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Zire, Devout Avenger of The Raven Queen

March 21, 2010

I thought I would post a quick picture of my 3rd level Avenger of The Raven Queen, Zire.  This is back when he was still in the Shadowfell, at the place where he grew to adulthood, Winter’s Edge – a monastery dedicated to the Dark Lady.

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Ishtal, Star-crossed Lovers and the Dragonborn Staff

March 20, 2010

Continuing the log of my DnD experiences, this is my first in the lands of Ishtal.

The Lands of Ishtal

Brought together by intrigue and carnage at the bi-annual Selena melee tournament, our group has now weathered town trade politics, Elven black markets, endangered little girls, slave traders, and the “kidnapping” of Princess Cassera by Onar, the son of Keloron, an Elven black marketeer, erm… wine dealer.  We have all undertaken the quest to return said princess back to her father, and to that end have tracked across the countryside, and fought dreaded blood beasts, only to find that our princess was a deluded Eladrin with a compulsion to end our journeys.

We then found our way to the Underdark led by Reitan, a high standing priest of The Raven Queen, through a long forgotten Dragonborn fountain entrance.  It was there that we parleyed with a Drow contingent, led by the Blademaster of the House of Eskar.  It was there that we noticed that our scaly friend, Charik was missing. After much searching and the fretting of our paladin, we in the end had to give up search so as to not lose time on our quest.  The living stone of the Underdark was quickly shifting and closing off routes and any hopes of finding them.

Heading northwest, we encountered and defeated bloodthirsty Quaggoths, met a strange but seemingly potent new companion in Rune, a construct of the Forgefather, and traveled the hard road underground to the mad spiral city of Tik.  Learning of their city and the protective illusion that had recently fallen exposing them to the prying eyes of “outsiders”, we decided that regretfully we could not take the time from our present course to aid them in their sojourn to the City of Kenn, where they sought refuge.  Instead we trusted them to lead us to where “all the other outsiders went”.

Trust is something easily given and just as easily broken, as we were led to a trap; falling long an far to a lower level of the Underdark, with its own set of trials.  This was the Kingdom, such as it was, of Lothoron the Deluded.  A dizzy Adamantium dragon who craved servants like others craved gold.  He had only the need for company and entertainment after have been stuck down here for endless years alone.  Nydia dazzled him with stories of the Dashwood’s life of both romance and heartbreak, ending with love and lasting happiness while the rest of us took a long needed rest.

Lothoron agreed then to take us on his back, across his underworld kingdom, from shore to shore of his own ocean, in return for our vows to return to him after all was resolved with our quest.  We all agreed to at least try.

At the other side of the sea, we came upon 3 tunnels, each with its own interesting characteristics.  One seemed to promise the scents and feel of the surface.  One passage presented a much traveled route but stank of indistinct danger.  The last tunnel beckoned with a feeling of a great abundance of magical energy, as well as drifting sounds of a carnival atmosphere.  Ozric the Odd consulted the Dark Lady via her Hand of Fate ritual and we went with the result that would take us to the princess as quickly as possible.  This turned out to be the surface tunnel, and it brought us across the lowlands to the Pool of Spirits, a destination days east of where we entered due to the strange shifting spacial nature of the Underdark.

A short distance away, we soon sighted a small contingent of the peaceful knowledge seeking Loremaster tribe of the Dragonborn.  We were quickly ushered in a stone circle to meet with Lynera, a large blue Dragonborn and the tribe’s nominal head.  He spoke of the Staff of Chakan, a legendary lost artifact of the Magehunter tribe that was causing turmoil in the lands.  The thief’s identity was not confirmed, some seeing a dark haired human, some a goliath with tattoos, and others a dwarf with a braided beard.  During his tale, we noted the striking similarities to what we knew of as the Staff of Othello, which was used by a summoning mage at the arena battle.

It was then too that we learned that the nature of our quest had now shifted focus.  It seemed that instead of a kidnapping, we were now tracking star-crossed lovers.  And elf and a human who’s union could lead to open warfare between their two nations long involved in very ugly trade disputes.

After making our goodbyes and thanks to the Loremaster of the tribe, we headed off northwest, tracking the lovers to the Pool of Spirits, which was said to have healing properties.  Ozric felt compelled to partake of the waters, and did feel somehow subtly changed.  Further tracking led us to the outskirts of Tharington, a farming community, and an odd encounter with a pig farmer, and his beloved Winnie the swine.  His dimwitted offers of the pleasures of the pig shack were politely declined and we set off to the city proper since he had seen our quarry a few days back head there.

There we learned of the current Magehunter occupation of the town.  Ozric dazzled the guards with tales of warforged creation, and we were quickly shuttled to see the General of the Dragonborn forces, one Tao.  Under his orders, the town was now under martial law, and he confirmed that they did indeed have Onar, our long sought after Elf, in custody on charges of spying for his nation.

Due to Ozric’s newly favored status, we were allowed to speak with Onar, in his cell under the scrutiny of several large guards.  With a combination of diplomacy, bluffs, and outright lies, we were able to ascertain that they were indeed a couple, and that Onar legitimately lost contact with Princess Cassera, and was fearful for her safety.  They were to meet some unknown contact on the Isle of Areah, long thought destroyed in the civil wars of the Genasi.  Only the princess knows how to find their mysterious benefactor and he supposedly has the key to ending the Elf/Human struggles.  Onar offered to accompany us if we could somehow gain his freedom.  In the end, it was decided that we could not take on a legion of Dragonborn to break him free and denied his wishes.

We then decided to resupply and head to the West…

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#DnDEnc – Or how I learned to love Undermountain: Week 1

March 19, 2010

Artist credit: Mike Mueller

It’s funny how things come together.

After not having played any pen and paper RPG’s for years, not only do I find a bi-weekly gaming group nearby on Meetup.com, but WoTC kindly launches a weekly public game that happens to be at my local public library, not two blocks away.

Good but not great experience so far.  Husband and wife team, plus one of their close gaming friends awaited me there.  They had let me know in advance that there would be cokes and snacks available, and so there were. Great atmosphere, and good people.  Since we were short players, favors were called in and a nephew was summoned to play the striker role.

Party make up consisted of a deva swordmage, a drow warlock, a half-orc runepriest, and my human druid.  A nice balance really, with interesting power combinations that I’m certain we’ll learn to utilize better over the sessions.

This session consisted of us in medias res having already teamed up, and at the Yawning Portal Inn.  Having been out of touch for a bit as far as gaming is concerned, I at least recalled Waterdeep and what it meant to the Forgotten Realms world.  The DM had us skip the roleplaying bits to get us in game and motivated, but I have to say I missed the opportunity to get to know each other a bit.  Hopefully there will be more of a chance to do so in future sessions.  I plan to propose a meet and greet at the start of next group to present some facts that the group would have shared as a flash back to before the initial Inn start.

After some initial perception/insight rolls, we followed our inevitable quest-giver out to the alley only to find her assailed by bandits and unconscious.  Spells were flung, bridges crossed, and swords clashed.  After reading other re-caps I believe the bridge should have been far more of an obstacle than it turned to to be.  I have a feeling that the DM needed a bit more prep time to learn the content better overall.  My only complaint really.

What seemed via Twitter friends to be a hard encounter, took two of us to bloodied and baddies to see the afterworld.  We then woke our new benefactor and accepted her quest to map the newly discovered section of Undermountain, as well as bring back all magic items for inspection.  The latter objective took some roleplay to agree to, as some of the party seem a bit more materialistic than my lone druid.

Loved the twitter game changers, which ended up helping both the baddies as well as our intrepid band.   The rats, rats everywhere inspired my choice of Wild Shape, and a certain halfling bandit got a face full of red eyed rodentia teeth!

So next week, to adventure and hopefully more character interaction.  And of course more pizza, the fuel of true gamers!

Hold fast to your roles and even harder to your wits!