The Guardians – Episode 14: The mother ogre, the son ogre and the seven-headed hydra

This week’s PCs:

  • Aragorn – male human fighter, level 4
  • Brioche – male human thief, level 4 (sort of)
  • Diana – female human fighter, level 3
  • Elfred – female elf cleric, level 4
  • Fredo – male halfling thief, level 4
  • Hermione – female human magic-user, level 4
  • Mistamojo – male human cleric, level 4
  • Mystic – female elf magic-user, level 3
  • Oracle – male human fighter, level 4
  • Rusty – male dwarf fighter, level 4

It all started with Brioche unconscious on the floor in front of two very angry ogres. The bigger meaner one was berating the slightly smaller wide-eyed one. The bigger one seemed to be the mother and the smaller one the idiot son who had let a group of adventurers through their lair. 

Diana sprang into action and attacked the ogre boy with her sword. Fredo and Krishna joined in by firing off their short bow and crossbow respectively. Both hit the ogre boy, severely wounding it.

Elfred went to Brioche’s aid and stabilised him. Oracle then leapt in front of Elfred to shield both of them from potential attacks. He swung his magical long sword but unfortunately missed. With each attack, the felt the walls and ceiling shake.

Mystic pushed ahead followed by Hermione away from the ogres and discovered another cavern with an underground steam of running water. On the opposite end was dry ground where a seven-headed hydra was resting beside an iron ladder that seemed to lead back to the surface.

Back with the rest of the group, Diana eventually killed the ogre boy with her sword. This really angered the big mother ogre as she stared ragefully at Diana and bashed the wall beside her. This caused some dust and small stones fell from the ceiling.

Mistamojo theorised that intentionally hitting the walls at the mouth of the passageway could very well bring down the ceiling on the mother ogre and block the entrance. He went to the front of the ogre and bashed the wall with his mace. Some more loose stones fell but it wasn’t enough to make the ceiling fall.

Aragorn followed suit and struck the wall with his two-handed sword. This was enough to send the ceiling crashing around the ogre.

Aragaorn, Elfred, Fredo and Mistamojo quickly stepped back from the falling rubble. A few stones hit Oracle but managed to step away in time and carry the limp body of Brioche back to safety as the mother ogre was crushed under the falling rocks that then blocked the passageway.

Meanwhile in the other cavern, Mystic fired a magic missile at the resting hydra which brought attention to both her and Hermione standing by the lair entrance.

Hermione cast a Web spell at the hydra in an attempt to hold it in place.

Unfortunately, the hydra was not even slowed down by the magical web and it rushed across the water toward the two magic-users. 

They both walked back. Mystic fired off another magic missile and Hermione cast mirror image generating two illusory duplicates of herself. Rusty walked passed them toward the hydra when the hydra breathed fire into the passageway.

Rusty was blasted with fire but survived it. For now.

Meanwhile, the cavern behind them was starting to collapse. The rest of the party started running toward the hydra’s lair. 

To be continued…


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The Guardians – Episode 13: What’s with all the racket?

This week’s PCs:

  • Aragorn – male human fighter, level 3
  • Brioche – male human thief, level 4
  • Diana – female human fighter, level 3
  • Elfred – female elf cleric, level 4
  • Hermione – female human magic-user, level 4
  • Mistamojo – male human cleric, level 4
  • Mystic – female elf magic-user, level 3
  • Oracle – male human fighter, level 4
  • Rusty – male dwarf fighter, level 4

The party entered an ogre’s cave and decided to split up. Mystic and Oracle explored the eastern section of the cavern where they found themselves cut off from the rest of the group in a passageway blocked by collapsed rubble. 

Meanwhile the rest of the party was in a cavern where a living monstrous ooze had revealed itself when they tried to investigate it.

Diana and Aragorn tried to fight the ooze as the others decided to ignore it and walked away from it. Mistamojo opened a flask of oil, poured it around the ooze, lit it on fire and walked away as well.

Having already been damaged by Diana’s magic dagger, the ooze easily died from the fire. The ooze simply flattened to the ground to reveal a glass bottle with coins which Aragorn retrieved.

They soon all walked eastward to determine what had happened to Mystic and Oracle. To minimise the chance of triggering any more traps in the area, they had sent Brioche ahead to scout.

He quickly found the blocked passageway and discovered that Mystic and Oracle were on the other side. Brioche called out to the others to come help clear the rubble so that they might be reunited with the pair (some suggested couple).

Once the passageway had been cleared, they pressed eastward down the clear passageway to see what lies ahead.

They found themselves in a huge cavern with natural uneven stony pillars. Even with darkvision, Mystic, Elfred and Rusty couldn’t see what could lurk behind the pillars. Meanwhile, Brioche did not go with the group. Instead, he went back through the labyrinth passageways to see if there was anything they might have missed.

The group pressed forward into the cavern. But then, a loud cacophonous screeching erupted all around them. Looking around them, they saw giant cave locusts – pale, eyeless cricket-like creatures about 4 feet long. The shrieks were so loud that even Brioche who was far away could hear the annoying noise echo through the tunnels.

Elfred cast a Silence spell on the creatures to quickly quiet them but one was left unaffected. Fearing that the noise might attract unwanted attention, they permanently silenced the remaining insect by killing it. As a precaution, Oracle placed spikes along the path where they had come from. He hoped that this would at least slow down anybody who might attack them from the rear.

But before the caverns went quiet, Brioche saw that there were two angry ogres running down the tunnel towards him. They were angry with the noise that suddenly filled their cave. Brioche recognised the smaller one to be the ogre they saw at the entrance. The smaller ogre was accompanied by a larger ogre who was berating the former. It sounded like this was the smaller one’s mother.

Brioche ran back to the rest of the group as the two ogres caught up with him. The larger ogres easily knocked out Brioche. Those at the rear of the group turned around just in time to see Brioche felled by the ogres.

To be continued… 

The Guardians – Episode 12: Let’s split the party

This week’s PCs:

  • Brioche – male human thief, level 4
  • Elfred – female elf cleric, level 4
  • Fredo – male halfling thief, level 4
  • Hermione – female human magic-user, level 4
  • Mystic – female elf magic-user, level 3
  • Oracle – male human fighter, level 4
  • Rusty – male dwarf fighter, level 4

After fleeing the gargoyles, the group set up camp and spent the night to recuperate. Oracle stood guard and looked around the area. He found a dead mauled body that must’ve been the person they heard screaming earlier.

The night went by uneventfully and they woke up to see that the sky still had an orange hue. They marched on northward hoping to find the lair of the goblins that may have taken the phylactery.

They found a cave after a day’s walk. There found a lot of small foot tracks in the area that could belong to goblins so Rusty investigated the mouth of the cave and declared it safe.

However, when Rusty stepped in, with the rest of the group behind him, he tripped a trap that sent spikes down from the ceiling. It slammed into him but thankfully it did not fatally wounded him. They set aside the trap and continued into the main cave passageway.

A few feet into the tunnel, they saw a smaller tunnel branch out to the east. They decided to stick to the main tunnel and followed the stench of rotting corpses that had become more apparent the further into the cave they walked.

They found an ogre eating sitting on the northern wall of an alcove where the main tunnel led them. The floor was littered with rotted and torn body parts. It wasn’t clear if these were human remains or some other humanoid beings’ remains. The ogre was busy eating what looked like a human leg but stopped when the group entered the cavern.

Elfred went for a non-aggressive approach and talked to the ogre. It didn’t like that they were there but it didn’t attack them. They asked if they could pass through his “home” to look for the “felicity”. The ogre let them pass while it continued to eat the human leg.

The group split up to explore the three tunnels leading out of the ogre’s lair at the same time, to cover more ground quickly. Oracle and Mystic went up the north-east passage, Brioche went in the north passage, and Elfred, Hermione, Rusty and Fredo went down the west passage.

Oracle and Mystic went through some winding passages but eventually found themselves in an ornate room with a bashed-in door. It was a furnished room with a dead skeletal figure sitting in one of the chairs. There were silver goblets and gems on the table. They scooped it up and then left the room via a south passageway.

After walking several feet through the passageway, the ceiling suddenly collapsed on them. A bit of the ceiling crashed on top of Oracle but Mystic was able to pull him out before the passageway was completely blocked by the rubble. They’ve been cut off from the rest of the group.

Meanwhile, Elfred, Hermione, Fredo and Rusty descended into the tunnel to find a fork to the north and what looked like some dark fluid on the floor to the west. They decided to walk around the fluid and went through the north passage instead.

They eventually reached a room that was lit by sunlight coming down from a hole in the ceiling. They looked up and saw twelve blood-sucking stirges hanging from the ceiling. On the ground are a lot of scattered dead leaves and stirge faeces. They tried to cross the room quietly toward the east exit but because of the crunchy sound from the dead leaves, the stirges stirred and descended on the group.

One stirge managed to bite Rusty and stuck to him to suck on his blood. Hermione then cast a sleep spell that put to sleep all the stirges, including the one stuck to Rusty’s back, except for one. Fredo finished off the remaining stirge with his dagger.

During the fight, Elfred accidentally kicked a wooden chest buried under all the dead leaves. She opened it to find two unlabelled potions and several gold and silver pieces, which they divided among themselves. They finished doing that just as Brioche found himself in the same room after wandering through the tunnels.

They continued down the east passage and eventually arrived at a cavern that had the same dark rippling fluid on the ground. From where they stood, they could see there’s a bottle in the middle of the cavern surrounded by the dark fluid.

Hermione wanted to investigate the fluid by extracting some of it in a bottle but that’s when the fluid oozed into life aggressively and moved forward to attack them.

To be continued…

 

The Guardians – The story so far…

Here is a condensed recap of the story so far (up to episode 10) for those who haven’t caught up yet or have forgotten what’s happened so far and also don’t want to re-read the first 10 session reports:


It all started when the town of Landseal was attacked by goblins and kidnapped a few children. The group tracked down the goblins to a long lost mausoleum deep in the woods. (See The Fellowship – Episode 1)

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They went in and saw that the goblins were performing some ritual and were sacrificing the children. The group stopped them but not before the goblin shaman killed himself and released a trapped Lich from underneath the mausoleum. (See Episode 4: Freed more than just the children)

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The group was no match for the Lich. It was looking for its phylactery and they denied knowing anything about it. The Lich then summoned zombies and left the group to die. (Episode 5: What’s a phylactery?)

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The group survived the zombies. They were leaving to go back to town when they met a woman named Zelirith, a mage belonging to the Order of the Box, an order tasked to ensuring that the Lich King stayed magically imprisoned underground. (See Episode 6: Why so many zombies?)

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With the Lich King Kranis Volan set free, she needed to get the Lich’s phylactery quickly from the place where the Order had kept it safe. The group offered to help but they wanted to return to town first to rest and resupply. Zelirith agreed to meet them in town the next day.

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When they returned to Landseal, they were given a heroes’ welcome for saving the town and their children from the goblins. They were dubbed the Guardians of Landseal by the townsfolk and Mayor Noah gave them the key to the town.

After some a night’s rest, an envoy from Baron Andren came to town and invited them to come to the castle for an audience with the baron. They ignored the envoy and went with Zelirith to retrieve the Lich’s phylactery from some hidden tunnel instead. (See Episode 7: Shopping day)

After a 2-day hike, they arrived at the entrance. Zelirith split from the group to distract the gargoyles guarding the place while the group entered the tunnel. They faced a few challenges along the way but they eventually got to the room that would have held the phylactery. (See Episode 9: The elements)

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However, the phylactery was no longer there. The tunnel and the rooms within did seem to have a lot of dead goblins that have been killed recently. They thought that they might have come there before them. (See Episode 10: Where’s the thing?)

Could the phylactery still be in the tunnels somewhere? Could it have been taken away already?

To be continued…

The Guardians — Episode 10: Where’s the thing?

This week, I had 8 out of 10 PCs and 2 of the ones who were in the previous session couldn’t make it. I just said they were knocked out by the iron statues to explain why they couldn’t act.

Also, I’m just super busy this week so I have no time to finish the drawing I wanted to go with this session report. I’m posting the rough sketch anyway.

From left to right (excluding the towering iron statues): Fredo the halfling thief, Mistamojo the cleric, Hermione the magic-user, Mystic the elf magic-user and her mirror images, Oracle the fighter, and Rusty the dwarf fighter. Brioche the thief is behind the iron statue on the left and Elfred the elf cleric is not in view because she’s already through the door.


Fredo and Mystic caught up with the group.

They concluded that they need to match the blocks to the correct pedestal as labelled and then provide the block with the element that they represent. They were hoping that this would open the double doors.

They decided to ignore the iron statues and readied themselves to simultaneously activate the blocks. Oracle stood by the Ventus pedestal to provide the block wind. Rusty stood by the Terra pedestal to provide it with soil he grabbed from the cavern outside. Brioche stood by the Ignis pedestal to provide it with the flame of his torch. Mistamojo stood by the Aqua pedestal to provide it with holy water.

Unfortunately, the iron statues were able to knock Mistamojo and Oracle down before they could activate the blocks. Elfred went to Oracle and healed him back to consciousness while Fredo dashed to Mistamojo to grab his holy water. He also administered a healing potion to Mistamojo which brought him back to health.

Mystic cast the mirror image spell that created five copies of herself and then went to the iron statue closest to Rusty and Oracle to try to get it to attack her instead. The iron statue attacked her but only hit one of her mirror images.

While the iron statue was distracted with attacking Mystic and Brioche, the group activated the blocks in unison. The blocks lit light blue. The iron statues walked back to their original positions and the double doors started to open.

Hermione and Elfred went through the doors and found that there is another tunnel. It went in 15 feet before it ended with a waterfall blocking the passageway. Beside the double doors was a button. Elfred decided to press it to see what happens.

The double doors started to close again and the light coming from the blocks on the pedestal went out. The group started to go through the door quickly. The iron statues were on the move again. Mystic blocked their movement again and lost another mirror image. Fredo ran to the doors and planted iron stakes on the floor to stop the doors from closing.

Instead of rushing through the doors, those standing by the pedestal just reactivated the blocks again. The doors opened once again and the iron statues returned to their initial spots in the room. They all went through the passageway and did not press the button this time.

Hermione and Elfred went through the waterfall and saw that the passageway ends with another set of double doors engraved with images of flames. Beside it was another button. Hermione pressed the button and the doors slowly opened.

Behind the doors was a circular room. In the middle was another pedestal with a shaft of light shining down on it. Opposite the entrance was a large blackened fireplace. They saw on the floor two charred goblins.

Mistamojo approached the pedestal and examined it. There seems to be a small flat block on top of it. They concluded that this must be the phylactery they were after. Elfred cast Find Traps and found the block glowing. She declared that it was also trapped.

Everybody stepped back into the passageway while Mistamojo readied to pick up the phylactery and run for it.

When he tried to lift it, it won’t come off the pedestal and it also made a click sound. Suddenly, a fiery humanoid creature appeared in the fireplace. Mystic shot it with magic missile and it seemed to have been affected.

Before the fire elemental could come out of the fireplace, Mistamojo decided to push down on the block on the pedestal. The block pressed into the pedestal and the fire elemental disappeared. Mystic put a bottle of water on top of the pedestal to keep the block depressed into the pedestal.

They were confused. Where was the phylactery then? They noticed faint blackened footprints leading out of the room and into the passageway where they came from. Were the goblins able to take it? Maybe it’s still underground somewhere. Maybe not.

They’ll have to find out next time.

The Guardians — Episode 9: The elements

The group descended deeper into the dark shaft. Rusty took the lead and went down first. He went down about 80 feet when he found himself in a cavern. The cavern walls and the stalactites were moist. On the northern end was a hole in the wall where a curtain of rushing water was passing through. Elfred tried to look through the waterfall and saw that there seemed to be an open area behind it.

They walked through the waterfall and found themselves in another cavern almost as big as the one they just came from. In front of them were two large heavy metallic double doors. The doors didn’t have any knobs nor handles. On the ground were a couple of dead goblins that were rotting for about three weeks.

Rusty looked around and saw that there were tiny openings to the walls adjacent to the doors. Oracle and Elfred looked into what could be in those openings using a mirror and dark vision. Elfred could see that there was some movement in there but couldn’t quite make it out.

They tried pushing the heavy double doors and it was very difficult. They were only able to move it inches each time. The first time the doors were moved, it made a loud echoing creak. Suddenly, the cavern started to be filled by a swarm of flying insects. Rusty peeked through the small gap between the doors to see that there was a dark room behind the doors and an altar in the middle of the room.

With the insects repeatedly biting them painfully, the group was extra motivated to quickly push the doors open and get out of the cavern. At one point, there was enough of a gap between the doors for Rusty and Brioche to go through. Brioche ran through the waterfalls straight through the gap between the doors and into the next room.

He looked around and saw that the room was roughly octagonal in shape. Opposite the door they came in was another smaller set of double doors with no handles. In the middle of the room was an altar where four blocks with carvings were placed. The altar was surrounded by four pedestals with triangular slots on top. And between the pedestals on the east and west are two 7-foot iron statues that looked like naked Olympians. On the ground were several dead goblins again with blood splattered on the smooth stone floor and walls round them.

The group went in and started pulling the blocks from the altar. Each time a block was pulled, the altar shocked them with surges of electricity. They tried putting the blocks in the slots in the pedestals. The first time they tried it, Oracle put a block on a pedestal where the word VENTUS was written. His block went into the slot but he got zapped.

They took inventory of the room and found that the other pedestals also had words etched on them. The others had the words IGNIS, TERRA and AQUA. Hermione having cast the Read Languages spell could read them plainly as: WIND, FIRE, EARTH and WATER.


Meanwhile, they faced two threats in that room. There were the flying insects coming in through the south door and there were the two iron statues that started to move after they had placed all of the four blocks into the four pedestals. They needed to get through the north door and realised that getting the blocks in the right places is key to doing that.

They tried to rearrange the blocks but nothing seemed to happen. The northern doors remained shut. They noticed that the blocks had a dish-like indentation on one end. They decided that they need to match the right block to the right pedestal and then provide the element that the blocks represent into the dish: fire for IGNIS, earth for TERRA, water for AQUA and air for VENTUS.

Would it work though? Would they be able to open the door before the insects and the iron statues kill them? That’s for next time.

The Guardians — Episode 8: Down the hole

img_0976Zelirith, whom the townsfolk called the Witch of the Forest, led the group to a 2-day trek to the hills where the Lich’s phylactery is kept hidden. She explained to them that they would need to find the cave guarded by winged demon-like statues resembling gargoyles. And in the shallow cave would be a wall of overlapping rocks. Behind it would be a boulder that they would need to lift to reveal the hole in the ground leading to a deep vertical tunnel.

She was not sure exactly what to expect inside as she had not read this in the book left to her by the Order of the Box.

She wouldn’t be able to accompany them down the tunnel because it was protected by powerful magic to thwart powerful individuals from entering and taking the phylactery. She said that she would lead the gargoyles away from the mouth of the cave to allow the group to go into the tunnel unharmed.

Mistamojo asked how she would accomplish this. At that, she created a tall flaming humanoid from thin air and said, “with this.” She walked off with the fire elemental away from view.

Moments later, the group saw a fireball explode near the mouth of the cave. Ten gargoyles rose from the hill and flew to the direction of the source of the fireball.

In seeing that, the group moved closer to the cave and stopped at the bushes just across it. They surveyed their surrounding to see if it was truly safe to cross. What they saw were the rotting corpses of a couple of ogres and lots of goblins. Mistamojo deduced that the goblins may have attempted to get the phylactery a while back.

With the gargoyles preoccupied with Zelirith and her fire elemental off in the distance, Brioche the thief darted across from the bushes into the cave. Encouraged by Brioche’s lead, Mistamojo followed him.

They went behind the wall of rocks and saw that the hole in the ground was no longer covered by a boulder. Iron spikes were nailed around the hole. Each spike had rope tied to it with the other end dangling into the dark vertical tunnel below. They could hear the faint sound of rushing water in the tunnel. Mistamojo threw in a torch and it briefly lit the tunnel as it bounced a few times on some rocky surface and then it was gone.

With the gargoyles preoccupied with Zelirith and her fire elemental off in the distance, Brioche the thief darted across from the bushes into the cave. Encouraged by Brioche’s lead, Mistamojo followed him.

They went behind the wall of rocks and saw that the hole in the ground was no longer covered by a boulder. Iron spikes were nailed around the hole. Each spike had rope tied to it with the other end dangling into the dark vertical tunnel below. They could hear the faint sound of rushing water in the tunnel. Mistamojo threw in a torch and it briefly lit the tunnel as it bounced a few times on some rocky surface and then it was gone.

Outside, Elfred cast Protection from Evil while Hermione cast Mirror Image. Suddenly there were three Hermiones standing side-by-side and mirroring the movement of each other. The rest of the group tried to cross into the cave but due to the commotion they were making, they attracted the attention of two gargoyles. The flying creatures swooped in to attack but Rusty, Aragorn, Diana and Oracle formed a wall to allow Elfred, Mystic and Hermione to go into the cave safely.

Oracle tried to shoot a gargoyle with his long bow but he snapped his bow’s string. Rusty tried to shoot a gargoyle with his short bow but missed badly. Meanwhile, Hermione remembered from her magical studies that non-magical weapons are ineffective against gargoyles.

She passed on that knowledge to her team. Oracle and Rusty already have magical long swords so they switched to that. Hermione and Mystic both handed their magical daggers to Diana and Aragorn.

Oracle and Rusty were both hit by the gargoyles but they were able to hit them back with their own swords. Hermione and Mystic fired off magic missiles which were effective. One gargoyle tried to attack Mystic because of this but Diana was able to kill it with the magic dagger as it flew low past her. Rusty finished of the other gargoyle with ease.

Once the two gargoyles were down, they all gathered inside the cave to avoid attracting the attention of the rest of the gargoyles. After some discussion, the group decided to all go down the tunnel using the rope that were already there.
As Hermione and Elfred descended down into the tunnel, Hermione’s mirror images disappeared and Elfred’s Protection from Evil fizzled. Something in the tunnel made magic ineffective.

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At about a hundred feet down, the vertical tunnel widened into a round area where everybody could stand. But in the middle of this round area was another hole in the ground leading into further darkness below. As above, there were iron spikes with rope at the mouth of this hole. The sound of rushing water was louder now.

There was also a corpse of someone in singed long robes. Hermione investigated as it looked like a dead mage. It seemed to have been dead for a very long time as it was mostly skeleton. He was wearing a cloak that didn’t look singed like the rest of his clothing. He also wore a magic ring and a scarab amulet. In his backpack was a spellbook, a magical dagger and 150 gold coins.

The group paused here to decide what to do next. In the meantime, they divided the dead wizard’s possessions among themselves.

Would they all go down the tunnel? Would some stay behind to ensure they weren’t attack from the rear? What else is in store for them underneath? They’ll find out next time.


 

Nine of the ten players were in attendance on Tuesday’s game. I tried a few things to make the game run more smoothly despite the large number of PCs.

  1. We only rolled initiative once and we used that for the entire encounter
  2. I asked for a volunteer to keep track of whose turn it was in the initiative order
  3. I sat at the head of the table again so I could easily talk to anybody on the table without having to turn my whole body just to face them. This also meant I could easily see if anybody wanted to get my attention and say something.