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WotBS Tolamaker's 5e Burning Sky #1

Tolamaker

Villager
The Party
Eluriah - Wood Elf Druid (Wildfire), originally from Sindaire. Very interested in finding out what happened to Innenotdar, as she has been a protector of the forests in her own home. Her spirit is a fiery deer, named Artemis.
Aripose - Forest Gnome Rogue (Assassin), also from Sindaire. Looks very young, and happily tells people he is an assassin. Has a pet hedgehog named Fern.
Orwin - Tiefling Artificer (Artillerist), Gate Pass local. Member of Gabal's school, but no one really knows what he's up to, so he basically created his own curriculum. Has a homunculus cat named Mechanicles.
Mishka - Half Orc Barbarian (Totem), Gate Pass local. Mom was a member of the original resistance, and Mishka wants to live up to that. Wears a bearskin pelt in honor of her father's Ragesian tribe.
Gruz - Half Orc Warlock (Blade), Former Dassen Military. His entire company was annihilated by a single monster, and he made his pact to be able to defeat it. Wears his company's former banner as a cape.

Session 1
The party assembles in the Poison Apple Pub to meet Torrent, a young cleric who is part of the resistance in Gate Pass. Their mission is to get secret Ragesian military intelligence to Lyceum, a mage school in the south. Then they have to get out of Gate Pass, and time is running short, because talk around town is that the council is going to let the Ragesian Inquisitors in tomorrow, and an army is on their doorstep.

As the party discusses how best to handle their escape from the city, Eluriah hears rushing footsteps outside, and alerts the party. They are prepared for the battering ram that comes through the front door, but not the rogues who had snuck in through the roof. A battle ensues, and the leader of the attackers declares that the party is "worth more alive than dead." Mishka cuts a man in twain, while getting attacked from all sides. Orwin tosses out a contraption that seems to provide shimmering shields to everyone. Eluriah rushes an archer, and knocks him out cold. She doesn't want to kill anyone. Unfortunately...

Suddenly, the roof explodes in a shower of fire, and the man on the floor burns to death as hot oil pours down on everyone. The attackers seem just as surprised as the party and begin to retreat. Eluriah knocks out another attacker, and pulls her to safety while the rest flee on horseback. The leader gives a single nod of thanks when he sees that his companion is safe before escaping on horseback.

As the party escapes the burning tavern, they see that the rest of the city is in an uproar, and winged creatures fly in the night sky, dropping sparking flames that burst into fire with explosive force.

Post-Session Thoughts:
Way overplanned, because I always forget how RP heavy my group is. I had everything up to Badgerface prepared, and we barely got out of the tavern in our 3 hours.
Players were very excited to start. We just finished Curse of Strahd, and while it was fun, I think everyone's glad to be out of the Mists for now. I personally enjoy the more cinematic scenes in the book, and look forward to next session.

Changes to the Adventure:
Not much that showed up here. I changed the the name of the the former empire to the Morusan Empire, so I could call the setting The Morusan Continent, because for some reason it bothered me that I didn't know what the world was called. So technically still the Empire of Morrus, but just obfuscating it a bit so it doesn't just sound like a name. In the end it doesn't matter, but it puts my mind at ease. Slightly lowered the number of humans in the setting, simply because I was kind of bored of humans by the end of CoS. I made the Khagan a half elf-halfling, because I love the idea of a halfling warlord. I'll likely be changing several human NPCs as we go along.

I am also using Kibblesmith's crafting, which hasn't come up yet, but will once they start fighting more magical creatures. No idea how that will come out. Part of choosing this adventure after CoS was more magic items, gold, and variety of enemies. Another was that players liked the idea of having a home base, and Seaquen will serve that role well. I'm hoping to get a little more homebrew with this campaign, particularly with PC feats and such, so that players can really personalize their character, and the crafting goes along with that.
 

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I changed the the name of the the former empire to the Morusan Empire, so I could call the setting The Morusan Continent, because for some reason it bothered me that I didn't know what the world was called. So technically still the Empire of Morrus, but just obfuscating it a bit so it doesn't just sound like a name.
Eeek.
 



Tolamaker

Villager
I forgot that Aripose's player was vacationing, so no answer this week!
Session 2
Coming out into the streets, the party finds Gate Pass in chaos as the city attempts to survive the night. A roar echoes through the sky, panicking Mishka, who goes running away. Everyone else held their ground, so Orwin sends Mechanicles after her to make sure she doesn't get in trouble.

Torrent runs to heal a man who had extreme burns. Eluriah runs to save a man in a burning building with a blanket, but Orwin casts featherfall, ensuring the man's safety. Gruz ran to a dwarf woman, thinking she had lost her child, but it turns out her "baby" is Kiki, her giant weasel. Mishka gets ahold of herself, and rejoins the party as things get under control. The party decides the weasel is fine, and leave.

In the sky, a griffon rider of Gate Pass succeeds in defeating a wyvern knight of Ragos, but is immediately eaten by an enormous red dragon. Eluriah keeps an eye out for where the wyvern fell, and when they get to that area, they see that the rider survived. Following him into a house, the knight had killed most of a family, and is about to kill the youngest child when the party descends and kicks his ass. Gruz shames the man, saying this isn't what soldiers do, and the man drops his weapon. They knock him out and take him to district guard gate, and take the boy to Torrent's temple. Orwin says if the boy has nowhere else to go, he can find a warm bed at Orwin's parents' store.

The party goes to The Depository, a bank in the Capitol District. The guards aren't sure about letting so many people in, but Orwin is able to convince them that it's for a good cause. Inside, they meet Badgerface, a tall gnome who asks for the password to a spellscroll case. When it becomes clear that the gnome doesn't know the password either, they become suspicious, and suddenly elves in guard armor open fire from the floor above. The gnome suddenly uses a new voice that Orwin recognizes, and tries to escape. Gruz braves the Burning Sky, and misty steps up in front of him, blocking his path.

The fight soon becomes a shoving match, with Gruz shoving the gnome over the rails, and one of the guards shoving Gruz right after. The session ended with the gnome bloodied within an inch of his life, and giving the order to the guard at the top to "Tell Shealis we don't have the password." Next week, the thrilling conclusion to the Battle in the Bank!

Post Session Thoughts:

Very fun session, lots of cinematic moments. Everyone was suitably awed and scared by the red dragon descending from the clouds. It was very satisfying to reel Gruz in crying about my baby, and then shriek that "Kiki isn't an outdoor weasel!" Feels like we're moving about a mile an hour, but having a good time. The group has decided that the red dragon is the lynchpin of the Ragesians, and its fun to hear them talk about the implications.

I completely botched the bank fight, which is drawing to a close pretty handily for the PCs (except for Gruz. Burning through a misty step and then being tossed down the stairs did a number on him). I forgot about the potion of spiderclimb "Badgerface" has, and let him get trapped when he could have easily escaped. Made for some fun moments with throwing off, but it didn't end up being enough of a challenge.

Changes to the Adventure:
Moved the wyvern knight encounter up because they took special note of it. It feels like a lot of the adventure NPCs have inflated HP, so I brought them down a fair bit. Torrent got the biggest downgrade, mostly so that I can keep myself honest and not use her as a meat shield.

I consolidated the Spy vs. Spy encounters, cutting out the ghetto entirely (bye bye celestial badgers). Having two separate "your intelligence is in another castle" moments felt too much. So, those guards came down to the Depository. We'll see what Shealis has up her sleeve next time.

Not exactly a change, but I've been really stressing that they need to get out tonight before the council lets in Ragesia, and that's done a great job of keeping them moving. I really enjoy hearing them debate taking a rest vs pushing on.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
Nicely done. Don't worry about changing things up in the adventures to fit you and your group.

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Tolamaker

Villager
The party finishes up the fight, knocking out Badgerface and one of his associates. Mishka chases the final one up, where he is climbing down a rope. She cuts the rope, sending the man falling down (to 1 hp). Eluriah runs up, draws her longbow, and sends an arrow through his throat.

Elsewhere, Aripos hunts down his hedgehog Fern, who got scared in the firebombing. He finds Fern hissing at a very large weasel, who has a collar around his neck that says Kiki. After hissing back at the weasel, Aripose calms it down and takes it to its home, where an elderly dwarf gives her 10 gold for returning her "baby." Aripose makes his way to the Depository in time to see a man get shot by Eluriah.

The party discovers that Badgerface is actually an elf after his Disguise Self wears off. Orwin recognizes the elf as Larion, a recent student at Gabal's School of Magic. He also knows that Larion joined at the same time as Shealis, another elf, and they spend a lot of time together. Gruz tries to intimidate Larion by holding him over the edge of the tower, but Larion says he's prepared to die for his country. Eluriah argues to let him go as a sign of goodwill, but Torrent and Mishka aren't willing to let someone who killed Gate Pass citizens go scot free.

The party eventually agrees to hand him over in exchange for Badgerface and the information. On the way to the school, they run into Jennis, a drow student who catches on to what is going on, and wants to help. They go to the dueling grounds, where Larion calls for Shealis. Shealis comes out, holding a bruised and battered Badgerface by the neck. Badgerface is holding a spell scroll case. They say that the case is trapped with a fireball spell if they don't know the password, but Badgerface convinces them to let Orwin, a tiefling, open it. He falls over laughing when the case opens and nothing happens, and loudly insults he elves for thinking he knows jack naughty word about magic. The information is written in Infernal script, but is in code, so Orwin agrees to copy the information and share it with the Shahalesti.

Post Session Thoughts:
Pretty slow-moving session, but I was down for it. There was a lot more disagreement about what to do about Larion than I had anticipated, but it meant I got to sit back and listen to the arguments for a while, only jumping in to clarify information. One fun thing when they were interrogating Larion is that he honestly believes that the Shahalesti had nothing to do with Peppin's murder. It reminds me of how the various US intelligence agencies weren't sharing information in the early 2000s.

Gruz failed his Intimidation check on Larion, and almost threw him over the edge in frustration. They had a lot of low rolls on getting information out of him, so Larion came off as a very smooth operator. That almost made it difficult to play him until Eluriah gave me an opening, both by being an elf and advocating for letting him go. That opened things up for him to be at least a little cooperative.

Changes to the Adventure:
Most of the changes were accidental. I already mentioned condensing the Spy vs. Spy portion, but apparently I also straight up misread some information. I only noticed after the session that technically the intelligence is a book, not a sheaf of papers, so technically they probably wouldn't think copying it down would be a timely activity, but oh well. I also misread where the real Badgerface is. Somehow I completely missed that he's in the Depository, just hidden. I could have sworn that he was being kept by Shealis. It worked out fine, but it was just very strange that I had completely missed those two bits of information.

Wise-cracking Diogenes became hard-core partying Jennis. I tried to crack wise, but my brain is usually mush in the middle of a session. So she quickly became Gabal's best known keg-stander who's game for anything.

@Tormyr My players when they see me stumble through the module
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