Game report: Worldwound Incursion

Welcome to the second Game/Session report series: the Wrath of the Righteous Pathfinder campaign, played under D&D 3.5 rules! Let’s start with Worldwound Incursion, the first scenario.
One funny thing is that while the road trip-style campaign starting with Sunless Citadel features a perpetually strapped for money group, this heroic (mis)adventure’s group is far richer ^^

Dramatis personæ

  • Azrael Galanodel: Aloof elven, part-fae on the side, wizard/sorcerer (aka. “Yo, I heard you like magic so I put magic in your magic!”), the group’s arcane spellcaster and magical damage dealer. Linguist — Yes, again. And this one’s worse ^^ —, source of weird knowledge and resident “ah, looks like I can do that…” guy (my character).
  • Nessa Arensen: Human military brat, archivist (i.e. mage-style cleric) worshipping Sarenrae, the group’s primary divine spellcaster, healer and off-magical damage dealer. She gets along rather well with everyone and serves as the group’s conscience (Jackie’s).
  • Theoban: Human crusader, the group’s tank and off-physical damage dealer. Secondary conscience of the group (NPC party member).
  • Adariel: Drinking human ranger, the group’s scout and physical damage dealer. Tend not to get along well with…irritating non-combatants. Left the group on getting out of the underground (Emily’s).
  • Annika Taveshti: Barbarian druidess, the group’s secondary healer, off-divine caster, off-healer and off-magical damage dealer. She tends to shy from the social side of things, has a bit of a cruel streak and is always accompanied by her dog, Sokto (Nick’s).
  • Kennet Midashi: Human military scout, the group’s scout and physical damage dealer. An involuntary social specialist joining around the end of their underground trip (Beth’s).

Report

N.B. : This report was unfortunately done a fair amount of time after the fact and without the benefit of the logs, so errors are expected.

So, I stopped in Kenabres for the annual fair, taking a break in my search of information on the Riftwardens/my parents/my heritage/strike what doesn’t apply when I suddenly saw Korramzadeh, the Storm King, drop on the city and get into a firefight with Terendelev, the silver dragon protector of said city. To be honest, I didn’t get time to do much more than panic, scream and try running away before getting dumped in the underground through the nearest hole…

Once I landed underground, I met up with Horgus Gwerm — a dour noble —, Anevia — the companion of the city’s guard commander —, Aravashnial — a blinded conjurer belonging to the Riftwardens — and what will make up the party. After dealing with a mad crusader lost in the tunnels and finding a set of magic silver scales — presumably belonging to Terendelev —, we rested at an abandoned, desecrated and re-consecrated temple of Abadar before encountering a group of molemen, lost descendants of the crusaders.

Said molemen were in a spot of bother — one of them was trapped under fallen rocks — so we helped them out and they paid us back by a warning about some toxic fungus very common in this section of the underground…A very timely warning given that we found a corpse infested by them a few caverns further. The next molemen we found though tried to kill us so when we found a third group, we asked what was up. We ended up getting invited to their village…

Once at the village, the chief asked to meet us and we learnt that, in the time since their confinment underground, the molemen split. While some — such as those we saved — kept to their vows and are searching for a path to the surface to kill some denizens of the Worldwound, others — such as those who tried to off us — became demon worshippers. Recently-ish the tribe inviting us found a path to the surface leading to Kenabres’s outskirts but, owing to the recent alliance between their fallen brethren and a group of Baphomet’s cultists, they don’t have the manpower to spare to actually use it. So the chief offered that, in exchange of us clearing out either the cultists or the corrupted molemen, he’ll send a squad of rangers to lead us to the surface and as reinforcements for the city.

Nessa, Annika and I took advantage of the chief inviting us to stay the night — and of the subsequent party — to get some information on the feud between Aravashnial, Adariel, Anevia and Horgus. Annika had the easiest job because she got Anevia and Adariel a few drinks and they told her without fuss that Anevia is inimical towards Horgus because he got by dubious means her companion’s sword — apparently it was pawned during a rough spot and the pawnbroker sold it before the agreed upon time — and refused to hand it back. As for Adariel, she just dislikes haughty people like Horgus. I had a none too difficult job because, even though we weren’t drinking, we’re both conjurers so it wasn’t difficult for me to build an amicable report with Aravashnial. The reason of Horgus enmity towards him is that Aravashnial is often seeking demonic influences in town and Horgus ran afoul of one of his witch hunts. And Nessa had the worse job: getting lord Gwerm’s story…that was interesting. Apparently, he indeed got the sword through a pawnbroker but even if he wanted he couldn’t give it back: by the time Anevia got to him, he had already sold it to one of his friends, lord Nyserian. The reason of his enmity towards Anevia is that upon his refusal, rather than talk to him about why like civilised people she broke into one of his warehouses…and disturbed his charitable operations. Yes, because he gives to charity. A lot. Enough that he needs bloody warehouses to sort everything out. …Hell, he gives more than Queen Galfrey! As for Adariel, his enmity is out of principle.

The next day we decided that Baphomet’s cultists, being closer, less numerous and less used to the place would probably be softer targets so it was time to boot them out. After the rangers led us to the cultists’ camp and we neutralised the lookouts — a pair of molemen —, it was time to use the advantage of surprise to get them all at once. So we broke into their improvised shrine while they were preparing for their morning prayers: a champion, two priestesses and five henchmen. Time for a firefight.

Well, I didn’t know we could hit that often the furnishings… We got rid rather easily of the henchmen and one of the priestesses, but the other and the group’s champion took far longer. We got the second priestess on a misunderstanding but the champion took long enough that I was down to throwing Acid Splashes around… Thing is, our enemies weren’t much more successful: the champion was redoing the door frame around Theoban while the surviving priestess was painting the walls black. We ransacked the place, found a letter presumably revealing the location of a few safe houses for the cultists — incidentally, Horgus was shocked to learn that Nyserian manor was one of them — and a straggler on leaving the place: time to get some information! …I learnt two very important things then. First, Annika tend to be as…messy with her kills as any summoner. Second, the others — above all Theoban — seem not to appreciate how terribly messy a summoner’s solutions generally are.

After getting some clues on our next destination — the probably changed by now password and the name of the leader of Kenabres’s cultists up to Korradamzeh’s offensive — we left for the molemen’s village to inform them of our success, we got another party and the next day, left for the surface with our guides/reinforcements.

Once at the surface, it wasn’t pretty: roaming demons — we beat up a group of imps who were harassing a few survivors —, the Ring District — aka the castle’s area — locked tight, damaged buildings everywhere and Areelu Vorlesh’s voice asking for surrender regularly like a bad PSA. First things first, see if there isn’t a resistance to Vorlesh’s occupation somewhere: they probably have more information than us on what’s happening here, what with us getting trapped in the catacombs… We found then holed in the Defender’s Heart tavern and led by Irabeth Tirabade, commander of the guard. Ah, Aravashnial is shying away from her, something to look into… After talking with Irabeth, Horgus and Aravashnial, finding out that Irabeth was commanding the resistance because the city’s lord — lord Hulrun — disappeared during its fall and consulting a city map in the tavern, we decided to leave the rangers at the tavern, escort Horgus to Gwerm manor, visit the safe houses and then bring Aravashnial to the Librarium of the Broken Black Wing, aka Kenabres’s Riftwardens’ base.

Just before leaving though, Adariel offered to stay with Irabeth and spy on the castle’s area for the resistance. We wished her good luck and she went on her way…first stop: Gwerm Manor! Once there, we found an empty but somewhat intact place: apparently Horgus has a country house towards Nerosyan and he suspects his staff to have headed there following Kenabres’s fall. After dispatching a bandit set on pillaging his house, we left lord Gwerm to his residence and headed towards Topaz Solutions…which we found ruined. Next, we headed towards Nyserian Manor, where we found a demon disguised as lord Nyserian but not much else of interest: apparently the cultists ransacked the place on investing it. Then, there was the last safe house: the Tower of Estrod, apparently the main base of the cultists. We found a big group of cultists there, Minagho — leader of Kenabres’s cultists — and a mage who charmed Annika to try to get us to leave when she investigated the basement…and ended up on the wrong end of Sokto’s fangs. Lastly, we accompanied Aravashnial at the Librarium of the Broken Wing, which we found prey to bandits having thrown their lot with Areelu’s crew and currently harassing the librarians. We beat them, they protested that they did that only to survive which pissed off Nessa and Theoban — they could have bailed — which sealed their fates. We then learnt that Kenabres’s Riftwardens got killed while we were down there and the wardstone taken to the Ring District by Areelu’s forces. Aravashnial found a cure for his blindness there and decided to stay there to watch over the librarians while we went back to report.

Once we reported on what we found in the safe houses — information revealing that lord Staunton, traitor to the Fourth Crusade, was apparently based in Drezen, that Irabeth’s sword was being prepared in the cultists’ new headquarters in the Ring District for his use and that Areelu Vorlesh was currently away in the Abyss regarding a plan involving the wardstone — Irabeth convoked us for a risky mission: help her infiltrate the Ring District and destroy the wardstone. We took a few objects like healing potions or an invisibility one — and for me a cloak of resistance and a cold iron dagger — and first we tried to see if we couldn’t enter by the front door: Areelu’s sorry excuse for a PSA was still being aired like a broken record, so there must have been a still open entrance to the Ring District. There was one and the good news was that we found where did lord Hulrun went. The bad news was that he was brainwashed and transformed in an ever-vigilant sentry, presumably by Areelu Vorlesh. Oh well, time to find another way in… We finally found an house whose roof was very close to the Ring District’s surrounding wall and we used it to get inside with the rangers’s help. We found out there that the Ring District was transformed in, more or less, an holding camp for those who accepted Areelu’s offer, that people there tend to disappear for a mere trifle, that the demon troops installed their headquarters in the castle and that apparently a girl was recently taken there. So we went to the castle, avoiding the patrols as much as we could.

After quickly beating the guards, we entered and met Othirubo — the cultists’ magician — with a squad of demons. We beat them, retrieved Irabeth’s sword that he luckily didn’t have the time to modify yet and made our way upstairs. There, we found another squad of demons that we dispatched and a door with an odd warning, considering that it was Areelu Vorlesh who posted it. Behind it: Sara, the girl who disappeared…with a surprising appearance. Apparently, she was mauled by one of the garrison’s demon, Areelu learnt of that, killed the demon, healed the girl, decided afterwards to transform her in a half-fiend and left her in this room to recover. It looks like her transformation doesn’t have any mental after-effects but given that we don’t have the time to ascertain that in detail, after she threw a (rather brutal) tantrum upon seeing her new appearance, we opened the door, gave her a cloak and told her that we had something to do upstairs but that we would be happy to lead her to the Defender’s Heart after we finished. In the mean time, if she wants, she can go there. On this note, we made our way upstairs once again.

Once upstairs, we found Jeslyn — second in command of Kenabres’s cultists — guarding the wardstone…who noticed our entrance…and who’s talking with Areelu Vorlesh! Given that it wasn’t at all time for subtlety, we let Kennet take an invisibility potion and do a beeline for the wardstone while we were being a distraction. After an irritating fight, due in big part to Jeslyn healing herself all the damn time and to the wardstone’s passive defences, the good news was that we managed to take down the wardstone. The bad news was that we took just enough time for Areelu to come. The worst news was that, just before trying to kill us and gloat about her master plan, she informed us that depriving her of Kenabres’s wardstone took down the whole network.

Luckily, she failed at killing us and had pressing matters to attend to, so she left on an ominous warning that we got new powers but that she would collect next time we met…

All in all, it wasn’t that bad an adventure, if a bit stressful: we earned a fair bit of money, quite a few magic items and got a status of demon-thwarting experts…which will be source of more annoyances than anything, I can just feel it…

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Game report: Sunless Citadel

Welcome to this new series of Game/Session reports on a (currently) nameless road-trip campaign, where I do reports of my D&D games with the LJF crew…more or less in character ^^ Let’s start with the first module used: Sunless Citadel. Well, I say “used”…let’s say that in this campaign the modules are, at best, loose aids ^^

Dramatis personæ

  • Naesala Naïlo: Foul-mouthed elven smith, the group’s tank, off-physical damage dealer and off-scout. Part-time sneak, part-time swordfighter, part-time translator, full-time trouble magnet (my character).
  • Irina Varden: Happy-go-lucky human swordmistress, the group physical powerhouse and off-tank. Part-time conscience and full-time monolingual member (Jackie’s).
  • Dessia: Wise dwarven priestess, Wee Jas’s faithful servant, the group’s healer, divine caster and off-magical damage dealer. Dwarven translator of choice and, while the pace-setter, generally not the one setting the group’s course (NPC party member).
  • Vasco: Aloof elven thief, the group’s scout and back-up arcane caster. Tend to be slightly more greedy than his fellow elves. Left the group on their first return to Oakhurst (Malcolm’s).
  • Dain Wintersheen: Dragon-obsessed dwarven shaman, the group’s buffer and tertiary physical damage dealer and tank. An font of dry humour who joined during their second go at exploring the citadel (Nick’s).
  • Dever Deveris: Terminally curious elven wizard, the group’s arcane caster and magical damage dealer. An endless source of more or less sane ideas joining during their last trip through the fortress (Beth’s).

Report

N.B. : This report was unfortunately done a fair amount of time after the fact and without the benefit of the logs, so errors are to be expected.

So, I left Adri Forest in order to finish my training in Knurl: according to the smith back home, the best blacksmiths are over there. While I was checking if I still knew some goblin («Vanakkam, khun mei pakka zwifi, zurbi et torbi?» …That should do.), I noticed that I hadn’t enough money left to pay for my prospective apprenticeship. The area not being amenable to…fund raising, I decided to find a mercenary job in the closest town, Oakhurst. On my way there, I found a fellow elf prey to a terrible lack of funds, one Vasco, and we decided to find a job together: whatever we’d need to do together being likely to pay quite a bit more than jobs we could take up alone. Once in town, two things jumped at us: first the gloomy atmosphere…which might be due to the half-destroyed buildings around. Second though were the prominent flyers for a group of mercenaries by the inn. Only 2000 gold coins but eh, money is money. So we went to the burgomaster’s house; met our two new companions over there — one Irina, wandering swordfighter and one Dessia, novice in the local temple of Wee Jas — and were informed of the nature of our mission by lady Hucrele, burgomaster by interim. Apparently the neighbouring ruins are inhabited by a tribe of goblins who are in the habit of selling magical apples in the area. However, they generally forbid people to plant these apples’ cores. Earlier this year, the burgomaster — lady Hucrele’s father — decided to try planting a core in their house’s courtyard. The goblins got wind of that, came in to destroy the sapling, raided the town and killed the burgomaster in the doing. Lady Hucrele’s brother and sister went into the ruins with a few warriors for a punitive expedition while she was left there to hold the fort a few weeks ago and they still don’t have any news of them. So our mission was to go to the ruins and try to save the members of the expedition. Barring that, to retrieve the siblings’ signet rings.

So, first things first, we went in town to get some information about the ruins…only things we learnt were that the ruins were also inhabited by a tribe of kobolds and that it was called the Sunless Citadel because a long time ago a green dragon happened and sank it into the ground. So after we slept and bought some supplies for the expedition ahead, we arrived to the rift left by the dragon. And of course, after abseiling on a tower, a group of rats were waiting for Vasco and I. We fortunately made short work of them and went down the tower to reach the courtyard…where another group of rats were waiting for us. These were killed quicker still, the only tricky part being when I accidentally triggered a pit trap when trying to flank one of the rats, but no one got hurt this time.

Once inside, we got our first taste of the conflicts we’d see across the citadel: the left-overs of a three-way battle between humans, kobolds and goblins. And a recent one at that… After yet another fight against rats, we found a secret alcove, disarmed the trap in the entrance and called it a day. After declining to explore the other hidden passage on the grounds that it didn’t seem to have been used for a long time, learning that Irina got poisoned against that last group of rats — and being convinced by her to continue exploring — we went north. In the first hall, we found a chapel with some skeletons and a dubiously enchanted whistle as well as a sleeping kobold…who lost no time hiring us on behalf of his tribe. So we were led to one Yusdrayl, elder of the kobold tribe, and hired to retrieve a young white dragon from the goblins in exchange of Glodayl — the sleeping kobold — serving as a guide in the goblin-held part of the complex. After accepting our new assignment, we headed north once more, fought another group of rats, found an exploring dwarf — Dain — searching some cells and convinced him to join in rescuing the white dragon.

Continuing deeper, we entered the goblin-held part of the complex where we quickly found a group of goblins trying to break in Icciarag — the white dragon we were to retrieve —, had an insults contest with them — that I won by virtue of being well-versed in far more languages than the goblins —, had a long and protracted fight with them and their reinforcements and had Dain & Irina put their foot down that they were here to rescue Icciarag, any capture attempt would be done by Glodayl. By his lonesome. In any case, that question quickly became moot because Glodayl got himself killed on the way back when during a subsequent melee he tried to take Icciarag and run while we were busy dislodging a group of goblins from their makeshift barricades and got frozen by the dragon for his troubles. Glodayl not being here anymore to rat us out, we went out to free Icciarag and did a short trip to town where Vasco called it quits, paid for a priest to heal Irina…and were alarmed by the dismal state of the common pot.

Getting back into the goblin-held area after having lost our guide, we found a few storage rooms with not much of interest and entered clan Durbuluk’s living quarters. A first melee in the main hall ended up with me getting the first group to throw down their weapons by sheer annoyance while the second fight against the chief ended in the shaman surrendering once we killed his boss. And in us learning of our boss’s brother’s fate and pocketing his signet ring, important that.

After receiving the clan’s surrender, upsetting the balance of power in the area and looting a few trinkets — some scrolls and a ring — we went to the kobolds to inform Yusdrayl of our guide’s death. Once learning of Icciarag’s get-away though, she turned on us. Oh well, another fight it is… I learned two important things during that fight: first, not all chiefs have any regard for their subordinates’ lives. Second, I don’t like Magic Missile.

After wrecking even further the balance of power in the citadel, learning that clan Durbuluk left for Knurl under their shaman’s guidance and another trip to Oakhurst to both inform our patron of her brother’s fate and get a pair of thunderstones to deal with spellcasters, we decided to postpone exploring the ground level further and went down the passage we had found in the goblin living quarters. On going down, we got our first encounter with murderous shrubbery and tangled with an axe-wielding hobgoblin going on about the Sublime Way. We got out of that fight a magical two-handed axe, that Irina’s fighting style apparently is part of the Sublime Way, and our first instance of something which will subsequently plague us: generally not being able to hit the broad side of a barn. Fortunately our enemies were also afflicted by that by then so the next fight against a bunch of creepy goblin cultists in a lab went well enough.

Exploring the underground, we found a few interesting things: an Underdark access we avoided entering any further than to confirm it goes there, a greenhouse full of bloodthirsty bushes, papers on a dwarven extremist group’s resurrection, some more goblin cultists…and a mad druid by a gnarled evil tree intent on brainwashing the region through his rampaging sprouts. Ah, and lady Hucrele’s sister’s fate: brainwashed with her bodyguard. He was kind enough to expose his plan before setting his minions on us: get as many people as possible planting his magic apples on the surface so that he gets an army of mind-screwing shoots to conquer the area and impose his twisted utopia. After the mandatory boss banter, it was time for a last dance…which despite a well-placed opening move of a thunderstone to the druid’s face didn’t go so well for us until Dessia told us that his weak point was the tree. Being the closest — and holding the torch…why isn’t the lone human holding the light you say? I’m the only one who doesn’t need both hands to fight — I set it on fire and poured a flask of oil on it for good measure. The druid screamed and fell, the goblins broke and ran, the Hucrele sister fell catatonic…and sir Bradford went berserk. He almost got Dain, Dessia and me — and my plan to slip out using the cover of darkness failed when he revealed a light of his own — but a javelin to the face solved that problem nicely. Once he went down, we tied up both brainwashed victims and went to sleep…only to wake up to both having become plant matter hybrid things during the night. It was more than a bit creepy, so we relieved the Hucrele sister of her personal effects and of her signet ring, her bodyguard of his magic longsword, and set the whole place ablaze.

After going back to Oakhurst to inform lady Hucrele of her sister’s fate, of the Underdark entrance present in the ruins and get paid; we decided to go in one last time to finish exploring the place. Once in the kobold quarter we dropped by quickly last time, we found an elven sorcerer held in their jail…sorry Dever ^^ After finding nothing else of interest in the place but two goblins we freed and pointed towards the shaman’s group, we explored the dragon statue fountains we passed by the first time around…where Dever got himself cursed and buffed. Gain some, lose some. We also explored the corridor behind the secret door in the first hall, where we advanced veeeeery slowly because everyone but Dain was caught by the defences. After he shut them down, we found a trapped corridor where I dropped like a stone due to a lucky dart thrower, a well-done but weirdly placed black dragon statue, an imp we involuntarily freed and a dragon priest we decided we would deal with later. Like a decade later.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad adventure: we didn’t earn that much money nor did we get that many magic items, but I found a few colleagues on the way to Knurl and we found our next destination.