Friday, 24 July 2009

War of the Burning Sky

I've just begun running a version of the commercial D&D campaign, "War of the Burning Sky", created for 4th edition by EN Publishing; albiet heavily adapted to my own game world.

Very kindly one of my players (my dearly beloved) has been keeping a character journal, written in the words of her own character, the Elf Druidess, Dara.

More detailed information on the characters will be forthcoming, but for now here's a very brief list.


Brian- DM

Caroline- Dara- Female Elf Druid

Coakley- Aramil- Male Eladrin Warlord

Niall- Sonea- Female Human Wizard

Ri- Shadow Dancer- Male Eladrin Avenger

Rob- Torthen- Male Dwarf Paladin

NPC- Torrent- Female Human Cleric

As for the events of the first session; Dara writes:

Good day gentlemen, and of course ladies,

following the fighting of yesterday I would like to present to you the record I have kept so far of our adventure. I hope you will find it pleasing. If you feel I have been innaccurate in any way please feel free to bring it to my attention. I do not wish to misinterpret anybodies actions.

Best Wishes

Dara Salix Castanea

It’s New Year’s Eve and snow lies thick on ground. Tomorrow is the festival of dreams. However no one is really in a festive mood as Gate Pass is currently under siege by an augmented legion from the Arcane Imperium. The city is in lock down to prevent enemies entering and magic users leaving.

Gate Pass sits in the mountains that separate the countries of Imperium and Zama.

We are all members of the resistance, dedicated to keeping Gate Pass free. As each of us arrives home we find a coded message. It instructs us to arrive at the Poison Apple Pub. We find the streets are uncommonly quiet and almost deserted, strange as they should be full of revellers.

Each of us arrives at the pub of our own accord. On the main door we find a sign from the city guard advising that the pub landlord has been taken into custody and that the premise is closed until further notice. In the alley along the side of the pub there gleams a crack of light emanating from a side door to the Poison Apple, sitting slightly ajar.

Upon entering we find a woman wearing clerical vestements displaying the symbol of Martha. Martha- a goddess of communities, alliances, negotiations and protection. Though usually peaceful she believes in protecting the home with might if needed.

Looking around the pub we find it dark. All the furniture is packed against the wall, covered in dust sheets, except for one table which sits out with some chairs, a keg and mugs. The building is one storey, unusual in this city, but then again it is a pub and one storey buildings in Gate Pass are more often than not Pubs and/or shops. It possesses small deep set windows which even a child would struggle to fit through. It also looks most like the kind of establishment the working man frequents.

The woman introduces herself as Torrent and gestures to the keg and mugs. Inviting us to drink to the New Year, which is almost upon us. Most of the party happily obliges and most settle into chairs to enjoy the brew. Some of the guests are more cordial than others and some more observant. The small windows are shuttered and barred. [Shadow hunter is not present at this point]

Soon the more perceptive of the gathering (Torthen, Dara, and Sonea) hear the distant sound of bells tolling for the New Year. Torrent smiles a rueful smile and utters a mirthless ‘Well let’s drink to a New Year’. Dara raises her mug while Sonea with a smile sounds a greeting to everyone. ‘May your dreams be fruitful’, a traditional New Year’s greeting.

Torrent begins to fill them in on what’s been happening and why they have been called.

During this they glean that the mission for tonight is to meet one of Torrents contacts at a depositary nearby. The contact is a gnome named Badger who will have a case for us to collect. We will then need to get ourselves out of the city and head for the Lyceum.

Much discussion ensues over how exactly we can get out of the city. Some interesting suggestions crop up however Torrent puts forward one of her own. She is still quite unsure how to get out but once out of the city she asks that we head for the forest of fire- Innondottar- a forest which has been burning in magical flame for over 20 years. She has borrowed a kit of various potions from her sisters at the temple that will help against the difficulties of traversing such terrain.

During the past small while of conversation Dara has been hearing strange noises but now has heard the distinctive thud of leather landing on boards.

Quickly Dara interrupts the discussion and in a level voice says ‘Not to scare anyone here but I believe we have visitors’ she points above to the ceiling.

Instantly and almost all at once, two people fall out of the trap door above. A loud bang erupts from a fire bomb engulfing the roof with other explosions going off near and far.

The two scout assailants drop down behind the bar.

Tactical encounter.

The attackers shout ‘Nobody move!

The smallest of the duo hurls a small ‘stone’ at the table the party sits at. Unfortunately for the intruders it doesn’t get far at all, in fact it fumbles to land at their own feet. Banging with the ROAR of a clap of thunder. Unfortunately for the party the scouts seem unaffected by the explosion and both have crossbows, one actually trained on the party themselves.

The larger attacker shouts ‘Don’t move!’ and gives his companion an aggrieved glance.

By now it is apparent that the roof and crawl space is on fire.

Aramil leaps on to the nearest table but skids along on spilled beer, falling off and back onto his feet like a cat. He recovers with speed and moves for the bar.

Outside is heard a voice ‘Ignore the explosions that’s the signal! Move in!

Dogs begin to bark and bay outside as the thudding crash and boom of a ram hits the front door and shocks dust and burning embers from the ceiling. The door is almost off its hinges.

Sonea attacks the scouts with acid arrow. The bar shields them somewhat but not enough for they get a spray of painful burning acid.

Dara flies for the table but misses, recovering she takes aim for the scout at the bar. He ducks but not long enough for she catches him with an arrow as he rises again.

Torrent raises her hammer into the air and calls a prayer. Ball lightning envelopes the party members giving them extra protection from their armour like a holy blessing. Torrent shifts a bit to a new position.

Torthen bolts round the bar in a bid to axe the assailants in more ways than one. He takes a mighty swing with his battle axe at them but they duck back and sneer in retort.

The small scout drops his crossbow and takes a swing at Torthen with his morning star spiked club. The taller tries the same but misses.

Aramil moves round behind the other end of the bar. He calls on wolf pack tactics and swings at the tallest scout with his long sword bloodying him.

The thundering noise of hooves draws close outside. The dogs grow louder and more fervent, closer too. The ram hits home smack centre on the door bursting it off its hinges and into the centre of the room. Through the masonry dust and wood chips can be seen a recruit dropping the ram. Another recruit and a thug can be seen outside too. With a man on horseback shouting orders. He’s wearing the plate mail armour of an Imperial officer, with a raven sitting on his shoulder, and a helmet on his belt- a helmet that has been split in two.

Sonea cries out ‘Friend or foe?

Friend!’ comes the questionable reply from the recruit.

Sonea believes him. Swinging round ( turning her back on the new arrivals in the process) she uses Gabal’s superior missile aimed at the two behind the bar. Missiles scream out and hit their fated targets.

Dara in turns wings one of the scouts with an arrow loosed from her long bow. Successful she swings her precious friend over her back and pulls out her long staff ready for the oncoming hand-to-hand.

The recruits enter through the now empty doorway.

Torrent shouts a warning of ‘Don’t trust them!’ while attempting to strike with her hammer but missing the quick targets.

Dara swings round to crack them with her staff but misses as they duck quickly past.

Torthen uses a divine challenge to mark out the scout who looks like he’s failing. He then swings his axe straight through the scout next to him. Stepping over the mass of gore and meat he moves closer towards his other victim.

Sparks and timber crash down onto tables nearby as part of the roof caves in.

Outside the man on horseback passes on a message to his men and dogs in the alley- the side door is blocked.

The lonely scout though bloodied himself still manages to do the same to Aramil with his morning star. Aramil returns the favour with a swing from his long sword rendering the final scout dead beside his companion. Aramil leaves the bar and mounts a table to give himself a better position.

Above him outwith his knowledge a pair of eyes observes the scene keenly. Shadow Dancer leans out from the cover of the chimney stack and takes sight on the horseman. *click* the bolt fails to fire. With some select obscenities he swings back into the shadows and moves to another corner of the rooftop.

The thug outside shouts at the recruits ‘Get the hell out my way.

Sonea shifts sideways past a table to allow her to hit the thug outside square in the chest with empowered lightning. Unsurprisingly he gets blown back a bit.

Dara tries to hit the recruit nearest with her staff but she is finding it hard with all the obstacles and commotion.

The other recruit attacks Torrent and hits home.

The recruits know what’s best for them and move to allow their seeming employer, the thug, in.

Torrent moves round to the doorway to block the entry of the thug and tries to attack the recruit nearest but fails.

Torthen moves towards the fighting. He calls out a divine challenge against a recruit. ‘When you get to Harrum tell him Torthen sent you!’Swinging a valiant strike with his battleaxe the recruit is dispatched to the otherworld.

Aramil slides past Torrent and out the door. He enables a concentrated attack so allowing Sonea a free attack with her Superior magic missiles.

(Out Of Turn- Free action) Sonea lifts her wand of accuracy and fires Gabal’s superior missiles. A missile misses a recruit as he ducks but the thug is blown to eternity.

Outside unknown to anyone but themselves and Shadow Dancer; three dogs and two men (a thug and a recruit) come round the corner of one of the other buildings.

Shadow Dancer removes the debris which had become jammed in the crossbow mechanism and takes aim again, determined to hit his quarry. Aiming at the horse the bolt flies free and true burying into the rump. A scream is heard from horse and rider as the animal rears, pitching the officer to the ground, and bolts off into the night.

Shadow Dancer smiles in satisfaction to himself and melts back into the shadows on the rooftops.

Sprawled on the floor the armour clad officer gets to his feet and shouts impatiently ‘Arathane what’s happening in there?

Sonea using Gabal’s superior missile fires at the recruit but misses. Trying for the side-door she blows a small hole in it.

Dara strikes down the last recruit with a lethal blow. She makes her way outside to what she feels is a safe distance from the men and dogs she finds out there.

The largest man (minion), a hulking mass of muscle runs straight for her but Dara being Dara, she side steps out his grasp.

Torrent pushes past out of the door and up onto the nearby outside table. Lifts her hammer and she leaps off using earth mark and slams into the hulk attacking Dara. The mass of flesh crashes to the floor a dead weight.

Torthen charges out the door onto the street behind the table Torrent just leapt off.

Someone shouts ‘Korthan!

Korthan the armoured officer yells ‘Fall back!

The officer, the remaining thug and two dogs retreat down the streets and alleyways. The loose dog takes one look at the party and decides against it. With a whine and a howl it follows its packmates.

Tactical encounter ends.

It has been noticed that all of the assailants from the scouts to the thugs, recruits and the officer all had a red armband with a black horses head on it and strange arcane symbols underneath.

Looking westward they see the reddened snow clouds of the night with balls of flame dropping from the sky. Flaming trebuchet boulders are streaming over the walls of Gate Pass. The Western most end of the city district is aflame. Roars of giant beasts can be heard overhead and blood drops like rain onto the snow.