Virgin DM Monologues: The Last Minute Delve

E’s Eberron Campaign, Session 2: 11/3/09

I had a plan.  It was a great plan.  It involved the most ingenious way to introduce our 5th PC into the party.  Ask Dante from StupidRanger - it’s just super awesome.  I spent all week planning it and putting all the details into my secret GM-only area of Obsidian Portal.

Then Tuesday morning rolled around and my 5th player contacted me to say he was really sick and wouldn’t be able to make it.  And of course, I hadn’t given any thought to what would happen without him.

So there I was, the very day of the game and now I had no plans.  I can’t run what I planned on running because the plot depended on the 5th PC being there.  It wasn’t as easy as just modding encounters – it was a roleplay-heavy session that just flat-out wouldn’t WORK without the 5th PC there.

Since the original four PCs were all going to attend and I had left them at the Ghallanda enclave, where they were supposed to be laying low and avoiding notice by the forces that had imprisoned them, I needed some sort of quest they could do in or near the enclave.

Why not a mini dungeon delve?

But wait… let’s back up…

I wanted to hear from my PCs what they were thinking while in the Ghallanda enclave that first night, immediately after their rescue.

On our campaign forum (yet another reason I love Obsidian Portal!), I posted an opportunity for bonus XP (25) for a short blurb about what their character was thinking about that night.  Here’s what they said:

Jelly, Half-Elf Cleric:

Why on earth would they have put me in such a high-security prison… slated to be executed??? As far as I know, I was just rounded up accidentally with nuisance rabble during a riot. Did they mistake me for someone else entirely? Some sort of ringleader? Did my paperwork get mixed up with some hardened criminal?

Why was I grouped with these other particular prisoners – and, moving on to subsequent events, why did someone think it important enough that we should all be rescued? Are we to undertake some sort of Very Important Mission? It seems that whoever got us out of there already has some pretty competent people at their disposal (Jes and – dang, what was that wunderkind pilot’s name? M-something-short?)

Well, I’m REALLY glad we were rescued. That cell was pretty bleak, and sealed up tighter than a duck’s ass. While I’m all up for a touch of danger in my life, being executed for crimes unknown was not the way I planned to go out! I’m a little worried we may have gotten out of the frying pan and into the fire – although I’m not sure there’s much worse than execution for no good reason. Well, okay, there’s definitely worse ways to go, but that’s one’s right down there.

All of us certainly owe our mysterious rescuer/s something – I hope it’s not a debt I’m going to have a problem repaying. It would suck to feel forced or blackmailed to do something that goes completely against my nature. I hope we don’t end up getting tangled up in politics that might make me enemies for life. Then again, thinking back to that jail cell, maybe I’ve already made some enemies for life – I just don’t know who or why!

Beatdown Machine, Warforged Fighter (aka DaveTheGame):

Beatdown Machine War Journal, Entry #1.0 Post-Awakening

Current status: Preparing for Unsleeping Watcher state in the special House Ghallanda Warforged privacy suite (known to meat-creatures as “the closet.”) Body has been repaired sufficiently by the squishy creature identified as “Jelly.” Once fought beside a Warforged with the designation Jelly, but that was only after being exposed to a battalion of flame-sorcerers.

I defeated 1 Chain Golem*, 8 guards, and 5 flyers. I could have defeated, if I had so chosen: 4 airship sailors, 1 airship captain, 1 wizardess designated Jes, 1 electric flesh-thing designated as Cyd, 1 semi-competent warrior designated Evan. Note to self: get extra crossbows installed at first opportunity.

Percentage chance for battle while with this group remains high, so I will continue to travel with them for now, confidant that I could destroy them if I chose. However, if the term “rusty” continues to be thrown around, I may have to sever limbs, as is proper procedure.

Must remember to follow-up Re: Last War ending.

End War Journal Entry.

*indicates something that I had not previously defeated.

Evan Macdowell, Human Rogue

Evan Macdowell’s Journal:

- I owe a favour to this Jes and her employer. The first job will be on the house.

- Why this group? Isn’t it too much of a coincidence that we were all to be put to death for an unknown reason by an unknown group? And on top of that, we were all housed in the same jailblock? Like we were being corralled together for a reason? Makes you wonder. I have to keep my eyes open. There is a small, though non-zero, chance of this Jes and her employer being our enemies. I should have time to investigate. They obviously need us for something.

- I don’t know what to make of this “Jes”. She can seemingly teleport at will, or at least that’s the hypothesis since she got through my, and presumably the other’s, magic cell barriers with that method. I should make note of her relationship with that Half-Elven airship captain. Might be useful information in the future.

- On “Jelly” and that quiet wizard “Cyd”, They seem mostly harmless, at least toward myself. I shouldn’t have to worry too much about them. Cyd looks like he has enough problems on his own, and Jelly seems kind of carefree.

- That Warforged, on the other hand, might be another story. I should keep my eye on him(it?). I have a bad feeling about him. Though, that just might be my unease about Warforged in general.

- What’s happened in the last 3-4 days? I wonder if our incarceration was to keep us from being involved in something during that timeframe. Why else keep us out all that time? Though, that might either have been a side effect of whatever drug or magic we were under, or it was the time to transport us from whatever town we were in to that prison complex. Still, the time period is quite suspicious. I shall inquire about this with the mysterious “employer”.

- As soon as their jobs run out, I will need to find out about this sorceress with my mother’s name. It can’t be her, but I need to be sure.

Cyd, the Genasi(?) Wizard did not opt to complete the optional XP for session 1. I leave it as an option so people don’t necessarily HAVE to do it if they don’t have time or any other reason.

The party awakens in the Ghallanda enclave…

The party meets with Jes at breakfast at Three Times Round, the Ghallanda enclave.   The dog’s head crest of Ghallanda hangs on the wall.  It’s a large, underground building, but the magical lighting is so effective that it’s as light and bright as any inn on the surface.

Lady Rose bustles around the tables and in and out of the kitchen, bringing plates of hot goose eggs and boar bacon to the tables and filling your glasses with fresh blended mango juice. A basket of fruits is in the center of the table and a loaf of freshly baked bread sits next to small bowls of preserves and butter.

Rose giggles at the fact that the party seems unaware of the fact that they’re in Xen’drik and then hints to Jelly that she’s never “had one” of a man quite like Cyd.  She seems friendly… very friendly.

Jes explains that the party needs to lay low for a week or two, just to throw off the investigators who are trying to find them and return them to the jail. Ren made it look like the airship was headed for Stormreach and made a turn after losing the flying archers, so hopefully they shook their captors, but you can never be too sure.  In the meantime, the fine folks who run Three Times Round could use some help.

Kaleb explains that there’s a cavern about a half day’s walk to the west that they know contains Khyber dragonshards.   Since dragonshards are worth a bit of money, he’d appreciate the party going there and bringing them back.  Jes volunteered the party’s services since it will be a dangerous mission and since Beatdown seems so keen on killing things, it only seems right to “feed” him what he wants.

Kaleb offers the party a Bag of Holding and says they can keep the bag and anything they find other than the Khyber shards.

Garrett will come with the party, but only to the cave’s entrance. Since he’s afraid of kobolds (and is VERY unhappy about his father spilling the beans to everyone), he won’t go into the cave. He knows the jungle well enough to keep the party from succumbing to the traveler’s curse. He’ll await their return to the surface, scout out a safe place to spend the night, and lead them back to the enclave the next day.

At the mouth of the cave, there are two black kobolds.  After being shot at by the sniper rogue and the wizard, they run back into the cave and the party runs into follow them before they summon reinforcements.  Two additional sentries arrive as well as a chief with a feather hat.

Beatdown finds himself surrounded by kobolds, utters his new catchphrase, “You have now entered Cleave-land!” and gets bloodied nearly every round (a consequence of being the only melee character – we have a wizard, a  laser cleric and a sniper rogue.  Thankfully our 5th PC is a barbarian, so Beatdown will be slightly less beat-up in the future!).

But the PCs persevere and defeat the kobolds.  Beatdown steals the feather hat and puts it on, looking quite ridiculous.

After a short rest, they press deeper into the cavern and enter the second room.  Evan the rogue notices tiny holes in the walls and has a very bad feeling that they may be part of a trap.  However, he can’ t seem to find a way to disable it.  It’s a poison dart trap and  it shoots  from both walls once per round.  Luckily the PCs take advantage of the stone columns in the room, using them as shields against the darts.  (Beatdown even chooses to fall prone after one attack to avoid being shot by the darts… again.)

We have a pretty impressive sniper rogue.  He can pretty much be across the universe and still shoot things with his crossbow.  Jelly is constantly cheerful, but a little wary about getting too close to the action.  She comments about how the encounter reminds her of the “good ol’ days” adventuring with her parents.

Another short rest and the party presses still deeper into the cavern where they come to a room with bones on the floor.  Evan sneaks in, but isn’t quite sneaky enough.   Vile necrotic energy blasts him and he’s firmly rooted to the ground as a dracolich emerges from the corner.

The bad news: It’s a Stoneborn Dracolich.

The good news: It doesn’t appear to be feeling well.  (Well, as much as an undead creature can feel “well.”)

I ran the level 11 dracolich with 1/2 hit points, minus 2 to all defenses, and weakened (1/2 damage).  It appears he’d seen much better days.  (Yes, I know that there are apparently better ways to nerf a monster.  I’m a n00b, so cut me some slack while I’m learnin’, k?)

Immobilizing the rogue was fun!!  I finally got to do stuff to him!  Mwah ha ha!  Even when the wizard cast his circle of dazed crappiness, the dracolich wasn’t that bothered.  He could still breathe on everyone and do his reaction bone shards attack and bite the warforged.

Jelly experimented with her Guardian of Faith, which she hadn’t yet summoned until that encounter.  What mini was handy?  Doctor Who.  Yeah, seriously, DaveTheGame uses a Doctor Who mini for his character in Bartoneus’ game, so it was just hanging around within reach.  Doctor Who wasn’t particularly effective in hitting the dracolich, but it was amusing having him in the battle!

The party finally defeats the dracolich and in the pile of bones in the corner of the lair, they find 5 small Khyber shards and one large one. In the pockets of some abandoned armor, they find coin purses with a total of 300 gp.  (Shush, I’m a fan of round numbers.)

They return to the cave entrance and find Garrett has uncovered a secret chamber near the mouth of the cave where the kobolds once slept. It’s not the most hospitable place, but it’s a safe place to rest for the night. While Garrett isn’t looking, Jelly and Evan find two Siberys shards and decide that since they aren’t Khyber shards, it’s only fair that they keep them.

The next morning, they walk back to Three Times Round. Seeing the entrance by daylight is very interesting. It’s so well hidden in the thick jungle that they didn’t even notice the door until Garrett points it out.

Garrett swings open the door and they walk down the entrance hall, past the enclave guards, and into the tavern area. Kaleb looks pleased to see them and rushes forward to thank them for a job well done. He brings them to the bar just as they are raising mugs of drinks to celebrate, Violet d’Ghallanda runs into the room screaming. “MURDER!! THERE’S BEEN A MURDER!

…next session will be 11/17/09.

About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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