It being half-term in Merrie England, JG and I had time enough for two sessions this week. This is the first - the second I'll post tomorrow.
You join us on Day Three of the campaign (I decided it was the spring, since that's a good start to the adventuring year).
The day after the encounter with the ettin, the four surviving party members traipsed down to the armourer's. There are two in town, Zhallak and Severan, and JG decided on Severan. To get the image right in his mind, I compared the place to the ski hire shop that we'd visited on our winter holiday December 2008, so it was complete with a kind of hot chocolate urn at the door to greet visitors and comings and goings from newbies, old hands and such like. With the small amount of money that they had, they were able to upgrade Alurax and Zhastar to scale mail, AC5. Akurath bought himself a heavy xbow and Alurax also replenished his stock of arrows. I did a tick box schematic to make it a bit easier for JG to keep track of his arrows and bolts. Whether he remembers to use it is another matter.
(Regular readers may be wondering where the two new starters that were rolled up last week had got to. JG decided that he wanted them to arrive later and I thought that this was quite canny since if he gets more cash as a result of his next adventure, he can afford to upgrade the weaponry and armour of the new guys as well. Whether being under-strength is going to cause a problem, only time will tell. It also gives me that little bit longer to work out a way in which they can enter the campaign and bring a bit of the sandbox to life while doing so).
In the afternoon, Elise and Alurax started going through the spellbook that they had acquired in the Training Dungeon and that, as a 'present', I had decided to let them have. They'd taken nothing else from the TD, and I wonder if JG actually remembers any of the stash.
Because it might be a bit complex for JG to remember min and max spells, etc, I ruled that each character had to make a Know Spell roll for each 1st level spell that they were trying to copy out into their spell books. And to be even kinder, I allowed both characters to learn from the same book (yes, not really the done thing, but it was quite generous of JG to allow Elise to share the book in the first place).
Elise now has
Read Magic, Enlarge, Affect Normal Fires, Detect Magic, Magic Missile, Dancing Lights, Ventriloquism, Hold Portal, Identify.
Alurax now has
Feather Fall, Affect Normal Fires, Charm Person, Read Magic, Magic Missile, Ventriloquism, Hold Portal, Enlarge, Identify.
They still only get one learned spell per day, but I'll give you three guesses as to which one it'll be...
The party retired to bed after a good meal and late that night, Alurax was awakened by the sound of breaking glass from downstairs. He jumped out of bed and saw two shadowy figures in the stable yard. He woke the others and they hurriedly donned their armour and grabbed their weapons. As they came into the kitchen, they saw one of the figures climbing in through the window. Alurax fired his bow and missed, at which point the shadowy figure dived back through the window, closely followed by Alurax. The others were struggling to get the kitchen door open.
In the yard, Alurax came face to face with a short sword and was hit for 6 points of damage. He went down to -2. As his attacker was about to finish him off, he was struck down himself. The rest of the party burst through the door into the stable yard and chased the second shadowy figure down the alley to the street. Alurax, with a freshly-slain corpse atop him was slowly bleeding his life away when the corpse was pulled off him and someone he'd never seen before starting administering first aid.
To cut a long story short, the rest of the inn was soon roused, including Mobok the landlord and Rulla the stable-lad. When lanterns were lit and the rest of the party returned, they found Alurax propped up against the wall on 0, and his rescuer standing guard to make sure no-one else was about to attack. He introduced himself as Bosla, who had been on his way home when he heard the sound of glass smashing and decided to investigate. He found the fight going on and weighed in to help Alurax who was on the ground...
[If you're thinking that this is as fishy as Billingsgate on a hot day, you're right]
JG, on the other hand was only too pleased that his life had been saved and that he had made a new friend. Mobok the landlord wanted to close up and, having got Alurax a cure light, the party went to bed.
The next day, after a visit by the police, investigating the break-in (they insisted that Alurax tell them everything that happened, because I wanted to get JG to fix it in his mind) they decided to go and check with Arazak, the 1st level dwarf cleric who had been left to look after the shrine after the previous cleric had gone across the river. Arazak greeted Akurath in the dwarf language, and asked Zhastar if he was a homelander or a settler. Zhastar answered the former, which was correct. Arazak wished that his cause should prosper and that one day, his home would be free.
Hrazhkag, the former dwarf cleric, went off with four dwarven adventurers, who had come to him very mysteriously talking about dwarven magic items and a dwarf hero who had died in the area now known as Dwarf's End, beyond Redstone Ruins and the Watchful Eyes. That was the previous autumn. Nothing had been heard of any of them since. JG got very fired up with the idea of going across the river and trying to find out what had become of them.
As a parting courtesy, Arazak offered Akurath a tankard of dwarf beer. JG decided that Alurax should try some too. I ruled that as it was so strong, he needed to roll below his CON to avoid any unpleasant effects. He failed the first roll and ended up spitting out the beer all over the floor of the shrine that Arazak had just swept. Undeterred, Alurax had another go and this time rolled a 20. I ruled that this time, he fell over backwards and had a shaking fit. He was groggy and dizzy for the rest of the day. Akurath and Arazak had a good dwarven chuckle about this.
(It occurred to me that I need to get some Elesalian drinks sorted out - various beers, spirits and wines from various areas that can add a bit of flavour to the proceedings - excuse the pun. I don't want it to be like that Alistair McGowan sketch spoofing EastEnders, when the cast go into the Queen Vic and ask Peggy for a pint of non-specific).
The next day, the party was disturbed during breakfast by Rulla the stable-lad (yes, he has a speaking part this week) who came rushing through, shouting "They're back! They're back!". JG though that he might be referring either to the robbers or the dwarven party, and this was reinforced when they followed Rulla towards the river and saw a boat being rowed across. But when they got to the docks, the boat was just pulling in and there were no dwarves on board. There were four adventurers and two wrapped body-sized bundles. When Rulla saw this, he broke down in a fit of screaming and crying and had to be dragged back to the inn. It transpired that he was a bit sweet on one of the dead adventurers.
The party hung around to chat with the new arrivals, and while the bodies were taken off to the temple court, everyone went back to the Soaring Falcon to have a valedictory drink for their comrades (as yet unnamed). Whilst there, the new guys were telling JG's party about their voyage across the river and into the wilds. They had, it transpired, been as far as Ratman's Hill, beyond Redtooth Peak and Goblin's Pass. I dropped a hint of Dwarf's End in there, but I don't think that JG picked up on it. The returners had come under attack from marauding humanoids and had lost two of their party as a result. Dire warnings were issued about not going across the river unless a party was up to it. JG was starting to get cold feet about the whole idea of crossing over. The returners did say that they might be looking for extra numbers for a second trip but warned that it was going to be tough.
JG's party were left to mull this over, but they didn't have long, because just afterwards, Sergeant Subaras and trooper Prebor came in and suggested that they come down to the guardhouse quickly as something interesting had happened. When the party arrived, they found a battered, bruised and terrified man, clearly in shock, who had just arrived in town having run all the way from his workplace, a farm up near the hills, where spiders are raised for their body products. All he could say was "G..g..g..g..g..g..goblins!"
And that's where we left it for today. No prizes for guessing what happens in the next session, which may be this week or might be at the weekend, depending on schedules.
So again, a good session; if JG's attention wandered a little bit, that's to be expected. There were a lot of new things to take in.
Now we have more detail about what lies across the river, a new friend (or is he?) for the party and some possible ideas for adventures that the party might want to explore (but, as always, it’s up to them). Next time, the party embarks on its first scripted adventure – what will become of them?
(thanks to Mr Gone for the boozy dwarves picture - superb!)