March 8, 2018

The Pagoda of Pao Long (Part 1)

This is a quick journal and recap of the Pagoda of Pao Long mini campaign. The campaign is being run in D&D 4th Edition with 3rd level characters. Three of the four players in the game have no experience with D&D 4E. Any DM commentary on the game will be made in italics.

Cast of Characters
  • Arizona the Wood Elf rogue (Brian)
  • Lucky the Deva panther shaman (Bronte) 
  • Norga the Half Orc warden (Jackie)
  • Zohrramacus the Human Wizard (Curtis)
Cast of NPCs
  •  Edith Goldhart - Previous adventuring companion of the party who fell in love, got pregnant, and is currently holding her wedding.
  • Edward McGowan - Tender poet and soon to be husband of Edith.
The session started with a quick narrative recap/montage of their first adventure together a year and a half ago. Zohrramacus the Great had supposedly secured an entertainment gig for a royal child's birthday which was supposedly good paying. The party were crossing through a jungle when they encountered a valley of thick black vines. In this valley they found a cave inhabited by a pygmy race. Trouble was caused by Lucky's spirit companion Ducky, a giant ghost duck, and the party had to dispatch of the little cave people. Shortly after doing so, they learned that this kingdom of pygmy people was actually the location of the gig Zohrramacus had acquired. They looted what miniature treasure they could before leaving but, before they were able to spend any of it, Arizona was held up in an alley and robbed for all they had earned.

I first learned about this "montage" device from the 13th Age GM Resource Book included with the 13th Age GM screen. I've found that it's an easy way to add background and bonds to the party in a way that keeps everyone entertained still. I've used it at the start of games and also when the party is traveling between far locations. It lets character come through a bit more than traditional "roll and role" gaming in my opinion. 

Of Brides and Poets
The adventure opened up in a cathedral on a very rainy day in the town of Pendelmore. Edith Goldhart is standing eight months pregnant at the altar in a wondrous white wedding gown. The party, who previously adventured with Edith in the past year and a half, sit in the pews as guests waiting. When the groom never shows up, Edith starts to get angry, moves too the party and starts venting. Norga and Arizona don't remember much about Edith's soon to be husband. Zohrramacus on the other hand, who may have tried to court Edith, has studied the groom and knows a thing or two about Edward, a poet.

It is suggested that maybe Edward had gotten cold feet or nervous about the wedding. Angry, Edith offers the company extra wedding cake if they can bring him back to her (in one piece so she could wring his neck herself). After accepting Edith's offer, Lucky suggests visiting the local poet's cafe to see if they could find Edward or anyone knowing his whereabouts.

The group was initially refused entrance for not having the proper attire (beret and sunglasses) and suspicion of plagiarism. Arizona gave the cafe owner a made up tip about future fashion trends in exchange for being allowed in. They learned that Edward had performed there the night before and wrote a poem about how his bride-to-be would look brilliant when adorn with Silver Flurnas, a rare silver tulip-like flower. Norga recalled that the Silver Flurnas are very rare and nearby only found in the courtyard of the Pao Long Pagoda.

The party traveled through the heavy rain to the west side of Pendelmore where the Pao Long Pagoda stood. Zohrramacus recalled that the Pagoda was built 700 years ago to seal a crack in the material plane to the Shadowfell. The structure now stands sealed and abandoned, surrounded by a 30ft high wall with a large locked gate. The rogue made short work of this lock, pocketing it as a reward. While investigating the muddy courtyard, Lucky found a disturbed patch of Silver Flurnas, muddy footprints with traces of green slime, and a busted umbrella which once belonged to Edward. Norga noted that the green slime was probably from the local sewers and the company went to investigate.

Arizona noted a manhole with fresh mud not far away from the Pagoda. When they lifted the manhole, they noticed that the sewers below had a light in them. After climbing down the ladder they were confronted by a enclave of goblins with a campfire going. Between them and the goblins, the heavy rain waters were causing the sewers to move with great strength and planks of wood were placed across this torrent. The goblins sprang to attack after the party failed to give the password they demanded. The small horde of goblins consisted of 7 goblin grunts (lvl 1 Minions), 3 goblin archers (lvl 2 Sharpshooters), and 1 goblin hex caster (lvl 3 Controller), while a large sleepy crocodile waited for anything unfortunate to slip into the sewer torrent to come its way. The party had a difficult time overcoming these baddies, with most of the pain being caused by the 3 isolated archers. The warden was peppered many times with arrows and got knocked unconscious twice. The rogue also took his fair share of arrows, leaving him badly injured and weak. After most of the goblins were dispatched, Zohrramacus parleyed with the final goblin archer who let them know they were hired to make sure nobody who didn't have the proper password could go by. They also learned that earlier that day, the man who hired them came through with a group of people, one of who matched the description of Edward, and gave the hexer a small payment (which turned out to be a gold ring missing a gemstone). 

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