Contact me if you’re interested in getting on the waiting list for this campaign and I’ll put you in touch with our DM.
If you’re a player, you might be interested in the Shackled City House Rules.
Our Shackled City DM James reports:
We had an interesting session last Sunday, not too much intrigue or diplomacy, but an journey through the jungle, the rescue of some slaves, and the destruction of a mad Derro, seeking to resurect the cult of Drakthar.
The morning following the massed Goblinoid attack was pretty peaceful, and became interesting when it was interupted by the arrival of Alec Tercival and Fario Ellegoth. Alec and Fario explained that they had been scouting the area, looking for the source of the Goblinoid problems, though they knew nothing about the temple shown on the map. Alec had heard rumours of a Goblin training camp North West in the jungle, and proposed exploring further in that direction, the group agreed that two scouting missions would be useful, to identify what the best option was, Alec and one group would go to the Goblin camp, and the rest of the party would go check out the temple. Borg and Zacharias said they thought they would see more action checking the camp, rather than a crumbling old temple, so they elected to go with Alec. Rhysalis, Aria, Fenyal and Wim chose to explore the site of the temple.
Before they left, Iruth Mercud explained that as the guard was at only 1/2 strength, following the disappearance of Kallev and Chorlyndyr plus five other gaurds, he was unable to offer any additional people to assist the party.
Setting off on the journey through the hostile jungle, the party was surprised about how difficult the conditions were (though most people made their Fortutiude save for heat exhaustion…) and were even more surprised by the attack of two Giant Crocodiles. Luckily some early blows from Rhysalis cause one croc to loose heart and run off, and the other exploded following a critical spell from Fenyal, otherwise the outcome could have been quite different.
The rest of the journey passed uneventfully, and the party found itself creaping up on a the temple, which Fenyals familiar told them was far from disused and uninhabited.
After skulking about for a fair bit, the party drew some of the Bugbear and Hobgoblin guards away from the camp, and attacked them. The goblinoids got reinforcements, and the party was about to make a tacktical retreat, when the slaves made a poorly timed attempt to escape. Rather than watch the slaughter of the slaves, the party rejoined the battle and were ultimatly victorious.
On questioning the slaves, the party found out that something nasty was living in the temple. They chose to return to Achet, rather than confront the evil boss.
They part brough the rescued slaves back to Achet, and rejoined to discuss the situation with Alec and Fario.
Alec explained that they had found a large Goblin camp in the jungle, but was most interested to hear about the nast creature in the temple. Over many beers, and much discussion a decision was made to make a double assault, one group to destroy the temple, another to destroy the camp. Alec agreed to join the temple raid, since he had some experience of Demons, and Iruth offered to reinforce the camp raid, since it offered the chance of ending, or at least reducing the Goblin menace for some time.
The party made their way back to the temple site, and after suitable buffing, whent into the temple, to be greated by a mad Derro, and a bearded deamon. Although tough, and long, the battle in the temple was untimatly a straight forwards brawl, the Derro was too crazy to make good use of its spells, and Alec and Rhysalis did good work tag-teaming the Demon. Fire support from Fenyal and healing from Aria made sure that the end was inevitable.
With the death of the Derro, the evil in the temple faded, and the threat in the region reduced dramatically.
So an ending to Drakthar… or someone trying to pretend to be Drakthar anyway. That will be the end of that then… maybe…
I have awarded 40% exp to Borg and Zacharias. They fought goblins in the Jungle with Alec and Fario, but it was risk free, and I do not want people to get too far behind.
Before the next session, there are choices…
If the party chooses, you could catch up on the raid on the goblin camp, which would be a big long fight, or you can choose to return to Cauldron. You do not have to choose now, but if you let me know your interests, I can plan better. So choice 1: Lets go back to Cauldron quickly, and pick up the main quest choice 2: Lets raid the goblins, and maybe investigate further about Drakthar and what is sturing up the goblins.
Choice 1 takes you back to cauldron, with no real issues, we pick up where you left off. Choice 2 takes us away from Shackled city, and certainly makes you too high level to do some of the early Cauldron chapters.
Please let me know..,
After last session, exp stands as:
|Aria||11215 (level up to 5)|
|Borg||7685 (level up to 4)|
|Fenyal||11215 (level up 5)|
|Zacharias||8885 (bad luck, no level)|
|Wim||10190 (level up to 5)|
|Rhysalis Eina||9600 (level up to 4)|
We will discuss loot at the next session…
The following was written by our DM James.
1 x Grell 4 x millipeeds 2 x stone spikes 1 x Ogre 10 x Hobgoblins 1 x Dwarf/Troll Boss
+ 7200 Exp + 1200 Exp for resuing the children, and releasing the other slaves (you were going to release them… wern’t you?) + 900 Exp bonus for returning to the dungeon when low on resources and tired etc…
9300 / 6 = 1550 each
1 x cure light wounds, 1 x black inky potion, 1 x masterwork dagger, with poison, 80cp, 32sp 2 x chain shirts, 1 x half plate, 2 x spiked gauntlets (1 pair), a masterwork Great axe, 15 x short spears, 10 x throwing axes, ten x hand axes, five x battle axes, five x heavy picks and 5 x war hammers.
; NOTE: One time only GM offer…. You can either spend the next session clearing out the Fortress of the last few creaturs, and looking for loot, or you can take the GM Special Offer. You do not get to know what the offer is till after you accept it or not… We could then move onto the next chapter. Up to you. Simple majority of the people who choose to vote decides the answer.
So, an auspicious day. The resident Overlord of the Universe has decided to take mortal form, and influence events from there, the shady a slightly suspicious character known as “Stone” has disappeared with some party loot, just when a Paladin of Pelor has joined the group, and the party lost, then found its courage. Maybe these are all connected.
Just as our adventurers were resting up before descending once more into Jzadirune Kristof Jurgensen (recently head of the Church of Pelor in Cauldron) asked to see Aria the next morning. That same evening Aria found out that her old friend, Rhysalis, has returned to the city. They meet up and share a few drinks in the Drunken Morpoth. It turns out the Rhysalis has been learning the craft of a Paladin, and has only recently returned to Cauldron, on an urgent mission.
When the morning arrived, Aria found out that the news from Kristof was already known to her, the return of Rhysalis. Kristof has appealed to the Church of Pelor (The Hall of the Sun) in Sassarine to send assistance, following the strange and worrying disappearance of his three superiors at the temple. The response was to send Rhysalis, Paladin of Pelor, to investigate the matter. The Hall of the Sun sees this as a (difficult) test of the new Paladin, and a neat match, with her already familiar with the city of Cauldron.
Kristof explains that he knows that Issal Phenor, Ember Malach and Pirius Starshine have all recently been murdered, though where and by who is not known. Another Paladin of Pelor, Alec Tercival, is also missing, and given the news of the other members of the church, this can only be seen as a worrying development, Alec had hinted that he known something about the deaths. Rhysalis has vowed to assist in this matter, and is pleased that she has found a ready made group to investigate this matter with her… she just needs to sort out this problem about some missing orphans first… As an ex-Lantern Street Orphan, Rhysalis feels a close connection with this trouble, and is keen to resolve this, before pursuing other matters. Certainly Rhysalis has brought some focus to the topic, and moves the quest on at a good pace.
The adventurers return to Jzadirune. They suspect that they know where the lift to the realm of “Kazmojen” is, and are keen to go there as soon as possible. Some members of the party have other ideas though, sensing the possibility of easily achieved treasure in some unexplored areas. A brief exploration into the underground city find the terror that had caused the Skulks and Dark Creepers to seal off part of the dungeon, a filthy and dangerous creature, a Grell. The Grell was nearly too much for one of the smaller members of the party, Wim was mortally wounded by is vicious 10! attacks, however Rhysalis quickly proves her worth with a timely “lay on hands”. Borg gets his loot, (1 x cure light wounds, 1 x black inky potion, 1 x masterwork dagger, with poison, 80cp, 32sp), and the party learns about not shouting in dark rooms. Luckily for the party, the Grell was starving and angry enough to charge in, rather than using its more normal sneaky approach.
The party decides to focus now on locating the lift, and do so quickly, once they set their abilities to it. They encounter no more trouble. Unlike with the Grell, the Skuls and Dark Creapers have found no suitable way to trap the party, and they have simply abandoned the Gnome city for safer parts. Some new evil will certainly replace them in time…
The lift down to the Malachite Fortress is a long way, 200 Feet (65 Meters), and at the bottom our friends encounter a gloomy but well built marble city. Some of the marble is quite active, and they have not gone far before encountering 2 Stone Spike guards, mistaken for statues. The stone spikes were bad enough, but the noise of the fight drew the attentions of Xukasus, an Ogre in charge of the guards of the fortress. The Ogre senses a chance for some nice new food, to rot down to filthy smelly food, Yum Yum! Showing rare mercy, (maybe our Paladin is having an effect…) the party captures not kills Xukasus. He is ordered to take them to the leader of the fortress, another repulsive character, known as Kazmojen. Xukasus senses a chance to escape, and in the very next room orders 4 hobgoblin guards to attack. All the enemies, even Xukasus, are quickly overcome, though another captive is taken, a hobgoblin known as Grag.
Grag is charmed by Fenyael, and tells asll, including the fact that some children are going to be sold as slaves very soon. Grag offers to take the party straight to Kazmojen, to speak with him directly, however the party declines and heads home to rest up. On the way home, Grag stages a dramatic escape, and disappears… maybe to report to Kazmojen.
Back on the surface as crisis of conscience occurs, as some of the party realizes that they have missed a precious chance to locate the children. After much soul searching and a discussion with Jenya Urikas, Rhysalis convinces the party to return that very night to confront Kazmojen. Despite being drained and tired, everyone agrees, Yay!
At 2am, the party stage a raid on the Malachite Fortress. An elaborate plan involving drilling machines is foiled when it turns out that the occupants of the fortress have lowered the lift to the bottom, preventing the drilling machines being brought to play. The party climbs down the dark lift shaft on the chains, and makes their way to the lair of the slave lord.
One the way the party finds the secret armory and also the forge room. Here they find:
2 x chain shirts, 1 x half plate, 2 x spiked gauntlets (1 pair), a masterwork Great axe, 15 x short spears, 10 x throwing axes, ten x hand axes, five x battle axes, five x heavy picks and 5 x war hammers.
Finally the bad boss if found. Our intrepid adventurers confront Kazmojen, 6 of his hobgoblin minions, and a mysterious durzagon. An epic battle ensues, but victory is eventually achieved.
Just as all is settling down following the battle, a momentous shock! An eye tyrant appears! This beholder startles the whole party by demanding that one of the slave children be handed over to him. Recognizing a power that they could not hope to face, the party accept this, and allow one of the children to be taken.
So, the evil slaver is slain, the enemies in the fortress defeated, and the terrors of Jzadirune faced and overcome. It only remains to return the children, collect the rewards, and drink a few beers in the Morpoth. Surely this will be all the trouble faced by Cauldron for now.
On the first day, the party recovered for spells and Zacharias discovered that he had contracted the Vanishing curse as he failed his saving throw and lost six points of charisma. We’re lucky it didn’t hit a PC who used Charisma as a dump stat… Zach went to St. Cuthbert’s church and asked Urikas for a Remove Curse and 2 × Lesser Restoration. Urikas healed him but obviously expected a grateful donation for the miraculous restoration. As it seems, Zacharias was either poor or stingy and she’ll keep an eye on him. Only the just shall find repose in St. Cuthbert’s shadow!
On the second day, the party explored Jzadirune some more, and managed to find a rich loot of small chainmail armor they were able to sell. The Wand of Cure Light Wounds also proved to be an excellent investment as dark creepers kept hiding in shadows and dealing sneak attack damage. On the plus side the party now pretty much knows where the elevator is, and they have found the part of the enclave that has been barricaded.
The conversation with the Mimic guarding Gehlve’s familiar was also quite funny as soon as we had decided that Fenyael’s missing bonus language was in fact Underdark.
The party also fought a medium spider hiding in an illusionary bath and shot two small spiders that were guarding a dead, dark stalker.
And the party found a one-armed drilling construct! Too bad the monster entry does not list the drill speed.
After the game we went to eat some Italian food, and there was a lot of RPG talk. And James volunteered to take over running the campaign! Yes! I rolled up a character right then and there: 12, 12, 13, 15, 16, 16. And I decided that I was going to play a human paladin with Skill Focus (diplomacy) and the Negotiator feat. Wheee!
It seems that we misplaced our trust in Stone. He took off with that spellbook we found, and we guess we’ll never know about the music box worth 200 gp he pilfered. Did he have any other party gold!?
Challenges overcome: A medium monstrous spider (CR 1), two small monstrous spiders (2 × CR ½), two dark creepers (2 × CR 3), the dark stalker boss Yuathib controlling this level (CR 4; he was cut down before he was able to say a word), damaged pulverizer automaton (CR 3), mimic (CR 4), collapsing cabinet (CR 1), spear trap (CR 2), tilt-and-tumble trap (CR 1) ⇒ ((1+1+3*3+1+2+1)*300+2*1350)/5 = 1260 XP per person.
“Evil cultists are abducting people and sacrificing them to an evil god who has two heads and tentacles for arms.” – just a rumor
Today is September 4, 680 years after the foundation of Cauldron.
Two more players joined the party: Stone the gaunt rogue “between jobs” and Wim the gnomish delver “entrepreneur”.
Wim is known for his clean-up jobs: Sewers, cellars, secret caves under your wine cellar, he has seen them all and disposed of rats, monstrous vermin and a kobold or two. It seems that he lives either close to Borg’s former shop, or that he worked for the Gorunn family before. And he has also worked with Zacharias’ father before: The undertaker is slightly risk-averse and likes his crypts to be undead-free with a money back guarantee. I guess the party liked him because he could read the gnomish runes they had found.
And gnomes seem to be well connected. They say that “Keygan Ghelve is one of the finest locksmiths in the world. Only a skilled rogue or spellcaster could bypass one of his locks without the proper key!” And Wim has connections to Skie Aldersun who runs Skie’s Treasury. Unfortunately she was unwilling to buy the grey bag of tricks for fear of the vanishing curse. Zach ended up using it. And as suspected, it was infected with the vanishing. At the beginning of the next session he gets to make his first DC 15 Fortitude save…
Unfortunately I don’t remember Stone’s connections to the party. I still need connections to two player characters and a backup/support character.
The party made a foray into Jazidrune on September 4 and another one on September 5. Three common raggamoffyns (Monster Manual II) were fought and bested. I wondered about the name of these creatures. There’s some more info on the Wikipedia page for Ragamuffin.
A broken and a whole drilling construct was found, and a new key to the gear doors was found as well. The choker remained out of sight.
The party noticed a certain lack of healing spells and decided to invest some gold in a half-charged Wand of Cure Light Wounds.
I think I know Aria’s family connection, now: She is related to the Aslaxin nobles; they run the Coy Nixie, her father owns vineyards in the surrounding hills, and a cousin of hers called Zachary Aslaxin II seems to have had some success with his own band of adventurers called “The Stormblades”. Apparently they cleared out a cave of kobolds or something of the sort.
; Level 1 & 2:
1350+2*900+600 ⇒ 3750 / 6 = 625 per person
; Aria: 1025 + 625 = 1650 (Clr-1/Ftr-1) ; Borg: 975 + 50 + 625 = 1650 (Ftr-2) ; Fenyael: 975 + 625 = 1600 (Sor-2) ; Zacharias: 975 + 625 = 1600 (Sor-2) ; Stone: 625 (Rog-1) ; Wim: 625 (Rgr-1)
“Alex Tercival, a paladin who serves St. Cuthbert, has been out of town for several days; I hear he traveled to the village of Redgorge to take care of a woman who was possessed by a demon!” – just a rumor
Today is September 1, 680 years after the foundation of Cauldron.
We started the new campaign!!
For a DM’s perspective on character generation, see 2007-09-02 Campaign Start.
A note on copyright: The map sections on this page are © 2005 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., created by Christopher West. They are not covered by the license notice below.
Suffice it to say that we started with four characters: Borg Gorunn, a dwarven butcher turned monster hunter; Fenyael, an elven explorer interested in the volcano; Aria, a half-elven daughter of a noble house interested in all things elven; and Zacharias, a human child age fourteen from the Cauldron undertaker who runs the crematorium.
Borg lives on Magma Avenue. The butchery is to the right of Maavu’s main warehouse.
Fenyael has rented a room at the Drunken Morkoth.
Aria still lives at home when she’s not at the Pelor temple.
Zacharias still lives with his family in the house near the crematorium. Here’s how to get to the crematorium: Start at Skie’s Treasury, walk down to Lava Avenue, turn right until you reach the back of the Treasury, walk down to Ash Avenue, and when you’re half way there, you’ll see the crematorium on your right.
; Ruphus Laro: A monk of St. Cuthbert charged with investigating the abductions at the orphanage. He was attacked by Last Laugh ruffians on the way back and saved by the party.
; Jenya Urikas: The priestess of St. Cuthbert in charge of the temple while the high priest Sarcem Delasharn is on an extended visit to the port city of Sasserine. She gave every party member a potion of Cure Moderate Wounds and promised 2’500 gp for bringing back the children and punishing the kidnappers.
; Gretchyn Tashykk: The headmistress of the Lantern Street Orphanage; an elderly halfling.
; Patch: Half-orc janitor at the Lantern Street Orphanage. He confessed having received 50 gp in order to watch over Terrem about a year ago. He is still contacted by the mysterious Revo Twindagger every now and then.
; Keygan Ghelve: The gnomish locksmith who supplies 80% of all the locks in this Cauldron. The skulks and dark creepers of Jzadirune forced him to produce three master keys for his locks by abducting his familiar, a rat called Starbrow. He gave the party a map of the old gnomish magic user enclave of Jzadirune, warned them of trapped doors, and mentioned the mysterious Vanishing curse that struck 75 years ago and cursed all magic items produced down there.
; Kristof Jurgensen: Current head of the church of Pelor; the church is relatively minor, specially since his three superiors recently died under mysterious circumstances.
; Oriodea: An acolyte at the Pelor temple, and friend of Aria’s.
; Sergeant Justinian: Working for the town guard; he told the party about the Last Laugh thieves guild (which is what “organized crime” is called around here…). He also mentioned that there are about five levels of subterranean prisons below the town barracks. Seeing that Aria was an acolyte of Pelor, he said he’d give her a tour of the prison complex if she produced a letter of recommendation from her head priest, Kristof Jurgensen.
; Bolar Westkey: Gnomish cartographer that had a map of Jzadirune similar to the one that Keygan Ghelve gave to the party. Maps seem to cost 2-20 gp.
The party met Ruphus on September 1, talked to the headmistress of the orphanage on September 2, and started investigating Jzadirune on September 3.
The party spent quite a long time down in Jzadirune and discovered several Skulks, about half of them asleep. One of them seems to have contracted the Vanishing curse. The party traveled quite a bit through mysteriously dug tunnels without ever having to open any of the gnomish doors. They did find a few secret doors, however. Below the old gnomish theater stage, they fought a choker and nearly died because it grappled Borg and nearly killed him, and then started grappling Aria. Only when Zacharias’ Ray of Enfeeblement weakened it such that it could no longer do any real damage did the Choker flee. The party had prevailed and brought some loot back up to the surface.
; Level 1:
8*300+600+900 ⇒ 3900 / 4 = 975 per person
; Borg: 975 (Ftr-1) ; Aria: 975 + 50 (initiative) = 1025 (Clr-1 + new level) ; Fenyael: 975 (Sor-1) ; Zacharias: 975 (Sor-1)