Scales of War 4 & 5 – Catching up!

Session 4 – Finding Prisoners

Present:

  • Alabaster, Tiefling Cleric
  • Ralia, Elf Druid
  • Rouge, Half-Elf Rogue
  • Porth-OS, Warforged Swordmage

Upon returning to the dungeon, the players make their way to the next room, once again choosing the left option. This is a crypt, with skeletons in alcoves along the walls. There is some concern among the group that they will animate and attack, but they don’t. Instead, as the group reach the centre of the room, the door to the north swings open for no apparent reason. Nothing comes through them, but 2 magma claws appear and attack. Apparently, I was unclear in my description here, because there was some confusion about whether the claws or the gnome skulk that also attacked came from the passage. (The gnome was hiding beside the door, and he was the one who opened it.) This fight wasn’t too difficult, for one thing the tiefling cleric was reminded that he has resistance 5 to fire damage. :evil:

After the battle, we take a short break to level. Normally, I’d wait until before or after a session, but I knew they had enough XP now, and we all wanted to be out of level 1.

They search the alcoves, finding the first treasure of the game: an Orb of Unlucky Exchanges (1/day, when you hit, switches an effect from an ally to the target), 2 potions of healing, and gold. They then head through the north door, which leads to a jail with a couple of cells, one of which is occupied. This is Sertanian, the castellan of the town’s Hall of Great Valor (where the stolen artifacts were kept). He, while glad to be free, is rather stoic and brushes off his captivity with ease. At a mention of hobgoblins however, he goes off on a tirade about how horrible they are, and they all deserve to die, etc. It turns out he was a soldier during the original Red Hand’s attacks.

A minor aside: I am terrible at pronouncing written names. Just ask Graham about how I used to pronounce Sephiroth, so this guy quickly became “Serotonin”. Yeah, I know. :unsure:

Anyways, he tags along with a war pick grabbed from the dead gnome, and we move on from the crypt to the next room. Here we meet some ettercaps, which make things tricky (ie. sticky :whistle: ). The reduced movement frustrates Rouge’s attempts to flank the enemy. Most of the battle is fought right at the entrance to the room, which limits movement even more. It also means that Sertanian doesn’t see the webbed body in the corner until after the fight, at which point, he identifies him as Kartenix – the guard captain from town, and father to a young boy who is also prisoner. The group collects the body to take back to town, and while looking around te rest of the room, find a Frost Fullblade. Porth-OS now has an even bigger-ass sword.

There are two choices here: a stairway up, or a door to the north. The general rule of thumb for our group is to finish one dungeon-level before taking any stairs. So they head through the door to the north, and enter a passage bearing right with a Hobgoblin at the end in front of a spiral staircase. He charges, and is joined a couple of rounds later by hobgoblin minions and archers from the stairs. The fight is won handily, and the session is over.

Session 5 – Hoo boy…

You’ll see what I mean by that later :p

Present:

  • Alabaster, Tiefling Cleric
  • Ralia, Elf Druid
  • Rouge, Half-Elf Rogue
  • Seisha, Tiefling Warlord

Porth-OS, Warforged Swordmage, showed up for supper and the last encounter.

After going back to the jail to rest (Three whole battles without an extended rest, woo! It’s getting easier!) and returning, the party climbs the stairs and finds another crypt. This one has a couple of altars to Bane (re-dedicated from being altars to Vecna) and four sarcophagi. After some effort, the lids are removed and the party finds more treasure, including an Amulet of Resolution (+1 to Ref, Fort, & Will defences [and yes, I still want to type "saves" there] and 1/day re-roll a saving throw).

The party goes through the south door, which brings them to a room with a woman chained to an altar and 4 displacer beast statues with glowing eyes. Despite the glowiness the statues do nothing, but there are dire rats and a couple of gnome skulks who try to sneak around behind the party. One is spotted before he gets into position and is dealt with. The other starts causing trouble for Alabaster – as in, knocks him to dying once. He recovers though, and the battle is won, but not before Seisha and Rouge are diseased. They both fail their initial save, so we get to deal with another new mechanic. As a note: our group did not like 3.5 disease mechanics, and so it just never got used. 4e improved this immensely in my opinion with the disease track.

The altar is very familiar to Alabaster – being dedicated to the Raven Queen. Of more immediate concern though is the woman, whom Sertanian identifies as Mirtala, a cook. She is chained by the arms, her face contorted in fear. Our group being who they are, this degenerates quite quickly. :angel: We eventually get back on track, unlock the woman, and since she is still catatonic, try to get her to speak. This requires a skill challenge, which the players unfortunately fail. Even Sertanian can’t do anything for her. She will follow them anyways since they are obviously rescuers (earlier comments notwithstanding). Alabaster prays to his god, which I decide gives him a +2 on rolls for the next encounter, and they return to the crypt.

There is another passage to the west which turns south. However, this leads back to the pits which caused so much trouble before. Being understandably leery of crossing them again themselves, not to mention the rescued townsfolk, they decide to go the long way around. They return to the entrance hall, send the freed prisoners home, and have 2 doors to choose from. They go left (group rule #1), but this leads to a stair down, so they go to the other door (rule #2, which tends to override #1).

This leads to a third crypt, its walls full of empty alcoves and a 4×4 square in the middle of the room with a glowing rune in each. A gnome skulk attacks from the side, although he is spotted and so loses his stealth advantages. A Needlefang Drake Swarm also attacks from the other side of the room. This is a slight mistake on my part, as the players had stopped at the end of the hallway and they aren’t supposed to attack until someone actually steps into the room. So I reverse the attack, and Rouge moves in on his next round, causing the proper attack. Alabaster gets into some trouble again and uses up his healing surges (the missing defender is missed). But the battle is won. Everyone was careful not to step onto the runes during it, correctly assuming that they would hurt. After investigating for a bit and learning basically nothing (an Arcana check only reveals that they spell out “Von Jallach” [a family name], but nothing about their nature), Alabaster – being typically reckless (remember Nonnie?) – steps onto the closest. Suspicions confirmed, it does in fact hurt.

There is one door to the east, which leads them to a room with a fountain and an injured dwarf shackled to the wall. They unlock him, he introduces himself as Adronsius, and describes (in a bad Scottish accent, naturally) exact directions to find another prisoner, Jalissa. He had been taken, blindfolded, to a room on the upper level to be interrogated where he saw her, and – being a dwarf – remembers the way.

The group tries to get him to come with them, but he leaves them in the entryway as he understandably wants to get home, he’s no adventurer. The group discusses whether to rest for the cleric’s sake, but he’s good to keep going, and we break for dinner.

After dinner, during which Graham got home, we had time for one more encounter. So the group follows the dwarf’s directions to the upper level via the staircase in the ettercaps’ chamber. At the top of the stairs they enter yet another crypt with two low sarcophagi in the floor (these don’t impede movement in any way) and 4 hobgoblin minions and 2 spitting drakes to deal with. During the second round, a goblin enters from the southern room (Jalissa’s by the directions) and casts a cloud (burst area 3) which causes a -2 penalty to enemies’ attacks while within it, and concealment for him and his allies. The group moves out of the zone rather quickly and continue the fight. On his next turn, he moves it back over some of them. This ends up bugging Rouge, as it keeps following him while he tries to get behind the goblin to flank. The goblin also causes Porth-OS some difficulties, as he keeps hexing him. Luckily for Porth-OS, he makes his saves pretty handily.

Meanwhile, Ralia and Seisha take on one of the drakes after the minions are dispatched, while Alabaster – without any healing surges – takes the other himself. He manages to do quite a bit of damage, but of course takes quite a bit himself. At this point, his player has to leave. He tells us that he doesn’t care if Alabaster dies, but at this point the rest of the group have dealt with their foes, and manage to save him.

They search the sarcophagi, finding a bunch of gold and silver and a healing potion. Then they enter the room where they know Jalissa is being held. I’m going to post a part of her description in its entirety (emphasis added):

She hysterically clings to whichever PC comes through the door from room 15 first.

For us, this was Porth-OS. The players dissolve in laughter, and it only gets better:

She does anything that PC says without question, and she looks for approval from that PC if someone else tries to give her even an innocuous order.

Uh oh.

Porth-OS: *giggling madly* “You know, mon cherie, I do not need to sleep.”

Oh. Dear. Lord. Our warforged has a concubine (his words). He’s a warforged FFS, he has no genitalia! But Porth-OS won’t admit that, even to himself. In fact, he considers himself to be the greatest lover in the world (the same way he’s the greatest duelist). Oy vey. Naturally, we were all dying of laughter by this point. On this note, the session was over.

A couple of other things:

Rouge the rogue has had an interesting character progression: he started out trying to be the real cloak-and-dagger stealthy type, blending in wherever he goes. Then he joined up with his current companions and quickly discovered that this was pretty hopeless. So he morphed into a flashy, flamboyant walking stereotype. :p At some point, the inevitable happened, and he “came out”. So yeah.

I had thought of using an image of webs for the fight with the ettercaps, but I remembered in time what an image search for that would be like. Y’see I am very arachnophobic. That would have been a bad idea. ;-(

Hey look, I’m caught up!

2 Comments

Jay  on December 8th, 2008

Grats! I’ve heard bad things about the deadliness of drake swarms, good to see that wasn’t the case. Nothing like a TPK to wreck any semblance of continuity.

I am jealous. You have two of the most interesting characters I have seen in a long time in the *same group*! Milk it. . .enjoy it…

Jay

Graham  on December 8th, 2008

You have two of the most interesting characters I have seen in a long time

We… have a very interesting group.

Which two are intriguing you right now?

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