The Fall of Astia – Part 2 Recap

When we last left off on the 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting, The Fall of Astia – Part 1, the PC’s were left on a cliffhanger.  Vola, the Half-Orc Fighter, had finally found the 3rd and final crate they were searching for.  The crate was in the river, below the water and seemed to be stuck.  Vola then preceded to jump in, rope in hand, with hopes to tie it around the crate and secure it from moving any further down the river and waterfall. He quickly found out why the crate was stuck, or more importantly, what it was stuck in…(insert DM evil laughter here, Muahahahaha).  The crate was stuck in a large gelatinous cube and Vola immediately was engulfed.

The final crate, needed to be retrieved in the river.

Vola managed to escape the gelatinous cube by using the crate as leverage/purchase to hurl himself out of the cube, but not without first taking some serious damage from its corrosive secretions.

As a group, and after using some inspiration for advantage on the roll and the help of a nat 20, despite the incredibly difficult chance, the players managed to shoot an arrow tied to a rope through the water, through the gelatinous cube and into the crate, with a solid thunk.  A couple strength checks later, the crate was pulled out of the gelatinous cube and the party made a run for it, knowing that the cube was not a necessary fight.  This was a smart move, as when the gelatinous cube first came out of the water to pursue the adventurers, it expanded to a humongous creature.  Its time sitting in the path of the river gave it more than enough sustenance and allowed it to grow to an enormous size.  Luckily though, with the crate secured and the slow speed attributed to gelatinous cubes, the party was able to get away.

With only two paths to choose from, and the first promptly revealing itself with its vile stench, to be a cesspool the goblins used for defecation, they preceded to take the other path.  The path went on for miles, but eventually ended in a small cavern with two more passages. The bio-luminescent flora and mushrooms in this deeper section of the underdark, were much more abundant here.  Up ahead, two dead orcs, their blood only a day or so old, were wrapped and impaled by vines the size of a sturdy club, with razor sharp thorns.  A group perception check later, and the PC’s heard the sound of feet scrambling down the other passage, but also something coming from BEHIND them.

After setting a careful ambush, they waited for the creature hunting them to emerge, only to find out that the goblin Ari spoke with when retrieving the first crate, was following him.  The goblin, looked expectantly at Ari, and tried to judge his reaction to him being there.  Ari was thoroughly confused to see the goblin there, and the goblin, seeing that Ari wasn’t reacting mad, took it as complete and total acceptance.  He told Ari that he was his hero and that he was going everywhere that Ari went.  He held up his makeshift bow, which was nothing more than a bent stick and a piece of rotting rope tied together, beaming with pride, as he made it just to be like Ari.  After some more questioning and some heavy implying that the goblin should leave, (without success, I might add), he found out that the goblin’s name was Wexxle Sneakyfeet and the goblin was tired of being with his goblin tribe.  All of the goblin’s family and friends were eaten by the roper, which his HERO Ari had killed, just like he said he would.  He had nothing left to stay for, as they couldn’t protect him.  So he grabbed a backpack, (full of totally useless items I might add), made his bow and started following Ari.  He was really good at being quiet and promised he wouldn’t get in Ari’s way, but wants Ari to teach him everything he knows and so here he was.

There wasn’t anything Ari could say to get him to leave, so Ari, just let it happen.  Nar continually teased Ari about his new “pet” and Khaleen, just kind of laughed and said, “He’s your problem…have fun”.

The heroes, after dealing with what was behind them, started to think about what was before them.  Another perception check revealed a door closing up ahead and after some inspection of the area, this is what they found: A makeshift door, poorly constructed in a cavern hole, with openings on the side, where a pair of eyes peered out, watching them.  Nar and Khaleen decided to push in the door, but little did they know that there was a massive troll standing behind it and who riddled them with comments like, “What, not even a knock?” or “Why are you barging into my home?”  After they managed to push their way in and see the troll in front of them, they began to rethink things.  The troll, named Chibi, was actually being played by another player, who was unable to make the first game, so it seemed like a good place to bring him in.

Some quick backstory:  When Chibi first got here, there wasn’t any wizards tower.  He was looking for food, and ran into a pretty good size group of orcs who had some food, and thought having a troll would be great protection from the other horrors of the underdark.  The Orcs took him in and eventually made him their leader, when they saw his magical abilities.  (Chibi is a troll enchanter)  When Chibi tried to lead them out, the environment had changed.  What was a huge empty cavern when he came in, was now a veritable fortress, with a wizard’s tower and various plant guardians.  The plant creatures and vines took out a couple orcs here and there when they ventured too close and those that explored the cavern alone, were never seen again.

The troll, was currently in quite the pickle.  Though he had 9 orc minions left, with whom he was leading, he was constantly being harassed by this mysterious wizard, as well as these strange plant creatures who were slowly dwindling their numbers.  Seeing an opportunity to become friendly with this new group and with hopes of getting out of this cave alive, he befriended them, only to have the orcs commit mutiny and attack him and the party.  The heroes and Chibi made quick work of the orcs, but there was still the wizard to deal with.

Chibi and the party sauntered into the cavern in hopes of finding their way out and past this mysterious wizard.  The cavern ground was littered with writhing vines and plants, as well as bio-luminescent flora and mushrooms scattered about.  Not long after arriving, the PC’s heard some scratching coming from a large hole they found in the eastern part of the cave.  After deciding to set another ambush, they weren’t only surprised, but “petrified” when a basilisk walked out of the hole.  Saving throws around the board and Nar and Vola were already feeling the effects of the petrification.  Their movements started to slow to a crawl, their limbs heavy and weak, but by the next round and some shared inspiration from other players, they just sneaked out against becoming petrified.  (A shame really)

Right as they were shaking the effects of the petrification off, that’s when the writing vines and plants started to take shape.  The plants, pulling up the bones of it’s recent victims, started to work their way into the limbs and torso, giving it new life.  The vines replaced with what used to be muscle and tissue, giving the now animated skeletons new life and enhanced power.  The skeletons immediately set upon the PC’s, their skeletal claws augmented by thorns and supernatural strength.

Khaleen, the high elf, was strategically attacking the dark-vision impairing mushrooms near the chasm, and once their suffocating spores settled, a bridge appeared out of the heavy darkness.  The bridge was about 40 ft. long and stretched over the entire chasm.

Nar, seeing an opportunity with the exposed bridge, immediately started heading towards the wizards tower, but not before the wizard himself, also a drow, emerged from the upper window and began his attack.

Fall of Astia -Wizard Tower Pic

After he lobbed a fireball right into the middle of the party, nearly putting down the troll wizard Chibi immediately, he was quickly barraged with spells, arrows and bolts from the party.

During the second round, Khaleen’s worst fears came to light as a giant Orc, the same one who killed his family, appeared before him.  Khaleen, his mind succumbing to a phantasmal killer spell from the wizard, left him in dire straits.

As shown above, the wizard decided to cast giant insect, causing 3 spiders to grow to large size and who crawled down the side of the tower to attack the approaching Nar.

Ari, the Elven Ranger, pulled a lucky roll with his grey back of tricks, an a giant elk appeared to help the party with this new threat.  The Elk, after crushing one of the skeletons with his hooves, went across the bridge to help stave off the assault of the monstrous spiders.  Nar, seeing himself in danger, dove into the icy water of the cavern, but not before feeling the sting of a bite from one of the spiders.  Nar swam underwater and emerged close to the stairs to the wizards tower, unseen.  While the spiders didn’t see him, their master did and telepathically told the spiders to slow his pursuit.  The spiders dropped a large web on the side of the tower, in hopes to slow him down, but had the rest of the party and a giant elk to deal with.  They also cast a web on the elk and end of the bridge, buying themselves some time from the rest of the party’s attacks.

A firebolt was cast on the web, causing it to burst into flames, though luckily the elk had already broken itself free and continued its attack on the spiders.  The web, 20′ by 20′ was not quickly consumed and so once Khaleen was free of the phantasmal killer spell, he tried to run and get across the bridge.  Unfortunately he was met with disaster as he tried to leap over the burning web on the edge of the bridge, critically fumbling the roll and falling into the 50′ chasm below.  With only 4 HP, and no way to get out of the chasm, he was going to need the help of his comrades to make it out of this one.

Nar dextrously made his way through the familiar spider webs and made his way up to the wizards tower door, in hopes to sneak inside and take out the wizard before any more harm could be done.  When he got there though, he noticed something strange about the door.  The door seemed to be sticking out of the frame by a good 6 inches.  Unable to determine why, Nar began to pick the lock.  His hand quickly stuck to the lock as a pseudopod grabbed him and a huge maw started to emerge from the mimic posing as a door.  The mimic made quick work of Nar, who was already hurt from the previous battles,  and he fell unconscious from his wounds as the mimic continued to slowly devour him.

Luckily, the party was able to come to his rescue as they efficiently killed off the spiders and send waves of firebolts and arrows into the mimic, killing him before Nar was fully consumed.

The party, severely hurt from the abnormally high combat oriented session, were in dire straits.  Nar and Khaleen need some serious rest, as with no healer in the party, recovery is slow.  They decided to take a short rest on the stairs of the wizards tower, so that the wizard can’t reset the battlefield with monsters, but know they need to be on high alert.  This is where we left off.

While I was happy with the outcome of this game, and even though it was a rare occurrence, I didn’t want to have as much combat in the session that actually occurred.  The combat the players encountered weren’t necessarily supposed to be difficult, but I as a DM didn’t judge it correctly and the players blew through most of the combats quickly.  There was less exploration of the area, which is understandable as the party was under fire, but there were clues that gave away the basilisk for example that might have given the players an edge in that encounter.  As with the first game, the players really enjoyed the use of the 3D terrain and used it strategically as needed for cover.  Plus, there is the added bonus in that my group doesn’t look for ways to screw with the game or the NPC’s.  They take it as seriously as D&D should be taken, with all the fun that accompanies it.  While they may not understand what’s going on just yet, they always trust that the endgame will bring them the mystery and innovation they expect in any of my campaigns, and this is only the beginning.

Until next time!

Jinx

About jinx_the_bard

Longtime Dungeon Master, tabletop and video gamer. Been playing D&D and Shadowrun on and off most recently. Ran a post apocalyptic, paragon, 4th edition D&D campaign for a couple years. Running a 5th edition campaign now called "The Fall of Astia". Enjoy Borderlands 1, 2 and even the Pre-sequel (which I tend to play with fellow author Ness), Fallout 3 and 4, Bioshock and Skyrim. (Games this good never get boring) I also indulge in Magic The Gathering, mostly in the Legacy and Modern formats. Please feel free to contact me at dungeonmaster.bm@gmail.com for any questions, thoughts or things you'd like to see featured on our site.

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