In That Epic Struggle, Part One
By Dwip November 29, 2006, 4:28 pm Comments (6) RSS Feed for this post

Since I keep talking about how I’ve been writing down the adventures of the intrepid heroes of the last Forgotten Realms D&D game I ran, Jason prodded me about posting them here. Since the only other thing I have to talk about is skipping class because I’m so tired from working on my ILS 501 database I can’t think to drive, I’ll just go ahead and do so.

But let us not begin with our latest heroes, because that’s closer to the end of the story. Instead, let’s talk about our original heroes. The time, as best I recall, is 1997. The game was AD&D, Second Edition, with all the various game-breaking books.

Our Heroes:
Kink, Human Cleric of Valkur the Mighty, God of Sailors (Randy). He wields an enchanted harpoon known as Heartseeker with the power to kill foes when a critical hit is made[1].
Shador, Human Thief/Psionicist (Jason). Has the ability to create dimension doors with his mind, which he often uses as a weapon. Also wields Spellbinder, a sword that creates an anti-magic shell around the wielder[2].
“Bob”, Sun Elf Psionicist (Jason). Shador’s apprentice, who follows him everywhere following the disappearance of their master, who has not been seen in some time.
Kasim, Half-Elf Thief/Wizard (NPC). A mysterious man from the south, skilled at both stealth and magic.
Clyos, Minotaur Fighter. The most frightening death machine this side of Drizzt, Clyos wields two axes: The Axe of Slicing, which can slay its enemies on a critical hit, and the Axe of Slowing Flame, a weapon whose flames cause their targets to be magically slowed[3]. He replaced a ranger who isn’t going to live long enough for you to care the name of.

[1] – On a natural 20 on the attack roll, target dies, no save. Moderately broken, but will totally save the party’s ass, as you will see.

[2] – Spellbinder here makes a reprise from an earlier FR game (run by Dad, not me), where it was carried by Jason’s character, who used it to exceptionally good effect. Yes, anti-magic shell IS as broken as you might think it is. In this game, I started out by having it broken in a such a way as to lose the anti-magic shell ability.

[3] – On a 19 or 20 natural attack roll with the Axe of Slicing, target saves vs. death or dies, or else just takes a 3x critical hit. The Axe of Slowing Flame slows the target for 10 rounds and does 2d3 fire damage[4].

[4] – This is the time when we started saying “save vs death or die” a lot, for obvious reasons. And yes, everyone was vastly overpowered. One of the best things 3rd Edition did was find a good way to balance magic items, as opposed to the Encyclopedia Magica, which really didn’t.

Eleasias, 1370 DR (August):

In Waterdeep, the City of Splendors, the party unites to raid the most famous in all the Realms, Undermountain. Monsters are overcome, riddles solved, and the we learn Shador’s penchant for slicing people in half with psionic dimension doors[5]. This culminates in a fight with a guardian juvinile white dragon, who is slain at the cost of Cole’s unnamed ranger. Much treasure is gained, and the party discovered a portal to the outskirts of Waterdeep, which they take. Shortly thereafter, Clyos the Minotaur joins the group[6].

Various people do different things in Waterdeep, but Shador, seeking a way to repair Spellbinder, takes it to Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun, where he is told he will have to seek out a wizard of power who lives in Amn and knows more about such matters. The party resolves to do this, and is teleported near to the city of Murann, where their quarry supposedly lives.

[5] – We had a fairly involved discussion at the time about this, since the description did make them sort of Robert Jordan-esque gateways that could hurt you. So we worked out rules to damage people.

[6] – Looking back, I’m not sure what the hell I was thinking with that dungeon, because it so clearly sucked, and is so clearly at odds with how good the rest of the campaign turned out to be. My only defense is that it was high school.

Elient, 1370 DR (September):

The party quickly discovers that Murann is a city under seige. Two ogre mages, Sythillis[7] and Cyrvisnea, allied with a priest of Cyric named Koth and the infamous pirate known as the Black Alaric, have led a vast army of humanoids to sack the city, full of treasure ships from the New World of Maztica. The city is surrounded on both land and sea, and an assault seems imminent.

Fortunately for our heroes, they quickly locate the wizard[8] and use magical (or psionic) means to enter the city, where they are greeted with open arms by the rulers and given accomodations in the palace. They settle in for a night of rest.

Sometime later that night, everyone is awakened by shouting, screaming, and fighting in the hallways of the palace. Emerging from their rooms, the party discovers the palace to be under attack by Cyricist troops, who are slaughtering everyone in sight. Except our heroes, who summarily defeat their opposition, and rove through the palace looking for more. In the great hall, they find it – a huge portal opens up, and through it charges a squadron of heavy cavalry, followed by Koth himself. The ensuing battle sees the party victorious, despite Koth’s attempts at calling down a flamestrike[9]. The high priest of Cyric flees, and the palace is cleared.

In the city, however, all is chaos. Much is in flames, and humanoid troops roam the streets even as others assault the walls. For the rest of the night, the part roams Murann’s streets, dispatching goblins, ogres, and even a group of hill giants. Dawn sees them exhausted and sorely wounded, but victorious – the humanoids are in full retreat[10].

[7] – Poor Sythillis was pretty much always called Syphilis, for what should be obvious reasons. I may have been the only one to use his actual name.

[8] – I call him the wizard, because he never actually got a name besides “the wizard” or “the sage.” He was only around for a night, so.

[9] – I rolled all 1s and 2s. And then most everybody saved. I MAY have done 10 damage to somebody with that flamestrike. It was pathetic. Nobody ever took Koth seriously again, and we still talk about people “Kothing” dice rolls.

[10] – And I mean that literally. From the teleport from Waterdeep to the final city battle was played in about a 12 hour session one night until about 6am. I’d like to note that we drank a LOT of caffeinated tea that night – several 2 quart pitchers worth.

Elient, 1370 DR (September):

After consultation with the wizard, the party learns that the magical globe needed to repair Spellbinder is in the hoard of a blue dragon who lives in the remote peaks of the Small Teeth. Being a powerful wizard, he has no issues teleporting them directly to the lair of the dragon[11]. Inside, the fighting is vicious, and several party members are almost killed by the dragon, including Shador, who was scouting the dragon’s hoard[12], until Kink slew the dragon in a mighty thrust with Heartseeker[13]. Licking their wounds, and carrying a vast amount of treasure, the party returned to Murann, where Spellbinder was repaired to its full glory.

[11] – The guy was something like 15th level and had access to Teleport Without Error, for the record. I believe Koth was about 14th level. That these characters were able to compete at level 6 or so is a testament to how ludicrous they were.

[12] – Jason’s characters almost ALWAYS have a sneaky side to them, and Shador was no exception. There were plenty of times when he’d sneak into the bad guy treasure room and steal half of it before the party got there. And they didn’t find out until years later.

[13] – That natural 20 saved their asses, because the dragon was definitely winning. I believe Shador and Kasim were down, and Clyos and Kink were pretty close.

Elient, 1370 DR (September):

Still in Murann, Shador recieves word that his master has been kidnapped by mysterious psionicists in Calimport. The party buys a ship, hires a crew, and sets out. Midway, they are ambushed by pirates led by the Black Alaric, whom they defeat, it being very hard to kill a ship whose crew includes a minotaur and people who can make dimension doors that cut large parts of your hull away. In persuit of the remaining pirates, they come to the Sea Tower of Irphong. Deep in its bowels, Shador meets the Black Alaric in single combat and defeats him, though he is grievously wounded in the process[14]. The legend of Jordy, first mate of their vessel, is also made here, when his coolness in action and seeming invincibility come to the notice of the party[15].

Departing the Sea Tower of Irphong, the party continues sailing towards Calimport. They are briefly waylaid by a gigantic shark, who almost causes Clyos to lose one of his prized axes but is otherwise unsuccessful in claiming a meal.

Disembarking in Calimport, the party is severely ambushed several times before following some clue into the Muzad and vanishing, never to be heard from again[16].

[14] – Shador fought him in single combat because he was, once again, looting the treasure hoard. What actually got him was a fairly severe trap on the hoard door after he looted it and gave the party some of his old items they didn’t even know he had.

[15] – It all started as a bit of flavor, me describing Jordy fighting off some pirates. Then it got to be “Hey Erik, what’s Jordy doing?” “Oh, he’s fighting about five pirates at the same time and winning.” The obligatory salty sailor talk didn’t hurt any either. We still talk about Jordy.

[16] – Actually, there’s more to it than that, but it’s to ludicrously munchkin, high school, and just plain bad to talk about. While part of the fun of this game was the insane power levels, we had some severe problems with them that led to us toning them down an awful lot in future games.

There were two (actually three, if you count the brief foray into Undermountain) boxed sets involved in this game. Lands of Intrigue, which details Amn, probably my favorite FR country ever (as you will see), and Empires of the Shining Sea, which details Calimshan and was brand new (as in I held off playing so it would come out) when the party went to Calimshan.

Join us next time for further adventures in the Realms, albeit slightly later and with a moderately different group.

Dungeons and Dragons Comments (6) RSS Feed for this post
Comments on In That Epic Struggle, Part One
avatar Comment by Clyos #1
November 29, 2006 at 5:59 pm

Firstly the ranger’s name was Zimm, secondly… Clyos the Minotaur could drop about 150ish damage every round (on average) and had a THACO of like…. 2

avatar Comment by Dwip #2
November 29, 2006 at 6:05 pm

Various errata (because I have a faulty memory 10 years later):

1. They bought the ship in Waterdeep to get to Amn, they weren’t teleported. Travelled by sea to Athkatla (this is where Jaws was fought), then took horses to Murann.

2. Speaking of Jaws the Shark, I should mention that he started with about 100 hp. Clyos took him down, singlehandedly, in one round. He did that much damage. So I cheated and gave him 300 hp. That gave him about 3 more rounds. It was fairly disgusting.

3. As to the blue dragon…

Dragon: RAAAAAAA! *owning everyone in sight*

Me: Ok, Randy, you’re up.

Cole: Wouldn’t it be great if you got a 20?

Randy: *rolls a 20*

Party: YEAH!

Me: Crap.

avatar Comment by Gormicn #3
November 30, 2006 at 4:44 pm

I’m not THAT devious sure my characters have abandoned, killed, stolen from, used, and generally decieved the party. Thats no reason to say that about my characters. Sure it could be pointed out that I owned the ship had an apprentice, Hired Jordy to train me in seamanship so he was one of my henchmen. Then i had 10 other henchmen forming my own small army from the sale of magic items. I only had around 15 magic items compared to the rest of the parties 3 or 4……In my defense I made sure that they only got the crappy items….err thats not really in my favor is it? So my apprentice and chief henchman was better equipped than the rest of the party but thats not my fault is it?

avatar Comment by Clyos #4
December 4, 2006 at 11:40 pm

You need a new post

avatar Comment by Dwip #5
December 5, 2006 at 8:53 am

Soon, soon. One more paper.

avatar Comment by Clyos #6
December 6, 2006 at 4:18 pm

soon is a relative term i see