Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 35 – Across the Waters and Into the Swamp

Sessions 35 happened Tuesday, July 5, 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:
Tre-ba Bel a sheer (female elf alchemist)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)
Wednesday (female elf rogue)
Brek'nok (male dwarf druid)
Harkaitz of the Red Soul (male human cleric of Ra)

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)
Short John Copper (male halfling expert, hireling)
The Red Keffiyehs (human warriors, followers of Harkaitz)

Evening, June 13, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light guides us.

Today was a busy day in Lagaskia as we made preparations for our travels to the Swamp Gate. While Short John restocked our larder bag of holding, Aziz and I went looking for a ship to carry us down river and across the bay to the swamp. Tre-ba went looking for insect repellant for the group and the others looked to their own needs.

As Aziz and I went about our business, explaining what we needed and why, we also picked up a small cadre of those willing to follow us and assist in our endeavors. We have accepted their oaths of loyalty and outfitted them with matching keffiyeh, white with red stitching in memory of the red-shirted elves who assisted us in the Forest of Angry Elves.

We eventually booked passage on the Orange Crown, a baghlah of good repute, with captain Siraaj Ohannes. The Orange Crown is the ship I once took to reach Aldelle many months ago and it was good to see the captain and crew again.

Shortly after lunch, we assembled at the docks and boarded the Orange Crown. The afternoon passed quietly as we made our way down the river to the bay. We should arrive at the point we want on the swamp coast late in the day tomorrow, cutting off what would have been a week’s travel on foot over the mountains and then across half the swamp. Civilization has many benefits.

Evening, June 14, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who keeps us warm and safe.

As expected, we arrived in sight of the swamp late in the afternoon. After some time checking the charts to verify our location, the captain dropped anchor and we settled in for the night.

Earlier today we saw a group of sharks trawling the waters, looking for a meal. I think they mistook the Orange Crown for a fishing vessel. They made the crew nervous. Luckily they stopped following us around noon. In the afternoon we spotted the immense shell of a dragon turtle off in the distance. It appeared to be leisurely moving through the waters and was quite impressive in size, easily as large as the ship we were in, if not larger.

Now for what may be the last dry sleeping we will be doing for a while.

Evening, June 14, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light shines on all, even in dismal swamps.

We put ashore this morning and said our farewells to the captain and crew of the Orange Crown. The swamp immediately hid all trace of the outside world behind dense vegetation and air so humid it is hard to breathe. Never have I been so happy for the presence of Brek’nok and his life bubble spell. And I once thought the Forest of Angry Elves was damp and humid!

Early in the afternoon we were attacked by swarms of leeches. Some flame to boil the water and some handy trees to climb saved us from the worst of it before we drove them off. As a result of this, when we decided to camp, I used wall of stone to create a raised platform for us to camp on. There is very little “land” here, mostly low hummocks that are thoroughly soggy.

Morning, June 15, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose greets us every day, even if we cannot see him.

Brek’nok cast hide camp over our camp, which saved us some mischief during the night. A small group of will o’ wisps drifted by in the small hours of the night. Without his enchantment, we surely would have had to fight them and might have lost people to their calls.

We should reach the gate area today. Brek’nok is excellent at navigating and getting us to where we want to be. I have utmost confidence in his skills.

Mid-Afternoon, June 15, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light exposes hidden things.

We arrived at the location marked on our map where the gate should be. I cast locate object and pinpointed the exact location. Well, the exact location on the surface (or what passes for it in this swamp) – this gate is somewhere underground as was the Uskar gate. Brek’nok turned into an earth elemental and scouted down around 200 ft, but found nothing. Not good.

We decided to head to the lizardman village which should be a couple hours away. We still have the token of friendship from the lizardmen we helped back in The Delve [Session 6] and they may be able to help us. Along the way, we found something different.

On one of the tallest hillocks around, someone once built a round stone tower. It was once four stories tall or so, but the top is now ruined and the third floor is exposed to the sky. Wednesday led the way, clearing the many traps there (except for one point early on when Brek’nok stepped past her into a trap she hadn’t cleared yet - he learned the error of his ways).

The first floor was an entry hall, the only furniture a foyer table and a painted portrait, both on the far wall. The picture is of a human male who strongly resembles the lich we saw in the Uskar, but still retaining all of his flesh. It also detected as magical and we worked out that it is a locus for a scrying spell. It was also heavily trapped with multiple fireball traps. Once Wednesday disabled the traps on the painting, we set it aside, facing the wall.

Behind the painting was a hidden compartment, also heavily trapped. After Wednesday disabled THAT, we found an oddly shaped key. It appears that this is part of a two-part key, with an additional component that could slide into this one, but the additional component is not here. We suspect that this might eventually grant us access to the lich’s phylactery, but that’s just a guess based on how dangerous the traps protecting it were.

The doors flanking the table led to stairs up. They shared a landing and then continued to the second floor. This upper flight of stairs was, of course, trapped. After our experiences in the drow city, we are ready for this level of paranoia and Wednesday’s skills are up to the challenge. She is an indispensible elf to have around for this sort of thing.

The stair trap is designed to flatten the upper flight of stairs into a ramp, dropping the targets into a trap door on the back wall of the landing that is released as part of the mechanism. Behind that is a pit, about 20 ft deep and spiked. We can see the skeletal remains of a deceased predecessor impaled on the spikes. We lowered Wednesday down on a rope to search the remains and came away with a bag of holding [Type III] and some magical studded leather. She also finds a gas dispenser portion of the trap, designed to release nightmare gas on anyone in the pit. It is partially full, so she removed it and turned it over to Tre-ba for later use. She also retrieved the skull at my request – for either questioning or proper burial as needs present themselves.

The second floor was mostly clear of traps and partly exposed to the sky due to a rent in one wall. There were another two doors with stairs leading up to the third floor, but Frankie used his climbing abilities to bounce up through the hole in the ceiling to scout the third floor. It only contained rubble from the collapsed ceiling and walls and was open to the sky. There was some splintered wood from furniture crushed by the falling stonework, but little of value.

Returning to the first floor, it occurred to us to check the foyer table. Inside a drawer were a scroll and some papers, one of which detected as magical. Wednesday carefully investigated it and determined it was trapped with explosive runes, which she disabled. The scroll is a formula for summoning a bearded devil and the papers are research notes on becoming a lich, with a side reference to the Uskar. We packed these away.

With no other leads, Brek’nok turned into an earth elemental again and searched underneath the tower. We were hoping there was a secret passage down to where ever the gate is, but no luck. I’ve been updating my journal while waiting, but that time is now over. We are off to the home of the lizardmen of the swamp. Hope we are still friends. Luckily, we should now be able to converse in something other than chalk figures on a wall.

*End of Session*

1 comment:

  1. We actually forgot about picking up the followers in Lagaskia until halfway through the session, so we retconned it. As I was typing this up, I stopped to consider what their theme clothing item would be. I decided on head gear, but wasn't certain which one I wanted to use. The options I saw were keffiyeh, turban, or fez as those are the head gear I associate with desert people (plus stilsuits, but this isn't a sci-fi game). I polled the bgroup and the DM voted for keffiyeh. I ruled out the fez after reading up on it (originally Greek and picked up by the Turks in the 19th Century) and so went with the keffiyeh. They were originally all red, but after reading Wikipedia a bit, I changed that to white with re stitching.