• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

WotBS EmeraldBeacon's Burning Sky (online game)


I thought I'd rebuild the Wayfarer's Theater map a bit, to make the actual theater seem more expansive (notably adding a lobby, and a backstage area), and create a bit more deck area to play with. The explosive barrels are still on deck, but now as a token that I can remove as they're used. Dynamic lighting walls on Roll20 keep everyone from seeing the whole thing...


  • wayfarers theater.png
    wayfarers theater.png
    3.7 MB · Views: 111

log in or register to remove this ad


As most of the team reacts to the strange departure of Giorgio from the theater, the bard finds Hawkins Dorian, clutching at a deep, bleeding chest wound. Choking out that "the control ring" was taken, he quickly puts two and two together, understanding that they were presumably about to activate the ship's teleporation feature, incinerating everyone on board in the process! He rushes to get his team's attention, then together, they rush to the stairwells in pursuit of the figure.

Above deck, the ship rocking in the waves and slick from the rain, they spot Giorgio making his way past a pair of half-orcs, towards the Guildmistress' office. Attempts at conversation and diversion are met with nothing but hostility, as not only the half-orcs attack, but a concealed halfling rogue. The rogue ends up overboard, but is able to swim to a nearby rowboat tied off to the side of the galleon. The battle eventually turns to the team's favor, as copious use of spells serve to limit the assailants' options. As the tide turns, two of them flee, seemingly consuming potions of water breathing and diving beneath the waves, while Giorgio and Brutus are subdued and bound.

As the commotion above dies down, some return to the theater, where they learn the performance has been cancelled after "a major injury backstage." Those that are part of the Lyceum war effort are informed, however, of the apparent attack on the ship, and rush to the deck. While the rowboat is searched, revealing badly burned elven bodies, Simeon Gohanach expresses outrage how this attack could have been allowed, and in frustration, shouts, "Where the hell is Lee Sidoneth?!"

SESSION NOTES: Only one combat this session, as many of the players seemed trapped in a state of analysis paralysis. The bard was heavily fixated on trying to negotiate with Giorgio, not really understanding that the Wayfarer had been playing him for a rube the entire time. I made the mistake of giving the party the benefit of the doubt on their own speed, and let them catch Giorgio before he made it to Sheena Larkins' office... this meant the ship was never in any real danger of teleportation, and their heavy use of spells like Hypnotic Pattern and Silence kept the bad guys from really using their abilities.

I guess the gloves are coming off, in the prison...


In the aftermath of the battle on deck, the wayfarers hastily maneuver the ship back to shore to offload the numerous influential people on board. Sheena Larkins is shocked at Giorgio's apparent treachery, and vows to get to the bottom of it quickly. A quick inspection of the rowboat moored to the ship reveals that it, and its high elf occupants, all seem badly burnt, as if by teleportation. There is the telltale smell of recent biomancy about them, though...

Meanwhile, Headmaster Simeon calls for an emergency session of the war council to discuss the attack. Some, including Pickens Frankart of South Harbor, push for immediate retaliation against the Shahalesti, while others (including Laurabec Adelsburg) call for a more patient response. Simeon, frustrated over his inability to scry upon Lee Sidoneth, asks the team to search his home for the Hydromancer's whereabouts.

At the harbormaster's home, there's no evidence to point to his whereabouts, but several important discoveries are made... while his journals all seem to be missing, some invoices seem to point to a money laundering effort; in a back room, biomancy tools are found, in addition to another dead, half-converted body.

At a loss, an errant suggestion leads Simeon to another possibility... perhaps Lee had found the legendary Pyromancer's Tomb, a place said to resist divinations. It would provide a sound base of operations, if he were to blame for recent events. Further scrying revealed the epicenter of the ever-growing storm system far to the east, in the old city.

After a long rest, the team is joined by Torrent, whom is keen on demanding answers from her one-time mentor. On the coast, the team begins to investigate a partially submerged ruin, that seems to have once been a prison. Inside, they unexpectedly attract the attention of a pair of bizarre aquatic creatures, who seem primed to pounce...

SESSION NOTES: Finally, the first real dungeon crawl of the campaign! I've tried to drop hints that the party needs to not overuse their resources here, because they don't know how many conflicts await them ahead. Everyone seemed rather pleased to have their suspicions confirmed, that both Giorgio and Lee were suspicious... and they were quite happy that Torrent was coming with them.


Entering the flooded prison, the squad attracts the attention of a pair of Chuul, bizarre aquatic beings that try to drag victims deeper into the facility. Caught off guard, they suffer some significant injuries before dispatching the bizarre beings.

Some casual investigation uncovers a heavily rotted-through storeroom populated with fire-infused rats, which thankfully retreat instead of attacking. Another chamber contains badly rotted shelving and furniture, plus a surprisingly intact chest... that suddenly lunged at the rogue, when she attempted to unlock it! In a panic, everyone bolts from the room, closing the door, and preparing to unleash a simultaneous alpha strike. When the revealed Mimic emerges, a concentrated volley is enough to reduce it to an amorphous blob, which quickly dissolves in the surf.

Further exploration reveals a room containing guard equipment, along with a lever in one wall, that seems to control some mechanism in the prison. It isn't clear just what it is, but the rogue inadvertently steps on a pressure plate... that does nothing. Later assumptions conclude that a spear trap was in place, but disarmed by the lever.

Descending deeper, the prison cells emerged, the floodwater rising to chest level here. Several of the cells seem to contain the remains of long-dead prisoners... but the Cleric realizes, in a flash of insight, that bones shouldn't persist for hundreds of years, exposed to the elements like this. A test shot confirms the presence of nearly two dozen skeletons, which begin to rise, and shamble towards the team...

SESSION NOTES: The initial Chuul encounter was SURPRISINGLY bloody for the heroes, enough that I chose to nerf the paralysis ability (they had to have a grappled hero before beginning the attack sequence). I also removed the fire rat encounter, beyond a bit of flavor. They caught on to the Mimic really fast, and the (disarmed) spear trap left them VERY timid when approaching the cell blocks. They seem extremely paranoid now, which is just DELICIOUS... :ROFLMAO:


As the skeletons awaken, the team Cleric moves into position, and firmly REBUKES about half of them. Seeing a true threat, the Skeletons converge on the cleric, nearly cutting him down. The remaining creatures try to swarm, but have difficulties moving through the deep water, and after some maneuvering, are cut down quite efficiently by the rest of the party. Efforts to advance through the cell blocks are met with great caution, as nearly every step is meticulously checked for unseen dangers.

Pressing forward, everyone moves to a two-level meeting room of sorts, taking advantage of the Water Breathing spell cast by a Lyceum Mage to dip below the water (that had nearly reached the ceiling of this chamber. There, a quartet of Sahuagin emerge, swarming the injured team members, but ultimately, their lack of armor and general squishy-ness prove to be their downfall. Under the water, they find a tunnel in the floor, neatly bored through the ground of the ancient facility. Discovering and disarming a carefully laid trap, they descent into a shockingly warm chamber.

Here, in a large natural chamber, a river of lava spills loose from what appears to be a portal to the elemental plane of fire. Held by an ancient (and still resilient) arcane seal, the entire region is infused with extraplanar energy, without being totally engulfed in flame. A stoneshaped bridge stretches over this river, heading towards a very old looking wall of carefully hewn stone, along with a stone door. Opening it cautiously, they find a small group of soldiers waiting on the other side, shocked at being discovered!

The battle hastily begins with a fog cloud placed for concealment, and the horrible experience of a Hunger of Hadar driving the enemy forces back. A stalemate holds for a tense half minute, before preparations were made for an alpha strike. As spells were dropped, both sides attacked, with arrows and spells. Shortly, a Ragesian inquisitor arrived, and promptly raised the stakes of the fight by placing a Fireball in their midst, wreaking havoc on the team! After some hasty heals, ranks closed, and the bard landed a clutch Hypnotic Pattern on many of the soldiers...

SESSION NOTES: The skeletons were getting some insane to-hit and damage rolls, and very nearly knocked the cleric out well before the meat of the dungeon. The Fireball was mainly used to tell these guys that inquisitors mean business, but given how low they already are on resources, I might need to ease back on the half-orc Relentless Endurance feature just to give them a chance.


The fight turns quickly, as a divided squad of troops finds itself unable to turn on their enemies effectively. The Inquisitor tries to mount a defense, but ends up wasting more time dispelling troublesome effects than actually advancing his cause, and in the end, for all his magical prowess... you can't counterspell an arrow to the neck.

Stabilizing him, then cleaning up the other troops, the squad settles into question him, a task they find largely fruitless; his comments are almost exclusively about the inevitability of their upcoming failure. His execution comes swiftly.

Exploring the tomb, the squad finds several unexpected things... a biomantic laboratory had been set up, currently producing one of the sahuagin creatures that struck at the opening to the tunnel leading downwards. The Inquisitor's bedroom contained a number of Tidereaver's Tears, along with a strange glass orb etched with silver iconography of storms. And to the south of the tomb, a makeshift prison holds a lone sorcerer, who claims to have been trapped there after teleporting to Seaquen. A stone obelisk in one of the cells certainly seems to be consistent with the rumored Teleportation Beacon.

Another prisoner, an elven woman, is rescued from a torture chamber, explaining that a man fitting Lee Sidoneth's description left hours earlier, announcing that he was "taking the control wand in case I need to use the storm quickly."

At that, the party begins to investigate the mysterious dragon head doorway, they find a chamber filled with ancient text and embossed wall art. A crude effort to open the deeper door leads to a chamber rapidly filling with lava...

SESSION NOTES: After worries of a TPK, the Hypnotic Pattern proves to be quite clutch, as the Inquisitor is never in a position to be able to free up his forces to attack, and his abysmal AC left him vulnerable to direct attacks. The rest of the session was wrapped up in explorations and information gathering, ending in the middle of the tomb's exploration. Nobody is properly equipped to deal with the tomb itself, so I fear they may be wasting a lot of time there... we'll see how long they stick with it. One issue: They seem to believe that there is a path downwards into a tomb, where they'll fight Lee, instead of needing to leave the dungeon.


...One issue: They seem to believe that there is a path downwards into a tomb, where they'll fight Lee, instead of needing to leave the dungeon.
My players had the same thoughts. It is counter-intuitive to everything that gaming has taught us over the years to head back out of the dungeon before completing their mission. They were chasing Lee the whole time, so him not being there was disappointing for sure. Eventually they did decide to head backwards, though they felt like their time was mostly wasted and that they had failed the mission somehow. Then when he shows up at the entrance/exit again, it had the feel of wish fulfillment/dues ex machina rather than a planned thing. It worked out in the end for them, they were just confused about it for a while.


I've been thinking about how I would help with this feeling of missing something in the dungeon. In my gamelog, I mentioned how I would probably just add a room where Lee is summoning the storm, and have the fight there. But how could we kind of set up the dungeon exit scenario more?

I think I would add something to one of the rooms to that gives much stronger hints to the fact that Lee had been there, but left in a hurry. Perhaps a loose paper detailing a secret escape route (giving the players a chance to turn the tables?), or one of the soldiers surrenders and says that Lee left when the attack on the Wayfarer Theater was thwarted (or something similar). Something that tells the group that the reason they're here isn't here anymore. The fight with the inquisitor was difficult enough with my group that it might be seen as a boss fight, so it might feel like the proper end to the dungeon, alongside feeling like its setting up Lee as a long-term villain. And then he ambushes them!

Pretty rough, but that might be what I would do if I felt like the ambush was important enough.


I think that, for my live group, I'm going to make a few changes. Ragesian troops will continue fighting, even unto death, so long as the Inquisitor is actively leading them. HOWEVER...
  • ...Inquisitor Damius will retreat once he reaches roughly 1/3 of his standard health. His intention is not to escape, because there is nowhere to go, but rather to safely cast sending to alert Lee that the base has been compromised, then again to his superior officer, Guthwulf. If allowed to continue, he will gladly sacrifice his own life to destroy the "Gate Pass Inconvenience."
  • If the Inquisitor retreats, the remaining soldiers will initially fall into a defensive posture to cover for him, preferring to take cover and the dodge action. Their resolve will not hold indefinitely, though, and once their forces have been reduced to roughly 25%, they will surrender.
  • If the Inquisitor falls in battle, their dedication to the cause becomes much more tenuous, and they will surrender once they fall to roughly 1/3 strength.
In virtually every case, the Inquisitor will be part of the overall fight. Either the soldiers knew of the heroes' approach thanks to the falling thunderstone, and have prepared a tactical defense of the tomb, with the inquisitor at the rear... or they were surprised, and one of their number hastily rushed to alert Damius. Either way, the implied encounter of the inquisitor gleefully torturing a prisoner never directly happens, unless a party member happens to sneak past an entire squad of alert troops with zero concealment (say, via a blind teleport behind them).

Either way, the encounter likely ends with prisoners. Damius has no interest in sharing information, and indeed is a zealot for Leska's ambitions, perfectly willing to die for the cause. The soldiers, however, have no such interest, and will share what information they can in exchange for their lives:
  • They'll offer confirmation that the teleportation beacon is in the back room, though they don't know how it works.
  • They were ordered to leave the biomancy tools in the tomb be, and let others handle them.
  • They know nothing about the Pyromancer's Crypt, as they've been ordered not to mess with it after some previous mishaps.
  • They know of Lee Sidoneth's involvement, and say he left the tomb a short time ago (a couple of hours, most likely).
  • They know about the storm, and that the orb powers it, but don't know how it works.
  • They know about Tidereaver's Tears, and expected to have them to use during the storm, but plans were altered when the supplier (the Witches H'andrea) stopped producing them.
Last edited:

Remove ads