Let's try something else for this Belswick session report. My very short summary is below, and some of my players give their personal highlights for the session.
- Tilly, human knowledge priest of the Authority and fervent maker of deals with warlock spirits, lich-priests, ghouls and more
- Mike, human druid with mild psychic powers after a nightmarish cult sacrificed his entire village to raise their star-god
- Shams, dwarf fighter/arcane knight from the Principality of Stone, opening a trade route with Belswick now that there's war brewing with Arrayne
- Mr. Lomin Mor / Lady Olga, Elf from southern kingdom Arrayne who is impersonating the (deceased) Lady Olga of the fief one over
- Guy, human diviner wizard with mild psychic powers after a nightmare-filled youth as heir to a lord in Arrayne
- Aju, sharkling barbarian: formerly a shark from an underwater kingdom, now under a fading spell that turned him into a person for about a year
- Group came up from the Tomb of Umtak Ktharl bearing gifts and scars.
- Players met local Sir Justin who asked them to escort a baron (the king in disguise, back from a final failed peace negotiation). Also a bishop (Lomin's long-lost brother Urael) and the vampire saint Cascarrion.
- Party ends up in a 'save the maiden' scenario when The One Hydra Coruscon kidnaps the king's shieldmaiden Rosaly, who was carrying the King's Spear.
|Gorgeous Hydra mini courtesy of Lomin Mor's player. Terrain all Dwarven Forge: dungeon bridge, stairs and cavern elevation blocks as a quicky cave entrance. (The actual cave entrance piece was already part of another build.)|
- Hydra retreats to huge cave with underground lakelet, stone cliff, altar. Party follows and finds devil Count Naberius holding Rosaly and the King's Spear, demanding a life for a life.
- Tilly offers service, backstabs devil. Exactly no-one is surprised. Fight erupts, Naberius and two spined devils flee, Tilly goes invisible and steals the King's Spear.
- Naberius summons Hydra to fight party with fire and fang. Party spots iron chain around the hydra's necks, controlling it. Shams and Mike hack and shapeshift to sunder chain. Hydra fights back, takes off Mike's entire left arm. Titanic monster, it took minor damage - the group was too focused on recovering the King's Spear and trying to free the beast from it's magic binding.
- Tilly kills Naberius mid-reinforcement summons, intimidates two spined devils into serving him for a year, rushes out a contract.
- Hydra, freed, jumps into lakelet and swims down deep tunnel. Mike follows, comes to an understanding, finds shiny necklace on way back and gives it to Shams.
- Tilly harvests Naberius' magic whip, skull and horns for later use.
- Party returns the King's Spear to its owner.
|Overview of this session's terrain. Inspired by Critical Role sessions 39 (Hydra!) and 55 (cave), this took one set each of Dwarven Forge Mountain Cliff, Mountain Elevation and (old) Cavern Set, with some minor pieces like dungeon floors and sewer walls to fill out the floor and make the entrance tunnel. I'd completely run out of "unworked stone" pieces by that point, but this stuff works together beautifully. Dwarven Forge sure is expensive and I pick carefully what to buy, but it's very useful to make a location come to life!|
MIKE THE DRUID'S PLAYER REMEMBERS:
Mr Lomin Mor was reminded that giving a druid a pat on the back is not always a good idea, especially when said druid has recently lost his left arm. Luckily for him the resulting heat metal punisment only means he has to get a new scabbard for his mighty magical longsword.
Shams the dwarf heroically climbed the Hydra and hacked through the iron binding chain. Then she spotted Tilly making a deal with two spined devils in a side room. Wonder what she'll do with that info?
As usual Tilly offered his service to a mighty devil. And after doing something mildly heroic by grabbing the spear (although invisible at the time, so we have no idea ;), he was knocked down by a thunderwave spell and flew a couple of feet down and that hurt...probably the last time he'll do anything heroic ;)
Mike: from trying to poison a devil (immune) to thinking it was an even better idea to jump on a flaming Hydra, we can safely say there have been better days for the druid. Especially after losing his left arm to the Hydra! Then again, resquing the Hydra from magic bindings and even talking to it afterwards made the Mike's day. And to be honest making Lomin the elf sweat a bit with a heat metal spell was icing on the cake.
|Close-up of the fight. Check out the paper Printable Heroes mini being NOMMED by that absolutely magnificent beast.|
Terrain all Dwarven Forge again, except the homemade wooden walkway inspired by the Cardboard DM.
TILLY'S SECRETS:Pretty much all of this is unknown by the other characters and sometimes even players. But we're all adults who can handle these things.
Tilly received a vision shortly before entering the Hydra cave. One of his benefactors had some information and a request. The Hydra apparently is one of several legendary creatures, dragons in fact, forming part of a seal formed a long time ago. This seal prevents certain things from progressing, and the creatures need to be killed to solve this.
Tilly promised to try, knowing he himself had no chance. And knowing this would place him in direct opposition to Mike the druid. Mike wants to save and preserve these creatures. The Hydra, but also the Basilisk concerning which the two of them have an existing deal.
Confronting the Devil Count Naberius Tilly knew he was at great risk. His main focus was getting close to the relic spear of the King, saving the shield maiden Rosaly was a nice bonus when thinking about the impression our group would make with the King and Bishop.
During the fight the only thing that kept him alive was hiding with the spear while invisible. Feeling out the spear with arcane senses during the fight gave some useful insights, especially when combined with the earlier assessment by Mike and Guy that it was fake..
Had Mike been in mortal peril sooner, he might have been able to sway the rest to kill the Hydra – but at that point everyone was dangerously hurt.
The summoning ritual performed by Naberius lured him back into danger, but allowing the devil to call in reinforcements or escape would definitely leave a bad impression. Fortunately Naberius had already been badly hurt and one strong Inflict Wounds ended his existence. For now.
Not only did Tilly collect some body parts for future use from the count, he used the defeat to cow the two Spine devil bodyguards into service. How useful they might be remains to be seen.
DM'S PERSONAL FAVES:
Loved when Tilly used Shams' familiar Ricky as a seeing eye imp in the pitch black cave.
Beautiful bit of friends-making when the party returned the King's Spear to Rosaly and gives her the honour of carrying it out of the Hydra cave and to the waiting king Cedric the Meek.
Par for the course work by Mike (save the poor Hydra!) and Tilly (devils on the loose? quick, whip up a contract with them!). Solid heroics by Shams the Dwarf, hanging onto the Hydra's iron chain while hacking away at it with their mighty greatsword in the other hand.