When the dice gawds smile on you (complete short story)





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  1. #1
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    ° Ignore Darklone

    When the dice gawds smile on you (complete short story)

    This is my favorite part of a campaign I DMed some years ago for a big group of usually about 9 PCs.

    SPOILER ALERT: I took the Coin of Evil trilogy in Kalamar as a starting point and buffed it to a campaign from level 1 - 15.
    Some things from Harvest of Darkness had been included as well.

    The battle takes place in Zoa at the end of the second book after the PCs crafted their own Coin of Evil. During the process of finishing the coin, the players were attacked more than once by different groups and they barely escaped into the sewer hide-out of the clerics of the Guardian, the Kalamar Gawd of Freedom, Chaos, Anarchy and Happiness (Favored weapon: Longsword, Holy symbol: Silver Eagle on Black). Both players in this battle are mainly clerics of the Guardian. The adversary for the Guardian is the Overlord, the God of Slavery and Tyranny.


    Cast of characters:
    The Heros:

    Aladar "the Untouchable", cleric 6, male half-elf.
    Aladar was the soul of the group. A sound mind, the freedom aspect of his god was more important to him than the anarchy. Being the only reliable character in a huge group of lone wolves, people mostly followed his proposals. Aladar had been granted a Swordmasters blade for freeing the son of a Zoan noble from Slavery. The sword was an arcane alloy of most interesting materials, game stats: Non-magical, +1 to hit, +2 to damage, pierces DR. In the big fight just a few minutes ago, one of the PCs died and Aladar inherited as the only sword&boarder left in the group the magical shield +1 crafted from a red dragonscale (fire resistance 15). He was wearing a fullplate that just got enhanced to work as a light armor with -3 dex penalty.

    The group didn't know about neither the swords nor the shields exact abilities.

    Aladar was jokingly called Untouchable now and then since he happened to survive the biggest battle with hardly a scratch. In my group there always seems to be one specific player against whom me as the DM does not manage to roll higher than a 5 with a d20. This "holy protection" was object of many jokes especially since Aladar happened to be always in the midst of the fighting due to his (till the fullplate got enhanced) low mobility.

    Shelri Deathdancer, bbn1/clr5 +2 (coin of evil boost), male forest gnome.
    Shelris player was with his first character the only accepted group leader. He sacrificed that character (A dwarven fighter/spellsinger) at level 2 against two ogres with class levels (yeah, status quo campaign) to save the group, fighting the ogres with 3 hp left for several rounds. He succeeded, yet the last attack killed him.
    Since the player happened to be cursed with bad luck, the new character got some extra leeway for character creation (He was allowed to roll more often and pick a unusual class/race combination). So far Shelri proved to be the groups best melee dude with a twohanded axe and Power attack (and cleric buffs). Travel domain power was houseruled to allow him to get out of grapples.

    In the fight just minutes before this one, the group looted a magical shortsword +2 able to speak with a silver eagle claw at the sword hilt (more about the sword in the adventure). The guy they took it from had a magical gauntlet that silenced the sword and neutralised it's special abilities. The sword literally screamed for Guardian priests. The group picked it up and gave it as a longsword to Shelri. I'm not sure anymore whether he just lost his axe...

    The sword had a special power: Critical hits against clerics of the Overlord triggered a Disintegrate 1/day. I don't remember though whether that was something I changed (IIRC the book had it as useable as a standard action).
    Last edited by Darklone; Wednesday, 3rd January, 2007 at 07:18 PM.
    Shilsen: Remember, as a wise man once said, physics is a house rule.
    Charwoman Gene: Hello, you seem greedy and prone to violence, want to go camping together for the rest of our lives?
    Celebrim:... + 5 (+5 enchancement bonus) ...
    Shilsen: I read the strip and felt a great disturbance in the Farce, as if a million voices cried out in terror, "No!! The XX eyes!!" and were suddenly silenced.
    BlackSeed_Vash: Does the fighter/bard have a +X Greataxe Shock/Shocking Burst, for that feel good electric axe feel?!

    Do you think your dice are lucky? Read this.

 

  • #2
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    ° Ignore Darklone
    Situation:
    The group has been beaten up pretty hard but has successfully performed the final part of the creation of a second coin of evil. Shelri has not very willingly taken upon him the fate to bear the burden/coin... and received at once a boost by two levels. Yet, nothing comes without a price... though the price in this case had to be paid much later.

    The group has retreated to their hideout and healed as much as they could. Even their two clerics and two druids didn't have enough healing power for everyone but they did the best they could. Aladar and Shelri, without any spells (Cure Minor Wound houserule: 1d4 hitpoints cured), managed to heal at least themselves (Shelri had rolled maximum hitpoints so far, ca. 75 hp, Aladar slightly lower with Con 16).

    As the players arrived the first of four times in Zoa in this campaign, the ruling council members (12) were murdered one after the other by assassins that left no tracks except burning city quarters and dozens of dead witnesses. The most important council member, a half-elf called Werlen, was a friend of the PCs (and a lover of the wolf shaman druidess archer in the group). His secret service boss was a strange sneaker, in fact a kind of vampire bard. I used the Kalamar variant vampires from Harvest of Darkness and tied cords to Giliia, a city ruled by a vampiress.

    In the campaign, I had about 12 different power groups acting. One of these groups, the slavers organisation with ties to the clerics of the Overlord, tried to buy more council seats in Zoa... by replacing unwanted members. To this aim, they hired a renowned two man team, a blood sorcerer and a black master of the spiked chain with distant ties to the organisation.

    Funnily, the players met these two guys already... in their hotel. The two had a nice party with many girls from town...every evening. And they had managed to leave a lasting impression in the heads of the players of being NOT NICE. That was partly due to their behavior towards female party members...

    At this evening, the assassins were sent to kill Werlens right hand.

    Every week, I looked on my spreadsheet of organisation and considered for each, which things she would try, how, and which active teams or other means are going to be employed. Sometimes I made a list if an organisation had too much on their hands. In this case, the players had sent a message to Werlen asking for many things since they just arrived the evening before in Zoa after they had recovered the missing artefacts to craft the Coin. So the players caused the bard to come out of his protected hiding spot... and the bloodhounds followed his tracks.

    Cast of characters:
    The Bad Boyz:

    Arlmak, blood sorcerer 7, male human.
    The sorcerer was all about fireballs and buffing himself and his buddy (Mage armor, Jump, Spiderclimb, Bulls strength, Protection from Arrows, Protection from Good...). Blood sorcerer was a prestigeclass with tattoos I found somewhere... at least he was able to enhance his magic by causing himself damage. The sorcerer was a pretty handsome if somewhat cruel looking lean boy wearing a black vest and a pretty dark blue robe. That robe is a Kalamar magic item with Cha +8 (only vs. humanoid creatures). Feats: Spell Focus, Greater Spell Focus, Elemental focus (Fire) ... His fireball DC was pretty much through the ceiling at 25 against humanoids or higher even without his bloodmagic. And he dealt more damage with fire spells... paying with Con ability damage.

    Shatt, monk5/ftr2/clr1 (Overlord), male human (Svimozhia).
    Shatt is a silent blackskinned predator wearing no armor but a black vest and a cloak. He always carries his chain and a golden amulet showing an armored fist (hidden under the vest). Ornate bracers protect his arms and a huge ring with a black gem attracts attention at his right hand.
    The character was designed to be a trip monkey with high strength, mobility and good AC. His position in combat: in front of his buddy keeping all enemies away. The cleric level was mostly added to make a two man group surviveable and to explain their ties to the overlord priests and the slavers.
    Last edited by Darklone; Wednesday, 3rd January, 2007 at 04:52 PM.
    Shilsen: Remember, as a wise man once said, physics is a house rule.
    Charwoman Gene: Hello, you seem greedy and prone to violence, want to go camping together for the rest of our lives?
    Celebrim:... + 5 (+5 enchancement bonus) ...
    Shilsen: I read the strip and felt a great disturbance in the Farce, as if a million voices cried out in terror, "No!! The XX eyes!!" and were suddenly silenced.
    BlackSeed_Vash: Does the fighter/bard have a +X Greataxe Shock/Shocking Burst, for that feel good electric axe feel?!

    Do you think your dice are lucky? Read this.

  • #3
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    ° Ignore Darklone
    The battle

    Aladar stood in the secret entrance of the Guardians temple hideout and frowned after the leaving Sneak. His blood ran cold as always when he met the strange man, yet he never had givem them any reason not to trust him. "Shelri. If he found us, survivors from the battle at the forge might do so as well.", he grumbled in Gnomish. Shelri never happened to answer as the tunnel next to them exploded in a flaming inferno around Sneak. The bard stumbled but stayed on his feet and hurried down the tunnel while two dark shapes casually jumped down the 40 ft manhole leading up to the streets. Both of them looked after their prey, obviously slightly irritated it was still moving.

    "Who are you and what do you do here?", shouted Aladar while ripping the swordmasters blade from its ebony scabbard. Shelri didn't say anything but spit in his hands and smeared his mohawk away from the shaved and tattooed sides of his head.

    Slowly the two black shapes turned around. They were the two the group met earlier in the "Unicorn", the pretty boy and the black one with the chain. But this time they wore the glimmering and sparkling of active magic instead of their aura of swanky laziness ... of a lot of active magic!

    "You bugs better crawl home." The redhead spat out. Sparks formed around his hands.

    Shelri stepped forward next to his comrade. He hated to be overseen. His sharp gnomish eyes pierced the darkness and noticed the shape of the amulet on the breast of the blackskinned chainmaster. The distinctive armored fist told him enough. "Slavers!", he shouted as he grabbed his new sword and charged. The confused yell of his sword was overheard as Aladar ran past him into an explosion of heat and fire that surpassed anything they suffered through yet. Aladars shield suddenly formed a globe around him and blocked some of the fire, yet the surprising protection didn't prove to be enough and broke... and the remaining heat hit him harder than anything he had experienced before.

    The battle started with bad initiative for the priests and an empowered fireball for 42 points of damage for which a Reflex save with 22 was not enough. Both players gulped and said goodbye to their characters.

    Aladar tried to charge the hostile spellcaster before his comrade could bring the chain to bear, yet he was too slow. The long chain of the black one whirled around his feet before his sword could reach the pyromancer and tried to pull him to the floor. Mobilising all he could, he ran on and dragged the surprised chainwielder who didn't want to let his chain go, to the floor. The sorcerer tried to jump back but the swordmasters blade struck through all his magical defenses and left a deep bloody slash across his chest. Never before had his comrade failed to protect him, so anger and fire and fear burned inside of him, nourishing the flames that build around his hands to bring death and doom to his foes.

    Dice gawds first strike: Aladar with str 16 and not much else wins against the specialised buffed chain wielder. Twice. Aladar was never good at rolling dice, but here he excelled and rolled twice more than 15 points higher than the chainmasters trip attempt. Then, as if this wasn't enough, with a +8 to hit he strikes the sorcerer (AC ca. 23-25) for maximum damage.

    Shelri, proud enough to not hide behind his faster brother in faith, followed Aladars charge half a step behind. Though he was falling, the black assassin whirled the second end of the chain towards the gnome to keep at least him away from the striking distance. But Risk, the god of luck, smiled upon the small tattooed
    gnome this night and led the chain into a hole in the sewer wall, where it miraculously stuck. Shelri screamed triumphantly, then his sword struck down at the fallen foe like the eagle claw on the hilt. A green flash illuminated the tunnel once more, then the frozen mask of pain and surprise that the face of the chainmaster had become started to crumble to dust under the magic of the 4 century old weapon.

    Dice gawds second strike: Shelri as a small gnome had no chance to withstand the trip attempt. But the dice rolled a 1. Not a big problem, houserule said: Refl save vs. DC 15 or flat-footed for one round plus provoking AoOs (in this case from both opponents). Refl save of the chainwielder was a +13... he failed. Shelris charge at the spellcaster had missed. Shelris AoO now though was a critical hit against the monks high AC that triggered the special ability due to the puny one level of cleric that I had given the NPC months ago simply because I thought a two man team should have some healing available. Do I really have to mention the failed Fort save against the Disintegrate?

    A second fireball burned the two comrades, pushing them close to the brink of death. But nothing could keep Aladar now from his victim, through magical protections and passed magical shields his blade found its target and took its toll in blood. Additionally the small gnome with the fearsome glowing sword had showed up next to him, blocking his escape route.

    Dice gawds third strike: This time Aladar made his save. Still both chars were in the single digit hitpoints now but right next to the sorcerer, blocking a 5ft step and cast. Aladar hit again for nearly maximum damage (A rolled 7 on the d8).

    The weapons and clothes of his comrade dropped to the floor and the sorcerer changed his mind to a more defensive tactic. The restricted space didn't allow him to target both enemies with a fireball without blasting himself, so he stepped back and became invisible... trying to put some steps between him and these fearsome blades before he would finish this demons with a final fireball.

    Praying to Risk Aladar lunged after the disappearing sorcerer and his blade connected once more.

    The bloodsorcerer was bleeding too much and gave up. Praying to the gods that he'll never have to fight these men again he fled as fast as he still managed.

    Dice gawds fourth strike: The sorcerer cast invisibility and took a 5ft step. Aladar followed, picked the right space in the tunnel (noone remembered to watch the footsteps in the water) hit again against the high AC and even through the 50% miss chance due to invisibility... again for maximum damage. The sorcerer was reduced to less than 5 hp. Morale will save taking into account the loss of his comrade shouldn't have been too difficult to succeed... yet he rolled another 1.
    Last edited by Darklone; Wednesday, 3rd January, 2007 at 06:17 PM.
    Shilsen: Remember, as a wise man once said, physics is a house rule.
    Charwoman Gene: Hello, you seem greedy and prone to violence, want to go camping together for the rest of our lives?
    Celebrim:... + 5 (+5 enchancement bonus) ...
    Shilsen: I read the strip and felt a great disturbance in the Farce, as if a million voices cried out in terror, "No!! The XX eyes!!" and were suddenly silenced.
    BlackSeed_Vash: Does the fighter/bard have a +X Greataxe Shock/Shocking Burst, for that feel good electric axe feel?!

    Do you think your dice are lucky? Read this.

  • #4
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    ° Ignore Darklone
    Epilog: Taking names

    These players were newbies when this campaign started, so everything was pretty new to them. When they had their first level 4 spells and discovered Scrying spells, they started to take a look every day at all of their known opponents (at least the bosses). Among others, Aladar scried for this sorcerer. As nearly the only BBEG, he had Nondetection and noticed who scried him. At that moment, he was on a different continent hiding in a small desert village. He sprang to his feet, started to scream: "It's them! They are coming! Aaaaaaaaaah!" and ran into the desert.

    From this battle on, the names Aladar Untouchable and Shelri Deathdancer were not the subject of group intern jokes anymore.
    Last edited by Darklone; Wednesday, 3rd January, 2007 at 06:16 PM.
    Shilsen: Remember, as a wise man once said, physics is a house rule.
    Charwoman Gene: Hello, you seem greedy and prone to violence, want to go camping together for the rest of our lives?
    Celebrim:... + 5 (+5 enchancement bonus) ...
    Shilsen: I read the strip and felt a great disturbance in the Farce, as if a million voices cried out in terror, "No!! The XX eyes!!" and were suddenly silenced.
    BlackSeed_Vash: Does the fighter/bard have a +X Greataxe Shock/Shocking Burst, for that feel good electric axe feel?!

    Do you think your dice are lucky? Read this.

  • #5
    I gamed with a guy in Korea who, after every gaming session, would take any dice he thought were very unlucky and set them aside. He would then spread all his other dice in a semicircle around the seperated dice and make them watch while he smashed his unluchy dice with a hammer. He was convinced that kept most of his dice in line.
    Diamonds are a girl's best friend but a well thrown grenade is pretty damn sexy too.

    If there is to be mayhem let it come to pass on my watch, So that our children may finally come to know peaceů

    I am an American Airman, guardian of freedom and justice. I am my nation's sword and shield, it's sentry and avenger. I defend my country with my life.

  • #6
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    ° Ignore Darklone
    Quote Originally Posted by Goldmoon
    I gamed with a guy in Korea who, after every gaming session, would take any dice he thought were very unlucky and set them aside. He would then spread all his other dice in a semicircle around the seperated dice and make them watch while he smashed his unluchy dice with a hammer. He was convinced that kept most of his dice in line.
    My first bump!

    Ya know... these exact words might have come from Dougal Dekree... a friend from another group who's posting here as well.

    IIRC this method had been published in some Dice Manifest years/decades ago, I guess they copied and used it.
    Last edited by Darklone; Saturday, 13th January, 2007 at 08:54 PM.
    Shilsen: Remember, as a wise man once said, physics is a house rule.
    Charwoman Gene: Hello, you seem greedy and prone to violence, want to go camping together for the rest of our lives?
    Celebrim:... + 5 (+5 enchancement bonus) ...
    Shilsen: I read the strip and felt a great disturbance in the Farce, as if a million voices cried out in terror, "No!! The XX eyes!!" and were suddenly silenced.
    BlackSeed_Vash: Does the fighter/bard have a +X Greataxe Shock/Shocking Burst, for that feel good electric axe feel?!

    Do you think your dice are lucky? Read this.

  • #7
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    ° Ignore Darklone
    Shameless self-bump for 400 views!
    Shilsen: Remember, as a wise man once said, physics is a house rule.
    Charwoman Gene: Hello, you seem greedy and prone to violence, want to go camping together for the rest of our lives?
    Celebrim:... + 5 (+5 enchancement bonus) ...
    Shilsen: I read the strip and felt a great disturbance in the Farce, as if a million voices cried out in terror, "No!! The XX eyes!!" and were suddenly silenced.
    BlackSeed_Vash: Does the fighter/bard have a +X Greataxe Shock/Shocking Burst, for that feel good electric axe feel?!

    Do you think your dice are lucky? Read this.

  • #8
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    ° Ignore Darklone
    Yet another self bump for more than 600 views!

    Edit: 666 NotB! Stop viewing!
    Last edited by Darklone; Thursday, 22nd February, 2007 at 10:29 AM.
    Shilsen: Remember, as a wise man once said, physics is a house rule.
    Charwoman Gene: Hello, you seem greedy and prone to violence, want to go camping together for the rest of our lives?
    Celebrim:... + 5 (+5 enchancement bonus) ...
    Shilsen: I read the strip and felt a great disturbance in the Farce, as if a million voices cried out in terror, "No!! The XX eyes!!" and were suddenly silenced.
    BlackSeed_Vash: Does the fighter/bard have a +X Greataxe Shock/Shocking Burst, for that feel good electric axe feel?!

    Do you think your dice are lucky? Read this.

  • #9
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    ° Ignore Nyaricus
    That's an awesome story man I completely dug it!

    cheers,
    --N
    Nyaricus' Tasty Bits
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  • #10
    The best part was the sorcerer's reaction.
    Will save or click
    Originally Posted by edhel
    I, for one, welcome our new petunia overlords.
    Originally Posted by Malum
    It was a war of attrition. The players had a set amount of hit points vs. the FB who had unlimited hit points.
    Originally Posted by K
    Anything with 'Elven' in the name does more damage.
    Originally Posted by Nifft
    I have great respect for "realism" in its natural habitat ("reality"), but I find it out of place in D&D, and on this board in particular.


    Invasion! OOC IC RG
    The City Arcana
    Hall of the Dwarven Lord

    FS

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