Monday, December 26, 2016

Monday Recap: Dark Water Dealings

Makin' my way downtown
This recap is for my weekly D&D game that happened last Thursday. With the holiday weekend coming up, we decided to do things a bit earlier in the week. Fortunately, I was able to get a couple fun guests to join in and make the game very... interesting.

Spoilers for Princes of the Apocalypse ahead!

This story is part 2 of a series. The campaign was discontinued.
| Part 1Part 2 |

Badgers of the Apocalypse: Dark Water Dealings

Phoenyx Metalbranch, steampunk aficionado
Cast of Characters:
Jon: Dungeon Master
Megan: Phoenyx Metalbranch, Fire Genasi Eldritch Fighter, half-dwarf and loving it
Cody: Arannis Nailo, Elf Cleric of Corellon Larenthian, slightly racist against non-elves
Cait: Amafrey WindRiver, Human Barbarian of the Badger clan, overwhelmed by treasure
Liz: Thaluna Maah, Sea Hag, Lieutenant of the Cult of the Crushing Wave, hates Gar Shatterkeel
Tom: Grurk and Kokurg, two ogres who serve Thaluna, they have strange powers and treasures
NPC: Hunee, Demi-badger, not much different from a giant badger except for the immortality

Tom and Liz are friends of ours, and Tom is a regular member of one of my other quests. Liz is his younger sister, who was in town for the week and requested a spot in the game. I was happy to oblige, especially since I wanted Liz to get a chance to boss around her older brother. Additionally, I thought the players might find having an ally interesting in this leg of the dungeon.

When we last left our heroes, they were creeping through the Temple of the Crushing Wave under the pretense of being the replacements for the very cultists they killed. After fighting their way deep into the temple, they encountered a mysterious stranger with a big beard and an eye patch. He told them they had to go "smooth things over" with Thaluna Maah, the sea hag who was responsible for the dead cultists. They decided to go along with it since they were in dire need of healing and a rest.

Is there anywhere in this dungeon we could buy a shrubbery?
The heroes opened the marked and marred door cautiously. Amafrey was the first to stick her head in, and to her misfortune Grurk the ogre happened to be looking directly at the door when she did so. He scratched his head and asked if she was "shinee". Amafrey slowly shook her head. Grurk, seemingly satified, told Kokurg there was just a human outside, and she wasn't very shiny.

Of course, behind a ragged green curtain was Thaluna Maah, who burst out as soon as she heard there were humans here. Thaluna isn't on good terms with the human members of the cult, preferring the company of her "pets" while she waits for one of the other cults to finish off Gar Shatterkeel for her.

The heroes, expecting confrontation, all burst into the room. However, Thaluna began to admonish them. They were here to kill Gar Shatterkeel, and should leave her alone. The characters took pause, and told Thaluna she was still defiling an ancient dwarven city. They could leave her alone, but she had to leave the city after Gar was dead.

For Thaluna, I decided to use some of the Hag Traits from Volo's Guide to Monsters. Thaluna was very generous with her deals, but she devised great consequences if the deal was broken.

After shaking on the deal, Thaluna realized the goody-two-shoes heroes might accidentally hurt one of her pets while they wandered the rest of the dungeon. Also, if she were to lead them, they could help her "take care of" a couple other troublesome humans to ensure her ultimate control of the cult. So, Thaluna, Grurk, and Kokurg all joined up with the party, with the promise of guiding the group to a healing fountain and then directly to Gar Shatterkeel.
"And just where do ya think yer goin there, boys?"
As Arannis turned to leave the hag's lair, he ran straight into the bearded one-eyed stranger from before! He had his crew with him, and they were wearing the cylindrical backpacks from the brewery.

He chuckled and accused Thaluna of teaming up with the do-gooders to ruin the cult. Thaluna simply screeched at her ogres (and her new companions) to kill the human as quickly as possible, and let none escape! Amafrey strode forward, and with two powerful strikes, lopped the bearded man's head from his shoulders.

The heroes leapt into battle. Grurk, unable to find a way through the doorframe, decided to use the weird mutation he had gained from Thaluna, and vomited acid to make his own doorway. Phoenyx 's heart sank at the sight of a dwarven wall being destroyed, but she had her hands busy taking down the cultists and their backpacks, which turned out to contain the water weirds from the brewery.
Grurk the Vile Vomiter
The weird mutations on Grurk and Kokurg are another idea from Volo's Guide to Monsters. It says that minions who work for Hags are altered by her presence, and she infuses her weird magic into them (VGM pg. 61). I also gave Thaluna and the Ogres some weird magic items, but I don't think they came into play at all.

The cultists were easily dispatched, and Thaluna remembered that the water weirds wouldn't attack those who made the symbol for elemental water. She quickly resealed one the the weirds, and Phoenyx followed suit, ending the fight.

After the battle, the heroes went to work on reliving the bodies of their gear. Arannis dumped one of the water weird from one of the tanks into the fountain in the center of the room, hoping to fill the tank with water from the healing fountain.

Amafrey was about to start picking the gold from the reaver's pockets, when she noticed Grurk was grabbing every gold piece he could find and stuffing them in his mouth. Horrified at the thought of losing gold, she demanded he hand it over or she would kill him. Grurk grinned a golden grin and reached for his club, but Thaluna intervened.

The hag didn't want to see her pet Grurk killed any more than she wanted to see the barbarian smushed over a few gold pieces. So, Thaluna offered a treasure in exchange for the gold lost. She pulled out a dragon bone sword, with a ruby-studded hilt wrapped in dragon leather.

This is probably worth 2000GP, but the best I can do right now is 100.
Phoenyx's eyes bugged out at the sight of the sword. One of her reasons for joining on with the quest was to retrieve a sword lost to pirates, and here it was! Thaluna saw this and suddenly realized that the sword could be a much more powerful bargaining tool. So, instead of just repayment for the gold, Thaluna asked for the guaranteed safety of both her and her ogres. Phoenyx had to talk Amafrey down, but in the end they agreed to the trade. Thaluna would leave and give them the sword after they killed Gar and not her or her pets. "I won't betray you unless you betray me!" They shook on it again.

Some of you might be thinking that Thaluna is being awfully generous for a Hag. According to the module, Thaluna wants more than anything to kill Gar Shatterkeel and take over the cult, so I'm willing to give a few concessions towards her demeanor if her goals are being met. And besides, any enemy the players don't kill can always come back later...

Thaluna lead them to the fountain of magic healing water. On the way there, they passed a door with a small metal slit in it. The slit opened just a Kokurg was passing by. Thaluna hurried him out of the way, and Phoenyx decided to look into the slit. The person on the other side of the door staggered back and closed the slit. Phoenyx nodded to her companions, and gave a mighty kick to open the door!
The door was knocked wide open, and the person behind it knocked prone. However, Phoenyx had failed to account for the men behind the door holding crossbows, and immediately three crossbow bolts sailed towards her!

Fortunately, they mostly hit her armor, and she charged in, whooping loudly and hair blazing. Amafrey leapt in behind, cutting down one of the cultists in seconds. Thaluna, who knew about a back door to this room, scurried around the corner with great speed, telling Kokurg to come with her.

One of the men had an eye that looked like a blue orb, and he began to cast a spell. Arannis quickly put up a field of Silence in the room, but that didn't stop the man from casting a Ray of Frost from his eye, dealing surprisingly heavy damage to Arannis. Grurk, seeing the shiny eyeball, charged into the room, his voice muted by silence.
I just love Shivvin'!
Arannis, realizing he was facing off against a magic artifact, pulled forth his longbow and prayed to Crellon Larenthian to guide his shot. As the one-eyed man approached, Arannis loosed a perfect arrow, sailing directly into the man's blue orb eye. He stopped moving as his entire body froze over, and he shattered before their eyes, victim to the icy magic that made him powerful.

These one-eyed guys are called "One-Eyed Shivers", and I found them to be really underpowered. I was probably not playing them as powerfully as well as they could have been played. They are all offense, really no staying power. They would have probably been better served staying back and acting more like casters, but I couldn't give up that Icy Aura ability.

Thaluna and Kokurg burst in from the other door, flanking the enemies. With their numbers reduced and the heroes surrounding them, it wasn't long before they were all slain. Kokurg took great delight in smushing the "tinys".  Grurk once again feasted on the gold while the heroes looked on., more than a little disturbed.

Finally, they reached the magic fountain. The characters were hesitant to drink the water, until Grurk and Kokurg began to slurp it up themselves. Seeing its healing properties, the characters joined in, before the pool became completely made up of Ogre baskwash.

Arannis noticed something lurking in the darkness behind a pillar. After trying to call out to the creature, he lit up the area with a sacred flame spell and saw a small one-eyed creature with long claws and scaled skin - a Nothic!
Eye can read your mind!
Another Nothic peered out and caught Phoenyx's eye. It suddenly said out loud that Pheonyx was scared to meet her Efreeti mother because she knew the evil fire genie would never love her. Pheonyx was shocked, since she had never told anyone that, and flew into a rage, hacking at the pillar the creatures were hiding behind.

The two Nothics were easily dispatched, and the group seemed sullen but determined to carry on. Thaluna ordered her minions to stop drinking the water, and they began to head towards Gar Shatterkeel's lair.

After travelling a ways through the temple, they reached a large bridge spanning the canal, with double doors on the other side bearing the symbol of elemental water. Thaluna told everyone to wait, and went up to the doors and gave the water cult hand sign, dispelling a ward that had been placed on the door.

At this point, Thaluna realized she would be betraying one (possibly two) groups within the next few minutes, and decided to summon her "biggest pet" to watch the door in case she didn't come out. This would be her contingency plan, as well as the "great consequences" if the heroes decided to get uppity and break the deal they had made.
Pic unrelated
If you've read the module, you know exactly who I'm talking about. I'd love to see the players take on that old girl. It probably won't happen, but dang that would be fun.

Just before Thaluna opened the door to the final chamber, she turned to the heroes and gave them some advice.

"Don't be stupid. And watch out for the Trident."

She opened the door. A twenty-foot moat divided the shrine into northern and southern halves, connected by a stone bridge. In the north half, two large stone pillars flanked an altar in the form of a plain stone block. Above and behind the altar loomed a huge version of the Symbol of Elemental water made from beams of driftwood.

In the southern half, two channels ran along the sides of the room, leading out to the canal on the other side of the door, and pillars flank the room.

Standing in the southern part of the room were 5 lizardfolk warriors, and behind the altar, in his druidic clothing, covered in barnacles, with his crab hand and his trident, was Gar Shatterkeel himself.
Wha..? Did somebody order food and not tell me? We're trying to run a cult here, you can't just give out our address!
We wrapped things up there. It was a bit of a short game, but games during the week are harder to pull off, since people have to come from work and go to work in the morning. Hopefully our game next week will be on Sunday or Monday, but rest assured there will still be a Monday Recap either way! I'm running one of my semi-monthly campaigns on the 30th and I will likely have a good write-up from that game in addition to the Badgers of the Apocalypse field report.

Thanks for reading!

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