Yesterday, we played some D+D, which wasn't so blah, although we didn't get far because people were being extremely distractible and the GM kept having ot shuffle around between ten different pages for his monsters. Whoever said the 4e stat blocks were compact and easy to use? Totally smoking crack.
After deciding that wandering into the pitch black basement which suppressed all light sources in the middle of the night would be really stupid, the party decided to wait until morning on a nearby island. As the sun rose, they were attacked by crocodiles!
Baby crocodiles, who died in one hit. Breakfast is served?
The light-nulliying field was gone, so the party lit their torches and headed into the house. The black fire was also gone, although it was replaced with an area of supernatural chill. Celeste sent her eye down into the basement, and the eye pronounced it clear -- it was kind of dark, but not pitch black, and there was nothing there except a tapestry on the side wall and what looked like pieces of a former prisoner hanging on the far wall.
So they went downstairs, and were immediately ambushed by a swarm of monsters. Celeste's eye died first. The rest of the party was trapped on the stairwell by the death knight -- their light didn't illuminate the basement well (the dim light couldn't be brightened past 'dim') and the death knight shrouded himself further in darkness, although it was to make himself hard to hit more than to make himself invisible, since he was attacking and not actually hidden or anything. There was also another of the annoying shadows, and a halfling witch with a ghostly head and the legs and hand of a warforged -- possible the unfortunate warforged hanging on the far wall, disassembled and apparently dead.
So since they couldn't see very well, the party filled the basement with area effect spells. When in doubt, nuke the world! Celeste and Ariel managed to teleport past the enemies to the far side of the room to open up their lines of effect, while Varnix and Beware stood near the stairwell. Then, BOOM!
The disgusting combo was this: Celeste used hypnotic pattern and visions of avarice to suck the enemies into the middle of the room and hold them there immobilized... inside Beware's feast of souls which damaged them (quite badly!) every round. Ariel added her own nukes, which were mostly one-time deals but hit really hard. Varnix kept everyone healed, and threw in some radiant attacks on the death knight, who was immobilized at the edge of the zone, inside his reach.
It took a while, and the enemies (in particular a ghost who showed up and horrified everyone in a burst that filled the whole room, repeatedly) dazed Celeste and Beware to try to convince them to let their zones drop (they didn't), but they couldn't actually escape, so eventually they all melted.
The witch died last, and as she exploded in a burst of black energy, she cursed the party that none of them would leave the swamp alive!
After the battle, the disassembled warforged (named 'Heyyou') revealed that he was alive, and asked to be let down. Varnix and Celeste thought he sounded trustworthy (his story was that the witch had lured him in because she needed 'a pair of strong legs') and he certainly wasn't on the enemies' side. They gave him his legs and hand back, and went past the tapestries to the back room where they found the rest of Molly (her torso and arms were the witch and they alread had her head). Somewhat to their surprise, the power of Selune healed her back whole when they reassembled her!
Then they carefully took the evil locket (the witch had had it on her) and a letter the witch had stored in her closet in the back room of the basement, and... had to flee for their lives as the sound of drums filled the swamp. Beware activated his onyx fly to get a look back that way, and saw an army of undead rising from the swsmp to chase them! But Celeste had already been casting a floating disk, and between that and Molly's boat and Beware's fly, they had enough transportation to stay ahead of the army, although they had to row REALLY FAST. Heyyou did most of the rowing, and got them out alive. The undead didn't leave the swamp -- it hadn't been a real army, just a manifestation of the witch's curse.
They took Molly back to her shop, where the priests of Kelemvor were about ready to give Elmo his last rites, since he was dying. When the party told them they'd found the amulet responsible for his illness, they immediately smashed it -- which broke the curse, saving Elmo. "Oh, THAT'S what we were supposed to do with it!" Molly and Elmo and Lilly were ecstatic, and told the party they could take anything they wanted from the store... but it was just a general store, so all they could take was normal supplies.
A week later, after they'd trained and spent the week being celebrated by the people of Secomber as 'paragons of adventuring', they were summoned to the guild to hear about what the letter meant. Apparently there was a place nearby called the 'sword's tears', which was referred to in the letter as the 'dagger's drip'. The guildmaster's friend had led a group of dwarves up there about a year ago to try to re-open the mithril mines, but they hadn't been heard from since, and he was worried that they might have unleashed some evil, since the letter mentioned that area and the witch's sister. It looked like Gruumsh and another evil savage god were also involved, in addition to Shar (who'd managed all the darkness effects in the swamp -- the witch had been one of her priestesses).
The main barrier the party would have to face was the elven kingdom that sat astride the only reasonable route -- they really didn't like outsiders, and their gate (which magic ensured could not be bypassed) was well guarded. But the party was on a mission of goodness and light, so in theory they should be able to negotiate passage. Besides, they had no choice.
A barge took them to the elven gateway, which was a narrow rope strung over a 400 foot river -- one bank of which, the one the party needed to use, was a 300 foot high cliff. "Elves welcome," said the signs, in elvish, "No tresspassing."
Celeste thought that as an Eladrin she was enough of an elf to qualify, and tried to walk up the rope. But it was harder than it looked, and she fell in the river and had to be pulled out by the party. Heyyou (who'd joined the party for this quest, since he was already involved and his specialty would help fill out their roster) was no kind of elf, but thought the rope looked easily climable, and started climbing up, using one of his own ropes as a safety tether. The rope got slippery to try to slide him back down (and did slide him down a ways, a couple times) and then caught on fire near the end to try to convince him to let go, but with unrelenting persistence (and a series of extremely good rolls) he got to the other side.
No one else really had a prayer, except maybe Beware. BUT... Beware had an onyx fly that could fly one person, and Celeste had Arcane Gate which could open a teleport gate between two points 100 feet away from her. That would let them bypass the last 200 feet of the rope, which was where it started getting magically feisty. Celeste borrowed the fly to go put up the gate, and Beware was strong enough to climb with Ariel clinging to his back without being encumbered (Ariel, as a doppleganger, was able to make herself small and light), and Varnix was a good enough climber with his armor unsummoned to make the first half of the rope. They teleported through, Celeste flew up to join them, and they were across!
Then the defenders of the gate opened fire. Celeste was hit by a poisoned arrow, and hurriedly flew back to earth because the fly she was riding was quite fragile. Then they yelled out, 'We come in peace! We only want to pass through your forest in order that we may fight a great evil, that otherwise will spread plague and darkness across the land!' Or something along those lines.
That was enough for the defenders to stop shooting and start talking. They were a small army of centuars and a treent, who made the party swear to defend the trees and animals of the forest *for all eternity*, which was a sticking point until they agreed that it was only against dangers that the party personally observed, so it would only apply whenever, in that eternity, they were present in the forest. After everyone swore, the treent told them that the dwarven quarry had been overrun by giants and orcs, but that they knew a secret backway that the party might be able to use to approach from an unexpected angle.
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