Sunday, May 10, 2009

3/9 Actual Play: Team B gets a shot at some werewolf tail.

Due to much drama and some bad timing, we have not played our main campaign in awhile. With the long break, and with attendance at the last session not great, we decided to break out our B team.

So, same setting, same basic history, only these new (sort of) PC's don't know anything of it.

Berend - Jesse's Dwarven Fighter/Cleric, worshiper of Moradin.
Delg - Chris' Dwarven Invoker, also affiliated with the temple of Moradin
Phedre - Jessica's Elven Ranger, says she is French, sounds Romanian. Likes Dwarves and killing things.
Nim - Dan's Gnomish Bard, the only holdover from team A (but his second PC; Arlarond remained in Fallcrest)
Bennethost - Jay's Eladrin Warlock, Nim's friend from the Feywild.

Nim strolled into the Dwarven city of Hammerfast at dusk. He made his way to the nearest inn, and had a seat at the bar. He scanned the patrons, looking for some that looked like they could take care of themselves, and saw Berend sitting near him. He was wearing his Scale armor and had his axe and shield propped up by him. If that doesn't scream adventurer (or paranoid?) I don't know what does, so Nim approached him and made an offer.

He had been part of a group sent to investigate the disappearance of a caravan in the Harkenwood. His party had discovered that werewolves were behind it, but had not been able to defeat them. He had escaped and his companions were captured, and now he was looking for some able bodies to assist him in rescuing them.

Berend agreed to help when Nim pointed out that the threat to Hammerfast was real, since the werewolves were preying on caravans that brought goods North to Hammerfast. They walked together to his home, the Temple of Moradin, while they discussed this. Present in the temple were Delg, who was acting as a priest at the time, and Phedre, who had come to worship. After explaining the situation to Delg he agreed to help, and Phedre who was eavesdropping put her hat into the ring.

Bennethost stopped by the temple on his way to his nightly pursuits and saw Nim. He had been looking for Nim for about a year, ever since they had become separated on their journey out of the Feywild. He ran over and gave Nim a hug, and they caught up. He was going to join them, of course, though his motivation was more for selfish reasons.

Phedre has a horse, and she offers to ride with Nim, so the rest of the party obtain horses from the Temple and they travel South to the last known location of Nim's companions. The entrance is marked by a large unnatural tree.

The tree is enormous, redwood sized, and has a malevolent, oppressive aura. While it is healthy, trees in the vicinity are dead and dying, as if they had suffered through a long drought. Phedre is fascinated by the tree, and spends awhile examining and exploring it. She breaks of a small branch, and instead of sap, the tree squirts out blood. She climbs up it, to the first major branching. As she climbs, she feels a peculiar pulsing through the bark, almost like a heartbeat. When she gets to her goal, the hair on her neck stands up. She knows she is at a place of peculiar magical power, but as we are unable to discover more, we persuade her to come down.

Not before she can get herself a souvenir. She decides she is going to cut off a branch. She chooses one about as thick as her thumb, and cuts. Blood sprays everywhere. Despite her best efforts she gets it all over her hands and her chest.

She washed up in an almost dried up creek, and we enter the ruined temple.
We cautiously start exploring the entryway, and are quickly ambushed by a fey panther. It bolted out the open door, and must have retrieved it's master, because soon we were fighting 4 big men, and a creepy caster came out of the closed door and began casting spells at us.
Berend is our only melee fighter, so he had his hands full with a fight that had two fronts. The quarters were tough on Phedre, who excels at ranged combat. Delg was in his element. Most of his attacks are area attacks, and the small room made it easy for him to catch multiple enemies in it.

The fey panthers and the soldiers got right in the middle of things, and the wizard stood in the door and cast his spells. His big mistake was the huge darkness spell he threw down. While it netted his panthers a couple of free attacks, we all cleared the area and moved to the walls. Bennethost and Nim used the opportunity to get into melee with the wizard. In a round or two, tables had turned mightily, and the surviving members of his posse were clustered in the middle of the room. Easy pickings for us, and the end of the fight went quickly.

Searching the remains was mostly fruitless. The caster had a fancy staff, which we took, and a holy symbol made of silver and shaped like a wolf's head. Berend seemed to remember that this holy symbol had a connection to a cult that worshiped some arch fey, but did not know much more than that. Bennethost saw the symbol and fell into a trance. He had a vision of several baying hounds on a hunt, with bestial werewolves riding on nightmarish chargers right behind, and a shadowy giant figure with enormous antlers at the rear. He shared this with his companions. We knew that we were dealing with the right people at least.

The next room had a strange fountain. As Nim and Bennethost examined it, they determined that it was a fountain of arcane energy. Nim figured out how to activate it and was flooded with power. Bennethost followed soon after. Tingling with power they continued to explore the ruined temple.
The right pass was barred with rubble piled to block something in. We took the easy road and turned left. That room had a couple tables, some chairs, and a trapped and locked treasure chest. After Nim defeated both, we found a very fine chess set inside, and Bennethost was able to determine that it had magical qualities. We put it in the bag for later.

The next room had a very large block of stone. A dark stain covered the top. It was quite obviously a sacrificial altar. The bookcase in this room was a treasure trove, and after Nim used the arcane power he had absorbed from the fountain to cast comprehend languages, he read the only book we could not otherwise read, the one in Primordial.

It was the story of a hunter, told by him, of his role as leader of this cult. He had come to know about a powerful arch fey called The Hunter. He gathered to him local rangers and woodsmen, and formed a cult dedicated to this hunter. The book told of a quest to find and slay a white stag deep in the Harkenwood, one that enabled them to plant a special tree. This tree, when fully grown and tended with the proper rites and sacrifices, would act as portal to the Feywild. Since the temple had been build at a location where the barrier between the worlds was already thin, this portal would allow The Hunter to pass through and enter our world. He would hunt and kill all living in the region, and grant much power to his acolytes who had served him.

Sobered, we moved on. Berend picked a door apparently at random, as he had been doing so far, and kicked it down. A short hallway led to another door, this one heavy, iron, and locked.

Nim made the lock less effective, and the door swung open. Gnolls, a slayer, and a creature made of vines were ready for us inside a large natural looking cavern. At the far wall were some people bound and unconscious. Nim's companions. Initiative!

Our position crammed in a hallway was hardly ideal. Were we facing mostly enemies who attacked in melee we would be in a very good place. The Vine Horror opened up with a bang, though, and blinded three of us with his ranged attack.

Early on we realized the pits were not useful to us. The first enemy we knocked down there was lifted out by the vines and roots that seemed to cover the walls. We knew that they would do us no such favor, and so we kept well away from them.

Berend moved into the room to create a new front, allowing us to get at the Vine Horror and hopefully shut him down. Delg managed to make it out of the hall, but was knocked into bloodied and was only kept up by Nim's healing powers. Berrend was pushed next to a clump of mushrooms, and their spores attacked him, keeping him confused. As a result he attacked Delg instead of the Gnolls. Phedre had put her Hunter's quarry on an enemy who had quickly moved aside. Now he had cover and she could not choose another quarry, since he was the closest to her.

Bennethost changed the battle somewhat when he used fey magic to swap places with Delg, who was surrounded by Gnolls and not having an easy time getting away, and then he attacked and teleported away, towards the captives on the other side of the room.
Berend shook off the effects of the spores and plugged the hole again. The Vine Horror was dropped, and the battle clearly turned in our favor. With Phedre filling the hallway with her arrows, and Nim and Delg incapacitating the Gnolls, the battle control was all in our favor. It lasted only a few rounds longer. We ended as soon as it was over.


There was some good role playing this session. The beginning, where we all were introduced had a lot of in character chatter, which I love, and certain parts of the dungeon had some good interactions.

You may notice in the shots above the map we are using. Colin drew it out on cardboard, added a grid, and cut it out. He cut the dungeon into pieces, and then added them as we explored. He has these cool little props, things like doors, chairs, and bookshelves, that he places where appropriate. We went at exploration in a more organized manner, with us moving our mini and saying what we were doing, and then letting the next person go. I think that in some groups, where there is a clear prima donna, attention hog, or rogue (usually the rogue is a prima donna...) this could help keep everyone in the game. It worked pretty well, and since this was only our first time trying it out, I think it can only get better.

Since this is *my* blog I wanna talk about my character for a sec. I like fey pact warlocks. But they are not strikers. I am really trying to chose powers and feats that add to his controller side, but in combat his contributions were kind of sub-par.

I don't care though. He is not min-maxed. He was a class chosen to play a person that I would like role playing as. I wanted a high Charisma, high Intelligence character that could participate in all parts of the adventure. My previous character was not much use outside of combat, and most role playing felt kind of flat. My Shadowrun character is pretty tightly focused, and again not much use outside of combat. Benn is a success. Fun to role play, and entertaining in combat, even if he is in no way the star.


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