Monday, December 29, 2008

Game 5: Tuesday December 23, 2008

Game Summary:

The previous game ended with the party dispatching the clay scout and iron guardians defending Draigdurroch's Tower. The party moved quickly though the ground floor of the tower, recognizing that the previous inhabitant was clearly a disciple of Asmodeus. Everything had been perfectly preserved by the ice, but many of the more fragile materials would crumble at the slightest touch. The magical nature of the ice was apparent, as even the the fire in the fire places appeared to be frozen.

As the party approached the second floor, they were attacked by elemental ice creatures. Some of the creatures hurled long ice spears while other approached carrying an ice maul. The PCs were about to over come the threat that spanned two floors of the tower.

Eventually they discovered that a sort of magical elevator would take them to the third floor of the tower. On the third floor that found the most relevant pieces of Draigdurroch's research locked in warded desk. The rogue and the warlock were able to work together to disable the ward and retrieve the diary. Draigdurroch was researching a warlock pact which he referred to as the "Dark Pact".

The party approached the rooftop and found the source of the impending winter, a crystal that had been modified by the elemental creatures. These modifications were causing the increasing cold in the land. When the party attempted to destroy the crystal it spawnded a large elemental beast known as the Spirit of Winter. Although, the party suffered significant losses, they were able to over come the monster and destroy the crystal. The ice immediately began to fall from the sides of the tower.

Treasure List: Draigdurroch's diary, various books from his collection, crystal statue of Asmodeus, 3 vials of alchemist's frost, Master's Wand of Ice Storm, Ornament of Alertness.

XP: ??

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Game 4: Tuesday Dec. 2, 2008

Game Overview
The party heads back to Loudwater after defeating the Goblin Shaman. The trip back is rather uneventful and moves quickly. They go directly to the Green Tankard to look for Curuvar, but he was not there yet. They received a message from Lady Moonfire, asking for an audience at their earliest convience.

The party made their way to the manor house and met with the Lady. She also mentioned the winter weather seemed to be coming to the area too early, a rumor the party picked up earlier from Marsh Laval. It seems that a lot of the farmers in the area are concerned that the crops might fail, and Deadwinter Day will be a lot more than symbolic for Loudwater. The Lady had a feeling that Draigdurroch's tower, near the Dire Wood, may somehow be involved.

Draigdurroch was a dwarf warlock who came to the Dire Wood to try to harness the power of the dead demi-god Karsus. He believed the with this power, he may be able to discover a new pact. The fey creatures of the wood believed his research to be dangerous and unnatural, and requested he leave the area. He responded with violence, and the fey locked his tower in an icy tomb over 30 years ago. Draigdurroch has not be seen or heard from since.

The party di some shopping in town then headed back to the Green Tankard to find Curuvar. He tells them the background of the Ogre King. The Ogre King was an actually an "oni", an ogre-like creature with mystical powers. The oni inhabited the barrow with a specific purpose in mind - it sought to learn about the Dire Wood. The goblins worshiped the thing like some sort of demigod, but in reality, it's just a dead oni.

Curuvar backed up Lady Moonfire's suspicions about Draigdurroch tower and performed the Endure Elements ritual for the party before they left Loudwater.

As the party approached the tower, they were caught in a blizzard. Due to their athletic and acrobatic skills, their arcane, historical, and natural knowledge, and their pure endurance, they were able to overcome the storm.

As the storm was starting to clear, Modryth noticed that some blue skinned goblins were preparing for an ambush in the nearby hills. With a nature check, she determined that the creatures must have been effected by the storm, as they were not suitably dressed for the weather. It was assumed that they had some sort of magical resistence to the cold.

The goblin hexer created a cloud of ice, making movement difficult for the party with the sharpshoots and cutters launched ranged attacks. Eventually, the party overcame the threat and were rewarded with some valuable treasure, including a Rod of Reaving.

Some pics from the combat with the ice-touched goblin horde:

With the Goblins dispatched, the party moves to the ice covered tower. They start hacking away at the ice when Samash notices something strange about the statues near the entrance. A few of them are not what they appear. The party attacks the statues and they reanimate into Iron Guardians!

Pics from the Iron Guardian Battle:

Modryth lands a brutal crit on her Hunter's Quarry with the big ol' D20 (sorry about the lack of focus)!

Dave is unimpressed at her nearly 40 points of damage on a single hit!?!?

After opening the door, another statue animates. It is a Clay Scout, but since the rest of the guardians were dispatched, it didn't stand much of a chance.

The game wrapped up as the party prepared to enter the tower.

Game Commentary
The players did a great job roleplaying with Lady Moonfire and Curuvar to get good information. I was also impressed that they were using their skills in combat to try to gain an advantage over the enemies (Nature check on the goblins and history/perception checks on the statues). They did a great job working together and everyone seems to be getting more comfortable with the combat mechanics.

The Blizzard was the second 4e skill challenge I've tried to run (the other was in the Keep on the Shadowfell pre-gen game). So far, I'm not too impressed with the mechanic. I don't know that the players really felt any danger during the challenge, even though one of them did lose a healing surge after failing an endurance check. Both times, I've run them, it really felt like I'm doing something wrong (or the mechanic is sort of broken).

The players managed to level up during the game, so they will have a little more at their disposal starting the next game.

XP: 343
Treasure: Rod of Reaving +1, 2 Potions of Healing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Game 3: November 25

Game Overview
After dispatching the goblins in the first room, the party moved through the doors to the east. The rogue scouted ahead, after having her dagger lit with the Zath's light spell. As she moved through the second set of double doors, the stench of death hit her. Down the hall she clearly heard some groaning sounds, and possibly some scratchy whispering in goblin. She stealthily scouted ahead and verified that there were zombies behind a portcullis to the west and stone door to the east. The halfling returned to the party to warn them of the dangers ahead.

Hearing that there was something to destroy, Grahlok charged down the hallway, with the rest of the party close behind.

Dave responds to criticism of his "tactical plan".

Shortly after the melee begins, the party is attacked by a pair of goblins, a skullcleaver and a blackblade, from the eastern room. The skullcleaver deals some damage while the blackblade shifts into a more favorable position, dealing sneak attack damage.

Two different angles of about the same moment of combat. The goblins are to the right, zombies to the north.

The party took care of the treat with little difficulty and searched the zombie haven and the sanctuary. They discover a variety of coins in the zombie refuse. In the sanctuary, there is a large dirt covered statue, which is identified as the Ogre King. It appears to be recently unearthed. On the marble stand was a ruby and a potion of healing, left by the goblins as an offering.

Brad and Allen prepare for the next encounter.

Again the rogue takes the lead as the party passes through a few more doors. They come to another large room with 2 Hobgoblin Soldiers, 2 Hobgoblin Archers, and a Goblin Hexer. The hexer is concentrating a transportation circle located nearby. After the first round of combat 2 Goblin warriors appear from the circle.

The party takes a significant amount of damage, as the dice just didn't seem to be on their side. Various members of the party were blinded or held in place by the hexer's spells and the archers were able to lay down significant damage. Eventually the party is successful, and searches the area. The room to the south is filled with refuse, goblin excrement, dingy straw mattresses, and other garbage. Amongst the trash, the party discovers Fortification Scale Armor [+1], 2 gold rings inset with gems (30 gp each), 1 Silver Statuette (75 sp), 70 cp, 2 50' lengths of rope, 15 torches, + 1 moonstone (100 gp).

Before the Goblins warriors arrive!

The Archer's point of view.

The DM plotting the player's demise.

The party were able to hold off the threat, but decided it would be in their best interest to rest here, as most of were running out of healing surges. The hole up in the goblin den.

Some scatological humor in the goblin den at the expense of the the missing players.

After resting for the evening, the party embarks deep into the barrow. They descend through the ancients catacombs, most of which have been destroyed by the goblins, the dwarven remains ransacked. After descending about 100 feet, the party steps into the Tomb of the Ogre King. High Shaman Sancossug is standing over a large sarcophagus reciting prayers when the party enters. The mud covered goblin demands to know who they are and how they got there. He notices that the rogue is wielding the Horn Totem and insists on it's return.

The party enters the tomb of the Ogre King!

The party refuses and melee ensues. The odds are not good for the High Shaman, but he is able to lay down a significant amount of damage. Sancossug is a much more powerful version of the hexer.

View from behind the Shaman.

He is able to blind about half the party on his first attack. He also uses a stinging cloud attack and a fire attack on the members of the party that are still bunched together.

The Hexer is surrounded.

The party members expend most of their dailies and encounter powers and eventually drop the shaman.

The open the sarcophagus and discover the remains of a large ogre. The skull has been fashioned into a mace-like weapon known as the Skull Totem. It has similar properties to the Horn Totem. They also find 118 gp, 41 sp, 30 cp in a pouch on the corner of the room.

The party successfully beat their first major foe and found some fairly valuable treasure in the process. It seems that most of the players are getting more comfortable with the combat mechanics. Since this adventure was very light on the roleplaying and very heavy on combat, we were able to get through three encounters, which I felt was pretty good in just under 4 hours, considering one of them was a "boss battle".

XP: 370
Treasure: 163 gp, 98 sp, 120 cp, 2 gold rings inset with gems (60 gp), 1 Silver Statues (75 sp), 70 cp, 2 50' lengths of rope, 15 torches, 1 moonstone (100 gp), Potion of Healing (PHB 255); Ruby (100 gp), Fortification Scale Armor +1 (Adventurer's Vault, page 45 (Armor))

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Game 2: Tuesday November 11

Game Overview
The party convened at the nearby inn, the Green Tankard Tavern, to wait for Loudwater's resident wizard, Curuvar the Brazen. Curuvar brought the Horn Totem to Garwan's Curiosities, and Garwan suggested that the party meet up with him to gather further information. Curuvar was not present when the party entered the tavern. There they met the proprietor, Marsh Laval, Sunsteen Urbeth, and the Dragonborn Paladin Shamash N'Gath.

Marsh Laval immediately offered the party some basic information about Curuvar and made small talk about the recent unexpected weather north of Loudwater. It is just past High Sun in the Faerun and it seems that the cold season may be coming quite early this year. There were even reports of blizzards from some hunters who passed through town recently.

Sunsteen Urbeth, a Loudwater citizen and assistant to the town's Magistrate (Caslin Gemnis), was in the South Square when the Goblin raid began. He is a balding man of about 30 and walks with a noticible limp. He considers the party heros, since their actions allowed him to escape the attack with his life. He is going to put in a good word with the Magistrate and mentions that should the party run afoul with the town guard, he may be of some assistance.

Samash N'Gath also happened to be in the tavern awaiting the arrival of Curuvar. He traveled to Loudwater after having a vision of his god, Kelemvor, where the diety told him to seek out the local wizard. Amduscias took an immediate interest in the paladin when he mentioned his story and invited the dragonborn to join him at a nearby table.

Shortly, Curuvar entered the tavern. The eccentric wizard was the spitting image of the fantasy book spell caster, with his long beard, robe stitched with stars and moons, pointed hat, and staff. Curevar paid little attention to the party of adventurers and sidled up to the bar. Marsh identified the man as Curuvar. The party approached and inquired about the horn totem and the goblin invasion. Curuvar instead gave them a test: If the party can retrieve the Skull Totem from the Goblin barrow, located in the Southwood in the ruins of the dwarven kingdom of Ammarimber, he will tell them the legend of the Ogre King.

The party sets out towards the Goblin barrow using directions from Curuvar. As the party approaches, the discover a walled courtyard. The entrance to the courtyard is marked by a gate in the shape of a large Dwarven head. As the party scans the courtyard looking for some sign of an entrance, Zath notices one of the rocks across area seems to be situated in an unnatural way. The party started across the courtyard to explore, but set off a false-floor pit trap. When Grahlok, Shamash, and Amduscius step into the area, the ground collapses. Ghalok is able to jump out of the way, but Shamash and Modryth both fall into the pit, sustaining some damage.

Combat begins, as the two have fallen into a room inhabited by a number of Goblin Skullcleavers, Warriors and a Hexer. The halfling rogue (still unnamed?!?!) and Modryth successfully use their acrobatics skills to avoid damage jumping into the hole. Grahlok thows himself down the hole and sustains damage. More sensibly, Shatmo and Zath explore the rocky area and find the secret entrance.

Here are some pictures of the combat:

The Party engages the goblins in hand to hand combat.

A view of the combat from the goblin hexer's point of view. He had just blinded Shamash.

Combat from above.

Zath sets off another pit trap and ends up surrounded by hungry dogs! He was able to use his Fey Step to teleport out of the pit before sustaining too much damage.

The party is able to take care of the goblins, even though the hexer tried to escape using the strange disk on the floor. He was only temporarily teleported and ended up in the same square. A few members of the party also attempted to use the magical device but with limited success.

The role-playing section in the Tavern went well. The party was able to interact with some of the Loudwater locals and make some contacts. A few very minor seeds for possible future adventures were planted.

The combat encounter was SLOW! I think things will get better as the players become more familiar with their characters and I get more comfortable behind the DM screen. The challenge was fairly difficult (2 pit traps, 4 minions, 3 brutes, 3 skirmishers, and a controller), so it's expected that the party take a bit of a beating, I suppose.

XP: 196
Treasure: n/a


Monday, October 20, 2008

Game 1: October 20, 2008

We spent most of the first gaming session creating characters. During the last two hours we kicked off the game with a horde of Goblins invading the town of Loudwater.

Character Creation:
A few of the players had already started putting their characters together, but most were starting from scratch. All of the players expressed some level of displeasure with the constant cross-referencing required to generate a character. I don't remember it being that much of a chore with 3.5, but I may just be remembering the experience through rose-colored memories. It certainly would have been helpful for a few more people to have access to the Players Handbook, but it worked out. By the time I got around to helping the third or forth person, I had the process down pretty well.

The RPG blogger 4e standard complaint "What does [W] mean?" came up a number of times, actually. I'm really surprised this is such a big deal. I was able to figure that out the first time I looked at the powers in the book. I agree that is should be defined in more than one place in the book, but I guess I'm surprised so many people are getting tripped up by it.

Most of the players selected a build from the PHB to generate their characters. I think this is a good move, and I encouraged it for the players. I think 4e will have plenty of room for more unique builds, but given the resources listed in the PHB, an optimized build will probably be best for a "first character".

Player Characters:
Amduscias Dantalian: Teifling Warlock
[Currently unnamed] : Genasi Fighter
[Currently unnamed] : Halfling Rogue
Shatmo: Human Warlord
Modryth: Tiefling Ranger
Zath Syngenor: Human Wizard

I decided that I wanted to kick off the game with the PCs being strangers. They all just happened to be in the right [wrong] part of town at the wrong [right] time. The players started by placing their miniatures near the southern wall of the town of Loudwater. After a having a few moments to interact with townspeople/other PCs, they see/hear a large explosion.

A handful of goblins charge through the door, lead by a goblin caster. The caster pointed to the local curiosity shop and shouted, "The horn totem must be reclaimed!" and casts a cloud that conceals him and his followers. The goblins were not expecting battle worthy adventurers to be waiting for them in town. They are no match for the party.

The party moves quickly and makes short work of the Goblins. They retrieve the horn totem and a letter in Goblin from the dead caster. One of the characters who speaks Goblin reads the letter:

I learned through divinations that the totem is in a shop called Garwan’s Curiosities in Loudwater. Go and retrieve it. Use the old barrel of alchemist’s fire. You know how important this is. Without the totem, it will be harder to perform the magic. We must get the object back if we are to revive the Ogre King! Do not fail. I will continue forward with the magic even if every one of you must be sacrificed. We must get back the totem!
High Shaman Sancossug

When the scuffle has subsided, the proprietor of the the curiosity shop, Garwan, joins the party in the street. He thanks the party for stopping the theft and rewards them with the horn totem (Weapon: Dagger; Enhancement: +1 Attack rolls and damage rolls; Critical: +1d6 damage; Property: Your attacks with this weapon against a creature larger than you have an additional +1 bonus to damage rolls). He also informs them that Curuvar the Brazen, a local wizard, had retrieved the the Horn Totem from the Barrow of Ogre King. Curuvar can often be found in the Green Tankard Tavern. Moments later a couple members of the Loudwater City Guard arrived and thanked the party for dispatching the goblin threat. One of the officers takes the characters names, at the request of Lady Moonfire. The party decides to seek out the eccentric wizard to see if they can get more information on why the Goblins were so intent on getting the horn totem.

XP: 100
Treasure: Horn Totem, message scroll

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Welcome to the Campaign Blog

This blog will be used to document important events in our campaign.