Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Yattering and Boots

June 16 – 18, 3430, Age of Kings

After a harrowing night spent shivering deep within Leedshire Forest, the party awoke to find themselves all at level three. Oh yeah, and Boots was there, too.

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Grabby went with the Arcane Trickster path, presumably to cause mischief more than anything else.

Ander went with the Hunter path, taking the Colossus Slayer feature which should come in handy should one of his arrow's actually find its mark. He can also cast heal light wounds now, so that should help everyone out quite a bit.

Audrey took the Berserker path because, well, she's a barbarian. She also realized that when she rages she gets significant damage reduction, that could have helped earlier.

Broak decided on the Battle Master path, granting him access to maneuvers, which I'm curious to see in action.

Finally, Boots took the Pact of the Chain path, selecting an imp (of course) as his chosen fiendish familiar.

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After traveling another day, the party reached Leedshire and returned to Albrecht's estate. They dropped off some of their gear and were beckoned by a guard to report to Albrecht.

Going into the manor they passed by a familiar guard named Willem (a guard friendly to the party) who was standing outside of Albrecht's study. Upon entering the weary party was greeted by  Albrecht who was anxious to discover if they were successful in their task or not. Audrey pulled out the Forge Hammer much to Albrecht's delight, which he greedily took from her and carefully studied it. He quickly composed himself and handed the relic off to Gotri, his dwarf bodyguard who was standing nearby, to place it in a secure location somewhere in the manor.

Quickly dispensing with pleasantries, the got right down to business: payment. True to his word, Albrecht puled out a formal looking piece of parchment, signed it, scribbled down a note, folded the two papers together and put his wax seal on them and passed them off to the party as well as the keys to the manor. They were now the custodians of a manor on the outskirts of the village of West Leedshire, about a three hour march outside of Leedshire. In addition, they were given a horse, cart and a cask of ale to celebrate with to carry them to their new base of operations. 

As the party left the study, Albrecht asked Ander to stay back so he could speak with him in private. When the two of them were alone Albrecht called Willem in to the study to hand Ander a folded parchment...

It would seem Ander's past had caught up with him. Surprisingly, Albrecht seemed unconcerned by this turn of events, and simply warned Ander that Willem had found the bounty posted early in the morning in Mercenary Square, which he quickly brought to Albrecht. 

Knowing that the bounty was most likely posted at all of the gatehouses leading out of town (Ander did notice a gate guard staring at him when they had returned earlier) it may be difficult for him to leave town.

Returning to his friends, he found them packing up their belongings in their new cart and Ander informed them of his situation. They decided to leave that night under cover of dark knowing that the gates would only be lightly guarded—but more suspicious of travelers.

Both Ander and Boots covered themselves in gear in the cart (Boots didn't want to be mistaken for Ander) and they headed out the town's west gate. They managed to roll through without incidnet, and Audrey and Grabby enjoyed the cask of ale as they traveled down the road.

After a few hours of travel they past through the village of Elmshire and onto West Leedshire. After traveling for about an hour to the outskirts of West Leedshire they found their small manor near midnight where they rested for the night.

They woke early in the morning (Grabby and Audrey a little later due to their road ales) and were greeted by Petterlen at their door, the former custodian who lived in nearby West Leedshire. The old man took the papers from them and looked them over. Satisfied, he showed them around manor and the small plot of land and offered his assistance with any matters that might come up. With that he wished them well and headed back to his village.

Needing to replenish their gear, as well as make some repairs, the party left for West Leedshire to trade and purchase goods. Once there they split up and went about their business of purchasing gear, repairing armour (from Broak's run-in with some grey ooze), cashing in on some art items, and food for their larder. Boots found the supplies he needed to cast his find familiar ritual and quickly rushed back home before the rest of the party.

Back at the manor Boots descended into the cellar and locked himself in the second room. There, he he added the components he needed into a brazz brazier, lit some candles and cast the ritual. Soon the contents of the brazier becan to smoke and burn. They began to coalesce into a black mass of tissue and bone and smelled of burnt flesh and sulfur. It bubbled and smoked and suddenly two leathery bat-like wings snapped out from the mass, and the small creature stood to its feet, ready to serve its master.

Calling itself Yattering, the demonic imp showed its willingness (if somewhat reluctantly) to serve its new master. Upstairs Boots heard his allies coming home, and he immediately dismissed the imp... for now.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

A Narrow Escape

June 16, 3430, Age of Kings

After narrowly escaping a horrendous encounter with an acid breathing dragon by winding their way through a narrow cave tunnel, the party returned to the kobolds' lair. Momentarily they could hear the enraged roars of the dragon behind them, but it was soon replaced by that barks and screeches of hoards of kobolds in pursuit.

They fled through the winding corridor back to the ruined smelting chamber and up the immense, winding stone staircase. Once at the top they were relieved to find their rope still in its place on the oil-slicked ramp, which they all hurried up as the sounds of kobolds echoed all around.

They quickly moved into the Great Forge Hall to make their way to the stairs up to the first level. Just as they ran past the Great Forge a set of doors ahead of them swung open and a small group of kobold warriors jumped out, accompanied by two sentries mounted on disease-ridden giant rats.  Simultaneously another, larger group poured out of the doors to the south-west.

Concentrating on the kobolds blocking their path, the party managed to fight their way through, pressing on towards the stairs. Broak slowly fell behind as he tried to beat back the oncoming wave of kobolds to give his allies more time to escape. Audrey, still severely wounded from her encounter with the dragon downed a healing potion—most of which she wound up spilling on herself.

After felling several kobolds, reinforcements continued to stream from the south-west corridor and as Ander and Audrey made their way up the stairs. Seeing Broak greatly outnumbered, Grabby stood by the dwarf's side to help him fall back. Broak then decided he needed to bolster his efforts. After a quick discussion about player knowledge, Broak quaffed his potion labeled "Dragon's Breath." He stood blocking the entrance to the stairs and mercilessly crushed kobolds with his hammer, Dwarven Despair, and spewed fire from his mouth (singeing his beard hair a bit) causing sever kobolds to fall to the ground engulfed in flames.

As Grabby and Broak ran to join their allies, Ander tossed caltrops on the stairs to impede the kobolds' progress. Between the caltrops and a fire-breathing, enraged dwarf, the kobolds backed off, knowing they had another force already waiting for them in the next chamber—led by their chief.

The party quickly moved through the chambers with the statues of Moradin and other dwarves then through the corridor that opened to the Great Hall. They burst through the doors to find the kobold chief and his elite guards (all mounted on giant rates) and a retinue of warriors, as well as a robed kobold who stood close to the chief.

Knowing the only way out was through the group of kobolds, the party charged forward, using the pillars and well for cover as they moved up. Audrey and Broak off to the right while Ander and Grabby moved up the left flank, meeting the kobold force in the middle. A fierce melee ensued, with Ander trying to make his way toward the chief and Grabby finding himself in sufficient cover to deliver a killing blow from the shadows on an unsuspecting kobold going after Ander.

Ander managed to weave his way past the pillars, stowing his bow and drawing his gleaming, razor-sharp dual scimitars, he dove into the fray with a searing ferocity... and missed, and missed, and missed again, turn after turn he was an elvish whirling dervish of failure. Seeing his elvish friend not faring well, Grabby moved into flank the chief and his guards, eventually the two of them managed to bring them down. With the kobold chief lying in a heap on the floor, Grabby decided to throw caution to the wind and leap on the back of the chief's rat-mount.

Amidst the din of battle, a great crashing of stone and wood could be heard from beyond the doors to the west, and the bellowing of the enraged dragon followed—he had come down the lift room (from where the party was attacked by the bats). 

Meanwhile, Broak and Audrey stood side-by-side defending their position from the onslaught, but while Ander was rolling miss after miss, I was rolling critical hit after critical hit. First Broak fell from a well-placed spear thrust from one of the warriors, and despite drinking another healing potion given to her by Broak just moments earlier (most of which she also seemed to spill on herself) she was also cut down by a kobold's spear.

After seeing their chief brought down, many of the remaining kobolds darted back into their tunnels to escape, while a couple remained fighting, but were quickly dispatched by Grabby and Ander after Grabby realized he couldn't control the rat he decided it was best to drive a dagger into the beast's brain.

The kobolds slain or retreated, Ander and Grabby rushed in to help rouse their unconscious allies, with the sound of the dragon drawing ever closer down the corridor. Once everyone was on their feet, Ander ran to the doors to set his warhammer through the door handles in attempt to slow down the beast.

Just as the party was leaving the Great Hall, the group looked over their shoulders to see the doors from the west corridor explode into a shower of splinters and buckled iron as the dragon smashed its way through, stick it head through and roar in fury.

The group rushed up the long staircase with Ander falling back slightly to unleash arrows should the dragon make its way to the stairs before they could reach the safety of the surface. Once at the top of the stairs they found the trap door to the surface held fast (if you recall, the entry only appeard in moonlight, it happened to be about 8:30 in the morning now). Broak put his weight into it, and while it was heavy, he felt the door had some give to it. With Audrey helping (and Grabby standing nearby unable to help), Broak put his back into the door and it began to move, spilling earth and stone on them as they pushed with all their might.

Soon the dragon stuck its head into the stairway, roared, and began charging up towards the party with Ander firing off arrows as he moved up the stairs.

All eyes were fixed on the charging dragon that filled up the stairway as Audrey and Broak continued to force the door open, until at last a stream of morning light started to break through and they could smell the fresh air. With one final heave, they pushed the door opened and leapt out, quickly followed by Ander and Grabby with the dragon close behind them. Although the opening would be too small for the dragon to fit through, they didn't take any chances and pushed the pile of earth and stone into the opening to seal it off.

After taking a moment to catch their breath they found a smoldering camp fire, and a cart laden with gear, tipped over, still roped to a horse who lay dying on its side, ripped open by a pair of immense claws. They also found the remains of the other guard that Boots had come with: reduced to a pile of melted organs  and exposed bone, only his forearms, lower legs and the top of his head were recognizable, an obvious victim of the dragon. Seeing nothing of value that could help them in the cart, they quickly moved on knowing the dragon would most likely be coming to the surface exact his revenge.

The party moved on quickly but cautiously, staying in cover until night fall. Occasionally they stopped and hid when they heard the ominous roar of the dragon echoing of the mountains, and on a few occasions saw it soaring overhead, searching.

With night upon them they set about making camp (with no fire, of course).

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All of the characters will be at level three where they get to select their class' path, and Boots should be back in the mix.