Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 29 – Unexpected Allies

This is session happened Tuesday, May 24, 2011.

This campaign used the Dyson’s Delve dungeon pages on A Character for Every Game as a starting point, but has now moved on to new material from the DM-in-training. I heartily recommend Dyson's Delve as a beginning adventure.

Adventuring Group:
Harkaitz of the Red Soul (male human cleric of Ra)
Wednesday (female elf rogue)
Tre-ba Bel a sheer (female elf alchemist)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)

Aziz of the Light (male human paladin, cohort of Harkaitz)
Sarisvati the Suntouched (female Ifrit oracle, cohort of Aziz)
Midnight (female half-elf witch, cohort of Frankie Hu)
Ferahal (male elf arcane archer plus ?)
Short John Copper (male halfling expert)

Evening, May 7, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, darkness does not stand against his light.

The last two weeks have been busy. After returning to Ttaeladra, Tre-ba and I spent the last twelve days crafting items to increase our ability to survive underground. Tre-ba created two wands that grant darkvision for eight hours and I forged two rings of sustenance, which will allow us to go farther with fixed food stuffs and keep more people safely on watch. After creation of those items were funded, we initiated a new manner of handling treasure we return with – we will start splitting the coins to each member of the group, setting aside a share for a group fund. This was done at Frankie's request. I think it had something to do with dwarven psychology and gold.

During our stay in Ttaeladra, Sarisvati the Suntouched, Oracle of Ra, presented herself to Aziz, stating Ra sent her to assist in the quest. She is an attractive woman with dark skin and hair of flames – not red-headed, her hair is actually flames that do not burn. Seemingly to balance this, Frankie gained a new companion, a half-elven fortune teller named Midnight, a woman of dark skills and a perpetual cackle.

This morning we set out south from Ttaeladra, intent upon returning to the drow barrow and making our way down to the drow city to find the magical gate. About midday, Wednesday noticed we were being watched. She used her shadow talents to disappear in plain sight and sneak around to observe the observer. This turned out to be a pseudo-dragon. Wednesday returned to our group and reported what she had seen. After some discussion, it was decided I would approach the pseudo-dragon and see if it would speak with us. I took an apple from our food stores and approached the location where Wednesday said the pseudo-dragon had been. I saw nothing, so I uttered "Greetings" in draconic, which drew out the small creature. I offered the apple and we spoke – I in draconic, the pseudo-dragon telepathically in my mind. It told me there was a drow patrol to the west and offered to share the location for another apple. I agreed and returned to our group, which was waiting nearby to see what happened. I relayed what I had learned while I slowly pulled another apple from the store (which are kept by Short John in a bag of holding) and asked my companions what other questions I should ask. It was suggested I ask its name and see if it was interested in following us.

I returned with the second apple and offered it, at which point a second pseudo-dragon, its mate, appeared and started eating that apple. I asked their names and was told [but the DM did not have them ready, so I'll get them next session]. I asked if they were interested in following us, and they were, especially if there would be more apples.

We detoured west an hour an located the drow patrol, catching them unawares. Frankie was heavily injured in the fighting and I had to use two charges of the healing [cure serious wounds] wand on him, but we killed the four male drow and took a female drow cleric prisoner (Frankie knocked her unconscious). After removing her armor and possessions and going through them, we woke her up and questioned her.

Frankie and I did the questioning as we speak undercommon, Aziz backed up our translations and Wednesday monitored the drow's body language. Through a mixture of intimidation and knowledge we were able to learn many things. Her name is Nionel, she was put in charge of this patrol relatively recently, and she reports to Squadron Commander Laironiel. We learned the patrol routes off a map she had on her (they were in magical inks and required detect magic to see), but from here we learned that the patrols had been stepped up over the last month, which coincided with our arrival in the area and activities against the drow.

We asked about the wall protecting the drow city and the numbers of driders in the city, both questions catching her by surprise and she answered them truthfully. We asked about the gate, but she knew nothing of it. She also does not know the name of the Matriarch who rules the city, but she fears the Matriarch. We explained what we were up to and why. Our story seemed to provide the pieces to several puzzles about recent events in the drow city, events that severely worried Nionel. As a result of this, she is willing to make a deal with us. She will help us get into the city in exchange for us stopping the Matriarch from destroying the world. [It's where we both keep our stuff.]

She has allies in the city able to help us. At dawn, we will release her and let her make contact with her allies. We have set up a meeting point and time at the edge of the clearing on the surface. We will meet there and they will disguise us as drow and smuggle us into the city. There is a chance that this will be an ambush, but I think not. I think Nionel will get us where we need to go. The real question is: will she let us leave afterward?

Tangentially, we learned that the drow had been scouting INSIDE Ttaeladra. They were using magical disguises (the same they would be using on us) and walking in through the front gate. We asked the pseudo-dragons to carry a message warning of this back to Ttaeladra for us and they agreed (after the promise of payment in apples). Also, it turns out that Nionel was part of the group that ambushed Ferahal and took him captive. Small world.

One of the things that turned Nionel to our side (or at least convinced her we had the ability to do the job) was her learning that we were the force that took out the gatehouse. In addition to all the damage we had done inside, the boulder we released apparently smashed the stone gate to pieces. The drow also grabbed a goblin to translate the graffiti we left and the goblin was nearly incoherent with fear after learning Super Rat was involved. Our reputation has spread to other goblin tribes. This is pleasing.

*End of Session*

[Busy digging out after a long weekend AFK.  I'll edit this at lunch, so "enjoy" the raw version for a couple hours.  Thanks!]

[Edited for grammar and a mis-spelling or two.]


  1. Wait, the cohort has a cohort?! I have to admit I never thought of doing that. Can we get a bit of backstory on them? The flames-for-hair Ifrit oracle sounds awesome enough to deserve a bit of story.

    Can I also ask how the character was put together? Race, class, etc.

    And how does a dwarf get an elf cohort? That sounds hilarious, especially with the elf sounding a few bananas short of a bunch.

  2. Also, as a DM-to-DM note...

    How are you handling the multitude of NCPs in combat? I know that with 9 PCs the combats would be rather "involved" as everyone rolls lots of dice, decides on spells/actions/attacks, and updates are made.

    Any tips on how to handle that quickly? I've actually sent a couple NPCs in the party away from the fighting for various reasons because it was just taking too long per round of combat.

  3. @Monk: I'll do some backstory and basic build info later this week as a post.

    Midnight is a HALF-elf and as such is an outsider/outcast in elven society and she won't live with humans because of it. Why she chose a dwarf of all things is a mystery. I'll ask Frankie's player for some backstory and see what we can get.

  4. 9 characters is a bit easier than 9 PCs. The followers move at the same initiative as their primary character. Those players have to think ahead so they have a plan of action when it is their initiative again. I would not let players who tend to daydream do this simply to keep things moving.

    Also, give the players some of the NPCs to run during a battle - it takes some of the load off the DM (who is running everything else) and keeps the players interested when their PC is not active.

  5. Have the players run an NPC - I like it. Even running two NPCs as the DM definitely slows things down for me. Time to delegate!

    Not to bug you, but is the SR game still going on? I haven't seen updates on it for a bit.

  6. @Monk: Yes, it is, although it missed two weeks. My writing time has been squeezed due to DayJob related increased workload, plus all day Aldelle Group session taking multiple posts. I ran the SR last Friday and interesting things happened - a meeting with the Iron Baron and a wedding proposal!

    Stay tuned!