Session 16 – Zotzilaha’s Chosen

Characters:

  • Shin (level 5), Tabaxi Fighter (Arcane Archer), Outlander; big-game hunter, has no patience for weakness
  • Kalohan (level 4), High Elf Wizard (Evoker), Inheritor; noble Elf, ill-suited for adventuring life
  • Leon (level 2>>3), Human Monk (Way of Shadow), Outlander; long dead hunter whose tribe worshipped Zotzilaha, has been reincarnated due to recent events
  • Vorn, Shield Guardian, found masterless by the party, beside a gaping hole in the ground

Now that my sister is fully hooked to D&D, the next logical step was to introduce my nephew to it. As he’s 11 yo, I didn’t want to overwhelm him with everything and tried to keep it simple on a gameplay and roleplay level. The way I found was to let him pick a mini (he picked the more sinister of the lot) and then I proposed him a character that suited (more or less) how it looked. Anyway, he did enjoy discovering new powers for his character. Job done!

The Way Back is Blocked

The PCs had learned previously that  the Dwarves from the Pick & Axe co were en route toward the Tamoachan site, probably to claim the riches that they had just unearthed.  They opted to evade them,  going North-East through the jungles, as the way to the river was now cut off (1).

Crazed Stegosaurus

Crashing through dense vegetation and charging the PCs, the herbivorous dinosaur was oddly aggressive. The mighty Vorn got himself in a titanic duel against the fearsome beast while Shin, Kalohan and Leon had to fend off sneaky Batiri archers (2).

A Feast of Maggots

A huge sauropod carcass blocked the way ahead. Monstrous maggots sprung forth from the cleaned bones, but not before Shin had sent an explosive arrow at the disgusting remains, sending grisly worm flesh everywhere.

Frilled Spitters

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The following night, Leon found a good spot to camp but still, two big frilled raptors (3) got too curious. Kalohan managed to put one asleep with a spell. The other attacked Vorn but its poison was useless against the construct and was thus overmatched.

Petrified Spider

Next day, the PCs could see an immobile, giant spider. Shin tried to speak with it (via his magic hat) but didn’t obtain any response. Upon closer inspection, they saw that the spider was turned into stone. Alerted to this fact, the PCs soon found the cause: cockatrices! Those were just eating berries in the vicinity, but the wary adventurers slew the deceptively dangerous chicken-like creatures.

Dwarves in the Night

Their sleep was again disturbed when vigilant Vorn woke them as the P & A Dwarves had somehow managed to catch up with them. Leon activated one of his shadow trick, a pass without trace, and the PCs left the Dwarves behind yet again.

Mounted Batiris

Shin and Leon were tired by the previous night’s ordeals but the group wanted to put some distance between them and the unrelenting Dwarves. Unfortunately, those weren’t the only one to watch out for as patrolling batiris mounted on Axe beaks got upon them. Shin got to work with his bow while Kalohan shot deadly lightning bolts with her magic wand and only two mounted batiris got in close range. Those last ones were dispatched by Vorn and Leon in a quick but brutal scuffle.

(4)

DM’s Notes

  1. Travel through the jungle ought to be more dangerous
  2. and kill a goblin shaman that controlled the stegosaur
  3. dinosaur frilled raptors, in fact, didn’t look anything like the one in jurassic park but the venom-spitting beast depicted in the movie makes for a cool addition to an imaginary dinosaur roster nonetheless
  4. I had thought to do a few more encounters, with some non-combat, but well, 11 yo boys have short attention span! :p
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Fading Lighthouse and Pit of Souls

We’re sidetracking in our sidetracking. Forget about the dragon or The Voice, there’s a lighthouse in the Lingering Swamp!

Scenario 61

Goal:  loot all treasure tiles

Team: Brute (lvl 8), Elementalist (lvl 8), Soothsinger (lvl 9)

Set difficulty: 5

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Filled with unpleasant inhabitants…

This is one of the coolest looking scenario (with Math’s 3D decor) hands down.

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We’re not killing much monsters, the challenge is to jump over monsters and traps without getting too much damage.

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Victory!

  • we moved fast, mostly ignored (or immobilized) the monsters and got a secure win

Scenario 62

Goal: Kill the Hungry Soul

Team: Brute (lvl 8), Elementalist (lvl 8), Soothsinger (lvl 9)

Set difficulty: 5

A single, if somewhat large, room with living bones and living spirits. The elementalist wipe out the living spirits with a well-timed vengeance. We can then focus on the immediate goal of slaying 10 living bones (they keep popping up each round).

Once it’s done (not a big feat), the Hungry Soul manifests itself. Oddly, the Hungry Soul is no big deal as it’s just a slightly stronger elite living bones (with a strong shield that diminish the more living bones there is). So all in all, an anticlimactic end to the Fall of Man thread.

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Victory!

  • All three of us can now retire our characters, that’s pretty awesome!

Session 15b – Serpent-Skinned Monks

The PCs could not afford to take another long rest if they wished to be away from Tamaochan before the arrival of the Pick & Axe co. 

Characters:

  • Shin (level 4>>5), Tabaxi Fighter (Arcane Archer), Outlander; big-game hunter, has no patience for weakness
  • Flyzus (level 5>>6), Wood Elf Ranger (hunter), Outlander; sole survivor of his tribe after an orc invasion
  • Rufb (level 5>>6), Half-Orc Barbarian (berserker), Mercenary Veteran; captured by pterafolks, his fellow mercenaries killed, seeks riches and glory
  • Vorn, Shield Guardian, found masterless beside a gaping hole in the ground

Stay Still Forever

In a part of the dungeon yet unexplored – the PCs had successfully avoided a sand-filling trap – a few turns later they got almost in the middle of two rows of skeletons, a sort of honor guard by the look of it, standing on a ledge each side of a passage. The 15 skeletons jumped down and attacked (1)…

The adventurers kept their calm, even after seeing a skeleton still fighting after receiving a killing blow, what should have been a killing blow anyway. It helped that they could  now count on the powerful Vorn to back them up. An exploding magic arrow from Shin did a lot to soften the undead warriors. It took some time but they managed to prevail with only a few light wounds in return (2).

You don’t see any traps

At the end of another passage they could see a golden bat statuette. Rufb took it from its pedestal and got shot in the back by several crossbow bolts. Wounded and angry, Rufb smashed the statuette under his foot. This released a creature made of light, a will o’ wisp they knew from previous experience,  that quickly got away along another passage.

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Shed Skin

Now, for some reason, having a will o’ wisp on the loose didn’t sit well with the PCs (3) so they tried to find it, backtracking a little doing so. Flyzus ordered his pseudodragon pet to follow the evil light but the poor creature got zapped and… died (4). Next, the PCs got into an room they had opened but had chose to ignore earlier, a room with two slabs of stone with shed serpent skins… wait a minute… weren’t there bodies the first time around? Darn! More things roaming free…

Stuck in the Middle with You

To go further in this area, the PCs had to move a heavy block of stone on some rail mechanism up a ramp, the Shield Guardian was put to the task. They were halfway when things got complicated… First, there was sudden resistance against the block, something was pushing back… Second, bats. Lots of bats. Third, the will o’ wisp chose this moment to reappear…

Vorn proved more than strong enough to keep the block from crushing them. The Ranger got rid of the bats around him quickly and then attacked the will o’ wisp. He was joined soon after by Rufb (Shin was still swarmed by bats) and the two successfully avenged the pseudodragon.

No Escape

Finally out of this passage, the PCs saw two nimble figures sprint away from them. The Barbarian, the fastest runner, caught up with them in the central room of the ziggurat’s lower tier. Attempting to communicate  proved fruitless, as Rufb could not understand a word they said. Resigned, the two mysterious sleepers-no-longer assumed fighting stances (5).

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Rufb wasn’t in full combat shape at all, so facing these two adversaries with unknown abilities was daunting. He chose to use one charge of his gem of mud elemental summoning, a reward he had received from the Three Cascades’ frogmen. This proved a wise move as the mud elemental pummeled and mired in mud one serpent-skinned monk. Rufb then finished her with one massive blow of his greataxe. The surviving monk shrieked in anguish and attacked Rufb, sweeping his legs from under him.

Flyzus and Shin now got at the scene too. The outnumbered monk turned his back and fled once more. Shin shot an arrow at him but amazingly, he catched it middair without even looking!

Try to dodge that

He then started to cross the passage to the north, the one with spikes at the bottom, swinging from bar to bar. Rufb got back to his feet and jumped right beside his foe and started grappling him. He easily outmuscled the monk and sent him crashing through the spikes. Flyzus put an end to his life with precise sword thrusts (6).

The PCs finally felt comfortable enough to get down below, to the Hidden Shrine.

DM’s notes

  1. I had described them as skeletons but they were statted as zombies, with the undead fortitude that do a lot for their durability. But this fight was meh.
  2. Too easy! Would have been better if they had to be smart about it…
  3. Players paranoia!
  4. Félix kept forgetting that it existed, so… no big deal, I guess?
  5. The monks tried their best to escape, the PCs, the barbarian in particular, just wouldn’t let them.
  6. This proved to be a really good fight, with a lot of cool, cinematic manoeuvers.

 

 

 

Session 15a – No Stone Unturned

Third session inside the Hidden Shrine of Tamaochan. I had kept it relatively faithful to the module (70% maybe?). But now? Less so…

Characters:

  • Shin (level 4), Tabaxi Fighter (Arcane Archer), Outlander; big-game hunter, has no patience for weakness
  • Flyzus (level 5), Wood Elf Ranger (hunter), Outlander; sole survivor of his tribe after an orc invasion
  • Rufb (level 5), Half-Orc Barbarian (berserker), Mercenary Veteran; captured by pterafolks, his fellow mercenaries killed, seeks riches and glory
  • Vorn, Shield Guardian, found masterless beside a gaping hole in the ground

Psychic Cyclop. Psyclop? huh

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After a well-earned rest outside the PCs got right back to exploring the ancient ziggurat. They went  to a room they had passed the first time, in the second tier (1). The bronze door had a strange engraving on it, a couatl and a cyclop locked in a fierce struggle. Rufb pushed the heavy door and, to his surprise, found himself in the middle of the jungle in front of the very same cyclop warrior, now coming wildly at him with a greataxe! That was all in his head, of course, but the imaginary combat was taking a very real toll on him. Shin ignored his companion’s plight and went straight into the room and got into troubles of his own as a set of giant antique armor assaulted him. Meanwhile, Flyzus was at a loss as to what he could do to save Rufb, as smacking the Half-Orc behind the head did not look like it helped that much… Finally, with scrambled brains and bleeding nose, Rufb managed to overcome the psychic invasion by himself and the three defeated the helmed horror together. This activated some kind of magic from the (avenged) crystal couatl statue that was in the middle of the dais, as they were rewarded a Tray of the Ages (2).

Terror from Above

Nrak, the Firefinger’s ertswhile pterafolk leader, had apparently found a way to track down Flyzus in a vain attempt to avenge himself for the attack on his lair. One of his underling let drop something in the middle of the ruined temple where the PCs were  resting. The package, wrapped in leaves, exploded as it touched the floor, releasing some kind of poisonous pollen. Other pterafolks then dived and hurled javelins at the PCs, some blocked by the Shield Guardian. Mostly unfazed by the surprise attack,  the adventurers responded with projectiles of their own. The Tabaxi Arcane Archer, as always, was utterly deadly with his bow, but the decisive blow was delivered by Flyzus as he hurled back a javelin, powered with an ensnaring strike, that sent Nrak crashing to the ground to his death (3). The few surviving pterafolks had had enough and flew away.

A Sticky Situation (4)

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A few hours after the doomed pterafolk attack, the Ranger could see a giant spider coming their way. Using his hat of the spider the Tabaxi had a quick conversation with it, he learned that the giant spider was upset about being followed and, uh, aggressively courted… Said courter arrived a moment later, it was Mister Sticky the ettercap, who had lost his precious Darling at the hand of the party a while ago. Mister Sticky pleaded to give crucial information if only the PCs stopped besmirching him in front of this “magnificient specimen” of a spider. And so the party learned that members of the Pick & Axe co were on their way towards Tamaochan. The PCs accepted to pay the Ettercap to learn more:

  • P&A group is made up of  seasoned, armored and very sweaty dwarves
  • they have an ankylosaurus
  • the leader have a flying monkey (the PCs had spotted it flying around their camp earlier)
  • they are armed to the teeth, all have crossbows
  • they are half a day’s walk from Tamaochan

Another Way In

As the previous foray in the shrine had proved almost fatal for Rufb, the PCs sought a way to get the mighty (and large) Vorn in the lower tiers with them. They resolved the matter using a scroll of shape stone on a part of the cliff that connected to a room below the ziggurat. The magic scroll enlarged a small hole already there, but getting inside, the party disturbed a family of stone-skinned zorbos. The PCs dispatched the cute but ferocious beasts and had another go at exploring the ancient ruins.

DM’s notes:

  1. I’ve kept the couatl, phantasmal force and helmed horror but changed about everything else in this room
  2. The original treasure is a Balance of Harmony but an item to detect good and evil is rather useless in my game. The Tray of Ages (homebrewed) is me being generous, as the PCs can cast identify as a ritual with it, so they don’t have to wait to be in town (like in 3 sessions) to know what their items do.
  3. Being a large creature, Nrak had advantage on his str save to resist the ensnaring strike and still failed!
  4. That part was, hmm, maybe a little too much on the silly side…

 

Decaying Crypt

Chronicles of Borborygm the Brute

The thing with dead people is that there’s so, soooo many of them. You just can’t take a wrong turn without stumbling upon a crypt. I mean, could they not just disappear or something? If at least they could stay dead dead but then, do they ever? They don’t! The stinking wretches just keep going on… Living Bones, Living Corpses, even Living Spirits. Living Spirit… What the hell does that even mean? Oh well, as long as I can hit them with my axe…

Scenario 6

Goal: Reveal M tile, Kill all revealed monsters

Team: Brute (lvl 4), Elementalist (lvl 5), Soothsinger (lvl 4)

Set difficulty: 3

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The soothsinger’s melody is so angst-filled that even the dead feel depressed…

The soothsinger’s immediate crippling chorus gives us time to prepare. I push the lone living corpse to get it in a perfect cluster for the elementalist’ next attack:

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Soothsinger: “I’ve got first kill! I’ve got first kill!”

We mostly ignore the zombies living corpses that are oozing disgusting fluids everywhere since the elementalist’s ice-spiked them.

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Three more living bones and three living spririts behind in the next room.

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I jump in the middle of the living spirits to slash them with a devastating hack while the elementalist attacks the living bones with a (successful, yay!) chain-lightning.

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Elementalist: “Could you help us finish those, please?” Brute: “I can’t hear ya! There’s too much moanin’ and singin’!”
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Brute: “For the Blood God!”

As I open the next door, a living spirit, a particularly dreadful one, blasts me with a necrotic ray that stuns me. That’s bad. Every damn monster in the room wants a piece of me. When I regain my senses, bleeding from many wounds, I lift my axe one last time and slay a living corpse before falling down on my knees. At least, the Blood God is pleased.

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Elementalist: “Noisy, you’re still here?” Soothsinger: *Hit living bones with his lute* “Yes!”

With so many monsters left, the situation looks dire. But then the elementalist quickly kills 2 living spirits with a spell and then turns his attention to  the stronger one:

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And make it explode!

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soothsinger, 5 rounds later: “I swear, this thing won’t f**cking die!”
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soothsinger: “Unless…”
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(bottom) “Get into this trap will you!”

Frantic lute-playing Victory Tune!

  • We did not reveal the other part of the crypt as there was no need
  • I burned through my cards waaaay too fast this time
  • the lvl 5 elementalist has been very, very efficient and saved the day
  • the soothsinger swamped the monsters in curses, we felt almost invicible, no kidding

Ruinous Rift

Chronicles of Borborygm the Brute

We must close the rift says Ghost-lady.

-Yeah?

-It’s a hole in the fabric of the universe.

-…

-Evil creatures could cross to this world through it.

-Will I get paid?

-I.. I’ll find a way to make it worthwhile to you…

-Well, why didn’t you say so!

Scenario 27

Goal: Protect Hail for 10 turns

Team: Brute (lvl 4), Elementalist (lvl 5), Soothsinger (lvl 4)

Set difficulty: 3

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(turn 2) Lets stir up the hornet’s nest…
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(turn 3) Is that it?
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(turn 4) ahh now we’re talking
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(turn 5) sun demon 2x damage OUCH!
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(turn 6) arent’ we a bit crowded now?
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(turn 7) dumbass flame demon puts a trap
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(turn 8) Brute: piercing battle-axe (huh?)
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(turn 9) Brute: “the Blood God is pleased, last round for me!”
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(turn 10) soothsinger: “crippling chorus for the win!

 

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Elementalist: “I’ll jump head first into the spike trap and see what happens…”
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Soothsinger: *singing*” The demons are sucked in! Everyone’s dyin’. But me, I’m still standin’!”

Frantic lute-playing victory tune!

  • should not have put gold coins, the demons are spawns
  • the soothsinger’s crowd control did a lot for the last few rounds
  • the elementalist was unlucky again with his chain-lightning, needs eagle-eye goggle?
  • the elementalist commited suicide (sort-of) to help the soothsinger’s Life Goal
  • we did a good job to protect Hail, she was attacked one time (or two?) and did not took any damage with the help of the soothsinger’s disorienting dirge

 

Forgotten Crypt

The Chronicles of Borborygm the Brute.

Okay scribbler, do your thing.


I left my tribe… What? Yeah Okay Fine. I was kicked out of my tribe- longstorydontask- and now I give strength of my arms for payment. I am Mer-Cy-Na-Ry. Got that?

Okay so nobody wants lone Inox, too troublesomy they say, so I found lil’ fellows to be reaver-band with. One a Quaetryl, his name Noisy Lucky-Charm. The other, a Savvas, name  Rainbow Poof.

No, not true names you dimwit. Names I give. Suitable names.

Now understand that is first mission for me. One day I will be Hero-Chief. But before that, lots of work, lots of killing and I will collect many scars to appease the Blood God .

But for now, first mission is us three walking with Ghost-Lady to a bone-collecting place. She wants to find a magic censer that someone stupidly left there because they died.

We have to protect her, her dead means a bad name for us, the lil’ fellows tell me. Best way to do it? Kill everything in the way!

Scenario 19

Goal: Protect Hail

Team: Brute (lvl 4), Elementalist (lvl 4), Soothsinger (lvl 4)

Set difficulty: 2

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Where’s the Elementalist? Huh. Could you wait a moment please?
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Brute: “Pssstt… I’ll rush forward and skewer the 2 gloomy-stabbies with one thrust!” Cultist: “We’re right there, we can hear you…”
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Soothsinger: dliiiing dliiiing dliiiing “two coins for me”
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Soothsinger: “and two more!” Brute: “wut? leave some for Borborygm you lil’ bugger!”

Rainbow Poof opens the third room and wants to roast his foes with lightning but all  he gets is a feeble spark (3 curses for his Chain-Lightning!).We all laughed at that, everybody, except annoyed Rainbow Poof

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Soothsinger to Hail: “Don’t worry, I’m here!” *adjusts his lute*

As me and Rainbow Poof fight Dead-Fleshies, the Ghost-Lady is a little behind and  followed close by the non-living. Noisy Lucky-Charm says he will protect her: “I will change tempo suddenly and the monsters will be immobilized”. I mean, *WTF* but it worked…

I push a dead-fleshy into a trap as Rainbow Poof blasts the other with magic and the way is clear for the altar room.

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Soothsinger: “there’s too many of them!” Brute: “the Blood God will be pleased”

My battle-axe cuts great chunks of dead flesh and Rainbow Poof joins the fun as fire spews forth from his fingers toward the baddies.

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Hail finally gets to the altar and takes Stonecrusher’s censer

Frantic lute-playing Victory Tune!

  • this escort mission was a lot of fun, nice change of pace
  • the soothsinger stacked our decks with bless cards and cursed the monster’s: incredibly useful
  • I did A LOT of damage with those bless and could kill elite living-corpses easily
  • his main song, his level 4 card, gives disadvantage to all attacks from the monsters, that’s amazingly strong
  • at one point we considered doing more vs the monsters behind but we didn’t (except the soothsinger a little) and it proved unnecessary
  • I have to be exhausted for my new Life Goal, I did it but we had to block Hail for 2 rounds (to get the treasure too)
  • the soothsinger looted 9 coins the greedy bastard :p