Howdy, TAYers! Jolly here, with an entry in a series I haven’t done in quite a long time.
A few weeks ago, as things were going crazy around us and my D&D group realized we weren’t going to be back at our much beloved table any time soon, someone else suggested a Roll20 game. Now, my experience with Roll20 was limited to the time I tried to run a TAY D&D game and I personally found the experience pretty frustrating. Not the TAYers involved, but just Roll20 itself. Admittedly, I hadn’t done much research and figured I could wing it as easily as I do in a group face-to-face setting. I was wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.
But due to this bad experience, when the suggestion came up, I immediately said I wasn’t running it, and figured that would be the end of that. But, much to my surprise, one of me bruddas offered to take the DM chair for this one. I’d finally get to be a player for the first time in years. So, we rolled up our characters, and began the adventure of what has quickly become one of my favorite characters I’ve ever created.
Each of the party has found themselves in Gungeer, a small town along the path to the City of Bones. The City of Bones was in its heyday home to some sort of ultimate evil, but that was vanquished long ago. These days the ruins serve mostly as a place for up and coming adventurers to prove their mettle against the dangers of a revolving door of inhabitants that would call the place home. Gungeer is currently throwing its Festival of Heroes in honor of all arriving adventurers and in honor of all those lost in previous trials.
Jaeger Crowhammer (Dwarf)- The third son of Pabst Crowhammer, this Barbarian became an acolyte of Inn’uu’wii Doeloe (aka “Dolo”), the patron spirit of living life to the fullest through strong deeds, strong drink, good food, and valorous action. With his eldest brother Pabston set to inherit the family crest, and his brother Moergen established as a naval captain, it fell to Jaeger to seek his place in the world through entering the priesthood. Having finished cloistered studies, this adventure was a way to test his mettle and prove himself in the eyes of his family, his culture, and his patron.
Skreonk Krogaan ( Lizardfolk, and me!)-A former island hermit, this Druid turned to piracy when his island sank during a typhoon and he was saved by a passing ship. Now he has set out as an adventurer whilst he looks for the captain that betrayed him and his fellow crewmates, running off with their portion of the ship’s last big score.
Kiryu, The Ferrous Fist (Warforged)- A mysterious Monk made of metal, not much is known of his reasons for going to the City of Bones, outside of a desire to prove himself.
Rhahk ( some type of bird person which is hard to pronounce)- Presumably also at the festival on his way to the City of Bones to test his prowess as a Ranger.
The Next two were players joining later in the campaign
Niko the Necro (Tielfing)- A wizard/necromancer on the run from forces in his hometown of San Mortis.
The ExSalted One-The newest addition to the group (at this point,) The ExSalted One seems to be something of a contrasting personality foil to Niko The Necro. The ExSalted One is also a magic user, and he bears markings of being “human” with a primordial or elemental-touched bloodline. His skin and hair produce some manner of earthy salt, much in the same way other humanoids might perspire or shed old skin. Apparently, far from home, his motivations are still unclear, but he appears largely cooperative (even if his vocal comments are often not enjoyed by other members of the group). The ExSalted one uses a variety of acid-summoning spells, which typically leave a trace of salty residue.
Episode One- Who Stole the Pie???
Enjoying some respite at Thatchet’s Thirst in Gungeer, the PCs were introduced to each other over drinks ( Note: One of Skreonk’s personality traits is that he instantly trusts anyone he shares drinks with, seeing that as the best way to get to know the squishier things). The peace was quickly shattered though when the angry Matron of the Inn, Momma Thatchet ( an ogre woman of considerable size)stormed in demanding to know who had stolen the huge-sized pie she had made for the festival. Dejected, her much smaller human husband Krakor begged the adventurers for help finding the missing pie.
The heroic quartet of Jaeger Crowhammer, Skreeonk Krogaan, Kiryu Kinzoku, and Rhahk Khasbah solved the puzzling mystery of the missing pie. Having tracked Mama Thachet’s stolen pie to the sewers of Gungeer. This lead to a battle with some rodents of unusual size; the situation looked dire for the heroes before one of the rats made the mistake of spilling Jaeger’s ancestral family chalice (and the mixed drink within). As Jaeger started to stack dead rat upon dead rat, Skreeonk attracted an unlikely ally in the form of what appears to be an ooze-like creature; Kiryu furiously flailed ferrous fists; and Rhahk harassed the rodents with his longbow.
Eventually, the original four stood victorious over the rats and further tracked crumbs of the pie to a trail of goblinoid footprints. In the midst of a goblin ambush, a new character was introduced: Niko “The Necro” Skelett. Finding common cause against the goblins, the -now quintet of adventurers- fought several battles against goblins and wolves. Victorious but fatigued from a night of nearly endless battle, Niko tricked the hobgoblin leader of the thieves of the pie by using a creative lie: saying it had been poisoned and should be returned. And so, the band of five solved the mystery of the pie, returning to the tavern of Thachet’s Thirst and being thanked by Krakor Thachet with free room and board for the night and a magical map.
The episode came to a close after most of the heroes cleaned themselves up, slept, and then discussed (over breakfast) sticking together on the journey to the City of Bones for further adventure.
Episode 2 - Wild Wanderings
Jaeger, Skreeonk, Kiryu, Rhahk, and Niko begin the long and arduous trek to the City of Bones. Attempts to rent transportation or purchase mules in Gungeer fell through, as most were already purchased or rented by other adventurers. Trusting Skreeonk’s connection to the wild, the group follows the little lizardfolk’s lead for navigation. This leads to several off-the-beaten-path forays into the wilderness.
The group bonds during the journey, discussing several things with each other. Jaeger contemplates whether or not it would be possible to add a cup holder to the back of his shield. Niko is angered by a man on a horse nearly running the group over and calling them all “peasants.” Eventually, Rhahk decides to aid Skreeonk with navigation and the group makes it back to the main road, only to come across a battle between goblinoid foes (lead by a hobgoblin and featuring an ogre).
Jaeger, Skreeonk, Kiryu, Rhahk, and Niko combine forces with the group of Fus (the man-at-arms), Ro (the warrior-priest), Dha (the fortune hunter), and Phara (a tiefling woman of wizardry) to defeat the goblinoid hooligans. Deciding that more numbers may be prudent for the night, the two adventuring parties make camp together before departing in the morning.
The episode comes to a close after Jaeger aids a helpless goblin stuck in a hole, Niko and Rhahk play chess with a mysterious woman in the woods, and Skreeonk eats a variety of objects: including both bodies and chess pieces.
Episode 3- At The City Gates
The road to the City of Bones leads to an old and ominous cemetery of untold age. Venturing through a stone archway, our quintet of adventurers discover a dead body. Near the body stands a new character; this new figured calls himself the “ExSalted One” and claims some manner of nobility from a far off land. Though largely human(oid) in appearance, he has the markings of an elemental-touched bloodline -perhaps some ancestral link to the primordial planes of earth (in much the same way that Tieflings and Aasimar are respectively linked to Devils and Celestials).
Declaring that he is obligated to help those he deems “lesser,” the “ExSalted One” (much to Niko’s chagrin) invites himself to join the party.
This brings the total count of the adventuring party to six members.
After fighting through a variety of undead creatures, the adventurous half-dozen encounter a puzzle involving hat-wearing golems, an empty-handed statue, and rune-covered pieces of obsidian containing various parts of a scale. In time, the adventurers figure out how to assemble the scales and balance them upon the empty hand of the statue. It is then that the entrance to the City of Bones is revealed, and the true test begins.
Episode 4- Gloom and Doom!
The six adventurers venture into The City of Bones and find themselves embroiled in conflict with zombies, skeletal archers, and ghouls. In the midst of a particular tough battle (during which Jaeger is temporarily isolated on the other side of a secret door with enemies,) tensions between Niko The Necro and The ExSalted One come to a boil, and Niko casts a sleep spell on The ExSalted One.
The ooze-like companion acquired by Skreeonk once again appears (after seeming to be coughed up by the lizardfolk) and eats through the secret door separating Jaeger from the rest of the party. After a hard-fought battle, the group is victorious and chooses to rest -taking refuge in the cleared out secret chamber.
Venturing deeper, the group enters a magic portal (after several more hard-fought battles). The portal leads to another floor of The City of Bones.
Simultaneously, as Niko, Rhahk, and Kiryu investigate a demonic-looking statue, Jaeger quietly remarks to The ExSalted One that he can see the outline of a zombie in the darkness ahead. As Niko pushes through a discovered illusory wall, Jaeger remarks to the ExSalted One that the zombies thus far have not provided good enough stories to tell while drinking -and Jaeger comes up with a plan to try to lasso one with rope, so as to kill it in a more interesting and story-worthy way. As Jaeger attempts to do so, Niko has meanwhile discovered a lair of giant spiders on the other side of the illusory wall and fails to put the giant vermin to sleep with magic. This triggers two simultaneously battles taking place in two different rooms: Jaeger, The ExSalted One, and Skreeonk (now shapeshifted into a giant boa constrictor) versus zombies, a skeleton, and a ghoul; Niko, Kiryu, and Rhahk versus a group of giant spiders.
With the illusory wall blocking sound, Niko’s verbal alarms and requests for help are not heard, but he was closely followed through the wall by Rhahk and Kiryu. The three quickly find themselves in trouble as the spiders quickly poison, web, and incapacitate the half of the adventuring party.
Meanwhile, Jaeger, The ExSalted One, and Skreeonk continue to battle undead foes. Things take a dire turn as Jaeger takes several grievous wounds and is paralyzed by the ghoul’s touch.
Several attempts to break free from spidery webs are foiled, as the spiders -apparently skilled in the art of dispatching would be adventurers and interlopers- again and again web and poison Niko, Rhahk, and Kiryu.
Skreeonk and The ExSalted One continue to battle the undead, with Jaeger shaking off paralysis and entering into a battle rage. Quaffing a potion, Jaeger smashes the glass container over the head of a zombie and pulls out his axe to begin chopping at foes. Kiryu and Rhahk (at various points) return from the spider room to call for aid from their allies. Unsure how to help all of his allies, Skreeonk calls upon his connection to nature to summon a healing unicorn spirit and follows Kiryu and Rhahk into the spider lair.
Initially, Skreeonk starts to turn the tide against the giant spiders. At one point, shapeshifting into a spider himself, Skreeonk holds the line for a time and helps to keep his allies alive, but the lizardfolk is eventually outnumbered and overpowered as Rhahk and Kiryu fall to the onslaught of the spiders.
At this time, Jaeger continues to chop away at foes while in a battle rage. The zombies and ghouls having been slain, he charges off into the darkness to track down a skeleton which had shot him in the chest earlier. As he does so, The ExSalted One deduces that the nearby wall is illusory and begins to blindly fire spells through the illusory wall.
A rampaging Jaeger comes back from somewhere in the dark, seeing The ExSalted One’s attention being directed toward the nearby wall. Attempting to push through the wall, Jaeger’s path is blocked by some manner of monstrous body, and he recklessly swings his axe through the illusory wall. Lowering his shoulder for one final attempt to push through, Jaeger goes through the wall and discovers the dire scene of most of the group being bound by webs and paralyzed.
Hit by webs several times, Jaeger powers out of the restraints, grips his battle-axe with both hands and proceeds to chop the spiders to death (with The ExSalted One jabbing in and out with splashes of acidic arcane energy). Fatigue setting in, Jaeger swings one final time with his battle-axe and chops down the monstrous vermin -a tale to be told over strong drink at some other time!
Once again together and miraculously alive, the group barricades the entrance to the room and takes time to rest and recover. Skreeonk crafts several javelins from the legs of the giant spiders and gifts them to Jaeger.
To be continued
This has just been the start of our new Roll20 adventure. There’s several more episodes until we catch up to current events, but this seems enough for this article. Tune in next time for more!
Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!