Monday, January 25, 2016

Beneath Two Suns - Hangin' With Jeff, Todd, and Four Unnamed Centipedes

This lowly scribe hopes she can adequately capture the excitement of last evening’s D&D session.  It may be that we never have such action and intrigue…ever again.
As a reminder:
- Kriskain, a human cleric (Heather)
- Lileth Whisperwind, a half-elf hexblade (Emily)
- Shinta, a human sorcerer (Daniel)
- Dante, an elven ranger (Elliot)
- Abuther, a half-elf barbarian (Spencer)
All right, so when last we left off, this eclectic group of escaped slaves had decided to become mercenaries, hired by the House of Campbell to rescue some unnamed kidnapped woman, whom the party pretty much knows is Princess Nadima.  The coincidences are too many, and oh yeah, the DM slipped up and said something to the effect of, You’re going after the Princess. Oops.
But first, the party needs gear.  The DM has each character fill out their gear wish list, and then has them roll to see if they get the various items.  The dice is a particular she-devil for Kriskain the cleric as she rolls well enough to get her bag of caltrops, but NOT armor.  A similar thing happens to the hexblade, Lileth.  She’s able to summon back her familiar, a raven named Crowley, but she receives no armor as well.  Minutes later, though, Dante the Ranger, parades about in a nice new suit of studded leather.  Bastard. And remember Abuther the Barbarian’s looted suit of breastplate?  Yeah, the armorer guy asks Abuther to remove it and then promptly chucks it down the nearest empty well, reminding us all that metal armor is for nobility ONLY.  The barbarian grudgingly settles for a suit of hide.  The DM also appraises any loot the players took in their escape from the Estercari manor.  And then, time passes…
Botox, the Guy Who Seems To Know Stuff, is tracked down in the morning for information. 
Kriskain: So, what do we need to know here?
Botox: We have received word from another messenger that in fact the woman is being held here (pulls out a map), on Thieves’ Isle.  Certainly, they hold her with some nefarious purpose in mind (well, like we care about that, several of the players muse).
Then, it’s-load-up-the-boat-and-go-time.  OOG: Daniel informs us that Donald Trump ate at a restaurant in Pella, Iowa last night…and that he orders his steaks medium-well to well-done.  The general consensus is that any fool that orders his steak like that has no business running our country.  Back in game, Botox reminds the group they have roughly 24 hours to return to Campbell with the Princess. Emily points out at this point that this is our party’s stagé for the House of Campbell, as it were. 
Let’s get it on.
The boats arrive to the swampy wasteland island-place where Nadima reportedly is being held.  Lileth sends Crowley out on some recon, and he returns an hour or so later with news that a fortress is stationed in the northeast corner of the island, and that seems to be where most of the activity and people are.  From where the boats are, the distance equals about two miles.  So hi-ho-hi-ho off the party goes, in this order: Abuther, Dante, Lileth, Kriskain, Shinta.
1.     Spot check for Crowley the familiar about a half-mile into the trek: something in the trees up ahead.  Something, the raven reports, he’s never seen before.  But whatever it is, it’s got a lot of effing legs.
2.     Dante the Aged Elf does a Nature check and informs the group it is a creature called a Gutz (pronounced GOOTZ; a spider-like creature that usually intends to eat whatever humanoids cross his path).  So much for Lileth’s plan to skirt around the monstrosity.
3.     The Ranger then offers to shoot the gutz, and he is not turned down.
4.     The sorcerer goes invisible and strays closer to the tree where the spider is.
5.     Dante, with Rapid and Precise Shot, scores three great hits and the spider drops to the ground, dangerously close to the invisible Shinta, who then fires about four Magic Missiles into the spider body.
6.     The gutz manages to get to its ten legs and begins to advance on the party.
7.     Naturally, Abuther charges and attempts to Grapple (with the intent to body slam the large creature).  He fails and the spider flicks him off to the side.
8.     Dante plugs the gutz with three more arrows.  Which makes the poky-thing count at, like, six.
9.     Another character (Lileth, maybe?) charges the spider from behind and whiffs with his/her longsword entirely.
10. The gutz rears up and chases the barbarian, then completes a successful Grapple.  Two pincer stabs and one bite later, Abuther is down ten points and is also beginning to feel the numbing effects of spider-poison paralysis.
11. Lileth makes contact and manages to sever a spider leg.
12. Kriskain attempts a touch attack and fails.
13. Dante’s longbow rings true and that’s seven arrows in the gutz now.
14. Shinta’s Magic Missile hits cause wobbliness in the spider.
15. Lileth hacks off another leg.
16. Kriskain pulls off an amazing tuck and roll maneuver after fumbling a melee attack roll.
17. The spider appears to have had enough fun and begins to retreat, Abuther still in his grasp, up his tree.  Dante sticks one last magnificent arrow in the scampering spider, who falls backwards.  Abuther takes four points of I-broke-the-spider’s-death-fall damage.  And he’s still paralyzed, by the way, so major suckage all around for the barbarian.
18. Kriskain heals Abuther for 11 points and casts Remove Paralysis on him.  Abuther expresses no gratitude for any of this.  The cleric will remember that.
19. Lileth Searches the spider’s tree nest, sees the spider eggs, and promptly crushes them.
20. Worst Idea Ever: Fashion a suit from the spider’s skin.  No.
After a quick dinner of fruit and venison tacos (OOG), the adventure continues.  Dante’s elf-eyes see what look like submerged trees off in the distance.  Crowley is dispatched to investigate further.  Turns out they aren’t trees, they’re creatures, and as the party gets closer, Dante informs them they are weird hippopotamus-like things.  And they can talk too!
“Stop! Bad Man Things!” they shout at the advancing party. 
Kriskain informs them they mean the creatures no harm, they just wish to pass through.  Lileth suggests walking around them, and though the party is carefully watched by the hippos, nothing happens.  Another bunch of minutes later, the island-y-fortress place begins to come into view.  It’s time for some quiet reconnaissance and getting the lay of the land.  The party opts to Move Silently just off the edges of a worn trail…although the barbarian and cleric roll poorly and the others’ quiet movements are pointless, really. 
Another path is discovered, but no imminent danger exists so Lileth suggests getting on the trail.  Spot checks all around: the party spots a building up ahead, a castle-type structure with impressive stone walls, but a small, muddy stream breaks up the wall’s solid line.  And, here appears to be the adventurers’ entrance point, swimming their way up to and through the breach.  To use reeds for underwater breathing is contemplated, but the DM points out the water is only a couple of feet deep. So, no, not necessary.
However, Spot checks note guards pacing along the perimeter, not to mention there is another building, as glimpsed through the outer wall gap.  But before the group’s game plan solidifies, Shinta launches a Fireball into the right corner of the castle and the guards who watch there.  Dante releases a rain of arrows as well, and the rest of the party hightails it into the gap as these two things happen.  The sorcerer’s Fireball does 30 points of burn damage and Dante knocks out one of the guys on the ledge.  The rest of the party decides to run for the innermost structure, except for Kriskain who remains back, hidden by the wall.
Oh yeah, Spot checks show more guards along the far wall, and that there are stairs that lead from the upper walls to the ground level.  And hey, guards are scrambling down those stairs now towards the party.  Shinta goes invisible again and spots the door-entrance just around the corner, on what would be the east side of the building.  The guards near the flame-damaged tower begin to send arrows in the direction of the running interlopers, one clipping Dante in the leg.  Lileth takes four points of meaty shoulder damage from one such arrow.  All party members, though, advance easily to the gate and burst into what looks like a throne room.  About eight to ten unarmored guards notice their arrival and begin to charge.  A cage is suspended over a pit some many, many feet down the room…and the scribe will give one guess who’s in the cage?  The princess!  Also, another armor-clad figure sits on the throne, and because of the green-colored dice the DM has used to designate him, he is now knows as Greengo.
For the cleric, still outside, things have gotten rather fun:
1.     She casts Searing Light and obliterates the closest two guards (out of six) who have rushed down from the wall.
2.     She then Summons Monster: A Celestial BA Hippogriff.  A two-claw attack later, the number of pursuing guards is cut in half.
3.     The hippogriff’s massively sharp claws render another guard into another blood splatter.
4.     Kriskain now engages with her rapier and dagger and knocks another guard down.
5.     The hippogriff gets the final kill on the last standing guard, and bites the prone guard to death.  Both the cleric and hippogriff move in the direction their comrades went.
And back in the party-throne room…the action is just getting going.
1.     Abuther Rages and deals damage to a guard.
2.     Lileth engages with one and damages, but does not kill.
3.     Shinta (still invisible) Summons Monster – 4 Fiendish Centipedes, who promptly deal some small-scale bite damage (with poison, though)
4.     Dante fires an arrow across the room at the important-looking Greengo.
5.     Abuther rolls low, but still hits for 13 pts, while LIleth scores a crit on her person, dealing 10 points of damage.
6.     Shinta, after noting the ineffectualness of his centipedes, decides to attack with Scorching Rays after contemplating the usefulness of a Fireball.  The invisibility disappears.
7.     Dante sticks two more arrows into Greengo.
8.     The enemy fights back and deals out damage to Abuther.  Lileth manages to evade a two-guard attack (for the time being).
Essentially, there is a lot more cleaving, Scorching, and twanging of arrows that occur here.  Greengo takes 30 points of Scorching Ray damage from the sorcerer, prompting a WTF? from Shinta.  Lileth is slowly but surely feeling the pain as the two guards have redoubled their attack on her, and not one of her teammates has stepped in to assist…you know, besides the random arrow here or Scorching Ray there.  Kriskain and Todd the Hippogriff have chosen to remain outside for a couple of rounds.  The centipedes are meeting their untimely deaths as well.  And of course, throughout it all, is the Princess, in her cage above all the action, shrieking, “I’m so beautiful!  WHY ISN’T ANYONE LOOKING AT ME?” 
To answer her question, off the record, it’s probably because everyone’s looking at Greengo…and wondering – when the hell is this guy going to die?  Well, hey…Kriskain decides to enter the throne room, leaving Todd on watch outside.  And an excellent Spot check by the cleric allows her to suddenly see that Greengo = HER FATHER, Quillan.  Naturally, she rushes to him amid the chaos.
And then…
1.     Lileth is having tough times.  She’s now engaged with three guards, and doing rather well, all things considering.
2.     Abuther has moved to Greengo to continue hand-to-hand.
3.     Shinta has had ENOUGH, and launches a Fireball at the trio of Abuther, Greengo and Kriskain.  Abuther takes fire damage, Greengo falls, and Kriskain manages to avoid any mishap.
4.     With Greengo appearing to be down and out, and the other living/conscious guards dwindling in number, the attention of most of the party turns to the cage, the pit underneath, and a nasty smell that emanates from it. 
5.     Abuther spots a huge, eight-legged ferret looking creature (the size of a leopard) in the bottom and leaps in on top of it, shouting, “I will kill the beastie!”  Who, for some reason, is now named Jeff.  It should be mentioned here that Abuther’s Rage ceases in two rounds.  A which point, he will be majorly fatigued.  A DM’s dream come true.
Discussions continue elsewhere about the unconscious guy, who is being administered to by Kriskain, how to get the princess out of the cage, and the happenings in the pit.  Kriskain casts Cure Serious Wounds on her father, and the party notices he is now sitting up.  Shinta marvels at this and considers launching another Fireball, but does not.
6.     The pit creature, Jeff (DM informs party this creature is called a leem), claws at Abuther for 12 points.  Abuther strikes back for 15 points.
7.     Lileth and Shinta Search the bodies of the dead.
8.     Dante fires an arrow into the leem’s body, and then promptly decides “he’s out” and puts his bow away.
9.     Greengo/Quillan and Kriskain have some heart-to-heart, and Quillan tells Kriskain this is his lair.  Obviously, she’s still in shock over this whole thing and will have more questions.
10. The leem, Jeff, scores a critical on Abuther, and does 18 more points of damage.  The barbarian’s rage is over, and Abuther is now fatigued.
11. Abuther scores a couple of hits and Jeff is definitely staggering; however, Jeff knows the end is near and viciously swipes Abuther down to three whole hit points.  But finally, Abuther digs deep and pulls enough strength out of somewhere to score the final blow.
12. Oh yeah, the hippogriff outside?  Todd? He got plugged a few times with arrows before disappearing into the ether with a Poof!  If the guards’ alarm wasn’t raised before, it should be now.
13. And, Abuther weakly cuts open Jeff’s body, pulls out the heart, and holds it triumphantly in the air…probably seconds before he collaspes on top of it in sheer exhaustion.
The kills abounded aplenty for our valiant adventurers:
Abuther: 4 + a leem (single-handed, he would like you to know)
Kriskain and Todd: 6
Lileth: 4
Shinta: 3 and ¾ (Greengo would have counteed as four, but he was revived by the cleric)
Dante: 3 + a big-ass spider
Of course, things are far from over.  After all, the matter of Kriskain’s father must be resolved.  Is he the bad guy or what? ‘Tis a delicate matter.  Also, the party has the Princess (oh yeah, they cut down the cage and it landed on the already-dead leem), but they still need to escape the place…which will be swarming with guards soon, no doubt.  And it’s a long day’s night in Zenicce…there’s a lot of sunlight left to burn, a lot of lives to take, and maybe even a lot of life to lose.

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