Thursday, May 21, 2015

Session 29 Synopsis

We last left our stalwart band of heroes in the second level of the catacombs of Dragon's Roost - more specifically in the minotaur Sun Room, resting and getting ready to continue on after the terrible explosions and ceiling/room collapses. Asphodel summoned an earth elemental to dig out a tunnel along the route where the hallway was to the grand chamber of the dragon. During the digging, they recovered the dead kobolds' bodies and gear plus the Moon card one of the kobold's was holding at the instance of its untimely death. They discovered that the Moon card has the following properties:

The Moon Card Power: Wish on the Moon: Receive healing equivalent to a Cure Light Wounds Spell (1d8+5) Effect: Gain concealment from enemies within 5 squares to you until the end of your next turn Action: Swift Location: in card’s square Frequency: once per encounter for each creature

When the earth elemental broke through to the chamber, it was immediately fired upon by numerous enemies using bows and spells. It dropped back out of the entrance it created dead and scorched, then disappeared like all summoned creatures do. So Asphodel started summoning her eidolon, hoping that nothing would rush them while she spent the entire minute in the summoning ritual. No one moved. They waited and nothing came into view, so they surmised they were waiting for the party to show themselves before attacking.

They debated a bit amongst themselves and decided to lash a mirror onto the end of Jobi's magic quarterstaff to get a look into the room without putting anyone in harm's way until absolutely necessary. They saw only two kobolds about midway into the room with composite short bows and looking quite strong for kobolds. So Zerak got an idea to use his last ostrich egg as a giant stink bomb. They thought about attaching an explosive onto the egg before throwing it, but thought better of it in light of what had happened earlier, plus when thought about it, the explosion may dilute the stink too much by scattering and/or vaporizing it in the blast. Asphodel cast numerous buffing spells on herself, Zerak, and Blackwell, including stoneskin, cat's grace, ablative barrier, and others before the battle began since she knew the coming altercation was going to be very, very bloody. And the Blackwell threw the ostrich egg and it laded exactly where he wanted it too - forcing the two kobolds to scatter from it. But he had exposed himself to attacks from the other kobolds in the room and he was hit by other arrow fire and magic missile spells. And so the battle commenced...

Blackwell jumped back out of the line of fire as Kel, Zola, and Asphodel advanced. Asphodel went after the dragon and found it very difficult to hit, let alone damage. Almost immediately the dragon flew away from Asphodel and positioned itself close to the entrance to the tunnel the heroes carved out and used its negative energy breath weapon - dealing significant damage to at least half of the party. Fortunately its breath weapon didn't actually do anything more than negative energy damage and didn't drain energy or abilities (that would have been truly dire). jobi retaliated with a magic missile spell, only to find out that somehow the dragon was immune to them. So Jobi decided to take on a more supportive role and started to heal her comrades as needed in order to keep them in the fight - all the while trying to stay out of the way of any more dragon breath attacks. Blackwell and Zerak began concentrating on the kobolds in the room. Four of them were exceptional fighters (using kobold standards, that is) and tow of them wer actually quite accomplished sorcerers (very surprising indeed). Zola resorted to using searing light spells in addition to physical attacks against targets that she was able to hit (i.e. kobolds in the beginning).

Asphodel tried again to use the Donjon card against the dragon, but it failed to do anything. This was the first time the cards hadn't worked as expected. But then again, this was the first time any of them tried to use the same card against the same enemy more than one time. Maybe the cards only affect a creature once. Or maybe the dragon had some sort of protection against the card(s) now that it had already been the victim of their use against it. She made a mental note of this as something to ponder later, for right now things were looking a bit chaotic and deadly.

Shortly into the battle, however, a new threat made itself known to all. The band of five adventurers that our heroes had encountered before on top of Dragon's Roost materialized as if out of thin air amongst the warring combatants. They must have come through the other tunnel out of this chamber, presumably the one that the dragon would use to go out hunting for food and treasure. Then made themselves invisible so they could position themselves around the room without being seen in order to get some surprise strikes in at everyone. The human fighter appeared behind Blackwell and took a sizeable chunk out of his hide. The drow rogue did some significant damage to Kel via arrows. Zola was fired upon by the half-orc barbarian, who was definitely no slouch when it came to ranged combat. Then the bulk of the group, including the dragon and its kobold lackeys, took damage from two different fireballs cast by a human wizard and what looked like a dwarven cleric.

Trying to make the best of a bad situation, the party split their efforts into attacking the dragon and its comrades a bit more than the evil adventurers in hopes that the other adventurers would help out by taking out some of the kobolds and damaging the dragon along with our heroes, along with Jobi doling out healing to whomever she could reach. And to a certain extent, they did help out in that respect. But they also began concentrating their attacks, especially ranged spells, like fireball and lightning bolts more at the party than anyone else. this prompted a very short-lived "truce" between the party and the dragon. The dragon had been concentrating its attacks against Kel and Zola, quite effectively knocking them down to edge of death. Zola just laid prone, hoping to feign death so as not be a threat anymore to the dragon so it would leave her alone. Kel, also being very badly hurt, did the only thing she could to keep herself alive, was to channel positive energy and heal herself and the party members close by. This also ended up healing the dragon. This caused the dragon to look at Kel with a confused look and her trying to show that she wasn't going to attack it by backing up a couple feet with weapon down. the dragon took that as a sign to end hostilities against her, for the moment, and concentrate on some of the evil adventurers. It flew the short distance over to the rogue that had been firing arrows at everybody for the last several rounds of combat and began battling the dark elf. Zola took the opportunity to crawl away and begin healing herself so she could rejoin the battle as soon as possible.

Kel then flanked the drow rogue with the dragon and between the two of them, eviscerated the dark elf. But as with all evil creatures, the truce was now inconvenient for the dragon and it tore into Kel since the opportunity presented itself. Any mortal would have been ripped into a mutilated mass of flesh and broken bone after the dragon finished its next attacks against Kel, if not for the heroic abilities and luck that our stalwart band possesses (translation = 2 hero points used). As it was, Kel's left hand was completely severed off and went flying across the room. Then the dragon started to concentrate on Blackwell and Asphodel. And this gave Jobi a chance to run out to Kel and use more healing magic on her to steal her away from her impending death. Unfortunately for Zola, where the dragon landed kept her in the fray and so she had to try and keep away from the dragon as much as possible which delayed her healing for a while. In addition, Zola had been using the Throne card to slow down the dragon in hopes of being able to get away, or at least avoid any more consecutive rounds of attacks from it. The dragon's attention also had the effect of forcing Blackwell to teleport back and forth from the tunneled out hallway and back into the room numerous times, trying to stay out of the way of getting hit (effectively using his comrades as his personal living shields). To his credit though, he was also able to attack the human fighter that snuck up on him using his sneak attack ability since he was literally popping in and out. But one time when doing this, a kobold who was still alive at the time, rushed and grabbed the Vizier card after Blackwell had used it against the human fighter, depriving him of regaining the card for the rest of the battle.

Asphodel decided to go after the half-orc barbarian that was firing arrows quite effectively at the party and her charge, now fueled by her rage, bowled over the half-orc and hurt him severely. But he had a card as well and used it on Asphodel. She became completely dominated by his will to rush and attack the nearest of her allies, which happened to be Blackwell. Fortunately for Blackwell, Asphodel's attacks missed their mark (arguably the worst attacks of the entire battle), and he was spared their potentially devastating damage. And fortunately for everyone, the card's effect on Asphodel was very short-lived as well. When she regained her senses, she helped Blackwell finish off the human fighter and then stormed over to the half-orc and obliterated him.

Meanwhile, Zerak was summoning up rhinos to deal damage and preoccupy the human wizard that kept throwing area spells at them. Then he followed up the second rhino with a wasp swarm that definitely distracted the wizard until he was finally killed by magic missiles. Jobi also had a chance to use the Euryale card she was holding and successfully petrified the dwarven cleric, allowing other members of the party (Zerak and Blackwell) to start concentrating on him. Afer the petrification wore off, Zerak his the cleric with the Skull card and knocked him unconscious. And that allowed Blackwell the chance to run up to him and deliver the killing blow, putting the cleric out of their (as in the party's) misery.

Only a bit more than a minute into this chaotic battle, it was reduced to just our heroes and the umbral dragon. The only one "brave" enough to go after the dragon head on was Asphodel. The rest of the party believed, and possibly rightly so, that the dragon would just make a meal out of them if they ventured too close, hung back and tried to decide what ranged offensive actions they had at their disposal would be most effective against this terrible and intelligent beast. Asphodel raged on and faced the dragon in the air and attacked. And by some whim of luck or by chance of fate, or maybe destiny itself, she scored some of the most impressive hits of her life against any foe. She lashed out and ripped into the dragon's skull, tearing flesh, breaking bone, and piercing the soft, vulnerable brain tissues that hid beneath that massive skull. The dragon convulsed, and quickly died with a look of incredulous surprise as it crashed to the hard stone floor. This time, Asphodel was able to contain her rage and did not lose herself the maddening bloodlust of the unfettered carnage and gore covering the room and her allies. She quickly dismissed her eidolon and fell to the floor next to the dragon, landing in the growing pool of blood leaking out of the fist-sized hole in its skull and staring straight into its large, opened unseeing eyes. And there she sat as she slowly regained the strength to function normally again...

Sometime later, after completely searching the area our, heroes found not only the Vizier card stolen from Blackwell during the battle, but also all the following items, which includes the dragon's hoard, everything that the kobold's had, and everything that the group of evil adventurers' had as well:
  • The Chalice of the Dragon - one of the three sacred vessels that Sir Oakley needs to purify the temple on Dragons Roost
  • 800 platinum pieces
  • 2,250 gold pieces
  • 5,000 silver pieces
  • One golden vase with mithral inlays of minotaur origins - a great artifact for
  • One suit of Half-plate +1 of Jousting
  • One Morning Star +1 and Holy
  • One Mask of a Thousand Tomes
  • One suit of Chainmail +1
  • One Heavy Steel Shield +1
  • One Bastard Sword +1
  • Three Cloaks of Resistance +1
  • Two suits of Leather Armor +2
  • Two Javelins of Lightning
  • One Composite Longbow +1 (+4 strength)
  • 40 Arrows +2
  • One Rapier +1
  • One suit of Full Plate +2
  • One heavy Wooden Shield +2
  • One Mace +1 of Wounding
  • One Wand of Scorching Ray (12 charges)
  • One Headband of Vast intellect +2
  • A pair of spiked gauntlets
  • 5 javelins
  • A masterwork greataxe
  • One masterwork hand crossbow and 20 bolts
  • One climber's kit
  • One set of masterwork thieves' tools
  • One Healer's Kit (full)
  • One masterwork light crossbow and 20 bolts
  • Fourteen sets of kobold-sized leather armor
  • Four sets of kobold-sized chainmail
  • A slew of kobold-sized arms, including daggers, swords, staves, spears - all non-magical
  • Two kobold-sized Composite Short Bows +1 and 40 arrows
The cards they found among the dragon, kobolds, and evil adventurers were the following:

The Ruin Card (found on another koblod) - Power: Touch of Ruin: Ranged touch attack within 15ft radius – hit target is slowed and weakened (DC16 Will save ends both), miss and target is slowed until end of your next turn Effect: You and target teleport and swap places, any creature ending turn in card’s square is weakened until end of its next turn. The card does not teleport with creature who activated the Touch of Ruin power Action: Standard Location: in card’s square Frequency: once per encounter

The Talons Card (found on a third kobold) - Power: Grasping Talons: Ranged touch attack within 25ft radius – hit target paralyzed (DC16 Will save ends) – miss and target is paralyzed until end of your next turn Effect: Any creature ending its turn in the card’s square is paralyzed until the end of its next turn. Card moves to random adjacent square. Action: Standard Location: in card’s square Frequency: once per encounter

The Idiot Card (found on the evil human wizard) - Power: Touch of Idiocy: Ranged touch attack within 15ft radius – hit target is stunned (DC16 will save ends), miss and target is dazed till end of your next turn Effect: Any creature ending its turn in card’s square is dazed until end of its next turn. Card moves to random adjacent square. Action: Standard Location: in card’s square Frequency: once per encounter

The Rogue Card (found on the evil half-orc barbaian) - Power: Rogue’s Incitement: Ranged touch attack within 50ft radius – hit target is dominated till end of your next turn. Dominated creature moves and attacks nearest ally on its round. Effect: You are pushed up to 5 squares in a random direction, anyone in card’s square does 1d6 extra damage. Card moves to random adjacent square Action: Standard Location: in card’s square Frequency: once per encounter

The Sun Card (found on the drow rogue) - Power: Sun’s Refreshment: Receive healing equivalent to a Cure Moderate Wounds Spell (2d8+10) Effect: Gain concealment from enemies adjacent to you until the end of your next turn Action: Swift Location: in card’s square Frequency: once per encounter for each creature

Next week's exciting adventures continue with our heroes camped out with Sir Berrian's group of elves in the forest within Gardmore Abbey, where they could study the new cards they had recovered to discern their powers. Now they had a total of fifteen of the cards from the Deck of Many Things, three quarters of the fabled twenty-two card deck. Also, they had two of the three sacred vessels they needed to recover so Sir Oakley can do the purification ritual. Plus they needed to heal up and relax a little as they decided their next moves - do they now go to the wizard's tower, or will they go back to Winterhaven to report back and present the artifacts and items they found to those looking for them, or do they do something completely different...


  1. PART 1

    The chirping of nighthawks filled the air as the last vestiges of sun peaked through the trees surrounding the Elvish encampment. The band of elves went about their usual business casually, all but ignoring the presence of the night’s guests. The word of the cleansing of the temple above them on the plateau had glad news but there still remained the settlement of orcs and the dreaded tower on the side of the highland. Jobi stood before a wide gap in the forest, straining her vision to glimpse the last of the sun’s light.

    “I cannot tell if that’s the Sun, or if you’re still glowing,” she heard from a voice approaching. She smiled a bit and without turning her head replied, “ You have become quite the flatterer.”

    Zerak stopped beside her with his arms crossed and joined her gazing of the sun from behind his hood. Jobi glanced at him from the corner of her eye. He has been changing, she thought, maybe the Goddess does work in mysterious ways. She turned her eyes back to the setting sun, sighing contently as it disappeared from the horizon.

    Zerak coughed and shifted his weight as his fingers twitched on his elbows. Jobi glanced at him again and noticed his back stiffen as he sucked in a long breath.

    “The display was more than magnificent than any horrors we’ve witnessed or may ever witness and Sarenae is truly a wise goddess for choosing you for such an honor,” he let out in a hurried manner without pausing for breath. His chest sank as he grimaced.

    Jobi turned her head to stare at the half-elf. She blinked, unsure how to fully take the statement. After a quiet moment she turned back to pink sky through the trees.

    “…Yes,” she said at length, “But then I knew she was wise already, before this occurred..”

    Zerak pushed his head back and squinched his eyes shut for a moment. He shook his head and coughed again.

    “I do appreciate the irony of someone of your heritage being blessed,” he stated, then quickly added, “And by that I mean most people wouldn’t look past their surface of others to see what their… heart… holds. Not that I’m saying I—”

    “Zerak,” Jobi interrupted, “I get it, no need to elaborate.”

    He nodded and sighed. The sky from between the trees darkened as the stars and the moon started to take their nightly dominion.

    “Though, I have to ask,” he said, “Even with your lifelong devotion… did you ever feel a pull from your infernal heritage? Just a little temptation?”

    Jobi spun so fast that Zerak stepped back in shock. Her face burned redder than her Scorching Rays and anger in her eyes threatened to reduce him to ashes where he stood.

    “What in the Nine Hells is that supposed to mean? Are you trying to taint this? Must you always try to find the negative in everything?” She glared at him, then started to turn, “I’m going to bed.”

  2. PART 2

    “No, wait, stop!” He threw up his hands in a defensive manner, “Please, that’s not what I meant! I wasn’t trying to accuse you of anything! I.. I just…”

    “You ‘just’ what? Spit it out!”

    Zerak’s shoulders slumped and he bowed his head. He took a deep breath, then pushed his hood back. Jobi arched an eyebrow at the sunken expression on his face.

    “I wasn’t… I’m sorry for bringing this up now, for using your joy to ask about this, but it’s been bothering me—” Zerak took a step back as he saw Jobi’s eyes narrow and heard her foot tap, “I was trying to ask you about me.”

    Jobi stopped tapping her foot. She did not move a muscle, her expression did not change.

    “What.” was all she said.

    “I’ve only told Asphodel, and even it wasn’t the whole story. At least she’s the only one I remember talking to about it. And she was there for a bit of it, too,” he said as he avoided her gaze, “You know those dreams I have…”

    “Yes.” she replied flatly.

    “Well,” he sighed, “Valthruun had some answers…”

    As the sky finished its transformation Zerak explained to her at length what the sage had told him. The version of the history of necromancy he was told, the machinations of Szass Tam, and the possible history of his doll Priscilla. He also described the results of the spell Valthruun casts and how unexpected the results were. As he finished he finally looked up at Jobi’s face. Gone was the anger and the impatience. With the little bit of light given by the moon and stars he could tell it was now filled with concern.

    “No wonder you drank yourself to a stupor that night,” she finally said.

    He nodded, “It’s not every day you find out that you may or may not be part of a Lich’s long-term plans and that you may or may not have been carrying around an artifact of doom for most of your life.” He paused, then snorted a laugh, “Though at this point I’m amazed I have the nerve to act surprised.”

    Jobi smiled a little, some what relieved that his sardonic sense of humor was still intact.

    “So then why now, and why this way?” she asked.

    Zerak hung his head lower in shame, “Part of it was working up the nerve as to the now. As to the why this way…” He sighed, “You have been blessed by Sarenae, even though the unfortunate reputation and expectation of your people runs counter to this occurrence. As far as I know you’ve never been inclined to even consider giving in that part of your nature. I… have far less excuse for the path I was on, and I almost surrendered to it.” His voice went quieter, “And now I have some answers as to why. And now I truly wonder if there is any hope for me.”

    Silence filled the air for a moment.

    “Do you believe the sage’s version of history,” Jobi finally asked.

    “Moral relativists have always looked to revise history to ease their own consciences,” he replied, “And everyone has a different version. But what we have seen so far only scratches the surface of what I have studied and reality is much more horrifying than the dry work of scholars. So to answer, no, I do not.”

    Jobi nodded in satisfaction. “And what do you want your path to be? And don’t give an essay this time, please.”

    Zerak paused. “I used to fear death. Now I just fear not truly living. I wish to embrace the light.”

    Jobi smiled softly and touched her shoulder, “Then I will help you.”

    He returned the smile. “Thank you.”

  3. PART 3

    Zerak’s eyes went wide as Jobi stepped forward towards and put her arms around him a warm embrace. He stood there for half a moment, then slowly returned the hug. After another moment Jobi pulled away.

    “We should probably get some sleep,” Jobi said, “We have a busy day tomorrow, going into the temple—”

    “Again,” Zerak said, shaking his head, “Soon we’re going to be able to claim squatter rights to the place.”

    Jobi laughed as they walked back to the encampment.

    Shortly before dawn Zerak felt aware of a hand on his shoulder.

    “Zerak. Wake up. Zerak. C’mon. …GET UP IDIOT.”

    His eyes flew wide as he saw Jobi standing over him. He noticed a glow coming from the corner of his eye.

    “Zola and I are about to start our daily prayers to Sarenae. Would you like to join us?”

    Zerak smiled. “I’d like that,” he replied as he began to sat up, “I’ll be with you in a second.”

    “Good,” she said, “Oh, and by the way…”


    “You can consider this as, ‘having a moment’.”