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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Cattle Driving Necromancers-Bizarre Campaign Journal

    So I wanted to run a mega-dungeon campaign after completing a very extensive open world sandbox game. The DM Screen was passed back to me after a lengthy hiatus and I decided to enact an idea I had been tossing around in various threads here for some time. The first session was unlike anything I ever dreamed to expect and while I have recapped a bunch of my groups sessions before, this one is on a whole different level.

    If this first session is any indication I am in for a world of hurt.

    Campaign Premise:

    On the border of three nations a complex which stretches deep below the earth is discovered. For one hour every thirty days, the doors to this dungeon come open, and at the conclusion of one hour, no force mundane ,arcane, or divine can keep them open. At first this structure was deemed an oddity. Once tales of those who survived the thirty days and exited with vast wealth and long forgotten relics spread it became a boomtown. It has been six months since the doors opened for the first time and strange tales of those altered by their experiences have been whispered.

    Three base camps exist outside the dungeon:

    The Northern Camp, controlled by Frost Giants and presided over by their Jarl. Most of the humanoid bands (orcs,ogres etc) make this their camp. Thievery is harshly punished.

    The Eastern Camp which is presided over by the magistrate of a human kingdom. Well organized, and most reputable of the three, also the most congested and hardest to gain entry and exit.

    The Western Camp which is the Thay camp. Prices are the highest, but the merchandise is the most valuable. Crime is rampant and it has more of a survival of the fittest feel to it.

    The hour of entry is controlled chaos, or complete madness depending on the point of entry. Merchants and Vendors of all sort litter the territory around the dungeon and wares range from the genuine oddity to random garbage. Adventuring supplies are all available but at inflated rates. Trade routes into the territory are all through rugged terrain and heavily poached by bandits.
    Inside the complex are interior vendors, all heavily paranoid and willing to sell wares at staggeringly high prices.

    The World In General:

    *Item Crafting has been lost to antiquity. Brew Potion, and Scribe Scroll are the only remaining craftable skills.

    *Magic items are vastly overpriced based around normal expectations. Any wonderous item or magical arms/armor are heirlooms, rare and treasured.

    *No characters exist beyond level 9 in the world. For intents and purposes it is as if the world is just breaking free from the constraints of an E6 setting.

    *The Drow were shattered and spread out from the Underdark. They exist now as nomads and wanderers. Lloth is but a whisper to history though some do still cling to the old ways.

    *Planar Travel is all but eliminated, and those scant few demons and devils that exist on the Material Plane are awesome in power and infamy.

    *Dragons are scarce. Few are ever sighted, and fewer still ever engaged.

    Game Mechanics:

    *There is an extensive “Ban” list of spells and items. Some spells have been dramatically altered.

    *Level caps are illusionary, once the adventure takes off any perceived limitations on level or ability will go out the window.

    *Magic items and items of power will be available once they are located in the dungeon. Martial Classes dependent on gear will not be gimped, just delayed.

    Ban List:
    All Teleport Spells and items
    All Flight spells and items
    All Raise Dead/Reincarnate etc
    Terrain Altering Spells, StoneShape, Soften Rock, Earth to Mud etc.
    All Calling Spells


    Altered List:
    Summon Chains:All summoning spells now have a casting time of 1 hour, and the duration is 1 minute per level.

    Create Food/Water: May only feed one creature per casting. May be used to alter food from one edible form to another. I.E. meat to fruit or fruit to meat.

    Detect Secret Doors, Knock, and other trap locating, door opening, trap disabling spell now provides a bonus to a rogue or similiarly trained skill user.

    Session 1:Rolling With My Gnomie’s


    Spoiler
    Show
    So with preparations as complete as they can get I finally am introduced to my new group. They have elected to enter via the Eastern Gate, and their group leader is the first to enter the vicinity of the dungeon camp.

    She is called Seraphim…a dainty and demure half elf with ivory skin and flowing golden hair. Her voice is musical and she is bundled head to toe in snow fox furs. She hails from a remote tribe of elves in a frozen country and as she moves from stall to stall she enthralls and entices just about every merchant with her grace and beauty. She is well versed in diplomacy and actively engages most of the magistrates official’s and vendors to her favor. Her player (previously Kemen) hands me her character sheet.

    DM: So your flirty and entrancing half elf is a NE witch focused on poisons and evocation spells huh? And I see that she has several undead minions from Command Undead?

    Seraphim: Yep. She took trustworthy as a trait so she could have Diplomacy as a class skill.

    Waiting for her outside the camp are the rest of her party. Most noticeable are the nearly 7 foot tall skeletally thin twins. Both wear long black robes with hoods, their waists adorned with simple rope sashes. Across their backs are matching scythes with bony handles. They are pasty to the point of nearly looking undead, and while they are extremely slender, there is corded muscle underneath, and if you had the fortitude to really focus under the hood you would see elongated canines that could easily pass for fangs. They are introduced as Hades and Pluto. Both have this glazed over, far away look in their eyes, and they each have constant half smile that seems vacant and forced, the effect is unsettling and very bizarre.

    DM: You made matching dhampir undead lords?

    Twins: Yes, we worship the literal incarnation of death and this hallowed place is surely his one and true domain. We come to apply our unique brand of worship in this holiest of his temples. To him we shall render many offerings.

    In their wake is a powerfully built spectre in full plate armor, heavily ensconced with skulls and reliefs of utter anguish and depravity. The figure in the armor is vaguely humanoid, like a serpent given limbs and stocked with muscle. His visage is grim beyond mortality and there is an odor of the grave that emanates from his center. A shield and scimitar hang at his sides like very old friends. Emblazoned on his shield is a sigil, that of an open crypt. In Yuan Ti runes is a motif “The grave is a resting place only for those who lack the conviction to rise”

    DM: And this grim warrior’s name? A: Dis Pater

    Dis Pater: Yes, I serve the God as well.

    By serving the God he means that he is a literal servant of death, Dis Pater is a knight of the sepulcher (cause anti paladin wasn’t extreme enough) and he serves the twins cause.

    In control of their goods and handling their mounts and tack is a Hobogoblin with a naginata strapped across his back. An assemblage of strange mounts dot the pack mules and horses. The surly and constantly stalking goblinoid is moving and forth and seemingly controls the animals with the barest motion of his hand or even the slightest movement of his head.

    DM:So…Cavalier, Barbarian, and you are going to add Ranger

    Skalagrim: Controlling animals is what I was born to, every path has it’s own quirks. I just looked at them all.

    Skalagrim’s goal is to take Horse Master at level 6. With the ability Expert Trainer he can take the feat at level six and treat his character level as his effective druid level for his Cavalier mount, his barbarian mount, and his ranger mount. He will basically have three fully scaled druid animal companions. It seems a bit unusual, and perhaps unbalanced (certainly not as intended) but we run with it for the time being.

    Lastly, almost hidden amidst the chaos of their mounts is a tiny cloaked figure virtually invisible on the back of a spinosaur, it is of all things a goblin and he looks like MacGuyver if MacGuyver had a severe speed and cocaine addiction. Various pieces of disassembled traps and artifice litter the saddlebags on his mount and he has a constant unnerving shake to him.
    Skalagrim shakes his head at the goblin and names him Chomper.

    Chomper is a Horse Lord/Trapper Ranger who has a spinosaur as his companion and is heavily invested in Stealth and Traps.

    So I have a pair of undead lord clerics, a socially gifted witch, a lunatic antipaladin, an animal companion obsessed warrior, and a twitchy goblin Macguyver on a dinosaur.

    They are like a self-contained gothic circus and once the rest of the group hits the main camp they are sure to raise considerable eyebrows. The last time I had evil characters they pretty much all backstabbed and murdered each other, but they assure me that everyone is on the same page and they will play nice (with each other anyway).


    Pluto:
    Dhampir Undead Lord 5: Str 14 Dex 14 Con 12 Int 11 Wis 17 Cha 18
    Feats:BF:Command Undead, Spell Focus:Necromancy,Selective Channeling,Undead Master

    Hades:
    Dhampir Undead Lord 5:Str 14 Dex 14 Con 12 Int 11 Wis 17 Cha 18
    Feats:Spell Focus Necromancy,Selective Channeling,Undead Master

    Dis Pater:
    Nagaji Knight of the Sepulcher 5:Str 18 Dex 14 Con 14 Int 10 Wis 13 Cha 18
    Feats:Channel Smite,Extra Lay of Hands,Extra Lay of Hands

    Skalagrim
    Hobgoblin Mounted Fury1/Cavalier4:Str19 Dex 14 Con18 Int12 Wis14 Cha 7
    Feats:Calvary Formation,Power Attack,CleaveMounted Combat

    Seraphim
    Half Elf Gravewalker (Patron-Elements)5:Str10 Dex14 Con12 Int20 Wis12 Cha 16
    Feats: Skill Focus Diplomacy, Brew Potion,Extra Hex (Cackle),Ability Focus (Hex),Extra Hex (Cauldron)
    Hexes: Evil Eye, Cackle, Cauldron

    Chomper
    Goblin Horse Lord/Trapsmith Level 5:Str 12 Dex 22 Con15 Int14 Wis15 10 Cha 5
    Feats:Calvary Formation,Mounted Combat,Two Weapon Fighting,Weapon Finesse

    Undead Minions:
    Witch:
    Via Bonethrall (5HD): Skeletal Unicorn
    Via Command Undead (5HD):Skeletal Grizzly Bear
    Undead Lord 1:
    Corpse Companion (5HD):Skeletal Centaur
    Command Undead (9HD):
    Via Animate Dead (20HD-8 open): Zombie Hill Giant
    Undead Lord 2:
    Corpse Companion (5HD):Skeletal Centaur
    Command Undead (9HD):
    Via Animate Dead (20HD-8 open):Zombie Hill Giant
    Animal Companions:
    Skalagrim:Heavy Horse (via Mounted Fury)+Anklosaur from Cavalier
    Chomper: Spinosaur via Horse Lord

    Every character has equipped themselves with masterwork weapons and armor along with spare/range weapons and masterwork tools where relevant. The dinosaurs and horse are all armored, and they have outfitted most of their undead with various saddlebags, backpacks and provisions. Seraphim has built a good stockpile of potions mostly cure and inflict spells but also some such as hold person,blindness/deafness, and alter self.

    All told they still have over 40,000 in liquid resources. The majority of which they are hoping to use and acquire extra dimensional storage or magic weapons.

    Amidst the outside bazaar atmosphere she skips and moves from vendor to vendor and from cart to cart, and comes up with only one bag of holding for sale. A type one for 35,000. Magical arms are scantly available from outside, and only for trade. Before they can take their first step into the dungeon they all have to confer on how they will spend remaining funds, or if they stand pat and and wait until their next exit to spend their money.

    Seraphim: My instinct is to believe that coin and gem bare little value in this vicinity. At least not for the goods we seek. Best served in soaking all the money we have into poison, and further scrolls/potions.

    Dis Pater: We should maintain a reserve for bribes, otherwise sure.
    Twins: Agreed.
    Chomper: Need more parts…but that won’t run more than a few hundred.

    Skalagrim: Did they have any cheap horses? True nags or run down workhorses? The ones that look one step from the grave?

    Seraphim: Not that they were advertising, but they were all certainly amidst the stables and corrals.

    Skalagrim: Buy as many as you can. Preferably broken down oxen or old oxen.

    Pluto: What need for broken down horses that will leech our supplies?

    Skalagrim *grinning*: Three Fold. First: A stampede has immense value, Second: It’s supplies that walk, Third: Once we get our supplies from their flesh, we have fresh bones for skeletons. Should come cheap too.

    Add to their list of minions 25 head of cattle and 8 badly aged or injured light horse. Their last piece of business before actually entering the dungeon is to arrange entry into the dungeon. For this camp everything is based on two factors:

    1st: Time spent waiting for entry-I.E. first to arrive gain vouchers for their place in line, and are then free to move about, and if you were passed over from the previous month then you get higher priority for the following month.

    2nd: Donations to the monarchy can escalate your priority for entry. Yeah it’s basically a bribe in a tuxedo, but morally they are fine with that. Entry is limited to 10 “parties” each with a six minute window to get inside, anyone or anything not inside within those six minutes is not allowed access.

    Seraphim inquires about the current “reservation” status and logistics for her party. She is politely informed there are currently 23 parties with priority ahead of her own, and that with three days until entry the best that could be arranged is a donation that would bump them to 11th, so first crack to entry the following month.

    They are more than three days distance from the next nearest camp, and have no desire to wait an additional month. She actually offers nearly their entire remaining reserve (close to 30,000) and is still told 11th is the best they can offer. She accepts the initial donation (5,000) and takes her voucher back to the party. They are hardly pleased with this outcome.

    Skalagrim: Why settle for 11th? If you couldn’t manipulate a toady, then you should have gotten us and we would have intimidated him.

    Seraphim: No need for that. If we want to work from this camp in the future we can’t go murdering all the administrators.

    Dis Pater: Then what are you suggesting? That we wait a month?

    Seraphim: No…simply that we murder the party that is tenth in line. Or at least disrupt them enough to cause them to give up their place. Killing someone out here is murder and could lead to execution. Killing people inside is status quo.

    The whole market is crowded and there are small camps of would be adventurers all over the place. It is an easy enough matter to locate party #10, but a whole different matter to attack them. Party #10 consists of two elf archers, a gnome bard, a dwarf cleric and a human shield fighter. They are all well equipped and apparently well supplied. Ambushing them in an open market is ill advised, so they decide to have Seraphim do a drive by. The alluring witch parades past most of the group camps to a mix of cat calls and whistles while Chomper watches from obscurity for reactions from the party. The gnome definitely takes a second glance, the elves look a bit disgusted and the fighter’s jaw is hanging open.

    She circles back to the group outside the camp and they compare notes. The goal is to pull at least one of the party to the forest where he can be ambushed and killed. Then use him as bait for some or the rest of the group to come get him. The ruse they are going with is straight forward seduction with a bluff check from Seraphim to convince the fighter to follow her back to her camp for some privacy. Once loverboy is toes up, she will return and ask for help carrying their friend back as he got a little carried away with the wine and can’t walk.

    The first part of that plan goes off without a hitch. Fighter boy dopily walks into the mass of undead and is quickly dispatched. The second part hits a bit of a snag. They are smart enough to send Chomper as Sera’s shadow in case something is amiss otherwise this could have been severe. When she returns to inform the party of their warrior’s inebriation she is met with very questioning stares.

    Gnome: Colin never drinks wine, not a drop. Can’t stand the taste of grapes.

    Dwarf: I am thinking you are not telling us the truth strumpet, and that the guards would be best suited to sorting this out.

    Sera immediately puts on a great performance, great sobbing tears , total meltdown.

    Seraphim: Please don’t! My pimp will kill me as soon as he finds out. If I delay too long in returning he will come looking for me and if I am with the guards he will kill your friend and then me. He is a savage hobogoblin with no remorse, I am just trying to survive. Please! Follow me back you will see what a brute he is. I was supposed to drag one or two of you back to a trap, but you are strong and number four, together you can beat him.

    Elf: We have no reason to believe you. But our friend is in jeporady, for your sake pray he still lives. Reggie…you and Tanks follow the whore. Siblin and I will cover you from the trees by bow. If everything looks as she says then we will pepper the hobogoblin with arrows, and should we get Colin back then we make a case for supporting her with the guards. If he is dead, we kill them both and leave them to rot. Everyone got it?

    Chomper: Heh Heh Heh. Yeah I got it.

    As Seraphim meanders them through a winding path back to the group’s base, Chomper rushes back to warn everyone of what is going on and to set up a welcoming committee. They tie and bind the dead fighter after animating him as a zombie…just so he moves around a bit. Then Skalagrim plants himself with his horse near Colin while everyone else moves the mass of animals and skeletons back and away. Chomper sets himself up in well hidden spot near enough Skalagrim to help. Everyone else moves off quite a distance so as not to spook the incoming rescuers. Once Skalagrim makes contact he is going to stall for time to allow everyone to work their way back in.

    Seraphim brings the gnome and dwarf in and cheerfully tries to finish her original ruse.

    Sera: Alright boss, his friends are here to help carry him. You can untie him know…I’m sure he won’t try to fight you anymore.

    There is the slightest hesitation when she sees him actually moving.

    Skala: Your friend can’t hold his wine, and he is rude enough not to pay up front. I take you are also going to pick up the tab for his entertainment?

    Tanks (dwarf):We are going to pick up your carcass from the dirt once we get our friend back you thug. See thing is, you are the one about to get rolled.

    From the trees the two elves burst in with bows drawn and trained on the hobogoblin.

    Elf 1: Drop the dagger, and maybe you can explain this away to the guards.

    Seraphim falls to her knees clutching Elf 2 and begins sobbing.

    Seraphim: Please don’t let him hurt me! Please…I …Inflict Serious Wounds on the elf.

    Chomper:Leaping from the tree to make an attack against the dwarf.

    Skalagrim: Hefting Naginata mid charge against elf 1.

    The gnome is the only person that doesn’t suddenly have a face full of trouble and he tries to yank a whip free and trip Skalagrim, but Skala is already on the elf and swinging.

    There is a bit of back forth the next round, but then the animals and faster skeletons hit the clearing and from there it’s curtains for the elves and dwarf. Somehow the gnome managed to avoid hostility and he is cowering against a tree trying to inch away.

    Chomper is ready for his spinosaur to eat the gnome when Skalagrim stops him.

    Skalagrim: What is your name little whipping boy?

    Bard: Reggie..Reggie Burrows.

    Skalagrim: You have a choice Reggie. We always have room for more zombies, or you can join us. Join us and we will not harm you out of spite or malice. Betray us and your bones will stay with us for eternity, dancing to whatever tune I see fit.

    Bard: Why would you want me?

    Skalagrim: Gnomes amuse me. And you survived. While they died you lived. Some call that cowardice, I call it pragmatism. Just like when that gate opens and everyone lines up, you are going to be pragmatic when you say your group had a falling out and you decided to merge your party with ours.

    So…we haven’t even set foot in the dungeon yet and they have successfully rolled a john, murdered a straggler in cold blood, ambushed his comrades who were attempting to ambush them in a double cross and blackmailed an NPC to join their party. My what a heroic start.

    Final supplies are gathered and Reggie amends some paperwork to bump the group to 10th on the list.*

    When the morning arrives for them to enter everyone is fully assembled and eager for the doors to pop open, support teams await their heroes exits like boxing trainers between rounds, and several vendors who have established stands at the nearest rooms inside await their resupply orders. The gate itself is cordoned into two separate paths, an exit path and an entry path.

    Skala and company are one of 10 groups gaining entry today, while an unknown amount of traffic will spill out, as the exiters clear out the vendors will take over the exit path and restock inside. There is a festive excitement to the whole process and the other nine groups are assembled early and chomping at the bit to get in.

    Seraphim and Reggie hold the team’s place in line by themselves and survey the other teams. Most are well provisioned and multiple have mounts, but none has the over the top insane entourage like the PC’s. Several administrators question the bard and witch and ask about the rest of their comrades.

    Seraphim: They are running a bit late, but nothing to be concerned about.

    The instant the doors come open three bands of heroes come spilling out, all are haggard and clearly exhausted. But they are sharp enough to clutch precious items close to their bodies as they exit with their spoils. A few stragglers from splintered or broken groups make their way out over the next 30 minutes, and the vendors are moving at full steam. Team six is already inside when the rest of the PC’s show up. The Dhampir twins are at the head of the procession, they are chanting songs proclaiming the glory and majesty of death with full hearted enthusiasm. In their wake comes a graveyard’s circus of skeletons and zombies all in full black robes to make their undeath a bit more discrete. The robes pretty much fail miserably in this regard.

    Everything becomes deafening silent except for the chanting. Skalagrim comes behind the twins…his anklosaur leading him, the stocky dinosaur has a black skull painted on his head and a tombstone painted on the mace end of it’s tail. Dis Pater follows them, helm up to reveal his reptilian ancestry, as he oozes arrogance from the back of a skeletal grizzly bear. Bringing up their rear is Chomper astride his Spinosaur, who is driving the cattle and horses before him.

    Seraphim: Ahhh yes here they are.

    Administrator: Reggie are you sure these are the folks you trust more than Tanks and Colin?

    Reggie sneaks a furtive look at Skala, who somehow gets the anklosaur to start smashing the ground with his tail without a word.

    Reggie: Yep…salt of the earth these fine folks are. Trust them with my life. *probably salt the earth behind them would be more accurate*

    The last part is whispered under his breath, but Seraphim manages to hear it.

    Seraphim: We are more concerned with reaping than sowing.

    As she says this, she delicately mounts her skeletal unicorn, a truly macabre mount that is barded with the finest blue silk emblazed with snowflakes. The undead unicorn’s name is Snowflake I am told.

    Me: Of course it is.

    The entire gruesome caravan piles in during their six minutes and Chomper’s mount is the last thing through. The door closes behind them soon after and they are left to the mercies of the dungeon from this point forward. Inside it is surprisingly well lit, continual lights are evenly spaced down the entire corridor an apparent enterprise of those who enter. Some of the people in line commented on this very fact. If you find a place with no lights, then you can be confident it is new territory. Of the ten groups entering none are repeaters.

    As for the other nine…they have all scattered further in. Something Skala and company are taking their time in doing. Their hesitation stems from the person limping his way down the hallway. A human man in once fine robes, now badly torn and burned. He is covered in blood and leaning heavily on his quarterstaff. He whimpers upon seeing the closed doors. So distraught over his plight he barely noticed the unseemly nature of those awaiting him.

    Serpahim greets him warmly and asks his name.

    Stratix: I am called Stratix, a sorcerer from the east. My group was mauled by dire tigers and then harried by gnolls. I am the lone survivor. We were so close to finding the third set of stairs down when they hit us. I was so close to getting out.

    Reggie: Surely you have the means to stay near the entrance, you can make it a month at the front.

    Stratix: How? I have nothing left to barter with, nothing left to sell. The vendors are hard pressed to feed themselves, they won’t spare anything for a poor vagabond broken by the deep.

    Seraphim: Rest easy my friend. We will shelter you, we have plenty to eat and share. With your permission, I can administer healing.

    Me: He has spellcraft on par with your own, any attempts at deception will be noticed, and while murder here it not exactly illegal there is certainly enough firepower within screaming distance to create complication.

    Seraphim: No deception, true and honest healing.

    Sera heals the wounds of the sorcerer and they give him both bread and water.

    Seraphim: Join us friend. Share with us your knowledge of this place and we will see you through to the next opening. Once we make camp and get an adequate fire I am sure we can cook more filling fare.

    Stratix is a bit more focused and less addled with his injuries dissipated and nourishment fulfilling it’s duty and his attention is a bit distracted by the appearance of his rescuers. However they did rescue him from the brink and with no other option he joins in with them.

    Seraphim: Tell me good sir Stratix, what magics do you call your own. I confess to having knowledge of the arcane, but I am also curious to learn more about other’s domains.

    Stratix: A bit of this, a bit of that.

    She makes a decent enough diplomacy check and he is forthright enough to share his capabilities given the need to potentially employ them in the near to immediate future. The entourage drives forward down a long hallway that opens up the vendor’s hub. Four merchants have established footholds in the first set of rooms. Heavily guarded is each, with crates reaching the ceiling packed with various goods and stuffs. There is a branch that veers to the north, and branches that lead to the NW and NE, along with narrower passages to the West and East.

    They learn that merchants have check points set up at the NW and NE passages, while the north is mostly unexplored. Too many people went missing searching the north for it be to properly tamed. So in total six merchants have wares, two of each basically charge tolls to pass through their sections. Two passages are open but more tightly confined. Not to be overly scientific they roll a d6, 1 W, 2 NW, 3 N 4 NE, 5 E and 6 roll again.
    The dice decree that they head W. Stratix is quick to point out that he came from that direction and is not in a hurry to return.

    Chomper: If you came from the West and have familiarity with the territory then safety is increased. There is strength in numbers and we have numbers. Perhaps we could even rescue your lost partners, and failing that find some peace for their afterlife.

    Stratix: You are oddly considerate for one of your kind.
    Chomper: My kind? You mean a ranger?
    Dis Pater: I think he meant Goblin.
    Stratix: No insult intended, simply expressing my surprise.
    Chomper *shrugs his shoulders and grins*:No insult taken, thing is partner…down here race don’t matter. IF you are green, white, black, big or small you got one thing in common.
    Stratix: What is that?
    Chomper: You are always going to be something’s next meal.

    They begin the journey west from inhabited turf, to previously fatal grounds. Room after room shows signs of occupation, battle and abandonment. Ashes from hasty fires, broken tools and pieces of armor the only evidence of those who came before. Several rooms bear the scorch marks of fireballs and the gnawed upon bones of the devoured dead. The tighter corridors force a single file march and their default March order becomes:

    Chomper at the front on Spinosaur
    The Twins to his flanks
    Seraphim, Reggie and Stratix in the center
    Dis Pater to their rear
    Skalagrim with his anklo on the rear

    The Centaur zombies clog up the space behind them as they act as stoppers to corral the cattle and horses.

    Then they meet their first encounter.**A trio of large zombies (previously ogres) come shuffling down the hall with clubs. The clerics grin like it is Christmas…and Santa DM just gave them presents. The first encounter does nothing more than bolster their ranks with additional undead fodder, fodder they gleefully put on the more than front lines as disposable bodies.

    The second “big encounter” is a larger habitat type room with some fresher dead bodies, it is the biggest chamber they have found yet, with one entrance and one exit. The room dips to a valley with rock formations and a pool of fetid water. Prowling the habitat are four sleek dire lions. They are certainly hungry and they both smell and hear cattle. To a starving predator “moo” is a welcome sound.

    And thus was I introduced to the diamond offense of Pathfinder. Dis Pater becomes the point of the triangle and the two clerics takes up position on either side of him. In their center goes Skalagrim with his anklo covering his rear.Roaming around them is Chomper and his Spino. Forming a thirty foot circle around them and surrounding anything attacking them are the undead minions. Just beyond the cordon is Seraphim on Snowflake tossing hexes and spells. The lions try to swarm the point man, Dis Pater, and they are met with stiff and coordinated resistance. With reach from the center of the diamond Skalagrim is able to slash and stab at multiple targets. With minions providing flanking buddies Chomper is getting attack bonuses for his kukri’s and Dis himself is sturdy enough even without smite good being a factor.

    Then the channeling begins. The twins can exclude four targets (Read: Chomper, Spino,Skala,Anklo) and their negative channeling heals Dis Pater, themselves and all the undead. Seraphim barely lifts a finger as she Reggie and Stratix watch on.

    They stop short of re-animating the slain lions and instead, Chomper begins field dressing the animals for food. Dis Pater and Skalagrim start a cursory search for any other obvious dangers, and the twins redirect the undead to stop up the entrance and exit to the room after herding all the cattle inside.

    With the room preliminarily secured they get down to real business.

    Skalagrim: This is good enough for base camp I guess.

    Seraphim: Dis Pater would you be a dear and check on Stratix, I am out of healing spells for the day and I want to make sure none of his injuries was more severe than I anticipated.

    Stratix: I feel fine. It hardly is required.

    Dis Pater: No worries. Only take a second. Charging channel smite with scimitar in two hands…

    Reggie: you rescued him and now you are killing him???

    Seraphim: Yes dear, he knows lightning bolt and I do wish to learn that particular spell.

    Reggie: How can you learn it if he is dead?!?

    Seraphim: The blood remembers. The blood always remembers.

    As Chomper strips the bones of the lions he also salvages the bones from the lions den and begins erecting a crude throne from the remains. Stratix is murdered in cold blood and his blood drawn for Seraphim to use Blood Transcription, stealing his lightning bolt spell and teaching it to her spell poppet.

    Sera is performing the ritual to teach her familiar, and Skalagrim shudders.

    Skalagrim: Playing with her doll again…always creeps me out.

    Reggie: You have performed cold blooded murder, reanimated the dead, blackmailed and coerced people for nothing other than wanting to avoid waiting in a line, you openly communication and associate with aberrant horrors and yet her familiar creeps you out?

    Skalagrim: It’s not natural is all I’m saying.

    The dire lion meat becomes their provisions for the day, and in a subversion of it’s intended use Purify Food and Water is used to alter the meat into a form edible for the cattle and horses. They literally feed the lions to their cows.

    The lion habitat becomes “base camp”, the centaurs are left behind as guards for some of their supplies and provisions and they are instructed to not allow entry or exit to anyone except the group. It is their intention to act as a central hub and work their way out from there, and once they are confident that a better area is ready, they plan to move the herd (or what is left of it) to the new location. Not wanting to be wasteful…Chomper sets about butchering the deceased Stratix.

    Reggie: Are you seriously adding cannibalism to the list of crimes you have already commited?

    Everyone looks at each other at the table when I say that through Reggie and the clerics give me their in character grins in real life…
    Hades+Pluto: Technically none of us are human, so it’s not cannibalism. More like eating a steak that used to talk back.

    Reggie: I am thinking I might be better served just running and taking my chances in the dungeon.

    Skalagrim: Now now Reggie. Things could be far worse. At least you are on our side. Much better to be with us, than against us.

    Chomper takes the human leg that was cooking on the spit and laughs as sorcerer grease dribbles down his chin…

    Chomper: I did warn him.
    Sera: Oh?

    Chomper: I told him we are always someone else’s next meal.

    This is certainly the most bizarre first session to a game I can ever recall running.

    *My original intention was to create a bit of drama with regards to them immediately entering and see if they bribed any other groups to hold off, and failing that they would have been grabbed with scant time remaining as another group withdrew their position. They obviously took a more direct approach.

    **I had pre-planned the first several encounters as “breaking in” the party type stuff to fill the first several mostly empty sections. Little did I know Team Necromancer was in store.
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    So what are these "hex" powers Seraphim possesses? Also, could we get fanart of this party?
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    She took cackle, evil eye and cauldron.

    They are class abilities principally tied around debuffs.

    Cauldron gives alchemy boosts and brew potion as bonus feat.

    Evil eye is a nasty debuff that is very hard to nullify.

    Cackle extends duration of an active hex with move action.

    I will try to exercise some Google fu to find what I perceive characters to look like. Would love others to contribute based on descriptions too.
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    This is absolutely horrifying and awesome!

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    Amazing Avatar by Qwernt! Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kornaki View Post
    The whole world is held aloft by a dragon.

    That dragon? Held aloft by a bigger dragon.

    It's dragons all the way up
    Beat the bejesus out of a Paladin

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    Kobold

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    That was a pretty interesting read. I look forward to more :)

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    Default Re: Cattle Driving Necromancers-Bizarre Campaign Journal

    This is starting to look less like D&D and more like the war games it was based on Seriously, they're gonna have to fight armies of guys to be challenged at all.

    This is all pretty hilarious so far though! I usually ban evil characters but there's some good roleplay going on here.
    Last edited by Axinian; 2014-01-13 at 02:54 PM.
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    They initially are treating it as such, I admire the fore planning to more or less synergize the party. But when they form up its going to be tough to crack.

    If you swarm them they channel it like mad to soak damage and gain healing. If you send a single target they swarm it and debuff it down for the anti pally and cavalier to slaughter.

    Concerns of food are secondary. They will eat what they kill.

    A lot of my early stage encounters I have to scrap.

    Some things planned will take on extra dimensions of awesome.

    We rarely do evil. But give them credit....they went all in on the evil front.
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    There's obviously one really good way to challenge them, but you should save it for a special occasion

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    A more powerful necromancer. Have him suddenly gain control of their undead. That'll send em reeling.
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    Way ahead of you there. But as you said, kind of a one time
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    Kobold

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    Don't forget the joys of big AoEs... That's a lot of crunchy mook-monsters they've got running around, begging for a nice juicy fireball. Roasted marrow bones, anyone?

    A party with a coherent theme, whoda thunk? I'd say the goblinoids are odd-men-out, except their beast-handling goes well with the cattle drive.
    Why yes, Warlock is my solution for everything.

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    It seems like traps (especially big pit traps), narrow passageways, and small rooms will be their bane. Can't use em all the time, but you sure can some of the time.

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    Amazing Avatar by Qwernt! Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kornaki View Post
    The whole world is held aloft by a dragon.

    That dragon? Held aloft by a bigger dragon.

    It's dragons all the way up
    Beat the bejesus out of a Paladin

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    BardGuy

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    War Room 1: DM Thoughts and Pleas for Feedback

    After the first week's introduction it was helpful to kind of have a self affirmation...

    Rule 1: The game is just that...a game. We are here to have fun. No reason to take their cannibalism of npc's or sadism personally. Were they having fun? Yes. Was the story involving the characters and not just the game mechanics? Yes. Ok..then no reason to get confrontational or defensive.

    What is On the Horizon:

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    The wing in which they have initially set up is primarily going to be an ambush zone. A tribe of well equipped and very lethal gnolls has occupied the territory and they act in coordinated guerilla fashion to kill invaders, gather supplies and capture those persons they deem valuable. Their principal concern is capturing a skilled trap-monkey. Their chief has located a vault or strongroom of sorts, but can't get anyone through the traps guarding it or disable the lethal devices. So he has sent his soldiers to harry the corridors and search out one who can.

    *Primarily the gnolls will have ranger and rogue class levels. They are built for speed, stealth, and poison.

    *They are not worried about bravery or overwhelming opponents and they are happy to melt away against superior forces.

    *Some sorcerers and clerics will dot their ranks.

    Points of Interest:

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    1st: The Vault itself is something where the characters will get their first taste of magic items and unique flavor. Should be a good reward for solving this particular wing.

    2nd: There will be a bear druid who took over a habitat akin to the one in which they found the lions. He will have a few items that are designed to bolster animal companions. This was something built prior to knowing their character designs.

    3rd: Stratix's party was killed by the gnolls, but their rogue was taken alive. He will likely still be alive when the party tussles with the chief.

    Additional Character Backgrounds:

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    I pressed the gang a bit for added backgrounds on their characters and they surprisingly seem to make sense.

    Skalagrim (Mounted Fury/Cavalier) was a tribal warrior and horse mounted raider. He was naturally gifted from the saddle and had an aptitude for animals. His hobogoblin clan began ranging further and further and they managed to locate a verdant valley flush with tombs and abandoned temples. Prime territory for raiding they tried to establish a foothold and were decimated by the local wildlife...namely dinosaurs. Wounded and left for dead Skalagrim was rescued by a local colony of Nagaji, descendants of the Yuan Ti that once ruled the valley. Given his ability to calm the dinosaurs and keep them from devouring him, they serpent folk took him in and fostered him as a more disciplined mounted warrior. In time he took an anklosaur as a companion and rose to prominence as an outsider amid the Nagaji.

    He found kinship with another outsider, Dis Pater. Dis Pater viewed the extinction of the Yuan Ti in the valley as a weakness and embraced the tenets of undeath as a means to cull that weakness. He valued the martial prowess and anger in Skalagrim. Together they formed a strong duo, with Skalagrim training mounts for the Nagaji. They were part of a vanguard that had discovered a long lost temple fraught with traps and deadly horrors. Living happily amidst the ruins and the danger was a goblin. The last of his people and a half crazed mad men. He had spent so much time surviving the jungle and the temple's traps he had forgotten his own name. Against all odds he had created a bond with a spinosaur, and now lived in the temple where predators struggled to reach him. They admired his ability, even if they loathed his strange behavior and mockingly called him Chomper for his elongated and enlarged jaw.

    The three of them split from the valley and sought fortune and glory elsewhere. In their travels they found a cemetary overflowing with undead. At the cemetaries heart...two pale skinned brothers who seemed to be preaching a service to the shuffling undead. Hades and Pluto. Dis Pater had finally found those who shared his doctrines and understood his faith. The three became five.

    In there travels the twins revealed a history of ostracism based on their mother being a consort to a vampire. She died in childbirth, but even rarer than an offspring surviving, she produced live twins. Outcast from the cradles, they depended on the only thing that seemed certain...death. Always together, always as one they found their calling and answered with enthuiastic glee.

    Chomper one day circled back to the group telling them he had discovered something of interest. He took the group to a hunting mansion, deep in the forest. The home of a wealthy noblemen no doubt. It now lay in ruin, zombies marching around it's exterior. The twins quickly took control of the zombies...only to have that control battled against. The opposer was formidable, but no match for their ability. Curious they explored deeper and found a terrified woman chained to the wall of what looked like a dungeon. An absolute beauty who radiated charm and grace. She begged them to help free her and rescue her. Chomper shook his head and bid his comrades to hold back.

    Chomper: The chains aren't bound. She can get up and leave whenever she wants.

    At that point something never before seen occured in the life of Seraphim. For once men did not try to take advantage of her. They didn't view her as weak and in need of protection. For the first time the witch was not objectified or trivalized as fragile. Finally she had found those who respected her. The twins were eager to find someone with their prowess, Skalagrim and Chomper admired her deception and cunning. Dis Pater recognized one who thirsted for vengeance. Their party was complete.
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    Kobold

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    Strong common grounds: How an Evil party best hangs together. This is like the antithesis of every party I've ever played with, and it's pretty awesome that they took the time to weave it all together.
    Why yes, Warlock is my solution for everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by obryn View Post
    Active Abilities are great because you - the player - are demonstrating your Dwarvenness or Elfishness. You're not passively a dwarf, you're actively dwarfing your way through obstacles.

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    Default Re: Cattle Driving Necromancers-Bizarre Campaign Journal

    Seriously, Seraphim reminds me of Wanda Firebaugh from Erfworld. I love this party!

    Also, some suggestions:
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    1. Given that this was originally an ithillid vessel, I would suggest that you include multiple rings/amulets/items of Mind Blank, as ithillids would find those remarkably valuable. Also, I'm sure you thought of this, but if you want to throw the party a bone (pun quite intended), have there be traps that directly target the mind (and thus don't work on the undead). Inversely, if you want to make things harder for the party, have them encounter a lot of construct servants and guards, thus starving them of reanimatable corpses. (I'm sure the ithillids would appreciate having inedible servants).

    2. Have the gnolls make good use of their cleric's spells. Good clerics are quite effective against an undead-heavy party, and even an evil cleric can prepare positive-energy spells and Rebuke Undead

    3. Throw in a few things that would be of use to a regular party but not this one. (Wand of Cure Light Wounds, Holy Water, etc.)
    Last edited by ReaderAt2046; 2014-01-15 at 02:41 PM.
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    "Everyone's cute if you just look at them the right way"~Rebekah Patton Durham, Princess of Pudding.

    "If they have stats, we can kill them... I'd like to point out that we also have stats..." ~ PhoenixGuard09.

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    I had same thought regarding Wanda. The player says its more saffron from firefly but with a much bugger chip on her shoulder.
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    Default Re: Cattle Driving Necromancers-Bizarre Campaign Journal

    A couple more thoughts

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    1. Ithillids are supposed to be naturally psionic, so perhaps have the vault be mostly psionic gear (dorjes, cognizance crystals, etc). Throw in a few universally usable devices (stuff like the crystal masks or certain of the skins (I bet Dis Pater would love the skin of the troll, for example)). A logical way to keep loot restricted.

    2. Throw in a few rings of sustenance to cut down on the cannibalism. Logical items to find aboard an interplanar vessel.
    Prince Fraternal of Pudding, Snuzzlepal, Feezy Squeez Lover, MP, Member of The Most Noble And Ancient Order Of St. George, King of Gae Parabolae.

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    Daaaayummmm..... Whelp, I don't envy having that headache. While it looks like hell to DM, I can tell this is going to be an awesome read. I can't wait to see more in the future.
    A thing I made! The Spirited Blade; warrior of the mind come by and tell me what you think.

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    They are definitely a creative lot, I do like their concept now that I have had time to process it. For an extensive dungeon crawl scenario they are very effectively built. Will be very intriguing to see how this plays out.
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    The amount of effort they put into the synergy of their group and connection between the characters is amazing. I absolutely love it. You have an amazing group of players, no matter how evil the bastards are.

    I took a necromancer into the Tomb of Horrors once. The undead quickly found a job as trap finders, and not much more.

    A group of gnolls is going to most definitely set ambushes up around traps, either ones they've built or ones that already existed, and use the hell out of them. It's an incredibly dangerous area, and the gnolls know the layout and have been holding back adventurers probably since the whole thing started. Spring a trap, fighting retreat until you lead your enemies into something you don't even want to deal with, then ghost. Test them to see if they have someone who can deal with locks, by leading them to different areas you might want some help clearing. Hell, you could probably run a half-dozen sessions of them playing unwilling errand boys for the gnolls, clearing traps and enemies and opening magically or mundanely sealed areas for them.

    Steal ALL the cattle. Probably damn near every rag-tag group of adventurers and semi-intelligent monster is going to be gunning for those the first time one of them moos. If you've been living off of lichens and dead Dire-beasties, a steak would probably really hit the spot.

    Once the gnolls have put them through hell, have the leader of the gnolls approach them. Your players sound more like gnolls than heroes anyway, so have him offer them half the loot if they can help him open the sealed door. Of course your players are going to be planning on double-crossing the gnolls as soon as they get to the treasure, but the gnolls are probably planning for the same thing. Let the "heroes" walk unmolested to the magic door and unlock it, with them and all of their undead neatly surrounded by a force of gnolls packing cleric levels. As soon as the door goes *click*, all hell breaks loose.
    Last edited by Jacob.Tyr; 2014-01-15 at 07:22 PM.

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    A couple more thoughts
    I actually...

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    ...Have built some strange psionic crystals that will imbue the characters with psionic SLA's. Just something to add a bit of flavor and give a 2/3 per day ability appropriate for the class. It will also justify why some of the creatures in the structure have similiar abilities.


    A group of gnolls is going to most definitely set ambushes up around traps, either ones they've built or ones that already existed, and use the hell out of them. It's an incredibly dangerous area, and the gnolls know the layout and have been holding back adventurers probably since the whole thing started. Spring a trap, fighting retreat until you lead your enemies into something you don't even want to deal with, then ghost. Test them to see if they have someone who can deal with locks, by leading them to different areas you might want some help clearing. Hell, you could probably run a half-dozen sessions of them playing unwilling errand boys for the gnolls, clearing traps and enemies and opening magically or mundanely sealed areas for them.
    Love this idea. I would love to watch them serve the gnolls interests without a clue they are doing it.

    Given that this was originally an ithillid vessel, I would suggest that you include multiple rings/amulets/items of Mind Blank, as ithillids would find those remarkably valuable. Also, I'm sure you thought of this, but if you want to throw the party a bone (pun quite intended), have there be traps that directly target the mind (and thus don't work on the undead). Inversely, if you want to make things harder for the party, have them encounter a lot of construct servants and guards, thus starving them of reanimatable corpses. (I'm sure the ithillids would appreciate having inedible servants).
    This will have to be worked in. Especially if I can get them to blow up their undead army in some grand fashion.
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    There's this series of video campaign journals called Tales From My D&D Campaign that I like, and in particular there are a couple of cool magic items that you could use.

    1. The Red Cap: The titular headgear of a species of evil fae known as redcaps, this is a head slot item that grants a profane bonus to AC. It is empowered by dipping it in the blood of freshly slain sentient beings. This process consumes the essence of the blood, meaning that the hat doesn't stink. The AC bonus is logarithmically related to how many people who have thus been "harvested". 10 deaths will give the hat a +1 bonus, 100 will bring it to +2, 1000 grants +3, etc. I'd suggest starting it with a random number of "charges" between 10 and 100. Can magically change form into whatever hat goes best with your outfit. Seraphim should love this thing, but Skaladrim or Chomper would also enjoy it.

    2. Ytarran armor: This was a suit of +2 full plate, but with a few cool bonus features. It grants negative and electric resist 5, and has a stability mode which immobilizes the wearer but doubles the resists and grants +4 on checks or +2 on saves against effects that would move or knock down the wearer. Furthermore, its gauntlets both function as +1 locked gauntlets, and can lock or unlock to a weapon as a move action, and the armor as a whole can be equipped or dequipped in a single full-round action. On top of all that, in an Ytarran facility (or an ithillid vessel in this case), it adds 2d6 Electrical damage to its gauntlet attacks or 1d6 Electrical to any non-reach melee weapon attacks, deals 1d6 Electrical damage as a backlash to anyone dealing non-reach melee damage to the wearer and grants +2 to Will saves. As one final feature, it changes colors to whatever its wearer wants and, if worn by a divine spellcaster, will manifest the symbol of the wearer's god on its pauldrons. Perfect for Dis Pater.
    Prince Fraternal of Pudding, Snuzzlepal, Feezy Squeez Lover, MP, Member of The Most Noble And Ancient Order Of St. George, King of Gae Parabolae.

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    "Everyone's cute if you just look at them the right way"~Rebekah Patton Durham, Princess of Pudding.

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    There's this series of video campaign journals called Tales From My D&D Campaign that I like, and in particular there are a couple of cool magic items that you could use.

    1. The Red Cap: The titular headgear of a species of evil fae known as redcaps, this is a head slot item that grants a profane bonus to AC. It is empowered by dipping it in the blood of freshly slain sentient beings. This process consumes the essence of the blood, meaning that the hat doesn't stink. The AC bonus is logarithmically related to how many people who have thus been "harvested". 10 deaths will give the hat a +1 bonus, 100 will bring it to +2, 1000 grants +3, etc. I'd suggest starting it with a random number of "charges" between 10 and 100. Can magically change form into whatever hat goes best with your outfit. Seraphim should love this thing, but Skaladrim or Chomper would also enjoy it.

    2. Ytarran armor: This was a suit of +2 full plate, but with a few cool bonus features. It grants negative and electric resist 5, and has a stability mode which immobilizes the wearer but doubles the resists and grants +4 on checks or +2 on saves against effects that would move or knock down the wearer. Furthermore, its gauntlets both function as +1 locked gauntlets, and can lock or unlock to a weapon as a move action, and the armor as a whole can be equipped or dequipped in a single full-round action. On top of all that, in an Ytarran facility (or an ithillid vessel in this case), it adds 2d6 Electrical damage to its gauntlet attacks or 1d6 Electrical to any non-reach melee weapon attacks, deals 1d6 Electrical damage as a backlash to anyone dealing non-reach melee damage to the wearer and grants +2 to Will saves. As one final feature, it changes colors to whatever its wearer wants and, if worn by a divine spellcaster, will manifest the symbol of the wearer's god on its pauldrons. Perfect for Dis Pater.
    Those look sweet, thanks. Especially the cap. I am going to have to watch those videos too.
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    Fear the might of the Necroranchers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaveman26 View Post
    Those look sweet, thanks. Especially the cap. I am going to have to watch those videos too.
    Redcaps themselves are pretty creepy. They're small creatures with powerful build, and I think their teeth give +2 to cha based checks with other fey and +4 with other redcaps. Pretty awesome deep dwelling creatures.
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    Session 2:

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    The players (collectively to be referred to as the Undead Cowboys or U.C from this point forward) all re-prepare spells and set out to explore the area around their present base camp. The clerics have animate dead at the ready and free HD slots for undead.

    Having Chomper out front serves them very well as the hallways and doorways are now frequently going to be trapped by the gnoll reavers who operate in the domain. Forward progress is slowed by Chomper identifying trip wires, and several different poison needle traps. In conjunction with his disabling the traps, he also strips them for re-usable parts. The U.C. comes to a dead end hallway and decide to try and play the trap-makers advantages against them. They set up everyone inside a large room that serves as the end of the hallway and purposefully trigger the alarms and dart traps that are rigged near it.

    Chomper: Like a fly hitting a spider’s web…dinner is served.

    They tuck in to wait for several minutes and sure enough a cadre of gnolls comes searching. The door slowly opens and a gnoll archer in camouflage matching the walls peeks it’s head inside. From a position near the door Dis Pater slashes a scimitar attack at the onlooker, who ducks out of the way and slams the door shut…yelping in warning to the others.

    Skalagrim bursts from one of the doors further down the hall and he and his anklosaur block the hallway, creating a stoppered bottleneck. In total they have pinned down four gnolls, who all fight ferociously to try and get free of the jam. They elect to try and break through the Skala hallway as opposed to facing the rest of the party inside the large room at the end. They eat the attacks of opportunities and two of them manage to break through, the others are thrown back, where they fight back to back with poisoned spears and blowguns.

    It takes some time to reposition everyone into striking positions and Skala+Dis Pater face the brunt of the initital attacks, but they have good fort saves negating most of the poison, and with the sheer numbers they feel no danger of engaging. As their trap develops, further barking and yelping alerts them to reinforcements coming. Amidst the scrum, Chomper tries to make a combined Survival/Perception/Knowledge Dungeoneering check to determine what direction they are coming from and how many. His best guess is a dozen, and the direction…from further west.

    They fight savagely against the pinned gnolls who fight completely defensively. Doing everything possible to avoid being hit. The U.C. want these ones dead before the others arrive so they can reset their positioning to a better formation. Dis Pater uses channel smite to tear one’s chest open and the anklosaur connects with a critical tail slap that smashes the second’s head, but they held out long enough that from the T junction to Skalagrim’s rear missile weapons from gnoll support begin hissing through the air.

    Dis Pater does an awkward dance with Skalagrim to bypass the hobogoblin and his dino, and he manages to get into a point position with the twins coming behind him for channel washing. Chomper is content to return fire from the safety of the rear. Seraphim holds actions and lines up ray of enfeeblement to any target that pokes it’s head in the hallway. The begin moving their pile forward towards the attackers and comment for the first time that their undead minions are severely hampered by lack of space.

    Hades: It is proving tough to utilize the giants, always prefer to have Dis at the front instead of the minions.

    As soon as the combat formations move forward, the reavers fall back…tossing tanglefoot bags, smokesticks and alchemist’s fire vials in their wake as they melt away to new hallways. As the U.C. hit the T Junction the gnolls have split in both directions and they launch readied blowgun needles and more fire, then retreat. Dis and Skala hold the breach of the T junction while everyone else falls back to clear the rooms of the dead end hallway, they also strip down the dead gnolls finding similar mundane equipment. Seraphim is confident that she can make anti-poisons for the Con and Str poisons they are coating their blades and needles with. Basically brew a potion that bolsters saves against that particular type.

    Dis Pater: You need to finish up back there, the hyenas are coating the hallways with caltrops. Looks like they have at least one caster too. One just laid down grease in front of the caltrops.

    U.C get all their minions massed together and send them to the left of the T junction while the rest of the group heads right. They are going to try and break them from their position and see if they can’t force them someplace else where they can’t run.

    The giants and other minions take light ranged weapon fire, and a few last alchemist’s fire but then their gnolls all retreat further back and disengage. The second cluster continue to pepper the leaders with tanglefoots, and blowgun needles. Sera and the twins are now opening up their spellbooks (metaphorically for the clerics) to put damage from range. It’s give and take, with the gnolls giving more than they are taking.

    The chase continues down several hallways, with the undead minions slowly playing catch up as they return to their masters. They start leaving skeletons and zombies behind like bread crumbs to function like their own alarm system. The ogres are dispatched by the more brazen gnolls and reduced to dust, the giants are mostly ignored as not being worth the trouble and the unicorn+grizzly bear take heavy damage but survive. Chomper mounts up as does Dis Pater and Skalagrim and they try to out kite the kiters. The clerics group up with their minions and get them healed, while Seraphim acts as a look out. Something like 11 rounds go by with only one further gnoll killed and a lot of spells/channels expended. Disgusted and aggravated they all huddle back up and move back to back with readied actions all the way back to their base camp.

    Chomper tells them it is all but certain the gnolls left scouts to backtrack them, and that their “base” is pretty guaranteed to be known. The dead gnoll corpses are tossed to the ground in a pile and they put their heads together for further brainstorming.

    Skalagrim: I am not happy that some freaking hyenas just treed us like a fox hunt.

    Dis Pater: It is disgraceful that is for sure.
    Chomper: They are good at what they do. It’s how they hunt.
    Skalagrim: So we need to figure out ways to isolate and lock them down.
    Seraphim: I can prepare web bolt.*

    Chomper: If we know where we want to drive them I can set up some trip wires and use the tanglefoot bags we got off the dead ones.

    Hades: Perhaps…we too could contribute to holding them in place. Although… it may complicate our ration situation.

    Reggie: Just as long as no eats me…
    Skalagrim: Well prove you are worth having around and that shouldn’t be an issue.

    Up until this point Reggie has been along for the ride, more as hostage than eager teammate. He mostly stays discreet and pops off the occasional spell to heal the mounts, or the errant sling stone here and there.

    Theparty starts to trap up a few corridors proximate to the base camp, but far enough away that the gnoll patrols should pick up the movement. They basically rig up three parallell hallways. Tanglefoot bags intersperse the cross sections and trip wires are placed as triggers for opening the bags.

    They split up into two teams, with Chomper,Hades and Skalagrim as one team, and Pluto, Dis Pater, and Seraphim as the second. The gnolls pick them back up this time more en mass and with cleric support. They begin resuming their hit-run tactics but the traps and bags work enough to slow them down and leave them vulnerable.

    There is a lot more back and forth skirmishing but attrition takes it’s toll and soon the pile of dead gnolls has increased to six. The remaining forces are wounded and out of supplies and they shrink back to the west. The battle wounded U.C. take up the trail of blood and shed fur and Chomper leads them through a winding path back towards what is presumably their base. He is quite adept at tracking, but the gnolls are rangers and equally skilled at obscuring their tracks. Eventually the doubling back and crossing their own tracks makes them lose the trail.

    Frustrated and weary they make their way back to the base camp. Entering the camp they find the herd in a panic and the centaurs running in circles. Dire weasels of incredible size are culling the weakest from the herd and devouring them. Two cattle are down, and a third is hamstrung. The arrival of the U.C. startles them and in mid run they seem to shrink down to a fraction of their first size and scurry into tiny holes in the wall.**

    Dis Pater: If we keep scurrying about the same halls being annoyed by these gnolls we are never going to make forward progress. Especially if leaving the herd makes them vulnerable to scavengers. We need something direct and bold.

    Seraphim: I agree. I think we should parley.
    Dis Pater: Parley?

    Seraphim: They are highly efficient trackers and guerilla fighters who know this section of terrain and are well equipped. I propose we find common ground with their leadership and create an alliance. One born of pragmatism and mutual benefit.

    Skalagrim: For how long? I don’t want to be splitting my share of the wealth with some stinking hyenas.

    Seraphim: Eventually the alliance will crumble or no longer be worthwhile, but in that case they will still have any items of value we trade or barter with. Simply think of it as investing.

    Reggie: But you have already killed six of them!
    Hades: We can give back those who have already met the God, he is surely finished with them by now.

    *long pause at table*

    Reggie: You are seriously strange my friend.

    The U.C. pull half a dozen cattle and leave Skalagrim and Pluto with the remaining herd, while everyone else goes forth in an attempt to parley with the gnolls. As a good faith gesture they have animated the six slain gnolls as Skeletons (on desecrated ground no less). Roaming the halls where they have already met hostility sees them find marauders in short order, and through the missile fire and retreat they manage to convey their stated request.

    Runners are dispatched to “leadership” and an uneasy stalemate holds for the time being. After several hours a gnoll cleric arrives and agrees to a parley at a place of their choosing. It is to take place at dawn the following day. The U.C. are told that a messenger will arrive at their camp to bring them. As a token of good faith the gnolls are given six cows, and returned their now animated dead.

    Hades: I have instructed them to follow your orders as if they were my own. May their serve you in life as they did in their pre-death. ***

    Reggie: Aren’t you afraid of a trap? I mean that is kind of what they are all about.

    Seraphim: They have done nothing but trap and ambush. If they do so at the parley, it is simply status quo. If they agree to terms or listen to terms we have shifted status quo in our favor. Either things remain the same or improve, I count that as a win.

    The messenger arrives at dawn, and is unharmed. He brings them through a long series of hallways and even one secret door to a long narrow hall that steeps upward. He bids them to stay put. The entire hallway is a murderers row of caltrops, grease, pit traps, wire traps and dart traps. The messenger ties a rope to his waist and drinks a potion of levitate, then tugs on the rope, letting those at the end of the gauntlet pull him through unharmed.

    The gnoll chieftain is well protected by warriors with tower shields, and he seems calm from initial contact. He addresses the U.C. in well spoken Common. Rusk is his name.

    Rusk: You are the grave robbers troubling my tribe?
    Hades *angry*: I prefer the term grave liberator.

    Rusk: This is our territory and you are trepassing, leave tribute to our clan and you may leave this place unspoiled. I extend this as a courtesy for the meat you provided.

    Hades: We also returned to you those brave enough not to flee. You now have six warriors no longer in need of food or rest.

    There is an uneasy shifting amongst the gnolls. Some don’t seem to appreciative of the “gift” the undead lords provided.

    Rusk: They are cursed. What you did was no boon, but a blasphemy. This is a hard place though. One too dangerous to dismiss anything which benefits the tribe.

    Seraphim: Then join with us. Surely we can benefit each other. That which we kill we will share with you. The spoils we unearth we shall divide to mutual benefit. Let someone else’s tribe be “cursed” and you and yours will only grow stronger. Tell us what you desire and we shall see if our minds share similar ground.

    Rusk: My scouts tell me that many of our hunting traps are dismantled and stolen. I would know which of you is doing this.

    Chomper: I helped take them apart, and I can put them back together again. Your boys are good…but I am better.

    There is some animated discussion between Rusk and his captains and an agreement is reached.

    Rusk: Perhaps we can find a common ground, I would show you something.
    Reggie: Are we really going to follow them into the heart of their territory, drastically outnumbered?

    Dis Pater: Absolutely. They will be less likely to run that way. I hate when they run.

    Rusk leads them to a secured room with a massive vault built into the wall. Furtively assessing the vault and it’s multi stage locking mechanism is a Halfling Rogue, bound in chains, and very haggard.

    Rusk and his Captain’s along with a few of the more predatory gnolls line the outer wall of the vault and the rest of the U.C. give Chomper room to view the vault door. He introduces himself to the Halfling…a chap called Gup.

    Chomper: Been studying this long?

    Gup: Close to a week now. Ever since the rest of my party got ambushed. Our sorcerer got free, hope he made it out ok.

    Chomper: Sorcerer? Lanky human? Called Stratix?
    Gup: You saw him? Did he make it out?

    Chomper: Nah…he knew how to make lightning so we ate him.
    Gup: You did what?

    Chomper: We ate him. Our witch needed his blood so we killed him and roasted him over a campfire.

    The Halfling just kind of slumps to the ground in shock.

    Chomper: Alright mates. I can get it open, but it’s going to take a while. Going to need a very hard to find tool to get through the assembly housing. To bypass that segment I need an adamantine drill bit, which I don’t have. Have to check with the vendors at the front or wait for the big doors to open again.

    Rusk is none too pleased with the answer, but hostilities do not occur. Instead the PC’s are bid to leave until a decision is reached. The U.C. all return to the base camp where they slaughter a cow to purify and feed to the other animals.

    Seraphim: So…can you really get into the vault? Should we look for this drill bit?

    Chomper: Nah, I can make the check to open it, just figured giving them a MacGuffin to ponder over would buy us some time to discuss things. Wasn’t sure if letting the door swing open was right thing to do in that moment.

    Dis Pater: How weak are the horses Skala?

    Skalagrim: They are all pretty worn down, a stiff breeze could fell some of them.

    Dis Pater: I have an idea…

    The following day a messenger arrives seeking further parley on behalf of Rusk. The U.C. accept the invitation and tell him that they have devised a method to open the vault that day. The gnolls do some running back and forth and agree to open the vault, but with the provision that all the undead be left behind. The U.C. are surprisingly ok with that. They are once again escorted back to the gnolls sanctum where Rusk urges them to allow Skalagrim and Chomper**** into the vault room along with himself and his two captains. Everyone else will remain in the main common area. I should note at this point the U.C. brought twenty of the remaining herd to celebrate opening the vault.

    While Chomper starts to do his thing he asks for as much alchemical fire as they can provide…instead of drilling the housing assembly he is going to melt a secondary relay deadlock. (random rogue mumbo jumbo). The chief is amped enough open it that he readily gathers the tribes vials of fire and provides them to Chomper.

    Meanwhile…The clerics are ineptly trying to push the herd into a corner and seem to be failing miserably.

    Hades: We really need our hobogoblin, have they started yet?

    A gnoll runner confirms they are locked into the room to avoid distractions and are not to be interrupted.

    Pluto: Oh my…I suppose we shall to think of a different means of corralling the cows.

    Hades: Channel Negative Energy
    Dis Pater: Channel Negative Energy
    Pluto: Desecrate
    Seraphim:Gloomblind Bolt the toughest looking gnoll.

    The sudden surprise round catches all the gnolls off guard, as suddenly the whole herd of cows is slain splash negative energy damage hits them. The following round Hades and Pluto Both animate dead the slain herd and rise them as large skeletons. Prior to leaving the base they voluntarily left their giants to run wild and juggled the gnoll skeletons off their animate dead slots.

    The six gnoll skeletons suddenly jump to attention and join in on the spontaneous massacre. With 20 2 HD skeletons suddenly all in their faces and the clerics nova’ing out negative energy and Seraphim playing goalie to prevent anyone going for the door it’s complete anarchy.

    There is a long enough hallway leading to the vault room and with Chomper making a ton of noise with his half assed blowtorching using the fire, that the chief is unaware of the party outside.

    There is a lot of gnolls, close to 30, and they are more than adept at defending themselves, and the U.C. find themselves in a much tougher fight than they anticipated. The sheer volume of AoE damage and the fact that is is a double edged sword (damaging enemies while healing themselves and their minions) gives them the overall edge.

    By the time Chomper has just about opened the vault, the gnolls are either dead or fled. The clerics animate gnolls to replace their fallen cows/horses and make an entourage down the hallway to meet up with the suddenly clan-less chief.

    Dis Pater politely knocks on the door and waits for a response.

    Rusk: I told them not to interrupt in here. Karak see who it is.

    A Captain, Karak moves to open the door and sees the undead horde and smiling clerics just outside. Dis Pater pushes the shocked gnoll aside and they begin to fill the room surrounding the speechless chief.

    Dis Pater: The feast got a bit out of hand.
    Rusk: My warriors?
    Seraphim: Some died, others fled.
    Rusk: Well what are you waiting for? Kill me.

    The U.C. all look at each other and Chomper finally speaks to break the silence.

    Chomper: yeah about that. We had a meeting and decided that we wanted you alive.
    Rusk: What?!?

    Chomper: Your tribe was a bit torn about the skeletons we returned. You seemed to be less emotional, more aware of what it takes to survive in a place like this. That is a sign of talent…and just ask Reggie over there. We don’t like to waste talent.

    Rusk: You joined them?

    Reggie: Not exactly. They ambushed and murdered everyone in my party and strong armed me into letting them join my charter and enter the dungeon. I then had to watch them kill a man they rescued and eat his flesh. They are hardly the friendly type.

    Rusk: But you live?
    Reggie: Until they run out of use for me.

    Seraphim: We are offering you a chance. Follow our lead and aid us in our endeavors and prosperity is in your future, deny us and you can join your undead brothers knowing you stood on principal.

    Chomper: Take a few minutes to think it over. I want to see what is inside here…

    A cautious eye is kept on the gnoll and his two captains, but Chomper successfully opens the vault to reveal the spoils inside.

    The interior is very much how one might picture a wealthy man’s closet to appear. Elegant Robes and garments hang from stands, and a weapon’s rack is mounted at the rear of the room. A few very strange items rest in candle holders, but they appear to not be wax but crystal. On a stone pedestal is an Hourglass filled with salt.*****

    Item Inventory:
    Two Cognizance Crystals (5-PP) Undivided
    A Monk’s Robe-Given to Seraphim for time being
    A longsword+1-Skalagrim
    A dagger+1-Chomper
    A Greataxe+1 flaming-Dis Pater
    Ring of Sustenance-Skalagrim
    Hourglass filled with Salt

    The hourglass strikes their attention the most and Seraphim sets about researching how it functions and what it does. Her U.M.D. is maxed out and she is able to quickly identify a command word for the item. Speaking the command word causes a swirling cloud of salt to issue forth and then form into a Salt Mephit. The creature stretches and then addresses the group.

    Salt Mephit: I am Kurgan of the Hourglass, you have summoned me and therefore I am summoned, for one hour I am yours to command. Holy S**t you are the strangest looking band of flesh based creatures I have ever seen. Nevermind that though…who do you need me to kill?

    U.C.: uh….


    *I didn’t tell her that she couldn’t take Web as a spell, simply encouraged her to avoid Web for the sake of mixing things up. Web gets used A LOT for our groups.
    ** Dire Weasels with psionic ability to enlarge and compress.
    *** I tried to convey this exactly as he said it, but I may have botched it. Basically he tried to express Death as being the actual “life” while life was just what happened before you died. Kind of a reverse after life.
    ****I let them pick Chomper+1 and they picked Skalagrim. Thought I was odd they took the animal handlers away from the animals…
    *****I saw this concept in a thread on the forum and I absolutely loved the idea of it, so I asked about using it for this campaign and got a thumbs up.
    Last edited by Kaveman26; 2014-01-19 at 10:25 AM. Reason: Adjusted spoiler tags
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  26. - Top - End - #26
    Troll in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Cattle Driving Necromancers-Bizarre Campaign Journal

    The Salt Mephit habitat with all the little Salt Mephit buggers! Awesome!

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    Amazing Avatar by Qwernt! Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kornaki View Post
    The whole world is held aloft by a dragon.

    That dragon? Held aloft by a bigger dragon.

    It's dragons all the way up
    Beat the bejesus out of a Paladin

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Cattle Driving Necromancers-Bizarre Campaign Journal

    Oh this is going to be awesome. Love your journals Kaveman
    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post

    DM says: WHY!? WHY!? WHY?!
    DM means: NO! NO! NO!!!
    Player hears: GOOD JOB PLAYER! DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN!
    Pokemon Y, friend code 0146-9846-5809

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    ReaderAt2046's Avatar

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    Default Re: Cattle Driving Necromancers-Bizarre Campaign Journal

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaveman26 View Post
    Session 2:

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    The players (collectively to be referred to as the Undead Cowboys or U.C from this point forward) all re-prepare spells and set out to explore the area around their present base camp. The clerics have animate dead at the ready and free HD slots for undead.

    Having Chomper out front serves them very well as the hallways and doorways are now frequently going to be trapped by the gnoll reavers who operate in the domain. Forward progress is slowed by Chomper identifying trip wires, and several different poison needle traps. In conjunction with his disabling the traps, he also strips them for re-usable parts. The U.C. comes to a dead end hallway and decide to try and play the trap-makers advantages against them. They set up everyone inside a large room that serves as the end of the hallway and purposefully trigger the alarms and dart traps that are rigged near it.

    Chomper: Like a fly hitting a spider’s web…dinner is served.

    They tuck in to wait for several minutes and sure enough a cadre of gnolls comes searching. The door slowly opens and a gnoll archer in camouflage matching the walls peeks it’s head inside. From a position near the door Dis Pater slashes a scimitar attack at the onlooker, who ducks out of the way and slams the door shut…yelping in warning to the others.

    Skalagrim bursts from one of the doors further down the hall and he and his anklosaur block the hallway, creating a stoppered bottleneck. In total they have pinned down four gnolls, who all fight ferociously to try and get free of the jam. They elect to try and break through the Skala hallway as opposed to facing the rest of the party inside the large room at the end. They eat the attacks of opportunities and two of them manage to break through, the others are thrown back, where they fight back to back with poisoned spears and blowguns.

    It takes some time to reposition everyone into striking positions and Skala+Dis Pater face the brunt of the initital attacks, but they have good fort saves negating most of the poison, and with the sheer numbers they feel no danger of engaging. As their trap develops, further barking and yelping alerts them to reinforcements coming. Amidst the scrum, Chomper tries to make a combined Survival/Perception/Knowledge Dungeoneering check to determine what direction they are coming from and how many. His best guess is a dozen, and the direction…from further west.

    They fight savagely against the pinned gnolls who fight completely defensively. Doing everything possible to avoid being hit. The U.C. want these ones dead before the others arrive so they can reset their positioning to a better formation. Dis Pater uses channel smite to tear one’s chest open and the anklosaur connects with a critical tail slap that smashes the second’s head, but they held out long enough that from the T junction to Skalagrim’s rear missile weapons from gnoll support begin hissing through the air.

    Dis Pater does an awkward dance with Skalagrim to bypass the hobogoblin and his dino, and he manages to get into a point position with the twins coming behind him for channel washing. Chomper is content to return fire from the safety of the rear. Seraphim holds actions and lines up ray of enfeeblement to any target that pokes it’s head in the hallway. The begin moving their pile forward towards the attackers and comment for the first time that their undead minions are severely hampered by lack of space.

    Hades: It is proving tough to utilize the giants, always prefer to have Dis at the front instead of the minions.

    As soon as the combat formations move forward, the reavers fall back…tossing tanglefoot bags, smokesticks and alchemist’s fire vials in their wake as they melt away to new hallways. As the U.C. hit the T Junction the gnolls have split in both directions and they launch readied blowgun needles and more fire, then retreat. Dis and Skala hold the breach of the T junction while everyone else falls back to clear the rooms of the dead end hallway, they also strip down the dead gnolls finding similar mundane equipment. Seraphim is confident that she can make anti-poisons for the Con and Str poisons they are coating their blades and needles with. Basically brew a potion that bolsters saves against that particular type.

    Dis Pater: You need to finish up back there, the hyenas are coating the hallways with caltrops. Looks like they have at least one caster too. One just laid down grease in front of the caltrops.

    U.C get all their minions massed together and send them to the left of the T junction while the rest of the group heads right. They are going to try and break them from their position and see if they can’t force them someplace else where they can’t run.

    The giants and other minions take light ranged weapon fire, and a few last alchemist’s fire but then their gnolls all retreat further back and disengage. The second cluster continue to pepper the leaders with tanglefoots, and blowgun needles. Sera and the twins are now opening up their spellbooks (metaphorically for the clerics) to put damage from range. It’s give and take, with the gnolls giving more than they are taking.

    The chase continues down several hallways, with the undead minions slowly playing catch up as they return to their masters. They start leaving skeletons and zombies behind like bread crumbs to function like their own alarm system. The ogres are dispatched by the more brazen gnolls and reduced to dust, the giants are mostly ignored as not being worth the trouble and the unicorn+grizzly bear take heavy damage but survive. Chomper mounts up as does Dis Pater and Skalagrim and they try to out kite the kiters. The clerics group up with their minions and get them healed, while Seraphim acts as a look out. Something like 11 rounds go by with only one further gnoll killed and a lot of spells/channels expended. Disgusted and aggravated they all huddle back up and move back to back with readied actions all the way back to their base camp.

    Chomper tells them it is all but certain the gnolls left scouts to backtrack them, and that their “base” is pretty guaranteed to be known. The dead gnoll corpses are tossed to the ground in a pile and they put their heads together for further brainstorming.

    Skalagrim: I am not happy that some freaking hyenas just treed us like a fox hunt.

    Dis Pater: It is disgraceful that is for sure.
    Chomper: They are good at what they do. It’s how they hunt.
    Skalagrim: So we need to figure out ways to isolate and lock them down.
    Seraphim: I can prepare web bolt.*

    Chomper: If we know where we want to drive them I can set up some trip wires and use the tanglefoot bags we got off the dead ones.

    Hades: Perhaps…we too could contribute to holding them in place. Although… it may complicate our ration situation.

    Reggie: Just as long as no eats me…
    Skalagrim: Well prove you are worth having around and that shouldn’t be an issue.

    Up until this point Reggie has been along for the ride, more as hostage than eager teammate. He mostly stays discreet and pops off the occasional spell to heal the mounts, or the errant sling stone here and there.

    Theparty starts to trap up a few corridors proximate to the base camp, but far enough away that the gnoll patrols should pick up the movement. They basically rig up three parallell hallways. Tanglefoot bags intersperse the cross sections and trip wires are placed as triggers for opening the bags.

    They split up into two teams, with Chomper,Hades and Skalagrim as one team, and Pluto, Dis Pater, and Seraphim as the second. The gnolls pick them back up this time more en mass and with cleric support. They begin resuming their hit-run tactics but the traps and bags work enough to slow them down and leave them vulnerable.

    There is a lot more back and forth skirmishing but attrition takes it’s toll and soon the pile of dead gnolls has increased to six. The remaining forces are wounded and out of supplies and they shrink back to the west. The battle wounded U.C. take up the trail of blood and shed fur and Chomper leads them through a winding path back towards what is presumably their base. He is quite adept at tracking, but the gnolls are rangers and equally skilled at obscuring their tracks. Eventually the doubling back and crossing their own tracks makes them lose the trail.

    Frustrated and weary they make their way back to the base camp. Entering the camp they find the herd in a panic and the centaurs running in circles. Dire weasels of incredible size are culling the weakest from the herd and devouring them. Two cattle are down, and a third is hamstrung. The arrival of the U.C. startles them and in mid run they seem to shrink down to a fraction of their first size and scurry into tiny holes in the wall.**

    Dis Pater: If we keep scurrying about the same halls being annoyed by these gnolls we are never going to make forward progress. Especially if leaving the herd makes them vulnerable to scavengers. We need something direct and bold.

    Seraphim: I agree. I think we should parley.
    Dis Pater: Parley?

    Seraphim: They are highly efficient trackers and guerilla fighters who know this section of terrain and are well equipped. I propose we find common ground with their leadership and create an alliance. One born of pragmatism and mutual benefit.

    Skalagrim: For how long? I don’t want to be splitting my share of the wealth with some stinking hyenas.

    Seraphim: Eventually the alliance will crumble or no longer be worthwhile, but in that case they will still have any items of value we trade or barter with. Simply think of it as investing.

    Reggie: But you have already killed six of them!
    Hades: We can give back those who have already met the God, he is surely finished with them by now.

    *long pause at table*

    Reggie: You are seriously strange my friend.

    The U.C. pull half a dozen cattle and leave Skalagrim and Pluto with the remaining herd, while everyone else goes forth in an attempt to parley with the gnolls. As a good faith gesture they have animated the six slain gnolls as Skeletons (on desecrated ground no less). Roaming the halls where they have already met hostility sees them find marauders in short order, and through the missile fire and retreat they manage to convey their stated request.

    Runners are dispatched to “leadership” and an uneasy stalemate holds for the time being. After several hours a gnoll cleric arrives and agrees to a parley at a place of their choosing. It is to take place at dawn the following day. The U.C. are told that a messenger will arrive at their camp to bring them. As a token of good faith the gnolls are given six cows, and returned their now animated dead.

    Hades: I have instructed them to follow your orders as if they were my own. May their serve you in life as they did in their pre-death. ***

    Reggie: Aren’t you afraid of a trap? I mean that is kind of what they are all about.

    Seraphim: They have done nothing but trap and ambush. If they do so at the parley, it is simply status quo. If they agree to terms or listen to terms we have shifted status quo in our favor. Either things remain the same or improve, I count that as a win.

    The messenger arrives at dawn, and is unharmed. He brings them through a long series of hallways and even one secret door to a long narrow hall that steeps upward. He bids them to stay put. The entire hallway is a murderers row of caltrops, grease, pit traps, wire traps and dart traps. The messenger ties a rope to his waist and drinks a potion of levitate, then tugs on the rope, letting those at the end of the gauntlet pull him through unharmed.

    The gnoll chieftain is well protected by warriors with tower shields, and he seems calm from initial contact. He addresses the U.C. in well spoken Common. Rusk is his name.

    Rusk: You are the grave robbers troubling my tribe?
    Hades *angry*: I prefer the term grave liberator.

    Rusk: This is our territory and you are trepassing, leave tribute to our clan and you may leave this place unspoiled. I extend this as a courtesy for the meat you provided.

    Hades: We also returned to you those brave enough not to flee. You now have six warriors no longer in need of food or rest.

    There is an uneasy shifting amongst the gnolls. Some don’t seem to appreciative of the “gift” the undead lords provided.

    Rusk: They are cursed. What you did was no boon, but a blasphemy. This is a hard place though. One too dangerous to dismiss anything which benefits the tribe.

    Seraphim: Then join with us. Surely we can benefit each other. That which we kill we will share with you. The spoils we unearth we shall divide to mutual benefit. Let someone else’s tribe be “cursed” and you and yours will only grow stronger. Tell us what you desire and we shall see if our minds share similar ground.

    Rusk: My scouts tell me that many of our hunting traps are dismantled and stolen. I would know which of you is doing this.

    Chomper: I helped take them apart, and I can put them back together again. Your boys are good…but I am better.

    There is some animated discussion between Rusk and his captains and an agreement is reached.

    Rusk: Perhaps we can find a common ground, I would show you something.
    Reggie: Are we really going to follow them into the heart of their territory, drastically outnumbered?

    Dis Pater: Absolutely. They will be less likely to run that way. I hate when they run.

    Rusk leads them to a secured room with a massive vault built into the wall. Furtively assessing the vault and it’s multi stage locking mechanism is a Halfling Rogue, bound in chains, and very haggard.

    Rusk and his Captain’s along with a few of the more predatory gnolls line the outer wall of the vault and the rest of the U.C. give Chomper room to view the vault door. He introduces himself to the Halfling…a chap called Gup.

    Chomper: Been studying this long?

    Gup: Close to a week now. Ever since the rest of my party got ambushed. Our sorcerer got free, hope he made it out ok.

    Chomper: Sorcerer? Lanky human? Called Stratix?
    Gup: You saw him? Did he make it out?

    Chomper: Nah…he knew how to make lightning so we ate him.
    Gup: You did what?

    Chomper: We ate him. Our witch needed his blood so we killed him and roasted him over a campfire.

    The Halfling just kind of slumps to the ground in shock.

    Chomper: Alright mates. I can get it open, but it’s going to take a while. Going to need a very hard to find tool to get through the assembly housing. To bypass that segment I need an adamantine drill bit, which I don’t have. Have to check with the vendors at the front or wait for the big doors to open again.

    Rusk is none too pleased with the answer, but hostilities do not occur. Instead the PC’s are bid to leave until a decision is reached. The U.C. all return to the base camp where they slaughter a cow to purify and feed to the other animals.

    Seraphim: So…can you really get into the vault? Should we look for this drill bit?

    Chomper: Nah, I can make the check to open it, just figured giving them a MacGuffin to ponder over would buy us some time to discuss things. Wasn’t sure if letting the door swing open was right thing to do in that moment.

    Dis Pater: How weak are the horses Skala?

    Skalagrim: They are all pretty worn down, a stiff breeze could fell some of them.

    Dis Pater: I have an idea…

    The following day a messenger arrives seeking further parley on behalf of Rusk. The U.C. accept the invitation and tell him that they have devised a method to open the vault that day. The gnolls do some running back and forth and agree to open the vault, but with the provision that all the undead be left behind. The U.C. are surprisingly ok with that. They are once again escorted back to the gnolls sanctum where Rusk urges them to allow Skalagrim and Chomper**** into the vault room along with himself and his two captains. Everyone else will remain in the main common area. I should note at this point the U.C. brought twenty of the remaining herd to celebrate opening the vault.

    While Chomper starts to do his thing he asks for as much alchemical fire as they can provide…instead of drilling the housing assembly he is going to melt a secondary relay deadlock. (random rogue mumbo jumbo). The chief is amped enough open it that he readily gathers the tribes vials of fire and provides them to Chomper.

    Meanwhile…The clerics are ineptly trying to push the herd into a corner and seem to be failing miserably.

    Hades: We really need our hobogoblin, have they started yet?

    A gnoll runner confirms they are locked into the room to avoid distractions and are not to be interrupted.

    Pluto: Oh my…I suppose we shall to think of a different means of corralling the cows.

    Hades: Channel Negative Energy
    Dis Pater: Channel Negative Energy
    Pluto: Desecrate
    Seraphim:Gloomblind Bolt the toughest looking gnoll.

    The sudden surprise round catches all the gnolls off guard, as suddenly the whole herd of cows is slain splash negative energy damage hits them. The following round Hades and Pluto Both animate dead the slain herd and rise them as large skeletons. Prior to leaving the base they voluntarily left their giants to run wild and juggled the gnoll skeletons off their animate dead slots.

    The six gnoll skeletons suddenly jump to attention and join in on the spontaneous massacre. With 20 2 HD skeletons suddenly all in their faces and the clerics nova’ing out negative energy and Seraphim playing goalie to prevent anyone going for the door it’s complete anarchy.

    There is a long enough hallway leading to the vault room and with Chomper making a ton of noise with his half assed blowtorching using the fire, that the chief is unaware of the party outside.

    There is a lot of gnolls, close to 30, and they are more than adept at defending themselves, and the U.C. find themselves in a much tougher fight than they anticipated. The sheer volume of AoE damage and the fact that is is a double edged sword (damaging enemies while healing themselves and their minions) gives them the overall edge.

    By the time Chomper has just about opened the vault, the gnolls are either dead or fled. The clerics animate gnolls to replace their fallen cows/horses and make an entourage down the hallway to meet up with the suddenly clan-less chief.

    Dis Pater politely knocks on the door and waits for a response.

    Rusk: I told them not to interrupt in here. Karak see who it is.

    A Captain, Karak moves to open the door and sees the undead horde and smiling clerics just outside. Dis Pater pushes the shocked gnoll aside and they begin to fill the room surrounding the speechless chief.

    Dis Pater: The feast got a bit out of hand.
    Rusk: My warriors?
    Seraphim: Some died, others fled.
    Rusk: Well what are you waiting for? Kill me.

    The U.C. all look at each other and Chomper finally speaks to break the silence.

    Chomper: yeah about that. We had a meeting and decided that we wanted you alive.
    Rusk: What?!?

    Chomper: Your tribe was a bit torn about the skeletons we returned. You seemed to be less emotional, more aware of what it takes to survive in a place like this. That is a sign of talent…and just ask Reggie over there. We don’t like to waste talent.

    Rusk: You joined them?

    Reggie: Not exactly. They ambushed and murdered everyone in my party and strong armed me into letting them join my charter and enter the dungeon. I then had to watch them kill a man they rescued and eat his flesh. They are hardly the friendly type.

    Rusk: But you live?
    Reggie: Until they run out of use for me.

    Seraphim: We are offering you a chance. Follow our lead and aid us in our endeavors and prosperity is in your future, deny us and you can join your undead brothers knowing you stood on principal.

    Chomper: Take a few minutes to think it over. I want to see what is inside here…

    A cautious eye is kept on the gnoll and his two captains, but Chomper successfully opens the vault to reveal the spoils inside.

    The interior is very much how one might picture a wealthy man’s closet to appear. Elegant Robes and garments hang from stands, and a weapon’s rack is mounted at the rear of the room. A few very strange items rest in candle holders, but they appear to not be wax but crystal. On a stone pedestal is an Hourglass filled with salt.*****

    Item Inventory:
    Two Cognizance Crystals (5-PP) Undivided
    A Monk’s Robe-Given to Seraphim for time being
    A longsword+1-Skalagrim
    A dagger+1-Chomper
    A Greataxe+1 flaming-Dis Pater
    Ring of Sustenance-Skalagrim
    Hourglass filled with Salt

    The hourglass strikes their attention the most and Seraphim sets about researching how it functions and what it does. Her U.M.D. is maxed out and she is able to quickly identify a command word for the item. Speaking the command word causes a swirling cloud of salt to issue forth and then form into a Salt Mephit. The creature stretches and then addresses the group.

    Salt Mephit: I am Kurgan of the Hourglass, you have summoned me and therefore I am summoned, for one hour I am yours to command. Holy S**t you are the strangest looking band of flesh based creatures I have ever seen. Nevermind that though…who do you need me to kill?

    U.C.: uh….


    *I didn’t tell her that she couldn’t take Web as a spell, simply encouraged her to avoid Web for the sake of mixing things up. Web gets used A LOT for our groups.
    ** Dire Weasels with psionic ability to enlarge and compress.
    *** I tried to convey this exactly as he said it, but I may have botched it. Basically he tried to express Death as being the actual “life” while life was just what happened before you died. Kind of a reverse after life.
    ****I let them pick Chomper+1 and they picked Skalagrim. Thought I was odd they took the animal handlers away from the animals…
    *****I saw this concept in a thread on the forum and I absolutely loved the idea of it, so I asked about using it for this campaign and got a thumbs up.
    Were the items you listed in the inventory all that was in the vault, or just all that they examined or made use of? I'm kind of curious. Really looking forward to more of this group!
    Prince Fraternal of Pudding, Snuzzlepal, Feezy Squeez Lover, MP, Member of The Most Noble And Ancient Order Of St. George, King of Gae Parabolae.

    Lego Ergo Sum

    "Everyone's cute if you just look at them the right way"~Rebekah Patton Durham, Princess of Pudding.

    "If they have stats, we can kill them... I'd like to point out that we also have stats..." ~ PhoenixGuard09.

    Warhammer 40K: Where the faction that is a cross between the Inquisition and Space Nazis are the good guys.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: Cattle Driving Necromancers-Bizarre Campaign Journal

    Tucker's gnolls.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Cattle Driving Necromancers-Bizarre Campaign Journal

    Originally Posted by Kaveman26
    Additional Character Backgrounds
    I have to say, that's probably the most coherent set of character backgrounds I've ever seen for a party. In most campaigns I've run or played in, a random cacophony is the norm, but your players are all dancing to the same dirge.

    Speaking of which, I'm not sure which theme song would be best for this group. For some reason "Thriller" seems to fit.



    Originally Posted by Kaveman26
    The battle wounded U.C. take up the trail of blood and shed fur....
    One of many grimly hilarious touches here.

    Also, do you have two different players running the two dhampirs, or is it one player running two characters? I get the sense it's two players, but they'd have to be coordinating really closely.

    Originally Posted by Reggie
    You are seriously strange my friend.
    I don't see a pleasant future for Reggie.

    Originally Posted by Chomper
    Nah, I can make the check to open it, just figured giving them a MacGuffin to ponder over would buy us some time to discuss things. Wasn’t sure if letting the door swing open was right thing to do in that moment.
    You have great players. Ordinarily I really dislike evil campaigns, but these guys are rolling like champs.

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