I have also updated an encounter within the module, which means a newer version of the module is also available. Note: I have started to align version numbers with the latest campaign version number. So while some file releases are fewer and in between the regular campaign releases (like modules and others), they will now reflect the version that the campaign was on at time of their version release.
The List of Fixes
1) RUNE LOCKS: There were two issues with these: (a) I had left some debug lines in place after the last fix, which needed removing. (b) The ability to interact with a Rune Lock was disabled after resolving the puzzle, which should NOT be the case, as some of the locks can be used again. Both of these problems are now fixed.
2) FAST TRAVEL PILLARS: Some of the fast travel destinations were not being presented due to them NOT being limited to the current area. This meant some of the valid ones had run our of space to be displayed. This has now been fixed.
3) RELOAD (DEAD HENCHMEN): If a game was saved with a dead henchman (which it should not be really), then it caused problems with the henchman not reviving on a reload. This has now been fixed so that they do recover if that is done by mistake.
4) RELOAD (VARIABLE BAG): On a rare occasion a "variable bag" ("VAR BAG") could be found on a game reload. This is only likely to be the case if the game did not save correctly or the player was doing something during a save. A check has now been added to help remove/fix any instances of that occurring.
5) ENCOUNTER (MODULE UPDATE): There was an encounter that needed altering to prevent it firing too soon. While not a critical fix, it makes the game flow better.
|Heroes Defeat Melakar!|
|Heroes Escape The Crypt!|
|Heroes Return Magnici Devadi To Zakeree|
|The Ominous Bugbear Tower|
|Trying To Avoid The Bugbear Tower|
|Heroes Attack Hill Giants!|
|Hill Giants Retaliate!|
|Heroes Confront Ongar!|
The Adventure Continues ... 24. Escaping The Ancient Crypt
The Beauty and The Beasts!
NB: Contains spoilers for ALL backgrounds.
"What makes you so sure we need all this buffing Helden?" said Myara as Helden ordered the clerics to cast more buffing spells on the group before they opened the door they had just unlocked.
"Let's just call it a hunch ... like one of those moments when your gut warns you that undead lurk just beyond."
In truth, the heroes had already lived this moment of time, and were now about to play it out again ... and so as the door was opened and the summoned creatures followed Helden into the room beyond, Melakar advanced out of the gloomy darkness ahead of the group, along with a pair of wights.
Scraps and the summoned creatures were the first to respond, quickly forming a block between the undead and the heroes. Unfortunately, they were able to do little against the undead and rapidly suffered drains of life as they fought bravely to hold ground. The time they gave, however, was enough to allow the spell casters to send magic missiles and spheres of electricity towards the undead, which did make their mark, quickly sending the wights back to their graves.
Melakar, however, remained, and was even regaining strength by draining life from the summoned creatures that remained. It was at this realisation that Helden ordered the clerics to unsummon their creatures to allow the fighters, Flint and himself to break through to the dread wraith to deliver their stronger blows instead. It was risky, but the summons were simply unable to do enough damage, and Scraps was now out of the fight, fleeing in fear.
As the summoned creatures dissipated, the fighters stepped into the combat, and swung their weapons with as much accuracy as they could, with some blows simply gliding through the air as the incorporeal monster faded in and out of the material plane. However, when the fighters did strike, it was sound, and as fearful as the touch of a dread wraith was, the fighters were well prepared and buffed with many cleric spells, making it difficult for Melakar to strike them too.
The battle went on for a number of rounds, with each strike of the dread wraith threatening to drain the life of the one it struck .... but the life draining touch that they all dreaded, never succeeded. At the last moment, Helden did feel the wraith's touch, but the fighter was able to shake off the draining effect just as the final blow to the ghostly apparition was delivered. The battle they had been dreading was over ... and apart from Scraps, everybody else in the party remained undrained.
The heroes spent the next few minutes exploring the area where the dread wraith had been encountered, but they found nothing apart from another key that allowed them to open a locked door in the Rune Creation chamber. In that small room was a chest, which contained among other things, a few more runes. As the heroes had already created all the ones they were missing, the new find was not required.
The heroes now had now explored the entire area and had everything they needed to leave. They took one last rest in a small side chamber to allow the clerics to learn spells to heal Scraps from his draining, and then recovered the book they had acquired for Zakeree before using the runes one last time on the exit pillar to finally escape the crypt. Outside, the air smelled sweet.
The heroes wasted no time in returning to Zakeree, and took the fastest route possible to help avoid any activity that would cause the ancient tome they carried to be damaged any more than it already was. Thankfully, they managed to return to the hermit with the book without any further encounters and so the book was in relatively excellent condition considering its age and fragility. Zakeree was most pleased and gave the heroes a hefty reward of gold and gems for their efforts. Their business with the hermit settled, the heroes bid their farewells.
Helden had received a bloody nose the last time he had encountered the bugbears in the centre of the enclave, and so wanted to try to avoid them for the time being if possible. To this end, he led the party as far west as he could, skirting the river to the far side of their tower, and then once past, turned back and tried sneaking along a small gully to the south of them to try to sneak around them going east.
As the heroes tried to sneak around at the closest point, however, a bugbear archer caught sight of their movement and started to let arrows fly. Some caught Karasten, who immediately returned fire with his crossbow. Then, deciding magic would serve better, he loosed a magic missile, which quickly finished the bugbear archer off. Thankfully, that had been the only bugbear to have spotted them, and so with it silenced, the heroes were free to continue their path.
After the incident with the bugbear was over, the heroes realised that the path they had been following had led them to a circular dip, not unlike a large land bowl with water in. Reading an inscription on a nearby stone marker quickly revealed that this place was called "Demon's Bowl" and somebody called Arlen was supposedly buried somewhere in some caves beneath the water. An interesting folly, but without an ability to breathe underwater, of no use to the party - and so the heroes continued to follow the valley around.
As the heroes entered into the next valley, east of the bugbear tower, a fey creature, a beautiful dryad ran up to the heroes and began to speak with them. Helden was immediately on his guard, fully aware that these creatures were known for their beguiling nature. Karasten, on the other hand, was curious as to why this fey had revealed itself to the heroes, which was quite against its nature.
It turned out that the dryad had had its tree, which was critical to its survival, recently cut down by some giants and that it needed some ingredients to help its tree to recover. Unable to make any promises, nevertheless, the party agreed to keep an eye open for the items it required. However, it was not long after this encounter with the dryad that the heroes encountered the giants accused of being responsible for the trees damage ... and supposedly carrying one of the ingredients that the dryad required.
The beastly giants had been seen from a long way off, and it gave the heroes time to plan how they were going to deal with them. They had seen at least two, and both were within long distance spell fire. That was one advantage. Furthermore, the heroes planned to send in the summoned creatures first. That would be a second advantage. In fact, by the time the giants knew what hit them, the battle would already be half over .... and thankfully, this is exactly what happened. There was one minor incident when Myara panicked and froze not knowing what to do, as a huge towering giant ran straight for her after she had moved forward for better aim with her bow. But then, after what seemed like seconds, the halfling came back to her senses and ran back towards the party, whereupon the summoned creatures and Scraps intercepted the following giant, giving the halfling the time she needed to escape.
Shortly after this the two giants were dead, and from where the giants fell, the heroes could see the remains of a fortress just beyond them on some higher ground. Not finding the item the dryad required on these two fallen giants, the heroes decided to approach the fortress with the aim to search it. As they climbed the hill and passed though a large gate, they then spotted a third giant branding a massive club. Without delay, the same tactics that had just brought them victory were employed again ... and quickly brought about the same results. Ongar, the fortress hill giant was dead ... and this time the heroes discovered the magik leaves the dryad sought upon the giant's body.
After searching the fortress and relieving it of its treasures, the heroes decided to search for the magik soil that the dryad said could be found at the waterfall where the hermit lived. After a quick retrace of their steps, carefully avoiding the bugbears, they found the soil with ease. With equal care, they made their way back to the dryad grove, who appeared to them as they entered it. Needless to say, the dryad was delighted and for their reward she offered the heroes information. Some of which related to the Demon's Bowl and a secret on how the heroes could enter the water and still breathe! Pushing the dryad for more information, Helden was also able to learn of an ettin that walked in the next valley further east, which had stashed some booty under a boulder near the end of the river.
"What shall we do now?" asked Myara, to which Helden simply looked ahead pondering the exact question..
TOTAL SESSION TIME (UNPAUSED): 1 Hours 55 Minutes.
GAME TIME SINCE START: 47 Hours 40 Minutes.
QUESTS ACTIVE: 13 QUESTS COMPLETE: 19 (Ignoring Rule Info)