Friday, February 27, 2009

Farewell to a Friend.

I am not sure if anyone follows this blog aside from our gaming group but I want to preface this post before it is read.

On February 15, 2009 one of our group members - Robert Ste Croix - passed away at the age of 33 after a brief battle with cancer. This post is my way of saying goodbye as I - and the rest of the group - were unable to attend the funeral far, far from here.

Rob is going to be missed by many people. Not the least of which will be the guys who enjoyed his roleplaying on Sunday nights over of the past couple of years. Rob's last character was Jonathon; a battle cleric who dropped everything to assist innocents and the weak. Many times it was to the detriment to the rest of us but it was always entertaining!

Rest in peace my friend.

Jonathon winced as he leaned his head against the rotten stump of a tree. Even had it not been just after sunset, he was sure he would still have had trouble seeing with all the blood flowing into his eyes. His helmet had saved his head from being crushed like a melon but he had been rewarded with a large gash in his forehead where his helm had been forced into his skin. Of course that wound was of minor consequence. The mighty club of the ogre had somehow managed to crush his left side. He was having trouble breathing.

He was in a bad position now and he knew it.
Taking a ragged breath he calmed himself. Had anyone been close enough to assist him they would have heard a quiet prayer of thanks to Dol Dorn. The god of steel and strength had granted him victory over his foe. Most importantly he knew he had saved the boy from certain death. His thoughts drifted to what had just transpired. It seemed like hours ago yet he knew it had been mere minutes.

Some might call happening on the situation pure chance. He knew better. All day he had sensed he would be tested once again. Travelling alone to Flamekeep had granted him the opportunity to meditate a great deal on his teachings and beliefs. Somehow he seemed to have gained a sort of six sense of danger ahead. He surmised it was a blessing from Dol Dorn for his faithfulness.
He recalled hearing a bellow of pain as he rounded a corner of this forest path. As he cleared a large boulder he had come across the scene: an ogre dwarfing a human lad held a raised club in his right hand while he grasped a newly opened knife wound in his left leg. The boy was brandishing a knife as he danced defiantly between the nearby trees. Both combatants were obviously looking for another opening.

With a quick prayer Jonathon had leaped into action. He uttered a challenge to the ogre and set upon him with his sword. The ogre’s large frame offered plenty of target but the huge club seemed to swing as easily as a sapling in the wind. The strength of the ogre was astounding. When Jonathon ducked under a blow directed at his head the club had struck a tree and shattered it into tinder. Time and again Jonathon had managed to wound the beast but never with a blow grievous enough to slow it down. It was becoming a battle of attrition.

That was when it happened.

The boy appeared suddenly on the far side of the ogre. It was so unexpected that Jonathon had been momentarily distracted. It was enough for the ogre to bring his weapon to bear upon the cleric. The club hit the cleric full on causing the massive wounds he now suffered from. Jonathon had been momentarily stunned by the force of the blow. He was sure he would have been killed in the seconds that followed had his ally not struck the right arm of the creature. It had been a well aimed attack. Perhaps a nerve or tendon had been severed. Whatever it was, the effect was immediate. The beast dropped his club and clawed at his arm in pain. In the same motion it had also swung around so quickly that it had caught the boy full in the chest and sent him flying like a rag doll into some nearby bushes.

Seeing a precious opening Jonathon had gathered his wits and drove his sword home beneath the ribcage of his foe. With a shudder the monstrosity had fallen forward never to move again.
Jonathon mind wandered back to the boy. He had no idea where the youngster had gone. A quick search had revealed a small pool of blood in the bushes but nothing more. In his current state Jonathon was unable to follow any trail.

He was getting tired. Most likely lost blood. Even with his considerable knowledge of the healing arts he was unable to do much for what he believed was a crushed lung. Fight as he may he knew in his heart he was too far from any house of healing to have much hope. He resigned himself to that thought and turned his heart to prayer. Soon he was unable to stay awake any longer.


Tharunn crept forward through the underbrush. Everything had gone quiet after he had bolted from the battle. Honing his skills in the forest was one thing. Taking on an ogre singlehandedly was something entirely different. In fact, if he didn’t feel that he now owed the cleric a life debt he would be long gone from here by know.

As he crept forward he finally made out the form of the ogre corpse. He didn’t know a lot about the huge creatures but he didn’t think they slept sprawled on their faces on the forest floor. Surely the beast was dead. But where was the cleric? From his vantage point he couldn’t see to the far side of the small clearing.

He was about to stand and move passed the body when soft white light appeared on the other side of the path. Unsure of what was happening, he slowly stood and peered out from behind a young tree. For a moment he thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. The cleric was leaning against a rotten stump and in front of him was a warrior bathed in a glowing white light. The radiant being’s armour had been specially crafted to accommodate the two large wings on its back. Tharunn had listened to enough church sermons in his life to know that this creature could be nothing more than an angel. Tharunn heard him speak.

“Awake faithful servant of Dol Dorn. It is time to receive your reward. You have followed your convictions as well as any man could. More so than most. Your time here on Khorvaire is at an end. Come. Time to meet the other faithful. Take my hand Jonathon.”

As Jonathon slowly took the creatures hand a brilliant flash of light filled the entire area.

When Tharunn’s eyes finally adjusted to the coming darkness of the evening he was standing alone with the corpse of an ogre.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Recap #20 – Jarmaag’s Hot Girlfriend

12 Nymm (This is the date I've calculated and I'm sticking to it.)
  • After a very long discussion on how to proceed, the party decided that a straight up approach was the smartest plan of action. They would try to act like everything was normal in order to gain audience with Jarmaag but they would expect the worst. Good thing too.
  • Along the way they were joined by a mysterious elf ranger. He would later disappear. Maybe never to be heard of in Eberron again. (Thanks for playing Ed!)
  • Entering the bar the party noted 7 individuals quietly talking amongst themselves and having a drink – even at this early hour of the day. Ethan noticed Tolg in a back booth speaking to a tiefling. Tolg ignored him though.
  • The groups request for a drink and Jarmaag’s ear was initially ignored by the barkeep. However after a moment he went into the back to let Jarmaag know the group was here.
  • In the meantime Tolg said “You’ve got a lot of nerve coming back here traitor!” and a bloody battle ensued. It had many of the elements of a classic bar brawl!
  • Braddoc deftly jumped on a table in the middle of 4 humans and with one mighty swing felled 3 of them. The bartender returned from the back and quickly dropped an area of darkness before going to town on Delian. He was joined by shifter who went straight for the backlines of the PCs and began hounding Nenia and the ranger.
  • Ethan and Delian were able to do enough damage to Tolg to force him to flee through the darkness and into the kitchen. They were then joined by Sterling and they were able to kill the bartender before turning their attention to the tiefling warlock he was protecting behind him.
  • In the end the PCs were victorious but Delian and Nenia were rather sore.
  • Proceeding through the kitchen and down the secret stair to the gambling hall the group encountered Jarmaag and his cronies.
  • Druel the dragonborn gladiator drooled (haha), hooted and grunted as he brought his considerable gladiatorial skills to bear while Jarmaag’s “wife” Galaria dominated Ethan and Delian from behind the bar. She was in fact a succubus. Even the battered Tolg joined the fracas.
  • Several other members of the Bloodghosts also joined the fray and Jarmaag himself unleashed a devastating array of magic upon the outnumbered heroes.
  • Eventually the group began to get the best of their enemies as they dropped them one by one. In the end it was only Jarmaag and Galaria left. It was then that Galaria showed her true colours and betrayed Jarmaag to save her own skin. She stopped resisting the PCs and offered information on Rathos’ in exchange for her life.
  • Enraged, Jarmaag tried to flee but was dropped in the stairwell by the mysterious ranger’s deadly aim.
  • As the party tied up Jarmaag, Galaria unceremoniously relieved him of his secret key (from places best left unspoken!) and took Ethan and Sterling up to Jarmaag’s suite. There they found the Khyber dragonshard just where Rathos thought it would be.
  • Now the party needs to decide how to proceed.

Recap #19 – Rathos’ Deal

  • With the Oni defeated the party took a brief respite and proceeded south to the end of the main hallway with Ethan taking point. Rounding the corner to the west they encountered two bugbear warriors on jail guard duty. The party made quick work of them.
  • Inside the second jail cell the group found a prisoner near death. After tending his wounds they discovered he was the captain of the ship that had been raided for the dragonshard they were seeking. Being in no condition to defend himself the man begged for the party to take him out of the catacomb lair immediately. After a brief (but animated and detailed) discussion, Ethan led the man to a safe spot in the ruins outside while Delian stood guard near the hidden lair entrance. They provided also provided the captain with their magic candle to keep him safe.
  • In the meantime the rest of the party took peek down a short stairway to discover a pit containing several needlefang drake swarms. Fearful of a trap Nenia destroyed the creatures from the safety of the stairway landing. (Murderer!)
  • With no other doors left to open the group suspected yet another secret passage somewhere. With a little luck they were able to locate one in the middle of the hall. It lead to a bar stocked with exotic wines and ales. Each party member helped themselves to a bottle. (Worth no money. Simply roleplaying options here folks!)
  • Through a further door the group finally met Rathos. The rather overweight bugbear was lounging on his bed with his two pet displacer beasts standing guard in front of him. By the looks of him, his love of the finer things in life had left him rather out of shape – or at least more of a round shape!
  • The party initially accused Rathos of plundering the dragonshard and demanded he return it. Rathos indicated he did not have the dragonshard in his possession. He claimed that Jarmaag had it and that the group was being used by a scheming kobold. He even allowed Ethan to search the room to prove his claim.
  • Rathos then put an offer on the table. In exchange for being left alone he would tell the party where the dragonshard was and some of Jarmaag’s tricks and strengths. Braddoc wanted no part of it. He was itching for blood. However Nenia spoke up and accepted the offer on behalf of the party and the deal was struck.
  • Rathos indicated that Jarmaag most likely kept the dragonshard in a secret compartment within a secret compartment under his bed. Furthermore, no skill in thievery would be able to pick the lock. The group needed the key that Jarmaag kept on his person. He also informed the group that Jarmaag kept the company of a seemingly beautiful woman who was in actuality a demon. He also sported a dragonborn body guard of sorts who had fought as a gladiator many years before. Aside from that, all the individuals frequenting the Bottle and Speak Easy were fiercely loyal to Jarmaag and should be expected to help defend him.
  • With that the party left Rathos.
  • On their way back to town the group stopped to pick up the captain of the ship.
  • Further along the path the group happened upon a group of bugbears and a doppelganger. On Jarmaag’s orders they demanded proof of Rathos’ demise. When the party refused to do so the doppelganger ordered them to wait while Rathos’ lair was checked. Upon refusing that request as well, the party found themselves in another scrum. The doppelganger warned the group that if he did not return then Jarmaag would know he had been betrayed. The party didn’t care.
  • Having already used up most of their tricks, the group was hard pressed to overcome this group. In the end they were victorious but they were also forced to see shelter within the ruins prior to returning to deal with Jarmaag.
  • In the distraction of making camp, Sterling did not notice the scout that spied upon them before slinking back towards town.