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Archive for the ‘Savage Tide’ Category

Well, I pick up this account of our intrepid troupe as they near the end of the adventure “The Lightless Depths”.  The 6th adventure in the savage tides adventure path, everyone is now 11th level.  Also, I am sad to say, the last of my original players finished year 12 last year (2012).  So now the entire party is made up of players who only know the Savage Tides adventure path via this blog, and the occasional rambling anecdote by me.  Which when I come to think of it are kinda the same thing…  To those players who started this story, and So many other stories, with me my thanks, you are missed.  Your madcap exploits will live on in the memories of those of us who remember.  Your Triumphs and Epic Fails will live on in SGC mythology.  You know who you are. 🙂

Over the last few weeks a large influx of new players has seen the party line up change dramatically   Slightly too many, but that’s cool I’m used to it and everyone seems to be having fun.  Briefly, after almost a week of game time, travelling through the underdark of the Isle of Dread. During their travels they faced many dangers, including diseased fanatical Troglodytes, townships guarded by Umberhulks, Elder black puddings, giant insect thingies.  Finally come to a huge subterranean city that looks like a huge coral reef that has been deprived of water for centuries.

The cavern is lit be 3 pillars of purple flame that sickens anyone who approaches.  While marching through the alien cityscape through a miasma you would have trouble carving with a +3 Holy Avenger, the party is surprised by a couple of puddles that suddenly animate and start whomping our heroes like a willow…made of not quite right water…okay bad analogy, but I couldn’t resist the alliteration. 😛  Harok, a Half Orc fighter wielding a Goliath Maul [Anvil on a Stick] sets about making a splash, but gets as good as he gives, finishing the battle on only 3 HP.  One of the animated puddles (constructs of some kind) creates a Wall of Ice, cutting Harok and a couple of others off from the rest of the abnormally large party.  The Favoured Soul, Smitty uses Stone Shape to carve a passage around the Ice Wall through a building.  The rest of the party slowly make their way through the passage.  Soon the tide turns and the puddles are overwhelmed.

The City, as mentioned is weird and icky. As our heroes travel the length of it they are startled by howls and screams, turns out this is the buildings themselves giving vent to their agony.  A purple worm is found pinned by a building that is apparently eating it. and the Whole group is buried in an avalanche of rotting flesh as a building collapses on them.  A group of Korpru and their Troglodyte slaves are destroyed when the Wizard, who managed to teleported out of the gunk, surprised them with a Fireball.

More of this in coming weeks.

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Stick a fork in it Farshore is finally done! 

Jax flies out and using a clever combination of invisibility, dimension hop, and shatter manages to disable the ballista and long-boat winches on a  couple of the pirates’ ships as they approach.

Honeydew instructs his Zombie Elasmosaurus, picked up while repairing the Sea Wyvern, to smash one of the ships to toothpick sized splinters.  Which it does, while half of the crew fire volley after volley of crossbow bolts into its rotting hide, as the other half of the crew evacuate via the remaining longboats. 

The rest of the party awaits the pirates on the docks.  Make short work of the first couple of longboat loads, but are soon overwhelmed.  The party retreats in poor form to the barricade to help the defenders for a while.  All goes well untill Fireballs start to fall from a Yuanti Sorcerer aboard one of the attacking ships.  Frostia decides to fly out there and do something about it.  So, invisible, and protected from fire, The party’s sorcerer proceeds to wreak havoc among the enemy with lightning bolts, killing one of the Yuanti’s henchmen, a few crew members left to man the ballista, badly wounding everyone else.  The enemy sorcerer, responds first with a fire ball which, of course, does negligible damage then with a Lightning bolt of his own, as his henchmen plug a couple of arrows into Frostia.  On 1 Hp she heals up a bit a heads back for reinforcements.  The arcane archer agrees to go back with Frostia and make short work of those attackers left on that ship. 

 Vathus Vanderboran releases his Vrocks, who drop behind the defenders’ lines and attempt to summon some extra Vrocks as reinforcements, the attempt fails so they shrug and rip into the rear of the defenders.  Our heroes move to engage this new threat, but quickly learn that most of their weapons are useless.  However, both the Paladin and the Rogue have holy weapons, and the Paladin starts to dish out some righteous pain.  

Used to look like this…

          

Now looks like this…

 

After the Vrocks have been dealt with, Lavinia’s brother, Vanthus, turns up and tries to convince Lavinia to surrender, when she refuses he uses a spell like ability  Dominate, which Lavinia laughs off. A bit miffed he then uses Mass Suggestion to challenge members of the party to drop weapons and armour and fight him man to man.  Two of out heroes succumb to this mental attack and begin to disarm!

Cleric, honeydew, casts Airwalk to get closer to the flying enemy.  Vanderboran tries one last time Suggest to, the arcane archer that a group of beleaguered defenders need help.  The archer resists once more and continues to fire.  Vanthus flies in closer and attacks with Fear spell effect.  No effect.  Outraged The fiendish captain prepares to attack with melee weapons.

Fortunately at this point the cleric casts Dismissal.  Vanderboran, who is now a half-demon, presumably through some dark ritual, fails to resist the divine magic and is cast into one of the Lower Hells.  His new home plane!  Hah!  So instead of being a Half-Demon on the material plane he is a Half-Human on the demonic plane.  He is in for a Very bad time!  Plus I get to play with a reoccurring villain! 🙂

A little anticlimactic, completely legit however.  This adventure took Much longer than it should have.  Mainly because we kept trying to play the final invasion scene with a kind of squad system….  This did not work out well at all!  Sorry guys, thought it might be cool, but live and learn 0_0.

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Okay, I’m not going to try for a detailed account of every session that has gone since my last update.  Suffice to say the party slew the orangutan demons, rescued Ural Fural, and eventually made it to Farshore.  Just in time to help beat off a Pirate raid.  Lucky!  A captive pirate called Lefty reveals that a Much larger group of Pirates called the Crimson brotherhood is on its way to take Farshore for their own use.  The residents of Farshore have about 2 months to prepare. 

What follows is an intensive program of upgrades to Farshore’s defenses, new towers, a ditch and spikes arrangement around the town, the training and recruitment of extra militia, and arming the general population.  Politically, the hero’s throw their weight behind Lavinia for Mayor, and seek to secure alliances with the Native Olmans and a lemur like people called Phanatons who inhabit the treetops…YUB! YUB!  While doing these things they also secure several powerful Magical items (weapons, armour etc), and return the Gold Bat Statuette that they picked up in the ruins on the way to farshore to the volcano god of the Olmans, who is cranky about its theft and was acting out a bit, you know, spewing ash, earthquakes, that sort of thing.  They also retrieve a cache of beautiful Masterwork weapons from an abandoned Rakasta temple, helping to arm the defenders with some quality weapons.  All in all the preparations for the defense of Farshore have progressed well. 

The party at this time, is attempting to re-float the stricken Sea Wyvern, and get back her back to Farshore in time for the assault.  The timeline says they are cutting things close, however they have taken a ship full of materials,  two work parties  2 skilled carpenters and 2 spell casters with wood shaping spells at their disposal, so they should manage it. 

The group leave the Blue Nixie anchored offshore and take a skiff over to the wreck to scout, and assess the damage to the Sea Wyvern.  As they approach the shore, a huge head breaches the water and munches on the Cleric.  A knowledge nature check reveals this is an Elasmosaurus, (think the Loc Ness monster), a big one. 

The Druid, Percy jumps in to the water and wild shapes into a large shark, as the (new) rogue, Iron Hand, (or is that Iron Head), makes a huge leap from the boat and jams his new Tiger claw/spiked gauntlet into the long smooth neck  and hangs on for dear life.  The Paladin fires his crossbow and wonder of wonders makes a crit. doing over 20 hp damage.  The (new) Dragon Shaman taking advantage of his water breathing ability straps on his shield, draws his flaming long sword and steps over the side into the 10ft deep water that lies between the sandbar the Sea Wyvern is stuck on, and the shore. In his full plate he sinks like a stone.    

The highlight of this session for me though, was Jax’s (Duskblade/Rogue) awesome first move.  Jax dimension hops to just above the dinosaur’s head in an attempt to strike from above with a combined sneak attack/channeled spell, and if he hadn’t rolled a 1 on his attack it would have been awesome.  Instead, it was a spectacular Fail and a bloody good laugh.

Druid changes to a smaller Elasmosaurus and begins a call lightning spell, dinosaur bites the dragon shaman,as he returns the favor from the sea floor.  The Paladin leans out of the boat and stabs the dinosaur as it passes under the boat, and the new Dwarven Cleric (a longbow wielding dwarf called Honydew…Yes I know, a little fey) gets one shot off and them he too plunges into the water.  So we have half the party standing around on the bottom holding their collective breaths, they make their way, slowly to the sand bar where the Sea Wyvern rests.  Since its high tide this brings them to about waist deep water, or shoulder deep in the case of the dwarf.  A Call Lightning spell goes off and it’s not from the party’s druid.  The bolt smacks into the Paladin but does negligible damage.  Small dinosaur Druid releases his Call Lightning Storm spell and finishes off the larger Elasmosaurus.  In the shadows of one of the large holes in the hull of the Sea Wyvern, the Dragon Shaman spots a weird creature, all green and squid…y, who appears to be directing the storm/lightning blasts.  He responds by bathing the creature, and the side of the Sea Wyvern in flame with his breath weapon, a cone of fire.  Now that the true opponent has been spotted everyone has started to wail on it.  Except Jax, who came to the sandbar on the wrong side of the wreck has decided not to do any more swimming in half plate and instead,  just blows a hole in the side of the Sea Wyvern, and makes his way through to where the battle rages.

 What’s one more hole… right?

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A second Gargoyle attack, this time led by the chieftain, wearing the crown of the gargoyles.  The Crown bestows DR/5 adamantine on the wearer and the Chief has level in Barbarian.  These capabilities added to his inherent Gargoyle features make him a pretty tough customer.  The Warblade engages the chieftain while the two remaining Gargoyles rip into the rest of the party.  One of them tries to barge Ural off the cliff, but doesn’t quite manage it.  Minsc is more than a match for the crowned Gargoyle and once he takes  it down, the Warblade is free to help dispatch the remaining enemies, the skirmish is soon over.

The group of survivors reach a small mountain pass early the next afternoon,  a few miles beyond the pass a huge section of the ancient highway is just gone, the victim of time and erosion.  The group head inland, and spend the night in the narrow pass.  Emerging late the following morning to face the Fogmire Jungle.  As the name suggests the jungle is very foggy… and wet, with visibility down to about 60 ft.  The creatures and plants of this jungle are twisted and deformed. 

As dusk approaches the travellers discover some ruins.  Not liking the  idea of spending the night here they decide to fortify the camp as much as they can before dark.  With a decent Knowledge Architecture from the Druid, and some considerable brawn from Warblade and Monk, they do a respectable job.  Turns out the effort was worth it.

The camp is crowded but the low walls are easily defended, large bonfires burn about 15-20 feet out from the walls to illuminate anyone approaching,  unfortunately when the enemy does come no-one sees them…   The first hint of an attack is a slight shifting of the loose gravel beside Lightfist as if something large had landed right beside him (on the inside of the wall), nothing is visible though.  Jax a twinblade fighter doesn’t hear gravel,  but something worse…a hastely silenced Giggle, as if a four-year old girl, who just happened to be Seven Foot Tall, weigh 300 lbs, and have teeth much to large for her mouth, had slapped a paw over her face to stifle a titter.  The smell of rank, wet fur wafts through the camp.   An instant later all hell breaks loose, two bipedal beauties appear in the parties midst, each is around seven ft tall with huge claws and teeth.   They resemble overgrown feral orangutans, however they wear clothing and jewellry and their bloodshot eyes hold a malevolent intelligence.  The horse takes one look at these creatures  and bolts into the dark foggy night, taking with it the fishing net that had been draped around one side of the camp.

The one beside Lightfist rips into him taking him down to half Hp, the other begins shredding the fighter.  At this point a third beastie appears atop the low wall directly beside Minsc, who also takes a face full of claws and teeth.  Minsc replies by hacking into the thing atop the low wall with two attacks, he uses Warblade maneuvers, almost pulls off a crit. and his damage  rolls are very high, however due to Damage Reductions and Resistances, Minsc does much less damage than anticipated.  The Beast that appeared near Lightfist makes a successful grab at Ural and the pair of them flicker in and out reality, as Ural resists being teleported out of the camp.  The creature’s abduction attemp has failed and she looks startled and peeved then decides to give herself some room to try again.  picking Ural up by his head, claws digging into his face, She dashes off into the jungle with him.  Lightfist is too badly hurt to attempt an immediate rescue and waits for the Druid to heal him a bit.  Jax slices into the creature next to him causing some minor wounds.  Charia channels a Shocking Grasp spell through his pole-arm, unfortunately this doesn’t even scorch the enemy’s matted orange fur. 

Off in the jungle Lightfist hears Ural give a grunt of pain and then nothing more.   The large beastie atop the wall leaps onto Charia, who’s armour holds surprisingly well, so that only one claw attack hurts him.  Then, using him as a springboard the creature leaps over the wall on the other side of the camp and drops out of sight.  Minsc, Lightfist and Percy give chase, only to see the thing disappear in a flash of purple light and foul-smelling smoke.  The remaining creature, realizing she has been abandoned by her companions, disengages and disappears in a similar fashion.  The Demonic beasties are gone but so is Ural.

Note:  These demons have  fast and mobile combat tactics.  The thrive on charges and a formidable Pounce attack (works like a Spring or Ride by attack).  Confining the camp within fairly solid stone walls and a netted area forced these creatures to restrict their movements and attacks.  Things could have been a lot worse guys, well done. 🙂

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Lightfist has taken possession of the Tekko looted from the giant, and is extremely chuffed with them. 

The adventuring troop and their civilian charges travel through the mountain using the tunnel, reaching the ancient reception area on the opposite side of the range late in the afternoon.  They battle a pair of massive centipedes, and a black pudding which they kill with rocks!  Keys for opening the huge iron sea gates, are found as they explore the small dungeon fighting through a few mummies and a nasty trap to do so.  A random encounter with an adult Black Dragon lurking under the complex provided a fun but nasty interlude allowing me to play for a couple of sessions.  🙂  This was run by one of the younger players stretching his DM wings. 

After dispatching the Dragon we moved out of the caverns into the open air.  While crossing a sandbar Giant Crabs Attack, Percy the Druid uses his calm animal ability to placate a couple of them, leaving only one to fight.  The remains of an ancient highway that follows the cliffs and beaches of the coast line provides a route South.  It is decided that speed is the best protection and the party opt to stay on the roadway wherever possible.  The only notable encounter happens in the middle of the night while Lightfist is on guard duty.  The monk has a feeling of being watched by something malevolent, soon after the camp is plunged into pitch blackness as a globe of darkness is thrown over it.   Weapons are drawn and spells are readied but nothing else happens. 

Two days later, early in the day a group of Gargoyles attack.  As they close on the party Ligthtfist hits one with a lead sling ball getting a critical.  Despite the DR/10 the attacker still takes 12 Hp damage!  Best sling attack I have ever seen!

Sorry for the lack of detail, but at least I’m all caught up now.  Will try to update more regularly from now on.

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Crossing the relatively open grasslands the companions get about half way across when they come across a young Diplodocus being hunted by a large group of  Terror Birds.  At Ural’s urging of the heroes decide to aid the dinosaur and attack the birds hoping to distract them.  This works too well and the TBs break off their hunt and come after the party.  The fight is short and messy, and the group continues on towards the mountains. 

Around mid-afternoon our excellent explorers notice ruins amongst the dense jungle foliage.  Spot checks be Sneaky and Malcivar reveal quick scuttling movements amongst the crumbling buildings.  Everything is covered in spider webs of all shapes and sizes.  At the centre of the ruins stands a bone and web throne encounter the Araneae spider queen, ruler of these ruins , Ural and Malcivar speak to her in Sylvan and interpret as the bard spins great and heroic tales of the outside world.  The Queen listens avidly and in gratitude gives them directions to a tunnel through the mountain range and a warning about the TB nests near the entrance.

Coming to the foot of the mountains Sneaky and Malcivar scout out the TB nests, three huge broody Terror Birds tend their nests, and don’t notice Sneaky and Malcivar until a high-pitched whistle alerts them.  The three TBs run up the side of the gully where their nests are hidden and make for the rest of the party standing 40 -50 feet back from the edge.  Malcivar and Sneaky take advantage of the bird’s inattention and ambush one of them, inflicting over 50 HP damage!  The large predator stumbles to a halt and turns her malevolent gaze on the source of her pain.  These Terror Birds are much larger than those encountered so far,  standing around 5 ft taller, their HP and the damage they are capable of are also proportionately greater.  At the end of the combat round a Hill Giant stands up from behind a rise across the gully and hurls a head-sized rock at Sneaky, catching him a glancing blow and dealing 11 HP.  After his surprise appearance the giant moves into cover using a stand of scrubby undergrowth in the bottom of the  gully.

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Around midday, several days after the ship escapes the Sargasso, Sneaky spots land.  Unfortunately storm clouds are gathering and by early afternoon a huge storm is battering the ship.  A couple of the characters almost get washed overboard as they struggle to sail the Wyvern.  

All their effort are in vain though and with a grinding crunch the Wyvern runs aground on Masher Reef after a long battle with the elements.  The ship leans badly to port and traversing the deck is perilous in this weather.  As the rest of the crew work frantically to patch the hole and  refloat the stricken Sea Wyvern, Dancia goes down into the hold to see if the ship’s carpenter and those working in the dark and rising bilge water need any help.  As the cleric gets about halfway there the rest of the heroes are surprised by one of the local denizens, a huge spiny eel like creature called a Masher that makes this reef it’s home.  The Masher arrives under cover of the storm and darkness, and surprises the party, munching Malcivar more than 20 hp.

Mmmm Rangerlicious! Nom!

Sneaky does what he does best and sneaks up to get in a sneak attack unfortunately for him the poisoned spines that cover the huge eel thing react instinctively and stab him and do 4 points damage as well 2 points of Constitution damage.  Malcivar shoots 3 arrows into the monster but the masher reacts with an AoO and bites him down to -9 hp, sending the Ranger’s bleeding and torn body tumbling down the deck,  fetching up against the ship’s boat on the other side of the vessel.   Lightfist attempts to stab the thing with a long spear to avoid the spines but misses.  Minsc attempts a grapple attack of all things but gets hit by the AoO by one of the spines and gets poisoned taking 4 points of Con. damage his trouble.  Israphel carefully makes his way down the deck and pours a healing potion into the dying Ranger.  Nugai hammers a beam of searing heat into the monster. 

Malcivar retrieves his bow and resumes the arrow barrage.  Lightfist slips a successful attack past the spines with his long spear and Sneaky takes another sneak attack and this time avoids the twitching spines.  The Masher takes the hint and slides off the side of the ship into the dark turbulent waters. 

The efforts of the Captain and the rest of the crew finally pay off and with a shuddering groan the Sea Wyvern is freed from Masher Reef.  However the damage is too extensive and after limping down the treacherous coast for another couple of hours there is a huge crash and the ship rolls, the cold dark waters rise up and take them all.

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