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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    Hello all! I am currently DMing probably the best D&D game I've ever played at the moment -- we started at level 1, just hit level 13, and best of all, aside from myself, it is everyone's first time playing D&D, and THEY LOVE IT -- In fact, we've all been having so much fun that we want to record this campaign for posterity (and also because going back through everything might help me remember any NPCs or sidequest ideas that I've forgotten).

    It's a 3.P (mix of 3.5 and Pathfinder) game taking place in Eberron. I will occasionally throw in some out of character DM commentary (like this). I'm an artist by trade and my players love having visual aids for monsters and stuff, so I'll be posting lots of pictures I've drawn for them along the way. Enough boring exposition, LET'S DO THIS!

    Spoiler: Jim, Duergar Barbarian
    Show



    Jim is a subterranean dwarf from the Mror Holds, where he grew up in the ruined city of Noldrunhold. Jim's clan lived by one creed -- take whatever you need from those who can't defend it. They would make raids on nearby villages and communities, pillaging their resources and killing anyone who dared fight back.

    Jim, however, was an emotional duergar, and he started feeling conflicted about these raids. While he was a capable warrior, he empathized with those his clan attacked. One day, as they were preparing to assault a halfling commune in the Talenta Plains, Jim decided enough was enough -- he broke off from his unit, ran into the village, and warned the halflings what was coming, saving dozens of lives. When his clan discovered what he had done, he was exiled, told never to return to their ancestral lands in the Mror Holds on pain of death.

    With nowhere else to turn, Jim allied himself with one of the halflings he saved on that fateful day. Together, they journeyed forth into the dungeons of Khorvaire and became adventurers, and during their travels, Jim discovered a passion for something he had never learned in his homelands -- dance.

    Jim loves dancing, and despite his gruff demeanor and abnormal appearance, he has spent countless hours learning the dance moves of the people he has met in his travels. It is also important to note that Jim is extremely stupid and his player takes great pleasure in roleplaying him as such.

    Jim's quest is to amass a collection of weapons and armor the likes of which have never been seen before -- and to find a way to earn admittance to his ancestral home.


    Spoiler: Jeau, Halfling Artificer
    Show


    Jeau (pronounced "Joe") is a halfling from the Talenta Plains. He was part of a nomadic clan for much of his life, and sought to find his place in life. He always had a lust for learning and knowledge, but the trivial information that filled his brain could do very little to help his family on the Plains.

    One day, however, his life changed. While wandering the Plains by himself, he found a crevasse that had opened in the earth, and saw a strange light glowing in the darkness below. He started carefully descending into this hole in the earth, hungry to discover what this object could be, but he lost his grip and fell...

    ...when he awoke, he found he was mostly okay -- however, he landed directly on some strange crystal, which had impaled his hand! The crystal was radiating a faint light, and try as he might, he could find no way to remove it.

    He returned home to rest and recuperate, and after a few days, he found his crystal reacting to objects he touched -- swords became sharper, holes in shields would mend back together, and clothes would shimmer with strange patterns of energy. Over time, he learned to control this gift and used these powers of artifice to finally contribute.

    Mere weeks after he found the crystal, an ash-skinned dwarf rushed into his village in the middle of the night, shouting about a coming attack. No one believed him, and some of his clanmates were preparing to attack, when Jeau used his mastery over language and diplomacy to convince them to stand down and listen to this strange man. Luckily, Jeau made the right choice, as dozens of these gray dwarves rushed into the village shortly thereafter, dressed for war.

    Jeau and this duergar crossed paths again shortly thereafter, and decided to become an adventuring team -- the dwarf serving as the brawn to Jeau's brain.

    Jeau quests for knowledge and purpose -- he wants to learn everything he can about this big, beautiful world, and he wants to find a way to help the people around him.


    Spoiler: Session 1 - Too Good to Be True
    Show
    Jim and Jeau have been traveling together for some time, and have traveled far from their humble beginnings in the Talenta Plains. Their quest for gold and knowledge has taken them to the monster nation of Droamm, where many ancient tombs wait patiently to be plundered (I chose Droamm for the start because I wanted the beginning to be very combat focused and light on character dialogue, since my players weren't sure if they would be "into that" -- spoiler alert, they eventually get SUPER INTO IT). Asking around the city of Graywall, they have learned that an earthquake recently revealed the entrance to a long forgotten dungeon known as The Demon's Door. An adventuring party entered the tomb recently, but have not been heard from since. Jim and Jeau buy a map to the location from a pair of Gnoll brothers known as Lyger and Tybor -- they gave them the information in exchange for a share of whatever treasure the group finds.

    Jeau and Jim head to the location shown on the map, where they find a pile of boulders in the side of a rocky crag -- near the top of this pile is a hole, just big enough to squeeze through that supposedly leads to the Demon's Door. Before they can get their spelunk on, however, they hear a snarl, and are attacked by a small pack of hungry wolves (this was their first real D&D combat, so I wanted it to be something very simple -- a couple wolves, an open battlefield, the option to head straight back to town if they royally f*** up). Jeau places some bane magic into his crossbow (yeah, he figured out how to artificer pretty quickly) and Jim lets out a battle cry and rushes in -- the two cut the wolves down very easily. Cue Final Fantasy victory music -- doo doo doo dooo dooo doo, doodoodoooooo.

    They drop down into the Demon's Door, and find themselves in an entryway, with a dais holding three statues -- their features have been eroded away with time, but they can pick out that one has backwards hands, one has demonic horns, and the other has cloven hooves and a tail. There is some chalk writing on the wall that reads "Olarune 25, 998 YK" -- the date the other adventurers disappeared. Heading deeper into the dungeon, they find a nexus that appears to have been the missing adventurers' campsite, in which they find a few torches.

    Tunnels go off in three different directions -- the path straight ahead of them has strange vines growing all over the entrance, the path to their right glows with a faint green light, and the path to their left features a prominent bloodstain, as if a body has been dragged off that direction (they could go any direction, but I wanted to show the left passage as being especially dangerous, in hopes that they would save that one for last). They immediately decide to head left and follow the bloodstain (f***).

    They first find what appears to be a wine cellar, the floor littered with broken glass. Jim, thinking it is rock candy, eats a piece and spends the rest of the night complaining about how much his mouth hurts (at least they're roleplaying their characters correctly, I tell myself). They find an ancient bottle of strange liquid, which they keep. A couple of small demonic creatures with thin limbs and gaping mouths attack them in the darkness, using their mobility to their advantage, but Jim is light on his feet and manages to hack them apart without injuring himself (further) on the glass.

    Next, they discover a room filled with several dead bodies that appear to have belonged to the lost adventuring party. The only survivor is a hobgoblin with a bat on his shoulder, covered in blood and muttering something to himself about "the Truth". They immediately enter into combat, Jim rushing into melee and Jeau hanging back at range, but they are able to dispatch the warrior (at one point, the hobgoblin drank a healing potion, and the two of them were blown away that bad guys in D&D can heal themselves). Midway through the fight, the bat flies off, and neither of them sees any significance in this. On an altar in the room, they find what looks like the tip of a large black horn from some demonic creature and a strip of tanned, tattooed skin, both of which they spirit away with.

    Once back in the nexus, they then head off for the glowing chamber. Inside, they find a library, and are immediately attacked by a group of animated books. Jim has never learned how to read, so books have always been scary to him, and he flies into a rage and tears them apart (Jim would develop a severe dislike of books and libraries after this fight, that still persists to this very day). In the next room, they find a collection of wardrobes, most of which have been ransacked -- one of them, however, is closed shut and something is inside, trying hard to get out. They open it immediately (obviously), and are attacked by a raggamoffyn, a cloud of clothing that starts trying to wrap itself around Jim. Luckily, Jeau is able to tear the creature off his friend and they quickly wreck it with their weapons.

    As they continue down the hall, they smell burnt flesh and find a large stone room with a ball of living fire inside, rolling around and scorching the walls. It takes some work and leaves some pretty serious burns on Jim, but they two of them are finally able to prevail -- after the fight, they find an obsidian statue, still clutched by the badly burned hand of one of the goblins from the first adventuring group.

    Lastly, they traverse the vine-covered hallway -- these vines cover much of the walls and the air is thick with yellow spores that make it hard to see more than 15-20ft. They happen upon an armory, where they find several yellow-skinned orcs with vines growing out of their flesh, who stumble at them mindlessly. After a quick fight, they keep moving and find several more rooms, some containing zombies while one held a treasure chest filled with ancient stone coins and gems. In the last room, a large yellow-flowered plant grows out of a crack in the wall, surrounded by more of these weird orc-plant-zombies -- Jim rushes into combat right away, but gets wrecked by the zombies and their plant master, dropping to the ground unconscious and bleeding. As the plant starts creeping its vines into Jim's ears, Jeau takes aim with his crossbow and fires off a bolt that sinks deep into the core of the plant monster, causing it to shudder and go limp as he rushes over to heal his injured friend (Jim was at like, -7hp at this point, and I was super scared -- to this day, he still talks about how "he died" on their first adventure).

    Once they are healed up, they make their way back to the exit, where they find that strange bat from earlier sitting atop the statues. It begins speaking in a high-pitched voice, complaining that they "killed his toys before he could have any real fun with them" -- he morphs into a small, blue-skinned bat-winged monster that rushes them, but the two are ready for action and they defeat him handily (this was a quasit, who had been invisibly manipulating the adventuring party that came in before them). With the last threat taken care of, they climb back out to the surface world, ready to head back to town and sell their ill-gotten gains.

    On the way out, they discuss their agreement with the gnoll brothers and formulate a dastardly plan -- Jeau will lie to them and say that they only found the weird crystal bottle of liquid, which they will give to them in thanks for the information (this was a really good moment of roleplaying, with the two of them really getting into how they were going to f*** these guys out of a bunch of treasure).


    And that's where we ended the first session.

    Next time -- Gnolls! Money! A new party member!
    Last edited by DJroboninja; 2016-03-18 at 12:01 AM. Reason: Corrected thread title

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2014

    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    you sent a panty monster(raggamoffyn) after your players.

    article, "stupid monsters someone was paid to make up", its towards the bottom. warning, this guy swears a bit and uses some unpleasant word choices, but on the whole the article and its follow up are amusing if you can stomach that.(i can't vouch for any other articles, haven't read them)

    http://www.headinjurytheater.com/article73.htm

    kudos to you for you that. heres hoping a future installment finds them battling the dreaded DuckBunny

    those are your sketches? love that dwarf, especially with the little shrooms at his feet, for some reason that detail amuses me. having said the character has low intelligence, the 'blank stare at the ax' look he has is priceless.

    Good read, looking forward to more updates.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    Why did the quasit reveal itself and attack them? It could have hid away to manipulate mortals another day.

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

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    Feb 2013
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    Saint Paul, MN
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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by GorinichSerpant View Post
    Why did the quasit reveal itself and attack them? It could have hid away to manipulate mortals another day.
    Self-serving answer - He was filled with rage that his plans were ruined, and lashed out at them because he felt he had no other recourse - he had been trapped in this tomb for decades and was a little unhinged.

    Honest answer - I didn't have a lot of time to prep for this first session, I was pretty much just grabbing monsters and making them fight them, haha
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

    83% of DMs are good at math. If you're one of the 29% that isn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by wobner View Post
    those are your sketches? love that dwarf, especially with the little shrooms at his feet, for some reason that detail amuses me. having said the character has low intelligence, the 'blank stare at the ax' look he has is priceless.

    Good read, looking forward to more updates.
    Thank you so much, I appreciate the kind words. I am at work right now, but I'll check out the link you posted when I get home!

    EDIT: Alright, that was hilarious and also inspiring -- my players would adore fighting something as stupid as a duckbunny. In fact, they would probably try to adopt it and keep it as a pet.
    Last edited by DJroboninja; 2016-03-18 at 02:59 PM. Reason: I totes read that link
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

    83% of DMs are good at math. If you're one of the 29% that isn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    SESSION TWO -- THE MENAGERIE

    Alright, next episode, let's do this! I'm probably going to blast through these early adventures pretty quickly, mostly because the further away we get the more we will have forgotten, and we didn't start taking notes until adventure 3 or 4.

    The bulk of this session came from a tremendously fun adventure called "The Menagerie", from Dungeon #126 -- it was an adventure I had always wanted to run, and figured it would be another good excuse for the party to tangle with a bunch of crazy monsters (something that I knew would get them hooked). I had to adjust the location and some of the characters to make it fit, and dropped the level of the adventure down to match the party, but otherwise it's pretty straight off the page.

    Spoiler: Part One -- The Brothers Gnoll
    Show

    Immediately picking up where the previous session left off, Jeau and Jim reemerge from the darkness of the Demon's Door, the sun shining in Jim's eyes and making it hard for him to see straight. As they are preparing to head back into Graywall proper, they spot a pair of figures approaching on foot -- Lyger and Tybor, the gnoll brothers who first gave them the idea to explore this demonic tomb. Jim's eyesight may be restricted, but Jeau's halfling eyes are sharp, and he spots several weapons that the brothers have attempted to hide amongst their clothing and armor. The adventurers keep their weapons readied, and Jeau starts a conversation with the gnolls from a distance.

    "Oy! Job was a bust, those other guys must have ransacked the place and skipped town! All we found, was this bottle of really good looking wine -- we figured you two should have it!" (I knew they were starting to like this whole D&D thing as Jeau was rolling his Bluff check and the group of us fell completely silent...)

    "Eh, that sure be a shame, m'boys. We hoped ye'd find us sum'fin worthwhile." Only Lyger is talking; his brother appears to be a mute (gnolls in our campaign all speak with vaguely Irish accents -- none of us remember why). "We'll take that wine -- and we'll take yer gear too. Gotta recoup our losses, aye?"

    Jim and Jeau refuse, and a pitched battle begins -- Jim rushes in to engage Lyger in melee, while Tybor and Jeau exchange bolts and arrows from behind rocky outcroppings. As combat begins, the group spots a gray-skinned humanoid that drops from out of a nearby tree, roused from a deep slumber by the sounds of combat. In his hands, he carries a pair of curved daggers, and he wears a long hooded cloak that obscures his features. He rushes over and joins Jim and Jeau in the fight, slashing at the gnolls' weak points and catching them off guard -- together with this new ally, the brothers are dispatched and the adventurers live to fight another day.

    The only problem -- they have a bunch of strange, ancient loot to sell, and the only two people they knew in the city of Graywall are bleeding out at their feet. While thanking this warrior, they convince him to accompany them back to the city, agreeing to give him a cut of the treasure since he saved their asses. He introduces himself as...


    Spoiler: "Tim", Changeling Rogue/Ranger
    Show


    A changeling, hailing from parts unknown, "Tim" does not know where he comes from, or even if Tim is his real name. Two years ago, he awoke near the city of Great Crag in Droamm, with no memory of who he was or how he got there. With no money to his name and no friends in the city, he learned how to survive out in the wilderness beyond Great Crag, hunting for food and building shelters.

    Over time, he discovered latent talents he didn't know he had -- he was ambidextrous, and skilled with knives, and in combat situations he knew how to catch foes unawares and hit their vitals before they could properly react. After many weeks, he started making money by hunting the magical beasts of Droamm and scavenging them for parts, selling them to the highest bidder in Great Crag and Graywall.

    One day, while sleeping in a tree, Tim was awoken by the sounds of shouting and clashing blades -- he saw a pair of foreigners besieged by gnolls, and knew he had to help them. Once the foul creatures were dispatched, Tim offered his services to the adventurers in exchange for their profits -- having no place to call home, he was content to wander with them.

    Tim is questing to recover his lost memories, and to learn new and interesting ways to kill things.

    For those of you keeping track at home, we now have three party members -- two of them have names that start with the same letter, and two of them have names that rhyme. And guess what? IT GETS WORSE.


    Spoiler: Part Two -- Back to Graywall
    Show

    With their new friend in tow, the group marches back to the monstrous city of Graywall. The city is surrounded by the titular drab stone wall, and is divided into several quarters, all of which seem to be dominated by a different racial group -- there is the Foreign Quarter, Gnoll Hill, Orctown, and other such districts, all but the Foreign Quarter being very distrusting of outsiders.

    Over the next few days, the three of them go around to all the shopkeepers in the Foreign Quarter to get rid of the artifacts they found in the dungeon. Some things, like the gems, the obsidian statue, and the crystal bottle, are easy to pass off to interested collectors. However, try as they might, they cannot find anyone interested in buying the black horn or the strip of flesh they found on the altar -- in fact, several of the shopkeepers sternly ask them to leave as soon as they reveal these items.

    After many failures, they finally meet a goblin named One-Eyed Flegg, who excitedly tells them that he knows someone who is always interested in curiosities such as these. For an extremely reasonable bribe, he reveals that he has a friend named Wren, who lives across the border in Breland. She is a self-proclaimed demonologist, who has spent much of her life studying fiendish relics. "But how will we get to Breland? That's, like, a whole other country," Jeau wonders. Flegg requests another diminutive bribe, pockets his gold, and tells them he knows a local merchant who travels into Breland regularly on business. His name is Kromm, and he runs a shop in the Bazaar -- Flegg even gives them precise directions to his store.

    "That was easy," they all say in unison, whistling and skipping at their good fortune. But once they arrive at the location, they find a scene of chaos -- a goblin woman runs screaming, clutching her baby, an armored orc tells onlookers to get back, and a kobold darts between Tim's legs, turning over his shoulder to shout: "RUN AWAY! THE MONSTERS ARE LOOSE!" (The players are currently experiencing a mix between excitement and terror -- thus, I am doing my job correctly)

    They rush over to the door to the shop, labeled "Kromm's Kollektion", and are greeted by an annoyed human and a distraught ogre, who appears to be on the verge of tears. In between sniffles and snorts, the ogre, Ob'karr, explains the situation: "I were fishin' *sniff* down to the river *sniff* and I done caught a big white snake, like I never seed before. I *snort* I bringed it to Kromm to look at, and he tol' me ta put it in the back room, but *sob sob sob* there was a mighty ruckus, an' all his critters got out! IT'S ALL MY FAAAAULT!" he shouts, sobbing.

    The human introduces himself as Elgin, an employee of Kromm's, and he elaborates -- several creatures somehow got out of their cages after this snake was brought into the shop, and they are now running loose inside. Kromm was bitten by a cockatrice in the chaos, and turned to stone -- luckily, Kromm always keeps several jars of stone salve in his room upstairs. Thus, he offers these plucky adventurers a deal -- go inside the shop, capture BUT DO NOT KILL the merchandise, and unpetrify Kromm, and he will give them "some sort of reward, you can talk to Kromm about it once this is all taken care of."

    The party happily agrees and slinks inside the establishment. The place is a mess, with shelves tipped over and product spilled all over the floor. Behind the counter stands a statue of a surprised, portly orc. While looking around, Jim is attacked by a scaly chicken, that leaps out from one of the shelves, its pecks causing his skin to harden and his joints to lock up slightly. Not wanting to miss out on any gold, they start trying to whack the chicken with the blunt sides of their weapons, but their awkward swings don't connect. Jim then decides to pick the bird up and carry it to its cage, but it keeps wriggling free. Finally, sweet little Jeau has had enough, and he grabs the cockatrice, holds it over his head, and shouts "SOMEONE GET THE CAGE!" (Grapple check: natural 20!). They toss it into its little metal home -- one down.

    Creeping to the back room, they spot a large, orange bug, eating what appears to be the oxidized remnants of a wrought iron staircase. Jeau identifies it as a rust monster and Jim and Tim immediately panic. Jim rushes back to the sales floor and strips off all his armor and weapons, down to his skivvies, and lets out a battle cry to bring the bug into the open. The rust monster and a rocky floating squid (darkmantle) come at them, and Jim runs in, slashing and punching with his bare hands while Tim and Jeau throw things from a safe distance. Jim is able to knock the darkmantle unconscious, and wrangle the big bug back into his wooden cage. Three down...

    Grappling their way upstairs, they find Kromm's living room in shambles. As they are taking it all in, several objects in the room start moving of their own volition, as if alive -- a chair clambers toward them, a hat rack hops around, and the doors to the next area swing open and closed. As if that weren't bad enough, a blue blur appears from the shadows of the room, rushing towards Jim to bite him, but the barbarian's reflexes are too good, and he holds out his axe at just the right time, clotheslining the little blue lizard and instantly knocking it out (another natural 20, this time on an opportunity attack -- this shocker lizard was buffed up on like five potions and was supposed to be a serious threat, but instead he rocked him with a x3 crit and one-shotted him, sad trombone). While the lizard was down, they still had these living objects to deal with -- Jeau and Tim agree to take on the chair while Jim takes the hat rack. The chair goes down with little fight, but the hat rack is a serious foe -- try as he might, Jim cannot connect with his axe (Jim's luck ran out, and he couldn't roll higher than a 5 to save his life; this hat rack is still seen as one of the biggest threats they've ever faced, and some of the party still think that hat rack might be the BBEG of the campaign).

    Eventually, they get through the hat rack and the doors, and find Ob'karr's "white snake" -- a creature Jeau recognizes as a Ravid, a being which can animate unliving objects with false life. The ravid is trailed by an army of pencils, shoes, cufflinks, and other accoutrements, but Jeau is able to use a wand he discovered in the previous session to good effect, and they prevail over the monster.

    Once things have died down, they finally return Kromm to the flesh with Elgin's help:


    Kromm -- he's like Danny DeVito, but orcier

    Kromm agrees to take them to Breland for free, and even offers them some heavily discounted items from his shop -- Jim picks up some healing potions, Jeau gets a wand, and Tim gets one of his knives enchanted.


    This adventure was an absolute blast, and I would play it a dozen more times -- it's super simple to run and really exciting for the players because they have no idea what will lurk around the next corner. Jeau bought a wand of summon monster that, if I remember correctly he never, ever used? And I'm only about 18% sure that Jim got healing potions -- don't quote me on that.

    Anyway, another session down. Hope you guys are enjoying our dumb fun times.

    Next time -- Dragonmarks? Displacement? And ANOTHER PARTY MEMBER?
    Last edited by DJroboninja; 2016-03-18 at 07:25 PM. Reason: Made the numbers match or whatever you would call that
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

    83% of DMs are good at math. If you're one of the 29% that isn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Nov 2010
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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    I'm enjoying this. Keep it up!
    My Homebrew:
    WIP
    The Fortunar Base Class: A Fortuneteller wielding a minor Deck of Many Things. Mid T3.

    Completed Classes
    The Grandmaster : A master of animated stattuettes and tactical magic. High tier 3.
    The Hidden Word: An infiltrator with a wide range of abilities that works best in small teams. Tier 2-3
    Web-Spinner: A martial class based around using webs. Mid T3.
    The True Warrior: A swift mundane martial combat class that can dodge and slice their way to victory. Low Tier 3.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    Same, great adventures of not so great(perhaps yet?) adventurers.

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

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    Feb 2013
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    Post Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    SESSION THREE -- ON THE ROAD

    What's up guys? I missed you.

    So this session was a quick one -- we started a little late, leveled everyone up, and didn't have time for much gameplay. But it still happened, and it was still awesome. Also, remember last post, when I teased a new party member? Haha oops, that actually didn't happen this session.

    Spoiler: To Breland!
    Show

    All decked out with new gear and possessing some swanky new abilities, the party spends a few days in Graywall to throw some coin around and wait for Kromm to get things back in order at his shop. A day or so after dealing with Kromm's shop issues, Jeau awakens to a burning sensation on his right hand. To his confusion, his hand is covered in what looked like a scintillating tattoo of blue and purple colors! Examining it with his artificer abilities allows him to discover some sort of strange magic, coursing through the symbol. Jeau has finally developed a dragonmark, just like his uncle Jax did when Jeau was just a boy. Some experimentation and research allows Jeau to suss out the magic, which grants him the ability to patch up his friends' injuries in combat.


    After some well-deserved relaxation, Kromm contacts them and lets the party know that he is ready to move out. Meeting Kromm at the gates, the party is greeted by a large, covered caravan, loaded up with small cages, barrels of alchemical unguents, and locked chests loaded with magical goodies, being pulled by a pair of strong-looking horses. "Oh my god, awesome, what are the horses names?" they immediately ask. Kromm responds, "...what? The horses? Oh, ummmm, they are named... Jerry... aaaaaaand... Lewis." (this was the first thing these guys threw at me that I was in no way prepared for, and at the time, my improv skills hadn't been worked out in a while)

    Gathering up all their gear, they head out, and the trip is relatively uneventful for the first day or so. They stop to make camp in the woods one night, and Kromm asks each party member to tell him a story from their past (you wanna make me improvise stuff? WELL TWO CAN PLAY AT THAT GAME). While they stumble on their words a bit at first, Jim tells the story of learning a dance in some far off cantina, Jeau tells of the time Jim saved his tribe's life, and Tim explains that, honestly, he doesn't remember much.

    While telling stories, Tim hears movement amongst the trees surrounding the caravan -- Jeau and Tim stay with Kromm while Jim rushes over to protect the horses. Suddenly, they spot a pair of glowing yellow eyes, staring out from the darkness beyond their campfire, and a purple-furred cat, with six legs and whipping tentacles, steps into the clearing, preparing to attack.



    Tim recognizes the creature as a displacer beast, and he rushes in to flank it with Jim -- he's hunted these creatures before, and he knows their weaknesses.

    As the two warriors fight the magical beast, Jeau and Kromm are surprised by another that sneaks out of the shadows on the opposite side of the caravan. Jeau takes a couple of hits, but he and Kromm get away safely, and he is able to patch himself up with his new dragonmark -- Tim volunteers to stay with his current target while Jim charges into combat to protect his little friend. The fight is long and harrowing, as the creatures' natural mirage abilities made several of their attacks miss, but eventually the two creatures fall. Tim uses his survival skills to scavenge some teeth from the creatures for making a necklace, and they bury the bodies away from the wagon.

    Come morning, the group hops back in, and departs for the Brelish border...


    This session was quick, but fun, and taught the players how much miss chance can royally suck. Also, this was the session that finally convinced our fourth player to join us -- she had been hanging out and watching us play the past few weeks, and she started piping in with ideas: "Could you pick the cockatrice up and shove it in the cage?" "Could Tim use his Survival skill to cut off some trophies?" "Make sure you protect the horses, you'll be trapped if they get hurt!"

    Finally, the others said it: "You are already better at this game than us, we will all die if you don't join." And she agreed.

    NEXT TIME -- Breland! A recurring NPC! And I swear to the Sovereign Host, a new player ACTUALLY JOINS!
    Last edited by DJroboninja; 2016-03-20 at 09:53 PM. Reason: Ummm I totally forgot about the dragonmark event I alluded to last post
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

    83% of DMs are good at math. If you're one of the 29% that isn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Post Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    SESSION FOUR -- A WRETCHED HIVE OF SCUM AND VILLAINY

    Hey guys, how are things?

    ...

    Cool, cool. So anyway, the next session:

    Spoiler: Part One -- At the Brelish Border
    Show
    When we last left the party, they had just felled a couple of displacer beasts in a forested part of Droamm, and Jeau got to use his swanky new dragonmark ability for the first time.

    Fast forward a bit, the party has finally arrived at the Breland-Droamm border, which is staffed with a collection of Brelish soldiers. Apparently, there have been a lot of problems with Droammites entering Breland as part of the crime syndicate known as Daask, which is currently causing a lot of problems in the metropolis of Sharn. As such, Breland has been stepping up their border security, only allowing people through if they have proper papers (to make sure you are in the correct frame of mind for this segment, please picture four people making jokes about cheese and talking about the famed "Land of Brie").

    As they are pulling up to the checkpoint and Kromm is rifling through a stack of parchments to make sure he has everything they need, they spot a woman arguing with the guards. She has dark, tanned skin, and is dressed in a suit of worn leather armor. Her teeth are pointed, and she has spots of fuzz on her skin. At her side is a large Cyran wolfhound, looking back and forth between the guards and its master.

    As the party is pulling up, the woman looks at the group, motioning for some kind of help from the party. Tim uses his mastery of lying on the guards, saying "sorry for the confusion, this is our friend, and she was meeting us here before we head into Breland. As you can see here, my good buddy Kromm has all of the necessary papers, so we'll be out of your hair right away" (very high Bluff check). The guards say that usually they wouldn't allow something like this, but the party seems trustworthy, so they can head on through. "Get on up here, um, old friend!" As she and her giant hound clamber up into the wagon, they wait until they are out of earshot of the guards before introductions are made...


    Spoiler: Zeau, Shifter Druid // Pickle, Riding Dog Companion
    Show



    Born in the Eldeen Reaches, Zeau spent the first couple years of her life peacefully, in a commune in the middle of the forest. She and her family were descended from werebears, and here mother and father were large and brutish in appearance, but soft-hearted and caring. However, at an early age, her life as she knew it was taken away from her one dark night -- several men, dressed in silver armor and bearing the crest of the Church of the Silver Flame stormed into her village and cut down her family. She had heard of the infamous Purge, many decades earlier, but no one thought there were still zealots committed to the cause -- no one expected such an attack, not in a million years. Her memories of the night are fuzzy, and she cannot remember why she was spared -- the only thing she remembers about her attacker was his long silver hair, and a scar running from his eye to his jawline.

    An aging druid, named Zim Beau Bim, happened upon the carnage after hearing Zeau's cries -- without a second thought, he picked up the little cub and took him back to his home. There, he raised her for many years, teaching her the ways of The Gatekeepers, a sect of druids dedicated to fighting the aberrations and abominations that stalk the world. She learned ancient languages, primal magicks, and combat skills, but she was not content to stay in the forests maintaining the ancient seals and watching for dark threats. Zeau told her adoptive father that she needed to venture out on her own, and find the man who killed her family. Zim was saddened, but understood, and the young shifter set forth into the world.

    On her travels, she happened upon a large dog, an apparent stray from the lost nation of Cyre -- she fed the large dog, and took him as a companion, teaching him many tricks and naming him Pickle, a true warrior's name. Zeau and Pickle are on a quest of vengeance and protection, seeking to find the man who killed her family, while also scouring the earth for aberrations and snuffing them out in the name of the Gatekeepers.

    (Hey guys, in case you haven't been paying attention, we now have a full party of four people -- Jim, Jeau, Tim, and Zeau [who was raised by Zim Beau Bim]. In other words, two names that start with the same letter, two names that rhyme, and two OTHER names that rhyme. If the party had a nickel for every time I f***ed up one of their names, they would have... like... seventeen nickels?)


    Spoiler: Part Two -- Cottage in the Woods
    Show

    With their new friends in tow, the party crosses from Droamm to Breland -- the rocky crags and cracked plains give way to sprawling fields and lush forests, and after a few days of quiet caravan transit, they happen upon the village of Shavalant, a small town near Wren's Cottage. Kromm drops them off and gives each of them a powerful hug, asking them to look him up if they ever find themselves back in Graywall. He rides off as the sun is setting, and the party makes a quick shopping trip, buying what few scrolls and artificer tools they can in the little community before setting off for Wren.

    Just as it is getting dark, they venture out from Shavalant and head into a small thicket of trees, which (according to a map they got from Flegg) is where Wren lives. They see her little stone cottage in the center of the thicket, and they can even see the warm glow of lanterns inside. However, as they are approaching, Tim's keen eyes spot something -- the door is slightly ajar, and the porch is marred with several muddy boot prints, apparently from a group of men. As they get a little closer, they see that these boot prints cover the porch, but they stop abruptly at the entrance, with some of the prints half cleaned; part of a boot print outside the door while the other half appears to have been washed away.

    They hear something moving in what appears to be a small study, so they draw weapons and stealth closer. As they reach the door to the study, they see a small gray creature that appears to be made of fired clay, flitting about on small bat wings, organizing a collection of books that must number in the hundreds. Not seeing him as a threat, they step into the room and sheathe their weapons.

    The small creature turns excitedly, but as soon as he sees the party, his expression changes to one of sorrow. "Oh, Ms. Wren is not here at the moment. She has gone with the dirty men with her books. She told Paracelsus to stay in the cottage, and she still has not come home. Paracelsus is worried." The party deduces that this little thing is Paracelsus, so they ask him where Wren went. "To the Pit. The dirty men needed her help. Dirty men were rude. Ms. Wren is still gone, but she is not dead. Paracelsus cannot be if Ms. Wren is dead."

    Everyone is a bit confused, but Tim figures out that "The Pit" must refer to the community of Black Pit, to the north, a town of war criminals, smugglers, and murderers, with a thriving black market. They promise Paracelsus that they will get Wren back and, after purchasing some horses from inside Shavalant, ride off toward Black Pit...


    Spoiler: Part Three -- There's a Hole in the World, like a Great Black Pit...
    Show

    After a few days' ride, the adventurers ride into Black Pit. A great crack in the earth is belching toxic, purple fumes into the sky as a low rumble echoes forth from the darkness below. At the edge of this hole sits a tiny, decrepit village -- while supposedly part of Breland, this community is more or less lawless, so the party enters carefully, keeping an eye over their shoulder.

    The adventurers separate from each other to try and find information on Wren -- Jim goes to the local tavern and dances while Jeau asks the collected bar patrons if they've seen the young demonologist; Tim sneak across the rooftops, listening in on clandestine conversations; and Zeau looks for tracks in the muddy alleys that might match the group that took her.

    After a couple hours of work, they meet back at the tavern and discuss their findings, deciding that she could only have been taken to one place -- the Blackcap Salvage Company, a disreputable business that sells plunder from battlefields, fences stolen items, and pushes whatever junk they can pull from the Pit. However, as they are approaching the building, they are attacked by Blackcap Salvage employees -- the fight is very short, with most of them getting cut down easily while one is kicked into the fumes of the Pit. Examining the bodies, Zeau is able to discover several recent wounds, all of which appear to have been dealt by a serrated blade. With this strange piece of news, they enter the Blackcap Salvage offices...


    Spoiler: Part Four -- Blackcap Salvage
    Show

    Entering into the building, they see a black market sales floor, and a door that has been chained shut and painted with an ominous message -- "DO NOT OPEN" (DM TIP -- want to make your party open something? Tell them not to!) Jeau picks the locks and they head in, where they find a beheaded body covered in flies (at this point, some of them are entertaining the idea of just heading back to Graywall and opening a bar or something). They find a quintet of breathing masks, which they all don, as well as an elixir of truth and a cloak of resistance, which Tim throws on. Next they happen upon a large warehouse, where they can hear wet, fleshy things moving among the boxes. They draw their weapons and enter, spotting a half dozen creatures that looks like blobs of flesh and organs slithering across the stone floor!



    Jeau recognizes them as lemures, the lowest type of devil, and the party is confused by the fact that some of their attacks don't seem to be doing anything to the monsters -- small weapons bounce off, while fire doesn't even singe them. They fight through and succeed, however, after a long fight. Next they find a garbage chute that leads to the floor below, from which a foul smell emanates. Jeau and Zeau do not want to risk jumping in, but Jim and Tim are game -- they wrap a rope around their waists and leap into the darkness, ready to signal the mages in case s**t goes down. While walking on the uneven ground, Jim walks into something... jiggly.



    A GELATINOUS CUBE! Tim and Jim start slashing at the ooze, hacking clumps off the corners, as they shout for some help from up above. Zeau starts firing bullets from her sling while Jeau tries to hit the cube with his wand of burning hands, and after Tim is nearly killed by the creature's acid, they finally manage to defeat it.

    Continuing through the basement, they encounter some more lemures in the kitchen, and find a creature storage chamber with an escaped manticore (I remember nothing of this fight, but it happened?), but finally, they find their way to a large storage room. Near a shattered cage in the center of the room stands a cloven-hoofed monster with a beard of writhing tentacles and a serrated glaive in his hand...

    (I, um, can't find the drawing I made of him -- will add later?)

    A BARBAZU! As they enter, he speaks a throaty sentence in some dark language and summons forth a trio of lemures, and the creatures rush in and attack. The lemures are easy to defeat now that the party is used to fighting them, but the barbazu is a tough fight, raking his toothy blade across the party's flesh and leaving them all bloodied and wounded. Jim is finally able to fell the beast with his axe, decapitating it in a powerful, rage-filled blow.

    Opening the last locked door, they find a young half-elven woman with large, round glasses and a head of frizzy brown hair -- Wren. She is at first ready to fight them, but once they reveal that they are here to rescue her, she drops her guard and thanks them profusely. They raid the treasure room where she was being kept and find a few things: a magical shield for Jim, a couple of healing potions, and some valuable-looking gold jewelry. They return to their horses and ride off, back to Wren's cottage...


    Spoiler: Epilogue
    Show

    As the party is heading home from Black Pit, they piece together what happened -- the Blackcap Salvagers, while down in the Pit looking for things to sell, found the bearded devil. It killed several of them before it was knocked out, caged, and brought back upstairs. Having heard of Wren's knowledge of devils and demons, they dispatched a group of thugs to bring her back to the town and help them find a way to sell the monster. Once they returned, however, they found the building overrun with lemures, summoned by the captured devil, which had released him from the cage. Wren locked herself in the treasure room while the salvagers ran off, trying to trap the devils behind the metal doors of their basement, but several escaped and killed part of their group. Wren sat in that room for days, listening to the devil muttering in Infernal as it tried to escape, until the party finally killed the creature...


    Whoa, that was a long one -- we were on our game that session! Anyway, the gang is all here and Wren has been rescued, with everyone ready to finally find a place to sell those stupid demon parts they found back in Droamm.

    Next time: Another friend of a friend! Sharn! A FANCY PARTY!
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

    83% of DMs are good at math. If you're one of the 29% that isn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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

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    Post Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    SESSION FIVE -- THE TENTH ANNUAL WAYFINDER FOUNDATION CHARITY GALA, PART ONE

    And we're back. This was a really fun session, with very little combat involved -- the sort of thing I worried my players would be able to get into before the campaign started. Well haha, I was pretty damn wrong -- they loved it. This was another pretty long one, so let's jump right in:

    Spoiler: Part One -- From Shavalant to Sharn
    Show

    After the events in Black Pit, the party safely returns to Wren's Cottage, where they spend a few days helping her get things straightened up while she researches the demonic artifacts they found back in Droamm.

    In addition, during this time, Jeau and Wren begin bonding over their shared love of knowledge and magic, and Wren starts imparting some of her skill to Jeau, teaching him how to construct a homunculus, like she did with Paracelsus.

    After several days of relaxation, Wren finally has some information for them -- over a million years ago, during the Age of Demons, the fiendish offspring of Khyber ruled the world, until the dragons of Eberron, aided by the Draconic Prophecy, rose up against them. This great war lasted for millenia and tore across the planet, and the pieces they found belonged to a pair of famed demonic generals of this era: the horn belonged to a giant, whip-wielding monstrosity named "Arnadax the Lash", while the tattooed flesh was from a six-armed serpent woman known only as "The Red Queen" (this scene was important because it showed that these things were actually worth a lot of money, but also because it allowed me to drop in some Eberron history with context, instead of just doing an information dump at the beginning of the campaign). These items are extremely important pieces of Eberronian History, but Wren doesn't have the money to pay them anything close to what they are worth.

    However, she has a close personal friend who lives in Sharn named Gaius Anderfel -- he has earned a lot of money from financing adventuring expeditions as part of the Wayfinder Foundation, and he has a humongous collection of items with historical value, some from the Age of Demons, others from the lost Empire of Dhakaan, and some from the dark continent of Xen'drik (more natural exposition and information dropping!). She gives them his address in the Seventh Tower district and offers to buy them transport to the fabled metropolis, as thanks for saving her from those unscrupulous scavengers in Black Pit.

    After taking a little more time to prep some scrolls and potions and keep their equipment in working order, they set forth, taking a caravan to the village of Woodhelm, and then riding the Golden Butterfly ferry down the Dagger River. Several days into their relaxing voyage, they finally see it on the horizon -- Sharn, the City of Towers, jutting upwards like a collection of swords bursting forth from the earth itself, its towers stretching so high into the sky that the tops are not visible...


    Spoiler: Part Two -- Arrival in Sharn
    Show

    The ferry drops them at a tiny thorp known as First Tower, supposedly built around the first tower of Sharn from when it was still a Dhakaani city (give them a little information, bit by bit). From First Tower, they walk the worn path to Sharn, until they find an unbelievably long line of people, waiting at the gates of the city to gain entrance. The party gathers their identification papers and Tim gets rid of a couple minor contraband items as they prepare to stand in line for what feels like an eternity.

    Once they finally get close to the gates, they see a little green-skinned goblin being pulled out of the line, as a guard proffers a tiny vial of blue liquid from the man's bag. "You know what this is!?" he asks the goblin, who says "th-that isn't mine, I sw-sw-swear!" The guard shouts "do you know absentia is illegal in Sharn!?"

    (At this point, I ask Tim to make a Wisdom check, and he has no idea why...)

    Suddenly, Tim remembers something, a snapshot of his past, like a dream being viewed through a thick pane of glass. He is standing in a gorgeous room, surrounded by several people lounging on huge blue velvet pillows -- these people have glazed over eyes, and they look disconnected from reality. Another changeling looks at Tim, and says "we're calling it absentia -- it's going to revolutionize this city". And just as quickly as he left, he found himself back in the entrance line outside of Sharn... (so this is awesome -- Tim's player wanted to play a character with amnesia, but didn't want to know what he didn't remember, instead asking that I make up a history for him to discover -- certain words or phrases have a chance to recover memories if he succeeds on a Wisdom check) (seriously, how f***ing fun does that sound to any fellow DMs reading this?)

    The rest of the party asks him what happened, but Tim brushes it off, saying he's fine. Shortly thereafter, the party is allowed entry into the city, and as they pass through the gates, they are greeted by an amazing sight -- a city that soars miles into the sky, as bridges connect towers and magical lifts connect the upper wards with the lower ones. People of all races and nationalities brush shoulders around them -- just from their spot inside the gates, they can see a Karrnathi man arguing with a Thranish merchant, while a group of gnomes wander around taking notes on everything they see, and a large shifter woman slaps a hobgoblin man on the back and lets out an echoing laugh.

    They notice what looks like a small skiff with no sails, floating about half a foot of the ground. A half-orc man in a flat hat and wrapped in a thick scar holds a sign that says "MR. BORROWS". Deducing that he is supposed to be waiting for Jeau Burrows, they approach and introduce themselves. The half-orc tells them his name is Rayne, and he is a skycoach operator. His company received a request for transit for a halfling named Jeau Burrows and his group of comrades to the penthouse atop Tradewind Tower. The party is excited, and they all clamber inside as the coach miraculously lifts off into the sky, rising up above the tallest towers.

    Rayne figures the party to be new to Sharn and gives them a brief description of the various quarters of Sharn -- Northedge, Dura, Tavick's Landing, Skyway, and Central Plateau (wanted to help them visualize the city, and let them know some of the main things in each area, in case they needed to travel there -- Morgrave University is here, the Dragonmarked Houses are there, etc...). He drops them in Upper Menthis, at a tall, ivy-covered tower, with large bay windows and stone gargoyles built into the edge of the roof. According to Wren's notes, this should be Gaius' penthouse, so they knock on the door and await their new friend...

    Unfrotunately, they are greeted by a gruff Karrnathi man who announces himself as Viktor, and asks "Vhat business do you haf vith Mister Anderfel?" (I roleplay Karrnathi as having a Russian accent). The party explains and Viktor monotones that "Mister Anderfel vill be attending ze Wayfinder Foundation Charity Gala this evenink, and departs for the City of Stormreach immediately after. He vill be back in Sharn in two months, please come back then"; at this point, he starts closing the door between them, but Jeau shoves his foot in the doorway and tells the butler that they can't wait that long. Jeau asks if there is any way the party can gain entrance to this gala, to talk with Gaius before he leaves the country.

    Viktor sighs, and says "You vill need invitations, and they vill never allow you in dressed like... zat. I know of a few men who received invitations but will not be attendink -- if I give you their names, do you promise to leave?" The group feverishly nods in agreement, and Viktor writes a couple of names on a sheet of paper, asking them to please leave immediately...


    Spoiler: Part Three -- Getting Ready to Party
    Show

    The group leaves the penthouse and knows that they have only a few hours before the Charity Gala is set to begin. Tim has a wide collection of outfits in his backpack, so he and Pickle go to procure lodging for their weapons and gear for the night while the rest of the group ventures out to Davandi Tailoring, a clothing store in Upper Menthis that specialized in glamerweave formalwear. "You gotta spend money to make money," Jeau says, and the three of them purchase fancy court outfits for the event.

    Meeting back up with Tim, they head towards the first location Viktor gave them -- the Lucky Nines Casino in Lower Menthis. This part of town feels like a completely different city than the Upper Wards, as drunkards shout and sing, while changeling prostitutes and drug dealers try flaunting their wares to anyone willing to listen. On the way to the casino, a thin human man walks up to Tim and says "The owls are flying mighty low this time of year." (Wisdom check!) Instinctively, Tim responds "Yes, but ravens always fly high", and the man goes running (cue collective "what the f***" from everyone involved).

    Arriving at the casino, the party finds a man named Janus, who (according to Viktor) is also a member of this adventuring organization known as the Wayfinder Foundation. Introducing themselves, Janus explains that his wife is feeling ill, and he doesn't feel like going without her, so he has two invitations that he won't be using. However, when the party asks for them, he smiles and says "well these are very hard to come by, I don't think I could just give them away... that being said, I wouldn't be averse to putting them up as stakes for a game of Dragon's Bluff." The party agrees to his terms, and each kicks in a stack of gold to bet on the game as Tim sits down at the table.

    What follows is a long, drawn out game of skill, where Tim and Janus try to bluff bad hands, figure out each others tells, and catch the other player off guard, while the others do their best to distract Janus and keep him from focusing on the game (in game terms, this was a skill challenge ala 4th edition -- each hand, Tim and Janus rolled to see if they got a good hand or a bad hand, and Tim had to use skills like Profession (gambler), Bluff, Sense Motive, and Sleight of Hand, while the rest of the party had to use skills like Diplomacy, Knowledge (nature), and Knowledge (history) to talk Janus' ear off and tell him interesting stories -- this s**t was a blast). After many minutes of playing, Tim finally catches Janus with a crazy hand and wins the whole pot, invitations included! Janus laughs and slaps Tim on the shoulder, saying he can come visit him any time for a rematch (I use a contact system, where certain PCs can earn NPC allies that they can rely on for certain tasks, so for example, Janus at this point becomes a gossip contact for Tim).

    Leaving the Lucky Nines with two invitations, the party then hunts down the other Wayfinder -- a man known only as "Hot Irons". Viktor's note says he can be found at "The Burning Ring", but the party has no idea where that could be, so Jeau asks around and finds out that this Burning Ring is a constantly moving illegal fighting ring. Using their natural charisma, the party finds out that tonight's match is going on in a back alley elsewhere in Lower Menthis. Arriving at the alley, they discover a circle of fire, inside which they see a shifter claw a mohawked dwarf across the face, blood dripping from the wound as he collapses to the cobblestones at his feet. A halfling rushes over and patches up the wounds while a man in a ratty top hat declares the shifter the winner!

    The party asks for Hot Irons, and they are greeted by an eight-foot tall man who appears to be made out of metal and wood:



    "I'm him, who's askin'?" The party explains their predicament, and asks if they can have Mr. Irons' invitations, to which the warforged chuckles. "Yeah, I heard about that fancy little party. Not my scene." "So we can have them?" "Ha! People only get what they earn. You beat me in the Ring and you can have 'em. Deal?"

    The party nominates Jim to take him on, and the ringleader explains the rules to the group -- one weapon, no armor, no outside assistance. However, the party decides that they don't like the odds as they see them, so Tim and Jeau distract the ringleader and Hot Irons with some fake stupid rules questions while Zeau places a protection spell on Jim to shield him from fire (Burning Ring, Hot Irons, they put two and two together and figured out what was coming). Jim steps in with his axe, and notices that Hot Irons doesn't carry any weapons with him. Instead, he hits his fists together and there is a humming noise, as his fists become white hot. The two fight, Hot Irons punching and Jim slashing, but Zeau's abjuration holds strong and the dwarf is able to hit hard and knock him unconscious.

    Hot Irons regains consciousness and laughs, wrapping his arms around the dwarf and hugging him, saying that he has to come back again and give him another shot (Jim gains Hot Irons as a thug contact).


    Spoiler: Epilogue
    Show

    The party heads to the Solemn Soldier Inn, where Tim got rooms for everyone for the night. Everyone changes out of their dirty clothes and pockmarked armor, trading them for flowing robes and elegant jackets. Pickle, to his dismay, has to stay behind, along with everyone's weaponry. Just in time for the start of the party, the PCs hop into a skycoach to take them to the magical Skyway -- a floating island above the city that the Wayfinders have rented out for the gala...


    Super fun session, with only a bunch of roleplaying, a skill challenge, and a fight. This session's main effect was to ingratiate the players to Sharn and help them understand how the city works, along with giving them a couple of friends to start out with. Much of the campaign takes place in Sharn (spoiler alert), so I wanted to really give them a good mental image of the city and portray it in a way that would make it seem as exciting as it should be.

    NEXT TIME: Bear wrestling! A ticking clock! Blackout drinking!
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

    83% of DMs are good at math. If you're one of the 29% that isn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    Hi there! i must say this is a most entertaining and fun read! You have some talent in relaying the adventures, and I LOVED the drawings! I'm a long time Eberron fan myself,and I love your approach to introducing the party to the setting.

    I quite liked the "menagerie" adventure, which seemed like great fun, and the intro to Sharn. The City of Towers always seemed like a very complicated place to run, glad to hear how someone else is doing it. Can't wait to see them at the Gala! Will there be... dancing?

    I hope they get entangled with the Daask. That always seemed like a very intriguing gang, though very little is actually written about it. I always wanted to play" Seven stones" sometime in a game. Seemed like a hoot!

    As to "tips to amnesia"- If you're old enough to know the game "Planescape Torment", that is pretty much how it is handled there- You play an amnesiac, and various places, people, experiences can give you flashes to the past, just bits and pieces.

    In my intro game to Eberron one of my players also wished for his character to have Amnesia,and we did something similar, only I learned too late that the player opted for amnesia not so he could be surprised by background, but because he didn't feel like making a background...

    This sounds quite awesome, I will follow it. Keep the good work! Also, I started a project some time ago called "The campaign logs archive" (In my sig), I would love for your log to be included in it. Take a look, and if you're up for it, then write me an intro for your log, and I'll put it in.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    I've been following this journal for a while now, and let me say it's really well done, and a great way to introduce people new to the setting and RPGs in general... Well done! Well done also for your players, who are clearly the best kind, and really eager to cooperate in making a nice story.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Troll in the Playground
     
    RFLS's Avatar

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    This is really well done; I like the writing style and the artwork is fantastic. I'm excited to read more.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    I applaud you for your seamlessly placed setting exposition. It seams placed so naturally. I'm however disappointed that the druid isn't named Taeu for maximum name intertwinedness.
    Last edited by GorinichSerpant; 2016-03-25 at 11:03 AM.

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    I'm certainly glad to finally find an campaign journal like this.
    Thank you for putting this up there, Keep the stories coming! Congratulations, You have fans.

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    I just want to say that you're a great DM! Keep the stories coming!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Hi there! i must say this is a most entertaining and fun read! You have some talent in relaying the adventures, and I LOVED the drawings! I'm a long time Eberron fan myself,and I love your approach to introducing the party to the setting.
    Thanks so much! It's nice to see that people other than us are actually reading this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    As to "tips to amnesia"- If you're old enough to know the game "Planescape Torment", that is pretty much how it is handled there- You play an amnesiac, and various places, people, experiences can give you flashes to the past, just bits and pieces.
    Ummmm, yeah, that game was actually a big influence on his storyline! When he said "I want to have amnesia", that was immediately where my mind went -- good eye, man!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    This sounds quite awesome, I will follow it. Keep the good work! Also, I started a project some time ago called "The campaign logs archive" (In my sig), I would love for your log to be included in it. Take a look, and if you're up for it, then write me an intro for your log, and I'll put it in.
    That's very funny, I actually used your post to check out some other logs for inspiration, and to make sure I was doing things right -- as such, I would be honored. I'll come up with a little something and PM you?
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    I just want to say that you're a great DM! Keep the stories coming!
    Quote Originally Posted by IntelectPaladin View Post
    I'm certainly glad to finally find an campaign journal like this.
    Thank you for putting this up there, Keep the stories coming! Congratulations, You have fans.
    Quote Originally Posted by GorinichSerpant View Post
    I applaud you for your seamlessly placed setting exposition. It seams placed so naturally. I'm however disappointed that the druid isn't named Taeu for maximum name intertwinedness.
    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    This is really well done; I like the writing style and the artwork is fantastic. I'm excited to read more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Don nadie View Post
    I've been following this journal for a while now, and let me say it's really well done, and a great way to introduce people new to the setting and RPGs in general... Well done! Well done also for your players, who are clearly the best kind, and really eager to cooperate in making a nice story.
    Thanks for all the kind words everyone, we all really appreciate it!

    Also Serpant, don't give the players ideas like that -- it's hard enough for me to keep track of who is who as it is!
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

    83% of DMs are good at math. If you're one of the 29% that isn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    SESSION SIX -- THE TENTH ANNUAL WAYFINDER CHARITY GALA, PART TWO

    Back again with our next thrilling episode of "To the Hilt!" ...I, uh, promise that title will make sense soon.

    When we last left our intrepid heroes, they had just changed into some spiffy new duds, dropped off their weapons (and dog), and taken a skycoach to the magical island of Skyway, which hangs high above the City of Towers...

    Spoiler: Part One -- Arrival at the Charity Gala
    Show

    The skycoach drops them at a small dock on the edge of Cloudpool Park, in Skyway. This district is one of the most striking examples of the manifest magic that holds The City of Towers up -- everything is made of enchanted clouds, made to hold up the weight of people, trees, and even buildings. The park is on the edge of the district, and looking over the edge, the party gets an intense feeling of vertigo as they stare down at the tops of the tallest towers.

    A hobgoblin in a fancy black suit stops them at the end of the dock and requests their invitations -- he examines each very carefully and asks to see each of the adventurers' identification papers before allowing them entry. A second hobgoblin frisks each party member shortly after, confirming that they haven't smuggled any weapons or other dangerous items into the event. Once inside, they take a moment to really take in all the sights around them -- just a few weeks ago, they were scrounging around in the dirt in Droamm, and now they are floating high above the world, walking on clouds and surrounded by lights that hang in the air like tiny stars, close enough to touch.

    Everyone is dressed in the finery of nobles and aristocrats, the finest glamerweave dresses and tailed coats in the city -- however, these people also have an air of adventurers about them, with several of them sporting scars, missing fingers, and the occasional House Cannith prosthetic limb. The party splits up and starts asking around, looking for the infamous Gaius Anderfel...


    Spoiler: Part Two -- Gaius Anderfel
    Show

    After a solid half hour of scanning the crowd, questioning the partygoers, sneaking around, and dancing for attention (here's a fun game, guess which PC each of those was), they finally find Wren's friend, Mr. Gaius Anderfel. Gaius is wearing a long black coat over a charcoal-grey suit -- he has a trimmed black beard and his hair is starting to grey at the temples, and he leans on a table as he talks to another Wayfinder, suggesting some sort of leg injury.

    The party walks up and introduces themselves, explaining that they know Wren and have some ancient demonic artifacts to sell for top dollar. "I must admit, I'm very interested in these historical relics you say you have, but you've caught me at kind of a bad time. You see, I have a red eye airship leaving in a few hours for Stormreach, down in Xen'drik -- I recently had a group of adventurers under my employ who... well, suffice it to say I have a few positions that need filling."

    "Well, we are adventurers! You could just hire us and not worry about making some big trip," says little Jeau.

    "...hmmm. Well I am in no mood for an extended business trip like this, I also don't want to cancel my plans based purely on hearsay..." As he takes a sip from his drink, the clocks strike eight o'clock at night. "What say we make a bit of a wager? Look at these men and women around you -- we Wayfinders, we're a very competitive lot, and there are dozens of games of skill and chance happening at tonight's event. You have... four hours before I am supposed to leave for my flight. Meet me right here, beneath the ice sculpture, and show me that you are the smartest, strongest, swiftest adventurers here -- if you impress me, I will pay you handsomely for these items and hire you on as my new treasure hunters. What do you say, have we a deal?" He extends his hand. "A gentleman's agreement is not final until we shake on it." He shakes hands with each of the adventurers and they all head off their separate ways, to try and win some prizes...


    At this point, I gave the players a list of events going on at the party, with names like "A Kiss From Lady Eisenhart!" and "Wrestle the Mighty Sleepy!" I informed them that winning each event will win them a prize worth a certain amount of renown, but that attempting each event subtracts a certain amount of time from the remaining four hours. Then, each player explained which one they were attempting and we tracked where they were at what time. For ease of storytelling, we will just go through each PCs night at the party, one by one (other events happened in addition to the ones I am describing, but I'm skipping over some of the less interesting ones because this is already going to be long as hell)...

    Spoiler: Part Three -- Jeau's Evening
    Show

    Jeau spots two events that particularly pique his curiosity on the list, and heads off to a table on the opposite side of the party. There, a balding old artificer named Arthur Mann has developed a puzzle box that he claims to be unsolvable -- as Jeau is approaching, a sweaty dwarven woman toys with a twisted contraption until a timer goes off, and with a loud click, the contraption reverts back into a small metal cube as the dwarf storms off in a huff. Jeau cracks his knuckles and asks for a chance at the box -- however, the first two times he attempts it, he can't get it in time (this challenge was a simple series of Intelligence checks, and Jeau was just not rolling what he needed to). Jeau walks away as the artificer laughs behind him...

    He walks over a cloud bridge to another part of the park, where a flamboyant gnome named Flitwig is claiming to be the Smartest Man in Sharn -- he is offering a crown of holly and silver to anyone who can best him in a trivia contest. Jeau wants to redeem himself, so he saunters up and asks the rules -- Flitwig explains that they will take turns choosing a category from a list and asking a question of the other, with incorrect answers netting the asker a point (oddly, every category in this event exactly matches up with a different subset of the Knowledge skill, what a coincidence). Fitwig gets a few early points, but Jeau starts asking some serious questions of the gnome -- what level of gravity does the Astral Plane possess, in what year was the city of Flamekeep settled, et cetera -- and he is able to come ahead, infuriating the little gnome who stomps away, leaving behind the crown of holly and silver.

    Bolstered by his victory, he returns to Arthur Mann's puzzle box for one. Last. Try.

    Keeping eye contact with the other artificer the entire time, Jeau picks up the box and begins twisting it, grabbing it, rotating pieces, and pressing switches, until finally it opens to reveal a small clockwork music box. Arthur Mann is flabbergasted, and gives Jeau the unsolvable puzzle box...


    Spoiler: Part Four -- Jim's Evening
    Show

    Jim has his good buddy Jeau read the different events to him, cursing his illiterate brain all the while. He knows he is good at two things in this confusing world, so he sets out to prove his prowess...

    First, he heads to a small table surrounded by people, where a burly half-orc named Drak is arm-wrestling a thinly-built warforged, slamming his metal fist into the table with a great force and letting out a roaring laugh. Jim asks for a chance to test his might against the tough guy, and the two sit down and lock eyes (opposed Intimidate checks), before wrenching at each others' hands with great force [op. Jim and Drak are neck and neck for a time, but Jim loses his grip for a second and the half-orc slams him into the table. Unafraid, Jim steps away and gets back in line to try again. Drak laughs at him for a second, but Jim sits down and shoots him a cold stare, shaking the orcish brute -- this time, the nervous orc can't fight Jim's powerful strength, and he lets out a battle cry as he smashes his arm through the table, proving himself victorious. Drak gives him a lucky rabbit's foot as proof of his ability...

    All duergar are strong, so winning an arm wrestling match means nothing to Jim. That was merely the appetizer to the true contest of the night -- the Tenth Annual Wayfinder Foundation Dance Competition.

    Jim places his name in for the competition, and waits for it to start. He is last to compete, and he sits in the stands watching as an agile female halfling, a beautiful female half-elf, a drunken middle-aged human man, and a lithe male human all strut their stuff on stage, to the accompaniment of a live band. Jim is nervous, but he knows he can do it, and finally the announcer shouts his name and asks him up to the stage...

    The music starts, and Jim fumbles over his feet slightly (Perform [dance] result: 7), and as the music begins to swell he tumbles slightly (Perform [dance] result: 6), but once the music reaches its final crescendo, he goes for a last ditch effort -- an acrobatic flip he learned from a troupe of Valenar elves. He plants his feet, leaps into the air, and...

    (Perform [dance] roll...)

    Sticks the landing, leading to an uproar of applause and a standing ovation! (NATURAL 20!) After his performance, all the competitors are brought onstage for the announcement of the winner... and Jim is given the lord of dance sash and crowned the victor!


    Spoiler: Part Five -- Tim's Evening
    Show

    Tim quickly reads over the list and is the first one to walk off, knowing exactly what he plans to do. He asks around about an event titled "Pick Mr. Piper's Pocket!", and discovers that an aged half-elven Wayfinder named Peregrim Piper claims to have the best senses in all of Khorvaire -- he is offering up his gold pocketwatch to anyone who can steal it from his pocket without getting caught. The party is abuzz with stories of the men and women who have tried to steal it, all of whom were spotted by Peregrim before they could get within thirty feet of the man.

    Tim climbs a tree made of cloudstuff and looks out across the event, spotting Mr. Piper watching a thrilling bear wrestling match. Using his natural stealthy abilities, Tim creeps out, sticking to shadows and hiding behind the more portly party patrons, making sure Piper never gets a good look at him (a series of progressively more difficult Stealth checks). At one point, he kicks over a dropped bottle, which clinks against a metal pole, leading Mr. Piper to look his direction, but thankfully, he isn't spotted, and after the better part of an hour, he is able to get within inches of the half-elf, keeping his hand slow and steady as he draws the watch from his pocket -- he taps the man on the shoulder, who turns and frantically checks his pockets, before chuckling and patting Tim on the shoulder. The kind old man admits that his senses may have dulled in his old age and gifts Tim with his gold pocketwatch.

    With one event down, Tim begins his next quest -- hunting down the famously cold Lady Esmerelda Eisenhart and trying to get a kiss from the Wayfinder Foundation's most renowned ice queen. Asking around the party, Tim gets some information about Ms. Eisenhart, and discovers a few things -- she is very proud of her heirloom jewelry, she is extremely interested in adventuring stories, and she has a weakness for Thranish men.

    Tim uses his gifts as a changeling, making his hair black and flowing and making his skin look kissed by the Thranish sun, bulking up his muscles slightly and unbuttoning the top of his dress shirt as he spots her from across the party...

    "Excuse me, madam, but is your necklace of Cyclopean make? I once saw a similar necklace while adventuring in Xen'drik, fighting off a crowd of fire giants to protect my beloved sister, Amalia" (Disguise check, Appraise check, Bluff check, some Knowledge checks, a few Sense Motive checks...). He continues wooing her with stories of swashbuckling adventures all across Eberron, and as he is telling a story about fighting an ogre with his bare hands in Karrnath, he leans in and plants a kiss right on her lips, which she happily reciprocates. She hands him her handkerchief and asks him his name, but he tells her that he must return to Thrane, to take care of his poor sick sister who he loves very much, and he disappears into the darkness of the night...


    Spoiler: Part Six -- Zeau's Evening
    Show

    As the party separates, Zeau easily decides where to go -- near where they spoke with Gaius, a large ring has been erected in the center of the park, inside which stands a massive trained bear, named Sleepy. The bear's trainer, Geoff, offers a rare dire bear claw to anyone who can pin his mighty pet. Zeau approaches and asks the rules, and Geoff explains: "Well little lady, you can't bring in any weapons or armor, you can't hurt Sleepy in any way, and you can't haunt me if she kills you." "Those are the only rules?" "Yes, ma'am." "Okay."

    Zeau takes off her jewelry and shoes and steps into the ring. As Geoff rings the bell to signal the start of the fight, Zeau glows with a faint green light and hunches over. To everyone's amazement, her skin sprouts thick brown fur, her hands and feet change into large paws with curving claws, and her faces extends out into a muzzle -- Zeau transforms into a giant brown bear, as big as Sleepy! As the crowd begins cheering, Zeau steps forward and hugs the other bear with her mighty paws -- Sleepy fights back, and the two trade advantage a few times before Zeau finally plants Sleepy on its back, letting out a roar of victory (basically a series of CMB versus CMD checks). Still speechless, Geoff gives her the dire bear claw, which she grabs in her large bear hands, choosing to remain in her new form until she has a reason not to.

    Lumbering around the party, she spots a man playing Thrones, a game of wits and skill where pieces are moved across a grid (it's like chess, but not, because D&D). Still in her bear form, she sits across the table from the old dwarf, who giggles nervously and asks "what are you doing, Mr. Bear?" Zeau touches a claw to one of her soldier pieces, moving it forward and looking up at her opponent, gesturing with her paw to pass the turn. Flummoxed by what is happening, the dwarf makes a move of his own and passes back to her -- for over an hour, the two play back and forth, stealing pieces and making deft maneuvers, but finally, Zeau is able to trap the dwarf and checkmate him, winning herself a marble king piece...


    Spoiler: Part Seven -- Finale
    Show

    The group meets back up as the night is winding down, and prepares to take on one last event as a group -- a chubby dwarf named Enbury is holding a drinking contest near the end of the festivities, inviting partygoers to match him drink for drink to prove that he can hold his liquor better than anyone in Sharn.

    All four adventurers join over a dozen other Wayfinders at a large circular table, and Enbury makes a toast to the Sovereign Host as a group of halflings fill everyone's mug with a strong ale. He shouts "Round One!", and everyone downs their first mug. "Round Two!" "Round Three!" And so on, as people begin feeling queasy and dropping out of the contest. After a half dozen drinks, most of the challengers have walked away, but Enbury and all four player characters still remain, hiccuping and watching each other through blurred vision.

    A few more mugs of ale are downed, and there is a sudden crash on one side of the table -- little Jeau has completely passed out drunk and fallen out of his chair, but Jim, Tim, and Zeau still remain. After a few more drinks, Jim and Zeau both drop out, knowing that someone has to remain conscious to talk to Gaius at midnight, leaving only Enbury and skinny Tim (Tim was rolling some flipping incredible Fortitude saves, even better than Jim and Zeau who have much better Constitutions than him). They share a few more drinks, until finally Enbury collapses in a heap at the foot of his chair, and Tim slams one last mug of victory ale and lets out a belch of conquest, grabbing Enbury's Champion's Cup as he leaves.

    The party sobers Jeau up and holds Tim hair back while he vomits in the corner, and they are able to have everyone at least standing when it is time to meet Gaius.

    Showing him all their trophies from the evening, Gaius takes a long, slow sip of his drink before setting it down on the table next to him...

    "...I must admit, this is quite impressive. What can I say, I admire your spirit! Ha! Please, meet me tomorrow afternoon at my penthouse, and we will discuss payment for your artifacts and make plans for your future as my new group of treasure hunters! I can feel it now -- together, we are going to do great things." He then offers up a cheers with the group, all of whom seem uninterested in drinking for the remainder of the evening...


    And that's another session in the bag -- this one was a blast and a half, with nothing but skills and roleplaying to keep the party interested. This was kind of a gamble for me to run, but the players loved it and still talk about moments from this adventure nine levels later.

    As always, feel free to reply with any comments or questions you have, and I'll see you guys in a few days for the next session -- at this rate, we should get caught up pretty quickly!

    NEXT TIME -- A sudden influx of liquid capital! A PC's backstory comes back to haunt them! A new buddy tags along with the group! And the origins of "To the Hilt" are finally explained!
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    This.
    This is basically How I imagine an adventurer's real night on the town would go.
    I'm amazed that someone's managed to to get it down, at last!

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    The part where Zeau won that chess match while morphed into a bear was hilarious.
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    Loving the story so far! Your prose and art really compliment each other well, and your DMing skills are quite impressive. Needless to say, you've got a great bunch of adventurers too! Keep on playing and writing, you've got a fan :).

    Really enjoying Tim's story specifically, can't wait to see how it turns out!

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    SESSION SEVEN - THE FORGOTTEN FACTORY, PART ONE

    Howdy y'all! We're back with another exciting episode of "To the Hilt!"

    So, first and foremost, this was the week where the biggest running joke of the campaign came up -- the phrase "to the hilt". You see, whenever the PCs are wrecking face in an encounter, I like to get all flavor texty and describe the effects of their attacks. So when a PC says "I cast magic missile at the goblin and the bugbear", I try to do less:

    "You kill Goblin 2, but the Bugbear is still alive."

    I try to do something more along the lines of:

    "Three gouts of blue light streak out of your wand, weaving through the melee and striking true -- one of them bursts clear through the goblin, who slumps over dead, while the other two slam into the bugbear's shoulder, leaving behind a smoking wound and winged fur..."

    This got me into trouble, however, when Jim killed one of the bad guys in this adventure (I think one of the duergar OH SH*T SPOILER ALERT), I got all descriptive and referred to him hitting the guy so hard with his axe that the blade sunk in, all the way "to the hilt". The more learned among you may be noticing that axes do not actually have hilts, they have hafts. This got a huge laugh out of the entire group and I am constantly inundated with questions of "Did my arrow go all the way to the hilt?" or battle cries of "To the Hilt!" as combat is starting.

    Now you know... the rest of the story.

    Anyway, actual D&D recaps, LET'S F***ING DO THIS:

    Spoiler: Part One -- A Business Meeting
    Show

    After the Wayfinder Charity Gala, the party awakens in the Solemn Soldier Inn, some of them nursing pretty severe hangovers due to the final contest of the night. As they are getting ready to meet with Gaius about some pressing financial concerns, Jeau reveals something he has been tinkering with since they left Wren's cottage...

    At his command, a large dog made of interlocking plates of iron steps into the room, its eyes glowing with a faint green light and its huge metal teeth glinting in the light. Everyone looks concerned until the dog begins wagging its metallic tail and panting. "Everyone, this is Jango!" (Jeau got the Craft Homunculus feat one level ago, but since Jango couldn't really participate in the previous adventure, he was kept under wraps until this session).

    With their two dogs in tow, the party leave the little inn in Terminus to head up to Gaius' penthouse in Seventh Tower. After a quick trip through the city, they are once again greeted by his imposing Karrnathi butler, Viktor. "Hello. Mr. Anderfel is expektink you," he says, as he ushers the party into the penthouse, leading them through the foyer into an extravagant drawing room -- Viktor sets down a tray of tea and says that Gaius will be meeting them shortly, giving them plenty of time to take in the opulent surroundings. Several chairs and couches fill the center of the room, while the walls are dominated by a massive fireplace and dozens upon dozens of historical artifacts. A cursory glance of the room spots a bastard sword from the Empire of Dhakaan, a pair of giant iron gauntlets that appear to be thousands of years old, and a weird stone tablet covered in strange lettering that is supposedly from the continent of Xen'drik.

    A few minutes later, Gaius enters, wearing a pair of reading glasses and carrying several tomes and reference books, along with a magnifying glass and a jewelers loupe. Sitting down, he thanks them for coming to meet him on such notice and immediately requests to see the relics they found back in Droamm. The party hands him the black demon horn and the square of leathery tattooed skin and he starts examining them thoroughly, looking back and forth between the items and his books. He apologizes, saying that he needs to verify a few things before he makes them an offer -- while he works, he asks the party to tell him the full story on how these items came to be in their possession and how they came all the way to Sharn.

    After over an hour of talking, laughing, tea-drinking, and getting to know each other, Gaius makes the group an offer -- three hundred Platinum Dragons apiece if they agree to sign a contract as his official Wayfinder-sponsored adventuring party. If they choose this option, he explains, he will pay for their rooms at the Solemn Soldier and they can continue their personal adventures and keep all the spoils for themselves. However, when he has a job for them, they will give it top priority, exploring the location, gathering as many relevant historical items as they can, and giving Gaius first cut of the treasure -- he will then pay them for their trouble and they can keep everything else. Alternately, if the party does not agree to these terms, he is willing to offer them one hundred Dragons each for the demonic items and allow them to cut all ties after this transaction.

    Everyone discusses the terms, and immediately agrees to sign on as Gaius' adventuring team -- after all, it's only a part-time gig with guaranteed money and treasure (this also gave my players an out if they decided they didn't want to work with this guy or wanted to try something different).

    Viktor leaves and returns shortly thereafter, handing each PC a velvet bag filled with flawless platinum coins. Gaius tells them that he is very excited to work with them in this new endeavor, and that they should spend some time relaxing, spending their hard-earned cash, and enjoying the City of Towers -- he will contact them soon with information on their first job.


    Spoiler: Part Two -- Downtime
    Show

    For several weeks, the party has a few things they haven't had in quite some time -- a lot of money, free time to do whatever they please, and a place to live. Jeau immediately sets to work finishing up Jango and making sure his new homunculus is in good working order for their first adventure together. In addition, a few of his allies have requested some custom magic items from him -- Jim wants a belt to make him stronger, Zeau wants some scrolls of utility spells, and Tim wants to keep upgrading his enchanted kukri by making it even sharper (belt of giant strength, ALL THE SCROLLS, and +1 keen kukri, respectively).

    Tim spends his down time trying to figure out who that strange man was that approached him in Lower Menthis in the previous session, as well as gambling for money in the casinos of Firelight with his new buddy Janus.

    Jim spends his coin drinking in as many Sharn taverns as possible, then drunkenly dancing outside said taverns to recoup his losses. For a stupid dwarf, it's... actually a pretty smart financial system.

    Zeau and Pickle head outside the walls to spend some time in nature, and so that Zeau can teach Pickle some cool new tricks.

    About a week after their arrival in the city, Jeau receives a letter from his uncle, Jax d'Jorasco, a Dragonmarked healer who operates a healing enclave in Sharn. One day, the party gathers together to visit Jax and finds him in the district of High Walls, which looks like a cross between a refugee camp and a prison -- Cyran flags and heraldry cover every surface, and guard towers ring the area in a tight perimeter. A quick walkthrough of the area finds Jax's clinic, which is stuffed to the gills with sick and injured Cyrans. The party finds Uncle Jax, who is a short, balding halfling with huge bags under his eyes -- he heard from a cousin that Jeau was spotted in the city, and that he had developed a dragonmark of his own, so Jax wanted to contact him and confirm it to be true. While he is swamped with patients, he asks Jeau if he would ever be willing to help out at the clinic when they need it -- he and the rest of the party happily agree.


    Spoiler: Part Three -- New Jobs and Old Acquaintances...
    Show

    After a few weeks of free time, the party awakens one morning to find a lavender envelope has been slipped under each of their doors. Inside each is a hand-written note in a gaudy, looping script:

    Good morning!

    Please come see me at my penthouse as soon as you see this. I have an opportunity which I would like to discuss with you.

    -G


    They all gather their things and head back to Seventh Tower to meet with Gaius, who asks that they step into yet another room of his massive apartment. Here, he has a table covered in maps, blueprints, hand-written notes, and several recent issues of the Sharn Inquisitive and the Korranberg Chronicle. Even though it's early in the morning Gaius looks like he's been awake since dawn, and his eyes are alight with adventure and excitement.

    Gaius points out a map of the Gate of Gold district of Sharn -- back in the old days, this ward was filled with enclaves of the Dragonmarked Houses and was one of the most bustling parts of the city. However, as the City of Towers grew higher into the sky, so too did these industrial aristocrats move higher into the towers, and the Gate of Gold fell into disrepair. Gaius has heard tell of an old Cannith Enclave in this part of the lower city, which was abandoned long ago after some bound elementals went rogue and attacked the House workers. The Cannith artificers had to leave in quite the hurry, and they likely had to leave several items behind in their exodus -- things that could be worth a pretty penny today.

    Gaius tasks the party with heading to Gate of Gold, finding the Cannith Factory, and exploring it for any items of historical significance, including blueprints, notebooks, or arcane formulae. He has purchased them a skycoach to the district of Godsgate -- from there, they just need to take a lift down to the base of the towers, and they can follow a map to the Factory. He bids them good luck and lets them know that the skycoach will be waiting outside...

    A short trip leads them to Godsgate, where many churches and religions have large, ornate buildings dedicated to their faith. They find a nearby lift and pile on, along with several worshipers of the Church of the Silver Flame and a priest dedicated to Onatar. The lift lowers a few floors, the Silver Flame believers get off and a few stocky, black robe-wearing figures walk onto the lift. It drops a few more floors down, and the priest leaves as well.

    At this point, one of the figures in the black robes turns to face the party. They ignore him for a bit, until Jim finally looks over, to spot a gray-skinned, white-bearded man with empty white eyes -- one of the duergar from his homeland, flanked by a pair of warriors wearing the iconography of the King of the Duergar. The other dwarf utters only one word: "YOU." At this point, his allies draw their weapons and attack!

    What follows is a tense battle, made tenser by the tight quarters of the lift -- the warriors try to box the party in and keep them away from the other dwarf, who is slinging magic missile spells and telekinetic punches their way. The two warrior get cut down by Jim's battleaxe (see "To the Hilt!" explanation, above), and the sorcerer attempts to make a break for it, leaping over the side of the elevator and cracking a small clay feather in half, letting out a burst of glowing bird feathers all around him and slowing his fall. It looks as though he is about to get away to fight another die (I plan for him to come back later on to harass Jim even more), Tim and his newly acquired ring of feather fall leap over the edge after him! (f***)

    Tim holds his arms tight to his sides, quickly catching up with the dwarf, and the two tangle in mid-air for a while, exchanging spells and knives until finally, Tim is able to lop the dwarf's head off! The duergar's body plummets to the ground, landing with a splat, while Tim flutters to the ground and...


    "He's gonna do a superhero landing..."

    ...lands in a classic three-point stance on the ground below the lift.


    Spoiler: Part Four -- Entering the Factory
    Show

    After looting the bodies of the dwarves, they discover the eponymous Gate of Gold that the district is named after -- sadly, though, all the gold has been stripped off it, and it is now nothing more than a giant stone gate covered in graffiti and moss. Following Gaius' map, they find an old steel gate that leads to a dust and trash covered entry chamber. Several hastily-written signs are still visible in several languages, warning of an "elemental breach" and requesting that people avoid entering the Factory. The party collectively says "pssssssh whatever" and continues on, down a large stone staircase. On the way down, they see a stone slab every few feet -- the first few simply detail some safety protocols for the Factory, while three near the bottom display names of those in charge: Samson d'Cannith, Factory Supervisor, Vargas d'Cannith, Elemental Binder, and Marin d'Cannith, Systems Management.

    Once they reach the bottom, they discover the place to be covered in cobwebs -- Tim lights a torch and takes it to the webs, burning up a huge patch of them and bringing a strange giant spider out of hiding. The creature has an almost human face, and a set of humanoid hands emerge from below its body, but the rest of it is undeniably arachnid. Tim's knowledge of magical beast biology allows him to quickly hack the creature apart, allowing the group to keep exploring, burning all the cobwebs first just to be safe.

    They head down a hallway labeled "ADMINISTRATION", but they are stopped by a pair of huge, rusty constructs that emerge from alcoves in the walls. "P-P-Please present iden-den-dentification." Not having anything of the sort and not wanting to risk fighting these things if they don't have to, they simply say "Oh, my mistake, this isn't the bathroom," and head the other way, labeled "MANUFACTURING".

    The party explores a locker room, where they find a couple notebooks and a fist-sized ruby, both of which they abscond with. Continuing down this hallway, the party notices the temperature is constantly increasing, until they find a large, open chamber from which the heat appears to be radiating -- the air is thick and hazy, and the party begins to sweat and cough. Inside, a catwalk is suspended over a large workspace, with several huge vats of molten metal providing the extreme temperatures. Taking tentative steps across the metal walkway, they happen upon a group of beings that look like vaguely humanoid flames, walking of their own accord -- bottlenecked by the catwalk, they are forced to weave around each other to attack these elemental beasts, and Tim's best attempts at flanking and striking the creatures' vitals are fruitless. Eventually they are able to slay the monsters, and they continue down to the workfloor, where several large suits of iron armor are standing in recesses in the floor, one of which glows with a faint light and has a shining scimitar embedded in the shoulder. Nearby is a skeletal corpse clutching a small red dragonshard...


    Spoiler: Part Five -- The Iron Price
    Show

    Approaching the dead body, the party suddenly notices the glowing suit of armor lurching to life as it leaps out of its recess in the floor -- it's body is black iron, and the glowing comes from a roaring fire that burns in what looks like a furnace set into its stomach.



    The golem starts firing out cones of fire from its internal furnace, while Tim makes a decision -- "I want that sword". The rest of the party starts hacking away at the golem, while Tim attempts to leap up and grab the sword while it is distracted. After a few tries, he finally is able to grab hold, but the scimitar is wedged in its armor and doesn't want to budge -- in a feat of strength, he rips it free and starts swinging it at the creature again! Eventually, the party is able to work together and keep the monster from moving too much, and they are able to defeat it, Tim gifting Zeau with the sword as a reward for her hard work.

    Grabbing the dragonshard from the body's hand, they leave the uncomfortable heat of the factory floor and return to the administration area. Once again they are greeted by the strange automatons who demand identification, but this time, they hold up the red dragonshard and show it to the golems. "Good eve-eve-morning Master Vargas. Please proceeceeceeceeceeceed..."

    They find the office of Samson d'Cannith first -- inside, they uncover several books of writing, as well as a wrapped ironwood box holding a suit of fine studded leather hunting armor and a child-size hunting crossbow, along with a note from Samson to his son. Tim suits up in the armor, while Jeau takes the crossbow, which is just the right size from him. The party then enters the office of Vargas d'Cannith, but they notice something odd -- the place is in complete shambles, with books thrown on the floor and drawers torn open. Searching the room, they find a candle of truth and prepare to head back to Samson's office to bunk down for the night. As they are leaving, however, Tim and Zeau discover footprints in the thick dust that covers the floor. They are extremely recent, and it looks as though someone came through and took several items from the office, including some blueprints and a few book on elemental binding...


    Hope you guys enjoyed, as usual -- let me know what you think!

    NEXT TIME: Garbage! Junk! And a reference to a work of classic literature!
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

    83% of DMs are good at math. If you're one of the 29% that isn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    SESSION EIGHT -- THE FORGOTTEN FACTORY, PART TWO

    Hey guys, me again. When we last left off, our intrepid adventurers were exploring an old Cannith factory for their new patron, looking for any items of historical significance. Everything has been par for the course (rogue elementals, angry constructs, blah blah blah), but they just discovered signs that someone has been rifling through one of the offices -- and that this person was here very, very recently...

    Spoiler: Part One -- Operation: Operations
    Show

    The party awakens refreshed after spending the night in the locked office of Samson d'Cannith. Looking over a map of the factory, they see that it is divided into three different sections -- Administration, Manufacturing, and Operations. The first two have been explored, so they have only one route left to consider. Gathering up their gear, they leave Samson's office, pass by the malfunctioning administration guards, and head through the doors to Operations.

    As the doors slowly creak open, they discover a problematic sight -- a huge section of the hallway has been collapsed in what Jeau deduces to be a controlled explosion, many years ago. Outside of the way they came in, they can only see one possible port of egress -- a pair of giant metal doors covered in warning labels. It's difficult to make out, as much of the paint has flaked off the iron over the decades since the factory was abandoned, but they can make out a few specifics: "STEAM PIPE VENTILATION AND MAINTENANCE", "AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY", and "THIS ROOM IS A CLASS 45B HAZARD - PLEASE REFER TO YOUR FACTORY OPERATIONS MANUAL". The party collectively decides "eh it's probably fine" and ventures forth.

    Inside they are greeted to a long narrow room, the walls made up of a snaking network of thick metal pipes. The pipes appear to have been rusted through in places, while in others they look as though they've been hacked open, the holes randomly spurting forth clouds of steam every few seconds. Several automata identical to the pair of guards that hassled them in the Administration wing are absent-mindedly performing maintenance operations on the pipes -- one is hitting a thick pipe with a hammer while another is trying to jam a steam pipe into a section of wall where there is absolutely no room...



    As the party enters, the machines all look in their direction, and one of them shouts "UNAUTHORIZED ADMITTANCE IS NOT PERMITTED IN THIS AREA" -- at this, all of them begin advancing in a menacing fashion, their large pincers and hammers primed for combat. What follows is an exciting battle, where the party must contend with the individual automata as well as the gouts of steam that randomly shoot out of the pipes set into the wall (in game terms, this fight was a lot of fun to run -- eight sections of the room were secretly numbered, and at initiative count 10 every round, we would roll a d8 and the matching section would deal fire damage to all adjacent creatures). The monsters' hammers hit hard, and one of them is about to smash Tim's face in when it suddenly malfunctions, making it an easy target for the rest of the party to finish (not a deus ex machina, PUN DEFINITELY INTENDED -- to reflect their decades of bad working conditions, the constructs had a chance to malfunction on their turn, and he just happened to stop working when he should have otherwise knocked Tim into negatives).

    With the enraged constructs dealt with, the party quickly leaves the steam vent room to find the other side of the controlled demolition blocking their path earlier. They see three doors leading out of the hallway -- one is labeled "OFFICE OF MARIN d'CANNITH", one is labeled "WORKSHOP", and the third is unlabeled...


    Spoiler: Part Two -- Some Junk Happens
    Show

    The party decides to explore Marin's office first, and they find something odd -- the room is lit by a sputtering blue torch. Examining it, Zeau and Jeau discover it to be an everburning torch, which eternally produces light but no heat. Looking around, this office appears to have not been explored or even entered in quite some time. No one is finding anything worthwhile until Tim discovers a hidden drawer in Marin's desk, holding a pair of eyes of the eagle, which the party gifts to Jeau.

    Heading into the workshop, the adventurers spot a large room containing several workbenches covered in rusted out tools, screws, and automaton pieces. One edge of the room is dominated by some sort of old arcane machine, the top of which features a pair of metal arms that look like they are built to hold something -- however, they've been bent and cracked open, and whatever they held is now missing. As the party is looking at this machine, Jim hears a subtle sound behind him, like metal slowing rolling down a sloped floor -- he turns and spots all the various screwdrivers, nails, golem pieces, and other bits of metal in the room coalesce into a vaguely humanoid shape in the corner of the room!



    The party is just able to prepare themselves for battle as the strange golem rushes forward, attacking with rusty metal claws. Jim and Tim flank it and box it in while Zeau casts a spell to make herself stronger and Jeau fires magic missiles from the opposite side of the room. Just as it seems like they've got this fight in the bag, however, the creature discorporates into its component pieces and begins swirling around Jim and Tim, cutting them and bashing them with bits of iron and steel. Jim goes into a rage and throws down his weapons, preferring to go in hand to hand with this monster, and just as it returns to a humanoid shape, Jim rushes it and (boom, natural 20) grabs the creature's head in his hands, ripping it free with a great, echoing battle cry!

    As Jim regains his composure and the party tends to their wounds and makes sure they didn't get tetanus from the rusty metal, they open the third door, and find a staircase descending downward, deeper into the earth -- while the walls are caked with dust, the party can see fresh footprints heading down, along with marks that look like something being dragged...


    Spoiler: Part Three -- Yeah I Obviously Planned It That Way Why Would You Ask
    Show

    The adventurers gather light sources and courage and descend to the basement. Here, they find a long, unadorned hallway, with several doors leading off from it. As they approach the first door, they are assaulted by a terrible stench, like rotting bodies and dung. Kicking in the door, they are treated to a charnel house -- the floor is a thick, uneven carpet of ancient congealed trash, atop which the party can see several fresh body parts, including an entire human leg, a thin (possibly elven) arm, and a limbless torso. As they enter, a creature that appears to be little more than a sack of mustard-tinted flesh with a giant mouth, three legs, and tentacles is snacking on a well-muscled half-orc arm...



    The abomination, which Zeau's Gatekeeper training tells her is an otyugh, toddles toward the adventurers, who are fighting back both an aberration and the most recent meal they consumed. Zeau summons a swarm of bats to flutter around the creature while the warriors get into melee range. As Tim and Jim are preparing to gang up on the chubby guy, it heaves up a mass of partially digested body parts, leaving Jim and Jeau so sick to their stomach that they can barely function -- luckily, Tim is able to catch the creature off guard and slice it open with his twin kukris, saving the group.

    Once they've settled their stomachs and cleaned themselves off a bit, they enter the next chamber, which is a small square room that is relatively featureless, except for a few shards of red crystal in the middle of the floor. Jeau identifies it as an old House Sivis speaking stone that has been shattered -- as Jeau explains, these old models used stronger magic and were much more expensive to craft than the more common, modern speaking stones. As such, Zeau is able to detect a lingering magical aura to the stones, which she deduces could be used to communicate between matching stones -- each member of the party takes a speaking stone after testing them out to make sure they work (the primary reason for this? I wanted the party to be able to communicate even when separated, since they would all be at the same table anyway).

    The next room has a strange door -- rather than the simple iron doors that make up most of the complex, the entrance to this chamber is blocked by a thick stone slab covered in glowing arcane symbols. The floor underneath the slab is scorched and blackened by some sort of extreme heat (in classic player fashion, these guys see something like that and immediately are like "oh we are obviously going in there"). Pushing the slab aside, they see two very strange circles that appear to have been made of powdered silver -- one circle is empty, but the other holds what appears to be a raging stormcloud, flashing with blue lightning and rumbling with thunder -- Jeau recognizes the creature as a rare type of elemental, a hybrid of fire elementals and air elementals known as a storm elemental.

    The party finds a couple bags of powdered silver and a small Khyber dragonshard, and Jeau uses his knowledge of the arcane to figure out that this room was used by the House Cannith artificers to bind elementals for their golems and machinery. At this point, Jeau decides he wants to try something crazy -- he wants to bind the elemental into the dragonshard (yeah, I know it seems like I was planning for them to do something like this, what with the summoned elemental and the dragonshard, but honestly I didn't see this coming -- I just placed the dragonshard cuz it made sense as treasure in this room and assumed the party would see the elemental and attack it). Jeau uses what he knows about these binding rituals and has the party array out at equidistant points on the circle of silver (I am making all of this up as I go). He begins a chant, while the other party members try to use their force of personality to exert control over the elemental, attempting to intimidate it or convince it that a deal is its only option (improv skills DON'T FAIL ME NOW). After a complicated series of arcane gestures, somatic hand motions, charismatic speeches, and droning chants, they are finally able to convince the elemental to accept servitude in the Khyber shard, which glows with a faint blue light, like a far-off electrical storm...

    (The players were like "dude that was really cool, good job at planning that out" and I was like "um yeah obviously I planned it duh of course jeez like obviously")

    Continuing down the hallway, the party finds two small storage rooms which appear to have been hastily converted into living quarters for some mysterious pair -- one room features a bed with a footlocker and a writing desk, while the other is just a collection of boxes and barrels, some of which have had a sheet draped over them to serve as a sleeping area. Scouring the two rooms, the party finds a couple scrolls and wand which they give to Jeau, along with a stash of platinum Dragons, gold Galifars, and silver Sovereigns. In the first room, they also find a set of recent, hand-drawn blueprints for some sort of strange eldritch contraption -- it features a pair of dragonshards over a long steel slab, which appears to hold a humanoid figure...


    Spoiler: Part Four -- The People Under the Stairs
    Show

    Entering the final door at the end of the hallway, the party encounters a long, narrow room, intermittently lit by flashes of blue electricity arcing across the opposite end of the room. A thin man with a wild head of hair and a scraggly beard cackles maniacally as a dim-witted stooped half-orc looks on -- the pair are standing over a large humanoid figure that lays motionless on a slab of metal. Atop the machine that holds the body are two large Khyber dragonshards that bear the same flashing blue lights as the small one in Jeau's backpack -- huge bolts of electricity scatter from the shards, striking the body on the table and causing it to flinch involuntarily.

    As the party is watching this strange magical experiment, the man turns to face the party, and his maniacal laugh turns to a shout of terror: "Irgo! Interlopers! Kill them now, the experiment is almost complete!"

    With this, the half-orc grabs a huge sword and rushes the party -- Zeau responds by summoning a scimitar of flickering blue flames from her outstretched hand, and the two sword-fight while the wizard continues his mad work in the other end of the room. Irgo is quickly cut down as Jim and Tim advance on the mad wizard, who steps forward and attempts to hold the party back from the body. The warriors pincer attack the wizard, and Tim waits until the time is right, sneaking up behind the old man and (critical hit!) lopping his head off with both kukris in one fluid motion. Tim looks dazed for a second while the rest of the adventurers close in on the machine, but just as they are approaching, there is a bright flash of light, and when their eyes adjust they are able to see that the dragonshards seem to have been drained of all energy, as the body on the table suddenly lurches to life, electricity arcing across the whipstitched mass of body parts and machinery that makes up its body!



    The monstrosity hits hard and resists most of Jeau's wand magic, but Zeau's sword of blue flames seems to slow the creature down -- the party realizes this and keeps Zeau on making sure the golem stays slowed, while Jeau posts up behind her to provide healing and Jim and Tim hack at the monster from the opposite side. After a long, hard battle, with every adventurer bearing a series of wounds from the combat, they are finally able to hack the monster to pieces, causing it to become inert in a flash of electrical energy. The adventurers rob the bodies of anything worthwhile and take the two large dragonshards which, even sans elemental, should be worth a pretty penny back in Sharn. Looking at the old wizard's identification papers, they find that he is a Karrnathi man who goes by the name Simon Krazburg -- according to a diary found on his person, he came to Sharn to study a strange theurgy between alchemy, necromancy, and artifice.


    Spoiler: Epilogue
    Show

    The party returns to the surface and heads back home for some well-deserved rest. The following day, they head up to Gaius' penthouse to show him the spoils of their adventuring -- he is extremely proud of his new employees, who were able to triumph over the unexpected danger of Krazburg and his monster. He pays them for their time and takes the ledgers, maps, and notebooks the party found below, letting them keep everything else. Gaius tells them that he has no other jobs planned for the near future, so the party should feel free to explore the city some more -- he will contact them as soon as he has something new.

    As they are leaving, Tim tells everyone that when he dealt the killing blow to Krazburg, he had another flashback -- he was on the roof of a tower in Sharn, in the middle of a severe lightning storm. Near the railing stood a middle-aged half elf, looking out across the city. Tim watched himself creep up behind the man and, with military precision, perform the same double cut with his kukris, severing the man's head before he even knew he was there.

    "...I was an assassin, here in Sharn."

    Tim continues looking into his mysterious past, while Jim keeps enjoying the local tavern scene, always keeping an eye over his shoulder for another duergar hit squad...

    Zeau and Pickle spend some serious down time recovering from a bout of filth fever she contracted from the group's fight with the otyugh...

    Jeau scribes some more scrolls and prepare some more magical gear for the group. However, one afternoon, an envelope slips under Jeau's door -- it's marked with the seal of House Jorasco, and looks to have been written quickly and with purpose:

    Jeau,

    I need your help. Come to the clinic immediately.

    -Jaxon d'Jorasco



    OH SH*T CLIFFHANGER.

    NEXT TIME: Strange happenings in High Walls! An investigation! Smelling!
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

    83% of DMs are good at math. If you're one of the 29% that isn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Troll in the Playground
     
    RFLS's Avatar

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    Hurrah! Came back hoping for a post, I got two. Awesome stuff.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    I've always wondered why there aren't more Eberron journals out there; it's such a cool setting ripe for shenanigans. I've just started reading this one but I think I'ma keep an eye on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winter_Wolf View Post
    At least we can say Kid Jake has style. And possibly is insane.
    My Campaign Journals

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    I'm very much enjoying the journal, and the party! They seem to be very fun to play with! A good group is hard to find...

    Oh,and I just ADORE the drawings! They are very, very well made! A tip of the hat for you!

    Question: What level was the group at this point? I imagine around 6th- 7tj level? It seems that their backgrounds are starting to catch up...

    @ Kid Jake: Yeah, I too have been looking for Eberron campaign logs. I've written one (My first one), which was a blast, and I've seen another one a long time ago, about the PCs forming a sort of a mafia in Sharn (Unfortunately I've lost track of it. I would have loved to add it to the archive. It was a hoot!)

    BTW, I have been having a long time idea of a semi-sandboxish campaign in the region where Droaam is now, but about 150 years ago, before the last war, when the region was a frontier of Galifar, a few years before the Silver Purge was started... Many long time ideas in my head, which I hope to put in game one day... We'll see...

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    I'm very much enjoying the journal, and the party! They seem to be very fun to play with! A good group is hard to find...

    Oh,and I just ADORE the drawings! They are very, very well made! A tip of the hat for you!

    Question: What level was the group at this point? I imagine around 6th- 7tj level? It seems that their backgrounds are starting to catch up...
    Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. The plan is for my art to be my career soon, so it's nice to know that it's decent.

    And yes, killing the Krazburg Monstrosity gave them enough XP to hit 6th level, which means we're starting to really hit the "sweet spot" of D&D
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

    83% of DMs are good at math. If you're one of the 29% that isn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: "To the Hilt!" - An Eberron Campaign Journal

    SESSION NINE -- TROUBLE IN HIGH WALLS, PART ONE

    Oh man you guys, last night's session was F***ING INTENSE and I seriously CAN'T WAIT until this journal gets caught up to where we are. Holy cow guys.

    Anyway, previously on "To the Hilt!": Tim had yet another flashback to some sort of criminal background in Sharn, discovering that he was an assassin. In addition, as Jeau was preparing for another long day of scribing scrolls and enchanting equipment, he discovered an envelope had been slipped under his door from his Uncle Jax d'Jorasco, who needed his help.

    Everyone on the same page? Yeah? Awesome. Let's do this.

    Spoiler: Part One -- The Jorasco Clinic
    Show

    Jeau gathers his allies together as quickly as he can, and together then return to the Cyran refugee district of High Walls -- during the Last War, the ward served as a prison quarter for foreign nationals from Cyre, but with the nations destruction years ago, it has become one of the largest concentrations of Cyran immigrants in Breland. Cyran flags and pennants cover nearly every surface of the otherwise black and grey stone towers that make up High Walls, and as the party is walking through the crowds, they can spot several people missing fingers, limbs, and eyes, likely from the war.

    As they arrive back at the Jorasco Clinic, the party finds the place even busier than it was the last time they visited -- people wait in the entry chamber, some infected with various illnesses and others nursing wounds, all impatiently waiting to see Jax or one of his many assistants. The sound is deafening -- children wail and cry, while a Brelish dwarf staunching a bleeding forehead argues with a Cyran human with several busted teeth as three half-elves try to keep them separated. As the adventurers are looking for Jeau's uncle, Zeau notices that all the employees look pale and have large bags under they eyes, as if they are all suffering from sleep deprivation.

    Jeau and the others find Jax d'Jorasco sitting inside one of the patient rooms, setting a young elven boy's broken arm -- like his employees, he too looks like he has barely slept in days. He thanks Jeau for coming, and says he has something very important to show them, if they could just wait in the hallway for a few minutes. The group walks out and starts talking about how rough things look in the clinic, when a loud sudden noise draws their attention to the end of the hallway, several doors down -- the sound of wood splintering, followed by a loud thump.

    Turning toward the noise and drawing their weapons, the group sees an unconscious halfling woman, who appears to have been thrown through one of the patient doors and into the masonry wall of the clinic. Jax rushes out, and a hush falls over the clinic, as the group prepares to take on whatever is doing this.

    A human wearing a worn suit of armor stumbles out of the room -- his skin is ashen and pale, his eyes are sunken and ringed with dark circles, and his skin appears splotchy and diseased. Most startling of all, one of his arms ends in a large claw that is half red flesh bursting with thick veins and half rusty iron, while his other arm has a one-eyed slug with milky blue skin burrowing from beneath his skin...



    Zeau's Gatekeeper training helps her recognize the man as a daelkyr half-blood, an abomination resulting from experimentation by ancient creatures known as the daelkyr -- beings from the far realm of Xoriat who were bound beneath the earth by the ancient Gatekeeper druids. Jim and Tim run forward to fight the strange being while Zeau buffs them and Jeau heals the wounded Jorasco healer. The strange man swings his large bio-mechanical claw with an immense amount of force, and the slug creeping out of his arm fires rays of icy energy. Jim's axe and Tim's kukris are able to hack and slash the man until he stops moving, collapsing to the ground in a heap. However, once he hits the ground, his clawed arm forcibly separates from his body and begins crawling one direction, while the slug slinks out from his skin and begins sliding the opposite way. Pickle leaps onto the claw and grabs it in his jaws, shaking it to pieces, while Tim leaps onto the slug and cuts it into three pieces with his blades.

    They search the body and find a kukri forged of cold iron, which Tim takes with him, and the party makes sure the wounded employee will be okay before meeting Jax in one of the patient rooms. Laying the body on the table, Jax explains why he contacted Jeau -- this man is the fifth such person they've found in High Walls in the past two weeks. All of them have been Cyran war veterans who had old wounds from the war, and all of them were discovered apparently dead somewhere in High Walls -- Jax did autopsies on the first three men, and found that, in addition to their pale, splotchy skin, their interior organs were all strange colors, and some had extra organs that Jax could not identify. A fourth man who looked similar to the others was discovered alive and brought to the High Walls clinic -- he was speaking gibberish and coughing up what looked like purple blood, and he died before Jax could help him. The man the party fought was discovered this morning, and appeared dead -- he was brought to the clinic for another autopsy, but his alien physiology made it impossible to detect that he was actually alive. Jax cuts the body open in front of the group, revealing a torso filled with organs that Zeau recognizes as belonging to no known humanoid...

    The local Cyran population has been whispering about these mysterious disappearances -- High Walls is a powderkeg, Jax says, and if these strangely altered bodies keep appearing, there could be a mass panic, which is the last thing these people need. Jax asks the group if they can investigate what is happening to these Cyrans, and stop it from claiming any more lives -- he cannot pay them much, but if they come through for him, he would talk to the higher-ups of House Jorasco about getting Jeau established as an official member of the House. While the party isn't excited about the prospect of pro-bono adventuring, they understand that the people of this district need their help, and they agree that having an ally within one of the Dragonmarked Houses could be a very useful boon.


    Spoiler: Part Two -- Interrogation and Investigation
    Show

    The party separates and begins talking to the assembled Cyrans in the waiting room, asking them if they have any information about these strange bodies and who might be committing these heinous crimes. Many of them are wary of outsiders and don't seem willing to talk, but others are happy to help in any way they can after watching the adventurers strike down the monster that wandered out of the operating room. They glean the following information from their investigation:

    Male Cyran Human: "It's Brelish soldiers, kidnapping us and doing crazy experiments. They're making monsters in case the war starts back up, and they know we don't have a government to get back at them..."

    Female Halfling Employee: "The Sharn Watch has increased their presence in the district -- they must know something bad is happening here in High Walls. I wouldn't be surprised if one of them saw something that could help you figure out what is going on..."

    Homeless Cyran Dwarf: "I know what's happening, I know it for sure -- warehouse on Census Street, I saw some members of the Watch moving crates around, and I swear I heard something moaning and moving around inside of 'em..."

    Half-Elf Cyran Patient: "I've been keeping track of this whole situation, and I noticed that all of these men have been found in the southeastern corner of the district -- even the man who was discovered alive."

    Reconvening and sharing their various leads, the party makes a plan of action and starts in on their investigation.

    First, they head to the local office of the Sharn Watch, and find a bare bones skeleton crew of Watchmen -- asking around, the members of the Watch refuse to give any information, simply giving vague answers of "all possibilities are being pursued and investigated at this time". Not satisfied with this information, Tim sneaks past the front desk and eavesdrops on a conversation between a few Watchmen, discussing something strange they saw on patrol a few nights ago -- two men in black hooded cloaks, both of whom were apparently covered in scars, and one of whom supposedly had something moving around underneath his shirt. Tim notes the intersection they are discussing and returns to meet the others.

    Next, they find the warehouse on Census Street, and Tim sneaks in past the guards. However, a thorough search of the many wooden crates doesn't reveal anything beyond some dry goods and bolts of cloth -- nothing alive or moving around.

    While the party is highly suspicious of the idea that Brelish soldiers are kidnapping Cyrans and experimenting on them, they decide to pursue that lead, heading to the nearest military garrison, just outside the perimeter of the district. The party speaks with a few soldiers on hand, all of whom refute the idea. Tim uses his social insight to gauge their reactions while Jeau speaks with them, and determines that, to the best of his knowledge, they are all telling the truth.

    The party then heads to the Southeastern part of High Walls, to try and put the pieces together...


    Spoiler: Part Three -- Decipher Scent
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    Splitting up briefly to canvas the area, the party speaks with some locals and examines the intersection where the Sharn Watch supposedly spotted the strange hooded figures. Finally, they spot something -- a trail of purple blood stains which seems to snake through the alleys of High Walls before finally terminating in a dead end. Everyone searches the alley, and Jeau is able to find some bricks which can be depressed in the wall, but they can't figure out the correct sequence, and there's several of them (I planned for it to be a pretty simple Intelligence check, but all of them rolled very low). Finally, Jim decides to take a look, a choice which the rest of the party is extremely skeptical of. However, Jim explains that he has been teaching himself to "be smarter at books and things" (crunchwise, he took a rank in Decipher, because he thought it would be hilarious and he asked me if he could "decipher" the correct sequence -- I gave my usual answer to such a question, which is "you can try"). Jim takes a page out of the genius savant handbook and uses his keen sense of smell to pick out the unique scent of these strange aberrations -- based on the strength of the smell, he determines the order in which they were last pressed by these creatures, and is able to miraculously smell the correct sequence!

    (I was like, "okay, you can use Decipher to figure out the sequence if you roll a natural 20, lol" and what does he do but IMMEDIATELY ROLL A NATURAL 20 -- I am a man of my word)

    The wall slides inward and rolls to the side, revealing a small square chamber with a metal ladder leading down into the earth below...


    Spoiler: Part Four -- Journey into the Absurdly Spacious Sewer System
    Show

    The ladder takes the group down about 50 feet, until they find themselves in the middle of the Sharn sewers. The tunnel is wide, but most of it is taken up by a steady stream of disgusting runoff, with only a small stone walkway on either side. As they look around, Jeau spots a series of barely perceptible glyphs painted on the stone walls, leading off in one direction. The party immediately agrees that "this is probably some kind of trap" and heads the opposite direction. The group walks for an extended period of time, until they reach a large junction of sewer tunnels heading off in nearly a dozen different directions -- "okay, maybe it wasn't a trap".

    Returning to the ladder, Jeau finds the glyphs again and leads the group through the stone tunnels of the sewer.

    They walk for what seems like ages, the glyphs leading the way the entire time. Along the way, the party crosses over a stone bridge patched with metal grating that spans the river of sewage, and encounter a strange blob of ooze that is a deep yellow color, next to a couple of humanoid skeletons. Jeau recognizes it as an ochre jelly, and warns the party of its immunity to electricity and ability to split when cut -- Jim switches over to his hammer and Zeau rushes in with her staff, while Jeau peppers it with magic missiles and Tim throws daggers from off to the side. Eventually, the creature melts into a puddle and drops into the sewage to be carried away. Searching the bodies, Zeau finds a bag filled with slightly glowing stones -- Jeau notes that they are magic stones that she could hurl from her sling in combat, so she takes them with her.

    Following the glyphs for another long walk, they finally happen upon a pair of large iron doors, marked with a pair of concentric circles, one red and the other blue. The doors stand out among the ancient stone tunnels, and seem to be where the glyphs come to an end. Estimating the distance they traveled, Zeau remarks that, while they are likely still beneath Sharn, they are no doubt far from High Walls at this point...


    And that's where things stop for now. This session was very skill challenge focused, with the whole gathering of information and investigating throughout the district -- if I remember correctly, there may have been even more to it, but I don't have the notes to corroborate that.

    NEXT TIME: Combat! Body horror! Eldritch evil!
    To the Hilt -- An Eberron Campaign Journal

    83% of DMs are good at math. If you're one of the 29% that isn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

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