WotBS Tolamaker's Burning Sky

Tolamaker

Adventurer
Session 51: It's Quiet... Too Quiet

Half of the party succumbs to a strange lethargy, with Corban and Aripos able to fight it off. As a test, Corban punches Mishka in the face, and is able to shake her out of it. Aripos gleefully flicks Eluriah the spider, and punches Gwenevere in the face as well. Assuming that everyone else here is under the same effect, the party wanders around the Ragesian camp, facing no opposition from the humans, orcs, and half-orcs. They come across a lieutenant, attempting to drink from an empty whiskey bottle, and discover that his general will be coming soon, and he believes he will be executed for failing to storm the village and retrieve the Orb of Storms. The party experiments with the lieutenant, and determine that the people are not charmed, and more amenable, they simply do not care to act, or hide information.

Going into town, the group sees that a dicta labeled as a fire shrine has been desecrated. Mishka is able to determine that the Ragesians did this, and Eluriah feels a faint tug from the Plane of Fire when she is near it. The other shrines in town are unmolested. The group goes into an inn, and find that there is one of the Lyceum party sent here. He is a human ranger named Eril, and he is unaffected by the lethargy because he broke his ribs in a landslide coming up the mountains. He tells them that Torrent and the rest got no cooperation from the monastery's masters, but that another monk told them that they could find more information in the Storm Valley. He says they left shortly before the Ragesians attacked, and the calm passed over the town. He's confused about the information the group has, as according to him, the party sent accurate information to Simeon, which they did not receive.

Deciding that they need to go up to the monastery for answers, the group begins to ascend, but Mishka hears a voice whisper "Sister?" to her. She whips around, and sees a figure walk into a building. She follows, and surrounded by silks, the voice tells her "No... you have merely met my kin." The voice identifies itself as Balance, and it fears that Mishka and the others will tip over the scales. The voice recedes, and the party resumes their trip up.

Halfway up the winding path, a new voice upon the wind asks the group for a password. Swordfish is not the answer, so two elementals appear, throwing the group about, and attempting to knock them off the mountain. The group is able to defend themselves, and continue up to the doors of the monastery.

Post-Session Thoughts
This was a fun session to play, because the flat, cooperative tone was so unexpected for everyone. I left out some more hijinks, but it was a very fun time. Honestly, there's not much to say, other than I think I got more than a few things wrong, and I'll have to decide whether to incorporate them into the adventure, or own up later. I'm fairly certain I've created a conspiracy about Torrent's messages that didn't exist in the book, but I'll likely handwave that with Caela's interference. I believe the book wants me to level the group up before the Ragesian attack, so I'll likely do that after the monastery.

Changes to the Module
Because of the changed timeline I accidentally made, Eril had no reason to hide from the Ragesians, so he's in the Peak's Shadow Inn. Honestly, I ran this session pretty straightforward. To make up for that, I'll likely be completely winging the next session as they enter the monastery! Will Caela be there? How creepy/charming will Pilus be? Who knows!
 

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Tolamaker

Adventurer
Sessions 52 & 53 - Broken Calm

The party makes it to the gates of the monastery, where they are reluctantly let in by two monks, Bailan and Kai Lei. They are afraid that the town of Eresh is cursed. They are led to the Masters of the Two Winds, Su Pli and Su Ilgon. Su Ilgon is covered head to toe in robes, and wears a silver mask, while Su Pli is much more relaxed, and welcomes them with a smile.

Speaking with the masters, the party learns that the Lyceum party did arrive, and were denied entrance to the Valley of Storms. The Valley is considered sacred, as the Stormchaser Eagle once nested there, and it's elemental energy still permeates the area. Monks are only allowed to travel there once as part of an initiation rite upon completing their training. However, upon receiving the news that Ragesia is at the gates, and more may be arriving, Su Ilgon relents, and gives them permission to go into the valley. Su Pli is shocked, and tells the party that normally Ilgon is quite set in his ways. Pli is happy, because as talk turns to war, it is obvious that he relishes the idea of driving the invading foreigners out of Ostalin. He tells the party that if they can end the fog of malaise over the village, the monks will come to the aid of the town. If that is not possible, the masters suggest leading the uncaring townspeople up to the monastery.

When the party leaves their audience with the masters, they learn from Bailan that Kai Lei overheard that they were allowed to go into the Valley, and stormed off. Bailan says that no one has been allowed to go into the valley for almost three years, and Kai Lei was assumed to be the next in line. When Corban tries to find Kai Lei, he catches sight of her "flying" down the mountainside, heading towards the Valley of Storms. He warns Su Pli, who sighs, and says that she may be frustrated, but that doesn't excuse her actions. He says she will be expelled from the monastery when she returns.

The next morning, the Gwenevere receives a panicked message from Eril, saying that someone is in his room, telling him to stop resisting, and then the message goes silent. The group rushes down the mountain to find an androgynous monk standing over the now calm form of Eril. The being introduces themselves as Balance, and admits to being the person responsible for the malaise. Eluriah, frustrated at Balance's nonchalance at subduing an entire town, slaps them. Balance falls over, but does not retaliate, insisting that they must submit in order to allow Balance to maintain the calm.

Mishka asks about being called "sister" earlier, and Balance admits to being a Trillith, a child of Trilla. They describe traveling through earth and arriving above-ground, attempting to provide calm dreams for their mother. "For that is what we are... dreams... nightmares."

The party begins to slap nearby townsfolk, to make them gather other people and take them to the monastery, when Balance collapses, and begins to moan. "Oh, he is so angry. He does not see war, he sees only cowards. He is striding through, he sees the man who failed him, he raises his sword, and-" Balance screams, and the calm breaks.

Outside, the Ragesian soldiers who were still in town are going berserk, slashing out at anyone who is nearby. The party subdues them, and begins attempting to direct villagers up to the monastery. Corban plays a ringing single note, that echoes through the valley, but is unable to gather many people before the outside Ragesians attack.

The party is assaulted by wyvern riders dropping dragon bombs. One keeps their distance, attacking from afar, while another comes in close to slash and poison, while a riderless wyvern grabs Eluriah, and drops her from 80 feet in the air.

Theparty reels, but is able to pull their way back after Corban drops a mass heal. Mishka cleaves through the neck of the close wyvern, Gwenevere and Aripos are chipping away at the riderless wyvern. Will they survive? Hopefully! Is this the last wave of enemies? Definitely not!

Post Session Thoughts:
As I mentioned last time, the monastery session was almost entirely ad-libbed, but it went well. As always, my players are very interested in the politics and following up on things, so I cut a lot of discussion about trillith and where the Masters came from in the recap. They are very charmed by the masters, even if Ilgon (Longinus) is a little creepy.

The second session with Balance and the soldiers was very tense. It was pretty clear that there was a split among the group over whether Balance is an evil trillith, or just doing what they think is best. Eventually, the discussion went long enough that I felt like they had enough information, and started the chaos. The first fight was a bit of a cake walk, but the second fight, after a wyvern crit against Eluriah, was immediately more concerning. I'll likely cut the optional hellhound fight before the general arrives. Very fun sessions, and they reached level 10 before the fight, so they're getting to try out some new tricks.

Changes to the module
Edit: How could I forget that I changed Pilus and Longinus' names AGAIN? I was originally going with their original Ostalin names (Lsi Pu and Lsi Nu Gon), but I got to a point where I laughed each time I said Pu, so I went with another rearrangement. Bailan was added to give a little more flavor to Kai Lei's character, and to make the final chase after her more interesting.

I opted to make Balance just annoyingly calm, instead of speaking in metaphors. I think Eluriah's player slapped them simply because of how obtuse they seemed. I still got to be plenty mysterious, without having to come up with airy metaphors for trillith on the side. I might have given more information than was necessary, but I think it's fine. They've been getting so little Trillith info, I think they were happy with what they got. My favorite question was when Balance was describing leaving Trilla, the party was confused, and asked if it was a physical tunnel, or a kind of liminal metaphorical tunnel. Balance replied "yes."

The fights I ran largely as written, though I added the second wyvern, simply because of how easy the first fight had gone. I was immediately reminded that the wyverns are the heavy-duty damage dealers in this situation, but I think it will go fine. Not sure if I'll adjust the general fight or not yet.
 

Tolamaker

Adventurer
Sessions 54 & 55: When Will the Fighting End?

The party is able to withstand the wyverns, and in quick succession manage to defeat them, as well as cutting down the retreating wyvern riders. As they begin to regroup, they hear a ringing gong sound from the mountainside above. Through the clearing mists, they can see monks bounding down the mountain to join the fight. From the opposite side, an answering Ostalin war horn sounds: the contingent of soldiers led by Captain Lu Pan. But before they can join, a shouting voice arrests the groups attention. "There they are!" a man who can only be General Signus shouts, his strange blind mount loping forward through the mist. "Those responsible for disrupting our affairs, and the weakness that infected you all!" He throws an object forward, and it rolls forward to reveal it is the head of the lieutenant they had met outside the town. "Give'em thunder, boys!"

Eluriah answers the general and his men's arrival with a fireball. At Signus' command, a soldier throws herself in front of him, shielding him fromt he worst of the blast. Striding forward, his mount's ears change shape, and the heroes' nerves alight with pain. Fighting through, Mishka activates her rune and grows to a giant's size, and takes on the General. Corban casts a slow spell that catches most of the enemy, including Signus. Hell hounds attack from the flank, taking on Aripos and the casters in the back. Gwenevere runs across the battlefield to catch as many soldiers in a lightning bolt.

With a heavy swing from Mishka, the General is cloven in two, and the rest of the soldiers soon follow, while his steed is felled by a fire seed from Eluriah's companion Artemis. The monks and soldiers join the fight and soon have the Ragesians running. After a while, the remaining Ragesians are gathered together, and it becomes clear that the monks are divided on what to do with them. Su Ilgon and his acolytes have circled the soldiers, almost protecting them from Su Pli and his monks. Su Pli rages at his brother. "After what they've done here, after what they've done to us, you protect them?" Eventually Su Ilgon wins out, and Su Pli storms off.

The rest of the day is a blur as the party helps with the wreckage and the wounded. The next day, as they go off in search of Torrent and the rest of the Lyceum party, Su Ilgon warns them that the Valley will always provide trials to those who enter it. "Neither you nor Kai Lei are properly prepared."

Entering the Valley, they are soon engulfed in mist, unable to see even a hundred feet in front of them. Above them, Eluriah hears whispers and only has time to warn Mishka as disgruntled monk acolytes descend upon them. East Wind monks snap at them with Whips to stun them, while West Wind monks channel their ki into spells, barraging the party with shattering winds. At first, the party is pummeled on all sides, locked down by the stunning strikes of the monks. However, one by one, they are able to push through and fight back. Corban counterspells as much as possible, while Gwenevere strikes back. Mishka and Aripos are the last to break free. As the tides turn, the monks call out to "the lord of the winds" to protect them, and a shrieking cry answers. With a gust of wind, a mantidrake comes forth to face the party as well.

Post-session thoughts and Changes
Once again, I'm recapping two sessions, as they were largely fight-based. Because of the reshuffling of this module, I'm combining both sections into this.

The General Signus fight was going far too easily for the group, which is why two hellhounds joined the fight late. At first, I was pretty disappointed with this fight, but then I realized later I had misread Loper's range on his cones of destruction (I read 80 as 30), so when I was hitting two people, I really should have been able to maneuver to hit almost all of the party. I don't think that would have made a huge difference, but maybe. It definitely would have allowed me to hit the casters more often, who I mostly peppered with arrows that rarely hit.

I added the fight between the brothers to start to hint at a darker side to Pilus. That will obviously be expanded when they reach the temple, but I think it was subtle enough for the players to think it was just a bit of flavor at the end of the fight.

Going into the valley, I need to get a little meta. I get married in three weeks, and I really want to finish the module by then before I disappear for the ceremony and honeymooning. I was debating which fights to cut, but then I decided on something else. While I'm still going to cut the abomination fight (I'll make the Lyceum party part of the Ettin club) I decided for a change of pace as an experiment. My MO is usually to cut fights, and make the surviving fights harder. I pump up hp, multiattacks, number of enemies, etc. However, the last few times I've done this I've felt like they've been more of a slog than normal. So, this time, I'm going to run almost all of the encounters (monks, ettins, Aurus the wind minotaur, Caela) but by the book (for the most part). I already enjoyed the monk fight far more than I did the Signus fight. The monks are nice little glass cannons who were all pretty much two-shotted, but they really did a number on the group, locking everyone down into a nice little group for Shatter spells to do their work. I'm afraid the mantidrake showed up too late to be more than a cool feature, but whatever. It moved along nicely, and hopefully the future fights will as well.

Next week, the temple! Will they be able to enter? Will they recognize their friend in time to save her? We'll see!
 

Tolamaker

Adventurer
Sessions 56 & 57: The Temple of Wind

The party is able to defeat the mantidrake rather quickly, but the ringleader of the ambushing monks is able to escape. The party decides not to pursue. After stitching up their wounds, they continue into the valley. As they travel throught he drizzle and mist, Eluriah overhears the sounds of deep voices arguing amongst themselves. Aripos sneaks up and sees that the voices belong to a group of ettins who are patroling the edge of the temple. The party attempts to distract the ettins, but only incites their curiosity. As one ettin rushes to attack, another comes forward from the mist, with one head obviously belonging to Torrent the cleric. UPon second glance, it is clear that the ettins' heads are obviously a mix of halfling, dwarf, and human heads. The party is shocked, and immediately try to reason with her, but they can't break through. As a last resort, Corban polymorphs the Torrent ettin into a mouse, who runs around the battlefield attempting to bite the party. They manage to take out the ettins without killing them, and then release Torrent to her ettin form and manage to get through to her.

Torrent has memory issues, and only remembers being led to the valley by a "nice monk lady," and then being told to guard the temple. The party believes this to be Kai Lei, and descend into the temple to confront her. Torrent gives them a wave, and promises to explain things to the other "ettins".

Inside the temple, they see that the original temple vestments have been shoved aside for a series of tubes and pipes leading to vats of biomantic fluid. Some of the vats still have bodies in them, but draining the fluid reveals that they did not survive the process. Mishka's assessment of the bodies is that they are being transformed into creatures meant to be the perfect hunter warriors. Deeper in the temple, they hear arguing voices, but can't make out what's being said. Eluriah transforms into a spider, and crawls in to find a workshop, where glass-like orbs lie around, some empty, and some gray or black, with cracks and other imperfections in them. She relays the information back to the party, and she and Aripos spider-climb their way up to a statue of the primordial dragon and eagle.

They crawl up to see Kai Lei tearfully arguing with an image of Su Pli, an Orb of Storms in her hands. Su Pli's face is wracked with anger, and he berates Kai Lei. "I have never had such a stupid and ungrateful acolyte as you! The audacity to take the tools I have given you and put them in the hands of the Ragesians!"

Kai Lei tries to reason with him, holding her creation forth. “I have it now! I have the orb! We can give it to them, and then…”

“Idiot girl. If you had not cut yourself off from communications you would know that the Ragesians are defeated. Their general cut in half by a simple-minded half-orc Gate Passer barbarian. And you feared them. You trained for revenge for years, only to hand it over to them at the first sign of difficulty."

“You haven’t seen what they’ve created!” Kai Lei shouts, tears streaming down her face. “When I went and spied for you I saw what they’ve done with the mages. Your machines are still just prototypes, you can’t understand what they are capable of until you see it!"

A wind passes Eluriah and Aripos, and Kai Lei flinches. "They're here! Please, help me-"

Su Pli is unrelenting. "If you survive this onslaught, we will see what is to be done with you. Otherwise, consider this fitting punishment for your betrayal."

Kai Lei turns, with lightning suffusing her body, and battle breaks out.

Aripos is able to get a shot off, but Kai Lei catches the bolt, and breaks it in her hand. The rest of the part rushes in, with Gwenevere and Corban teleporting up to the second level, while Mishka has to run up the stairs. Up there, Gwen's catches sight of a strange purple banner hanging on the wall. As soon as most of the party is on the second level, the air coalesces into the form of a minotaur with an enormous warhammer. He rushes Gwenevere, but is impossibly stopped in his tracks. Kai Lei tries to launch a lightning attack, but Corban is able to counterspell her, causing her to rush him. As Mishka is running up the stairs, she activates her Enlarge rune. Not a moment too soon, as the stairs are lined with a Rug of Smothering, who immediately tries to smother her. However, with her large size, it is unable to completely engulf her and is dragged along as it pummels her.

Aripos and Eluriah shoot at the minotaur from a distance, as Mishka closes up with it. Once again, the Minotaur lines up to rush several, starting with Gwen, but Gwen catches its horns and stops it. Realizing that she isn't the squishy wizard he assumed, the minotaur turns instead and rushes Corban, who has been fending off the rapid blows of Kai Lei. Corban takes a horn to the shoulder, and is knocked unconscious. The minotaur roars as he finally lands a solid blow.

With the counterspeller out of the way, Kai Lei is able to do what she wants. She draws the ambient electricity fromt he air, and her entire body becomes lightning, passing through Mishka, Gwen, and Aripos, knocking Gwenevere out. Her lightning also burns the rug to a near crisp. As she returns to her natural form and runs for the door, Su Pli's form reappears, and berates her for her cowardice. The storm above intensifies, shattering the glass dome, and the temple begins to fall apart.

Eluriah heals the party, bringing the unconscious back to the land of the living. The minotaur rushes her, but Mishka intercepts and cuts the wind being in half. Artemis burns up the rug that Mishka had ignored, and Kai Lei is all that remains.

The party rushes down, where Kai Lei franticly defends herself, when Aripos lands two bolts to her heart, pinning her to the door. With the temple falling apart, hitting them with broken glass, masonry, and the occasional lightning strike, they have no time to celebrate, and just grab what they can. They take the minotaur's hammer, the Orb of Storms, Kai Lei's potion bracer, and Gwenevere runs back to grab the banner, revealing it to be the standard of the Moonlit Blades, Gruz's old company.

Running out, they barely make it out before the temple collapses. Outside, the storm begins to calm, and a parting of the clouds reveals a dark ominous object floating in the sky like a predator of the sea. It's enormous, the size of a small city, and Aripos has a moment of deja vu as he realizes he's dreamed of this before. The leviathan is covered by the clouds, and the party is left to ponder what they've seen, and whether or not to return to the monastery now that they know the true nature of one of its masters.

Post session thoughts
These two sessions were pretty good. The ettin fight was incredibly easy for the group, due to some absolutely abysmal rolling on my part. I think I only landed hits on Mishka, and that's because of Reckless Attack granting me advantage against her. The reveal that Torrent was one of the ettins was a great one, and I immediately called for a break at that moment just to let them freak out.

The finale fight was my favorite fight of the adventure, with the canyon fight coming in second. I combined Aurus with the Kai Lei fight, and honestly, I think it was just about perfect. Knocking a few people out with enemies that will absolutely attack you while you're down is a great motivator. The reveal of Su Pli (Pilus) was also great. I felt like it was necessary, because so much of what had come before suggested Kai Lei was a lone actor, and while that's half true, I wanted it obvious that while they disagreed on the ends, they were willing to use the same means (kidnapping and forced biomancy).

Changes to the module
I made Torrent and the Lyceum party ettins because I'm a coward who doesn't like to kill NPCs offscreen. I thought the shock of the ettin reveal was more fun than the sad horror of the mishaps, and it also gives the players a new problem as they try to figure out what to do with five "ettins."

As mentioned before, I combined the Aurus and Kai Lei fights, because I find that adding creatures works better than adding HP to a fight. The Aurus fight as written seemed like it would either be very frustrating, or very easy, and I think my combination allowed Aurus to be a real threat, rather than just a puzzle to solve.
 
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Tolamaker

Adventurer
Post-Module Thoughts

Overall, I definitely agree with those who say that this adventure needs some work. As written, its very linear, to the point where it purposefully makes you backtrack, saying certain things can't happen before the backtrack, for no discernible reason other than giving information in a certain order. Letting the players into the monastery early is a really good way (I think) of giving more info without having to solve the Ragesian problem on your own. My internal reasoning was that the monks, naturally already more balanced in their mindset, were especially susceptible to Balance's aura, making it so that they had no chance of making their save at all. Might be troubling if your player has a monk, but I think it can still work.

I also liked introducing the masters before the end of the module, because it set up another reveal that the Mysterious Masked Man is good, and the handsome younger man is not. It's funny, because I worried that the players would catch on to my methods, but they still keep buying it when I set up super nice-looking people to be evil.

One side effect, which may still come up if you run the adventure normally, is that my players now absolutely do not want to return to the monastery. This isn't super important, as they have the orb now, but if you set it up so that the orb is at the monastery, then they might have extremely deep distrust of the monks, to the point of not wanting to go there. I could be forgetting something from the adventure, but keep that in mind. When I come back in a month or so, they'll have decided what they want to do. They could just return to Seaquen with Eluriah's new Wind Walk spell, but that would leave the ettins. Also, it's not clear to me if they think Su Illgon (Longinus) is evil too. Now that I think of it, there might have been some confusion that Pilus was working with the Ragesians, but I'll find out later. I think it's important to understand that Pilus is evil, but not on the side of the Ragesians. I tried my best to play up the nationalist side of Pilus that @RangerWickett suggested in his changes, where he has a general disdain for any non-Ostaliners. He hides it usually, but it came out when he was angry.

I will say that as always, I find changing the module extremely easy, because there is so much material to work with. I always say that I prefer when adventures have "too much" information rather than too little, and this is definitely the case. Even playing the changed parts of the adventure by ear, I still felt like I had a solid grasp of what would happen because I have such a full picture of the adventure, and the campaign as a whole.

For now, I'm off to get married, and then I'll be back in a month or so to continue on to Castle Korstull!
 


Tolamaker

Adventurer
Sessions 58 & 59: Back and Off Again

The group decides that they don't want to return to the monastery if Su Pli is going to be there, assuming that some sort of treachery will play out due to his involvement with Torrent's transformation. They discuss ways to get out of the Valley of Storms, and decide to use a spell that Eluriah has not used before: Transport Via Plants. Waiting until midnight, they teleport through a tree into their Seaquen treehouse, terrifying Lurog out of his slumber. Much like last time, Aripos and Corban are knocked out int he travel by the flames. They manage to calm the false ettins down enough to lead them to Seaquen, where Kieran and Simeon leave them in the hands of Paradim Dogwood in order to revert them back to normal. Simeon is troubled by the apparent betrayal on behalf of the monastery, but is grateful that they were able to retrieve an Orb of Storms. "I will conduct what divinations I can. In the meantime, rest."

The party all go about their week doing odd jobs, when Aripos has a string of bad luck while robbing an Auyang jewelry store. He's caught by the proprietor, and sent to the town jail. Suddenly, everyone scrambles to find legal information and testimony that can save Aripos, but he is still fined 800 gold and sentenced to community service, largely to continue his current adventuring duties on behalf of Seaquen. When they meet with Simeon at the end of the week, he is furious that Aripos would steal from the very people he is trying to protect. Aripos doesn't apologize, and claims he was cursed, "because I've never been caught before." He plans on creating a new identity for returning to Seaquen so that he doesn't have to deal with the local guards tailing him.

Simeon tells the group that he received word from Su Illgon that he was sorry for their need to depart. "He said that he had known that his brother was secretive, but never to this extent." Simeon then tells them that divinations have revealed that there is a Ragesian Legion as well as a contingent of Shahalesti soldiers around the perimeter of the firestorm above Castle Korstull. He doesn't know if they are avoiding each other or working together "Which while unlikely, seems less and less far-fetched the more webs we untangle."

The group teleports to Eluriah's druid grove in Sindaire, where the yearly Fire Festival is going on. They leave Gwenevere behind, and meet up with Gruz once again, who has barely begun his life as a Count of Dassen, and is already happy to get out of his hall. They partake in party games, including spicy chili eating, walking on coals, and drinking contests. Eluriah briefs her Archdruid about what she has faced, and the Archdruid warns her that the fires around Castle Korstull "are nothing natural. Fire is necessary for the cycle of life, but that thing brings only death."

Resolution for myself going forward is to go back to single session updates. I end up leaving a lot of details out when I do these every other session.

Eluriah Wind Walks the group to the spot that Simeon divined would be safe from patrols. The storm is enormous, stretching miles across and miles into the air, with blood-red rain scouring the landscape of any life or vegetation. Activating the Orb of Storms, they conjure a wind that drives back the storm, and begin making their way in. Corban notices that the trail behind them is staying clear of caustic rains longer than they should, so others may be able to follow them in.

They travel for hours into the storm, when they see a pillar of fire swirling above what can only be Castle Korstull. They come in close, hearing the sounds of the undead still shuffling about in their defenses. Corban sends out a raven as a scout, and determines that the undead are not intelligent. The raven also sees three wagons taking shelter underneath the stone statue of a bear's skull. As the party gets ready to enter the castle, black lightning strikes down at them, and skeleton soldiers rise with fires in their eyes.

Post-session thoughts
It felt good to be back in the game after a month off. These two sessions were pretty RP heavy, especially thanks to the god-awful rolls on behalf of Aripos for his thievery. He only needed to get a single roll above 13 on the die in order to not get caught, and all four rolls were under 10. A little distracting for me, I'll admit, but the group had a lot of fun coming up with fake case law stuff, alongside arguing that Aripos is technically a child by gnome standards.

I'm looking forward to Castle Korstull now that the first combat has started. I think dungeon-crawls have a way of keeping a party focused. Something about having their characters out on a map at all times makes things feel a little more real, in my opinion. These two sessions were more setup, but I can't wait to get started for real.

Changes to the module
In the module, teleporting at midnight is supposed to remove only 2 out of 40 d6s. It's strange Wayfarer techniques that are supposed to cut it in half. Considering that the party now has access to Wind Walk, which can travel hundreds of miles in a day, I don't think it's too much of a change that anything will go crazy. Plus, they're still taking a lot of damage, so there's no chance of them getting the jump on anyone important using this method.

The Fire Festival was added because Eluriah's player suggested it, and was pretty fun.

I removed a fight with Ragesians outside the firestorm, because no information is learned in the fight, and it mostly seemed to be filler. They're going to be able to controll their long/short rest patterns in the dungeon, so I figure it's not too terrible to leave one fight out at the beginning. I'll likely be running things mostly by the book once in, because most of my editing in other adventures is whether to keep or get rid of a fight. In a dungeon, with so much more emphasis on exploration and resource management, I'll likely leave it all in, both as reward and punishment for their conduct.
 

Tolamaker

Adventurer
Session 60: The Outer Defenses

The party takes on the soldiers of the Dark Pyre that have burst to life in front of them. The lead skeleton casts a Wall of Fire around them, burning them with dark energies. The party pushes through the wall and is able to take out the soldiers one by one. Eluriah, in her first attack, discovers that fire heals them of their injuries, immediately filling the Wildfire druid with dread. Corban attempts to teleport to safety, and has a feeling of foreboding as he reaches for the portal, and decides to wait until they can figure out what is going on.

After mopping up the skeletons, a gnome woman pokes her head out of one of the three wagons and calls them over. "Holy naughty word! You really took care of them!" She introduces herself as Jorrinova, and introduces several more poked out heads as members of Clan Millorn. "I figured we weren't the only ones here looking to get some of Coaltongue's treasure!" Pretending that they're also just treasure hunters, the party agrees to an amicable treasure-hunting agreement. They agree to not interfere, and to split the treasure room 60-40. Corban idly mentions the Torch to see if they're here for it too, and notes a guarded reaction from Jorrinova.

The tracker among the Millorn clan tells them that there's three main ways to get in as far as they can tell. The front entrance, which they haven't even attempted for fear of what may be waiting. The arrow slits above suggest bunkers that they could climb into. And finally, there are three tunnels leading towards the castle, with signs that they were part of Coaltongue's siege. The party agrees on the tunnels, and enters. The first tunnel barely starts, and there are signs of a struggle with several crushed skeletons on the ground. The second tunnel leads to the right, but eventually leads to a dead end where there is a monstrous skeleton there. As they inspect the skeleton, two earthen forms block the exit, and rush the party.

Gruz and Mishka form a vanguard, and take the brunt of their attacks. Piece by piece, the group is able to dismantle the elementals, and decide what to do next.

Post-stuff to come later, because I am too hungry to multitask.
 

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Eat and come back when you're ready.
 


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