Last Saturday night I did run a game on FaceTime group chat. It was very spontaneous. I wasn't sure how it would go over, but it ended up working nicely. We haven't been using mins or props of any kind, so the lack of a virtual tabletop didn't end up affecting the game. The party left the Yatils and decided to head back to the Wild Coast. They stopped at Celene on the way to visit Jastra's home. While there they learned of bad signs they were getting from their oracles. Something evil was taking shape in the west, in Sterich. The party decided to investigate. Traveling to Istvin the party learned of recent Giant attacks. The party volunteered to help, and the Earl is going to be sending them off to the Steading for the next session.
The only combat we had was a random encounter. A giant skunk came creeping around overnight when the party was camping. Corbek and his henchman were on watch and used their newfound cube of force to dodge the musk spray. Then they attacked it and chased it away. They didn’t know how bad giant skunk musk could be, just a real world reaction to a skunk.
I will be starting this series on Saturday. I’m looking forward to trying it again. The last two times fell apart early on. i think the current campaign has been running for close to three years and it appears to be going strong. We are planning to use FaceTime again. I’ve also created some Roll20 content to help with mapping and the battle in the Great Hall. Maybe I’ll record and post this session.
4/4/2020 Session Notes, played via FaceTime and Roll20 The Party: Plāsolder: 9th level human fighter Corbek: 9th level cleric of St. Cuthbert Faeringar: 4th level human fighter, (Corbek's henchman) Ember: 8th level human cleric of Pelor Jastra: 5/9 level gray elf fighter/magic-user Ingo: 5/6 level gnome fighter/thief (Jastra's henchman) Maylin: 13th level human magic-user Volgar: 8th level human fighter (Maylin's henchman) After an audience with Earl Querchard and a meeting with his underling Lord Farquit, the party, and two guides was off to the fortress of the Hill Giant Chief Nosnra. The guides took them to a hidden cave close to the hill giants' lair, and the party continued on to investigate. From outside they didn't see anything. They scouted from the air with their flying carpet, and floated by the guard tower for a closer look. They spotted the lone sleeping guard and killed him. After getting everybody into the tower they descended into the entry chamber where the discovered and killed two more sleeping guards. In the entry chamber there were three doors into the main body of the fortress: central double doors with a great deal of noise behind them, and two smaller doors providing access to the east or west side of the fortress. The party decided to avoid the noise and investigated east. They cleared most of the east side of the fortress with help from the giantess maids who surrendered quickly and gave them some information on the fortress and the feast going on. The party did not find the hidden entrance to the dungeons. There was a long debate on whether they should explore the west side of the fortress, or attack the feast hall before the alarm was sounded. They ended up going with the attack on the feast hall. The party wizards surprised the giants and fireballs and lightning bolts took a heavy toll on the giants. All of those at the main table were killed except for the cloud giant and one stone giant. This battle took hours before the surviving giants and ogres fled. The party followed the cloud and stone giant and killed them in their chamber. And that's where we ended it. That's not much of a write up, but the battle in the great hall lasted forever. I was planning on recording tonights game, and I did start recording, but my computer crashed trying to get everybody connected, and I forgot to restart the recording.
Weird dice rolling last night. I think half the initiative rolls were ties, and the party lost most of the rest. The party's damage rolls were super low. The giants could hit about as well as Imperial Stormtroopers, and they couldn't make saves. After a couple rounds of artillery several hold monster spells took out way more giants than statistically probable. I haven't rolled yet to see how much treasure saved against the artillery. I'm sure a good chuck of it was destroyed during the shock and awe phase of the battle.
You finally have the right sort of party for that series... Eight characters, well-balanced, with several high-level spell casters. They did the right thing by hitting the feast hall first. In all of the tournament reports I read, that was what the successful groups did. But in order to do that effectively, you need the firepower of the spell casters and the larger party. Then it becomes a mopping up operation. I've done G1 many times when the party didn't have enough power to hit the feast hall right away, and there is sneaking around until an alarm gets raised and the place goes on lock down and play then becomes much more difficult and protracted.
Hey, didn't Maylin already get some magic items from G1 from the last time he played through it?
Yeah, we did talk about that before we started. If he was going to join we would need to back it up some and lose those items. That game ended less than halfway through the series, and he’s always wanted to play through to the end, so he had no issues with it.
I can imagine Ernie Gygax shaking his head and saying, "That's why I invented the cone of cold spell." And Rob Kuntz chiming in: "And that's why it's better to subdue green dragons instead of red dragons."
4/18/2020 Another Session Social Distancing AD&D. Gary Welsh Joined the party last night, controlling Maylin's henchman, Volgar. We picked up in the Great Hall with the party having searched the dead giants for treasure, and fining many valuable pieces of jewelry on the dead. It was getting late, but the party decided to push on. They were worried that if they left without finding the Chief's treasure, it would be one when they came back. After reviewing their map, in addition to the rooms they hadn't explored yet, they realized there was an area within the explored portion of the map that must be accessed by a hidden door. There were a few areas they hadn't explored yet on the eastern side of the map, and they decided to explore those first before looking for the secret entrance. The rooms were all empty, but they were surprised by a pair oh hill giants while they were walking through the steading. The giants were not able to hurt the party and were quickly killed. The party also went back to research the Chief's rooms, feeling that they must have missed a secret area since they found no treasure the first time. They didn't find anything this time either. They returned to the small, by giant standards, council chamber that bordered the mystery spot on their map, and this time they did find a concealed door behind a manticore skin/trophy hanging on the wall. Through the door was a small area where a large pile of wood for the fireplace was stacked, and steps leading down. They poked through the wood and found several scroll cases hidden within the logs. Two were empty, but the third, sealed with wax and stamped with a triangle with a Y within, contained detailed instructions for a future giant raid, signed "Eclavdra". There were several more blank spots on the western half of the map the party explored. At some point Ember's serpentine owl, that the party left outside above the Steading communicated that a giant had passed through the yard and enter the steading with some wolves. Some empty barracks, a few armories, where they did find a magic hammer, and another hammer that appeared to be magic, but just had a magic mouth spell on it, "Here's a kiss for you runt", in Dwarvish. In the kitchens the found more stairs down. Their was a room where the orc slaves were housed. Most had fled the steading during the chaos of the Great Hall battle, but there were a pair of injured ocrs still laid up here. They asked the party to help them escape, and mentioned the orc rebellion in the dungeons, but the party decided to execute them and move on. They ran into a squad of ogres and whipped them out. In their barracks they found some coinage and a pair of potions. The party did have a random encounter with a hill giant and several dire wolves. They were searching an armory at the time and were alerted before the encounter began by the enemy detection power of Faeringar's sword. The giant and wolves were quickly dispatched. I reminded the party that it was getting late and they were starting to feel the effects of fatigue, so they decided to head for the base cave to heal and rest. After a night of rest, and time rememorizing spells the party returned to the Steading. There were two guards posted outside the main gates. The party decided to fly around and approach the guard tower from the west. I rolled to see if the giant stationed there noticed the party's approach. He didn't. The party charmed him, and then sucked him into Jastra's Prison of Zagyg. There was a squad of bugbears on the cloak room, ready to run into the steading to alert the surviving inhabitants, but the party used an illusion of a hill giant to lure them towards the steps to the guard tower, and then wiped them out with a death spell. The party made their way to the secret steps to the dungeons, and that is where we ended it.
Had another huge, epic battle tonight. Too tired to write up detailed notes now, maybe tomorrow. I had the Steading place a dozen bugbears on guard in the marshaling area, and just about everything else joined the combat as wave after wave crashed on the party. High level magic-users really are death machines.
5/2/2020 The morning of Godsday, Wealsun 18, 577 CY. The party descends the hidden stairs into the dungeons and follows a short windy passage to a large chamber. From the entrance of the chamber the party can see their light glinting off something at the far end of the chamber. Entering the place they can see a stack of coffers at the western wall, one has tipped over and spilled gems. There is also a 20' wide passage exiting to the south, but blocked by bars after 10'. As the enter a metal grate falls behind them, blocking the exit. The party now became very concerned with the bars at the southern exit. Maylin the wizard pulled out his two brass troll figurines and tossed them on the ground, and they quickly grew into to full size trolls. He ordered them to go investigate the bars. As soon as the trolls reached the bars another set fell from the ceiling 10' behind them. Simultaneously the original portcullis raised into the ceiling. The party could see four manticores closing in on the trolls. Jastra said she was going to use her wand to create a wall of ice between the trolls and the manticores, but the manticore won initiative and the released volleys of tail spikes at the trolls. One of the trolls was killed immediately and returned to figurine form. The other managed to dodge most of the spikes and only took minor damage. A few segments later Jastra's Wal of ice appeared. Volgar, who has a girdle of giant strength was able to lift the gate and free the remaining troll. The party prepared for combat and dispelled the wall. The manticores were right there waiting for them. Maylin cast a hold monster spell and held three of them and the party's fighters quickly killed the 4th. The party searched the room and found nothing, but in an attached room they found 7 chests. 'The chief's treasure at last'. Corbek cast a find traps spell on them and detected 2. Ingo the gnome thief deactivated them both. He was pretty sure of it. But they still ordered the remaining troll to open them. The contents were less than expected. Lots of copper and silver mostly, low value gems. The party discussed whether or not they were still missing the main treasure, or the hill giants just have crappy treasure. They remembered that they never searched the stack of coffers back in the first large room. And they turned out to be worthless. There was nowhere else to go, so they returned to the surface to try the other stairs. To be continued.
The party quickly returned to the ground level and made their way to the other stairwell they found. Again they descended into the dungeons. The giants, now aware they were attacked, had an ambush waiting for them. As the party entered the Marshaling Area, a dozen bugbears sprang on them, taking them by surprise. They hurled spears as they attacked. Most then closed on the party swinging morning stars. A few ran to alert others. Initially the party was hemmed in at the entrance, but they were quickly pushing through the initial wave of bugbears. Within a few rounds reinforcements started showing up: additional waves of bugbears (about 50 total), the Keeper and his carnivorous apes, a few more hill giants, and finally a pair of fire giants. The party spell casters used a flame strike, a death spell, multiple cone of cold spells, and at least one more hold monster spell during the battle. Finally they found themselves standing among heaps of humanoid and giant corpses. The party healed up and looted the bodies for what they could find. Most of the rest of the night was spent searching. The freed all of the poor morale orc slaves, but left the fair and good morale orcs locked up. They found the Armory and Smith and freed the swarf slaves there. One, Gravlak by name, explained that the dwarves had a small mining operation nearby, but the giants came and killed most of them, taking these seven to work as slaves. He seemed eager to join the party to get some revenge. The party started to explore the northwest part of the map and ran into the stone giants there. The party took a few boulder hits before killing them. By now most of their spells were depleted, and it was getting late, so they decided to return to their base camp, and we called it for the evening.
It was another terrible dice rolling night for the monsters. After filing the first troll with manticore spikes, I couldn't hit shit. I can't remember ever rolling so many single digit numbers on so many attack rolls. MY old faithful DM dice seem to have lost their mojo. But the multiverse does have a way of balancing itself, so the party better beware.
After the game my cousin texted me that he forgot he had a potion of treasure finding that he's planning on using next game, either in the chief's bedroom, or the room where they found the decoy chests.
Encumbrance and treasure: the party with their sacks and packs maxed out, plus bags of holding, a troll, the efreeti, and the seven dwarves were able to haul 23,500 GPs of weight out of the dungeons totaling 39,695 GPs worth. Each dwarf gets to keep his sack of gold to start a new life somewhere. That leaves over 5,000 GPs, plus all the other coins still in the dungeon. They'll be making at least one more trip to the Steading, and with a treasure finding potion the party has about a 50% chance of finding the main treasure room. Gary was definitely not a stingy writer, especially with the monetary treasure. You need that for the XP requirements Once a more stingy mindset took hold you started seeing a lot less treasure, but not much of a change on XP requirements, and then story goals and all kind of ad hoc rewards started popping up. Magic this session was a battle axe +3, that they gave to the dwarf, and the large jug of potions of water breathing.
5/16/20 Session notes. I had written up a pretty detailed session report last week, and the site reloaded and I lost it all. I’e had regular problem s with proboards recently. But I digress. The party spent the night resting and healing. The next morning they decided to trlrase the hill giant they’d been carrying around in the Prison of Zagyg, and kill it. The giant lost initiative and died before getting an attack. Next the [arty proceeded to the Steading. They stopped and scoped it out from a distance. There were no signs of activity, but they still decided to sneak in the guard tower window. The made their way to Nosnra’s bed chamber, and Maylin drank his potion of treasure finding. There was nothing close. They quickly ran to the bottom of the stairs they discovered behind the concealed door, and Maylin sensed something due east, where the passage turned west, and there was just a wall. They searched for secret doors and found one. Through he secret door they went and into the pit trap just inside the door. Well, the first two party members (Plasolder and Volgar) anyways. There were poisoned spikes at the bottom of the pit, but both fighters made their saves. With the help of the efreeti they got the fighters out. The party found a fortune in monetary treasure. Detect magic revealed there was more to the pile of broken boxes and barrels and the patch of yellow mold than there seemed to be. They figured out they were illusions and discovered a cache of magical weapons, and the map and transport device to the frost giants’ lair. The party decided to explore more of the dungeon, and found an elf and a few humans, along with 5 orcs, locked in a cell block. They freed everybody. One of the humans was insane, and Corbeck later cured him. The elf, Findros, from the Duchy of Ulek, agreed to work for the party for a year with no pay in gratitude for being freed. They found some supply rooms, a pool, but nothing of value. They didn’t think it was worth exploring the cave where the orcs were running to, so they never found the weird temple of the EEG. The headed back to camp, and the next morning started back for Istvin. The first day they surprised some mountain giants, but decided to avoid them The rest of the journey was uneventful. They spent about a week back in town, but keeping a low profile. After a week they used the black chain they found and were teleported to a spot close to he entrance of. The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl. The first goal was to find a base camp, and after several hours of exploring the nearby area they found one. Gear stowed, they headed for the Rift, and we called it a night.