Monday, December 2, 2013

DM's Log: Blackstone Campaign - Group 2. Underwater!

  Blackstone 2 needs a lot of sessions - after the long Giants/Pack arc of Blackstone 1 Blackstone 2 is '2 years behind' in the game universe!
  The main party is low level (average of 3rd) and is a pretty tight group:
  My son J. plays a 2/3 Illusionist/Thief Gnome named... Steve.
  My son A. plays a Half-elf 2/2 Fighter/magic-user named Drake
  My son S. plays a Half-elf 2/3 fighter/Thief named Sir Neun Hammerfist
  My son N. plays a Human 3rd level Fighter specialized in the falchion named Tellon
  My wife plays a Human 4th level Cleric named Marigold
  The party has taken up residence in an old, formerly abandoned, lighthouse which has some rooms Wizard Locked and with a broken light. They have an NPC maid, Matilda, who is an amnesiac they found washed up on the beach, lashed to some ship timbers. The lighthouse and the tiny island it rests on are the inheritance of Sir Neun, the youngest son of a minor noble.
  This session began with Matilda letting the players know something was washed up on the strand. They found a wounded locathah warrior. Marigold cured him of damage, allowing him to mutter something, but died of the poison still in his veins. Matilda told the party the dead fishman warned of a koalinth warband trying to start a war between the sea elves and teh locathah. In the dead locathah's pouch was a kepl paper map and some potions marked with Gnomish runes.Steve determined that they were Potions of Water Breathing with a 24 hour duration each.
  The map  showed the location of a sea elf village, a locathah village, and a koalinth camp. The sea-elf village was closest so at dawn the next day the party loaded up their small ship and sailed that way, bringing matilda for her newly-discovered abili8ty to speak locathah. Drake and Tellon made their seamanship rolls and there were no encounters on the way.
  Once at the location of the amp they sounded and were surprised the sea was shallow enough for them to drop anchor (if just barely). and began to discuss going into the water. The discussion was interrupted by a ring of sea-elf warriors who surfaced around the ship! After a discussion they all drank one of the potions and dove into the sea.
  They learned that their anchor was resting on a sort of watchtower that overlooked the sea-elf village. they were escorted to an air-filled room where they met the village chief. The chief explained that the daughter of a sea-elf noble was missing after her group was attacked and that locathah weapons were found nearby. The noble was rallying sea-elves for a raid on the nearest locathah settlement to look for his daughter, a move that might start a small war.
  The party showed them the locathah map and the coral spearhead that had killed the locathah, a weapon the chief recognized as koalinth in design. The chief explained that koalinth had been a problem ever sine their underwater city had been assaulted and captured by a kraken. The sea elves had driven the refugees away, but there were obviously some still about. If the sea-elves and locathat were to fight and weaken each other a koalinth war band could thrive in the area for years.
  The chief would send word to the noble to wait on his raid on the locathah but asked the party for help. The map showed the koalinth camp as between their lighthouse and the Great Stones and within 4 leagues of the Bay of Zane - a treaty between the Prince of the Sea-elves, King of the Locathah and the King of Blackstone prevented the sea-elves or locathah from entering that area. Only the party could go. The party agreed. The chief then loaned them 5 hippocampi and promised to keep Matilda safe until their return.
  The party set out with a sea-elf guide as far as the treaty border. I rolled positive for a random encounter, rolled on the chart, and...
  Let me take a break from the narrative.
  I am not a cruel man, nor am I a killer DM. I do, however, tend to let the dice fall where they fall and for numbers to stand.
  Back to the narrative.
  Near the border there was a gout of muck from the seabed and a mottled worm consumed the guide in one swallow. Now, I expected the party to take advantage of the tremendous underwater speed of their loaned mounts and turn this into a 'man, underwater adventures are scary!' encounter.
  I should know better. The party immediately attacked the mottled worm. A long handful of rounds later and the party was cutting Neun out of the worm (successfully). Marigold healed everyone up and they continued - except for the still-wounded guide, who headed for home rather than wait for them at the 'border'.
  As another aside, I was amazed how the party just piled on and killed the creature.
  Before long the party was near the location on the map and the thieves began to scout. They found a small hut of coral within a clump of seaweed. With a little maneuvering they ambushed and killed the guard without raising an alarm and found that the hut was....
  empty.
  Some searching followed and they eventually found the trap door leading down into the seabed. The rest of the party joined them and in they went. The tunnels twisted up and down as much as left and right and they were a bit disoriented. Steve spotted a hidden guard and the party eliminated him, again without raising the alarm. Eventually they found a room where they could barely make out the captive sea elf princess in a cell with guards nearby. Throwing caution to the winds they swam in and just started fighting.
  The koalinths' advantages were reduced in the tight quarters, although the squad leader put up a stiff fight. After a few rounds the koalinth were all down and the princess was saved - and every member of the party was still wounded after all healing was used up..
  The party searched through the tunnels and eventually found a hidden room that was magically full of fresh air - it was a study! Some research revealed that these tunnels were the last remnants of the dungeon beneath the long-destroyed tower of Juthan the Sea mage, a powerful figure from the early days of the Emerald Empire. The scrounged out 2 1st level spells and left.
  They had no more than mounted their hippocampi when they heard the roar of a pride of sea lions! Exhausted, wounded, and effectively out of spells they had to rely on the tremendous speed of their mounts to escape which, luckily, they did. They were grateful for the help of the princess for the mottled worm had killed their guide and they would have been quickly lost without her assistance.
  Once back at the village of the sea elves the party returned the princess, averted war, received a modest reward, and returned home!