Monthly Archives: July 2015

Session #17 – I have no idea where Kansas is so why are you saying we’re not in it anymore?

NOTE: This is where I started diverging from the module significantly when it came to rooms and overall organization. I kept all of the monsters and treasure, I just organized it differently and fixed a couple of the puzzles that wouldn’t have worked nearly so well with such a large group.

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Ok, so as the party tried to get their bearings, as well as assess what might have happened to Dhagri, Wren, & Rhys, they ever so quickly realized that they were in a Demi-Realm, a pocket dimension created by a puissant mage or some other powerful supernatural being. An admittedly excellent method to guard excess to some location, the party was discomfited as they realized that they had no idea of how to progress.

There were no visible lights, and a luminescent mist rose off the ground – deep enough to almost entirely obscure Fonkin – and far off in the distance the party thought it could see a light coming from within the mist. With a lack of anything better to do they decided to investigate – sending familiars out ahead to scout the way. After an attack by fiendish beasts that were quickly dispatched the party found the source of the glow, a set of ancient arcane runes inscribed in the ground that flickered and danced with arcane power. The party spend an unknown amount of time striding through the mists of the Demi-Realm, fighting off fiendish beasts and finally culminating in a fight with a horrifically sized giant scorpion. When this final monster was fought, a brilliant scintillating light within lights appeared, almost a free-floating lamp of some sort. Floating there it then led the party through the mist to a free-standing Leygate crackling with leyfire.

Taking a deep breath and girding their loins, the party stepped through quickly before it closed (as this was a concern of theirs). On the other side they found themselves in a somewhat featureless room with a broken-down archway or door in the far end, as they stood there and debated what to do they were attacked by a pair of the bestial goblins that they had encountered before, as well as a hobgoblin warrior. In a short but vicious battle the party came out victorious but after the seemingly endless fiendish beasts of the Demi-Realm and the ravages of the goblins the party decided that needed to take a longer rest to take care of their wounds as well as hopefully manage to recover some spells. Through the passageway the party found an area when the tomb-robbers had also clearly rested for a period, as well as a bound and gagged half-elf unconscious and on the verge of death. The party resolved barricade a door even further in, treat the wounds of the half-elf, and rest – hoping that Dhagri, Wren, and Rhys would somehow manage to join them again…

  • This was a very combat-heavy session, while there was certainly roleplaying and a sense of accomplishment because of that the sheer length (and somewhat confusing nature) of the module was starting to show. In hindsight I should have started “fixing” the dungeon earlier, I just didn’t realize how much it was going to drag on.
  • The missing characters was partially to force the party to handle encounters without their two tanks, and the other combat-oriented henchman. Dhagri’s player had a work-related emergency and ended up on the West Coast for an unexpected trip and I simply took advantage of that to force the other characters to step up a bit.
  • Converting 3.5E adventures obviously takes some work, creatures really work differently in some ways (this was even more of a factor in the next session). Plus, I am also realizing just how bland 5e creatures really are – which is kind of surprising when you look at their trait system. I think part of the problem is that many of the creature features that require saves are simply way too easy to save against – they simply don’t factor in very often.
  • That said, some things did some Constitution damage this session and the hit that players took to their maximum hits due to lowered Constitution bonus inducing some puckering on the part of the players. Looking at undead in general I do think this is an interesting way to handle “not energy drain” since so many of the new undead have that sort of effect (maximum hit point reduction) on creatures.
  • Overall, the group is still really enjoying themselves, 5e, and even the module (though the module was sinking fast) – so the plan was to wrap up the module the following session if possible and then move on to the next one (which will involve some serious tweaks).

TTFN!

D.

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Session #16 – Dwarves don’t swim!

(Better late than never…)

Picking up from last session, the party completed their short rest, and continued deeper into the complex. The next room was full of statuary and even more crypts. Following tracks in the dust, the party investigated a small side passage, when they discovered a member of the group they were chasing after. After a short melee the Khazann, named Jharukh (a wiry, rodent-like sort) parlayed a surrender to the group in exchange for his life and freedom. The short exchange about his attempts to solve a puzzle that was supposed to open a door ended after Dorje Jarvic threatened to use Jharukh’s weapons as spikes to seal doors shut, resulting in the Khazann turning silent. After a quick confirmation (and a further threat to his life by the Dorje) that Jharukh was sworn not to harm the party in any way, or warn his former compatriots, in the next fortnight, the Khazann gathered up his gear and fled the complex (muttering under his breath). With some grumbling from the rest of the party, who would have liked to have talked to Jharukh about “the Vanguard” that had hired him, the group pressed on further, doing their best to avoid traps.

Through the next door the party was again puzzled by the bizarre architecture of the complex.


As a quick aside…

I have to say that this is about the place where I realized just how screwed up this complex was from a design standpoint. What I think happened is that WOTC wanted to cram as much as they could on the module cover, and fill it with as many different terrain options, tricks, and traps as they could.

Which they did.

Yay them.

Unfortunately, this also created a complex which makes no freaking sense! Nobody in their right mind builds tomb complexes like this! There’s no rhyme or reason, crazy transitions from finished areas to natural caves and back again – with all sorts of odd monsters and protections mixed in…

Back to our regularly scheduled Session Report…


 

With passages leading right and left, the party chose to follow the tracks in the dust to the left. Down a ladder, along a corridor, and around a corner the party came face to face with a goblin shaman, and a handful of animated skeletons – including one of a huge, bull-headed creature with great horns. The melee was quick and dirty, with Dorje Jarvic turning many of the human skeletons, and the rest of the party quickly dispatching the undead and then the shaman.

The chamber itself, some sort of inner vault, also contained a large golden dragon statue as part of a magical pool and fountain. Taking stock of their situation, the party decided to take a short rest and tend to their wounds before continuing on through the next shattered archway that the tomb-robbers had passed through. To their very great surprise and relief the water from the fountain refreshed the party the same as a long nights rest. The party also discovered, the goblin shaman’s gear, a bank note from the Merchant House of Diyes for the amount of 500 silver marks signed by “Xeron” to be paid from the account of the “Vanguard.”

After taking stock, the party them moved on, finding the next passage to be quite different from what they had encountered thusfar. Instead of the ancient stonework and beautiful statuary, the next room was a deep cavern of rough stone with pillars of stone that allowed the party to gradually descend to the bottom – using some of the ropes that the tomb-robbers had left behind. While the party managed to traverse the obstacles relatively easily, Ilda did fall into the waters at the bottom of the cavern. Initially panicked due to her previous dip into water, Ilda quickly clamed after discovering that this water was much more shallow and allowed her to wade through it with some difficulty. She also discovered the somewhat petrified remains of a creature that appears to have been the inspiration for the “eye-monster” puzzle they encountered earlier. Given it’s size the party quickly agreeing that they were glad that it was deceased.

At the far end of the cavern, the party found a small passageway to squeeze through at the top of some scree. Finding a large cavern shrouded in darkness and mist on the other side, the party was alarmed to discover that the passage had disappeared behind them – as well as Rhys, Wren ,and Dhagri!

Cue Dramatic Music!

Fade to black…

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Circle of the Well and the Black Circle

Here are a couple of new Druidic Circles, one because my spouse wants a Druid Circle that plays up the “animal friendship” aspects of being a Druid and the other because I wanted to come up with a version of an old NPC variant that I had in my 1e game…

The Circle of the Well

Druids of the Circle of the Well are the center of circle of animal companions and friends, much like a wild spring that both predator and prey will drink from side by side. Most often the members of the Circle of the Well are friendly and outgoing, though some of these druids definitively prefer the company of their animal friends to that of others of their kind, unimpressed with even the most basic interactions with civilization. Druids of this order are the eyes and ears of their land, gossiping with squirrels about nuts, singing with wolves and frogs at sunset, and listening to news from far away brought by hawks and ravens.

Friendship of the Beasts

When this Circle is chosen at 2nd level, the druid gains ¼CR worth of Unaligned Beasts per level as friendly companions who accompany the druid wherever they travel. These beasts must be Intelligence 3 or lower, and no single Beast (or Swarm) may have a CR higher than ⅕ the druids level. CR0 Beasts count as CR⅛ creatures.

Beastspeech

Also, the druid is able to speak as well as understand each of his animal companions within the limits of their intelligence. They will help the druid as they are able, but this is a willing choice on their part to help a dear and respected friend, not magically compelled obedience. This includes combat and other dangerous activity.

Defense of Friends

Starting at 6th level, as long as there are animal companions within 5′ of the Druid, attackers have Disadvantage to attack (Constructs, Elementals, & Oozes are Immune to this feature).

Friends of Friends

At 10th level, creatures of the same subtype of any of the druids companions have Disadvantage to save against all Enchantments cast by the druid.

Kith & Kin

When 14th level is reached, the druid is able to summon (arriving in 1d10 rounds) up to three beasts of CR2, 6 beasts of CR1, 12 beasts of CR½, or 24 beasts of CR¼ (mixing and matching allowed if the proper ratio is retained) as the kith and kin of his animal companions are called for aid. These beasts must of the same subtype as the druids companions, and they will remain for up to an hour of time, being treated in all ways as temporary companions. At 17th level the numbers increase to 4 of CR2, 8 of CR1, 16 of CR½, and 32 of CR¼ beasts. This feature cannot be used again until after a long rest.


 


The Black Circle

During the Wars of Binding, some Druids of the Old Faith fell into darkness, reviving old and fell rituals and sorceries that had been buried since the days of the Black Empire. Reviled by other members of the Old Faith, the Druids of the Black Circle become infused with necrotic energies and communing with the spirits of death and darkness. The senior and most powerful members of the Circle are often a blight upon normal landscapes, needing to travel constantly or to seek out the most desolate of locations to have their presence betrayed by their surroundings.

Baleful Gaze

After choosing this Circle at 2nd level, the Druid can induce the Fear condition for 1 round per level if the target fails a Wisdom save (DC = 8 + Druid’s Proficiency Bonus + Druid’s Charisma Modifier) by focusing their attention on a target. If the target makes their save the duration is halved, and the target is immune to this effect for 24 hours. This feature may not be used again until after a short rest.

Unnatural Vitality

Also at 2nd Level, a Druid of the Black Circle become Resistant to Necrotic damage. At 10th level this becomes Immunity, and they are receive half the potential damage as Healing. Also at 10th they become Vulnerable to Radiant damage.

Dark Infusion

At 6th level, when attacking with natural weapons, the Druid does additional Necrotic damage equal to their level and their attacks cause the Poisoned condition for one round (Con save, DC = Druids Spell DC). If the save is made, the target take half the Necrotic damage and is unaffected by the Poisoned condition.

Life feeds on Life

When a Druid of the Black Circle reaches 10th level they can use a spell slot to attack all creatures within a 20′ of themselves for 2d8 Necrotic damage (Plants take double damage with Disadvantage to save). +1d8 per spell slot above 1st used. Save for half.

Dread Presence

Finally at 14th level, a Druid of the Black Circle may use their Wild Shape ability to transform themselves into Undead for short periods of time. As an Undead they become Resistant to Cold, Lightning, Piercing, Slashing, & Bludgeoning damage, and the Charm, Exhaustion, Fear, Paralysis, & Poison conditions. Their Unarmed attack does a base 1d4 Bludgeoning + 1d6 Cold (+Necrotic as above), plus does Life Drain (the target must make Con Save vs. the Druids Spell DC or it’s HP maximum is reduced by the damage of the attack. This reduction lasts until after a Long Rest, and if 0HP is reached the target is slain. They also have Undead Fortitude, if any attack would bring them below 1HP, the Druid may make a Con save (DC = 5 + Half the Damage of the Attack) or merely reduced to 1HP. Finally, they become Tomb-Tainted, Healing energies harm them, while Necrotic Energies heal them.

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Yeah, falling behind… but… Psionics!

Yeah, I have two gamelogs to write up (they are relatively easy sessions to cover so I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten to them yet), plus a couple of other entries that I’ve been tinkering with, plus a big set of posts on languages in my campaign world that I about have ready for posting – but I just wanted to raise my head up for some air as well as point out how nicely done the new psychic rules are for 5e. While far from complete, and with a couple of potential ringers in there that might break a game, I’m pretty happy with how they are written up. Power-wise they are easy to scale up (same as I’m finding with Arcane and Divine casters) and the way that happens already fits into my “established” methods for doing so. I guess I’ll have to start thinking about writing those up as well. Oh, and I now have a request to come up with an animal companion Druid circle. So I guess that is now near the top of my list of things to work on in my spare time. TTFN! D.

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