The Death of Life

Session 11: The Middle of the End of the Begiining
Down goes the dragon!

The PC’s: Rhett (Scott, Half-fire giant Paladin/Troll Hunter), Haromyre (Jim, Spirit Shaman), Quizlan (Doug, Air Gensai wizard), Garub(John, Dragon Shaman)

The NPC’s: Lorful (Hobgoblin Paladin, Bailiff of the court of…someone. Quai Gon Jin? Nah. But it’s like that). Azar (Rhett’s lammasu cohort), Katya (The Risen Cleric), Remsin (Halfling fighter), Howster (Halfling Cleric), Abner (Necromancer)

Previously….

We recalled that the Daurkine were small animals taken care of by a ranger of that name who gained the ability to speak due to proximity to a tremendous magical gem. We quickly decided this could not be coincidental. If the dragon was headed to the Daurkine to get the gem, it must want the gem. We decided to get the gem, bring it back to the Stream and lure the dragon into our trap.

Quizlan and Haromyre had run out of teleports. Abner agreed to teleport the casters along with
Katya and the foursome quickly teleported back to the Daurkine. The cleric, a friend of the animals, explained the situation and our need for the gem. Reluctantly, the animals agreed to our plan.

The gem is tremendous and turned out to be much too big to be teleported back. Quizlan and Haromyre turned back into massive Silver dragons and both carried the gem, making a wide circle around the approaching energy dragon, back toward the Stream.

We ended the session as they returned to the destroyed docks and castle with the gem – and an energy dragon some 10 minutes behind them…

Standing near the Daurkine gem caused the regeneration of spells at a rate of one per minute starting at the highest level of spell and working backwards which I figured out about three seconds before everyone else, netting me a tasty 500 EXP bonus. Our mages and clerics began getting their big gun spells back which was good because the Energy Dragon was about to arrive and it was pretty mad at us.

We had figured out that the best way to beat this dragon was to submerge it in the water of the Stream. I forget exactly how we recognized this fact but we did. We submerged the gem in the water in an effort to lure the dragon under the waves. Rhett, Lorful, Azar, Katya and the haflings spread out near the dock. Many buffs were cast including Fell the Greatest Foe by Lorful (+4d6 damage per hit), Speed of Hermes (by Howster, which multiplied our movement by 6) and others that I can’t remember anymore. Haromyre and Quizlan waited under water in Silver dragon form. As the dragon approached, Haromyre created a water monolith under the waves.

The dragon came in range and targeted Rhett with a breath weapon as it approached. As the breath weapon is a massively wide attack, Azar was also hit with it. Rhett failed his save but lived. Azar failed his save and died. Lammasu’s are not meant for combat, a fact I think I’ve finally learned. The dragon landed at the destroyed dock, poking his nose around. He sensed the gem but was fearful of the water. The melee characters began attacking the energy dragon. Contained in its insides we could actually see the dragon’s skull, complete with Duulrams staff fused to it. We focused our attacks on that area. The dragon attacked Rhett again knocking the half giant to single digit hit points.

Haromyre launched a Tsunami at the dragon, hoping to drown it in Stream water. The waves crashed over the beast, injuring it but not permanently. The water monolith hit it with a torrent of stream water causing further damage. Then Quizlan then hit it with a Mordenkainen’s Disjunction, one of the spells he had regained thanks to the Daurkine gem. Several things happened at this point:

1) A couple of layers of energy were ripped off the creature, weakening it severely.

2) Duulrams staff, being an artifact, was nullified by the spell. For the second time in a single day, Quizlan nullified an artifact. The staff was rendered inert. We assumed that this, in a word, would be bad. We are not sure what that means to Duulram, or to us, but we needed to take that chance in order to live through this fight.

3) Doug recognized, and revels in, the fact that Quizlan has nullified two artifacts in one day. He has taken to reminding us of this fact whenever the opportunity presents itself

The dragon, though weakened, struck back. Still fearful to enter the water, it turned its attention to Lorful and killed the Hobgoblin in one round. Lorful proceeded to explode in a shower of “Good” damage which healed those nearby and further injured the dragon. At about this point Remsin, the Halfling fighter, also died.

The melee characters had hit the dragon for hundreds, thousands maybe, points of damage but it was obvious that was not going to kill this monster. We knew the way to kill the dragon – it needed to be dragged down. The shape-changed wizards, along with the water monolith, both grappled the energy dragon and began pulling it under. After several rounds of give and take, the Stream water did what we hoped and “shorted out” the energy dragon. We had won.

Or had we?

While we were “celebrating” we recognized that the dragon skull was not the “true” dragon skull. The energy dragon had been defeated but somehow, the skull (which we assume is essentially the dragon’s phylactery) had fled. We saw it enter the cave where the Stream poured into all other planes and planets and then it disappeared. Somehow, it got away from us. The corrupted dragon had escaped….

View
Session 10: The Beginning of the End of the Beginning

The Cast of Characters
The PC’s: Rhett (Scott – half fire giant paladin), Haromyre (Jim – Spirit Shaman outsider), Quizlan (Doug – Wizard Air Gensai)

The NPC’s: Azar (Rhett’s lammasu cohort), Lorful (hobgoblin paladin), Katya (resurrected healer,), Abner (necromancer and former tender of the fruit grove prior to corruption), Bennett (Abner’s Skeletal golem), Howster and Remsin (Halfling clerics)

The PC’s being played as NPC’s: Garub (John – dragon shaman)

Previously…

_A Great Wyrm sized monkey wrench had appeared atop the castle! The ancient red dragon – who had become corrupt after originally being enlisted by Duulram to fight the corruption; the one whose spirit tried to lure us into a trap in the castle; the one who lied to Garub and Haromyre about the history of this place; the one whose scales and heart and teeth corrupted the king, his knights and his minions….that red dragon exploded out the top of of the castle – about just about where we recall Duulram’s holding place. And he looked really, really angry….

Rhett, being too big to ride Azar, drank a potion of Fly, donned a water breathing crystal and grabbed the first two innocents he could. The paladin instructed Azar carry a Halfling and Katya away. Garub, using his dragon wings, saved two people in his hands and also took off. Lorful used his magic steed (steed-in-a-box?) grabbed as many people as he could onto it and sped away in the direction of our friends, the dragons.

It became clear to us that this wave would wipe out the entire city, including the castle where our friend Duulram- the being we had agreed to help defeat the corruption – was being held hostage. We sped toward the castle hoping to rescue him in time._

The wave crested and smashed through the city laying waste to everything in its path. The docks, the castle, the market, all destroyed by a wall of water. The dragon, no longer red but now a seemingly prismatic energy dragon – a being comprised of every type of energy – roared atop the crumbling castle. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, the water split into two around the monster without touching it.

The dragon was massive. Quizlan and Haromyre were both shapechanged into dragons of their own – either gargantuan or colossal depending on your interpretation of the Shape Change spell – and this dragon was twice their size. It was MASSIVE. We dropped off those we had saved into what safe areas we could find and approached it. We gave it a wide berth and as we circled around it, Abner the necromancer appeared to Quizlan, stepping out of a pocket dimension (or appearing via teleport or some similar method). The rest of the party quickly met up with the necromancer – who was still not registering as evil to Rhett – and interpreted the dragon’s current for as it being was some kind of lich or demi-lich dragon. This was very, very bad – if not completely unsurprising – news.

Someone (Quizlan, I believe) suggested destroying the dragon’s head may be the key to defeating it. We had been told by the dragon spirit that its skull was kept in the basement / dungeon of the castle (see Session 3 recap – Scott). Having had three BIG fights since this morning (the druid / shambling mounds, the knights who were attacking the Daurkine, more knights and war hulk on the docks) we were running low on magic, arcane and divine. We didn’t have a choice, however. The dragon had to be dealt with RIGHT NOW. Hey, if being a hero were easy everyone would do it!
Abner suggested dropping Bennett (who’s Bennett? See description above!) into the energy dragon as Bennett is immune to most forms of energy and could attack the thing from the inside. The plan became “Drop Bennett into dragon as diversion, get to basement of castle, destroy skull, kill dragon, rescue friend, save world” . As our plans go, this one survived contact with the battlefield a lot longer than usual.

Part 1 of our plan – drop Bennett into the dragon as a diversion – went without a hitch. Bennett was dropped into the energy dragon by one of our shape changed casters. He immediately began attacking the dragon’s insides. The monster responded as if he had a mosquito pestering him that he was unable to shoo away. The last thing we saw was Bennett ripping and tearing at the inside of the energy beast while it flicked at the area the golem inhabited – unable to dislodge him. Part 1 of our plan was complete.

Part 2 of our plan – get to basement – was a problem. The castle was destroyed which was bad. The dragon stood right on top of it which was worse. Stream waters were flooding the city. Wasting no time, both casters changed into umber hulks and few hundred feet away they began tunneling down and over toward the castle basement. After a short time, we entered the dungeons. Part 2 of our plan was complete.

Part 3 of our plan – destroy skull – proved to be slightly more difficult than “Rhett hits it really hard with his Greathammer. It dies.” The corrupted root –which the casters had seen under the waters near the dock- was running throughout every hallway and room in the dungeon. It was nearly six feet in diameter. It felt to me as if the root had the castle in its grip and was slowly squeezing its life out. Wasting no time, Rhett attacked the root and took 60 points of “this is not the correct spot to attack it” damage. Lesson learned. We followed the root through the basement.

At one point we located a huge treasure chest chock full of gold and platinum. Unfortunately, it was contained in a giant stone chest and we had no realistic way to transport it. We were so concerned with the root and the dragon that we let it go. Somewhere, far, far away, in widely dispersed locations and times, Thorn, and Felna are shouting “NOOooOOOoooo!!!”
We continued to follow the root. It went through many rooms of the castle. While it stayed underground it eventually exited the castle. We followed with the umber hulk casters leading the way. We followed to a point where we had fought the druid and the root had grown in diameter to a hundred feet wide! We got the feeling that it was a great big circle or at least a self-contained network of branches. We followed the root back to the castle the way we came.

We searched around the basement of the castle until we came upon a room in which the root had a knot. As we came upon that room, a war hulk like the one Rhett killed at the docks was teleported into the room by someone unknown. It immediately began hacking at the knot with a massive two handed sword. The massive war hulk swung mightily several times, doing some damage each time but not enough to sever the six foot wide root.

We noticed that as the war hulk hacked away that his skin was slowly being disintegrated. Within a couple of rounds we were able to see muscles and tendons in some places. Soon after that we saw sheer bone. Within a minute the war hulk was dead. It had been eaten away by a disintegration field which encased the room. The root had sustained some damage but began knitting itself together.

Rhett and Lorful wasted no time. The paladins jumped into the room. Rhett continued the war hulk’s attack on the root while Lorful dragged the corpse of the war hulk out to the clerics. Katya and Howster used Revivify and other healing magic to bring him back around. Quizlan explained the situation to him and warily gave the war hulk his sword back. The casters tried throwing several spells at the knot only to have them fail to damage it.

Each round inside the disintegration field caused 40 points of damage, cumulative each round (i.e.40 in round 1, 80 more in round 2, 120 more in round 3 for a Total of 240). The root could not be missed but it was not subject to critical hits either. Rhett hit it each round for 530 or so points of damage. Lorful used his flaming sword causing massive damage. After a few rounds, Rhett stepped out of the room to receive some healing. Katya and Howster healed the paladin of several hundred points of damage noting they’d only be able to do so 7 more times. Thanks guys, duly noted. Lorful stepped out the following round. With Rhett and Lorful back to full HP, the attackers completed the task of severing the root. It quickly began trying to knit itself together but some fire spells along its edges cauterized the cuts. The root would not be healing this wound. It was severed.

For the record, we do not know if this is a “good thing” but we assume it is. Good deed accomplished we refocused back to the reason we were down here in the first place. Destroy dragon skull.

We located the skull in the room adjacent to the knot. It was also covered by the same disintegration field which we discovered was emanating from the skull. The casters used their umber hulk forms to tunnel up from underneath the skull with the plan that we’d grab it without having to enter the room. We also noticed protruding from and fused to the forehead of the dragon skull was the being that had gotten our group together – Duulraam’s – staff.

We were unable to get all the way into the room – I think the field came out too far but I’m hazy on that detail – so the war hulk decided to lead the charge into the room. As he did, the dragon attacked through the rubble. A gigantic claw radiating cold, acid, fire, sonic, and electric energy punched through the layers of rubble all the way down to the basement and smashed the war hulk to smithereens! It then grabbed the skull and buried it inside itself. After that was complete, it dropped a broken but not demolished Bennett through the hole and into the room. The disintegration field was lifted as the skull was removed from the room and the dragon began to fly away.

Stunned, we entered the room. We found the King dead inside this chamber as well. We are unsure if he had died earlier or during the most recent attack.

We exited the castle through the hole created by the dragon and saw it flying away. As you’ll recall, this city sits on something of a nexus. The Stream, as they call it, allows for travel to many realms and planets. Someone (I can’t remember who) came up with the idea that bathing the energy dragon in the magical waters of the Stream might just kill him. The question then was “how do we get him to the stream”. After a few minutes of conversational ideas (raising the King as a lure was one idea) one of us (Haromyre, I think) recognized the direction of the dragon’s flight. It was headed toward the Daurkine.

We recalled that the Daurkine were small animals taken care of by a ranger of that name who gained the ability to speak due to proximity to a tremendous magical gem. We quickly decided this could not be coincidental. If the dragon was headed to the Daurkine to get the gem, it must want the gem. We decided to get the gem, bring it back to the Stream and lure the dragon into our trap.

Quizlan and Haromyre had run out of teleports. Abner agreed to teleport the casters along with
Katya and the foursome quickly teleported back to the Daurkine. The cleric, a friend of the animals, explained the situation and our need for the gem. Reluctantly, the animals agreed to our plan.

The gem is tremendous and turned out to be much too big to be teleported back. Quizlan and Haromyre turned back into massive Silver dragons and both carried the gem, making a wide circle around the approaching energy dragon, back toward the Stream.

We ended the session as they returned to the destroyed docks and castle with the gem – and an energy dragon some 10 minutes behind them…

View
Session 9: The Corrupton Fights Back

Sorry about the delay between posts. We took a seemingly semi-annual unscheduled vacation from playing.

The Cast of Characters
The PC’s: Rhett (Scott – half fire giant paladin), Haromyre (Jim – Spirit Shaman outsider), Quizlan (Doug – Wizard Air Gensai)

The NPC’s: Azar (Rhett’s lammasu cohort), Lorful (hobgoblin paladin), Katya (resurrected healer,), Abner (necromancer and former tender of the fruit grove prior to corruption)

The PC’s being played as NPC’s: Garub (John – dragon shaman)

Previously on “The Death of Life”
Rhett then asked the man what other magical items he had other than his spear and armor. The man began to sputter and did not answer. Lorful drew the Sword of Truth and uttered his catch phrase “Kiss the blade and swear it so”. The man began to answer saying sputtering “Talis…talism….talisman….”. With that, his skin began getting black and splotchy. Rhett, thinking the man may be injuring or killing himself, prepared to heal him. That, however, was not what was happening. The man’s began shimmering away and was being replaced by a fat, disgusting, splotchy, bald headed being. Katya began to scream out of some combination of hatred, revulsion and fear.

Rhett recognized that the being matched the description given by Parnissa, the King’s Chief of Staff, of how people were transformed when she told the story of how Caligera was under the thrall of Orcus. The talisman had caused the man-at-arms to switch places with a minion of Orcus who was now held within the bonds and spewing vile epithets and hatred at the party!
We listened to it for a brief moment to see if any information could be gleaned from its ranting but everyone quickly agreed with Lorful that the only good minion of Orcus was a dead one. Lorful used the Sword of Truth to run the vile thing through. Rhett went to check on Katya who was beside herself in anger and fear.

We left off with Rhett comforting the newly resurrected Cleric while asking what kind of world we were in where joe-nobody men-at-arms wore talismans which allowed them to switch places with minions of Orcus????

The party left with that question and planned to rest (either by heading back to Abner’s tree or staying within this grove, it’s been too long – I can’t recall). It was only mid-day but we had already seen a number of battles. Our rest, however, was not to come.

Haromyre received a Sending from the Halfling clerics who had helped us resurrect Katya. They were in urgent need of our help as the King’s knights had begun attacking them on the docks! As a reminder, this harbor leads directly to the “Stream” and is an entrance / exit to all sorts of other planets and dimensions. The city grew around the trade the Stream and this harbor provide. We took off from our location to the docks, using our last teleport. We arrive at the docks in the middle of a pitched battle, with our friends the Halflings on the losing end. That, we all declare, will not stand.

There were two BIG enemy boats out on the water – galleons, I think – and one smaller boat trying to escape. Quizlan and Haromyre both Shapechange into tremendous Gold Dragons! (I swear, I love high level campaigns!) There was some debate as to the exact size class they could attain – it was either Colossal or Gargantuan. It mattered for purposes of their exact attacks, abilities and size but for all intents and purposes it did not matter. They were tremendous and, judging by the reactions of those on the boats, quite frightful. In fact, I do not believe they encountered an attack as they went to work on sinking the boats.

Rhett, Lorful, Katya and Garub took to the task of saving the good folk and innocents on the docks. We positioned ourselves between the Halflings and the knights and began fighting. Katya healed one of the Halflings. Rhett, Lorful and Garub tore through a few of the knights.
The Gold Dragon Twins began using Frightful Presence to great advantage while attacking the ships. Bad guys fled…overboard! Their claws and bites did tremendous damage to the ships. There was no way these ships would survive another round or two of this level of damage. It was clear that the ships were doomed whether they took on too much water and sank or the dragons destroyed them entirely.

On the docks, a War Hulk appeared right next to Rhett. For some strange reason, it did not want to engage in parlay and immediately began attacking. A few of notes about the War Hulk:
1) When the War Hulk swings it puts massive damage on its main target but it can also hit everything in its forward arc.
2) When I was designing Rhett the War Hulk, Dragon Shaman and Troll Hunter were the final three choices that I chose from. I built all three of them using the Only Sheet and liked Troll Hunter the best.
3) There is no 3

Rhett detected evil on the war hulk – yep it’s evil – and the two heavyweights began to unleash on each other with the war hulk winning initiative. The war hulk, as you could judge by the name, is very big and has a ton of HP but it’s reasonably easy to hit. It attacked first doing 115 or so to Garub and 240 or so to Rhett. On his turn Rhett attacked and got hit by the war hulk again – a class feature, they get to attack you once if you attack them in melee. This did not stop the half-fire giant paladin from pounding the war hulk five times with his massive Greathammer – no crits however – for about 390 points of damage. The war hulk noticed that as well as the 8 attacks Garub hit him with. Azar and Katya both hit Rhett with full Heals. Lorful, using his flaming sword, kept the other knights busy.

In the water, the wizard and spirit shaman continued their assault on the galleons which were slightly larger than their dragon forms were. Haromyre changed to water elemental form, sped over to the second galleon, changed back to dragon form and began attacking it. Quizlan leveled the destructive force of a massive Gold dragon at the first boat tearing huge gashes in it. While they were underwater each noticed that the water level had begun to rise. One of them, Haromyre I think, saw a gigantic root under the water. It was causing the water level to rise – a wave was building and building fast.

Back on the dock, the war hulk aided by one of the Knights had knocked Rhett down to 70 or so hit points, even after the two full heals the paladin received. (an aside, this is where the game mechanics fall down – there are no healing spells greater than full heal which only heals 120 points. I don’t have to do the math to show Heal’s high level inadequacy when characters deal 300+ points per round in damage.) Rhett knew he only had one round left to kill the war hulk. In his five attacks, Rhett landed four hits, two of them confirmed as critical hits. The first critical did 213 points of damage and killed the war hulk. The rest of his attacks went on the other surrounding area knights and killed them.

The wave grew to over 60 feet high. As a visual, the harbor and stream run north and south. The Docks where we fought were due north of the castle, which also bordered the harbor. The gigantic wave ran all the way from the north end to the south end and was moving westward, toward the docks.

The water level continued to rise – now 150 or so feet high and approaching the docks. Recognizing both boats were now doomed, the dragons took off from out of the water before the wave became a problem for them. Haromyre used Reverse Gravity to scoop up and save some of the people from falling into the water. He noticed a giant form explode from the top of the castle. It was huge and familiar and burst forth from the area about where we figured Duulram was being held.

A Great Wyrm sized monkey wrench had appeared atop the castle! The ancient red dragon – who had become corrupt after originally being enlisted by Duulram to fight the corruption; the one whose spirit tried to lure us into a trap in the castle; the one who lied to Garub and Haromyre about the history of this place; the one whose scales and heart and teeth corrupted the king, his knights and his minions….that red dragon exploded out the top of of the castle – about just about where we recall Duulram’s holding place. And he looked really, really angry….

Rhett, being too big to ride Azar, drank a potion of Fly, donned a water breathing crystal and grabbed the first two innocents he could. The paladin instructed Azar carry a Halfling and Katya away. Garub, using his dragon wings, saved two people in his hands and also took off. Lorful used his magic steed (steed-in-a-box?) grabbed as many people as he could onto it and sped away in the direction of our friends, the dragons.

It became clear to us that this wave would wipe out the entire city, including the castle where our friend Duulram- the being we had agreed to help defeat the corruption – was being held hostage. We sped toward the castle hoping to rescue him in time.

That’s where we left off.

View
Back at home...

Arrows rained down in the hundreds.
The continuing barrage from the elves of the high forest battered old shields, punctured dead flesh and broke the dark turned bone of Kavuul’s dead army. The Minotaur Kavuul was at great odds and he only had a mind to flee so that it could find the time to think and understand how it had come to be in this situation. Mere months ago his worshippers had raised him from the dead, mummified yet still possessing of the power he knew previous to his undeath. Once he was clear of the fields of wheat where he found himself working for the elves… The thought was too much to finish. How had it come to be?
The arrows of the elven force continued to rain down. He had been struck several times, many of the arrows had known no real purchase with his current incarnation of being, but some gave him a pain born of purity. His undeath did not take kindly to that. Amongst the fields he and his lieutenants had regained themselves and set to the task of freeing themselves from this most un-expected situation. His lieutenants were still dressed in their grey cloaks, belted in brass and Iron at the waist. Their clothing was the only thing that kept their shade form in place during the day.
Kavuul had reached out with his mind. The sense had still been about him. For years the elves had been at war with things that wished to do them harm, it was not a stretch to believe some had died here. Kavuul had reached out, and shortly thereafter old bones of the elves and other things started to break up and out of the ground to call him master. The living elves in the fields had fled. Very shortly after Kavuul’s lieutenants spied riders on the rim of the forest. Things moved faster than he would have liked, but he just needed time to bring himself to another place. Every second brought back the memory of the spell that would enable him to do that.
More arrows came, and this time Kavuul felt the burn horribly as one punched through just below his withered heart. As well, one of his lieutenants fell pierced in more places than he could count. The shade hissed as it dispersed, leaving nothing but its cloak and belt. Another floated in and took the items. Kavuul directed the bones at his disposal to attack the tree line and not stop until broken. He knew it was less than nothing to send against the might of the forest, but he just needed a moment. That moment was getting harder to find with an arrow bathed in holy flame stuck in his chest.
As they moved they finally spied a small wooded structure at the end of the field. Most likely it was for the tools used to work the fields, but at the moment it would due for cover. One of Kavuul’s shades bowled the door down, arrows hissing past him and striking into the building. Inside he saw a male elf scrambling to get out from under the door. Two others, male and female were trying to escape through an open window. As Kavuul entered the building his lieutenant was draining the life essence of the male elf at the window as the female watched on helplessly petrified with fear. Kavuul stomped down on the door, crushing the elf under it. Blood splatter was everywhere, so strong was Kavuul in undeath as well as he was in life. He then reached for the female and did much the same his lieutenant had done to the male. With her firmly in his hands he drew forth her essence of life and dropped a withering husk to the ground. The arrow slid free of the wound and Kavuul’s mind became sharp once more. The elf’s life essence had been all he needed.
The last three of his four remaining lieutenants came through the door and looked to him. He knew their minds once again and could tell they thought to make this a last stand, but he assured them they were leaving. His mouth moved and words in the tones of the dark and craven came forth. The magic started to make them disappear from the tool house. As they started to wink out he saw one of his lieutenants get burned through with the arrows of the righteous and it hissed until its shade popped. Kavuul could not stop the casting to help it, and had no intention of doing so. Shortly after the shade burst they were gone.

View
Session 8: Really Dave? Really?

Who’s who?
The PC’s: Rhett (Scott – half fire giant paladin), Haromyre (Jim – Spirit Shaman outsider), Quizlan (Doug – Wizard Air Gensai)

The NPC’s: Azar (Rhett’s lammasu cohort), Lorful (hobgoblin paladin), Katya (newly resurrected healer), Abner (necromancer and former tender of the fruit grove prior to corruption)

The PC’s being played as NPC’s: Garub (John – dragon shaman)

A reminder of where we were:
While we were in Abner’s tree, Rhett asked if we could scry upon the Druid, teleport in on her and attack. Haromyre and Quiz had several reasons for not agreeing to the teleport/attack idea, most notably being if she was in the castle we might not be able to teleport back out. At this point, we assume that would be B-A-D.

At about that time, our casters got to make some spellcraft or knowledge arcane checks. They recognized WE were being scryed upon. This fact did not make Abner happy at all as his tree was supposedly hidden from all magical view. Haromyre quickly cast Screen which should have blocked the scry but didn’t. Screen having failed, Haromyre destroyed the spirit who was the scry.

The heroes spent the next few hours determining their next move as the session ended.

Haromyre and Quizlan came up with a plan. We would escort Katya back to the village Keats – her home village, also the village at which we had originally arrived. From there, she would begin to foment a rebellion against the King. Quizlan and Haromyre would then scry to find anyone who was corrupted and outside the castle. We would teleport in, grab that person and teleport with them back to Abner’s tree. Once we had someone, we would see what could be done about removing the corruption.

As they say, no good battle plan survives a minute on the battle field. As soon as we stepped outside Abner’s tree we realized our plan would need to change. We saw a massive smoke-filled sky coming from the general direction of Keats. As Keats was a few hours ride from where we were, we decided to teleport to our destination.

We arrived just outside town into what can only be described as a fire storm. It was literally raining fire on the village and the inhabitants were streaming out seeking safety in the woods beyond. Rhett, Azar, Katya and Lorful began helping the newly minted refugees, healing who we could, saving who we could. Quizlan and Haromyre spent their time trying to discern the spell that had been cast which caused this fire storm and the reason for its casting. Rhett, Azar, Lorful, Garub and Katya rejoined the casters once the remaining village folk were safely out of the spell’s wide radius.

After a few minutes, the casters found some townsfolk who told a brief but sad story. The King had ordered three of his knights and several men-at-arms to find Katya. The destruction we were witnessing was the result of their coercive methods and/or how they expressed their anger in failing to find her. We did not see a spell caster present and neither Haromyre nor Quizlan detected any spells being cast. The casters did receive a description of the knights. They were wearing red dragon scale armor. We knew that meant they were in the thrall of corruption. We adjusted our plan and decided to try and capture one of them alive.

Quizlan scryed (again!) and saw one of the knights described to him , named Trin, in a wooded area fighting weapon wielding small animals. Curiouser and couriouser we thought, to borrow a phrase.

We teleported (AGAIN!) into the woods Quizlan saw during his scry and were immediately in thrust into combat against the three knights and their several men-at-arms. The knights were still clad in their dragon armor meaning they were corrupted. We saw no signs of corruption in the men-at-arms.

The first knight attacked Lorful and scratched the hobgoblin, a would Katya quickly healed. Lorful returned the blow with his holy sword.

Haromyre cast Time Stop summoned an Air Monolith – a massive gust of air with arms, legs and an attitude reminiscent of the F5 mega tornado at the end of Twister. He also cast Shape Change (I am pretty sure it was during the Time Stop) became a Colossal Silver Dragon. In case you were curious, Shape Change is a 9th level spell which grants the caster ALL extraordinary and special abilities in this case dragon fear, breath weapon and the like. I’m trying to remember the other spells cast during Time Stop but I can’t – I’m sure Jim will post them in the comments.

Quizlan hit the knight fighting Lorful with Insanity which is basically Confusion without the benefit of a saving throw. The other two knights saw how badly the fight was going and used whatever teleportation means they had at their disposal and fled leaving their men-at-arms and the crazed knight to us. Rhett charged one of the men-at-arms and smashed him, a blow he survived but barely. Two more men-at-arms charged into 3-on-1 combat against the paladin. Garub, near the elemental monolith, turned on a bonus-to-damage dragon aura and using both of his weapons slashed one of the men-at-arms 8 times.

In the next round, Haromyre had his walking tornado grab one of the men-at-arms into a whirlwind. Haromyre himself took to the sky in dragon form to fly around and look menacing, using his frightful presence to instill fear in the men-at-arms. I don’t recall him doing anything else.

The knight fighting Lorful rolled on the Confusion table and got the “flee at top speed” result. Dave interpreted that to have the knight use his own teleportation device. The knight disappeared. We discussed it for a few minutes but there was nothing in the spell description that said the knight couldn’t use the item. Quizlan was not that upset by it. He repeatedly stated how funny it would be if the crazed knight began attacking his friends when he showed up at the teleportation location. Something tells me that will be played out in NPC world in some manner or another.

On his turn, and over the half-giant paladin’s “who said only the spell casters should have all the fun” objections, Quizlan unleashed an 80+ point chain lightning at the group of three men-at-arms attacking Rhett. None died but all were wounded. On his turn, Rhett killed all three, dealing 235 points in a single critical Greathammer blow to the third man-at-arms. The only surviving man-at-arms was the one held by Haromyre’s monolith. The monolith let the man-at-arms down and he was bound in place for questioning.

Before that questioning could take place, however, an intelligent, bow wielding otter came over to the party to thank us for saving them. He introduced himself as Kandru and described the animals in this area of the forest as the Daurkine. He said they were named after a ranger who had once protected this area and that a massive magical gem gave the local animals intelligence and, until today, had shielded their location from scrying eyes. We recognized that Abner had said the same thing to us about not being scryed upon earlier that morning. It became clear to us that areas previously deemed safe from scry were no longer so. The otter continued by describing how the gem was like an iceberg. Several feet of it was visible above ground but much more of it existed below. Haromyre thought perhaps the gem could be used to remove the corruption from the grove but both Quizlan and Rhett disagreed, thinking the gem itself would become corrupted.

The party turned its attention to the captured man-at-arms. Azar cast Discern Lies and Rhett attempted to intimidate the man and of course, the dice always know. Rhett the half-fire giant, rolled a 20 on the intimidation check which reminded me of this scene from the Princess Bride set in front of Prince Humperdink’s castle:

Inigo: Give us the gate key
Sherriff: What gate key?
Inigo: Fezzik, tear his arms off.
Sherriff (taking the gate key off his necklace): Oh you mean this gate key

Intimidating him into compliance, Rhett questioned the bound man about his knowledge of the castle defenses (there are somewhere between 100 and 150 defenders), the knights (he serves under Trin), how they teleported (he didn’t know) and how many wizards are in the castle (one, whose description did not come close to matching the description of the Druid’s friend).

Rhett then asked the man what other magical items he had other than his spear and armor. The man began to sputter and did not answer. Lorful drew the Sword of Truth and uttered his catch phrase “Kiss the blade and swear it so”. The man began to answer saying sputtering “Talis…talism….talisman….”. With that, his skin began getting black and splotchy. Rhett, thinking the man may be injuring or killing himself, prepared to heal him. That, however, was not what was happening. The man’s began shimmering away and was being replaced by a fat, disgusting, splotchy, bald headed being. Katya began to scream out of some combination of hatred, revulsion and fear.

Rhett recognized that the being matched the description given by Parnissa, the King’s Chief of Staff, of how people were transformed when she told the story of how Caligera was under the thrall of Orcus. The talisman had caused the man-at-arms to switch places with a minion of Orcus who was now held within the bonds and spewing vile epithets and hatred at the party!

We listened to it for a brief moment to see if any information could be gleaned from its ranting but everyone quickly agreed with Lorful that the only good minion of Orcus was a dead one. Lorful used the Sword of Truth to run the vile thing through. Rhett went to check on Katya who was beside herself in anger and fear.

We left off with Rhett comforting the newly resurrected Cleric while asking what kind of world we were in where joe-nobody men-at-arms wore talismans which allowed them to switch places with minions of Orcus????

View
Session 7: I feel the Earth...move...over my head...

Who’s who?
The PC’s: Rhett (Scott – half fire giant paladin), Haromyre (Jim – Spirit Shaman outsider), Quizlan (Doug – Wizard Air Gensai)
The NPC’s: Azar (Rhett’s lammasu cohort), Lorful (hobgoblin paladin), Katya (newly resurrected healer)
The PC’s being played as NPC’s: Garub (John – dragon shaman)
A reminder of where we were:

Deep underground, hunting the Druid who corrupted the fruit grove we engaged in combat with several large size shambling mounds and one Titanic sized shambler. I recognize that size categories do not go up to Titanic and I’m not saying they should. I’m saying this shambling mound was the size of the Titanic.

From the last Adventure Log:

Rhett attacked the giant garbage piles’ chest, Garub, Lorful, Haromyre attacking other parts of it. Azar and Katya stayed toward the back not wanting to get involved in hand to hand.
As we proceeded to knock it down, several of us made spot checks and noticed a sigil drawn in the air. Dave will correct me – I recall it as a circle with a sword through it. Nothing noticeable happened after the sigil disappeared so we continued to concentrate on the giant pile of garbage in front of us.

We knocked it into the mud and gunk covered column which caused some of that gunk to get knocked away. We recognized what was underneath as being just like the pillars atop the castle. Those pillars sucked in the magic from the land and were extremely powerful. We assumed this one was too. We got cursed at (presumably by the Druid) and told she was just going to have to do this the hard way.

Heehhehehehehe…she said hard way.

Rhett, Haromyre, Lorful, Azar and Katya stayed focused on the giant shambling mound. Quizlan, recognizing the column as an extremely powerful magical item, decided it would be a good idea to disable it. He cast Mordenkainen’s Disjunction on it which in case you didn’t know (I didn’t) has a chance of destroying artifacts as well as leaving the caster permanently and completely void of magical ability. The rolls went Quiz’s way and the artifact was rendered inert which caused the Druid to scream just a little louder. He used a spell called Prescience which added +20 to his save vs. losing all magical ability and avoided that outcome. To say he was happy about destroying an artifact really doesn’t do it justice. I snapped this re-enactment picture of Doug’s reaction:

Photobucket

At about that time, a sigil appeared approximately 30 feet in the air. When it disappeared, a Slaad stood in place. The party quickly recognized that the Slaad was a larger danger than the giant shamble and turned to engage the demon. The demon did not appreciate the attention however and cast Implosion. Once per round, his target will need to make a save or implode. Nice guy, that Slaad…

His first target was Quizlan who eventually made his save. I say eventually because it was two or three weeks between buffing and fighting and Quiz (and others) had forgotten some specifics of what was cast. In any case, the Gensai was saved.

Rhett and Lorful attacked the Slaad each doing a substantial amount of damage. The Slaad responded by casting using energy admixture to cast a lightning based fireball. The lightning-ball hit our casters for a massive amount of damage. Azar would have dropped if not for remembering the mass resist energy – electricity he had buffed us with prior to the fight. Katya dropped but was brought back immediately (I forget how, I think Azar did it with Revivify. She may have had some other method though).

Haromyre then received his second wave of fire elementals – these ones were Huge sized and he directed them at the Slaad. The shambling mounds remained inert and even with True Seeing up, we could not see the Druid herself. We figured there was another caster nearby – druids don’t summon Slaad’s – but we were unable to find that caster either.

At about that time, rocks and pebbles began falling from the ceiling.

In that round, the Slaad took massive damage from the combined effort of the party. We heard it say that we were far better prepared than it was lead to believe and with that it disappeared. We presume that it was sent back to the hell from which it was summoned but we can’t prove it.
We examined the large shambling mound which remained inert. The smaller shamblers had been killed or also gone inert with Quizlan’s destruction of the artifact. Don’t ask me why we didn’t go back after the Druid who we thought was inside the artifact. For some reason, we all forgot about the artifact.

The rocks and pebbles became a steady rain of stones and small boulders. We quickly determined that the Druid had begun casting an Earthquake and intended to bury us alive. Using our various methods of teleportation we gathered up the party as well as the lone surviving worker and shot back to the surface. We let the worker go once we got up there and headed back for the safety of Abner’s tree.

While we were in Abner’s tree, Rhett asked if we could scry upon the Druid, teleport in on her and attack. Haromyre and Quiz had several reasons for not agreeing to the teleport/attack idea, most notably being if she was in the castle we might not be able to teleport back out. At this point, we assume that would be B-A-D.

At about that time, our casters got to make some spellcraft or knowledge arcane checks. They recognized WE were being scryed upon. This fact did not make Abner happy at all as his tree was supposedly hidden from all magical view. Haromyre quickly cast Screen which should have blocked the scry but didn’t. I forget exactly how we ended the scry – we may have just waited it out without discussing anything – but eventually it went away.

The heroes spent the next few hours determining their next move as the session ended.

View
Other side

Matros hadn’t wanted to be involved. If not for a love he once shared with the druid Karisen he never even would’ve endeavored to help her with her enemies. But help he did, and they had failed to defeat them. Now he stood upon the boat platform, a rear, private entrance at the Calyguran Castle used mostly for the shipping and receiving of goods.

His thoughts were slow to gather, a very hard feat for one with the intelligence and background of Matros Poujamy. He looked upon Karisen, she sat legs crossed on the platform ringing her hair of sweat and staring into the floor. She was not the same. Her skin was dull now, no longer tipped with the green flare it had once had. Thh corruption that had taken her now bleached her brown and sprouted at points with tiny roots, in some cases roots that would wrap about her arms, waist and legs. When she pulled her hair back a bit of root and grass emerged from behind her ears and wrapped around the bulk of her hair making a pony tail. It did well to show off her face, a once sleek beauty, pointed and sharp. But now it was blotchy and brown, and he had no idea how he convinced himself to bring his power to her aide. The once fierce beauty who had fought hard against interlopers to her home sat before him changed by something she worshipped, or more to the point charmed and taken by it. Charmed and changed and no longer who he thought she once was.

Matros took short steps in his pacing. Back and forth he played out the situation involving her and what he must do. He had helped her without telling anyone he was going to on the hopes they could be quick about it. Now he had to travel back to his home and inform his liege of his intevention and failure…a trip he did not look forward to.

View
Session 6: Druids and Shamblers and Slaad's...OH MY!

Sorry about the time between posts. We didn’t play for a number of weeks and then we left off in mid-combat. Here is the write up for the first of two sessions we’ve played:
The Players: Rhett (Half Giant Paladin – Scott), Haromyre (Spirit Shaman – Jim T.), Garub (Dragon Shaman – John(played by Jim), Quizlan (Air Gensai Wizard – Doug)
The NPCs: Azar (Rhett’s Lammasu Cohort), Lorful (The Hobgoblin Paladin), Katya (Newly raised human cleric)

A reminder of where we are:
Katya was resurrected. After some brief introductions we explained the situation to her. The corruption, the King, our friend being held hostage. She agreed to help us defeat the King. We explained that our first step was to defeat the druid who tended the corrupted grove. She agreed.
We did some light reconnoitering and, meeting with no resistance, decided to call it a day back at Abner’s. Rhett asked Katya (twice) if she required any equipment, armor etc…She declined saying she was a powerful cleric – she didn’t need those things. Whatever you say, honey. Whatever you say…
Our day ended with the decision to rest, memorize the attack spells and go after the druid at first light tomorrow….

Morning came (hold the jokes) and we prepared to attack. Rhett stepped outside Abner’s tree and saw Katya along with a very large white unicorn. The unicorn gave Katya armor and (I think) a weapon. Rhett noted that he’d really like to have a unicorn like that. His look over at Azar reminded him just how lucky he was to have a Lammasu as a cohort.

Everyone buffed their day long spells – a task that takes Quizlan significantly longer than it does everyone else. Using our various flying methods, we took off for the large mound in the grove which housed the Druid. It was close by and early morning. We did not encounter any resistance.

We finished our initial buffs and entered the mound. Inside was a large hollow – 50 or 100 feet across – which went down about 700 feet (if memory serves). There was a spiral staircase in the center of the hollow which started at the top and ended at the bottom. All of us had flight capability so we chose not to use it.

There were two workers on the ground staring at us as we touched down at the bottom. They looked very, very scared. While we were trying to figure out why they were so scared, we started hearing a loud buzzing sound coming from the top entrance. It did not take long for us to figure out we had become the target of an insect swarm.

One of the workers took off and tried to get up the stairs before the swarm got there. He was eaten alive – a sign none of us took to be terribly promising.

The only way out was through a hall on the bottom of the hollow which had about 20’ clearance. In what had to be the most incredible coincidence ever, this hall also happened to be blocked by a Prismatic Wall. We were about to meet our very own Scylla and Charybdis as the prototypical rock and a hard place stared at us. Option A- Wade through an insect swarm. Option B – Go through a Prismatic wall. As enticing as those options sounded, we decided on a different path. The prismatic wall did not extend all the way to the end of the hall. We put our backs to it and one of the casters (Azar? Quizlan? Haromyre?) put up a Wind Wall which stopped the insect swarm from making lunch out of us along with the other worker. This stalemate wouldn’t last long though – the wind wall’s duration was in rounds. The prismatic wall blocking our path’s duration was in minutes. We had little time to spare! Wasting no time, the casters decided to teleport / dimension door all of us – along with the rescued worker – past the prismatic wall into the cavern beyond. As we appeared in the cavern we heard the swarm start hitting the prismatic wall – a D&D bug zapper. We had gotten out just in time!

The cavern was very large – probably close to 300 × 500 and a 100’ or so high ceiling. It contained seven small buildings, a boathouse and a few large piles of garbage. Additionally, there was a massive mud and gunk covered column in the middle of the cavern which stood from floor to ceiling. An extremely large pile of garbage stood in front of it.

We decided to search the small buildings first as they were closest to the entrance. The worker stayed near the entrance. Knowing we were going against a druid, we all suspected the piles of garbage would turn into shambling mounds. As we approached the first buildings, the garbage piles stayed dormant. Rhett smacked one with his greathammer but nothing happened. We searched the rest of the buildings but found nothing except some corpses killed in pretty gruesome fashion. It almost looked like the guard had turned on themselves.

Haromyre decided to push the issue of the garbage piles and cast a spell which summoned several large fire elementals. He told us that in a few rounds he’d get a few huge fire elementals and a gargantuan one several rounds after that. I love high level campaigns. He set the fire elementals to the tasks of igniting the garbage piles and burning down the buildings.

The fire elementals set upon the garbage pile and that did seemed to do the trick. All of the garbage piles in the cavern activated, four or five in all including one 60’ tall one in the center near the massive column.

We saw the gargantuan shambler in the center of the cavern come to life and made a beeline to it while the fire elementals took on the smaller shambler near the buildings. Two other shamblers became active but they were over 200 feet away in the cavern – we had some time before they’d be in the fight.

As we took a round to get there we saw a gigantic displacer beast appear – the Druid’s personal pet Displacer Beast. The ones we fought outside in the grove were large. We had heard the druid had a huge one. This one was double, triple their size. It was tremendous and it looked quite unhappy with us.

Quizlan had the high initiative and decided now was a good time for Time Stop. In my opinion, when it comes to combat there is never a bad time for Time Stop. Well, maybe an exception can be made for when you fight Demogorgon in Icewind Dale II. He ignores Time Stop and continues attacking. But I digress.

I can’t recall every spell Quizlan cast during his Time Stop but what mattered most was when he cast True Strike followed by Imprisonment on the gigantic displacer beast. See ya, big nasty! You’re stuck in time stasis in the center of the world! Have I mentioned that I LOVE high level campaigns?

We set upon the gargantuan shambling mound and determined that something about it was…different. In retrospect, we should have paid more attention to that difference but I digress again.

Rhett attacked the giant garbage piles’ chest, Garub, Lorful, Haromyre attacking other parts of it. Azar and Katya stayed toward the back not wanting to get involved in hand to hand.
As we proceeded to knock it down, several of us made spot checks and noticed a sigil drawn in the air. Dave will correct me – I recall it as a circle with a sword through it. Nothing noticeable happened after the sigil disappeared so we continued to concentrate on the giant pile of garbage in front of us.

We knocked it into the mud and gunk covered column which caused some of that gunk to get knocked away. We recognized what was underneath as being just like the pillars atop the castle. Those pillars sucked in the magic from the land and were extremely powerful. We assumed this one was too. We got cursed at (presumably by the Druid) and told she was just going to have to do this the hard way.

That was where this session ended. I’ll write / post session two sometime tomorrow or Monday.

View
Where's Scott with the update?

To all of you who favorited and are waiting patiently, I believe Scott is waiting for us to finish a big combat before he updates. In the mean time…

Trivia!

1-During the Masters of Evil’s attack on Avenger’s mansion in the 80’s, Cap and The Black Knight were able to free themselves, but then they had to defeat this villain…name him. 250exp

2-Godzilla once paired with this “legendary” Japanese monster to defeat Mecha-Godzilla. Name Him. 250 Exp.

3-Name Thor’s goats. 125xp each.

4-Back in the 80’s there was a game where you used little plastic circles to knock down opposing players castles. Eventually if you landed the circle on a certain place mat spot you would win the game…what was the game called? 500exp.

5-Roughly how long was I at the DMV on friday? 1000exp.

View
Pauly Alarm

Apparently Pete has decided to invoke the Pauly alarm. For those of you who don’t know, one of my oldest friends Paul used to play DnD with us. We had a knack for knowing each other so well that he could always figure out if there was a mole or similar type of infiltrator in the group. He used this ability to great success atleast twice, the third time he started raising the alarm I decided it was getting old hat with that particular story point and made the suspect a good guy. (It was Llane)
Pauly fired back at me by getting a girlfriend and never playing DnD with us again.
Although he did try to come back about five years ago, three kids kind of made that hard.
I miss Paul in DnD.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.