D&D Encounters Quest: Scourge of the Sword Coast, part 7

Since D&D Encounters is a casual play program, and we have people coming in-and-out with an alarming degree of regularity, I think I’ll start every ‘Encounters’ post with a listing of the PC’s. In our case, the party ballooned since the launch weekend.

  • Waxon, an Elven Cleric of the Wood Elf variety, no relation to Wax-off
  • Szenden , a Half-Elf Fighter
  • Gavan, an Elf Mage of the High Elf variety
  • Valantis, an Elven Monk, also of the Wood Elf variety (newcomer)
  • Tassidar, a Half-Orc Fighter (newcomer)
  • Belhand, a Half-Orc Monk (returning from the Legacy of the Crystal Shard adventure)
  • Javert, the Drow Paladin (returning from the Legacy of the Crystal Shard adventure; unfortunately, my imaginary tale of Javert hulking out into Belhand has fallen by the wayside…unless I go with their bodies being separated, like how the Hulk and Bruce Banner were separated (temporarily) in the late 80’s (see The Incredible Hulk #315-324 for more details on that story.) Incidentally, I think playing an Elf that ‘Hulks out’ into a Half-Orc would make a great 13th AgeOne Unique Thing,’ though how this would affect the gameplay mechanics would need to be worked out. To not cheat, I think the best way would be for the PC to effectively create two characters, but really be only playing one at a time: the Elf when calm, the Half-Orc when angry (albeit with the same equipment, which when combined with completely different skill sets, could present a unique PC roleplaying challenge, though I think to be fair it’s up to the DM when he / she hulks out.)

But I digress…

I teased Szenden’s player that since there was nothing on the bounty board, he was so depressed that he went whoring for the remainder of the night and slept in the next morning, leaving Waxon and Gavan to do the dirty detective work while the rest of the party just arrived. He apparently liked that story so much, it became canon. It does occur to me though that this may be to the party’s advantage at a later date when we eventually try to track down Natasha.

For now, with our party size more than doubled, we debate whether we should travel to Julkoun by land or sea. Since the failed shipment was supposed to arrive by boat, we decide to sail upriver. Thankfully, we don’t have to rent boats; since we’re investigating, Daggerford is happy to loan us two of their rowboats. Gavan is especially thankful in that we have so many beefy, strong fighters in the party, he can relax a bit as he’s below average when it comes to strength (a mighty score of 8; for those that don’t know or have never played D&D, typically character scores range from 3-18; while a strength of 8 is hardly pathetic, Gavan would not be the first choice to execute a feat of strength, like forcing a door open, or pulling a comrade up a cliff.)

As we sail, we pass by an area called ‘The Laughing Hollows,’ an area that we notice is ravaged by fire. We make a slight detour to investigate a bit, and while we found evidence that the fires were started by someone, we find no evidence of any malicious intent. For all we know, it can be a campfire that accidentally raged out of control. With no other evidence, we continue on to Julkoun.

When we arrive, we immediately notice a great deal of property damage. The town is basically divided by a wall, so we can’t see the state of the buildings behind the wall. However, those closest to the riverfront appear to be the least damaged, while the remaining buildings have been burnt to ashes. We search the intact buildings for survivors, but all we find is a bloody axe int he carpenter shop.

Suddenly, we hear a horn sound three times; eight goblins are making their way from a guard tower at the end of the dividing wall I mentioned. Naturally, we engage them in combat. Despite being joined by four more additional goblins, and a hobgoblin who appears to be their leader, we’re able to make short work of them for the most part. Gavan’s pitiful contributions to this battle include shooting arrows that hit anything and everything except the enemy. Searching the enemy, we find an equivalent of 80 gold pieces in jewelry and cash.

Searching the remaining buildings reveals nothing more, so we make our way to the tower; Valentis is the first to climb in, where he is ambushed by a single goblin. Thanks to some uncanny luck, or severe lack of luck depending on your point of view, this battle lasts longer than it should, and it’s actually rather comical how many problems the remainder of our party has climbing up this tower. Finally, Valentis puts down the goblin and lowers a bunch of ropes to make our lives easier as we all pull our best Adam West as Batman climbing up a wall impression.

So we get past the wall into the town proper, and see that this lower part of the village is not burned. Landmarks of interest include a mill, and a building where we can see colored glints on the roof. We decide to search the latter first, where we discover the building is a church, with stained, colored glass detailing images of a rose, which we know to be the symbol for Chauntea. However, we find nothing else at the church.

We go to investigate one of the mills; despite us trying to gain a tactical advantage by having us approach different entrances, the 6 hobgoblins within put up a great fight. In fact, as the fighting goes on, 4 more hobgoblins enter the fray, two from upstairs, and two emerge from a side room. Gavan manages to burn quite a few with his Burning Hands spell (think magical flamethrower emitted from your hands), though he technically is hacked into unconsciousness in-between castings. Thanks to some well-timed healing, he is able to make a second casting, and in the end, we emerge victorious, though we’re now rather battered, bloody, and bruised. We find 40 more gold pieces on their person, and a trunk containing 150 gold pieces worth of treasure. We suspect the trunk contains much if not all of the town’s wealth, and as a party decide to return it if we find that anyone has survived. We basically left things here at this point; I’m somewhat assuming we spend the night in that mill, as we could definitely use a full night’s rest.

One detail that I missed in the last post that thankfully someone else at the table remembered is that Julkoun apparently has an underground inn of sorts. We’re theorizing that most of the townsfolk are hiding there. That’s our hope, at any rate. As long as the weather holds up (it’s supposed to snow this coming Wednesday in my neck of the woods), I’ll find out at the next D&D Encounters session at my friendly, local game store.

D&D Encounters Quest: Scourge of the Sword Coast, part 6B

Fully recovered from the previous night’s battle, the caravan continues their travels, arriving at Daggerford in the late afternoon. There is a commotion at the town gates; there are a large number of refugees shouting at another group of six guards, led by some female warrior named Sherlyn. Talking amongst the refugees there, we find out that the Duke of Daggerford has decreed no more refugees enter the town, insisting that there is not enough room left. One of the Daggerford residents named Curran, a Halfling priest of Tymora, Goddess of Luck, speaks on behalf of the refugees, but to no avail. We notice in particular two very vocal refugees, a husband and wife, the latter of which being pregnant with child. We surmise that she would not survive out here in the wilderness, so we pay for their passage into town. Apparently, any person with at least 5 gold on their person is allowed in, so after a generous 10 gold pieces donation by the party, and the husband and wife are let in.

This did not have a positive effect on the remaining refugees, who pick up rocks, apparently looking to start a fight. Sadly, there is no way for us to pay for everyone’s entry. Meanwhile, Gavan notices that one of the guards is white as a sheet with an itchy trigger finger. Our fighter tries to intimidate the crowd to stand down, but fails. While not terribly charismatic, Gavan tries to reason with the refugees, but also fails. Our Cleric steps up to the trigger happy guard, to calm him down, and gets shot at with a crossbow bolt for his efforts, though the bolt misses. Sherlyn orders the trigger-happy guard to stand down, but the guard is rather insistent, as he drops his crossbow and pulls out his spear to try and stab Waxon. He fails, and Waxon attempts to restrain him. Thankfully, Szenden’s second attempt at intimidation goes much better, and the refugees drop their rocks and scatter. Sherlyn again orders the guard to stand down, but despite the strength of her commanding voice, he continues to be aggressive. As Gavan is not physically strong, he cannot help much in terms of restraint. If only someone hadn’t stolen his Hold Person spell from his spellbook. More importantly, if only Gavan could remember how to cast 2nd level spells! The trigger-happy guard drops his spear, and pulls out a dagger in another attempt to injure Waxon, but fails once more. He finally drops his dagger, falls to the ground, and begins to whimper and cry. Clearly, something is amiss…as Curran invites us to come see him at the Lady Luck Tavern whenever we can.

Having received a summons by Sir Isteval, we are able to enter the town unscathed. We enter the town of Daggerford; Waxon has thankfully been here before and we’re able to find the residence of Sir Isteval rather easily. However, we find out that Sir Isteval went to investigate the raids, checking the roads between Waterdeep and Daggerford with a Kelsin Darktretter. Unfortunately, there is no time table as to his return.

In the meantime, we find that the Lady Luck Tavern has no rooms for us, but the River Shining Tavern does; it appears as if this will be our base of operations for the time being. With spend the remainder of the evening / following morning pursuing leads for potential employment for a group of adventurers. When I say we, I mean primarily Gavin and Waxon. Szenden went to check out the bounty hunter board and found nothing, then left in a huff (in real life, his player had to leave.) Considering the cost of staying is 2 gold pieces a night in the common room, it’s not like we have a choice. In other words, we pursue a number of adventure hooks; in no particular order.

  1. Knoll attacks – A half-orc rancher / refugee says the Eastern trade-way is littered with gnoll attacks; apparently this is what the scouts, Kelsin, and Sir Isteval went to check out. Furthermore, there’s an area nearby with a small keep that in the past served as a popular hunting ground for Waterdeep nobles, but the noble house famous for organizing these hunts has fallen into disfortune in recent years.
  2. Orc Raids – in the ruins of Harpshield Castle, human militia scouts are reporting orc attacks in / around the ruins of Harpshield Castle
  3. Whimpering Guard – We visit the local jail, where we’re re-acquainted with Sherlyn, to see if we can find out more about the guard that freaked out. What we find out is that the guard in question claims a female voice told him to shoot (in his head), and that he hung himself the previous night. Conversing with his guard friends, we learn that he’s recently been out and about in his spare time with a Natasha.
  4. Delimbiyr Bloke (sp?) – a Dwarven tablet that states “Friendship is more than a word,” and artifact of the Duke of Daggerford, this relic was recently stolen. The Duke suspects the refugees, and even had their hovels ransacked to try and reclaim his property, but to no avail. This apparently is at least one reason why the Duke is no longer allowing additional refugees into town, as having looked around, there appears to be more than enough room for everyone (for the moment.) We actually are able to meet a Dwarf named Jek (courtesy of Curran at the Lady Luck Tavern) who had an local artist named Alvin Gissen make him a plaster copy, as he had wanted to purchase the bloke, but the Duke refused. Seeking Alvin to see if he had any additional information on the stolen bloke, we find out that he’s lucky enough to have a room (paid up in advance for weeks) at the Lady Luck Tavern. Gavan pretends to be making an art supply delivery, and plays the “you know how fickle artists are; this is actually the second re-delivery he had the company I work for make. He has to inspect the items, so I can’t leave it with you, etc.” This lucky role-playing has me (with the tavern owner) inspecting Alvin’s room, where we discover his change box filled with money. So right now, we’re operating on the assumption that Alvin is missing, as why would anyone go on an extended trip without their hard-earned coin? We find out that Alvin’s girlfriend, Natasha (the same Natasha who was associated with the guard that hung himself), is a local “working girl,” at the Lizard’s Gizzard (who comes up with these names?) However, the half-orc madam of the establishment won’t let us see Natasha. It’s unclear if Natasha is also missing, or is actually at the establishment, but is being protected at this point.
  5. Delfin the Immortal? – The local mage of Daggerford named Delfin, sworn to protect the town, was missing for a century, then suddenly re-appears and resumes his duties with no explanation. We’d have thought people would be more curious as to what happened, but apparently, the Duke was happy with him resuming his oath to protect the town. We try to pay him a visit, but he won’t take visitors at the moment.
  6. Julkoun mystery – Along the river, from Daggerford to Julkoun, there is usually trade. Julkoun is known for their silk, and their ships travel to Daggerford to sell their wares. However, their usual shipment never showed. We learn that in Julkoun there are lots of fey locals that worship Chauntea. The local Chauntea priest of Daggerford keeps in regular contact with the Julkoun priest; we find out from the Daggerford priest that the way they keep contact is through carrier pigeons, and in fact, most of Chauntea’s carrier pigeons arrived recently with no message. We are able to learn from the pigeons (don’t ask me how) that many of them left under duress, as they were being attacked. We also learn that the Duke is paying 25 gold pieces each to the people who find out and fix whatever problems are plaguing Julkoun (i.e. re-establish the trade between Daggerford & Julkoun), so I’m guessing this will be the venture the party chooses to pursue when we meet this coming Wednesday.

D&D Encounters Quest: Scourge of the Sword Coast, part 6A

Simply due to time, I’m going to have to split this past weekends adventure into two posts. D’OH!

So with the ending of the Legacy of the Crystal Shard, Wizards of the Coast had their Launch Weekend for the newest season of Encounters with Scourge of the Sword Coast. So for myself this past Sunday, at my friendly, local, game store I participated in over three hours of adventure to kick things off. I wasn’t too sure if I was making a new character or not; however, not many players showed up, and we ended up with:

  • Waxon (as opposed to Wax-off), a wood elf Cleric
  • Szenden , a half-elf fighter
  • And returning to throw down the magic, Gavan, an elf mage

While it was not required, in my mind, I had to think of a way to explain why Gavan was suddenly less powerful (level 3 to level 2) and poorer than he was previously. I toyed with the idea that this was another ‘version’ of Gavan, but then decided that since Gavan is insanely clumsy despite having an above average Dexterity score (+2 to Dex checks!), on his travels from Icewind Dale to warmer lands, he tripped and hit his head on a rock, giving him selective amnesia. Suddenly, he forgot how to cast level 2 spells and what not. To top things off, while he was unconscious some thieves came along and stole most of Gavan’s gold, as well as his silver shortsword, and some pages from his spellbook.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

So the three of us meet at a tavern, presumably at or around Balder’s Gate, and decide to team up to save the world, or at least make a quick gold piece. As adventurer’s, we hear of a summons by a Sir Isteval, Paladin of Daggerford, requesting aid to take on a mission. Apparently, Waxon is acquainted with the retired Paladin, who suffered a leg injury awhile ago that cannot be healed by magic. That alone is a curiosity, considering healing magic’s potency. Heck, D&D is a world where you can resurrect the dead. How is it that a leg injury can’t be healed? But I digress…

As luck would have it, there’s a caravan leaving for Daggerford that can use some guards. After some haggling, we manage to convince the caravan leader to pay us 3 gold pieces each as well as food for our protection, though we won’t get the money until the caravan safely reaches Daggerford.

So a day out of Daggerford, the caravan has gotten quite a ways larger due to displaced refugees. These refugees tell us of raids by orcs, goblins, etc. We pass by what looks like a vandalized, burned town, and quickly search the place to ensure there is no danger. Gavan rolls a 3 on his search check, and proudly proclaims: “Look guys! I think there’s grass over here!” Thankfully, Gavan’s party members find some more meaningful clues, including a dagger that is too small for the average adult hand, and leftover arrows twice as long than the usual kind. Szenden’s experience as a bounty hunter (and unusually high skill check rolls) tell him that this is a gnoll arrow.

Catching up to the caravan, we inform the other guards of out findings and continue our travels towards Daggerford. We eventually camp for the night, near a farmstead that unusually has no lights lit. We search the farmstead, and find lots of blood a few days old, a bloody wood axe, a severed hyena paw, as well as bite marks on the door. We do find some more useful items, such as casks of ale, 3 hams, flour, and sugar. We take these items back and give them to the caravan refugees, as well as notify the caravan leader of our findings. Immediately a cold camp (no fire) is called for, and we meet with the guards to figure out our defenses. This does not last long, as we eventually hear what sounds like broken pottery coming from the farmstead. The three of us go to investigate, and find 2 wolves with empty burlap sacks standing guard outside the structure. Gavan suddenly remembers from his schooling that goblins often work with wolves. Naturally, a fight ensues and as we take out the wolves, rocks go flying out of the farmstead windows towards our mostly elven faces. Fighting our ways in-doors, we are greeted by eight goblins eagerly looking for a fight. I manage to flank the goblins by entering through a side window and despite being reduced to a single hit point, manage to take out one goblin with a burning hands spell (think of a flamethrower coming out of your hands) and another with a magic missile spell (think 3 magical arrows that never miss). Sadly, Waxon (also our healer) is unconscious, and for a moment, Szenden and Gavan our unable to stabilize him (Szenden failed two checks and Gavan fails one; I’m pretty sure we just decided to pour numerous bottles of rubbing alcohol on him, thinking it would work like a healing potion, before we finally remembered how our first aid training.) We’re finally able to stabilize him and return to the caravan camp. Thankfully, the remainder of the night is uneventful and we’re able to fully recover from our wounds.

D&D Encounters Quest: Legacy of the Crystal Shard, part 5

So the party finally reaches the end of their destination this past Wednesday night. The party changes quite a bit from week-to-week, but we have, in no particular order:

  • Cellis – Human Ranger
  • Bruce – Dragonborn Fighter
  • Ragner – Dragonborn Druid
  • Waldo – Dwarf Cleric
  • Helga – Human Cleric
  • Gavan – Elf Mage
  • Belhand – Half-Orc Monk (formerly Javert, the Drow Paladin)

The player that was playing Javert wanted to try out the Monk class for D&D Next. The way I like to think of Javert is that like the Incredible Hulk television show, he got angry, and metamorphisized into a Half-Orc Monk.

It is also notable that the only player character that has been through the entire season of Legacy of the Crystal Shard is Ragner. Waldo only missed one session. Everyone else joined at various points throughout the game. A final key point is that for whatever reason, we made very slow progress in this adventure, and had to basically “jump” to the end so that we could end tonight’s adventure, as this weekend the next season of D&D Encounters launches with ‘Scourge of the Sword Coast.’

So the party had defeated a bunch of pirates, arrested some oily Luskans, a corrupt ferryman, and a mage named Gant. We’re enjoying a meal when a battered & bruised Barbarian warrior from the Elk tribe comes to see us. He waves quite a tale about his tribe and several towns defeating attacking monsters and what not. The more interesting part is that he has managed to track the location of the ice witch that is believed to be responsible for these attacks. His tribe attempted to take the fight to her door, but were promptly spanked for their efforts, so they turn to the honorary members of the Elk tribe, namely us.

So off we go trekking across ice and snow to the ice witch’s tower, a structure that appears to be mostly composed of the black ice / crystal that’s been corrupting people in the region. Along the way, we have a random encounter with a Big Polar Bear, which we rather easily defeat. Not that things weren’t treacherous; a crack in the ice suddenly ruptures, and the more clumsy among us (i.e. Gavan, the Elf with a +2 to his dexterity checks, yet proves to be a clumsy oaf when push comes to shove) find themselves tumbling down into icy waters below. The clumsy are saved; Gavan is left with 1 hit point, but magical healing brings him up to near-peak condition.

So when we get to the tower, we find a nearby cave to rest for the night to recover from our horrific ice water swim. While there, my mage suddenly remembers from his history class some of the origins surrounding the black crystal; something to do with someone that tried to conquer the lands of Icewind Dale with a crystal artifact but failed in the end. Unfortunately, there are no mention of any special defenses against the crystal’s effects, and considering the tower is mostly composed of this black ice, we were concerned with its corrupting effects. However, as it turned out, our worry was misplaced. The environmental hazard we should have worried about was the intense cold.

So the next morning, Gavan and co. enter the tower and kind of like Bruce Lee in ‘Game of Death,’ we have to fight our way to the top. On the ground floor we battle dwarves and barbarian’s under the Ice Witch’s control. That isn’t too bad, as Gavan’s Flame Sphere spell proves to be rather potent. Gavan also does his best Gandalf impression, and manages to take down a few enemies with a silver shortsword. We then proceed up the spiral staircase to what we think is the top floor. It is actually the middle floor, where we meet the Ice Witch, the ‘Chosen of Ariel, the frost maiden’, who seemingly descends from an opening in the ceiling. After some attempt at settling things peaceably, she summons a wind elemental to kill us. Joining the wind elemental, is the Undead corpse of the holder of the black crystal artifact I mentioned earlier, though this undead corpse reminded me more of a vampire. He was disappearing from view, and re-appearing; in fact, he knocked Gavan unconscious, but is thankfully defeated.

We use magical healing to recover, but are more or less out of it. To make matters worse, Gavan is completely out of magic, and has to rely on his bow-and-arrow skills. There is actually an air current (presumably magical) that takes us up to the top floor where the Ice Witch is. The battle is rather close, as her Ice Spears do a brutal amount of damage, and she takes out two party members in no time. Still, our heroes manage to prevail in the end, thanks to a well-timed arrow to the knee (just kidding) by our Ranger.

And so ends my foray into the Legacy of the Crystal Shard. I’m not sure what character type I’ll go with; I’ll probably attempt to go with something that our party lacks, like last time, as I don’t mind. Given a choice though, I may want to go with my Monk ‘archetype’ of Kirok, Disciple of Kirk-Fu!

Gamer Quest: Happy 40th Birthday D&D, part 1

I’ve traditionally used ‘Game Producer Quest’ to talk about everything. But on reflection, I’m thinking it may be more beneficial to mix it up a tad, so the few (literally a few) that come across this blog know what they’re getting as soon as they get to the title. ‘Game Producer Quest’ is about game production, ‘Home Cook Quest’ is about making Japanese curry from scratch, ‘Gamer Quest’ is about games, etc. As opposed to ‘Why is this called Game Producer Quest when this guy is talking about the Boston Celtics?’ Actually, to be honest, I should probably re-haul this blog one of these days, make it look more attractive, etc.

So with that preface out of the way, 2014 is Dungeons & Dragons 40th Anniversary. Fans have been posting video’s, blogs, and tweets  about what D&D means to them, a brief story about a meaningful experience with the game, etc. Here’s my submission into the revelry.

I have two older brothers; we began playing D&D together when I was seven years old, starting with the original 1983 Basic Red Box. On one hand, seven is a tad young to be playing tabletop RPG’s, but I was always mature for my age and a wiz at simple math, so there was actually very few if any problems with the content.

Naturally, the experience was extremely fun, and helped to nurture both my imagination and my love for games of all types. Like many, I love video games, but I also love board games and tabletop RPG’s. Even if I never play it, I have no problems investing in a tabletop RPG, just to read the systems and get ideas on game design and the like. Come to think of it, many games (either RPG’s or having RPG elements) owe thanks to D&D, as many of those systems / design ideas come from tabletop RPG’s.

Most people talking about D&D’s 40th have spoken of a specific experience playing the game. I won’t necessarily talk about a specific moment, but rather a general observation that I find amusing. I’ve been a lifelong comic book nerd as well as a gamer, so all my D&D characters tended to have ridiculous, superhero names, like “Golden Sword,” “Shining Star,” or “Silver Sun.” In hindsight, it was silly, even ridiculous, but it was also fun. And in my defense, I was a kid!

I guess I’ll also share one of my favorite character ‘archetypes.’ I’m probably mis-using / butchering that word, but c’est la vie. As I tend to collect tabletop RPG’s, I remember picking up the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia, which had the Monk class. This lead to the creation of a character that never saw play, but has seen numerous versions created throughout the years in multiple RPG systems: Kirok, Disciple of Kirk-Fu (or Shat-Fu if you prefer.) Check this and this out if you need a laugh. Anyways, as he leveled up, his title would change to ‘Master of Kirk-Fu.’ I can’t help but think a womanizing monk (it doesn’t matter if you’re an elf, dwarf, half-orc, halfling, gnome, dragonborn, or attractive even; as long as you’re female, you’re fair game in Kirok’s lusty eyes) with fighting abilities that look ridiculous, yet are somehow inexplicably effective would be fun to play. Clumsy dropkick to a kobold? Check. Double sledgehammer to the kidneys of an Ogre? Check. Chop to the back of a Dragon’s neck? Check. Roll a natural 1 on any of these attacks, and your party will likely shake their heads in disgust as you attempt your patented drop kick, only to completely miss and fall on your arse. Alternatively, roll a natural 20, and the rest of the party will stare in awe as they wonder how something so extravagant, unorthodox, and ridiculous can be so effective!

I think there’s a simple beauty in D&D and tabletop RPG’s in that they not only nurture the imagination, but also provides an outlet for creation of some sort. Not everyone can create incredible art, digital or otherwise. Not everyone can compose music, whether you’re writing down the notes or composing by ear. But anyone can pick up 1-2 pieces of paper, follow some rules, roll some weird looking dice, and create a fantastic character that can be heroic or silly, villainous or sneaky. The best part is that you’re only limited by your own imagination.

Me personally, I’m looking forward to 5th edition D&D when it releases this summer. My guess is that the release will coincide with this year’s Gen Con in August, but then again, I’ve been wrong before.

So for the gamers out there who play nothing but video games, you probably owe it to yourself to check out D&D, or some tabletop RPG that strikes your fancy. There are so many to choose from nowadays: Pathfinder, 13th Age, Numenera, Dragon Age RPG, the upcoming Firefly RPG, etc. There are RPG’s of nearly every genre and flavor you can think of, and at least one of them will likely tickle your fancy. And with modern technology, you can play with your friends over the internet, so it’s more accessible than ever before.

D&D Encounters Quest: Legacy of the Crystal Shard, Part 4

So I held off on posting last week’s encounters session to space it out a bit, as there will be no session for me this week. The DM who normally runs it will be out of town. Actually, he couldn’t have timed things more perfectly, as it’s supposed to snow all day tomorrow.

Partially because we have a rotating cast of players, and partially as a friendly reminder, the current party set-up consists of:

  • Ragner – Dragonborn Druid (also has the unique distinction of being the only player to have participated in every session of this adventure.
  • Waldo – Dwarf Cleric
  • Solis – Human Ranger
  • Gavan – Elf Mage
  • Val – Human Rogue
  • Bruce – Dragonborn Fighter
  • Javert – Drow Paladin
  • Someone whose name currently evades me at the moment (i.e. I totally forgot to write it down, because on occasion I can be rather stupid. He’s a cleric though!)

So when last we saw our heroes, we were on our way to The Northern Lights Inn, located in the coastal town of Caer Konig, to see if two oily Luskans are there. As it turns out, they are, enjoying a fabulous meal of cheese and choice meats. They try to keep up their charade of painting magical symbols on boats that repel the pirates, unaware that we now they’re fake. To get them out of the tavern, we pay to have them paint those symbols on our boats (which we totally don’t have) and proceed to the docks, where we surround them and get them to admit their wrong-doings without a fight. They try to bluff their way out with fake magic wands, but fail, and they end up imprisoned, awaiting execution, with the Seeker of Caer Konig. The Seeker also hires us to take care of the pirate problem. Naturally, we don’t mention that Easthaven has already hired us to do so, because there’s no need to that. Really. Honestly. No need, whatsoever.

So we return to Easthaven to drag Creeden the fairyman to the Easthaven Seeker, where after some interrogation, he admits to working with the pirates, and even tells us the location of the pirate base, hidden in a cove. He also tells us the main pirate ship is easy to recognize, as it has a Black Ram figurehead adorning it’s bow. As justice in these icy lands consists of public execution, Creeden will hang soon enough. In the meantime, we take a boat to the pirate base, only to encounter the pirate ship loaded up with pirates. At first, we were thinking of trying to capture the ship to sail to their base, but then we discover something interesting; the Black Ram adorning the bow is made of black crystal; the same crystal corrupting the Dwarves we encountered several sessions back.

Naturally, a fight breaks out, and despite the odds (I lost track of how many pirates were actually on this ship), we emerge victorious in the end, thanks to some lucky rolls by us, unlucky rolls by the GM, and a flaming sphere that I used to help clear the area. The Black Ram crystal is so powerful, without touching it we can feel its affects making us more aggressive, so after searching the pirate corpses and the ship, we set it on fire.

What happens after this is a bit of fast-forwarding, as we only have one more session left to complete this adventure before the next season begins. Will our ragtag party emerge victorious, relatively speaking? Heck, who will be the final members of the party to see the adventure through to the end? It’ll be fun to find out the answer to both those questions.