Roleplaying GamesThe all-purpose forum for general advice or system-independent (or multi-system) discussion. Come discuss adventure plots, gamemastering dilemmas, or player advice here. For ruleset-specific discussions, see the subforums.
Death in the Dragonmarks: an Eberron campaign journal
As I always enjoy reading campaign journals I figured I'd give back and post the adventures from my Sunday gaming group!
Wrath: A warforged warblade. Pretty much cherrypicking all the good stuff, and has lots of HP. Our primary damage dealer.
Salvatore Lee IV, a.k.a. Sally: A human female bard, who's our primary medic and BFCer. Trips people with her whip. Also our face and secondary skillmonkey.
Lianara: Female elven swift hunter from Valenar and our primary skill monkey. Secondary DPS via archery.
Rhuuna Swansong: A female halfling druid focused on summoning. She has a fleshraker animal companion named Lilliput.
Jeffery Stuart (me): A male lesser aasimar cleric/paladin/crusader headed for Fist of Raziel. I tank, and do it pretty well. Also a secondary DPS. Particulars of my build can be found here
Ignatius: An male human artificer who used to be part of the party, until the player had to drop out of the campaign.
Baby (deceased): Rhuuna's first animal companion.
Mason (current whereabouts unknown): a human archer DMPC who traveled with the party for a little while. Worked for Brelish intelligence.
And now, on with the show!
About half of this session was finalizing character creation and getting to know everyone, so actual stuff is somewhat shorter.
We started off in Sharn, answering a post from The Twelve seeking those of resource for a caravan escort to The Tower of The Tweve in Korth, Karrnath. After filling out a brief application we then received a summons to appear at a lecture hall at Morgrave University for the screening process.
We arrived individually at the lecture hall and saw we aren't the only ones to see the notice from The Twelve. Eventually we were all interviewed by an agent of The Twelve, James, who sent us out after a brief interview, and instructed us to stay close by to hear the final result. After a while the interviews stopped and Wrath, Rhuuna, Lianana, Jeffrey, Salvatore IV, Igantius, and Mason were asked to stay behind as they were chosen as caravan guards. Along with the 2000 gp to be paid on completion of the escort we were each given a standard travelers kit and a 1000 gp stipend to supplement our existing gear. Ignatius was also given a fully charged repair light damage wand for use in maintenance on the road. With our gear and stipend received we were told to be at Mallon’s gate at mid-day to set off, to adventure!
The following day we arrived to see the caravan assembled and ready to go as well as 4 Magebred horses for our use, of which we only took three. With me and Ignatius riding in the wagon with the cargo and Mason driving we set off towards our first stop, the capital of Breland, Wroat. Most of the day's travel was uneventful until a group of Emerald Claw mercenaries lead by what appeared to be a Priest of the Blood of Vol requested they hand over their cargo. Mason refused and a fight ensued.
We pretty quickly dispatched our attackers. As in I think we needed only one or two cures to get everyone to full health. We stabilized the wounded, stripped them to their skivvies, left them by the side with a handy warning sign, and took the priest captive. After putting him in the back of the wagon and waiting for him to wake up the party asked him a few questions and learned that he was ordered by the head of his temple, Francis, to retrieve the cargo. After answering our questions we released the priest and continued on through the night to Wroat. Arriving at the capital we found that we had rooms waiting for us at the “Evermoon Tavern”.
Re: Death in the Dragonmarks: an Eberron campaign journal
Something that may not be clear from the first session - Mason was chosen as the leader of the group. This was somewhat necessary, since this was our first time playing together as a group and none of us really knew each other. It helped having the DM have an easy way to keep on the rails
Session 1 - Valiant Baby
After arriving in Wroat and checking into the Evermoon tavern we settled in for the night, leaving Lianara, Wrath, and Mason to watch over the cart. After a brief nap Mason left to take care of some business he had in Wroat. A little while after Lianara was awoken from her trance state as she and Wrath heard noises at the far end of the stables. Being the good adventurers they are, Lianara went to investigate while Wrath stayed sitting on the chest. The thieves, frustrated by Wrath's unwillingness to leave a perfectly good chest unguarded, tried the more violent approach. After a quick battle with what appeared to be elves Wrath and Lianara left one of them fleeing for their life and the other opened up from shoulder to hip.
A short while later Mason returned to a cautious Lianara’s bow trained on him. Seeing that it probably wasn’t safe at the tavern any more Mason gathered us and we left Wroat as quickly and carefully as possible. We continued on our way, only to find another group of Emerald Claw soldiers blocking our way, and they looked considerably better trained than our first batch. They had us considerably outmanned, with three more-lightly armored soldiers, three soldiers in MW full plate, and a mage! The mage demanded we hand over the artifact - predictably, we refused and battle ensued!
Early in the fight two hidden scouts emerged from their camouflaged hiding spots and entangled Wrath and Jeffery with a pair of tanglefoot bags, preventing us from charging directly into the fray. They forgot, however, to account for Baby, who made a leaping charge at the caster in the back and managed to severely wound him, with Rhuuna riding his back the whole time. Seeing their caster was in trouble the other soldiers came to his aid by trying to bull rush Baby away. They eventually succeeded, but not before Rhuuna was able to summon some dire rats to keep some of the soldiers busy. The rest of us closed to the main crowd or engaged at range, and Rhuuna took the opportunity to summon a spider swarm to help deal with our foes. No longer pinned under Baby, the caster crawled away from the swarm and took the opportunity to cast an icelance at Baby, managing to inflict a grievous wound. Before Rhuuna was able to properly react to the injury the elite soldiers converged on Baby and made sure that he would no longer be a threat. In turn the ranged members of our party ensured the caster would no longer be a threat.
After the caster was neutralized, it didn’t take long for us to finish off most of the rest of the soldiers, and we offered the survivors a chance to withdraw, which the remaining two elite soldiers took. Stabilizing those that were still breathing, Wrath took the time to bury valiant Baby and we planned our next move. Feeling our route was compromised, Mason lead us into the Dragonwood to Woodhelm. A few wind driven tree branches (where Mason took more damage there than during our actual fight!), a Sword of Liberty camp, and a broken wheel later they arrived and took refuge at the Lumbering Lager inn and left Wrath holding the chest in the cart as watch.
Rhuuna's player wasn't their that day - it was her fiancé (who plays Sally) playing Rhuuna. She was not happy with him!
The value of Protection devotion + inspire courage is crazy good. It helped keep the rats alive to provide us flanking bonuses, helped keep Rhuuna alive after Baby died, and helped make sure we were all hitting. It's pretty much our standard buff as of now.
For non-Ebberon players, the sword of liberty is pretty much a terrorist group.
Leaping pounce is a ridiculous ability. Who thought that fleshrakers as animal companions was good idea!?!?!
Re: Death in the Dragonmarks: an Eberron campaign journal
Session 2 - Wolves and Bulettes and Owlbears, Oh my!
After reaching the lumbering town of Woodhelm and resting for the night, we woke mostly refreshed and ready to continue our travels. All was not well, however, since a group of workers who had just left town came running back, chased by a large group of spiders that proceeded to turn around when they reached the edge of town. After some investigation we were asked to remove the spider threat from a new logging area for a 200 GP reward by the company owner, John. Being the skilled negotiators we are we convinced the owner of the logging company to raise it to 300 GP. With the payment arrangements made everybody except for Mason, who stayed behind to watch over the cargo, headed out to the logging site to take care of the spiders.
Upon arriving at the logging site Rhuuna noticed that the trees the company was about to cut down where extremely healthy. There was also no evidence that the spiders were there. We decided to venture deeper into the forest, easily following the trail left by the spiders. After about 45 minutes of walking there was still no sign of the spiders we were supposed to eliminate but we did begin to hear a voice on the wind. Coinciding with that, a wolf pack materialized in front of us! Fortunately Lianara was able to understand the language as Sylvan and it turned out a dryad was responsible for the first spider attack and the wolf pack. The dryad did not want the loggers ruining the part of the forest she had spent decades fostering, but not wanting a large fight said that she would be willing to help find a suitable replacement area for the company to harvest. Since we were only tasked with eliminating the spiders and not negotiating with a protector of the forest on the behalf of the logging company, we sent Wrath and Sally to retrieve the company’s owner and the union rep for negotiations. After a bit of negotiation, and learning that it would result in greater losses than profits for the company, the owner agreed to let the dryad guide them to a new logging spot. With negotiations completed we, the company owner, and Bob the union rep headed back to town. After Sally reminded John he still owed us our pay we received 300 GP and started to head out through the woods on our main mission of delivering the cargo to Korth.
Having no real trail to follow made traveling slower but still manageable. Along the way we protected our horses from various predators, such as a different pack of wolves – led by a pair of dire wolves – and a few displacer beasts. Finally leaving the Dragonwood, we were able to make it to the Orien trade road fairly quickly and headed to Xandrar so they might catch a boat to Passage. Just as Drum Keep came into view both Lianara and Rhuuna heard the earth below them being displaced as a bulette surfaced and almost devoured the horse pulling the cart. Acting quickly, we managed to put it down before it could inflict any real damage. We also fought an owlbear, and even though the horses were spooked, we managed to either dismount or get our mounts under control and defeat the beastie. Despite these interruptions, we arrived in Xandrar and got ready to head out first thing in the morning aboard the Prosperity to Passage.
With everything stored and us relaxing on deck, we noticed that we were being watched from somewhere. About a half hour later the sound of a teleport spell came from back near the wheel as four figures materialized there. A robed figure, 2 soldier types in chainmail, and one in a shiny breastplate with the Blood of Vol symbol prominently displayed.
We leveled, up to 5.
Being grappled by an owlbear sucks.
Re: Death in the Dragonmarks: an Eberron campaign journal
Well, Teflon, hopefully this should satisfy
Session 3 - Whaddya mean, mages are effective?
To set the scene, we were traveling on caravel type of ship, across lake Galifar. Our party is scattered across the deck, with Lianara in the crow’s nest, Mason (and the cargo) near the back mast, and Jeffrey near the forward mast. Sally was fishing off the side of the ship. The enemies teleported to the back of the ship, on the aftcastle.
The common consensus was if someone teleports to your location while you’re guarding something, assume they’re there to take your loot, so shoot first and ask questions later. Mason was the first in line and took a couple of shots at the breastplate wearing foe, getting his attention. After that Jeffrey moved to block the stairs onto the main deck to try and contain the combatants to the upper deck.
The soldiers were the first of the enemy combatants to respond after teleporting in. One decided to try and take control of the ship by attacking the captain, who was at the wheel, while the other one climbed down the wall to engage Jeffrey. The breastplate wearer also moved in to also engage him, while appearing to also move to the cargo. Sally and Wrath dropped what they were doing and moved to engage the enemies, while Ignatius attempted to take out the mage with his bow.
Ignatius’s arrows missed, allowing the mage to counterattack by creating a wall of fire that not only effectively split the top deck into two different areas, but also engulfed poor Sally, dropping her unconscious. Jeffrey, realizing the real threat of the mage, moved closer to him and kept attacking the soldiers on the way. Unfortunately, this left Mason open to attack from the breastplate wearer, who with a single touch, caused him to fall, unbreathing. Wrath decided that the odds needed to be evened, ran through the wall of fire and managed to get in a mighty blow on the breastplate wearer.
Meanwhile, Lianara finished an acrobatic display down to the main deck just in time to rescue Sally. The mage, seeing a pissed off Jeffrey fighting his way, decided his best chance for him and his allies to escape would be for him to be on the lower deck. He attempted escape by climbing down the wall like his companions, but was unable to keep his footing and fell on his face. Seeing a chance to eliminate the mage threat, Jeffrey moved to his location and was able to get a good hit in but left the mage conscious, though certainly not by choice.
The breastplate wearer, having an opportunity to get what he wanted and not wanting to face an angry Wrath, promptly grabbed the chest and disappeared with it after uttering a word. The mage, seeing that the objective was complete, attempted to escape using a magic item on his person that allowed him to disappear and reappear on the other side of the wall of fire. In retrospect, this was mistake number one for the mage, for he found an angry halfling and elf on the other side. Pulling out a quartz gem, the mage shot what looked to be a lance of ice at Lianara, hitting her fairly solidly and stunning her. That was mistake two for the mage; he didn’t get another.
Rhuuna, recognizing the spell as the same one that grievously injured her beloved Baby, promptly took the shape of another dinosaur and mauled the mage, knocking him unconscious. She continued with the mauling, tearing off the hands to ensure he wasn’t capable of casting, and caused the mage to bleed to death. The two soldiers, after watching the mage abandon them, surrendered.
While tending to the wounded and gathering the dead, Ignatius noticed that there was some magic being worked over the area but neither he or Jeffrey could identify it clearly. After gathering the loot from the attackers and making sure the ship wasn’t on fire, Mason startled everyone by sitting up with a gasp and an exclamation of “That hurt”.
After explaining that while technically he was working for the Twelve, his actual employer was the King’s Citadel of Breland, though, in his words, “if you ask about me there they won’t be able to tell you anything”. Mason explained he had come up with a plan to attempt to throw pursuers off of the trail. He had replaced the original chest we had been guarding for one that looked identical that the attackers were meant to take. The original was stored below decks. Mason, while certainly not expecting to be killed (and really, who is?), hoped with a grim grin that they wouldn’t be able to open the chest too soon, but assured us that when they did get it open, they were in for a nasty surprise or three.
Mason emphasized that for all intents and purposes he should be considered dead, and the party needed to elect a new leader of the caravan. We chose Sally for the job and spent a few more or less relaxing days on open water before arriving in Passage. We parted ways with Mason and finally got the chance to sell some of our accumulated items, where Sally managed to talk the arms dealer into being very generous in buying them. With our wagon a bit lighter and our number one fewer, we decided that the best way to get to Korth and finish this mission was to travel overland as part of a House Orien caravan to Flamekeep and then catch a ship to Rekkenmark from there. After a comparatively lazy three days we arrived in Flamekeep and found a ship to Rekkenmark. The passage went by without incident, and we were able to move from Rekkenmark, only encountering some bandits who definitely picked the wrong caravan to mess with.
When we reached Korth, we pretty much went straight to the Tower of the Twelve, where we were paid and the shipment was verified. The mage who took receipt of the chest opened it right in front of us, and for the first time since we took the job, we saw just what it was that people were willing to kill for. It contained some sort of device which surrounded the largest Khyber dragonshard any of us had ever seen, roughly about the size of our head. Though the mage seemed dismissive of us, the news that we were attacked by forces of the Emerald Claw and Blood of Vol seemed to trouble him. He dismissed the us, assuring us he would look into the matter a bit and get back to us in a few days. Leaving the Tower, we retired to an inn to get some food and rest.
While there, Sally received a message from home, informing her that her mother was not well. Sally decided to go back home and the rest of us followed her, deciding that given our recent enemies, it probably wasn’t wise to split up. We found a privateer airship captain, agreed to work as crew in exchange for passage back to Passage, left a forwarding address for our contact at the Twelve, and swiftly made our way back to Passage. Once we arrived, we picked up new transport (a wagon with some mules), and headed to Sally’s home.
This is a perfect example of why battlefield control is so powerful. With one spell, the mage changed the odds from 4-6 to 4-2, downed one party member, prevented our archers from getting clear shots at the enemy, and forced anyone who wanted to help Jeffrey and Mason to take damage. If he had dropped a solid fog next round, he would have killed Sally and possibly Wrath and Ignatius as well. Thankfully he was bit more concerned with fleeing.
The best two lines from the fight? Right after the mage teleports and stuns Lianara.
Me (Jeffrey): I want him alive!
Rhuuna: Well I don’t! (And then proceeds to shred face)
Protection Devotion is good, but that 30ft range is limiting. A heraldic crest of inspiration (from the forge of war) is on my buy list if my DM will let me use that to increase PD’s range.
For non Eberron folks: Khyber shards are very tiny pieces of crystal used to power magic items. To see one that big is kind of like seeing a perfectly cut and polished diamond about the size of your head.
Re: Death in the Dragonmarks: an Eberron campaign journal
Sorry for not posting more (holidays tend to do that), but we're back!
Session 4: Hometown heroes
Arriving in Sally’s home town, the village of Duskwood Point, we made our way to Sally’s family home on the coast of Lake Galifar. There we met Sara, Sally’s mother, who greeted her daughter happily. She appeared to not have slept in days, with very dark circles under her eyes and occasionally, a vacant expression would come over her face. The house also looked like it is also being affected by whatever is happening to her, with clutter beginning to accumulate and the garden becoming overgrown.
Denying anything was wrong, Sara went to prepare some tea and snacks while another woman, a few years younger than Sally approached us. Introducing herself as Sally’s sister, she explained that it was she that sent the message and that while Sara may look fine now, the sister has caught her wandering aimlessly around the village and woods, talking to people who aren’t there, and staring off for hours on end. When Sara returned we spent the rest of the day visiting and stayed the night, leaving in the morning to check out the old fort for clues as to what was going on. With Rhuuna feeling increasingly uneasy in the woods and Jeffery getting a heavy sense of evil in the area we pressed on.
We reached the abandoned fort and spent most of the day searching for clues. The only the only thing we found was a group of fresh tracks leading out of the fort and no bodies. Following the tracks for a bit out of the fort, we came upon to deep chasms from which a group of horrific aberrations emerged and attacked. After the battle, we noticed a figure standing a ways away, just on the edge of our vision. The figure moved further into the woods when we noticed it, and a quick check of the area where the figure was revealed no tracks to follow. We decided that chasing the figure was pointless, but venturing into Khyber held more clues. We found a spot that seemed to be safe and Lianara and Wrath kept watch. Sally had a restless night, as she kept hearing what she thought was her father. At one point she even wandered out of the tent with weapons drawn, startling our two guards.
The next morning we began to try and figure out how deep the chasms were. Dropping a stone with a light on it didn’t reveal anything as the light disappeared. Sally then asked Rhuuna to change into something capable of flight and check it out. Rhuuna discovered the bottom was mud and was about a mile down. We made our way down to the bottom and found the mud was almost up to our knees. We set off further into Khyber, choosing a direction at random.
It didn’t take long before we were attacked again by a group of dolgrims and dolgaunts. We quickly killed all but one - a dolgaunt who ran off, yelling for someone named Greg. We followed the dolgaunt, descending deeper into Kyber until we came to a slightly larger cavern. Then the dolgaunt who had run away was there, smiling viciously, stating that Greg would end us now. To prove his point, a gauth, who we assumed was Greg, descended from the ceiling. A brief battle ensued, and though Greg caused us some consternation when he temporarily disabled Jeffrey, Wrath, and Lianara, but it was too little, too late, and the three members were still able to finish off Greg and the remaining dolgaunt. A search of the chamber revealed some of the items that the gauth and the minions had collected over time. We took a moment to go over what we had found before we descended deeper.
Not a whole lot to report, save that if it looks weird reading about Sally's sister, it's because we still haven't given her a name