Naze Valley Rangers

Little Hungers - Part 4
The Ghoul Warrens

Note: While there looks to be a switch in characters, there isn’t. One player is no longer with the game and the player who missed last time made this session. Bones will return as an NPC.

Dramatis Personae:

  • Ranger-Sergeant Clementine “Clem” Rollins (Ranger-Paladin)
  • Ranger Owen Sands (Rogue)
  • Ranger Oralon Skycaller (Sorcerer)
  • Ranger Sareah (Cleric)

Lost

Ranger Jason “Bones” Carmichael (Rogue)

Events:

Having located the lair of the ghouls and with the Redbird Expedition safely guarded by a unit of the County Guard, the rangers of Team Rollins set out to verify all the ghouls were destroyed.

Investigating the cave entrance, Bones found a large pit trap the hard way, falling to his death. A bad omen of what was to come.

Sareah used the dimensional hop granted her by Aphra Cygne to teleport across the pit trap. She then carefully moved a little further into the guano-covered cave to tie off her rope. Once the rope was secured, she threw the other end back across where Clem tied it off. Using this rope to assist in crossing the pit, Oralon, Owen, and lastly Clem made it safely into the cave.

The cave sloped down and to the right and the floor was heavily coated with guano for the large bat colony clinging to the roof. The bats were asleep and the team moved carefully and quietly further down into the cave, leaving 100 ft of rope trailing behind them to assist in a quick climb if retreat from the cave became necessary.

At the bottom of the first cave was a level gallery that led off to two other caves, one to the side that was mostly covered in shallow pools of water, stepping down to a far corner and another passage, and the other cave ramped steeply up and out of sight at the far end of the galley. Clem extended her senses to determine if there was any evil about and discovered a moderate source just behind the wall on her left.

The team searched for a way through and found nothing. Not certain what else to do, but on their guard, the team moved further into the gallery. Another 30 ft in, Clem sensed a cluster of evil, again on the other side of the rocky wall to her left. This time, Sareah was able to make out the outline of a carefully concealed door. The team immediately prepared for battle.

As the last words of Sareah’s bless were said, the concealed door suddenly opened and the team was faced with four ghouls! A short and intense fight happened, ending with Sareah paralyzed and the ghouls destroyed. At the end of the fight, Clem heard the sound of another thing running back and calling out an alert (she guessed), so the team stayed alert until the paralysis Sareah was under wore off.

Clem did a little scouting and discovered beyond the concealed door a short flight of crude steps leading up to ghoul-made tunnels. She discovered a short tunnel to the left looped back and dropped down, providing a sentry point where she had first sensed evil. She covered the spy-hole with a handy rock and returned to the team.

After a few minutes, the team heard the sound of a number of sticks slapping on stone. Curious, Clem moved forward and peered around a corner. There she saw a small army of animated skeletons ready to attack. She called out a warning and then Owen physically yanked her back to the concealed door. The skeletons charged.

The fight with the skeletons lasted a while, but the team was kept healthy by Sareah’s repeated channeling of positive energy. While the skeletons did not flee from the waves of positive energy, it did crumble many of them to dust. Oralon cast a variety of spells, destroying most of the rest. The fight was capped by an immense ghast that strode forward when most of the skeletons were destroyed and charged Clem. It was tough, but the team of rangers was able to grind it down and destroy it.

After pausing to catch their breath, the team pushed forward. They found a lot more tunnels and lairs for the ghasts, but none for the ghouls. In one particularly foul lair (which sickened several members of the team), they found an enormous stash of silver coins. They moved the coins back near the concealed door, in case they had to retreat in haste, before pressing on.

They found a temple to Kilwa Masoko, gnoll god of death, which favored his Lord of Undeath aspect. While the team was searching the temple and Sareah was attempting to cleanse the altar, Oralon found another concealed door, hidden behind a banner at the back of the temple. He wisely alerted the rest of the team to it existence.

Behind the concealed door, the team found a tunnel leading to another chamber, which contained a rather scared looking ghoul, six armored skeletons, a small shrine, and the area of effect of a desecrate spell. The team fell back to fight the skeletons in the hallway, but the undead would not follow them. Oralon moved forward to see what the skeletons were doing, and became ground zero for a wave of negative energy that flowed down the short hall, enveloping the entire team. The ghoul was a decoy – there was a ghast cleric in that room, hiding on a ledge just above the entrance!

This fight slowly went bad. The ghast cleric cast silence and stayed under solid cover, Sareah ran out of channel positive energy uses early (having used many of them in the earlier skeleton fight), and Oralon was limited to a minor ray spell that continued to miss. After destroying some of the skeletons and barely able to stand, the team fell back, used their wand of healing to get everyone mobile, and retreated out of the caves with the silver coins. They fled back to the Moon Mountain Ruins, trying to beat the sunset, but failing, arriving about an hour late. They warned the County Guard unit and then collapsed to rest and heal.

The next day, Sareah channeled positive energy from Aphra Cygne into her companions, healing everyone’s wounds (at least everyone who escaped – Bones’ body was left behind in the retreat). She also spent the day brewing healing potions and crating holy water in preparation for the teams’ return to the ghoul warrens.

End of session.

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Little Hungers, Part 3
Attack of the Ghouls

This was a short session for a variety of reasons, including the no-show of a player and his son (so two players actually). As they played the fighter and cleric, this made the evening somewhat touch and go for the rest of the players.

Dramatis Personae:

  • Ranger-Sergeant Clementine “Clem” Rollins (Ranger-Paladin)
  • Ranger Oralan Skycaller (Sorcerer)
  • Ranger Jason “Bones” Carmichael (Rogue)
  • Ranger Owen Sands (Rogue)

Events:

First we started out with the passing out of the loot from the last two sessions. Items of interest were a masterwork cold iron long sword, a savage-looking +1 longsword from the gnoll leader, an efficient quiver (renamed quiver of Ehlonna from 3.5), an elixir of flame breathing, a moonstone statuette of a gnollish deity, and a lot of turquoise. The coinage was mostly Sovereign Manticores (an ancient gnoll coinage from the time of the Gnoll Hegemony), some Gold Commonwealths (over 500 years old but still common currency), and even some Gold Marks (only recently coined), indicating that the gnolls have been sending slaving parties into the Kingdom of Kaldahnaka.

The Rangers then stood watch over the ruins while the Redbird Expedition members got their first good nights sleep in weeks. On second watch, Bones heard the sound of things moving about in the woods. He pretended not to notice and continued his circuit around the wall. On the next circuit, he heard what sounded like some quiet arguments in the area the gnolls had been leaving their dead. On his third circuit, he heard nothing at all. It was too quiet.

He woke up Clem by the simple expedient of throwing a rock at her. He missed, but she woke up to the sound anyway, so Bones didn’t have to throw a second rock. Lucky him. She looked around and the spotted him pantomiming bow fire. She put on her chain shirt and headed up the scaffolding to the top of the wall. While Bones used the remains of machiolations for cover, Clem just looked. Whatever was out there spotted her and ducked down into cover, so she quietly invoked Natea to sense if there was any evil afoot. There was, a sickly and hungry evil. Concentrating further, Clem was able to determine there were approximately seven distinct focuses emanating this evil, but they were at the very edge of her abilities and there could be more. After a short conversation using hand gestures, she sent Bones down to wake Owen and Oralon and the Redbird Expedition members.

By the time the rangers were all on top of the wall, the hunger of the creatures in the forest had finally overwhelmed them and seven of them charged the wall. It was dark with only moonlight and so the Rangers could not clearly see what the creatures were, but their odd gait and low gibbering was all the rangers needed to be convinced to shoot their bows – to minimal effect. The creatures rapidly scaled the walls and the fighting began in earnest.

The fighting was tough. Oralon was paralyzed early by the touch of the creatures, confirming Clem’s suspicion that these were ghouls. As the tide of the battle slowly turned towards the rangers, two additional foul beasts charged the wall. As they closed, the stench of death emanating from them sickened Owen and the re-paralyzed Oralon.

One of the ghouls forgot himself in the fight and started eating on Oralon until Owen rescued Oralon with an acrobatic throw out of the ghouls clutches. When it became clear to the creatures that the fight was once again turning against them, they grabbed paralyzed rangers (Oralan and Clem at this point) and jumped from the wall, 30 feet down to the ground!

Bones was down, paralyzed and unconscious, but the warrior-diggers of the Redbird Expedition finally arrived at the top of the wall. This allowed Owen to jump off the wall himself to give pursuit. One of the ghasts had already dragged Oralon into the forest, do Owen pursued the second, which he could still see. While being dragged by the foul creature, Oralon regained control of his body and slew the creature with a blast of electricity.

Separately, Clem also shrugged off the paralysis effect of the creatures attacks and channeled the healing power of Natea through her hands into the creature, damaging it and forcing it to drop her. The creature attacked her, attempting to recapture its meal, which allowed Owen to catch up. After two rounds of furious fighting, both Owen and Clem were paralyzed, with Clem on the verge of unconsciousness. As the creature brought back its claw to to rend Clem one final time, Oralon blasted it with the last of his magic, destroying the creature. The three rangers then limped back to the Moon Mountain Ruins.

The next two days were spent healing as Sereah used her entire complement of healing spells each day, finally bringing the rangers back to full health on the second day. On the third day, Sergeant Lars Bloodaxe and twenty soldiers of the County Guard arrived to reinforce the ruins. Clem brought Lars up to speed on the situation and discussed options. Clem decided she and the Rangers would track down the ghoul lair to determine if the ghouls were all destroyed or if more still existed.

After half a day following trails and ghoul-sign, the Rangers located a cave that seemed to be the lair of the ghouls and prepared to enter.

This is where we ended the session. More next month!

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Missed Posting

D’oh!

Just realized I for got to update the log for the March session. Eeek!

I’ll have the update posted shortly. We actually played on the 7th but were down two players, which made certain things rather difficult…

Patrick

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Little Hungers, Part 2
Siege of the Moon Mountain Ruins!

We had a new player sitting in this episode, the 12-year old son of one of the players. So the part of Katan was played by the son (and hence, no where near as creepy) and a cleric was introduced to the party off-stage. As a reminder, this is a Pathfinder RPG game and we’re still learning the rules (and by “we” I mean “me”).

Dramatis Personae:

  • Ranger-Sergeant Clementine “Clem” Rollins (Ranger-Paladin)
  • Ranger Oralan Skycaller (Sorcerer)
  • Ranger Jason “Bones” Carmichael (Rogue)
  • Ranger Owen Sands (Rogue)
  • Ranger Katan Valofor (Fighter)
  • Ranger Sereah (Cleric)

Events:

The session starts with the gnolls attempting to ambush the ranger team. The gnolls find the camp just at dawn, getting mighty close before being noticed by Bones and Sereah, but not Owen, who was actually on watch. After a furious fight, the attacking gnolls were dead but the PCs hear one get away. (I learned that the rules on the Surprise Round are different in PF by having all the gnolls get slaughtered instead of doing the slaughtering. Important learning experience – read the new combat rule rather than assuming they are “mostly identical”.)

After the fight, Owen scouts out ahead to see what the gnolls besieging the Moon Mountain Ruins are doing. He discovers that the gnolls have re-deployed into three larger groups rather than 6 smaller groups and they have built a primitive catapult to attack the Redbird Expedition holed up in the ruins. He is also spotted and exchanges some bow fire with a few gnoll archers until he gets hit by a lucky shot. He returns to the team and reports his findings.

The team has a short discussion on tactics and sets up another ambush to lure the gnolls into. Then all but Clem move to just within sighting distance of the catapult. They find the catapult is now complete and starting to fire wicker balls of pitch at the ruins. The team fires arrows at the gnolls, some with smokesticks attached. Sereah pegs the catapult bucket with a smokestick and Oralan casts faerie fire to trick the gnolls into believing that the catapult is in danger and they should chase down the humans shooting at it. This doesn’t quite work as there is a gnoll leader there and the gnolls hold position, realizing the “flames” are not real.

The team shouts in the balna tongue to Clem to move up as the gnolls are not pursuing, and then sets to attacking the gnolls with bow fire. This lasts a while with neither side achieving good results as they are at a difficult range to hit each other. When the gnolls get the catapult to fire again, the team decides they cannot hang back any more and charges forward. The fighting is hard and Bones and Sereah both go unconscious before the gnolls can be killed. Unfortunately, two gnolls got away early and the howls of the rest of the gnoll force moving in is heard. There is also cheering from the top of the ruins as the Redbird Expedition now knows they are not alone.

Clem uses the healing wand on Sereah, who then channels divine energy to get everyone mobile again and the team flees east for the rest of the day, finally losing the gnolls after three hours of hard work, and then holing up to rest and regain spells. (Note: A cleric’s ability to channel divine energy as a wave of healing energy is mighty handy. The inability to separate friend from foe keeps it from becoming too cheezy.)

The team spends the next day circling the ruins around the north side and approaches from the northwest. They spend a cold, tense night in a dark camp and move forward at dawn. Ahead they see large amounts of smoke. Are they too late?

When they finally get close enough to see the ruins through the forest, they find the gnolls have surrounded the ruins with smokey fires, blinding the defenders. The gnolls have massed up on the west side of the ruined manor house and are preparing to mount an all-out attack. Katan fires an arrow with a message into the ruins to warn the defenders. The team then waits for the attack to start and moves in behind the gnolls to attack from the rear. Oralan’s ability to cast multiple sleep spells quietly puts down the gnoll archers and lets the team move in really close. His decision to shoot the gnoll leader only draws attention to the PCs. The fighting got heavy after that.

During the fight, the defenders on the walls barely hold the line against the gnolls, losing half their people to the gnolls. Between the defenders and the ranger team the gnolls are ground out of existence, but it was a close thing. The final gnoll pickets flee the area with as much food and water as they can carry and book to Gnoll’s Crossing. Clem makes contact with Valfrid Redbird, leader of the expedition and noted historian, and learns that the reason the expedition was able to hold out against the gnolls originally was because they had fortified the ruins against the ghouls.

Ghouls!?

The team quickly organizes to burn all 30+ dead gnolls on the still-burning fires and prepares to defend the ruins until relief arrives from New Crosswalshire. They’re fairly certain the relief troops will beat any gnolls that might return from Gnoll’s Crossing, but will they beat any ghouls that show up looking for a snack?

Turn in for Session 3 in one month’s time to find out!

EDIT: corrected friend’s son’s age. My mistake!

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Little Hungers, Part 1

Here is a summary of yesterday’s session.

The session started with the PCs rolling for initiative! I scripted in that the team had been tracking down a group of balna raiders for two weeks and accidentally stumbled onto the balna camp. Both sides were surprised, but immediately started fighting. The fight was short, with the most notable events being 2 exploding goblins (they had vials of alchemical fire that detonated when they were killed) and “Frothy the Balna” who accidentally killed one of his mates in his frenzy to attack the PC sorcerer.

The team returned to New Applegrove and discovered all the supplies for the new fort had arrived, along with the workers to build it, nearly doubling the villages population. Reporting in to Ranger-Captain Cedargold, the team learned that he was moving his HQ from the Rats Bastard Sword Inn in New Applegrove to the worksite for the new fort, a days ride north. The PC team was assigned to sweep the route to the worksite for trouble and then continue to Gnoll’s Crossing on the northern border. There they were to scout around for gnoll activity and report back if they found anything they couldn’t handle.

The route was safe with no signs of hostiles until they got close to Gnoll’s Crossing. There they started seeing signs that gnolls might be patrolling the forest in small numbers. Once they got closer to the Crossing, they started to hear the sounds of logging. Climbing some tall trees they were able to see the Crossing and the wooden fort gnolls were building there. There seemed to be a large number of gnolls.

After some discussion, the team decided to stealth in and find an isolated group of gnolls they could grab and question. They found one of the logging teams, which was made up of six gnoll overseers and ten human slaves. The team tried to stealthily surround the gnolls before attacking to avoid letting any get away, but their stealth expert (“Bones” Carmichael) critically failed getting into position and alerted the gnolls. As Bones was lightly armed and armored, the gnolls closest to him thought he was an escaped slave and started moving in on him. Then the rest of the party charged in and the fight was on! The human fighter Katan apparently channeled the gnoll god of horrible death, chopping down three of the gnolls in short order, along with a tree the third one was trying to hide behind. Two other gnolls were knocked unconscious by a sap (wielded expertly by Bones) and a sleep spell cast by Oralon the teams sorcerer. The last gnoll was hacked to death by the slaves, once the slaves saw which way the battle was going.

The team fell back with the freed slaves and their two captive gnolls, doing their best to hide the fact that a fight had happened (prestidigitation is very handy for this). After some interrogation by Katan (which made several of the other rangers uneasy), the gnolls spilled the beans. The team learned who how many gnolls were there and who their chieftain was and that a large force (20-30 gnolls) was heading south to raid some ruins for gnoll relics. The Ranger-Sergeant, Clementine “Clem” Rollins, knew from reports that the Count had some people investigating the ruins now. Clem decided to move the team and freed slaves (and the gnoll captives) to the build-site for the fort and report their findings to Ranger-Captain Cedargold.

Ranger-Captain Cedargold ordered the team to the ruins to either warn the Count’s expedition or rescue them. They were to attempt to hold the ruins for ten days until relief troops arrived from New Crosswalshire if at all possible, but don’t get everyone killed if it was not. The team was given horses to speed them on their way and a resupply of food.

After two days of travel through the forest, the team arrived at the ruins, only to find the gnolls already surrounding it. The ruins were of an old manor house and the main walls still stood, providing defense for the Count’s expedition. After some discussion, the ranger team decided to lure away small groups of gnolls and attempt to whittle down their numbers. In their first attempt the team was able to kill five gnolls, but alerted the rest that something was going on. The team fell back to rest and plan their next attack.

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Wiki Updates - Round 3

Now that I’m mostly done dealing with Hurricane Ike stuff, I’ve had some time to update the wiki some more.

I’ve explained what the wiki is about and detailed Naze Valley more, including adding information on the monetary systems (see Kingdom Mix of currency and Dominion Currency).

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Wiki Updates - Round 2

I've filled out many of the deeper links for the Kingdom of Kaldahnaka.  The dayjob is getting busy again, so my updates will slow a bit.  I'm still working on gettingf tables to work right, but I may have to start html coding them.  Ah, well.

 

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Wiki Updates - Round 1

I've uploaded the first round of material to the wiki, providing information about the world in general.  I did not get all the related subtopics filled in, but that will be in the next round.

 

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Chrysalis

So.

 We just finished playing through AEG's World's Largest Dungeon with a group that assembled just to play that.  I was willing to run it if folks kicked in at least $5.00 each to defray the cost of the book.  I’d like to thank my players for their generousity – the average contribution ended up being $10.00 each.  We played for two solid years, meeting an average of once a month and slogged through it.

When I knew the end of that campaign was near, I started asking theplayers what they wanted to do afterwards.  They didn't know, but they did want to keep playing (just not in the WLD ever again).  I've been building a campaign setting on the side because I like doing that.  So I thought, "Time to wheel it out and give it a spin."

This campaign will be in that world.  It is my design.  I may borrow adventure ideas and I will be using some online name generators, Seventh Sanctum and Chris Pound’s Language Machines in particular, but all the content is mine.  I've got the framework done.  Now for a month of earnest work getting everything ready for the PCs to arrive.

Time to leave the chrysalis.

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