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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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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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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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This will be a long update spanning a couple of gaming sessions.

Israphel uses his fascinate ability incapacitating two Terror Birds.  Sneaky manages to stay hidden and gets in a second sneak attack, doing a good bit of damage.  This gets him noticed however and so stomped into the dirt for his trouble.  Broken and bleeding out, Sneaky is on 3 HP. Malcivar draws his scimitar and, using blade of blood, does some serious damage to the same huge bird.

Dancia Cures Sneaky and drags him to 3 Hp.   The Giant pugilist makes a double movement , passing between two of the Birds, smacking each of them on the back of the head on his way through, bringing them out of their fascinated state.  It finishes the round looming over the druid, who maintains his cool and continues his casting, dense black clouds gather to him crackling with energy. Lightfist tumbles through the giant’s legs and using his Spring Attack feat to punch his opponent in the Vulnerables on his way through.  Unfortunately he’s off the mark, and the giant is spared for the moment.  Percy the Druid begins casting Call Lightning. 

Picture this guy with his fists on fire...It was never going to end well...

The Terror Birds rip into the adventurers’ ranks, dividing each of their 3 attacks among the nearest opponents, Monk, Cleric, Ranger & Bard, shredding armour and flesh with axe like beaks and talons like butchers knives. Sneaky moves carefully down the slope and fires his longbow.  Lightfist holds his action until the Cleric can hit him with a cure spell, in the mean time Percy finishes his Call lightning spell with aplomb in the face of the muscle-bound menace, hammering the worst hurt of the TBs with a bolt of energy.  Then taking a glancing Attack of Opportunity on the chin, from the massive blazing fists, and the 21 hp that came with it, Percy wisely moves 30 ft away from the action. 

Malcivar hits the giant with a great spell for this kind of  opponent, Ray of Enfeeblement.  Dropping the dangerous creature’s primary stat, strength, from 29 down to 25, so attack and damage are dropped by two each.   Dancia delivers another effective spell, Blindness.  Now all attacks from this deadly enemy have a 50/50 chance of missing  outright!  One of the TBs finally goes down under the concerted efforts of Malcivar, Sneaky, Israphel & Percy’s Lightning.

Following week…

Nugai shows up this week and Artix the Paladin is played by Malcivar’s player.  Israphel’s player has moved to a new game.  So overall some much-needed muscle added to the brawl. 

The remaining Tb’s slash and peck at the beleaguered heroes tearing into Dancia, Malcivar and Nugai, leaving Nugai with 10 HP.  Lightfist, with speed and agility that belies his bulk, leaps in to deliver a heavy blow that damages the huge pugilist for the first time, once again retreating to avoid the wild blows of the of his blind opponent.  Percy drops a lightning bolt on the giant, hurting some more.  Malcivar plunges two more arrows into one of the remaining Terror Birds wounding it badly, and Artix leaps to engage the giant but fails to penetrate its solid armour.  Dancia delivers a touch attack to a TB, successfully Cursing it with -4 to all of it’s attacks and saves.  She then uses her Combat Expertise to amp. up her Armour Class.  The Giant makes a devastating attack into the space recently vacated by Lightfist, the whooshing roar of his flaming Tekko fills the air followed by a frustrated grunt from the giant.  He then moves cautiously towards the sounds of combat coming from behind him, specifically towards the sound of chanting coming from one of those pesky spell casters, Nugai…

Nugai bravely, and as it turns out foolishly, maintains his position slamming a Sonic Lance into the badly wounded TB sending feathers flying.  Sneaky decides the longbow isn’t any fun and pulls his trusty rapier.  Using the dust and confusion of the battle delivers a further attack to the TB who has been badly carved up by this time and looking groggy and confused from loss of blood…and possibly limbs.  Despite the drubbing our adventurers have recieved up till now there is a definite feeling that the battle has swung in their favour and that victory is inevitable.

The Cursed TB takes some wild swings at Dancia, however due to her enhanced AC and the TB’s negatives to attack, it only manages to scrape the Cleric with a talon.  The other TB, under no such restraints cleaves into Artix and Malcivar.  Percy directs his last Lightning Bolt onto the Giant then casts Shillelagh on his club in preparation for melee combat.  The Monk uses his Spring Attack to dart in and kick the giant once more.  Malcivar abandons his bow and draws his Scimitar, once again calling upon his Blade of Blood spell to deliver a serious wound to the badly munted TB leaving it with just a couple of HP.

The blind giant reaches out towards the sound of Nugai’s chanting, and attempts a trip attack on the hapless Warmage.  Despite the 50/50 miss chance due to blindness he gets a firm hold on Nugai’s head and sweeps his feet from under him, slamming him into the ground with stunning force.  I allow the player to make the next miss chance roll, as the huge flaming fist draws back to pound the prone Warmage.  Alas the Giant does not miss.  The last thing Nugai sees is a flaming fist that takes up his whole field of vision. A blinding, burning impact…then nothing.  Nugai who only had 10 Hp, is bludgeoned for 21 HP damage by the enormous punch, and so joins the swollen ranks of adventurers who have met violent, bloody and abrupt endings playing DnD.  R.I.P. Nugai!

However that isn’t all!  Sneaky, who as you might recall,  has only 3 Hp left, makes the last mistake of his long adventuring career.  (This is Sneaky’s second incarnation over the last 4 years).  Instead of nipping off quietly and chugging a couple of Cure potions he decides to plunge into the middle of the fray!  He tumbles gracefully through the gap between the two remaining Terror Birds, to take up a flanking position with Malcivar.  Using his Sneak attack one last time he rips his rapier into TB leaving it barely conscious.  However, in its death throes the bird lashes out randomly at those surrounding it taking Sneaky in the chest with its axe-like beak and inflicting 14 Hp damage… And so Sneaky joins his comrade Nugai on his trip to the otherworld…as the rest of his comrades continue to battle to its bitter end… then loot his corpse.  As Sneaky would have wanted it. 😉

R.I.P Nugai and Sneaky

At this point, somewhat belatedly, Artix really hits his stride, cutting the Giant pugilist time and again with huge strikes from his Vicious Great-Sword.  Malcivar lays about him with his scimitar, finally taking down the second TB, and ripping into the last TB.  Lightfist abandons his earlier tactics and joins the Paladin,taking up a flanking position and pounding on the giant.  Artix delivers the fatal blow to the huge opponent, and the rest of the group beat the snot out of the remaining Terror Bird.  The enemy is dead, but at great cost.

Sorry guys that’s the way the trail rations crumble.  I have not killed many characters in a long DMing career, spanning 25 years or more.  But sometimes the right (or wrong) combination of rolls added to players’ suicidal stupidity, results in character deaths, and no amount of fudging the rolls behind the screen can save you 🙂

 

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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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