Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 41 – R-and-R in the Forest of Angry Elves

Session 41 happened Tuesday, August 16, 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)
Wednesday (female elf rogue)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)
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)
Gil Gamesh (male uffik artificer*, cohort of Midnight)
Short John Copper (male halfling expert, hireling)
Brand and Zephir (mated pair of pseudo-dragons tagging along for the fun of it)
The Red Keffiyehs (human warriors, followers of Harkaitz)

Evening, July 2, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who watches over us from on high.

The next ten days are going to be busy.  I spent the afternoon today selling off the treasure we acquired since we last left Ttaeladra and then paid out shares.  Midnight and I then went and purchased the necessary materials for her to craft an item for me.  That item will take ten days to craft, which sets the limit of time we will stay here before continuing our quest.

Tonight we will have a good meal as a group and then spend our visit here separately.

Evening, July 3, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who lights our path.

This morning Wednesday requested I forge a ring of maniacal devices for her.  We started work on it today and it will keep the two of us occupied over the next three days working on it.  This may be for the best, if what Tre-ba says is true about Wednesday's last extended stay in Ttaeladra.

Evening, July 6, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who illuminates the workings of the world.

The ring is forged.

Tre-ba is eating with us this evening.  She has been searching out spell formulae to purchase to improve her selection of elixirs and potions.  Tomorrow I will be hosting a feast with the Red Shirts and the Red Keffiyehs, thanking both groups for their staunch support of our work and introducing the groups to each other.

Morning, July 8, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose morning light shows us the world anew.

The feast was a great success, with everyone trading stories and getting along greatly.  In fact, it was such a good party, it did not end until just an hour ago.  Time for me to sleep.

Evening, July 11, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, in whom we trust.

Tomorrow is likely our last day here, so we met to discuss and plan where we would go next.  We have several options: the gate in the Ridgeback Mountain, the gate in the Uskar Desert, and the lights on the edge of the swamp.  After some discussion, we decided that the Mountain Gate is probably the highest priority now and should be our next target.

It was also decided that we would stay in Ttaeladra one extra day to celebrate my day of birth.  I had not thought to make a large issue of it, but Tre-ba insists.  She said she would plan a "proper birthday" for me.  I am somewhat…dubious about what that means.

Noon, July 14, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who has seen me through another year of life.

Today is my day of birth and the day we leave Ttaeladra.  The celebration Tre-ba threw yesterday grew quite raucous near the end.  I find that my memories about the later part of the evening are a bit fuzzy and I awoke with a young elven woman (Velaasiel is her name) in my bed with me.  Well, young for an elven woman – she is probably four to five times older than I am.

Suffice to say it was a good party and a pleasant morning.  At least for Velaasiel and I.

Evening, July 16, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who gives our enemies no place to hide.

It took us two days to get to the edge of the forest and today we were skirting the edge of an arm of the forest before making directly for the Ridgeback Mountains when we espied a nabasu fly out of the trees and attack us.  It stayed airborne for the entire flight, but that availed it not.  I struck it with several spells and it cast enervation upon me as a result.  The effects are most unsettling and I nearly fell to my knees as a result.

Sarisvati called upon the mysteries she is privy to and sprouted wings of flame.  She flew up to engage it, attempting to lodge a tanglefoot bag in its wings.  While she never grounded it, she did hit it and slowed it down.  Gil provided Aziz with flying (and some other effects) and Aziz took the battle to the sky.  Near the end of the fight, the nabasu cast hold person, which caught Aziz – until Sarisvati immediately followed up with remove paralysis.  Aziz returned the favor on the nabasu by striking it three times in quick succession, killing it.

We have moved off and camped.  We are uncertain if the nabasu was another courier (it was carrying a messenger ioun stone) or specifically hunting us.  Once we crack the seal on the message in the ioun stone we may find out.

Short John is cooking a meal that seems to be a mix of dishes he learned from the elves and the lizardfolk.  He has been worth every copper piece we pay him and is a pleasant traveling companion besides.

Evening, July 17, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light shines upon all the world.

Today was quiet.  We've entered Kurnmorn Valley, the traditional entry point to the dwarven territories in the Ridgeback Mountains.  We are at a camp site at the back of the valley, a place caravans regularly stop.  Tomorrow we will climb up into the mountains, heading to the dwarven city of Orzimar and should reach it by the end of the day.

*End of Session*

[* Uffik are a race from a third-party supplement.  Imagine Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street and you are envisioning an uffik.  Artificers are also from a third-party supplement.  They are arcane magic workers that build devices that contain magic effects, but it takes time and effort to switch effects.  Gil himself is from this campaign's antecedent campaign and has been reintroduced here.  He was picked up in Ttaeladra and it took a bit before Harkaitz was certain Gil was not some sort of familiar of Midnight's.]

[This is also the last regular game with all the players.  Wednesday's player is going away to college for her bachelor's degree (she just finished her associate's at a local community college).  She will be far enough away that she can only make it down on weekends to play, but I and my wife cannot make weekend games due to full schedules.  To keep things going and all the players playing, our DM has decided to run two games, both in the same world at the same time.  The party will split into two groups, one group going after the Mountain Gate and the other going after the Uskar gate.  More on that at the end of the next adventure log.]

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 40 – Swamp Revelations

[This posting is a day late as I spent most of Thursday traveling.  I'll explain later. ]

Session 40 happened Monday, August 8, 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)
Brand and Zephir (mated pair of pseudo-dragons tagging along for the fun of it)
The Red Keffiyehs (human warriors, followers of Harkaitz)

Evening, June 25, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who lights our way, even when we must retreat.

We arrived at the corpse of the black dragon.  The smell has not improved.  At all.  We immediately picked up the trail of the zombies heading south and followed it.  Just as we were looking for a place to camp, we espied a tarn linnorm.  These are frightening creatures.  After a quick huddle to share what we knew about linnorms, we bolted until we were out of the immediate area and found a discrete place to camp (read: hide).

There will be NO campfire tonight.

Evening, June 26, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, his heat will burn away the unclean.

After taking some time to reacquire the zombie trail, we followed it to its end – a hillock with a tunnel entrance on the side.  Rather than confront unknown amounts of undead underground during the night, we have decided to make a hidden camp nearby and investigate in the morning.  Midnight has cast secure shelter and Brek'nok hid it with multiple castings of hide camp.  We will still keep our regular watches, but we will be comfortable.

Noon, June 27, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, He shows us things our enemies are blind to.

We entered the tunnel this morning after a quiet night (or at least as quiet as a swamp ever gets).  The tunnel descended at a shallow angle into the hillock and branched fairly quickly.  Following our standard procedure, we took the left-hand path, a narrow passage that circled back towards the entrance.  This ended in a small chamber with about an inch of water on the floor.  Having seen one monster too many that could hide in such a thing, we reversed course and followed the right-hand path almost immediately.  Plus, the tracks went to the right, something Brek'nok did not mention until later.  Much later.

The right-hand path was ten feet wide and smooth from use.  As Wednesday and Frankie scouted ahead, they heard a voice holding a conversation, but could not hear the other person.  The person seemed to be searching for something but not finding it.  Wednesday was able to sneak far enough forward to get a look into the next chamber and see the person talking.

Aziz told Wednesday and Frankie to hold position using hand gestures and then walked forward, knowing that the person would hear him.  The person stated that he heard someone approaching and then turned to mist.  Aziz arrived in the chamber just in time to see the vampire (for that is what it was) escape through deep cracks in the ceiling.

With the vampire gone, Wednesday searched the entire chamber for traps and hidden passages.  She found one in the wall, about fifteen feet away from where the vampire was searching, and one on the floor, across the room.  Checking the wall compartment, she found a hidden compartment hidden inside the hidden compartment.  (This is starting to become commonplace amongst our enemies and so we regularly check for such things now.)  Inside the hidden, hidden compartment we found the second lich key.  It fits into the second key hole in the coffer AND combines with the original key we found to create a third key.

I will admit this success got the better of me a bit.  After taking the key, I scrawled some taunting graffiti in goblin glyphs.  I may have written "Super Rat is best!" inside the hidden, hidden compartment and, after completely closing the compartment, I may have written on the wall "Maybe you should look here" with a large arrow pointing out where the hidden compartment is located.  Goblin is particularly suited for taunting.

That taken care of, we next investigated the trap door in the floor.  After Wednesday cleared it for traps, Frankie opened it and found destroyed zombie lizardfolk.  It appears that the vampire was the one who destroyed them while fighting them, but we are not certain of this.  I sprinkled them with holy water and said a blessing upon them to keep them from being animated again.

Brek'nok took this moment to test out a new spell, eagle's eye.  He created a sensor 50 ft above himself, which put it well above ground level.  Peering around, he spotted the mist form of the vampire moving away in great haste.  We immediately moved to give chase, but lost him after two hours of pursuit.  We are now taking a short rest as chasing a patch of mist through the swamp is quite tiring.  We have decided to discontinue this pursuit and head to Ttaeladra.  We need to resupply and have a few items created.  Right now, Ra indicates we have time to do this, so we are taking the opportunity.

Time to get out of this swamp for a while.  Thank Ra.

Evening, June 27, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, in whose name we serve.

We made it out of the swamp after several hours and are camped on the western shore of the Iscarath River that borders the swamp.  This is much better.  It is possible to tell the difference between the land and the water here.

Morning, June 28, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light is constant.

Early during last night's watch, Wednesday and Brek'nok observed lights in the sky.  After Aziz and I were awoken, my companions and I left the camp to Short John and the Red Keffiyehs and went to investigate the lights.  A couple miles north, we hid and observed the light approaching.  It was a thunderbird and not a problem we need to deal with.  We returned to the camp and went back to sleep.

I may be grouchy today.


After communing with Ra, I was able to verify the vampire is Lucien, whose library we raided.  He is working with the lich and the flashing lights are still an issue.  I feel more centered again.  Still tired, but not as grouchy.  Mostly.

Brek'nok was able to successfully scry on the lich and found him posing as a blue-eyed priest of Ra in the city of Uru!  The lich is actively moving against us through our home cities.  This is most distressing.  On the plus side, he has shown he is not all-knowing.  All priests of Ra have green eyes.  If they were not born with green eyes, during the ceremony of initiation their eyes change to match the color of the emerald eyes in the sacred statues of Ra.  We do not talk about this, but it is not something we hide either.  The lich missed this.

I cast sending and informed the High Priest of Uru of the situation and requested they lie to the lich to mis-direct it.  Mahdy, the High Priest, is a friend of mine and agreed to lead the lich astray without letting it know it had been found out.  This is good as the lich is exceedingly powerful and would destroy much of the city if provoked to fighting.

It is time to press on towards the Forest of Angry Elves and Ttaeladra.

Evening, June 28, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light guides us.

We should reach the Forest tomorrow.  During our march, we spied a erinyes flying north.  Suspecting she is a courier, we attempted to stop her.  After a running fight (literally), we failed to stop her, but she was forced to teleport to escape us.  We need to find a way to stop that from happening.

Evening, June 29, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who guides our steps.

After morning prayers, I sent Ashias a warning to be on alert around any blue-eyed "priests of Ra" and updated him on our plans.  [Note: the sending spell is now the magical equivalent of Twitter in our eyes.]

We are now camping in the shadow of the forest.  It will take nearly another three days before we make it to Ttaeladra.  We are going to try and reduce that by pushing through as hard as we can.

Noon, July 2, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light guides us.

Spotted Ttaeladra ahead while resting.  Should be there in an hour or so.  Looking forward to sleeping in a real bed and getting a proper bath.  I may have to burn my boots and get new ones, they smell of our travels through the swamp.

*End of Session*

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Sessions 38 and 39 – The Swamp Gate

Sessions 38 happened Wednesday, July 27, 2011. Sessions 39 happened Tuesday, August 2, 2011. I’m listing both here as there is no point between the two where Harkaitz could have stopped to update his journal.

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)
Brek'nok (male dwarf druid)
Luna (female elf sorcerer)
Wednesday (female elf rogue)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)
Harkaitz of the Red Soul (male human cleric of Ra)

Ashias (male lizardfolk warchief, ally)
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)
Brand and Zephir (mated pair of pseudo-dragons tagging along for the fun of it)
The Red Keffiyehs (human warriors, followers of Harkaitz)

Morning, June 23, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light blinds our enemies.

We have survived a night in the caves and I have fully healed my companions of the wasting attacks made by the derghodaemon. [Cast restoration three times to heal the CON damage.] During the night, a pair of omox (yet another form of demon in the form of an ooze) entered the room from deeper in the cave complex. They investigated the dead derghodaemon and then split up – one carrying the body back deeper and the other going out to the surface. Brek’nok’s spell and my stone wall seemed to keep them from noticing our camp in the back of the cave. Neither reappeared.

Past the derghodaemon cavern was a hallway leading to a pool of water. While investigating it, Wednesday set off a lightning bolt trap. This is not a good sign as she usually finds such traps with ease. [She rolled a 1, an automatic failure in our game.] I have just healed her and she is disarming the trap now after verifying there are no hidden doors in the hall. After she disarms the trap, we will explore the pool. I suspect it leads to another cavern or set of caverns. We shall see.

Evening, June 23, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose flame smites our enemies.

The pool did more than lead us to another cave – it was a cave in itself, completely filled with water. We explored it protected by a life bubble spell from Brek’nok. There was a pool exit at the far end of the right wall. As Wednesday started to swim across the chamber, an omox extruded from the ceiling where it had been waiting and attacked. Wednesday was heavily burned by its acid attacks and the water slowed us down, making the fight slow and dangerous.

Once Aziz lumbered into position below it, he attacked it with his holy scimitar, which was burning with a fire of entanglement spell upon it. This kept the omox from fleeing into the next chamber and allowed Aziz to strike it multiple times for great effect, killing the foul thing.

As we caught our breath, Wednesday scouted up through the pool out of the flooded chamber we were in. (That is a strange thing to write. Brek’nok’s spell repertoire has been most handy since he joined us.) After sticking her head up out of the water, Wednesday returned and reported the next room was the gate room (the gate was the source of the light we could see in the next chamber). She also reported a meladaemon was guarding the gate alone. We prepared to attack.

[This is where Session 38 ended for the night. Session 39 started with us initiating the attack.]

Brek’nok started the fight by summoning an earth elemental beside the meladaemon. Wednesday’s shadow then moved in to attack. Once the daemon was occupied, Midnight used dimension door to jump into the room, bringing Frankie, Aziz, and myself. This is where we regretted Wednesday not being able to scout the room. Midnight appeared directly on a pressure plate that dropped the two side walls of the room, revealing a hydrodaemon behind each wall. I tried to stick with the plan and defensively cast my last holy smite, but failed due to the hydrodaemon adjacent to me. Aziz still struck the meladaemon [using smite evil], but he was off his stride and the wounds were shallow.

Then the meladaemon’s consumptive aura hit us hard and the hydrodaemons attacked.

I was able to mostly wall off one of the hydrodaemons, allowing Aziz, Frankie, and Wednesday’s shadow to concentrate on the meladaemon. This left Brek’nok and Wednesday fighting the second hydrodaemon. That hydrodaemon gutted Wednesday with a series of attacks and she would have died if I did not have the breath of life ready to revive and heal her. As it was, I saved her life but failed to bring her back to her feet. [Wednesday was down to -33 hp from the attacks and Harkaitz brought her back to -2 or so.] At the same time, Aziz struck the killing blows of the meladaemon and Frankie turned and did the same to the free hydrodaemon. This allowed Aziz the respite necessary to channel to power of Ra to heal us all, bringing Wednesday back to consciousness.

At this point we reorganized and turned on the remaining hydrodaemon, which had finally carved up the earth elemental blocking its escape. That hydrodaemon did not last long against our combined might, with Aziz dealing the killing blow.

Exhausted, I then cast summon planar ally to alert the forces of light that we had secured the Swamp Gate. A bralani appeared and, after receiving our report, transported us all (including Short John and the Red Keffiyehs) back to the lizardfolk village.

Now I am exhausted and it is time for me to sleep. Tomorrow I will commune with Ra and determine where our path goes next.

Morning, June 24, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who shines His light and clears away the fog.

I have communed with Ra and my soul is full of his light and warmth.

We seem to have a choice of paths to follow. The Mountain Gate and the Uskar Gate are of equal priority. We still must deal with the lights in the sky. Lucien is the name of the vampire and the blue dragon of the desert is a danger to our homes. (That last bit applies mostly to Aziz and myself.) On the positive side, the storm giants did return the bones of the pilgrims to Uru, the Mountain Gate can be reached from the surface, and we will have time to return to Ttaeladra to resupply.

Later in the morning, June 24, Year of the Earth Rabbit
We have discussed what we know and where we think we should go. We have decided that tomorrow we will return to the corpse of the black dragon and resume following the zombie trail. We believe this will allow us to resolve the issue with the lights in the sky and make the swamps safe for Ashias’s people. Once we have done that, we will continue on to Ttaeladra for resupply and to have a few items crafted.

Today, we will spend the day with Ashias and his people as they prepare a feast in our honor. Short John is helping in the cooking preparations, “gettin’ some ideas” as he puts it. The lizardfolk use strong spices in their cooking, similar but different to those used back home in Uru, so I am enjoying the tastes. The elves are drinking much water.

Noon, June 25, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose blessings shine upon us.

We have set out after to the corpse of the black dragon to follow the zombie trail. Before leaving the lizardfolk camp, Ashias called us aside and offered us a choice of one of the treasures of his people: two helms [one of underwater action and the other of telepathy] or a cloak [of resistance, +3]. We accepted the gift of the cloak and Wednesday now proudly wears it.

Lunch is something called a “gumbo” that Short John learned from the lizardfolk. It is a spicy and tasty soup, similar to a stew. It is quite tasty and quite spicy.

*End of Session*

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 37 – Tracking through the Swamp

Session 37 happened Tuesday, July 19, 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)
Luna (female elf sorcerer)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)
Brek'nok (male dwarf druid)

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 19, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light gives life, even strange life.

This morning we followed the trail of the zombie pack. When I say “we”, I mean Brek’nok who has amazing tracking skills. Late morning we saw a lightning bolt go INTO the sky of the tracks we were following and we decided to investigate.

What we found was a dead black dragon. Brek’nok read the tracks and it appears that a small group fought and killed the dragon, using steel and magic. There are several scorch marks on the dragon’s body, indicating either a large number of lightning bolts or a chain lightning spell, possibly both.

I cast commune again to discern which path we should follow – the zombies or the dragonslayers. Based on the answers given by Ra, we are on a tighter timetable to secure the swamp gate than we thought. I also learned that the lich is not Lucien, the owner of the manor house library, but we should start blocking his scrying. I have some thoughts on doing that, but we will need to go to Ttaeladra to get that taken care of. But first, the swamp gate.

Aziz, Tre-ba, and Brek’nok are currently skinning the corpse of the dragon with an eye towards making more armor or at least selling it. Luna is not keen on this at all. I’m not certain

Something’s coming.

Oh really now. This swamp is home to many strange beasts. While I was writing and the others skinning the dragon, a giant mobile flytrap wandered up, looking for a meal. Luna and I dropped fireballs on it and then Aziz and the others closed in on it and killed it. Well, the others minus Tre-ba who decided to use the dragon carcass as cover but still managed to hit Aziz and Wednesday’s shadow with one of her bombs. [Critical miss on the player’s part.] Rather than repeat this incident, we are moving away from the carcass a bit before camping for the night. The smell is getting fearsome.

Late Afternoon, June 20, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, His constant light reminding us to be patient.

The tracks of the dragonslayers headed west from the dragon corpse, eventually leading to and through the village of the lizardfolk. When asked who came through, none of the lizardfolk saw anyone else, so we suspect the use of invisibility. Ashias has recommended we stay and wait upon the return of the scouts he sent to investigate the gate area. We wouldn’t get much further today anyways, so we have agreed.

Short John is chatting with the lizardfolk who cook about herbs and whatnot. I am curious as to what he will come up with as a result.

Noon, June 21, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, in whose name we act.

The scouts returned a little while ago and reported that they found an underwater entrance to some caves in the correct area. We are packing up to go now. We should reach the area by sundown if we step quickly.

Morning, June 22, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose reveals even the darkest secrets.

Since we acquired it, our morning ritual has included Brek’nok casting dispel magic on the sealed coffer from the manor house, trying to remove the magical seal on it. This morning it worked! We then let Wednesday perform her mastery and remove several traps off the interior of the coffer, including a maximized disintegrate trap (which she kept for later use “just in case”).

Inside we found a journal in the hand of the lich. More importantly, it covers the period during which he turned! While I would very much like to start reading this now, we have more pressing matters at hand. Brek’nok is about to cast life bubble on the group so we can swim down to the flooded cave entrance. In the case of Aziz and myself, this will be more like controlled sinking due to our armor, but the life bubble will last a couple hours, so this should be OK.

Afternoon, June 22, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose gives us hope, even in the darkest of places.

I was correct about the swimming being more controlled sinking for Aziz and I, but with Ashias’s help, we made it into the correct underwater cave entrance. We surfaced in a cave with no light. Rather than alert our enemies by lighting a sunrod, Tre-ba used one of the wands of darkvision we made in Ttaeladra to grant that spell to those of us without it naturally. Luna used prestidigitation to dry us off, which was much appreciated by all. It also kept us from dripping or making squelch noises as we moved into the caves.

While the rest of us waited in the entry cave, Wednesday and Frankie scouted ahead. Tre-ba and I were in discussion as to what we might be facing at the gate when something alerted the rest of our group that a fight was taking place. [Tre-ba and Harkaitz both rolled a 1 on their Perception to notice when Wednesday and Frankie were attacked.] The first I knew of it was Luna charging down the tunnel and then lobbing a fireball into the next chamber.

A derghodaemon, a kind of shadow daemon, had been lurking in the next cave, guarding it. It surprised Wednesday and Frankie and made multiple attacks against them before the rest of us could respond. The creatures multiple limbs allowed it to hit and rend Aziz multiple times [doing 6 points of CON damage total]. After a hard fight, Aziz finally put the beast down with a killing blow.

[From this point on actually happened in the next session, but I’m putting it here for story flow purposes.]

The derghodaemon’s wounds will take a great deal of time to heal without magic, so we are taking an emergency tactic – we are camping in the caves. Wednesday has thoroughly searched the large cavern the derghodaemon was guarding and pronounced it safe and void of any secret passages. I have cast wall of stone to block off part of the back of the cavern and Brek’nok has cast hide camp multiple times to obscure our changes. This is a gamble for us, but we are in no shape to push on without some rest and a change in blessings from Ra. Now we must remain silent and wait, hoping any enemies that pass through do not notice us.

*End of Session*

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 36 – A Favor for a Favor

Sessions 36 happened Tuesday, July 13, 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)
[Brek'nok's player was absent]

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)

Morning, June 17, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who grants life to all equally.

Last night we arrived at the village of the lizardfolk. We approached openly and when their guards approached us, I held forth the amulet of friendship we were granted for assisting their brethren back in the delve. While I did not show it, I was very greatly pleased when they accepted it. We were escorted into the village, where we drew curious stares. The guardsman leading us brought us to the largest hut in the village. We were escorted in, where we found a single lizardman reading a scroll. He turned to face us and we recognized the one who gave us the amulet of friendship!

Now that we knew Draconic, the conversation was much easier and did not require us to draw in chalk on his walls. His name is Ashias and he is the warchief of these people. We spent several hours talking and catching up. We explained our errand to save the world and he quickly agreed to help us. He told us the grippli (a frog-like race of humanoids) from the west have been encroaching on the lands of the lizardfolk, but not in any dangerous way. Strange lights had been seen in the sky to the east and he had sent a scouting party to see what they could see; they would return in a day or so. Finally, he told us that there were indeed caves under portions of the swamp and it was quite likely that the gate would be in one of those and be accessible with some swimming – depending upon how long we could hold our breath.

We accepted his hospitality to spend the night in his home. We kept watches, hoping to see the lights in the sky, and we were rewarded. During the second watch, Wednesday, Tre-ba, and Frankie all spotted a strange light flash in the sky, far to the east. They woke me up and in time to see a second flash of light. It is possible that it is from some sort of spell effect, but there was not enough to see for any of us to even hazard a guess.

While waiting to see if a third light appeared, the remains of the scout party returned. They first talked with Ashias (as is proper), but after that we were called in to hear what they had discovered. They had travelled east and found nothing until they arrived at an old abandoned manor house. They found the grounds of the manor house swarming with zombies of various races, being led by a vampire. They had been discovered and had to fight to get free of the area. Only 4 of the 12 scouts made it back alive.

At dawn, I cast commune to ask Ra for enlightenment. I learned that the flashes of light were something we need to investigate and they are related to undead in the area. I received confirmation that we should be able to reach the swamp gate without teleporting, that there are underwater tunnels we can follow. Ra told me the grippli are not involved and that the 4 lizardfolk scouts were not under vampiric control. The last thing we learned was the most disturbing – the lich was now tracking our movements.

I shared this with Ashias (along with the answers to questions I asked on his behalf) and we made a deal: he would send scouts to look for the cave entrance to the gate area and we would go investigate the zombie infestation at the manor house and possibly solve the riddle of the lights in the sky, which seems to be connected. We are spending the day in town preparing before setting out. Wednesday, Sarisvati, and I have contributed resources to have Midnight brew three potions of silversheen, which Tre-ba said would would help against the vampire. They will be done this evening and we will set out tomorrow.

I plan on spending the day assisting the lizardfolk however I can. Ashias and they are helping us greatly and I would help them back in return.

Evening, June 18, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who guides us where we are needed.

It is dawn and I am tired.

We spent all of yesterday hiking through the swamp to the manor house. Ashias accompanied us to show us the way. Rather than wait in the area at night, we used one of the wands of darkvision on those who cannot see in the darkness and approached the manor house with no light. Wednesday scouted the way and we entered the back entrance, across an attached gazebo [we did not attack the gazebo]. The structure of the manor house is heavily magiced to be resistant to the effects of the swamp and flame. This was disconcerting as it indicated the owner had access to significant magics.

The inside was sparsely furnished, but what furniture was there was high quality. The first floor was empty of people, so we made our way upstairs. The upstairs was also empty of people, but contained a sizeable library of books. Suspecting a trap, we had Wednesday check the entire library. She discovered multiple triggers to a massive fireball trap. I cast detect magic and identified several books that registered as magic, all of which were triggers to the trap. Wednesday spent some time disarming all the triggers. She has a strong nerve and nimble fingers – the rest of us waited in another room until she finished.

Once the bookshelves (and several of the books) were de-trapped, Tre-ba and I went over them to see what we had. The critical books (which we carefully packed away) were a manual of stone golems, a manual of bodily health [+1], and two books containing detailed notes on research into becoming a lich. These last two were also coated in poison (each a different poison), which Tre-ba was able to identify: terinav root and black lotus extract. She carefully scraped the poison off and then treated the books with nullifying agents she keeps handy. Alchemists carry the strangest things, but they are very handy to have around. Even conceited ones. (I am curious if this is an alchemist attitude or just specific to Tre-ba. It does not seem to be an elven general attitude as Wednesday and Luna do not seem so full of themselves. Maybe it is something that happens to elves when they get over 200 years of age? There may be no way for me to tell in my lifetime and it seems too trivial to ask as part of a commune with Ra. Sigh.)

Many of the books indicated that they belonged to an individual named Lucien. Is the lich’s name Lucien? The notes seem to be his, although the name does not appear in them at all. What is the vampires part in all this? Too many questions and not enough answers.

With a definite connection between the lich and this manor house, I wanted to torch the place, reducing the number of his safe locations. That said, most of our spells that could do the job are fire-based and the building is fireproof.

But not the furniture.

We packed away all the critical books and as many others as we could fit into one of the bags of holding. I then started applying oil to the shelves and remaining books (mostly blank trap-triggers), plus beds in nearby rooms. While I was doing this, Frankie was scouting the outside of the house and realized there should be an attic, but we found no way to it from inside the house. Perhaps this was where the vampire was laired?

Using ropes, we all climbed onto the roof and proceeded to smash through the roof tiles to gain entry. (Frankie’s fists are extraordinarily hard and well suited to this.) Under the roof was an attic, but it was empty, with no doors. Searching carefully, Wednesday found no traps, but Frankie worked out that there was a two foot gap between the ceiling of the rooms below and the floor of the attic. Wednesday detached her shadow and sent it to go look (it is incorporeal). It found a locked coffer and a concealed door providing access to it from the attic.

(As a note, her detached shadow is a result of shadow dancing magics Wednesday has been studying and not any form of necromancy. This is something Aziz and I quietly verified on our own before asking Wednesday about it. She is a good and true companion and it would be sad to see her fall to dark arts.)

The coffer requires two locks to open and the lich key from the tower fits one of the locks. Wednesday was able to pick the other lock while we opened the first with the key. The coffer remained sealed. There is a magical seal holding it shut in addition to the locks – most intriguing.

We packed it away and the group prepared to leave. I went back inside and opened all the shutters. Once the interior was burned, swamp creatures will be able to take up residence here. As a final touch, I poured oil on the floor upstairs to form the words “Your move. SuperRat” in goblin. When the oil burns, it will leave the message in the form of scorch marks. I then used produce flames to ignite the materials inside the manor house and we fled the area.

I could still see the flames when we made camp, but they are mostly out now. It is late now and I am tired from the day’s efforts (and the early evening’s efforts as well). Tomorrow we head south, following the trail of the zombies to see what we can learn.

*End of Session*

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pre-Crash Player Knowledge 6

[EDIT: For some reason this did not get posted last Friday.  Bother.  Here it is now.]

System Name: Guruphon (Adab-0606)
UWP: C667xxx-x

Guruphon is a small mining outpost of "red gold," a rare earth used in the construction of very advanced electronics. The majority of the purified material is sold to manufacturers of starships or starship components in the Maresfield and Gdansk systems. There was no native biosphere on Guruphon, but only minimal terraforming was necessary to make the world comfortably habitable.

System Name: Cinchre (Adab-0703)
UWP: C986xxx-x
Cinechre is a burning world with an abundance of metals and rare minerals. A thriving mining colony is growing here, harvesting the great mineral wealth of this world. Due to the thick, opaque atmosphere, most operations are heavily automated and the miners tend to keep to the protected structures of the colony.

System Name: Kamaran (Adab-0706)
UWP: D763xxx-x
Kamaran is home to a small Naval base and a moderate civilian populace involved in mining, pharmaceuticals, and drilling for petrochemicals. While much of the materials generated here are shipped off to other worlds, Kamaran has a thriving manufacturing sector that provides parts resupply for the naval base.

Most agriculture here is hydroponic in nature due to the low hydrography percentage of the primary world and it is clustered around the few seas on the planet. The majority of the planet is badlands and dry environments given over to the native lifeforms. While there is little in the way of big game on Kamaran, hunting is still a popular pastime with both the naval and civilian populations.

[And that wraps up the Pre-Crash info on systems in the Adab subsector. I've been giving some thought as to how to present updated, post-Crash material. Single posts per world? A series of Post-Crash Player Knowledge entries? The goal is to make it least confusing for folks reading here.]

[As an update, after two character creation sessions all the characters are at least 95% complete and named. The PCs company has been named (Phoenix Salvage), they have selected a ship from those available (a mobile gambling house based on the Laboratory Ship from Traveller), and a name has been selected for the ship (Just Lucky). Next Friday (August 19th) will be the first real game session, which is part of a cycle of playing every other Friday (due to vacations and events at the house) until September 15th, when we will resume weekly games.]

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pre-Crash Player Knowledge 5

System Name: Maresfield (Adab-0605)
B767544-12 Ga Ht
Yellow Star

Name      |Dist| Type       |Moons|
Walik     |   1| rocky      |    1|
Maresfield|  10| Terrestrial|    3|
Aesir     |  19| Gas giant  |    4|
The Belt  |  37| asteroid belt    |
Vanir     |  73| Gas giant  |    2|
Pescete   | 145| Ice        |    3|
Distances are measured in light-minutes (LM).

Maresfield is home to three custom starship design houses, dozens of custom parts designers and luxury manufacturers, and a minor luxury hotel industry.  It maintains a small but well educated population of employees and their families. 

Population: ~90,000 Human, ~35,000 Lante, <1,000 Low Waldi
Once home to manufacturers of luxury starships, Maresfield stayed relatively unified after the collapse despite (or rather because of) its sparse population.  The generally favorable weather and a cultural gardening hobby allowed the populace to establish a sustainable food supply quickly after The Crash and avoid any major starvations.  In the last 12 years Maresfield has reactivated the orbital spaceport and begun refurbishing/repairing the starships abandoned in-system in the last days of The Crash.  This was made possible by the invention of The McGuffin.

The wealth of proprietary data and artisan starship designs led to a modular and semi-isolated planetary compnet, which incidentally keeping the VIRUS at bay long enough to safely preserve a great deal of engineering data past the end of the war.  The hodge-podge of ship and subsystem manufacturers pooled their talents to find a way to defeat the VIRUS as it attacked their livelihoods by destroying the market for luxury and custom starships.  Fifteen years of halting research eventually resulted in the McGuffin, a device containing software able to purge a system of the VIRUS and load a rudimentary operating system in its place.  There were two limitations to the McGuffin.  The first is that the action of purging a system of the VIRUS also wiped out all previous data housed on the system in question.  The second is that some of the components in the McGuffin require some exotic elements not available in the Maresfield system.  The existing
McGuffins were built using spare parts on hand after the Crash, but the previous "just-in-time" supply train no longer exists and the original source world has been beyond contact for decades.  Locating a new, closer, supply is a priority for all explorer ships leaving Maresfield.

Maresfield is a representative democracy, as long as you or a member of your direct family are employed by a Voting Corporation.

About the corporations on Maresfield:
Imaging a world where the colonists are the employees and dependants of Maseratti, Lamborghini, Porsche (before becoming part of VW), West Coast Choppers, Orange County Choppers, the companies that make stretch limos, and all the specialty companies that supply those companies high-end or custom vehicle components.  Make that starships instead of cars and bikes and you have an idea of who was on Maresfield before the Crash.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pre-Crash Player Knowledge 4

System Name: Krjalk Qath (Adab-0505)
UWP: X7E1xxx-x
The Krjalk Qath wear robes that obscure their entire (vaguely humanoid) body and are extremely isolationist.  While there are many bubble cities dotting the surface of single world they occupy at the edge of this system, landing for outsiders is allowed at only one of them.  It is speculated that their cities are connected via underground tunnels, but this has never been confirmed.  The Krjalk Qath have never been seen on other worlds and they do not seem to have access to interstellar travel.

System Name: New Argos (Adab-0507)
UWP: C868xxx-x
New Argos is an ocean world with two primary industries - fishing and tourism.  Several notable luxury hotel complexes are found on New Argos along with those catering to the middle class and the merely wealthy.  Some of the beaches on New Argos are legendary.  In addition to catering to tourists, the local fishing industry provides seafood for export across the sector.

The local culture on New Argos is a curious mix of Old Earth Mediterranean and Japanese with an emphasis on sailing and fishing.  Some of the hotel complexes chose one or the other of the cultures as a theme, providing an idealized experience for clientèle.

System Name: Barathat (Adab-0603)
UWP: X9C5xxx-x
Barathat is a mining world with a corrosive and invasive atmosphere that keeps away most visitors.  The purity of the materials mined from deep under the surface of Barathat ensure that there will always be an interest in this otherwise inhospitable world.

System Name: Watan (Adab-0604)
UWP: X860xxx-x
Watan is an experiment in terraforming.  Its favorable orbit and mass, yet a complete lack of a native biosphere provided an excellent blank slate for the experiment.  Ice was hauled from frozen worlds on the fringe of the system to massive processing machines that converted the ice into its component parts and either injected them into the atmosphere to make it breathable or deposited it in water reservoirs for use by the colony.  Colonists used to a desert environment are shipped in to develop the world and maintain the terraforming.  The first stages of the project have been a complete success and the planetary population is currently growing.

System Name: Maresfield (Adab-0605)
UWP: B767544-12 Ga Ht
[This is the starting world for the campaign and I'm going to do a separate posting for it as it is now quite long.]

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pre-Crash Player Knowledge 3

System Name: Krakatoa (Adab-0207)
(To Be Written)

System Name: Wardn (Adab-0303)
UWP: X887xxx-x
Wardn is home to an ongoing terraforming experiment and is to be considered a quarantined world.

System Name: Niamey (Adab-0306)
UWP: C867xxx-x
Niamey is an agricultural world with a populace that shows a strong independent streak.  Numerous foodstuffs are exported from Niamey to adjacent systems.  Niamey has a strong brewing and distilling industry and exports several award winning beverages.  Finally, Niamey textiles are recognized across the sector and several specialty textiles are used in the Maresfield shipbuilding industry.

System Name: Zodisoft (Adab-0308)
UWP: A863xxx-x
Zodisoft is home to a thriving software development industry.  Additionally, advanced computer components and electronics are manufactured using the particularly pure crystalline minerals found on the planet.
WARNING: This world is now under quarantine.  Do not approach this world or accept transmissions from it.

System Name: Caraturth (Adab-0406)
UWP: E755xxx-x
The monks of The Order of the Sacre Illuminae on Caraturth maintain a shrine that is extremely significant to their faith.  Their settlements are clustered together around the site and are sealed off to maintain a breathable atmosphere as the world has an invasive and toxic atmosphere.  They live a pastoral and mostly self-sufficient life, with a small tourist industry of the devoted wishing to worship at the shrine.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pre-Crash Player Knowledge 2

System Name: Adab (Adab-0100)
UWP: C878xxx-x
Adab is the first system explored and colonized in the subsector and is now the official capital of the subsector. There is a strong rivalry between it and New Beirut. New Beirut is a more attractive world, but Adab has history and the weight of a massive populace and industrial base. Adab produces machine parts and advanced electronics. Adab is also home to the largest naval base in the subsector, Port (NAME).

Adab's atmosphere is high enough in ozone to require a filter for extensive work outdoors, particularly in areas near major industrial complexes. Additionally, due to the relatively low amount of land and warm temperatures, tropical cyclones can reach impressive sizes. Travellers are advised to check local weather conditions at the Downport before landing.

System Name: Rapp's World (Adab-0101)
UWP: C968xxx-x
(To Be Written)

System Name: Olympia (Adab-0102)
UWP: C867xxx-x
(To Be Written)

System Name: Zendryc (Adab-0106)
UWP: C868xxx-x
Zendryc is a lush jungle world with a minimal axial tilt. The primary population is a human-like alien race known as the Acojah. Their culture is misandric, with males limited to labor intensive roles while the females take leadership and scholarly roles. The government is extremely security conscious and maintains a high police presence. Those leaving the starport are strongly recommended to only do so when granted the necessary permits and travel papers.

System Name: *New Reykjavik* (Adab-0200)
UWP: B896xxx-x
New Reykjavik is a cold world and home to a hardy people who value their independance. A variety of industries that would not be at home on more tightly regulated worlds thrive here and there are numerous labs and experimental facilities on this world. New Reykjavik supports a robust high technology infrastructure, including some of the best private universities in the sector.

[You'll notice that not all of the Pre-Crash world descriptions are written yet. This is because I've been concentrating on what the worlds look like now and then going back and writing the Pre-Crash descriptions. For the Pre-Crash material, I've concentrated on the systems closest to Maresfield (Adab-0605), the player starting world and then the "low hanging fruit" systems, systems that are important to know about early on so the PCs can plan exploration routes. I will come back and update these entries on the blog as I get them done in the wiki I'm using to keep track of all this.

Some of you might ask why I don't just point folks to the wiki. I'm using WikidPad (ver. 2.0rc02), a single-instance wiki. It is essentially NotePad with wiki functionality, which is exactly the level of complexity I need when writing. It is VERY useful for this sort of thing and I will keep it open when I'm running so I can keep everything straight when I'm running. I will probably also switch the material to Obsidian Portal as the players explore. When I start doing that, I'll post the relevant links here.]

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pre-Crash Player Knowledge 1

Here are the first five worlds in the Adab subsector and what little is known about them Pre-Crash.

System Name: Juxter (Adab-0000)
UWP: B869xxx-x
Juxter is an agricultural world, producing foodstuffs for many nearby worlds. A large quantity of bulk cargo carriers travel to and from Juxter, requiring a large spaceport and extensive cargo-handling facilities. The local government is a representative democracy, but the major agricorps seem to have a great deal of influence in planetary policy.

Major Agricorps:
Hoffman Open Agricultural Industrial

System Name: Froin (Adab 0003)
UWP: C664xxx-x
Froin is home to the Froin Mines, source of the metal caroli, a natural gravitic compressor and critical for the starship construction. At 9600 km in diameter, Froin is smaller than any other world providing a full g due to the extensive caroli deposits. This causes some unusual gravitic effects - the Hanging Hotels are a series of structures built perpendicularly out of a cliff face and are popular with tourists.

Froin is mostly a company planet, owned and operated by Froin Industrial Horizons, but the benefits of working for the company are extensive. Families of mine workers are maintained in very comfortable domiciles in Froin city and their children are provided a first rate education.

System Name: Gdansk (Adab-0004)
UWP: A452xxx-x
Gdansk is home to extensive shipyards and is responsible for 38% of all starship construction in the sector, 56% if only heavy cargo haulers are considered. The Gdansk system is a trinary star system with no Terran-class worlds, but extensive asteroid systems and minable rocky planets. Gdansk itself is actaully a binary world - two planets, each 6400 km in diameter, in orbit around a common center, orbiting and orange star (the second component star of the trinary) at a distance of 9 light-minutes. Gdansk is home to the system government and the headquarters of the seven major ship manufacturers operating in the system.

System Name: New Beirut (Adab-0005)
UWP: C7F9xxx-x
New Beirut was founded to be home for investment groups and exotic resorts. Instead of being established on a terrestrial world, a group of floating cities was built, suspended in the upper atmosphere of a gas giant. The gas giant provides the necessary fuel for the mechanisms that keep the cities afloat and local automated refining facilities provide fuel for starports without local gas giants in several nearby systems. The tourism industry promotes the facilities on New Beirut as being the best of the best, with cutting edge techonolgy used wherever possible. The start attractions are the floating casinos, some of the most luxurious in the entire sector.

System Name: Talachak (Adab-0006)
UWP: C867xxx-x
Talachak is one of the oldest settled systems in the subsector and is considered the defacto capital of the subsector, even if Adab officially holds that title. Talachak is a pleasant world to live and work on and has a very diversified economy, being strong in many industries. The extensive cities are easy to see from orbit on all six major continents and most of the sub-continental landmasses.