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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Adventures in Eberron - Daughters of Sora Kell

We played some more Eberron last week. I play a 12th level sorcerer with tons of body hair.

I've never been that into Eberron. I mean, it has lots of really cool things in it, but it was definitely not a priority as far as what settings I wanted to run.

The settings I am most into are Planescape, Spelljammer, Al Qadim, and generic adventures that I can use to flesh out my homebrew setting that all of this revolves around. Pathfinder paths have been an absolute goldmine when it comes to generic D&D material, and I still think nothing else comes close.

Because I left it alone, Eberron is a great setting for me to play in. I know absolute nothing about it!  I get to experience everything fresh. I love Sharn, the city of towers. Lately, we've been adventuring in the monster kingdom of Droamm, and I think that it is really awesome.

A city ruled by medusas where cockatrices and gorgons (both are creatures that turn you to stone) is just a really cool idea.

So, in this session, we continued to search for our wizard's special magic gift that fell from the sky. By the end of the session, I think I inadvertently screwed over the group.

The Party

Davven - Human Fighter
(Me) Endarian Nimbus - Human Sorcerer
Kethra - Human Wizard

My DM, Dennis, actually wrote this summary to me/for me! I'll add in my thoughts in italics as we go.

You were brought before the three hags that rule Droaam, the Daughters of Sora Kell. They offered to let you take the "Chaos Star" even though the Queen of Stone, the medusa Sheska, had already claimed it - but they had to make sure you were strong enough to take it.

We had to go through three tests! A classic D&D trope.

First, the green hag bard Sora Katra tested your wits by asking you to convince the Queen's envoy to tell you where the Chaos Star was. Knowing the medusae to be coldly rational, and picking up on his hatred of humanoid oppression, you told him that you needed the Chaos Star to save monsters and humanoids alike; he seemed to accept this and told you of a great chasm in the center of the goblinoid ruins of Cazaak Draal where the star could be found.

I have been on a kick lately of trying to resolve encounters without combat. I always get into this mode when I'm running Planescape games, as that setting is one in which you rub elbows with all sort of monsters. I think my campaigns benefit from this mindset. When I do it as a player in other people's campaigns, it's a bit jarring for the group, but the DMs always roll with it nicely.

Second, the night hag barbarian Sora Maenya summoned a three-headed frost giant and told you to wrestle it to the ground. It was too strong for Davven to trip, but Kethra forced it to the ground with her telekenesis magic.

Third, you went into the chamber of the blind dusk hag oracle Sora Teraza, who told you that the true enemy between you and the Chaos Star was not the Queen of Stone but a demon queen of "scale and steel." This demon wields four swords from hobgoblin heroes whose souls were trapped in Khyber dragonshards near her lair. Sora Teraza gave you a potion to pour on the shards that would reveal their names; speak the names and their swords would betray the demon. The dusk hag's challenge was merely for you to trust her, so you took the potion and left.

We first hypothesized that this mystery monster was a warforged dragon (which is an epic idea). But once we got more clues, we realized we were up against a maritilith! Those things are really, really tough.

Before leaving town, Endarian caught a bit of local color at a harpy inn. You remember that I bet! That was fun, thanks for suggesting it.

The others wanted to go to the ship, thinking that it was too dangerous to wander the monster city. My character is a "live life to the fullest" kind of guy, so I boldly sought out a place to drink and meet the locals. I went to a harpy inn and challenged the harpies to a singing contest. I lost! 

The harpies pranked me. When I woke up the next day, I was outside the city on a rock, surrounded by wolves. I used a fly spell to escape. Hey, could have been worse!

My character has been trying to urge Kethra, our wizard, to enjoy life more. She's very into reading. Once in a while, I can get the group to get into some hijink with me.

You flew your airship to Cazaak Draal, a city destroyed by petrifying monsters thousands of years ago. There are still hobgoblin statues all over the place, and the city is overrun with cockatrices - some huge - basilisks and gorgons, only some of whom have been tamed by the medusae. 

I really love this place! What happens if you turn the hobgoblins into flesh again? Could you build an army out of them and retake the city?

Just the idea of a city full of people turned to stone is absolute gold.

In the center of town is a big park in front of a ziggurat, and in that park is the chasm the envoy told you about. You got jumped by some gargoyles - maybe you hadn't won over the envoy after all - but were able to go down some rickety stairs into the chasm.

At the bottom of the chasm you eventually found a web of caves, with a wailing noise off in the distance. In most of the caves you found khyber dragonshards (blue ones, used in binding rituals). When you poured the potion on them, you saw a little memory of the lives of hobgoblins struggling to oppose the daelkyr (read:  aberrations) who would one day destroy the hobgoblin empire. You had to match up the names of the hobgoblins in the memories with clues Sora Teraza gave you to know which ones were the command words to mess with the demon's swords.

But you also found the demon's lair, where you discovered the broken remains of a meteorite and a pile of cut snakes. You learned where the snakes came from when you were attacked by the Queen of Stone. The demon had cut off the medusa's snakes, turning her petrifying gaze into a constant stream of indigo eye beams (kinda like prismatic spray) that had a nasty Dex save instead of the more common Con save. 

I felt sorry for the medusa whose snakes had been cut from her head. Again, another really cool idea! I actually tried to reattach her snakes but it really didn't go well.

You did a lot of damage to her - and poison began to spray from her head wounds as her HP dropped - but with magic, Endarian was able to convince her to stop attacking you. She left to chase the demon but got killed.

With the Queen dead, the demon tracked you down before you could learn the names to disable all four of the hobgoblin swords. The demon was a marilith, which could have been a deadly encounter, but when you spoke the correct names  she was forced to drop half her swords. You unleashed some very big spells and attacks and brought her down fast.

I thought this was a very cool way to de-power a marilith without just cheating to keep the group alive. We were able to cut down on the amount of attacks she made by braving different rooms with uniqe dangers.

In "Nemesis" by Chris Perkins, there's a marilith with 6 magic swords. I love that idea, and I like it when people build on top of what's there to create new twist on what you can do with them.

A glowing necklace fell from the dead marilith's neck and broke, releasing the stolen contents of the Chaos Star meteorite - a wolf spirit. It merged with Kethra and she gained a large unique dragonmark on her shoulder. In addition to boosting a lot of her existing powers - hopefully helping her player become the true melee/spell dual threat she'd wanted at character creation - she could also summon the wolf to get advantage and extra damage. We'll see how broken it ends up being!

She got a ton of powers! We're starting to get into the whole Draconic Prophecy story in Eberron, which is very cool.

As you headed back to leave, you found the Daughters of Sora Kell and their three-headed giant waiting for you at the foot of the stairs. They demanded either the wolf - which they say they can pull from Kethra's corpse if needed - or her Book of Shadows. 

The PCs refused and Endarian teleported himself and Kethra up the stairs. Endarian started flying back to get Davven, but the giant dealt him a nasty axe blow and then the hags knocked him unconscious. Will Davven survive? Will the PCs escape Droaam with their treasures? And if they do foil the hag's schemes, what reprisal might they seek? 

So, yeah. I screwed up. I don't think Kethra wanted to be teleported away, but I was thinking that we couldn't let the bad guys get their hands on the book. That book has a ton of secrets, and it is something the whole campaign revolves around!

But, I left Davven alone and wasn't able to save him. Next time we play, I'll go down there and try to help him, or I'll share his fate. If I can, I'll give him a chance to escape and if I get taken down, so be it!

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