Posted by : David Guyll February 03, 2012

Cast

  • Captain Iron Jack Derro (human made-up warlord)
  • Danh (goliath serpent shaman)
  • Lothelle (moon elf bladesinger)
Danh and Lothelle, stranded on the moon, wandered towards a petrified forest bordering some mountains, which were predictably infested with petrified dryads. After killing them they were met by Gwynneon, a hag that offered them food and shelter. Weary after almost an entire day of travel and fighting, they accepted. She offered them the comforts of her surprisingly well furnished cave, putting them to sleep with her magic.

Meanwhile Captain Iron Jack Derro was wrapping up a smuggling deal. He had just dropped off a shipment of efreeti fire-brandy and was looking for another job. His contact informed him about an "oracle" living in mountains near an afore-mentioned petrified forest, and that she purportedly would know of a cache of ancient treasures. Iron Jack decided to take him up on the offer and set sail, arriving at the cave just a few hours after Danh and Lothelle did.

Danh and Lothelle woke at a table, complete with food and tea, as Jack arrived. Gwynneon told them that she could help Lothelle find the weapon she seeked, as well as Jack find untold riches, if they would bring her something that contained knowledge; the brain of an illithid or their memory stones, or books from the archives of Shom. Anything associated with great knowledge. They accepted her deal (even when she used the word "deal"), and decided to set sail for Shom as Lothelle was deathly worried about contact with cold iron.

Before heading out they decided to stop off at Astrazalian for supplies. Unfortunately Lothelle encountered her father, who was not pleased with her three month absence (which to her was only five days). He tried to stop her, but she made it back to Jack's ship after an evaded wall of ice, and they narrowly escaped as he tried to skewer the ship with ballista bolt-sized icicles.

On the first day of their journey to Shom, Jack sized up Danh and Lothelle, and helped train them in melee combat. They also busied themselves with chores around the ship, Danh helping keep a lookout and Lothelle helping Clik'r with the ship's forge. A bladeling warship spotted them, and after narrowly avoiding a collision a gith-mounted red dragon also joined the fight. The bladeling ship managed to clip theirs and breach the hull, but ultimately provided a nice distraction for the dragon; it tore the ship in half, breathed fire in one half while the gith engaged the bladelings in the other. Lothelle poured her magic into the forge, providing a massive boost to speed, but the dragon pursued. They only got away after Jack dumped off a trove of treasure at the dragon, which happily stopped to scoop the gold and jewelry into the remains of the bladeling ship that it was still carrying

The days passed and they continued to train, interact, and in Lothelle's case gradually learn Draconic, and made it to Shom without further incident. Inside the dominion they were met with a vast, endless white desert with a brilliant sun constantly beating on them from above. Setting out into the desert, they encountered an insane, bereft angel that attacked them in a blind rage. After killing it they found a great stone colossus mostly buried in the sand. Lothelle deduced that it was a very advanced golem of some sort that could theoretically teach itself. Standing on top of its remains, Danh noticed some mountains in the distance and we called it a night (having played for about five hours).

Next time: The Lost Library.

Behind the Scenes
This was such an insanely fucking epic session that I am fairly confident that I will forget things and/or retell them incorrectly. Hopefully my players will correct me. As before I improvised almost the entire session. I knew that they would meet Gwynneon and that she would give them various directions, but that was about it. I had no idea if they would go to Acamar, Shom, or somewhere else. I had no idea exactly how Iron Jack would run into the party. Regardless everything fell together, and everyone did an awesome job.

I want to congratulate Josh on not only inventing his own class on the spot (a combination of a warlord and skald), but also a diverse cast of NPCs to crew his ship. I had a lot of fun taking on the roles of a cynical elf, thri-kreen arcanist (whose carapace was graven with arcane formula and symbols), and a dwarf cook that was so ancient he was starting to turn to stone. Josh also did an excellent job of portraying a jaded war veteran somewhere between Malcolm Reynolds and Rooster Cogburn (I particularly liked the part where he was using his war honors to crack nuts).

I want to apologize to Kiara. I kept prompting her for numbers during the course of the game after I asked her what her odds were of bumping into her father. Her response was, "Oh I dunno, about 1 in 20", to which I replied, "I like those odds" while maliciously hefting a d20. I asked her for a number, rolled it, and thus a trend was born; for the rest of the session I kept asking her for one or more numbers, for even or odds, for highs and lows. She was a good sport, and I also thought she did a great job getting into character and describing things.

The fight against the bladelings and red dragon worried me at first. I decided to initially only throw a bladeling warship at them. Once it missed them, Kiara's bad luck caused a red dragon to show up. They decided to leg it, and thankfully the dragon went after the bladeling ship after ricocheting off of Jack's ship, right into the dragon's clutches. After it tore the ship apart and chased them, Josh had the idea of lobbing a chest full of treasure at it. I let him roll a Bluff check, he succeeded, and so I figured it would distract the dragon long enough to let them escape.

The bereft angel got more than a few shocked expressions. When they found it and got its attention, it stalked towards them, muttering phrases like "I cannot hear her", "where did she go", and "what did we do wrong". When it got closer it started accusing them of not believing in Her and blaming them for, well, something. Kiara guessed that it was, "one of those angels David was talking about". What can I say, I have a big mouth... Anyway, it was good that she jokingly suggested looting the sand that it turned into after slain, as angelstones are great sources of condensed astral potential.

They leveled up to two, and in addition to the usual I gave Danh Melee Training (Wisdom) as a bonus feat, Lothelle a +1 on melee attacks, and Jack a bonus on History and Insight checks due to the consistent training drills that they were doing every morning. I am considering foregoing the usual level up process, instead giving them organic bonuses as the situation warrants. If they are up for it, removing the scaling bonuses to attacks, defenses, and skills (as well as those from monsters) might also be in order. They only have one magic item so far, but I told them that monsters do not "assume" attack/defense feats or magic items.

I am sure that I missed some things. There was a lot of social interaction, and everyone was really pleased with how much they did in such a short time. Again none of the encounters used minis, and the skill challenges displayed a huge amount of creativity on their part: while fleeing from her father he tried to trap Lothelle with a wall of ice, so she made an Arcana check to try and dispel it. Even though she failed, she was able to create a gap that her and Danh could squeeze through, taking some cold damage but pushing the story forward all the same.

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