See part 2 here.
Hey there dear readers. You have no idea how I miss you. With my D&D game on hold and seminars prep going all out for the spring semester, I feel I’m loosing touch with the blogsphere. But I’ll be back soon enough.
While I’m writing, please note that I will be DMing at PAX East’s DM Challenge. It will be a very special edition of one of my favorite Primal/Within adventures. Last time I heard from it, 4 out of the 6 slots to my table were already taken. So if you want to meet or play, you may still be able to do so. Check here for details. All PCs are from PHB3 races and (The same from the PHB3 Gameday I was told).
Man, we’re going to rock so hard that PCs from other tables will lose Healing Surges! Can’t wait to meet you.
All right, we have a game report to finish.
Earlier in the game session, during a lull where most players were away from the table, I pulled Eric (Wrath of Melora, Deva Avenger) and Mike (Vorian, Githzerai Monk) aside and told them a story about their shared time, training at special Monastery.
There they learned of a pact made between the Gith seeking to eradicate the Elemental Chaos influence on the world of Sikarra and Melora’s Eco fanatics who were unable to channel the power of their nature god to avenge this dying world. The Gith brought a large artifact, a Psi-Crystal so powerful that it could channel power sources throughout a world to a select few. The artifact was mounted on Sirrakas highest mountain range where a fighting monastery was built.
By linking it to Melora’s divine source, weak though it may be, the device inherent psionic source flared to life like a beacon and allowed a small, hand-picked group of Monks and Eco-Avengers to set forth with no need of clockwork technology to achieve power. Both Wrath and Vorian had seen that artifact many times. They were among the leaders of the chosen ones.
Yet that power was lost a few months ago…
It was now sitting at the top of the corrupted Factory-Mine, on the central control platform.
Mike and Eric LOVE that kind of stuff. And so do I
Running in a script full of holes.
When I was done describing the area, options weren’t discussed really long.
Mike and Eric (Nearly simultaneously): We’re going up there to recuperate this Crystal pillar!
Party: Wait what?
At that point my game notes were a lot slimmer. I had a plan to have the agent’s missing arm pop in on a conveyor belt somewhere and have an encounter using Robo Rally tiles where the PCs chased the hand while robotic and undead minions tried to mess with them.
I swear I have full 4e rules for ALL the elements of Robo Rally maps now, I had made most of them for my Winter Encounter contest entry. You can be sure I’ll use them in another venue soon.
Anyway, instead I went with the flow and had the lead players roll skill checks to navigate the different levels to get to the top. I figured that as soon as I got a failure, I would introduce a twist that would send the party into my Robo Rally encounter. Turns out they made it to the top platform all right.
And I’m so happy they did… it turns out I had forgotten ALL my Robo Rally Tiles at home! I only realized it much later in the evening.
So here I was, stuck in an area I didn’t really plan passed a picture in my mind, with players itching for a fight and near one of the adventure’s major Quest items. So I opened up all my gaming notes (I use MS-Onebook) and picked monsters here and there that I had selected in other encounters to create a plausible encounter.
Grand Finale on the Balcony!
I ended up with a Bone Golem, 2 Autoclank Knights, 1 Blaspheme Disciple, 2 of those flying Gatling paralyzing dart minions and 2 of those squat Heavy-Clank 2-hits minions. I asked my players to draw a 30′ wide, 100′ or so long control center, complete with consoles, stairwells, 60′ drops and the Psi-pillar.
The fight was VISCOUS! The Knights and Golem did a great job protecting the disciple and shooting minions and all monsters dished out a lot of pain, especially that bone shard exploding dazing golem. The PCs went through healing surges like a buzz-saw through lime Jell-O. It was great fun!
After a few rounds I finally revealed my nefarious plot.
The Psionic artifact activated and blasted Yan’s Holy Clank, the world’s only Sentient Autoclank
Flashback Two – A meeting of “friends”
In Holy Clank’s background stories resides a dark tale. Early after achieving sentience at the hands of a bumbly and soon after “crushed by mistake” wizard, Holy Clank scoured the near-desert surface world to meet others like him, living non-squishes like him….
(Rodriguez-like lost reel transition)
… and the Reversed Lich, its soul and conscience forever stuck in its critically damaged Autoclank body, slowly sank in the lava pits of its lair, cursing the wounded Holy-Clank, imploring all Princes of the Abyss to one day grant it revenge.
Back to the finale
The whole rebellion had been a sham all along to get Holy Clank into the factory close enough to the Psi-pillar. Thus, the Reversed Lich, hidden deep in the factory in its half-melted, severely crippled mechanical body, could transfer its soul into the Warrior-Priest’s pristine body.
So from that moment forward, like Lex Luthor hitting Superman with its Kryptonite Hummer, Clank had to deal with a LOT of threats: The pillar attacking every rounds (helped by the Blaspheme doing some NPC skill challenge), healing his battered buddies and dealing with knights and a golem.
Fortunately, by that time the fight started to be under control and several PCs joined in a skill challenge to deactivate either the Pillar’s attacks on Holy Clank or its influence on all the creatures of the factory.
The last dramatic moments occurred when the Monk destroyed both Autoclank Knights in one attack and then teleported the Bone Golem over the empty space of the Factory floor. It somehow managed to save itself (literally a saving throw) and hold on the ledge for a few more rounds. It eventually fell to the ground in a dramatic burst of bones and metal. As this occurred, the links between the pillars and the Lich were cut and the hundreds of undead and clanks converging on the PCs’ position dispersed or turned off.
Eric: So now how are we going to get this huge piece of crystal out?
Chatty: Gee, I don’t know… But I have to mention that Wrath says that with his back is to the factory floor, a series of HUGE cranes sitting motionless all over the place.
Eric: (cough) Asshole (cough).
Chatty: So now that the signal that controlled all the undead and clanks is down, you have a bunch of confused blasphemes and several hundred autoclanks with no programming. What’s next?
Yan: I guess we’re done here, the watch won’t be found. Hey where’s the agent?
Chatty: Oh him? He was a spy, he killed the first agent and got his arm sewed on before your arrival. He ran away with many of the baron’s secrets.
Math: Heh, win some, lose some.
Chatty (to Yan): As you load the pillar unto a crane to bring it back to the first floor, you feel it get curious and excited by your very special nature. In a rush of psychic energy, it instantly connects you to all others like you on the planet, all the Autoclanks that sit quietly without sentience, without a soul. What do you do?
Holy Clank (Jubilant): Awake my brothers, let the roaming spirits of this world animate you like they did me!
And thus, the Warforged were truly born.
End Credit, next game will occur 5-8 years later.
I love this campaign, can’t wait to play again.