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 Post subject: Scions of Punjar Play Summary w/terrain pix
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:50 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
This thread will be an encounter-by-encounter report on my Scions of Punjar (4e) game complete with photos of my paper terrain and minis.

Preamble: Three of the original party (The Elven Paladin Bloodsworn, Goblin Rogue Trapsmith, and the Satyr Skald Explorer) who previously went through the Sellswords of Punjar and then The Scepter Tower of Spellguard were recruited into the Punjar chapter of the Forsite Irregulars (first featured in The Crypt of Col Fen, followed by The Isle of the Sea Drake). The recruiters were a female Eladrin Mage fallen Noble, and a Half-Elf Fire Elementalist. The try-out mission was a scaled up one-shot: Prey for Smiley Bob - which went well enough - even though the Elementalist kinda burned the old, abandoned watermill to the ground...

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[I may end up posting the pictures for that adventure over at WotC someday...]

But, that's the end of the preamble. The next post will start The Scions of Punjar....


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 Post subject: SPOILERS AHEAD
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:52 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
SPOILERS for The Scions of Punjar ahead!

EVEN THE PICTURES CONTAIN SPOILERS.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.


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 Post subject: Introduction and Encounter #1: Oscar's Pawn Shop
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:12 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
Charles Forsite has a mission for his Irregulars in Punjar - Elam Dev'shir has hired them (through the every illusive Charley) to discover why an amulet buried with one of his ancestors in the family mausoleum was for sale at a local pawn shop. Elam has supplied a drawing of the amulet, the name of the pawn shop, and a key to the family crypt. This little mystery that is just right for the Forsite Irregulars.

Encounter 1: Oscar's Pawn Shop

After properly supplying and visiting their favorite craftsmen in Punjar to pick up their equipment, they headed directly to Oscar's Pawn Shop (which was on the way to the Crypt anyway...)

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This ended up being an entirely social encounter, with most of the party trying to find a way to break Oscar's gruff demeanor to get the information they wanted.

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In the end, a bit of charming and a bit of gold got him to give up the name of the bandit that sold him the amulet: Latimer a 1/2-Orc that is too fond of drink, and too proud to give up playing cards - even though he always loses in the end. Oscar told them that Latimer should be at his favorite Famished Frogmouth tonight - and that it wouldn't be open till evening...

The party left with some liquor, but no other loot - nor did they fight. The paladin also learned that his bloodsworn enemy had been in the shop in the last week.

It was before midday when they left the shop - headed to the City of the Dead to see what they could learn from the scene of the crime.

---- BUILD NOTES ---
Walls & Floor: World Works Games Terraclips: The Buildings of Malifaux
Cabinets: WWG The Feisty Friar: Inn Props
Tables: Arid Hills Productions Propz: Dungeon Features

NOTE: The build photos also shows things in the back room, such as crates and beds and furniture from various sources. Since the party never encountered these rooms, I'm leaving the details out here.


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 Post subject: Encounter Area 3: The Dev'shire Family Tomb
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:22 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
When entering the City of the Dead at the outskirts of Punjar, the party tested the loyalty of the guards - could they be bribed into allowing a band of thieves into the crypts during the daylight hours? It seemed unlikely, as the attempt was rebuffed. Fortunately, the party produced the key to the mausoleum they were going to visit, and so were let through...

The Dev'shir family tomb is built into a hillside, with just the front wall exposed...

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The rogue stopped and read the inscription over the doorway, but stumbled over the pronunciation of one word - so the rune-trap sprung, spraying lighting over the party members at reduced damage. The key was insufficient to open the door - a spell had been placed to keep it closed. Fortunately, the rogue knows what's shes' doing and the door was soon open...

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And soon they were inside, investigating the main large chamber...

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Of particular interest was the giant family tree painted and etched into bricks on the north wall.

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Detailed exploration of the mural (it had been altered!) and the altar were inevitable.

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Unfortunately, they set off a chain of events releasing waves of undead from the east and west wings of the mausoleum.
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And they fought until they were destroyed.

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The east and west crypts were devoid of bodies and treasure - and the undead didn't seem to be the missing bodies. Also, red-mud was found in each chapel, presumably coming from the boots of the bandits.

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The trunk of the family tree was actually a wizard-locked door - again thief made short work of that...

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...revealing a tomb that was damaged (some rubble and one broken chapel gate), but not completely looted. No red-mud, the only tracks were those of a woman? elf?

As they explored, a tormented ghost appeared - constantly replaying her horrible death by burning in a fire complete with screaming. The ghost hurled rocks at the party, shouting "Bandits!"

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The Bard approached the apparition, unarmed to look into the chapel and at the broken bricks at the feet of the spirit - she let him.

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He recognized them as fragments from the altered mural in the main chamber. He also noticed a body had been misplaced in the chapel - which he fixed. And then backed out of the north wing along with the party to use the tools in the alter to repair her portion of the defaced mural. They then returned to the north tomb to find that the horrid replay had stopped and that the spirit was beginning to fade. She gave the party important information about the Dev'shir family (3 kids, not just Elam, as originally presented) and about her death (was it murder?) by fire at the family stables. She then faded completely returned to the Shadowfell, "Thank you."

Clearly the story was much deeper than just some stupid bandits stealing loot. Where were the bodies of the ancestors and why were they taken? Who placed all the magical traps and locks? Why was the north wing spared the banditry? Why was the mural altered? Where was the remaining missing brick? Who smashed the brick at the sprit's feet and why was her body moved? Why did the Dev'shirs keep the mere existence of Elam's sisters secret? Did it have something to do with the spirit's story?

This was getting much more complicated than a simple robbery, and they needed more information. Fortunately there's still at least five hours before they had to be at the Famished Frogemoth, so they were going to visit some of the places mentioned in the ghosts tale before heading to The Devil's Thumb.

[End of Session 1]


---- BUILD NOTES ---
Walls & Floor: World Works Games Terraclips: Buildings of Malifaux and Terraclips: Streets of Malifaux
Tapestry: Home built, featuring The family tree of Louis III of Württemberg
Fountain: Arid Hills Productions Propz: Dungeon Features
Altar: Fold-and-Go Singles: Altar by Rite Publishing
Coffins: Gothic Coffins by Papercraft Dungeon
Graveyard Dressings: Propz: Graveyards by Arid Hills Productions
Zone Markers: Battle Packs:Battle Basics by World Works Games
Swamp Map: Ancient Worlds by Lord Zse Zse Works


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 Post subject: Improvised Encounter: Dev'shir Family Stables
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:06 am 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
My group has embraced the "whodunnit?" nature of this module whole-hog and so wants to visit all the locations mentioned by interviewees - if time allows. Of course, the module doesn't fill in the details for each Punjar location mentioned. No matter! I'm and an experienced DM and have a deep collection of paper buildings and tiles...

As per the Scions of Punjar and Punjar: The Tarnish Jewel - the Dev'shir family has been in equestrian husbandry for generations. And, since the ghost indicated that she died in a fire at the family stables - known to be north of town - the party chose to go there to find out more about the accident. This encounter is not included in the module, but seemed completely reasonable to me. Turns out I'd built a livery before, so it was easy to pull that out here...

The first one into the ranch was the Goblin Rogue - who snuck into the stables to have a look around inside. Ultimately she discovered evidence that the fire was set - not accidental after all.
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The Paladin and the Mage spoke with the head breeder and his assistant - posing as potential buyers...

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They weren't able to get much information from those to - at least initially. At least the mage got to ride a wonderful horse around the grounds.

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The Elementalist fumbled his parley with the farmwife (posing as Elam's friends) - but the Skald, after charming the master's unruly horse, was got to her by mentioning the names of Elam's sisters. She falls to her knees in tears - but they all finally start talking...

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The rancher was the one who recovered the eldest daughter's body after helping to put out the fire - he didn't find any other bodies at the time. The assistant recalled perhaps seeing a dark figure skulking around the stable an hour before the fire.

Next up - some questions for the Dev'shirs. Their estate is between here and the Devil's thumb, so head off to pay the family a visit...


--- BUILD NOTES ---
Smithy, Stable and Well: Dragonshire: Blacksmith & Stables by Fat Dragon Games
House: FREE Hovel by Fantasy Cutouts


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 Post subject: Improvised Encounter: Dev'shir Estate
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:44 am 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
DM's Note: I was able to gather more information about the Dev'shir Estate "Windgate" from Punjar: The Tarnished Jewel.. which was handy given that the Irregulars wanted to go there on the way to Devil's Thumb.

Charlie's Agents were full of questions, now it looked like the eldest daughter of Dev'shir may have been murdered. "I think Elam may be behind this..." at least one of them muttered under their breath. They are still trying to figure out how the horrible death - as recounted by the ghost and mostly confirmed by the stable-master's wife - is tied in with the tomb robbery...

They arrive at "Windgate" in the High Court of Punjar in the late afternoon. It is surrounded by a fully-staffed guard-wall - and inside the wall around the house itself is a moat.

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The guards initially refuse to grant them access until they name that they are the Forsite Irregulars. "Master Elam said to expect you. Follow me..." and they are lead to the entry hall where Elam quickly comes down and rapidly leads them to a quiet corner of the house... He wants to keep that he hired the group a secret from his parents until they've found the thieves and can get in their good graces for handling this "himself"*.)

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There was much discussion, in which the party learns many things from Elam*: He was away at school when the accident happened. It killed both his sisters and made his parents treat him differently, being tougher on him, now that he was the heir. (The party learned that he is known as "Elam the Lesser" - a mark of derision among the nobles of Punjar.) They also learned that he last heard his sister's names about two years ago when a messenger arrived - and his parents argued about something (including his sisters names) and then left abruptly for over a month - but not before a "You're the man of the house now Elam - live up to our name!" speech. Elam's last words are "Come back when you have something concrete - the name and location (or even the head) of the criminal who has so desecrated our family tomb!"

On the way to the Famished Frogemoth, the party mused about the differences between the stories they'd heard: How many sisters died in the fire? Elam said one died trying to save the other, whereas the stablemaster's and ghost's stories could not confirm the younger sister's death - though all the stories lead to that conclusion, since no one had seen her since before the fire. Also, why were the Dev'shirs hiding the very existence of both daughters? And were is the second sisters' family-tree brick? Where are the ancestors' bodies and why were they taken? And - the original question - who looted the tomb and why?

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--- Build Notes ---
Windgate (Dev'shir estate) tiles: Castle Grimstead and Dungeon Tiles Master Set: The Wilderness from Wizards of the Coast
Guard Figures: Watch Guard by Paizo

* - I depart from the official story narrative here. If you read the module, you'll probably see why. PM me if you are interested in my notes...


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 Post subject: Encounter Area 2: The Famished Froghemoth
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:30 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
So - I spent an hour composing this post and fumble-fingered and closed the window. Now I can't recover that posting and don't feel motivated to do all the commentary and links to the products in the build. I'm going to post the :30 second commentary and some pictures. I don't even know if anyone reading this really cares anyway.

Quick Summary: The party goes to the Famished Froghemoth to meet Latimer in the Devil's Thumb region of Punjar, finds out that he is wanted by the Slayers (assassin's guild - the only thing the thieve's guild fears). The party convinces him of the danger and, after a bribe, he gives up everything but the location of the lair. If they promise to protect him, he will lead them to the lair. [Continued in the next post.]

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[We really, really need BBS software to be improved. In the modern world, my most recent draft post would always be auto-stored for me...]


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 Post subject: Re: Scions of Punjar Play Summary w/terrain pix
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:16 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
Encounter Area 2 (continued): The Streets of Devil's Thumb

Here's the image I used for the Slayer's Tatoos - initially recognized by the goblin rogue:
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Latimer dashes out the kitchen door in the back of the Famished Froghemoth with the party trying to keep up. The elementalist, who snuck out when the Slayer's exited the inn earlier, saw which direction they went.

Unfortunately, that was exactly the direction that Latimer was running. Despite best efforts, the party was unable to slow Latimer down. He was going to lead them to the lair, pick up his loot, and blow town
as quickly as possible...

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As they turned down a the street that lead to the ferry docs, they found that a cart had blocked their exit - it was a trap.

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Suddenly, the Tiefling Slayer (obviously the leader) appeared from behind a building stepped between Latimer and party, hand up, armed shouting "This one is for the Slayers. Do not interfere. We want him for questioning. Leave now."
Though they couldn't see the other slayers, the party was sure they were holed up with cover and poison crossbows.

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The rogue indicated to the group that she'd rather not cross the Slayers, and they had most of the information they needed from Latimer already. [This put my players in a major quandry.] The mage quickly cast Suggestion said "Latimer - tell us where the lair is and we'll protect you the best we can!" - so he gave up the location, but no other details. "Help me!"

The Paladin walked up to the Slayer and said "He's yours, but if you kill him, I WILL find you and avenge his death." The response: "He will not be killed by the Slayers - on my word."
So the party retreated without Latimer.

DM's notes: This session consisted of four (4) social encounters in a row that had no combat! And they were loving it.
This group burns through content like crazy - who said 4e was slow? :-)

The next session, at the Iron Mines in Blood Canyon will see more of this trend. By the end of 4 hours of play in the mines, they will have completed or bypassed encounters 4-1 through 4-10. More comments as I post those encounters.

They're all about investigating the mysteries in this wonderful adventure.

---- BUILD NOTES ----
Map: A section of Cobblestone Streets Map by Dave Graffam Models
Cart: E-Z-TERRAIN: Overland Adventures by Fat Dragon Games
Buildings:


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 Post subject: Re: Scions of Punjar Play Summary w/terrain pix
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:16 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
Encounter Area 4: The Abandoned Iron Mines of Blood Canyon

The party arrived early the next morning at Blood Canyon...

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... with instructions how to find the entrance to the Crimson Hand's Hideout near this great tree in the abandoned Iron Mines.

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The rogue's keen senses detected the platform with the bandits in the tree before they would attack...

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...and the party quickly pretended to be a performing troop, lead by the skald. "We're here for the birthday performance."
"Who sent you?" "Haledon. Said we should get right in there." - "The twins are probably going to be totally surprised - too bad we're on guard duty."

Quick as you please, they're in the entrance and headed down the dark corridor...

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[Total encounter time: 5-10 minutes. What can I say? They've got some mad perception and social skills...]


--- BUILD NOTES ---
Maps/Walls/Floors:Trees:Canyon Walls:Rocks and Mounds:


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 Post subject: Encounter 4-2&3 The Blood Canyon Iron Mines Entrance
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:21 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
Having waltzed into the mine, passed the guards outside without them even setting off the alarm, the party arrived at a t-intercection.

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The well-worn path goes to the right, and the path to the left is dusty and unused. The rogue investigates the ground closely before proceeding and the party all search the walls.
Sure enough, someone rolls a 26 perception and finds the broom hidden on a high wall shelf and they conclude that it was used to hide the real path they should take
- they start to sneak down the left, "dusty" path.

Two of them head down the hall to the right for a few squares, just to get a look at the dead-end. They see rubble and a pile of canvas 20' away, but decide to double back instead of investigating further and triggering the trap by stepping into the next square!

So much for those nasty crossbows. [And so there are no pictures, because, nothing happened!]

[Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 3, Encounters Engaged: 0]

As they sneek down the hallway, they hear Orcs milling about.

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Just as they realize that the Paladin's armor just isn't cut out for sneaking around, they burst into the room. Since there is no other exit, they start singing "Happy Birthday!" and place the party-food on the table.

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The Orcs stop the singing - and there's a bit of parlay about "The twins birthday party" and the Orcs seem unhappy they weren't invited or notified. "Go tell them - " and one of the orcs goes to the far wall and starts to open a secret door.

The party ambushes them, trying to prevent that orc from leaving and alarming the rest of the dungeon...

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After much fire and clever tactics, the Orcs are defeated without raising the alarm (which will mess with my NEXT trap...)

They hood their lights and pass through the trap door...

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[Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 4, Encounters engaged: 1]


--- BUILD NOTES ---
Maps/Walls/Floors:Tables, Chairs, Bedrolls:Fire, Zone Markers:


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 Post subject: Encounter 4-4 & 5 Crimson Hand Hideout Secret Entrance
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:14 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
After defeating the Orcs in the outer mine, the party steps through the secret door into a dark passage, sloping upwards with an old railway laid into the floor...
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[What would have happened here, if the alarm had gone up will become apparent...]

The theif decides to sneak up to the end of the tracks and have a look around.... And sure enough there's a mine cart loaded with very sharp pointy metal spikes!

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Again - the paladin's armor draws the attention of one of the bandits, who moves into the hall with his torch to have a look around, almost tripping on the theif. The other bandit starts quickly loading alchemists fire into the cart...
The thief backstabs the torchbarer in the foot for gahdawful damage. The illusionist thinks quickly and creates the Orc Leader from the previous encounter behind him shouting "What are you doing to the bomb-expert! Leave her alone!"

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This distracts him long enough for the thief to roll under the minecart "I can fix it real good!" and she spends the next round disabling the wheels. "Done!"
You know what happens next - the fire elementalist moves close enough to ignite the significant amount of alchemists fire that is in the cart, just as the theif rolls away from the blast!

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The explosion is enough to finish off the first bandit, but the second bandit, now very-bloodied escapes through a(nother) secret door (right behind where the illusion-orc was)...

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The mage give chase (double move) to cut off the runner, and burns an action point to Magic Missile, killing him and preventing yet another alarm.

So, instead of a big fight with the bulk of the bandits in the next room (The Mess Hall) they have a short rest...

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Finally - there is a (non-secret) door out of here - and since they've found the kitchen, the bandits can not be much further...

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[Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 6, Encounters engaged: 2]

--- BUILD NOTES ---
Maps/Walls/Floors:Mine Cart/Tracks/Spikes:Campfire, Tables, Chairs:Fire, Zone Markers:


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 Post subject: Encounter 4-6,7,8,9,10 Crimson Hand Lair
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:56 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
The door leads to the old rough-hewn iron mine caves...
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Since no alarms have been raised, stealth is still the approach of choice - the rogue leading and the paladin trailing.

The group walked right by the secret entrance to 4-6 without looking. Didn't really need to go there, so -

[Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 7, Encounters engaged: 2]

During the last inter-adventure down-time, the Bard commissioned the creation of a house ruled magic item: Basically a short range microphone and speaker pair. The rogue carries the microphone around a cave bend and places it near encounter 4-7.

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Via speaker - they overhear Finn and Fenn talking while the other bandits in the room are resting. Unfortunately, the thief flubs the stealth roll, and draws the attention of Fenn.
Some quick disguise smooth talking, an amazing roll by the bard, and the next thing you know they've avoided combat once again and they've got a general direction to Haledon's room.
[Don't worry, before they leave the area the thief fetches the microphone...)

[Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 8, Encounters engaged: 2]

Since they never raised the suspicion of Finn & Fenn, they never alerted the other barracks room [4-8] (which has a closed door) - so guess what? No picture and:

[Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 9, Encounters engaged: 2]

They head the opposite direction across the mines to the two rooms 4-9 and 4-10 which are uninhabited.

Oddly, the party splits: The thief picks the lock on Latimer's door and enters with the paladin, the mages enter the chapel, and the bard keeps watch.

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While the paladin searches the room for clues the theif loots the chest (avoiding a trap) and notices the large basket. She says "I take the top off, and jump in!" - "Yikes! Snaaake!" - She takes a bite and hops right back out, slamming the cover back on. "Ooh. That's Latimer's pet. I didn't mean to hurt it!"

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[Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 11, Encounters/Traps engaged: 2]

The Mages explore the chapel and discover, though fully equipped, it has been abandoned for several days. It looks as if the cleric left suddenly and unexpectedly.

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The party gathers to investigate and find a secret door in the back of the room...

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Thief: "This door is a trap! It closes behind you and locks"
Party: After much dithering they say "Hmm. Let's go see what's through this secret door!"
DM: "OK. You've all gone through the door, and it closes and locks behind you."
Party: "Doh! I guess we go forward..."

[Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 11, Encounters/Traps engaged: 3]

[Finally, there will be fighting..]

--- BUILD NOTES ---
Maps/Walls/Floors:Furniture:


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 Post subject: Encounter 4-11: The Hidden Shrine
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:18 am 
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Having avoiding almost a dozen traps, alarms, and other encounters - unexpectedly and without any time pressure our group walks into a dark secret passage, even knowing the hidden doorway will close behind them...

They take the dark, musty staircase down into the earth to emerge at the door - which leads into a hidden shrine:

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[The fire elementalist has a new hand-painted figure! The purple stand is a joke his friends played on him...]

It's a pretty gruesome place - torture devices and blood everywhere...And some Wights!

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Right away the rogue leaps onto the cage in the center of the shrine...

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[Fairly long detailed combat ensues and mostly redacted here for brevity. A few more detail shots...]

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After the heroes took down the wights, the key to the secret door was recovered before everything in the chamber was destroyed by fire - a demand of the Paladin.

[Though the Rogue did sneak out with a nasty knife]

[Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 11, Encounters/Traps engaged: 4]


--- BUILD NOTES ---


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 Post subject: Re: Scions of Punjar Play Summary w/terrain pix
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:15 am 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
After destroying the secret blood shrine, our heros head back out into the mines to find Haledon. They're sure that thy are in the right end of the chambers, but don't see another door.
The search a cave blocked by wreckage and find the door hidden back there..

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Being very, very quiet the listen and hear someone inside, and the theif picks the lock, and slowly peeks inside

[Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 12, Encounters/Traps engaged: 4]

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Haledon is at his desk, unaware of them. The thief tries to skitter under his bed, but fumbles the roll (finally!) and the rest of the party charges in!

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Haledon was surprised, but quick to react and hits the Paladin hard.

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But the party smacks him back once before declaring "Haledon - we've eliminated your agents, so you don't want to mess with us - the Witch isn't worth this. Give her to us and you can leave."
After garunteeing him a 4 hour lead he hands over the letter, explains that he meets her at the Old Windmill to the south of town and shows them the secret exit in the back of his room...


The party leaves via that exit, telling Haledon he's got 4 hours to clear out before the Punjar Constibles will be coming for the Crimson Hand. [Again, no treasure - such is the cost/benefit tradeoff of the story bypass.]

Final report for the Iron Mines/Crimson Hand sub-quest: [Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 12, Encounters/Traps engaged: 5] Completed in 6 hours play-time.

Upon exiting Blood Canyon the Irregulars call Charlie and breif him on the situation. He instructs them to head back over to Windgate and give an update to Lady Dev'shir (who has become aware of their contract with Elam.)

Once there, they learn that Elam's version of the death of Dugesia is not the same story his mother has to tell (though, her story aligns in several minor points with her son's.) She instructs them to head out to the mill to find out capture or kill the witch, and to find out what she did with the Dev'shir ancestors.

{NOTE: I have plot notes for those who want to run this adventure - I'll only post them here if explicitly requested to do so, of I can send them in PM if you like...}

We are now up-to-date and my players won't meet again for at least 7 days, so the next update will take awhile...

--- BUILD NOTES ---
Maps/Walls/Floors:Furniture:


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 Post subject: Encounter 5(a/b) & 6-1: Latimer's Fate and Windmill Exterior
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:56 am 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
[The Paladin's personal quest is heating up this session, and it is intertwined with this story for the next few posts...]

Fresh in the morning, the party resupplied and headed out to the Windmill where they hope to challenge Cadavra and find out why she's been stealing corpses, and what - if anything - it has to do with the Dev'shir family.

Along the way, they encounter three dead bodies...
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... the freshly slain bodies of they Slayers that had taken Latimer from them two nights before. This distresses the rogue: "Not good. Slayers revenge their own. We should leave, quickly."
They were killed by one man, deftly skilled in two-armed combat - with a signature kill-move that the Paladin recognized as that of his bloodsworn enemy!
The party tracks two sets of footprints (Latimer & the enemy) leaving the scene and continuing in the direction of the Windmill - they hasten their step to try to catch up.

They do catch up to another dead body... Latimer's - but he is being pecked to the bone by a raven swarm:
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The ravens do a lot of damage (aura 1) plus nasty screeching, while taking little from the group - at least initially...
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Eventually the mage and the elementalist lock it down - but not before one Raven escapes, flying away as fast as possible...
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"Can you stop the bird?" "My magic missile only wounded it - Now, she'll know we are coming..."

The mill appears in the distance, and at the end of a road that leads up the hill...

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The raven is resting on a vane, cawing down at them...
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The party advances toward the windmill cautiously - creeped out by the scarecrows glowing eyes and heads, which turn to follow them as they move.
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But the Elementalist steps up to one of them to examine it - triggering COMBAT!
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They are minions, and pop easily but leave clouds of poison behind, making the field difficult to navigate. All the while, magic missiles are raining down from the 3rd floor window.

The Paladin rushes the building and pounds it with the hilt of his sword, shouting the name of his nemesis - and the large hay bales burst as two large harvest golems emerge and attack, one from each side!
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The unseen attacker drops a Fireball on the group and hits almost everyone for massive damage, dropping the goblin rogue
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She's quickly restored, but the Paladin has to hold off the two golems and ends up down next:
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It's a tough fight, especially with a sniper (who, after the Raven flys into the window) stops firing two rounds before it's over..
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After the fighting (and a short rest) the party examines the doors and finds them both locked, and presumably trapped - so the thief decides to clime the wind vanes and climb in through the third story window, eventually helping her party to do the same...

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[continued later]

Oh yeah - this is the signature encounter for the module!
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--- BUILD NOTES ---
Maps/Tiles:Windmill:Props:Fire, Zone Markers:Special Figures:


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 Post subject: Sneek Peek at Finale....
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:09 pm 
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We had our finale Wednesday night, and I'm gathering all the pictures so I can make final posts here over the weekend. Until then, there is a sneak peek over at WWG forums because of a kitbash I did in building a 3D Windgate Manor...

http://www.worldworksgames.com/forum/vi ... 19&t=12103


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 Post subject: Encounters 6-2 thru 6: Inside the Windmill
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:10 am 
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(Again, the party begins avoiding challenges based on the assumption they'd go in through one of the sets of doors on the main floor.)

After climbing in through the third floor window...

[Windmill Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 2 (ground floor doors), Encounters engaged: 1 (scarecrow fight)]

Though Cadavra was launching spells from this chamber, she is no longer here, and the only things in the upper chamber (encounter 6-4) is a chair and a trap door leading down.

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They check the door for traps and find out that there was one that would have gone off if they'd opened the door from below. Disarmed.

[Windmill Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 3, Encounters engaged: 1]

Down they go,
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The only interesting thing in this room was at the top of the ladder up, with the (now disarmbed) glyph at the top.

They peek below to see what's happening in the chamber with the trapped outside doors...

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Trooooolllllllll!

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The zombie/troll is standing next to a leaver and an open shaft with elevator platform lowered one level (shown as pre-printed trapdoor). The other door is stairs leading down to the basement.

{Photos missing} The theif drops into the chamber stealthfully, distracts the troll getting him to chase around the gears while she sneaks over and throws the leaver, starting the windvanes spinning... Generating a lot of noise.

Some party members sneak down while the troll keeps chasing the theif in a circle around the gears. Evenutally, the goblin theif makes a Bull Rush against the Troll, who is next to the open elevator shaft - and hits! And the troll does not make it's hindering terrain save!

This drops the troll down into the basement.

Then, the Paladin jumps down onto the trolls shoulders (totally avoiding yet another encounter area - so I put away the giant spiders...)

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[Windmill Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 4, Encounters engaged: 1]

Soon the entire party is in there fighting away (can you say Elite Brute?)...

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Cadavra is casting spells through spy-holes in a small "closet" size room she's prepared for this fight.

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The paladin takes a huge hit and is knocked back into the spinning grist stone. Ouch! The thief disables the windvanes before joining the battle.

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Cadavra shouts out "Who are you?" "Leave me alone!" The Paladin responds that HE is only interested in finding his bloodsworn enemy: Sheik. This confuses everyone. (See the next post for audio explication of this scene...)

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When the troll is defeated, the illusionist declares "We were hired by Elam Dev'shir!" - causing Cadavra to shreek and unleash her chain lightning before escaping out a secret back door.

[Windmill Combat Encounters, Traps, or Alarms avoided/neutralized: 4, Encounters engaged: 2]

[The next post begins the final act of our story and begins with an audio interlude.]

--- BUILD NOTES ---
Basement Walls and Floors:Windmill:Props:


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 Post subject: Tobin's Flashback
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:11 am 
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The player behind the Paladin wanted to change characters - and seemed that the Finale of this adventure (and a prophecy he'd received in The Scepter Tower of Spellgard) would provide the perfect exit for his character.

I believe in a "big exit" for characters, if at all possible (see my post here: http://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/ ... /6881#6881)

There have been signs of his mortal enemy being very close for several sessions. This enemy is the only thing that has (and would) separate him from his duty to the party.

But there was a problem, there were some other players who didn't know much about his character background and this enemy. So I decided to score and build a "flashback", ala "Lost" that would fill in the rational for the actions he was about to take.

This picks up as the previous encounter ends, please scroll up and read about the fight with the Troll and Tobin's strange pronouncement to Cadavra...

Please, enjoy the recording that made up the very first 4 minutes of the Finale session for this campaign: Image Tobin's Flashback (MP3)

When this was played at the session, a small box sat in front of the paladin's player. When the "woosh" sound played, he lifted the box off to reveal this build:

Image

Image

There was not a dry eye in the house.

--- BUILD NOTES ---
Performers/Score/SFX:Graveyard & Niavarra's Headstone:Headstone:


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 Post subject: Encounters 6-7 thru 10: Cadavra's Lair
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:20 pm 
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After a short rest to recover, the Irregulars head through the secret door out of the Grist chamber storage closet into a labyrinth of caves.

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The noise quickly increases as they approach the underground river. They spy Cadavra's raven, which the Skald quickly charms.

It flies over their heads and back into a side chamber - waiting for them to follow.

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The chamber is unoccupied, and is relatively luxurious - and there is a tapestry on the floor depicting three children playing. Two girls and a boy - and a border that matches the Dev'shir crest colors.

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The theif avoids the rug, and the illusionist carefully peeks under it to find a pit trap. They carefully roll-away the rug, then theif attempts to disarm it with a stick, and critical failure: The trap door falls into the pit, triggering the horror waiting there...

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Failed skeleton animations (just parts) - but, trapped at the bottom of the pit with no way to climb out, they are relatively harmless.

After searching the room and discovering Cadavra's diary (and reading it to reveal Cadavra's true identity and backstory they also discovered her plan to use an undead army based on the bodies she had stolen to attack Windgate...) The are able to figure out where some of the undead storage locations are, and start to plan a rescue for Lord and Lady Dev'shir. They loot a bit, and set the pit on fire...

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Again the raven leads them across the river and into the main chamber... [Encounter 6-7 skipped for time and folded into this encounter]

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The undead block line of sight to Cadavra, who starts screaming at them to leave or die. Combat ensues.

The goblin rogue leaps had flips her way behind cadavra while the controllers start to lock down the battlefield.

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Cadavra's minions are whittled away while she remains mostly unharmed. She draws a large card from her robes and points her finger at the Skald "Die!" she screams. And he drops unconsious on the spot (ending all bard effects.)

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Battle continues, with several party memebers taking serious damage from Cadavra's spells, and burning resources to stay alive.

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When Sheik (Tobin's Bloodsworn Nemisis) arrives in a puff of smoke, standing in front of a boat that had just arrived (or was hidden) on the underground river... "Cadavra, give me that card!" - "Ha ha ha ha" was her only response.

Tobin, realizing that he's got no chance against him in normal melee combat, decides to bull rush and succeeds in getting Sheik to fall backward. Forsaking his buddies, Tobin steps onto the boat to press his advantage.

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The boat begins to pull away because of the current - and the battle continues even has they go out of sight.

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Now down two members, the combat gets intense - though her forces are depleted, Cadavra can still unleash a lot of hurt. She teleports to a position behind the bard, ready to perform a coup de grâce!

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The rogue's massive counter-attack prevents Cadavra from finishing-off the Skald - by wounding her sufficiently to provoke her ultimate defense: A Cloak of Shadowform which allowed her to transform into a insubstantial cloud and to fly way, along the underground river, where no one can follow...

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With the immediate threat ended, they revive their ally, wondering where Tobin has gone...

They examine the chamber - clearly where Cadavra was re-animating the dead - and the party takes some time to scour the area (to great effect - there is some amazing loot here.) Ultimately they decide that they need to take the cauldron out with them in order to destroy it.

After about a half hour healing and scouring Cadavra's lair, their talk-box starts squawking: but the sounds are breaking up. Clearly they've got to get out of the caves to hear what's happening.

When they return to the Grist chamber, Charles Forsite's voice is urgent. "Agents! Something sinister is up in the Devil's Thumb... Undead have emerged from inns and houses and wells and all seem to be headed to the Low Court - perhaps Windgate. You need to return immediately!"

"Charley, we're on foot, we couldn't possibly get back in a reasonable amount of time!"

"I've got that covered... What is the highest spot you can get to?"

"The top floor of the Windmill..."

"You have 10 minutes - hurry!"

Image


--- BUILD NOTES ---
MapsProps
Windmill:Zone Markers

[Two updates left!]


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 Post subject: A Brief Respite & Tobin's Epilogue
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:46 am 
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They struggle getting the cauldron up the windmill ladders, as they follow Charlie's instructions to get as high as possible...
They wait at the open window.

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Eventually they here an increasingly intense deep thrum a rapid, chopping beat.

Thwupthwupthwup.... Image

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It's an airship!

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And Bosnan and an unfamiliar armored knight with a lance are on board...

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"Hurry, there is no time to waste, climb on board the 'Cleora's+ Gift!'" +See: The Scepter Tower of Spellgard

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And soon they are on their way back to Punjar, as fast as a Wyvern in heat...

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Once seated, Bosnan offers them each a bean, stating "You're depleted. Eat this in one gulp. Don't waste them they cost more than 1,000 GP each..."

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Each (except the knight) swallows the bean, which restores them (Extended Rest equivalent), but it has a side effect of making them a bit woozy.

"What happened to Tobin?" Bosnan asks, as they fade into a vision: Image Tobin's Epilog/Flashforward (MP3)

This time, the graveyard looks older, grown over...

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After the vision, they make one stop at the docks to pick up some allies and supplies to carry across the water to the Dev'shir estate. These include the Skald's band members (see the after-notes post the house-rule reason a band would come to a fight...)

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As they approach from the water side, it becomes apparent that Windgate is under assult by an undead army!

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Next up - The Final Encounter: Cadavra's Revenge!

--- BUILD NOTES ---
Windmill:Airship:Band Members:
Performers/Score:
Graveyard & Niavarra's Headstone:Headstone:

Windgate build will be detailed in the next post.


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 Post subject: The Final Encounter: Cadavra's Revenge!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:25 pm 
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[Note: The original design for this module ended with the "final stand" in Cadavra's lair - with the option for cleaning up the undead army as a bit of an afterthought - a half page describing the location of each repository of undead. Dramatically, that seemed like a big let-down - another necro-lair and a series of mop-up operations. More importantly, it didn't allow for the closure of the main plot - a murder mystery. Justice was not done for any of the Dev'shir children by the simple slaying Cadavra in her lair.

But this text in the module provided the hook for an exciting option: "If the PCs are relatively undamaged, Cadavra activates shadowform from her cloak, and flees. If she escapes, she hides in the sewers for a few days before plotting to recover the cauldron (if the PCs don't have Illserves tome). Otherwise, she foolishly releases her undead horde ahead of schedule on the Dev’shir estate, and dies seeking her revenge."

That last sentence is how this should end! To heck with waiting days for mop-up. My version would have her release her army ASAP and direct confrontation! This only required one thing - a way for her to get to Punjar quickly before they could prepare defenses. Fortunately, the details on the Cauldron stated that she could raise a Large creature!]

The fully-laden Cleora's Gift approaches Windgate from the water-side.

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You'd think that wall would be safe from attack my undead, but the skeleton's have formed a ladder using their own bodies, and many are already on the keep walls...

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[Meta - scooping undead in front of the gate!]
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At least the gate his holding so far - and some town soldiers have arrived, but they are outnumbered and wont last.
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Elam is fighting along with the family guard...

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BANG, BANG, BOOOOM! Something large breaks down the gates!

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A skeletal dragon! That's how she got here so fast! "We must stop that dragon" shouts the knight with the Lance.. "We've got to set up defenses for the Manor house, fast!" snaps the bard.

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The roof is our first stop!

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Chaos and blood everywhere. The party sets up positions (notice the band members at the corners of the manor house - more on that in another post.) And the bone-dragon attacks, dishing out boku damage!

The fighter throws his lance, to discover that his family heirloom is a dragon-slayer and does extra damage. They might have a chance, if they get moving...


Range attackers stay on the ship while Bosnan navigates...

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The undead rush the Manor through the gate, but don't enter. Instead they block entrance to the house!

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The Dragon continues to chase and attack the ship, which seems to be either lucky or magically protected - only the heroes are in danger at the moment...

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Fortunately, the bard is there with a heal...

Finally! Cadavra appears, and flies (in shadowform) into the house past her undead army.
The Illusionist and the thief quickly enter from the roof, from an attic vent window...

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There are panicked staff, trying to hide everywhere... A maid points in the direction of the other tower.

Meanwhile, outside the party has succeeded in wounding the bone dragon, and many of the undead on the walls have been defeated - though the gate is still a mess.

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A critical blow with the dragon-slayer lance dispatches the abominiation. Elam jumps off the wall and heads into the house via a servant's entrance. The knight and the fire mage get dropped in the back yard, and follow close on Elam's heals.

The illusionist and rogue hear yelling and fighting at the base of the spiral stairs and hurry down...

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Apparently, undead managed to get into the house from the inside! Lord and Lady Devshir are hurt. The illusionist provides cover and urges them to climb the stairs but Cadavra will have none of it - she screams "NO! Come back here" and lets loose chain lightning - severely wounding the Dev'shirs.

The rogue has had enough: "That's it, bitch. Whatever your issues are, killing them won't fix them." - Clearly, she's too mad to save.

The illusionist locks down the undead while the Rogue vaults off an undead to land next to Cadavra - and delivers a stunning blow, reaching deep into her heart.

Elam and the others enter the chamber as Cadavra falls and she says her final words "No. Wait. No!"

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Lord Dev'shir looks satisfied. "Thank you for slaying that witch!"

This seriously tweaks the Illusionist. "That was your DAUGHTER - Lakaisha!"

There is a look of shock and dismay as he walks over to the dead witch and wipes off the white makeup to confirm the identity.

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Elam: "Whaaat? My sister died in the stable fire four years ago!"

Lord Dev'shir: "Shut up Elam, know your place."

[At this point, I asked the party who they wished to support, or did they wish to leave. They were unanimous that they would support Elam...]

Nostalgio: "Elam, this is her diary. It tells her story in her own, twisted words, but in short - your parents lied to you about all of it. They only thing they didn't know is that after they sent her to the asylum, that she faked her death there."

Elam scans the diary, and is face and demeanor change from a foppish aristocrat to that of a Lord of a Noble House...

Elam: "Father. YOU shut up! You've lied to me my entire life. Mother - how could you? You put your personal shame before that of your own children! Look what you've wrought! My sisters, the only ones who truly loved me are dead - and you made me the instrument of hers! Damn you!"

"It was all your doing - both of you! You set us against each other - favored Dugesia, married Lakaisha off to the first noble with money - that scumbag who abused her. And all the while whispering how your son, "Elam the Lesser" would never amount to anything. That ends today! I am Elam the Lesser no more!"

Elam's Father: "Now son..."

Lord Elam Dev'shir: "I said SHUT UP. I'm not listening to you anymore. I now know your secret - be glad that I keep it that way - but you now do what I say! Go to your rooms!"

After they leave - Elam addresses the party "Bosnan, I'm certain that I can count on Charles' and your team's discretion in this matter?" The team agrees.

"You've done the Dev'shir family a great service, more importantly, you've helped me see the damage that corruption has done to our legacy. I intend to do something about that. And as a reward for your service and sensitivity, you may keep any non-family heirlooms you've found. I'll keep the diary - thank you so much for that.

And, Charles tells me you don't have a home-base for your group - I'd like to offer you one of our old warehouses and a small budget to build it out (structually) as you see fit. You are a good group, and for my first act as a noble patron - I want to make it possible for you to help others as well.

Until you have a place, you may park your airship here, at Windgate."

And so ends the Scions of Punjar!


--- BUILD NOTES ---
Structures:Airship:Paper minis:Props:
    . FREE Topiaries! by mproteau
    . Hadur Dev’shir Statue from Hero's Hall by Kev's Lounge
    . Staircase from Propz: Dungeon Features by Arid Hills Productions
    . Flags: Toothpick and cloth impregnated with lots of white glue, by OldSchoolDM

Phew! That was a lot of work. I'm planning on posting my "change notes" with a detail of the tweaks to this excellent module, but need to get some real work done for a few days!

Image

"What do you think, sirs?"


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 Post subject: Scions of Punjar - The Dev'shir Family Notes
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:42 pm 
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Here's my notes about Dev'Shir history, and which characters knew what about the central mystery. This is SPOILER stuff, so you'll have to highlight the text to see it.
I made several changes to more cleanly separate the the disclosure of the plot, and to shift suspicion several times.

I changed some details to connect it to my quest-giver Charles Forsite, and an upcoming adventure (Madness at Gardmore Abbey), changed a bunch of details and dates for various reasons, and merged text from the adventure with notes from the Tarnished Jewel setting.

--- SPOILERS ---

Information about the Dev'shir clan that Charlie may have: The Dev’shir family is one of Punjar’s oldest and most respected noble families. Although, in Punjar, and especially where house Dev’shir is concerned, respect is simply a euphemism for fear. The family maintains an elaborate stone house and extensive manicured grounds in the High Court ward. The estate is called Windgate due to its proximity to the gate leading to the Copse of Dead Jenys, and the distinct whistling sound that issues forth when the coastal winds buffet it. The family prides itself on its loyal servants, thirty-seven strong, and most of which trace several generations of service to the Dev’shirs.

The Dev’shir family fortune is immense, but very little these days remain in liquid funds. The majority is composed of family heirlooms, bulky antiques, or unique curios. The house grounds are cluttered with gaudy items, such as masterwork statues, ancient suits of armor gilded with precious metals, exotic tapestries, and furniture carved from rare woods. The source of the family’s wealth has varied over the generations.

Hadur Elam (Elam the Great) Dev’shir, the founding father who settled in Punjar centuries past, was an avid equestrian, horse breeder, and trader. Dealing in prized steeds generated significant income, allowing the family to build many stables outside of the city to the north. With these profits, the Dev’shirs often dabbled in other ventures, with mixed results. These disparate endeavors included mining operations, foodstuff exportation, and personally funding treasure-hunting expeditions. The discovery of iron deposits to the west of Punjar seventy years ago almost spelled doom for the family. Following massive capital expenses, the deposits were exhausted in less than five years, and the family shifted its attention to less acceptable trades to fund its affluent upkeep.

These illicit dealings included slavery, occasional smuggling, and the purchase of numerous buildings in the Salt Market Road area of the Old City. These dilapidated structures were rented out to poor and desperate folk, and soon became host to all manner of shady dealings. Rumors persist that the Dev’shir are allied with the Thieves Guild, but this has never been proven. About ten years ago, the family “acquired” a salt processing plant in Wharf Town. The family turned quite a profit by processing salted fish and other meats and exporting them to distant markets.
Many speculate that costs are kept low by buying bulk quantities of bycatch fish, and falsely labeling them as more desirable fare. Some even whisper that the salt processing plant is a convenient place to do away with troublesome enemies of the family.

Elam Dev'shir III (known popularly as Elam the Lesser - a sore point) recruited the Forsite Irregulars via Bosnan for a steep price - he wanted to be the one that brings the despoilers of his family mausoleum to justice - to prove his worth to his parents and the gentry at large." A big accomplishment to make up for years of parental disappointment.

Elam is the son of Lord Abir, and Lady Noura Dev'shir. They also had two daughters - Dugesia (the eldest) and Lakaisha (the youngest). As far as anyone knows, they are both dead and Elam is the only remaining heir to the family fortune, but his parents are disappointed in him as he seems to mismanage his allowance and be more concerned with appearances than putting his affairs in order. If you didn't previously know they had daughters, you'd think he was an only child.

Here's what each family member knows about the sisters.
Act I: Elam's Truth:


Elam - "Four years ago I was was away at private school during the accident." "My sisters both died in the fire at family stables, managed by Dar Gramath - just outside of town.". If pressed, he can recall hearing his parents go on about Lakaisha on occasion months after the funeral. "One day in particular - I remember one day about two years ago - a footman delivered a letter and there was weeping and sobs that included both of my sister's names. The reason I remember so well is - that night I got quite a talking-to about growing up and living up to Elam the Great's legacy. Then father abruptly left that night on a month-long trip to who knows where!"

Lord Abir - A distant and judgmental father. Very disappointed in Elam. Though he knows everything Noura does, he refuses to discuss his children with strangers. Period. If pressed, he will order the house guard to escort the party from the premises. "And don't be harassing Lady Noura with your nonsense!"

Lady Noura - She fanned the flames of discord between her children by showering her first Dugesia with excessive gifts and praise. Her heart was broken after the fire. Since then she's been bitter and short with everyone.

"My lovely girls both died in the fire." -a lie. "I loved all my children equally!" - self delusion. "Lakaisha was trying to save her sister when a beam fell upon her, trapping her to watch her sister burn before she befell the same fate." - a lie. Though she does begrudgingly love Elam - her last surviving child.


Act II - The The Parent's Secret (The Second Truth):


Lady Noura - Since the story has horrible social consequences if it were ever leaked, only something special will get her to admit that Lakaisha wasn't killed in the fire - some evidence or compelling argument. But before she tells the tale, she will extract a blood oath to never reveal the story to anyone other than Charles Forsite AND WILL SEND ELAM OUT OF THE ROOM BEFORE REVEALING since she feels that Elam mustn't learn the truth:

"I lied about Lakaisha dying in the fire. Though, I assure you, she is quite dead. I lied because it's easier than admitting what happened."

"Lakaisha loved her sister very deeply, and was heart-broken when she died such a horrible death. Most of the story I told about the fire was true - she was prevented from rescuing her sister in the fire by a collapse - and she watched Dugesia burn. That sight drove her mad, and we had to send my littlest baby away - forever. Madness is intolerable in our circles - so we concocted the story that she died with her sister in the fire."

"We sent her to Asherton Asylum in Gardmore [more two weeks by fast horseback] - far enough that no one would ever find out."

"The fire was more than four years ago. About two years ago we got the news that she died while there - her madness drove her to suicide. Abir personally confirmed her death and she was buried near the asylum."

"If the word ever gets out that suicidal melancholia runs in our blood, it will ruin Elam's chances for ever continuing the Dev'shir family line! I'm sure you can see why Elam mustn't ever know!"

Act III - Lakaisha's Truth:

Lakaisha was a brooding, bitter child, the recipient of second-hand goods, and merely adequate teachers, at best. Over the years, her mistreatment wore on her fragile psyche, and she developed dark aspirations to one day assume control of the family. Her affinity for magic could have been her passage to greatness in the family, but instead it was ignored, while Dugesia was tutored in the magical arts. Lady Dev’shir believed the only asset her youngest daughter possessed was as a commodity to be married off to another noble family.

About 10 years ago, it became obvious to Lakaisha that with Dugesia in line for the mantle of the family, Lakaisha would never amount to much more than an afterthought. The final straw was an arranged marriage to an arrogant, boorish minor noble. This caused the already unstable Lakaisha to slip further into the grip of mental illness, and she developed a seething hatred for her mother, and a destructive jealousy of her sister. Driven by rage and envy, Lakaisha arranged an unfortunate incident for her sister.

Dugesia was ambushed by Lakaisha, and subdued her with a minor spell while tending her favorite steed at one of the family stables located outside of Punjar. Lakaisha barred the door, and torched the barn, with only her cackling laughter audible over the eager flames as a witness. After years of plotting, the deed was finally done. However, Lady Dev’shir suspected foul play and tricked Lakaisha into confessing the deed to her parents, at first looking for approval, and then mocking her sibling in a jealous, insane rage. Her judgment clouded, Lakaisha flew into a murderous rage, and attempted to snuff out the lives of her parents. However, she was outnumbered, and of somewhat frail stature, and was easily overpowered.

The Dev’shir family needed to save face, or lose tremendous status among the noble circles of Punjar. They concocted a story that Lakaisha too perished in the unfortunate blaze. But what to do with an unstable, powerhungry daughter? The family could not turn her over to the authorities; this would result in a considerable loss of influence among the nobles. They were not barbaric enough to take matters in their own hands, either. So in the end, and after a hefty bribe, Lakaisha was sent to the distant asylum at Gardmore Abbey, and cursed to spend her remaining days sheltered from the world of the sane. After a few years, her new “home” pushed her deeper and deeper into the throes of insanity, as her frail body continued to weaken under the strain of her failed aspirations of greatness.

A necromancer named Agilis often combed the asylum for suitable subjects, and with no questions asked (and suitable transfer of funds), often assisted the staff by removing particularly hostile inhabitants. Typically, these subjects were used for experimental purposes, or simply used to create undead servants. However, Agilis became quite smitten with the frail Lakaisha, and recognized her potential for the arcane arts, specifically necromantic studies. He arranged her freedom (although the cost was great, due to the circumstances of her tenure), and nursed Lakaisha backed to sanity and physical shape. He took her on as an apprentice and lover, and taught her the arts of necromancy.

Meanwhile, the Dev’shir’s were informed of their daughter’s self-inflicted death. With Agilis providing illusions of Lakaisha’s unmoving body, the family believed that dreadful chapter of their history had finally drawn to a close. How wrong they would be.

For two years, Lakaisha tapped her inner strength, and became a formidable necromancer in her own right. She renamed herself Cadavra, and altered her appearance by dying her short, spiky tresses bone-white and growing them out into a wild mane. Meanwhile, she experienced a renewed hatred for her family that festered like a dirty wound. Soon, Agilis grew aware of her lust for revenge, and saw the dark creature he helped create. But it was too late, and Cadavra used her feminine wiles to lure the necromancer to his doom. She assumed control of his modest tower, but more importantly, the wealth of knowledge and power in the form of books and magic items. One of these magic items included an ebony cauldron capable of spawning undead under the control of whoever’s blood was spilled during the animation ritual. Lakaisha became obsessed with the cauldron, and envisioned a tool that could be used to exact her revenge on her family.

--- END ---

Hope you find that useful! In short - consider separating Elam from the conspiracy - it worked great for us.


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 Post subject: Final Battle Monster and NPC stats...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
Assault on Windgate: Rather than mop-up the skeletons, I went big.

First, I gave Cadavra a heavy - since the cauldron could raise large creatures, I modified the Monster Vault's Dracolich (12th level Solo) to be 10th level elite - here's the spec:
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To manage all the soldiers, house watch, servants, band members (all under player control) and the rest of the undead - I gave them each a simple signature move and made them all two-hit minions: in short, first hit bloodies, second kills. Easy to manage 50 units with bloody markers placed under the stands.

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I'm very happy with a mod I made for my bard to give him something special to do in large combats: His band members act as "repeaters" for his bard songs:
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Last up are the NPC stat cards I made for the family members
ImageImageImage

These were placed under player control, but only when they were visible to the players (so Abir and Noura didn't do much but run in this version...)


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 Post subject: That's it!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:07 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Posts: 71
That's it! Barring an amazing surprise image, I won't be posting any more updates or mods to this thread.

It's safe to post any feedback here now! (Oddly, people have commented on this thread on other forums, but not here.)


"What do you think, sirs?"

Image

Good, bad, ugly, questions, or complaints. Anything but silence. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: That's it!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:46 pm
Posts: 2310
Location: Left Coast, USA
oldschooldm wrote:
"What do you think, sirs?"

Image

Very good try, boobie, but Frank and I have a little something cooked up over here for you that I think you're really going to-- Frank. ...Frank... Frank! Excuse me a minute...

/Dr. Forrester mode

Um, It looks like a helluva game, as run. But I'm not sure what to say exactly. Sure, I'd love to sit at your table and play with all those wonderful toys -- but will you be happy with pure and extreme admiration?

_________________
Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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