Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Shattered Tower

My posting schedule continues to be erratic. Back to work after my recovery time, and my body is adjusting to being active again. I have my good days and bad days. I've lacked the motivation to work on crunch, and I still have a small backlog of play reports, so I want to catch up on those.

I've also been distracted by some other things gaming related. Magic: The Gathering has continued to replace some of our D&D time at home. I've also been working on various digital and online aspects of gaming.

First off, 5eGrognard now has a presence on Facebook! For those that follow me on Google+, it will be much of the same. I'll be promoting my blog posts, as well as posts from other bloggers. If it's something I would use at my table, it'll be posted at both places. Since I am new to the Facebook D&D community, I've yet to follow anyone there. Please, follow me on Facebook, and if you have a gaming presence there, or know of some communities that I could join, please let me know!

I also have an old desktop that finally died. No major loss, since it had been replaced with several Chromebooks in the house. That leaves a pretty nice monitor that is going unused. I've been playing around with Roll20 to use the monitor to replace the battle mat at the table. I'm still a novice at it, and have yet to use it during actual play.

Finally, I've been checking out Play by Post options. Those of you that have been reading here awhile may remember some of the Fellowship play reports that I had posted. Brian, my oldest friend and the one that introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons around 35 years ago, played some with him as the DM, and me playing a party in a Play by Post game. We used a shared Google Docs to play, but that had some limitations. He's been wanting to take a go at being a player. We live in different time zones, and have wildly different work schedules to boot (I work nights), as well as family obligations, so Play by Post works best for us. I've been checking out options there as well, and am starting us out at Tavern Keeper.

My tabletop gaming group is my three children. My 16 year old daughter and 11 year old twin boys. That's the play reports that I've been posting, both the Age of Worms and Eska groups are them. My daughter lives with her mother, and is only with us every other weekend. Those weekends she is not with us, my boys still want to play D&D. We've put together a few characters, and with our Session Zero, they decided they wanted to play as pirates. Simple sailing ships on the ocean wasn't enough for me. I wanted to turn that idea up to eleven. As luck would have it, James Introcaso over at the wonderful World Builder Blog has introduced his mini setting, Enora, the Bound Sky. I've been playing around at using his setting for my sky pirates. I don't know what kind of rules for flying ships James plans on using, but I'll be using modified Spelljammer ships. I'm still not sure how we are going to start off this group, but the time has come.

So, on to the play report. I have a fascination with towers in gaming. One of my favorite tropes. One tower I have been dying to use, is Dyson Logos' Shattered Tower. I filled it out my version of Abstract Dungeon's playtest adventure, The Broken Tower. Seems like The Broken Tower pdf is no longer available on their site. I'm not familiar with the Abstract Dungeon rules, but like most adventures, I found it fairly simple to convert to 5e D&D on the fly.

Leaving the Crypt of Memory, our group was headed back to Orod'tal.

Speaking of our group, they are all 6th level and consist of:

Ash. She's a fire genasi valor bard with the entertainer background.

Tulgasora. Originally a half orc bull totem barbarian with the bounty hunter background. Since there are no orcs on Eska, but my son liked the half orc mechanics, we reskinned him as a "savage hobgoblin", and not from one of the organized troops.

Pyro. Aasimar celestial sorcerer with the tinkerer background.

While on the road, they ran into a hobgoblin patrol. Seems like a landslide has blocked the main road back to the city. The patrol was backtracking and on their way to set up a roadblock to detour traffic onto a seldom used pass. They told the party that another patrol should be heading from Orod'tal up the other pass. Since the party would be the first group thru, that they should report to the second patrol the condition of the detour when they meet them. Eager to enhance their reputation with the powers that be in Orod'tal, the party agreed.

The journey was uneventful, until in the distance, they spotted a peculiar ruined tower.


The tower was shattered in the middle, with only what appeared to be a rope ladder connecting the top and bottom portions. Not wanting to pass such an obvious adventuring hook, they decided to investigate. The doors at the base were made of sturdy bronze, and resisted all attempts to open them. Pyro pulled out the group's Rope of Climbing and after a short debate, decided to send it up to the top of the tower, instead of the opening in the middle. Tying enough rope to the end, they had enough to scale the tower.

Most of the upper reaches were typical dungeon ruins. Hazards and traps to be negotiated. Some minor loot was found, including some clockwork body parts, but most interestingly, several silver keys with distinctive symbols. Ash gathered several of the clockwork parts.

Most of the lower reaches were likewise uninhabited, but towards the bottom they discovered the Great Hall. A grand dining table dominated the room, and sitting around it was five clockwork automatons, and a silver raven. Looking like the members on an adventuring party, our trio figured that each of the symbols on a key corresponded to one of these clockwork adventurers! Inserting and winding the keys, these clockworks came to life!

Seems that these are what remains of a centuries old adventuring group. Seeking immortality, they were able to transfer their consciousness into these clockwork bodies. Beldin, the wizard leader of the group thanks them for reactivating them, but tells the party they know too much! The clockwork adventurers attack!

This was a great fight, Pyro started throwing out his fire spells, and Ash complimented these with heat metal. Beldin used his wand of wonder, and the result...rain! A torrential downpour started in the Great Hall, cooling off the heat metal, and putting a perceived damper on fire spells. Tulgasora was going toe-to-toe with a clockwork dwarf fighter and a cleric, while Ash and Pyro were having a spell duel with Beldin, and a clockwork druid. A clockwork goblin rouge kept making sneak attacks, before hiding under the table with each attack.

Pyro cast earth tremor, which turned the floor to rubble, knocking down several of their opponents. Tulgasora, after destroying the dwarf, went to pursue the cleric that had disengaged and fell back to the others. The hobgoblin jumped up on the table. The ancient wood, already leaning because of the crumbled floor, broke under his weight! A loud crash, with the sounds of clanging metal and grinding gears spelled the end for the goblin rogue hiding underneath!

The momentum quickly turned towards our heroes, and they ended up leaving the five opponents in twisted, broken masses. Pyro claimed the clockwork raven, which operates as a silver raven figurine of wondrous power.

After the battle, the damage from the earth tremors, as well as the lower levels filling with rain caused the already damaged tower to creak and moan loudly. The great bronze doors, still stuck, thwarted their chances of a quick escape. The group was forced to run up several levels, while the tower began crumbling around them. They made it to opening in the middle, and each made the leap to their rope of climbing, still hanging in air beside the tower. They barely made their escape before the lower levels of the tower crumbled. The upper section still hangs, floating in midair.

For the clockwork adversaries, I used NPC stat blocks, and just gave them some damage and condition immunities in line with other constructs.

That brings up mostly up to date! The party now is a couple sessions into the iconic White Plume Mountain, which we are having great fun with.

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook! and Google+
Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.
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