Sunday, June 13, 2010

Campaign Journal: Retainer Dogs Session 4

Play date: June 1, 2010
This is the last one of these I am writing. From now on, they will be written by my players.

Adventurer Roster
Aethyl the Prestidigitator (human Magic-user 1/Played by Christina.) Curious about everything and always ready for an experiment involving magic, I present for the last time, the poor doomed Aethyl.

Hargreaves the Veteran (Halfling Fighter 1/Player Bryan) a warrior who grew up the son of a Pie Baker in the City-State of Mebulon. He recently left the Half-man ghettos of that city and now seeks his fortune.

Malic the Veteran Prestidigitator (Elf F/M 1/Player-Roy) a sometimes foolishly brave soul that is perhaps a touch megalomaniac. He is curious to the edge of recklessness.

Osamu the Acolyte (Human Cleric 1/Player - Joe) A traveling Inquisitor-Knight of the Immortal Solomon. Osamu headed the call to travel this land and face the foes of Solomon.

Pre-Game Business Session 4:
Olef is guarding the Fortunate Fools Base Camp
Items in their possession at session start, but not sold:
Sword and 2 daggers (one of the daggers has a hollow pommel and contains a map to a hidden cave) from Tybrin

Brief Synopsis
(In game start time Day 6, 0600)
This was an entertaining session. One thing I can not convey with these synopsis are all the in game jokes we have, mostly to poor Roy’s expense. This is a great group of people to geek with. I find myself trying to fit all of the jokes and anecdotes into these session reports, but they are lost on the general reader and the end result is an overly long synopsis. So, instead, I will stick to high lighting that which I feel is important for my players to remember. The session went well. We had a bit of role-playing in the start at Pendleton, some head scratching experimentation which entertained me, first with a seemingly magical mace and then with a mysterious door. There was plenty of action too. First with a regenerating hobgoblin that ended in a clear victory for the players; however, they acquired an interesting morning star that seems to have hexed Malic the Elf with some sort of curse. They had another encounter at the Apes Caves that included a sleeping carnivorous ape, hundreds of normal bats, a giant bat that thought Hargreave looked like a tasty kobold, and a pack of twelve blind cave locusts. The cave locusts almost wiped out the entire party. In the end, none survived unscathed, Malic and Osamu both came VERY close to death, and poor Aethyl was doomed with her meager 4 hit points.

Expanded Synopsis:

The Return of the Foolishly Brave Elf to Pendleton
An exhausted babbling Malic arrives in Pendleton. He wakes Osamu the Cleric and tells him his wild tale of maps leading to hidden caves, wagon riding kobolds, creepy doors in root cellars and lusty, angry, she apes.

Osamu calms him and rouses Hargreave the Halfing from his drunken sleep and Aethyl the mage as well. The four of them go outside the inn to the wagon. Osamu sees to Gia and Heidi getting some breakfast for them at the inn. Aethyl goes back to her room to memorize her spell for the day.

Gia pulls Osamu to the side and appeals to him as a man of faith to secure her families fortune hidden in her farm house. She states that their life savings is kept in a clay jar, stuffed inside a sack of wheat. The jar, the four family horses and their two wagons are all she has. The farm itself has a lien on it, and with her husband dead, she has no claim to the farm itself. Only the wagons and the horses.

The Platinum Flute
While this is going on, Hargreave haggles with the inn keeper’s son for a fair price on the four casks of dwarven ale recovered by Malic. A price of 228 gp’s, plus a pence for the King and a pound for the Pauper is agreed upon. The inn keeper tips him to the fact that the local loan agent is a collector of fine things, and may have some interest in the Halfling pottery jars.

Hargreave pays a visit to the Loan Agent. The Loan Agent’s shelves are lined with curiosities, many obviously valuable, all of fine and/or unique make. The Loan Agent inspects the pottery. He is impressed, and tells Hargreave that a few weeks back, two Halflings from Elmshire had been in his store. They were in need of a loan and as collateral offered a platinum flute.

The flute was produced and shown to Hargreave. It was obviously of Halfling make. It was kept in a hand carved onyx box, lined with deep purple velvet. There were intricate runes inscribed upon the flute that Hargreave could not identify as any halfing clan markings known to him. The runes seemed to swim like ants when Hargreave concentrated upon them too much.

The Loan Agent then told Hargreave that the Halflings had offered to deliver to him a shipment of fine pottery. With the banditry as of late, by the now captured Tybrin the Vicious, he assumed they were raided and doomed along with his dreams of pottery. While the flute is beautiful to behold, and obviously of value, his interest is not in instruments, but he is interested in pottery.

The Loan Agent offered a trade. The flute for the pottery. Hargreave, believing this to be the flute that the Halflings Brigid and Gerri were looking for accepted. With Brigid dead, and having not spoken to Gerri for several days now, Hargreave pocketed the flute and has thus far said nothing to Gerri, or anyone else, about the flute.

The Not so Fortunate Fools
After a long discussion that devolved into an argument over either investigating the cave marked upon Tybrin’s map or going to find the Fortunate Fools at Zebulon Whately’s Dungeon; they finally decided upon taking the wagon with them and would stop by the camp to check on Olef the Red and the Fortunate Fools’ camp before continuing on to investigate the cave on Tybrin’s map.

When they arrived at the camp, they found Olef sharpening his ax; however, the camp was emptied. Olef explained that early that morning, Ven of the Silver-Mane (cousin to Joss the Yellow-Mane) and Gwen Truegard, Zebulon Whatley‘s senior apprentice and the newest member of the Fortunate Fools, had entered the camp in a nervous rush. They babbled about everyone else being dead, claiming “something” had killed the others. They paid money to Olef, 20 gp’s each, five times less then the group were initially offered. They then packed up camp and set out upon the south road towards Elmshire and far off Acteron. Our heroes were retainers no more.

Mr. Red Fang and the Bleeding Morningstar
Following the path marked upon the map, the group encountered another two horse wagon, very similar to their own. It held a kobold passenger and was driven by a creature that appeared to be a hobgoblin. Seeing them, it became enraged and charged their wagon with his. Aethyl cast her sleep spell. She centered it upon the hobgoblin creature; however, it had no effect upon it. She did enchant the two horses into a slumber. When the horses fell, one broke a front leg, and the wagon rolled to the passenger side, demolishing the front wheel on that side and damaging the rear wheel on the same side. The kobold tumbled out of the wagon, ensorcelled with the mage’s sleep spell.

Seemingly berserk, the hobgoblin creature screamed “Mr. Red Fang Kill!” raised a bloody morning star above his head and charged. The characters noticed that the morning star seemed to continually drip blood, as if bleeding. A short battle ensued.

The adventurers watched in curious amazement as the numerous blows they inflicted upon this Mr. Red Fang, healed only moments after the wounds were received. It did not end well for Mr. Red Fang, but before dying, he brought his bloody morning star down upon the face of Olef the Red, crushing the dwarf’s skull in a bloody pulp.

Getting in some good hits with missile attacks against Mr. Red Fang’s berserker strategy, he fell rather quickly. The adventurers assumed it was the morning star giving him the regeneration capabilities. They removed the weapon from him after he fell. He still retained his regenerative ability. They searched him for medallions and rings, finding none, and noting he was still regenerating, they removed his head. The regeneration stopped.

Curious. Malic held the morning star. He instantly heard a whisper in his voice begging for blood, and warning him that “the others will want me, you must guard me”. He began grumbling, “it’s Mine! You can’t have it!” and giving his fellows the evil eye. Osamu struck him with the flat of his blade. The others followed suit, rendering him unconscious.

They wrapped the morning star in his cloak, instantly soaking it with blood, bound him and tossed him in the wagon with Olef’s corpse. Noting the late hour, they decided to make for the abandoned Bandit Camp that Malic had pointed out to them upon Tybrin’s map.

A Stinky House and a Mysterious Door
Their investigation of the house revealed the mess that Malic had described to them from his earlier investigation. It was wrecked by the kobolds, who had obviously used the hearth as a privy instead of the detached outhouse. It was obvious that the hearth was the recipient of their daily constitutions, and that general relief was had wherever they might have been standing. Osamu recovered the families fortune described to him by Gia.

Finding the house distasteful, and perhaps diseased, they decided to sleep in the barn and leave the door in the root cellar for further exploration in the morning.

The door turned into a mystery. Try as they might, they could not find a way to open it. A plan was devised in which they would offer Olef’s body as sacrifice in order to see if the door would open. Their reasoning being that Heidi had told them that the bandits would drag bodies to the root cellar. They found several drag marks, and what could be blood stains on the earth floor, but there were no bodies found. Their theory is that something from the other side of the door takes the bodies, perhaps only during hours of darkness. A cloth sack of copper coins was found in the root cellar as well. It is a common practice to lay copper coins over the eyes of the dead to pay the taker of the underworld. They also remembered stories of a place called “the Darkling Ways”, a sort of never ending dungeon that grows and opens to the upper world through several doorways. These doorways are sometimes fixed, and sometimes chaotic in stasis.

An unwilling Malic was locked in the cellar to see if the door would open. He broke out, and was enraged. This joke repeated itself three times before Aethyl called for a stop to the non sense. They decided to spend the daylight hours investigating the cave, and would return to the house at night fall.

A Sleeping Ape, Bats, a bigger bat, cave locusts and another dead companion
At the Ape Cave, they discovered that the wreckage of the cargo Malic described to them had been hauled away. It looked as if it were dragged into a nearby bog. Careful investigation inside found a sleeping ape. A stealthy Hargreave dispensed the lone ape.

The party crept further into the cavern depths with Malic taking the lead with his dark vision. The squeaking of many bats could be heard, and the deeper they went, the stronger the scent of the guano became.

They found a room of sorts, its floor littered with carcasses and debris. Some of the carcasses were obviously humanoid, perhaps kobold. Suddenly, Malic was attacked by several giant, albino, blind locusts with large “feeler” antenna. They shrieked loudly, deafening him then four of them leapt at him, striking him repeatedly. The shrieking disturbed hundreds of bats which swarmed the characters, confusing all but Hargreave.

A giant bat attacked Hargreave. Perhaps because he was the smallest in the party. A confused battle against swarming bats and shrieking locusts left everyone injured and Aethyl dead. Using fire to drive the bats away and burning oil to defeat the locusts. The party searched the debris in the room. They discovered some loose coin, six silver arrow heads (fletched to broken arrows), a battered but usable quiver, and three intact arrows amongst many broken ones. A single arrow had a complex rune inscribed upon its broad head.

They carried the dead Aethyl out of the cave and stopped at the entrance to decide their next move.

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