Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

Storming the Horned Hold

Torben Eastlander woke with a start. The scrivener had been up late with the Dragonborn Paladin trying to get the last bits of the adventurers’ exploits as they entered the Horned Hold. He was tired. Was he dreaming? No, for certain, there in front of him, occupying most of the tiny inn bedroom, was the definite head, yes there were the eyes and most assuredly the teeth, of a platinum dragon. Smoke wafted from its nostrils. The smoke was silver and purple and seemed to dance in the air. It had a scent of lilacs. Huge wings extended beyond the edge of Torben’s sight. A bass voice rumbled, almost so deep that he felt it more than heard it, “The five serve me with their compassion, with their fierce pursuit of justice for the wronged. My paladin and my cleric, the dwarf, the ranger, and the wizard, they all bring honor to me with their courage. Their story will honor me throughout the ages. Listen to them and write it well.”

Torben closed his eyes. He meekly nodded his head in ascent. He heard nothing. When he opened his eyes, the room contained his small cot and washbasin. His pack and his writing instruments were still on the small table. He was soaked in sweat.

He dressed quickly and hurried to the tavern room. Few were up so early, but he almost leapt for joy when he saw the form of the Half-Elven Cleric finishing some eggs and bacon.

“Z’alden, you must tell me what happened after your party slew the five orc guards. Was there some harrowing adventure? Some near miss at death? Some valiant struggle? What?”

Z’alden shook his head in wonder at the scrivener. He had never showed such passion for their adventures before. And, Torben was ashen white. He looked as if he had seen a ghost. “Master Eastlander, are you feeling alright?”

“Fine, fine, never better. Now, what happened?”

Z’alden took a sip of ale, and started to tell of their next encounter.

“A hallway led past the orc sentry post to a large forge room. We found two more of the Dung-gar and their loathsome orc companions. One of the vile un-dwarfs was a wizard who could reach into the fire and shoot a fireball at several of us. Still, we did not falter, Felsmon and Erik quickly dispatched this nasty Urwol wizard, with Erik’s sword piercing the heart. Then, the mighty dwarven warrior’s axe slew his dung-gar henchman. It would not be the last time that day that the blades of our comrades felled these heinous imposters of true dwarves. An invisible duergar attacked us and then fled as his comrades were slain. The orcs, showing their cowardice, ran down a wide hallway to the next pod. By the Teeth, we tried but we were not able to catch those hideous creatures before they had made good their escape.”

Torben grew visibly nervous at Z’alden’s oath. He regained his composure and said, “Please, please, continue.”

“We tried to find the invisible Dung-gar but to no avail. We did find a curious scepter with the skull of a minotaur. What evil this might be or purpose it would serve, we knew not, but took it with us, lest it be used against us. We were happy to relieve the duergar of a few small coins, too, that will help to care for the needy (196 gp, 206 sp). Then, we found a smaller bridge, just one staff wide. This we crossed and entered another part of the Hold after Rift kindly opened the locked door with some handy tool she carries. It is a wonder that she has these marvelous keylike-instruments, as though she knew that our noble pursuit of the prisoners would be barred by locked doors. Very useful.

In this next pod, we found a room with two more of the nasty un-dwarfs. Barrick tried to engage them in a kind bluff, so that we might simply find the prisoners and put an end to these battles. Instead, in anger at seeing us “Topsiders” behind the door, the nasty beard quills from a fighter slashed into Rift. Another wizarding one sent waves of despair flooding over us and the nasty fighter tried to slay me with his flaming warhammer. But he was in for a surprise, as the healing in my true Dwarven armor restored the wounds he had inflicted, and the Light of the Dragon burned his eyes even as it empowered Felsmon. And when this “Gorderoy” tried to run away from me, by the Claw, I swung my crossbow like a club and felled the vile Dungheap, as Erik’s flashing blades laid low the undwarven wizard.

Unfortunately, this little ruckus had brought into an adjacent room two more of the nasty warhammer boys and with them, magic wooden constructs that fired dual crossbow bolts. These inflicted heavy damage on Barrick, Erik, and Rift until Felsmon was able to get his sword into the fray. And more than that, his lightning breath made them rue the moment they had responded to their vile comrades’ call for help. I , too, finally shaking off the despair that had dazed me, was able to call upon Bahamut and let these duergar feel the Flame of the Great Dragon, even as the power of Bahamut healed Rift. Most amazing, the wizard teleported right next to the constructs, slamming them with her staff.

Felsmon’s sword ripped into one of the Duergar, but the other coward ran away. We gave chase. Erik’s blades chopped one construct into pieces and seriously damaged the other but not before I felt the sting of one of their bolts.

The cowardly Dung-heap ran down a long hallway, through a pair of double doors, to another long chamber, and through another pair of doors. After the final construct was fallen, Erik, seriously injured, switched to his bow to extract a great toll on whatever enemy might sally forth from these doors, even as Barrick and Felsmon led the way down the long hall.

Suddenly, the double doors exploded. There, before the warriors was that hideous nightmare of a two-headed giant, the Ettin. With a club in one hand and an axe in the other. Behind him were orc axe-throwers. Rift shouted with glea and placed her powerful flaming sphere between the Ettin and his little axe friends. They knew the power of our wizard and regretted it that day. Despite the size and ferocity of the giant, Felsmon and Barrick did not falter. Instead, Felsmon gave a guttural laugh despite what was surely a great pain as some huge reservoir of energy was ripped from him, channeled into his sword, and the Ettin knew the pain of confronting a Paladin of Bahamut. Embolden by my comrade and enraged by this trap of the coward, I stepped forth and an image of the Great Dragon’s head formed in front of me sending silver bright flames of sacred fire at the giant’s head. These flames brightened more and the Ettin screamed, as the battle called forth the hidden power of my holy symbol, and I exacted an even greater price, thanks be to Bahamut. Then, the valiant dwarf ripped his axe across the belly of the creature. All the while, the orcs threw their axes barely able to even target us with this monstrosity in the way. But, the victory seemed not to be ours as the axe of the Ettin dropped the mighty dwarf to the ground. The Dragonborn roared, his sword finding the spark of life in the giant and snuffing it out, even as lightning passed from his sword to his fallen comrade Barrick. Instantly, thanks be to Bahamut, the dwarf was revived!

Erik’s arrows flew past us, as the orcs lasted but a few more seconds before only one remained standing. Rift’s flames had taken a heavy toll on the orcs. The surviving coward fled before we could give chase. And, that dunghill of an undwarf who had led us into this ambush jumped on Rift’s flaming sphere before we could capture him and question him as to the location of the prisoners.

Barrick was hurt more than I realized, and by the Wings, I said my most fervent prayer that he might recover further. Indeed ,my prayer was granted as he was restored some.”

Z’alden paused and his eye gleamed as recalled the valor of his companions. Z’alden was called out of hid reverie by Torben, “Is there more? What happened next? Did you capture the orc? Did you find the prisoners?”

Z’alden looked at the scribe. “Yes, there is more to this tale, Scrivener, but your hands are trembling. Rest some. Here, have some meat and cheese. A pint of ale. You really must try to relax. It is not as though you have a dragon breathing down your neck.” And the cleric of Bahamut smiled.

Comments

Current state of exploration of the Horned Hold:
The party is currently in the upper left, southwest, room.
Two orcs escaped through the lower, southeast, double doors.
One orc escaped through the northern double doors of the current location.

Storming the Horned Hold
 

OOC: DM, what does Rift know about those crossbow constructs? Is it possible to use “Make whole” to fix one? And if so, could you control it, or would it just revert to its previous behavior?

Next question, did we get any sense of how many levels were on this side of the Horned Hold, maybe by looking at the windows? 2 or 3?

Rift would also like to look through the arrow slits in the ettin room, to see what’s outside.

Storming the Horned Hold
 

The constructs were assembled by normal means, then animated by magic. A Make Whole would restore the physical aspect of the constructs, but the magic has been lost and it would simply be a wooden statue.

There were a few small dark openings, less than 2 feet on a side, above your current level of the Hold. They seem too small to be windows, maybe spots used for guards, or air vents, or maybe even storage units.

Looking through the arrow slits Rift sees a 20’ wide, 25’ high passageway leading westward. There is one burning torch socketed outside the door, then the passageway fades into darkness. The walls of the passageway are rough hewn rock, similar to many of the passages you have already encountered in the labyrinth.

Storming the Horned Hold
 

Z’alden looks around the chamber at the slain orcs, the burnt duegar, and the fallen Ettin. He breathes deeply at the moment, thanks Bahamut for their victory and says a prayer to the Great Dragon. His hands flame with silver and purple. He then walks over to Barrick, and says, “My friend, as always your valor humbles me. Receive these healing flames from Bahamut.”

OOC: Cure Light Wounds. Without needing to spend a healing surge, Barrick receives his healing surge value + 1 for the Belt of Sacrifice + 3 for Healer’s Lore.

“I can see that despite this healing, your own inner reserves are still low. The Belt’s most powerful magic will not yet work for me this day. Mighty Paladin of Bahamut, will you try the Belt of Sacrifice, despite the pain it will bring to you?”

OOC: The following has already been approved by rplayer

Felsmon breathes in and out, restoring himself before acknowledging the Cleric with a nod.

OOC: Using Second Wind, within 5 squares of the Belt of Sacrifice, Felsmon regains his healing surge value + 1.

The Dragonborn Paladin silentlyy walks over, sheathing his sword so that he can take the Belt from Z’alden. He says nothing. He puts on the Belt, and unlike the cry that erupted from Z’alden when he had tried to transfer inner reserves to Erik, the Dragonborn begins to laugh. A low guttural laugh. The Belt crackles with a hint of Lightning.

OOC: DM, Felsmon has not used any Daily magic items today. Does the Belt work for him, taking 2 healing surges from Felsmon and transferring 1 to Barrick?

Even as the Belt begins to glow, Z’alden breathes even deeper, using some of his own inner reserves to restore himself.

OOC: Everyone remember to include +1 to their healing surge value when within 5 squares of the Belt of Sacrifice, now worn by Felsmon.

Storming the Horned Hold
 

DM: The belt will not work for Felsmon yet. PHB says, “A magic item’s daily power can be used once per day” I also searched the web for clarification and found the same answer. An magic item cannot be passed around giving benefit to everyone in the party. Note that this holds even when a milestone is reached.

Storming the Horned Hold
 

OOC: DM, but the Belt’s daily power has not been used today. The property is that it adds +1 to all healing surge values. But, the daily power is to allow the wearer to give up 2 healing surges from himself to give 1 healing surge to the recipient. So, shouldn’t the Belt’s daily power be accessible to Felsmon, who has not used any daily item’s today, but not Z’alden because Z’alden has already used 2 daily magic item powers?

Storming the Horned Hold
 

DM: Oh, my bad; I thought Z’alden had used the Belt’s daily. If not, and if Felsmon has not used any daily magic items, then yes he can use the Belt’s daily power. Sorry about that.

Storming the Horned Hold
 

Felsmon’s guttural laugh grows louder as the lightning sparks from the Belt to Barrick. OOC: Felsmon has lost 2 healing surges. Barrick has gained 1 healing surge.

Z’alden’s eyes pop at Felsmon’s strength and endurance in bearing the sacrifice of the Belt. He says, “Master Paladin, what a noble sacrifice. My friends, let us rest here for several moments, taking turns at watching the doors and the hallway. I suggest we take 20 minutes to rest in turns and search the room, the Dungheap, and the orcs.”

OOC: Z’alden will spend 1 healing surge, restoring 12 + 1 Belt = 13 hp. Does he find any secret doors or anything interesting in the Ettin room?

Storming the Horned Hold
 

DM: Before you do anything else: where are all of you? The last I remembered Erik was still two rooms away, down in the eastern part of the bastion by the statues. Have you all gathered in the Ettin room? Have you opened or closed any doors? Are you still in combat mode? If you are still in combat mode Z’alden can take a Second Wind but cannot simply spend a healing surge. If you drop out of combat mode the flaming sphere also fades away.

Storming the Horned Hold
 

OOC: In the Ettin Room, Z’alden used Second Wind. Z’alden is ready to be out of combat mode. Is everyone else?

Storming the Horned Hold
 

Where are the arrow slits in the Ettin room?

After healing Barrick and giving Felsmon the Belt, Z’alden moved by the table in the southwestern most square adjacent to the circular table.

Storming the Horned Hold
 

“Let us sheath our swords, and see what plunder awaits!”

The blue flames of the sphere reluctantly dwindle away to a small spark that vanishes as suddenly as it appeared. Rift takes a quick look through the arrow slits in the statue room. Assuming she sees nothing approaching across the bridge, she will stroll down to the Ettin chamber to help with the search.

“Z’alden, once we’re done in the Ettin room, will you listen at that single door to the south?”

OOC: DM, in the Ettin room, is there any way to bar the double door through which the orc escaped? If so, then we bar it. If not, we search the Ettin and then drag his bloated carcass in front of the double doors.

Z’alden,, in the Ettin room the arrow slits are flanking the double doors that lead outside (southwest corner).

DM, what do we find on the bodies of the Ettin, the orc, and the duergar? What do we find when we search the room? Anything inside or under the big bed? On the table?

Storming the Horned Hold
 

Felsmon is curently in the space next to the door in the south. He would like to open that door if possible. And when he opens the door what does he see? Where are the arrow slits in the Ettin room? Could you fit a spear through them?

Storming the Horned Hold
 

Rift watches her flaming sphere disappear, then peers through the slits on either side of the double doors in the statue room: 15 feet from the door, a party of 4 duergar are moving stealthily toward her, weapons drawn; one “normal” duergar, two with red cloaks, and one larger one.

DM: Note, the double doors in the statue room are currently unbarred. There are bars in the open position on either side of the door, which can be pulled down into locking position, but not without making a sound. At their slow sneaking pace, the duergar party will reach the doors in approximately 10 seconds. They do not appear to have noticed Rift peering through the slits.

Storming the Horned Hold
 

No one post anything yet…

Storming the Horned Hold
 

DM, did Felsmon open that door? What did he see?

Storming the Horned Hold
 

DM: At the point when Rift peeres through the slits, Felsmon has not yet opened the door, nothing has been searched or moved, and the door through which the orc escaped has no barring mechanism and remains closed but unlocked (as far as you can tell). I stopped things at that point thinking that those actions might want to modified.

Note: it has been less than 5 minutes since ending the last encounter, so no resting, using of healing surges, or regaining of encounter powers has yet occurred.

Storming the Horned Hold
 

Bring it on!

Storming the Horned Hold
 

Hooah!

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Are the unbroken doors heading west from the statue room to the Ettin room able to be barred?

Storming the Horned Hold
 

How many arrow slits can be used to target duergar on the bridge to the east of the statue room?

Storming the Horned Hold
 

Would Z’alden’s range 5 attack, Sacred Flame, be able to hit anyone on the bridge if Z’alden is at an arrow slit?

Storming the Horned Hold
 

Only the doors leading out of a bastion (onto a bridge, or the SW doors in the Ettin room) have the built in ability to be barred, and the Ettin room doors are indeed barred. The doors between the statue room and Ettin room do not have locks on them, nor do the doors through which the orc escaped. The door leading into the bunk room does have a lock, but the lock is rusted. The door leading from the rubble room out to the balcony is not barrable nor has arrow slits.

There are two total arrow slits, one on each side of the double doors. They are usable by the character standing in front of that door. The slits have iron shutters on the inside. When closed no attacks can come through the slits. It is a minor action to either open or close a shutter. Rift quickly closed her slit once she saw the encroaching doom; both slits are currently closed.

Powers can be shot through an arrow slit, so yes Z’alden can attack with Sacred Flame if he has access to one of the slits.

If left unbarred, the duergar can open the doors. If barred they have to make a DC 22 Str check to break open each side of the door. Only one check is allowed per character every 5 minutes; if all 4 duergar fail they will not be able to come in that way for at least 5 minutes.

DM: If there is something your character would have done in the past 20 seconds, before they knew the duergar where there, that just didn’t get posted, you may do it. For example, Felsmon, if you still wanted to have opened that door then it can be opened.

Storming the Horned Hold
 
I won’t open the door but anyway

*LET’S TEAR ‘EM TO PEICES

Storming the Horned Hold
 

Scratch that bq. h1. LET’S TEAR ‘EM TO PIECES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Storming the Horned Hold
 

I was trying to make it as big as possible.How did you do it that big Dredmuns?

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If Felsmon and Barrick drag the Ettin’s body to the Statue Room doors, can they get it there before the duegar reach the doors?

Storming the Horned Hold
 

Not quite. I estimate they would be about 8 seconds too late; which is more than a full round of combat.

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If two 18 strength characters push on a barred door to keep it closed, would the DC for opening it increase?

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For a normal simple wooden door, yes. For a stout, barred door, no; if the door and the thick beams can be smashed open, then a couple characters leaning against the doors will not do much more. A standard “strong” duergar can each push the equivalent of 750+ lbs.

Storming the Horned Hold
rplayer gorthmog

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