Holidays, Games & Updates

Woooow, so yeah, October was my last update. My apologies about that. To be honest there was no real good reason for it except that I got sidetracked by the new World of Warcraft expansion and then the holidays crept up on us, and a slew of other things including one of my players (Albrecht’s player) moving away. He hasn’t moved quite yet, but it’s been in the works for a couple of months now, and it looks like he will be leaving this week at some point.

There have been several AD&D sessions since I last updated, and as a result there will be a super light synopsis-type post for the recent D&D adventures to cover ground up to the current time. Chances are I will not be able to post very much, if at all, during the holidays, though I am planning on us gaming every weekend through the holidays since all the major ones fall in the middle of the week  so there shouldn’t be any reason to cancel a game. Posting is a secondary concern to writing up adventures and such for my game, so I only do this when I have extra time, and I rarely have extra time during this part of the year.

For those wondering, the group has just basically finished the first ‘chapter’ if you will in my campaign and will be transitioning into the second chapter during this Sunday’s session. This will include a major party shake up as Larissa has died and Albrecht has taken his leave in order to help Krysta and Kyrsta in their homeland (giving the character a reason to leave).  My wife will be playing double duty and playing a second character in order to fill the gap in the party while I introduce a rather…interesting addition in the form of another NPC to help them out.

I will have the write-up of all the recent previous adventure sup later tonight or sometime tomorrow. Until next time… keep rolling and hoping for 20’s.

 

Posted in General

Raging Orcs in the Hills

Our heroes were heading to the Orcrage Hills when we last left off. This session saw them continuing their journey and eventually (and finally) finding the camp of Captain Kerala Tuskbreaker. Kerala was sent to a camp on the border of the hills to keep an eye on orc activity and then report to the Shadebow Rangers if anything out of the ordinary happened. The orcs had recently become much bolder and attacked caravans, lone travelers, and even some of the villages near their border, all of which was odd for the normally insular orcs. The orcs often spent to much time fighting each other to be a real danger to Kyrador, but orcs are orcs, and Kerala was put at the border for a reason.

When the heroes arrived they were met with suspicion at first, but once they explained they were there on behalf of the Shadebow Rangers due to their bulletin in Syris, they became much more welcoming. The group spent the day in the camp and helped with the watch at night. Moonshadow turned invisible and flew higher to get a better view of the area at night, and saw hundreds of campfires, all surrounding one large one about two days of travel away. She also saw large flying creatures here and there, but couldn’t make them out.

The next morning the heroes set out and stayed to the low areas of the hills and the valleys between them as they traveled. They eventually came across a camp with about eight orcs and a gray orc shaman. They managed to dispatch the camp’s inhabitants quickly and quietly. They then came across another camp, this one half carved into the side of a hill, complete with aviary. Above them flew large creatures with thirty foot wingspans that stretched from shoulder to foot, and large beaks that looked like they could cut an ogre in half (they were pteranodons, but the characters had never seen anything of the sort). The camp was manned by a singular orc, as well as dozens of mountain lions. Apparently this is where the orcs kept some of their animals when they weren’t on duty. They managed to sneak around this particular camp and move on.

Night was fast falling and Moonshadow found the group a place to rest for the night. When they awoke the next morning they were surprised they hadn’t been discovered as there was an orc encampment on the hill above them! They moved on quietly and by mid morning came to the main encampment. They noticed that it was on a hill that looked like it had the top cut off of it and there was a semi-permanent structure that looked like a lodgehouse of sorts on the back side of the hill. Among the other tents they saw twelve orcs, and two of the grey orc shamans.  Towards the lodgehouse they saw two strange looking bipedal reptilian creatures with long snouts, short arms and a singular wicked looking claw on either foot (deinonychus’ but again the characters had never seen anything of the sort). They were both wearing barding and had saddles on their backs. Near those creatures were two of the most attractive beings anyone in the group had ever had the privilege of laying eyes upon. they were tall, and statuesque, with fey-like features (almost elven in nature), with jet black skin, white hair, and glowing blue eyes. Along with the attraction came a feelings of revulsion and hatred from deep within them (all except Moonshadow who’s race is naturally more neutrally inclined rather than good). The group had glimpsed their first black orcs.

Albrecht came up with an idea, but it banked on the black orcs being creatures of honor (which, ironically enough, they are) – to challenge the leaders to a two on two duel, with Larissa and himself taking the challenge for their group. If they won the duel, then the orcs would leave and no longer gather their forces to attack Kyrador. If the orcs won, then they could continue without the group harassing them any further. Albrecht approached and the the black orcs allowed them to come forward unmolested. this boded well for the plan. Albrecht announced his intentions, and when the orcs asked who they would be fighting, he stated that it would be Larissa and…and that’s when Sythaeren drew upon the power of his blood, transformed into a celestial being that glowed with a bright inner light and wielded a large sword made of divine light, and grew wings. He stepped forward and stated that he would fight as well. Albrecht looked upon his comrade with a renewed respect and bowed out, allowing the angel to take his place.

The combat started with the orcs mounting their creatures and  charging their respective enemies. The fight was long and grueling and Sythaeren came close to being defeated on a few occasions. Only his healing potions saved him. In the end, both Larissa and Syth were able to defeat their opponents. As the black orcs yielded they held out their hands to the other orcs, signifying that they should not attack. That’s when one grey orc stated that the black one shad fallen and in the name of Gruumsh, he would lead the army to attack their hated enemies. The other shaman took exception and announced he would rip out the heart of his rival and lead the army, and as they turned on each other, so did the other orcs, falling upon each other in a bid for power…with the group between them!

So now they need to find a way out without being massacred while fighting a three way battle!

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, General

Undead Assault on Knightswatch Keep

The Drakenblades were successful in their first defense of the Knightswatch Keep, and they suggested burning the bodies of the undead that were defeated so they could not rise again. Albrecht wanted to head out then and there to find where the undead were originating from, but Commander Eroth asked him for patience. He explained that he had an accomplished scout in the marshes looking for that very thing. Several more waves attacked the keep, but the soldiers managed to fend them off. One attack came earlier than expected and a group of soldiers were caught out in the field while they collected bodies to burn. Albrecht, Sythaeren, and Moonshadow aided the wounded as they came in, while Larissa and Kordan helped guide the soldiers as they ran back through the keep doors. Kordan noticed two soldiers fighting in the vanguard, allowing the others to retreat. He went to aid them and found a dwarf male and a very young half elf female. The dwarf had been mortally wounded (a sword blade had snapped off between his ribs) but still fought on. When Kordan suggested the dwarf retreated he quite emphatically informed Kordan that he would not leave his daughter behind, and motioned at the half-elf. The dwarf almost fell then, but the half-elf put his arm around her shoulder and motioned for Kordan to do the same and together they drug him back to the keep.

Albrecht healed the dwarf and the group conversed with them a bit and found out the dwarf was Gorok, and the half-elf was his adopted daughter Navina. Navina was training to become a Mag-Knight and lied about her age to enter military service early so that she could find her brother. It seemed that the group may come across them again in the future perhaps. Shortly after that encounter a guard informed the commander that there was movement to the south, which was odd considering that the undead were coming from the south east. As the movement got closer, the group made out a small column of elven, half-elven, and human warriors from Duania who had come to aid the beleaguered soldiers of the keep. and to put their dead to proper rest (most of the undead attacking the keep were elvish) The Captain of the elven troops, Ci’nalith was also Moonshadow’s commanding officer when she was a Duanian scout. He took her aside and gave her an object, a brooch that had belonged to her father. Ci’nalith told her that it was found in the marshes, not too far from where they were. She took heart that her parents had obviously made it this far, and that perhaps they were still alive.

Later that night, the scout, an Arazian (another nation, think Arabian Nights type theme) named Aren, returned and offered to guide the group to a half-buried crypt that the undead seemed to congregate around. They immediately headed out and he led them straight there through the marshlands. the group prepared themselves and headed into the crypt. As they entered the first room they first saw a large statue of Sehanine Moonbow on the far wall. They also saw ghouls feasting on several bodies in coffins, and even as they moved to attack several skeletons and zombies raised from the ground to join in the attack. They fought a rising tide of undead before Albrecht thought to pray in front of the statue of the elven goddess and was granted extra power to his turning. He then shouted divine words that turned not only the undead already risen, but the undead that had yet to rise within the room, putting a stop to the seemingly endless numbers of skeletons and zombies.

The group then turned left and headed up a set of stairs to a closed door. Moonshadow checked the door for traps and then unlocked it once she determined it was safe. They looked into the room and found a fountain atop a raised dais amidst fallen columns that created rubble throughout the room. The fountain glowed with a foul energy and Albrecht could immediately feel that it was unholy. As they stepped into the room a black cloud roiled forth from the fountain as a wraith formed and attacked the group. Albrecht tried to turn it, but to no avail as it laughed at his feeble connection to the divine. Thankfully the group’s weapons seemed to harm it, and eventually they vanquished it, sending it back from whence it came. The fountain then began to glow with a radiant energy. Albrecht collected some of the water in a flask and they headed towards the main room and then to the right, checking the large statue in the main room along the way and finding a mechanism that might allow it to move, but with no way to activate it.

As they climbed the stairs to the right from the main room, Moonshadow again checked the door at the top of the stairs before determining that it was safe and opening it. Within they found a human sized statue of Corellon Larethian in the center of a magic circle engraved into the floor. There was also an undead monstrosity waiting for them, a creature known as a wight. Kordan immediately snapped off a shot with his thunderstaff (flintlock rifle), and put a hole in the creature even as Albrecht failed at his attempt to turn this creature as well. The creature grew incensed and rushed Kordan and clawed at him. The wound he sustained form the claws of the creature was small, but the life draining effects of the creatures claws did its job and Kordan felt the loss of his life force as it flowed away from him. He felt weakened but fought on, and Albrecht noted with concern that he had no way to heal such a grievous wound. The group managed to slay the creature with no one else feeling its blighted touch. As Albrecht sized up the statue and the magic circle, a thought occurred to him and he sprinkled the water from the fountain into the circle, and as he did so, the group heard a grinding noise from the main chamber. They went to investigate and found that the statue had moved and there was a door on the wall behind where it had been.

Again Moonshadow checked the door and found no traps and opened it into a wide corridor that lead to ornate double doors at the end. Moonshadow went ahead of the group, searching for traps along the entire corridor. When she reached the door she managed to find what appeared to be a flame trap mechanism on the door and walls on either side of the door. She managed to flip the mechanism and disarm the trap. The group then moved into the final room of the crypt. Within they found four alcoves on the far wall with expensive looking tapestries, and a large woven rug on the floor between two ornate sarcophagi. Moonshadow began to decrypt the writing on one sarcophagi when the other one opened with the sound of grinding stone and a creature that Albrecht recognized as a mummy got out and gazed upon the group with hate filled sockets. Larissa and Syth were held fast by their terror of the undead creature, and the rest of the group began a desperate battle with the thing. Albrecht managed to catch it on fire, burning some of its wrappings away to reveal an amulet with obvious necromantic energies pouring out of it. Albrecht threw a vial of holy water upon the amulet, causing it to shatter and the mummy fell to the floor.

Shortly after a ghost rose from the mummy’s body and thanked them for freeing it. It explained that a necromancer defeated the wards placed upon the crypt as well and forced him into his undead body to fight any who came looking for the amulet. He thanked them again and told Albrecht of his holy sword in a crypt in Duania. He also allowed the group to take the worldly possessions that he had been buried with. The Drakenblades to the offered treasure and went back to Knightswatch Keep and found that the undead had stopped their assault. They were thanked profusely by the defenders of the keep, and Eroth promised that their reputation would travel even further than it already had within the kingdom. Feeling accomplished, the group left the keep and headed to Syris to enjoy their hard earned treasure, buying many things they had previously been dreaming about owning to further their adventuring abilities like new armor and replacements for ammunition.

After spending a week in Syris, they left for the Orcrage Hills to help with the orcs that had apparently been getting bold enough to move out of their hills to attack villages and travelers. On their travels towards the encampment of soldiers trying to keep the orcs in check they came across a great orcish force moving south into the hills. Some two-hundred or more strong, the group was prudent and stayed out of sight and watched them march along, noting that there were some new tribal banners at the head of the formations. After that, on the fifth day of travel, they awoke to a thick fog that rolled across the scrublands they were in. Later that morning they noticed a HUGE shadow moving ahead of them in the fog. As they watched, the realized it was a giant and Albrecht began taunting it as he had NO love for giants. It was eventually goaded into an attack, and though the heroes took some serious hits from the huge humanoid, they managed to finally bring it down.

It was obvious that the giant was also on its way into the hills, likely to join the orcs. It seemed that the orcs were organized and gaining allies from giants. This did not bode well, and the Drakenblades increased their hurry in order to arrive at the encampment, as it seemed that the situation was far more dire than they had originally anticipated…

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, General

Corrupted Spirits

We last left the group as they were heading to Knightswatch Keep to aid the soldiers there with their undead problem. As they slept one night on their trip there, the group all had a similar dream – that they were flying over an ocean at night, the black waters far beneath them. When they awoke, they found themselves in a strange environment. They were on a huge hill side with a primeval forest below them and north of the forest an equally pristine scrublands. As they took in their surroundings, the ground began to rumble and a voice that sounded like rocks sliding down a mountain side boomed behind them. They turned to face a hill seemingly come to life, complete with large sapphire eyes the size of Albrecht and a large mouth opening that looked like a root-entangled cavern. It told them that they were in a demi-plane of Ki’rous called the Ephemeral, the home of natural spirits and a bridge between Ki’rous and the elemental planes. It stated that they were called to their location, near the lands of the Howling Storm to save the earth spirit’s brother, the spirit of the storms, the greatest spirit of the region. It had been corrupted by the dark shaman who had caused Lightning Fang’s exile, and that Fang was the only one who could set everything aright.

The earth spirit opened a portal back to their world, and after they re-entered their home plane, Krysta and Kyrsta bid a sad farewell to their friends, for they knew they were on the continent which held the remaining elven kingdoms, and they needed to go and ask for aid from them for their homeland of Safonia. After they left, Fang led them to the main encampment of his people. There they found that most of the tribes were under the influence of the shaman and his shadow elf allies. Those that were left, primarily those of the Lightning and Thunder tribes pledged their aid to help attack a caravan with the shaman, who now called himself the Eater of Spirits. The leader of the remaining tribes, Stomps with Thunder even promised his allegiance to Fang as his over chief if they were successful. After a couple of days of preparation, the group left and found the caravan. The tribes, eager to get revenge on the shadow elves who seemed to be taking over their lands, rushed to engage, leaving the center portion of the caravan unguarded.

The Drakenblades, not a group to miss an opportunity quickly rushed the center,where the most ornate carriage sat, its undead horses waiting for the next order. They found themselves quickly outnumbered as they noticed that Eater of Spirits wasn’t alone. His escort included two of the Storm tribesman, three shadow elf warriors, and a shadow elf wizard. Within the first few seconds of the combat the shaman managed to finish casting his spell which caused several skeletons and a couple of zombies to rise up as well. The Drakenblades were hard pressed, and several times throughout the fight members of the group were close to falling. Even Moonshadow’s vaunted invisibility was countered a few times. But as members of Eater of Spirit’s entourage fell, one by one, the fight got easier and easier, and soon, even the dark shaman himself fell to their onslaught.

The shadow elves quickly surrendered as  their leadership fell, and the enthralled tribesmen came to their senses and began fighting them. A strange crystal elf named Sythaeren approached the group and told them that he was grateful for his rescue as he had been a slave to one of the shadow elf lords in the caravan. So grateful in fact that he wished to join them in their adventures until he could repay them.  The triumphant tribesmen struck camp at that spot, and Fang was soon approached by a childhood sweetheart by the name of Chases the Clouds and it was obvious that neither wanted to be separated from the other ever again. A wedding took place three days later, and Krysta and Kyrsta came to see their friend wed on their way to Celini. So it was that Krysta and Kyrsta once again had to say goodbye to their comrades, but not without Krysta informing Albrecht that Kyrsta did care for him deeply, but that she was also in love with her mentor, that happened to be a silver dragon and a female to boot (though she had originally approached Kyrsta as a male elf). The group also said goodbye to Lightning Fang as he informed them that he needed to stay with his people to help them rebuild. He told them that if they ever needed anything from his people they had but to ask.

That night they awoke amongst the clouds back in the Ephemeral, and the storm spirit thanked them directly, and then gave them the option to go wherever they chose upon the world. They chose Knightswatch Keep so that they could return to their original mission. They appeared encamped right outside the keep the next morning. They were quickly welcomed by the nominal commander, one Knight-Lieutenant Eroth Gryphon, cousin to the prince. They were also joined by the daughter of Baron Drakclar, Larissa, who aspired to become a Silver Knight herself. They were informed that the undead had always been a nuisance in the Marsh of the Fallen, which is why the keep exists in the first place, but that lately it seemed that the waves of undead were becoming greater in number and would soon overwhelm the keep. No sooner than their conversation had begun, it was cut off as another wave attacked the keep. The group opted to defend the outside of the east wall, and they did so with a resounding victory over the undead that threatened to swarm them. They headed back into the keep for a brief rest before Albrecht brought up the idea of burning the bodies so that they could not rise again. The group prepped for more battle as the soldiers dug trenches and filled them with pitch and burned the bodies of the undead they had recently defeated. But soon another wave will come, and the beleagured soldiers can’t hold for much longer…

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, General

Grove Corruption cont.

We last left our heroes facing down a creature that seemed to be from somewhere else. Though roughly humanoid in shape, it seemed to flicker into and out of reality. Some attacks seemed to partially pass through it while others seemed to hit solidly. It seemed drawn to Kyrsta and her magic, and as it assailed her, she continually held her head as her memorized spells seemed to slip away. After her spells failing her, or when she did manage to cast a spell properly, it seemingly not affecting the creature, she decided to flee from the creature, but to no avail. She eventually fell to its onslaught. As she fell, Albrecht rushed to her aid and found her still alive, though unconscious.

The heroes continued their brave stand against this creature from elsewhere, and at one point, in a daring maneuver, Kordan activated his spring boots and tried to assault the creature bodily (this while it was still attacking Kyrsta), and flew through it. After Kyrsta fell, it turned its attentions to the other magical being in the group – Moonshadow. It hit her once and she lost all of her innate magical abilities. Alarmed at her lack of magic abilities, Moonshadow was at a loss and began buzzing around it in an erratic fashion, hoping to strike the creature down in a panic. Luckily, it worked, and it fell to her frantic attacks as the others aided her in the assault. The creature left the world in a similar manner in which it came, with a hissing wail and imploding into a singularity that seemed to lead into non-reality.

Albrecht revived Kyrsta and the group gathered their wits after the rough combat. As they rested, Kyrsta explained that the creature was a Void Splinter, a remnant of the dark goddess that slept in the crystal core of the world, imprisoned due to her madness. They were one of many things that could happen when a wizard cast spells by drawing power from the ley-lines rather than from an eldritch crystal.  The group then turned their attention to the cavern across the lake. Moonshadow managed to see a shallow land-bridge under the lake that led straight to the cave. The group took it and entered the mysterious cavern. Within they found that the water formed a horseshoe shape around a small island and ended at a larger piece of land that eventually dropped off into nothingness. On the island was a small sapling, about 3 feet tall that seemed to glow with an inner radiance. The group stopped and marveled at the tree as Moonshadow flew over to the ledge and looked down. With her superior infravision she was able to see something glowing at the bottom, some 1500 feet down. Her curiosity getting the better of her, she went invisible and headed downwards.

She found a HUGE treasure hoard and an equally huge silver body laying on top of it. As she made to leave the very large dragon (twice the size of the largest red dragons), she heard a voice in her head, informing her that he knew she was there, and that she was not alone. He traveled back up to the rest of the group with her and the group saw a sight that none of them could believe. The Silver Dragon Emperor was before them in all its majesty. He spoke with them, warning them of the dark times ahead, and the personal trials that each must face to become the champions that destiny had marked them to become. He also warned them against trusting anyone too easily, then left them to return to its slumber.

Still in awe of the great dragon, the group left the next morning and continued their quest. they made it back to the grove and Celise asked one last favor of them – to take the water and pour it on the roots of the great oak in the center of the grove. They traveled once more into the grove and made their way to the great oak. In the process they avoided spiders, fought an owlbear and two headed death dogs, and avoided two dryads playing at court with ten enthralled human males.

Once at the center Albrecht poured the water onto the oak, which seemed to have an almost immediate effect. The oak sprang back to life, its bark becoming a rich brown again, and the leaves changing back to their normal green color. The forest around them seemed to spring back to life as Barlas, the corrupted druid charged into the clearing demanding to know what the group was doing to his grove. though Moonshadow tried to reason with him, he was too maddened by the corruption and he moved to attack the group. After a short but intense fight, they managed to knock the druid unconscious before he could do any real harm to the group.

A few minutes later a much better looking Celise and Terathas entered the clearing. They thanked the heroes and told them that since they did not kill any of the natural creatures of the grove that they may take a share of the treasure that the dryads had collected over time.

That accomplished the Drakenblades left and began the almost week long trek to Knightswatch Keep which was said to be assaulted by the undead in larger than normal numbers. Little did they know that fate and the spirits of a distant land would need their aid first…

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, General

Grove Corruption

After two weeks of helping rebuild Port Kyra after the goblin attack, word has spread among most of the townsfolk that the Drakenblades really are heroes, and that maybe adventurers weren’t so bad after all. As the group sat at the Buccaneer Knight tavern and inn, they notice that the crowd was especially rowdy that night. After some shared drinks and food they sit listening to the entertainment (as it was far better than listening to Moonshadow rant on about how the city authorities took her ship), a dwarf with light brown hair and carrying strange devices approached them. He introduced himself as Kordan and stated that he had received a vision to seek out Albrecht and to aid him in his fight against the evil that seemed to pervade the land these days. After some brief conversation the group welcomed their new comrade and retired for the night

The next morning Albrecht left the group (with Moonshadow and Fang recovering from hangovers with the help of some elvish remedy that Kyrsta was cooking up) to look for the League of Questing Companies bounty board. He found four different bulletins of interest – one from Knightswatch Keep stating that they were beset by an unusual amount of undead (the keep is located in the Marsh of the Fallen where undead rise regularly, but usually the keep’s soldiers can handle it), another from a Duanian elf named Terathas stating that they has lost contact with a druid and that the druid’s grove had become corrupted, the third was from a captain stationed near the Orcrage Hills stating that the orcs were growing bolder by the day and attacking caravans and outlying villages, something they rarely do, and the last was stating that several riders had been sent to a fort/monastery in the Old Calveth Woods and had not returned.

Albrecht brought all of the bulletins back to the group and they discussed which they would deal with first. Moonshadow and Krysta wanted to aid the grove, Moonshadow because Duania is her homeland, and Krysta because she will go anywhere that nature is being despoiled in order to correct it and destroy whatever corrupting influence there is. their destination decided, the group bought new supplies and headed out towards Tradewinds Village, where Terathas was waiting for contact.

As the group traveled they came across what looked to be a hooded figure with a staff dragging something along. Albrecht called for a stop and noticed that Krysta was already in position on a small rise nearby, arrow nocked and ready. As the stranger approached the group could see that he was dragging a litter with several crates on it. They noticed that it looked to be a meager amount of nearly rotted produce and that the man was wearing what could only be considered rags. Albrecht spoke with him and found out that he was a farmer who had fallen on hard times due to the humanoid attacks and other problems within the kingdom and that he hoped to trade his meager crops for a small amount of money so that he could feed his family. Albrecht took pity on the man and gave him 200 gold pieces and offered to escort him back to Tradewinds from where he came.

The group made it to the village without further incident and bought the farmer a wagon so that he could get the rest of the way home. They went to the only inn in the village and Moonshadow noticed a Duanian elf sitting by himself near the hearth. She approached him and he went immediately on guard, since Twilight Fae were known for their evil reputations. Once he saw the badge of a Duanian Scout upon her armor however, he relaxed and said that he found it odd that a Twilight Fae would serve as a Duanian Scout. Moonshadow quickly found out that this elf was Terathas, who they were to contact about the grove. He told them that the grove had been corrupted and that there was someone else who better knew the situation. He told the group to be ready to travel early the next morning.

Terathas led the party to the grove where they met a sickly looking Dryad by the name of Celise. She explained that a wizard came into the grove and was asked to leave by the druid who protected it. The wizard unleashed his magics upon the druid and they fought a bitter battle until the wizard began pulling directly from the leylines to fuel his magic (a quick explanation – the core of the world is a large crystal sphere, and within that sphere rests a mad goddess. The leylines support her prison and power it. To draw power from the leylines directly causes her to stir and her nightmares to become manifest where ever the leylines become weakened), and thus the corruption formed. though the druid drove the wizard off, the damage had been done, and the druid became as corrupt as his grove.

Celise explained that none of the animals could come to harm, as the corruption was not their fault and to punish them for it would be wrong. She handed the group an oil to put on their weapons that would magically blunt them if they had to attack any of the creatures that called the grove home. She then asked them to go to the central oak in the middle of the grove and retrieve a sample, bark, a leaf, anything and to bring it back to her, but that they should only enter a couple of hours before dawn and be gone a couple of hours after dawn, as this was the only time the druid was not at the oak.

The party quickly covered their weapons in the oil (using it on a bow or gun would cause the ammunition fired from it to be magically blunted) and headed into the foreboding grove. They felt unwelcome and uneasy under the black boughs of the sickly looking trees. While it was spring elsewhere, this grove was dying a death beyond what the winter season usually brought. Black veins could be seen in the bark of the trees and the leaves crunched under foot and disintegrated. The party soon came into a clearing and two black bears with glowing red eyes, mangy, patchy fur and a nasty disposition. The group defended themselves and managed to knock the bears unconscious before moving on. They avoided a group of equally nasty looking stags by taking a small game trail to the side of the main path. They were then caught by surprise by a small group of sprites who put most of the party to sleep with drugged arrows. They managed to defeat the little creatures without killing any of them and moved on after those who fell to the arrows were reawakened.

The group managed to finally make it to the oak, and saw that it was in the same condition as the rest of the grove, if not worse. Moonshadow flew up and took a black leaf from the tree while Albrecht collected a sickly bark sample. As the group was leaving the clearing, they heard a horehounds, slurping, scream come from behind them. As they turned to look saw two horrific creatures staring them down. They were small balls of flesh, about 2-3 feet in diameter with tendrils and tentacles sticking out of them everywhere. They had two large bulbous eyes, another set of smaller eyes under that and a singular eye between the two smaller eyes. They had a large maw under their eyes and a smaller mouth under that, both filled with razor sharp teeth. Their skin was multi-colored, similar to how an oil slick looks when light reflects off of it. The group’s first instinct was to run. And run they did, but they caught up due to the slower speed of the dwarves. They fought a pitched battle with the creatures, several of the party running after seeing the gruesome effect the creature’s initial attacks had on Albrecht. By the time they returned they were able to help Albrecht finish the creatures off.

As they left the grove (and gladly at that), they gave the samples to Cerise. After taking a day to examine and analyze the samples, Cerise told the party that the only way to cleanse the grove was with a whole and ripe golden apple from the central apple tree in Appledale (of which they had one but it had been used), or the purest water from the top of Kyra’s Tears Falls. Having a partial apple and knowing that they only grew once in a great while, the group opted to retrieve the water for which Celise gave them a flask that looked to be made from a large acorn. Their trek was a long, but uneventful one, though they felt as though they were being watched the whole time. And they eventually made it to the top of the falls only to be greeted by a vista that took their breath away. From this vantage they could see the entire kingdom sprawled out below them. through the wispy clouds they could see the blue ribbons of the rivers as they flowed into Lake Kyra. They could Syris on its banks, and the other villages and farmlands spread out below. The top of the falls was no less beautiful as the mountains towered around them, lake at the fall’s source was crystal blue and clear and the land around was lush and green. Across the lake looked ot be the entrance to a cave of some sort.

Albrecht filled the flask they were given with the water and noted that the water smelled slightly like salt water oddly enough. As Moonshadow began to flit across the lake towards the cave entrance, the group felt as though the world behind them ceased to exist for a second as an unearthly howl came from behind them. they turned to see what seemed to be a tear in reality, a black sliver of nothignness forming in a vertical line. Through this sliver stepped a humanoid being that seemed to be nothing more than an absence within the world itself. Kyrsta screamed as she recognized the creature for what it was as the rest of the group prepared for the battle of their lives not knowing what it was they faced…

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, General

More to come soon

The last post was the first four or five sessions we had rolled into one long synopsis. I did not include any of the random encounters or the dialogue between the characters as such because it has been too long ago (over three months now) for me to remember exact details, so I covered the general gist of things in broad strokes. I will be doing this with the next report as well since it will cover the last two sessions (the two that saw the player of Kordan join us). After the next game I will be trying to put up more detailed reports of the game. Eventually I may even post PDF files of the setting, or at least a short primer so that people can become more familiar with it. Now that I’m almost caught up to the current game, I will try to keep things as updated and as detailed as possible from here on out.

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The Shadows of the Sundering Campaign – Start

First off I would like anyone reading this to refer to the actual D&D page for character bios. Each character has a unique background that has brought them into the campaign.

We start off in Kyrador, which is situated in the western portion of the Calveth Continent which is in turn the continent that is furthest north and is centrally located between the other two continents (that are situated to the south east and south west). Originally the area was part of the Calveth province of the Therostian Empire, but that was before the Sundering. Afterwards the people here did what they had to in order to survive, and eventually became nomadic tribal people. They eventually gathered under the banner of one leader, Marcus of the Gryphon tribe, and his wife Kyra of the Drake tribe, forming the beginnings of the kingdom. Kyra would become a renowned figure, healing the sick and wounded, even in battle, and eventually becoming a mortal raised to the status of godhood (she is now the goddess of healing). She is one of the patron gods of the kingdom, and, obviously, the kingdom is named for her.

Kyrador is a benevolent kingdom,  very much like the legendary Earth kingdom of Camelot, ruled by a kind and wise king (currently Marcus Gryphon V). This was not always the case. In recent history there has been a mad and paranoid king who outlawed all magic and had many innocents executed. His own son left Kyrador and traveled to the fabled lands of Aerinvale so that he could practice his art without persecution. There was also the Silver Knight and the War Wizard who had forsaken their vows and built a kingdom of the undead known as Shadestone to the east. But, for now, the kingdom is peaceful and quiet. though the king married his first wife early, she died in childbirth and the king eventually remarried, though not to a young Drake princess like was expected, but instead a half-elf of singular beauty from the neighboring realm of Duania.

Albrecht found himself here, answering a bulletin he saw while in Port Kyra. The flyer was put out by one Baron Drakclar from the trade hub of Syris. We start with him traveling alone down the road towards the eastern portion of the kingdom where the village of Appledale, supposedly under attack by goblins and bandits, was located. Soon enough Albrecht was attacked by goblins who wanted his money or his life. Albrecht chose to not give an inch to the goblin scum and attacked them, though he was outnumbered. Soon enough he felled a couple of the creatures and found that several others had been killed as well, some by tiny black arrows, others by normal sized purple fletched arrows. A brilliant bluish-silver streak of light scorched another one, causing it to fall. And a roar of rage followed by a streak of a large human felled several more.

After the battle was over Krysta, Kyrsta, Moonshadow, and Lightning Fangs all made their introductions, each also answering the flyer from baron Drakclar. together they traveled to Appledale and sussed out the situation. After speaking with the villagers and the mayor (himself a War Wizard of some power), they found out that the village, and indeed the entire kingdom was is dire straits. There was a food shortage as the goblins were attacking crops and food carrying caravans specifically. The group quickly found where the goblins were attacking from and followed their trail back to their den. They made quick work of the goblins and found several storage caves filled with the stolen produce and goods.

They also found out that the goblins were working for a mercenary group called the Iron Shadows, led by one Helrath Solomar. They also found a map with the main goblinoid lair situated south of Port Kyra along with plans to attack the port city, hopefully while the kingdom was worried about the crowned prince who was supposedly to be kidnapped by a bandit group known as the Exiled Brotherhood. The group informed the  mayor of Appledale where their supplies could be found so that they could make their way back to their rightful owners, and also made the imminent attack plans known, as well as the plans to kidnap the prince.

The group then traveled to Syris to retrieve their payment from the baron so they could rearm and get more supplies. They reported all of their findings to the garrison of the Silver Knights there as well. The baron paid them as promised and also gave them an official charter recognized by the League of Questing Companies (a world-wide adventurer’s guild in Eldritch Empires). This allowed them to take on jobs from the League and gave them treasure rights and informed the local authorities that what they did was legally recognized by most countries and their governments. Without this charter the group could be legally liable for any adventuring activities that inadvertently broke local customs and laws.

With this in hand the group traveled to the goblin lair in the Reflection Hills south of Port Kyra in the far western portion of the kingdom. They found that the goblins were actually holed up in an old dwarvish complex, much to the consternation of Albrecht who took offense to goblins being in a dwarven home. He led the group through battle after battle with the goblins (including hobgoblins, bugbears, and even a couple of ogres!) within and eventually foudn that the dwarven tunnels ended and a more natural set of caves connected to the old dwarven hold. The natural caverns eventually led to an opening into the ocean and that is where they came face to face with Captain Bloodhowl, leader of the goblin efforts and lieutenant to Helrath. They defeated him and saw that while the attack on Port Kyra was imminent, the city would hold well enough… if it weren’t for the four goblin ships with cannons headed the city’s way right now!

The heroes found a tied up skiff nearby and while the goblins were off storing supplies from the nearby ship, the players took the skiff and started towards the ship anchored several hundred yards away. The ship saw them and knew them to not be goblins and opened fire with their cannons! The group barely managed to avoid the cannon fire as the goblins in the caves came back and found one of their skiffs rowing its way to the ship. They made it to the ship and Moonshadow managed to convince the  “acting captain” of the ship (really Bloodhowl’s navigator, as his first officer was with him during the battle and died as well) to relinquish command to her. He obliged, not wanting to have his face perforated with a fae blade. Moonshadow had the cannons turned against the goblins that were chasing them in the other skiffs, and once they were dealt with, she had the ship go after the other three that were moving in to attack Port Kyra. The other ships did not expect their own people to fire upon them so the group caught them by surprise and quickly found themselves destroyed and under the waves. The group came into Port Kyra and were welcomed as heroes. They decided to help the town rebuild as they rested and took stock of the situation.

The goblins were defeated, but there was still a shadowy mercenary group apparently trying to bring about the downfall of the kingdom. And there was the Exiled Brotherhood still out there, causing problems within the kingdom, though the group did hear that their kidnapping attempt on the prince had failed, though one wonders, what made them so bold. With two weeks of off time, they have plenty of time to plan out what they should do next…that is if Moonshadow can ever stop complaining about how the port authorities confiscated the goblin ship from her after the battle.

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, General

Promises…

I know, I know, I promised to have the rewritten version of the campaign up to the current point, but things have been hectic in the real life stratum of late. On a plus side however, we started getting into our campaign again, so AD&D is officially back on track, and with a new player (and character). I WILL have the synopsis up to the current point up and soon, including our last session.

Onto other news…I know I what I said previously about WotC, their game design and D&D in particular. I still stand behind the statements I made about 3rd and 4th editions. I don’t like 3.X, and never will. It’s a hot, broken, mess that apparently needs to lean on the Oberoni Fallacy (The DM can change/fix rules as needed referring to the magical ‘rule 0′ as an excuse, but it’s more than that and if you are a gamer and you don’t know what it is, you should probably look it up sometime. I mean, REALLY.) in order to justify its brokenness. I said at the time that I was very much disinterested in 5e/Next/whatevertheyarecallingit because it seemed like Wizards of the Coast had not learned from their past design mistakes. Well I got started flipping through a copy of the 5e PHB at a book store…and I was surprised.

Not only that but I was wrong. But that’s at first glance. I picked up the PHB and have been going over it since, and so far, it looks like I can really like this edition. First off they have gone on a completely different tact and decided to go with importance of story and character over mechanics, much like 2nd edition. Not to say the mechanics aren’t there, they are, and they are far more streamlined and easy to grasp than any other edition so far.

It seems to me that they have taken the best from each edition (story and character from 2nd, class and mechanic options from 3rd but balanced with 4e sensibilities), oh and feats? COMPLETELY OPTIONAL! In fact even IF they are used, you have to give up an ability score bump at the quarter level marks (4,8,12 etc.) in order to take one, so it really is a choice, and in a lot of cases a hard one. The feats are not overpowered and none of them overlap in any way, so they really feel like unique character decisions. Also ability scores are now capped at 20 for PCs, much like 2nd did (though their cap was 18, or by race and could only go higher with magic), and everyone gains their ‘attack bonus’ (called a Proficiency Bonus in this edition) at the same rate as everyone else, so it truly is the class mechanics that make each class feel unique. Some spells can be cast as rituals (an idea introduced in 4e), and some can be memorized in higher level spell slots, making them more powerful. For example, a magic missile in this edition has 3 missiles that deal 1d4+1 – as per usual outside of having 3 missiles to start anyway – and if you memorize it in a higher spell slot, you get more missiles.

Anyway I could go on, but again I’m only spitballing here based on what I am reading of the rules. They may play out entirely different once we get in game with them. So I decided to see just how much they will change once the chaos of an actual game hits, and I will be running a second game on Fridays to test out 5e using the PHB and the module that was released at the same time called Hoard of the Dragon Queen. Hopefully this edition holds up well and I will have 2 editions of the game that I will love.

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, General

Another break in postings…

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted here again, and I blame World of Warcraft and the Summer season. We took a hiatus from D&D due to my step-son’s father taking him for several weeks at a time throughout the summer. We knew that he would be gone for vital parts of the game and he didn’t want to miss anything, but he was also torn on wanting to see his dad and rightfully so. So we just put D&D on the back burner until school started again so he wouldn’t have to choose.

In the mean time I began a Vampire: The Masquerade table-top game using the 20th Anniversary edition rules (which by the way are awesome slathered in excellence, if you were EVER a V:TM fan pick it up, NOW), which takes place in Las Vegas in the mid-eighties. I haven’t posted anything about it because it is a filler game. I will return to it once the D&D campaign runs it’s course (which could be a year or more), and at that time, when I know that I will be running it for more than a few weeks, I will begin posting about it. For right now, I am using it to get familiar with the old rules and teach new players to this version of the game the rules and setting.

I will be editing the post of the D&D adventure so far and adding to it so as to catch everything up to current events in the game in the very near future. I may have to split it into 2 posts to keep it manageable, either way, it will be done, and with a little more detail this time around. I’ve missed my D&D game for the past 3 months and I am really looking forward to diving back in. While WoW may be a fantasy game, and while I may love it, it doesn’t quite scratch my fantasy itch the way that D&D does. So in the next week or so that update to the adventure will be posted, and hopefully soon after will be a brand new post of their continuing adventures.

Denizens of Ki’rous* – prepare yourself, we’re coming home again.

 

*Ki’rous is the name of the world in which the Eldritch Empires setting is placed upon.

Posted in General