Wiki Gaming:Caves of Chaos

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Caves of Chaos is a 5e introductory adventure based on the classic Keep of the Borderlands Basic D&D module, run by GamerAim for people who do not need introduced to D&D. The goal is to show people a good old time from when D&D wasn't about all this railroading high-adventure pre-plotted stuff: the players and the DM make the story by making choices, and Keep on the Borderlands was a locale that enabled that to happen. It is a story that will be molded by the choices we make and their consequences. This is Dungeons & Dragons. Welcome to the Caves of Chaos.

When you post your actions, start with your character's name in bold. Don't use a header and don't sign the post (I trust you not to pose as someone else's character :)

Player Characters[edit]

NPC Henchmen[edit]

  • Gerald: Human acolyte cleric (death domain) 1. STR 15 (+2), DEX 9 (-1), CON 13 (+1), INT 11 (+0), WIS 17 (+3), CHA 13 (+1). AC 14, HP 9/9. History +2, Insight +5, Medicine +5, Religion +2. Mace, scale mail, shield, priest's pack, light crossbow and 20 bolts, potion of fire resistance. light, mending, guidance, chill touch, 1st: false life, ray of sickness, detect evil and good, purity food and drink, bless, protection from evil and good Slots 2.

The World[edit]

The world is similar to most other generic fantasy worlds, with elves and gods and magic, but with one notable difference: there are no stars. But there are some who believe in stars and join what are known as Star Cults. Most such cults are harmless, if stigmatized by mainstream society, but others are more dangerous. Navigation across distances has historically been guided by magic rather than the stars, though roads are maintained to assist in travel even at night. I don't really know how navigation works, but just assume it does.

The keep, as you'll read below, is on the borderlands of a moderately-sized empire comprised largely of humans and elves (plus half-elves). To the west are older elven, dwarven and gnomish nations in various states of stability, though travel to the west is restricted by travel over either mountains or water, and the northern and western coasts of the empire have a healthy sea trade. To the east and south are lands yet to be fully tamed; the south mainly plains and jungle far as anyone knows, and the east is wooded and mountainous. It is a distance from the base of the mountains to the east, in the hilly and forested borderlands on the edge of the empire that the game takes place. A mid-level fighter known as Lord Dyson, an ally of the Empress who was gifted some land in the past few years, holds rule over this region with his Magist Freeman, the innkeep Olaf, and Matriarch Stapledon of the local Church of the Ancestral Gods — all once a party of adventurers like yourselves.

Player Maps[edit]

NPCs[edit]

  • Lord Dyson: Lord of the keep and close friend of the Empress Gaelerion-Concord VII.
  • Magist Freeman: Former member of Dyson's adventuring group and current court magician at Dyson's Keep.
  • Olaf: Proprietor of the Traveler's Inn & Tavern. Former member of Dyson's adventuring group.

Rumors[edit]

  • Never trust an altar.
  • Be wary of your party members.
  • Dog-headed men dwell in the caves.
  • A kidnapped princess is being held in the caves.

The Game (Archive)[edit]

The Dice Room[edit]

Introduction[edit]

From the eastern reaches of the Empire of Gaelerion, sitting atop the borderlands between law and chaos, the noble Lord of Dyson Keep has sent out a call to arms to all doughty adventurers to seek out the monsters and brigands who have been raiding the wilderlands, where already few traders and settlers dear tread. To expand his influence and that of the Empress Gaelerion-Concord VII, he requests the aid of such brave peoples to venture eastward of his keep into the Forsaken Vale to locate and exterminate the threats, that you may be rewarded for your efforts with riches and experience. But beware: rumors tell of members of an evil Star Cult or worse making their homes in the caves said to house those you seek. You may well discover why they're called...the Caves of Chaos.

Day 4, October 14th/712, 2:50:18 PM[edit]

This is where I will keep track of daily things, like living expenses, healing, etc. The header will keep track of the day, date, year and time.

Storm will arrive around Day 4, October 14th/712 at 4:30:00 PM.

  • Jack Living Expenses: Free
  • Wfoz Living Expenses: Poor (1 gp, 4 sp Day 1-7)
  • In'Za Living Expenses: Poor (1 gp, 4 sp Day 1-7)
  • Decca Living Expenses: Poor (1 gp, 4 sp Day 1-7)

Combat: Round 0[edit]

This is where I will keep track of combat things, like initiative, effects, etc.

Initiative:

Death Saves (Bad/Good): Jack N/A, In'Za N/A, Wfoz N/A, Decca N/A, Stella N/A, Remei N/A, Gerald N/A

Day 4[edit]

The Caves of Chaos[edit]

DM. (90 XP for returning the ogre's head.) Nog leads you to the other end of the valley, down a worn path switching back and forth up the steep slope to a cave mouth, near which the trees are bloated and twisted. The cave opens into a deathly still corridor with high, vaulted ceilings. Red strata interlaced with black veins run through the hewn rock walls. You hear sporadic groaning and shrill piping from within. Nog himself remains a safe distance from the mouth, but points inside to affirm that you've arrived at the proper location.

Jack. I sighed, "Priests. They'd do anything for their god and just irrate me," I look over at Nog and, in a tone that seems less menacing that before, even kind, say, "Vinxa. Yth kashor dout letoclo .(Thank you. We appreciate your help.)"

In'Za. In'Za draws his sword. "Perhaps we should send in a scout? Remei seems like a good option."

Remei. "Happy to. The entrance is not guarded, no reason a weary traveller might not enter out of sheer curiosity". I take off my scale mail and dagger and hand them to Stella for safekeeping "can you look after these for me, my friend?" I cast an eye around the group, checking all are happy with the plan. "Anything in particular you think I need to be looking out for, apart from obvious hostage Princesses?"

Wfoz. Looking at the corridor, and what the priests have built in this dangerous environment, Wfoz's spine becomes jittery. "Thiz will be dazngerouz. They capttured the prenzezz, so why not you too, Remei? I guezz we have to try it, zince we do not have an altterznateve plan... I wanzted to say we were workkeng with the koboldz, but that will not work without the kking. Try to get more enformattiozn about their relattionz with the koboldz if you can."

Jack. "I would go with you, if you'll have me. I have something I wish to know and it is safer. I am not known as the Forest Phantom for no reason, after all. I can keep an eye out for any... situations and stay out of sight."

In'Za. "Decca, perhaps you should go with them. Having a spellcaster along would be useful."

Remei. "My main advantage as a scout is that I am as good a fighter unarmed as not, and able to outrun or out-climb opponents rather than fight, as few can match my speed. If I go unarmed, alone, then I can gather what information I may and leave quickly if things go wrong. Jack, your stealth probably outstrips mine, but if cornered I expect you would fight... Would you want me to make good my escape and fetch the others to our aid? The same would go for Decca. Alone I know my responsibility: to save my own hide. In a group I think our strategies will diverge and had best be thought through beforehand." Having finished this uncharacteristically long speech, Remei folks her paws neatly under her chin in a contemplative way, and looks enquiringly at her fellow adventurers.

Stella "I couldn't agree more! Remei's a perfect scout to send in, no loud hooves to give ya away. Also Remei we've known each other for some time now so if there's anything ya need ta say to me just say so" She laughs to herself

Jack. I nod slowly, considering Remei's words, "True... Hmm. Very well, what say ye to me leading? If we are discovered, I could intervene while ye flee and get help. Me stature would likely draw any attacks and it is possible that these priests are capable of magic. If I have learned anything about magic from me brother and sister, as well as me own kind, its that magic is far reaching. Be best if they have something to focus on," I consider my eords before, "But run quick if we do this, even dragons can be overwhelmed, as yesterday reminded me."

Wfoz. "Bee safe, Remei and Jackk. We will wait a little ways backk, away from the corridor." After wishing the scouts success, Wfoz turns back around with the rest of the party the way we came. After a good number of yards, Wfoz begins to setup a small campsite among the trees and boulders.

Remei. Smiles broadly and wiggles her ears at Stella, and nods acknowledgement to Wfoz and Jack, and follows Jack into the cave.

In'Za. In'Za follows Wfoz and helps him set up camp.

Jack. I tuck my pouch into by backpack, then set it to the side of the entrance. Pointing to it, I say, "Move it if ye want, but do not touch anything inside," With that, I enter the cave, followed by Remei.

DM. Gerald glares at Jack, but remains quiet. While Decca, Gerald, Wfoz, Stella and In'Za stand guard outside and build a campfire, Jack and Remei scout the inside of the cave. However, roughly 20 feet inside the well-hewn cave (notably better-carved than the primitive kobold cave), the path intersects a long corridor 20 feet wide. 60 feet to the north, you barely make out a couple of doors to the north and east, with a 90 degree turn to the west. Approximately 60 feet to the south, the corridor turns diagonally to the southwest. The faint stench of death seems to emanate from the south.

Remei. I nod slightly down the north corridor and raise my eyes questioningly at Jack...

Jack. I narrow my eyes and glare down the south corridor, but glance at Remei and nod, slowly heading north. Stealth check?: 1d20; 7+4=11

Remei. I follow Jack. Stealth check 1d20+3=14. When we get to the doors I will take time to listen and smell outside each one, before cautiously looking around the corner down the corridor to the SW.

DM. From the north door, Remei hears conversations discussing demons, but nothing from the east door. (I'm assuming you mean the west passage, because Jack and the doors are to the north.) The western passage slopes noticeable upwards before splitting north and south again, but Remei can make out a distant, faint groaning from around the southern bend. She also smells a faint whiff of...rotting flesh?

Jack. I kneel close to the north door to see what I can hear, while gesturing for Remei to keep watch.

DM. Jack can make out the sounds of 5 or so people talking on the other side of the door, but can only discern a couple intermittent, the most notable of which are "demons," "sacrifice" and "altar," but can't understand any particular phrases or sentences.

Jack. I glance at Remei and hold up 5 finger, but held up my other hand, constantly changing the number of finger on that hand. After that, I pantomime stabbing someone laying down and gesture to the south with a questioning look.

Remei. I shrug and nod and set off to the south to investigate. Stealth check 1d20+3=14

Jack. I make what passes for a frown, but take the lead. Stealth check. 1d20; 9+4=13

DM. Jack and Remei sneak down the corridor some 130 feet until they reach a stretch of corridor some 60 feet long, boulders, rocks, sand, and sandbags blocking the south end. To the west, Jack sees red-streaked stone that contains black veins forming the walls of a chamber, from which he and Remei can hear an occasional groaning. To the southeast is a hall which appears to be an audience chamber, but it is deathly still, though Remei can make out some armor-clad statues against the southeastern wall.

Remei. I glance at Jack and raise my eyebrows questioningly, whilst moving slightly toward the sound of groaning. (Stealth check 1d20+3=7) My attention on Jack, I stumble slightly on a loose stone beneath my feet...

Jack. I freeze and began listening, my eyes sweeping the area to see if we were detected. Perception check. 1d20; 15+1=16 If I don't find anything, I move to the wall and begin studying the wall, trying to find snything about it (Not sureif this is Investgation or Perception, so here are rolls for both) Investigation check. 1d20; 14 Perception check. 1d20 (advantage); 10+1=11

Remei. I whisper to Jack "this seems too easy, too unguarded..."

DM. Remei and Jack attempt to sneak into the western chamber with its walls of red-streaked, black-veined walls. However, as they enter the room, they immediately see the source of the groaning — to the north and south walls are lined 4 zombies each, all clad in filthy red-and-black striped uniforms and several of them carrying cleaver-like battleaxes. Jack doesn't have much time to investigate the walls before the begin to shamble before Remei. (They're still far enough away that even if you lost initiative, you could outrun them. So unless you plan to fight 8 zombies alone, I won't make you roll for initiative.)

Remei. "Time to go" I say quietly to Jack. I sprint at my full speed (take dash action 80ft/round running or climbing) back the way we came towards the cave entrance, assessing the cave walls as I go, ready to switch to climbing if it will get me out without fighting. (Stealth roll if allowed 1d20+3=11)

Jack. I follow Remei's example and begin sprinting for the cave entrance (60ft as a dash). I keep watching straight ahead, just in case somethings there.

DM. Though Jack and Remei's escape to the cave mouth is quick, the sound of their running audibly echos through the hall, the increasingly agitated moaning of zombies trailing behind them. The rest of the group, having spent just a few minutes working on building a campfire, sees the rushing Jack and Remei exit the cave. (At last, the party is reunited!)

Remei. "Eight zombies behind us, likely another five priests alerted, maybe more" I gasp as I reach the others a little way ahead of Jack. (What is the terrain like around the cave mouth? Do we have a better option than everyone just picking up weapons and fighting at the cave entrance? Any high ground, cover for those with ranged attacks, places we could draw zombies out to (perhaps by leaving only Jack and I to draw them on, as if alone?) How far behind us are they now- surely our speed has gained us a few heartbeats of thinking time?)

DM. The valley slopes roughly 25 feet above the mouth of the cave before leveling off. Though there are no trees right around the cave, there are a few decently-sized rocks that could be used for cover. Remei estimates that the zombies could be here in a minute or so, assuming they didn't lose track of you.

In'Za. In'Za stands and draws his weapons, moving close to the cave and readying the Dodge action for when the zombies emerge. "I'll take the first wave of the zombies' attacks. Everyone else, get behind me and be ready to attack."

Jack. I move to position myself next to In'Za, readying to Attack with my claws at the first enemy in reach, "I knew something was happening. Zombies and demons, those priests will taste my claws, each and every one," I vow, glaring at the cave.

Wfoz. I jump up from the campfire at the sight of the returning scouts. After hearing Jack and Remei mentioning the zombies, I hide behind one of the big boulders and ready my crossbow bolt to fire at the first sight of a zombie. Shakily I say, "I guezz thiz meanz that you did not find anytthing. Maybe the koboldz have the princezz after all?"

Remei. I'll scramble above the mouth of the cave so I'm out of sight but in position to drop down on anyone emerging/ fighting In'Za and Jack in the cave entrance.

Jack. I give a rueful laugh at W'foz's words, "Sure, unless the words altar, sacrifice, and demon means nothing."

DM. Not too long afterwards, you all begin to hear the groans of shambling undead stumbling towards the mouth of the cave. The size of the entrance is such that only two may emerge at a time. As two of them approach, Jack slashes at one with his claws for 9 damage. Wfoz shoots the same zombie as Jack hit, dealing 8 damage. Remei tackles the same zombie for 7 damage, killing it and placing herself at the forefront of the melee as well.

In retaliation, the zombies attack with their axes, scoring two critical strikes against Remei for 22 total damage, bringing her to within an inch of death. The zombie besides Remei slashes at Jack for 3 damage.

In'Za. In'Za puts a healing hand on Remei's shoulder, restoring 5 hit points. "Remei, get back!"

Jack. (Remei's unconscious, she has 8 hit points at max) I grunt as the axe hits, causing me to lose scales. I grab Remei and attempt to pull her out of the cluster (if I cab't actually do that, I will make two attacks on the zombie between me and Remei. 1st attack. 1d20; 4+4=8 Second attack. 1d20; 15+4=19. Hit. 1d4; 2+2=4 slashing damage.

(She's not Ko'd anymore, I just healed her)

Remei. Coming round, I disengage and crawl to the nearest cover.

DM. In'Za helps Remei disengage the zombies, while Jack slashes the zombie. Another one moves in, but neither hits Jack or In'Za.--GamerAim Chatmod.png (talk) 09:07, 31 October 2017 (MDT)

Jack. I, none too happy about my lost scales, make two attacks to disarm the zombies (can I use my bonus action that way?) 1st attack. 1d20; 16+4=20 2nd attack. 1d20; 14+4=18

Wfoz. I strike at a zombie, keeping behind the large boulder, choosing to duel it. 4 + 5 = 9. My arrow flies off the crossbow, aiming right for a tree.

In'Za. In'Za discards his shield and makes a two-handed strike against the zombie closest to Remei. Attack: 18 Damage: 6

DM. Jack disarms two zombies whom Wfoz and In'Za both hit. The zombies attempt to slam against In'Za and Jack, but miss.

(What is the initiative order?)

DM. (It's basically zombies then everyone else. The zombies are stuck at the entrance to the tunnel, so it doesn't really matter.)

In'Za. In'Za slashes at the zombie again. Attack: 10 Damage: 3

Wfoz. I align my crossbow to another zombie, choosing to duel it. 1d20, 9 + 5 = 14. The bolt flies into it for 1d8 + 1d6 + 3 = 1 + 5 + 3 = 9 damage.

Jack. I attack the zombie Wfoz hit (if it is dead, I go for the one In'Za is fighting) 1st attack: 1d20; 8+4=12 Hit. 1d4; 2+2=4 slashing damage. Second attack: 1d20; 7+4=11 Hit. 1d4; 3+2=5 slashing damage.

Remei.Shaking a little, I stand to test my strength, and then attack the closest zombie (attack 7, damage 5)

DM. Two more zombies are downed and two more line up to the slaughter, missing both of their attacks.

Wfoz. I notch my crossbow. The bolt flies at the zombie I am duelling 1d20, 4 + 5 = 9, for 1d8 + 1d6 + 3 = 3 + 6 + 3 = 12 points of damage.

Remei. Retreating a few steps as I'm still weaker than I would like, I fling my dagger at the nearest zombie 1d20+5=12, damage 1d4+3=7

DM. Remei and Wfoz down another zombie, bringing the total down to 4 as another one lines up and both miss.--GamerAim Chatmod.png (talk) 08:22, 20 November 2017 (MST)

In'Za. In'Za slashes at a zombie. Attack: 14 Damage: 11

Jack. I attempt to grapple with one of the zombies. 1d20; 2+4=6 (I think I failed). "I hate zombies!" I growl at one.

DM. In'Za kills another zombie, but the other one rebukes Jack's advances. Another zombie lines up and slashes In'Za for 8 points of damage.

In'Za. In'Za roars in anger and attacks the zombie. Attack: 8 Damage: 11

Remei.I attack the closest zombie with my bare paws double attack:9,18 Damage: 7,7)

DM. In'Za and Remei kill two more zombies, but the last one moves in and hits In'Za for 8 damage, knocking him unconscious.

Jack. I make two attacks on the zombie using my claws. 1st attack 1d20; 3+4=7 2nd attack 1d20; 17+4=21 Hit. 1d4; 4+2=6 slashing damage

Remei. Seeing In'Za fall, I'm suddenly really angry and focussed. I attack the remaining zombie with my double bare-paw attack 1d20+5=25 critical hit!!! 1d20+5=19 (for 4 and 7 damage respectively)

Wfoz. I lower my crossbow, and run over to In'Za. "In'Zza! Can anyone heal In'Zza? In'Zza iz our healezr, but not likke thiz!"

In'za. Death Save 1 Success, 19. Although In'Za is unconscious and bleeding, he seems to be breathing strongly.

Wfoz. Not getting a response from the party, I try to stabilize In'za. My attempts to stop his bleading do nothing. Medicine, 1d20, 1 + 1 = 2.

DM. Remei kills the last zombie. Wfoz fails to heal In'Za, who seems close to stabilizing on his own.

In'Za. Death Save 2 Success, 17. In'Za doesn't seem to have suffered any life-threatening injury, but he's still in danger of bleeding out.

Remei. I rush over to In'Za and, tearing strips off my cloak, bind his wounds firmly. medicine roll 10+3=13

Jack. I approach and choose to Help Remei, "If we can make sure he doesn't bleed to death and get him to wake up, I can make a... poultice that can help him recover, given rest." (The poultice is Jack's explanation on how his injuries can heal and scales regrow without any sort of real medical attention during a short or long rest. It is made of local plants.)

DM. In'Za is successfully stabilized, though still unconscious. Rotting corpses have begun to stack at the entrance to the cave, but the party seems to be out of danger for the time being.

Remei. Wiping my paws carefully on some nearby grass, I look around me and something sinks in for the first time. "Where are the others? Decca, Stella and Gerald?"

((In'Za will wake up in 5 hours.))

DM. At that, the party hears pained screams from inside the cave that sound unfortunately similar to Gerald and Decca. (Is the party going to wait for In'Za to heal, or what?)

Remei. "Let me find a safe place to hide him from hostile eyes. I can catch you up" I say to Wfoz and Jack. I grab In'Za under the arms and start dragging him back into the cover of nearby rocks. When I've done that I'll use a branch or my cloak to brush some dirt over my tracks before dashing to catch-up with the others.

Jack. "Smart, but someone has to keep an eye on him, in case he wakes up or something finds him," as I say this, I collect my bag and check to ensure everything's there.

Remei. momentarily paralysed by indecision, I look between Jack and Wfoz. "You're staying here?" I ask Jack. "I won't last two minutes in there alone!"

Jack. I chuckle, then grimace, "Neither would I when me scales look like this," I pluck a bit of broken scale as emphasis, "We need to rescue Decca and Gerald before they're sacrificed to whatever demon those priests worship, but I'm not stupid. I know when I'm pushing it." I nod at In'Za, "I also know well enough that nothing hidden stays that way in a forest like this and I don't trust the denizens of this part of the forest. Ye two, and perhaps Stella if we can figure out where she's at, go do what ye can. Unless ye really want me to come."

Wfoz.. "We reellzy got ourzelvez into ttrouble... I don'zt thinkk that Decca and Gerald will be huzrt right awazy, zo why don'zt we rezt at our campsite? We needd our ztrenthh rightt now, not speed."

Since we are all in agreement, Wfoz helps carry In'Za back to the campsite we had setup earlier. We set In'Za down on a flat surface, and I make a small fire. I find a nice place where I feel the warmth of the small fire, and where I can keep a good eye on over our campsite. I let the party know that they can rest now, and that I will keep my eyes open for danger.

Jack. (Not sure about that in agreement part) "Those weren't cries for help, Foz. They were screams of pain. I would guess someone has very much been hurt."

Remei. I look at what remains of my party, and assess my bruised and bloodied self. I sigh heavily. Then settling myself down next to In'Za so my body heat can aid his rest, I cover us both with my cloak. "Thanks for taking first watch Wfoz. Wake me when it's my turn." Then I curl myself into a tight ball, paws tucked neatly in, and fall asleep immediately.

Jack. I watch Remei, then sigh, "Suppose I can't argue now," I glance at the cave, then at the sky, "That storm should be here soon. Unless this whole business is just messing me up..." shrugging, I extract a folded leaf from my bag and open it to reveal a paste, which I lightly apply to my injuries. After covering said injuried with leaves, I sit down with my back to the wall and start watching.

DM. Just as Jack predicted, the storm soon arrives, though Wfoz' fire is adequately protected enough to last the night. Aided by the warmth of cloak and fire, In'Za awakes about 14 hours later, around 5 AM. The party was left surprisingly dry and unmolested overnight, leaving them well-rested. Though the Autumn sun will not fully rise from behind the hilly landscape for another few hours, there is enough light for even those without darkvision to see.

Jack. I peel off the leaves and nod at the new-grown scales in satisfaction, "That's much better. Now, are ye all feeing well? If ye are, we have companions to rescue."

Remei. I wander around the campsite whilst chewing on some provisions. When Jack speaks I nod, but continue scouring the area looking for any useful healing herbs (I am proficient in medicine and survival) until Wfoz and In'Za wake and ready themselves.

Wfoz. I wake up near the fireplace coals, rolling over and standing up. I flutter my bug wings, shaking the dirt off. "Good mozrning matez" I yawn as I begin to gather together with my party members. When everyone is together, I ask everyone how they are doing, and what we should do first. "We can eithezr go talkk to the kobboldz king and tell him that he liedd to us about where the cultiztz are, and led uz into a demonicc undead cavve, or look around for our party. Of courze, maybbe the kobboldz have seen our missing party memberz."

Jack. I scowl at the cave, "I do not believe he lied. There are people in there that worship a demon of some sort. If that princess of yers was captured, it's by them."

In'za. In'Za wakes up and walks over to Jack and Wfoz. "What happened? Where is Remei?"

Remei. Seeing everyone congregate, I hurry over to join them.

Wfoz. Learning how certain Jack sounds, I agree to his plan to go into the cave together. I gather all my supplies from around our campsite, kick some dirt over the coals, and try to make our campsite look as least conspicuous as possible. I lead the remaining party members to the cave entrance, and the pile of dismembered zombies. "Evverzyone readzy?" I ask the party.

In'Za. "Yes." In'Za picks up his shield from where he dropped it before.

Jack. I nod, then glare at the zombies, "We should expect more of these."

Remei. Fastening my cloak around my shoulders and unconsciously checking each dagger, I nod at Wfoz. "South to the chamber? Or shall we go kick down some of those doors?" I raise an eyebrow at Jack. "I wish I still had my scale mail, I think the time for running and hiding is past" I mutter to myself, as an afterthought.

Wfoz. "Let'z go kickk down the doorz, since I hope that there are prizonerz behind the doorz." I check all the equipment strapped over my shoulders, tightening the straps and making sure my weapons are easily accessible. "I thinkk that thiz will get really loud, matez", and I lead the party down the passage towards the doors.

Jack. "This should be fun," I give a faint grin.

DM. At the north end of the main passage is the aforementioned doors — one to the north, one to the east, and a sloped passage leading west. Through the north door, the party hears muffled conversation about "a priest and a shrub" and a "stay of execution." You discern no noise coming from the east or the west.

Jack. I whisper to my companions, "The north door. We need one alive, to... inform us."

In'Za. "I agree. And be on guard for spellcasters."

Wfoz. I walk up to the north door, and try to silently open it. Stealth, 1d20, 20 + 5 = 25. Critical success. I silently make my way into the room, taking a ready action to attack the first monster that comes at me with my rapier.

Remei. Stealth 1d20+3= 21 Slipping noiselessly into the room behind Wfoz, I ready an unarmed strike...

In'Za. In'Za steps inside the room with Remei and Wfoz, readying a longsword attack. Stealth: 1d20 (disadvantage) = 9

DM. Wfoz and Remei sneak quietly into the grand chamber. It's funished with hard pallets, a glowing brazier, a wardrobe, a water pail, a waste bucket, stools, and a table, on which stands a flagon of win and several cups. Surrounding the table are the voices heard outside: five acolytes dressed in red robes with black cowls. Unfortunately, In'Za bumps into the door on his way in, alerting the acolytes. Wfoz and Remei seize the moment and strike at one of the acolytes, killing him. In'Za's sword pierces the stomach of another acolyte, dropping him to the ground as well. The remaining three ready themselves for combat, though their expressions and body language suggest that they'd prefer not to fight.

Jack. Seeing an opportunity, I stroll through the door in a I-can-beat-everything-here-and-I-know-it way. I feign anger as I roar at my companions, "I said, 'Let's see if anyone is here!' By that, I meant knock on the door, not creep in like thieves and then stab people when they notice us!" I sigh heavily, "I knew I should have hired the soldiers, not blasted adventurers," after a moment I look over at the acolytes, "Sorry about all that. Me name is Jack. I've been hearing about funny things happening around here, so I thought I'd take a look. No one was supposed to draw weapons, but these three have been antsy since we were ambushed by zombies. So, again, I'm sorry about that." (Deception check 1d20; 13+1=14) (Worth a try)

DM. One of the acolytes speaks up, warily, "What is thy purpose here, reptilian stranger? Why wouldst thou hire merciless bands to infiltrate our Unholy chambers in thy first place? Do thou not know this is a place of worship, protected by our Covenant with the wretched hives of scum and villainy surrounding? Thou wouldn't be associated with the recently captured shrub-woman and traitorous priest, wouldst thou? I beseech thee to lay down thy weapons and follow me whenceforth unto my Master, that He may cast judgement."

Jack. I give a faint smile before sinking comfortable into a similar speech, "Ah, it hast been long since the olden tongue graced mine ear," nodding, I continue, "Southward, there art tales of murderous beasts with the heads of dogs. I come to seek truth or falsehood to such tales. But here alone, amongst the creatures the tales spoketh of, I heard tell of those of faith unholy whom maketh home in these caves. Thus, here I am. I didst indeed hire these fools, which doth includes the plant and priest of whomst thou speakth," I glare at my companions, "Thou weren't to draw blade, but there be not a thing to be done for it," I return my attention to the acolyte, "I hear thy plea and accept, and do command those whom serveth me to do also."

Wfoz. I slowly lower my rapier, saying "if you zay zo Jackk..." I sheath my rapier, keeping my weapons with me. "Lead the way, and zorry about kkilling your frienzd."

In'Za. In'Za plays along, speaking to Jack once in an unknown language, then saying again in Common. "Will I still get paid?" Deception: 17 + 3 = 20

Jack. "Yes, you will get paid," I sigh.

Remei. Tightens her lips and narrows her eyes at Jack to signal her misgivings, but relaxes her fighting stance slightly. If possible she is going to remain at the back of the party as they are led wherever they are going.

DM. The acolytes lead the party through the rocky tunnels into what appears to be an evil chapel. The floor of this imposing chapel is a checkerboard of ebony and scarlet. A tapestry on the south wall depicts a desolate landscape of dead trees and barren rock. Demonic silhouettes hold aloft a struggling child in the foreground. The dark sky is torn by wisps of purple clouds, and red dots in the form of skulls and burning eyes leer over all. Four black pillars support the domed ceiling. Between them, just in front of the tapestry, is a stone altar of red-veined black rock, rough-hewn and crusted with dried blood. Upon it are four ancient bronze vessels — a shallow bowl, a pair of goblets, and a vase-like pitcher. All glow an ugly purple.

Standing before the altar, his back to you, is a dark priest clad in a black cape and red cowl over red robes, raising a glowing staff as he chants in some unknown tongue. He is surrounded by four dark adepts dressed in red robes with black cowls. The backs of their robes are adorned by the symbol of a blood-red star. Behind the dark priest, you can roughly make out a man being held down against the altar — it's Gerald! In the corner sits a woman, tied-up and helpless. Though her skin and purple gown are covered in soot and dirt, there's a high-born nobility to her clothes, and her skin is otherwise fair and unblemished. Just to her left is the still, lifeless corpse of Decca, sporting numerous recognizable bite marks.

Just a few feet into the room, the dark priest stops chanting and turns around abruptly, and as he does so you note that a dagger is but inches away from Gerald's heart. Disrupted by your appearance, he raises a hand to delay Gerald's death and shouts at the acolytes you entered with in a cold, horrid voice. "For what reason doth thou disturb the sacrifice, lowly filth?! Canst thou see it is nearly finished whilst thou art supposed to be in thy quarters awaiting mine instructions?" The head of the acolytes speaks up, softly, "Y-yes, High Priest, b-but these intruders killed thy fellow acolytes in cold blood, so we thought thou might wish to punish thine transgression." The high priest looks you over, "Hmmmm, thou art clearly not natives of this remote land. State thy purpose in slaughtering mine subservient stooges."

Jack. I nodded, but take a moment to smell the air, "Ah... the smell of blood. How it invigorates!" I smile, then begin speaking to the High Priest, "Thou hast mine apologies for the deaths of thy minions. Amongst the kobolds, there was word of priests of dark faith whom walked amongst these caves. I was curious and sought those priests out. Thou art the priests I speakth of, of course. It wast unfortunate that we were attacked by the undead. Several of our number vanished and the rest left injured. After we hadst recovered, we ventured here to seek out the fates of our missing companions" I gesture to Decca's corpse, then to Gerald, "There lies one. I see that thou art about to sacrifice the other. Please, do so. He hast served his purpose and hired hands require no payment if they have not life. But, as I was saying, the undead hadst made anxious those servants still with me. So much so that mine command went ignored and blades were drawn, to the death of two of thy minions." I take another moment to gaze around the room, "Wouldst thou grant me a question? I know of a number of dark gods whose priests hide in remote sanctuaries, but none whose sigil is a star of crimson. To whom doth thou give these sacrifices?" Deception check? 1d20; 2+1=3 (I really hope that I didn't need that deception check...)

Wfoz. I blurt out, practically yelling at the cultist "Why are you zacrafizing these people? We waznt you to tell uz why, and give uz thoze who are not with you pleaze!!" My eyes end up on the princess, hudled together, her royalty nothing more than a facade now.

Jack. I sigh, then roar at Wfoz, "Ye brain-dead, rotten-scaled IDIOT! Did it occur to ye that we could have learned what we were dealing with AND surprised the high priest while he attempted to sacrifice, what's his name... Gerald? The priest might have even survived!" I just shake my head, "Nevermind. Let's just kill them and get this over with." I begin stalking forward, pointing at the high priest, "And ye! I'm going to make good on me promise. Ye dare to threaten me forest, me home, with ye magic and rituals? Yer mine!" (No offense. Just roleplaying there.)

DM. The high priest's face turns from caution to confusion to anger and he draws his mace, shouting "FOR THE STARS!" The acolytes behind him stab Gerald through the heart, and the rest prepare themselves for battle. The high priest swings his mace at Jack, smashing into his scales for 7 damage. One of the priests that led you into the chamber strikes Wfoz from behind for 4 damage.

Jack. I grunt in pain as my scales essentially shattered, "Ye know what yer doing, filth!" I attempt to grapple the high priest. Athletics check. 1d20; 15+4=19 If I succeed, I am going to essentially use him as a shield and prevent him from attacking.

Wfoz. I recoil from the back strike, turning around and drawing my rapier. I say "You won'tt havve all of uz you zcum!", as I choose to duel the acolyte that attacked me. 1d20, 8 + 5 = 13. If the acolyte attacks me again I will use my reaction to get +2 AC.

Remei. I leap at the accolyte closest to the Princess, doing my double unarmed attack 1d20+5=21, damage 1d4+3=5, and attack 1d20+5=6 (that's got to be a miss, surely!)

In'Za. In'Za rushes over to Jack and levels his weapons at the acolytes, readying an action to attack if any of them tries to interfere with Jack's grapple, or attacking the high priest if the grapple fails.

DM. Jack grapples the high priest, forcing him to drop his weapon. Wfoz misses his target, but Remei knocks hers clean out. With In'Za and Jack holding their leader hostage, the acolytes hesitate to attack (they don't attack this round).

In'Za. In'Za shouts to the acolytes. "Surrender your weapons or your priest dies." ((Intimidation Roll 16 + 3 = 19))

Wfoz. I take a ready action to attack a cultist if they do not surrender.

Jack. I growl, but say nothing. If I can, I place a claw on the high priest's neck.

Remei. I flex my paws and size up whichever accolyte is closest to me, readying my double unarmed strike...

DM. Though the claw is pressed against his neck, the priest shouts, "Drop them, now!" After the acolytes drop their weapons, the high priest asks of you, "What do you want? Our lives, our treasure?"

Remei. I walk quickly across to the Princess and cut her bonds, saying softly but firmly to her "stay with me, I will protect you", and pressing my dagger into her hand. Then keeping her behind me, I turn and flash my eyes and sharp canine teeth at the priest and accolytes, readying to unarmed strike at anyone that dares oppose me.

Wfoz. I gather up the dropped weapons (what weapons are they exactly?), and cut off the bonds on the other prisoners. I let Jack know that he can let the high priest go, as soon as the princess is on her feet and out the door. To the princess I say, "It'z time to go, your heghnezz, everyone iz worried to death for you. I hope that you arre well enough to gett moving." As she gets up, I hurriedly open the chamber door for her. Perception to see what's out there. 1d20, 20 + 3. Success.

In'Za. Is the room being lit by braziers? If so, In'Za takes a torch from a brazier and ignites the tapestry, then he throws the items on the altar across the room.

Jack. Whether or not In'Za lights the place, I refuse to release the priest, "Ye are coming with me. I assure ye that no harm shall come to ye while ye... escorts us out of these caves. But if something happened to happen, well, I can't assure yer safety if that happens. But trust me. I always honor me vows."

DM. Wfoz gathers the steel maces and peers out of the chamber, but sees no dangers outside, and the princess leads the other prisoners out of the chamber. The high priest winces as In'Za lights the tapestry, but as soon as In'Za starts to throw items, the high priest mutters to himself, "Master Crowley, forgive me," and attempts to escape Jack's grapple by elbowing him, but Jack is able to retain a firm hold on the priest. At that sign, four acolytes run to surround In'Za, three of them making connecting punches for a total of 3 damage.

In'Za. In'Za raises his sword grimly and slashes one of the acolytes lightly as a sort of warning. Roll: 1d20+3 = 21, Damage: 1d8+1 = 2 ((Intimidation roll?))

Jack. I growl threateningly at the priest, "Is this how it is? Fine. Let me be clear. I want to rip out yer throat. I want to rip out yer throat very badly. Unfortunately for me, ye might be useful for me companions. I could care less... but for their sakes, I restrain meself. But know this. If ye attempt to flee again, me claws will be painted red. Do I need to explain this more simply, Priest?" my voice is filled with scorn, clearly displaying how much I despise him.

Wfoz. From the doorway, with the princess safely in the hall, I draw my crossbow and take a ready action to attack a cultist if they strike In'Za again. "Trzy that agaizn, and you will be in a lott of problemz" I say to the cultists. "Mayzbe you are uzed to killingz your prizonerz, but unlike you we arre not. Don'tt make the wrrong choice here, if you kznow whatt I meanz."

Remei. Hesitating near the doorway (I was following the Princess and the prisoners) I instinctively signal my anger with a series of piercing, high pitched shrieking barks...

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