Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Session 4: Iron Circle Slaughter - 12-13/2/713

While freeing the Iron Circle slaves, the party are attacked by a strong force of slavers led by a goat-headed dragonborn, Orliss, who incinerates half the captives with his flame breath. One of the captives, Maldar the Wizard, slays Orliss with an acid arrow. The slavers are defeated, the hobgoblin archer again flees.
Erik interrogates the surviving beggar, Cratz, who confesses that most of the Beggar King's treasure has been spent hiring mercenaries. Baroness Constance recognises Jenn Morgan. The group escorts Baroness Lady Constance and her handmaids back to Smokey Joe's inn just outside the Smoke district, where they report back to Geroff Nisjal and rest overnight, rising before dawn.

(ca 4.00am) After a six hour rest the group are up well before dawn, and breakfast. Baroness Constance has sent a runner to her mansion to ask for a coach, but no sign of it after two hours. The group leave Constance at the inn and head back into the slums (ca 6.30am), accompanied by Geroff's henchman, a male half-elf Cleric called Zinsara. The fortress of the Beggar King appears deserted, though looters have ransacked the corpses of the slain and hundreds of rats are chewing on them.
Entering the dungeons, the group disturb lead seals and release a tentacled shadowstuff horror from a well of blackness! A fierce fight ensues until the wounded creature retreats back into the Shadowhold, leaveleaving a shadowy ring that is taken by Rex Deveron.
The group press on. A portcullis descends, splitting the party, and the remaining Iron Circle slavers attack, but are no match for the group, who slays their wretched gnolls and an eladrin mage. The survivors - the hobgoblin archer and a drow thief - escape in a boat down an underground stream.

Orliss the Goat, Dragonborn Warlord - 150
4 Hobgoblin Slavers - 400
6 Goblin Archers - 150
2 wretched Gnolls - 250
Virmoth, Eladrin Mage - 150
Shadow Tentacle Horror - 350
Escaped: Hobgoblin archer, Drow Thief - 125
Total: 1575/6 = 262 XP each.
Level 1 Major Quest rescue Baroness Constance = +100 XP each.
Total: 362 XP + 1085 = 1447.
2250 XP for Level 3.

Hayden's Session 4 account:

Session 4 account part 1

Session 4 - Maldar the magnificent and the luckiest hobgoblin ever...

Leon awakened in a slave cell with a dwarf standing over him, having moments earlier being smashed aside crashing down into the slave pens by the great ape. Erik strode past the others with the slave pen keys jangling in his hand naturally releasing lady Constance and her hand maidens first and then opening the remaining cells, where along with some beggars a young but sickly looking wizard named Maldar was also found with golden skin and black hourglasses for pupils in his eyes this was not a natural state for a human clearly the arcane power had taken its toll on him, asking to join us in revenge against his captors. In the ensuing chaos of the earlier battle Vialya had taken the opportunity to slip away back to her mother we could only hope she did not betray us. After some discussion with the party and some awkward conversation between Jenn and lady Constance we nearly had everyone out of the cells, Then they came goblins pouring into the upper chamber driven forward by their hobgoblin masters then finally Orliss the Goat a dragonborn warlord who took swift action incinerating the other slaves who'd not escaped their cells, enraged with magical fury Maldar moved back into the cells across the charred remains and launched a magical acid arrow at the dragonborn catching it in the eye it roared in pain as acid now began pouring from the grave wound, Orliss managed single shot of his crossbow in retaliation this was to be his last action as Maldar undeterred by the bolt to the arm, launched a magical missile the power combined with the continuous burning of acid was enough to send the warlord head first into the slave pens..

Meanwhile Tasarus had been on the walkway above discharging bolt upon bolt of lightning in the goblin/hobgoblin horde with Rex and Jenn providing support should the hobgoblins stray to close, all but one hobgoblin succumbed to lighting he was the only one to escape, again.

During this time lady Constance’s handmaidens paying their new guardian in shining armour a great deal of attention making Erik blush a little and then he remembered the happy times he'd had with his wife her life robbed from him by an undead horror.. lost in thought reality came crashing back as the pitched battle was now over, Jenn deciding that everyone was in need of a rest and there was no way she was going to risk the lives of lady Constance and her maidens after what had happened to the other prisoners despite the rogues protests of "it'll be fine, what’s the worst that could happen!?!" needless to say she shot them a glance of such venom that they decided she was in fact right and they were wrong...

Returning to Smokey Joes for a final rest before they pushed on and making sure lady Constance and her maidens were safe although she complained that the carriage she had sent for had not arrived, Leon called Jenn over to the table and informed her of the truth of lady Constance’s situation and problems her sudden and much unexpected return could cause. Presented with this bombshell of news Jenn tactfully sways Lady Constance into staying until she returns again.

The Party awoke refreshed and ready to continue their adventure to stop the beggar king although the link to the iron circle was a worrying development and as such Geroff Nisjal had assigned them a cleric named Zinsara to assist.

Resuming where they had left off the stench of burnt flesh still lingering in air, forced again to walk past their only failure thus far this hurt more for Jenn and Erik as they both prided themselves on their abilities to protect others. Past the slave cells and round the corner there was a large door ahead and to the right a small corridor that led into darkness, Before anyone had time to say anything Jenn wandered into the darkness as did everyone else though still caught by surprise by Jenn’s flippant choice, this was usually left to the rogues which was normally followed by trouble. They found themselves in a small dimly lit room which looks to have been used for some sort of ritual Maldar and Tasarus found some scrolls near a corpse that had been splayed across the wall, Leon was examining a wall with false portal painted onto it, closer inspection yielded it to be a facade of some sort. Leon then began chipping away at it with his crowbar while everyone else tried to consider what may have happened in here.

Session 4 account part 2

A good ten minutes later and Leon has cleared most of the plastered wall away now revealing large lead vault like door, puzzled he turns to look at the others to see if they have any further suggestions in that instant the door begins to blister and then turning molten as holes begin to appear in the door a black vapour gushes through expanding throughout the room creating an atmosphere of dread and evil, horrified Leon begins to run yelling at the others to run as well but they all seem mesmerized by this change, Jenn yells at Leon as he rushes past "Don't be such a coward!!" followed by Leon’s response of "I'm a man opportunity and this isn't a good one".

Sleek Barbed tendrils weaved and probed the air, Tasarus immediately launches some lighting into the chamber beyond before the bolt as has even left his hand a tendril shoots out across the room twisting its way around his torso the thousands of tiny barbed hooks digging in, Erik moves forward, tendrils shift lashing and twisting themselves around his limbs he's able to cut some away they fall to the ground writhing about before bursting to a black powder, Rex runs slides under some then runs up and along a wall leaping to somersault over Erick and then tucks into a forward roll finishing with a flash of steel cutting enough tendrils to cause the remaining ones to withdraw deep below into the well.

Rex looks into the well and finds a ring made of shadow barely visible in the dimly lit room as the others enter with a sunrod active the ring of shadow almost dissipates appearing weakened in the light. Leon’s tactful retreat allowed him to explore the nearby large door moving in silence he is able to listen at the door the distinct sound of goblin, what sounded like gnolls and others speaking in an unknown tongue although they have an almost elvish tone to them. Moving back to find the others he informs them of what lays ahead, a plan of attack is formed; the two rogues on the flanks along with jenn and Erik will lead the attack while Tasarus, Maldar proceed to use their magic’s against these foes with Zinsara providing healing and support to the wizards should anyone stray to close.

The lead group in move quietly as they can unfortunately a goblin who hadn't been seen earlier manning a lookout spots Erik the rattling of loosened chains is heard as mighty portcullis covered in wooden boards comes rushing down between the two groups blocking line of sight for the wizards and cleric, the large oak door swung inwards with the goblin on lookout loosens an arrow into Erik. A Gnoll goes blazing forwards unaware of the rogues either side of the door it barely registered the fatal cut from Rex only carried onwards by it momentum then tumbling to the ground, Erik moves forward to challenge the other Gnoll taking some damage he is still able to cut it down with ease, A Hobgoblin slaver beings to move back towards an exit knowing full well the fate that awaits should it stay to fight. Zinsara began smashing the wooden boards on the portcullis almost splitting it in half while tasarus decided it was high time to put a phoenix feather to use this didn't quite have the desired effect as he almost caught himself on fire as well as the portcullis, Zinsara gave the wooden boards another bash with mace this time the board splintered apart though they were still out of range they could at least see some of what was going on.

Session 4 account part 2b

Jenn had moved into the room now seeing elvish figures at the back of the room to be a drow an eladrin, Rex struck down the goblin manning the lookout then began towards the goblin manning the portcullis crank. The Drow raised a hand and speaking in a dark tongue caused Jenn to be engulfed eldritch black flame it then fired off some arrows at Erik able to cause serious enough wounds that slowed him up ever so slightly before retreating following the hobgoblin, The Emerald crow seeing his opportunity sprinted towards the eladrin mage swinging his sword the eladrin mage appear to flicker to the side Leon spun around again attempting to strike swinging wide, the eladrin merely smiled smugly at this foolish human for even bothering. The Mage calmly walked away towards the ladder down which the drow had gone. Jenn hurled insults in attempt to draw it back into the fight the eladrin didn't even batter an eye at this common wench which it could have beaten with ease, the goblin manning the crank seeing it was on the losing side made a beeline for the ladder as well dodging Leon’s quick cut with forward roll what it didn't expect was Erik’s blade to slice clean through as it rolled to its feet the torso falling one way and the lower half another. Leon determined not the let this Eladrin get the better of him moved to cut it off from the exit with a quick flurry of strikes he forced it away least the mage fall to its death, angered at the wounds suffered by this lowly human it began working a spell of great power as the runes on his robe started glowing Rex had been able to raise the Portcullis allowing Maldar to rush in and see the eladrin mage nearing completion of his spell, launched a magic missile the silvery bolt slammed into the eladrin mage sending him spinning into the air hitting the ground magical energy crackled about the mage's body before fading...

Maldar hunched over and began to cough...

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Session 3: Mother Zeb'oltha, and Into the Dungeons of the Beggar King! 12/2/713. Reach Level 2

Erik's account:
"Rat-chasers. We were reduced to rat-chasers...
Quite literally it seemed, at first. The swarm of rats from the hidden room now dispersed, we stumbled upon suspiciously empty quarters with a couple of exits. While assessing the situation, we realized the remaining rats, the human-sized ones, had retreated within a side room, hidden behind a heavy curtain. "Of course the cowards are hiding!" I thought... Or were they?

Your presence must have clearly been felt and promptly, an ominous, powerful chant reached us from behind the veil. Assuming our sneaky enemies were not foolish enough to trap themselves in a dead-end, Leon vanished in the darkness, looking for another way into our foes' lair through the second passage. During this stand-off, the oddest of occurrences happened. The leader of our opposition addressed our warlock directly - and by name ! Bewildered, we could only listen as one of the Beggar King's very own lieutenant claimed to be Vialya's long lost mother. Before any of us could reach her, the thiefling calmly entered her "mother's" lair. Tension rose rapidly as we strained our ears to catch the exchange from our hidden positions. Vialya seemed quite eager to believe the enemy warlock and convinced by her arguments but, Gods bless her, she was still trying to lure her minions into our ambush.

Bold, but foolish. Her bluff didn't take and we had to react quickly before being overwhelmed by our opponents. Tasarus bravely led the charge, hoping to blast our way through the line of bandits and eunuchs bodyguards. His attempt backfired as he was grabbed into the room and beaten to a pulp before we could come to his help. The Platinium Dragon must have been with us because this first error was our only misstep, as the rest of our ragtag band of adventurers all came together from different angles. Leon from the back door he miraculously found, Vialya from behind her "mother" and Jenn, Rex and I charging from the front. The battle was swift, glorious and it looked like for the first time, our little party really came together.

Vialya pled for the devil warlock to be spared - not a second too late, as Leon's poisoned blades were ready to finish the job they had so eagerly started - and she got the chance to reunite with her estranged mother while we secured the area. I took the discovery of a dragon egg and and still living dragon eye as a very good omen, until the Thiefling mother mentioned the Beggar King's defenses : an army of beggars, diabolical agents of the Iron Circle and above all, the undead.

My rage surfaced instantly at this simple mention and the following encounter passed like a blur. The information proved correct has we got flooded by scythes-wielding beggars in the following courtyard. Not a lot more dangerous than the rats, and not smelling a lot better; they were promptly fried by our invoker, which let me free of chasing these minions' master, a black crossbowman hiding behind a nearby window. I admit that my initial fury and my contempt at his cowardliness made me cocky; my old master would have been ashamed by my foolishness... Trying to rush up a ladder to reach our mysterious hooded marksman position was only rewarded by a bolt straight to the head. Blood obscured my vision, and I could only try to remain conscious while my companions came to my rescue. 

We had apparently just found to biggest rat of all. The scoundrel vanished as the party approached and even used what appeared to be a child as a decoy. A child ! I swear he will feel my blade's edge before long. The decoy, a bad rendition of a sleeping Beggar King using rags and a retinue of mannequins, made us approach the marksman mezzanine very carefully. We quickly discovered two things : our quarry had fled via a floor trap in a corner of the room and, while climbing down in the darkness, we realized that the whole set-up was meant for us to attack the decoy and fall with it directly into a cage in the depths below.

We reached a cliff above an underground lake and opening on a large dark cave. We needed to get out of that precarious position, fast. We barely spared a glance as we passed a series of cages holding miserable looking captives. The black assassin chose this moment to reappear, trailed by a group of disgusting hobgoblins in Iron Circle livery. Leading the file we formed on the cliff I managed to take the blunt of their attacks including another bold from this thrice-cursed, allowing my companions to get safely into position. As I went down, the bravery of these adventurers surprised me again. Facing impossible odds, the sniper having just unleashed a savage great ape against us, they kept their ground and reply in kind with blades, magic and grit.

As soon as the tide of the combat turned against him, my little black rat scurried way into the darkness again. Silence fell again and the harsh reality struck at us : as heroic as we have been, we've all been reaching in our last reserve for this fight and the lair of the Beggar King is far from cleared..."

2 Dog Brothers: 200
2 Eunuch Bodyguards: 200
Mother Zeb'oltha: 175
Roleplay - Vyalia's mother issues etc: 175
10 Beggar Minions: 310
Encounters with Hand X-Bow Guy: 175
Pit Trap: 125
Enter Dungeon Level - 125
3 Iron Circle Hobgoblins (2 dead, 1 retreated): 250
Great Desert Ape: 150
Total: 1885/6 = 314 XP each
314+690=1004 XP
+50 (bag bonus) + 31 (account)=1085 XP.
2250 XP for Level 3.

Taking keys from the dead hobgoblins, you can open the slave pens. The captives are (4/8 incinerated by dragonborn breath s4):
A) Two miserable human beggars, covered in weeping sores. They call themselves Cratz and Stern.
Cratz: "Release us, I beg you! We can take you to the Beggar Kings' treasure vault!" Stern killed S4.
B) Crox, an aged dwarf tinker who narrowly avoided being crushed by a falling Leon Varju. RIP s4.
C) The Baroness Lady Constance (age 38, auburn hair, good looking) and her two young ladies-in-waiting, dressed in tattered finery. They beg to be rescued. Leon Varju knows that Constance is the wife of Duke Vaon Ozim; since Constance's disappearance a week ago he has already installed his mistress Felia Reltas in his mansion. Jenn Morgan vaguely recognises Constance from the grand balls and soirees of her own childhood; Constance is the Lady of Gaunt, a wealthy rural barony on the coast south of Morgansfort, Jenn's father Lord Morgan's own lands. Constance's husband Duke Vaon's own Duchy, Ozim, is south beyond the mountains and long-lost to the Gnolls since the Fall of Nerath.  
D) Lorilass, an ancient sage, sickly to the point of death, and Neveril, his lovely young half-elf female apprentice. Neveril beseeches aid for her master, who is now too ill to move. Both RIP s4.
Baroness Constance of Gaunt
Crox the Dwarf Tinker