Rock Hammer Hold

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 Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it

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Sam the DM
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PostSubject: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:25 pm

After well-deserved week of rest you are once again summoned to the High Hall.

“Greetings, friends,” intones Elder Cadrick as you approach the dais upon which he and the city’s other four leader stand. “We have received a desperate message from Megan Swiftblade, leader of the Free Riders, who you might remember. The Free Riders have discovered that General Zithiruun had a powerful ally in his recent attack on the city. Although she does not identify this ally in her message, Megan has already survived three attempts on her life and fears that more will follow. If we help here, she will tell us who was ultimately behind the attack, hopefully in time to prevent another.”

“Again, we find ourselves in need of aid, and again we call upon you. Travel to the town of Wageton and find out what Megan knows. Keep her safe, neutralize any immediate threat to her, and then return her to us.”

You get a chance to question Elder Cadrick a bit to hopefully glean some more information. You know of Wageton very well, having been there several times (including the Barrow of the Forgotten King adventure where Umberto picked up Merthuvial). Although Megan doesn’t know who is behind the attacks on her, she believes it to be the ally she is threatening to name. She makes no mention of where she is staying, saying only that they should leave a message for her at the Green Dragon tavern.

The journey to Wageton is long but not overly arduous. Just before dusk, you arrive at the village’s tavern and inn, the Green Dragon. Having secured rooms for the night and left your message, you take your rest in the dimly lit common room. Megan’s message to the council stated that she would contact its emissaries only after making sure you had not been followed. All you can do now is slake your thirst and wait.

The Green Dragon is a typical two-story village tavern. Its outer walls are dressed stone, while internal walls and floor are stout oak board laid over thick joists. The roof is slate, and a small beer cellar is found under the common room. Inside and outside shutters keep the evening chill at bay.

The common room takes up the majority of the first floor, with a large fireplace opposite the bar filling the area with warmth and light. The walls are covered in faded tapestries showing hunting and woodland scenes. The second floor houses the inn’s guests.

While you wait, you have a chance to strike up a conversation with some of the customers:

Bernath – owner, human male

Niall – 12-year-old song of Bernath

Leucis – merchant? tiefling male

Sariel – elf female, sitting by herself

Farmers – a handful of them in here, sittings in groups of one to three.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:49 am

And here is a picture of the tavern:

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Wil

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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:34 pm

The dwarf will seat himself at the bar and begin a conversation with the owner, ostensibly about the selection of ale and lager available, but also to find out what's been happening recently in the area. The dwarf will also try to not consume too much of of the fine selection of ale and lager.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:55 pm

You go up and talk to Bernath and he seems the typical, jovial and portly barkeep that you would expect. He jokes that the Green Dragon boasts exceptional wines (5 gp per bottle, money up front) in the cellar, but that you probably wouldn't be interested in that. Occasionly you see him glance at the boy Niall, and you get the impression that he is the kid's dad. Bernath doesn't have any recent news of Wageton. "We're just simple folk, trying to get through these times." He says with a smile.

After talking to him for a bit you get the impression that his cheery disposition is a front.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:16 am

Bastion follows the Vice-P's lead and casually saunters near the elf female's (Sariel) table. Paying keen attention to her attire (local, traveler, adventurer, etc.) and what she may be consuming, Bastion will address her cordially in elven, introduce himself, and ask if he may join her. If she accepts, he will mention that he over heard the keeper boasting about his wines, and would enjoy sharing a bottle with her, putting the Green Dragon's cellar to the test. Again, if she accepts, he will ask what brought her into the inn this evening (if she appears local) or how her travels have faired so far and what brought her to Wageton (if she appears traveler/adventurer)? Bastion will pay close attention to her tone and body language, searching for truth and intention.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:37 am

Sariel carries the weapons and armor of a warrior, and seems to be humming a tuneless song while nursing her ale. Although she is polite to Bastion, she seems tightlipped about her reasons for being in Wageton. She smiles when offered to share the bottle of wine and holds up her ale, "I'm good, thanks."

While you make small talk with her you glance around the room and can see some of the other patrons sizing her up, perhaps trying to speculate on why she is in town or what she does for a living. She doesn't appear to be a local at all.
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Lou

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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:41 pm

Umberto will greet the farmers personally taking time to say hello, shake hands and all that. In addition he will offer each group to a round on the Prez. Listening to their concerns and perhaps any rumors they have heard recently. After a while the prez will introduce himself to the tiefling, ask him what wares he carries, if he is indeed a merchant.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:58 am

The down-to-earth (down-to-Faerun?) farmers appreciate the round of beers, especially as the President does it in small circles. To them it seems more genuine, and not as if Umberto was trying to show off or anything by making a lout proclamation about it. They exchange pleasant conversation, but really don't have a lot to talk about. Except corn. That they can talk a lot about.

Umberto makes his way over to Leucis (the tiefling) and learns that he is a cloth merchant, and by the looks of his frail body, he has been doing this for a long time. "I'd like to dump my wares and be done with it for good. Business has been rough and I just don't have the strength anymore. I saw you buying drinks for everyone, so you adventurer type must be well off. What say you buy me out, everything I own, for say...you know what. I like you. A thousa- no wait. Eight hundred gold pieces, and it is all yours. And you'd make a tired old tiefling happy."

While the merchant is speaking you notice that the boy Niall, is pretending to wipe down a nearby table. In reality he is actually trying to swipe some coins that had fallen underneath Leucis's chair.
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Lou

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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:01 pm

Umberto glances at the boy then gives him several coins and instructs him to clean up elsewhere. Using Chorus of Truth from Merthuvial, Umberto will ask the old merchant why he wants to dump his wares so quickly.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:21 pm

You can tell by the look on his face that the boy is shocked that he got caught, and quickly scampers away.

Umberto engages Chorus of Truth and finds the merchant to be honest. While there is a bit of showmanship in his delivery to sell the goods, he does seem genuine in his reasons why he wants to get out.

As you are about to ask him something else the tavern begins to shudder violently as if in the grip of a powerful storm. Tipped tankards slosh ale to the floor as several patrons are knocked back in their chairs. Window shutters bang wildly as the shaking increases, the floor and walls bucking as if alive. In panic, the other patrons stagger to their feet and attempt to flee in chaos.

Out of the corner of your eye you see one of the terrified locals crouching beneath a table, whimpering as the tavern is torn apart around him

**Skill Challenge**

This is probably a good place to stop the forum campaign and save the rest for the 29th.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:47 pm



Wil and I made condition markers for the group! Some of you might recognize the wooden squares from the Raven's Wing adventure as you helped Randal Morn defend the keep against an army of orcs. We have a legend on the grease board saying what color means what condition. The uncolored ones with the initials on them are for targets you mark.



This is the flowchartfor our current adventure (Beyond the Mottled Tower). The brown boxes are interactions, the orange ones are Skill Challenges, the green ones are Tactical Encounters, and the blue ones are either Extended Rests or when you Level Up. I hope to get through the first Tactical Encounter after the first Extended Rest on Sunday.



This is the new and improved "Blaine's Board" (I hope he likes it!)



Last, an overview of the setup. Wil is working on a new initiative board, with each of our names on a magnetic card, and then being able to change them on the fly. You can kinda see where our outline of it is on the big board.
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Geoff

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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:16 pm

Looks good, fellas! I would say that we could make the lines on the board with permanent marker so that they aren't so thick. Also, the flowchart takes some of the mystery out of the game! Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:48 pm

Geoff wrote:
Looks good, fellas! I would say that we could make the lines on the board with permanent marker so that they aren't so thick.

Let's just say we had a few failed attempts to do that with permanent markers. We'll give it a try with the tape we have on it now, and if we need the extra room we'll tweak it.


Geoff wrote:
Also, the flowchart takes some of the mystery out of the game! Razz

True, but I don't think it gives too much away. I think it would be a good way to plan your daily's and action points so they are used wisely.
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Wil

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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:07 am

The board is done in tape so Blaine (who is technically the keeper of the board) can offer his input. I'll redo the lines later in either perm. marker or small electrical tape
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:41 pm

The heroes were…heroic in getting the townsfolk out of the tavern quickly before the roof caved in. Something that Bastion had noticed was going to happen soon. Grognak helped the tiefling merchant with a beam that fell on his head, and Bastion got the elf fighter out of a collapsed hole in the ground.

DM NOTE – excellent job here, the complexity for this skill challenge was a 5 (which is the most difficult) which means you needed 12 successes before 3 failures. The only failure you got was Bastion falling into the cellar, but that was only because he just happened to be standing there. Had you failed this challenge, you would have only had two rounds to rescue the pregnant woman in the cart in the next encounter instead of five rounds. Frankly, you would have saved her.

As you got everyone safely out of the Green Dragon Tavern you noticed a majority of the town was on fire, and villagers were running down the hill with a dark shape oozing down the streets behind them.

The heroes snapped into action, racing up the hill to face a handful of strange creatures that emerged from the Blood Chaos, a strange lava-like ooze of raw elemental essence. Also, a pregnant woman on a wagon was surrounded by the Blood Chaos.

The Lords of Rock Hammer quickly dealt with the creatures and the president himself whisked the woman away at the last moment (5th and final round to save her). From here the heroes could see that the magma-like flow won’t stop until they do it themselves. From atop the hill they could see two figures on top of the Mottled Tower, waving frantically.

As they approached, the tower began to sink into the ground, allowing them to jump to the roof and speak to the individuals. They were an unknown sage (Serten) and Megan Swiftblade who was limping due to a broken leg. Before she would say anything about what was going on, she told you that her friend Falrinth had to be rescued from within the tower. She also added that several of his “experiments” escaped and were running loose. She described them as being two mezzodemons (which the heroes fought in the boss battle against them and Queen Shephitiah at the end of the Lost Mines of Karak Lode adventure). Also there were two grimlocks and a foulspawn seer.

Sure enough, the party engaged the monsters on the 4th floor. The fight, due to cramped quarters, proved to be difficult for the heroes but of course, they prevailed.

On the bottom floor the party found Falrinth hiding under a table. The only words from the stuffy old mage was for him to be taken to Megan. The party had cleared the way for him to ascend to the roof on his own while they poked their heads down a hole in the floor.

Below the tower was a series of tunnels and caves. Bastion heard a voice speaking the words of a ritual. Grognak immediately recognized that as being a Linked Portal ritual and that the speaker was close to completion. The rest of the heroes paused and did a double-take. Did the barbarian just say that?!?

Four of the heroes jumped into the caverns in the first round and spied two githyanki warriors , eight troglodyte warriors and the shadar-kai witch performing the ritual on a teleportation circle for them to escape. Just in the back of this cavern were three huge Mario-brothers-like green tubes, two of the three were open and pouring Blood Chaos into Wageton.

The battle was on and the shadar-kai witch proved difficult. One of the githyanki warriors got shoved into the Blood Chaos and never made it out, nor did it ever get a chance to attack. After the fight, Althalus (not Grognak) managed to use his strength to get the Blood Chaos tubes shut.

Having saved what was left of Wageton, the heroes returned to the top of the Mottled Tower and spoke with Falrinth and Megan. This Skill Challenge got off to a bad start (two failures in the first three attempts), but the heroes rallied and landed five consecutive successes to win it. The funniest part was Bastion deferring to (and forcing Althalus) into a skill check.

DM NOTE – Nice comeback. Had you failed this skill challenge you would have been surprised in the next encounter.

The heroes learned a great deal of what was going on:

  • Falrinth had no idea that tunnels existed under his tower.

  • Falrinth does not know the attackers and has no notion of who they work for. He has no enemies that he is aware of, and knows no shadar-kai

  • Once Falrinth was given the sigil sequence of the teleportation circle the shadar-kai withc was working on, Falrinth was able to recognize the site as a permanent circle in the Evermoor Swamp, about 125 miles to the west. The swamp is known for its rampant primordial fauna and huge trees.

  • Three assassination attempts have so far been made against Megan and the Freeriders. The rest of the group have scattered across the Silver Marches in an attempt to prevent further attacks.

  • Through a mercenary band that escaped from the failed attack on Overlook, the Freeriders discovered that a shadar-kai arms dealer – Sarshan* - was providing mercenaries, intelligence, support, and even arms and armor to the githyanki assault led by General Zithiruun.

  • Sarshan’s current plots revolve around something called Blood Chaos, with which he means to take retribution against Overlook and the Silver Marches.

  • Falrinth surmises that the purple-and-orange ooze that was flowing into Wageton was Blood Chaos. Falrinth knows that dozens of secret and hidden portals are scattered across the Silver Marches. Sarshan’s mastery of portal and planar magic gives him the power to deliver Blood Chaos to any part of the Silver Marches. What happened here in Wageton will be repeated all across the land unless Sarshan can be stopped.

  • Sarshan was just here. He opened the tubes under Wageton to release the flow of the Blood Chaos, and then vanished through the portal below while the others finished up some last minute details.


*Sarshan – The first time you ran into Sarshan he posed as a “Brenat”, a strange man you met at the Happy Beggar in Overlook as you were hunting Modra, who had put a bounty on your head.

Through your travels you ended up in the Shadowfell in pursuit of your target. While you killed him inside Umbraforge you continued on to look for a return to Overlook. On the roof of the structure, learning for the first time, that he was behind all of the attacks on Overlook.

With the help of Falrinth you managed to get the teleport circle working again, and after an extended rest, you were ready to activate it and chase down Sarshan.



The following is a "flashback" (in violet) is from your first real encounter with Sarshan in the Shadowfell:


Seeing the better part of valor, the party puts their weapons down and seconds later, the portal flares with light and in walks Brenat, the individual the party met at the Happy Beggar. He appears much stronger than he first did. He boldly walking to the captain as the rest of the shadar-kai salute and says he is Sarshan and he demands an explanation.

Before the heroes can really get into it, the grizzled captain (Thannu) interrupts and delivers a military-style report of the group’s incursion into the tower, noting the areas they’ve infiltrated and the number of dead and wounded. As he is wrapping up, a messengers arrives and whispers something to Sarshan, who turns to the group with a look of wonder.

Quote :
“You are, quite literally, the last people I ever expected to see here. The charges leveled by my captain warrant torture and death. However, I am told that an episode of sabotage in my foundry appears to have been thwarted, and that the traitorous Bezias has been executed by persons unknown. What might you know of this?”

The heroes explain what happened, how followed Bezias into the Shadowfell, how he tried to kill them in Overlook.

Sarshan smiles,
Quote :
"As far as you’ve managed to infiltrate my operations, I can only assume you know a little of who I am. My wealth and reputation turn largely on honor, obligation, and secrecy. When I spoke to you of Bezias, I hoped you would kill him and save me the risk of more exposure than he had already caused. The fact that you journeyed here to do the job is a surprise, but for your party in end his threat to me and whatever he meant to do in the foundry, I am in your debt. However, for your role in the death of my personal guards, you are more greatly in mine. Here is a bargain that balances the obligation for off of us. Join me.”

The heroes gasped at this. But they were clearly outnumbered.

Quote :
“Your skill at arms is clearly first rate. I offer you a place to use and advance that skill. Moreover, I offer you a place where you might live long enough to enjoy the fruits of your bravery. In a month, or six, or a year, your world will be a place you will not want to live. Join me here instead.”

Quick glances are exchanged by the heroes, Umberto asks of Sarshan’s intentions.

Quote :
“Though I am nicely positioned to take advantage of these things, I know relatively little yet. What I do know, I cannot share for professional reasons, but trust me when I say that you do not want to know. Name your choice, friends.”

The heroes looked back and forth, many of them bloodied, battlered, and exhausted. The President stepped forward and told the shadar-kai that no deal would be made.

The shadar-kai's dark eyes blaze, but he smiles as he shakes his head.

Quote :
"Your conviction is to be commended. A pity it failed you in the end."

Then suddenly, an ear-splitting explosion shakes the tower. Near the eastern side of the chambers, one of Sarshan's guards shouts out: "My lord! The foundry is in flames!" The guards are in motion, Sarshan all but ignoring you as he barks orders. One group is sent to the foundry, and another receives orders to keep the mercenary camps under control. Sarshan takes a last squad of chainfighters with him as he moves for the lift. Thannu and his panthers are the only ones left with you.

Quote :
"If I was as cruel as my reputation implies, I would send you back to watch your world die," Sarshan calls. "Be thankful that I am merciful."

Then he turns to Thannu:

Quote :
"Kill them."



As you shift through the haze of the portal, you emerge on a wooden platform forty feet up, set upon a skeletal branch of an immense oak tree. This stands in the middle of a dismal fog-shrouded swamp, the tree surrounding by a lake of Blood Chaos. Its huge roots snake through the boiling ooze like great vipers, while above you, a thick canopy of leaves cuts the light to a perpetual gloom.

Kregnok cautiously sniffs the air, “There be dragons here.”
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:08 pm

I think this is where the Four Ravens went wrong....

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Lou

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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:06 pm

That was awesome.
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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:17 pm

B R I L L I A N T !
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Geoff

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PostSubject: Re: Marpenoth 21st – 29th – A short rest, then back at it    Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:09 pm

Nice!
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