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Descent into Darkness
Rather than going down the secret stairs the DM led them to, the stubborn party wandered off, into the nearly empty level once occupied by orc slavers.

They meandered from empty cavern to empty cavern until finding a secret door in one, which led them into a small office where a dark dwarf was busy packing up pagers. The fell on him like a pack of homeless junkies on a clean needle.

They trussed him up and found that the ledgers he had were records of slaves being moved from the orcs down into the Underdark. Ariella found that her missing father had been captured and shipped off to something called the Bleak Theater, which was a large gladiatorial and meeting center (like Epcott Center) where slaves were sold, traded, and forced to battle for the amusement of their derro and drow masters (again, like Epcott Center).

The party discarded the derro accountant (yeah, they murdered him), and explored the secret door they found in this room. It led to a chamber with a large shaft in the center and a complicated mechanism of ropes and gears that raised and lowered a pair of gigantic mushroom cap baskets from this level to level 7, currently broken.

Wren cast light on a stone which she popped into her mouth, as well as a fly spell and glided down the shaft. She made her way down 60' before seeing the floor another 40' below her. At this point she saw small, dark creatures scurrying to attack. Acting quickly, Wren spit out the light stone and began flying back towards the surface, but not quickly enough. The creatures fired their crossbow bolts at the witch, and managed to hit her several times. The damage was not the problem, it was the poison on their bolts. Wren was rendered unconscious and began floating gently down towards her attackers.

Banthum saw what happened and acted quickly. He leaped into the pit (wearing a ring of feather falling) and when he got close to the fallen witch, pushed her into one of the mushroom baskets. She was safe, but Banthum was only just able to grasp the side of the basket, and was a tempting target for the creatures and their poisoned bolts.

Marvin took advantage of the situation and peppered the creatures with multiple fireballs, from which they had no protection. And while he was unable to kill any of them, he did succeed at driving them off and buying time for Elriond and Ariella to repair the elevator mechanism and pull the basket with their companions to the surface.

After securing the elevator once again, the party searched the rest of the level and found it empty. They had no choice but to go to the stairs I had put them at several hours earlier.

On the third level the group found and disabled several traps (as well as triggering one, which shattered many of Elriond's ribs).

Heading into the hall, looking for signs of troglodytes (which their noses told them were near), the party heard the sounds of a great number of creatures running down the hall in their direction. The group quickly set up to receive them and waited.

Suddenly a somewhat plain, though nearly nude human woman ran into view, followed by a beautiful elven woman, also nude save for a loin cloth. Hot on their heels were several armored troglodytes, out for blood.

A short battle ensued, and this is where we start next week.
Session: Castle Whiterock - Saturday, Apr 22 2017 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Chris
Posted by the GM
Iron Gods
Cats and Rats and Androids
Beginning of Session
Torch
Evening, 16 Gozran 4715
Level 4

The account...
* Of a cat's generous donation and a nighttime conversation by alchemical light
* Of an android's poorly-lit, dust-covered, porthole-equipped home
* Of letting one live, and keeping one for collateral
* Of the archfiend who desires power - in the way that immortals often do - and his favored cleric who traveled a great distance to fetch some

End of Session
Engineering Deck
Morning, 17 Gozran 4715
Level 5

What Rocked
* Even though we're playing an adventure path (and therefore there's a lot of focus on mysteries and prewritten "GM plot" stuff that I'll never get right) I re-embraced a few GM principles from Blades in the Dark. "Ask the players questions to feed your own interest in the ongoing fiction in which the PCs are protagonists. Your game series is a cool TV show and you're its biggest fan" might be the best-ever-written mantra to get me excited to GM a role-playing game.
* Getting to see Yohuali's affinity for Cayden Cailean and Watch's weird lifestyle come out.
* The whole trip into the new level of the dungeon! Convincing Carl Jr. to come get some more food, and immediately getting thrown into an EL4 fight with half of Meyanda's crew and their guard-thylacines. Then Carl throwing a temper tantrum and trying to get everyone to stop fighting, extracting the details about how to operate the elevator out of Yohuali's head, and leaving by himself on his little pushcart.

What could have improved
* There's not much incentive to relax outside of the dungeon with the tithe-collector doom clock coming up in two weeks of game time. It seems like things will shift focus outward at Torch once the immediately threatening dungeon situation is under control (really, there can't be much left of Hellion's B&E team, so that's probably next session).



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Chris
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Iron Gods
The Doctor is out, the Cleric is in
Beginning of Session
Technological Dungeon (120 Minutes)
Afternoon, 15 Gozran 4715
Level 3

The account...
* Of killing a new tribe of vegepygmies and taking the stuff they took from their birth corpses
* Of continuing to ignore the chemical accident
* Of finding, healing, and returning Khonnir with the help of a 6th level cleric's entire spell list and one disguise check
* Of returning a ring, and stealing a drink
* Of Kramlun's misguided belief that Watch knows what a bribe is
* Of a man with nothing to lose finding the thing he lost

End of Session
Torch
Evening, 16 Gozran 4715
Level 4

What rocked
* The Jinkin Gremlin from the first session coming back, and Yohuali using his Black Cat ability to make it miss.
* Sanvil Trett is heading for a confrontation, probably with Watch, and she won't even know why he's upset. Could get dangerous, because I can't imagine her de-escalating the situation.
* "Spread the word: I'm looking for a buyer for my alien skull and spirit."

What could have improved
* I didn't feel like I portrayed the dungeon very well, I kept forgetting little details (the power coming back on in the decontamination room, the skulks who hated Khonnir)
* Similarly, I could have backed off and let the players narrate some stuff. I was stretched kind of thin trying to handle the mad dash back to Torch for help. Next time I want to let someone else narrate a scene so I have time to collect my thoughts.
* I shouldn't have stepped in to nudge things toward a solution with Khonnir's nanite problem. Sometimes it's better to shut up for a while.






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Dale
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Tyranny of Dragons
Session 44 (6 April 2017) Xonthal's Tower
Using the hourglass key, they are transported to a room that is clearly not in the tower, however, if it is below the tower or on another plane entirely is unclear.

In this room are three dead cultists and a blood trail leading to a room that contains a fire and two earth elementals. Speaking with these Magnus learns that they are here to destroy intruders and that Magnus & Co are intruders. The party then decides to get their retaliation in first.

The fire elemental is dispatched speedily by Krega but the earth elementals are more problematic as they use their Earth Glide ability to conceal themselves in the walls, floors and ceilings and strike from unexpected directions. Eventually, Ella banishes one of them and Rider holds the other and the fight comes to an end.

They then pass through a series of rooms that are clearly the laboratory, study and library of a wizard including a room with a portal to the City of Brass. Crossing a passageway hanging unsupported in a starry void, they narrowly avoid being struck by shooting stars.

In a hourglass shaped chamber containing two huge hourglasses the come upon the dead body the cultist Iskander and the Blue Dragon mask. They secure the mask and Ella raises Iskander, who is suitably grateful while still remaining an evil, despicable but disillusioned dragon cultist. He explains that Severns plan to bring Tiamat to the world would be a disaster for everyone and while he is a selfish, greedy pig with no concern for anyone but himself, Iskander knows that he falls within the group "everyone" and what is bad for "everyone" is bad for him.

The party takes a well needed short rest and bonds with the magic items they have found, Rider claiming the blue dragon mask. It's a fake! Rider is particularly peeved and wants to do something drastic and possibly terminal to Iskander. However, close questioning under magical interrogation confirms that the mask being a fake is just as much a surprise to Iskander as it is to the party. Rider sheathes his rapier mumbling under his breath about how he never gets andy magic items, consarn it!

They finish exploring this area by interacting with an imprisoned efreet named Tariz the Fair. In return for a promise that he will never harm them they Banish him back to his home plane Tariz cannot believe the bargain he got as he was willing to do anything to escape.
Session: Session 44 - Thursday, Apr 06 2017 from 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM
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Dale
Posted by the GM
Tyranny of Dragons
Session 43 (30 March 2017) Xonthal's Tower
Having divined the meaning of the shadows, the party resolves the puzzle with only a minor misstep at 3 shadows and a slight delay at 8 until Rider gets an epiphany.

Reaching the base of the tower they discover that it is constructed without doors or windows, only a balcony high above and a teleportation circle on the ground before it. Stepping onto the circle they are transported to another circle within the tower in a large empty audience chamber with internal balconies above.

The teleportation circle they are standing on has strange symbols arranged in a control panel: a chair, two chairs, an upside-down "L", a rectangle, a flame, a star, a square, an hourglass and a right triangle. Ella immediately writes down where she thinks each of the symbols will take them, she is completely wrong but that has never deterred her in the past.

Some experimentation leads them to discover:
  • the chair: takes them to the audience chamber
  • two chairs: takes them to the balconies above the audience chamber. The left symbol to the left balcony, the right to the right.
  • the upside-down "L": a level of small rooms, currently used as barracks, where they kill a few cultists
  • the star: an observetory where they fight four mages. Rider is agressively disinterested in the battle and only deigns to help when Krega is held by a wizard's spell; returning to his inspection of the telescope as soon as that wizard is dead but before the battle is actually over. One of the wizards is carrying a key in the exact shape of the hourglass symbol on the teleporters.
Session: Session 43 - Thursday, Mar 30 2017 from 4:00 AM to 7:00 AM
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