Ebon Hand Cultist
(12/24/03 12:35 am)
Silchor's RTOEE Campaign (Take 2)|
Alright... We're 2 sessions into the campaign already, and its time I posted my campaign log. This is my second time running this adventure. The first time it the campaign petered on the way to Rastor. This time I feel much more comfortable running it. Enjoy!
The Cast of Characters:
Huron: A 4th level human fighter. Huron was an orphan, taken in and raised by a petty noble. His talent for fighting soon revealed itself and he rose through the ranks to become the lord's right hand man. When the lord died, his son began a campaign of military expansion and oppression. Huron rebelled and was thrown in prison. He was sprung by a friend, and wandered for a while to the north where he hunted a rampaging frost giant in the icy plains of Windfell. He has since wandered, looking for the root of evil, and has come to Hommlett to investigate the ruins of the TOEE for clues.
Zeflen Windchaser: A 4th level Halfling Wizard. Weak as a child, Zeflen was taken in by Goldbeard, the wizard of his village. Hobgoblins began raiding his village one year, and the village became worried. One day a scout named Silverleaf said he had found their base. A hunting party was formed, including Zeflen, and they set out to drive the hobgoblins away. When they reached the base, it was abandoned, and when they returned to their village they were ambushed. All were slain save Windchaser, who ran away. He looked back to see "Silverleaf" change shape and knew him for a doppelganger. Among the attackers he also saw two priests in ochre robes. Cursing his cowardice he vowed to avenge his village, and has been pursuing the hobgoblins and the doppelganger ever since. Though he lost the trail months ago, he has finally found information that led him to Hommlett.
Busta: 1/2 Orc 1st level Barbarian/3rd Level Fighter: Big and dumb, Busta was the runt of a group of orc brigands, who treated him poorly. He was outside seeing to their horses at a tavern when Zeflen charmed him and ambushed the orcs. He found after a bit that the charm was irrelevant, because he hated the orcs anyways. They defeated the orcs and Zeflen grilled them for news of a group of hobgoblins. Busta, a born follower, decided to accompany Zeflen when he left. The pair has recently met Huron in Verbobonc.
Huon: A 4th level 1/2 elven cleric of Ehlonna. Huon was sent by his church to investigate the Temple for some clue to an unrelated cult. (Huon's character has not sent me a background, and thus has received no magic items.)
Beau Jeun: 4th level 1/2 elven rogue: Beau Jeun has lived in Verbobonc for his entire life. An orphan, he learned to survive on the streets. Due to his charisma he became a rising star on the town, and made his living robbing from rich people at their parties. Recently he became involved with a seamier side of Verbobonc's underworld, and made the acquaintance of a beautiful woman who had a sense of danger about her. She later revealed herself to be a succubus, and Beau Jeun barely escaped with his life. He has a scar running the length of his torso from the encounter. He later became obsessed with her and has followed rumors (false) of her to Hommlett.
The party meets on the road to Hommlett and is attacked by Hobgoblin brigands shortly afterward. After working together to defeat the Hobgoblins, they decide to travel as a group.
This first log is from Zeflen Windchaser’s point of view (written by his character.)
After finding out the possible location of the doppelganger and the evil clerics, Buster and I traveled to the town of Hommlet. On our way we met up with a tall human fighter in quest for the preservation of good, Huron the Humorless. With his great sword he appeared a very formidable man, feeling his quest to be similar to mine he decided to join us. Further along the road we met with two half-elves, a cleric and a rogue. The cleric, Huon, seemed a little withdrawn but earned my trust by his desire to befriend my half-orc friend Buster. The rogue, Beau Jean, on the other hand was a little shifty, and with a domineering attitude, rubbed me wrong.
As we continued on as a group for better protection, we were waylaid by a group of bandits: our first battle as a group. The rogue and human fighter seemed to act with a sixth sense at some rustling bushes. As the human fighter charged the bushes, the rogue drew forth his bow and arrow to unleash his fury. The bandits were unprepared for such an experienced group; it is possible they became accustomed to common farmers and the like, for we quickly slew them in a timely fashion. As always Buster was overjoyed at carnage he had left behind. The tall human held his own against three attackers, until the cleric, Buster, and I helped to take them down. The rogue’s accuracy with his arrows seemed uncanny as he brought down two bandits with ease. Collecting the gold for the bodies and searching them for any distinguishing features we continued on our way.
It took us another day to reach Hommlet. Hommlet is a peaceful village with a keep on the hill, and a river running through it. It is a town filled by traders and vendors. Of particular interest is the local potion brewer, and a scroll writer. Upon arrival we met a kind man selling pastries named Otho Guyver. He was able to recommend a good inn and tell us a little of the local history, and previous bandit problems. He must have been a good baker, for Buster bought two handfuls of pastries from him.
While the cleric stopped at the Temple of Ehlonna, we checked into the Inn of the Welcome Wench, where we got a room for our party. At the inn we were approached by a treasure hunter, who was interested in where our adventures were leading us. Feeling a little wary of this man, I wondered if it was possible that he was the doppelganger. I watched him and made a mental note to not trust this man, even though he seemed honest and friendly enough. The first wench we met was very rude and cold towards us, and was not “Welcome” at all! She did not even warm towards the rogues bold advances.
DM: It was funny to see the “smooth” rogue try and fail to entice Maridosen with conversation, getting shot down despite his high rolls.
This was remedied when the second wench, Vesta, came to help us. The women looked to be sisters, but hey, all humans look alike. While waiting for our food, the cleric returned to tell us about people wandering in the woods, near the Moathouse, dressed in red robes. A possible lead to who is responsible for the ordering of my village’s destruction.
After eating a fine meal of sautéed mushrooms and potatoes we left the inn, with Buster heavily into his drinks, to buy some equipment and find out what we could about the Temple of Elemental Evil. At the potion shop, we were greeted by a young girl and a gruff dwarf. The girl told us that her father, the potion maker, had not returned from his regular outings to gather the material components needed for his potions.
DM: I don’t know where the player got this idea. I said that Spugnoir had gone to poke around the countryside, and probably pop into the moathouse.
We agreed to look into the man’s disappearance. No other clues were found about the clerics or the doppelganger. Returning to the Inn of the Welcome Wench we talked to the treasure hunter, Chatrilon, again and invited him to join our search of the Moathouse. His only request was to not let a certain bard know about our trip. The bard turned out to be an elf, lacking terribly of what you normally associate with the abilities of a musician. We were only saved from this banshee-like sound by the excited accompaniment of Buster on his own lute.
DM: The player had actually purchased a lute for his character! I even checked his sheet when he told me. Of course, the orc had no skill in perform, but then, neither does Redithidoor.
Together the infernal racket reached an unbearable peak, only to be saved by Buster accidentally breaking the string of the musician’s lute (critical failure on a perform roll). Sweet blissful silence followed and my nerves were allowed to settle. Unfortunately Buster, feeling some type of bond with the bard, let slip about our expedition to the Moathouse. Because of his eagerness to travel and find adventure, we allowed him to travel with us.
The next morning we set off to the Moathouse. The treasure hunter was angered to see the minstrel joining our group, but went along anyways. Leaving the village behind, we ran into an old man who was bringing back pelts to trade. He warned us of a horse-sized blue dragon he had seen at the Moat house, and wished us luck.
DM: Why does no one ever believe Old Del!
Further along the rogue revealed his findings the previous night. We learned that there is an old secret catch of weapons in the basement of the Inn. He had also overheard the treasure hunter and the mean wench (Maridosen) talking about going to the Moathouse. I then revealed the fact that my village was helped by a doppelganger in its destruction. Is the treasure hunter a doppelganger? Is the owner of the inn a member of this return of evil? Is the wench part of it? How long are the fingers that are killing innocent people?
I was completely caught off-guard when the rogue started to sneak around the Wench. I had given him a wand of Find Secret Doors as part of his characters previously acquired treasure, and he wandered into the basement and used it. I at first told him that he sensed nothing. I had completely forgotten there was a secret door there! Man, these players keep me on my toes!
The Moat house was a half-destroyed keep with its beams burnt by the previous battles. Upon entering the keep we saw a dagger lying in the middle of the square, at the end of a trail of smeared blood. The cleric picked up the dagger. As soon as he lifted the dagger from the ground, a small blue dragon leapt from the keep and proceeded to tear into the cleric. By the time we were able to react the cleric was severely wounded and the dragon had begun hovering and blowing up gusts of sand and dirt, effectively obscuring it from site. The battle was fierce and seemed hopeless, but the cleric and I magically bolstered the fighter and Busters strength. As the warriors began slashing into the dragons hide, I tried to illuminate the dragon with my dancing lights spell, the dragon focused on Buster as he began wreaking havoc on the dragon’s scaly hide. The melee continued, and my flaming sphere spell had no affect on the dragon. We were only triumphant by the combined brutality of Buster and the tall human fighter. The dragon finally fled after Buster collapsed from his wounds.
The cleric quickly revived Buster who quaffed a potion of jump and slashed into the hide of the retreating dragon. The tall human fighter shooed it on its way with a throwing axe gouged into its side. With the dragon gone, the cleric began healing Buster who had fallen unconscious again after his rage wore off.
What with the dragon, I fear that the young girls father might already be dead: the blood trail is not a very positive sign. The minstrel showed a fearless determination though his efforts were futile. The treasure hunter held his own in the battle, and even wounded the dragon. Why would a doppelganger help us in a situation where we were at a disadvantage? Is the dragon a guard dog of this evil cult? How strong has this draw on evil become?
This second log is from Huron's (slightly paranoid, definitely fanatic) point of view:
After meeting with Zeflen and Busta, his brutish companion in the city of Verbobonc we have finally gotten under way towards this town near the center of Evil. Hommlet. They both seem all right, these companions of mine. The halfling has suffered losses similar to my own and he will be true to the quest. Busta, the huge, shares my enthusiasm for fighting, with somewhat less than righteous ideals. But with Zeflen and I to guide him he is capable of great good. Indeed I am happy as we set off, for too long I have been alone in my quest and as I draw near to the heart of evil it is good to have companions.
My wounds have been cleaned and the evil hands which dealt the blows will never again strike against good travelers. But I get ahead of myself. Shortly after leaving Verbobonc our group was joined by two well-seeming chaps. Huon, a cleric with a mighty fine name, seems to be an honest enough man-elf, with holy intentions. He fights well against the forces of evil and has the fortitude and judgment necessary for this quest. His companion another man-elf by the name of Bo jean is a somewhat less savory character, although harmless I believe. He has a roguish appearance and something dark seems to haunt him, yet he displays courage and skill in the face of evil. The value of my comrades was proven during our short journey from Verbobonc. On the day that we set out we were waylaid by evil hobgoblins, those half beasts with hoary strength and evil in their heart. They struck us by surprise from out of the woods. Yet I am glad it was no ordinary travelers they attacked. With the strength of good on our side we quickly vanquished the loathsome beasts. They were will equipped for brigands and half of me wished to pursue them to their hiding but we must stay focused in our quest. And it was during this strike that I suffered some wounds, having faced three of the monsters myself. With the help of the man-orc I overcame them and so weakened the forces of evil. At times it seems that we face invincible numbers in this battle against evil, yet each one that we kill is one less that will haunt this world. And now we drive right for the source so that evil will no longer infest the hearts and minds of men. I fear it will take more than skill and strength to defeat evil and so I am thankful that my quest has been joined.
The hobgoblin encounter was to cement the group, and to foreshadow the Ruined Temple.}
Hommlet is a lively enough place with cheerful friendly inhabitants. But something is wrong. There is evil in the air. Despite all their good graces, they hide something. Half seem to be too happy and half morose. So, which is false and which is true? Maybe it is all in my head. Being this close to the temple I grow anxious and will see evil in all. I must stay calm and use the wisdom of old Larson (my friend and mentor, the dwarven sword smith) to focus my mind. Since we arrived in town we were able to purchase several potions, and I made the acquaintance of a friendly dwarf. His employer the potion brewer has gone missing and so I will keep my eye out for him as this same man was involved in the first battle against the evil temple.
My companions, especially Busta, have a fondness for brew, which might be trouble. It eases their minds and works the will of evil. Yet after a long journey is it so bad? All is well, I must just remain on my guard. The Welcoming Wench where we are lodged is a fine establishment with rather tasty sausages reminding me of the northern realms. Ahh, to be home among the fields. To walk without a heavy heart. Well, I cannot return until this work is done and who knows if I will see the end. Good will guide me.
So we are off on the morrow for the Moathouse. From what I gather it is a staging area outside the temple where the worldly forces of evil congregate. There have been mixed rumors of rusty-cloaked priests, reminding me of the Order of Neth-ril whom I slew in the lower circle of Dar-Golgath. There is indeed evil afoot if they are again massing. The potion man was also seen out in those parts and it would ease my heart to know that he is safe.
In Hommlet we have picked up two more sword arms to round out our quest. One, Redithidor is a musician whom many complain loudly about and feel is useless fodder, yet his heart is true and in this quest we can use all the help we have for evil never sleeps and will use any means to destroy us. The other fellow is named Chatrilon, a treasure seeker, who claims to have no interest in evil, yet seems handy with a sword. I am leery of his intentions but he knows the way to this Moathouse and will aid us as long as there is gold in it. I do not approve of his goals yet he will also help us in this quest.
And so it seems that our party is rounded out and what better group to set off against evil, though some would say that a sturdy phalanx of armed, trained men would stand a better chance. But if evil is to be defeated then all people must rise up: strong and weak, wise and lacking, ordinary men and heroes, because evil can tempt us all. And so it is fitting that we, a somewhat unsorted group, should set out on this quest. And in the end we may see that our diverse talents and skills combined will be invaluable in the battle to end evil.
The journey to the moathouse was fair, with word of a blue dragon from a trapper met on the road. Indeed it seems that we draw close to evil’s domain if dragons roam in broad view. Upon arrival at the keep we spied a mysterious dagger. Our cleric, in an effort to cleanse evil grabbed the dagger and of a sudden, a blue fury filled the air with claws and talons extended. The very beast we were warned about was among us! Its vile wings stirred the dust from centuries of abandon into the air, limiting our vision and ability to find it. But fought on we did. Our swords and more often than not our blows struck true. With vengeful rage the winged beast clew and tore at both Huon and Busta, almost killing the man-orc. Yet before the courageous Busta fell, he dealt the dragon several mighty blows and sent it scurrying back to its dark home. Alas that we were unable finish it and so rid the world of a great evil that will only grow with time. For it was a youngling dragon and will surely grow to do some great evil. I have a mind to track it home and finish what it began. For there shall be no compromise with evil and we will battle until it ends.
The rogue surprised me again when he picked Chatrilon’s pockets during the fight with the dragon, successfully filching a cure moderate wounds spell. I was unhappy with the way I ran the fight with Big U, but I have some ideas for next time, which I’ll post in another thread. Overall, this session went much better than the last time I tried to run the adventure.
Ebon Hand Cultist
(1/5/04 12:46 am)
Week 2 - A Death in the Party|
Week 2...As written by...
Zeflen Windchaser (4th Level Halfling Wizard)
As we watched the dragon fly off into the sky, we grouped together to confer on what to do. Buster lay unconscious but with his wounds bandaged. The minstrel, Redithidoor, spoke up and offered to take Buster back to Hommlet for us while we journeyed on. The half-elf rogue, Beau Jean, was against this idea and wanted the minstrel to continue with us, but he refused and promised to have the great battle immortalized in song. The rogue’s motives in this situation are a little odd. It is very obvious to me that the minstrel is over classed and in over his head. So why is Beau Jean so intent on bringing this minstrel with us?
Busta’s player was absent this week.
After we separated from the minstrel we proceeded to search the upper levels of the moat house, in order to secure the perimeter. The tower was gutted and burnt on the inside, so we proceeded to search the moat house. At the top of the stairs leading into moat house, was a blood spattered room. It looked as though a huge battle was fought. Two corpses were strewn about the room, with gashing wounds across their chests and throats. Upon further examination we found a medallion on each of the bodies, a possible link to the source of this evil. Or were these just mercenaries looking for gold and fell to the strength of the cult’s dragon guard dog?
Other than this the first level was emptied out and the 8 rooms showed no signs of life. A few of the walls were eroding and had serious damage. The rogue, who had scouted the area before any doors were opened, had found a stairwell leading down into the moathouse’s depths. Before starting down the stairs, the rogue warned us that he had heard some noises from the bottom of the stairwell, so we formed our marching order and proceeded down the stairs as silently as possible. About halfway down the stairs the rogue slipped on one of the stairs and knocked part of the rock stairs loose. I winced as the rock step bounced down the stairs. Great, just great, now they know were coming. The stairwell led to a room, that was barely illuminated by the light spells the cleric and I had going. As the tall human fighter came to the bottom of the stairs, the air was filled by the battle cries of two gnolls, who had set up ambush at the bottom of the stairs. The battle was short and sweet. The fighter held off the two attacking gnolls with his great two handed sword whirling through the air, cutting into the gnolls hides. The cleric maneuvered into a flanking position on one of the gnolls, and the rogue acrobatically dove through the whirling pattern of the warrior, and came up with his long sword swinging. I darted through after everyone else and launched a couple magic missiles at the gnoll who had been seriously wounded by the tall warrior, felling him as my missile blew chunks from its hide.
After the second gnoll fell from superior numbers, I proceeded to scout out the area for other foes as the rest of the party grouped together to figure out what to do next. As the shadowed part of the room was illuminated by my light spell, my nose was assaulted by the sickening smell of rotting flesh, as my eyes watered from the overwhelming scent, a human shaped creature, half rotted, with bones exposed, and a red glare in its eyes, lunged out from behind one of the pillars that dotted the room. Confused by the quickness of the creature and unprepared for such a horrific foe, I stood shocked as the creature proceeded to rake me with its claws and bite at my neck. I stumbled back from the assault, my stomach became rebellious as an acidic taste entered my mouth, and my wounds throbbed from the infections talons of this undead monstrosity. The creature seeing my weakened state attacked again with even more fervor. I somehow managed to avoid its claw swipes but the fiend was able to sink its foul teeth into my shoulder. A chill ran through my body. The tall warrior came rushing over to my aid, and with a yell of “die evil beast”, began slashing into the fiends hide, knocking loose chunks of dangling flesh. The cleric, Huon, then moved into a flanking position to support the fighter, and the rogue danced through the air as he tumbled past the beast to slash at from its exposed backside. All of this happened at a very slow rate, the world was taking on a fuzzy look as my muscled started to tighten and moving my fingers became a task, words were no longer comprehensible as they dragged on for what seemed like an eternity. I saw the room spin before me, and the air flowed by my ears as I felt a solid cold sensation across the whole backside of my body, then nothing.
When I came to I found the party huddled in a group in a room, barred from the inside to keep the foes outside. And to my great surprise the young girl’s father, Spugnior, was alive and well. He revealed to us that the dragon appeared after the cult had set up residence in the moat house and had slaughtered some of the cult members. The dragon also prevented him from returning to the village. We then proceeded to discuss what to do next. Spugnoir wanted to return home to the village; the treasure hunter, Chatrilon, who up till now had kept back from the encounters, due to a lost potion, wanted to continue on and made snide remarks about our true desire to cleanse this place of evil when we were instead wanting to hide. The cleric was running low on spells and wanted to rest up, but if we did rest for the night then the potion brewer would leave and return to the village. We decided to continue on, so that our numbers were greater.
On one of the walls of the room was a door that led down some stairs and into a small 30ft x 30ft room that had another door on the far corner wall. The rogue listened at the door and said he heard some loud clacking noises. We got into our battle formation and readied ourselves as the tall warrior opened the door. Once again I cringed as the rusty hinges of the door squealed open, ruining any chance we had of surprising the monsters in the room. As the door fully opened we heard the screaming of gnolls fallowed by the twang of arrows being loosened. The tall warrior, Huron grimaced as an arrow found its mark. Next to the gnolls was a female priestess whose voice rang out in request of her god’s evil help. I darted out in front of the group and let loose a quarrel from my crossbow in hopes of disturbing the priestess’s incantation. Huon, the cleric, rushed forward to take on the two gnolls, the rogue began filling the air with his arrows, and Chatrilon rushed towards the priestess. In my haste to prove my worth to the group I failed to notice that I had moved to the side of the room that had a door against its side wall, this became evident to me as it smashed open and four skeletons came rushing at me. Luckily I avoided most of the claws and received only a few scratches. The tall warrior rushed to my aid with his great sword whirling through the air. Though the blade seemed to bounce off the bones of the skeletons rather than do much damage, his aid was greatly appreciated. In response I was able to step back and angle my Burning Hands spell enough to engulf the whole of the four skeletons, whose dry dusty bones turned to ash by the heat of the flames.
As the battle ensued the priestess commanded the treasure hunter to die, who responded by falling to the ground. The rogue Beau Jean and cleric Huon were now locked into combat with the two gnolls, the old man, Spugnoir, was able to cast a spell at the evil cleric, and more skeletons rushed from the adjoining room to slash at me, now with a large sized skeleton, which was fallowing in the rear. The tall warrior continued to slash into the bones of the walking dead, and I backed up again to unleash Color Spray at the skeletons, thus knocking one unconscious. Noticing the battle between the Huon, the Beau Jean, the two gnolls, and the priestess, I decided to leave the skeletons to the imminent demise they would find at the blade of the tall warrior.
********** DM ******
Chatrilon pretends to be knocked down by the priestesses spell (bluff 19), and then uses his wand to become invisible. He then watches Huron, the fighter, for 3 rounds, planning to Death Attack him, when the halfling wizard, his second choice, steps right in front of him. How fortuitous!
I moved to the middle of the room and cast a Fear spell in the midst of the fighting, luckily the spell had no effect on my companions, but the two gnolls hunkered into a defensive pose as their eyes bulged in Fear from the fury of my voice. My chest swelled with pride. This is the true power I have! Look at these creatures cower before me! They cannot harm me, and will fall easily to the strength of my spells. I became elated at my performance and was preparing to drink my potion of healing, when I felt my skin sliced from behind, and looked down at my chest to see the blade of a rapier sticking out from by chest by a half a foot. Who, what, when, how? I felt my heart slow as the blade was pulled from it. My strength was sapped from me and seemed to be pulled down into the earth forcing my body to follow it. I was only able to twist my fall so that I would fall onto my back for one last look at my slayer. The lights began to fade as my last sight was of the treasure hunter, Chatrilon, and his evil smile and taunting laugh filled my ears. I should never have trusted this doppelganger. I will kill him. He shall pay for his double-cross!
Then the world became dark, only to be illuminated by the stars around me, above me, below me, and to my right and left. I felt as though I was floating and when I looked at my hands I could see the stars through them. Were they stars? I don’t know and will not yet now, for just as I focused on one and was being drawn towards it, I heard my voice being called from behind me. The voice offered another chance at life. A chance to finish what was left undone. Remembering what had caused me to exist in this place, and the revenge of my village unfulfilled, I clutched to the voice and struggled to follow it to its source. My brow became chilled by… sweat? My muscles became tired and strained by the effort of holding on….physically? Just as I thought I could do this no more, my eyes were filled by a flashing light and I felt the chill and firmness of a rock slab beneath my body. I opened my eyes to see a woman standing above me. “Welcome back Zeflen. I am the Cannoness Y’dey. Rest for now until your strength is healed.”
Ebon Hand Cultist
(1/9/04 12:25 pm)
Re: Week 2 - A Death in the Party|
I like it, especially the imput from the PC's perspective. Look forward to more.