As always anything written here contains major spoilers of the above adventure so read ahead at your own risk.
This is second part of a very long evening, we get our hands dirty with lots of magic, Invoking Patrons, Deity Disapproval and even a full on Wizard Duel. Read on!
Sloan and company pack up what they need an decide to head out for the tomb..they too, don't want to arose suspicion of the villagers, namely the Jarl or his agents so they want to wait until the large village group leaves for the Standing Stones with their sacrifice. Shortly after mid day the procession leaves the village for the 2 hour trip to the Standing Stones. In order to be back by Nightfall.
(Remember in our world the Stones are roughly 4 miles away from Hirot, not several hundred yards)
Watch Commander, Nothan is solemly riding with The Jarl, while his Wife ( the Hounds next sacrifice) is in a horse drawn cart with many villagers following on foot. Most of PC's are standing in front of the Wolfs Spear Inn watching the procession solemly ride by and no one as much as acknowledges them.
I make note to my players that "Orioc" one of the Jarl's Thegns and Sloan's romantic conquest , is NOT with the Jarls men who now number 6, but another rough looking man, who they haven't seen before is bringing up the rear with 5 other men (This Iraco, the Huntsmans first appearance)
Questions are immediately asked about Orioc's Location, and it doest take long to find out he's being punished by Sylle Ru at the Great Hall...Here the game takes a HUGE LEFT TURN. Immediately all the players want to take advantage of the Jarl not being around to get some information out of this Sorceror, even capture or kill him as they think it will help the evenings battle with Hound.
Lothar insists killing him is bad idea at this point and could turn the whole town against him. (and hes right) Sloan says, "I need another Fighter, If I'm off to explore some haunted tomb!"
We set the gameworld time, and its clear that the group that going to standing stones needs to leave so they can get around the standing stones, avoid the Jarl, his men and the villagers, giving it wide berth so they can discretely get out to the stones unnoticed, so Agarn, Brunehilde, Dogface, Reinhart and Watchman Berk (Nothan man that he trusts) pack up and leave- Reinhart and Berk on horses via the front gate, and 3 on foot going over the wall to the east of the Wolfs Spear, to avoid prying eyes on the PC's.
Sloan and her group are also ready to leave for the Tomb but decide on the risky side venture of going after Sylle Ru and freeing Orico. The plan is to have Xavos and Elazar go to the great hall and ask for an audience with Sylle Ru..Both break out their arcane trinkets they recovered in previous adventures..the Golden Censer, The Crystal Globe, the Ancient Tome with the Spell "read magic" in it, they ask for his consultation on these items and hope his curiousity will lure him away from Sloans friend, while she'll climb in a window and break him out.I tell them they have a hour to pull this off or their plan is going FUBAR (it will anyway).
Lothar figures he'll stay out of this one, but will stay obvious at the Wolf's Spear with Taurion to make it look like the PC's are occupied.
At the massive double doors of the Great Hall, Sylle Ru appears a good while after he's told of their arrival. I play him as no fool, he is no rush to treat with the PC's so he makes them wait building some tension. When he arrives, Xavos and Elazar's being the "consultation" It is a bit tongue tied and I view it as amateurish and bungled. I have Sylle Ru, immediately call them out on their summons as some kind of childish diversion and demands to know what they are up to, and calls for his guards. Elazar (also run by the same player as Sloan) suddenly pulls his dagger gets down on his knees and starts reciting "invoke patron" to the Demon "Obituque", Sylle Ru- immediatley starts with casting his own spell. which that has Xavos in turn casting "magic shield"...and all of a Sudden we have a three way Wizard Duel going on the steps on the Great Hall in broad daylight!!!! We stop the game at this point because we need to read up on how the heck is going to work. I ask my guys if this what you really want. Player Elazar says "it's my plan to kill this SOB as soon as I got the chance with the Jarl and his Thegns gone for the next 4 hours this is it." Xavos (also player Lothar) is like," No, No..this is a really bad idea". We all agree lets play it out and see what happens.
We cut to Sloan climbing a wall going in a locked window, I give her a DC 15 for both at +3 , +4 she makes them easily, Sylle Ru has already screamed for the guards. Sloan finds Orioc locked in some livestock pens back near the halls kitchen bruised and battered but conscious and ok.
I play Orioc as shocked to see her, I give her an 18 DC for the lock on the cage she comes up 1 short but burns a point of luck to keep things impressive. Orioc wants to know what in Odin's beard she's up to? She says "We're killing your Jarls fool wizard and exposing the Jarl for the coward, liar and whatever else, that probably worse that he is" "You're either with us now or you can stay here in the cage "Lover", what do you say?" Since the text reads that the Jarls men are loyal to death, and I did let Orioc slide a bit in lieu of "comrades in arms" thing and his liaison with Sloan. SO I am not going to make it easy on her. I say make an opposed Personality check against him which is straight no mods. I roll a "14" for him, Sloan rolls a "16" we all laugh..this B*** never loses we say!, "she's da best!!!", her player says.. Sloan leaves with her new boyfriend in tow looking for his weapons.
|still the best wizard duel ever.|
The Wizard Duel
Elazar pulls out his curved dagger cuts open his hand to get some Spellburn going (result 2, table 5-1) and begins a call to the Demon Obitu-Que to ask him to destroy Sylle Ru. The Spell takes a full round to cast. Sylle has already called for the guards and I roll D3 rounds before they arrive and roll "3", His first action is to immediately cast his Patron Spell "Smoke Tendrils" (see my "An Appendix N Note") to defend himself and try to take the two of them out. Poor Diplomatic Xavos (freaking out this is going on, not what he wanted) Steps close to the chanting Elazar and puts up a Magic Shield to counter. We now have our first counterspell duel..Sylle Ru's Spellcheck is first and I roll a 11 . I give him a +2 Spellcheck and he put 5 points of spell burn into the spell for an 18, Xavos rolls a 13 his spell check is +3 Xavos is forced to utter his true name in a booming voice and inflicts 3 points of Spellburn on himself to beat Sylle Ru by one, This lowers Sylle Ru's black magic by D8 but its still goes thru I roll a 3, lowering the spell check to a 15, blacksmoke envelops hims and two tendrils fly out of Sylle Ru hands and attack Elazar chanting, and Xavos counterspelling, Xavos fails the DC 15 will save with a "2" and takes 4 damage and starts asphyxiating, he only has 6 hp so he could easily die the next round. Elazar just makes the DC15 save (14+1) and the Smoke tentacle has no effect. The top of the round begins and Elazar has won the normal initative (followed by Sylle Ru, then Xavos) Elazar's spell asking his Demonic Patron for aid is complete and he goes for 6 points of additonal Spellburn, 2 off each primary stat plus and extra point of Strength it takes to cast the spell, his total Spellcheck is +9 for the invoke Patron and rolls a "13" +9 for "22"
The result is that Obitu-Que answers Elazars first summons with "Pit Flames" Elazar takes a point of damage, But black bolts of energy fly from his body and burn Sylle Ru to the ground with 9 points of
Damage, Sylle Ru;s smoking corpse now smokes with his charred remains and his magic smoke dissipates just in time for Xavos to avoid suffication and death..the entire fight has taken less then a minute, Xavos and Elazar limp away wounded and spellburned...getting down the steps before looking back and seeing guards stopping, mouths agape to stare at Sylle Ru's Corpse.
Elazar owes his patron his first debt.
Xavos and Elazar both return to Wolfs Spear, commenting, "that went well" ugh..Lothar tends Aid to Xavos but Elazar and his demonic patron are on his own, as he finds Sloan and their group getting ready head for the Tomb of Ulfeonar, The Villagers and Jarl should return from the Standing Stones within the next few hours.
Time is not your friend.
The distractions in town, obviously took time some even with only an hour for Great Hall escapade getting all the NPC's marshaled geared and out of town, took time and it was obvious to whomever is watching. The Serpent Mound is two hours by trail thru the woods even if they found what they are looking for within an hour by they time the travel back to town it would be pitch black. Lothar brings this up but realizing that the Jarl is going to return very soon and go berserk when he discovers his Sorcerer dead at the PC's hands. Lothar/ Xavos decide a change of plans is necessary and that they now need quickly run to the Standing Stones and join the others hoping they can Kill the hound this evening, and deflate some of the rage the Jarl is quickly going to spread on behalf of the PC's.
They'll want to avoid the main road by a large margin, as the Jarl is already on his way back they avoid the procession by staying off the road, hide their exiting of Hirot by going over the wall on its eastern side away from the main gate.
We know have two groups
One that the Standing Stones consisting of Agarn, Brunehilde, Dogface, Reinhart, and soon Lothar, Xavos and Taurion. however the second three will arrive at the Standing Stones on foot (again roughly 4 miles away and off road) at Dusk when the Hound will supposedly arrive,
I do bring up here that Lothars climbing walls, and running thru the woods in full platemail, isnt exactly plausible and he could do it but it would be tiring and really slow the others down. My players agree and for this exercise they agree to have both Taurion and Lothar for the sake of speed, swap their heavy armors for simple leathers with Brogan Halverson holding them for collateral.
The second group arriving at the Serpent Mound roughly 90 mins before Dusk. They are
Sloan, Elazar and Freya, with Orioc, the Jarls AWOL Thegn, Master Jenks and two of his men, and Morgan Halverson as guide.
The Standing Stones.
The mission of freeing Nothan the Watch Commanders Wife goes off without a hitch, with plenty of time to spare Nothan's man, "Berk" gets his wife on the back of his horse and two ride south with a couple hours of daylight head start..they should make to the PC's home Village of Fenglyn on Horseback even tandem shortly after dark.
Reinhart kills a small deer leaving it behind the Sacrificial Stone and lets it bleed out hoping the Hound will smell it and investigate, a brief debate ensues on whether this is good idea versus one of the PCs laying there posing as bait. But seeing the hound in action before No one is really up for volunteering.
Upon dusk, the thick fog rolls in and fills the entire area just as the first encounter, the humidity is choking, and the fog is pea soup each PC can only see the PC nearest to them as they hide amongst
the Standing Stones. I play up a flock of crows in the eerie darkness and many bumps in the night with some meaningless D20 rolls. They are all ready for the hound, I tell them the hear noise from the North, I ask what each player what there PC's ready as they wait to ambush the sound. Then I turn to Lothar and say, OK it you guys that have just arrived. what now? (Some cursing the DM takes place)
Lothar (wisely as you'll see) tells Reinhart to immediately get on that expensive horse he had to buy (tied to tree 50 yards or so away) and get to the Serpent Mound to help them out, ASAP. and let Sloan know not to return to Hirot with regrouping them first. especially since Jarl is there because They are not. I mention Reinharts never been to the Serpent Mound before and in the dark on Horseback he's not going make good time, its over 5 miles the last mile thru difficult woods. Player Reinhart says "well I am a huntsman whos grown up in these parts, I may have never been far outside of Fenglyn before but I know the terrain, I'll figure it out. I agree and he takes off alone.
The remaining PC's stand around in the Fog waiting for the Hound that doesn't come. Meanwhile unbeknownst to the PC's I have the Hound approach the stones, it sensed the Ambush ( sure it smelled the deer, but a bad move, I am not playing the Hound as an animal but as the manifestation of a possessed and cursed human and the end text reads) It wants to test the PCs again but not before it can wreak a bit more carnage and make their lives tougher.
Heading straight to Hirot, I have the Hound jump the wall, slaughter two more watchman, mortally wound Nothan the younger, Kill Father Beacom and one his priests and a couple other random villagers. The Jarl who of course goes crazy upon finding his Sorceror dead, wants the PC's heads mounted onthe walls of Hirot, absconding with one of his loyal Thegns (Or seducing him with evil Sorcery as he'll tell his faithful) That just pours gas on the fire. The Wolfs Spear is under armed guard and everyone inside anyone whose aided or been friendly with the PC's under house arrest. The Jarl of course, isnt an idiot and assumes the PC's are at the Standing Stones (while Iraco and his men have
broken off and tailed the Serpent Mound group)
The Hound attacking Hirot just confirms that and He is bunkered down in the Great Hall with his men until Morning when they plan to launch a warparty to hunt the PC's down and I even
have them chase them all the way back to Fenglyn.
At the Standing Stones, Midnight approaches thick fog is still abundant, the PC's know the Hound has probably attacked Hirot first. Cursing the Jarl and their own stupidity of killing his Sorceror, they know they cant return to Hirot without a fight, they best they can do is start heading to Fenglyn and hope Reinhart realizes that with others too, so they can regroup and go after the hound. In what I just thought was really cool move player Agarn says "Agarn takes out his dagger, and carves "Sailors, Go Home" in small tree near the stones." As Reinhart and Sloan were original Sailors on the Starless Sea.they'll understand the message.
With that conversation concluded I now have the Hound Strike, I have it be a random PC in a suprise attack, Unfortunately its poor Xavos whose while healed from the early encounter that day with the Sorceror (Lothar lay hands on him) is the weakest member of the group. He takes a mean three attacks from hound they are a Hit, and two lucky misses, it doesnt matter 8 points of damage from the first hit puts Xavos in the immediately, potentially dead category.
Initiative is then rolled:
Agarn 1 (16 1st round then dropped to 1 via Critical)
The fog is thick limiting use of ranged weapons they'll have to engage the hound. Agarn with the dice roll with a "16" is first, and He has the shackles, but the hound has to be grappled for them to be put on, Agarns Strength of "12" doesnt make him the best grappler . So he just Stabs the hound with his Spear, his signature move involve throwing the spear, but in the dark in the fog, it doesnt seem prudent, so he decides he'll try to charge it stab it and knock it over in the process, hoping to limit the next action, but its next in the initiative again before anyone else. Agarn rolls his deed die and rolls a three, his attack roll is a 10 and at +4 he just misses the Hound AC 15 in the dark, the Hound returns the favor savaging Agarn 18,10,8..+3 on the 18 makes that critical.
Since monsters dont play by the rules in DCC, I have ruled that any 20+ result, so a natural 17+ in the Hounds case that hits its target AC (and it will hit everyone's AC involved in this fight) is D4 Monster Critical, A roll of a natural 20 gets rolled on the very nasty Demon Critical Chart
Agarn takes a "Stunning Blow" from the Monster Critical chart is dropped to bottom of the Initiative order and takes 5 points of damage,
Lothar is next and he rushes to the unconscious Xavos aid to lay hands on him, he rolls a 12 and get Xavos back 4 hp, so he is alive we roll and iniative die for him getting him a 17 at the Top of the
order next round. I also have him roll a luck die (burning allowed) to see if loses a point of Stamina from the killing wound and resulting rescue from Lothar's "lay hands". he makes it clean with his 13 luck.
(again a slight change in the rules, however I balanced this with you cannot go into the negative more points than your highest Stamina or Strength (which ever is higher) or you are Dead on spot, no rescuing. In this case Xavos was -2 Hp on the hit..his Stamina is currently an 9 as he's suffering 1 point of Spellburn from its normal 10. in this if he was -10 HP, he's just dead, dead.)
Taurion is up next and his mighty deed is to plant his Warhammer in the hounds face and grapple it.
he rolls a "5" on the attack no need for the deed die, as the Hound easily dodges his attack.
Brunehilde is next and she tries the same thing attack it, stick my Axe in it and grab it.
She rolls a "7" her Deed Die is 3 but shes +5 to hit and narrowly misses the Hound too.
Dogface is up next..he says 3rd times a charm and swings at it with his Longsword, looking for maximum damage he rolls a 13m, his deed die is a "3" his attack bonus is +5 he hits and does 6 (knocked down to 3 for 1/2 damage from normal weapons to the hound)
The Hound easily beats his grapple check of 10 and so he simplt cant hang on to it.
Xavos is up at top of the round getting to his feet he pulls his longsword aims at the hounds and cast Flaming Hands (spell by proxy) he he says I am burning 1 str, 3 agl, and 1 Stam on this , Xavos is already partially spell burned and wounded so he's running out of gas badly he rolls Rolls a "15' thou, plus his +5 burn and his +3 check..gives him a 23! Unfortunately the blast is meant for multiple opponents his fellows dive away while the hound take (3 more damage, half damage from fire)
The Hound charges Xavos but Taurion is clearly in the way..so the Hound attacks him instead 4, 14, and 20! boom.the 14 becomes a 17 and 5 point of damage the critical is 7 damage but 2 addtional points of Lifeburn bring Taurion from 14 to 12 Hp and now 0, so he is dead, unless saved this round. Lothar is next and he wants to save Taurion but I say the Hound is on top of him, I rule that he can try to lay hands on him but the Hound will get a free round of full attacks, Player Lothar agrees, forgeting I think that Lothar is wearing leather and not his impregnable AC 19 Black Iron Plate. The Hound attacks Lothar rolls 16, 18 and 7 against his now 13 AC..and the 18 is a monster crit Lothar takes 10 of his 12 points of damage but again its a stunning blow on the monster crit table so Lothar is knocked senseless to the bottom of the next round..meaning Taurion will die!, The Hounds first PC kill. Things here are not going well the players are worried. Brunehilde is next she tries her Axe Attack and Grapple again she misses. Dogface says "f#$& this" he picks up the stunned Lothars magic mace and says I go "Bonebreaker" on the Hound (his signature move, which results in double damage and worse) Dogface rolls a "3" for his deed die "19" a critical for 1st level Warrior the Bonebreaker puts out D6 = 3 +3 =6 x 2 for 12 damage and the Critical is +1d8 rolling a "6" for broken ribs, fitting. 18 damage with the Magic Weapon it's a massive blow more than enough to put the hound away for the evening. I go "Baahooooooo" and say they see the Hound this time evaporate into black mist and hear its evil howl off into the night. YEAH Dogface!, his player cries The might of Gorhan! says Lothar, but poor Taurion has died, we never got too much play time with him a bummer. Taurion we hardly knew ye. The general idea of how to kill the Hound has been figured out, however.
The Tomb of Ulfheonar ( The Serpent Mound)
|Artwork copyright of Goodman Games|
Sloan , Elazar , Freya and the Npc's arrive at the Serpent Mound with about an hour and a half of daylight left. I have Player Sloan running Orioc (using just the stats in text) I let Player Lothar, run Jenks and his men, (mainly to give him something to do, but also since as Lothar, is always a good foil for Sloan and Jenks finds himself in a similar position.)
The thieves investigate the huge sealed oval door, and poke around in the shimmering pool at the base where the steams meet. They find the offerings in the sand (junk they say), and think its the key to opening the door. Sloan buries her purse with handful of Gems she still has from the Twilight Portal (or Portal under the Stars) and they try everything from "Open Sesame" to searching for secret switches to finally trying to force it. The group doesnt have enought Strength (even if I gave Orioc more than the +2 bonus i gave him) to move the huge round door even on a natural "20" with the 25 DC. This very fortunate for them because I think the Water Spirit here with the engulf and drowning is far more dangerous than the hound, Especially for this group. it could have been very bad.
Defeated, but none the wiser, They grab their gems and look for another way in. They pick east and find the hidden entrance in the rocks in short order.
They find the scrap of clothing, and ask Jenks if he recognizes it, (I nod) No one is sure if the rumor the three thieves found a kings ransom and split town are true or not, Jenk says "no way". They never made it out. As nightfalls they go into the Tomb .
Meanwhile this is same time Reinhart leaves to head to them from the Standing Stones, and also when the pursuing, Iraco the Jarls Huntsman and his men show up near the front of the tomb and plan there ambush.
Catacomb of the Cave Lion
Inside the Tomb they climb thru the rubble into the small chamber. Orioc and Sloan are leading the way Sloan has torch in hand, Elazar, Morgan, Freya has the second torch, the rest of theives in the rear. They find the Lions Shield They have no way of knowing what it does, but it looks cool so, Orioc picks it up. (we have some chit, how lame we thought auto id'ing everything was back in the day via detect magics or unlimited identifies)
Catacomb of the Cave Bear
They move across the hall to Cave Bear chamber, Orioc with Jenks and his boys throw back the slab revealing the skull Helm and Cave Bear hide...they grab them and are heading up the stairs when I have the two Tomb Ghouls drop down and attack, unfortunately the rear being brought up by Wee Tocs and Wolf-Jenks men, I roll a critical from one ghoul and 10 damage from the other, Killing them both immediately "OH SH&*!!!!" is the response. Initative is rolled
Ghoul Kej 19
Ghoul Stein 18
Sloan goes first, she fires a sling bullet down the stairs, I say shes got 50/50 shot of hitting Jenks, she's like "its cool I am good shot" "ok" I say (player Lothar grimaces) Ghouls are AC 8, I make them AC 10 for the low light she nails it easily..the 50/50 is a D20, High or Low I say, shes says "high of course!" rolls a 15, so Jenks is missed, Ghoul takes 3 from Sloan, Ghouls are now opposite Jenks and Freya, Ghoul Kej attacks Jenks twice but misses (I am using the rulebooks "bandit hero profile of AC 16.) Elazar whose already suffering 7 points of Spell Burn has no ranged weapon and has no spells useful against undead..beelines up the stairs in to the hallway, making room for the fighters. The second ghoul attacks Freya twice..11,13 her 14 AC saves her. Orioc pushes his way past Freya, lion Shield in hand..he rolls a 6 but +3 to hit a 9 is good enough 8 points of Damage to Ghoul Stein. Jenks is next, he attacks ghoul Kej nailing it good and Killing it however then the Ghoul Molting Serpent erupts from the falling corpse "OH SH%&" again I hear. Morgan whose zero level, isnt looking to make a ghoul or ghoul serpent her first fight, runs out of the way, to join Elazar in the hallway.
Freya finally gets a chance and want to try his first "Turn Unholy". Player Freya goes how many HD does it have?, I am like "umm roll and I'll tell you" she rolls a 16 with her modifiers which is big fat NE (No effect) for these 3HD creatures. My player looks at the chart after I say No effect with a 16 and says "OH SH&*". I should have went "Protection from Evil" .
Sloan moves out of sight at the top of the stairs and this time throws a dagger, at the Ghoul Serpent, I dont see undead being immune to critical or surprise attacks in DDC, so I'll have to play it by ear, the Ghoul Serpent is already attacking Jenks. so another 50/50 chance to hit him Sloan still -2 for the torchlight.. She misses wildly.
Ghoul Serpent Kej attacks Jenks and lands 2 hits OUCH!, I gave Jenks a lucky 13 HP, he takes 7, plus Necrosis (he makes the save on the spot) Ghoul Stein attacks Orioc, whose AC with the Lion Shield is an Impressive 18, miss miss., He returns the favor with a Hit killing the ghoul and unleashing Serpent # 2, Jenks attack his ghoul serpent. He's wounded and he fumbles!! but its just a miss. Freya is up again she decides to cast a "Blessing: and knocks it out of the park with a 20 +3 for a 23..shes rolls a d3, rolls a 3, for her and her allies with 5" are +4 on about everything...Sloan picking up on that runs up and stabs the Serpent fighting Freya easily hitting and thou not surprise attack she still does 7 damage. The serpents strike back, wounding Sloan for 4 points, missing Freya and knocking Jenks to 0 Hp on the nose., Follow up attacks from Orioc and Freya with the damage bonus kill both ghoul Serpents Freya immediately lays hands on Jenks, (he's got 2HD in the profile I give him the second round to be saved) Its far too late for her to save the other two..Lucky for Jenks Freya is still under the effects of the blessing, as the "7" she rolls becomes "14"/ Jenks is back up with 6 hp. The Party decides to rest here for bit so Freya can try to heal both Sloan and Jenks again, Her Disapproval is currently a 1-2. we have a discussion about this lawful cleric healing chaotic characters, but the mission is just regardless of personal intent, so I let the standing penalties stay where they are at, However during additional laying hands, we push it with Sloan after a low roll (a 1) and try a second time. where shes rolls a 1! Freya's disapproval is now 1-3 and one the disapproval table she rolls 3, meaning she must recruit a new follower by the next sunrise. It is as if Justicia looked down and said, "you're healing a bunch of thieves, now recruit me one". Freya immediately turns her attention to Morgan Halverson and easy target and good lawful thief in the making.
Just about then I have both Wee Tocs and Wolf Rise as new tomb ghouls (sans Molting Serpents, as they have just risen) another epic "OH SH%&" is cried. (some more cursing at the DM) Since they are right in front of them I say no sneak attacks, just normal initiative, The PC's roll well. then get lucky as Orioc wins the iniative then Critically hitting and killing Wee Tocs on the spot. Then Jenks and Sloan make short work of Wolf before he can even strike. Cursing this room the PCs move toward the back of tomb.
|Artwork copyright of Goodman Games.|
Antechamber of the Savage King
They search the room thoroughly finding the crawl space easily, the small opening gives them all pause..but Sloan of course says she'll go in if Jenks backs her up, He agrees not to be shown up, all though there are no other gang members to impress, Jenks realize he's sealed his own fate along with PC's on this venture so he's along for the ride for better or worse. I mention Orioc sliding thru isnt really going to work with Chainmail, he'll have to strip down.,They decide to have him wait staying ready to rumble while they check it out. Sloan wisely ask Freya to heal her and bless her favorite dagger, Freya says "you made need to change your ways and follow the way of Justicia"...Sloan
says "if I live, I'll think about it". both roll are successful", rolling a 19 on the blessing, and a good enough lay hands getting Sloan to her full health at 9 hp.
At this point player Sloan brings up Experience and that Sloan has highest total of all the PC's going in. is she close to level 2. I need to go back and do a quick calculation and say "nope but shes really close" ( and should break level 2 before leaving the tomb if she lives.)
Jenks (player Lothar) says I wish we had a spear going in there..it would be a good idea to lead the way with...they all agree and they double back and check the rooms looking for an old spear. They find the stairs down to the Bronze fangs, discovering the Pit from below. Orioc breaks a Spear off, I mention it doesnt seem very sharp but it will work and they head back to Crawl Space..Since it was Jenks Idea, Sloan says lead the way Torch in one hand Spear in the other. Sloan is now in rear.
Both are very clear about searching for Traps, checking the ceiling and walls etc..so they find the chimney up to the real tomb..but bypass for the moment and continue onward in the crawl space..when the third Ghoul drops down from the chimney above and lands behind them.
we roll a standard dice off for surprise based on there cries of caution and listening...Sloan wins the surprise round so we say shes hear some rustling behind her as the ghoul drops thru the matted roof above and so we just roll straight initiative, The Ghoul still wins and does go first. The ghoul misses Sloan while Molting Snake chest buster bites her for 3 damage. (she makes DC 5 save for Necrosis) On her turn Sloan stabs the Ghoul with blessed dagger doing 6 damage, she then slides backward to turn around and back up as much as she can into Jenks so they are almost side by side in the tunnel but Sloan is inside the range of the spear (abet the dull end facing the ghoul as Jenks cant turn the Spear around in the passage). Jenks turns himself around in the small passage shoves the spear as the ghoul as much as he can.. hearing the screaming- Freya gets brought into the initative and climbs into the Crawl Space but is another round away from being able to engage. while Orioc uses action his use to strip off his armor and follow in..
The Ghoul just as they hoped is now stuck with a spear in its face and I rule that since it was great idea, it works and ghoul cannot get itself past the spear in the small passage to attack, the Snake Portion could however. So since the ghoul portion is already wounded, I have the Snake portion kill its host portion so it can break free!.
The Snake breaks free, scooting past the Spearbutt and attacking each of them once doing 4 to Sloan and 5 to Jenks (again both make the easy DC 5 save)..both Respond with Daggers Sloan hitting with blessed dagger a second time for the max 6, and Jenks missing. Freya comes up behind and is too far to get in range to attack as the dead ghoul is blocking the passage. She decides to Bless herself she rolls a "18" , Justicia likes her and she picks up a additional +2 bonus to everything the Snake snaps at Jenks and Sloan but with a pair of 4's it misses. Orioc is in tunnel but they are stuck, Sloan and Jenks both attack the Snake and I roll a another pair of 4 miss, miss. Freya is up again She shoves the ghoul forward 5 feet and thrusts her sword over the crumpled ghoul to attack the snake..there is issue with using a longsword in the tunnel, however shes thrusting it and had it in front of her the whole time. so I just drop her a die she rolls a D16 to hit and rolls a strong "14" + 3 (str, bless) against AC 14..rolls the 6 +3 for 9 damage just killing the Undead snake, All praise Justicia they cry..(wow we all agree Blessing is way better spell then we remember from the old days)
Freya and Orioc head up the chimney and they find the real tomb and the Spear of Ulfheonar, the Horn and the Pelt. In the crawlspace, Sloan and Jenks move ahead into the false tomb, dragging the dead ghoul and snake in with them to clear the tunnel so they can get back. I describe the Pillar and bait them with the Masterwork Spear and Shield, but they don't bite, Slone goes over alone and checks for traps visually she clear she doesnt touch anything, on puzzle looking pillar..they think
something stinks, Freya Comes through to call them back, they have a conversation she decides to try casting "second sight" and it succeeds on a '14" with 75% accuracy, I say roll D4, she rolls a 2, I am like OK you get the feeling it not a good idea to go poking around or touching in there., and that's enough for them. with Spear of Ulfheonar in hand and other goodies its mission accomplished and after a brief rest and more "laying hand" from Freya they exit the tomb the way they came in
I also let Sloan know that shes hit exactly the 50XP mark and can level to 2, our first level 2, Lothar is also close but a couple encounters away.
We pause to comment how insanely useful Freya the Cleric was with out her this would have been a disaster..a long way from the "no one wants to play the cleric of days of old", Now 2 of my players are playing the Cleric the most of all their characters!
It's after midnight when they leave the Serpent Mound into the pitch black woods. I tell them that the see a small fire or campsite over neat the main entrance to the Tomb. They see a sole man sitting by the fire tending it. They group cautiously approaches Thinking since they have missed the other encounters with Hound this night they should camp here.The lone man sees them approach, he stands smiles and waves them over. once there within 50 feet of the fire. I have Orioc blurt out "Damn! it's Iraco the Jarl's Huntsmen "Ambush"!!, The man stands, and Smiles Iraco pulls his sword and arrows fire from the Darkness, Orioc and Freya and Morgan Halverson are hit by arrows...the wounds are minor but Morgan Halverson who they been trying to protect all night barely escapes death. Surprise round complete we roll initiative..Elazar wins with natural 20, since he hasn't done a damn thing all night while inside the tomb, he's wounded and spellburned, Player Elazar says "I go for it" He rushes Iraco and says I spellburn another 6 points and cast Color Spray (which for him has the mericurial effect of only being able to cast at night) giving him a +8 Spellcheck he rolls a "10" plus 8 for an "18" good enough- he catches Iraco and 2 of his men behind him with Bows withing 40 feet, all three fail the save and are unconscious for 6 rounds.
Freya and Orioc are next, Freya hits the 3rd man with her Bow wounding him, while a follow up strike from Orioc kills him in the second round.. Per the text I have the other two huntsmen further away run for their horses and flee, Jenks and Sloan pursue but are too far away to catch them. As they get close to there horses, In heroic fashion I have Reinhart show up from the other direction, We reroll initative, Reinhart wins kills one immediately with a 15 and 6 damage from his longsword. the other gets on his horse and takes off, Reinhart pulls his bow and call his might deed (signature move, Precision Shot) He rolls a "3" on the deed die we need to figure out how far away the huntsmen is since it takes 1 action for Reinhart to draw his bow and but also one action for the Huntsmen to mount his horse, I rule its a wash the horse is within its intial move..I give Reinhart a -4 penalty for darkness/ and cover for the shot making the effective AC of the huntsman a 19, He Rolls a "17" +4 and nails him in the head for 9 damage killing him. YEAH! the players cry.
I tell Elazar with 13 ability points spelled burned that he's pretty useless. he says I collapse to start sleeping it off. Reinhart fills the group in on what he knows...they now have 3 prisoners and 6 horses with full tack. Luck is with the PC's tonight, alot of close calls, only Jenks men where killed, Morgan survived, Reinhart showed up and saved the day. actually with proper track of time he would have been there several hours before and could have been spying on Iraco and his men waiting for the to attack the PC for a counter ambush. But I liked the way it played out.
Resting until the morning Sloan, Elazar, Freya, Orioc, Jenks and Reinhart w/ Morgan. each on a horseback head toward Hirot. Per the text the PC's have little trouble getting Iraco and his two surviving men to betray the Jarl. Healed by Freya , Morgan is now a convert of Justicia, (resetting Freya's disapproval) They leave Iraco and his men loosely tied up so they can escape and tell them walk back after they leave, They told of the plan to overthrown the Jarl, they agree to stay out of the way.
All on horseback they quickly ride back to Hirot, They want to know whats going on (They do not know at this point I have had the Jarl and his men ride out at dawn, heading South toward Fenglyn looking for a fight.) Nearing Hirot, Freya asks Morgan to go ahead on foot enter the gates and ask her to signal if its safe for them to enter the town, or wave them off if they should just keep heading south to Fenglyn. They give her an hour to signal or they'll just ride off, She enters the village without issue. I tell them 15 mins later the gates open and Morgan comes out waving them in.They all ride up together to the gates, prepared to run if need be, should the Jarls men ride out in a trap.
I tell them guards are pensive (being told under severe penalty to deny any strangers entry while hes away) and Morgan says the the Jarl is not here, the guards want to deny the PC's entry. They ask for Nothan the Younger, Watch Commander and are told he is near death from the Hounds attack last night, Freya demands entry to heal him, with with little protest his men Oblige. Freya is brought to Nothan and saves him, one fail, then a good heal. After some talk Freya and Reinhart with Orioc and Nothan for support head to the village square.
In the Village Square they call as many people they can to order and proceed to convince whomever is listening that Jarl is bad news. Sloan pops the Lottery box open and find the fake box confirming, publicly the Lottery was a fraud. With Lottery exposed ,an outraged townsfolk. is easily turned against the Jarl.
Freya marches into the Temple of Justicia and takes the Holy sword (a Hammer in text but a Sword in our game) claiming herself as Justicia's agent and bound to Slay the Hound in her name. The surviving Priest doesnt protest and defaults to her. Nothan the Younger is defacto elected to represent the towns people, all the Remaining guards convert to his leadership including the later returning Iraco, who confirms the Jarl sent him to murder the PC's and he has realized his stupidity and gladly join what appears to be the winning side.. Morgan happily returns to her Father.
With no way for the Hirot Group to meet the Fenglyn group in time, before the Jarl should he find them. all they can do it hope they can defeat him.and prepare for the Hound to next return to Hirot, They are in possession of all the tools they need.
Next up....The Jarl and his men hunt down our wayward PC's carrying their dead comrade back to Fenglyn..its going to be a showdown!