Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Copper Scrolls 3

The party found themselves a little over half a day out of Yulash, and having just survived an attack by bandits. After some discussion they decided to keep heading to Voonlar unless the bandits were able to overtake them and force a different course of action. Their trip to Voonlar was quiet, and Kai was able to fully heal along the way. The morning before arriving Fenton told the party to be wary of the town. He said that weapons were not allowed in town, especially for outsiders. A few hours outside of the town, they saw various weapons that were seemingly discarded along the side of the road. Fenton mention that this was was definitely not normal, and and did not bode well for them. After stopping a traveler coming out of Voonlar the party was told that 

They arrived at Voonlar and were in a line of wagons waiting to get in to the town. They saw guards thoroughly checking wagons and even patting down the passengers. At one point, and man was arrested when he was found to have a sword while being patted down. The group decided to give all of their weapons to Aria and have Kai cast INVISIBILITY on her. She would then follow the cart in and thus smuggle their weapons into town. This plan went off without a hitch, and the party found themselves at the Bounty of the Goddess in no time. There they were taken to meet Lady Immithra.

There they related their story, and how they came to only be in possession of 1 of the wagons. Kai attempted to hide several details of their trip and current status, but Kaldric was more forthcoming, showing a trust in Lady Immithra. She made notes of what they said, and told the party that this sounded like a Zentarim attack, and that it was likely that The Bron would shortly know about this, and the being in town was even more dangerous for the party. She then asked about the Goblin attack, relating that she suspected that there was some sort of magic involved. she also suspected that someone in the Moonsea region was helping them. She did not know who or why though. The party took their leave of the priestess and spent the next several hours in their room before sharing dinner with Lady Immithra.

The party talked about what their next steps were, and they were reluctant to get more involved in this conflict between Hillsfar and the Zhentarim. They went to dinner, and talked with her more about the conflict. They learned that she has a magic parchment and quill that allows her to communicate with Auron instantaneously, however, the communication can only be initiated by Auron. As the dinner wore on a commotion was heard in the hallway, and as Immithra got up to check on it, several men in green jerkins with the symbol of Voonlar (5 white coins in a circle) on them appeared and stated that the party was to come with them. Immithra protested, but was pushed to the side, and parchment was given to her to show their authority. several men came in with the intention of putting manacles on the party members to take them away. The party readied themselves for a fight with the thought that if they were taken, they may never see the light of day again. Immithra yelled “Stop!” and there was some sort of power behind it as everyone in the room stopped. She pointed out that the parchment was a summons. The man stated that the party had proven themselves dangerous and he was taking precautions. Everyone agreed that they would visit The Bron if they stayed unshackled, and if Immithra could accompany them. The man assented, and they made their way to The Bron’s home.

They were brought before him as he was eating, and he was pleasant enough to the party. He asked after them, and apologized for the way they were treated. He killed the man in charge of bringing them for the treatment. He then told the party that he has a proposition to make to them. Since he knew about their encounter on the road, he wished to use the their particular skills. He offered them a choice, kill Auron, kill the Lady Immithra, or be hunted by the Zhentarim for the rest of their lives. Kai questioned him further, and he told them that he had faith that their skills could be quite useful to him and his organization, and that they could become very rich in the process. He gave them 1 month to perform the task, during which time he assured them they would not be molested by his organization. He then had the party led back out to the street.

DM Recap
For the most part I think this session went well. In hindsight it may have been a bit more railroady than I would have liked. That I could live with if it only popped up occasionally. After the session, it became apparent that I may have taken away too much player agency. While the players still have options they can take, they are either “bad” options or options the party would not normally take. In hindsight I wish I would have made minor tweaks to not put the party is such a bad position. I chalk this up to being new to DMing. I will try to get better going forward, and I just hope this one session doesn’t kill the game.

Loot and XP
In the previous session the party was able to make it past 10 bandits which would be worth 150 XP total. In addition, they made it to Voonlar and were able to deliver 1 wagon to the temple, which is worth 1000 XP as a story award. That works out to 383 XP each or 422 for anyone with an XP bonus.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Copper Scrolls 2

The party started out in their sitting room after breakfast, making small talk. One of Auron’s clerks knocked, and poked his head into their sitting room to tell them that Auron has requested that they join him for the mid-day meal. They agreed to the meeting, and showed up at the appointed time. While walking through Auron’s house they overheard him yelling at Shipley, a fellow Senator and the metal smithing guild master. Auron could be heard telling Shipley that he needed to get on board with Auron, or get out of town. The party was lead to the dining room and seated. Auron joined the group and food and drink were served.

After pleasantries were exchanged, and some food was eaten, Auron broached the subject that brought them together. He told the party that he would like them to accompany a wagon train to Voonlar as guards. It was a shipment of foodstuffs and raw materials. However, the wagons had hidden compartments that were going to be used to smuggle weapons and armor into the town. This was to help rebels overthrow the ruler of the city. It was currently ruled by Bourstag Hiammythyl, known as the Bron. He was helped by his 6 deputies, all of which were hand picked by the Zhentarim. They ruled the city through fear, and the citizens just allowed it. They had banned all weapons in town, leaving them as the only ones with weapons. In addition, the Bron had been a savvy businessman allow the town to be profitable, and that was enough to keep the citizens happy. The party was to deliver the wagons to the Lady Immithra Shrae, the head of the Bounty of the Goddess, the temple to Chauntea. She was not liked by the Bron and his men, but Chauntea herself had interceded the last time the Bron moved against her. Auron explained that the Zhentarim was a military organization that was only concerned about increasing its own power and influence. Hillsfar was their biggest enemy in the area. They are a shadow of their former glory, but the still control large parts of the Northern coast of the Moonsea. They also have a presence in Yulash, and they effectively control Voonlar. Auron is worried that they will try to further their influence their to the South.

Auron wants to expel the Zhentarim from Voonlar and then annex it, thus increasing Hillsfar's power, influence, and wealth. From there, he says that Yulash would be a strategically great city to annex next to further Hillsfars goals, and keep the Zhentarim at bay. First though, he needs to help a group of rebels retake control of Voonlar, and that is why he is delivering weapons and armor to them. The party is to take the wagons to the Lady Immithra, who will then deliver them to the rebels. There will be 5 other guards in addition to the party, plus a driver for each of the 4 wagons. They will depart in the morning, and should meet Auron and the Hillsfar gate in the morning. The party agreed to go with the wagons, and left to make some preparations. He paid each character 50 gold, and provided a healing potion for them as well.

The next morning the party met Auron at the gate, and the wagon train left with its full compliment of guards and drivers. The party discovered that the lead driver was named Fenton, and the others were named Bram, Dodd, and Dyrk. The other guards were 5 mercenaries from the same mercenary company, though they did not have uniforms. They all wore leather armor, and were armed with a long sword, light crossbow, and a shield. There were 4 men named Tegan, Jeras, Talfen, and Meklan. There was also a woman named Brey. They traveled together and made small talk, but were mostly focused on the work. Kaldric and Kai decided to disguise themselves as Clerics since Wizards are not very welcome in Voonlar. Kaldric was going to pose as a Cleric of the Red Knight, since he already followed her teachings, even as a Wizard. Kai decided to play as a Cleric of Chauntea since they were ultimately heading to a temple dedicated to her. At night Kaldric would cast ALARM and have everyone sleep in the area to help protect them.

The morning of the second day out of Hillsfar the group noticed smoke ahead, just over a small rise in the road. The wagon train halted while Ariatriel and Brey went forward to investigate. What they saw was a wagon that was smoking having been burned. Ariatriel yelled to see if anyone was there, and they saw a Goblin head pop out from behind the wagon. She then yelled, “Goblins!” and she and Bree started to run to the side of the road to draw the Goblins away from the wagons. The Goblins pursued the women as the rest of the guards came forward to help. There was a pitched battle with the guards firing crossbows until they were in male range, and then changing to long swords. Kai used her sling to take out a Goblin, and Kaldric used GUST OF WIND to throw the Goblins off balance before charging in with his staff. The Goblins were dispatched, but in the process Brey took some damage. Knowing that Kai was a Cleric of the goddess of life, she requested healing. Kai took Brey out of sight of everyone, and gave her the healing potion to drink, which restored Brey. The rest of the guards burned the body of the family the Goblins had killed. They also searched for anything of value, and noticed the spears the Goblins had were very well made, and almost new. They were sized for Goblins, and seemed out of place with what everyone knew about Goblins. When they looked closely at the spears they noticed a symbol on the spearpoint of all of them. It was not a symbol in any language that anyone recognized. Kaldric cast COMPREHEND LANGUGAGE on the spear, but still was unable to determine the meaning of the rune. The group decided to continue on for the remainder of the day. They had a somber night that night. The next day, Kaldric cast DETECT MAGIC on the spear to see if the rune, or spear, was magical, but found that it was mundane. Later in the day, the wagon train ran into a contingent of Red Plumes on their way to Hillsfar. They stopped and asked about and news. The group told them about the Goblins, and the soldiers seemed a bit troubled. Kaldric gave one of the Goblin spears to the Red Plumes, and requested that they deliver it to Auron. The soldier said he would do his best in that regard. The wagon train continued on, and after another full day, they arrived at Yulash, and entered the city through Moandar’s Pass and heading for an inn and way point named The Last Place. Upon arriving at Yulash the party could see the strategic importance of the city, and why Hillsfar and the Zhentarim have been fighting for control of it for so long. The party spent the rest of the day in the taproom listening to conversations to see if they could pickup on anything happening between Yulash and Voonlar. Several of the other mercenaries headed for other inns looking for a dice game, or just a place not swarming with Red Plumes.

Everyone reconvened the next morning at the West Gate and headed out of town towards Voonlar. In the late morning, the wagon train rounded a corner and found 5 men standing in the roadway arrayed in an arc. The wagon train stopped, and Kai told the men to move so the wagons could continue. The men stated that they had no intention of leaving without the wagons. The standoff continued, and Kaldric yelled for everyone to aim their crossbows. When he looked over his shoulder to ensure everyone was ready he saw was Meklan shoot and kill Brey, Jeras shoot and kill Talfen, and Tegan shoot Kai. It was then that the party realized they had been betrayed. Kaldric turned back and cast FLAME SPHERE on one of the bandits and shouted for all of the drivers to drive. Ariatriel shot arrows at another bandit, and Kai cast ITEM on Tegan’s armor hoping to stop him from attacking her again, however, the armor did not shrink as expected. The bandits tried to kill the lead horses, but were completely unsuccessful with one of them being trampled. Meklan and Jeras then killed their drivers, and stopped the carts from moving. Ariatriel kept firing arrows at the bandits, Kaldric moved his flame sphere, and Kai decided to go invisible. During all of this the lead cart, which contained Kaldric and Ariatriel, was past the bandits, so the converged on the second wagon, which contained Kai and Tegan, and attempted to slaughter the horses to stop it, however, they were unsuccessful. At this point Meklan and Jeras took another shot at Kai, while the bandits shot at one of the horses, injuring but not killing it. While Kai was hit, it was not fatal. Kai cast a PHANTASMAL FORCE and had it run off to the side in the hopes that it would lead everyone away from her, while she huddled in the cart. Kaldric cast WALL OF FOG behind the second wagon, to cut off the sight from the enemies behind. With Tegan, thinking Kai had jumped off the wagon, attacked the driver, but it was a non fatal blow. Kaldric threw a dagger and finally downed Tegan. Kai then took the reigns of the cart and became visible again before Kaldric and Ariatriel did anything rash. They stopped the carts and Kai searched Tegan’s body grabbing the crossbow, quiver, and a pouch with 10 gold, Ariatriel cut the horses free of their harness and encouraged them to run, while Kaldric grabbed his dagger back as well as a handful of Ariatriel's arrows, though only 4 were usable again. They then got back on the lead cart, still being driven by Fenton to continue on, hoping to keep a lead on the bandits. Kaldric also gave Kai his healing potion to drink as they headed out.

DM Recap
I think the game went well overall. Going into the game I did not feel prepared, but I was more ready than I thought. The encounter and battle with the bandits at the end lasted longer than I expected and was not as well run as it could have been. Unfortunately. I did not have a number of rules at hand and had to stop to look them up, not feeling comfortable enough with the 2e rules to make a ruling on the fly. In addition, this was the first time I had to adjudicate illusions, which proved more difficult than I anticipated. I also was not prepared for a combat that involved the horses, so I did not have their stats at hand, and had to rely on what one of my players suggested, in addition to a quick google search. There was also a lot of confusion around where everyone was located when the encounter with the bandits started, as well as a lot of other confusion around cover, and line of sight. Overall I feel like it was a poorly run combat, and I take the blame myself. I could have been more prepared, in addition, to setting the stage to have the players more prepared. I learned a lot from it, and hopefully can do better going forward.

Loot and XP
Each player received 50 gold and 1 healing potion from Auron to start. In addition, 10 gold was found on Tegan’s body. They also retrieved 5 Goblin spears that are still in their wagon. Since everyone got to Yulash safely, XP for the Goblins will be rewarded, but no other XP will be rewarded. The group earned 75 XP, but I’m splitting it 4 ways since the other mercenaries were there and helped. Each character is rewarded with 18 XP, or 20 XP if they have an XP bonus. I have updated the totals on the right.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Copper Scrolls 1

It all started with the party being tasked with retrieving an ancient scroll. The contents of the scroll were unknown to the party, but the person asking was someone they had done business with frequently in the past, Auron. Auron is the de facto ruler of Hillsfar. It is ruled in name only by a 31 member senate comprised of guild masters and wealthy merchants, of which Auron is one. However, they can rarely agree with each other on anything, and Auron has taken over the day to day ruling of the city-state, and the other members of the senate are content to let him do so. Auron trades mostly in gems and weapons, and has managed to amass a sizable fortune in the process. He is also known to collect any artifacts that are arcane related, and any scrolls that contain information about the arcane arts. He pays well for these. He uses many groups of people to track these items down for him, of which the current party is but one, albeit his most trusted group.

That group consists of Kaldric, a Human Wizard with some ties to the Red Knight, Kai a Human Wizard who uses her magic to avoid direct confrontation, and Ariatriel a Human Ranger who is not afraid to fight and has a particular hatred of Goblins. They questioned Auron about the scroll for which they were tasked to track down. He provided them with a map to its location, along with a vague warning about possible protections that may, or may not, be in place. He also stated that the scroll may not exactly be in the building indicated, but was able to provide no more information.

The party traveled through the woods of Cormanthor for 4 days before reaching the correct building. In the basement of the building, they searched for a long time before Kai stumbled upon the portal and accidentally triggered it by rubbing her hand across a ruin etched into the wall. The rune was of no language anyone in the party knew, but looked vaguely Elven. The portal gave the stone on part of one wall a slightly watery look. Touching it caused ripples. Ariatriel shot an arrow through, and it seemed to pass through with no trouble. A sword was stuck through and pulled out, and it returned unharmed. Still cautious, Ariatriel tied a rope around her waist and went through the portal while Kaldric and Kai held the other end of the rope, ready to pull her back if something should go wrong. On the other side, Ariatriel yelled that she was fine, but the others were unable to hear her, just as she was unable to hear them. Ariatriel tugged on the rope twice, letting Kaldric and Kai know it was safe. They walked through the portal as well.

Here the party found themselves in a square room that was 50 feet on each side. In the middle was a 5 foot square dais that was about a foot tall. In the center of the dais was a 5 and a half foot pedestal. The group was unable to see what, if anything, was on the pedestal. There were also bones littering the room, along with various arms and armor. They also noticed that it was noticeably warmer in this room, than the room they had previously been in. Upon inspection Kaldric noticed that not only was the armor and arms ancient, they were from vastly different time periods. Almost all of the metal was rusted and pocked. Kai cast DETECT MAGIC in the direction of the pedestal, and then began to turn and sweep the room. She found that whatever was on the pedestal had the most powerful magical aura that she had ever come across in her travels. She also came across another much fainter magical aura among the bones and metal. Ariatriel went searching and found a sword that despite everything else in the room seemed to be in perfect condition. She took the sword and the group kept investigating the pedestal. Kaldric and Ariatriel lifted Kai on their shoulders to see what was on the pedestal. It was a copper colored cylinder that had glowing blue marks on it. The group, worried about a trap, next threw a couple of pieces of armor onto the dais, but nothing happened. They then devised a plan. Kaldric and Ariatriel waited by the doorway back. Kai cast INVISIBILITY on herself, and made ready to grab the object. Right as she was to grab it, Kaldric would cast FLAMING SPHERE at one of the corners of the dais. Once the object was in hand, the group would make their way out of the room with all haste. With the plan in motion, Kai grabbed the object, and a sphere of flames appeared. As the object was grabbed it flashed with light and 3 spots of light flashed in the bone piles. Three Skeletons materialized out of bones and made to attack Kai. One of the Skeletons arose right in the flaming sphere and took damage, but stayed up. The other two skeletons made there way towards Kai and swung swords at her, but her invisibility prevented them from hitting her. Kai then ran towards the doorway, and the Skeletons once again missed their attacks against her. The entire party left the room through the portal as the room seemed to be crumbling.

Back in the relative safety of the stone room, Kai looked at the object, and determined it to be a scroll case that was copper. It was significantly heavier than a normal scroll case, leading her to believe it was made out of copper, and not just colored that way. Once against Kai noticed the same script on the outside of the case that seemed to be an Elven dialect. When she looked though, the glowing blue lines seemed to move and change around and formed into Common. The case now read “Theories of Arcane Magic. What is known must not be forgotten.” The party decided to wait until they were closer to Hillsfar before opening the scroll case. They ventured about a hour away from the buildings before making camp for the night. They had an uneventful next day and night as well. Their second day back, Kaldric overheard some words in Goblin that about a fight and ambush, and it was coming from the direction the group was traveling. Kai cast INVISIBILITY on herself again, and used PHANTASMAL FORCE to make a duplicate of herself that went off to the right, while the group went off to the left. Kaldric cast SHIELD in preparation for an attack and shortly, they encountered a pair of Goblins who charged the party. They were cut down by a MAGIC MISSLE spell from Kaldric and arrows from Ariatriel. After the battle, they could hear more Goblins coming to them from the direction of the image of Kai. The group braced for another attack. These Goblins were again fells by Ariatriel's arrows and Kaldric's sling. Two of the Goblins were able to successfully attack Kaldric, but only 1 hit and it did not do any major damage. Before the 3rd Goblin was able to attack again it sprouted a pair of arrows, with another couple of arrows hitting the ground around the Goblin. Kai yelled asking if those arrows came from friend or foe, and was answered cryptically. An Elf then stepped into sight and introduced himself as Ninthalor. He told the party that Goblins have become more common in Cormanthor of late, and that it was troubling to the Elves. Ninthalor asked the party if they wished to join the Elves is searching for the cause of the Goblins. The party turned him down, stating that they had a prior obligation that they needed to complete before taking on more work.

The party made camp that night, and arrived at the decision to open the scroll case. Kai removed the end of the case, and pulled out a set of 50 scrolls. The scrolls were on copper pages that have been hammered thin and worked to be as thin as parchment. Upon the pages were more of the Elven looking runes that were on the outside of the scroll case. Upon beginning to read, the runes once again moved around and reformed into Common. Kaldric, Kai, and Ariatriel all took turns studying the scrolls since only 1 person could read them at a time. They found that the scrolls were broken into 5 chapters of 10 scrolls each. The chapters were titled ‘Arcanus Fundare - Foundations of Magic’, ‘Magicus Creare - Spells of Creation’, ‘Maior Creare - Major Creation’, ‘Planus Mechanus - Studies of the Planes’, and ‘Are Factum - Of the Creation of Artifacts’. A cursory study of the scrolls showed Kaldric and Kai that this showed ways of using magic and interacting with the weave. It showed subtle but distinct differences from how they already interacted with the weave. They also came to the conclusion that it would takes many weeks to fully study these scrolls. They discussed whether they should only give Auron some of the scrolls, or perhaps even none. In the end they decided that they needed to warn Auron about how powerful and potentially dangerous these scrolls could be.

They made it back to Hillsfar after dark and went directly to Auron’s manor in the merchant’s quarter. They were escorted into a sitting room and provided with food and drink. Auron joined the party shortly and asked about the scrolls. After paying the agreed upon amount of 50 gold per person, the group reluctantly handed over the scrolls. Auron seemed confused at first, but opened the scroll case. He quickly perused the scrolls, and was shocked. He asked the party if they had any idea what these were. Kai responded that other than containing powerful arcane knowledge they did not. Auron proceeded to explain that this was a full set of the Nether Scrolls. He explained the the Nether Scrolls contained the sum amount of arcane knowledge at the time they were written thousands of years ago. They helped the Netheril Empire ascend to the power that it had. They were able to enchant mundane items to due their intended purpose without having to be worked by a non wizard. The Nether Empire was a magocracy and was home to the most powerful wizards to ever walk Faerun. During a war with unspeakable evil creatures not from this plane, the leader of Netheril, Karsus, cast a spell only known as KARSUS’S AVATAR. When cast he grew to godlike proportions, and gains godlike knowledge. His goal was the wrest the mantle of deity from Mystryl in order to end the war once and for all. However upon gaining godhood he realized his mistake, and the aftermath was that the weave failed for a brief period of time when Mystryl died. Then Mystra took over control of the weave, and was able to make magic work again, but put limits on magic for the future. Auron explained that this set of scrolls was previously unknown to all. It was thought that only 2 sets of the Nether Scrolls existed, one on gold, and one on platinum. They were long thought to be either destroyed or scattered across the world. He speculated that perhaps even the Gods did not know this set of the scrolls existed.

The party was concerned about Auron being able to protect the scrolls and suggested they split them up. Auron assured the party that he was more than capable of protecting the scrolls, and when pressed by Kaldric led the group to his private vault that was below ground. He opened the door and urged Kaldric to attempt to steal something. Upon walking into the vault, Kaldric was immediately repelled by a force-field of some sort. When Auron dismissed it, Kaldric went in the vault to find that everything in side was under the effects of an invisibility spell. The party then realized and had it confirmed that Auron was in fact a wizard. He was intentionally vague about what if any his specialty was. He went into his vault, and retrieved a handful of scrolls and showed them to the party. They discovered that the scrolls were in fact spell scrolls of some extremely powerful spells. These were spells that even Kaldric and Kai knew were beyond them. The party then agreed that Auron could protect the Nether Scrolls. They asked if they could study the scrolls if Auron kept them, and he agreed. The party then suggested that Auron track down the person that sold him the location of the scrolls, and Aura assured the party that he would make sure the problem was taken care of. They then retired to their room in The Tipsy Elf which Auron had set them up in.

Over the next several weeks, the group spent their time studying the Nether Scrolls in Auron’s house, trying to learn as much as possible from them.

DM Recap
This was my first session running a game with the AD&D 2e rules. I have played for several years with them, but had not used them as a DM. I felt that I did a decent job, but had to refer to the PHB more than I would have liked. I also still have trouble with the math involved in determining if an attack hits. I will get better at it with more practice, but that will take time.

I felt like the session went well overall. The players took longer with parts of the game that I expected to go quickly. I also will have my hands full adjudicating illusion spells, but I look forward to the challenges. The session ended in a very open-ended manner, and the players will have some interesting decisions to make for the next session.

Loot and XP
The players successfully made it through 2 encounters, and since they were able to make it back to Hillsfar safely XP will be awarded. The size of the story award is high because the PCs convinced Auron to allow them to study the Nether scrolls. The group earned 2870 XP, which breaks down to 956 for each character or 1051 for those with an XP bonus. The XP totals have been updated. The XP breakdown is shown below.

Skeleton x3 - 195
Goblins x5 - 75
Magic Sword - 600
Story Award - 2000

In addition, since the characters spent several weeks studying the Nether Scrolls, they are all awarded 1 Wizard spell slot and spell 1 level higher than they already know. That means that Kaldric and Kai each get a 3rd level spell slot and spell and Ariatriel gets a 1st level spell and spell slot. I have decided that since the characters were not able to focus their training as they did within their specialty, that the spell they learn will be chosen at random via a die roll at the beginning of the next session.

Friday, January 12, 2018

An Ending and a New Beginning

As all things must do eventually, this game is ending, though not necessarily permanently. I have decided to start a new game, and put this game on hiatus during that time.

The new game will be a AD&D 2e game that I will be running for Matt, his wife Sara, and my wife Kristen. This group has been playing in 2e games for a few years now, and I do not wish to throw 5e at them right now, so we are sticking with 2e. This will add a new challenge for me, but I believe I am up for the task.

In case we pickup the 5e game again, I wish to note the players, levels, and XP now.

Gareth (Sorcerer 4) - 2807
Nefresil (Ranger 4) - 2807

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Road to Kelvin's Cairn 3

The session started off with the party determined to follow Maulnar that night to see what if anything he was up to. They had no reason to suspect he was up to anything, but decided more information was always better. Gareth and Nefresil hid where they could see Maulnar’s house and waited. He eventually emerged, and left. Nefresil stayed to watch the house, while Gareth chose to follow. Gareth was able to stealthily follow behind Maulnar at a safe distance, while he headed down an abandoned mine shaft. After walking down the mine shaft for awhile, Maulnar turned down a smaller passage. This passage ended in a stone door. Maulnar went through the door, and while it was open Gareth heard chanting inside the door, but could not see what was in the the room. After several hours, Maulnar emerged from the room, and Gareth overhead him say, “The time is almost here.” This was followed by some hissing noises, but Gareth was unable to see who or what made those noises. Maulnar then returned to his house, and Gareth related everything to Nefresil.

The next day, Nefresil, Gareth, and Dymar went back to the room and found that the key that Gareth stole from Maulnar earlier opened the door. What they found inside was a large circular stone room about 100 feet in diameter. There were several iron braziers around the room. There were also many dead bodies in various states of decay scattered at the perimeter of the room. In the center were some markings on the floors that the party knew to be a summoning circle. However, they had no idea what was being summoned, but based on the dead bodies, they did not think it was anything good.

Nefresil was able to convince Dymar to help the party the next night. They planned an elaborate trap that would have them break into Maulnar’s house and await his arrival home. They would then surprise him with a non-lethal attack, and tie him up. At this point he would be questioned. The party setup the ambush, and when Maulnar arrived home, they sprung the trap Nefresil and Gareth were able to grapple Maulnar, and instructed Dymar to tie his hands. When Dymar went to tie Maulnar’s hands, he was struck from behind, and rendered unconscious. This is when the party small a small reddish creature with wings and a tail, which they correctly guessed to be an imp. Nefresil took over tying up Maulnar, and holding him at sword point, while Gareth cast Magic Missle, and felled the beast. Once dead, the imp’s corpse turned to ash and vanished. Nefresil healed Dymar, who went to check on King Malagar. His thoughts were that whatever was happening with Maulnar were controlling the king, and that now that the imp was gone, the king would be restored. Nefresil attempted to question Maulnar, but the dwarf chose to take his own life on Nefresil’s blade rather than talk.

Nefresil suggested going to the room where Gareth heard chanting earlier, to see what if anything would happen there that night. They went into the room and hid at the far end. Not too much later 5 dwarves entered the room, and began to light the braziers. Before getting close enough to the party to see Nefresil cast Fog Cloud to obscure themselves. They waited on Dymar to show back up, hopefully with the King and his guards. As the spell was about to end Gareth cast Sleep on the dwarves, and the pair tied them all up. Soon the king arrived, and without much pomp, had his guards execute the traitorous dwarves and left. Dymar assured the party that the king would come around and would stay upset at them. He stated that the king did not take kindly to the meddling in their politics by the party.

The next day Nefresil and Gareth were summoned before the king in an intimate reception chamber. The king thanked the pair for their help. He gave them a key to the dwarves hold and instructed them how to use it. They knew this was the same type of key that Baelnar used to get them into Kelvin’s Cairn in the first place. In addition, he gave Nefresil, an adamantine long bow. Nefresil could tell that this long bow was exceptionally well balanced, and significantly heavier than his current bow. Gareth was gifted with an adamantine light cross bow. The stringing of the bow was masterfully done. Clearly both weapons were masterpieces, and no ordinary weapons. Finally, the king offered to escort the party through the mountains to the dwarf hold in Mirabar. He knew of the fighting at Fireshear and suggested that this might be a safer path home. He stated that Baelnar was welcome to join them.

The group spoke with Baelnar and all agreed to head to Mirabar, with the group’s work for Baelnor ending upon them all reaching Mirabar.

DM Recap
I thought this session went well. The group explored various paths to figuring out what was happening with Maulnar, and ultimately chose one that did not put them in too great of danger. The imp was able to knock Dymar out in one hit but doing so ended its invisibility. This allowed Gareth to be able to kill it. At the very end of the session the party decided to head to Mirabar as traveling to Fireshear was not appealing without being able to raise an fighting force from Ten Towns.

Loot and XP
The players received the key to Kelvin’s Cairn, an adamantine long bow, and an adamantine light cross bow. In addition, they will collect their XP for the session. Each player earned 137 XP, broken down as follows:
Imp - 200 XP
Maulnar - 25 XP
Acolytes - 10 XP x5

This is enough for both of the players to reach level 4. Leveling up will take place before the next session.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Road to Kelvin's Cairn 2

After the battle with the second group of Orcs, the party made their way towards the mountains in an attempt to steer clear of Fireshear and the Orcs. They made a several mile arc around the city, and made their way around and back to the coast where the camped for the night. The next day at midday they stopped to burn Morian's body before continuing.

After several days the party stopped about a day outside of Ironmaster. There, Nefresil noticed a rock that seemed out of place, but could not quite figure out why. After racking his brain he remembered that certain Dwarven groups would use this type of marking to signify their territory. The next day not far outside of the town, the group encountered another Dwarf. He asked the group if they had come by way of Fireshear, and if they knew what was happening. The group relayed what they knew to the Dwarf who did not seem surprised. He informed the group that an Orc had managed to unite 4 different tribes (The Black Claw, Bloody Skull, Greenhaven, and Thousand Fist tribes) before ransacking the city. This Orc was said to be extremely blessed by Gruumsh, and had plucked out both of his eyes to show his devotion to Gruumsh. However, being blind does not stop him from being a fearsome warrior. He said that the Dwarves of Ironmaster were going to raise a force, and go meet the Orcs head on. He said that since they were not certain if the Orcs would strike at Ironmaster or Luskan next they would take the fight to Fireshear. In addition, the Dwarven settlements south of the Spine had been notified so they could be prepared should the Orcs decide to move south.

The party was allowed to spend the night in Ironmaster being continuing on to Kelvin's Cairn. The party decided to go to Kelvin's Cairn and perhaps raise a group of fighter's to bring back to Fireshear to help the Dwarves. The remaining trip to Kelvin's Carin went quietly. When they arrived, Baelnar led the group to an unremarkable part of the mountain, at which time he produced a key. He stuck the key into the mountain, turned it, and a door appeared and opened for the group. Baelnar stated that there were other ways to get in that were not hidden, but it would take longer to get to them.

They went to the Golden Hammer to acquire rooms. Baelnar introduced the group to the owner of the inn, Rogath. They talked with Rogath about what they learned in Ironmaster, most of which Rogath was familiar with. He told the party that Kelvin's Cairn would not be sending help to Ironmaster. He stated that these types of problems were what happened to Dwarves when the chose to live on the surface. He also told the party that the Dwarves of Ironmaster are xenophobic, and would rarely help others unless it was in their own benefit. The had dinner, and went to bed for the night. The next morning, Gareth awoke and found a note in his room. He shared it with Nefresil, and it read:

Master Magician,

Time is of the essence so I must be quick. Your help is required to deal with a rather delicate situation. The good King Malagar has become corrupted by something evil. I implore you to help us end this corruption, and see the king brought back to his right mind. If you wish to help speak to Rogath and ask about his iron wine.

The party decided to go to Ten Towns to see if they could raise some interest in an expedition to Fireshear to help the Ironmaster Dwarves. They got a similar story to what Rogath told them. No one seemed willing to go to battle with the Ironmaster Dwarves. With the recruitment being a dead end, the party decided to go back to the Golden Hammer, and see what the cryptic note was about. Gareth went to Rogath alone, and he led him to the back room, and showed him to a tunnel down to a secret meeting room. Gareth stopped and said he would go only if Nefresil came as well. Rogath assented, and bade Gareth to continue to the room. Rogath, then went and got Nefresil, and showed him to the tunnel.

Upon descending the tunnel the party found a group of 6 Dwarves talking. Immediately, Nefresil's presence was questioned, but the leader of the group, named Dyrnar, said that they had voted to have Gareth help, and that if that meant working with Nefresil, then so be it. They told the party the story about how King Malagar had been acting strange of late. One of his councilors has taken control of the council, and is effectively running the kingdom. They learned that these 6 Dwarves used to be on the council, and in fact Dyrnar was next in line to become the king. All of that was before Maulnar took over. He was not always power hungry, but of late it has been getting worse. The party wondered if that was due to some sort of supernatural power. They agreed to help these Dwarves. They suggested breaking into Maulnar's house to see if there was anything odd there. The Dwarves told the party where and when to meet them the next day. At the appointed time, the Dwarves picked the look on Maulnar's door and the party searched his house. Gareth discovered a key in his drawer. It was a typical looking Dwarven key, but with spines on it in various spots. In addition, there were multiple other copies of the key. The party agreed to take a copy, and leave.

That night they told Dyrnar and the group what they found and suggested following Maulnar to see what, if anything, he was up to that might be suspicious. The plan was to set up that night to follow him.

DM Recap
The session seemed to go really well. The players were engaged with the story, and were getting really into it trying to guess what was going to happen. It was as lot of fun.

Loot and XP
The players loaded all of Morian's possessions onto the cart with the rest of their loot. They now have a set of chainmail, a rapier, short bow, 2 daggers, 12 arrows, and a set of thieve's tools. In addition, since the party made it safely to Kelvin's Cairn XP will be awarded for the previous session. Since Morian did not make it to a safe spot, his share of the XP will be awarded to the party. The total XP earned is 950, which is 475 for each player. The breakdown is as follows:

Orc 100 XP x 5 = 500XP
Orog 450 XP

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Road to Kelvin's Cairn 1

The party start out in Neverwinter having had a week pass. They met Baelnar at the north gate to set out. Upon eating him they found him in conversation with someone in all black. This fellow was introduced to them as Morian, a half elf. The half elf was in all black, and the party could see leather armor beneath his cloak, and a rapier at his waist. They left Neverwinter for Ten Towns and Kelvin’s Cairn with the adventurer’s making small talk. The party soon learned that Morian was born in Neverwinter, and really only travelled to make money.

The trip North was unremarkable, until the party stopped in the early afternoon about half a day south of Luskan. Baelnar explained that Luskan has becoem an extremely rough town. It is said that it is run by the 5 High Captains, but that was not entirely true. In reality, they ran their territory, but the rest of the town was run by various gangs. The next morning they ventured into the town. Not long after entering, Morian whispered something to Baelnar and slipped away down an alley. The rest of the group made their way through town, eventually reaching the bridge that spanned the river. A “guard” was there, and told Baelnar it would be 10gp per person to cross. He eyed up the adventurers, wary that they might try to force their way across. Baelnar passed a leather roll of coins to the guard, and then crossed the bridge. While crossing, Baelnar pointed out the Host Tower of the Arcane on an island towards the ocean. He told them that it is said to be haunted by undead, and that no one goes near it anymore. They group made their way through the rest of Luskan, and Morian joined the group just before they all left town again. Camp was made about half a day north of town.

The party stuck close to the shoreline as the biggest dangers lied in the mountains. Gareth spotted some wolves during the night, but was able to chase them away with a torch. The next day Baelnar told the group that wolves were not uncommon here, but that they would not attack a party of this size. That same day the group noticed a large white object pass overhead, and discovered that it was a White Dragon passing by. It seemed to pay the group no mind, but Baelnar said that White Dragons did tend to live in the colder climate, and that they needed to be be wary of them.

A few more days into the journey the group crested a small hill and found themselves about 80 yards from a group of 3 Orcs. Both sides were surprised, but the Orcs still decided to charge into the battle. The Orcs threw javelins at Gareth, and hit him, but the wounds were minor. Everyone returned fire and eventually Morian and Nefresil engaged the Orcs in melee and finally felled the beasts. Baelnar said this was bad as Orcs almost never ventured this far out. The group concluded that this was a scouting party, and that it was likely that there were more Orcs. Baelnar said they were only about 2 days from Fireshear and that this could only bode ill for that town. The group took the Orc weapons and searched the bodies for anything else of value/use.

Gareth and Nefresil decided to track the Orcs, they spent a coupe of hours tracking the Orcs, but never came across any others. Baelnar informed then that they went directly towards Fireshear. That evening Nefresil healed Gareth, and the group decided to travel through the night, and rest during the day. They followed the path of the Orcs through the night, but lost it the next day. They decided to continue towards the town, as that would be a good place to rest, and get some more information about the Orcs.

As the town became visible the group noticed smoke rising from it, indicating that it had been, at least partially, burned. The group then noticed a party of Orcs moving out as if tracking the previous group. The party decided to try to hide in the rolling valleys and move inland to go around the town. As they did this they found that they had to crest hills from time to time, and that the Orcs noticed them. The group took a stand at the top of the hill and nocked arrows to fire into the Orcs. Nefresil correctly determined that their bow range would be much farther than the javelins the Orcs employed. As the Orcs got within bow range, the party unleashed arrows into the Orcs. The Orcs did their best to move into melee range, and threw javelins, without much success. The party continued to attack Orcs with arrows and spells before using melee weapons. Two Orcs were felled easily, but the 3rd put up a bigger fight. The group noticed that this Orc attacked more frequently and with more deadly blows. Gareth unleashed multiple magic missiles at it, as Nefresil and Morian were in melee combat with it, and suffered greatly for that. Nefresil took 2 hits from the beast’s great and fell. Then it turned on Morian and felled him in 2 hits as well. Baelnar came around and attempted to hit the creature, but missed. It was then that Gareth unleashed a final magic missile, finally killing the beast.

Gareth then went and stabilized Nefresil, and attempted to do the same for Morian, only to discover that Morian was dead. They loaded Morian’s body onto the wagon and decided to continue inland and make their way around Fireshear to head towards Ironmaster, which is only a few days short of Ten Towns. They all had the unspoken hope that Ironmaster and Ten Towns were not overrun by Orcs as well.

DM Recap
This session showed me just how boring travel can be if nothing is happening. Small talk may be interesting, but no one wants to role play several hours of small talk. This caused the session to go father than I expected, however, I don’t think it went off the rails from what I anticipated. I will say though that the second group of Orcs contained an Orog as the leader. I think it was a reasonable decision to have one, but I did not make it clear in the description that this Orc looked different, so the players rightfully assumed it was just another Orc. It was not until it did not go down as easy and started to take out players that they realized this was not a regular Orc. Thankfully, neither of the players died. Having said that an NPC did fall to overflow damage. Morian started with 17 HP then took a 16 point attack dropping him to 1. This was followed with a critical hit causing about 25 points of damage. That dropped him below his max HP in 1 hit causing an instant death. Thankfully, it was an NPC and not a player character as I don’t want my mistake as a DM to cause a player death.

Loot and XP
No XP will be awarded for this session as the players are not currently resting in a safe spot. This will be awarded at a later date. The players were able to recover 12 Javelins and 6 Greataxes from the Orcs. In addition, the player found a couple of gems, specifically an Obsidian, a Star Ruby, and a Jasper.