Jon's 3E D&D Campaign
Key to Entries
Butt Kicking for Goodness
This is the original party, which is going through the "Adventure Path" series of modules.
(We Ain't Afraid of No Goats -- formerly Takin' Care of Business.)
This is the second party, which is going through a collection of adventures from Dungeon
and other places.
This is the party which is going through Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil in the Forgotten Realms setting.
This is a party which involves Ben and George (or Ben and Steve) each playing two brothers. It takes place in the Forgotten Realms.
Here's a cast of characters.
Saturday, June 30, 2001
With the temporary departure of Artemis, the remaining adventurers were looking for a quick and easy way to keep up their battle skills. They found it in Greyhawk, where a landlord needed a basement cleared out in order to rent some property. The dungeon was generated using Jamis Buck's Dungeon Generator. I can't reconstruct all the parameters we used from the printout, but I know that the width was small, the height was small, the room count was "some", the sparseness was "somewhat", the room dimensions went up to at least 8, and there were no secret or concealed doors. Also, the random seed was 1. If anyone can construct the dungeon from that, I'd love to see it.
Biggen, Blackjack and Zook fought through a night hag and her nightmare, some minotaur barbarians and some red slaad before coming face to face with the greatest challenge of the basement, and perhaps their adventuring career. Trapped inside the basement was a mature adult black dragon. The characters scouted out the situation and then prepared for battle. Blackjack and Zook cast spell after spell. Haste and stoneskin proved particularly important. Then they entered the room -- Blackjack and Zook through one entrance, and Biggen through the other.
A furious battle ensued. Blackjack stood toe to toe with the black dragon as it spit acid, clawed and bit at him. He sustained the equivalent of hundreds of hit points of damage. But so, too, did the mighty wyrm as Blackjack used his battleaxe, Zook case spells, and Biggen harrassed the beast's flank. And ultimately, the dragon was slain, and the adventurers left with its treasure.
posted by Jon Grantham 8:09 PM
Wednesday, June 27, 2001
Lord of the Scarlet Tide
Born in Darkness, It Shuns the Light
"Lord of the Scarlet Tide" (from Dungeon #85) found the party in the frontier city of Narwell. Upon arrival, they were attacked by a group of thugs. The thugs were easily dispatched -- except for one problem. The thugs appeared to be transformed by some mysterious fungus, which they used to infect Blackjack.
The party was quickly taken to Captain Timane of the Headhunters, who explained that recently a scarlet tide had washed up from the city's wells. It killed those it came into contact with and then transformed them into "Scarlet Zombies." It was that type of creature which had waylaid the party. Fortunately, the good Captain summoned a priest to cure Blackjack of his affliction. The party was then asked to head into the wells to find the source of the menace.
Soon, Artimus, Blackjack, Zook, and their new companions Fletcher and Ulfgar were immersed in the Underdark. They fought their way past Scarlet Children, a behir, and some unpleasant fungus to make their way to a huge underground lake. They rode across the lake to make their way to the ruins of J'bhulgolboth, a kuo-toa city. They made their way through the ruins to the Crown of Blibdoolpoolp -- the temple to the evil kuo-toa goddess. They fought their way to the top, through kuo-toa and seashell golems.
At this point, Zook and Blackjack turned around. The thought was in their heads that perhaps they missed something by heading through the Underdark so quickly. They soon found themselves locked in a confrontation with Yidrith, a mind flayer who was performing unspeakable experiments. At one point, the illithid had tied them up and was about to inject them with Scarlet Rust, but the two adventurers managed to break free and slay Yidrith.
Soon joined again by Artimus, the party continued back through the Underdark, rescuing the Headhunter Bladestorm, as well as a group of deep gnomes. They then headed back to the temple, where they had a long-awaited reunion with Biggen. They determined that the way to the Tablets of Sifkhu, the magic needed to defeat the Scarlet Lord, lay underwater.
Blackjack first transformed himself so that he could breathe underwater. He then went down alone to explore the depths of the temple, only to be shaken to his core by an encounter with a Kuo-toa Ghost. As his spell began to expire, and resolving that there must be some other way to explore the watery depths, Blackjack returned to the surface.
Soon the adventurers had donned the robes of the deep that they had found, and headed back into the water. They fought a Greater Water Elemental to make their way to the Tablets of Sifkhu and the Chains of True Binding needed to imprison the Scarlet Lord.
Taking these Chains back to the fungus-infested lake, the party swam down into the depths of the lake and performed the Ritual of Rebinding, which sent J'bhulgolboth, the Scarlet Lord, back into his watery prison. For now...
posted by Jon Grantham 8:49 PM
Monday, June 25, 2001
Raiders of Galath's Roost
From the Parchments of Stryker:
The poison is wearing off. I can feel the weakness slipping from my bones, like the hated Drow Raider cloak that I have vowed never to wear again. But my heart is still heavy. The color of my skin and the depredations of my race make me an outcast among outcasts, a dark shadow in a very bright world.
And it has happened again. My new companions - and I hope that I may use such a word - viewed me with distrust and suspicion when they learned of my identity. Even the holy ones among them refused to offer me aid, until they learned of my newfound commitment to Eilistraee - may her blades ever ring with the fierce chimes of vengeance. I can only pray that my actions will serve these companions well, and that they will accept me into their brotherhood. If not, I will wander alone once again, and let the Goddess guide my steps.
I met these good folk in a tavern, where I had spent weeks waiting for such an opportunity. I was desperate for an opportunity to learn of the new Drow raids to the surface, but it was unsafe and unwise for me to travel alone. I cannot safely enter country under siege by Drow, for fear of enemies on both fronts - the abovedwellers would surely mistake me for an evil Raider, and the Drow Patrols. Eilistraee forbid what will happen if they find that I did not perish in that barracks fire.
When I heard these adventurers discussing a foray to a ruined keep nearby, and in the direction of the source of the raids, I was eager to join them on their quest. They appeared to be a sturdy lot - a stout Dwarven holy man; a powerful human warrior; a Svirfneblin holy man or magician of some sort (much to my surprise!); and a striking female enchantress, enchanting in every sense of the word. She is not human, nor is she of my bright sister race.I have seen nothing like her. And I presented myself as a common elf, hoping to gain acceptance and avoid the assumptions and stigma of my unfortunate phylogeny.Or even worse, my death at their hands, as vengeance for the recent Drow raids.
I believed that my disguise was successful, and I joined the party for a morning departure. I began to have doubts almost immediately, however, when none would offer me a ride on one of their horses. I am certainly no burden for a large horse, and I feared something else was amiss. My companions seemed cold and distant, especially the holy ones.
When we arrived at the keep, we first inspected two graves that we located with the aid of some circling vultures. One grave had been emptied by animals, but the other was undisturbed. I insisted that we dig up the body, but the other party members were uncomfortable with the ethics of the act. In my mind, this was clearly not a proper burial site, and the potential for information was far more valuable than the arbitrary, unfounded morality. The gnome was willing to lend me his shovel, but only after I insisted that we could afford the body a proper burial after my search. Such an assurance was unfounded, however. The grave contained the foul remains of a Drow Raider. It carried no other useful information, and I threw down the shovel and suggested that we leave it for the vultures. I felt only a little remorse, and perhaps more for the vultures than for my former brethren - all of them.
When we entered the keep itself, we were promptly set upon by stirges - foul little beasts that we disposed of quickly, but not without injury. The keep appeared to be abandoned, the walls little more than piles of rubble. The bright daylight was a hardship for me, but I could not complain openly for fear of revealing my disguise. Little did I realize that it was already too late for such concerns.
We moved to a corner of the enclosure to inspect a large mound of debris riddled with huge holes. The size of the holes should have been a warning to us - giant ants, larger than we had ever seen - boiled forth from the holes. I am proud to say that we gave no ground, but the Deep Gnome and I were both knocked senseless by the beasts. When I came to, the ants had been dispatched and Kerrick, our mighty warrior, was cleaning his guisarme with a dim smile on his face. Dwarven Stumpwater Jack was performing his healing arts on Roondar the Svirfneblin. When he turned to glance at me, I could see in his eyes that he suspected me - no offer of healing was requested, and none was given.
As the gnome recovered, he cut through the haze of mystery and suspicion that had grown up between us. "I will consider aiding you," he said, "Only if you reveal your true nature." My disguise had failed from the beginning, and I was at a critical juncture. I thought briefly about attempting to escape, but I had come to far, had risked and sacrificed too much, to turn back now. This could be the next step in establishing a life above the ground. "Not all Drow are evil," I told him, lifting the holy symbol of Eilistraee from beneath my chain shirt for the party to see. "You are free to test me by any magical means you desire.I am not evil." I could see in their eyes, especially those of the sturdy Stumpwater, that my admission placed them at a crossroads as well. To my eternal relief, they relented. "I am satisfied," Stumpwater said. But I noticed that he left the Gnome to heal me rather than treating me himself. To his credit, Roondar seemed happy and relieved to have the matter behind him, and I am grateful to him for being the first to accept me for who I may become, not what I was.
As we moved into the center of the keep enclosure, I noticed acorns falling from a large oak tree that had grown up through the rubble. After much climbing and some misadventures with Roondar's fishing net, we finally identified the Pseudodragon that had been taunting me from above. The charming Melissa was able to converse with him mind-to-mind, and he warned us of snakes, ants, bees, faeries and vines beneath the keep. He also told us that parties of raiders rode past the keep every tenday, and my frigid blood went even colder. Could these be Drow Raiders - my first meeting with them on the surface? We decided to set an ambush to find out.
We split our party between the keep and the trees outside its walls, and quickly determined that these were common raiders - 8 humans and half-orcs riding south at great speed. With astonishing efficiency, Stumpwater and Melissa subdued them almost single-handedly. Excepting, of course, those unfortunates first caught by Kerrick's mighty guisarme. Those that weren't senseless from Melissa's powers of Sleep were hopelessly entwined in the very grass that Stumpwater controls. We captured and interrogated the remaining members of the band, and once again Melissa was able to charm them into divulging valuable information. There is a portal in the woods - of the very type that the Drow have used to launch their forays into the surface world - and it joins to a stronghold of these raiders. We will certainly pay them a visit at a later date. But my excitement was tempered when the raider professed no allegiance with the Drow. My day will come, but this would not be my way to the gates of vengeance.
The portal appears to be activated by a symbol of the evil god Gruumsh, which was tattooed on some of their hands. I wanted to slice off one of the foul limbs and hold it as both a trophy and a key, but my companions would not permit it. It appears that I have much to learn about their ways, which are much more delicate than my own. Perhaps they can benefit from my influence as well. There is precious little room for mercy in this world.
We brought the prisoners back to the city, in order to exchange them for the bounty being offered across the Forgotten Realms and to equip ourselves for the adventure beneath the keep. Having witnessed my own physical frailty when compared to my companions (other than the gnome), I chose to purchase potions of healing for emergencies. Little did I realize, but proof against poison would have been a better choice.
When we first ventured beneath the keep, we came to a cave with a small pool and a stream running away into the darkness. Although I fought against it, my relief to be below ground, drinking in the cool darkness and the hollow, echoing silence, was like a balm to me. It brought me back to the days before the raids, before the rituals that revealed my skills and the path that had been chosen for me.
My attention was seized by a movement in the pool. Something alive was stirring in its depths. This time, my luck with the fishing net was greater. We captured a peculiar fish-man, who offered us a reward to bring him the head of the pseudodragon. We declined his offer, and once again my kinder-hearted companions voted to release him back to his pool. Although against my instincts, I chose to agree with them. Little did it matter. The fish-man had the misfortune of being released in the direction of Kerrick, whose combat reactions appear to be more finely tuned than his intellect. With another great sweep of his polearm, we were locked in battle with the fish-man. Once again, we may have underestimated our foe - but he made the same mistake. Despite his gouts of fire and acid, only one body was left floating in the pool. And it was not one of ours.
We then searched a room that contained the great snake of which the pseudodragon spoke. With one swipe of his polearm, Kerrick split it in two. This pattern would continue, as we dispatched 3 great ants in the next room. Although not as large as the ones outside, it still took our combined efforts to subdue the beasts, and Kerrick was much wounded in the process. He sustained injuries that surely would have sent me back to Eilistraee, had it been my flesh in their terrible jaws instead. I can only hope that the Choosers had been right - that I am truly blessed with skills beyond those of most of my kind. The blades begin to feel more like a part of me, to sing with the hum of vengeance, but there is so much for me to learn. I feel the skills coming, like the first stars in a dark night. But I must survive long enough to learn them, to refine them. I can't fight like Kerrick anymore, I must keep to the shadows. Darkness itself is a weapon - I must remember that. Unfortunately, lessons sometimes come slowly to the young.
At the end of a long corridor, I detected a hidden door and immediately suspected a trap. I was unable to find a mechanism, however, and pushed the door open with my morningstar. Thank the darkness that I travel a goodly distance ahead of my companions. There was a trap, and a huge bronze gate swung down and locked me in the corridor. Despite all of our efforts, we could neither lift it nor bend the bars. Had the others been walking ahead with me, we could all have been trapped and starved to death. As it was, the others went above ground and located a hidden alternate entrance into the passage (they were able to find it by the sounds of my morningstar pounding upon the door). They apparently entered through a verdant cave and battled a vicious, sentient vine. I do not know where Stumpwater was or why he did not use his powers to aid them - from the little I have gathered, this would seem to be his specialty. But once again, Kerrick was able to absorb tremendous damage while he and Melissa subdued the creature. I could hear the sounds of the battle and I longed to join them, but I couldn't break free of the bars.
After my release, Kerrick, Melissa and I returned to the only unopened door in the keep. And as we suspected, it scarcely muffled a great humming sound, which we knew to be the bees of which we were warned. Upon forcing the door open, we found the passageway blocked by a sticky, resilient substance that we hacked our way through. We were lucky to live to regret this decision.
We stepped through the portal into a giant honeycomb, and were promptly set upon by 9 enormous bees. Kerrick was stung by one of them, but seemed to shrug off the damage. This may have contributed to my overconfidence, because I leapt headlong into the fray instead of sinking into the shadows. I was stung like Kerrick, but the results couldn't have been more different. My whole body felt as if it were on fire - a fire like full daylight on my silver eyes - and I grew weak. Terribly weak. The searing pain of the creature's poison was nearly the last thing that I ever felt.
But I am proud to say that I did not give up. With the last of my strength I drank one of the potions that I had purchased for just such a moment. Feeling less dizzy - but still weak, so weak - I rejoined the battle. Kerrick and Melissa were holding their own, and I stood with them to overcome the insects. I was stung again, but this time felt none of the fire in my flesh. What is it about this foul toxin? It nearly kills me once, yet leaves me unscathed moments later. And it doesn't seem to harm Kerrick at all. Yet another mystery to explore in this world.
As the echoes of the great bees' buzzing settled into stillness, I looked into the faces of my new comrades. They seemed unconcerned about the risks they had taken, even happy to have faced death and walked away together.
I know not where my new path will take me, or even whether it is the right one to choose. But I have chosen it. And it appears, at least for now, that I will not be walking it alone.
posted by Jon Grantham 11:05 PM
Saturday, June 23, 2001
The Standing Stone
Butt Kicking for Goodness' most recent adventure was The Standing Stone. It was also the least successful, both from a party and a module point of view.
The party headed to the town of Ossington to investigate why nobody from the village had shown up for the fair this year. (Also, interesting reports of haunting ballads had reached them, and Aramil, in particular, was keen to find their origin.) While on the road to Ossington, they came across a horsemen running down a pair of villagers. The horseman rode away before the party could defeat him.
The next day, they made it to Ossington, where they found a town of people seemingly beaten down by fate. They met the Cuckoo, who claimed to be the source of the haunting ballads. They met Elder Murdows, who blamed the problems in town on attacks from the horseman, as well as a murderous rampage from the wild elves of the forest.
As if to confirm that, an elven arrow soon struck Elder Murdows dead. The archer and his companion managed to escape. The party talked to Tully and Dyson, two retired adventurers who lived in the town. They tracked the elves through the woods, engaging in some hit-and-run combat with the elves and their allies.
After getting sidetracked with a warlord's tomb, they found the resting place of the horseman. He turned out to have a holy symbol of Pelor, so they gave him a proper burial. Dim, in particular, was insistent upon this.
At this point, the party had grown weary with this area. The villagers did not radiate evil, but neither did the elves. Their battle seemed without motivation. The villagers had been under attack from what seemed to be a ghost of a paladin, so helping the villagers didn't seem like it lived up to the "Goodness" portion of the party's name. Confronted with this moral ambiguity, the party left the area to its own devices.
In truth, most of the villagers were animals that had been turned into "faux humanoids" using the spells inscribed on the standing stones. Dyson and his fiendish ally, the Cuckoo, had non-detection spells protecting them from detection. The horseman was a wandering paladin who had investigated the murder of the original villagers, before he himself was murdered and left unburied. The elves had protested the disruption of the forest by removing animals and turning them into faux humanoids. They were ruthlessly cut down under the cover of parley. As a result, they were not willing to talk to anyone.
In the end, all of the misdirection designed into the adventure just wore the players down -- which was probably the best "in-character" reaction they could have. Nobody seemed to be "good guys" here, and the clues were buried so far down that it was not worth digging any further.
The four main characters ended the party with average level 7. The next adventure, "Heart of Nightfang Spire," will likely start at 9th level, so we will probably need to play an adventure out of the "Adventure Path" series before continuing with these characters.
posted by Jon Grantham 5:39 PM
The next adventure featured Melissa, Stumpwater Jack, and their new companions Kerrick and Percy in Ever-Changing Fortunes from Dungeon #85. The party was waiting to get into the town of Dorr, when a kobold named Akara came to beg people to help him. He was chased by a town guard who tripped. Finally, he was chased by Percy, but got away.
Soon, he returned and hid behind Melissa's skirts. He conveyed to them that his people were in need of help. The party agreed to help and went with him to the Vision Peaks. Along the way, they were attacked by bandits, who they killed or chased away. At the mine, Akara led them in via a hidden passage. Once in, they battled fire beetles and kobolds. After defeating the kobolds, they discovered that Akara did not consider himself to be a kobold. Rather, he considered himself to be a dwarf, since he had been raised by dwarves.
It turned out that the dwarves had raised Akara as one of their own, hoping that he could help control the kobold prisoners they had working in the mine. "Unfortunately, the nurturing that assured Akara's good alignment also made him passive. Unable to subjugate his kobold brethren, Akara became a mascot of the dwarven clan."
The kobolds eventually revolted and took the dwarves prisoner. After the party defeated the kobolds, however, the party was able to free the dwarves, who threw a feast in their honor and presented each of them with 20 copper ingots (worth 1 gp each) and one masterwork item.
posted by Jon Grantham 2:54 PM
The Burning Sage's Demense
This was the inagural adventure for this party of adventurers, which included Kobort, Melissa, Phelps and Stumpwater Jack. The characters set off to investigate the failure of a wizard to appear at the Festival of Fire, where he was to have selected his new apprentice. So they set off to the Obsidian Keep.
After an encounter with some azers, the party ran across a troll. The troll proved to be the end of Kobort and Phelps. Melissa and Stumpwater Jack turned tail and fled. They vowed never to speak of this again.
The Burning Sage's Demense was from the Adventure Contest at Eric Noah's Unofficial D&D 3rd Edition News.
posted by Jon Grantham 12:59 PM
Cast of Characters Updated
I have updated the cast of characters to include level increases, as well as the new party, which I'm calling P3 until it comes up with a name for itself.
posted by Jon Grantham 12:42 PM