Monday, January 2, 2012

Seeds of Chaos, Session 4

In the latest session of our “Seeds of Chaos” adventure, Silas returns, Dagon gets punk’d, and Boojum is bullied by a really mean tiefling chick.

We kicked off this past Thursday night’s game with Blake (razorclaw shifter barbarian), Boojum (pixie wizard), Dagon (watersoul genasi artificer), and Gaultis (goliath warden) having defeated several elemental ice creatures on the second floor of Draigdurroch Tower. Boojum had just discovered a section of the floor that he thought would act like a Tenser’s Floating Disk and allow the party to ascend to the tower’s third floor.

Before heading up to the third floor, Boojum and Dagon decided to go outside and see if they could lead poor, lost Silas (Drew missed our last session) to the tower with some nifty prestidigitation fireworks that Boojum sent soaring skyward. Sure enough, as he was wandering around out on the unnaturally snowy landscape, Silas saw the fireworks and started to make his way toward the tower.

The eladrin vampire wasn’t sure what transpired between the time he saw the fireworks and his arrival at the tower, but as he walked up, he saw Dagon with his tongue stuck to a metal pole and Boojum flitting around, giggling. Silas heard the mischievous pixie say something about being sorry and that he could warm up the pole with one of his fire spells. Silas saw Dagon’s eyes widen in horror and the genasi made frantic “No! No!” gestures with his hands. As Silas came up to them, Dagon was saying something that sounded like, “Dust go intide, Boodum!” so the vampire corralled the still giggling pixie and headed into the tower.

(Robert would miss this game session, so I decided his character would be just outside the tower, with his tongue stuck to a frozen metal pole.)

As they made their way up to the second floor, Boojum told Silas all that he had missed while the vampire was wandering around after the blizzard. When Silas had greeted Blake and Gaultis, everyone hopped onto the levitation platform and went up to the third floor.

The third floor of the tower housed Draigdurroch’s personal study and living quarters. Our heroes once again found that everything was covered with frost and ice, but after breaking into the desk in the wizard’s study, they discovered a journal that detailed Draigdurroch’s quest to find the locations of “the Seeds of Chaos” and then gather them together under his control. The journal spoke of four elemental crystals— earth, ice, fire, and water. The journal also contained many notes from Draigdurroch’s magical research as he attempted to modify the chaos crystals through rituals and thereby control their power.

Entering the wizard’s chambre à coucher, they found the original furnishings damaged by decades of neglect, but a newer bedroll and pack were in the room. Distracted by Gaultis’ discovery of a secret door behind a tapestry, our heroes failed to search the pack at this time.

Behind the secret door was a small chamber. Another levitation platform, identical to the one between the second floor and the third floor, operated between this room and the top floor of the tower.

Ask Not For Whom the Ice Monster Roars

As the platform deposited the party on the tower’s top floor, they saw that some kind of altar was set inside a magic circle at the room’s center. It looked as if each side of the altar had a small receptacle built into it— examining the altar would have to wait, though, because across the chamber a fearsome creature turned toward our heroes.

The creature looked as if it might have been a tiefling at one time, but now it was a massive, thickly muscled, white-furred monster. Thick mist rolled off the monster’s hide, congealing the air into heavy frost that clung to everything nearby. The creature roared, and in its howl our heroes heard the pure elemental fury at the heart of a raging blizzard. Oh, and did I mention the white crystal embedded in the creature’s chest, pulsing rhythmically, as if it were the beating of the very heart of winter?

Whatever magic Thaliost had tried to use in his attempt to harness the power of the ice crystal had obviously gone horribly wrong, but the brute was no match for our four heroes. Thaliost folded like a cheap suit. Well, a cheap suit that has 150 hit points. It also helped that Boojum laid down one of his dadgum fire spells right in front of the frozen fireplace where the elemental ice shardlings tried to appear and join the fight. I say “tried to appear” because as soon as they popped out of the frozen fireplace and entered the area of the spell’s effect, they took 2 fire damage… and since they were minions, that damage caused them to instantly vaporize. Poof!

As Blake landed the blow that actually felled Thaliost, the monster clutched its chest and howled in agony as it collapsed to the floor, dead as a doornail. Within seconds, the ice that covered everything inside the tower began to shudder and tremble, and then started to quickly melt. Outside the tower, the swirling snow stopped falling and the chill wind fell silent. The world appeared suddenly peaceful, as if nature recognized that its proper course had been restored.

DM Tip: For the series of encounters centering on the ice crystal, I used “Menace of the Icy Spire,” an adventure by Sean Molley appearing in Dungeon 159. I adapted some elements to fit the story-line I have chosen for our campaign, but otherwise I pretty much stuck to the published adventure.

After securing the ice crystal that had been embedded in Thaliost’s chest, the PCs investigated the strange altar on the top floor of the tower. They saw that each receptacle looked as if it might hold one of the elemental crystals— but all four were empty. Above each receptacle was writing in primordial that Dagon was able to translate as “EarthIceFireWater.”

Heading back downstairs, our heroes paused to check out the pack they had found before. It contained 50 gp, two gems (turquoise, moonstone), and leather bloodcut armor that was claimed by Silas. They also found a note to Thaliost and Deneith, written by someone named Kalarel. The note said:

Denieth and Thaliost,

Greetings in the name of Orcus!

When you finish planting the elemental shards, contact Aunn at The Citadel. As soon as he gives you the signal that Bothwell’s soldiers are sufficiently scattered around the countryside, trying to put down the disturbances caused by the crystals, I will come with the forces I am gathering beyond the frontier. With Orcus’ blessing, we will capture The Citadel and be masters of Newhaven!


Back at The Citadel

The party made their way back to The Citadel with no problem and then the rest of last Thursday night’s session was taken up with quite a bit of roleplaying. This was a big change from the combat-heavy sessions that we usually run, but it let the players pick up a lot of useful information about the various NPCs residing at The Citadel.

Lord Bothwell was understandably dismayed to learn that there was a traitor in The Citadel and that the chaos crystals were part of a larger strategy to empty the fortress of guards so that it’d be vulnerable to a surprise attack. He surmised that Thaliost and Deneith had allied themselves with cultists of Orcus in order to recapture The Citadel and become the rulers of Newhaven again. The two Hands must have somehow stumbled upon the long-hidden secrets on the top floors of Draigdurroch’s tower and decided to use the elemental shards in their plan to unseat Bothwell.

Bothwell asked our heroes to head out into the countryside and secure the two missing crystals. If they would agree to undertake that quest, he’d be able to keep all of his guards at The Citadel and thereby derail the cultists’ plan to capture the fortress. Of course, while the party was out hunting for the crystals, Bothwell would also be hard at work ferreting out the traitor in his midst.

Before leaving The Citadel, Boojum decided to consult with Sora Harrowcrown regarding the journal they’d found in the desk at the tower. Sora is a female tiefling mage and the third member of Lord Bothwell’s Privy Council (along with Halix Breland and Beren Kell). As the pixie and Gaultis approached Sora, the tiefling was already in a foul mood due to some not-so-subtle hints that Silas had let drop in front of Lord Bothwell that the traitor was probably a trusted member of his inner council. So after giving the journal a quick once-over and making some snide remarks regarding Boojum’s inability to decipher the magic involved in the rituals, Sora refused to give the book back to the pixie. Even Boojum’s threat to tattle to Lord Bothwell failed to move the rude mage. The deflated pixie and Gaultis finally retreated back to the Chapel of Avandra, where Silas, Blake, and Dagon had been chatting with Halix Breland.

Halix offered to go retrieve the book, but his good intentions came to naught when Silas and Blake decided to try and stealth over to the mage’s house and spy on her. Sora saw Blake peeking through a window and the enraged tiefling threw Halix out on his ear.

It was a subdued party that set out the next morning, heading for the Grey Hills where they will investigate recent disturbances involving some small fire elementals.

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