"Out of the Frying Pan"- Book III: Fanning the Embers

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Manzanita said:
Very cool combat. I was a bit surprised that the FMK leapt to the attack of Tanweil quite so quickly. He seems to be a half-dragon who wants to kill 'mom'. Interesting. Maybe wouldn't be such a bad thing if he suceeded. Care to remind me why they're so opposed to him? Just because they're allied w/the gnomes and fear for their leader's life?

They are not necessarily "opposed" to him - They wanted to talk with him, but he does not seem one much for talking. Also keep in mind that he has killed several gnomes already.

But you'd have to wait and see if any of my players chime in on the subject (don't hold your breath :p )

Manzanita said:
As a non-sequitor, how do you roll up ability scores for your PCs?


Players have a choices of two methods:

1) Rolling 4d6 and drop the lowest six times and apply them in any order to your stats.

OR

2) Roll two sets of six stats using 4d6 IN ORDER and choose the set you prefer.

In both cases, your positive and negative adjustments should add up to at least +1 or you can re-roll completely.
 
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Manzanita

First Post
nemmerle said:
...Players have a choices of two methods:

1) Rolling 4d6 and drop the lowest six times and apply them in any order to your stats.

OR

2) Roll two sets of six stats using 4d6 IN ORDER and choose the set you prefer.

In both cases, your positive and negative adjustments should add up to at least +1 or you can re-roll completely.

...a +1 total adj. Would be harsh. I recall from the days when the rogues Gallary was being updated, that some of the PCs (like Kazrack and Rachis) had significantly better characteristics than others (like Jeremy and Jana). I may fiddle with those methods a bit.

In any case. Still enjoying this SH very much. Keep up the good work, Nemmerle.
 

Ciaran

First Post
nemmerle said:
They are not necessarily "opposed" to him - They wanted to talk with him, but he does not seem one much for talking. Also keep in mind that he has killed several gnomes already.

But you'd have to wait and see if any of my players chime in on the subject (don't hold your breath :p )
I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but I think it was one of those groupthink moments where we saw our affiliated NPCs jump on Tanweil, we saw Tanweil hurt the friendly NPCs, then one PC joined the attack... and we were committed. After all, once Debo and Gunthar jumped Tanweil, it would be hard to convince him that the rest of us were friendly, eh?

Basically, Nemmerle made it happen. :)

- Eric
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Ciaran said:
I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but I think it was one of those groupthink moments where we saw our affiliated NPCs jump on Tanweil, we saw Tanweil hurt the friendly NPCs, then one PC joined the attack... and we were committed. After all, once Debo and Gunthar jumped Tanweil, it would be hard to convince him that the rest of us were friendly, eh?

Basically, Nemmerle made it happen. :)

- Eric

Hey, it is not my fault you guys don't know how to handle the NPCs ;)
 


mmu1

First Post
Manzanita said:
Ciaran/eric. Thanks for the input. Which one are you?

Martin the Green, I think. (There are two Erics, which makes it confusing, but unless they moved, I think I got it right)

As for character stats... Yeah, Ratchis and Kazrack are way ahead of everyone, although I attribute their continued survivial to being played by very risk-averse players more than anything else. ;)
 

weiknarf

Explorer
Just finished the story. Great Stuff!

Couple of questions:

1) How did you determine what happened when the Shepherds took on the Temple of "Bast"? Did you know what you wanted to happen and just handwave it or did you have some random/mechanical means of determining the outcome?

2) You have mentioned that the FMKs are having a difficult time partly due to heading in directions you did not think they would tackle so soon. My question is, how static are the levels of the NPCs? It seems to me that teh Shepherds have increased in level. What about Richard the Red, Rindalith, and other major NPCs? Do they increase in level as the FMKs do or will they eventually be surpassed?
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
weiknarf said:
Just finished the story. Great Stuff!

Did you start from the beginning, or did you just start with the FMK thread?

weiknarf said:
Couple of questions:

1) How did you determine what happened when the Shepherds took on the Temple of "Bast"? Did you know what you wanted to happen and just handwave it or did you have some random/mechanical means of determining the outcome?

Well, originally I wanted to run the adventure as a Play-By-Post mini-campaign - but unfortunately, I did not have the time to follow up with it even once I got a group of willing Story Hour readers to playe the roles of Frank, Gwar, Josef, Carlos and Finn.

In the end, I basically hand-waved it, but keeping in mind their capabiliites and the development of the situation there, since originally the adventure was supposed to be one for the FMK.


weiknarf said:
2) You have mentioned that the FMKs are having a difficult time partly due to heading in directions you did not think they would tackle so soon. My question is, how static are the levels of the NPCs? It seems to me that teh Shepherds have increased in level. What about Richard the Red, Rindalith, and other major NPCs? Do they increase in level as the FMKs do or will they eventually be surpassed?

It seems to me that the PCs are advancing in level at a rate that is way above the norm int terms of "in-game" time (at this point in the campaign less than a year had passed and they had gained an average of 7 levels).

Usually, I think there is a lot more downtime in a campaign between "adventures", but this has not been the case in the "Out of the Frying Pan" campaign -so, as Richard the Red said in yesterday's session - "You have improved greatly in the short time I have known you, forged by the fires of the situation you have found yourself in."

Anyway, to answer the question more directly, NPCs definitely advance as well, just not quite at the same rate as the PCs.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #62 (part 2)

Session #62

“Schlomo’s dead!” Kismet wailed. “Everyone I know is dead.” She collapsed hysterical atop her companion, clutching his bloodied body as she wept.

Anarie moved to comfort her, but remembered Debo and moved to aid him.

“Oh don’t worry about him,” Rhondar lips flapped, as he came back in the great chamber. “Debo can’t die. Just leave him.”

Anarie shrugged and moved to aid Martin who was weeping as he tried to aid Frederick, but the bard had lost too much blood, and the watch-mage was just sitting cross-legged, his face buried in his bloody hands.

She then went over to check Ratchis and Beorth. The half-orc had stabilized, but Beorth was still bleeding out and Anarie got to work. To her surprise, Kismet crawled over and helped, still crying.

--------------------

On the altar Kazrack awoke to the feeling of warm breath washing over him. There was a great pain in his face, and he reached blindly for his jaw, and then winced and cried out. His mailed hands had pushed a shard of bone into the meaty mess of his face. The dwarf’s jaw was shattered. He froze as he heard the sound of grating stone above him, and he opened his eyes slowly to find the stone golem of the great dog of Lehrothronar standing above him.

Kazrack closed his eyes and let his hand slide slowly down to the bag of runestones about his neck, and gave a silent prayer, projecting the power of his faith as granted by his gods towards the golem above him.

The dog’s stone head cocked down towards the rune-thrower, and then it looked up and stepped back, getting into a sitting position. (1)

When Kazrack let out a sigh, he felt his blood dribble down his throat and choke him. The dwarf sat up with a start and spat the blood. The great living statue did not react.

“Are we friends now?” Kazrack asked the dog in dwarven, but again it did not react.

Kazrack stood, wary of the dog, but decided to have faith that it would not hurt him, as every moment jarred his jaw so much that he doubted he would be able to flee it anyway.

Holding his left hand to his face, he limped over to the front of the chamber to check on his companions. The great stone dog got up as it turned to follow him, but did not follow off the altar, taking up its spot on the stone ramp.

Martin and Anarie were happy to see the dwarf was still alive, but Martin’s own jaw dropped when he saw Kazrack’s mangled face. Anarie was impassive as usual.

Kazrack tried to talk, but his words were indecipherable, and he spat blood and bits of flesh as he choked out words in the back of his throat; not to mention the great pain it caused him.

Rhondar pulled Frederick’s body back into the chamber, and he and Kazrack pushed the door back shut.

An argument ensued after Kazrack decided that it would be best to get the wounded to one of the alcoves and hole up in there until they recover. Martin thought it was foolish to search them, but Kazrack’s inability to be understood was so frustrating to both of them, they just gave up and Kazrack hustled up to the alcove where the monks had been, and looked around.

Kazrack found several packs holding rations, and two different books (both . There were also several straw mats, and signs that a small fire had been lit in the alcove. There were smoke stains on the statue of Krauchaar (2) at one end of the alcove. There were several spots for prayer stones (3) to be set before it.

Seeing there was no danger there, he went on to search the other alcoves, finding each one was dedicated to another of the dwarven gods.

After returning to help bring the wounded up to that alcove, Martin levitated himself to the roof, and dragged himself across the ceiling reaching from support to support and floating down to retrieve the unconscious form of Hamfast. The great stone dog golem came to life again, but once Martin floated up and out of reach, it returned to its spot.

It was long hard work to get all the wounded up to the alcove without aggravating their wounds. Debo was left where he lay.

Rhondar gave him a kick and said, “He’ll be alright, eventually.”

Kazrack retrieved the sealed clay pots Anarie and Martin spellbooks were in, and cracked them open for them.

Gathering together everything they could find on the monks, which included the two books (still in their oilskin bags), a rod in three pieces connected by chains and a pair of black metal and leather bracers worn by Hamfast that were covered with designs depicting ships, skulls and a full moon, Anarie cast her detect magic spell.

She cried out, as one of the two books exuded such a bright and powerful aura of magic it drowned everything else out and blinded her momentarily.

The book in question, which was nearly one and half feet high and a foot wide, and two inches thick, was removed from the others (but kept in the bag), and the aura of the other things was detected. The bracers detected as magical, but the other book did not.

Martin carefully pulled it out of the bag and flipped through it. It was a traveling spellbook, a read magic spell, and in a moment he was oohing and aahing over what he found within.

“What about the other tome?” Anarie asked.

“Well, we can have Rhondar go behind a pillar and open it and see what happens,” Martin quipped.

“Martin!” Anarie admonished disapprovingly. Martin shrugged with a weak smile.

“I’ll take watch,” Rhondar said, coming into the alcove. He immediately sat down and fell asleep snoring loudly.


Teflem, 20th of Sek – 565 H.E.

It was impossible to tell if it was truly morning, but Kazrack allowed her dwarven intuition to guide him.

As Martin spent his morning learning Bull’s Strength from the captured spell book, Kazrack prayed for nothing but spells of healing, and proceeded to lose spell after spell as his fractured jaw made the verbal components of the spells nearly impossible to intone. (4)

In the end, he was only able to make one prayer work, bringing Ratchis closer to consciousness, but still a ways off.

Anarie cleverly used her Endurance spell to temporarily bring Beorth to consciousness.

“Who calls me from Anubis’ Realm?” Beorth croaked.

“You must get yourself together and call on your god’s power to close your wounds so that you will not slip towards death’s door once again,” Anarie replied, calmly.

“So, he got away with the sword?” Beorth asked, slowly sitting up and holding his gut as he winced in pain.

Anarie nodded.

“Debo want sword! Where sword man?” the voice echoed from down in the chamber, and Rhondar hurried to go soothe his companion the best he could and explain what had happened. Angry, Debo slapped the lanky rogue several times, causing the latter to flee back into the alcove. The seemingly immortal barbarian followed soon after.

“Heal Gunthar!” He commanded Kazack. “Gunthar will have plan to get sword and kill leaping-warrior!”

It took a while to explain how that would be impossible.

He howled like a wolf, but finally settled down and slept most of the day away, his remaining wounds slowly disappearing as the hours wore on.

Martin explained to Beorth about the book that had been found among the monks’ things and how it detected so strongly of magic that is washed out all around it.

Beorth approached where the book lie, still wrapped in its oilskin bag, and reaching towards it, covered his eyes, calling to Anubis to reveal auras of evil in the area.

He suddenly stumbled backwards and his shaved head slammed against the marble floor of the alcove. Anarie hurried over to him, and saw blood pouring from the paladin’s nose. A moment later, he awakened, holding the bridge of his nose and shaking his head.

“Pure evil,” was all he said.


Anlem, 21st of Sek – 565 H.E.

The next day Beorth was able to bring Ratchis to consciousness, and he in turn was generous with the healing of his goddess after having prepared some spells. He helped Gunthar last, while Debo roared to get him conscious. The barbarian was growing more irritable by the day.

“Ugh! I feel as raw as the space between a whore’s legs,” Gunthar complained, sitting up

“He’s fine,” Martin commented on the Neergaaardian’s health.

“Tell me ya got that crazy bastard who was a killing machine?” Gunthar asked the group.

No one replied, by way of answer.

“Well, at least tell me he didn’t get away with that filthy sword?” Again, these was no answer.

“Aw, son of rotten-milk bitch,” he swore.

Ratchis spent a good deal of the morning resting, but in the afternoon he looked after Kazrack’s raw wound, and tried to tie the jaw in place with a bandage so that is might heal itself in time with the aid of magical healing, but he knew it would not likely heal without magical healing of significantly more power than was available to the group.

Later in the day, Martin took Ratchis aside and explained to him about the book among the monk’s things.

“So, we leave it alone, and just hold on it until we come across someone powerful enough to deal with it, kind of like we’ve done with that amulet Beorth carried around,” Ratchis reasoned. (6)

“and so I would agree, except I think it is the Book of Black Circles,” Martin whispered in reply. “Since we have come here, I have felt that indescribable urge to fulfill the quest for Osiris grow, slowly at first, but now it feels more urgent. I think it is no coincidence that there is an incredibly powerful evil book among a brotherhood of monks who seem to have lost their way from Anubis.” (6)

Ratchis sighed.

“So what do you plan to do?” Ratchis asked.

“I plan to take the book somewhere secluded, perhaps with you standing guard when you feel better and see if I can fulfill my quest right here and now,” Martin replied.

“Don’t be stupid,” Ratchis replied. “We need to get into this map room, which I think is beyond the door that Hamfast got fried at and find out where the entrance to Hurgun’s Maze is, and then you can figure out what to do with the book.”

“I understand your point of view, but I am supposed to cast a spell from it before I destroy it, and I don’t know if the spell is what destroys it, or if I am supposed to accomplish something specific with the spell before destroying it, or even if the casting of the spell is beneficial to me, and maybe it is something we need, because we all know the gods work in mysterious ways.”

Ratchis sighed again.

“Show me the book,” Ratchis said.

Martin walked over and picked up the bag. He looked confused for a moment, and then turned away from the half-orc. He felt a strange sort of shame come over him.

Ratchis reached for the book.

“I… I can’t,” Martin said.

“What do you mean?”

“I feel compelled to keep it; to not let you have it.”

“Do you think that is because of Osiris, or because of the book?” Beorth asked, walking over, having overheard.

“What are all you sissies whispering and gossiping about?” Gunthar asked, walking over. “One of ya got a crush on the elf, or something? I hear having an elf girl is as close to giving it to a teen-aged boy you’re every gonna get, ya sick bastards!”

Gunthar’s guffaws died suddenly with a cry of pain. He was still somewhat wounded.

“Oh, not that I wouldn’t have a bite of that, though,” He winked through a wince.

“Gunthar, this has nothing to do with you, now go sit down before I put you down,” Ratchis replied.

Debo leapt to his feet.

“Oh ho! Big ole bully pig-f*cker thinks he can tell people what to do,” Gunthar snickered. “What would Nephthys say about that? I wonder.”

Ratchis growled.
Gunthar laughed at him and walked back out onto the balcony, followed by Debo and Rhondar, where they did some whispering of their own, with occasional dismayed shrieks from the rogue.

“Have you looked at the cover of the book?” Beorth asked. “Perhaps it holds some clue as to its origin and if it is truly the relic we all think it may be.”

Kazrack came over, “Ruh rehleh?”

No one understood him.

“The book radiates such powerful magics I fear that I would not be able to determine if it has any wards that might harm me if I open the book,” Martin explained.

“Uh ill uh-eh it,” Kazrack tried to say.

Everyone looked to him and shrugged. The dwarf made a gesture of opening a book.

“Rest, Kazrack,” was all Martin said.

“Uh um uh uh-eeust,” Kazrack replied.

“Here we go again, “ Ratchis rolled his eyes.

“Kazrack, don’t be foolish,” Beorth admonished.

It was decided that the book could wait for the next day, when everyone would be more rested and more fully healed.


Ralem, 22st of Sek – 565 H.E.

Hours and hours later, hoping their body clocks were keeping with the habit of the days passing way above them in the surface world, they shared some soggy rations around a small fire.

Martin the Green scooped up the oilskin bag containing the book and gestured to Ratchis who followed him. They walked over to the opposite alcove. This one held a statue of Hodanar, the dwarven god of trade and song.

Ratchis waited out on the balcony, eying the great dog warily, while Martin sat with his legs crossed and the book in his lap. Taking a deep breath, he reached into the bag and pulled the book out.

He recoiled for moment, feeling the worn hide cover of the book, but there was also something intriguing about the cold covers of dead flesh. The black book slipped out into his lap, and for a moment he saw the raised black interlocked circles on its cover, but then all went black.

-----------------------------
Notes:

(1) DM’s Note: Kazrack needed to successfully roll to turn a 10 HD undead, and then roll enough “turning damage” to destroy 14 HD in order to keep the thing at bay, and then subsequently speak to it in ancient dwarven to have it obey him.

(2) Krauchaar, as you likely know by now, is the dwarven god of war and battle.

(3) A prayer stones is a heavy personal altar that pious dwarves carry with them everywhere. They are etched with runes that tell the life of the dwarf it belongs to.

(4) DM’s Note: Kazrack suffered an 85% chance of spell failure for all spells with a verbal component.

(5) You have to go way back to session #8 to know what he is talking about.

(6) Martin’s task for Osiris in return for bringing Jeremy back to life was first discovered in Session #23
 
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Manzanita

First Post
I don't know that I agree that Kazrack and Ratchis are risk averse. What about the solo scout trip in the broken lands? What about the vow not to wear armor.

They're lucky perhaps.

In any case, another cool update. I love how old plot threads keep resurfacing.
 

Pyske

Explorer
Manzanita said:
I don't know that I agree that Kazrack and Ratchis are risk averse. What about the solo scout trip in the broken lands? What about the vow not to wear armor.

Or the Kazrack trap-detection method. Or the alternating cries of "Wait!" "Charge!" between the two.

Call me crazy, but I think that might have been irony I heard in Eric's voice. :)
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Pyske said:
Or the Kazrack trap-detection method. Or the alternating cries of "Wait!" "Charge!" between the two.

Call me crazy, but I think that might have been irony I heard in Eric's voice. :)

It was Matt, not Eric that used the term 'risk averse' and I think his opinion is colored by the encounters and sub-plot that developed around the time his character joined the group (not for another 8 or 9 sessions in terms of the Story Hour).
 


Manzanita said:
I don't know that I agree that Kazrack and Ratchis are risk averse.

They're lucky perhaps.
They're Clerics. ;) One thing I've noticed is that both of them make frequent, reasonably good use of thier spells, especially healing, and are quick to stop and regain spells when they run out - even, as in the above, going so far as to rest, expend all their spells healing, then 'rest' some more. Given the relatively low-magic world, and the inclusion of devestating critical hits and fumbles, it's a necessary strategy. This is not the first time they've been burdened with debilitating injuries, for instance.

Kazrack /is/ 'risk-adverse' when it comes to the party as a whole, though - he generally tries for negotiation before combat (even though it almost never works), and caution in exploration (likewise). Conversely, when it comes to his own safety he all but has a martyr complex - he's not heedless of risk, but he'd always rather put himself at risk than someone else - even when he's not the one best able to face the risk. That - even more than his stubborness or his no-armor-oath religious crisis - is probably his 'tragic flaw.'
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Tony Vargas said:
Kazrack /is/ 'risk-adverse' when it comes to the party as a whole, though - he generally tries for negotiation before combat (even though it almost never works), and caution in exploration (likewise). Conversely, when it comes to his own safety he all but has a martyr complex - he's not heedless of risk, but he'd always rather put himself at risk than someone else - even when he's not the one best able to face the risk. That - even more than his stubborness or his no-armor-oath religious crisis - is probably his 'tragic flaw.'

Holy Crap On A Stick!

Someone actually gets and can explain Kazrack!

You sir, get the "story hour reader of the month award"!
 

Pyske

Explorer
nemmerle said:
It was Matt, not Eric that used the term 'risk averse' and I think his opinion is colored by the encounters and sub-plot that developed around the time his character joined the group (not for another 8 or 9 sessions in terms of the Story Hour).
Sorry for the mis-attribution.
 

mmu1

First Post
Well, the ";)" was meant to indicate I wasn't entirely serious to begin with...

I guessone way to put it is that they're suicidally brave when it comes to the big stuff almost guaranteed to get you killed (Where we go, there's a Demon King and a Devil Queen, and we're almost certain to die!), but really conservative when it comes to everything else. (No, don't climb that. No, we're not going to fight them. Logan, I can't believe you just dared them to drop Gunthar in the river. No, we don't need you to go scouting, we have Arcane Eye. Just because this Paladin of Thoth tried to kill us, it doesn't mean you shouldn't be polite to him.) :)
 

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