Curse of Kalarel

7th Game
Actually started posting notes again. Also this was at Mikes house

So that game went well and not entirely as I’d expected.

Upon arriving at the church they found that there was one group of orcs trying to bash in the front door, while a smaller group of goblins were trying to set fire to the back door. Brúnhelga bravely strode up and blinded the most powerful guy at the back door, then Mythos (from inside the church) blew the doors open, knocking the enemies back and allowed the rest of the party to mop them up. Having gained entrance, our heroes decided to not just make for the keep with the townsfolk who had been trapped inside – they were going to teach their enemies a lesson. Melhalvir hatched a plan to open the front door just as the orcs were striking it with a battering ram; the unexpected lack of resistance allowed the party to get the drop on the enemies and wipe them out before they had a chance to react.
Meanwhile Brúnhelga had decided to stand guard at the back gate (she refused to enter the church) and terrified the townsfolk into not leaving – a good choice as it turned out there was another group of enemies patrolling who would have carved the townsfolk up very quickly. Upon spotting them she alerted the rest of the party who were able to rush over and our heroes were able to take care of the enemies quickly.
After some tense words between the Cleric of the church (Paen Glimmertail) and Brúnhelga the party returned to the keep with the unconscious Sheldon Lon (the sage they had gone there to talk to) in tow. Some investigation revealed that he was in a magical sleep; one that seemed to be fueled by the magic of the person it had been applied to; a fact borne out by his slumber appearing to deepen when approached by Melhalvir or Mythos.
Before they could investigate further a cry went up from outside. A bronze dragon was heading to the keep! However as it flew in an enormous bugbear sent an arrow flying towards it that burst in a cloud of smoke. When the dragon flew through the smoke, it suddenly dipped in the air as if there was something wrong. It turned and fled (while Gruffjaw AKA uncle Erny muttered ‘Malnazek! No!’).
All of this was disconcerting to Mythos who had specifically traveled to FarnHam as he had heard tales of a dragon in the area. His elation (and rock hard erection) turned to sadness and then rage when it was hurt.
The bugbear revealed his name was Zaark and that he was done with his attack on the town. He had some prisoners that he didn’t want; a pregnant woman, one teenage boy and two children. He challenged the keeps greatest warrior to single combat for the prisoners lives. Mythos was fuming and would have accepted, but he had used many spell slots. A young human named Tom Margath volunteered to fight as it was his sister and nephews that the bugbear had captured. It was agreed that he was weak-sauce though and that Iaini was the greatest warrior there so he bravely accepted the challenge. Brúnhelga decided that this wasn’t her fight and stayed in the keep to get a manicure.
As a sign of good faith, Zaark released the 3 children but kept the woman and the fight began. Iaini seemed to be holding his own. Then it all degraded into what will be known as ‘ The Farnham Debacle’.
Mythos was still fully enraged about the attack on the dragon and waded into the fight, casting spells. Zaark screamed for his minions to kill the prisoners. Unfortunately the children had stayed near the arena to see what happened in the fight and were cut down. Melhalvir reacted as everything had gone to hell and joined in the battle against the enemies nearby. Drogo valiantly raced in, saving the woman and her brother (Tom was watching the fight and was about to rush in). Unfortunately everything happened too fast for Gruffjaw to know who did what and he verbally assaulted the entire party. Drogo (understandably as he’d done nothing but save innocents) did not react well to this and responded in kind. Melhalvir had had enough of being accused of wrongdoing so prepared his arcane powers to do battle with the defenders of FarnHam also. An argument raged between Mythos and Gruffjaw. Brúnhelga had finished her manicure by this time and seeing what was about to enfold proclaimed that she would stand by the defenders of FarnHam. Battle lines were drawn up, initiative was rolled… … but the fight didn’t happen. Our heroes agreed to leave town with the unconscious Sheldon.
As this is another town where the heroes are not welcome any more, they left town. We decided the ending music should be the theme tune to the littlest hobo.

Couple of things:
- I should have made the party roll an insight check as to whether they thought Zaark was being honest about letting the people go (if you’d rolled high enough you would have known for sure that he was going to deal honestly)
- The woman Drogo rescued should have died – I should have stated that the enemies guarding her had readied an action (they didn’t manage to kill her because it wasn’t their turn when Mythos waded into the fight. As I hadn’t said they had readied an action I didn’t think it was fair for them to be able to just cut her down)
- I should have put waaaaay more minis out for that final fight; in reality the circle would have been heavily surrounded by people but I didn’t think anyone would actually involve themselves in a way that couldn’t be talked out of. Again it wouldn’t have seemed fair to pop a bunch more people into existence after the fight broke out
- I think we should make a couple of changes to some of the characters traits – things like Mythos should have more words around how much he loves dragons, Melhalvirs should mention how he doesn’t like being judged (I’m thinking something like how Marty McFly cannot take someone calling him chicken).
- I think I’m going to go back to the old style character sheets. The new ones make it easier for me to build characters (so I will keep them separately) but I think that there’s too much information on them that is difficult to find when playing. The older ones were faster for actual play.

Oh also for better or worse you guys did complete the quest in FarnHam, so you all get another 100 quest completion experience points each. Oddly enough this is the right amount to bump Aris and Iain to level 4 (so we don’t have to stop the next game half way to level you guys). I’ll probably get you to roll some dice the next time I see you for your level up hit points. We can also chat about anything else you get for leveling up.

Anyway – a good game (even if it wasn’t what I planned – this is actually a good thing :P). See y’all soon and we can work out when to do it again.

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6th Game
Still no notes on facebook. Argh. Why did I stop doing them for a while? Probably first game of the stuff I came up with

I suck. Mike must have levelled because I was giving him options for his new spells.
Basically the party got kicked out of Winterhaven. Everyone was getting angrier and angrier around them, They felt that the tattoos were to blame somehow.

They meandered around the map for a bit and went to a small fishing village. There tehy bought a pig called Oinker, but left it with the farmer under strict instructions that it could not be eaten. They took a boat closer to the town that they knew a wise sage named Sheldon Lon was in. When they got there they found the town was under siege and did a couple of quests to help with that. I think at the end they had secured a hidden route out of the castle and were heading towards the church where Sheldon was resting…

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5th Game
A Christmas special! That I also didn't send a summary of

I thought I’d written some notes for this. Oh well. I believe it was Dave, Aris, Clare and Iain (Mike was ill),

It was our first Christmas game! And basically a DnD themed version of “A Christmas Carol”. People fought. Clare burnt the door to an inn when Dave couldn’t pick the lock. Everyone got some magical toys. Dave is the only person to use his magical toy (a flying broomstick).

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4th game
Or "the one where apparently Graham didn't write anything down for it"

Yeah. Apparently I didn’t write anything for this one. The guys beat Kalarel. I think this one just had Clare, Mike and Dave? This must have been the one where they beat Kalarel.
When Kalarel died he got sucked into the portal to the Shadowfell and ominously said “time is but a door, death is but a window; I’ll be back”.
Then everyone got a tattoo. Those that succeeded a saving roll got to choose where it is.

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3rd Game
Still in the Keep on the Shadowfell but now using 5th edition rules

The tale of the game on Saturday.

An atmosphere of despair had fallen over Winterhaven, causing the towns inhabitants to lock themselves indoors. Apart from Valthruun the Prescient the Prescient, who had been imploring our heroes daily to return to the keep and prevent Kalarel from opening the portal to the Shadowfell. The days were growing darker, tensions were rising. This didn’t seem to affect our heroes though, nestled as they were in the comfort of the local tavern.

After contemplating some petty larceny, our noble heroes decided to question their goblin companion (Splug) on any more details about the keep. Alas, it seems that he somewhat oversold his knowledge of the complex and didn’t really know where they should focus their exploration efforts next. Undeterred they set out for the keep again, pausing only for Mythos to intimidate some local bullys, preventing them from beating up Valthruun the Prescient. (they managed to resolve it fairly peacefully, Mythos manifesting deadly arcane power notwithstanding).

Upon arriving at the keep, Melhalvir discovered that his hawk familiar was a perfect scouting tool, using it to map out a little maze. On the floor of this maze they found some glowing arcane symbols. Alas none of their knowledge was up to the task of finding out what these did so in the spirit of discovery Brúnhelga forcibly threw Splug onto one of them. This terrified him, and alerted a group of zombies, which they did battle with. After dispatching them, Drogo attempted to jump over the next rune only to fall flat on his face, alerting another group of zombies. With all that finished, they decided to cut to the chase and headed straight for the second level of the keep. During this exploration they discovered another note (on a skeleton) which read:
Vanifer.
I know of your work for the elemental eye. You may send your petty supplicants and I will hear your offer. Know that if it displeases me your messenger shall pay the ultimate price.
Kalarel.
“And life fails in the dark”

At the second level they were challenged at a guard post and Brúnhelga correctly surmised that the correct passphrase was “and life fails in the dark”, allowing them to catch the guardians slightly off guard (unfortunately Drogos attempts to convince them of their purpose tipped them off). As a result, they had a slight advantage in their next fight and managed to easily succeed against the nest of Kobolds and two deathjump spiders which prevented from getting to the weaker back row of the party.

After battling another arcane horror, they found themselves accosted by a deadly gelatinous cube! Quite deadly, as Drogo got too close to examine it and was fully enveloped in it’s acidic body.

Reader, he died inside the cube.

Fortunately Brúnhelga was able to revive him and after escaping he did not cower in fear, but lead a mighty charge against it, slaying it. He cast off the nickname ‘The Coward’ to become… ‘Drogo the Hasty’.
(*read in Gandalfs voice “Drogo… yes… that was what they called me. That was Drogo the Coward. I am Drogo the Hasty”)

The party then had enough experience to level up, and we decided to call it a night.

Luke will be happy to know that Brúnhelga collected:8 Zombie scalps, 2 spider venom sacs, 1 hobgoblin scalp, 1 skull, 3 kobold scalps and some goo from a gibbering mouther in one of Drogos waterskins.

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2nd Game
Still Keep on the Shadowfell, still 4th edition rules

Hi everyone.

Another successful game.

Our fearless party of Asbestana, Brúnhelga, Trallian and Drogo (also Splug) began by trying to gain more information. Asbestana cast her incredibly perceptive eye over the note found on the Elf that was killed in the graveyard and was able to determine that the passphrase mentioned (“in the ground, some magic was found”) was written by a different hand to rest of the note. Having done that, it became important to check out the pub. They asked around about the name Kalarel (the person who sent the note ordering the players deaths to the Elf). Valthruun the Prescient the prescient had heard of the name in relation to death cults, but didn’t know any more information. This didn’t stop our plucky heroes however – they decided to intimidate him into revealing more information. Unfortunately they didn’t get any more info, and the rest of the village became angered at the sight of 4 heavily armed thugs threatening an old man. They smoothed things over by buying a round of drinks for everyone in the tavern.

They decided to investigate the nearby temple for more information. Drogo determined that the best path of attack was to climb onto the roof (Whilst the rest of the team hid in the bushes) and look for a way in up there. Unfortunately he slipped and fell and a guard spotted him. He was unable to convince the guard that he was just there to fix the roof. The guard decided to let him go (he is one of the heroes who have been helping the town) as long as he stays away from the temple. Our intrepid adventurers then sent Asbestana to try the front door, which Drogo managed to unlock. Drogo then bravely hid in the bushes whilst Asbestana rifled through the temple for more information. She found an old book that had been updated somewhat recently; it detailed that the keep once belonged to an ancient empire that has long since fallen. It was built on top of a shadow rift, which is said to drive people near it mad. It went on to detail the last known commander of the keep – sir Keegan. According to the book, Keegan went mad and slaughtered the inhabitants of the keep (starting with his wife and child) before the towns garrison were finally able to slay him. Since then the keep fell into ruin quite literally when an earthquake caused the above ground parts of it to collapse. Asbestana (being a noble adventuring sort) decided to pocket the book and the team left for the keep (with Splug in tow).

Back in the keep, our heroes were trying to determine the location of a secret door (hinted at by Splug) when they accidentally stumbled into an excavation site guarded by some goblins and drakes. A fierce battle ensued where Asbestana proved her worth by killing most of her foes and Drogo earned a new nickname ‘Drogo the coward’. Splug showed great valour by leaping onto a drakes back and riding it around sticking it with the little dagger the adventurers had given him. After the battle, Trailian was struck by his gruesome compulsion and took several Drakes teeth, paws and goblin skins. He thought the skins may come in handy. In the mess around the site, our heroes discovered some gold and a +1 holy symbol. At this point Melhalvir the wizard turned up to help.

Whilst trying to determine what was down another path, the adventurers found the original secret door they had been looking for. This led to the bedchamber of Balgrom the Fat (the goblin in charge of the first level of the keep) where they found him sleeping. Drogo and Trailian essentially murdered him before he could wake. Then they skinned him. And Drogo put on his skin like a suit. Drogo was able to succesfully fool some goblins into thinking he was their leader, but eventually the disguise fell through and another battle began. Upon completion, the team discovered more gold and a +1 wand. At this point, Asbestana and Trailian had to leave to recuperate.

The remaining adventurers decided to investigate the dank cavernous area. After occasionally hearing some noises they were accosted by giant rats dropping on their heads. They dispatched them with ease, when they came upon a strange creature known as an ochre jelly. This proved a fearsome battle as when they had based it enough it split into two! The fight ended when Splug landed a killing blow on the second jelly. After this they investigated an old door that had a note on it reading “STAY OUT. REALLY”. Splug was fearful of the door, so our heroes determined it was best to return to town. In order to allow Splug to move more freely through the town, our adventurers skinned the rats and fashioned a thick coat for him to wear, thus hiding his creepy goblin appearance. They arrived back in winterfell.

Sigh.

In town they bullied Valthruun the Prescient some more. He had more information; apparently Kalarel has been the name of the head of a death cult dedicated to Orcus (demon prince of the undead) over many generations (it’s almost a title). He stated if there is news of Kalarel this is incredibly bad and someone must stop him. Drogo tried to convice Valthruun the Prescient that they had already defeated the death cult, but Valthruun the Prescient didn’t seem to believe him. He said he would believe it when he had his (Kalarels) head. Apparently unfazed by the terrifying looming dread, our plucky band of noble adventurers then attempted to steal 2 potions of healing from the local shop. Their bungled attempts to trick him only led to him calling the town guard to get them to leave. As an attempted peace offering, they bought a potion of healing (but he still kicked them out). Brúnhelga suggested they burn down the shop. They then attempted to gain access to the siege supplies, but were unable to pick the lock on the door. Brúnhelga suggested they burn down the siege supplies. They then went back to pub and attempted to repair their relationship with the shopkeeper by sending over some ale. It was sent back. They then sent some ale and a wench. Both were returned. Finally they had Splug take some ale over. He returned without the ale. They weren’t sure who drank it though.

Thus ended the second session of the campaign.

What will happen next time on… Dungeons and Dragons! (cue ending music to Quantum Leap)

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First Game
4th edition, Keep on the Shadowfell

Hi Chaps.

Very good game tonight – Clare and I enjoyed it immensely.

I think that I learned a few things; certainly about how to build a character. For one, I think I was being a bit generous with letting people make stealth checks (looking at you Luke :P). It turns out that you take a large penalty if you move more than 2 squares. Also I should have been making the monsters actively check for stealth (rather than using passive perception).
It also would probably be better to let people roll up their own characters. I thought I would be able to keep track of everything that people can do. It turns out I can’t. For example, I completely forgot about Iain being able to mark enemies that he hits (this gives them a -2 to hit anything that isn’t him and also lets him get a free attack against them if they do hit someone else). As such I will be sharing a link to download the character creator I used – you can all re-roll your guys how you’d like. Having said that, I still think it was best for me to make the characters for the first game, as at least you know how the game works and can make informed decisions on what you’d like your abilities to be. Feel free to ask about anything you don’t understand or want help with. Having said that, I don’t expect everyone to want to do it manually; If people don’t change their dudes I probably will (I figure as long as some people change and have a better idea of what they can do I’m more likely to be able to keep track of the others).

Just to enter it into the record, this is where we are:
The party (whos name I forget – did we actually come up with something in the end?) consisted of:
Trailian Duskshadow (Luke) – Goblin scalp collector extraordinaire and somewhat overpowered Elven Rogue. He mostly forgot about his ability to re-roll missed attacks. Ended the adventure with 9 scalps, 1 javelin, a cold poker and 938 gold
Drogo (Dave) – Halfling rogue. Master trap finder (by triggering them). Unable to beat a fully unconscious goblin to death (or at all). Party translator (as he speaks goblin). Forgot to use his second chance power to (once per encounter) force an enemy to re-roll an attack. Unfortunately, one of the party that intended to be mostly melee.
Melhalvir (Mike) – Human Wizard and master of psychological warfare. A penchant for terrifying enemies (even out of hiding) by tossing body parts around. Master of the flaming ball of fire. I’m sorry I tried to kill you in the graveyard.
Thirmod Dragonhammer (Chris) – Master of ongoing damage and being knocked on his arse. Saviour of Drogo (he’s the only one who took the time to help him out of the rat pit). Another person that I unfortunately decided should be mainly melee. Slowcoach. Makes inspiring speeches to himself allot. Took a short sword as a trophy.
Iaini (Iain) – suicidal human fighter. Winner of the “most graffiti on his character sheet” trophy. Brutaliser of zombie dogs. Thrower of hammers (even though many were at the ground in front of him). Once again, someone I made with too much focus on melee. Didn’t die in the graveyard.
Brúnhelga (Clare) – healing powerhouse. Ties with Drogo for the “most unable to beat a sleeping enemy to death” award. Kept many party members alive. Gained the eternal love and friendship of Splug, the drunken goblin. Saved quite a few peoples bacon by exploding a bunch of skeletons in the graveyard. Beware her deadly lance! (of faith)

Splug (honourary member) – Goblin rescued from the torture chamber in the dungeon of Shadowfell Keep. He was thrown in prison because he kept on tricking the other goblins out of their beer rations. He took a real shine to Brúnhelga when she rescued him from said prison. Has claimed to have extensive knowledge of the keep (which nobody’s insight checks can deny).

The story as we saw it:
The group arrived to investigate the dungeons under Shadowfell Keep after hearing rumours of cultists of Orcus (who is the demon prince of the undead) operating in the area. Sages in town had told them that “a door has opened… and it’s dark beyond that door!”. They fear that something terrible may occur. They entered the keep and Drogo immediately fell into a hole in the ground where he was set upon by a swarm of rats. After a pitched battle (and timely rescue from the rat pit by Thirmod), the party split to investigate the area.
Trailian, Thirmod, Melhalvir and Iaini fought a small battle against a minor nest of goblins and won (aided by Melhalvir telepathically throwing the heads of his enemies around). Drogo and Brúnhelga spent 5 minutes trying to beat a sleeping goblin to death (and failing).
The party then searched further into the keep and – after politely knocking at the door of the goblin chief – stormed the torture chamber. Another battle ensued where the poor goblins totally failed in their attempts to trick the adventurers into some traps. The drunken goblin Splug was then rescued from his imprisonment by the fair Brúnhelga whom he fell instantly in love with.
Upon seeing the party attempt what he deemed to be a foolish frontal assault on Balgrom (the fat), leader of the goblins, he told them he could lead them to a secret path into Balgroms lair.
The party decided that they should return and make this assault refreshed, so dragged Splug back to Winterhaven. Unfortunately, when they arrived there, the gates were barred – undead had been rising in the nearby cemetery. As he “didn’t want to deal with this bullshit” Trailian managed to convince the township that the party had already dealt with this threat. In the morning however the parties conscience got the better of them (Thirmod said something along the lines of “if the undead do attack and kill all these guys, who will pay us?”) the party decided to investigate the issue, leaving Trailian to guard Splug in town.
The party adventured to the graveyard, where they were set upon by many undead (most of whom they dispatched with ease). Melhalvir was dealt some mortal wounds, but was able to recover, due to Brúnhelgas holy magic. Iaini was struck down, but was managed to recover after being tended to by Brúnhelga after the enemies were dispatched.
It was in the graveyard that a former ally, Ninaran (an elf from Winterhaven) was exposed as being a traitor. After being stuck the fatal blow (and constantly going on about how somebody called Kalarel was going to kick their arses), the party found a note on her corpse saying:

I received your report on the adventurers. Next time you see
them, put an end to their meddling. Mix the blood of ten people
with the elixir my messenger brings. Then trace the following
pattern on the ground of a graveyard and pour the liquid into
the lines. That should supply you with a force to thwart them.
I’m very close to completion; see that I’m not interrupted. As you
already know, if you do come to the second level of the keep, the
pass phrase is “From the ground, some magic was found.”
—Kalarel
The party returned to Winterhaven to find that Trailian hadn’t been idle when they were away; in addition to polishing his collection of goblin scalps (how does someone even do that? That guy is a bit creepy) he’d managed to thwart an assassination attempt against Splug (fortunately gaining the same amount of experience that the rest of the party had accrued in the graveyard). Apparently the assassin had been sent by Balrog as he was afraid Splug would give up vital information…


(Trailian has 10 goblin scalps now)

What will happen next time on… Dungeons and Dragons (cue Skyrim music)

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