In our last session, the party returned to Származás Keep to continue their explorations and campaign against the hobgoblins. Deciding to pursue the hobgoblins that had presumably escaped down a well in the chambers below the keep, the party dropped down into the “Underdark.” Their travels led them to the “Dark Lake” and a battle with a dripping wet troll that attacked just as the group finished a fight with a trio of gnolls. Once the battle with this aquatic abomination was over (the heroes victorious), a rumbling could be “herd” (ooh…foreshadowing) and the ground was shaking slightly. That’s where we pick up after the break.
One of the players has asked that I stop using their name on the site. As such, I’ll no longer be providing information as to who provided the recap, who was in attendance, who played which character, or who brought what beer. Simply taking off one person’s name doesn’t provide the anonymity that I assume they are seeking. As usual, my GM comments are in [brackets and italics]. There are potential spoilers for The Vault of Larin Karr as well as the Crucible of Freya below the break.
The party hears and feels a rumbling. With the party backing back along the lakeshore, Faelan decides to transform himself into an albino cave bat and flutters off.
[The trappings for Faelan’s shape change power require that the animal be white as part of his religion.]
Curiously enough, he is not eaten, but returns to report a herd of large 4 legged meatsacks (cows?) milling about – maybe a quarter click ahead. We decide to check it out, following the edge of what appears to be a vast underground lake with Cailana and Raspin leading the group, Wink struggling to catch up in the rear, obviously struggling with the affects of the blood-fever.
Cailana spots Gnoll and Hobgoblin tracks in the sand.
The rumbling re-commences, but as we get closer it sounds more organic, faint snorting sounts are heard by the sharp eared elf.
Cailana abruptly stops us short – spotting a distant light.
Creeping up slowly, the elf’s darkvision spies a herd of yak-like beasts meandering towards us. Flickering lights dance about their heads.
The party decides to plaster itself against the cave wall, hoping the creatures will pass them peacefully. When the herd gets within sight range, it parts to reveal two large smoking hound-like creatures.
Then a couple of torch carrying goblins are revealed. The dogs start herding the beasties through a distant opening in the cave wall. We remain quiet hoping to remain undiscovered. As the herd slowly moves through the opening we see about a dozen of the goblins.
There are 4-5 number of flying, flaming imps working with the goblins.
The goblins appear to be carefully watching the lake while the herd passes through.
Mirroring the goblin’s actions, we all light torches for fear of lake monsters, and move forward past the entrance. Further down we find another tunnel, tracks indicating this is where the herd entered the lake cavern.
Cautiously moving down the tunnel, we find a small niche in the wall with a number of primitive goblin torches.
[The were never described as being goblin torches…only primitive torches.]
We proceed down the tunnel. Minutes turn to hours…
…Cailana hears a boot scraping against stone –
TWANG! An arrow flies out of the darkness ahead shaking Cailana!
TWANG! TWANG! Two more arrows fly out of the darkness passing the party harmlessly. Raspin charges forward, spying three orcs.
Wink summons Rocky, despite the pain of the blood fever. Rocky emerges from the stone and moves forward to grab an Orc, who is shaken by this unexpected new foe!
Serena’s bow quickly dispatches the third orc, while the first takes another shot at Raspin, the arrow harmlessly bouncing off Raspin’s shield.
Three more orcs materialize out of the darkness, including a biggun in heavy armor!! The large armor clad orc swings his scimitar vigourously attempting to mow Rocky and Raspin, disregarding his own fellows who have already pressed forward! Rocky goes down, as well as two orcs, while Raspin’s helmet rings loudly.
Serena dead-eyes another orc, leaving only the biggun and a single archer.
Cailana sends an arrow towards the archer, who is momentarily shaken, but quickly snapping to send an arrow whistling back at Serena! Thankfully the arrow harmlessly bounces off her armor.
The biggun moves forward towards Faelen, Serena and Cailana. Faelin can’t seem to stop the brute’s fearsome scimitar from shaking him, greviously wounding Serena and Cailana.
With a clack of his staff on the stone floor, Wink’s shadow flutters in the face of the mighty Orc to no effect.
Cailana unshakes, her sword clanging harmlessly off the orc’s armor while he makes another dreaded sweep, the fearsome scimitar incapacitating Serena, who appears to take the brunt of the blow with her face, blood spraying from an eye socket, while Faelin is wounded.
Wink’s shadow flutters about the Orcs face, while Rocky materializes behind the creature to wound him,, while Raspin rushes forward to deal two more wounds.
The massive Orc flails wildly, his blade taking Cailana full in the right arm, ad wounding Faelin. Wink’s shadow successfully touches the monster, draining his energy, while Rocky miraculously emerges from the earth behind the beast shaking him, but the mighty Orc shakes off the blow only to be shaken by Raspin’s blow.
Another blow from Raspin finishes the monstrous Orc, then charges the remaining archer, followed closely by Wink and his summonings. The Orc drops his bow and swings his sword wildly shaking Raspon long enough to disappear into the darkness. Wink rushes forward, stopping only to seize the torch from Raspin’s hand, and plunges ahead after the Orc. Raspin recovers quickly and charges the orc, finishing him quickly.
The party groups up while Faelin does his best to commence binding everyone’s wounds. Wink seems preoccupied by the amount of blood – oddly reminiscent of Rickard’s behavior in the Forradas. As the rest of the party slowly begins to recover, Wink de-attune the staff. A loud wailing is heard and a shadow bursts forth from the staff and attacks the party!
Wink frantically tries to cast spells but he can’t seem to make anything happen – the creature begins sinking its fingers into his skull while the rest of the party attacks the shadow helplessly, creating more light in the room which only seems to make the shadow paler…
[The light came from one of Serena’s powers and was actually damaging the shadow. Her boost power has a light trapping such that the target is bathed in the light of a sunrise, mechanically like the light power, on a Raise.]
Faelan stabs with the elven arrows, wounding the shadow, while Serena manages to dispatch it, the staff exploding in a crash of splinters. While the party largely recovers and manages to heal, Wink remains pallid and unconscious – appearing largely dead without any visible wound, a faint pulse the only sign of life.
[All three of the magic elven arrows were shot and used in the fight. Wink had bruises on the sides of his head where the shadow’s fingers had sunk in…just like the slain priestess, Sandra, had at Talu Temple.
The party also scouted ahead down this tunnel a bit further. Not too far away, they found a pile of ropes and harnesses…harnesses that could easily fit on the cattle creatures that they group had seen previously.]
The party decides to backtrack, Raspin carrying the unconscious Wink who recovers just before they re-emerge at the lake-cavern. The party sees lights approaching along the lake edge and decides to flee further into the unexplored Underdark, dousing their torches as a precaution…
As the lights get closer moving towards them, the party sees a Gnoll warband coming along the beach with torches. The party prepares to get the drop on the warband who picks up on our tracks…
[That’s where the session ended. The party wasn’t fleeing, they were taking up a position to ambush the gnolls if they approached. Tracks from the tunnel leading into (and out of) the cavern with the lake only went along one side of the lake. When the PCs headed down the other side, they left the only tracks. In addition, the gnolls, with their keen sense of smell, did pick up the party’s scent.
Much of this session and the last consisted of “random encounters.” This campaign is largely a sandbox type campaign with the published material from The Vault of Larin Karr forming the core which I’m expanding upon. The Dark Lake in the published material is a large underground lake where numerous random encounters are rolled for. I did that, but I decided to see how I could tie them into the ongoing story as well as make the encounter “site” a little more interesting. The initial random results of a battle scene, gnolls, and troll(s) got turned into one or more aquatic trolls living in the lake, gnolls ambushing the hobgoblins fleeing from Származás Keep, and an additional gnoll scouting party attacking the PCs. A subsequent roll led to the herd of cattle-like creatures with their goblin “cowboys” and imp and dog things…all holding or giving off some sort of flame. Another roll led to the orcs. Another led to another band of gnolls. It has all been tied together in ways that I can’t quite share yet…ways that have made the Dark Lake much more dynamic than it is in the published material (in my opinion at least).
This session was a few weeks ago so I’m not going to post the beer log because I’m too lazy to do so today. 😉]