How would youngish (50 or so) elven females swear? I don’t know. I’ll just go with “generically”
Who in gods’ name decided to let Larien wander off to our kingdom – or dukedom, or whatever the blazes it is – on his own? He’s what – thirty? Barely more than a child, I could name a dozen human peasants older and with more commonsense. I have just discovered that he has spent the past week earning himself free drinks at every bar within ten miles telling tales of my little indiscretions back at Restov. We are trying to run a kingdom, here! People depend on us for their safety and prosperity and here’s an idiot relative of mine undermining it all. I’m absolutely mortified.
In all fairness, it’s been rather an education and I owe father the apology that I didn’t have the experience to give him before. I better understand, now, the effect that my own rather childish and silly behaviour had on other people. I think I’ve discovered why humans are so mature so quickly. It’s not age that makes an adult: it’s responsibility.
But that doesn’t mean Larien is forgiven. I’ve had a chat to him and I don’t think he listened to a word of it. Well this is how it’s to be: the families can exile whoever they wish, but while we welcome trade and settlement by the folk, Freedonia is not a dumping-ground for every fool and/or malcontent south of the river. We’ll round ’em up, put them all on a wagon and ship them all back home if it comes to that. Larien will be first, if he doesn’t shape up, and good riddance.
Having said that, I suppose I should give you the usual rundown of events.
We made camp away from the tower and prepared spells for the morrow. Next day we went straight back to the tower and commenced with plan A. Morgana brought down the force barrier around the silver material, then his lordship began smacking at the runes to damage them physically, and Morgana fired another Dispel Magic. It worked perfectly [some nice rolls] and the sliver liquid started draining out onto the floor – quite a bit of it actually – pooling around the base of the obelisk and tracing out the old runes. After a bit of this, a human (or something) emerged from the stone.
We held off attacking. He stretched and walked about dazed for a moment or two (as you would, I suppose) and began speaking. Some sort of magical or supernatural effect was in play: he was speaking a language that none of us recognised, but we all understood his meaning perfectly. There were some tense moments, but luckily no-one broke and started hostilities. There was a great deal of chat – as far as I can make out, he had been in that stone for a thousand years or so. Grandfather’s time, maybe earlier! It seems he was a disciple of “The Unbroken Way” – a monkish order that traces its origin back to the first gith to rebel against the illithid.
And a great deal of lt;dr besides. Module designers: please stop giving DM’s big indigestible chunks of colour text to read out.
The upshot of it all is that the island was a monastery, and he intends to re-establish it. We are quite happy for him to do so, even in the absence of any explicit treaty or fealty – realistically, if this human really was taught by gith and survived being locked in stone for a thousand years with his sanity intact, then if he wants to build an abbey, an abbey will be built. Anyway: Rainor seems quite taken with him [Brett wants to go Zen Archer]. I suppose we should negotiate some sort of “freedonian law stops here” deal, perhaps designating the mere as a shared fishing zone.
In any case. Having dealt with that, we went back to the work of clearing the worst of the wildlife from the area.
The marshals – the Sootscale kobolds (and my aren’t there a lot of them these days! It’s what happens when you don’t cull them. Not that I’m shapist, or anything.) – had reported troll activity to the west and south. We investigated the site of their most recent battle. A lot of alchemical fire scorchmarks and not a few bodies. We headed south, toll hunting.
On the way, we came to an area of forest suspiciously short of larger game, and with giant lizard tracks here and there. We eventually came to a copse that looked like it might be the lair of this giant lizard. While discussing what to do, we were swooped by a forest dragon.
Well – drake. Still: not to be taken lightly. His lordship engaged it on the ground. I have my bow, but I rely on precision and have to get in fairly close. It was a bit of a melee – the thing came after me at one point. Everyone hacked away at it, but I scored the killing blow with a Scorching Ray.
Kill steal! Crit + sneak attack with a Scorching Ray makes … ooh: one, two, three … 10d6 fire damage. Yow! 35 points of damage, on average, nearly as much as Jope does in a single round!
The drake had one or two items, including a rather threadbare but serviceable hunter’s cloak [Elves of course don’t call ’em “cloaks of elvenkind”], which I have been after for some time. Oh, and there was a reward for the thing’s head. Seems everytime we sally forth, we return with more severed heads. His Lordship thinks that he can turn its hide into some armour.
A little further to the south again, we found some sort of large animal lair. Something needing to be cleaned out before the are could be settled, anyway. I sent down my Dancing Lights and definitely stirred something up. I went in – my belt gives me darkvision and some dwarvish instinct for stone. His Lordship came down as well, and preceded me into a cavern – neatly stepping around a bit that opened at his feet.
Rainor followed, and was first to notice a pair of eyes right behind His Lordship and call the alert. And it was on. I cast Scorching Ray … but completely mixed up the second shaping ward. It backfired badly – I’m still seeing pretty coloured lights.
[Rolled a 1, a 1 to conform the fumble, and a 2. We use GameMastery crit fumble cards. A fumble that bad makes it DM’s choice. 3 wisdom damage, on a character that has a wisdom of 8. Ouch. We don’t have any Lesser Restoration or opportunity for bed rest.]
Anyway. The fight proceeded regardless, and despite everything I managed to get in the killing shot with the bow. [Two kill-steals in one session! W00T!] Turned out the thing was a mutated crocidlyid. Nasty. No loot to speak of.
Well, after wandering about for days we finally found a couple of trolls. They very nearly got the drop on us, but I think we saw them first. Unfortunately, they attacked from the rear. Instead of doing the sensible thing and running behind the fighters, I cast blur. I was promptly attacked and grappled. I cast grease to escape – drawing on the family magic – and got away, although the thing swiped me as I got out of range. Damned near knocked me unconscious [1 hp].
Switch’s bonded item is a family signet ring. As she is currently disgraced, she wears the stone reversed. Under pathfinder rules, your bonded item once per day allows you to cast any one spell you know without preparing it. The flexibility this gives has been crucial on a number of occasions.
While this was happening, my comrades had done a great deal of damage to these two things and knocked them unconcious, but they just kept regenerating. I had prepared the Acid Splash cantrip, as it is one of the few spells I know that will damage a troll. I found that even though it’s a small amount of damage, by placing the shot I could get good results. Eventually Morgana and her Flaming Sphere and I with my Acid Splash – with of course Rainor and His Lordship keeping the trolls disabled – managed to dispatch these two trolls.
I prepared Acid Splash because I knew we were after trolls. t was at the table that I realised that it was ranged touch, and so Switch would do sneak attack damage. Dave clarified that yes, if you sneak attack with energy damage then the damage type is the same as that of the attack. So Morgana is doing 5d6 fire (2nd level spell) and Switch 2-and-a-half d6 acid per round with a cantrip. Switch could have done a flaming sphere as well, but I wanted to keep something in reserve. As per last week – this character is starting to come together. 3 kills out of four, if you include the kill-steals 🙂 .
So, we eventually defeated two trolls which we believe are not as big as the troublesome ones. It’s a great worry how difficult it was to do. We are going to have to rethink tactics. I would love a wand of scorching ray. A wand of Flame Arrow would be good too – the spell is beyond my abilities at present – but it would cost thousands.
With fondness, as always,