2008-01-13 Belflin Goes To Arcadia

“It is the land of perfection. “It is where laws are made for the common good. “It is the plane where harmony is born.” – Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia, Manual of the Planes, p. 130

The party decides to ride to Pembrose, spend the night, ride to the ruined keep, and investigate the spot marked “L. K. 3 keys” on their map. When they reach the underground lake, they are suddenly surrounded by a party of drow males and some Crushed Skull orcs. Belflin and the drow try to intimidate each other, and Belflin wins his check! What the party doesn’t know is that the drow and orcs are themselves in a stand off. So the party wriggles itself out of the situation and continues. The next day the orcs try to sneak up to the party as they camp having followed them home to their lair. But Belflin hears them, and they manage to ambush the orcs. Karamutenga slaughters many an orc tonight. Too bad Silas can’t wear his impressive full plate at night. His celestial dogs do distract the orcs and the resulting fight is fast an furious.

Some shadows are also encountered later that day and destroyed by the power of Muir that Silas invokes. Corian also manages to lure a Xorn away by using Fly and dropping gold coins...

When the party arrives at last, they find an anti-magic effect protecting a huge two-winged door and three hexagonal holes. Three key holes! They set up camp and decide to return.

At night they are attacked by a phase spider that manages to poison Belflin. He makes a saving throw for the first bite, but fails his save for the second bite. -8 to Con. Silas casts Bear’s Endurance, and the party manages to slay the creature. The cleric tries to heal Belflin, but rolls badly. The phase spider has been dead for a few rounds, and Beflin fails another save. -7 to Con. And Silas is out of spells. No scrolls and potions to keep Belflin alive... He writes his last wishes on a parchment, says goodbye to Dog the tame weasel, and thinks of the homeland... Time passes, and he hears the song of birds and a breeze heavy with the perfume of flowers. Arcadia awaits! ...

The party is lucky to avoid encounters on the way out and ends up at the Church of the Ever-Shinig Sun in Bostwick. Belflin has to be raised from the dead by Jeffar. The diamond they had to buy from Angus Carl in Twain cost them nearly all their party treasure and they had to sell Belflin’s dwarven +1 composit longbow Str +3... But sell it they did and Belflin returned from the dead.

Everybody was relaxing, they wanted to know about XP, and so we stopped the game an hour early, calculated XP, rolled for hit-points, talked about the next steps to take, and looked at new spells.

Instead of using an initiative board we used index cards that we just put in the right order. That takes less space at the table which is good.

I hate to think that I wasted precious time yesterday cooking up drow stats. Today I rediscovered that the book has NPC stats in the back of the book. I love NPC stats with class levels in source books. :)

Vault of Larin Karr by W.D.B. Kenower – totally recommended! There’s tons of random encounters in the Underdark because you’re supposed to roll for an encounter every six hours and you can only cover 6 to 12 miles a day down there. And as the forest is huge with about 40 miles between villages, getting around underground is tedious and dangerous. You really need to know where you’re going or you’ll end up lost and most probably dead. I like the result. My players are cautious about the Underdark. It did not register immediately and running around in circles down there probably wasn’t as much fun. (→ 2007-12-02 To the light) I’ll have to ask my players about this.

I really loved how we played all the fights without battlemaps today! Yay. :)


Challenges overcome:

Level 6: 17250 ⇒ 4312 per person

Corian: 25157 (Sor-7)

Karamutenga: 23382 (Brb-7)

Silas: 22512 (Cle-7)

Auroleva: 20686 (Drd-3/Clr-3)

Belflin: 18000 (Rng-6)



I really need to crack open that adventure and take a good look at it. Excellent write-up, Alex. I’m following the progress eagerly.

It’s good to know the lack of battlemats went well. Tell me more :)

GreyWulf 2008-01-13 22:29 UTC

Hehe... Well, one day, when the British postal service is not on strike, we might do another barter thing if you don’t have it yet. ✌

As for no battlemap, I try to use common sense. I split the fight up into little groups, usually such that it’s a n:1 situation. For example: If ten orcs attack four characters, then there’s four orcs to the guard, and two orcs each for the other three characters.

I don’t think we had to use anything else. Notice how I ignore movement speed.

The only thing I need to get used to is going with cinematic combat without thinking about the rules. Karamutenga the female half-orc is feigning sleep while on watch in order to lure the orcs into the ambush. Once they’re close, she “jumps up and beheads the guy”. Instead of thinking “uhh... jump?” just say 👌 “Hell Yeah!! Roll to hit!” ✊ ☠ :)

AlexSchroeder 2008-01-14 01:01 UTC

My characters’ deaths have always been violent and sudden. It was a unique experience to have a few minutes to settle down, scribble out a last will and testament, say my farewells, and make peace with the universe before finally sucumbing to the poison.

Actually I was having flashbacks of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. :D

And even better, Belflin’s back, only lost half a level, and we sold that stupid dwarven-crafted longbow. You can be sure I won’t make that mistake again.

– Marco 2008-01-14 09:22 UTC

I liked that scene very much. And Claudia did as well. :)

Now that you mentioned Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000), the similarity is striking.

AlexSchroeder 2008-01-14 10:24 UTC

I think I really have to reconsider what a Raise Dead spell does in-game. You guys just bought a diamond worth 5000 gold pieces, which would have paid more than nine years of a very decent upkeep for a man – living in inns, eating good food, sleeping in clean beds, drink good wine. I’m sure Jeffar rarely gets to cast this spell. Maybe once a decade. Rumors must be spreading like wildfire. “Remember Belfin? Yes, the elf that slew the ettins of Twain! I heard he got killed by a poisonous monster in the Underdark. Yes, the Underdark!!”

AlexSchroeder 2008-01-15 18:30 UTC

Damn. I just realized that Jeffar is a level eight cleric in the book. She’s not supposed to be able to cast Raise Dead yet.

AlexSchroeder 2008-01-17 19:13 UTC

Maybe she had a scroll...

– Sektat 2008-01-17 19:34 UTC

Yeah. :) Or she gained a level in the mean time. I think a better question would be: Would it be more fun if Belflin had died permanently? I’m not sure. I remember Claudia being speechless and thinking to herself: “What!? This can’t be true!” So assuming having Jeffar raise the dead is good for the game, then it will be good for the game the next time as well. I might as well make her ninth level.

AlexSchroeder 2008-01-17 19:49 UTC

Still...I remember the times where it really meant something to die...not just a small hole in the group cash.

– Sektat 2008-01-18 07:11 UTC

Those were the days of low-level play... :)

AlexSchroeder 2008-01-18 08:13 UTC

If Belflin had died without any means of resurrection, it would have been a bummer. Considering the circumstances (failed two saves, causing 15 out of a maximum possible 16 con damage) it would have sucked big time, in fact.

After a certain amount of character development (and Belflin has had his share) a player becomes attached to his or her character. I understand there’s a certain risk in dying, and it’s a process of heartache and character development, but to just start again with a new character...

I mean, come on! Where is the love, people?

– Marco 2008-01-22 18:40 UTC

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