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Archive for the ‘Sasserine’ Category

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After a bruising final battle with a Korpru Cleric and his huge napalm breathing mate, a battle that left the Wizard a drooling shell of a man, and very nearly killed everyone else about 3 times, the desperate intervention by the Favoured Soul and liberal use of healing potions kept everyone above 0 Hp…most of the time.  Our battered, burnt and bleeding companions flee to the surface, only hours ahead of the flood they have unleashed on the city.

From there they heal the Wizard and Teleport back to Farshore, and are greeted by Lavinia who informs them that Jakara, the Olman guy they released from the Troglodyte village early in the last adventure,  is recovering in the town’s chapel being cared for by the priest.  He hands over a scroll with a message from Noltus Innersol to the head of his order, Kera Gosalar, in Sasserine.  The letter states that he is leading a group Pelor followers to the central plateau of the Isle of Dread to investigate a reawakened evil.

The gang level up, use Teleport spells to travel back to Sasserine to deliver the message and spend most of their hard-earned plunder, on a fairly epic spending spree.

So having spent several fortunes on shiny new toys, the party return to the Dreaded Isle to continue the fight against baddies with scary black pearls that when activated  turn everything around into crazy, feral, zombie thingies.

See this old post: https://strategicgamesbgs.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/cohen-speaks-starting-the-bullywug-gambit/  to see why that’s important.

Using the handy-dandy Teleport Spell a couple more times our heroic heroes travel to the top of the plateau and begin the process of finding the Cleric and his followers.  After a day of wandering about and finding a hidden trail, they end up near an area of wetlands, they are challenged, and soon greeted by a number of Lizard folk who turn out to be followers of Pelor, each wearing the god’s holy symbol openly.  The group is eventually welcomed into the camp but are told that Noltus is on patrol, and should have been back by now.

Low and behold the next morning the cleric and the rest of his followers return, battered but alive.  Noltus and the rest of the patrol are greeted and introduced to the new comers, Noltus asks about their adventures and shares his group’s experiences in turn.   After a while however, Harok notices that although all of the returned warriors appear normal, none of the lizard folk wear Pelor’s symbol…

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Last week’s game time was taken up with what I call a house keeping session.  This includes leveling up, selling and buying new equipment and introducing the next adventure hook.  In this case Lavinia offers the adventurers a place in her proposed trip to resupply a colony set up on the Isle of Dread by her parents.  They were about to make just such a voyage at the time of their deaths.  The trip is a long one, approx. three months each way.  This is a fine opportunity to find wealth and adventure, or death and disaster.  Perhaps both. 🙂

This week’s session kicks off with final preparations being done to the Sea Wyvern.  There are a couple of complications in the shape of Avner Meravanchi, an arrogant Nobleman.  Some nice Olde Worlde terms for him include: Blaggard, Cad and Bounder.  If you’re not sure what these words mean, read one or more of the Flashman series. 

Avner Meravanchi is the representative of the other major Sasserine family involved in this venture to the Isle of Dread.  The adventurers first meet him when he arrives at the dock  demanding that his magnificent war-horse, have a place on board the Sea Wyvern.  The Paladin, who the player has decided to name Artix, makes a good diplomacy check and assures the none to bright Nobleman that a 3 month sea voyage is no place for such a beautiful animal.  Half an hour later another howl of outrage from Avner brings him to our attention when he finds that he is expected to bunk with the “commoners” in the forward hold quarters. In this case Artix decides to placate him and shift him and his two servants to a private cabin.

The Sea Wyvern and the Blue Nixie set sail on the morning tide the next day.  That evening the two ships anchor side by side in a sheltered cove, and Lavinia throws a banquet in celebration of beginning the voyage.  As the pleasant night of wine and song comes to an end, the party begins transferring back to their own ship via a rope seat and pulley system.  The rope snaps plunging the Goliath into the sea.  Artix passes the swim check and treads water until he is thrown a rope.  Good thing he picked up that ring of swimming in the last adventure… and didn’t wear his plate armour to dinner…

Once everyone is distracted be the spectacle of the waterlogged paladin being hauled back on board,  a mephit,  recently released by persons unknown attacks the Cleric and Warmage with an acidic breath weapon.  Both make their Reflex saves and take only 4 Hp damage each.  The Mephit takes advantage of the confusion and shoots a Melf’s Acid Arrow at the Rogue who easily avoids it.  As bows are hastily being strung, Nugai tosses a ball of electricity at the flying attacker and blasts it from the sky. The unfortunate, and now unconscious, creature plummets to the deck and smacks into the planking taking its last couple of Hp.  As it was summoned from another dimension it returns there in a puff of black and green, slightly acidic smoke. So much for fast healing…

After a week or so at sea Malciver falls ill one morning after breakfast.  The investigation to search out the poisoner, leads them to realize someone on board is impersonating one of the passengers  in order to get close to the food preparation.

Someone on board seems to hold a grudge toward the party.  Hmm… Wonder who it could be?

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What a cool name for an adventure!

Well, since the end of the last adventure the intrepid troop spent a week or two selling loot and buying new equipment.  They also provided all of the evidence uncovered in the Lotus Dragon’s lair to the Dawn Council (the ruling council in Sasserine).  This resulted in the group of adventurers being honored with medals called the Spire of Sasserine.  Thus our young heroes start to build their heroic reputation in Sasserine. 

So after a short period of R&R, Lavinia sends them to Kraken Cove, the heist location mentioned by her brother in his letters to Rowyn.  Not able to convince any of the local fishermen or merchants to take them even close to the infamous pirate refuge.  The party spend 100 gp of their rapidly decreasing funds to buy a couple of row boats…not as dumb as it might sound.  Some of them have very good ranks in Profession Sailor now and the party has picked some extra muscle in the form of a Minotaur, by the name of Crunchbite.  So, rowing in shifts they are able to make it to the general location in about 2 days.  Thanks to an epic Knowledge – Geography check by the Elven Ranger, whom the player has decide to name Malciver by the way, our boys & girls even know where Kraken’s Cove is!

Due to sheer cliffs around Kraken’s Cove, it is decided to make landfall a couple of hours down the coast and walk along the cliff tops.  However, still about a mile out they spot a column of black smoke billowing into the air.  At about the same time they start to come across the  horribly deformed corpses of animals native to the area.  Snakes, monkeys, birds etc, all of them either sprouting tentacles, crab claws, vestigial heads and extra limbs or have been torn apart, or both.  The only live animals seen are locked in vicious combat with one another. 

As Dream, in a well-meaning but horribly ill-timed bout of sympathy tries to help some of the afflicted animals, he and the party are set upon by a group of crazed things that might, at one time, have been monkeys.  The horrified heroes find out some unpleasant things.  Like, these crazed little tentacle monkey things are hard to hit, harder to kill, and even in their death throes have one last go at taking a chunk out of the nearest character.  With every successful bite comes a Fortitude check, making everyone very nervous. As well as that, they seem quite resistant to mundane weapons. 

After short but nasty fight, they continue on towards the column on smoke, a few minutes later they are presented with a frightening view from their vantage atop the cliffs.  Kraken cove is on fire.  Well a lot of it anyway.  3 or 4 ships are ablaze and drifting in the shallow harbour, one seems to have made it to deeper water unscathed and is making for the open seas.  Even the water is ablaze somehow.  Ignoring the rickety walkway that no-one wants to try, our fearless heroes throw 100ft of knotted rope over the cliff and prepare to climb down.  The Minotaur and Goliath brace themselves with the rope at the cliff top and lower the others down.  Rand and Oaradreth work out a complicated deal between themselves for the ninja to climb down and the wizard would then use Baleful Transposition to transport himself safely down the cliff… leaving the ninja to traverse the cliff again.  Not a problem for the ninja with an excellent climb ability.  All goes to plan until Oaradreth decides it would be Hilarious to resist the spell.  Which he does successfully.   Thus wasting one of the wizard’s two second level spells, and forcing Rand to join the queue to be lowered down the cliff by the parties’ two brutes.

In the activity and excitement of getting everyone down the cliff, the party fails to notice several terrible, twisted… things slinking towards them through the wreckage that is strewn along the length of the beach.  As the last of the party hits the beach the aptly named Savage Creatures break from cover and charge.  To give you a mental image, think of a cross between a crew member of the Flying Dutchman, from Pirates of the Caribbean, and a 28 Days later Zombie. 

 “It may have once been a man, but now its grey skin, strangely flopping arms and legs and the vacant eyed vestigial head hanging from its neck make the creature anything but.  Yet perhaps worst of all is the creature’s mouth, a cavernous wound in its twisted face filled with a twisting landscape of teeth, a mouth designed for one thing only – tearing flesh from the bone”  Also add tentacles, crab like claws and spines. 🙂

 Something is not right...

 

Next week, exploring Kraken’s Cove, and some more trying not to die.

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Stepping wide around the remains of the zombie they’ve just cut down, as it leaks various noxious liquids and vapours, the group enter the private chambers of the leader of the Lotus Dragons.  The opulence of the study is in sharp contrast with the rest of the complex.  The space is dry and free of mold and mildew, the carpets thick and expensive and the furniture made of heavy dark wood inlaid with gold.  As our blood splattered and battle-scarred group enter this room a young, beautiful, and completely self-assured young woman rises from a seat to greet them.  Rowyn is tall, wears her long red hair in a pony tail and is wearing leather armour that leaves most of her arms bare, revealing a tattoo of a dragon embracing a lotus flower that covers her right shoulder and upper arm, accompanying her is a freaky little Felldrake with a mean streak.  Unfortunately no-one in the party has Knowledge  nobility, or even Knowledge local.  So not one of them realises they are facing Rowyn Kellani, the dutiful daughter of one of the most powerful noble families in Sasserine. 

Rowyn is more than a little put out about Lavinia’s flunkies slaughtering most of her guild, but, thinking she can still pull off her plans and rebuild the LDs with these formidable young men and women behind her, Rowyn offers them a job.  There is a lengthy debate around the gaming table about whether or not to accept the offer, or to pretend to.  This goes on so long, I get bored and attack them just to get things moving again. 

Rowyn signals the Felldrake to attack by saying “Gut tugger!  Do your thing!”  The Felldrake pounces at Ariel, as Rowyn uses the bardic ability inspire courage to buff them both, then joins him in melee.

Now, the office they are in is only 15ft x 15ft, crowded with bookshelves, a work table and a chair.  Add Rowyn and Gut Tugger and you have a room that you can’t fit all of the characters into.  Rand, Ariel, Oaradreth and Dream move quickly into the room, leaving just enough room for one more character, so long as they are willing to take an attack of opportunity to get there.  Oaradreth clambers up onto the bookshelves and throws a javelin, he has no precise shot feat so he misses badly.  Dream and Ariel take swipes with their quarter staffs, also missing.  Rand runs into the room with a loaded crossbow, and despite shooting with a -4 to attack and coping an attempted AoO, manages to plug a crossbow bolt into Rowyn…beginner’s luck.

Rowyn and GT respond by stabbing Ariel into negative HP, and GT mildly injuring Dream.  Tess gets into the room and engages Rowyn, rapier to rapier, next round drawing her kukuri as a secondary weapon, and manages a couple of critical hits.  Dream continues to flail away at the felldrake and does not manage a single hit.  Oaradreth finds his mark with one javelin scratching GT.  Lightfist isn’t able to fit into the room, so a fit of indecision he runs back to the Bugbear Zombie corpse and breaks the head off the morning star, making himself a club (I’m Still not sure why).  He then races back to the combat and tries to squeeze in to gap left by the unconscious druid, risking a AoO by Gut Tugger… which is very successful.  GT rips into the monk doing 9 HP and lightfist is in negative HP…again.

After a second Critical hit from the swashbuckler, and a couple of crossbow bolts from a very lucky Rand, Rowyn decides to call it quits, but as she is drinking a potion of gaseous form, she is hit a final time by Tess, this time with a well thrown kukuri.  So Rowyn pretends to be unconscious for a few rounds, then slips away at the end of the combat.  GT, seeing Rowyn collapse, goes completely nuts trying to kill everyone…but only manages one more decent hit over the next 4 rounds as those still standing flail ineffectually at him.  Eventually, taking  a HP or 3 at a time, Gut Tugger is beaten and stabbed to death.  

When the battle finishes and the screaming stops, the vaguely Rowyn shaped vapour cloud is gone, drifting un-noticed down the nearest drainage hole. 

So, the Lotus Dragons are no more.  Most members of the guild are either slaughtered or scattered, the head has been chopped of, and while Rowyn isn’t dead, she is seemingly friendless and on the run. 

Our victorious young heroes settle in to gather evidence, and find the treasure hoard that is sure to be around somewhere.  Probably with a  couple of nasty traps guarding it :).

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Getting to the pointy end of the adventure now. 

Churtle is told to lead the way to the to the leader of the Lotus Dragons and Vanthus, by the shortest route.  So, still a little conflicted about turning traitor on her former employer Churtle co-operates and leads her new employers to the training room, neglecting to mention the very real possibility of an ambush. 

Our unsuspecting heroes spread out through the training room full of practice dummies.  The dummies are actually cleverly disguised LD members.   As they are about to spring their trap the monk, paying a little more attention than his companions, notices a muscle twitch on a fake dummy’s face.  He shouts a warning a bare second before the LDs draw swords, negating all of those delicious surprise attacks.  

Lightfist easily avoids the opening attack from closest LD dummy,and, using a raised platform to aid his tumble check, flips to the other side of the room, lands beside another dummy who had just drawn his rapier, and punches him into negative hit points.

Dream releases a bolt from his light of luna and misses his target completely.  The ninja, druid and ranger move into combat the ranger proves fairly ineffective with a long sword rather that a longbow, the druid take out another LD with a critical from his quaterstaff, and Oaradrath that nasty little ninja, moves easily through the fight using his new favourite weapon, the morning star, cracking kneecaps and skulls with ease.  The monk uses a charge attack to recross the room and crushes the ribcage of another enemy with a knee to the sternum.  By the end of combat Churtle has banished all reservations she might have had about her new employers.  Churtle’s survival is now tied to these dangerous adventurers.

A couple of rooms later a Rhagodessa (a nasty spider thingy, about the size of a wolf, with Huge jaws) ambushes the ninja and munches him good!  The druid and monk step in quickly and crack it’s carapace in just half a round.  The next room finds our intrepid explorers in the Lotus Dragon’s War Room.  A map of Sasserine covered with coloured flags gives the party an inkling of the breadth of the LD’s ambition.  A note in the corner of a blackboard listing the adventurer’s names and a note in big letters “VANTHUS!  FIX THIS NOW!” , gives our boys and girls a bit of a scare.  Perhaps this message is related to the fighting and bleeding in the tunnels below Parrot Island.  However they quickly shake it off and head off in search of something else to provide them with experience points.

They find the XP in the form of a Bugbear Zombie.  Inspired by their recent victories, (and time running out for this gaming session), the decision is made to swarm the undead creature.  This tactic works well as they slice into the zombie for 24 Hp during their initial attacks.  Unfortunately our smelly friend has considerably more Hp than that, and responds by mashing Ariel the druid down to 1 Hp with his morning star.  Second round, the druid retreats to take a healing potion, her companions slash and blast away at the zombie and do some more damage, it responds by smacking Lightfist, who is now unconcious…again.  Third round the rest of the party finally finish it off, and it’s healing potion time… again.

Thanks for reading.  More next week.

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Locating the taxidermist’s guild hall was fairly easy, the party decided to split.  The Halfling, an Elven ranger and the Druid of the same race went through the service entrance, while the others went through the front door as a distraction.  Well after a lot of stuffing around, numerous inquires about stuffed parrots from the Swashbuckler, and me not able to locate the map for the taxidermist’s guild hall straight away, the recon group located the taxidermist’s ill-gotten gains… and relieved him of them without letting him know.  They then found a secret door leading to a trapdoor in the floor.  So, regrouping everyone trooped down the ladder under the trapdoor and hey presto into the lair of the Lotus Dragons!  All without confronting the taxidermist (also without a stuffed parrot). 

Whaddaya got in the way of stuffed parrots?

Finding themselves in a damp natural tunnel at the bottom of the ladder, our young heroes and heroines decide not to follow the faint sounds of lapping waves (still traumatized from the Other caves I guess), and head through the damp and slightly jammed door and into the main complex.  What follows is boring and frustrating.  Our band have entered quietly without putting the guild on alert.  Meaning there are no guards waiting for them to make things interesting.  So they wander, and wander some more.  Somehow managing to avoid all populated areas of the complex. Right until close to the end of the session when they come across a barracks with seven off duty Lotus Dragons just getting ready for a shift change. 

What followed was short, messy and completely one-sided in favour of our young heroes.  A flurry of arrows, spells, a bit of melee, and the monk racing to another entrance to launch a surprise attack, destroyed all opposition in short order.   

Now I think it’s time to introduce two new members of the not so little group of adventurers.  A Dwarf  who has defied the social mores of his clan and decided to become a wizard.  With a rat familiar and the dwarven constitution bonuses he has more HP than the Monk.  The player has called him Rand, in the vain hope of becoming another overpowered tool of prophecy and legend.  Also joining in with a highly original character concept, a young Elvin Ranger…with a longbow….*sigh*who is as yet nameless.

Hopefully more exciting times are ahead!

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In a hurry today, so here we go.

Well, to make a long story short, they got out of the sea caves on Parrot Island without too many problems.  Going for the easy option, and using the conveniently labeled Earth Elemental Gem, our boys and girls got out with the treasure, made their way to Lavinia and poured out the whole sorry story of her brother’s treachery.  Showing the scroll found on Penkus’  corpse as further proof. 

Lavinia – a Very Determined Young Woman

Lavinia sets them firmly on her brother’s trail once more.  This time with instructions to bring him to heel swiftly, preferably alive, but to provide him with a swift painless death if necessary.  The battered heroes stop only long enough to sell off unwanted equipment, have magical items identified and to stock up on scrolls, potions, weapons and new armour.  sometime during the day they are slipped a note telling them to back off, and leave the Lotus Dragons alone.  Which they ignore, of course.  They were later drawn into a trap by a street urchin.  They go along with the trap figuring Ambush = XP.

The battle in a blind ally is short and messy.  With the Monk making an easy jump check to reach the eaves of the building, swiftly pulling himself up and making a short 5ft hop Lightfist was on the surprised thug before he could move, knocking him out with one punch.  The halfling ninja is out cold from a slice from the young street runner and a poisoned arrow through the back.  The other attacker goes down in a hail of arrows and bolts. 

So, on to the Taxidermist.

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