Continued from Scourge of the Slave Lords Part II… Our players for this session are Nick (Alarik, Human Crusader 8) and Steve (Steve, Human Swordsage 8). GM PCs include Mornrandir (Human Wizard 8) and Laurin (Human Cleric 8). While more in-depth entries (such as the previous one) are more evocative and informative, this one will be more of a bullet-point highlight reel detailing events of interest. The change of format is necessary so the session can be accounted for before the events of it escape my mind.
* The party skipped the majority of the wilderness encounters, thanks to the use of alter self and Alarik’s diplomacy. Steve disguised himself as Dustin, whose death had no yet reached those slavers in the interior. The only encounter they were required to do was the trek through the cave network to Suderham.
* The cave network itself was fairly challenging. Among the opposition the party faced was a storoper (which turns whoever it hits to stone for a round before the victim reverts and attacks its companions), an illusionist and a rust monster. Laurin was slain by the party after he was hit by the storoper and started attacking his comrades. Alarik went a little overzealous with his divine surge strike and Laruin’s remains were cremated in an acid trap room.
* The party gained entry to Suderham after they assumed new disguises/identities. A week passed with our protagonists taking advantage of the city’s resources. Steve used his new identity as a city guard to memorize patrols and gain entry into the city treasury. Mornrandir joined the wizard’s guild. Alarik took to the bars and taverns, learning what he could about the Slave Lords.
* Alarik eventually found a secret entrance to the Slave Lord stronghold after cozying up with the right people. The party then took this path after they raided the treasury vault and made off with a haul of over 200,000 gold. The above raid was nearly spoiled when the wife of the guard Steve was posing as turned up, asking his co-workers where her husband had.
Steve successfully bluffed her into believing that “he” had been hard at work and taken up drinking to cope. She was unaware that her real husband had been dumped in the city sewer system after receiving multiple stab wounds. While Alarik understood Steve couldn’t tell her the truth, he was pretty appalled by the lies Steve concocted. This woman would not know her husband’s true fate for some time, if she ever would.
* Parts II and III of this account were actually one session total and it lasted about seven hours total. That said, the Slave Lord stronghold was supposed to be longer and involve a lot more traps. As it happened, I misread the map and led the party down a passage they shouldn’t have encountered that led them straight to the Slave Lords.
* The Slave Lord encounter was interesting in that they tempted Steve and Alarik with money, hoping to use them against the wizard. The leader offered Steve a million gold and a position as leader if he turned on his friends, which I thought Steve was close to accepting. It turns out that Steve was only bluffing his acceptance, as he was just trying to get into a position to hit the Slave Lords with a flame strike (which he killed five of them outright with).
Combat-wise, the fight with the Slave Lords was a mess. The Slave Lords themselves were overconfident and hadn’t planned for a fight lasting more than three rounds…and what little they had planned was rendered useless after Steve killed half of them with one attack. Alarik was feared away from the battle and didn’t do much until the end (when Mornrandir got a chance to dispel it). After an assassin’s poisoned sneak attack nearly killed Steve, he was put in a resilient sphere by Mornrandir. This made him immune to attacks but meant he couldn’t attack in turn. The remaining Slave Lords were grappled by black tentacles while Mornrandir went to dispel Alarik’s fear.
The Slave Lord fight would have been a lot tougher had they been converted to 3.5. Because the session was nearing the seven hour mark, I just used the AD&D stat block that was in front of me. With 3.5, Steve’s flame attack would have been less damaging and the encounter would have been the real beat-down the module intended it to be. As it went, Tome of Battle and two 4th level spells (Black Tentacles and Resilient Sphere) gave the players a huge advantage.
* The death of the last Slave Lord triggered a volcanic eruption. Suderham being at the foot of this volcano and in the middle of the lake, this prompted a bit of a panic for the party. They made a mad dash for the docks. Their arrival at the docks was the climax of the adventure…as they decided to take the ship with purple sails. The same ship that had raided Dame Gold’s castle and taken the citizens there into captivity.
* The party wasn’t the only one with this idea, as Caerwyn had found Dame Gold and her guests in the city jail. He had led her and those with her to this boat in hopes of taking the presumed reward for her rescue for himself. The crew of the ship he had arrived in the city with (the one with yellow sails) was also at his command. In the confusion that had ensued from the volcano’s eruption, Caerwyn and his crew were in the process of seizing the boat from the slavers. Caerwyn still had an assassination contract to carry out and (correctly) assumed that any Slave Lords would make their way to this boat.
In addition the people already present here (Dame Gold, her subjects, Caerwyn, his crew, the slavers)…the leader of the Slave Lords was also here. He had teleported here after barely surviving Steve’s flame attack…and only persuaded Caerwyn to spare him momentarily after telling him those who had framed him as “the arsonist of Highport” were also here. From previous experience, Caerwyn had enough trouble fighting Steve and so accepted the leader’s proposal. With cleric buffs and a slaver crew at his disposal, Caerwyn figured the odds were in his favor.
* Despite all that, the party survived the surprise round and Steve won initiative to start the next turn. He short-range teleported next to Caerwyn and threw him into the water. Mornrandir then cast ray of enfeeblement and ray of exhaustion on Caerwyn, plummeting his strength score to 0. With armor, armor check penalties and the tumultuous waters shaken up by the volcano’s eruption, Caerwyn’s lungs filled with water as he sank like a stone. While his death was most painful, he knew this was not the end…as the Spider Queen had assured him he would get his vengeance.
* The leader of the Slave Lords was dealt with by Alarik’s divine surge. With the leader and Caerwyn dying in a most graphic fashion before their eyes, the remaining slavers and Caerwyn’s own crew surrendered. Only enough to sail the ship were spared, the rest executed by Alarik and Steve.
* As the volcano’s eruption consumed the city of Suderham and the surrounding island, the party found a trinket amongst the slaver’s storage: the vial containing the cure for Dame Gold’s brother. While Dame Gold relieved the party of performing the task (due to the events with the Slave Lords taking precedence and the ship not being fast enough to reach his last known location), Mornrandir assured the lady there was still hope…and he would cure her brother’s illness once he had rested up.
The adventure ends with the party going their separate ways upon returning to Safeton. Mornrandir leaves to cure Dame Gold’s brother of his illness while Steve and Alarik ponder their next move. The party would not reunite for another two years…when they will return in Against the Giants!