Session Date: September 10, 2017
13 Eleasias, 1367 DR
With the heroes planning to head north in the underground compound, Rusty splashes out of the water onto a quay. “Sorry guys,” the fighter says, streams of water running down him. “Had a rough night.”
“No worries,” says Belgarath. “We had to fight some shark riders and ghasts without you, but it wasn’t that –” Before the warlock can finish, he disappears with a flash of soft blue light.
“Damn, DM magic,” mutters Elodin.
Nigel nods. “Yep, tell me about it.”
“You should see if you can borrow some of that for your demon spawn children,” says Elodin.
“Hey, I’m just proud to be a father.”
Translation: Rusty’s player – who wasn’t present at the last session – arrived for this session. Belgarath’s player, however, wasn’t present at the beginning of this session. Rule is “if a player’s butt is not in the chair, his character’s butt is not in the world.” (I’m still trying to figure out what I’ll do if I ever get a player who stands the whole session.)
Metagamey magic aside, the Sword Coast Guard jumps into the water and swims north. They soon see a bridge spanning the river down the tunnel and approach to investigate.
As Nigel is examining the underside of the bridge, something grabs his ankle and yanks him underwater. The bard finds himself face to face with an ugly – by the bard’s standards, at least – sea troll. The troll extends one hand and growls something Nigel doesn’t understand.
Trembling, Nigel pulls a gold pieces from a pouch and gives it to the troll. The creature snarls, bites the coin in half, and extends its hand again.
The heroes dive down after their companion, and Elodin, seeing the troll speaking a language no one understands, casts tongues.
“Five hundred!” the sea troll bellows.
The heroes see another troll, clearly female, approach them from deeper in the river. Rusty checks out the troll holding Nigel, and it’s clearly male. “Cute couple,” the fighter remarks.
Elodin convinces the sea troll to come onto the dry land near the foot of the bridge where they can better discuss things. The sea troll demands a toll of five hundred gold to pass the bridge – because the “missus” wants it. To avoid a conflict, the wizard pays the troll.
See, if this were an MMO, this is what we’d call a “cash store” where players can buy experience points to level up. So, two trolls are worth 3500 XP. That comes out to 7.2 XP per gold piece, not adjusted for DM inflation, of course. (And if it were a real cash store, I’d be charging them dollars, not gold pieces…hey, I may be onto something.)
As Elodin and the sea troll continue their conversation, the wizard extracts information about the underground compound. He learns that “magic men” live in the area just west of the bridge, and that “fish men” live west of the area they fought the shark riders in.
The wizard then turns the tables on the troll, offering it information and then demanding five gold pieces. The confused troll hangs its head, dives into the water, and returns with a sack with five hundred gold pieces. “The missus is gonna be pissed with me,” the sea troll says, head hung dejectedly, as it gives Elodin the sack of gold.
This is what it looks like when players hack the cash store, take the money back, and still get to keep the experience points. (Which is why I told them next time we wouldn’t have a session. Banning them, you see.)
The heroes then quickly head west from the bridge to the “magic men” area. As they head down the tunnel, they can hear a commotion and loud screaming from behind them.
Yep, the missus didn’t like it.
At the end of the tunnel, they come upon double wooden doors – the heroes know they are wooden because Nigel rolls above a 5 on his Investigation check to determine what kind of doors they are.
Xavier pushes the doors open (once Nigel confirms they are wooden, of course) and finds a large chamber with many doors about the walls. In the middle of the chamber is a basin of water measuring some twenty feet by twenty feet square.
The fighter confidently strides up to the basin and peers over the edge into the water.
I might note – and all the players loudly noted this as well when Xavier said he was going to do this – that jumping first didn’t serve Malark so well with the shark riders. (Xavier is the new character that replaced Malark – same player.) However, I usually consider myself a benevolent DM. Usually.
A thick tendril of water explodes from the basin and tries to wrap Xavier about the waist. However, the fighter parries the tendril away with his sword and backs away.
Rusty rushes into the room, drawing his swords and crying, “Hell yeah! Time to kill shit!”, and the other heroes take up positions in the tunnel.
Just as Rusty enters the room, a second tendril of water exits the basin, wraps around him, and yanks him into the water. The fighter can’t see anything but water around him – whatever he’s fighting is either invisibility or made of water – as he’d dragged thirty feet downward into the murky water.
Xavier hacks wildly at the water in front of him, scoring a hit on something that he can’t see. There is definitely more than just water in the basin. Nigel and Elodin fling what spells they can from the tunnel, but it’s hard to hit the tendrils of water from where they’re at.
As Nigel enters the room to get a better angle on things, Belgarath appears down the tunnel behind Elodin. “Sorry for the delay, boys!” The warlock charges down tunnel and into he room. “What’d I miss?”
“Time to kill shit,” Rusty gurgles from within the basin.
Belgarath’s player arrived. He was at a local game shop when his truck wouldn’t start. So, naturally, he just replaced the starter in the parking lot, just like anyone else would have done…
And then two of the doors open, and four human females bearing shields and shark-teeth swords move into the room.
Just as the heroes adjust to the new threats, another door opens. Three men, each covered with a sheen of frost and one eye frozen over, enter the room. Rays of frigid frost blast out from their eyes, hitting both Nigel and Elodin, freezing them in place.
Waves of enemies are fun.
Despite being frozen in place, Nigel drops a hypnotic pattern on a group of enemies, incapacitating two of the frozen eyes. Then Belgarath and Xavier go to work, morning star and sword smashing and slashing through their foes. An invisible water creature, several of the warriors, and a frozen eye go down in pools of blood – or water.
Meanwhile, Rusty escapes several times from the water grasping him, only to be grappled again. Finally the fighters embraces the possibility of drowning and simply begins hacking away at the water around him. His flurry of attacks does the trick, and the water releases him. After swimming to the surface, he pulls himself back on to dry ground.
“And that’s how shit gets killed,” he says, spitting up a pint of water.
The frozen eyes repeatedly try to cast fear on the heroes, but Elodin is quick to counterspell them. Then, as the heroes drop more foes, one of the frozen eyes drops a fog cloud around him and moves through the double doors leading north.
Xavier and Belgarath follow after him, and Nigel casts dispel magic, removing the fog.
The two warriors find themselves in a corridor with basins of water lining either wall. Standing in the basins of water are four suits of plate armor engraved with water and seashell motifs and holding fanciful, silver tridents.
After they slaughter the remaining frozen eye, Belgarath investigates a suit of armor and yanks the trident away from it. A silver trident might be useful after all.
At that, Xavier moves to another suit of armor and begins monkeying with it.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how one encounter dovetails into two encounters back to back. The DM wanted to give them a moment to regroup – he really did – but no one, I mean no one, monkeys with my armor.
Two of the suits of armor glow softly with blue light, and water from the basins rushes up to fill them out, a sort of body made of water. The water armors then move to stab Xavier and Belgarath with their tridents, frigid ice coating them.
The hack and slash and lobbing of spells commences, and this battle is rather straightforward compared to the last one.
When the water armors are vanquished, the Sword Coast Guard moves back to the previous chamber and begins checking out the various rooms that opening up from it. The rooms all appear to be barracks, and the heroes find a decent amount of loot – gold, gems, and the like. Nigel also discovers dozens of tomes of history, and two books dealing with arcane topics. His backpack already overfilling, the bard improvises a pair of pants as a satchel, and stuffs the books into them.
We’ll need to remember throughout the rest of this adventure that Nigel is dragging around several dozen books in a pair of pants…
The heroes also discover a letter from a Vidette Rhona to a Zac Stormcrow. As they settle down to take a short rest, they read the letter.
The Sword Coast Guard
the adventurers formerly known as the Heroes of Gold, Glory, and Girls
Not Pictured: Xavier - Eldritch Knight Fighter