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Thread: Superball's Age of Mortals Campaign - Spectre of Sorrows

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    Default Superball's Age of Mortals Campaign - Spectre of Sorrows

    Hey everybody! Superball here! I've got a brand new thread for the second arc of the campaign! I'm playing catch up. The first post for Spectre of Sorrows proper is actually last Wednesday's session. Hopefully it gets a little easier for me to get the updates out with the same sort of regularity that I used to, but with the holiday season approaching, who can say? The Heroes did something remarkable in this session, busting into the Dark Knight Citadel perched on the edge of the Desolation: Darkhaven. Here's the cast of characters!

    Caran Hith LN Male Qualinesti Paladin 7.
    Accepted into the arms of Chislev, the grieving slayer has a new path. What mysterious spirit inhabits Redeemer? Played by Mark.

    Jhandra Magfen NG Female Qualinesti Cleric of Chislev 7.
    A servant of the Wild Mother. Can this daughter of Chislev, and the offspring of two Elven Nations, save her people? Played by Michelle.


    Almarden Soth NG Male Ergothian Wizard 5/White Robe 2.
    A member of the White Robed Order of High Sorcery, and wielder of the Shard of Light. Whispered about in the Tower of Wayreth, what part will he play in the troubles fast approaching Krynn? Played by Ernest.


    Krusk LN Male Kazelati Minotaur Fighter 6/Rogue 1.
    A mighty minotaur mercenary, Krusk has recently begun courting the assassins of Khur. Will their skills make him deadly enough to protect his friends? Played by Rob.

    Kara NG Female Irda Oracle 7.
    Blessed and cursed by something close to Mishakel (?), Kara wanders the world looking for the courage and confidence she needs to return home. Played by Becca.


    Pidjit LG Male Tinker Gnome Bard 7.
    The chosen protector and student of the mysterious music box, the little Gnome may learn more than the meaning of music. Played by Sam.

    Session 19

    In Darkhaven
    The party enters the ominous cavern of bones cautiously, with Almarden casting disrupt undead on random piles to make sure nothing will leap up and surprise them (That's a bold move, Cotton. Let's see how that works out for them! -SB). The divine casters distribute protective spells (bear’s endurance on Caran, sacred bond on Krusk). Suddenly up pop six wights that had been hiding among the bones, all dressed in Dark Knight regalia (Who saw that coming? Be honest! -SB). The first chops at Jhandra with his longsword and drains her life force [imposes a negative level]. The second strikes Pidjit [Critical “Stand Aside” double damage and push target 5 feet but Pidjit saves against negative level]. The third slashes Almarden [Critical “Papercut” take -4 attacks/Skills/Ability for 3 rds, but he saves vs negative level] (This was a great fight for me. They made their saves, but my dice were hot, man. -SB). Almarden employs the staff of bones to cast halt undead and freezes two enemies in place (Good move. They kept that staff. I have a bad feeling about it coming into play in a big way at some point in the future. -SB). Kara channels life energy, weakening the undead. Krusk wrecks a wight with his halberd, dropping it. Jhandra channels to harm the wights, uttering “World Mother, destroy them.” Caran slays a wight with his holy blade Redeemer. Pidjit plays an inspiring tune and snaps the flaming whip twice (with its speed ability) and drops a wight. Another wight hits the gnome again [and imposes a negative level.] Almarden “Gandalfs” (That was one of those moments to remember. -SB) the nearest wight into oblivion with a chop from the brightly blazing Shard of Light. Kara channels Mishakal’s energy and excludes those held fast, killing off another wight. Krusk charges and strikes and slays one of immobile wights. Jhandra channels Chislev’s destructive energy. Caran charges and slashes, killing one wight and cleaving toward a second wight but missing. Both remaining wights attack Caran but he avoids their draining effect. Pidjit cracks his whip twice in vain. Almarden flanks with Caran and his artifact’s strike obliterates the second to last wight [Critical “Flat Blade thwack” triple damage.] Kara channels energy to heal her friends. Krusk charges and gives the final wight the full brunt of his enchanted horns, busting him into pieces.



    Superball, here. This fight. /\ This one right here. Super-fun! For those Pathfinder GameMasters out there: The OGC website is your friend. A ton of the legwork is already done for you, as far as dragons pre-built at different age categories, and variants statted out that are only talked about in the entries of the Bestiaries. The Cairn Wight is the Wight with an Advanced Simple Template tacked on. It deals weapon damage, and delivers its touch attack through the weapon. This Wight is super effective. I thought it would just be a trash mob to spend resources on, but as tradition dictates with my group, its the trash mobs that turnabout and surprise. These nasty boys in a group are RIDICULOUSLY effective, provided you are rolling the dice well enough. I would have felt absolutely terrible for them, except Pathfinder changed the way negative levels worked. Back to the good stuff! -SB.


    Caran finds a key on one of the wights and opens the far door (The solid steel door, that Theo Drawde probably made the Legion of Steel pay for. It's so impregnable. It's the best. -SB). The party heads down a natural passage which ends in a new door (So many portals. -SB). There’s a crack under the door and faint light and voices spill through. Caran reaches out with his new divine senses and registers an evil presence beyond the door. Jhandra and Kara bolster Krusk with transmutations (bear’s endurance and bull’s strength). Krusk checks the door and disarms its trap before pushing it open as far as the obstacles on the other side will allow. Krusk forces his way inside, knocking aside two beer kegs propped in front of the entrance (A deadly, nightmarish Kool-Aid man...that impales you. -SB). Two Dark Knights stand guard and are caught flatfooted. Krusk sneak attacks and kills one guard with a single halberd thrust (So far, so good! -SB). Kara’s magical quarterstaff spell thwacks the second guard and Pidjit follows up with a whipping. Caran ends the guard with a blow from Redeemer [Critical “Severed Tendon” normal damage and d6 Dexterity damage]. With both guards dead before they could sound an alarm (They didn't stand a chance. It's like they were wearing red. -SB), the party plans to use the element of surprise to their advantage (And how! It works. Trust me. Keep reading. -SB). Krusk dumps the two corpses in the chamber strewn with bones and leaves the entrance partially open, so the party can bolt back the way they came if need be. The guard room has a table and chairs, 2 casks, 40 silver on the table, and gambling dice. [See Becca for Loot/gear]. There’s a door to the west (which turns out to be a privy) and one to the north, which leads to a hall lined with empty prisoners cells. The party trails Krusk. Almarden scans their surroundings with a divination (detect magic) to assuage Jhandra’s concerns over magical traps or magically concealed doors or foes (Turns out I really had them wound up. I should do impossibly large, foreboding fortresses fill with evil more often. -SB). Krusk finds a torture chamber with an iron maiden, confirming the area functions as a dungeon and interrogation facility. Krusk comes to another closed door and listens carefully but hears nothing. Using a key from the wight, the minotaur enters to find a briefing room full of tapestries and paraphernalia. It also holds one set of stairs leading up and another door. Almarden casts a shrinking spell on a Dark Knight tapestry and pockets it (I have no idea. They ad lib, and I say yes. -SB). Behind a tapestry Krusk discovers a secret door with a passage leading back to the privy (When you gotta go, in an evil stronghold. -SB). Beside the briefing room is a second torture chamber which holds nothing of interest. The next room is a storage chamber with a staircase going up and lots of food, and the party stocks up on rations (In the middle of the enemy fortress. "Ooh, look! That's a lovely cheese. I'll have some of that. -SB).



    Superball, here. I've got to interrupt here to pick on myself. I've been crunched for time, and pretty much unable to prep for sessions in any conceivably useful way. So, I broke my own rules, and allowed empty, purposeless rooms to happen. I had dungeons with no prisoners, and torture...ahem, I mean, interrogation chambers with not "Interogatees" (Is that a word?). Big mistake. Either put some miserable people in, or just strike a line through them so that you can get more done. Ack. -SB.


    Krusk puts his ear to the next door (Except his ear horn kills people. -SB) on the right in the hallway outside of the larder and hears voices. Almarden listens in and recognizes the language of spell recitals and deduces there are four men inside who are Thorn Knights practicing spells (So far their stealth is killing me literally. I'm expecting another massacre. -SB). The long hallway where the party stands has four more doors that would open into different rooms, plus two staircases going up (Wait a minute...all these rooms are loaded with dudes! -SB). Krusk listens outside each of the other doors and hears four voices behind two of them. Krusk holds up fingers to show which rooms are occupied. The crafty mercenary places caltrops on two out of three sets of stairs, the staircase at the far end of the corridor and the one behind the party’s current position outside the Thorn Knights’ chamber. After agreeing the Thorn Knights should be their first target, Krusk also stealthily rigs a tanglefoot bag trap on the door outside each of the other two rooms that contain Dark Knights (Yeah, nevermind... -SB). Almarden readies a dragon’s breath spell and Pidjit readies deep slumber. Krusk bursts open the spellcasters’ door and pushes inside, thrusting his halberd into the gut of the nearest mage and killing him instantly [Critical “Knockback” double damage and push back 1d6 squares = 4 squares.] Kara casts doom on the mage in the back corner and seconds later Almarden’s fire breath kills him. The two remaining Thorn Knights fail to harm Krusk with their touch spells (Cow tipping isn't supposed to be this hard. -SB). A Knight of the Lily bursts through the trapped door and Pidjit tries but fails to put him and his allies into a deep slumber (Yes! The bard troubles me. -SB). Jhandra casts holy smites and weakens all four of them with a pulse of purely good energy. Caran charges the foremost Lily Knight and decapitates him, then cleaves into the man beside him and slays him too (I'm not feeling good about my chances at this point. -SB). Kara summons a quarterstaff of shimmering force to hover beside her. Almarden impales a Lily Knight with the Shard of Light. Pidjit moves up and casts hideous laughter on the knight still in the doorway, putting him on the ground in hysterics with the line “One slip makes you the fall guy now!” (See what I mean? This bard...argh! -SB). Another Dark Knight in the lily insignia slashes Caran. Just then the door beside Jhandra gets busted open by the combined efforts of more Dark Knights with the skull insignia on their uniforms who wield battleaxes. The first guy sidesteps and his neighbor swings for Jhandra but misses. Krusk attacks around the corner with his halberd and scores a deep jab. Jhandra backs up and sears a foe with a lightning bolt. Caran slays the Lily Knight who struck him and cleaves into the prone Lily Knight with another killing stab (Signature move. Swift downward thrusts. -SB). Kara smacks a Skull acolyte with her spiritual weapon. Almarden finishes the battle with a dramatic, booming detonate spell that combusts the final three Skull acolytes (Yeah...I'm ruling that the upstairs knows something is up. -SB). The party must quickly decide what to do---loot the bodies, or press upstairs immediately. They decide that last thundering evocation will almost certainly have alerted more Knights to an intrusion (I'm the GameMaster, and I approve this message. -SB). In the end they agree to a quick healing and an aggressive dash up the only staircase that does not have caltrops (near the larder) to confront the next contingent of knights. The gods only know what retaliation awaits them upstairs, and whether they will be able to rescue Mishakal’s Tear and escape Darkhaven with their lives…

    That's where we left off last week. I've just played through the Basement Level of Darkhaven tonight, and the fight lasted over four hours. It was a doozy. Keep it here for the next bit!

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    Good write-up! So about Energy drain. Players don't get to save against the negative levels right away. It happens 24 hours later. That's what make Energy Drain so dangerous is that negative levels stack up with only a Restoration their hope of regaining the lost level before a day is up. The Tear should help here.
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    We realized that afterward, and are playing it as written from now on, if it comes up again. This rule set is so thick, that we're all constantly making honest mistakes and just rolling with it. You can't know everything.
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    Yeah man. These things happen to my group too.
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    I don't think you should beat yourself up to badly about the empty rooms. As a player in a situation where every room can get you caught, a few empty rooms keeps people on their toes and ratchets up the tension in this particular scenario.

    I'll be curious how the staff of bones figures into the campaign as it chugs along. Really, halt undead is its most useful, non-evil function. I'll be curious how long Almarden can keep using it before he starts considering "other options."

    Shroud kept it in my game, but seldom uses it. Charging it requires death knell and that's not very nice. This will be fun to watch.
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    Not in Pathfinder, Dave. The rules on recharging staves are different. He just has to give up spell slots to put charges back on a one for one basis, but the Death Knell option, like the Dark Side of the Force is quicker, easier...
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    Opening with very intense combat with spooky, intimidating creatures, check. Wights...level drain...shudder. Sure, I would have liked you to roll a percentile dice for Almarden randomly firing disrupt undead spells into the bone piles to pay off, but I understand why you didn't. For once I wasn't eager to be fighting undead as a cleric that could bust them up with channeling, just shaken at the thought of what they might do before they dropped. Thankfully the party has pretty great saves. However, unlike the others, Jhandra did not succeed her 24 hour save and will need to find a ridiculous amount of diamond dust to fuel Greater Restoration, stat. Oh...or maybe USE THE TEAR which I totally forgot about.

    When it came to the rooms full of Dark Knights, thanks for your generosity in letting Krusk trap the stairs and two doors because he made his Stealth check. If you made everybody roll Stealth with the averaged DC 15 say, someone would have been bound to fail and Knights would have come pouring out of rooms to potentially overwhelm us or raise the alarm upstairs. Major points to Rob for his strategy, and Ernest for foresight in purchasing tanglefoot bags. That battle was exciting because we didn't know how many knights were going to join the fray and when. And because there were four spellcasters who very well could have cast four fireballs if we had not beat their Initiative and/or used Hero Points.

    I always enjoy the nuance and flavor of the different Dark Knight orders, the Skulls being my favorite (for being thematically scary) and the Thorn Knight mages my least favorite (for being danger scary). My heart about stopped, at least figuratively, when that room of Skull Knights burst open right behind my cleric. Being able to take every last Knight out, without any escaping to alert his superiors, felt like a very close shave when all was still. And allowing that epic detonation spell of Almarden's was fantastic as a big finale, though we now know it works differently.

    Another fun session and I look forward to many more...
    Last edited by UngainlyDodge; 10-28-2016 at 12:20 AM.
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    Session 19 Loot Notes

    From the Wights
    6 longswords
    6 heavy steel shields
    6 chain shirts
    Ring of Keys

    From the Guard Room
    40 Silver
    Dice

    From the Guards
    2 MW Longswords
    2 MW Breastplates

    Almarden shrinks Dark Knight Tapestry and pockets it.
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    Default Spectre of Sorrows - Session 20: Darkhavem Upstairs.

    Hey all! Superball here! I've got the next installment of the Heroes' quest for the Darkhaven Tear, and it's a doozy. The last couple of sessions have been great fun, and I'm looking forward to being able to update you all on last Wednesday! Let's start as always, with the cast of characters!

    Caran Hith LN Male Qualinesti Paladin 7.
    Accepted into the arms of Chislev, the grieving slayer has a new path. What mysterious spirit inhabits Redeemer? Played by Mark.

    Jhandra Magfen NG Female Qualinesti Cleric of Chislev 7.
    A servant of the Wild Mother. Can this daughter of Chislev, and the offspring of two Elven Nations, save her people? Played by Michelle.


    Almarden Soth NG Male Ergothian Wizard 5/White Robe 2.
    A member of the White Robed Order of High Sorcery, and wielder of the Shard of Light. Whispered about in the Tower of Wayreth, what part will he play in the troubles fast approaching Krynn? Played by Ernest.


    Krusk LN Male Kazelati Minotaur Fighter 6/Rogue 1.
    A mighty minotaur mercenary, Krusk has recently begun courting the assassins of Khur. Will their skills make him deadly enough to protect his friends? Played by Rob.

    Kara NG Female Irda Oracle 7.
    Blessed and cursed by something close to Mishakel (?), Kara wanders the world looking for the courage and confidence she needs to return home. Played by Becca.


    Pidjit LG Male Tinker Gnome Bard 7.
    The chosen protector and student of the mysterious music box, the little Gnome may learn more than the meaning of music. Played by Sam.

    Knowing that the Dark Knights on the floor above will be expecting them after their wizard's booming spell (Cue the creepy "OH YEAH!" sample from that Right Said Fred song. -SB) , the party trots up the staircase. Caran and Krusk lead with their weapons drawn and Kara right behind them ready to cast healing or protective spells.

    At the top they see an empty hall with a few open doors. Pidjit moves silently up the corridor first (Excellent plan! Send out the Bard...alone...so much nefarious hand rubbing. -SB) with his enchanted whip at the ready and a performance in mind to launch into at the first sign of trouble. The rooms appear to be spartan living quarters that hold nothing of immediate interest. Kara approaches the corner and readies a spiritual weapon spell for the next enemy to come into view, Almarden close at her heels (All of the casters, and without a hit point wall. I'm liking my chances at this point. -SB). Caran and Krusk advance around the corner to the left and stare down the first contingent of fortress defenders (More than one move action away, and facing an obvious threat...Excellent! -SB). There are three Dark Night soldiers, two of which are holding the strained leashes of dread wildcats with corpse-like flesh hanging off them (And the sight of an aggressive feline triggers the group joke that started back in Hurim. -SB). Behind that trio stands a Lily Knight Commander wielding a greatsword (With a certain anime-induced swagger, I might add. I had been playing lots of Fire Emblem. -SB). Overhead a bulbous undead spider the size of a dog creeps along the ceiling. To the side of the corridor are empty cells with telltale scraps of rotting flesh, presumably the holding pens for the dreaded beasts now confronting them (At least this time there's an apparent reason for empty rooms! -SB). Jhandra casts fly on herself and moves around the corner to hover 5 ft in the air beside Krusk, finally seeing what they are up against. Caran asks their leader, “Are you the commander in charge?” The man with a fine greatsword drawn answers stiffly, “Yes.” Caran beckons to him and challenges, “Let’s do this.” The Commander declines his offer to fight mano a mano, saying, "I think not." (Have you been reading about what Mark does to my bad guys?! Of course not! -SB) "Typical!" Caran snaps back (Not really. Up to this point, a majority of Dark Knight encounters have ended with a sudden windfall for undertakers. -SB). Pidjit launches into a rousing battle hymn [inspire courage Readied Action]. Caran rushes into the thick of Dark Knights [Hero Point to act out of turn] and fumbles his weapon [Natural 1] but swiftly recovers and slashes a soldier across the throat [Hero Point to reroll].

    Superball, here. I'm going to interrupt for a minute. This is where this encounter unraveled for me. I know what you're thinking, but it's a tactical thing, as opposed to a bunch of crits or failed saves, or whatever. First thing that went wrong: The Dark Knights had readied actions to release the cats...that yours truly forgot to take. So, if I had run the battle the way that I'd planned it, Caran getting tangled up in my charging lane wouldn't have been a problem. The Hero points that they spend keep me on my toes, but they don't do nearly as much damage to my own plans as I do. Also, this was the point that I made the spontaneous decision that my Boss bad guys should have one or two also. Look out, world. The Hero Points are just about necessary, and I'm not sorry that I allow them. They've been fighting every encounter at APL+2 for months. Back to the good stuff! -SB.

    The dreadcats have a nauseating stench but the seasoned elven warrior shakes off the ill feeling (I thought multiple saves would breed failed rolls, but, you know... -SB). Pidjit strums a lullabye and casts deep slumber on the troops, sending all three swordsmen into a sound sleep! (It's about damn time. Sam's Bard can be a real pebble in my shoe, but I still feel a little bummed for him when I make my saves. I don't get it either. -SB) Kara moves beneath her hovering friend Jhandra and casts spiritual weapon, solidly thwacking the Lily Knight Captain. That same Captain escapes down the hall to the right, prompting Caran to yell, "*Coward!" (*The actual quote has been significantly altered, in order to avoid Tauren's mighty BanHammer(tm). -SB) The big spider shoots a web at Caran but the elf dodges (Paladins! Paladins and Bards! -SB). Krusk draws the polished silver Dragonlance and levels it at a dreadcat and charges, impaling and instantly slaying the foul beast (Who's stench fails to sicken him, naturally. -SB). Almarden continues his careful approach. Jhandra incinerates the undead spider with her final searing light ray (Upon reading the word 'final', gentle readers, I relived the thrill of realizing that your party is running out of gas. -SB). Caran drives his curved blade down with both hands into one sleeping soldier and does the same to the next, killing the pair. Krusk lances the final snoozing soldier to death.

    Superball, here. I know that I usually do this at the end of a battle, but this batlle lasted the entire session. Turns out that cowardice was the correct choice, for the Lily Knight-Captain. Keeping him around the corner, out of charge and line of sight, was perhaps the best choice that I had made in this skirmish. Breaking line of sight makes Spiritual Weapons leave! It also prevents your mini-Boss from being turned into a fresh coat of paint on the wall by the minotaur-formerly-known-as-Sherwin-Williams. Even though my entire first component had been crushed, the telepathic spider had already communicated to the Thorn Knight-Captain. My plan was to have it reposition as well, but it died on the end of a Dragonlance, out of reach as it was on the ceiling. Anyhow, read on! -SB.

    Pidjit moves down the corridor running parallel to the one the fleeing Lily Captain took, and readies a whip attack. Kara follows the gnome and spots the Lily Captain across the hall, and the captain’s new backup forces poised in the middle between them (Have at them, Plan B! -SB). There is another undead spider on the ceiling, two more dread cats, three more soldiers, and one more Captain, though this one wears grey robes and holds a rapier with roses and thorns on the bell guard that proclaim him a spell-slinging Thorn Knight (His entrance was more overwhelming than his performance, but I'll leave that for later. -SB). Kara babbles in terror and the others hear her and deduce she’s in trouble. Two cats pounce at Kara (You know, since I remembered my tactics this time. -SB) the first grappling her in it jaws but missing with its claws (Boo! This is not going how I pictured it. -SB). The second fails to bite her but scratches her once (Under-performing cats! Never once in my campaign! -SB) . By the grace of Mishakal Kara resists their sickening stench and infectious disease (I'll spare you. Just picture the wingdings of Sunday Funnies profanity. -SB). Caran calls to the Lily commander, “My offer still stands if you’re done soiling your robes!” (Yeah, I've regrouped. Let me just cuff myself... -SB) The Thorn Knight Captain sends a fireball into the corner, immolating poor Kara and the more fortunate Pidjit whose magic ring completely protects him (Because the damage was WEAK. -SB). Pidjit creeps forward (But does he fail a Fort save?! Does he?! NO!!! -SB) and unleashes a cacophonous a burst of sound that blasts all the undead creatures and stuns two of the soldiers (Do I fail my saves?! YES!!! -SB). Kara channels potent life energy against the dread cats and dread spider, exploding all three of them into corpse dust with Pidjit’s magical assistance (You know, like you do... -SB). Her spiritual weapon misses the Lily commander (Thank the... -SB). Krusk lances the Lily commander through his side (Never mind... -SB). Almarden casts temporal shield so he may move closer without harm, the fabled Shard of Light gleaming in his hand. Jhandra casts her final (Oh, theres that word again! -SB), most potent healing spell to keep Kara on her feet (cure critical). The only soldier still mobile chops futilely at Kara with his longsword. Pidjit retaliates by whipping the soldier with his flaming weapon. Kara also retaliates, ducking back and invoking doom on the soldier, causing his knees to knock together in fear (shaken). For good measure Kara also thumps the Lily commander with Mishakal’s floating quarterstaff. The Thorn Captain casts another scorching fireball in the same corner (To the tune of almost no damage worth reporting. -SB). The Lily Captain charges Pidjit and cleaves deep across his torso with his greatsword. [Critical “We’ve got a bleeder” 9 bleed damage every round plus normal damage.] (That was my one moment, right there. I knocked Pidjit down to about 10 HP. -SB) Krusk puts away the Dragonlance, draws his halberd, and moves toe to toe with a soldier. Almarden approaches and throws the Shard of Light into the Thorn Knight’s ribs. Jhandra channels Chislev’s mercy to heal herself and her friends (There goes my Bleed damage. -SB). Caran moves up beside Krusk. Pidjit lashes the Lily Captain twice, the second blow striking him between the eyes and sending him to the floor out cold. [Critical “Nighty Night” normal damage and unconscious 2 rounds (#!%@&! -SB). Kara bashes the Lily Captain with her spiritual quarterstaff and heals Pidjit with her amulet of faith (cure serious). The Thorn Knight moves up to confront Krusk, prodding him with a necromancy spell that drains the minotaur’s life force and transfers it to himself. Krusk stabs the man for his audacious theft. Almarden delivers a two-handed killing blow with the Shard to the unconscious Lily Captain. Jhandra casts cause fear on the remaining soldier, terrifying him into dropping his longsword and rushing headlong for the caltrop trapped stairwell (Down to the dungeon, to impale his feet, and hid in a closet somewhere. -SB). Caran carves into the Thorn Knight and sneers, “Another captain---I almost didn’t recognize you from the front.” (Again, all talk. I've been face forward setting them on fire pretty much every round. -SB) Pidjit snaps his whip at the retreating soldier’s noggin. [Critical “Bell Ringer” normal damage plus 1d2 Intelligence (2), 1d4 rounds sickened (2).] Kara’s spiritual weapon whiffs but her bane spell on all their foes proves more effective. The Thorn Knight backs up and casts a third crackling fireball (I don't even know how their worthy of the name 'fireball' at this point. -SB) with Krusk in hot pursuit, hacking at him again. Almarden tumbles [Hero Point reroll Natural 1] past the Thorn Knight and flanks him from behind. The Ergothian draws a long gash with the beaming Shard, crying in disgust “You rank amateur!” (No one knows better than me, Ernest. -SB) Jhandra unleashes her largest forks of lightning yet into the Thorn Knight. [Critical “Electrocuted” double damage and if an electricity spell, stunned 1d4 rounds (1).] Caran swings Redeemer so hard he’s off balance but both soldiers who swing back at him miss by inches. Pidjit’s hideous laughter spell incapacitates a trooper as he jokes (referencing the gambling cards in the original guardroom) “Looks like your victory’s not in the cards!” (These quips are so bad, it would have to be magically induced. They should name the spell Tasha's Hideous Dad-Joke. -SB) Both of Kara’s spells (doom and spiritual weapon) narrowly miss their mark. With Almarden flanking Krusk skewers the Thorn Knight to death on his halberd. The final Lily trooper still upright drops his sword and begs for his life.

    Krusk instills further terror in the trooper by grabbing his collar and lifting him into the air and demanding, “WHERE IS THE TEAR OF MISHAKAL?” (...Or the Rebel plans?! -SB) Caran delivers a coup de grace to the laughing trooper, snarling, “It’s good you finally see your life was a joke.” (If you're reading this, you should feel bad for me. I'm the only one at the table with kids, it's my one night off from being a parent, and I'm getting all of the Dad Jokes. -SB) He turns to Krusk’s prisoner and demands, “What about you, Skippy?” thereby raising the dangling man’s fear to new heights. Krusk carries the soldier in the direction his shaking finger indicates to find the legendary Tear. Jhandra and Kara swiftly channel healing energy on the whole party.

    Krusk turns the corner and sees a new host of enemies. The most prominent is another Dark Knight captain with skull motifs on his armor and weapons (Dum dum...DUM! He was so GRIMDARK! -SB). His entourage includes one dread cat, three dread spiders, and only two troopers. Krusk says calmly, “Almarden, I need you.” (Turns out, he probably didn't. -SB) The menacing spiders scurry along the walls and ceiling and the clever mercenary minotaur shields himself with his captive’s body (This just in: You don't need a Tower Shield proficiency...depending on your Lift/Carry -SB). All three spiders spit webs on Krusk, wrapping him in a sticky net (The first one hit, and they don't stack. I should have been eating him. Live and learn. -SB). Kara moves up and casts blunted blades, which does not affect the spiders but effectively “de-claws” the undead wildcat (Rimshot. -SB). The cat waits for a clear charging path with its tail lashing in anticipation (I'd like to think it would be the most terrifying pre-spring butt wiggle in all of Krynn. -SB). Jhandra flies up and uses her dagger to slice Krusk free of webbing. Sir Goran the Skull Captain prays for a boon from his evil god but nothing visibly changes. Krusk moves up, still gripping the trooper (The mental picture is totally worth it. -SB), and assumes a half defensive posture. The two soldiers likewise hang back for an opportunity. Almarden strides up behind Krusk and sends a sizzling lightning lance barreling into the Skull Captain’s solar plexus. The three bulbous spiders entangle both Caran and Krusk on their second webbing attack. Kara conjures a spiritual weapon that hurtles toward the cat and clobbers it in an unexpected, dazzling explosion of force. [Magic Critical “ Planar Rift” normal damage and target is sent to another plane, Will negates.] (I don't like the Crit Deck this week, folks -SB). Kara’s spell tears a rift in reality that sucks the dread cat through before sealing itself back up and vanishing in a thunderous clap (At least the golf jokes drowned out the dad jokes. -SB). Jhandra flies up and cuts away Caran’s webs, urging her fellow Qualinesti, “End this!” The Skull Knight fires a sickly yellow ray into Caran’s chest but the grimacing elf resists his evil power’s grasp. [Villain Hero Point, repeats spell, Caran successfully saves again.] Krusk bursts out of his webs with a roar and tosses aside the trooper. Seeing an opening, the troopers advance on Krusk. Almarden shoots flames from his palms (burning hands) and catches the spiders and both troops, then does the same again. [Hero Point to act again.] All three spiders shrivel up into crispy corpses, and the two troopers are also scorched to death. Pidjit runs toward the fray. Caran charges and lunges for the Captain, slashing his weapon-arm. Kara sends her spiritual quarterstaff after the Captain but he ducks. Jhandra’s next bolt strikes the Captain but also creates a strange crackling aura of interference around her. [Critical “Aura of protection” double damage and +4 AC one round.] The Captain attacks Caran with his spell hand wreathed in eerie dark fire [Villain Hero Point casts defensively and melee touches Caran. The black flames crawl up Caran’s chest but Pidjit strums a special note (gallant inspiration) and bolsters his friend, giving Caran the necessary fortitude to shrug off the worst of the life draining spell (Bards! -SB). Almarden casts an empowered magic missile of pummeling electric blue force into the necromancer. Krusk charges the Knight but his halberd tip strikes the stone above the man’s head. Pidjit approaches and belts out a heroic skald’s tune, flaming whip still in hand. Caran swings with Redeemer but only hits the wall to either side of the agile Skull Knight. Thoroughly repulsed by this necromancer and his god---the antithesis of everything she and her Goddess stand for---the Irda lashes out with her spiritual quarterstaff, finishing off the Knight with a hammering blow that splits his cranium. [See Becca Loot.]

    Hey all, Superball here. Skull Knights are fun! That is all. -SB.

    At last the companions let their weapon arms fall to their sides, breathing harshly into a hall now silent except for the strangled sounds of fright from the trooper Krusk had taken hostage. Somewhere in Darkhaven lies the object of their quest, the artifact to cure the elves of Pashin so they may help the Speaker Gilthas preserve the elves’ sanctuary of Khurinost. The minotaur turns back to loom over the cowering soldier, his halberd still dripping blood almost up to its hilt. The mercenary rumbles, “Now, about that Tear…”

    And that's where we left it! Next week, the Heroes claim their prize, palaver with Phaethon, and visit Flotsam! Stay tuned! Same Lance-time, same Lance-channel!
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  10. #10
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    Another intense, combat heavy session where a good time was had by all! Well except when the GM was begging to have the last boss killed already at 4 HP, but up to then it was unanimous. (A quick apology here for blurting out "This villain has Hero Points? Why? You haven't done that before now!" I take that back. You should definitely keep doing that just to even the odds. I was just anxious in the heat of battle involving enemy spellcasters---darn cleric PTSD, you're awesome and you are more than fair, and I'm sorry.)


    Last session you were very generous letting us set traps and meet the three groups of Dark Knights on our terms, separately. This session you did something similar, having us encounter the Lily Knight and his contingent alone first, and then only the Lily Knight captain in addition to the Thorn Knight and his posse, and finally just the Skull Knight and his posse which were the smallest yet. (Only one dreadcat, whew!)


    This was maybe my favorite fight yet except for the dragon fight. Thrilling! And everybody played a very important role and had a cool moment or three they will cherish and tell stories about for years.


    It was also the most nerve wracking fight yet. Three intimidating bosses, two with spells including fireball and the scariest named spell ever, "Slay Living!" Three separate encounters that involved wildcats of some sort (our "Achilles heel," if the mythical Achilles' heel had been actively trying to murder him). And giant spiders which, aside from their high creepy factor, get me antsy about things like poison and paralysis. Our fighters and other cast all made their Fort saves, but if they hadn't it could've really changed the outcome.


    The Critical Hit deck really shone in this combat and threw out fantastic twists. Particularly Becca knocking the scary-beyond-reason dreadcat into another dimension with her magic critical. But also a high point for me when Jhandra used lightning and drew a critical card that specifically allowed an extra stunning effect for dealing electricity damage. What luck! The bard got some good criticals too (Bell Ringer on the soldier and Nighty Night on the Thorn Captain) that were very timely in shutting down the threats. We did come perilously close to losing our bard after the Thorn Knight charged him, though, so when I say it was timely I mean it probably saved him.

    I would say I'm looking forward to next time, and I am, but we are running behind and I'm now referring to Session 23!

    *The last notes I sent you were labeled "Session 22" when they should have been "Session 21," sorry for the confusion.




    "Fall into my pit trap, shame on you. Fill my pit trap with bloodthirsty sharp-toothed goblins with abyssal templates, shame on me." ---SuperBall

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