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Sounds like you're in agreement that you'll trudge back to Sandpoint tonight, then return the next day.
The return journey is fairly uneventful, although Horran and Lettie Guffmin are horrified to hear that you entered the Misgivings and have returned unaltered.
"That house is cursed, and has been since before my gaffer was born. Mark my words, you'll wish you'd never set foot in that place", he warns with a stern shake of his finger.
When word spreads in town that you've come back 'home' to the Rusty Dragon, Sheriff Hemlock rushes to meet with you. He's amazed by your tale, but is relieved upon hearing that the murderer has been found and defeated.
"The way I hear it, that house was made corrupt decades ago, in the days of old Vorel Foxglove, Aldern's great-great uncle. I must admit, I'm concerned about that letter Aldern had. Addressed to someplace in Magnimar, you say? To think that evil that far away would strike us here ..." He stares outside, chewing his lip.
A gentle rain patters the Dragon's glass windows.
Hemlock smiles at you. "When can you leave for Magnimar?"
So, after mulling this over a good bit, I think a good general approach is one that you find done often. Determine a campaign's starting point, and go nuts with the detail when it comes to political boundaries at the low end: manors, baronies, etc.
Then, assuming greater geographical distance roughly correlates with increases in PC levels, zoom out on the campaign map as needed and portray political entities on the higher end (duchies, kingdoms), until on the highest end (20th level), you're playing in the Imperial level of crises, wars, and intrigue.
On the other hand, the campaign world I've got in mind is one with quite liberal PC movement ... so I dunno. Maybe what I need is a system whereby, on the fly or via quick prep, I can generate the innards of a high level political entity as needed, so that, for example, a kingdom can be deconstructed into its constituent parts: baronies, counties, duchies, etc.
Sorry to ramble ... just thinking out loud on this. Hexographer is great software for this actually, cause you can take a subset of your big map and make a child map. The only wrinkle is that you'd better be finished with that area of the big map first.
Foxglove Manor Caverns
The charcoal drawings likely have no intrinsic value, and even if they did, you'd likely be reluctant to have them in others hands. They consist of several dozen pages of erotica, with a single subject: Selia.
The portrait leaning against the table has been recently repainted with blood and bits of runny rotten flesh into a caricature of Selia. Without being restored, it's impossible to say who the original subject was. If restored, the painting is likely valuable.
The fungus patch glows with necromantic power, as does the shattered box on the ground.
The letter on the table is for a specific address in Magnimar. The contents may shed some light on the recent murders in town.
Ned also finds a mold encrusted chime of opening (5 charges), discarded long ago near where the blackened mold has been charred away.
A note about the pair of keys: A small silver key ring sits on the table amid the rotten meat, with two keys on the ring. The larger of these two is a tarnished iron key set with a round opal. The smaller key is made of bronze and has an unusually long tang ending in a set of three notched blades. The head of this key resembles a roaring lion.
Foxglove Manor Caverns, Round 5 cont.
Aldern staggers under your assault, and wheezes a warning to you as Ned's blade is buried in the ghast's chest.
"This house will consume you. There is no escape."
Selia's arcane power destroys the final animating energy within the corpse, and Aldern is at last dead to this world.
Quite a bit of Aldern's gear reveals as magical
- leather armor
Plus, Aldern wore a nice piece of jewelry, a small cameo with a portrait of Selia.
There's also quite a bit of things on the table - the portrait, a pair of keys on a ring, a stack of charcoal drawings, Selia's missing items, and a letter addressed to Aldern Foxglove at an address in the city of Magnimar in the south.
I also need a Perception check from each of you.
Foxglove Manor Caverns, Round 4 cont.
Thick, viscous slime drips off the handle of Aldern's weapon, but his grip is tight and he continues to batter the party with his war razor. None of your attacks this round has fazed him.
“I wonder how your deaths shall affect your friends. What things might you have done that will go unfinished? What will those broken promises spawn? How will your murders shape the world?”
He lashes out with tooth, claw and blade upon you. Only Nicolae is wounded (4 hp + need 2 Fort saves).
NOTE - the map is unchanged, so just reference the last image I uploaded.
Got a question for the group for a problem that's been in the back of my head for awhile now.
Eventually, I'd like to build a fully developed campaign world for fantasy gaming, but I keep tripping over representing political boundaries on a game map. I favor the old-school approach of using hex grids for world maps, and in this case, a grid may actually help solve this particular problem or present a partial solution.
The problem is this: in a feudal setting, it doesn't make much sense to talk about a single political entity. Any entity consists of smaller political units. This is a vast oversimplification, but in general:
Empires contain kingdoms
That's a lot of political boundaries to draw on a map! And, most likely, even if I had time to draw them all out, it would be more confusing than helpful. Plus, I like to use Hexographer and it's only got 2 built-in lines for political boundaries (minor & major).
So, how would you approach this? My first thought is that the problem is one of scale; at the outset, the PCs are moving through the baronial scale of things. At the highest level of play, they'd be interacting with kings and imperial advisers.
One partial, potential fix is that each hex in a settled, civilized area represents a single barony.
Another thought: draw counties, duchies with the minor political boundary and treat them as individual entities within larger entities like kingdoms. This has historical precedent - Henry II was the Duke of Normandy, Count of Anjou, and King of England. In other words, after consolidating power in England, he didn't consider Normandy and the other French regions to be part of the Kingdom of England. These smaller areas can be thought of as their own thing, with a distinct political identity.
Plus, perhaps an abstraction is in order: both duchies and counties are made of baronies, but a duchy is simply a bit bigger geographically.
With tears streaming down his face, Aldern swats aside the blade of Ned's greatsword. Nich and Lleidr's blades fail to penetrate tough leather armor under the ghast's ragged clothes, while Selia nearly gags from the stench of the place.
"None of this is my doing, I swear it. I was tricked, blackmailed, bankrupted ... by the foul brethren from Magnimar. They did this to me!
"Iesha, my true love, Iesha. I foolishly thought her unfaithful and attacked her friend, then killed her in anger. The Brothers were supposed to have taken care of her body, taken her away, but they lied. Beware the Brothers of Seven, my friends. Saving me from goblins was a trifle; you cannot save me from them."
The sobbing ends. A sly grin spreads across his face, and Aldern rises from the ground off his knees. "Safety? The Skinsaw Man has little need from the likes of you."
NOTE - The 3 guys each get a free AoO on top of your normal attack rolls.
NOTE - I've moved you all nearer, to get a line of sight on your opponent, while keeping as much distance as possible in the confines. Selia now needs to make a Fort save from the awful stench emanating from her admirer.
None of your attacks seem to connect. Other than a backwards parry with his war razor against Nicholas' sword blow, he doesn't even respond to your assaults.
"And now my love, a final kiss goodbye." Jagged teeth sink into Iesha's putrid flesh and tear out a stream of ligaments and viscera. Iesha collapses with a scream, and her animating presence rises up off the ground like hissing steam, whereupon it dissipates in the cavern's rotten air.
A look of shock and horror comes over Aldern's undead features. He turns his head towards each of you in turn, as if surprised at what he's just done. He drops to his knees and sobs.
"I must beg your forgiveness. Save me from the Hunter. Don't let him take me again."
Foxglove Manor Caverns, Round 1 cont.
A dart of arcane power paired with a bolt of divine energy slams into Aldern, but he hardly notices, his attention focused on destroying his wife.
His war razor and claw work with expert finesse to rend Iesha's corpse. She responds in kind, but Aldern bats aside her lunges with a confident swagger.
"Destroying you again would be fun, if you posed even the slightest challenge."He takes a 5' step towards Selia, his evil tongue lolling out of his mouth.
NOTE - there is a map update, but my online storage is down for the moment. I only made 2 changes: Lleider's in the room now south of Selia and adjacent. And, Alern made a 5' step NE. I'll post the update as soon as i can.
Yep. He's a 3rd level wizard with a 17 Intelligence.
Kidding .. yes, I've been assigned a character. And they tell us to give him/her a name, how you got this way, and things you tend to say. So, my guy is a butcher in a slaughter house, where today's meat is always homo sapiens. The room I'm in is one they really do have in slaughter houses, a place where they drain the blood out of the meat and then wash it away; so there's water hoses on the walls and drains in the floor. My costume, which I think I'm gonna hate before the season's up, is a yellow rain suit.
So, my character started working here cause he was broke and needed the money, but then found out he can never leave. He's tired of cleaning the floor all the time and yells at people coming through to 'Don't make a mess!'.
I also get to hold a very long knife.
Initiative: Aldern, Iesha, Nich, Lleidr, Ned, Selia
Aldern turns on Iesha, his face twisted in fury.
"I never loved you, wife."
He wields a massive razor, plunging deep into his undead spouse while gazing at Selia. "Join me, love. For you will come to love me as I do you."
Iesha tries to fight back, but is unable to touch His Lordship.
Before getting past the door, you hear a shriek of grief and a familiar voice, that of Aldern Foxglove, begging for forgiveness from his wife.
The air in this damp cavern reeks of a horrific stench—a foul combination of decay, brine, and mold. The cave contains a rickety table, its damp surface cluttered with all manner of what appears to be garbage: empty bottles, bits of clothing, crumpled bits of paper, and more, lying in neatly organized rows. Among the debris - Selia's missing combs, her bottle of perfume, and most frightening, a lock of her hair.
A painting leans against the far side of the table, facing a large
At the center, a patch of black tumescent fungus grows, its horny ridges and tumorlike bulbs forming what could almost be taken to be
Aldern, or what is left of him, is kneeling on the ground as you step into the room, with Iesha cradling his head in a soft caress. Once the party enters, he staggers to his feet in surprise, staring at Selia with utmost affection.
“You! You’ve come to me! I knew my letters would sway your heart, my love! Let us consummate our… our… hunger!”
Iesha shrieks in rage and pummels Aldern with her claws.
Lleidr falls into a state of paralysis once more, but Selia's divine energies dispel the necromantic power motivating the hideous ghast.
The sole remaining ghast is unfazed at the demise of his brethren, and it races up the sharp slope. The greenish glint in its dead eyes betray its eagerness to feast on his paralyzed prey.
Iesha shatters the door at last. Shards of smooth stone rain upon the cavern floor and slide down the sloping path.
Selia's holy light penetrates the darkened room beyond the threshold; Iesha hesitates for a second before entering.
Selia's holy light emanates from the thrown rock and illumines the remainder of the cave. Meanwhile, the rest of you fail to hit the lithe ghast, it's arms outstretched and it's mouth gaping in insatiable hunger.
It lashes out at Lleidr once more (9 hp dmg, and I need 2 Fort saves). The second ghast continues to race up the circling incline to rejoin the fray once more.
Selia applies further healing to their wounded friend, lying prone on the wet, stinking, mud covered cave floor. Nich and Ned continue their valiant defense, with Ned leaving his opponent split open wide, its rotten entrails now gushing to the ground.
The ghast which fell into the water a few seconds ago, surfaces and begins loping back up the steep slope. The ghast remaining up top continues its assault on the cleric, but Nich is able to parry the attacks with shield and sword.
Iesha's cries continue ringing through the massive cave, although, with the eagles now gone, she is in darkness out of range of your Light spells. The walls ring with the sound of breaking stone.
His strength sagging from the noxious smells in this place, Ned misses the ravenous ghast in front of the group.
I"m going to assume Nich was casting defensively to avoid AoO's - I made a Concentration check on your behalf.
Lleidr is awake and partially restored, although still prone and sickened from the overpowering stench that the ghasts produce. The paralysis fades and he's able to move his limbs once more.
Round 4 -
The final ghast clambers up the slope, and bites Ned (3 dmg, plus I need 2 Fort saves from you).
The blessings from Nicholae's faith have stirred a deep hatred. One of the undead stops hovering over the halfing and springs up at Nich, it's horrid claws scraping the cleric's shield and ripping at his armor.
The second ghast that had attacked Lleidr loses his balance on the ledge, and tumbles all the way down to the pool of water below, where he hisses and curses as he climbs out.
Selia's spell misses it's target, given that Ned is blocking her line of sight. NOTE - I made a series of attack rolls for the eagles, but they each missed their target.
Nich and Ned try to fight Lleidr's attacker away, but the undead goblin shrugs off the blows and reaches down to feed upon the inert halfling once more.
A ghast charges past the eagles, teetering on the narrow ledge, to get to Lledir. NOTE - each eagle gets an AoO, of which 2 are able to rip and tear at the undead (4 hp dmg). The ghast fights his way through and rips into the halfling (3 hp dmg).
The original ghast keeps attacking Lleidr with claws and rending teeth (13 hp dmg).
NOTE - I'm showing that Lleidr is now dying, and that the Summon Monster spell duration is over.
The only way to hit your target via a ranged attack is to fire through Ned's square (-4 penalty) and you're firing at an opponent that's engaged in melee (another -4).
Also, I think that this upcoming round is the last one your eagles can fight.
But, again, correct me if I'm mistaken on either point.