Saturday, March 27, 2010

AP: The Lakeside Shuffle

And on we continue with our quest. Participating this session:

Iolo (Half Elf Bard/Rogue) - A freelancer hired by house Vadalis to investigate the failed assassination attempts. The eccentricity of the group will drive him to alcoholism. At that point, he'll fit right in.
Paulic (Elf Ranger) - Continues to exemplify the perfect Ranger. And the perfect Valenar. A new measurement was created this session, Paulics per Million, or PPM. Paulic is all PPM. A regular ranger might be 30 PPM. He is like, the chosen one of Rangers.
Phedre (Elf Cleric) - Her wandering accent hides a vulnerable side. I think her left side? This must also be the side that encourages her to flounce. Elves, right?
K'rrul (Kobold Assassin) - Discovered the sexy side of assassination, earning the name "Cruel. . .Sexual Assassin".
Arashi (Genasi Swordmage) - Again, the battle basically swirls around him. Of all the characters in the game, he is the one most likely to be a kick-ass action game hero. Also, is intimidating to *crazy* people as well as non-crazies. Look out!
Jasper (Gnome Wizard/Warlock) - Hopefully adventuring with a band of felons and misfits only enhances his reputation as an explorer, not tarnishing his reputation as an academic. Since really, he's the scariest of us all.

The travel weary and teleport-lagged Eye of the Storm trotted into Lakeside after a journey of a thousand miles. We were after Serin. He was our latest clue in a continent spanning treasure hunt, with the prize being a spoiled Vadalis heir that was targeted by a cult of deathless assassins known as 'The Stillborn'.

Luckily for us, the Vadalis compound was easily found. In this small town of roughly 1,000 people, the Dragonmarked family was the largest institution. We made our way directly to the stables to drop off our charges. We were paid (surprisingly), and directed to where we could find Serin.

Yes, Serin was actually Nolan. He had been hiding out here since our departure, and had not been idle. He introduced us to Iolo. Iolo had been doing some digging about these assassination attempts, and had discovered:
- They were being undertaken by an organization known as "The Black Flock"
- A certain assassin known as Crow had been asking around Irongate, looking for sellswords. Presumably this was to replace the ones we have killed.

Over the next few hours discussion we learned that Nolan was a Dragonmarked scion of his house. His dragonmark allowed him control over animals and other beasts. Whether the flock wanted him for that, or for other nefarious purposes, we didn't yet know.

Iolo's investigations had also discovered that some unknown group was descending on Lakeside. We were pretty convinced that Nolan's cover was blown (and just in time, naturally). Luckily, while we discussed this, Nolan started getting more and more drunk on fine brandy. He agreed to go with us to the town's only Inn, and set a trap for this group.

When we arrived we found out that a woman had been asking around for Nolan. While the party arranged to purchase the second floor of the inn, Arashi told a stable boy to go to this woman and tell her where we were. The Innkeeper was kicked out. The party spread out on the first floor, and Paulic took a spot in the second floor window overlooking the entrance.

Three figures approached the inn. Paulic quarried one, but did not shoot. They entered, and after a short (and fruitless) conversation, a bar fight broke out:

An insane Kalashtar Monk, a Black Flock Necromancer, and an archer, just inside the door. Nolan was in the rear. Iolo was right up by the enemies (and Phedre's MC Shaman Spirit Companion). The middle row on the left was Phedre (on the bar), Arashi, and K'rrul (hiding on the stairs). Jasper was in the back, and Paulic was upstairs.

- Iolo darted in and with a flick of his rapier, spectacularly missed. The miss was most likely a feint, though, as he slashed across the face of the lead caster (minor action attack crit following his standard action miss).
- Paulic moved to the top of the stairs and executed a crit himself. Things looked smashing for the heroes!
- Phedre turned undead. . .and nothing happened. Seems her keen elven eyes and highly trained Clerical knowledge took a back seat to her hatred of Stillborn and she failed to check whether this necromancer was undead before she tried turning her.
- *Immediately* after she turned undead, the necromancer summoned a good handful of skeletons. Don't think the party didn't point out this poor timing to Phedre at the time. It's a good thing her flouncing on the bar top didn't provoke an Opportunity Attack when she moved in to Turn Undead.
- The tide began to turn. A skeleton ran at Nolan, cowering in the back of the tavern, and cut him down.
- The crowded inn was filled with explosions of thunder and lightning as Arashi and Jasper cut down skeletons in an effort to turn the tide.
- Paulic must have spent the months traveling in honing his craft. Instead of turn after turn of twin strike, he used all the tricks available to him, shifting around the battlefield and in general, filling even more things with arrows than before.
- Iolo's skill set was a perfect fit for our eclectic group. With no real solid front line, or a battle strategy worth anything, our plan is usually to scatter like roaches and chew at the closest or weakest thing we could find. Iolo was a natural at this.
- K'rrul, towards the end of the battle, leaped into the shadow of the necromancer. Due to the unintentionally suggestive things that got said about his status, he was dubbed the Sexual Assassin.
- When the outcome of the battle started looking inevitable, Phedre shrieked "I won't be denied!", as she wanted to be the one to deal the deathblow to the assassin.
- Paulic had a great time shouting that same thing before each shot for the rest of the encounter.
- The archer was cut down, and then the Necromancer, but the monk was still kicking. Like, really still kicking.
- Once bloodied, he was intimidated into surrendering by Arashi.

As it was well past our normal ending time, we stopped right there. . .


Iolo is our friend Dan's character. A hybrid bard/rogue. He fits really well, and it looks like the powers of those two classes are pretty complimentary. He has quite a few ways to gain combat advantage by himself, as well as some leadery things (like CA for *everyone* and his 1/encounter heal). He is already more liked in the party than K'rrul. Can you blame them though? He's a half elf. . .

And Andrew (Paulic's player) was so bugged that we gave him a hard time about only twin striking, that he spent the intervening weeks poring over his cards. He was really, really effective with all his powers available. I highly approve!

This was our first fight since our shopping trip. Sadly, I don't think much got used. Arashi kept forgetting to activate his bracers to resist necrotic damage (until too late). Jasper changed the damage type of his curse once or twice, to no real effect. Of course, that is just how I like it. I like the power residing in the PC's, not their trinkets.

K'rrul hid in the Necromancer's shadow for one round, but the comments lasted the rest of the encounter. I can't wait until he can do that Daily, for an entire encounter. The lulz will never end. . .


PS - blogger is being a tard about me uploading the one picture I have for this session. I'll work on it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

AP: Do you have this +2 Goblinkiller Armor in baby blue? It sets off my eyes.

Alternate title: "Does this Cloak of Fireslaughter make my ass look big?"

Fear not gentle folk, I have not forgotten the blog. We have not gamed every week, so I am working on getting 2 sessions down. The session for this post was a shopping trip and globe trotting adventure. Not a lick of combat.

Our intrepid adventurers Paulic, Phedre, Arashi, K'rrul, and Jasper again sallied forth from a campsite surrounded by the rotting corpses of their fallen enemies. Paulic's excellent pathfinding and knowledge of natural processes sped our feet and we made our grand entrance into the Fortress of Fading as night fell.

Our first order of business was to raid the vault of our slain would-be ambushers. Irus took his share of the loot and bought his contract from Paulic, returning to his family in the city for now.

We traveled together to Senzimay's estate. She welcomed us warmly, and offered us a place to rest for a day, and her services as a ritual caster. We graciously accepted, and got to shopping.

Eladrin only trance for four hours a day, so the city was teeming with life at all hours. We had a bit of time to ourselves to unload the vast amounts of wealth we had acquired. Enough, in fact, for each member of our party to purchase one 8th level magic item.

A good deal of real time later, and one in game day later, we had satisfied our urges and spent about half of our current capital on becoming more efficient killers.

Then we began our travel. A couple of days hiking out of the mountain to the sea to catch our boat. No incident in the city (surprisingly), and no problem finding our ride outta town. The boat took a few weeks to sail West along the coast to the mouth of a large river, where we were dropped off. We hiked to the small seaside fishing village Seaside Reef. There Arashi leapt on his summoned horse and galloped ahead to the next large town, Quarry. In Quarry he hired a boat to go upriver, and when the party arrived we boarded this boat and traveled to Aridusk by boat. Another few weeks.

From Aridusk we were able to board the lightning rail and traveled in style to Verithrond. We hurried to the Vadalis compound to find Nolan. . .and he is not there. Nobody knows where he is. We are told that if we want to find him, we had best find the man known as Serin. He is posted in the Vadalis stronghold in Karrnath.

This is where our Eberron geography lesson occured. Since even with the map, divining how our voyage transpired was difficult, we related the voyage to landmarks in the US. We just left New Hampshire, took a boat to Minnesota, and then all the way up a river to like, Colorado. Or something. Now, we found out that the place we needed to be is like, Ohio, or Kentucky. Or something. Also, we found out that Nolan's brother was the King of Wisconsin. Nice.

Faced with the prospect of another long voyage, and one that would be simpler if we could only travel through the Mournland (remember, the Louisiana Purchase is an impossible mess to travel through), we started poking around for a way to teleport there.

Our eventual solution was to hire a house Orien mage to teleport us as near our destination as possible. To defray the tremendous cost (well, we could easily afford it, but we didn't *want* to pay) we offered to transport some magebred draft horses for house Vadalis. That was roughly half of our trip paid for. Not bad.

The deal went off without a hitch, and we ended the session arriving in Karrnath with a dozen expensive horses. A few hours ride was all that kept us from the next leg of our journey. . .
Quite a bit of time was spent dividing up our money and purchasing goods. It had been awhile since I played in a shopping session, and I kind of enjoyed it. Like planning an assault, it can be fun occasionally, but can also be a drag if done too often. We had been hoarding our goods for awhile, so we had around 23,000 or so GP to spend. Most upgrading was actually pretty utilitarian. We couldn't afford to buy up too many plusses, so we bought items that helped us in other ways. Jasper got some gloves that let him change the damage type of his Curse, and spend some charges to add damage to an enemy. Arashi got some gauntlets that helped him resist damage. I think once our Mage and Cleric learn to enchant and transfer magic items we will do a little more of the upgrading. I know K'rrul still has a +1 neck piece, and I'm sure he's not the only one behind on the big three.
A lot of off topic chat, as we weren't really all focused on buying stuff together. One random conversation began as a musing as to what Deathless (an Undead Elf variant in the Eberron setting) ate, exactly. We determined that they can only eat twinkies that were forged when they were still alive. Twinkies are forged in the fires of Mount Doom. "Come and get 'em while they're hot!" Sauron says, as he adjusts his apron.
I guess you had to be there.