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  1. #21

    Default Sessions 24 & 25

    After an extended rest, the heroes set out for the Seven Pillared Hall.

    It wasn't long before they realizd they were being boxed in from two directions by gnolls. As the enemy closed in, they realized they were aided by the Tiefling brothers and seever.

    It was a difficult fight. Seever went down. But in the end, the gnolls proved too tough and the group surrendered. The heroes became prisoners!

    The rescued boar had fled during the battle and ran all the way back to the Seven Pillared Hall. It still had the Silver Key. The Mages used divination magic to determine what happened to the group. They quickly organized a group to go recue them.

    Armed with the key, the rescuers set out to find Paldamar and rescue the Light Crusaders. They stormed the secret towr and did battle with Norkers and Enigmas of Vecna. After the Battle, they approached the portal to take them to the next level.

  2. #22

    Default Sessions 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30

    First, I'd like to apologize for falling behind on this blog, in the off chance that somebody actually reads it.

    I know it probably seemed like the game had sputtered to a halt, but it has in fact been chugging along, with a few snags to be sure, but it is alive and well. I just havn't been documenting it like I should and I intend to get back on track.

    So today I'm going to put down a recap of whats happened since my last post, both in game and out.

    Our group currently consists of five people- Matt, Tom, Alex, and Roy as players and myself as DM. At one time we had two morw players, but they left. We thought we were going to pick up two new players recently but that didn't happen. Yesterday we discussed the situation and decided that we're happy with the current line up and we plan to keep it this way, for now anyway.

    After the original group was captured, we made a new set of characters to go rescue them. I gave an extremely brief account of the first battle we played with those characters in my last post. The second battle was played at Gamesday at Tech and we had the priviledge of playing with a couple of special guest stars who sat in with us for awhile. The third battle was the climax of the adventure and involved both sets of characters- the rescuers and the rescuees as they worked together to bring down the BBEG, the wizard Paldamar and foil his evil scheme. That battle was wild. Epic. When the heroes finally brought him down , I'm sure it came with a real sense of accomplishment.

    At this point we were changing gears yet again to try and accommodate the two new players we thought we were going to get. The plan was to make yet another group of characters to play with the new players and do the Battle of the Seven Pillared Hall, in which Paldamar's forces attacked the Mages of Saruun even as the other heroes were battleing Paldamar. To prepare, I ran my current players through a quick delve to give them a chance to get used to the new characters. The next week we were all prepared to meet the new players and get on with the epic battle, but alas, the new guys were no call, no shows. Rather than do the the battle without them, we decided to just skip it and move on to the next phase of the campaign, dubbed the Festival of Fallcrest. This consisted of a series of skill challenges to let the heroes rub elbows with royalty and commoners alike. In short, a chance to roleplay and gain experience outside of combat. It didn't go as well as I'd hoped but it wasn't an epic fail either. My players all seemed to enjoy it, but I think we all agree that the skill challenge rules still need work.

    I should point out that by now we had adopted a house rule that I call campaign experience. What this means is that players can have as many characters as they wish and they all gain experience concurrently. 4E already made it so all experience is split evenly among the group and all classes require the same amount of experience points to level up, thus making it more likely that everyone will be of the same level. We just took it a step further so that ALL of a players characters, regardless of whether they were on the adventure or not, gain experience and level up with the group. This also means that at any time a player can make a brand new character at the current campaign level (which right now is seven). We want to take this campaign to the 30th level but we don't want to be locked into the same characters. we also realized we'd never get there if we were constantly starting new first level characters. It also takes the sting out of character death- you've always got plenty of other heroes waiting in the wings. i know some people will hate this, but so far we all LOVE it. It's been very liberating.

    The climax of the Festival was the escape of a criminal whom the heroes were then charged with pursuing. This was the lead in to the third adventure, the pyramid of shadows. The first battle involved battling bandits, after which the heroes became captured in the pyramid.

    The first battle inside the pyramid was a tough one- an ettin, two carrion crawlers and some zombies thrown in for fun. It was scary at first, but my players gave a good accounting of themselves. They then discovered the Head of Vyrellis and discovered the true nature of their plight. They made the decision to go north and visit the library where they faced a group of thought-eaters. This battle was tougher than it should have been mostly because everyone rolled so crappy.

    And that's where we are now. I should also point out that that the party is only five characters now instead of six- one for each player and an NPC for me (I love my female halfling bard ). Far from making things harder, I think things are going a lot smoother. We play again next week and I promise to make every effort to get back in the habit of keeping a detailed record of every session from here on out.

  3. #23

    Default Sessions 31 & 32

    We had some issues that kept us from playing for a month, but we've been working hard to get back on track. Unfortunately, we've lost another player. because I'm now without a vehicle, I can't pick up Roy and he can no longer play. Bummer.

    In our 31st session the heroes confronted the first of many of Karavakos' splinters and his though-eater allies. It was a good fight and might have gone worse for the players had they not pulled the wizard out into the main room and engaged him in melee. After another extended rest, the group set out to find the bandits. Along thwe way they encountered some lizard men whom they managed to negotiate safe passge from. Once among the bandits, they concocted a plan to betray the lizardmen and trick them into an ambush. It worked well and though the surviving lizarfd men retreated to their home turf, the combined force of bandits and the party won through.

    After a disagreement over the lizardmen's treasure, the party decided to part ways with the bandits. They decided to fight their way to the Grand stair and the next level. Next they battled arboreal gurds- harpys and sahuagin. This battle consisted of both aquatic and ariel combat and proved to be quite challenging.

    After yet another extended rest, the party went to the hall of pillars to liberate vyrellis' body. Unfortunately, it turned out to be another trap laid by Karavakos and they soon found themselves engaged in battle with a very powerful headless corpse. It was a wild fight and might have resulted in more carnage had the heroes not made maximum use of their healing surges.

    Afterwards the party settled in for yet another extended rest in preperation of taking the Stair.

    Next: The arboreals won't be denied!

  4. #24


    Sessions 33, 34, 35, 36. 37, and 38
    Wow. Has it been that long since my last update? I will make every effort to get back to doing this weekly.

    Quick synopsis:
    The heroes cleaned out the first level. First the bandits, then the Arboreals and lastly the Charnel Lord. It was a long bloody fight, but the heroes realized they could trust no one in this place and simply stopped trying to negotiate. Now they're a wrecking crew, charging through the pyramid like a cyclone. So far they haven't met the monster that can slow them down, much less stop them.

    They've hit the second level hard, storming the Sundered Temple and it's Foulspawn guardians. Now they have to determine where the splinter of Karavakos is and how tto wrest the gem containing the splinter of Vyrellis from Dragon.

    The group has become mildly concerned by the behaviour of Foxglove who seems to have become obsessed with the Library and insists on spending each extended rest there. While there is no denying that the Library has been useful to them, providing them with rituals and information helpful to retraining, Foxglove spends way too much time among it's stacks, listening to the Whispers that drive other mortals mad. Could she be falling under the pyramids thrall?

    NEXT: Whatever you do, don't make Dragon mad!

  5. #25


    SESSION 39 Live at Imperial!

    Yesterday was our first session at the game store. It was great! Greg and the guys were great, the room was great- cool, clean, well-lit and quiet. We all enjoyed it immensely and look forward to next week.

    The heroes went toe to toe with a splinter of Karavakos- or what was left of one. The creature was an abomination, twisted by the foul magic of the Far Realm. Chained and held within a maelstrom of wild magic, it strained at it's chains to reach them. They quickly deduced that toppling the statues that anchored the spell would destroy the maelstrom. Unfortunately, the abomination freed itself and attacked just as they brought down the ward. A fierce battle ensued with lashing tentacles and lots of teleporting and sliding.

    After defeating the Splinter, they retired to the great hall for an extended rest. Next they investigated mysterious tunnels that turned into a trap in which they had to fight strange mind flayer like creatures.
    The group barely escaped this encounter with their lives. Vimak came dangerously close to having his brains eaten. The party slunk back for an extended rest, but I don't think they've seen the last of the Heart of Madness...

    NEXT: Take down Dragon or back to the Heart?

    UPDATE: Some pics Matt took.

    Last edited by Doug James; 08-23-2009 at 06:53 PM.

  6. #26

    Default Session 40

    Back to the Imperial! Er, The Rifleman! Whatever!

    Another good session at the gamestore. One small complaint, they opened our door, I'm assuming to let some of the cool air from our AC out into the main store. No real problem there, but it got hard to hear each other at times

    The group decided to go after Dragon. Getting to it proved difficult, as Dragon was guarded by a troop of Winter Eladrin and their crazy ice sheet. What followed was a ridiculous battle in which our heroes were constantly falling on their butts and faces while trying to do battle with some pretty tough foes.

    The beginning of this battle was tough mostly because the Eladrin effectively neutralized the groups heavy hitters- Vimac and Judson. Because the eladrin were unnaffected by the ice sheet and could teleport, they frustrated all efforts to attack them directly. It was only after some lucky die rolls allowed the group to get far enough out on the ice to mark the enemy and force them to engage, that they turned the tide. Unfortunately, they could not stop the Eladrin leader from escaping to warn Dragon.

    There was no battle with dragon. Upon meeting it, the heroes determined that it seemed in no hurry to fight and open to talk, so they sought to negotiate for the gem that contained part of vyrrellis's life force. Grynt and Foxglove largely carried this skill challenge by succsessfully convincing Dragon that the (now dead) Foulspawn were a threat to it and that they could neutralize it with the gem. I don't think the group is happy about walking away with Dragon (and the Eladrin) still alive and to cause them poltential problems as they approached the endgame with Karfavakos. I expect they may return to finish the job.

    Next, the heroes approached the third level of the pyramid. They found a creepy mausoleum where they were engaged by wraiths, wights and carnel rats. It was scary at first, but the heroes turned the tide rather quickly, once Vimac and Smylar were able to pull the old "surround me with your blade barrier while I immobilize our foes so they can't escape from it" routine.

    Got to see some folks I haven't seen since Charcon like Nick and Corey. We talked about Charcon and stuff. That got me kinda excited about Charcon.
    It's getting close... .

    NEXT: Fear

  7. #27

    Default Session 41

    Got off to a rough start. We got to the store at 10:30 but didn't get started until noon due to laptop issues. Turned out OK though, because right then was when our newest player Calvin showed up.

    The heroes went after Dragon. It was a long battle, taking most of the day. It was tough, everyone had a chance to shine. The highlight for me was Judson taking out the ice columns to prevent the blizzard speaker fromusing them to teleport. After the battle, Smylar raised a dwarf that had been frozen in one of the ice blocks and he joined the group as a henchnan.

    Next they finished off the twisted mind flayer, officially clearing out the second level. Returning to the third level they entered another chamber that seemed to be a shrine to undead. They had just enterexd battle with tomb guardians when we had to break off for the night.
    I forgot my camera, so this is the only pic I have this week.

    We had a great time, Calvin is a welcome addition, I hope he sticks around.

    No game next week, we'll take a break.

  8. #28

    Default Session 42

    Great Session this week!

    Too bad Calvin couldn't make it, but work comes first.

    Got a late start because Alex had Upward Bound and Matt missed his bus, but we did finally get started around 2.

    We jumped back into the battle of the Shrine to Undeath. Those Tomb Guardians are nasty! Joined by a Skull Lord and a host of Vampire Spawn, this turned into one of the toughest encounters my group has had in awhile.

    I can't remember the last time I had one of them on the ground, much less failing death saves to the point they were trying to figure out which magic items to disenchant so Smylar would have enough residuum to cast the Raise Dead ritual. Heh, heh.

    Alas, once the tomb guardians started falling, the battle was soon over. After some quick math, I determined that we had enough experience to go up to level 10. After another extended rest in the Library, they returned to the next room on level 3, whih turned out to be the lair of the last slinter of Karavakos, Kravak the Damned.

    I warned my players that once they defeat this splinter, they will have to rush to the inner sanctum to defeat Karavakos before he escapes. They now realized that there is a whole section of level 3 they will not get a chance to clear.

    More, I've been letting them get away with murder with the extended rests on this adventure. There will be no extended rest after this battle. Whatever they use here, they won't have for the BBEG.

    We got part of the battle with Kravak over, I expect to get it over with and then - GRAND FINALE time!


  9. #29

    Default Session 43

    We had a full group this week with calvin returning and our newest player Matt P. Welcome Matt!

    We picked up in the middle of the battle with Kravak the Damned. Until his muscle went down, then he bacame Kravak the Pinata. He didn;t even have a basic melee to make opportunity attacks. What a loser!

    After they had the key, the heroes made for the Inner Sanctum and quickly solved the puzzle to unlock the door.

    As the door opened, however, they were ambushed by Shadow Karavakos and four Dark Stalkers. The group had to defeat them while saving dailies for the final battle. It wasn't easy.

    Afterwards they pushed on to fight Karavakos!

    The way Karavakos could mind hop from minion to minion made it an interesting battle- until the minions were gone. Then he went down rather quickly.

    When he fought his way back to the top of the ziggarat and began to channel the power of the Pyramid, however, the heroes started to sweat.

    He only did it for two turns though, then he failed his save and blew up.


    This ended the encounter and the adventure. The rest of the session was pretty much me talking, describing the scene that took place after the Pyramid exploded- mainly to Judsion who was the only one in the group not dead or unconscious.

    It went something like this:
    They were amongst the ruins of the Pyramid on the plain of Avernus, the first layer of Hell. The pit fiend Bale was about to harvest all of the souls the Pyramid had accumulated when he was confronted by the Goddess of Death, the Raven Queen. She demanded the souls as her rightful property and restored the heroes as thanks for releasing them. She ordered Bale to reward them for defeating his trap and provided a door for them to escape to Sigil.

    Once in Sigil, they said farewell to Vyrrellis and heard Foxglove's plans for what she intended to do next- namely how she had discovered in the Pyramid's Library the means of destroying the god Vecna and how she intended to persue it.

    Next: The Foxglove Imperative!

  10. #30

    Default Session 44 Ashenport

    This week started a new adventure, Ashenport. The players are Alex, Matt B, Tom, Matt P, Mike, Hannah, and John.

    I'm really jazzed for this one, it's a relatively short (11 encounter) survival horror story. Plus I have a large group of enthusiastic, experienced players- a DM's dream.

    We were late getting started, had to deal with character issues and spent a bit of time roleplaying and doing background.

    It was late before we actually entered combat, and we had to break early so we didn't finish it. They had spent several turns fighting cultists and Vimak the Warden had just gotten grabbed by a tentacle and dragged towards the woods.

    I think we paused at the spot where the players were just beginning to realize just how tough this battle really was...

    I'm really looking forward to the next game.

    Next: What could be worse than cultists?

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