MAZE Enterprises

Our first session
In which our heroes vanquish abberant entities, are ambushed by kobolds, arrive by way of the King's Road in Winterhaven, and venture forth to greatness

Sunday’s session went great! Here’s a recap of the party’s accomplishments.

Kick them in the Fell Taint! Mathrus’s connection to the Wayfinders told him that there was a wizard in Wherevershire who had possibly opened a portal to the Far Realm. The party went to investigate. What they found were weird Lovecraftian cotton-candy-worm things that float. As Josh remembered at the table, these are called Fell Taints. They come from the Far Realm. It turned out that the wizard had opened a portal to the Far Realm and they’d been coming through. The party cleared the tower of Fell Taints and sealed the portal. Mathrus reported the party’s success to the Wayfinders. While looking through the tower, the party found out that the Wizard had been using notes and rituals from a cult that worships Orcus.

Ambushed by Kobolds! On their way to Winterhaven, the party was ambushed by kobolds! Like, what the fuck? Kobolds? Seriously? The party informed Lord Padraig about the ambush and he gave them the location of the kobold’s camp, hidden behind a waterfall to the Southeast of Winterhaven. He promised to pay 100gp.

MAZE Enterprises is open for business! Ferdinand and Ulysses managed to talk Salvanna Wrafton into renting them her basement as their business headquarters! Combined with 7gp per month and household chores, the party can call Wrafton’s Inn their home. While there, the party learned some interesting things.

The Missing Mentor! Mathrus and Krukis were both looking for Douven Stahl-dwarf explorer extroadinaire!-but for completely different reasons. Krukis wanted to find his old friend, who went missing on an excavation south of Winterhaven. Mathrus, who’d been left a message from the Wayfinders that Salvana Wrafton was holding for him, was looking for Douven because Douven is a Wayfinders Captain. When they rescued him from the gnome Agrid, who was working for some mysterious shadow figure, Douven told them that he’d been here investigating the Keep north of Winterhaven because a cult worshiping Orcus was inside and they’re working on a portal to another plane. Douven, seeing Dolemite act with honor and integrity, conscripted the party into the Wayfinders and gave them each a Heroic Tier Wayfinder’s badge! You can each find the badge in the character builder or in Dragon 375. You can read the article in Dragon to learn more about the Wayfinders.

More Gnome-breakin! Something I wasn’t counting on--Josh didn’t want to take the gnome alive. So, since Agrid didn’t have the idol on him, it appears that this quest has met a dead end! I’m interested to see what you guys come up with to deal with that, since I don’t have any ideas of my own. I’ll tell you only this much-I know where it is, and it CAN be found.

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES! Doc Carrion has made some progress getting ingredients for a treatment! He has five vials of Bullywug mucus. Now all he needs is a Goblin fang. This should be easier than it sounds. You’re level 1. Goblins should be EVERYWHERE. Am I right? There’s a few things I need to go over after Sunday’s game.

Douven Stahl was so greatful that Dolemite returned his charm necklace that he decided to give it to Dolemite—-after Douven removes the picture of his wife. The neck item has the following properties: +1 enhancement to Fort, Ref and Will, and 5 Poison Resistance.

Do not lose those badges. I made those myself and I don’t intend to make more. If you want to make one for yourself, you can find the badge illustration in Dragon 375. I printed them out a little large, so they might look better if you want to print them at their proper resolution. It would be really cool if we could make a set of seven and put them in blank buttons. I’ll leave that to you guys.

The new initiative system works really well. We’re going to stick with it since it’s faster than using Josh’s whiteboard.

I know having seven players is a bit of a clusterfuck, and having three leaders is very silly. I’m not worried about it. The next time we play will be in August, so maybe we’ll make some roster changes by then. As it is, the encounters we went through today were easy even for a party of 5.

Here are the rules for Jake’s curse. He must make an Endurance check after every extended rest. The DC starts at 10 and goes up according to the appropriate Moderate Difficulty DC. If Doc succeeds, then there are no consequences. If Doc fails, then he loses a healing surge and hit points equal to his surge value. If he fails this check twice in a row, he loses an additional 5 hit points. If he fails three times in a row, he loses an additional 10 hitpoints and permanently loses one healing surge. For every failed check after that in a row, he loses an additional 5 hitpoints on top of the previous days’ penalty and permanently loses another healing surge. When he runs out of healing surges, he permanently turns into a swarm of bees and the curse is concluded.

I know that sounds insanely harsh. Remember, Jake wanted his own class features to be KILLING him. I do have solutions in mind for how he can cure himself. How long that will take is actually up to Jake.

Jake asked me how long it took to design the encounters. I wanted to share my process with you so you could tell me what you think worked and what you think did not.

When Phil called me up and told me we needed to stall for two and a half hours, and when Mike suggested we do a dungeon delve, I immediately decided to write three encounters and expect for us to go through two of them. My goal was to come up with something fun and interesting that would relate in some meaningful way to the campaign but without being critical to the story. I read the article on Fell Taints in Dragon 376 which said that Fell Taints work great when you use 3d space.

I came up with the idea of a wizard breaching the barrier between the material plane and the Far Realm and letting some of these taints through the breach. Then I looked through my dungeon tiles and found the ones that had tables and furniture and thought up the rules for climbing up on the furniture. The idea was to get a melee heavy party to think about fighting in 3d space—-climbing on the furniture, dealing with flanking floating enemies, making ranged attacks, and the like. I couldn’t be happier with the results. Phil switched to his spear because it was a reach weapon. Mike learned the art of Chair-Chucking. Jake used Blasts as cubes instead of squares. Everyone was thinking differently, and that was what I wanted.

I’d read about using candy for minions about a year ago and have always wanted to try it. Sweettarts were perfect because they could illustrated how high up the monsters were and were colorful like fell taints. I’d thought of using M&M’s but they wouldn’t have stacked vertically.

I’ve also heavily edited the first few encounters in Keep on the Shadowfell. The one at the excavation site underwent one simple change—-I edited the human rabble out for Bullywug rabble, my own creation. The idea was to get the primal powersource involved because Phil is multiclassed Warden and Jake is a Druid. All I changed to the stat block was to give the human rabble the bullywug racial feature where adjacent enemies who use healing surges are weakened until the end of their next turn.

These things work better when people don’t shout out everything they know about monsters when they see them on the table. That way everyone who hasn’t read about the monsters or ever encountered them before could learn by playing the game instead of someone metagaming.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to resume Keep on the Shadowfell until after the Bar exam at the end of July. I hope you guys are interested enough in continuing this campaign. I had a blast running it this morning and I really want to continue playing. Keep track of which daily powers you used and how many hitpoints and surges you had left after today’s game. You won’t have taken an extended rest when we resume the next game. If you don’t know what you used when we start again, we’ll just say you used three healing surges and your daily power.

Props go out to Eyal coming up with an idea for a character within one second.

Let me know what you thought about Sunday’s game. What worked? What didn’t work? What did you like and what didn’t you like? Do you have any problems with your character now that you’ve had the chance to play them? Fire me an email and we’ll talk.

The inspiration for Lord Padraig: Cup Of Brown Joy – Professor Elemental

Matthew J. Allen, J.D. FIU College of Law

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