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Rialacha Teach Mhorgunna

We have left the containment field …

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… and it's a good thing!!!

As we continue to play through the Lost Mines adventures, my players have come to that point where they are side tracked by the sand box adventure options. They are meant to give the players the opportunity to level up their characters in preporation for the main theme line and keep things from being too rail roadie. I was pleased on how they treated Agatha the Banshee. The players are suppose to woo the answer to Sister Giselle's question from the angry spirit. Will the Cleric literally romanced her with not only the provided jewelry, but added flowers and a dinner date complete with candle light, and romantic music.
I beefed up the orcs to make it more of a challenge which proved to be just enough. My problem came with with the Old Owl Well adventure.

As I perceive this one, as written … You investigate the location and find a Red Wizard controlling zombies doing the hard labor of exploring the ruined tower. The characters deal with the Mage, Haman and depending on the track taken … it goes BAM! BAM! BAM! Kill him and the zombies (Isn't that just a bit redundant?) and you are back in Phandelver before dinner.

This adventure brought back my writing class from way back in high school. I remember Mrs. Spears saying if you are writing a story and you mention a gun … you better at some point shoot the damn thing. So Wizards gave us an adventure that would not even take up a full session. I mean … I get it … Phandelver is only an interdiction to D&D. It is really short compared to the other campaigns. They didn't flesh EVERYTHING out … but then they never do … do they?

And that's okay.

But the big questions you have to ask are why are the mage and his zombies so far away from Thay? What's to explore? And why is Haman so ill prepared? I mean you drag the players all the way out here. The Thayans are looking for Arthirdoil's tower/possibly his tomb and this is it? I'm sorry … I couldn't do it this way.

My first change was to introduce two NPCs … a half orc paladin and Goliath barbarian. They come in all beat up with a tale of how they too were sent out to explore the reports of danger at Old Owl Well. They were soundly beaten and lost their cleric. At this point, the party is still dealing with the orcs at Wyrvin Tor. They notice a lone figure watching their movements. Finally they are approached by the mysterious figure, a zombie with a jewel in the middle of it's forehead. (These items link up to a crystal ball, which allows him to control select zombies and view their location from relative safety) From the gem comes the voice of Haman … inviting them to a parlay.

They are escorted into the main tent, under a flag of truce. There sits the Red Wizard with his foot bandaged being fanned by the cleric, now turned zombie. (This creep-ed everyone at our virtual table out.) When demands for his departure are made he produces documents (false) from the governments of Waterdeep and Neverwinter giving him permission to excavate the area. Haman then drops names of having teleported to Neverwinter to dine with it's leaders. (This gave the idea that he was a higher level than he was and that the documents had some validity) He even claimed that being wined and dined to such a degree had caused his gout to recur. After some bargaining the party was hired to help him explore the secret chambers he had so far discovered, but his zombies are lacking the skills to do. After all the sooner he has his answers … the sooner he and his undead are gone. As a show of good faith he releases the other party's cleric so they can give it a proper funeral.

The cherry on top of this parley was Haman asking the Countess (the party's warlock) in my best Peter Lorrie intimation, if she had ever considered shaving her head. I'm sure if there was an HR class in D&D, I would have been reported for sexual harassment.

The adventurers make it down a secret escape tunnel to the uncolapsed section of the tower. There they faced traps, spiders, a water weird and zombie piranha fish. They discover a cursed library that causes you to read hours upon end ... loosing track of time. They also uncover a teleport circle which while investigating, teleports 3 characters to locations unknown. They make their way through flooded tunnels to the resting place of Arthierdoil.

At this point the barbarian giant comes roaring in and attacks the party. She and the paladin were left up top watching the Thayan. The groups are somewhat confused which allows her to get first blood. Bumperella was charmed by Haman) Zombies then attack as well. After knocking out their former ally and being worn down, they find themselves attacked on both sides by Haman and his zombie body guards … including an undead beholder.

The Battle is epic … no … Homeric!

Just at the end of the battle, the zombie beholder hits Vig (Jim's barbarian) with a second dicinagrator ray and exceeds his hit points. ( I have the player roll to see which eye stalk is used after an hit is determined) Jim goes and says, “OK so I make a death save?” I replied in the negative and described how since they were in a ankle high water, the pile of dust that is now Vig was becoming suspended in the liquid. One of the other players does the death blow that destroys the zombie beholder and the session ends.

Jim took his character's loss well. I even posted the viking prayer from “The 13th Warrior” on our face book page. Jim did this picture to show the remaing crew walking back in sadness.

IMG_4176.JPG

He and I agreed that he would take the giant barbarian female as his PC. When we picked up the next week … something happened to remind me why I love gaming!!!

To tell you what happened, I need to back up and give a little background. When I convinced Jim to play a MU, I got him to play a warlock. For someone who is unuse to playing this type of a character, this class offers an easy entry. However I knew Jim would NEVER play with a devil as a patron. So I had created a bronze dragon that is not ancient but venerable from the Fey lands, with delusions of godhood. Marium is running around Fahrun increasing her hoard by taking a percentage of her protogaes' earnings. At one point, she made an appearance before the crew when aiding the Countess. The polymorphed dragon offers one or two of the party members to make a deal with and I offhandedly had her say … “If you ever want to make a deal … all you have to do is whistle … you know how to whistle don't you. You just put your lips together … and blow.”

So at the beginning of the session, Vince's thief/assassin announces while the party is going back to the chamber, he is going topside. He looks around to assess the situation. He finds the paladin dead with the mortal wound looking suspiciously like what the Goliath had been dealing out. What he did next I did not see coming.

Zevros the thief calls for his god … Mask. No answer. He then says, “I put my lips together and blow. I whistle for Marium.” I was in shock. We roleplayed it … out haggling pretty sharpley. He asks for a wish spell asking that Bumperella was killed by the beholder zombie instead of Vig.

I think Jim was more shocked by getting his character back than by losing him.

Wrapping it up. Arthierdoil turns out to be an unfinished lich confined to a chair, paralyzed. He tells the party, mentally, he is Bathendoll, the brother, doomed to guard his evil brother's soul contained in the brass urn that Haman was ultimately looking for. He doles out a couple of magic weapons that he is using to secretly complete the process of becoming a lich. In his final moments he charges them all to protect the urn and property and names the hobbit as the Warden of the Broken Tower. (It has a nice ring to it … doesn't it) This gives me several plot threads to pull on as the teleportation circle and the library might be something to broker into something bigger and/or a bone of contention among the powers that be. I will also be interested to see what the reactions will be of the PCs, when they find out that their new shiny weapons are facilitating the creation of a lich.

Here are the maps I made for this adventure:

ruined wizard tower1.jpg

ruined wizard tower23.jpg

ruined wizard tower bottom.jpg

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Updated May 4th, 2017 at 23:20 by mhorgunn

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