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...

Unwritten: Sharks in the Water

Tuesday October 19, 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

- The others having not returned, Kathleen and Reis decided to stay the night in the bunk room in the fortified "bunker" structure below the canopy huts.  Meanwhile, Kenta and Norman retreated back up the catwalk into the jungle some distance - feeling a bit safer beneath the canopy than out under the open sky.

- The following morning, Norman and Kenta returned to the dock and made their way down the ladder into the copper and glass tube descending deep into the waters at the end of the pier.  At the bottom, they discovered a panel full of switches that seemed to control the sealed doorway that led into some sort of structure.

- Upon awakening, Kat and Reis decided to go back down to the puzzle-locked office they'd previously found - Kat had been looking for clues and working on a few possible solutions.  With some minor input from Reis, she was able to identify the last symbol on the dials and, after a couple more attempts, managed to get it to open.  Inside they found some detailed journals on the facility's pellet production process as well as a linking book to the Ashem'en District in the Cavern, and a strange television-like device that seemed to be viewing a far-away place.  The image showed a large chamber, a massive statue, daylight, and vines growing along the stone walls.

- After some discussion and examination of the switch panel, Norman decided that the panel indicated some kind of conversion from the D'ni distance/depth measurements he'd noted etched into the tube as they had descended.  While unsure what his math was converting the distance units to, he was able to complete the conversion and enter the solution using the numbered switches.  The door clicked and slid open, exposing some rather stale air inside.

- The undersea complex was composed of circular copper and glass rooms that overlooked the ocean around them - water that was getting a bit more illuminated as the day progressed, even at this significant depth.  They found some D'ni furniture and even clothing remarkably well preserved, as well as a common area that seemed to be something of a study room, containing padded chairs, desks, and numerous journals.  Kenta's attention, however, was captured by the flashing purple eyes of an enormous eel-like shark just outside the glass bubble.

- Having discovered all they could in the bunker, Kat and Reis emerged, discussing plans for the day.  It wasn't until the man spoke that they became aware of his approach.  Approaching form the catwalk to the east of their position were a man and a woman, neither of whom were immediately recognizable, but Kat was pretty sure she knew who they were.  The man was saying he had a "proposition" for them, and the woman was carrying a large, hard-bound book under her left arm...

Unwritten: Promise

Tuesday October 12, 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

- Norman managed to talk the fleeing woman down enough that some of the adrenaline of the situation began to wear off.  Unfortunately, in the process, her attitude shifted from one of fear to something more like anger.  She accused Norman and Kenta of stealing a book from her and her companions and told them she'd come to retrieve it, even offering them a substantial sum of money in exchange for its return.  When an agreement didn't appear to be immediately forthcoming, she retreated down the catwalk into the jungle, promising to return with an "offer".

- The group discussed this turn of events for a while the next morning, but ultimately decided to continue their investigation of the Age as planned.  However, given the promised return of unknown persons, it was decided that Kathleen would conduct her study of the descriptive book in or near the bunker on the jungle floor, the entrance to which Norman had discovered a way to bar.  Reis decided to continue her expirementation in the canopy unless Kat raised the alarm.

- Meanwhile, Norm and Kenta travelled along the catwalk to the west.  They found one additional canopy hut above it a couple of miles away, but then nothing.  As midday passed, and they hadn't discovered where the conduits following the catwalk led, they decided to press on and prepare to spend the night away from the linking point.  Just after the sun had sunk below the horizon, the catwalk led them out of the jungle and onto a long pier protruding into a large body of saline water.  The pier had sustained some damage; near the end they found some mangled machinery and a ladder descending into a tube-like structure that led into the darkness below the water...

Unwritten: Shadows in the Night

Tuesday October 5, 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

- While Norman, Kathleen, and Reis were finishing up their studies for the day, Kenta was attempting to gain entry to the hut with the light.  While he was investigating the trap door on the underside of the hut, he heard the unmistakable sound of a link, and began to hear footsteps and voices in the room above.  The two voices seemed to be arguing about a few things, and Kenta heard some references to "others" he interpreted to be himself and his companions.

- Kenta told the others about what he had overheard when he returned to the canopy area they'd linked into.  Believing the unknown people also in the Age might be after the book Kenta had taken from the man they'd seen when they first arrived, Kat decided to hide the book in her sleeping bag before they went to sleep.  She was awakened by creaking sounds outside sometime during the night.  She quietly roused the others, and the group of them were ready when a figure attempted to enter the hut they were sleeping in.  Kat shone her flashlight at the intruder, and the bright light temporarily blinded everyone.  The figure gasped and ran - with Norm and Kenta chasing it in the dark.

- Down on the catwalk, as Kenta and Norm began to catch her, the woman who'd intruded on their hut spun around and began frantically shouting at Kenta to stop his pursuit and leave.  As Norm caught up to the two, he found Kenta standing about 35 feet from a dark shadow, only slighly illuminated by a red tactical light, and caught the steel glint of a revolver pointed at them...

Unwritten: Of Past And Present

Friday September 24, 2021 at 9:30pm unwritten, game session notes Comments (0) »
 Unwritten & Myst logos/artwork © Cyan, Inc. & Inkworks Productions
Unwritten & Myst logos/artwork © Cyan, Inc. & Inkworks Productions

- Identifying the buzzing sound as a swarm of approaching insects, the group hurried back into the canopy and took shelter in one of the larger hut structures.  From there, they were able to see the thousands of 6" insects swarm over the area, eating the edges from the tree leaves while the large blue birds preyed upon a few of their number.

- Once the swarm moved on, the group emerged and discussed what their plan should be now that the initial distractions were fading.  The group set about learning what they could from what they could find: Norman decided to dig through the D'ni documents looking for any mentioning of known threats to include in his report.  Kathleen decided she would look through what written records she could find in search of the purpose of this Age and what the D'ni were doing here.  Kenta set aboutt exploring the surrounding area, trying to get some sense or scope of the complex.  Reis began conducting some experiments in an effort to learn something about the massive trees populating the Age's jungle.

- For his efforts, Norm was able to find references to the "Vorr Cats" - a large and hyper-aggressive predatory species inhabiting the jungle floor that seemed to be the primary reason for the canopy dwellings as well as the bunker-like nature of the ground structure(s).  The swarming insects - called Dravax - were not regarded as a particular threat, though they were capable of biting.  Sitings of a massive bird that flies above the canopy were concerning, but no direct interaction was recorded.  Interestingly, Norm found some records indicating that the fruit of the trees was toxic to the D'ni as well.

- Kat was able to discover that the Age of Er'cana, like its sister ages Er'duna and Er'jerah, was constructed as a food-production Age.  Unlike those ages, however, the complex the operation here is much smaller (compatively) and specifically dedicated to the production of high-nutrition/calorie pill-like pellets that could sustain a D'ni individual and requiring very little space or weight.  The pellets were being made from the fruit of the gigantic "Talithus" trees, as well as some other components including a tree-top fern and the carapace of some subterrenean grubs.

- Reis discovered a few interesting properties of the trees relating to their gel-like interior, as well as their interesting relationship with a certain kind of luminous vine that grew upon them.

- Kenta found that the nearby huts showed evidence of having been searched by someone else fairly recently, but did not bear any further evidence of habitation.  The following day, he descended to the long catwalks and decided first to follow them eastward.  He discovered some additional bunker-like ground structures - these were smaller and round in shape - as well as some additional canopy huts.  One of the huts was located in a tight grove of trees accessed by its own spoke off the catwalk.  As Kenta approached to get a closer look, he noticed light coming from one of the structure's windows...

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