Andrew Garrett's page

15 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


I’ve Got Reach wrote:

Theres a spell (forgive me, but I forgot the name) that essentially raises a character for 15 minutes. The character then falls dead, and within the round he casts Revivify.

Depending on how active a hand you want to take as a DM, this is not a hard one to deal with. Raising the dead, at least, bringing them back to full life, is the domain of the gods. I'll often have the spell simply not work (and still use up the material component.) Unless the character's god has a reason to want the person alive again, they're just not going to bother. Characters who are not devout don't even have a chance - spell wording to the contrary.

I've been consistent on this (and my players also don't face a parade of villains coming back from the dead...) and my players accept it. They've gotten into the habit of casting a Commune, or at the very least a divination, before going in for the resurrection options.

Drew Garrett

Player: Meteora, L3 Cleric of Pelor
Adventure: Three Faces of Evil
Location: Temple of Erythnul
Death: Grimlock Archers / fall from ladder

We've had our 4th death now, the second from Three Faces of Evil. Every character who began the Whispering Cairn is now dead - this is a very rough adventure path.

Meteora was climbing down into the pit in the Temple or Erythnul when the grimlocks began shooting at her. She was trapped in place, and proved unable to get away, until at last she fell unconscious from the ladder. One of her companions, already on the ground, tried to catch her during her fall, but was unable to reach the rapidly falling cleric.

Sadly, the additional damage from the fall proved too much, and she departed the world on impact.

Name: Stoneclaw
Race: Human
Level/Class: L1 Barbarian / L2 Totemist
Location: Beneath Diamond Lake, Temple of Hextor's Arena

Despite warning's from one party member that this was a trap, the party ran full force into the arena, and fell into the foreseen trap. What followed was one of the longest slugfests we've endured. The party used up almost all of their potions, and a previously new wand of Cure Light Wounds. They did come out victorious, but not casualty-free.

Stoneclaw single handedly faced the cleric/fighter, and managed to slay him after a prolonged fight. However, Theldrick was immediately behind him, so Stoneclaw had to beat a hasty retreat, trying to get back to the rest of the party. The tiefling guards shot their arrows at him, with an unfortunate critical hit going right through the poor guy's eye, and leaving him a corpse.

Only a single member of the original band that started Age of Worms remains at this point.

We held the fourth session in this campaign a week ago, and I've been a bit lax in posting the summary. Here it is. As always, my players are welcome to post further if they (finally) want to give their character's view of the action...

Allustan's Journal

A glorious day, indeed. My friends have broken through to the true tomb of Zosiel. They found stunning reliefs, showing some of the history of Zosiel, and in cases it contradicts what I have learned. To a historian, even an amateur one like myself, this is the height of excitement. A chance to revise the accepted historical log. Far from writing a survey of the local tombs, I can now anticipate writing a revision to the Chronicles of Chan.

Of course, in this diary, I have undertaken the effort of chronicling my friends’ trials and tribulations, and I confess they did not share my joy at this find. They were, instead, a bit under whelmed that Zosiel was not buried with a trove of jewels and a pile of gold. Instead, they came out of it with some jeweled horns, an inactive Talisman of the Sphere, and a legacy item, Zosiel’s Circlet. And on that last, they also have but little excitement, fearing the price such an item carries more than they prize its potential benefits.

There is little I can do to assuage such disappointment. But I believe I will pen a second book, and perhaps immortalize their feats. I see destiny touching them, and do not believe their efforts will end here. At the least, I shall continue taking these notes for later collection.

One Month Gap in Journal

It has been some time since I wrote of my friends, but then, they have had some time to relax, it seems. Their lives, however, have just become more interesting. They are descending into one of Ragnolin Dourstone’s mines, and will not be returning until they have completed their task. Though a completely unofficial position, I have to some extent appointed myself their biographer, and do not relish an extended time apart from hearing of their exploits. I will, I suppose, be making heavier use of Scrying spells, and hoping they are doing something of interest while I watch.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Their month off has not been without interest. Their Halfling member, Norbentis, has left the group almost as soon as they returned from Zosiel’s Tomb. He ran from Diamond Lake as though some one was chasing him. I have my doubts we shall see him again.

No fewer than three new members have joined the old group, though. Raggen is a Keshian who bills himself as a supreme wrestler. It appears he has abandoned monastic training, and taught himself the Banjin fighting methods – I have my doubts that either the Banjin or the monks approve of this mixture. He travels with Fireside, an elf who managed to get into the Warmage College. Finally, the most recent member is Tydek, a sergeant in the Imperial Legions, assigned to travel with them.

The sheriff has been tiptoeing around Meteora and Stoneclaw, despite having a warrant out for their arrest. Cubbin, and my brother for that matter, have been much more worried about Kullen’s rise in power, and the concomitant increase in Balabar Smenk’s position. While I do not speak with my brother about issues in town, I do get a general sense of things, and I suppose he was hoping for a rematch, in which Kullen would lose. As such things go, and given my brother’s usual lack of subtlety, it was not that bad a plan. Alas, Smenk was also able to see it, and moved to counter it.

As best I can figure things, Smenk obtained proof that Meteora, Stoneclaw, and Dravin were behind the murder of Augustus Filge. He used this proof, and Sheriff Cubbin’s inaction against them, to obtain a warrant from Waterhaven to have the Legion arrest and execute them. Now it appears that Smenk overreached, for the legion commander, Tolliver, did not wish to be used in this fashion. While he was confirming the order, he summoned the group to the legion, informed them of the warrant, and also advised them about Smenk. Tolliver keeps an eye on the town, and was aware that Smenk was shipping goods into Dourstone’s mine, and doing so covertly. He sent the group there, with instructions to find evidence incriminating Smenk, or not to return at all, as the legion would have to arrest them at that time.

At this point, I was able to meet with them, and tell them that my research on the worm they stole from Filge had borne some measure of fruit. Those worms had been reported a few centuries back, emanating from an evil temple. Coincidentally, that temple was located in the present day position of Dourstone’s mine, the very one they’re being sent in to. I see the hand of destiny again, and doubt this is coincidence. My journal would have to end here, save that I did use a scrying spell to spy on them, an intrusion I hope they will forgive.

I see them in a well lit, well-constructed hallway. The entrance has numerous symbols of Hextor, and is simply littered in bodies. I see decayed skeletons, some townsfolk I actually recognize, and what appears to be a tiefling, all dead. At the end of the hallway, I see Raggen lying unconscious on the ground, with the corpse of a truly massive Dire Boar next to him, along with what appears to be another dead tiefling. I see the party revive Raggen, briefly investigate two closed doors, and then head into what must have been the boar’s lair to investigate that.

I close my spell there, and resolve to check on them again in the morning.

We had the third session of this campaign the other day, and our first player deaths. The wizard Norbin and the ranger Zaden both died fighting Kullen. We have replacements already:

Dravin: Dwarf L2 Fgt
Norbentis: Halfling L2 Wiz

Anyway, here's the DM report, continuing from Allustan's POV - as always, players are welcome to chime in with their reports...

It seems my new friends have been having a harder time of things of late, as two of them have now been interred in the Boneyard. They have done themselves considerable damage in the process, and perhaps even now don’t recognize the danger they’ve bought on their heads. My journal entries have, of late, been concerned with them, and become something of a record of their progress. I think, perhaps, I shall continue that trend, and so back up a bit. This record is aided by the fact that they have been visiting me quite regularly over the last several days.

Their first visit to me in some time came when they decided to spend the day in town, recovering and doing some buying and selling of items they’ve found. They stopped by to see me, and I was able to tell them I have received the Chronicles of Chan from my contacts in Waterhaven. The name glyphs they’d recorded in the tomb belonged to Wind Dukes named Zosiel and Icosiel. They were excited about the news. They also showed me some of the treasures they’d found, and were kind enough to allow me to purchase some fine statuettes from them. Among the other things they’d found were rings and armor marked with the symbols of the Seekers, so I told them where they could meet the wizard Khellek, himself a member of that band.

I was not privy to that meeting, but the next morning they led Khellek and his friends towards the cairn, and it appeared to be done without duress, so I presume things went well. I do know they returned to me later that afternoon, claiming that they have found another room in the cairn, containing the ghost of one Alastor Land, a young boy I remember from years ago. An hour later, they returned again, saying that the graves there had been dug up, and showing me a piece of skin with a tattoo on it – of course I recognized it, and pointed them to the half-orc Kullen at the Feral Dog.

And that, I fear, led to their biggest disaster. I have not heard this story from them, but the news has spread all over town. They attacked Kullen and his men in the middle of the bar, and did so with deadly force. Kullen reacted quickly, and they quickly killed off two of the explorers, Norbin and Zaden. The cleric, Meteora, surrendered. Kullen took the survivors’ weapons and purses, but otherwise left them alone, and claimed all the gear owned by the two dead men. His reputation for deadliness has soared, while my friends are now considered little more than incompetent bullies and killers. Sheriff Cubbin, who had already been harassing them, has put out word that they are subject to arrest. Of course, he now has a rival in Kullen, so is unlikely to be overly diligent in enforcing his warrant, but their lives are likely more difficult now than they yet realize.

They came to see me the next morning with information they’d gained from Kullen. He had stolen the bodies on the order of Filge up at the observatory, and I was able to give them directions. Surprisingly, they had already replaced their missing comrades. A dour dwarf fighter named Dravin had joined them, after working some time for Ragnolin Dourstone. They also had a visiting halfling wizard, Norbentis, who teamed up with them. The speed of this replacement astonished me – but it is something I’ve seen before, and leads me to believe this group has been touched by destiny, for better or for worse. I watched them leave for the observatory, and had some room in my heart to pity poor Filge.

Drew Garrett

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My first addition to this thread, and it's two players down and out.

Name: Norbin
Race: Elf
Level/Class: L2 Wizard
Location: Feral Dog, Diamond Lake

Name: Zaden
Race: Human
Level/Class: L2 Ranger
Location: Feral Dog, Diamong Lake

The party knew Kullen and his gang had done the grave robbing at the Land Farm, and was going after them. Initial plans were very promising - from trying to talk them out of the bodies' location to waiting outside the bar to ambush them when they were done drinking. For no discernable reason, though, they decided to launch an attack in the middle of the bar.

They opened with a sleep spell, and only put down one member of Kullen's gang. Kullen's wizard got off a color spray, locking up one member of the main party. Kullen himself had a very good string of attacks, and killed off the two party members mentioned above.

A fortunate diplomacy roll on behalf of the party's cleric got Kullen to accept their surrender. His group was barely injured, and their reputation had just received a phenomenal boost, so he was actually quite generous, and the party wound up with the information they sought - but a lot poorer in resources, of course...

Drew Garrett

RatPunk wrote:
Well, there is the end of a Millenium approaching in Greyhawk. Bad things always happen around times like that...

Beware Y6C!

We had the second session of this campaign last night. I am continuing to do the DM log from Allustan's point of view, and the party has not yet returned to speak with him. As such, his information is limited. Hopefully some of the party members will decide to post their logs this time around. (That's a hint, guys!)

Allustan's Journal

After finally hearing from Khellek and his band of Seekers, I have looked into the progress of the other band of tomb explorers. They have not yet returned to speak with me, so I am forced into other means. Fortunately for me, but less so for them, they are beginning to make a fairly large splash in town. They returned recently with a fairly large haul, including multiple sets of leather armor – very noticeable, especially in this town. Their propensity for leaving articles in their dwellings is also attracting notice, as their roommates become increasingly sought after for rumors. Finally, of course, they continue to hold discussions in town, in the mistaken belief that no one is listening in. I have been able to put together a fairly complete picture of their adventures just from stories floating through town. Naturally, some of this may be distorted or wrong, so I still await their return.

It appears they have found at least two secret chambers hidden beneath the tomb, and explored both. They spent nearly a full day in the tomb while exploring the first chamber, and returned in reasonably good shape, which leads to the obvious conclusion that they’d holed up and slept while in there. Roommates of Zaden have reported a well wrapped bundle that he keeps with him at all times. The widespread presumption is that they have found something both portable and valuable, with the highest speculation going to a cache of gemstones. At the moment, there is considerable curiosity, but it is certain to soon become simple greed. Hopefully they are taking adequate precautions.

Their second exploration occurred over two days. They returned the first time after a very short foray, with considerable damage, including multiple acid scars. They purchased quantities of oil, ropes, and a grappling hook before returning to the tomb. When they returned to town again, they had with them a considerable number of suits of leather armor. The current presumption is that they found previous explorers, but there are darker rumors of a massacre of competitors. Again, they returned badly damaged, and also quite wet.

The fact, though, that there were other people involved has ratcheted up speculation considerably. Hopefully they realize that they are becoming targets of opportunity. This town is rarely kind to such…

We just started a new Age of Worms campaign. I will post my campaign journals here, and encourage my players to do the same - or at least give their side of the story ;-) I typically write up journals from the POV of an NPC character, in this case Allustan.

We have 4 players
- Meteora, human cleric of Pelor
- Zaden, human ranger - aiming for Justiciar prestige class
- Stoneclaw, human barbarian
- Norbin, grey elf wizard

Allustan's Journal

Plans come together in the oddest of fashions. This, at least, is a fascination I share with my old mentor, a love of the way life plays jokes on you. The seeds I planted in Waterhaven bore most bitter fruit. A small band of Seekers has indeed come to Diamond Lake, but they seek out the Stirganest Cairn, already explored to its limits. My proddings and pokings have had little effect on them, as they are so very certain of their path. Their wizard, Khellek, is beyond suasion, so absolutely certain in his conclusions.

And yet, completely unexpected to me, another group has been inspired by the Seekers, and may have made the great find of a generation. Yesterday they came to me, unprodded and unannounced, with questions concerning discoveries they’d made but recently. They had, it seemed, been exploring a cairn, and among other things, had found what appeared to be name-glyphs from the Wind Duke era. A major find, previously undiscovered, new information about the Vaati. Everything I wanted, and it just drops into my lap. What an age.

Still, I am not my mentor, I must remind myself. These people are not means to an end, they are people in their own right. And to remind myself of that, I place their story here in my journal.

First among them is the priest of Pelor, Meteora. She has come to Diamond Lake to improve this poor town, and to do good amongst those who need it most. To her dismay, she discovered that intent alone is far from sufficient, and has thrown in to explore the cairns, to raise money to help others. I wish her only the best of luck.

A Banjin is with them, a fierce warrior named Stoneclaw. Or, at least, that is the name he gives to outsiders. I know their customs well enough to know that is no true name. Still, I’d expect no less. I am less certain why he is here. An exile, perhaps? His tribe destroyed by soldiers? I don’t know, and should find out. An unusual aura of power hangs around him.

The last human member of the band is also a warrior, Zaden by name. He appears driven, highly serious, and unlikely to laugh. I know less of him than any of the others, as he appeared reluctant to give so much as a name. Shall I find out more, or respect his desire for privacy?

They also have an elf with them, a wizard by the name of Norbin. It is tempting to bring him in to learn from me, and in turn to learn more of them and their find. But the simple truth is that he reminds me too much of Utreyayeh, and I have no real desire to relive that experience. It will, I fear, be some time until I am comfortable working again with any elf.

They got a lead on this cairn from some one in town. They were very vague about this, for obvious reasons, but it didn’t take long to pin the origin of the information on some one inside the Emporium. Given the nature, I would lay odds on their informant being one of Zalamandra’s indentured exhibits, though I would not be able to say which one.

Inside the Cairn, they discovered a few relics marked with presumptively Vaati name glyphs. One was an ebon shard; they described it as a piece of a broken mirror. The other was on a sarcophagus in what they were calling the rainbow room. I have sent to Waterhaven for some references, and hope to identify these glyphs within the week.

They also encountered some wolves that had made their home in the Cairn, which they fought and destroyed. They seemed very upset when they found a litter of pups in the den, but were able to leave one of the wolves alive to tend for them. I had little heart to tell them they have condemned the pups to death – a lone wolf is surely unable to tend pups. No, she will eat them, and then seek out a new pack of her own. Still, their concern speaks well of them.

Their main motive for seeking me out came from what they dubbed the Rainbow Room. This large chamber housed a sarcophagus – and the bas-relief on the lid sounds consistent with Wind Duke physiology – with 7 small corridors, all but two with a colored lantern in the colors of the rainbow. They had already found an indigo lantern, one of the missing ones, in the wolf den. The blue corridor had another tunnel leading off, from about 40’ up. Apparently it ended in a carved face, which triggered a trap that blew them back down the tunnel, where they nearly fell to their deaths. Sadly, I could tell them little save that the Wind Dukes were noted for heavily trapping their tombs.

After our meeting, they returned to the tomb to try again. I anticipate their return, as they will be coming back if for nothing more than to learn the identity on the glyphs.
Now if only the Seekers could make a similarly interesting discovery…

Drew Garrett

I agree with Adam on this one, I think 3FoE was a fine adventure. OK, there were a few too many errors in the text - that is both an annoyance and a problem, but it's also one that's not too hard to fix up. Now, with that conceded...

The adventure presents 3 very different, and very interesting, tactical challenges for the players. Each temple is very different, but also very challenging - and also fair, in that a 3rd-4th level party could do it.

The biggest single problem is the inability to resupply between the various temples. Make sure to hint heavily (i.e. beat over the head with) that the party will be down there for a while before they go in. If the party knows that ahead of time, the adventure plays extremely well, and I'd highly recommend it.

Drew Garrett

Alignment questions are tough, especially in battle.

OK, starting with the lizardfolk... First off, technically, they are not cannibals. A cannibal eats his own species - the lizardfolk were eating humans. However, within the D&D context, this is absolutely an evil act. It shows a basic, and hideous, lack of compassion for their opponents - regarding them as food, not as beings in their own right. The lizards doing a coup de grace is a bit more questionable as far as good vs. evil, but it does show that they were in a ruthless battle, and not taking prisoners. They should, in such a case, not expect anyone to accept their surrender (in fact, if they're that extreme, they shouldn't have offered it in the first place. Killing prisoners is usually the prelude to a no-surrender battle.)

The paladin, in such a case, is trapped in the frequent collision between law and good. A good, saintly person can still show mercy, and accept a surrender. However, by any sane laws of battle, the lizardfolk have placed themselves beyond the pale, and deserve nothing short of execution (but no desecration or eating them afterwards, of course.)

As to your DMing, I think going to the CDG and then eating the dead was a big error. It upped the stakes considerably, and has made any potential peace deals with the lizardfolk much more difficult. You point out that the party wasn't trying to stabilize the lizardfolk (perfectly acceptable in the middle of battle.) Well, no one was stabilizing the guards either - let them bleed to death. Or, if there were guards or players stabilizing other guards, devote one or two lizards to doing the same for their people - show they care about their comrades too. That would make them a bit more sympathetic, as well.

Given the situation as described, and providing the paladin had not already made any promises as to the lizards' safety, I would have no problem with him executing them. But it does, in large part, depend on the details of the surrender. It sounds like they have already made a deal that includes the lizards' safety. In that case, going back on the deal would be wrong for the paladin, with all the usual violation penalties. (However, note that I would not impose penalties on the paladin for having made the deal in the first place - he's choosing good over law, perfectly acceptable.)

Drew Garrett

I see others have already mentioned blogs or e-mail reminders. I have one other suggestion that has worked well for me. I award players a 100x.p. bonus per session if they write up the session in-character and send it out to the whole list. I usually get 2 or 3 from each session, which serves as a good reminder for everyone, and has also increased (even if only slightly - sigh) the role play at the table.

Drew Garrett

The main rule - bonuses of the same type do not stack.

Armor - plate and other - provides an aptly named armor bonus. Rings of protection provide a deflection bonus. Go ahead and wear your rings with your armor, they stack just fine. However, both bracers of armor and mage armor provide an armor bonus. You may wear them with your armor, but only the greater of the two bonuses counts. (That will probably be their armor...)

Hope that helps,

Drew Garrett

I agree with your DC numbers. However, note that according to the Track feat, you may redo a failed roll only after 1 hour has past. Since taking 20 involves doing this 20 times, this is not a trivial process. If you allow for eating and sleeping, it takes more than a day, which also changes the DC.

As a result, I would rule that you cannot take 20. However, let him roll - if he makes it, more power to him. That's a use of skills to solve a mystery, and should be encouraged, not stymied.

Drew Garrett

Vic Wertz wrote:

Sadly, the truck from Canada did not arrive on Monday, so while many people will still get copies on time, a few people in the midwest might get their books as late as Monday. We're doing our best to make deliveries happen as promptly as possible, though, and we apologize if your copy is one that doesn't arrive tomorrow.


According to the order history, my copy hasn't even shipped yet. Is the order history page updated correctly, or is that out-of-date information?

I hate to say this, but I am generally very unhappy with your treatment of orders. I almost never get my magazines until they've been in the stores for at least a week. Now I'm not getting a pre-ordered book until after the stores. Without some improvement, I'm likely to stop ordering from you.