Monday, September 3, 2012

First Party, Session One, Part 1

So, session one happened.

The first party, at level 2:

Lia, Druid, my wife, followed by her faithful wolf totem animal.
Victoria (for now), noble wood elf, my daughter, her wyrmling dragon henchman, and an elven ranger (Loura), sent out of the woods with her.
Knibbs, fortune hunter, friend of mine, and his compatriot Dale, a thief, and familar Salizard, a venomous small horned viper.
Jalisco, drow undead hunter, his son.
Oldcrab, dwarf uplander, his other son, followed by his wolf totem animal.

Surprisingly, I don't have one non-custom class besides the thief. Thanks, ACKS Player's Companion! Druid is essentially a wizard with HD value 1, Divine (Druid) value 3. The elf is a modified Courtier from the ACKSPC. Knibbs is some thief, some arcane, and some divine, based on his 3.5E Knibbs which was fighter/rogue/wizard/cleric/humanparagon/mystic-theurge (it worked!). Jalisco is a modified paladin, and Oldcrab came out as half-barbarian, half-ranger.

I'll post all those later. There's a chance the drow is already going to change his PC, may be a moot point.

The followers of whatever type have either 1 level or 1 HD, and their stats are too high. I am going easy on the children, yes. Shush.

And here we go:

There's a bit of jealousy at the amount of dice I toss on the table from the boys; it's noted that I have to run everyone else in the world.

The party, escorting a small wagon train to Fair Haven, push through sunset to make it to the fait village of Dundraville.

I've made an audio recording from a set of USB headphones clipped to the grid of my basement's ceiling. I hate my voice.

Once there, on that dark and rainy night, they first encounter the guard shack, knocked over. After a bit of poking about, and finding extremely large boot prints, they continue into the town proper, seeing evidence of a scuffle with a very large humanoid - buildings dented, street-torches knocked over.

Speculation on the large boot tracks ranged from trolls to ogres to giants to dinosaurs.

There's a bit of discussion between the party on whether to just drop off the wagons and follow the tracks, or to stop and gain information. Knibbs notes light coming from shuttered windows and under the door of the only inn in town, and knocks on the door.

It opens a crack, and the villager inside gives Knibbs a short lookover, and says "Giant gone?" 'Yeap,' says Knibbs. "Come on in then before he comes back". Most of the town seems to be in the inn, huddling around tables, some crying, most scared. What looks to be the village elders quietly argue in the far corner.

The dwarf accosts the first person he comes across. It's explained to him that the ogre comes by every few weeks, demanding ale, wine, and a sheep. The villagers have acquiesced so far, not having the wherewithal to deal with the problem. However, just tonight, he demanded people, and there was a scuffle. The ogre made away with a guard, the stonemason, and one of the barmaids.

The dwarf, the PC of the youngest player, barely ever stops talking :) That's why he's up here, out of the vaults.

The vintner reveals he poisoned the last barrel of wine the ogre took.

There's some discussion amongst the party again, as to if they should run out right now or sleep the night. Patiences wins, and the town puts them up in beds for free for the night - the party will wake up super early and hope for the ogre to still be sleeping off the alcohol.

In the morning, a one-armed dwarf approaches the party at breakfast. He explains that the ogre is pretty dangerous (he lost his arm) and has a vicious club he's hammered other weapons into, for some sort of crazy bladed-spike-club thing. He wishes the party well as they head out.

The party takes some of the caravan horses out to what the one-armed dwarf described as Skulltop Hill, a rocky protuberance with what looks like two eyes and a mouth. Some distance away, the dwarf and druid send out their wolves, and the elven princess her dragon, for a scouting mission.

The dragon is only 1 HD, and is weaker than a wyrmling. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle growth, I'll probably make a difference between 'henchmen' dragons and actual dragons, and while it may gain 'levels', it'll advance in actual ability at half or even one-third speed. I'll play it by ear and post how advancement went if she switches characters. I treat it as INT 10 or so, and it's paid in gems and gold still, which it will eat (good for it's scales!) until it's old enough to hoard, at which point it'll leave and be a remote ally. Yes, I am spoiling my daughter.

The wolves report a ogrish smell and trail into the main mouth entrance. The dragon notes one 'eye' holds a nest, the other one has a wisp of smoke coming out of it. She also notes a back entrance - a crack in the wall about 3ft by 5ft, through which the party members will fit. The wolves note a skunkish smell coming from there.

The party enters the crack, goes a few tens of feet down a rought stone corridor, and comes into an largish room, floor covered in bat guano. The druid urges caution, and they sneak through without waking what is probably a large bat colony on the ceiling.

The tunnel splits off to the left and right. The druid sends her wolf to the left tunnel - he comes back reporting he met a skunk - the skunk presented aggressively and the wolf, knowing better, backed off and let him have his territory. The dwarf sends his right, and he reports a door, then some glowing bugs, and fresh water.

One day, this animal companion scouting will end poorly.

The party treks down right to a stone door, about 20 ft further up before the corridor ends into the next open area. It's well carved, of dwarven manufacture, with a large keyhole in the center. There's a double set of engravings - one, roughly crossed out by other, later hands, proclaims this the tomb of Jodun, Dwarf of the Thorncrist, fallen in the year 4311, some 300 years ago. Newer runes at the side of this door declare this the grave of Lord General Tulwar, Foe Eater, downed 4566, roughly 50 years ago as the last Empire was ending it's fall.

The lock ends up being a bit too gummed up to pick, so the drow and dwarf bash in the door. Inside, a dwarven tomb is laid out. The walls are carved in a dwarvish style - done quickly, but skillfully, depicting frescoes of various historical events, presumably in the life of the deceased. At the end of the 30ft long room, a raised dias hold a sarcophagus and a pair of heavy metal sconces on poles, each with a magical golden light emanating from them.

In front of the sacrophagus lies a dwarf skeleton, seemingly evicted from it's home. There are silver holy symbols laid on the floor at each side, and the sarcophagus looks newly sealed, as opposed to the rest of the room. The skeleton still wears it's armor, dragonbone chain. The dwarf falls in want, and exchanges the skeleton's chain for his own, with a hastily added promise to his distant cousin to restore him to his rest.

His dad, ever the mercenary, suggested that. :) Gotta train them right from the start.

The dwarf and drow take crowbars from their pack and begin to crack open the sarcophagus. The lid pushes off far enough to admit an arm, and another lashes out from inside, a grisly, withered claw slashing the dwarf across the face - he experiences a momentary numbness, which subsides. The two fall back, and the ghoul Tulwar throws off the lid and stands in his stolen tomb.

The elven princess reacts first, throwing her dagger at the undead, striking it in the chest. The thief acts, a glancing blow with an arrow. The ranger fires a bow as well, and lands a good hit.

A bit of conversation went on here - the drow's player read Turn Undead literally, thinking he, himself, could turn into an undead. New eyes, old words.

The drow skewers him with his two-handed sword, and the dwarf lands a solid hit with his two axes. The fortune hunter shoots wildly with his bow, narrowly avoiding the engaged party members.

I'm slowly introducing more tactical rules. I'm doing singular initiative, and I'm not requiring the Precise Shooting proficiency to fire into melee - they can take their -4 and risk me ruling a party member hit. We're not declaring spellcasting yet either.

The ghoul, evidently off-balance, maybe a bit stiff from being in his box for 50+ years, misses all attacks on the drow.

I roll for crap until later on when I switch dice. It'd been years since we playied in any form, and I think storing my PC and DM dice separately mussed up the balance. I've hence put them all back in the same bag, leaving out my daughter's and my wife's dice.

The elf princess momentarily considers a Sleep spell, before remembering undead don't rest. She instead fires her bow, and the ghoul falls, again.

The party hauls the ghoul's body out of the tomb, picks up a random assortment of small gems from the bottom of the sarcophagus, and replaces the dwarf in his rightful place, closing up the coffin and the tomb. time, ogre!...

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