Previously our castaways defend themselves in a tree, late at night, deep in a swamp, from a dozen lizard folk. While defending zombies, Sven Stormson, human storm-priest, fell to a marauding ogre and died under a scavenging dinosaur. The party pushed on past a stampede of dinosaurs to a mighty wall of black stone, rising out of the ground as if the very Earth gave birth to it. Just beyond sits Tanaroa, Suga's village.
This time.., the villagers regard the castaways as heroes for Suga's rescue and safe return. The village is divided by clans, each clan having their own compound of dwellings. Zombies are everywhere both revered as ancestors and used for menial tasks. The clans argue for the right to give hospitality to individuals of the castaways. The Hawk Clan get the elf wizard, Greeliky, dwarf illusionist, Ardler Ludmegg and the dwarf mercenary, Ro Spartits. The Hawk Clan feast, sing and dance in honor of the heroes. The pair of wizards and the stout mercenary sleep in the long house of The Dead Speaker, spiritual leader of the clan. It is an honor.
It is late in the night before the reverie is over and the Hawk Clan and their guests go to sleep. The night grows still and quiet. A creak then a crash then the still night erupts into chaos.
The back end of the Dead Speaker's long house is torn away. Slim figures in the dark, gracefully attack the Dead Speaker's close family and attendants with arrows, spells and steel blades both straight and curved.
Elf wizard, dwarf illusionist and dwarf mercenary enter the fray on behalf of their hosts. Greeliky recognizes the dark slim assailants as high elf, eladrin from the feywilde. Ardler also recognizes the dark slim assailants, the dwarf growls under his breath to himself, "Silvermist Pirates." Ro, dwarf mercenary, recognizes battle and roars, “Roar!"
A single figure disappears by the edge of the jungle outside, and then appears next to the Dead Speaker, a young teen girl named Kehau. The figure grabs Kehau then vanishes. The young Dead Speaker Kehau and her kidnapper appear outside, and then rush into the jungle. The trio of heroic castaways pushes to the jungle and give chase with a trio of Hawk Clan warriors, tall, athletic, blonde and fierce.
The fey Silvermist Pirates retreat to the beach and their double canoes, graceful catamarans. A kidnapper throws Kehau into one of the graceful catamarans. Another two fey pirates push the craft into the surf and raise the sails. A dozen of the pirates turn to face the closing pursuers.
Ro Spartits, dwarf mercenary, leads the proud Hawk Clan warriors into the front ranks of the fey pirates. The pair of wizards dwarf and elf attacks the kidnappers upon the catamaran with the abducted young Dead Speaker. Magic missiles from Ardler and searing light from Greeliky and the three fey kidnappers are dead. But the catamaran's sail is up and the graceful vessel sails off with the unconscious kidnapped Kehau.
Other Silvermist Pirates, in a half dozen catamarans, close with the unattended craft carrying the young Dead Speaker. Ro hacks and smashes through the ranks of fey pirates on the beach. One, two, three, the Hawk Clan warriors fall trying to keep pace with the reckless dwarf mercenary. Greeliky and Ardler follow behind with ranged arcane attacks. The trio reaches the beach as Silvermist Pirates take the catamaran with Kehau the young Dead Speaker of the Hawk Clan and sail away.
The trio a dwarf mercenary, a dwarf illusionist and an elf wizard launch one of the graceful catamarans on the beach into the surf. But none have experience with sea craft. The wayward catamaran runs along the shore when the surf surges and a wave lifts the catamaran with our trio of would be heroes and smashes it upon some rocks. The surf deposits the trio, dwarf mercenary Ro Spartits, dwarf illusionist Ardler Ludmegg and elf wizard Greeliky upon the shore soggy and frustrated. The Silvermist Pirates sail into the darkness with Kehau the young Dead Speaker.
The Silvermist Pirates are wicked and debased high elves. They ply the Silvermist Sea or Ethereal Sea. Also known as the Ethereal Plane a place between time and space where one can find such places as the Isle of Dread. I used the human warrior stats from the bestiary. I gave them advantage for wisdom checks, keen senses. I gave each of them one attack at wills ray of frost, arcane blast (+4 to attack, 1d6 force damage 100' range), chill touch, shocking grasp and either a blade or longbow
I think simpler rules and things like bounded accuracy make it easier for dms like me to customize and improvise to fit our story desires.
Instead of baiting a hook and dangling it in front of the players, i.e. “could you save our kidnapped dead speaker”, I just used a gaffe and involved them in the kidnapping.
Ashford Songsteele is a human paladin of Pelor, a sworn cavalier, a knight of the Order of the Phoenix, like his father and his father's father and so on for seven generations. Ash is the pride and joy of his father. He wears a golden magic suit of platemail armor, a Songsteele heirloom passed on for generations. The human paladin thought the priceless family heirloom lost when he abandoned the Sea Wyvern with Prince Arbin, during an attack by a kraken. Ash and the Prince survived to rendezvous with the wreaked but still floating and serviceable Sea Wyvern.
Ash now rides his horse Petunia with an associate, Lucas, all survivors of the kraken attack. Lucas is a roguish human, a treasure hunter, a Curator of the Order of the Phoenix, an associate of the order not a knight. The curators bring a skill set to the order not practiced by knights like Ash. The pair of humans rides together on Petunia north to the village of Tanaroa. Ash and Lucas ride in the dark night to confirm rumors of other survivors of the Sea Wyvern, said to have arrived at the village of Tanaroa.
Previously our castaways received hospitality from the clans of the village Tanaroa. The elf wizard, Greeliky, dwarf illusionist, Ardler Ludmegg and the dwarf mercenary, Ro Spartits stay in the compound of the Hawk Clan and bore witness to the kidnapping of the young Dead Speaker, Kehau. Try as the trio might, they could not stop the kidnappers, the debased and wicked fey Silvermist Pirates.
This time.., the elf wizard, Greeliky, dwarf illusionist, Ardler Ludmegg and the dwarf mercenary, Ro Spartits return to the wrecked long house. One of the pirates is captured, a survivor of Ro's ax, missing a leg. Pair of Hawk Clan healers cruelly tends to the pirate, keeping him alive and lucid.
"I got this, guys." Ardler Insists. The dwarf illusionist grabs the mutilated pirate and drags him into the dark jungle night. The pirate's whimpers and cries emanate from the dark. Greeliky wonders what an illusionist can do to cause someone to make such sounds.
Sounds of battle can be heard towards the pyramid at the center of the village. Dwarf mercenary, Ro Spartits and elf wizard, Greeliky go to investigate.
Ash and Lucas ride Petunia into the village of Tanaroa. They can hear sounds of battle toward the pyramid in the center of the village and ride towards it. They ride across a cause way between gardens to the central pyramid of the village. The riders see three native teen girls stand lit up by magic upon the pyramid. The girls throw the magical light into the battle below. Ash and Lucas can see the battle at hand.
A score of Tanaroa's warriors lie upon the ground. A half dozen warriors wearily stand against a fiendish monster, a tall athletic humanoid covered in red scales with a long wiry sharp barbed tail, and large boney claws. The monster's barbed tail pierces the handsome face of a native warrior, it's claws tears the face off a second as it glares wickedly at a third native warrior.
Ash, paladin of Pelor, urges his horse Petunia to gallop. The monstrous devil's barbed tail pierces the chest of the blonde warrior. Ash draws his longsword. Lucas dismounts and tumbles to his feet at a run, shortbow in hand, Petunia charges.
Ash swings his longsword in a powerful arch from on high. The sword strikes the devil upon the crown; divine radiance explodes in a blinding white light. The fiend is barely scratched from the blow, but Pelor's divine radiance burns the wicked creature.
The native warriors drop to their knees in awe.
Lucas looks on in disbelief and whispers to himself, "Stupid."
The devil's face contorts in unbridled fury as claws tear the mounted cavalier from his horse. Then fiend bites Ash's face off.
The three young Dead Speakers chant from a top the side of the pyramid. Ribbons of black vapor rise from the ground; small grasses and weeds around Ash wither and die. The ribbons of black vapors infuse Ash's body entering through his eyes, mouth and nostrils. Ash's lifeless body moves and coughs. The paladin can feel the life force about, reinvigorate his body and soul. Ash vomits in disgust, at the vampirism.
Lucas takes careful aim and places an arrow at the back of the fiend’s neck. Lucas' arrow sticks in the devil's scaly neck but does not draw blood and only gains the ire of the tainted celestial creature, it glares maliciously at Lucas.
Four magic missiles slam into the back of the red scaled devil, leaving arcane wounds. The wounded devil turns to face its assailant, the elf wizard Greeliky and meets Ro's ax. The dwarf's ax bites the fiend, despite its resistance to mundane weapons. Ro proves to be a hard target and avoids the monster's claws and deflects its wiry barbed tail with his ax.
Another arrow and four more magic missiles frustrate and distract the devil.
Ash rises both reinvigorated and nauseous. The Dead Speakers’ vampiric magic disgusts the paladin but he knows what he must do. Ash draws his great sword from his back, summons the divine power of Pelor and strikes the wicked devil. Pelor's divine radiance burns and overwhelms the tainted celestial; it burns to black ash, then scatters upon the wind.
Ashford Songsteele is played by the guy who played dwarf Seamus in the Caverns of Chaos.
Lucas is played by the guy who played the halfling Taylen in the Caverns of Chaos
Both returned from playing Magic the Gathering on a weekly basis.
The guy playing the dwarf Ardler Ludmegg missed this session.
This session was an experiment. I had the 4 pcs of 4th level fight a 9th level hamatula devil. I was concerned about the vulnerability of a single high level monster v. a low level party. Conclusion; 9th level monster more than a match for for 4pcs of 4th level. Ash only survived because of Dm narrative. I am not shy about killing pcs, but this encounter was overpowering on purpose. So I gave Ash a second chance. No need kill a pc for a Dm experiment in a playtest.
We have some issues moving from one packet to the next. There is always these points of frustration. You learn a set of rules, then they change everything, or more importantly they change a lot of small things. My players are having trouble in transition from packet to packet. Really it just takes some work by both players and Dms to show up prepared for a game. Are others having the same issue?
Great experiment, sirkaikillah. I'm glad it wasn't too easy for the PCs. I threw a Vrock and a Drow at 4 3rd level PCs back a few playtest packages ago, and although it wasn't an easy battle, the party victory was never in question. This package seems to work better (except for when higher level wizards can use polymorph or convert all of the spells to fireball).
As DM, I got a little tired updating campaign PCs playtest after playtest so I decided to just run mini-adventures and have premade PCs available if players don't feel like making their own for each playtest. Right now, I'm running a loose set of adventures although I would not really say it is a campaign.
Previously, three heroic castaways, the dwarf illusionist, Ardler Ludmegg, elf wizard Greeliky and dwarf mercenary Ro Spartits failed to foil the kidnapping of Kehau the Dead Speaker, spiritual leader of the Hawk Clan by the wicked fey Silvermist pirates. After the kidnapping, Ardler interrogated a captured pirate, while Greeliky and Ro investigated sounds of more battle toward the village's central pyramid. Elf wizard and dwarf mercenary joined the human paladin Ashford Songsteele and the human rogue Lucas to battle a hamatula, a devil. Former shipmates, from the Sea Wyvern, were reunited by the battle against the other worldly monster. The battle was desperate and nearly claimed the life of the paladin Ashford Songsteele.
This time.., dwarf illusionist Ardler Ludmegg finishes his interrogation of the captured pirate and then reunites with the others. "The pirate has revealed the location of their base on our map." Ardler reports, and then continues, "Captain Jak is there and he has the hammer Fimbric."
"What of the girl?" Ro asks.
"Yes the girl, the Dead Speaker, she is wanted by a Lord Dust, a fey noble of the Twilight Court, known to associate with dark powers. I assume she is wanted for nefarious purposes." Ardler replies.
"Then we should rescue the girl from this Lord Dust and his dark machinations, whatever they may be." The paladin Ashford Songsteele declares.
"Right! Save the girl from a Lord Dust and associated dark powers." Lucas bluntly states. The roguish human sits atop Ash's horse Petunia and continues to say, "You got this, I'll go report to the Prince." Before Ash can object, Lucas turns Petunia about and gallops off into the darkness.
Argon Songsteele, human priest of, Gaia the life giver, the mother goddess, is the younger brother of the paladin Ashford Songsteele. Argon rides in the dark night upon his horse Daisy, both survivors of the kraken attack upon the Sea Wyvern. He follows his older brother, who again left him behind. "Into some trouble, no doubt." Argon thinks out loud as he rides in the dark. As Argon approaches the village Tanaroa, the priest rides past Lucas going the other way upon his brother's horse, Petunia. Argon whistles and Petunia turns about to follow, with Lucas riding and looking rather cross.
After reuniting, the party decides to sail after the Dead Speaker in the morning. The dwarf illusionist, Ardler Ludmegg, elf wizard Greeliky, dwarf mercenary Ro Spartits, human paladin Ashford Songsteele, the roguish human Lucas and the human priest Argon Songsteele take one of the pirates catamarans. One of the tall, blonde, athletic natives, Falafa, sails the vessel for them.
The rescuers sail from the early morning dawn light through the beating high noon sun. The dwarf mercenary Ro Spartits stares into the water off the bow of the pirates' catamaran. A disturbance in the water rushes up toward the dwarf. Ro, on instinct, shoots at the disturbance with his hand crossbow. His bolt falls through the disturbed water as it rushes to the surface.
The water at the front of the catamaran explodes, tossing the vessel. A column of water stands before the bow of the catamaran. A watery appendage grows from the column and slams Ro, soaking the dwarf mercenary and tries to drag him into the ocean, rocking the relatively small vessel.
Ro rocks back from the column of water trying to drag the dwarf into the ocean, then forward, swinging his greataxe. Water splashes everywhere, but the column of water reconstitutes itself before the little catamaran.
The elf wizard Greeliky scrambles away from the bow of the catamaran. Ash Songsteele, human paladin scrambles to take the elf's position, beside the living column of water. Ardler Ludmegg casts ray of frost. The water column turns to slush then freezes. Ash swings wide with his greatsword. Bright divine radiance explodes about the paladin and the living column of water. Frozen, the column shatters into a sparkling misty rainbow.
Greeliky offers, "That was a water elemental. A creature summoned from the Elemental Chaos. The devil we fought last night was summoned from Hell, beyond the Astral Sea. This Lord Dust is a powerful mage if he can summon such creatures into our world, our reality, from beyond. "
"Lord Dust is dangerous. Got it." Lucas rolls his eyes.
It is afternoon; the Sun falls half way between its apex and the western horizon. The catamaran nears another island, far to the east, the Isle of Dread stands beyond the horizon. The native Falafa's blonde hair waves in the wind as he sails the catamaran directly toward a beach with a score of huts, a dozen beached catamarans and two flanking wooden towers. A horn blasts a warning from the left tower, a refrain sounds from the right tower. The beach buzzes with activity as the pirates prepare for an assault. The rescuers tense up and gnash their teeth as Falafa beaches the catamaran.
The fey pirates in the towers, half a dozen in each, unleash a storm of arrows, arcane blasts and frost rays. Another dozen pirates meet the invading rescuers on the beach with arrows, spells and swords.
The dwarf mercenary Ro and human paladin Ash meet the fey pirates on the beach head on. The roguish human Lucas drops prone and begins isolating targets in towers, shooting them with his bow. The elf wizard Greeliky stands tall, launching magic missiles and ray of frosts. The human priest Argon moves to support his brother casting lance of faith at pirates in the towers. Ardler Ludmegg, dwarf illusionist, again disappears, just vanishes.
Ro and Ash push inland dropping one pirate after another. Lucas and Greeliky punish pirates in the towers with arrows and spells. Argon keeps them all going with divine healing. The elf wizard stands resolute in particular, taking wounds both arcane and mundane, but giving far more than he receives. A few more fey pirates join the fray emerging randomly from the huts on the beach, but more fall before the dwarf mercenary and human knight and by arrows and magic in the towers.
Feet prints, with a short stride, run from one hut to another as door flaps blow open.
The pirates on the beach begin to break before Ro and Ash. The knight pursues inland as the mercenary drops one of the towers with his greataxe. Survivors of the fallen tower scramble before the mighty Ro.
The surviving pirates on the remaining tower abandon their post and flee. Lucas, Greeliky and Argon are ruthless, killing the fleeing pirates with arrows, rays of frost and lances of faith.
Pair of fey pirates hides in a hut with half dozen tied and terrified captives. The hut's door flap inexplicably opens wide. The pair stabs at the face of an invisible intruder.
Ash sees the pirates in the hut and charges with his greatsword. Ash splits one of the hiding pirates in two. Ardler, dwarf illusionist, appears behind the paladin of Pelor and blasts the remaining pirate with a trio of magic missiles.
The fighting on the beach ends. Falafa emerges from hiding in the catamaran, looks around and smiles as he gives two thumbs up.