Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Journey to the Forbidden City - 12th of Mirtul, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

Driving rains pounded the explorers beneath gray skies and stifling heat. Two of their numbers, Morok the Half-Ogre and Dragonbait the Paladin pulled and guided their raft upstream from the shoreline amidst tall grasses and other obstructing vegetation.  It seemed like days since they arrived in Chult, Like days since they enjoyed drinks in the Jungle Rat Bistro of Chologodi - getting into a bar fight with the locals and being cast out of the sweaty dive by the Halruuan Wizard who was tending the taps. That was yesterday; today, even the monsoon rains didn't keep stinging and biting insects at bay. They were beginning to understand why this stretch of jungle was known as The Green Hell.

The rest of the party rode on the murky river. Aboard the raft, the woman calling herself Alias leaned her back against the cheap railing. A Pirate called Jolly Rogers - The Gentleman of the Sea sat nearby smoking his pipe, while a mysterious mage known only as The Varktose muttered inconceivable words into his beard.

Slowly, quietly, and deliberately, a clawed scaly black hand made its way over the railing behind the red haired Alias. Just as quickly as it deliberately made its approach, it snatched the red haired lass from the boat, pulling her into the murky depths. the pirate grabbed both of his cutlasses and dived after them. In the cloudy, muddied waters he could make out as to what the attacker was ... some black scaled Gillman with burning coals for eyes. He attempted to assail the Gillman with his swords as Alias wriggled to escape. As soon as Alias freed herself, the Gillman swam with great speed away into the gloomy waters.

Mogumbo, our guide, soon brought us to the spot where we would have to go it on foot. The canopy of the jungle blocked a great deal of the rains, but what it did let through came in giant drops or continual streams. Bird calls echoed in the safety of the canopy as well. and there were other sounds, terrible sounds coming from all around us.

Our guide insisted we go around the higher elevations; it was the least dangerous path and so around the mountains we went. In a day's time we emerged from the rainforest before a grand ravine, in which were vine covered buildings, mold covered ziggurats, Ivy ridden pyramids, and crumbling towers reaching toward the constant rains. To the east we spied a great waterfall flowing from the mountain. We decided we could descend to the Forgotten City with some degree of cover there. As we secured the ropes for repelling, a giant ant the size of a Calashite-Bred Horse assailed us. Where there was one of these insects, there was likely to be more. The quickest of actions had to be taken. The creature was quickly and quietly dispatched with only a few minor injuries sustained by the party. Then, down we descended into the ravine.

The rain was so heavy as to obscure our vision to a steady range of 10-12 feet. This would obviously work against us, but it would also work against any hostile inhabitants of the ravine. The ground was softer here, and our guide told us to be sure of our steps less we become stuck or worse, prey to quicksand.

 As we continued west, a structure of sorts came into view. It was of bamboo construction and approximately 10 feet high. Our wily pirate crawled upon the Half-Ogre's shoulders and dove into the structure. He cautiously ascended the mound within the structure and found a Frogman sitting by a rather large gong. Jolly dispatched the Amphibian Beast-man then disabled the gong. He the signalled for the Half-Ogre to come into the walled off area, which he did by tearing apart the lashed together bamboo stalks. Unfortunately, this made quick a ruckuss, as the bamboo snapped and cracked under then Half-Ogre's great strength.

Frogmen shot out of a crude cave entrance on the western side of the mound like running water. There were no less than 20 hopping about looking for intruders; each one with a grimy looking spear looking for homes in our hearts ...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hot Elf Chicks - Pic 8

Scoundrels in the South Ward

Up from the foetid sewers of Waterdeep's South Ward, the man known as Relic lead a small team of men on a mission for the Ebonclad Thieve's Guild of Skullport. Of the team there was the cuthroat known as Greegen, a Kenku called Stabber, a pirate calling himself Black Vulma, a Ratling known as Snippers, a underworld Pugilist and enforcer renowned as Brick, and a mysterious monk known simply as Shlock.

They made their way to the tavern known as The Bloody Fist, where they met their contact, a devious gnome calling himself Fingers. Fingers had information on a ne’er-do-well thug who had stolen from the Guild. The group was to find the man and retrieve what was stolen.

The trail started with the man the thug assaulted in the first place ... a foppish citizen of Tethyr who frequented the burlesques of The Guilded Ring Festhall. Questioning the dandy reviled little, but he let slip that he also had agents in search of the thug with the stolen treasure.

The band of thieves decided to start questioning the underworld, starting with Lasses of the Evening ... it was shortly into this endeavour, a fellow Ebonclad contacted them with unsettling news. It turned out that Fingers was not what he seemed. He had enlistment by the Guild before but he'd been acting strange lately ... as if he were hiding something. The Guild was using the party of cutthroats to draw him out. He said further, that the gnome and his bodyguard frequented a certain nightclub in town where they'd load up on casks of Halfling wine and head off in a cart to who knows where among the shadows of the South Ward.

The Thieves set up a stakeout on the nightclub that almost went sour when a rival guildsmen and his croneys recognized Black Vulma. The knife fight was quick and barely noticed in the dark of an adjoining alley; and not long after that the gnome, his bodyguard, and the cart arrived on the scene. Coin was exchanged to the Chultan doorman, and they both entered the seedy nightclub.

The bodyguard was set to work loading the cart with casks of wine, which the gnome paid for upfront. Fingers then jovially sat back and swilled drinks as his manservant continued his labour; careless as a formerly caged bird as he caroused with any who'd listen.

The routine was broken when the Enforcer, Brick, challenged the bodyguard. Everything went south from there. Brick floored the large bodyguard in a one-two punch. The gnome became alarmed at the scuffle and ran to the Chultan doorman, who was a sizable gentleman in his own right. The Chultan ran for the cart, carrying the gnome under his arm. He was paid well for his loyalty, and he tucked the gnome in among the casks and began pulling the cart into the night, rickshaw style.

The ratling assailed the cart with bolts from his crossbow from an alley across the main street, while Stabber, the Kenku, dove from his rooftop position and landed gracefully upon the fleeing cart. The party made use of the Art to slow the Chultan with frosty bolts of arcane might until the thieves had caught up to the escapees. The gnome matched thier Art by casting illusions of himself and finally disappearing all together, laughing at their failure to catch him from the long shadows of the South Ward ...

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Update

It just goes to show you that even the best DMs can't plan everything ...

Our adventures in Chult have been just a few and far between due to real life issues and time restraints, but that doesn't mean adventuring has come to a grinding halt. Dubious goings on from beneath the City of Splendors has spilled onto the depraved streets of the South Ward in the first all criminal group of 'adventurers' in our Mega-Campaign. There's not a lot yet to tell, as the Ebonclads have been thrust directly into Thieves Guild politics and may end up framed for a hit they never did …

I'm itching to get back to Chult, but we'll see what happens and who shows up and who doesn't in the coming days and weeks

Monday, October 30, 2017

Welcome to the Jungle, Baby ... You're Gonna Die!

Over the past few months, we here at Outlaw D&D have dabbled with jungle adventures in Chult in great anticipation of Tomb of Annihilation. As resources for the jungle were a little scant at the time (The Jungles of Chult 2nd Edition Source Book and a few DMsGuild Items,) as DM, I did a little cut and paste from another source to begin our adventures - The Fabulous Razor Coast setting from Frog God Games.

Using the map in DMsGuild's fantastic Jungles of Chult Factbook by Mike? as a base, I added hexes hexes and The Razor Coast material ... yeah ... it's down and dirty as photoshopping goes, but it's a great DMs map for what it is.

The area between The Razor Coast and Chult proper is what I have called the Green Hell,  As swiped and modified from the Jungle Ruins of Madaro-Shanti module by Frog God Games as well, and the setting for our initial dabblings in Chult. Most of the new areas are Halruuan settlements, or at least have such a heritage, as some have become the domain of pirates. Basically, I didn't want to interfere with anything ToA would introduce, but we were all pumped to play in the jungle.

I don't know if the above cobbled together map will be of any use to you and your game, but I posted it here for those that follow this blog as a reference for where the next series of posts will take place.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Song of The Masked Minstrel of Waterdeep - 10th of Mirtul, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

A gathering of witches in the Moonwoods north,
Inspired the Company of the Whistling Stag to venture forth,
to the High Forest where the treants tread,
to seek the Lady of the Coven, so Coridella said.

The Fey Witch descended from Selune's tears,
And danced with the party among elfling peers.
When The Court was gathered so she did say,
That Evil was growing in the Elemental way.

The Balance was disrupted on the Spirit Plane,
And the powers of Light were on a dying wane.
The High-Witch told them to go South at a quickened march,
And investigate the doings and goings on in old Red Larch.

Harp on ye Harpers, tell me a tale,
The Sword Coast is churning - shall good prevail?

Deep below the Sunless Citadel was found,
A nest of vipers where villains abound,
Parishioners of old Tiamat were busy that day,
Fending off the Blacksnake and keeping him at bay.

The Cult was diminished and a maiden was saved,
Ol' Finster was a hero - despite how odd he behaved.
So back they journeyed to The City of Skilled Hands,
Where the Company would rest where the Fallen Tower stands.

Harp on ye Harpers, tell me a tale,
The Netherese are returning - shall good prevail?

In Daggerford an expedition unfolded with a hanged man,
Whose art was quite fearful – he was of The Red Wizard's clan.
And then a shout came forward through the driving rain,
A dragon had sacked Cromm's Hold and was begging to be slain.

The Paladins Three had set out on Sir Istaval's command,
To seek out – yet not engage the beast – deep in the marshland.
The dragon's breath was mighty and armor could it melt,
Great Knights would need be rallied before vengeance's hand be dealt.

So off rode Morlan Torch-holder, a knight from far off Cormyr,
And at his side rode Braddok, an Aasimar Chevalier,
Jarvis Reeves, a Tiefling knight, rounded out The Paladins Three,
Who lead a band into Lizard Marsh; what heroes they would be!

A hag, Old Gretchen, harassed the group seeking rare treasure,
As one of the party, a thri-kreen by birth, had fascinating measure.
She cast abyssal magic and tried to convince the Three,
to give up those eyes, that she did prize, then she would leave them be.

Harp on ye Harpers, tell me a tale,
Old Gretchen, she is yearning - shall good prevail?

The Paladins stood fast, the Thri-kreen fought for his sight,
and although dark Denirete was swayed, Gretchen fled into the night.
T'was faith, not might, that repelled the Hag, each Paladin on a knee,
But Old Gretchen bellowed from afar, “You've not seen the last of me.”

Onward into the wetland, an abandoned temple was found,
It had seen much better days and was sunken into the ground.
It was decorated in carvings from vaulted ceiling to tiled floor,
The Bard, Buck Dharma, guessed t'was in honor of Amaunator.

Near a sconce lit altar swarmed snakes and splattered gore,
Something had defiled this place, yet onward they'd explore,
Creeping through the stench of death and the lingering of mold,
soon they'd run across the inhabitants of this den untold.

From the shadows, trapdoors, and hidey-holes, Lizard Men abounded,
The party did slay many a Lizard that day, despite being surrounded,
'Till finally they found a dank passage further underground,
And down, down, down they went when suddenly there was sound.

Before they knew the dragon was upon them it expelled it's burning breath,
And a wanderer named Groo that day had met an untimely death.
The Dragon Fear upon them, blood drained from each face,
And as fast as their booted feet could move they fled this subterranean place.

Harp on ye Harpers, tell me a tale,
Sounds in the dark are disconcerting - shall good prevail?

In a forested camp, Nine from Neverwinter had all settled in and regrouped,
A scream in the night was a young maiden, whose attackers they swiftly rebuked.
Amandia joined the party that evening with only a dead bandit's sword in her grasp,
Meager clothes poorly adorned her, aside her father's fur cloak and gold clasp.

She told of the woes of Mirabar, and how Many-Arrow Orcs burned it down,
So terrible was the onslaught, that survivors had fled underground.
Her father tried to flee the city, loading his family onto wagon and horse,
But the same said orcs hunted her family down and killed them as a matter of course.

Together they journeyed onward to the mine called Wave Echo Cave,
With thoughts of riches driving them, little did they suspect it a grave.
Ghouls polluted it's corridors, skeletons wandered it's halls,
A mad spectator continued its lifetimes long duty, ignoring the sanist of calls.

The Nine spoke to the eye-thing until they were quite out of breath,
When a specter ambushed the party and Stormcaller met a foul death.
Packs of ghouls assailed them, and drove them from the dark cold mine.
They carried their fallen with them, leaving nothing upon which the ghouls could dine.

Back to Phandalin they trudged, seeking a priest whom the dead he could raise,
But the fee was steep and Hanzo paid it with a new deity to praise.
Hanzo of Lathander was born as a freshly ordained acolyte,
And Stormcaller breathed again, but something wasn't quite right,

Harp on ye Harpers, tell me a tale,
Of The Death Curse we are learning - shall good prevail?

Word had reached Phandalin that Neverwinter'd been besieged,
And to Gizig and Azun who'd pledged their oaths, such words were hard to be believed.
The Many-Arrow Orcs were on the march; razing all where they would roam,
The Dragonborn and the Elf set off at once to defend their northern home.

Oh, the Jewel of the North - hear you of the attack,
Many-Arrow Orcs burrowed up from the crack,
Above the Chasm the sky glowed red,
as many burning fires spread.

To arms, to arms, General Sabine did call,
from the battlefield below the defensive wall,
The Blacksnake and his motley crew,
Hefted swords and axes too.

Many as one joined swords that day,
As the Many-Arrow Orcs would have their way,
Skyward, Gizig soared as the city burned,
While clutching Azun, many arrows he returned.

Harp on ye Harpers, tell me a tale,
The Jewel of the North is burning - shall good prevail?

Landing Azun on the battlements, Gizig took the field,
With his might of sword and Azun's aim, he hoped the orcs would yield.
The Dragonborn lead twenty men onto the streets of fire,
But striding through the ruins was a form of undesire.

Sir Bluto of Luskan had joined the fray and with a sword so mean,
He'd mowed down some thirty men alone, his presence had been unforeseen.
Together The Blacksnake and Gizig met him Together their attacks were shredded,
Together they fell in defeat and Blacksnake was unceremoniously beheaded.

To arms, to arms, General Sabine did rally,
from every burning street to every orc-filled alley,
The Blacksnake's trail was ended,
Yet the city was surely defended.

Many men had died, the cost was high, but the orcs were finally routed,
Back into the Chasm they and Bluto fled, our number of heroes now diluted.
But Sabine commanded they must be pursued, less they regroup and gather muster,
Heroes gather 'round Neverwinter's banner, and let not our Jewel know lackluster
Harp on ye Harpers, tell me a tale,
Could Sabine turn the tides - shall good prevail?

Shall good prevail?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Current Clack - 10th of Mirtul, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

  • Sages claim that something evil is trapping the souls of the dead and  draining life from all who have been raised from  death by magic. This worldwide “death curse” not  only prevents the raising of the dead, but also causes  creatures that were previously raised from the dead  to wither and die.
  • Ordalf, High Lady of Sarifal, has issued strong and bitter words concerning the Amnish activity in Tethyr, citing how similar their tactics sound to the Lady Erliza  Daressin's tactics for conquering Snowdown and it's territory.
  • The Eldreth Veluuthra seem to be gaining strength in Neverwinter Woods, as a logging party was recently slain and made examples of in the Woods, their limbs pinned to trees with red fletched black arrows, along the forest entrance. With Neverwinter besieged by Many Arrows Orcs, little can be done but grant the elves their forest and forbid her residents from traveling there.

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