Monday, August 16, 2010

D&D Log: Session 11

Alright everyone, we once again return to D&D after a two week break in our gaming, however today’s adventure wasn’t as noteworthy as others. Not because we didn’t play long, but rather because nothing particularly major happened, and a heavy dose of the campaign was taken up by a single combat encounter (a weakness of 4E). Well, no point in waiting, let’s get into it.

So we started our adventure where we left off. Our group was bloodied, beaten, broken—but victorious. However our victory wasn’t a solid one. While it was true that we now had the Word of Morgana, we didn’t know how to use it, or what would happen. We decided to wait to open the tome until we had escaped the Black Swamp, so we returned to the room where we fought the shades, and were faced with two alternate exits. One from a locked door, and the other being a set of portcullises blocking a staircase. Half of our group, the Strong Group (Viktor, Darstine, and there to split the team evenly Garrett) stayed to try to force open the portcullis while Vane, Juliet, and Grae investigated the alternate path. The path twisted around before coming to a stop at a cliff above a room full of stalagmites and the croaking of frogs. As our nature person I was quick to ask “are these happy frogs or ‘I’m going to fucking eat you’ frogs” and rolled a high enough Nature check to find out they were likely the latter. Grae decided to test how far the cliff went down by lowering a rope to see when it would hit the bottom, but botched whatever roll he was making and the rope was ripped from his hands by something below. Well, that was all I needed to say “fuck it” and we headed back.

Back with our Strong Team, I’m once again amused at how Viktor can do the most epic things when it comes time for combat, and yet somehow every single time we need someone to muscle something open he comes through with an absolutely pathetic roll. “Hey Viktor, care to cleave the head off this dragon?” “Sure thing fellas!” *Chop* “Hey Viktor, can you open this pickle jar?” *Struggles* “Might I try breaking it with axe instead?” Point is, Viktor blows at strength checks, and today was no different. The conditions changed about four times, and each time Viktor still whiffed it. Again, guy just killed an elven lord by cleaving his head clean off, but a simply display of strength and he botches. AGAIN.

So once again a single doorway blocks our party’s progress more than any army could, but together we are strong! With all our might we heaved and pulled and managed to lift the portcullis! Two feet. And the second one was still unmoved. Fuck. Vane was tired of this, and decided instead that he would test out his new Ring of Ram. Juliet wisely moved out of the way as Vane tapped into the device’s unchecked power. A massive ram’s head filled the sky as Joe, the party around him, and the portcullises, were bashed by the fierce power of the ram. The gates were mashed against the ceiling and the party blasted upwards by Vane’s new ring. Snazzy, but dangerous. Anyway, so after the group peeled themselves off the ceiling, we moved forward only to find a stone wall blocking our path; an apparent dead end, though I was quick to remind the party that while they did that in LOST, they wouldn’t do that here. Yes, another LOST reference, but the people watching better man up and accept that I’m going to make every LOST reference I can. Every donkey wheel, every smoke monster, and every stick of dynamite is a chance for me to make a new reference! Wah~haha!

Anyway we found a secret door that led us back to the courtyard, and from there we headed back towards the hills north of the Black Swamp. Here we decided to open the Word of Morgana, but a quick Arcana check by Vane revealed that the book laid a curse on whoever tried to open the book without being the owner (i.e. Morgana). However we remembered that Darstine actually opened the book back during our battle with the Lich, and that now she was likely cursed. Fun times! We managed to gather the nerve to open the book and have Garrett read it, with his first interest being the curse on the book’s cover. Basically the curse reads that whoever opens the book without being the owner is now tied to the book both mentally and physically. Every piece of damage that happens to the book happens to the user, and if anything should be removed from the book it will have an adverse effect on the user. We caught just a glimpse of this when Garrett held the book and Darstine felt ill. It appears this book will be tied closely to our Rogue from hence on. An interesting development.

Garrett investigated further, and found amidst the poetry and stories a section on curses with the same spell that held King Donovan. With a bit of reading we found out the curse could be reversed by simply changing the words in the incantation, however Vane realized in particular that if we messed up that incantation that the results would be disastrous for the caster and the group in large. In addition we know that the way the spell works is that by using it we will essentially use the spell like a scroll. This means one chance to get it right, and even then the spell disappears which will likely harm Darstine. Sucks, but furthermore we don’t know which word to change. Vane has an idea, but he’s not sure as he doesn’t know the old elvish language the book is written in. We want confirmation, and the only person we can think who might be willing to help us is Morwaytha, the cleric of Melora that Juliet encountered outside of Ihestas. She was an elf, and she also warned us about the High Elves, so her allegiance to the Witch Queen is not in question. In addition we helped enact justice on those that killed her fellow Rangers of the Silver Leaf, so she might be willing to help, or at the very least, would be willing to show us who might, so our goal is to now head south past Vundel (a stronghold city ruled by an insane Duke) and over the plains until we can reach the forest of Ihestas.

However right after passing Vundel we ran into an encounter where spiders leapt from the trees to attack us, followed up shortly by a group of Mycinoids. I think that was the name, but I can’t be sure, so I’m calling them mushroom people. Anyway, for sentient mushroom these fuckers hit hard. In the first round of combat Juliet was buffeted for 33 damage. Viktor was crit I believe three separate times in the encounter, and Lord Vane found himself surrounded for most of the battle. And yet who went down? Freaking Garrett. You know I barely remember him being hit, but this now marks the third time he gone down in battle. If Spoony were keeping up with his “if you go under 0 HP then bad shit happens to you” rule he had after we fought the Scorpion Queen, then Garrett would have a nice collection of war wounds at this point. We won the battle, but being honest, it was not an easy battle. Once again our group finds themselves battered and ravaged with themselves still not all that closer to saving the King. Still, with luck Morwaytha is on our side and will assist us in understanding the ritual. Getting into Sarmanath? I’ve got a plan for that. Figuring out how to reverse engineer a powerful demi-god’s curse into a cure spell that only has one shot to succeed and that with a failure would likely kill all of the parties involves? Yeah, we’ll need a little help.

If you read, leave some comments below. What do you guys think we should do?


  1. Getting Darstine de-cursed would seem like a good idea to keep in mind. Even if you figure out how to cast the spell properly i think separating Darstine's soul from the book would untie your hands somewhat, cause as you guys said, you can't afford to be captured anymore. You might want to de-curse Grae while you're at it, cause his hilarious botches are not normal :D .

  2. Well one thing I certainly hope Lordkat does is post the recording on his site with the pre-game angry joe mustaches rage intact because that was some funny Sh*t right there XD.

  3. Perhaps this might seem like a stupid idea, but why not just have Garrett copy down the spells from the book in another book or a piece of parchment in common? So that not only will you have a carbon copy to experiment with to see which words need changing, but you also now have it archived so that when that spell disappears, you have a permanent copy of it. Also, what happens when a spell disappears and you write over it?

  4. I agree, copy that spell someplace else. Even if it still disappears then you'll have a non-cursed working copy that you can make a few copies from in case the elves try this again.

  5. I was thinking if the ritual in the Word of Morgana is like any other ritual, by the rules of the game you can just study it for 8 hours to master it and you should be fine. But maybe because it's in ancient elvish it won't work like that. If you guys don't get murdered by mushroom people on the way, I think you should try using that ritual to free the king, it probably won't hurt Darstine THAT bad :P

  6. Just heads up; if you had back to Sarmanath, even if you DO have evidence of your innocence, I think the advisor seemed to rather like being regent of the kingdom and would find your arguments....less than persuasive. To be blunt, I think he's most likely power-hungry and corrupt and willing do anything to maintain power over the kingdom. Maybe it's so obvious a trope that Spoony would choose not to use it, but his actions when you were imprisoned seemed to imply his interest in the kingdom was not purely altruistic. I'm just recommending that you stay on your guard.

  7. @Comrade Oh I agree. Trust me, my plan to get into Sarmanath is built primarily around getting around Talbot. I don't trust him in the slightest, so I've got a plan that doesn't involve him at all.

    In regards to the spell copying, I'll suggest that, but it seems like a relatively simple soluiton to a complex problem. Too simple to be precise. I figure there will likely be something stopping us from using the spell.

    Either way, we can't just "test" the spell out to find the word to change. Spoony made it quite clear that toying with magic at this level is not very intelligent. Just testing each world will result in the caster (either Vane, Garrett, or possibly Juliet) being destroyed, which is not something we're going to want.

  8. Spell Copying won't work because the Character that tries to copy it has to be at least the same level as the ritual. Also to remove a curse there is the remove afflicition ritual at level 8 which is a Heal check but unfortunately you take a penalty equal to the level of the effect and a result of 0 or less means instant death. Theoretically you can then revive that party member and the affliction will still be gone but I doubt Spoony will allow that.
    So basically you will need to find a high level cleric or a strong elven mage, I would suggest that you do a history check or something to find out where the strongest priests of the country are, if that doesn't work out you can still go to the priest you met before but maybe you could save some time.
    The other option would be to find an elven mage, beat him unconcious, torture him and forcee him to help you.

    Anyways I watched the session and think you (meaning the entire party not you in particular) really should try to become more fluent in the game terminology, maybe print out a page or two of the most common rules you need and have it next to you when you play. This may sound condescending but it's really important because you can really destroy some of the classes if you get some things wrong such as Grae(Jason) running to get a clear shot (allies don't grant cover to enemies) or Viktor (I think) not getting an opportunity attack because he cannot make a standard action (opportunity attacks are opportunity actions, also not every attack is a standard action) and they are extremely important for a fighter (see Combat Agility/Superiority class feature).
    My group had the following pages from the Players Handbook copied onto two A4-size pages when we started with 4e and it really helped:
    -p. 273 Seeing and Targeting (the part about Line of Sight and Line of Effect
    -p. 277 Condition descriptions
    -p. 280/281 Concealment and Cover
    -p. 285 Flanking
    -p. 289 Actions in Combat

    Also something that everybody should read through carefully is the "How to Read a Power" section (p. 54-59), most notably the Hit part of a power is what occurs only if you hit, the Miss part only if you miss and the Effect part will always occur regardless of hit or miss. Also the parts of the power occur in the order that they are in the description so there might be an effect that takes place before the attack.
    This is important to understand if you want to correctly judge the worth of your powers, your Faerie Fire for example is a decent enough power but you need to hit for the full effect. You could also retrain to Earth Roots or Fog of Insects which have an effect that will probably last the entire encounter or one of the summoning powers which all have pretty decent instinctive effects (meaning if you don't spend an action to control them they will still attack enemies which pretty much gives you two attacks per round).

    All right enough of lawyers and loopholes, I really enjoy your sessions, you have a really good group chemistry going on and spoony is a good DM,
    cheers UmmonTL

  9. As you said, this session wasn't as epic or exciting, but honestly, it was still interesting to watch if only because you guys are really getting into some thick stuff you have to figure a way out of.

    I have no idea what you guys should do, and sometimes it almost seems like there's too many people thinking about what to do ;) (Too make cooks in the kitchen so to speak), but I'm very curious to see if and how this all works out.