Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Riga’s Log: Suddenly, Fireball!

[Divine Flame]
Baccardi Riga The Third (gnome illusionist), Gilthanas Sunblade (half-elf paladin), Klin (half-elf druid), Malak (half-orc rogue)

Previously: The heroes have fought hard to raise their House of the Divine Flame, dedicated to Sune, being forced to recover the goddess’s statues stolen by forestfolk. The arrival of the church’s emissaries is widely awaited…

I start this post with a protest! How can a Fireball do 8D6 damage?!?!?! It is known, since before the dawn of times, that a Fireball rolls for 6D6! Where do you think this blog’s name came from? Hum?
Grumble… But let us start at the beginning…

Anarchist-atheist-catastrophists in Phandalin
Our session started with ample P-A-R-TAY! The committee from the Church of Sune arrived in our town, and booze flew freely all along the main square.
In the aftermath of the festivities, a bunch of freaks decide to launch a nocturnal attack on the temples of Sune and Tymora. While Sune is blessed with our presence (we manage to capture the culprits – more guys to swing in Gilthanas’ hanging ropes), Tymora, goddess of luck, is quite… unlucky! BWAHAHAHA! Pun intended. The priestess, Gandarelle, appears to have been captured by the crazed anti-gods fanatics. With our widely perfected inquisitive skills we are able to discover that the loonies belong to a cult that goes by the name “Zetas”, operating from the mountains, Northeast of Phandalin.

The orcs are coming!
On our way towards the "general direction in the mountains where baddies gather" we cross paths with our dwarven friend Gandrid, the miner. He seems to be rather startled with news pointing to an imminent invasion from the Many Arrows orc tribe. Oh, really?!?!? When I spoke of it a couple of weeks ago he was all "oh, can't be bothered, have a mine to run", and now he is concerned? One day I'm gonna turn this guy into a frog. But for now he is an ally (besides, he is crucial in defending MY Forge of Spells), and my concern with the town is genuine, so I'm gonna give it a "red priority level".

Picture: link

The ruined temple
Eventually, we discover a ruined temple in the mountains. Belonging to no god in particular, it appears to have been severely vandalized. We try to take the sentinels down without much noise, and that seems - momentarily - to be the outcome, when suddenly... FIREBALL!
2. Gilthanas goes down
3. Klin goes down
4. ... fuuuuuuck
At times like these, you either go down in a blaze of glory, or be truthful to your roleplay. And I am ALWAYS truthful to roleplay. No matter the cost. I am a chaotic good gnome mage, two of my trusted friends are fallen at my side, near death, and I am outnumbered. They may be unaware of Malak's presence (he was fighting one-on-one with a sentinel behind some tents), but I'm not willing to take any chances and risk my comrades' lives. I raise my arms and surrender.
The bandits take the time to go into the temple in order to call what I presume was their boss, and leave only one guard watching over us. Malak takes the opportunity to take the guy down.
We press the final attack, killing every culprit, freeing the priestess Gandarelle, and... discovering a magical sword with the hilt shaped like the head of Sune. Gilthanas will be comatose for the next three weeks.
All is well when it ends well... Even when you discover a letter from one of the Zetas’ leaders that signs simply as “L”.

What the HELL, DM, is this supposed to be some weird crossover with “Death Note”? If so, can I turn my spellbook into one of those black notebooks? For scientific purposes, obviously… Arcana, science, and… stuff…
(The Imperial March plays in the background)

Monday, 22 June 2015

Khan’s Report: Tales Trees Tell

[Vacaria Brotherhood] - D&D Expeditions: Tales Trees Tell
Khan (dwarf cleric), Sasha (human ranger), Lanza (half-elf bard), Septimus (tiefling warlock)

Previously: Many have been the expeditions around the city of Phlan that reveal the Cult of the Dragon’s inexorable rise in power in the region. Among many discoveries, Vacaria Brotherhood has compiled news about the imminent arrival of a black dragon.

Missing in the Forest
Lieutenant Aelid asks our help regarding some reports of people gone missing in the forest, and some hysteria pointing towards children stories about Jenny Greenteeth, a hag.
When we arrive in Cabal’s Hill, a Halfling named Grina tells us about a guy named Halvin that went into the Quivering Forest, apparently with intentions of reaching the elven town of Green Hall. The problem is that a long lasting pact between Phlan and the Quivering Forest forbids anyone from entering the forest. Several days after Halvin went missing, an expedition of eight townsfolk was sent in order to find him. None have returned.

Jenny Greenteeth
While we speak with Grina, screams echo in the night. Outside, a guy is nailed to a pole, with his eyes removed, his tongue sliced, and a stake driven into his chest. He is in excruciating pain. Sasha draws a dagger in order to cut his throat and put him out of his misery, but fortunately Lanza is able to stop her. I use my divine magic to ask Marthammor Duin for guidance, and heal the poor fellow, which collapses, but survives!
Where his eyes had once been, two stones with Jenny Greenteeth’s runes now stand. In the stake, there are eight papers that the townsfolk took with them, saying they don’t want to disrespect the pact, and they’re just looking for a missing companion.
When the guy regains conscience, Lanza casts Detect Thoughts and tries to communicate with him. He sees the hellish vision of a hag. I pay the ferryman five gold pieces to take the suffering man immediately to Phlan, where he can be properly treated.

Not another imp!
Some of you may recall that one of my “adventuring companions” is a disgusting tiefling with an imp, which doesn’t go marvelously well with “righteous neutral good Harper dwarven cleric”. So you can imagine my enthusiasm when we discover ANOTHER imp, killing cows in the town.
The bloody creature’s name is Pipyap, and he “belongs” to Halvin, which we find out that is a member of the Cult of the Dragon, and also a servant of Asmodeus.
Oh, great… So, I look around and how many Harpers do I see? NONE! And how many FUCKING-HELLISH-DAMNED-BASTARD-DEMON-WORSHIPERS? Countless ones, everywhere. This is going to be a lonely ride…
After reading Halvin’s diary we also discover that he has been commanded by the Cult of the Dragon to break the pact between Phlan and the Quivering Forest. I choose this moment to announce to my comrades that Halvin stopped being a goal for me. I will do every effort to rescue the remaining villagers, but will not move a finger to help a servant of Asmodeus that works for the Cult of the Dragon.

Serelis, the ranger
With no other option but to enter the forest, we do so. May Marthammor Duin bless our steps.
We reach the hut of Serelis, a ranger that has good relations with Cabal’s Hill. He tells us the townsfolk passed through him some days ago, and that he provided the help he could. But he suspects they are all dead by now, either at Jenny’s hands, or the elves’. None too soon, we are attacked by a pack of needle blights and scarecrows. Apparently, Jenny wishes to make her presence felt.

Elves and panthers (no, nothing Drizzt-related)
Following our trek along the forest we are greeted by the elves. And by “greeted” I mean hailed with dozens of arrows. Lanza, in his quite peculiar manner, tries to act like some sort of boisterous buffoon, and a volley of elven arrows lodge in his chest. I recall a very similar situation not so long ago. This could easily end our lives. I open my hands to show I’m not hostile, and repeat, time and again, what is our purpose. The harassment from the elves stops. At least for now.
Alternatively, the harassment from the pixies begins! Lanza is chosen as a target for their pranks. After some “awkward intercultural moments” one decides to lead us towards “one of our friends”. We discover one of the villagers, already dead. Killed by displacer beasts… which decide that we are the main course of today.
We fight against two of those panthers with tentacles, and barely escape with our lives (and only do so thanks to Sasha’s wolf, by the way…).

The little welcoming hut in the forest
Deciding not to disturb the elves, we head towards the place where we expect to find Jenny.
Once upon a time, in a warm clearing in the forest, there was a friendly little hut, with a yummy-smelling cauldron, and a nice warm-hearted hospitable old lady… with two guys hanging in a cage.
Hmmm… this must be the weirdest child story I’ve ever heard. The nice old lady invites my comrades to sit and enjoy her stew… and they do so! I am baffled. Ignoring this masquerade, I head to the cage and try to free the captives. The nice old lady casts Hold Person on me. I pass the save, but am alerted to her power. My friends are all cheer and laughter with the old crone, while she accuses me of being rude and not being willing to benefit from her kindness. She speaks of the old pact between Phlan and the Quivering Forest, and how we (the people of Phlan) have chosen to disrespect it, while they have countless times dealt with foreign threats that may have reached the city. But – in her immense epic generosity – she is magnanimously willing to establish a new pact. Lanza is beyond excited, already envisioning a treaty with his name stamped on it. Before discussing the new terms, my companions ask about the villagers. Friendly Jenny confirms that some have been killed by the elves, one has been killed by the displacer beasts, two are hanging in the cage, one she sent to Cabal’s Hill with a stake through the chest, and the others… she looks to the cauldron, at the exact same time that Pipyap, the imp, spits a ring from his mouth.
Negotiations are over for me. I cast Hold Person on the bitch, she fails the save, and I run to her drawing a pair of manacles from my pack. My move was so unexpected that even the DM wanted to look into my character sheet to confirm I had the manacles with me. But dice are dice, and when I try to restrain the hag I roll a 1.
Nevertheless, my intentions are now quite obvious. I am not going to bargain any kind of pact with a hag that just confirmed being the person behind the gruesome attack on the guy tied to the pole, and that just served “soup-made-of-villagers” to my comrades-at-arms.
The other players are mad at me for breaking the negotiations, but that is the burden of being the only Good-aligned character in the group. Lanza and Septimus are refusing to act against the hag, and when Sasha drags her by the hair with the intention of throwing her into the cauldron, Septimus blocks the path.
The divisions among the groups allow the hag to escape, transforming into a bulk of worms and vanishing in the earth. The winds howl our names, with Jenny’s promise of vengeance upon us, and vengeance upon Phlan.

One does not reason with Evil
We return to Cabal’s Hill with the two remaining villagers, which reveal that Jenny had also proposed them to form a new pact. Much discussion brews amid our group. Tension is palpable, and positions become extremed. I stand resolute in defending my actions. One does not reason with Evil. We do not look the other way when innocent blood is spilled. Righteousness may have a cost, but that is a price I am willing to pay.
Septimus does not cease to hassle me about what happened, and insists that I am responsible for anything that goes wrong in the future. Well, his prophecy doesn’t take much time to be fulfilled. The ranger, Serelis, comes to town, wounded, saying that the elves have declared war on Phlan, and an alliance with Jenny and the Cult of the Dragon. Already caravans have been assaulted.
Septimus displays a mocking smile, and starts clapping while he looks at me.
“Well done, Khan... WELL DONE!”
My hand tightens around my warhammer, while my burning eyes lock into the tiefling’s. I call, silently, upon my god’s guidance to temper my blood, in order to avoid doing something I may regret…


Report to Wise Owl Gabriel Emmeritus

My friend,

You have always been a wise tutor, and a trustworthy ally. Like me, you are among the few people in this region that understands our role as beacons of unflinching hope against all forms of Evil.
As I have confided to you previously, grave times are approaching Phlan and the surrounding region. The Cult’s grasp spreads with inexorable power. Beyond the “black problem” I mentioned about the marshes, something Evil runs with the winds of the Quivering Forest. An alliance between savage elves, a powerful hag, and the Cult is on the rise. Innocent blood has been spilled, and I fear much worse if we don’t take action swiftly. In order to mount a preemptive defense, I urge you to mobilize the necessary goods to establish a forward post with enough men to protect the surrounding region. I believe Lepanto and Lewyn are able and battle-tested fighters, capable of assuming the necessary responsibilities. I am willing to offer part of the coin I have in order to fund the wages of the recruits.
Regarding the adventuring companions that Marthammor Duin has chosen to accompany my travels, it is my firm belief that Septimus is beyond all hope of salvation. He seems pleased with the considerable power his devil master provides him, and I doubt he’ll ever willingly turn from it.
Don’t trust any word you hear from Lanza. He is a delusional, erratic, egocentric maniac. He has allegiance to none but himself, and lies with the same swiftness that I brand my hammer against the undead.
Sasha remains a wildcard. I have absolutely no idea what is her agenda. Some of her actions are questionable, but while her bow is aimed at our enemies, I can have a good night’s sleep.


The Righteous Hammer