Monday, July 08, 2019

Contrary to Popular Belief...

...I'm still around! Feeling a little nostalgic for the old blogging life tonight so decided to stop in and post an update. Oh, life, you silly thing!

Since no one will read this, here's the brief synopsis of the last few years: driving meds around for a living and sometimes (time is short when you're driving 85k miles a year!) writing gaming stuff for Tricky Owlbear. My oldest nephew Aiden talked us into doing some D&D so I've been running a Realms campaign since last year. I've been pretty happy with it so far and with how 5th edition handles in general. Hopefully, we'll be finishing this campaign soon to start another based on my old Protectorate campaign from the golden days my group was gaming.

Anyway, thanks for reading and cheers!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Where Has the Time Gone?

Has it been a year and a half?! Okay, maybe I'm not that surprised.

So, I've been surviving my bout with Lyme (not always easy!) and am still kicking so I might as well practice some writing by blogging again. Who's still out there and gives a damn? Holla.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Books for Sale!

Alright, I really need to make some space (and some spare change would be nice too) so I've decided to part with my collection of Eberron rpg sourcebooks. If you aren't into RPGs, stop reading now.

Okay, here's what I want to move and will entertain offers via comments here (I've posted this to my facebook so I'll update here and there as books become unavailable). Name your price (don't get too ridiculous like wanting something for a penny) and we'll talk.

Shadows of the Last War: mint outside but I did run this for my group and tracked some hit points inside (I've erased these to the best of my ability)

GM Screen: just the screen in mint condition

Whispers of the Vampire's Blade: ok condition, ran half of this for my group; corner bend and interior marks on a few pages

Grasp of the Emerald Claw: mint

Voyage of the Golden Dragon: mint

Deluxe Character Sheets: in original folder, mint never used

Sharn-City of Towers: mint, bonus cd never removed

Five Nations: mint

Secrets of Xen'Drik: mint

Magic of Eberron: mint

Explorer's Handbook: mint

Player's Guide to Eberron: mint

Faiths of Eberron: mint

Campaign Setting: mint

Races of Eberron: mint, complete with mini-City of Towers mini-booklet in the back

world map: not sure which product this came with but will throw it in with the first order I receive.

Buyers must pay their own shipping, choosing whichever method they like.

SPECIAL: Perhaps this is only for the most die-hard collector, but I also have the draft versions of the PHB and DMG that were sent out to publishers prior to v3.5 being released. I was writing for Mystic Eye Games at the time, and one of their people photocopied the pages for the writers and sent them out so we could continue writing and be ready for 3.5's release. CONFIDENTIAL is stamped onto pretty much every page and there is no art (although the art spots are saved by text). It's a neat look into the way WotC sets up their books before finalizing them. This lot is one piece (I will not break up the two books since they came together as a giant stack of unbound papers, that's how I'm leaving them).

Campaign Notes: DL 1-9

Title: The Search, part I
PC Level: 8th

After the traumatic events of Of Gods & Men, the PCs reach the forest surrounding Tresvka, the last reported location of the neutral Promise Flame icon. On approach to the tree line, the PCs are attacked by a squad of draconians. One of them specifically makes mention of there being a White Robe (Beam) in the group so it must be the right group to attack. The PCs make short work of the dragon-men and reach Tresvka without further incident.

The community features many shops, select groves of trees and at least one large pond within its confines. After leaving their horses at the closest stable, the PCs inquire as to Dravik, the last person on record who possesses the PF icon. A helper baker says that Dravik was Tresvka's second mayor and his belongings can be found in the council building. The PCs find not only find those belongings (under a locked glass case) but those also of the 50 or so other deceased mayors of Tresvka. The current mayor, a man named Thornback, is busy in this chamber giving a tour of the council building to visitors. The PCs manage to get a few moments alone with Thornback and advise him of the draconian attack they experienced. He cannot imagine what the dragon-men would be doing around here but sends guards to the town's perimeter as a precaution. Sir Plaxus notices a familiar-looking journal jutting from the mayor's pocket but can't put his finger on what it is. Thornback gives some information about Dravik, pointing out his case in the chamber and mentioning that Dravik himself was cremated but no one is sure where the remains were interred, although the spot is likely around the deceased mayor's cabin just outside Tresvka.

After the room evacuates, the PCs "borrow" one of items in Dravik's case--a flame holy symbol (which Gundar identifies as the symbol of Sirrion) and then make their way to Dravik's cabin. From what they've learned, no one has lived at the cabin since Dravik as the site is considered haunted by the ancient ranger's spirit. Upon arrival, the PCs note with some curiosity that the clearing around the cabin is bordered with the broken armor and weapons of draconians! Around the back of the small building is a fresh grave. A stick marking the grave head is decorated by a medallion hanging from it. On one side of the gold treasure is the image of a tree with a pair of eagle wings behind it. As Beam moves to touch the item, an arrow whizzes by him and into the wall of the cabin.

A voice from the hidden archer warns the group away from the grave and demands to know what their business is there. The PCs state they are looking for the grave site of Dravik and mean no harm. A human emerges from a tree nearby and cautiously approaches the PCs. He takes the medallion from the grave and listens to the PCs' tale of their search for the PF icons in order to fight the dragonarmies. This allegiance to good calms the archer, a man named Vanik Maun, and he tells his own tale. Maun was, until a few months ago, a lieutenant in a mercenary group. The band attacked a group of elves who were separated from the masses evacuating Silvanesti when that land was attacked by the dragonarmy. But when Maun's eyes met the innocent blue eyes of one of the elven women, he knew he could no longer be a mercenary. The elfmaiden was injured in the attack and in the confusion Maun escaped with her. The unconscious elf quickly became delirious from a fever after Maun tried to tend to her wounds. He learned that the elven refugees were heading to Tresvka to gain transport from a group of griffons waiting for them. Maun did not learn where the griffons were before the elf died in his arms a few hours from reaching the community. He buried her at the cabin and has, in the two months since, been searching for the griffons to release them from a task they will never fulfill (the refugees will never arrive so he wants to finish the last mission of the elfmaiden).

Maun agrees to aid the PC's quest if they aid him in finding the griffons. The PCs agree and the group begins to search the cabin and its grounds. A gazebo on the far side of the clearing is investigated after the house and a seal is discovered beneath it. After clearing away the old wooden structure, the group can clearly see the seal--a symbol of Sirrion in which is a smaller flame symbol--much like the seal of the first Preserver the PCs found in Blackbone's Company. When the holy symbol the PCs took from Dravik's relics is pressed onto the smaller flame symbol, the seal descends into the earth. The group descends with it into a sizable chamber. They find the PF icon atop an altar but a surprise awaits them in this crypt. A construct called a sacred guardian (this one of Sirrion) emerges from an antechamber to attack the intruders.

The PCs manage to defeat the guardian, which then crumbles to dust as ash (the remains of Dravik) fly from the guardian's mouth and out of the crypt to disperse. Maun is elected to hold the icon after Gundar is zapped by a powerful electrical charge when he tries to touch it. Apparently the warning that only those of the same moral inclination can touch an appropriate PF icon holds true!

The group leaves the crypt and sets about finding the griffons. From his studies, Beam knows that griffons are attracted to magical areas. The Mage's Supply house and the Flame Sanctuary are the most likely places (although Maun assures the group he has investigated the latter, which supposedly is the site of one of the actual Promise Flames). After finding no help at the shop, the PCs make their way to the sanctuary but are stopped en route by mayor Thornback and a company of hooded guards. He says the PCs must be taken into custody for the theft of Dravik's holy symbol. It is now that Plaxus sees the mayor's journal again and recalls what it is--a dragonarmy warbook!

All hell breaks loose as the PCs prepare for battle and the mayor's guards drop their disguises and reveal themselves as draconians. Thornback blows a signal horn and draconians descend from their hiding places high in the trees all over town. As Thornback (who is revealed as a sivak draconian) and his crew are dispatched, wave after wave of draconians and the occasional ogre assault the group and the citizens of Tresvka. The PCs somehow make it to the sanctuary and find a woman and her children there hiding from the attack. They are taken under the PCs protection as the group desperately searches for some clue as to where the griffons might be.

Before too long, a large notch on the opposite of the tree the sanctuary is built within is found. The peculiar hole is man-sized and is carved so that several people can fit inside of it. Once inside, the PCs present a PF icon and ask for permission to enter the PF tower. Everyone inside the nook vanishes to appear, as it turns out, higher up in the sanctuary's tree. The tree's bottom is a real tree but the upper--invisible--part houses the actual Promise Flame tower itself. A gemstone the size of an ogre is suspended above the group after they are all whisked inside. Crystalline rods extend from the gem into the crystalline sides of the tower which rise several levels above until they end in a flame-shaped top. Ladders lead from one level to another and the PCs investigate while Maun, Plaxus, and the civilians stay below.

The place is quiet and empty until the group reaches the top-most level in which sits a gnome amidst scattered papers. Spring-glide (his shortened name) accidentally found the invisible tower's flame when his industrial-strength pogo stick with gliding wings smashed him into it. Fortunately, researching the PFs is this gnome's life quest and he has been studying the place for over a week. He cautions the PCs to mind the irritable griffons who are lairing in the flames above them (the PCs see movement of some kind of beasts through the crystal ceiling).

The refugees and NPCs are called to the upper level while Gundar and Beam make contact with the griffons (who understand the common tongue but can't speak it). Maun joins the pair and extends the medallion of the elfwoman, saying that the beasts are free of the burden of waiting. The griffons bow to the man and he tells the PCs that the griffons will help them escape the attack. However, the PCs now spot something more troubling than even the all-out draconian attack--a black dragon flying above the tree line not terribly far away.

The group hatches a plan: everyone will escape on griffonback except Beam and Gundar who will ride their own griffons and engage the dragon in combat to give the others time and cover to escape. They will all regroup outside forest. The plan works well and the two PCs mange to take down the black dragon after a long and furious exchange of attacks. Tresvka, regrettably, is lost to the dragonarmy but at least the PCs recovered the next PF icon and gained an ally in their quest in the form of Maun.

After regrouping with their companions, Beam decides to read the warbook they confiscated from Thornback's corpse. Inside is a warning the PCs are on approach to Tresvka. Thornback confirms he has set an ambush (the draconians who attack the group at the module's start) and, if that fails, he will wait until the PCs have procured the next PF icon to slay them). Beam decides to try and fool whoever has the other warbook and writes a fake report that the attack on Tresvka has gone as planned. He also tries to find out who and where the other writer is, discovering only that there is a safehouse in Solanthus before the writer wises up to the wizard's ploy and says his group will be destroyed. But the conversation confirmed something else--there is a spy in the Solanthus resistance for how else would the draconians have known of the PCs' arrival or intentions?

The group makes ready to return to Solanthus by griffon and find the other warbook's owner (and, presumably, root out the spy).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bitching Up A Storm

Who doesn't love to bitch about the people they must interact with daily? Now, you can share your stories with like-minded people on my new FB page Memorable Work Moments. Meant to be comedic, this page is pretty much for anyone who wants to share a WTF moment that maybe they don't want to share on their personal Walls for whatever reason.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Campaign Notes DL 1-8

Title: Of Gods & Men
PC Level: 7th

Taking place immediately after The Test, the PCs are preparing to head north to Tresvka and locate the neutral-aligned Promise Flame icon. The alchemist, Fane, asks them to stay a few moments longer in the city and speak with some members of the Solamnic resistance movement. He leads the group to a nearby warehouse where half a dozen young men and women are eager to hear about the gods, and Kiri-Jolith in particular, from Gundar.

The cleric provides what information he has and assures the assembled people that, not only did the gods never leave, but that they would help defeat the armies of the Dark Queen if only the people had faith. Gunthar used his medallion of faith holy symbol to magically create more symbols for these newly christened clerics. The leader of the Resistance, also inside the warehouse, briefed the PCs about her group (this woman is Lucinda and she was one of the members rescued by the PCs in Thelgaard in module DL 1-4). Originally, a few citizens of central Solamnia heard of the encroaching armies and decided to form an organization to combat it. Unfortunately, no one knew just what to do or how to do it. After her brush with death in Thelgaard, Lucinda knew someone had to step forward and take command of these like-minded people.

Now, every community from Solanthus to Vingaard Keep was in contact with one another (via hidden message points hidden under specially-marked rocks in each settlement). She has many competent members gathering information about the Dragonarmy with precision reconnaissance. She tells the PCs that if an emergency arises and they need manpower, she can gather a small but potent force to assist them. She is deeply grateful for the group's assistance up until now but requests that Deedra be left in Solanthus. Residents who disapprove of Resistance activities (i.e. those people who don't believe in dragons or the threat of the evil armies) are apt to harass the group's movements but they'll be less likely to do so when a minotaur accompanies important transports. Deedra agrees to help but vows to meet up with the PCs before too long.

Now down to Gunthar, Beam, and Sir Plaxus, the adventurers receive supplies from Lucinda (foodstuffs, a cart and 3 horses). She asks one more thing of the group--look in on her acquaintances at Castle di Caela, which is halfway between Solanthus and Tresvka. The di Caela matriarch usually shops in Solanthus but hasn't been seen in over two weeks. One the PCs check in (hopefully discovering the family is well), they should report back using the message spot in Tresvka.

After 5-6- hours, the PCs come within sight of Castle di Caela and investigate two unusually large haystacks. They are ambushed by two owlbear skeletons waiting inside the haystacks but dispatch them without difficulty. Once at the castle, they notice that the ground level is all that is left of the building, which clearly appears to have had more levels above it (but now only bit of wall remain). Inside, as twilight falls, the PCs discover and slay skeletons and a handful of other zombie-like undead (cadavers from the Dread Codex). A few piles of neatly-stacked stones (removed, apparently, from the upper level walls) lie in the castle's former barracks. Outside, one of the horses whinnies in pain. The PCs rush to the scene and see a humanoid flee around a corner. The monster climbs the outside wall without difficulty and Gunthar uses his turn undead power on it successfully. Beam climbs the wall behind the thing and is treated to its hissing, fanged visage before it becomes gaseous and floats into the castle's lower level.

Beam believes the creature to be a vampire and the group returns inside to find it (after a brief discussion of retreating to rest which is pooh-poohed in favor of pushing on). One last room needs to be explored and this one houses a coffin and a fireplace facade. The group destroys the coffin and discovers a staircase beneath the faux fireplace. A chamber at the bottom has a table with a diary and some jewelry atop it. Gunthar moves to the table when two armored figures emerge from the shadows and attack. Gunthar and Plaxus engage them while Beam prepares spells behind. Unfortunately, the vampire (in this case, the woman is a vampire spawn) creeps out from a hiding spot behind more neatly-stacked rocks in the room and attacks the wizard.

As when battling the owlbear skeletons earlier, Beam uses his rod of the python to good effect in this battle while Gunthar turns the undead with his Kiri-Jolith divine power. The vampire spawn is slain here and staked for later disposal into the sunlight. Gunthar and Plaxus move into a nearby chamber and discover a pile of bodies, mostly human but some dwarven (the latter presumed to be excavators). In the meantime, Beam peruses the diary of the di Caela patriarch (Richard) who notes at the diary's end that the family was excavating beneath the castle for a new wine cellar when they discovered a man-made seal and broke it. At this point, Beam believes that a ("super") vampire still lurks in the area (or something worse).

After walking through another tunnel, the PCs emerge into a gigantic chamber wherein skeletons labor to rebuild the castle they are deconstructing from the surface. Gunthar recalls that one of the early di Caelas (Semmitt) was a vampire and, for some reason, could not be slain at the time. Instead, he was sealed into a crypt of his own making (for he was quite old at the time). This tale is pre-Cataclysm.

Inside the chamber, the skeletons are goaded into attacking by the PCs. Beam levitates Gunthar and he destroys all of their number with the turning power of Kiri-Jolith. The group then investigates the new foundation of the castle (which is empty) and soon discovers a seal centrally located in the massive chamber. It read in Solamnic, "Here lies Semmitt di Caela" which only confirms the group's fears that somewhere around them lurks the ancient vampire. The group moves to the doorway back into the tunnels and Beam finds that the entrance is laced with magical runes but that they are malfunctioning. He asks the group to move just into the tunnel and reform the door from the blocks that were cast to the side upon breaching the chamber. As he turns to explain the spell he wants to try on the entrance, he notes that another person has joined the group in the tunnel--Semmitt di Caela!

Gunthar takes the first blow (in this case a touch) which sucks physical energy from his form. A furious melee ensues. Beam backs away and recalls his python (who is a short distance away guarding the staked vampire spawn) while Semmitt uses the clerical power of Chemosh to cast a shatter spell on Gunthar's holy symbol and destroys it so he cannot turn the vampire. Plaxus ineffectually tries to stake the vampire. Soon, the evil creature assumes gaseous form and retreats after Beam's python grapples it. The PCs regroup and Beam casts a modified hold portal spell on the entranceway in an attempt to restore whatever magic kept the vampire in the chamber. The spell works but Beam is not sure how long the jury-rigged magic will hold.

The group retreats to the surface, disposes of the vampire spawn into the sunlight, and rests (also creating a new holy symbol from the one Plaxus possesses). After spells are used to bolster the PCs, they return to the crypt-chamber but Semmitt has also had time to plan. He has taken refuge in a nook near the ceiling (some 100 feet above the floor) and gives the PCs one chance to simply leave him in peace. They refuse and the vampire begins the attack by successfully casting silence on the wizard. He then drops a darkness ball in the group's midst. Gunthar summons a celestial eagle to take the fight to the vampire. But just before he can attempt to turn the evil undead creature, Semmitt once again shatters the cleric's holy symbol.

In a fit of anger, Gunthar leaps from his eagle into the vampire's hole an grapples with it. The two tumble out of the hiding place and hurtle toward the ground. The vampire manages to shapechange into a giant dire bat and break the grapple on the way down. Gunthar grabs for the bat's feet but misses. The cleric lands with a loud smash and is knocked unconscious, now mortally wounded. Beam, though silenced from traditional spellcasting, is able to use an innate power to inflict fiery bursts upon the vampire while his python attacks from behind. Plaxus, meanwhile, has discovered the vampire's coffin and is destroying it. The vampire finally falls to the constant attacks but is not finished for good as it can heal very quickly from most injuries. Beam grabs a stake after trying to unsuccessfully stabilize Gunthar and sticks it into Semmitt's breast. Plaxus tries to stabilize the cleric as well but without effect.

In a final desperate gamble (Gunthar now reaching -10 hit points), Plaxus tries to use the healing power of Kiri-Jolith to save his friend (for while Plaxus was teaching Gunthar about knighthood since they met, so too has the cleric been teaching the knight about divine matters). To everyone's relief, a healing cantrip is granted and the cleric is saved. The PCs then move the vampire's staked form up into the sunlight, giving the di Caela a final farewell, and see to their friend's recovery.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Campaign Notes: DL 1-7

Title: The Test
PC Level: 6th

After the events of The Cursed of Kiri-Jolith, the party makes its way to the bottom of the Garnet Mountains and into Solanthus after a few hours walk. While the group is not batted entry into the city, Sir Plaxus is made the butt of several jokes by the guards (apparently, the city overthrew its knightly rule a decade before and has no love for that organization). Inquiries as to the location of the alchemist (where Beam is supposed to make contact about his Test of High Sorcery on this day) yield surprisingly exact results (although the questionees do not seem like they want to give a minotaur wrong directions and still be in the same area!).

Alchemist Tibias Fane greets the group warmly at his shop and, once Beam identifies himself, leads the group to the back room. Deedra shakes with an unknown fear and cannot go into the room, leaving Beam to take the test with Sir Plaxus and Gundar (i.e. Deedra's player could not make it for this session).

A ring of smooth stones in the "stock room" flashes with magical power when Beam speaks the words provided by Fane. In the next instant, the group finds itself amidst a similar stone circle but is now inside a different room. A young woman soon enters and, after getting Beam's name, escorts the PCs to the library where they are to await Mortran, Beam's administrator for the Test. Several wizards of all three orders are preparing war-packs and speaking excitedly amongst themselves while a single Red Robe lies dozing at a distant table.

The Red Robe is Navek and, upon being awakened, informs the group that the other wizards of the Tower of Wayreth here have learned that the Dragonarmy has acquired all three Promise Flame icons and they are preparing a strike force to take them from the clutches of evil. The party scoffs at this news since they already have possession of the good-aligned icon. However, when Mortran arrives in the room and confirms Navek's news, he examines the PC's icon and, finding it to be cracked, breaks it with little pressure. There is no time to wonder at this as the Mortran lays out the Test.

Mortran warns the non-Wizards that taking the Test is just as hazardous to them as it is to Beam, costing many Wizards their lives. All understand and agree to begin. A doorway is opened in the corner of the library and the PCs walk through to emerge outside at a familiar locale. Here is where the group encountered the horax outside of Thelgaard (see the beginning of module DL 1-4). Now, Beam has a second chance to save the girl who previously died. Or does he? As the PCs move to protect the farmhouse occupants from the large vermin attack, the girl (although saved from the horax by Beam this time) falls into a sinkhole. She is dragged off by another horax as Beam reaches the hole.

The group descends into the passage and soon arrives at an underground lake where wide flat stones are arranged at differing intervals, jutting from the surface. On the ceiling are stalactites of varying girths, three of which have great holes in their sides to accommodate space within. The group makes plans to cross on the stones and investigate the holes but this proves difficult as stepping on any of the stones causes them to levitate upward! Gundar and Beam split up while Sir Plaxus watches from shore (his armor being too heavy and cumbersome to allow for stone jumping). Beam successfully picks the stalactite where the girl has been taken but the horax who snatched her waits within. The wizard manages to defeat the vermin and rescue the girl. When this occurs, a magical portal opens on shore.

Through the portal, the girl vanishes and the PCs find themselves back at Ironrock inside the orphanage they grew up in. This is one of the rest areas provided by the Test and the group takes full advantage of it. A visit from the smithy of Ironrock yields a clue (although the group doesn't realize it yet) to the next part of the Test. He brings a new blend of peach green tea for the PCs to try and then departs. At the end of 8 hours, another portal whisks the group outside of a cave on a small hill.

A centaur lays with a sickly centaur youngling and he pleads for the PC's assistance. A Black Robed wizard poisoned the youngling and the cave entrance (wherein the wizard lairs and undoubtedly has an antidote) is too small to accommodate the creature's size. The wizard was slain when the centaur tortured him for the antidote's location. Inside the cave mouth is a solid stone wall on which are arranged gemstones of different colors in a horizontal line. The center gem, triangular and clear, is where Beam centers a color spray and that causes the wall to open. A maze is next, in which an ogre mage attacks the group but is easily dispatched. At the end of the maze is an door but only Beam makes it through before a wall of flame erupts within the doorway. Inside, the wizard finds a balance atop a stone dais. On one end sits a green vial atop a pile of steel pieces. On the other end sits an orange vial atop a stack of gemstones. After a few attempts to remove the steel and gems (and subsequent arrow traps being sprung), Beam decides to grab both liquid-filled vials after Gundar remembers the smithy visiting with peach green tea (and shouting this information through the doorway). The balance ends are too far apart for Beam to reach so he uses mage hand to grab both vials. The flame wall outside the chamber dissipates and the PCs successfully use both liquids to cure the centaur youngling.

The centaur then says he will watch over the group as it rests from its trial. After the rest, what feels like an earthquake rocks the area. The centaur vanishes and the group experiences a magical flash that leaves them back in the library of the Tower of Wayreth. Navek, the dozing Red Robe, still reclines at a table but now a spear has permanently transfixed the man to that spot! An explosion echoes down the hallway outside the room. The PCs rush out to find a human Dragonarmy warrior, a bozak draconian, and an ugly draconian type they have not yet encountered (proto-baaz). A brief fight ends the enemy threat and the PCs follow the smell of burnt flesh up a flight of stairs. A White Robe meets them at the top but he has been mostly melted into the wall, a sooty haze around his corpse on the wall and floor.

A white portal stands open in the room and, somehow still alive, the White Robe (who is recognized as Mortran) rasps, "Must...close...portal...other side...battle..."

Ghostly draconic hands appear to be physically holding open the gateway from the other side. The PCs dutifully jump through to find two proto-baaz flanking a priest of Takhisis. The ghostly dragon hands are coming from an orb sitting next to the evil priest. After an intense battle, the PCs smash the orb and close the portal, leaving themselves unable, at the moment, to return to the Tower. The group step out of the edge of the treeline they are in to see a great valley before them. On the other side is a mountain on which can barely be seen a cave opening. To their right, a battle is occurring between the Wayreth wizards and Dragonarmy forces. The PCs wisely decide to check out the cave.

Inside, 2 proto-baaz are dispatched and the group finds supplies and a man-made staircase going up. The upper level here appears to be a dead end in a wide chamber but the PCs are suddenly attacked by magical bolts from overhead, revealing that a hidden passage or chamber can be accessed. Trial and error reveals a staircase to this hidden level and a Black Robe is confronted. Before the PCs can slay him, the evil wizard uses the magic of nearby burning braziers to capture each adventurer within swirling bubbles of force. The Black Robe pulls off his hood to reveal--Zurias, Beam's father! Presumed dead after the events of module DL 1-5, the man thanks Beam for being so gullible and allowing him to trade the real Promise Flame icon for a fake while the young wizard was unconscious in his arms.

Zurias does indeed have all three icons, as feared by the Wayreth Wizards, and is intent on destroying them in a magical ritual, thus robbing Solamnia of hope during the next push of the Dragonarmy. One at a time, the PCs notice a flaw in the force bubble around their persons and are able to stab the slight opening with a weapon to disrupt the field. As Zurias moves to bring reinforcements to him, the PCs manage to subdue him and...

...find themselves back in the stock room of Fane's alchemist shop in Solanthus! A very not-dead Mortran greets them as well and informs Beam that he has passed the Test of High Sorcery. The wizard is given a white robe and a rod of the python. But the Test has not left Beam untouched. Because of his overriding concern for others, Beam now has a facial tic on one side and his hair has turned totally white. All in all, small prices to pay for a step forward in magical knowledge. Beam tries to learn from Mortran what Zurias meant at the Sage Academy when the older wizard said he had to give Beam up for the magic. Mortran says only Zurias knows as the details of every wizard's Test are their's alone to share.

Inside the shop, Deedra greets the group warmly and plans are made as to where to journey next. The neutral Promise Flame icon is supposedly the closest so that seems like a natural next step.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Campaign Notes: DL 1-6

Title: The Cursed of Kiri-Jolith
PC Level: 5th

The synopsis for the previous adventure can be found here. The PCs make camp within the quiet escape tunnel for a day or two. Beam is told that Zurias is his father and the parchment from the mentor says to go to Solanthus within a week's time and contact the local apothecary there concerning the youth's test of high sorcery.

Healing, the group is no worse for wear as they study the book from the Academy--History of the Third Dragon Way (circa 2AC). The book confirms the information previously learned about the Promise Flames (lit by the Promise Hearth as a reminder of Queen Takhisis' promise to withdraw from the world after being defeated in that war and that the other gods were always with the people). The Promise Flames (great towers with fires burning atop them) were spread through Solamnia so, it is said, that no one in the country could not go anywhere without glimpsing at least one of their fires.

The book details that when the Hearth was lit, it was then sealed and the key to open it was split into three pieces (each one a different colored flame symbol) and given to a three individuals who were named Preservers. This trio, each of differing alignment (good, neutral, evil) to represent the Balance of all things, hid the flame icons in different parts of Solamnia--good in Lytburg (PCs have this one), the neutral in Tresvka, and the evil in Ulgurmere manor. Whether the other two icons would still be in these locations is a mystery. Only by possessing all three can the Hearth be reopened and the Promise Flames restored as a means to instill hope into the harried Solamnic people, besieged by the Dragonarmies. The book is careful to point out that only someone of appropriate moral character can hold the respective flame icons.

The adventurers eventually reach the end of their tunnel and find another secret panel in which to place Zurias' dwarven medallion. They then enter a dwarven-crafted ruin of some kind and begin to explore for a way back to the surface. The group soon discovers two statues, a dwarf shaking the hand of a knight, the latter's head having been knocked from his shoulders by ceiling debris. Gundar and Plaxus feel a strange familiarity with the chamber and Gundar places the knight's head back onto the statue. Immediately, the group hears the voice of Kiri-Jolith. In short, the god tells the group that they must undue a curse he placed upon this complex because a sacred bond of friendship was broken by the knights here centuries ago. If they can do this, the adventurers will receive more powerful weapons in their quest to restore the Promise Flames, and thus restore hope to the people and unite them in the face of the Dragon Queen's forces.

Two large bats are dispatched as the party moves deeper into the complex. They next arrive at some kind of receiving room, complete with (now dilapidated) table and chairs. On the ceiling is a glass mosaic depicting dwarves and humans fighting dragons together. Beam recalls something about that in the book they just acquired and researches while Gundar and Deedra move up a nearby staircase. These two find paintings of apparently distinguished dwarves and knights on the walls of the hallway before encountering a boulder which has smashed in the hallway's exit, but not so tight that one person cannot slip into the next area at a time.

Meanwhile, Plaxus guards the studying Beam who learns that the complex they are now in was once a waystation between the Knights of Solamnia and the Garnet Mtn. dwarves who were given the area in appreciation for their service in the Third Dragon War. The waystation was a neutral meeting ground for trade, etc. but one of the knights became jealous of the dwarves "easy" lifestyle and wealth and convinced his fellows to slay their bearded allies. According to the book, Kiri-Jolith was so enraged that he cursed the waystation and the knights therein, changing them into creatures who would forever work at the riches they so coveted, mining the area futilely for eternity.

Deedra and Gundar discover a slimy blob on the boulder which soon moves to attack them. They begin to easily dispatch the creature when another humanoid made of stone advances from an unseen passageway behind the minotaur. Plaxus leaves Beam to assist the embattled cleric and warrior and the trio makes short work of their foes. Beam implores the party to investigate a door in the receiving room they previously left alone. Inside is a refuse area. Fungus grows rampantly across the area and infests a corpse near the edge of the fetid pit. Beam uses his quarterstaff to try and move the body but is blasted by spores from the fungus. He is unaffected by the poison until a second blast hits him in the face. The group retreats as Beam immediately starts to lose health by the minute. Gundar's limited spell repertoire proves ineffectual but then Deedra remembers the water she bottled from Kiri-Jolith's fountain in their very first adventure. Beam drinks the elixir but feels nothing so, in a desperate attempt to rid his skin of some fast-growing mushroom on his neck, he magically burns them off. As it turns out, Deedra's holy water did the trick but the mage was happy to have taken some kind of initiative anyway.

The group returns to the area beyond the boulder and find yet another stony humanoid walking aimlessly with a handful of small gemstones. It is slain but then Plaxus notices something odd behind the stony face--a withered human face! Beam surmises that these stone monsters must be the cursed of Kiri-Jolith as written in his book. The party advances deeper into the complex and crosses some pits and debris-choked areas (apparently there was an earthquake or two in the centuries since the waystation's fall). A fight with some flaying manta-ray type beasts is quick but leads to another encounter with the cursed stone beasts. The group finds empty chambers where humans and dwarves slept but then discovers the quarters of the dwarven cleric leader and his chest of magical items (which are quickly appropriated).

A "evil" feeling hole in the ground of the armory gives way to water beneath (perhaps 60 feet below) as well as a wide open chamber of some kind. The group descends and discovers makeshift rock cairns as well as a large pile of gemstones. The grand chamber 9 exit passages which the party assumes were made by the eternally mining knight-monsters. Gundar approaches the gem pile and throws the gems retrieved from the stone-knight above onto the pile. Some other gems roll off the pile and immediately vanish. Suddenly, Beam is attacked by a dwarf skeleton as he was inspecting one of two shallow pools inside the chamber. Other dwarf skeletons emerge from the cairns and advance on those who would disturb their resting place.

As the skeletons are quickly slain, a stone-knight emerges from nearly every exit passage to attack! A fierce fight ensues but the party is more than up to the challenge, felling every monster without taking any losses. The group turns its attention to the gem pile once more, cleaning off the top layers. Beneath is a glass casket containing a single dwarf with a sword of Solamnic make in its chest. Gundar opens the casket and pulls the sword from the corpse, which gasps slightly, opening its eyes, and whispering, "thank you...."

As the dwarf corpse disintegrates into dust, so do the stony exteriors of the fallen knights, revealing glowing weapons and armor beneath. There is even a cursed white wizard among the fallen which Beam appropriates the equipment of. As promised, the group has gained superior arms and armor as reward for lifting the curse here. They are then encompassed by the light and power of Kiri-Jolith who returns them to the upper level of the complex. The group easily finds a way to the surface and sees Solanthus, their next stop, below their mountaintop view.

Contrary to Popular Belief...

...I'm still around! Feeling a little nostalgic for the old blogging life tonight so decided to stop in and post an update. Oh, life, yo...