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Skylands session reports

In addition to the blow-by-blow accounts kept by the group’s official chronicler, Von, I made some briefer session reports on G+. At first they were just off-the-cuff when I thought about it. So there are a fair amount of gaps in these. As I got positive feedback, I tended to give fuller reports more often.

Personae Ludi

The beginning

A quick summary of the early events that aren’t included...

The PCs all grew up in Loftgard, one of several islands floating in the sky. An age ago, a remnant of civilization had been brought there as the forces of chaos overran the lands. The people of Loftgard have had no contact with the ground since then. They only recently recovered enough since having come to the Skylands for adventurers to emerge.

The PCs found and dealt with a necromancer who had been quietly operating in Loftgard. They found the magic portal he had used to get to the Skylands. They used it to travel to the necromancer’s penthouse in a city called Towers. (Small island with lots of building upwards.) They’ve been learning about life on the ground. They also found the portal could also take them to a ruined temple and a ruined town nearby.

The first reports below are concurrent with these events. By the June 2013 entry, they are exploring the ruined temple.

G+ reports

The following are play reports that I posted to Google+.

Saturday 14 July 2012
Third session of the Skylands... So far the players have interrogated prisoners, planned a raid, renegotiated their contract with a merchant, and done lots of math around divvying treasure.
Sunday 12 August 2012
DMing the Skylands last night: 1 of the clerics wanted to know if holy water was still holy if it was stolen. ^_^

And when I tweeted that, one of my friends—a Methodist preacher—said, “Yes!”
Monday 27 August 2012
One of the take-aways from the Skylands campaign so far: Warhorses are possibly the best henchmen. At least, outside of the dungeon. 3HD. 2 attacks at 1d6 each. With barding, a decent AC of 5.
Sunday 4 November 2012
Tonight’s Skylands session: An NPC went from trying to talk his way into an escape from an obviously superior force, to being caught off guard by people asking about his life, and then pouring his heart a bit. (I didn’t even know his background until the players started asking the questions.) Then the players had a discussion of the morals and legality around what they should do with him.

And there was lots of slaughtering of undead and cloned mercenaries as well. Good times.
Wednesday 19 December 2012
We have a tradition of having a special Christmas session in my group. So, I ran a special Skylands thing “outside the continuity” of the main campaign. (The PCs are currently in the middle of clearing out a gnome lair that had been taken and used as a base by a necromancer.)

Approaching the winter solstice, a freak ice storm had hit one of the towns of Loftgard, and the PCs were sent with the returning bishop to help her get through the mountain of packed snow that was keeping people from getting in or out.

They fought some animated snowmen. They crossed a river of blue goo that froze anything that touched it solid. By heading back to the nearest Inn and borrowing some ladders and planks to construct a makeshift bridge. They found an ice cave where a entity named “Jack” (at least it responded to that name when the PCs tried it) was skating around. The mage was almost taken down by a couple of ice bolts when she angered Jack, but one of the crusaders managed to jump into the path of the second. Some clever talking to get an additional reaction roll, which came up 11, by the mage who had a +1 from charisma got Jack to give up an amulet that he said he’d found that belonged to “George”. It seemed George had made it extra cold, and Jack was loving it. They then sought out George, which turned out to be a giant ice-demon. (Imagine a cold Balrog.) They smartly offered George the amulet immediately and George departed taking the storm with him.

The next morning they each found a special extra beneath the Yule tree.

Sunday 30 June 2013
Last night was the first Skylands session since April 6th. It was a doozy. The ruins of a temple of Law on the ground were explored by the Skylanders. A crypt full of ghouls and a wight was cleared. Three ghouls became servants of the PCs via undead control amulets the PCs had acquired in previous adventures. An interesting unfinished letter was found in the bishop’s office. A demon hanging out in the ruins of the sanctuary was paralyzed by one of the servant-ghouls before it knew what was going on. A book of prayers and rituals with some previously unknown-to-the-PCs crusader (i.e. cleric) spells was found in the inner sanctum. And some ranine (from the S&W Monstrosites book) were fought.

After returning to base, they decided to open a couple of lock and Law Locked (like Wizard Lock, but can be opened by Lawful creatures) cases. Each had a sword. The two characters who picked them up discovered that they were intelligent swords. It appears that one is dedicated to Law & one to Chaos. It would also appear that at least one of the PCs has succumbed to her sword’s control...
Sunday 11 August 2013
Two of the PCs in the Skylands campaign, Ammut & Naevana, spent some time “looking for trouble” in the city of Towers while the rest of the party travelled to Cloudhaven to consult the sage there and report to the archbishop. (The activities in Cloudhaven were resolved last session.)

(Ammut has realized that the person she stole a bag of holding from in the first session was the sage that the party ofter consults in Cloadhaven, so she’s avoiding the place.)

A homemade parachute was test-driven. It almost worked.

A mage was visited. He has a somewhat wizard-of-Oz setup to protect himself from the clientele. A few 2nd-level spells were traded and a map to a location where mandrake can be harvested was acquired. (The mage’s supply is getting low, and he’ll pay or trade for some.) A visit to the library of the late necromancer’s turned up some info about mandrake. (The “myth & legend” section of the Wikipedia article.)

The next day, they looked around for a strange guy they’d seen on the street a few times eating cats, rats, and more. They found him sleeping, but when they disturbed him, he morphed into a Type IV demon. They fled before the transformation was complete. (That one is straight out of Vornheim.)

They went to the market and found an alchemist and priced some potions the group might be interested in. He gave them the name of a poison distiller in town. They were also approached in the market by a woman who had overheard them asking about magic items for sale. This woman said she could take them to a magic shop and quoted a few prices for them. She said they should be able to find her here at the market when they had the coin and were ready to buy.

Then the rest of the players arrived. The group had decided to explore the ruined town of Ostgard outside the ruined temple they’d previously explored.

The dice decided they’d have a random encounter just as they were entering the town, and that the encounter would be a cockatrice. A few of the PCs had heard tales of such creatures and how they could kill you by looking at you, breathing on you, or touching you. They’d also heard that it would die if it saw its own reflection.

Ammut the thief stuck her mirror into the slot on her ten-foot pole designed for that purpose. She snuck up on the cockatrice and held the mirror in front of it. It looked at the mirror, pecked at it a couple of times, then ducked under it and continued on its way. It had started wandering in the opposite direction of the group at this point, so they decided to move along.

They found a few buildings intact enough to explore. A money-lender’s yielded some coins in a pile of rust and white dust. A rust monster surprised one of the crusaders (i.e. cleric) in his full-plate. While the rust monster made all its morale checks, it also failed all its “to hit” rolls, so the PCs still don’t know that its the reason they aren’t finding any ferrous metals in the town.

They searched an overgrown park for mandrake, but only found archer bushes. One of the crusaders then rid the park of archer bushes while everyone else was searching. Also discovered was an extremely lifelike statue of a squirrel.

Things ended there, with lots of town left to explore.

Sunday 8 September 2013
Tonight’s Skylands campaign session: The exploration of the ruins of Ostgard continued. Several more buildings were explored. An insect swarm, a ghost, and a mummy were defeated. PCs were aged. Treasures were found.
Thursday 17 October 2013
I forgot to post an update from last Saturday’s Skylands session. After a trip back to Loftgard to rest, restock, and report, the exploration of the ruins of Ostgard continued.

(Potions were also tasted, and the archbishop said she knew of no way to reverse the aging some PCs had suffered from undead attacks.)

On the way back into town, they found a petrified ranine that they had not seen before.

They found a clock maker’s...lots of wooden clocks with all the brass works missing. Lots of the white powder they’ve seen everywhere.

Investigating one of the wall towers, they found some giant centipedes, lots of weapons missing their metal parts, and white dust. Another tower was empty.

They found an ostler’s with some leather goods still intact and some metal goods kept in a glass case.

In the square in the middle of town was a knocked over statue. There was a locked trap door in the base under where the statue once stood. Unfortunately, neither of the party’s thieves were present. I let the elf—who spends lots of time with one of the thieves—have a 10% chance of picking the lock and, like the thieves, one attempt per level. And...she made it! (Just as the mage was pulling out the crowbar.) Inside were the sword, shield, and cape depicted on the statue. All detected as magic, and the sword flamed upon speaking of the word written on it.

Next was a printer’s/engraver’s. They found a few of intact plates in a thin, tight-fitting drawer: A portrait, the city crest, the announcement of a new bishop, and an equinox festival flyer.

Then they fought a giant snake in the cellar of a wine seller’s.

Then a bowyer’s. Again, lots of bow-staves and arrow-shafts but no arrow heads. White dust, though. (And lots of googling for the oldest bow string ever discovered and what it might have been made from.)

Next up is a free-standing tower in the midst of the town surrounded by a walled garden...
Sunday 3 November 2013
From last night’s Skylands session: The exploration of the ruins of Ostgard continued.

The PCs found a tower, 75 to 100 feet tall, surrounded by a 10 foot high wall. They could find no entrance, and so climbed over. As they were climbing down into the overgrown area in inside the wall, they were attacked by a Killer Tree. While a couple of them did get grabbed by its branches/tentacles, they managed to cut themselves free before getting pulled into its maw.

After killing the tree, they circled the tower inside the wall. Six archer bushes were encountered and killed. They found one section of the outer wall that looked like it could be lowered into the ground, but they could find no way to open it. So, they turned their attention to the tower itself.

Climbing the stairs leading to an open archway in the tower, they were attacked by Vampire Roses. The mage was hurt pretty badly before it plant was killed but survived.

After picking the lock of the door found inside the archway, they found a 10 foot wide pit. Dropping a torch into the pit, it seemed to fall as far as they could see. They never heard it hit anything.

A drawbridge on the other side was grappled and pulled down. The portcullis on the other side had spikes sticking out of it. Instead of ropes or chains, the drawbridge was held by some elastic, sinewy fibers. Three ropes and grappling hooks were used to pull it down far enough to sever the fibers with one of the character’s ransuer.

Three PCs together were able to lift the portcullis. The room beyond seemed empty, but they soon found a couple of illusory walls. Behind the first, a staircase led up; the other, down. They went up.

The large room on the next floor had a pentacle carved into its center and three gargoyles hunched down in the corners. The gargoyles were fought and killed.
Monday 13 January 2014
Saturday was the first Skylands session since November. It’s going to be the last for a bit too. I’m ready to take a break from GM duties, and we have a Mekton campaign that has been on hiatus to get back to.

Exploration of the tower in the ruins of Ostgard continued. Taking the stairs up from the room with the gargoyles, the PCs found what appeared to be a sitting room. They were attacked by an invisible creature of some sort, but they managed to quickly surround it and—apparently—defeat it, as it simply seemed to disappear at some point.

Passing through a door, they found a bedroom containing a bed, two chests, and a chamber pot. One chest held a couple of rings and a couple of wands. The other held a set of books numbered 1 through 5. When the mage tried to read the first page of book 1, it detonated.

Meanwhile, the crusader choose to put his ear to another door within the room without examining it first, and happened to find the first trapped door they’ve encountered. The fire trap exploded catching three of the PCs.

Once the door was opened, behind were found an empty coffer, a coffer of silver coins, a chest of gems, and a chest with several items (weapons, armor, potions). All the items in that last chest, as well as the items in the chests in the bedroom and the chamber pot were detected as magical. Much time was spent trying to divine the nature of those magics, with some success.

On the upper floor of the tower was found a small room with a pedestal and a basketball-sized crystal globe, translucent and glowing. A telepathic voice said, “I am Yog-kosha. I have been trapped here for ages. Please break the globe and release me.”

Trapped by whom? Zara, the sorcerer who lived in the tower. Why? The globe allowed the sorcerer to tap his power. Where is he from? Another world. What would he do if released? Return to his world. How? The PCs didn’t understand the response.

The crusader reported that Lexifer—his intelligent sword—was unsure about this but thought something needed to be destroyed for being chaotic. Was it the globe or Yog-kosha?

(Yeah, I ripped off the names from REH. Though I did change Yara to Zara. Or maybe its Xara?)

The PCs choose to do nothing...yet. They returned to Loftgard with the intention of visiting the sage.