Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:59 am

The party spent quite a bit of time avoiding the statue and very carefully inspecting the body on the platform. They were able to determine the body was that of a long-dead worshiper of Justicia. When they were satisfied there were no traps on the body, they respectfully packed up the remains for burial at a later date.

Everyone continued to avoid examining or interacting with the statue in any way. Ashianna used her wand of secret door detection on the area and found a door directly behind the statue, in the West wall. Kristle and Kethren got in place, while most of the rest of the group hung back. They opened the door and were greeted by a horrifically shriveled figure with a massive two-handed scythe backed up by two skeletons similarly armed. Most Bloated Muthren hissed at them, calling them infidels and promising their souls to the Toad Fiend.

Combat started and it was a lot of fun for me as the DM. I've been trying to get the proper balance on the boss fights in Whiterock and it's been hard because I have too many players (8) and really regret allowing one of my players to make a werewolf (never again, I promise). This time, things felt right. I buffed Muthren up a few levels and gave him some armor, which made it very hard for the players to hit him. I also added half a dozen normal ghouls in the rubble behind the party who were revealed a few rounds after combat started. Finally, I had the statue start moving around on its base about 10 rounds into the battle and use the tongue spear trap on anyone in range. All in all, it kept the players on their toes and there were times when they were worried.

In the end, two PCs were bleeding out, one was stuck in a Sepia's Snake Sigil effect, and all of them were exposed to Ghoul Fever. I haven't rolled the saves for them yet, but I expect at least one of them will end up with a craving for human flesh.

We'll be doing the treasure next week. I'm not sure where they're going next. They've pretty much finished level 6 (after skipping level 5 entirely). I'm hoping they end up on the Endless Forest plane (level 8) fairly soon. I'll be disappointed if they skip over that one.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:56 am

After cleaning up from the battle with Most Bloated Muthren (which included many days of Remove Disease and Restoration spells, as almost everyone had contracted Ghoul Fever), the group was ready to continue their exploration of the tunnels under Castle Whiterock. But first the party had a short meeting with their tribe of mountain troglodytes. They basically gave the tribe a short list of rules (stuff like don't eat intelligent beings, taking slaves is bad, etc.) and set them to work fashioning arrows and other supplies they thought they'd be needing before much longer. I'm sure that will be more than enough to keep them from getting into any trouble...

Heading down to the next level, they arrived in a cavern diffused with a soft light from luminous plants placed strategically around the room. Throughout the room were stone pots arranged in rows filled with a variety of different types of mushrooms. A strange creature worked amongst the planters, tending the mushrooms. It demanded to know who the players were and what they wanted. The party weren't terribly forthcoming and a bit rude. They asked the creature what sorts of mushrooms it had to trade. The Minyad told them of the wondrous properties of some of her fungus and asked what they had to trade. They offered cash, but were rebuffed. The creature wanted magical items or samples of Green Slime. Finally someone offered to pay her in mammal dung, which kind of pissed her off. She screamed at them to get out of her lair.

The party retreated through the North tunnel and arrived in a room they found familiar. This was the room they fought derro in ages ago, when they came down through the elevator entrance on level two. The area was still and quiet. They found the old elevator mechanism had been taken down and replaced with a stone pedestal with a "control panel" made of glowing semi-precious stones. The dusty floor of the cavern revealed prints from many humans and humanoids being marched from the elevator area through the adjoining cavern to the East.

The group explored further and found the East cavern was home to a dizzyingly high waterfall that terminated in this room, dumping into a cold, swiftly flowing underground river. Several boats designed for transporting prisoners were here, pulled up on the shore.

Pun-Ra was able to confirm that this is where he was taken by the slavers back in Cillamar and passed on to Derro to be taken to the Underdark in chains.

The group wasn't ready to take to the river, so they played around with the elevator controls. (They found that manipulating one gem caused a force platform to appear. One other control caused the platform to slowly rise, the other caused it to lower.) After playing with that for a bit, they decided to go back to the Minyad's lair and head through the southern passage.

That went well.

The Minyad was livid. She once again demanded the party immediately leave her room. They tried to ignore her while continuing to make their way across the room. The Minyad decided to put an end to that by blasting the dwarf with a Heat Metal spell (which he resisted), but combat was on!

The party swarmed over the Minyad. She quickly decided to call for some help and used an Elemental Gem to summon an Earth Elemental while she disappeared into the stone of the floor.

And a fabulous battle ensued.

The Earth Elemental was easily able to battle the entire party and more than hold his own. The Minyad contented herself with popping in and out of combat and blasting away with spells. Her Flame Strike dropped Ashianna (at least temporarily). Kristle was taken down too. Taz was kept busy bringing unconscious people back up. Kethren was pretty much unable to damage the elemental, so he decided to try to concentrate on the Minyad. That didn't go as well as he'd hoped. She threw up a Wall of Fire the moment he got close to her and jumped back into the stone wall.

When she stepped out again, Kethren jumped her and decided to Grapple with her. He managed to get a hold on her, but she squirmed free the next round and called the Elemental for help. The Minyad jumped back into the wall just as the Earth Elemental thundered over and pounded the werewolf into oblivion.

As we ended the session, Kethren was down. Kristle, Ashianna, and Caelifer are all close to being down. Pretty much anyone is one good hit from dropping. The Minyad is wounded, but only slightly. The Elemental is probably down to about 25%. It's bound to be another exciting evening. Will the party win? Will they even survive? Will the say they're sorry and send the Minyad a muffin basket?

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:00 pm

The crazy battle continued for a second week. There's almost no point in my trying to describe the blow by blow of this titanic battle between good and evil. (I leave it to you to decide which side is good and which evil. I think the party is a bit used to thinking "might makes right" and this time it's biting them.)

The Minyad continued hit and run tactics, taking advantage of her abilities, moving quickly and summoning additional elementals to vex the players whenever possible.

There were quite a number of amusing (to me, not sure about the players) happenings last night. Celeb tried to Dismiss one of the elementals with Aquilya. Not only did it fail, but that annoyed the Minyad so much, she targeted her with a Baneful Polymorph spell. So Celeb gets to spend the foreseeable future as a Woodchuck. She had previously used the enchantments from the Spear of Elweiss, so she's a hasted, protected from evil Woodchuck, so it could have been worse.

At one point in the battle, Pun-Ra, Kethren, and Taz were in the mushroom farm cavern battling a large water elemental as well as the Minyad. The elemental was on its last legs and teetering at fewer than 5 hit points. Pun-Ra rolled a 1 and then rerolled and failed to hit again, which in our game is a fumble. What's the worst that could happen? (his exact words). Then he rolled a 99 and did Critical hit self, plus knocked out for 1d6 minutes. Opponents get Attacks of Opportunity.

So that happened. Pun-Ra managed to kill himself with his Dwarven Axe, burying it deep in his own skull. That set the mood for the remainder of the battle.

The very next round, Kethren also fighting the same water elemental, fumbled. I helpfully told him, "don't worry, what's the worst that can happen?" I could barely contain my laughter when he rolled a 00. That one is exactly the same as a 99, but adds a chance to break your weapon as you're bashing your brains in. The good news is the weapon survived, the bad news is it was buried in his chest and Kethren was out of action too.

A general retreat was sounded. Everyone made their way towards Taz and the bodies of Kethren and Pun-Ra. Ashianna had a scroll of Greater Teleport she planned to use to pull everyone's fat out of the fire. But the Minyad still had a trick or two up her sleeve. She cast a flare spell on Ashianna and blinded her before she could cast the spell. What started as a retreat began to look more like a rout. Kristle tried to lead an earth elemental (the last surviving elemental Vulgaris had summoned) up the stairs to level 6. It paused to cut down Ashianna.

Caelifer tried to grab Kethren and make a run for it. When he paused to pick up the fallen warrior, Vulgaris clobbered him with a ball of fire from a produce flames spell. Caelifer was down.

This is where we ended things for the night. Kristle was up on level 6 and hopefully safe. Taz, the woodchuck, and Pun-Ra's body were facing the remaining earth elemental and the Minyad. Taz was trying to decide if he could survive a few rounds collecting bodies onto his back before hoofing it out of there. I guess we'll find out next week if Taz saves his friends from becoming mushroom food, dies a heroic death trying, or runs and lives to fight another day. Stay tuned.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:06 am

The good news is the epic battle was finally over. The bad news is the player's got their butts handed to them. Picking up from last session, Kristle had run for it, heading back up the stairs to Level 6 to avoid a TPK. Taz the centaur had the polymorphed warrior/woodchuck Celeb on his back, along with the body of the dwarf cleric. In his arms he cradled the body of Ashianna the sorceress. He was still being attacked by an earth elemental, and Vulgariss the Minyad was in the next room with the unconscious forms of Caelifer and Kethren. Taz had contemplated trying to run in with the Minyad and try to recover more friends, but he realized there was just no way he could do it. (This was bolstered when I reread Shield Other and saw that Celeb should have taken the half damage Taz was ignoring. After some quick calculations, it was clear Celeb was also down and bleeding out.) Taz hoofed it too.

The survivors gathered on Level 6 and pooled their healing magic (actually, they snagged Pun-Ra's wand of cure light wounds) to recover. What now? What could a ranger, a centaur druid, and a woodchuck possibly do against the Minyad? They decided to approach her once again and try to deal for their friends bodies and gear.

At the bottom of the stairs, they ran into Vulgaris, who was busily using her Stone Shape ability to seal off her room from level 6, building a solid stone wall across the entry. She did not immediately attack them (as she was pretty low on spells and still wounded too), but she didn't seem pleased to see them. She had already finished off Caelifer and Kethren and put them in pots to let their bodies act as a growth medium for new mushrooms, and had tidied up their more interesting items for later investigation.

After much talk, she offered to return their bodies in exchange for a gallon of green slime. She would keep their gear, as well as Celeb's items, but may be willing to negotiate further at a later date.

Not pleased with the terms they had gotten, the pair and their pet woodchuck headed back to the Library to talk with their favorite lich and see if he would be willing to do something for them.

Lorus was friendly as always, and willing to help them recover from their current situation, for a price. He told them he would return their friends to life and recover their gear in return for them doing a small task for him. He wanted them to recover something called the Crown of Narborg from the depths of the dungeon. He would, of course, place a Geas on each of them to ensure they weren't taking advantage of him. And what choice did them have? The party was restored and Lorus cast the enchantment on them to ensure their best efforts.

After a bit of rest and recovery, the group descended back into the depths. This time they entered Level 7 via the elevator shaft from Level 2 and avoided the Minyad's area like the plague. That left boating on the slow moving river as the only option to continue moving forward. The party split between two boats and were careful to lash them together so they wouldn't get split up. None of them had any experience with river travel. They pushed off and soon came to a fork where they chose to head down the SW channel. A bit past the fork, they found the river became very shallow and there were rocks exposed. The party carefully made their way through the rocks without damage to their crafts and continued on their way. A bit further on, they discovered an almost hidden passage on the southern wall. The group pulled their crafts into the passage and up onto the stone stairs within.

Following the steps as they wended their way up and to the NW, the eventually came to a small cavern with two worked stone passages leading to the NW and NE, but ending after 20' in a blank wall. When Pun-Ra approached, the wall in the NE passage lit up with a brilliant golden glow in the shape of the seal of the goddess Justicia. They had found the fane! Beneath the symbol were glowing words which no one could read. So they decided to camp for the night and Pun-Ra prayed for a Comprehend Languages spell.

That night, Pun-Ra, Celebheni, and Ashianna all shared a dream of a gleaming chapel where six figures in armor stood before a great statue of Justicia. Five of the figures turn and walk through a door to the left of the statue, while a sad-faced man remains behind. He points to the statue and tries to speak to them, but no sounds come out. They notice he holds a small reed doll in one hand. The vision fades.

The next morning, after casting Comprehend Languages, Pun-Ra was able to read the words on the wall, "Believer, wield your faith to gain entry." Pun-Ra approached the blank wall holding his holy symbol before him and focusing his faith, and the wall became insubstantial and he was able to pass through. The party quickly followed after. Yup. They found the Fane of Justicia.

Since this is pretty much the only safe level in the whole dungeon (with one exception), the group spent the rest of the night checking out the new digs. They ran into one door they couldn't open (it was locked) and were forced to ignore it, but otherwise they ran around the place like four year-olds on Christmas morning. They found the Ossuary where five of the six knights were interred. They were pretty sure they had the sixth knight's body with them from their exploration of the temple of the Toad Fiend, so they carefully placed the bones along with the reed doll it had been holding in the empty hollow. Instantly, a warm breeze flooded the room and a loud grinding sound was heard. Back in the main hall, the found the statue of Justicia now had her head bowed in gratitude and a secret door had opened.

The secret room was bared except for a stone pedestal upon which rested a large book. The tome was titled "Testimony of the Order's Investigation of Castle Whiterock and Efforts to Slay the Wyrm Bethosruthsa."

Pun-Ra started reading as fast as he could. He was going to need more Comprehend Language spells.

The book was a treasure trove of information on the dungeon, including clues and information on levels they hadn't visited yet. It also gave them the lowdown on their cool new Batcave, the centerpiece of which is a pretty powerful artifact called the Basin of Cleansing, which could create healing potions and even cast Resurrection once per week.

Not bad considering they started the week almost entirely routed and had to become thralls to a lich to recover.

That's where we ended for the week. No Taz next week, the player can't make it. Maybe he can explore the locked room by himself while everyone else goes out to adventure.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:25 am

With their new clubhouse mostly explored (nothing interesting behind that mysterious locked door, I'm sure), it was time to head back out to the raging river for the most exciting canoe trip since Deliverance.

No Taz or Celeb this week, so they were left behind to tidy up the place.

The players were able to fit onto a single skiff, so they piled on and began poling. After a short time, they came to a fork in the river and picked the branch that looked easiest. One had several rocks visible, while the other was deeper and moved more slowly. Continuing into the darkness, the group came to a fairly sharp turn in the tunnel and slowed. Without warning, something on the wall snagged both Pun-Ra and Ashianna and pulled them out of the skiff and into the darkness. Cave Fishers!

Caelifer sprang into action and jumped from the skiff and grabbed the line attached to Pun-Ra. He began to climb the line towards the ledge almost 40' above where the fishers made their lair. Kethren made the jump onto Ashianna's line, but had problems almost immediately. He wasn't able to make the jump and barely caught Ashi. He struggled to make progress on the sticky strand.

Ashianna was able to make her concentration check and get a Magic Missile off at the horror. That was how she spent her trip to the creature's maw, blasting away each round with Magic Missiles.

Kristle lobbed a Stench Pot up on to the ledge where it shattered, drenching the Cave Fishers in a foul musk. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to slow them down. Kristle tied up the skiff and searched for a method of climbing the wall to the ledge above.

Caelifer made it to the ledge and engaged the monsters. There were a total of four of the horrors lairing in the cave, and they moved in to attack. Caelifer and Pun-Ra made quick work of one of the monsters, though it also took the monk down.

Ashianna finished the one pulling her up with Magic Missiles. She let Kethren engage the other one while she cast Fly on herself and zipped down to pick up Kristle.

It was touch and go for quite a while, with Caelifer bleeding to death and Pun-Ra going one-on-one with a Fisher, but in the end, the party triumphed over the monsters.

Searching the cave while Pun-Ra ministered to the wounded, the party found some loose coin, a large gem, and a Wand of Fireballs.

Regrouping in the skiff, the group continued onwards. They ran into an area where they were attacked by some odd mollusks with harpoon-like ranged attack they used to pull prey to them. Luckily, their surprise attacks all failed and the party hunkered down in the skiff and let the current take them past the danger.

The river wound around a curve and ahead the group saw a small waterfall, time for white water rafting!

Since none of the party had any experience boating, they did not fare the falls very well. No one fell from the skiff, but the skiff took a bit of damage and began to leak slowly. A bit past the falls, the skiff was attacked by something below the water. A massive axe head smashed through the bottom of the boat, tearing a great rent and letting a torrent of water in. Slimy green hands grasped the sides of the boat and tried to blindly grasp the characters.

Caelifer tried to slow the water coming into the skiff with a blanket, but a second axe attack almost cut the skiff in half. The party killed the creatures trying to pull them into the water, as well as the one with the axe, but that left them without a boat, treading water.

Searching the area, the group discovered part of the North wall was an illusion covering a ledge with a slimy tunnel leading steeply down.

This is where we ended the session.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:02 am

Question for readers: Have any of you played the adventure this far? Have any of you run it this far? How did your group fare against the Aboleth? Did you group find The Far Garden? I've been dropping MAJOR hints to the Centaur Druid about something calling to him from the Minyad's garden area, but since they got so beaten there last time, I don't know if they're going to follow up on it.
Anything you think I've really messed up so far from reading this?


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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:03 am

And I'm betting everyone who reads this already has Castle Whiterock, but just in case, it's on sale at the moment: ... -Whiterock

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:32 am

The party carefully made their way down the slick, slimy tunnel. The tunnel eventually opened into a cavern containing a murky underground pool. The ledge they stood on was alive with leeches, and each step they took crushed dozens of the tiny bloodsuckers. By torchlight, they could see the chamber contained dozens of stalactites and stalagmites, including four which formed natural columns at various points in the room. They could just make out another ledge to the SW, so the decision was made to have Pun-Ra cast fly and carry a rope across to the other ledge.

Once Pun-Ra's rope was secure, Caelifer the monk shimmied across to join the cleric on the ledge. That's when things went crazy. Without warning, the four large stalagmites sprouted tentacles which moved to engulf the players and drag them into the foul dark water. Ropers! The horrors attacked Kethren, Caelifer, and Ashianna, covering them with more sticky strands than your average hentai video. Most of the players not engulfed stuck to the wall, where they only had to deal with waist-deep water.

It was Caelifer who first noticed something odd about the attack and realized they were illusory, he shouted a warning before badly failing his Climbing check and falling into the dark water.

Ashianna also managed to disbelieve the illusion and flew into the room to see where the real threat was. This made her a major target for something, because the next round she had been hit with a Feeblemind spell. One failed save later and the party was totally without any arcane firepower.

The party members who had been lured into the shallow water by the false Roper attack began suffering attacks from below the surface. More Skum were in this room and this time the characters were in their element. The Skum, including two who had once been troglodytes, delivered a series of punishing attacks on Kristle and Pun-Ra.

Kethren still believed the Roper illusion, so he was slowed by that for several rounds until he got attacked by a swarm of leeches in the water, which dealt a bit of damage and a lot of Con drain.

At about this time, a mist spread across the surface of the water, causing everyone within to have difficulty thinking (Mind Fog).

Taz the centaur had arrived and charged across the water to find the source of the spells (thanks to a Water Walking spell). He stopped short when he got close enough to see the Aboleth on the surface of the water in the NW portion of the cave. Taz launched an arrow at the beast, which seemed to go right through the monster without harming it.

The party managed to kill the Skum that harassed them without losing any party members, though it was close. Pun-Ra was at 2 HP when the last Skum Warrior dropped.

They managed to resist the bulk of the spells from the Aboleth, including Taz making a spectacular save at -10 vs a Phantasmal Killer. They were ready to make a retreat to regroup when Taz was paralyzed. Since it isn't easy to drag a fully loaded frozen Centaur up a sharp incline without specialized tools, they could either leave the druid behind of wait it out and hope he could shake off the effects of the spell.

Kristle got the idea that the real Aboleth might be hidden in plain sight in the room and began putting arrows into some of the larger rock formations in the room until he got lucky, and lucky he got! It turned out that the monster was about 20' in front of them. The monster decided it was time to take the fight to the party in a more physical manner.

And the battle was joined. Both Kethren and Kristle stood toe to tentacle with the monster, taking grievous wounds and being asked to roll mysterious saving throws (no doubt they were to heighten the tension). Taz finally threw off the paralyzing effect and was back in the combat when we ran out of time.

To be continued.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:08 am

Ding dong the fish is dead.

It was another grueling battle and could have easily gone the other way.

Taz finally shook off the effects of the Hold spell and the party began to retreat from the aboleth, heading back up the slimy tunnel. Before everyone could run, Acanthus hit the group with a Burning Hands spell and took Kristle down. This temporarily halted the retreat again while the last of the healing spells were used to get Kristle back up.

"You needn't all die. Give me two of your number and the rest can leave." said Acanthus, speaking directly into each of the PC's minds.

Once everyone was mobile, the party ran for it. Acanthus used this break to cast a few buffs before using Dimension Door to move into the river in front of the party. This seemed like a brilliant move at the time, but since I started this post by noting the aboleth lost the fight, you can guess how it ended up.

The players still had a few tricks up their sleeves and were able to dish out loads more damage than I counted on. Notably Taz stole my Produce Flames trick from the Minyad and used it on poor Acanthus. He also summoned up a couple water creatures (a squid and a water elemental) to further annoy the aboleth. Acanthus spent his time in melee with Pun-Ra and Caelifer. The party continued to wear the monster down until he had taken enough damage to trigger a retreat... one round too late. Instead of escaping, Acanthus was cut down just before his action.

Instead of pausing to rest and recover spells, the party went back into the aboleth area to finish exploring. It seems they were worried something might hit them in their sleep if they paused to recover without fully exploring this series of caverns.

They discovered an underwater passage leading to the NE. A rope was tied around Caelifer and Taz gave him his Ring of Water Breathing to use while he explored the passage. It led into a small chamber covered with strange runes of power, but otherwise empty.

The group decided to go down the SE tunnel and explore what was down there. They found a flooded room with a very low ceiling. There was a very rocky island in the middle of the room. The ceiling contained dozens of foul smelling pods large enough to contain a body. They quickly found the pods were very unstable and burned easily, erupting into flames at the slightest spark. Pun-Ra decided to take a torch into the room to begin burning the pods.

Once the cleric was into the room and away from the shore where his friends were waiting, something popped to the surface of the water and blasted him with Magic Missiles. Pun-Ra charged the Skum Wizard and attacked. The wizard followed up with a Darkness spell, which prevented the dwarf's friends from helping him (at least for a few seconds). Pun-Ra found there was something else in the chamber as well, and fell prey to an attack from a gigantic leech, which began to suck him dry almost immediately.

Pun-Ra killed the Skum Wizard, but could do nothing to escape the grasp of the giant leech. Taz dispelled the darkness with a charge from his Wand of Daylight and the party began to pepper the monster with missile weapons and spells. They were able to kill it before it drained Pun-Ra dry, but just barely. He had a total of 3 Con left when the monster perished.

Between this room, the dead aboleth and the runes they were able to determine were spells written in "Abolethese", the party got away with more loot than they deserved. The total haul was: Scroll arcane Wall of Iron (l5, cl9), Dominate Person (l5, cl9); Scroll arcane Feeblemind (l5, cl9), Acid Fog (l6, cl11), Stone to Flesh (l6, cl11); Scroll arcane Flesh to Stone (l6, cl11), Cone of Cold (l5, cl9), Dismissal (l5, cl9); Scroll arcane Summon Monster VI (l6, cl11); Scroll divine Flame Strike (l5, cl9), Finger of Death (l8, cl15), Heal, Mass (l8, cl15), Commune (l5, cl9), Dispel Evil (l5, cl9); Scroll divine Word of Chaos (l7, cl13), Find the Path (l6, cl11), Wall of Thorns (l5, cl9), Fire Seeds (l6, cl11); Bracers of Armor +4; Ring of Feather Falling; +1 Short Sword; Elven Boots; Bag of Holding (Type III); Portable Forge

Spells on the wall in the Aboleth lair:
0-level – all; 1st – charm person chill touch, color spray, erase, identify, sleep; 2nd – arcane lock continual flame, fog cloud, gust of wind, mirror image, resist energy; 3rd – daylight, halt undead, lightning bolt, slow, water breathing; 4th – arcane eye, enervation, ice storm, scrying, stoneskin; 5th – baleful polymorph, break enchantment, wall of stone

I added the scrolls and some of the other items to the loot off the "wish list" I had the players set up. I gave it to them now since I've pretty much cut off the group from Cillamar and they really needed a to be able to do some of these things themselves instead of running back to the lich every time they get beaten up. I also think they're going to end up skipping level 8 at this rate, so they're going to need the boost.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:06 am

After recovering from the battle against the aboleth, the party continued their exploration of the underground river. They were freed from having to use the skiffs through liberal application of the Water Walking spell. So down the river they marched.

They came to another side passage that lead to a series of natural steps leading up. At the top of the steps was a cavern containing a small campfire and two tents, but seemingly no creatures. The party began to split up and search the area, some creeping up the stairs, some heading to the tents, and one roaming the edge of the room checking the walls for illusions. This is, of course, the person who bumped into the invisible Derro waiting to make their move. And combat began!

The Derro magician dropped a Darkness spell into the area and the two warriors began to ripping up the hapless cleric who had stumbled into them. The magician followed his Darkness with a Fireball, which got almost the entire party and shockingly did some fairly decent damage, almost dropping Kristle in the second round.

But it wasn't much of a fight. The party was thrilled to fight something that DIDN'T have some form of Damage Reduction and with a bad enough AC that they could hit well. The Derro were taken down pretty quickly and didn't dish out too much damage. The magician died babbling something about someone named The Impresario, but the party didn't seem to pay much attention to it.

Searching the camp, the group found some nice treasure and a number of Potions of Resist Fire.

They also discovered a hidden passage leading to a tunnel moving sharply down, into the depths of the earth. The group followed the tunnel into an enormous cavern, stretching out as far as the eye could see. The cavern was lit with a luminous moss growing on most surfaces, giving the cavern as much light as a starry night. The saw what looked like a pyramid made from black stone in the distance, along with a considerable amount of sand. The party thought about it for a bit and decided to head back upstairs and continue exploring the underground river.

The next day the group ventured further down river. They discovered a tunnel branch that looked like it used to be the river bed, but something in the fairly recent past, caused the path of the river to change. They found no tracks and no signs of any traffic along that path, so decided to ignore it and continue exploring the river.

Further along, they found the river path terminated in a cavern containing a massive whirlpool. As they all had Water Walking on, they weren't affected by it at all. They found another side passage blocked with a collapsed tunnel. After some discussion (and checking the area for illusions and magic), the party started clearing the tunnel. Five hours of hard work allowed them to break through the blockage and freed the Wight Lady.

I was pretty nervous about this encounter. I was sure if the group didn't run, they were going to be killed since the Wight Lady had such a high AC and so many nasty tricks (I even had to double check the creature's armor class, I thought I had made a mistake. Nope. She had a 33 AC).

The Wight Lady and her 5 summoned Wights swarmed forward. Ashianna cast a fireball, which cleared most of the summoned undead. The Wight Lady responded by Disintegrating Ashi. That got the player's attention.

Kristle and Pun-Ra went toe to toe with the monster, keeping her attention and dealing a bit of damage. Pun-Ra with his many cleric buffs was able to hit her, which she was annoyed by, so she tagged Pun-Ra with a Harm spell. The next round she dropped him too (temporarily).

Celeb was managing to deal damage with the Spear of Elweiss. Taz got Pun-Ra back on his feet and started contributing damage with holy water and a Produce Fire spell. Kristle continue to stand against the wight, missing often, but not always. Caelifer and Kethren moved to the monster's far side to surround her. It wasn't easy, but through sheer grit and determination, the party destroyed the undead horror without any more deaths.

There was much rejoicing over the loot. The Wight Lady had a +3 heavy flail, +4 breastplate, +2 ring of protection, boots of speed, and a cloak of resistance +1.

Some Ashianna dust was gathered and taken back to the Hidden Fane of Justica. The dust was placed in the Basin of Cleansing and she was resurrected. It was decided this would be a good time to take a break and take some rest and resupply. Pun-Ra was busy for most of a week enchanting his shield. Ashianna brewed potions for the party while Kristle made hundreds of arrows and javelins. Finally six gallons of water was turned into three gallons of holy water using the basin.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:00 am

Back to the exciting adventure! This week the party headed back to level 9 to explore the mystery of the black pyramid.

The group chose to try the West staircase up the pyramid and climbed to the top where they found a locked door. On either side of the door stood stone figures that seemed to be holding a portion of the top of the pyramid. Caelifer tried to open the lock, but instead triggered the trap on the door. KA-WHAM! The gigantic stone above the door dropped on the surprised monk, then proceeded down the stairs, crushing everyone along the way. Ouch!

After brushing themselves off, the group discussed the clue they had found on the steps (Follow Chartrusa's annual plight, To enter this holy place right.) None of them had any idea who Chartrusa was, but they thought (hoped) it had something to do with the direction the river flowed through the cavern, so they tried the North entrance next. This time, only the monk went up the steps to investigate the door, so only Caelifer got crushed by the triggered trap. Splat!

After scraping his off the steps and doing some healing, they tried the South door and managed to get it open without dropping half the pyramid on their heads. Wahoo! They were in!

The steps led down into the darkness of the tomb and seemed like it was undisturbed.

Moving inside, they soon came to a gigantic room covered with hieroglyphics that depicted the history of a city called Sektep and the rise to power of its ruler Anhkhotep. A gigantic statue of Anhkhotep dominated the other end of the hall. There were no obvious doors, but a charge from Ashianna's Wand of Detect Secret Doors revealed a total of four secret doors in the room. The party chose one of the doors at random and decided to see what would happen. What do you think happened? Of course the statue animated and did its best to kill the group.

The first blow from the monstrous clay golem hit Caelifer and almost killed him. He wasted no time in getting out of range.

Ashianna tried a Magic Missile, which did nothing to the monster. Kristle, Pun-Ra, Kethren, and Taz all moved into combat with the monster.

Ashianna started putting Stone Skin on everyone in combat with the monster, trying to help keep them alive. It didn't work. The golem hasted itself and crushed Pun-Ra into paste. It turned to Taz and did the same to him. Kristle got a HUGE break when the monster rolled two 1's out of three attacks. Kristle actually survived a round with the horror. Kethren also survived a round of attacks, and between the werewolf, the ranger, the monk's sling, and the earth elemental Ashianna summoned (from a Monster Summoning VI scroll), the clay golem was eventually destroyed.

Caelifer was the first to notice the curse. He found he was unable to heal the wounds he had from the battle, and he was feeling weak and woozy (he has lost 5 points of CON from the wound).

We ended the session with the Cleric and Druid both dead. Kristle and Caelifer were both under 10 hit points and no way to heal. Kethren was at about 20 hit points. Ashianna had a scroll of Greater Teleport and they were trying to decide what to do. Should they teleport to the Fane and try to resurrect Pun-Ra? Could they? They didn't know if the Fane was blocked from teleportation and if it was, they were kind of screwed. They had no way to trigger the door without Pun-Ra. Should they go back to the library and see if the lich would help them again? Should they teleport back to town? If so, where? Were they prepared to deal with the forces from the Warlands and their leader, the Executioner? I guess we'll find out next week.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:50 am

It's been far too long since we've had an update, so let's get going.

After suffering a horrible defeat by the Clay Golem, the surviving party members discussed what to do. They settled on bringing bodies with them and marching up to the Library on level 6 to see if they could trade for help from the Lich. They had a long, arduous trek ahead of them, since they were all down on hit points and they were not able to heal the damage the golem had caused. Worse still, they suspected the wounds would continue to fester (and drain CON) each day until they died, so time was of the essence.

Another potential problem, the Miniyad stood between them and an easy path back to the Library. They had no choice but to make their way back to level 7 and go up the river. From there, they had to ascend to level 2, then down to level 6 passing though all the intervening levels and all those potential random encounters.

They lucked out until getting to level 2, where they stumbled into a Gray Ooze. Luckily, they spotted the creature before they stepped into it and were able to overcome it without taking much more damage.

Down on Level 4 the party ran into a couple of giant ants that had wandered up from level 6. Again the party triumphed quickly and didn't take any additional damage.

Their luck held and the party arrived at the Library.

Lorus was happy to see the party and they were able to come to an agreement for his help. He removed the Golem's curse and they were able to begin healing. They were not able to bargain for Raise Dead spells for their friends though. They decided to try to get back down to the Fane of Justicia and see if their rogue could trigger the entrance with his Use Magical Device/Disarm Traps skills. Long story short, he did after a couple days of trying.

Once inside, they found their warrior friend Celeb (who had been left behind) was dead, and a horrific undead creature (a mohrg) was free in the Fane. The undead horror screamed at them about leaving it here to die and attacked. The monster was no match for the party, even with their reduced numbers. It was quickly vanquished. The group found the door they had been unable to open had been broken down (from the inside out). The room behind the door was revealed to be a prison cell and the mohrg had obviously been imprisoned there.

Taz and Pun-Ra were Raised using the magical bathtub of goodness and because funds were tight and Celeb's player is MIA and it's not looking like she's coming back, we decided to wait on Raising Celeb.

Not being ones to give up easily, the party headed back to the Black Pyramid to explore further. Outside the structure, Kristle noticed tracks in the sand leading inside. Troll tracks! He also found that half a dozen trolls went in, but only about half that number came back out. And some were obviously wounded.

Going in carefully, the party found the secret door on the West wall had been bashed down (presumably by the trolls). They followed the tunnel that had been revealed to another stone door, which had also been pried open. Behind the door was a large room with a floor filled with black sand to a depth of several feet. An odd system of pedestals and connecting stone beams dominated the middle of the room. On each of the pedestals perched a mummified lion with its leathery skin stretched tautly over the bone.

Knowing the lions would attack as soon as they entered, the party didn't think twice and charged into the room.

And the lions attacked. They leaped off their pedestals and met the group with horrendous claw/claw/bite/rake/rake. Yowch! Even worse, each hit drained 1d6 points of CON. Luckily for the party, all the characters who died from the lions died from damage done, not from CON drain. This is lucky because they just died instead of dehydrating into black dust.

What a fight! It was quickly determined that the lions were unable to be damaged by fire. This put a major crimp in the plans of Ashianna the sorceress. She fell back on Magic Missiles and between them and a lot of luck and bravery from the party, the lions were defeated and Taz, Caelifer, and Kethren were all dead. Time to crack open the piggy banks for another round of Raises.

More later.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:37 am

Crawling out of the Black Pyramid, the party headed back to their secret headquarters, the Fane of Justicia. Along the way, they spotted a lone figure dressed in a blue and white elvish cloak staggering along the bank of the underground river. Creeping up cautiously, they discovered a half-orc (half-elf!) named Vanafae who had escaped from the Derro slavers. Vanafae asked to travel with the group and offered his skills (as both a Bard and a Cleric) to help defeat the evil dwarf slavers and he was accepted (though with some misgivings from Kristle, who had lost his entire village to Orcs).

The group made it back to the Fane and had just enough cash between them to bring back Taz, Caelifer, and Kethren. One side effect of the using the tub in the Fane to bring dead party members back is all the neutral characters are fast becoming good (or staying dead forever). The text says changing alignment from evil to good costs a level, but I'm letting a change from neutral to good happen for free, as long as the character is willing.

Anyway, after having adventures in the Black Pyramid end in truckloads of corpses and no cash, the party decided to try to reengage the Miniyad to discover the source of the mysterious "pull" the centaur druid had felt from her area.

The party found the entrance to the miniyad area on level 7 was completely blocked over. Vulgaris had been busy with her Stone Shape ability. The party headed back up to level 2 and worked their way down to try the stairs from level 6. That way was still open, though she had closed it off partially to better control access to her lair.

The party slowly entered (one per round) and were actually greeted in a somewhat friendly manner. Vulgaris either didn't recognize them or didn't remember them from their previous encounter. They spent time talking to her about her mushrooms and what she was doing. She responded positively and allowed them access to her mushroom chamber where they found a disassembled stone arch. The centaur felt a strong affinity with the archway and asked the miniyad's permission to reconstruct the arch. She granted their request and after several hours of work, they had a functioning gateway to somewhere.

They questioned Vulgaris about the gate and she was willing to give them very little information about it. They did get the words "Far Garden" from her, and from a the symbols on the gate itself that read, "Vallisneria Forestfriend bids you honor the Far Garden beyond this portal, which was granted by Ildavir in her wisdom to increase our own." The party remembered the name Vallisneria from the party that once cleared out Castle Whiterock and recognized Ildavir as a major nature deity.

After talking about it for a while, the party decided to enter the gate and explore the demiplane. Within moments of their making the jump to the demiplane, Vulgaris began to deconstruct the gateway once again. They were stuck there.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:59 am

The group arrived on a hill in the midst of an ancient old-growth forest. Looking around, the party could see miles in all directions. To the NE, they could just make out a river cutting across the land. The entire area near the river and past it to the East had been recently burned. To the NW, the party could see a tent city about a day's march away. They also spotted a small cabin a bit closer and to the NW. As they began discussing their options and where they wanted to go first, the stillness of the forest was shattered by a high-pitched buzzing sound and two wasp-riding goblins flew into view and began firing at them with their bows.

The party quickly returned fire and dealt a fair amount of damage to the goblins. Ashianna launched a Fireball at the pair and added to the bloodshed. This annoyed the goblins, who targeted the sorceress the next round and dropped her. With one goblin dead and the other greatly wounded, the last rider decided to run. He almost made it, but a couple of extreme range arrows took him and his wasp mount down.

Collecting their loot (far more than they had recovered from the Black Pyramid over the last two sessions), they started down the road towards the cabin they had seen.

Along the way, the party found a nude man hanging from his ankles from a tree. He was unconscious and the party was unable to wake him up. The man had been beaten and stung and seemed to be under the effects of a poison. None of the spellcasters were able to fix the poison until the next day, so they cut the man down and took him with them.

At just about sunset, the group arrived at the small cabin they had seen from the hill. The cabin was dark and seemed uninhabited. The front door was smashed in and the small garden was overgrown and wild. Creeping up on the cabin, Pun-Ra was attacked without warning by one of the plants growing wild near the cabin. The plant wrapped roots around the dwarf and tried to pull him underground. He fought back and resisted the grapple, but was wounded by the monster. The group quickly killed the monster and identified similar plants near the cabin to avoid.

The cabin itself was a shambles. The main room had been thoroughly searched, even to the extent of having the bulk of the fireplace carefully disassembled. There was a long dead body on the floor, dressed in the tattered remains of wizard's robes. There were also two doors leading from the main room. Caelifer forced the southern-most door open to reveal a small bedroom. A second later, there was a flash of reddish light and whiff of brimstone and a gigantic fiendish scorpion appeared and move to attack.

Caelifer dropped back and Kethren jumped forward and slammed the door. The group waited a moment and moved into position. Kethren pushed open the door.... poof! Another gigantic fiendish scorpion appeared in the room and they both moved to attack.

This was a pretty standard combat. The party wasn't in much danger, even with two scorpions to deal with, though the monk did get chewed up a bit.

When the last scorpion was killed and poofed back to wherever, everyone moved inside and they finished searching the cabin. The last door led to a storeroom which had also been looted. In the bedroom, the party discovered a chest containing a fair amount of gold (about 900 gp), two potions, a wand of magic missiles, and a spellbook.

Vanafae and Kristle used wood from the storeroom to repair the front door and the party locked themselves in for the night.

The next morning Pun-Ra cast Neutralize Poison on the man they had rescued. He was revealed as a druid named Stagheart who was out looking for some lost children. He ran into some goblin wasp riders and was overcome, robbed, and left to die. He filled in a bit more back story, letting the group know the tent city to the NW was established by the Fae and served as home to native creatures forced from their homes by the goblin invaders who were sweeping across the Far Garden from the East, burning the forest as they go.

Stagheart assured the party they'd be welcomed in Dawn-on-Stream (the name of the tent village) and could rest and get their bearings there. Stagheart asked to be given some food and water and planned to stay in the cabin for a few days to regain his strength before going out again to search for the missing children.

After another few hours on the road, they party finally arrived at the tent city known as Dawn-on-Stream. They were met at the entrance by a muscular centaur warrior who spoke to them in broken Common (of course, with a Centaur and some elves in the party, most people spoke Sylvan). Haele led the party to a large pavilion tent in the center of the city and ushered them inside to stand before a strange group: a gigantic, aged centaur who was introduced as Soras Leafbrother; a small human boy dressed in an oversized chain shirt; a small dragon with butterfly wings; and a tiny mongrel dog missing an ear.

Soras spent a bit of time talking to the group, questioning them on their purpose for coming to the Far Garden. They must have given satisfactory answers because Soras showed them around the town and answered some of their questions.

That's where we ended for the evening and we're pretty much up to date now.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:02 am

Another week, another fantastic adventure (or in the case of last night, endless hours of fighting with computer programs and long sessions of splitting loot).

The new bard/cleric was unable to connect to Klooge last night. The issue was seemingly on Jesse's end, though we had some oddness popping up all night (like everyone being disconnected each time I changed maps). That was fun.

Celeb's time finally ran out. After somewhere around 6 sessions with a word, it was time to end her character and redistribute the two incredibly good items she had (Aquil'iya and the Spear of Elweiss). After much discussion the Spear went to Ashianna and Aquil'iya was given to Caelifer who began the process of reactivating the ring. This was done by taking Caelifer up several hundred feet and letting go (while he held Taz's Ring of Feather Fall). One quick drop later, the ring was 25% active. Ashianna offered to use her scrolls of Flesh to Stone and Stone to Flesh on him to move it further, but he declined (for some reason).

The party bought supplies and moved out, planning to hunt down some goblins and take advantage of the centaur's "heads for gold" buy back program. Along the way, the group stumbled across a Dire Wolverine, which the druid spoke with and the monk fed. A fight was avoided and the party continued into the wilderness.

About midday they came to ruined tower. They were greeted by a human who asked them if they had seen any goblins and invited them into the tower for refreshment. Of course this was a trap. This module is part of "Dungeon Crawl Classics" not "Chatty Roleplaying Digest". The party went into the tower to gather info on the area. After talking a bit and trading information, the players started to relax, so this was when the Aranea attacked. Webs came out of the darkness and entangled both Vanae and Ashianna. Their host drew his rapier and stabbed the centaur at the same time he started slowly changing shape into some sort of hideous man-sized spider. Finally, the Aranea sorcerer near the door targeted Pun-Ra with an Acid Arrow and wounded him.

To say things went badly for the Aranea would be an understatement. From start of fight to the end took 18 seconds. It's fair to say they should have been more careful about choosing their robbery targets.

To the victors go the spoils! The party found more than 5000 in gold and gems in the tower, along with 3 scrolls and several potions. This was a wonderful change when compared to the beatings they had been taking in the Black Pyramid.

But that was all about to change in the next encounter.

Further along the road, the group came to the site of a recent battle. In the center of the road was the body of a unicorn recently murdered with its horn removed. Kristle and Taz found tracks leading off the road to the North. Taz moved closer to the body of the unicorn to look for further clues when a spectral unicorn rose from the body, madness, pain and death in its eyes. The undead horror moved to attack.

Taz found that even being close to the creature caused damage to the living, as all the plan life near the monster shriveled and died. The same thing happened to Taz (except the die part). And combat began. The monster was insubstantial, so weapons were not very effective (though the first round I missed that and decided to let all the damage done stand, the monster was bad enough without me giving it a tap-back).

The monster was locked in melee with Taz and Kethren. On its turn, it turned its gaze on Kethren and hit him with every bit of pain and agony it experienced in its death. Kethren's heart burst from the assault and he instantly died. This caused a bit of a "brown trouser moment" among the remaining players, but they battled on. Pun-Ra did a great deal of damage to the monster with one of his Undead Nuke spells. I really hate clerics. Anyway, after another couple rounds, the Violated Brother was defeated.

This was pretty much the end of the session and the party moved a short distance off the path to make a camp for the night. Pun-Ra looked at raising Kethren, but discovered Raise Dead CANNOT be used to restore life to someone killed by a Death effect. Exactly what happened to Kethren. This meant they had no way to bring Kethren back to life until they found a way back to Castle Whiterock.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:02 am

We ended last week with the party dealing with their grief at losing Kethren to the undead Unicorn. Pun-Ra was unable to restore the Werewolf to life, it requiring a full Ressurection spell to overcome the foul magics of the ghostly unicorn. Camp was set for the night and everyone awoke the next day rested and ready to follow the tracks leading from the scene of the murder.

After a couple hours of tracking, the group came to a valley with a path leading to a small dark cave. Inside the cave, they could make out what appeared to be the flank of a Unicorn. The stealthier members of the group (almost everyone other than the dwarf) got a bit closer to see if they could see anything. They couldn't.

Taz found that a Pixie had taken an interest in what the group was doing and the small creature landed on his back and started questioning him as to what they were doing around here. (This was Matt's new character and a replacement for Kethren).

Finally Pun-Ra moved up himself and it was obvious the unicorn heard him. It whirled around and charged out of the cave, charging at the dwarf. This wasn't a unicorn, it was a Madhorn! The monster hit and scored a critical on Pun-Ra, impaling him on its big black horn (insert something dirty here).

And begin combat!

One round later, combat ends and the Madhorn goes down. Would it be wrong to double the HP of all single monsters I use from now on?

Pun-Ra tried to heal the wound delivered by the Madhorn and found it resisted his attempt. Until he could get a Remove Disease, all curing spells were only 50% effective.

At this point Nix, the Pixie introduced himself to the party in general and asked to join them on their adventure. No one saw any reason to try to keep him out of the group, so like that we had a new member.

Checking out the cave, the party heard what seemed to be a child's voice crying out before being silenced coming from somewhere in the back of the cave. Nix flew in to see what was back there and noticed several pits along the way, as well as a small fay wearing a floppy cap dyed scarlet with blood. A redcap!

The group rushed in with Pun-Ra leading the way (for some reason). He quickly got into melee with the redcap which seemed like a good idea at first. Unfortunately, all the pits and such made it impossible for most of the rest of the party to join in other than with missile weapons.

Pun-Ra found the redcap was a very worthy opponent and started dealing out quite a bit of damage. He was also being forced to make multiple saves almost every round (one to keep from losing a level with the redcap's gaze weapon, one to resist the wounding effect of the monster's claws, one to resist its fear aura, etc.) In the end, it wasn't the saves that did Pun-Ra in, it was the lucky critical the monster hit with, killing the wounded dwarf.

Next up was Vanafae the cleric/bard who had moved up to heal Pun-Ra. Suddenly the other cleric was in melee with the redcap. Probably not the best person to have standing up to the monster. Anyway, Vanafae didn't fare as well on the saves and ended up with two negative levels and several bleeding wounds before the monster dropped.

It would have been much worse if not for Nix. The Pixie was able to tag the redcap with Confusion which caused it to waste several rounds. This allowed the group to get the upper hand and overcome the monster.

At the end of the session, the group found the monster's treasure and a stash of a dozen unicorn's horns. They also saved a young human girl the redcap was using to lure the unicorns to their doom. Plans were being hatched to run back to the tent city at top speed to get help for Vanafae for his level drain and hopefully get Pun-Ra raised.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:58 am

The party packed up and headed back to Dawn-on-Stream to try to have Pun-Ra raised from the dead, and to find help for Vanafae after his level drain. Along the way, they avoided an encounter with a pair of satyrs who were fighting over who was the better musician.

Soras was able to help them with Raise Dead for Pun-Ra (he had a scroll from his days as an adventurer). Vanafae had his levels restored and was back to normal. Soras warned the group to be careful going forward, as far as he knew, there were no further Raise Dead spells available in the land. If Pun-Ra perished again, there would be no options to restore him to life.

The ruling council of Dawn-on-Stream rewarded the party with 1,000 gold pieces for each of the dozen unicorn horns the party had recovered from the redcap. Grisby, the faerie dragon asked the party to help return the horns of the slain unicorns to the Glade of Farewell, the sub-plane where the Unicorns go to die. The party accepted.

In the Glade of Farewell, the group encountered an ancient unicorn named Hyelnevyuir who warned them of the dangers their kind could face in the Glade and warned them to be wary.

They continued further into the area until the made it to the glade proper, which was inhabited by the restless spirits of three of the unicorns that had been slaughtered by Forst the redcap. The three madhorns moved to engage the party. Caelifer and Nix came up with an idea, they hoped that if they could dump the unicorn horns in the pools at the far end of the glade, perhaps the madhorns would dissipate. Caelifer collected the horns and dumped them in a sack, which Nix grabbed and flew off to the pool.

While that was happening, the madhorns attacked. The battle was pretty intense, and Vanafae was taken down by two of the madhorns working in tandem. There were lots of wounds to go around. But the party (minus Vanafae) survived, though Nix never came back.

The party moved to the pools and Pun-Ra and Caelifer went ahead to investigate. They called for Nix but go no answer. They moved closer to the pools, then both stopped moving, staring deeply into the pool. After a few seconds, Caelifer went ashen and crumbled to the ground dead. Pun-Ra kept staring at the pool and began whimpering and then screaming.

Pains were taken to avoid looking in the water when Pun-Ra and Caelifer were recovered. The monk was indeed dead. Pun-Ra was able to be roused, but he was visibly shaken.

The group had a good idea what happened to Nix, but no idea how to find him. Being permanently invisible was a bit of a negative at times like these. No one had a See Invisible spell, so it was up to the druid to summon a bat to find the Pixie. Unfortunately Nix was dead too, a victim of the magic of the pools.

With their quest at an end, the group headed back to Dawn-on-Stream to recover and hopefully Raise their friends before continuing their investigations.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by Jhaeman » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:04 pm

Just a quick note to say I've really enjoyed your write-ups. I'm running a campaign in which I intended Castle Whiterock to be the centerpiece. Due to various causes, some my fault and some my players, it took the PCs 20 sessions just to reach the freakin' place, then they cleared out one and a 1/2 levels and left! Now, 65 sessions in, they're about to finally return and will be, of course, far too high a level for most of it.

You can follow their shenanigans here: ... 1-rpg.html

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:20 am

Every week we begin things with Raise Deads from last week's adventure. This is no exception. The party tumbled out of the Glade of Farewell with three body bags in tow. Vanafae the Cleric/Bard, Caelifer the Monk, and Nix the Pixie all perished while returning the unicorn horns to their rightful place. Luckily, Pun-Ra had survived, so they had a cleric capable of casting Raise Dead.

On the negative side, they didn't have enough cash to have everyone raised. Pun-Ra cast Speak with Dead to chat with everyone and see if any of the characters were willing to take a Reincarnate instead (Nope). So they were only able to bring two characters back to life. Since Caelifer's player wasn't around, he drew the short straw and had to wait on his Raise Dead.

After more rest and relaxation, the group moved at once again. Their plan was to travel into the burned area looking for goblins (for the bounty on their heads).

The group met a nice dryad who pointed them to the path to the East where a goblin burning crew as busy plying their trade on the forest. The goblins found that driving a gigantic wooden wagon filled with unstable flammable oil into a Fireball ambush is NOT optimal. Kaboom!

Feeling cocky, the party moved further inland towards a set of ruins they spotted. Nix the Pixie scouted the largest of the buildings invisibly and found some bugbears as well as a ancient fire giantess. Having a bit of warning of what to expect allowed the party (especially the cleric Pun-Ra) to prepare for the coming battle.

They party assaulted the building starting out with a couple of fireballs. This took care of the bugbears, but had no effect on the giantess, who cackled as she moved to engage the dwarf cleric.

It wasn't much of a fight. The party beat that old lady (giant) like a narc at a biker rally. She never knew what hit her. The sounds of battle drew Trag, the half giant bugbear monk, out to join the fight. Trag fared little better and he was put down hard.

As the group was camping that evening, they had a visit from a messenger owl. Soras wanted them to come back to Dawn-on-Stream as soon as possible. The forces of the fae had located the goblin gate. It was time for the inhabitants to fight back against the goblin invaders and the party was an important part of the plan.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:07 am

After another trip back to Dawn-on-Stream, the party met with Soras. He told them his Fae spies had finally found the location of the Goblin gate, so it was time for a final assault on the invaders to drive them from the Far Garden once and for all. His plan was to send the party to within a few miles march of the gate. The forces of good in the Garden would gather and engage the goblinoid army to draw away any forces protecting the gate. At that time the party would slip in, destroy the gate, then join the final battle.

The adventurers made a nighttime march from Dawn-on-Stream to a few miles away from the box canyon containing the gate. At two hours past dawn, with the assault of the Goblin army under way, they began their attack.

The gate was covered with foul goblin runes and painted with the blood of fallen fae. There seemed to be no guardian. The party carefully moved down the canyon towards their goal. Suddenly, without warning, a gigantic beetle the size of a small cottage burst from a pile of rock and refuse and attacked.

The monster moved quickly for a beast the size of a school bus. It scuttled forward and sprayed acid on Taz and Pun-Ra, then the battle was joined in earnest.

After 3-4 rounds of combat and almost 300 HP of damage dished out to the beetle, it took Caelifer down. For some reason, the monster really had it out for the monk.

Another 2 combat rounds and more than 400 HP of damage dealt to the monster (mostly by the dwarf cleric (time to fix some of those cleric spells. Man he's a horror once he gets some spells off)), the beetle died.

The party destroyed the Goblin gate and joined the Fae army as the last of the goblin invaders were put down.

A few days later, Soras rewarded the party with several choice magical items for their strength and bravery against Trag and his goblin army. Once loaded up, it was time to figure out how to get home. Both know gates to the Far Garden had been destroyed. Luckily, Pun-Ra was high enough level to be able to cast Plane Shift. So they said their goodbyes and shifted back to their own world.

They were shooting for Castle Whiterock, but missed it by almost 200 miles. They arrived in a chain of volcanic mountains to the South of Whiterock. Since I had nothing further prepared for the night, we ended the game early and I promised to work on some overland encounters for next week. But since I started playing EverQuest 2 again, that hasn't happened yet. Gah!

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:45 am

Kristle the Ranger had a pretty good idea where they group had arrived from the lay of the land, types of plants and all the other stuff you learn in cub scouts. Plus the big volcano in the distance (Mount Rolnith) was a bit of a give away. Kristle figured the party was about 200 miles S/SE of Castle Whiterock near a village called Zan Tarkham. Having few other options and none better, the party chose to trudge towards Zan Tarkham and a bit of civilization.

The wilderness near Mount Rolnith was harsh and unforgiving. The jagged obsidian stone tore at their boot as they marched through the unexplored range. After a few hours, the group could make out the sounds of large dogs or wolves howling in the distance. The sounds got closer and closer until finally the pack burst into view and attacked. Hell Hounds! And nearly a dozen of the gigantic mastiffs charged at the adventurers.

The battle was over relatively quickly, with the Hell Hounds being dispatched. The party pushed on and made it to Zan Tarkham and civilization.

While waiting for their Hell Hound hides to be tanned and cured, the party spent the week enjoying the benefits of some civilization. Vanafae played music for the locals at the Inn, Pun-Ra did some forge work, and everyone relaxed a bit. While chatting around town, the group got some odd stories. Apparently the volcano had been oddly active lately, and more fire/heat creatures had been seen in the area. The Inn keeper showed them that open flames seemed to be pulled in the direction of Mount Rolnith.

That was enough to make the party decide to take a walk to Mount Rolnith and take a look around.

Using Vanafae's Flaming Sword as a compass, the party used it to lead them to a tunnel at the base of the basalt mountain. Heading inside, the party was quickly engaged by what looked like lobster men.

And that's where we stopped for the week.

Fans of DCC modules probably have guessed the party has wandered into DCC #19: The Volcano Caves. I'm busy bumping the monsters up a few levels to give them a decent challenge. By the time they get back to Whiterock I'm betting they are all lv 10 and should be able to handle the Black Pyramid this time.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:49 am

This week the party continued into the volcano caves. Further down the hall, the air got more and more humid, mist hung heavy in the air, making it hard to see more than a few feet down the tunnel.

More crabmen lurked in the hall, ready for the party's incursion. They attacked.

Battle with the Crabmen

The footing for the battle was treacherous, as there were pools of boiling water throughout the area, which didn't seem to bother the crabmen, but did cause the players to have to make some balance checks.

These crabmen were quite a bit tougher than the first couple, but still not much or a match for the party and they were quickly overcome. One of the crabmen had been using a Ring of the Ram during the combat, which was the sum total of the loot.

Moving to the North, the group came to a fork and headed out of the mist into a large cavern.

Two crabmen were on guard in this room. One moved to engage the party while the other began chanting and gibbering, like it was attempting to summon something from the lake of lava that made up the Northern portion of the room.

Battle was joined and the first crabman went down. The second continued to chant and gibber until ten draconic heads on snake-like necks began to rise from the lava. It was a hydra! The monster lumbered forward and spewed flames from its heads which lit up the cavern (and a number of the players).

Ashianna flew to the West, attempting to get some distance between herself and the rest of the party. She suddenly stopped in midair with an odd look on her face, then she flung herself into the molten lava pool nearby, killing herself. (She hit a magical "suggestion" trap, but the party didn't know that and it kind of freaked them out).

The party rushed the monster and began cutting it down to size. Everyone ignored the heads and concentrated on the body, even though the monster was regenerating 20 points per round, they soon cut it down without any further losses.

Wounded and down on healing spells, the party recovered Ashianna's body and started for the exit when they were hit from the side by another group of crabmen. Maybe these will fare better. We'll see.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:25 am

Exciting times this week.

After dispatching the few remaining crabmen they were battling, the party made it outside to camp for the night and recover, and the night passed without event.

The next day, the group delved into the Volcano Caves once again. This time, they took the path to the South which led to a cave flooded with steaming hot water. The party could make out several small yellow spiny ball-like creatures in the water. Since the party had already run into Harpoon Urchins in Castle Whiterock, they knew exactly what they were dealing with and were able to avoid them.

Nix flex across the cavern and searched the far ledge. Since he, as a Pixie, is naturally invisible, he avoided the Lassoos hiding amongst the stalactites on the ceiling. On the other side, he found a magically trapped secret door, as well as its triggering mechanism.

By using Detect Magic spells and their skill in identifying magical energies, the party was fairly certain the spell on the door was a Fire Trap. Soon, a plan was formed. Taz the Druid used Speak with Animals to communicate with the Urchins and offered them food in exchange for safe passage across the cavern. Once on the other side, he triggered the pressure plate which opened the secret door, and exploded the Fire Trap. Everyone was safely out of range of the explosion and they could enter the room.

The newly revealed cave was almost totally empty, but looked like it had been the repository for a great number of boxes and chests sometime in the recent past. The group did find a beautiful Mithral longsword with a gold hilt (unbeknownst to the party, this was a cursed Berserking sword) which Taz took and a potion of resist fire.

Since this was the end of the southern passage, they party turned around and made their way back to the north. Further along the tunnel, the group came to an area bisected by a 20' wide pool of lava. If they wanted to continue, they'd have to cross it.

Caelifer and Taz were both confident in their ability to leap the pool, and were able to easily. Pun-Ra cast Fly and carried Kristle across, and planned to come back for Vanafae. Nix, a natural flyer, had no problem crossing.

On the other side, they quickly discovered more Crabmen, including a gigantic male, its shell covered with the scars of hundreds of battles. The Crabmen were assisted by several flaming serpents as well.

Caelifer quickly found the serpents were the real danger here. He was bitten in the first round of combat and paralyzed. He couldn't move a muscle. He could use mental abilities and tried to help out by creating water on the snakes, but that didn't seem to bother them. He also managed to heal himself at one point using his monk abilities, but was taken below zero by swarms of snakes the round he was to come out of the paralysis.

Kristle went toe to toe with the crabman king. It was an epic battle with both doing huge amounts of damage. There is nothing as frightening to a monster as a dual-wielding fighter-type when the multiple attacks start. It was like the crab king was fed into a wood chipper, though he gave as good as he got. It came down to hit points and the crab king had more than Kristle, so the ranger went down.

Taz pulled his new sword (you remember, the cursed one) and went into a berserker rage. He screamed and tore into the closest of the crabmen, battling like a madman. The next round, Taz was bitten by a snake and paralyzed. Unable to move a muscle, the only ability Taz had at his disposal was his Wild Shape. Taz chose to shift into something smaller and less threatening to the snakes, so he became a snapping turtle.

Pun-Ra began putting up his combat spells and prepared to take Kristle's place when he fell. His chance for glory came soon enough. Pun-Ra moved in to place and battled the crabman king down. Again the crab king gave as good as he got, but he was already greatly wounded. After several rounds of fierce battle, the crabman king fell and Pun-Ra stood triumphant. He had fewer than 10 hit points, but he was still up. Then a snake hit him and though he barely made his save vs Paralyzation, he was down to 3 hit points and surrounded by snakes.

Nix used his invisibility and rogue abilities to take down one of the crabman soldiers. He was also able to damage a number of the snakes with a Lightning Bolt.

Vanafae was stuck on the far side of the lava and there was no way in hell he could make a 20' leap across the lava. He started a bard song and began firing with his crossbow. Eventually, the sole remaining crabman soldier crossed the lava and engaged the bard.

When we ended the session, Kristle was dead. Caelifer was dead or dying. Taz was a berserk, paralyzed turtle. Pun-Ra had fewer than 5 hit points and was surrounded by snakes. Vanafae was in melee with a crabman soldier and Nix was practically fresh (the advantage of being permanently invisible).

No game this week, it's my daughter's birthday. People are talking about what their next characters will be, so I must be doing something right. Stay tuned.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:06 am

What a spectacular turn around from last session! When we last left the group, they were almost in full retreat. Kristle was dead, Caelifer was dying, Pun-Ra was surrounded by foes and at fewer than 10 hit points, and Taz was under the effects of a cursed Berserking sword, paralyzed, and in the form of a turtle. The only characters in decent shape were Nix and Vanafae, who were almost fresh (though Vanafae was in melee with a Crabman soldier).

Somehow, they pulled off a remarkable comeback and turned the whole thing around. Caelifer was snatched from the icy jaws of death at the last possible moment and they party began a fighting retreat towards the entrance. Soon after, Taz came out of his paralysis (though not his berserker rage) and went after a few of the remaining snakes and quickly took them down before calming down and joining his friends at the entrance.

The party retreated to their former camp site to recover. They were interrupted several times during the night by small earthquakes and fire spouts. It was like the mountain itself was trying to crush and burn the life from them.

Pun-Ra raised Kristle from the dead the next day, as well as removing the cursed sword from Taz. The following day they were ready to head back into the dungeon.

The lair of the Klaklin was empty. The party had wiped out nearly every living thing in the upper halls. They did find some curious cave drawings on the walls, depicting weird rituals.

One drawing reminded them of the odd "drawn on door" in the room passed the lair of the Hydra. After much discussion, the group decided to try to recreate the ritual depicted in the drawing at the altar in the Hydra's lair and seeing what would happen. What do you know? The drawn on door turned into a real door and opened into a new room!

Bursting into the room, the party found themselves confronted by a pair of burning, snake-man creatures with long iron spears guarding a spiral metal staircase leading down.

And we quit for the night.

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Re: Castle Whiterock Campaign writeup

Post by billolmesdahl » Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:24 am

I'm a few sessions behind, so I'm going to leap ahead a bit.

When I last left off, the party had run into a pair of Salamanders guarding the stairs to level two. You can probably guess what happened next.

Heading into the depths of level two, the party dealt with some mechanical traps, as well as a portal leading into what appeared to be the Elemental Plane of Fire. They fought some nasty flaming skulls that seemed to enjoy eating magical weapons, and finally ended up in a chamber filled with Lemures. While in the midst of a pitched battle with the devils, the group was hit from the rear by a giant constrictor snake (which coiled around Kristle the Ranger) and a masked female Tiefling cleric of enormous size. This is where things got interesting.

Caelifer's player said "Hey, it's Quav'ria." (Quav'ria was the party's previous cleric who stopped adventuring with them to spend time in the White Rock library with the Lich Lorus. She was a Tiefling cleric with a Rod of the Python.) Damn him. It wasn't hard to figure out, but I hoped for a bit of a reveal. Anyway...

After seeing how amazingly BROKEN 3.5 clerics are in melee when given a few rounds to prepare, I had been itching to point one at the party and pull the trigger. But luck was definitely against me. They managed to dispel about half her effects in the first two rounds of combat. Then when her contingency spells went off and she got Stoneskin and Fire Shield, Caelifer was able to Quench the Fire Shield. Stupid Aquil'iya. Still I figured I'd have fun with her and her Stoneskin until Pun-Ra cast Slay Living off a scroll.

HA! That's her best save! (Roll) F#$k! A 2. She died instantly. Sigh.

I didn't even get the squeeze the life from Kristle because I fumbled a grapple check.

It was just a lousy night all around for the DM.

Anyway, it WAS Quav'Ria (though they have no idea how she ended up here or what drove her to attack them).

Moving down the hidden passage she came though, they found another set of stairs leading down and her lair (as well as a few Glyphs).

That's where we ended the session, as the party had gotten ahead of me, and I had no more dungeon set up in Klooge Werks. I really need to get on that and get ahead of them instead of playing EQ2. More next week.

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