Dungeons & Dragons Catch up

I’ve gotten really far behind and I’m sorry about that. So here’s a catch up of both games I’m running.

Divine Contention – The Leilon gang

This game is still going strong. The party secured the Gnomegarden Grenade and support from Lord Neverember (they returned by teleport, so no naval episodes on the return) with little difficulty, and then I moved into the Siege stages. The party repulsed the first attackers, but of course the town was overwhelmed anyway. They fought a battle at the docks and turned to hunt the drummers. This went awry when the dragon appeared.

Once again, a dragon made little headway against this group and it was quickly pushed off. The party followed the dragon and fought it alongside the Swords of Leilon at the tower. Here again, the dragon was quickly in a critical way, the possessing Ebondeath fled empty handed and the dragon crashed into the town. (The mysterious shop that the village didn’t know what the players were on about was a cool touch).

Saviours of Leilon… rejoicing in the streets. But some loose ends. Ebondeath’s ghost was still there and it wasn’t long before the party headed off to resolve this issue.

The party found the entrance with help from their friendly Lizardfolk villagers (from an early foray into the Mere) and descended into the outhouse (the small building over the entrance really reminded us Australians of the old outhouse.

The moved through the crypt with little real difficulty. Even the ghost didn’t really faze them. Ebondeath was dropping quickly, with an AC of 15 he was reasonably able to hit – the ranger was doing 30-60 damage per round. Even his possession wasn’t working well, he tried it twice without success and even as I increased his hit points to push a couple more rounds it didn’t help. Ebondeath was down. And a pile of treasure secured.

They returned to town and have just set out to sink the Stormlord cultists galleon. Divine Contention is almost complete.

Saltmarsh crew.

Not so far behind on this game. The Mariners Guild has hired the party to clear cultists, pirates and undead from an island so they can safely build a lighthouse.

They managed to get onto the island with very little trouble, the random number generator got them almost all the way across the skeleton beach safely. Once on the island they quickly found, then descended into the undamaged basement.

Here they fought the surviving cultist in a large brawl across the main open room. This went on for several terms, but some crowd control by the party kept the enemy numbers manageable. And cleared the entire floor, except for a single prisoner, a mercenary who traded his way for a lift off the island.

He revealed the existence of a treasure hoard, though he wasn’t exactly sure what. He did know how to start looking.

The party headed off to find this treasure. At the same time it would satisfy the “clear the island” direction…. just doing their job.

Their first opponents included a Bodak, an undead that radiates necro damage. This had much of the party backing away for the fight. They hadn’t tried healing or resting since the first fight.

But they got through and began exploring the small passageways, uncovering trap after trap. A room with a Crystal Minotaur Statue had them in trouble. The backed the party down a passage, hoping to lure the Statue into one of the traps. It would have worked except they managed to kill it before it got to the trap. In other luck, a Turned undead ogre tripped a trap for them as well.

They uncovered the fake treasure and were quite disappointed by the note in the empty chest. The session ended with the party about to fight the guardians in the real treasure room………

D&D – Saltmarsh: The Emperor

While there have been a couple of missed sessions, I notice its now June and I haven’t updated since March. So…

The Saltmarsh crew were hired by a merchant to salvage a ship. A lost ship of his fleet had been recently spotted adrift. They were tasked with retrieving a strongbox from the ship, and would be paid handsomely. The crew turned down the offer of a ship as they preferred to take their own…

After a few days sail, they found the ship, looking weatherbeaten and with no sign of life on board. They had their crew take a boat over and tie up alongside while the adventurers headed onboard.

The deck was clear but damage, and spiders, were everywhere. Venturing inside, the party was immediately set upon by an ettercap and a couple of giant spiders. Some of the smaller spiders swarmed together to attack as well.

They were bested fairly easily and the crew ventured further in.

They came upon an ominous sight – an alter to Lloth, in her guise as Queen of Spiders. Not a positive sign, though it goes some way to explaining all the spiders.

Opening a cabin door they surprised a rather decrepit man inside. The man tossed aside the bone he had been chewing and attacked. The party overwhelmed him as well. This man was dressed in rags and looked like he’d been eating poorly. The ship just got stranger and stranger.

The hallway opened a little, but they were ambushed by more spiders, this time including a phase spider. It ghosted around as they fought, but again the party was victorious.

They found the opening to the hold, but decided to clear this deck of any threats before heading further in. This decision would prove its worth soon.

Here they found three, well, three cocoons? They were wriggling so the party suspected they might have people inside and started to slice one open.

They were met by a ferocious set of teeth. A maw demon raged out of the webs and two more quickly attacked. The party struggled a little, but put the demons down.

Returning to the hold, Hangs (our tabaxi) leapt down into the gloom.

He discovered, much to his dismay, that the hold was about waist deep in seawater. A rather wet and bedraggled tabaxi began to search the hold.

About halfway along he found their prize. A large crate marked with an A. Just as he was attempting to move the crate, 3 ghouls leapt out of the water.

Hangs took a couple of severe blows, and managed little in return. Some of the party jumped to help while others fired from a distance. During the fight, the ship trembled and shook a couple of times. A noise like splintering wood could also be heard.

Just as the ghouls sank beneath the dark water, mighty tentacles burst through the hull, sweeping across the room. It was only chance that saved anyone from damage.

The party attempted to move the crate, but found it much heavier than they had expected and it took two people. They found that with two, they could move it slowly across the deck.

And a race against time as the giant octopus started to take the ship apart. They heaved the crate up to the next floor. The ship settled into the water, the hold filling behind them. They continued to drag the crate along corridors and up to the main deck. Outside they could hear yells and screams.

Finally onto the main deck they discovered another ettercap had leapt onto the parties’ longboat in order to make an escape. Hangs, not being lumbered with the crate leapt over the side to land on the shoulders of the ettercap. Almost his only nice roll of the night saw a mighty blow and he managed to stay on the shoulders.

Back on deck, Reek had the crate ready to lower from the ship. Tentacles continued to lash across the deck and the boat listed over to port. The port side of the deck was now level with the water.

Reek had a great idea and let go of the rope. The heavy crate dropped down towards the longboat and a nicely lucky roll saw it crush the last of the life from the ettercap. Even better, Hang’s finest roll of the night saw him leap aside at the last minute, flip over and land with a flourish on the bow of the longboat.

With the ettercap gone and the crate loaded, the remaining members clambered into the longboat which pushed of with great haste.

Back at the ship, they hurriedly made sail, keen to vacate the area where the giant octopus was busily tearing the other ship apart.

As they sailed back they did investigate the crate and lockbox inside but quickly decided that they didn’t have the skills or magic to open it up.

Finally, the party returned to town, returned the goods and was handsomely paid their 10,000GP. Well, actually a promise note at a nearby bank.

As they settled into their beers and dinner, the party is approached by a member of the Mariner’s guild with a job….

D&D – Saltmarsh – Lizardfolk!

Their mission was clear. Deliver the lizard folk and their goods to the lizard folk base and determine if they were a threat to Saltmarsh. A successful mission would see them as the owners of The Sea Ghost.

It was only about 3 hours sail to the landing place shown to them by the lizards. Extremely close to town for a group that seems to be arming themselves. The sea elf accompanied them, so he could find out for his people.

Following their lizard escorts, the party went ashore and travelled across a headland to find the hidden entrance. The lizard escorts made this entry fairly amicable and they were handed over to a guard officer, who took them to see the Lizardfolk Queen.

The Queen and her advisors were a lot more fluent in common and the introductions went very smoothly.

It was quickly clear that the Lizardfolk were arming themselves to retake their home, further up the coast, that had been taken from them by a band of sahuagin. They also had emissaries visiting from the menfolk, the koalinth and the locathah. The sea elves had not been invited due to animosity between them and the koalinth. Humans had not been invited as the Queen couldn’t see the benefit of land dwellers in what would be a sea or undersea fight.

The party suggested that perhaps they could help with weapons, suggesting things like crossbows could also be added. More conversation ensued

At the end, the queen said that she would consider their proposals and respond soon. She would call them back when she was ready to discuss. In the meantime, they could roam freely within the Lizardfolk’s home.

Which the party did. They were asked not to enter a few sleeping chambers, and one area which the Lizardfolk used other creatures to guard the entranceway.

Wandering around they made a good impression on the lizards. Especially when they demonstrated the power and accuracy of the crossbows to the soldiers. This scored them a lot of points.

There was a tense moment when the koalinth emissaries spied the sea elf with the party. However, in the spirt of peace, and that the elf quickly moved away, nothing occurred.

Koalinth – basically sea orcs

In the end the queen agreed to send two emissaries to Saltmarsh, to begin negotiations. The party returned to the Sea Ghost, and sailed back to Saltmarsh.

This session was entirely RP’d. The session completed the entire Danger at Dunwater without any fighting. There were a few persuasion and insight checks. A couple of moments where there party did think about poking in where they had been asked not to but they did not.

Throughout their visit, the DM tracks what kind of an impression they are making on the Lizardfolk. Doing good things, establishing good relationships, being courteous would add numbers, with bad things, like releasing sahuagin prisoners or fighting with emissaries would reduce the number. At the end, if the number was high enough the queen would send them home with emissaries.

The party was probably meant to kill the lizards back on the ship, but that’s not what happened, so they entered this module in a very different place to the normal. I gave them a high positive number to start with because of that, and for returning the weapons. They treated courteously with the queen and friendly to their youngsters. They hit it off with the soldiers by showing them the additional weapons and (apart from the koalinth) were friendly to the other emissaries. They got a high number quite easily. (and were so close, and the session was about to end, so I didn’t feel like running the extra killer croc event)

Now they have some time off (they think) in Saltmarsh while the crown and the Lizardfolk negotiate….

D&D – Saltmarsh – Onboard the Smugglers.

I’m writing this about a month after, so I will probably be a little light on the details.

The party spent a couple of nights waiting for the ship, before almost at dawn it appeared. There was some initial confusion but the signals were sent and the party boarded the longboat and paddled out to the ship. They approached head on, and were recognised very quickly.

Storming the ship the battle raged across the main deck, with the party chasing enemy up onto the various parts. The tabaxi tried to “dance around” their enemy, but only slightly distracted him, so the fight was fairly even. The deck wizard got off a couple of good shots.

An angry man charged from one of the cabins proclaiming he wouldn’t have this on ‘his’ ship. But even the captain was no match of the party.

The Sea Ghost. (an epic conversion I found on Reaper minis message board)

The party relaxed a little as they cleaned off the main deck but the barbarian was still raging so he charged down one set of stairs into a cabin.

Without coming across anyone.

The ship was searched, and it turned out that the crew had perished in the fight upstairs. They found a large quantity of stores, with no indication if this was regular or smuggled goods.

As they finally finished up clearing the ship, they came across a cabin with 3 very wary lizard folk inside. I have to admit I did expect them to charge in, weapons swinging. It was lizard folk after all. They attempted to communicate.

Warily the lizard folk accepted that any fighting was between the sailors and the party not with the lizard folk. This did calm them down somewhat, but in broken common, they asked who was going to finish their deal now that the smugglers were dead.

Apparently there are some weapons on board, being smuggled for the lizard folk. Alarmingly, the lizard folk were based only 10 miles along the coast from Saltmarsh…. Is an attack coming against Saltmarsh?

The ship was searched again.

And again.

After some time, a secret compartment was discovered. Inside, about 30 weapons, brand new, but plain, were being kept. The lizard folk’s goods.

In a compartment next to it, they found a rather miserable sea elf. He had been scouting the ship, trying to figure out what the smugglers were doing, when he was struck from behind and woke up in this cell.

Eventually, the party and lizard folk agreed that the party would head back to Saltmarsh and deliver the news and the goods to the town. Then they would ship the goods and the lizard folk home.

The goods were sold (some may have made their way into the secret compartments for later sale) and the ship was given to the party as reward. But the proviso was that they took the Lizardfolk home, with their weapons and found out what was happening.

Using some of their loot and cash, their hired on a crew, including a cook. The lizard folk were back aboard and the ship ready to leave.

D&D – Smugglers

And it was time to restart the adventure in Saltmarsh as well….

Our party spent the evening interrogating their prisoner, eventually finding out that a businessman in Saltmarsh who worked with the smugglers had sent him to observe and interfere with the party’s investigation. And if needed, to stop it.

To Ned it was quickly evident from the party’s loose chatter that he was too late to prevent the party interfering, so his task changed to stopping the party.

And evidently, this was a little too much to ask of Ned, hence the current situation. 

The party decided to stay the night, keeping a vigil for the smugglers boat (Ned let them know that one was due on the current new moon). No ship showed and this antagonised the party until they realised that a new moon isn’t just one night, and it is the sea, so there could easily be delays.

They knocked out Ned, slung him over the back of the Tortle and headed into town. 

As they passed through town there were quite a few curious looks. A particular set of people were noticed to see the party, confer and then quickly disappear into the crowd. Meek, the urchin druid Halfling set out to follow them, but it turned out they had some local advantage and he lost them as they climbed over the fences of some rather well to do house. After watching for a while, Reek headed back to rejoin the party.

Meanwhile the party arrived at the council chambers and were ushered into the office of the councilman who tasked them. He was both happy and dismayed that his hunch was correct. He was also very interested in hearing what Ned might reveal about the businessman involved. He sent Ned away with his man to keep him safe. Being that his man is the leader of another hidden faction trying to disrupt the smugglers for their own needs, he’s pretty stoked the party bought this guy back.

The councilman asks the party to remain in his employ, return to the house and try to catch the smuggler’s ship. He agrees on a reward, agrees to provide supplies so the party can remain at the house, and the party can have any spoils, including the ship. With several of the party having sailor backgrounds, some happy grins were exchanged.

With that, the party head out into the town to sell some of the items they had collected. The most memorable was a bidding war in a local miners pub for some illustrated erotic books. They headed back to the mansion as it grew dark, settling in to rest and watch for the ship.

D&D – Aid to the Bronze

So the weekend was a double header for me. DM’ing the Saltmarsh on Friday evening and then DM’ing the Sleeping Dragon on the Sunday Morning.

Oh, rubbish, I’ve missed at least one session here as well. I’ll use the fact that time is wibbly-wobbley, timey-whimey stuff to sort that out. And the fact that I can have the post schedule for whenever I like, even the past…..

The party was recovering in Leilon when a they got a note. Their old party member. Baraxas, a paladin of Bahamut, had sent word that there was a old Bronze dragon that might be able to help supposedly in a shrine not too far away. It had not been seen for some time, so some were convinced it might be dead, but Baraxas thought it be worth checking out anyway.

The party hired a small boat (as the shrine was apparently easily spotted and accessed from the water) and headed up the coast.

Here they found a large shrine carved into the cliff, depicting a dragon roaring. A small stone jetty lead to some stairs and up into the cave.

They landed and snuck up the stairs. The lead, a ranger, spotted a tripwire at the top, which the party avoided. Inside, they surprised several cultists (in this case benign cultists who provided support to the Bronze dragon and tended its shrine, not your usual evil, rip your beating heart from your body cultists).

Initially it was at a tipping point, with combat imminent. However, some quick words (and persuasion and history checks) lessened the tensions and soon the group was being shown around and invited to visit Lhammas…….. something. Dragon names are tongue twisters for sure. I just called her Llama for short.

They were cautioned that Llama was not well, acting very strangely and may be violent.

Up in the dragon’s chambers several members immediately felt uncomfortable with a distracting buzzing filling their heads. One became very confused.

The dragon met them with confusion and distrust, suspecting them to be foes. Some quick words and a Calm Emotions spell had a positive effect, but it was soon clear that the dragon was confused to the point of dangerous. The party retreated downstairs.

Downstairs they spent some time discovering that this had happened fairly recently. A helpful ghost they came across also suspected that the dragon was suffering some external influence. The party set out to search the rest of the dragon’s home and also prowled around outside in case anything seemed out of place.

They had no luck, so discussions ensued. As they settled down for the night, they began to suspect the barnacles growing around the window in the dragon’s chamber might be related. It seemed the barnacles were unusually far from the ocean below. (That was the end of the previous session, have I missed 2 reports?)

The next morning, two important things occurred. Baraxas rejoined the party. He had been released by his church to return to the party and support them with the dragon. This would also provide confirmation to the church that the dragon was still alive. In reality, a new player joined the group and decided they didn’t want to waste time rolling up a new character, happy to take up the reins of Baraxas. Big bonus for the party as they have their tank back. And in this case, they are Dragonborn – who better to talk to a dragon?

Who better to talk to Llama. The party headed back to the dragons room, Baraxas almost overwhelmed by the rank odour of evil coming from the direction of the barnacles. But before they could explain to the increasingly agitated dragon, Baraxas was thrown into a confused state, so much for that advantage. However, a timely cast Calm Emotions and the party was able to convince the dragon to move downstairs while they dealt with the whatever evil remained.

The second important thing was that the wizard was able to recall a demon known as an Alkitih, which usually took the form of moss or fungus, around doors or windows. These were known to send beings mad unless destroyed.

As the spell started to wear off the dragon, the group charged back upstairs.

Without the additional support of the crazed dragon, the demon proved a fairly simple kill for the group. As soon as it died, a loud thump was heard from downstairs.

Back downstairs they found Llama slumped to the floor, alive but probably unconscious.

After a nervous wait by the party and the dragons helpers, she slowing regained her senses and was clearly recovering quickly from the effects of the demon’s madness. The cultists were very happy.

Llama took them into the chamber and they received a vision from Bahamut. In it a terrible green dragon was attaching Leilon. Llama recognised it as… another difficult dragon name, who I called Claude, an old green that lives nearby, but keeps to herself to avoid the wrath of the Cities of the Sword Coast.

They received some rewards, and I put them all up to level 9. Now they have returned to Leilon. After letting the town know what they had found out, they set off for the green.

As they moved through the hills towards the forrest where the green lived, they were confronted by several zombies lumbering along (who then lumbered towards them) being chased by two women.

The party engaged and the session ended with the zombies destroyed and the party about to talk to the 2 women….

Then the session closed and we’ll start again sometime in mid-January.

D&D – The Sinister Saltmarsh

Well looks like I have two entertaining sessions to cover for this adventure.

The party spent the night in the secret laboratory. Outside, the smugglers, being alerted by the Magic Mouth earlier and being all prepared to repulse the intruders, were quite perplexed when they disappeared. The smugglers were thankful that the party had cleared out the skeletons, but began to assume that the adventurers, not finding the further secret door (into the smugglers lair) had basically gone back the way they had come. They shrugged and went about their business.

Several hours later the party emerges, hearing sounds from the outer room they approached cautiously. Their sneakiest member managed to sneak up, knock one out and drag him back, all the way to the secret room where he was interrogated.

Discovering there were several smugglers, lead by a magician, the party headed back into the barracks. Here they were met by two smugglers, one of whom fled through a previously unknown secret door. The party quickly overwhelmed the remaining one and approached the secret door, the stairs and cave that followed.

Combat started as soon as they poked their head around the door. What happened next was a strung out, non-stop fight through most of the caves before facing off with a very confident lead smuggler. Whom they resoundly defeated. Ended that session there.

The next session was initially spent searching the now empty caves, finding a lot of trade goods and a small boat. They also remembered they had left a door unopened behind them and there discovered the wizard’s own quarters. Inside they found a lantern and signalling instructions along with some other bits and pieces.

They decided, having cleared out the underneath, to return to the floor above and search the rest of the house, before returning to Saltmarsh with their trade goods.

They kept going up and were soon on the top floor. Unlocking a door using a key hanging next to the door, they discovered Ned. Ned was tied up in the room and told them he was a traveller who took shelter in the building. Only he was hit from behind, knocked unconscious and left here without his equipment.

Ned is actually working with the smugglers and was sent here to infiltrate and stop the party. However, as the party “disappeared” he wasn’t sure what was happening. At this point he doesn’t know that the smugglers have already been defeated. The party was suspicious enough to leave him tied up while they talked, but wasn’t searched and no insight checks were taken. Oh well.

Convinced of Ned’s story, the party moves next door. These two rooms have a shaky floor, which one of the party proceeded to ensure was tested past breaking point, creating a large opening in the floor across the two rooms. Remember this for a moment.

In this second room they found evidence that the smugglers use this room and it’s window to signal their ships. Nothing else – on to the next room.

A shiny attracted their attention here and the first few entered the room. At this point the party is strung along the corridor, with a couple inside the room and Ned following along behind. He has figured out, through their conversations that they have defeated the smugglers. Ned decides he needs to defeat them, or at least inflict some damage and head for his bosses.

The members who entered the room were set upon by swarms of spiders. More of the party charged in to support their comrades. Ned took his chance and attacked the last person, causing a grievous wound with a dagger he had kept concealed (hey, the party didn’t search him, shrug)

Forced to fight in two directions the party split and defended themselves. Ned took a couple more swings and fled for the rooms behind to try to escape. There was a yelp and a crash. In his haste Ned had forgotten the holes in the floor and fallen to the floor below.

In some ways this made it easier. The party had all but killed the spiders so more and more members turned to retaliate against Ned. Several were shooting/casting through the gaping hole in the floor.

Reek, the halfling barbarian leapt into the hole and grappled Ned, knocking him unconscious.

And that’s where the party has left it for the Christmas Break. We should restart in mid Jan sometime.

D&D – Deep in the Cellars

I am pretty safe writing here, even as DM, as I am 90% sure that none of my players realise that I have a blog let alone read it.

This party’s new player, who was absent last week, joined us today. He’s an experienced player and DM so fits right in with the group. He enjoys his role playing too which also suits the group. He also likes to use ball bearings for all sorts of useful and interesting things. One of his favourites is to cast Light onto one and roll it into dark places. Loving it. Additionally, his Mrs also plays, but doesn’t enjoy online so isn’t joining in. Though she did put our discord stream up on their TV and enjoyed her “podcast” by all accounts. That’s now two spouses who “secretly” use our games as their D&D podcast. That they seem to enjoy them hopefully speaks well of our games (and my DMing of course).

Anyway, to the game…

The Saltmarsh party opened the secret door to find a barracks. Here 3 smugglers, warned by an alarm they had set, were ready and waiting. Remembering that this is a first level party, the fight was not so one sided as I am used to. We discovered that one of our fighters was wearing leather armour (the player was absent) as a “lifestyle choice”. Made her AC terrible and she dropped hit points pretty quickly. The tabaxi took a couple of good hits as well, and spent a turn unconscious. After the battle, a discovered corpse gave up a set of plate armour for the fighter.

But the party worked well together, clearing out these bandits.

After the fight, they decided to open the barred door with the word DANGER scrawled across it. Here they fought through 6 regular Skeltons and another that was throwing acid at them. But by the time that they finished them off, most of the party were seriously hurt, spell slots used up etc.

They discovered another secret room which appeared to be a laboratory. A search uncovered what turned out to be a Bag of Holding. The ball bearings were used again here to test the bag (see another use for them).

The party has decided to take a long rest here, barring the secret door, they should remain hidden from the smugglers still around.

They haven’t yet discovered the rest of the smugglers den behind yet another secret door. The smugglers, aware there are some intruders are going to have a look around but won’t find the secret laboratory. They will discover that someone has cleared out the skeletons for them, and of course, killed three of the smugglers as well. In the morning as the party awakes, they will find places that they think are clear are not. I haven’t yet decided if they will surprise the smugglers or the other way around…

DnD – Into the Saltmarsh

Friday evenings were looking like all player action for me. It was turning into two seperate games, but the second one, the DM had to quit as he couldn’t make the timings.

I volunteered to take over the slot and decided to run the Saltmarsh adventures. Seeing as we pretty much had a group set to play, I skipped one of the sessions so I could sort out the adventure and what I wanted to do etc then we kicked off.

The new group has a tabaxi rogue, a halfling barbarian, a tortle cleric, an aasimar warlock and a tiefling fighter. A good spread after it was initially going to be 3 fighters, a warlock and I think a ranger. I’m not one to dictate to a group of players, I’m happy to take it as it comes and the game will play as it does. However, a couple of the players took it upon themselves to change things and swapped to the cleric and rogue the group has now.

They arrived in Saltmarsh and I set them up to be hired to investigate the Haunted House, hooking them straight into the first adventure.

They’ve charged into the house, down into the cellar and are about to open a secret door they have discovered down there…

I’m looking forward to this new group. It’s about half of the other group and some new people.

And I still will be playing in the other Friday group (so alternate Fridays, one player, one DM). He wants to finish up this module and then start us in Strahd, which I would really like to play!