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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Heroes of the 13th Age: Part 7 Mondru, an Owlbear, and Sethus Maximi, oh my!

After a very long hiatus, we played 13th Age again on Saturday, September 14 (our last game was back in May and is the write-up is here).  This was the first game where we had the actual hard back 13th Age rulebook at the table (and our friend Steve actually bought his own as well, so we had two!)

The best thing about our session was that everyone was at the table and really engaged in the game.

Our cast continues to be as follows:

Cerise, the Spirit-Touched Cleric
Indigo the Gnome Cleric
Zuzu (yet again the name changes), the Half-Elf Rogue
Legolis, the High Elf Ranger
Hey Watchit, the Half-Orc Fighter
Lief, the Human Bard
Delthen Eversoar, the Human Paladin
Rolen Stillwind, the Wood Elf Sorcerer, and
Yoshi Antien, the Samurai flavored Half-Elf Fighter

The continue to explore the Orc created dungeons beneath the crumbling (and now burned down) Citadel by the Sea.  They search for an ancient magic weapon, Alkaarg, a spear forged in alliance between the followers of the Orc Lord and the Diabolist in an earlier Age (some 500 years ago).  The speak was especially designed to kill Elves.  The Priestess and the Elf Queen dispatched the heroes to locate the spear, secure it, and return it to Santa Cora for safekeeping.

At the end of the last game, after a big fight against undead skeleton rats and a nasty Ghoul, our heroes earned a full rest.

The returned to a side chamber where in a previous game they had left a prisoner and found a carving and inscription that spoke about the spear.  Some members of the party wondered aloud where their prisoner, the Orc Garshak, had disappeared to?  Delthen, the Paladin/Inquisitor of the Crusader gave a "who can know" shrug, not looking at the pile of dead Orcs that Garshak had joined after he proudly declared how he and the other Orcs were accepting aid from the Diabolist.

During the rest, Rolen received a sending from the Court of Stars, and an Handmaiden of the Elf Queen informed him in his dreams that he and his companions were close to finding the spear.  The Elf Queen had made provision for this and sent him aid.  When he awoke, he found a shroud for the spear, woven of starlight and gossamer, but as strong as steel, with a silver mesh end to contain the wicked spear and transport it safely back to Santa Cora (this disposed of his last unused Icon Roll with the Elf Queen).

Zuzu also had a dream.  In it she was wandering the Wild Wood, where once she was lost without her memory.  Here she was aware of who she was and she followed the flight of a great owl down a path into a grove dedicated to the High Druid, surrounded by Standing Stones.  Within the circle stood a great bear.  The owl landed on the bear's shoulder and the creatures spoke as one.  Zuzu understood that the spirits of the High Druid would allow her to rescue the Owlbear who resided in the fortress' cistern (brought there by the Orcs) and in return the Owlbear would not be dangerous to her and her friends, and it would help with their task.

After these dreams were experienced and explained, the party evaluated the treasure they had obtained so far (coins, jewelry, etc.).  They felt rich.

Then the characters all made Icon rolls and I secretly rolled for an additional Icon influence.  Many helpful Icon rolls ensued, some to be awarded immediately, others to be held for later. 

Delthen rolled a 6 on his positive relationship with the Crusader and a 6 on his negative relationship with the Diabolist.

Legolis rolled a 6 on his positive relationship with the Elf Queen.

Yoshi rolled a 6 on his complicated relationship with the Elf Queen and a 6 on his positive relationship with the Emperor.

Lief rolled a 5 on his positive relationship with the High Druid, and he rolled a 6 on his positive relationship with the Priestess.

Indigo rolled one 5 and two 6sfrom his positive relationship with the Priestess.

Cerise rolled on 5 on her positive relationship from the Priestess.

Zuzu rolled a 6 on her positive relationship with the Priestess.

Hey rolled a 5 on his negative relationship with the Orc Lord.

The additional Icon turned out to be the Orc Lord, which was no surprise.

Half-Orc Hey Watchit made sure everyone knew he was going to use the "facilities."  In the mean time, the Cleric Indigo prayed for the Priestess to intercede with the Gnomish Gods and give him a sign to guide them to the spear.  His hammer began to glow faintly, and he knew that as the brightness grew, he would be able to tell how close they were getting.

Zuzu also prayed for the intercession of the Priestess, and she plucked a newly appearing gem from her magic necklace (her One Unique Thing) and asked for a sign of guidance.  The gem glowed to show which path to take, with one of the points of the gem glowing to guide Zuzu on the path.

Yoshi awoke from a dream of his grandmother, the Elf Queen, and found himself drawn to a pile of old armor and weapons in a corner of the room.  Beneath it, he found a quiver filled with 12 arrows.  The quiver bore the coat of arms of the Court of Stars, and the arrows flickered such that sometimes each arrow appeared to be two, and sometimes just one.  Yoshi immediately shared half the arrows with the other follower of the Elf Queen, Legolis the Ranger.

After rising from meditation, the Paladin Delthen realized that a power had awakened in his weapon of office, his mace, which now was show to have the power of the Crusader enchanting it.

Hey Watchit decided that the name of their band of adventurers should be called the "Hey Guys."  No one is sure if that is going to stick.

Zuzu declared to the party that the Owlbear, "Who-grrl" wanted to be set free, and that she aimed to do it. 

They gathered their equipment and headed back to the unexplored section of the dungeon.  Briefly they thought about going through to what might be a "short cut" through the room with the giant spiders, but no one wanted to fight the spiders, and both Zuzu and Indigo decided that the signs were clearer to proceed down the main passage.  They could hear the cries of the Owlbear.

They found a secret door behind an old tapestry in the hallway, and they discovered it opened into the fortress cistern, at the bottom of which was the Owlbear.  The Owlbear immediately started climbing towards them.  Zuzu met it once it clambered into the dungeon.  Delthen tossed it his dried up Wyvern head, and Hey tossed it some croissants.  The Owlbear ate indiscriminately.  Zuzu used her background of having once worked with a menagerie to read its mood.  Also, some of the magic of the High Druid's dream lingered.  She understood that the Owlbear would be friendly and would help with one task, and then all bets might be off.  Zuzu decided the Owlbear should come with them.

They proceeded into an Orc spirit temple filled with dark foreboding and menace.  Nonetheless, Rolen the Sorcerer was not able to detect much in the way of mystic forces from outside the room.  The temple was a huge room, over a hundred feet on each side.  Massive pillars lined the center, each decorated with the depiction of an Orc hero bearing a spear.  The construction was originally human (Imperial) and Elvish, but the Orcs had redressed and re-purposed the room.  They could tell from the entryway that one side of the room was dominated by a throne, behind an altar.  The throne was occupied by an Orc skeleton dressed in plate armor, holding a great spear.  Before the throne/altar area were arrayed the skeletal forms of about 30 other armored Orcs. 

Yoshi, Delthen. Rolen and Indigo entered the chamber.  Yoshi, Rolen and Indigo began edging around the chamber on the side away from the throne.  Legolis picked up the tracks of their rival "Seth" heading out of the chamber down a stone staircase.

Delthen, meanwhile, defaced one of the columns with his mace, smashing the features of the carved Orc.  He then was joined by Zuzu and Cerise and approached the throne.  They all felt a brief wave of fear, which then they each faced down.

Cerise, taking no chances, case her Spirits of the Righteous at the figure on the throne, blasting it to pieces.

There was no reaction from anything in the room.

Delthen tried to sense whether there was any demonic or other malevolent presence in the room, but the sanctifying light from Cerise' spell just made him feel itchy.

Indigo, moving opposite of the throne, continued to detect nothing, but the light of his hammer grew as they crossed the room to a staircase that lead out the back.

Meanwhile the other members of the party, led by Hey, decided that Who-grrl the Owlbear, should be called Perry.

Having renamed the Owlbear, and Hey then went to sit on the throne.  It was nicely sanitized by the blast of holy light.  Legolis quickly sketched the scene and posted it on Elf-Scroll.

Hey noticed in the fragments of the skeletons left gauntlet a mysterious ring covered in skull motifs (like this).  He loudly announced his find.

Delthen tried to recall if anything about the symbols of the ring from his training as an inquisitor, but he could think of nothing.

Zuzu also examined the ring, but came away with no impression of it.

Delthen decided to set aside his magic mace and try on the ring, but just before slipping it on, a pinprick of intuition, like a dark whisper stopped him, and he began to see the aura of cursed magic around the ring (cross off his successful Icon role for his negative relationship with the Diabolist).

Indigo then took charge of the ring, and praying through the intercession of the Priestess to the gods and light and wisdom of the Gnomish pantheon he divined the nature of the ring (a curse ring of terror).  He carefully wrapped it up and put it away among his things.

The adventurers then decided to take the stairs down.  Along the way Zuzu spotted a trap, which was on the landing at which the stairs down turned.  She detected pressure plates that would unleash a barrage of darts.

Legolis carefully examined the tracks that Seth had left passing over the pressure plates and he easily passed the traps.  He pointed out how to get passed, but it still took some fancy footwork.  Fortunately, Hey had long studied interpretive dance, and he easily waltzed through.  Most of the other members of the party made it safely as well, using a variety of Dexterity based tricks, but both Zuzu and Rolen took one solid hit from a misstep.  Delthen decided to try to the Strength-based trip through the trap, hunkering in his armor and jamming his shield against the wall to block the darts.  He was surprisingly successful.

The chamber at the bottom of the stairs was lined in black marble, and the walls held rows of skeletal Orcs in armor, and the trophies made of the skulls and other body parts of the Orcs enemies.  Delthen decided to, out of an abundance of caution, smash all the standing Orc skeletons in the kneecaps, at least along the right side of the chamber.

Meanwhile, Indigo and Zuzu figured out that while there were several passages off this main chamber, their true path led through a seemingly blank wall.  The wall soon yielded a secret door, and they passed through a series of rooms with murals and more sepulchral guardians, until they reach a final chamber.  At the end of the chamber sat another mummified Orc on a throne, but his spear looked far more convincing, especially when the tip began to burn hot in the presence of the elves and half-elves in the party.

The chamber was also lined with heavily armored skeletal Orcs, each bearing a spear.

Round 1 Escalation 0
The party moved into the room, and I called for initiative rolls.  The skeletons had top initiative, followed by the reanimated Mondru, Fourth of his Name, then Zuzu activated Who-grrl, the Owlbear.  After that were the two clerics, Cerise and Indigo, then Lief the Bard, Legolis the Ranger, Yoshi the Samurai (fighter), Delthen the Paladin and Rolen the Sorceror, then Zuzu the Rogue and finally Hey the fighter.

A phalanx of spear wielding Orc skeletons charged the party.  Legolis was hit critically, but then the next skeleton fumbled, injuring the first skeleton.  Yoshi was missed, Delthin got hit, Hey got hit, Rolen was hit twice, Lief was hit and then missed, and using his magic hood he converted the miss into a fumble, which hit the next skeleton. 

Mondru, wielding Alkaarg the Elf Destroyer, struck at Zuzu (a half-elf) hitting her for 23 points of damage (normal hit).

She used her Ring of Defense to lower the damage to 13.

The Owlbear then attacked, savaging a skeleton (but these skeletons were tough and heavily armored, thus it survived).

Indigo cast Turn Undead, Dazing four of the skeletons.

Cerise cast Spirits of the Righteous with a critical hit for 36 points on Mondru.  He was staggered.

Lief began his Song of Spilt Blood, then unleashed his Battle Chant to damage a skeleton.

Legolis sought to disengage with the skeletons attacking him, but failed and instead, at the suggestion of Hey to "Axe them a question!", he swung his axe, regretfully only doing "miss" damage.

Yoshi, engaged with two skeletons, drew his Katana and did 16 points with a Power Attack.

Delthen stepped forward to Smite Enemy on Mondru.

Rolen failed to disengage, but moved anyway, avoiding being hit by an opportunity attack, and unleashed his Scorching Ray.

Zuzu hurled a throwing "glaive" with her flying blade attack and hit.

Hey rolled a fumble, and started to fall over, however he gained a re-roll with his "lethal" talent and he cried out "Hey just kidding!" as he smashed his tree into one of the skeleton's kneecaps.

Round 2 Escalation 1

The skeletons, all still up, struck.  Two misses on each Legolis and Yoshi.  Two hits on Delthen.  One hit and one miss on Hey.  Two misses on the Owlbear.  Two misses (which would have hit, had it not been for the ongoing Song of Spilt Blood) on Lief.

Mondru attacked the Owlbear and missed.

The Owlbear struck back at Mondru, crushing him, putting him to rest permanently.

For a moment it looked as if the destruction of the reanimated Mondru would have some effect on his skeleton guards, but then the Necromantic Tribal Curse marked onto the Bard Lief's skin pulsed, channeling necrotic energy into them, and they fought on (Hooray One Unique Thing (1UT)!).

Indigo moved up and cast a quick heal on Delthen, then cast his Javelin of Faith, which missed.

Cerise also cast a quick heal and struck a skeleton with her Javelin of Faith.

Lief continued his song, lashed out with Battle Chant, thunderously damaging a skeleton, and he allowed Legolis to disengage through his battle cry flexible "attack"!

Legolis used his Ranger's pet snake to "mimic" Rolen's Elven Grace, but failed to activate it this round.  He then pulled out one of the magic Double Arrows, and fired, destroying a skeleton with the first arrow, but missing (and missing his Archery reroll) with the second.

Yoshi deals damage to a skeleton with his Katana.

Rolen unleashes the fire of Scorching Ray on another.

Delthen strikes with Smite Enemy against another.

Suddenly, out of the shadows, the creature know as Seth (a Man Orc whose real name is Serga Ulmus) appears and picks up Alkaarg.  However, now the party, in melee with almost a dozen skeletons, lies between him and the exit.

Zuzu immediately springs into action; she spend her Momentum on Swashbuckle and runs up the back of the Owlbear, flips off the Owlbear's back, over the heads of the skeletons, and neatly kicks out at the speak in Seth's hands.

Her kick, unfortunately, is not effective and Seth retains the spear.

[n.b. Zuzu's player found this highly unsatisfactory, and she wondered whether Swashbuckle had any real value to contribute; I told her we could discuss it when she leveled up; while I let her narrate a lot, I think she probably should have received a bonus to her attack (it was pretty spectacular), which I did not give her (probably a +2); however, in the end, she missed by a lot still, so that probably would not have mattered; I think it might be worth her giving the talent a few more tries, but I happy to let her work in whatever she thinks will best go with her character).

She then called on the Priestess to grant her a second strike.  She found herself paused in the air, able to take another strike.  Her role was woefully bad, and she landed on her feet having failed to disarm Seth.

Hey then swung his tree using his Reach Tricks, to smash two skeletons back into Seth, and they all ended up in a pile on the floor.

Round 3 Escalation 2
The skeletons continued their relentless attack.  Legolis was missed, Yoshi, now with three attacking him, received a hit, a critical hit and a miss,  Delthen was hit.  Who-grrl the Owlbear was hit once and missed once.  Lief was hit.  The two knocked back by Hey disentangled themselves, and stood and moved up to him, but had not attack.

The Who-grrl smashed one of the skeletons attacking her and hit the other one (it was an even escalation die and she got two attacks!).

Indigo healed Delthen and then did a quick heal on Rolen.  He then cast his Javelin of Faith at Seth, but missed.

Cerise then invoked the Priestess to intercede on her behalf to allow her to cast Spirits of the Righteous for a second time in battle.  Her prayer was answered and she let loose on Seth for 20 points of holy damage.  As a side effect she Blessed Legolis.

Lief continued singing his Song, he then cast forth his Battle Chant at a skeleton, resulting in a critical hit.  He also used a flexible "attack" to allow Delthen to disengage.

Legolis fumbles a disengage, failed to make a borrowed Elven Grace roll, and he missed with his Axe.

Yoshi struck down a skeleton with his Katana.

Delthen stepped forward and seized Alkaarg from Seth, wrenching it from his grasp (19 Strength).  Unfortunately, he then had to fight the cursed, Diabolist and Orc Lord linked Champion Tier weapon.  He managed to save so that he could release the spear.  He hoped to heroically hurl it away, but barely managed to open his fingers to allow it to fall to the ground.  The heat of the spear badly scorched him.

Rolen succeeded in his Elven Grace roll.  He used his first action to gather power, and then let loose a Lightning Fork of double power against Seth with his second action for 34 points damage.

Seth/Sergus in response blasted Delthen with chaos magic and Delthen crumpled to the ground atop the Spear.  His shield began to smoke.

Zuzu attacked, but missed against Seth with a Flying Blade.

Hey missed a skeleton.

Round 4 Escalation 3

The relentless skeletons continued their assault.  First Legolis was his.  Three misses ensued against Yoshi.  Hey was missed.  The Owlbear was missed.  Lief was missed.  [Bad round for the skeletons]

Who-grrl smashed another skeleton to pieces.

Indigo once again sought the intercession of the Priestess with his gods to once again cast Turn Undead.  His spell lashed out, dazing four skeletons once again.

Cerise cast a quick heal on Delthen, but then missed Seth with her Javelin of Faith.

Legolis, close to going down, called out to the Elf Queen, and then entered a brief trance (during which he had the equivalent of a Quick Rest, allowing him to use as many recoveries as he wanted).  He used two recoveries to get out of immediate danger.  He then failed to disengage and instead killed a skeleton with his axe.

Yoshi hit one of the skeletons.

Delthen, rising from the ground, struck out with his mace, which had a special additional damage due to the Escalation Die, and he killed Seth.  Because he follows the Way of Evil Bastards, that use of Smite did not count against maximum (score!).

Rolen cast Scorching Ray on a skeleton, setting it aflame.

Zuzu stepped into the shadows with Shadow Walk.

Hey bashed a skeleton with his tree.

Round 5 Escalation 4

Three attacks against Yoshi by the skeletons resulted in two misses and a fumble (the skeletons starting to malfunction and damage one another).

A skeleton missed Hey.

A skeleton hit Who-grrl the Owlbear.

A skeleton hit Lief.

Cerise summoned to her the powers of the gods of light for her Javelin of Faith.  She fumbled.  The gods interpreted her prayer to allow her to strike against the agents of darkness directed a strike against Delthen the dark paladin.  He roll was a miss, but did miss damage.  Delthen's player interpreted this as his shield blocking most of the strike, but some of it bleeding through to harm him. ["Rejected light gods! Ow!"]

Indigo summoned his Hammer of Faith and bashed a skeleton.

Lief continued to thunder his Battle Chant against another skeleton.

Legolis fired a second set of Double Strike Arrows, hitting one skeleton over Yoshi's shoulder, but then fumbling the second attack and sinking an arrow into Yoshi's back. ["Good shot! Ow!! Bad shot!!!]

Yoshi, ignoring the damage, slashed another skeleton.

Rolen succeeded in his Elven Grace roll and gathered power, which had the side effect of damaging all the skeletons (because they were all staggered) and he then did a double damage scorching ray on a skeleton.  It barely remained standing.

Delthen then struck that skeleton down.

Zuzu returned from the shadows to destroy another skeleton.

Hey destroyed yet another.

Round 5 Escalation 5

The last skeleton missed Yoshi.

The Owlbear smashed the last skeleton to pieces.

After a long desperate struggle, the characters are now triumphant.  Their prize is within there grasp and their enemies lie dead at their feet.

What could possibly go wrong?

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