D&D5e “Land of Lost Souls” Session 7 — Before Obould Many-Arrows

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 7 of our D&D5e game, which was held on Sunday, 15 March 2015:

Player Characters for the “Land of Lost Souls,” Dexter V.H.’stelecom fantasy miniseries, using Dungeons & Dragons Fifth EditionAD&D2/D&D3.5 Dragonlance, the D&D4e Forgotten Realms, Palladium Fantasy, Obsidian Portal, Skype, and the Rolz.org dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • Kalidren ‘Cal’ Haraishur [Gene D.]-male Qualinesti (Sylvan Elf) Paladin of Kiri-Jolith, god of valor; folk hero and a potential member of the Legion of Steel; LGn, Lvl. 3
  • Maddie Moonfang [Sara F.C.]-female wolfing Barbarian, skin changer from the plains and former thrall of an evil wizard; TNc; Lvl. 3
  • Perogen Hawke [Josh C.]-male human Wizard of the White Robes, sage; NGc, Lvl. 3
  • Rowan Kar-Thon [Geoff C.]-male Half-Elf Skald (Bard), outlander and storyteller; NGc, Lvl. 3
  • Santiddio Sefrayn [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Rogue (thief), charlatan and professional treasure seeker; CNg, Lvl. 3
  • Redrik Stoneflow [Byron V.O./absent]-male Neidar (Hill Dwarf) Cleric of Paladine, god of justice; outcast, guild artisan, and silversmith; LGn, Lvl. 3
  • Enyilarur Skilelo [Drew S./absent]-male brass Draconian Eldritch Knight (Dragonborn Fighter), noble and arcanist, with three reptilian retainers; CGn, Lvl. 3

After evacuating two villages ahead of a spreading shadow and an Orcish army, a group of would-be heroes accepted a mission from the Dwarves of beseiged Thorbardin. They flew on giant owls over New Coast to Blodehelm, land of the Orcs.

In the city of Bloten, the group is brought before King Obould and a female Orc shaman. The great hall is lined with animal trophies and clan banners. Obould Many-Arrows invites the visitors to join him for a feast to celebrate the return of his long-lost grandson, Root.

Orc high king
King Obould Many-Arrows

Elf Cal and Dwarf Redrik are disguised as Orcs. They learn that the king is less interested in raiding his neighbors than some of the tribal warlords. Sam chats with Chief Quetti.

Sam and Santiddio learn that Strunge, chief of the Green Moss tribe, doesn’t want to squander the current unity of Blodehelm’s ruling council. Although the Orcs arrived in the “Land of Lost Souls” about a century ago, they have mostly been at peace with other races.

Rowan talks with the shaman, who is less interested in peace with other races and mentions one-eyed Gruumsh. The Skald doesn’t recognize the reference.

Perogen observes the humanoid banquet and ponders the lessons of his test at the Tower of High Sorcery, as well as a black spell book. Skilelo had returned with the second Dwarf scout to warn Thorbardin about another Orcish army on the march.

The Orc chieftains demand that Obould and the outlanders participate in a trial by combat before they’ll consider withdrawing their forces attacking human and Dwarven lands. They admit that Dark Elves have promised them territory.

Both Rogue Santiddio and Rowan volunteer, but the group eventually agrees on Maddie as its representative. The plainswoman is brought down to an iron-bound arena, where she faces off with a large guard drake.

The lizard charges at Maddie, who strikes it in return. In the rowdy audience, Paladin Cal prays to Kiri-Jolith, lord of valor, and Cleric Redrik prays to Paladine. Ranger Sam watches both those making wagers and the combatants to make sure there is no cheating.

Wizard Perogen tries chatting with some of the Orc, and Rowan starts a chant in favor of wolf-skinned Maddie. Others invoke Gruumsh as they cheer for the reptile. Santiddio talks with Strunge, who is sympathetic to the idea of peace.

The drake claws at Maddie, whose Barbarian rage helps her resist injury. The lupine warrior slays her scaled opponent, disappointing its handler but encouraging the non-Orcs.

Obould proclaims that his troops will no longer go to war on behalf of the manipulative Drow. He orders runners to be dispatched. Cal, Sam, and Redrik accept the king’s offer to stay the night in his keep.

Victorious Maddie goes out carousing with Perogen, Rowan, and Santiddio. A burly Orc challenges Perogen and Santiddio to a drinking contest, while Rowan spins tall tales.

Typical RPG bar brawl

After a pint of “Demon’s Brew,” Perogen passes out, so Maddie has to bring him back to his room. During the first watch, there is a knock at the adventuring party’s door.

A servant named Gribba says she brings word from Obould. The young female Orc says that the king has lost sway over several tribes and that the travelers should leave before a possible coup d’etat. She says they should return to Thorbardin if they can.

Gribba leads the group through the castle’s garbage-strewn lower levels. Through a combination of guile and stealth, the team makes its way past sentries. The wanderers make a forced march through the Khalkist Mountains until they are many miles from the Orc capital.

Since they have to wait a few days to rendezvous with their owl steeds, the adventurers head south, toward the ruins at Vantal….

I look forward to continuing our adventures tonight! Remember thatour characters have attained third level.

I also look forward to Bruce’s Dread: Beneath a Metal Sky one-shot at Drew’s place tomorrow night. Be seeing you….

Reunion in Brooklyn

On Friday, 9 November 2012, Janice and I took Amtrak from the Route 128 station near Boston to New York’s Penn Station to visit ailing Steve A.L. in Brooklyn. While I wish that our trip was under better circumstances, we still had a good time catching up with friends from college, as well as some from high school and grad school. On the train, I enjoyed the manga adaptation of Gail Carriger’s supernatural steampunk Soulless.

We checked into the Hotel Indigo, where our room was small but the staff was responsive. Janice and I then walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and back to Steve’s place, where we met him, his wife Michele, and their athletic son Nate. We ordered dinner from Gandhi Palace and picked up dessert at Lassen & Hennings.

On Saturday, Janice and I grabbed bagels for breakfast before meeting Steve at the Brooklyn Museum. Damon F.P. and Carlo R. came down from Westchester to join us, and Dexter V.H. stopped by from Queens on the way to visit his father. Janice had never been to that museum before, and Steve took us through its impressive collections of ancient Egyptian and early American art.

In addition to grabbing a late lunch at the museum’s renovated cafeteria, we chatted about history, current genre television, relationships, and religion. It’s always nice to be able to have such wide-ranging conversations.

Janice and I later rejoined Steve at his place, where we met Corbin A.Y., Dave F.R-B., and John Z.G. & Kim A.G. and their teenage son Mark. Steve & Michele were gracious hosts, supplying us with lots of munchies and beverages and ordering proper New York pizzas from Monty Q’s.

John then ran an AD&D2Gwynedd in Greyhawk” game. We slipped back into character easily, even though that high fantasy campaign originally ran from 1984 to 1995, and we hadn’t role-played that particular group of characters in more than 20 years.

At SUNY-Binghamton, spring 1987
The college gang, back in spring of 1987

Janice, Michele, and Nate didn’t participate, but Andy M., another SUNY-Binghamton alumnus now living in Chicago, joined us via Skype (which I use for my regular Sunday night scenarios). Corbin had tracked him down online, and it was great to reconnect after many years. It was also nice to play alongside Mark, who has inherited his parents’ love of games.

Hughes Hall reunion game
“Bellevue-Camelot” reunion, 1986 to 2012

I may eventually write up my notes of what happened within the session, but our jokes and camaraderie were more important than any old rules set or storylines. That said, our adventuring party reunited to raid the tower of a necromancer who had cursed the son of Steve’s Halfling Thief “Branador.”

Of all the Dungeon Masters I’ve been lucky enough to know, my former roommate John is the best at depicting memorable Non-Player Characters, gory battles, and an environment for creative teamwork.

Despite rolling lots of critical fumbles — 1 on 1d20, made worse because I had brought extra dice — we managed to fight our way through various Undead. My Grey Elf Ranger “Aldarion” had some good scouting scenes and was among those to get clobbered in combat. Our group (now about Level 15) had to bargain with extraplanar entities to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Good times!

On Sunday, Janice and I met the gang again. While waiting, I got to see Nate’s blazing pitching ability. While he needs to hone his skills, his strength is undeniable. We went to the Park Plaza Diner for brunch. Although Dave left his wife and son back in Buffalo, N.Y., Corb brought his wife Andria and cheerful daughter Maia.

Steve then took us to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, where we saw a small bit of the damage left by Hurricane Sandy. The others left, and Steve, Janice, and I stopped by St. Mark’s Comics and later met Carlo, Brian D.H., and Erik B.L. and his precocious daughter Emma at the Park Plaza Diner for dinner. (All of the children of our friends resemble their parents in the best ways.) As always, our discussions were illuminating, if too brief.

Reunion in New York City
Friends and family in Brooklyn, November 2012

We returned to Steve & Michele’s place to watch Disney/Marvel’s The Avengers, which Janice and others hadn’t yet seen. The next morning, Janice and I again grabbed breakfast at Montague Street Bagels before heading to Penn Station and back to Massachusetts.

It was great to catch up with old friends, and I hope that we won’t have to wait another 20 years for another fun reunion!