Session 12 Numbers
As evidenced by pizza at the table and a 10:30 departure time, another fun night in Eberron. The heroes triumphed through four tough encounters ( ranging from average tough to epic tough ). I saw the awesome power of back-to-back-to-back lvl 9 daily-nukes on the forge queen. The iron-to-glass saved the party mucho-wounds once again and that bone crusher earned its name (I think 65 dmg was directly attributable to it). Looking back at the 4 fights I am definitely thankful for the 65% hp / 150% dmg system. The mistress of the forge had 420 HP as written up (280 converted), so that fight would have taken forever instead of the 9 rounds that it did. I believe all 4 fights finished in 1-hour-or-less each and the team would have emerged just as beaten-up, it would been just more draw out (and thus more painful) in standard rules. If there’s anything particular about this or that fight you think did or did not work, let me know so I can adjust for the future ( I have noticed that no one is using the “burn a daily, make up a non-standard, big effect” house rule we came up with).
Not that fighting was the sole source of excitement, the puzzle solving was solid ( poor Gnolls ) and the RP was also well done—especially the realistic meek reaction to the anger of severely stressed woman. Through all that, the party has earned 1920 XP, which I believe brings the total to 19610 . An impressive total but still short of 10th level.
Now for the synopsis for Travis (and everyone the Saturday before next game). As always please add additional detail. First things first:
Citadel agent working without their knowledge to try and save both her friend, Jelia, and the tenuous peace between the nations. The employer of the party.
Citadel agent (artificer) who discovered that the disregarded legends of a surviving, secret forge in the mountains between Breland and Aundair were true. Hired a mercenary group without the Citadel’s knowledge to capture and restart the forge.
Jelia’s assistant found by the party locked up and beaten for attempting to travel to the lower levels of the forge. Weeks ago, it was the findings of his notes that alerted Helena to Jelia’s discovery and plan.
Dwarf mercenary company leader hired by Jelia but who has been asserting his own power since arrival at the forge. It has become clear that he is not an ordinary mercenary but instead a member of a shadowy organization denoted by the tattoo on the member’s inner forearm (not sure who took the picture I printed)
The character of that guy (what’s his name again?) who brings the pie.
There, write them on your hands.
After dispatching the gnomes and their (surprisingly present) Satyr leader, the party moved deeper into the cavern to discover another large chamber lit with strange glowing fungus. The waterfall cascading down on the north edge was beautiful but not the most interesting thing in the cave
- a recently murdered body floated in the pool at the bottom. A rather non-descript human, his looks or belongings gave no clues but Arweal discovered a letter floating farther into the pool. Although smeared it appeared to be a simple letter home to his wife until Puck dispelled the illusion and revealed it to be a report on the mercenary company that was addressed to an old friend - Lieutenant Vellum of the King’s Citadel. Moving forward, they discovered a perfectly smooth marble corridor and that Helena’s fears were indeed true - the secret forge was real and, worse, now operational. The first room they found contained a still active and large arcane device along with a number of inert warforged prototypes of various designs - including a mysterious one covered partially in flesh. Investigating the device turned out to be as dangerous as “pushing the shiny button” normally is and energy arced from the device to the prototypes in order to power and control them. Many slashes, slams, and explosions (being thrown against the wall by device explosions seemed an easy thing to forget) later and Puck succeeded in disarming their power sources and the prototypes were once again silent. The usual ransacking turned up some potent healing potions, an impressive pile of residium (subsequently used on various helpful devices as a power-source), and magical bracers that needed just a bit more tweaking (and residium to activate).
Checking both north and south passages the usual scientific decision was made and the group headed south. Picking a simple lock, the heroes discovered Marrus (I know at least two of you are saying—“who?”) who had been soundly beaten and said he was held prisoner. As a rational response, Marrus simply wanted to flee the forge but Helena thought his artificier talents, even if meager, might be needed to destroy the forge. Willing to help but still questioning the sanity of this plan, Arweal’s convincing (rather mean to the poor imprisoned, beaten man) helped him make up his mind. Marrus provided some more pieces to the puzzle but knew little about “the Calamachia”, a secret and powerful weapon that Valsath and Jelia had found. As they prepared to leave the “cell” an earthquake shook the mountain. Marrus explained these had been growing in frequency but had not caused any damage to this point. However, heading further south the party did find that this one had caused a cave-in that prevented further advancement along that route.
Back-pedaling the group was presented with a dilemma
- to the right led to more labs and, ultimately, the stairs; but uncomfortabley close on the right was the mercenary barracks with 10 – 20 Gnolls inside. Sy passed on his usual charge-in tactics and came up with the idea of sealing the door … but how. Turns out Marrus could do it even if he didn’t want to admit it and certainly didn’t want to get that close to those gnolls. Assured that the door would be held tight while he was working - by a beefier defender and … an 80 pound teenager—Marrus and the group went into action. A few rituals later and the gnolls were trapped behind a magically sealed door and a silence ritual. On to that large circular room with the strange rune embedded in the floor then ….
Turned out to be the temporary laboratory of one Dariak
- mercenary group artificer (you can guess why you don’t have to remember his name) - who was just completing a massive flesh
Golem. Unfortunately neither a door or the wall it was attached to was enough to stop the flesh Golem and the party was quickly in the middle of a beat down with - an angry Golem, a gnome wth some nasty tricks ( seeing-shard clouds, round-the-corner shots, etc. ), and the strange addition of a warforged drake. But the occupants of the room that had the most attention were two mounted, white orbs that fed energy into one-of-X beings beside them. Energy that provided a healing surge (or HP for the bad-guys). Apart from instinctive attack to “save” Ketu, never have inert globes received so much praise. Boodied and without the Golem’s protection the Gnome surrended and spilled what he knew to his “brother” (oh the irony) Puck, including more conjecture about the powerful weapon lower in the forge - Calamachia. In the end, he was dead. I think one rule of being a hero should be that there should be no tied-up, dead people in your wake. This action and dishonesty (explicit or implicit) led to a confrontation between Helena and Puck but she had a job to do and left it with a warning.
After tempers flared it was time for the heroes to face whatever other dangers the forge held. Bypassing a set of mysterious double-doors, Ketu suffered the first of successively worse bouts of extreme nuasea during which an evil voice echoed in his head … a new evil voice claiming to know where they were. The group entered the lavishly appointed former entrance to the forge and were quickly greeted by the ghost of Haestus. Ketu remembered him from the history books as an isolated genius within House Cannith. What the history books failed to mention is that he was an arrogant asshole (and being a ghost just made it worse). Eventually the ghost bored of insulting the group and faded back through the floor with imparting a few nuggets of useful information. Unfortunately, Ketu had to pay for that information as the only one unable to leap out of the way of the 20 flame nozzles that rapidly filled the foyer with jets of fire.
Retreating to the double-doors, the party found the elusive stairs into the lower forge. As they are want to do, excitement and curiousity got them into trouble. Moving forward to examine some display cases at the end of the hall (hmmm, shiny stuff), Puck (of all people) tripped the over-the-top defenses protecting the stairs. Within seconds razor nettings were attacking each member, floating scythes were slicing down, over-sized crossbow bolts were raining down, and whirling blades were flying throughout the room. As the party struggled out of the magically constricting nets, the room readied to rinse-and-repeat. Luckily a lot of wriggling and a few helping hands ensured everyone was out of the nets and safely down the stairs and out of danger (well, sorta). The downside was that the way back was now blocked and deadly.
The lower level revealed the real forge
- an incredibly cavernous room with towering arcane device with a large pool of bubbling molten iron in the center. Undeterred (are they ever?), the heroes prepared to approach the thin walkway crossing the deadly liquid. Sy noticed a strange flickering device and quickly determined it was a scrying device that was rapidly rotating between images of the various rooms on the upper level. A snicker at the frustration of the still-trapped Gnolls was replaced with dread as the next images of the barracks were obscured in inky blackness punctuated by glowing red eyes. A tense 30-seconds brought the barracks once again into view - a destroyed door and a room of slaughtered gnolls was all that could be seen. Reason #20 to get moving had just shown itself. Of course it wasn’t going to be that easy, as Arweal pointed out two of the mysterious and deadly forge drakes patrolling the other side of the walkway. Two to 6 (okay 5.5, Marrus was less than useful) ? What could go wrong? The beginning of the answer to that question was a large trap door that nearly cast Puck down near the molten metal below. Then it was time for an angry Haestus to return - to be fair he did tell them clearly to get out of his forge - with the comical-yet-deadly “energy balls”. The battle was hard fought—the stalwart defenders were smacked with 42 points of damage from the two drakes in one attack and Sy went down ( later to become the 3rd time that night that someone failed 2 death saving throws and had to be emergency-saved ). Eventually the mechanical monstrosities were destroyed and Haestus fled ( you would think Ghosts would be less afraid of death ). The party was free to press on and come upon the towering, fantastical doors that must be …. something important … I guess.
Helena had enough of the sneaking, hinge-examining, body-ransacking and declared “Let’s get this over with” while striding through the doors. The battered but always determined party eagerly agreed with the sentiment. Awaiting behind the mercurial doors was the mysterious Calamachi, the mercenary Captain Valsath, and the reason why everyone was here
- Jelia. Calamachi was a dragon, not of scales but of wood, leather, and metal plates. Now, the true master of the forge was revealed and her purpose - co-opting its function to perfect her “children” (the Forge Drakes). Valsath and Jelia still believed they had some influence over the Forge Dragon but when Calamachi spoke, none dared to interrupt. A little Q & A ensued in which Ketu, Arweal, and Sy discussed the dragon’s plans for continental domination and debated over the wisdom and method while the Dragon pondered how she would bend these fleshlings to her usage. Helena pleaded with Jelia to see reason and know that the forge was lost to her and could never be used to help increase Breland’s power. In the end, neither Valsath or Arweal were in the mood for Oxford-style debating and it was on. A classic wham-bam fight ended with the group weakening the dragon so much that Jelia was able to rip its primary power source out of its chest. Such a mortal wound caused Calamachi to self-destruct and she wildly poured her remaining energy into a force blast upward that destroyed all the rock between her chamber and the outside, leaving a 30 meter chasm to the outside. As the party was slowing recovering from the blast, Arweal noticed a fireball fly across the lip of the chasm. Within seconds, two unknown forces began to rapidly charge into the newly formed hole on their way to the forge—one descending rapidly by rope and the other simply descending. The forge’s living master is gone but it still seems largely intact and multiple, shadowy forces have arrived to capture and control its nation shaking power.