Returning to town, the party, led by Elador, Elysia's brother and 2nd level Magic User, approached the Council of Clerics to see if it would be possible to bring her back to life. They usually charged a minimum of five thousand gold pieces but after an argument for reduction from Elador, the clerics decided that they would do it for three thousand gold pieces and a service to be performed at a time of their choosing (a sandbox time bomb if ever there was one).
The rationale behind this was that I needed a way to bring Elysia back but Mummy Grognard was without a character, so we brought in Elador, the NPC MU that she had invented in an earlier session and I hand-waved him in; the involvement of the Council of Clerics was also her idea (it was great to see her getting creatively involved in the milieu as well).
Three thousand GP was still a hell of a lot for a party of very low level characters to raise, but a lot less than 5K. Nevertheless, the party’s funds didn’t stretch that far, even when, as in the case of Junior Grognard, they emptied their purses completely – he wanted to help his mum out and who can blame him? Needing cash, and quickly, they decided to hunt out gold in its natural habitat – the dungeon. Off they went, with this session’s target the ogre chambers where, as you will recall, they had killed four in a previous session.
They crept in and found the first room empty but down a passage, sinister shadows lurked. I felt sure that the ogres would be expecting another attack and had decided that they would take a fall-back strategy, luring the party into the first room and then attacking where they could be fairly sure of deploying maximum strength in a small area. So it proved.
A hefty spear came whistling out of the darkness, narrowly missing Ferros. He fired an arrow (clerics are allowed to use missile weapons but not against humans). It was a difficult shot but he managed to hit and do damage. At this point, four ogres came charging up the passage towards the party and battle was joined.
The battle didn't go quite as well as last time. Nobody brought down an ogre – the d30 was not kind to them this week. One by one, the party began to fall. Eventually, there was only one cleric left, Galzor who did the sensible thing and took to his heels, a single ogre in hot pursuit. He led the ogre through a number of rooms previously occupied by the hobgoblin tribe and finally turned and fought it. Galzor managed to get a lucky hit in using the d30 and killed the ogre but it did him some serious damage. He stayed upright and was rewarded for his kill with an advance to second level.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party were dragged off to the Ogre command post to meet the Ogre Chief. He entered into negotiations with Merlin, who had the highest charisma. As the players were only rolling up stats as and when needed, CHA was one of the last to be filled in and Merlin got the highest, 15. His player was absent and the brother of Cafaror’s player was sitting in to see what the game was like. I allowed him to take over Merlin temporarily and conduct the negotiations – he handled it quite well and managed to persuade the Ogre Chief to let him go back to town to get a thousand gold pieces to ransom the party, who would then be released with only their clothes, no armour or weapons.
On his way out of the dungeon, Merlin met up with Galzor and after a quick Heal or two, they managed to obtain the money from their town-based stash and returned to ransom their comrades.
They nearly spent themselves into poverty to buy more stuff when they got back to town, but everyone more or less managed to re-buy all that they'd lost. There was a definite dearth of gold by now and Junior Grognard was particularly upset as he’d given up all his gold earlier to the Raise Dead fund and had nothing with which to buy himself more armour or weapons. Elador helped him out with a gift of the necessary money to get back to AC3 and weapon readiness.
An unproductive session from the point of view of advancing the party’s fortunes. I had not anticipated that the fight with the ogres would go quite so badly this time; the use of the house rule regarding minus hit points meant that rather than a near-TPK, we had a situation where the party was humiliated by their enemies – a sure-fire cause of vengeance desire on the part of the lads. I felt sure that this was going to inspire some in-game developments in the future; story generated by the actions of the party is always more involving than externally imposed DM plotlines.
Next time, we’ll see how the party got its mojo back and decided to explore different avenues for raising the much-needed funding.
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