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ZEITGEIST Tormyr's Zeitgeist [Spoilers]


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Tormyr

Adventurer
5/30/2017
We started our 5e Zeitgeist campaign with Bonds of Forced Faith. We have five players, so mayor Roland Stanfield was not played. The narration of everyone dying at the beginning went pretty well with everyone joking about the end of the campaign and moving on.

I then passed out the pregens, and let everyone take 10 minutes getting to know their characters. Everyone enjoyed the backstories and motivations for their characters. Being experienced players, they were looking for more of the standard PC class options and were surprised when they were not present.

The PCs met at the mayor's residence, informed each other of the special information they had, and dealt with the surprise events. They then decided they must head out immediately and head to Parity Lake to rescue Skyseer Rachel Lang.

The PCs arrived at the lake to find a mob led by a man calling for Skyseer's death because she is a witch that has cursed and tortured him. The PCs decided to head out on the boat to talk with Rachel Lang. Dame Melissa stepped in the boat, and as soon as it started rocking from her stepping in, a hidden troll grabbed the boat, rocked it, and pitched Dame Melissa into the lake. The leader of the mob removed her disguise to reveal herself as the witch Sister Deliria. She cursed Harkover Lee, and he forgot how to use fire magic. A second troll then pulled itself up onto the dock and hit Harkover Lee hard. A couple PCs hit Sister Deliria hard and watched in horror as several members of the mob fell over dead while Sister Deliria's wounds instantly healed up.

I have a house rule that says creatures without a swim speed who cannot breath underwater lose an additional round of air when they take damage in a round or do a strenuous activity like taking the attack action. This meant Dame Melissa was quickly in trouble as she only had 6 rounds of air to work with as she had a Constitution of 10.

Meanwhile, Harkover Lee was quickly knocked unconscious. We finished our first session with Dame Melissa underwater, Harkover Lee with 2 death saving throw failures, and Sister Deliria mocking them all...
 
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Tormyr

Adventurer
6/62017
The session started with the party mid fight with Sister Deliria and her trolls. Harkover Lee went through several rounds of receiving healing and being knocked unconscious again before someone dragged him to safety. The curse was removed, and Harkover Lee cast a burning sphere and used it to great effect against the troll on the dock that had hurt him so much.

Meanwhile, Dame Melissa managed to escape the troll's clutches and climbed it to grab a breath of air before she was pulled down underwater again. She escaped again and made her way to the shore where she could stand out of the water.

The rest of the party alternated between trying to persuade/intimidate the mob to go home. They slowly managed to get the mob to move away, but they only moved back about 50 feet and watched the fight. The trolls were eventually defeated (and the boat at the dock accidentally burned down) by Harkover Lee's burning sphere. Several PCs managed to grapple Sister Deliria and started to walk toward the water to drown her. As they got to the water, she shapechanged into a raven and almost got away, but the PCs managed to hang on. They were going to drown the witch...
 
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Tormyr

Adventurer
6/13/2017
The PCs dragged Sister Deliria in Raven form into the deep water of the lake and held her underwater. Sister Deliria failed to get free, and Harkover Lee cast a wall of force around the bird, pushing the PCs to the outside of the sphere and keeping Sister Deliria locked in a 3 foot sphere underwater. She eventually reverted to human form, struggled a bit, and ran out of air underwater as the PCs looked on. Sister Deliria was dead.

Skyseer Rachel Lang brought the boat with her acolytes in to the dock and disembarked. She tended to the wounds of King Lorcan Finn and Tomas before she delivered her prophecy instructing the PCs to attack at dawn the next day and break the curse by having someone willingly get into the witch's cauldron. Amielle spoke up and mentioned that the spell must be broken before the lunar eclipse at 11:37. Rachel Lang, realizing that the party was going to head up the mountain immediately offered a magical ward she had made for the king and his party. Everyone except Amielle placed a drop of their blood into a gourd of magically prepared milk. Rachel Lang said she would go back to her residence and pray of the gourd to maintain the protection over the party.

The party headed to Cauldron Hill to deal with The Red Contessa and break her hold over the city. Tomas reached out to pull down one of the dead people being used as a scarecrow, and a viper slid out of its body and bit him. Thankfully, he is immune to poison. As they continued up the hill, the sun had set, and Tomas used his halo to light their way. Unfortunately this attracted some wandering spirits who attacked.

After dispatching the spirits, they headed up the hill further and reached the halfway point where they stumbled upon Sister Pernicity's hut. Amiell had the only stealth roll that was not horrible, so she circled around while the rest of the group accordioned into a pile of stones and alerted the whole camp to their presence before Pernicity had a chance to give any orders to her minions. Pernicity gave orders to attack and flew up above the camp in her cauldron...
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
6/20/2017
Most of the party had alerted Sister Pernicity and her minions to there position. After some incredibly bad initiative rolls (Tomas got 13, Amielle got 6, and everyone else got a 5). The party started feeling nervous as the pile of dead bodies rose up and dashed over to surround them. Amielle threw a well placed grenade, Harkover Lee learned that the zombies were resistant to fire and used shatter effectively, Tomas used his short term Sanctuary, and the party managed to hold off the horde of zombies and gremlins.

Near the end of the fight, Sister Pernicity hit Tomas with her scythe and almost managed to drag him off the edge of the cliff. He instead managed to grab on her cauldron. She lifted up into the air and tried to knock him off. He managed to hold on (I had a lot of bad rolls this session), and he actually pulled her out of her cauldron. She fell 40 feet to ground, and several nearby prisoners fell over dead. She then used suggestion to have Tomas land the cauldron and get out. He did so, but the spell then ended, and he got back in and flew up 15 feet. Pernicity failed to grab him as he got away.

Amielle managed to grapple Pernicity so she could drag Pernicity over and toss her off the cliff. Tomas flew in and grabbed Pernicity as well and flew over the edge of the cliff. Amielle decided to hang on to Pernicity as well. The ground was 1000 feet below. I have modified falling damage rules (which you can find in my downloads), and that fall would do 164 points of damage. Tomas looked down at the heathen Tiefling from Danor and said, out of earshot of the rest of the party, "You do understand these are acceptable losses," and let go of Pernicity. Amielle and Pernicity fell, and Tomas watched as they disappeared into the fog layer...
 
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gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Interested to see how this goes. I plan to restart my own campaign (after a two-month break) by running Bonds of Forced Faith just before we head into Diaspora.

I'll be particularly interested to see who Lorcan chooses to succeed him. He doesn't appear to have that much choice really! (Can he crown Newly arrived foreigners?!?)
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
Interested to see how this goes. I plan to restart my own campaign (after a two-month break) by running Bonds of Forced Faith just before we head into Diaspora.

I'll be particularly interested to see who Lorcan chooses to succeed him. He doesn't appear to have that much choice really! (Can he crown Newly arrived foreigners?!?)

Short answer is that the Rites of Rulership only disqualify Harkover Lee and Roland Stanfield. The adventure explains it more fully.
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Short answer is that the Rites of Rulership only disqualify Harkover Lee and Roland Stanfield. The adventure explains it more fully.

That's what I thought. The problem for me would be if he bestows the crown on Amielle. I didn't mention that when the players did their history checks during Schism!
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
That's what I thought. The problem for me would be if he bestows the crown on Amielle. I didn't mention that when the players did their history checks during Schism!

Maybe let it play out if the King Lorcann chooses Amielle, but she is killed / does not have the support of the people / removed shortly after? I haven't gotten a copy of Schism yet, so I do not know how that all plays out.
 

The first time I ran BoFF for a group including Morrus at GenCon, the guy who was playing King Lorcan was the only person linked to the Red Contessa, so he cheerfully tossed the crown to Amielle and flung himself off the mountaintop.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
6/27/17
Tomas, Lorcan, Melissa, Roland, and Harkover watched as Amielle and Pernicity fell into the fog layer, the ground waiting for them after a 1,000 foot fall. They heard the distant sound of a gunshot, and then a muffled explosion a few seconds later. What they could not see was that Pernicity had turned into a raven, and Amielle had been unable to hold onto the shape-changing witch. She fired a wild shot into the fog layer, missed and impacted into the ground, detonating her remaining grenade. Amielle's player would be switching to Roland Stanfield if he had been able to make our session.

The group decided to continue upward with Harkover Lee using the Cauldron as a mode of transport. They reached the top of Cauldron Hill and noticed a group of people held captive by a few small fey. They managed to quietly take out the fey and free the people which the Red Contessa noticed. Harkover ditched the flying cauldron. After giving her pitch about Lorcan transferring the Rites of Rulership to her and revealing Rachel Lang's deception, she waited for his response as the time ticked toward the lunar eclipse completing.

Lorcan quietly gave his crown to Melissa and strode forward to the middle of ritual area. He attempted to then quickly draw his sword, but it caught as he tried to draw it. The creatures attacked; the Red Contessa animated the cauldron and henge stones; and one of the witches cast darkness on the rest of the party. Before the darkness fell, Tomas remembered the Skyseer's prophecy about jumping into the cauldron to end the curse and used his superior speed to reach the cauldron and jump in. After feeling the intense pain of being scalded and hearing the Red Contessa's scorning laughter he jumped straight back out.

The PCs started feeling their way out of the darkness with Melissa almost stepping off a cliff. Behind them, they heard Pernicity's childlike laugh as she said, "Thanks for bringing me my cauldron!" The Red Contessa used her cauldron curse on Lorcan and he started massively bleeding out. Outnumbered and with the king surrounded, the situation looked dire.

Then Harkover Lee saved the day. As the creatures attacked and mostly missed the King, Harkover used dispel magic on the Red Contessa. He failed to dispel the animate objects, but he did dispel both the Bond of Forced Faith on the city of Flint as well as the one on all of the party. The Red Contessa's eyes bugged out in shock as Lorcan's sword bit deeply into her. She failed her concentration saving throw, and the animated objects returned to normal. Melissa removed the curse on the king. Victory looks assured, but we will see who survives...
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
7/18/17
After two weeks off (4th of July, then 3 players absent), we resumed the encounter atop of cauldron hill.

The Red Contessa used her veil step to get away from King Lorcan and unleashed a lightning bolt down upon him. Lorcan did well to dodge the worst of it. The sheer numbers of enemies kept everyone from doing a good job of helping each other or having a cohesive strategy as each of the heroes was generally restricted to holding their own. Roland Stanfield summoned his Loremaster Incarnation and had it successfully cast hold person on Sister Pernicity. The king was fully surrounded. Thankfully his armor saved him from almost all of the attacks, but the magical regeneration he received from the Rites of Rulership was hampered by a wound from the Red Contessa's dagger that would not stop bleeding.

Once again Harkover Lee saved the day. Making his way around the sphere of darkness, the Red Contessa, Lorcan, and those surrounding him came into view. He let loose with his last fireball into an open space in an attempt to avoid Lorcan. The fireball was powerful, and the Red Contessa was finished off in the heat of the blast. The blast heavily injured or finished off several other enemies, including the witch hiding in the sphere of darkness concentrating on her spell. Dame Melissa was also inadvertently caught in the blast and nearly finished off.

As the blackened Red Contessa stumbled forward, she pointed at Lorcan, laughed, and said, "At least I will take you with me!" A new wound appeared in Lorcan's chest and threatened to have blood gush out from it. A vortex then formed around the Red Contessa, the wind shear starting to disintegrate her blackened form as gale force winds blasted in all directions from where she died. Most of the survivors whether friend or foe were able to hold their position. Dame Melissa, at deaths door and knowing that Lorcan had passed the crown to her and that one of them had to survive, pumped all of of her Lay on Hands healing into herself. She then finished off the serpent-maned lion and Rachel Lang, the traitorous skyseer. The force of the wind blew the cauldron toward the cliff edge. The Red Contessa's forces lashed out at all around them in a blind panic. A small fey futilely slashed its flaming claws at Harkover Lee as it blew past. Harkover Lee lost his footing as was blown back toward the cliff edge as well as a nameless witch who successfully stabbed Harkover Lee, who fell unconscious. Harkover Lee's limp form was blown over the edge along with the cauldron. Lorcan trying to hold himself together and keep the cursed wound from gushing blood finished the last witch off as she watched Harkover Lee blow away. Tomas and Dame Melissa pushed Lorcan to the ground, dug in, and tended to the king's wounds as best they could. Meanwhile, Sister Pernicity, paralyzed in her cauldron was blown away by the windt. Lorcan managed to hold himself together (rolling nothing lower than a 19 for the ten rounds of the Red Contessa's dying curse), and when the winds had torn away the last of the Red Contessa's form, the howling died down to just the ringing in the ears.

Four of the heroes, Lorcan, Melissa, Tomas, and Roland, had survived their mission to eradicate the coven from Cauldron Hill. Dame Melissa handed back the crown to the fully healed king, but Lorcan told her that it was time for a new queen of Risur. He had lost his focus, letting his people suffer at the hands of the witches for much too long while he lost the war against Danor. In the final battle, his decision to walk forward in the midst of the enemies on his own had cost them the life of Harkover Lee and nearly meant doom for them all. As they looked up, the lunar eclipse just reached totality and glowed the deep red of the blood moon. Confident that they had ended the threat in time, the slowly trudged down the hill, helping some of the more injured captives of Sister Pernicity along the way. At the bottom of the hill, they found Amielle's remains. Her impact with the ground had detonated the last of her grenades. Moving on, they found the cracked cauldron on the ground, and some blood and viscera that may have belonged to Harkover Lee, but his body was missing.

Over the next week, Lorcan and Melissa travelled with their bodyguards back to Slate where a surprisingly healthy Harkover Lee was waiting for them. The transfer of the Rites of Rulership to Melissa went smoothly, and many people threw their support behind her after hearing of her actions to defeat the witches. She ruled as well as she could, but some of the finer points of politics always escaped her, and she sometimes let her pride get in her way. There was a collective sigh across the nation of Risur when she finally transferred the Rites of Rulership to another many years later.

Lorcan Finn decided to hunt down Sister Pernicity. Neither of them were ever heard from again.

Harkover Lee, his loyalty to Risur tantamount in his decisions, publicly supported Queen Melissa, but he often made changes behind her back as he saw fit.

Tomas, his mission to see the Red Contessa burned in fire complete, returned to the Clergy in Cryssiliur.

Roland Stanfield was always looked up to by the people of Flint. With the eradication of the coven, his political career was assured for many more years of his immortal life.

Amielle's remains and possessions were collected. Her steamship was salvaged from the bay, and almost everything was returned to Danor. Several pistols were kept, and all the salvage was well documented before being returned to Danor. On the surface, relations between the nations improved because of the aid they sent, but there was a simmering tension that stayed under the surface.


And that's where we finished. We are going to play another short adventure before we get started with chapter 1 next month!
 


Tormyr

Adventurer
Gotta love the selfish Green Knight.
:)
That probably was part of it, but part of her motivation was that she was not sure she was going to make it to the king before he went unconscious and was swept off the hill. Both of them were borderline about to fall, and she wouldn't be able to make it to him that turn. So she healed herself to make sure at least one of them survived. By the time she made it to him, he was already regenerating enough to be out of the woods. When it was all over she did offer the crown back to the king.

The ending was more interesting for everyone than I though it would be. I thought it was going to be a mop-up operation, but there was still enough going on that they struggled with survival. Honestly, if the dispel magic had not dispelled both the normal and greater Bonds of Forced Faith, I don't know how they would have survived.
 

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