Saturday, December 21, 2013

Realms Toowoomba Session # 37 [RPG]

[Flashback to 5 Kythorn 1372]

After an uninterrupted night's sleep, Markus spurs his horse at full speed to the east, hoping to escape the dreaded Evermoors. Danger, however, follows in his wake.

[Flashback to 6 Kythorn 1372]

Ralkin leaves Startop Keep and catches up to Katanya and her brother Flindle on the trail down the mountain. They are relieved to have the kenku's assistance, citing safety in numbers. The trio reach the bottom of the mountain and begin the journey east without incident, camping as night falls.

[13 Kythorn 1372]

The night passes uneventfully, but just before dawn danger arrives. Patrolling the southern perimeter of the camp, Mellia fails to hear the approach of another frost giant until it is almost too late. Unknown to the adventurers, the frost giant, Volstagg Ortleson, discovered the charred corpse of his brother and receive permission from his leader, Princess Gerti Ortleson, to follow the obvious tracks in the snow of the "murderers" and to take the white dragon Rynnarvyx for assistance. Volstagg has difficulty making out the tracks of the adventurers once they leave the area covered in snow, but sufficient moonlight exists to lead him in the right direction. In a small clearing hidden by the copse of trees, Mellia uses a spell to whisper to everyone that they may soon be under attack and then turns herself invisible.

Volstagg brings forth a torch that gives off a flickering blue-white "flame" but no heat, and searches the ground for tracks again. Looking directly at the copse where the party is hidden, he calls out a challenge to the "fire warlocks" who killed his brother and then whistles loudly. As the adventurers in the camp ready themselves for battle, Volstagg draws a massive battle axe and then charges into the darkened copse, knocking over small trees in his path. He spots Terreck first and his axe cuts deeply into the hobgoblin. Terreck manages to stay alive long enough for the invisible Mellia to send her familiar to deliver Terreck a spell to turn him invisible as well.

Aloysius is struck while trying to sneak away from the giant, and stumbles behind a fallen tree. The gnome hurtles a ray of magickal fire at Volstagg, but the enraged giant, shouting again about "murderous fire warlocks", charges the gnome and sinks his axe deep into Aloysius' chest, killing the adventurer instantly! About the same time, Volstagg's companion, Rynnarvyx arrives, and breathes a cone of painful ice and snow at Cain and the adventurers near him.  Ellywick flees in mortal terror, as do Cain's and Terreck's mounts. With Aloysius dead and Mellia and Terreck concealed by invisibility, Cain seems to be the likeliest "fire warlock" in sight, and Volstagg charges across the campsite. Soon, between the giant's axe and the dragon's freezing breath, the cleric of Kossuth has fallen as well, though his wounds are not quite fatal.

Fargrim ensures that Bearos is well-hidden and then engages in battle. Between Fargrim's greataxe, Sha'dar's arrows, and Mellia's fire spells, Volstagg is worn down and finally collapses to the ground. Rynnarvyx continues to circle and sweep down on Fargrim, biting and clawing at the dwarf who is heroically fighting the dragon on his own, as Sha'dar and his hound flee to the east to escape the dragon's attacks. Fargrim manages to keep his feet and his courage, surviving just long enough to take advantage of a desperate escape attempt launched by Mellia. Still invisible, the diviner again creates a hidden extradimensional space for herself, Terreck (who has brought Aloysius' body), Bearos, the unconscious Cain, and Fargrim. Confused by the sudden disappearance of her foes and clever illusions cast by Terreck, Rynnarvyx picks up Volstagg's body with her claws and flies speedily to the southwest.

While the others hide inside the extradimensional space, Sha'dar has done his best to conceal himself, his elven hound, and his mount in a small culvert covered by branches and canvas. He hears the clink of armor and notices a figure approaching on foot, however: a human woman in early middle-age with reddish hair, dressed in full plate mail and wearing a massive sword. The stranger spots Sha'dar's hiding space and challenges him to come forth. Sha'dar does so warily, and inquires about the woman's purpose in coming to the Evermoors. The woman, who gives her name as Eve, explains that she has come seeking evil and the undead. Such a purpose accords well with Sha'dar's own, and he leads the newcomer to the west in search of other survivors of the night's terrible assault.

Inside the extradimensional space, Mellia notices Sha'dar and Eve approach. The diviner climbs down and into view, and greets them both. Upon hearing that there are wounded individuals nearby, Eve offers her abilities as a healer.  When Cain is lowered to the ground, Eve places her hands on the clerics chest and draws out some of his pain, knitting together flesh that has been torn.  Cain comes to consciousness with a start, and noticing the red cord wrapped around his saviour's hand, correct deduces that she is a worshipper of Ilmater, the deity of perseverance and relief of suffering. Sha'dar quickly scouts the rest of the camp, and, calling for Aloysius' cat, is delighted to see it spring out from hiding and jump into his arms.

Meanwhile, hidden and alone in the extradimensional space above, Terreck searches Aloysius' body, taking the gems the gnome had himself taken from an earlier foe. The hobgoblin then proceeds to expertly cut into the corpse and remove its spine, wrapping the grisly trophy around his walking stick.
Director's Commentary (November 7, 2015)

This session began one of the most infamous sequences in the campaign.

First, we have the first PC death of the campaign. Aloysius was a memorable character role-played extremely well by a first time RPGer, but a mad frost giant can deal out a hell of a lot of damage to a gnome wizard in melee!  Character deaths are rough on some players, but I have to say Aloysius's player handled it extremely well and promptly went about creating a new character.  My only regret is that weeks after the session, I was reviewing the rules for large creatures squeezing through areas smaller than them, and I'm not 100% the giant had the movement speed left to actually reach Aloysius.  Sometimes that's the hard part of DMing: a lot of hindsight thinking, especially for decisions (or possible mistakes) that are irrevocable.

Second, the player who ran Aloysius introduced his new character quickly, a Paladin of Ilmater named Eve.  Everything was fine this session, but just wait until next session.  For years the players would cringe when they thought of Eve and her faux-German accent.

Third, that last line about Terreck wrapping Aloysius' spine around his walking stick?  Not going to end well.  This session started an avalanche of PC deaths rolling, and some of them involved PvP.

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