Friday, 7 May 2010

4ed Campaign -- Session 48 -- Sunday 18th April

In which Elumai and Berend defy the ghost in the machine, Jonas develops a new appreciation for the rat in the drainpipe, and Jelia d'Cannith reveals her intentions...

Roster (Party Level 9th)
Berend - Dwarven Fighter
Elumai - Eladrin Wizard
Finial - Half-elf Paladin
Jonas - Human Rogue/Ranger

The fight has now been reduced to a few hobgoblin warriors which, without Haestus around to back them up, are soon dispatched. The party takes a few moments before heading forward, turning to the south and coming to what looks like a control room of some sort.

The hair on their bodies stands to attention as they open the door. Inside, the room is tall, with spherical electrodes dangling from the roof. Crackling arcs of blue electricity spit and fizz between them, electrifying the very air. The walls are busy with arcane controls and read-outs, from simple levers to complex contraptions which snake their way across the room before snapping back into position.

Berend volunteers for the dangerous job of reaching the master terminal at the other end of the room. Beard crackling with static, he clambers up above the electrodes and makes his way carefully across the ceiling, losing his footing more than once but making it unbloodied to the other side. There, he finds a control rod with a single signet ring on it... and the simple act of removing the ring seems to deactivate the security.

Elumai and Berend busy themselves deciphering the machine, concluding that it quite probably controls a powerful mechanism deeper in the complex, perhaps even ths "Creation Forge" itself. While they attempt to disable it, Jonas heads off to investigate a nearby door.

It appears to be a simple store-room, with floor-to-ceiling rows of metal cabinets, all shut and padlocked. In a far corner, flickering candle-light throws onto the wall the shadow of someone working at a table, and there are other signs of movement deeper in the room and out of sight. Jonas creeps forward, and the head of what looks like a metallic snake peers around the corner, its steel tongue flicking in and out as it tastes the air. Behind it, in a small antechamber, Jonas can make out the shape of someone -- possibly female -- sitting at a desk.

As the snake coils itself back out of sight, he continues to move, spotting a dormant or sleeping forge drake resting in a far, dark corner of the room. However, it's at this point that his luck, which has already been teetering on the brink, finally lets him down, and the snake darts back out of the room and, fanning its cowl, looms over him. From behind it, a tall eladrin woman, dressed in almost ceremonial leather armour, festooned with strange looking tools, steps into view and observes the ensuing melee with curiosity. The forge drake also unfolds its wings and roars at the rogue, which, together with the snake's loud, resonant hissing alerts the rest of the team that something might have gone very wrong. Jonas's desperate cry for help removes all doubt, and they run to assist.

As his enemies close in on him, Jonas leaps aside from the stabbing fangs of the snake, leaps over the drake, and darts between the tall cabinets and out of sight. The drake cranes its head into the shadows, its red eyes scanning the darkness like baleful searchlights, but its efforts are frustrated enough to give Jonas the chance to heave at one of the rows of cabinets. With a massive effort, he pushes it over, trapping the drake, which screeches and claws at the metal as it tries to free itself.

His friends arrive to defend him, and Finial entreats the eladrin woman to call off her pets and parlay. His words carry all of the ferocious weight of his faith, and she orders her constructs to retreat. Jonas, however, has established something of an enmity with the dragon, and it ignores the command, biting down on him.

The rest of the company parlay with the woman, who asks if they're working for her "idiot cousins", strongly implying that this is in fact Jelia. Although she recalls the snake, she allows the melee with Jonas to continue, bluffing that she doesn't have control of the drakes, which gives Jonas the opportunity to dispatch the creature.

As the room calms, Jelia enquires as to the party's intentions and a conversation ensues. They are distrustful of her, and not averse to saying so, but she does reveal that she and her cousins had researched the location of the Creation Forge in the hope of re-igniting the fortunes of House Cannith, after Haestus d'Cannith had all-but bankrupted the family. He had spent so much, they reasoned, that it must have bought *something*.

Unfortunately they underestimated Haestus's brilliance and awoke Calmachia -- a huge dragon construct -- only to find themselves in thrall to the creature. Jelia has been a prisoner ever since. As far as she knows, Valsath, leader of the Bladebearer mercenaries she hired as bodyguards for the trip, has brokered a deal with the dragon and they're working towards some common goal.

There are some inconsistencies to the story, but Jelia proves she cannot physically leave the confines of the forge. The company decides to rest where they are, and push on in the morning.

Unforutnately, Valsath has other plans...


Wedge said...

This session fizzled a little bit. I'm sure I'm not the first DM to trap himself in an inconsistent ad-lib, but boy did I fence myself in during this session! The players noticed, I'm sure, but were good enough not to make a huge deal of it.

In the end though, the encounter with Jelia became a sticky, broken, round-by-round negotiation when it should instead have been a fairly interesting plot reveal.

What I did like about the session in particular were Jonas's escapades with the dragon that just wouldn't let it lie. Staying hidden and/or out of range while it pursued him around the room was good fun, and it's not the first time that Jonas has frustrated an enemy so utterly that killing him becomes its first and only priority (the mercenary camp near the Seven-Pillared Hall being the other occasion). I have absolutely no problem RP'ing a villain in such a way.

Other than that there was one fairly uninteresting multi-Skill check (I wouldn't call it a challenge) in the control room which I struggled to make interesting, and in hind-sight should probably have intensified by requiring one or more PC's to give it constant attention while the fight with the constructs was going on. Another missed opportunity! Gah!

So, then, one to forget. :)

Benmoule said...

i found this one good fun, i have many years aog stopped trying to understand anything that people say to me, so any inconsistancy went by me without too much perturbation. I enjoyed doing somehitng with Berend other than hitting folk. Certainly not one I'd rather forget, as I enjoyed it.

Wedge said...

Good to know. :) Berend certainly stretched himself (literally) that day.

Wedge said...

By the way this is the 100th post on Chasing the DM, which makes it the most successful blog I've ever started, by about 97.5 posts. :)

Phil said...

Happy 100th birthday...may there be many more in the future.