Friday, 28 September 2012

Session 26: The Poisoned Shadows 24/10/1479 DR

The day after Esmerelda becomes Queen of Llorkh, most of the bandits are sleeping off the effects of the Great Feast. Esme has dispatched 12 men east to kill Boris, while sending Kitana and the most fanatical Banites south against the Severed Eye Orcs.

Two followers of Bahamut, the Cleric Dardalion and the Paladin Callaway, have arrived in Llorkh from Waterdeep searching for the remnants of the Poisoned Shadows, a group of Shadar-Kai assassins who had slain the Vice-Patriarch of Bahamut. They are spotted by Lirael and brought to the Palace via a rear entrance. After consultation with Arya and Karvol, they agree to help in investigating the theft of the Ammarindar dwarven rune-plates from the tower of the deceased Transmuter Olaris Vlakos.

Investigating the abandoned Old Curiousity Shoppe on the north-west side of Llorkh, the group find three Shadar-Kai in the cellar, including a vicious Witch who clouds Lirael's vision.  In a fierce fight another Shadar-Kai arrives from the sewers below, and a fifth attacks Arya from behind, but eventually all five Shadar-Kai are dispatched. One falls, spilling the contents of a chest - treasure, assassination contracts, and recent notes from Oro Loroth, the evil dwarf Mountain King, addressed to "Nightshade, Mistress of the Poisoned Shadows" commanding the theft of Olaris' plates (600gp) and preferably the killing of Olaris (2000gp). Old contracts from Waterdeep indicate that the murder of the Vice-Patriarch of Bahamut - and desired murder of the Patriarch - were commanded by the Ashmadai, devil cultists serving Asmodeus.

The group enter the sewers, where they swiftly encounter an Oni disguised as Olaris, and two more Shadar-Kai. Battle rages, and Callaway tries to cross a slippery sewer-pipe, only to fall into the water, and the submerged Gelatinous Cube waiting there...

Photos by Kimberly Pauley:

XP: 1,700/5=340 each.  
Total: 16,607+340= 16,947. 
Need: 20,500 for 10th.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Fallen Lands ca M10-11 1479 DR

This area, roughly comprising the territory south of the Far Forest, north of the Graypeak Mountains, and west of the Deep Maw, is crisscrossed by ridges of low foothills, dotted with scrubby stands of pine and barren plateaus. Craters, fissures, and fault lines make navigation and orientation difficult. Sheer ridges force travelers along endless twisting paths, and the fractured topography makes good vantage points few and far between.
Rain is rare in the summer and sporadic in other seasons, but the Fallen Lands are by no means a desert. Small streams are common even in the height of summer. Winter sees a light dusting of snow but only the occasional blizzard or heavy snowfall.
The Fallen Lands, as they exist in the aftermath of the Spellplague, remain largely unexplored, but here are a few facts every traveler knows.
✦ Somewhere near the center of the Fallen Lands stands Stormkeep, a mysterious castle surrounded by magical squalls of electricity that never dissipate.
✦ Orcs and goblins live in scattered bands throughout the region. They mostly war against each other, though different tribes occasionally unite under a single banner to raid over the Graypeaks and strike the frontier communities of the Gray Vale.
✦ Travel by day is reasonably safe, although particularly bold bandits sometimes menace travelers who don’t appear capable of defending themselves.
✦ Some explorers speak of a site known as the Plateau of the Reverse Obelisks, which they say is safe to approach and travel through by day. In fact, the denizens of the Fallen Lands grant this area a wide berth, making it perhaps the safest part of the journey to Spellgard. However, it is unwise (if not downright foolhardy) to make camp or spend the night anywhere near this place.
✦ Spellgard lies atop a ridge at the eastern edge of the Fallen Lands. Its ruins are visible from miles away on a clear day.
✦ Spellgard was once known as Saharelgard, a great fortress of ancient Netheril. It is home to Lady Saharel, a ghost who has the gift of prophecy and insight. She speaks of the future or the past to anyone who chances upon her in the Spellgard ruins.
✦ At the edge of Spellgard stands the Monastery of the Precipice. Treasure-hunters and seekers after Lady Saharel congregated there.


✦ Spellgard has fallen to wizard-led soldiers of the Empire of Netheril. The brave knight Sir Calard fell defending the Monastery of the Precipice, now occupied by Netherese troops, who have ordered non-Netherese to leave the ruined city. The Netherese are now investigating the Sceptre Tower.
✦ A half-finished castle in the Fallen Lands is haunted by the ghost of the lord who died before it could be finished.
✦ The great treasures of Spellgard were taken from the place years ago, in the final days of Low Netheril when the fortress was sacked. However, rumors persist of undisturbed chambers there, and of ancient relics that have not seen the light of day for centuries.
✦ Spellgard has lain in ruins for more than a thousand years, but the castle has never been truly abandoned. A shifting population of treasure hunters and prophecy seekers occupied the aboveground ruins, and the old tunnels beneath the site are home to kobolds and fouler creatures.
✦ In the middle of Spellgard is the Scepter Tower, one of the few structures of the old castle that still stands complete. Mystery and legend surround the Scepter Tower, and it is said that no living being can pass within its walls.
✦ The magic of Netheril lingers within the stones of Spellgard. Before the castle fell, its arcanists focused incalculable power within the Scepter Tower, and the chambers of old Saharelgard were warded by magic locks that no one could defeat.
✦ Not all who look for Lady Saharel left when the Monastery of the Precipice fell to Netheril.  Seeker camps still dot the ruins, and some of their residents are as dangerous as any monsters roaming the Fallen Lands.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Session 25: Reach Level 9 - The Ousting of King Boris 23/10/1479 DR.

Battle in the Throneroom - Kitana launches herself at Boris, but is swiftly knocked unconscious. Aided by the Banites among Boris' men, the heroes overcome him before the bulk of his forces can arrive. He is stripped, tied up, then banished, along with 'Piggy', his one remaining loyal man. The brigands hail Esme as their new queen. Sir Galtos of the 'Pig Lords' (Timbervale) arrives from the south with 75 men. Esme appoints Karvol her chief of guards, Arya her Magist, Lirael her Huntress (& advisor). She sends off Kitana, consults with Galtos. On Lirael's advice, Esme proposes marriage to young Galtos, he delightedly accepts. Esme has Kitana send in Valtar, Boris' most loyal man. Instead of executing him she appoints him to a position. At his suggestion she has him gather a squad and chase off after Boris to eliminate him. Esme announces a celebratory feast.
That evening as the feast is due to start, Arya visits the ramshackle tower of Olaris Vlakos, only to find a mysterious thief stealing the old transmuter's Amarrindar dwarven records, scribed copper plates. He escapes through a window and runs off; Arya fetches Lirael and Karvol and they track him to an 'Old Curiousity Shoppe' on the north side of Llorkh.

Battle in the Throneroom

Start XP: 15707/16500 for 9th Level
+500 for fight, roleplay
+400 for level 9 major quest - overthrow Boris
Total:16607 - PCs 9th level
Need: 20,500 for 10th.
Rituals in Olaris Vlakos' Ritual Book, 42/128 pages used.

Lvl 1 - 7 pages 
Create Beer (Nature) Ritual components: hops, yeast, water: creates large quantitites of fine beer within a few days.
Brew Potion (Arcana or Religion) - PHB
Comprehend Language (Arcana) - PHB
Magic Mouth (Arcana) - PHB
Make Whole (Arcana) - PHB
Secret Page (Arcana) - PHB
Tenser's Floating Disk (Arcana) - PHB

Lvl 3 - 3 pages
Detect Secret Doors (Arcana) - PHB 

Lvl 4 - 4 pages
Enchant Magic Item (Arcana) - PHB

Lvl 6 - 12 pages
Disenchant Magic Item (Arcana) - PHB
Sending (Arcana) - PHB

Lvl 8 - 16 pages
Analyze Portal (Arcana) - FRPG pg 142
Linked Portal (PHB) - details on using Portals as teleport destinations from anywhere (ie Linked Portal doesn't require an origin Portal). Olaris' notes detail the use as teleport destinations of (1) the Zhent Portal to Darkhold in Llorkh (currently blocked), and (2) a dormant Portal of the Ammarindar Dwarves, outside the ruined dwarf-hold of Tannheim, by a lake shore on the north side of Stonefang Mountain. This is 18 miles south of Llorkh, 10 miles from Timbervale, past the entrance to the Stonefang Tunnel. Olaris' notes speculate that the Tannheim Portal's active destination-link may have been severed in the Spellplague.

In the Realms, Portals are permanent teleportation gateways, typically archways. They often require a key or arcana check to activate. Active or Dormant Portals can often be used as teleport destinations via the Linked Portal ritual (PHB). The Analyze Portal Ritual can be used with an Arcana check to block a Portal so that it cannot be used, the way Olaris blocked the Zhent portal to Darkhold.  A blocked portal cannot be used, either from its active link Portal, nor via the Linked Portal ritual from elsewhere. A portal can be 'unblocked' via another casting of Analyze Portal at the portal itself.

Useful Stuff in Olaris Vlakos' chambers
Blank 128-page Ritual Book (sale value 25gp)
Ritual Ink for Inscribing Rituals into Spellbooks: 3,000gp (sale value 600gp)
Alchemical Reagants for Arcane Rituals: 9,000gp (sale value 1,800gp)
Large Quantities of Water, Hops, Yeast for Create Beer.
Chest holding 450gp in assorted coin.

Per PHB page 298: Mastering a Ritual takes 8 hours of uninterrupted study. You must be equal or higher level than the Ritual. You must either have the Ritual Caster feat, or (house rule) have Training in the Key Skill. If you have both you can make any Ritual Key Skill checks at +2.

Kingdom of Llorkh Average Monthly Revenue & Expenditure

Boris' levies are about double 'typical' tax rates, eg the sorts of amounts Queen Valeris levies on her subjects.

Victoria Mine - 280gp cash
Carlsen Mine - 360gp cash
Jozan Mine - 340gp cash
Irondawn - 320gp cash, plus food levy (about 320gp at market value)
Timbervale - 300gp cash, plus food levy (about 300gp at market value)
Merchant Tolls & Taxes (Llorkh) - 200gp cash, plus misc food, wine, slaves etc (about 1200gp worth at market value)
Total Income: 1800gp cash, plus food, wine, textiles, slaves etc

Most local cash income is silver from the mines; merchants are expected to pay in gold.
All food, wine, textiles etc levied is distributed to the 'army', used to feed slaves, or otherwise consumed.

Cash Expenditure: -1320gp (6gp cash per man) distributed to the 'army'. Each man also gets a similar amount by value in non-cash benefits (food, clothing etc), which is a pretty cushy deal for them (twice the typical soldier or miners' pay, four times the pay of an unskilled labourer), and attracts plenty of 'soldiers' (bandits).
Maintenance/Upkeep Expenditure: 0gp

Net average monthly cash income: +480gp (5760gp/year)