Sunday, October 18, 2020

[Petals & Thrones] Session 12: Plenary Assault

Session XII

Having assembled the map & units for overland travel, the trip to Karis from Ramshorn is much less eventful. They find the adventuring corpses, and while passing by Lion Patrols, tell them of what they find and it seemed to be the work of dire wolves. Upon reaching Karis, they meet up with Harlequin, who informs them that the goal of liberating the Eastern Frontier from the oppressive Lions begins today. Morluck attempts to get a better idea of Harlequin's motivation & goals, which partially runs into my own limit of conversational political discussion; forcing me to give an outline of her goals and a "this is a long form debate that we don't have time for."

After a quick bit of deliberation, the party offers the advantage of their allegiance not yet being known, and perform reconnaissance on Karis. They buy some things in the market, repair the contact with Goldblum's supplier (bribing him to make his caravan guards stay at one of Ramshorn's taverns), figure out troop numbers/placement, chat up Bishop Cornelius in the local temple, and Aquilan goes super spy into their central area where contingency plans are stored. After everything is done, they return to Harlequin and begin the war.

The first round is a rout. Offering to improve things even further, the party opts to cut off one of the heads of the leadership, Bishop Cornelius. Surrounded by three Lion patrols in the streets of Karis, he isn't a simple attack; but Harlequin's animate objects provides ten flying knives that really absorb the blows of their counterattack, made all the easier by a fireball from Ribbles. The Bishop was seemingly rescued by an extra patrol that comes up and carry his unconscious body on a knight's steed in the fifth round, but Thoradin takes a ladder to a roof and uses a maximized lightning bolt from his wand (and class feature) on the Bishop. From there, they flee as two more patrols start moving forward.

This assassination assists the Lunatic assault greatly, and allows them to break the enemy line for even more casualties in the second round of mass combat. At this point, there's some debate whether to do yet another assassination, this time for Dame Leona. They retain access to a casting of pass without trace and Colombina's blessing grants advantage to Stealth checks to one person (nominally Thoradin).

It's at this point, we end the session and I prepare things for the next part of the Battle of Karis.

Combat Summary

Round 1 With a +12 bonus, the Lunatics routed the enemies solidly

Round 2 With a +6 bonus, the Lunatics had initially outflanked the Lions, but the PCs upgraded the results to breaking the enemy lines by outright killing Bishop Cornelius.

Round 3 Due to round 2's positioning bonus and the death of Bishop Cornelius, the Lunatics are back up to a +13, the results to be decided next session.

Current Force Disposition

Lunatics 37 patrols

Lions 28 patrols

Sunday, October 11, 2020

[Petals & Thrones] Session 11: Troubles with Trolls

Session XI

Word spreads fast of the party's success with the saboteurs from the Clans of Tiamat, and the Lunatic Court hosts a party a day later to celebrate such. At this party, the heroes play the part of loners, occasionally asking questions as they hear about the growing shadow of war in the Eastern Frontier. Toward the end of the party, Morluck approached Harlequin to ask if he can join the Lunatic Court; getting a solid thumbs up of approval from her and a suggestion to meet in Karis toward the end of the week.

The following morning, everyone but Thoradin hungover from the party, they head downstairs from the Accidental Gryphon & see the mass of merchants and other NPCs ready to offer quests. They go back to their rooms, sleep an extra hour (mumbling "quest log full"), then come back down and begin to talk to the mass to learn of the various needs of the merchants and wizards of Ramshorn. Ultimately, they decide to escort Bruen & Hawk to Mithrallavien and hopefully rest for a few days before they head north to Karis.

The trip to Mithrallavien is quite eventful. As we're using the d20 encounter process, it proves to be pretty eventful as the party runs into five trolls. These galumphing giants are felled, but not before consuming four 3rd level, two 2nd, and two 1st level spells in a terrible mêlée of blood & tears & flame. After a quick rest and slaked thirst from their skins, they return to the trek to the elven village.

That's when the wyverns attack.

Fortunately, they are not ambush predators, so they have some time to gird their loins. Unfortunately, one wyvern descends down upon Morluck to the tune of 65 damage, knocking him out with a flash of blood and venom. After the clash of blade and song of spells are over, everyone takes two short rests to attempt to recoup some of their loss.

Elf town is passing pleasant, especially with two elves leading the group. Morluck cover's Hawk's 100gp tab to ensure the trade deal is made. Once this is done with, they return to Ramshorn and sleep in the Accidental Gryphon's familiar beds. After a few days, the day of the Battle of Karis is at hand, and they set out.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

[Petals & Thrones] Session 10: End State

Session 10

Returning to their exploration of the goblin caverns, they find themselves in the meandering chamber with a number of hobgoblins. About a third survive long enough to retreat to the chamber with Sir Dagai, whom they nearly kill with a fireball from Ribbles, and is finished off with a rapier through the eyes by a surprise jester of the Lunatic Court. The rest of the fight in this room is essentially a rout, with only the goblins surviving to retreat further into the caverns. In an attempt to circumvent a more drawn out fight with cornered goblinoids, Morluck brokers a peaceful withdrawal (Persuasion 17), allowing all remaining goblins in the caverns to exit and seek to rejoin their brothers in the Great Forest without further death.

They get some information out of the thankful red jester, who mentioned working with the goblins against the Order of the Lion and was rescuing the new fiery hobgoblin who was trying to defect back. They sift through the treasure hoard, I presume Sir Dagai's spellbook has all of the spells he's got with his character, and haul it all back to Ramshorn. Morluck takes the long rest to go with Goldblum's next caravan to sell all of the arms and armor they've picked up during these past four weeks.

Upon his return, they hire one of the rangers as a hireling and start their breakfast just before dawn, and are approached by a tiefling they've seen walking around once in a while. She tells them she's found evidence of dragonborn from the North may be infiltrating the woods, and leads them to the woods for them to investigate and confirm one way or another (Deception 28, they fully believe her honesty). Once fully inside the woods, she asks if this is enough evidence, and four dragonborn pop up and begin their attack.

...and the ranger hireling crits the spellcasting dragonborn to death just before he can act, Morluck gets brought to zero by the paladin of Tiamat (having done some damage), and Thoradin manages to find a spot to blast a maximized lightning bolt. The threat of these foreign provocateurs was ended in less than a round. They rifle their pockets for loose loot, tie them up for interrogation, and we end the session with a level up and me preparing for the next module.



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

[Petals & Thrones] Session 9: The Cryptillion

Session IX

The Vlatla Clan has invited our players as well as the Order of the Third Eye to the crypt that had been cleared out. Morluck attempts to inject himself into the conversation between Balthazar & Petre, but the conversation proved to be sufficiently academic that he bailed swiftly. This left Ribbles to pick up the slack, who provided impressive insight toward their academic debate.

Morluck moved over to another conversation, convincing Lilith that she could still have fun among all the stodgy academics, which proved to be 12-year old giggle worthy when she interjected with innuendo during the next conversation about the vermin hives in the Great Forest. The entire party brainstormed quite a few ideas and suggestions for dealing with said vermin while keeping enough around for study.

On the way back to Ramshorn to sleep off the party, they run into a slew of spiders scaring the townsfolk, wandering through the main streets. They notice a Vlatla thrall applying a pheromone to one and demand answers, informed that they were providing free defenses of patrolling spiders to the town, especially since Morluck had very consistently talked about people getting together to help with the region. After calming down the citizens of Ramshorn, the PCs run back to the crypt to talk with Petre Vlatla, and convince him to coordinate with the local leadership before taking such actions. Their friendly relationship works in their favor, so Petre agrees to such a mindset going forward.

The next day, the PCs suit up and head for the goblin cave. As one of Goldblum's hirelings was taken out by a goblin raid on his caravan, and the spiders are shoring up local defenses, he goes ahead and hires all but Trym Tosscobble to protect his caravans this week. They take their route through the backwoods rather than the road, figuring they would be less likely to run into any ambushes (they're right) en route to the goblin cave. Once at the cave, they begin their systematic process of murder and surprise. However, the goblins continue to roll exceptionally well with their Stealth checks to run for cover and warn their hobgoblin friends deeper in the cave. Several well-placed hits certainly make them feel the pain. We end the session right after they find Sir Dagai's correspondence with an unnamed draconic-speaking ally (that it's a draconic-speaker that wrote to the elves is noted).

Sunday, September 6, 2020

[Petals & Thrones] Session 8: A Time to Stomp

 Session VIII

Our party continues their trek deeper into the spiders' nest. We are without Parth this session due to RL conflict. Ribbles, due to his deep gnome heritage, is proving to be by far the stealthiest person in the party (essentially never goes below a 22 with the Stealth check). All of their hirelings are kept in the back, using them as reserve forces for when they enter a larger room. As before, Aquilan's high AC and Morluck's strong attacks keep the smaller encounters from being a threat. They're mildly paranoid, but in a joking way, of the the occasional trapdoor spider due to their surprise attacks.

The second large room they come upon reveals to them the elf corpse's notes necessary for messing with pheromones, and they stop for a time to make a couple doses of self-destruct, which they end up forgetting about and only use one on a spitting spider in the final egg room. 

They are low-key surprised to find the skeleton of a brass dragon in this room, along with its hoard. Morluck negotiates with the Vlatla Clan for additional reward in exchange for the elf corpse's notes on pheromones, managing to get Ribbles access to one of the thrall's spellbook to copy from.

We end the session at this point, skipping the return trip to Ramshorn due to the late hour. Tune in next time for when they do that and attend the Occult Conference.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

[Petals & Thrones] Session 7: Bug Hunters

 Session VII

In this session, we gain a new player to the group. His presence isn't going to be as reliable, so he will be coming in and out in all likelihood.

Parth

  • Race: Shifter (Wildhunt)
  • Class & Background: Gloom Stalker Conclave Ranger

Delving into the spider caves, they make exceedingly quick work as they progress from cavern to cavern. Due to the house rules I'm using for Stealth, the spiders have advantage on their Passive Perception, but not automatic detection. This gives Morluck advantage half the time for the opening round of combat, which combined with Parth's first round insanity, means it's not until four encounters in that a spider even gets to attack. Granted, that one that did attack was a recluse, whose poison damage terrifies the party as it bloodies Morluck in a single blow.

That the spiders aren't organized, nor in communication with each other, giving our stealthy party a severe edge, but the consequences are failure (once realized) are sufficiently high that they feel the tension and dread with the fact they haven't reached the egg room yet. They do, however, run into a large chamber with three giant tarantulas and have a rousing combat there.

They have been searching the bodies for valuables, and we end our session with them finding magic items on slightly fresher (as in a few months instead of a year or two) corpses of members of the Order of the Third Eye. They are debating taking the hour rest for casting identify on the items in this chamber, since there's no alarm from the spiders.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Monster of Folklore: Sun Drake

Large dragon, unaligned

Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 51 (6d10+18)
Speed 20 ft., fly 80 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
19 (+4)10 (+0)16 (+3)5 (−3)12 (+1)6 (−2)

Skills Perception +4
Damage Resistances cold, fire, necrotic, poison, force, slashing
Damage Immunities piercing, radiant
Damage Vulnerability lightning
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages --
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Solar Wings. The drake's wings alternate with the passing of day & night.
  • Day. The wings glow with the brightness of a bonfire.
  • Night. The wings take the form of a cloak of shadow, granting advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks against those using eyesight. During this time, the wings are not functional for flight.
  • Dusk/Dawn. A dim glow on par with a torch, maintaining flight requires concentration.

Actions
Multiattack. The sun drake makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its stinger. While flying, it can use its claws in place of one other attack.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d6+4) piercing damage.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8+4) slashing damage.
Stinger. Melee Weapon Attack +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6+4) piercing damage. The target must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 24 (7d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one.

Lore
More commonly known in the Sword, the region of sandy dunes in the Anauroch, these creatures were originally the chosen of At'ar the Merciless. They have become rare and reclusive since the rise of Amaunator, having chosen to spend much of their time sleeping.

Reflecting the sun, their wings shine brightly during the day and turn into a cloak of darkness during the night. Cloud cover does not change this, which makes sun drakes uncomfortable with storms during the day, strongly preferring to not leave whatever shelter they've found. Retaining their original patron's blessing, their hide cannot be pierced, not even by the rays of the sun. Their weakness to lightning is a sign of Kozah's punishment for At'ar's infidelity.

When active, sun drakes are commonly scavengers, attracted to sites of death and carnage.