D&D 4E Shadowfell Keep: Rats, and other pets

…and that was when the Death Star landed right on top of us. No? I’ll get to the meaning of the mysterious shadow in the screenshot above in a bit.

Chris, the DM, had been cackling quietly to himself in the corner, muttering “kill them… kiiiilllll themmmmm…. KILL THEM AAAALLLLLL!!!!!” for the past couple of weeks. We were thinking he was about to sing a couple verses of “Alice’s Restaurant” or something. We weren’t coming out of Shadowfell Keep until the place was mapped (that being our mission). No popping out for a rest. No coming back to Winterhaven for a shower. Just us, our 10′ poles, and our iron spikes…

OMG. We didn’t have any IRON SPIKES! Back in the old AD&D v1 days, spiking doors shut was just what you did before resting in a dungeon, given no more thought than we would think about switching off a light. Time for bed, spike the door, set a guard, sleep without worry. So, I bought some.

Bryn maps the room.

We set out from Winterhaven for the ruined keep. Not for the first time; every other time, though, we’d end up getting sidetracked into other adventures. The kobold population may take years to recover. The well trod road became an overgrown path. We pushed our way through a wall of brambles that would make Sleeping Beauty homesick to a clearing. The stunted walls of a ruined keep guarded the center. Crude stairs fell into a thick dark. Clawed, humanoid footprints led into the darkness. Very few seemed to lead back out again.

Good thing we have a halfling to show us the way.

Bryn maps the entrance.

Wenner became one with the shadows and crept down the stairs. After the halfling called the all clear, Bryn summoned light on his staff, and the rest of us followed. The light was unnecessary, though, as we came to a room at the bottom of the stairs lit with flickering torches.

The rogue crept a little further in, saw floor to ceiling pillars around the room and corridors leading off to the south, east and west. Just a little farther in to look for more traps — and the floor fell away. Wenner tumbled into the pit. Around him, a swarm of rats chittered and snickered, sharp teeth glinting redly in the uneven torchlight.

Bryn maps the pit.

Wenner, dazed, stood and struck out at the rat swarm. The swarm divided and dodged his blow. Bryn tossed a magic missile into the pit, hitting the rat swarm.

Called by the commotion, a goblin sharpshooter rushed in from the south, followed the magic missile back to its source (“tracer round!”), and fired his crossbow at the wizard. Miss! I tied a rope to a pillar and tossed the other end into the pit. Wenner clambered out. The swarm of rats chittered in frustration.

We had bigger fish goblins to fry, though.

I tie a rope to a pillar and lower it. That uses my standard action, not about to go into heroic efforts to kill rats, so I pass my turn.

Sheeoil sacred flames the rat swarm, misses. Rat swarm divides. Wenner yells MAGIC MISSILE! MAGIC MISSILE! Bryn elbows his way to the pit, EXCUSE ME. Swarm counts as a single entity? Technically yes says the DM. Bryn strikes one with a MAGIC MISSILE!

A goblin sharpshooter comes from the south corridor, takes aim at Bryn…. Bryn’s magic missile was like a tracer round. Sharpshooter hits a crit, he is standing next to me so Armor of Bahamut saves him from a crit. Bryn’s “shield” fires as he gets hit.

Goblin warrior comes up next to the other one. Tosses a javelin at Bryn but his “shield” knocks it off.

Wenner gets hit by the rats, takes a hit and misses, shifts over to the rope and grabs on. I yank him out, run to the goblins and acid breath. Hits the sharpshooter, misses the warrior.

With goblins running away and popping back, we soon were chasing them blindly around the corridors. We let the rats live — mostly because it would be too much work to kill them. They could have… diseases! Or something! And diseases!

We take our lives in our hands just having a halfling in the team!

When everything quiets down, we’ve not explored the entire first level, but we have found some pretty suspicious stairs leading down, and explored a storeroom closed by an exquisitely thick tapestry.

Half of the first level

There’s still blank spaces on the map, though. Wenner and Sheeoil head to one of them, and Bryn and I follow.

Loading, please wait…

We come to an empty hall. The floor shows traffic between the west corridor and the room to the north. The door to the room is closed; behind it, we can hear many voices.

Well, they can just stay there while we explore the rest of the level. I spike the door. It makes a TERRIBLE noise. None of this quietly locking the door and settling in for a nap in the middle of a dungeon. Everything within a huge radius hears the noise. The creatures behind the door are incredibly angry about this.

Something tries to open the door — but _can’t_. I stand in front of the door, ready to catch whatever comes through. Wenner stays hidden to one side of the door; Bryn and Sheeoil to the other. After several fruitless rounds, we hear the creature on the other side back up, get a running start and come crashing through the door.

A goblin warrior looks at me dazedly. I grin. Wenner does all sorts of damage to its unprotected flank and I finish it off with a Bolstering Strike. I’m remembering to use my “at will” powers now. There’s a goblin sharpshooter not far behind him, a couple more warriors and sharpshooters around the room, and a hobgoblin torturer guarding a strapped table.

Quick survey of the group uncovered no hobgoblins, so we felt we were pretty safe from being tortured. Teeth gnashing in frustration, the torturer decided to deal with us the old-fashioned way. With red hot pokers, fresh from the furnace.

Oh, the hot irony...

By keeping a “mark” on the torturer, I kept its attention. Wenner perfected a move where he slides up, plants a knife in the torturer and hops back, staying out of melee range. Sheeoil and Bryn picked off the outliers. The torturer made a mad dash at me, knocking me back and taking my spot (the patented #OccupyTipa movement, you know). I kept my feet and struck back with my shield.

Wenner and Bryn had been banged about by the sharpshooters, but they were still on their feet due to Sheeoil’s sacred flames and everything else was dead.

Due to the splintered door, spiking it shut so we could take a rest was out of the question, and with so much of the map still blank, something was certain to come. We heard whimpering down the west corridor, which proved full of cells, mostly empty, except for one that contained a very frightened hobgoblin.

Bryn maps the cells

We explained that the torturer and his cronies were dead, and happiness came to his twisted face. I used a lay on hands on him and gave him a ration, which he devoured. He hugged each of us, then came around and hugged us again. With his pidgin knowledge of the common tongue, he let us know that he owed us his life and he was ours to command.

Oh good. A pet.

His name is Splug.

Since none of us were eager to get locked into a cell for safety, we elected to just end the night where we were, since we hadn’t used any dailies and we still had a good number of healing surges left between us.

After we got our xp for the night, most of us were just shy of third level. So we went back to the beginning, took that thick drape that once hung in front of a passage, set it on fire and tossed it onto the rat swarm in the pit. 31 xp! DING!

Bryn maps the rat pit

At level 3, characters gain one encounter attack power. Mine will likely be Righteous Smite. Attack CHA vs AC, same benefit as normal melee STR vs AC. If it hits, it does double damage plus my charisma mod (+4), and me and every ally within five squares gets 5+1 temporary hit points. Another benefit to staying pretty close to me!

Also note just how vital playing on a gridded battle map is to fourth edition D&D. In range or out of range — it’s pretty important to know at all times exactly how far creatures are from one another.

This is not always a good thing. It forced Bryn and Wenner to stay pretty close to Sheeoil and I if they want to get all the free heals — and right next to me if they want to take advantage of my feats (both of which aid allies next to me), lay on hands and so on. Bryn would much rather be very, very far from the action, and Wenner wants the freedom to poke about and explore and swoop in for a devastating attack from stealth, none of which is possible if they’re hanging about with me, in melee range of the mobs. Easy targets.

D&D4e: A Dripping Bag of Head

Things that go "BOOM!" in the night

Modern MMOs have the right idea. You collect bits of monster and put them in your backpack and don’t give it a second thought. Store them in a bank, why not? Ten years later, your wolf eyeball or cow tongue is gonna be as fresh as when you looted it.

Wenner was kinda regretting cutting off Irontooth’s head and carrying it back to Winterhaven in a canvas sack. Wasn’t a waterproof sack. Dripdripdripdrip. We tried having Wenner walk in front of us, but that didn’t work. Then behind us.

So we had a dripping bag of head, and a note. I forgot to write about the note last week! Irontooth had a note with him. We weren’t sure the goblin actually knew what the paper was for. Well, what it was MEANT to be for. He eventually seemed to have found a use for it. And then _kept_ it.

Just… ewwww. Okay.

My spy in Winterhaven suggests we keep an eye out for visitors to the area. It probably does not matter; in just a few more days, I’ll completely open the rift. Then Winterhaven’s people will serve as food for all those Lord Orcus sends to do my bidding.

– Kalarel

… read the note. We all decided not to make long term plans to stay in Winterhaven.

Lord Warden Faren Markelhay
Lord Ernest Padraig
Lord Orcus

Among the many people in Winterhaven who were not interested in a dripping bag of head was Lord Padraig. “Yes, yes… I must admit this is a very unique way of delivering the map of the ruins I asked you to scribe.”

“I thought the Lord Warden of Fallcrest had asked us for that map…”, I hissed.

“No, that was me. People do say we look somewhat similar. Personally, I don’t see it. So, map. You DID return having drawn the map?”

“We were supposed to draw a map?” asked Bryn, honestly curious, having slept through that time in the bar when the Lord of Fallcrest Lord Mayor of Winterhaven had come by to wish us well and bid us gone those several nights ago.

Paladins like myself are very much interested in liberation. I had just liberated a fine bolt of cloth and was looking to donate it and inform the merchants of the rich lost treasure left behind in Irontooth’s cave (“There was treasure?” asked Bryn, startled. You play around with sleep spells, Bryn, this is what happens to you.)

Wenner casually donated Irontooth’s head to one of the dogs following us out of the Hall of the Mayor. He kept the bag, though. You don’t get good bags like that very often. The Lord Mayor had suggested that if we really wanted to get in touch with the merchants, we might try the Temple of Commerce. We proceeded there swiftly. The barking and wet tearing sounds blended into the normal hustle and bustle of a city about to be torn apart by the demonic forces of Lord Orcus. (Oops. Spoiler alert, citizens of Winterhaven!)

The Temple of Commerce was made of stone. Very tall. Someone was definitely compensating for something. Inside the grand Seal of Commerce was embossed in the floor. Around it in booths were disinterested officers of Commerce, ignoring the lines of petitioners. A dwarf argued loudly with a well-dressed gnome about some botched paperwork. The gnome couldn’t have looked more bored… we thought. And then the gnome actually managed to look more bored. It is an honor and a privilege to watch a professional at work.

While Bryn, Wenner and Sheeoil went on a search for the Commerce guild master, I excused myself and left on my errand to the Winterhaven Pan Denominational Worship and Community Center. There I donated the fine cloth from the kobold cave and half of my earnings from the adventure, 4 pieces of gold. The rooms for our stay in Winterhaven would take the rest of that money. Net profit: 0. I could sense Bahamut’s joy in my sacrifice. I gained 5 temporary points in Smug.

I returned to our inn and met the others in the common room. Wenner had gone looking for a thieve’s guild while Bryn and Sheeoil had headed to the magic shop to get Shee’s “shiny armor” identified. Turned out to be +1 Dwarven Chain mail with a bunch of minor magics applied to it — and a -1 movement penalty. Welcome to the slow side of the group, Shee.

We settled down for a good night’s sleep in obscenely expensive beds. Purrrrrr. The night’s calm was shattered by a loud BOOM!!! from the distance. Thinking that Lord Orcus has come at last to meet with his twin brothers, I get quickly dressed and armored and rush from the room. Wenner and Sheeoil are ready for bear as well. Bryn is… where IS he?

In bed, that’s where. Bryn has a close relationship with sleep. I toss him into one of his robes and carry him out of the room over my shoulder. “Wha….?” asked Bryn, sleepily.

“Big boom outside town,” I said. “Well,” argued Bryn petulantly, “it’s not booming NOW. Let me go back to bed.” “Sure,” I said, “after we’ve checked it out. But you should put on some undergarments. I didn’t want to presume –”

“Undergarments?” chuckled Bryn. “I’m a true wizard!”

“True wizard?”

“True wizards go commando!”

I privately worried that the boom (probably associated with the column of smoke curling up from well outside the town walls) heralded some sort of invasion. If Winterhaven was destroyed, its inhabitants slaughtered (or worse), who would buy our map when we finally made it?

We left town and soon came to a gigantic crater. Torches light the area. Human Rabble are digging in a recently exploded hole, overseen by a Gnome Skulk. Two Guard Drakes guarded the approach.

They did not seem hostile or in any way concerned about discovery. I approached in friendliness, and the drakes let me by and the gnome was all too willing to talk. The combat clock suddenly began ticking. Sigh. I had a bad feeling about this.

Sheeoil moved up a little, Bryn took partial cover behind some bushes, and Wenner headed over a small ridge, doing a perfect 10.0 somersault in the air, landing lightly on his overly padded feet and disappearing into the rubble beneath the excavation. Rolled two natural twenties for that.

What a waste.

The gnome invites the three of us he knows about to see what they are excavating. It’s massive dragon bones, bones of a long dead mighty warrior. What a sight he must have been in life! I silently pray to Bahamut to bless these long dead bones. Because it would be bad if they came suddenly to life. Bryn trades some technical excavation talk with the gnome. A rabble lets out a shout, comes running up holding a shiny object, hands it to the gnome, who wraps it in a cloth and places it carefully in his pouch.

“Well, we’re done here. Oh, I believe it is time for you to die.”

A halfling slinger we hadn’t noticed stepped from the shadows and started flinging rocks at Wenner, who had been creeping stealthily toward the gnome all this time (unfortunately, his dice had gone on vacation after the double crits, and he was seen). The slinger drummed him into unconsciousness.

The gnome took potshots at me with a crossbow while Sheeoil and Bryn took on the guard drakes. Bryn tried to sleep the gnome, but the gnome was having none of that. Sheeoil worked his was to the edge of the excavation until he was in range to heal Wenner, who came back to the fight with a flurry of shurikens.

It was a close fight as they all seem to be. Sheeoil kept Bryn and Wenner healed and had one to spare for me as well, since after Wenner went down, I had the gnome, the slinger, and two drakes on me for awhile. Bolstering Strike and Lay On Hands could not keep up with that kind of damage.

When the dust cleared, we were standing and they were not. I bent to the gnome’s body and removed the carefully wrapped, shiny object from his pouch. It was a slightly dented silver mirror. Maybe magic? I don’t know, so I gave it to Bryn.

We heard some whimpering from a crate in the camp to the side of the excavation. Opening it, we discovered a battered, bruised and broken human. “I am Professor Douven Staul,” he proclaimed. “I am an archaeologist; we were excavating these ancient bones when this gnome and his rabble attacked. They left me alive, I don’t know why. While I was in the box, I heard them talking about a mirror, perhaps that mirror in your wizard’s hands. They said something about getting the mirror to a “Keleral” for a ritual. I do not know where this ritual would be.”

“All I want to do now,” said the professor, “is to return to my dear wife. I have her picture here in my locket, she is so beautiful, let me…” The professor groped at his neck. “I guess the gnome must have taken it.”

“Oh, could this be your locket?” asked Wenner, holding up a carefully wrought necklace attached to which was an engraved silver locket. “I, uh, found it in the grass.”

“Why, yes!” said the professor. He opened it and removed a small portrait of a radiantly lovely human woman. He handed the locket back to Wenner. “The locket is yours. This portrait is precious, though.”

The Professor's Lovely Wife

“Yes, your wife is very lovely indeed,” says Sheeoil, “but what can you tell us of this mirror?”

“Ah, yes. The mirror. We did not expect to find that here, but it is clear that this is a mirror belonging to one of the wizards who sealed the rift. Two hundred years ago, a cult of the demon prince Orcus created a rift in the void connecting this realm with that of the demon’s at a place not far from here.”

“When the rift was opened, foul creatures invaded our plane, battling the legionnaires of the Kingdom of Nerrith, a power in those days. With much death and pain, the legionnaires pushed the demonic forces back through the rift to their own hellish plane. Many wizards participated in the ritual to seal that rift. They doubtless used tools such as your mirror, tools of no innate magical properties but catalysts and focii for powerful enchantments. They built a keep there and named it Shadowfell. Troops were garrisoned there for hundreds of years, but with no sign of demonic presence, the garrison was called to other duties and the keep has lain abandoned since. Abandoned by creatures that crave the light of day, at any rate. Now nobody knows or much cares to know the original purpose of the keep. They know only to stay away.”

“If someone is looking for artifacts from that long-ago battle, they can only be preparing to open the rift once more. I will leave you to decide what to do with the mirror. I would assume you would be heading to the keep, then?”

“Yes,” I said, “we have a map to draw.”

“A map? We were going to draw a map?” asked Bryn sleepily. “Shouldn’t we then have, oh, parchment and charcoal or some other items to draw a map WITH?”

We returned to Winterhaven and took our leave of the professor. Bryn bought mapmaking materials — turns out they sell cartography kits with everything needed at the local scribe’s. All of us return to our beds and finish our interrupted rest. Then spend another day in rest to get all our dailies back.

Most of us are just over 300XP from level 3. I don’t know how long we’ll be in the Keep — or how long it will take even to GET to the Keep — but I expect we’ll probably ding, even Sheeoil, before we’re done there.

D&D4E: My Dinner with Irontooth

By sunrise, the river had done the hard work of clearing away yesterday’s battle with the kobold frolickers. Some kobold corpses were partially damming the river somewhat downstream, but the owlbears and dire wolves would soon have those cleared away. While any kobolds yet lived, though, the residents of Winterhaven would still be unable to safely trade with their brethren in Fallcrest.

That’s little to no concern of ours. The kobolds made it our problem when they ambushed Wenner on the road. Perhaps we could come to terms with this leader of theirs, this “Irontooth”. Winterhaven would surely welcome such an industrious people into their fair city with open arms. Kobolds are tireless workers, after all, and take orders well. They do prefer the eating of living flesh, but then again, who doesn’t?

We readied our weapons as we stood outside the waterfall-hidden cavern. Our strategy was simple. Throw the halfling in, wait for the screams, then cast Sleep on him and all his attackers.

Wenner vanished into the shadows and sneaked inside while the rest of us discussed force, lift and wind speed.

Round 1. Wenner pressed up against the north wall just inside the cave, but the morning light filtered through the waterfall made the interior too dark to make out anything other then the sounds of some creatures going about their business. A sharp whisper to Sheeoil had the elf treading in the noiseless manner of his kind along the wall to the south of the entrance. “Kobolds!”

Bryn and I followed, standing just inside the cave, surprisingly still unseen by the kobolds. We all took a second to let our eyes adjust (rolling against Perception to see what we could see). Bryn saw enough to get a target. He rushed in yelling a spell, casting Thunderwave at the closest of the minions. Bolts of thunder flew mostly harmlessly around the cave, finally hitting just one kobold, who was electrocuted to death and his corpse tossed against the rear wall.

Wenner slipped out of the shadows and detonated another minion with a Sly Flourish. Sheeoil engulfed a minion in the Sacred Flame. I charged a group of a minion and two skirmishers and let loose with acid breath, dissolving one of the minions to goo and harming one of the skirmishers. Out of range to bring Lifedrinker to bear on either of the skirmishers, I tossed a javelin — badly.

Round 2. The kobolds were still trying to understand what was happening, but those nearest Bryn were getting the idea that this was Not A Good Thing. More kobolds poured in from the tunnels. Bryn took one out with a Magic Missile. Wenner detonated another with a further Sly Flourish. Sheeoil summoned his Sacred Flame once again, but this time it missed. I shouted a Divine Challenge at a kobold across the room, but without effect. Lifedrinker hit a skirmisher, but it only dealt a glancing blow.

Round 3. More skirmishers ran from the tunnels, weapons in hand. Bryn winged one with a Magic Missile. Wenner detonated another minion, then re-entered the shadows to take a look around to see where the kobolds were coming from. Sheeoil’s Sacred Flame missed again. I readied a Bolstering Strike, but missed the skirmisher. I was taking steady damage from the kobolds attacking me, so I used my action point and tried the Bolstering Strike again — it hit but did not kill a skirmisher, and it granted me a single temporary hit point that was instantly wiped away by a kobold attack.

Round 4. Bryn summons a Thunderwave, which hits a skirmisher and moves it back a bit but does not slay it. Wenner sneaks through a tunnel and sees a powerful kobold dragonshield about to enter the room. Ignoring it, he enters the main cavern through another tunnel and bloodies a skirmisher. Bryn and Sheeoil back slowly toward the waterfall at the entrance as I struggle to free myself from the clutches of filthy kobolds and the dragonshield watches a halfling appear from nowhere, stab a skirmisher, and disappear again. Sheeoil sends some Sacred Flame to scorch one of my skirmishers; I shift a space toward Sheeoil and try to slice that same skirmisher, and miss. I Lay Hands on my wounds and regain a small number of hit points, but my situation is dire.

Round 5. Another Thunderwave from the wizard, which misses a skirmisher and hits — and kills — the remaining minions in the room. Facing us now are the two skirmishers on me and the dragonshield who caught sight of Wenner as he zeroed in on the rogue’s last position. Still no sign of Irontooth, and the encounter appears to be winding down.

Wenner uses a Positioning Strike to harm the dragonshield and send it flying toward me! I expect to be Slept any moment now… Wenner re-enters the shadows while the dragonshield turns toward me.

A huge goblin appears in one of the corridors. This is Irontooth. The rest of the group runs to attack while I struggle with the skirmishers and dragonshield. Trying to bring the groups together, I begin to Shift toward Irontooth while taking care of my attackers. Sheeoil sends Sacred Flame at Irontooth, but it misses. I finally manage to slay a skirmisher; Lifedrinker feeds me five temporary hit points; I lay hands on wounds to regain seven more. I’m back in the fight.

Round 6. Things get a little more real as a second dragonshield and a wyrmpriest caster arrive from the southern corridors. Both are ready for war. Bryn uses a Force Orb against the first dragonshield, but misses. He uses an action point and tries again and hits, but doesn’t bring it down. Wenner attacks Irontooth with a Trick Strike and hits. Irontooth laughs it off. Wenner burns a healing surge but it doesn’t keep up with the damage Irontooth deals him as it swings its fetid axe and hits. Sheeoil casts a Beacon of Hope at Irontooth, weakening it and healing some of Wenner’s most critical wounds. He then summons the Sacred Flame on to Irontooth, burning the goblin only very slightly.

I use one of my dailies, Radiant Delerium, hoping to use its power to free me from one of the dragonshields. It misses but leaves the dragonshield dazed; I use the moment to shift another square closer to the rest of the group.

Round 7. Bryn uses an action point to send two Force Orbs at the wyrmpriest, leaving it bloodied. Wenner gets a decent hit to Irontooth with a Sly Flourish, then uses a Second Wind for a little more health; tanking wasn’t part of the plan. Sheeoil connects Irontooth with another Sacred Flame, but the goblin STILL isn’t showing many signs of weakness.

I roar myself to a fever pitch with a Channel Divinity: Divine Strength and attack a dragonshield with Lifedrinker. I hit, but the wyrmpriest has given all the kobolds attacking me temporary hit points and only two points of damage make it through. I shift another space closer to the others.

Round 8. Bryn fires another Energy Orb at the wyrmpriest, then runs so that I’m between him and the priest before the it can recover. Meanwhile, Wenner gets a good hit on Irontooth, leaving him bloodied. I didn’t seem to write down what Sheeoil did this round, but it was probably a Sacred Flame. I used a Bolstering Strike against the now-unprotected dragonshield and hit it but did not kill it. I got a temporary hit point from the deal, but it didn’t last long.

Round 9. The dragonshield didn’t like how I was inching toward my allies, so… he immobilized me. No more shifting. 6 hit points left and nowhere to go. Bryn hit the wyrmpriest with another Force Orb. Wenner hit Irontooth with another Sly Flourish — the goblin staggered but kept fighting. Sheeoil used a Healing Word on me, using one of my healing surges to bring me health I desperately needed. He then cast Sacred Flame and passed along some of its power to me as additional health.

Irontooth came at me thinking to finish me and found himself instantly flanked by me, Wenner and Sheeoil. Oops. I managed a decent hit on Irontooth but did not kill him. I laid hands on my wounds and regained a little more health.

Round 10. The dragonshield immobilized me — again. The combined attacks brought my health below zero, and I fell unconscious. One of the dragonshields on me turned instead to take Bryn on. Now that I was no longer in the way, Bryn cast Sleep on all the remaining monsters, hitting three of the four. Irontooth yawned, then fell asleep. Wenner took the opportunity to deal Irontooth one final, fatal blow.

Sheeoil used Healing Word on behalf of Bryn, trading one of Bryn’s healing surges for more hit points. He then cast Sacred Flame on Irontooth, transferring some of its health to me. That got me conscious again; I swung at the wyrmpriest that had snuck up behind, did not kill it, then laid hands on my own wounds to regain a little more health.

Round 11. The wyrmpriest fell asleep, the dragonshield shrugged off the effects of Bryn’s spell and attacked Bryn, immobilizing him and knocking him unconscious. Wenner whiffed a Sly Flourish against a dragonshield. Sheeoil missed a Healing Strike, but still managed to get a healing surge spent on Bryn with it. That wasn’t enough to bring him back to consciousness, though.

My record keeping was getting really bad by the point. I think I killed the wyrmpriest, then got to Bryn just before he was about to die from his wounds and brought him back to life with lay on hands. By round 15, the remaining dragonshield and skirmisher were finally dead.

Loot was a good pile of experience and a decent amount of gold. We found a stash of treasure that looked suspiciously like items stolen from merchant caravans, which, unfortunately, meant it wasn’t OURS. There was quite a lot of it. Sheeoil claimed some Dwarven Chainmail +1… to borrow while we walked back to Winterhaven. I volunteered to carry back one of the bolts of fine cloth to see if I could track down the merchants whose items these were so they could come back to this cave and claim it.

We started back to Winterhaven, when suddenly… well, we’ll know in two weeks.

Until then!

D&D 4E: Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking…

Swimming a river of death

Curious about the blog title? You know that wizards get a spell called sleep, but did you know it can hit friendly targets, too? Anyway, we’ll get back to that.

After skipping a week for the holidays, the Adventure Company convened again where we left off — having finished a pitched battle along the road from Winterhaven, we pursued a kobold to a waterfall-fed river, with excited barking noises coming from the direction of a stone circle we could see looming past a thin line of trees.

The Lord Warden of Fallcrest has tasked us with mapping some ruins in the Winterhaven area, but our every step has been dogged — so to speak — by marauding kobold bands. Determined to focus on the job for which we’re being paid, we deal with the vermin and then move on. Destiny, however, has taken control, and it seems clear that the “kobold problem” must be eliminated before we can move on the haunted keep and have our souls rent from our bodies by creatures of unspeakable horror.

None of us are eager for our lives to be ended so soon. And so we kill kobolds and build our strength for the coming campaign. We are on the edge of a battle and the clock is ticking.

Round 1

Where is the kobold barking coming from? We each rolled against our Perception and were informed that there we could hear some coming from the direction of the stone circle, some from the river’s edge, but the noise of the waterfall drowned out any more distant noises. Those kobolds we could hear, then, were close.

Bryn passed his turn.

Wenner crept stealthily into the trees — super successfully, he seemed to become one with the leaves and shadows. He soon whispered the locations of the kobolds he could see — a powerful dragonshield within the stone circle, and three kobolds frolicking in the water.

Sheeoil passed his turn. It was my turn to act. I charged the three kobolds in the water, came out of the trees yelling, swinging Lifedrinker around my head, I swung ferociously at the closest — and missed. Grunting, I used an action point and swung again. A hit, and a kill. The kobold lay dying, and Lifedrinker granted me five temporary hit points. The glee of righteous battle was on me then.

Round 2

More kobolds ran from the bushes at the commotion. But so unnerved were they, that all their attacks missed.

Bryn shot a never-miss magic missile at a kobold minion, killing it. In his eagerness to enter the fray, Wenner tripped out of stealth, but still managed to send another minion to its doom. Sheeoil doused one (ironically) with Sacred Flame, killing it in its turn. I dispatched the last kobold frolicker with Lifedrinker, then roared up the river, intending to gain the attention of the dragonshield and the other kobolds who were running from behind the waterfall, doubtlessly from a hidden lair.

Round 3

Another magic missile, another dead kobold. Bryn allowed himself a thin smile. Wenner stealthily crept to within stabbing range of the dragonshield in the stone circle, who seemed reluctant to add his blade to the melee. Wenner added his blade to the kobold’s back, but the dragonshield was made of sterner stuff, and brushed aside the attack with only a scratch to show for it.

A trio of kobold minions turned to protect their leader and assault the halfling rogue. Sheeoil doused one again in the Sacred Flame, and there was one fewer, then. I don’t like being ignored by monsters. I charged up, swung Lifedrinker and … missed. I opened my mouth and let slip a cloud of acid, which killed a minion and further damaged the dragonshield. Lifedrinker moaned in fury at having been denied a life to drink.

Round 4

More kobolds splashed out of the hidden lair. Another minion, a skirmisher — and a slinger. Sheeoil started with apprehension. Once, a slinger had broken a fire pot on his head, setting him aflame. We all now know how flammable elves can be.

He allowed himself a sigh of relief when he saw the slinger fling a pot at Wenner. The slinger’s aim was true and the pot broke on the halfling, immobilizing him in glue.

Bryn chased another minion to hell hounded by a magic missile. Sheeoil sent a companion after it with another Sacred Flame, then moved up and across the river from the slinger and skirmisher. Wenner struggled in his gluey prison but was entirely unable to move.

Lifedrinker drank the life of another minion. None of the kobolds had been able to get through the temporary hit points the sword kept giving me. I moved into place to take on the skirmisher and slinger while Bryn and Wenner finished the dragonshield.

Round 5

While the skirmisher advanced, the slinger hurled a glue pot at me — no effect. I grinned that scary toothy grin I have. That was too much for the slinger, who, muttering something about warning Irontooth, turned to escape back under the waterfall.

Bryn thought that Irontooth would be happier not hearing the news of our attack, and instead of using a spell like, oh, magic missile, cast Sleep over the area. It hit the kobold slinger. It hit the kobold skirmisher. And it hit me. All three of us were immediately slowed. On our turns, we would make a saving throw or fall asleep.

I let out a shout. BRYN! The birds heard it in their trees, the goats in their mountains, and holy Bahamut in the clouds took notice. Sheeoil bloodied the slinger with a Sacred Flame. I failed my saving throw and fell into a deep sleep.

The rest of the combat is based on what was told to me much later, when I finally awoke (after failing the saving throw SEVEN TIMES.)

Round 6+

Wenner glowed with halfling fury, he says, and grew to double his height, becoming a whole-ling. His giant feet made no sounds as he made the glade a whirlwind of whizzing shuriken.

Bryn called a storm of lightning from the suddenly-gathered clouds, broiling every kobold within a league of our spot. Laughing maniacally, he forced the lords of the forest to bow before him and grant him eternal youth, endless power, and a twelve inch pianist.

A holy light shone from beyond the clouds, bathing Sheeoil in heavenly grace and power. The demonic presences in the Keep we may someday see shuddered without knowing the reason.

It was dark when I awoke. We were gathered at a camp, preparing to set up watches to guard us as we rested before the next day’s assault of the kobold lair and our meeting with the being named Irontooth. I listened to my comrades tales with some skepticism and then knelt to fervent prayer.

Lord Bahamut, I prayed, grant me the strength to let Bryn live.