chosen..." *Stab*

    Um, Gunther technically just got coup-de-grace'd, and failed his save. While being NPC'd. Um...KYRPRA FOREST GOGO! The living cleric poofs away in the nick of time. And the cloaked man assumes the form of an Enhanced Vrock, with vines growing out of one arm. And Riko assumes the form of a Weretiger. Oh ****.

    Several bloody rounds later, the Vrock is dead (Inferno did quite a number on his arm), an invisible Quasit has fled, and Riko is nearly dead while grappled by the bear. Offered a surrender, the turn before they could nonlethal and bind him, he barely passes his grapple check to break free [by 2], whispers "They'll come for you too," and TEARS OUT HIS OWN THROAT.

    There's not much time to reflect on who the were-elf was so frightened of, as the Vrock's spores have taken root in multiple party members. The Druid has no anti-poison spells prepared, the Dragon Shaman is out of juice, and the now-missing Gunther was the one with a backpack full of Holy Water. Thankfully, the demonic plants die off before the Druid does. Um, time to go back to sleep? (and not here?)

    Chapter 27 “The Shalar”


    The next morning, the group gets a Sending from Gunther!

    "Hi guys! Everything's great. I'm in Tealport. Oddly no hydras here. I had waffles this morning! Have Burton come join me soon. Oh, and I-"

    ...Informative! [Gunther's character helped me write it ]. The group responds with a bit of snark, then receives a second Sending from Anya! (Gunther successfully Sent to her) She asks if they're near the lair, and instructs them to place their hands on a tree if they can. (The tree-hugging Druid does so with gusto). From the tree comes an unrecognized voice, who after some discussion, tells them to stand back. The tree bends, joining with other nearby plants to form an archway, through which steps Anya, Gar, an elf named Felora...and the largest dragon any of them have ever seen.

    The dragon is introduced as "The Shalar of Plants," which the Dragon Shaman translates to mean some archaic word for Councilor. The dwarf quickly insults this new "lizard," whose diplomacy grows rather strained. Anya and the other party members keep things civil long enough to agree to check south for the possible Alchemist before heading back up the path to Arazhel's lair. The only thing of note that they find (besides the fact that Gar finally said 2 words) is a sulfurous campfire with tracks roughly matching those of the shapeshifters they recently fought, plus several others. Some of the tracks lead north, some lead another giant Stone Face, the likes of which they have not seen since session #3! (Jack mentioned them after the party's teleporting Black Tower experience, but nobody felt like actually discussing it with him. ~_~ ) Deciding that the demons and/or EL have been using it to teleport somewhere, they have the Shalar of Plants block it off by growing a giant tree through the tunnel.

    They then rush north to the lair, where Felora uses powerful divination to see what happened. Her view of the past confirms that Arazhel fought many demons, including the succubus with the knife; and that after holding out for a long while, including a time stasis spell, he was captured and dragged away. The party agrees to help find him, and follows the Shalar through another plant gate.

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    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 28 “The Council”


    On the other side of the gate is a demiplane that is home to the Draconic Council, a group of very powerful dragons and their agents that have worked behind the scenes for generations. There are 13 Shalars in all, though only 5 are in attendance for the meeting that follows (the Shalar of Plants suggests that the dwarf sleeps through the meeting, lest he get eaten after insulting a "lizard" with less patience than him [which is most of them]). Arazhel apparently is the second-in-command to the Shalar of Beasts...who is irritated that the party did not attempt to help Arazhel when they had the chance. The Dragon Shaman diplomatically pleads ignorance, and they are told they will probably be sent on another scouting mission soon.

    When the dwarf wakes up (and bathes; he declines the offer of one of the elven gardeners to use a watering can), he is filled in, then decides to go troll the blacksmiths in the Domain of Metal by claiming his stone armor is better than anything they have. This statement is tested with a very large hammer, and results in a tie! (The druid attempted to cheat by Bulls Strength'ing one of the attacks, but was caught). Gort pays for repairs and departs on amicable terms.

    The party also finds out that Ithsmus, the beautiful woman from the Belly Up bar in Tealport, is the Shalar of Water. Having seen their deeds in Tealport, she is the friendliest of the Council, and fills them in a bit on how the town has been in the past few weeks.

    Chapter 29 “Gifts, Volcanos, and Itchy Trigger Fingers”


    While waiting, the party learns a tiny bit more about the Council (very few players took this opportunity to ask anything ~_~). One tidbit learned is that the black dragon that escaped the EL boat is named Jirix and works for the Shalar of Frost, but the blue dragon (and Tyralus) are “rogues” that are not affiliated with the group. This is not a *bad* thing per say, as the Council’s work is entirely voluntary and there are plenty of dragons with their own agendas…though in Tyralus’s case, his evil deeds do make him an enemy of most who know him.

    After this short conversation and several days of silent waiting, the council has divination'd some more info on the demonic threat, and mapped out some areas that they could be holding Arazhel. The party is instructed to scout, and inform the Council with a Sending amulet when/if they find something. They are also told that the flasks they recovered from Riko's group seem to be the old EL fluid, now fortified with dragon blood. Eep.

    To aid in their quest, each party member is eligible for magical blessings, most of which are discussed and customized privately before being roleplayed openly, with one exception...

    Gort first asks the Shalar of Water if she could cure "the itch in his beard" he's had since receiving the Doom curse from Jack's deck. He is directed to the Shalar of Shadow, whose domain is partially inhabited by friendly (but still unnerving) undead. The dwarf bravely endures the ritual, and is successfully cured of his Doom and squirrel hatred. [I won't spoil what Doom did, but there was one funny moment not long after he got it where he said "I'm guessing Doom doesn't actually do anything and the curse is it just makes you paranoid." I replied "You know, I considered doing that, but no." The "OH CRAP IT'S REAL?!?" look on his face was priceless ^_^ ].

    Gort's second blessing is rather roundabout, as he first gets into a drunken brawl with the dwarves in the Domain of Earth (the Shalar "blesses" him with a finger flick that launches him across the terrain), then he ignores the archers training at the Domain of War, then finally gets into a wrestling match with an enormous Awakened bear named Bartholomew in the Domain of Beasts. The Shalar there is not fond of the dwarf for multiple reasons, but grants him the stability of an Elephant to help rescue Arazhel. (+6 to "avoid grapple" checks)

    Gort also spends a bit of coin commissioning a silver circlet emblazoned with "King of the Elves" in Dwarven. The only other member of the party who speaks Dwarven is...Aria the half-elf.

    The Dragon Shaman sees the Shalar of Light to upgrade his Senses aura, granting him spell-like abilities for detecting Evil, Magic, Poison, and Disease. The Shalar of War improves the projection of his Vigor aura, allowing him to channel his Touch of Vitality through it.

    Aria learns a difficult combat maneuver from the Shalar of War, granting a 10-foot step.

    Llosidian, after nearly a month since the last session...forgot about gifts until that evening, and grabbed two by-the-book bonus feats ~_~ Natural Spell from the Shalar of Beasts, Sudden Maximize from the Shalar of Thought.

    Thus empowered, the group is sent to northeastern Kyrpra. Their first target ends up being a non-demonic volcano inhabited by Fire Elementals, who fall with minimal effort thanks to Mass Resist Energy (which was originally memorized to prevent friendly fire, hah). The non-Doomed dwarf happily climbs the volcano to look in, and barely keeps his balance. The second target (found by the Ranger's amazing wilderness skills) looks much more likely, as multiple demons are seen and heard in a clearing that contains several mysterious blood-red stone pillars, as well as a Stone Face! Their stealth is disrupted by an overhead BAMF followed by a familiar voice...Morok! The joyful reunion is interrupted by a Quasit, who is pinned to a tree by the Ranger before it can raise any alarms. His presence will be missed though, so the council should be contacted right away!

    ...or they could send in Morok, spells blazing, after spending about 30 seconds chatting. Um.....
    Last edited by turbo164; 2015-11-20 at 12:27 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapters 30-32 “SO MANY DICE”


    [Might expand this in the future, so it gets its own post. For now it's just the most memorable moments]

    *Retconjuration* So the next week, the party re-thought their strategy of trying to take on 30 demons using only themselves, a WEAKENED Morok who had just escaped the demons, and an amulet with a 10 minute cast time. They instead elect to back away from the demon stronghold, get some more info from Morok, and call the council.

    4 Shalars arrive, buff the party, and instruct them to find Arazhel before the demons can move him, while they occupy the bulk of the enemy forces. The heroes...spend a bit more time fighting random foes and looting non-Arazhel rooms than I anticipated, which ended up leading to a pretty cinematic moment...

    Anyway, this battle was huge, took up most of my floor, dozens of miniatures, and 3 sessions. Highlights:

    *After discovering the pillars seem to be large extradimenional spaces that demons have been coming in and out of, Gort charges down the stairs of one to see a massive Enhanced Hezrou. He bravely charges back out of the pillar, shouting to the others "Not that oooooone!!!"

    *On a similar note, Aria scouts one pillar to find a snipers nest of 5 Quasits; she continues scouting after making a quick 90 degree turn. The druid wipes out the entire pack with a flaming Hailstorm! ...Then checks for loot. Priorities!

    *Aria gets Nausiated, Grappled, and Pinned by a Hezrou. Dangling helplessly from the demon's maw, her savior is...Morok! A Baleful Transposition swaps her for an enemy Vrock, which causes some minor falling damage (Tumble check after appearing in midair while nausiated? #Elf) but leaves her in much better position. The massive form of the Vrock breaks the jaw of the Hezrou, who spits out his comrade and continues the fight with a weaker bite attack for the rest of his (short) existence.

    *Morok's new, weakened form is slightly more reliable than his old "lolmeteorswarm" self, and his character sheet and dicerolls are now in the hands of the players. Needing a 6+ to avoid misfire, one player rolls THREE 5’s in four turns, resulting in attempted Sonic Weapons to come out as Summon Celestial Giant Owl, Trollform, and See Invisibility.

    *Some of the basements have a sense of...wrongness. Which ends up being permanent Magic Circles Against Good. One also appears to have recently teleported something very large.

    *The Dragon Shaman makes great use of his new ranged healing abilities, allowing the party to keep pushing forward.

    *After many rounds of topside combat and pillar scouting, Arazhel is finally found in the basement of the last pillar [DM note: each pillar was mapped out before the battle, so it's not just dramatic license that they scouted the other 5 first lol], with a Glabezru apparently wrapping up a teleport spell. Everyone is called in, but after spending so much time outside, there is very little time to interrupt him...and he passes the first 3 Concentration checks. The Shalar of Earth breaks the spell on literally the last round before it would finish. [would have preferred it if a player had, but again, I had set the timing window before the fight even started...]

    *Gort (assisted by Aria) slays an Enhanced Frost Giant, then spends the rest of the battle Confused. He finally has an excuse to hit one of those darn Lizards! :P (the druid's bear sits on him to prevent more teamkilling)

    Victory! The demons are dead, the heroes are alive, Arazhel is alive but in a coma (having been drained of much blood). NOW is a good time to loot, return to the council hall and heal up.

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    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 33 “Recaps and Relaxation”


    The victorious heroes take a few weeks to recuperate. The Dragon Shaman and Ranger chat with Arazhel as he recovers, who is quite grateful. With a bit of his strength returned, he enhances the Wings he bestowed earlier with a longer duration, and also tells them that from his time as a prisoner, he overheard the name "Zorascus" as a high-ranking member of the EL. Investigation also determines that the large creature that escaped was a Sibriex, a rare and powerful fiend whose fleshgrafting powers would be highly prized by the EL. Aria also uses the time to commission a very powerful weapon [modified Hank’s Energy Bow], using funds that were previous considered for buying an estate.

    The Druid heads to Tealport to do...secret stuff. The Dwarf is less secretive and heads to the Belly Up for some fun. Captain Orca proposes a drinking contest for ownership of the magical statue recovered earlier, saying that the dwarf probably had more adventuring days to make use of it; the Dwarf ends up on the floor (twice!) but brought in enough business that the boisterous barowner lets him have it anyway.

    The group also learns what Gunther is doing in Tealport: The Peace of Mind office has devoted part of its building to a new temple of Olidamara, at which Gunther is currently High Priest'ing. Should Gunther's player return to the campaign, one of his underlings will take over :)

    Some asking around also brings up more info on the zoo that the group was planning on investigating before getting side-tracked by dragons. Melvin's Magnificent Menagerie sounds like a legitimate business, despite the owner not actually being named Melvin. Still, it's a lead. With the group gathered once again, Morok successfully casts all 3 teleports needed to get the group north, saving weeks of travel! (also, his spellcasting improved after the demon fight, now succeeding on a 5+ after all that practice :P )

    Chapter 34 “Zoo, Shady Deals, and The Third Tower begins”


    The group debates entering the zoo legitimately vs sneaking in at night, and decides to start in the daylight. The employees are friendly for the most part, animals appear well-cared for and mostly content. The Druid inspects a few weak cages, then Wildshapes to ask the occupants if they would like to be broken out later. Some were born in captivity and are happy with their free food, one eagle wouldn't mind being able to soar again, and one crocodile would like to be able to eat people again. Um...he can stay put, but the Druid plans on helping the eagle at some point. (also, one little girl asked her mommy why that man over there grew scales? "That's an Elf, dear. Keep walking." )

    Melvin (who admits his name is actually Irving but he couldn't think of any good alliteration for it) answers a lot of questions. Everything seems to be on the up-and-up; many animals are purchased overseas at the Rashadan bazaar, and some animals (and one Fire Elemental that ended up being too dangerous to house at the zoo) are traded to the Kasymc arena. The heroes decide not to mention the beetles at all, but decide that the trappers at the bazaar might be worth investigating.

    Gort also comes up with a plan to head to a working man's tavern (The Shiny Nugget, by the quarry) to intimidate some locals into finding out where shady business might be conducted. Standing at the suggested streetcorner that evening, he then trades words and threats (but not blades) with a shadowy group, eventually leading to a halfling on a very nice chair who conducts Entirely Legitimate Business with them. The heroes pay handsomely for them to try to find any information on Zorascus, claiming he might be a business rival? They also consider hiring some protection for themselves in town, but decide to just pay for the spying.

    Returning to their inn, they get a message from Jack (who also informs them that the Halfling they conducted Entirely Legitimate Business with was presumably Snickle, and that his information would *probably* be trustworthy)! He's heard from an associate that a new Black Tower has been found in the woods, and if there happens to be another super gem at the top that would be a fantastic way to pay off a favor? The group eagerly agrees, and another perfect Teleport from Morok the next morning gets them to the edge of the forest, where they are able to find their way to Jack's associates. This tower is apparently hidden in a cave only accessible by falling sideways through a makes more sense than a lot of this forest.

    The inside is much smaller than previous towers, with only one door; but the center of the room holds a tray on a pedestal, holding a pair of black and gold dice inscribed with strange symbols:
    *One holds a mountain, a skull, a wizard hat (or pizza :P ), a smoking cave, an anvil with various ores and machinery, and a row of swords and flags.
    *The other displays a cobweb, a carrot, a peanut, two frowny faces, some animal tracks (the players guess duck!), and a claw mark next to a feather.

    [Yes this part was heavily inspired by the SilverClawShift logs None of my players had read them, and they thought the tower was a lot of fun! I built the dice IRL out of Styrofoam and very crude drawings]

    Rolling the dice yields Mountain + Clawed Feather...and the walls of the small room rise up, revealing a much larger room containing a GARGANTUAN GRIFFON. Battle is joined! The Griffon's size and strength prove capable of slamming the Old Man for 70 damage on one full attack, ouch. The Crusader manages to disable one talon with a massive swing, and Morok is able to swap the grappled Old Man for the Bear [which ends up using 8000-ish of the griffon's 9000-ish carrying capacity; he passed a Reflex save to not spontaneously dive-bomb with his new payload]. The bear soaks up a few claws before the Griffon is slain by ranged attacks; given his flightpath, the Dwarf was then asked to Reflex save vs falling bear, which he passed with agility unexpected for a rock. The dice tray rises, and the smaller walls return as the party gathers to roll again (and notice that the Mountain and Feather are blacked-out)...Anvil Cobweb. The walls rise, revealing the larger room with some new walls blocking part of the area, a slightly higher ceiling, and oh by the way a Huge Clockwork Spider. Well then!

    Chapter 35 “Squish”


    The heroes charge the mechanical vermin, getting pelted by poison on the way in, only to have the spider retreat up the walls, leaving razor-wire webs in its wake. Spells bounce off with no effect, weapons barely scratch the armored shell, and its fangs are sharp enough to cause even the stony dwarf some harm. Amusingly, the only one to actually get poisoned is Morok, after misfires a spell into Trollshape; "*hack wheeze* Being alive sucks!" The bear passes a grapple with strength to spare, yanking the spider off the wall (reminding everyone of Duke climbing the ladder to pull the WerentNoRat off the ceiling!); it barely has time to regain its footing before getting dismantled by a flurry of melee attacks. The final blow is so vicious, some bits of shrapnel remain behind as valuable scrap metal even after the main body of the spider dissolves in magical light.

    Room, roll...Smoking Cave + Frowny Faces ("Grumpy Dwarves?" is the guess)

    The room is now filled with stalactites and stalagmites, and facing them is a Draconic Ettin! The Dragon Shaman steps up juuust short of a Stalactite and taunts the beast with an Intimidate: "Bet you can't hit me!"
    "Bet me can!"
    "Me three!"
    "No, two!"

    Meanwhile the Druid drops a Flamestrike on its head(s), and Morok's Ray of Clumsiness critically succeeds as a Disintegrate instead ("Best level 1 spell ever!"), but the giant's eyes are on the Old Man as he flies in and unleashes a pair of breath of which the Dragon Shaman is immune to.
    "Told you me could hit!"
    "Me two!"

    The Dragon Shaman unleashes his own breath weapon, and more attacks slam into the beast. A final critical stab from the Old Man prompts a

    That was the least painful room so far, hopefully the next one goes smoothly! *Skull + Peanut* A cross-shaped hallway with a Rotting Elephant.
    Dragon Shaman: "Ouch, probably don't want to get near that thing. Can I fly one of you above it and drop you?"
    Gort AKA the Stone Dwarf: "I weigh over 500 pounds."
    Dragon Shaman: "Can't lift that much haha. Druid, want me to drop you so you can turn into an Elephant in midair or something?"
    Druid: "Yeah, I've got a plan. Do it!"

    His “plan” was Cure Serious Wounds. I gave him some bonus damage for "charging" from above and burying his glowing fist into the rotten flesh of the beast's back, but it's still in the triple digits, and the Druid is still in Elf form (with no Barkskin active). On its turn...
    Slam with trunk, crit, confirm. Stomp, hit. Stomp, crit, confirm.
    The only one smiling at this point IS THE DRUID lol. We're all kind of horrified that this could be the first PK of the campaign, but he knew it was a risk and says it would be a fun way to go out.
    "So um, what's your health?"
    Druid: "I'm 3 below max, since I took 14 from the spider and healed for 11 after."
    Dragon Shaman: "I considered switching my +damage aura for Damage Reduction 3, but didn't..."
    DM: "Okay, well remember you have the Phoenix blessing, so you could drop all the way down to -19 and still be alive..."
    Druid is at -22.

    I don't think I've ever seen more laughter at a PK. In-character the Old Man is horrified of course since he sorta helped the Druid die...the dwarf has mixed feelings, the bear goes berserk, and Morok's not sure what the big deal is, his head isn't attached to his body either...

    The elephant slams and tramples a few times while wearing its new Elf shoes, and falls without doing too much more harm. The bear mournfully carries his friend outside the tower, while the survivors bravely continue onward...

    Carrot + Swords. "This room has a giant column filling the center, leaving a narrow hallway that you presume forms a ring shape. Around the corner, you hear many squeaks..."
    Last edited by turbo164; 2014-12-16 at 04:38 PM.

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 36 “Third Tower Finale!”


    [some friends-of-friends-of-friends who have played DnD in the past are here to observe, hoping to roll up characters for future sessions. When shown the tower’s dice, and told what symbols have been rolled so far, one says “holy crap, so the last combination’s going to be a dinosaur wizard?” the players had been guessing Pizza Duck :P]

    The Old Man's nature experience suggests that the squeaks are coming from bunnies, and as he rounds the corner his suspicions are confirmed. Dozens of them, and two that appear to be wearing armor and holding tiny spears in their mouths...? The hopping hoard charges, but their snapping teeth bounce harmlessly off of armor or miss entirely as overeager bunnies sail through the air. 5 of them drop dead however, as a mysterious figure emerges from the shadows...

    Thazir - Human Rogue. Skilled with a knife and many other things, including wands. "Jack thought you could use some help." "Well, we did just lose a druid..."

    The bunnies and humanoids maneuver into flanking positions, and carrot-stained teeth start drawing blood. Cones of Cold from the Dragon Shaman and Morok shatter swathes of rodents (and chill the new Rogue to the bone since he lacks the Shaman's immunity), but more thunder around the corner. The stone dwarf takes zero damage this fight thanks to the lack of adamantine foes (they can only hurt him on a crit), and starts getting creative with his slaughter, hugging bunnies to death, kicking bunny corpses through multiple other soon-to-be-corpses, shoving a bunnyspear down a bunnythroat, and having Morok Mage Hand + Stick one to the ceiling by his whiskers...after all of his friends are dead, the Shaman flies up and cuts him down to splatter on the ground below.

    The Rogue tops people off with a healing wand while answering some questions. He hates undead and demons, but will tolerate Morok if the others vouch for him. The group hopes to get some sleep before the final floor, but as their rest approaches an hour, the dice start shaking...the Rogue rouses his new allies, who hustle in as the dice settle on the final combination: Wizard Hat + "Duck" tracks.

    The final room has a 15 foot canyon crossing the center, with wide staircases leading up to the heroes' entrance as well as the enemy...a Fleshraker Dinosaur, wearing a Wizard hat. "Have at thee!"

    The Dragon Shaman wins initiative, but the dinosaur immediately flickers out of sight, leaving a quartet of elementals in his wake. The Fire elemental is one-shotted by a fully powered Frost breath, and a defensive formation is created while waiting for the Air elementals to approach or the dino to re-appear. The Rogue enchants a coin with magical darkness to obscure part of the canyon, a move that leads to some helpful (and funny) situations later.

    While Elementals trade blows with the undeath-impaired, Morok lights up his See Invisibility to find that the dinosaur is flying up at the ceiling, invisible, well-buffed, and slinging spells. Morok creates an illusion of a dancing elf to mark the location of the tricky foe, giving the heroes something to aim at. It is at this point that the Rogue realizes his ranged options consist of throwing his single 18,000 gold knife, or using a <30 foot wand...he writes “BUY A FRIGGIN BOW” on his character sheet, while the dwarf grudgingly hauls out his heavy crossbow that has not been used since Buzzard Bridge.

    The Dragon Shaman can also fly, but a painful diving pounce from the dinosaur leaves him wary of trying to fight alone. The dino starts focusing Morok, who further enrages the beast by Dispelling the Flight, and switching his illusion out for a Detect Thoughts, giving the heroes a better idea of his tactics and weaknesses. The dinosaur is still invisible, and still has the arcane reserves to blast Morok down to a mere 3 hp! The skull meekly floats into the Darkness cloud, picks up a Vigor from the Rogue...and thankfully reads from his foe that the Dinosaur lacks the vision necessary to pierce the darkness.

    The Dragon Shaman gives the dino a glimpse of the Ice Age with his breath weapon, and sets up some melee flanks. The Dwarf successfully tackles the slippery lizard once, but faceplants on future attempts. The Rogue also grinds his face a bit after running down the stairs too quickly, but it is his blade that emerges from the Darkness with a Sneak Attack to finally fell the ferocious foe.

    With all 6 combinations vanquished, the dice slowly roll across the ground, with each pair of faces dissolving into a chest. The heroes collect a flask, a small gem, a shiny knife, a sturdy shield, a glittering ring, and a head-twistingly powerful purple gem, presumably the item Jack sent them to retrieve. Oh and 36,000 gold. Totally worth losing an Elf for!

    Interlude: "The Dice revealed!"


    I added a scaling factor based on floor level, which for most of them was like +2 str/con/AC per floor or whatnot. The height of the tower, plus the fact that the dice were 6 sided and each face disappeared when used was intended to reveal that there would be 6 floors in total...but that didn't stop the group from burning two Flamestrikes on single targets and all 100+ Dragon Shaman healing by the third floor :X

    Mountain - Gargantuan Griffon. Extra reach and damage on something with 5 attacks is pretty scary.
    Anvil - Mithril Griffon. Like the Epic Mithril Golem, the Griffon would be perma-hasted.
    Draconic - Blue Dragon Griffon. Lightning breath and faster flight.
    Skull - Shadow Griffon. 5 attacks, but thankfully only Strength Drain of 1 and some random Negative Energy damage. [which is something the real Shadows could probably use for their CR…/tangent]
    Army - Depending on the floor, there could have been anywhere from 3 to 8 Griffons, with at least one of them having some Marshal levels.
    Wizard - Natural flight and multiple attacks lends toward a buff-self-and-pounce Gish.

    Mountain - Colossal Spider. Good luck stepping on it.
    Anvil - Clockwork Spider. Standard golem immunities (but could be Slowed by short-circuiting it with lightning damage, which no one tried), poison bite changed to poison spray, webs made of razorwire.
    Draconic - Black Dragon Spider. Web + Flight could have been fun...
    Skull - (exo)Skeleton Spider. Skitter skitter.
    Army - 2-6 with marshals
    Wizard - This one would have been a nuker. Hide in the corner surrounded by webs, toss Enervations and Fireballs and such.

    Mountain - Gargantuan Ettin. Now THAT's a giant!
    Anvil - Iron Ettin. Lower stats than the normal Iron Golem, but two breath weapons.
    Draconic - "IT'S WHITE-ISH RED!" Resist Cold and Fire, firebreath and coldbreath.
    Skull - Vampire Ettin. Two Bites!
    Army - 2-6 with marshals. Probably would have had the heads give contradicting orders at some point ("Charge! Retreat! Go for the eyes! Go for the knees!")
    Wizard - Two hats, one upside-down :P Second head would cast one extra, weaker spell per turn.

    Mountain - Colossal Elephant. Squish.
    Anvil - Stone Elephant. Squish.
    Draconic - Green Dragon Elephant. Flying squish! And the trunk would have focused the breath weapon into a narrower but more forceful "firehose" of acid gas.
    Skull - Zombie. Squish. (technically not the real Zombie template since it kept its multiple attacks [unfortunately for the druid], but it was just a slow brainless sack of rotten muscle)
    Army - 2-6 with marshals. Might have made a Jungle Book reference ;)
    Wizard - This would have made for some hilarious melee touch attacks.

    Mountain - COLOSSAL BUNNY. Each hop would force balance/reflex to avoid knockdown.
    Anvil - ADAMANTINE BUNNY. High damage reduction, jump from head to head.
    Draconic - RED DRAGON BUNNY. Flying and firebreathing.
    Army - 16 to 96!!! with Marshals. Rank-and-file bunnies have 1 health and 1 damage (Monster Manual Rats basically), but auras boost damage considerably when charging and/or flanking and/or critting. Marshal bunnies also have Mouthpick Longspears.
    Wizard - "You see a wizard hat on the ground. It squeaks." Flies around with only its feet hanging out of the hat, launching rays.

    Mountain - Gargantuan Fleshraker. Bonus to Trip and Grapple, eegads.
    Anvil - Clay Golem Fleshraker. Poison *and* Cursed Wound on claws!
    Draconic - Pseudodragon Fleshraker. Dex *and* Sleep poison, fun!
    Skull - Ghoul Fleshraker. Poison *and* Paralysis claws, fun!
    Army - 3-8, with marshals. "Clever girl..."
    Wizard - Gish. Flying, Haste, Improved Invis, etc.

    The group got some interesting rolls. Getting the late bunny army was hilarious, and thankfully they avoided eating any early Strength poison/drain effects as that would have made the mostly-melee team far weaker in the later floors unless they rested.

    Gold rewards were 1000/3000/5000/7000/9000/11000, with a rest of longer than an hour resetting; so you get "number of floors in a row, squared"-thousand gold for each stretch. The party interrupting their nap to complete floor 6 was worth 10,000 gold more than if they had waited til morning.

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 37 “Curses, Fish, and Shopping Sprees”


    [This week the previous two observers are missing, but a never-played-dnd-before coworker is here to watch instead.]

    The party enjoys a night's rest in the cavern, figuring it to be safer than the tower or the forest (but the rogue Hides his sleeping bag anyway). Breakfast is interrupted by a new figure splashing into the cavern: a wide-eyed old man with a grey beard. In his arms is a clay statue of a different bearded man with a pointy hat.

    "AAAARE you adVEENtureeers? WHOOOOO among you possesses the ARCANE MIGHT to BREAK this TEEEERRible CUUUUrsse?!?" The heroes are not sure what to think of this man, as he does not exactly explain what the curse is or what arcane might is needed to break it, but he keeps repeating himself. (And nearly clocks the Rogue over the head with the statue after being snuck up on...but it looked accidental.) Gort contemplates "breaking" the curse with his hammer, but eventually Morok tries a few dispels, noting that there's SOMETHING magical going on, and the statue seems to be drinking in the arcane power? He eventually tries a Prestidigitation for a change, which Misfires into...Dancing lights.

    The statue absorbs the lights, and the crazy man seems to calm down. "AAAh, so it is YOU who....whoooo" *poof* a cloud of smoke billows around him, and once it clears...he appears to be an owl. "Whoo." The party tries talking to the owl, but are answered by a voice lower to the floor…which in real life, comes from the “observer”. Morok clears the smoke with a Crit cast Gust of Wind, revealing the statue is alive!

    Roman, the (Chaos) Gnome Sorceror, from the City of Travelo. (he actually stuck a "Made in Travelo City" sticker to his shoe in real life!) The players who were not in on the joke beforehand collectively facetable at the puns.

    Roman's not sure how he got cursed or where all he's been, but he knows that the Owl is his friend (familiar) Hooter, and that he's been all sorts of places (and been used as a bludgeon in several of them). Hoookay, not the weirdest thing they've seen in Kyrpra, welcome to the group! :) Roman's player wanted to be very Chaotic, so we worked up a special chart for him that's a bit different from the OTHER chaotic sorceror, Morok. Morok's spells have a chance to turn into different spells, while Roman's spells will always *cast*, but sometimes have extra effects, like summoning a pie, teleporting the gnome into the air, turning the dwarf purple etc. Not a very simple character for a new guy to jump into, but it’s what he wanted : )

    The group decides to head back to the edge of the forest to Teleport/Sending Jack and deliver the gem (and spend some of their tower cash!). The first people to splash out of the magical waterfall both notice some sharks further down the river munching on something bloody...oh and some of the sharks are flying. And notice the tasty newcomers. Initiative!

    The first shark torpedoes teeth-first into the dwarf, biting his knee and dragging him further underwater. The gnome promptly Baleful Polymorphs the big fish into a Sardine. Nice job rookie! More sharks swim and/or fly to the dwarf, losing some teeth but they've got more spare teeth than the dwarf has spare blood.

    The rest of the group trickles into the fight. The Dragon Shaman immediately swoops down to carry the Gnome to the riverbank (with 5 strength and Small size, he's not someone who likes Swimming *or* grappling Huge sharks), who then Dimension Steps the Dwarf to dry ground as well. Morok is able to fly up before the sharks pay him much heed, leaving the Rogue as the last one to enter the water...

    Dwarven rock-throwing and axe swings, plus a breath weapon are enough to take out the shark chewing on the shore-dwellers, and it's noticed at this point that while the sharks *can* fly, they fight much better in the water. The Rogue who is alone in the water with the sharks finds out the hard way that they also fight more ferociously once there's "blood in the water" from him dropping below half...

    One more bite could have dropped him to negatives (remember this was played by the Druid who just died too!), but Morok swaps him with the healthier dwarf. The blood-frenzied sharks find the dwarf less tasty, but as he's already in their teeth they keep chewing. The rogue is healed by the Dragon Shaman on-shore (and Morok "helps" him with a Sonic Weapon on his knife THAT ACTUALLY CASTS! That spell for whatever reason only has like a 2 out of 7 success rate, and two of the five misfires landed on Trollshape). The newcomer gnome scores the final two kills with a previously-cast Fire Shield giving one shark a lethal case of Brain Freeze, and a Magic Missle dropping the other into the negatives with a smiley face of smoking holes.

    The group uses up one of the Rogue's healing wands, then lets the Sardine happily munch on the carcass in they WALK AWAY WITHOUT TRYING TO LOOT ANYTHING. Given their previous propensity for harvesting scorpion stingers, roach guts, griffon feathers, mud, pretty water, undead trees, beetle shells, statue chunks, etc...I was very surprised to see them not try to harvest any shark teeth, shark fins, or even identify the species of the shark's previous victim. [later when they were selling their tower loot in town, they were like "Wait, did we have any other new stuff since we were last here? There was the tower, then the sharks...OH NO WE HAVE TO GO BACK!" XD]

    Morok successfully teleports the group first try (and with the Dire Bear being replaced by a backpack-sized Gnome and the Ranger mia yet again, it only takes one trip nowadays!), and Sends to Jack who promises to meet them in the morning. The innkeeper said no one asked for them while they were gone, and Gather Info doesn't turn up any exciting news. Then Jack arrives!

    Jack pockets the gem and Gort's favor is complete. The tower loot is identified, argued over [amusingly, the ring is the most expensive item, and everyone argues that it’s an awesome item but would be MORE awesome on someone other than themselves!] , equipped, sold, cha-ching. After nearly a year since the last new character [that stayed long enough to meet Jack], the Deck Of Minor Things is pulled out!

    The Rogue ends up as a Corrupted Clutzy Acrobat Sage with a shiny new gem that pays for the cards AND the Clutz removal. But he still feels Unlucky...

    The Gnome ends up as a Weakling Warrior Knight with two is not immediately noticeable, but the the Gnome's eyes, Jack and the Old Man disappear. "Ah, you cannot see Humans at the moment. Don't worry, it should pass fairly soon." Um...why didn't the Rogue disappear? He silently walks over to get a drink. [I felt SO BAD about this roll, as the Rogue put a lot of effort into his Disguise to pass as a Human. Very small chance of anyone Spotting through it, but an even smaller chance of the Deck pulling the exact curse needed to reveal it >_< ] The group is confused, but aren't able to get any info from their suspicious ally. For what it’s worth, Jack seems to trust him.

    Some by-the-book items are bought (such as new healing wands!), and his inventory of Uniques is once again displayed, some of which are more attractive to the differently composed group than they were last time, and there are some new ones he acquired since their last visit.

    The Rogue considers some new weapons, and while discussing trade-in value, he finds out that his Corrupter "unluckiness" seems centered on his old (18,000 gold!) dagger. Well that settles that. He picks up the Organseeker dagger and the Morphos shapeshifting weapon, trying both out. Organseeker was fairly cheap and has lots of room for new enchantments, with its current bonus being a powerful boost to his Sneak Attacks. Morphos can become any weapon shape as a free action, and his Use Magic Device check quickly reveals that it can hold THREE WEAPON CRYSTALS simultaneously. He's a bit lacking in cash to fill those slots without a favor, but by golly that's going to be a lot of d6's at some point. He was originally going to use it as just an offhand knife + be his bow when needed, but wonders if it might be even better than Organseeker...?

    The Dragon Shaman, having been unimpressed with his Javelin usage thus far, is tempted by the Gemslinger sling, which calls elemental servants. He borrows a little cash from his friends, and takes his new toy outside to plunk some trees. This thing seems to have a LOT of abilities, and after the first day determines that at the very least it can summon a certain number of Elementals of his choice of Air/Earth/Fire/Water, with his choice of size determining how often it can be used. He goes through a dozen stones, and is told by the DM that there are still at least 3 abilities yet undiscovered :D

    Roman strongly considers using a Favor to get enough Strength-boosting gear for Hooter to be able to carry him, but also discusses riding the Dragon Shaman or buying a broom/carpet to fly on instead. As the night is running late (and he hadn’t read a single DnD book until 2 days ago), he decides to make his decision next week.

    Gort has a few slots unfilled and was still browsing books when we ended. He's fairly happy with his Unique gloves (whose Favor ended up converting the Elf into a pile of coins! and also gave him Weapon Proficiency/Focus/Specialization: Kicking Bunnies), but wasn't too interested in any of the other Uniques.

    Chapter 38 “Crossroads and Darkness”


    5 people show up for the first time in over 8 months! Granted the Druid is now a Rogue and the Chaotic Cleric is now a Chaotic Gnome with a different pilot…but still!

    Roman and Aria keep their cash while Gort opts for some by-the-book purchases, leaving the Rogue and Dragon Shaman as the only ones with shiny new Uniques.

    With Aria here, the suspicious non-Rogues ask her to turn her +22 Spot modifier upon the non-Human rogue. Enough details are noticeable through the disguise that some Knowledge checks are rolled to determine he is a Tiefling…He explains his backstory (through a multi-paragraph typed document!) and his teammates’ fears seem to be assuaged.

    With the gang all here and immediate threats/favors seemingly dealt with, the group is once again at a crossroads:
    -Zorascus is being investigated by the Council of Dragons as well as Snickle’s Entirely Legitimate Business.
    -The animal traders at the Rashadan Bazaar might be worth investigating, as the zoo didn’t seem to be the source of corruption.
    -Tyralus (the rogue Dragon who trapped the Phoenix and who “is not to be trusted EVER” according to Saraha) might still be around
    -The invisible snake-mage-thing from the temple is out there somewhere. Jack said he could Scry on it if they were to bring him a scrap of snakeskin from the Zuura temple.
    -Anson (might) be out there somewhere.
    -According to the list found at Peace Of Mind, there could be a Manticore and a Doppleganger loose in Tealport.
    -A Hellhound attacked the Temple of Elhonna in Tealport.
    -The Rogue’s player reminds people out of character (since he was the Druid at the time) that there was that scary giant frosty undead thing in Kyrpra. “Meh, there’s lots of weird stuff in Kyrpra” was the consensus.
    -The “infernal energies in northeast Kyrpra” info from Tyrus months ago seems to be circulating as rumors among the general public now, as a Gather Info check shows (the Gather Info was to try to find a giant rat or something in the city worth 550xp to level up XD)

    The group decides to go with the last one. They cleared out a good 30 demons during the Arazhel rescue, but there could certainly be more hiding somewhere. They leave a message with the Innkeeper in case Snickle tries to contact them, say bye to Jack (who gives them a magical flyer they can write on to contact him; the Ranger immediately writes “does this work?” while Jack is 10 feet away. The word “Yes.” appears on the Ranger’s hand. And does not fade.) and gather up for Morok Aetherlines. (with 5 people but no bear, they are able to reach the passenger limit by throwing the Gnome in his own Haversack and having the Dwarf “wield” the elf as improvised equipment [which his gloves grant him Proficiency and Specialization with ^_^ ])

    Morok’s teleport is perfect for the 5th time in a row, and Aria is able to show off her Survival skills to the newcomers as she leads the heroes southwest in a perfectly straight line toward…where there may or may not be demons.

    Just a few hours pass (the Dragon Shaman is slightly annoyed they didn’t spend one more night in Belania to give Snickle more time and to let his new Gemslinger recharge all the elementals he chucked at random trees!) before the group comes across one of Kyrpra’s always entertaining oddities. This one is a large patch of unnatural darkness…

    The Old Man disguises himself as a tree, the dwarf burrows underground, the gnome watches in wonder, and the Rogue and Ranger sneak ahead. Aria’s not quite as stealthy as her new Tiefling companion though, and a swoosh overhead prompts her to tumble back into the light. The rogue stays put, then decides to venture further in…but a ghostly hand on his shoulder prompts him to also tumble into the light, missing some hit points and some Constitution. Yipes!

    The dwarf bravely runs into the darkness at full speed, getting brushed by the chilling hand as well. Getting a better view of the ghostly shapes as they start feeding on the dwarf, some tidbits about Incorporeality are gleaned, and thus spell selection leans toward Magic Missle (one of which causes a coin to fall on the Chaotic gnome). Aria’s new 40k bow is fired for the first time, and the Force Damage is very handy. Gort cleverly drops his beloved axe to activate his Belt of Spectral Daggers for the (second?) time, and buries it to the hilt in one of the soul-sapping spirits with a 48 damage Crusader maneuver. Aria finishes off the last one with a volley of 6 arrows that deals slightly less damage than that one knife :P

    No more foes seem to be around, so the group Searches the area (not like the Sharks!) and finds a previously drained warrior carrying some valuable equipment. The ghosts were scary, but only worth 440 xp, leaving the old man a mere 100 from level 12, argh!

    …aaand the DM remembers that he applied several points of Con damage without asking for saving throws, so he retcons the rewards with an email, giving a few more xp and a Wand of Restoration, oops.

    Aaand we're caught up! Chapter 39 should be played tonight! *emails players links to this thread*

    Hopefully this is entertaining to the non-players as well :)

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Two more sessions! Will probably be a few weeks until our next one with Christmas and New Years causing people to travel. Maybe a random non-Thursday in between will line up though.

    Chapter 39 “Which way is up?”


    This session ended up pretty short, as the first few hours were spent on pizza, forgetting character sheets, picking a feat for the Old Man who dinged off of the emailed rewards, and chatting about work. It happens :P

    Ingame Aria continued leading the group on a clear path to somewhere. (Un?)fortunately, her sharp eyes, as well as those of the rogue, see something up ahead that drops both characters to the dirt with failed Will saves. Gort manages to pick up Aria in the wimpiest clash of Strength Checks ever (natural 4 vs natural 2), then let her go and she falls again, terrified of “floating up into the sky” should she leave the dirt. Hmm…

    More spot checks are rolled, with several natural 3s. The Old Man is the first to spot the source of the approaching footsteps *and* pass his save; it is a two-headed Abberation, walking upside down on the air, waving tentacle arms to inflict vertigo and splitting headaches with psionic powers.

    Gort tries dragging the Rogue into a bush to “help him hide”; the Rogue was happy where he was, but does fire his crossbow, failing to overcome a cover save. People outside the bush hear:
    “No, stop!” *twang* *thunk*

    Um…meanwhile Roman repeatedly fails to Spot the creature due to the trees, and attempts to blind-fire some spells in the direction he sees the others shooting at. Aria eventually passes a Will save, and stands up long enough to launch several successful arrows. Gort’s failed Will save causes him to Burrow into the nice safe far-from-sky dirt, slowing his advance considerably.

    The Dragon Shaman lands a breath weapon and follows up with a stab; the creature responds by wrapping tentacles around his head and flooding his human brain with energy. He tosses the Old Man’s unconscious body over (under?) his shoulder as a charging Gort finally reaches axe range with a lethal Crusader’s Strike.

    Heals are passed out, and the Rogue grabs some Abberation Giblets (some “fell” upward and were unreachable) to feed to Morok’s freshly-summoned Lion before he poofs, and a Sending from Morok to Jack helps identify the creature as a Vertigo Walker. With resources running low, camp is made; ready to pack up their character sheets, the players ask if they get a full night’s sleep?

    *Roll* Um, no. Tonight will not be peaceful. See you next week!

    [DM Notes: the Vertigo Walker came from my Kyrpra Random Encounter chart. One of the items looted in the tower that was sold 2 sessions ago? A randomly-rolled Shield Crystal of Bent Sight. “How often do we face Gaze Attacks? I’d rather split the 250 gold” XD XD

    And also, to mirror my “forgetting to allow Fort saves” last week, I forgot to apply Wisdom Damage here, blarg]

    40 “Rock vs Rock vs Rock vs Morok. And More Rocks.”


    [Being our last session before the Christmas season, Gort’s player asked me beforehand if they were getting any presents ingame. I told him yes, but “it will take some effort to unwrap.”]

    Sleeping bags are thrown on the battlemap, watch cycles are assigned, and Sleeping In Armor rules are reviewed. Shortly after midnight, the group(minus Aria who was out sick, and Gort who was there but “sleeping like a rock”) is awakened by an earthquake!

    Gort is shook awake by his teammates standing on the shaking earth, and Knowledge checks are rolled. The quake starts to feel a bit different…the Dragon Shaman flies up for a better look, and thus has a nice view when the earth uppercuts the dwarf 45 feet into the air!

    An enormous Earth Elemental, cracked by the quake, has arisen to vent its rage on the slumbering creatures above. Tens of thousands of pounds of dirt raises its mighty fists to start pummeling everything it can reach…once its negative Initiative modifier allows, of course.

    Dragon Shaman: Blast it with Frost!
    Morok: Blast it with Acid!
    Roman: Blast it with Fire! (from 10 feet away…?)
    Thazir: Blast it with two arrows that miss, then Hide! (the Earth Elemental seems to pay more attention to the rainbow of pain rather than the slight breeze, so Hide successful!)
    Gort: “Charge” it with my axe! (the grinding blade slows his fall a bit, and the dwarf’s stony damage reduction ignores most of the ground’s impact)

    Earth Elemental: Slam dwarf, Bull Rush 10 feet underground. Slam SORCEROR GNOME STANDING IN MELEE RANGE WITH 6 STRENGTH, Bull Rush 20 feet underground. Oh, and also crit for 58.


    The Gnome passes his System Shock save by 2(!), checks the drowning rules and line-of-sight rules, and decides to stay underground with his Haversack air supply rather than risk getting punched again. (being a bunch of math geeks, we estimated it would take Roman + an Unseen Servant about 55 rounds to dig his way up, lol)

    The dwarf rises, gets AOO’d into the ground, rises again…the Rogue fails to pierce damage reduction, Morok contemplates trying to Telekenisis the Gnome up through 44,000 pounds of dirt but sticks to the acid-blasting plan, and the Old Man FINALLY gets to use Gemslinger on something other than a tree! …the rock misses, but he still draws on enough power to create an Earth Elemental that rivals their foe in size. The Rockem Sockem rocks bash each other a bit, which gives the smaller and squishier creatures some welcome breathing room.

    Gort, having been buried a mere 5 feet last round, shoves his elbow out of the ground far enough to land another Crusader’s Strike killshot; his Reflex save avoids the worst of the 60,000 pounds of falling elemental as pebbles bounce harmlessly off of his armored arm.

    The Old Man sends his friendly Elemental to retrieve the Gnome, who having not seen it summoned, is understandably panicked until his head breaks the surface again. Gort searches the remains (and then “searches” with his hammer), and finds a present!

    It’s…a lump of coal!

    Hardened into a Diamond worth 6k! :D

    And also a couple bites of Apatite, yum! [it was originally going to be 6k of platinum ore, but the Christmas question made me change it to “coal” ^_^]

    Sleep resumes, and finishes with no interruptions. The party manages to travel fairly well without the Ranger’s guidance, and after a triple-encounter day, are relieved to have a peaceful day of travel, followed by a peaceful evening…but a second midnight earthquake worries them. Is this natural? Kyrpra-weirdness? Demon-related?

    A third day brings the party across a very large skull, attached to a long, decaying body.
    Gort: Knowledge Nature! Natural 1!
    DM: *rolls a d15* You think it’s from a Monstrous Humanoid.
    Gort: Guys! I think this was a Centaur or something!
    Old Man: Knowledge Nature 20, diplomacy 37 “It’s actually a dinosaur…”
    Gort: …It’s a Centaursaurus!

    The group then spends about 30 minutes pulling dozens of teeth from the skull and sending the Gnome climbing into its rotting gullet to look for valuable remains…
    DM: You’re not going to ever repeat the Shark incident, are you?
    Players: Heck no! We’re looting EVERYTHING!
    DM: Heh. Well, I guess you find…*roll* 13 gold worth of copper ore in its gizzard alongside the rest of the digestive stones.
    Gnome, dripping rotten dinosaur slime: WORTH IT!

    Moving onward, past a bunch of less valuable skeletons (running late, last session of the year etc), the group finds the source…a ramshackle hill that sorta might be a house, covered in runes, and surrounded by scorched bones.

    The rogue goes in for a closer look, and sees that it would take a massive amount of skill to disarm the magical traps without setting off others. The Chaos Gnome decides to try throwing a rock with Mage Hand!

    Chaos roll: “Teleport a random ally 25 feet in a random direction.”

    “Um…how close is everyone to the hill?”

    After a healthy dose of laughter, the roll luckily just sends Morok down to the ground (“Wow, you guys got tall all of a sudden!”) rather than chucking a teammate into the runes. His Mage Hand then successfully tosses the rock…over the hill with a Natural 1. “That was basically the broad side of a barn!”

    His physical, Str 6 Gnome hands successfully toss a second rock, and his Gnome feet successfully Reflex him under the ricochet after a magical explosion launches the flaming, crackling, foul-smelling rock into a tree behind him.

    Voice inside: “Stop that! Go’way!”

    Some Diplomacy checks are made, and a very grumpy-looking gnome inside the hill opens a “window” to trade a few words. The group explains they’re hunting for demons (and at one point answers a question with 3 people saying “Possibly” “Partially” and “Primarily” within 2 seconds of each other, heh), which the gnome says is “a worthy goal.” He’s not sure if the earthquakes are demon-related, but they could be, or just forest weirdness. He says he’s been hiding in that hill for years, and doesn’t want to be found. They can call him “Pelko,” but he asks them to promise NOT to tell ANYONE they saw him, in exchange for some random loot he pulled from some idiots who tried to break into his hill a while back. The group agrees.

    In the spirit of the season, I let the group roll to see what non-melted items could be scrounged up, then pick from that list with a few hints. Their final selections are levitated through the window, and tried on with glee and skill checks.

    There’s a gruesome jeweled knucklebone ring, which some stellar checks figure out pretty quickly. It is Phalangius, and grants 8(!) undead-related bonuses, such as bestowing Ghosttouch to weapons and casting Hide From Undead 1/day.

    The regal metal mask looks like it belonged to a great general in the past, and brings visions of grand battle strategies to the wearer. Mechanically, the only thing the group is able to figure out by stabbing random trees and bones is that it doubles the Flanking bonus the wearer provides to his allies. It can do far more than that once an actual battle is entered, of course.

    While initially worn by the dwarf, the group decides the aura-projecting Dragon Shaman would make a better “general,” so Gort proposes he “snatcha the pebble from my hand, Grasshopper!” by having the Old Man try to grab it (touch attack) while using the mask’s ability to appear/disappear (Reflex Save). Both players get 24! Attacker wins ties, and Gort is astonished (thought he Old Man playfully bluffs that “that was easy”). ^_^

    Loot in hand, the group thanks the grumpy gnome and claims to have already forgotten he existed, haha! He starts to say something, then quickly turns, gasps, and growls “Someone’s looking for you. Leave, now. Go that way. You were never here.” *Slam*

    See you next year!

    Lotta great quotes this week :) Our next session *might* see the return of the two observors from chapter 36, but either way it should be pretty exciting!
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 41 "Oh crap oh crap oh crap"


    Aria returns, after she "thought she saw a goblin and chased it into the night. False alarm!" The group starts to fill her in on what she missed, but juuust as Roman mentions the gnome that they promised they wouldn't tell anyone about...a failed Will save causes him to stop talking with a massive headache (and everything else ache). The group hastily say "we uh...found this stuff. In the woods. Let's keep going!" A Detect Magic and Spellcraft exam from Morok later (out of Aria's vision) suggests that Roman is suffering from an effect similar to a Geas spell...that promise was more binding than they thought!

    Travel goes smoothly with some 30+ Survival checks, until a magical shimmering appears before them. Oh, it looks like that image spell Jack sometimes communicates with! Except this isn't Jack...

    A shadowy figure with glowing yellow eyes confidently identifies himself as Zorascus. He expresses regret that the Dwarf left so soon, as he "seems to be progressing nicely," but expresses irritation at the group sending "those deluded old wyrms" and "that glorified footstool" after him. He's trying to make the world a better place! Well, not for everyone, of course. After some more pleasentries, he asks someone out-of-vision if everything is in position...aaand another earthquake starts.

    Oh crap oh crap oh crap

    Spells are cast, a Morok teleport fails, a second teleport attempt is voted upon...and a CRACK IN THE SKY is noticed.

    Oh crap oh crap oh crap

    The earthquake subsides, and Zorascus talks a bit more to someone not in the image spell; he then turns back to the party, smiling with teeth that match his eyes, to say "Well, interesting news: some of your friends are still alive! I won't spoil the surprise by telling you which ones. Stay out of my way." *fades*

    Oh crap oh crap oh crap

    The party discusses...things. The dragon jar moved for a split second, then stayed silent; the dragon amulet had no reply; Jack's note said "Laying low for a while, you might want to do the same." Options include staying in the forest, "laying low" in Mudhole (low chance of spies, but low chance of town surviving a fight), "laying low" in a more spy-filled but defendable city, trying to contact Jack again, heading back to the Gnome hill (without Aria?), going somewhere completely unexpected, etc...

    Aria points out that the meeting itself seemed like an intimidation tactic; if he was powerful enough to wipe out the Council like he implied, why would he tell them? The group must be walking close to something he doesn't want them to find. Some skill checks on the sky suggest that something affecting the planar boundaries happened, so it's possible the earthquake only signaled that either their plane or the Council's plane was just blocked, rather than destroyed. The group agrees to stay on course.

    As the forest gives way to marshland, a massive Pyrohydra is encountered! The group prepares spells and tactics to minimize the flame breath, including the Old Man chucking a Huge Water Elemental at it to drown some heads...but then a Hasted, Sonic Weapon'd Aria does 176 damage in one round, and the beast dies before reaching breath range. Ok then.

    A rusted chest is found, its contents to be identified next session.

    Chapter 42 "Time for some pruning"


    The Old Man is missing for the first time since Chapter 3. "He fell in the swamp, I'm sure he'll be fine." :P

    The chest holds a variety of small goodies, including Horseshoes of Speed for their horses that keep disappearing in the woods...the group decided long ago that their mugshots are posted in stables across the continent with "DO NOT RENT" warnings lol. There's also some potions, scrolls, and a few Martial Scripts, some of which are unidentified due to language and skill deficiencies. [Usually when the players find a small by-the-book item, it's clearly labled "Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds" or whatnot; but for stuff pulled out of a rusted chest in a swamp, the lables had gotten soggy]

    Most of the (short) night was taken up by a random encounter, but a lot of good roleplaying occured anyway! The foe was a modified Topiary Guardian, which didn't seem to be guarding anything in particular, but upon seeing some of the "trees" move and Initiative was rolled, the party didn't metagame by chucking fire until the giant plant proved itself hostile. Also, Gort's player has been controlling Morok for most battles (DM still has the final call on his NPC-ness and handles his conversations), and has been making an effort to not cast the same spells every fight, to fit Morok's chaotic nature. Nice!

    The Guardian is a Huge Lion shape, and Tramples the group a few times while dropping seeds along the way...that sprout into poisonous thorn-launching little flower things. Their thorns do a grand total of 5 damage over the course of the fight, and the poison only works once...but more on that later.

    The Guardian does considerable damage, and has a monstrous health pool. Roman lands a Fire orb that outdamages Aria for a round, but the group who was so careful about their formation vs the Hydra's flame breath (that died before it breathed any flames) finds themselves lined up where ALL 5 can get trampled by the not-quite-dead guardian. First in its path is Gort, who bravely forgoes the Reflex save to instead deliver one last AOO...and kills it! The flaming carcass slides to a stop inches from Aria (who fumes about "wasting" a preemptive Reflex save of 36) and the Dwarf climbs out the burning pile of wood in fine shape thanks to his damage reduction and fire-resistant shield.

    The last few flowers are mowed down, and the area is searched. Some skeletons are found in the roots of nearby trees; apparently the guardian was turning things it killed into fertilizer? A few knives are looted, as well as *rolls* ...a cloth robe that somehow was not torn apart by the roots. Magic!

    The Robe is identified by an excellent Knowledge check from Roman, who swaps out his MithrilTwilightChainShirt for it. He loses some armor, but the robe constantly swirls with arcane runes and symbols, granting bonuses to several skills and spells. The neatest part is that once a day, he can attempt to "lock in" some of the symbols to create a temporary scroll of nearly ANY spell, depending on his skill check!

    Meanwhile, the Rogue fails his secondary poison save, taking some more Nonlethal damage...and falling asleep. [luckily he was not in the middle of a 40+ Hide check like he often does between stabbings...] With the night winding down, the group starts joking about all the things they can do with their slumbering ally.

    "Heal check to wake him up!" *23* "You're able to position him more comfortably, but you can't seem to awaken him." "...Attack roll to wake him up?"

    Roman has a tiny chance of rolling high enough on his new robe for a Neutralize Poison or something else that might help...but a natural 3 leaves him with very limited options. He starts flipping through books...

    "Vigilant slumber? Oh that's self-only...Alarm? Scholar's Touch? Ooh, Grease would let us slide him around and play hockey! ...What's this, Ventriloquism!"

    Things "said" by the Rogue:
    *"I'm fine guys!"
    *"This poison ivy I'm laying in is really comfy!"
    *"Could you slide me a little closer to that anthill?"

    Have I mentioned I look forward to every session? Because I really, really do. ^_^
    Last edited by turbo164; 2015-01-15 at 08:08 PM.
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 43 “See, they ARE evil!”

    The Old Man is back, and uses his Dragon Shaman powers to cure the poisoned rogue. Thezir’s player is absent, so he stays asleep for convenience. Also Roman the Gnome has talked with Aria and the DM about rigging some kind of saddle for him to stay on Aria’s shoulders better when she’s Tumbling and Reflexing around, and I throw together plans for a Gnomish Tallsaddle for them to craft when they get back to town. ^_^

    Lawful Good Aria’s hatred of goblins has come up several times during the story, but not really explained until recently. The player typed up a several page backstory (with some “help” from a few authors :P ) about an ancient war between her ancestors and a goblin tribe over a powerful relic. Aria herself does not know everything, she just knows that her entire childhood was spent in a town constantly being attacked by goblins, and there was a mysteriously dark cave nearby…

    In the forest, having spent several days on their “some townsfolk said there were demons around here” journey, Aria is astonished to see the cave from her childhood shimmer into existence before the party. Inside, the ghost of one of her ancestors informs her that her day of destiny has arrived. He explains the history of the dark altar within the cave, and the previous hero who damaged but not destroyed it with a powerful mace; with a group of particularly ambitious and powerful goblins performing a ritual at the altar, it is up to her to finish what he started, but make haste, for the enemy grows strength with each passing moment!

    Aria is eager to forge onward through the cave, but lighting is a problem; there are more Human/Lowlight visions in the group than there are Darkvisions, and her childhood friend Rickven (a previous character of the player, if you recall chapters 2-3!) had difficulty producing magical light years ago. Well Morok is a bit more powerful than a teenaged Halfling, and using one of his newest spells, Ghost Lantern, he manages to light their path without alerting their foes. He casts it on the sleeping Rogue however, which is a bit of an unwieldy torch…

    Sounds of combat reach their ears, and moving forward they find a roomier section of the cavern lit by a glowing skull! In the dim light they make out several goblins crossing blades with a taller humanoid, and rush to his aid.

    The Old Man chucks an Earth Elemental at the skull, thinking it might be an evil Morok, or evil artifact. Turns out to just be an ordinary human skull with Continual Flame, oops.

    Gort charges with his axe, Roman launches some magical acid, and Aria, with eyes gleaming, uses Favored Enemy: Goblins for the first time this campaign. A goblin mage is dropped to 0 before it can cast a spell, and it’s definitely not the only one to fall to the well-aimed barrage. Some goblins attempt to retreat and warn their allies (Gort speaks Goblin!), but don’t make it very far…

    The goblin’s previous opponent identifies himself as Stabby McElf, a hastily-created Elf Rogue to fill in for the sleeping Thezir [I was planning on them meeting some NPCs at some point, just not necessarily a 12th level rogue heh]. He immediately recognizes Aria as the half-elf prophesied to be the one to arrive at their darkest hour; he just hopes the rest of the prophecy is true, and that she’ll be the one to end it as well! [Also Aria hopes out-of-character that Stabby will die a heroic death so the party can heroically loot his +2 equipment!]

    The group spends several minutes stripping the dead goblins of their valuable Chain Shirts and other goodies, before remembering the ghost’s warning about “the enemy grows stronger with each passing moment…” The group looks at me, and I don’t even attempt to pokerface my DM grin.

    “We should probably focus on stopping the altar first, then come back for the loot later…”
    Gort: “Why wait? The evil big bad boss will still get smashed.”

    This prompts some laughter from the group, as most people present were also in another campaign that was co-dm’d by myself and Aria’s player. The group in that campaign was helping a good king fight a war, and in a cluster of sessions led by myself, they were trying to secure an outpost that would help them in future battles. On the way to said outpost, a small group of enemy soldiers included a spellcaster who started casting Summon Monster 4.
    [PC with Spellcraft] “It’s Summon Monster 4!”
    [Gort’s player] “Meh that’s not worth interrupting, summons suck.”
    Indeed, the Fire Elementals spawned only did a total of about 8 damage before dying. Gort’s player continued saying how worthless such spells were, riiight up until they fought the leader of the enemy outpost, whose Augmented Chain Devils and fiendish creatures ended up killing:
    2 Animal Companions
    1 Familiar
    1 Cohort
    1 NPC
    3 Player Characters, including Gort’s player’s character.
    This story is retold by The Old Man’s player to Roman’s player to explain the group’s laughter. Hopefully this time Gort will be correct! ^_^
    [And in my defense, they forced the enemy summoner to retreat in their first encounter, and fought him again the next day; even with the knowledge of the enemy’s specialty, NONE of the 3 people capable of casting Protection from Evil actually did so. He was a high-level enemy, but had they remembered to cast that anti-summon spell, it would have been FAAAR less bloody…]

    The group finishes looting, and Roman conjures an Unseen Servant to carry the glowing skull as a second light source. Morok grows extremely jealous of this second floating skull, casting Light on himself so he glows and taking every opportunity he can to do things the “upstart” can’t, like Lightning Bolt.

    He gets his chance soon, as another group of goblins is encountered a bit deeper in, with some skeletal minions as well. Several goblins drink Invisibility potions, and despite some Glitterdust and blindfired arrow spam down the hallway, it seems at least one escapes.

    In the meantime, the goblins that hold their ground end up on the ground fairly quickly. Some Confusion spells from Roman cause some nice friendly fire, Gort tanks 5 foes simultaneously with minimal injury, etc. The most dangerous foe was a Half-Fiend Goblin Warlock flying invisibly among the stalactites; he broke his stealth with a moderately painful Unholy Blight, but one full attack from Aria dropped him to about -30, despite his enchanted armor, armor crystal, resistances, damage reduction, and Entropic Warding. Ouch. Likewise, a twin-knife weilding goblin manages to Sneak Attack Gort for 22, but his other 3 stabs tink harmlessly off of his stone hide; axes and arrows finish him off before he gets a second attempt.

    The heroes are much faster with the looting this time, taking only easily-grabbed loot like knives and potions, and leave the time-consuming armor for later. Onward!

    Chapter 44 “Gone Batty”

    The tunnel narrows for a while before expanding into a rather large cavern; the keen-eared Aria hears the flapping of large wings overhead, but the lighting is too poor to make out what from; it appears the invisible escapee from the previous battle warned this group to cover their skull torch, as only the dwarf can see as well as the goblins.

    Stabby attempts to sneak ahead to hide in some rubble, but a poor Move Silent check (and the light from the Unseen Servant behind him) leave him exposed. The poor NPC is quickly assaulted with a flurry of arrows, poison bombs, and lance-wielding spider cavalry, dropping him to -5 in a single round!

    The Dragon Shaman is upset that his ally was barely out of range of his protective auras; just a few more feet, and the Elf would still be standing! To his surprise, this feeling reveals a new power of his Tactician’s Visage mask, and he quickly doubles his healing aura to restore consciousness to the fallen scout (who wisely plays dead until Gort is able to draw the enemy’s attention).

    The party displays some good tactics this fight. The spider mounts are quickly shot and stabbed out from under the riders, removing the threat of triple-damage charges. The invisible goblin from the previous room reveals himself with a Poisoned Sneak Attacking Vanguard Strike on the dwarf…who barely takes any damage anyway. Melee fighters start cleaning up the grounded enemies while ranged and flying party members start focusing the hard-to-reach bats.

    Morok is of little help, as his Haste attempt misfires into a Sending…not the best combat spell. Roman interrupts him by saying the other skull was being more helpful (having “tanked” one hit from a batrider’s firebomb), and Morok launches another lightning bolt!

    Reflex saves: Natural 20, natural 18, natural 19, natural 19. With Evasion.

    Well then. Roman has far better luck with his Baleful Transposition; it’s a truly beautiful moment when he manages to swap one of the batriders with the other batrider’s BAT. With a goblin suddenly in midair riding another goblin, both crash to the ground, with one Tumbling into broken kneecaps, and the other landing on his bag of throwing weapons, vanishing into a cloud of flaming poison. The bats suddenly find their 15-foot wingspans on top of each other, and I roll reflex saves to see how badly they crash; natural 19 and natural 20, WHAT THE HECK. Aria guns them down shortly after, at least.

    Speaking of archery, while several of the rank-and-file goblins have managed to miss with like 8 arrows in a row…one goblin marksman has been cranking out over 40 damage a round. It’s less than half of Aria’s average, but aimed *at* the party it’s quite scary! He’s positioned in the darkness on the other side of an underground stream as well, and protected by a goblin cleric (who failed a Knowledge check and wasted a Hold Person on the flying Dragon Shaman). Hoping to finally do something useful, Morok attempts to provide some vision on that half of the cavern…and Critically casts a Rain of Acid instead. It doesn’t light up the cavern, but since the goblins FINALLY failed some reflex saves (after 6 rolls in a row of 18+, 4 of the 5 fail against the acid) and their melting screams offer something to aim at by ear. Roman also contributes a Dancing Lights to help Aria pick off the last ones. [I linked the group to the Dancing Lights comics in OOTS’s Azure City arc after the session ^_^ ] Also worth noting, Roman had some interesting Chaos affects this fight; his Orb of Fire at a bat also sprinkled some healing magic onto Gort, and at the very beginning of the battle, his Entropic Shield created a tiny fireworks display in the dark tunnel!

    This was by far the most painful of the 3 goblin battles, and a few minutes are spent with a Vigor wand while looting. Gort helpfully offers to speed up the chain shirt harvesting; rather than spending 10 rounds removing the chain shirt, he could spend 2 rounds removing the head and limbs from the goblin! Then they could stick the chain shirt (and torso) in a bag to finish up later…no one accepts his offer. While the wands finish up, the group also spends a few seconds calling out “anyone not wearing boots/cloak/armor crystal/etc?” “Me!” *toss* The party finally gives Morok his first item(s) since losing his squirrel cloak to the demons, and several people get small boosts for their upcoming fights. Also of interest is two of the goblin grenades that survived the fall (one is a firebomb, while the other is translated by Gort to read “Goblin Punch”; presumably the poison clouds from earlier?) and the scary goblin Ranger had a few Humanbane and Elfbane arrows left in his quiver.

    Besides the looting and healing, the doors at the back of the cavern are hastily inspected; one trap is sprung by Gort (thankfully it was the poison one, which he can pass on a 2+) and another disarmed by Stabby. Goblins are spotted and…next week!

    [I used the OOTS Kickstarter print-out minis for most of the goblins, and they worked quite well! Even the Bat-Bombers managed to stay on their mounts during a table bump, and after the Transposition, we managed to get a bat on a bat for a bit. ^_^ I will note that depending on how off-center the penny is, the minis *do not* want to stay on their side if you tip them over to denote unconscious or something.]

    Next session should be in 3 days!

    So, if anyone is actually reading this...comments are welcome! Anything you have questions about? Want to see more/less of anything? Curious about the uniques? Favorite character? Any messages to pass to the players? Guesses about what's to come?
    Last edited by turbo164; 2015-01-26 at 03:51 PM.
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Prequel: "J R aRia Tolkien's Backstory"


    It all began with the creation of the Altar of Khurgorbaeyag. It was rumored to grant riches and power to whomever makes a worthy sacrifice. Knowledge of the altar was given to 3 races, the Humans of Karulina, the Elves of Cantucky and the Goblins living in the mountains between the two kingdoms. But they were all deceived, the altar would accept any sacrifice, but only reward the true-est of Goblins. One by one, the races fell for the promises that were made to them and wars ensued. Years later an alliance of men and elves marched against the Goblin armies, and on the planes of Karulina, they fought for the freedom of the land. Victory was near, but the power of the altar could not be undone. It was in this moment, when all hope had faded, that Rudlisi, son of the king, took up his father's Mace, and shattered the mace upon the altar. A large chunk broke off, but unknown to him it was not yet destroyed. Khurgorbaeyag had this one chance to destroy the human and elven forces, but he was dissatisfied that his servants had let this human get so far and choose not to act. The Goblins, thinking the altar was destroyed and Khurgorbaeyag had abandoned them fled, but the altar betrayed them yet again and they were slaughtered during their retreat.

    Some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the altar passed out of all knowledge. Until, when chance came, the altar ensnared a new worshipper. The goblin Mullog, who found it deep in the tunnels under the plains of Karulina, and there it consumed him. The altar gave to Mullog unnatural long life. For five hundred years it poisoned his mind; and in the gloom of the cave, the altar waited. Darkness crept back into the land. Rumor grew of a shadow in the East, whispers of a nameless fear. Its time had now come. It abandoned Mullog, to encourage him to get the rest of the Goblins. But then something happened that the altar did not intend, Mullog died before he could reach the other Goblins at the hands of a young human named Reimund Silvercrest (Aria’s “grandfather”).

    All he took from the goblin was his sword, a simple looking golden set of rings and a book that had what looked like Goblin writing in it. Over the next couple of years Reimund and his wife Reina continued to build up the estate. He built a larger home, stables, a wall and various fortifications. This lead to several of the surrounding farmers wanting to live inside of the wall, and this is how the town of Sitteleen was founded. Not knowing what to do with the Goblins possessions he held on to them, but eventually ended up selling the sword to fund the building of the two new guard towers he wanted to build to increase his defenses. Times were prosperous, and during this time Aria’s “father” was born, they decided to name him Reynald Silvercrest.

    While young Reynald grew larger so did the town. A second wall was built to protect the city from the ever growing stream of Goblins that poured out of the mountains. There had also been several sightings of what seemed to be Elven scouts; however they had not been able to capture one. Sitteleen kept growing and Silvercrest family kept expanding the town. One fall morning, 3 months before Reynald was planning on marrying Aripeta (Aria’s mom) the town woke up to a scare. Several dead guards were found on the walls and throughout the town. The trail that was left indicated whoever killed them crossed the wall and headed straight for the Silvercrest mansion. One of the doors was broken open and there were signs the trespassers entered the house and looked for something. It appeared that nothing was taken from the Mansion. No matter how much they checked they could not find anything missing. The Goblin attacks and wedding plans of their oldest son kept the family busy. The break in was blamed on a roving band of thieves. A price was put on their head, and after they had been killed the break in and was soon forgotten.

    The wedding of Reynald and Aripeta Silvercrest was Beautiful; it gave the Citizens of Sitteleen an excuse to have some joy and merriment in the middle of the ever growing attacks from the mountains. They were also joyous that the improvements to the outer wall were almost complete and that soon they would not have to worry about the goblins anymore. Even if they made it across the moat they would not be able to climb the wall. As Reimund aged he started including Reynald in more and more of the affairs of the town.

    Two years passed and the improvements seemed to be doing their job. None of the attackers had breached the wall and even better was the fact that the Goblin attacks became less frequent. To Reimund and Reina disappointment their son’s marriage had not yet yielded any grandchildren. The growth of the city was steadily picking up again, as more and more people were fleeing the Goblins that were still attacking the surrounding area. As winter fell the Goblin attacks on the city completely ceased. For the first time in several decades the town was not under constant attack.

    One dark winter evening the alarm bells started ringing, the city guards reported there was a force of what appeared to be 50-100 elves approaching the southern wall. The troops were mustered, but they had never faced an organized army. The Elves made camp just outside of the reach of the city defenses. Reynald send out his negotiator, but as soon as he rode out several arrows landed right in front of him. He was called back to the town, as the Elves made it clear they were not there to negotiate. The Elves were starting to construct what seemed like a catapult. During the third day of the siege, while Reynald was inspecting his guards on the wall and discussing possible strategies with the captain, a guard came running up screaming at the top of his lungs. He came from the center of the town, as he got closer they heard him scream. “They got her!” he yelled. “The elves they came in and took Aripeta”.

    As he got closer he explained how out of nothing a group of 5 or 6 elves had appeared inside the mansions courtyard, they grabbed Reynald’s wife, and disappeared again. The Towns magician attempted to locate them, but it seemed the magic was too powerful for him. While they were talking the lookout from atop the tower yelled that the Elves were loading their catapult. The sound of the catapult firing with a loud crack was followed by a large rock sailing over their head landing in the middle of an empty field behind the wall.

    After the shot the captain of the guards noticed that the Elves seemed to be abandoning the camp and that they were heading for the hills. One guard had walked up to the stone the Elves shot and there was a piece of paper attached to it. He brought it to Reynald the letters were elegantly written and the writing was in common. He became pale as he read the note.

    Lord Silvercrest,

    We know what you are guarding here; we found proof for it in the Goblins writing just like you must have. We cannot let you have control over it. When you are ready to discuss surrender we will gladly return your wife to you. Just burn this paper when you are ready to talk.

    Levos Ornthalas

    Reynald immediately sent out search parties. After which he went to talk to his father to see if he knew what the elf was talking about. Reimund was not sure at first, as his memory started failing him from time to time. Eventually he remembered the Goblin he had killed and the items that he found. It took him some time but he after a little while he found the chest he had stored the rings and the book in. When he opened it he was surprised to find it empty. Exasperated Reynald had the town magician send a message to the King’s court telling him about the elves as well as the fact that they had taken his wife. The message was acknowledged and the king promised to put his best men on finding her. He also went to the city elders to see if they had any idea what they were supposedly guarding. Unfortunately they did not, they did however agree to research the subject and report back to him as soon as they found something.

    Much to his dismay, over the next few weeks, the search parties came back one after another reporting they were not able to find anything. The Elves had taken great care erase their trails. And what made matters worse was that it seemed like there were more Goblins out and about then there had been in a long time. The Goblin attacks on the city started again; luckily they proved no match for the city’s new defenses. Reynald was getting desperate, he was seriously contemplating burning the note and giving Levos whatever it was that he wanted. During a long and hot debate Reimund convinced him not to do so, and to await a response from the King.

    Several more weeks passed, by now she had been gone for almost 4 months. If it weren’t for his father Reynald would have probably burned the note. He was getting desperate and he was starting to wonder if he would ever see his wife again. He had also started to train archery in an effort to help the city guards with the Goblins. He hoped it would keep his mind occupied and focus on something besides getting his wife back. It was during one of his training sessions on the wall that the city magician came running up to him. “The King’s men found her! They were able to rescue her and she is on her way back here.” He picked the magician up and gave him a huge bear hug.

    It seemed impossible, but over the next couple of days he got even less sleep then he had been having. He spent every waking minute by the city gate, waiting for his wife. It was there that he finally, after more than 4 months, he saw his wife again. He closed her in her arms and hugged her. Their embrace did not seem to end, neither did his wife’s crying. After a while he let go of her and suggested they head back to the mansion. Once they got to their home, he started sobbing again, and in between tears she managed to tell him “I’m pregnant”.

    6 months later Aripeta gave birth to a healthy daughter, they decided to name her “Aria”. Aria grew up a relatively happy life in Sitteleen. She spent days running around the city, playing with her halfling friend Rickven. They loved watching the archers practice at the range. If they felt especially adventurous they would also sneak off towards the walls and watch the city guards. Her parents had told her not to come near the guards, and despite her best whining, she was informed she was not allowed to shoot a bow until she was at least 12. Rickven turned twelve several days before Aria did and he was sent to study with the City magician. According to her mom Rickven had the gift of magic. On her twelfth birthday Aria was finally allowed to go to the archery range and learn how to shoot a bow.

    She spent the next 3 years of her life training archery and hunting in the woods; she soon was a better shot then her teacher. Even though she did not get to do it as much as she used to, she still went exploring with Rickven. They soon became experts of the surrounding woods. They even found a cave, it was well hidden and the opening to get into it was very small. Despite Rickven’s best attempts the cave did not want to be lit very well. They would meet up at the cave, but the darkness had prevented them from exploring it very much.

    On her fifteenth birthday she was told that if she wanted to she was allowed to help the city guards defend the walls during Goblin attacks. By this point she was able to split an arrow 30 yards away (Robin Hood Style) using her longbow and she really wanted more experience shooting moving targets. There’s very little challenge in shooting a rabbit or a deer especially since it seemed these animals were drawn to her.

    The Goblin attacks on the city became heavier and heavier, the next 2 years of her life were spent killing Goblins from the wall, recovering arrows and making replacement arrows while sitting on the walls looking around. She soon discovered she was able to see and hear the Goblins long before any of the other guards could. The attacks were so frequent at this point that she did not often get to explore the woods anymore, she missed it dearly.

    It was just after her 20th birthday that while she was on watch duty on the wall she saw a Goblin force approaching that was larger than any she had seen before. There must have been hundreds of them, if not even a thousand. They had even brought spider riders. She sprung up and rang the alarm; she also readied her bow and made sure her quiver was full. The battle was progressing slowly, and for every Goblin she shot it seemed like two more appeared. The city walls were strong, but they were not built to withstand a force this size. Eventually the wall was breached, and they retreated to inner wall. It was during this retreat that she noticed how many of her friends among the guards were not with them anymore.

    The inner wall was much smaller than the outer wall and it had really not been maintained well. The city elders and Reynald decided it was time to abandon the city. The guards were to hold the wall as long as they could, while the citizens evacuated through the tunnel that led from the Silvercrest mansion to just north of the walls. During this final stand she lost even more of her friends, but they managed to hold the wall long enough for the people to flee. The next two weeks were spent retreating to the capital. Aria was not a big fan of the capital, she wanted to go and explore the woods, and see how Sitteleen was faring under its Goblin rule.

    She and Rickven set out to adventure together; at least that is what they told their parents. But their plans were to go check out Sitteleen and see how the Goblins were treating their city. The first part of the trip went pretty quickly, but the closer they got the more Goblins there were. It seemed like they were everywhere. Between magic and sneaking they were able to get past most of them, however they had to kill several patrols. When they finally reached the city wall they were astounded by how many Goblins they saw. She climbed up a tree and she spent several hours observing the city. They estimated that there must be at least 10 times as many Goblins living there now compared to how many non-Goblin inhabitants it had before the city fell.

    It was there that evening in the tree that the two decided to go and explore the rest of the world, as they were convinced, they would never live in this town again. They decided to check on a magical forest they had heard of, that supposedly “was alive with magic”.

    Chapter 45 “Someone Gets Smashed”


    Word has spread of the invaders, and by the time Stabby gets the door untrapped and open, a half-dozen arrows are swiftly flying his way.

    One hits, and is blocked entirely by The Old Man’s aura. Surprise round over!

    Archers win initiative! …*whish whoosh plink whiff tink swish*

    After this impressive display, Gort runs fearlessly into the room, and his teammates start blasting away. Roman lands a Confusion on 4 of the archers, which leads to them drooling instead of missing. A goblin officer attempts to organize the dozen+ soldiers with his Marshal auras, but they accomplish little before being wiped out. The biggest danger by far was a maniacal goblin with a big axe [Skullcleaver mini!] who managed to Pounce on Gort for 50-ish damage while chanting “BLOOD! BLOOD!” but Aria vacates all of his blood before his second round.

    One last soldier is left alive for some quick intimidation questioning; Gort grapples him, and the Christian Bale Batman “WHERE IS HE?!?” scene is mentioned ooc. In-character, he picks up the goblin, shakes him, and in the Goblin tongue roars “I AM BATMAN!”

    …Not the line expected, but the panicked goblin spills his guts regardless. He points out some traps, some loot, and the path to the altar, is set free and shot down 5 feet away. Stabby clears out the traps while wands regen the loot-searching party; Gort chugs a few looted potions to speed up the process. He also swaps out an amulet he’s had equipped for ages that has repeatedly failed to do anything (it only triggers vs enemy divine spells, which have been far less common than enemy arcane spells and claws…) for a simple Amulet of Health +2 from the officer. Roman also picks up a Runestaff from one of Stabby’s recently-slain allies, which grants him a few neat spells including the sorely-missed Fireball! That should be faster than Confusion against all these small fries ^_^

    Past the de-trapped door, the foul altar flares in the dark with purple-black flames, which swirl around the largest goblin any of them have ever seen…King Lumgol. Clad in black robes, a crown, and an enormous mace, he stands over TEN FEET TALL. The Evil in the room presses mightily against the heroes’ souls; the entire cave has felt Desecrated, but the altar and its worshipper are far worse…

    Lumgol wins initiative with a 34!?! And spends it drinking in a bit more dark energy and gloating. “If you’re here to join us, we already have plenty of sacrifices *gestures to the bones and blood covering the altar with a grin*…and if you’re here to stop us, well, it’s too late; not even the power of Rudlisi’s mace could stop us now!”

    Aria wonders what can be done in the face of such power…Rudlisi’s mace was a mighty weapon that only cracked the altar, and has been lost to the ravages of time. Is her bow up to the task?

    With vision once again limited, aside from the dark flames around the King, each advancing foe is a terrifying new surprise. There are more rank-and-file soldiers with morningstars and bows, skeletons of fallen elves now empowered by the altar, another officer, an evil cleric, and a Dark Knight that radiates yet another evil aura. Roman quickly launches a Fireball through his runestaff, which wipes out a few soldiers (darn that Evasion!) and the roaring cloud also draws attention to an invisible foe near the ceiling…who soon retaliates with a sickening Unholy Blight upon the clustered heroes.

    The melee fighters form a defensive line in the hallway, chipping away at the skeletons and knights while protecting their squishy artillery behind them. Thankfully not much more AOE comes their way, and their enemies have trouble setting up flanks in the cramped quarters. They make sure to leave a hole in their own line, however…

    Lumgol finally feels he has absorbed enough dark energy to advance, and crosses the room in a single charge. Stabby is the first to feel his wrath…
    Attack roll: 30 higher than needed.
    Damage: 50 on the dot.
    The enormous mace cleaves through Stabby’s ribs with a sickening crunch…has the group’s time spent looting doomed them all? Stabby passes his System Shock roll, but a closer look at the mace reveals its incredible craftsmanship, Adamantine makeup, and Unholy blessing…

    Morok’s Haste is successful this time, and the extra speed lets Aria send an incredible 180 damage worth of arrows into the King…who doesn’t seem bothered by having a few holes in him. The other fighters exchange a few more blows, and Stabby falls to -5 from a Skeletal crit. Once again, the *players* are sorta hoping to be able to loot their NPC ally, but with this much damage being tossed around they’d like him to stand up a bit longer!

    The Dragon Shaman blasts several high-ranking goblins with a Frost Breath that gets through several Evasion rolls, and later helps clog the battlefield with a few Elementals. Morok and Roman both follow suit with some summons of their own, and soon goblin and hero alike find themselves standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a herd of Celestial Bison and a Griffon overhead. The black flames swirling around the King deflect every single attack from the summons, but at least he physically can’t charge the backlines with them in the way.

    Similarly blocked is the flying Fiendish goblin, who finds his Poisonous Smite path intercepted by the shiny Griffon. He opts for a Frightful Blast instead, which combined with the Will-sapping effects of the Dark Knight and the previous Blight, leave Gort Shaken as well.

    He has good reason to be afraid, as a gap opens wide enough for Lumgol to launch his first Full Attack of the evening…many damage dice later:
    Gort: “…I’m dead.”
    DM: “How dead?”
    Gort: “Kinda expected this to happen…-15”
    DM: “*smile* Phoenix blessing, you don’t die until -20”
    Gort: *in character* “I’m…*drip*…still…*gurgle*…Batmaaan…*flop*”
    DM: “…+2 to your next Stabilization roll.”

    The dwarf doesn’t get a chance to roll for that, but thankfully in the good way: The Old Man quickly sinks his entire 70+ points of healing into his fallen friend with the aid of his draconic blessing. Stabby is left out of this gift, but the aura switch is at least enough to stop the bleeding. (Also of note is that the only thing that kept Gort in not-dead range was his new amulet! Lower rolls on his pre-fight potions could have left him dead as well)

    The Dark Knight is slain, relieving some pressure from the Evil-drenched heroes, but the Cleric sends a Cure Critical to his leader, arg! Aria undoes this with a jaw-dropping 220 point volley, but Lumgol yet stands. Though it’s becoming apparent that the only thing holding his body together at this point is the flames from the altar…perhaps a change of targets is in order? Some of the summons are starting to get whittled down (the Griffon and one Bison are both at 1hp at one point…) and no one wants to see another Full Attack aimed at a player…

    Morok’s string of good luck after a successful Dispel (stripping Bulls Strength from the King) and Lightning Bolt (scorching 3 goblins) ends with “Another friggin Haste!” aka Sending. Roman’s almost does as well; his Chaos rolls “snowball” as he gets good or bad results, and by the end of the night he’s rocking an incredible +7 lucky streak. It’s almost reset by a disastrous roll, but he’s able to spend his final reroll to keep the bonus going.

    Gort happily receives an Enlarge Person from the lucky gnome, figuring his armor is less important than having a bigger axe to keep the King at bay. He launches an Earth Striking Divine Surge from the ground, cleaving upwards into Lumgol’s midsection with a huge damage roll. The dark champion’s eyes glow with purple flames, as his porous body is now being puppeteered by the altar’s dark will alone. Aria launches a few arrows at the altar, and is rewarded as the flames begin to whither.

    The King lashes out randomly, the altar’s blind hatred overcoming any sense of tactics. In a very, VERY fortunate roll, his enormous mace crits the griffon (rather than Gort) down to -108!!! Followed by two swings at the now-standing dwarf, who continues standing after his armor finally deflects a blow; were the altar still at full power, that hideous strength would have overcome him once again.

    The Old Man picks up Aria (still ridden by Roman) for a clearer shot at the altar. The goblin archers continue to plink ineffectually, while Aria’s aim is true: eight shimmering bolts of force punch through the altar, shattering stone, bone, and crystal. Sacrificial blood sprays, followed by goblin blood as the flaming backlash splatters the foul King across the cavern…but at a price. The hungry flames, with one last bit of malice, wreath Aria’s mighty bow with their dark energies and smolder away…like Rudlisi’s mace before her, her weapon is no longer the same, but the prophecy is at last fulfilled, and the plague on her hometown has ended. The altar has been broken at last.

    The mopup is a bit anticlimactic, but some fun is still had. The group wonders if Stabby will get coup-de-grace’d by the skeletons, but I reply “They’re pretty mindless, and will focus on the big shiny cows trying to smash them rather than the scrawny elf that hasn’t left the floor for 3 turns. The Fiend *could* order them to finish the job, but he’s got bigger things on his mind, like “Oh s*** everything’s exploding!”

    The skeletons, also weakened by the loss of the altar, get dusted by a giant Dwarven axe. The goblin archers both die as failures, having seen Aria in action and having missed every single shot they launched themselves. The fiend attempts to invisibly flee for the door; a 39 Listen check from Aria pinpoints the coward (elven ears work fine regardless of cursed weapons!) and he is finally dispatched.


    The massive loot is added to the massive pile already sitting in the bottom of their Bag of Holding. Most notable are two items from the King; a Bracers of Armor +4 Of Speed looks to be just the thing for an archer who’s starting to feel constricted by chain shirts, and the monstrous mace is hard to identify what with the whole “drains the soul of Good creatures that touch it”, but before it’s schlepped up in the bag, its value is appraised at over 21,000 gold!!!

    Roman: “I sense a broom in my future!”


    Aftermath, slight spoilers for players:


    So yeah, amazing session. Next week will probably see the last few rooms explored, and probably another visit from the ghostly Elf now that the prophecy has come to pass. Everyone’s eager to see Jack again now that they have 80k+ sitting in their bag, and their combat experience should also serve them well in their next encounter with the EL!

    [DM Note: Two of the driving forces behind this story arc was 1. Aria’s player hoping to flesh out the story a bit more, and cut down a bit on the throwaway gags about “poof” berries, goblins, and the like. She now has an onscreen reason to visit her hometown as it rebuilds from the goblin assaults (whether on purpose, or when the player misses yet another session with sick kids), and the magical rings to get her there. The second reason was to have an in-story rebalance of her bow. I know Archery builds rarely seem OP in high-level play, but at this point, after she did 176 in one round to the Hydra that never breathed flames…the player felt really bad about showing up the group, and didn’t want to force me to throw 600hp enemies at them every night which only Aria could realistically kill. The cursed flames have removed Splitting but kept the Hank’s bonuses, so hopefully the group can contribute equally for a few more levels. Once everyone is capable of such feats, her bow may regain its strength, to light their darkest hour…

    I’m very happy that it was the player who came to me; I had warned him a Splitting Hanks bow was pretty dang undercosted, but approved it anyway. The fact that he wanted to make sure the *entire* group was having fun, and not just him, is great :D

    Heck maybe with all the new loot, everyone will be decked out in OP gear, and he’ll need Splitting back right away! :P]

    [DM Note #2: King Lumgol “gaining strength with each passing moment” was partially literal, as he gained Strength, AND dex/con/int/wis/cha every minute he used the altar undisturbed. At certain breakpoints, he also received Size bonuses, Magic Circle Against Good, and Unholy Aura. The party’s looting, trapsearching, healing, and fighting ended up getting them to his chamber at EXACTLY (no fiat!) 19:54. Quite the cinematic timing! I had dramatic music queued up too, but forgot to play it until after he died >< Damaging the altar would rewind some of the buffs, but he spent several turns with very heavy boosts!]
    Last edited by turbo164; 2015-02-04 at 01:09 PM.
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 46 “The king is dead, long live the elf!”


    With the altar destroyed, there’s less pressure on the heroes to rush…but there is the chance that the remaining goblins will run away with their loot, so they quickly head to the next room! Once again, the skull lamp has been covered, and there’s no flaming altar, so Roman tosses another Dancing Lights early on. Gort charges in, but not quite as quickly as before; that near-fatal bash from the king left him with cracked armor, ribs, and pride…

    There is another Dark Knight in this room; his sword is painful, and his dark aura leaves the heroes vulnerable to a poison grenade from a goblin alchemist and a nasty Slow spell from a goblin mage. A goblin Druid adds a quartet of elementals to the melee scrum, then drops a Mass Serpent’s Swiftness on EIGHT of his allies! …which leads to two hits. Hooray for high armor! (and in Stabby’s case, Improved Uncanny Dodge!) The Dragon Shaman thins the pack with a well-placed frost breath.

    A Firebomb from the alchemist hits Aria square in the face, toasting her and her gnomish passenger. Roman casts a Mass Fire Shield to cut down on the flames (and freeze some of the goblin melee fighters!) but realizes he can’t reach his entire team at once. He valiantly forgoes his own buff to ensure that Gort, The Old Man, and Stabby are covered.

    Stabby is thankful for any protection he can get, as he has the lowest AC of the group and has been poisoned and stabbed multiple times. The Slow spell and Sickness renders his Tumbling very difficult, drawing an AOO as he attempts to move out of the Dark Knight’s full attack range. Thankfully the evil goblin failed his save against the breath weapon earlier, and combined with the stabs he has received in the meantime, he is slain by the Fire Shield backlash. Gort meanwhile also finds his killing speed hampered by the Slow, and decides to WEAPONIZE HIS FACE to purposely let a level 3 Goblin score a hit through his 28 armor, scoring another Fire Shield kill. “Oh um, thanks for letting me hit y-POW!”

    Morok uses a Haste to un-Slow his companions, and it works! Aria guns down the enemy mage, but the Alchemist keeps chucking bottles of fun, and the Druid begins another Summon. Gort’s player is not opposed to interrupting this one! But it is Roman who claims that honor, channeling his arcane might through his new Runestaff for a 38-point Scintillating Sphere. Yeah, don’t think that Concentration check will succeed… Gort actually THROWS his beloved axe to make sure!

    With his allies slain, the remaining Alchemist reaches for some different bottles; his wounds rapidly close, and he winks out of sight. Some Listen checks are rolled, an area Dispel is thrown (removing Magic Vestments but not the Invis >< ) and the heroes hasten to block the doors. The Dragon Shaman swoops toward the mostly likely one and roars an Intimidate check. The invisible goblin skids to a stop, draws a deep breath (and an armful of grenades), then claps his payload around the nearest non-goblin…Stabby. “FOR LUMGOOOOL*sploom*”

    Many saves are rolled for the poor NPC, and he ends up flopping to the ground, poisoned, on fire, and laying in more fire…at -7. There’s a chance the burn damage will finish him off! The Old Man and Roman both have turns beforehand, but neither has a way to outright stop the flames…so I allow a special second Initiative roll to see if they can rescue him in the nick of time! Failed by 1 >< Well, there’s a chance the burn damage won’t roll enough to kill him, as the Old Man’s aura heals him up to -4 regardless of initiative. I toss the fateful D6 on the table…off the table…off a character sheet…solidly face-up ooooon:

    6. Stabby dies.*

    The heroes mourn their new friend, then with all of the goblins dead, loot the rest of the cavern. The chain shirts alone are enough to fill their Bag of Holding, so they discuss knitting the shirts into a second bag to drag around…? The final room had a great supply of alchemy equipment, including several unused potions and grenades, and a miraculously unburned magical belt that proves too obscure to identify on the spot. In the bag it goes!

    Aria’s ghostly ancestor reappears to congratulate them on their triumph. In honor of Aria’s sacrifice for the forces of good, she has gained a Protection From Evil spell-like ability, that may be Quickened on an ally near herself or her arrow’s destination. With his ties to the world fading, he offers to return the heroes to the forest with his final act. The group discusses their plans again; was their “there might be demons” wandering a good use of time? Was Zorascus’s meeting a scare tactic? They decide instead to stay where they are, visiting the remains of Aria’s hometown and neighboring cities to help the refugees rebuild. Roman’s roaming days have given him the knowledge of enough cities for the group to Teleport back to Belania and/or the edge of the forest when they’re ready to head back. And besides…you can’t spend 100k gold in the forest! ^_^

    *My thought process on Stabby was:
    ““I should probably have an Elf survivor down there for a bit of exposition…”
    “Oh Thezir’s going to be gone, *upgrades Elf to high level rogue*”
    “When Thezir comes back, I’ll have Stabby go ‘AGH A TIEFLING’ and run away; and drop 1d6 of his equipment, since the ‘heroes’ were staring at his sheet like vultures :P “
    “Oh, he’s going to miss several sessions in a row. Ok, so if Stabby survives, he can thank you guys, and run home to the elflands to spread the news…”
    “You know, this would be a dramatic way for him to go down, depending on how the grenade rolls go.”
    *falling asleep that night*”OH CRAP HE HAD FIRE SHIELD”
    Yeeeah…he survived. Next session he’s going to “dramatically” open his eyes after a Superelf Healing Coma and ask for his stuff back XD (but I do have a neat reward planned to replace his equipment!)

    Chapter 47 “Shopping Around”


    The party quickly scribbles on Jack’s note that they want to sell “a big scary mace;” he replies that he’s interested, but might not be available for a while. Aria also sends a Sending through Morok to her father, who is delighted that the town should be safe again. The heroes then pool their skills to build a sled out of Goblin chain shirts, and start dragging the sleeping rogue and “dead” Stabby back to civilization. It’s a rather bumpy way to travel…

    Stabby: “Hey guys *thump* I’m not *clunk* not dead *bonk* guys…

    In-character, they are happy to return their fallen ally’s equipment (“We took your armor off to try to bind your wounds!...and your dagger, and bow, and…”). He is eager to take the good news of the altar’s destruction back to his homeland, and thanks the heroes with a magical leaf token. “It’s no good underground, but if you find yourself standing in sunlight and in peril, break this.”

    It’s a relaxing several-day journey, and a day from their destination Jack says he should be able to spare a visit! The party wants to wait until they get to town, so Jack arranges for them to meet at The Fool’s Trumpet tavern. On the way, Aria first stops to see her father in person, who has rounded up many citizens to return to their town, as well as some workers to help undo some of the damage incurred in the Goblin’s final successful invasion. Aria’s fame attracts even more assistance, including a particularly skilled merchant who had done business with the family in the past and was looking to settle down a bit in his old age:

    Nicolas Erestor, Human Factotum, Cohort of Aria. Frail but smart, Mercantile background, plans to stay in town to oversee repairs and such while Aria is off adventuring.

    Nicolas’s merchant connections get them great prices on most of their goods, and it’s a rather slim offering by the time they finally meet Jack (and they bought a few things on the way too ~_~ ). Despite calling this meeting specifically to sell the mace, the party is hesitant to allow such an evil weapon to remain in the world. They discuss some options with Jack and the local church (who sends priests to follow the party around after learning what they were carrying…). Jack would happily buy the mace for full price; the church would happily destroy the foul tool; but no local Clerics are powerful enough to Miraculously transform it into a weapon of good. Luckily, Jack does have a bottle of Liquid Miracle crafted by a powerful priest long ago, and he is willing to sell it despite warning that the mace will likely lose value once its dark powers are removed and/or altered. The heroes find that the best option, and in an impromptu service at the temple, Suncrusher becomes the Protector of Suns, and is sold to the church itself (with Nicolas’s bargaining). This “selfless” act of heroism grants each hero a minor Smite Evil ability.

    [DM Note: Selling directly to Jack would be morally questionable as he might sell it to an evil warlord in the future, but it would grant the most cash and could lead to special deals. Having the church dismantle the evil weapon, or donating the purified weapon, would have granted a larger holy bonus than just the Smite. Splitting the difference gave them smite + some cash, but left Jack a little irked at not getting the weapon the party advertised when they asked him to meet.]

    While most of the party does their churchy stuff, Jack does ask if he can have a private discussion with Morok about some magical matters of importance. On their way back from church, an image of Jack intercepts the party to ask them if, after recovering Morok from the EL, did they ever check him for Divination crystals? Like, the kind found in Gort and Arazhel when they were captured? No? Well he has one…

    Jack recommends they spend a few days playing dumb, not saying anything of importance while near Morok, and possibly feeding some false info to whoever may be listening through him. After a while, “accidentally” notice the crystal (so as not to implicate Jack in the discovery) and as with the first one, bash it with a hammer or something. In the meantime, his discussion with Morok has not been very informative to Jack (as he does not want to give free info through the crystal, and Morok is a bit scatterskulled anyways…) but he does pay for the privilege of talking to the mighty mage with a few magical lenses that can be consumed to fully identify nearly any item. One is spent immediately on the now-holy mace to be sold to the church, and the rest are kept for a rainy day. Morok meanwhile came out of the conversation buzzed like a kid talking about Pokemon, and he has managed to unforget a few more spells!

    Gort wanders off shortly after receiving his share, and the rest of the party browses Jack’s Unique catalog. The normally thrifty Aria surprises herself and the others by splurging on two items: the Locket of Favorable Winds grants her bonuses against aerial foes and can be activated for a nice boost to her agility and archery; and the Alive and Well bracers boost her armor and offer “emergency protection” that is yet to be discovered.

    Roman rolls with his Chaotic theme to pick up the cheap Ioun Stone of Fate’s Dream for some luck bonuses, and borrows some money from his mount (Aria) to nab the bank-busting Signet of the Seventh Sage, a ring that vastly increases his magical repertoire.

    The Old Man finally parts with his beloved Rapier-Cane for the upscale Raikiro longsword, granting him impressive fire, ice, and lightning attacks at the cost of leaving himself slightly singed. [DM note - was a little surprised that the guy who wanted to get tankier chose the "playing with fire" weapon...we later tweaked the abilities to reduce the self-inflicted damage slightly.] He also dons the goblin alchemist's belt, which Nikolas was able to identify as Alkor's Apparatus, which restocks with fresh (albeit temporary) potions daily and gives several other nifty bonuses. Woot!

    Chapter 48 “Social Skills”


    Thus enshinied, the party leaves the dozing rogue on the floor to try to track down their dwarf. Some Gather Info checks lead to a tavern where he was seen leaving with a “tall gentleman.” The ranger could try to track the 500-pound stone footprints out the door… but meh, she’s gone a week without comfortable beds, lets head to the refugee’s inn instead while the tracks go cold. Heroic! :P (they do eventually remember to grab the rogue after the cleaning crew at the other tavern sweep him into the gutter…)

    Sooo the dwarf has not returned the next day. They send Morok to look for him, both the find the dwarf and to give them a chance to discuss possible false info to send through the crystal. Inspired by the missing dwarf, they decide to pretend to “split the party”, having some of the group argue, leave, “retire” etc in front of Morok, to hopefully trick the EL into believing the group is no longer a threat.

    Morok meanwhile asks a bunch of non-stone dwarves if they’ve seen the stone one (frightening some children in the process) before trying a Sending. Gort replies, asking Morok and the Old Man to meet him southeast of town. “The gnome can come too. No smelly elves.” Morok happily returns to the others and immediately asks Aria if she smells. Upon hearing the dwarf’s request, she elects to stay at the inn. Morok Prestidigitates the scent of lilac and turpentine upon her room before leaving. (OOC: “So that’s what elf farts smell like!”)

    Outside of town, the skull, the draconic old man, and the gnome look for their friend.
    Gort [Private Message to DM]: “I’m at a campfire.”
    The Old Man: “I turn on my +Spot aura and look for Gort!” *rolls*
    Roman: *rolls*
    Morok: *rolls*
    The Old Man: “So that’s…11?”
    Gort [Private Message to DM]: “A GIANT ROARING CAMPFIRE.”

    Thus the keen-eyed heroes are reunited with their dwarven friend. He’s not alone at the campfire, as many people are enjoying the performance of an 8 foot tall drummer…? And The Old Man and Roman both find themselves compelled to ignore the dwarf and listen as well… After the song (and a few Will saves), the drummer is introduced:

    Ricallen (stage name “The Tall Man” ), 8-foot-something Bard.

    Gort’s armor and pride were cracked by Lumgol’s mace, and with some encouragement from his new Bard friend, he’s journeying to his homeland for a while to hopefully repair both. Ricallen offers to join the group, to use his skills to defuse combats and to spread their tale [a natural 20 Bardic Knowledge actually has him know more about The Old Man than the ex-farmer does himself!], in exchange for a share of the profits and any “drum materials” they find. “What kind of materials?” “That’s a trade secret.” Well everyone *seems* to like him, so let’s go tell Aria the good news! Ricallen prefers to stay outside (“low ceilings” and all that) so they agree to leave town together in a few days. Morok stays behind to hear more awesome drumming (and later Sends a song sample to the group: “Guys, Guys, you should have been here! He was all, dum dum Dum dum, and then like, Dum dum dum DUM and then dum DUM-“ ).

    Aria takes the news well, though is understandably a bit suspicious of the seemingly hypnotic quality of their new comrade’s music. After a few days of rest and helping the refugees, part of the group leaves with the caravan, and part of the group splits off as part of the “pretend to split the party” plan. While “inspecting” their new Uniques on the road, Detect Magic “happens” to see Morok’s crystal, which is also shattered as planned. (Although lacking Gort’s sledgehammer, Aria resorts to chipping the thing apart with a rapier. That probably wasn’t pleasant to watch on the other end…).

    Once the group reunites, her suspicions aren’t exactly lessened by The Tall Man giving different “real” names, which he claims is to keep the paparazzi out of his hair. He plays the drums out of passion, not for the fame. He does confide his real-real name of Ricallen to her, but everyone’s Sense Motive skills are kept on red alert around the new Bard.

    The caravan reaches Aria’s hometown with no real problems, and Nicolas starts organizing the repair efforts. The group continues onward, with Aria planning to use the Goblin’s rings to teleport to and from town frequently in the future. Roman uses his new ring to add Teleport to his arsenal for the day, and gives Morok a break on the magical transportation duties. The first jump goes smoothly, but the second prompts him to spend a Reroll to avoid Mishap. Another jump, and then…

    “Wait, were we going to the capital or the forest?”
    “Forest it is!”

    Mishap. FINAL REROLL Mishap again oh ****. *DM rolls many dice*

    DM: “You arrive *inside* the forest instead of on the edge, and all take 19 damage from the rough trip.”
    Ricallen: *immediately spends Vigor wand*
    Party OOC: “Spending a wand on only 19 damage?”
    Ricallen OOC: “That’s a quarter of my health!”
    Ricallen OOC: “And a bard! Who tries to music his way out of fights!”
    Party OOC: “We lost the dwarf for this…”

    Trying to find out where they are, Aria’s amazing skills determine north, but verbal communication (and the sound of birds) is oddly unintelligible here. Ricallen carefully mouths the words for a Know Direction to confirm Aria’s work, then also succeeds on a Tongues to act as a translator for the group. (and playfully bluffs about what each other are saying…) Still not knowing their exact location, Roman attempts to Teleport to their intended destination at the northeast corner.

    *Chaos roll* “Before the spell casts, may teleport an ally 25 feet! So who should I leave behind? :P” [it's optional thankfully :) I tell him I'll let him carefully time it to spare one ally any Mishap damage he might incur this trip]
    *Gibberish roll* success!
    *Kyrpra teleportation roll* success!
    *Normal Teleportation roll* success!

    Poof! The group is now back in familiar territory, and able to understand each other. Ricallen’s made-up translations are discovered and argued about…the bard is going to have to work on some trust issues!

    What dangers await our heroes in the forest? Will their path remain clear after their previous “there might be demons” expedition? Does that path even exist after two weeks of Kyrpra erosion? Are there any demons to find? What will the bard bluff about next? Will the rogue awaken? Who shot JR? Find out (maybe?) next time, on Kyrpra Forest 3.5!
    Last edited by turbo164; 2015-03-16 at 02:47 PM.
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Been a while since my last update! Game nights have been sporadic with people travelling and having kids and getting sick and whatnot. Real life is overrated!

    Chapter 49: More Cowbell


    The group begins retracing their steps from their previous demon-hunting expedition. Aria was away for a large portion of the previous trip, but her tracking skills are able to find quite a few stone dwarf footprints. The forest seems quite similar to the last trip; the shadowy area has changed shape a bit, a few trees have moved, and the sky is much more cracked and colorful than before…but it could be far worse.

    And then another earthquake hits, this time in broad daylight. The sky flashes and crackles with new colors and sounds. The Old Man flies up for a better look, and as the chaos fades, he notices smoke rising from nearby trees. Leading the group over, a small but rapidly growing forest fire is discovered. The Old Man and Morok both begin firefighting with Cones of Cold, and as the flames recede, their source is discovered.

    Three Infernal Conflagration Oozes slorg out of (and extend) the flames, melting the bodies and minds of nearby heroes. Roman hides himself and his half-elven mount with an Invisibility Sphere, but still finds himself in a smoldering embrace. He escapes with a Dimension Door; The Old Man similarly escapes a flaming hug with his new Raikiro sword, before and after dealing some hefty blows.

    The Tall Man’s magical drumming inspires some truly heroic attacks from his comrades, and with all of the grapples escaped, two oozes are extinguished. Sounds like a good time for the Bard to charge the last ooze with his drumstick! While he is powerfully built for a musician and his drumstick is taller than the average human, he is quickly hugged and burned to ONE HEALTH. His allies rescue him before he coughs up the last of his liquefied organs, but it’s a very close call.

    Worst of all, no loot is discovered! The heroes stamp out the last of the flames, and continue onward.

    Chapter 50: Multi-course Meal


    Their advance is quickly halted by the sound of crunching bones…Aria scouts ahead to see some weird, humanoid frogs munching on a pile of furry meat. While whispering her discovery to the group, all living members feel something tug painfully at their souls…

    Morok feels nothing.
    The Old Man withstands the effect.
    Aria rerolls with her new bracers to barely keep her footing.
    The Tall Man’s brain postulates that he is being afflicted with a Circle of Death ability, before fading to black. Roman joins him in oblivion.

    So two party members are at -9. Time for Initiative!

    The Old Man frantically pours draconic healing into his fallen comrades, while Aria finds the source of the deadly magic: a Death Slaad was scouting *them* while she scouted the lesser Slaadi’s meal. She launches some arrows, while the grey frog adds yet another red frog to the melee (but seems to have some trouble doing so…?)

    Morok and the less-dead Roman launch spells at their deadly adversary, dropping him before he can cast again. The Tall Man trips up the diners with a Grease spell, before launching into a Fascinating and Shaking display of drumming prowess.

    With several Slaadi distracted, the Old Man finishes off another Red out of sight of the others (hooray for foliage!), who are too focused on the drummer to notice. During the performance, The Tall Man also Suggests that Slaadi Grease Wrestling was the newest sport phenomenon, and soon all of the surviving frogmen are merrily sliding around. Morok attempts to contribute some light and sound to the show with a cantrip, but miscasts and ignites the whole thing instead. Close enough!

    The flaming frogs are almost dead, and Roman lines up a Chain Missile to attempt to finish the job. Chaos Roll: a delicious pie appears, which can be consumed to attempt to remove harmful effects…

    Roman: “Oh, well I’m not under any debuffs…”
    DM: *poker face*
    Roman: “Oh, looks like I have a -2 dex poison that I forgot to erase…”
    DM: *cracking poker face*
    The Tall Man: “What about your-“
    Roman: “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH! Wait, can that curse be removed by pie?”
    DM: “it will ‘attempt to remove harmful effects,’ so it has a cha-“
    Roman: “PIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” *lets Chain Missile fizzle, snarfs pie*
    DM: “Alright, roll”
    Roman: *moderate number*
    DM: “Not enough I’m afraid. The pie is very tasty, but the curse is very powerful.”
    Roman: “But it *can* remove it right? With a better roll?”
    DM: “Yep.”
    Roman: “Chaos Gnome reroll!” *still not enough* “Chaos die reroll!”
    DM: “The curse fades.”
    Roman: “YAAAAAY!” *increases numbers all over his character sheet*

    The last Slaadi are dispatched as an afterthought, and their meal was apparently a six-legged elk. Despite the gnome’s joy, resources are strained after two dangerous battles…

    The Old Man: “We should just sleep after every fight.”

    Well, that’s a potential strategy. Let’s see if it works }:)

    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    *digs up notes from months ago* Lessee, where were we?

    Chapter 51: Return to The Hill That Shall Not Be Mentioned

    Aria continues retracing the steps of her companions’ previous trip. After a minor diversion in the form of a purple-eared rabbit, night approaches, and no one feels like sleeping on dirt that might be covered in (or covering up) extradimensional monsters.

    Players OOC: "…Has Morok had Rope Trick this whole time?"
    Morok IC: "Hey guys, I can make a hole in the sky to sleep in!" *rolls* *rolls* *rope catches fire*
    Roman: "Um, how about a Leomund’s Hidden Lodge?"

    Thus refreshed, the journey continues. The Old Man is unsure of how to handle Pelko’s secret hill if it’s still there…but thankfully Pelko himself initiates the encounter, asking the noble shaman if he considered his comrades trustworthy. He wouldn’t be adventuring with them if they weren’t!

    Pelko introduces himself to the newcomers, swearing them to secrecy (and asking Roman if he was feeling better :P ). News is exchanged, and Ricallen harvests a drum-worthy giant wasp head from the burnt corpses around the hill. The big topic is the cracking sky; after hearing of the Zorascus meeting that occurred beforehand, Pelko is visibly shaken. (which to see someone this powerful affected so, is a bit unnerving to the players as well!)

    Pelko claims to have met Zorascus in person long ago, and desperately wants to avoid doing so again. Based on his own research of Kyrpra, he concludes that the EL somehow managed to use the unstable planar boundaries of Kyrpra to seal the Council’s plane, but loosened many other boundaries in the process, hence the cracked, colorful, outsider-raining sky. To repair the plane, someone needs to get the stabilizing crystals back in the obelisks, but who knows where those have been disappearing to…

    Players: “Um, are they like blue, green, purple head-twisting crystals from the top of obsidian towers filled with puzzles and stuff? Because we gave those to Jack.”
    Pelko: “…excuse me a moment.”
    *Window of hill shuts*
    *Seconds pass*
    *Window of hill opens in a cloud of smoke*
    Pelko: “Well then.”

    Plans are discussed. It’s unknown if Jack is working with (possibly LEADING?) the EL, or if he was merely acquiring the gems for the sake of profit. The heroes plan to use their coupon to call a meeting soon, not *too* close to Pelko’s secret hill, but somewhere he can observe the meeting with the Divination he’s used to study Kyrpra for years. While getting the real gems back would be the best way to fix things, Pelko does have some “substitute” gems to use in their place if needed, as well as a snowglobe to help them locate the ambulatory towers, and a scroll of teleportation tips to assist Roman’s accuracy [Morok’s actually had a pretty good track record, but the group trusts the gnome more hehe]. And a pair of boots looted from yet another foolish hill invader. “Get offa mah lawn!”

    There was at least one other visitor who *didn’t* blow themselves up on the hill, though; the enigmatic snake mage from the Zuura temple! “She’s not a nice person, but for the moment she shares our foe. Keep that in mind should your paths cross again, she’s working on a few leads herself.” Mystery Solved? #GunnerkriggCourt

    He also provides them with some research notes for them to have “found” to help convince Jack of the gems’ importance, without specifically mentioning Pelko to him. The preparations seem to be wasted, however, as after getting to a safe distance, their repeated messages on the coupon go unanswered. What could Jack be doing?

    Chapter 52: Charisma is not a Dump Stat!

    While they continue to periodically call Jack (and the dragon jar, which has been silent even longer), the group passes the time by following the globe to the nearest tower, to get some substitutes in place.

    A large patch of snow is encountered, which wasn’t there last time! The heroes heroically walk around it.

    The pyrohydra swamp has some large bubbles following the party! The heroes heroically ignore them.

    The clearing they met Zorascus is reached! The heroes heroically search, finding an ancient skeleton in a mushroom patch holding a few spore-covered coins. Morok Mage Hands them out, dropping them on The Tall Man’s head.

    Nighttime! Another Leomund’s Hidden Lodge is used...heroically!

    Sleep is disturbed by outside forces investigating the hut; weapons are drawn but not used, as some Diplomacy from the lofty Bard is able to peacefully negotiate with the skulking Lizardfolk. They lived in the swamp, and upon smelling the group, had recognized them as the heroes who slew the hydra and the “upfaller” (Vertigo Walker), and present them with their choice of tribal artifacts as a reward. The group happily accepts the healing powers of the Verdigris Egg, but leaves the Boneflight spear in the hands of the grateful reptiles. The tribe mentions that while the forest is obviously a dangerous and unpredictable home, there have been far more monsters lately. The heroes are working on that!

    The next morning, the group is contacted! By Nicolas, Aria’s cohort. Apparently there’s an EL gentleman there who has been trying to contact them for some time, and is not violent YET, buuut… The group agrees to visit later that day. First they follow the snowglobe to where it says the tower should be…they don’t actually SEE a tower, but Aria uses her goblin ring to poof to her hometown.

    The “gentleman” is nine feet tall, and the features not obscured by his cloak are discolored, scar-covered, and unnerving. The discussion begins somewhat pleasantly, but Aria’s flippant remarks quickly sour negotiations.

    EL: “Do you…REGRET…opposing…us?!?”
    Aria: “Eh, not really. I-“

    Aria quickly finds herself blinded by acidic spittle and chased by a winged, inhuman creature, fanatically devoted to the organization the half-elf so casually dismissed. She activates her ring to return to her party, drawing a final Critical AOO and a roared “THEY SHALL SUFFER UNTIL YOUR RETURN.”

    Well that could have gone better.

    A bloody and blinded Aria splats in front of the group. The Old Man frantically uses the Egg to send a refreshing beam of health into the weary elf, and the beam continues through her to wipe some spores from the bard’s head. Nifty!

    Some buffs are cast, and Roman hurriedly spams some teleports to get the entire group to town before the EL makes good on his threat. His chaos rolls along the way leave him with weakened armor and a gloomy raincloud following him, but they get there!

    Chapter 53: Enhanced Legion of One

    Well the town’s still standing. Rushing to the gate, they find the EL returning with Nicolas…but not side-by-side as before, but being carried by the neck. “Greetings!”

    The Bard does most of the talking this time, but the fanatical EL man is struggling to remain calm after Aria’s earlier “diplomacy.” He insists that she must die, though the others MIGHT live, which is not exactly acceptable to all parties… mid-negotiations, after whispered urging by the non-Bards, Morok Transpositions himself with Nicolas! One hostage is free, and the new “hostage” has no neck to grab, and quickly flies upward. The enemy growls about the waste of time, before launching his terrifying assault upon the heroes.

    Aria is once again blinded by acid, but this time has a Gnome passenger to Dimension Door her back to the town wall. Her elven ears help blind-fire some arrows that thankfully avoid friendly fire. The Old Man launches a mighty Air Elemental (who rolls spectacularly throughout the night, landing a crit and passing many saves the non-summoned heroes fail!) and charges in with breath and blade, while the Bard assists with some support spells (including a handy Grease!). Their raging foe seems to keep some sense of honor though, and avoids directly targeting the Bard who seemed the most sympathetic to his beloved EL; this leads to most of the axe blades, claws, and acid being directed to The Old Man, whose deep health pool is tested. Morok contributes a bit too, although a positive critcast leads to…some spell I had never heard of that gave him Mind Flayer tentacles on his face? Not very useful, though I do allow his next Magic Missile to do some extra damage thanks to the multi-barreled launching point.

    The Enhanced creature struggles to keep his footing in the grease, and after enduring another series of blows, he rasps “I shall not…FAIL you…Lord…ZorascusssssssSSSSSSSSSSSSS!” *SPLORTCH*

    Oh goody, the flesh fell off his bones!

    Oh ****, the bones are covered in acid and barbed wire and what the **** they’re swinging everywhere oh ****

    Saves are rolled against the flailing demonic skeleton. All semblance of humanity and rational thought has fled the creature, only hate remains. The Bard is blinded, low on spells, and struggles to find his foe in the confusion, especially with the lucky Air Elemental in his path; he settles for growing Huge, figuring his drumstick will hit *something* at that point! Hopefully it’s not The Old Man, who drops to -10!!! Hooray for Phoenix blessings!

    It’s a nailbiter, but the creature is slain with no permanent casualties. Acid is scraped off and beds are collapsed into.
    Last edited by turbo164; 2015-09-28 at 10:27 AM.
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 54: The Blue Tower Begins

    Several real-life months later (illness, house moving, etc) the heroes awaken! They chat with Nicolas a bit, then teleport-spam their way back to the tower with only minor mishaps.

    “Ok, so we’re at the tower?”
    “You’re at where the snowglobe said the tower should be.”

    The Dragon Shaman flies the Scout around, who finds the invisible tower with her face. Skills! Roman spends a Glitterdust to reveal the door, and the group enters. A grey fog obscures their vision, slowly fading to reveal a grey, foggy room, filled with themselves, a goblin, a wizard-looking fellow, and a red dragon. Initiative!

    The Old Man swoops up to the wizard and blasts him with a Metabreathed cone of cold, Roman shows off some magic of his own, and Aria Rapid Shots the poor sod to the ground…where he lands with a resounding thud. “Sweet, his pockets must be full of platinum or something!”

    However, Aria and her gnomish passenger both declined their Move Action, and are thus within 20 feet of Ricallin and Morok…which the dragon eagerly exploits with a Fireball.

    “No fair, you spawned us so close together!”
    “The tower did that, three of you had a chance to move and only one did so…”

    Roman does note with Spellcraft that there was something odd about the dragon’s spell, but he can’t quite put his finger on it, even after a second Fireball and quickened Magic Missile later on…

    The goblin continues the AOE assault by launching a stream of acid from his mace?!? The Old Man swoops in to draw his fire, and manages to draw an AOO from a thrown, boomerang’ing mace? That’s either a very skilled goblin, or a very lootable mace! The players obviously hope for the latter

    The Tall Man drums out some support, then charges in to drum the Goblin (who amazingly failed a save against Disintegrate AND SURVIVED). It falls, and once again lands with a noise much louder than expected…spells fly to and from the red dragon, and after a few seconds, the goblin shimmers, revealing the corpse of a GREEN dragon? That would explain the wave of acid earlier…?

    The Old Man uses Gemslinger to chuck a Water Elemental at the fire-chucking dragon, and a confirmed crit leaves quite a dent in its head, which the (Huge!) elemental is all too happy to fill. The dragon collapses with a quiet flop, fading into a human wizard. Well that would explain the not-quite-right somatic Fireballs…

    Both corpses are Coup-de-Graced for good measure, and the (real) dragon head goes into the Bard’s bag of drum materials. His Sleight-of-Hand is beaten by Aria’s spot (IT’S DIGOS ALL OVER AGAIN ARGH!) but his astronomical Bluff quickly convinces her that the illusions of the tower were playing tricks on her.

    So…the “wizard” corpse still hasn’t faded into anything new, and it’s making squelch noises. Coup-de-grace...with a Flaming weapon…oh there we go, dead Troll ^_^ All the corpses fade (except the bagged head!) loot is searched for but none is found, and the heroes enter the portal to the next floor. Their surroundings fade…and they are surrounded by a black void. Cya next time!

    Chapter 55: Stress Management

    Our heroes return to the void…they are standing on a 45-foot platform (in spawn points OF THEIR CHOICE this time ) surrounded by darkness, though soon some distant foggy walls appear. On those walls are four faintly glowing doors, with brighter glowing eyes a few feet above them. Initiative is rolled, and with perhaps a tad of metagaming (but decent Int scores, and history with the towers) prompts them to deduce that the green/yellow/red/blue glows correspond to Acid/Lightning/Fire/Ice, and a Mass Protection from Acid and Mass Fire Shield are cast before any hostile actions are observed. They weren’t wrong!

    The eyes belong to gargoyle-type creatures perched above the doors, and energy beams from their eyes sail overhead and/or splatter against protective spells. Those struck are slightly unnerved by the enemy’s gaze, but Will saves prevail.

    Morok attempts to reposition himself for a spell and quickly notes the heavy winds in the room affect his movement. The clever Bard casts Freedom of Movement on the Dragon Shaman, giving their fastest flyer unfettered travel through the windy void. That helps things IMMENSELY as he chucks an Elemental at one Gargoyle and rapidly swoops toward another. A lucky Chaos Roll from Roman teleports him the last few feet to get right in the monster’s face.

    Aria’s turn comes around, and she dismantles the Acid gargoyle in a single volley! Surely the room can’t be THAT easy? Will more monsters emerge from the void? How do the doors work? The Bard rolls a quick Knowledge check, then asks in Common “Why are you attacking us?” He is highly amused by the response “It’sss our job!”

    In a mere two rounds, all of the gargoyles fall, having done a piddly amount of damage to the energy-resistant strong-Willed heroes. Um…so what’s up with the void? The Old Man cautiously lowers himself to floor level…revealing a chunk of solid foggy ground in the void. Maybe there’s an entire path?

    Many revelation methods are discussed and attempted. Glitterdust reveals a nice area (heralded by a Chaos rolled display of fireworks and applause!), though Dancing Lights seem to shine right through the invisible floor. The Tall Man slowly circles the spawn point using the left-hand-maze rule, tapping new paths with his drumstick. Arrows sail into doors with no visible effect (although The Old Man cautioned her to aim carefully, he liked his shoes!) , so some are shot into the void and occasionally stick into foggy chunks. The Old Man swoops around dragging his Old Man Shoes on potential paths; he also asks his summoned elemental to enter a door and report back…but it never returns. Ominous! Do they need to reveal the entire path? Are some of the doors trapped? Why were the gargoyles so weak…?

    Roman decides to try a classic Light Coin (losing his Lucky Streak on a chaos roll), rolling it down potential paths. It sails into the void, but next round it falls from the foggy ceiling right next to him! Aria starts marking her map for possible enter/exit portals, but once Morok sends a quartet of Summoned Undead marching into the void (saluting as they fall), their randomized landing zones seem to disprove her theory. At least their scattered bones reveal a few extra squares before fading! Aria kicks the coin for another quick reveal.

    Oh and the Gargoyles are respawning. With glowy-er eyes, stronger attacks, and tougher Will saves. That puts a bit of a clock on the floor searching…and what is up with the doors?!?

    Aria can still Rapid-Shot a gargoyle a round or so, but her luck with the wind gets worse. The Locket of Favorable Winds could have helped, but she decided the room wasn’t dangerous enough to waste the daily on. Confidence! Meanwhile, The Tall Man is blasted with flames, which are reduced by his Shield…buuut still burn his brain on a Natural 1 Will Save. He turns and begins to run in terror from the flaming eyes…while 5 feet from the void.

    The Old Man: "I can barely reach him in time, and he weighs 500+ pounds" (AGAIN! So did Gort lol)
    Aria: "I could pin his shoes to the floor with arrows…?"
    Roman: "I could teleport to him…"
    Morok: "I GOT THIS!" *Bigby’s Hand*

    The giant ghostly hand pulls a crossing guard pose, holding the terrified Bard back from the edge. The Old Man, fresh from demolishing a Gargoyle with Raikiro’s frost attack, swoops over and assists the hand (with a double bonus from his Tactician’s Visage!) long enough for the fear to fade. The Bard sings a quick song of his renewed courage.

    Aria continues mowing down gargoyles nearly as fast as they can spawn. Morok crit-casts a Magic Missile into a Macross Missile Massacre (Empowered+Maximized; Ricallen's player also mentions the Jericho Missile from Iron Man, and Morok is sad that he can't do Robert Downey Junior's pose without arms ), and Roman decides to shake things up; his earlier Chain Missile hit a garg AND several floor tiles, but this time he chucks his long-held Goblin Firebomb! Despite the range and wind penalties (which have deflected an Orb of Acid and many arrows over the course of the night), he strikes a Garg dead-center, igniting it for considerable damage. He also notices that next to his grenade was a Potion of Owl’s Wisdom that wasn’t there before…?

    More than half of the void has been tested (and people finally remember Morok has See Invisibility, though that’s a bit overkill at this point hehe), but the heroes are still scared of the doors. Well, the Bard is sick of being scared, and charges through the red door! Which prompts a note from the dm. And some more notes from both sides. }:)

    His allies continue clearing a path to the green door, right as the even glowyer Acid Gargoyle spawns for the third time. He finally lands a hit on the Gnome (after 4 misses in a row!)…dealing zero damage thanks to Energy Resistance, and the Will Save is beaten by more than 10. “My job sucksss” Despite his boosted defenses, Aria shatters it halfway through a Rapid Shot; “Are you guysss hiriiing…?” *crumble*

    Most of the group can reach the green door, but do they want to split up? What’s happening to the bard? With more (stronger) gargoyles about to appear and spells running low, a final series of Teleports (of three varieties! And the second Natural 1 Chaos Roll of the night for Roman) leads to everyone clustered around the red door…including loyal Skeleton Number Two, who only fell into the void once, survived his landing, found several solid paths and is currently carrying Morok! The Dragon Shaman swoops everyone through the door right before the gargoyles can shoot…

    Roman: “So what fresh hell have we walked into?”
    DM: “…A rather literal one actually. It’s a 15x15x20 room, with the usual foggy grey walls, except everything’s on fire. Everyone take 9 damage.”

    It’s been getting hotter every round, as he only took 3 upon entering and 8 before the others arrived. (one of the DM notes was “Burn baby burn, DISCO INFERNOOO!!!!!” #bard) Skeleton #2 turns to ash, panic sets in, as the Dragon Shaman uses his aura and Vitality to flood the anguished Bard with healing energy, and help the others prepare for the increasing heat to come. Aria’s keen eyes fail to Spot anything but flaming fog and flaming friends, Roman’s Glitterdust fails to find any doors, The Old Man starts checking the ceiling…

    Morok: “I HAVE AN IDEA!” *Otilukes Suppressing Sphere*

    So, an aside on Otiluke’s. That spell has been miscast into almost as often as Trollshape, and it has NEVER DONE ANYTHING USEFUL. We read the description again, ok, existing spells get a caster level check, which considering the magic in the tower means the only way this will work is-

    *Clatter* Natural 1. The flames are Suppressed. A natural 2 would have been enough to continue roasting everyone.

    So the heroes have about two hours of not being on fire to figure the room out (though Roman’s player nearly expires from laughter). Heals are topped off, spell lists are searched, more Spot checks are rolled. The Bard sighs with relief, reveling in the draconic healing and cool air and…wait a minute, THAT FIRE WASN’T REAL!

    Yep, he finally passed his Will save. All of the fire was an illusion; Skeleton #2 reappears with a confused salute, burn scars fade, the Raikiro fire buff was never actually there…it’s just a grey foggy room. As everyone passes their new saves based on the Bard’s insistence, a giant eyeball appears in the ceiling, laughs at the party, and the room fades to the next floor. Whoo!

    [DM Note: The whole room was intended to test creativity under pressure, much like the classic “room is flooding, how do you open the door?” traps of old. There were lots of ways to find paths, with flying made somewhat difficult by the wind (that Freedom of Movement meant The Old Man was never in danger of being blown into the void!) and the gargoyles there to gradually increase in threat to prompt reckless floor/door testing. Inside the doors was another scary unknown, prompting resource spending until either a Will Save succeeded as above, or people “died” from the illusion, which would lead to them waking up on the next floor Shaken from the ordeal.

    What’s on the next floor? We shall see ^_^

    Also we tracked “safe” and “void” tiles with Post-it notes on our game grid. It was very colorful by the end!]
    Last edited by turbo164; 2015-09-28 at 10:45 AM.
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 56: A Shocking Development

    The good news is, the party does not spawn clustered in Fireball Formation.

    The other good news is, Roman is wearing new glasses somehow.

    The bad news is, none of the party can see each other.

    The badder news is, all of them see at least one Minotaur.

    The goodness of the various colored and shaped walls is ambiguous at the moment.

    Were some omniscient giant to look down at the party as though they were figurines on a battlemat, each has spawned in a separate section of nine 40’x40’ squares, each with a different shape and color of wall. Some are hallways, some have an X or Z shape dividing the room, etc. All connect to at least two other rooms. Most of the rooms seem to have a Minotaur, some with spears, and one with a staff.

    Ricallen, seeing no allies to buff with bardsong but seeing two Giant-speaking monstrous humanoids, strikes up a conversation.
    “So, how’s your day been?”
    “Why is it exciting?”
    “Why do you want to smash?”
    [the laughing eye in the ceiling appears again, but a natural 1 spot check leaves the bard lucky to see the floor]

    The minotaurs commence smashing. The staff-wielder tosses an Invisible, Silent Lightning Bolt, which Ricallen skillfully Spellcrafts and Reflexes out of the worst of. The spear-wielder charges, attempting to stab with both spear and horns.

    In the other rooms, the non-elf-riding-Roman makes himself Invisible, then runs and looks for his friends. The looking becomes somewhat more difficult as it appears the rooms are shifting; two near the gnome switch places, and a few seconds later his entire room rotates 180 degrees and walls him in!

    [I built the maze with 9 paper grids with pipe cleaner walls. At certain initatives, dice determined which squares were effected and whether they swapped with other squares or spun in place. Amazingly only one miniature fell off the whole night!]

    The Old Man doesn’t have anyone he can Aura, but he and Morok end up tag-teaming a nearby minotaur. Morok decides to Haste his dragon buddy-
    Aria – “We finally got him trained! And I’m not close enough >_<”
    But the scatterbrained skull miscasts into a Rope Trick. It’s the thought that counts!

    Aria’s keen ears have heard the patter of gnome feet, and she chucks a few arrows while heading towards the noise. She doesn’t find him (him being invisible and walled off by the shifting maze) but she does hear a muffled clank from an unexplored square, as does The Old Man…

    The Tall Man Enlarges himself to better Smash the cows, and gleefully takes AOO’s against the merely Large monsters. The chatty staff-cow throws another bolt, his aim unaffected by the recently rotated room. Some of the spear cows have been landing hits though, and their Horns have led to some painful Bull Rushes. Some party members are slammed into walls, and Ricallen’s massive form is impaled and shook (by a very sore-necked minotaur).

    Morok is not having a fun time, as after his useful “Haste”, he was slammed by bull horns, and the shifting rooms reveal another lightning-blasting staff cow. Dimension Step gets him slightly further from his foes, but they have already shown the ability to Erratic Charge… Roman Dimension Doors to his trusty Aria steed, who then hears a skull crack against a nearby wall. The Old Man can only watch in horror as both he and Morok are zapped; his Raikiro grants him some bonuses thanks to the lightning damage, but Morok, even with a successful save, takes 6 damage more than his skeletal form can handle…

    Morok: “How shocking!” *crumbles to ash*

    OOC, discussion of how to resurrect undead in a cleric-less party begins (and Gunther and Thezir’s players are texted with the news. “NOOOO!” is the general reply), while IC the battle continues with heavy hearts (for those who learn what happened; The Tall Man is unaware of the destruction of his number one fan until after the battle!). The Old Man notices the laughing eye in the ceiling appear, but it appears more surprised than amused at the passing of the mighty mage.

    Roman is able to silence the chatty staff cow by Polymorphing him into a Sloth, which Ricallen eagerly Smashes after dealing with the spear cow. Aria and The Old Man clear out some other rooms, and eventually track the muffled clanks to another unexplored room where a staff cow has been meditating; each round that there were no heroes to zap, he clanked his staff against the ground to build up his strength. Roman launches a massive 62 damage Orb of Fire, which would have burned any of the other cows in one shot; but after 4 rounds of buffing, the final minotaur is just Medium Well, and retaliates with a Lightning Bolt that strikes Roman, his mount, and The Old Man!

    The Old Man’s magical Raikiro blade soaks up more lightning energy, intensifying the static field around him and teleporting him right up to the caster. He takes advantage of the advance with a roaring draconic Intimidate check, which with the circumstance bonus overcomes the cow’s natural 18! The Shaken cow is quickly dispatched before he can fire a second bolt.

    With all minotaurs (and sloths) slain, the walls sink into the ground, and a teleportation ring to the next room appears. Morok’s ashes are gathered, with Roman hoping to scrounge up some kind of resurrection through his Runic Silks; in the meantime, heals are cast, (The Old Man noticed that in addition to his healing potions, he also had a fresh Potion of Owl’s Wisdom; it appears everyone got one at some point during the tower!) and the circle is entered. Once again, Roman finds himself with new equipment, as a pair of bracers are on his wrists as he reappears.

    DM: “You find yourself in the familiar foggy grey room, with a 20 foot ceiling. It is empty aside from yourselves and a large, completely unguarded treasure chest in the center.”
    Players: “I like the emphasis on COMPLETELY UNGUARDED.”

    They discuss a bit, then send an Unseen Servant to pop the lid. Will saves vs magical trap!

    Ricallen passes.
    Roman *would* fail but succeeds thanks to his still unexplored glasses.
    The Old Man fails, as does Aria. They are Confused. Hmm, “nearest creature” when there’s a gnome on your back…
    Roll initiative next week!

    Chapter 57: The Eyes Have It

    Roman wins initiative, Spellcrafts the Confusion effect, and shouts a warning to Ricallen as he chugs his Will-save-boosting Owl’s Wisdom potion.

    The Confused Old Man acts next, and immediately Attacks Nearest. His mind is clear enough to remember that his (former) friends were immune to his cold breath, so he charges forward and stabs the elf.

    Ricallen begins a soothing drumbeat, and successfully Fascinates The Old Man with Koombayah. The elf is too distracted by the RAIKIRO STICKING OUT OF HER CHEST, and Rapid-Shots her attacker for 40+ damage; the Koombayahs continue despite the violence, as a Perform check of 48 can apparently overcome magical arrows in your gut if you were already singing… [Yeah, the Fascinate rules were a bit misread at this point <_< ]

    Roman attempts to Dispel the Confusion, but even a caster check of a natural 15 falls short. After his tiny little arms finish weaving the spell, he covers his elf’s eyes to hinder her teamkilling potential.

    The Old Man and The Tall Man continue their duet, with The Tall Man slipping a Hold Person on the elf, which fails. Aria again rolls Attack Nearest (players: “ROLL LOWER!”) and tries to decide how to deal with her annoying gnome passenger. Grapple him? Tumble out from under him? Stab him with a long-unused Rapier?

    DM: “I could also see you just like, jumping backwards and trying to squish him.”
    Roman: “But I’m covering her eyes?”
    Aria: “I don’t need eyes to fall on my a**!”
    DM: “That’s going in the log…”

    Roman gets the wind knocked out of him as his triple-his-own-weight mount grinds him into the floor. Still, his keen mind manages to come to a solution: Polymorph Aria into a cute little monkey until the Confusion fades! Aria finally rolls low, and her tiny little monkey rides the gnome for a change, alternating between pounding with ineffectual monkey fists and drooling on her mount.

    As an encore, Roman attempts to repeat this trick on the still-Koombayah’ing Old Man, who resists at first. A stray Chaos effect turns the first monkey yellow, and another Chaos roll grants a Critical Confirmation bonus (gulp!) but eventually both bloodthirsty party members are reduced to harmless little primates. The confusion takes more than 2 minutes to wear off, meaning that chest was an Epic (or Extended) caster…

    Roman: “My Owl’s Wisdom is about to wear off. I guess we should leave them monkeys in case they get Confused again?”
    Ricallen: “Yeah but if *you* get confused and they’re still monkeys, you’re gonna murder them…”
    The Old Mankey: “Why don’t you try something other than just poking the chest ag-“
    Roman: “MONKEYS DON’T TALK!”
    The Old Mankey: “That’s going in the log too.”

    They do decide to Dispel the polymorphs. Everyone ties their weapons into Roman’s bag to reduce lethality (Roman is the most dangerous while unarmed, but also the easiest to grapple). Everyone uses wands to heal, potions or spells to turn Invisible, a previously-thought-useless Magic Circle Against Good, secretly scatter across the room, and the Owl’s Wisdom’d Old Man opens the chest…

    And finds loot! The trap did not reset. [it was hard to hide my grin when they spent so long IRL trying to plan for the “second” trap!]
    Thousands of gold is scooped up. Roman uses his share to pay off part of his loan from Aria.

    Roman: “You know, we share enough that it doesn’t matter much who gets this.”
    Ricallen: “That’s what Loan Shark Aria wants you to think!”
    Aria: “Hey, I didn’t charge him *any* interest.”
    Ricallen: “First hit’s always free, that’s how they getcha hooked!”
    DM: *scribbles notes*

    There’s also an Arcane spell scroll of Clairvoyance; as well as a tiny, well-carved marble statue of a slightly disturbing clown with loose-set jeweled dice for eyes. Ricallen wants to shake the thing immediately and attempts to Bluff that he just wants to see it; the Old Man wants to keep it unshook for now. Roman wants to just Disintegrate it o_0

    An exit ring has appeared back at the entrance, it seems this was the final floor. The group carefully places the replacement blue gem into the chest…
    Voice: “Welll, that’s interesting. Looters who are UN-looting…”

    The heroes begin a cautious discussion with the voice; eventually, the laughing eyeball appears in a wall, then emerges as a floating, giant eyeball surrounded by a cloud of flickering hands, ears, and smaller eyes. He is the guardian of this tower, Oskur. [they did ask! After about an hour ]

    A huuuge amount of info is gained from this long discussion. They are very polite, roll excellent Diplomacy, appear heroic, ungreedy, and curious, and Oskur is happy to explain a great many things. In no particular order:

    *The replacement gems are “cute,” but better than nothing, and should help stabilize the skysplitting earthquakes a bit. The real gems are some of the strongest magic to be found in Kyrpra, and when contained in the stabilizing magic of the towers, they were able to keep the area somewhat intact for centuries.

    *The mages in the great war originally were all working together on a variety of magical research projects. The towers started as experiments, turned into testing chambers for up-and-coming students, and when hostilities broke out were slightly reinforced to guard treasures from the other side. The war itself seemed to just be an escalated argument between two mages with big powers and bigger egos. The forest started as a peaceful park to relax in between experiments, but after all of the spellslinging it grew to the eldritch monstrosity it is today.

    *From all of the magical history lesson, each player gets a bonus Skill Focus feat.

    *Morok was a prominent mage, and friend of Oskur, who apparently was imprisoned by someone on the other side of the war. He was very surprised to see him undead, and in the tower, and slain by a mere minotaur. He says that a Wish or Miracle could bring him back, but in what condition…

    *Oskur had seen Jack in the forest but not met him in person

    *The EL were the ones that looted the real Blue Gem months ago, albeit after “enjoying the Confusion a bit too much” and losing 2 team members; Oskur has seen others in the forest but doesn't know much about them.

    *There were two people with the name Zorascus in the research teams, but none resembled the demonic glowy-eyed nemesis of modern day.

    *The Shalars had traded some research notes with the mages before the war (but stayed out of the hostilities), and Oskur was happy with the arrangement. Depending on how their plane was damaged, the party might have better success trying to contact the Shalars after traveling to a different plane themselves.

    *The Zuura were a small kingdom near Kyrpra who occasionally traded with the mages, but knew little about magic themselves. Oskur doesn't know where they would have gotten the snake transformation spell that led to the abandoned temple.

    *Once the party has beaten a tower, they will be able to skip all of the encounters on future visits, *unless* the tower is reset with its true gem. That means the Green, Yellow, and Purple towers will be quick trips, but the Red and Orange must be overcome. Oskur gives some advice on what he knows of the other guardians, saying Rada’s tower is unlikely to be “subtle,” and to expect to hit things hard before they hit you back. The orange tower of “The Twins” will likely be full of traps, have fun with that.

    *The towers are already heavily reinforced with powerful magics for their current “challenging but beatable” status as tests; trying to defend the real gems from future thefts would be difficult. The party consider throwing the gems into other dimensions (but they’ve met many casters who could potentially follow them) or outright destroying a tower (Oskur says they are welcome to try, but he’d prefer his to stay intact). The replacements are less effective than the originals, but easier to defend since Oskur says they aren’t built into the reward system.

    *Each gem corresponds to an attribute; Red for Strength, Orange Dex, Yellow Con, Green Int, Blue Wisdom, and Purple Charisma. Alone, they can vastly improve that aspect of the bearer. Together…well, one of the reasons the gems were divided into the towers was because of what early test results suggested would happen if the Fragments were combined… and Jack has at least 4. “That’s worrying.”

    *The snowglobe is also “cute”, but Oskur magically improves its accuracy with a touch of his mighty Divination magic. (Roman starts to mention “the guy in the mountain” which is vague enough to prompt a twinge in his head, rather than another multi-month-curse ^_^; )

    *The clown statue is named Snake-Eyes. “He hates you, but you can roll him once per day for an effect that is *usually* beneficial.” Snake-Eyes pipes in “That’s right, I hate your guts!” The Old Man continues his caution, suggesting they wait to roll until they’re in a padded room stocked with healing potions

    *Since the party hopes to return all of the gems to restabilize the forest, Oskur hopes to see them succeed, and to keep his own tower in one piece. He “bends some rules” to refill the loot chest three times! (Aria had previously asked if he wanted the first pile back, but he happily told them it was their reward for overcoming the challenges of the tower). This haul leaves them with another 27,000 gold, 3 more scrolls and a wand, an ioun stone, amulet, and…

    DM: [I had already had them roll d8s for the gold amount] “Someone who’s feeling lucky roll a d20.”
    Roman: “Well, The Old Man had that 20 earlier, and Aria-“
    Ricallen: “You’re a CHAOS GNOME, your character is all about luck, go for it!”
    Roman: *rolls a 5* “Is higher better?”
    DM: *holds up list* “These are listed in order of price, the higher-“
    Roman: *spends a daily reroll* “NINETEEN!”
    DM: “Well then! The last item in the chest is a beautiful silver javelin.” *excellent skill checks* “Named Lilith’s End.”
    Ricallen: “Lilith? Aw crap it’s some cursed demon weapon…”
    DM: ‘“Pin your foes to the earth, and to reality itself!” *A shining silver javelin with a shallow drill-shaped groove.’
    Ricallen: “Oh sweet it’s like a Dimensional Anchor spear to keep demons from running away?”
    DM: *nods*

    Also loot-related, the real gem (and its replacement) go in the invisible chest in the ceiling; many groups overcome the confusion trap, take the expensive trinkets, and leave without finding the true treasure overhead. Aria complements this cleverness and Oskur is pleased It’s late enough that people need to head home, but ingame they spend the night in the tower for more discussion (and loot identification) next time. And, as a finale, Oskur uses his magical sight to bestow a bit of prophecy upon each:

    The Tall Man – A lack of fame may lead to infamy.
    Danny – She is still out there.
    Aria – Dark is not evil, but there is evil in the dark.
    Roman- hmm, very interesting…oh my… Three. Yes, I’m quite certain of it.

    Dun dun duuun!
    Last edited by turbo164; 2015-12-01 at 10:06 AM.
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 58: That Which Man Was Not Meant To Know. Also, PUPPEHS!

    The party spend a relaxing night in the tower. Oskur identifies a few items for them and closes with “I have enjoyed our conversation, but this has taken a lot out of me. This is your era, I hope that you can correct the mistakes of mine.”

    The heroes step out of the tower to find that the normally chaotic trees of Kyrpra have become incredibly orderly…a near-perfect grid of silver trees stretches as far as the eye can see, and two moons glow dimly in the thick air. Some Knowledge checks suggest that they have somehow arrived in the Lawful plane of Sekiria, and the thick air affects flight and fire.

    The Dragon Jar seems to have moved since last viewed, but nothing happens while they watch. Remembering Oskurs suggestion of trying to contact the Shalars from another plan, they use the Sending amulet again; there is no reply, but it does grow warmer, so maybe *something* got through? No reply from Jack’s note either. The freshly-upgraded Snowglobe shows a clear path to several towers, though each arrow is broken partway through. The heroes trudge back up the tower to ask Oskur, who remains invisible and replies in a faint voice that they should probably try to follow the arrows.

    Back outside, Aria’s keen senses notice they are being hunted by a pack of grey wolves, which thanks to more Knowledge checks is identified as a Ghost Pack. Ricallen tries to soothe and/or scare them with a Haunting drumbeat, which successfully Shakens a few of them as they charge from the trees toward the party. Initiative!

    The dogs run very fast, and half the pack is within charge distance by the time Ricallen’s turn comes. He spends his turn heaving his 500-pound frame a few feet up a tree. Soonafter, Aria attempts the same. Immediately after, Roman Dimension Doors himself and his struggling mount 50 feet up the tree, reminding Ricallen that he also has magical tree-ascending options. Oops! [I was reminded of the DBZ Abridged “Super Android 13” movie here haha]

    The Dragon Shaman can fly, but he bravely engages the dogs at ground level to draw their attention from his squirrely friends. The pack lands a few flanking bites, but his shield and scales deflect part of the assault. He notes that his Flaming sword is slightly more effective than normal, and the heavy air makes flight more effortless.

    Aria carefully shifts on her branch and dismantles a dog with an arrow volley…and from the corpse, a wolf-shaped ghostly blue flame rushes to the surviving pack, whose eyes and teeth begin to glow with the same light…

    Players: “Looks like they grow stronger each time one dies…”
    “Should probably try to soften them up and aoe them down…”
    “The last one’s gonna be Colossal or something…”

    With two dogs dead, the surviving four wolves are Large and more magical than before. The Old Man has clustered them enough to Breathe on three of them…two of which Evade, arg. Ricallen boosts his confidence with some music from his treetop perch.

    While discussing tactics, an impromptu real-life song is composed. Since the dog figures are numbered with dice, some are injured and they grow stronger when friends die…

    Roman: “I kill Six, and you kill Two”
    DM: “And then Four will kill, all of you!”
    Bard: “Not sure that would work for Inspire Courage.”

    With three large glowing dogs, The Old Man starts losing a lot of blood, and they begin Blinking after their prey. Good thing they just got that anti-teleport weapon! Gooder if they actually thought to use it <_<

    Spells and arrows condense the pack further (Roman notes that his Chaotic spellchart is slightly suppressed by the Lawful plane), and Ricallen distracts them with some illusory animal sounds. The staggered Old Man looks up the rules for the Gaseous Form potion on his belt, discovers that dogs can bite smoke, and opts for Invisibility instead, narrowly avoiding the teeth of the keen-nosed wolf as he slips away. Roman Disintegrates the second-to-last dog, and the final member of the Pack is now Huge and snow-white from the flickering flames of its slain brethren. It blinks up to the kinslaying gnome…

    DM: “Hey Old Man, remember how before we got the dice out tonight, you mentioned you had discovered the Feint rules for the first time?”

    …and the gnome finds so many ghostly teeth snapping at him he is totally unprepared for the very real teeth of the beast many times his size. The miniscule mage is ripped from the saddle and born to the ground.

    Aria: “We’ve hurt it, if you Delay until my turn I might be able to finish it without you wasting a spell!”
    Roman: “No, I wanna Disintegrate it!”
    Aria: “…I have infinite arrows per day, you only have a few slots le-“
    Roman: “But I haven’t gotten to use my 6th level spells much yet, they’re more fun than arrows!”
    Aria: “That’s going in the log isn’t it?”
    DM: *takes notes*
    Roman: “Ooh, actually, BALEFUL POLYMORPH! I’ll turn it into a kitten!”
    Giant flaming extradimensional ghost dog thing that is most definitely not a kitten: “GRAWRL!”
    Tiny gnome inside the dog’s mouth: “ARROW IT”

    Aria strikes true with every shot. The beast falls, and from its corpse, the final flames of the pack gather into the sky and fade into the distance.

    The heroes take some time to refill their blood a bit, then follow the Snowglobe’s arrow. The broken section corresponds with a border between the uniform Sekiria trees (which seem to be withering at the edge) and jumbled Kyrpra foliage. Stepping through requires some breathing adjustments from the thinner air, but everything seems normal-ish. Guided by the clear Snowglobe path, Roman attempts to shave off a few days travel with a Teleport.

    Players: “So where do we end up?”
    DM: *checks charts* “So um, trying to remember which of you were here last time you reached the Eastern Wastes...
    Roman: “That was before my time, what happened?”
    Players: “…was that where that giant cold fear undead thing was?”
    DM: “Yep, and th-“
    Players: “TELEPORT AGAIN”

    The snowglobe has a fresh path from their new location, and the second teleport brings them very close to the Green tower. Pelko chooses this moment to contact them from the snowglobe, with his first question quickly becoming WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO THE SNOWGLOBE.

    The party fill him in on their meeting with Oskur and the upgrade he performed. Pelko takes no offense at the fact that his workmanship was shoddy by comparison, but seems very intrigued by the fact that the Guardians still exist at all! He jots some notes on this and their Sekiria encounter and urges them to place the rest of the gems.

    The Green Tower offers no resistance, as Oskur predicted. The Old Man and Aria retrace their route from months before, and place the gem. Ricallen calls Dinuu’s name, and is answered. (The Old Man is happy to learn they didn’t *really* kill him during their last encounter!)

    Dinuu volunteers little information, and after some excellent Sense Motive and Diplomacy checks from multiple people…they figure out he seems to be *pouting* over the fact that he lost to them? They use this observation to salve his ego a bit, claiming that his tower was the most challenging BY FAR and that the other towers have been cakewalks in comparison. He warms up to the praise a bit and agrees with Oskur’s predictions of the upcoming Red and Orange towers, but Ricallen pushes his luck by asking if Dinuu could give them some help?

    Dinuu: “You defeated MY tower, and yet you think that those…INSECTS would prove a challenge worthy of MY intervention?”
    Ricallen: “Um…maybe…?”

    Dinuu *does* want to spite his rivals though, particularly the vexing Twins of the orange tower…so he takes physical form, gently places all 4 arms on Ricallen’s head…and pours a fraction of his knowledge into the bard’s brain, with all of the delicateness of a surgeon wielding a steam shovel.

    DM: “Time for a Will save.”
    Ricallen: *low roll*
    DM: *rolls* *winces* “For a split second, you feel your mind expand with new knowledge of the trials to come…right before you feel your mind explode for 14 Intelligence damage.”
    Ricallen: “Uh…so, do I *die* at zero Intel, or…”

    Luckily he’s just in a vegetative coma. The Old Man chuckles slightly at this turn of events, as usually it’s the Bard messing with other people’s minds, and Dinuu seems pleased as well. He wishes them success in their quest and shoos them away. After a brief discussion of how to drag the 500 pound Bard, they get him down the stairs with bruised ankles rather than bruised brain. (Poor Stabby!) The Old Man uses a few Vitality points to get The Tall Man conscious; with 4 intel he struggles to remember if he’s supposed to *eat* the Lesser Restoration wand or not, but thankfully he’s still Charismatic enough to figure it out, and the headache fades.

    The nearest tower is again a few days away, and again the Gnome attempts to tell reality to stop being so slow. The Kyrpra static knocks him backward on the first attempt, but he overcomes the barrier on the second try, landing a few hours away from the Yellow tower. Partway through their walk…The Old Man feels something he has not felt in quite some time. The Jar is calling!

    [DM Note: The random loot/encounters continue to bring up amusing coincidences. Similar to the anti-gaze-attack crystal being rolled and sold immediately before a randomly-rolled Gaze aberration, in this session the freshly-rolled Lilith’s End appeared directly before the Blinking wolves! The wolves being the first monster to Feint, the same night The Old Man mentioned he discovered it, was also quite funny.]

    [Also, I misplaced some notes but at some point in this session or one nearby, the group tried out Snake-Eyes for the first time. The Bard tried to Diplomacy the tiny statue into hating them less, but the clown's scathing rhymes eventually prompted the Tall Man to shake him well beyond what was needed to roll the dice. The result was a 4; "You all suck, who wants some luck?" Roman volunteered, and received the outstanding bonus of...Virtue, a level 0 buff that soon wore off. So, how much better or worse are the other numbers...? As of session #61 they have made a second roll yet]

    Chapter 59: What's the Buzz?

    The Dragon Shaman eagerly pulls out the Dragon Jar, but it’s not quite acting as before; the voice, and movements, are different from their friend Arazhel. Both sides are cautious with their information until they learn enough to recognize each other; the dragon is Jirix, who works for the Shalar of Frost; and the party are the ones who fought alongside her and other Shalars when rescuing Arazhel, who had given Jirix the jar many years ago.

    He has not been able to contact the Council either, and had struggled to get the Jar to work just to try and find a friendly face. The heroes explain a bit more about the EL and the shattered sky, and their quest to restore gems to the towers. Jirix thinks a bit, and says he might know the location of one of the gems! He’s in Rashada with a few scrounged draconic agents, and it seems that a “thief” (who eventually silenced those rumors by coin and/or blade) had returned from a journey with “The Golden Star”, a beautiful gem seen by few but that brought great luck to its owner. He was recently murdered and robbed, and the timing matches a snippet of coded message intercepted from the EL, so it’s possible they have it now in one of their hidden bases. Jirix says he’ll try to find out more on his end while the party continue their work on their side of the ocean.

    The heroes continue their path to the Yellow tower, and are halted by the keen-eared Aria. Up ahead, a pair of very Large badgers are trying to claw their way up a tree; Aria sneaks closer (stepping on one branch), and sees a sizable beehive that is probably their target. She takes her scouting report back to the group, and a decision is reached.

    She once again sneaks forward, lines up her bow…and shoots the hive out of the tree. It bonks a badger on the head, and angry bees start pouring out over the furry honey-seekers…who don’t give a crud, and happily start gnawing on their sticky prize. The heroes then heroically walk around the feast; a small cloud of bees seem to follow Aria, but Wilderness Stride + Scout levels + magic boots = faster than bees. The party travel a few minutes, have a nice lunch, then double back to see what has happened since they left.

    The badgers…are nowhere to be seen. There are A LOT OF BEES. Far more bees than there should be for a hive that size, even if that hive was 5 feet tall. Most are clouded around the fallen hive, though a smaller group is swirling around the branch it was shot from.

    After another brief discussion (including Swarm rules), Roman heroically launches a Fireball into the mourning hive! Who roll a Natural 20 Reflex to spread out on impact. Initiative!

    The Old Man wins initative, but decides to wait and see what happens. What happens is a few million bees start magically glowing yellow and rocket toward the group at much higher speed than the previous pursuit. Spellcraft suggests it’s a Haste-like effect…?

    The party scatters. Ricallen drums some buffs and attempts to Dispel the speedy bees with a Natural 2, Aria rockets away with her Fireballing passenger, and The Old Man once again meets the foe headon with a blast of frozen breath. The bees envelop him on their next turn, and the Swarm damage plus a failed save against Con poison reduce his health by SEVENTY-TWO. And Nauseate him, so he can’t heal.

    The Old Man: *coughs up bees* “WHY DID WE COME BACK?!?”
    Roman: “Why are they so mad?”
    DM: “Are you asking the STILL-SMOULDERING BEES that?”
    Roman: “Oh yeah.”

    Roman continues launching variously metamagic’d Fireballs. Aria is sad to learn the Swarm is immune to most of her arrow damage, with only the Shocking killing a few bees. The Bard is sad to learn that the Vermin are immune to his mostly-Mind-Affecting spell selection, so he busts out the Deeper Darkness scroll to help his team hide, with a personal Greater Invis for good measure. The Old Man stumbles out of the swarm, gets re-swarmed, but this time passes both Fort saves and manages to get some healing into his swollen lungs. Aria also notes with her keen eyes that of the bees that stayed with the hive, the branch bees are descending, and the ground-level bees are…less than before? Still dense enough to block sight of the hive itself, but something weird is going on.

    Resources dwindle and tactics change. With Aria coming closer to assist the besieged Old Man, Roman tries Mage Handing a few Firebombs into the cloud, with good results. Aria herself uses the rare tactic of NOT saying “I shoot my bow at it” and activates her Locket of Favorable Winds for the second time ever, using a Gust of Wind to shove the flaming bees into the Darkness. The 500 pound invisible bard clomps his way out of the darkness to rejoin his friends.

    The flaming bees rise out of the darkness, disoriented enough to not be able to reach any stingable flesh for a turn. The Old Man chucks a nice Air Elemental, whose Whirlwind form contains nearly the entire swarm at its currently reduced size. Roman adds a Glitterdust to the mix, and blind sparkling flaming frozen shocked windswept bees spiral within the cloud. In a head-scratching display of RAW physics, the Elemental is stung by a few of its passengers, but the poison has no effect and they don’t have many stingers left to use. After two rounds, the last of the tiny carcasses is flung to the ground, and the Elemental swoops toward the hive group, which is still shrinking by the second. Roman chucks a final Fireball, and the remaining bees turn to ash after a failed save.

    After some healing, the heroes search the remains, and make some Nature and Arcana checks to try to figure out what the heck happened when they find a scorched ring of flowers around the missing hive. Ingame they have some theories…and out of game the DM explains everything. Through no fault of their own, they took a lot of wrong turns in this choose-your-own-adventure:

    *The Badgers were Large from Kyrpra magic, but a Very Easy encounter for level 13 heroes, designed to be a nice relaxing encounter after the nailbiting tower and dogs, as well as a chance for Aria to use Favored Enemy: Animals after having faced Outsiders and Magical Beasts and such for so long.
    *If the players had dealt with the badgers, the Pixie queen of the hive would have rewarded them; but the badgers weren’t really a threat to the bees, so they weren’t wasting any stingers on enemies that couldn’t reach their home.
    *After dropping the hive, bees poured out until the swarm was large enough to drive the badgers off. This being Kyrpra, the hive was an extradimensional space that could fit a LOOOT of bees.
    *The players had lunch, giving the bees time enough to fully emerge into the open, rather than engaging them as they trickled out (and while the badgers could distract them, though they might have wanted to chase the humanoids away from their sticky prize, depending on rolls)
    *After seeing the too-big-for-the-hive swarm, and seeing the badgers were gone (retreated? Eaten?), they could have ran, but engaged.
    *They focused on the mobile swarm rather than the homeguard, giving the Queen time to buff the assault team and to finish her Fey Ring to teleport the hive (and loot!) away.

    This was basically the hardest and least rewarding the encounter could have been, a far cry from the simple “shoot the badgers and make the pixie happy” pitstop I was planning haha. Like I said ingame their decisions weren’t bad…just called a lot of Heads that should have been Tails. :X (They did get more XP this way, and I did like the whole drop-the-hive-on-the-badger scheme. ^_^ )

    So after that nice refreshing encounter, they reach the Yellow tower with no further incident…though The Old Man notices that the Kord shrine from before is still outside the tower. Shouldn’t it have moved by now?

    As before the first floor is empty. The Old Man is the first one up the dreaded stairs, and while his first footfall is quite heavy, it grows easier with each further step. The second floor is empty, with the distorted hole in the ground from Morok’s magical mud…aaand no chest to put the gem in, because months ago Llosidian yanked it out of the mud and sold it in Belania. Um…

    The heroes call out to Thel and explain their intentions. With a slight rumble, a bubble of black ooze rises from the hole, prompting a brief PTSD from the Old Man who nearly died there before…but it merely forms a small, quivering palm, which accepts the proffered gem and sinks back into the floor.

    The party would like to rest after their wolf and bee fun, but this tower seems far less inviting than Oskur’s was. They retreat outside, and set up in a Leomund’s Lodge within sight of the tower. Heavy sleepers miss the small earthquake overnight…but odd evidence is found the next morning. The ground is cracked, but in a rough circle around the Kord shrine, with the dislodged chunk of ground tipping the whole thing slightly southwest. The Bard’s religious knowledge suggests that maybe Kord wants them to head that way?

    It’s not a sure thing, and it’s not really heading toward any of the other towers, but if there’s a chance a deity is making the request, it’s probably worth a day of travel. Roman suggests that his character is an atheist, which is a bit rarer in a setting where people can literally be raised from the dead and talk about the afterlife… at the end of the day none of them are sure if they’re doing the right thing, so the Bard arranges a few of his “drum ingredients” (aka skulls) in a rough approximation of a Kord shrine and asks for the deity's will to be made known? The next morning an enormous spear has pierced two of the skulls and points southwest. Yes sir mister deity sir!

    After just a few hours, the trees begin to clear, and something is spotted in the distance. Aria once again scouts ahead, and sees several dozen humans hard at work hammering together…giant wooden legs? They seem to be the foundation of a statue, but when 40 feet of shins haven’t even reached the knees yet she’s not sure the entire statue could even stay upright when completed. There are a few log cabins beyond the statue with another Kord shrine at their center. Maybe Kord wants the heroes to help these loyal architects…? The session ends with them discussing whether they want to saunter in, or disguise the Old Man for a bit of info gathering first. Something seems off…

    Last edited by turbo164; 2016-01-15 at 02:31 PM.
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Chapter 60: Hanks for the Memories!

    After coming up with a plan, various Disguise spells and items are cast to convert The Old Man, Aria, and Roman into three human workers. The Tall Man strides up to the statue, claiming he was on his way to New Leafhaven for a concert [it takes him quite a while to realize that he’s currently standing in New Leafhaven…lumberjack camp’s not exactly big enough for a theatre]. Some of the workers recognize him (“My sister has your poster on her wall!” becomes a running gag for the famous musician) and build hype for the upcoming performance, unexpected or not. One of the workers ask Hank to lead the Tall Man to the mayor. They pass some bones under the statue’s feet, but it’s hard to tell what kind they are…

    While most of the town is distracted, The Old Man and his non-human companions slip in the other side and claim to be new, helping carry logs to to be sawed into planks and whatnot. The Old Man’s acting skills help him blend in seamlessly (Bluff 37 lets you get away with quite a bit!) and some information is gleaned. Most of the workers are lumberjacks who have lived there quite a while, but a few months ago (this lumberjack never really learned to count, and The Old Man begins teaching him with untrained Profession: Math Tutor) the CHAMPION OF KORD arrived, and construction on his statue began.

    Also, one of the lumberjacks is wearing a dress. “Oh, that’s Hank. He dresses in women’s clothing, but he’s a lumberjack and he’s ok.” *queue song*

    The other Hank has introduced The Tall Man to Lord Brumbelfarf! Bardic Charisma goes to work, and while Brumbelfarf does ask Hank (not the escort or dress-wearer) if they had scheduled a concert, he warms up to the idea of someone singing about all the awesome stuff he’s done. He and The Tall Man go inside a log cabin with a poorly-written “Kassul” sign, where some ladies serve refreshments and Brumbelfarf starts recounting his amazing exploits to inspire the singer. They seem a *tad* exaggerated…

    (Here is what Brumbelfarf's player had him write about his adventures before rejoining the group in session #3:

    Entry 72
    Today, I raided a tower full of monstrous half-dragons and their warbeast. These
    weaklings that I travel with must have been awestruck by the presence of Kord’s
    finest warrior. They, obviously, added little to the combat. The priest, Gunter, almost
    died during the melee. I kept him alive by using the powerful magic that the
    dragon-shaman was using. Scouring the remains of my fallen foes returned little of
    value, save for a gem of some value. The first of many. My mind wanders back to the
    artifact that the horse, Pasha, was hiding.

    Entry 73
    The lure of the horse's hidden treasure is undeniable, but sharing the spoils is an
    unbearable thought. I must obtain the power it carries to carry out my plan. I will
    set out after nightfall and continue down the road. With Kord's help, I will find
    my destiny.

    Entry 74
    I made a valiant effort to track the treasure-horse, but there are too many
    footprints on this forsaken trail. Damned peasants. I will follow this road, the
    man had to have come from somewhere.

    Entry 75
    I've travelled for days, and have found only a hint of civilization. There were
    a few hovels built together around an inn and some poorly managed farmland. I
    passed directly through their slum-land without stopping. The peasant that was
    near the road rightfully feared me and scurried into the inn with a yelp. My
    treasure could not be in such a place as this, and there doesn't appear to be
    anything valuable. These people could not be ruled, I will continue onward.

    Entry 76
    Today, during my trek, I encountered a monstrous demon. It was quickly slain, but
    the visage of such a beast will haunt me for the remainder of my days. Three
    hundred eyes and six hundred teeth, how terrible. Praise Kord for guiding my axe
    with ferocity. He will soon show me the path to rule.

    Entry 77
    At last! My conquest begins with a town named New Leafhaven. Upon arriving in their
    inn, I challenged the locals’ lawmen to deny my rule. Kord smiles upon me at all
    times; the poor men stood no chance. After the bloodshed ended, the locals offered
    me their finest "burnin' tree". Awful grog, I deserve better. After celebrating
    their new overlord's appointment all night long, the peasants offered me quarters
    in the inn.

    Entry 78
    Exploring New Leafhaven has turned up no trace of my treasure-horse. The town has
    elven roots, but none of the elf-magic remains. Just farmers, lumberjacks, and
    a few subhuman swine. I have commanded them to bring me information on the area
    and offered a reward for information on the treasure-horse. The locals speak of a
    great magic tower held within a forest east of here. I will lead an expedition
    into the forest. Before leaving town, I will erect a monument to Kord to remind
    the peasants of my power over them. Only four of the lumberjacks have the force
    of will to face the dangers of the forest with me. I've comandeered pack animals
    and supplies for the journey from the trading post. The shopkeep seemed to be
    happy to contribute to the cause. This man makes me most suspicious. I expected
    some resistance to my ascension, but there has been surprisingly little. The peasants
    seem to know their place.

    Entry 79
    After venturing into the strange forest, we met a band of giant goblins, all at
    least two men high. Kord poured forth a surge of strength into my axe. The
    screams of my cloven enemies were joyous! One of the lumberjacks, Kenneth, fell
    to their spears. The fool did not follow my orders and deserved his fate. We
    have made camp for the evening.

    Entry 80
    Those Leafhavenians will know my wrath! I awoke to discover the cowards had
    fled with all of the horses and extra supplies! Outrageous! Kord, I swear
    vengeance on these weaklings! I will rule a graveyard before allowing this
    betrayal. Only the pack I slept upon remains. I've decided to continue into
    the forest to find the tower. I will obtain the magic powers within and return
    to seek my vengeance.

    So, the bard got to hear a bunch more stories along those lines.)

    So, several weird things have happened, though the players don’t notice most of them until the DM has their *characters* roll some Int checks…

    *At least three lumberjacks have been named Hank. The Old Man asks his nearest coworkers, finding at least two more. He claims his name is Hank as well, which is accepted.
    *Brumbelfarf has been called Mayor, Lord, King, and Emperor.
    *One of the workers slapped himself in the face when food was mentioned, and none of his fellows thought it odd. (I asked The Old Man for a spot check when it happened. Aria heard “Spot Check” and promptly rolled a 43. “Well, you VERY CLEARLY see the cabin that’s between you and the thing I asked The Old Man to spot.” )
    *A few times the heroes have felt their minds cloud for a few seconds…is that Kyrpra weirdness or something else?
    *Aria finally remembers that Brumbelfarf got along well with Digos, who aspired to become the greatest hypnotist in the world. Hmm…

    A few exploratory spells are cast, masked by hiding behind stacks of logs and waiting for conversations to drown out the arcane syllables. The Old Man’s Detect Evil gets a very strong reading on Brumbelfarf, but Roman’s Detect Magic fails to pierce the Kyrpra static. He tries a Dispel Magic on one of the Hanks, which makes him stop and blink a few times but return to work shortly after. Roman feels another mind cloud pass, and leaves the camp with Aria to “poo in the woods.”

    While none of the Hanks seem to notice the magic happening, one abruptly stops what he’s doing to not-so-subtly powerwalk to Brumbelfarf’s castle and pantomime frantically at his ruler. Brumbelfarf stops his current heroic tale to heft his axe and investigate the commotion.

    The Old Man stands with the other Hanks, trying to convince everyone that he saw a man in shining armor with a flaming sword casting spells from the woods. Brumbelfarf leans in and asks him to point it out…then axes The Old Man as his back turns. Initiative!

    Aria gets a 3 thanks to her flaw, and watches the chaos unfold. The Old Man blasts Brumbelfarf with his frosty breath, but the axe lands a deep crit. With 102 health missing, The Old Man tries to play dead. Brumbelfarf doesn’t seem to buy it…

    The Tall Man rushes in with a clever plan; he lands a successful Modify Memory spell to convince Brumbelfarf that his current wounds were from that mysterious shining-armor-flaming-sword guy in the woods! He also tries to convince Brumbelfarf that his wounds are too severe to continue, but modified memory or not he’s too confident to back down now…so The Tall Man “convinces” him with some monstrous Grapple checks. It goes unnoticed at first, but a faint golden glow seems to be healing the emperor’s wounds…

    Aria finally gets her turn and is unsure of what to shoot. Someone else takes a shot though, as acid splashes from one of the buildings into the back of The Tall Man. All of the Hanks seem to be running away, and there’s not even a window on that side of the building…? The Old Man flies away from the deadly axe to heal himself. More magic seems to be coming from that building (including more mind-clouding Will saves) so he and Roman get to work on that with a Disintegrate and an Earth Elemental. As the wall disappears, for a split second a window-shaped chunk of wall lingered…an illusion perhaps?

    The Tall Man continues winning grapple checks, and even Disarms the deadly axe. Brumbelfarf goes berserk at this loss, demanding it be returned. The towering bard shouts to his comrades “Kill him, he’s blessed!” WTF?

    Roman lands a Confusion on the weaponless tyrant, and The Tall Man eventually upgrades his hold to a Pin. Aria draws her rapier for the first time any of us can remember, moving in for a coup’de’grace on the following turn, along with Roman and The Old Man. The Earth Elemental continues stomping around for the invisible caster, bringing down the rest of the illusion-covered building but finding no squished wizards inside. A Dispel doesn’t reveal anything either.

    Seeing his allies about to decapitate his helpless captive…Ricallen drops the grapple. His explanation makes no sense…wait, maybe the axe he’s holding is cursed? Detect Evil confirms this theory. The freshly non-grappled (and slightly less evil) Brumbelfarf starts making some Confused punches, drawing AOO’s in the process. He absorbs a lot of punishment, before finally turning to dust thanks to Roman’s Disintegrate. Farewell, former PC.

    The bard seems to be upset by this (“Why’d you kill him, he was blessed!”) , and refuses to let go of the axe. Aria lines up her rarely used Ranged Disarm arrow, successfully knocking it away. Her allies prepare AOOs to re disarm/grapple the bard should he try to pick it up again…buuut a teleport gets him out of their reach, blarg.

    The Old Man decides to target something less physical, and gives a stirring speech to The Tall Man about his hopes and dreams. With fresh resolve, and a fresh 26 Will Save boosted by a 34 Diplomacy from the speech…The Tall Man shakes off the curse, and willingly drops the axe. Aria uses her Protection from Evil for the first time, allowing her to safely pick it up.

    Digos seems to have left [taking a lot of treasure with him], and the fleeing Hanks are confused. Their mental state is not improved as an Avatar of Kord appears to thank the heroes for dealing with the one doing such vile acts in His name. Aria asks if he could maybe de-curse the axe…? *DIVINE SWORD CHOP* Well, that pile of shrapnel seems to not be cursed anymore. The avatar does grant each hero a Devotion feat from Kord’s domains though. And any heroes with misgivings about Brumbelfarf’s evilness with the cursed axe are convinced upon identifying the bones under the statues feet belonged to all of the non-human lumberjacks that used to live in New Leafhaven. Yikes!

    The equipment in the pile of Brumbel-dust is worth a fair amount even without the axe…but the true diamond in the rough is what appears to be THE YELLOW GEM!

    DM Notes:
    Brumbelfarf and Digos were dangling plot threads that found a great opportunity to weave back into the main story.

    Brumbelfarf/Digos/Gort/Ricallen’s player had given me permission to use his evil ex-PCs as I saw fit, and after Brumbelfarf’s obsession with finding the treasure-filled tower in the woods, the heroes came across his victory shrine at the Yellow Tower way back in session #15!

    Now that they were questing to recover/replace the gems and came across the shrine once again, I decided to have Kord give them a nudge to deal with this “worshipper” who was slaughtering innocents in the name of the Chaotic Good god. I say nudge, because I would have been fine with them walking away from the tipped shrine, and Kord would not have pressed the issue. Ricallen making a direct divine inquiry the next day though, led to the less subtle speared skulls. “You want a sign, ya got one!”

    Brumbelfarf had never been a nice person, and the cursed axe increased both his strength and his bloodlust vs “sub-humans”, leading him to return to the town where he learned of the tower and slaughter all of the half-orcs and dwarves to be crushed beneath his statue. Digos followed along, keeping the other citizens in line with massive layers of hypnosis to make them all Hanks (with occasional pranks like the dress and the foodslap, because if why not?).

    In the fight, Digos hid in the building launching spells out the illusion-covered windows, and the heroes made EVERY WILL SAVE holy crap. That plus Brumbelfarf only getting one round of axing, and the building coming down around him led to his early retreat. (He was 10 feet away from the Elemental Bull Rush and the Dispel Magic too!)

    The Axe’s curse tried to amplify something good and something bad of whoever held it, while also making them unwilling to give up the axe itself. What it would do for everyone:

    Brumbelfarf: Turn human superiority complex and desire to rule into a full-on non-human-genocide tyrant. Axe becomes “NonhumanBane”. (The Old Man is the only human in the party, and the only one who got axed!)

    The Tall Man: Turns playful/manipulative bluffing into “Literally cannot tell the truth,” hence his “blessed” comments about the cursed Brumbelfarf and exasperation at them killing him despite his anti-protests. Also grants a hefty Charisma bonus to try to sell those lies. (as an aside, while trying to explain things, he didn’t try any “This pen is blue” tricks hehe)

    The Old Man: Upgrades partial amnesia to “You find yourself standing in the woods holding this axe. You remember NOTHING else.” Also upgrades breath weapon and dragonscales.

    Aria: Upgrades Goblin hatred to “GOBLINS! MUST KILL! RAWRG!” blind charge-into-the-woods fury, with bonuses to Strength and Dex to help.

    Roman: Upgrades Chaotic nature to “Logic, what’s that?” willy-nilly spellslinging, with all damage dice upgraded one size. (The Tall Man’s player comment: “Welp, that would have been a TPK”)

    Chapter 61: Finding a Rogue in less than 12 Parsecs!

    The lumberjacks start woozily returning to their non-hypnotized-statue-building jobs (and remembering their names!), and the heroes take their new feats and loot back to the Yellow Tower. Replacing the replacement gem with the REAL thing prompts an image in their minds of a giant golden statue head rumbling “Thaaank youuu.” Ricallen theorizes that the face resembles the Stone Faces of Kyrpra teleportation fame? There’s a resemblance, but not all the faces look the same.

    A quick successful teleport gets them to the Purple tower as well, where the only guardian response is a happy purple swirl in their heads. “Was this the acid trip tower?”

    Now, at this point I had kind of assumed they would do the Red tower, as they had said multiple times they wanted to try to get a rogue before tackling the orange. Unexpectedly they decide to grab the rogue *now*, do the orange tower, and then do the red after? Much like their first visit to the capital, my notes were a little more sparse than I would have preferred

    Teleports get them to Belania with no issues. They return to the Red Stallion inn (which surprisingly has several doors and rooms that accommodate The Tall Man comfortably!) and after a healthy tip they start to pick up local news over their mugs:

    *Nobody tried to contact them while they were gone. Has Snickle’s investigation not turned anything up yet?
    *There was a huge fire in one of the older districts in town. Um, that mighta been where Snickle was…and the timing matches the Zorascus “Some of your friends are still alive!” encounter. Great.
    *Some traveling star-gazers mentioned how weird the sky had been lately. Are the cracks visible outside of Kyrpra now?

    So, it sounds like Snickle might not be handing them any results, but they decide to investigate the fire in the morning. They also need to find a rogue; there’s some talk of breaking Stabby’s leaf, but I remind them that from his wording it might not be a “summon Stabby” token, it’s just to be used if they are “in need of assistance while the sun is in the sky.” The Bard decides to go chat with some other bards to see if they have any rogueish contacts.

    One refreshing sleep later, Ricallen meets up with a barbershop quartet that has performed both on the streets and at royal balls. *rolls* they do know of a trap expert they had sung about years ago, who is *rolls* in town *rolls* last they heard *rolls* around here, named *random name generator website* Yenril Dryadson. [Heh, yeah I was planning on pre-making several candidates to choose from if they decided to ask someone other than Stabby, but they were quite unfinished since I thought I still had another week or so before they were needed ^_^; ]

    Yenril works at the Good Mead tavern. Roman asks for a mug as tall as he is, and the rapidly plastered gnome enjoys himself while the others talk business. Yenril is a likeable half-elf who encountered several tricky trapped dungeons in his earlier days, having retired to the safer tavern business some years ago. He kinda misses the adventure (and treasure!) though, and upon hearing an abbreviated version of the hero’s story of the Kyrpra sky cracking and a magical gem to fix things, he thinks and replies:

    “Well, we get a lot of folks in here who claim to be world-saving heroes. We also get a lot of stories of weird **** in Kyrpra. I think I believe you guys though. Sounds like a chance to make the world a better place through more than just good mead. (Roman: “It is good! *hic*) I’m in.”

    The heroes promise him an equal split on the loot, and he has a few things to take care of before leaving town so they agree to meet at the Red Stallion day after tomorrow. In the meantime, they have some arson to investigate and some shopping to do. The tispy gnome slurs some pickup lines to his mount, and Aria makes him walk, fearing vomit (or worse?) were he to use the Tallsaddle in this condition.

    The fire covered a large area; their escorted meandering route through the dark from before makes it hard to confirm, but they strongly suspect that Snickle’s throne room was consumed in the blaze. Ricallen wants to try to tap into the undercity network again, and asks if he sees anyone shady.

    *Rolls* “There’s what appears to be a very unskilled pickpocket tailing you guys.”

    When addressed, he yelps and retreats, so the party gives chase.

    “So, you leave behind the passed-out gnome wearing six figures worth of magical gear? ” (naw, he could still walk, though his non-mounted speed isn’t great even when sober)

    The shady coward is caught and scared out of his mind. Ricallen demands to meet his boss, and is led to a warehouse. The boss is not sure what to think, but answers some questions. Their building escaped the fire though some competitors did not, but he denies any involvement in it. After a few minutes of discussion, skill checks, and Detect Evil…Ricallen learns that the “boss” is a legitimate warehouse manager, and the wannabe pickpocket does not seem to be part of any major crime syndicate. He storms out, saying the guy should be fired and/or executed, but some diplomacy from compassionate Old Man seems to set the poor guy straight.

    After this detour, the group starts tracking down places to convert their cash into magical gear. It’s been a while since they’ve had to use shops other than Jack, but they still manage to find a lot of useful stuff. Hopefully they’ll be prepared for the Orange tower!
    Last edited by turbo164; 2016-01-15 at 02:59 PM.
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Whew, just finished reading everything. Since no one else has commented, I wanted to let you know you have a reader.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Awesome, hope you're enjoying it!

    My health issues continue to postpone sessions, but hopefully we can get back into a schedule soon. Really looking forward to the next tower ^_^


    Also, Kol Korran reached out to me about adding to this journal to his archive. Lots of good entries there!!
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Aaand we're back! Had two sessions since last update, with a third hopefully happening tonight.

    Chapter 62 “Cutting A Rug”

    In the real world, months pass thanks to holidays, family, health etc. Ingame this leads to some Hangover-ish moments:

    “Were we still in the forest?”
    “Yeah I think we just finished killing [Thezirr]’s old character…?”
    “No, it was [Ricallen]’s old character, and one escaped.”
    “I thought we were in town?”
    “Oh yeah, the fire, and the rogue…”
    “We bought some new items, where did I write that down…”

    With memories restored, they spend a day following rumors; it seems their Halfling informant has disappeared in the past for long periods of time, so it’s possible he escaped the fire (or a new Halfling crimelord will fill the void). Yenril arrives, and I offer his character sheet to the group. Ricallen declines, as he was piloting Morok during his death, and “I actively WANT this one to die!” Aria is given the honors, and they say goodbye to civilization and hello to teleport mishap tables!

    The first jump is successful. The followup rolls are less positive, as jump #2 simply turns the gnome sideways to fall of his mount, though a positive chaos roll zaps “nearest enemy,” causing a *rolls* Tiny Monstrous Spider to explode in a shower of goo.

    The next attempt leaves the group underwater…the burbling gnome redeems himself with a very accurate retry (and another positive chaos roll celebrates with some underwater fireworks!), leaving the damp heroes nearly on the doorstep of their intended tower.

    Yenril coughs up water with a dry “Exciting already!” Trying to determine what water they were in, Roman licks his arm to see if it was salty (“No salt, just fish poop”) and The Old Man finds a gasping crappie (a freshwater fish) in his collar.

    Old Man: “Too bad my summoned Water Elementals don’t last very long, or I’d keep him in a walking fishbowl. Guess I’ll go ahead and kill it with my…demonbane knife?”
    Roman: “You can use my Morningstar if you’d like!”
    Old Man: “That seems less humane…”

    (after the session I show everyone this: )

    The tower is a glossy black like the others, with a corner in the front leading to each half reflecting a slightly different shade. Paranoid after the warnings of Oskur and Dinuu, the door is checked for traps before anyone steps inside…and their fears seem justified by what they see beyond. Half a dozen skeletons lay in repose next to triggered pressure plates, tripwires, detection crystals, scorch marks, arrows, blade slots, and more. All but one of the traps seem to be triggered, and a natural 3 disarm attempt leads to a narrowly-ducked discharge of poisoned darts. Good first impression there!

    The hallway curves counter-clockwise around the tower, with no slope. A very solid door lies halfway through; no keyholes or handles are found, and a large rune doesn’t seem to have any magical properties of its own (skillchecks suggest it’s either code or a signature of some sort)…can it only be opened from the other side? Is a password needed? Further down the hall, a matching rune is found on a lever. After some speculation, they Split The Party(!), with Yenril and The Old Man staying at the lever while Roman, Ricallen, and Aria stand at the door. The rogue carefully pulls…and the door opens! And the skeletons stand up, trap triggers reset, and the ceiling starts to descend. Oh goody.

    Ricallen sings a cheerful song as several skeletons charge toward each group. Disturbingly, they don’t seem entirely mindless, as they avoid traps on the way in, only to intentionally trip some once some heroes are in the blast radius. Most saves are made, but one skeleton hisses “Join usss!” as Yenril’s natural 1 leads to a shriveling curse on his trap-disarming-arm. Ouch…

    Aria puts her Swift Hunter feat to work, Skirmishing several Favored Enemy skeletons into dust and knocking a rib out of another. Yenril manages a pitiful stab, while The Old Man’s solid defenses shrug off three skeletal swipes as he swoops in to carry the Rogue to the door; they estimate the ceiling will reach the ground in less than a minute! Unfortunately, Aria rolls yet another single-digit number for the poor NPC, and he picks up a negative level during the trip.

    The rest of the skeletons fall to a Scorching Ray (which gives yet another positive chaos roll and heals the rogue!) and Aria’s bow. Everyone makes it through the door with time to spare, and it closes behind them. From the sound of it, the ceiling didn’t make it all the way to the ground (which they suspected, given that the skeletons weren’t pancakes when they arrived). Roman’s Chaos streak is now so positive that not even a natural 2 is bad at this point, and he Dispels Yenril’s negative level, uses his Runic Silks for the second time ever, and also Break Enchanments his cursed arm. A grateful Yenril offers the gnome free drinks next time they’re at the Good Mead!

    The stairs ascend clockwise halfway around the tower, and they and the door are untrapped. The next room is a straight hallway with a gauntlet of spinning blades slicing through the corridor like a giant stone salami.

    Ricallen’s head recalls a fragment of Dinuu’s “gift”, and that plus his bardic talents give him a good sense of the rhythm of the blades. He drums along, granting a hefty bonus to Reflex saves to anyone willing to brave the bladed tunnel.

    …Which apparently is just him, as all of the Small and Medium heroes group up for a Dimension Door. So long, Tall Man! See ya on the other si-…uh…

    They arrive in a dark, round, vertical room, with a faint glow allowing them to read the “Nice try!” message and smiley face on the wall. The Old Man chugs a Darkvision potion from his belt, allowing him to see the ceiling is about 60 feet above…and more blades start slicing from the walls, from the top down. He can’t hear the Bard’s drums anymore, and his own rhythm leaves him bleeding as the blades reach his height.

    Aria launches a volley of glowing arrows at the ceiling, with all but one getting chopped along the way. She then nimbly weaves herself and her gnomish passenger between the blades with a high Reflex roll. She also attempts to explain their mission to the Twins, but there is no answer.
    Yenril’s uncursed arm successfully wedges a torch into the lowest blade slot, leaving them with one less thing to dodge. Aria then rolls yet another natural 1 for his Reflex save…with the same die Aria herself has been using. I don’t even.

    Roman considers teleporting again, considers simply lying his tiny body on the floor where the blades can’t reach, and eventually opts for a Mass Fire Shield to protect against flame traps (such as one seen on the first floor) as well as freeze any blades that hit the group. One immediately does, and crystalized blood shatters as it re-enters the wall.

    After a few seconds of terror, the group is poofed back to the laughing bard. “How was your shortcut?”

    After some vigor wanding, more skillchecks and reflex saves are rolled. The bard literally dances across the hall unscathed. Aria’s somersaults are less musical but just as painless. A battered Yenril dearly wishes someone other than Aria would roll for him as she continues to spend all of her luck on herself. The Old Man fares better, with one very close call saved by a combination of the drum bonus, and Aria CASTING A SPELL to boost his reflexes with Cat’s Grace.

    The door and stairs are once again untrapped, and the rogue is once again vigor-wanded back up. He really misses his tavern at this point.

    Past the stairs is another hallway. Along the ceiling, the air shimmers; is it from heat, or from some form of gas? Aria and Yenril’s keen eyes both notice the slight crease of a massive pressure plate in the center of the room; but that will have to be dealt with next time.

    Aria and The Old Man both ding 14 from these challenges, with Roman and The Tall Man close behind at 13, and poor Yenril at 10. Will he die one day before retirement?

    Chapter 63 "Paranoia"

    After some cautious inspection from the doorway, the room is entered. The floor, walls, and ceiling seem featureless beyond the enormous pressure plate and the gas along the ceiling, but Ricallen’s Dinuu-boosted Bardic Knowledge suggests that there has to be at least one more trap.

    Aria (and her passenger!) step up for a closer look at the plate…fail a Will save against the illusionary floor covering the pit, and a Natural 1 Reflex from the normally nimble archer leaves her punctured by disease-ridden spikes at the bottom, which she finally passes a save against infection. The gnome bailed out and managed to barely grab the edge, and manages another save once Aria’s impact triggers a lid sliding over the pit.

    The spectators piece together what happened (with some muffled shouts from the now-porous Aria); Yenril thinks he can probably jam the lid to prevent it from closing again, should they find a way to open it, but when closed it seems too solid even for a crowbar-wielding Tall Man.

    Roman got a split-second look at the spikeroom (and his saddle is well-studied), and decides to risk a Dimension Door. He passes a caster level check, briefly sees a smiley-face lava room, then arrives on Aria’s back! The return trip also goes smoothly.

    The rest of the floor is inspected with arrows, and a similar illusion pit is found on the other side of the pressure plate; they also launch an arrow at the opposite wall to test for “Kaizo Traps” above the pressure plate, aka invisible walls to stop them midjump. Excellent thought! But that part seems safe. Since the first pit is still closed, The Old Man triggers the second one with 80 pounds of Earth Elemental (which immediately drops to -7 from the spikes, but it’s enough to close the lid; The Old Man feels some remorse about dooming the poor pile of dirt).

    Now that the 30-foot “do not walk” section is a mere 10 feet, jump checks are made. The Tall Man’s player is worried about being tall enough to brush the ceiling gas while jumping, but he spends a wand charge to boost his dive across…and a single digit roll leaves him on the other side with less than an inch between his giant boot and the pressure plate. He stays prone to catch his breath while his nimble companions leap the plate (and for several, the plate AND the bard), then carefully rises to his feet.

    The door is safe; Ricallen hates to leave without somehow triggering the plate from the door, but no one wants to take that risk. They leave it behind, FOREVER NOT KNOWING WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED MWUHAHA! The stairs and door seem clean, and the next room is entered.
    Also, somewhere around here Aria discovers that the Dragon Shaman’s Senses Aura affects Spot, Listen, and Initiative, but NOT Search…the DM jokingly suggests that after three floors with an unwarranted +3 she should be penalized with -6 for the next, and the player agrees!

    It’s a big square, with two chests. Many search checks are rolled…and there’s not a trap to be found. Ricallen scores a great Bardic Knowledge roll, which gives him the impression the room was designed “to make them paranoid.” This immediately makes them MORE paranoid…but they do open the chests.

    One holds 100 gold coins. They are smooth, lacking any markings to denote their mintage, and don’t seem to be covered in poison or curses or anything.

    The other holds a gem (Appraised as a 25gp Onyx), a scroll of shield (also 25gp) and a 50gp Potion of Cure Light Wounds (although Spellcraft suggests it’s somehow better than a normal potion…?).

    So, 200 gp of loot on the 4th floor of a tower that’s been painful to a level 13 party, in a room to make them paranoid. Um…

    More than 20 minutes are spent in real life debating what to do. Is the Shield scroll a hint that the next room will launch a thousand Magic Missiles at them? If they take the coins, will a hundred skeletons appear later? Is there a door with a keyhole that matches the onyx? Aria already shouted that they were here to fix the sky, not loot, so maybe they should take the “keys” and leave 200gp in their place? Eventually the majority vote to leave everything in the boxes, and Roman’s attempt to Sleight Of Hand is Spotted and deflected. “We can always come back for them if we need them later.”

    The Old Man also has a great line about wanting to “right this wrong as soon as possible” by piling a few dozen -6 penalties on a 1-foot jump check in this apparently untrapped room XD I do waive the penalty soonafter, and I don’t think the +3 or -6 ever swung a roll either way.
    The heroes continue out the door and up the stairs, with no new loot…until they almost gain a dart in Aria’s foot as she triggers a trap on the stairs, which she Reflexes. They contemplate re-triggering the trap to loot the darts (maybe hold a Bag of Holding over it? But that would risk puncture) but with a much shorter debate, it too is left behind.

    The next room is very dark. Ricallen has the bright idea (*rimshot*) of using the Daylight scroll from the Blue Tower, and a caster level check is rolled to pit one tower’s magic against another. His first roll slides off the table after teasing them with a glimpse at a 19…and the followup 4 is not enough to do more than turn a few feet of black floor into grey floor. Oh, and the door starts slooowly creaking shut, so everyone enters. The door slams, the lights come on, aaand
    There’s a door on the other side, dozens of holes along the edge of the ceiling and six…haystacks?...near the walls. Initiative…?

    The explorers shuffle forward, and notice that there are 6 handles on the door; mayhaps there are six keys in the haystacks? Oh and some nasty-looking smoke starts leaking through the holes, so apparently it’s a race. Well then!

    The group splits up and searches. Yenril thinks he might be able to pick some of the locks, but some are trickier than others and time is an issue. Aria finds a key that glows yellow, and once in her hand one of the keyholes on the door lights up with a matching glow. Handy! She quickly delivers the key and starts on another stack, although The Old Man posits that there might be two keys in one stack and none in another…[I expected Ricallen to shout “STOP GIVING THE DM IDEAS” at this one lol].

    Roman stays at the door to “alley-oop” keys tossed to him by his long-legged keen-eyed companions. Ricallen’s Knowledge check helps him beeline to the Blue key, and good rolls find him the Green key soonafter. [he suggested using Prestidigitation to re-color the hay so the keys wouldn’t blend in as well, which I thought was an awesome idea; but sadly the cantrip could only affect a fraction of the man-sized stacks per round. He also suggested just swatting a pile with his drumstick while listening for the “clink” of the key (which I actually *had* accounted for when designing the room, along with Roman’s suggestion of burning it) but the others say it probably would still be slower than Searching].

    The Old Man has another plan that surprises me, and uses his Profession: Farmer skill ranks for the first time since Mudhole! His 22 result shows him it’s a fresh-smelling grass-and-weed mix like you’d see on many a real farm, somehow preserved in this ancient tower. It also gives a huge bonus to his Search checks…which he proceeds to roll natural 2’s and 3’s on, leaving his finger an inch away from the Purple key by the time Aria reaches his stack and “killsteals” the key >_<

    The smoke has continued to pour into the room, though, and while The Old Man had considered Ricallen’s “scatter the hay and listen for the key” plan using an Air Elemental, having a friendly whirlwind seems perfect for keeping the fumes away from their lungs. A Large windy servant is called, who swoops around the haystacks that still need searching, buying them precious time before the smoke can surround them.

    Aria grabs the last key, and the elemental swooshes a clean path for her to sprint to the door, whose handles swing open. They rush into the clean stairway air beyond, as the door closes behind them. The swoosh of smoke continues…”So, about that ‘go back for the chests later’ plan…”

    Yenril spots another suspicious stair, which is stepped over. The next door also has some kind of teleportation effect on it. Yenril starts to work with his disarming tools…and is poofed away instantly. The remaining heroes take a deep breath and follow suit.

    They reappear randomly distributed in a small, square room, with a VERY LARGE two-headed four-armed multi-metalled golem creaking to life in the center. Around the edge are eight head-sized crystals mounted on pillars, which faintly hum with power. Initiative!

    The Old Man is up first, but he’s not sure he wants to waste his long-recharging Breath Weapon on a golem that hasn’t proven to be hostile (or real! #illusions) yet, so he elects to use his Tactician’s Visage to Aid Another against the giant metal fists, should they start swinging at his friends.

    Next, two of the crystals send bolts of electricity into the golem, passing through The Old Man (who Teleports a few feet thanks to Raikiro!) and Aria (who ‘teleports’ with an Evasion reflex save of like 40) on the way. The golem seems to drink in the energy…The Old Man’s Arcana check isn’t sure what to make of this, as he’s fought a few golems in the past, but not any that were made of iron *and* gold *and* whatever other exotic colors are shining on this particular statue…

    Roman has no qualms about shooting first, and spends both of his daily Sudden Metamagic feats and a Chaos Gnome reroll on a staggering 234 damage Disintegrate! The Golem’s natural 2 fails to save, and his shiny body gains a shiny tunnel. Yenril looks down at his d4 knife and sighs.

    More crystals send lightning into the golem, and the Bard’s sense of rhythm (and Dinuu knowledge) help him learn the pattern, predicting which ones will light up next. He bolsters his allies with Courage and helps them position themselves out of zapping range.

    Aria is hesitant to use her bow, as one of her many many damage dice happens to come from a LIGHTNING weapon crystal. She could spend an action to pop it out first, but the cramped room features no safe places to snipe the golem once its fists come online (its initiative was THREE, putting him behind the Flawed archer) so she grits her teeth, fires a volley, and prays she isn’t making things worse. The golem does soak up the electricity, repairing 20 damage and gaining enough armor to barely deflect her final shot (which actually rolled higher than her first, which hit!) but he also takes more than 60 Force damage in the process.

    Juiced up from crystals and arrows, half of his giant metal fists swing at the Disintigrating Gnome; while he does less than 234 damage, the gnome will not survive a third punch. Luckily, the arms are spaced around the golem’s body in a way that prevents all of them from reaching the tiny mage, and poor Yenril loses half his health to the third and The Old Man’s impressive armor is barely surpassed by the fourth (which would have missed without the boost from Aria’s lightning, ouch) but his grey-haired body is hale enough to eat several more blows if needed.

    The Old Man busts out a fully Metabreath’d blast, with an extra d6 from reaching 14th level, and frosty air howls through the now-icy tunnel. The golem is coming apart, but still standing, and soaking up lightning. The Old Man also roars a 37 Intimidate, hoping to draw the attention of at least one of the heads away from Roman.

    The Bard has been grinning with this idea for a full round, and he finally puts his plan into action: his mighty voice fills the room with a Sculpt Sound spell, turning the powerful hum of the crystals into a hopefully crystal-shattering frequency! Three of the crystals resist the effect, but the other five are ready to sing their swan song…

    Two crystals start to light up, but one immediately shatters from the Bard’s symphonic sabotage, leaving the Golem less energized than the previous round! Yenril turns his butterknife away from the 15 foot statue and tries stabbing a non-Barded crystal. His damage roll is pitiful…until a flash of insight causes him to twist his knife, Disabling the Device by popping the gem out of its pillar. Two down!

    Roman fires a less-metamagic’d Disintegrate, but a natural 19 from the golem reduces this one to a mere 5d6 (even without the extra saves from Aria’s bow). Aria Tumbles her way over to scoop her passenger into his usual spot, then manages to Balance on one of the crystals, barely out of Golem punch range (assuming he doesn’t take a step away from The Old Man!)

    Thankfully, the roar seems to have done the trick, and two metal fists slam into the metal-covered Dragon Shaman. The third once again bashes Yenril, who is now in single digits…and the fourth fist never swings! With the lightning flow dwindling, so is the golem’s combat ability.

    The Old Man has survived several hefty blows, but with hit points (and gametime) nearly spent, he engulfs his arm in flames, empowering a mighty strike from Raikiro. The powerful blade does unfortunately sends another jolt of Electricity into the golem…but any benefit it received is overcome by the massive number of Physical, Cold, Acid, and Fire dice. The golem sparks, freezes, thaws, and crumbles into a pile of shiny shrapnel. One of the Sculpted crystals shatters into a celebratory fireworks display. Victory!

    Two masks, both half-smiling and half-frowning like a spliced pair of ancient Theatre masks, appear in swirls of smoke. It seems the Twins have shown themselves…what plans do they have for the heroes?
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

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

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: [Campaign Log] - Kyrpra Forest 3.5 ("The Hydra Sermon" and other tales)

    Work's been crazy, hopefully I can make sense of these notes! Got a potentially huge session tonight that I'd like to get everyone caught up for.

    Chapter 64 “Doubling Down”


    The heroes exchange a few words with the twins. Ricallen’s natural 1 still leads to a 34 Diplomacy check (#justbardthings) but Aria’s player does most of the talking. The Twins seem more concerned with being entertained by people struggling with their puzzling tower, rather than the world falling apart outside. Aria points out that with the forest getting worse, the only people who could reach the tower in the future would be powerful enough to “beat all the traps without thinking.” This prompts an icy “then we will MAKE them think!” from the Twins. Ricallen chuckles at someone else “tanking” the conversation for him.

    The Twins seem less friendly than Oskur even before this faux pas, as their comment after seeing the substitute gem is that “now we know what to loot from your corpse if you fail the final challenge!” They claim it will be the toughest yet (and wish that more people got this far as it’s also their favorite!) and in the interest of making it more exciting, offer everyone the opportunity to purchase the benefits of a full night’s rest beforehand. The cost? “One thousand of your coins, or ONE of ours.” Roman immediately shouts “I TOLD YOU!” to the people who held him back from the chests.

    Vigor wands have recovered a lot of hit points, and while a few daily spells/potions have been used by the others, Roman has spent multiple 5th and 6th level spells, plus his Chaos Gnome reroll, Silks scroll, and Signet dream…

    Roman: “Well, even if no one else wants to chip in, I’m willing to spend the thousand.”
    Ricallen: “I don’t think you’ll need it, you should keep the money.”
    *DM writes something down*
    The Old Man: “He’s recording that quote for the campaign log after everyone DIES!”

    After some debate (Ricallen does have a good point that it would be fitting for the final challenge to be a puzzle that won’t need high-level magic to solve), Roman ponies up the full 1000 and has a refreshing 1-second snooze to refill his arcane artillery. He also spends about 10 minutes choosing a new Signet spell (figuring his Leomund’s shelter likely won’t be useful in the final challenge) and finally settles on Superior Resistance.

    The heroes are warned that after they are sent to the final room, they will have one minute to prepare before the challenge starts. While they have more questions, they will have a chance to talk more with the Twins when and if they survive, so they accept the teleport, and find themselves…in a 180 foot long, 20 foot wide hallway, of the usual featureless obsidian. Unusually, one entire wall is an enormous mirror, and Ricallen’s moderate Bardic Knowledge only says that “there’s a reason this one’s a mirror.” Various other skill checks are rolled, and some buffs are sprinkled around from wands and such.

    Roman has a few interesting things happen during this minute of uncertainty. While he does contribute a few buffs…he completely forgets his freshly-purchased Superior Resistance until later. Of the ones he does remember, one of his Chaos rolls “zaps the nearest enemy and changes their color”, and for a split second, his REFLECTION turns green…Ricallen real-life Bardic Knowledge takes over and he readies his club to smack his reflection when/if it steps out of the mirror and attacks. Finally, Roman saves a Mass Fire Shield for his final buff, and Negative-rolls his first Fiendish Bluejay! It has time to squawk out one quick insult before Aria one-shots it. The minute is up…the mirror fades, and in the now 60-foot wide room, the party sees:

    A Tiny Goblin Ranger, riding on a Huge Giant Cleric, next to a young hatless Dragon Shaman, a Tiny Halfling Bard, and a frozen skeletal foot, along with a summoned snake, Mephit, and Fiendish Rhino. Call them evil opposites, alternate universe versions, or Linear Guild; whatever they are, they seem hostile and initiative is rolled!

    [In the actual session their names were the *players* names backward, ie if Roman was played by Brandon then opposite-Roman was named “Nodnarb”; but for the forums I will use the character names instead.]

    The Old Man wins initiative, and swoops over to start working on the Mephit…and crits it to death on the first swing. Woohoo!
    nellaciR takes advantage of the clustered heroes to “rock the joint” with a Slow spell, but only Yenril fails his save. The oft-abused NPC’s sigh is more drawn-out than usual.

    airA is up next (Improved Initiative!), and CASTS A SPELL…which is spellcrafted as Quickened True Strike. 5th level wizard spell, when Aria has 2nd level Ranger spells, what?!? He chuckles “nice bow!” as he aims his…thorn-covered bow…oh crap.

    The “evil vampiric bow” spends two flowers (and six blood) to add Bloodrose and Cloudthistle to his arrow, resulting in an attack roll of SIXTY against Aria, Roman, Roman’s Mirror Images, Ricallen, and Yenril, dealing 3 or 4 Con damage to each. OH CRAP. He sends two more non-flowered arrows at Aria to salt the wound, and his snake Charges the Old Man but thankfully the venomous fangs natural-one on thin air.

    Aria’s a rather dangerous archer herself, and she Rapid Shots the enemy Bard to death in a single round! [the DM sighs at his list of unused song lyric puns]

    namdlO roars “Hey, nobody beats up the halfling but me!” and launches a devastating charge with his Greatsword, dropping Aria to negatives! The conscious martial fighters note that he left himself wide open to counterattack with his maneuver.

    Yenril sees that his gnome buddy’s mount is down, and plods over to assist.

    Ricallen drums up an Inspire Heroics to restore consciousness to Aria, as well as boost himself and Roman.

    Meanwhile, The Old Man feels a flaming hammer slam into his spine…guess they found Yenril’s evil opposite, who remains Invisible.
    Roman straddles his prone mount and considers targets carefully, and is convinced by the others to aim for the Cleric before he can do anything nasty. The Gnome concentrates through the mount-downing sword in his face, and prepares to launch his Golem-slaying double-metamagic’d Disintegrate at the evil giant…but the giant’s passenger Spellcrafts his plan, and spends a Quickvine flower to send an arrow at the gnome mid-cast! Can he manage a 34 Concentration?

    *rolls* nope!
    CHAOS GNOME REROLL! *rolls* nope!
    CHAOS DIE REROLL! *rolls* YEP!
    Attack roll! *rolls* Yep!
    Saving throw! *rolls* …yep.
    That was a heck of a lot of dice and dailies spent on less than 40 damage, but it’s a start.

    The still-mostly-integrated Cleric shifts his position a bit and throws a Rapid Summoned Fiendish Deinonichus at the gnome (which whiffs on three of its attacks) while the Rhino charges Ricallen with murderous eyes…and deals over 50 damage to the Con-Damaged bard, who only stays conscious thanks to his Heroics. The lofty drummer Bluffs his own death, and while the Fiendish rhino is a bit smarter than its terrestrial cousins, it seems to buy it.

    The Old Man carefully adjusts his position to Breathe on the summoned Snake and dinosaur, the first of which is shattered by the Clinging damage; he considered trying to include his invisible assailant in the AOE, but opts for the evil Dragon Shaman instead. He also toggles one of his auras to healing, and boosts it with the Tactician’s Visage, to assist his teammates.

    airA sends a few non-True Striked arrows at the snakeslaying Old Man, but his 40 AC deflects most of them.

    Aria has regained consciousness from her Bardic buddy (whose song is now keeping *both* of their eyes open), and Tumbles to her feet away from the evil Dragon Shaman while launching a Power Multishot at her attacker, who is far more vulnerable to arrows than his heroic counterpart; combined with the frost damage from the Old Man’s breath and the Gnome’s fire shield, he drops before getting a second swing. She also uses her Quickened Protection from Evil on herself to try to avoid falling a second time.

    Yenril finally arrives, and is able to use his knife on something with organs for a change! He drops the unconscious foe well below -10 before the Cleric can do anything.

    Ricallen may have fooled the Cleric’s Rhino, but plays it safe with a Greater Invis.

    lirneY lands another flaming hammer sneak attack on the Old Man.

    Roman agonizes over throwing fire at the Cleric, lightning at the cleric AND goblin, or a dispel at the rhino. He opts for the Dispel...which leaves the Rhino still in this plane of existence, but Haste-less.

    The singed giant goes with the burny plan, in the form of a Flame Strike…but the Evasive ranger and protective Fire Shield drastically reduce the damage. He recognized the Protection spell, and has his rhino charge Roman instead Aria…and scores another 50+ damage. This thing is doing more damage than the double-metamagic’d Disintegrate every turn! The Dinosaur fares worse and manages to die to Fire Shield damage…

    The Old Man sees the holes opening in his comrades and spends a turn closing as many as he can; thanks to his Draconic blessing and empowered aura, he restores ALL of the Con damage and a pile of hit points as well.

    airA also has a holey…unholy teammate, and POINTS HIS BOW at his mount…? The Courtlily flower from his bow is spent along with another Quickened True Strike, fully restoring the Cleric's health. The players are a little upset to see their work undone, but also amused at the Cleric being healed by the Ranger instead of the other way around!

    Aria looks up the anti-summon rules of Protection From Evil, and after a careful step, demolishes the rhino. With a leftover arrow, she also manages to Disarm the enemy archer!

    The still-slowed but less bleeding Yenril starts shuffling toward where his invisible counterpart last swung his hammer.
    Ricallen attempts to Dominate the evil archer, but the save is passed.

    lirneY continues swinging his hammer, but poor rolls do little beyond giving away his position.

    Roman sends a spell at the invisible attacker…but a stray Chaos roll allows a random enemy to teleport. The dice grant airA the privilege, who gleefully re-appears with his hands around his fallen bow!

    The cleric is riderless and summonless; he tosses an area dispel at a cluster of heroes, but poor rolls leave them still pretty dang sparkly afterward. He also shifts his position to allow the goblin to remount if desired.

    The Old Man has been bruised by the hammer, but has been bulked up by the fire damage, slain the snake, teleported, and Intimidated the enemy Ranger enough to continue drawing arrows away from his squisher allies.

    Aria Disarms the Giant’s massive (although unused) spear, and sends a few at lirneY. She hears a thump!

    Yenril shuffles over and buries his dagger in yet another fallen villain…although this time, his target was already dead. Hard to tell while invisible, so better to confirm than risk him standing up later.

    Ricallen is foiled by another Will save.

    Roman attacks the Goblin’s health pool instead, with some success…

    Until he is foiled by the Cleric’s Heal spell, arg!

    With only the Giant and Goblin remaining, and the Giant lacking his pointy stick, he feels safe to charge in.

    airA is out of True Strikes and flowers, and low on teammates; his arrows aren’t able to accomplish much alone.

    Aria, meanwhile, continues Power Shotting massive chunks out of her opposing duo.

    Yenril shuffles toward the remaining foes, and Ricallen continues to bounce off of will saves >_<

    Roman tries a Fort save instead, and a pitiful roll from the Ranger reduces him to a mouse!

    The Cleric tries and fails to dispel this effect, and is felled by a flurry of swords and arrows before he can get a second attempt.

    It’s late enough that the conversation with the Twins is saved for the next session. I do give them a preview of the loot, however, which includes a magical mirror that can duplicate items! Up to a certain, secret value. That’s something fun to think about for the next week!

    (Alternative title: Opposites Attacked!)

    More info on the final challenge:


    Each nemesis was 1 level lower than their counterpart, and all had significantly less WBL, spent on a smattering of stat boosts and basic enhancements, with a few exceptions…

    Aria -> “airA”
    Lawful Good -> Chaotic Evil
    Half-elf, favored enemy goblins -> Goblin, favored enemy Elves and Humans
    Avoids evil vampiric bow -> happily wields the entirely neutral Thorncaster bow and even upgrades it
    Unreactive flaw -> Improved Initiative feat
    “I shoot my bow at it” -> Mystic Ranger (trades animal companion and some combat feats for extra spells slots) with Sword of the Arcane Order feat (which allows Ranger spell slots to be filled with Wizard spells)
    (also considered TWF path, or heavy animal companion focus)

    Old Man -> “namdlO”
    Old guy with silly hat -> Teenager with no hat
    Neutral Good Silver totem -> Neutral Evil Red totem
    Tanky support with social skills -> 2-handed Shock Trooper jerk (the Shock Trooper feat lets you trade armor for damage, leading to his huge Aria-dropping charge but leaving him wide open)

    Roman -> “namoR”
    Small Gnome -> Huge Giant
    Chaotic Good atheist Sorceror -> Lawful Evil Cleric of Hextor
    Squishy spellcaster – Full Plate with Righteous Might package (the spear went entirely unused though, thanks to no one approaching him until he was Disarmed)
    Mix of buffs, debuffs, nukes – Ditto, but like Flamestrike instead of Fireball and Summons instead of Disintegrate, heals etc

    Ricallen -> “nellaciR”
    Large with Belt of Expansion -> Small Halfling with Reduce Person
    Drums (“Ric Allen”) with Drumstick melee weapon -> Guitar (Halfling-ized Ozzy), melee weapon “Axe”
    No heals or summons -> heals and summons

    Yenril -> “lirneY”
    Chaotic Neutral Half-Elf -> Lawful Neutral Half-Orc
    Skill-heavy build with a dagger -> Dumb-muscle Thug with Greathorn Minotaur Hammer
    Often ignored by allies -> Buffed with Greater Invisibility, Bull’s Strength, Haste etc

    Morok -> “koroM”
    Charred skull -> Frozen foot

    Chapter 65: "Awake and Alive"

    Thezir’s player is between projects and returns! Then misses the next three sessions :X

    The heroes catch their breath in the Orange tower as the Twins re-appear. “Well done! Would have been a bit more suspenseful if at least *one* of you would have died first…but I suppose a perfect victory is exciting in its own way.”

    The chest appears with a very very obvious and easy to disarm joy-buzzer type trap…and inside is the mirror mentioned two weeks ago. So what did they decide to try duplicating?

    “Oh yeah…the mirror thing…”

    Heh, work’s been eating my life enough I don’t mind a slow night of item debating. Along with the mirror discussion, the replacement gem is placed and the twins claim it seems to be “focusing the leylines quite nicely” whatever that means…and Aria has learned enough from the rest of the tower’s tricks to search the *inside* of the chest as well, finding several thousand gold worth of diamonds in a false bottom that could easily have gone unnoticed. Score!
    After a long discussion, the mirror is used to duplicate the following:

    Roman’s Chaos Die ioun stone that he entered the game with, giving him the potential for up to FIVE rerolls per day, though primarily increasing his average to three.

    The Old Man’s hourglass from their very first Green tower, which converts a Standard action to a Full Round once per day. This should set up some nice Skirmishes for Aria!

    The Old Man’s alchemy belt “Alkor’s Apperatus” looted from the goblin bomb-makers in Aria’s cave. Interestingly, he’s sunk 20,000 gold worth of Strength and Con bonuses into the thing, but the partially-emptied mirror spits out a copy with only 8k worth. Aria deduces that the mirror has less than 12k remaining from this clue! Ricallen takes the new belt and The Old Man’s experiences save him some trial and error with his new toy.

    And lastly, Ricallen’s by-the-book Ring of Resistance +2 uses up the last couple thousand, going to the Old Man to replace his Cloak +1.

    The Twins are chatted with a tad more, but aren’t super helpful. Ricallen makes a few skill rolls, but elects to leave before the super-powerful guardian spirits get annoyed and/or bored. The door opens to reveal the forest…and he Reflexively stops his foot in time to realize that they’re on the 7th floor and the ground might not be as close as it looks. The twins chuckle at this one last illusion and offer to sell a rope to climb down, for the same price as Roman’s purchased recharge; but The Old Man’s Feather Fall is a free alternative, and the amused Twins bid their goodbyes.

    Some uneventful teleports get everyone back to town, where they meet the no-longer-sleeping Thezir! Despite having been left snoozing in Aria’s town hundreds of miles to the south, he woke up in Belania…? A story for another time, mayhaps. They fill him in on their adventures, and drop Yenril off at The Good Mead…not long after he left. Six-second rounds take quite a bit longer in real life! He’s grateful for his share of the treasure, which is easily enough to purchase the tavern (and the rest of the block!) but he’s happy to retire to a low-profile place in the kitchen, stabbing steaks instead of electrified golems.

    Roman grabs some free booze, but they spend the night at their usual Red Stallion…and the Old Man finds something interesting in his room in the morning. Seems Snickle, or someone who works for him, refunded their investigation fee with a note to “Stay away from Z!” Oookay then…
    While the Mirror was the exciting part, there’s still some gems that need converted into other items and upgrades, and the night ends after some MIC flipping. Thezir *finally* fills one of his Morphos crystal slots, and The Old Man tries desperately to convince at least one of the casters to pick up some disposable summons to soak hits in the upcoming “brute force” Red tower. We’ll see what they decide!
    Last edited by turbo164; 2016-05-12 at 03:10 PM.
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

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