The Architect of Ruins

Assassins in the Cathedral
Session 31

Day 2 Continued

The doors to the main sanctuary of the Cathedral of Corellon were shut. The party spread out to listen carefully at several of the doors in the entrance hall. The two Halflings listened at the main double doors, which shattered as the fist of a Cadaver Golem punched through and pushed them back. The golem was the front line for two Kenku assassins, a necromancer standing near the dais and a sniper perched in the balcony.

Randuil learned the hard way that the assassins had rigged several traps throughout the cathedral as upon reaching the top of the balcony was bathed in fire from a Flame Jet trap. Dri quickly shot up the necromancer who was forced to hide down in the recessed area where worshipers knelt and meditated a millennium ago. When Lunnin ran down to finish off the necromancer, electrical charges shot through his legs, a trap laid by the Kenku. The traps placed by the Kenku also hit Kaltes Tundral and Dri.

The necromancer went down without dealing too much damage, but did send Lunnin back through the lightning traps one more time. After killing the necromancer, the party finished off the Golem and the Sniper. A search of the bodies produced, 2,200gp, Antipathy Gloves, Healer’s Gloves, and a note directed toward Ryva the Audacious from the Drohta, The Headless Kenku. He has sent nine assassins to hunt down the audacious one.

Day 3

After taking the day to rest to recover from the Kenku assassins 8 and 9, the party stepped through the mural at the back of the main sanctuary. Which lead them to a group of pilgrims, worshipers of Ioun. By all appearances, the wizard named Cloudwatcher had summoned them to protect the pilgrims which were being pursued by White Cloaks of the Aeristhyde Empire. The White Cloaks are witch hunters. At this mention, Kaltes realized they were back in the time of the last empire. During this period, the gods were thought to be asleep and there was no divine power, that is until some children started to display the ability to channel divine power. The Empire believed this would create a rally point and tried to hunt down these “witches” and kill them. Cloudwatcher needed to reach a rendezvous point south of their current location and summoned the PCs to help them reach it unharmed.

Dri and Cloudwatcher spoke while they traveled. The wizard believed he could help Dri and the others get back to their intended path.

They ran into some Imperial Soldiers, but the party let two soldiers slip past them. These soldiers killed two of the pilgrims who were shielding Math with their lives. Then a blue light surrounded Math and the slain pilgrims were back alive. The boy collapsed and the party quickly finished off the Imperial Soldiers.

Rewards

Treasure: 2,200gp, Antipathy Gloves, Healer’s Gloves

XP Total: 16,500XP

DM Notes: You have 43 bottles of dandelion wine.

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Metagame

Monsters

For those curious about the actual mechanics, I’ve pretty much settled on the 75% HP and increasing damage by [die] + (1.5 * mod) for most creatures, so 1d8+4 -> 1d8+6. For brutes it is 2x mod, so 1d8+4 -> 1d8+8 for brutes. I’ve been using this for the last two or three times we’ve played. 4E is amazingly easy to scale to suit your tastes.

I also have two types of minions. Standard minions do a fixed amount of damage, which are 1/8 a creature as far as XP goes. Elite minions, for lack of a better term, have the same stats and attack powers as their standard counterpart (minus recharge and encounter powers), but still only have 1HP, and these are budgeted at 1/4 a creature as far as XP goes.

Skill Challenge

As a reminder, powers can be used in skill challenges. For example, in a chase/race type challenge, Expeditious Retreat in many circumstances is an auto success. I also have to be a little more descriptive with these to help visualize alternate solutions.

Descriptions

I’ve also started to write out and read descriptions of where you are. Did you find this helpful or it doesn’t matter one way or the other.

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Shadar-kai Tea Time
Session 30

Day 1, Continued

The party gathered at the bottom of the twin stairways leading up the tower. A thick black gel substance coated the top of the steps and the smell of blood and rot descended from above. They moved up to the second floor, which was a wizard’s laboratory. A Cadaver Golem moved in to pummel Dri as soon as he entered. After the initial onslaught, Randuil made the Golem an ineffective attacker long enough for the party to take down without much injury.

After the battle they spotted a Kenku feather on the ground. A search of the lab and the Corpse Golem yielded:

  • Branchrunners
  • Tube of Residuum (1,700gp)
  • Book of Rituals: Undead Servitor, Mordenkainen’s Joining, Signal of Pursuit

They reached the top of the tower. By then ash started to fall from the sky like snow. Even from their vantage point, it was difficult to see very far in much detail due to the Shadowfell Gloom and the ashen snow. To the east was the gate, which they entered this section. To the north there was a cathedral. South were old barracks. West they saw a light, that disappeared but did not return.

During the rest, Kaltes strengthened Lunnin’s armor.

Day 2

As they headed toward the west to investigate the flash of light they saw the night before, they encountered a Shadar-kai Witch. She seemed angry. Grundin sensed she seemed forced to be helpful toward them. They followed the witch to the barracks where she said she’d answer any questions they may have. Summary of what was learned:

  • She was compelled by the Raven Queen, via a dream, to assist a group of outsiders who were trapped by the Elk Horned Wizard.
  • Sauls set the trap at the east gate and then headed to the Cathedral of Corellon, where he was not seen again.
  • The portal to the north leads to a Feywild zone.
  • The portal to the west continues into the Shadowfell.
  • Grundin learned that the airship he wanted to investigate was most likely the Monolith.
  • The witch had two Star Statuettes in her dwelling that looked like it was part of the same set as the Wind Statuettes.
  • Sorrel’s dwelling was not in this zone.
  • Shadowsynthe tastes like cat piss.
  • Cloudwatcher passed through this zone before Sauls (Elk Horned Wizard), but she didn’t specify what amount of time that was.

They decided to follow Saul’s path to the Cathedral of Corellon, which was surrounded by a field of bones. Upon entering, the field rumbled and the party was able to run across it to the solid ground of the cathedral steps before the flaming beast (who somehow forgot it’s aura 2 10 fire damage, silly solo undead beast) could emerge. After dealing with that they walked into a Flame Jet trap that was not part of the initial construction.

Rewards

Items: Branchrunners; Residuum; Ritual Book

Skill Challenge: Running across the boneyard, Complexity 3, 1,050xp

Combat: 4,200xp

XP Total: 875 + 14,534 = 15,409XP

DM Note

Daily item use…guys aren’t using them, same with Action Points. They’re not really that precious of a commodity and not hoardable like gold, so use them to kill things faster.

Also, now that the characters know the deal with the Dandelion Wine, I’ve assumed those that need to have been taking their half bottle a night. You have 45 bottles left.

I think I’ll have someone track initiative/conditions next time to clear some room for me to run the monsters in a way that makes combat a little more challenging, rather than just using stronger monsters. In doing all the bookkeeping I’m forgetting some of the things that monsters do. The party is a bit stronger now that the second defender (Grundin) compliments the primary defender (Lunnin) against solos and elites quite well. Always using stronger monsters usually means more HP, which I’d like to avoid to keep most battles in the 60 minute range to keep two hours for battle one hour for everything else ratio.

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Ihniko Northgate, Shadowfell
Session 29

Day 1

While visiting the other camps around the lake to trade or buy for items and equipment, Federin decided it was time for him to return to his master. He couldn’t let Zarathustra gain strength and leave his lord uninformed. So the party fell to four members by the time they left the lake behind and headed west toward the city of Ihniko.

In the woods, a few minutes away from the lake, a strange Elf let himself be detected by the party (no formal introduction). He informed the party that he had been tracking them and considered sniping them one by one, but decided instead to make contact. The party and the strange Elf continued walking toward the city without reaching some form of comrade status, as far as being one adventuring party.

By late afternoon they found their way to one of the gateways into Ihniko. As they approached a sturdy dwarven warrior stepped onto the path. He introduced himself as Grundin Hammerdrang, a warrior on the path of Ioun. Grundin had been tracking the party having followed them from Dagonshire, looking for Kaltes specifically. He stated he was there in part to protect Kaltes. The wizard seemed to like the idea. The warlord and the fighter also seemed to think increasing the ranks of the brute squad was a good idea, so Grundin joined.

They approached the gate to Ihniko. As with many Elven cities, there is no wall around Ihniko, so the gates are symbolic rather than functional. It was clear to Kaltes that traveling through the gate would take them to the Shadowfell of Ihniko and walking around the gate would keep them in the normal world.

A ghost sitting atop the gate inserted himself into the group’s deliberation and examination of the gate. He introduced himself as Sorrel. The ghost informed them that they were not the first to pass through the area in recent days. When given Sauls’ description, he confirmed that Sauls had gone through the gate to the Shadowfell of Ihniko, which Sorrel mentioned was the Northeast Gate. He invited them to his house deep in the city, but gave no directions to it. It seems the ghost wants to help the party, but isn’t quite sure if they’re the ones who can end this nightmare of the king which has caused the forest to warp over the thousand years since the fall of the Ihniko.

Kaltes’ History (29) revealed the following: Sorrel was the wizard of King Urikengan, the last king of the Ihniko. Urikengan was the 2nd oldest male child, but his older brother Illsinduin betrayed Ihniko and brought about the War of the Three Forests that decimated Ihniko (and brought the Eladrin Empire of Aeristhyde into power, the last empire before Sola fell into ruin). Sorrel was originally Illsinduin’s wizard, but Urikengan took him on when he became the heir to the throne of Ihniko. History is clear that Sorrel had warned of the impending war amongst the Elves, but the father of the two princes was blind to Illsinduin’s treachery and refused to reign in his wayward son.

All but Dri, the strange Elf stepped through the gate. As soon as they crossed, they entered the Shadowfell of the city. The surrounding gloom swallowed their light, making them glow in half light. The buildings in the Shadowfell were more intact than those in the normal world, but more warped and depleted.

An arcane circle pulsed to life, causing the roadway paved with bones to claw at their legs and grabbing on. The runes threatened to explode at any moment. Some made it out safely, but those who did not burned in magical fire. Shadowgloom Skeletons rose from the street just outside of the circle. To make the situation worse, a sniper obscured by the gloom was firing from the tower at the end of the street. As soon as they were able to break past the skeletons, the sniper ceased to fire.

Then, after regrouping (and finding Warlock’s Gloves), they entered through the front door of the square tower. The skeletons bathed parts of the interior in darkness. The small sitting room to the left became the feeding ground for animated bags of skin that enveloped Kaltes and Grundin. The Forsaken Shells preyed on the two and trapped them in the darkness as it sucked the life from them as they wrapped their slimy insides around the two.

One of the skeletons escaped up the stairs. After a brief inspection of the sitting room, dining room, kitchen area, and storage space of the first level they found a Golden Statuette of a Tree (1,500gp value).

Rewards

Treasure: Warlock’s Gloves; and, a Golden Statuette.

Skill Challenge, Disable the Blazing Circle of Bone: 800xp

Combat: 3,650xp

XP Total: 742 + 13,792 = 14,534XP

Rules Correction

You must be able to see the target to gain combat advantage.

.

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Shadow of the Monolith
Session 28

September 4

The party trekked through the dim mist of the old forest for the rest of the morning. As they traveled closer to the tower, the damp earth became softer and less densely packed. Upon making sight of the tower, an undead horde rose from the earth. They fought the undead captain and lieutenants, but were quickly surrounded by hundreds of skeletons rising from their centuries long slumber on this lost battlefield.

The party plowed their way through the mass of bones. Kaltes clearing a path with his Thunderwave, Lunnin and Ryva pushing back the horde, Federin climbing over the mass and balancing over the constantly moving ocean of death kicking heads and breaking limbs. Through force the party was able to make their way through the tower, but the undead army had clawed much of their energy. Kaltes set up a Flaming Sphere in front of the doorway, allowing them to safely climb the broken steps to the portal.

Day 1

The party came to inside a mushroom circle. Coram’s death rot was cured. Someone had smeared an ointment on the wound. They introduced themselves to the healer and they went down to the a lake where over a hundred seekers were camped waiting for the Lady of the Lake to appear and escort them to the Monolith.

Through Denethor, the leader of one of the camps, the party learned that the Monolith attacks all who approach who are not escorted by the Lady of the Lake. Unfortunately, nobody has seen the Lady for a year now. The lake is cursed. Those who enter feel the urge to continue walking into the depths. At the bottom of the lake is a castle.

The party decided to continue west towards the city. At some point, the healer was scared off staying with the party and Coram decided to travel with the healer.

Rewards

Skill Challenge: Up the Tower Steps 350xp (solution circumvented the challenge)

Combat: 2,100xp

XP: 13,384 + 408 = 13,792xp

Next time, Kaltes starts with an additional Action Point.

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Scarrowfell's Demon
Session 27

September 3

Not even wild animals could push the heroes out of Scarrowfell. As they forced their way into the town square where the tree demon conducted the animal horde, the animals fled and scattered into the dark forest. The stampede caused the ground to shake. Acorns, twigs, and leaves fell all over the town.

The tree demon shot spores at the party causing thorns to break through the skin of those that were hit. All around the demon were roots that were difficult to cross. The demon seemed content to fire from a distance and attack Randuil and Federin who had separated from the party. Ryva taunted the demon, which caused it to abandon its strategy in order to go after the audacious Halfling. The demon was quickly surrounded and challenged by Coram and Lunnin, leaving Federin and Randuil free to unleash devastating attacks. Kaltes finished it.

Soon after dying, roots sprung out from the forest floor and started to bore holes into the tree demon in order to reclaim it. Looking at the top of the hill that is the center of Scarrowfell, it appears that this tree was transformed somehow, uprooting itself and attacking the village that was around it.

They returned to Clovis and the refugees to let them know the town was safe. There was a feast that night. Clovis told them about the cliff north of Scarrowfell and pointed out a trail to a cave complex to the east. He told them that every year one or two of the town youth who ventures into the area beyond the cliff disappears without a trace, so the party heads that way. The golden compass indicates there is a portal or crossing in that direction. Around the compass are several obscured icons, but an image of a tower became clear recently.

September 4

Most of the party did not sleep well, weakening their will. The elves were fine.

That morning they scaled the cliff. The area was cold. Their breath showed frost. After some travel, they encountered undead Gnolls and undead Elves.

Rewards

Items: Sunblade Scimitar +2

Quest Reward: 400xp for returning Scarrowfell back to the people

Combat: 3,800xp

XP: 12,684xp + 700xp = 13,384xp

DM Notes

The leveling and any retraining you did on Sunday is considered a draft, you can change what you did if you like now that you’ve had more than two minutes to decide what you want to take/retrain.

Also, just a note the 1/2 level bonus does not apply to your damage.

I have the Character Builder downloaded. If you want me to I can input your character and print out your sheet and power cards.

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Crossing into Scarrowfell
Session 26

September 2: Half the party climbed up the wall and the other half plowed through it. Surprisingly the PCs weren’t met with as much resistance from the wall as they would have expected.

They crossed the water to the other dock and met with mild resistance from swamp dwellers. They took the second boat and rowed north as far as the water would allow, then hid the boats to avoid being tracked. After half a day the party shook off any pursuit and they camped out for the night.

September 3: The next day, they tried to head back toward the safehouse that they used a month earlier. Unfortunately they took a wrong turn and were attacked by Hemlock Warriors and a Kenku. This was not likely an accidental encounter, but whether these were from Hernando’s Hideaway or not wasn’t clear. The Kenku was tricky, but a bit overmatched by the party.

They continued north when the Golden Compass began to vibrate in Coram’s hand and the needle stopped swinging, locking onto a nearby crossing. Between two hemlock trees there was a faint purple haze, that if they weren’t looking for a crossing probably would have been unnoticeable. Walking through it didn’t seem to be a problem.

The forest did not appear to be obstructing progress with illusionary terrain or through physical means. After an hour they heard chatter. Federin scouted ahead and saw what looked like refugees.

The spoke with Clovis, a ranger, and the only skilled warrior among the villagers. Apparently, an unnatural stampede of animals was trampling down their village. Clovis asked Coram, Ryva, and the rest if they could at the very least see if it was safe. He couldn’t leave the villagers undefended and didn’t want to bring them close to an unsafe village if he could avoid it. In return for their trouble he offered a scimitar that he no longer used which they could find at his house (which he describes so the party can locate it).

As they approached the village they could see the dust cloud kicked up by the stampede. The rumbling was strong enough to shake the ground and cause acorns to drizzle down. In the center they spotted an angry looking oak leading the herd of animals like a conductor of an orchestra.

XP: 12,024xp + 660xp = 12,684xp

Combat XP + Complexity 1 Challenge + Complexity 4 Challenge

Notes: No D&D this coming Sunday. If anyone wants to try something out, I’m free for whatever.

It was only 1 combat, but I think the 75% HP reduces the amount of time in combat a good bit without changing the balance too drastically.

To keep things moving I’m also going to shorten the clock you have each turn. You can still have the top of the round to coordinate intentions with each other. Exceptions for danger rounds where someone is near death or dying, but otherwise take too long and your character just goes into total defense, next. Also, get in the habit of telling me when you’re done with your turn.

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Hernando's Hideaway
Session 25

September 1: The party ran from the swamp and found a safe place to catch their breath once they outran their pursuers. Lunnin fetched the compass from his pack and the needle pointed north, swinging wildly at all the portals it picked up in the city. This meant a return to the swamp.

When they got back to the swamp where it was bog as far as they could see, they started hopping from island to island. They heard some music and decided to head toward it. This lead them to a dock with a small rowboat. About sixty feet away was another dock with a boat. The opposite shore was an island about a hundred yards wide, which was far larger than any of the islands in the area. A dense wall of flowers surrounded the island.

Upon reaching the far shore, a satyr invited them into the island. Kaltes remembered something about Satyr’s liking to trap people in order to take their money. During the walk toward the flower wall, Federin put forth a ruse about four more companions that might be coming. The Satyr asked if those companions were intentionally heading this way or if he would need to send a search party. The response was those companions knew of this place and would be here shortly.

Beyond the wall of flowers was a fragrant glade designed to put all visitors at ease. Pillows were laid throughout the lawn for visitors to relax while beautiful women and men of all kinds were available for companionship. There were several pavillions of finely cooked food and a quartet of musicians filled the air with song.

After a short while, the party became aware that this place, Hernando’s Hideaway was not cheap, and cost 1,000gp a day. When they asked to leave, the Satyr informed them that they owed 1,000gp each, that through their conversation about their four companions understood that they knew what they were getting into. He could appreciate the misunderstanding, but told them the rules of Hernando’s Hideaway were not his to rewrite. It belonged to the Headless Kenku, who set the rules. As a means to assist them, he did mention that they could work off their debt or perhaps could strike deals with the patrons in order to raise the money they owed. And, seeing as they would have to pay the money regardless, he suggested they should enjoy everything that they were obligated to pay for.

It would have been impossible to ignore the minotaur patron. In addition to his size, he had half a dozen girls around him. He was obviously the high roller at Hernando’s at this time. Ryva amused the Minotaur enough to sell him a copy of the map and Kaltes managed to sell the beast a special ointment.

One of the servants at Hernando’s Hideaway was Ariadne, a woman from Randuil’s past. Randuil did his best to avoid her, which he did.

Lunnin and Coram spoke with a few of the patrons and servants, gaining some insight into how many of the servants became servants. They also discovered that there was another entrance in the kitchen. A couple briefly visited the kitched, but only long enough to get a quick glance and a plate of grapes. That quick glance produced a basic layout and noting two doors that appear to lead off to parts unknown. Randuil asked a couple of questions, but not enough to get the kind of information he wanted.

After stalking the the Satyr in charge, Federin had to break off as he sensed the Satyr was becoming suspicious of his presence. In a play to earn money, Federin tried to pleasure two female patrons with his flexibility and slight of hand, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. After a good start, he kind of left them to finish themselves off, but they decided to chip in to help pay for his fee.

September 2:In the end, the party was unable to find a way out or collect enough funds to pay the fee, so they drew their weapons to try and fight their way out. The greatly pleased the Gnoll patron who was willing to pay them 1,000gp to kill one of the servants to amuse him, which the party declined.

XP Total: 11,549xp + 475xp = 12,024xp

DM Note: With the majority of the group changing characters from their originals, or at least intend to, I’m inclined to start a different campaign, though this one could easily continue on with this forest dungeon crawl with different characters. You can decide if fighting your way out of Hernando’s Hideaway and liberating the slaves is the final battle or not.

If we do start a new campaign, I’d be looking to do something a little more focused than the normal mode of you’re a group of adventurers looking for treasure scenario that’s currently in play.

Additionally, I’m going to try the half HP, increased damage thing for monsters (not full double damage, either adding an addition [w] or double the +X modifier to compensate for not attacking for more rounds). I’d like to get combats down to 30-45 minutes instead of one hour plus.

Let’s try to start a little earlier, around 7:30 to end closer to 11 than the 12 we’ve been bleeding into.

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Lost in the Wilderness
Sessions 23 and 24

Agust 25: The PCs make their way back to Dagon, having saved the city without anyone really knowing that they did it. Salen and Lunnin visited Wynn-Jones and got a map and The Golden Compass, a device that will aid them in navigating through the forest, which Wynne told them would try and thwart them.

Federin made his way to the Whistle and Drum and thus spoke with Zarathustra. They spoke and Zarathustra suggested their goals may be aligned. Stopping the winds from ravaging Sola would be a necessary step in freeing the people of the land. She believes the key to ending the winds is in the lost city of Ihniko in The Black Forest.

Agust 26: Coram, Lunnin, and Kaltes seek an audience with Duke Colmer, the lord of the city. What they found was a man used to being high all day and all night with a whatever happens is fine with him attitude. Lunnin broached the subject of reward, which the Duke agreed they could have and gave them a note of permission to request a 5gp reward from any citizen who feels they deserved one.

Agust 29: The party returned to Rasmark. Discovered that quite a few travelers had arrived in Rasmark and promptly headed into the forest. Lunnin found Wella, who said she saw Sauls return, but lost track of him when he too went into the forest.

Kaltes arrived at Master Carnum’s residence to find him dead. It looks like Sauls surprised the old man and killed him. Kaltes used the speak with dead ritual to confirm this and asked the old man if he had anything he could use, which netted him a circlet the old man had stashed.

Agust 30: Having rested from their travel, they got some dandelion wine and headed into The Black Forest. They spoke with the Deranged Hermit and from him learned that the Kenku had formed an alliance with the Hemlock King.

Navigating through The Black Forest became a difficult task. Old paths and familiar routes were eradicated. Trees seemed to shift and illusionary terrain seemed to keep them traveling in circles and into physically demanding ground. Roots cause people to stumble and take extra care in moving forward. Eventually, they found themselves in a boneyard and had to face undead warriors.

After a tough battle and a short rest they continued. They came across a game trail of some Owlbears and wisely decided to avoid them. After a few hours, the ground started to grow more damp. In this region, the interference from the forest was almost non-existant. However, a trio of spear hunters mounted on bucks would not allow them to travel through their territory. They did learn that they were headed in the wrong direction and the hunters suggested straight through the swamp to the north would get them to Ihniko. They also warned them to steer away of the lands of the headless Kenku.

Rather than plod through the swamp, they decided to head back toward their original destination. Unfortunately, the forest thwarted them again and they stumbled into a pair of Owlbears still in frenzy from their previous kill. They were a ferocious enemy and their scent throughout the area provided a safe ward against any lesser predator that may have attacked while they rested for the day.

September 1: They continued their aimless trek through the wood for a couple of days. Unable to make any headway, they decide to take the swamp route. Eventually, they hit a large bog in the swamp. As far as they could see there were small islands throughout where they could hop from island to island. Kaltes also heard some music far off in the distance.

Disrupting the bog alerted a Shambling Mound in the water. Soon other predators descended upon the party. For much of the battle the majority were mercilessly pounded by a vine creature that shot spores that exploded, covering them in blinding acid that ate at their skin.

Kaltes and Lunnin both fell. Those standing started a retreat. The wood men and the vine creature began to drag the dying Kaltes away and the Shambling Mound slogged through the water to the dying Lunnin who was starting to sink.

Ryva taunted the Shambling Mound to draw it’s attention away as Coram made it to Kaltes, surprising the wood men into a momentary retreat long enough for him to heal the wizard, who then retreated and to heal Lunnin, so that he too could flee from the scene.

Experience: +613 (11,549xp)

DM’s Note: After several days of travel in the woods, one of the PCs would probably try and see if the Golden Compass from Wynne-Jones might be of any use.

Both Lunnin and Kaltes have 2 failed Death Saves and Federin has 1. I’m sure you’ll be looking to extended rest, but are in a dangerous environment at the moment. A group of predators just had their meals momentarily stolen and saw the direction their wounded prey went.

Remember Wynne-Jones’ advice about making friends/allies in the woods.

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Wizard Beatdown
Session 22

Agust 25: From the hallway, the party saw two doors. The door on the left smelled of lamp oil and the door to the right was cool to the touch. After a minute of examining both doors for traps, the door to the right opens. Some of the dust on the floor began to swirl and formed the words “Come In” in common.

It turns out that the entity was a cleric or priest of Kord that was haunting the chapel. He wished to determine if the players were heroic enough for him to sacrifice his existence in order to help them rid the temple he once served of cultists. Eventually, he agreed to assist the party and lent them what remained of his life energy.

When they got deeper into the temple, they saw that Sauls had taken to writing on the walls in Abyssal. He proclaimed how he would be the one to bring about a new age on Sola, but that the world would first have to be cleansed of the sad state it currently was in, which in his interpretation meant bringing about an apocalypse. The wards he set up were more nuisance than a real barrier.

Eventually the party faced off with Sauls, who had grown considerably in power. He commanded demons, who appeared to serve willingly. However, the party was able to stun and blind Sauls and he was unable to fight back and had to teleport away, in haste, or die to Federin.

Skill Challenge, Servant of Kord’s Aid: 750xp

Combat: 3,350xp

Experience: +716 (10,936xp)

DM Notes: I’m a bit skill challenge happy now, but that means I’m going to have to adjust the XP. DMG suggests 8-10 combat encounters per level, which only leaves room for 1 skill challenge per level. As per guidance, after this point XP awards will be modified to keep the pace of 8-10 combats per level. I’d rather not avoid a skill challenge to keep you from leveling every five combats.

Between items and powers, just about everybody has more daily powers than they can meaningfully use in a boss encounter. Think about using them more often in other encounters. Same with action points. Most left daily powers and at least one action point unused, some left two. Use of daily powers and action points saves healing surges by eliminating threats faster (which also reduces combat length). The party didn’t have enough surges to use all of its powers. Yeah, it’s harder spend class daily powers haphazardly, but item daily powers could stand to be used more often.

For Next Time: Think about what you feel like doing. There’s the Ihniko in the Black Forest to plunder. There might be something going on in Rasmark. Plus there are likely other threads that may open up.

There’s a good chance that this might be the largest city you’ll visit for the next level or two, so if there are items that Kaltes can’t make, you might want to think about item purchases.

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