The Tanius Campaign Journal – Chapter 9: The Ascent

The Tanius Campaign Journal
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Chapter 9 Chapter 10
Behind The Screen
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I hardly realized how quiet the room had become as I was finalizing my notes. When I finally looked up, the farmer was staring at me, expecting a response. Remembering my ruse, I told him that Clausen would be pleased with how everything was handled, and that no more of his time was required. Satisfied I had learned everything there was to learn from this man, I gathered my belongings and walked outside.

I knew that following the party up the mountain would be akin to suicide, so I used this opportunity to catch up on my writing in a quiet corner of the property. After a couple of hours I noticed Meesh walking back from the mountain alongside several goats. She eventually returned to the farmstead to speak with the farmer, but I resisted the urge to follow closely out of fear of being noticed. Several hours later, the party walked back from the mountain with three large eggs in hand.

I quickly cast an invisibility spell on myself and did my best to listen in on their conversation. They seemed in very good spirits as they informed the farmer that the griffon threat was no more. After some platitudes and pleasantries were exchanged, the party left. I was initially distraught that I wouldn’t be able to recount the events of their quest, but in my desperation, I suddenly had an idea.

The party returned from the mountain with more goats than they had left with; if luck was on my side, perhaps interviewing these beasts would provide me with the information I needed to continue my tale. Once night had fallen, I approached this trio of goats and cast a Speak to Animals spell. As luck would have it, this trip of goats was particularly talkative.

Anybody In The Mood For A Day Hike?

Campaign Log Day 4 – Part 2
17th day of Kythorn – Highsun
Year of The Rebuked Storm – 1574 Dale Reckoning
Endgar Outskirts – Mount Easie

Our heroes had to know that the journey to the top of Mount Easie would be a perilous one. Though their handling of the griffons at the farmstead was impressive, everyone knows fighting a griffon on flat land is nothing compared to fighting a griffon at elevation. Oftentimes, instead of fighting, a griffon will simply pull a creature off of a ledge and let gravity do the rest. It’s also known that the closer you come to their nest, the more ferociously they’ll fight.

Despite these known dangers the party marched onward. The first hour of the trek was fairly uneventful, and the party was soon talking and laughing jovially. They were able to reach the base of Mount Easie without any setbacks, and upon identifying a path up the hill they began their ascent.

Eventually the path curved out of sight around the mountain. The members on the right side of the formation exercised caution, as a narrow misstep could send them tumbling to their doom. As the party pressed forward, a peculiar rumbling noise began growing louder.

Suddenly a pack of goats emerged from around the bend, charging straight for the party. Their initial bemusement faded quickly when the source of the goats’ panic came into view, and they grimly readied their weapons.

Roll Initiative

Party: Bellamy(Sor-3), Kroul(Clr-3), Lilyth(Drd-3), Ungoldor(Rog-3), Meesh(Rgr-3)
Enemies: 1x Griffon 6x Goat
Difficulty Rating: Medium
Expected Outcome: Moderate HP Loss
Actual Outcome: Moderate HP Loss
Loot: None

Tactical Considerations: The pathway was only about 15 feed wide, and there were 6 wild goats charging the party. While the goats themselves weren’t a large threat in their own right, the vertical drop on the right side of the mountain could prove to be deadly if they happened to be pushed in. Furthermore the griffon flying above would likely be able to find its way to a soft target if the party focuses too much on the goats.

How It Went Down: Bellamy used a well placed sleep spell to help manage the stampede resulting in 3 sleeping goats. Party members with ranged attacks focused their attention on the griffon once it flew into range, while the melee combatants took care of the rest of the goats. The party was able to avoid the cliffs without much difficulty, and Meesh was able to apply high ranged DPR to the griffon with her longbow and Hunter’s Mark. The party ended up killing the griffon and 3 goats whilst taking only minor damage.

Behind The Screen: I was looking for an interesting way to spice up a single griffon encounter, and a friend of mine who is DMing another campaign offered up the idea of a stampede. This approach ended up being a huge success. Not only were the goats able to drain the party’s spell slots, but they were actually able to deal a bit of damage as well.

Fortunately for the party (and my Bardic aspirations), the pursuing griffon seemed entirely consumed with the goats. Before a battle could ensue, the charging goats needed to be managed to avoid being knocked off the nearby ledge.

Bellamy stepped forward and cast a Sleep spell on the group of goats, successfully putting several to sleep. Meanwhile, Lilyth shifted into a tiger and charged the goats with Joey following close behind. The rest of the party focused their spells and ranged weaponry at the griffon.

The griffon quickly shifted focus and dove towards its new quarry. A ferocious fight ensued, but our heroes emerged victorious yet again.

DM Note: Transition from Session 5 to 6

Session 5 ended after the party completed the goat stampede encounter. Meesh and Rkard were not able to make session 6, so the party decided to use her character transition to bring some goats back to the farmer. This did somewhat boost their relations with the farmer, which could prove useful in future negotiations.

While the party collected themselves, a familiar face emerged from the path behind them. The absent Kiddo was able to catch up just in time to congratulate his compatriots on their kill. The party deemed it wise to bring their goat companion as well as a couple of wild goats to the farmstead as a gesture of good faith. Given Meesh’s experience with animals and expertise as a ranger, she was tasked with returning the livestock.

With a plan in place, the party lassoed the three remaining wild goats. Once secure, Meesh took the farmer’s goat and two wild goats back to the farmstead while the party led the third onward to be used as bait.

Hope you Aren’t Afraid of Heights

The party continued their trek and everything went smoothly for another 30 minutes or so. Eventually their path hit a dead end and the only apparent way forward was a 30 foot climb.

Feeling confident in his climbing abilities, Kiddo decided to lead the charge. With a rope slung over her shoulder, she was able to climb the the mountainside with ease. However, the moment the dragonborn pulled herself over the ledge she found herself under the intense gaze of a griffon a mere 40 feet away.

Roll Initiative

Party: Bellamy(Sor-3), Kroul(Clr-3), Lilyth(Drd-3), Ungoldor(Rog-3), Meesh(Rgr-3)
Enemies: 2x Griffon
Difficulty Rating: Hard
Expected Outcome: Moderate HP Loss
Actual Outcome: Moderate HP Loss
Loot: None

Tactical Considerations: Each individual party member will need to make a successful climbing check, and take a dash action to make the 30 foot climb. The climb can be made easier by having the first climber throw down a rope, but this could prove difficult if there is anything on the ledge above.

How It Went Down: Kiddo with a rope and piton slung over his shoulder was able to climb the cliff without much difficulty, but once he crested the hill a griffon sitting about 40 feet away noticed him. Kiddo elected to start applying damage to the griffon rather than stake the rope down, and the party attempted individual climbing checks. Most party members made it up fairly easily with the exception of Ungoldor repeatedly failing climbing checks, and eventually using his Lucky Rabbit’s Foot to complete the climb. At the top of the hill, Lilyth and Kiddo were able to hold the lines effectively, but they took a fair amount of damage.

The encounter got hairy when a second griffon joined the fray and was able to grapple Kiddo. The griffon then started hoisting the dragonborn up in the air, but Kiddo used a strength hex on the griffon and countered with a grapple of his own. This caused the griffon’s speed to drop to zero, and the two of them came crashing to the ground before she could be moved over the dangerous cliffs a mere 20 feet away. The party did a good job of concentrating their damage on one target at a time, causing both griffons to go down before any serious damage was dealt.

Behind The Screen: This was a the first encounter where grapple attempts would pose a serious threat. If Kiddo was unable counter-grapple the griffon successfully, he would have been dragged over the cliffs and dropped, likely KOing or outright killing him. However, his use of hex all but guaranteed his success in the grapple contest, allowing the party’s melee combatants to quickly dispatch the monstrosity.

Kiddo immediately called for help, and instead of waiting for her to throw down her rope, the party climbed as quickly as they could. Kiddo wasted no time and began projecting eldritch energy at the creature.

Most of the party was able to make the climb without any issues, with the exception of Ungoldor, who once again proved that climbing was not his strong suit by requiring a few clumsy attempts to make it over the ledge. Bellamy remained with the goat at the bottom of the ledge, but did his best to strike the creature with magic from below.

Things were looking good for the party until a second griffon dove into the fray. This griffon took hold of Kiddo and, using his great strength, started carrying the dragonborn away. Recognizing the danger he was in, Kiddo grabbed on to one of the griffon’s wings and brought them both crashing down.

After a bloody engagement, the party was able to defeat the pair of monstrosities. However, their cuts and bruises were beginning to add up, and their magical reserves were running low. Regardless, the party decided to forego a rest in favor of hauling the goat up the cliff face and preparing to move on.

The path ahead split in two directions: to the right was another cliffside path leading farther up, and to the left was a cave. Our heroes decided to go inward rather than upward, and to avoid any risk of ambush, formed ranks at the mouth of the cave and marched in.

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