Monday, May 29, 2017

Monday Recap: The Silver Seekers

We didn't have a single party member taller than 5ft
This recap is actually for a game that happened about a week ago, rather than this past weekend. Now that my weekly game is moving to a bi-weekly schedule, I'll probably be spacing out my recaps more, rather than bunching them up all on one day. That means more recaps and less Old News. I think that's a positive thing.

Monday Recap: The Silver Seekers

Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Matt: Grombal Ironbreaker, Dwarf Cleric of Moradin, unintelligible until he's plastered
Will: Brindal Ironbreaker, Dwarf Knight, wants to restore the clan's honor, translates for Grombal
Makayla: Veriin Iidaglar, Genasi Eldritch Knight, half-gnome master of earth magic
Bria: Ruby, Gnome Wizard, habitual liar, may or may not have a sick grandma she needs gold for
Tom: Magdal Steelmane, Kobold Ranger, actually a dwarf cursed to look like a Kobold
Shannon: Kesmek MacGwyver, Gnome Alchemist, has a potion for every occasion

Far from Garlancia, on the far shores of the continent of Eiselon, beyond even the borders of Ashlen, across the Flowing Gulf, lies the continent of Strofeuwin. To any who have sailed treacherous waters to reach this place, it may seem a barren and inhospitable place. Dragons, Dinosaurs, Giants, and all manner of horrible creatures walk the rugged landscape, fighting, eating, dying, and making the land abnormally dangerous for any race that attempts to settle here.

However, that isn't to say there's nothing on Strofeuwin worth exploring. In fact, there's plenty - if you look in the right place. That is, if you look underground.

Beneath the blasted and besieged landscape, the races of dwarves, gnomes, and their enemies have made their own civilization, with caverns and tunnels stretching deep and far. The network of Dwarfholds, Orcholds, Gnomish cities, Drow dens, Kobold nests, Duergar Forges, Goblin Warrens, and hundreds of varieties of monster lairs extends across the continent and as deep as their collective mining prowess will allow.
They'll guard the walls till the silver tarnishes.
There are many Dwarfholds, large and small, but perhaps the most relaxed of the lot is Silverhame, ruled by King Hognar Silverstone. Here, anyone is welcome, from respectable Dwarven Nobility to unscrupulous Drow traders. Order is kept by a large organization known as the Silver Seekers, a royally-funded mercenary group that is as welcoming as its city - and quite popular, as King Silverstone has plenty of gold to line their pockets.

The Silver Seekers had been summoned by the King to complete a new contract. The group of Seekers answered the call, meeting King Silverstone in his royal halls. Being a generally relaxed King, Hognar Silverstone was playing dice and making bets with a group of Dwarven women. He greeted the Seekers on their arrival, though he had completely forgotten why they were summoned.

After a gentle reminder, King Silverstone told them the job that needed done. A mine that had dug deeper than any other below the city had uncovered a strange tunnel with a couple things coming out of it. The first unusual thing was a howling wind that seemed to drive the miners mad. The second was an outpouring of Bugbears, which was unusual for the area.

The group agreed on a price and terms for the contract, and travelled to the Temple of Moradin. The Priestess of the temple, Oridiwynn Lavafoot, blessed the group for their journey, and they were off!

Upon delving the mine and reaching the mysterious tunnel, the group was immediately beset by Bugbears. Grombal and Brindal ran up, hoping to block off the attackers from their allies. However, they quickly discovered that these Bugbears were even more unusual than expected - since they exploded the moment they were hit by a weapon!

Once the group knew that they were basically fighting meat balloons, Ruby and Veriin used their area effect spells to finish off the Bugbears quickly. They ventured cautiously down into the tunnel that had been opened.

Not quite bear, definitely not bug - but certainly as annoying as one
After winding their way through the tunnels for a bit, trying to find the source of the wind and Bugbears, they came across a murky river winding through a small cavern. Grombal dared Brindal to drink it, but the group decided to let Kesmek use Identify before they messed with it.

They were lucky she did, as Kesmek revealed that the river would have cast a Feeblemind effect on anyone touching it. Brindal rolled some boulders into the river so they could cross it, and then hurled Magdal over the river to finish the "bridge".

The party crossed the rocks with ease. Grombal nearly slipped and fell in, but Ruby made a quick save with a Ray of Frost, making a tiny patch of ice for him to rebalance on. Meanwhile, Magdal found the greatest concentration of Bugbear tracks, and the group pressed onward.

They ran into a small squad of Bugbears in a cave, and were surprised to find these ones didn't explode! Though they dispatched the vile creatures quickly, they were at a loss as to what made the bugbears from the mining tunnel less resilient.

Magdal continued tracking the bugbears, even as the howling wind was beginning to wear down the group. Finally, the reached a large cavern, with a huge black iron fortress in the center. Iron spikes, towers, and torches jutted at every angle from the structure, thought it was still a long way off.

Ruby, in a flash of inspiration, realized what was going on. They had, at some point, travelled through a portal to the Outer Plane of Pandemonium. The river had been the Styx, the howling wind was a feature of the land, and the fortress belonged to the God of Bugbears, Hruggek. The bugbears had exploded because they had left Pandemonium, but here they fought with their full strength.

The group fought off some Bugbear sentries, which proved much tougher than the other Bugbears they had encountered, and fled back to the mining tunnel. They had what they came for: the source of the wind and the Bugbears.

And that was quite enough of that for one day
When they told King Silverstone about what they had found, the King congratulated them and paid them for a job well done. He gave them leave the rest of the day, with a cryptic warning that their services might be soon needed again.

The call came the next morning, after the party had gotten a night's rest. The King had created a funnel to pit the Silver Seekers against the Bugbears, drawing them out of Pandemonium. He hoped to draw out the God of the Bugbears, Hruggek, and capture the monster with the help of the church.

The Silver Seekers, not just the party but the whole company, stood ready to fight the hoard of Bugbears. They struck their shields, weapons, or the ground, as a declaration of intent towards the lurking monstrosities.

And so they came. Waves of Bugbears, more than had ever been seen before, pouring from the tunnels below. The Silver Seekers took up their defensive positions, having been ordered to hold the line until the Clerics of the church of Moradin had successfully captured Hruggek.

The group clashed with the wave of Bugbears. Grombal and Brindal joined Veriin to form the front line, while Magdal, Kesmek, and Ruby peppered the monsters with spells, arrows, and vials of harmful potions.

For a good while, the group held their ground, even better than many of the other Silver Seekers. Around them, Seekers were fighting and falling, as the mass of Bugbears only became thicker, and the ground was coated with more exploded Bugbear. Grombal and Ruby began using their more powerful spells, allowing Ruby to cut down scores of Bugbears at once, and Grombal to wade among the enemy unharmed.
Yeah, he's really just a big Bugbear. A really big Bugbear.

However, the tide of Bugbears seemed to be unending. Moreover, the God of Bugbears himself, Hruggek the Destroyer, had appeared on the battlefield and was wrecking large swaths of Seekers. One way or another, the party realized that the fight would soon be over.

Forced by sheer numbers to pull back, Veriin unleashed a powerful spell, turning the earth around her into jagged rubble and broken footholds. She and the rest of the group pulled back from the melee, just as the towering form of Hruggek reached them.

Carelessly brushing aside his own servants, the God strode forth, prepared to bring down his gargantuan maul and end their lives as easily as he had done so for so many other Seekers. Just as his blow was about to land, however, the clerics completed their spell, trapping Hruggek in a pillar of pure white light. His blows railed harmlessly against the barrier, though his frustrated screams could still be heard clearly.

Those Seekers that remained celebrated their victory and mourned their fallen. The king paid each of them a hefty sum, and told them they could keep the high-quality armor they had been outfitted with.

As for what the King planned to do with a captured God, he had certain... ideas.
And most of them involve parties
We stopped there. I wanted this game to introduce a new setting for the world of Ahneria, and I think it did that spectacularly. In particular, I also liked that we set up some bigger plot threads that I can come back to later.

Also, I didn't really get a chance to mention this in the story, but I decided that there's massive gold inflation in Strofeuwin - I just told my players to multiply everything by 100. So their rewards were also bumped up by the same margin. However, so too were all the things they could purchase. A simple Short Sword would cost 1,000 gold! I don't see my other campaigns ever coming to Strofeuwin to spend their money!

Thanks for reading!

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