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December 17, 2017, 05:10:50 AM
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Author Topic: My D&D campaign  (Read 2903 times)
ER
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« Reply #30 on: September 04, 2017, 08:14:21 PM »

Y'know, dude, you should seriously turn these records of each session into a book. They'd adapt well.  Thumbup
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Dark Alex
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« Reply #31 on: September 11, 2017, 11:56:42 AM »

I was sitting today thinking about bad guys to put up against the party since they have earned themselves a more powerful recurring villian. Or perhaps a group of them. Anyway, in my experience there is one creature like no other for spreading fear and paranoia in a party. It has to be used very carefully as they can easily destroy a campaign.

Lets see how that goes then, although it will be a while before they encounter it.
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« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2017, 04:43:04 PM »

So tonight Tina got her first solo adventure as she snuck off out of the tavern while everyone else was sleeping.

Sticking to the back streets and shadows Val made her way to the merchants district. The sky was a half moon but free from clouds meaning there were plenty of shadows for her to flit through. At this hour of night almost everyone was asleep and only a few houses had guards standing outside. The one she was after fortunately wasn't one of them. As she entered the street she walked a little more casually so as not to attract undue attention, then with a quick look around to make sure no one was watching her, she nimbly climbed up the 10 foot high rough stone wall that surrounded the pink house, carefully avoiding the broken glass shards embedded in the top of the wall.

A quick look around showed no guards patrolling the grounds and the pink house itself was in darkness. Either side of the curving path leading to the house was a well tended small forest with many attractive plants. Were it daytime she'd have seen they were also pink. Doubtless if trees came in pink, they to would have been that shade.

Val crept quietly through the garden, sticking to the cover of the trees, but something out there was quieter than her. Something had picked up her scent as was following her.

Suddenly she found herself barged to the ground as something big jumped on her without making a sound. Her vision was filled with sharp teeth and claws as some animal larger than her ripped at her chest with one sharply taloned paw. She managed to avoid its slavering jaws and further slashes from its claws, shoved herself backwards and managed to stagger to her feet, whipping out the rapier she had taken off Kano. She could now see what was attacking her, some sort of enormous cat, tawny coloured with a dark mane of hair like nothing she had ever seen before. As the beast lunged at her, she as much by luck as skill managed to slash it across its face, piercing one eye and leaving it blind on that side. Enraged it lashed out again with its paw, but Val nimbly stepped back. She was able to fend off the beast, stepping backwards and using trees for cover while it tried biting and clawing at her. Each time her rapier flicked out it managed to open another cut on it, slowly weakening the it from loss of blood. Eventually seeing her opening she thrust forward as its head tried to clamp its fierce jaws in her arm. The tip of the rapier sunk into its body just at the base of the neck and found its mighty heart. With a piteous mewling cry the animal fell dead.

Worried that someone might have heard the death cry and bleeding heavily from the creatures initial onslaught, she staggered through the undergrowth and quickly dashed across the open ground between garden and house. She snuck to a side wall and peered in through a window. As what moonlight there was shone on the front of the house she couldn't see much of the benighted interior, but what she could make out convinced her it was safe to try and get in here. A little bit of work with her thieves tools and she soon had a window open. Obviously Xzavros felt his day time guards and night time pet were security enough to stop anyone getting in. Anyone that is, except Val.

She silently slipped in through the opened window and then slid inside. A quick flash of light from the magic gem the adventurers were given for helping to defend the monastery showed she was in a dining room. The remains of the last meal were still sitting on the table. Many fine portraits were hung on the walls, all of a rather portly, balding chap with a walrus 'tache. She could also see two doors leading from the dining room. Choosing the closest she carefully opened the door (with her light now off) and peaked outside. On the other side of the corridor she could see another door, but the light was too poor to see anything else other than guess she was in a hallway.

Checking the opposite door and losing the last of her light she found herself in a room that appeared to contain desks and books, although since she didn't want to risk using her light too much she couldn't tell what if anything was written on them. She made her way out of that room, back into the dark hallway and found another door.

This time she found herself in the main hallway. A grand staircase swept upwards to the upper floor and enough light entered the room for Val to get a rough idea of the layout of the room, if not any details. She felt her way along the wall, touching a number of portraits and busts in alcoves before reaching the back wall, just missing a door in the shadows under the staircase. Working her way to the other side of the room and almost tripping up over some small tables she eventually managed to locate a door lying open on the far side of the room, however it led into another corridor with no natural light. Her fingertips touching the wall to her right Val used all skills she had learned in her hard life as a thief to make no noise in the dark. Her questing fingertips found another space and peaking in she could see a figure lying on a bed. Carefully closing the door she then snuck along the passageway until she found a dead end and had to work her way back, she found another opening roughly opposite where she had found the door. Heading up that way and searching in the dark revealled only a couple of what seemed to be small bedrooms, possibly servants quarters and then cunningly avoided falling over another staircase, less grand than the one in the hallway.

If Val had ever heard of a ninja she'd know exactly how to describe just how quietly she went upstairs. Her luck started running a little thin though when she kicked something soft and yielding on the floor. It made no sound however. Kneeling down and using her hands to explore she found what she had kicked was a body and round about the neck was rather wet. Sniffing her finger tips she caught the coppery smell of blood and quickly wiped it off on the clothes of the body. Taking her gem out again she illuminated the room, revealing four bodies lying on the floor, all dressed in rather rough clothing. Each bore a single wound, but one that in each case would be instantly fatal. The one she had tripped over had a large hole through his neck, another was almost cleft in two diagonally from his shoulder to his hip. Deciding not to inspect the other bodies she moved onto the next door, but before going through doused her shining gem light.

This took her out onto the balcony above the main hall. Just along the corridor from her was a set of double doors, one lying open. The other wall nearest her had two doors on it, and the furthest away door had but one, all closed. Moving carefully from shadow to shadow and making less noise than the creaking of the house she chose the examine the double doors first. Other than being able to make out a four poster bed, she could see little inside, but she slipped in anyway. Moving to her right and feeling along the wall she found wardrobes and drawers with what felt like clothing. In one of the drawers she found a heavy keyring with a dozen or so keys on it which she slipped into her pouch. Val then continued working her way by fingertips around the room until she felt some heavy velvet. Pulling it to one side she found a window behind it and let a little more light into the room.

This wasn't all together great as the first thing she saw was a naked dead girl lying on the bed, her throat neatly sliced open.

About this point she began to think something was up.

Eventually she came to yet another doorway, but this time it was locked. Again her handy thieves tools came into play and quickly had the door unlocked. Hearing a noise like footsteps behind her Val rolled to the side, and whipped her blade out, but could see nothing. Had it been someone creeping up behind her in the shadows or just her nerves?

After patiently waiting for several minutes she decided to continue with her job. Entering another dark room she decided it would be safe to use her magic gem again and lit up the room. In the centre appeared to be her prize. A ruby the size of her first sat on top of a marble plinth. Around the edges of the room sat several chests. Had she found Xzavros's treasure room?

First of all she carefully examined the plinth the gem sat in. Her thieves senses were tingling, but she could find no evidence of a trap. Something was niggling at her that something about the situation was wrong though. She unlocked one of the wooden chests in the room, but found only paper contracts of old business dealings. Deciding to explore the house further and come back to the gem later she left the 'treasure room'. The other rooms on the top floor were then examined, but appeared to be empty guest bedrooms.

Feeling confident enough to leave the gem shining to light her way, Val returned to the room with the dead servants and went down the way she had came, then seeing another staircase leading down into the cellar she went down into the bowels of the house.

Her light showed her a large room, filled with old furniture. Should she need it, there would be plenty of places to hide. A sliver of light shone through from another room and she just couldn't not investigate when she heard low moans of pain along with a grinding sound, like metal on stone. The door itself was designed to be invisible when closed, fitting perfectly into the stonework. Looking through she could see two men. One was tall and broad, wearing plate armour painted black. He was holding a two handed sword, the tip of which was buried deep in the guts on a man on the floor, barely recognizable as the man in the paintings upstairs. She could hear him say to the man on the floor “Well, I think I have inflicted the amount of pain paid for and required. Let's end this now."He picks up something black and oval shaped, smashes it over the man's head and then sticks the jagged edges in the man's throat. He clasps the hilt of his great sword, still stuck in the corpse and holds it in both hands.

Then his voice dropped to a whisper, but her keen roguish senses could still make out him say “I am truly sorry for the torment you have endured this night, but I am even more sorry that what you are about to endure will make it seem like a pleasant memory. There will be no rest for you on the other side of death.”

A brilliant bluish white light surrounded the corpse, then was slowly drawn up the blade and absorbed by it. The man in black pulled his sword out of the now dead Xzavros, and strode over to a hole in the wall were a crude tunnel led into the darkness.

Val waited until she was sure the armoured man was gone and then entered the room. Xzavros was long past any help she could give, but as she entered she noticed this room was filled with gold coins. She had been so transfixed by what was happening she failed to notice. Apparently this was his real treasure room, and there on a much simpler stone plinth than the one upstairs was sitting another first sized ruby. Examining it incredibly carefully she couldn't find any traps on this one, nor did she get a bad feeling from it, so she took a chance and placed it in a pouch. Feeling a little emboldened when nothing untoward happened she then happily started scooping up handfuls of gold until she could carry no more.

If curiosity killed the cat, then Val's could take out an entire pride of lions. She just had to follow the armoured man through the tunnel. It was rough and looked very recent. The floor was uneven with chunks of stone everywhere, so she decided to keep her light on. Unfortunately when she reached the end of the corridor, the man in black moved out from around the corridor. She had time to notice that he is quite a handsome man, in a dark and sinister way and in a cultured voice he said “Who is this? Some thief has caught an assassin in her claws. Ware ye little thief. I have killed whom I was paid to kill and have no more interest in more death tonight, but if you insist I will send you to the next world and quickly. And I would hate to kill anyone I didn't need to, especially one as pretty as you.”

Deciding discretion was the better part of valour Val simply agreed with him and went back down the tunnel, then as quickly as she could while still remaining hidden made her way back to the tavern to slip into her bed, cuddled up tight around her newfound wealth.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 04:46:02 PM by Dark Alex » Logged

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ER
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« Reply #33 on: September 13, 2017, 10:52:57 AM »

Deciding discretion was the better part of valour Val simply agreed with him and went back down the tunnel, then as quickly as she could while still remaining hidden made her way back to the tavern to slip into her bed, cuddled up tight around her newfound wealth.

After all, every woman wants to sleep with money.
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Dark Alex
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« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2017, 11:44:59 AM »

Got some messages about the game. Unfortunately Clockworkcanary is going to have to drop out as our game time is conflicting with other stuff. If in the future his schedule frees up though he would be welcome to come back.

 Tina has decided that Val, rather than going to bed with the gold now wants to go back to the house and help herself to more gold (yes ER, not only does she want to sleep with money, she wants to sleep with lots of money).
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« Reply #35 on: September 25, 2017, 03:55:55 PM »

Part Seven Of The Ballad Of The Band Of The Icky Hand: Caught Red Handed. And Again.

OK, last week we left off with Val getting back to the tavern and deciding that she wanted to return to the merchants house to get more of his gold. However she realised that someone stronger than her was needed to carry more money. Deciding that Zagan was the most likely to be morally flexable on this she woke him up and told him that she knew where there was a whole lot of money belonging to someone what no longer needed it.

Without asking too many more details Zagan gladly agreed, pulling on his armour and grabbing his sword before emptying his backpack on the floor (his choice of equipment would have consequences later) Val similarly dressed as lightly as possible to carry more dead mans gold. The pair of them headed out into the late night / early morning back to the pink house. Having found the keys to the house, Val unlocked the gates, but crucially left the gates open. This would also have consequences later.

The pair of them descended down into the cellar and the secret treasure room, gleefully filling every pocket and backpack with handfulls of gold, completely unconcerned with the body lying on the floor or the large hole through his guts. Just the kind of wound that would be made by a great sword, just like Zagan was wearing. Alas during the time this took a patrol of city watchmen noticed the open gate and front door of the house and entered to investigate. The party continually failed to hear the footsteps of men wearing mail armour (random historical note, there is no such thing as chain mail armour, it was just called mail armour) until they entered the room and pointing crossbows at the group demanded they lay down their weapons and surrender.

Deciding that charging a bunch of men with loaded crossbows pointed at them was not the most sensible thing, nor would be trying to flee down the tunnel to the sewer (which is a shame as I had prepared a scenario where they would end up having to save a bunch of homeless people living in the sewer from a giant albino alligator) and surrendered. They were stripped of their weapons, gold and equipment, then were marched off the to local gaol.

In the early morning the rest of the party awoke and went down for breakfast. When they went to investigate they found their rooms unlocked and unoccupied. In Val's room a large heap on gold lay on her bed with a fist sized ruby in the middle of it all. In Zagan's room there were no clues to his location. His weapons and armour were gone, and his gear emptied out over his bed. Somewhat worried the party headed out into the morning. Most people were still abed, but some were posting up news of the dreadful murder of the cities leading philanthropist and his household. A reward of 5,000 gold had been posted for the capture of his killers, but two people believed to be the guilty party had already been arrested.

The rest of the party got a sinking feeling about now concerning the identity of the accused. They figured they should pay for another couple of nights staying in the tavern.

Val and Zagan had found themselves together in a 10 foot by 15 foot dungeon, locked behind a heavy wooden door. A barred window provided some light. Calling on a the local jailer she tried to bribe him to take a message to her friends. Looking at her, he said he'd do it, but it would take more than gold (rolled a dice randomly here for what he wanted, it could have been gold, a bed time story read to him while Val called herself Uncle Arthur or a couple of other things, but it came up with sex). He took her into another empty cell for some privacy where she suddenly turned on him and clubbed him into unconsciousness. Taking his keys and Zagan, the pair of them snuck down the corridor. From one room they could hear some other jailers gambling. Opposite from there they found the armoury where their stuff had been placed after being confiscated. As quietly as possible they pilled other suits and armour and what ever else they could find in front of the jailers room to trap them inside and give themselves a bit of an alarm if any of them tried to leave the room.

After exploring the gaol further eventually they found the way out, with only a single guard manning a desk between them and freedom. Val started to sneak up behind him, but his keen ears warned him. He spun around at the same point as Cadmus and Zolis entered looking for their missing companions. Surprised and surrounded Val was quickly able to disable him leaving another guard senseless on the floor. Picking up some hats and cloaks to hide themselves on the way home, they headed back to the Longhouse Tavern to explain what had happened the previous night.

As they headed up to their chambers a young urchin brought a letter addressed to Val and Zagan on very expensive looking paper. Inside was an invite for each of them to a grand ball the next night. Attached was a note and a letter of credit for the women to get themselves suitable dresses and such accoutrements for their outfits as they deemed appropriate. However it also had a warning not to abuse the gift and buy other stuff.

In keeping with their plan after the prison escape to keep a low profile the women immediately went out dress shopping.

If I remember correctly Val ended up with a black lace ensemble with knee high patent leather boots and a matching onyx, diamond and platinum necklace (when I suggested something else I was immediately subjected to a torrent of abuse from Kristi about what kind of gems go with what fabrics and colours). Zagan ended up with something in purple with amethyst and gold. Oh and high heeled boots.

Zagan attempted to pay the head choreographer of a rather upmarket theatre to come and give her and Val some dancing lessons. While he couldn't meet his price, one of the actors turned out to be much more amenable

Next time women go shopping in my game, I am going to let Kristi GM it.

Seriously women, wearing matching outfits DOES NOT give you a bonus to your armour class.

I also really offended them by suggesting clothes shopping for two women could possibly be carried out in 90 minutes. That would be the part though where this is a fantasy game.

Val then rode off on one of the horses to hand in her prize to the local criminal mob. I tried dropping subtle hints to suggest that perhaps going to a thieves guild with a 5,000 gold bounty on her head might not be the best idea, but they went unnoticed. Sure enough as soon as she handed the gem over, she was ambushed and knocked out. She would wake up later in the same cell she was in the previous day, but this time she was stripped naked and manacled up so she was stuck in a fetal position. Despite her best attempts she was unable to get out of her chains. Obviously with one successful escape already the city watch were taking no chances. From her cell, she could here some muffled noises from the corridor outside, then in front of her eyes, the shadows by the door to her cell seemed to gather into one spot and form a solid shape...

Lets leave that for a second and go find out what the rest of the party was doing (ooooh, tension and suspense!).

Since Cadmus had been seen around town with two people who were now wanted fugitives in the city he asked Zolis to go check on the city gates and scope out how easy it would be to slip outside and escape. Alas the city it turns out was in lockdown thanks to the murder of its wealthiest citizen and the escape of his suspected killers. He reported this back to the rest of the group, including poor Sillas who had been doing little other than guarding the money Val had stolen on her first trip to the Pink House. He returned to the Longhouse Tavern and the group began to discuss how to get out the city, and what was taking Val so long?

And speaking of Val...

The shadows coalesced into the shape of a tall thin woman. She whispered through the bars of her cell door "It's her, she is in here. Open the damn door."
As the bar on the outside of the door was removed, the women set to work unlocking the manacles. She then picked the lock of the door where a man stood. They introduced themselves as Aileen and Merric the Talespinner. Val's gear was retrieved and she quickly dressed. Moving over to an outside wall, deep in shadows Aileen grasped the other two and suddenly Val found herself standing on the other side of the wall. They hurriedly escorted her back to the tavern, but didn't really tell her why they had rescued her, just telling her to keep a low profile and they would arrange to get her out the city in a couple of days.

The next day both Val and Zagan spent learning how to waltz under the direction of their rather ebullient actor instructor, then again all in the name of keeping a low profile they decided to attend the largest, grandest ball of the social season.

At the appointed time a very nice looking black coach pulled by six white horses pulled up in front of the inn. Two footmen appeared from the rear of the coach, one holding the door open, the other kneeling down to act as a human footstool for the ladies to step up into the carriage on.

Remember that one of those costumes involved high heeled boots?

I hear some men pay for things like that. Never understood that one myself.

Anyway, with a muffled grunt of pain from the footman they entered the carriage and went off to the ball.

They were driven through the city for ten or fifteen minutes before reaching their destination. Stepping out of the carriage (again on the backs of a footman) they were met by their mysterious host, Sir Geldan. He was a young man, apparently in his early 20s, handsome and powerfully built. He had long dark hair, held back by a silver band with a blue gem in the centre of it. He wore a black outfit, of a silk tunic, velvet trousers and thigh high black leather boots.

Val immediately recognized him as the man who had killed Xzavros.

He extended his arms and invited the women to take an arm each, and then escorted them into a magnificent white palace as the sounds of an orchestra drifted out into the night air. A servant announced them as they entered. Sir Geldan and Zagan took to the dance floor (and found that Geldan had some wandering hands), while Val helped herself to some free food and drink. The food was quite exquisite and she found herself tucking into the very moreish food.

Zagan found Geldan to be a wonderful dancer, although she was unable to quite match his talents and accidentally bumped into another dancer. He immediately turned around and slapped Zagan only for Geldan to push him away and demand a duel for the slight to his guest. Later on that night, another man was to arose Geldan's ire when he accused Val of eating like a pig and similarly being challenged to a duel.

He then apologized to the ladies for the impoliteness of others and sincerely hoped it would not spoil their night. They spent the rest of the night dancing, drinking and engaging in enjoyable conversation. As the end of the night approached he escorted them out to the back lawn where the duel was to take place.

Sir Geldan invited his opponents to select their weapons first, or flee and be known as a coward. The man who had insulted Val decided to take the chance to escape, while the other man still running on anger selected the foil. Geldan then took the epee. The pair took their positions and then the duel began. Geldan quickly took the upper hand opening up numerous wounds on his opponent. Although he took some hits in return, Geldan quickly cut the man to ribbons and left him dead and bleeding on the floor.

Having avenged the honour of his guests, Geldan then offered to take the women back to their lodgings. Or if they wished they could return to his quarters to tend to his wounds and experience a night he promised would be like none other they had ever experienced.

I was somewhat surprised when both Val and Zagan decided to accept. I had been expecting them to say no thank you, and thank him for a wonderful night.

Anyway, the three of them went to his bed chambers and we skipped to the next morning.

Really, there is way too much sex in this game. I need to get them all out in the middle of nowhere adventuring.

The next day they all breakfasted together and Geldan offered to take them back to their rooms. As they left his home however they spotted a Drow reclining catlike on the wall around his house. "Tut tut Sir Geldan, playing with your food again? Why bother when you know you will have to kill them soon."

With a heavy sigh, he introduced the female Drow as Lady Elthaian and replied "I simply sought to give them one night to remember. There is no harm in that."
With a cruel laugh she rolled backwards and dropped out of sight behind the wall. Both ladies turned round questioningly staring at Sir Geldan. He explained to them that he was a somewhat unwilling member of a team of assassins called The Dark Reflection. He was the most junior member of the group and even he was much more powerful than the party. He told them he knew someone was looking to hire them to kill the group but the contract had not yet been finalized. He offered to kill them quickly and painlessly here and now, and warned them that once the contract was accepted their fate would be much worse. Not only would they be killed, but their souls would also be denied entry to the afterlife instead being condemned to eternal torment.

Unsurprisingly his offer was turned down. They all thanked each other for a special night and parted as friends.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 01:12:36 PM by Dark Alex » Logged

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ER
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« Reply #36 on: September 25, 2017, 04:30:10 PM »

A good session told with novel-esque vividness. You're a fine DM. I think all D&D characters should ask themselves,  WWCD: "What Would Conan Do?" If my D&D-revering friend Rob lived in Scotland he'd never want to leave your house. You'd have to throw him into the street, probably repeatedly.

And now after 9 1/2 hours at work, which included a freak accident and driving someone to the ER, I get to go home.
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Dark Alex
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« Reply #37 on: September 26, 2017, 01:27:46 AM »

Robert E Howard is actually a pretty big influence on my games (and also why wenches are always available in between adventures I guess). Conan was very much my introduction to the fantasy genre. I also love Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stories by Fritz Leiber and was quite amused by the attempts of one games master I used to play with who attempted to pass off two of the wizards from those stories as his own creation for his game.
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« Reply #38 on: September 26, 2017, 06:19:49 AM »

Even though scheduling prevents me from playing lately, I am loving the updates on my fellow adventurers! Ah the trouble they get into without Sillas! (although they'd probably get into similar trouble had he been present anyway lol).

Great stuff. I'm hoping to be able to join in on one of the upcoming games. I will keep you posted with some advanced notice on that.
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Dark Alex
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« Reply #39 on: September 26, 2017, 06:25:25 AM »

For the moment Sillas is still with the group, earning about 75% of the XPs the rest of the party gets. There is a point in the future where if you can't make it back that I'll have him drop out, but he can always make guest appearances after that.
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« Reply #40 on: September 28, 2017, 01:37:56 PM »

So I've been writing an upcoming episode where I am looking to throw a bit of a turn into horror. I want to get an atmosphere of claustraphobia going amongst the group and then hit them with a monster fight. So the situation is, the group for various reasons is underground in a large sewer (big enough to paddle a canoe down) and going deeper. What I have written so far is:

"Be careful of putting your hand near the surface. Believe it or not some creatures actually live down here in this filth. You can't use any naked flames down here, and magic is weaker here than on the surface. Spells may be less powerful than usual or might not work at all."

Make sure you get what order the party is sitting in the boat. It won't matter, but they will wonder why you've asked. With Merrick checking behind the boat regularly, people in the back might get nervous.

'As you start paddling, you can see sometimes the light from the gem grows dimmer as you travel. Occasionally it blinks out completely, or flashes off and on giving you an unsettling strobe effect. Combined with the smell from the flow of effluent your stomach is heaving. Merrick is kneeling at the front of the boat, occasionally looking behind you and says "The sewers join into a cave system beneath the city. I've not been able to fully explore it, but I have found several ways out of the city before.'

At this point have the party make some Spot and Listen checks. There is nothing to see or hear, but it will make them wonder what they aren't seeing and help get them in the right frame of mind. Repeat this occasionally, but not too often.

'After a while the gray brick work gives way to natural brown stone. The roof of the cave is less than a foot over your head, and sometimes you have to duck to avoid hitting a low part of the roof. The unsteady light from Merrick's gem throws crazy shadows on the cave walls when it is lit and when everything goes dark you are all forced to duck into the canoe or risk braining yourself on some rocky outcrop. The caves slowly lead downwards into the bowels of the earth and you can't help thinking of all the people walking around you above and the layer of rock between you and them, or what would happen should it collapse. The air down here feels very cold and if you didn't have to paddle you'd be huddling close for warmth. The canoe keeps bumping off objects in the water. It could be rocks or you don't want to know what could be floating beside you.

Or perhaps its the creatures Merrick mentioned living down here.

Merrick keeps glancing behind the boat and has a slightly nervous air about him.'


If anyone asks why he will reply "I am not sure, but I think something is following us." Follow this up with more Spot and Listen checks. The party will hear all sorts of strange echos in a cave, let their imaginations make of that what they will. "I also have to confess we appear to have drifted into a part of the caves I am not familiar with. I am afraid we are slightly lost."

Give the players a chance to speak up, come up with plans and so on.

'You paddle through narrow caves and giant caverns. You have no idea how long you've been travelling for down here, far from the sunlight. The light still flickers as if struggling against the enveloping darkness, sometimes it fails and you are plunged into complete darkness.'

Merrick will not allow anyone to light a non magical light. If they do, throw a methane explosion into the mix. 3d6 damage (Reflex save for half) should discourage them from this course of action. The inconsistant light is going to be handy shortly.

'You are constantly aware of the thousands of tons of rock over your head. Should it give way, you would all be crushed flat with no hope of rescue and no chance of anyone ever finding your broken bodies. Once more the light dims and dies, just as you enter a wider cavern where the water flows faster through. You feel the boat picking up speed and the occasional flash of light shows the cave walls rushing past at a dizzying speed. The stench from the sewer has faded somewhat as the sewer mixes with fresh water off the mountains. Merrick calls out "Keep the paddles out the water and your hands inside the boat!"'

Anyone not pulling their paddle in will find it get smashed by a passing rocky outcrop. Anyone with their hand outside the boat can have that hit. Give them d6 damage and a +2 penalty to anything involving using that arm for the next day or two.

You must be passing through another dead magic area, the light is still completely gone. You have no idea how large or small the tunnel is, and thoughts of plunging over an unseen waterfall keep playing in your head.

Well maybe not Zolis's head. Who the hell knows what is going on in his mind?

Suddenly you find yourself flying through the air as the boat hits something in the dark. You are catapulted out of your seat and find yourself thrown into the ice cold water. Luckily it is only a couple of feet deep and you soon hit the bottom. Splashing and struggling, you all make it back to the surface, coughing and spluttering as you try to spit out the water and take a deep breath at the same time.

A shockingly loud scream rends the darkness. You cannot tell who is making it. It starts off as a shout of pain, but increases in pitch and intensity like nothing you have ever heard before, and then breaks into a liquid gurgling. Just as that second the gem flashes for a second briefly illuminating the area.

For a moment your brain struggles to make sense of what it is seeing. It looks like Merrick is lying on some large triangular pink bed, then just as it goes dark, you realise it is actually a massive reptillian jaw studded with stubby but wickedly pointed teeth. As the light blinks out you see the upper jaw coming down, half Merricks body inside the large triangular mouth, half outside. He seems to be stuck, impailed on the teeth beneath him. His left arm has been torn off at the shoulder while he feebly stabs with his dagger in his right. As the light flashes on and off you see a kalidoscope of images as the creature bites down on him, shakes its head from side to side as if trying to tear the body to pieces. When its head hits the side of the passage you can feel the walls tremble with the force of the impact. With a final bite and shake his body is ripped in twain, half falling into the bloodied water, the other half down this giant creatures gullet.'


Anyway, if anyone has some good suggestions for how to build the tension a bit more feel free to mention them. Just remember that every couple of minutes the players have to get a chance to give some input, so I can't do a Stephen King novel length of a build up to the scene.

And I guess at the end of this scene the party might still have their paddles, but they are otherwise currently up s**t creek without a boat.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 02:15:15 PM by Dark Alex » Logged

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« Reply #41 on: September 29, 2017, 07:41:16 PM »

Actually, that's pretty good, man.
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« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2017, 04:16:28 PM »

Part Eight Of The Ballad Of The Band Of The Icky Hand: Its Time To Split.

Something very bad happened to one of the characters tonight. I am now in deep trouble. Read on to find out more...

The group all met up in the tavern following their previous nights adventures. They took a table together to swap stories and Val went up to buy a round. On the way back however, she bumped into another patron and a fight broke out. The man who had ale spilled down him turned out to be a surprisingly competent unarmed fighter and pummelled Val into unconsciousness. Another man joined in and a general melee exploded in the bar. Innocent people were running about trying to get away from the fight. Few of the group were equipped for combat, and most of them figured out that using weapons or spells would be a bad idea in a bar fight.

Hell, even Zolis figured out that using big flashy spells would be a bad idea.

Anyway, Val was beaten into unconsciousness in rapid order. Cadmus decided to drop a Sonic Bang spell right in the middle of the fight. This would potentially hit all the combatants including her own allies. Oh, and a lot of normal people. Normal people tend to be squishy and not have a lot of hit points and rapidly died from the sonic damage. As this happened someone else stabbed one of the patrons in the neck with a dagger. They fell to the ground dead.

Now, this was the bit that was supposed to happen. Someone had hired some thugs to start a fight and then kill a bystander and have some false witnesses point the figure at the party.

The thought that the party would actually go kill some innocent people anyway hadn't really occurred to me. Even though this is something that players do regularly. I certainly didn't expect Kristi to be the one who did it. When I pointed out to her she'd killed innocent people her characters reaction was to shrug his shoulders and offer to kill the unconscious Val to prevent them having to carry her body around. When she finally went to cast a healing spell on Val. He reached deep to summon the holy power and... nothing happened. Lathander had withdrawn his favour from him. At this point Cadmus started regretting the deaths. This isn't the bad thing I mentioned at the start. I am in waaaaaaaaay more trouble than that.

They heard a shout the city watch were on their way and fled out into the city, bearing in mind some of the party has a rather significant bounty on their heads. The group then headed for the Temple of Lathander to seek refuge there and speak to the First Dawnbringer. Most of the party decided to wait in the main hall of the temple while Cadmus went upstairs. The door to the First Dawnbringers room was lying slightly ajar. She knocked on it, but go not answer. She peaked around the door and saw Maleon lying on the floor, a goblet of water spilled on the floor beside him.

Well he did say someone was trying to poison him.

In a panic Cadmus ran back downstairs and asked the rest of the party to come upstairs. Everyone but Val on seeing Cadmus's shocked face went upstairs and they asked some acolytes to accompany them. Everyone was shocked to see the old man dead on the floor and again the watch was summoned. The group was planning on hanging around to make sure the watch knew they weren't responsible. Then it occured to them that having a cleric who had just lost his godly powers and was somehow involved in the murder of the leading cleric of that god in the city would not look good. Plus that half the group was wanted already for murder, robbery, escaping prison and so on. At that point they decided to flee in the confusion. This also isn't the bad thing.

Everyone ran and hid in a quiet area of the city. Zolis was able to summon an extra dimensional space for the party to hide in for a few hours and make some plans. It was decided that Val would sneak back to the Longhouse Tavern, and retreive their gear. The rest of the party was to lurk in a nearby quiet alleyway until she returned.

Val, her hair dyed from the previous adventure and hiding in her hooded cloak snuck her way through the city back to the tavern and saw Bran hanging about outside. He told her that the watch had arrested everyone still inside and closed the inn while they investigated the killings. She returned to the group with Bran and the cart (the group also figured out that they had lost the horse Val rode to her meeting with the thieves guild.

The group still wanted to some how meet up with the people who had promised to get them out the city, but wanted to remain hidden. This caused some confusion and debate within the group until Cadmus pointed out if the inn was closed for business they could all hole up there and meet the mysterious pair later.

To be continued (I need to go to bed and will write more tomorrow).
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 01:15:06 PM by Dark Alex » Logged

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« Reply #43 on: October 02, 2017, 01:08:40 PM »

So Val returned to the group Bran and cart in tow. The cart was too wide to get down the alley way and so Bran waited with it while the group debated which plan of action to follow.

Their endless debating was however cut short when they heard shouting at the end of the street. The watch was now conducting a house to house search and it would not take a genius to figure out who they were looking for. Bran turned the cart around and the party jumped on the back and fled the area. Avoiding patrols of guards they made it back to the Longhouse and hid around the back in the stables. Val climbed up to the stable roof, jimmied open a window and slipped inside. The rest of the group then followed her up and closed the window behind them. They gathered up their gear and lowered most of it down to the waiting cart and then sat down to await rescue. Or capture once the watch got around to rechecking this area.

Val was elected to go check the downstairs and make sure no members of staff we still around. From the top of the stairs she could see a flickering light, but not its source so tentatively she crept down the wooden staircase to the main room of the inn. Sitting at a table were the pair who had rescued her from gaol (the second time). The man was dressed somewhat outlandishly with a shiny waistcoat, bright green trousers and deep purple leather boots and a scarlet cloak, while the woman was dressed in drab grey clothing and kept her hair in front of her face. When she looked in Val’s direction her eyes didn't seem to actually look at her instead staring at the ground at her feet.

The pair stood up and moved over to join Val. Meanwhile the rest of the party still hiding in one of the inn's upper rooms. A loud crack sounded against the room window, then a second. Glancing out Zagan could see Bran waving his arms and throwing stones at the window to attract their attention.

It then took a ten minute debate for the group to decide to open a window and find out why Bran was being so animated. He shouted up that the city watch had blocked off all the streets leading away from the inn and were advancing towards it. The party had neatly walked into a trap! Cursing the parties inability to follow the simple instruction to keep their heads down, Merrick told Aileen to take anyone who escape via the roof with her while the rest would have to take a chance of the sewers.

Aileen climbed out the open window immediately, followed by Val who was the only one who could realistically take that route. The rest of the party is either somewhat athletic (Zolis) or clad in heavy armour (Zagan and Cadmus). The pair got onto the roof, but were spotted by some of the watchmen and came under a hail of crossbow fire. Most of the bolts ricochet off the wall, but a couple of lucky shots caused minor injuries to Val. She followed Aileen as she leapt from building to building over narrow streets and alleyways while down below a couple of squads of watchmen tried to shoot them down. They'd made jumps over several narrow alleyways, but when it came to making it over a wide street Val managed to get about half way but crashed hard down on the cobblestones. Bruised and bleeding but with nothing broken she managed to climb back up a drain pipe. Aileen was waiting in the nook between a tall chimney stack and a the sloping room they were on and covered the pair of them with her cloak. The pair hid while their pursuers caught up with them then spread out in different directions trying to find them. Eventually ten or fiveteen minutes later they moved off again, confident they had done all they could to give the slower members of the group a chance to escape. At a slightly more cautious pace the duo made their day to a house that was only a few feet from the top of the city wall. Grabbing Val by the hand Aileen used her abilities to teleport the pair a few feet and onto the wall rather than risk Val falling and taking more damage. (Aileen is a Tiefling which is someone who is half human half demon. They are not always evil although most are, but they do have a connection to the darkness. She is also a Shadow Dancer and able to teleport short distances from shadow to shadow).

And back to the rest of the team...

Merrick took the party down into the cellar and motioned everyone to be very quiet. They could hear the door to the inn being kicked open and many heavy feet running in above their heads. Motioning everyone to be as quiet as possible Merrick got Zagan to help with lifting a heavy manhole cover off the ground. The team dropped down the hole, although the rest of the team got a soft landing when Cadmus messed up his drop and ended up face planting into a stream of fresh sewage. Merrick came through last dragging the grill back into place as quietly as possible. It wouldn't stop the guards from figuring out how they had escaped but it might mean it took them longer to work it out.

With little idea where they were heading they had to follow Merrick trying not to breath in the smell from the sewer. Or the smell from Cadmus who was going to require a bath before meeting polite company.

As it turned out later, this would not be an issue. But this still wasn't what got me into trouble with Kristi. Yup, something worse than going head first into sewage awaited.

Merrick warned the group that magic would be weak down here and that lighting any flames could result in an explosion. They climbed into a canoe he had got down here earlier for the group to escape in. Any guards following them would never be able to catch them on foot.

A scary boat ride then followed where sometimes the light failed completely leaving them in Stygian darkness. If you want more details just read the post above. Right down to the point where they crashed into something in the dark and Merrick was bitten in twain by a giant albino crocodile. Or possibly alligator. Certainly one of them.

Cadmus and Zagan ran forward to fight the beast, although Zagan had trouble swinging his huge two handed sword in tight quarters, Zolis decided to run away and observe the fight from a distance while Sillas picked himself up out of the water.

Here is where it all went wrong though and I got into trouble.

The beast lunged forward and caught Cadmus, his upper half completely inside its jaws while his legs kicked and struggled. It bit down hard and shook its head from side to side. Cadmus’s top half slid down its throat, while the legs spraying blood everywhere fell to the ground.

(In game terms the alligator had scored a critical hit which means its damage was doubled. It caused 32 damage in total which was more than enough to take Cadmus from fully healthy to very dead at -14 hit points).

I got a very unimpressed look from the other side of the table. Me then interrupting the game to say I was in trouble because my wife was a bag of raging hormones at the moment did not help the situation as much as I might have hoped. In fact if anything Kristi seemed more upset by this than by Cadmus dying. *shrugs* Women, who can understand them? Anyway, back to the game. I'll buy her something pink and sparkly and all will be well.

And I will be surprised if ER didn't face palm when she read that last paragraph. :P

Still hungry the beast lunged at Sillas and fixated on him, determined to make him its next meal. Both Sillas and Zagan had inflicted several telling blows on their adversary, but it was still in the fight. It feinted an attack at Zagan and when Sillas ran in to try help protect him with his shield the jaws suddenly snapped back at their real target. Grabbing Sillas by his shield arm it damn near ripped his arm entirely out of his socket. Sillas collapsed from shock and loss of blood. Disaster then struck when Zagan lost his sword, getting it stuck in the ‘gators thick hide. Zolis watching the fight from a distance decided he had to risk something and cast scorching ray at it. While normally this would send a deadly streak of fire to engulf its target, instead there was a bit more of a coughing splurt as the weak magical field here turned the fireball into a few sparks which did some damage, but didn't kill the creature (actually it took it down to having just 1 hit point left). However something else also happened. Having forgotten or ignored Merrick’s warning about naked flames the cave was suddenly filled with a fiery blast as the methane in the air ignited. Zagan was able to dive under water and avoid the worst of the damage and Sillas was already under the water’s surface thanks to his heavy armour dragging him down, but both Zolis and the Alligator took the full blast. Zolis was somewhat scorched by this, but the fireball was enough to finish off the mighty Alligator.

Cutting the creature open they retrieved as much of their friends (read they looted the bodies) as they could. None of them however had the power to bring them back from the dead, nor could they bury them by digging into the hard rock, so the bodies were left lying there. Although I guess both Merrick and Cadmus do get to rest in pieces (too soon?). Sillas was pulled up from under the water and given one of the few remaining healing potions, which was enough to save his arm and bring him back to consciousness.

The boat was found and inspected. Although slightly bashed and dented it was still seaworthy, so they group dragged it over the dead ‘gator. To the rear of it seemed to be the beast lair. Multiple carcasses lay around the room and after digging through them (seriously this party loves to smell like dead things) they found a clutch of half a dozen eggs which they decided to take with them.

Putting two and two together the group figured out that this meant somewhere out there was another one of these creatures, it was time to get the hell out of there. Of course they might have a p**sed off mama alligator following them when she returns and finds her mate dead and her kids stolen.

 
Ever watched Taken? Now imagine that with a 30 foot long Alligator in the role of Liam Neeson. That’s a film I want to see!

 
Continuing along in the boat, lighter by two people the party travelled for several more hours until they reached a point where it could take them no further. The water dropped through a hole in the cave perhaps a foot across. One side of the cave did however have a steeply sloping upwards passage. They’d have to go up it crawling due to the steep angle, but it was either that or drop down the hole into the unknown.

Well unknown to them. I knew damn fine well it was a mile and a half drop down to a large underground sea filled with monsters. If they’d went down that way Val would have been looking for an entirely new group to adventure with.

Anyway, after an exhausting climb they finally started to see a pinprick of light up ahead. It took many more hours of climbing that left them fatigued before finally they crawled out of the dark, dank earth and into the sweet embrace of sunlight. To the north-west they could see a many miles distant which they guessed would be Teziir. Running to the east of that was the road that hopefully Val and Aileen would be waiting to meet them on. And if possible Bran since all the party treasure was loaded onto the wagon.
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« Reply #44 on: October 02, 2017, 01:41:15 PM »

Oh no! Cadmus!!!!!

Exciting read!
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