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Author Topic: Actual Play - Kidnappers, Killers, Liberators #42  (Read 1120 times)

Abyssal Maw

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Actual Play - Kidnappers, Killers, Liberators #42
« on: January 26, 2007, 11:30:36 AM »
Welcome to yet another over-written actual play report. Yes, it really does take me 8 or 9 pages to describe one session of a game.

Previous reports
Session #39
Session #40
Session #41


Player Characters:
Owyn Glydd: gnome trickster
Bernhard: nasty goblin fighter/cleric of Zunail
Vork Barkor: human ranger with a background as a sailor
Ganex Firemane: Elan Psychic Warrior/Psion

Named Non-Player Characters:
Kismet: bitchy Elan "girlfriend" of Ganex. Although she is angry with Ganex lately, she is still devoted to him.
Queen Emerald: One of the four leaders of Karelon. She is known as "the people's queen" for her popularity and goodness.  

(later on)

Padishah Mumeelah: a Marid noble, ex-slaver, mischief maker and agent of chaos. Exiled to the Prime Material.
Zarmuid: Former pet of the Padishah. Topaz dragon

Important Villians: Strangely none, although you could count the Padishah.
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Abyssal Maw

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Actual Play - Kidnappers, Killers, Liberators #42
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2007, 12:56:35 PM »
Play opens up where we left the group last: the party (including Kismet) had recently whomped the Whisper Demon assassins sent to kill the young queen Emerald. (See 'The Fit Hits the Shan', #41). This takes place in her private court/antechamber type area of the palace.

The queen is finally convinced that attempts are being made on her life, having barely survived this last one.

Also, the queens guards have burst in right as the last demon was slain, and they are accompanied by the doddering old archcleric, who claims the entire thing is a conspiracy and the PCs are probably involved.

So the clerics deploy around the room, and the archcleric leaves after briefly squaring off against Owyn and threatens to 'return with (Emerald's) brother, King Otho.  

Behind the scenes GM stuff:
Okay. Karelon has 2 kings and 2 queens- "the Quadrite throne". The brother would have been roused along with one of his top officers, who is a longstanding enemy of the party-a high-level Kurghite Knight (ala the PHB2 class) called Lady Kizra. They had battled Lady K and her forces throughout the Crone Mountains during their mid-levels (from about 4th-8th level) So I thought it would be fun to have her make a surprise reappearance now that they were 12th.
Had we reached that point-- the party would have been "Arrested". This would have resulted in a battle, possibly an overwhelming one. The party does have the ability to get out of most encounters via Dimension-door and teleport, though.

This did Not happen though.

Instead, as the Archcleric left the room, I asked the players what the plan was. Owyn convinced Emerald to gather some things and create a distraction with her handmaidens. Then, they used a group teleport to take the Queen and the rest of the party (4 party members, the NPC Kismet, and the Queen making up the upper limit of the Teleport spell's capacity) to the lower deck of their airship.

So they kidnapped the queen. I decided the queen (who had a pretty sheltered existence until that point) was pretty excited at first to be going on a trip.. but since this happens very late at night, she soon falls asleep (taking the best cabin in the ship, naturally, which happened to be Vork's).

The rest of the group got together and argued about where to go:

options were:
* Winter's Edge (to the north, where Owyn's fabled grampy was rumored to be.)
* The Starrior Tombs (the key to solving the intermittent Wraith problem and getting the Elan Cabal off of Ganex and Kismet's back lay somewhere within.
This was agreed upon as "too dangerous of a place to drag the queen".
* Back to Roan? Nobody liked this option.
* Landimond Island (suggested by Vork). Landimond was an extremely remote island (it had the status of "mythical" before they found it, and the players held most of the maps). It was the home to an exiled Marid noble, and also where Vork's mom had been kept in virtual slavery as the Marid's housekeeper. The party now held the Codex Perilous - Asrafel's book (see session #40), and that book held the contract that would allow the Padishah to leave the plane where he had been exiled.

They agreed upon Landimond.  

So they now did the SOP dungeoneer thing: they set up a watch. One party member spellcaster had to pilot the ship, and another was set on watch.

More on this later. I have a meeting to go to at work!
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Abyssal Maw

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Actual Play - Kidnappers, Killers, Liberators #42
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2007, 08:14:27 PM »
Ok, I'm back.

Now this is the one thing I had planned.

The recurrent villian is still Vincent Defabro. He still needs Emerald to be dead, in order to fulfill the prophecy. He still has Guinevere, Vork's girlfriend.

Ok, here's an obscure fact about Vincent: Back when he was a PC (belonged to the same player as now plays Bernard), he crafted all of Vork's magic items, including a special bow called Heartseeker.  

Make that, Vork's secretly cursed and scrying-enabled bow. Ok, now secretly this here part is a bit questionable, but I think it went off extremely well.

So theyre on the airship, and the queen is asleep, along with Vork, Ganex, Kismet. Bernard is piloting. Owyn is on watch. Since Vork's cabin was taken over, (by the queen, who if you recall barely survived being attacked by a whisper-demon possessed Vork just a few hours earlier) he sleeps in the sick-bay area. (Bernard also shares that one cabin).  

I had Owyn and Bernard make a listen check, and Vork make a 'move silent' check. (Bernard's Listen was at a huge negative, because he was asleep).

him: "But I'm asleep."

me: "well.... make it anyhow"

So he makes his check, and I gave Owyn a chance to hear him from above. Owyn failed.

The deal is, I decide to have Vork sleepwalk*. The player doesn't realize this right away.

"You are standing on a vast metal plain. All around you is darkness. In the distance there is a throne, and before the throne, a small wooden bed. Suddenly, you are standing directly in front of the throne. The wraith queen sits imperiously there, just as she did the night you disturbed her chamber at the Starrior tombs. She glares at you. Standing just to her side is Vincent, looking as he did in life. Every step makes your legs feel heavy, as if you were wearing heavy magnetic boots."

"What is she doing here?"

"She's my sponsor", Vincent answers.

I also described how Vork was in full adventuring regalia, including carrying his weapons, except his sword. My main point is, he was carrying his bow.

Although he doesn't realize it yet, his sword is actually the metal plain upon which he stands. The sword is his transmogrified father. The reason his legs feel heavy is because the item is trying to wake him up or help him resist the dream-invasion. I gave him a will save at this point. He passed it.

"You realize you are dreaming. Do you want to wake up?"

"I'll talk to Vincent for a while."

Ok. So I think he's hooked. I had Vincent kinda taunt him a little, but then suddenly show remorse, and say "my body is deteriorating.. I will not last very much longer on this plane once my final plans get underway. I'd like to give you the opportunity to kill me."

"I'm not going to kill you." says Vork.

"No, really. Are you afraid to? This could solve everything. I've made a terrible mess of things. .."

Then Vincent gets into the bed at the foot of the throne. "You could slay me with your bow. It wouldn't take much. I'll just lay down here and die.. Kill me now and I'll die the real death. They may even make you consort to Guinevere. You could do so much for Karelon.. You were always the purest of us all..."

Me (as the GM): "you'd get an automatic coup de Grace on him if you shot him at this point."

Vork (to me as the GM): I'm not going to kill him. I try and leave the dream.

He gets a will save, and he beats it. So Vork wakes up.

I tell him he's woken up standing in front of his own bunk, in front of the sleeping queen. The cursed bow is in his hands. He even has an arrow in his other hand. Had he shot Dream-Vincent, he would have killed the sleeping queen.

Vork drops the bow (which wakes the queen), and then he runs out to tell the other party members. He demands  (IC, roleplayingwise) to be locked up, to have his weaponry taken away, perhaps to be abandoned at the first opportunity. (heh heh).

And thats how you run a dream sequence. :)

Ok, next up:

Return to the fabled isle of Landimond. This AP has hardly begun.

* -- I explained this dream-invasion bit away later as the dark powers/presence of the cursed bow, the fact that Vincent hit him with a dominate person several sessions earlier, and also the power of the Wraith Queen.
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Abyssal Maw

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Actual Play - Kidnappers, Killers, Liberators #42
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2007, 08:39:48 PM »
The entire party is roused. Bernard takes the ship down and dives it as a submersible into the ocean they have been flying over so he can take part in the meeting.

Ganex first scans the area with a psionic power that detects scrying sensors. It was at this point that they discover the tiny scrying eye located in Vork's bow. I thought this part was clever on the part of the players.

Ganex: "I tell Owyn loudly: "there's nothing here..." then I contact him telepathically and say "the scrying sensor is located in the bow.."

They continued the rest of the conversation telepathically, interspersed with speaking misleading information out loud about changing their plans.

Meanwhile, what to do about the bow?
"We could nullify it somehow.. get rid of it, sell it?"

"It needs an exorcism."

They discuss their options, including maybe having some high level clerics look at it, including a high priestess of Areyl that they made friends with back in Roan.

Then they wrap it up and stow it in one of the cargo-chambers of the airship. Ganex has a spare +1 Longbow that he loans Vork.

At this point we plotted the movement part of the adventure on the regional map:

basically, at top speed in the air, Bernard and then Ganex would have to take turns, but if they both got full sleep/rest (enough to replenish spells and power points), it would take 18 hours. There would also be two wandering monster checks, but flying over ocean, there's not much danger (there's a couple of flying menaces in the area, but nothing that moves as fast as the Intrepid).

One of the wandering monsters turned up: it was a Sea Drake (Fiend Folio). (This was rolled randomly off of one of my encounter area tables). They noticed it as they flew over, and it reared out of the ocean to look at them as they passed. They didn't bother to fly lower to talk to it or fight, but Bernard marked it's position on the player map. Dragon's are all NPCs in this campaign, and knowing which dragon is where is always a good thing.

By this time, everyone in the party has had a chance to rest and replenish spells, and Ganex is powering the airship with his power points. I had the queen be kind of obnoxious, having lived a sheltered life, she complains about the food, the accomodations, she asks when they'll be returning. She's kinda whiny. I also had Kismet threaten to "pop her in the mouth", which got Ganex involved in seperating them. When Owyn was nice to her, I had her complain about the filthy rat she saw on board (Owyn's familiar Rummage, who normally stays on board the ship). He took it good naturedly, though.

They were headed to Landimond Isle, which had this sort of fabled status. The players already owned most of the maps that showed the location, and it required a fairly good 'Profession Sailor' check to actually find. Otherwise they'd have to spend extra hours roaming the area (wasting spell levels and power points) until they succeeded on the check.

Bernard had Profession: Sailor +7 or so, and managed to hit the DC 18 check on his first try.

Ok, so adventure on Landimond Island, next post.
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David R

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Actual Play - Kidnappers, Killers, Liberators #42
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2007, 08:40:41 PM »
I like the way you run your games. I've already stolen a couple of ideas :D

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Abyssal Maw

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Actual Play - Kidnappers, Killers, Liberators #42
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2007, 08:24:04 AM »
Ok, so there's more.

They reached Landimond island.

A bit of context:

This was their second visit actually. On the original Landimond quest, Vincent was still a member of the party. He was swallowed by a megaladon shark, and "left for dead" (actually he had done so many evil acts at that point that the player voluntarily retired the character with the hopes that he could become a recurrent villian. I'd say I've fulfilled that second part.)

Ok, Landimond. It is a fabled island of exile, used by a group of planar law enforcers called the Far-Walkers. There is a series of coral grottos near the south side of the island that are inhabited by a tribe of Merfolk.

There is also a Marid (genie) and a dragon on the island, which have their own story.

The Padishah Mumeelah was a marid noble involved in the interplanar slave-trade. At some point in the hazy past, he was contracted by Asrafel to commit acts of mischief and mayhem (including slave-raids) on the prime material plane. When he was later captured by the Farwalkers, they imprisoned him on Landimond sealed by his own contract. In order to keep him safe, they also sealed the island itself with an impenetrable barrier of elemental water (and a few bound elder water elementals).
In the more recent hazy past, Vork's parents wrecked their own ship- a sailing vessel called the Intrepid-- off the coast of this island. So Vork's parents were captured, and his mother got made into the Marid's housekeeper. The father was turned into a gardener, but was eventually polymorphed into a magic sword after he tried to escape.

During the "Christmas Episode" session of this campaign, Vork received a gift from his mother, which actually turns out to be his father-in-sword-form. OOC, that was really Vork's player taking the Item-Familiar feat, generating an intelligent item and we came up with that story together. "Vork's mom convinces the Marid to send the sword as a gift".

Ok, so on the last visit to Landimond, the Marid refused to give up Vork's mom unless they broght him a suitable replacement, or better yet, a wife. He had taken several concubines from the merfolk, but for some reason longed for a human consort.

The players plan in December had been to kidnap one of their old enemies- a female knight (mentioned a few posts back) of Kurgh called Lady Kizra and trade her to the genie. But they had been too busy to look for her. We all agree that would have been funny if they had pulled it off, though.

The dragon Zarmuid was brought over as a pet by the Marid, but eventually it outgrew being a wyrmling. The type of dragon was a topaz dragon, which is the kind of gem dragon associated with the elemental plane of water. So it had taken over the far side of the island, and would visit every once in a while. In all truth, it was just an extra encounter when I first conceived it, but all dragons are NPCs, so this was sort of an inquisitive young adult who had not left the island much. He was not bound by the terms of Asrafel's contract, and could escape as he wished, but had difficulty avoiding the elemental wall. In any case, he too longed to return to the elemental plane of water. He's a friend of the genie, but not too close of a friend.

Getting past the elemental wall:
If you were friendly with the merfolk, they would show you a tunnel which started deep underwater, and emerged on the island. The players had gone to great troubles to make friends witht he merfolk in the last visit, so they were already on first name basis with a few of the merfolk.

The players had a craft that was cabapable of submersible travel, and they also had water-breathing (Owyn, group spell) and body adaption (the two psions). In a pinch, they could pony up for a potion.

Ok, so they reached Landimond for the second time in their careers.
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Abyssal Maw

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Actual Play - Kidnappers, Killers, Liberators #42
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2007, 08:53:06 AM »
They reached Landimond, anchored the ship. They agreed upon the plan.

The queen would stay aboard the ship and be overseen by Rummage (Owyn's familiar) and Kismet's psi-crystal (which would also enable telepathic communication back to Rummage and Queen Emerald).

The players were still mindful of the divination cast by Bernard two sessions ago: "The queen will be dead within three days". (I'll post a sidebar to this AP about how I plotted myself into a corner over that, and then how I plotted a way out. At this point, I was still thinking that since I had failed to kill her with Whisper Demons and a sleepwalking PC, I might have to have the merfolk kill her. Which wouldn't make sense, but thankfully, I thought of a way out later. Explained later.)

They made contact with the merfolk, who are curious. The queen was delighted by them, as she had lived a very sheltered life, and soon was up on the top deck trying to make friends with some of the mer.

Meanwhile the players were down below plotting out what to do.

Vork was in favor of killing the Marid outright, as was Bernard. (Both Owyn and Ganex wanted to somehow get a wish granted. They had the Codex Perilous at this point, and could find the contract that would release the genie. (Owyn had found the page experimentally a few times when he was messing around with the book).

They did agree to somehow do both. ("let's get the wish and THEN kill him." haha. D&D players.)

Vork's mom had to be rescued somehow, and they were mindful of hostage scenarios. Owyn had a resilient sphere memorized- he figured he'd drop it over the housekeeper whenever a battle started, and that would keep her safe. They were also aware that the genie had very high magical resistance (SR 27, actually) and was water-aligned. So they were going loaded up with lesser orbs of fire. Lesser orbs (being conjurations) aren't affected by SR. On the original quest there were some water-element creatures guarding the palace as well, that Ganex had used a psionic charm on.

So that was the plan. Kinda.

(what actually happened on the next post)
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Actual Play - Kidnappers, Killers, Liberators #42
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2007, 09:47:48 AM »
Owyn cast water-breathing and they all entered the water. There they met with the merfolk, and explained they had business with the Padishah. They also explained some pleasantries and basic information exchange about goings on in the ocean. They learned that the Padishah had recently grown paranoid, and had taken to having huge coral formations mined out and brought to his palace.

"The oceans have grown darker. There's something happening under the water.."

They are referring to the undersea temple of Zumaloken, of course. Although the merfolk don't know exactly what it is, they can feel something is wrong. The Padishah can as well.  The coral thing is an update to the encounter. The players had gained around 4 levels since they last visited the Padishah, and I wanted to put in some new encounters: the water-element creatures were replaced by coral-golems (from Stormwrack). I decided that the marid had somehow created 4 golems. Two were his constant bodyguards. The other two remained on the far side of the island where the dragon was.

So there was a brief exchange with the merfolk (who were also curious about the beautiful girl they had brought with them.) Comedy bit:
(Kismet blushes) "why thank you.."
Merfolk (indicates Kismet) "no, not you. We speak of the one on the ship." (haha)

After this, they moved through the sea-cave to the grotto, and out to the island.

There they met the Padishah (already aware of their presence, since he had scrying sensors all over the island) and his two coral golems.

The players looked at each other. They had not expected golems.

"Welcome, welcome.. and you have brought my wife? She is marvelous! Well, a bit on the scrawny side.." and then I had him pinch Kismet appraisingly.

See, Kismet, had not been on that original adventure.

The plan changed. They decided to play along, (despite Kismet's objections, but she's an NPC) for a bit.  "why yes.. we have brought you a unique specimen. But now we must discuss terms. Shall we go to your palace..?"

Owyn was hoping to get rid of the golems somehow.

As they walked up the hill towards the palace, they talked some more about goings on (with the undersea temple, with their encounter with the Shedu Hamuran (of the farwalkers), and Owyn hinted that he might have a lead onto getting his exile revoked. The padishah was fully taken in by this.

When they reached the palace gates, I was describing the Padishah stopping to open them when Owyn said "ok, when his back is turned, I'll attack.."

Are you sure? Yes. He wanted to cast scorching ray. The idea being, he'd get a sneak attack since he was multiclassed as both a wizard and a rogue. Double damage with a Scorching Ray is fairly brutal...But he's have to beat spell resistance.

The way I ruled it was Owyn would have to make a move silent or bluff to start the spell, and the genie would get a listen or 'sense motive'. Otherwise he didn't get to act in the surprise round.

In this case, the genie beat Owyn's move silent, but he still lost initiative. So he was still flat-footed.

Marid: "Wha? What's the meaning of this?"

Owyn: Sneak attack! Zot Zot Zot! he beat spell resistance, and then reduced the genie down from max to 4 hit points.

The genie used his action to transform to gaseous form. I thought I had a chance to regroup him, get the other two golems and the dragon together.. maybe pull of that hostage situation.

Then we do initiative. and then the rest of the group jumps into the battle.  

Kismet (now under the control of Ganex as a henchman) uses dispel magic, and beats spell resistance. She then beat the genie on a spellcaster check.  Gaseous form was cancelled. The genie was helpless.

Bernard slammed into him for 12 damage (reducing him to -8). The genie was out of the battle.

The golems attacked.

This part was kind of tough- I won't go round by round here: the golems got full attacks off on Bernard and Vork, (who were tanking for the spellcasters)- they  hit pretty hard, had 4 attacks each and a stunning effect. Ganex fired three disintegrations into one of the golems and reduced it to rubble, and managed to eventually damage the 2nd one with his last disintegrate. Owyn was launching all of those orbs he had memorized for the genie onto that second one.

During the battle, miraculously- the genie stabilized at -9.

Vork got hit the hardest in this battle, but wasn't really in much danger.

In the end they healed the genie back to 1 hit point, and woke him back up.

"We'll spare your life in exchange for a wish. Serve us honestly, and we'll help you get out of this exile..."

the Marid begrudgingly accepted their terms with the caveat that if they killed him, then the wish would be forfeit, perhaps even reverse itself.

The players had agreed that the wish would be a stat booster for Owyn for some reason. After it was given, Owyn released his contract, which Mumeelah tore to pieces with glee.

"Do what you want with this island.." he laughed. "I'm going home at last..."

And with that, the genie plane-shifted out. He had returned to the Elemental Plane of Water. I'm not sure if he'll be returning at any point, but I may use him in a future campaign. I really liked playing him, and was glad to see he didn't get killed.

There's a bit more of this session: The players explored the grounds of the palace which was shown to in disrepair. They liberated several merfolk concubines and raided the genie's treasure room (which contained several thousand silver, a nice hoard of platinum, gems, polished coral and a Staff of Divination). Ganex used some of his dimension door powers to transport the merfolk back to the ocean.

The elemental wall surrpounding the island failed, and the elder water elementals dispersed back into the ocean.

At the end, the dragon appeared, but not hostile. They spoke to it and exchanged information about other dragons they had seen in the area (giving the locations of Magg Maul and the sea drake from earlier, as well as the rumored location of an ancient red called Firefall, who lived in a volcano far to the north of Karelon).

At the end they returned to the ship where the queen had made friends with several merfolk. She had tried playing chess with Rummage (Owyn's dire rat familiar) but we decided that Rummage was far too smart for the queen and simply beat her constantly.

Stay tuned for the sidebar:
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Abyssal Maw

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Actual Play - Kidnappers, Killers, Liberators #42
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2007, 09:53:28 AM »
The sidebar:

"How I plotted myself into a corner"

Two sessions ago, when they were trying to convince Emerald of the danger, they had Bernard use the flame of Zunail to cast a divination.

"The queen will be dead within three days"

Since that time I had failed in my two main plots to have the queen killed. The Whisper demons failed, and the sleepwalking Vork failed.

As the session closed, we were entering that third day.

Here's what I decided: The players don't know this yet.

As the players teleported out, a third Whisper demon attacked. It killed all the remaining guards, and slew the two handmaidens who were in the room.

It then used magic to make one of the dead handmaidens look like the queen, thus fulfilling it's contract. It will now go back and report that the queen is dead, and indeed, when archcleric Parete returns with the King and the elite guards, they will find a fake Emerald dead. The lead suspects in the murder being the player character party.

When the players return they will discover a kingdom in mourning...

However: complications: Vincent (who until recently had a scrying eye on the players) knows this not to be true.
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Actual Play - Kidnappers, Killers, Liberators #42
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2007, 12:36:54 AM »
Slick way to handle the trouble with a divination. If you'd found a way to kill the queen despite the player's best actions to prevent it they might have rebelled. ;)
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Abyssal Maw

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Actual Play - Kidnappers, Killers, Liberators #42
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2007, 08:37:40 AM »
Quote from: Spike
Slick way to handle the trouble with a divination. If you'd found a way to kill the queen despite the player's best actions to prevent it they might have rebelled. ;)

My other option is to kill one of two other queens in the game. There's the wraith queen, and then there's the other Karelonian Queen (it's a quadrite throne, so two kings and two queens).

But yeah, I definitely agree they deserve to have a chance at stopping any wickedness I create! As long as we have that established bit of fairness, I can get away with a lot.

When they return and hear the queen is dead, I think I'm going to have to chase them around with the Karelonian navy and a few hired adventurers.
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