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*


  1. Multiple levels of excellent in there! Running across the occasional situation where the party needs to RUN AWAY is always a great way to keep people on their toes.

    And then having some frustrations, such as chasing a vampire and not catching him, and then chasing an erinyes but having it escape, is good for their character!

    (though, I'm not sure why the erinyes hadn't just cast teleport to begin with if it was being a messenger)

    I was curious - what was the original plan when walking in on the vampire? Was the plan to scare it away, as happened? Any particular reason why it didn't attack what appeared to be a single person? (of course, it could have been pretty hurt from the fight with the horde of zombies) Any word on who was leading the zombies, or who killed the black dragon?

    Question! Questions!

    (yes, I realize they're part of a good sandbox session - the world is a mysterious place with lots of unanswered questions :-) that's part of the wonderful thing about sandboxes!)

  2. The original plan was for Aziz to move up and cast detect evil on the stranger. Sadly, Aziz was on rearguard duty and has a miserable stealth modifier (-1, up from -4 as he has put some spare skill ranks in it). We were not originally certain who the stranger was working for or that it was a vampire and we have learned that talking can get better results than just attacking (see the drow story arc).

    I don't know why it did not attack, but I have suspicions. I think Lorien (the vampire) is working for the lich as a troubleshooter. I think the lich wants his notes collected as it has realized someone is actively working against it (that would be us) and the notes may be useful against the lich. Additionally, if the lich commits too many resources to getting the notes, his new demon/devil/daemon allies might decide he is weak and remove him from the equation. Power politics amongst the evil is 90% perception of strength.

    The zombies are a mystery to me. I think there is either another interested party in what is going on. The vampire seemed to be in control of the zombies when the lizrdfolk scouts showed up, but seems to have killed the lizardfolk zombies raised as a result of that combat, which doesn't seem to make sense to me.

    The dragonslayers (the group that killed the black dragon) might be involved somehow, but we have no direct evidence of this either way. We aren't even certain if their fight against the black dragon was planned or incidental.

    There are several things Harkaitz wants to follow up on once the gates are secured.