Princes of the Apocalypse 5th Ed D&D Paradice
One Player's Terribly Uninformative Campaign Notes
Transcriptions from a campaign diary; Early, incomplete notes (additional clarifying / explanatory / hopefully humorous notes in brackets)
(Happenings in Red Larch (initial):)
- Evil to North-East
- Lance Rock – A weird plague producing stinking pustules
- Something to the Northwest – The Innkeeper has more information (but this was not written down…)
- Weird activity in the wagon workshop (Holy unintentional alliteration, Batman!)
- Quarry – People in stone masks
- A cult to the North
- Alessa (I think she runs the inn?)
- Melandrel Glurker – A wealthy person who is also rude
- Guard Captain Gadd – Called us “Unbelievers” but also helped us against the Necromancer (who was causing the aforementioned problems at Lance Rock)
- Feagus Feathergil, Master Wheelwright
Notes then take a break from names to list the cults and their associated symbols. Can’t draw them here, but note should be made of “5th element” symbol for the Elemental Eye.
Next note reminds us that the word “Volkondar” was written on the parchment made of skin wrapped around the arrow Eldearnth touched. (Still no idea what that’s about.)
(Back to names! How exciting;)
Imdarr Relvaunder, Cleric of Tempus (in the temple in Red Larch)
Acolyte of Sune (whose name I didn’t write down, so only one name here in fact. Very useful, I’m sure you agree.)
Mirabar. (This probably warranted some extra information, but at the time I clearly believed this was enough to go on)
Dwarf plaque words: Petrified Ironstar. Founded 1459. (Good to know)
Delvers. (Absolutely no idea)
(Inexplicably back to writing names down. Again.)
Larriah – Leader of Cult enclave under Red Larch
Braylen – Child of Captain Gadd
Transcriptions from a campaign diary, section 2; I begin writing in sentences.
Search for the Mirabar Delegation (Not sure if I wrote this as a title for these notes or I was just noting the orders we’d been given…)
1) Delegation heading East to Beliard.
2) Books carried by Delegation turning up in Womford (to SE).
3) Cart carrying “Surly Druid” and marked with Fire Cult symbol also heading East.
- Head East (Okay, not a sentence. ‘Party heads East’ is better but you get the idea. I mean you could interpret this as ‘We found the head of someone named East,’ but I think that’s deliberately reaching for the wrong conclusion, frankly.)
- Cross ancient Dwarf Bridge (Drinking game: Every time the DM refers to something being of ‘Ancient Dwarf’ origin, drink because there isn’t a dwarf in the party…) – From the bridge we see a tall spire to the south. Strath’s nemesis is within. (How do I know this? You just do. Okay… #ClassicDMconversations)
- The town of Beliard
1) Man in Golden Mask, believed to be a monk, seen around the place. People are scared of him / her / them.
2) People riding giant vultures + griffons / hippogriffs seen – Plumes of blue feathers on their helms and white cloaks identify them (Other people riding giant vultures not dressed like this are probably okay though…)
- Next morning party headed south, to Womford.
- Attacked by Fire Cult.
(MASTERFUL SUMMARY OF AN INCREDIBLY DEADLY AND COMPLEX ENCOUNTER ALERT!)
- Ouch. – Took Fire Cultist’s robe.
(BOOM! mic drop)
- Continued South
- Summit Hall, Knights of Tyr inside. Welcomed by Lady Ushien.
- No information / knowledge of Necromancer Stone (We killed the necromancer and his body turned into a small black stone and THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I THOUGHT TO WRITE IT DOWN! Good grief! I’m sooooo bad at this note taking business.)
- Many ancient structures, previously used as other things – for e.g. monasteries – have been repurposed into strongholds by the cults.
- Feathergale’s – Air cult? (Lady Ushien told us the cult were known as the Feathergale society or I misinterpreted the fact the spire was called Feathergale spire or something. I don’t know)
- The Elemental Eye is watching us. (Which is totally fine and not creepy at all.)
Transcriptions from a campaign diary, section 3; Brief catch-up notes made after player absence from previous week’s session:
- Water cult encountered
- Riverboat captain and crew killed (these were the only casualties I made a note of. I’m sure there were more.)
- Water cult stronghold identified – Riverguard Keep – Only accessible by water (sigh)
Transcriptions from a campaign diary, section 4; I begin noting the date.
- Journey to Feathergale spire
- Spire located in the Sighing Valley, Sunder hills, (Near Waterdeep, Sword Coast, Faerun.)
- Travelled to other side of spire for better approach. (As I remember it, we decided walking up to the front door and knocking was a Bad Idea. May be the smartest thing we’ve ever done as a party. If not the smartest then easily top 5.)
- Met Aarakocra. Trelark. (I clearly cannot roleplay and take notes at the same time. Multitasking fail.)
- Plan: Dress as members of the Feathergale Society. Enter spire at ground level while the Aarakocra (who’ve agreed to help us, as I clearly noted previously) attack from above, trapping the Feathergales in a pincer maneuver.
- We have engaged 3 members of the feathergale cult (My naming of these guys is all over the place…)
- Note: During combat, Raynor missed with all his attacks. A first! (1; pretty sure that’s just all his attacks in one round of combat and 2; I seem way too happy about this. It’s almost like I’m jealous of the way Liam’s dice roll or something…)
- Disguised as Air Cultists
- Tower assault;
- Enter through Aviary (Not an accurate summary. The assault was almost ended by a six foot wall that we all kept failing to climb like some Laurel & Hardy / Three Stooges / Buster Keaton-esque slapstick sketch. Got so bad my cleric tried to pull the others up by lowering his rope only for the rope to break due to bad rolls. Took ten minutes. Seriously. This delay is the reason the aarakocra get to the boss fight way ahead of us. So I write three words in my notes. Clearly at the time I was more frustrated than amused.) – Fought Vultures and Hippogriffs (In case I forgot what ‘Aviary’ means?)
- Up staircase – Lots of knights and initiates – One of the knights is being compelled
- Captured / Surrendered initiates chant the name _______ (Okay, didn’t write down the most important part of that sentence. OOPS!)
- Boss Fight – Thurl (my nemesis) and Trelark are duelling. Huge melee with other knights and initiates and monks. Eldearnth & Raynor fell unconscious. Cleric cast Hold Person on Thurl and while immobile, Trelark ran him through. (Oh, also if Hold Person hadn’t worked WE’D HAVE ALL DIED, but no biggie, whatevs etc.)
Feathergale spire has been liberated! (Possibly overly dramatic language, but also YAY!) Trelark and his brethren (apparently refusing to write aarakocra in my notes anymore at this point) have kept it as a base (kicking us out in the process. BOO!)
- Air cult not eliminated (Bleeping bleep bleep flippin’ bleep).
- Sacred Stone Monastery. (Guess which cult lives there!)
- Noblewoman needs rescuing? (I wrote down a question mark at the time because I was obviously unclear about this. Further time has not clarified this.)
- Blue orcs in the area.
- Fire cult ambush (They really don’t like us…)
“Imex will kill you!” – Imex is being from another plane who leads / rules the Cult of Eternal Flame (#Bangles)
- Joliver Grimjaw aka Jolly, leader of Riverguard Keep.
- Ka’Naan Treen (that’s how I’m spelling it, so deal with it), Water Gensai, Captain of the Rivermade/maid
(Again, no notes here, but we were put in contact with this guy through Eldearnth & Raynor’s connections at the Bargewright Inn and he took us to Riverguard Keep. Oh, and Garrett tried to kill him.)
- Ghoul crown (we were attacked by ghouls, one of which wore a weird crown. Captain Ka’Naan told us not to pick it up, soooo…)
- Picked up by Zoro Atreides (just surprised it wasn’t Eldearnth or Garrett really).
- Vision witnessed (lots more ghouls is the bit I remember most. No, but SUPER LOTS of ghouls. Words like ‘swarm’ and ‘horde’ spring to mind style of lots. LOTS).
- Mysterious creature witnessed. Name spoken, “Alhydra.”
- Attack on Riverguard Keep begun (Note absence of planning phase).
- Eldearnth and Raynor have flown on to watchtower (using dope magic flying squirrel suits we nicked from feathergale spire. Mind-blowingly, they did this stealthily). Zoro is amidships. Garrett and Strath are beside the Captain to rear (aft?) of boat. (This positioning info turns out to be pretty useless. Unlike all my other notes.)
- Assault on Riverguard Keep continues: (I forgot to write down ‘perfectly to plan’ here. Ha ha. Only joking. There was no plan…)
1) Gate partially lowered but before it opens completely violence erupts (which was completely unexpected. That last sentence was sponsored by sarcasm). After the first group of guards is defeated, we bluff a few more guards into leaving us alone while we rest (wish I could remember how).
2) We move out onto the battlements. Our stealth tactics fail very quickly (Cleric in the house!) Alarms sound. Riverguard Keep comes to us.
3) ‘Conveyor Belt of Death’ combat ensues. A water cleric / cultist / priest joins the fight. We are enveloped by a sleet storm spell. Chaos ensues. Mercifully priest killed by Raynor a few rounds later. Waves of guards, bugbears and a wereboar charge at us on the battlements. This long perpetual combat drains the Keep of enemies. Victory is ours! (The wereboar was that Joliver “Jolly” Grimjaw person apparently.)
(And that was it. 1 huge combat, 1 four hour session of D&D. Exactly as we planned it…)
- We are still in Riverguard Keep (although we have now come down off the battlements).
- We found a key. We found a gate. The gate won’t open because of a magic ward. (So we gave up pretty quickly…)
- Message arrived – people are under siege by orcs. (Okay, more notes needed here. 1) Message received by Zoro and Garrett as they are members of the Emerald Enclave 2) Message was delivered by talking bird. When Garrett informs Strath, he is singularly unimpressed as he thinks it just another of Garrett’s avian delusions and the cleric only takes it seriously once Zoro backs his story up. Fun roleplay.) – We head off to lift siege and lend aid.
- Mysterious tremors as we ride to Beliard.
- That night we are attacked at the inn by an Umber Hulk. The inn was destroyed – Cleric gave the innkeeper money for rebuilding.
- Continuing North we see smoke. A farmstead has been attacked and burned. Blue orcs have kidnapped the farmer’s wife. We successfully rescue her.
- We reach Delmore Ranch (with the Farmer, his wife and a cart loaded with their remaining possessions in tow).
- Kerban Delmore is in charge. The inhabitants are preparing for an assault by orc forces. The message came from Kerban’s daughter Dreswena Delmore, druid of the Emerald Enclave.
- We begin preparing ourselves for imminent assault.
10/7/16 – The Siege of Delmore Ranch
- Orcs. Lots of orcs. All blue. Oh, and a Fire Cult Priest. (They really don’t like us.)
- A few defenders go down, including Raynor, but Strath is able to prevent any deaths from occurring.
- Fortunately the Elven relief force arrives and drives off the orcs.
- Sweet, sweet victory!
Corleth, High Lord of the High Forest, leader of the Elven relief force and member of the Emerald Enclave has information to impart to our party. He will only talk to Zoro and Garrett, but super sneaky Stealth Bros. follow and eavesdrop. Map with location of Earth Cult Stronghold acquired. Also information on Minotaur sightings and powerful “being” in the Sacred Stone Monastery with ties to the Knights of Summit Hall. (#Mysterious #GameChanger)
As party heads south we see a recurring omen / portent of four powerful elemental beings none of us had ever seen before.
We smelt, then later heard, giant vultures in the vicinity. Looking to hunt these Air Cultists down we instead found some bugbears waiting in ambush. The vultures and their riders arrived as a second wave. (That’s all I wrote. We smashed them pretty handily and scored some more sweet flying suits as I recall. Then we moved on and forgot all about it.)
We reach Beliard without further incident. Inn being rebuilt. No other shops of note.
My character receives a note from [REDACTED AS SECRET]. Eldearnth steals the note but cannot read it. Strath casts Zone of Truth on the party in order to find the thief and recover his note. Strath recovers the note but knows Eldearnth is being truthful when he says he couldn’t read it.
Genteel PvP over, the party continues on to Summit Hall.
Lady Ushien greets the party and invites them to dinner to discuss recent events.
Rest of day taken up by shopping trip. Party funds drained. Lots of Healing Potions. A Sentient Sword. Poison. (Possibly ice cream…) Also rooms rented in Barrowpull Inn.
Lady Ushien Stormbanner. Paladin of Tyr. Knight of Samuar. When questioned about the being in the Sacred Stone Monastery she tells the tale of Samuar and Renwick Caradoon. They were brothers, fighting together in the Troll Wars. Renwick was dead / near death so to save him, Samuar turned him into a Lich.
Also of note, Lady Ushien refers to the cults by name;
The Black Earth Cult and the Cult of Eternal Flame (#Bangles). It appears interested parties are learning more about the cults in the wake of the damage we, the Heroes of Red Larch (Official team name) are inflicting upon them.
Journey to Bargewright Inn. Party hires horses and rides for riverguard keep.
We see a vision and hear the name “Marlox” – we may have heard or read the name before (#HelpfulDM) but can’t remember where (#NoteTakingFail).
At Riverguard Keep, Strath is greeted by Captain Harbur of the Red Larch guards (another named NPC I didn’t make a note of at the time. We met him in Red Larch in the 1st session and I never wrote his name down. I’m the best at this). He gives me a special secret handshake and behaves deferentially to me (subtle like a brick, this one) which doesn’t go unnoticed by certain parties.
Ka’Naan, Captain of the Rivermaid/made is present and offers the party passage to Womford. We happily accept. (Garrett does not attempt to murder him. Character growth!)
On the river, we are attacked by two weird water creatures carrying tridents and riding crocodiles. Ka’Naan says they’re associated with the water cult , but names them the Cult of the Crushing Wave.
In Womford, things go off script. Eldearnth and Raynor are presented with symbolic pendants, but moments later refuse to obey Nalaska’s request that they act as caravan escorts. The party leaves shortly thereafter on a different boat, heading back to Riverguard Keep. The brothers throw their pendants into the river, seemingly rejecting their association with Nalaska.
Stopping briefly at Summit Hall to return hired horses and retrieve one restored sentient longsword, the party then heads directly to the Sacred Stone Monastery. Strath thinks a plan is once again required, so we attempt an infiltration by disguise. Raynor and Eldearnth are disguised as Air and Fire cultists respectfully while the rest of us pretend to be guards. Partial success follows as all save Raynor are escorted inside, the deception appearing to work.
However, once inside the stronghold, realisation dawns on the party that the plan lacked what is commonly referred to as a “Stage 2”. When the deception breaks down and the fighting starts it is only surprising in how long the deception lasted and who started the fight.
Big fight at Sacred Stone Monastery. Guards, Monks, Gargoyles, an Altered Umber Hulk (named ‘Ueff’), Ogres, super tough angry lady Monk and ancient exploding dwarven mining machine. Oh, and Raynor disguised as an elf-sized, elf-shaped eagle.
We met Renwick Caradoon too. Nice, but not to be messed with.
20/8/16 – Sacred Stone Monastery part 3 of 3
The underground areas of the Black Earth Cult Stronghold are further explored. Ogres are slain and slaves are freed.
Bruldenthar (‘Brul’ for short – pun unintended), wise old dwarf of the Mirabar Delegation (remember them?) is being held in the pit. The pit is only accessed by a tunnel lined with violet fungus. Some stabbing and poisoning later, Zoro douses the walls with oil and Garrett lights it with a firebolt. Zoro also strides through the flames to retrieve the captive dwarf before he dies of smoke inhalation and the party leaves promptly.
Brul asks to be taken to Beliard, as he can make his way home safely from there and the party agrees to escort him.
Clarification from last session. Brul has informed us of the other members of the delegation and their last known whereabouts. Desnia has been taken into the Air Temple. Rhundorf and Teresile are in the Earth Temple.
Party heads once more to Riverguard Keep.
We are met by Captain Ka’Naan, who seems to be in charge of Riverguard Keep at the moment. After breaking ties with Nalaska, and knowing Ka’Naan is an associate of the Innkeeper, Eldearnth and Raynor fade into the shadows, keen to avoid the Gensai. Raynor creates illusory letters for Strath to read, informing him that he and his brother do not wish to travel with Ka’Naan. The Gensai is excited to see Bruldenthar, and tries to hurry the dwarf onto his boat. Strath intervenes, but is unable to persuade him not to escort the dwarf. The situation is saved by Garrett, who, despite the historical enmity between the two, persuades the riverboat captain to let the heroes take Brul to Beliard on a different vessel.
Ka’Naan then relates some local news to the party. 1) Mound near Beliard. 2) Wiggan Nettleby, prominent local farmer of Beliard is having his cattle branded with the mark of the Cult of Eternal Flame (#Bangles). He believes this to be the work of the Fire Witch, a Beliard urban myth that Garrett knows to be false. 3) Trelark and the Aarakocra are under attack by a seemingly resurgent Air Cult. This has led to the capture of some cultists who have revealed the pass phrase into the Air Temple to be, “Hail, Prince Yan-C-Bin, Lord of Air.”
Information noted, the party boards the Lazy Frog, Captained by Tomlin Featherbrim and heads for Beliard. Garrett uses his Gust cantrip to increase the vessel’s speed and we arrive half a day earlier than anticipated. Despite this two people meet us on the quay. First is Wiggan Nettleby. He demands we accompany him and even Eldearnth (Yes, stab you for almost no reason at all Eldearnth) recognises that the disappearing people are more important than oddly branded cattle. (Character growth!) Wiggan leaves in a huff. Second is Eleanor Greysmith, the Smith’s wife, who tearfully tells us of her husband’s disappearance. Eldearnth asks the village constable about the underground treasure before Strath questions him about the disappearances. The cleric finds the constable’s answers about protecting the people of Beliard unsatisfactory.
Four people, including the smith are missing.
- Devin Greysmith
- Selina Web, Innkeeper’s daughter
- Vandin Yargrill, Halfling adventurer
- Lorin of Tarn, Traveller
After swift investigation at the smithy, the party heads to the Mound.
Dead halfling at the entrance, initialed dagger found nearby indicates remains of Vandin. Eldearnth steals emerald off dagger’s hilt.
Some bugs get splattered.
The people being stolen have been brought here to complete a sacrificial summoning ritual and we race to stop it. The magically inclined realise this is a ritual to summon Ia’affrat – a demonic being with an insect cloud form. Bugs try to sacrifice Devin, but Strath heals him and the ritual cannot complete. Bugs swarm from the portal and it emits a noise with the power to neutralise magic. Strath tries to dispel the portal to no effect but the portal collapses soon after anyway. Garrett sets the place on fire, because he can.
A brief investigation finds the remains of Selina and her keepsake locket which Strath takes to return to the Innkeeper.
(tl;dr: Lots of cultists dead, PC’s all still alive.)