Monday, 28 January 2019

T2/M4/1491 - Haeleeya's - Rhennya

While Rhennya is resting up after her mostly-dead experience she notices that 'Haleeva's Bath house & dress shop' (odd combination) has an Emerald Enclave sigil on the door post.

Half barrels planted with aromatic herbs & flowers flank the entrance, and there are flower-filled window boxes with spring bulbs flowering.

Interesting. I recognise the herbs as healing, too. I enter the premises under the pretext of wanting a bath, even though I would much prefer a wild spring,  lake or river.

Inside is a tidy dressmaker's & fitting room, beyond are doors to warm & pleasantly scented male & female bathing chambers. Rhennya is greeted by a middle aged Amnian woman (Amn is similar to Spain) who introduces herself as Haeleeya Hanadroum. An exchange of hand gestures establishes you are both of the Emerald Enclave. Haeleeya explains she is not an adventurer, but when she was young she became lost in the wilderness - a Ranger of the Enclave rescued her and she has been a friend of the Enclave ever since. The older matrons of Red Larch love to gather in the bath house to gossip, and Haeleeya says she knows everything going on in town.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

ep 1 - T1/M4/1491 DR - Bear & Bows, the Haunted Tomb, Stirges (XP 4+1 = 5, RL 2)

At the Swinging Sword Inn

Spectre of the Haunted Tomb
Dagny Glintshield's account:
The Swinging Sword Inn smelled strongly of ale, sawdust, and sweat with an undercurrent of beef gravy that made a stomach rumble. Dagny took a swig of her ale as she looked around at her fellow adventurers. The drink was acceptable, but she wasn’t sure about the group yet.

There was a heavily bearded Barbarian with the unlikely name of Ralph. She’d never heard the like. He was on his third or fourth mug but they hadn’t had any effect on him so far that she could see. The druid, Renya, stood slightly apart from the rest of them and seemed to weigh her words as she too looked over her companions. Alani, the fighter, seemed a decent sort, but the monk Kasumi had a dangerous grin. She’d never met a monk before, especially not one that carried swords like that. Katana? They looked sharp and dangerous, but thin and delicate at the same time, much like the girl that carried them. Dagny grunted to herself and shuffled her feet, taking another gulp. Tall people were annoying. Everyone was so tall, especially the two brilliantly coloured dragonborne off to the side making a fuss and asking for information in loud voices. The monk looked as if she wanted to stab them.

At least the Inn was full of rumours and leads. She felt for her coin purse. It was light – too light. It had taken more of her funds to make it to Red Larch than she had anticipated, especially since she’d had to pay the Guild fees just before she’d gone. She wondered if she could possibly steer the group towards something lucrative. Of course, she wanted to get to the task at hand, but a dwarf had to eat. And drink. She took another sip and wiped the foam away with the back of her hand.

A number of things sounded promising, especially the hints dropped by the constable. A spire to the east. A possible haunted tomb. The trail the delegation from Mirabar had left behind. Dagny wondered if there were more to be learned from the locals if they could get on their good side. An opportunity presented itself in a wanted poster for four brigands who had robbed a merchant of a boar intended for sausage. Dagny’s stomach rumbled at the thought.

Even though it was late, they set off, Renya leading the way with her druidess skills and darkvision. Dagny followed behind, trying not to clomp too much. Stealth had never been her strong suit, nor, apparently, to most of the rest of their group. She found herself next to Sharatu, the dragonborne sorcerer as they came upon the bandit’s camp. The four of them were gathered by the fire, carousing over their ill-gotten gains. A bear growled in a cage upon the wagon. The druidess drew in a sharp breath of disapproval.

“I’m going to make the flames dance and project my dragon voice on the fire,” said Sharatu. Dagny used her small skill at thaumaturgy to make the ground shake as well. It worked better than any of them had anticipated – the four bandits shrieked and scattered.

They moved into the camp. The monk and sorcerer inspected a shallow cave filled with trade goods while Alani and Dagny went after the horses. Renya worked to free the trapped bear, with little success. But they had celebrated their success too soon – the bandits soon returned from whence they had scattered. Working in two groups, they managed to handily defeat the bandits.

After freeing the somewhat grateful bear, they returned the trade goods and what remained of the boar to the constable/butcher in Red Larch. As they had only managed to kill three of the bandits, the constable only gave them 15 gp rather than the promised 20, but the monk was able to talk him into a further reward for the other items returned.

The next morning brought more rumours to be heard. Vulture-riding knights who had been searching for earth cultists had passed through. It was said they had something to do with the Feathergill Spire. And there was a Sacred Stone Monastery in the hills, as well as four haunted keeps, though some did not seem to believe there was anything to fear there. The Baker seemed to have knowledge of many things, including a place called Lance Rock just southwest of town. He told tales of goblins and treasure to be found at the tomb, but Dagny had noticed an inscription upon the door of the bakery that made her suspicious of his intentions. The only thing good about him was the smell of bread.

They quickly visited the local All Faith Shrine, though they found out little there beyond more rumours of fire priests or druids. Dagny had hoped to buy a healing potion, but found them out of her range and contented herself with a quick prayer to Moradin.

After some arguing about the best option to continue their investigations, they headed down the Larch path. About five miles out of town, the druid spotted a track with prints. Large ones. They followed them to a stone door, which was slightly ajar. Dagny popped it open with thaumaturgy right before Seraphus would have attempted to bull his way through. There was a loud crash as pieces of metal and debris crashed down.

“That could have been bad,” said the Barbarian, clapping the dragonborne on the shoulder.

They crowded into a 30 foot wide chamber, the rough work obviously done by human hands and not dwarven ones. A spooky Wooowoowowo echoed from an iron door. Seraphus, perhaps annoyed at not having been able to knock aside the previous door, kicked the iron one and a spectral figure appeared, blocking their way. Inside, a coffin and chest could be seen.

It was not an easy battle for the dragons and he nearly died. Dagny was able to cure his wounds. They examined the chest first and it contained a book that looked to have some interesting inscriptions in it, to the joy of Sharatu, but as soon as they tried to remove it, it crumbled away. Too many long years and too much water had damaged it beyond repair. But underneath it they found a golden chain with a locked, a portrait of a half-elven maiden inside, and two silver and gold rings.

“These we can sell!” said Sharatu with joy, pocketing them until they could return to town. The monk turned a sharp eye upon him.

Seraphus put his hands upon the coffin. “Wait---“ said the druid but it was too late. He had already pried it open. Inside was an ancient skeleton with a longsword. The skeleton’s fingers seemed to twitch and the sword leapt into the air, wildly attacking them. As if drawn by the sound, a goblin and a half-ogre appeared down the hall with a shout.

Dagny was able to grab onto the hilt and shaft of the sword, holding it still enough that Seraphus could finally hit it. The sword shattered, leaving the dwarf holding the pieces. Meanwhile, the others had rushed the half-ogre and goblin. The barbarian had cleaved the poor creature in two, driving the larger one half-mad with grief, but his pain was shortlived as he too fell.

Breathing heavily, they all stared at each other. The digression had proved to be quite a bit more dangerous than they had anticipated. But the worse was yet to come. As the druid led the way through a cavern dripping with water, four stirges swooped in from all sides, their leathery wings sounding like a demon attack in the still air. Renya was set upon by two of the foul creatures, the blood drained from her body faster than if she had been struck by a sword.

The rest quickly worked together, killing the stirges as fast as they could. Dagny grabbed the body of one of the ones that had drained the druid’s blood and, with help from the rest and some re-purposed jeweller’s tools, they managed to drain a goodly portion of the blood from the stirge back into the druid. The monk grinned, splashes of blood barely showing on her red dress. “That was fun! We should do that again!” Dagny muttered a prayer under her breath. She had a feeling she was going to need all her god’s favour in the coming months.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

1491 DR: Princes of the Apocalypse (5e D&D)

Spring 1491 DR: Six years ago, in M4 1485, the great Heroes of Loudwater finally defeated Orcus, Demon Lord of Undeath, bringing the light of hope back to the world.

For six years the lands of western Faerun have flourished. For six years Queen Lirael I has ruled the Shining Vale, aided by her loving consort Sir Jorah Blackthorn, her trusty dwarven Steward the mighty Sir Dunstan Ironforge, and Dunstan's wife the fair Lady Serka. From the Tower of the Green Regent Halvath, the power of Life pours into the world with renewed vigour as the scourge of Undeath recedes like an ebbing tide.

But evil still lurks beyond the Shining Vale. To the northwest, in the rugged Dessarin river valley north of Goldenfields Abbey, where the influence of urbane Waterdeep gives way to untamed wilds, long-slumbering forces now stir in darkness. A dwarven caravan heading from Mirabar to Waterdeep has vanished, seemingly without trace. The weather grows strange and wild. Sages and wise-women speak of dark portents.

The Shining Queen, and others of good will, have now dispatched agents to the region to see what might be amiss...

PCs Character Level: 2

1. Kasumi, Kensai of Yartar (human female) - Jelly
2. Rhennya, Druidess of the Graywood, member of the Emerald Enclave (wood elf female) - Jelena
3. Alani, Archer Fighter of Loudwater (human male) - Philippe
4. Ralf, Barbarian of the Tigerclaw (human male) - Tony
5. Dagny, Cleric of the Glintshield clan (dwarf female) - Kimberly
6. Sharatu, Dragon Sorceror of Tiamat (red dragonborn male) - Bill
7. Seraphus Oldblood, Fighter of Tiamat (blue dragonborn male) - Max

PCs start at 1st level. Use Point Buy/Default Array. PCs may use all options from the PHB (no multiclassing) plus the PoTA Player's Companion - new races and spells. PCs may begin as members of a Faction:

Major Factions of the Heartlands
Harpers – A scattered network of spellcasters and spies who advocate equality and covertly oppose the abuse of power. The organization is benevolent, knowledgeable, and secretive.
Order of the Gauntlet – Composed of faithful and vigilant seekers of justice who protect others from the depredations of evildoers. The organization is honorable, vigilant, and zealous.
Emerald Enclave – A widespread group of wilderness survivalists who preserve the natural order while rooting out unnatural threats. The organization is decentralized, hardy, and reclusive.
Lord’s Alliance – A loose coalition of established political powers concerned with mutual security and prosperity. The organization is aggressive, militant, and political.
Zhentarim – An unscrupulous shadow network that seeks to expand its influence and power throughout Faerûn. The organization is ambitious, opportunistic, and meritocratic.

Advancement is by milestone, typically requiring around 5 encounters/achievements at levels 1 & 2, 10 at levels 3+. Training to Advance takes place during a Long Rest. 

Replacement PCs begin at Party Level.
Level 1-4 PCs begin with standard gear.
Level 5-10 PCs may begin with 1 Uncommon magic item (or any suit of armour), plus standard gear plus 100gp.
Level 11+ PCs may begin with 1 Rare magic item and 1 Uncommon magic item (or any suit of armour), plus standard gear plus 500gp.
PCs may spend starting gold on Common magic items, at 100gp per permanent item (eg a Cloak of Billowing or Moonblade) or 50gp per consumable (eg Potion of Healing).

Time in the Heartlands is measured in Tendays, at three Tendays per thirty-day Month. A Long Rest takes 1 week (about 7 days out of a Tenday), and normally occurs at the end of a game session. It may be combined with the Downtime activities listed below.
A Short Rest takes 1 hour. Characters may Short Rest up to 3 times per day.

Death and Resurrection
Death is common enough, but to return from death is remarkable, and few in these times can accomplish such a feat. The Green Regent Halvath in the Shining Vale can Raise those followers of Mielikki brought to him under the influence of a Gentle Repose spell, or dead less than one day.
In Waterdeep town the High Priestess Amathea of Selune and her sister-priests can Raise those goodly folk devoted to the Moon Goddess by means of a Ritual requiring a Star Diamond of no less than 500gp value. Most supplicants are also expected to donate a like amount (so 1000gp total).

PC Background

Kasumi, Kensai of Ten Ryo Ji (Jelly PC)

1. Kasumi. human Kensai (Monk)
Kasumi started life as the much longed-for daughter of a noble Shou house in Yartar, a trade city on the Dessarin River between Waterdeep and the Kingdom of Luruar.  Growing bored of the endless etiquette lessons and the claustrophobic nature of life at court, she began to sneak out to the local izakaya (inns) and festivals of Yartar.  At one such outing, she fell in love with a young actor from a wandering troupe; and resolved to run away with him.  Unfortunately, her daimyo (Shou Lord) got wind of the situation via a local merchant greedy for coin; and Kasumi was promptly stripped of her status and packed off to a local monastery in the Dessarin Hills south of Yartar.  

The master of Ten Ryu Ji (Heavenly Dragon Monastery) was a ruthless sensei;  but saw in his newest, most stubborn, pupil, much untapped talent and resolve.  Slowly, he forced out the self-pity in Kasumi and replaced it with a burning resilience, as befitted a school that had once been the resting place of a holy, red, dragon.

When raiders wielding powerful fire magics sacked the monastery, Kasumi saw a powerful Tiefling  leading the Fire Raiders - the Master of Ten Ryu Ji recognised the Tiefling, and called her 'Vanifer' as he engaged the raiders. Kasumi saw Vanifer slay her Master in a flaming inferno, right before she herself was knocked unconscious into a water trough - she awoke hours later, to find herself the only survivor amidst the fiery ruins. Filled with a burning desire for revenge, she tracked the raiders south as far as the Sumber Hills, before losing the trail. She has recently arrived in the small town of Red Larch on the edge of the Sumber Hills, looking for clues...

The Tiefling Vanifer, leader of the Fire Raiders

Northern Sword Coast ca 1491 DR

Red Larch and the Dessarin Valley

The Dessarin Valley is a lightly
settled region of caravan towns,
isolated homesteads, and uninhabited
wilderness just a week’s journey from
Waterdeep. Residents in places such as
Red Larch or Triboar boast that their
humble settlements are “the Gateway
to the North.” Through these lands pass hundreds of
caravans and keelboats each year, linking the great
ports of Waterdeep and Neverwinter with places such
as Everlund, Mirabar, or Silverymoon. The steady
caravan traffic breathes life into the towns of this area,
supporting businesses in the settlements along the
Long Road. Inns cater to travelers anxious to sleep
safely within sturdy walls and enjoy good food by a
warm fire instead of camping by the side of the road.
Minor issues are nothing unusual in the Dessarin
Valley, from bands of savage humanoids from the Sword
Mountains or the Evermoors, to bandits gathering in the
lonelier parts of the vale to waylay caravans traveling
the Long Road or the Kheldell Path. But six months
ago, an insidious new threat began to grow in the area,
unsuspected by the locals or any passing adventurers...

Image result for princes of the apocalypse maps
Town of Red Larch

Red Larch 

Red Larch has been an important stop on the Long Road for two centuries now. Named for a distinctive stand of red larch trees that were cut down when the hamlet was founded, Red Larch is a prosperous community facing dark times. The heart of the Sumber Hills has become far more dangerous, with monsters lurking seemingly everywhere. Banditry is on the rise, and the weather seems to be getting more severe and more unpredictable. The townsfolk fear that dangerous times are at hand, but no one seems to know what to do about it...

1. Allfaiths Shrine
The Allfaiths Shrine is a wayside shrine used by many
faiths and owned by none. Priests shuttle out from
Waterdeep in pairs for month-long stays. The most
frequent combinations are Sune and Selûne, Tymora
and Lathander, and Tempus and Oghma.
2. The Swinging Sword
This inn is a three-story stone structure, crowned by a
steep slate roof that bristles with many chimneys. An
inn yard with stables and outbuildings lies behind the
building. While the Helm at Highsun is the place to hear
Red Larchers unwind, the Swinging Sword is the polite
social hub and neutral meeting ground of Red Larch.
3. The Helm at Highsun
Rusty metal grills cover the dirty windows of this
ramshackle two-story tavern. Inside is a large, dimly lit,
wood-paneled taproom where locals relax, gossip, flirt,
and tell the stories of their working days. It’s not a place
for refined dining.
4. Mother Yalantha’s
This three-story, dilapidated boarding house has a
cheerful—though generally noisy—atmosphere.
5. Thelorn’s Safe Journeys
The foremost wagonmaker in this region, Thelorn’s is
a busy, always-bustling place. The quality of Thelorn’s
wagons is well known.
6. Chansyrl Fine Harness
The pungent smell of tanned and oiled leather fills this
crowded workshop, whose walls display leather saddles
and harnesses, as well as stylish leather jackets, caps,
boots, leggings, and armor.
7. Helvur Tarnlar, Clothier
Tarnlar’s is the only place to buy quality clothing for
a hundred miles around. The clothing, boots, and
accessories sold here are all fine, warm, and sturdy.
8. Lorren’s Bakery
This aromatic, tidy bakery always has fresh round
loaves and buns for sale. Its specialty is cheese-topped
buns with melted mushroom cheese from outlying
local farms.
9. Tantur Smithy
The din of forge hammers rings out late into most nights
from this soot-stained building, whose skilled smiths
can make or repair almost anything that requires no
specialized alloys or treatments.
10. Drouth Fine Poultry
This largest of the two Red Larch poultry shops is everbustling thanks to thriving local farms and the endless
appetite of communities along the Long Road.
11. Jalessa Ornra, Butcher
These four identical single-story stone buildings are
the workplace, shop, and home of Jalessa Ornra (female
Illuskan human commoner). Her husband Harburk
Tuthmarillar (male Tethyrian human veteran) is Red
Larch’s constable.
Red Larch doesn’t have a jail or court, so Harburk
employs four of Jalessa’s laborers as assistant
constables (human guards). Harburk knows there are
evil and secretive groups in the Sumber Hills, but he
isn’t sure just what is out there. Adventurers who could
go investigating where he dares not would be a godsend.
12. Dornen Finestone
This plain, dusty building is the business office of
the busy Dornen quarry, run by Elak Dornen (male
Tethyrian human noble). Dornen is a hard master
to some twenty workers, and he insists on keeping
careful records.
13. Ironhead Arms
Run by former sellsword and caravan guard Ironhead
(male half-orc veteran), this shop deals in arms and
armor, both new and used.
14. Mhandyvver’s Poultry
Mhandyvver’s is the less impressive of the two local
poulterers, but is a favorite with Red Larchers.
15. Haeleeya’s
Originally from Amn, Haeleeya Hanadroum (female
human Tethyrian commoner) operates a bathhouse and
dress shop in her large, well-appointed home.
16. Waelvur’s Wagonworks
Ilmeth Waelvur (male Tethyrian human bandit)
operates a cheaper alternative to Thelorn’s Safe
Journeys, making and selling replacement wheels and
axles for wagons. Ilmeth is a town elder and a Believer
(see “The Tomb of Moving Stones”).
17. Gaelkur’s
This seedy wooden building serves as Red Larch’s
used tools and goods shop, its barber, and an unofficial
second tavern for locals. In addition to providing
grooming, Marlandro Gaelkur (male Tethyrian human
commoner) deals in used (and sometimes shady) items
with no questions asked. 
18. Mellikho Stoneworks
A quarry pit begins just behind this small house, which
serves as the business office and the home of the quarry
owner, Albaeri Mellikho (female Tethyrian human
19. Luruth’s Tannery
This former warehouse reeks with an eye-watering,
throat-closing stench that obliterates all other smells
within a bowshot of the place. Ulhro Luruth (male
Chondathan human commoner) is the tannery’s owner
and proprietor.
20. Bethendur’s Storage
Four identical, well-built warehouses stand here in
ground covered in raked gravel and cinders.
21. The Market
This muddy, well-used field is ringed with outhouses
and rings of stones that have obviously been used as
cook-fires or trash burn sites. Once a tenday, farmers
drive in from homesteads miles away to sell all manner 
of in-season produce, cheese, cider and cider vinegar,
and last year’s pickled beets in jugs.
On the other nine days of the tenday, Grund (male
half-orc thug) ekes out a living by making pickles in vats
at the end of the field. Grund is a happy, dim-witted sort.
22. Vallivoe’s Sundries
Endrith Vallivoe (male Tethyrian human commoner)
is a retired caravan merchant who sells new and
used goods from his home. Almost anything might be
available to buy here, buried under heaps of other stuff.



PCs may recruit PC-Class Retainers/Henchmen, to a maximum of 1+CHA bonus.

PC Level  Initial Retainer Level
1-10            1
11-12          2
13-14          3
15-16          4
17-20          5

Retainers who adventure gain levels at half the PC rate, typically 1 level per 2 PC levels. At higher level they are generally best used attending to the PC's holdings and matters beneath the direct interest of a high level PC. Retainers who become PCs are increased to Party Level.

Example: a 3rd level PC recruits a 1st level Retainer. The Retainer adventures alongside the PC and advances as follows:
PC Level Retainer Level
3-4            1
5-6            2
7-8            3
9-10          4
11             5
At this point the PC establishes a stronghold and appoints the Retainer as Steward. They remain at 5th level.

Lifestyle Expenses
Squalid1 gp
Poor2 gp
Modest10 gp
Comfortable20 gp
Wealthy40 gp
Aristocratic100 gp minimum

Between adventures, you can tell the DM what your character is doing during his or her downtime. Periods of downtime are normally measured in Tendays, at three Tendays per game month. Usually no more than 7-8 days are actually spent in the listed activity, allowing time for adventuring and the occasional day off.
Each downtime activity requires a certain number of days to complete before you gain any benefit, and at least 8 hours of each day must be spent on the downtime activity for the day to count. The days do not need to be consecutive. If you have more than the minimum amount of days to spend, you can keep doing the same thing for a longer period of time, or switch to a new downtime activity.
Downtime activities other than the ones presented below are possible. If you want your character to spend his or her downtime performing an activity not covered here, discuss it with your DM.
You can craft nonmagical objects, including adventuring equipment and works of art. You must be proficient with tools related to the object you are trying to create (typically artisan’s tools). You might also need access to special materials or locations necessary to create it. For example, someone proficient with smith’s tools needs a forge in order to craft a sword or suit of armor.
For every Tenday of downtime you spend crafting, you can craft one or more items with a total market value not exceeding 50 gp, and you must expend raw materials worth half the total market value. If something you want to craft has a market value greater than 50 gp, you make progress every Tenday in 50 gp increments until you reach the market value of the item. For example, a suit of plate armor (market value 1,500 gp) takes 300 days to craft by yourself.
Multiple characters can combine their efforts toward the crafting of a single item, provided that the characters all have proficiency with the requisite tools and are working together in the same place. Each character contributes 50 gp worth of effort for every Tenday spent helping to craft the item. For example, three characters with the requisite tool proficiency and the proper facilities can craft a suit of plate armor in 100 days, at a total cost of 750 gp.
While crafting, you can maintain a modest lifestyle without having to pay 10 gp per Tenday, or a comfortable lifestyle at half the normal cost.
You can work between adventures, allowing you to maintain a modest lifestyle without having to pay 10 gp per Tenday (see chapter 5 for more information on lifestyle expenses). This benefit lasts as long you continue to practice your profession.
If you are a member of an organization that can provide gainful employment, such as a temple or a thieves’ guild, you earn enough to support a comfortable lifestyle instead.
If you have proficiency in the Performance skill and put your performance skill to use during your downtime, you earn enough to support a wealthy lifestyle instead.
You can use downtime between adventures to recover from a debilitating injury, disease, or poison.
After three days of downtime spent recuperating, you can make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a successful save, you can choose one of the following results:
  • End one effect on you that prevents you from regaining hit points.
  • For the next 24 hours, gain advantage on saving throws against one disease or poison currently affecting you.
The time between adventures is a great chance to perform research, gaining insight into mysteries that have unfurled over the course of the campaign. Research can include poring over dusty tomes and crumbling scrolls in a library or buying drinks for the locals to pry rumors and gossip from their lips.
When you begin your research, the DM determines whether the information is available, how many days of downtime it will take to find it, and whether there are any restrictions on your research (such as needing to seek out a specific individual, tome, or location). The DM might also require you to make one or more ability checks, such as an Intelligence (Investigation) check to find clues pointing toward the information you seek, or a Charisma (Persuasion) check to secure someone’s aid. Once those conditions are met, you learn the information if it is available.
For each Tenday of research, you must spend 10 gp to cover your expenses. This cost is in addition to your normal lifestyle expenses (as discussed in chapter 5).
You can spend time between adventures learning a new language or training with a set of tools. Your DM might allow additional training options.
First, you must find an instructor willing to teach you. The DM determines how long it takes, and whether one or more ability checks are required.
The training lasts for (20 - INT bonus) Tendays, and costs 10 gp per Tenday. After you spend the requisite amount of time and money, you learn the new language or gain proficiency with the new tool.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Campaign Duration Analysis

Loudwater Sessions & Real Time per Tier

Heroic Tier 1-10:  April 2011 1 to 35 February 2013 = 35 sessions, 23 months
Paragon Tier 11-20:  February 2013 36 to 75 September 2014 = 40 sessions, 20 months
Epic Tier 21-29: November 2014 76 to 103 August 2016 = 28 sessions, 22 months

Total Played: 103 Sessions, 65 months = 5 years & 5 months.

Heroic Tier started with irregular sessions and seemed to go quite quickly in terms of advancement for sessions played. In Paragon Tier the PCs really hit their stride (few defeats & no more permanent PC deaths), while advancement hit a steady rate of 4 sessions per level. The game was probably most balanced at this Tier. Epic Tier I felt faltered as the PCs outpaced any normal opposition (especially after 24th level), combat slowed even further, and after about 25th level energy drained somewhat from the sheer length of time played, leading to long GM breaks which then compounded the issue.

The Loudwater Campaign was certainly a satisfying experience and an epic campaign in all senses of the word, with a great bunch of players. In hindsight the campaign concept, with its rootedness in the Gray Vale and the restoration of the Shining Vale, might have best suited a level 1-20 campaign, planned as such from the outset, with Orcus and his demons (if used) then de-levelled from their inflated 4e levels to suit Paragon heroes in the 16-20 range. Epic 21-30 level 4e is certainly workable, but it has an issue with "too little butter stretched over too much bread" - something that 5e, with its level 17-20 'Epic Tier', has clearly sought to avoid.

Monday, 5 September 2016


With the defeat of Orcus and Szass Tam, cosmic balance is restored and peace returns to Faerun. In the east, the Shade Lords are destroyed, Gerin Legatus of the Shadovar rises to prominence in a much weakened Netheril. Far to the east in Thay, the power of Undeath has greatly weakened with the fall of Orcus. The Red Wizards under Lord Myuni soon re-establish rule of the shattered realm, and Myuni is acclaimed as Prime Archon.
In Loudwater, Lirael Widdershins is acclaimed Queen of the Shining Vale, and in time the Legendary Sovereign founds a dynasty of mighty Ranger Monarchs, aided by the doughty Dunstan Ironforge who with his lady Serka also founds a long line of Ironforge dwarven warrior-smiths.
His work on Faerun done after a final battle with a great demonic spider that attempts to make off with the body of the Queen-Consort Sir Jorah Blackthorn (subsequently resurrected by the Green Regent Halvath), Jareth the Invincible Vanguard sets off in search of new worlds to conquer.
In Ched Nasad, Matriarch Dhaunayane Nasadra long enjoys the Favour of Lolth, re-establishing House Nasadra with an iron grip over the city. In time Dhaunayane and her many daughters rebuild Ched Nasad as a city to rival even Menzoberranzan.
Of Paelias the Eladrin, believed lost in battle with the cyclops army at the Tomb of Sartine, there is no sign.


Monday, 15 August 2016

Session 103 9/4/1485 RL 30 The Final Battle: Orcus

The Heroes of Loudwater battle Orcus to save Shar from Tharkorsil's Seat.

Orcus & Szass Tam killed, Shar rescued, Selune sends the Heroes of Loudwater home.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Session 102 RL29 9/4/1485 Dragotha

Hallomakk Stromm Sends to Lirael that Waterdeep is under attack by Undead of Orcus. He summons Ardan the Untouchable and sends him to Ched Nasad. Lirael is also joined by Ralf, a wandering Underdark demonslayer.
With difficulty Dhaunayane manages to re-open the portal, only three can get through - Ralf Ardan & Lirael, to face the dangers beyond...

Dragotha, gargantuan dracolich - level 31 Solo - 115,000
2 Glabrezu 20,400
8 Ghouls 18,000
Total: 153400/3= 51,133
Ascend the Tower to the Final Conflict - level 30 major quest = 19,000 each
Total 70,133
825,000 XP for Level 29
+10,000 Session Account
830582 XP
1 million XP for Level 30

As the party rests overnight in Ched Nasad, Hallomakk Stromm Sends that Waterdeep is under attack by undead...

Lirael's Account

“Hurry!” said Dhaunayane as she struggled to hold the portal open. Sweat dripped down her dark, narrow face. “I can’t hold it open much longer!”

Lirael pushed through, even though she caught a glimpse of bleached white bone that made her hesitate. Arden the Untouchable joined her, as well as the enigmatic demon hunter Ralf, cradling his ridiculously large Demonbane axe in his hands. It was good to see Arden again, even in such circumstances. He had grown even more powerful in his absence and all indications were that they would need his expertise. Dunstan and Jareth were both nursing wounds from previous forays as they tried and tried to reach Orcus in his stronghold. Dhaunayane looked exhausted.

“We’ll join you as soon as we can,” said the drow, “but for now, go and Lloth be with you.”

“Tempus, more like,” growled Ralf. He didn’t trust the drow and had made that plain, though he’d lived in and among them for the last ten years. 

There was a moment of dizziness and dislocation as they emerged on the other side of the portal. Then there was a moment of sheer panic as they beheld the gargantuan hulk of Dragotha, a dracolich. The stench of brimstone and carrion washed over them. Arden immediately went on the attack, as if he had been expecting the dragon to be there. His shots rang straight and true, riddling the skull of Dragotha with arrows. It was disconcerting to see the arrow sticking straight out of its eye socket as it stared at them with malevolent but impotent rage.

Lirael backed up to get a better shot while Ralf ran in to attack the dragon’s relatively unprotected chest. The two treachery demons began closing in from either side but soon began to change their minds as Dragotha began to succumb to their concentrated attack. When the dragon fell, one of the demons fled. Lirael and Arden continued to follow it with their arrows, unwilling to meet that particular foe again and it finally fell with a piercing dying scream into the pit of undead below who, by the sound of it, found treachery demon to be a particularly nice treat. Ralf sliced into the remaining demon and soon the three were staring at each other, wondering if they should go on or wait for the others. Was there time? To be honest, none of them had expected to make it this far.

Lirael took a deep breath. “Let’s go,” she said. “The least we can do is scout ahead and see if Orcus is across the bridge.” She felt in her pocket for the weight of a polished stone that Jorah had given her once, what felt like forever ago, after a picnic. It wasn’t fancy or grand, but it was solid. Just like Jorah. She hoped she would see him again.

They carefully crossed the bridge, avoiding the place where Jareth had nearly fallen to his doom. There were no more treachery demons or vrocks or even dragons, but instead a small horde of fawning undead at the feet of a fat, purring rakshasa that was all too familiar. He stood and welcomed them, if that is what you would call it.

“You are on the wrong side of history here,” said Lirael, wishing she had something to stuff in her ears against the honeyed words of his she knew would come. She prepared herself mentally to use the Turn Undead ritual that she had recently learned but it soon became apparent that it wouldn’t be necessary as the ghouls quickly fell to their arrows and the rakshasa, no longer preening, ran for the stairs.

“What should we do now?” asked Ralf. “You’ve been here before. Should we go after the beast?”

Lirael eyed the statues, still glowing with an eerie necrotic energy, and the pile of undead. Then she eyed the pit. “Let’s get rid of them,” she said. “I’d rather they not re-animate at our backs.”

Together they pushed the dead undead into the pit and then poured gallons of holy water that they had been storing in the portable hole over the statues until they had crumbled into a seething pile of rubble. Shrieks from whatever undead lurked in the pit below echoed up to them and then died out as the holy water did its job.

There was a loud rumble as of a host of undead rising and a shiver went down all their spines.

“If your friends don’t get here soon, we are doomed,” said Ralf. He hefted his axe. 

Arden nodded grimly. “I fear we cannot delay much longer. He only grows stronger.”

“They’ll get here,” said Lirael. “They have to. If they don’t, it won’t just be us that’s doomed.”