Monday, June 20, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Sessions 31 and 32, Part 1 – Death of the Matriarch

Sessions 31 and 32 happened Tuesday, June 7, and Monday, June 13th, 2011.  Due to where the sessions broke, the journal entry will cover two sessions as there was no way for Harkaitz to make a journal entry once the action started.  That said, each will be a separate post to avoid an uber Wall o' Text.

NOTE: While I didn't specify it in my last post, Short John, the Red Shirts, and the pseudo-dragons remained on the surface in the camouflaged camp.  Just wanted to clarify 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)
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)
The Red Shirts (elven warriors attached to the Group)
Brand and Zephyr (a mated pair of pseudo-dragons)
Nionel (female drow cleric, temporary ally)

Evening, May 17, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, in whose light we seek redemption.

It has taken me all day to find the strength to write this, but I must shine a light upon the truth.

Sarisvati died because I failed to follow the plan.

That is painful to write.  Even though Ra has seen fit to return the flame of life to her, the blame for her death is mine.  I must learn to do better.  I write this to remember my failure so I may avoid repeating it.

After resting in Nionel's home, we were turned into drow again and made our way to the Matriarch's Tower, our plan firmly in our minds.  The Matriarch's Tower is in the center of the city and is part of the wall separating the Lower City from the Upper City, but is isolated by a deep trench.  The only entrance is across the sole bridge from the Upper City.  Nionel was able to get us inside the Tower without any trouble.  The guards at the gate were apparently loyal to Nionel's patron.

We made our way up the stairs the wound around the interior of the tower.  Each floor was self contained, meaning there were closed doors at each landing and we saw very little of the Tower's interior.  When we reached the landing for the Matriarch's audience chamber, our plan went into action.  Midnight and I both cast hold person on the two door guards.  Mine took hold, Midnight's didn't, but Nionel was ready as back up and cast hold person on the active but still surprised guard, immobilizing him.  Wednesday and Nionel took care of slitting their throats.  This is a harsh realm.

After pulling the bodies aside, we quickly arranged ourselves and Frankie opened the door.  This is where I failed.

Instead of casting greater command to order the Matriarch's bodyguards to flee, I forgot myself and cast fireball instead.  A small thing, but a fatal one – the fireball was weak and eliminated none of the opposition.  Wednesday shadowwalked into the room, appearing next to the Matriarch, catching the Matriarch flatfooted and quickly giving the Matriarch three bleeding wounds.  Then things turned against us.

The Matriarch healed her wounds with a vampiric touch, leaching life from Wednesday.  Two of the Matriarch's bodyguards were arcane spellcasters of power, one of which cast a lightning bolt, catching many of us at the door and knocking Sarisvati, who had moved up to support our attack.  If I had followed the plan, this would not have happened.

We pressed our attack on the Matriarch with only Tre-ba throwing bombs on the armored bodyguards to reduce their numbers, something she was very good at.  Then the Matriarch cast chain lightning, striking nearly our entire group, killing Sarisvati.  Aziz and I, incensed by the spite shown by the Matriarch redoubled our attacks on her.  Aziz struck the killing blow on the Matriarch.  And then struck her again to keep her down.  What was sown was reaped.

We then worked on eliminating the bodyguards.  Tre-ba had reduced the heavy combatants with acid bombs, leaving mostly spellcasters.  They went down quickly to our wrath.  Aziz removed the Matriarch's crown, and then her head.  As I said, a harsh realm – it provokes harsh reactions.

Wednesday investigated the throne while Frankie stripped the Matriarch's body of magic items, including an amulet, her armor, and a longsword.  Wednesday located a secret compartment in the throne hiding a chest full of gold coin.  It was trapped of course.  After emptying it into a bag of holding, I asked Wednesday to check for a secret compartment in the chest.  There was one (trapped – really, drow have a thing about traps) and after Wednesday dis-armed the trap, we found an old book that detected as magic.  Aziz and I wrapped Sarisvati's body in her cloak and placed it in a bag of holding, the best we could do under the circumstances.  We then departed the tower post-haste, Ferahal giving the signal to Nionel's patron as we left (a fireball arrow launched over the tower).

After leaving the tower, we made our way a spot near the Citadel, the increasing sounds of civil war growing in the city behind us.  Wanting to get a bearing on the gate, I cast locate object.  The spell indicated a route around to the side of the Citadel instead of directly in.  Intrigued, we followed the directions of the spell and discovered a secret entrance into the Citadel.

We decided to follow the leadings of the spell.  We moved along a series of corridors, Nionel getting us past several internal checkpoints, but we eventually moved past the areas where Nionel was authorized to be.  We were getting close and found a chamber with posted guards and several traps.  Once we gained entry to the chamber [after killing the exterior guards], we faced four heavily armored drow warriors and a drider.  Low on spells and healing, I cast a wall of fire surrounding them, facing in, and picked them off as they came out to attack us.  The smell of burning drider should be avoided at all costs.

*End of Session*

[To avoid this post from becoming even more of a wall of text, I'm breaking the journal entry here.  The rest will follow in a separate post.]

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