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Andorax
Orc
(10/28/02 7:28 am)
Reply
Too much success for my own good
Well, the ambush went well, from the badguys' point of view.

No, the Necklace of Fireballs didn't blow up...that's about the only thing that went right. Fredrick had a lousy throw at initiative...I guess the first fireball stunned him. I got stalkers into the fray, and Tsindin's player forgot to cast defensively the first time she was smacked down, so she got hit with a nasty attack of opportunity.

Good news...she got her Improved Invisibility off anyways. The bad news...she was shorted some very important hit points...

...because the second fireball inflicted 33 points (1,5,5,5,5,6,6), and both of my "mage" types (Tsindin and Fredrick) failed their saves, dropping to -7 and -10, respectively.

From there in, things just got ugly. Gath fired off a See Invisible, so he had my tricks figured out. He raged, and went to town on one of the Stalkers, but he was too far behind on the hp curve at that point. Kaina ducked and dodged, but couldn't get away from the other stalker, didn't have the AC to stand up to it's pounding (those suckers hit HARD), and went down even before Bethe could get her death attack off.

Lyssa almost pulled a miracle off...and did save part of the party in so doing. She managed to center herself in a Healing Circle that stabilized and brought 'round both Kaina and Tsindin, and boosted herself and gath back up some (if only Fredrick had a few more hps). But, unable to see the invisible assailants, and battered from either side by Magic Missiles, there wasn't much else she could do.

Eventually, Gath was overcome by the Stalker, the second Stalker came over to pound on Lyssa even more, Bethe made sure Kaina was dead (rather miffed about wasting 3 rounds of study), and her sneak attack was more than enough to finish off a single-digit Kaina. Tsindin managed to use a Ghost Sound of a roaring Dragonne, which distracted the foes long enough for Lyssa to scoop up Fredrick's body and make a run for it.

Some interesting rulings and rolls later, I ruled that she had successfully dodged the Stalkers, vanishing into the night. The "powers that be" are declaring this a victory, believing that they've driven these annoying adventurers off, and Varachan has "confirmed" via his scrying that they are fleeing the area in all haste.

At dawn, Lyssa, Tsindin and Fredrick's corpse meet up at the Grey Lodge in Rastor. One Raise Dead later, and some negotiations with some orcs to watch their backs, and they're camping in a cave a couple hours outside of town (don't want to put the town at risk).

Around noon, a Quasit delivered a scroll.

Quote:

I found out about the assault upon you too late to do anything, and for that I am desperately sorry. I was unable to take ahold of any of your companion's posessions, but I managed to have their corpses diverted, and dumped in the Stalagos near the air bridge. If you can, recover them there.

I cannot emphasize enough how short time is getting, for all of us. Get into the Outer Fane by any means within your power, but do not use the Fire Door. Chymon awaits, and she has the aid of several others close at hand, prepared to ambush you.

Assure that this messenger does NOT return...he cannot be trusted.

One who has seen too much.



Well, Lyssa unleashed the Earth Sword on it at the same time that Fredrick unleashed the Tentacle Rod, so the Quasit was toast.

Alas, choosing a time when the group was weakened and vulnerable was what Fredrick was waiting for...remember, he'd fallen to the Demonstone's influence. Even death doesn't break that.

On his watch, he whitefired the hired Orc guards to death (I think that's what pushed him over the edge...even as a human he hated full Orcs). Then, he threw up an Ectoplasmic Wall to separate himself and Lyssa from Tsindin, and set about trying to subdue her, asking constantly why she hadn't "turned yet" (again, remember...Fredrick gave Lyssa the Demonstone a day and a half ago, hoping to cause her to go evil as well).

A mighty battle ensues. Four Ectoplasmic Cocoons, two Spiritual Weapons, numerous Healings, a Grease that broke a Pin, Greater Concussions, multiple Disarms, and a Tentacle Rod later...and Fredrick fled into the night, leaving a nearly-dead Lyssa and a recently-awakened to Whitefire Tsindin behind.

Fredrick dropped a potion as he fled...a Potion of Love mislabed as 'healing'. He then fled to Rastor, where he's going to convince Rerrid that the Half-Orc woman betrayed him, and to not allow them to recover the (large stash of) goods that the Temple has been holding for them. Finally, he's off to the CRM to rearrange things a bit in the Dwarven Temple (their other major stuff-stash), making them secure from the PCs and safe for him.

Depending on how much longer the Demonstone influences him, he'll be going on a killing spree in Rastor, leaving behind some horribly tortured and mutilated bodies (which the townsfolk will eventually blame on Lyssa and Tsindin). Eventually, however, when the influence is broken, they'll find Fredrick in the Dwarven Temple...having hung himself in remorse.


In the meantime, my three players who were "outed" by this process have all created new PCs. Two of them are playing Human Druids (one straight-up 10th, the other a Druid 7 / Shifter 3), and Fredrick's player has given cunning a back-seat this time, having put together a 5th level Ogre Fighter.

I've asked them to assemble a mutual background, and am working on their intro-stuffage now. They are sent by one of the significant drudical circles to investegate rumors of many evil, unnatural creatures suddenly being sighted in the area around the Stalagos, and it's nature needs to be determined.

And the clock continues to tick, with the Demonstone in Lyssa's pocket and STILL no detect evil being cast. Last night, after session, Lyssa's player (my wife) indicated she thought it was the Tentacle Rod that caused Fredrick to lose it (after all, he'd just made use of it against the Quasit for the first time, and it is obviouisly Tharizdun-esque).


One bit of advice for DMs. If you have a player who can RP a 'turncoat' PC due to the Demonstone well, please, please PLEASE take the time after session to ask your players NOT to take it out on the player who turned on them...that it was done at your behest, for reasons you can't explain. Make it very, very clear that it's not that player's fault. Nothing ruins a good gaming session like players mistrusting, blaming, and downright hating one another. Take the blame...then shift it to Monte Cook.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

justind dm
Pie
(10/28/02 10:17 am)
Reply
Re: Too much success for my own good
Harsh, how are your players holding up?

Andorax
Orc
(10/28/02 11:18 am)
Reply
Re: Too much success for my own good
Decently well...they blame me, rather than Steve, for what Fredrick did (which is good...if he'd done that of his own accord, it would probably be the end of the campaign).

I honestly think they'll start putting the pieces together. If nothing else, eventually they're going to get into the Outer Fane, have a nice long sitdown chat with Varchan, and get all of this straightened out.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Killiak
Pie
(10/28/02 1:01 pm)
Reply
and then
U get all those "So THAT'S why he did it!"

priceless........ one heck of DM-ing. keep up the good work!

Blackthorne
Pie
(10/28/02 1:07 pm)
Reply
*
Tough. I like it. Respect to your group; many lesser players would have rebelled.

For what it´s worth, the ogre´s ECL got upped from +5 to +8 (official FRCS errata), although I find this pretty harsh...you would have a level 2 fighter with almost no HP.

Andorax
Orc
(10/28/02 1:46 pm)
Reply
Re: *
I checked the DMG Errata, and there's no mention there. For the time being, I'll stick with the +5 ECL. If anything, this group could use a break here and there...and having an evil-looking overgrown sack of bricks that can fight well is going to be a major help.

Oh...and having only 2 Ftr levels wouldn't be THAT bad on HD. He still has the Ogre's 4d8, and a doubtless CONSIDERABLE con bonus. However, with the 5 fighter levels, he's coming in with 100 hps even, took Large and In Charge as his 3rd level feat, and can back that up with Power Attack and Improved Bull Rush. He should be a pretty dang good bruiser, something the party's been semi-lacking.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Andorax
Orc
(11/4/02 9:12 am)
Reply
Re: *
Introduction night...so as expected, little got done. They've discovered the Demonstone as the source of the troubles, and have destroyed it...but not before Rerrid nearly arrested Lyssa for the ritualistic and brutal murders of two townsfolk. If they ever visit the dwarven temple in the CRM, they'll find poor Fredrick's corpse.



Met up with the two Druids and the Ogre on the way back. A few tense moments, probably cut a bit short since at this point everyone was tired of PC generation and wanted to get on with the adventure. They're going to try to find *some* way to get 'round to the Earth Bridge.

Anyways, not much else to report. I threw a Pseodunatural Behir in as a guardian for the now sealed-off west gate and a big surprise when the PCs try to get in that way. Gotta hand it to the Ogre...his first attack of the campaign.

19 (crit threat). 20 (confirmed crit). 2d6 Greatsword damage...5 and 6. The Behir retreated to regroup.

So then what happens? The Ogre goes charging through the now-opened hole...triggers the Greater Glyph of Warding: Blade Barrier, makes his %)#)%) Reflex save, and lands on the other side, still in pursuit. Tsindin steps in, and her first shot Dispel Magic works. A Greater Glyph Blade Barrier...and I didn't hurt anybody!

Interesting stuff from here. That was most of the defense at this point. I expect the PCs to work their way 'round to the earth bridge, at which point they may (or may not) trip off the Bebilith. Then, they're in the Earth Door and (hopefully) finally making a toe-hold in the Outer Fane.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Grumgarr
Pie
(11/5/02 5:34 am)
Reply
Re: *
Hey Andorax - I like the sound of your new PCs - though I was sad to see the end of poor corrupted Fredrick.

Quick heads-up...
I just had a Blade Barrier incident too (from Hedrack himself) - and, reading the spell and going ouchie at the damage, noticed that Blade Barrier can only be dispelled by a caster of equivalent level or higher - is Tsindin high enough level? (my group aren't and one of them is cut off - no pun intended - from the rest of the group outside the Barrier).

:)

Grumgarr

Infiniti2000
Pie
(11/5/02 6:52 am)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: blade barrier
I'm looking at the SRD and I see nothing about "...Blade Barrier can only be dispelled by a caster of equivalent level or higher...." Is this only in the PH?

Sorry for the miscellaneous comments in your thread, Andorax. Great campaign, btw! I also feel badly for Fredrick. I hope he is in a "better" place. :)

Andorax
Orc
(11/5/02 7:34 am)
Reply
Re: blade barrier
Infiniti2000, no problem...I'd just rather not see this become an extended discussion, so I'll keep it short.

Just read over Blade Barrier myself (in the PHB). There's nothing that I can see to even suggest that it's got special dispelling rules. *shrug*

Yes, I know things were harsh with Fredrick...I do have to hand it to the player though, he played the "sadistically evil" aspect quite well, seeking to do greater harm and cause anguish rather than to just see if he can kill off other PCs. No complaints on that front.

And yes, Lyssa is memorizing "Detect Evil" spells now.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Andorax
Orc
(11/11/02 9:23 am)
Reply
Re: blade barrier
Sad to say, but we had another illness-cancellation. Hopefully, though, next week...the battle with the Pseudo-Behir, then off into the Outer Fane.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Andorax
Orc
(11/18/02 9:01 am)
Reply
Follow the bouncing Flaming Sphere
Sometimes, these guys defy the odds.

The battle with the Pseudonatural Behir continues, and it manages to roast Spud, the Ogre...then grapple and constrict him...then release him to concentrate on Bryan the Druid-turned-Girallon. Spud nearly killed, Bryan nearly killed. Lyssa nearly killed (and successfully "swalllowed"). Everyone does their share of damage though (Bryan tearing through DR by pure strength of claw)...

And it's Tyra's (the other new Druid) flaming sphere that finishes it off.

Hang a left...around the outer ring. Past the scenery. Past the bugbear caves (eerily quiet). A brief mop-up fight with the Displacer Beasts (a very trigger-happy Tsindin, and two 2s on saves, made this quick and easy)...and the group arrives on the far side of the Earth Bridge.

They find the chained Dire Bear, and with a lot of food, healing, and an Animal Friendship spell, they manage to calm and free it. Bryan now has an animal companion of his own, at least in the short term (it's a bit over his allowed HD for a traveller, but for a day or two it will stick around).

And then...they open the doors and find the circle.

And, of course, they just *have* to mess with it.

The Bebilith attacks! It suffers a fireball and two Flamestrikes at once...and makes all the saves. It keeps on coming.

The party is split up with a mass of webs. Spud and Lyssa are in the room, along with an ineffectual Xorn and an equally ineffectual Arrowhawk. Bryan struggles in the webs for a round or two before becomming a Kuo-Toa and wriggling through. Tyra remains behind the webs, panicing more all the time. Tsindin blithly walks through the webs, due to (she thinks) her Ring of Free Action, still not knowing she is wearing a full-blown Cloak of Arachnidia.

More webs fly. Lyssa and Spud rain Power-Attacking blows down on it...to no avail. They've +2 weapons, and can't do more than 30 damage at a time. Tsindin fires off a Magic Missile at it, does near max damage, and draws it's ire.

The Bebilith badly damages and poisons her, and she darts away from it. Lyssa tries to run away...and wouldn't you know, I manage a near-max damage on a AoO bite...poison save? Lyssa gets a 3. D6 Con damage? I get a 5. Lyssa's down for the count.

Spud, in desperation, GRAPPLES THE BEBILITH! Annoyed, and amused, I proceed to rip his shield from his arm, poison him, and prepare to tear him up into tiny pieces.

Tsindin drops a fireball on both of them (DM spot ruling...Spud manages to hold it still enough to deny it a Reflex save), doing *some* damage to it...and lots to Spud.

Bryan has shifted again, into a Stirge, and has Greater Magic Weaponed his bite, ready to sting next round...

And Tyra casts a Flaming Sphere blindly into the fray, frying both Spud and the Bebilith (who's 20 Fire Res was already used up this round against Tsindin's fireball). Yup...11 damage, enough (by exact count) to kill the Bebilith!

Lyssa is saved before going dead, and neutralize poisons are distributed around. When all the pieces are picked up, their net losses were Lyssa's Chain Shirt and Spud's Large Steel Shield +2. Down severely in HPs, nearly out of healing, the group debates trying to go all the way BACK around and camp, or just risk it and set up a Leo's Shelter right here.

Much griping about a Bebilith only being CR 9, and the end of the session. Next week, SOMEHOW, the group is heading for the Outer Fane.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

domconnor
Pie
(11/18/02 12:21 pm)
Reply
Re: Follow the bouncing Flaming Sphere
Aye - there sure are some strange CRs in the MM, but I find that overall they tend to even out. Some seem too high - others too low. (So far I would definately include dragons in the latter. Both big U and Vranthis are by far and away the hardest monsters my group have encountered - per their level - and they have easily seen off monsters of even CR.)

Anyway - love your posts as usual Andorax, and I agree with many of the posts above. You have got a very good group of players to take that sort of thing. Give 'em a little DM loving and tell 'em the "Collective" is impressed with them :O)

Dindale

Andorax
Orc
(11/18/02 1:04 pm)
Reply
Re: Follow the bouncing Flaming Sphere
Thanks, domconnor...they often ask if anyone commented on something or another that they've done. I think they're enjoying a little bit of second-hand fame from having their tales told here, and I really do look forward to the day when I can introduce them to all of you.


On a related note...I *may* be starting a new group through RttToEE in the next few months, perhaps at the start of the year. My wife (who plays Lyssa) isn't keen on seeing more gaming go on, but I might be able to get the labor assistance of a contractor by trade during the afternoons in exchange for lunch, dinner, and gaming in the evenings. We're hoping to renovate our garage into a master bedroom, and since I've promised to work on it every week, even if he doesn't, I might be able to sell the idea.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Andorax
Orc
(11/26/02 8:20 am)
Reply
Re: Follow the bouncing Flaming Sphere
Well, the gang has discovered Wind Walk. They've FINALLY made their first trip into Verbobonc.

With apologies to those who have put together some fine suggestions for things I can do with Verbobonc, I really just decided to shortcut the matter, cut to the heart of the issue (turning hard-earned loot into valuable, useful goods), and get back to the adventuring. Preferably, without further delay, dallying, and other wasted time and effort.


Besides, the group has harassed the temple pretty dang hard. Since they genuinely got in and caused damage, they haven't gone any further than Rastor. They wiped out just about the entire CRM ring inside of a week...they deserved a bit of a break.

And...much of the money went towards disposables (Wand of CMW, Wand of Detect Evil) or replacement items (Chain Shirt +3 to replace the one ripped off of Lyssa by the Bebilith...she could have temped one up just by Magic Vestmenting a regular Chain Shirt purchased in town).

They've only picked up one thing that is a genuine cause for concern, but since it will better serve my own purpose of keeping the adventure going and the excitement level high, I didn't balk. They've purhcased 3 scrolls of Mass Heal, which Lyssa needs to make a caster level check to activate anyways.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Andorax
Orc
(12/2/02 8:57 am)
Reply
Into the Outer!
Well, it looks like things are getting interesting now.

After circling the long way 'round the CRM once again, the party made their assault on the Outer Fane. The guards in the two lightning towers saw the party approach in the form of five invisible individuals (a Dire Tiger, a Dire Bear, an Ogre, a Half-Orc and a cloaked Human) and two small hawks, flying low (both druids)...but since they walked right up and caused the door to open, they just shrugged and assumed they were there for a reason. Doesn't pay to ask too many questions.


Alas, the Elder Earth Elemental was not so accommodating, and a grave fight ensued. Dang, but that thing is nasty and hits very, VERY hard. Nearly slew the Ogre. Nearly slew the Dire Bear. Nobody has a +3 weapon, and it repeatedly saved against the Fireballs and Flamestrikes.

Ultimately, it was the Druid/Shifter who stood toe to toe with it in his newly acquired Troll form that swung the battle...not from the damage he dealt as much as the sponge of damage he represented. Add a Bear's Heart from Lyssa, followed up by one of their three Mass Heal scrolls (only just newly purchased), and the fight is over with them in good shape.

The eight fighters to the north were mop-up.

They passed by the assassin quarters. Bethe saw them go by, hid in her room for a time waiting to strike. She's just now thinking they aren't coming in and trying to decide if she should go looking or not.

So then they hit the statuary room outside of Hedrack's quarters. They look at the statue for a bit, then open the door.

At this point, we have:

Spud the Ogre, Lyssa the Cleric, Tsindin the Sorceress, the Dire Tiger and the Dire Bear, all under Improved Invisibility. Lyssa and Tsindin can also See Invisible.

Bryan the Druid/Shifter in Troll form. Tyra the Druid in Tiger form.


The door drops. Spud and Lyssa both bounce off of the Forbiddance. Hedrack, seeing the door drop with nobody behind it, opens with an Invisibility Purge. Tsindin drops magic missiles into Hedrack, while Bryan starts casting.

Hedrack, knowing some of the party's tactics, and concerned about their ability to dump damage in his lap, cuts loose with a Spell Immunity (Fireball, Magic Missile, Flamestrike, Holy Smite) while crouching behind his desk to avoid arrow fire.

Spud and Lyssa both take pot-shots at him, while Bryan drops a Summon Swarm on him.

Summon Swarm?

Look it up. In the hands of a Druid, it's a virtual guaranteed kill on any enemy spellcaster. No save. Spellcasting impossible. All the Druid has to do is ready an action to direct the swarm to follow wherever the spellcaster tries to move and he's got a lockdown. Can't be killed by weapons, only by area-effect affects.

Well, I did some thinking, some fiddling, and some adjusting. I figured that he couldn't direct them well if he couldn't see where to send them, so Hedrack headed for a hidden corner of the room, and the swarm was misdirected. He fired off a Flamestrike out into the hall, trying to get at his assailant and break concentration. He missed Bryan, but caught Lyssa, Spud and the Dire Bear, all for 55 (failed saves around). Reflex saves are not this party's strong suit.

Tsindin's magic missile fizzled, so she switches to Dispel Magic and tries to break the Forbiddance...and DOES (18 on the roll). The Dire Bear, maddened and in pain, comes lumbering into the room, swipes at Hedrack, and catches him in an improved grab. The rest of the party comes flooding in.

Hedrack pulls off an impressive Concentration check (casting while grappled) and unleashes the (Verbal only) Blasphemy...slaying the dang bugs, stunning the bear, and weakening Lyssa. He withdraws to the corner of the room. The party can't bring enough to bear on him to have an effect in time, and he Word of Recalls away to the Greater Temple.


Party's had a couple of minutes to catch their breath, heal, make two fort saves against two Slay Living glyphs and for Bryan to fail two will saves against the Vacuous Grimoire (1 Int and 2 Wis down). Lyssa stuffed it in her BACKPACK! Imagine her surprise when she goes rummaging around for one of her other books and pulls the wrong one out.

I ended session with handing them Hedrack's Journal. They'll have a bit of time to discuss it, then the Response Force begins showing up. I've started a separate thread for Hedrack Responds, and would welcome any suggestions therein.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Grumgarr
Pie
(12/3/02 3:23 am)
Reply
Re: Into the Outer!
Whoo - that sounds like a rollercoaster ride.

I posted a mistaken comment in your campaign thread a while back about Blade Barriers and Dispelling - what I should have said was Forbiddance can only be dispelled by a caster of equivalent level or higher! (sorry - too shamefaced at failing a Quote Rules check to post a correction at the time).

I'll get on over to the Hedrack Responds thread.
They've got some pain coming now, oh yes! (mutter-mutter)

Grumgarr

madfox
Orc
(12/3/02 3:41 am)
Reply
Re: Into the Outer!
Quote:
Tsindin's magic missile fizzled, so she switches to Dispel Magic and tries to break the Forbiddance...and DOES (18 on the roll). The Dire Bear, maddened and in pain, comes lumbering into the room, swipes at Hedrack, and catches him in an improved grab. The rest of the party comes flooding in.


As Grumgarr also noted: What level is Tsindin? Is he a 13th lvl wizard/sorcerer? Forbiddance is very difficult to dispel since the dispeller needs to be of equal or higher level then the one who cast the forbiddance (in this case probably Hedrack).

Quote from SRD: "Dispel magic does not dispel the forbiddance effect unless the dispeller’s level is at least as high as the character's caster level."

If Tsindin is indeed equal or higher level then Hedrack I have said nothing ;) It is just that I noted this strange property of forbiddance when preparing for City of the Spider Queen adventure where the NPCs have used this spell in great abundance.

Edited by: madfox at: 12/3/02 3:43:34 am
Andorax
Orc
(12/3/02 7:29 am)
Reply
Re: Into the Outer!
My bad...I didn't have a chance to look up Forbiddance under the circumstances. Was spending too much time reading and re-reading Summon Swarm.

For the sake of campaign continuity, I'll just presume that Hedrack established that Forbiddance quite some time (and a few levels) ago...'tis permanent, and spendy to cast, so it's not something he's going to renew if he's fairly confident in it (although NOW he may well put up a full 14th level one, if he lives until the morrow).

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Andorax
Orc
(12/9/02 7:24 am)
Reply
Re: Into the Outer!
Ah, the holiday season...with all it's busyness. Alas for it, but it has claimed yet another of my Sunday sessions.

I did pull aside the player of Spud, the Ogre, though...he was left on watch and had the misfortune of coming face to face with Thrommel, who has dominated him and led him away. Unbeknownst (to him and the other PCs), his being lead away happened just as Bethe is trying to take down one of the two big beasties, which will distract and delay the party.

I'm having Thrommel lead Spud to the prison, and "convince" him to stand on the platform. He can then return and deal with the rest, but that'll give them a chance to deal with Bethe alone, then either search for Spud or move on, dealing with Naquient and her patrol (the Naga, Minotaurs and Ogres)...then deal with Thrommel alone.

It'll hurt to be down their big bruiser, but that's what they get for having "dumb as bricks" on watch.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

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