Shadow Deeps

Kobold Hall - 06 July 08
Pre season pilot episode 2

 

Characters:Sk'ar Dragonborn PaladinRobin Halfling Rogue and Obi a Human Wizard.

The rescue of  Elisa Darkbane brought the party to the attention of Lady Allanda Markelhay and therefore of her husband, the Lord Warden. Merchants and travellers had reported growing kobold banditry on the King's road in the proximity of Kobold keep. Lord Markelhay knew that sending in a detachment of town guards under the command of an experienced sergeant would result in several fatalities as the guards although loyal and true do not have the skill levels of a band of adventures. He therefore summoned the party and offered them a quest to clear the Skull Kicker tribe kobolds out of kobold hall reasoning that if the clan leader was killed the various other kobold clans would return to their usual levels of in-fighting. His offer was 10gp per head and 100gp for the wooden mask of the kobold leader as proof of the death of his death.

The party accepted the quest and set off for the kobold's lair. Upon arrival they descended down a flight of stairs into a large chamber with a pit of green glowing slim in the centre. The glow from the slim pit lit up a loan Kobold slinger. Charging forward the heroes were attacked from a side passage by additional kobolds and the singer was reinforced by two kobold warriors. The kobold slingers kept a steady rain of glue filled globes at the party which kept Robin the Rogue stuck in place for most of the fight. The kobold spearmen mobbed sk'ar in an attempt to overwhelm him with numbers. As Obi engaged in a missile duel with the remaining kobolds. The party took a number of wounds but after a while the fight started to swing there way and the last two kobolds attempted to flee. Unfortunately for the kobolds they both had to run past Sk'ar who cut each down as they attempted to dodge past him.

The party proceeded down the corridor the kobolds had tried to flee down. The paladin taking the lead. After following the corridor for some time they came to a long chamber. Inside the chamber were an number of stone sarcophagi and at the far end of the room was a raised dais containing a shrine to Tiamat , the evil goddess of wealth, greed and revenge. Calling on his god, Sk'ar sprang forward heading for the evil shrine and unwittingly triggered a trap. With a rapid "phut phut" several darts struck him, paralysing him in place. At the same time kobolds sprang out of the darkness and took up defensive positions behind some of the sarcophagi. The highlights of the ensuing fight were Robin Triptoes the Rogue springing from sarcophagi to sarcophagi and Obi the Wizard calling down a Scorching burst on the altar and setting it on fire. Several times during the fight SK'ar was heard to bemoan the lack of a good throwing hammer, like the Kram the Dwarf Fighter had taken away from their last adventure. For the second fight in a row Robin proved incapable of hitting anyone with his "Sly Flourish" although his "deft Strikes" hit home. Rarely have i see so many 1's rolled in an evening. After taking yet more wounds the heroes once again prevailed and killed the kobolds defending the shrine.

Taking heart from their success (and an Action Point) the party pushed on. The passageway ended in a strange T-junction. The corridor branched right and left but the far wall of the passage way was only 10' high the ceiling being a further 10' above that. As the party stepped forward there was a crash and a loud rumbling sound and a large boulder came crashing into sight from the left. Robin the Rouge attempted to valult over the bolder but mistimed his jump and was lucky to roll out of it's way. Sk'ar the paladin hurled himself backwards into the tunnel they had just come down, dragging Obi with him to safety.

As the heroes collected their breath kobold slingers suddenly stood up on the top of the 10' wall in front of them and let loose. One stone went wide and the other would have hit Obi but Sk'ar bravely stepped into the way, taking the slingstone intended for his comrade. Obi and Sk'ar started exchanging missile fire with the slingers killing one while Robin the Rogue climed up the block the slingers were standing on and snuck up behind remainding one. Robin's sneak attack killed the kobold but in turn Robin was surprised by a cold ray in the back from further in the room.

The party ran around the centre block the slingers had been standing on and engaged a group of kobolds standing on a ledge. The group consisted of a shaman plus two bodyguards. Ska'r the paladin ran up the steps to the ledge and was engaged by the two bodyguards while Robin and Obi swapped missile fire with the shaman and attempted to dodge the boulder which was still circling. While they did this a small flying lizard swooped around their heads attacking and stealing small items.

Robin dodged around the boulder but Obi the wizard in a moment of madness choose to try and outrun the bolder which took him past the flying lizard which lashed out dropping him into the boulders path. Luckily for the Wizard, Robin and Sk'ar managed to overcome the three kobolds and get back to rescue him before he slipped all the way to deaths door. In the confusion the flying lizard managed to escape.

In the aftermath of the battle the party recovered the wooded mask which was the object of their quest as well as a magic staff - Staff of the white war wizard. However there remained one door they had not explored…

See also Sk'ar's view

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Pilot episode part 1
30 Jun 08 - To save a lady

Characters: Sk'ar Dragonborn Paladin, KramDwarf fighter and Obi a Human Wizard.

 

As this was a play test we moved very quickly into the action.

 

The adventure started when a rat ran up to Obi the wizard, sat down on it's haunches and started to speak to him. Obi immediately recognised the voice as that of Elisa DarkBane a girl he had studied magic alongside. (This was a ritual speak to animals spell.) She had been kidnapped by goblins and was going to be sacrificed. Luckily she was able to give directions to a ruined keep where she was being held. The party quickly set off in rescue.

It was a weak premise but it was a play test

The party found themselves descending down a flight of stone stairs in the dungeons beneath a ruined keep. The Dwarf was happy with the low level of light coming from behind them but the Obi the Wizard wasn't and used a minor spell to cast light on the tip of his staff.

As they entered the chamber at the foot of the stairs the party glanced around but failed to spot the two goblins armed with crossbows crouching in the shadows. The goblins sprang their ambush targeting the Dwarf who was in the front rank of the party. Immediately after firing the goblins began to maneuvre around the chamber looking to get good firing angles (and attempting to lure the party into charging into a pit trap in the centre of the room).

Unfortunately for the Goblins Obi the Wizard started to project beams of cold at them slowing down their ability to move. While at the same time the Dwarf fighter charged one of the goblins and pinned him in place with his ability to mark an opponent. Sk'ar the Paladin advanced across the chamber avoiding the pit trap presumably by divine favour. As he closed in on the goblin Sk'ar challenged the goblin to face him in melee combat.

Fighters have become an interesting class in 4e with their special techniques and ability to pin opponents in place by calling a mark. The ability of fighters and paladin to mark and challenge really prevented the goblins in this encounter from concentrating their fire on the lightly armoured wizard.

The out come of the fight was never in doubt once the Dragonborn Paladin and the Dwarf Fighter closed with the two goblin skirmishes but the Wizard's seeming inability to miss didn't hurt their chance of victory.

After finishing the goblins and skirting around another trap the party descended further into the Dungeon. On reaching the foot of another flight of stairs the party had a choice of turning left or right. Sk'ar the Paladin suddenly stiffened and stated he could feel creatures of the shadowfell down the left passageway. Advancing down the wide passageway to the left, the party first heard moaning and dragging and a small group of weak and emaciated zombies came lurching into site. With an eldritch gesture Obi called down fire onto the group and all of them collapsed to the floor burning.

This was the party's introduction to minions. I'm still making up my mind about this class of monster. The ability to face the party with hordes of foes is appealing however I'm not sure if they may confuse the party. A group of zombie minions may just ask for a heroic charge but a similar number of full monsters may end in a total party kill.

Advancing past the smouldering corpses the party advanced into a burial chamber containing a mix of zombie minions and zombie brutes. The party were initially taken aback when the brutes didn't drop like the minions they encountered before but Sk'ar was pleased to see how the glowing white light that surrounded his sword reacted with the unlife of the Zombies, inflicting addition damage. Once again Obi the Wizard couldn't seem to miss with his spells.

After a harder fight that they had faced against the goblins the party triumphed and explored the chamber. One of the sarcophagi was partially open and inside the party could see a skeleton dressed in rusty old style armour. All the contents of the sarcophagus had rotted and rusted except for an all metal dwarven throwing hammer which was in immaculate condition. The party quickly realised it was probably magical and the Dwarf fighter took the weapon knowing the previous owner would have wished it to be carried against the goblins infesting the keep.

Returning to the stairs the party took the right-hand path and followed it deeper into the dungeon. As they advanced down the corridor they discovered large eldritch symbols covering the whole width of the floor. After a little study Obi stated that the symbols were some sort of alarm. The party briefly discussed various ways of jumping over the symbols before Sk'ar strode over the symbol stating,

"Let them know we are coming and fear us!".

The party crossed another two symbols while the Dwarf muttered about how the girl they were there to rescue was probably being gutted as he spoke. Eventually the path lead the party into a small stone walled chamber. As they looked at the surrounding walls the around them party were surprise by crossbow bolts that flew through the seeming solid walls! The illusion was shattered by the bolts and a much larger chamber appeared. At the back of the chamber stood a powerful looking goblin hero flanked by two body guards. A further two goblins lurked in the shadows holding crossbows.

A hard and vicious battle ensued with the fighter and the paladin making good use of their mark and challenge abilities to control the battle. Unfortunately for Obi as they were out numbered the two warriors were unable to keep all the goblins occupied and he went down in a flurry of goblin missile fire, his blood pumping out, accross the flagstones of the dungeon floor. (He failed his saving throw and gained his first strike).

Leaving the Kram to keep the goblins busy Sk'ar (taking an action point) ran back to the Wizard and calling on his god "laid on hands" bringing Obi back to positive health. (Healing back up from 0 is a nice game mechanic. It has a heroic feel.) Turning around Sk'ar called out a challenge to the goblin leader. The goblin overcome with battle madness ignored the challenge and fired an attack at the weakened wizard. This proved to be a fatal error as the paladin's challenge kicked in and struck the goblin down dead on the spot. (It was a pure mistake by me this but it did result in a dramatic death.)

The party found the girl bound, still alive, at the back of the chamber. They untied her and escorted her back to Fallcrest.

See also Sk'ar's diary

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The Pre-season Pilot
Mmmm new rules to try out

I've always been a bit of a game system collector and as my current campaign (set in Talislanta and using the Hero system) was coming to its end, I eagerly picked up the new D&D 4e rules. I was immediately struck by there potential for fun gamming and the lessons which had obviously been learnt from MMORPG like WOW.

As we had to take a break from the end of the Talislanta campaign due to one of the players was unable to attend for a few weeks I was able to convince the players to indulge me and try out the new D&D 4e rules.

Campaigns in our group have always been in the cinematic style of a good film or TV series; e.g. heroic actions are always judged on how the visuals would look on the screen.  Think of the following adventures as a pilot show for a possible series. The network may or may not pick up the show and the characters may change between the pilot and the first season.

As we were testing the system the players started with the default characters available on the WotC D&D site.

 

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