Sunday, April 30, 2017

5E at the Citadel: The Player Trap

So session two (Session 1 here).

We start somewhere else in the world where Valen the ex pirate captain Aasimar (lots of backstory that I have worked into my overall plot, don’t worry Austin) has awoken drunk in the woods.  He was drunk in the woods because he had been drunk in town because his crew mutinied and left him there and then he’d run away when the Fire Nation Frost Giants attacked and then passed out in the woods. 

Unfortunately, he didn’t know where he was, since the party was in the middle of nowhere and there wasn’t a super logical easy way to bring in a character who’s player had to miss the first session, Valen ran into a goblin running through the woods.  Yes, that goblin.  The one that got away from the fight in the previous session.  Valen and the goblin both stopped, looked at each other, decided they were both cool, and just went in opposite directions. 

Due to a twist of fate/DM fiat, Valen wandered right into the ruins of a goblin camp as a party of adventurers set up their bedrolls for the night amid the wreckage.  The party and Valen traded pleasantries, and they decided he could come with them but not have any of their cash.  That was good enough for Valen, as he was originally from Salas, and they bedded down.  Charmagnus the Wild Magic Sorceror has the Bad Dreams flaw, and fortunately Julius our Elven Bard rolled that he has a nightcap that gives good dreams as his trinket at the beginning of play, so they were able to have a neat little bonding moment.  They set up watches, and we moved to the next day.

The landscape started to change from deciduous forests to swampland, and the proximity of the sliver of land they were on between mountains and sea meant that most water they found was brackish.  They had officially entered The Saltmarch, the treacherous marshes at the southern ends of the mountains that blocked trade to the south of Anchorheim.  The party had to deal with mud, itchy plants, and swarms of bugs (all in narration, because I’m not a dick of a DM who makes people roll to swat mosquitos). 

Imagine this for probably the next few blogs about this game...

As they passed by a muddy bog, they rolled for a random encounter, and several globs of mud hit the party coupled with cackling  from the mud.  Valen was stuck to the ground by mud, and the party discerned a pair of Mud Mephits.  They lured them out of the bog with insults, but the pair landed in tree branches overhead just out of reach.  That led to a bit of an issue for the ranged weapon deficient party, and Fechedette, the crafty Illusionist, created an illusion of a sexy, female Mud Mephit to lure them off.  It distracted one, but the other passed it’s Wisdom Save, but was quickly cut down by a spear and some Firebolts.  They then had time to disentangle from the mud and deal with the second Mephit before moving on their way.

Mud Mephit

That little encounter out of the way, they found what appeared to be a game trail that avoided the worst of the swamp, and followed it.  A few Perception checks later, they noticed the fungus covered trees they were passing through seemed to be some sort of mushroom farm.  A little later, the berry bushes appeared to be some sort of clandestine harvesting ground.  They came around a bend, and found themselves confronted with a little cottage.

Anyone who has read the backlog of my blog will notice several similarities between what happened next and something similar I ran for a group several years back.  It is.  I’m not sorry.  I liked it, and that game didn’t go anywhere, so I reused something I loved.  I changed bits, so nyah.

Anyways, the house was a little large for Medium sized creatures, so Gilroy was pretty much at home, but everyone else felt short.  They noticed a really bad smell from the nearby outhouse, and they discovered the rotting corpse of a Firbolg clutching its chest.  Clearly, the owner of the house had a heart attack while taking a dump (a surprisingly common occurrence, evidently).  They were free to loot!

Entering the house, they discovered a few items of note.  In the cupboards, they found some potions, coffee (gives the benefits of a long rest after a short rest, but in return, they need to take a long rest as their next rest), some gold under a mattress, and a self filling and heating kettle.  Also, there was a book about mushrooms and a beginner book of Wizard spells on the bookshelf and some herbs on a herb rack.  In all, a nice haul for a first level party.  That was hardly the best/worst part of it.

Remember, I shamelessly ripped off something I did in a previous game…

There was a curtain against a wall, and when they drew it aside, behind it was a small room that was not of the same dimension of the house they were in.  In that extradimensional room, three poorly taxidermized heads were on the walls (a goat, a lion, and a lizard) and there was a silver basin and large velvet bag inside a circle carved into the floor.  Inside the velvet bag was a silver Athame and a gris gris necklace.

On the top an Athame, on the bottom, a Gris Gris (basically a small bag worn as an amulet full of gross spell components).

There was some argument over who should put on the necklace or if it should be worn at all.  Valen and Gilroy were all about wearing it, and Fechedette skeptically sided with them.  Keeri Lo and Julius were definitely against it (note that Keeri Lo’s player was actually in the game where I did this the first time).  Charmagnus just wanted all the stuff and was just trying to get everyone to give the stuff to him.

Eventually, Valen just put the necklace on, and discovered that by wearing the necklace, he could speak with the three heads of the taxidermized Chimera.  It was named Barry.  The lion head was helpful and dim witted.  The goat was insulting and intelligent, and the lizard/dragon head was so poorly made it just unintelligibly mumbled.  After some confusion over who Valen was talking to and if the poor pirate had finally gone mad, Julius put the necklace on, decided the level of crypticism that the chimera met his questions with meant it was evil and plotting.  Fechedette thought things were fine after talking to Barry, Charmagnus was cool with it too, and Keeri Lo sided with Julius against the beast again.  Gilroy just kept getting skipped in turn order and when he finally got to talk to Barry, everyone was cross with each other, the Chimera was annoyed and pleading to just be taken with them, and Valen had taken the heads off the wall and put them back up at least twice. 

Team #cynic, aka Julius and Keeri Lo, wanted to alternately burn the heads, leave them while hiding the necklace, take the necklace and leave the heads, or just leave the lot.  Finally, Keeri Lo made a perception check and realized that the room was not part of the house but was actually generated by the curtain, so if they took the curtain down, they could just carry the lot.  After some pleading from Gilroy and Valen, they decided to relent and just take the lot with them as long as Julius and Valen kept control of the necklace in case the Chimera heads were evil and tried to negatively influence the less strong willed party members. 

Now armed with some healing stuff, various potions, a few new spells, a magical tea kettle, and an extradimensional room with talking taxidermy, the party hit level 2 and decided to spend the night in the house, thereby wrapping up the session.

*****Quick side note, I have updated the previous post's title to include the header 5E at the Citadel.  I will include that designation in future posts from this game so that they can be easily differentiated from whatever else I post in the meantime.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

5E at the Citadel: The Story Begins With...These Guys...

Adventurers Needed!
I fear the wards have broken in the latest avalanche.  A sudden warm snap has caused the Icefang Mountains to dump their prodigious snow that their peaks have collected down to the lowlands, and the wards that keep the mountain denizens at bay have been buried or worse.  I pray it’s just the wards being covered.  Otherwise, the two frost giants who came down from the hills and took our town three nights past have discovered a way to circumvent our ancient protective magic.  That is far more disturbing a thought. 

For now, though, our plight is dire.  Griffombul and Jontara, the giant and his giantess, have frozen our bay, leaving our ships trapped in shackles of ice, and a deep frost creeps over the town.  They started their reign of terror by ripping our guards to shreds along with any the giants deemed strong enough to oppose them.  Now they sit on our keep as if it were a throne, demanding our goods for their hoard and our children to slake their hunger. 

Those of us remaining in the Anchorheim Council have given gold to some hale souls who had decided to winter in Anchorheim so that they may slip from the city through our sewers with a letter to our allies across the mountains in Salas and at the Library at Howell to implore them for aid.  Even if they do make it through Saltmarch to the south and through the forests on the mountains’ eastern faces, I fear any help they reach will not find us in time.  I shiver not just from the bone aching cold the giants have brought, but from the fear that hangs in the air as palpably as our breath does. 
-Excerpt from the diary of Justice Claybones, Interim Mayor of Anchorheim

David Gardner will be running a 5th Edition D&D game fo3r new and old players alike.  We will run bi-weekly.  We will be using all 5th Edition material printed by Wizards of the Coast, and we will be starting at level 1.

That was the add I had my local gaming store put on their Facebook page.  Below is the party I ended up with (note that I ended up letting a player use a race from an Unearthed Arcana article):

This may or may not be the image that inspired the intro to this game...

Keeri Lo, the Zendikar Merfolk Druid Criminal. 
  • ·         Has great abs
  • ·         Druidic focus is a conch shell horn
  • ·         Wildshapes into crabs ‘n stuff
  • ·         Think slightly sleazy information broker with seaweedy tide pool magic
  • ·         Makes cutting comments using Vicious Mockery #throwingshade
Julius, the High Elf Bard Noble
  • ·         Commanding and in charge
  • ·         Has a lute
  • ·         Also makes cutting comments using Vicious Mockery #throwingshade
  • ·         Trusts almost no-one
  • ·         Battle bros with Keeri Lo
Charmagnus, the Human Sorceror (Wild Mage) Wanderer
  • ·         Super germophobe
  • ·         Casts Prestidigitation constsantly to clean everything
  • ·         Doesn’t use anything but cantrips unless he can help it because he’s afraid of his wild magic
Fechedette, the Forest Gnome Wizard (Illusionist) Sage
  • ·         Gets very excited
  • ·         Has “creative” uses for illusions
  • ·         Rides on Gilroy or Keeri Lo if he is a crab
  • ·         Has a chipmunk familiar
  •       Her name was randomly generate off of the 5e DM Screen
Gilroy, the Firbolg Barbarian Folk Hero
  • ·         Has a really comfortable coat
  • ·         No, really guys, it’s super comfortable
  • ·         Always down with trying new things
  • ·         Big, congenial bro
And coming late to the party (in session 2)…
Valen, the Aasimar (Protector) Fighter/Rogue (Swashbuckler) Pirate
  • ·         Cinnamon roll
  • ·         Loves everyone
  • ·         Likes booze
  • ·         Total go getter
  • ·         Just is happy to have friends

Our first session started with five characters (Valen's player couldn't make it to the first session) being hidden in a basement by Justice Claybones.  The old Mayor offered them 1,000 GP each if they managed to get a letter across (around, rather, but eh) to the city of Salas and to the Library at Howell.  It was a sweet deal for a bunch of first level adventurers, so they took it.

The Mayor moved a table, revealed a secret tunnel, and shipped the gang down it into a dark little  access tunnel.  They were ticked that he pushed a table back over the tunnel, sealing them down there, but quickly overcame their annoyance and forged on.  Eventually, they emerged several miles outside the town.  Quickly, they hightailed it to the nearby tree line to avoid any giant eyes.

After a brief bit of introduction and reveling in the musical instruments they had, they realized they were probably too close to town to make too much noise, and slunk off.  Near night, they discovered a farmhouse that looked like it had been trodden on by a giant, and found a squashed mother and child (both deceased) inside.  They also found some bread and potatoes.  The potatoes, coupled with the fact that Charmagnus had bought cheese at character creation, started a joke about how the party needed to make pierogis.

Mmmm, pierogis

They decided not to spend the night in a squashed farmhouse since there was still a little daylight left, and forged on.  As darkness fell, they saw a fire in the trees up ahead, and Julius, Keeri Lo, and Gilroy decided to investigate.  Charmagnus and Fechedette hid in the trees but stayed close. 
The fire was owned by half a dozen goblins and a pair of goblin dogs.  Two of the goblins were robed, the dogs were tied up, and none of them expected a Firbog, a Merfolk, and an Elf to wander into the middle of their camp.  This led to a few blades (goblin blades are basically sharp junk tied to sticks) being drawn but some talk happened where the goblins demanded the party’s stuff and the party tried to barter potatoes.

As a shock to nobody, these relations broke down, and the goblins in robes opened their mouths, their crab familiars scuttled out to safety, and the dogs were loosed.  A goblin rolled a natural 1 against Keeri Lo, and my description of how the goblin’s steak knife tied to the end of a stick broke when he shoved the knife at Keeri Lo’s stomach spawned Keeri Lo lifting his shirt, declaring his abs were steel, and then getting promptly dropped to zero by a goblin dog. 

One goblin ran away, but in a barrage of spells and steel (the wizard and sorcerer did good work with Firebolt from the trees), the rest of the goblins and the goblin dogs were dropped.  The party settled in for the night in the ruined campsite, and we finished the first session.  It was short because a large portion of it was spent in character creation, but laughs and fun were had.  

Been a While...


I've said it before and faded off, and I can't promise it won't happen again.  I'm a busy man.  However, I have some stuff I want to send out to the hive mind and some stories to share, so I'm gonna do it.  Kay?  Kay.