The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes dredged up an old vampire, found the smoking ruins of Rukesti, battled many vampires, and founds many magical treasures, before heading back south to face the vampire lords…
Play time: 4.5 hours
- Asmund the Divine Soul Sorcerer (7)
- Drew the Eldritch Knight (7)
- Hugo the Time Wizard (6), Cleric (1)
- Rainen the Beast Master Ranger (5), Druid (2)
- Ward the Gloom Stalker Ranger (6), Rogue (1)
Round 3 with the creek
The party awoke in a dark, snowy spot in the woods. Rainen rose from a dream of monkeys fighting in a mountain hot spring, wondering what it meant. For a few minutes, the group discussed their goals. Fight the vampires? Sneak past the vampires? Risk taking the road controlled by the Temple? They resolved to push south to Castle Torescu and risk the vampires in their search for the Black Road through the mountains.
Heading out, they made slow time through the gloomy, snowy woods. Soon they found the partly frozen banks of the Little Fang Creek, their ancient nemesis. Ward froze a path across the water and the team tried to cross. They all slipped and fell into the icy waters. Again. (Except for Drew, who misty-stepped across.) After much swimming and struggling, they reached the far shore, dried off, and continued south.
Rainen noticed a huge swarm of bats swirling through the trees, also heading south.
Late in the afternoon, they arrived at the abandoned mining camp of Narat. The snow mostly obscured the old cottages and tents. Only the stone tower looked intact. Drew revealed that the Oracle had given him visions of this place, and he wanted the green potion from the tower.
They approached the tower and heard some muffled sounds within the old cottages. Drew cleared a path to the door, allowing several huge but clumsy bat-like men to stumble out into the half-light. These were the man-bats that the vampire Lucien had created and was trying to teach to fly.
The ensuing battle was quick and bizarre. Hugo slowed several man-bats, and Ward used Lucien’s ring to command two of them to stop fighting. One man-bat grabbed Drew and flew a short distance straight up to drop him on his head. But the party brought their spells and silver weapons to bear, and tore the undead creatures to pieces.
They kept one alive for questioning. They named this man-bat Wuce Brayne and demanded information about the tower. But the creature merely knew that two humans lived inside and he was supposed to guard them.
Into the tower
Rainen transformed into a squirrel and scampered up to look inside the room at the top of the tower. She saw a laboratory full of books and glassware, and potions! Also a stern woman in black and a large man sleeping on a large bed. Ward picked the lock on the heavy door and ventured into the tower with Drew. But they stepped on a metal grate and were electrocuted.
Heavy footsteps echoed from above, and soon an extremely large man covered in ugly scars began walking down. He demanded they leave. He threatened to throw them out.
The team shouted up that they wanted the green potion, and were willing to trade a magic knife for it. The large man seemed to briefly consider their offers, but he was unwilling to give up the potion and suspicious of them in general. By the time he reached the bottom of the stairs, it was clear there would be a fight.
Fighting without fighting
Drew successfully cast Fear on the big man, and used that effect to herd the man out of the tower. Outside, Ward hurled daggers and fired magic arrows, but most of his shots bounced harmlessly off the man’s chest. The giant (not a Giant, but you know) began hurling bricks, which proved very effective and Ward ran away. Meanwhile, Rainen began climbing back up the tower in the form of a spider.
Asmund teleported and ran up the stairs and found the woman preparing a bandolier of potions. He turned invisible and sneaked into the room, and found the green potion. As his companions ran up the stairs to join him, Asmund banished the woman to the Shadowfell. With her gone, Rainen jumped into the room and they began pouring all of the potions into vials so they could run off with them.
Hugo looked around the lab, noted that the books were all about nature and not about magic, and lost interest. Asmund ran back down with the potions, followed by Hugo. Drew ran up to the lab, destroyed everything with a Thunderwave, discovered a chest full of women’s fancy clothes, and then ran back down with Rainen.
One by one, they all ran out into the snow past the large man. Asmund took a brick to the head, but kept his wits about him. Moments later, the entire group had dashed away across the snow field and arrived at the entrance to the abandoned mine at the base of the mountain.
With no sign of pursuit, they decided to try the potions. Hugo identified many of them as acid, cold, and fire concoctions. But three vials contained something… mutagenic.
Drew drank two of the vials, and Ward drank one.
The strange brew caused Drew to vastly increase his Strength and Dexterity and speed, as well as making him grow 18 inches taller! Ward however shrank 3 inches and became a bit slower than before. Both men lost Charisma, but gained some elemental immunities.
And that’s where we ended.
Everyone loved this session! Apparently they really enjoy falling into that creek, over and over again. The combat with the man-bats was a good example of enemies with interesting abilities (bite, scream, and drop) that were dangerous, but didn’t take too long to kill. Plus the team once again showed a lot of creativity in that fight.
The encounter at the tower was great. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get more interactions with the mad scientist woman or her giant test-subject companion. The players tried to blame me (me!) for starting the combat, and I had to point out that they broke into these (bad) people’s home and started making weird demands without much pretense. This was pretty much a recipe for starting a fight, I think.
The non-fight was a ton of fun, again showcasing a lot of creativity with Rainen’s shapeshifting, Asmund’s banishment, and everyone’s general sneakiness. They got the potions and escaped with minimal harm. Plus the baddies lived! They might show up again one day!
And the big climax was Drew and Ward taking the potions. This involved making seven d6 rolls to see how the potions would change their Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma, Movement, Height, and Immunities. They odds in each case were in favor of some improvement but with a small risk of getting worse, and they managed to roll “worse” quite a few times. But since the fighter ended up with massive strength and dex, and seven and a half feet tall, everyone seemed pretty satisfied.
Next time, into the mines in search of the vampire castle and the Black Road to freedom!