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  1. - Top - End - #121
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Depends on how random you want it to be, and how many "lives" you want characters starting with. Would you still use the score halved as their Vitae score (and starting Vitae points)? You can definitely play with how fast dying becomes permanent by changing the totals...

  2. - Top - End - #122
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Feb 2014

    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Doing it as an "ability score" might cause issues with some of the mechanics of the system actually, if I go beyond just rolling it as a stat, and add in something like Vitae based skills that they can use to sense Bonfires, Perform more difficult Vitae based powers, or other such things.

    I am just trying to find a way to randomize the system, so that every character doesnt have the exact same amount of Vitae +/- 1, which is where the idea of rolling it like an ability score came from. I would keep the mechanics the same, as far as gaining/losing points, and spending them for certain powers, just wanted to alter the starting value for variance.
    I Am A: Neutral Good Half-Orc Fighter/Barbarian (2nd/1st Level)

    Ability Scores:
    Strength-16
    Dexterity-16
    Constitution-17
    Intelligence-17
    Wisdom-16
    Charisma-13

  3. - Top - End - #123
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Let me know how it goes! :D

  4. - Top - End - #124
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NinjaGirl

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    Wild North Yonder

    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    You know how hard it's been not to hit the spoiler in that post? The curiosity has been killing me. The odds of one of us having too much though?

    Prooooooobably not going to happen :P

  5. - Top - End - #125
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Feb 2014

    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by Picanet View Post
    You know how hard it's been not to hit the spoiler in that post? The curiosity has been killing me. The odds of one of us having too much though?

    Prooooooobably not going to happen :P
    OMG I WAS SO EXCITED FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER WHEN I SAW THIS REPLY, BUT IT WAS ALL A RUSE!!!!!!

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!
    I Am A: Neutral Good Half-Orc Fighter/Barbarian (2nd/1st Level)

    Ability Scores:
    Strength-16
    Dexterity-16
    Constitution-17
    Intelligence-17
    Wisdom-16
    Charisma-13

  6. - Top - End - #126
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NinjaGirl

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mongobear View Post
    OMG I WAS SO EXCITED FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER WHEN I SAW THIS REPLY, BUT IT WAS ALL A RUSE!!!!!!

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!
    All part of my evil cunning plan! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!

  7. - Top - End - #127
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    *Spray bottle* Bad Picanet!

    We game every second Saturday - next game is tomorrow, so journal should be up Sunday or Monday

  8. - Top - End - #128
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Feb 2014

    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    I Am A: Neutral Good Half-Orc Fighter/Barbarian (2nd/1st Level)

    Ability Scores:
    Strength-16
    Dexterity-16
    Constitution-17
    Intelligence-17
    Wisdom-16
    Charisma-13

  9. - Top - End - #129
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Sixteen sessions, whee!

    Spoiler: Back at the Knot & Bole
    Show
    The party (well, specifically Sona) is thrilled to be spending the night in an inn for the first time. Especially an inn with Hot...running...water.



    Sona wolfs down hot food and then vanishes for the rest of the night. Sammael manages to get the Hobgoblin innkeeper to chat for a while and answer some questions. Sammael's first big one is a good one - where are all the bodies? From the comparatively small amount of the city the group has seen (and how few people), there should be bodies absolutely everywhere. The inkeeper is a little grim-faced at the question, but nods understandingly. Part of it is that this is one of the safer areas of the massive city, there are whole wild swathes that are inhabited by just Hollows. That's where a lot of the bodies are; still wandering around in the dark sections of Logos. Also, not even Hollows last forever. It takes a long time, but eventually even they just break down, crumbling away into nothing but ash. The inkeep's other guess is that a lot of inhabitants fled the city a long time ago, when the curse was breaking out among countless people in the city and driving them mad. Sammael also asks how many people who aren't Cursed still live in the city - the inkeep isn't certain of the number, but he believes the Unmarked are around 100 or so, all in the Inner city. Everyone eventually goes up to their rooms for the night, except for Puck (he just sits in the banquet-hall sized common room all night, watching a handful of people come in and out).

    In the morning, the group wakes to numerous crates and sacks being carted in and out of the inn. The tinkerer / trader that the inkeep mentioned has arrived. She's a cheerful woman in brightly colored clothes directing workers to unload and load from the multiple giant wagons being pulled by ridiculously large oxen (their shoulders are at Puck's eye height, so around 7 feet). At the sight of the adventurers, the trader's eyes light up. New customers, new goods, new money! Let the trading begin! The party unloads their near-stuffed bags of holding with whatever the trader has money for, which ends up being 10 000 gold worth of the magic weapons looted from the elven raiders the group. She doesn't have any magic items that catch anyone's interest, but the trader recommends that the adventurers visit both the Forges and the Inner city districts, where magic items are still created and sold/traded. Puck's player finds a warforged component that he is absolutely hellbent on acquiring: The Scorpion Brand. Admittedly, I can't deny that a giant robo-scorpion tail would be pretty cool.

    The trader convinces the party to hang around at the inn for one more night, and grills them for stories of their adventures so far. They recount their trials and tribulations, and get a couple in return. The commander of the Forged guard is apparently named Bulwark, who is noted as a famous swordsman, as well as being prodigiously strong. The trader has a story or two about a red dragon she saw flying around once, as well as when she fainted right after Bulwark saved her caravan from elven raiders (mainly the story focused on Bulwark cutting through two raiders and their weapons at the same time). There's also a quick mention of Eulethron, a city to the north that is still inhabited, supposed to be nearly as big as Logos, and famed for some of the greatest healers in history. Since it's across the bay and far to the north, the trader knows nothing more than that however. The party also gets a bit more info on this Maria of Logos. She was rumored to be the founder of Logos, however long ago that was, as well as having a direct hand in the creation of the Forged. She hasn't been seen in centuries though, and these rumors of an iron-masked Traveler cursing and/or killing people don't seem to match up with any other stories about Maria. Our fearless heroes also learn that they are the first group of Pilgrims to arrive in around a year or so.

    The trader also smoothly and shamelessly flirts with most of the party before inviting Talvosh up to her room. There are only a few jokes about losing Vitae, but the morning arrives and the party sets out on the Old road (having been informed that if they follow that, they will arrive at the Inner City).


    Spoiler: Following the road
    Show
    The party reaches the southern Shrine of the Flame, and the docile Hollows are still outside the walls, sitting or standing and rocking back and forth slightly. Creeped out a bit by the keeper of the flame, they decide to just go around the shrine this time and continue onwards. Poor guy, he just wants to help...

    Ambient city music

    Walking down the road is a strange experience. The city is gigantic, numerous multi-story stone buildings on every side. But it's worn down, desolate. Empty. Part way through the day though, there's an eerie rasp from a nearby ruined building, and a gang of half a dozen Hollows shambles out!

    I nat-20 the Hollow initiative, and one charges Puck and actually lands a max-power attack for a pretty nasty hit. It's strong enough that the rusted and jagged greatsword shatters as it cuts into Puck, leaving that Hollow without a weapon. Another misses Talvosh with the broken remnants of a door, and the others shamble closer with various pointy implements. Sammael's next, and his destroy undead blast incinerates most of the Hollows with one woosh of harsh silver light. The remaining Hollows are cut down without much trouble, Angelena's persisted Positive energy aura dealing the last 2 pts of damage to burn the creature to ash. I don't roll any other random encounters, and travel continues. Night falls, and they find an unoccupied building to squat in for the night. There's more than a bit of grumbling at being back to sleeping in the rough after two nights in the lap of (relative) luxury.

    While everyone sleeps, Pucks wanders through the nearby buildings, but I don't manage to roll any encounters. Puck also doesn't find any useful items, clear evidence that the buildings right next to the road having been stripped and scavenged repeatedly. There's even signs that there was plumbing, but the pipes have been ripped out. Morning comes, and the group heads out again.


    Spoiler: Do you hear that?
    Show
    Partway through another day of travel, the party comes around a corner to find that the road is blocked by several wagons flipped on their sides. The road narrows down, and the buildings on each side have open balconies on the second and third floors. Sammael and Sona hit ridiculous Listen checks (over 30 and over 40!) to hear the slight scrape of metal on stone coming from the building. Sammael uses Augury to ask about walking down the street between the buildings and gets a resounding WOE. So instead the party shuffles to the building on the left, booting the door down and rushing in!

    The building is in shambles, piles of rubble everywhere. Talvosh and Puck head up the stairs together while the rest of the party shuffles through the lower floor. As they turn the corner to the second floor, they're introduced to arrows! Two bounce off of Puck ineffectually, while another two thud home for decent sneak attack damage into Talvosh. Initiative!

    The initiative count is a little mad, with two of the rogues at 25&24, Puck at 23, Angelena, Sammael, AND Talvosh all at 21, and Sona at a 20. The first two rogues (all four are at the top of the stairs shooting downwards) shoot Talvosh another two times, then both bail off to the sides of the room. This lets Puck rumble up the stairs to utterly annihilate the third rogue against the wall - also, we've determined that this is the "angry" noise Puck makes when he starts a bull rush: Rrrraaaaggghh! The rogue is super dead, and Sammael using his silly land speed to go across the room and up the stairs, a robed and hooded reaper flowing towards them, freaks them out even more. Talvosh cuts one of the rogues in half, and Angelena runs towards the stairs as well. Sona stays closer to the doors, readying an action to put a Wall of Fire at the doors if anyone comes through.

    However, everything goes quiet for Sona, and suddenly there's a horrible pain in her side! A bizarrely dressed figure is in front of her, a knife planted in her side. Her blindsense didn't detect anything - as she tries to scream, absolutely nothing comes out. Another presence is behind her, but her Pact Adept ability to apply Silent and Still to a number of spells per day for free allows her to escape death and deflect the second knife. The figure narrows its eyes as he/she (can't tell) pulls the knife out. The two killers are dressed all in black and white, with black and white facepaint.

    NINJA MIMES!

    The three fighters upstairs hear nothing from the ground floor (hurr hurr hurr), so they continue mangling the outclassed archer rogues and their gnoll ranger boss. Angelena manages to catch a glimpse of one of Sona's assailants, and hits them with a Deific Vengeance for some damage, but she forgets to yell upstairs. Sona burns another use of her Draconic magic to cast a Silent Still Benign Transposition and switch places with Puck and yeling about bad people downstairs, the Mime Twins raising their eyebrows but still readying their knives. Talvosh had charged the gnoll on his turn, so he is close enough to the balcony edge to see another figure dressed in black and white on the balcony across the street. They make an exaggerated wave, and Talvosh's mind is suddenly assaulted! He makes his will save, so he only takes 7 points of charisma damage, dropping him to 3.

    Top of the round! Puck's player is confident that he'll be fine against the two mime killers, what with Puck being immune to poison, ability damage, and flat out immune to crits and sneak attack. So he's a little surprised when I start rolling all those d6s again. Even with half damage (from penetrating strike), the fact that I roll pretty much all 4+ on the SA dice on the 5 attacks the twins land means Puck takes a LOT of damage. Pretty much anyone else would have been dead, and Puck also clinically notes that every blow would have severed tendons, ligaments and muscles with each cut. Puck responds by smashing one of the twins into the wall, nearly killing them. Sammael zooms down the stairs and lands a scythe crit on the other twin for a nasty chunk of damage, and then Sona swaps Sammael and Talvosh. Talvosh misses two attacks, but his third connects (he had ended his frenzy before spotting the figure in the other building, so he's just on rage at this point), killing that twin gratuitously and his cleave attempt nearly killing the second. Then an amused voice echoes in his head; "You're not getting away that easily!". He fails his will save and keels over at 0 Charisma, blood oozing from his ears. The remaining twin runs for his/her life, sprinting out of the building. Puck decides to take the direct route and Kool-Aid mans his way THROUGH the wall to skid to a halt in front of the terrified twin!

    Angelena hits the passed out Talvosh with a lesser restoration to wake him up while Sammael glares at the figure in the opposite building and drinks his potion of Jump, narrowly avoiding a shard of crystal the mime hurled at him. Sona casts mirror image on herself, but can't do anything else as the force of the sneak attack staggered her. Talvosh uses the door to leave the building rather than Puck's new exit. The terrified twin changes direction and sprints for the opposite building, aaallmmost making it to the door. Puck tries to make another shortcut, but fails his strength check by one to break through, adding a large crater to the side of the building. Angelena runs after Puck, while Sammael does a quick little lap to build up speed and then jumps 40 freaking feet to land on the opposite balcony, hustling to try and catch the black&white figure as they walk downstairs.

    Talvosh is up, and since the poor twin didn't make it in the building, charges them and explodes the poor killer who had 6 hp left. Unfortunately, then the wall/doors next to him explode outwards and a giant reptilian monster pounces on him. The creature rips into him with claws dripping with caustic acid, and Talvosh dies messily. The mysterious 3rd mime waves their hand, and a wall of shimmering green energy blocks Sammael's path - he recognizes it as psionics of some sort. Left alone on the upper floor, Sona finally catches her breath and heals herself with the belt of healing.

    Puck makes a high Intelligence check, and slams into the corner of the building this time, blowing the strength check out of the water...and a quarter of the building collapses on itself in a horrific CCRRAAASSSHHH. The reptillian creature fails its Reflex save and is plastered underneath tons of stone. Sammael jumps off the 2nd floor balcony to cut around, and Sona finally catches to the group. She's just in time to make a ludicrous Listen check again to hear someone speaking inside the barely standing building.

    "No! I won't leave! They killed her!"
    "..."
    "Fine, you're right."
    There's a pop of suddenly displaced air.

    After a moment of carefully picking through the rubble, Talvosh reappears, and they loot the bodies. The creepy mime killer has a pair of nasty shortswords - gutter fighting weapons, and a strange looking belt+sheath setup. There are slots for vials on the backsides of the sheaths, with tubes curling over where the blades would come out. The party guesses correctly that the sheaths when loaded would poison a blade as it was being drawn. They also find an assortment of masterwork weapons and a whole bunch of light cure potions from the ambushers upstairs. The final alarming item the group finds is the item that had Silence cast on it. A single coin the mime was carrying.

    A coin from their world.

    We end it there, not playing until 1 in the morning this time.


    Spoiler: DEATH COUNT
    Show
    16. Without that prestige class ability though, Sona would have been dead. And if they had swapped anyone but Puck, they would have been dead too. Hee hee hee!


    EDIT: Added another quick namedrop from the trader discussion.
    Last edited by curious-puzzle; 2016-03-27 at 10:24 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #130
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    17th session, and the players STILL haven't overthrown me in a mutiny, so win-win! Also:

    Spoiler: Dark Souls 3 on Tuesday!
    Show


    Spoiler: Back to the action
    Show
    We start right where the last session ended, our heroes had survived the much nastier-than expected ambush and driven off at least one of the creepy black and white individuals. After searching the bodies, Puck spends a few minutes digging and pushing through the rubble to see if he can find any remnants of whatever creature had mauled Talvosh to death. Determination and an unhealthy focus on digging up corpses is rewarded...with some scale fragments and squashed meat/bones. Whatever it was, it was reptilian *coughcoughtotallynotaFleshrakercoughcough* and nasty. After a couple minutes of patching up those who need it, the group decides that the best course of action is to just keep heading towards the inner city. But first, they must overcome the dreaded Barricade!

    All that's blocking the road is two wagons turned on their side, soaked with lamp oil (and a barrel of oil behind the barricade), but either I described the barricade in seriously ominous terms, or I'm a devious enough GM enough of a jerk that it takes the party a good 10 minutes of careful inspection from a distance+debating/planning. Finally the Puck express rumbles up and of course smashes through with ease, and manages to veer off course to not smash through the barrel of volatile oil (so no flaming warforged today). And with that we are on the Pilgrim's road once more.

    A little under an hour further down the road our group finds what must be the base camp of the first band of would-be ambushers. There's nothing of value in it though, other than a arrrow trap that tags Sammael for a bit of damaga. Pressing on till dark, they find a building with a still solid looking steel door to rest in for the night (even if the hinges barely survive the enthusiastic unlocking process). Searching inside, it seems to have been a jeweler's store and workshop. There's nothing but dust and broken glass on the first two floors, but on the third there's something.

    A suspiciously human shaped pile of ash on the ground, an empty manacle and chain where a leg would be, and a key that fits said manacle thrown out of reach in the corner. With that thrilling discovery, it's time to go to bed!

    In the morning, our heroes have an interesting encounter as soon as they get back onto the Pilgrim's road.


    Spoiler: Not from round these parts
    Show
    There's a group of a little over a dozen individuals on the road as well, all in dark worn uniforms. Three are Forged, the rest seem to be mostly human with a couple hobgoblins. The group is a little tense, but hails the party cautiously. After a bit of chatting back and forth, the squad realizes that this is the group of Pilgrims that the southern gate guards had sent a brief message about just a couple days prior. One of the Forged (who seems to be the leader of the group) introduces himself as Bronze. A second cockily introduces himself as the Iridescent Talon (the rest of the squad rolls their eyes and mutters that it's just Talon), but Talvosh nicknames him Iri on the spot. Iri has no problem with it :). The third Forged doesn't speak, but the others mention that her name is simply Lady. The rest of the squad...I don't name because I'm lazy and they're not particularly important NPCs. Deal with it!

    After asking the party how their travels have been going, they mention the ambush by the creepy ninja mimes. Bronze makes an unhappy noise, and the rest of the squad mutters amongst themselves. Apparently the party had survived an encounter with a rather notorious group known as the Mummers. Mercenary assassins, the infamy comes from both their elusiveness and their rather high body count. The fact that the party managed to drive them off (and only one person was killed by the Mummers) greatly impresses the squad. After some more questions, Bronze mentions that the squad is heading further east to investigate signs of Elven raiders. He invites the party along, partially to offer the party a path to follow that's not the main road (in case they're worried about being ambushed again), and partially having a talented group of adventurers at their side would make things much safer and much easier.

    After a bit of debate, the party decides that they will indeed accompany the squad of rangers. It'll add a few days to their trip, but there seems to be a multitude of reasons. To learn more of Logos, to gain some good will with the guardians of the city, to evade further attacks, or just the chance to kill more elves. I leave it up to the audience to decide which reason came from who.

    The party falls in with the rangers, travelling down side streets that quickly narrow into winding alleys. The rangers move with well-practiced silence, obviously familiar with travelling between the ruined buildings. The party isn't too bad...except for Puck, who gets some lingering glances from Lady in particular. The building styles change slightly as everyone beats feet for the day, and once the group stops for the night, Bronze explains that they're heading for the Underbridge region, around the aqueducts. Puck questions why the rangers are so unsure of exactly where these raiders are hiding. If Bronze is a city guard, he should know. Bronze sighs and gestures to the dozens of buildings around.

    "It's better to think of Logos now as a vast wilderness with small communities interspersed, rather than as a city. There's just too much, and not enough of us. We're a scouting force, not guards, and it's just us for about a week in each direction."

    Sammael asks roughly how many people still live in Logos. Bronze's best guess is that there are several thousand people that are either Unmarked, or have enough willpower that they are able to live and function (mostly) normally. As for scavengers and vagrants eking out a living among the Hollows and worse in the wild parts of the city...10 times that, possibly. It's still a drop compared to what the size of Logos suggests it should hold.

    Partway through the next day, Bronze calls a halt, and everyone hunkers down in a courtyard. A little later, one of the forward scouts makes it back, confirming that there's signs of elves in the foundation tower up ahead. Bronze starts to order his men, then pauses and looks to the party. He asks for their suggestion, stating that he'll follow their lead (Iri chimes up that Bronze just wants to see what the party is capable of). Everyone decides that Talvosh will get the attention of the knife-ears (seeing as how frenzied they got seeing him before), then lure them back into the courtyard, where the rangers will be hiding above and rain down arrows. Sona goes up with the archers in one building with Sammael, while Angelena and Puck wait in the courtyard. Seems like a good plan, right?

    Doesn't go...exactly to plan. The issues starts when Talvosh just decides to wander up to within 50 ft of the building and throw a rock to get their attention. No attempt at stealth at all, no attempt to look out for signs of elves. So he gets to throw the rock, and then he gets surrounded by the two sneaky sentries, who each shank him in the surprise round. Then they both go ahead of him, and shank a bunch more to drop Talvosh to -4. It's okay! He's got Diehard...

    Except then the Bonecaster walks out of the building and nails him with a Reach Belkar Claws. Alive Talvosh transforms into Dead Talvosh, and the Elven cries of bloody victory alerts the rest of the gang. Initiative!

    The party readies a multitude of vicious and brutal readied actions. With bated breath, they lay in ambush...and start to suspect that Talvosh isn't coming back anytime soon. The raid leader barks some orders...but completely flubs a sense motive roll I made behind the scenes (and I rolled a natural 20 for the party's ambush setup), so he sends some of his brave warriors forward. They step into the alley that will lead them down towards the courtyard killing field, Angelena spots them and blasts them with a Flame Strike Sammael shoots an arrow! And then Sona cuts them off with a Wall of Flame!

    So they're trapped at the beginning of the alley, not even close to the ambush point, and none of the archers can see the elves through the flames. Ah well. The bonecaster snarls and dispels the mystical ring of fire after triggering his Woven spells (causing Displacement around him, the commander, and a couple warriors),which lets Angelena nail the group with Holy Smite, blinding several in the back). One of the warriors rushes forward at Angelena...directly into Puck's Expanded Axe as he steps around the corner. The second one charges in...and misses Puck spectacularly. Sona smiles and recasts the Wall of Fire, and then Puck bull rushes the warrior into the wall and flames (the axe swing was an AoO). At the sight of the 20 ft flames again, the two sneaky elves cut around the long way...

    Sammael does some extreme parkour, diving from the current building he's in to the next one, sprinting through the burnt-out building to carefully peer down at the elves. Keeping in tradition with elven commanders spotting Sammael when they shouldn't, the leader rolls a natural 20 and points with his sword, gesturing Sammael to come down and fight. The sneaks rush down the alley at Angelena, but they can't quite make it close enough, and she steps around the corner to cast Cloud of Knives. Sona peeks out the window and slaps the sneaks with a Great Thunderclap, which they fail against. Finally, an elf within sight of the rangers. The elven sneak gets perforated and dies, and Puck starts toward the other one (who's stunned).

    Sammael dives down at the leader, dodges the attack of opportunity as he slides by, and rolls high enough to trip the commander using Elusive Target, ending up between the tripped commander and the bonecaster after landing a kick to the bonecaster's side. Said bonecaster hits Sammael with a normal Belkar claws for some damage. The commander stands up, deflecting Sammael's attack of opportunity with a Wall of Blades maneuver, then winds up with a Ruby Nightmare Blade! Which Sammael causes to miss with Diverting Defense...curses! Luckily, it misses the bonecaster because of displacement. The warriors inside the wall of flames are no longer blinded and are tired of being slowly cooked, so they start climbing the building to scramble inside the window. Puck makes it to the stunned elf and nearly kills him with a single axe-blow, while Angelena paces back in forth in front of the 20 ft roaring flames, displeased at her lack of targets for her floating magic knives.

    Alarmed at the near-decapitation by his leader, the bonecaster shuffles back and Hastes the nearby elves. Sona then swaps Sammael and Puck with the fan-favorite Benign Transposition, allowing Sammael to chop and pummel the wounded sneak to death, and Puck to take out the Bonecaster. Angelena continues pacing, just champing at the bit for the flames to drop. The elven leader roars a challenge and hacks into Puck with a full attack. Puck responds by cross-checking him into the wall for a big hunk of damage...ow. Sona dispels her flames, finally allowing Angelena to hurl one of her mystical knives at the last elven warrior who's half in and half out of the building. The knife hurtles forward! And Angelena misses by one :(. One of the other elven warriors is close enough to the window to see Puck, and decides to risk his life in one glorious strike.

    He Dives out the window, howling and thrusting his spear. He has reach as well, so it'll be a simultaneous attack with Puck's attack of opportunity. Max power attack death or glory!

    I roll a 3, so it's just death for him. Even raging, he's taken Flame Strikes, Holy smites, and fire damage, so Puck cuts him in half. The commander takes this opportunity to tumble past Puck and hit him with a Ruby Nightmare Blade. I fluff it as the commander darting past and delivering a wicked draw-cut to Puck's exposed side as he cuts at the airborne warrior, and Puck takes nearly 50 points of damage from the one blow. Blood is pouring out of the commander though, he's down to his last 10 hit points or so. He raises his blade invitingly and grins with red-stained teeth. Sona dim-doors into another building, and takes a bit of damage as she accidentally puts her foot where a chunk of stone is. Puck strives to grant the commander a warrior's death, but one attack misses from displacement and the other is deflected with Wall of Blades. The elf that Angelena shot at vaults back out the window...and rolls a one to reduce falling damage, and breaks his leg badly. The remaining elven warrior mimics his brother and dives out at Puck, screaming maniacally!

    This one rolls a 4, so he suffers the exact same fate as the first. And Puck's cleave attack connects, finishing the commander.

    Everyone meets up in the courtyard, Talvosh reappearing now that there's a moment's peace. The rangers are impressed. Really impressed, the party is more than a little frightening. Doesn't stop them from gently teasing the group about how they basically denied themselves the entire ambush setup (Iri especially takes great glee in this). After a bit more discussion, the party decides that they're going to head back towards the Pilgrim's road rather than continuing on with the rangers. Bronze understands, and is very enthusiastic in thanking the party for helping them defeat the raiders with only one casualty. The rangers travel partway with the party back towards the Pilgrim's road, and their night of rest passes blessedly quiet.
    Spoiler: GM's note
    Show
    I've been rolling Scrying attempts each night on a random party member, and so far they've made their saves. So far...:)

    Before the groups separate, Lady ghosts up behind Angelena, and silently hands her a folded piece of paper. Opening it, Angelena sees that it's a quick but detailed map, detailing an alternate route to take towards the Inner City. When asked about it, Lady finally speaks in a hoarse whisper. She explains that it is a more discreet route; it will take several days more, but it is much less visible than following the Old Road (also known as the Pilgrim's road). The only thing to worry about is to not venture too far east - the route winds near the self-claimed domain of a powerful fey spirit of decay. Angelena thanks Lady and makes an attempt to offer assistance in healing her voice, but is graciously refused.

    The party makes it back to the Pilgrim's road in quick time, then settles down to debate on which route to take. After some back and forth, they decide to head down the alternate, quieter path. It's not as if they're on a strict time schedule, and not walking down an obvious route when murder-mimes are after you is a good thing. Of course, Talvosh and Puck's players want to go down that road because all they hear from "Powerful fey spirit" is "Optional boss." Sona doesn't roll high enough on a Knowledge (nature) to provide any info, so they're going in blind!

    Spoiler: Silly anime side note
    Show
    This scene depicts the debate perfectly. Sona, Angelena, and Sammael play the parts of Nami, Usopp, and Chopper in no particular order, while Talvosh and Puck are channeling Luffy together.




    Spoiler: Side trip
    Show
    Lady's map is very precise, it makes navigating the winding side streets and crumbled buildings easy. It also seems to bypass known areas of danger. Speaking of crumbled buildings, it only takes a day of travel for everyone to notice that all of the buildings are becoming notably more aged and scarred-looking. Dust hangs in the air no matter what, and fewer and fewer buildings stand as tall or as solid. Partway through the second day, the party stops at a seeming ring of completely crumbled buildings. They're all reduced to piles of rubble, and all in a ring several hundred feet across around one massive squat building. It's as if a giant hand scooped part of the building away, so the party can see into the broad open building from where they stand at the edge of the ring. It's at this point they hear singing...

    After a bit of debate, they notice a figure in tattered clothing flitting back and forth in the building. Sammael cranks his Knowledge (nature) roll to get a bit of info (my version of the Raven Queen is served by a good amount of less friendly fey, so he has some experience with them). The fey is most likely a Ruin Chanter, a spirit of ancient ruins and the relentless advance of time. The other bit he gets is that while they're not actively malevolent, they don't particularly like mortals. Oh, and they can fly. The Ruin chanter makes a casual spot check, and everyone is okay due to the distance...except for Talvosh rolling a natural 1. Ruh roh...the song cuts off abruptly, but Sammael has a moment of inspiration and picks the song back up, in Slyvan. He rolls a high Perform, and the Ruin chanter beckons them forward.

    Hesitantly, carefully (especially Angelena), the party advance into the domain of the Ruin Chanter. It looks like a a youthful woman dressed in tattered clothing of various dirty and dusty hues, but there's something wrong with her eyes. They don't look right.

    "You have a pleasant voice for a mortal. What, exactly brings you to my home?" Sammael makes pleasantries, but Puck actually catches her interest by simply saying it was her singing that caught their curiosity. The chanter smiles at that, and offers to sing for her guests.

    Everyone fails their Will save vs the Fascinate effect, except for Puck who is immune to such things. I roll to determine randomly, and the Chanter mentions that Talvosh's axe would look lovely rusting on a pile of stones. Talvosh mutters that it was his father's axe, but he fails his Will save by 1 to resist the Suggestion to Put the axe down on that pile of rubble and leave it. Puck wanders over and picks the axe back up, and the Ruin Chanter does not like that.

    "That was a gift. Put it back."

    "It is not his to give, I claimed it from him." Tttteeeeccchnnnically true, he had disarmed Talvosh way back in the jungle, and then gave it back to him with the implication that he could take it back if Talvosh freaked out again. The Ruin Chanter is still insulted, and demands that Puck produce a different gift then.

    His offer of a platinum piece is rejected, and the Chanter icily demands that the party leaves and never returns to the Chanter's domain. Quick apologies and quicker feet ensue, as the party decides they are out of their league and retreat. The Chanter ominously clangs her adamantine mace against the floor rhythmically as the party retreats, and the eerie chiming echo follows the party for several hours of hustling back through streets.

    We end it there, and Angelena finally catches up to the rest of the party and hits level 11 (she had missed several sessions and/or extra fights previously).



    Spoiler: DEATH COUNT
    Show
    17

    Talvosh kind of gave me this one on a platter

  11. - Top - End - #131
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    A reminder just in case: you can't ready actions unless you're in initiative, which requires you to be aware. It looks like you may have people "readying" actions before they're aware of combat-that's what initiative is for. Or possibly you had everyone roll initiative when Talvosh died loudly and that's when they started readying, not sure which is why it's just in case.

    Picking up the song the Ruin Chanter was singing was genius, and the song you linked for it was blaaauglkwelkdkf

    I'm surprised they decided they were outgunned, Ruin Chanter's got nothin' on Ragewalker and they took one of those out with it's posse of uberchargers.
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    NinjaGirl

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Listen checks for Orc-Fillet; especially since we were expecting him to come back. And he did! Just not in the most healthy of ways lol.

    There is a key difference between the rage walker and the Ruin Chanter that made even our OPTIONAL BOSS WAAAAAG happy beef sticks pause - Flying at will. Really hard to charge something that doesn't adhere to the petty laws of gravity.

    Though.... there was discussion after game of a di-door invisible flying juggernaut delivery system. Voila! Crater Chanter!

  13. - Top - End - #133
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Dude... Those songs are lovely! I've been freaking out my party lately with an undead little girl, that they just can't quite escape from.
    She's actually been herding them to her Dread Necromancer 'daddy'. They've convinced themselves that she's some sort of Fey. When they reach her home, these songs will play nonstop and set the desired mood perfectly. Nothing creeps them out more than music, this is so great! Thank you :D
    The beatings will continue until morale improves!

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  14. - Top - End - #134
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Well, the hearse song at least I had already used in our last campaign, but yeah it was kind of appropriate. I'm just a little bit of a sucker for using music...

    As for why our mighty heroes decided to retreat, I think it was a combination of the super high fascinate DC freaking everyone out, and the fact that most flying enemies have given the party...issues.

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Great campaign! I haven't played the Dark Souls games so I feel like I may be missing some references but I love the theme and story so far. Quickly becoming one of my favorites.

  16. - Top - End - #136
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Thanks, Brion, glad you're enjoying it! I'm not really using any plot stuff from the Dark Souls series, just shamelessly lifted took lots of inspiration from the theme and feel of the game.

    Also, forgot to type it earlier, but that sounds awesome, Prismcat, let me know how that session goes when they reach her home

  17. - Top - End - #137
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    18th session! Is late because Dark Souls 3 has consumed my life like a delicious cream puff.

    Spoiler: Squeeing regarding Dark Souls the 3rd
    Show
    It is an awesome game. Haven't even completed it yet and already thinking about different things to do in the next playthrough. If you enjoyed any of the previous series, you should go out and get it right now. If you haven't played any of the Dark Souls games (or Bloodborne), I highly recommend them with the caveat that they are very challenging, and can be teeth-gnashingly frustrating. The tradeoff is the sense of victory after you FINALLY stomp that boss with a perfect run.

    So yes, get Dark Souls 3. And then you too can Kill More Bosses (TM)


    No Sammael today due to tropical holiday, but we had another player join the group! He decided to play the bow-wielding Forged archer, Spotter - the fellow our heroes battled in the canyons, and managed to befriend him/shock him out of his madness. They left him at Shepherd's Respite to think things over before travelling through the Wasteland.

    Spoiler: So then how'd he catch up to them in Logos? That's over a month away in-game!
    Show
    The vision came around a week after that strange party of Marked had left Spotter with the Shepherd. It was the dead of night, and Spotter was on the roof, staring distractedly at the Moon. The huge, burning Moon that slowly filled all of Spotter's vision as he sat, unable to move. Everything went black except for the ring of flame, and Spotter was left in oblivion.

    As time passed, Spotter realized that he wasn't alone in the darkness. Someone was watching him, staring a hole into the back of his head. Spotter could feel the weight of the gaze, and then suddenly there was a real weight pressing against his back.

    "And now the choice has come to you, tin doll. How will you act?" The voice is grating, malicious, hateful. A force dragged Spotter's left hand into his view, and a circle of flame ignited on that hand.

    "How will you die?"

    When Spotter came to, the Mark was burned into the back of his left hand. Shortly after that, Spotter set out after the party. Through a combination of stealth, luck, and not having to sleep, Spotter managed to make his way across the Wasteland without much fuss, and he's finally caught up to the party.


    We go back to the party as they depart from the Ruin chanter's domain at high speed. They decide to keep following the side streets and back alleys - it might take a bit longer, but not being predictable when there's murderous mimes after you is a good thing. When they wander around a corner, there's a familiar Forged sitting on a pile of rubble waiting for them.

    Spotter joined the party!

    After some chatting and catching up, Spotter expresses his desire to travel with the group and see exactly what is going to happen. One member stronger, the party continues onwards!

    Spoiler: Getting in touch with nature?
    Show
    Later on in the day, the party comes across a broad open expanse, thick waist-high grass covering every inch except for a small tower in the one corner. It's several hundred feet across, and quite silent. The party is creeped out by the wide open area, but carefully advances towards the tower after some high Listen checks. As they approach the tower, everyone can smell the faint odor of smoke, and as they get a little closer, can see said smoke seeping out of all the open doors of the 4-level watchtower (which is relatively small). Talvosh and Puck tiptoe up to the entrances, but can't see anything inside due to the smoke filling the interior. They stride into the thick, ash-filled smoke, and Talvosh finds the source first. It's a withered corpse, hunched in and over itself, smoking as if it had just been burning seconds ago. Then the corpse turns its head to stare at Talvosh through the smoke, and lets out a horrific shriek! Initiative!

    The Ashen (template I made up) Bodak goes first, and batters Talvosh with its fists, coating him with ash which then ignites for fire damage. The thick smoke pouring off the creature is a bit of a blessing, as it cuts visibility down to 10 ft. Talvosh is the only one within range of the Death gaze, but he makes his save easy. Spotter is up next, and zips up close enough to sink several painful arrows into its back. Puck stomps through the smoke and laughs off the Death gaze, shoving the Bodak back (but not getting close enough to smash it into a wall). Sona buffs herself, and both her and Angelena notice the grass swaying, shaking, and...burning? Sinkholes open up, and ash-coated Hollows begin to stream up all World War Z style. Ruh Roh, Rhaggy! Angelena slaps down a Consecrate to prepare for the undead masses.

    The Ashen Bodak is in trouble as Puck, Talvosh, and Spotter hammer away at it. They all keep making their Fort saves, but the two melee beatsticks take damage every time they strike it from clouds of burning ash. Finally, Puck pulverizes the Bodak against the wall, dusting it, and everyone scrambles into the tower for a more defensible position. Sona throws out a Wall of Fire to stop the Hollows (further igniting the smoldering grass), but they sprint through heedlessly. They take damage, but not as much as they should, especially from a spell that expressly harms undead more. The mobs of undead scramble up to the doors of the tower, and the party lashes out. Angelena uses a Greater Turning to obliterate one of the mobs in an explosion of golden sunlight, while Talvosh lays into another mob with his max power attack of silliness. Finally the undead manage to start swarming into the building, and anyone who isn't a Forged gets mauled and suffers negative levels! They're mobs of Ashen Wights.

    Sona stays out of the way while the other 4 members hack and slash, spraying ash everywhere. The final mob starts scrabbling up the side of the tower to reach the second-floor balcony since the ground floor entrances are blocked by other mobs, so Sona distracts them with a Major image of the party running away, while Angelena busts out another Greater Turning. Shortly thereafter the Hollows are put down, but the party is now surrounded by a field of fire. Whoops! Huddling in the (thankfully stone) watchtower, the party hunkers down until the fire goes out. By the time that happens, it's late enough that the party decides to rest in the tower for the night. It's quite defensible; the only downside is they made a gigantic smoke signal to anyone paying attention...


    Spoiler: Perchance to Dream?
    Show
    Sona fails a Will save, and awakens to the entire tower, including her companions, ablaze. The fire doesn't hurt her, strangely enough.

    "You know, I didn't expect you to make it this far. I thought you would have burnt away quite a while ago." Jezelle is sitting on the railing of the balcony, staring up at the moon.

    "Yeah, guess you should have tried harder."

    "Do you ever wonder why the moon is like that?" Jezelle still hasn't turned to look at Sona, her gaze still fixed on the burning moon. Sona just kind of squints, Jezelle normally doesn't say anything that isn't a threat of some sort. "It's always there, hanging above us. You can see it during the day, during the night, no matter what. Why is it like that?"

    "Did you like my surprise?" This confirms Sona's suspicion that Jezelle had hired the Mummers. She scoffs, though.

    "I don't think they did what you paid them for. We've taken care of them once already." Jezelle just turns and smiles in response.

    "Oh, I didn't pay them to kill you once. For as long as you're in Logos, they're going to keep coming after you. Keep cutting away at you, killing you. Though I don't want them to truly kill you." Something seems strange at this point. Jezelle seems to be getting bigger, her voice thickening. "I want you to run. I want you to flee, and try to hide," She swells even more, and broad leathery wings rip out of her back as the tower begins to crumble under her mass. Her face has twisted into a massive draconic snout as burning eyes lock onto Sona. "I WANT YOU TO BE MY PREY, AND I WILL DEVOUR YOU!"

    Sona wakes up with a scream, and does not regain her spells for the night. Morning comes uneventfully after that, and the party continues north. They're getting close to the Inner City. As they travel through a particularly narrow stretch of alleys, a strange noise makes everyone pause. Unfortunately, that just allows an Ectoplasmic Shambler in the shape of a giant melting arachnid to thump down on them. It's the Mummers!

    Puck saw a shape move on a nearby rooftop right before the acidic green mist engulfed everyone, so he surges forward. The Mummer waves casually from atop a 40 ft building, so Puck tries to bring the building down by smashing the corner. An alarmingly high check damages it, but doesn't collapse the whole building thankfully. Spotter is up next, and runs out of the mist and fires an arrow at the Mummer. Sona puts Mirror image up (this is important later), and the other party members start moving towards the edge of the opaque mist/ooze/stuff. Next up is the druid mummer's new pet, and with a terrific CRASH and a deafening hiss, a huge Alligator smashes through a building! The psion Mummer looks down, and Dominates Spotter, commanding him to kill Puck.Yes, Master.

    Then things go badly for the Mummers. Puck charges the megagator, who misses his attack of opportunity. Puck then crits with his max power attack, and kills the gator in one swing. I didn't even get to swallow anyone with him :(. Then Sona Dimension Doors herself, Talvosh, and Angelena onto the same rooftop of the psion Mummer. Uh oh! Thankfully the Druid Mummer on the opposite roof is close enough to blind Talvosh with Blinding Spittle, so the Psion doesn't get chopped to unrecognizable pieces. She still gets zorched by Angelena, but poor dice rolling keeps it to a minimum.

    Spotter follows his commands, planting arrows into Puck's back while mumbling, "Kill...Kill...Kill...Kill.." Puck unfortunately flubs his Sense motive, and decides that Spotter is trying to kill him! He pain-train smashes Spotter into a wall, but doesn't kill him. The psion gets the heck out of dodge using dimension stride boots, and hits Talvosh with an overchanneled max-augment Death Urge. Talvosh passes, alas. Angelena and the druid exchange some blasting spells, while Talvosh wipes his eyes clean and plans to jump the 15 ft gap between buildings. Sona dim-doors for a final time and brings along her two friends to land between the two Mummers. Finally, the ninja mimes reveal themselves, stabbing Sona and Angelena as they appear from nowhere! Wait, only Angelena gets stabbed because of Mirror Image. She makes her Fort save, too *Fist shake*.

    Puck trips Spotter and warns him to stay down, while Talvosh is finally close enough to let loose, having resisted ANOTHER overchanneled Augmented Death Urge, and he kills the psion and one of the ninja-mimes. The druid tries to take Talvosh out with a Choking Sands, which was a poor decision and dies as a result. The final ninja decides to dive over the side of the building to live another day, disappearing into the side alleys. Spotter is free of the mental influence and apologizes profusely to Puck, who seems mollified. Angelena makes her secondary Fort save, and passes it by the absolute skin of her teeth. Those daggers had Black Lotus extract on them, and just for fun I roll the con damage if she had failed. 12 con damage would have absolutely killed her *Return of the Fist shake!*

    We end it there, and Puck is 650 xp from levelling


    The party is getting close to the Inner City...I might have to actually roleplay characters who DON'T want to immediately kill them! *Gasp shock*

    Spoiler: DEATH COUNT
    Show
    Still 17. My average is shot! I'll have to cheattry harder next time


    EDIT: I had forgotten a couple lines in Sona's nightmare, they're added in now
    Last edited by curious-puzzle; 2016-04-30 at 07:56 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #138
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    Piedmon_Sama's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    I don't have a ton to say, but this campaign journal is an amazing read. You and your players really know your stuff and it's been fun seeing a ton of 3.5's more outre monsters like the Voor pop up. Please keep doing what you're doing!

  19. - Top - End - #139
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Thanks, Piedmon_Sama! Glad you're enjoying the read. We still do a lot of on the spot rules checking, but we're getting pretty quick at it. I normally just rule in favour of monsters winning anyways .


    Anything people would like to see more of? Less of?

  20. - Top - End - #140
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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by curious-puzzle View Post
    :

    Anything people would like to see more of? Less of?
    More PC deaths. Definitely more PC deaths. :-D
    The beatings will continue until morale improves!

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  21. - Top - End - #141
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    ComaVision's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by curious-puzzle View Post
    Anything people would like to see more of? Less of?
    I'd like to see some trap encounters (deadly, of course).

  22. - Top - End - #142
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    I want the scrag from the first session to reappear

  23. - Top - End - #143
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    More unique battle fields?

    Some unique living constructs like Inevitables? Given the warforged, I would imagine someone's gone crazy with some unique/fun golem/mechanical peoples

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    NinjaGirl

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by Brion View Post
    I want the scrag from the first session to reappear
    You hush you!!!

    *shifty eyes sudden caek bribe*

    I still don't dare leave Sona at the back of things anymore because of that fiasco. Or go first. Or... do anything else before defensive spells. They can make as much fun of me as they want - for there are only two levels of paranoia...

    Total

    And insufficient.

  25. - Top - End - #145
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

    Hmm, I guess I'd be interested in seeing some more monstery monsters. Fighting char-op with char-op works but hollows for days is meh. I'm talking some eldritch abomination level titans like from Saph's Seven Kingdoms campaign journal.

    And some sort of PC counter to Nightmare. It is a nice way to deliver stuff directly to the head, but just taking it every night makes me sad. Pretty sure the one getting Nightmare'd is not the divine caster (I've lost track of the names ), bog standard Dispel Evil when she starts tossing would do the job. A counter-Nightmare campaign would also be amusing.
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    sheer awesomeness

  26. - Top - End - #146
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Suggestions for more PC deaths or things that will cause more PC deaths?


    PrismCat21: *salutes* I will strive for exactly that!

    ComaVision: You're being a little prescient here...I'm not saying there's going to be a Sen's Fortress, but worthwhile revelations are never gained without suffering...

    Brion: Oh, I'm still sincerely hoping the party ventures back there eventually, because Mr Scrag has been keeping himself busy. Just imagine these folks with green warty skin and eating victims in between sets:


    Jonagel: I do try and have some creative opportunities in battlefields, and I definitely have more unique locales in mind, but were you thinking of anything in particular? More environmental complications, that sort of thing?

    And there will be some more construct types for sure! As for Inevitables, they have a specific spot in the campaign - may not see them for a while depending on what direction the party chooses. But I will try and get the wonkier constructs in soon!

    Fizban: YES. Saph's campaign journal is one of my favorites, and I will definitely have terrible beasties lurking about (the monster notebook shall return). I know there's been lots of people of varying states of undeath the last bit, I've just been trying to keep rough themes for areas. As for the Nightmare, well, counter-tactics are entirely in the PCs hands. I agree that I don't just want to spam the spell every night just for the sake of killing spell slots, but Jezelle is an opponent with a serious grudge against the party, Sona in particular. It'll have to be solved one way or another.

    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I do like feedback.

  27. - Top - End - #147
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    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    Quote Originally Posted by Picanet View Post
    *snip*

    for there are only two levels of paranoia...

    Total

    And insufficient.
    I have a sudden desire to put this on a t-shirt if it isn't on one already.

  28. - Top - End - #148
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    Daemon

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    19 sessions! Time for a
    Spoiler: Character update:
    Show

    Angelena: Cleric 6/Radiant Servant 5 - pretty sure she's going to finish out radiant servant, and then probably back to cleric, maybe something like sacred exorcist or contemplative
    Puck: Fighter 6/Warforged Juggernaut 5 - Player's plan is to head into Psychic warrior next, I believe
    Sammael: Cleric 3/Monk 2/Paladin 6 - I believe the plan is to continue alternating between these classes
    Sona: Sorcerer 6/Pact-bound Adept 5 - More sorcerer, maybe some of the full-casting prestige classes if she can qualify for any of them
    Spotter: Ranger 9/Deepwoods Sniper 2 - More Deepwoods sniper, and the player is going for the Mage Slayer/Pierce magical concealment feats
    Talvosh: Barbarian 1/Fighter 5/Frenzied berserker 5-More berserking


    Spoiler: Back to the Action
    Show
    The party had just repelled the Mummers once more, managing to cut down three of them (and avoiding serious harm with a LOT of high saving throws) before the remaining Mummer made a break for it. Not wanting to travel much further low on spell-slots, the group wanders down a side alley and finds a defensible-looking apartment to rest in for the night. Being only a block or so from the ambush point, however, means they aren't that hard to find.

    Right before dawn, Spotter sees a small flicker through the window, and then hears a strange hum that quickly builds into a Whine. Then the building collapses on the party :P. Everyone makes their save, though...except for Sammael (the man with the highest saving throws by far) who rolls a natural 1. And another natural one to try and force his way out of the rubble. Strength checks are made (or disregarded with bolt shirts and translocation anklets), and Spotter rushes down the alley and around the corner! He isn't in time to catch anyone though, and finds a rapidly fading circle of ectoplasm and an envelope wedged into a wall at eye height.

    Spoiler: The Letter
    Show
    Spoiler: Explosive Runes!
    Show
    Nah, I kid.
    Spoiler: The actual letter
    Show
    Salutations! You have proven to be a remarkably vexing target. So much in fact that you aren't worth further pain and suffering on either of our parts. Go about your business, keep this to yourselves, and we'll never meet again with any luck.

    Farewell!


    The letter is marked with black and white comedy/tragedy masks in lieu of a signature


    The group managed to get enough rest to replenish spells, so they're more than happy to move on swiftly. And now that the threat of ambush and assassination is seemingly off the table, it's time to go back to the Old Road! There's a brief moment where Puck and Talvosh half-joke about wandering the back alleys by themselves because...reasons, but the sacred law of "DON'T SPLIT THE PARTY" holds firm. No encounters are rolled, and the gang travels along the Pilgrim's Path until it leads to the edge of a large lake. In the center of said lake is an island of massive buildings that seem to be easily double the height of the buildings they've been travelling among. To top it off, a monstrous tower dwarfs everything else on the island, stretching up and up towards the clouds. There's a smaller island partway across the lake, and a broad bridge connecting the two islands, but no such bridge connecting to where the party stands. There is, however, a large lever on a raised platform. Nothing bad ever happens when you pull a lever! Nothing bad does happen though...see, I'm not a jerk ALL the time.

    The lever causes a bell in a nearby tower to ring, and Spotter can see silhouettes moving in the guardhouse on the halfway island. Shortly, everyone can hear a massive rumble and groaning. With a roaring surge of water, a colossal metal bridge drags its way up out of the lake. Streams of water pour off the sides as it rises and locks into place with a deafening CLANK.

    There's a little bit of confusion at the lack of guards on this side, but then Spotter notices the glint of steel and the gleam of eyes beneath the water. He also recalls that lake-watch was uncomfortable and incredibly boring (Spotter had been a member of the Steelguard before fleeing to the Canyons several decades ago - the player doesn't have any inside knowledge, but I throw little tidbits in as he starts to recall the past). Finally, the party starts across the long bridge. They make it to the guardhouse on the halfway island, and the gates are thrown open. The guards are atop the walls of the guardhouse, left hands clenched over their chests in a salute. Apparently a group of Pilgrims arriving requires some ceremony, and after some sideways glances, everyone continues on to the second bridge. While the first humongous bridge rose up from the lake, this second one has a set of gigantic chains suspending it. It seems that it can be lifted, or more likely, retracted to the central island. Finally the party has reached the Inner City of Logos.


    Spoiler: The Inner City
    Show
    The bridge leads to a broad set of steps leading up. This island seems to be packed with numerous buildings like the rest of Logos, but the buildings are notably taller, and notably in better shape. There are quite a few balconies overhanging the road/steps the party walks, and people start creeping out as they proceed. There are more people than the group has seen in Artaith entire, but it still feels...empty. No one cheers, no one claps. There are only haunted stares, and furtive whispers.

    Not creepy at all :P

    Once the group makes it up the stairs, they enter a courtyard that is empty except for a somewhat oversized Forged. He's about twice as big as Puck(!), at the absolute limits of the Large size category. Its burnished steel plates and brass accents seem to emanate solidity and strength, and large gauntlets clasp a Fume Knight-sized Greatsword. As they approach (sidenote, I think I got asked about fog gates about three times while they were approaching), the Forged slings the greatsword over its shoulder and speaks in a suspiciously Peter Cullen-esque voice *coughcoughGMisahackcough*

    "Welcome, Pilgrims, to the Inner City of Logos. I am Bulwark, commander of the Steelguard. I bid you a truly warm welcome..." Bulwark trails off as he notices Spotter. "...Spotter? Is that you?!?"

    "...Yes, sir." Spotter's a little nervous, as while the Steelguard was an entirely voluntary position, he did sort of just up and disappear in the night all those years ago...and now he's back in front of his commander.

    "Huh. Never thought I'd see you again." Bulwark is lost in thought briefly, then catches himself. "We'll speak later. As I was saying, I bid you welcome to our city, as long as you mean its inhabitants no harm. Please, I will escort you to the Central Fire." Everyone is fine with this, and Bulwark's greeting seems to relax the atmosphere somewhat. There is more animated talking from the people on the balconies above, and even some scattered cheering. One word is overheard several time that catches everyone's attention:

    Saviours.

    They ask Bulwark about it, and he looks slightly uncomfortable (he actually has articulation in his face, oooooh).

    "Should get used to it...the Church of the Flame will toss that at you a lot." Whoops, now he looks embarrassed. "Er...forget I said that?" It's not that Bulwark dislikes the Church of the Flame, from what Spotter remembers, it's more that he disagrees with their views. They continue travelling through the Inner City, and the party sees what looks like a large row of shops and stalls closing for the night off in one direction, before arriving at what must be the Central Flame. It's a large building that stands out from the others around it, partially because it's made of a bright white stone, and partially because it's all curves and rounded edges (whereas everything else has been quite blocky and angular). The central building seems to be a large dome with a pair of elephant sized doors, which start to open as the group approaches. They're close enough to see the extremely intricate flames carved onto the entire surface of the doors. A warm light shines from within, and Puck bows while gesturing to the open doorway.

    "Angelena, Talvosh, Sona, Spotter, our new brother Puck, and Sammael. I again welcome you all to Logos. May you find warmth and peace by the fire."

    With that, the party enters the Central Church of the Flame. It's a surprisingly large chamber, still all smooth curves and clean white stone. The Bonfire dominates the room; it is far larger and far brighter than any of the Fires the party has encountered so far, the flames licking 30 feet in the air easily. They stretch up towards a large open skylight in the ceiling, and coil around the other dominant feature of the room - a massive stone sword is planted in the flames, the hilt almost stretching into the skylight. The sword has to be at least 40 feet tall. As the party wanders into the pleasantly warm chamber, they catch sight of three figures standing by the flames. All three are dressed in soot-stained white robes, and the one in the center has what seems to be a blindfold. The blindfolded woman does a deep curtsy, while the other two prostrate themselves fully.

    "Welcome, Marked Pilgrims. Welcome, Saviours, to the Central Fire." After a moment, they straighten/stand up, and the woman with the covered eyes continues speaking. "I am Flamespeaker Alexandria, and these are Flamekeepers Darius and Ember. You have traveled far, and your journey has been arduous. Please, find solace by the Fire." They happily do so!

    ATTUNED: CENTRAL BONFIRE OF LOGOS

    The hypnotic pull of these flames are far stronger as well, and everyone except Sammael and Talvosh completely lose track of themselves until they are distracted with a gentle cough from Alexandria.

    "I'm sure you have many questions, and I will strive to answer as many of them as I can, but for now, please feel free to rest. We have ample chambers for you here in the church, or if you would prefer I'm certain Commander Bulwark could find accomadations for you."

    Talvosh muttering to Angelena: "Do you think she can even see us?"

    Alexandria just smiles. "I can see and hear you. The flame obscures, and reveals all."

    Sona practically sprints for hot water and a soft bed, and Angelena and Sammael retire for the night as well. Talvosh and Spotter decide to go along with Puck to the Forges, on the all-important quest to find Puck his robo-scorpion tail!

    Bulwark is still outside, and he goes along with the terrible trio to the Forge district. They chat a little bit as they walk, such as asking why Bulwark asked everyone to take off any gloves (no attempts to disguise or hide the Mark is permitted), how many Forged remain in Logos (just over 100) , and what exactly Spotter had been doing off in those Canyons (...slightly more awkward, but Bulwark doesn't seem to judge). It takes a while, but they eventually arrive to what seems to be a factory of sorts, with numerous people working away over anvils, forges, and worktables. Bulwark leads them through, ducking slightly as if worried he may hit his head. They walk up a catwalk next to a vat of molten metal, and meet a pair of angular, almost blocky Forged. They seem much rougher-hewn than the others they've seen. Apparently these are Anvil and Hammer, two of the finest smiths on the continent. Hammer (they think) looks at the hulking commander, looks at the other three, and then sheer vitriol spills into the air.

    "What the *** are you doing here, you giant ***?! And who are these **$@?"

    Hammer has quite the foul mouth, and I'm throwing out about 3 obscenities per sentence. After introductions (such as they are), Puck bluntly asks what they have for sale. Hammer retorts that they should come back in the morning (with multiple curses).

    Puck:"But you're here right now."

    Hammer: "And we're busy! Sod off!"

    Puck: "With what?"

    Hammer: "I doubt a dumb hunk of iron could understand! ***@#!" He gestures to the plans on the table. Puck makes a suitably high Craft (Forged) check to suss out that it's schematics for climbing spikes as a Forged component, able to shoot out of hands, elbows, knees, feet, or back. This impresses the pair enough that Anvil actually turns and examines the group.

    Anvil: "While my brother is less than eloquent, what he says is true. We do not have enough free time to display various items for you. However, bring this to the front of the Foundry during the day," he hands Puck a stamped piece of metal, "and you and your companions will be given a full tour and demonstration of our craft." Satisfied, the trio wander back to the Central Fire. Bulwark bids them a good night, and mentions that he'll probably see them again soon. Before he leaves, though, he quizzes Puck on who trained him in the ways of fighting.

    Puck: "We have always known. She who made us is is long dead."

    Bulwark: "I think I could help you with the next step of your training. I see the spark of potential in you, to walk a path similar to mine," he gestures, and a gleaming blade coalesces in his hand, then fades just as quickly. "Will can cut as deep as steel."

    Puck: "We can do something like that." He activates his Expansion engine and Bulwark nods.

    Bulwark: "With my training, you could do that simply with your will. Think on it."

    Out of game, Puck now has the means to level in Psychic Warrior.

    The three join their companions in resting - in the massive apartments that serve as guest chambers for them. This is actual luxury, not just comparative luxury.


    Spoiler: Exposition-palooza
    Show
    Everyone awakens in the morning, except for Sona. She requires cajoling and bribery/threatening to be dragged out of her room before noon, but they manage it. After eating a wonderful meal, Flamekeeper Darius (who has apparently been assigned to see to their wants and needs) requests that the group come with him to the Grand Tower, as the Council of Logos would like to meet with them. The gang moseys along to said tower.

    It is even bigger up close, and bizarrely enough the walls of the ground floor are all glass (something highly unusual). Darius leads them into a round audience hall of sorts, with many more empty seats than full. Flamespeaker Alexandria is there, standing alongside a young woman. She introduces herself as Council Head Katarine, and makes introductions for the other nine individuals in the room. The party has already met Commander Bulwark, Flamespeaker Alexandria, and Flamekeeper Ember, so she moves on.

    Council members Norus (an older man who seems ecstatic at the party's arrival, smiling and so happy he's almost tearing up) and Tarr (a middle aged man who seems to have a solidly neutral poker face)

    Ambassador Noctis, from the island of Helios: A handsome tanned young man bedecked with gold jewelry and a white toga, he seems every inch a spoiled noble brat, barely looking up from his undignified sprawl in a chair more notably opulent than the others. Canny players notice that when he does look up, his eyes shine blue with magic, and Noctis' gaze lingers on Sona.

    Ambassador Madchen Brunhilde, from the northern city of Eulethron. What skin the party can see is porcelain white, but little is visible underneath a veil and Victorian style gown. Her gaze can be felt through that veil though; it's intense, searching, and not particularly nice

    Ambassador Kodai Onsei, from the Goblin Holds, along with his guard Shunsui. Curled up in a chair is the oldest and ugliest goblin any of the party has seen. His eyes are milky, his skin is wrinkly, and nothing seems symmetrical. But the gaze seems sharp despite the milkiness, and the old goblin rasps something that party can't understand (no-one speaks goblin). Shunsui is a hobgoblin decked out in a full set of lamellar armor, and multiple weapons jutting over his shoulders and from his belt.

    Talvosh's player immediately declares that these must be the Great Lords, and they should take out all these bosses while they're gathered together. I'm almost a little disappointed he doesn't try it :P. Instead everyone introduces themselves, and then I start serving up slices of deep-dish exposition!

    Katarine welcomes the party again, and offers to answer questions, as well as explain why the party is here.

    The big one addressed first is the whole "The Marked (everyone seems careful to say Marked rather than Cursed, at least in Flamespeaker Alexandria's earshot) shall travel on Pilgrimage to the Central Flame, and receive Revelation" statements. That part is mostly true. There is a way for the Marked to learn more about the Curse, and the prophecy that a Marked one could save Artaith, "to receive Revelation"...by traveling to a place named Revelation. Partway up the Grand Tower, there is a Portal to another plane, one named Lethe. On this plane, among the fields of ashes, is the fortress Revelation. Within are tests and challenges, and those who overcome them and return are granted great knowledge. It's a dangerous journey, both Katarine and Alexandria mention that many of the Cursed who attempt it do not return. However, those who did gained the ability to travel from Bonfire to Bonfire, seemingly at will. Also, any knowledge about the Curse of Hollowing is of extreme value. The council doesn't try to push or encourage, but if the party is willing to attempt it, they will do what they can to assist.

    The council unfortunately doesn't have a ton of information about the Curse itself, other than what the party has guessed at. They do mention that the records, stories, and information gathered suggests that the Curse has slowed or lessened possibly - there are tales of when the Curse first appeared, people could Hollow in mere moments. There have been a few recorded cases of the Curse being cured (seems a bit of a verbal dance, with not calling the Marked Cursed, but still talking about the Hollowing...awkward), but they require extreme arcane might, or divine favor. Neither of those options are practical, nor are they always perfect. Especially that many of those powerful enough to do so have fallen, disappeared, or both. Noctis makes some snide comments and reinforces the party's opinions of a spoiled scion. Brunhilde makes an off-hand mention that the healers of her city had cured the Curse in their records, but such things were "not for Outsiders."

    The party gets the overwhelming feeling that this group of individuals have been arguing the same topics with and against each other for a LONG time. There is a lot of old, thick tension sludging back and forth. There is some talk of Maria - it seems that while the official story is that Maria of Logos has not been seen in Logos in centuries, there are many rumors that the Traveler is in fact Maria of Logos. Not a topic that seems like a good one to bring up in front of Bulwark - he seems upset by such talk, and it's never wise to upset giant robots.

    The talk of the Mark, Revelation, and such is interrupted by Councilman Tarr demanding that the council speak of the troubles with the Northern Fire. Apparently there have been no reports from that section of the city for several weeks, and the investigating party did not return. Some old bad blood begins to bubble up, when the party offers to investigate for a reward. Despite being embarrassed a little by them, Tarr happily states that he will ensure they are rewarded, as his family estate has access to diamonds in notable quantities. He promises to gather some information for the party when they are ready to travel to the Northern section of the city. Sammael's player mentions that he had seen the exclamation point floating above Tarr's head when he had cast Detect magic

    There's some more going back and forth, including some verbal back and forth with Noctis (who treats anyone other than Sona with bored condescension), before the party and Council agree for some time to process. All of the members mention that they are available if anyone wishes to speak to them more, and they meet every several days.

    As they head out of the audience chamber, and go around the corner, the party is startled by Madchen Brunhilde being RIGHT THERE. Her veil is lifted to reveal delicate albino features and cold eyes.

    "Pardon my interruption, but I am looking for some individuals you may have encountered on your journey. You mentioned some trouble in the city itself...did you perhaps see or meet a pair of twins? A little unusual, perhaps dressed strangely? Quite agile, but not very talkative." Sona tries to bluff, as she hasn't gotten a great impression from this strange maiden, but a poor roll means Brunhilde sees a tell in Sona's eyes.

    "You have...where?" The party admits that two of the Mummers match what Brunhilde's saying, and roughly describe where in the city they ran into them. Brunhilde curtsies, thanking the party and assuring them that they do not have to concern themselves with the twins at all anymore.

    Brunhilde's eyes look like they would be perfect for a shark made of ice. Woe be to anyone caught in those sights. Flipping her veil back down, she curtsies again and glides off, radiating far too much bloodlust. And with that, it's a night


    Puck hits level 12, and the rest of the party is pretty close behind.

    Spoiler: DEATH COUNT
    Show
    Still at 17, no combat tonight
    Last edited by curious-puzzle; 2016-05-11 at 02:21 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #149
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    There, rest of the session is posted. Technically there was a little more, but it fits better to lump it in with the next session, where the shopping madness will probably begin.

    Also, while the party was waiting for an appointment/permission to scour the Library of Logos, the council had a map for them!

    Spoiler: A map of Artaith
    Show

  30. - Top - End - #150
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The Curse of Artaith (a 3.5 Campaign Journal)

    And I almost forgot - No game this upcoming weekend, as most of us are going away for the long weekend. So you've got until Wednesday night to harass if you feel the need.
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

    The Curse of Artaith A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Heavily influenced by the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. Featuring lots and lots of death, player (character) and otherwise!

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