WotBS Emeraldbeacon's Burning Sky (live game)

emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
With the roof secured, the team raced downstairs, only to find an ambush waiting for them. In the cramped hallway of the fortress, it was difficult to gain ground, but slowly, the tide turned against the Ragesian forces. In time, the tower was retaken, the only survivor being the resident Inquisitor herself. A cursory search of the watchtower located a sizeable amount of documents to prove Ragesian invasion, from orders and troop movements to books of propaganda.

Most notably, the orders included mention of weather mage associates, and something called "Madness" that was at work in Dassen. Worried about the involvement of another Trillith, the crew spent the night in the tower, before racing back to Gallo's Fend the next day. Passing along word of the fallen watchtower, Gallo's troops began to mobilize northward, re-establishing control. Though the horses were pushed to their limits, the squad arrived back at nightfall.

Duke Gallo summoned them the next day to outline the next mission... Steppengard's forces should arrive in just over a week. Before that happens, he needs to secure support from Dashgoban and Timor. It's going to be another week of racing the clock, to prepare for the upcoming Civil War...

SESSION NOTES: One of the players nearly lost their mind at the table when I said the word "madness," suddenly realizing that the trillith were a bigger part of this than expected.
 

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emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
I'm getting deja vu reading these two threads so close together.
The live game is moving a bit faster than the online one (not only is in-person play able to move a bit quicker, but we tend to play for a slightly longer duration), so while they started quite a bit later, they've just now caught and surpassed the first group. At the current rate, the live game is clearing a chapter every 3-4 months, while the online game is doing so in 4-5.
 

emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
Fearing the threat of the fey, the party decides to take the main road southwards to Lord Dashgoban's lands. Shortly after leaving Duke Gallo's borders, they are met with a cluster of Talon forces on the road, watching for any travelers whom might represent a threat to their king. As they demand information, the heroes leap into battle. Though the fighting is fierce (and painful, as their new druid companion finds himself in the crosshairs of several arrows), in time, the enemies are defeated, and the team completes their hasty trip towards the dwarven stronghold.

There, they find a small army and cavalry running drills in the snow, outside of a citadel carved into the side of the mountain itself. Within, they meet with Dashgoban and his war council, who debate the pros and cons of rising against Steppengard. In the end, though, the dwarf lord very suddenly institutes a call to action, swearing his forces to defend Duke Gallo.

After a night's sleep, the team then heads into the Pitchwood, still quite wary of the threat of the fey. With judicious (and repeated) application of Pass Without Trace, they manage to make it through the length of the forest undetected, emerging at Pitchwood late that afternoon. While the city is quite resistant to the plan that involves a sacrifice of their entire pitch harvest, a generous contribution from the party and a monstrous Persuasion check earns their approval.

The next day, the team marches to the base of the Glasskeel Cliffs, and decide to use their surprising mix of flight & climbing capabilities to ascend it directly. While one has to wait behind for a short time, safely ensconced within a Tiny Hut, the others begin their ascent, through Spider Climbing and Fly spells, along with Takasi's aid. After roughly 600 feet of ascent, though, they begin to discover evidence of a massive creature that must live in these parts; then, after an unexpected slip on the cliff wall, they find a massive, ape-like creature shuffling towards them...

SESSION NOTES: While I really wanted them to have to deal with the Pitchlings, I couldn't rightly deny them an insane streak of amazing stealth rolls. Giving them three chances to fail, no player rolled below a 15, and my advantage Pitchling rolls never beat a 12. It was meant to be... but I'm thinking that might make their chances worse down the line, as the majority of catapults will indeed make it to the battle.
 

emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
SESSION NOTES: While I really wanted them to have to deal with the Pitchlings, I couldn't rightly deny them an insane streak of amazing stealth rolls. Giving them three chances to fail, no player rolled below a 15, and my advantage Pitchling rolls never beat a 12. It was meant to be... but I'm thinking that might make their chances worse down the line, as the majority of catapults will indeed make it to the battle.
For the record, my choice was to say, instead of 3 out of 10 catapults making it through, I'd leave things to fate: 1d8+2 catapults make it through the line. And wouldn't you know it, I just asked someone to roll, and they rolled an 8.

...I think I'll just say that 8 made it through, instead, because they DID get the ice melted, even if they didn't get the Pitchlings to help.
 

emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
Beset upon by a giant ape, the Paladin takes a boulder to the face. While the rest of the gang rallies to defend their landlocked allies, the druid tries another tactic: negotiations. With a swiftly cast Speak With Animals spell, he manages to convince the ape they meant no harm, and will leave immediately... an offer that, surprisingly, seems to work. Hastily, they work to ascent the Glasskeel Cliffs, leaving the simian to its own devices.

After another day's journey to Lady Timor's castle, they meet with the woman who paints herself as a young archmage. Already wary of the threat of Ragesia, she quickly agrees to provide aid to Gallo after reviewing the evidence the team brought. Seeking to get them back to Gallo quickly, she sends mages to assist, using a valuable scroll of Wind Walk to send a representative with the party.

Once there, the team learns of the advantages and setbacks they now face. Gallo is reasonably comfortable that he can at least force a truce, but to ensure it, he asks the group to work on some clandestine missions to cripple Steppengard's armies. The first mission involves neutralizing a war mage camping away from the main army. While the attack is swift, and the mage goes down without much difficulty, reinforcements soon approach, forcing a hasty retreat...

SESSION NOTES: Pretty straightforward here. The combination of Speak with Animals & a rather high Persuasion check allowed me to let them off the hook for the ape fight. While fighting Kelkin, I tried to give them hints that something was odd about the sphinx, but they kept rolling ridiculously low on their arcana checks. In the end, Kelkin went down, but Nashara was about to bring his corpse back to the main camp. The team was able to drop her, collect Kelkin's body, then beat a hasty retreat. Once back at Gallo's camp, he'll be put on cold storage pending a post-war raise dead (they've got a whole week). As it stands, the team currently has 12 VP: Dashgoban and Timor both provided aid (+8 each), and they stopped Kelkin (+4), but right now, eight catapults remain (-8). If they can take out four of them, and hold the line at Otharil Vale, they can earn a full victory for Gallo...
 

emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
Returning to camp, Kelkin's body is transported back to Gallo's Fend for safe keeping, and later return to the King's forces for resurrection. Meanwhile, plans are set to take on the catapults. Rather than send their forces together, they decide to combine their best enchantments and abilities on their stealthiest agent. With the druid holding Pass Without Trace in a spider wild shape, Boots of Elvenkind on loan, a Bardic Inspiration, and both Enhance Ability: Cat's Grace and Fly applied, the team's rogue becomes a one-man sabotage machine... carefully floating from one siege weapon to the next, he quietly disabled seven of the eight remaining devices. Almost out of flight, he returned, leaving only one catapult standing.

The next day, the team rally for battle, blending their own team with Gallo's archers and clerics, Dashgoban's knights, and Timor's mages. The first wave hits hard, but a staunch defense pushes back most of their attacks. Several squads belonging to other lords also break ranks and retreat under the onslaught - their resolve broken amidst the sense that Steppengard's war may not be justified.

Clearing the first wave, the party watches as a new band begins a steady march towards them...

SESSION NOTES: I made that dang rogue roll almost 20 stealth checks, but he passed every single one. I think the lowest he got was a 24. His sabotage was also successful on every catapult, thanks to the advantage from Cat's Grace... and since he was undetected, the firing crews never did more than a cursory pre-battle inspection. They don't know it yet, but seven of the eight catapults collapsed as soon as they started firing.
 


Fuzzybear

Explorer
I made that dang rogue roll almost 20 stealth checks, but he passed every single one. I think the lowest he got was a 24. His sabotage was also successful on every catapult, thanks to the advantage from Cat's Grace... and since he was undetected, the firing crews never did more than a cursory pre-battle inspection. They don't know it yet, but seven of the eight catapults collapsed as soon as they started firing.
This is very familiar. My group ended up doing something nearly identical, though it was a rogue and monk working in tandem. The dice favored them and they even avoided a fight completely there with full success. This game is always full of surprises, but it did make the coming battle a bit less crazy to manage.
 

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