Archive for February, 2011

The Wild Elf Party

Can't get enough of Boris

Note: It has been pointed out to me that the only character I’ve named thus far is Boris, everyone else is referred to by race.  This isn’t favouritism or anything, I just can’t remember any of the other character’s names, and whilst there’s one of each race it’s easier referring to them as such.

During the night, the half-orc got bored of the lack of action involving elves, and so abandoned the others on his watch, charging into the wilderness.  Boris awoke, and deciding the party were capable of looking after themselves, he also decided to leave, returning to the port town for some rest and shopping.  The multi-racial cleric heard Boris attempting to leave, and with the astral deva she decided to follow him.
Morning finally came, and although the party were slightly suspicious of the missing companions, a new companion quickly distracted them- a high fey who discovered the party sleeping, and decided to have some fun.  Everyone settled down to have their breakfast, except the dwarf who was hungry for some elf blood- impatient for some action, he decided it couldn’t be too difficult to find his way so went marching off.  Within a hundred feet he soon got lost, and after walking in circles he noticed rustling in the bushes.  He threw a stick to check it out, but nothing happened so he kicked it.  Still nothing happened, but as he started looking for his way again he was pounced on by yet another dire tiger- it now becoming evident that there was a tiger nest nearby.  The party heard the tiger’s attack and the dwarf crying out in surprise, and arrived in time to see the dwarf wrestling with the tiger, apparently headbutting it.  With the minotaur’s help it was soon dispatched, and the dwarf quickly learnt it would be better to stick with the party for safety.
The group continued heading to the elven outpost, with the dwarf and trio of yuan-ti hitching a lift on the ogre as it crashed through the trees.  The high fey saw it’s first opportunity for some fun- it used some of it’s magic sand to put the minotaur in an exceptionally good mood, so much so it felt compelled to sing.  Apparently this good mood was infectious, as the dwarf and ogre soon provided a backing chorus, featuring such classics as the YMCA and I Will Survive.  The minotaur soon snapped out of the sand’s spell, and unable to take much more of the dwarf and ogre’s wailing he quickly hurried on ahead to catch up with the rest of the party, who had long since run on- partly to avoid the singing, but mostly to warn the elves in advance that there was a dwarf intent on genocide approaching.
A couple of hours hustling through the jungle meant the main party arrived at the outpost a good half hour before the dwarf and ogre would arrive, so with no time to lose they quickly got a message to the elf leader to meet them, and the dwarf would be sorted out before he could cause any trouble.  Sure enough, the leader arrived with her usual entourage of bard and two bodyguards, just in time for the dwarf and ogre to be heard singing as they crashed through the trees.  The plan was given to the elves, and everyone took their positions.  When the dwarf arrived, he was told that the elves were inside the outpost, and falling for the bait he went through the door to find the elves to kill.  The fey said to him ‘enter with peace in your heart’ as the dwarf entered, and in the blink of an eye both the dwarf and the fey disappeared, apparently being sent to the faery realm temporarily.  With the dwarf out of the way, negotiations could start.
On one side were the yuan-ti, back in humanoid form, backed by the ogre should things go wrong.  On the other were the elves, the leader and bard together with the bodyguards mirroring the ogre’s position.  The minotaur was sat between them, ensuring there wouldn’t be any trouble, and the centaur and half-elf acted as mediators for the discussion.
Things started well enough- the elves seemed willing to talk, as did the yuan-ti.  To start with, both sides wanted it made clear that they weren’t the ones to start the conflict- the elves said they were attacked first, their tribe members being taken as slaves, whilst the yuan-ti seemed slightly cocky in their claim that they only attacked in self-defense, and indeed the party had only seen elves attacking the yuan-ti and not vice versa.  It soon became apparent that the only way negotiations could continue would be if they agreed to disagree and get down to the point of the matter- whether they could coexist peacefully and possibly find a mutually beneficial trade agreement.  Of course, the yuan-ti didn’t believe the elves could offer anything of interest, and the elves didn’t seem comfortable with the idea of leaving the yuan-ti unchecked which could easily result in them raising an army big enough to destroy their tribe.  Regardless, the yuan-ti did start to come round to the idea of tolerating the elves presence, but the elf lady was not for turning.  The bard suddenly decided to intervene, giving enough time for the leader to mutter a few short words to herself- barely a second later the yuan-ti leader leapt from his seat, ready to strike out in anger at the elves, and the elves jumped at the chance to accuse him of breaking the peace of the diplomatic setting.  Unfortunately for the elves, the party noticed her spell and quickly restrained the elves before they could attack, leaving the yuan-ti wondering what had just happened.  The leader grew tired of the farcical negotiation, and saying to the world in general ‘I’ve wasted enough time here’ she cast a spell and disappeared, leaving her bard to issue orders in her place.  After some heated argument, the bard appeared to break free of a spell as she became more cooperative, letting the party into the village to investigate.  Meanwhile the dwarf and fey returned, and the minotaur noticed a note dropped by the elf- though to him the writing on it was just scratches.
The elves of the village were suspicious of the newcomers, but respectful as they must have passed the outposts and something had obviously happened to their leader.   The dwarf was first to enter the leader’s hut, and soon tore the place apart looking for her but to no avail.  Meanwhile the fey considered that the leader may have used a Dimension Door spell, and therefore she could be traced by the knowledge of the range of the spell.  Using the minotaur’s keen sense of smell, the party scanned a radius of around four hundred feet of the village but to no avail- the leader was long gone.  The heat was starting to pick up, and so the party decided to rest at the main hut in the hopes she would come back.
The dwarf’s search wasn’t entirely in vain, however- he discovered a hidden door leading to the leader’s bedroom, and on searching further discovered a ring in her underwear drawer.  Naturally, he put it on straight away, feeling no ill effect- until he left the hut and suddenly all the elves didn’t seem as loathsome as they once had.  In fact, they seemed like they could make good friends, so he felt the need to go round to each elf individually, offering his personal condolences that they couldn’t help being born as elves.  The party felt something needed to be done now the elves were without a leader, and decided the logical thing to do would be to install their own half-elf, previous resident of the village, as leader, and so word was passed around that he would give a speech in the evening.
The leader’s throne was pulled out from the hut, and set up as a makeshift stage for the speech.  Sure enough, a sizable crowd gathered and so the half-elf gave his rousing speech, his most captivated listener being the still-charmed dwarf, giving a huge cheer at every pause for breath.  The elves seemed confident in the half-elf’s ability to lead, and he promised that the future of the village did not lay in isolating themselves from society and fighting against every potential threat, but rather to resolve things peacefully and embrace unity with the yuan-ti.  The thing that tipped the scales in the potential leader’s favour was the wine that the dwarf recovered from the previous leader’s personal stash, and so commenced the party.
Most of the party participated in the celebrations, but retired fairly early to recover from the eventful day, but the dwarf intended to party long and party hard with his newfound best friends, even indulging in some spontaneous one-man morris dancing as his ogre friend attempted a jig with a group of other elves.  The party eventually died down, and the dwarf decided it was time to find somewhere to collapse for the night- next to the stash of wine in a pile of sacks.
Dawn broke, to the sound of much groaning and deafening bird song.  Much to his annoyance, the dwarf was first to wake with a splitting migraine and a stunning (seemingly) elf beauty draped over him.  The first item on his agenda for the day was to find a cleric capable of giving him a shower, and meanwhile the rest of the party started setting up a plan for the future of the village and their mission.  It was decided that they would leave the half-elf to guide his followers, leaving him with a ring of communication should he need to contact the party.  Some fortification was set up to protect the village should the previous leader return, and the party went on their way back t the yuan-ti, leaving the high fey behind as she had quickly grown bored of the elves.
For once the party’s journey back was uneventful, and the yuan-ti were informed of what had happened.  They seemed satisfied, mostly at the prospect of having some new slaves despite being told by the centaur that that wasn’t the point, and so the party were given their next mission- to collect some eggs.  The minotaur was slightly offended, thinking this was slave’s work, but they were to collect tyrannosaurus eggs, partly because they are a rare delicacy for the yuan-ti but also to prove that the party are strong and capable hunters rather than just elf-vermin exterminators.  Another ring of communication was left with the chief yuan-ti cleric so they could easily contact the elf village, and the party took their wagon back to the port town to reach the dinosaur plains.
With the exception of a couple of Digesters looking for their dinner, the trip back was uneventful, and the trio of the dwarf, centaur, and minotaur returned to the tavern they had left a few days before, finding their previous companions who would heal their acidic wounds from the digesters, and so they settled for the night, ready for their egg hunting excursion in the morning.

I don't expect the result to be this cute

Bonus note:  In our campaign, it appears to have become a running theme that any natural one rolled on a d20 is regarded as ‘dragon’.   This is because a couple of sessions ago, I forced a spot check for something in the sky- a player rolled a one and decided the critical failure would mean ‘it’s a dragon!’ before I could say otherwise- but of course, it did in fact turn out to be an actual dragon.  Since then fumbled spots have been illusory dragons, leading to the dwarf getting paranoid over parrots and the yuan-ti jumping to conclusions with the succubus.  The reason for bringing this up is because I was asked for the charisma of the elf that the dwarf woke up with, and I decided to roll for it.  Guess what I rolled.  At least it’ll make things interesting later on, if a half-dwarf should turn up…

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Countdown to negotiations

apparently they were spotted because they left the lights on...

The party advanced through the jungle, tiring of the rough terrain and threat of disease.  Luckily, it was not long before the adventurers discovered an elven outpost, a sure sign that their village was nearby.  The succubus decided it would be best not to bring attention to herself, so quickly flew high out of sight, but able to watch the party’s reactions.  The party all received messages in their head, tormenting the minotaur further as he was still awkward with voices in his head.  The elves demanded to know what purpose the adventurers had, and after some negotiation with the centaur and angel they decided to get their leader to talk with them.
The party had a long wait ahead of them- too long for the succubus to be in close proximity to the angel, and so she headed back to the yuan-ti village in the hopes she could have some chaotic fun.  As she flew, she spotted a couple of curious sights- firstly a half-orc charging through the jungle, crying out his mantra of ‘hack, maim, burn’ as he headed towards the elven village.  Next she noticed a pair of adventurers who looked decidedly grumpy, also heading towards the elves.  Recognising them as the ones that were teleported away from the wagon, she decided to have a bit of fun, telepathically communicating with Boris, saying ‘you’re going the wrong way’ in her best Lady impression.  The effect seemed to work as the two were visibly confused, and the succubus continued to the village.  Boris had enough, so he put on his ring of communication in the hopes someone else was wearing theirs.  The half-orc was the only member to be wearing his ring, and he had now caught up with the rest of the party.  He offered his not-too-useful advice on guiding Boris through the jungle, but with the help of Boris’ horn the rest of the party managed to get them safely together.
At this time, the leader of the elven village arrived to discuss things, accompanied by her favourite bard and two bodyguards.  It was immediately obvious that the leader was of a different race to the wild elves, being a sun elf- the most arrogant of the elven subraces, which raised some suspicion but before enquiring further the leader scornfully looked over the party, coming to the decision that the astral deva must be in charge.  She slipped into perfect celestial, leaving all others oblivious to her insults as she asked what the party wanted with them.  Before the angel could give an acceptable answer, the centaur stepped forward to assist negotiations- much to the annoyance of the leader, who ignored the centaur and asked of the celestial why she allowed this ‘beast’ to talk over her.  The angel explained that the centaur may be a better spokesperson, and so the centaur explained the situation- that the yuan-ti wanted the elves to stop attacking them, and hopefully an agreement could be made.  The elf stayed stubborn, saying they would stop the attacks if the yuan-ti stopped their own attacks, and eventually it was agreed that if a yuan-ti negotiator could be brought to the elves within two days, a potential agreement could be come to.
The party were sent on their way, back to the yuan-ti village, which proved slightly annoying for Boris and the cleric who had just come from there, but they were able to rest briefly as the midday heat grew more intense, and sure enough they were set upon by another dire tiger looking for it’s prey.
Meanwhile, the succubus had arrived at the village and noticed her ogre companion had been taken into custody, and the village had started setting up defenses.  She shifted into her dwarven form, a guise the yuan-ti were familiar with, and quickly set her plan into motion- to convince them that the party were elf infiltrators, and now would be the time to strike back before the elves attack themselves.  The yuan-ti were slightly apprehensive at the prospect, as the ogre had informed them that he worked for a demon that was in the party, but the dwarf managed to convince them regardless and so they would ‘rehabilitate’ the ogre, letting the dwarf keep him once the demon and the elves were destroyed.  They began mustering the army immediately.
The tiger quickly died, though not before inflicting some serious injury on the minotaur, and the party continued.  It didn’t take long for the party to return, where they also noticed the yuan-ti’s reinforced defenses, and advanced slowly to show they meant no harm.  The yuan-ti spotted them, and instantly confronted them about the supposed demon in the party- the centaur emphatically accused the dwarf of being the demon they sought, and as the yuan-ti cast a suspecting eye on the dwarf they could sense that some polymorph magic was involved, and if he wasn’t the demon then he could be the local dragon that terrorised the country.  The yuan-ti immediately attacked, with the centaur and the half-elf seizing the moment and helping, knowing they would gain some favour with the yuan-ti if they protected them from a demon or dragon attack.  The minotaur, however, was slightly more conflicted- most of his companions he knew only for a day or two, and so he flew into a rage, letting his instincts decide who was friend or foe.  He charged towards the dwarf, goreing anyone who stood in his way, and the dwarf reverted to succubus form, gaining some higher ground.  The minotaur hacked down some nearby yuan-ti before heading to the party members he disliked the most, but before he could get much further the cleric dismissed the succubus back to the Abyss.
Back in the port town of Tashalar, the real dwarf was happily drinking, though starting to get a little bored.  Being more than a little tipsy, he remembered his magical training and decided to bring some friends back, using his Recall spell.  Instantly, everyone returned to the pub with the dwarf who greeted them with a hearty cheer- leaving the angel and the half-elf (held to the spot by the half-orc before leaving) back in the yuan-ti village.  They explained that the elves had agreed to talk, and the yuan-ti agreed that they would send a small group to negotiate with them.  The centaur ran furiously back to the village, a blur on the road, hoping to arrive before the expedition left- luckily she arrived just as they were about to leave, and convinced them to wait a few hours more for the rest of the party.  Sure enough, a couple of hours passed before the dwarf came marching up the road, happily singing about how he was going to kill all the elves, and being followed by all but the minotaur, who had decided to sleep off his wounds in the pub and wait to be recalled should he be needed.  Finally the expedition back to the elves was underway, the party being accompanied by a yuan-ti pureblood, two halfbloods, and the reconditioned ogre, who had retained his glasses, lisp, tight shirt, and general campness.

I might overuse these guys a bit...

It was getting dark again, and once again the half-elf needed some light to get through the jungle safely.  Light was cast, and sure enough it attracted a loathsome Banelar Naga- a huge purple snake-like creature adept at casting spells, both arcane and divine.  The yuan-ti decided to let the party prove their ability against it, and it didn’t take long to kill though it still managed to severly injure the cleric and the half-elf (who wasn’t used to fighting in marshy land and kept tripping over his bow) with a powerful lightning bolt.  It’s unknown whether the dwarf was affected by the naga’s spell or if it was just highly amused at the elves getting zapped, but he suddenly burst out laughing, completely incapacitated.  The yuan-ti continued on their trek, satisfied at the party’s performance, but the minotaur decided to track the naga’s scent to it’s nest with some help from the half-orc and Boris.  Sure enough, thy found the nest, and aside from a few broken eggs and a potion there was no sign of life, so they hastily returned to the party who had settled down to rest for the night.
By yet another unfortunate stroke of luck, their rest was interrupted once again, this time by a serpentflesh golem.  On spotting it the yuan-ti evidently seemed panicked, and advised at retreating from this battle, though the more combat-worthy members of the party stayed to fight.  Every blow dealt was seemingly absorbed by the writhing mass of snakes, with only the magical enchantments affecting it.  The half-orc wisely decided to dispel magic on it, which worked for a couple of moments.  The golem lost it’s power long enough for the minotaur to tear an arm off, and for the head to be removed, but it quickly powered up again- the head struggling with Boris who was trying to get it into his bag of devouring.   The cleric summoned a few badgers to keep it distracted with more targets, and the dwarf attempted to strike the golem with fire, though it seemed to have no noticeable affect other than slowing it down.  After a long battle, the construct was finally felled, leaving the party to spend the rest of the night wondering who was it’s creator, and preparing for the encounter with the elves, which will take place next time…

Jungle Demons

As promised, the start of my D&D campaign notes, (quite badly) written as prose.  I’m sure the writing will improve once I’ve done a couple of these, but it’s hard to make a beginning out of the middle of the story…

The party had convinced the Rundeen Consortium, the local organised crime syndicate, to let them accompany their merchant caravan as they visited the Yuan-ti in the Black Jungle.   The minotaur already had a job guarding the caravan, so he took his place at the front.  The trade caravan was accompanied by some local lizardfolk, not very experienced but needing to make a couple of gold.  Following them were the rest of the adventuring party, who agreed to help should they run into any trouble- Boris drove the party’s wagon, with the centaur and cleric on each side.  The dwarf was happily drinking from a barrel of ale he picked up in town.

I wouldn't want to be in the elves boots...

As they progressed deeper into the jungle, the dwarf happened to notice an elf up a tree.  Simultaneously the minotaur noticed an elf wielding a greatsword in the middle of the road ahead, apparently intending to block the way.  It was clear the barbarian and his four hidden friends intended to ambush the caravan, but they didn’t count on such an experienced guard.  The minotaur felled the barbarian effortlessly, and though the other elves had trouble hitting the targets (with the exception of an extremely well aimed shot on a lizardman, pinning him to the caravan by his throat), the rangers were proving difficult to hit themselves.  Of course, Boris had no trouble thanks to his boots of levitation, but the centaur had some trouble shooting on target, and with the exception of a couple of Khelgore’s Firebolts the dwarf couldn’t get close enough to attack either.  The cleric saw her help was needed, and summoned a Celestial Eagle to help out- it couldn’t fly very high thanks to the surrounding trees, but it could pick up one of the elves in its talons, and thanks to the elf’s struggling it ended up being carried by its feet so it could be questioned by the cleric.  Meanwhile, the minotaur charged the tree one of the elves was braced on in the hopes it would fall, though the elf seemingly had amazing balancing skills.  The cleric was starting to get slightly concerned about her mission because of the elf’s response- that they had to attack the yuan-ti because the yuan-ti keep attacking them- but before she could get further information the dwarf decided to take a flying leap from the top of the wagon onto the hanging elf, impaling him in the process.  The other elves were quickly dispatched as the hanging elf was slowly rended to death through a combination of the heavy dwarf and gravity.  The battle was finished, and as the lizardmen respectfully mourned the loss of their comrade (by eating him), the dwarf came up with a plan- if there’s lots of elves living here in the jungle, he could harvest their faces to make a sheath for his swords!  He started his quest to harvest their faces as the others searched the bodies for anything interesting, and the centaur and cleric became increasingly worried about the morality of their companions.
Regardless, night was approaching and so they marched on.  All was quiet for a while, until a dull thud was heard on top of the party’s wagon.  This was enough to rouse the human from his sleep inside the wagon, and Boris and the cleric decided to check out what happened.  Once they climbed onto the wagon, the dwarf was nowhere to be seen but in his place was unmistakably a Succubus, in the process of transforming into the shape of the dwarf.  Before they could raise the alarm, they saw an Incubus reading from a scroll as he swooped in and they were teleported away.  The Incubus took the form of the cleric, and the Succubus quickly dropped down to drive the wagon in Boris’s place.  The centaur quickly realised something was wrong, as Boris had disappeared and the dwarf was acting very strangely- i.e he wasn’t trying to kill or insult her.  She quickly ran to the front of the convoy to inform the minotaur, who casually grunted and was too focused on his mission to care.  The centaur reluctantly continued the journey, keeping a cautious eye on the dwarf who ‘suggested’ she should stop asking questions.
It didn’t take long for the group to arrive at the village, in a particularly marshy part of the jungle.  The trade caravan was taken straight to one of the authorities in the village, as the party were left to talk to themselves whilst their presence was explained.   The succubus approached the conversation between the merchant and the yuan-ti in the hopes of bluffing her way into finding out what the situation was, and meanwhile the centaur attempted to convince the minotaur that something wasn’t right with the dwarf or the cleric.  The minotaur sniffed the dwarf, but nothing seemed strange about him- he just smelt of blood, sweat, and beer.  Though he agreed that the cleric had changed, and after some confrontation the incubus told the centaur that the cleric was his/her evil twin, and told the minotaur that the real cleric was bound in an onyx gem, and that he was the only one that could free her.  These were reasonable enough explanations at the time, and to have some fun with the stupid minotaur, the demons decided they would telepathically communicate with the minotaur at various points, as the poor minotaur couldn’t grasp the concept of people talking to him in his head- all the while thinking they were his own ‘inside voices’, or the voice of his ring of communication.
The yuan-ti accepted that the party were attempting to curry their favour, and so decided to give the party some missions that would appease the leaders of the village.  Their first mission would be to put a stop to the elven raids, not so much for the protection of the village but rather to get rid of a nuisance.  They had a half-elven thrall whose mind they had reconditioned for use as a spy, and he would accompany the party on their mission.  Of course, the party wanted to get things done as quickly as possible- and what with it being the middle of the night, the human would struggle to keep up, as would the half-elf to some extent.  First it was decided that the human would be carried by the minotaur, but this plan was foiled by the succubus who decided to telepathically communicate with the minotaur’s pet monkey, who was evidentally distressed by the noise in his head which was interpreted as being distressed by the human on the minotaur’s back.  Eventually the problem was solved through the use of a light spell on the half-elf, which could attract unwanted attention but at least he and the human would be able to avoid walking into trees.
The expedition continued into the marshy jungle, and it didn’t take long for one of the creatures of the night to find them- a Dire Tiger that was attempting to stalk the party.  It was easily spotted by the succubus, taking away it’s element of surprise, the lack of which meant it was easily dispatched.  Though, rather unwisely, the incubus decided to change to his true form to utilise his wings, and as such he was almost killed by the anti-demon centaur and the human.  In an act of self preservation, the incubus created an area of darkness under which he could escape- though not before summoning some undead to stop the party tracking him.  The party were prepared, with the succubus, still disguised as a dwarf, watching her brother amused.  Sure enough, the darkness dissipated, revealing the animated skeletons of a human, a tiger, and a dragon.  Those with darkvision quickly ran, apart from the succubus who was comfortably watching the human struggle in the natural darkness, as the half-elf had mysteriously disappeared.  Sure enough, the tiger- comfortable in the wet jungle terrain- pounced on him, bringing him to within an inch of his life, but then the summon spell faded and the skeletons crumbled into dust.  The succubus, not satisfied with this turn of events, decided to finish the job, killing the human.
The minotaur and centaur, meanwhile, were settling down for the rest of the night.  Though, before he could settle, the minotaur decided it wasn’t safe to have a demon wandering around nearby, so tracked him down and took what little life he had left away from him.  He returned with a shiny new set of armour, and met up with the centaur and the succubus once again.  The centaur scouted the rest of the area, still wary of the dwarf,  and discovered another elf raiding party heading to the yuan-ti village.  She managed to talk with them, though they were suspicious that she may be working for the yuan-ti as she was attempting to tell them to go back to their village and move elsewhere.  She returned to the others, aware she was being followed by one of the rangers who was quickly spotted by the succubus.  The elf set off a dancing lights flare, but the spell was quickly extinguished by the succubus’ darkness spell.  the minotaur slowly came to the conclusion that the centaur could be right about the dwarf being another demon, based on the fact there’s darkness here like there was with the other demon, and the dwarf wasn’t hunting down the elf relentlessly as he had previously.

Succubi are famed for their horniness

The succubus realised the charade was over, and so reverted to her true form.  Initially preparing to cut down the demon where she stood, the minotaur was instead smitten with the impressive horns the succubus had, and although unhappy with the demon being part of the party, the centaur knew she couldn’t kill her alone, and it was probably safer to have strength in number in the jungle.

They finally settled down for the night, but had a rude awakening when the elves returned, attempting to ambush the party in their sleep.  Once again, the elves were a pushover, no match for the superior skills of the minotaur, centaur, and demon- although the demon’s glee was short lived as the Lady decided to send in another character for the party’s aid- an Astral Deva Paladin.  It should probably be pointed out here that in Sigil angels and demons live alongside each other relatively peacefully, thanks to the imposed law of the Lady.  It was made clear that both the angel and the demon are meant to work together here, and if either should attempt to kill the other without good reason then they would be in big trouble with the Lady.  Reluctantly they agreed not to fight yet, though time will tell if they can hold their anger if the succubus does an extreme act of evil in the vicinity of the paladin, and likewise if the angel should perform an act of good.
The party continue on their adventure, heading towards the elven settlement, and that is where this log ends, until next week.

Shadows of Sigil: The Prologue

Before I get started with the campaign commentary, it would be useful to describe what has happened thus far.  So here we go with some (rather lengthy) notes and highlights.

It looked something like this

The party met in the audience chamber of the Lady of Pain in Sigil, where they were informed that they had been chosen to investigate the shadow’s presence throughout the multiverse.  As their first mission, they would be tested for their ability.  A planar touchstone had stopped functioning so they would be sent to find out the problem.  They were teleported outside the city thanks to Kylie the tiefling and her ‘magic chalk’, into a desert where they eventually came across a purple worm-like creature smoking a hookah and introducing itself with ‘Whoooo arrrre yooooou?’ (For reference, it was a Banelar Naga from Monster Manual III and Serpent Kingdoms).  After cutting its tail stinger off, it was killed and the touchstone restored.
The party was then informed of an assassin in the city who had been spotted at the gnomish war machine museum.  The assassin was discovered, but managed to escape- right into the Lady’s trap where the party could finish the job.  Unfortunately when the party arrived, they weren’t the only ones around- a party of drow teleported in and killed the assassin before the party could.  Deciding to do away with negotiations, the party killed the drow on sight so no information could be gathered other than the cryptic words of one drow who said ‘you have failed your mission’ though it was unclear to whom this was spoken.  The party managed to recover a stolen item from the assassin nevertheless, a device labelled the ‘gonne’, which the party was allowed to keep.  Unfortunately the party member entrusted with the item mysteriously disappeared along with the halfling vampire that claimed one of the drow as his bride, never to be seen again (yet).
The party were now regarded as capable enough of being entrusted with a real mission in a different plane (despite most of the downtime being spent preventing party members awaking thanks to a shocker lizard).  A plane had been attacked by the Shadows, but strangely very little seemed to have changed about it… The party were instructed to find out what had changed and eliminate any shadow threat they found there.  After jumping into a pond in the middle of the elven district that happened to be a portal to where they wanted to be, they found themselves in a forest where they were ambushed by shadow mastiffs- creatures often found around planar breaches to the shadow plane.  After a slight misunderstanding between party members, some grease, and an enraged elf, the cleric found himself running into a group of ogres carrying a large treasure chest.  Needless to say the ogres were killed immediately, the chest looted and the contests distributed relatively evenly amongst the party.  After a night of counting money, the party continued on their way to wherever the ogres were headed, then distracted by a large explosion in the trees- soon discovered to be caused by a camp of witches who claimed they had been the dominant race on this plane only to be driven out of the castle by the shadows and replaced by the ogres.  Once the party discovered the castle and the armed guards expecting the shipment that failed to arrive, the party forced their way inside to find an abandoned garrison where the only signs of life were a sleeping ogre (kept that way by the shocker lizard) and an ogre chef.  Upstairs, however, there was a halfling on the throne with a human mistress by his side and an invisible presence in the room.  Of course, one member couldn’t resist attacking the chef who set off the alarm, alerting the halfling who retreated to his chamber, as the invisible creature headed downstairs revealing himself as an ogre mage.  Annoyingly (for me) it seemed a party member had a sword of ogre decapitation as he scored a crit on the invisible ogre, severing his head, though not before the ogre punished the party with a devastating cone of cold.  As the party moved to confront the halfling, the leader bursts into his chamber only to find the girl in the process of incapacitating the halfling.  She promptly disappears as the halfling is questioned and discovered to have been responsible for the regime change, which the girl soon tires of as she reveals herself to try and finish the job- only to be turned on by the party.  The halfling makes his escape through a dimension door, followed by the fighter/rogue, and the girl is brought to within an inch of her life.  Before she can be killed, the Lady communicates telepathically with the party, sternly telling them that they were about to kill one of her hired agents.  Luckily as some form of redemption, the fighter/rogue manages to kill the halfling in one blow before the party are ordered to return to Sigil, and once again things get heated between the party as the mysterious cloaked character decides to slap the now-unenchanted sleeping ogre who was blissfully unaware of what was going on.  As an aside, I don’t believe it was discovered by the party but the actual conclusion was that the halfling was a shadow commander who decided to use his power over the ogres to rebel and force the shadows away, claiming the plane for himself.
The Lady made a rare appearance in her avatar form on the party’s return, and was luckily convinced not to send the party to one of her mazes (the half-orc did get sent to a maze though, due to his resistance- but managed to escape thanks to a natural 20 intelligence roll >.>), though they would be punished with their next mission which they would be sent on immediately- to retrieve a svirfneblin war machine deep in a svirfneblin dungeon, and kill any resistance.   They were met by two drow wizards who guided them to the dungeon, which was relatively easy to navigate once the hidden doors were found.  The umber hulk didn’t really pose a problem, and was sufficiently mutilated after its battle as the party harvested trophies in the form of eyes and claws.  Continuing on, the party discover a corpse by a chalice in one room, and an unattended chalice in the other.  Before they could get too close to inspect, a spectre appeared to torment the party, which was dispatched thanks to some sunlight being revealed through the blocked skylight.  The half-orc cleric decided to wander off during this battle, deciding not to get involved with undead, and stumbled across a sarcophagus containing the svirfneblin leader and an amulet around his neck- when worn, a message came to the orc as ‘what is your wish, o master?’.  Wisely the orc recognised the amulet as the controller for a shield guardian, and assumed this to be the item the Lady sought, and so told it to leave the dungeon.  Unfortunately, as the party left the way they came, they were to discover the umber hulk reanimated as a zombie. And accompanied by shadows.  And the spellcasters were out of spells.  Deciding to go down in a blaze of glory, the elf decided the best thing to do would be to put a bag of holding inside another- creating an extradimensional rift that sucked himself and 2 other members into the astral plane, leaving the cloaked man behind surrounded by foes and a shield guardian.  Wisely, he decided to make his escape, running for the exit, where he just caught a glimpse of a surprised looking drow wizard before being teleported back to Sigil with the shield guardian.  Meanwhile, the 2 members on the astral plane decided to exact vengeance on the elf for almost killing them before trying to find their way to Sigil- and bumping into a certain epic level wizard by the name of Khelburn.  He took them back to Sigil, having a friendly conversation over the nature of the Lady, and how she may not be all she seems.

entirely coincidental that this plane resembles a certain other fictional land

After some downtime, it was time for a festive session.  At their new HQ, the party were rudely interrupted by an elf calling for their immediate help.  The party decided they had nothing better to do so they would tag along, and were led to a grand mansion, to a chamber inside the grand mansion, and to a wardrobe inside the chamber.  Taking the hint to enter the wardrobe, the party found themselves in a snowy place with a lamppost surrounded by trees.  Before they could explore, they were ambushed by 4 wolves, and discovered by a centaur who told them to come quickly to her leader- a celestial lion.  Once they reached him, they soon found themselves being drawn into an epic battle for the future of this plane against an evil druid and her forces who were causing a permanent winter there.  Using some quite convincing tactics and decimating the enemy and incapacitating the druid, the remnants of the good army were cured by a snapped wand of cure light wounds.  Unfortunately the discharged spells were a bit too much for some creatures who exploded in positive energy, but those that survived felt better for it.  Meanwhile the druid was being rented out to the various satyrs that survived, and would never feel the same afterwards.  Satisfied their job was done, the party headed back to Sigil only to be stopped by a jolly man in a red coat who offered everyone gifts for saving his plane.
On returning to Sigil, the party decided to get some benefit out of their downtime in future by setting up a business, starting with a brothel next to their headquarters.  With minimal persuasion (but an extortionate amount of gold) the residents were convinced to move on, and immediately the party set about getting employees for their brothel and next business venture on their schedule, a magic arms shop.  Next stop was the slave traders, an illithid to be precise, where the party got very good rates thanks to the still captive evil druid who they decided to trade away (possibly not a good idea, giving a possible deity to an illithid…) and so the party continued their monopoly with the shop over the street.  It turned out to be a bargain after the landlord discovered the current tenant appeared to be summoning some sort of creatures in the area, and that was all the monopolising that could be done as their next mission was being given: to negotiate with the yuan-ti in the jungles of Faerun in the hopes of using them as reconnaissance if the shadow forces should start moving from their stronghold in the northern Underdark.  As this is the current mission I shall wrap up quickly by saying that so far the party have encountered gold dwarves who seemingly had a vampire problem only to find it was cheliceras- a type of monstrous spider.  This was followed by a baby red dragon, which after a spectacular failure at being tamed started carrying one of the party back to it’s mother, but was stopped thanks to the evil druid’s wand of flesh to stone snapping inside it’s mouth (unfortunately leading to a several ton stone statue falling on top of and killing the cleric, whose hand was saved to be resurrected later).  The dragon statue was quickly mutilated in the hopes the mother wouldn’t discover it, and the party hurriedly left the scene to the nearby port town where they would attempt to find someone who would take them to the yuan-ti.  They found help with the Rundeen consortium, a local smuggling and pirate syndicate, who agreed to take them the next day.  Meanwhile, the party explored the sights of the city- i.e the market and fight pits (where unfortunately the cloaked man died at the hands of an elven ranger), and a local temple to raise the cleric- who the fighter/rogue decided could do with some improvements in the form of minotaur horns and winter wolf fur, much to the annoyance of the cleric.  Before leaving with the Rundeen caravan the next day, they decided to identify the chalice they had been carrying with them only to find that if it’s healing powers were abused then they would eventually be slain and raised as undead- so to get rid of it as quickly as possible they found some charity collectors for the starving children of the desert and generously donated the healing chalice to their cause.
As the caravan leaves the town and heads to the jungle, this is where our next session begins, so I shall leave it here for now.  As a quick added extra, here’s the party as it stands at the moment:
Centaur Scout; Human Fighter/Rogue;  Mostly Half-elf Cleric (with some minotaur and winter wolf); Minotaur Barbarian; Dwarven Duskblade; Human Ranger

Dan’s D&D DM Documented Diary

Right, I’ll cut to the chase- I know it’s tedious when people say ‘this is my first blog! I hope people read!’ etc etc, so I’ll just say it without actually saying it, as I have just done which probably doesn’t make me any better than the people I just criticised as I just spent longer informing everyone this is my first blog than they did.   Oh well.

So yeah, the purpose of this blog is so that I, as a dungeon master (DM) of a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) game can have a record of exactly what has been happening in game, partly so I can look back on adventure hooks to include later and partly so I can sort out experience for the players easier.  A second use for the blog for me is to improve my creative writing (assuming the players let me use their intellectual property…) as I’m in the process of writing a novel so every bit of writing helps.  As for readers, any of my players that find their way here may pick up on my subtle hints of what to expect in the future, and anyone not involved in my games can hopefully have a laugh at the shenanigans the party get up to.  If anyone has comments, criticisms, or suggestions then please, let me know.

As a brief hook to get people interested, here’s a brief summary of the theme of my campaign (henceforth entitled ‘The Shadows of Sigil’):

An artist's impression of Sigil

For many long years the Shadow Plane has been coexistent with other planes, allowing wizards and unlucky travellers to pass through relatively unscathed.  But now the creatures that lurk in this dark place are becoming restless.  Already hundreds of planes have been attacked and conquered by the shadow creatures, under the guidance of an unknown force.  Luckily for some, The Lady of Pain who resides in the city of Sigil, overlooking the multiverse surrounding her, has managed to rescue some survivors by summoning Gates to allow passage into her city.  Whilst the majority of these refugees have become accustomed to life in Sigil and resumed their daily lives, the Lady has selected a few quirky, rough and rugged individuals (to say the least) with the potential to find the leader of the Shadows and has sent them on various quests to retrieve information and generally slow down and eventually stop the shadows altogether.  Who controls the Shadows?  Will members of the party succumb to the temptations offered by their foes?  How many monstrous enhancements can one character have?  We shall see in the coming months…

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