The Defenders of Terralon – Rogar, Adrik, Alvo, Alar and Vythrik – sorry for the misspellings guys.
While it is fresh in my head I want to write about gaming from last night. Specifically Dungeons and Dragons gaming. This weeks campaign is being DM’ed by Paul who is running a home brew game that has elements from the Brothers Grimm catalog of fairy tales. Last night we enjoyed Paul’s version of The Frog Prince and another fairy tale that does not belong to the Brothers Grimm called The Nixie of the Mill-Pond.
Our synopsis for the evenings gaming finds our band of heroes heading back to civilization after clearing out the ice titan, frost giants and cheater cronies from their ice-palace that they surrounded one of the Towers with that we are liberating from the taint of evil that has fallen over the land after the former king was assassinated. (I am fairly certain that was a run-on sentence.) We ended up in a village of about 800 people. The village for its size was very well appointed and catered to the fairly well off. We happily endured their ministrations to our needs as we spent money like it was water.
Naturally, for some of us, the first stop was the tavern of which there was only one. We were greeted by a friendly owner/operator who upon gauging our wealth and stature immediately bought us a round of drinks. Not so amazingly they were very good. Brewing, distilling and vintners aplenty apparently are all done in these parts and done very well.
As we say drinking our fine beverages assessing the groups of various races sitting in two’s and three’s throughout the large common room, one of our party takes special note of a man and women sitting huddled over drinking looking completely miserable. Being the nosy types that we are we send one of our own over to see if there is anything the matter that strong hero types might be able to help them out with. The couple looks more miserable, if that is even possible, and recounts their tale of woe. Apparently the man had made a bargain with the Nixie of the pond; in exchange for the first animal born on a certain day a couple days past they would receive prosperity. The man readily agreed to this. His pregnant wife was a month away from giving birth and as it was spring time many of their animals were due to give birth any moment. Sounds like the perfect deal. Almost too good to be true.
As it turns out it was too good to be true. The wife gave birth a month early and before any of their pets or livestock did on that fateful day. The Nixie came and collected on the bargain that was struck taking the couples newly born babe. As the recounting of the story unfolds the man looks more and more miserable and the woman breaks down into fits of sobbing despair.
Not to fear, we hero types are here to deal with such terrible things like this after all, we do it all the time – right? Once we are filled in on all the rest of the details and promises are made to help deal with this The Nixie of the Mill-Pond if even just to stop her from striking any more terrible bargains with the local folk any more we settle in for the evening has grown long and carousing had yet to occur.
As we were settling in to our reverie our monk noticed one of the booths was trying very hard not to be noticed. Odd right? Magic often is. Fortunately he was able to see through this veil and noticed that none other than our friend Rumpelstiltskin was sitting at the booth. As we are always suspicious of his motives and him in general we sit down and start the interrogation. As it turns out he has a keen interest in this The Nixie of the Mill-Pond. Apparently he has some information for us to help our long-term goals if only we retrieve a medallion she has acquired that he really wants. Something he passes off as non-special. Magic for certain but nothing we should concern ourselves with. After several minutes of finger wagging and thinly veiled animosity for our sometime employer, we agree to his terms.
The rest of the night is more of the same although our comrade Alvo has taken an interest in singing and takes on the mantle of bard for a couple songs. As we get ready to leave for our beds the last thing we hear are the words, “Anybody know a word that rhymes with Nantucket?”
The following morning we offer prayer and service to each of our own gods, mine to Kord, who favors strength. For him I run through a series of rigorous calisthenics and feats of strength and agility. Others offer to lead services in prayer. Shortly thereafter we take off for the pond that is a couple hours out of town.
It is not hard to find, a small grist mill, belonging to the Millers – the couple we are helping out – sits upon a small stream next to the pond. Directions they gave were easy to follow.
Almost immediately after arriving The Nixie of the Pond arrives in spectacular fashion; from the pond soon there is a slight stir that turns into a maelstrom of bubbling water following by the emergence of the Nixie herself…all 18″ of herself. I didn’t know what to expect but I can tell you it was not this. She was small and pert and covered in shimmering scales that reflected light playfully…and she was beautiful. She wore a slight smirk upon her face that spoke of mischief like a child. But this was no child, this was the horrible, nasty, evil Nixie of the Pond who had cheated many people out of who knows what, well…we know what – children often enough, and was the ruiner of many lives for countless years. All I could think of to say was, “Let’s Dance.” I am not certain if I actually said that but I know I was thinking it when we were asked to roll for initiative.
One roll of 3 on my 20-sider later I was feeling grumbly. I guess it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things but if I can go first I can buff the party for the oncoming battle much easier that later on when we aren’t all clustered close together when my spells range is the most effective. Oh well, at least I went before Alvo. 😉
As the party prepared for battle we started spreading out, minimizing getting caught in a single sell. And as this was her turf we were at a disadvantage, moving through the shallow water was difficult terrain and moving through the deeper water was as if you were slowed, movement of 2 spaces. This really put most of us at a huge disadvantage. Most but not all; our ranger (another “A” name – maybe Adrik or something like Allara) played by Mr. Pink was perfectly fine to stand back and let his arrows do the talking for him. Did I mention he is a bad-ass with a bow? Our monk name something with an “A”, probably Adrik has tons of powers that give him movement which supersedes the ponds hindering movement. The rest of us were S.O.L.
In the images above you will see that there are colored plastic rings around some of the characters. Those rings represent either a “mark” (white) or being “bloodied” (red). Other colores represent being quarried or some other effect.
As we started spacing ourselves out and for those of us who need to be in the front ranks to do our worst trying what to do about the movement slowing water up from the it emerge a bunch of aquatic nasties to deal with first. This made things simpler and more difficult. Simpler because those of us who could not get to the Nixie had more immediate things to deal with. One the other hand it was more difficult for us because those of us who could attack her were now besieged by in-your-face critters and the Nixie was able to strike at will without fear of reprisal…or so she thought.
Early on into the combat she used one of her cheater powers to turn our Ranger – again, played by Mr. Pink, into a giant frog. Crap! There goes one of our offensive weapons and maybe our best against the Nixie. Another round or so later a bunch of bullywugs joined team Nixie and immediately piled on the hurt factor. Fortunately they were minions and took one hit to kill. But it was a slowing us down to deal with them and all the while taking more punishment from everyone.
It became apparent that I (Vythrik – Goliath – War Priest – right arm of Kord on this plane) was not going to be a major factor in the combat so I put my other skills to use, healing, buffing, granting saving throws and occasionally even hitting one of the bag guys. I managed to keep our guys from falling unconscious and in the fight. Go team Vythrik.
Odds tuned for the better when our monk was able to start using his Flurry of Blows to take out minions by the boatload which in the case was three. By the forth round we had finished off the minions and were starting to get a handle on the other aquatics but then the Nixie turned Rogar, a Dragonborn spell lobber, played by Jim into a giant frog too. It is worth mentioning that Paul was not a total dick when he made this up, he did give the frogs the ability to attack although their attacks were basic and the character/frog could neither use their own powers or equipment they had previously worn which had now disappeared into the aether.
The Defenders of Terralon, the name by which we call ourselves were not without moxie and intestinal fortitude. We continued to fight on in whichever form we were in or whatever the Nixie of the Pond threw at us. Finally Mr. Pinks “A” named character threw off his frog-form and enters the fray with renewed vigor, just as Alvo himself gets changed into a frog. I kept getting immobilized so had to chance of wading into the melee so continued to heal, buff and grant saves as best I could.
By rounds five six we had finished off all the Nixie’s minions and were closing in on her, literally. Our monk had used a power to drag her back into the mix and within reach of our melee powers. Rogar finally threw off the effects of being a frog and is hopping mad. Mad enough he scorched poor Alvo with two separate powers because he was so amped to “kill ‘da bitch” in his words. He did manage to wound her severely before his turn ended. Now it was my turn and I was sure as shooting going to be the one to bring her down or by Kord be the instrument by which she finds her eternal rest. After my attacks which were minimized somewhat by her being partially resistant to radiant damage, which is all I do, I spent my action point to use the power Hallowed Something or other (I clearly forget the name). It lets me attack, offers a healing surge and when a power I have grants someone to spend a healing surge they can make a saving throw and finally brings an ally within five squares of me adjacent to the creature giving them a basic attack against it. With that Alvo was able to mete out justice by my power granted by Kord. I am sure he is proud of me.
Once The Nixie of the Mill-Pond was dispatched we searched her boggy abode and found an underwater dwelling much like that of a beaver. Upon the searching of this unclean place we found many sac-like nodules containing what appeared to be aquatic life forms, almost like tadpoles but much larger. As we watched them we could see them start to change shape to that of human and other beings. It appears whatever enchantment the Nixie had on them was failing with her death. We rescued the babes and silently prayed for those that we dispatched during the fight, for surely they must have been transformed into her minions, freeing them from their enslavement.
We also found among the loot a Friendship Bracelet – a bracelet with four pearls woven into it that allows the wearer to summon four companions to the user. The caveat is that each person summoned must have soaked a pearl in their own blood on a full moon night. Pretty handy for our monk who is always using his unparallelled movement techniques to either move a dozen squared or swim or climb somewhere.
There was a Bronze Griffon Statuette that summons or transforms into a griffon to fight by your side. I personally like that one. There was also a potable hole I believe it was that opens up and extra-dimensional 5×5 hole to put stuff in I imagine. I am not 100% though. There was also about 4k-8k gold each for us. Not to shabby.
The medallion that Rumpelstiltskin wanted was there as well. He said when we had it he would find us. Long term I thing we are going to deal with him in a serious way. I don’t relish the thought for he seems like a worthy adversary.
Finally – I want to end with I apologize for the poor quality of the photos – many were bright because of the flash or fuzzy or too dark because there was no flash. I also didn’t take as many of the battle as I wanted. I also want to apologize for all the mistaken names I am sure that I messed up on. Once I have those correct I correct all the content of this entry.
More to come…