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Thread: Rogue's Pathfinder Price of Courage Journal

  1. #21
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    Very curious decision for earthquake in an enclosed structure. I think you handled it appropriately.
    "It's not a game of Final Fantasy where you can step outside the plot for a bit and train up your stats, it's a potentially apocalyptic final chapter in an epic drama." - Brass Tiger Captain

  2. #22
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    I have kicked the can on this for too long. Expect updates in the next few days.
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  3. #23
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    Hooray!
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  4. #24
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    Default Session 5

    It’s been three months. I know there aren’t many readers of this journal, but I have good reason to delay. During the session one of my player’s and I disagreed on something. I won’t dramatize the issue through the journal, but I will definitely touch upon it because it impacted the game. As you may know, we record the entire session and I listen to for the write-up. To be honest, I haven’t wanted to relive the moment where I lose a player who’s been with the game since 2010. But hey, life is life. I’m not going to sugarcoat. We fail and move forward from there. So now I am catching up. Session 6 is already in the can, and Session 7 is scheduled for July 8th, so I am going to endeavor to get everything up as quickly as possible. Without further ado, here we go.

    The party began the session in the Grand Gallery. While there, Gygax healed everyone and the others explored the three-level room, noticing different lifelike portraits from locations around Ansalon. It dawned on them that each portrait was a portal of sorts, as they had stepped through from the Lyceum in Kalaman. The others correlated that each portrait matched the map they acquired from Merkane’s. It was during this time that Lya felt the turbulent emotions of a metallic dragon not far off. She could not pinpoint it, but through her Dragonsinger empathic link, fear and frustration echoed from somewhere deeper in Bastion.

    They made their way down to the bottom floor, agreeing to search the White Ternion first. Stepping on the white circle, all found teleportation into an austere white-lined study full of plain wooden tables, chairs and bookshelves that dominated most of the room. Mirrors along the walls placed an illusion that the room was bigger than its actual size. There were three sets of doors, two of which led out to the Outer Ternion, and another set leading inward. Inspecting the room, they found nothing of value other than a very highly polished Vallenwood cloak rack. On a whim, Ellinghad cast a Detect Magic cantrip, and the rack faintly radiated an odd combination of every school. The party resolved to take the rack, putting it in a Bag of Holding. \_(ツ)_/ They proceeded to the doors leading farther into the Ternion. That opened into a long hallway with doors on each side.

    They searched each room, finding dormitories, offices, a laboratory and a library. There was also a protected balcony that looked out into the Gray. In the middle of it was an empty pedestal. It took time carefully searching each room, but I won’t bore you all with the details. It was in the library where most of the interesting things occurred. In the library, they found shelves of magical books behind magically reinforced glass. Ellinghad instinctively knew the shelves to be trapped and protected. I pulled him aside to share the information that only a White Robe would be able to access the shelves safely. As Dan warned the rest of the group of this information, Matt (Hyphen the kender) said it’s too late he already touched it and was putting the books in his Haversack.

    This is where things got a little dicey. I told him he couldn’t just take the books and that there was a trap. He responded that he wasn’t worried about it and he could disarm it anyway. We went back and forth a bit on this. He rolled an incredibly high Disable Device check of 52 to unlock, successful as always. But there was still the trap. I admittedly hesitated, but set off the trap anyway, a Prismatic Wall. The first flash went off, but no one was blinded due to being over 8 HD. Hyphen also evaded a burst of flame that came off the wall. On successful Spellcraft checks, the group determined that one of seven layers of the Prismatic Wall was dispelled, leaving six more. I warned that further tampering of the trap set off the other layers, which became deadlier each time.

    Ellinghad again warned, saying it’s just wizard books that wouldn’t interest anyone here. Hyphen insisted the books had to be worth something. Ellinghad then explained in RP terms what a library that facilitated the Tower Resources mechanic did. Hyphen still insisted that they could sell the books. Ellinghad and Hyphen (player and characters) started disagreeing on that item. I did my best not to take sides, but even I was getting a bit annoyed how this topic was completely derailing the gaming session. It came to a point of disruption where Matt started rolling dice indeterminately saying he made all the saves, but rolled them so quickly there was no way to track it. Statistically speaking there was room for failure, but I was being blown off. I again called Dan over to give him more information about the spell to possibly aid Hyphen. Regardless, the whole exchange ended abruptly with Matt giving up on the Prismatic Wall. That took about 30 minutes.

    They decided to again continue searching, spending time in the arcane laboratory. While there the party found perfect for crafting magical items, and spells of the Divination and Abjuration schools were automatically Extended or Empowered. On a thorough search, they found a summoning circle that appeared to be broken, with scorch marks around the area. Lya also found a locked white pine box, about a foot square in dimension. It was locked, but held no magical traps. Hyphen announced he would not aid in unlocking the box. Ellinghad cast a Knock spell, successfully gaining access. Inside was a white-glowing globe. On a 36 Knowledge Arcana, Ellinghad identified it as an Orb of the Moon, one of three keys used to open doors in the Lyceum of Kalaman. It was safe to assume that perhaps they served the same purpose in Bastion. They continued searching around, finding another strange Vallenwood item, this time a scroll rack. They took that too, placing it in a Bag of Holding. \_(ツ)_/

    They then proceeded to the balcony, noticing two other similar Ternion balconies hundreds of feet off, each with their own pedestal. They put the orb in the indentation on the pedestal, and a shimmering outline of another structure partially appeared in the space between the Ternions. Once the structure coalesced, Lya had a full premonition that the good dragon she felt earlier was there. She shared the news with the party. On a successful Knowledge Arcana check, the party also determined that from time to time the Order of High Sorcery recruited good dragons to guard their Towers. The Tower of Wayreth had such a copper dragon for many years. They wondered if this dragon had such an arrangement. Ellinghad briefly thought about using a Dimension Door to get to the other balconies, but decided against it due to all the strange goings-on.

    Meanwhile, Hyphen/Matt became bored, and left the group to go back to the main library area. As soon as he left the long hallway, a group of 10 four-armed xill appeared. They were led by a larger, stronger specimen wielding monk’s kamas. While the others chanted his name “Ziric,” thus started the melee. I feel like this further alienated Matt as he went off by himself right into an encounter. I wanted to explain that I wasn’t throwing an angry DM grudge fight at him, but I didn’t. Maybe I should have.

    The combat was long and dangerous. The xill opposition were monks, which definitely made for a challenging combat that clocked in at about two hours. No one died and they killed most of the xill. I decided to end the encounter when the xill had lost half their force, using the Planeswalk ability to escape. During the three rounds is takes for them go Ethereal, the group ended up killing Battle-Dancer Ziric, the leader. Thus only three escaped. The party looted the dead bodies and then decided to head to the Red Ternion next. Before going, they decided to rest in the dormitories they found. The group set a watch, and were even able to find all the food they wanted in the kitchen area. It appeared magically.

    After a long rest, they left the White Ternion, stepping back on to the Teleportation Circle into the Grand Gallery. From there it was a quick step to the left and they appeared in a wide room, similar in dimensions to the White Ternion study. That was its only similarity as they noticed the walls traced in dizzying patterns in every shade of red, from burgundy to fuchsia. None of the furniture matched, and rugs on the floor were cut in asymmetrical patters. I explained it as a bad acid trip. They also found another piece of Vallenwood furniture in form of a boot scraper. They took that too, obviously. \_(ツ)_/

    After their quick exploration, they opened the red double doors into the Concourse hallway to find it covered in webs. As they stepped in carefully, phase spiders appeared all around, starting another fierce melee. The fight didn’t last long with several area effect spells etc. After that fight, everyone was a bit worn out, so we left it there.

    I apologize if this journal seems a bit off. I know I skipped a combat write-up but my heart wasn’t in it. As I mentioned prior, I feared writing it and put it off for almost three months. After the session, Matt and I had more discussion which turned to disagreement over my DM style. I am not meaning to put that up for debate here, but he ended up leaving the group. This simply had never happened to me in 11 years of DM’ing. It threw me for a loop.

    Oh well. Stand by for Session 6 as I move to get that written quickly. Thanks for reading!
    Last edited by rogue; 06-28-2017 at 08:01 PM.
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  5. #25
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    7 years later is kind of late to complain about the GM.
    "It's not a game of Final Fantasy where you can step outside the plot for a bit and train up your stats, it's a potentially apocalyptic final chapter in an epic drama." - Brass Tiger Captain

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue
    Oh well. Stand by for Session 6 as I move to get that written quickly. Thanks for reading!
    How's that quick writing going?
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  7. #27
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    Ha. Working on session 6 today. I was out of town a lot last week.
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  8. #28
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    Default Session 6

    Welcome back my intrepid readers. This will again be a bit shorter write-up as we had recording issues, so I am going partially by memory.

    The session started off with the crew continuing their exploration of Bastion’s Red Ternion. After defeating the phase spiders, they found the remains of several victims in the long concourse. One was obviously a red robed mage, but another looked to be an adventurer of some sort. They collected some magical leather armor, a spell storing quarterstaff, a headband of intellect and several Restoration potions.

    Continuing their search, they found the Ternion’s layout to be very similar to the White’s. They found the red library, giving the protected spellbook shelves a wide berth. After a thorough search with Detect Magic, the group discovered the cleverly hidden locked cherrywood box containing the Orb of Lunitari. It was protected by a Screen spell which took a while to disenchant. During their exploration, they also found a vallenwood table in the dining hall, but left it alone due to it being six feet long.

    They then departed towards the Black Ternion. On their return to the Red Study, Lord Theo Drawde and his two compatriots waited patiently. This took everyone a bit by surprise and I was happy for it. Drawde asked if they had recovered the red orb and the party played coy. The thorn-lord tut-tut’d, sharing that they’d acquired the Orb of Nuitari and offered again to join forces to defeat the xill.

    Sir Royse mostly led the conversation which became an interrogation of exactly what the dark knights stood to gain in Bastion. Royse also called Drawde out in the knowledge that he was aligned with Frost. Drawde laughed, sharing that he kept his friends close and enemies closer. According to his historical research, Bastion held a weapon to wield again against the dragon overlord. Again this caught the group unawares. They confirmed amongst themselves on how to deal with the situation. They weren’t sure if Drawde meant the dragon skull or something else. For a while, they also considered the implications of Sir Royse challenging Lord Drawde to honorable single combat for the orb. Finally, after some lengthy back and forth, they made their decision. Sir Royse offered the dark knights terms of surrender to hand over the orb and leave honorably with their lives intact. If not, it was death. Drawde angrily refused and we went right into combat initiatives.

    Sir Otto kicked off the round, moving to engage Lord Drawde on a double move action and close within striking distance. Lord-Knight Drawde followed, taking a five-foot step away. Otto had the Step-Up feat, including some other anti-spellcaster feats. Drawde still made his check to cast defensively, raining down an Ice Storm to keep the party off guard. A cylinder of pounding ice covered everyone but Sir Otto, dealing 13 cold and bludgeoning damage. The storm also restricted movement and hampered Perception checks. Drawde then Quickdrew his longsword. This provoked an attack from Otto, slicing the sorcerer for 12 damage. Sir Ellinghad took a move action out of the storm and cast Spell Turning. Lya also moved out of the storm and fired, peppering Lord Drawde. The recording was garbled and I couldn’t hear the damage total. Next came Sir Royse, who barreled forward towards melee with a double move action. Elgene the player burned a Hero Point to move again, now in striking range. Gygax used his Dimensional Hop Travel Domain ability with Esilidor the Tiger. They appeared next to Lady Portia Gant, the Skull Knight monk. Gygax cast Blessing of Fervor defensively on the group, while Esilidor clawed and bit at the knight. Lady Portia used a Swift action to spend a ki point to bolster her AC, but still suffered hideous slashes in the amount of 26 damage. Lady Portia retaliated into a Flurry of Blows with an axe (Punishing) kick to Esilidor’s furry skull. The tiger failed his FORT save, and was knocked prone. Gygax made a Ride check to Fast Dismount amongst jokes at the table to call PETA. Playing a Pathfinder monk is fun! Getting caught up in jokes and small talk, I totally forgot to take the rest of Lady Portia’s full-round attack. Sigh. Closing the round came Sir Mordecai the Lilly Knight. He unleashed a full-round attack on Sir Otto with his bastard sword, slashing the Clerist for 68 damage (one hit and one critical). Mordecai is a beast!

    On round 2, Sir Otto took a five-foot step and proceeded to attack Sir Mordecai with Gilthanas’ icy burst longsword, striking the knight several times (including a critical) for a total of 59 damage. Savage rounds! Lord Drawde fell into his magic to cast Chain Lighting defensively. Sir Royse saved for half against the initial strike for 28 damage, while Otto and Esilidor failed for 28 damage each. Gygax saved as well, taking only 14. Drawde then took a five-foot step, and Otto followed with the Following Step feat. Grrrr. On studying this feat chain, I just realized this was an illegal action, so something to remember for later. Sir Ellinghad played is smart, targeting Sir Mordecai with Resilient Sphere. He failed his Reflex and was entrapped in a shimmering field of energy. This turned the tide of combat. Lya targeted Lady Portia, firing multiple arrows. The skull-monk snatched the first arrow out of the air and threw it back at the elf. Lya became the victim of her own projectile. Again the recording became a bit garbled for the damage done to each. Grrr the wolf then scrambled into melee with a double move action. Royse took a five-foot step and attacked Drawde while burning a Hero point for an extra attack, which included a Haste effect from his Boots of Speed. He slashed the knight for a whopping 64 damage with his holy longsword. Holy longsword made Drawde holy, haha. Esilidor stood up, provoking an AoO from Portia. I used a successful Stunning Fist attack which hit. The tiger took 17 damage and again failed a save to be Stunned for one round, and Sickened for one minute. Fearing for his mount, Esilidor put a hand to his bonded ally and Dimension Hopped away to safety. The priest then grabbed his Medallion of Faith, bursting a Selective Channel Energy to heal everyone for 31 hp’s. Lady Portia tumbled away with Acrobatics from the almost flank, then cast Cure Critical Wounds, and Heroic Surged to touch and heal the Lord-Knight. I kept the healing score to myself. Sir Mordecai closed the round by striking the Resilient Sphere to no avail.

    Sir Otto opened round 3 with a confirmed Nat 1 attack, Elgene taking a card from the fumble deck. The card had the Clerist potentially fall unconscious if he didn’t make a Will save. I was confused because the card didn’t have the save listed. I just thought one up on the fly, which he failed. Otto over-swung and hit himself in the face, out like a light for three rounds to laughs around the table. Lord Drawde cast Limited Wish for a Greater Dispel Magic to free Sir Mordecai. The dispel check failed. The Thorn Knight took an immediate action to use the Arcane Shield feat, gaining +6 to AC as magical light enveloped his body. Ellinghad then cast his own Chain Lightning, targeting Drawde. Drawde failed his save, but I rerolled with the Improved Lightning Reflexes for a success. The sorcerer took half, 42 damage, and Lady Portia evaded the secondary lightning strike. I forgot that Drawde had a Ring of Evasion, sigh. Grrr the wolf tried to bite the Skull-monk and missed. Lya continued putting arrows into the air with zero success. Sir Royse continued his assault on Drawde, slashing him for 33 more damage. Well bloodied, the Thorn Knight was on his last leg. With the tiger still stunned until Portia’s initiative, Gygax drew the Shard of Light and missed his attacks on the monk. In response, she positioned and burned more ki to use a Flurry of Blows on Sir Royse. A vicious punch impacted the knight for 16 damage. She then grabbed him with both hands and wrapped him in a headlock (successful grapple). Kind of a waste of Flurry of Blows, but I wanted more options for attacks on Royse as he kept dealing tons of damage. Mordecai continued stabbing the Sphere.

    With Otto knocked out, Drawde began Round 4. In a wounded rage, Drawde viciously stabbed poor Otto with his longsword for a coup-de-gras. Otto took 31 damage and passed his FORT save. Looking back, it was a wasted round for Drawde and maybe out of character, but oh well. Dan the player busted out a very inside joke here, doing his best impression of Van Damme in Bloodsport to say “noooo, stoooop!” It’s from where Chun Li head stomps the guy who plays Ogre from the Nerds movies. We both couldn’t stop laughing while the rest of the group just looked at us awkwardly. My brother and I are weird, what can I say? Ellinghad then cast a retaliatory Polar Ray…that totally enveloped the dark knight in ice. As Drawde was at 10 hp, I told Dan to not worry about the damage. Lya continued shooting, putting two arrows in Lady Portia for 35 damage. Despite being grappled, Sir Royse offered terms of their surrender. The fighting would stop, and the two dark knights would be allowed to depart Bastion. Lord Drawde’s remains and equipment would be left behind. Lady Portia asked him to swear on his honor, which he did. She agreed.

    The fight was over despite rumblings from Chris, who is Gygax. He wanted the other dark knight loot, lol. Ellinghad made Sir Mordecai also swear before dismissing the Resilient Sphere. The dark knights grudgingly escaped, while the party searched Drawde’s frozen corpse. They found his weapons, armor and effects, but more importantly the Orb of Nuitari. Gygax worked to heal the party with several Channel Energy bursts and a few cure spells here and there.

    The party then made their way to the previous Ternions, placing the orbs on their respective pedestals. When at the Black Ternion, they met no major resistance, despite it being a dark and macabre place. They did find more Vallenwood furniture, this time a coffee table. Heading to the balcony, they placed the orb and the entrance to the Inner Cornet coalesced into being, filling the gap in the center of Bastion. A portal opened and they stepped through, finding themselves in a spherical chamber of glass and metal pylons that looked out into the Gray. Brass plates covered the lower half of the walls. In the middle of the room stood a large platform with delicate glass orbs and crystal rods. In the far right corner, several of the plating had come off, creating a vortex that sucked out the air. Everyone made their Reflex saves but Ellinghad, who Nat 1’d. The wizard fell on his back and found himself sucked 10 feet towards the hole. With multiple skill checks, the party shared information that the vortex opened into another plane and could be plugged with Force magic. Ellinghad cast Wall of Force to fix the breach with a successful DC 25 Concentration check. Bastion did the rest as it was constructed of the same stuff, repairing itself. As the air settled, a number of glowing stones fell to the deck…ioun stones! With the others collecting them, Ellinghad inspected the platform to discover it had the properties of a Scrying device (successful Knowledge Arcana), much like a crystal ball. The only problem was several pieces were broken. It required liberal uses of the Mending spell to repair. Luckily he had one memorized. It was restored after a few moments. Each member got a stone or two and continued on.

    Still unsure on how to properly work the portals, the group stepped through again, this time appearing in a large office space. It held a desk, chairs and was decorated in the furnishings of Solinari. Sitting at the chair behind the desk, a half-elf in white robes came to as if awakening from a nap. The mage began casting a spell. Ellinghad asked him to halt, naming himself a brother in magic. The half-elf paused, and Dan made a Diplomacy roll to help him calm down. He introduced himself as Remmik Half-Elven, and expressed confusion that after a field mission to the Elemental Plane of Earth, he found Bastion infested with xill and his fellow wizards either dead or disappeared. Ellinghad asked how long he’d spent there. Remmik had no idea. For a time, he felt himself bereft of his connection to the Art. Then the magic returned and he was whisked home. Though his senses told him a few days, the condition of Bastion was far worse upon his return. Remmik then survived by moving around Bastion, fighting xill. Following a suspicion, Ellinghad asked Remmik what year it was. He replied that it was 383 AC, of course. Ellinghad sadly confirmed that the year was 422 AC, and much occurred in the 39 years of his absence. They knew from experience that time passed differently on the planes. Remmik almost fainted, but kept his feet. Sitting back down in the chair, they shared a brief summary of the Chaos War, War of Souls and details of their quest.

    Ellinghad then asked for Remmik’s aid in liberating the fortress of the xill threat, and requested any details to aid them. The half-elf shared that though it was too dangerous to check, he believed the xill laired in the Meeting Chamber where lay the portal to the Heart Room. He also said that perhaps there were resources they could use. As Remmik was attuned, he activated the portal easily and led them to another room. Before them was another dome-like chamber filled with desks, work benches and cabinets around the the perimeter, leaving the center a 60-foot diameter area with only two objects. On the left, a strange, shimmering glass orb sitting atop a pedestal. On the right, a very large and angry-looking copper dragon, frozen mid-snarl.

    Remmik explained that the dragon orb and petrified wyrm weren’t there when he left. Ellinghad knew from his studies that all the orbs were thought lost. Remmik did not disagree, but only confirmed it was indeed one of the ancient artifacts. He’d studied it for weeks, and was able to find out through divination magic that the orb contained the soul of a good dragon instead of evil. He dared not touch it though, lest it corrupt him like Lorac of Silvanesti. He also thought it an incredible waste of magic to break it, and thus let it be.

    Lya spoke up, saying the dragon was in pain and needed freedom. Ellinghad said for that to occur, the only way was to touch and dominate it. The entire party, sans Sir Otto, all agreed to touch the orb at once to try and master the artifact. Among cries of warning and disbelief from Remmik, they all laid hands as the shimmering mist inside the orb swallowed them into the ethers.

    That was a very wow moment. I couldn’t believe it happened. This is also where we left it. I doled out XP, and everyone leveled to 16th.

    Stay tuned for Session 7. It’s done and recorded. I just need to get off my lazy ass and write it up.
    Last edited by rogue; 08-11-2017 at 01:05 PM.
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  9. #29
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    This whole adventure path disabuses the thought that Dragonlance is a low-magic world.
    "It's not a game of Final Fantasy where you can step outside the plot for a bit and train up your stats, it's a potentially apocalyptic final chapter in an epic drama." - Brass Tiger Captain

  10. #30
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    Who's this Remmik character? Where's that going?

    Loved the fight with the Dark Knights - particularly Portia repeatedly knocking a tiger on its ass. She's one of the most fun NPCs in the campaign to play, I think. I had blast with her in my game. Hopefully her and Mordecai will be back (that guy really is a damn tank).

    Also, the knight knocking himself unconscious on a fumble is one of the funniest moments ever. Right up there with Herschel drinking oil of daylight.
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