Heroes Return; Vergwild Still Fearful

You’ve returned to Vergwild, expecting a heroes welcome, but instead receive a greeting of fear and loathing. Kalarel’s mark on the surrounding woodlands and settlements ran deep and seems to have more tenacity than you first expected. Among gruesome conditions, the Vergwild guard suspiciously reject even you, their heroes.

Acting on a request from Lord Padraig, you’ve followed an old road back through the woods to a lonesome graveyard, seeking the last redoubt of Kalarel’s allies. A cautious and disciplined approach across the premises allowed you to get within 100ft of the mausoleum at its heart. A final mad dash brought you right into the structure. At that point, zombies erupted from all sides and swarmed you, pawing clumsily at you and groaning with malice.

Game terms: I have attached a picture of the graveyard as well as a screen grab of the end of our last session … I think I remember a discussion of a strategy to block the entrance … I just wanted to point out that the mausoleum walls are actually open archways all the way around (except for behind the stairs) … I’ve annotated the image with the word “archway” everywhere there is an archway … I had not made that clear in my description, though to be fair, it was a mad scramble for your characters, and it would take a few seconds for them to get oriented and realize this too.

Embarrassment of Riches

You’ve climbed the sticky chains out of Kalarel’s hellhole chamber and trudged back through the dungeon passages of the Old Keep, climbing ever higher toward the surface. You’ve returned to the excavation chamber and dug up the gold you stashed and combined it with the loot you took from Kalarel.

You now find yourselves standing in a circle around a heap of coins and precious items; your flickering torchlight reflected from every facet of your treasure. You gaze at it and savor your victory, occasionally scratching absent-mindedly at patches of dried blood from Kalarel’s pit or gingerly rubbing your bruises and other wounds.

There are at least 1500 coins, which adds up to 150 lbs … a heavy burden to lug back to Vergwild. On the other hand, Syrzan has found a magical bag that seems to be able to hold large and heavy items without weighing her down. It would be a lot more convenient to put all the treasure in there, but will you entrust your entire haul to a rogue?

Leaving the Old Keep

Kalarel is slain, the Rift is closed, and disaster has been averted. Now it is up to you to gather yourselves (and your treasure) and haul it back to Vergwild victoriously … but who knows what you’ll find there … last you heard, the village faced a nightmare of undead ancestors rising from their graves … you were unable to aid them for fear of dividing your efforts between the defense of the village and the quest to defeat Kalarel … who knows what you will find upon your return!

Post Kalarel Awards

Congratulations on your defeat of Kalarel in the Old Keep! His ritual to open The Rift, a gate between your world and the Shadowfell was nearly complete … had you failed, the consequences would have been unimaginable for the village of Vergwild as well as the lands beyond … your skill, courage, and defiance in the face of nearly overwhelming odds carried you through to victory!

And to the victor goes the spoils, as they say … speaking of which, I have conveniently tallied them up for you below! :-) (Along with a refresher for where they came from):

Before entering The Old Keep:

+Kobold Brigands (on the way to Vergwild for the first time): 475XP, 34sp
+Interaction with Lord Padraig and Vergwild’s commonfolk: 500XP
+Kobold Ambush (on the way out of Vergwild): 625XP, black obsidian Ram’s head necklace (symbol of Orcus), 80gp value
+Outside Kobold lair: 575XP
+Inside Kobold lair (under the waterfall, also fighting the goblin chief Irontooth): 1250XP, +1 dwarven chain mail
+Dragon burial site: 600XP, +1250XP for rescuing Syran’s mentor (Douven Staul), 65gp, 13sp, +1 Amulet of Health, Nerath mirror (nonmagical but valuable artifact)

Inside the Keep:

+Goblin guard room with collapsing pit: 675XP, 43gp, 51sp
+Hobgoblin torture chamber (including goblin POW, whom you ended up killing almost immediately): 625XP, 55gp, 50sp, +1 Bloodcut Hide Armor
+Excavation site: 625XP, 22gp, +1 Symbol of Battle (statue of Bahamut)
+Goblin chieftain’s lair (i.e., Balgron the Fat): 875XP, 560gp (you buried it in the excavation site, chest and all), +1 magic wand (you chased Balgron to the natural cave and tracked him by his blood splatter to a secret door)
+Crypt of shadows (screaming symbols on floor and zombies): 880XP
+Skeletal legion (standing sarcophogi with skeletons erupting from them): 750XP, 5 statues of Bahamut (60 gp value each)
+Sir Keegan’s Tomb: 875XP for not fighting Sir Keegan, and +1 Longsword (Aecris)

Deep within the Keep:

+Hobgoblin guard room w/deathjump spider: 965XP, 10gp, 27sp
+Hobgoblin barracks: 790 XP, 20gp, 34sp
+Hobgoblin Warchief’s council room: 802XP, 380gp, +1 vicious short sword
+Chamber of statues: 650XP
+Ghoul warren: 1031XP, bag of holding w/176gp inside
+Cathedral of Shadow (Kalarel’s lieutenants): 975XP
+Shadow Rift (Kalarel): 1350XP, 981gp stashed behind altar, +2 magic wavy-bladed dagger

Grand totals: 2312 gp and 209sp.

Total experience attained by each character: 3554


Is everyone interested in starting back up with this campaign sometime in the next month or two?

The Final Battle with Kalarel

You are fighting for your lives and racing against time. Kalarel’s plot to unseal the Rift has been revealed, and you are engaged in a pitched battle to stop it. You are the only hope for Vergwild, Douven Stahl, your clans, and the creatures of the surrounding wood. If you fail and are slain in battle, an insurmountable evil will be unleashed.

If you survive and succeed, you will be hailed as heroes … your names will become the stuff of song and of local legend as you are lauded for your bravery and accomplishment …

The Battle:

Aloysius turns, bobbing and weaving, keeping his guard up as he maneuvers … clawed, fanged creatures strain against the portal reaching for Bralm … their claws rip into Bralm before the membrane snaps back.

Kalarel rears back with his skull capped rod to smite Bralm … Bralm leans back and feels the breeze as the rod swings and inch from his beard.

Stongbone turns his sword on Syrzan … she cannot dodge away fast enough and is wounded further … the undead keeps and eye socket on Syrzan (she is marked).

The scrawny undead Sneer turns his filthy claws on Rhea … he claws her and the wound immediately fills with pus … Rhea feels the life force begin to drain.

Fiercejaw charges forward … Rhea slashes Fiercejaw, crushing its bones further but it is hanging together by a sinew and attacks Syrzan … raking her bloody with its claws.

Kalarel taunts: “Come back here dwarf, your little friend here is not enough!”

Bralm unleashes his sacred flame against the skeletal warrior, breaking its last sinew and sending its bones flying in a torrent of sacred fire … and bolstering the wounded Rhea with divine energy. His divine energy continues to flow, healing his wounds and protecting him from his foul enemies.

Syrzan strikes back at Strongbone, deftly slashing through his ribs … Strongbone counterattacks Syrzan as she moves, but she is too fast for it, and rams her sword through its skull, killing it.

Bralm warns Kalarel: “The dead surround you Kalarel—you will be joining them soon!”

Aloysius: f it
Bralm: yeah
Bralm: like the sound of that
Bralm: yeah

Aloysius stops bobbing and weaving, steps forward and winds up for a mighty axe blow against Kalarel: CRITICAL HIT!

Blood runs down Kalarel’s leg, dripping from under his scale armor … he appears to be in shock.

Kalarel: (to Aloysius): Feel the wrath of Orcus!

Kalarel counter strikes Aloysius, then steps back even closer to the portal … within reach of the horde beyond … the undead Sneer seems to giggle … the creatures in the portal suddenly become frantic … a beam of dark energy emanates from Sneer and pulates toward the remains of the undead warrior Strongbone … suddenly Strongbone comes back together and stands once again …

Sneer then convulses, and belches a beam of splattering venom at Aloysius … but Aloysius dodges it easily.

Bralm: I’m going to focus my radiant energy on the undead and let you others worry about finishing Kalarel …

Bralm unleashes another torrent of radiant energy at Sneer … the energy burns Sneer as it grimaces in pain.

Strongbone has reanimated but seems somewhat worse for wear … he is bobbling badly, and his bones are still mostly broken … almost like a caricature of his former fearsome warrior self.

Syrzan steps forward and slices cleanly through Strongbone’s skull, killing him (again) … his bones clatter to the stone floor.

Kalarel glances over his shoulder at the portal, nervously.

Meanwhile, the necrotic wound that Kalarel inflicted on Aloysius is still rotting.

Rhea steps back and fires her arrows at Kalarel, wounding his shoulder.

Aloysius then bravely pursues Kalarel dangerously close to the portal, within reach of the horde beyond … grimly striking Kalarel in a mighty arc … Kalarel stumbles backward, dazed for a second but quickly regaining his senses … he grits his teeth and straightens himself … Aloysius shrugs off the rot in his wound …

Kalarel counter attacks Aloysius … Aloysius dodges Kalarel’s increasingly clumsy blows but he is so dangerously close to the portal now that the clawed Things behind the portal can reach out … they try desperately to kill Aloysius … but they only manage to rake his armor impotently before the portal membrane snaps back.

The undead Sneer turns and unhinges his jaw … his chin drops until it touches his gaunt neck
while facing Aloysius, Bralm, and Rhea, he growls horrifically, striking fear … Bralm, Aloysius, and Rhea stumble backward, away from Kalarel and Sneer, aghast at the sight, trying to look away.

Bralm regains himeself, lets out a war cry and resolves to unmake the loathsome Sneer … Bralm charges forward, smashing Sneer in the face with his war hammer … Sneer recoils, shaking his head violently back and forth, writhing in pain … Syrzan steps forward and stabs Sneer in the ribs … black mucous seeps from the wound … Aloysius turns and chops Sneer as he passes, decapitating the scrawny undead and killing him … he steps to Kalarel in the same motion, swinging again but missing the High Priest of Orcus.

Kalarel, now wild eyed, lands a heavy strike with his Skull Sceptre on Aloysius’ stout chest … claws and fangs reach through the portal at Aloysius once again. He resists their deathly grasp … Bralm’s magic is protecting him, even in the heart of the enemy’s power.

Syrzan seizes upon Kalarel’s desperate flailing … she senses her moment … she darts around Aloysius and thrusts her blade in Kalarel’s throat with lightning speed and lethal accuracy … blood gushes from the wound, dripping down her sword … Kalarel looks at Aloysius, and with a shocked look on his face, drops to his knees.

The Things behind the portal suddenly lurch forth as Kalarel leans over and falls off the tip of Syrzan’s blade and collapses onto the stone floor … a sudden fire alights behind the portal
and two massive claws reach forward …

Bralm shudders
Syrzan winces
Syrzan tries to tip toe backwards

… they seize Kalarel, and an ear splitting cry rises up … the claws slam Kalarel’s limp body against the floor, then yank him THROUGH the portal to the other side …

Bralm: oh he is not in a happy place now

The portal immediately seems to stiffen, then it goes dark

The dark chamber falls silent as you savor your moment of victory … congratulations heroes!!!


Bralm's Grim Calculus

I think if you can get distance and start ranging them, that would be great. Stick and move. Your speed is 7, so you should be able to stay ahead of them. Getting out of there without and AOP hitting is the tough part. But I think I can help—I still have Sanctuary which will give you +5 to all defenses as you move out. Or perhaps use you at-will hit and run. Either, you should roam around the battle ranging the skeles. Let’s get their lower AC asses dead to get the numbers down. If we can do that, Kalarel is dead.

Aloysius is going to be taking a dirt nap soon—all we can hope for there is that he lives long enough to dole out damage while we execute our plan.

I will move as well using sacred flame, which while being against reflex (which is lower than AC apparently for these guys) will also add some radiant damage and grant 2 temp hp to people.

Hopefully Iados can get better dice—he’s healthy and can dole out the damage—he too can range.

Syzan can work the flank with Will until she is in danger then tumble out and work the range as well.

It’s the best I can think of at the moment. Perhaps we can corner Kalarel once the Skeles are down, but until then, it’s a meat grinder.

The Battle to Stop Kalarel from Opening the Rift

The feeling of strength is coming from your pouch … the small dragon statues you recovered from the skeleton/coffin room are likely the source. That was near where you met the undead incarnation of Sir Keegan (he is the former Paladin who succumbed to the mind games of the Rift).

Sir Keegan ended up killing his whole family before being slain … he was punished by his deity (Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon) to remain in the Keep forever as an undead guardian. He gave you the longsword Aecris to aid you in your quest to get rid of Kalarel and keep the Rift sealed.

Rhea wields Aecris now. The dragon statues depict Bahamut and were found by Bralm in a secret compartment inside one of Sir Keegan’s altars in the nearby sarcophagus room. The dragon statues somehow give you strength against Kalarel’s powers - but you do not understand the exact benefit (yet).

I did not keep a close tally of your characters’ status as we went along this past session. I have in my notes that everyone has used their Action Point, and it looks like Bralm is out of healing magic. Aloysius has used his 2nd wind and his healing potion. What about everyone else’s 2nd wind? Do you still have it? What about the healing potions? Who has used theirs? Is it on your person? It looked like everyone expended their daily and encounter attack powers.

In terms of the status of your enemies: Kalarel is obviously beat up, and on the verge of being bloodied. Fiercejaw and Strongbone are severely beat up, even with the bone-mending magic that seems to be coming from the circle. Sneer has not been touched. Gar and The Zealot are pushing up daisies, of course.

As far as strategically important information goes, I’d just like to point out a couple things that I may not have mentioned (or emphasized) before:

(1) It was quite a victory to take out Gar and especially the Zealot early … the Zealot belched out a lot of death energy, mostly at Rhea, but she was able to resist. The Zealot was powerful and appeared to be Kalarel’s 2nd in command … he was obviously fanatically committed to Orcus and Kalarel’s mission to unseal the Rift. Killing him was a severe blow to your enemies.

(2) Fiercejaw and Strongbone were cracked up pretty substantially but then came back (bone mending magic—-appears to be coming from the magic circle) before getting cracked up even further. Their bones are barely hanging together now, but as long as they are holding together, they can still fight at 100% strength.

(3) Fiercejaw and Strongbone don’t carry any ranged weapons, so (for example) if you were to back off and use ranged weapons on them, they would have to leave the circle to counter attack.

(4) If any of your enemies has sensed that you possess the mirror, they haven’t signaled that to you. Bralm has figured out that the mirror has something to do with keeping the Rift sealed.

(5) Kalarel is obviously very powerful, perhaps more powerful than anyone realized. He is working to reopen the planar Rift that bridges your world with The Shadowfell - a place of unspeakable, hellish evil. The Shadowfell is ruled by the Demon Lord Orcus and is filled with hordes of bloodthirsty undead who are desperate to cross over. This Rift was sealed long ago by good magic and the Keep was built over it to guard the seal and keep the Rift closed. The Keep was manned by Sir Keegan and other Paladins before the fall of the old empire. Once the old empire fell, the Keep and the Rift were unguarded, allowing Kalarel and the cult of Orcus to inhabit the ruins and plot to break the seal. It is now deteriorating from Kalarel’s incantations … he has almost opened it.

This is the most deadly fight of your lives.

Waist Deep in Blood in Kalarel's Inner Sanctum

You took out your rope and Syrzan knotted it while Bralm secured the other end to one of the crystal columns. After throwing the other end of the rope over the edge of the bloody pit, the dwarves and the tiefling climbed down the knotted rope and then jumped the last 10’, splashing down in a waist-deep pit of blood at the bottom. The Ranger and Rogue grabbed one of the chains and simply slid to the bottom, landing on solid ground and making it look easy. You found yourselves in Kalarel’s inner sanctum, and he did not seem surprised or troubled by your arrival. In fact, he greeted you with vicious enthusiasm.

As you intrude, Kalarel presides over an altar, performing a repetitive ritual. A giant archway stands nearby, and it appears to be sealed by a thin, stretchy, deteriorating membrane. An unimaginable legion strains against the membrane from the other side, desperately eager to breach it. As they push against it and lash out, the membrane stretches far into the chamber, with their claws and monstrous limbs clearly visible, before the membrane snaps back against them.

Kalarel also has his minions and guardians close at hand: the zealot that Iados blasted out of the upper chamber, the strange soft-clay gargoyle that Rhea shot up in the zombie room, two skeletal warriors, and a wiry, sneering undead creature.

They all unleashed their attacks on Bralm, Aloysius and Iados as they waded through the pit of blood while Rhea and Syrzan returned fire. Your enemies’ opening volley of attacks left Bralm immobilized, Aloysius dazed, and Iados weakened. Kalarel remains confident and arrogant. His minions, gleeful.

Techniques for Role Playing Aloysius Accurately

I should be able to swing Friday, although it will need to be after 9 for me. Feel free to start without me. Here are some situations and expected responses for my character. You should be able to glean and extrapolate a pattern of behavior from these typical situations that should help provide accurate portrayal in other, less obvious situations.

an attack = attack and certain death
a hard stare = attack and certain death
an unwelcome comment = attack and certain death
a negative comment about my allies = laugh, attack and certain death
a drawn weapon = attack and certain death
a full retreat = attack and certain death
a heartfelt compliment = no response
pushing for a response regarding a heartfelt compliment = attack and probable death

I believe the above responses represent enough scenarios to navigate Aloy through any situation.

See you tonight after 9.



Cathedral of Darkness

You have entered a massive stone Cathedral, eerily lit by glowing crystal columns. Streams of blood erupt from an altar at the far end and then meander across the stone floor in shallow pools before dribbling down a partially grated pit in the center of the Cathedral.

You were immediately attacked by a tattooed zealot, two powerful berserkers, a group of vampire spawn and a little dagger-wielding humanoid with solid white eyes. They attacked from three sides, with the zealot and berserkers coming in the front and the vampire spawn creeping in at the flanks. Bralm’s first blast against the zealot nearly knocked him into the pit, but he was able to save himself at the last moment by falling to the floor and clinging to the grating.

Syrzan found herself at the front of the fighting, and nearly had the life sucked out of her by the zealot before Iados invoked his diabolic powers to smash him and force him backward and down through the bloody hole in the floor. The zealot couldn’t make a last desperate grab onto the grating, and fell, landing with a splash.

Aloysius charged forward, swinging mightily, taking out enemies in great sweeping arcs. The blood splattered across his axe appeared nearly black as it glinted in the blue-green light of the dark Cathedral.

Rhea held the left flank against the foul vampire spawn that threatened to surround you, and once it was secure, she moved forward to protect the heavily wounded Syrzan.

After the zealot was knocked out of the fighting, and the first berserker had fallen to Aloysius’ axe, the second berserker sensed the overwhelming odds and attempted to change position quickly. Bralm anticipated his move and took advantage of his enemy dropping his guard … Bralm lowered the boom with his hammer, and cracked the berserker square in the forehead, killing him instantly.

The battle is not over, and judging from the wimpering coming from the pit, the zealot still lives.


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