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    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

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

    Chapter 66: "Old Habits Die Hard"

    The shopping is wrapped up with a few more wands and potions (Ricallen’s new belt not only doubles the number of free potions the group gets each day, but boosts any that he uses personally!), and the summon debate is resolved by having Roman use his Signet slot for one next time he sleeps.

    The snowglobe has been reliable for the last few towers, but has a bit of a hiccup this morning, unable to get a solid coordinate until after the first teleport. Ricallen theorizes it’s just more Kyrpra interference. Speaking of which, one of the teleports has Roman come face-to-tentacle with…something…for a split second, but they arrive a few hours walk from their destination. They kinda want to sleep before they actually start the next tower anyway, so a hike it is!

    *Kyrpra random encounter chart rolled for first time in quite a while*

    Some smoke is seen from a cave up ahead, with a large Iguana-ish lizard dozing out front. The Tall Man strides up and introduces himself, and two small voices cautiously respond…they haven’t heard of him before (nor do they have daughters with his poster on the wall), yes they’ve seen the tower, but they couldn’t open it, please leave us alone. He offers a gold piece in thanks, but they decline.

    While he tromps off, Aria picks up some Invisibility for a closer look…and sees two nervous, crossbow-weilding GOBLINS peering nervously past their stew pot at the departing giant. She passes a Will save to not murder them on sight, and reports her findings to the others. They harass the poor creatures a bit more (and the guard-lizard is similarly freaked out), then follow the bard.

    “Okay, what the heck did we miss there?”
    “Eh, not much. The goblins were level 2, only had a few mundane items. The pot was full of Gnome stew, though.”
    “You roleplayed well, showed some character growth, nothing you saw suggested they were evil. Giving you extra xp for that.”

    With the tower in sight, a Leomund’s hut is set up (and a negative Chaos roll has a hemlock pie sail over the gnome’s head). Aria uses her bedroll for a quick afternoon nap, then stays watch all night in case of Goblins or something evil-er, but aside from a random clap of thunder the night is uneventful.

    The tower is wide, with horn-like spires around the top, and a very heavy door handle that the beefy Bard budges with a bodacious 25 Strength check (with a +1 bonus from his trusty crowbar). “Heh, puny goblins.”

    Inside is a wide, hexagonal room. A shimmering semicircle loops around the entryway, and opposite them standing in rubble is a large stone golem who hales them with a deep friendly voice. He won’t begin the challenge until they cross the line or take hostile action, so they chat a bit. Ricallen makes a mild faux pas by namedropping Dinuu when he meant Oskur, but the golem doesn’t seem bothered. He says their quest seems noble, and hopes they have the might to overcome the challenges to complete it. When they apologize for the smashing they hope to bestow upon him, he says the tower can reform him for the next group, no hard feelings.

    A rather hilarious combat follows. The Hulking golem Hurls massive slabs of stone at the group, with Aria Evading the worst of it. He seems to be quite resistant to small attacks, and his punches would likely hurt a lot…so they Glitterdust and Grease him while spamming ranged attacks. His blindness leads to 8 missed rocks by the time the “noble” heroes shatter him for good. Ricallen apologizes for the unmighty tactics.

    The group picks up a nice ruby from the golem’s remains, and the session ends.

    [The players were rather surprised at how well that worked, and felt bad about not following their usual game plan, but hey, battlefield control is a valid strategy, especially when you line up anti-brute-force spells with a rock-tossing golem that doesn’t have much of a plan B ^_^ ]

    Chapter 67: "Hunka Hunka Burnin Love"

    Unlike the stairs or teleporters of previous towers, beyond the door is a ladder leading to the next floor. The Old Man spasms at the memory of Duke the wolf out-laddering him so long ago, but this time he can fly. The stone “porch” in front of the door barely has the room for The Tall Man though, and as he’s the best at opening the heavy latch, The Old Man hovers in the air and Aria waits on the ladder. A second 25 in a row is able to open the door first try…

    And 8 Sneak Attack arrows sprout from his chest, courtesy of the 16 skeletal archers in the room. Initiative!

    The Old Man swoops over the Tall Man’s head (narrowly missing the door) and Aria slides under his legs with a boost from her Wind locket. Elemental slingstones and force arrows pepper the skeletons, some of which fire some more shots at the still-flat-footed Bard while others spend their turns casting True Strike?! Also, from their movement they also seem to be setting up Skirmish attacks as well.

    Roman unleashes two Chain Lightnings on his early turns, which dust two skeletons outright and leave seven others at 4 health or less :O

    The Old Man’s Fire Elemental is able to finish one off, then soften up another with 2 punches before his master flies over with a killsteal :P

    When Ricallen finally gets a turn (at under 40 hp), he heals up and takes cover behind the door. Once he’s healthy enough to be brave again, he attempts to rip the door off of its magical hinges; while a great “brute force” strategy for this tower, his die roll does not match his gusto.

    The archers continue landing Skirmish shots, but are unable to threaten anyone too badly after their initial Sneak Attack volley, and are cleared out. They leave behind silver knucklebones with a minor enchantment that grants a one-time boost of 1d6 damage added to an attack…while that can sometimes mean life or death, the group thinks that converting them to cash would be more beneficial.
    In the aftermath, Aria notices her once-a-day amulet has a second charge remaining, and The Old Man gets a few extra healing points from his potion belt. Ricallen theorizes that the tower is rewarding their bravery?

    There’s another ladder and door. Ricallen’s a little nervous after the last one, and breaks his streak of 25’s with a much lower number. Aria’s nearly as strong (Mighty bow!) and takes a crack at it, and has a similar failure…as does the Old Man…perhaps the Gnome…?

    Apparently in an older edition, Strength checks worked like Knowledge checks where you couldn’t retry; once I clarify that in 3.5 you can “readjust your stance” or whatever, Ricallen takes another shot with some Aid Anothers, and finally moves the latch. As he does, flaming lines appear on the door…forming a tally mark for each of the group’s five failures. Uh…

    Ricallen: “The room just got five times harder didn’t it?”
    DM: “Not by that much, but yeah. Wasn’t expecting you guys to succeed on the other two first try, thought you’d learn to try Bull’s Strength and such by now lol.”

    Ricallen opens the door and uses it as cover from the very start this time, though instead of arrows it’s a wave of heat that rushes out. Inside is a HUGE fire elemental with bull-like horns. Aria was readying a bow shot for when the door opened, but the five failed clanks gave the elemental enough warning to negate any surprise value from the archer. Initiative!

    Aria Skirmishes in with a volley of arrows…and each hit triggers a retaliatory firebolt in return. *Spellcraft* it’s sorta like a Fireshield that works on ranged as well? The Fireshield does reduce some of the Dragon Shaman’s frost breath that would otherwise be super painful to such a creature, and Roman is quick to throw similar protection on his friends. Ricallen uses Knowledge to remember that Fire Elementals typically only speak Ignan, so forgoing his usual diplomacy he elects to sing some buffs. The elemental unloads a pile of fire spells; Aria Evades the worst of it, but the spells are also lighting patches of ground on fire!

    Oh, and the entire room is hot enough to do fire damage every round. Looks to be a race then! [Aria’s player mentioned Patchwerk from WoW lol]

    The Old Man slings a Water Elemental, which fails to extinguish the ground and promptly eats an Empowered Fireball and Quickened Burning Hands. As a silver lining to the cloud of steam, his death puddle *does* pass a dispel check on one of the flaming floor tiles. Roman starts summoning an elemental of his own, using his “brute force meat shield” spell slot he chose earlier. Ricallen does notice that the elemental is using Verbal components in some of his spells, and tries to Sculpt Sound to disrupt the abracadabras; but is stymied by another Will Save, having also tried a Wand of Unluck earlier, blarg!

    The room continues to heat up, with the damage increasing each round. [DM Note: the 5 tally marks gave the room a 5 round head start on the “heating up” chart.]

    The Old Man’s Raikiro has had its strength bonus maxed by the huge amounts of fire splashing everywhere, and he bravely uses his sword. Aria continues to pass Reflex saves, but Scorching Rays and Orbs of Fire have breached her touch AC a few times as she tumbles and skirmishes out of ground fires. Roman’s summon appears, successfully drenching one floor section as well as swinging two boiling fists. Roman debates on his followup, and after looking up some rules tries for a Baleful Polymorph, which is saved against.

    Roman’s also had a few interesting chaos rolls over the course of the night. His positive streak is broken by a natural 1, but a positive roll from earlier negates anything else bad that could have happened. Another Positive roll granted an automatic Confirm to the next Crit threat the party makes, which The Old Man triggers with Raikiro…on a crit-immune elemental. I allow the auto-confirm to upgrade the can’t-confirm to might-confirm, and Raikiro comes through with a beautiful roll. The elemental explodes, and the survivors are relieved to feel the temperature drop.

    A chest appears! Oh, this was the last floor? They meant to try Snake-Eyes before they finished, haha! They place the gem, receiving a flaming thumbs-up from the elemental’s remains. In the chest (which has no false bottom this time!) is 15,000 gold worth of high-quality enchanting materials for item upgrades, and a (roll) unknown Ioun stone. Ricallen thinks it’s something caster related, and uses it for a playful Lullaby on the gnome; Roman saves, but the stone seemed to maybe enhance the range of the spell? The Bard hands it to the spell-slinging (awake) gnome, who tries a Prestidigitation: Glow, and similarly finds the range increased. Neato!

    It’s getting late, so the “victory cutscene” is reduced to “Grats on beating all 6 towers, everyone gain a Stat point.” So, what’s next? We’ll find out!

    Chapter 68: "Backlog"

    With all 6 towers equipped with replacement gems (and the real Yellow one as a bonus!), the heroes are somewhat disappointed to see the sky still cracked, but they teleport to Pelko’s hill for discussion. (The gnome’s rolls light himself on fire slightly, as well as his mount, before the Dragon Shaman promptly extinguishes both with Frost Breath). Pelko’s ever-so-slightly less grumpy, says they did a good job and that the sky shouldn’t get any worse with the gems re-stabilizing things. Things are stronger around the yellow tower, so any more real gems would be great, but in the meantime if they happen to find any books or research on planar theory that might help him come up with an actual spell to try to repair things further.

    Aria: “How can we contact you if we find something?”
    Pelko: “Eh, you can keep the globe I guess. Just say my name to get my attention.”
    Aria: “…can you see and hear us through the globe even if we don’t say your name?”
    Pelko: “I can see the whole dang forest, what makes you think you can hide from me?”
    Aria: *gulp*

    When asked if there’s anything else they can do beyond finding gems and books, he does mention that some non-conjured food might be a nice change, and Aria is able to Survival a nice group of fresh rabbits for him, which he appreciates. The group also ask if since he can see so much of the forest, could he do something about the escaped Digos? “Eh, he’s small time.” Okay then…

    So what now? The “crossroads” list from session 32 is reread, along with a few new things like the books, Digos, Morok’s ashes, Gort’s adventures in Dwarfland… Tealport was mentioned a few times, so they group heads there, possibly to also grab a boat to their dragon contact overseas.

    First on the agenda is the Temple of Elhanna, where their phoenix wood was burned by a flaming dog of some sort. The trail’s gone a bit cold (*rimshot*) but they do manage to find an acolyte on duty that night. He was tending flowers when he heard and saw the flaming dog bounding through the temple, and he quickly got as many people with buckets as he could. Some of the neighbors remember seeing the flaming trail as they carried buckets, which went down an alley by Maurine’s house.

    Maurine turns out to be a grouchy, hunched over elderly Halfling woman…who is absolutely smitten with The Tall Man’s rippling musician muscles. She invites him in for tea and shoos the others away. His Diplomacy and impromptu drum solo goes great, she promises to be on the front row of his next concert, and she tells him she saw the dog through one window and it seemed to disappear before she could look through the next window. Seems it didn’t escape on a wagon as previously theorized…this was likely a summoned creature, or teleporting demon.

    Some more Gather Info’ing occurs. Gunther is doing well at the temple, Captain Orca’s doing well with his tavern, business in town has been pretty good in general with the EL gone…buuut Beredinfalas, their wizard friend at the Raven’s Eye shop, has been missing. Captain Tyrus of the city guard is on duty, and tells them there had been signs of a struggle, but they didn’t really want to mess with the wizard’s shop too much so it’s just been boarded up with a sign for a while. With the party having been deputized by Sergeant Thesso previously (and Tyrus shared a drink with Gort during the dragon boat stakeout!), he’s content to send Guardsman Redshirt One and Guardsman Redshirt Two with them to open the shop while they look around.

    Inside are some spilled bottles, and claw marks on the counter…they don’t quite match the Manticore that could be loose from the EL’s shipment list, nor do they match any animals that come to mind, hmm. There’s a locked drawer in the counter that’s trapped with some kind of Enchantment; Roman’s attempt to dispel it triggers another poison pie chaos effect, and a manure pie sails over his head to splat against the wall next to the Redshirts (who promptly head outside to continue watching from there). As this happened during a missing persons investigation, it’s a case of “No S*** Sherlock!” ^_^

    Inside the drawer are some more magical supplies and a financial log. Flipping past lots of records of minor magical transactions, dozens of grimy pearls, pawned family heirlooms, a clean dwarf with a sewer-scented group of crazy adventurers with crazy gems, a visit from Jack…the most interesting part is the records ending at the date of Zorascus’s threat, which lines up with the sky splitting and Snickle’s arson in Belania. Seems there might have been a multi-pronged assault on all of the party’s friends…The Old Man suggests that next time they talk to Zorascus they should mention their “best friend Digos” to try to get that problem solved! XD

    The back room is still locked, and HEAVILY covered with defensive spells…every spell slot capable of Dispelling is spent, and half of the defenses still remain. This seems way stronger than anything their wizard friend displayed before…did Jack help build this door?
    The group heads to a nice sleep at the Red Sun inn, while the redshirts make their report.

    The next morning, Roman loads up Greater Dispel from his Signet, and an amused Tyrus says he doesn’t know much about that wizardy stuff, but he wants to come along personally this time, to see the magical pies and such; both redshirts have covered their faces with anti-pie masks and warily follow.

    Roman starts a flurry of dispels with moderate results, but a huge pile of negative Chaos rolls; before he’s done, his modifier is at negative five, his next attack roll is penalized twice, all of his dice are penalized, his penalized chaos roll LOOPS PAST ZERO to roll two more negatives…TWICE. No pies or explosions appear, but his arms are shaking by the time the last layer is peeled away, and Ricallen shoulders the demagicked door open.

    The back room is not full of mythical Cabbage Patch dolls or PS2’s…just a few more bottles, a Pearl of Power 3, a wizard spellbook, a shelf of random books of arcana, and one magical book which boosts the Bard’s Planar knowledge as he flips through it. This helps him confirm that the back room is a demiplane, like a big bag of holding, and combined with Detect Magic it looks like the only way in or out is the door. He tries to show Pelko the book through the snowglobe, but the magic has been sucked from the pages already today, and will need to refill tomorrow. “Uh, sorry to waste your time, we’ll show you again later.”

    Taking advantage of the other plane’s potential properties, the group sends a flurry of messages, using the dragon jar, Jack note, and draconic Sending amulet[Ricallen apparently met Isthmus (Bardic Knowledge!) in human form during his travels; he personally sends the Sending as a poem]. Tyrus has been watching and asks who they were talking to?

    Ricallen: *bluff of 43* “Our invisible spirit mother!”
    Tyrus: “…Ah. Did she throw the pie?”
    Ricallen: “She can be vengeful when we dooon’t obeeeey!”

    So, those defensive spells were worth waaay more than anything in this room. Was something big stolen? If the wizard left voluntarily, why would he leave his spellbook? Tyrus says nobody knows much of the wizard’s history, he just kinda showed up in town about 20 years ago (the redshirts shrug when pressed for a more accurate date, and Knowledge checks don’t reveal any major events in that timeframe), no family in the area. He paid all the taxes to build his shop, ran a good business, never turned any customers or competitors into toads, so the guards just kinda let him do his wizardy thing.

    The heroes are a little disappointed have so many unanswered questions, but they tell the captain he can update his report with the fact that the wizard was likely attacked by something with unnatural claws, and escaped or was kidnapped with something big from the back room. He claps them on the shoulder with a hearty thanks, and prepares to lock up the shops as they leave…but something draws Aria’s suspicion. She tries a Sense Motive, riiight as her keen eyes and The Old Man both notice that the captain of the city guard seems to have PICKPOCKETED THE DRAGON AMULET?!?

    They mosey to the door in front of Tyrus and silently signal Ricallen that something’s up. He boisterously offers to play the drums to thank the guards for their cooperation, attempting to Fascinate them with a Perform check of FORTY FRIGGIN SEVEN, which even Redshirt Number Two’s natural 16 is about 30 points short of Will Saving against, so both are slackjawed before the first drumbeat.

    Tyrus’s smile disappears, his hand drops to his sword, and he says “Maybe I know a bit more about magic than I let on. What are you trying to do here?”

    Vs a 47?!?

    Party: “We noticed you took the amulet…” (Roman: Oh, is that what happened?)
    Tyrus: *sigh* “Yeah kinda pressed my luck a bit too much there. Oh well. I suggest you leave town.”
    *party exchange glances* “We’ve heard that threat before, but no one ever seems to give a reason why.”
    Tyrus: “Well, I can’t speak for the others, but in this case, you’ve been known disturbers of the peace and destroyers of public property, and the Captain of the Guard can say that you robbed this shop. Your only other witnesses are currently drooling on themselves.”
    Ricallen: “I *suggest* that the Redshirts see the truth of their captain.”
    Redshirt 1: “Captain…says they’re guilty…”
    Redshirt 2: “But…why take…amulet…?”
    Old Man: “And I cast Detect Evil.”
    Tyrus: *sighs again* *glances at street for witnesses* *slits throats of both Redshirts in one stroke* “Good thing one of you has a sword that I can claim did this!”
    DM: “You detect no evil. Roll initiative.”

    Bum bum buuuum!

    So yeah, tonight should be interesting :) If anyone has any guesses on what's going on, feel free to post them here! (probably use spoiler tags in case the players read before tonight!)

    Edit: Session complete! Feel free to speculate with or without spoilers
    Last edited by turbo164; 2016-05-12 at 11:58 PM.
    Campaign Log (updated May 12, 2016)!

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