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Thursday, 11th March, 2010, 10:56 PM #1
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
4E - WotBS - Adventure Path - Spoilers
MY PLAYERS PLEASE STAY OUT IF YOU COME ACROSS THIS THREAD. POSSIBLE SPOILERS.
I have been lurking the boards here at ENworld for a little while. I have found many valuable resources here for playing, DMing, and have enjoyed reading other groups experiences with this campaign in particular. I thought I would give back to the community by adding in my own experience with WotBS. I'll try and update this regularly as we have our sessions. One of my players makes things easy as he writes a session report and mails it out after each one so I will include it and add my own comments.
A little background of our group. Originally we started playing 4E with about 4 of us last year. 1 DM who was an experienced DM/player and two guys with experience in console/PC RPG/MMO but no table top experience. I have played table top games since I was a kid but nothing in 10 years. Immediately the two newbies fell in love and bought everything 4E related. We have an ample supply of source books, minis, dungeon tiles, and accessories. Later we added a few more players, some experienced some new. We played through the DM's "homebrew" on the fly campaign world which left much to be desired. Eventually the DM just couldn't provide enough "game" for us so I volunteered to take over and DM a campaign that would hopefully provide a little more that meets the players expectations.
I came across WotBS and read a few reviews and session reports and felt like this would do the game justice and bring some of what we were missing to the table. I felt I could add enough flair and excitement that would really grab the players attention and leave them wanting more.
Now mind you I haven't DMed anything in about 20 years, and my DM experience in the past was very limited and involved AD&D, Keep on the Borderlands and some Star Frontiers. I knew I would be rusty but I felt I could learn on the job! I began by prepping as best I could. I purchased the full War of the Burning Sky subscriptiion via this website. I downloaded all the available modules, encounter maps, visual aids, Players Guide and GM's Guide. I read through both guides and started getting familiar with the module. I ended up being a little rushed as we had just begun the Scales of War AP with our old DM after a 2 month hiatus, expecting him to be prepared for a new attempt and he fell flat on his face so the players were clamoring for more and I didn't want to lose the interest.
Immediately we scheduled to begin the campaign on the 27th of February. I had a week and a half to prep. I had everyone generate characters and forward them to me via their builder file. All in all I was going to DM a rather large group of 7 guys. However, history has proven that not all 7 can make every session so I figured on average I'd have 6 each week.
Kristov - Human Chaotic Wild Magic Sorceror -
Cheadle - Gnome Shaman -
Serasith - Dragonborn Warlord -
Erion - Human Wizard -
Trammorn - Dwarven Invoker -
Molokai - Goliath Warden -
Grull - Half Orc - Rogue -
I printed out the encounter maps and purchased a large foam poster board from Office Max. I prepped the first encounter or two by using push pins to secure the battle maps to the board which was placed in the center of our gaming table. I then covered sections of the map with black construction paper to act as a "fog of war". I prepicked all the minis I would use to represent the mobs in the encounters. I picked up the following items for the campaign:
Campaign Coins (a little expensive but awesome addition to the game)
1lb bag of acryllic gems (amazon) - I sorted in various shapes/colors to represent the types of gems and then made seperate bags to house the various values of gems the party could gain over the course of the adventure.
Paizo Weapon/Item/Treasure decks
little blue energy drink "mana potions"
I had a friend's wife make a dozen cloth draw string pouches.
With all this I prepared the treasure parcels by adding the appropriate coinage, generic items, and potions to a pouch with which I would use to hand out to the players to discover as they found them during the course of adventure. I wanted to get to the point where the players would use the campaign coins exclusively and not ever write down any coins/gems on their sheets. Anytime anything involved buying/selling/gaining/losing coins/gems we would have a physical exchange.
After prepping the encounters and treasure I came across a thread by another user where he created Monster Knowledge handouts. I printed all of them and have used them up to this point. I will address these later during the session reports.
To begin the adventure I decided to have each character receive a semi anonymous letter at their tavern/inn/home which requested their presence at the Poison Apple Pub. I wrote a similar letter to each character in MSWord using a fancy calligraphy font. I added a tid bit of something to each latter for each character to make it feel a little more personal. I printed each letter on copper parchment paper I picked up from OfficeMax. I then folded and sealed each letter using a Wax Seal. The seal was a symbol (Fluer De Lis) and then signed by "The Resistance". The letter stressed the importance of their participation and for them to be discrete. I then handed these out to each character to begin the campaign.
Next Post will be Session #1
I might come back and edit this post adding some pictures of the game table, coins, and things I have done.
Thursday, 11th March, 2010, 11:25 PM #2
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
4E - WotBS - The Scouring of Gates Pass - Session #1 -
Here is one of my players session reports that he wrote and emailed out to the group. I'll add my comments in orange.
Chapter 1 – Rain of Fire
Our Heroes so far,
Serasith the Dragonborn Warlord
Erion Stormcaster the Gabal trained Battle Wizard
Trammorn vessel of Bahamaut the Dragon God
Grull the blade savvy half-orc spy
Molokai the imposing goliath Warden
Cheadle “Don” the enthusiastic Gnome Shaman
The heroes are all contacted discreetly by the resistance; they meet the contact Torrent at the ‘Poison Apple Pub’ at midnight where they are asked to help the resistance in keeping the city safe from impending war. They learn that a case full of very critical documents is being kept at the Depository under the care of a Gnome, Rivereye Badgerface. The resistance wants the contents of the sealed case to be secured and the normal contacts are being watched and taken into custody, some are ending up dead so the resistance is in need of capable people who will act quickly and get out of the city.
The plan will be to take the case out safely and reach the Lyceum where they can gather reinforcements to head back before the City Falls. Ragesian troops are just outside the western walls so there is no time to waste. Meanwhile the heroes were tracked to their meeting place by a bounty hunter and his men. They surround the tavern and cover the exits intent on capturing and claiming the bounty for capturing resistance members. As luck would have it, the Ragesians pick that moment to begin their siege on Gate Pass.
Griffon riders take battle to the air and Trebuchets fire burning pitch over the western wall and smash into the city causing fires, explosions, widespread panic and disorder. People take to the streets and head into the city center or a safe location as fires and terror spread. With the citizens all outside the plans of a quick and discreet capture by the The Black Horse bounty hunters, lead by Kathor Davana, are thwarted as they can’t be seen by the public capturing citizens without negative repercussions so they reluctantly pull back and the heroes are able to escape.
(Not before forcing the party to surrender and hand over all their valuable coins. I sort of made this encounter a little more difficult, however the party was dispatching most of the thugs with ease. It wasn't until Kathor was engaged by the Warden and was pretty much one shotted to the ground that the party felt it might be best to heed his warning and put down their weapons. I used this as an opportunity to remove all the coins from their sheets so I could later redistribute their value back in physical coins in a treasure parcel)
The heroes rush to the Depository where they are supposed to meet the resistance contact Rivereye. Along the way they do what they can to help the many citizens that are in need during the siege.
(By the time the group reached the Kiki side quest most of them had about enough helping the citizens and felt the urgency from Torrent to get to the Depository. Trammorn and Molokai stopped to assist and were reward handsomely after returning Kiki and finding the discarded box in the sewer).
They do what they can but time is of the essence. They arrive at the depository and find Rivereye who greets them as if they were the contact. He has met the contact so things do not seem to fit and the heroes suspicions are confirmed when the Rivereye imposter asks them for the case password. As it turns out the heroes were too late. The case was already stolen and the imposter was there in disguise to attempt to trick the heroes into revealing a password to open the case. The good news was the case was still locked but the disguised assailant escaped.
(During this encounter Larion quickly moved to the 2nd floor after escaping the grasp of Grull. Grull felt a little defeated when Larion took to climbing the wall to get away. Grull decided to head back down to the locker they assume might hold something Larion was after. Despite Erions warning that the lockers appeared to be magically locked, Grull attempted to open one and found himself face first taking a dirt nap until being revived. Soon after the Solon then engaged the party covering Larions escape. I had introduced the monster knowledge handouts in the first encounter by having someone roll arcana and handing them out, hoping they would get the gist and continue to use these to their advantage. However, no one chose to do so with the solon. Eventually, I had Trammorn, the Invoker roll and gave him the handout just prior to the Solon going bloodied. However, our Invoker failed to relay any of the information he had just found out and the Solon was bloodied and the party was near death. Larion eventually escaped and the Solon blinked away to follow behind). The party narrowly escapes.
The heroes regroup and speak to the real Rivereye they need to find a way out quickly and head to the Lyceum in order to reinforce the city. They have 2 ways they may be able to get out, with a signed document by one of the city council ho has no love for the Ragesian occupation forces or possibly Gabals school. Gabal had fought the Ragesians 40 years ago during their occupation and was a good a place as any to find sympathizers. The heroes agreed to rest at the healing temple which was a resistance safe house and then once they secured one of their 2 ways out to head out to the Lyceum.
As they head across town to the temple a Ragesian Wyvern rider is shot down and crashes into a dwelling ,screams are heard and as the heroes kick in the door to investigate they see the dismounted enemy rider has taken a small child hostage and is looking for a way to escape.
(This was the end to session #1 - I left the party with a bit of a cliff hanger, right in the face of the menacing Half Orc Wyvern rider Flaganus Mortus).
Over all this was a great introductory session. I'm just getting the hang of things and the players are starting to learn their characters and about the campaign setting. We still need to work on the RP a little and quiet down the peanut gallery chatter that sometimes distracts from people listenting to whats going on.
Last edited by fr33py; Thursday, 11th March, 2010 at 11:41 PM.
Thursday, 11th March, 2010, 11:38 PM #3
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
4E - WotBS - The Scouring of Gates Pass - Session #2 -
Once again Erion's session report and my comments in orange.
Trammorn and Molokai were absent this week. Kristov was making his first appearance.
We've decided as a group to gain experience a little unorthodox. We are going to track XP as a group. No matter if you are absent or die all characters will earn XP at the same rate. We did this because we didn't want to have characters lagging behind or having to stop every hour to level the next character. We just found it might be easier. So far we like it. Its easier to balance the encounters around a group of all level 5 characters vs. a group of 1 level 6 , 2 level 4 and a level 3.
Chapter 2 – Rain of Death
Roof tiles and broken timber crash down as the Wyvern slams into the home. There are people outside and the mortally wounded Wyvern screeches in pain its deadly stinger lashes out and scatters the crowd. Trammorn and Molakai rush to help the people in danger and make sure the beast doesn’t take any more lives. The rest of the heroes enter the home, Serasith kicks to door in and the injured Wyvern Rider grabs a child as a bargaining chip.
The standoff doesn’t last long. As the Dragonborn gives no ground the orc knows he will die here and savagely murders the child. Striking fear and hatred into his enemies he knows that if he can not kill his attackers he will kill their spirit and let them know the futility of their stand against the invading Regasian forces. The heroes attack without abandon, a badly injured Grull heads in first disregarding his own injuries. The people of Gate Pass are his people now they have accepted Grull and this is his home, the orc will pay for his vicious acts. The heroes all strike and the final blow is dealt by the sorcerer Kristov a chaos bolt melts the orcs eyes out of his skull.
(Grull rushed into combat despite his unhealthy 6 HPs to help the party dispatch the Half Orc menace. Needless to say Grull fell below 0 very quickly only to be revived by his commrades moments later. This becomes a real theme with Grull. Granted I must say he is a courageous character, but sometimes not the brightest.)
Trammorn and Molokai put the Wyvern out of its misery but in the battle they are both stung and collapse poisoned, the group gathers the wounded. They mourn the grisly scene and make sure the babies mother and the child are united and that they will be put to rest. Somberly the group heads to the Temple fully aware that this war will change them forever.
The temple is filled with injured and broken townfolk. The heroes are tended to and given cots to sleep on they rest amidst the war torn citizens. Reflecting on the recent events Erion asks each member to consider the path they are on. “This is the moment that we bond ourselves to each other, I dedicate myself to this with my very life. I believe in the freedom from tyranny and occupation and will pledge to this cause and to Gate Pass, those of you who do not share that passion and who wish to leave please do so before the morning light. Those here at first light I know your choice has been made.” Cheadle quips “I’m known to oversleep and I would like to have breakfast first and then give my answer after the cinnamon sticky buns! I always feel much more motivated to die for a cause after sticky buns!” Erion smiles at the gnome already knowing his answer.
Morning comes and everyone meets for breakfast they are introduced to Buron the temple custodian. Torrent says he is with the resistance and the heroes pledge their allegiance to the cause. Buron is skeptical, this is no time to blindly trust unproven hands but the city is in trouble and he has no choice. He denies the heroes immediate inception into the ranks of the resistance but offers a mission to test their mettle. The heroes accept without question, Buron thinks they are either fools or very capable and brave, in either case he wishes them luck. They are told that spies have uncovered a terrorist cell that has boldly attacked and revealed their location since the siege began. The cell must be eliminated. Buron warns that he does not know how many men but they will be dangerous and prepared. They also have a magical creature that strikes from the shadows and who’s razor sharp claws shred through its prey only for it to disappear into the darkness again. While the heroes head out Torrents mission is to head to Gabals school and learn more about the Shahalesti involvement and how they can locate Bagderfaces missing case.
The group heads out leaving Trammorn and Molokai to remain recovering from their poison and wounds. They head to the warehouse and find 3 entrances. Grull is able to pick one lock and the group enters loudly despite an attempt by Cheadle to cause a distraction. The guards are alerted and as the heroes try to cover the distance to them Grull is greeted warmly by a hail of daggers and is forced to retreat. The heroes withdraw behind cover and regroup. They push down a side corridor only to have Kristov fall into a pit trap. Then from the shadows the razor sharp claws of a dragonlike creature slash at the party. Guards coming now from behind and in front of them things look grim. Leaping onto the warehouse boxes Grull finds a spot where he can jump down upon the beast, inspired by Serasith he leaps and drops the creature in a heap. The heroes are faced by a mage who’s first spell shoots surprisingly into the warehouse walls. Kristovs chaos magic aura seems to crackles and he smiles. Erions understanding of chaos magic is that its unpredictable but today it seems to be on their side. Together Erion and Kristov blast the life out of the mage before he casts another spell. Grull leaps down to finish off the remaining guards and Cheadles spirit helps turn the tide. A few of the terrorists’ manage to escape but the cell is destroyed, mission accomplished. They search the area and return to the safe house at the temple.
(This encounter took a LONG time to play out. Needless to say it was fun and I believe the characters had a good time over all. I don't think they planned very well and it made for a much more difficult encounter then they expected. In the end the group dispatched the terrorist cell and all survived)
Among the loot and items they discover some plans that detail a plot to attack and kill the councilman Erdan Menash. The plot relies on a distraction that this cell was supposed to provide so the heroes can only hope they have thwarted the assassination. They ask Buron to send word to Erdan Menash. The heroes remark on the assassination plot details the seal used is a scripted ‘M’ perhaps an unknown enemy but Erion ponders the half orc Governor Merrick Hurt, a rumored Regasian sympathizer with no love for the Eastern lands of Shahalesti. Perhaps in a less official capacity he refers to himself as simply “Merrick”. Without any link Erion decides to keep this information discrete no reason to call out the cities ruling power as an enemy of the state till proof is found, maybe Erdan can shed some light on this. The heroes decide to wait for Torrents return and for everyone to recover to full strength only to be interrupted by Buron who warns them, “The dead have awakened! Ancient evil locked away and protected by this very temples magic! The bombings have broken the ancient seals beneath us and they rise! We must act now before they are let loose into the city!”
The heroes who are able rush blindly into the catacombs and find death waiting. Dwarven wights and skeletons slash and rip into our heroes. With Burons aid and the forces are repelled and destroyed but at a cost the last 2 skeletons shatter in a hail of thousands of bone slivers impaling Grull who stood in front of the group to shield them from the blast. Cheadles efforts to revive him aren’t enough. Stunned at the outcome the group gathers with Buron. The battle has just begun Grull was the first to give his life amongst them. Among the friends they had all become Grull was perhaps the most quite, not speaking much about his past but sharing drink and genuinely appreciating the friendships he forged. In a city where no one judged him he never hesitated to act and to stand by his friends without question Serasith slammed a strong fist into this shield “Grull you will be missed!” the heroes all lowered their heads in respect. “I am sorry I didn’t get to know you better friend” said Erion, ashamed that he was slightly unsure of the half orc due to the bigotry preached by his former Dwarven commander. He would never judge a person again because the true measure of a man is in the actions he takes and Grulls actions were always true to his friends.
The morning was somber and the temples injured moaned and a heavy blanket of despair draped over the collected citizens. A lonely Bard plucked away a miserable rhythmic tune on her lute, a monotonous and dead tone that seemed to weave into the very mood that was being felt. The moans of the ill and injured and the cries of the mourning and lost children seemed to match the song as if it were written into its bars. Erion felt the mood penetrating and decided to do something about it. “30 years ago isn’t such ancient history! You must know that your fathers and mothers and many of you once faced this same oppression and you fought it back! The Regasians may have forgotten, or perhaps they hope WE have forgotten! But we have NOT this is OUR FREE CITY! Let them come, we will gather our strength and our children will speak of us, that we kept them free!” Serasith interrupted the Bard and advised that she play a different tune, she refused. Serasith asked again with a firm tone and clenched his thick reptilian fists with his knuckles cracking under his power. She glanced at him and shifted away. The crowd started to boo and tell her to leave, they were tired of her. The bard packed her things and left thankful that the Dragonborn didn’t smash her lute to splinters.
Buron inspired and impressed by the groups’ actions and sacrifice felt it was time to offer them official entry into the resistance, their resolve hardened they accepted. He also told the heroes that bravery and sacrifice would sometimes be rewarded by the gods for those deemed worthy. The group agreed that they would do what was needed and gather the materials necessary. He had seen a vision and prepared Grulls body with a ritual. There was a chance given the right conditions that he could revive Grull to life he would need to pray on this and asked the group to rest up as he retreated to his chambers to worship
They waited anxiously for Buron to emerge.
(Again this was a great session despite missing a couple of our players. The group is starting get a little more cohesive but they really need to work on their tactics and their role playing a bit. They have yet to really begin questioning things. They don't seem to grasp the concept of inquiring minds. They are kinda just going with the flow. I'm trying to find better ways to get information to them to help them see the plot a little better. Erion's player is a fantastic RPer and has the potential to get the group headed in the right direction and will begin asking the right kinda of questions which will hopefully get the rest of the players thinking outside of the box. Erion is the guy writing the session reports).
Tuesday, 23rd March, 2010, 09:10 PM #4
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
We are starting up on, I hope, April 11. I have another game with these folks during the week and I think this might be a fun adventure.
Enjoyed your update, and your player notes are fabulous. I have only one or two that will take notes.
I was wondering how to run the Larion encounter. I'm worried about the ending. My group is unlikely to 'surrender' to the guards. I may just rip that out, and have them search the depository and find the survivors.
There are a few little modifications like that that I see.
Wednesday, 24th March, 2010, 07:13 PM #5
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
I think my party might have been a little less likely to "surrender" to the guards if they hadn't been so severely outnumbered by them and even more so they weren't exactly in the best shape after the encounter with Larion/Solon/Trapped depository. I suppose they had been a little dejected at this point because they had previously been smacked around a little by Kathor as well. The groups confidence is building and their group/tactical play is improving as they level. I'll have a couple more session reports/updates here soon.
Thanks for the reply!
Wednesday, 24th March, 2010, 07:42 PM #6
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Chapter 3 – The Storm
Word came back that the ritual was a success. Grull was revived and recovering. The group rested and prepared waiting for word from Torrent. She arrived shortly after with news that Shealis was indeed connected with the case and worked with Larion who is believed to be the disguised burglar who had stolen the case from Rivereye at the Depository. Shealis had a Solon familiar so everything fit. Shealis wasn’t well liked by many but Gabal did show her favor. She had an apartment on campus, “the Castle” as it was called and Erion believed he could get in to speak with her. Torrent said she was going to get assistance from a Gnome Sorcerer to help delay her if needed till the case could be located. There was another potential ally at the school, a wizard named Diogenes a rival who made no secret that he despised Shealis.
The group rested for the night while and would prepare to head out in the morning. A storm hit, one of the heaviest of the year, grounding Griffons and Wyverns alike but they would be well rested and when the skies cleared the bombings would be twice as heavy. In the meantime the siege slowed as the Ragesians regrouped and took cover it was quiet as the heroes slept.
Trammorn rode upon his Dragon high above the Ragesian Capitol with a battle cry he dove“For BAHAMAUT!” Lighting and fire crashed into the city a legion of angels at his command!
This was a rather amusing jab at Trammorn our Invoker of Bahamaut in the party. He was the character who made the knowledge check against the solon during our first session. Instead of relaying any information about the Solon's possible explosion at bloodied/death he noticed the Solon was Lawful Good and thought maybe if he displayed LG actions he would get the Solon to stop its attack on the party. Trammorn shouted to the party/solon "I see you are of a lawful good nature I am a servant of Bahamaut", just before the blow that bloodied the Solon and nearly wiped out the group.
The group was up before Dawn checking on Grull who was able to travel and Trammorn they watched as a trickle of spittle dripped from Trammorn mouth into his beard. He was tended by Frugard a thickly bearded older Dwarven woman who snorts and chokes out a mouthful of phlegm into a rag and lifted the sheet to vigorously scrub Trammorns nether regions. “Bah it’s impossible to keep these things from laying eggs, I should burn them out since your friends not waking up.” Grull winced and Erion shifted uncomfortably. “Ok well we just wanted to see how things looked, I guess he’s not in much condition to travel but we have given Buron a letter explaining our mission and our path. When Trammorn is well ask him to join us”. Frugard went back to tending Trammorn who lay there, a loud eruption sounding beneath his sheets. “Oh looks like you need to be changed again” With that the heroes quickly headed back to the common room.
“That was disturbing…Serasith was cut off by Buron who burst into the room. “You must move quickly! The escape route thru the singing Chasm will be ready today and soon, they plan on moving the case by this afternoon! Its vital we get to it right away!”
Torrent wasn’t back yet but they couldn’t afford to wait, they left immediately and headed across town to Gabals School. They arrived at “The Castle” before Dawn and saw a man in blue robes at the gate. “I am Erion I trained here at the school and with entry…with my friends also” the man calmly said “for what purpose.” Erion stepped forward to get a better look at the man “We are here to speak to Shealis” The man smiled “and why should I let you in. Erion recognized the man as Diogenes “ She has stolen something that doesn’t belong to her and we are going to get it…er…ask for it back.” Diogenes muttered “that bitch, it doesn’t surprise me at all, come in quickly I will help you.” The heroes explain the situation and Diogenes says he can perform and ritual that will encase her entire apartment in a force bubble, we had about 15 minutes and it would prevent her from escaping. They moved into position and entered her home.
Shealis was packing her belongings and didn’t bat an eye as the home was entered, she had been expecting them. With a calm and condescending tone she said “No need for introductions, you’re here for the case. I am interested why you think you have any claim to it?” Kristov approached flipping his hair back and cracking a sly smile. “The case doesn’t belong to you and there is important information we need for the defense of the city” “There are more important things than this city” she snapped “My nations security for one” Erion was not happy when he heard that remark “The people of Gate pass are being attacked! War is upon the City! You would see it burned to the ground?” The Eladrin woman paused a moment, Serasith asked “Perhaps we can reach an agreement, to share the information in the case?” Kristov told her with a charming smile “plus we are the only people with the key to open it, it would take you weeks to..” Erion interrupted “ Gate pass doesn’t have weeks! We need to get it to the Lysium now!” Shealis asked “And how do I know you will not allow it to get into Regasian hands?” “Molokai stood solemnly “I will die before it falls into Orc hands” Shealis thought about it “ Perhaps you are right, I do not wish Gate Pass to fall and the matter is urgent. You agree to share the contents with the Shahalesti Nation so I will bring you to the case so you may take it. You should move quickly.
This Skill Check encounter went well. I did not inform the party it was a skill check. I just simply role played Shealis to the best of my ability and kept quiet track of success and failures upon the parties attempts to persuade Shealis to work with them and hand over the case. The group enjoyed the encounter and most of them stepped up and improved their role playing abilities. A couple of characters were afraid to "say" anything for fear of having to roll one of their skill checks that they were not very skilled in. Hopefully that will change as the adventure moves forward.
The heroes were lead to the Shahalesti Safe house and the case was turned over to them. Thanking Shealis the heroes left and decided they should visit with Erdan Menash right away to secure a way out of the city immediately. They arrived at the flamboyant mans estate and waited a few minutes till he returned. Upon his arrival Erdan was very excited to meet the heroes and took a special liking to the large goliath Molokai and asked him to hold the shaft of a two handed bunny axe. Molakai handled the shaft with his strong hands and it felt good to the touch well balanced and well made Erdan definitely had a way with his craft. After a brief tour the heroes told Erdan their tale and he agreed to help them. He sent the heroes to one of the Guard barracks where they could disguise as a regularly scheduled patrol and exit the city without raising suspicion. They agreed and headed across town with Erdans seal of approval.
Another nice role playing encounter. The skill checks were handled the same way as the previous encounter. I did everything quietly. I had fun role playing this unique character with his interesting wares. The party had several laughs and seemed to enjoy it.
They noticed they were being followed by a band of bounty hunters dressed as city guard. The hunters seemed intent on bringing down the mages and did so with ease the rest of the group fought hard and when things seemed to be on the brink a man leapt from the rooftops and severed the head of one of the bounty hunters before his feet hit the ground. The rest of the attackers fled and the acrobatic swordsman introduced himself as Rantle an infamous scoundrel and folk legend He claimed to know of the heroes and knew they planned on heading to the Lyceum. Rantle asked them to bring a message to his sister Katrina and gave them a scroll case. They agreed and the man leapt off into the shadows to steal jewels, bed a noblewoman or perhaps buckle swashes as he was bound to do.
Not long after the Heroes arrived at the barracks, secured uniforms and a way to leave the city, thanks to Erdan, they restocked supplies and rested up discussing their trip south. They would be passing through the Fire Forest. Upon investigating the scroll given to them by Rantle they made a surprising discovery. A secret message found in the scroll case by using the ‘Gary’ method of code breaking they managed to learn that Katrina had sent word to her brother that she believed Regasia would win the war and take Gate Pass, warning him to leave and to also visit the Lyceum to disrupt the ability to send aid to the resistance. The heroes decided they would pay her a visit but it wouldn’t be ending pleasantly if her intention was to sabotage their quest. Kristov asked if he could have a bottle of wine and some alone time with Katrina before things got out of hand. “Only if you don’t mind Serasith watching” said Erion “your not getting out of our sight with that crazy bitch traitor” Serasith looked puzzled it wasn’t the first time Erion had asked him to be in the same room while humans mated. Serasith wondered why mammals tended to have such odd behaviors.
For this encounter I changed the method which Katrina left a secret message for Rantle. In the module it explains they typically leave messages for one another using invisible ink which is discovered by holding up the letter to a flame. I was not prepared to have a flame near by for the party to discover the message, so instead I used a simple cipher. I purchased a medium sized mailing tube to represent the scroll case, I then wrapped a white ribbon around the case from end to end. I then wrote the message horizontally along the case. Removed the ribbon and now the only way to decipher the code would be to wrap the ribbon around the scroll case and line the letters up. If someone did not have both the ribbon and the scroll case it would be difficult to crack. One player eventually tried deciphering it by wrapping it around the case but did so that the words were backwards, at one point they saw the name "Gary" in the backwards letters which lead to naming the cipher as the "Gary" method, eventually seeing Lyceum backwards prompted them to reverse the wrapping and discover Katrina's intent.
The group decided to set a watch since they were so recently attacked. The rested uneasily, eager to get out of the town, hopeful to return soon to liberate it.
The party is starting to get excited about the deep back story and to try and tie loose ends together. I think the Adventure path bodes well for the future. The players are all eager to play each week which is all positive in my mind. Another great session!
Wednesday, 24th March, 2010, 08:01 PM #7
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Chapter 4 – The Inquisition.
Hours before dawn the heroes geared up as guards, took supplies and followed the standard patrol out across the city. Based on the fact they were attacked last night they wanted to keep a low profile in case they were being watched. Erion was anxious to get out of the city, truth of the matter was despite the “resistance” most citizens just wanted to have normal lives regardless of who ruled. If turning over mages to Ragesian inquisitors kept their families safe the very people Erion and the resistance had sworn to protect would very quickly turn on them.
When faced with War and death most civilians will take the choice of peace and if that meant accepting the occupational forces of Ragesia then so be it. The heroes would have to fight the battle on another front and bring liberation to the city.
The streets were filled with people citizens gathering quickly turned into mobs angered that war was caused by selfish politicians concerned about lining their own pockets. It was no secret that many merchants were very wealthy due to Gate Pass free trade. Prices on goods from and to Ragesia were inflated. Ragesia occupation would change all of that. As is the case with most wars economics was the prime factor. Many councilmen positioned themselves to accept the occupation and retain power and wealth should Ragesia take a majority hold on the free city. While the gates remained closed and the city at siege the pressure was rising to have peace talks progress if the Counsel resisted they risked complete anarchy and a citizen revolt. The politicians debated on the floor and called a vote…
Back on the city streets the mobs had become more aggressive the mounted patrol set out to engage some rowdy groups and disperse the crowds. The captain told the heroes, we will take care of this, stay quite and keep on the main road. The guards separated and left the heroes mounted near a row of shops. It wasn’t long till more citizens jeered at the group shouting. In a nearby magic shop an explosion and then yelling was heard the heroes stood looking toward the open road more yelling they some loud crashing and a mans voice screamed out.
The citizens started yelling at the heroes, “Guards don’t you hear that? Aren’t you going to do something?” Erion shrugged I don’t hear a thing, we were told to wai…” he was cut off by a mans cry for help. Molokai was off his mount and at the door before anyone had time decide on the next course of action. They entered, the shop full of magical supplies the shop owner down on his knees assaulted by a familiar man in robes accompanied by his sorcerer adepts. It was the Gnome sorcerer the friend of Rivereye that had been asked to help if things at Gabals School got out of hand. The attackers saw the guards enter and attacked immediately, Molakai smashed heavily into the men holding the door and Grull rolled in Knives flying, Erion came all the way in not wanting the citizens see a guard casting and fired off a few spells till Torrent was called in. The exchange left one of the attackers dead Torrent yelled out “What is this? The bitter sorcerer Gnome spat a reply, “what does it look like were stocking up on supplies” Torrent said,” but your Rivereyes’ friend why would you attack this man?” Abruptly the gnome said, the inquisitors will be entering the city, your resistance has done NOTHING to prevent that! I am going to FIGHT, unlike YOU who are running away form the problems here! I will face things and I am taking what I need!” the shop owner pleaded “ This is my lively hood please please don’t.”
Erion looked at the shop keeper and acknowledged the Gnome Sorcerer, “Sir he speaks the truth IF the inquisitors enter the city all magic shops will be closed and chances are you will be taken in and tortured for the names and locations of your customers. This might be a blessing in disguise, close your shop and stay with your family; you have no idea how bad this could be.”
Serasith said firmly, you should leave more guards are coming. The Gnome spat, “Run cowards run! As the people of this city suffer I hope you sleep well!” He ordered his men out and they left out the back door.
Torrent shook her head, “I don’t understand…” “It’s fine lets get moving” said Serasith firmly. The guards returned and the crowd forming around the heroes was dispersed, they continued to the gate.
The City Councils vote was tallied, they agreed to let the Inquisitors into the City, the vote was nearly unanimous and a single bell tolled for the gates to be open the Inquisition had begun.
The papers were checked and a moment of tension seemed hours, but Erdans word was true the heroes were let out of the city as a patrol squad. They galloped with a few of the guards to an outpost tower a day out of town. They stayed the night to rest, changed into their gear, thanked the guards and headed south toward the Fire Forest.
By mid morning the heroes reached a stretch of treacherous road known as “The Gauntlet” a narrow ravine with steep sheer cliff faces a few miles in length. They entered with eyes searching for an ambush. They didn’t have to wait long, thunderstones spooked the horses and ran them ahead, Molokai and Erion dismounted by launching themselves onto the dirt with a thud. Ambushers scaled down the wall and came out of a hidden crevasse in the ravine wall. Soon Kathor revealed himself and the Black Horse Mercenaries were again the antagonist.
Serasith tried to reason with the man and to put an end to this once and for all “Kathor why not end this, we are out of the city just leave us be!” but Kathor was loyal to Regasia and would show no quarter, “The mages come with us!” he yelled. Serasith said “So be it…diplomacy is at an end!” slamming his sword into Kathors’ chest nearly dismounting him with the blow. Kathor grimaced and charged. Erion and Torrent arrived and engaged in a fierce battle. Torrents horse spooked and darted forward, Erion covered the area ahead in a repulsion field, a large area of the cavern floor was covered by a blue glowing energy the pulsed as gravity itself was warped, gravel and small bits of dirt rose up and the horses legs slipped out and fell with their riders to the ground. The men tried to get footing but the field prevented them from stable footing. Erion yelled at Torrent to back out quickly but she was caught by a crossbow bolt hard in the chest and thrown from her horse she landed unconscious.
I played Kathor a little more agressive this time around with hopes of having the party dispatch of him and his men. I needed to give the party a good morale boost and hoped they gained it by defeating this foe who rattled them early during the first session. Killing Kathor, his many Black Horse companions and getting their first albiet brief introduction to the mysterious Trillith (essence leaving his body upon death) left a pleasurable taste in the parties mouth.
Grull, Cheadle and Molokai dispatched the rear flank attackers and rushed up to help Serasith had dispatched Kathor and as his body fell an odd spirit like form rose from the corpse into the sky. Serasith wondered if it was the last they would see of Kathor. Kathors men in defiance fired into torrents body to finish her off. Ending any remote chance they had of remaining alive as prisoners, they were cut down before they could escape.
Erion remained in the gauntlet, surrounding himself with gravity wells that pulsed on the ground and would prevent anyone getting near to him. He just hoped that a bunch of Archers didn’t show up and cracked his spell book open to look up some spells that might cover that obvious weakness.. The rest of the band followed the mercenaries’ tracks back to a camp. They searched the camp using mostly their hands while Grull used his daggers to slice things open which appeared to have released an enchantment with a fizzle. By the time they others realized what had happened it was too late. Grull apologized and sheathed his knives. “I have always been more cautious, cutting a package open rather than touching it seemed to make more sense”. “Its fine Grull” said Cheadle “we will just add the cost of a priceless magical blanket to the amount you owe us from the resurrection and call it even” Grull walked away as Cheadle started to go into a tale of a great gnomish magic blanket weaver named Puffy McComfort “Puffy was his real name but not McComfort that was made up, yet its an odd coincidence because his blankets were not just comfortable but rather puffy so its strange that his parents would have named him Puffy, which is also strange because I used to have a friend named Puddles who had this habit of…” the gnomes voice became the usual hum that most of the group tuned out until he screamed or became agitated and they actually decided to listen to him. They gathered their haul and headed back to Erion who was amazingly still alive since no wandering archers had happened along.
They pushed forward a few hours till they came across a great stone bridge and saw Dwarven workers hammering away. Heavily armed guards came up the road and asked the Adventurers to turn around the borders were closed, unless you would give the king audience and surrender to his court. The heroes decided they needed to pass through so they would follow the dwarves to their King. They told the king of their mission and of news from Gate Pass, the King shared some problems that they were having a tough time with a mechanical lift system that appeared to be locked up as well as a recent rash of supplies and stored being stolen. The heroes agreed to help, Erion and Grull went to get the lift working and Molokai, Serasith and Cheadle went to check on the burglaries.
Not long afterwards both groups were successful and the king applauded the groups and called for beer and a feast! Grull drank a lot the group supplied and were able to enjoy a safe night’s sleep. They had given Torrents body to the Dwarves and asked if the priests could attempt a resurrection. They check with them in the morning and unfortunately they were not able to revive the woman. The heroes decided to push forward to the Lyceum and left after a hearty breakfast.
A few hours out they reached the edge on the Fire Forest, they felt the noticeable rise in temperature and as they reached closer to it a large group of beasts caught glimpse of them, growling and turning around to face the group as they approached…
A very solid session. We were short Trammorn and Kristov this week. Trammorn has only managed to make the first week as he has had his wedding to prepare for. We are taking the next week off and then reconvening first week in April where we will finish up the last couple of encounters in The Scouring of Gate Pass and begin The Fire Forest! Exciting days to come!
Monday, 12th April, 2010, 07:03 PM #8
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Chapter 5 - Out of the Fire into the Fire Forest -
The party headed closer to the Fire Forest as was evident by the ashen sky and rising temperature. They wanted to make the forest by sunset so picked up the pace of the nervous horses. They came to a clearing and noticed several snarling beasts. Hyenas with fangs dripping and growling as the group made the last turn.
A large beast man stood atop a stone wall as the group approached.
Erion looked over to Serasith who usually handled the initial greetings. Erion thought it would go something like "Hail powerful beast man of the woods, stay your beasts as we do not come to harm you and your home, we are merely passing through and..." Erions thoughts were cut off as a screaming chaos bolt ripping through the air and slamming into the nearest Hyena with 'HISSSS' of scorched flesh.
"Ok then, I guess you need to work on your speedy diplomacy or at least be far enough ahead that Kristov is out of range. Erion smiled at Serasith who was already moving toward the beast man. The dragon born always took the lead to protect the group and shouted "Take out the animals, I will deal with him!"
From out of the woods and behind the small building more hyenas ran snarling to the attack.
It ended as quickly as it had begun, Trammorn unleashed the power of his Dragon God Bahamaut, Grulls slashing knives cut viciously spraying blood and fur, Kristovs chaos magic burned with brain melting fury, Serasith engaged the leader and cut him down while Erion, Cheadle and Molokai were all very impressed.
The group searched the area and after a short rest and cleanup continued down the road.
not long after they spotted a small farmhouse in a small clearing, as the road wound closer a young woman stood alongside the road, her eyes glazed over, She was murmuring about "you come to the lands and bring a terrible force with you..evil and doom come in your wake' as the horses came closer the woman seemed to break away from her daydream and waved hello. "Please you must help us I beg you, we are in danger and my father he wont leave this place."
Serasith spoke to the girl while Kristov imagined what she would look like undressed "We head south, if your in danger we will help. what is your name?" "I am Kristen." said the young lady.
"Girl!" yelled an old man as he kicked open the farmhouse door " Stop talking to those travellers! I told you to stay away from the road!" "Sorry father, looking back at the group she pleaded, "please please help us, hes so stubborn"
"Go away you and leave my daughter and my land!" The group approached and introduced themselves. "We have travelled a full day and are weary and our horses need rest, your daughter was being kind and said you may be in need of help, we are very capable and willing to aid you. We just ask for some shelter and rest"
The man grumbled "fine fine, you may rest your horses and yourselves, but we dont need any sort of help. Just be away in the morning" Serasith addressed the man, thank you for letting us into your home. What should we call you?" "I am Haddin." Trammorn and Erion both had heard of Hayden, he was an infamous and powerful artificer from Gate Pass who was driven out of the town linked to a terrible murder and some suspicious events. He had a mysterious magical talent to completely dominate minds, which lead to accusations, he was forced to leave gate pass with his family years ago.
Trammorn spoke gruffly "Haddin I have heard of you! You meddle with minds! I will not step a foot into this puppet masters home!" The stout man stood outside the house and walked the grounds while the rest of the group stepped in. While outside he found 2 gravestones, Haddins wife and brother and walked back to the door.
The girl spoke up again "But Father they will come, we should ask for help!" "Stop!" the mans voice sounded firmly and echoed strangely in everyones ear. The young woman walked over and sat calmly in a chair looking toward a wall and was quiet.
Erion spoke "You were once a great artificer in Gate Pass why would you leave that legacy to come out here? You were once a proud citizen, you know now that the Inquisitors arrived and we fear the city and all its magics will be detroyed. We are heading south intent of enlisting aid from the Lysium. We would offer you and your daughter protection. She spoke of something terrible in our wake."
The man scoffed "I am not afraid of any inquisitors! Bah! and i care even less about Gate pass" From outside the door Trammorn added your wife and brother are buried out here." The man scoffed again "I could care even less about them they are worm food!" Cheadle, who was constantly talking but everyone was just so acustom to tuning him out starting almost yelling to be heard "Oh yes you should clear your name, its been a long time and your absence only insinuiates your guilt. Come back with us and your name can be cleared and you can reclaim the glory you once had." The man looked over at the Gnome and started nodding "Yes yes I could do that, I was better than anyone! The best in fact!" Cheadle continued "The competition is Erdan and his stuff is too peculiar for most people unless you like bunnies which are very soft and warm, you know I had a small bunny when I was a young gnome I used to bring it on picnics and one day...."
Cheadles was cut off by a hail of arrows striking the farmhouse. Grull secretly hoped one would strike him in the skull and end his misery, he smirked as he imagined gutting a white rabit as blood sprayed the shocked face of a youthful Cheadle. He snapped out of it and drew his daggers and headed for the door.
"They are here" said the girl still sitting in her chair.
A loud voice was heard outside "We have come for you Hayden surrender now to the inquisition!"
Trammorn felt a tingling at the base of his skull, he itched it and as he did his fingers began to numb spreading quickly over his entire body till he simply stared out of his eyes trapped completely, in domination. He saw men approaching from all angles they appeared to be Ragesians. He couldn't move he just watched the men suddenly he found himself running to attack. he tried to scream "Damn you Haddin! Bahamut curse you!, but his lips would not move. He charged into the fray.
Arrows hit the farmhouse again and the group took cover the back door was smashed open by a burly fighter who charged in wreaking havok followed by a man in a beast mask eldrich energies glowed around him. Erion looked at Kristov "An Inquisitor! You see that necklace he's wearing, those little shriveled beads? Those are testicles from mages they torture, its a momento and status symbol. I say we shove it down the throat of his corpse, cuz I will die before I let him capture us." Kristov smiled, Erion was one of the least annoying of any Wizard he had ever met "Lets do this then" Kristovs eyes rolled back as he let chaos energy fill his body it felt euphoric and even better to unleash its fury"
When the smoke cleared they had won the day. Kristov stood over the dead inquisitor who lay missing his necklace cheeks bulging.
Trammorns felt contol return but was still cloudy on what had occured. The group tended to wounds and dragged the bodies around the back of the home. The old man spoke up "fine I will go with you, My daughter and I will pack rest well we leave early."
This session wasn't our finest. A couple guys brought beer and a few of us had a few too many. This seemed to slow combat rounds drastically. Especially since our keeper of the initiative was by far the most intoxicated so rounds would take forever. We only got through 2 encounters tonight. This was the first session Trammorn actually rejoined us due to his player being absent for various reasons related to getting married over the past 4 weeks. Trammorn's player is bit eccentric and is also our ex-gm. Trammorn is the Lawful Good Invoker of Bahamut who strangely feels more neutral then anything. He tends to act more in ways of what benefits him at the moment then what might be most lawful or good. Crystin's need for help was overshadowed by Trammorn's immediate dislike for the gruff old wizard Haddin. Haddin's displeasure with Trammorn easily became Haddin's favorite and lead to a fantastic Puppet show as Trammorn would do his bidding through out the majority of the encounter against the parties first visit of an Inquisitor. I added a few HP's to Boreus but it didn't seem like quite enough to really make him feel very EPIC in nature. The party dispatched of the encounter fairly easily. It didn't help that this was the encounter where I probably rolled the worst rolls ever. I consistently rolled 5 or less on most attacks especially the important ones. The group was with out their defender and still managed to stomp this encounter in the ground. Random IS Random I suppose!
I'm completely ok with it though as I have had many more nights of fantastic rolling versus bad nights so eventually the randomness should even out.
Tuesday, 13th April, 2010, 04:49 AM #9
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
Enjoying your run. I ran my first session and it went reasonably well.
I like your summaries and you have a nice flair. I may try your cypher idea, seems very good.
Tuesday, 13th April, 2010, 05:43 PM #10
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Thank you! Yea the cypher worked nicely and the party seemed to enjoy figuring it out. I'm having fun with this AP so far.
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