Campaign of the Month: August 2012

Shimring

Faces of Divinity
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Changing Faces

In the summer of 1374 Silverymoon in Faerun was under threat from the servants of Lolth. It became known that Lolth’s high priestess, Eclavdra Eilserv, was preparing to attack the Silver Marshes by using Lolth’s power to draw a portion of the land, including the City of Silverymoon, into the Demonweb.

A small party was sent by Lady Alustriel to investigate and if possible foil these plans. They destroyed the magic image of Silverymoon in the Fane of Eclavdra but, while they were adventuring, heard of a much more far reaching threat being hatched whereby a Council of Demons was to be signed and bound by the Divine Spark of Lolth. How the party thwarted this plot can be read about in the summary Previous expedition to the Demonweb Pits .

Surviving members of the party were all honoured by Queen Alustriel and given lands and titles near to Silverymoon. The expedition, based in Sigil, was such a monumental event that the group vowed that in 10 years time they would all return to Sigil to celebrate and to honour the Tower of the Prophet where they first received Divine Guidance.

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Many Meetings and a Feast of Surprises
A Portal Opens

Dabus

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Zahariel, Pelius and Grunthy make the long awaited trip to Sigil, meeting a new companion (Falek Grange), at the portal, now warded by Taern Hornblade’s soldiers. Shou Garner travels through a portal and bumps into Jezrab Flinchal. Together, they search for Zahariel. All adventurers meet at the Green Dragon Inn in the Lower Ward and get off to a great start, with Zahariel inviting Sugar and Jezrab to the house that has been secured for them by Merrick Johnson.

They all enter a competition at the Styx Oarsmen – a roudy game of “Demon Pit” with the Prize, a coveted True Resurrection Spell. Unfortunately, this is won by a greedy Mezzoloth, who dances into the night and teleports away. There is violence in the bar, with at least two demons slain by the Marilith barmaid. The party retire to their house next door to the Green Dragon Inn, where they sleep soundly and wake early, all having had vivid dreams. They discuss these over breakfast and there seem to be common themes – chains, gifts and windows of opportunity.

A knock at the door turns out to be two troublesome Vrocks. They attack the party but are themselves destroyed. Unfortunately, an innocent halfling is killed. Prayers are said, a funeral is arranged, but the feast must continue – not where it was intended. The hired hall has mysteriously burned down so the party decide to hold the feast at home. Merrick Johnson provides the catering and the butler is so busy, nobody even notices he is there. Two dabus stand guard at the entrance and one of them utters something to them – a message from the Lady perhaps, of a window of opportunity.

During the feast a dark portal opens in the room. Pelius is first to jump in. He sees a statue of an elf on a pedestal with three chains draped over the statue – gold, silver and bronze. Several diminutive figures in the light source urge him to take the chains and flee! Sugar tries to help but the tiny figures urge her to leave them be and save herself. No sooner than Sugar steps back into the room does the portal disappear!

Back to Sigil

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A Prophecy, A Skirmish and a Spot of Shopping

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The party start out early by visiting the Tower of the Prophet and the Celestial Eye. Shou Garner does not go due to a serious tummy bug. At the Tower, the party meet Hound Archon Humbart and are given the scroll of the Celestial Eye. Humbart introduces Sir Keoghen to the service of the party. When they arrive back home they realise that Zahariel has not been with them and that an imposter has been in their midst. At this time there is a knock on the door and the sorcerer Tippit introduces himself and offers his service. The party accept and then try to trace the point where the imposter left them. However, all trails lead to a deadend.

They are then bothered by an insulting youth, two slimy Mezzoloths and Sergeant Crossley of the Sons of Mercy. Conflict is avoided and the party carry on their way collecting information. In the evening on their way back from trans-city wandering, they hear a cry for help and find a Githzerai, looking very much like Rule-of-Three being attacked. One of the Githyanki warriors warns them to stand down, but they pay no heed and head into the fray.

A githyanki warlock casts a wall of force behind Zahariel and appears on the steps ahead. One githyanki warrior appears next to Jezrab and cuts him with a fiery sword, but Jezrab uses an old jaunter trick and supplants himself with Keoghen. Out on his own, the lone githyanki warrior is cut down while Zahariel dispatches another and moves swiftly to deal with the warlock. But just when more death seems imminent a parley is made and one warrior and the warlock take off with their companions’s swords. The wounded Githzerai turns out not be Rule-of-Three, but Killiyak Gurettna, a wizard living in the Hive. By way of thanks he invites them all home, and gives them a Passwall scroll.

Pleasant sleep is not interrupted by dreams this night and when the party wake up, they do some serious shopping before returning to the library, where they are told that the portal to Wyrmland is to be found in they Githyanki quarter of Gitriban in the Guildhall Ward. They make their way there forthwith.

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Cleaning out the fireplace.

Raptor

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The Questors enter confidently into the dark room, filling it with light from Pelius’s spell. Jezrab has determined the position of the portal but it is not an easy passage, because a Protean Scourge has made its hiding place here, totally unaware of the new portal position. As the characters move towards it, it decides to protect itself by attacking first. On the first damage done to the creature by the Questors, it splits into two distinct beings and attempts to use its spellcasting abilities. These not being the most successful, it has to opt for physical combat. The Scourge puts up a good fight, seriously wounding some and bringing Falek Grange to the point of unconsciousness. But these foes are Holy Questors of a might not yet experienced by the Scourge, and in the end he is killed and his magical scythe taken.

Jezrab Flinchal leads the party through the portal, and divine inspiration washes over them as they enter a new world. Falek Grange, touched by the wisdom of Mystra, is made aware that the party is now entering a world where their souls cannot be reached by their own Gods.

The climate of Wyrmland is hot and cloudy, the vegetation different to most other lands seen by the Questors. A cacophany of loud shrieks, cries, squawks and howls fills their ears and they are unsure which way to travel. Shou Garner casts a Fly spell on Zahariel and he ascends 200’ into the air, noticing mountains to the north, swamp to the west, a river to the east and a large lake with an island to the sounth. At the tip of the lake, where a river joins the body of water, Zahariel notices what seems to be a humanoid village.

The Questors make their way to this place, being as careful as they can not to engage with any of the strange creatures that are obviously moving around in the vegetation on all sides of them. What they do not know is that they are being hunted by Megaraptors, who attack from the rear, two of them making off with Sir Keoghen’s horse and pony. The remainder are destroyed by the party, who are able to make their way to the village of Denn, negotiate entry and begin to converse with the Shamanic Chieftain, Imbamo Bama

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Rust Never Sleeps
Kapeski, Rust Dragon Guardian

Rust

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After conversing with Imbamo Bama, Shamanic Chieftain of Denn, the party learn what they can about the dragon Kapeski and his Kobold minions and rest during the night. In the early morning they leave, using spells by Tippit to keep them invisible and Jezrab to transport them. They reach the edge of the lair unnoticed but two failed attempts by Grunthy to open a small side door alert the guards.

The party move through the kobold defences like a hot knife through butter, slaughtering most of the creatures. As they approach a second cavern they are attacked by a young Blue Dragon, but they kill him quickly and move forward. A red dragon does serious damage to Zahariel and destroys two of his magical items, and when Falek tries to chase a monk opponent he runs straight across the path of the waiting Kapeski, who breathes a jet of acid that burns the fighter and destroys several magcial items instantly.

The party kill the red dragon and the monk and then chase after Kapeski to find that he has trapped some of them in a series of Iron Walls. Knocking down one wall, Kapeski chases three characters after closing off the rest behind a chamber of rock and iron walls. He runs after Jezrab Flinchal and Shou Garner (who has been blinded by the Kobold Shaman), with Falek Grange just ahead.

At the entrance to the cave, Falek makes a spectacular leap into the water, while Jezrab and Sugar fly under the water, surfacing quickly to cast a Rope Trick spell and hurriedly climb inside. Kapeski decides to leave the swimmers till later and flies back through the concealed back door, arriving just after Tippit Dimension Doors the rest of them into the chamber, only to be divided again by another Iron Wall. Two more of the same spell brings the whole party back into the chamber, where Kapeski makes his first attack. Pelius and Sir Keoghen both lose items in a spray of corrosive acid and Pelius’ Destruction spell fails, but Zahariel and Keoghen each move in to attack, Keoghen armed only with a dagger.

With some heavy battering, a massive critical hit from Zahariel and some nifty archery from Grunthy, the odds are quickly turned against the great wyrm and he screams in blasphemous pain as he falls under a butchery of blades. When Jezrab returns with Sugar and Falek, Grunthy is already examining a magical box on top of a pile of Gems. Two Detect Magic spells blind the casters, so potent is the Magic of the Heart of the Dracolich. There is another item in the box. Falek lifts a pouch and opens it! It is a Deck of Many things. Falek follows the “rule of three” and restores sight to the two magic users, but loses everything he has gained and is destined to fight alone against a mighty enemy.

Useful items and treasure are gathered up, human slaves are liberated and kobold prisoners are handed over to the habitants of Denn. On reaching the shore at the other side of the lake, a mighty Exarch of Bahamut meets them and explains they must now go to Shimring. Two gargantuan brass dragons lower themselves so that the party can ride. They must now travel through the coexistant plane of Astaroth to Greyhawk to meet with the god Iuz!

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Knock knock knocking on Mystra's Door
First death and costly resurrection

Tirra

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Travelling on the backs of two ancient dragon who fly continuously for five days and nights, the Questors are transported over lands and sea to the mystical isle of Shimring. The flight is surprisingly comfortable, as the dragons have had towers strapped to their backs to accomodate the adventurers.

Although at first they are not talkative, they soon open up to Jezrab’s singing and accompany him in tuneful harmony. During the flight, they also tell the players what they know of Shimring and of the Temples of Primordial Power.

On the fifth day the great wyrms relieve themselves of their burdens and wish the Questors good luck. They stand on a hilltop facing a small passage entrance carved into the very bones of the land. Magical runes adorn the pillars around the entrance and when Zahariel tries to read the inscription, he finds only temporary lunacy and babbles on in a mixture of languages so varied that nobody could glean any meaning from it.

The group inch forward into the dungeon, with Falek at the head, hoping to meet the Destiny of the Comet by a lone encounter with their first foe. This is an ancient Sentry Ooze, and Falek strides bravely into an underground arena to do battle with the beast. Within seconds, his life is bereft of him and he is eaten.

The rest of the group then charge in, doing battle with fire and magic until slowly the creature, which has split into several creatures after each sword and arrow attack, is ultimately destroyed. The party continue on down the passage and very soon meet a dark but naked figure in the passage ahead.

Falek, has been returned by his Gods to fulfil his destiny. But this is not without cost. In payment of the magical power used to enact True Resurrection, Tippit, who is now the new carrier of the Heart of the Dracolich, loses his Ring of Protection, which bursts into a mist of cold blue flame and disappears.

Using the Primordial Power Word, Astaroth, Tippit brings the party into the cojoined plane and they arrive in a quiet stable deep inside the City of Greyhawk. They are met by a dark haired elf, Tirra, who explains that she has been waiting to give them assistance to acquiring the key they shall need to enter The Tower of Magic. Using the “Baklunian Refuge Bottle”, they must enter the Ziggaurat of the Guild of Wizardry, find the Yragerne Accord of 393, which they are told describes the whereabouts of the Obidian Key, the item needed to gain access to the lower chambers of Zagig’s Tower of Magic. There is no time to lose!

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Through the eye of the beholder: an owl's perspective

Beholder

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Towitt-towoo! If I could speak (which I can’t) I might record what deeds my party accomplished on their entry to the Ziggaurat of the Guild of Wizardry in the legendary city of Greyhawk. I might tell how we exited the refuge bottle after a very comfortable six hours, all members wearing the wizard robes lent by Tirra the rogue. If I could, I would relate details how they entered a corridor, conversed with some disinterested wizards busy containing a demon, and of how they quickly found the door to the library and entered.

The room was large and full of many racks of shelves. As the group started looking through different parts of the room, I noticed how the magical light changed every few seconds and if I had had the intelligence, I may have been able to deduce something from this, but could not. Tiwoo!

As it turns out, the library was guarded by a beholder. I might tell, if I could, how this monster played a dangerous game of hide and seek among the shelves, appearing and attacking party members separately. I might tell of how poor Tippit was turned to stone, but my favourite thing would be to relate the way we eventually ganged up on this beast and chopped it to pieces like a mouse between talon and beak.

Towitt! How I would love to tell you of how we found the way to the secret room in the hidden book, how we entered that room of many coloured pillars and how poor Grunthy became deafened in the way to the true path. I would tell of the climbing up the secret passage, the meeting with the great Mordenkainen and how he gave us both the obsidian key and a flesh and blood Tippit restored to us, with the only condition that we inform the people of the city and alert them to the Orb of Opposition.

Tiwoo! How I would love to relate the battle against the great demon, that had escaped and destroyed its wizard captors. I would tell of its great stench and its abhorrent language, but I would also rejoice in the telling of our party’s victory and how we returned safely through means of the ancient Refuge Bottle to Tirra, who had ordered much needed supplies and introduced us to Priestess Hermione of the House of Gaga, a servant of Mystra, able to help us acquire what we all needed. Well, I say all. Actually, all I required was a fresh mouse, but I found that myself and it was delicious! Towitt-towoo!

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Madness and Mayhem

Intellect devourer

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The brave Questors recuperate in Tirra’s house in Greyhawk for two days. Zahariel leaves the house one day and does not return. Priestess Hermione of the the House of GaGa acquires some more magic items for the party and they attempt to use a Commune spell but are foiled by the Primordial Power effect. They decide to wait another day, cast another Commune spell and head off to meet Grandfather Magic, the guardian of the Greyhawk dungeons.

Grandfather Magic is as mad as they expect, but when they offer him the Obsidian Key, he takes it, places it in the Ruby Skull and a large butterfly pops out. “The butterfly of Zagyg,” Grandfather Magic squeals in delight, “It will show me the way to the One True Portal.” With that, he drops everything and runs over the fields, chasing the butterfly.

The questors learn that the way to the dungeons is now open and the young priests that remain tell them they have marked the way down to the Vaults of Creation on level 5 with chalked butterflies on the walls. The Questors follow these signs for two hours, going deeper and deeper into the dungeon, until they find a chamber of doors with no markings. Investigating one room, Falek, with his arcane sight, spots two creatures hiding in the alcoves – intellect devourers!

Battle ensues and both Grunthy and Tippit fall prey to CONFUSION but Sir Keoghen and Falek Grange both step up in Zahariel’s absence, delivering killer blows with their mighty swords. With Jezrab Flinchal‘s protection, Keoghen’s aura and Pelius’s saving throw enhancements, the group easily overcome the two creatures and prepare to move down the next flight of stairs to Level 3.

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Darkness and Death

Ogre mage

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Down down into the Dungeons of Greyhawk. Falek Grange slipping on stinking slimy floors that magnify the sound and after a difficult passage over a foreboding chasm, further chaos erupts as spells fail and Entropic Enemies appear, harrying the questors as they squeeze through the caved in tunnel only to be confronted by ogres of ugly disposition. Not only are they unfriendly, but they are also backed up by Ogre Mages, who fire spells while the poor Questors wrestle with fierce entities of invisible energy. Falek stands bravely at the front but is knocked down by fire and ice. Pelius shows his mettle but succumbs to horrid attack, and for Tippit, Sir Keoghen, Falek and Pelius, retreat gives way to Death.

Only Jezrab Flinchal and Grunthy make it out alive and flee to the surface, hoping that some of their friends will join them. Once again dead souls are rejected by the Gods and returned to their quest. Two enter their bodies slumped in an ogre den. Two others stand naked in a distant room, their bodies already burned and eaten by hungry ogres. Figurines of Wondrous Power, a Belt of Dwarven Kind, and two swords are lost to the magic used to reincarnate the dead characters.

But mighty characters such as these do not take death lying down. No! Pelius and Falek kill the leader of the ogres and take back the lost Heart of the Dracolich, Falek becoming wielder once again, and all meet on the surface. Sir Keoghen’s faith proves mighty indeed, and with a great surge of power the group gather in a whirling windwalking mission to track down their ogre adversaries and try and reclaim their lost treasure. Time is short and friends, it seems, are few!

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The Nightmare Scenario

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Blundering down through the darkness, the windwalking Questors make their way to where they last saw the ogres, finding, as expected, that they have already left. Stopping briefly to check for tracks, Grunthy determines that they have fled down the stairs, and they decide to fly like the wind downstairs. At the bottom, Jezrab Flinchal spots two ogre legs lying in a large cavern under a massive whole in the roof. Carefully they make their way around a large curve and pursue their unseen foes into the darkness.

They are a noisy bunch, and move through the darkness with heavy breathing and armour a “aclinking”. Jezrab is the first to be hit by a bolt of chain lightning. Grunthy evades the electrical energy but most of the others are painfully aware that they are now under attack by what they soon discover to be a Nightmare Beast, a huge spellcasting monster of tusk and claw that pounces out into their dim light and starts ravaging them. Luckily, Falek Grange sneaks past it invisibly and delivers deadly blows with Pelius‘s mace. Sir Keoghen takes the brunt of the attack but is saved by his cleric’s prowess and healing powers, with some excellent supplementary aid from Jezrab.

Tippit delivers further fire attacks and together the group quickly bring the huge beast to the floor. Falek finds a bag on the floor and realises that it is their lost bag of holding, but all are now exhausted and they retreat to the empty lair to rest for 12 hours. When they return, they disembowel the creature and salvage more gear from the decomposing ogres within the great gut of the monster. They make their way down the stairs and prepare to enter The Vaults of Creation.

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