Dustin's Fantasy campaign

Welcome to your campaign!
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Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

Enhanced tech and neverwhen Tech

In a fantasy-sword&sorcery setting, the blame for retardation of technological progress can always be laid at the feet of magic industry. Solid foundation in TL3 is standard. But when a world exists for at it for hundreds (thousands in the case of some D&D countries) some items can be a shade of TL4. It is called TL3+1.

Candles; TL3 they are fat, crude, and usually inefficient. TL4 the Taper model appears. Burning better, longer and can vary in size. In a country or fantastical race home where it is a slight breakthrough, it could be considered a TL3+1 item. p. Clockwork; The big kind help windmills and watermills become efficient, Pocket watch at the experimental end of TL3 but well into TL4. But a dwarven clockwork battle suit?, definitely realm of TL3+1 for crude models. Likely TL3+2..

GURPS Low Tech can help explain this better, this is just a glimpse of what can be.

GM comments on Session 1
Some things I'd like us to think about

A couple of comments for the group’s consideration:

First, I thought it was really fun. Six PCs plus five hirelings makes for a big-ass group, so encounters can grind a little, but I’m trying to keep things moving along. Apologies for mixing up turn orders and such, I have a lot of shit going on in my head haha, appreciate everyone paying attention there and calling it out when I mess up. I’m considering making up some markers to place next to PCs with things like ‘Wait,’ ‘Aim,’ ‘AoA’, etc. just to help remind us exactly what everyone did on their last turn. And I was so excited hoping Cory forgot that Parrying wasn’t going to be effective against an ogre’s club, did not consider that he had a much higher ST, I officially take foot and insert into mouth haha.

I saw DJ was not super thrilled when the grick encounter became a little challenging for Liana, after the shield grapple and the fact that her weapon wasn’t super effective against them. I specifically designed these encounters to test different PCs in different ways – just like Dr. Crane was not the star in every Monster Hunters encounter, some heroes are going to shine more in different situations, that’s why you’re part of a team. I personally think that’s all part of the fun! I put a lot of work into planning out these games and I’ll admit it’s disheartening for me, the GM, to see a player resign and just pull out his phone when something doesn’t go exactly his way. So please try not to get super frustrated just because a situation is getting tricky, that’s how it goes sometimes, it’s not me getting personal against you or your character. While Fiona got speared in the chest and Zardrae got his ribs broken by a mace, Liana just waltzed in and diced that ogre the fuck up, right? Some encounters will go your way and some won’t, nature of the game.

Also, I saw when Cory was having Arthur engage with the NPCs that Rob was doing that ‘talk talk talk’ motion with his hand. I thought that was kind of rude actually – this is a tabletop RPG, not a game of WoW; if Cory is engaging with the story and enjoys actually RPing his character, that’s part of the fun for him, and I’d appreciate it if we could be more considerate of other people’s fun. I’m sorry if the NPC interaction ain’t doing it for you, but I try to plan games around what I believe each player enjoys, kind of give everyone something they want.

Okay I’ve said my comments. Floor is also open for comments back to the GM – what’s working for you guys, what’s not, how can I make the games more fun for you?

Session 1
Into the Depths

The team assembled at the new Fallkeep office of the adventuring company. We met Fiona Ember, fire cleric of Obad-Hai hailing from the frigid southern islands; Konshu, the Kazik-themed fighter/mage with a gnomish technical background; Arther D’Bruin, noble holy warrior of Heironeous and a member of some standing in the company; Liana “the Lionness,” a swashbuckling former pirate with impressive sword skills; Zardrae, an agile warrior with a magically-imbued teleportation dagger; and Seye Tieg, a fearsome Blood Moon martial artist from the exotic east.

After a meeting with Jarrett Barclay, curmudgeon-y manager of the Fallkeep office, a squad of six mercenaries from the Black Marches Brigade arrived and offered their services on the mission in exchange for one quarter of the total loot. The party was dispatched to meet with Lord Ravenguard, scion of a once-proud family and owner of a small fief and estate in the hills outside the city. The nobleman recounted that some of his villagers were complaining of problems that were beneath a man of his station, and he instructed the heroes to discuss the matter in detail with his headman Longtread. Liana helped herself to an expensive bottle of liquor before the team departed, and in the village of Stromguard they met with Longtread in the town inn. The former hunter and tracker explained that in recent months some villagers had mysteriously gone missing; at first it was one individual at a time, but more recently entire families have been taken. He offered the PCs 500 sp each to investigate and put a stop to whatever was occurring.

That night, as the heroes took their rest in the inn and in a nearby barn, a young man came riding frantically into the village, saying that riders in black had come and taken his family while he was out in the woods relieving himself. The heroes left one of the mercenary crossbowmen back at the barn to guard their gear and departed, first to the family’s farm and then off into the dark, wooded hills, following the horse tracks left by these mysterious riders. After a brief encounter with a small band of trolls that were quickly dispatched, the team came upon a pile of horse bones beside one of the many creeks winding through the area. Following the water led them to a cave opening, and after lighting Fiona’s lantern they descended into the depths.

After marching some distance down into the narrow, wet cavern, the group was confronted by three bizarre creatures that Fiona identified as gricks, predatory beasts hailing from another dimension. While their stealth skills, tough, rubbery hides and grasping tentacles proved a challenge to some of the party members, the creatures were ultimately dispatched without injuries, and some of their black blood and beaks were collected for possible profit later.

Another half hour of careful traversing led the team to a crevice in the rock wall through which their quarry seemed to have passed recently, and the team soon found a carved staircase leading down to a passage of quality worked stone and a portcullis barring entry into some sort of dungeon complex. As they descended, Fiona and Arthur noted that this place seemed to radiate unholy energy that interfered to some degree with their connections to their own gods. Arthur and the mercenary sergeant attempted to lift the portcullis and were struck by hostile magic, which Seye identified as a Deathtouch spell, and Fiona was able to heal the sergeant. Fortunately Konshu and Zardrae were able to teleport past the barrier and quietly raise it from the other side. The team noted that the columns and doorways all seemed to bear bas relief carvings depicting bizarre alien landscapes, disturbing creatures and astrological imagery.

Some initial exploration revealed an entry room which the inhabitants of the dungeon seemed to be excavating; a training room with fighting dummies, sparring circles and a table bearing a variety of weapons; a carpentry room with a workbench and tools; and down a long, dark corridor, the team encountered a band of three ogres occupying a filthy, stinking room. The battle with the ogres was brief but the brutes proved to be tough. Fiona opened the fight with an explosive fireball that scorched all of their foes, but they seemed able to shrug off the charring as well as multiple sword thrusts and crossbow bolts. One of the ogres landed a nasty javelin strike back at Fiona while another delivered a solid blow with its oversized mace to Zardrae that might have felled a lesser man. At one point Zardrae was able to use his teleporting prowess to escape from what could have been a fatal neck grapple and Seye administered some healing magic to Fiona, while Arthur, Konshu and Liana charged into the fray. Liana was ultimately able to cut the legs out from under one of them and drop him into Fiona’s flames to burn to death, and the two other ogres then dropped their maces and attempted to surrender in broken Common. Some initial questioning revealed that they were afraid of whatever lurked in the room beyond an open archway into which they’d piled their firewood; afraid of whatever lurked beyond the solid iron door set in the nearby wall; and especially afraid of someone they referred to as ‘Yuro,’ for whom they seemed to be working.

We’ll begin Session 2 in the ogre’s barracks. +3 cp for the team, some good fights, some exploration, novel solutions to some problems, I thought overall a fun session. MVP for +1 cp was Fiona Ember – her Create Fire, Shape Fire and Explosive Fireball spells really made a big impact on those encounters with the gricks and the ogres.

Session 2
The Sanctuary of Nerull

Liana and Seye subdued the surviving ogres in their lair before Fiona drained them of energy as well as the last of their life essence. After resting a few minutes, the party opened the locked wooden door and discovered the captured farmer and his daughter. Through his tears, the farmer thanked the heroes for rescuing them and told the party that the ogres had eaten his son the previous evening, and not an hour beforehand their human captors had taken his wife. He and his daughter then fled the complex.

With the mercenary sergeant giving her a boost, Liana peered over the ogres’ wood piled in the open archway and into the room beyond, describing a square chamber containing one ornately carved, unopened stone coffin and four more plain coffins that had been disturbed. Seye was able to pick the lock to the iron door in the ogres’ chamber, and Konshu and the sergeant proceeded down the dark hall. The pair triggered a devious pit and portcullis trap; while Konshu blinked to safety, the sergeant leaped clear of the false floor only to be impaled by the falling iron grate. Zardrae tossed his dagger past the barrier, teleported over and raised the portcullis off of the mercenary; meanwhile Liana chopped down a wooden door to use as a bridge across the obstacle. Beyond the trap the heroes discovered the cultists’ treasure, including several potions and an unusual stone covered in arcane runes.

The secret door leading to the vault opened into the same coffin room that Liana had seen. As Konshu began to Create and Shape Earth with the intent of sealing the closed coffin, an unknown malign entity made psychic contact and ordered them to leave this place; apparently Konshu’s reply was unsatisfactory, and the horrific wraith within the coffin emerged with a roar. Several of the mercenary hirelings were paralyzed in terror and the party’s initial attacks seemed unable to harm the creature. Fiona brandished her holy symbol with the power of her faith, causing the wraith to flee from her and inflict a toxic touch attack on Konshu. Fortunately Seye was able to wither its limbs with a critical success on his spell, and then Fiona enchanted Liana’s blade with Affect Spirits, allowing the swashbuckler to vanquish the monster.

Before the party could thoroughly investigate the coffin room, Zardrae teleported to the library beyond, where he heard some ominous chanting emanating from the next chamber through and open archway. He raised the portcullis separating him from the rest of the team, then stealthily crept up to look in upon the next room, spying four skeleton warriors guarding two robed figures who stood over an evil-looking altar, clearly preparing to do something horrible with the farmer’s wife.

Zardrae shed all of his gear and armor, then managed to sneak into the temple room and lob his magical dagger into the pool of unholy water behind the altar. Liana then entered the room and created a sexy distraction, managing to stun the lesser cleric with her good looks while Yuro commanded his skeletal minions to kill the intruders. Amidst the distraction Zardrae grabbed the farmer’s wife and teleported her back to safety. As the party moved into the temple room, the skeleton warriors stepped forward to block the heroes’ advance while Yuro blasted the team with a powerful Mass Daze that caught nearly the entire group, threatening to turn the tide against the PCs.

Only Zardrae’s constant harassment combined with Liana’s powerful sword swings kept the lich from moving in to finish the group off. The skeletons hacked away at the mercenaries holding the line, ultimately managing to kill one of the spearman and the sergeant. Obad-Hai was able to break through the evil sanctity of the temple and snap Fiona back to action, and she in turn began striking her comrades to counteract the effects of the daze. There were heroic feats from every party member – Konshu single-handedly fending off three skeletons at once before Fiona ran over to prop up the reeling samurai and drive the creatures back with her faith; Seye using staff strikes, deathtouch spells and a timely judo throw to drop one of the skeletons to the ground and disarm it; Arthur D’Bruin rushing into the fray and shattering several undead creatures; Zardrae tackling the lesser cleric and stabbing him to death while beset by axe strikes; and not the least Liana the Lionness who, nearing collapse after enduring Yuro’s fatigue-draining aura, struck blindly into an area of pure darkness and managed to inflict the final, telling blow on the lich, crumbling him to nothing but ash and a wisp of noxious vapor.

As the last of the skeletons was dispatched and the party began to collect their breath, the door of the temple room burst open. In strode Toren Isegard, the hulking champion of Nerull, followed by a dozen more cultists with swords and shields. Surveying the field and spotting a worthy foe among the heroes, the blackguard ordered his minions back, leveled his massive sword and challenged Arthur to personal combat, and the session closed on a dramatic note.

+3 cp for all – a tough, tough battle well fought, solid tactical play from the group. MVP for +1 cp was Zardrae for his clutch teleportations and dagger strikes, not only rescuing the cult’s captive before she could be sacrificed, but also keeping Yuro on the defensive long enough for the party to bounce back from what could have been a crushing Mass Daze.

Will Arthur prevail? Will the party escape the Sanctuary of Nerull with their lives? I give them 50/50.

GM comments on Session 2

I thought that was a cool fight at the end! Seemed like the right level of challenging, ended with most of the party walking wounded and staggering but still hanging on. I especially liked that moment when Konshu was reeling and Fiona, wounded herself, ran over to sling an arm under him and hold the skeletons at bay with her True Faith, very heroic ‘Sense of Duty – Adventuring Companions’ moment.

That Mass Daze spell is a strong opening gambit from a caster with high skill, though maybe not the most fun for the players to be on the receiving end haha. However, something to be said for not bunching up against enemy spellcasters, those Area spells can seriously fuck you up. Hopefully a lesson well learned, a turn spent on Moves/Waits to spread out instead of everyone rushing in together can be a smart tactical play.

Zardrae is a tricky character with a very useful ability, really kept Yuro on the defensive, stopped him from casting more spells or moving in and straight withering the whole group with his fatigue draining attack (which probably would have crushed the entire party at that point, tightly packed as you were). Also managed to rescue the poor, hapless farmer’s wife at great risk to himself. MVP well earned indeed! However, I was randomly looking at the Body Sense skill, and for that move when Yuro had his back against the pillar and Zardrae teleported upside-down above him, that would have been at around -7 to skill for changing facing and changing orientation! I’ll keep that in mind for the future …

Yuro had some classic lich-type advantages like Darkvision and Injury Tolerance of course, and his Fatigue Draining Aura attack came out to something like a 47 point power. But his Unkillable 1 combined with High Pain Threshold and a ton of Hard to Subdue was the only thing that kept him standing as Liana and Zardrae just hacked him up. I think he took a total of 115 HP of damage before crumbling to ash! Interestingly though, not actually undead, technically still living but held together only through the dark gifts of Nerull – Fiona may have been unpleasantly surprised had she tried to assert her faith on him. And I liked that it came down to the last turn too – had Liana not dropped him when she did, he likely would have put her down to 0 FP on his turn with his fatigue attack. Some tense, exciting shit.

Session 3
The Hag and the Squid

As the Nerull cultists realized that the heroes had slain their lich leader Yuro, a tremor of fear seemed to wash through the band, and they started with withdraw. Disgusted with their cowardice, Isegard leveled his blade at Arthur again and warned that their business was not over, a challenge that Arthur gladly accepted. The cowardly lot then slammed the door to the temple shut and fled.

After taking some time to lick their wounds, regain some energy and thoroughly loot the temple and library, the team returned to Stromguard and received their promised payment from the village headman Longtread. The townspeople also came out in large numbers to thank the heroes for their courage. The party then returned to Fallkeep, sold off their loot and paid the Black Marches Brigade their agreed-upon share; Arthur also personally thanked the mercenaries for their valiant service and sacrifices, which impressed them greatly. At one point during the selling spree, Arthur had opened negotiations with a merchant in the market district when a tough-looking armored dwarf accompanied by a grinning tiefling entered the shop bearing an enormous haul, and Arthur recognized them as members of the Company of Adventurers, a rival organization in town. Some snide remarks were exchanged as Arthur was forced to take his goods down the street to another dealer, after the newcomers cleaned out the merchant’s available funds. When the party later presented their 10% payment to Jarrett Barclay at the company office, they were introduced to Nakar the Unseen, a friendly, cocky halfling wizard who had just recently signed on with the company, and told that they had another job to handle.

Following a week of resting, recuperating and carousing (during which Fiona also imbued many of the party members’ gear with mana for later use), the group reassembled at headquarters and were informed that Lord Ravenguard was very displeased at Liana’s theft of his expensive liquor, and that as compensation the nobleman demanded that the company assist his cousin Cornelius with a dangerous acquisition (at a discounted rate). Heading over to the office of what appeared to be an up-and-coming enchanters’ guild, the wizard Cornelius and his assistant David outlined the details – the party, with David in tow, would take passage on a ship named The Hag’s Bounty to Traynor’s Island, a remote patch of beach and mountain jutting out of the ocean, about a week’s travel from Fallkeep and known to be a haven for pirate activity. Apparently the island was also last known resting place of a rare magical artifact, a 2’ tall stone statue that could be a great boon to the guild in their enchantment efforts. In addition to the modest payment offered, the guild master also promised to provide a free minor enchantment for each of the heroes as compensation upon completion of the job. While Arthur inspected David’s kit and several of the party members set out to look over the ship that had been commissioned, Nakar conducted some research on the island but found few useful details in the mages’ archives.

The team set sail on a clear, balmy morning. The captain Varska, his Kesha first mate Strom and the crew seemed a capable, seasoned lot. One the third day of travel, however, the ship seemed to flag under its sails. Peering over the gunwale, the team was surprised at the sight of thick rubbery tentacles reaching up out of the water – an enormous kraken had seized the boat in its grasp! While the crew members grabbed bows and axes, Arthur, Liana and Strom hacked away at the tentacles nearest them, Seye cast Wither and Paralyze Limb spells to neutralize another, Fiona cast Flaming Armor on Konshu before the samurai rushed into the melee to assist a crewman, Zardrae slid down the sail from the crow’s nest and began running for the stern of the Hag, and Nakar cast Great Haste and then Hawk Vision on himself before lancing out a series of scorching Sunbolts at the tentacles. As the terrible head of the kraken emerged from the water, Zardrae tossed up his teleportation dagger and proceeded to blind the beast with a daring and acrobatic set of stabs to the eyes, avoiding a snap of its horrible maw in the process. Nakar cast Flight on Liana and the swashbuckler joined Zardrae in melee, ultimately thrusting her sword deep into the kraken’s brain to slay it (inflicting 96 points of damage on a critical hit!).

As the kraken’s body reeled over, the crew quickly lashed ropes to its corpse before it could drift away. Konshu and Nakar cast a series of Seek spells and detected steel, gold and magic radiating from the monster’s belly. Donning a set of Created Object goggles from Konshu, Nakar shed most his clothes and climbed inside a foul-smelling orifice, ultimately recovering several half-decomposed bodies bearing corroded armor, weapons, coins, jewels and a powerstone, the last of which the halfling pocketed for himself. After the loot was brought aboard and Nakar was thoroughly keelhauled to wash away the pungent black ichor, the tastiest bits of the kraken were cut away and cleaned for a series of calamari feasts.

The session closed several days later as the crew spied the high mountain peak of Traynor’s Island off in the distance.

+4 cp for defeating the Nerull cult; +3 cp for the kraken; MVP for +1 cp was Nakar for monster spelunking and some handy spells – close close runner up was Liana for her absolutely brutal killing strike on the monster. Great having John take the helm, fun session! I’m super excited for Traynor’s Island!

Session 4
Traynor's Island

Several uneventful days at sea after slaying the kraken, the tall peak of Traynor’s Island was spotted off in the distance. Nakar created several Continual Light stones and handed them to Zardrae, Konshu and Liana. While the heroes along with David, Strom and several sailors rowed toward land, the halfling then sent forward a Wizard Eye to scout ahead but found no evidence of any pirate ships or fortified positions awaiting them.

After making landfall, while the sailors hunted fresh crabs on the beach, Strom informed the group that the captain would wait one week for their return and distributed a pair of magical flares that could be used to signal for the launch. Heading into the thin strip of jungle toward the mountain, following David’s notes, the team initially encountered little but mosquitos and the sounds of exotic birds.

The party proceeded along the mountain cliff face for over an hour with Zardrae scouting ahead, until he rounded a bend and blundered straight into a waiting group of six wicked harpies! After an initial screech of alarm from the lead monster, Zardrae, Liana and Arthur rushed into melee range. Before the harpies could collectively utilize their painful song abilities to full effect, a Great Hasted Nakar ran up and blanketed the area under a Silence spell, changing what could have been a dangerous encounter into essentially a mop-up exercise. While Konshu threw out a Winged Knife stick and Nakar hurled a Stone Missile to subdue one of their foes, Liana, Zardrae and an invisible Arthur carved through the rest of the coven with hardly a scratch.

After a few minutes of rest to regain fatigue and then applying first aid and an Awaken spell to the captured harpy, interrogation revealed that these monsters tended to inhabit caverns higher up on the mountain and that many pirates frequently come and go on the island, but the harpies had no knowledge of the magic statue from David’s writings. The team eventually released their prisoner, despite Nakar’s misgivings about allowing the she-beast to rejoin her sisters.

Before long the group came to a cave mouth that seemed to correspond to David’s notes about the statue. Nakar cast Infravision and sent another Wizard Eye down into the cavern, where he noted several branching passages leading deeper into the mountain as well as a large room containing what appeared to be boxes and barrels of goods. The heroes cautiously proceeded underground and reached the chamber without incident; a search of the area uncovered some fine wine that piqued Liana’s interest, several good-quality weapons, a sack of silver coins and a cleverly hidden secret door which Arthur and Liana forced open.

The hidden room beyond contained only more seemingly plain barrels. However, as Seye began searching them, something seemed decidedly unusual, as if what he was feeling did not correspond to what he was seeing. Taking his ornate dagger, the martial artist struck the barrel and pierced through an illusion shell, revealing instead a fine locked chest standing on its side. Nakar drew power from Arthur’s manastone to cast See Secrets and detected a poisoned needle within the lock. After carefully bypassing the trap and opening the chest, a horrific spirit emerged and demanded a password, but with his knowledge of illusions the halfling immediately saw the specter for what it was, and another stab of Seye’s dagger dispelled it instantly.

The chest contained several gems, powerstones, potions, gold coins dating back several hundred years and the mystical statue described in David’s texts. Upon speaking the command words, the figure animated and revealed itself to be a rather friendly gargoyle with a taste for fish, and the creature expressed its willingness to return with the group to Fallkeep.

At this point Liana, still in the outer chamber replacing the water in her skins with some of the fine wine, heard the approach of footsteps down the tunnel and tossed an empty bottle toward the group to grab their attention. Nakar hastily cast Invisibility on himself and Zardrae, Seye charged a spell on his staff and the team readied themselves for action. Moments later, down the passage ran several zombie pirates accompanied by human raiders and what seemed to be a pair of mages leading the group. In the resulting melee Liana and Arthur carved through their opponents with lethal sword strikes, Nakar lanced out a pair of Sunbolts to fell a zombie, Konshu launched his Winged Knife at the pirates and Seye went to work with his whirling staff. Zardrae, while attempting to sneak forward on the enemy spellcasters under protection of the Invisibility spell, noticed that one of the wizards seemed to be observing him without difficulty and whispered a warning to his companion; giving the leader a wink, the fighter stepped forward and thrust his ornate dagger directly at the other caster’s eye, nearly felling him with one attack. At this point Liana crippled the shield arms of two pirates at once with brutal rapid strikes and Arthur ran forward to demand their surrender by the authority of Heironeous. The unscathed enemy mage got off a quick spell to teleport away, Nakar ran forward and struck the wounded caster unconscious with his staff, and Zardrae and Liana chased down the last fleeing human pirates to force their surrender as the session closed.

+3 cp all around, and tied for dual MVPs were Liana the Lionness (for subduing so many foes with ridiculously high damage and well-placed targeted attacks) and Nakar the Unseen (for controlling encounters, bolstering allies and gathering useful information with handy spells).

Where did the enemy caster go? Surely there are more pirates somewhere on this island, escape with our lives is still far from certain!

Session 5
Pirates and zombies and necromancers, oh my!

Following the surrender of the pirates, the badly wounded were drained of energy and dispatched while their gear was collected as loot. Nakar, a sometime-dabbler in psychology and interrogation, advised that a tough tack might be most effective, and the surviving pirates and the lesser wizard were intimidated into revealing that they had a ship anchored off the far side of the island and served a powerful necromancer. Liana ultimately executed the mage despite his cheeky attempt to Blink away from her strikes. The sole remaining prisoner was loaded up with gear to serve as a mule while Nakar extolled for him the virtues of working for the adventuring company and stuffed an application form in his pocket.

Emerging from the cave and working their way back along the mountain cliff face toward the beach, the heroes managed to spot several enemies in the jungle just as the team was ambushed. Puke-spewing zombies backed up by human pirates came crashing out of the foliage, a horrific wraith materialized in front of the party, an earth elemental seemed to step directly out from the rocks along the path and a patch of magical darkness high on the mountain slope obscured the necromancer, who shot down bolts of lightning into the fray. Liana bravely confronted the earth elemental in single combat, managing to keep it from ravaging the group’s flank and ultimately destroying it with a series of powerful blows. Arthur stood toe to toe with one of the zombies, hacking at it with his sword while blocking its acidic bile sprays with his shield. Konshu was able to levitate another zombie while Zardrae used his acrobatic teleports to stab it repeatedly while high in the air. Seye went to work with a combination of vicious staff strikes and high damage Deathtouch spells, managing to drive off the wraith and drop several of the pirates as well. Even David got into the fight, using Winged Knife spells to throw his dagger around the battlefield. A Great Hasted and invisible Nakar cast Flight on himself and moved up to confront the necromancer. Shouting at the enemy wizard to get his attention, the halfling cast Flash and was satisfied to hear a grunt of pain from out of the darkness; after moving in and probing the area with staff swings, however, it appeared that the pirates’ leader had escaped again with a timely teleport spell.

As the dust settled, Liana noticed that the prisoner had dropped his load and fled into the jungle, and the swashbuckler went crashing after him while Nakar flew out over the canopy to assist. Arriving at the beach, she saw the pirate ship moored a hundred yards out and their captive swimming out toward it. Liana threw a rock and managed to clip him painfully in the arm, and then Nakar flew directly over him and demonstrated the adventuring company’s employee retention policy with a staff swing to the skull, sending him under the waves. The halfling considered moving closer and trying to burn the pirate ship’s sails with a Sunbolt, but reluctantly returned to join Liana, and the pair headed back to the rest of the group.

The group collected their loot, returned to the Hag’s Bounty and ultimately made their way back to Fallkeep without further incident. It came to light during the journey that their new gargoyle companion seemed both attracted to and an enhancer of arcane energy, though Nakar was miffed that the creature didn’t seem to take as kindly to him as the other mages in the party, grumbling something about all-too-common racism toward halflings. Upon completing the mission, the enchanter’s guild, true to their word, paid each of the heroes the agreed-upon fee and provided a free enchantment to one piece of gear.

One month later, an old friend of Jarrett Barclay named Lady Chanteuse arrived at the company office with a new contract for the team, where we’ll begin Session 6.

+5 cp for completing Traynor’s Island. Dual MVPs were Liana for single-handedly defeating the earth elemental and Konshu for some timely spells that controlled the battlefield. Now that we’ve got some money in our pockets, time to stock up on healing potions gang – I’ll tell you right now, Lady Chanteuse’s proposed mission will be no walk in the park.

Session 6
Thaezun Stormbellow's Last Ride

The party ended up with a month of downtime between the return from Traynor’s Island and the beginning of Lady Chanteuse’s contract. Liana and Nakar spent many of those evenings carousing, but the halfling wizard was able to pick up some new spells and develop Nakar’s Most Excellent Force Missile, a low damage but high precision magical attack. Fiona, meanwhile, was able to imbue the party’s magically enchanted gear with large stores of energy, and petition her god Obad-Hai to Bless the entire party except for Arthur, who the deity decreed must rely on the protection of his own benefactor. She also spent a few days on a personal pilgrimage to a shrine out on the moors, where a druid of Obad-Hai was able to bestow a similar blessing upon the cleric in exchange for a future favor.

The elven noble woman and arcane summoner Lady Chanteuse approached the party with a dangerous mission. Her fey spirit familiar Firx had been captured in an iron flask by the dwarven wizard Zarek Ironbeard, master of a small dwarfhold on the outskirts of Fallkeep. The mission was to raid the manor and bring back the iron flask for a reward of 100 gp each; the lady was also offering a bonus of 50 gp each should the party bring her Zarek’s staff of power, but she emphasized that she was not hiring the group as assassins, and she would prefer that Zarek be left alive to endure the shame of his defeat.

The Ironbeard compound was located beneath an old Kazik mausoleum that the clan had purchased from the city some decades before. The entrance from the mausoleum to the manor proper was sealed with powerful magic, and only Zarek Ironbeard, his son Lear Ironbeard and the stronghold’s fearsome champion Thaezun Stormbellow had the power to unseal the doors. Living inside the mausoleum, Thaezun was a dwarven knight of no small reputation, most famous for supposedly defeating the red dragon Tyranthraxis in single combat. He was also well-known for riding a man-eating dire boar mount named Kortha into battle. In order for the party to gain entrance to the dwarfhold, Thaezun would have to be subdued and forced to open the way.

After observing the mausoleum for some days, the party determined that Thaezun and Kortha remained ever vigilant, always armed and prepared for battle. A rotating squad of six Ironbeard dwarf soldiers were also stationed above ground at all times. The party contacted a gnome rogue and friend of Nakar’s named Paeiro, who supplied the team with several healing potions as well as a noxious chemical substance that he “guaranteed” would foul any beast’s sense of smell. After applying the powder to a hunk of meat, Liana expertly tossed it over the outer walls the day before the planned raid and landed it right in Kortha’s food trough, causing the boar no small amount of discomfort, but Paeiro’s guarantee may have been a bit exaggerated.

After Nakar set up a series of Delayed Great Haste and Invisibility spells on Liana and Zardrae, respectively, the team prepared to move on the dwarves. Seye crept around the rear of the mausoleum and made to climb the outer wall, Fiona conjured a fire elemental and stood some distance back from the main gate alongside Arthur D’Bruin, while an invisible Nakar stood by at the ready. Liana and Zardrae then brazenly approached the gate, the swashbuckler demanding that Thaezun come out to duel her while Zardrae yelled loudly that he had a large wager on the outcome of the fight. After some back and forth between the heroes and the guards, Thaezun eventually emerged, mounted Kortha and agreed to battle, promising to feed the swashbuckler to his beloved pet.

Liana drew her sword, Zardrae ducked back around the gate entrance and Thaezun charged just as Nakar activated his delayed spells. The dwarf knight was initially surprised by Liana’s blinding speed and failed to trample her or strike her with his initial pass, was wounded in the arm in return and dropped his magical axe. An invisible Zardrae then ran alongside Kortha, slashing one of the straps holding the saddle in place and causing Thaezun to tip awkwardly. Unfortunately, as Nakar moved up past the gate entrance, a botched Stealth roll alerted the guards to unseen foes, and several of them immediately swung their halberds at Liana, slashing her badly across the back.

At this point Fiona unleashed her fire elemental on one of the Ironbeard soldiers, leaned around the corner and then tossed an Explosive Fireball into the melee, doing little damage but forcing several guards to hit the dirt. Liana harried Kortha with a series of vicious sword blows while evading the dire boar’s attempts to ram her. Seye slipped over the back wall to the grounds and began sneaking around the side of the mausoleum while preparing a Great Haste spell for himself, while an invisible Nakar tossed Stone Missiles and Sunbolts into the battle. Zardrae attempted a running slide beneath Kortha with the hopes of yanking on the loosened saddle and unseating Thaezun, but Stormbellow invoked his draconic powers and breathed out a jet of dragon flame that forced Zardrae and Liana to the ground, then directed Kortha away from the melee and dismounted before consuming a healing potion and fast drawing another axe from his belt.

Arthur stepped forward and stabbed one of the kneeling dwarf soldiers while Fiona created a Flame Jet in her hand, and the pair were able to intimidate two of their opponents into fleeing. Zardrae began stabbing more of the dwarf soldiers from behind, killing one and forcing another to dive for cover into a bush. Fiona’s fire elemental did an admirable job of holding yet another soldier at bay, its diffuse nature rendering halberd swings largely ineffective. Kortha charged Liana anew, but after consuming a strength potion the swashbuckler was able to fend off the beast while raining down devastating slashes and thrusts with her armor penetrating bastard sword.

Seye rushed forward and attacked Thaezun with a Wither Limb spell on his staff, but the hardy dwarf resisted the effect easily with a growled threat. Zardrae then brazenly charged at Thaezun with the hope of stabbing at his eyes, but was shocked when the knight seemed to sense his presence despite the Invisibility spell and parried aside his dagger thrusts. Stormbellow then retaliated with a pair of brutal axe swings to the skull, managing to slay Zardrae despite the protective blessing of Obad-Hai. As the dwarf turned back to grin menacingly at Seye, Zardrae’s dying action was to thrust his blade into the Thaezun’s skull from behind. Liana finally managed to dispatch Kortha, then ran up behind Stormbellow and delivered a pair of swings that cleanly severed his right arm and crippled his leg, sending the warrior sprawling to the dirt with a howl of rage.

Turning his head and seeing his slain pet, Thaezun let out a cry of grief that his last friend in the world was now dead, and agreed to submit to the party. Fiona healed the worst of his injuries and then offered to reattach his arm, but the knight refused, saying that his injury would forever serve as a reminder that he had been bested. Heaving himself painfully to his feet, Stormbellow cried over his beloved Kortha for a moment before hobbling inside the mausoleum. After speaking the words of power that would unseal the doors, he shed much of his armor and left the Ironbeard grounds in disgrace. The party quickly gathered up dropped weapons, looted Thaezun’s home of valuables and prepared to descend into the manor, where the session closed.

+3 cp for everyone, and MVP was Liana the Lionness for brutally dispatching Kortha and disarming Thaezun (literally!).

That was designed to be a challenging encounter – Thaezun and Kortha together were built on a lot of points. The dwarf knight in particular was fun to design – in addition to being a high ST + high HT + high HP weapon master, he had a bunch of cool dragon-themed abilities like extra DR, fire resistance and that breath attack that came online only once he suffered a certain amount of damage. Clearly he absorbed some of Tyranthraxis’ power! He also spent a good chunk on points on Blind Fighting, as Zardrae found out the hard way.

So we had our first PC death, and I thought Rob showed a lot of class taking it so well. Excited to see his next character! I’m always trying to build encounters right on that fine edge, I want the big dramatic events to be dangerous and challenging and maybe a little scary, but never unfair. From a GM’s perspective, Liana in particular is a difficult character to take into account when designing combat encounters, particularly when she has an armor penetrating sword and Great Haste on her. So I made Thaezun pretty badass and gave Kortha a gigantic reserve of HP, and even then Kortha did basically nothing aside from absorbing blows and Thaezun only got a couple of lucky shots in before going down hard haha. It just so happened Rob got some very unlucky HT rolls, otherwise that encounter wouldn’t have even been all that damaging to the group.


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