Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Guild of Heroes Session Reports 2/17, 2/25

We've had another two wonderful days with the Guild of Heroes! Players from 10 to 15 join us regularly for this ongoing campaign of the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game.  On the 17th, with capacity for twenty four heroes, we were able to field four tables of unique adventures, run with DMs Ben, Camilla, and Joe. After that, on Sunday the 25th we had another session of two tables with DMs Yoni and Camilla.

Our next session on March 17th is filling up quickly, though three spots remain for the morning session. You can sign up on eventbrite.

Secondly, we are excited to announce a week long Dungeons & Dragons summer camp the week of June 18-22! It's going to be five days of  storytelling, crafting, adventure, excitement, and of course featuring the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. We’ll be learning math skills, creative and critical thinking, and cooperation as we adventure through a world with titanic monsters, ancient evils, and powerful artifacts. Nearby parks will house fantasy themed games, we’ll get messy to paint minis, and more.

Sign up for summer camp now!

2/17 DM Camilla - Troubled Waters (Isles of Niln)
One morning six heroes awoke. The situation was dire: A group of villagers had fled down the mountain seeking aid. Fortunately they found refuge in the Guild's greathall. Braxton, the leader of the villagers, and her apothecary told our heroes of a strange cloudiness tainting the running waters of the mountain. Our heroes thoroughly questioned the villagers, with Ollie Reaper sparing no opportunity to be prepared.

Travel to the village was eerie. A strange quiet pervaded the forest. After repelling some rabid animals the night before, the party explored the village. Sauron, the elven wizard, entranced a dangerous direwolf into slumber, freeing the party to explore the tavern’s upstairs. While Ganfti tested the cider to make sure it was safe, the others came across Thorpe the innkeeper. He had been locked upstairs by his family before recovering from whatever affliction befell the town. Thorpe’s testimony, along with a journal found in the village’ small church, pointed towards the local druid, Aeldreth. The nature-worshiping hermit had previously sought counsel with the local cleric, but was now strangely absent.

The party followed Thorpe’s directions northwest through the forest, where they reached one of the strangely clouded streams. Wary of its effects, they refrained from refilling their waterskins, and stuck to the cider Ganfti had tested earlier. The party followed the flowing water upstream to a massive dome of spider-webbed vegetation stretching into the sky. Freezing the river to back it up was ineffective, but the gout of flame from a wizard’s Burning Hands spell burned a hole through the wall, gaining them entry. Within, they found a great stomping beast of vines as well as Sumi, the druid’s child, now hiding.

After Symin and Salazar led the charge to defeat the monster that had engulfed the dying Aeldreth, he was laid to rest. The arcanists lent their assistance and the ritual Sumi interrupted was now completed, restoring the forest to health.

2/17 DM Ben - Maggot Therapy (Isles of Niln - Gullsperch)
While attending to business at Fort Stonespur, the party was approached by Rip Slashington, a macho mercenary working for the Guild.  He needed help rescuing or avenging his fallen comrades.  Silas immediately took to the violent and brash Rip, but Rowan and Ancestra, suspecting there was more to the story, needled him for the truth.  After feats of impressive insight from the party, Rip broke down and told them the truth--he was a coward and abandoned his friends at the first sign of trouble.  Now he needs the party’s help to make amends.

While exploring the area where Rip’s companions were ambushed, the party discovered a cave.  Chained ineffectually to a small rock at the center of the wide cave mouth, the gnomish conservationist Sunflower Rockbottom accosted the party in an attempt to preserve the unknown animals within.  The party ignored him and ventured on.  Inside the cave they discovered a mob of massive, flesh-eating maggots known as Carrion Crawlers.  After a hard fight with one that had become enraged, the party did their best to avoid angering the others.  Their resolve was put to the test when the path was blocked by a writhing mass of Crawlers.  Thierastra made it through without issue, but many of her companions were not so lucky.  More by luck than by skill, they managed to avoid the poisoned tentacles and gnashing teeth of the remaining crawlers and escape down a ladder to the tunnels below.

Stealth allowed the party to avoid further encounters with the crawlers as they explored the lower passageways.  The lure of treasure brought them to a iron-banded chest.  Silas melted the metal with his acid breath and Jeff cracked open the chest with his axe, rewarding the party with a sizable supply of gold and mysterious healing draught.

After a run-in with a collapsing tunnel, the group found the source of the enraged crawlers.  In a large ornate chamber the party discovered the Crawler Queen.  30 feet long and bristling with slimy tentacles, the queen on its own would have been a fearsome sight.  But nothing is ever just fearsome on the Isles of Niln.  Crouched behind the queen, a Yuan-ti, one of the mysterious shape-changing snake people of legend, was pumping the crawler full of its venom and driving it mad.  The party attempted to subdue the Yuan-ti as the queen raged around them.  Draw wove through the melee, rescuing his fallen companions and the missing guilders they found within the chamber.  Ancestra breathed fire, Jeff slashed with his axe, Thierastra hurled her magic missiles.  Even Rip entered the fight.  After a pitched battle, the Yuan-ti was slain and the crawlers returned to their docile state.  When the party examined the rescued guilders, they found them completely unharmed.  Draw and Rowan deduced that the crawlers' saliva had healing properties and they were rewarded by Sunflower with a baby crawler the guild can now use to produce healing potions for future adventures.

2/17 DM Camilla - My Enemy's Enemy (Thaldoon)
This adventure began with a familiar face, a dragonborn named Icthyamalli, vizier to the beholder beneath Thaldoon. Enemy of an enemy, Kularkuthan the Beholder opposes the giants who ruled the city, finding occasional companion with the Guild of Heroes. Today, Icthyamalli sought their help in eliminating a few rivals to his underworld queen. Four heroes heard this call, Blackhorn O’Slay the half-orc barbarian. Eldan Oakenheel, the wood elf druid, and Ancalagon, the dragonborn cleric.

Their first foray was towards the Cragtusks: a gang of orcs preying upon Thaldoon’s northern roads. Blackhorn O’Slay, the half-orc barbarian was mistaken as an ally to them, and the tale he spun of an attacking dragon was backed up by the magical fire of Eldan Oakenheel the druid, and the reptilian roars of Ancalagon, the dragonborn cleric. After luring their leader and warriors outside of the compound, the party brought them to their knees. Ancalagon sparred with the largest of the orcs to the point of simultaneous knockout. The party gave mercy to the defeated orcs and in turn the criminals gratefully fled.

Their next stop was to the sewers of Thaldoon, where they sought out a group known as the Slimefiends. It began with a filthy jaunt through the tunnels. After a quick fight with two troglodytes, the party came across a metal gate from floor to ceiling. The lock was poor and the gate was easily pried open. Our heroes’ path bristled with spears: The residents of a cavernous cistern called themselves the Slimefiends. They weren’t going to abandon their home easily. The party members each gave a unique challenge, from a contest of arcane aptitude to a troglodyte cage fight, to a leg wrestling match with a red-mustachioed gnome. Won over by our heroes, the people accepted they could not remain, but had nowhere to go. The party happily invited them to Fort Stonespur and the matter was resolved.

After a quick report to Icthyamalli, the adventure was complete, and they escorted Fort Stonespur’s newest residents to their home in the mountains.

2/17 DM Joe (Sundrop Islands)
Orryn, Parzival, Trovok, Reed, and Evoyi hired a ship to help them track down the pirates who have been seen raiding islands near Fort Stonespur, the Guild of Heroes headquarters. Cleverly outmaneuvering the pirate ship and boarding it, the heroes defeated Captain Vasha and her pirate crew. However, Vasha told them that the dreaded Captain Bonebeard and his skeleton crew were following close behind her and may be a much greater threat to face.

2/25 DM Camilla - The Haunted Manor (Isles of Niln)
One cold morning a letter arrived at Fort Stonespur. The writer asked for help, speaking of strange occurrences at an old family manor. Six heroes set off into the rain, eventually happening upon a tavern called The Spotted Ox, the only address given. After Blackhorn O’Slay captured some attention in the tavern, the party was able to find one Nerdrad Rivertongue. They introduced themselves as Zara the elven druid, Jeff the dwarven barbarian, Blackhorn O’Slay the half-orc barbarian, and three wizards; Portia Rang the high elf, Theirastra the high elf, and Zealious Norixius the dragonborn.

After a few helpful questions from Portia and others, they set out for the manor house. It was an old property, long abandoned, and rumors about what could be found there varied. Jeff led the way inside, only to be pelted with rocks from above! An animated suit of armor attacked them moments later but a diving tackle from Blackhorn and some choice acid from Zealious seemed to vanquish their foe. As they celebrated, a ghostly body dissipated from within the armor, passing through the ceiling. Further exploration turned up an ancient portraits of the former residents, a secret room full of spycraft in a foreign tongue, and more than a handful of tricks by the apparent poltergeist.

Returning a cherished keepsake to the ghost allowed her to pass on, but she spoke of two siblings who could be found deep in the forest. The party set out, only be attacked by an army of snake-covered skeletons. A mound of snakes even enveloped Jeff, threatening to suffocate him, but a powerful cone of fire from Theirastra made quick work of that.

After a short rest outside they ventured into the temple, dedicated to Pelor if the symbolism was anything to go by. Just before the ghost of this ruin unleashed its fury, Theirastra spoke of the sister ghost in the manor, holding the earthly copy of the keepsake aloft. Restraining themself, the ghost showed them how to open a secret staircase behind the mural. As the gears turned, and the sun of Pelor set, a great pair of snake jaws rose up to eat the sun, a dark tunnel appearing in its absence.

Ready for anything, the party tramped down the stairs and crept down the tunnel, coming to a large, torch-lit chamber. Some fifty feet below, in front of a towering iron portal, a hooded figure could barely be heard. Much louder was the scaled monster pacing back and forth, gnawing on the bones which clutter the walls and corners of this chamber. Without hesitation, the party set upon them, beginning with Jeff’s javelin at the hooded figure. The battle was tense as the monster almost brought down the great barbarian, and Zara’s mind was temporarily warped by the cultist’s magics. A final, careful dagger strike to the monster’s back ended the fight, and they pulled back the cultist’s hood. Confusingly it seemed to be the same Nerdrad they had met in the tavern before, though scales could now be seen running down the back of his neck and shoulders. Unfortunately, this adventure left them with more questions than answers.

2/25 DM Yoni - Temple of the Basilisk Cult (Dmarra)
The barbarians on the island of Dmarra have always cultivated a wide variety of fearsome beasts against which to test their strength. But they had a problem: several barbarians had broken off from their tribe to form a cult and worship the basilisks instead of fighting them. Two brave Guild of Heroes adventurers and four initiates set out to infiltrate the cultists’ temple and retrieve the stolen basilisk egg.

Gubrash, the barbarians’ de facto liaison to the Guild, led the heroes to the excavated ruins from which the egg had been stolen. Pearl (a Guild initiate), attempted to follow the tracks leading away from the ruins She was so focused on her task that she was ambushed by eight stone warriors - cultists who cover their bodies with dried and cracked clay to honor the petrifying gaze of their patron demon. The heroes fought the stone warriors. In the heat of battle, Parcival (a Guild member) kept his cool and held a cultist at the throat with his rapier, threatening to kill him if the remaining two didn’t back down. Intimidated, those cultists fled. Kahn (a Guild initiate), fooled their captive into revealing the location of the temple by creating an illusion of the Yuan-Ti goddess Dendar the Night Serpent.

Encountering a fraying and moldering rope bridge over a swift river, Reaper (a Guild initiate) jumped straight in and attempted to pull along two other heroes as he swam across. Pearl was more cautious and, noticing two crocodiles in the river as she was about to follow Reaper, called out a warning. She and the other heroes worked to dispatch the crocodiles from the shore. As Reaper lost hold of his teammates in the current, all three narrowly escaped the crocodiles, but not without incurring some wounds.

Once all of the heroes were safely across the river, the heroes entered the outer courtyard of the temple. Kahn, Pearl, and Grasseater (a Guild member) got distracted trying to break into a storeroom while Grok (a Guild initiate) used an improvised explosive to surprise the stone warriors in the entry hall. Grok, Reaper, and Parcival swiftly defeated the warriors, leaving a few alive and tied up in the hall. Kahn, Pearl, and Grasseater returned and all of the heroes continued deeper into the temple.

The central chamber was dominated by a giant bronze statue of a basilisk, with large jade doorways leading east and west. Investigating, Kahn found a potion of healing that had been cleverly concealed in a compartment beneath the statue. Heading east, they discovered a burial chamber littered with debris and human bones, with a murky pool in the center and a large sarcophagus resting in the back. Opening the sarcophagus revealed a basilisk egg, but also triggered a trap! A heavy stone door dropped to cover the entrance. Four reanimated skeletons rose form the floor to attack as the pool overflowed, and the room slowly began to fill with water. Pearl used her considerable strength to raise and hold open the door while the rest of the heroes fought back the skeletons and escaped.

Back in the central chamber, the heroes noticed that the water that had spilled into the room was flowing to a surprising place: a hidden door in the north wall! Parcival interrogated one of the captives in the entry hall and received a cryptic message: “I will never help you take our eggs. The basilisk’s gaze will protect us.” On a hunch, he climbed up on the basilisk statues and tried to push on its head to turn its gaze. He slipped to the floor, and luckily fell against the base of the statue, which moved a bit. Combining his strength with several of his comrades, Parcival swung the entire statue around to face the secret door, which rumbled open, revealing a dark tunnel.

The heroes emerged from the tunnel in a giant chamber filled with numerous trees, a clear pool, and a jade hutch containing a second basilisk egg. Three hissing basilisk hatchlings roamed all around the room. Parcival dashed to the hutch to grab the egg, while several heroes tried to tame one of the hatchlings, but were mostly attacked in response. The creatures’ gaze turned several of the heroes’ limbs to stone. Grasseater was persistent, however, and with one leg already petrified he managed to finally win over one of the beasts, which helped him limp from the room following the retreat of the other heroes. Their new friendship was cut short, however, as it became clear that the hatchling would not willingly leave the temple. Grasseater vowed to return one day to visit, but went along with his teammates to return the eggs to the Dmarrans.

Gubrash expressed his gratitude to the heroes and to the Guild for helping to defeat the upstart basilisk cult, and reassured them that since they had only encountered hatchlings, their petrified limbs would no doubt return to normal in time. He lavishly rewarded the heroes for their service. He even allowed them to take one of the two basilisk eggs back to the Guild of Heroes to study. However, the question remains: Has the Basilisk Cult truly been eradicated, or will the servants of the Night Serpent emerge again from their temple? Only time will tell...

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