Sylthiel Arthainas - Moon Elf Rogue - Me~ - Nicophel's sister, archer. - Kill Count: 9 || Down: 0
Stalkurn XXII - Drow Rogue - Patrick - I think you know this guy by now. - Kill Count: 5 || Down: 1
Lox - Changeling Rogue - Cody - Likes to pretend to be other members of the party. Faction agent for the Zhentarim. - Kill Count: 4 || Down: 2
Luthien - Human Fighter - June - Mysterious, masked, armored. We're really not sure what their alignment is yet. - Kill Count: 5 || Down: 2
Total Kills: 23
Total Near Deaths: 5
Total Body Count: 28
Bear with me, I am writing this the night after the game. Mind you, my other blog entries (from when we did Tyranny) were done as we were playing and they are kind of a clusterfuck so maybe this will make it better.
Our heroes meet on the road on the way to Nightstone at a signpost at a crossroads.
Sylthiel is already standing there. She is the twin sister of Nicophel Arthainas, and she's pretty annoyed by the fact that her brother is so well known here, not for being a noble but for being a hero. Life is so easy when you're a wizard, right? Anyway, she's on the short side, long dark hair, dark blue eyes, and pale skin.
Luthien is the first to arrive after. In character, we don't know she's human (and I am using 'she' because Sylthiel is assuming 'she', the player actually hasn't given us pronouns for Luthien yet) because she wears a hood and a mask that covers her entire face fashioned in the likeness of a female elf (hence why Sylthiel made that assumption; also their namesake, but that's beside the point).
Stalkurn and Lox arrive together, both in the likeness of Stalkurn. Surprise, Lox is a changeling. But anyway, they both show up as a nearly 7 foot tall drow in purple and gold armor idly swinging a scimitar in circles. Stalkurn is super lethargic. In fact, we have nicknamed this iteration of him 'lethargic Stalkurn'.
So continuing onward we get to Nightstone and find there are a lot of dead people crushed under boulders. There is a wreck if destruction here, goblins looting things, a pair of worg eating a horse carcass...and the town bell keeps ringing. Immediately we decide that bell is either a call for help or an ambush but decide to take the worgs down first.
This is where we get our first near-death experience. Luthien drops to 0 health points. She doesn't die, mind you, we get her back up and kill the worgs (Stalkurn got one and Lox got the other) and drag them aside for later skinning. (Spoiler alert, we totally forgot to actually get those pelts, RIP)
Sylthiel parkours onto the church roof like an asshole and the rest of the party takes the front door. Sylthiel sees the two goblins ringing the church bell and as the party walks in they take note and start to draw weapons. She shoots one of them and it falls out of the alcove and Stalkurn quickly dispatches the other with his daggers. At this point we start keeping track of our kills and getting comically competitive about it.
Anyway, we kill a couple more goblins but Sylthiel decides to let one go because she is only looting food and not trying to fight her. She's kind of charmed by this creature and lets it go. The rest of the party is looting. Note; June, as always, is our party treasurer and has the list of what all we've plundered, but I'm omitting it from the blog.
Eventually we do end up at the castle. There are four guards. We talk to them briefly and then Lox and Stalkurn (of course) start robbing the place blind while Sylthiel distracts the guards downstairs. Luthien ends up being needed to take down an animated sword that the three of them legitimately just stand around in a semicircle beating on until it breaks.
Plotwise, though, we find out the lady of the house is dead and that this place is in chaos at the moment. So we agree to go help the villagers and on our way out we find a company riding into town being swarmed by goblins. So we help them out. And that's where we meet Xolkin.
So several dead goblins later (note, the DM wanted to just breeze past this fight but we were still being stupid competitive over our kill counts) we approach and start to talk to these Seven Snakes that have come in hoping to take the town over. Because we are PCs, we end up getting talked into doing their dirty work and Sylthiel heads back up to talk the guards in the castle into just letting Xolkin have his way here and in the most polite way possible informs them that he's probably just going to kill them if they don't and no one wants that.
And then, because this town hadn't been donked up enough today, there are orcs. Like. A lot of fucking orcs. Like a whole horde of fucking orcs. We almost wipe. It gets super bad for a minute. Lox actually goes down, Stalkurn and Luthien break and run, Sylthiel ends up full of javelins and hanging on by one hit point, but the elves in the woods show up and help us turn the tide of battle, casually shout "your welcome" over the palisade and leave.
So anyway at this point we're level three. Sylthiel bookmarks a followup with these snakes we just fought with and the party heads up to go find the evacuated villagers. First, there are ogres. Oh god, this was the bonobo combat, hold on let me try to break down what the hell happened when Lox and Stalkurn screwed pretty much everyone but themselves.
Lox (an arcane trickster) cast obscuring mist, then Stalkurn (a drow) outlined the ogres in faerie fire. Fortunately the goblins aren't doing anything. This is one of the few combats of the night in which we are not in danger of wiping, however (hindsight being what it is) we probably should have rested here. We didn't.
One of the goblins comes up and starts telling us about the caves, which ones to avoid, and asks us to kill their leader so she can become the new leader. We're like 'sure fine, if it gets us the villagers back we'll do that'. She also mentions goblins keep dying in one cave and we extort the goblins asking what they'll give us to take care of that problem for them because that's what you do when you're an evil party.
This is where the whole thing goes straight to hell.
We get into this room, find 7 giant rats devouring a human body that's tied to a stalactite. There's goblins in here too. We enter combat. Luthien goes down in the first round so then it's the three rogues trying not to get hit while we're picking things off. Luthin stablizes on her own, but then Stalkurn goes down and Lox starts running the other way. Sylthiel kills the last rat, and steps out where the last two goblins are and her attempt to intimidate them into fucking off doesn't work. Fortunately, Lox comes back and kills one of them, and while Sylthiel is stablizing Stalkurn the other one shoots Lox and HE goes down too.
At this point Sylthiel is just really pissed off at this lone ballsy goblin and is like "if you shoot me I swear to gods I'm going to make you wish you were dead". Well. The goblin shot her while she was stablizing Lox so instead of killing it she did subduel damage and then bound it and vivisected the
Which is when we--er, Sylthiel I guess the party was KO'd at this point--hear open weeping in the corner from a caged woman. So she cuts the goblins throat, puts it out of its misery and walks over to let this woman, Daphne, out of her cage and what follows is an incredibly awkward conversation about how "I'm not usually like this" and "You know, I said I would, I had to do it or they'd have never taken it seriously and look his entrails are all over the floor, too, they were going to do it to you" which...understandably didn't help a lot.
We have to take a rest anyway to wait for the party to wake up so there's a very awkward four or so hours of Sylthiel sitting with Daphne outside as the party, one at a time, wake to find this vivisected goblin lying in the middle of the cavern floor. One by one they roll investigation checks to figure out what happened. Lox comes out and says "Well, I feel better knowing you're twisted filth like the rest of us". Luthien knows too, but...we have no idea how she feels about it yet because she kept her mouth shut.
Anyway we got the villagers out and Daphne is still all in tears and the party for some god knows why reason is still letting Sylthiel do the talking even after what just happened. We warn them that Xolkin has taken over the town and just to go with it. The villagers take off and we take a long rest.
Anyway, we go in and fight a slime that Luthien splits into two slimes before we know any better. There is a lot of kerfuffle with the DM about whether the whole slime counts as one or if the two split slimes are separate kills and debate amongst the party whether or not we want to split it more to get our kill count up. Ultimately we just kill it efficiently and leave. With more treasure.
Oh yeah and Sylthiel smiles at the new goblin in charge and says "if you end up with more prisoners take care to treat them better than the last regime did and you won't end up like them".
We get back to Nightstone and we're supposed to be picking up quests. The NPCs aren't exactly keen to talk to Sylthiel but since the rest of the party is carefully avoiding eye contact with the DM she ends up talking to them anyway. And Lox keeps walking around the town as her intentionally intimidating the NPCs and that doesn't exactly help.
On the bright side that vivisection got back to Xolkin and made it easier to sleep with him so. You know. Win some, lose some.
Then things get weird as a cloud giant appears on the scene and gives us stairs to come up and talk to him. (June: Run away! || Me: Parlay! || -the stairs come down- || June: ...Parlay -sigh-) We get in the flying castle and are informed that we're supposed to fix the Ordening. No one asks what that is, but Sylthiel already knows so those who don't know are able to figure it out by context clues.
Basically, it's this magical thing that puts giants in certain ranks. It's what makes the lowliest storm giant better than the best cloud giant. And apparently this was done because the giants were too complacent when Tiamat was a threat. So now the giants are a threat.
And that was where we left off. Next week I'm going to make somebody else talk to the NPCs. This week I think people were just tired.
Megan R. Miller
TIL: A palisade is a wooden rampart around a settlement. Like city walls, but not stone. I read a lot of fantasy, you'd think I'd have encountered this word before, but actually a lot of fantasy stories tend to like to go grandiose and everything is made of stone and stuff so this was new to me. And to most of the party as well thankfully so I don't have to feel stupid.