Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Shadowrunner's Caravan

So with the death of two of the caravan guards and the running away of Greenback, the half-orc owner of the caravan, the crew decided to take over operation of the caravan and get it underway.  Operating a caravan is a tricky thing.

Corrail scouted ahead with Yuri, the Winter Wolf, while the rest of the group kept to the caravan wagons.  Ally, with her knack with animals, took over driving the lead wagon.  The cook and other 4 drivers stayed on.  The merchant kept eyeful watch on his cargo, namely the chest known to be filled with jewels.

The scouted and then came upon a woman in a fancy dress, crying.  Her party had been attacked.  One horse was dead, one was dragged off.  The wagon was on fire.  Her party was dragged off as well.

They took her in and got underway.  It wasn't long before they realized there was more to her than meets the eye, as she pointed a 2-pull / 4 shot crossbow at Corrail's throat.  The party to leave her alone.

They followed the trail until they found a pike with Greenback's head on it.  It was a warning from the group of worg-riders not to follow.  The group decided not to follow.

It wasn't long before the group started to become very uncomfortable with the closeness developing between the new member of their group in the fancy dress, Nevado, and the wealthy merchant, Mr. Freeley.  The situation was disrupted however.

The group was ambushed by a group of bandits.  4 melee fights and two mages surrounded them.  The fighters mostly when down quickly, but River did too.  One mage escaped.  Before the rogue could grab the chest, the fanciful woman turned invisible and ran off.  The rogue tried to follow, but got stabbed by the woman.

The group finally made it to Baldur's Gate without further incident,  Upon arrivial a partial-orc girl came running out to greet her father, only to find Ally in the driver's seat.  It was Greenback's daughter.  She was distraught at the news of her father's death, but was happy to take possession of the caravant with her other relatives.  The party gave up their caravan to sit on the street outside of the main gate with all of their belongings.  And so a new chapter begins next time...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ships and Caravans

Between Friday Night Pathfinder introducing a caravan and the soon-to-be-starting Monday night Pathfinder Pirates on a ship, it looks like I am going to be dealing with vehicle rules a lot.  I am currently working through the rules to get the two systems down.  For caravans, I'm using this ruleset.  For pirates, I'm using the Pathfinder Skull and Shackles player's guide rules.  Both are based on the Pathfinder Core Rulebook.

I find the caravan rules a bit confusing so far, since the rules seem to mix things up quite a bit between base attributes and derived attributes of the caravan.  For example, guards supposedly add +1 to offense, but offense is a base attribute upon which feats are based for prerequisites.  It seems like the base attribute should only be modified through feats and jobs should only modify the derived attributes.

The nice thing about the caravan rules is that they are very reasonable.  I created the caravan for my current campaign basically on the fly and chose reasonably realistic properties, like traveling 40 miles per day.  The rules easily allowed me to flesh out my vision, and the result closely reflects all the things I told the players previously.

The ship rules call for 1 to 4 inch ships on a 1 inch = 30 feet square.  To represent these ships, I am building a small collection of Pirates of the Spanish Main ships (and all the expansion packs).  My next step is to start building ship sheets for each of the miniatures.  We'll see how that goes.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Traveling to Candlekeep

So the Shadowrunners made their way the halfling village of Corm Orp that lies below the Darkhold.  Once in the village, the group hit the local general store.  There they found not much of anything useful, though the bard bought some mining equipment.  They then found their way to the local tavern / inn, run by a bad tempered paladin.   Several of the crew dug into the drinks and as usual, the gnome ended up on the floor.  The bard also became exceptionally nonsober and joined the gnome.  Some merry halflings drank near them as well, became stammeringly drunk and danced a merry jig in the bard's hat.  The rest of the party took ill of the halfling michief and bought them a drink after they put the hat down.

From the halflings the group found out that a caravan was leaving Corm Orp the next morning.  They retired to the bedrooms, except for Corrail, who spent the night in the stable with Yuri, the winter wolf.  In the middle of the night a half-elf cleric stumbled into the rogue's room.  There were several loud gatherings of halflings outside near the tavern.  The group awoke to the sound of the paladin stacking wood inside for the fire.  Breakfast was served, and the rogue ate a flower on the tray that wasn't supposed to be eaten, leaving him sick.

The group wandered out to the caravan.  The bard spoke to the orc owner and negotiated passage so long as four of them would act as guards.  He brought on board the cleric as a guard.  The rogue and gnome took up seating in the rider's wagon.  The fighter and cleric took up a place on the lead wagon.  Corrail took up a position on a middle wagon where he could rain down arrows if need be.  The bard took position on the caboose.

The journey was without incident and interest.  Evenings found poor grub eaten by a fire with little conversation.  The group traveled with a dwarven cook, dwarven coachman, and a merchant.  The merchant had two human guards keeping an eye on a strongbox.  Careful watch by the rogue caught one of the guards alone and persuaded him with money to leave the box unguarded.  The bard later convinced the other guard to leave it unguarded, but only on the last day of the trip so he could disappear into Baldur's Gate.

The next day found the caravan in Hill's Edge where they ate at the local general house.

Along the road a barbarian's raider's nomad camp was seen.  Tracks from worg riders also were spotted.

The road following found them in a canyon where the caravan was attacked.  7 barbarian raiders with spears and 4 with composite longbows ambushed the party.  The orc ran off.  The guards were killed.  The party slowly but surely killed off the barbarians.  The fighter went down several times during the battle but the cleric kept her healed.  The party recovered many spears and longbows from the party.  The merchant offered them money to transport his shipment.  The dwarves emerged from the caravans following the fight, but said nothing.

So now the party has a caravan.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Epic Post-Vacation Episode: Elminster and the Dragon

The great band of adventurers, when last we left them, were fighting off a group of golems and a mad dwarven wizard dude.  The five PCs (River, Felix, Corrail, Ally, and Don) with their animal companions (Dog and Tiger) had joined forces with a cleric-rogue Pyreveus to go after the golems that were staggering through a great dwarven hall in an underground ruin.  The golems were quickly defeated and fell to the ground, shattering and the disappearing (sorry, no pile of adamantium for the rogue).  A search of the nearby rooms gave cause for worry:  a machine was automatically fabricating the golems and Ally and Pyreveus had to each work to disable it.

Meanwhile the dwarf known as the nightwatchman disappeared and even with listening the group could not locate him.  They found an office with a letter and spellbooks.  The found a room with various treasures.  Felix found a room full of hanging sheets and rugs and was attacked by a large monkey with a sonic sledgehammer.

The group barely defeated the gnomish magical golem-making contraption in time.  The dwarf reappeared and attacked.  A fireball and bolt of lightning nearly fried the party.  The dwarf became adjitated and cast a spell bring a fiery steed into being.  He fled the dungeon, opening a hidden or magical doorway to the outside.

In fleeing, a necklace, similar to the one he and the bard wear, dropped out to the ground. Pyreveus went for it after it fell, but instead tripped, and smashed the necklace with her bladed hand.  There was a huge explosion that blinded the party for a moment.  When they regained vision, Pyreveus was gone (presumed dead), and a large portal was sucking them in.

The party saw the hopelessness in escape and dove into the portal.

For a moment they appeared in a bubble, with an old gray wizard maintaining the bubble while a girl, friend of Ally's tried to speak to them.  She told them to run away when they arrive and to come to Candlekeep.

The bard knew the old wizard and the room.  They were in an upper casting chamber in Candlekeep and Elminster himself was holding the bubble.  The bard panicked.

The old man advised them that they would be gone from candlekeep when they arrived.

The party tried to get more but the bubble phased in and out and then flickered them into a new location.

They were met by two kobolds, one in robes, one with wings, who pointed behind them. Turing about, they found themselves face to face with a Great Wyrm dragon.

The bard knew that this was Shardosferin, a great quake dragon wyrm from the shadow realms.  The hall he did not recognize, but it clearly wasn't the shadow plane.  He knew that this was a number two to Shar who had recently been imprisoned in the Shadow plane by Mystra.

The kobolds called the dragon "The Peacebringer" and the party wisely addressed him as such.  The dragon became annoyed with the jabbering of the sorceress and puffed at her to knock her down.  The dragon told them that they would go to Secomber and deal with red wizards that were stealing his magic.  He asked the name of their party so that they could avoid the cleansing to be completed by his armies.

The group struggled for a moment, both wanting a good name and yet something they could tell the dragon without upsetting him.  They settled on the Shadowrunners, thinking the name might please the dragon.

The dragon informed them to give that name to any of his armies and they would let them pass.

A kobold wandered through the cavern and dropped what was easily recognized as a level 1 magic missile wand.  It shot out over a hundred missiles and the dragon, who easily shrugged them off.  The kobold carefully picked the wand back up, wrapping it in cloth.

The sorceress and bard knew what this meant:  the chamber they were in was a hypermagic field with a hundred times amplification.  That made this great wyrm a ticking timebomb.

He told them that Secomber was on the way back to close out their previous mission.  The kobolds then escorted them out.

Out of the castle, the bard started to realize their location.  This was the Darkhold, with a new chamber above it for the dragon.  The lush green of the darkhold's surrounding mountain was replaced by ash and soot and obsidian shards.  Kobolds manned the fort and its siege weapons.  The Darkhold was in good repair, recent, and was ready for battle.

The group noticed a cavern of giants.  The same players were at the Darkhold that the bard expected except the Zentarim were replaced by this dragon and his army of kobolds.  Upon reaching near the exit of the group spoke of whether or not to go to Secomber or to see Elminster.  Meanwhile, Corrail, the ranger, befriended a white wolf beaten down by one of the giants.

The party debated his inclusion in the party along with the trip to see Elminster.  But they were not out of ear-shy of the dragon.  With epic flaps of wings the dragon appeared before them again, crushing the ranger's dog as he landed (leaving him badly hurt), and advising them to go on to Secomber and not to go near Elminster.

The party arrived below at the village below the Darkhold and set out their next plans ahead.

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Upon giving XP for the previous adventure, the party is now ready to level up for next time.  Also, a new player is preparing to join the group so they again will have 6.