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Swamp Monster - Out of Character Discussions

Turtle Aftermath Planning


I will link this with some additional thoughts in Players Comm in a few minutes, but wanted to get this going. Lara will be writing up the summary, but bullet points and information gathering to start with and catch everyone up:

Dragon Turtle: There is a dragon turtle in the swamp. It's average damage via breath weapon is 60 points (without saves). As Lisa mentioned on Discord, it's maximum damage is 120 points (without saves). It's lowest damage (without saves) is 20 points. The steam reaches 60 ft out, 40 ft high, and 40 ft wide. In conclusion, pain and death can be expected.

Party Status: Nearly all of us failed our save rolls. Indigo is dead and any possibility of revival will be decided by Branwyn. Griff is dead and has been buried. Emerald and Talwin are walking wounded - able to communicate with us, but one hit away from dying or dead. Brer Necholas, Skarp, and N'laea are all heavily wounded, but given their HP max, their heavily wounded means they're all in their 20s for hit points. Kenna is one round behind and therefore alive and fine.

Current Situation: Opted to go back to Skull Church than to hope to stumble into this supposed nearby gnome fishing village. This means we will need to get through one night of encounters. This means Brer, Skarp, N'laea will have to survive any potential fights, Emerald and Talwin will need to not be hit during the night, Indigo's body needs to be protected, and Kenna should use what spells she can and then get some sleep.

Confusion Clear Up: Since it wasn't as obvious in chat, N'laea has a "Robe of Useful Items" which means she has patches on this robe (story of its existence and how she got it to be written) that, when pulled off, become one of many very randomized items. We absolutely lucked out in getting not just one healing potion, but two. If ever there's a time to use an item like that, it's now, right? But she has limited patches she can pull off it so it is used on an as needed basis.

Okay, so provided that sets up the situation, and we do get through the night and back to church - then what? Dragon Turtles hurt and kill. That was very close to a whole party wipe out (I did not say you get to leave that corner yet, Bob!). So we either: A) Leave it alone, lose all our gnome miners, and possibly be questioned if we should be allowed to be called Dragonslayers anymore or B) Come up with a plan with minimal pain to us.

Lisa has brought up the possibility of lightning bolt. We'd need to be careful in a watery, electricity conducive environment, but it's a fantabulous spell and worth finding a potential way to do it careful (such as from the air and everyone out of hurt range). Do we have other aerial attack ideas?

A dragon turtle, like other dragons, likely can only do that devastating attack a couple times or so, so do we have a way to make it use it, against something fake like a dummy or illusion, then go in and attack? A key, too, is making it show itself instead of us making it show itself and hurting us. Do we bring more people with us when (I doubt it'll be if) we go back? More range attacks?

Those are questions to consider now, but we might have at least one session before we end up returning. The main thing is making sure we get back to Skull Church in one piece, make it through the night, and patch ourselves up, first. Anyways, toss out ideas, we'll see what we can work with, and go from there. Maybe a look at the Party Pack (may take a few extra days to get those items), Protectorate Supplies (readily available), spells or scrolls you may have available, or something to help. Don't forget we can also ask for help from any number of various NPCs in the area.

2/1 Carissa

Just a thought more for Lisa (to be confirmed by Bob), we set out the same day the ceremony happened, when everyone was still at Skull Church. Sundown and Raelynn went back to Skull Church, the same day everyone was still at the church. Mostly for the Indigo problem, my question to Lisa: where is Branwyn? Did she leave that same day? Was she on her way out then saw Sundown in the distance and stayed a little longer to see what happened?

Provided we make it through the night, it'll then be two days since the ceremony that we'll return. I don't need an answer to any of these questions, of course (unless I'm wrong on my timeline), but Branwyn decides what happens with Indigo, and while Lisa didn't put in highest on the priority list, we only have so many days we can go before Raise Dead won't work IF that's still an option on the table. So, if Lisa sees a reason for it, maybe Branwyn is still there at the church. Or maybe she's only a day away. Maybe Tiberius is jealous about the goblins and delayed them leaving because adventure! Who knows. Just thoughts to think about before Friday.

2/3 Lisa

I donít know where Branwyn is. I could see her still at skull church. And if it makes it easier thatís fine with me if itís okay with Bob. You know I havenít really decided about Indigo. I find myself oddly at peace with his death. Iím almost thinking of putting it up to the group. Does the group want Indigo to go on?

About the fishing village, Tiffress and the gnomes at the mining site should be able to tell us exactly where the gnome fishing village is. The fishing village will have skiffs and boats that we could possibly use and like Carissa suggested maybe there is a gnome illusionist out there. Who knows?

2/4/ Carissa

I don't think it'll be hard to come up with a good excuse that'll make Bob happy to have Branwyn there still. She hasn't seen the renovated church and could be touring it, or maybe she and Snee have been taking this quiet time to plan for their upcoming meeting with Mr. Silver. But, meta-gaming, yes, it'll be much easier if we don't have to track her down!

In regards to Indigo, I have two thoughts: the simple, gut-reaction and the more thoughtful reaction. Easier to type it all here than talk it over in chat tomorrow for me.

Simple, gut-reaction: As Indigo hasn't died yet, I'm all for bringing him back . In my mind, it's tricky if it's their second death, but first death? Why not? Indigo has been along forever to most of us. He's friendly, personable, and gets along with absolutely everyone and that's often the glue that keeps parties together. Not that we'd all tear out each other's throats, and that we don't all get along, but he's usually the one who readily includes new characters, tries to defuse situations, and just... does his merry thing. So yeah, he's an icon that would be missed, and if that one point of CON won't change his life, why not come back?

Thoughtful reaction: ...but, all that said, maybe it's just my experiences the past few years, but how often does someone actually feel peaceful with the death of a character? Is this an opportunity to take advantage of? Everyone views their character(s) differently. If you're at peace with it, truly at peace, then it's really a question of where you think you could and want to go from here. Of course, he's a henchman so I don't know Bob's rules on replacing them, but is this a chance to try a new character? Are you itching for that or are you happy with your current ones? Is his story truly done or does he have more left in him? And then, of course, we can question what his death means to the story, if anything (but as commander of the navy, who was killed by a creature of the water, maybe it will be more impactful than other character deaths).

But, of course, it's not about the story. It's about the person who plays the character. Because, in the end, I don't know what you'd want and which path you think would make you happiest. It feels like, ever since Shi's death, we've gone through a rotation of new characters starting with Bosi. Is this just another domino to fall or will Indigo come back? As a party, we generally don't like seeing characters die (we brought Sundown back, of all people!), so I doubt anyone wants Indigo to stay dead, but I don't know what opportunities you'll have if he comes back versus which ones you'd have if he remains gone.

And, if you're still undecided, well, it's a game of dice and you can always let them continue to determine fate :)

2/4 Lisa

Just to clarify, if Indigo doesnít come back, there will be no replacement with a new character. It would just be Branwyn and Howard. Henchmen (to me) are specially linked to their main character. They pledge loyalty to each other and are bound. For Branwyn to take on a new henchman, it would have to be someone that binds themselves to her. So no new character to replace Indigo.

2/5 Michael

I guess what I'm getting at is that I don't want to upset anyone by raising him (or not) I guess. After the my own fiasco at causing mayhem, I kind of started looking at my characters as if they were game of thrones characters whom I expected to die, because it just hurt less while playing with everyone. For me, i've just kind of accepted that I'll play with them to the best of my ability and when they die move on. I don't like playing the everlasting game with them because it just causes to many problems. But that's just for ME and my learned lessons. Lisa I will move heaven and earth and even fly down to Bob's HOA for some sort of bullcrap HOA fine if it means I can bring him back. If you are at peace, then so am I. I truly get it. I just don't want everyone (including you!) to miss out on another adventure or party viewpoint with Indigo gone you know? I know Bran will never officially retire or anything, but at least with Indigo and Howard around, when we are "split" you get to have some fun too right? Again, I just don't want to hurt anyone by not trying my damndest to bring their character back. You've always got our backs, I just want to make sure (even though i'm essentailly dead too at the moment :) ) that we got yours!

2/5 Michael

Now, I will say two things regarding planning in the specific.

First, is that if Bran is still back there, coolsies, sounds like she'll be pissed enough to rally everyone to go kick some turtle butt and be home in time for some turtle soup in the evening. If not, then Snee and I will have to go into damage control and quickly work out how to rid the swamp of this creature. I could very much be mistaken, but I would be willing to bet this is the cause of the dissapearing gnomes if that has not already been established.

So we have to first make it back to Skull Church for healing, (potential) resurrection, equipment, spells, conscription (??? Is that a thing?) etc. We need to get the exact location of the Gnome village for round 2. Then, utilize our rough sketch battleplan.

I am the first to say that before Talwin could be any good with up close fighting, the breath weapons would have to be exausted. Bob, do you have an entry on Dragon Turtles that you actually utilize from the monster manual? And if so, which one do you use? I'm trying to do good research, but the internet conflicts with itself at times and I want to make sure I'm using your source.

I think the idea of illusion, or finding a way to "Silence" (Is that the right spell? Does it even apply to it's own breath? So much to research!), it's breath or spells will be critical to even getting in to do enough damage. And, while I have no idea what kind of dragon turtle this is, I'd be willing to bet it can do enough damage up close to kill us in a hit or two regardless. Did you know a snapping turtle can cleave through bone and take your hand off? Yeah, not a pretty thing.

So, first to rid it of it's mana pool, then either trap it, damage it quickly enough to kill it quickly, or...

Are Dragon Turtles intelligent? Can they speak? Are they actually a class of Dragon? Are they able to be reasoned with, negotiate, barter, become our own personal swamp guard?

All of these are things I have no idea what to even think about.

I'm sorry I haven't been on so much this week. It's been terrible for both jobs and school. I took this evening off to even be in tonight, so please understand I'm trying here! :)


  • edit*

Entry on Dragon Turtle Search for "Turtle" by utilizing CTRL - F

2/5 Carissa

Michael brings up the most important question of all: if it is a turtle, can it be a pet...? ;)

Turtle Hunting

So starting with the watches on the night of 13-5-349 SKR and then into the next day on our next session (2021 02 19).

You have a map for where the Dragon Turtle's lair is, you have your group of characters that are there to go forward all on the campsite map.

  • Raelynn
  • N'laea
  • Thistle
  • Brer
  • Emerald
  • Skarp
  • Kenna
  • Talwin
  • Branwyn
  • Indigo
  • Tiberius
  • Sundown

You have the two teenage gnomes lurking nearby that said they would look in every morning on you also.

You have all your supplies you are going to get from Dragon Fen and the Protectorate.

You still need to work with the fishing village to get skiffs and or a raft.

This is NOT going to be a long planning out session. You all have a mission and are going to try to solve it. This is the sort of big battle that a high level group should be in. It will take one or two sessions and we will know who lives and who dies.

2/15 Carissa

My plan of action for my characters:

  • Raelynn will cast the heat resistance spell on the frontline fighters: Brer and (????).
  • Brer will possibly talk Thistle into also lending her ring since she's there for reasons.
  • As the NOT high level part of the group, Thistle and Raelynn will otherwise wait to tend to the wounded somewhere else.
  • N'laea will shoot things from some kind of distance that is at minimum 60 ft away.

Addition things to enact:

  • Bait the turtle. Are the dead bullywugs still around? Or do we need to create some?
  • Gnome illusionist available? Underwater decoy? Either way, big point of plan should be bait to get it's breath out before full on attack.

That's all I got. That, and telling people to read this (and any additional comments) before logging in on Friday so we don't have to go through all of this yet again or be asked for a tl;dr...

2/18 Lisa

I double checked the Water Breathing spell and found you can cast it on more than one person at a time. It just cuts down the time you have with it. That will free up Branwynís 3rd level spells if she can just cast it twice. Leaving her a fire ball and a manyjaws to be able to cast.

If she casts Water Breathing on 3 people per spell, it will last 4 +1d4 hours per person. Or she can do 4 people per cast for 3 hours +1d4 hours. 2 casts for 6-8 people. Iím not sure how many people will want to be roaming around underwater. Combat will likely not last that long. Itís a matter of how long does it take to locate the turtle and then how long will it take to locate and empty the lair. I donít want to leave the treasure lying around afterwards since there is a nest of bullywugs nearby who would take it themselves.

Can you cast multiple things on people or do you have the same thing as with taking multiple potions? I am thinking of the fire resistance. Can a person have both at the same time or do we need to split between people who can function underwater and those who can take a steam blast easily?

I was also thinking the underwater people could serve as scouts as to where the turtle is, staying out of the 60 ft range.

Also I would not be surprised if we had another bullywug encounter on our way to the turtle since they are neighbors.

2/18/2021 Lara

I will be in tonight. Agreed on the fire resistance. Good call Lisa.

Like Michael, I did some research on how to kill a Dragon Turtle. There are some interesting approaches, none of which I think will work.

  • Immovable Rod harpoons. Spear the DT with a few, activate them all, proceed to broadside it. Enormous drift nets. Freeze the water around it, board it, kill it.

The ice idea seemed like an interesting one. Maybe we can actually make the DT THINK there is ice so it doesn't move. Then again, I would think that the DT could melt ice.

Perhaps we cantrip enormous drift nets? Then again, the DT could probably burn through those too.

To Carissa's point, since the DT can only use their breath weapon 3 times a day, we can bait it with things so that it, to Michael's point, exhausts it's breath.

Questions: Are we sure the DT is soft underneath? Since DTs are extremely intelligent, do we have enough tricks to fool it? Could we bombard it with enough magic to kill? Below is the one idea that stuck out to me.

  • So the best approach is probably a straight up magical one. Bombard it with magical damage while also forcing it to make enough saves against various debilitating effects that you eventually get it to fail against something that keeps it from escaping.

Hopefully I am contributing somewhat. I know that I was out the last few weeks and I failed to do the summary. Admittedly, I'm having a hard time keeping up with things. I truly apologize...I should not commit to something and not follow through.

2/19/2021 Spring

  • So did we shoot down Summon Insects plus Giant Insect. Because it sounds hilarious.
  • Entangle - the usual, get the vegetation to fight it.
  • Lower Water - to make it harder to escape.
  • Wind Servant - to direct its breath away from us.

2/23 Lisa

Just a couple things.

I must have been memorizing spells when the gnomes were talking, but from formatting the chat I saw that the gnomes said they can do magic. I just wanted to toss out there that I donít believe those two teenagers are mages for a second. Maybe one of them knows a card trick or two, but I wouldnít count on them for anything. They are not grand gnome illusionists. Maybe gnome delusionists!

There were concerns over casting the Lightning Bolt spell in water last week. Itís not my spell, but I would not have imagined it being cast before the swamp was drained of water around the turtle. There are 2 ways to cast the spell and it can be tricky, like a fireball, so it would be helpful if Lara studies the spell and knows what it does so she can quickly decide how she wants to cast it when the time comes. The turtle will get a saving throw for half damage.

FYI Ė if the bolt hits an immovable barrier, like a wall, it will ricochet back towards the caster the amount of feet left in length of the bolt. It will set wood and combustibles on fire. So I am hoping if the bolt passes the turtle and hits a tree, for example, that we will have a tree on fire situation and not a bolt rebound situation. However, I am not the final rule maker on that.

There are two ways to cast it. A long bolt that is 80 feet long and 5 feet wide and a forked one that is 40 feet long and 10 feet wide. So, yes, this is not a spell to be cast lightly and where the bolt begins, what kind to fire off and who is nearby all need to be taken into account before casting.

The Indigo v Bullywug Gang encounter may draw out the turtle. Maybe not. I would ask please not to drain the water over Indigo. We donít know where the turtle is yet. The map marks the lair but not necessarily where the turtle is. I am worried that when the water is removed that the turtle will give an immediate blast. If Indigo is in range, then he may be toast again Ė especially when surrounded by half a dozen bullywugs.

The swamp water is murky and moving underwater is a quiet activity. Scouting to get an eye on the turtle is seeming to me the best bet to find it before he finds us. The bloody underwater encounter might change that, but it is happening whether I like it or not so we will just have to see what happens. Iím for keeping this as simple as possible until we know itís an emergency.