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Great Wyrm
 
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 Post subject: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:13 am 
So after the Dragon of Thunderspire Mountain, we have started our next campaign. I am using the bought adventure this time. Its supposed to be one of the best, so we shall see. Before we get into the main event, we have a bit of house keeping. One of the things I remember from D&D of my youth, was acquiring all this gold and not doing a thing with it. So I was determined to find (hopefully) interesting ways of relieving them of their loot :D



Session write up done by one of my players, from the point of view of Happy Angel.
House Keeping
So, having returned triumphant from our adventures we are invited to meet with the Lords of Fallcrest, which we should have seen as a sign right from the start: before we left we had been made Burghers, or possibly Bergers or, most likely Burgers. This apparently gives us some say on the Council of Fallcrest. Great. Alykacha and Happy Angel deciding how a city should be fun. I'm not sure there is enough Wisdom and Intelligence in the rest of the party, possibly not in the rest of the Nentir Vale, to balance that one out.

Anyway, before we know it we have bought a boat. This is turning out to be like one of those timeshare deals. Apparently we'll own it and everything, but the halflings and other assorted porters of the Swiftriver Clan will sail it up and down the River Nentir or, to give it its proper name, the Nentir River. Well, I say "sail", it is a barge so pole is probably more the speed of things. I'm sure we'll turn a tidy profit after, you know, wages, wear and tear and import and export duties, local and national taxes and compensation because of damp cargo. I can hear the money pouring in.

Ah well, investing in the local economy.

If only it had stopped there.

Then Haagen gets practically pressed into taking over a gentleman's gym, scale polishing (which just has to be a euphemism) and tanning operation. Well, I say "taking over", in fact he'd just been called in to advise on redecoration, oh and pay for the redecoration. Lots of gold brocade and pictures of huge sweaty men straining and, well, sweating, I shouldn't wonder. That and quite a lot of polishing,

Well, I say "gentleman's gym, scale polishing and tanning operation", it is in fact a temple to Kord, Bahamut and Pelor, but we all know what they get up to.

Meanwhile, our own dragonborn mage was pressed into kicking the arse of Nimozaran The Green, last apprentice of the great High Mages of Fallcrest who all contributed to giving the Bloodspear Wars their name by, you know, getting stabbed with spears. Go Mages.

Apparently Nimozaran considers himself High Septarch (he lives in a seven sided town and smells rank), but the Lords of Fallcrest consider him a bit of an embarrassment and about as much use as a wax fireguard and would like him gently persuaded to step down in favour of someone much younger, more puissant and the proud bearer of some really shiny scales.

Well, I say "step down"...

Oh, and the old place probably needs a bit of doing up as well. Ka-ching!

What else? Oh yes, we bought a party house. Take "party" whichever way you like. It is on the clifftop (or cliff edge if you are an insurance assessor, or drunk) and is nicely centrally located. We've got a bedroom each, all the usual amenities and a large garden. I'll be at the Blue Moon Alehouse if you need me...

So, I think that is about it. No, hang on, we also spent a wagonload on a new stabby stick for Alykacha. I'm sure they will be very happy together.

All in all we have spent over half our accumulated wealth, but easy come, easy go. Well, I say "easy"...

Right, then we got a polite invitation to go and see Faren Markelhay, the Lord Warden again and, mugs that we are, we went. Lord Warden Mularkey (sic) informs us that there is a bit of an orc problem around the Gardbury Downs and it is rumoured that Gardbury Abbey, home to generations of good, decent, honest, insert noun of your choice, is occupied by orcs. This wouldn't be any kind of a problem if they had not set up some sort of caravan inspection operation. When an honest urge in our viridian cousins to ensure that trade goods are properly inspected for quality and those falling below a certain standard – pretty much all of them as it happens – are removed from the supply chain, well, certain vested interests, as well as a few brocaded ones, get a little shirty, but, rather than actually doing anything themselves, or, heaven forfend, spending any money on the problem, the best way to deal with it is probably to send a horde of violent sociopaths on a scouting mission in the area to sort out the green skinned bastards.

Well, I say "scouting", but I can't exactly see this being a stealth mission, going on past form, and I say "horde of violent sociopaths"...that would be us then...

Still, I for one am glad of the opportunity to get out there and do violence in the name of sorting out the black hats from the white hats. Perish the thought that the colours should mix, eh?

To be honest if I'd stayed much longer there would have been a lot more vacancies in the upper echelons of Fallcrest society, and a lot less beer in the cellar of the Blue Moon.

Expenses
0600g - Buying a River boat.
2000g - Purchasing a rather large house in a desirable part of Hightown.
1800g - On Haagan and Moonscale enchanting a +2 Short Sword.
0135g - On transferring the Lifedrinker enchantment to it from the scimitar to the short sword.


Last edited by Jagged on Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:36 am 
Nimozaran and the Mages Guild
Lord Padraig and the Lord Warden invite the party to the Lord Warden's personal study. On the table they have reports from round the Nentir Vale. Travellers on the Kings Road of late are being attacked by orc raiders as they travel through the Gardmore Downs.

Winterhaven isn't in a position to raise a militia and the Council in Fallcrest will resist until it starts to hit their pocket, even though its starting to effect cavans coming here, so in lieu of a militia the Lord Warden wants to hire the party. Go to the abbey and confirm whether or not the orc are lairing there. Come back and report on what you find, with as complete a picture of their defenses and numbers as you can. Lord Padraig will be leaving for Winterhaven in two days and the party should accompany him until the road diverts for the Abbey.

While stocking up on supplies and preparing to leave, the party are approached by Sergeant Murgeddin, an ageing dwarf who is leader of the detachment of soldiers that man the Wizards Gate. He is a veteran of the Bloodspear Wars and fought at the fall of Gardmore Abby. He recounts how the Knights of the Abbey seemed well able to withstand the siege of the orcs until a sudden and unexpected incursion of undead erupted out of the temple and overwhelmed the defenders.

He saw the great-grandfather of the current Lord Markelhay disappear into the catacombs beneath the temple and was never seen again. He was bearing the ancestral sword of the Markelhay family, called Moonbane, and if the heroes could return the sword, "Well, it would be like the rebirth of the old empire!"

Moonscale decides to speak to Nimozaran and inform him of the wonderful news that Moonscale is now head of the Fallcrest Mages Guild. Happy Angel and Alykacha go with him. Perhaps not surprisingly, Nimozaran is none to happy with this change in fortunes and challenges the upstart to a "Mages duel". Nimozaran is surprisingly quick for an old guy and draws first blood with his green variation on the magic missile spell. He teleports around the room, throwing green fire and green fireballs, but his magics frequently leave him weakened and Moonscale wins through in the end. Poor Nimozaran accepts his defeat and retires to his rooms, while Moonscale, Happy Angel and Alykacha take a tour of the tower. Upon seeing the dire state of the Library, the three gain an overwhelming desire to see it restocked (Gain Boon: Find and acquire a book worthy of inclusion in the Library and you will instantly gain an action point).

The group smooth over any hard feelings with Nimozaran by sharing some drinks of sparkling wine and orange juice while Happy Angel attempts to deliver a cocktail-based pun.
XP
200

Image


Roadside Ambush
The journey with Lord Padraig is uneventful and they part ways after breakfast and head towards the Abbey. They have not travelled long when the group are hailed by another party of adventurers. The new group consists of Tam (human fighter), Grosh (half orc fighter), Arvan (Drow, possibly a rouge?), Kurik (dwarf, priest?) and Lenna (Human mage). They have recently ventured into the Abbey and are happy to relate all they can about their run-ins with orcs and ogres at the gate and of a two-headed beast by the old Mayor's keep.

The two groups part on seemingly good terms but the party send Alykacha back to spy on the newcomers, they are instantly suspicious. She overhears them debating whether or not the party are "hunting for the same thing?" and when they pack up to leave, they head back in the direction of the Abbey, rather than onwards to Winterhaven, their stated destination.

The party lay an ambush for them on the road, with Happy Angel taking on the role of bait. Amazingly they fall for the ruse and most of the party get a surprise attack. Their leader Tam, swiftly falls and the battle ensues ...

Expenses
Backback 2g, silk rope 10g & Climber's Kit 2g for Happy Angel.
Trail Rations for all 30g
Total 44g

Image

ps: I wasn't expecting this combat, so the map had to be generated quickly on the fly!


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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:04 am 
The Ambush Continues
This is the first time that the party has been on the receiving end of the tactics typically employed by Alykacha, as the Drow male vanishes from sight only to reappear, moments later, stabbing a long thin knife into your kidneys. The human mercenary (their leader?) is down and the half-orc Grosh is very angry about that. The Warpriest Haagan, charges Grosh and the resulting explosion of warhammer, thunder and lightning brings the half-orc crashing to his knees. The rejoicing is cut short when the falling enemy calls down some strange revenge magic upon Haagan. Inflicted with "The Comet's Doom", a growing shadow of a future impact, shrouds the Warpriest, distracting him and affecting is ability to aim.

Pontuus decides to concentrate on the evil looking Kurik. The barbarian brings down a rain of blows upon the dwarven priest, who promptly erupts with a shield of flames, which would surely have burnt Pontuus had he not been using all the reach of his vicious looking spear. Friends and enemies are closely grouped together but Moonscale still finds space to drop a Shocking Sphere on Kurik and the enemy mage Lenna, who only retaliates with an arcane volley of magical fire that strikes Rangrim, Pontuus and Moonscale.

Deciding that Lenna is a threat that needs to be ended quickly, Alykacha swoops down on the mage, enfolds her in a shroud of darkness and stabs her with her magical knife. Confident that her blade has found its mark, the Drow seethes with frustration as Lenna invokes a magical hand of Fate to save herself from harm.

The battle continues and with Arvan invisible and roaming the battlefield picking off his prey, things are in danger of going against the party. Haagan uses his powers to protect himself and Rangrim and inspire a divine fever in the party. They practically swarm Kurik and the dwarf crumples under the onslaught.

Of their enemies, only Arvan and Lenna still stand, but Rangrim also falls to invisible assailant. Lenna escapes from the cloud of darkness but Alykacha makes good on her previous attempt and with attacks from the rest of the party, Lenna collapses. The barbarian Pontuus struggles against his instincts and leaves the mage alive, so that Happy Angel can hold a knife to Lenna's throat and demand the invisible Arvan's surrender.

Haagan crosses the battlefield to cure the dwarven Paladin , Rangrim. As he does so, Arvan strikes, attempting to take the Warpriest prisoner. Haagan is more fortunate than Lenna and survives the encounter and as Moonscale bathes the area in flame, Arvan flees the battlefield, seemingly for good.

Aftermath
Determined to find out what is going on, the party do their best to keep their four foes alive. Tam being in the worse state, having been left bleeding since the early stage of the battle. While stripping them of their weapons and armour, the party discover four ivory tarot cards, one carried by each combatant. Tam carried one depicting "The Star" symbol, Grosh carried "The Comet", Lenna carried "Fate" while Kurik carried "The Flames". Even the least arcane aware of the group recognise the obvious magical nature of the cards and Moonscale identifies them as belonging to something called "The Deck of Many Things". Although the "Deck of many Things" is a single magical item of significant power and as far as he knows, it should not be possible to separate the deck into single cards. More disturbing discoveries are made when the party find a holy symbol for Tiamat in Kurik's possession.

A quick discussion is had as to what to do with the detainees and in the end it is decided to hand them over to Lord Padraig. So Moonscale performs the Traveller's Chant ritual and Pontuus set off at increase speed, cross-country, to catch up with Lord Padraig's party, while in the meantime, Happy Angel begins an interrogation. A thing in which she has much experience, though usually from the other side.

XP
Tam xp 350
Grosh xp 350
Kurik xp 350
Lenna xp 350
Total: 1400


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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 2:56 pm 
Interrogation
With the four prisoners, Tam (human fighter), Grosh (half orc fighter), Kurik (dwarf, priest?) and Lenna (Human mage) tied each to a tree, the interrogation begins. Starting first with Tam, Happy Angel questions all 4, returning to Tam again for a final session.

When asked about orc and other creatures in the Abbey, they reveal no more than was freely given over the shared breakfast, but Grosh does reveal that their real mission is to hunt for more cards. He claims only Tam knows the identity of their employer. Happy Angel returns to Tam and asks whether or not Arvan (the Drow) had hired them and Tam admits that he did.

With the questioning over, Moonscale discovers that all the cards in his possession have merged into a "mini" single deck. What this means, no one is sure.

Lord Padraig and Pontuus return with a small detachment of soldiers and the prisoners are handed over, with instructions to detain them for a while and then release them with some "weregild" (200gp). Money enough to replace the equipment destroyed by Happy Angel. Lord Padraig opinion of all this is difficult to determine.


Approaching Gardmore Abbey
The abbey grounds cover most of a hillside in the middle of the downs and the overgrown path that leads from the King's Road ends at a gate flanked by squat, square towers. To either side of the gate stretches a curtain wall showing signs of its age, supported by occasional towers and buttresses. Above the wall, a caved in temple can just be made out on the flat top of the hill.

South of the gate, the abbey's outer wall is draped with ivy and the canopy of a thick forest is visible beyond. A tall watch tower stands at the southern end of the wall, where the hill becomes so steep that it provides a natural defense.

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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:18 am 
The Approach to Gardmore
After a little discussion Alykacha ventures south, round the wall to see if there are any easy places to scale. Perhaps her life in the Underdark has not prepared her for all this "nature" as her stealth fails her and she is pretty sure she is spotted by two guards on the top of one of the Gate Towers. The guards don't appear to raise any alarms so she continues south and gradually approaches the Southern Watch Tower. The wall immediately prior to the tower is broken and collapsed. Perhaps the site of a previous invasion? The thick forest beyond, can be easily entered.

The Watch Tower itself is as tall and commanding as any good watch tower should be, and you imagine it would provide excellent views of the surround area. At the same time, it presents no obvious points of access (perhaps from the other side?) and stands ominously silent against the otherwise lively forest.

After Alykacha returns to the party, the decision is made to climb the wall rather than attempt to take the gate house or to enter the via the broken wall. A point is chosen midway along the southern stretch of the wall, slightly nearer the first small tower than the gate house.

The wall itself presents no difficulties, Alykacha practically runs up its side (double move, climb 4) and then drops down a silk rope to pull the others up. From the top of the wall another small tower can be seen, perched half way up the hill. While looking over in the direction of the gate house, a large imposing building emerges out of the green. Perhaps the town Keep?

A little way from the wall, a path can be seen leading north and south. The party drop down and beneath the canopy find a forest that teems with life. Squirrels and birds chatter in the branches, bees buzz and blossom floats heavy in the air. Clouds of flies hover in their way, while iridescent butterflies dart this way and that. As Alykacha leads them north, occasional tracks of larger creatures can seen crossing the path. More used to navigating through dark caves, Alykacha's sense of direction deserts her and seemingly at once the forest changes to brambles and vines. Overhead thick branches are draped with silver webbing and high above immense spiders lurk.

Image

Spider Gardens
Rather than retreat back the direction they came, the adventures decide to try and cross the spiders' maze. Using whatever skills they have available (Acrobatics, Nature, Stealth or Thievery) they slowly creep forwards. They pass the first spider and move deeper into the tangled garden. Twang! Moonscale clips a taut thread and a Deathjump spider pounces down next to him. It attempts to bite the Dragonborn Mage with its poisoned fangs but its bite is turned away by Moonscale's shield of arcane power combined with power of The Fates card.

The Warpriest Haagan calls down a divine wind that reinforces his thunderous hammer-blow, slamming the spider to the ground while ushering his allies into position. Alykacha and Pontuus quickly finishing it off.

The party resume their gentle advance but Moonscale, perhaps unnerved by his near miss, snags a web again. Like death from above, another spider drops upon the unfortunate mage, although this time the spider's bite snicks wildly and misses.

The dwarf Rangrim charges down the spider, making it the focus of both his god's anger and of his axe, successfully removing a number of the creature's legs. Haagan attempts to finish the creature off, but catches some webbing. Causing him to miss and alerting another of the monstrous arachnids. Alykacha stabs the injured creature through vulnerable gaps in its exoskeleton but its takes Pontuus to provide the deathblow.

Another Deathjump spider drops from the canopy, biting Hagaan. The poison flows into his system, slowing his movement, but he retaliates with thundering steel and a thunderclap rumbles across the battlefield. Alykacha critically wounds the creature but yet again it take Pontuus to finish it off. The Drow is usually so good at making the killing blow, is she reluctant to strike the favoured creature of the goddess she once worshipped?

Perhaps because of the combat, Moonscale and Rangrim both catch a web and spiders leap towards them. One narrowly missing the dwarf, but the other sinks its fangs deep into the mage. Haagan calls down lightning and steel on the poisonous creature while Alykacha ferociously stabs at it. Seeking, but failing to find, that killing blow.

Pontuus attacks the spider engaging Rangrimm and Happy Angel takes on the spider woken by Haagan. A piercing shard of ice, finding its way deep into the creatures body. Wounded but still alive, it fights back.

Moonscale in the meanwhile, lashes out at his attacker with his tail, crushing it in a lethal embrace. The surviving spider is dropped into darkness by Alykacha, but makes a prodigious leap across the battlefield. The escape is short lived as Happy Angel races after it, capturing the creature with a shard of ice. The mortally wounded spider doesn't suffer long as Alykacha weaves across the garden, her magical dagger finally making the deathblow she had so long been denied.

XP
Trap: 900
Spiders: 8x175
Total: 2300


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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:34 am 
Escaping the Maze
The fight with the spiders is over so the party surveys their surroundings. High above their heads, trapped in the canopy, they see what looks like a knight in plate armour. Alykacha decides to climb up and investigate but as she does so, she attracts the attention of another spider. Pontuus quickly snaps a javelin into his hand and throws it at the spider and Haagan launches a bolt from his crossbow.

Alykacha decides that being the only one next to the spider and possibly the only one able to get to this point in the canopy, might put her at exceptional risk and so she envelops herself into a cloud of darkness. Now the spider cannot see her, but no one else can see the spider, forcing the rest of the group to wait for the creature to move.

Eventually the spider makes a prodigious leap, landing next to Moonscale. It tries to bite him but is clearly disorientated and misses. A fierce blast of flame erupts from Moonscale's hands, scorching the arachnid and Happy Angel follows up with a spear of ice. The poor spider, flamed and frozen, dies.

Alykacha examines knight caught in the web. The body is long dead, the desiccated remains gruesomely demonstrating the results of a spider's feeding process. The armour is decorated with symbols for justice and the Platinum Dragon, Bahamut. While superior in quality, the armour and weapon are not magical in nature. When the dwarven Paladin Rangrim approaches the body, he momentarily sees the shade of the deceased knight and knows with a sad certainty that he died with an important quest unfulfilled. Unsure what that quest might be, the party decide to bring his armour and sword along with them.

XP
Spider 175

The Keep
Scouting their way through the forest, the party eventually emerge at the rear of a large building they correctly assume to be Gardmore's Town Keep. Happy Angel sneakily skirts the building looking for a suitable entry point. At the front of the building she discovers a large courtyard containing an even larger double-headed giant sat in front of the building's two suitably large double doors.

After Happy Angel informs the party of what she has seen, they decide to attempt a pincer-movement and stealthily approach the courtyard from both sides. This proves as successful as every other attempt the party has ever made to be sneaky as a group and the giant (an Ettin) stands up and speaks as Pontuus draws near.

"Whacha doin' over there?" asks the head with the eye-patch. Pontuus relies that they are counting orcs. "Did the Orc boss ask you to do that?", Eye-patch wonders. The Ettin is either not particular suspicious or maybe just doesn't really care why a bunch of drow, humans, dwarves and dragonborn might be counting orcs, but either way it doesn't seem overly aggressive at this point. A conversation starts up between the Ettin and the party. The adventurers don't learn much other than there are "lots" of orcs and that the Ettin's two heads are called Spike and Bruse (the eye-patch).

When Happy Angel reveals that they are trying to get into the Keep, Spike assumes they have forgotten the password and encourages Bruse to tell them "The Clue". Bruse clears his throats, readies his memory and recites a short rhyme. Happy Angel whispers the correct answer to Pontuus, which the human barbarian then supplies to the Ettin. Satisfied that their work has been done, Spike and Bruse set off to "get some lunch". Leaving the party alone with the two large double doors.

XP
1000


The Grand Hall
Carefully opening one of the doors, the adventurers stare into the dim hall beyond. Beneath the arched and columned galleries overlooking the great hall, the emblazoned shields of its past defenders line the walls. Some are missing and others are either pierced by arrows or defaced with gobs of orc spit or worse. At the far end of the reeking chamber, two spiral stairways rise to the gallery above. Where an ornate door leads leads to further rooms beyond.

Before the siarways stand two orcs armoured in the piecemal remnants of Gardmore's former defenders, a crude mockery of the paladins of yore. Beside them stand two dire wolves, steeds for these savage knights of the orc chieftan. Two more orc warriors stand guarding the entrance.

At the sight of the adventurers, a sharp and mean voice barks out an order. At the far end of the hall, an orc sporting thick dreadlocks beaded with humanoid finger bones can be seen leaning over the balustrade and pointing with a totem made from a human skull.

Happy Angel is the first into the fray, charging up to the first guard and stabbing him with an Ice Skewer. The dim light of the hall allowing her to blend into the shadows, the orc knight is barely able to tell where the attack came from.

At the back of the hall, the other knights jump onto their dire wolf steeds and charge down the hall. The wolf takes a bite out of Happy Angel and she only narrowly avoids falling prone.

On the encouragement of Happy Angel the rest of the group charge down the other side of the hall, engaging two orc knights and a dire wolf. Haagan uses his Hammering Wind to slam into a wolf, while positioning the others of the group to better attack. Alykacha drops a cloud of darkness and she and Pontuus concentrate their attacks on the wolf, quickly felling the beast.

Rangrim smites the now mount-less knight and Moonscale pins the orc with his tail. Then on the encouragement of Happy Angel, Moonscale hurls a crackling orb of lightning that explodes, engulfing Happy Angel two orc knights and a dire wolf. Overly confident of her ability to dodge the lightning's electric embrace, fate has other ideas and Moonscale makes a critical strike on one of the orc knights and the Drow Hexblade. Happy Angel drops to the ground, while from the back of the hall, the orc shaman also throws lightning, hitting Pontuus and Moonscale.

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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:24 am 
The Keep (continued)

We left our not so happy crew battling "wannabe" orc knights in the grand hall of Gardmore's Keep. The Drow Happy Angel was unconscious and possibly dying and the orcs are advancing on the party as they try and move beyond the entrance. Two orcs and a dire-wolf pounce on Rangrim, but fail to make it past his shield. The Warpriest Haagan, barges open the second door then simultaneously hammers one of the orcs with steel and lightning while reviving Happy Angel with a Healing Word.

On the other side of the hall, the party's other Drow Alykacha, has one orc knight lost in a cloud of darkness. She slides a dagger into his side then darts across the hall's rubble strewn floor to engage a second. The dark cloud dissipating as she goes.

Using the wicked reach of his spear, Pontuus strikes at orc engaged by Haagan, pushing himself beyond his normal limits to inflict a second wrathful wound. Seriously injured now, the orc enters a berserk rage, flailing wildly with his heavy flail (naturally). Undeterred, Rangrim lets divine fury wash over him and strikes back at the orc with his axe, now glowing with radiant light. Also battered by the berserk orc, Moonscale hurls a hailstorm towards his foes, sliding one into a more exposed position near Alykacha and Happy Angel. Not content, he then lets loose with his acid breath. An orc rider nearly becomes unseated as his dire-wolf mount rears in anger. Happy Angel create a vicious icy wind that scythes through the orc enemies before settling on her armour as an extra layer of protective frozen air.

The orcs are not down though and retaliate. From the back of the hall, the orc shaman continues to bark orders while throwing lightning bolts that narrowly miss Moonscale. Alykacha dodges a Heavy Flail but Haagan and Moonscale both receive nasty blows. Haagan strikes back at the orc that struck Moonscale while narrowly avoiding the snapping jaw of the immense dire-wolf. With a prayer to the storm god, Haagan imbue his warhammer with the power of thunder. As it strikes the orc, a thunderclap rumbles throughout the Keep. More prayers follow as the Warpriest sends a second divine healing to Happy Angel.

Alykacha and Pontuus turn their attention to the dire-wolf, quickly felling the beast. Its departing soul weakening the dimensional walls enough for Happy Angel to temporarily become a creature of wind and mist, who disappears only to reappear on the hall balcony above.

On the floor of the hall, blows are exchanged. The orcs concentrate their attacks on the Mage and the Priest, perhaps under orders from the shaman. Moonscale deflects one lethal blow with an arcane shield but both he and Haagan are wounded. Pontuus becomes a blur of motion, raining a series of blows upon one of the orc knights, but it is Haagan that lands the killing blow.

On the gallery above, Happy Angel advances on the orc shaman. The shaman attempts to engulf her in a magical whirlwind, but she easily side-steps the trap. The Drow Hexblade retaliates, piercing the orc with a javelin made of ice. The two close on each other, scimitar clashing against conjured ice! Happy Angel soon has the upper hand, the shaman seemingly unable to land an attack. Fierce flame engulfs the lower hall as Moonscale destroys the last of the orc knights.

Only the shaman is left and Happy Angel is totally dominating the battle, but as she prepares what will surely be the final exchange, Pontuus lobs a perfectly weighted javelin almost the entire length of the hall and steals the kill!

XP:
Orc Knights: 4x250
Dire-Wolves: 2x200
Orc Shaman: 250
Total: 1,650


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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:09 pm 
The Orc Chieftain

Happy Angel and Alykacha sneak up the stairs to the Orc Chieftain's hall, with the rest of the party following not far behind. Despite generating a level of quiet that would put a mouse to shame, the orcs are aware of their presence. In stage-whisper the female orc warrior Khavra, turns to her chieftain, "Do they think we didn't hear the battle below? The clashing steel, the thunder, the lightning?" From the comfort of his throne, Bakrosh, the orc chieftain calls out to the party, "If my shaman is to be believed you have something I desire. Hand them over to me and you may leave alive."

Brief consideration is given to the idea of simply leaving, they have been hired to count the orcs, not kill them all. But after a moments thought it is decided that if the chieftain wants the cards, then he probably has some and certainly shouldn't be allowed to keep them. Denied easy access to his prize, the chieftain cracks his knuckles and prepares for combat.

Ever the impetuous one, Happy Angel charges into the room and stabs the nearest orc with a skewer of ice. Khavra is almost as quick off the mark, charging the Drow Hexblade, smashing her with a stone maul. Pontuus is next into the fray, striking the first orc with his spear. At which point Bakrosh draws a card from his own deck. Revealing "The Key", he runs into battle only to teleport behind Happy Angel, striking her back with his Greataxe! Moonscale's own deck activates, selecting "Flames". Ignoring the direction chosen by random chance, he casts spells of ice at the nearest orc and Khavra, which is perhaps why he misses.

Imploring the injured orc, "He that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother and those orcs now-a-bed shall think themselves accursed they were not here!", Bakrosh inspires his underling to greater effort and the bloodied orc strikes Happy Angel with his battleaxe, making a narrow but painful hit. Other orcs throw javelins at Pontuus, Rangrim and Moonscale. Its unusual for Pontuus to be on this end of a javelin and its an experience he does not enjoy.

Haagan and Alykacha rush enter the hall. While neither can get close enough to a target to exchange weapon blows, the Warpriest casts a healing word on Happy Angel while the Rogue envelopes the two javelin throwing orcs in a cloud of darkness.

Happy Angel lands the killing blow on the first orc and again uses the opportunity provided by a departing soul to teleport behind Bakrosh. She summons a flickering halo of purple light, casting it at Bakrosh, but he dodges and the magic is wasted. Khavra slams into Haagan and Rangrim, shaking the fragile floor of the hall but otherwise having little effect.

Presented with a more challenging foe, Pontuus become a blur of motion, raining a series of blows down upon Bakrosh. Pushing himself beyond his normal limits, he strikes the chieftain four times with his vicious spear but the mighty orc shrugs off the damage. "The fewer orcs, the greater share of honour!" he shouts, returning an axe blow to Pontuus. Moonscale and Rangrim both lash out at Khavra and the dwarven paladin confronts Bakrosh, daring him to ignore the challenge.

An orc closes to strike Pontuus but he ducks away and readies a nasty counterstrike. The two orcs caught in Alykacha's cloud of darkness try to escape. They narrowly avoiding falling down a hole in the hall's floor yet they still manage to throw javelins at the party. One catches Moonscale but the defensive flames summoned by the Deck of Many Things saves the dragonborn from too great an injury.

Haagan joins the maul around Bakrosh, imbuing his warhammer with the power of thunder as he smashes the orc chieftain and heals Happy Angel. An orc charges the dwarf Rangrim but his path brings him too close to the Warpriest, who inflicts a critical wound on the careless enemy. Bakrosh shouts, "I am not covetous for gold. But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive!" Inspired, the orc struck by Haagan returns the favour, wounding the Warpriest with his battleaxe.

On the other side of the battle field Alykacha engages two orcs. Eventually taking one down, but not before they inflict their fair share of injuries. Moonscale throws lightning at Khavra and Bakrosh. Rangrim also battles Khavra while continuing to bait Bakrosh. Injured by Happy Angel, the chieftain draws another card. This time, "The Rogue". He tries to use the card's power to dominate the Hexblade, but fails.

The battle continues as the combatants slowly run out of clever tricks. Bakrosh tries several times to dominate the minds of adventurers, eventually abandoning the power of the cards and trusting to his Greataxe as a more reliable friend. Haagan finally overcomes Khavra, felling the female warrior with a thunderous blow from his hammer, her broken body thrown across the hall. Encircled by enemies, Bakrosh is struck by lightning summoned by the mage Moonscale. In his death-throes, he strikes out at Happy Angel, but that Drow is too nimble and escapes. A single orc warrior outlives his chieftain, he fights valiantly on, but not for long.

XP:
Bakrosh: 700
Khavra: 250
Orc Reavers: 4 x 200
Total: 1,750

Searching the bodies, Happy Angel finds a key in a secret pocket on Bakrosh. Using it they open a small chest behind the throne, in which they find a silver-plated sword (worth 250g), a garish gold necklace (worth 250g), three jade statuettes (3x100gp) and coins worth 350gp. Even more excitingly they discover that Bakrosh and Khavra were carrying a Sending Stone each, wondrous items that allow the holders to communicate with each other over great distance.

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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:04 pm 
Gardmore Village
After defeating Bakrosh, the party decide to take a rest in his hall but not before they go downstairs and lock the Keep doors. In the great hall below you discover the ettin has returned and is feasting upon the remains of one of the dire wolves. He seems quite friendly, or at the very least highly ambivalent. It seems he didn't think much of Bakrosh. The adventurers and the ettin chat for a while and in the end he drags dire wolf off towards the forest, perhaps to try and get some wine from the "forest elves". So with the Keep doors shut and an arcane lock on the gallery door, the group settles down for an uneventful rest.

With everyone much recuperated, it is decided that Rangrim should carry Bakrosh's cards. With them in his pocket Rangrim and the rest of the party head off to count orcs. Happy Angel has decided that with a lot of bravado and a little understanding about the universal truth that is bureaucracy, she can bluff her way through the orc ranks. At the gate house the orcs are entirely taken in, listing their number while complaining about the lack of lunch. Happy Angel promises to correct that oversight and the group head off into the town.

With much sneaking, a fair amount of intimidation and bucket loads of lies, the party make it to the other side of the town while counting approximately 150 orcs and mercenaries. By and large the orcs seem to prefer their tents to the broken buildings and they studiously avoid the tall tower and the ruined garrison. When questioned as to why, the rather "put upon" lower ranking orcs complain about their comrades that were never seen again and haunting ghosts.

It was inevitable that a fight would eventually break out, and whether it was because Happy Angel kept pushing her luck or because the orcs really didn't want to hand over their dinner to the guards on the gate house, is hard to say. What is true is that the skirmish amongst the tents and town houses very nearly escalated out of control, but was eventually reigned in before the entire orc army was alerted.

Traversing the Village:
500 xp

Orc Camsite:
Orc Pummelers: 2x250xp
Orc Rampagers: 5x250xp
Orc Savages: 6x44xp
Total: 2014

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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:07 pm 
Winterhaven
After defeating the orcs in the small camp and stealing their dinner, the party heads to the gate house. Perhaps wishing to believe whatever proved the best meal, the guards at the gate house were all too willing to accept that they had been relieved of duty and took their warm dinner and headed off towards Gardmore Village. Once the way clear, the adventurers silently departed for Winterhaven and visit with Lord Padraig.

XP:
Bluffing the Gatehouse 500xp.

It is gone midnight by the time the travellers reach Winterhaven but the town guards usher them to an audience with Lord Padraig. He had left instructions to be notified the minute the adventurers arrived and is anxious to hear all the news. The party inform him of their activities, the death of Bakrosh, the numbers of orcs and the areas in the town the orcs avoid. They tell him about the state of Gardmore's wall, its large wall tower, the breach to the south and how the Ettin talked about possible elves in the forest.

After absorbing the details, Lord Padraig is worried about the Bloodspear Clan may be using Gardmore as a staging ground for an assault on the wider Nentir Vale, since that was their strategy during Bloodspear Wars. At the news that there might be elves in Gardmore, he asks the party to try and find them and their leader and authorises them to secure their cooperation but whatever means necessary.

XP:
Scouting the Abbey 250xp each. Level 7 achieved! Yay!
Treasure:
600gp

Next Lord Padraig introduces the adventurers to an ageing knight by the name of Sir Oakley. The devout paladin of Bahamut claims to be a descendant of the legendary founder of Gardmore, Gardrin the Hammer, and has set out on a last quest to purge the evil from Gardmore Abbey. He promises a reward of 2000gp if the party will escort him to the temple (the Dragon's Roost) and guard him while he performs a ritual of purification.

After a good nights rest, the adventurers attend to the village and at the urging of Happy Angel, decide to bolster the local militia. Happy Angel donates 200gp to the temple and they spend 250gp on new spears and arrange for Pontuus to demonstrate some slightly more advanced spear skills for the villagers to master. Happy Angel gives a rousing speech, which if nothing else improves the moral of the village, who now know that the Heroes of Winterhaven are on the scene.

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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:01 pm 
Eladrin
After shoring up the moral of the Winterhaven militia, the party stock up on healing potions and head back to Gardmore. They travel throughout the day and make camp a short distance from their destination, so that they can time their return to dawns early light.

The two drow, Alykacha and Happy Angel, scout ahead to find a route the broken Gardmore wall. Their initial plan is to keep to the shadow of the guard tower, but as they approach, the hairs on the back of Happy Angel's neck begin to rise and her Hexblade senses tell her something is deeply wrong. The fabric of reality has been torn away and the Tower that they see might be little more than an echo of what was there before.

They back away and return with the Mage Moonscale. He stares deeply into the dimensional rift and is troubled by what he sees. The hole leads not to the Feywild, as first guest by Happy Angel, but to the Far Realm, a place of strange monsters and aberrations. They discuss the issue with Sir Oakley and he is as surprised as they. If he had known there was a dimensional rift he would have expected it to lead to the Shadowfell not the Far Realm, since the fall of the Abbey was accompanied by an influx of undead. The creation of such a tear, could only have been done by powerful and dangerous chaotic magics.

Puzzled and worried by the tower, the adventurers decide to avoid it until they know more, and concentrate on their primary task, finding the elves in the woods. They haven't gone far into the forest when they emerge into a clearing. A font of clear bubbling water, sparkles in the morning light. A mosaic depicting a silver stag and a platinum dragon circle its base and are surrounded by miniature runes, and a host of eladrin in shimmering mail stand gazing into the waters.

The eladrin leader demands to know why the party is there and draws his sword to underlay his point. In a manner unusally restrained for the adventurers, they explain they represent the Mayor of Winterhaven and are here to gain allies against the orcs and to purify the abbey. The eladrin leader's name is Sir Berrian Velfarren and is in Gardmore searching for his father (Zandrian) who went missing two human lifetimes ago. The two groups discuss what they have seen, the orc, the tower, the strange frozen creature and the cards the adventurers carry. Sir Berrian is intrigued but if the party want to gain his trust they should help him find his sister, Analastra, who has been lost for several hours.

Taking a ring from Sir Berrian, to show they are acting on his authority, the adventures venture along a path that leads its way round the hill. They head in a direction that they believe will lead them back to the Grove of Spiders and the Keep and before they are half way there, they spot an overgrown cobblestone path that leads to a dilapidated cottage with a collapsed roof. A tree has grown up through its middle, its canopy replacing the original roof. Just beyond the dim entrance rests a massive feathered beast the size of a bear, its short curved beak resting upon another of its kind.

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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:10 pm 
Owl Bears
At the sight (or sound or smell?) of the adventures, the two owl bears retreat out the rear of the dilapidated cottage. The feathered shapes moving fast for creatures of such massive bulk.

Keeping a wide berth of the cottage, Rangrim runs south in an attempt to keep track of the creatures. Then with one in sight, directs Moonscale, who hurls a crackling orb of lightning. It explodes against the crumbling cottage wall, engulfing one of the owl bears in its electric embrace. Next Pontuus utilises his grim focus and unbridled energy to strike the same creature with a throw of the javelin. Perhaps encouraged by this heroic throw, Alykacha and Haagan make the possibly unwise decision to rush to the cottage wall.

Injured and angry, the first owl bear charges the dwarven paladin, raking at him with a claw. The other owl bear, rushes back through the cottage to close on Haagan and Alykacha. Enraged by the violence done to its mate, it strikes at Haagan with both claws. Only one lands home but still causes critical injury.

Summoning a shield of green quartz and scintillating energy, Happy Angel stabs twice at the first owl bear with her blade of magic and ice. The creature howls with rage as it tries, and fails, to locate its attacker. Rangrim engages the beast and the axe blow he delivers is so fierce the animal is utterly immobilised. He then draws on his own life force to deal a second decisive blow. Severly bloodied, the owl bear screeches at Rangrim with a noise so loud the dwarf is stunned.

At this point, brilliant strokes of blue-white lightning erupt from the outstretched hands of the Dragonborn mage Moonscale. They fork across the battlefield, scorching both enemies. Pontuus, having swapped back to his trusty but vicious spear, charges the first owl bear, pushing himself beyond normal limits to twice injury the feathered monstrosity.

Near the badly wounded Warpriest, Alykacha attempts to flank the second owl bear. Enveloped in a shroud of darkness, she locates the most vulnerable point on the creature's back and stabs! Critically wounding the animal, she strikes again and again hits home. While the creature howls in pain, Haagan lands a thundering attack. A powerful wind reinforces the hammerblow, slamming the owl bear into the ground. Whispering a healing prayer, the Warpriest imbues his warhammer with the power of thunder and a thunderclap rumbles across the battlefield as he strikes again. Unfortunately it is not enough to fell the might beast and it claws Haagan twice, catching him in its claws and lifting him off the ground.

On the other side of the battlefield, the first owl bear claws at Pontuus and Rangrim, wounding them both. Pontuus becomes a blur of motion, raining a series of blows down upon the monster. Sensing that it must be close to death, Moonscale hurls a glowing blue bolt of magical energy that unerringly finds its way to its target, and the owl bear drops down dead. Not content to stop there, the Dragonborn mage conjures a giant floating hand made of chiselled ice that clutches at the dead creature's mate.

Still clutched with the owl bear's deadly grip, Haagan whispers another healing prayer then strikes the creature in such away that it becomes vulnerable to attacks from nearby enemies. Unfortunately for the adventurers, it chooses that moment to release a defending screech, and Haagan and Happy Angel are stunned, unable to move!

From within her dark cloud, Alykacha again stabs at the monster that has her friend in its claws while Rangrim charges the beast, letting his faith guide his axe. The giant floating hand of ice summoned by Moonscale, grabs the animal, freezing it to its core, but this is not enough to prevent the owl bear snapping down on Haagan with its cruel beak. In desperation Pontuus charges, his vicious spear piercing deep into the monster! For a moment all is still, then both the owl bear and Haagan drop to the ground dying.

XP
Owl Bears: 2x700
Total: 1400

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Last edited by Jagged on Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:19 am 
From Happy Angel's Journal
Having defeated the owlbears at the Groundskeeper’s Cottage, we scouted the area and found little of interest except some journals that refer to Eladrin aid in founding the gardens. Whilst Haagen bounds his wounds, Moonscale and Pontuus set about skinning the two owlbears. Only one survived the process suitable intact. Somewhat restored, we moved on along the trail until it forked near to the maze where we previously encountered the spiders, and we took the path less travelled, uphill toward a guard tower and the temple beyond.

Moving up the zig zag path we came, at last, to the tower, and, as we approached, were greeted with the sight of an Eladrin woman pursued by fey beasts. Even as we approached they cast her to the ground and set about her. Attracted by the blood, a massive strige swooped down and attacked her as well.

Charging into the fray, we confronted the huge displacer beasts and the bloodthirsty stirge, distracting them from their easier prey long enough for Rangrim to Lay On Hands and keep the woman from expiring. The battle was hard fought, with Haagen being particularly effective, and Pontuus getting a great deal of close range unwanted attention, but the creatures (and another couple of stirges, disturbed from their slumber) eventually fell to spell, and force of arms.

The woman, as we suspected from the first moment we saw her, was Analastra, the missing sister of the Eladrin leader we had met back at the fountain. We patched her well enough to move her and headed downhill to reunite the siblings.

XP
Displacer Beasts: 2x400
Dire Sturges: 3x300
Total: 1700

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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 6:05 am 
Font of Ioun
After escorting Analastra back to her brother, some of the fey knight's pomposity diminishes. He listens to their story and gratefully receives the documents from the gardener's cottage. If Lord Padraig is willing to respect the bequeathing of the gardens to the Eladrin, then an alliance can be formed. As a reward he invites the adventurers to drink from the Font of Ioun. This blessed font is said to grant knowledge through visions to those who partake with a good heart and without avarice.

With their best attempts at decorum, the party one by one drink from the font. Happy Angel, Haagan and Rangrim all see glimpses of Garmore's great past when it stood firm against past sieges (Vision of Endurance). Pontuus, Moonscale and Sir Oakley see Gardmore at the height if its glory, shortly before its fall (Vision of Inspiration). While Alykacha sees the great builders of Gardmore, constructing different parts of the Abbey over many years (Vision of Purpose).

As the party take their leave, Berrian implores them to return if they find any clue to his father's fate.

XP
Finding Analastra: 300
Establishing a Claim: 300
Total: 600


The Whispering Grove
Heading along a path already travelled, the adventurers decide to explore a possible side route. Before long they hear soft music. As it grows stronger, it seems to combine the feelings of happiness with melancholy and beautify otherworldly voices accompany the melody.

They soon enter a grove with twin pools, sheltered by golden boughs, full of leaves the colour of autumn fire. Bathing in the pools, five beautify women giggle and whisper to each other, beckoning the newcomers approach. "Welcome mortals", one says. "Will you play our game?"

"The Game" it turns out, is about secrets. These immortal nymphs seem to care only about amusement and what amuses them the most is knowing something others may not. One by one each adventurer approaches one of the maidens and whispers a secret and receives a secret in return. After each has played "the game" the nymphs seem delighted and they leave the grove, not knowing what the other party members have revealed or what they may have learnt.

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 Post subject: Re: Madness at Gardmore Abbey - Rumbles Slim Framework
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:51 am 
I am impossibly far behind with my write-ups, so I will just past some map images and hopefully get round to the write-ups later.

If I don't do the write-ups my players always miss the heavily-laden clues I drop during the session ;)

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