Friday, November 2, 2018

North-West Marches Session 2 & 3; or, "What's The Worst That Could Happen?"

T H E  T O W E R, Credit Neil Blevins
Two sessions in one, oh my, what a treat! Because I am running behind, mostly. Next play reports will be written (hopefully) by my players in return for juicy, juicy XP!

Session 2

  • Grendel Calvino had to deal with “What The Fuck Did I Do Last Night?”
  • Woke up outside a wooden pen full of drunk not!Vikings, wearing a viking hat, a no shirt, no boots and a strange pair of socks
  • Wandering through town, spied a short fellow who appeared to be selling his stolen clothes! The hafling clothes “merchant” was named Grendul Dalvino, grew up in Grendel’s neighbourhood and looked just like the barbarian…
  • A little strangeness later, Grendel bought back his clothes from Grendul, and asked if there was anything he could do for the man. Grendul asked the pair if they would look for his lost friend Simon, a Trilobite Knight, who had wandered off into the wastes.
  • Bartholomew offered the tile stolen from the crypt. Grendul offered payment in return for more evidence of Northern inhabitance and treasure, hinting at mysterious contacts in the Southern cities.
  • Bartholomew and Grendel ventured back to the crypt. Travelling down into the depths, they encountered a skeleton with two “pets”: masses of sinew and gristle barely restrained/controlled with chains.
  • Bartholomew put in work with his mace borrowed from Rosé, killing the gristlebeasts and putting the skeleton to flight.
  • The two tomb-robbers completely ignored the sarcophagus, and followed the skeleton.
  • They came to a broken bridge spanning a moat filled with frothing, murderous gristlebeasts. The critters couldn’t climb the steep stone wall up to them, but falling in would mean certain death.
  • Bart and Grendel made it across the moat with relative ease, arriving at a strange coliseum-like room. The floor was set with a large, chained-up door, that they wisely (?) decided to ignore.
  • The far side of the moat seemed largely uninteresting, and they travelled back. Grendel nearly ended up food for the beasts, but a quick-thinking Bartholomew, a jar of whiskey and a torch saw them frightened off and the gnome rescued.
  • Travelling out, the pair decided to open the sarcophagus and were ludicrously lucky, racking up piles of jewellery, a golden statuette and a blinged-up crossbow with silver bolts! Lucky sods. They hardly earned it, but that’s the dice for you.
  • On the way out, they encountered a posse of “fellow travellers”, clearly out to rob them of their hard stolen -earned goods!
  • Some quick talking frightened a few of them off with references to “wizard business”. Two stayed behind - Grendel landed one in the temple, sending him in a spine-shattering roll down a pile of steps onto the other.  Bartholomew proceeded to bash his brains out. Huzzah!
  • Next time: What will the adventurers do with all their treasure?

Session 3

  • This time: The adventurers spend their loot on what basically amount to slaves and leave town again
  • Hirelings are a one-off, but rather pricey purchase using these rules.
  • Grendel was now the leader of Umberto, an eager link-boy, and Plebolus, a blithering simpleton. Jolly good.
  • Hearing news of a wizard tower to the North-West (name drop!), Grendel and Rosé pushed out.
  • Travelling West for a while, the group passed through a slowly swirling swamp that seemed to be getting sucked down a gigantic plughole about a half-mile away. Easy enough to avoid, but who knows where it might lead?
  • The hirelings were made to sleep in the rain, and despite having only travelled a few days, morale was low.
  • The party arrived at a lake and were “attacked” by rusty, animated nails and a flying brick!
  • In the confusion, Rosé drank a potion of Alternate Self, and became an Assassin! Even I can’t really explain how/why this happened.
  • While tetanus-laced wounds were being bound, Plebolus, skipping rocks into the lake, seemed to knock into something imperceptible
  • Everyone immediately decided to swim out to the strange phenomenon
  • Scrambling onto the invisible, slime-slippery platform, Grendel felt around and found a vertical, splintery surface
  • Knocking against it sharply, a wooden door began to materialise under Grendel’s knuckles. The effect continued up, outwards and downwards, spreading to suddenly-visible stone and mortar up above them and below the surface of the lake. They entered the wizards tower with much ooh-ing and aah-ing. The DM was very satisfied.
  • Inside was a bare stone chamber. From a hole in the floor emerged a large gloopy mass. “Friiiiieeeend” to spleurched. It was a very friendly and highly corrosive thing. After “playing ball” (tossing a sodden lump of bear-skin back and forth, trying not to get it on your hands and failing) and giving it a treat (“As you drop the food, there’s a whip-crack and it is just gone. There is also a tendril snaking up your leg going for the other half of the ration”) they convinced it to, sadly, stay behind.
  • Upstairs they... actually, I won't even describe it. This happened. Poor Plebolus. Umberto tried to flee, but was chased down by a psychotic gnome and dragged back to the party by the throat. Hirelings, am I right?
  • As Grendul calmed down, the party entered a room filled with about half-a-dozen large metal tanks with levers and hoses abound. Pulling them, they gushed out (in order): powerful acid, pungent flowers, and mysterious colourful water. The fumes from the lot, combined with Grendul's incipient mental catastrophe, led to a profound spirit vision. Everyone, including the DM, was confused by this process.
  • Nearing the top of the tower, the group entered a room full of smashed-open crates full of straw and other packing material. The remaining item was a large statue covered in cloth. Pulling it aside, it was revealed that the cloth was in fact the cloak/wings of a huge stone monolith with a single counter-rotating eye. The monolith had the domains of Wind, Water, Disease, Eye, Cloth and Machine. It cured Rosé's Purple Tongue Flu, but inflicted Grendel with a different plague. It was rather unimpressed with them.
  • THE WIZARD APPROACHES. Combining this (archive)this thingy here and using these naming rules I ended up with: Figgypudding Shaftslapper the Younger, in the process of dissecting some kind of eldritch abomination with the assistance of a large, animated chain-scalpel. The Grendul introduced the party as "cold-callers here to sell you this... bearskin!"
    • Wizard Shaftslapper: "So, theoretically, if I buy this... thing, you'll leave my tower, and never come back?"
    • Grendel: "That's right!"
    • Wizard Shaftslapper: "And you won't tell anyone else where this place is?"
    • Grendel: "Not a soul."
      Wizard Shaftslapper: "It's funny you say that, because..." A lever is pulled. A gibbet on a chain falls from the ceiling with a CLANG. Inside is a tattered skeleton. "That's exactly what the last one said!"

Like this, but slim, shiny, and flying directly towards your spleen. Credit German Leo
  • Initiative was rolled. Combat went... poorly.
  • The animated chain-scalpel deals 1d6 damage, exploding on a 5 AND 6, and nearly bisects Rosé on a few occasions while he missed nearly every single arrow.
  • Grendel grabbed the flying, animated saw and dragged it all the way across the room at Figgypudding. It stopped a hairs-breadth from the wizard, who magicked off Grendel's left leg. No pain. No blood. Just save or thud.
  • Grendel, from his new position on the floor, decided to close his eyes and hold his breath.
  • Shaftslapper turned to the beleaguered Rosé, conjuring up the monolith from the floor below. It's single eye beamed a red beam of light directly at the assassins forehead, and there was an ominous bzzzzzzZZZZTTT charging sound.
  • At an opportune moment, Grendel lunged at the distracted wizard, bringing him down and getting him in a... well, not exactly a pin. Between a one-legged gnome and a traditionally anaemic wizard, it was more of a flailing tussle.
  • In the end, Grendel and Rosé negotiated a surrender, and fled the tower with Umberto in tow.
Phew. There you have it! See below for the updated terrain map, and an in-game scrawl of the tower. 

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