Altea's Scepter: An Unfortunate Turn

Sunday November 28, 2021 at 1:30pm d&d, altea's scepter, game session notes Comments (0) »
 Dungeons and Dragons logo © Wizards of the Coast. Temple ruin artwork © Wanxing Wang
Dungeons and Dragons logo © Wizards of the Coast. Temple ruin artwork © Wanxing Wang

- Realizing that the woman who was the werewolf may be unaware of her actions, Rocky decided to attempt to subdue the beast instead of killing it.  The resulting struggle alerted the innkeeper, who eventually helped Rock tie up the creature.  The innkeeper was quite distressed to hear that one of his staff was a monster and decided to go fetch one of the priests.  Returning a short time later, the group of them discussed what should be done until daylight came and the poor woman reverted to her normal form. Rocky returned to Midrus' library and told the others about what happened.

- The group then took the pin the hag had given them - which they had determined was a "hag eye" - to the minister.  They cautioned him that it was given to them by a green hag who may be able to see and possibly hear through the gem.  They suggested he not put it where it might give away something important and perhaps they should surrender it to the dragon when it returns.  The minister seemed somewhat hesitant to take the item until he saw it, at which point Hope noticed a covetous glint in his eye - along with a subtle sparkle that might have been a magical effect.  When the group tried to warn a clerk about the minister's apparent "attachment", the clerk stormed into the office, loudly claiming bewitchment on the part of the party - particularly Hope, the tiefling.

- The party took their leave, deciding to return to the Smiling Griffin to speak again with Sevren.  They had to wait around for him well into the evening, durning which time they were approached by an intoxicated quarry worker who told them he heard a howling sound coming from inside the caves.  When Sevren did arrive, he was concerned about Rocky's report of a werewolf and went to speak with the Innkeeper.  On the way, the party got directions from him to the overgrown graveyard he'd mentioned - believing the site might be related to one of the temples.

- The next day, the party decided to return to the 'grand avenue' ruin and speak with the hag again.  The creature did answer some of their questions, telling them among other things that the last queen, Marcella, had intentionally destroyed Altea's Scepter and had her priests seal the pieces away. 

- They were trying to get more information out of her when Ari mentioned Vuldas' name, whereupon the hag became agitated and paranoid.  She turned on Hope, accusing her of seeking Vuldas out, and ranting that she would not be replaced.  It was then that the hag commanded her ogres to attack...

Altea's Scepter: Things Not What They Seem

Saturday November 27, 2021 at 2:00pm d&d, altea's scepter, game session notes Comments (0) »
 Dungeons and Dragons logo © Wizards of the Coast. Temple ruin artwork © Wanxing Wang
Dungeons and Dragons logo © Wizards of the Coast. Temple ruin artwork © Wanxing Wang

- The source of the cackling began engaging them in conversation, asking them questions about who they were and why they were there - and continue prodding them until they gave her a clue as to what they wanted.  As they conversed a trio of ogres casually approached the site.  It wasn't until Hope mentioned Altea and the scepter - asking if the voice knew why it had broken upon the queen's death - that the speaker appeared, revealing herself to be a hideous green hag. 

- She appeared delighted and promised them answers to their questions if they would do something for her: she wanted them to take a silver pin containing a big blue gem to Minister Gillyn, the leader of the town of Braydon Point.  The hesitantly agreed and left the site without scuffling with her or the ogres.

- Before returning to Braydon Point, the group decided to make a detour to another ruin they'd heard about: a large stone manor that was said to be mostly intact in another part of the forest.  There they found evidence of habitation, which Rocky seemed certain was a giant.

- The group investigated the inside of the stone manorhouse, finding the giant's "nest" in the entry hall, a rotten tapestry on the wall from which they could just make out a stylized rendering of an ancient, white-stone city, a locked metal door in a tower, and a few books with still-discernable passages.

- Whilte they searched, however, they heard the clattering sounds of something returning to the manor.  Hearing the commotion, Hope moved out to investigate while trying to stay hidden.  She spied a large hill giant bringing in its latest kill - a large dear - and generally rummaging around the entrance hall.  Seeing a possible means of escape through a rotten doorway at the other end of the hall, Hope inadvertently caused it to collapse, alterting the giant to their presence.  By scattering in different directions and employing some diversionary magic, the group managed to get away with a few damaged books - but without thoroughly exploring the site.

- Back at Braydon Point, the group met back up with Midrus who told them he'd found a tiny scrap of info on the entity "Vuldas" they'd mentioned to him before - apparently it was the name of a priest of Wee Jas in the service of Marcella, the last queen of Del'Celestine.  Ari then presented the books she'd found at the manor, and the group of them spent the night looking through them for discernable texts that might be of use.  The most pertinent details seemed to be passages related to the "three great temples" - one to the West, one to the East, and one to the North - each with their own role.

- Meanwhile, however, Rocky returned to the Angel's Ox Inn to get some rest.  There, he chatted with Vedsa, one of the inn staff, as the last of the evening patrons departed for the evening.  During their conversation, however, Vedsa seemed to become physically uncomfortable.  She eventually excused herself but, on the way to the kitchen door began to convulse.  When Rock got up to help her, he found himself face to face with a werewolf...

Altea's Scepter: An Ancient Ruler

Sunday November 21, 2021 at 2:30pm d&d, altea's scepter, game session notes Comments (0) »
 Dungeons and Dragons logo © Wizards of the Coast. Temple ruin artwork © Wanxing Wang
Dungeons and Dragons logo © Wizards of the Coast. Temple ruin artwork © Wanxing Wang

- The group ran outside and made their way toward the center of town, where the most commotion was coming from.  They didn't intend to engage the dragon, but did want to see more specifically what was going on.

- In the center of town, the massive dragon paced back and forth within the town square, bellowing threats and burning the surrounding buildings with her firey breath.  She was demanding the people bring her their treasure - and was apparently dissatisfied with what they produced.  Ari was able to hear some of her draconic mutterings and discovered that she seemed to be debating whether to destroy the town or let it prosper so that she could plunder any wealth it gained.  She also seemed to be concerned that it might somehow ally with someone or something she named as "Vuldas".  Ultimately, the dragon took what was offerend and departed - warning that the town had better muster a more satisfactory tribute the next time she returns.

- The following morning, the three were "asked" to accompany a pair of guards to the slightly-singed town hall to speak with some of the lords gathered there.  An abrasive middle-aged woman present was ranting about how the militia should be called upon to fight the dragon and even accused the party of leading it to the town.  Minister Gillyn asked them for more details on their initial sighting of the dragon and whether they knew anything else about it, but they could offer little.

- From there, they made their way to the Smiling Griffin tavern to try to find a huntsman called Sevren.  They had to wait around a while, but he eventually did arrive.  He was able to tell them of several ruin sites in the area - including the vault-like "Stonehall" in the mountains, and an overgrown stone courtyard he called the "Grand Avenue".  The latter caught their attention particularly due to his mentioning of a tiefling-like statue it its center.

- After acquiring specific directions, the party set out for the Grand Avenue ruin to investigate.  As they neared the site, they were attacked by a trio of gricks, which they fought off without much trouble.  At the site of the ruin, they found the an over grown street and surrounding columns made of the familiar white stone, but noticed that the tiefling statue was not composed of the same material.  An inscription at the statue's base read "Our Indominable Lady, Queen Marcella"...

Altea's Scepter: A Buried Power

Saturday November 20, 2021 at 2:00pm d&d, altea's scepter, game session notes Comments (0) »
 Dungeons and Dragons logo © Wizards of the Coast. Temple ruin artwork © Wanxing Wang
Dungeons and Dragons logo © Wizards of the Coast. Temple ruin artwork © Wanxing Wang

- The group returned to the main level of the temple ruin and ascended the stairs up to the lofted priests quarters.  Their search didn't turn up much and was interrupted by some of the smaller spiders from outside coming to investigate, but they did manage to find a rusted key ring containing a key that opened the crypt below.  Rocky had climbed a ladder up to something like an old bell tower from which he saw the form of an enormous red dragon perched on the cliffs some miles to the west.

- In the crypt below they found rows of shelves with skeletons laid out upon them.  At the far end however, they found an odd tiefling-like statue holding a metal chest with the inscription in infernal reading "None shall weild this foresaken power".

- Upon prying the chest free, a number of the skeletons got up and began attacking them.  While Ari and Rocky fought them off, Hope found the key to the chest on the keyring and  opened it.  Inside she found a 6" long rod that looked to be broken off of something.  It seemed to be made of gold and a silvery metal and decorated with diamonds and glowing yellow gems.

- The group fought their way out of the crypt and left the temple ruin, continuing on toward the town of Braydon Point.  They spoke with the priests at the temple of Pelor, asking questions about the ruin they'd found.  They also mentioned the dragon and discovered that the town knew of it.  The dragon was called Keldrexa, and she had apparently plagued the town for some generations but had been absent for long enough that the locals were hoping she was gone for good.

- After alerting the authorities to the dragon's return, the group proceeded to the home of an elf called Midrus who owned something of a library.  There they were able to discover a bit more about the lost city of Del'Celestine, the angelic queen Altea the Graceful, her daughter Marcella, the fall of the city in a great war, and a little more about the legend of Altea's Scepter: specifically that it was made of gold, platinum, diamonds, and glowing yellow sapphires - and that upon Altea's death, it broke into pieces that were then given to the high priests of the three great temples.

- As they studied late into the night, they were disturbed by sounds of commotion outside - and the distant roar of a dragon...

Altea's Scepter: A Web of Mystery

Sunday November 14, 2021 at 3:00pm d&d, altea's scepter, game session notes Comments (0) »
 Dungeons and Dragons logo © Wizards of the Coast. Temple ruin artwork © Wanxing Wang
Dungeons and Dragons logo © Wizards of the Coast. Temple ruin artwork © Wanxing Wang

- The three fought off the giant spider and its webs, eventually overwhelming it with Ari's holy light.  Investigation of the altar room suggested that the temple had perhaps been repurposed during its history, as it bore some obscured markings of Pelor, but more recent symbols and references to a darker entity with the title Lady of Death.

- The door at the far end led them to the temple basement where they were attacked by a small horde of giant rats.  They found a small tunnel behind a collapsed wall large enough for the rats, but too small for any of them.  They also found the remains of a bunk room, a storeroom with more cast-off pelor emblems, and the locked entrance to a crypt...

Altea's Scepter: A New Adventure

Saturday November 13, 2021 at 2:00pm new campaign, d&d, altea's scepter, game session notes Comments (0) »
 Dungeons and Dragons logo © Wizards of the Coast. Temple ruin artwork © Wanxing Wang
Dungeons and Dragons logo © Wizards of the Coast. Temple ruin artwork © Wanxing Wang

The kids asked it we could start a new D&D game - so, of course, we obliged.  Since it's a bit simpler overall and I'd not run it before, we decided we'd do a 5e game this time.

 

We finished making characters this afternoon, and got rolling with the game.

 

Characters:

- Hope [Hannah] :: Tiefling Sorceror

- Rocky [Micah] :: Wood Elf Ranger

- Ari [Sheri] :: Half-Elf Cleric

 

Highlights:

- The party made their way toward an area called Simon's Vale, and the far northeaster Braydon Point, pursuing the partial legend of a marvelous artifact called Altea's Scepter.  It was apparently owned by a power queen or sun priest and was said to reside in a temple treasury.

- On a tip from some locals in the last village they stopped in, they decided to investigate a hilltop ruin a few miles off the road, said to have been the remains of an ancient temple.

- They found the hilltop covered in webbing, and had to watch their step around some dog-sized spiders.  It wasn't until they got inside the ruin that they found the largest spider - a massive, 12' beast in the webs of the main altar room...

Unwritten: Before Departure

Tuesday November 9, 2021 at 8:45pm unwritten, game session notes Comments (0) »
 Unwritten & Myst logos/artwork © Cyan, Inc. & Inkworks Productions
Unwritten & Myst logos/artwork © Cyan, Inc. & Inkworks Productions

- Norm and Kenta ran as fast as they could for the shelter of the canopy, but even the few minutes they were exposed was enough to give them significant sunburn.  After a brief rest, they decided to try to make it all the way back to the linking point that day.  As they neared their destination well after sunset, they found themselves tailed by a large creature.  They only got the most fleeting glance at the beast's teeth and face as it barreled into them, nearly sending them tumbling off the catwalk.  Kenta lashed out at it with his machete and believed he managed to give it a cut, but something that hit  returned the favor, giving him a nasty - and unusually clean - slice to his face and neck.

- When they finally made it back to the original linking point and rejoined Kat and Reis, they compared notes about the book exchange and the undersea research facility and made plans as to their next steps.  They believe they need to return soon, but Norm has decided they should make their own linking book back to Er'cana before they leave - and they're all a little curious about the area east of the linking point...

Cyrran Reaches: Finding the Way

Saturday November 6, 2021 at 2:30pm d&d, cyrran reaches, game session notes Comments (0) »
 Dungeons & Dragons artwork © Wizards of the Coast 
Dungeons & Dragons artwork © Wizards of the Coast 

- Lily engaged her cousin Ansley in conversation, but the girl quickly became distraught, screaming or mumbling nonsense, and eventually collapsing.

- After helping Ansley back into the house, the group spoke with Elder Dynn for some time.  She seemed friendly enough, but insisted she really couldn't help them in their quest to find and reach the elven settlement of Osada Reil.  Sensing she was keeping something relevant from them, they eventually badgered her into agreeing to speaking with "someone else" who might be able to help them.

- Later, Kael sought out Elder Selka, whom he found to be quite different form her sister.  Like her sister, however, she insisted she didn't know anything about the elven settlement and couldn't help them reach it.  She also insisted there was nothing weird about the lake and certainly nothing dangerous at the bottom of it.

- Ravina decided to user her Find the Path spell to determine the location of Osada Reil, and then use Wind Walk to fly out that way for a while to see what she could find.  What she found was that Find the Path led her out over the massive lake, and then pointed straight down toward the bottom - toward a point that must be thousands of feet submerged.  The sun was setting as she was starting to turn back to return to Tonler and she suddenly noticed Find the Path change its indication - this time, to a point between two large, rough-hewn stone obelisks on the far shore of the lake.

- The next day, the group decided they would fly across the lake an examine the forest a bit more thoroughly.  The elven woodsman Lertas had warned them that, if they entered the wood, they would become lost almost immediately.  It took them some time to find the obelisks, but eventually they did.  They didn't find any magic on the obelisks themselves, but there was a pervasive background illusion aura seemingly on the entire forest.

- Believing the obelisks might be some sort of portal to Osada Reil, Kael, Tyrrox, and Taryn decided to walk through them into the woods, and despite an initial "good feeling" about the direction, they quickly became disoriented and lost, just as Lertas had told them they would.

- The three wandered the woods for some time, seeking to find their way back to shore - a location they believed couldn't possibly be more than a hundred or so yards away.  They eventually found themselves in an overgrown ruin of strange white towers that had long-since collapsed.  Among the remains, they ran afoul of a spirit naga intent on devouring them.  After fighting off the creature, they made their way back into the woods, still seeking the lake shore, which they eventually found.

- Meanwhile, Ravina and Lily decided that they shouldn't venture into the forest and get lost also.  Tired of waiting for the others to find their way back, Ravina suggested they investigate the lake bottom using her Water Breathing spell.  The two left a note for the others, along with the packs, and ventured out into the lake.  After hours of descending into the blackness, they noticed a pale blue glow coming from far to the northeast - and a significant distance below them.  Following the lake bed as best they could, they slowly approached it - eventually catching a distant site of a spire-filled chasm in a glowing bubble, populated by a large number of merfolk.

- When Kael, Taryn, and Tyrrox eventually found their way back later that night, they found Lily's note and Kael found that he could see faintly glowing lights between the obelisks, leading deeper into the forest...

 

--

 

GM's Note: It has been nearly 20 months since we've played this game.  This game started back in 2013 and we've put it on haitus before, but always intentionally - always to play other games.  This time, it was out of caution regarding the pandemic we've been dealing with.  Having finally decided it would be ok to get together occassionally, we decided to start it up again.  We led off with an hour or so of discussion about what had been going on when we left off, but that was fun and necessary.  After that, they actually did quite a bit.  It was a great session.

Looking at the header for the *previous* session, I really feel like that was either prophetic of premature - THIS session really should be called "It's Different Now".  Other things have changed since we put the campaign on pause, and our current "plan" now is to play once a month on a saturday instead of every week on a weeknight.  Honestly though, we might get to play for the almost same length of time, since this game got a solid 4+ hours, and we'd previously been doing 1.5-2 hour games 3 times a month or so.  And I actually prefer the saturday schedule.

Anyway, here's hoping this works well.  Next game is slated for early december.  It's great to be back.

Unwritten: Against A Future Return

Tuesday November 2, 2021 at 8:30pm unwritten, game session notes Comments (0) »
 Unwritten & Myst logos/artwork © Cyan, Inc. & Inkworks Productions
Unwritten & Myst logos/artwork © Cyan, Inc. & Inkworks Productions

- As the hum and vibration in the heart of the undersea complex increased to a near violent pitch, Norm noticed the row of routing switches that had all been deactivated.  In a split-second decision, he threw the switches up and the station's power output stabilized - unfortunately not before an electrical discharge ruptured some sort of gas conduit, pumping a noxious yellowish smoke into the control room.  Norm and Kenta hurried out, closing the bulkhead-like door behind them.

- Meanwhile, back at the linking point, Kathleen and Reis compiled some details on their new "friends" before returning to their research efforts.  Reis spent the day continuing her experiements on the large trees and their fruit (a specimen of which she was able to obtain with Kathleen's help), and Kat decided to delve into the text of the Er'cana descriptive book they'd traded the Malves book for.

- Power restored, Norm and Kenta two proceeded back to the "airlock", which they found to be apparently functional.  They discovered its actual purpose was as a pressurization chamber as the room on the other side contained a diving hatch for access to the ocean floor.

- After decompression, they emerged from the pressurization chamber to find the lights in the facility were now blinking red and water was trickling in from somewhere and running down the steps they were going up.  Norm returned to the control room, holding his breath against the smoke, and "undid" his previous actions, but only managed to kill the lights.  The background hum of the station had ceased, and the facility now seemed to be almost completely without power.  The door out to the ladder still operated, and opening caused a few inches of water that had gathered in the tube to flood in.  Concerned that the station may be lost, the took some time to gather some of the books and research materials from the study area before climbing back to the surface.

Unwritten: Which Risks to Take

Tuesday October 26, 2021 at 8:30pm unwritten, game session notes Comments (0) »
 Unwritten & Myst logos/artwork © Cyan, Inc. & Inkworks Productions
Unwritten & Myst logos/artwork © Cyan, Inc. & Inkworks Productions

- Still staring at the eel-like shark, Kenta felt a slight sense of virtigo as he maintained eye contact.  A sense of calm curiosity settled on him and he took a half step toward the chamber's glass wall, but knew he wouldn't be able to get much closer to the creature.  Norman noticed his friend's unnerving stare and called to him to snap out of it, at which point the monstrous creature swam away - quickly disappearing into the dark water.

- Kathleen and Reis regarded the appoaching pair somewhat suspiciously but answered their greeting and with as much neutrality as possible.  The man took the large book from his companion and presented it to them.  The book turned out to be the descriptive book for the Age of Er'cana - the age they were currently standing in.  They said they'd be willing to trade it for the Malves age which Kenta had stolen from them a few days earlier.  After some discussion, they decided to take the offer and made the trade - not least because Kat realized that, with the descriptive book here, all incoming links were disabled, and that, if these other people controlled the descriptive book, they could cut the guilds and themselves off from access to the age - or worse, they could damage or destroy the book, rendering it inaccessible permanently.  While the other age was also of interest, they'd been sent to study *this* one, and so it seemed the higher priority.

- Meanwhile, Kenta and Norman continued to explore the undersea facility, finding a kind of "control room" and some sort of laboratory(?) down a long, tunneled stairway.  The other stair led them to a sealed bulkhead and airlock with some buttons that didn't seem to be operating correctly.  After some evaluation, they decided that maybe the airlock was having some sort of power issue - they had noted in the control room that the gauges they guessed to be related to power supply read only 5-10%.  They decided to return to the control room and experiment with the panel to try to increase power to the station.  As Norman slowly pushed a large lever upward, the hum and vibration that had been present in the facility intensified...

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