Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Maldrick Scarmaker (01/09/2011)

Last week, after having defeated the guardian, a young green dragon, the party finally entered the real inner chamber and met Maldrick Scarmaker, the gnoll leader. The party also discovered the two missing slaves, which Maldrick had been slowly draining their life force as part of his evil ritual. Maldrick had several bodyguards willing to fight to the death for him and when we left off last week the battle was well underway.

Krstic had found himself teleported next to Maldrick and was quickly able to draw his attention. The barlgura had previously rushed at Miave and continued to flail at her with both its large apelike fists. The barlgura and the skeleton, both huge creatures, and two evistro's managed to bottle up Bogar, Renny, Jenneth and Oester. A third evistro had tried to slip up behind the party by going behind one of the smoking cauldrons, only to run into Akta who had a similar idea of his own. Eldred had stayed in the doorway to direct his ranged attacks and provide additional healing as necessary.

Renny had just slipped behind the skeleton, but had received a great club to the head and had been knocked prone. Bogar was suspended five feet in the air, essentially looking directly into the eyes of the one evistro that was still standing on the raised area, and thus the nights activities began.

DM Note: The DM had been rolling'em hot last week and several party members were bloodied. Fortunately for the party the DM couldn't roll to hit any bloodied party member this week.

In a smaller room there wasn't much room for jockeying for position, but after standing back up Renny slipped up the stairs to attempt a rescue of the slaves withering in the magic circle. He managed to pull one out of the circle, which drew the attention of Maldrick. Maldrick flew over to keep the slave from being drug further away from the circle and even managed to have the circle magically draw the slave back in to its glowing runes. By now Jenneth had arrived and with Krstic, Renny, and Jenneth wailing on him Maldrick soon succumbed.

DM note: I still consider myself a novice DM so on the trips home after a game night I always pick Scott's brain with questions. My question this night was "I don't think Renny would have really done that. Mark's other character, Eldred the cleric, certainly would - and should - have. As a DM, what's my best play here?" On the one hand I don't want to kill a players initiative in taking a potentially risky action, but on the other hand, it's not really role-playing if every character is equally smart, strong and virtuous despite whatever their numbers or background may say. We pretty much agreed that there was no clear cut answer, and I had obviously already let Renny play it out as it was, and I'm really not picking on Mark, I was just asking the question.

The huge skeleton was the next to go. Despite his size and threatening reach he had been blasted by Eldred and kept taking damage every time he hit something. In his rage he ended up doing more damage to himself than the party was able to do to him. Bogar and Oester eventually put down two of the evistro, and the barlgura was next. Unbeknownst to the rest of the party Akta was able to put the finishing touched on the last evistro and suddenly the room was quiet.

The party quickly drug the severely weakened slaves out of the magic circle and a quick inspection of the room revealed no other monsters or secrets. Miave inspected Maldrick and took his magical cloak and also grabbed a silver key that was around his neck. Miave also found a sheaf of letters to Maldrick from Paldemar, the missing Mage of Sauron, promising an alliance between the two. Paldemar had been gathering magic items, sacrificing them to Vecna, all in the hope of toppling the Mages of Sauron and then expanding his power beyond the depths of the labyrinth. He was currently consolidating his power in his hide-out in the Tower of Mysteries.

As the party looked around they saw:

3 Evistro (carnage demons)

1 Barlgura

1 Bonecrusher Skeleton, wielding a great club

Maldrick Scarmaker, wearing leather armor, a cloak, and wielding a rod and a mace.

The party exited the room, took a five minute rest, and then exited the Well of Demons and returned to the great hall. Phaledra at the Temple of Hidden Lights was overjoyed to see the final two missing slaves returned and promised to ensure they would arrive home safely. Uthland Deepgem was elated that his pet pig had indeed wandered home by itself and he had been treating the huge dire boar's wounds over the past few days. Orontor, the party's contact to the Mages of Sauron, was happy to know that his suspicions about Paldemar had been correct and was happy to know the party planned to continue after the rogue mage.

The one thing the party didn't know was how to get to the Tower of Mysteries. It wasn't on any of the maps, and they were loathe to ask to many questions because it might tip off the wrong people, plus they wanted to claim their eventual prize from the Mages for bringing in the bad guy. It was later, while at dinner at the Halfmoon Inn that Miave revealed that she knew exactly how to get to the Tower of Mysteries - the silver key had shown her a path to a secret door the key could open. Behind the secret door was a teleportation circle that would transport them directly to the Tower of Mysteries.

After an evening of good food and plenty of refreshing drink and then a full nights sleep in a real bed in the morning the fully rested party followed Miave out of the great hall. After a brief walk they reached a rather anonymous section of wall and Miave placed the silver key directly into what was essentially a hidden lock. The section of wall opened and the party moved up the passage beyond until the glow of a magic circle could be seen ahead.

Suddenly a ghostly vision appeared in front of them. The skeletal apparition wore a robe of deepest scarlet and was missing a left hand and a left eye. With a sneer in its voice the apparition said "The secrets of the tower come at a price. You must each pay for the right to enter this place. What can you offer the dreaded lord of secrets? I seek lore, power, and your souls."

If Paldemar was truly aligned with Lord Vecna, then the party was sure they were on the right path. Knowing that Vecna was keen on gaining information and secrets the party also knew they would have to try and sate Vecna's eternal quest for knowledge. After some deliberation the party members took turns attempting to tell the manifestation of Vecna different bits of information. Members that attempted to provide the apparition with bits of History, Arcana or Religion were generally well received. Eldred was successfully able to use Insight to determine that flattery and exaggeration might also work if a Bluff could be successfully attempted. However, no further attempts to use Insight were attempted.

After 2+ rounds the image of Vecna suddenly began to fade and its voice spoke, saying "You may now enter the Tower of Mysteries. May its secrets intrigue you." As the evil laugh of the apparition filled their ears the party stepped forward toward the teleportation circle with two less healing surges ... and we will pick it up there next week.

Score Card: With the completion of the Guardian encounter and the Maldrick Scartmaker encounter the party had accumulated an additional 164 GP and 700 GP in gems. Miave claimed the +2 Elven Cloak and gave Renny her Amulet of Resolution, Krstic claimed the Bracers of Respite, and Jenneth Renny claimed the Boots of Water Striding. With the 500 XP earned during these encountered the party had accumulated 9570 XP (10000 needed to reach Level 7). Including the previous encounters Renny was sitting at 6690 XP (7500 needed to reach Level 6).

We will be at R and J's this week and they will provide snacks. Dave will likely miss this week.


  1. Actually, by the end of the night, Renny also had
    the boots of water walking.

  2. Per the comment from anonymous a correction has been made to the blog. Thanks Leo.

  3. I can't find Boots of Water Striding in the CB. Is this something that only exists in the on-line version?