Thursday, 26 November 2020

Belswick 26: getting married

Last session in Belswick, our heroes escaped the collapsing lair of Xiximanter the Serpent Lich, hired a bunch of dwarves to turn it into a quarry for dressed stone and take care of their affairs in the villages of Crossroads, Culfield and Witmarrow, and blast to kill themself out of existence experimenting with Xixi's horrible fungal cloning chamber. This session, it's wedding time as Lomin the rogue's alter ego Olga gets married to Lord Kerjules the Hedgehog!


Last session Morti the Artificer blew himself up and Tilbord the Cleric/Bard/Warlock/Abomination actually retired as an abbot and teacher of the new Open Book orphanage in Crossroads!

This session we see these players' new characters: wild and fey Pyrrha, wearing a sun dress, wolf-pelt cloak and conjuring arcane fire and flint weapons; and vulture-faced Ungulu the Cleric of the always understanding, always friendly Order of St Kurelda of the Light - the Inquisition. They have ties to both Lord Kerjules and Mother Iranelle of the order of light, which is enough to get them forced on the party! Ungulu brings with him a fellow Acolyte of the Light, one Harald who took his vow of silence so serious he cut out his own tongue.


Guy the wizard wasn't present for last session's haven turns, so we handle those now. He has regained control of his magic as something clicks in his mind and his graps of psionics fades...for now. He spends time recovering from this childhood-affliction grown stronger and exchanges letters with fellow student Ylaine de Nantres in Arrayne, who has spotted Guy's sister Josephine. But didn't Guy talk to her on the Isles of the Dead back at the beginning of the campaign??

Catching up with his mentor Fergus, Guy presents the spellbook of Xiximanter, which contains one very dangerous, very heretical spell banned by the Church of the Authority: Plane Shift. Both understand what they have in hand: a one-way ticket to they pyre. After coded correspondence with their August Lodge of Augurs and Diviners, Guy's remaining college debt of about 45000 gp is erased, he gains a nominal 4000 gp reward for the spellbook, and a position as Ardent Seer and Adept of the Lodge worth 30 gp/month!

We zap back to the end of last session, when Shams, Guy, Lomin and Tilbord each got woken up by the shattered ghost of Brent the Cloned Bandit! It's a bit of a struggle, but they manage to defeat the ghost wearing nothing but nightshirt and hastily scrounged weaponry. The last of this guy, hopefully?


It's time to get married! Lomin has been playing the role of long-deceased Lady Olga of Culfield, who was a close friend and didn't have heirs or relatives who could inherit. Now Olga will marry Lord Kerjules of neighbouring Crossroads to cement the region against coming war with southern Arrayne.

We run through a couple of scenes during the wedding:

Tourney! Mostly good-natured archery, jousting and melee, until spurned inheritor Sir Drake Selbern steps up in his crude plate armor to insult the living daylights out of old, decrepid Lady Olga. This needs a champion to settle the guy once and for all. Eyes turns to Shams the Dwarf, but who steps up but newly introduced Pyrha wearing nothing more than a sun dress? It seems like an unfair battle, and it is - the barbarian girl absolutely demolishes Selbern as he hacks into her with his sword.

Wedding ceremony! The Crossroads church is packed as Bishop Urael - Lomin's brother - seals the two nobles in holy matrimony. Interestingly enough, both Olga and Lomin are seen in the church, a gift of the bishop. Afterwards, it's time to pay up: Urael wants the party to make sure Mother Iranelle of the Inquisition isn't present at the wedding dinner. After typical PC-debate, the group settles on tried and tested poison.

Reception and gift-giving, during which Lomin buys four potions of purgatives from Annabelle the potion maker, intimidating her with his knowledge of her link to the former goblin infestation in Xiximanter's tomb. Inquisitor Ungulu amuses himself intimidating a dozing guard at a cart - and discovers a hidden magic sigil below the wares. Before he can interrogate the guard, the guy disappears in a cloud of purple mist. Meanwhile the other characters each try to slip the old nun a dose. One attempt goes awry but two others via invisibility and sneaky disguise succeed, and soon the White Robe is waddle-running to an outhouse, not to return for the night...

Finally, a wonderful evening feast where the whole party is invited. Urael has one last gift to bestow: a dinner with the memories of the departed, to wish well and feel connected. It's a strange thing to see Olga dining with her dead husband Malcer, to see the shades of Brent the bandit and Vedric von Vermis the wizard harrassing Tilbord in a corner, for always-glib Lomin to have a tearful heart-to-heart with his murdered fiancee Valanthe, and for Guy to speak to his dead sister ("do not mistake the medium for the message").

Then a group of servers walks in from opposing doors and denounces these heretical proceedings in the name of unknown Zulin. Strange angelic creatures covered in wings and eyes start to swirl around their leader, before Guy dispels the cloud and Ungulu lobs a cleansing fireball into the mass - but not before one of the group shoots Lord Kerjules in the heart with a poisoned bolt. The hedgehogling goes down, frothing at the mouth - and that's where we'll continue next session!

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Belswick 25: killing PCs during downtime

Last session in Belswick, the players vanquished Xiximanter the Lich and finally cleared the Tomb of the Serpent Kings. Hoorah! Now they deal with the aftermath in a length downtime session, which ends with a double botch and sudden PC death. I already ran part of this haven turn for two players in a mini session for 2 players; this time, we pick up with almost the entire group - our wizard couldn't make it.

IN CROSSROADS AND BEYOND, war with Arrayne is in full swing. Soldiers pass through, taxes are raised and whispers talk of dangerous spies from the southern kingdom. Crossroads fares well: the town has grown since winter with new shops and inhabitants who are turning the town into a supply point for the war.

THE PARTY STARTS OUT in the lab of Xiximanter the Lich in the Tomb of the Serpent Kings. As the roof starts to crumble and collapse, Tilly races to rescue as many artifacts and books as he can. Helped by Shams, he saves a few books, but heavy rocks knock the talking alchemy set containing parts of Xiximanter's soul out of his hands. Choosing wisdom over valor, the pair exit the collapsing lab. The rest of the tomb seems stable enough.

INVESTIGATING THEIR HAUL, the party puts the following on the table as Tilly manages to wrench their secrets out of the ether with identify spells:

  • Ring of Spell Storing, 5 levels max, requires attunement, 2500 gp
  • Bag of Holding, weighs 2 inventory slots and can contain 20, 1200 gp
  • Potions of Healing: 2x greater (100 gp each, 4d4+4) and 1x superior (500 gp, 8d4+8)
  • Xiximanter's Alchemist's Stone: one use as level 14 Transmutor (heal & cure of inflictions, revive, give youth), 2000 gp
  • 3 Tuning Forks for the rare and discouraged cleric spell Plane Shift (wizards don't get this spell, or any other of level 7 or higher; those simply don't exist), total value 750 gp

Xiximanter's Spellbook in Du'van, worth 3250 for the spells alone and at least double that to the right collector - Order of the Scroll, Order of Light or Lodge of Augurs & Diviners:

  1. detect magic, shield, thunderwave
  2. acid arrow, detect thoughts, invisibility
  3. counterspell, dispel magic
  4. dimension door, polymorph
  5. cloudkill, scrying
  6. contingency, programmed illusion
  7. plane shift

LOMIN the Elf Rogue talks to lord Haine Kerjules about the lord's upcoming wedding to Olga of Culfield - Lomin's alter ego. Lomin confesses he has been playing Olga's role since she died 2-3 winters ago. Kerjules is distraught - if this comes out, his name is ruined! Without asking for huge bribes or favours, Lomin suggests that "Olga" can pass away soon after the wedding, making sure that the secret is safe.

There is a sickness in fief Culfield. Animals and serfs are winded and lightheaded - bad air from Witmarrow swamp? Manuel the steward, haggard and pale, gives Lomin a letter "for the priest". He explains he doesn't know what's inside or who gave it to him. He explains he was assaulted on Candle Night and given this missive for Tilbord. Lomin promises to take the letter to Tilly, as Manuel is working day and night to pay the war taxes and keep the estate running.

Lomin's brother Urael, roving bishop in the order of the scroll, visits Lomin with a proposal. Not only is Urael looking into Azrael--sorry, Lomin's claim that he was framed for murder by their own brother, he can help make the wedding go smoother. Urael is willing to use magic to make it seem that Lomin and Olga are both present at the wedding. No price is discussed.

SHAMS THE DWARF ELDRITCH KNIGHT gets her armor and shield repaired, is inducted into the Marble Library of the dwarves by her aunt Tole, and visits potionmaker Annabelle to stock up on healing potions. Weirdly enough, the potionmaker doesn't seem to recognize Shams or remember her being rescued from the bandits in the Serpent Tomb. (For that matter, where did that Annabelle go?)

TILLY THE BARD/CLERIC/WARLOCK is busy starting up his orphanage in fief Crossroads. He is happy to get help from the nun Moira the mouseling of the Order of the Scroll. Tilly's mentor Father Eustace has been having trouble taking care of the Sleeping Priest Hieronymus in the northern woods. Luckily, Mother Iranelle of the Order of St Kurelda is passing through to lend an hand. Always fun to talk with the inquisition when you're an arch-heretic!

Iranelle's titanic bodyguard is one of the dreaded Scarlet Guard of the Archbishop Hector himself. Its armor reminds Tilly of a deviant design powered by stolen souls he once saw, but when he tries to investigate, the guard cruelly grasps Tillys hand and shoves him back, hand on the hilt of his enormous greatsword.

MORTI THE GNOME ARTIFICER is busy investigating the resurrective sarcophagus left in the Tomb of the Serpent Kings. He wants to turn it into a walking tank with parts scavenged from his clockwork rhinoceros Uni. It turns out that there are control gems missing. "Crucial control rods missing", hiss the Du'van serpent folk runes; "continue anyway?"

By happy accident, Lomin has found a couple of the gems "in the dirt" and is willing to sell them to Morti. Together with the wizard Fergus the Augur - Guy's mentor, now happy that his tower can finally be built with stones from the Tomb - Morti manages to create enough copies of the control gem to repair the sarcophagus.

Gems in hand, the gnome returns to the Tomb of the Serpent Kings to finish his new invention. The dwarves quarrying there are eager to get the gnome and his foolish contraption out of the way! Which side of the crystals goes where though? Messing around, Morti rolls poorly and gets zapped with arcane energy. As he flips the gems around, I ask him for one last Arcana check - with advantage, because he's been very careful so far.

Morti's first Arcana roll is a 1. Red light begins to glow inside the sarcophagus, quickly shifting up via orange, yellow and green to blue-ish purple. From behind him, Morti's almost-intelligent Green Book of Inventation mutters "oh no, and this one was showing such promise..." Luckily, advantage means you get to roll twice and keep the higher!

Morti rolls...a second 1. The jagged light from the sarcophagus quickly dopplers beyond violet straight into a blinding flash of octarin...and as the light fades, the entire room is empty.

Morti's player had told me he was interested in trying out a new character. We weren't quite ready yet to make the switch, but a double botch like that with an ancient arcane device has to be rewarded somehow! Goodbye Morti, I would have loved to see more of you. And maybe we will? After all, they didn't find a body...

As we start to fade to black, a last scene. Everyone is in their respective bed sleeping or trancing, as a raspy whisper curls into their ears. "You killed me! Not once, not twice, but thirty times!"

Standing at the foot of each bed, half transparent with hate-yellow eyes and bearing the wounds of all the executions his clones were put through, is Brent the Bandit, cloned and murdered and now back from the dead one last time to get his revenge!



  • Tilly thinking that knowledge is much more important than his life. Bit of a bother if you think about it.
  • Morti and Tilly are exactly the same. That gnome - by the Authority, if I find him I'll hit him until his eyes are straight again...
  • Good job by the dwarves setting up the trade house. Trade route already good for Witmarrow. But the war is showing the rotten parts of society.
  • Oh yeah, and a wedding - little culture shock there, I've never seen so much hubbub about a simple contract.


  • Morti surviving a fight with a lich to then disappear himself with an experiment. Seriously, double 1 on a roll with's a gift. 😂😭
  • Tilly staying in the background during the lich fight only to risk his life to save a book as the ceiling caves in.
  • Shams is the only hero in the group, and her imp the only paladin 😂 Thanks for saving me!
  • Lomin scrambling to get control of his shady business and ending up richer once again.
  • Big changes in Crossroads, interesting! And more big changes to come. Marriage. War. Bring it!


  • Hilarity ensues. And shenanigans.
  • Thank Shams for tagging along with Tilbørd, or else it would have been a double casualty today. Although of course there was also a succubus around to lend a manicured hand.
  • Morti surviving Xiximanter the lich to die as he sticks his fingers into the wall plug...
  • DM: you have advantage on this roll!
  • Morti: great, only I rolled double ones...
  • Lomin was in great form. Loved the little talks with Kerjules & Urael, but also with Morti & Baphomet / Annabelle.


  • Great session!
  • Morti's double 1 - nuff said
  • Tilly is going to retire.... No more soul training of deal making?
  • Lomin plays a real rogue
  • Shamms saves Tilly, well done!


Common recipes: 50 gp each
comprehension, false life, hate, healing 2d4+2, heroism, love, sovereign grease, ventriloquism

Uncommon recipes: 100 gp each
breathlessness, burrow, clairvoyance, darkvision, energy resistance (one element), fire breath, giant size, glibness, greater healing 4d4+4, hide from animals, hide from undead, levitation, magic weapon, purge poisons, shrink, speak with beasts, speak with birds, speak with crawling things, speak with fish, speak with plants, spider climb, tongues, transposition, water breathing

Rare recipes: 500 gp each
deep sleep, flight, gaseous form, haste, superior healing 8d4+8, invisibility, poison (DMG), sovereign glue, transformation: rat, transformation: salmon, water walk