bhchrist's GWJ Overwatch D&D Campaign

Hello, all. This thread is the repository of yet another poor decision I have made in my long life. This is a documentation of my foray/folly into running a D&D game on line for the first time for a group of players who have either never played before or have not played since AD&D days or is a ringer and long time player (thanks, Minotaar) who is helping out. Feel free to add input from your characters perspectives, fact check things I missed, or tell us how mad you are that we are not playing Overwatch late Sunday nights.

Cast:
Dungeon Master: bhchrist
Lydia (Halfling Sorcerer): Chavyn
Grist the Grisly (Minotaur Barbarian): Minotaar
Toulin/Brahm (Human Fighter): Ranalin
Wayfarer (Human Cleric): Wayfarer
Dole Nightshade (Tiefling Paladin): Axel
Ase Maa, aka Shay (Aasimar Warlock): Staygold

Introduction and Session 1

There are ballads sung by bards and retold by nobles and commoners alike, of adventurers brave and true, ribald and daring. Stories of sacrificing all to protect the innocent and save the world. These tales make hearts race, loins gird, and bosoms heave. They inspire others to rise up and take on the cause of those in need of aid; to leave the world a better place.

This is not one of those stories, at least, not yet.

This story begins in a tavern, as all the best tales do. Its ending is as cloudy as the ale served by Diero Pinwheel daily at the Tipsy Donkey in the the forgotten, but happy hamlet of Drummer’s Point. Do I know the ending? Of course I do! But I won’t spoil it for you souls. I will tell it only as it should be told. From the beginning.

A small, agricultural community of 300 people, Drummer’s Point is nestled in a valley, flanked on the north by forests and a river, to the east by a second river, plains transitioning to hills to the south, and a substantial mountain range to the west. Its climate is temperate, but temperatures decrease rapidly to the west and one moves higher into the mountains. The geography seems ideal for a center of trade, with two rivers intersecting in close proximity. For some reason, that is not the case. There is no military to speak of and none has been required for the last 100 years. The area has drawn outcasts and drifters from all races, who appear to have put any past differences aside and live in harmony, save for the gossip and tales that arise when people know each other too well for too long a time. They are by and large a happy people, prone to fits of random laughter and jovialness.

There are often an uptick of travellers and traders in Drummer’s Point around the Mid-Summer festival, which is not but a week away. But it has been some years since Mayor Diero Pinwheel can recall such a sight as what showed up in his tavern last night. Oh, and never call him Diero, unless you want this plump and happy dwarf to short pour your ale and overcharge your room. He is known to all simply as Pin.

Pin does not surprise easily. While Drummer’s Point is home in every sense of the word, he did not grow up here. He has seen things in his younger years that make the bucolic, gentle nature of Drummer’s Point a balm on his soul and a true friend. Still, he was not prepared for the sight of the monstrous beast that walked through his doors last night.

Let us rewind our story a short while before we get to the nitty gritty of this encounter, my dear readers, as that was interesting in its own right. There was that human fellow, went by the name of Toulin, but pronounced like he was a bird’s toenail. At least I think that is his name. There is just as good a chance that his name is Brahm. He was talking to himself every so often and I heard both names tossed around. Quite the peculiar fellow, but he paid for his ale, didn’t seem to bother nobody, and kept to himself. Good thing, too, given the nasty piece of work of his hand crossbow he kept under his cloak. Old Pin picked up on that right fast. Old Bird Claw would have been enough to keep most folk in town chittering for the next 6 months if not for the crew entered later in the evening.

About 30 minutes after our friend Toulin established himself, a pair as different as anyone has ever seen came through the door with a cautious, but highly noticeable presentation. Well, they were the most different until about an hour later, but be patient, reader, we will get there. The Red Tiefling was dressed in what was obviously a town’s guard uniform or some such organization and his female companion was tall, different, and different.

Let me explain.

She was different. Wore a mask. Her hair was green. But her eyes. Through the mask they had a inky yet sparkling ethereal quality to them. Her hands were malformed, as if she had an accident she never fully recovered from. Despite all this, she made one want to raise their voice in song, or at least reconsider their life choices in recent days. They went by Dole Nightshade and Ase Maa, by she said to call her Shay.

But that wasn’t the crazy part. Not by a long shot. They walked in talking a language nobody understood, or admitted to, at least. Come to think of it, it was probably two languages that they used interchangeably. One sounded like the singing of a choir and the other the gravely rasp of brimstone dragged down the streets of Dis. That was not the crazy part either. They introduced themselves as twins. A devil and an angel. Brother and Sister. What a world we live in that this was not the strangest couplet of the evening!

You may have heard tell of the fearsome Minotaur. Your uncle may have even boasted of stories he heard as a boy of one spotted near the entrance of the cave that no one ever emerged from. But I saw one with my own two eyes that night, may Pelor strike me dead if I lie. He was a hulking menace of fur, muscle, horns, and dread. Went by the name of Grist. I never saw old Dogracer stop playing that flute of his when he didn’t want to, but that he did at the sight of Grist. He is the reason the locals didn’t flee in fear or do something more foolish. Well, that and the presence of his travelling companion, Lydia. While she didn’t live in Drummer’s Point, this young Halfling was here often enough to be considered one of our own. Many felt sorry for her, on account of her thieving, skulking father.

Hoho! I forgot to mention the holy man. He would be unremarkable, aside from his decision to join up with the previous five that I have discussed. There have been many a drunk pass out in the Donkey over the years and the Cleric Wayfarer is far from the first, though his tolerance for alcohol is prodigious indeed. If I didn’t know any better, I would guess he was calling on his deity for aid in drink.

Through serendipity, the guidance of the gods or flat out luck, this group decided to take up the quest to the long rumored and little travelled Sunless Citadel on a rescue mission. What are they rescuing? Either the two children of local merchant Kerowyn Hucrele or the source of the magic healing apple the goblins bring for trade each Mid-Summer.

Their journey began inauspiciously the next morning. The drink from the previous evening that caused the Cleric Wayfarer to pass out and sleep on the table had not fully relinquished its grasp on his constitution, for as he was lifted down from a height in a rough and jostling manner, he proceeded to vomit on the head of the Minotaur and let loose something that is referred to in the bawdier quarters as a shart. This noise and odious fumes drew the attentions of four Giant Rats, who also found interest in something rotting in the bag of the Tiefling Paladin, Dole.

After defeating the rats in a battle that should have finished quicker than it did, they found their way down to the entrance of the Citadel. A careful search of the courtyard revealed a trap door by Toulin. After marking the door with chalk, the masked Aasimar decided to test the accuracy of the chalk outline by walking directly on to the trap. But for the quick reflexes of Grist, the Warlock would have certainly found herself in grave peril at the bottom of the pit with a hungry rat. The rat was dealt with and the party recovered measly coin and a scimitar that is likely to remain unused over the next 2 years.

Entering the Citadel, the party finds a grisly sight. Four dead goblins, including one pinned upright to the West wall. In taking down the body (to examine the spear moreso than the dead goblin) there is strange writing that Grist understands to be Draconic. It is a name he does not recognize.

In searching the remainder of the entry space, a trap door is found. So exciting! Inside were what looked like two long dead archers, risen as shadows! Our party fought bravely, with the Tiefling Dole close to falling before a healing burst of divine intervention from Wayfarer kept him on his feet. The Halfling Lydia proved quite the surprise as well, with some sorcerous wild magic. Every kill of a threatening enemy seemed to cause either her hair or that of her companions to change color unexpectedly. You have not seen a sight, gentle readers, until you have seen a 7 foot tall Minotaur’s hair turn bright pink. Or that same Minotaur hit in the backside with a compartriot’s crossbow bolt.

In the end, they slayed the undead, hopefully providing rest for those lost souls. Their Holyman has run dry of spells. Their reckless, masked Aasimar is at less that full health. Their monstrous, horned Barbarian is taken aback by the undead and having been turned pink. Our story will resume next week.

I GOT BETTER

Man this sounds fun, looking forward to the summary of next session.

Session Two

Well well well, the adventure of our plucky bunch of misfits continues with the departure of the burly Barbarian Grist and the Tiefling Paladin, Dole. You see, Grist took exception to Dole’s ham-handed attempts at butchering a large, dead rat and shoving the raw meat into the bag, giving the party a good notion why the rats from the ledge were drawn to the party with such fervor. The Minotaur Grist dragged poor Dole out the Citadel by his fetid backpack to bury the shame away from creatures who were sure to smell the party long before it arrived. It certainly had nothing to do with the two shadows that shook him moments earlier. Nothing at all.

They disturbed the rat from its slumber when they discovered an ornate and old stone doorway with a carved dragon’s head with a gaping maw dead center. Wouldn’t you know, there was a keyhole in the center of that mouth? Try as they might, they couldn’t prise or otherwise devise entry past that ancient portal. A risky decision to rest and recuperate went unpunished and the remaining four searched for signs of the missing adventurers elsewhere. They made their way to a hallway and found a door with a dragonfish carving. These long dead cultists sure liked their dragons! Some fancy fingerwork with the lockpicks by their plucky Halfling Lydia, who learned her skills from her pappy, opened that lock right up.

What did they find? A rusted barrel with sloshing liquid inside. Their Cleric wanted that aged goodness out, but the lack of any really strength in the party led to a series of rather sad attempts to remove the bung. Instead, they resorted to breaking the side of the rusted barrel, releasing its contents, which was more than they expected. Two small demons of ice and steam attacked. Lydia unleashed a Sorcerous flury, dissipating the steam devil in a single, glorious blast. The monster exploded, harming two allies, but likely saving them greater hurt in the process. A wild surge of magic covered the area in fog and turned their Fighter Toulin snow white, much to the consternation and ridicule of his friend Brahm. Wayfarer and Shay make short work of the ice monster, taking additional damage upon its explosive death.

Moving forward down to the end of the hall, they come upon a most pathetic sight. A sobbing, snot covered Kobold calling himself Meepo. Said he lost the clan’s young white dragon that he was charged with the care of. Claims she was stolen by goblins, but insists that their leader would be the only one to answer any questions pertaining to the lost adventurers and the recovery of the stolen dragon. The party was more inclined to follow when made aware of the Kobold force nearby and a bargained exchange of compliance for jade figurines. They meet the Kobold leader Yusdrayl and eventually strike a deal to help recover the white wyrmling and wage battle against the goblins in exchange for the dragondoor key. Prior to resting for the evening, they consummate their deal over a meal, with the Aasimar Shay as the party’s representative. Half burnt, half raw rat did not agree with her constitution, but she avoided a diplomatic incident with a bit of regurgatory gymnastics.

With Meepo as their guide and promised safe passage for themselves and their absent companions through the Kobold controlled section of the Citadel, they set off in search of the goblins and the lost siblings. Some carelessness by Toulin in his overeagerness to open a door of unusually frigidness, he set off a nasty trap that taught a valuable lesson in a very scythe-trap-across-the-back sort of way. Try as they might, they were unable to open the door. The one positive is the discovery that their guide Meepo has a valuable skill given their missing Minotaur: the ability to read Draconic. This leads to them to conclude that magic beyond their means is required to breach to the cold door. They also discover a magic fountain that provides them with a potion of fire breath. I bet this comes in handy at some point, don’t you?

Spying humanoid tracks, they find themselves following in the footsteps of their quarry. Carefully opening an alarm trapped door, the party deftly take out two goblins with a spurious, but well-coordinated combination of spell casting and ranged sharpshooting before an alarm could be raised.

They are in the deep now, friends! Will they be reunited with their friends, face goblin ambushes, or run head first into a white dragonling? Come back to find out in our next installment.

Lesson learned... wait until encounter is done and over with before reminding DM that his minions can explode on death! O.o

Also so many low rolls... except on to Hit. Luckily.

ranalin wrote:

Lesson learned... wait until encounter is done and over with before reminding DM that his minions can explode on death! O.o

Also so many low rolls... except on to Hit. Luckily.

DM lesson learned as well: Read beyond the stat block! Spend so much time getting the ambient music set up, I wasn't as ready for the encounters as the first session. That said, despite you all making it further than I expected and some extra map prep, we were done in a tad under 3 hours with some good role playing mixed in as well. I failed to mention, you all should get DM Inspiration to use (I will mark it on your D&D Beyond sheets) for role playing to character. You are not the wisest group around, with the exception of your Cleric, who appears to be a chronic alcoholic. You definitely played into some questionable decisions that led to some fun moments. The care you took in carefully searching and finding the alarm trap on the door and quietly open it only to have your Warlock cast a verbal spell worked out wonderfully for you, despite losing the element of surprise. Can't wait to see what happens when it backfires and how much you do or don't learn going forward!

I think it is hilarious that Shay uses farie fire to search rooms. And that it has actually helped in finding things that would attack us.

Has been lots of fun so far. Everybody’s characters have very unique ways of doing things, that admittedly horrify Lydia sometimes. And bh has been great with rolling with whatever happens.

What our faithful narrator forgot to mention was a brief prelude to our Session Two story:

Our heroes had hastily set up camp for a quick rest, Dole and Shay being injured catching a quick breather, while the rest huddled together collecting their thoughts. The massive Minotaur a seeming shell of himself, like an elephant surrounded by a nest of mice, eyes probing every dark corner of the room, flinching at every winking shadow. The halfling sorcerer idly twirling a paint brush twixt her fingers while tracing the outline of the snoozing Aasimar. In the far corner Wayfarer the cleric was tending to his sobriety with the strongest medicine he knew, hoping they'd find a keg along their journey or a bunch of Kobold's to top up his now empty flask. Across the way, Toulin was tossing his crossbow towards the wall, bemoaning Brahm for his clumsiness as he dropped the crossbow with a gentle thud to the floor time and again.

It was in this moment that our heroes discovered a potentially fatal flaw in their midst. It started as a dull hum, the Minotaur's ears perked at the sound, but it was organic, peaceful, like a gentle breeze lapping the crest of a sea wave. But the sound continued to growl louder, what was once a distant hum, now became a crisp fall breeze, mortar began to shake loose from the walls, and still, the sound grew. Pebbles danced along the thrumming floor. Our heroes scampered to their feet as the crescendo continued to grow. Dole yelled out, a deep, mysterious sound that just as quickly as it left his lips was caught in the flooding torrent of sound that filled the room. The roar was deafening. A thousand dragons could not have roared so loud. It penetrated and assailed the senses with such force that our poor sorcerer Lydia's hair was wildly flashing all colours of the rainbow. Only the Minotaur seemed strong enough to move through the sound laden air towards what they all realized was the source: as the sleeping Aasimar's chest rose, a hellish drone and thrum roared through the chamber, and as her chest sank, a heavenly gale came rushing forth, whirring like a million doves through a poplar forest.

The Minotaur tried to steel his voice against the assault but he could not wake the slumbering angelic being. As the sound continued to grow, to the point where the only escape seemed death (Brahm certainly thought so), a stone loosed itself from the ceiling and smashed down, inches from the Aasimar masked lips. It did not wake her, it did not even shake her, all that it did was mute the cacophony so that Dole could carefully reach and shake his kin awake.

She rose groggily, not seeming to notice the granite boulder that had teetered on the brink of sending her to "the other".
"Ugh!! What's that smell!?!?" Was all Shay could muster as she looked around to see Toulin staring angrily with fat stubby fingers firmly dug into his ears. Lydia's hair slowly faded back to grey from it's half maroon, half blue state. Dole crouched down beside her with a worn hand on her shoulder. "Either you or that cleric need a bath, NOW!" she growled gruffly, still flummoxed and none the wiser to why her peaceful sleep and dreams had been interrupted.

and now back to Part 2

Session Three

So, quite the conversation on etiquette and culinary practices was had by Dole and Grist in their time away from the party the past 18 hours or so. Turns out, in addition to that recently dead rat stuffed into the Paladin’s pack, there was a many day-old hind leg of a wolf that was turning green, with tufts of fur still attached. Apparently, our Tiefling is a bit of a carrion hoarder. Grist attempted to teach him a lesson of how not to preserve meat by cooking the pack-aged meat and making Dole eat it, resulting in a very sick Tiefling. Whether he learned his lesson or not remains to be seen.

The two found their way back to the party, and they met up outside the caltrops entry to the Goblin controlled part of the citadel. Their noisy reunion was brought to a screeching halt by a mischief of giant rats drawn to the noise. What, you didn’t know a group of rats was called a mischief? Count yourself lucky for the learning. You knew that already, did ya? Well, no one likes a know-it-all. This mischief was led by a deformed, bloated mama rat. It took some doing, but this reunited sextet (you hush now with your snortles) took care of them in good order. Found another fountain too, along with some pit traps that were already propped open by a previous group. As their Barbarian stepped up to examine the worn Draconic script, their Cleric asks their Kobold guide Meepo what it says. Meepo happily blurts it out, same as the last fountain. Unlike the last one, however, this one belched out a cloud of poisoned gas. Fortunately for the party, all escaped the effects, thanks to some deft scrambling and scurrying away.

In the rat’s den, they found some items of value, including a healing potion that Dole drank right quick. Did I mention he was nearly laid low by rats? Well, they found one of the lost adventurers, a ranger, the one whose name Lydia keeps forgetting. The party left his partially eaten and rotting corpse on the pile of goblin bodies, but they did do him the honor of striping all his possessions of value of his person to take for themselves. Right thoughtful lot, for sure. Well, they made their way back to the archery range and attempted to sneak up on a trio of arguing drunken Goblins.

The rattling of Dole’s sword against the wall must have given them away, as both sides came out firing. Lydia drew upon her Sorcerous magic to let her strike hit true. It set off a wild magic burst that stunned Shay, triggering a series of random magical effects every six seconds! Somehow, they came out reasonably well in the exchange, with the Goblins losing their lives and Shay losing six inches of height and two years of her life. Oh, and her skin turned blue. Crazy magic users! Wayfarer did find a mighty nice silver flask of Dwarven make. Always good to have a backup flask or two, I say.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/9i2G0oQ.jpg)

Shay and Lydia Wild Magic Tripping. Art by 3or4monsters

They also found a key, that fit perfectly into the lock of the door east of the archery range. Inside, they find three bound kobolds and a Gnome that goes by the name of Erky Timbers, an Acolyte to the Gnomish god of creativity and tinkering, Summuabich. The party agrees to let Erky out and travel with them out of the goodness of their heart. Or was it the mention of the fact that he can frighten undead with his divine power granted by Summuabich? Not sure I properly recall. They hauled tail back to that cold door that nearly got Toulin sliced in two, and asked old Erky to do his thing to the door. As they suspected, it opened with that bit of divine magic and they found a sanctuary lit by a magically burning candle. Upon inspecting a crystal whistle and flask on the altar, three shadows and two skeletons rose from their sarcophagi.

There was a whole lot of swings and misses at the start of battle on both sides, generating what would have been a nice, refreshing breeze if the crypt wasn’t so unnaturally cold. Wayfarer gulped the potion of fire-breathing, Grist, Erky, and Lydia started chipping away, with Toulin and Shay doing what they could. Shay blew on the whistle in hopes of swaying the undead, however, the creatures were undeterred.

Their Cleric took a mighty powerful blow from a wounded Shadow. His allies thought That it may have taken his life. They may have been correct butfor the unselfish act of the Paladin Dole to touch (properly) Wayfarer to restore consciousness along with some vigor to his form. You asked what’s a butfor, didn’t you? Asking in your head does counts.

Wayfarer repaid this gift of life in the best way he knew how: destroying undead. First casting a radiant beam of light that vaporized a previously undamaged Shadow where it stood, he then turned and breathed fire into the form of a second, taking out two of the three Shadows in the span of few seconds. This allowed the party, Toulin in particular, to clean up the remaining Shadow and two Skeletons.

Tired, the party takes a short breather to examine their new found gains and recover from the challenging battle that nearly saw one of their party fall. Where will they head next? Let us find out together next week, shall we?

I had a symphony of 1s last night...

also all hail...

"What deity do you serve?"
"Summabitch!"

I legit lol'd at the DM. I feel for him.

Session Four

Our party is in the muck now, readers. Following their harrowing battle with the pentad of undead, they set of to hunt and capture a white wyrm. One would think facing a foe such as a dragon, even a young one, would lead to a bit of caution. I certainly think so. If you think our adventures share that measure twice, cut once approach, well, you haven’t been following this story to carefully now, have you? In retracing their steps back to the Goblin controlled area of the citadel, they chose boldness (or was it stupidity? Those two are so easy to confuse) and proceeded to kicking in a door, stumbling upon a goblin raiding party preparing for a hunt and led by a magic using fool of a goblin. Muttering some words in Goblin and with a flick of it’s wrist, the spellcaster dropped the mighty Grist to his side in a fit of convulsive laughter. The fighter Toulin covered for his momentarily incapacitated ally with a flurry of crossbow bolts, dispatching all three of the goblinoids.

With little of value found in the room outside of putrid jerky and vinegary wine, The party stomps their way down the hall and attempt to loudly kick open the door at the end of the hallway. Shay took the first kick, which was deftly rebuked by the motionless door. This was better than the Aasimar’s attempt earlier, when a different door had a very different reaction, swinging back and popping Shay in the face, resulting direct damage to both her nose and to her pride. Stepping aside to allow Grist and Dole to continue the siege of the door, Lydia created an image of a dragon and enbiggened her voice to say “where’s my baby” in Draconic as the door finally gave way.

Rather than another group of Goblins, they were face to face with Calcryx, the white wyrmling they agreed to find in exchange for the dragon key. Now, I cannot say for certain, but if I’d bet a pint of Pin’s best ale that the only thing keeping the group from a face full of freezing dragon breath was the quick thinking of the Sorcerer to create a moment of hesitation on the part of the dragon. That brief pause gave the party a head start on piling damage into the dragon, with Dole getting into the face of Calcryx and acting as a shield between the wyrm and those behind him. How did that work out? Pretty terribly, to be honest with you. That dragon was madder than a wet owl bear wearing a bonnet full of stirges, I’ll tell you! It let loose a torrent of ice and cold that dropped their guide Meepo and Fighter Toulin, with others just turning away to mitigate the damage but barely staying on their feet, Dole included.

I said Toulin fell to the dragon’s hoarbreath. Technically, that is true. Technically, it is also true that a flash of magical energy enveloped him, bringing him to just this side of living. The Acolyte Erky swears to Summuabich (in the Common tongue, the Meddler god, Nebelun ) that the flash originated from the hand crossbow that Toulin is rarely without, but the others were too busy with trying not to die to pay it much mind. With some healing magics and calculated blows and spells, the adventurers were able to subdue and bind the dragon, returning her to Yusdrayl for their agreed upon reward. They also were able to trick her into believing that the the goblin threat had been fully dealt with, earning some extra rewards and being granted and extended right of safe passage by the Kobold leader.

Erky bids farewell to the party at this time, heading back out to continue his own journey that was interrupted by his kidnapping. Before parting, he thanks the party for his rescue with a clockwork amulet of Gnomish make and the last remaining dose of a magical perfume that allowed him to convince the the goblins not to add him to their cookpot when it became evident that no reward would be paid for poor Erky.

During a short rest, the party votes to investigate the dragon door rather than delve deeper into goblin territory. The key opens the door, revealing a dusty room with a glowing orb and three broken orbs. After a series of hilarious buffoonery involving multiple adventurers running into and out of the room, they finally suss out the secrets of the room and make their way through additional obstacles, where they found themselves face to face with the believed long dead Dragonpriest. The holyman Wayfarer attempts to frighten the hideous, 9 foot tall creature with a call of divinity. The call worked (likely not for the reasons believed by the Cleric) and the malformed Dragonpriest fled. With the party in hot pursuit, they cut it down and lit fire to the corpse.
A search of the crypt revealed some powerful magical scrolls along with valuable gems and coin alike.

The next order of business is discovering the fate of the missing Hucrele siblings. Let us hope that their delays are not the difference between a happy family reunion in Drummer’s Point and a somber funeral.

Spoiler:

From Chapter 5 of Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
Nebelun
Nebelun, also known as the Meddler, is fearless, perhaps foolishly so. Every invention of Nebelun’s starts with a wild idea, nothing goes entirely according to plan, and her greatest exploits often spring from mistakes. Who else would stroll in and steal Semuanya’s tail as the lizardfolk god splashed in his favorite pool? Who else would use Thor’s hammer to pound a nail and thus be inspired to invent the lightning rod?

Garl never needs to persuade Nebelun to join an excursion, but he and the rest of the pantheon do have to focus her attention on the task at hand, so that her madcap inventiveness doesn’t derail the effort.
All gnomes see Nebelun as the delightful spirit of invention and discovery, even those whose livelihoods have nothing to do with the construction of odd devices. Any accident that fortuitously results in a new discovery might be credited to Nebelun’s benevolent meddling in the affairs of mortal gnomes.

While the rest of the session went a bit crazy i did enjoy going all matrix with the first encounter. Too bad that i went back to my bad rolling ways immediately afterwards. I think i've rolled more 1s in this campaign than i have in all my pen and paper history combined. It's lucky i'm building my guy to have multiple attacks!

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/fjUez1J.jpg)

I finally finished the character sketch. I hope to get faster at this so that I can start sketching scenes during sessions, but for the time being I'm incredibly slow.

Left to right: Grist the barbarian minotaur played by ... Minotaar, Lydia the halfling wild magic sorcerer played by Chavyn, Shay the aasimar warlock played by Staygold, Toulin the human fighter played by Ranalin, Wayfarer the human cleric played by Wayfarer, and Dole the teifling paladin played by Axel.

I can't wait for moooooooore

Session Five

This part of our story is a theme of family; A pretend dragon mother and daughter, tussling twins, searching for siblings, confronting the head of the goblin clan, and a goblin family torn apart, literally! We will document all in short order, stay patient.

Feeling a bit bedraggled following their dogged defeat of the fraidy cat Dragonpriest, our adventures decide a long sealed tomb that held an ancient evil was a dandy place to hole up and take a long rest. With a rotating watch shift, the time passed without incident, beyond the rip saw snoring of Lydia. They retraced their steps back to the northern section of the citadel. Returning to the Throne Room where the dragon was found, they decide it is best for Lydia to repeat her charade of acting the role of the dragon’s mother, in an apparent effort to both alert goblins to their presence AND scare them away once they are alerted. Receiving words of draconic from Grist, Lydia casts a spell to both deepen and increase the volume of her voice, repeating the words given to her by Grist.

Now, Draconic is a tricky language. It requires many guttural inflections and larynxal gymnastics unnecessary when speaking Common or Halfling. For non-native speakers, it can take a great deal of time to get right. This is all to say that the message intended and the message delivered were not the same. On the positive side, Lydia definitely spoke Draconic. On the negative side, she said “Where is my cabbage hat?” Now, this could have been her missing a pure translation from Grist or it could have been Grist just taking the piss out of the Halfling, who's to say? In any event, they opened the door to an empty hallway.

They decided to inspect a room to the east end of the hall, with Toulin keeping watch. Good thing, too, as a goblin raiding party, alerted by the enhanced Draconic that they do not even understand, attempted to sneak up and ambush the party from the opposite end of the hall as they are inspecting barrels labeled “Elf Pudding.” Toulin took an arrow from one of the creatures and Grist charged another, skewering the goblin with his horns. The Cleric Wayfarer, while attempting to damage the remaining two goblins, suddenly starts to praise how wonderful the curiously dressed, jester like goblin is, as if under a spell. Oh, Nilbogs, always the life of a party! The Nilbog and remaining goblin try to run and escape through a door at the west end of the hallway, but are struck down by the party. Wayfarer shakes off the effect of the charm spell and the party finds nothing of value in the room the goblins emerged from, besides a locked stone door.

IMAGE(https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/478369245575643157/491064204917342219/gore1.jpg)

Grist with Goblin on Horn. Art by 3or4monsters

While the rest of the group decided to backtrack and explore a dark hallway to the north, Shay and Lydia attempt to open the door, with Shay first kicking the door, the result being a bruised foot. Lydia’s skills with her lockpicks prove more effective, with the door opening to a short hallway and another door. This one proves to be trickier to pick, and they are and an impasse.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party is listening at the western door, and hear what sounds like a sizable group of, what they guess, are goblins. Toulin and Wayfarer decide to scout north up another hallway and discover two more doors, one of which has similar sounds of a many voices. Like a stirge in a Wind Wall, things start to go sideways at this point. You see, while the rest of the party retreated from the locked stone door to investigate further, the Aasimar Shay remained. Dole, frustrated by his petulant twin, decides to enlist the aid to Grist and Lydia to bring Shay back to the party. Deciding a conversation is not a prudent course at this juncture, he attempts to grapple Shay and haul her out by force. Shay is too nimble and drops out of the bear hug attempt by her brother, flitting out of the way, with the Barbarian Minotaur looking on with his familiar look of disgust.

While this is happening, Wayfarer, still agonized by the Nilbog’s recent charm spell, shouts, “I will not be made fool of again!” and bursts through the door that Toulin was listening at. He enters a large room that can best be described as Goblinville. There were over three dozen goblins, many of which were very young, very old, or otherwise infirmed. He attempts to intimidate and scare off the goblins, to mixed effect. A number flee out the door that Grist, Dole, and Lydia had been listening at only moments earlier before retreating to entreat Shay to leave the stone door be.

Hearing the threatening shouts of Wayfarer through the open doorways and the sounds of panicked, escaping goblins, Dole rushes out to protect Wayfarer if necessary. Shay, in a state more pouty than a Beholder with nothing to disintegrate, shoots out her leg in an attempt to trip her twin. Dole agily leaps over the obstacle and reaches the open door that the goblins fled out of. He was not as agile with his greatsword, however, failing to make contact with his swing. Grist, fed up with both twins, storms out at great speed, nearly toppling both Shay and Dole in an effort to gore another goblin.

With a dozen goblins and six party members now in the room, it was quite a chaotic sight. Add in the fact that six of the goblins were not even trained fighters but attempted to take up arms to give their weaker fellows a chance to flee, there was quite the drama. Wayfarer, mace and shield in hand, attacked the first goblin in front of him, a middle-aged goblin whom we have since come to learn through archived records bore the name Squibby Winesquisher.

Squibby, A Life Lived

The records show that Squibby was a resourceful Gatherer who elevated his family within the tribe from the lowly Pariah caste by discovering how to make a finer (read: stronger) version of goblin wine. This put him in good stead with the Hunters and the Lashers of the tribe. With the assistance of his wife Frizzl, they had begun producing variations of the goblin wine, using non-traditional ingredients like fungi, rotted fruit, blood, and fire snake droppings to infuse characteristics. These artisanal wines appealed to even the most discriminating goblins and hobgoblins. The popularity of Squibby and Frizzl’s wines was such that it was very likely their only child, Ktel, would be elevated to the caste of Lasher. Ktel showed a talent that was destined to surpass that of his parents, if his first barrels of wine, cleverly named “Elf Pudding,” were any indication. It was quite the impressive family, from what accounts remain, and a nearly unprecedented ascent in class hierarchy within goblin tribes. Squibby was never much of a fighter, but he would do what had to be done to protect his family and his son’s legacy.

Where were we? Oh yes, Wayfarer! Well, Wayfarer swung that mace of his and splattered old Squibby’s head like it was one of the swollen, distended rats Squibby used in his highly desired, limited seasonal release, Stinky Rat Wine. Old Squibby was dead before he hit the ground, he was! Frizzl and Ktel ran to the aid of their fallen patriarch, who tried, but failed to protect them. Their moans of distress and pain must have sounded like a battle cry to Wayfarer, who doesn’t speak or understand a lick of Goblin, for he called upon divine force for a burst of radiant light, turning Frizzl to ash and burning Ktel’s entire right side. Clerics!

Shay finally came around and entered the fray, casting a Sleep spell that removed five of the goblins from the battlefield. Dole, attempting to mimic Grist, lowered his head and plowed his backward curving horns into a goblin, killing her. Turns out, she was Squbby’s sister and Ktel’s Aunt Moop Moop. Small world sometimes, isn’t it? Well, Toulin stepped in and allowed the goblin commoners to flee, including the physically and mentally scarred Ktel. The warriors weren’t so lucky.

After a brief moment of collecting themselves, searching the room and Dole touching himself for some personal time of divine healing, the group explored the circular room in the northwest corner. There, they found the head of the goblins, a well armored Hobgoblin, along with his bodyguards, a spellcasting goblin, and a strange plant that attempted to attack them. After some back and forth, the battle ended with the leader being pulled down a deep hole to smash to the ground far below. Many bodies of goblins and hobgoblins remain along with a locked chest and a pit to a lower level. I cannot wait to share with you all what happened next.

IMAGE(https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/478369245575643157/491789162517626920/bad_choices_1_session_4_version_3.5.jpg)

Twins Tussle and a Cleric's Regret. Art by 3or4monsters

Oh hai.
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/VmzrTEX.jpg)

I am having a lot of fun doing this. Super cool of y'all to let me sit in and try to "speed sketch" these things. I am normally such a painfully slow sketcher that it's been an awesome learning experience. Also, it's fun and y'all are excellent people. I wish I could draw my own campaign during live play!

Session Six

Where were we? Oh yes, our adventurers had just dropped the leader of the goblins, a nasty looking hobgoblin, into a big pit while finishing off the remained of his entourage. They found various scrolls and potions on the defeated foes as well as a matching set of moonstone earrings and necklace, which they suspect were the property of one of the missing adventurers. Lydia decides to pick the lock of the chief’s chest. She was successful in picking the lock, however she failed to notice the needle trap, which pierced through her hand. Fortunately, she was able to shake off the effects of the poison. Inside the chest they find gold and two onyx gems.

They decide to climb down the vines that are growing up the sides of the pit, partly in search of the the missing adventurers and mostly to loot the body of the goblin chief. The skeletons and animated evil shrubs that were in this large, phosphorescent fungi lit chamber delayed their investigation of the chief. The skeletons wielded shovels and hoes rather than weapons and appeared to be working the ground and tending the plant creatures. The party dispatched of the creatures with dogged determination mixed with a touch of flare. Toulin’s hand crossbow did significant work, dispatching of multiple foes, however he paid the price for a bit of daring do, and he received a nasty blow to the back as he caught the skull of a dispatched skeleton before it he the ground. This wound would become significant just a short while later.

The noise of the combat and spellcasting drew the attention of Balsag, a Bugbear hunter, and his three bear-sized hunting rats, Grip, Fang, and Maw. Balsag though he had some tasty morsels to put into his cook pot, but was disabused of that notion, permanently. Toulin, previously weakened by the Skeleton Gardener’s blow, was not able to survive a double bit attack from one of Balsag’s pets, and fell. The party, down a major damage dealer, was facing large, angry rats and a wounded Bugbear. The Sorcerer Lydia stepped forward, casting chaos bolt, a wild careening thing of magic, that hit with remarkable force, melting Balsag from the inside with psychic damage. The spell was so powerful, the magic bolt leapt from the dead bugbear to damage one of his pets. Wayfarer, Dole, Shay, and Grist went to work finishing off the rats.

The battle over, the party stabilized the downed Toulin, looted the corpses of the broken goblin chief and the bugbear, finding the splint armor of one the missing Hurcrele brother along with his signet ring, and some coin and a potion of healing. They found some arms in Balsag’s cave lair but not much more. They settled in for a long rest to give Toulin a chance to recover, Wayfarer to spend time in prayer, and the spellcasters an opportunity to refresh their magical reserves. Upon waking, Shay tested his crystal whistle, resurrecting the corpse of Balsag into a zombie thrall. Shay was overjoyed with her new best friend.

Venturing out, with Toulin much quieter than normal after his near death experience, the party hears voices at the eastern door of the Garden area. They decide to explore the southern door instead and agreed to post Zombie Balsag as a lookout at the eastern door. Sneaking through a corridor to the south that was divided by a shallow rift riddled with two foot wide holes. They continued on to the other side of the passage and discover that Zombie Balsag who Shay went back and retrieved while the others were inspecting the rift. They found a stuck door, which Grist pulled open. Inside was a rusted iron sculpture of a dragon in what looked to be an ruined tribute room. The spectral image of the pre-Troll corrupted Elven Dragonpriest appeared, delivering a message of doom to the party and warning that the treasures of the dragon clan had been hidden away safely.

Returning to the rift, the party decided to explore to the southwest, with Shay’s thrall and new best friend lead the way. It was fortunate they did, as Balsag bore the brunt of four powerful and attacks from two Fire Snakes, who turned him into a pile of ash. The Zombie did its job, however, as it left the snakes open to ranged attacks from the party. While Wayfarer and Toulin’s bolts and Grist’s javelin burst into flame upon contacting the Elemental creatures, they did enough damage that they were able to leave the encounter with minimal damage taken. They retrieved a couple of fancy looking sapphire gems from the nest and have a pretty good idea what created the tunneling holes in the floor of the rift. They returned to the garden area, minus Shay’s 20 minute friend, ready to explore the eastern door and get one step closer in their search for the missing adventurers.

It was, by far, the most odorous place Lydia had ever camped. The room was almost entirely dark, save the cold purple glow of the fungus that grew at the bottom of this former citadel. A single torch burned in the next room as the rest of her adventuring companions took their rest. Grist sat across the room at a door's edge, listening with his giant furry ears for anything untoward.

Everything about Grist was giant. Lydia had never known a minotaur before, but Grist must have been as large as they came, towering over the more common elves and humans she'd met. He sat, turned slightly away from her, running his fingernails along the edge one of his axes.

Lydia could see that Grist still had the handprint mark on his belly. Shay had laid a hand on him to help heal his wounds a short while ago. Lydia thought it would be fun to turn that patch of fur stark white without the minotaur’s notice. Grist was upset, naturally, and had yelled at Shay, not knowing it was Lydia's work.

The result was amusing: this enormous, dark-furred monstrosity with a cute little white handprint on his tummy, as if a toddler with colored oils had come and greeted the ferocious beast with a pat.

Grist deserved the humiliation. He had been calling Lydia “child” constantly since he’d met her. At first, Lydia was annoyed but she tried to put it behind her. However, Grist kept abusing the word, even after she's asked him pointedly to stop. They finally had it out just an hour ago, when he questioned why she was upset. When Lydia told him that it was his continued use of the term “child” that was upsetting her, Grist had asserted that it was simpler to refer to her as such. Lydia then asked whether he wanted to be called offensive names, and they went back and forth until Grist grunted his bull-snort and stomped off.

Lydia had been confronted with discrimination from taller races her whole life. Most halflings dealt with the insult by secluding themselves and only associating with other halflings. But, since she decided to branch out into the world on her own with her newfound powers, Lydia had decided she would no longer put up with that kind of ignorance. She was perfectly capable of defending herself now that she had the magicks of the universe behind her! No matter that she didn't have a firm grasp on how to control them; she was self-assured that that knowledge would come in time. Naturally.

There was something in Grist that Lydia appreciated. Despite his bull-headed nature about nicknames, he was direct and focused. She knew she'd much rather have him as a close ally than an enemy. Even with her newfound powers, it was only logical to try to avoid coming to blows with a creature ten times her own size.

Lydia was becoming dreadfully bored during watch. The room was dank and there wasn't enough light to start a new painting. Even so, she knew she should be vigilant.

But watch was soooooo boring.

Lydia’s mind drifted back to Grist. He was so easy to tease. His serious nature was such that it provided an almost too alluring invitation to play tricks on him.

Lydia slowly got up and tiptoed towards him, muttering her invocation under her breath as she pointed to the nails he was intricately studying. She watched his eyes light up as the nails turned a bright shade of red and when he turned his head, he found the wry smile on her face.

Grist stood, and with a literal huff, said, “Why must you try me?” Before Lydia could begin to answer, he stormed through the door that he had just been guarding.

Lydia knew it was a bad idea to leave the rest of the party unattended. She also knew Grist was just going through a door they’d already come from, which likely held nothing he couldn’t handle. But he was known to act impulsively. And if he wandered past where they’d been…

Lydia quickly followed Grist through the door and lit a torch once she got to the other side. Not much of the glowing fungus lived out here near the rift in the rocky cavern. She saw Grist just before he disappeared down another corridor. She gave chase, shouting his name as loud as she could whisper.

It took her a moment to leap down into the craggy rift; the drop was almost as tall as she was. When she looked up, Grist was towering over her and he leaned down to glower at her.

“What makes you think you can toy with me, child?”

There it was again: the denigration that immediately soured her whole attitude. Lydia’s face scrunched up and she pointed up at him. “Do not call me child again!”

“This isn’t about names!” Grist shouted. “This is about your insults! I’ve killed for less. What makes you think you would be safe from me?” His now delicately manicured hand grabbed the axe by his side.

She defiantly put her hands on her hips. “You wouldn’t.”

“Change it back!” he snarled through clenched teeth.

“And if I don’t?”

The axe swung down true at her forehead. Lydia had a moment’s thought before it connected. She’d obviously pushed him too far. She hadn’t wanted to, but he was making her so mad with how obstinate he was being. She didn’t want to pay the ultimate price for poking the bull, but she also wasn’t as quick as she could’ve been and the axe struck her directly on the head.

Lydia was bounced away from Grist as a small magical shield appeared right at the moment of impact, sparing Lydia from the worst headache imaginable. She rolled over and leapt to her feet, absolutely flabbergasted that he had swung at her.

“How dare you!” she screamed at him indignantly. “I thought we were friends!”

Grist offered no quarter as he came at her a second time, axe on high. Lydia squeezed her eyes closed and let out a cry as she thrust her hand forward, fist clenched around her crystal, hoping her newfound power would well up enough might to stop the rampaging beast.

She heard a thump and a groan from far away. She cautiously opened an eye to see Grist at the end of the tapered closure of the rift, wedged into it, forcibly thrust there by her chaotic magic.

Strangely, Grist was well lit, as was the entire area. Lydia had dropped the torch a bit ago, but this was a bright white light, emanating from…her? She looked down to see that her skin was giving off a radiant glow. Interesting. Not something she had asked for, but it worked well in the moment.

Lydia approached Grist, who was still growling in anger and obviously in quite a bit of pain.

“I can't believe you, Grist,” she said with sorrow.

“Let me down,” he muttered.

“I don't think I will,” she said as she turned away. “I need to check on the others first and make sure they're okay, and I'm going to let you cool off a bit before we talk.” She hopped up on the rift’s edge and, just before she left his sight, she said, “Then I'll consider letting you down.”

Lydia set forth down the hall and was ready to open the door at the end when she realized she was still aglow. She stopped abruptly, not wishing to disturb the rest of the slumbering party. She hoped they hadn’t heard anything. She slid down the door in contemplation as her glow began to slowly fade away.

What could Grist have been thinking? Was he even thinking at all? Lydia suspected she needed as much time to cool down as Grist did. She’d never meant to hurt him and was thankful she hadn’t done anything worse, for example, setting him ablaze or dousing him with acid. She knew how her powers could be…finicky.

Lydia had begun to understand the normalcy of randomness that came from her powers. Most of the quirks that cropped up with her magic use faded soon after. This glow was no different. Once the light had gone out entirely, Lydia opened the door and peeked in. The drunkard cleric was snoring like a bear in hibernation, but otherwise, everything looked normal. She closed the door and found her resolve to go speak with Grist to figure out what to do.

The look he gave her when she returned was anything but kind. Yet, she could see that he'd relaxed quite a bit, suspended and stuck in the rocky cavern rift.

“Why did you strike at me?” Lydia asked, trying to remain as calm as she was able.

Grist snorted and looked away.

“You need to talk to me, Grist. Otherwise, I'll leave you here to the skeletons and tell the party you ran off.”

Grist sighed and looked directly at her. “Why must you mock me, child?”

Lydia gritted her teeth and stamped a foot. “I AM NOT A CHILD! I am a fully grown, mature, and stable woman of some years who knows exactly who she is and what she wants and now has the power to make a difference in the world!”

Grist waited a moment for the tirade to pass. “I see that now. But why must you mock me?”

“I don't know, Grist.” Lydia plunked down, leaning back on her palms to look upward at this trapped giant. “You're so serious all the time and I thought you were able to handle it. It was just a bit of fun.”

“I can handle anything!” he snarled. Lydia glared at him. “I can handle…most things.”

He continued haltingly, “In my culture it is disrespectful to have unkempt…or discolored…fur. I take pride in my culture and do not care for it to be insulted, chil…Lydia.”

Lydia took this in. “I didn't know that. I'm sorry. I went too far without knowing,” she said. “Are you going to continue calling me a child?”

“I’ve seen calves come from their mothers who were larger than you, so it was simpler in Common to call you child. It seemed better fitting than ‘short.’”

Lydia sat up, mouth agape, gesturing for Grist to continue.

“No, Lydia.”

“Good,” she said as she waved her hand toward him, removing his white-patched fur and red-coated nails.

“Do you have something else you'd like to say?” she prompted him as she got up.

“I'm sorry I cannot free myself from these rocks so that I may dash your head upon the wall.”

“You enjoy being stuck, it seems.”

“I am sorry I misjudged you.” Grist muttered.

“And?”

“I'm sorry my axe did not cleave you in twain so that I may be done with all of this! What more do you require? Get me down!”

“Are you going to try and hit me again?”

Grist sighed. The fight had left him and resignation had taken over. “Of course not. I see how formidable you actually are, despite your size. Like a stone in a hoof,” Grist mused. “A stone that can blast the fury from a beast.”

“Good. Now stay right there; I have an idea.” Lydia began to climb the craggy rock face next to Grist.

“What are you doing?”

“I HAVE AN IDEA.”

“Just use your powers to free me!”

“It doesn't work like that,” she said as she worked her way behind him in the tapered enclosure, putting her back next to his, extending her legs toward the rocks to push him out.

“This isn't going to work.”

“You'll see,” Lydia said as she closed her eyes once more and felt the power flow through her. The force of her blast shot through her feet and jettisoned them both halfway down the craggy rift’s’ surface, a trail of flame emanating from Lydia's toes.

Grist stood and stretched, relieved to be freed. “Your hair,” he said, looking at Lydia's now bright green locks.

Lydia looked at her verdant strands, amused but unbothered. She saw as Grist realized that something might be amiss on his own person and checked himself over.

“You're fine, Grist. I apologize in advance if something like this happens to you in the future. I still don't have my power fully under control, it seems.”

Grist looked concerned, but not upset. “I know better now. So long as you do not trick me, we will be fine.”

“Good. So long as you don't call me a child, we'll be fine.”

“Very well, Mighty Pebble. Let us get back to the others and never speak of this again.”

With that, Lydia ran up to Grist and kicked him as hard as she could in the back of the hoof.

Session Seven

Grist marched through the door, lacking any concern from the sounds of goblins on the other side. Hearing sounds of snoring, he fell upon a group of four sleeping in a chamber to the north. Grist went in and put them all to bed permanently in short, and messy order. The screams caused panic in a pack of goblin workers elsewhere in the columned laboratory, fled out a room at the far north end. They found a dead rat strapped to a table, covered in lumps and boils that resembled fruit and wood. They also found a crystal vial that contained a foul liquid. In one of the other chambers, they found the room where goblin wine was made. Grist downed the nasty, turpentine like substance that was labelled Elf Pudding after catching an aroma that hinted at cinnamon. While most all non-goblinoids would have retched, Grist let no unpleasantness cross his face, handing the bottle to Dole, who put it in his pack for a future drink. They also found a room devoted to armor repair as well as small arms. Curiously, the hand crossbow wielding Toulin decided to pick up a scimitar to take with him.

Through the door left open by the fleeing goblins, the party entered a dirt and moss covered area that appeared to be repurposed as an underground garden, with larger growing chambers to the east and south, and a closed door to the north. They investigate the eastern chamber first. Unfortunately, the Paladin Dole, in his clanking armor, led the forey, peeking around the doorway to find an unarmed, but dangerous looking Hobgoblin Shadow, who sent a flurry of punches and kicks at Dole. While his armor may be noisy, it did its job of deflecting incoming strikes and frustrated Hobgoblin retreated to the back of the dark chamber faster than the eye could follow, as if she was hopping from shadow to shadow. Between the Hobgoblin and the party was a very large snail, easily ten foot high and weighing several hundred pounds. It’s shell rippled with iridescent colors and from its head sprouted five appendages that can best be described as hardened, fleshy flails. In fact, some of the party later remembered hearing of such a creature referred to as a Flail Snail.

The Warlock Shay cast Faerie Fire on the darkened chamber, which had no impact of the snail but caused the Hobgoblin to light up with a purple glow. This allowed the Cleric Wayfarer and the Halfling Sorcerer Lydia to make short work of the dangerous Hobgoblin. Toulin, who had been more quiet than usual and preoccupied selecting a scimitar, dashed to enter the fray, arriving as the Hobgoblin fell to the combination of divine and wild magic. Dole and Grist entered Melee range, with Dole’s greatsword finding purchase. Pouring divine smite into the blow, one of the flails shrivelled up and fell off with the damage. The snail turned its attention to Dole and attacked with its remaining four flails, causing significant harm to the tiefling, who was staggered momentarily until Wayfarer took a swig from his holy flask and call for healing to Dole.

Shay, seeing the damage inflicted upon her twin brother, cast an Eldritch Blast at the snail, with unexpected results. The shell shimmered and the blast was reflected back at the Aasimar herself, taking the damage that was intended for the snail. Lydia, seeing this, decided to knock the dust off of her light crossbow and send a bolt into the dark room from the hallway, hoping to strike the creature. While the bolt hit, it did little damage. Toulin swings at the snail with his newly acquired scimitar, eschewing his trusty crossbow. He, and the rest of the party find difficulty penetrating the shell and tough hide of the gargantuan gastropod. Doing measly damage here and there until a burst of blinding light emanated from the snail’s shell, nearly blinding the party and stunning most of them. The Flail Snail let loose with another attack, this time at Grist, opening up multiple wounds, sending the Minotaur into a barbaric rage, in which his eyes glowed red and he grew to the size of the snail itself! Wayfarer braved an rush into the chamber to apply a healing touch to Grist, who nearly swung an axe in his rage before checking himself. Instead, the aggression was taken out on the snail, along with Toulin, who was heard having an argument with either himself or his crossbow, finally firing the “toothpick” shooter into the snail, the combined forces dropping the beast into a slimy pool of exo-slime and viscera. Grist, still in an unbridled rage, ran from the room and into the room to the south, discovering the goblin workers who fled earlier. He executed them with monsterous efficiency and indifference.

In assessing the remains, they determine that the shell of the snail is intact. The value of an intact Flail Snail shell is worth thousands of gold pieces to the right buyer, as it has anti magical properties that can be crafted into shields or possible used to create a magical robe. While an enticing treasure, there is one problem: the shell is nearly 10 feet tall, weighs in excess of 250 pounds, not including the dead snail itself, and is at the bottom of a 60 foot pit in an underground citadel inhabited by goblins and Kobolds.

The party pushes on to explore the area past the northern door. What they find is an mirrored section of what they just left, with two more areas housing sickly plants and fungi. They also find a door that leads to another dragon on a pedestal. Shay, calling upon her Eyes of the Rune Keeper Eldritch Invocation, reads the Draconic script in front of the statue. The eyes of the statue glow and Shay is enveloped in fire, that neither burns nor causes harm. She is granted a temporary boon! However, this draws the attention of the guardian of this room, a powerful, undead being known as an Allip, which unleashes a Howling Babble that sounds like the death screams of a hundred people. The result is severe psychic damage and being frozen for a short period in abject terror. Fortunately, the most of the party is able to fight of the stunning impact, most importantly, the Cleric Wayfarer, who successful calls upon Eldath to turn the undead monstrosity. With the Allip moving away in fear of the divine power, the rest of the party is able to finish of the foul apparition.

With a decision to make whether to push on or take some time to recover and risk attack, we will pick up our story next week.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/aI6c0NT.jpg)

Made a Lydia for Inktober.

Session Eight

After much deliberation, the party decided to take a short breather, bandage up their wounds, and push on with their pursuit of the lost adventurers. They discover a tunnel and long hallway that takes them deeper into the citadel. They come upon two doors to their left near the south end of the hall. Lydia attempts to pick the lock, releasing the first two tumblers, but is stymied by the third. Lydia, after her failed attempt at the door, made mention to Shay that the door was animated, and made disparaging remarks about Shay’s mother. Whether this was an attempt at humor by the Halfling Sorcerer or a motivational attempt, it sent the Aasimar into a fury, smashing into the door repeatedly, to no effect.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party were exploring the second door, where they found four goblins with bows drawn. Perhaps the noise of a banging and yelling Shay alerted them? Despite getting the initial jump on the party, Toulin’s reactions were swift, loosening two bolts in rapid succession into two separate goblins, felling both. Grist charged and gored another on his horns. The party had little trouble with the goblins, but one was able to call upon aid from four twig blights to the south. Shay, entering the room, spies another locked door to the north. Still in a state of outrage, perhaps thinking that the Door of Motherly Insults had followed her, attacks that door as well. It is only when the voice of her Celestial guide speaks to her that she turns her attention to the danger her companions are in. Channeling her rage, her form became enveloped in a near blinding glow of radiant light. If one looked directly at her, which was very difficult to do, they could make out the the impression of two wings, flickering and pulsing with energy, like the after image of gazing into the sun. She ran towards the blights, damaging them as well as the Minotaur Grist from the holy energy emanating from her body.

Dole, inspired yet again by Grist’s example, charged and headbutted a wounded twig blight, finishing it off. With the danger cleared, and the the warlock’s radiant glow faded, Grist delivered a message of warning to Shay about using her new power within his proximity. He delivered it with the blunt side of his axe to the back of her head. Ho ho, I have been on the receiving end of similar lessons for certain, dear readers. They are ones you tend to remember, that is, if the blow itself didn’t make you forget what you were supposed to learn!

To the south, the party spotted the canopy of a enormous, dead tree in the distance and a dense field of briars in between. They also detected a half dozen additional twig blights. Toulin’s crossbow and Shay’s Eldritch blast made quick work of the plants before the got close enough to cause them any trouble. Slowly making the way to a clearing surrounded by broken and crumbling 20 foot walls, they find two people matching the description of Sharwyn Hecrele and Sir Bradford. However, their features were gaunt, their skin rough and bark-like, and their eyes vacant and dead. The verbal commands of a third person demanded they halt, and give themselves over to the Gulthias Tree, the evil plant given strange powers from a vampire staked to its trunk long ago. The Sharwyn and Sir Bradford became thralls of the tree, and now served Belak.

Given the choice of thralldom or a fight, the party chose battle. The Druid Belak cast a protective spell on himself and called upon the Protector of the Gulthias Tree to perform his duty. The Protector floated from one of the darkened recesses behind the tree, sending dread into the hearts of the adventurers. This was a Beholder, but different. Where normally there were 10 eyestalks, there were but four, the others either withered or fallen off completely. The central eye was glazed over, as if dead. In fact, the whole creature had the appearance of decayed flesh and lifelessness, a Beholder raised in zombie form by the dark natural magic of Belak.

Lydia infused her charismatic persuasion with wild magic, casting suggestion on Sharwyn and instructing her to find a hiding spot to wait out the battle. At the same time an eyestalk of the beholder focused on Shay, sending her into a deep sleep. Shay sent an Eldritch Blast toward Belak, doing minor damage. Toulin initially pulled his scimitar before being questioned by Wayfarer and switching to his crossbow, sending a successful shot into Belak. Wayfarer bravely approached the beholder, attempting to Turn the undead creature. For the first time, a monster resisted his divine command. Dole ran to the aid of his twin, shaking Shay out of her magical stupor. Sir Bradford swung his sword at Dole, missing him entirely. The Minotaur Barbarian entered a rage, growing in size and unleashing a reckless and devastating attack on the corrupted Sir Bradford ending whatever passed for his current life with a single blow.

From the branches of the tree leapt a giant frog, Belak’s personal pet, whom attempted to bite Dole, with failed results. Belak cast a spell, causing an orb of fire to appear and hover by Dole and Shay. Dole resisted some of the damage thanks to his Tiefling lineage, but Shay to significant harm. Lydia, recognizing Belak as the source of this magic, sent a fury of wild magic through the heart of Belak, ending him and the fire orb at the same time. Twig blights appeared from the north and focused their attention on the Cleric, who had since been paralyzed by the beholder zombie. Grist attacked the beholder, sending his axe into its side, but befell the same fate as Wayfarer, his body locking up in a state of rigamortis. Toulin was able to clear the blights with deftly aimed bolts, while the rest of the party slew the frog.

With their full attention on the beholder, the battle raged back and forth, with Dole falling to the ground unconscious and slowly bleeding out. Grist, finally shaking of the effects of the paralysis beam, struck the final blow on the giant zombified eyeball, sending his axe into the middle of the giant, dead central eye, burying his arm to the elbow, before retracting it, the motionless monster sloughing to the ground. Shay stabilized the wounded Dole, and the brave party, exhausted, is left to decide how it will proceed next.

Session Nine

The party debates what to do with the tree after stabilizing their fallen comrade, Dole. They reach the conclusion that they best set fire to it, with Grist holstering his axe, having set his mind to do some chopping. The first removed a large and brilliantly red fruit from a low branch. As the tree caught flame, an echoing scream of agony pierced the air from a tapering crevasse just south of the tree.

Grist, Lydia, Shay and Wayfarer went to investigate, while Toulin tended to the unconscious Dole and began looting the bodies of Belek and Sir Bradford, mostly the latter. As the tree continued to burn, the bark-like texture of Sharwyn’s skin faded from her form, revealing a wan and gaunt form of one whose life is wasting away. Shay suggests a couple of alternative courses of action, one, feeding her the apple with the rumored healing properties, and two, burning her like the tree. Her job done, she goes to assist in reviving her brother Dole. The decide to try feeding her the apple but need to put it into a form the unconscious Sharwyn can ingest. With Grist refusing to masticate it in his mouth and feed Sharwyn like a baby bird as Wayfarer suggested, Wayfarer used his mortar and pestle to turn it into a paste, which seems to work! Very weak and slipping in and out of sleep, Grist carries Sharyn away from the burning tree.

Shay tries to revive Dole by dragging the corpse of the giant frog over to plant a dead, slimy kiss on the Tiefling, as she had recalled reading of the magical properties of frog kisses. When this did not work, she instead fed one of the healing potions discovered on the body of Belek to Dole. The party fled the grove ahead of the spreading fire, with Sir Bradford’s magical sword, Belek’s wand, a key, and the rescued Sharwyn in hand. They decide to try the key in the locked door that Shay had attacked prior. They convince her to do this with the promise that she could then remove the door from its hinges and burn it in the flames of the grove.

The find additional spell scrolls, a valuable looking bound Druid treatise on life and death cycles, and a curious tome written in Draconic. Shay opened the book to the first page, saw it was blank, and stashed it in her bag for further study later. The party locks the door to take a long needed rest. Upon awakening, they puzzle over how to get the valuable Flail Snail shell out of a doorway that is too small. The request of Sharwyn to return to Drummer’s Point is enough to convince the others to give their overtaxed puzzlers a rest and return at a later time to retrieve their prize.

Returning to the Kobold’s area of the citadel, Shay is bothered by the enslavement of the dragon by the Kobolds and decides on a daring plan to release the white wyrmling to turn the tables on its captors. She attempts to barter with the guard on duty outside the dragon room, getting finally getting interest with the Draconic tome recovered from Belek’s Study. The guard, flipping past the first page of the book, sets of a runic frost trap, killing the guard instantly, dropping Toulin and Sharwyn, and bringing Dole and Lydia to brink. Quickly reviving Toulin and Sharwyn, the group beats a hasty retreat out of the citadel ahead of the Kobolds running to investigate the noise.

The make their way back to Drummer’s Point without further incident, arriving at dusk. They stop at Kerowyn’s store and are witness to a tearful reunion of mother and daughter, made melancholy by the regretful news of Talgen’s fate. Kerowyn, spying her dead son’s armor on Dole, tells him to keep it, as reward for bringing her daughter back and acknowledgement that it may have kept him alive to do so. As Kerowyn leaves to gather the reward money promised, her youngest daughter, six year old Betsy, runs down the stairs to hug her sister. Looking back and forth from Lydia to Grist and back again, she presents to Lydia a reward of her own, a stuffed doll in the form of a Minotaur. Lydia walks Betsy over to Grist, and presents the doll to him. Betsy refused to accept the doll back and tells Grist that it can keep him company and can talk to him if he spends time with it. She teaches him how, and Grist is now the owner of a Wondrous, talking minotaur doll.

Lydia tells Kerowyn that they will likely be heading out the next day to seek further adventure and Kerowyn lets her and the party know that they will always be welcome in her store and that she will help supply them for their journey. She also asks them to keep a lookout for the young gnome, Jadrick Swiftblink from the commune in the Fanleaf Grove along the Pearl Road. He was expected to trade with her and had not shown up.

Heading into the Tipsy Donkey, the party is haled upon by the Mayor and Barkeep, Pin, and studied carefully by the ponytailed, Halfling Bard, Papa Dogracer, tuning his lute for the evening’s performance. Pin orders drinks and plates of food for the table on the house for their service in rescuing Sharwyn. Papa Dog approaches, curious if they retrieved the fruit. When informed that it was required to save the life of Sharwyn, his attention turns to learning of the details of their adventure for future songs, as well as the discovery of any gems or unique items of value. From his travels, he has met many potential buyers of such artifacts. The group tells him of the white dragon, their differing accounts on the size of the beast seeming to amuse the Bard greatly. Shay’s attempts at a riddle sends him into a fit of laughter. The shell was a particular curiosity, with Papa Dog offering fair trade for such an item, the terms of which to be discussed in the morn.

While Shay joins Papa Dog in a song, Pin signals to Wayfarer to join him at the bar, away from the others. Winding his way on unsteady feet, the Cleric is informed that a cloaked individual with a symbol of a bloody hand stitched on his robes entered the Tipsy Donkey asking about a man matching Wayfarer’s appearance a day after they had departed from the citadel. Pin promised that no one said anything, given his search for the Hucrele twins. Wayfarer turned pale and sobered up right fast at this news.

Dun dun DUUUUN

For those reading this, Minotaar has started documenting his Campaign that I am playing in over HERE. He is much more very good with the words than me and I think you will enjoy it as it gets rolling.

Session 10

The night ended with Toulin playing cards and winning some coin off the Half-Orc Blacksmith, Dinka and Papa Dogracer casting a restorative spell on Shay, who woke up the next morning no longer blue and back to her normal age and height. Speaking of the morning, the Halfling Bard was waiting for the party when they shambled to a table for breakfast, Dole of course taking some extra for the road. In exchange for the location of the Flail Snail shell, Papa Dog offered up a satchel. Not just any satchel, mind you, but a wondrous Bag of Holding, that will allow them to carry a large number of items in the future without adding significant bulk or weight. A trade was struck. Lydia ignored Shay’s suggestion that she try to go into the bag herself. A wise choice, for certain. The party proceeded to describe the route to the location of the shell and the dangers that would be faced along the way. Wayfarer noticed that Dogracer, while nodding along with their telling, wore a smirk and looked bemused and rather unconcerned. What does that sly devil have up his sleeve?

Negotiations then began for the gems and jewels recovered. Papa proposed a Necklace of Fireballs with a single bead in exchange for the full lot of gems. There was discussion among the party whether to deceive the bard as to the true number of items. These are put to an end when Shay’s attempt to cast Friends on Papa unravel with a stern glare and the casting of Counterspell. Lydia quickly counts out all the items, minus the Jade dragon statues, as they are not technically gems or jewels, and the bargain is complete. The ponytailed bard tells the party to come and see him from time to time, especially if they come across any other jeweled treasures of the earth. Papa also made a cryptic comment to Lydia regarding a map. She didn’t believe she had ever revealed the map to anyone, but now started to doubt herself.

As the group starts to decide where they will head to next, Wayfarer relates what Pin told him the evening before. A pair of individuals in robes bearing a bloody hand asked if anyone had seen a man matching the Cleric’s description. Wayfarer knew this to be the symbol of the god Malar. While no one in the Tipsy Donkey betrayed Wayfarer’s whereabouts, the bloody hand was the same symbol worn by a group that slaughtered all of the clerics of Eldath in the small village of Lakeshore. All the clerics save one: Wayfarer.

Lakeshore was a long standing stopping point for the Clerics of Eldath on their way to the towns and cities of the Groene Bel Region, an Agrarian Collective in Southern Zythos. This was also Wayfarer’s home village and where he had been recruited to the order two years prior. He was trained in the glorious central city of Aquila in the politically neutral region of Halcyon on the southern bank of Lake Opal. The Clerics of Eldath operate as neutral peacekeepers between the other five regions on Zythos as well as occasionally cities and rulers within the territories themselves. Aquila is their base of operation, training, and organization. It was following his training in Aquila that Wayfarer found himself back in Lakeshore, a stop on the way to begin his practical field work as an assistant to an older, established emissary in the Groene Bel Capital of Brambling Cross.

He never made it. The night of the slaughter, he ventured to one of his old haunts in Lakeshore, The Tame Cherry, a tavern run by his childhood friend, Mal. It was while drinking and swapping stories with Mal that the attack back at the waypoint barracks occured. Wayfarer, wracked with guilt and filled with fear, fled deep into the woods to the north, and pulled himself away from society. He kept moving, as he knew himself to be pursued by the followers of Malar for reasons he did not understand. He thought he had finally shaken their pursuit when he got work from Pin.

While debating where to head next, Tara Brickslinger, Dwarven braids swinging wildly, burst into the Tipsy Donkey to report a desecration at the Temple of the Wanderers, asking for Pin’s aid as Mayor to investigate the perpetrators. He asks our adventurers if they will aid as a hired officials of Drummer’s Point and they agree. They head to the modest temple, which seems to have areas devoted to a wide range of deities worshiped by the locals. Confused by not seeing anything out of the ordinary, they are lead out back and into a secluded section in the woods of a what must have been a small, tranquil pool and spot of reflection and prayer to Eldath. Instead, they found it full of blood and vile, rent pieces of flesh and animal parts torn apart, and the symbol of Eldath marred by deep claw marks.

Wayfarer detects a trail of blood leading deeper into the woods. After resupplying, the party decides to pursue the trail, heading into the woods, the thick canopy of leaves casting shade throughout the area of the eastern edge of the Ringwood Forest. Their tracking leads them to the remains of a ancient road, now mostly overgrown. They detect sounds, and Toulin sneaks ahead to investigate. While remaining quiet, he sees an overturned cart of produce and hears a dwarf, elf, and halfling searching for someone or something with the aid of dogs. While the humanoids do not notice him, one of the dogs detected his scent, and moves towards his location, barking to alert the others. The dwarf sounds the call to arms, with a larger dog emerging from the forest on the opposite side of the road. These dogs were jet black and big, with an unnatural appearance. These were Shadow Mastiffs, and the larger of the two let loose an unholy howl, frightening most all of the party in the process.

Grist struck at the smaller dog while Toulin did the same, with two bolts finding purchase. Shay cast sleep, which only affected one of the dogs. Lydia made use of the Necklace of Fireballs, bombing an area that killed the sleeping dog, and damaged the dwarf, the Alpha Mastiff and the halfling. The halfling attempted a strike at Grist, but missed. The dwarf retreated, and a grunting roar was heard. Dole, ran to join the fray. With the halfling in front of him, Grist’s eyes glowed red and his form increased in size with his monstrous rage. Swinging a blow that he was certain sliced the Halfling in twain, he was stunned and outraged to see to wounds from his axe instantly sealing back up. Toulin fired bolts into the remaining Mastiff, causing some amount of harm, but not as much as he expected with the Shadowfell beast attacking him in return. Shay cast out an Eldritch Blast, damaging and Lydia a burst of Sorceress magic, both damaging their foes. Emerging from the trees charged a half dwarf half pig creatures of powerful and ill-tempered disposition. The wereboar struck Grist with a giant maul and gored the Minotaur with its tusks. With a sickly infusion of the lycanthopy disease into his bloodstream, the Grist’s body was able to fight off the invasion. As the fight wore on, it became clear that only attacks of a magical nature were going to prove effective against these creatures, as the party lacked silvered weapons.

Fortunately, Dole wielded Shatterspike, the magically longsword recovered in the Grove from Sir Bradford. Dispatching the remaining Mastiff, he was, with the aid of a hold person spell cast by the Cleric Wayfarer, was able to destroy the Wereboar with two massive blows, empowered with divine smite. The party was able to finish of the halfling, despite a significant damage being done to Lydia. The elf, sensing the tide turning, turned into a giant rat and fled deeper into the forest, eluding the hopeful but desperate attacks of the party. They find some gold and a map on the wereboar, reverted to his dwarf form in death.

They then hear the questioning cry from the underbrush asking if the dogs and others were no more, and see a thin, long nosed Gnome emerge on the ancient trail. Grist, distrustful of everything, charges the slight gnome with his horns down, connecting, with a horn burying itself into the gut of the gnome and sending him to the ground. Much like the were-creatures they had just finished fighting, the gnome was unharmed. He was extremely frightened and identified himself as Jadrick Swiftblink from Momma’s Commune, coming to trade with Kerowyn and Pin at Drummer’s Point, who can vouch for him. The description fit that provided by Kerowyn and Pin previously, but the party was highly suspicious of Jadrick. They forced him to admit he was a wererat, but he claimed he ran away from the criminal organization that had recruited him and infected him with lycantropy. The organization does not tolerate deserters and hunts them down. He said that Momma’s Commune, deep in the heart of the the Ringwood Forest, was a sanctuary that aid those of his kind with controlling their condition and fighting the beastial urges.

The adventurers now need to decide what to do, track the wererat who fled in the same direction on a location found on wereboar’s map, escort Jadrick to Drummer’s Point, or flee the area for a long journey to Aquila to look for answers as to why Wayfarer is being hunted. Join us in two weeks as we resume our tale.

Session 11

The party decided to return to Drummer’s Point and visit Dinka, the Half-Orc blacksmith with the colorful wig, to see about getting their weapons silvered in anticipation of a battle with a hunt of Lycanthropes. They also remain suspicious of Jadrick, the Gnomish Wererat, who was marked for death by the criminal undercity clan he had fled. A trip to Drummer’s Point and a conversation with Pin and Kerowyn may help to clarify their feelings towards the Gnome.

Along the Pearle Road, they spot a series of abandoned wagons, carts, and merchant carriages, who they surmise were traders coming into Drummer’s Point for the Mid-Summer Festival. This is shown to be the case when they hear the sobs of a boy up ahead. It is Gentry Hull, a 9 year old boy that Lydia has seen annually with his family since he was an infant at the Mid-Summer Festival. He is weeping and hold in his hand a flier for Tasha’s Kiss, a travelling jester, clown, and entertainer. Her enormous and garish double decker wagon is parked up the road. He said that his parents, Migal and Sandy, his older sister Tabitha, and the rest of the travellers went into the wagon hours ago and have yet to return. Not caring for clowns much himself, he decided to wait in the wagon. The door is on the second level of the wagon, with a ramped access leading the way up. Shay casts an image of what she believes a clown to look like at the door to see if the door reacts. What she conjures instead looks more like a Pit Fiend wit a funny hat, scaring poor Gentry right under his wagon. Lydia opened the door with Mage Hand and the two women walked in.

Searching the chamber, they found face paints of red, black, and white, fresh fruit, disguise kits, a red satin dress, a magical ring, a potion of some sort, some gold, and a grand wardrobe, with the door slightly ajar. In the wardrobe they see a staircase leading down into darkness. They decide to decent and investigate.

Meanwhile, fearing a trap, Toulin decided to sneak through the woods and look for evidence of a struggle. His sneaking had all the success of an Owlbear hiding behind a sapling, but he saw no evidence of a struggle, which he relayed to Grist and the rest of the party. The four outside go up the ladder, with Jadrick remaining with Gentry. Against their better judgement and a helpful shove of Wayfarer by Grist, they enter the wagon and descend the stairs.

They find themselves in a room where faceless “Dream Weavers” appear to be sorting a few of the travellers to side rooms. One of the faceless ones, a Gnomish woman, approach the party, inviting them to sit down at a table. Speaking telepathically in a soothing tone, she encourages then follow the example of a traveller, who has a beaming smile on his face and an unending babbling praise for how wonderful the place is while being led into the left room, what Josephine called the happy door. Across the room, Lydia recognized Gram, a cantankerous old woman, being led into the room on the right, complaining the whole way. The party considers drawing weapons, but in the end go through the “grumpy door” that Gram had been led through earlier.

They find themselves transported into a maze of mirrors that reflect images of themselves, but versions in which they made different choices in life. Dole saw a version of a confident, well dressed Tiefling who was Head of the City Guard; Lydia, a version where she never found her spell focus and was a happy partner of Pin's at the Tipsy Donkey; Grist, a general of the Minotaur's, and missing an eye and part of a horn; Shay's reflection was that of a Fallen Aasimar, hands undamaged, skeletal wings of black bone and a hungry, evil glint in her eyes; Wayfarer was a well kempt, beard trimmed, high standing member of the Peacekeepers, the Order of Eldath; Toulin saw reflected a version in which he never became a mercenary, a successful craftsman and merchant, creating high end leather works. There was no darkness reflected in his eyes. They were calm and at ease.

They did not linger in this place and quickly made their way through a twisted portal in the form of a clown’s mouth. They found themselves in hallway with multiple portals. Selecting one, entered a room with a figure sitting in a chair. It looked like all of the adventures at the same time. A Chimaera Chron. It was a reflection of all of the party. It wanted a precious memory from each party member in return for safe passage. None were given and a fight ensued. It took the shape of Grist and the room changed to that of a forest maze with dense, hedgerows and briars. It had all of Grist's abilities, raging and doubling in size. It chastised Grist for selling out his kind to the servitude of "that creature." When it was defeated, it took the form of Dole, and the room changed to a city guards barracks. It attempted to shame Dole for not searching for his mother or convincing her not to leave. In turn, it became all the adventures, with the room continuing to shift in appearance. For Lydia, it was a wooded field with a painting easel and taunts that she did not deserve her abilities and they were never meant for her. For Wayfarer, a ruined, squalid hovel deep in the woods, and word blaming him and his cowardice for the deaths of his brothers. The false Shay turned the room into a library and accusations of her participation in the clan of her father. Toulin saw the room change to one he knows well, the place where everything went wrong. A cabin with knocked over furniture and blood everywhere. The fake Toulin shaming the real one as to why he didn't do more to save his best friend; that he just watched him die. Real Toulin finished off the fake. Lydia fell in battle but was stabilized. However, three party started down the path of madness, Grist, Lydia, and Shay. The image of seeing themselves die combined with the taunts for true feelings unspoken, caused a momentary slip of their grip on sanity.

Such a happy tale!

Session 12

With Grist babbling in an unintelligible, babbling stream of consciousness, Shay in a frozen state, and Lydia stabilized but unconscious, the rest of the three decided what they were to do next following their harrowing encounter with the Chimera Chiron. They start by healing Lydia and keeping their distance from Grist. Fortunately, the madness that overtook Grist and Shay proved to be short term in nature. The pass through the portal in the room and are taken to a location where they hear the same man both laughing hysterically and screaming in agony. They see a large, bald man covered in hooks and spikes, with a green miasma seeping form the wounds. He is dutifully tending to his work of pulling the soul from Bart, the traveler they had seen earlier eagerly going through the happy door. His body is in ecstasy while his soul is in abject terror, pulled by Deggmir’s chains and hooks.

Lydia attacks instantly as the soul is placed into a jar, one of four total seen in the room. Also in the room are three other lifeless bodies in addition to the just collapsed Bart. Deggmir expressed disappointment that the party chose uncivilized violence over a conversation, but nonetheless, smashes a jar kept on his person, releasing a spirit of the same sickly substance leaking from Deggmir. It gathered into the form of a frightening creature, a Ghast. With Lydia, Shay, and Wayfarer attacking Deggmir, he brings to life three chains covered in sharp, razor-edged barbs and hooks. Wayfarer shakes off the stench of the Ghast, but becomes petrified by the slashing claw of the Ghast, who follows with a second mighty strike. Toulin sends bolts at Deggmir while Grist swings at the chains. Dole follows Grist’s example, as he is wont to do. Lydia and Shay send spell attacks at Deggmir while Wayfarer is unable to shake off the paralysis, taking additional damage from Deggmir while Grist is accosted and grappled and damaged by two chains while Lydia is hit by the third. The Ghast moves into range of the back side party, poisoning with his rotten smell. Grist is able to break free by destroying a chain and the rest of the party decides to focus damage into Deggmir, eventually felling him, with the remaining two chains falling inert.

The party is able to eventually end the Ghast and Wayfarer regains control of his movement. A touch of madness crosses the party, but they recover, and examine the jars. They see what appears to be swirling smoke and vapor that form and unform the faces of dead they see around them. Initially, they place the jars in Lydia’s bag of holding, but Grist decides it might be worth opening the jar with Bart’s soul so see if it will re-enter his body. While Bart’s soul is unable to return to his body, he is grateful to be freed to move on, imparting a magical boon on the Minotaur’s giant axe. The party releases the remaining souls and are flooded with feelings gratitude.

Entering the next portal, they come upon the sight of room of writhing tentacles, with two cages of travelers flanking a central horror that pulls the arm off of one of the travelers and replacing it with a tentacle. The mass attempts to attach the arm to itself, and as the party looks closer, they see some of the prisoners with missing limbs and the tentacled mass with those limbs slapped haphazardly on itself.

Faced with this sight, of course they decide to parlay! Shay approaches the creature and makes contact with a tentacle, taking minor damage and getting flooded with a series of images that are confusing and seem to describe an elf and demons. The mass reaches for another traveller and the party attacks, ending it with little trouble. In the course of the fight and in speaking with the freed prisoners, they piece together that the monstrosity was once an elven noblewoman, Affavara, whom on her wedding day was accidentally transported to the Abyss, where she was transformed into the tentacled mass to serve as a demonic wedding bouquet, and cast back to planar void and trapped with the clown. Despair not, readers, as it made even less sense to our adventures!

Travelling back to Deggmir’s room with the freed travellers in tow, the party ponders their next move.