Saturday, 10 August 2019

20-21/M6 1491 DR session 8 Lvl 6 RL7 Fall of the Fire Prophet XP 44+9=53

Joined by a wandering Fighter, the group attacks and kills Elizar Dryflagon, then descends the tunnel from Scarlet Moon Hall for over a mile to the ancient dwarven halls of Tyar-Besil. Fooling Fire Cult guards that they are fellow cultists, they are escorted by a hobgoblin captain through the foundry to reach the Tiefling Fire Prophet Vanifer, and kill her in a fierce battle.

Friday, 28 June 2019

20/M6 1491 DR session 7 Lvl 5 RL6 Scarlet Moon Hall 2 XP 37+7=44

Scarlet Moon Hall

On Midsummer's Eve, the PCs joined by Gariena the elf druid & a mysterious Shadar-Kai strike against Scarlet Moon Hall once more; this time things go much better as many priests and flame guardians are slain, although the sprite Flix is killed. Under cover of a wall of fire Elizar Dryflagon retreats to his quarters for a final stand.

Enemies killed:
Flame Priests 3
Flame Guardians 7
Fire Elemental 1
Hell hounds 2
Azer 1
Magmin 5

Sunday, 16 June 2019

T2/M6 1491 DR session 6 Lvl 5 - Orc Assault on Delmon Manor XP 31+6=37

Over 40 Ice Shield Orcs attack Delmon Manor, but Sharatu uses his new Fireball power and the orcs are wiped out except for 5 boar riders who flee. Dagny raises the patriarch's eldest son, and buries two fallen dwarf blacksmith-tinker brothers, the only losses among the defenders.
At dawn the Elves arrive led by Galias, Knight Banneret of King Cirallon Swancloak, and chase the orcs back to the High Forest. Party long rests at the manor - the weather is very hot. In Beliard a week later they meet a beautiful half-elven druidess & her sprite familiar heading to Scarlet Moon Hall for the Midsummer Festival of the Wicker Giant in two day's time, Ralf is keen to accompany her...

NPCs in Beliard - Watchful Knight Inn
Neshor Fleurdin, Innkeeper, spoke with Mirabar delegation, they were heading south to Summit Hall.
Senya, Watchful Knight barmaid, saw a golden masked monk watching the delegation.
Eann, a cattle drover, saw Feathergale Knights flying south in same direction as the delegation some hours later.
Gariena, half-elf Druidess & her sprite companion Flix - travelling to midsummer festival at Scarlet Moon Hall.

Druids discuss tactics pre-battle

The shadow of death looms over the battlefield

Attack on the gatehouse

Dagny & Ralf at the rear gate

Battle on the battlements

Orcs swarm the gatehouse

Shooting orcs

Last boar rider attacks Seraphus

Pork dinner after fight

Sunday, 19 May 2019

T1/M6 1491 DR session 5 Lvl 4 RL5 - Feathergale Spire XP 25+6=31

Feathergale Hall
PCS go to deliver 4 Believers to Feathergale Spire, defeat attack by 3 wind cultists, meet the Feathergale Knights and their commander Thurl Merroska. Hunt in the canyon - bag 2 manticores 4 gnolls 4 hyenas. Kasumi gets it on with Thurl.
Manticore hunts hunters
A week later Rhenya gets a message from elf king Cirallon warning of orc raids on the eastern farms. Party kills 5 orc raiders and readies to defend a farmstead vs approaching horde...

The Feathergale Knights
Lord Commander Thurl Merosska, human male - lover of Kasumi (PC), Handsome, muscular, blond hair, cleanshaven, age 52.
Sir Elian, half-elf male - friendly with Dagny Glintshield, age 40.
Lady Savra Belabranta, human female - gate guard, age 25.

Founded in Waterdeep by Sir Thurl Merosska, formerly of the City's Griffin Knights, in 1481 DR. In 1489 they began refurbishing the Haunted Keep now known as Feathergale Spire, in the southern Sumber Hills. At full strength the Feathergale Knights number a dozen Knights, having 12 stalls for flying mounts, plus around 10 Initiates, who act as servants and may aspire one day to join the Knights. There are typically around 8 Knights present at the Spire, including the Lord Commander.

Image result for feathergale knight
Feathergale Knight

Delmon Ranch
Apart from the 7 PCs, the ranch has some 15 defenders, plus 12 barely combatant Commoners and 16 Noncombatants (children, sick, wounded & elderly).
The 15 defenders comprise:

Kerbin, the Delmon Patriarch
Perd Delmon, his elder son
Marka, Perd's wife, human female
Dreena, Kerbin's daughter, a Druidess
Fyndrick, Kerbin's impulsive younger son
Flameram Verminbane, a Halfling Scout
Sir Erned Stoutblade, a veteran Knight of Samular
Stowal & Brannikan, dwarven blacksmiths
4 warriors, human male
2 hunters/scouts, human male

Assessing the defenders: Marka Delmon, the halfling Flameram Verminbane, and the two local hunters are all handy archers, while Dreena can cast Thunderwave & Entangle (4 slots total). By far the best warrior though is the doughty Sir Erned Stoutblade, the only one who looks like he could go hand to hand with an Orc horde.

Assessing the fortified Delmon manor, the main gatehouse by the smithy has two doors, a murder port and grilled sally gate to the smithy - it would be a deathtrap for attackers. But there is one possible weak point - the rear wall is less fortified, with no parapet, and has a small single gate. Any intelligent adversary scouting the manor is likely to seize on this... Another possible weak point is the dry thatched roof on the stable block.

Delmon Manor, gatehouse to top (N), rear gate bottom left.

Gnolls & Hyenas vs Feathergale Knights

Rescuing the Farmer's Wife

Sunday, 21 April 2019

T2-T3/M5/1491 DR session 4 Lvl 3 RL4 - Warren of the Believers (XP 17+7+1 = 25)

Image result for black earth cultist
Black Earth Armoured Priest
While the others are away in the Shining Vale etc, Sharatu Alani Rhenya & Kasumi investigate cult activity in warrens under Red Larch, and find a powerful Priest of the Black Earth, Larrakh. Recruiting aid from AllFaiths Shrine and Constable Harburk, a boy is rescued and the cultists and Larrakh are eventually defeated in a brutal battle at the quarry, but at the cost of 2 of Harburk's 4 militiamen. Harburk investigates and arrests several local 'Believers' for cult activity.

Account by Alani

“I’ll be just making a fly-over and check out any weird going-ons with that chariot-maker house.” said Rhennya, just before transforming into a beautiful red and brown-feathered owl in front of our very eyes.
We were standing watch on the other side of the street from the house we were targeting that night. Our mission: following up on these rumours about a cultist nest that I got earlier from the apprentice who was working there. His boss was allegedly using a secret door in the workshop and other people were doing so for some mysterious cultist activity.
Hoping that a night surveillance of the house would reveal something helpful, even maybe about the missing convoy, our resourceful druid morphed into a bird of prey and surveyed the area. Soon enough, she noticed a couple of people entering the premises from the side-door and not re-appearing. We were onto something. After a quick debriefing with Kasumi the Monk and Sheratu the Dragonborn, Rhennya took off again and located a gap under the roof and entered the house, before morphing back to her human form and opening that side-door for all of us to sneak in.
Very soon, we found the secret door and entered a narrow tunnel that curved a few yards later before ending on a strong oak door. But a partial collapse of the roof cladding a few feet away from the end of the gallery, made the progression towards that door quite difficult.
Behind the door, we could hear a small choir chanting and a strong, passionate voice making incantations about the virtues of the spirit of the black earth and its generosity towards its worshippers, blah blah blah… 
Feeling definitely like a fearless and powerful bunch of adventurers, we agreed to burst into the room, interrupt whatever impending doom these suburban cultists where preparing in there, victoriously clean up the room while everybody is frozen by surprise, and go back to the pub before the last order bell rings.
Well, it didn’t work out that great after all. My torch completely spoiled the surprise effect when we opened the door, then the rubble in the corridor prevented us from invading the room in one fell swoop. And finally, the high-priest at the origins of the incantations, was perfectly unimpressed by our lack of military organisation and more than ready to teach us a lesson in good religious etiquette.
The room itself exhibited an impressive collection of ancient tomb-like slabs which made the occupants feel almost out of place with their fresh ceremonial robes and gold-plated gargoyle masks.
Commanding the centre of the room, the high-priest Larrakh, was wearing a stone-looking spiky armour and changed immediately his incantations to a much less cheerful tune.
I made a short step inside the room and aimed my finest arrow at him: With an anticlimactic noise, the arrow bounced on his shoulder. Immediately nocking another arrow, I aimed again and… the arrow bounced on precisely the same spot on his shoulder. Maximum points for grouping my shots but a big zero for getting my friends on top of this encounter…
Larrak finished his prayer and a deafening deflagration blasted through our bodies and ripped our eardrums apart. The damage caused everybody but yours truly to collapse on the floor, unconscious. I was barely alive if I am honest...
Remembering my military training with the great and wise Dunstan Ironforge, I could almost hear him say: “This is a turning point in the battle if I ever saw one”. With three bodies to carry and the door that opens in the wrong direction, I need a solution very quickly.
Fortunately, I remembered I had two healing potions in my satchel so I decided to gain some time by jamming the door using Rhennya’s staff, then revive Sheratu who was the closest to dying.
While I was still holding the door, Sheratu then revived Rhennya who casted a “healing word” to Kasumi.
We then fled as quickly as possible before my makeshift contraption finally splintered and we took refuge in the All-Faiths Shrine (where Kasumi had a good rapport with the town cleric). He advised us to join him and seek help from Constable Harburk, a reliable and trustworthy battle-hardened veteran of the Orc wars who would prove crucial in our counter attack. He also enlisted with him half a dozen of his deputies and footmen.
We went back to the underground gallery but the crypt which had almost witnessed our total demise was suddenly devoid of any clues or even any evidence that this cult has ever been here. Thankfully, the no-nonsense intuition of Constable Harburk didn’t falter and he led the way to push on with the exploration of what did reveal to be a modest underground complex. Cage-traps, voracious rats and even a poor village child about to be sacrificed did distract us for a short while but we soon had explored the whole network and found the last door towards the exit of that secret passage: The Quarry just outside the village.
There, the cultists, a half-orc and, last but not least, the high-priest Larrahk were waiting for us, having set up an ambush around the quarry.
In spite of being fully surprised, what followed was a much better expression of what our group is capable of and thanks to the support of the constable and his men, Sheratu excelled with his draconic powers, Kasumi entranced her enemies with her dance-like katana swipes and Rhennya provided a stunning mix of deadly moonbeam power and lifeforce-giving relief for the wounded.
Shortly after the execution of their leader, the couple of cultists still alive were just the endgame and, in true fanatics, died without surrendering. Unfortunately, the Constable’s forces were also dented by a couple of brave men, for whom we will be ever so grateful.
Back at the village, PC Harburk wasted no time in making a series of spectacular arrests and promptly cleaned up the village of any rotten branches. The parents of the child who was kept prisoner in the secret passage were awaiting the city judge to come to Red Larch but Harbruk hoped he would show leniency on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to the grasp of the cultists on their weak minds.

Session 4 Epilogue 

Over the next Tenday (T2-T3/M5/1491 DR) Constable Harburk conducts his investigations, aided by the Tempus priest Imdarr Relvaunder, who requests an extension of his stay at Red Larch from his superiors in Waterdeep. Imdarr conducts the burial of Harburk's two deputies who fell bravely in battle with the cultists. The dead bodies in the rat chamber are buried too. Rather than burial, the bodies of Larrakh the priest and the six dead earth cultists are put on a high funeral bier and burned, to annoy their spirits in the afterlife.
No one in Red Larch admits to recognising Larrakh the Earth priest, but the six dead archer cultists with tin-gilt stone gargoyle masks are identified as having been resident at Mother Yalanta's boarding house (#4 on map) for some time; where they had claimed to be wandering hunters.
After questioning the rescued boy Braelen Hatherhand, Harburk arrests the following as suspected 'Believer' cultists - Braelen's father Rotharr Hatherhand, a retired carpenter Baragustas Harbuckler, Ilmeth Waelvur the owner of Waelvur's Wagonworks (#16), and Marlandro Gaelkur of Gaelkur's Barbers/Tools/Tavern (#17). Searching Gaelkur's also turns up evidence of a counterfeiting business. Harburk also questions Albaeri Mellikho, a stout pot-bellied and formidable woman who owns the local quarry & stoneworks (#18), but finds no evidence that she or her stonecutters are members of the Believers, or that they were aware of the secret tunnel from the quarry to the tunnels under Red Larch.

From questioning, Harburk believes the following about the Believers:
They are/were a secret group of town elders, who guard the moving stones and make sure no one disturbs the 'Delvers', the six long-dead miners entombed in the chamber of the moving stones. They watch the moving stones carefully, looking for omens. Baragustus when questioned told Harburk:
"From time to time the great stones change position when no one is watching. That is how they talk to us. They show us signs of coming danger and warn us when we make bad choices."
The Believers group have apparently been around for years, but it looks like the priest Larrakh and his men turned up more recently, only a few months ago. Harburk believes they were earth cultists, and that Larrakh had been working to turn the relatively harmless Believer group towards evil. The 4 prisoners all deny knowledge of the dead bodies found in the tunnels, or that their families were guilty of anything. 

Constable Harburk sends a message to Waterdeep requesting reinforcements, and a judge to try the 4 arrested Believers, who he is holding in the cold store of his butchery. A tenday later word comes back, just after Seraphus Dagny & Ralf have returned after around 2 Tendays away from Red Larch, and Harburk seeks you out at the Swinging Sword Inn:

"I've been informed that I am to take the four prisoners up to Feathergale Spire to stand trial, and request any needed garrison from the Knights there. Thurl Metrosska, Lord Commander of the Feathergale Knights, has been granted full judicial authority over these lands. I could do with an escort, if you're up for it?" 

Saturday, 23 March 2019

T1/M5/1491 DR session 3 Lvl 3 - Scarlet Moon Hall (XP 12+5=17)

PCs reach Scarlet Moon Hall, talk with druids camped on the hillside, battle fire cultists - Kasumi recognises some of those who destroyed her monastery - and flee, badly battered, after killing three fire priests and dispelling a pair of summoned hellhounds. Over the next Tenday the PCs pursue leads around Red Larch, hear a rumour of 'Believers', and chase up a tale of a mysterious skull in the hills - Sharuto the Dragonborn briefly gaining mastery of a small band of skeletons.

Off to Adventure

Kasumi vs Fire Priest

Fire Elemental in the Wicker Giant

Fire Priestess is felled before she can complete Summoning

Battle in the Hall courtyard - Hellhounds attack

Flight from Scarlet Moon Hall, Kasumi carries Alani

Saturday, 23 February 2019

T3/M4/1491 DR session 2 Lvl 2 RL3 - The Necromancer (XP 5+6+1=12)

After a Tenday's rest, the group head to Lance Rock and in a tough fight defeat the evil Necromancer Orieoth, reaching level 3. They get free bed & board for a tenday from Kaylessa Irkell at the Swinging Sword.

A Tenday later they again head up into the hills. An earth tremor is followed by an ankheg attack, swiftly dispatched.

Zombies & Rocks Fall

Skeletons amidst more Skeletons

Pressing On

Dancing Zombies

The Main Chamber

Cornering the Necromancer

Necromancer at Bay

Ankheg in the Hills

Dagny Account
Red Larch was beginning to feel more and more like home, if home were a place where not everyone washed enough and also drank too much ale on a regular basis. But perhaps that was just what living in an Inn was like. And everyone was too tall. Dagny had an itch to kick someone in the shins. It was definitely time to head out again before she did.

Rhennya wanted to investigate the caravan, but Kaylessa Irkell, the Innkeeper, had an offer the group couldn’t refuse. Free room and board for a tenday if they investigated Lance Rock for “evil” which could mean any number of things, if you thought about it. They all set out, taking with them enough supplies to protect them in case of inclement weather – these days, no one knew if it would be snow, sun, hail, or torrential rain.

The area surrounding the stone was dotted with limestone, but the rock itself was granite. That was strange in and of itself, but there was nothing else inherently wrong about the rock. No blood. No entrails. No strange writing. A few gouges at the top, but nothing overtly suspicious. But the trail nearby was marked with a neatly lettered sign: “Come thee no closer lest ye catch the disfiguring plague that infects me, Lord of Lance Rock.”

“Heh,” said Ralph. “Sounds like a challenge to me.” He strode off. The trail led to a natural cave. More limestone, Dagny noted. A cold breeze that came from inside carried with it the stench of decay and death. A body wearing only bloody breeches lay not far inside.

They all looked at each other.

“This must be it,” said Alani.

Kasumi grinned and led the way. She poked the body with her katana, perhaps to shove it out of the way, but it reached up and grabbed her sword. She managed to shake it off and the Zombie moaned itself to its feet to face them. Between them they managed to subdue it in a reasonable amount of time.

“Let’s go!” said Sharatu.

“Wait for just a minute,” said Dagny. She’d never used Detect Good & Evil in the wild before but now seemed like a good time. “I’m going to see if I can sense anything from the cave.” The others stood back as she held up her holy symbol and muttered the words. It felt a little embarrassing doing it in front of the others, but it’s what she was here for. She felt the pop as the spell took hold.

“Oh!” she said, and then dropped her voice to a whisper. “Two just ahead at the entrance and something else in the room ahead. Maybe something to the left as well.” The stench of it filled her nose and she swallowed. She should have packed a handkerchief of rose water.

“No help for it,” said Ralph and rushed forward faster than it looked like he should be able to. His speed must have surprised what lay ahead of them as well as two boulders crashed down, missing him completely. The rocks were followed by two zombies in slightly better repair than the last they had dispatched.

Chunks of putrid flesh littered the floor by the time they had finally taken the zombies down. For awhile, it had seemed that no matter how many times they hit them, they just kept going.

The room beyond contained a large stalagmite that had been lopped off into some kind of demented altar of necromantic energy. It dripped with layers of blood, some of it relatively fresh, other stains a deep, wine red that could have been ages old. Dagny took out a vial of holy water and poured some over the foul thing while muttering a prayer in case whatever else lurked in the cave had good ears. The top of the altar foamed and bubbled a moment and then subsided. The sense of evil that had permeated the room abated, making it clear that the next pocket of nastiness lay down the tunnel.

The tunnel opened up into a large alcove. Motionless bodies lined the walls like people-sized dolls. Motionless at first, at least. As Seraphus entered, three stumbled away from the walls and attacked, their ungainly movements awkward but deadly. After a brief battle, the unfortunate souls were put to rest. Dagny said another prayer under her breath. This was an unholy place. After some discussion, Kasumi, Seraphus, Ralph, and Alani chopped the heads off the rest of the bodies, just in case. No one had any desire for an unexpected surprise later and there was no time to burn them.

Down another tunnel and they came upon a surreal scene: three zombies in a star-shaped cavern, looking as if they were dressed for a costume party in hell. One was a bear, another a jester, and the third a dame. Rhennya transformed herself into a bear and faced off snout to snout with the one. It took some time, but they managed to subdue the three without too much pain. The smell of death was everywhere now.

Beyond that peculiar chamber was another containing two iron chests. “Treasure!” said Sharatu and Seraphus, nearly in unison. Dragons and their gold. The stories were true.

Seraphus and Ralph went forward, the dragonborn levering open one chest with his glimmering sword. They had just seen that it was empty when a disembodied voice rang out. “You Dare!” it said and then came the unmistakeable sound of a lever being pulled. More boulders fell from above, missing Ralph but hitting Seraphus. He said something in dragon. Dagny guessed it was a curse or something worse.

The Detect Evil spell had worn off but it was obvious there was more trouble to come. They entered a large chamber, this one liberally decorated with torches. Three tables held an equal number of bodies. Baskets at the foot of each bed contained a sickly stew of body parts and things you didn’t want to look at. A hooded figure faced away from them, near the beds. Silent, which made it seem even more sinister. An exit at the other end of the chamber was blocked by four skeletons armed with bows.

They killed one of the skeletons fairly quickly, though not before Alani was nearly taken out, but then the Necromancer appeared, proclaiming himself the Lord of Lance Rock. Contrary to what the sign had said, he was a handsome man, if you liked the tall, pale type all dressed in black and attitude. Kasumi obviously did and bowed down to him when he offered a truce of sorts for those who did so. Dagny sneered and held up her holy symbol. She would not bow down to such a foul creature.

Dead hands, five of them, spilled out from the baskets and attacked. One grabbed onto Rhennya’s thigh, it’s blackened nails biting into the druid’s skin. But the worst was yet to come as the Necromancer cast some type of spell of domination over Ralph. An illusory crown fitted itself about the barbarian’s head. Kasumi, her momentary attraction dispelled, tried to tear it off, but it held. She was finally able to stun him before he could do anything too horrible.

They were all feeling the effects of the battle by this point, but so was the Necromancer. He ducked away down the tunnel, looking worried. They were finally able to subdue the hands, as Sharatu used Burning Hands on them, looking pleased with the symmetry of the spell. They healed themselves as well as they could and followed after the Necromancer. Would they be able to withstand him?

They found a seemingly empty room decorated with expensive purple curtains. In the centre was a pedestal and above that hung a globe. Most concerning, however, was the symbols that decorated the room. The symbol of the Elemental Eye. Before they could investigate further, the Necromancer appeared from behind the curtains, laughing at their temerity of bracing him in his den.
His laughter soon died as their attacks finally began to wear him down. Even though he expended all the charge from a wand of magic missiles at once at poor Seraphus, they finally brought him to the floor. As he died, the aura of evil around the place immediately began to fade away, but Dagny knew it would be awhile before the stench of death completely left the place.