AAR: Sunrise on the Healing Pool

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AAR: Sunrise on the Healing Pool

Post by etherial » Sat Jan 20, 2018 5:08 am

Mission: Sunrise on the Healing Pool
GM: etherial
Date: 2018-01-19
Difficulty and circle rating: Circle 4 Medium

Player Rewards:
Aegharan: 3 TIPs, 2200 Legend, 25 Silver, 2 Healing Potions, Horn Needle
Ceadda: 3 TIPs, 2200 Legend, 2 Healing Potions, 250 Silver
Thane: 3-16 TIPs (shield), 2200 LP, 1/2 price garlen stone, horror fend, 2 absorb blow charms. 50 silver.
Varis: 3 TIPs, 2200 Legend, 87.5 silver, Garlen Stone, Common Bone Charm, Horror Fend

Downtime Actions Available:
Aegharan: Alchemy (10) (Booster Potion, Kelix's Poultice, Kelia's Antidote)
Varis: Item History Step 15 (Rank 3)
Varis: Research Step 13 (Rank 2) (Requires 20 Silver for Library)

Further Information:
Garlen's Eye has been reconsecrated and will have to be reconsecrated again on 1 Strassa 1423.

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Re: AAR: Sunrise on the Healing Pool

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:51 am

From the journal of Thane Cawdor - Troll Sky Raider.of the 4th circle.
Note: please don't anybody take this entry personally. Thane has the personality trait of "Calculating", and would evaluate the situation this way. And I think it was only by GM fiat that we were not involved in a TPK of our own making.

I was drinking in a tavern not far into the hall of Thandos when I was approached by several dwarves robed as Questors of Garlen. They were led by a gentleman who introduced himself as Elijah 'Sunrise' Kane. They told me that pre-scourge, there used to be a pool, deep in the Throalic mountains, sacred to worshipers of Garlen, that was said to have magical healing powers. There was also a shrine at the site as well as several nearby buildings (quester quarters and an inn). They had been unable to find out very much about the pool, but they did have a map, a riddle, and knowledge that the magic of the pool only manifested itself if a certain consecration ceremony was performed prior to first light on the first day of a new year. With the new year fast approaching, Sunrise would like an escort to the site so he can see if the site still exists and if it is still magical and uncorrupted, and assistance in reconsecrating it.

I put out a call for volunteers, and got 5. Even though all of us were anxious to help the temple of Garlen, Sunrise only wanted 4 of us, so eventually it was decided that Aegharan the illusionist, Ceadda the warrior, and Veris the elementalist would accompany us.

Since it is the middle of winter, and the site is deep in the the mountains, I bought some cold weather gear: a winternight cloak, some mountain boots, a fur hat, and two sets of gloves. I bought good quality gear that will double as flight gear when I finally get up upon an airship. We should have had Veris go over their library research, because we did not learn how inadequate it was until we had arrived in the general area. In particular it surprised us that Sunrise did not know the consecration ceremony! But I get ahead of myself.

The 3rd night of our journey we overnighted at Kaer Avon, and then proceeded unto the untracked mountains. Not long after entering the mountains, we were attacked by 4 cockatrice, which we slew without too much trouble. That night the weather turned bad, and we sought shelter in a cave. During the night we were beset by three (three!!!) Jehutra. We were very sorely pressed. One of them cast an iron web which separated us, though most of us were able to find one another quite quickly. The battle was horrible, and I was sorely wounded twice, and needed to use my Absorb Blow charm to keep conscious. We were eventually victorious.

The map we were following was very crudely drawn and lacking in detail, or at least detail that had survived the scourge. It's markings for roads, mileposts, and farms were totally useless as nothing like that had survived. We arrived in the general area where we thought the pool might have once been, but figured it might just as easily have been as much as 50 miles away.

The map did have a riddle or poem written in the margins that went...
Pools of Garlen's Tears Appear
Wherever hearth and home are near
Seek her open arms spread wide
And renew her gift within her eye.

Going by the third line, we decided to start our search where two large rivers joined together, in a shape that vaguely looked like two arms spreading. From the confluence, we spotted two rock formations, one of which looked like a house, and the another looked like a chimney. We lined them up and started walking towards them. We passed the chimney and kept straight for the house shaped rocks. Between the two rock formations, we spotted that yet another mountain looked like a face. We decided to climb up to the "eye" of the giant head. There we found a good sized depression with a frozen pond in it. We were not yet certain, but further exploration reveled what might once have been a shrine.

Veris started to cook a meal, thinking that establishing a hearth and camp might please the passion of hearth and healing or be an answer to the riddle. I tested the ice and it was frozen very solid and very deep. I noticed that one snow covered mounds right at the edge of the pond looked a bit different than all the others. I had no idea what it might be, but thought it might be the ruins of a dock or boathouse, or some other building. I brushed the snow off, and eventually started to dig into the mound. There was some movement and something that looked like a giant maggot, as big as a cow, lurched out. I identified it from various tales I have heard as a Gharmek. At the same time 6 cadaver men stood up from scattered locations where they had been laying covered with snow.

I attacked the Gharmek. The others were all nearer to Cadaver Men, and attacked them. Only one of the Cadaver Men was immediately enraged, and that one was dispatched relatively swiftly. I did several good blows to the horror but suffered some devastating blows in return. Sunrise called out to me to use my Absorb Blow charm, but I had already used it a few days earlier against the Jethutra. He did not seem to know that Absorb Blow charms were one use only, I would have thought a Quester of Garlen would know that.

I called to the others that the cadaver men could be ignored and that we should all focus our attacks against the Horror. Veris called back to disagree. After they destroyed two Cadaver Men, Ceadda came over and started to attack the Ghamek. Unfortunately, he came over right after I had been forced to retreat in order to do a Fire Blood or two. So there was still only one solo person attacking the horror. The horror reveled that it had the Damage Shift power, and transferred the damage I had given it to Ceadda. Ceadda did several good blows, and that damage also was damage shifted to Ceadda.

Unfortunately, the spellcasters were not only not helping the situation, they were actively making it much, much worse. There are many legends that feature Cadaver Men, they are one of the most well known of opponents, and many legends and songs tell how to fight them. Care must be taken to concentrate your attacks, and make sure that only one is enraged at a time. Many tacticians opine that attacks that might enrage a cadaver man should be delayed or even forgone until many companions can gang up upon the one target. When you enrage a Cadaver Man it attacks 4 times as fast. Further, each of those 4 attacks are made aggressively, making them much more likely to hit, and to do more damage when they do hit. Thus it is fairly clear that an enraged Cadaver Man is 5 or even 6 times more dangerous than an unenraged Cadaver Man. Which is to say that a single enraged CM is more dangerous than 5 unenraged CM. Another way of looking at it is that an enraged CM will do more damage in a period of time, than an unenraged one will do in 5 or 6 times as long. Which is to say, if you are careful to not enrage any CM, you can ignore unenraged CM for quite a long time, and still suffer less damage more slowly than you would if you enrage any of them.

The spellcasters, whom one would presume to be knowledgeable, or at least perceptive seemed to not know any of this, or even to realize what damage they were doing to our cause. At the start of the fight we were outnumbered 7 to 4. but only Ceadda and the horror were attacking more often than everybody else, so counting by blows attempted, they were only attempting about 8 for every 5 that we attempted. The unenraged cadaver men were mostly missing and could and should have been ignored while a much more urgent threat was dealt with. It seemed very likely to me that the horror was what had created the undead. Further, the horror, all by himself, was doing much more damage than the unenraged Cadaver Men. It was attacking twice as often as any of them, plus was transferring damage every round to one of us. The way to deal with a horror that transfers damage to it's enemies, is to overwhelm it and deal damage to it faster than it can transfer it away. I had thought that this was all fairly obvious.

After Ceadda moved over to confront the Ghamek, Veris said something about keeping clear of the area of effect of his upcoming spell. I made sure to keep well clear of the horror. There was a Cadaver Man next to the horror at the time, and I hoped that Veris's spell would not enrage the CM. But he did not center the spell upon the horror, he centered it upon one of the two CM to the East of the pond. The spell enraged one of them! At the time there were 4 CM left, which means that our enemies had been doing about 6 attacks per 5 attacks that we could make. By enraging the CM, they arranged for the enemy to encrease their damage by over 50%, up to 9 attacks per 5 attacks we could make. Then moments later Aegharan cast a spell that enraged two more CM! Suddenly the enemy was making 15 attacks for every 5 that we could make! And the man even crowed about it and congratulated himself for his accomplishment!

We were so hosed. I had spent over half my karma. I had no recovery tests left, two wounds and a great deal of current damage. I don't know Ceadda's karma, wound, or damage situation, but I know he had taken a very great deal of damage, so I can't think he was in much better shape than me. And while our spellcasters had been arranging for the minor opponents we faced to become three or four times more dangerous, the horror we were there to face had healed much of it's damage. We were now facing twice as many attacks per time period than we had been at the start of the fight! And all the extra attacks were stronger as well! After we had expended the greater bulk of our resources, we were facing opponents that were twice as strong as they had been at the start of the battle, and twice as strong as they ever SHOULD have been. We were thoroughly hosed. Ceadda was forced to retreat from the horror. I considered wading back in against it, but at the time, the menace our spellcasters had created was actually more dangerous than the horror, so I moved to engage a Cadaver Man, even though I knew it would allow the horror to do even more healing.

Fortunately a weird malaise seems to have gripped the horror and for some reason it stopped attacking us and basically waited politely while we dealt with the CM, then let us beat it to death.

While pondering the riddle some more, I thought I might have the solution. I muttered to myself that if I was not a big strong troll that would rather die than cry while facing a horror, I would shed tears upon the ice. I don't think anybody heard me, but a short while later Veris did weep and the ice melted, the pool having been consecrated by tears.

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Re: AAR: Sunrise on the Healing Pool

Post by BattleChad » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:54 pm

The Great Library of Throal thanks Thane for his contribution.

Journal Rewards: 110 Legend Points and 137 Silver

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Re: AAR: Sunrise on the Healing Pool

Post by Dougansf » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:15 am

From the Travel Journal of Varis

Elijah Kane, a Questor of Garlen, wants some Adepts to find a sacred pool somewhere in the Southern Throalic Mountains. There's a riddle that may help us find it.

“Pools of Garlen's Tears Appear
Wherever hearth and home are near
Seek her open arms spread wide
And renew her gift within her eye.”

Day 2
We arrived at Kaer Avon to get a decent rest before climbing in earnest.

Day 3
Not far up the mountains, we are attacked by 4 Cockatrices. The flightless birds fail to get the jump on us, so they prove to be little more than a nuisance.

Day 5
We've passed the location of the Obisidman - Wizardry Runic Circle and have reached the area near the fork in the rivers. When night falls, we find a cave to rest in out of the cold. Not long into first watch, there is a noise of scrabbling feet entering the cave. I am woken up, just in time to have a Jehuthra use it's Iron Web to turn the cave into a labyrinth. I am cut off from my companions, and they don't have any of my protective spells. Lacking any targets, I begin preparing myself, and calling out to the others. When one of the spidery Constructs shows itself for a moment, I capitalize with Elemental Spears. Finally Aegharan comes around the corner, and I heal him. He calls back to Ceadda to follow him. Apparently, this was when 2 of the Jehuthra were dropped, and the third one fled. The Iron Web dissolved, leaving Thanes unconscious body on the ground. I revive him, and start Heating up some food.

Day 6
Following the clues from the riddle, we head for the branch of the rivers, expecting them to be the "arms." From that vantage point, I notice some mountaintops that appear similar (from this direction) to a house with a chimney. We head in that direction, and find another mountain with a top shaped like a head, and a glittering from it's "eye." Extrapolating from there, I find 2 "arms" that are trails that lead up to the top.

The glittering was coming from a frozen pond. This high up, just before the first of the new year, it's colder than anything I've experienced before. I don't wish to think what would be happening to us without my spells protecting us. I start to set up a campfire and a make-shift hearth, in order to pay proper respect to Garlen. Thane decides to start trying to break the ice, and tossing things over. Perhaps Trolls see Garlen a bit more like the rest of us see Thystonius? In any event, before I knew it, Thane had rummaged around some wreckage and unearthed an ugly maggot looking thing, a Gharmek. As it rose, so did several Cadavermen scattered around the pool.

In the ensuing battle, we had a disagreement upon tactics. Sadly, this is the worst time for such things. Thane believed the Cadavermen to be no threat to us, unless they were enraged. The two magicians disagreed, as they are very much a threat to us, especially if we're surrounded and unprepared. The Gharmek was also an unknown, I could not recall all of it's powers, and none of it's weaknesses, but I did remember that they can develop different powers, much like Adepts of the same Discipline can vary.

In the end, it was Aegharan that resolved the argument by using Phantom Fireball. While we all Disbelieved it, it enraged the Cadavers to focus on him, which he then used to Fireball them again to finish them off. Ceadda performed excellently, but receiving two Damage Shifts took the wind out of him, and I couldn't heal him enough in the time we had. When the Gharmek came for me, I drew it towards the center of the pool, and I had a moment of clarity. Realizing what the "gift within her eye" meant, I stabbed myself, and collected a tear from my cheek. Placing it onto the ice, it immediately began to crack and melt. The Gharmek instilled us with Terror, and fled back to it's hovel. I get off the ice before it vanishes, and I feel an internal pull upon my Karma reserves. Spending it, I realize that Ceadda is renewed with the ability to Recover again. In a short time, we kill the Horror within his lair.

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Re: AAR: Sunrise on the Healing Pool

Post by BattleChad » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:30 pm

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Re: AAR: Sunrise on the Healing Pool

Post by Aegharan » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:34 pm

Journal of Aegharan, Illusionist of Fifth Circle

Thane Crawdor, the Troll Skyraider, was chatted up by one Elijah 'Sunrise' Kane to help set up an expedition to a sacred Pool of Garlen that needed to be resanctified or something. Besides him and me our party also consisted of Ceadda, the Human Warrior and Varis, the Dwarfen Elementalist.

As it was winter and we set out towards the mountain, Varis cast protections against water & cold upon us. I still bought that nice Witnernight Cloak, as it was just too cozy to leave it with that merchant.

Along with Sunrise we set out to Kaer Avon, reached it without Hiccups and continued our way eastward. Apparently the Pool can only be rasanctified before Dawn on the first day of the first year, so we had around a week to make the journey. He showed us the approximate position of this pool, but the map was from before the Plague and the region past the Obsidimen-Runic-Circle has not yet been explored too much. Besides the map he also told us of some poem that the Questors kept to help finding this pool:
Pools of Garlen's Tears Appear
Wherever hearth and home are near
Seek her open arms spread wide
And renew her gift within her eye.
When we reached the mountains we spotted some bird-like creatures that seemed to get ready for an attack. Luckily we were able to get the jump on them. After our return I hit up the library and found out that these were Cockatrices who seem to be able to inflict a mean poison or disease.

These mountains appear dangerous and there might be some kind of horror in that area. First sign was that while we rested in a cave, we were attacked by 3 Jehuthras in our rest. With barely any reinforcing spells up this fight was extremely tough. Especially since the Jehuthras begun the fight by creating iron webs, separating us from each other, but through which (or should I say above which) they could maneuver without problems. I was pretty sure that only one had been down, when one of them popped up between the webs behind me and ripped deep wounds into my back. I was able to get away from it, saw Thane lying on the floor and Ceadda beside me, Varis off to my left. I moved as fast as I could towards Varis, shouting to Ceadda to follow and there's one following, when we finally won the fight. Thanks to Varis' healing and some now-used-up Blood Charms we all survived the fight.

On the next day we continued our travel towards the suspected approximate position of this Pool, within the river's forks. Searching around we found 2 huge rocks in the distance, that, when lined up correctly, looked like a house with a chimney. We followed the poem's clue, only to lose visual on these rocks. Thankfully we were able to navigate our way safely and quickly. From this makeshift rock-house we spotted another rock-formation that could resemble a face, that also had a glistening in one "eye". There were also the "arms spread wide", 2 paths going up into the mountains.

We found the pool, which was frozen solid and unable to penetrated by Thane. What was strange was that not even the ice at the top was smelting when touched it. Varis set up a fire and began cooking a meal without the use of his magic, to please Garlen. Thane's search of the frozen surface lead him to a pile of mud, out of which a Gharmek emerged, another Horror Construct. Along with that ugly maggot 6 Cadavermen climbed out of the snow around the pond and began to tumble towards us.

Now a huge problem arose: We were not sure how to fight this fat worm while too many Cadavermen began to (b)eat into Varis and me. Maybe we could have outrun them while attacking the Gharmek, or maybe Ceadda or Thane could have taken them out without hurting them too much and enraging them, but Varis and I only saw them taking the life out of us more quickly than we took the life out of the Gharmek. Furthermore we had already taken out 2 of the Cadavermen while Thane attacked the Gharmek, when he had to retreat to prevent succumbing to his wounds.

Varis and I decided to risk angering 3 Cadavermen simultaneously and bombarded them fiercely. I suddenly saw myself backed against a pile of snow with the Cadavermen attacking me furiously. Thankfully that concentrated in an area and I know of my Illusions and how to work around them, especially how not to be harmed, so I could bombard them with illusionary Fireballs, killing them off rather quickly.

Meanwhile Ceadda had the Gharmek's attention after Thane tried to dodge away and we learned of the deformed thing's true powers, as it scared the passions out of us, after moving all of its damage back onto Ceadda.

At this point Varis had the brillant idea of cutting himself and crying on the ice, which melted the ice unnaturally quickly. He solved the riddle and Garlen was pleased!

With Garlen's help and our combined focus we were able to destroy the grotesque maggoty thing while it tried to climb back into its burrow.

I need to read up on Tactics of fighting in a group, and we definitely need to communicate more clearly, how we're gonna handle stuff like this, going forward, before we head out and before time is crucial. This fight was way closer than it shoud have been. Later in the library I even found out what we could have done against this thing, it could possibly have been a relatively easy fight... Let's just hope I remember what to do if we should ever fight this thing again!

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Re: AAR: Sunrise on the Healing Pool

Post by BattleChad » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:54 pm

The Great Library of Throal thanks Aegharan for his contribution.

Journal Rewards: 110 Legend Points and 137 Silver