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Campaign Summary
Campaign Summary Genre: Fantasy
System Used: D&D 3.5
Style: 50% Roleplaying / 50% Combat
Current Players: 2
Desired # of Players: 5
Game Location City: Centreville
State: Virginia
Zip Code / Postal Code: 20120
Country: USA
Game Times Frequency: Weekly
Days of Week: Saturday
Online Game Details Online Game?: No
Additional Options Looking for Players?: Yes
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Thread: Nador: Volencia Rising

  1. #1
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    Nador: Volencia Rising

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    I'm running an epic-level 3.5 D&D campaign on Saturday nights from about 6:45 to midnight. We meet weekly. We're looking for one or two mature, cooperative players who like to play good-aligned characters. We do have hack and slash, but I give out a great deal of experience for roleplaying and storyline advancement, so a character background tied to one or more of the campaign's story lines matters more than character optimization for combat. A new character will start at about 21th level. You can contact me at AdmrlLocke@aol.com. Please put something about D&D in the title so that I don't accidentally delete it.

    Edit: A new character now could start as high as 26th level, with enough experience to put him or her half way to 27th level. As an alternative, you could have your new character start at a lower level and work up. The lower the level the faster the character would rise at first, but the harder a time he or she would have staying alive during a combat encounter. The party could, of course, use true resurrection to bring back the character, and as the party has great goodness and generosity, I'd expect that they would. Also I would tailor some encounters so that the low-level PC got to confront the low-level minions of the epic bad guys the party combats, or have the two mature adult red dragons accompanied by some wyrmlings who go ofter the low-level PC. I just offer starting lower as an option for someone who prefers to play the character "growing up," as a few people have suggested over the years that they like to do. You can, as I say, start as high as 24th level now.

    Edit 2: Ignore the man behind the curtain! You can start as high as 29th level now!

    Edit 3: You can now start as high as 30th level.

    Edit 4: You can now start as high as 32nd level.

    Edit 10/6/2014: You can now start as high as 34th level.
    Last edited by CelestialBarbarian; 10-06-2014 at 05:27 AM. Reason: Update Starting Character Level

  2. #2
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    Volencian Adventure Teaser

    Here's the adventure teaser I gave out at the start of the campaign in 2002.

    Volencian Adventure Teaser

    On November 29, 2036 of the Second Age of Nador, Elros, leader of the half-elven resistance, forced the government of the evil State of Castor to recognize the independence of the half-elven realm of Maradenne, stretching from the Leetarnon River to the Great Inland Sea. Earlier in the day Gildinróma, eldest of the Great Elves, had slain the avatar of Druaga, the god of Castor, and disappeared. Druaga’s high priestess, Castor, had fled into the ruins of the great temple of Druaga even as Elros’ army surrounded it. When Elros arrived at the gates of the city of Castor, he found that the Wizards’ Guild of Castor, in cooperation with the other guilds, had successfully engineered a coup d’etate against the theocracy of Druaga’s priesthood and created a republic with itself in control of the executive branch.

    When the wizards agreed to recognize the half-elven kingdom of Maradenne, with Elros as king, and to end slavery and human sacrifice in the remaining state of Castor, King Elros took his army and departed across the Leetarnon River, leaving the Volencians under Castorian control. Historians and sages long have debated Elros’ rationale, some defending and others attacking, but perhaps only Elros and a few others knew for sure. The Volencians, in any case, continue to live under Castorian oppression, and the remaining priesthood of Druaga, which managed to secure itself one house in the State of Castor’s bicameral legislature, remains powerful. The priesthood issued a prophecy that Druaga would return in exactly one millennium from his “vacation” and restore his high priestess, Castor, to her rightful place as ruler of the entire State of Castor.

    Although the new Castorian government ruled with less open brutality than its predecessor, it found new and more subtle ways to oppress the Volencians and to a lesser degree the Castorian warrior class, which Castorians generally blame for the State of Castor’s defeat by Elros and his half-elven forces. Subtler oppression led to a wave of civil unrest primarily in the Volencian hinterland circa 2400 to 2600 SA, which historians (mostly in Maradenne) call the Bandit Period. During the Bandit Period an enterprising Volencian, known only as Ille Latro (“The Bandit”), became the scourge of Castorian tax collectors and a Volencian folk hero from the Leetarnon River to the Eastern Ocean. Castorian authorities made his destruction their top priority, and they claim to have killed him in a pitched battle in 2591, although according to Volencian folklore he escaped to fight another day. Centuries later Volenicans, especially in the hinterland, still speak of his imminent return.

    Centuries after having crushed the only visible Volencian resistance to their rule, the Castorians appear to have grown lax and careless. Small groups of bandits, both Volencians and Castorians, wander the countryside, but rather than crush the bandits again, the Castorian wizards have chosen to let them prey on Volencian villagers. The city of Volencia seems outwardly peaceful by contrast, but rumors of discontent and disappearances bubble just below the surface. Volencians whisper that the half-elves will arrive to grant Volencia its independence, that Volencia will join the Republic of Greater Accylig, that the Empire of the Eastlands will rescue Volencia and make it a duchy, or that Druaga will return and exterminate all Volencians. Your good-aligned character steps (or leaps) into this world of intrigue in the summer of 3035 SA . . .
    Last edited by CelestialBarbarian; 01-08-2012 at 11:28 PM.

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    Volencian Adventure Teaser 2

    Here's the second Volencian Adventure Teaser I give out to people interested in joining the campaign. It summarizes about the first three years of real time in the campaign.

    Volencian Adventure Teaser 2

    A party of adventurers traveled with Pallas Bellius, the son of a Volencian merchant, from the city of Brithomar in the Empire if the Eastlands to the city of Volencia in the State of Castor. Along the way the party ran into Volencian bandits, kobold rogues, Castorian agents disguised as Volencian Militia, Castorian “cleaner” agents, and real Volencian Militia.

    Returning with Pallas to his home, the party discovered that Castorian authorities had arrested his father in the dark of night. The party has not been able to learn of the father’s whereabouts. The party also spotted a Volencian snitch watching the house, and before too long Castorian authorities returned to arrest Pallas and possibly other party members as well. Pallas’ quick-thinking butler, however, hustled Pallas and the party through a secret door that led down to the sewers under the city.

    In the sewers the party ran into and defeated a Castorian sewer patrol on the prowl for Volencian resistance fighters. The party also ran into—and fled from after taking a good shellacking—a clutch of wyrmling black dragons swimming invisibly in the dark and polluted waters. A group of Volencian resistance fighters in the company of Kilrith, an elven archer assigned from far away to aid the Volencians, found the party in the sewers and led them to an exit. As the party hoist Taltos, their centaur barbarian/fighter/psion, toward the surface, a tendriculos—a huge, bizarre carnivorous plant creature—attacked them and ate a couple of the resistance members before the party’s barbarian cleric of Thór, Hrothgar, defeated it with his trusty great hammer, the only weapon that seemed to do real damage to its unnatural, bloated body.

    Exiting the sewers some hours after first entering, the party ran into a Nintonese Nindurai of the royal Ito family, named Durgan (Makoto Ito), on a secret mission to bring covert aid to the Volencians, and his traveling companion, Sir Cecil, a centaur paladin from the Empire of the Eastlands on a similar mission. The party though quickly ran afoul of two Castorian street patrols, slaying both, including the mage leading each one. The next day, safe for the moment in the inn at the Sign of the Silver S’slindor, the party learned that to avenge the death of the two mages and their warrior flunkies, the Castorians publicly executed ten Volencians, gathered at random, for each Castorian the party had killed. There Yamirus Antonitus, the nephew of another Volencian merchant, met the party and, as he had secretly learned the forbidden arcane arts from his uncle Marius, offered his services to the party.

    S’slith, the large, silver, reptilian ranger who along with his wife and offspring runs the Silver S’slindor, gave the party a mission that would take them not only out of Volencia, but out of the State of Castor, in hopes of forestalling more trouble. The party carries a secret message from the self-styled “Government of Volencia”—the Volencian Merchant’s Council—to the King of Maradenne. S’slith has also charged the party with spreading the word to the peasants of the Volencian hinterland that the Government of Volencia has their interests in mind, and with investigating a large drop in trade between Volencia and Maradenne.

    Disguised as a caravan of wine merchants bound for Maralig, the capital city of Maradenne, the party reached the River Leetarnon, which forms the border between Maradenne and the State of Castor and marks the halfway point between the cities of Volencia and Maralig. Along the way the party had many adventures, both expected and surprising. The party learned that some strange foreigners had assassinated the Nintonese mayor of the Volencian village of Lionsmane. The party discovered that the Castorian mages have resumed the practice of slavery and that the priesthood of Druaga has resumed the practice of human sacrifice, both in violation of Castor’s treaty with Maradenne. The party ran into a group of renegade Castorians of the warrior class—rebels against the rule of mages and priests, but still evil themselves—shaking down the Volencians of Lionsmane. The party also discovered and cleared out a base hidden in the Wildwood where the priesthood had been training an army of humanoids—goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, ogres, trolls and hill giants—in secret. Apparently not even the Castorian mages know about the Castorian priests’ secret Wildwood base. A Delnonid (half-elven) archer named Caerwyn, gathering intelligence for Maradenne, joined the party to travel back to Maradenne with them, and assisted them in clearing out the Castorian priests’ Wildwood base. In the base the party rescued Thórsljón, a half-celestial barbarian/cleric/lightning warrior from another world whom the base’s high priest had imprisoned in a ruby. Thórsljón in thanks gave the party a small figure of himself that the party could break to summon him if they ever needed help. He then left with a couple of party members to go to Brithomar and research a way to return to his home world.

    The party crossed through a valley populated by Volencian peasants but ruled by an alliance of Nintonese royalty (the Ito family again) and Cathonese priests of Lei Kung, the evil Thunder Duke. The alliance had driven the Castorians out of the valley. The priests of Lei Kung had destroyed the one large village in the valley that had resisted their rule, and the party connected them to the assassination of the mayor of Lionsmane. The ghost of a dead Volencian priest of Jupiter “borrowed” the body of a Kilrith the elven archer, and helped the party tip the balance of power in the valley from the very-evil priests of Lei Kung to the less-evil Nintonese royalty. Increasingly unhinged by his dealings with fanatical priest of Druaga, however, the centaur Taltos left the party in secret one night while the party was on the way to find the priests of Lei Kung, to make his way back toward Castorian-controlled areas to go on a mass killing spree. The next day his older brother Cecil left to go in search of him.

    When the rest of the party, accompanied by Durgan’s cousin Abor (Umakai Ito), who had been in alliance with the priests of Lei Kung, finally ran into the high priest, the high priest very nearly swept away the whole party with a whirlwind, after Durgan and Abor attacked him with surprise. Durgan managed to dodge out of the way, however, and then finish what he Abor had started. An elven woman named Melia, who had been traveling with the party along with her daughter Luthia, revealed herself to be a mature adult silver dragon when, while chasing after the whirlwind to try to rescue Kilrith and other party members, got sucked in herself. When some nasty green dragons flew out of the Wildwood to investigate, Melia lead them away, leaving Luthia in the care of the party’s Volencian wizard, Yamirus.

    After leaving the valley, the party ran across a good-aligned drow sorceress named Elvira who had just escaped from the Underdark. Only Kilrith knew about the drow—most surface-dwellers having never even heard of dark elves. The sorceress’ family caught up with the party and tried to buy her from them. The party refused. The drow returned and attacked savagely, giving up only after a pitched battle in which nearly the entire party died. Anticipating another attack from the drow, and not optimistic about surviving it, the party broke the figure of Thórsljón and summoned him to help.

    Coming to the First Ravine as the party neared the Great Ravine through which the River Leetarnon flows, the party found the First Bridge held by a kobold force. These weren’t your father’s kobolds either, but rather kobolds of various classes and levels, as befitting a serious military force. The party slew most of the force, allowed the survivors to surrender and flee, and rescued some demi-humans the kobolds had enslaved. Arriving at the Great Ravine, however, the party found not only a greater kobold force amassed there, but also a group of Castorian mages, including an Assistant Secretary of State of Castor named Epcarmet. The party fought a pitched battle with the Castorians and some of the kobolds, barely defeating the mages before retreating, partly in fear of a second drow assault that very night.

    The drow did in fact return early the next morning, shortly before first light. The party fought another pitched battle with the drow that ended with most of the drow, including the party’s good-aligned drow sorceress, dead. A drow wizard (one of Elvira’s brothers, named Elric) teleported away with her dead body, but the party altruistically used a scroll of true resurrection to retrieve her in a second body—albeit without any of her magic items—without letting the drow, who have her dead first body, know that she still lives.

    The party tried several times after the second fight with the drow to return to attack the kobolds on the Great Bridge. Each time the kobolds laid an ambush, however, that taxed the party’s resources enough to prevent the party from carrying out its planned attack. After the departure of a number of party members, including the original leader Pallas, as well as Kilrith and Durgan, on other errands, the newly downsized party teleported across the Great Ravine into Maradenne and went to visit Andris, the home village of the party’s Delnonid (half-elven) ranger, Caerwyn. With Pallas gone, the wizard Yamirus, the party’s only remaining Volencian PC, became de facto leader of the party. At Yamirus’ request, Thórsljón remained with the party, since he hadn’t had much success in locating his home world back in Brithomar, and the former party members working on locating it could do so in his absence anyway.

    Planning to rest at Andris and attack the Great Bridge either from the west or perhaps by teleporting right in the midst of the bridge’s kobold leaders, the party found the village virtually deserted. Signs of struggle abounded and eventually the party found that werecrocodiles apparently had eaten almost all of the villagers, except for a few who had survived and themselves become werecrocodiles. The party went in search of the Caerwyn’s mentor Mallor, in hopes that Mallor might know how to remove the curse of lycanthropy from the surviving villagers. The party arrived just in time to help Mallor, using his bow from well up into a tree, fight a group of nearly two-dozen werecrocodiles.

    Believing that they could cure the remaining infected werecrocs by killing the original natural werecroc that infected them, based on information that Mallor gave them, the party had Mallor lead them into a swamp many days south along the Leeternon River. During the trip south, the party picked up a wemic companion named Mowhran. Mowhran, easily distracted, deviated from his mission to warn his scattered people not to listen to the strange bipedal creature, called a Katori, who was trying to unite them against the “monkeys” (humanoids). Fascinated himself by monkey behavior, Mowhran joined the party on its mission to defeat the werecrocodiles. Alas Mallor led the party into a werecroc trap, as he turned out to be the werecroc leader. (The two-dozen werecrocs he fought back at Andris had been rebels against his leadership.) The party managed to defeat Mallor and the other werecrocs, but not before Mallor killed his protégé Caerwyn. The party resurrected Caerwyn and cured all the werecrocs, but only by using a wish spell, cast by Yamirus, to travel several days back in time to the last full moon.

    After curing the werecrocs the party resumed the journey to Maralig. Along the way party members found a pair of powerful prehistoric wolf-like magical beasts, called brachyuri, which had been preying upon traffic along Dwarf Road. With a great deal of luck, the party managed to dispatch both brachyuri.

    After dispatching the brachyuri, the party finally reached the city of Maralig, capital of Maradenne. Maralig is a wondrous city, built mostly in the boughs of the great mithrilwood trees, which grown nowhere else in Nador. In Maralig the party actually fought a flight of green dragons that attacked the city looking for Melia, the mother of Yamirus’ wyrmling silver dragon familiar, Luthia, who had earlier traveled with the party and rescued Kilrith from the whirlwind. Defeating the green dragons gave the party an in with the military of Maradenne. Yamirus hasn’t yet been granted an audience with King Elros, but while he waits for approval of his request for an audience Yamirus and the rest of the party have accepted a mission from the military to clear the kobolds from the Great Bridge.

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    Volencian Adventure Teaser 3

    OK, this updates the campaign through 8/9/08, our last session. (We normally play weekly, but we had to miss two weeks in a row.)

    Volencian Adventure Teaser 3

    Since the events of the second campaign teaser, the party has gone back and chased the kobold army off the Great Bridge. First the party scouted it out with Caerwyn and Elvira teleporting into the air over the blockhouse, invisible and flying. Then the whole party spelled up and teleported over the blockhouse. The party entered a knockdown, drag-out fight, especially after the kobolds’ Castorian wizard buddies showed up on their advanced griffons to help. The party prevailed without killing any of the prisoners staked out on the roof of the blockhouse. That night, however, the kobolds sent their own retaliation party which also teleported into the air over the blockhouse invisible and pounded the party in turn. (The party decided to stay the night on the roof because they wanted to wait until they were at full strength before braving the likely traps inside the blockhouse). Even though the party lost the wizard and his little dog Toto too (his dragon familiar Luthia) on the second round, they managed to prevail and kill the retaliation party. On the blockhouse the party rescued an insane nymph named Shiara, and brought her back to Maralig with them.

    Later the party returned to destroy the blockhouse, and found an army of maug mercenaries marching to take control of the bridge. The party engaged the mercenaries and their Castorian wizard buddies too. The engagement turned into another knockdown, drag-out fight in which the party prevailed. Attacking Castorian forces on the Castorian side of the bridge, however, got the party fired by the Annonid colonel (Katel) who had employed them to take out the kobolds and then the blockhouse.

    As the last maug lapsed into inactivity, it rattled out, “Hire maugs for all your warrior and guardian needs.” The party found maug sales posters among the destroyed maugs, detailing how to contact the maug, and Yamirus decided that the party should collect all the maugs’ specialized arms and armor, and go sell it back to them. Mowhran got bored, and decided to return to his mission of warning his scattered people about the false words of the Katori, a strange bipedal feline who has been trying to turn the wemics against the “monkeys” (humanoids). Shiara, the insane nymph, disappeared inexplicably at the same time, wandering off to do whatever it is that insane nymphs do when they’re not trying the patience of heroes.

    The party actually used a gate spell to travel to the outer plane of Acheron, where they went to the Maug Recruitment Center to sell back the specialized armor and weapons they took from the maug they had defeated. The trip to the Recruitment Center led to some humorous activities, including a scary but brief run-in with a pit fiend, Lord Kelveron, there to hire maug mercenaries for the devils of Baator. (The party couldn't kill or dismiss him, so they ended up hiding his unconscious body down an unused tunnel.)

    Later Yamirus scryed on his uncle Marius, who had raised Yamirus after what Yamirus thought was the death of both of his parents. Finding Marius in his crystal ball, Yamirus had the party teleport to rescue Marius from what turned out to be a Castorian slave labor camp in the middle of the Wemic Savanna. Marius confessed later that Yamirus' mother is still alive--sold into slavery by the Castorians and now trapped in the Labyrinth on the island of Minos. The Minotaur, they have discovered, is a bastard child of Zeus, stripped of his divine rank and imprisoned in the Labyrinth as punishment for his crimes as king a millennium ago. Marius told them that it's a trap the Castorians laid for him years ago: anyone scrying on Yamirus’ mother gets teleported into the Labyrinth. The magic works like a maze spell, so Marius was able to escape back to the location from which he'd been scrying.

    Yamirus went to the Royal Library in Maralig (the capital of Maradenne), to which one of his contacts, the Volencian wizard Benedictus Clementius, in town had gotten him access, and did some research on the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, which is located toward the south end of the Graikoí island chain. So Yamirus and the party hired Lindir, an expert treasure-hunter, to help them with the tricks and traps they anticipate in the Labyrinth, and they all held hands while Yamirus scryed on his mother. To their surprise, only Yamirus teleported to the Labyrinth and his crystal ball remained behind with the party! Yamirus found himself chased around the Labyrinth by some minotaurs—both dead and alive—until he made his Intelligence check and returned to his point of scrying.

    So the party decided to travel the old fashioned way. Actually the expert treasure-hunter they hired, an Annonid name named Lindir, was able to describe a location in the Graikoí city of Zeusopolis well enough for Yamirus to teleport the party there. There they found four vessels from which to choose--nobody sails to Minos regularly from Zeusopolis, but they found four captains willing to try it: a Graikoí merchant with a galley who would sail along the western (landward) edge of the islands, a very rich Graikoí merchant with a caravel who would sail a western route but out on the open ocean, the Graikoí captain of an old fishing boat run by his extend family who would take an inner route through the islands, and a Northern Blóthfólk captain of a longship willing to take a route along the eastern edge of the island chain. The party's two Northern Blóthfólk members wanted to take the longship, while the two female members wanted to take the luxurious caravel. Yamirus wanted to take the galley at first because he thought the old fisherman was cracked, thought the Northern Blóthfólk captain had no idea how to get to Minos, and thought the ocean-going captain was charging too much. After they got suspicious that the galley was actually run by slavers, however, they ended up taking the fishing boat, Delfini, after all.

    On the Delfini they set sell the next day on a three-hour tour. Just kidding. They did set sail the next day, and not long thereafter the pirate galley, the Spathi, overtook them, shooting catapults and ballistae at the Delfini. When the Spathi got into range of Yamirus’ long-range spells, he basically wiped out the whole crew with a sunburst spell. Two pirate officers, however, teleported, invisible, into the hold of the Delfini. Hrothgar, now a barbarian/cleric/thunder priest, went down in the hold to help Lindir, who had stayed down there to keep out of the way on deck, and the two slaver officers flanked Hrothgar and killed him with some nasty, magical sneak attacks.

    The party fought off the invisible slaver officers who then teleported back to the Spathi. The party spelled up and (the live members) teleported to the deck of the Spathi, where they picked off or accepted the surrender of a few pirates who had managed to barely survive the sunburst. A horde of howler demons came up from below and attacked the party. The party also had a nasty fight with the Spathi’s slave master, Damen, a frenzied berserker, who just wouldn't die. Alas the party member with the calm emotions and hold person spells had died back on the Delfini, so Thórsljón, the party’s half-celestial barbarian/cleric/lightning warrior, grappled Damen and after a bit of a struggle tossed him overboard. Damen though managed to climb back on board for another assault on the party, but Yamirus finally finished him off with a disintegrate spell.

    The party descended to the second deck of the galley, the rowing deck, and there fought a couple of bebilith demons. The bebiliths looked scary, and gave the party a bit of a fright, but really were no match for the party. The party took the key to the slaves' chains from the dust that remained of the slave master and unchained one slave, who started to free the others. Then the party descended to the hold. In an aft room they found the two officers who had attacked them on Delfini--and a half dozen female slaves chained to the walls (preventing the party from using area of affect spells). The two officers, again invisible, managed both a readied action and an attack of opportunity against Thórsljón, but he was tougher than Hrothgar (and had the protection of a stoneskin spell) and survived. Lindir tumbled into the room but they counter-tumbled and got off their attacks of opportunity. They savaged him pretty well, but Thórsljón had put a holy aura on the whole party, and both of the officers missed their saving throws and became blind. Lindir wasn't able to hit one of them even though the officer was blind from hitting Thórsljón’s holy aura. The party eventually, however, managed to kill the two blinded officers, freeing the slave girls and taking possession of the Spathi.

    One of the freed oarsmen, a Nintonese man named Onigato, introduced himself when the party returned to the second deck. He helped tend to the other freed oarsmen and kept ad eye on the ones who radiated evil he could perceive. It turned out that like Thórsljón he too had a half-celestial heritage. When he learned that the party intended to go to the Labyrinth he asked to join. He had been headed there himself to free a princess on the request of his temple of Athena. Yamirus agreed to let Onigato join the party. Onigato requested that the party, if possible, regenerate his wings, which the pirates had savagely sliced off. Alas with Hrothgar dead, the party couldn’t immediately oblige, and Onigato had to await the resurrection of Hrothgar to get his wings regenerated.

    With the help of the Psari, first mate of the fishing boat, Delfini, and some of the freed oarsman, the party brought the Spathi along with the Delfini to the island of Psari’s village, Chorio. At Chorio they made a deal with Captain Kostas of the Delfini that if they would split half the reward for the priates and the sale price of the Spathi with Chorio, he would captain the Spathi to Apopolis, where they could safely free the slaves. Then they left Caerwyn guarding the Spathi while the rest of the party returned by teleport spell to Maralig to get Hrothgar resurrected and to sell the great store of booty they took from the pirates. In Maralig Hrothgar finally opened the first temple of Thór ever to grace the city, and with help from Elvira and her greater teleport spells, transported some low-level clerics of Thór from his home town of Marka›bær, located far up north in the Icelands. Hrothgar’s activities delayed the party’s return to Chorio, frustrating Yamirus and angering Captain Kostas of the Delfini, who had just pulled up the Spathi’s anchor to set sail for Apopolis when the party reappeared in Chorio.

    With a skeleton crew of the only ten of the freed oarsman who could sail and captained by Kostas, the party took the Spathi to the Graikoí city-state of Apopolis, notorious for anti-slavery and anti-piracy activities. Along the way a poisoned kelp mass snagged the Spathi’s rudder, forcing Captain Kostas to stop while Thórsljón and Luthia went underwater to investigate. During the stop a force of some 40 sahuagin swarmed over the sides of the Spathi while many dire sharks attacked Thórsljón and Luthia. Thórsljón defeated the sharks single-handedly, barely managing to avoid being dragged to drown into the depths, while the rest of the party just barely managed to kill the swarming sahuagin before the sahuagin could kill their skeleton crew and render the Spathi effectively immobile. The party also ran into a gargantuan dragon turtle, which demanded 100,000 gold drachmae in tribute. Yamirus ended up giving it about 107,000 gold drachmae worth of coins and magic items instead. Shortly after the dragon turtle left, three pirate triremes posing as Apopolis naval vessels attacked the Spathi, but with some help from the dragon turtle, which made a surprise reappearance, the party managed to defeat the pirates without losing any of the Spathi’s skeleton crew.

    In Apopolis the party set free all the Spathi’s former slaves, and went in search of the rewards posted dockside for the Spathi’s officers and crew. On the way they heard a loud, booming voice talking to them from out of nowhere. The voice belonged to the Graikoí demigod, another son of Zeus whom the Graikoí call Heracles. Heracles invited them to come wrestle him at a public exhibition he was holding that day for charity. The party obliged, and to roaring crowds Heracles wrestled and quickly pinned in turn Lindir, Hrothgar, Onigato and Thórsljón, each in only three rounds, while Yamirus, Caerwyn, Luthia and Elvira lounged around in an expensive box overlooking the wrestling field. Then Heracles wrestled Hrothgar, Onigato and Thórsljón all at once, and they managed to last five whole rounds before Heracles pinned them all. Then they each wrestled Gregorios, Apopolis’ champion wrestler, but he too defeated them all. Finally Gregory wrestled Heracles, but Heracles had little more trouble with Gregorios than he’d had with any of the party members.

    After wrestling Heracles (or watching Heracles mop the floor with their party mates) the party went to the best inn in Apopolis, the Apollian Way, run by Councilor Themis Tsaosis, whom they’d discovered was offering the reward for the dread pirates Andreas and Adelphos of the Spathi. Councilor Themis treated the party well, and the party met his grandchildren, Adelpha and Eugenios. Adelpha and Yamirus seemed to take a shine to each other. They were interrupted, however, by the arrival of a squad of the Apopolis City Watch, lead by Colonel Erasmus. Erasmus informed them that a Volencian had murdered the Castorian Deputy Consul, and took Yamirus and Themis to headquarters for questioning.

    At the headquarters Erasmus questioned Yamirus in a professional way, showing neither animus nor favor. Yamirus denied hating the Castorians’ guts. Back at the Apollian Way, however, Erasmus’ men questioned the rest of the party individually, and Hrothgar bragged about how much Yamirus hated the Castorians, asserting that if Yamirus has wanted the Castorian Deputy Counsel dead, Yamirus would have done a much better job. Oddly it was Heracles, back at the headquarters, who came to Yamirus’ rescue, losing his temper and nearly getting into a brawl with the City Watch. Heracles insisted that as a god he could see Yamirus during the wrestling match and could verify that Yamirus hadn’t killed the deputy counsel. (Oddly enough, nobody thought to ask Heracles if he had seen who had killed the deputy counsel.) It turned out, in any case, that Colonel Erasmus did not suspect Yamirus at all, but another Volencian with the odd, Northern Blóthfólk name of Bellin Leikr. Leikr had been in Apopolis for several weeks trying to raise support for the Volencian resistance, and had supposedly left by ship earlier in the day, before the deputy counsel was murdered.

    Heracles walked Yamirus back to the Apollian Way, and joined the party for a drink. He offered to stay at the inn for a bit longer and use his godly abilities to watch the party as it made its way back to the docks. Along the way Yamirus heard a voice whisper in his ear, “Don’t turn around.” Yamirus replied, “Bellin Leikr, I presume.” The voice said, “Nah, it’s just me, Heracles, messing with you!”

    The party remained in Apopolis for days in order to attend the award banquet in their honor and to sell the Spathi. Yamirus ended up getting involved (but not too intimate) briefly with Adelpha, the granddaughter of Councilor Themis Tsaosis, with approval from Themis. Yamirus did bring Adelpha along when he teleported back to the vicinity of Maralig, where he bought her an expensive party dress. In Maralig he ended up inviting his uncle Marius, Marius’ mentor Benedictus, and the gold dragon Arandor, whom the party had resurrected after a nasty fight with three green dragons. Yamirus was able to use the banquet in Apopolis to undo the damage among popular opinion that the murder of the Castorian Deputy Counsel had done to the cause of Volencian independence from Castor.

    After selling the Spathi for a pretty penny—unfortunately to the one heavily pro-Castorian wealthy family of Apopolis—Yamirus bid Adelpha a fond farewell and the party teleported back to Chorio to resume their trip to Minos in the Delfini.

    That night in Chorio the party observed a flame and some thunder in the south, and Captain Kostas informed them that Mount Aetna had erupted, a bad omen for their trip. He warned them that when Typhon wrestles with the bonds Zeus placed on him under the mountain, evil spirits escape and sane people stay off the water. Yamirus, however, wouldn’t be deterred from continuing the voyage to rescue his mother, so they set sail the next day southward on a route that would, unfortunately, take them right by the Isle of Aetna on the way to the Isle of Minos.

    Many miles south of Chorio’s island, a fiendish megalodon attacked the Delfini, snatching poor Lindir right off the deck, and then swallowing him! When Onigato, the Nintonese half-celestial monk the party had rescued from the Spathi, dove into the sea to save Lindir, the megalodon bit him right in half! Thórsljón dove in too, and the megalodon got a death grip on him he simply couldn’t break. When it fled deeper to avoid the deadly arrows of Caerwyn and the spells of Yamirus and Elvira, it took Thórsljón down with it. Yamirus summoned an elder water elemental, and Hrothgar summoned a water elemental “monolith,” and Yamirus shapechanged into a greater water elemental. The three water elementals gave chase to the megalodon and eventually killed it, freeing Thórsljón. (Lindir, in bad shape, had already managed to cut himself free and swim toward the surface.) A regular old dire shark, drawn by scent of so much blood in the water, showed up shortly thereafter, and Yamirus got a good taste of unaccustomed melee combat, using his elemental form to smash the dire shark to death.

    The Delfini sailed on, encountering a wall of fog. Kostas, knowing their current, open expanse of the Graikoí Sea so well, said they could sail in the fog for about another day, which they ended up doing. The next day he had his son and first mate, Psari, drop anchor—and something grabbed the anchor (or anchor chain) and started pulling the Delfini forward toward an unseen reef! Psari couldn’t release the jammed chain mechanism, but Yamirus disintegrated a 10-foot length of the chain, releasing the Delfini just in time for Kostas to steer away from the reef into the lagoon and partly up on a beach on the Isle of Aetna.

    That night, a strange, glimmering ship approached the Delfini in the lagoon. As it closed on the beached Delfini, the party prepared for battle, although the strange ship offered no obvious threat. When Kostas and Psari noted, however, that it looked like the Marvos Drakon o, a pirate ship burned to the waterline by its rivals on the Spathi, Yamirus said through his message spell in multiple languages so that everyone could understand, “We have a pirate ghost ship coming!”

    Will the party ever get its audience with the king of Maradenne? Will they even reach the Labyrinth on Minos, much less rescue Yamirus’ mother? Will they survive, more immediately, the encounter with the deadly ghost ship? If your character joins the “worst heroes ever,” as Durgan once called the party, he or she might just live to find out. ☺

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    Wow! Some of the situations would be worth listing on the "Making Failure Cool" thread, on the Ask The GM forum. I am eagerly awaiting to see what happens when they get to the labyrinth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cplmac View Post
    Wow! Some of the situations would be worth listing on the "Making Failure Cool" thread, on the Ask The GM forum. I am eagerly awaiting to see what happens when they get to the labyrinth.
    Wow! Thanks for the compliment! What are some of the situations that would qualify for the thread? (I've never seen it, but even if I had, I'd still want your opinion.) Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CelestialBarbarian View Post
    Wow! Thanks for the compliment! What are some of the situations that would qualify for the thread? (I've never seen it, but even if I had, I'd still want your opinion.) Thanks!

    The best one that I liked was when Yamirus was the only one that ended up at the Labyrinth when he was scrying. That was a good twist as opposed to saying that it just didn't work. Would have been cool to hear the comments of the rest of the party when you told them that they were all still standing there except for Yamirus. Nothing like throwing them a curveball.

    The Ask the GM portion of the site is up towards the top of the forums. There is the part that everyone can access and read the panel's replies to the question and then give their own response. The other part of it is only for those of us on the GM panel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cplmac View Post
    The best one that I liked was when Yamirus was the only one that ended up at the Labyrinth when he was scrying. That was a good twist as opposed to saying that it just didn't work. Would have been cool to hear the comments of the rest of the party when you told them that they were all still standing there except for Yamirus. Nothing like throwing them a curveball.

    The Ask the GM portion of the site is up towards the top of the forums. There is the part that everyone can access and read the panel's replies to the question and then give their own response. The other part of it is only for those of us on the GM panel.

    I'm glad you liked it! I did go to the thread you mentioned and read a few before getting back to work.

    Yes, that was quite a shock for Yamirus. He's used to having the protection of the whole party, and suddenly he was alone. He ran into a couple of undead minotaurs that scared the bejezzus out of him! He could easily have dispatched them with a higher level spell (I think he was 20th level) but he had no idea how he was going to get out or how long it might take, so I think he mostly fled until he figured out how to get out of the "maze" and pop back to his starting place. Back at the party, I said, "Yamirus vanishes, and his crystal ball drops to the ground." The guy playing Caerwyn, as I recall, said, "Um..."

    Edit: Do you see any other events that qualify as making failure cool? Would you suggest posting something on that thread or referred them here?
    Last edited by CelestialBarbarian; 08-31-2008 at 05:33 PM.

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    I would definately post that one on the thread itself. I will have to reread through them to find the other ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cplmac View Post
    I would definately post that one on the thread itself. I will have to reread through them to find the other ones.
    Thanks, I did!

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    I've never run an Epic campaign before, is it much different from a campaign starting at level 1? And that being the case, my not having played one before, do you think I would have any issues playing one?

    Your campaign thus far sounds very interesting, and being as it is now, me without a group (or rather with a DM and no one else to play with), I have to go try to find something on my own.

    If you have room, and think that perhaps someone who's not played an Epic campaign woudln't have any issues, I wouldn't mind joining up starting in October.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elridan View Post
    I've never run an Epic campaign before, is it much different from a campaign starting at level 1? And that being the case, my not having played one before, do you think I would have any issues playing one?

    Your campaign thus far sounds very interesting, and being as it is now, me without a group (or rather with a DM and no one else to play with), I have to go try to find something on my own.

    If you have room, and think that perhaps someone who's not played an Epic campaign woudln't have any issues, I wouldn't mind joining up starting in October.

    Hi Elridan! You won't have to worry about running an epic campaign, as I do the running but I generally hear two concerns about starting with an epic level character. Some players worry that they won't have the chance to "grow into the character" because he (or she) has already reached high level. If you're the sort of player who starts a first level with a mechanical idea (such-and-such a combination of feats, classes, etc.) and don't really have much idea of the character's personality, then I agree that starting at 21st level could prove more startling than starting at 1st level. If you're the type of player though who likes to write a 5-page background for your first level character, replete with family bloodlines, motivations, and an esablished history of deeds (many of which the game mechanics wouldn't even allow a 1st-level character to accomplish) then starting at 21st level works out great, as you can actually have a character who, in mechanical terms, plausibly accomplished the deeds in the backstory.

    Beyond character concerns, some players worry that they will have difficulty handling all the options (and rules) available to them at epic level. If you tend to power game, then the extra options won't present any difficulty; I might, indeed, have to rule out some combinations that make the character too powerful relative to the existing characters, whose players largely don't power game. If you tend more toward roleplaying, however, the extra options could provide a little more challenge than you've experienced before, but I'm willing to help with suggestions for making the character more useful if need be.

    So how does that sound?

    Edit: Looking at your profile I see that you haven't played too much before. The player of Yamirus, the party leader, had never played 3rd Ed before he joined my campaign; he had only played 2nd Ed, and I think he hadn't done that for a few years anyway by the time he joined. In fairness, however, he did start with a 3rd- or 4th-level character, not a 21st-level character. I'm willing to help, as I said, and he's very help too, very welcoming of newcomers. I think too that the player of Onigato has useful ideas for game mechanics that he's happy to share. Ultimately though you're in a better position than I am to know how quickly you absorb rules. What do you think?
    Last edited by CelestialBarbarian; 09-12-2008 at 03:59 PM.

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    I think I wouldn't mind taking a crack at it, I pick things up fairly quickly for the most part.

    I try not to power game *too* much, I like to try to build my character based off his backstory.

    I'm up for trying it if you're willing to let me

    I'm going to be away for the next week, going on vacation for the first time in a year and a half, but I *think* I should have internet access to keep going back and forth with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elridan View Post
    I think I wouldn't mind taking a crack at it, I pick things up fairly quickly for the most part.

    I try not to power game *too* much, I like to try to build my character based off his backstory.

    I'm up for trying it if you're willing to let me

    I'm going to be away for the next week, going on vacation for the first time in a year and a half, but I *think* I should have internet access to keep going back and forth with you.
    Great! Why don't you send me an email when you get access, and I'll email you the rest of the start-up files?

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    Update and Experience
    8/09/08, 8/30/08, 9/6/08, 9/13/08, 9/20/08 & 9/27/08


    Last week two potential new players, Andrew and Terry, came to the session, rolled up ability scores for one character each, observed, and helped out. Welcome Andrew and Terry! When I last heard from Aaron, he planned to play an Annonid monk from the Empire of the Eastlands, sent out to help Yamirus against the Castorians. When I last heard from Terry, he planned to play a Northern Blóthfólk barbarian trying to get to the Isle of Minos to rescue a princess or die trying. Terry, however, told me that he hopes to start next week, October 11, as he's in the middle of moving this week. I haven't heard from Aaron since last session.

    In the last Update and Experience the party
    spent the night on Aetna Island after Captain Kostas barely managed to keep an unseen sea creature from dragging the Delfini into rocks unseen in the mysterious fog called the Breath of Typhon.

    That night, exhausted from repairing the
    Delfini, Captain Kostas and his family slept in their cabin. The party slept nearby on the beach, again taking three watches. The fog cleared out on the first watch, and those on watch could see a reddish light flickering high in the distance--Mount Aetna. Lindir said that he thought he could see little dots in the light, but nobody in the party had any desire to go investigate what Yamirus thought could be red dragons.

    During the second watch, Caerwyn, standing on the deck of the
    Delfini, spotted a slivery ship about a thousand feet away in the lagoon moving noiselessly toward the Delfini. He and Hrothgar ran around waking everyone, and when Captain Kostas came on deck, he warned the party that the ship was a brig, a fast, maneuverable ship--not as large as the Spathi but faster and more maneuverable--often used by pirates. As the ship closed to 400 feet, the party took up defensive positions and cast defensive spells, with Elvira, Thalassa and Lindir turning invisible, and Yamirus casting see invisibility. Yamirus prepared to send Luthia out invisibly to scout out the ship.

    Thórsljón asked whether the silvery ship friend or foe.

    As the ship approached and Luthia flew out to meet it, she could see a fiery humanoid skeleton behind the wheel. Caerwyn told the party that he could spot many dark figures on the ship's deck and rigging. Kostas said that the ship looked like the pirate brig
    Marvos Drakon o. Psari said that that was impossible because Captain Andreas and the Spathi had destroyed the rival Marvos Drakon o, burning it down to the waterline right here in the cove of the Isle of Aetna. Yamirus said, "Breaker, breaker, we have a pirate ghost ship" in multiple languages through his message spell. Elvira replied, Maybe we should tell them we defeated the Spathi and placate their vengeful spirits." Realizing that the party faced undead, Hrothgar exclaimed, "By Thor's hammer, I'm better at smiting that turning!"

    A Luthia got closer to the ship, she was able to relay the descriptions of different sorts of undead through Yamirus's
    message spell to Hrothgar. Hrothgar was able to identify all the undead: the many figures hooded in darkness were wraiths or dread wraiths, the translucent humanoid figures were spectres, the whirlwind was a nasty corporeal undead called a ragewind, and the burning skeleton was another nasty undead, an incorporeal undead called an effigy. The ship itself was a ghost. Onigato warned the party that they needed force effects to guarantee hitting the incorporeal undead. As the ghost ship approached, the party spelled up. Hrothgar cast call lightning and started trying to hit one target a round with the little lightning bolts as the extra action granted by the mass celerity that Yamirus had cast.

    Yamirus put up a
    prismatic wall in the path of the ghost ship, but with no mass (i.e. perfect maneuverability) the ship just flew over the wall. Then a celeritized Yamirus flew up and started blasting the ghost ship with offensive spells. Many of the incorporeal undead just phased out, avoiding the spells, but some did get hit. The offensive spells from Yamirus, Elvira and Thalassa did, however, take their toll on the ghost ship itself, especially since Elvira kept hitting it with maximized, empowered magic missiles, and Thalassa hit it with empowered force missiles. Caerwyn's arrows did some damage as well. The ghost ship vanished under the onslaught, to reveal nearly 100 undead.

    The undead swarmed out over the party. Yamirus, closest to the ship, probably got the worst attacks, as a good dozen surrounded him on all sides as well as above and below. The dead captain, the effigy, joined the undead attacking Yamirus, and actually hit Yamirus, inflicting two negative levels and trying to infuse itself into him. Yamirus barely managed to shake off the effigy's supernatural infuse attack. Yamirus blasted the undead around him as well as he could, and then dimension-doored away.

    The ragewind joined about a dozen other undead in attacking the party members and crew on the deck of the
    Delfini, with the ragewind hovering over Thórsljón and using its supernatural whirlwind attack, which severely slashed Thalassa for more than half of her hit points. Thórsljón flew into a shocking rage (hey! I forgot about his electricity damage again!) and managed to destroy the ragewind with several powerful strikes of his holy greathammer. Psari and Thalassa maneuvered so that Thalassa was able to destroy many of the wraiths surrounding them with empowered force missiles, and then Psari was able to heal his wife. Hrothgar managed to turn a couple of the wraiths. Caerwyn, Onigato and Luthia each fought with multiple wraiths, dread wraiths and spectres, finding the undeads' incorporeality difficult to overcome. Elvira used a combination of purfied spells (to avoid hurting party members) and magic missiles to help clear out the mass of undead. Elvira went out of her way not to get Psari or Thalassa even in a purified spell, not knowing for sure if they were sufficiently good-aligned to avoid damage.

    Yamirus dimension-doored onto the beach near Lindir, whispering through his
    message spell, "That captain is nasty. I feel weak and I think it tried to take over my body." As Lindir pulled out his wand of restoration and removed the negative levels on Yamirus, Yamirus suggested that Hrothgar use a mass heal to act as a harm on the effigy. Hrothgar followed the suggestion, hitting the effigy with a mass heal as soon as it came within maximum range, 75 feet. (At that range, unfortunately, the mass heal couldn't also heal anyone on the party's side.) The effigy partially resisted the mass heal, but its flames definitely got weaker. I confess that I can't recall who landed the killing blow or spell on the effigy. If I had to guess I'd guess it was Thórsljón, but that's just a guess.

    The two turned undead fled back out over the lagoon, flying over Yamirus's
    prismatic wall, which then proved a hindrance to the party, so that Yamirus dismissed it. Not wanting the inherently-evil undead to escape and possibly return to harry the party later or to kill innocent fishermen in the cove some other night, Thórsljón flew after them. As I recall, Elvira and other spellcasters actually got rid of them before Thórsljón had a chance. Hovering 30 feet above the lagoon, about 240 feet out from the Delfini's beach, however, Thórsljón saw a mass of tentacles rise up from underwater and try to grab him. One did hit him, but he resisted its attempt to grab him. Back on the deck of the Delfini, Hrothgar spotted the tentacles too and exclaimed, "Something tried to grab Thórsljón!"

    The party rushed to Thórsljón's assistance. He dove on its position just under the surface and hit it. Onigato flew in and hit it repeatedly. When it stopped moving Onigato lit it up with
    daylight, and could tell it had died. Onigato recognized it as being an evil outsider called a scyllan, and after Yamirus relayed Onigato's message, Kostas explained that it was a descendent of the infamous Graikoí sea monster Scylla. Onigato joked about it being only the baby monster, but Luthia suggested the party dive down and look for treasure anyway.

    Experience
    Group I

    90 wraiths [crew] (CR 5) 4 dread wraiths [petty officers] (CR 11), 2 evolved x 3 advanced spectres [ship's mages] (CR 12), 1 ghost ship [ghost template applied to a colossal animated object] (CR 12), advanced dread wraith [first mate] (CR 15), ragewind [slave master] (CR 19), effigy [captain] (CR 20)

    13th: Thalassa 12,336
    15th: Psari 7,116
    20th: Kostas 1,654
    21st: Elvira, Hrothgar, Onigato, Thórsljón 1,078
    22nd: Caerwyn 798
    23rd: Lindir 590
    24th: Yamirus 436

    Group II
    1 scyllan (CR 13)
    21st: Elvira, Hrothgar, Onigato, Thórsljón 78
    24th: Yamirus 30
    Individual

    Caerwyn
    +400 letting the others know he could see many dark figures on the deck and rigging
    +798 group experience I
    Caerwyn total 1198

    Yamirus
    +500 "Breaker, breaker, we have a pirate ghost ship" in multiple languages through his
    message spell
    +200 getting the undead descriptions from Luthia back to Hrothgar
    +400 Yamirus updating newly-resurrected Onigato
    +200 saying, "That captain is nasty. I feel weak and I think it tried to take over my body."
    +400 suggesting that Hrothgar use a
    mass heal to harm the effigy.
    +200 dismissing the
    prismatic wall when it got in the party's way
    +400 relaying Onigato's message about the scyllan

    +1800 marking party positions at the end of the session (6 sessions)

    +436 group experience I
    +30 group experience II

    Yamirus 4,566

    Onigato
    (Quietly raised from the dead by Hrothgar when nobody was watching)+400 warning the party that they needed force effects to guarantee hitting the incorporeal undead
    +400 Keith straightening out fly rules relative to Luthia
    +400 helping put away on 9/13/08
    +400 trying to reason with the hidden underwater creature
    +400 putting
    daylight on the scyllan
    +400 recognizing a scyllan
    +1078 group experience I
    +78 group experience II

    Onigato Total
    3,556

    Bjórnn (Terry's Northern Blóthfólk barbarian)
    +400 Terry helping the players and DM during combat
    +0 group experience
    Bjórnn total 400 (add this to the minimum needed for 21st level)

    (Andrew's Annonid monk)
    +400 Terry helping the players and DM during combat
    Total 400 (add this to the minimum needed for 21st level)

    Hrothgar
    +400 "By Thor's hammer, I'm better at smiting that turning!"
    +500 identifying all the undead
    +400 using
    mass heal to seriously damage the effigy
    +400 "Something tried to grab Thórsljón!"
    +1078 group experience I
    +78 group experience II
    Hrothgar total 2,856 (WOO-HOO! Hrothgar has reached 22nd level!!)

    Elvira
    +500 "Maybe we should tell them we defeated the Spathi and placate their vengeful spirits."
    +400 worrying about hurting the NPCs with even purified spells
    +1078 group experience I
    +78 group experience II
    Elvira total 2,056

    Thórsljón
    +400 chasing the turned undead so they couldn't come back to harry the party or fishermen
    +1078 group experience I
    +78 group experience II

    Thórsljón total 1,556

    Luthia
    +200 "Yami, make me invisible so I can go and surveil them"
    +200 scouting out the ghost ship
    +200 getting the undead descriptions back to Yamirus
    +200 suggesting the party dive down and look for treasure
    +3,995 (21/24 of Yamirus's total)
    Luthia total 4,795

    Lindir (hireling)
    +200 "It's all in a day's work."
    +400 spotting something above Mount Aetna
    +590 group experience
    Lindir total 1190

    Captain Kostas
    +500 identifying the brig as the
    Marvos Drakon o
    +400 explaining what a scyllan is
    +1,654 group experience
    Kostas total 2,554

    Psari
    +500 saying that the
    Marvos Drakon o had been burned down to the waterline by rival Captain Andreas and the Spathi.
    +400 going out of his way to focus his combat and casting efforts to help Thalassa
    +7,116 group experience
    Psari total 8,016 (Woo-Hoo! Psari is only 384 from 16th level!)

    Thalassa
    +400 Wise use of empowered force missiles
    +12,336 group experience
    Thalassa total 12,736 (WOO-HOO! Thalassa reached 14th level!)
    Last edited by CelestialBarbarian; 10-05-2008 at 02:31 AM.

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