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.]

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 28 – Part 2: Sweeping the Barrow

This is the second part of the session that happened Saturday, May 21, 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.  Plus, Dyson writes interesting things - read his blog.

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

Aziz of the Light (male human paladin, cohort of Harkaitz)
Ferahal (male elf arcane archer plus ?)

Morning, April 22, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, we see the world anew in His light.

I fell asleep while writing last night.  Luckily, one of the Red Shirts woke me up in time for my morning prayers.  I will continue where I left off while the rest of our group makes their morning ablutions.

It took us nearly two hours to make it back to the top of the spiral ramp, where Wednesday disarmed the belled tripwire.  Based on the knowledge that there was no way any drow down in the city could have heard those bells if we tripped them, we realized there was a drow patrol in the barrow.

We started our search in the prison area followed by the barracks.  The prison was empty, but the cell we found Ferahal in and left open was closed now.  Making our way to the barracks, the doors to the three sleeping rooms were closed again.  Wednesday checked all three and discovered the poisoned javelin traps had been reset for all three doors.  She disabled two of them, but got a bit over confident on the third and accidentally set it off.  Luckily she evaded it.  The rooms were empty but obviously reoccupied.  We continued following the five-foot tunnels, looking for the patrol.

Next along was the crypt cavern.  Frankie discovered this chamber was protected by a lightning bolt trap (the hard way) and Wednesday confirmed it had been reset as well.  She disabled the trap and we entered the crypts, a new area for us.  Wednesday did a thorough search of the entire cavern before pronouncing it clear of traps and letting the rest of us in.  The stone coffins had small plaques announcing who was inside.  The script was in elven, but the names were all drow (according to the elves with us – I couldn't tell the difference).  The dates were at or after the event that started the hostilities between the drow and the surface elves.  [The players took to calling it 'The Scuffle" for lack of a DM-supplied term.]

I am not one to desecrate tombs, but I have no problem dealing with undead if the occupants have turned, so we started rapping on the stone coffins with Frankie's glaive.  This produced no response at all and I was ready to leave, but Frankie pointed out there may be historical artifacts in the older coffins.  Reluctantly I agreed to opening the coffins, but stipulated that nothing was to be disturbed nor the bodies desecrated.  I will admit to some curiosity as to the contents.

The first coffin contained the desiccated corpse of a drow, covered in some sort of feathered robes or cloak.  There was nothing of obvious historical worth and I did not let my companions search the body.  The second coffin was a different matter.

As Frankie opened the second oldest coffin, the creature inside attacked him.  The creature is known as a mohrg, a form of undead that still retained its viscera and an obscenely long and prehensile tongue.  As we moved to put down the mohrg, two more pushed their way out of their coffins and attacked us.  Luna discovered their tongues are paralytic when it (the tongue) grabbed her and she could no longer move.  Then the first one paralyzed Frankie, putting a desperate edge to the fight.

I put to use an ability Ra had granted me, but I had not needed until now.  I released a nimbus of light, becoming as bright as the holy sun itself.  In addition to fully lighting the chamber, the holy sunlight started burning the undead mohrgs.  Then I was paralyzed by one of the mohrgs and could no longer actively participate in the combat.  But I could still channel positive energy in a wave centered on my Eye of Ra, which I did, blasting the last of the mohrgs back to the darkness after my still active companions dispatched the other two.

The paralysis wore off after a few minutes and we beat a hasty retreat from the barrow, no longer looking for the drow patrol.  We were exhausted and sore and tired.  We cautiously made our way back to the camp and much needed rest.

Clearly we need ways to see in total darkness if we are to go anywhere near the drow city.  We have not located the gate we are looking for and I fear it is in the city.  We will return to Ttaeladra and see what we can do to solve that problem.  Tre-ba, Luna, and I can discuss methods to overcome this problem along the way.

*End of Session*

[The session actually went another hour or so after this point, but it was a quick, unopposed trip back to Ttaeladra, leveling up our characters, and then discussions on what magic items we needed to buy/create.  Our funds prohibited the purchase of darkvision goggles, so Tre-ba crafted two wands of darkvision at 8th-level effect while Harkaitz forged two rings of sustenance.  The rings are more for the reduced sleep requirements so we can stand watches in the barrow than the lack of needing to eat or drink, but if we get trapped down there, those powers will help greatly.

The party leveled as a result of all the action at the gatehouse and the defeated traps in the barrow.  Frankie Hu took leadership, selecting a half-elf witch named Midnight.  I had Aziz also take leadership, selecting a female Ifrit oracle named Sarisvati the Suntouched, keeping in theme with a Ra-based divine character.  We wanted to see how these classes worked without switching characters and this was a good way to do so.  Plus, it is very old school.]

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Interesting Stats

While posting Part 2 of The Aldelle Group, Session 28 (appearing at 7:00 AM Friday, May 27th), I noticed some odd traffic stats.  I'm getting traffic that uses an anonymizer service, which is kind of weird, but no complaints.  Also, The last couple of Aldelle posts (Session 27 and Session 28, Part 1) have been the most popular posts.  I'll be sure to tell the DM-in-Training that there is a great deal of interest in things happening in his game world.

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who is reading the blog.

The Aldelle Group – Session 28 – Part 1: Storming the Gatehouse

This session happened Saturday, May 21, 2011. This was a special "all day" session done at the request of Luna's player, who wanted to give it a try. For me, this was old hat as all day Saturday sessions is how I gamed up until last year, when I joined a weekday night group. The session was enjoyed by all and we got a lot done. The new player was not able to make the session due to a schedule conflict, so we just had her character fade into the background. Due to length, this adventure log is broken into two parts. Part 2 will appear tomorrow (Friday).

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

Midnight, April 21, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, His light gives us strength.

We are all bone tired. Hiking two hours down a spiral ramp is tiring. Hiking back up took much longer, especially after the stress and strain of several combats and our half-day march just to get to the barrow. It is a good thing the Red Shirts are here to stand watch or we would likely wake up prisoners of the drow.

After we defeated the drider, we explored the guard rooms the archers occupied. Frankie and Tre-ba investigated the one on the right, Wednesday and Luna the one on the left. They found the dead archers and masterwork longbows on a weapons rack and small barrels of arrows. Each room had a single exit in the back. Rather than split our forces, we decided to explore further through the right chamber. But first we set up escape lines in the windows, using the weapons racks braced across the windows as anchors. This provided multiple routes of retreat without having to jump or fall 30 feet down from the windows.

Once we were all up in the guard room and ready, Wednesday opened the door. On the other side was a room with a four-foot wall, behind which were three drow archers, bows drawn. They fired on us (only hitting Wednesday once) and a fight started. Their arrows were coated in the drow knock-out poison, a fact I verified early in the combat. Fortunately, I awoke shortly to find my compatriots had carried the day, but Wednesday was seriously injured. As she was the only one, I used the healing wand on her, healing most of her wounds.

I nearly told Wednesday to not bother checking the door, but then I remembered that the drow trapped their own barracks and had her check. Good thing, too - the door out of this room had a poisoned dart trap on it, which Wednesday found and disarmed.

Having had enough of opening doors, Wednesday stepped back after clearing the door so someone else could have a turn as "first target". Aziz stepped up immediately. He opened the door, but just as he was about to step in, he caught sight of a drow archer waiting in ambush in the near left corner. Using handsigns, he indicated this to Ferahal and requested Ferahal shoot first. Ferahal stepped up to the door, concentrated, and fired straight through the door. Immediately after passing the door jamb, the arrow made a left-hand turn and flew out of sight. We heard the arrow hit the archer and then the archer's body hit the floor, dead. Arcane archers are quite impressive.

The room the archer was waiting in seemed to be a mess hall. There was a door across the room (that we later determined led to a small room backing the other guard room) and a set of double doors that we thought led to a back room or hallway. While Wednesday was checking the double doors for traps, Frankie entered the mess hall and started dragging the dead archer into the corner room so we could strip it of gear and stash the body with the others. While Frankie was dragging the body, the double door were suddenly kicked open by two more drow guards (narrowly missing Wednesday), who apparently heard the noise Frankie was making dragging the body. They quickly died under a hail of attacks and we closed the double doors to avoid notice. Again, good thing, too.

After striping the bodies of gear, we checked the single door out of the mess hall and Aziz verified it was a room backing the other guard room and was empty of drow. We then turned to the double doors and sent Wednesday and Frankie to go scout as neither of them need light to see. What we though was a back hallway was in fact a balcony on the back of the gatehouse with a clear view across the immense cavern behind it to the drow city! If we had used the sunrod to light the way, we would have been sending a beacon to warn the entire drow city that the gatehouse was under attack.

Reporting back, Frankie and Wednesday reported this and that there were stairs down at either end of the balcony. Both stairs led down to doors on the second floor of the gatehouse. After some discussion, we worked out a way to get down the stairs without using any light. We lined up, holding the belt of the person in front of us. Wednesday led the way, with Frankie at the corner of the building, assisting us around the corner on the stairs. Once the front of the group reached the door, a candle was lit (the light blocked from the city by the stairs) so the elves could see and we pushed through the door to the gatehouse's second floor.

The doors led to a hallway that ran the front length of the gatehouse. Halfway down, there was a side passage. We quickly and quietly entered the hallway and closed the door behind us so Aziz could uncover the sunrod again. Wednesday scouted ahead and discovered the side passage had two doors, one on each side of the hall. Unfortunately, as she turned to report this, she accidentally dragged her sword sheath across the stone wall, alerting the drow waiting in the rooms on either side. She heard them hushing each other and silently returned to us to report. I sent everyone but Aziz and myself to go take positions (they can actually move silently when needed, unlike Aziz and I who tend to clomp along in our armor) and then Aziz and I noisily stomped up to the intersection, hoping the drow would pour out into our ambush.

This did not happen.

After waiting a bit, Aziz and I noisily stomped up, talking out loud how we were going to bust down the left door first while pantomiming that the group should be ready to attack the right door.

Still nothing.

Somewhat frustrated that the drow were not walking into our trap, I decided to precipitate action by casting produce flame. I then put one flaming hand on the door to set it on fire and the other on the doorknob to heat it up to flesh burning temperatures. Once the door started burning, I could hear the drow on the other side try and open the door, burning one of their hands. Then they started hacking at the hinges to get the door to fall. When the door fell, I was standing there grinning at them, my hands on fire. They fired two arrows into me, then Luna sent a fireball over my shoulder into the room, where it exploded. I did not fear the fireball as I knew Ra would protect me. Unfortunately, Luna's fireball put that to the test as I took the full brunt of the blast [I blew the reflex save and was knocked down to 4 hit points despite my 10 points of fire resistance]. After that, I calmly stepped aside to let the rest attack the drow while I healed myself. It took a great deal of willpower to not cry out in pain, but I did it and spooked the drow as a result.

While we engaged the first room of drow guards, the second room attempted to step out and flank us, but we were ready and bottled them up in their room. Frankie pressed in with his glaive and kept their archers busy while Wednesday fought their swordsmen. Wednesday fell due to poison on their blades, but I neutralized the poison and Aziz kept them occupied until Wednesday could get back on her feet. A couple more fireballs from Luna and some fire bombs from Tre-ba cleared the first room and we switched to hand-to-hand combat to clear the second room. At the end of the fight we were all marked by the combat and I used much of my healing gifts to bring everyone back to full health.

While the others were gathering drow gear and valuables, I took the time to contemplate leaving some graffiti. I eventually settled on "Super Rat 1 – Ambush 0" in goblin script. Frankie supplemented this with "Need a clue? Ask a goblin" in undercommon glyphs.

We then repeated our earlier process to descend to the first floor, finding two rooms separated by the great entrance passage of the gatehouse. Luckily, both rooms were empty as we were nearly tapped out. I had planned on burning the gate doors on our way out, but they turned out to be made of stone.

So we made our way back up to the third floor and left through the guardroom windows (retrieving our ropes) and started hiking back up the spiral ramp. At the halfway point, we reached a giant boulder trap we had bypassed on the way down. I had Frankie trigger it once the rest of the group was past it and we sent the boulder careening down the ramp towards the gatehouse. I wonder what happened when it got there?

*End of Part 1*

[The rest to follow tomorrow.]

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Aldelle Group - Session 27 - Descent into the Depths

This session happened Tuesday, May 17, 2011. OK, this isn't the All Day session - I forgot I had not typed up last Tuesday's session, which is the prelude. So here is that.

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)
   Aziz of the Light, cohort of Harkaitz (NPC, male human paladin)
Wednesday (female elf rogue)
Cactus Flower (female half-elf ranger)
Luna (female elf sorcerer)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)
Tre-ba Bel a sheer (female elf alchemist)

Ferahal, Watch-Captain of Ttaeladra (NPC, male elf arcane archer)
Short John Copper, cook (NPC, male halfling expert)

Evening, April 20, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, His light shows us many new things.

As we were preparing to leave Ttaeladra, a young woman approached us and asked to join us against the drow. At least I thought she was a young woman. As it turns out, she is half-elven and a few decades older than she looks. She is from the city of Evergreen, which was overrun by drow, drow who were provoked into attacking by Cactus Flower’s previous group of adventurers. I believe she seeks some form of atonement and revenge. We all agree that anyone motivated to kill drow is a good person to have with us and she is invited to join our expedition.

Ferahal brought with him six elven warriors as a guard unit for our camp, something Short John was happy to see. Based on the red tunics they wore, I dubbed them “The Red Shirts”. Red is a color sacred to Ra and it is fit that these warriors wore that color on a quest set by Ra.

We set out in the morning, heading south and following Luna’s trail of arcane marks with Cactus Flower scouting ahead. Late in the afternoon we discovered a quickwood in the forest, off on our right flank. I did not think anything of it, thinking it merely some sort of fast-growing tree, until its roots erupted from the ground and grabbed several of my companions (Tre-ba, Ferahal, and Wednesday). Suddenly I realized that Tre-ba had not been calling out interesting trivia but an actual warning of battle.

In addition to being able to attack with its roots at least 40 feet from its trunk (which is where we were when it attacked) it is apparently impervious to fire and lightning. This made the fight against it very difficult as we specialize in fire magics. We did eventually kill it before it consumed any of our companions, although it wounded many, especially those grappled by its roots. I shared the blessing of Ra and mended many a broken rib.

While I was healing the wounded, Frankie, ever practical, started hacking the quickwood apart to see what it had in its gullet. He found many trinkets of gold, mostly of elven manufacture. We decide to camp here, under the belief that any animals in the forest would have learned to avoid this area. We also harvested much wood from the thing for Short John to whittle into fireproof wooden cooking implements.

We have set watches for the night using the Red Shirts supplemented by Tre-ba, Luna, and Frankie. For the first time, most of us will be able to sleep through the night while in the wilderness with every confidence we will still awaken in the morning. Short John is cooking a stew that smells very tasty. I think I will go over and see if I can assist.

Midday, April 21, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, may His radiance blind our enemies.

We have just finished half a day’s march and have returned to the large clearing containing the drow barrow. Cactus Flower and Wednesday have gone ahead to scout out the actual barrow entrance for traps or drow guards.

On the way here, Tre-ba discovered a clear spindle ioun stone in the forest. After some discussion, it went to Frankie, protecting him from the need to eat or drink. It orbits his head in a slow orbit with a four foot diameter. It is an odd thing to see.

Wednesday and Cactus Flower have returned and report a single tripwire at the top of the ramp and no visible guards. We will scout out a camp site and then move in to investigate. The Red Shirts will stay to guard our supplies and Short John while the rest of us descend.

[Hurried Script]
Late Afternoon, April 21, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, may we be enlightened by his brilliance.

This has been most unexpected. The barrow tunnels had only two trip wires with bells between the entrance and the descending ramp to the “lower level”. The ramp was a 15-foot wide ramp that descended in a wide spiral for TWO HOURS. Instead of a “lower level” it ended at a chamber with a gatehouse. In front of the gatehouse was a half spider, half drow monstrosity known as a drider. It had not noticed us, so Frankie, Cactus Flower, and Wednesday (invisible through a potion) snuck towards the drider, hoping to surprise it. This failed.

The monster somehow noticed Frankie and Cactus Flower and moved to attack them. It did not see Wednesday, so the invisibility protected her. When we heard the sound of combat, the rest of us charged forward and the fighting started in earnest. During the fight, two windows, thirty feet up the walls of the gatehouse opened and two drow archers started peppering us with arrows. This drew a fireball from Luna and I covered both with a wall of flame. Combined with Ferahal's counter-shooting, the drow died quickly.

Eventually we defeated the drider. Right now Frankie and Luna are scouting the guard rooms the archers were fighting from. We do not seem to have set off any general alarm. Maybe our luck will hold.

*End of Session*

[We had a new player join us this session. She learned D&D under 4E, so we are not certain how she feels about Pathfinder yet. I know there are significant differences between a 4th level half-elven ranger of one system compared to the other, so we’ll have to see how she feels.

This was the set up for our all day session on the 21st, so rather than fall back to camp when it was time to quit for the night, we instead paused the game and picked up exactly where we left off. That write up will follow on Thursday as I expect to have time Wednesday night to type up my rather long notes.]

The Aldelle Group - Soon!

I'm writing the blog post now, during lunch.  Will have it up in a hour or two.  It will be a bit long as this covers our "all day" session last Saturday.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Running Silent...and I do mean "Running"

This week the DayJob is eating my time completely, such that there will not be a Southern Reaches game this week as any time I have to prep is being taken to finish a DayJob project.  I'm not a fan of overtime (mostly because I do not get time and a half) but I need to put in about 8 hours of it this week, plus all the other home related errands.

Therefore, no posts this week, but I will resume regular posting next week.  Until then, take care.


Friday, May 6, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 25 – Dragons and Goblins and Drow - oh my!

This session happened Tuesday, May 3, 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 and his blog as good reading.

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

Evening, April 13, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, His light brings mercy.

Our questioning of the drow captive was less than stellar. He is a low level minion who does what he’s told and doesn’t know much otherwise. We have decided to march him to Ttaeladra (finally got a straight answer out of the elves as to the name of the city – getting them to spell it was another thing) and let the elves deal with him.

Time to get some sleep. We pack out for Ttaeladra in the morning.

Noon, April 14, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, may He watch after friends on different paths.

This morning was busy, starting with a pre-dawn attack by three shambling mounds. These mindless beasts were difficult to combat as they are resistant to fire-based attacks, attacks Luna and I specialize in. Frankie and Aziz took a great deal of constricting damage from the mounds before we defeated them, enogh so that Aziz and I expended most of our healing capabilities bringing the two of them back to full health. [Several rolls well below average necessitated a greater number of uses of lay on hands and channel positive energy than normal.]

As we finished packing up our camp, Sahar announced she had to leave to take care of personal business back in Terranor (or its remains). We wish her the best.

On the trip so far, we have avoided a large pack of wolves and hid from a dragon flying overhead.

Breaks over, time to get back to hiking.

Evening, April 14, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, His light blinds Evil.

As we were making camp, we discovered a nearby camp of an old enemy – goblins. It was time for the re-appearance of Super Rat! Half our group quietly moved up on the left while I held position on the right. Once we were in position, I initiated the combat by dropping a fireball on the entire goblin camp. The rest of my companions then moved in and cleaned up. A small handful of goblins fled and we let them go. After investigating the remains of their camp, we marked the bodies with the logo of Super Rat.

Time for watch.

Noon, April 15, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, He watches over us, even at night.

During second watch, another dragon (or possibly the same one) flew past the camp, but, as we took pains to conceal our camp, it apparently took no notice of us. This forest is lousy with dragons – the elves really ought to do something about that.

We are now within sight of the elven city of Ttaeladra (assuming you climb a tree and get above the forest canopy). Another hour or so of marching should get us to the city gates. I’m looking forward to sleeping in a bed again and Short John would like to restock some of the more perishable foodstuffs we have used up. I am not certain what to expect from an elven city – I have never been in one before.

Breaks over. Time to verify the prisoner is still secure and to ask Ferahal if there are any customs we will need to observe or not break. Should give us something to talk about over the next hour.

*End of Session*

[Sahar's player has left the group for personal reasons.  We don't know exactly for how long or if it is permanent, but we still wish her the best all the same.

Saturday, May 21, we have decided to do an all day gaming session.  This was suggested by one of the newer players who thought it would be an interesting thing to do.  I'm looking forward to it for two reasons - we can advance what we are doing equal to two or three regular sessions, plus 9th level is a long way away XP wise and this will let us achieve that faster.  I have plans for Aziz that require Harkaitz make 9th level.  I plan on Aziz taking Leadership, so Harkaitz's cohort will have a cohort.  I'm contemplating an Oracle to follow in theme, plus I'm interested in seeing an oracle in play. 

Harkaitz will be picking up the followers he is entitled to in the elven city, either human refugees from Terranor or some elves/half-elves, perhaps both.  These will be mostly guards for the camp so Short John is safe while the rest of us go explore whatever site we are at.  Depending upon how the campaign goes, Harkaitz might establish a temple in the future, possibly in the ruins of Terranor if we stop the infernal invasion.]

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gassing Up the Ol' Starship

Life has conspired to prevent the posting of the most recent Aldelle Group adventure log by preventing me from writing it (or anything else).  I will get it written tonight and posted tomorrow at the regular time.

In the meantime, some thoughts I've had on the Hero Traveller game:

Pre-Crash, exch system had a fuel depot for ships moving through as not all ships were large enough to carry enough fuel for more than one jump, especially the smaller Jump-1 capable ships.  Post-Crash, the automated depots and stations will have suffered infection by The Virus and either detonated or vented fuel in a way to cause havok.  So, Post-Crash explorers will need to have a way to refuel and/or carry large amounts of fuel, enough to jump there and back in case "there" does not have fuel or a gas giant or they have no scoop.

As a result of this, my handout map at the beginning of the campaign will need to indicate starports and gas giants.  Additionally, the path of exploration by the PCs will need to be cautious.  Systems without gas giants may need to be skipped in favor of systems where they are guaranteed to be able to get fuel for a return trip or even just to leave the system again.  Suddenly that large slow ship that can carry a ton of cargo doesn't look as inviting, especially if it cannot carry enough fuel to make two jumps without re-fueling.  The cigarette boat might be more tempting, not because it has a Jump-3 capable engine, but because it can carry enough fuel for three Jump-1s (assuming I my memory is accurate in that Jump engins are rated up to a max and not a fixed rating).

These are things the PCs will need to consider when making their initial ship selection.  And things I as the GM need to consider when designing the immediate play environment.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

From the Diary of Alys Kaah (SR45)

Caveat: Events as portrayed in this entry might or might not entirely coincide with reality.  Except the part about Mr. Boodles being very formal, because he totally is. ~Editor

Dear Diary,

A lot of strange things have happened to me lately. Now I have all these thoughts in my head and I'm not used to that. If I wanted to think I'd have become a wizard like mom wanted.

Anyway. After we kicked some serious stone giant butt the other day, I woke the next morning with a tingly-buzzing in my head that tells me Mr. Boodles has gotten stronger and wants to show off his new powers. I summoned him from his far-off realm of Pohk Ybal and wow! He has wings now! That is TOTALLY AWESOME! None of the other owlbears I've ever met have been able to fly! I'm so proud of him. :D

So I went to see my friends, and I was all "HAY YOU GUYZ COME SEE DIS IZ AWSUM!!" and when they were all looking I was like TA-DA and Mr. Boodles was all "O HAI THAR" and they were all "wut?"

I was soooo depressed because they couldn't see how awesome and smart and special Mr. Boodles is. He's the smartest, strongest, most specialist and loyal owlbear in the whole world, and now he can FLY, and they didn't care. They = poopieheads. >:(

Good thing Mr. Boodles is all dapper and confident, because he said "Pip pip, stiff upper lip and all, old bean! Don't let the rabble grind you down, as they say. I fret not one whit their derision, and neither should you!" and I felt all better. I <3 Mr. B!

So like, we decided to go somewhere, I forget exactly, some kinda old place with lots of stones and something crazy, I dunno. It sounded boring until they mentioned near-certain death and then I was like "Yeah baby!" So we went to the place, and everyone else was lame because their horses rode on the ground. Mr. Boodles flew above them proudly and was awesome.

We were flying, and flying, and flying... and then I heard "Beg pardon, old chum, but might that be a Dyre Tyger lurking like a ruffian in the tall grass, waiting to thuggishly ambush our compatriots?" Mr. Boodles is always so formal.

"Quite so," I said in his language, because that's a secret bond we share. "Let us go forth and roust the cad forthwith. Yoiks and away! Tally-ho!" and we were all zoooooooom! and charged the sucker. I gave it a good poking with my pokey-stick (Dame Yasha insists it's a lance... silly knight) and Mr. Boodles pounced on it! Bite! Claw! Claw!

The other party members did some stuff too.

Then that nasty old tiger took some swipes at Mr. Boodles, and would have hurt him real bad if I didn't do that thing where I take the ouchies instead. I love Mr. B but I'm tougher than he is (don't tell him I said that though, it'd hurt his feelings!) And then the nice lady (Sue Cowbell or something? Humans have weird names) ran up and made my ouchies go bye-bye.

I know Thorngrim is gonna say that he killed the tiger with his heat rays, but don't you believe him! I TOTALLY killed it by jumping out of the saddle, leaping upon it and cutting its head off with my two-handed whacking thing. I had the creepy wizard guy preserve the head and I'm gonna turn it into a fancy shield for parades and stuff. Maybe put some snacks in its skull for the next time I get stuck at court and things get all formal and boring.

Snacks are cool. Maybe I'll use cheese. Then I can be all "Hey, you want some cheese?" and they'd be "What kind of cheese" and I'd be "HEAD CHEESE!" AHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHHAAHAHH

Then we traveled some more and we found the stones and Thorny Grimface was all cranky and weird. I tried to explain that the magic tasted like when you put strawberry jam on your toast, and you take a bite and it's just slightly off? Like, not so bad that you spit it out because you're all hungry and stuff because it's breakfast, but enough that you go "ewww" but keep eating? Like that. Anyway, he was all cranky and wouldn't answer my questions, even though I was polite the entire time. He even turned invisible and ignored me! So I was all, "Fine, be that way, I'll take your shift so you can get a full night's rest and not be so dang cranky in the morning."

Also because I thought he might be possessed and try to kill us all in the night. But he didn't. Which is good.

I was kinda bummed because I asked Dame Yasha if she wanted to snuggle again like she did last time and she laughed and said no. I don't know why she said no... I liked being the little spoon and she was very warm. I like cuddling! Is not liking to cuddle a human thing or a cavalier thing?

So after sour strawberry-jam breakfast we went to the place with the stones and Grimmy did a thing and there was a flash of light and I was like, "ooh, pretty colors @_@" and then we were on a giant snowball and the sky was all weird and there was another ball made of grass going whoosh-whoosh-whoosh between us and another ball, but that was dark and hot.

So I was like, duh, clearly the spell went wrong and we're inside my head now, because I think about whooshy balls in a delicate sky all the time. Also, we're on a bright cold thing and apparently want to go to a dark hot thing, and that's clearly symbolic of me being torn between two opposing and irreconcilable viewpoints. I mean, hello! Obvious. I told everyone about this and they all just laughed and thorn-butt was mean and I don't like him. So I decide to prove it by moving the grass ball with my mind, because it's my mind and what I say goes.

So then this weird ape with 4 arms shows up -- clearly symbolic of my inability to prepare, because four-armed is forewarned -- and butt-thorn was like "If this is your mind then make him go fast" and I was "You got it chief!" and Hasted the ape, because, you know, that's just awesome. I dunno why everyone got so annoyed at me. And then I noticed that Bluebell and Dame Yasha aren't with us, and I was all sad. :(

Anyway, preparAPE gets a bit touchy so I have Mr. Boodles rise up on his rear legs and he says "Fie upon thee, scurvy rotter!" and the preparAPE pounds its chest and attacks. Well, one quick poke/bite/claw session later, preparAPE is dead, proving once again that my skill at improvisation is better than any amount of preparation, and I don't care WHAT you say, mother, I'm never going to be a wizard when I grow up!

Then there is some leaping and a big cold scary thing comes by and whacks creepy Xin into space and then does the same with Whippy-Trippy guy, and Mr. Boodles and I gotta go save their sorry butts because, OH YEAH, MR. BOODLES CAN FLY, BIZATCHES.

So I save them and put them on the spinny grassy ball and then there's this big ugly iron thing on the hot ball with a big sword and I'm like, "If that sword is a phallic symbol then maybe it represents my fear of impregnation," which totally makes sense because that's why I ran away from home in the first place. I'm too young to get married and have babies! I'm an adventurer!

And then I wonder, "If the iron thing is my fear of penises, what does big cold thing represent? Probably my innocence or something, because it's white. But then why is my innocence hurting my friends?" And that's when I realized that the whole purpose of this dreamquest is for me to come to terms with my sexuality. I have to destroy my innocence so I can grow up and be a real adult and do meaningful adult things, so I fly and charge and it shattered! Woo! There was this totally awesome moment where Mr. Boodles flew through the shattering shards of the thing, and it was all slow-motion and epic, and then we did a victory bank to attack the iron penis.

We flew at the thing, but neither my pokey-stick nor Mr. B's weapons could hurt it! And then it took a swing at me and I was really scared! And then the other guys threw acid at it and it started to melt but then it stuck its hand into some lava and I was "Oh, that's totally me being afraid of penises" and then we threw more acid at it and it died.

I don't know what the acid symbolizes. ????

So then we left and Dame Yasha was on the ground with cleric lady! YAY! I was happy to see them. Very happy! Especially Dame Yasha. And then I realized that since she wasn't in my head, I was the only one with a pokey-stick... which I used to poke the monsters... which is kinda what a penis does.

So like... does this mean I wish my "lance" was a penis? And that I want to poke Dame Yasha with it? I really enjoyed jousting with her and knocking her off her horse last week. She was lying on the ground, all hot and bothered, gasping for breath....

Am I a lesbian, Diary? Or do I just want to poke dame Yasha with my pokey-stick again? Or do I wish I had a REAL "pokey stick"?

Life is confusing. :(
[Written by Erin Pallette of Lurking Rhythmically]

SR45: Through the Rope Trick

This session happened Friday, April 29, 2011, and was the only session I ran this past weekend.

Adventuring Group:
Su Bel (human cleric)
– Dame Yasha of Bereste (Su Bel’s human cavalier cohort)
Thorngrim (half-orc sorcerer)
 – Kainen (Thorngrim’s human fighter cohort)
Alys Kaah (gnome summoner/cavalier) [via Skype]
– Mr. Boodles (Alys’s owlbear-looking eidolon and mount)
Xin (human wizard) [via Skype]

Note: the list of player characters is in player sitting order, from my left and then clockwise around the table and then on my laptop via Skype.

In-game Starting Date: October 28, 23rd Year of King Nikola V

"If we go to any other plane and die, I'm not talking to you again." ~ Xin to Thorngrim

While in Drop-off Tower, Alys called all the adventurers currently in residence out to the front steps, as excited as a 3-year old dragging her parents to look at something she found.  Once the adventurers were assembled, she summoned Mr. Boodles, who now has wings and can fly.  She then mounted her miniature owlbear mount and took off, flying circles around the tower.  The other adventurers were suitably impressed.  Once Alys landed again, there was a conversation about what would happen if she flew upside-down and how she could not fall off.  Many of the options involved gluing her pants to the saddle, though she eventually settled for restraining straps.

Half the group was firmly of the opinion that it was time to return to the elemental chaos via opening a rope trick in the center of Old Stones.  With no one bringing up the possible lethality of the location, all quickly agreed on that as their location of choice.  Some quick preparations and they were away on mounts summoned by Thorngrim (except Alys, of course, who rode Mr. Boodles).

Heading south on Old Road, thence to Stone Road, the only significant hold up was the attack of a dire tiger.  As a measure of how much the adventurers have grown, they did not flee from the encounter, but instead attacked successfully.  The dire tiger attempted to savagely maul Mr. Boodles, but Alys transferred most of the damage to herself via her link with the eidolon.  This kept Mr. Boodles from assuredly dying, but was very dangerous to Alys.  Once the dire tiger was killed (and she was healed by Su Bel), Alys had Xin use prestidigitation to clean the skull of the dire tiger so she could take it as a trophy.

A couple of hours later, the group arrived at Old Stones.  Thorngrim cast see invisible to locate the elder air elemental the group had been warned about.  He found it.  And then some.  Inside the rings of stones, on the ethereal plane, were several large and dangerous creatures.  Thorngrim spied the purportedly insane air elemental, plus a pack of phase spiders and several other creatures he could not identify but were monstrous in the extreme.  The creatures did not seem to notice the adventurers yet, but Thorngrim had the feeling that if the group stayed in the vicinity and/or cast a lot of magic, the ethereal monsters would take notice.

So when it came time to select a camp (as it was late in the afternoon already), Thorngrim recommended a site nearly a mile away from the stone circles.  When asked why, he was very evasive in his answers, mostly suggesting that anywhere near the circle would be "not good".  Taking into account Thorngrim's firm statements that camp should be away from the stones, the group conceded and made camp about a mile away.  Thorngrim erected another stone tower, this time with Kainen's assistance [Kainen had apparently been studying with Sal on the topic].  During second watch, Kainen and Alys could see the ghostly air elemental stalking around inside the stone circles and woke the others.  The quick consensus was that it could not get out of the stone circle and therefore was no threat.

The next morning, the group returned to the stone circles and Thorngrim led them into the center ring of stones.  There he cast rope trick.  Just as he finished his casting, a bright light surrounded the adventurers.  When it dimmed, they were no longer on the plains of the Sea of Grass.  They were instead standing on an icy sphere some 30 ft in diameter – and each of them had a slightly different "down" orientation.  Su Bel and Thorngrim, experienced in this, looked above and away, through the multi-colored "sky", at a basalt sphere with fiery cracks exposing its molten core.  On that sphere they could just make out the end of the rope indicating the exit from this place.  Orbiting between the two spheres was a third, slightly smaller orb covered in meadow grasses.

While Su Bel and Thorngrim oriented the other adventurers, a frost-covered, four-armed gorilla approached from far side of the ice ball.  As it approached, Su Bel and Dame Yasha suddenly winked out of existence!  This distressed the adventurers as Su Bel was their only source of healing!  The adventurers killed the icy four-armed ape and then immediately started working on their way out.  Thorngrim easily jumped from the icy sphere to the grass sphere on its next orbit, but the others were not ready for it and missed.  While waiting for the grassy sphere to come around again, an elder ice elemental erupted from the far side of the icy sphere and advanced to the attack.

Xin attempted to negotiate with the elemental, greeting it in Aquan.  This amused the elemental, so much so that it swatted Xin so hard that he was knocked off the sphere and started tumbling helplessly through the void towards the basalt sphere.  This was quickly followed by the elemental slamming Kainen, knocking him of the planetoid as well.  Alys took wing on Mr. Boodles to rescue the two tumbling adventurers, barely avoiding getting slammed by the grass sphere as it came around on its next orbit.  The elemental called out to the basalt sphere, waking an iron golem with an immense sword blade.  The two started positioning themselves for a game of "adventurer ball".

The adventurers wisely stayed on the grass sphere as it orbited between the other two spheres, lobbing spells at each enemy as they came near.  Except Alys, who, not certain of what else to do, fell back on here cavalier training and charged the iron golem.  This had little appreciable effect as the iron golem's defenses greatly blunted her attack.  In return, she was hit multiple times by the iron golem's sword, taking many grievous wounds.  Kainen, attempting to support Alys when the grass sphere was swinging by, also took nearly fatal wounds from the iron golem.  In fact, it was only the surprise cleric levels held by Xin that kept Kainen alive.

Thorngrim's multiple fireball spells eventually weakened the ice elemental to the point where Alys charged it and shattered it into an explosion of ice fragments, which she and Mr. Boodles flew through.  It took a combined casting effort from Xin, Thorngrim, and Alys, all using acid-based spells to wear away and defeat the iron golem.  Once they did so, they quickly made their way through the rope trick exit and back to Old Stones.  There they found Su Bel and Dame Yasha sprawled on the ground next to them with no idea what had happened.

Taking their cue, the adventurers made their way back to Drop-off Tower, post haste.  They were richer for the experience, but no richer in the pocket for their trip.

*End of session*

[Su Bel disappearing was due to her player (my wife) needing to stop playing and pack for a trip.  This was apparently distracting enough that she could not concentrate on the game until it was done.  So I had her character and cohort disappear for reasons to be explained later in game.  I would have preferred she not played and done the things she needed to do, but that's life.

Also, until this game session, no one knew that Xin had taken 2 cleric levels along with his wizard levels.  As it turned out, this was critical to keeping Kainen and probably Alys walking during the big fight.  This was simply explained by Xin as the goddess granting many different powers, which impressed Alys.

Also, also, early back in April, the campaign crossed the One Year mark.  In-game, the PCs are at the year and a half mark of elapsed time.  In case anyone was interested.]

EDIT: Corrected who dealt the killing blow to the elder ice elemental.