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- Join Date
- Feb 2005
Player's Journal: Serpent's Skull AP in Mystara (arcane school's field trip)
So our group has started on the Serpent's Skull AP for Pathfinder (1e), with a pure arcane-caster team. Wizard and Sorcerer only for options. The background as to why that was is that we're playing the magical apprentices of the group's 20th level Sorcerer from our main campaign (been running since 2012, we're working towards Immortality which is basically godhood in Mystara, following the old BECMI rules). I am not the GM here, and this is a journal from a player's point of view.
Spoiler: Some backgroundAs mentioned, the main characters we play are high level and working on becoming gods. Which isn't easy, and shouldn't be easy. It's been a lot of high-level adventuring doing really big important stuff, so it's also going to be fun to kick back with some low-level PCs for a chance of pace. Hilariously we also get to put to the test the "why play anything else but a wizard/sorcerer because they can do anything"-idea that a lot of people seem to have.
Anyway, the AP is set in Mystara rather than Golarion. Previously, the MAIN CHARACTERS (not appearing in this AP) stomped some powerful lizard-mages calling themselves the Runelords (changed a lot of fluff of the original Runelords to tie them to the Carnifex of Mystara, so they have some link to evil lizards from ancient times that were sealed away by the gods). Having been running a trend on these scaly foes, the MCs have some idea of the connections, but not the full picture... and besides they're all rather busy with a lot of other things that require their attention (such as two of them having their own kingdoms to govern). Arlynith, the teacher of our protagonists, decides to put her twin-daughters and their fellow classmates to something useful and shipped them off to the southern continent of Davania (where she and her pals had fought the Runelords) to work alongside the scholarly expeditions there to copy and study the information left behind by the Runelords.
Spoiler: Our cast
*=see Notes in below
Crown Princess Katherina "Kat" Eliza van der Drachenflamme. Arcane Bloodline Sorcerer, Alphatian human. Supremely spoiled and snobby, but also the one with the most pressure from mommy to do well. Is set to inherit the kingdom of Drachenflamme in the Alphatian Empire and mostly just wants to have adventure without consequences. Lawful dumb. Twin sister of Ravinelle.
Special gear*: Lesser Rod of Empower, Star Ring (Sihedron Ring), Ring of Wizardry I, Staff of Teleport (Bonded Item). Probably some other things I'm forgetting.
Princess Ravinelle Leone van der Drachenflamme. Fire Elementalist Wizard, Alphatian human. Also spoiled and snobby, but slightly less favored by mommy for not being a sorcerer like her and her twin-sister. Was originally going to be the heir of a barony in Norwold, but that fell out due to the peace treaty between Alphatia and Thyatis (long story). Also lawful dumb despite an 18 Intelligence. Twin sister of Katherina. Both twins, true to the trope, likes to do the "you can't tell us apart"-routine and actively wants to keep people guessing (which runs contrary to the 4 sets of twins I've known RL lol).
Special gear*: Lesser Rod of Piercing, Star Ring (Sihedron Ring), Ring of Wizardry, Staff of Teleport (Bonded Item). Probably some other things I'm forgetting.
Duncan. Bonded Wizard (transmuter), also Alphatian human. Unlike the two princessess, Duncan was born a lowly peasant which in the Alphatian Empire means you're basically dirt. He lost his family to the undeads that queen Arlynith had welcomed into her kingdom, and by chance the queen happened to cross paths with him and saw he had the gift for magic. Duncan isn't happy about it but being an apprentice wizard is better than being a peasant. Anti-authority. The most practical and sensible of the party (and also the oldest).
Special gear*: Lesser Rod of Silent Spell, Star Ring (Sihedron Ring), Ring of Freedom of Movement, Wand of Identify.
Phaendar Earastil. Unicorn Sorcerer, elf. Quiet, reserved, soft-spoken, covered up in bulky clothes, doesn't like to make a show of himself. Phaender likes animals more than people most of the time - the exception being heroes. And he wants to be a hero, and he grew up with stories of the Main Characters doing heroic things. So he asked a lot and got accepted into Arlynith's ranks of apprentices. Though now that he's found himself in an adventure, Phaendar isn't sure what he thinks of this. An overall goody-two shoes.
Special gear*: Lesser Rod of Extend Spell, Star Ring (Sihedron Ring), Ring of Invisibility, Wand of Cure Light Wounds.
Alexandra Tiril Lilly Sofie Tormod Askefjell Stubberud. Illusion Tradition Sorcerer, gnome ("I'm not a gnome I'm a human!!!). The prankster of the group, Alexandra was found as an orphan by one of the MCs and originally brought into the monestary he had started to train new paladins. Alexandra had less talent for religious zealotry and more for magic, so her paladin-saviour arranged a sweet spot for her to be trained by one of his friends. Why she is in denial about her gnomish heritage and insists on being a VERY SHORT HUMAN isn't known yet, but there's no lack of jokes about it.
Special gear*: Lesser Rod of Silent Spell, Star Ring (Sihedron Ring), Ring of Wizardry I, Staff of Size Alteration.
Iziora. Wizard (Diviner), human. Iziora came from a family of undead hunters who sadly met an unfortunate end against their prey, leaving her orphaned and taken in by a local temple. One of the Main Characters, a Cleric, frequently visited this temple to make sure everything was going alright and met the young girl. Feeling sorry for her circumstances, she lavished gifts upon Iziora and arranged for her to be trained by one of the more powerful mages she knew. Iziora is the valedictorian student who never does anything wrong, but can be a bit of an airhead sometimes.
Special gear*: Star Ring (Sihedron Ring), Ring of Wizardry I, Wand of Magic Missile. More that I can't remember.
Spoiler: NotesAs these characters all have connections to very powerful and very well-established high level characters, they are better equipped than most characters are. (WBL has been a joke for this group for a long time) In addition, the party had set aside a lot of resources to gift to this magic-school, mostly low level scrolls, potions, wands, etc, as well as spell books.
Additionally, we like to have a "campaign feat" of sorts sometimes. The main group had the Ancestral Relic feat (ported in from 3.5), so for this group we went with the Allied Spellcaster Teamwork feat. We all agreed that sounded very thematic for a group of students who had trained together for a while.
The Staff of Teleport that the twins have is something mommy gave them to quickly get out of trouble if something were to happen (hah).
We start our story with the six apprentices finally being over and done with spending days in and out copying and reading ancient texts. The twins know they could use their staffs to quickly get home, or have a mage send a message to their mother to come pick them up, but they decide that they've earned the scenic room home! Besides, the class wasn't given a deadline on when to get home so probably no worries to book passage on a ship to take them from Davania to the colonies of Alphatia. The group board the Jenever and set off with its crew and passengers. Phaendar and Ravi spend most of their time battling seasickness as they hang over the side of the ship. Iziora, being inredibly interested in everything going on, subsequently gets in the way a lot on deck and manages to annoy most of the crew - with the exception of the old seadog Ishirou who she manages to hit it off with thanks to her genuine interest in his work. Alexandra decides not to bother anyone and gets drunk in her cabin... which might lead to her bothering people later. Kat is immediately interested in the mysterious prisoner that was brought on board to sit below deck, and goes to check it out... and Duncan feeling obligated to make sure the brats don't get themselves tossed over board follows (he also hopes that either of the twins can be better rulers than their mother). It wasn't hard to apply a little pressure on the guard and Kat gets to speak with the prisoner Jask. She is surprised to discover he is in fact Alphatian too, and a priest too boot! Palartarkan is a well-respected Immortal of the Alphatian pantheon so she is interested in his plight, and he explains he was unjustly accused of being a spy by the Thyatians when he had approached the authorities to report corruption and crime in the upper levels of Magnimar. The Jenever will make port in Thyatis' controlled territory for him to stand crime in the Empire (Thyatis is the rival empire of Alphatia, though they currently have an unsteady peace). Kat and Duncan promise to see what they can do for Jask to avoid him being punished for false crimes.
Nothing of further interest happen in the beginning of the voyage (as we had to start wrapping up that session), but Ishirou confides in Iziora that he thinks the ship isn't going in the direction it's supposed to. The PCs are concerned, but decide not to confront the captain about this yet as the captain had already assured the passengers that everything was fine and there was nothing to worry about.
The next thing our mages know, they're waking up to the sea washing up on them on the beach. They feel absolutely terrible, like waking up from the worst night of drinking ever. With the sun burning you up as well. Things don't get better as a euryptid suddenly starts nomming on Phaendar, and three more show up to join the seafood-buffet on the beach. Instead of moving to help the poor elf being eaten alive, Ravi, Kat, Iziora, and Alexandra all gang up on the other three euryptids. Alexandra starts off with a Color Spray and is disappointed to learn that euryptids aren't smart enough to understand her illusions. Ravi and Kat blast off with Burning Hands, as does Iziora, though they don't do enough damage to kill the euryptids, but it does drive them off. Duncan sighs and picks up his quarterstaff, successfully putting his farmer-boy muscles to use and busts in the head of the euryptid nomming on his elven classmate (who turned invisible in hopes of surviving a bit better, which he did).
Having driven off the threat, the group gets their bearings on their situation and find many others of the crew are in a similar position, and not too far away they can see their ship, stranded on the outcroppings of the island. They take some time to calm down their fellow stranded travellers then set off for the wreck. With the only person in the group having any physical capabilities to speak off, they worry a bit about how to climb down the steep rocks to the ship - Duncan eventually goes first, carrying a rope that has already been tied with the group in plans of making a very poor makeshift railing for people to hold onto as they "climb" down. Dice isn't on Duncan's side for this and he takes a tumble down the rocks, but he's made of sturdier stuff and is still standing. Finding a place to tie the rope, the rest of the mages get down with no problem. Inside the ship the group dispatches of the bigger euryptid found within, and set to work on ransacking the place for anything of interest or use.
Returning to the others they're able to use the keys they found to remove the manacles from Jask, as well as return his holy symbol to him (most importantly for their survival, this means they now have a Cleric at their disposal to cast Create Water - this is not on the Sorc/Wiz spell-list! -1 point for Sorc/Wiz). Duncan and Phaendar, being the only ones with experience dealing with survival and wilderness, take point to find a safe place to establish a base camp. With the supplies from the ship, it's a decently made camp. Doesn't stop the bugs from bothering them a lot though (unbeknowst to the others, Phaendar is hording is vermin repellent to himself for the moment as he doesn't want the pampered ones to demand it and use it all up to stave off some flies and mozzies when there are probably worse things out there in the jungle). As the party eats, Ishirou reveals that he thinks they might be on Smuggler's Shiv, which he suspected that the ship was heading towards earlier. He explains that it's been a stop for many smugglers. With this information, Phaendar who knows his way around alchemy and herbalism says that they were probably poisoned or drugged to be unconscious since none of them (except for maybe Alexandra) had been drinking anything to warrant such debilitating after-effects, though it's too late now to prove that theory as whatever was used is out of their system now most likely. This leads to a round of speculation from the girls that it might've been a ploy to capture them, though Kat scoffs at the idea that anyone would be foolish enough to do that with someone as important as her and her sister, to which Duncan refutes that many important people get captured - either to be political hostages or shipped off as slaves because slavers don't care who you are most of the time. The conversation goes on for a bit, but in the end they all agree on exploring a bit more of their surroundings with the light of next day. In private, the twins agree to not use their Staffs of Teleport to get everyone safely off the island because "NOW WE FINALLY GET ADVENTURE!" and they don't really think about the consequences of the possible dangers ahead.
The next day there's a bit of a bad mood in the camp from the other survivors, complaining that the mages are leaving them to die as they go off exploring. Kat, rather condescendingly, lies and says that "we'll be just right around the corner so if anything happens we'll be able to hear you shouting". This does not go over well. More sensible minds manage to calm things down and correct Kat's poorly timed and poorly thought out lie. Duncan clarifies that someone needs to go and scout out the surrounding area to ensure that the group has a chance of survival - not only to see what the immediate dangers are, but to also see more of the island, but more importantly to see if there are any ships in the area that they could possibly use to escape the island. Things calm down somewhat and the group sets out.
Going along the coastline, they found an older wreck of a ship further out into the water. Once again they encounter the issue of "no one really have any physical abilities or skills do they (except for Duncan)?", as the waters look a bit rough to brave, and the outcroppings look dangerous too. In the end, the group solves the problem with Phaendar remaining on the beach while the others do a combination of Touch of the Sea on Duncan (who then pulls the others through the water to the ship by ropes tied around them) and putting Alexandra on a Floating Disk summoned by one of the twins (so she remains decidedly dry, being the only one light enough to go on a disk). Our heroes is a little disappointed to not find anything of value in the old wreck after that much work to get there. Though they suppose the true reward was learning teamwork and clever use of their abilities? (not really, no one thought that)
They go on for a bit more and observe giant flying lizards from afar, and decide... yeah, let's not go mess with that, especially since they seem to be flying to their nests along the shoreline. Though they now have a better knowledge of how the island looks like and where they are on it. Returning to camp, they share their findings (not much), and must begin to plan for tomorrow... after all, they don't have unlimited supplies or rations, so they will most likely have to start making their way through the jungle to further find out why someone wanted to bring them to this specific island.
------- end of session 1 and 2 (both sessions were eaten up by people finishing up their characters and other things). Hopefully we'll have a better pacing next session.
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
Re: Player's Journal: Serpent's Skull AP in Mystara (arcane school's field trip)
Alexandra's player was missing this session so the character doesn't feature much in this episode.
We begin the session with our heroes discussing with the other stranded folks that they can't remain in this one spot forever and need to move further into the island in hopes of finding food, more information, and possibly a ship to use to escape. It's agreed and everyone tucks in for a night's rest. The spell Keep Watch makes the task of managing guard duty much easier.
The next morning, the group wakes up to an intense downpour of rain, which puts the plans on travelling on hold for now. Seeing that morale is low, Phaendar suggests that we can tell stories to pass the time. Kat starts off with a story of her mother, queen Arlynith, and how she and her allies helped stop a war between Thyatis and Alphatia (an actual adventure of the original PCs) - a story she tells well, but her sister Ravi keeps butting in with "actually that's not how it happened" and "that happened in another adventure". Duncan, not having grown up with such illustrious parentage tells a rather plain story of that one time a farmer tried to push a cow and ended up muddied... not a very thrilling or fun story, though he insists that it was a "if you had been there"-level of funny. Iziora continues to bore everyone with a very dry and dull tale of something that no one even wants to remember after the fact. At this point, Jask says he doesn't have any stories to share, but he would be happy to offer the others a session of guided meditation to help them learn the meditation-techniques he had honed. Everyone but Duncan accepts, so while Duncan is looking after the camp, the others learn Jask's meditation techniques and gain a +2 bonus to all Concentration checks. Later on, Phaendar sings some old elven hymns, hoping it will brighten the day of Aerys who looks very sick.
Aerys isn't the only one who looks sick, and over the day more of the group is suffering from fever and headaches, everyone except Iziora. Jask and Phaendar, being the only ones with knowledge of healing, set to work with Phaendar's healing kit to treat everyone. Kat and Duncan are the ones worst off, taking quite a hit to their Intelligence scores. But thanks to the two healers, everyone will recover without permanent disabilities.
The next day, the rain has mostly stopped so the group finally breaks camp and sets off to explore more of the island, cutting south-east to avoid the giant flying lizards on the western coast. After some walking, they come upon a trail of sorts and they are all too happy to walk on the trail rather than hacking their way through the jungle. Not long after on the trail, Iziora along with Duncan and his familiar, become aware of a giant snake. Surprise round! Duncan, being the one walking first (as the one with highest Survival), takes a step back and fires of a Magic Missile that does decent damage. Iziora, tries and Acid Splash but misses (+0 BAB is a pain for the group... most of the time). The snake lunges at Duncan and takes a good bite of his thigh, but he succeeds on his initial Fortitude save. Proper round begins and Phaendar goes first - in panic he begins to cast Summon Monster (a Celestial Dog, as he uses the Summon Good Monster feat). Then its Duncan's turn again and he doesn't want to waste anymore spells and hits it with his staff - lucking out on the roll and rolling maximum damage, which incapacitates the snake. Good old muscles wins the day again, and meat's back on the menu that night in the form of snake stew. Not good, but it's warm and filling.
They follow the trail for a while which loops around and back to where they came from, which is a bit annoying, so they decide to move out of the jungle and follow the coastline on the east side of the island. There they come across an old camp and deduce that its a few days old... Ravi in fact realises it must be from about the time they washed up on the island, so it must've belonged to one of those who did not wake up with them on the beach. During the day, Phaendar speaks with Jask about his concern that Aerys doesn't seem to be getting better, but still seems pale and sick. Jask informs the naive young elf that Aerys probably isn't sick, but is having withdrawal-symptoms from being an alcoholic. That puts some pieces of that puzzle into place, as Aerys would always ask the group if they found anything to drink after they had explored. They check another old wreck along the way as they travel but find little except for some shortswords which they bring back to the group - Duncan insists that it's best that everyone has something to use to defend themselves.
Travelling further down the east coast, they come across an ancient shipwreck, the Brine Demon. Our heroes of course goes to explore, and soon come across a ghost. It doesn't notice them right away, as its trying to rummage through some things as its muttering to itself. Kat then says "greetings" loud enough to get its attention and the ghost turns around to face them. It begins to talk in a language the group doesn't understand, so a few languages are attempted to establish communication with no luck. Iziora remembers then that she has Comprehend Languages and while it doesn't let her speak with the ghost, she can understand what its saying. She casts the spell and the ghost has grown rather agitated at that point as its hurling insults at Kat and Ravi, basically calling them "hussies!" and "fakes!". Our heroes grow worried and ready themselves for battle. Kat and Ravi blast away with Burning Hands, but only do half damage due to the ghost's incorporeal form. Iziora tries and Acid Splash as does Alexandra, but misses due to melee and cover (-8 is brutal when you don't have much in attack bonus). Duncan launches a Magic Missile which does solid damage, while Phaendar misses with a Disrupt Undead cantrip. The ghost misses his attacks on the twins, thankfully. This sets off a new Burning Hands from Kat, a failed Acid Splash from Ravi, as well as Iziora and Alexandra. Phaendar draws his wand of Cure Light Wounds, either to ready to heal someone or to poke the ghost with it if he can get close enough. Duncan finishes the fight with a second Magic Missile, and the ghost disappears.
Searching the wreck, they find just a little bit of loot, a dagger in a nice sheath (which they find out is a +1 dagger), a couple of logs, and a nice golden locket with a picture in it. They piece together that the woman in the locket might be the ghost's wife or lover, and from what they uncover in the journals and logs, the ship must've been wrecked about 5 or 6 years ago. Which puts in the possibility that the woman could be alive, so they consider that if they could get to Magnimar, they might be able to track down this woman to return this locket to her. Those plans however are foiled that night.
Ravi and Iziora are the ones on night duty for once, as the girls are starting to feel a bit bad that Duncan is always doing the dirty work. Iziora is quick to start drama by insisting that she can read books and keep watch at the same time, which doesn't go over well with Ravi who is berating her a lot for this... Duncan is ready to just take the night watch instead since at this point no one is trusting Iziora to actually keep watch (which means he'd be fatigued the next day as he would not be benefitting from Keep Watch already cast on Iziora and Ravi), but Iziora gets herself together and focuses on doing what she's supposed to be doing. Everyone goes to sleep and a few hours later Iziora and Ravi, who are on duty, hear screaming and shouting from down by the water by the wreck of the Brine Demon. Upon a closer look, it seems like the ghost is back. Worried that it might be an attack, Iziora wakes the others (which no one is happy about). They can now all hear the ghost's shouting. After listening for a bit, it doesn't seem like it's coming closer and he's staying down by the water. They still don't understand what he's saying, but they're able to make out a word that is being repeated again and again. Could be a name? They figure out it must be the name of the woman in the locket. At this point, as he's the only one who can become invisible at will thanks to his Ring of Invisibility, Phaendar says he has a plan and takes the locket to return it to the ghost. He becomes invisible and sneaks his way down to the ship, where he finds a safe place to hang the open locket in a spot easy to see. Then by using Ghost Sound to make the sound of a female voice humming and singing, the ghost is lured to where the locket is. Phaendar readies himself to run for his life in case this isn't working, especially as he sees the ghost pass right through the walls of the ship to get to the locket... and then stops and dissipates upon seeing the picture of his beloved. Phaendar doesn't stick around to make sure the ghost is properly put to rest as he's running as fast as he can back to camp, but the group sleeps rest of the night without any further interruptions.
The next day, the group moves further down the coastline and spot a hidden bay further in quite some distance ahead. And at the end there, they see something that looks like ancient ruins... this warrants further investigation. Next session!
------------ end of session 3.
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
Re: Player's Journal: Serpent's Skull AP in Mystara (arcane school's field trip)
At the start of the session, the GM makes the choice to switch us over to Milestone-levelling (something I had been recommending from the start, due to my experience with Pathfinder's APs in the past and how it requires lots of and lots of encounters to keep the PCs at the level they need to be). Part of the reason for this change too is he's worried about our survival. For good reason. Alexandra's player was missing this session too so little input on that character.
We left off the last session by seeing some ruins in a bay further down the coast, and our heroes spend the next couple of days moving along the coast toward that direction. Finding a nice spot to scout not too far away, the six students survey the area. The twins are too busy with other things to really do something as mundane as "scouting" and Iziora is still trying to read over some stuff. Phaendar makes an effort in using his "keen elven eyes" and realises that looking at the sun is a Bad Idea. Duncan with the most common sense shields his eyes and gets a good look at what lies ahead. What they thought were ruins seem to be some kind of submerged tower, with no windows or entryways visible, and sharing this with the group they all deduce that the entrance is probably under water considering that it seems pretty old (like pre-Reign of Fire old) and the water-levels probably had risen higher to cover the lower half. Duncan also spots what seems like a circle of four stone monuments not too far away and points this out to the others, but the group decides to head to the submerged building instead. As they talk about what they've seen, Iziora looks up to the sky and sees... a bird? No it's an airship? No... it's... A FLYING CHUPACABRA! The goat-blood-sucking beast is headed straight for the group and the NPCs make themselves scarce. Initiative is rolled! Kat and Alexandra react first, but it's too far away for any of their spells so they ready an action to cast Burning Hands and Acid Splash respectively. Chupa flies in closer, gets hit with some acid that does minor damage to it and then a burning hands that stings, and then it pounces upon the smallest and tastiest looking target which is the not-Gnome Alexandra. Alexandra, having lucked out her HP rolls gets reduced to 0HP exactly. Iziora fires a Magic Missile at the Chupacabra, and while Phaendar begins to summon. Duncan hopes to get the beast off his class-mate and lands a solid blow with his quarterstaff, telling the monster to "pick on somebody your own size". Ravi goes last and fires a Magic Missile. Now the group really wishes they had someone who had armor, HP, and combat-training. Kat follows up with a Magic Missile on her turn, while Alexandra is basically stuck calling for help. Having grown rather annoyed that it couldn't just dine and dash unbothered, the Chupacabra turns to Duncan who has so far done the most damage and does a full attack, causing the sturdy wizard (second most HP in the party) to fall down like a sack of potatoes. Iziora pulls out one of the wands she was gifted from the hero Ranya, which can fire 9th level Magic Missile and the magical Big Gun does solid damage. Phaendar's summoned Celestial Dog appears and jumps on the monster but doesn't do anything useful for now, but thanks to his Unicorn-magic Alexandra is healed a little bit and he pulls out his wand and casts Cure Light Wounds on Duncan (as the beast seemed a bit too powerful for an attempt at Daze). Duncan is barely conscious but manages to defensively cast a Magic Missile on the monster, and Ravi swings and misses with her staff. Kat and Alexandra finishes the fight with some lucky shots from Magic Missiles and Acid Splashes.
The group really wishes they had someone to take hits for them. Something must be wrong because they had been taught that magic users are overpowered and should be able to overcome all encounters easily with their magic! Phaendar puts his Wand of Cure Light Wounds to good use and heals up Alexandra and Duncan.
The top of the building is pretty high up and the walls seem very slick and smooth with no footholds for climbing. There doesn't seem to be anything on top either to attach a rope (either with Animate Rope or with a grappling hook lifted with Mage Hand or a familiar), and attempting to climb the walls will also require wading out into the murky waters. After thinking a bit, they decide on using Enlarge Person on Duncan (who is already the tallest) and he can lift people up onto the tower. Granted that the water doesn't get too deep near the wall... which it of course does, causing Duncan to take an unceremonious dunk as he wades out. He gets up pretty quickly (having put a rank in Swim after they levelled up) despite the rough waters and gets back to shore with no trouble. They have a single potion of Waterbreathing, but everyone eventually agrees that it's probably not a good idea to send one single person alone under water to look for an entryway, possibly encountering dangers along the way alone. Iziora volunteers to take a regular swim underwater though with a rope around her waist, and tells the others to pull her up after about 6 seconds. Those 6 seconds can't come quickly enough for Iziora when she sees a large shark swimming towards her, but thankfully she is hauled back in to land in time. Poor shark is left without any tasty wizards to snack on. So far. Ravi, who hates water, decides that they've spent enough time on trying to find ways on top of the building and decides to use her staff to get herself, her sister, and Duncan on top of the tower by way of Greater Teleport. Those who have Spellcraft (all of the PCs except Phaendar who is still failing that class) probably recognized the magic for what it was but no one raises a stink about it yet. Probably best not to have that discussion in front of the NPCs who might decide to go full mutiny over something like that. Anyway, on top of the tower, the group is very disappointed to find out that there is absolutely nothing of interest up there, not even a teeny-tiny window or a fire-escape. Nada. Somewhat defeated, they have to jump back down into the water (which Ravi is not at all happy about) and swim back to shore. At this point they finally decide to go and check out the circle of stones that Duncan had seen.
The circle of stones is much more interesting to this class of mages as there are mysterious markings on the stones, and there seems to be a buried pyramid in the center of the circle. As they have shovels, they (meaning Duncan mostly) put their back muscles into digging down about 1 meter to reveal the full buried pyramid. With it more exposed they're able to use a combination of Detect Magic, Identify, and Spellcraft to realise that this is a focal point to a ritual of sorts which is tied to the submerged building. The ritual requires sacrificed blood on each of the stones, and a venomous snake to lick said blood. The blood is no trouble since it's enough to minorly injure yourself to get enough, and the group knows Phaendar is somewhat of a summoner so they ask him to summon a viper. He's a bit reluctant to as he doesn't have any good friendships with any vipers, and he briefly suggests that they go hunting for one on the island... but he relents and agrees to summon one. The ritual is a success, lightning bolts shoots from the sky into the four stones in the circle, and they all see the ocean pushed back away from the now-previously submerged building. The NPCs express some concern that these six mages are going to head into this OBVIOUSLY evil-looking dangerous place, but the PCs kind of brush it off. Ishirou asks what they expect to find in there, to which the twins reply rather excitedly "adventure!". Duncan and Phaendar are more of the opinion that if this is tied to old Thassilon, then they're obligated to their teacher to check it out since they had just spent weeks prior to this sea voyage studying and copying texts on this very subject, as they suspect they'd get scolded if they let this opportunity slip past.
Figuring out that it's best to prepare for dangers ahead, everyone is armored up with Mage Armor and the group heads into their very first dungeon. They pass through the main doors and down some stairs into a large hall (illuminated by the party's Light spells now), where a bridge crosses above them in the room. Said bridge also holds their first obstacle in the form of two skeletal lizard-people guards, who proceed to attack the party by throwing javelins. Being 40 feet up and about 30 feet away puts these skeletal guards out of the reach of most of the party's spells (and being undead they're completely immune to any of Alexandra's 1st level spells, Color Spray and Sleep), which instantly becomes a problem. Duncan casts Snapdragon Fireworks, as it has decent range, and it will last for a couple of rounds... though he gets reduced to negative hitpoints by two javelins thrown at him, so he only got 1 round out of the spell. Iziora uses her Big Gun Magic Missile-wand again as she sees her friends badly hurt, and Phaendar decides to go invisibly as he knows he won't survive the kind of attacks that downed Duncan, and focuses on healing the wounded ones. Some Magic Missiles later, one of the guards is taken out, and the group is mostly safe from the other one by running under the bridge where they can't be targeted and from there into the next room which also keeps them out of sight of the remaining one on the bridge. The next room is a hall that stretches both left and right, with stairs going up. Ravi almost ran face first into a pit-trap but managed to evade in time. The twins decide that going up the stairs should probably lead them to the bridge, so they can face the skeleton on more even footing.
But what else will await them up there? They will find out next time, as we ended the session there!
------------- end of session 4.
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
Re: Player's Journal: Serpent's Skull AP in Mystara (arcane school's field trip)
We last saw our fearless school-trip group facing off against two lizard-skeletons in their very first dungeon ever (hope someone paid for insurance on this Escape Room experience). Iziora boldly finishes off the last one with a shot from her Big Magic Missile Wand, and the students take a moment to catch their breath and regroup. Phaendar puts his wand of Cure Light Wounds to use and heals up Iziora and Duncan before they get ready for their next challenge; a 15 feet wide pit-trap. It leads down into a 30 feet deep shaft, so it's not tempting to fall into. After some thinking and discussing, Ravi and Phaendar being the most acrobatic of the squad jumps across with ropes, managing the DC on the dot. From there, the others take turn (with Duncan for last as the heaviest and biggest) jumping across with a rope around their waist so that they can be pulled up with help from Ravi and Phaendar in case they don't make it.
Who would've thought powerful mages would have to rely on something as mundane as rope and their barely existent grades from P.E?
Once safely across, they continue down the hallway which turns left and up some stairs, and then come to an intersection. To the left they can surmise is the bridge where the sketelon guards were, so forward is unknown territory with a door at the end of the hallway. Kat nearly stumbles into yet another pit-trap but manages to hang on to the ledge and get pulled to safety. This one is thankfully only 10 feet wide, so it's smaller than the previous trap, and they simply repeat the procedure from before to get across. They go through the doors at the end of the hall and come into a room with lots of strange holes in the wall and ceiling, and the most noteworthy thing is a pool of blood. How long that's been there is anyone's guess, as they figure it must be magic at work as the blood hasn't coagulated into disgusting goop. Iziora casts Detect Magic and notices some pretty strong auras of magic. Most interestingly is she is picking up Divination as well as Necromancy...
... Before Iziora gets a chance to study further, two slabs of bronze fall down and block the way they came in and the way forward (which is still behind a closed door). This is instantly a cause for panic but not as much as the giant scythe that drops from the ceiling and swings at Ravi, narrowly missing her by a hair. Initiative is rolled to keep order as the trapped students scramble to find a way out, now knowing how toads, frogs, and mice feel in science class.
Kat orders the others, namely Duncan (as the only one with positive Strength modifier), to lift the bronze slab in front of the door... and forgets to move out of the way as she makes a pretty futile attempt to burn the bronze. It has no effect. Ravi readies an action to shoot whatever is attacking her with a Fire Jet (it will also have no effect, as its an object and thus Hardness is a pain). Iziora looks up at the ceiling, trying to spot what is going on up there and rolls a 19 on Perception. To note, she still has Detect Magic going, which we were told later mattered a lot in how hard the check would be as it would give +10 to the roll... and the DC was 30 (which is an insane DC for a dungeon made for PCs who are maximum at level 4). So Izzy doesn't spot anything. Alexandra goes to hide in the corner to avoid being hit. Phaendar moves to assist Duncan, and proceeds to roll insanely better than the muscled farmboy (pretty much re-enacting The Gamers scene with the wussy elf telling the big strong Barbarian to "lift with the legs, not the back"). The bronze slab is not budging on this turn.
The next round goes pretty much the same as the "heroes" are panicing and trying to figure out what to do to get out. The following round, Alexandra remembers that hey! She has a Staff of Size Alteration! It can can cast Shrink Item! And voila, the bronze slab is shrunk and now being much smaller falls out of the frames that were holding it in place. Kat swings open the doors and steps into a tiny room with another set of doors ahead of her. Ravi follows her sister, and soon enough the twins, Iziora and Alexandra have filled up the room, leaving Phaendar and Duncan in the scythe-swinging trap-room... which means Duncan who has the AC equal to the broad-side of a barn compared to the others get hit by the aforementioned swinging scythe. It doesn't take him down but he's hurt pretty badly.
They open the doors in front of them, and are confronted by no less than four lizard-skeletons! Joke's on them though, as they are now perfectly lined up for the majority of the party's damage spells, and Kat and Ravi promptly burns what is left of the skeletons with Burning Hands, clearing the way into the room. Not wanting to be stuck in trap-room, Phaendar hurries ahead past the demolished skeletons and spots a living snake-person! Since everything else they've met up until now has been evil undeads, Phaendar's logic is that this is probably evil too and fires a Jolt at the snake-lady and surprisingly gets through her spell resistance. The others follow behind quickly, beginning a barrage of attacks on this clearly evil snake. The snake-lady feels a bit outnumbered (and isn't happy about these bratty mammals burning up her research!) and uses Suggestion to tell Duncan to "stall the others", and Duncan fails his saving throw. Duncan's player follows the intention of "to the best of their abilities to a T" and throws a Burning Hand at Ravi, Kat, and Phaendar (knowing OOC that 2d4 won't kill them, especially since Ravi has Fire Resistance 5). This succeeds in disrupting things for the party, especially Phaendar who had started to cast Summon Monster on his turn and the injury causes him to lose concentration on the spell. Meanwhile Alexandra tries to get Sleep cast on the snake-lady while Iziora is pelting her with Snowballs. Attention shifts a bit focus when everyone is aware of Duncan attacking them, and Alexandra puts him out of the fight with a Color Spray that knocks him out for several rounds.
The turning point in the fight comes when snake-lady hits all the PCs with a Channel Negative Energy, which downs Iziora and Kat, while Ravi, Phaendar, and Alexandra are barely standing. Ravi is realising now that THIS ADVENTURE BUSINESS IS VERY DANGEROUS AND HIGHLY LETHAL (and why oh why did she realise that just now?). So deciding that she doesn't want her sister to die and that they're in over their heads, she uses her Staff of Teleportation to cast Greater Teleport directly home to mommy. Though she didn't want to wait around for everyone to group up, so Phaendar and Iziora are left behind. Phaendar, who is the only one standing, finds some courage and as he succeeds in his new summon monster to bring forth his celestial dog-friend, he uses his Unicorn magic to heal Iziora and follows up with a casting from his Cure wand to bring her up to consciousness. Through their combined efforts along with the celestial dog, the two of them fight for several more rounds until they drive off snake-lady who turns into fog and disappears.
Iziora asks Phaendar what happened to the others, to which the zero ranks in Arcana and Spellcraft elf replies "I dunno! They just disappeared! Like poof!", Iziora at least is smart enough to figure out that it must've been a teleport effect of some sort that Ravi used as she prods Phaendar for details. Phaendar on the other hand is too busy with his newfound ego-boost from this heroic stand that he made with Iziora and he is now pretty convinced that the two of them are real heroes now!
Scene-cut to Ravi, who teleported into her mother's office. Much to her dismay, the royal mother is not in her office at this time so she hurries to shove a healing potion into her sister's mouth and promptly drags her along to find their mother, and Alexandra follows, leaving the unconscious, stunned, and blinded Duncan on the office-floor. He'll be fine. The twins and Alexandra find their mother the queen having a nice romantic meal with their father (since hey, the kids aren't here and she's done queen'ing for the day!). Bursting into the scene they scramble to get the words out about the island and the dungeon and the evil snake-lady and the skeletons and the traps--- to which Queen Arlynith elegantly raises an eyebrow and asks cooly "where are the others?". Some more questioning is needed before Arlynith sighs and gets to work...
... Meanwhile, outside and away from the dangers of obviously-evil-and-dangerous-temple sits the other castaways. They idly wonder what sort of mother this Queen Arlynith must be to not have any magical devices that her daughters could use to contact her in case of emergencies like these, when a regally dressed woman decked out in jewels and fineries walk out from the obviously-evil-and-dangerous-temple. She introduces herself as Queen Arlynith of Drachenflamme and says she's here to retrieve her students, and asks the castaways if they are in need of rescue, offering to teleport them to her kingdom. Stunned at first, the castaways kind of stumble over their own words as they say "yes please thank you!". They, along with Phaendar and Iziora, are all safely teleported to the kingdom of Drachenflamme in Alphatia.
The students are all grilled about what happened, and the twins are grounded for the time being with their magical gear confiscated in case they get any ideas (also so that mommy can recharge the Staff of Teleportation). Iziora eagerly tells Arlynith she'll gladly write an essay on the island and their discoveries there, even going as far as to saying she can write everyone else's essays too. The students however don't feel like letting go of the adventure, and they ask Arlynith if they can go back and at least finish exploring the temple and maybe the rest of the island. After all, Arlynith recognised from some of the pictures in the temple that there were depictions of the ancient Carnifex there (an ancient evil race that the gods themselves had locked away), and from her own adventures she knows this is potentially Bad Stuff that shouldn't be ignored. After thinking it through for a couple of days, Arlynith gives her permission for all the students that they may return to the island to properly document things and explore for more Carnifex-related stuff. And this time she'll equip them better for adventure. She designates Iziora as the project-leader, much to the protests of the twins who are outraged at this. Duncan doesn't protest as he feels he's in the doghouse for his actions even if he had been compelled to do so with magic, Alexandra is just gloating over seeing the twins being disciplined for once, and Phaendar is just happy it's anyone but him put in charge.
Preparing themselves to return to the island, our heroes level up to Level 3 and the session ends there. What will await them?
------------- end of session 5.
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
Re: Player's Journal: Serpent's Skull AP in Mystara (arcane school's field trip)
Sorry for not updating the past weeks. Game has been on schedule, but I've just not had the time or energy to sit down and write the journal. So this is a recap of the past four sessions.
After thoroughly grilling and debriefing her students, Arlynith puts them to work while she arranges for their travels (procuring a longship for them to travel with). Most of them are made to scribe scrolls or make potions, while Phaendar being the useless little derp he is fails at this and gets to spend time learning to ride instead.
Once they have completed this, the group requests permission to return to the island they were rescued from, to learn more about what was there. Arlynith agrees to this as it is a suitable task for them to learn more from as well as it might produce more clues about the Carnifex involvement there. The group is teleported back to the island and begin to properly explore the temple, and they discover that there is much similarity between this temple and the Thassilonian ruins they had studied in Davania. There seems to be Carnifex subjugating serpentfolk and pretty much leaving messages of "haha the most badass species was here and dominated all weaker races!". During their exploration they encounter a Gibbering Mouther, and despite some panic and confusion, they manage to defeat it. They grow a bit concerned at the thought that there might be bigger Gibbering Mouthers out there since one of the murals depict a battle against a GIANT version of the monster. After some days spent copying down all the texts and the pictures, the group mostly agrees that they've done everything of value here and returns to Drachenflamme (some argued that they should explore the rest of the island in case there would be more temples or other ruins but that was ignored). Phaendar's player laments not being able to meet the nice dryad that lived on the island.
As the group teleports back to Drachenflamme, Ravi Silently casts Compulsive Liar on Iziora. Petty twin is petty and wants some payback on Izzy for taking mother's approval from them. Unaware of this, Iziora heads to Arlynith's office to make her report. "We just came from Drachenflamme where there was nothing and we did absolutely nothing of use at all! Didn't lift a finger and didn't do any work, just sat around!" Realising what she is saying, Izzy clamps her mouth shut and desperately tries to communicate in written word, which becomes compulsive lies as well. When that doesn't work, she runs off crying, passing by the group of her fellow students that had grouped up outside the room to listen to what was going on. The twins are ecstatic at their prank, while Duncan and Phaendar feels it might've been a bit too meanspirited. Alexandra just gets a good laugh at it all. Arlynith sighs and returns to her queen-business. Later when the spell has worn off, Iziora returns to Arlynith and is practically kowtowing as she apologies for her terrible lies earlier and that she didn't know what had happened and that she would never ever lie to her wonderful teacher. Arlynith isn't too happy with this, not only because Iziora is taking on the blame of a prank that was played on her, but also that she failed to recognize the magic and find a way around it. And so she tells Izzy to write a 10 page essay on her mistakes and how she will do better in the future. Izzy still tries to apologise for what happened, causing Arlynith to up the page count by 5. When Izzy later returns with a 20 page essay as her response, she is told to write another essay at exactly 20 pages on why one should always follow precise instructions.
Over the course of these days, the twins seem to be tired every morning, as if they haven't been able to get a good rest during the night. Everyone assumes Arlynith is punishing her daughters in some way for the prank they pulled. In an attempt to cheer up Iziora a little after what happened, Phaendar sneaks in at night and leaves some candy on her nightstand (because the derp has a hard time of actually talking with people).
In the meantime, the others have compiled their research notes and cross-referenced with Arlynith's own knowledge in the library to find out more. From the temple on the island they learned that the serpentfolk had some "key-city" named Tazion, and the group find that it seems to be somewhere on the continent of Skothar. Actually the same continent the kingdom of Drachenflamme is on (as part of the Alphatian colonies), though on the opposite side. Ravi, who has a Drawback that causes her to be *incredibly wrong* when she fails a Knowledge check, is absolutely convinced that Tazion must be in Davania. "We already found snakepeople there, and Thassilon was there, and there were remains of Carnifex there, and the Blackmoor explosion altered the axis of the planet so what was the eastern continent is now the southern continent! Duh!" Duncan and Iziora as the other big nerds are not convinced at all, while Alexandra is sceptical. Kat of course believes her sister, whereas Phaendar is more inclined to believe the very reliable Duncan and the nice Iziora.
A lot of the session is spent on figuring out how to best travel to Skothar, which ends up with the aforemention longship Arlynith procured, which they will use to sail around the continent to reach a city named Eleder, a kind of forgotten Alphatian-colony. Forgotten as in Alphatia doesn't really recognize it as an official colony and they don't pay tribute to the crown, but the people there consider themselves Alphatian. Iziora is still put in charge for the expedition, and Phaendar is promoted as group-treasurer as Arlynith entrusts him with a travel-chest of 2000gp (much to his dismay because this means *responsibility*). Against all expectations, the naval journey is without any pirate-attacks, sea monster-attacks, storms, ghost ships, magical whirlpools or anything close to danger. Is this even a D&D boat-trip???
The group arrives in Eleder, very happy to finally be on land again! They're mostly struck by the impression that calling it a city is kind of a generous term, but kind of get carried away with sampling local food - namely a mysterious fruit of the pine-tree (pineapple). Most of the PCs decide (by random rolls) that pineapple isn't particularly good, except for Ravi who becomes very enamored with the tropical fruit. Iziora gets scammed a bit at the fruitmarket, but they all manage to navigate things easily enough to avoid getting into too much trouble. The twins decide to use the Glamer-effect from the Star Rings that all the students were equipped with to dress up as sailors/pirates. Imagine Party City costume-level. As they ask around town for more information, they're also made aware of the strict social rules between the dark-skinned natives and the pale-skinned masters (those of Alphatian descent), and overall those who are not of Alphatian-descent seem to be treated poorly and live in rather poor condition. Iziora appears unbothered and focuses on maintaining a positive attitude since she is group-leader, and the twins seem to find this completely normal (as Eleder is just following how things are in Alphatia), whereas the remaining three are kind of uncomfortable with this but as outsiders decide not to cause trouble over it. They learn that the "colony" is overseen by a Baron Utilinius and they pay a visit to his villa. Outside they are met by some guards, who are trying very hard to maintain that aura of snobbery that Alphatians should have, and they're not very impressed with what they see. The twins looking like cosplay-pirates, Alexandra just looking average-ish, Phaendar pretty much covered up to obscure much of himself, Duncan just looking like some plain bodyguard with that physique, whereas Iziora is the only one dressed up in something like courtly garb (causing some corrections OOC as the player kept saying they were dressed in a Courtesan's Outfit instead of a Courtier's Outfit). Iziora takes lead and explains they're an official expedition sent by Queen Arlynith of Drachenflamme in Alphatia, and request an audience with the Baron in hopes of learning more about the area. As the guards are not terribly impressed, they let the group know that the Baron will contact them if he's interested. "Don't call us, we'll call you".
As they won't be staying at the Baron's house, the group finds lodging at the Lord and servant Inn, with a sign showing a pompous Alphatian with a long mustache and pointy hat followed by a servant with a big nose carrying a huge pile of stuff on his back. Much to some of their disappointment, the local fare consists of pineapple and fish. But they eat and settle in for the night for some sleep.
The next day, the group splits into groups to look around town some more and see if they can learn more on their own. The twins (still dressed like Party City Pirates), decide to seek out the seedy part of the docks to find... errr... adventure? What they find is dirty, filthy, and creepy sailors (and some probably pirates) catcalling them, pushing them to the nearest watering hole (because calling it a pub or bar is too generous). They're served some boozy swill and the patrons are getting pretty handsy. The GM is pretty much beating them over the head that this is a BAD IDEA, and after pushing the creep-factor some higher the player finally takes the hint and the girls manage to get out with some minor spells and Skill rolls, suffering only some gropes and leers as they escape back to the inn.
Duncan and Phaendar being the only boys team up, and decide to look around to see if there's any library of some sort outside of the Baron's private one. They find a place called the Colonial Archives, and they decide to use some of their personal funds (not the travel funds) to pay a researcher to look up anything they might have on ancient ruins inland (about 1000 miles north of Eleder, which is their only lead but it's a pretty vague lead), Tazion, or Saventhyi. Duncan particularly laments that he's not able to browse the archives himself, but he's understanding that the people working here knows the archives better than he does.
Iziora gets caught up in shopping so she and Alexandra gets separated, leading Alexandra to meet a local girl named Kibi - a scrappy little streetrat by all accounts dressed in rags, and more jaded and cynical than most adults. Kibi offers Alexandra to help her out in town, because she knows all there is to know in town. Alexandra asks if she knows of any ruins outside the city, which is a negative as Kibi's never left it. She manages to get Alexandra to buy her some dates from a nearby vendor, and then leads her to an Alphatian building with a sign that says "Aspis Consortium", telling her that the folks there are lame but knows stuff and travel - for her work Kibi is reward one whole gold coin. Stepping inside, Alexandra is met by one of the Consortium's representatives, who is eager to help how they can. It doesn't prove to be much of a lead as the Consortium is more into trade than exploration, but agree to look into anything they might have on some ruins on this part of the continent for Alexandra after she asks.
As everyone regroups at the inn, they are given a message by the innkeeper from the Baron, who is inviting them to his house the next day. They sit down for dinner when their attention is drawn to a scene at the bar: four adventurers seem to be causing a scene and threatening the innkeeper; a black-coated rakasta with a bow, a human woman in red-silk robes and long red hair, a scantly-clad human woman who would probably make a dockworker blush with her getup, an elf with a silvery arm and a greatsword (maybe male?). The descriptions is feeling very familiar to the players. Then the red-haired woman is practically shrieking as she puts on her Karen-act; "dOn'T yOu KnOw WhO i Am?! I'm Arlynith sumthin-der Drakkenflare! I demand to speak with the manager because I've never been so poorly treated in all my life! Your paltry inn should be thankful for me merely gracing it with my royal presence, because I am a queen and a hero!" The players are now all getting a good laugh as they're made aware of the name being incorrect, not to mention that the twins are 100% positive this isn't their mother, and the elf looks more male than female, and the PCs are also pretty sure that the rakasta doesn't have the right coat to be Tomokato. The PCs can't help but to approach, and those with some knowledge of religion are quite certain that the holy symbol of the woman pretending to be Ranya is just wearing some other Fertility-goddess' symbol, and Phaendar reaches out to touch the silvery-arm on the elf pretending to be Othariel and realises it's just fake and not real metal. "It's just fake! It's not silver!" he exclaims, and the twins begin to threaten the one pretending to be their mother, noting that "mother would not be pleased to know about this, and I wonder what she would do to anyone impersonating her so poorly." The four quickly realise their unlucky lot in life at pretending to be four fairly famous people at this exact spot on this exact day, and dash out of there pretty quickly. All in all, it was a hilarious encounter for the players, to see that NPCs in the world are impersonating their original characters, who now seem to be way more famous and well-known than they had thought... though all things considered we all acknowledged it made sense considering all they had done. The encounter puts the PCs in a good mood too as they all had a good laugh over it, and eventually they turn in for the night.
Next day, the group makes themselves presentable to visit Baron Utilinius. Some are a bit disappointed that the Baron is just... averageish. Nothing remarkable in any way whatsoever, and his villa looks pretty dowdy, bland, and in dire need of a renovation too because it all looks outdated and lame, though in true Alphatian fashion it is full of magical enchantments such as magical light, unseen servants, and special effects that make doors go *ktssh* as they open up automatically. The Baron speaks in a very old and kind of antiquated Alphatian, showing that the local Alphatians have been sticklers of sticking to The Emperor's Alphatian the entire way. The twins intentionally let it slip who they are, so the Baron sees his opportunity to be all proper and mingle with fellow nobility and invites the group to dine with him and a few friends later that day. In the meantime, they're welcome to stay at his house and help themselves to his library and garden. Phaendar is distracted by some local birds in the garden, while Iziora and the twins start going through the library in hopes of finding any clues about Tazion. Meanwhile, Duncan and Alexandra head back into the city, as Duncan wants to see what the Archives might've found and Alexandra has similar business with the Aspis Consortium. Alas, the archives and the consortium have more or less similar results, which is some rumors about old ruins not too far from Eleder, but the two realise that it's not old enough nor faraway enough to be Tazion. They return to the villa and get ready for what is no doubt going to be a boring dinner-affair.
And it does turn out to be tedious and dull for the most part. The baron is seated at the head of the table, with Kat (as the heir to Drachenflamme) at the opposite end of the table. A magical effect similar to Whispering Wind/Message makes it easy for conversation to pass anywhere on the table without having to raise voices or shout. The food is thankfully not the local cuisine, as its meat instead of fish or pineapple, which is a welcome change of pace for the pineapple-hating group. The baron is a middling host, nothing exceptional, but nothing to complain about either. His friends on the other hand aren't anything to write home about. His closest companion seems to be a Lady Madrona, a stuck-up snob and racist who keeps throwing shade about adventurers being terrible people. Then there's Praetor Egorius, an older man with big muttonchops and an even bigger mustache, who loved the sound of his own voice as he spoke about the glory of the old days (which weren't that glorious) and mostly speaking in favor of bullying the natives into becoming properly civilized people. This included lots of anecdotes from his few scuffles with the natives, some who were armed with nothing more than sharpened fruit. There is some hope in the last companion, which is Arodatus, an old elf that appears mostly above the bull**** of her human companions. The twins, Kat mostly, makes sure to play the role of a perfect guest and maintaining the expected etiquette and decorum as she makes light conversation with the baron and his friends, and Ravi mostly follows her sister's lead. Iziora is very humble and tries to engage the most with Arodatus. Alexandra, being seated next to Egorius, seriously considers stuffing her ears with some of the food to save herself from the incredibly boring monologue (because calling it a conversation would require her partaking in it). Duncan has read all about the etiquette but decides to mostly just eat and shut up, as socialising with nobles is not something he feels comfortable with (especially such stuck up racist snobs). Phaendar is in a similar boat and is kind of just spacing out without much care for the etiquette.
Iziora manages to learn that Arodatus was part of the original creation of the colony, which means the elf is over 500 years old, and with some coaxing Arodatus shares the stories of fighting the natives, civilizing them, putting down revolts, as well as defeating treants and elementals that were called by the natives. Phaendar snaps out of his spacing as he hears treants mentioned and exclaims, loudly, "treants?!". So excited that there's finally something interesting going on, Phaendar kind of misses that he's made a social gaffe and excitedly asks Arodatus if there are treants in the area - his delusions of all elves being friends of nature and nice people is promptly dashed as the older elf tells him how she killed a bunch of treants and drove of what little remained of them. Phaendar kind of just sinks into his seat and remains quiet from the rest of the dinner (and decides to put a rank into Sense Motive now that he's learning that even people he thought would instinctively be nice are not so nice after all!). Moving on from the little awkward elf-moment, Lady Madrona gets wind of the reason why the PCs are here, which is ADVENTURE. She scoffs and looks down her nose at them as she possibly can, telling them that they're idiots and should just grow out of such nonsensical ideas, and get proper jobs - and how terrible that some people even raise their children with the thoughts that adventuring is something that is acceptable to do. This draws the ire of the twins, and Kat reminds Madrona that her mother, who is a queen in good standing with the Alphatian Empress, is a famous adventurer who has saved Alphatia at least once and prevented wars on some occassions too, "and would you like to reconsider that statement, hmmmmm??" Madrona kind of mumbles a non-apology into her food and drops the subject as the Baron manages to salvage the dinner somehow and brushing the little incident away. The dinner further on is thankfully uneventful, and the party retreats to the inn at the end of the day for a good night's rest.
/to be continued. I have a couple more sessions to fill in here. Just... it is the season for other things that need doing that is not writing session recaps.