(7/23/02 11:12 pm)
MAK's campaign log|
There seems to be an eager audience for campaign logs in the board, so I'll share mine. That is translate it for the small minority who doesn't understand Finnish (the real stuff is here: iki.fi/mak/rtoee ). I'll emphasise points that might be useful or interesting to you fellow DM's, the web-log is mainly intended for the players (so they don't forget what's going on - we play pretty infrequently)
We are currently in Rastor and a small advance force is out, scouting the CRM. I'll add the log in smaller chunks, so that is how far you can expect to read eventually. I try to keep this up to date with the web pages, but writing _two_ logs is not what I originally had in mind, so this one might lag somewhat behind...
OK, here goes:
We were (re)playing the original ToEE when RToEE came out and decided to skip the remainder of ToEE and start the Return immediately. The decision was easy, since we pretty much had only the nodes to go and I would have had a huge job in converting them to 3rd ed. Because of this, the players had some pretty good knowledge of the old temple, so I had to justify it by making the old group NPC's - sort of godfather-figures to the new guys. I did "capture" two of them, however. The ranger will replace Zert and the Paladin replaces Thrommel (whom the group freed). The rest are prominent Verbobonc NPC's.
Leif: human barbarian / cleric of Fharlaghn 1/3 (viking with a huge axe)
Ilson: gray elf transmuter 4 (stupendous INT, has owl familiar)
HD: halfling rogue / cleric of Brandobaris 2/2 (trickery is my religion)
Sebastian: human rogue 4 (rapier-wielding ladies-man)
Zoltan: human fighter 4 (soon-to-be rogue)
Taito: human monk 4 (can anyone say "Kung-Fu")
Galahad: human paladin / cleric of Pelor 1/3 (old bitter veteran)
Yes' there are seven AND they are 38-point characters (drastic cut-down from the 60+ point 2nd ed converted PC's in ToEE, though). Fortunately not all of them are present in every session, especially since we usually run a lot of low-combat stuff by e-mail.
Hommlet & the Moathouse
The party travels to Hommlet from Verbobonc and end up having lots of loose time, so they investigate what adventures could be found. They end up with the standard set:
moathouse - Chatrilon and Jaroo insist there is nothing there
nulb - lots of undead, the rumors say
temple ruins - Xaod tells of the hobgoblin band
As any respectful heroes, the guys don't believe that there can be empty ruins and Leif, Ilson, HD and Sebastian go for recon in the moathouse. They run into Del and find about Big-U, priests and gnolls. The presence of the dragon gets confirmed when Ilson's owl familiar flies for a quick peek over the courtyard. The "heroes" run back to Hommlet...
Back in Hommlet they start reporting about the dragon to almost everyone (except Chat, whom they don't trust anymore - lots of conspiracy theories are formed), but there is no real help offered. Ilson remembers stories about a secret entrance to the moathouse (player info from ToEE...), but cannot find anyone to pinpoint the exact location. Following that lead the PC's also learn that Spugnoir is missing.
The next morning everyone except Taito start looking for the secret entrance and manage to eventually find it. They continue inside and run into the wall of stone, so the side rooms are explored making short work of the cockatrices. Ilson's spellcraft tells that the wall is indeed the result of a spell and quite thin, so the big fighters break through it with a makeshift (silence-spelled) ram.
HD uses his spider-climb boots to recon in the ceiling and finds the ghast in ambush - Leif moves in to behead it, only to run into Geynor and Ysslansh. The rest of the party rushes in soon behind and Ilson uses his favorite tactic and delivers a ghoul touch via the owl. The trog gets paralyzed, and Geynor is soon flanked and dead.
The heroes move forward leaving the trog behind in the pool room, tightly bound. They run into the ghouls in the crypt and manage to destroy them but Zoltan and Leif get paralyzed so they have to go back. Eventually they remember to interrogate Ysslansh, but get nothing except raving. Sebastian tricks the paladin to leave and kills the trog, dumping the body into the pit. Galahad feigns belief to the story that the prisoner tried to escape...
Next the PC's return to the crypt and proceed to the ghoul caves. They manage to find the hidden altar after hours of general searching, and even find the hidden ritual items. By then it is soon midninght, so they decide to go rest above ground near the tunnel entrance.
Chat has followed them, so he strikes as soon as everyone except the pair of guards is asleep and manages to strike Ilson to the negatives. He uses the invisibility wand to escape. The PC's move inside the tunnel and gather a thick perimeter of thorny bushes to prevent any further assassination attempts.
A few hours later the guards hear noises from further inside the tunnel. The group retreats using a darkness-spell in the end of a rope for cover, outside they ready missile weapons and leave the darkness at the entrance. Once everyone is ready, the darkness is removed, revealing a group of gnolls led by Garrik (who charges the group and gets sliced). The rest retreat after a few rounds of missile fire, but one gets trapped and captured.
The prisoner, as befits its chaotic nature, is very helpful and betrays its fellows eagerly in exchange of keeping its life. It leads the PC's to Gren (the portcullis got broken in ToEE, so that couldn't be used), and even arranges a diversion so Ilson can cast sleep (but not before Gren lets the skeletons loose). Galahad uses greater turning to blast the skeletons to ashes, while Sebastian coups the sleepers since the paladin isn't watching.
The renegade gnoll is let loose and the relics gathered before the heroes proceed to the stairway room. The gnolls there, as well as ghast and three ghouls block further advance and the group stay in the doorway for better defense. They manage to eventually destroy the attackers, but Sebastian gets bitten badly after a botched tumble check to get past the ghast. Spugnoir is found, of course, as well as the secret door to the crypt.
Finally it is time to rest and the PC's leave for Hommlet with Spugnoir, thinkin that the dungeon is cleared...
TO BE CONTINUED
(7/24/02 12:40 am)
MAK's campaign log (continued)|
MAK's campaign log (continued)
Return to the Moathouse
The PC's spend two days in Hommlet, identifying stuff and buying potions etc. Once they return (again sans Taito, whose player was sick) to explore the pit in the pool room they run into pretty much the entire surviving cult loading stuff to their wagon at the secret entrance. I was being lenient (and frankly also forgot...) and ruled that Utreshimon didn't find out about this operation.
Well they did not actually run into the cultists, since the ever forward-scouting owl warns them of intruders. So the group buffs up and sneaks closer, intending to let the horses loose and shoot flaming arrows to the wagon. Chat is active again and stabs Ilson the second time (he drops but doesn't die). This time Leif can see better, however, so he starts to follow the tracks Chat leaves in the grass swinging his axe wildly. The viking is rewarded by some rapier in the ribs and has to retreat while Chat becomes invisible again.
Meanwhile Vacra fires her crossbow towards the sneaking Sebastian and HD, but misses. HD retaliates by casting darkness into the crossbow, which Vacra promptly throws down on the two rogues and retreats to the tunnel. Galahad stabilized Ilson and Zoltan drinks an invisibility potion.
Toridan, who is guarding the wagon, spots the PC's and lets fly with the longbow: the group takes cover behind some trees. The grick gets released and charges forward, but unfortunately goes past hiding Sebastian, who drops it with a lucky sneak attack (his rapier is magical).
Just about when Ilson has been restored to health, an arrow thwacks through his breast, dropping him the third time. This time, however, Chat is not quick enough with his wand, so Galahad and Lefa manage to reach and kill him. Maridosen, Grune, Dunrat, Chenashi and Vacra come forward from the tunnel, and ready missile weapons - the heroes (except Ilson, who is up again) charge forward and soon finish the cult fighters. Sebastian uses his pearl of power on the rest, killing the women and capturing Dunrat.
Galahad waits for the force field to dissipate, and as soon as it does, charges forward at the same time as Dunrat throws something. Due to better initiative, the paladin slays the wounded Dunrat but is trapped for a while in another pearl of power field.
The heroes pack everything into the wagon (it already contained the statue from the pool room) and return to Hommlet for healing. Once back they remember that Geynor's journal mentioned a mill and go investigate, finding the treasure and notes left behind (was it Thrommel who said that the cultists are lousy conspirators, they leave written evidence lying around...)
More conspiracy theories - the PC's go question Spugnoir as well as Jaroo, who they think should have known about the cult and dragon. Dopple-Jaroo feigns a quaking voice, dementia and bad case of shaking, so the PC's end up thinking he's just too old for the job. I haven't figured out yet what to do with Jaroo in the future - he probably lies low for a while...
Once the party finally returns to the pool room the next morning, they find just a pool where the pit used to be. HD investigates and finds the stone plug. He uses the scroll of water breathing and stone shape (captured earlier) to re-open the shaft. The group winches down.
On the top of the obelisk they find a thoroughly mummified trog (who has been dead for what, 3 days...) The guys start to get the creeps, especially since the paladin has a constant pounding headache. Then they discover the purple veins and get really creeped. Needless to say, they run very quickly to the next elevator. The veins crawl to the side of the obelisk and remain there as a writhing mass.
HD walks down the wall and the rest take the lift. The grell's surprise is botched by a few excellent listen-checks, and it turns out to be a surprisingly easy foe. The party descends all the way down.
Festrath is waiting and uses the poison elemental trick stolen from the Board (can't remember who to give the credit to...) Unfortunately it attacks the endurance-buffed Leif, so poison saves are no problem. The monster is cut down by magic missiles. Festrath decides to take to the air, giggling and drooling. Before moving away from bow-shots he commands Sebastian to "swim", the only water available being the poison pool... The rogue survives.
After that I ran out of clever tricks (cutting the rope was not too frightening since spider climb is available) so Festrath casts rage and charges Galahad. He manages to deal decent damage but doesn't survive long being all alone.
Galahad pokes the black portal and is rewarded by a second grell, who is sliced quickly by the combined fighter force. Meanwhile Ilson decides to investigate the point of the Obelisk, and touches it. I ruled that he actually touches the gem even if he couldn't see it. The fruit episode follows, Ilson finally nibbling a bit. He returns wondering whether the stunt was wise or not (his wisdom is pretty low, the classic absent-minded professor type). None of the others dare to try, so the party returns to Hommlet and starts to plan on how to deal with Utreshimon.
Again, Big-U has kept a fairly low profile. Maybe because it was around 2 AM while I was running this...
Anyway, the group sneaks in through the secret entrance, buffing up ridiculously well before the stairs. They used a silenced stone to cover movement and made about half of the group invisible. Then, under cover of silence, they creep closer and get into position. The attack is synchronized to the charge of Leif and Galahad, so poor Utreshimon gets three STR 20+ fighter strikes, two sneak attacks and six ( hasted) magic missiles on the surprise round only. He did survive that, but lost initiative and was toast on the second round.
TO BE CONTINUED
(7/24/02 10:48 pm)
MAK's campaign log (continued)|
MAK's campaign log (continued)
Next morning, the party (Leif, Ilson, HD and Galahad by e-mail) continues to Nulb. The ruined village is covered by a stationary raincloud, which IMC makes it possible for all undead to operate as if it was night. Galahad starts to scan for evil, which is found in great numbers - the entire place is permeated by a lingering aura.
Two fresher auras (Wat and Dala) are found from the Hostel, and the group buffs up and creeps in. Wat is waiting for them inside the floor - moves up, and sneaks Galahad. Ilson beats the ghost's init and retaliates with two volleys of magic missiles (he is hasted...) before Wat can become ethereal.
The party has the sense to retreat at this point, but Wat strikes again by the doorway - again at Galahad. The tough paladin has fortunately healed himself on his round, so he survives again. Also, Ilson is quicker again and fires another two volleys and has the nerve to look surprised when the ghost dissipates. Well, 12d6 of force damage is overkill, but at 75 gp per charge for a 5th level MM wand he is losing net worth at an alarming rate...
The ghost touch sword that Wat stuck through Galahad dissipates also (a dramatic touch here...) but is later found behind the bar where Wat's body also is. The group continues upstairs, however and destrous the allip, but Galahad loses so much WIS that he cannot cast spells... (why is it always the high WIS types that stand in front line?)
When the paladin finds out that the ability loss is permanent, the heroes go back to Hommlet to ask for help from Yether - he directs them to Y'Dey who does eventually cast restoration but with her usual morale-boosting sermon.
When returning to Nulb, the PC*s encounter the Yeth hound, whose baying almost raises a panic. Everyone is surprised, Ilson the most, when the hound nods and flies off after seeing the elf. He starts to think that eating the blessed fruit wasn't such a good idea after all...
At the hostel, a group of shadows assaults the party, but are quickly turned. The hostel is promptly burned down (which isn't very easy since it constantly rains). Scanning for evil continues and Galahad gets a strong reading from the old herb shop. After some more buffing the group kicks the door in only to be nearly wiped out by the waiting Lareth:
While hanging from the roof, he opens with confusion which drops HD and Galahad out of play for a while. Next comes web from the cloak, but Ilson manages to point his ever present wand to approximately the right direction and fire. Lareth promptly walks down and slaps Ilson with a Tharizdun's touch, putting him out as well - that save DC of 19 is ridiculously hard.
Leif is the only on remaining, and can attack due to his granted power of free action. He manages to wound Lareth for a few times, but eventually succumbs to Lareth's third touch (I thought that you could only select a domain spell once - this could be errata stuff... it made a dramatic moment, however) Lareth, crazy as he is, doesn't kill the helpless PC's, but walks away mumbling bitterly - he does poison Ilson on the way, though.
(Of course, Galahad had wandered away and would return quickly in just a few rounds, so that affected the decision as well... couping everyone would have been impossible as well since they weren't actually helpless)
At this point Ilson leaves for Verbobonc to conduct some further investigation based on the clues they had found. There he runs into the local branch of Guardians at the Gates (thanks Andorax) which I modified to be slightly more academic - based on the Loremaster. He decides to join the organization, although he couldn't take the PrC yet.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party (Leif, HD, Sebastian and Taito this time) returns to Nulb to get even with Lareth. The no-longer-so-beautiful priest had actually risen to 8th level for beating the party previously. He also had had plenty of time to prepare, mainly by scribing glyphs of warding to a few places (the bridge, herb shop door) I also changed his spell list a bit.
The group has the insight of wading over Imeryd's Run at a point outside Nulb: the task is pretty easy since Taito the monk happens to own boots of striding and springing (speed 80 turns out to bee icky) and can leap over the river with take 10 easily. The rest follow with help of a rope.
The heroes bash a random wraith on the way to the herb shop and find another in the building. They expect a trap, since the aura of evil is significantly weaker than Lareth's, but kick the door in anyway (how often do you see the pattern: they listen behind a door and kick it in regardless of what they hear) The raging Leif easily saves the blindness glyph in the door and the wraith is beaten quickly.
Now the group starts to search for possible hiding places (which is considerably harder without the paladin's free detect evil), and manage to find the beached ship. The jelly seems uninteresting as a combatant and the party retreats. HD then has a brilliant idea and he uses change self to become a "mini-Lareth" sans the extensive scarring and prances around the main street singin how he is Lareth the Beautiful now...
The scheme works and the real Lareth steps into view, calmly smoking a pipe. He has time to say how he didn't like halflings in the first place (it was a halfling rogue who killed him IMC) but is stopped short by a silence from HD. The silence poses no problem for the melee-buffed cleric, who has even gained a second attack for being 8th level - he methodically beats the charging PC's unconscious. Only Leif, who was farthest, is again the last man standing and crits Lareth with his axe, dealing 50+ damage. I suddenly decided to max out Lareth's HP's, so he doesn't drop but is severely wounded. Lareth completes his move out of the silence and confuses Leif.
A second TPK was very close weren't it for Zoltan who just arrives, so Lareth calmly leaves again. At this point the PC's are really starting to be afraid of the cleric - can't wait for the happy reunion...
TO BE CONTINUED
(7/25/02 4:08 am)
MAK's campaign log (continued)|
MAK's campaign log (continued)
The Ruined Temple
With no great interest in confronting Lareth a third time, the group (everyone except Galahad) decides to go check the hobgoblins in the ruined Temple. They wade over the river again (still missing the glyph on the bridge) and pretty soon run into a random hobgoblin patrol. The humanoids flee as soon as they see the heroes, but Taito and Leif catch them easily and slaughter everyone but the two who had time to surrender.
The captives are successfully intimidated (with the presence of Leif giving some hefty bonuses) and the PC's learn the basics of the Temple defenses (guard placement, dogs, presence of the adept). Ilson again remembers hearing about a secret entrance, so his owl is sent to scout for it. The tunnel is finally found and the party descends into the well.
The owl scouts the tunnel ahead and finds the hatch leadin up to the tower. The PC's follow, noticing that the way to the dungeon levels is blocked. A silent advance group (everyone except Leif) opens the trapdoor and hears the goblins. They climb in and after discussing their options, the poor slaves decide to leave via the tunnel, encouraging the heroes to go finish the hobgoblins. This was indeed their intention - three rogues and one monk sneak behind the dice-playing hobs and kill their targets at the sign of Leif rushing through the door. The rest of the hobs have no chance, neither the rats.
The PC's send the owl out again to scout the location of the dogs. That being confirmed, they sneak around the Temple from the opposite side, maneuver behind the main door guards and take them out in a coordinated strike. Unfortunately they forget about the guards by the area gate, who raise the alarm. The guards themselves are shot down by the rear guard before they reach the doors.
The inside of the temple is pitch black (the hobs having used tar to cover the windows) - being able to see the foes becomes a deciding factor in the ensuing battle. HD first fires an arrow with light to the back wall, so the PC's have a glimpse of forms taking cover behind pillars. Zoltan and HD then begin smashing in the closest windows, and the rest throw their everburning torches farther into the hall.
The group in the west wing hasn't had time to prepare, so they are surprised armorless and fireballed. The surviving elite forces make a charge and concentrated javelin attack against Ilson, but his shield block most. Another fireball finishes the rest.
The PC's advance further, throwing their torches before them and finally run into Rarkus (who IMC looks surprisingly like Darth Maul...), the invisible Krebbich, the ape (which had to be made fiendish to give it darkvision) and a group of goblins firing heavy crossbows in a team. The combatants are on opposite sides of the large central pit.
Ilson uses the owl-delivered ghoul touch tactic, but Rarkus saves and goes after Taito who arrives with giant leaps. The hasted Ilson then commences to fire magic missiles at King Kong. Zoltan arrives to help Taito, and Leif also charges to the fray. Flanked, the boss hasn't got much chance.
The fiendish ape, on the other hand, is methodically ripping sebastian to bits. The poor rogue had to use a hero point to survive the rending. HD and Ilson's missiles finally fry Kong, so only Krebbich is left. He flees immediately, but is slowed by the closed main doors so hasted Ilson can catch him after casting see invisibility. The adept is not the surrendering type, so he assaults Ilson but is hacked to pieces by the rest of the PC's once they arrive. All goblins promptly surrender.
The party returns to hommlet, triggering the sonic glyph on the Nulb bridge, and continue to Verbobonc for a shopping break.
TO BE CONTINUED
(7/25/02 10:52 pm)
MAK's campaign log (continued)|
MAK's campaign log (continued)
Leif and Ilson start from Vernbobonc as an advance force for the 9-day journey to Rastor. The pair books a room in the Gray Lodge and after charming Yarew (the Charisma of the pair is abysmal) they find out about Stalagos and that Rerrid might know more.
The pair then visits Rerrid, who turns out to be surprisingly helpful with information but discourages the PC's from disturbing the ochre-robes - he has become too disillusioned about chances to do anything but tolerate the Temple. When asked about first-hand experiences from the mines, he points them to Tymerian. Ilson is relieved to hear from the aerial defenses in advance...
Leif and Ilson next decide to go check the area for themselves and follow the trail up to the point where it forks. Ilson's owl scouts the orc camp on the way (they heard about it from Rerrid when asking why there were orcs around in the village). A suitable random encounter occurs: a patrol of gnolls - I ruled that they were from the main gate and on the way to the orc camp to try to recruit some additional forces.
The duo follows the gnolls, using Vacra's wand when close to the camp to maquerade as drunken orcs. They hear the gnoll leader's proclamation (spoken in horrible orc) that anyone joining their masters would be generously rewarded with gold. Kreugna's answer is clear: an arrow in the eye of the speaker. She also warns the tribe that anyone joining will meet a similar fate. (She is afraid of losing her authority if the tribe is much reduced by recruitment - she probably has to change her mind once the PC's really start to cause need for replacements)
The gnolls retreat, and are not followed (except for the PC's). They ambush the patrol and take one gnoll prisoner. Charming the creature, Ilson (who is the resident linguist - speaks 10 languages) chats with it and pries out whatever information he can get about the main gate. The PC's get a crude map, sizes of the forces and guard placements. The gnoll is let loose with some mumbo-jumbo curse that would wither it if it ever returned to the Temple.
Leif next wants to take a peek at the crater and climbs to the rim, seeing lake Stalagos, the bridges and the Inner Fane (with glimpses of the lightning towers and Black Spike).
Next morning, the AWACS-owl reports a raiding patrol from the south entrance. The gnoll scheme is repeated and the patrol ambushed with two prisoners (victims of sleep). These are also charmed and questioned with the result that the heroes learn similar information about the south gate that they have on the main one. When they learn that the group was after human sacrifice, Leif executes the pair for past and future crimes after a short field trial (well, both Ilson and Leif are CG, so I guess a trial would not have been even required, but it was their idea...)
An encounter with a flight of hippogriffs later that day cause some amazing fireworks - it's hard to remain hidden in an area where it just rained burning horses, so the pair decides to fall back to Rastor. Galahad has just arrived and is waiting for the duo there.
TO BE CONTINUED
(7/29/02 1:30 am)
MAK's campaign log (continued)|
MAK's campaign log (continued)
CRM - main gate
Leif and Ilson pick up Galahad and the three return to Stalagos with some brand-new tan robes they hope will pass as ochre in the dusk before they kick in their 10 minutes of change self. The plan is to boldly walk in and go slay Terrenygit (the trog cleric they heard was there from the gnoll captive). Luckily they have the sense to cast augury, and Pelor says a big WOE.
They decide to re-think their plan and retry the next evening, using auguries for pruning unworkable plans. Finally they arrive at a NEUTRAL plan where they turn south and recon the area beyond the entrance. The plan succeeds, the gnolls barely glancing at the three "clerics" storming through their guard room.
The trio proceeds south, killing the basilisk and deciding its lair might be a good place to rest since the statues might scare away at least low-level guards. The PC's explore the corridors a bit further before returning to rest.
Next morning the group continues south and hears Marlgran the ettin before running into an ambush. Ilson formulates a fiendish plan, confronting the monster invisibly. The ettin (of course) hears the intruder and demands toll for passage, warning not to trick him with spells.
Ilson then casts a suggestion, telling that the guards at the main gate stole the big treasure that was intended for Marlgran and that he should go reclaim it (with the trusty rust monster, of course). Two humans in black cloaks will show the way. Leif and Galahad arrive on their cue, leading the poor ettin to the gate area and showing him the door. The PC's promptly retreat, leaving Marlgran to smash some gnolls before being taken down by the howler. The gate forces lost only a few gnolls and warriors, however.
The group blows most of their remaining spells while saeching treasure from the pool cave, so they return before encounteirng Vranthis. At this point Ilson and Galahad, who have just gained levels, decide to return to Verbobonc for training. Lefa agrees and after spending another night to gain dimension door they proceed to the vicinity of the gate.
The PC's decide to sow some more confusion as they leave, attacking the southwestern guard room in a ochre-robed guise. They easily defeat the guards there, but cause a general alarm and finally run into Mereclar & co. At this point Ilson and Galahad pop away and buffed-up Leif runs to the pre-arranged rendez-vous point. Ilson returns a few rounds later and they dimension door out. The trio then proceeds to Rastor and furter to Verbobonc, leaving the gate crew to restock at their leisure.
This is the current situation as of July 29.
I still have to decide a proper use for the dead ettin - speak with dead for sure (which will reveal an invisible spellcaster and two black-cloaked, Temple-symboled fighters). The gate forces will probably be more alert for internal threats...
Terrenygit could of course animate the ettin, but he has more zombies than he can control already, so there is just the shock value.
A mysterious stranger
(8/6/02 12:59 am)
MAK's campaign log (continued)|
CRM - main gate revisited
A short recap on the characters present:
Leif: human barbarian / cleric of Fharlaghn 1/6
Ilson: gray elf transmuter / guardian at the gates 6/1
HD: halfling rogue / cleric of Brandobaris 3/3
Taito: human monk 4
Galahad: human paladin / cleric of Pelor 3/3
The group leaves Zoltan and Sebastian in Verbobonc (their players don't generally have time for PBeM) and return to Stalagos, skipping Rastor entirely. They correctly assume that Temple spies would be active in the village... The plan this time is to take down the Main Gate by sending an advance force in by dimension door to deal with Mereclar and Wormspike while they are alone and having the main body engage the guards. The owl, who by now has earned the nickname AWACS, is used as a syncronizing device.
Galahad, Taito and HD wait near the gate while Ilson and Leif transport themselves to Mereclar's bedroom in the early AM hours. The half-elf does manage to wake, but Leif crits him to death with one blow. The howler with his +17 listen is awakened and starts an alarm. Next, the commandos pop into Wormspike's room and prevent the ogre from leaving, easily taking him down.
Ilson signals for the outside group to enter and lobs a fireball onto the sleeping guards in the barracks. Leif goes one-on-one with the howler for a true clash of the Titans: the raging, buffed viking trades blows equally with the huge hound. He is helped a bit by magic missile volleys from Ilson, who also manages to fry the gnoll barracks with his remaining fireball.
Meanwhile, the outside trio runs into guards moving towards the fight and slays the four without much trouble. The gnoll guards coming in from both north and south give them pause, and they use a smokestick to screen off the southern group while Galahad stuns the northern one with a sound blast
The group notices simultaneously that Leif finishes off the howler and that Terrenygit and the zombies emerge from the north. Galahad destroys over half of the undead with his first turn attempt, while Leif (who had 2 hp left at this point) started gulping down healing potions before daring to end his rage.
Taito attacks the guards behind the smoke screen, but is in trouble since human guards have also arrived. He has to retreat to heal. Galahad destroys the reminder of the zombies, while the entire force of the guards (most of them using bows) engage the paladin. HD silences a rock and tries to sneak attack the trog, while preventing spells.
Ilson loads AWACS with ghoul touch and continues to barrage the trog with his MM wand. Leif and Taito charge the southern guards after healing themselves sufficiently, Leif cleaving into the gnolls with devastating effect. The remaining two guards soon flee, but cannot escape the monk and barbarian.
On the northern front Terrenygit's AC spells trouble, but HD's isn't much worse so the pair swings at each other without much effect. The owl's first pass on the trog misses, and the familiar gets a solid hit but continues for a new try which paralyzes the trog. Galahad has killed two gnolls, and the remaining pair turn to flee. HD catches the other, while the other is shot down by Galahad.
Terrenygit is questioned, initially without much success, but with some waiting and a suggestion he manages to rant some interesting information about the Earth Temple. The heroes go to rest in a rope trick and decide to take on the Earth Temple next. Terrenygit is executed for his crimes...
Next - the Earth Temple
A mysterious stranger
(8/6/02 5:05 am)
Re: MAK's campaign log (continued)|
Just wanted to let you know that there were people reading your campaign logs...
I really like to read about a party planning before striking !
Should be a mandatory read for lots of players
(9/3/02 10:22 pm)
MAK's campaign log (continued)|
Thanks for the feedback - I was starting to wonder about readers...
Back to business, there has been a lot of gaming going on since the last update - South Gate and Air Temple, the hidden temple of Moradin, orc caves and Fire Bridge. As a matter of fact, the re-assault to the bridge is going on right now as a PBeM.
CRM - the Earth Temple
The Heroes march to the North, HD and the Owl (both invisible) scouting ahead. The point notices a group of trogs in 233, and while HD reports, Swordmaster launches an ambush from 230 towards the quite unsuspecting group (that 90' darkvision is a huge advantage)
HD tries to block the advancing trogs from 233-234, but the invisible Greshta manages to sneak past him. The halfling returns only after the main battle has raged for a while. Meanwhile, Swordmaster uses the rock blast power and rushes into melee. Miikolak casts spells from way back, unseen by any of the PC's.
Ilson turns invisible (improvedly), so Leif and Mac have take in the brunt of the attack. By clever maneuvering the trogs manage to wreak substantial damage with their longspears. Miikolak area dispels some of the Heroes' buffs and summons a fiendish dire bat (with blindsight) to harass Ilson. Mac is one-on-one with Swordmaster, and Leif with Miikolak's elemental.
Ilson finally drops the weakened Swordmaster with a magic missile volley, but Greshta sneaks Leif (with longspear!) dropping the barbarian. Ilson misses the rogue with his initial ghoul touch, but when the unsuspecting rogue starts towards Mac, the elf drops in his AoO and Greshta freezes.
HD has returned by this time, but he suffers about a -10 cumulative stench penalty (lots of trogs, remember...) which makes him pretty much useless. Ilson is also nauseated, but not as badly. The situation seems dire, with Leif down and the elemental plus five trogs still around, most unwounded - HD screams "retreat and fire!" and leaps on top of Leif's body. Mac executes a tactical withdrawal and Ilson lobs a fireball on the trogs, HD and Leif.
Luckily the only ones to drop are the enemies - HD has nearly full hp's, and Leif blows a hero point to stabilize. Miikolak retreats, as she is pretty much out of useful spells. The heroes quickly loot the bodies and retreat to the entrance area into a rope trick
After a short rest Leif goes scouting alone with fly and invisibility (Ilson would be a better scout, but is being played as a nerdy type of fellow who doesn't dare go anywhere without a fighter escort) The viking almost runs into the manticore who smells intruders - the beast quickly blocks the entrance to the Temple.
Leif returns to the others to plan, and the Heroes soon return: Leif casts silence to the tunnels ahead, HD follows with darkness. Ilson charms the manticore and starts to small talk. While the beast is distracted, Leif files ahead and scouts the rest of the area (except Uskathoth's chamber where he cannot fly through the insects).
The manticore advises Ilson to leave, as it cannot guarantee the mage's safety and absolutely refuses to participate in an attack, since there is a chance that the PC's could lose and Snearak would find out it has broken its word (the beast is lawful, after all). It agrees to keep the Heroes' visit a secret, however.
Come morning, the PC's buff up and Leif makes a second recon flight. This time the tunnel from the manticore's cave has been stone shaped so that only a doorway remains. A mephit is standing watch in the middle, making it impossible to get past unnoticed. The heroes sneak closer, and Leif summons a celestial bison who silently and in darkness bull rushes the mephit out of the way. Mac and HD stay with the bull to finish off the mephit, while the Leif / Ilson gunship continues to the Temple, both hasted.
Leif starts with a barrage of silences on top of the pyramid (Snearak and Miikolak), while Ilson continues with two enervations and slays Snearak. Miikolak manages to get out of the silenced area and get through an area dispel - Leif's fly ends and the gunship is down! The pair is soon surrounded by spear-wielding trogs and the xorn, and Ilson almost dead. A retreat by dimension door follows, while AWACS signals evacuation to HD and Mac.
The heroes go as far as the manticore, who joins them gladly now that Snearak is dead... Ilson is healed and the group positions to receive an assault by the Temple forces. They don't have to wait long - the xorn and three summoned earth elementals rise up around the group. Ilson gets the xorn again, but manages to keep his distance and barrage the monster with enough magic missiles to make it retreat.
Uskathoth next dispels the manticore's charm, and the beast turns against its former allies. Leif and Mac, who have finished off their elementals can deal with the monster without problems (aided by a well-timed critical hit). The fighter escort next charges Uskathoth, who came into view when dispelling. The cleric has fearsome buffs going on ( bull's, rage, and enlarge from the remaining mephit), but Mac turns the tide by making another crit (this time with smite evil and divine might both on). Ilson fries the advancing speartrogs, and the heroes soon finish off Uskathoth and Miikolak.
After healing themselves the PC's go on a looting spree and search through the area thoroughly. All bodies are burned, as well as the Temple furnishings (drum and tapestries). The fire symbol is branded on the bodies' foreheads to turn suspicions towards the fire temple. The heroes also release the prisoners and then stagger towards Rastor with their huge pile of loot.
Next - Verbobonc and back
(9/3/02 11:57 pm)
MAK's campaign log (continued)|
Verbobonc and back
Ilson purchases another mule from Tal (the others stay well out of Rastor and hide the loot), and a happy caravan starts off towards Verbobonc. Ilson uses the travel time to scry potential new areas to assault: three clairvoyances per day for five weeks gives the PC's a pretty good idea of the layout and forces of the northern bridge complex, western bridge complex, south gate and main gate.
The main gate and former earth temple have been taken by water temple troops: humans, elves and kuo-toa led by Kadiss and a newly recruited human cleric. Moolowik has joined them, as well as a minotaur barbarian from the outer fane. Marlgran the ettin has been animated as a skeleton (using the WotC skeleton template), and a few water mephits brought along.
Areas 15 and 231 have been filled with water for the mephits and kuo-toa, and the earth temple altar destroyed. The Sword of Earth, which the PC's sold to the Guardians at the Gate for research purposes of course lost its powers but I ruled that it didn't manifest any magical powers outside Stalagos anyway (the GatG organization bought it for reduced price...)
Kadiss notices Ilsons magical sensor and does the "Hedrack trick" of writing a greeting (to the effect of "Come along, we are waiting eagerly...") on parchment and showing it to the fellow elf mage.
The heroes decide to take on the South Gate next, since Ilson won't be available for the next session and they know (through Ilson's research on the fish-men) how hard it is to get past the kuo-toas undetected.
CRM - South Gate and Air Temple
A different plan has been formulated this time since Ilson's formidable spell arsenal cannot be used: HD has bought a few reduce potions, which allow him to squeeze through the arrow silts. The invisible halfling then makes a quick recon round in the early AM hours to confirm the scried troop positions, and quickly relays the information to Taito, who is hiding just beyond the arrow slit. Leif and Mac then dimension door into the eastern corridor while HD climbs to the sniper platform with his everpresent silence stone.
After dealing with the guard, HD follows Leif and Mac down the ladder to dampen the noise and quickly lets Taito in through th edoors and re-bars them so that the guards in 78 would not become alerted if peering through the doors. Sebastian (whose player is late) stays outside. The still silenced group surprise the only two gnolls awake in the guard room (79) and can coup-de-grace the rest pretty freely - blood splatters the walls in eerie silence as the gnolls are slain...
The heroes decide to continue quickly towards the Air Temple while the slence lasts - they find the small guard room (73A) occupied, so that Choranth's chamber cannot be entered without being seen. The gnoll episode is repeated with the guards, and the PC's turn their attention to Choranth. The door is locked, and quiet chanting is heard from within so the Heroes guess (correctly) they have been detected. HD, Mac and Leif kick in the door and find Choranth, Graud and the bear skeletons inside. Mac destroys three of the undead, Leif and HD take on Graud and Taito jumps in with the silence
to block Chornath's further casting.
Choranth and Mac channel furiously for the control of the remaining bear, with Mac finally victorious. The lovers are also soon slain and after some quick healing the party rushes towards Fachish's chamber, eager to utilize the entire duration of their silence.
This time the door is barred, and it takes a few tries to break through, so Fachish has actually felt the blows and seen the door shake even though the work was done silenced. He quickly goes gaseous and pours through above the door, heading towards the temple. The PC's find an empty room with the door barred from the inside and waste a few round trying to corner the "invisible" occupant.
Taito, being the quickest ( boots of striding and springing on a monk are indeed a bit overkill...) rushes towards the temple, suspecting correctly that FAchish might be heading there. He arrives just in time to see the cleric materialize, light the censer and grab the trumpet. Taito wins initiative so he manages to get Fachish into silence before he blows, but cannot disarm the trumpet. The cleric retreats to the edge of the dais and sound the horn - Taito gets his face full of air elemental and retreats towards the doors to let in reinforcements (Sebastian, whose player just arrived)
The others run into the Temple to see Taito leave, and decide to follow. Fachish does manage to blind Mac, while Leif barely saves a confusion. The elemental flyby attaks HD on the way to chase Taito. HD casts darkness and stays behind to hinder the advancing western guards.
When Taito arrives to unbar the doors, Kellial & co open fire, and the monk has to drink an invisibility potion and jump to a safer place to heal himself. Sebastian, hearing the sounds of combat succeds in a tough open locks check and manages to lift the bar with his rapier (I had him use his Str modifier instead of Dex here). The elemental arrives conveniently to throw the doors open for the rogue who sees the guard room doors open and Kellial, two ogres and the guards charge forward...
Meanwhile Leif leads the blind Mac towards the doors, trying to dispel the blindness. He sees the charging guards and directs Mac's aim so that the paladin can hit the group with a sound blast. They all blow their saves, so Seba is safe for the next round. Leif's second attempt for dispel succeeds and Mac charges towards Kellial.
After being pummeled by the elemental, Sebastian sees his chance and sneaks the leading ogre, almost killing it. The next wave of guards hurt the rogue badly and he has to tumble away, but not before finishing off the ogre. Leif has started up his newly purchased boots of speed and summons in a league of heavenly bulls. The guards shake off the stun and surround Mac, who trades mighty blows with Kellial, but the numbers are against the paladin who is quickly brought down.
The bulls and cleaving Leif cut down the guards, and Kellial is held, then trampled by one of the bulls. The elemental attacks the barbarian as well, but is quickly slain (a convenient critical again). Taito returns and kills the remaining ogre together with Sebastian, while HD has managed to slow the approach of the western reinforcements by making them move in darkness (he carries the spell in a rope - his "tail" - and is himself just above the darkened area, invisible)
The bulls block the corridor while Sebastian and Taito heal Mac enough for him to continue. The guards are easily dealt with, and Fachish cannot outrun Taito, HD and Mac. Leif chases and slays the few guards who try to escape. The area is quickly looted, and Ilson brought in to provide a rope trick for resting and identifying.
Next - the Dwarven Temple and Orcs
(9/26/02 3:50 am)
MAK's campaign log (continued)|
the Dwarven Temple
Ilson is back in business (since we're pbem'ing) and procceds to search through the area with HD. Luckily, the elf spots the secret door before the hydra cave and the heroes enter the dwarven complex. Noting the amount of dust present the group congratulates itself for finding a hidey-hole and moves all loot behind the secret door.
More searching and exploring takes place, and the trap in the treasure room door is found, as well as the magical gem and the golden key in the secret compartment. The key is immediately found to fit the treasure door and after glancing through the valuables, all previous loot is dragged to the room as well. The doors are locked and key re-hidden.
Next the explorers find the temple and its golem, they bypass it by running through the temple and through the door. I ruled that the golem always appears from the initial position on the map, so this tactic works. The band searches and opens all the doors in the corridor, but leaves the hammerspheres alone after noting strange magic auras on them.
The group jumps over the closed trapdoor at the end of the corridor and sends the owl AWACS to recon the area. They are only a bit alarmed when the door closes by itself behind them.
The Voice of Gruumsh
After a while AWACS returns and reports the locations and numbers of the orc troops in the caves. It has also located the hydra and the rooms with the orc noncombatants. Ilson turns invisible and as the only one who speaks orc goes to listen and peek through the shield barrier.
As the tropop positions are now clear, Ilson's devious mind formulates a plan - he flies quietly to Murant's cave, charms the boss ( improved invisibility) and starts to ask questions. Murant seems to think it is the voice of Gruumsh and starts to demand help for defeating the Fire Bridge.
Ilson catches on quickly, pitches his voice a few octaves down and starts to issue commands in even harsher orcish. He learns that the orcs are not affiliated with the temple, but sworn enemies instead. The elf stretches his minimal charisma (and blows a suggestion) to bring the orc leader into a religious frenzy and promises help and a guaranteed spot in valhalla if the orcs assault the bridge.
The scheme works (at Will save DCs of 17-19 no wonder...) and Murant starts to gather his troops at once. Ilson stays flying in the vicinity and offers curt commands once in a while. Finally the orc army is positioned just beyond the doors behind their armored battle wagon.
Ilson blows a change self charge and cancels his invisibility to the effect that an impressively armored one-eyed huge (well moderately large...) orc materializes among "his" troops, points to the doors and quickly reads a knock scroll, luckily partly hidden by the illusion. At the same time, the hidden HD summons an earth elemental to rumble up in front of "Gruumsh" - it is a small one but still looks impressive (a celestial bison would have been more effective, but not very useful in league with orcs).
As the doors bust open at the gesture of "Gruumsh" the orcs go crazy, and chant the God's name in a low bass choir, thumping their axe-butts to the ground (Helm's Deep in "The Two Towers" trailer, anyone?) A slow charge with the battle wagon brings the small army into the guard room and slays most of the gnolls there. The rest retreat, screaming for alarm.
The wagon is parked to block the corridor and a few rounds of immensely inaccurate missle fire bring down the remaining gnolls. HD keeps pumping in more elementals, who block the reinforcements from the side corridor. Leif and Mac start to run toward the melee.
Tippesh peeks from far down the corridor, lobs a fireball in the middle of the orcs and manages to kill everyone except HD, Ilson and Murant. Ilson retaliates immediately, burning Tippesh into a pile of charred bones. The guards on the opposite side of the corridor picked a bad time to run out of their room and get burned as well.
As there are no orcs except the raging Murant left, HD switches to summoning celestial bisons and the fighter escort rumbles into the fray. Murant takes on the human guards and gets killed for his efforts, the side corridor gets cleared by Rau the giant. Leif heals Ilson while Mac pumps arrows into Rau.
D'Gran suddenly turns visible behind the heroes, blasting them with cone of cold and turning Ilson nearly into a popsicle. The mage dimension doors into safety, followed shortly by Leif and the others (who still manage to summon a few bisons to harass the troops).
Irked by their retreat, the heroes go use up their perfectly good boosts by slaying the hydra. Ilson notices that the group is being scried (Hedrack) and the heroes wait for the sensor to disappear before quickly entering the secret door and rope trick
Before resting further, Ilson goes to the orc females to drop the bad news. The just-widowed shed no tears for Murant, mobilizing instead for a trek back to the orc camp and Kreugna's less brutal leadership.
(11/11/02 5:23 am)
MAK's campaign log (continued)|
The Fire Bridge, round two
The Heroes boost up in the morning and head for another go at the Fire Bridge. The plan is to break in quickly (by knock and portable ram) and try to concentrate the battle on the south end of the complex by placing silence in the corridor - which succeeds surprisingly well. The silenced HD flies forward and hides at the intersection, invisibility purge ready in case of D'Gran.
Summoned celestial bisons take on the guards (who actually gained 2nd level from the previous fight), so Leif and Mac can concentrate on Vech and Farkis. The fighter escort's concentrated fire pays off and the giant is soon down. Ilsons' plan of saving spells for the big guys almost backfires when a guard manages to escape and is not stopped until HD backstabs him at the intersection - the body is seen by Rau and the giant, Slaazh and D'Gran soon enter the fray.
Luckily D'Gran becomes visible, so Ilson blasts him with enervations, but the spells don't penetrate SR. The fight turns into a mighty melee between Rau, D'Gran, Slaazh, Leif and Mac. The barbarian must retreat to heal after dropping Rau, and gets cover from the heavenly bulls. HD sneaks D'Gran and drops him. Mac and Slaazh beat the #%&? out of each other, with the paladin victorious.
A this point Ilson notices two deinonychuses running in from the north, accompanied by Krall (Heunar keeps well hidden). Ilson places a wall of fire strategically to barbecue the reinforcements and yells for HD (who is scrambling D'Gran's intestines to keep him dead) to back off. Mac throws Slaazh into the fiery wall, and a well-placed fireball follows on top of the regenerating trio.
Mac drops both dinos, but Krall is a tougher customer beating Leif badly with the double axe. Finally HD sneaks the troll, and Mac throws it into the fire. Leif removes D'Gran's head and the Heroes kick it a bit further from the rest of the ogre. Some healing takes place while the wall of fire burns down, and the group goes on investigation and looting.
From the great hall the find Descritad's freshly dead body and a graffiti done in the halfling's blood: "You're next!" (Victor just arrived, sent by Hedrack). That doesn't scare the Heroes and they dimension door away to foil attempts to follow after gathering everything ineresting (including Descritad's body).
(11/11/02 11:43 am)
Re: MAK's campaign log (continued)|
I am enjoying your writeup, so please continue to post. It is encouraging that some parties actually devise ingenius plans. Getting the help of the ettin and then the orcs was brilliant! As a side note, unless it is a houserule, elementals are not subject to critical hits, so the air elemental would have lasted longer.
(11/13/02 10:26 pm)
Re: MAK's campaign log (continued)|
Thanks for the encouragement! I'm keeping a detailed log, but sadly in Finnsih - so I keep translating the stuff when I have time.
Yeah, the elemental was a heat-of-the-moment slip, and not the only one - just wait for the refuge-stick incident that's coming up ;-)
The episodes not yet posted include:
- retaking the main gate
- the air bridge
- multiple surprise strikes by Outer Fane forces
- and major revelations of the plot for the players
I'll try to get these posted before the thread disappears...
(11/13/02 11:03 pm)
Re: MAK's campaign log|
It's fall equinox (game time that is), which happens to be a holy day for Brandobaris & Pelor - so HD and Mac lie low for a day fasting and meditating. Have to remind them once in a while that they play clerics, after all...
Ilson tries out the teleport he just learned and starts to haul loot into Verbobonc. He runs into a general state of panic: the sun has not risen that day, and it is as cold as mid-winter. The wizard immediately pust two and two together and figures this has to do with Big T. His research reveals a prophecy about the freeing of Tharizdun...
IMC, I've thrown out the orbs and instead have the cult use the ancient Suel binders (form some Oerth Journal if I remember correctly). The idea is that the elemental princes are still imprisoned within the respective binders (there are four, instead of the original 9) and only the Champion of Elemental Evil can release them.
I won't translate the prophecy here since the rhyme would be ruined, but it vaguely hints to about the paragraph above. Ilson, for some incomprehensible reason, tries to contact Lareth of all people! He has had the idea that the No-Longer-So-Beautiful has a grudge toward the cult (true, but he has just become their champion...). Needless to say, Lareth cannot be found.
Meanwhile in the Dwarven Temple, Leif questions Descritad's corpse and finds out she was just a petty thief and not worth blowing a raise dead scroll on. HD is a bit disappointed. Once Ilson returns (the sun has risen the next morning, but it is still very cold and the light has a violet tint) the heroes explore the Temple thoroughly, finding the hammerspheres and taking the magical gem.
Prisoners and Revelations
The heroes start towards the unexplored areas between the Fire Bridge and Main Gate. The bridge is mannned by a pair of trolls and the familiar wizard Heunar. The trolls are no match for the full-strength party (all 7 of them) and Heunar is taken captive.
The half-orc is by no means fanatically loyal to the cult and is fairly cooperative with information. Heunar explains about the doors to the Outer Fane and that keys are needed. The heroes suddenly remeber the bits of magical iron they've been carrying around and with Heunar's help figure out how to construct a greater key.
After poring through Fachish's notes, they find the (poorly crypted) key phrase of air and manage to get the blessing of Air to everyone. Heunar doesn't know anything more useful so he is executed after a quick field trial.
The party continues the original plan, with HD and AWACS scouting ahead and the rest following further back. They never get to leave the Fire Bridge, however - this time it's Victor who sneaks Ilson with a poisoned bolt. The wizard survives, and Victor is captured due to an abysmal initiative (and Will save...).
Ilson forces a smile to his face, charms the assassin and starts to question him (although he rather detonate a few fireballs on the guy). Victor turns out to be a treasure trove of Outer Fane information - the heroes learn of the forces in the Fane and that their identity is known and Hedrack is after them. After pumping all conceivable information out of the assassin by more questions and even a suggestion, Victor is tried and executed and the party goes to rest.
Next - Vranthis & Ukemil
(12/13/02 3:31 am)
Re: MAK's campaign log|
The next morning the Heroes finally get past the Fire Bridge (to seek the dragon Heunar warned about) and run into the umber hulks. The beasts are easily chopped to pieces but grappling the confused PC's to keep them from attacking their friends ties the group for a while. Especially Galahad repeatedly throws the grapplers off, but HD of all people finally manages to get a hold.
The violet fungus is smashed to pulp with a hammersphere, and acid-resistant divine bulls plus a whole lot of arrows handle the digester. THe group follows the river to the loading platform (27), and HD creeps forward in the ceiling. He runs into Vranthis who is likewise creeping in the ceiling and the two rush on to the rest of the group yelling for alarm and breathing chlorine. Ilson gets a perfect initiative and manages to fireball Vranthis twice while the dragon makes two flyby attacks and retreats. Leif and Ilson go forward to seek the hiding dragon and suffer another breath from below the river surface. Vranthis retreats for a long time.
After waiting for a while the heroes advance to Vranthis' lair and Sebastian starts to poke around while the others keep watch. The rogue of course drops the clay pyramid and gets the undivided attention of the girallon - the ape-creature rends Sebastian almost in two, which makes his ape-phobia even worse (the same thing happened with the hobgoblins' ape...)
Ilson stays to guard for Vranthis and the others take on the girallon and eventually manage to defeat it. Vranthis picks a good time to return and bites Ilson badly. Leif's axe is too much for him, though, and he tries to escape. The flying barbarian catches up, however and finishes the dragon.
While the others loot, HD sneaks forward and notices a kuo-toa guard of the restocked main gate forces. The heroes decide to assault that area after resting.
The PC's seem to have learned nothing, since they run into an ambush in exactly the same spot as with Victor (the northern end of the Fire Bridge complex). This time it's Ukemil and the lizard-lions. The lions trap the group (except the forward-scouting HD) between them into the corridor and pounce. Ukemil pours dispels on them from further away.
Ilson and Seba are being grappled by the lions, so the wizard decides to take a calculated risk and use Victor's refuge stick. Zoltan grabs both Ilson and Sebastian and the elf activates the stick.
(Yes, I know now that refuge only works for one target, but forgot it then...)
The trio lands in front of Hedracks chamber, where the high priest had just walked in so the door is still open. Seba manages to fire a bolt before Ilson teleports them out, which in turn happens before Hedrack disintegrates the wizard... Talk about foreshadowing... The group ends up in the dwarven temple and start to run full throttle back to the fray.
Meanwhile Leif and Galahad are having a hard time with the lions, both sides dishing out respectable amounts of damage. HD arrives just in time and traps Ukemil with a bead of force. Supported with HD's arrows, the two combat-priests finally kill off every lion. Sebastian, Zoltan and Ilson arrive and join the general healing session while waiting for the force field to dissipate.
Ukemil wins the initiative and leaps over the ring of heroes and flees. Leif (the fastest) catches up, but is held. Zoltan charges in for a full-body tackle and grapples the cleric, who is subdued and tied up. Questioning produces nothing but raving and sputtering threats so the trog is executed. The demonic leg as well as Victor's head are prominently placed on the Fire Bridge.
The Main Gate assault has to wait until next day and new spells...
Next - The Monkey Machine
Here for a while
(12/30/02 3:38 am)
MAK's campaign log (continued)|
The Monkey Machine
Come morning and the Heroes are itching for more combat. The plan for re-taking the Main Gate involves trying to quickly take out as many kuo-toas as possible since moving past them invisibly seems impossible (they tried).
(The new troops of main gate are described earlier in "Verbobonc and back", posted on 9/3/02)
Ilson, Zoltan & HD teleport to the newly created kuo-toa barracks (15) with HD's antiflashlight on (a deeper darkness in a small box with a lid) and fireball at the first sound of movement. They manage to incinerate all fish-men in the room, and continue towards the planned rendezvous point.
Meanwhile, Sebastian, Leif and Mac rush in from the southern corridor to (17) trying to slay the guards before they raise the alarm. This doesn't quite succeed when the other kuo-toa keeps the attackers at bay while the other rushes backwards screaming.
Zoltan, Leif and Mac converge into the guard room (14) and put up a general massacre. Seba and HD sneak forward trying to intercept reinforcements. Ilson (now with improved invisibility flies towards the main barracks and fireballs the northern guard room (9) - the southern room guards quickly close the door... Kadiss is not in his office so Ilson flies on.
The minotaur barbarian charges into the fray as Leif & co are finishing off the last guard. Further in the corridor the Heroes see Marlgran the ex-ettin now two-headed skeleton and a sulfur-reeking black ape frothing at the mouth (a rage-spel). Sebastian despairs and hides deeper into the side corridor...
Leif and the minotaur clash axes, the northerener finally finding his match in axe-wielding. Their numbers aid the heroes, however, and the minotaur is slain with concentrated effort - but Leif has to retreat from the ape to heal. More black apes are running in, and Ilson finally finds the source: Kadiss is using his wand to summon them, while Tiadden the cleric boosts the beasts with whatever spells he happens to have left.
Ilson stops the Monkey Machine with a fireball, and enervates the surviving cleric to death. HD fires a volley of arrows and manages to drop one of the rushing apes before it reaches melee. Mac attempts to turn Marlgran, but fails. At this point, the guards in (10) rush out and fire a volley towards the Heroes (missing badly). Sebastian and Zoltan charge the guards while Leif, Mac and Ilson finish off Marlgran and the last ape. HD fires at the guards.
The last guards down, the heroes quickly gather loot and retreat, knowing that there are more troops in the former Earth Temple. Sebastian, who has for some time envied Ilson's magical abilities and trained with the elf finally reches his first transmuter level, shaves his mustache, replaces the hand crossbow with a composite bow and follows Ilson around calling him "Master". He even calls a bat familiar, who quickly gains the name "SONAR" (Needless to say, Ilson's pride goes to spheres not seen before )
The North Gate
Next morning the journey continues towards the former Earth Temple. HD scouts at the point, finding a kuo-toa outpost (231). The guards there are slain quickly, but one has time to sound a conch-horn. No mass attack follows the alarm, on the contrary, no opponents are sighted. The advancement is halted by a stinking cloud (by a mephit) and all troops have retreated (to the water temple proper) by the time the effect ends.
Instead of exploring the unknown Water Temple, the Heroes decide to assault the Air Bridge (since they already have clairvoyed the area). Ilson blows one more clairvoyance to check the dining hall (211) and finds out both commanders are there. After boosts Leif and Mac summon a host of heavenly bulls and charge the athach (which I changed to look like a troll-golem - after someone's idea, sorry forgot who).
The rest teleport to the dining hall and fireball all residents except Riu and Oamarthis. Riu falls quickly under concentrated missile fire from four people (and never blocking a spell with SR). Oamarthis turns invisible but gains little since Ilson has see invisible running. The dwarf is enervated to death, the onrushing reinforcements fireballed and guards further away confused (Sebastian has Tiadden's wand).
The fighter escort has managed to slay the athach (damn those fort saves!) and moves in to hack down those guards who are not hacking each other. The rest fire arrows to the still-chained chimera, easily evading its breath. The bridge is quickly cleared, all loot bagged and the Heroes teleported to Verbobonc after a short rest in the dwarf temple.
Next - Saving Captain Aracorny
Here for a while
(2/4/03 5:19 am)
MAK's campaign log (cont)|
Saving Captain Aracorny
Ilson, back in Verbobonc, starts an extensive 2-day clairvoying campaign: The Fire Temple and much of the Outer Fane become scouted (in the OF, most high-level individuals notice this and Ilson gets a constant watch - Varachan). The Fire Temple captain (replacement for Zert) seems somehow familiar and it turns out he is a hero - named Aracorny - from the previous Elemental Evil campaign, now turned to the Dark Side. The other members of Aracorny's group are of course delighted to find him and offer a reward for returning their old comrade so they can attempt to reclaim him...
Ilson borrows a crystal ball from the local Guardians at the Gate office for some more scrying, but is rudely interrupted the next morning by a slaugter: some novices have been murdered to their beds, with the word "ILSON" drawn in blood on the wall. The organization understands this subtle hint and denies Ilson further access to the ball "for a while" (Free use of a crystal ball was too powerful a benefit IMO - the deed was done by local assassins and ordered by the cult)
Irritated by the setback, Ilson continues clairvoyance-based scouting and finds out that the entire Fire Temple has been deserted in the last few hours - by a number of dead kuo-toa, the wizard suspects that intra-temple rivalry has taken place. He is correct, the disintegration plan of Water Temple paid off and most of the Fire troops have left:
- Aracorny and Firre to the Inner Fane
- Arlainth to the Earth Bridge (to attempt to overthrow Eeridik)
- Tessimon and Skassik to the Recovered Temple
- surviving troops & monsters to parts unknown
Ilson hates to see his preparations wasted so he teleports in and searches through the area, confirming that the altar has been destroyed. No valuables can be found - everything easily portable has been removed. Ilson returns and clairvoys the Earth Bridge area plus some more of Outer Fane.
The heroes transport themselves to the Dwarven Temple, their plan to explore the areas to the east of the Air Temple. They deal with the spectre easily enough (but have to blow all restoration scrolls afterwards). Ilson, being elven AND having a stupendous Intelligence manages to notice the secret door to the chamber of Tulian's Eye. The heroes immediately suspect traps, so Ilson flies over to grab the gem. The mimic surprises him, grapples, and bangs against the floor - setting off the trap. Ilson escapes by dimension door and the others blow their neutralize poison scrolls this time... The mimic is smashed to pulp by concentrated use of a few hammerspheres. Ilson grabs the gem.
Further exploration uncovers the abandoned boat landing (the Stalagos is frozen at this point so not much use for the boats). Previous scouting by AWACS revealed the cloakers, so the other entry to their chamber is used for a surprise attack. The cloakers are not surprised and moan Ilson to extereme nausea. Leif and Mac bang out most of the mirror images and HD silences the room, freeing Ilson. The other cloaker (who had been moaning) manages to grapple HD, but the rogue wriggles free. By this time the other cloaker has been slain and the other is quickly dispatched.
Before the heroes have a chance to search the room, the three gargoyles are spotted charging forward. HD blasts off with a sound burst, stunning the two smaller ones. Incoming Claagingred is sliced in three by two simultaneous readied action criticals of Leif and Mac. Ilson fireballs the two remaining gargoyles. The tanks are so taken by this display of might that they arrange a small ceremony and name their weapons (Leif's shock axe becomes 'Ampere' and Mac's keen longsword 'Eager')
After some healing and looting, AWACS is sent further east and reports of the sealed doors, forge and armory. The heroes advance carefully, but are immediately met with a barrage of animated weapons. Leif notices the incorporeal dwarven form further in the forge room, but is kept busy by his own animated axe which keeps banging him on the head. Mac and HD have similar problems, but the three clerics manage to turn the spirit eventually and Ilson finishes it with magic missiles.
Suddenly AWACS warns of intruders in the cave and the two destrachans blast away with a subdual strike. Ilson retaliates with a fireball, and Leif summons a host of heavenly bulls. The others heal away as quickly as they can. The other destrachan drops, but the other one screams away for another subdual - not dropping anyone (the heroes had time to heal). Leif charges forward and crits the lizards head off. He is most pleased with Ampere...
When they are about to return to the Dwarven Temple to rest, Ilson notices a scry sensor (Hedrack this time) and dispels it. This time the heroes think safer to spend the night somewhere else and choose the secret room that held Tulian's Eye.
next - Naga Ambush á la Andorax...
Here for a while
(3/5/03 11:52 pm)
MAK's campaign log (cont)|
Evac! Evac! Evac!
Ilson - elf transmuter/guardian at the gates
Leif - human barbarian/cleric of Fharlaghn
Mac - human paladin/cleric of Pelor
HD - halfling rogue/cleric of Brandobaris
not present at this time:
Zoltan - human fighter/rogue
Sebastian - human rogue/transmuter
Taito - human monk
Next morning the heroes head back east, fortified with sonic resistance and silence spells. They get fire instead... In the corridor between areas 84 and 93, the nagas spring their ambush. Invisible stalkers have followed the PC's to their hideout and gone back to inform Hedrack. The boosted nagas with Bethe and the stalkers are hiding in both ends of the corridor and start with the fireball-invisibility routine. The buffs and basic tactics are as described by Andorax.
The party is hit with two fireballs and Bethe's lightning javelin before they have time to react. Leif and Mac head east to cope with the invisible caster, at which point the stalkers arrive and grapple Ilson and HD. The wizard drops to negatives immediately, but Mac is fortunately flying so he makes a quick U-turn and heals Ilson before he's completely gone.
HD succeds in his concentration check and dimension doors away, followed shortly by Ilson and Mac (who are still hit by one fireball). Leif is left alone with five opponents and decides to use his dimension door as well. The heroes regroup in Tulian's eye chamber and for some reason decide to teleport to the Dwarven Temple to heal... bad idea! The stalkers have located the hideout some time ago and go there first before admitting defeat.
The PC's get a few minutes worth of healing before Ilson's owl AWACS who is watching the secret door alerts the group of enemies. The heroes are sitting in deeper darkness to hamper scrying and missile attacks, but close the cover of their antiflashlight as soon as alerted. The stalkers double up on Ilson who is again unable to use his spells. Leif tries to hack the stalkers off Ilson, while HD and Mac concentrate attacks on Yklah who becomes visible after hitting Mac with her remaining fireball. Yklah doesn't survive such battering, and when she falls Bethe and Mhunaath retreat - firing Mac with the remaining javelin of lightning.
Leif is raging at this point and has managed to drop the other stalker. HD rushes forward to heal Ilson, while Leif hacks also the other to pieces. HD tries to fly after the retreating pair, but arrives only to see them flying towards the Fanes. The PC's retreat to a rope trick and teleport to Verbobonc as soon as they have regained spells. Ilson is not happy - he didn't get any attack spells off...
Ilson and Leif coock up a plan to go fetch Aracorny from the Outer Fane (where they have scried him), but the attempt fails miserably due to the room being shielded with forbiddance. I've added forbiddances quite liberally knowing that the group is fond of quick commando raids against sleeping boss characters using teleport and/or dimension door.
Ilson is furious, and starts to scan through the Outer Fane with clairvoyances, starting by chance from Varachan's room. That results in an immediate arrival of a scry sensor, and after showing some intimidating notes Ilson is convinced that Varachan has interesting information. A clairaudience is spent on a quick briefing session. The main impact is that the Champion has been found and is Lareth - Varachan urges the PC's to quickly find out where Lareth is and deal with him, since the freeing of big T is imminent. The problem is that only Hedrack knows this... (I had to put a sense of urgency into them, otherwise they might just have methodically cleared the CRM, which would have become boring)
Varachan promises to continue as a mole and send more information if he manages to find anything new.
Varachan's information on the Outer Fane scares the PC's off a bit - they are by no means ready to go there yet (true - glad they realized it themselves). So instead, they go explore the ababdoned Fire Temple, intending to cover the area of the destrachans from the other direction. The heavy smoke in 111 blocks the way, and the group decides to go to the other direction instead.
Ilson has already scouted the Earth Bridge, which is too big a battle to do online, so the group enters the crypts. They intend to search and disarm any traps in the sarcophagi before starting to lift the covers, since the text at the entrance warned of sacriledge. The dire bats are easily dispatched on the way, but when entering the crypt 128 they are met with a host of incorporeal shapes.
Luckily the group has three clerics, so by using up almost all turn attempts they manage to drive the undead away into the walls. They will return in one minute, so the goup decides to prepare and wait to completely destroy them (otherwise it would be tricky to get all the treasure...) The heroes buff up and wait invisibly - as soon as the shadows return, Ilson blasts away with two hasted fireballs. This is enough for the shadows, but the spectres must be dealt with in melee. Mac carries Wat's ghost touch sword, so he is the centerpoint of the offense, Ilson and Sebastian supporting with magic missiles. The spectres are quickly destroyed without losses.
The heroes check Unariq's crypt, but it seems to be so obviously trapped that they start with the other crypts first. Leif and Zoltan start lifting, Mac standing guard with the ghost touch sword - but Zoltan's save is immediately blown so he gets the cursed disease and the heroes have to eventually teleport back to Verbobonc to get access to remove curse.
They return the next day, this time loaded with remove curses and loot through all the sarcophagi. Then they dare to check out Unariq's sarcophagus. The statue animates as expected and Leif retreats. Mac tries to pound the coffin with a hammersphere, but with little effect. Leif shields Ilson with spell immunity, and the wizard flies in - in a constant rain of magic missiles. He reads the inscription and remembers legends about Unariq.
Intelligence avails to nothing else, so Leif tries brute force, wades in and hacks the statue to pieces. The group tries every imaginable spell and effect to the coffin with no effect. Finally Ilson gets frustrated and calls Varachan - when hearing that the sarchophagus only leads to Tharizdun's Prison, Ilson intelligently leaves the crypt alone...
next - the Earth Bridge
The guy from Belgium
Here for a while
(3/6/03 3:57 am)
Re: MAK's campaign log (cont)|
very nice, and steady progress...
powerful party by the looks of it... little can really scare them... nice going by your party!
Here for a while
(3/9/03 11:49 pm)
Re: MAK's campaign log (cont)|
Yeah - they are 38+ point characters, so that's a good start. AND they are veteran gamers who plan the strikes VERY carefully to maximize their chance of success...
Thus far my experience tells to cut down on the point-buy the next time - the challenges are starting to measure up only at the Outer Fane.
Yes, they are at the Outer Fane now, just completed a massive strike that wiped out Chymon, Hedrack and the Cornugon... but more about that once I get that far in my translations.