September 21, 2011

Arcane Gate FTW!

A precursor to this post:
My friends and I have been playing D&D with the same characters since 4th Edition came out, June 2008. We're lvl 19 now after about a year of playing every Wednesday and Sunday, and these last two years of playing on just Sundays. I've written a few posts on campaigns that we've run, notably on Obsidian Portal (The Fallen Leaves of Mithrendain & The Crafters of Lon). It was fun, but also somewhat tedious depending on how much I enjoyed the session. I'm taking it up again, using this space for posts. I usually avoid using my friends' names in blog posts except for Zach, for privacy, so I'll be referring to everyone by initial.
We are in a party called The Gray Hand, our characters:
  • Inadia, half-elf wizard played by F (me)
  • Vealkarion, elf ranger played by Z (Zach)
  • Malak, human warlord played by P
  • Ctharyan, eladrin rogue played by A
  • Kalavich, dwarf priest played by S
  • Vygcarraash, dragonborn paladin played by J (currently the DM, so this char is not around)
Apparently player feedback would also be beneficial, though it'll probably be pretty one-sided with just me giving commentary. So approximately once a week, I'll be writing up what happened and then giving some thoughts. Also I have a terrible memory so if anyone cares enough when I make mistakes, please feel free to correct said mistakes in the comments.
***

The Gray Hand starts off by finding a secret passageway that has a shadow ward at the entrance. Since none of them are shadows or have anything shadow-based, they pass through with no problems. The room ahead is inhabited by two wizard-y scholars of low-importance, though they're nice enough and offer to give information about the tower in exchange for dispelling the shadow ward. Malak takes some valuable books and Inadia finds two rituals and the components that go along with them. The ward is dispatched readily by Inadia's Arcane superiority and Ctharyan's nimble fingers.
The scholars reveal that there is a demon in heart of the tower and that the purple flames around the tower are a means of transportation to and from the Forgotten Realms. They also notice Kalavich's "hat" and how it's not super good for him and have a nice little catch-up chat with Inadia's Skull of Sartine.
The Gray Hand offers one of their tower's rooms (once it's reclaimed and put back in Sigil) to the scholars before continuing down the hallway. The door to the next room is cracked open and they see an epic wresting match between a huge brute and a demon. The door going out of the room is also spied and the party decides to quietly sneak through the room using Arcane Gate.
It goes smoothly and Malak puts a Nail of Sealing into the door to buy the party some time to make their getaway. Inadia uses her nature skill and Mo-Mo to create dust to hide their tracks and they sneak into an empty room and wait for the monsters to go by. Once they emerge and continue on their way, they find gruesome remnants of the two huge brutes. The brutes appear to have been in the way of a large fire snake. Buoyed by the likelihood that all enemies in front of them have met a similar fate, the party picks up the pace, though always checking around corners to avoid meeting the fire snake face to face.
***
I liked that we used our brains instead of brawns for this encounter, but I think a small fight would have still been nice. Honestly, while I like being rewarded for coming up with smart ideas, sometimes it's fun to have things go horribly wrong. It would have been just as if not more amusing if they had already heard us coming and staged a wresting match or if the door had been locked. Challenge is good, tough decisions are memorable, and it's always about being a hero. Whether or not you're an effective hero is up to the dice.