Sessions 5-8 -- Burnt Offerings part II and III
We have played four sessions since the last update. They have been experimental meetings as each of us continues to find our footing with the new campaign, and the new tools we are using to play. We are having loads of fun. Below are some of the highlights and a few screenshots.
Image of home base.
(Note the players' use of text-drawing to label stuff.)
In session five, the new heroes in town were summoned to the Mayor's office to meet with the town authorities and to discuss the goblin threat. Once there, they met with Shalelu Andosana, an elven ranger who lurks in the surrounding hinterlands. She informed them that the various goblin tribes appeared to be working together, which suggests that they are under new leadership and that can only mean bad news for Sandpoint. The PCs spent the rest of the day discussing the various particulars relating to the goblins, their heroes, and their hideouts, as well as having various interactions with the different NPCs in town. The following morning, a barmaid from the Rusty Dragon approached the heroes and said that her mistress had gone missing after visiting with her brother at their father's glass factory. When they investigated, they found the doors bolted and the curtains and windows closed. Sensing danger, they broke a window and entered only to discover a pack of goblins playing with the dismembered remains of various humans. They ambushed the goblins and managed to kill several of them, but two escaped into the factory's basement.
Image of the goblin battle in the glassworks.
We picked up right where we left off in the next session. The heroes pursued the goblins into the basement, but foolishly separated from one another. Tsuto, the missing bartender's half-brother, appeared from the shadows and began to pummel the isolated PCs. He badly wounded Het Arrah, the party's paladin, breaking his leg and injuring the others before escaping into some tunnels that led away.
In session seven, the PCs recovered from their injuries. Akram and Vexeld sought out Shalelu in the surrounding hills in order to update her on Tsuto's involvement. She offered to investigate the situation in Nettlewood and Thistletop, where the bartender Ameiko said her brother Tsuto was likely to have returned to, and she said she would meet up with them in Sandpoint after they investigated the glassworks' tunnels further. Akram and Vexeld returned to town, but when they returned to the Rusty Dragon Inn, they found that Vexeld's things had been thrown into the hall. It appeared that his insensitive comments to Ameiko, the rescued bartender, had cost him the free room he was staying in. That evening, a young halfling with a rough face approached the heroes and asked if he could help out. His best friend had been murdered by some of the goblins on their way to Sandpoint and he would like to assist anyone interested in eliminating them.
- New PC: Jyron Huthlin: Halfling pit-fighter (monk).
The following morning, a distraught Shayliss (the young hussy who previously seduced Het) burst into the inn and announced that Het had charged into the tunnels by himself. Overwhelmed with worry, she confessed that she had spent the last couple days in bed with the knight while he recovered from his wounds, but that he snuck out last night. She only learned where he went when she spoke to the night watchmen. Concerned for their friend, Akram and the others gathered their things and went into the tunnels. Their suspense was short-lived. A thousand feet from the entrance to the tunnel they found the paladin's bloodied body. Before he had died, he beheaded some kind of creature and wrote a warning on the wall in his own blood that said the creatures hide in the shadows.
- Het Arrah died. (he was written out as the player wished to retire him - he felt too constrained by the paladin's strict code of honour.)
The heroes and Jyron pulled the body out of the tunnels and cleaned him up, before returning to find out what killed him. Inside the tunnels they found a bricked up section of wall that had recently been opened. Behind it, they found the remains of an ancient structure, but no one knows of what. Some kind of monstrous creature attacked them as they attempted to enter the site. It healed rapidly and attacked them with three talon claws and a vicious bite from its freakish jaw that opened at the chin and contained miniature hands. Deeper inside the ruins, they found a vargouille (a floating head with bat wings instead of ears), and Kalie, the elven archer fired an amazing shot during the surprise round killing it the instant it appeared. They discovered an altar dedicated to Lamashtu, the goddess of monstrous births (and the hated enemy of mid-wives, which is Kalie's primary profession), and behind a pair of skull faced double doors they encountered a tiny one foot tall demoness. The little demoness, who called herself Queen Erylium, proceeded to abuse the heroes badly. The creature appeared and disappeared at will, summoning another "dog-monster" (as the players called the creature with the cleft face) and two monstrous spiders, which combined would eventually kill the foolish Vexeld who charged into the room when he ran out of spells. Erylium placed the killing blow, stabbing her poisonous claw into the disabled elf's head. The surviving heroes fled back to town to regroup and lick their wounds.
- Sheen Vexeld died.
Image of the battle with Erylium.
The next session, session eight, saw the party of heroes return to the ruins better prepared to fight the demoness. After checking with the local sages for information on demons and their weaknesses, they purchased numerous vials of holy water and a couple bags of flour, and they were introduced to Freme, a young scholar of Thassilonian ruins who offered to assist.
- New PC: Freme: Varisian (human) scholar of ancient history and evoker (specialist wizard)
They refused to rest or regain their spells for fear that Erylium would do so also, so they raced the clock to return before sunset (when evil spell casters typically regain their spells). Marching through the chambers, they quickly dispatched another one of the so-called dog-monsters, and they prepared to invade the cathedral chamber behind the double doors. They threw open the skull doors and charged the little queen. It took several rounds, but they were able to cover her with flour enough times to identify her location, which gave Jyron and Akram the chance to tackle the flying imp. Once on the ground, they held her in place while the Kalie poured ounce after ounce of holy water all over her. Hellish screams filled the room as her tiny head was dissolved by the sacred acid.
I have begun picking up numerous tricks that are significantly helping me to run these sessions. Chief among them are macros. Simply put, token macros rule. They save so much time for me, as the GM, in the heat of battle. Full attacks, in particular, are a breeze to set up and execute now. I can have battles with numerous different creatures, all doing different things, and I rarely have to look anything up now. In conjunction with the InitTool, which I use to keep turn order organized, token macros have virtually eliminated the delays on my (the DM's) turn.