Sunday, March 2, 2014

First Party: Session 1 (Reboot)

This (finally) is the 'reboot' of our kid's game, now a bit bolstered using ACKS-fied Beyond The Wall chargen. We have 5 players at the moment:

Mom - my wife, spellsword
Oldest Girl - my eldest daughter, 9, fighter
Father - friend of mine, ranger
Oldest Boy - Father's eldest son, 10, thief
Youngest Boy - Father's second son, 8, bard

You'll recall some discussion of Beyond the Wall and the archetypes that were created here.

This is going to be a little abbreviated. Technical issues apparently caused me to have a 6 minute long, 4GB audio file. So, I'll be missing a lot of the good stuff from the kids, which irritates me, which will make this more abbreviated :)

I started off giving each player two rumors they've heard lately, and there was some time spent with them discussing them amongst each other, comparing and contrasting. These rumors lined up to 4 things I had prepared, though I'd half hoped they'd just ride off into the wilderness.

At one point we laid it all out in a series of events to get a sense of what happened when, as the kids weren't quite putting it together (mostly communication issues between them).

As it turns out, they decided to investigate these two series of rumors:

- There was a shipment of raw silver smuggled through town lately.
- There's been attacks on caravans/shipping along the Eastrib River
- There's a new bard in town, drawing crowds away from Youngest Bard's inn (the best in town!)
- There's been a bunch of strangers around lately asking about old settlements.
- There's been people trying to get access to the royal library; they've not elected to provide a sufficient payment.

Three of the party hit the royal library. The Oldest Girl is the daughter of the local lord; the Oldest Boy is a ward of the same, so they can get in whenever.

Two search for the bard; they find him in an inn down by the river. They question him a bit - he says he's back from lands south, this is where his family originated from, and he's hanging around a bit here before moving on.

The three in the library find a few clues (the Eldest Boy is a Forgotten Child archetype, and spends a lot of time in the library as is). There was a silver mine a few miles north, abandoned under unmentioned circumstances ~500 years ago. Looking into past settlements, the only one of real note was a mention of a sorcerer named Nuromen; whose tower and nearby village was wiped out by some magical event some thousand years ago.

The mine wins out this session.

They head to the area of the mine, with a henchman in tow, and a handful of mercenaries and a wagon. They manage to pick up other wagon tracks, which leads them to the mine's entrance, an adit out the side of the hill. It's collapsed a few tens of feet in, but the alert Spellsword notes that the wagon wheel trails go right under the 'collapsed' stone and wood, and finds a mechanism that lets the whole thing move to the side (the collapse was cleverly formed from plaster and wood).

Exploring this level of the mine, they find and quickly dispatch little pockets of goblins; there are barracks areas set up to hold more goblins then they've been finding. They find a few areas where fresh silver ore has been stored, as if the mine is again working. Eventually, their explorations wind around to a 20ft wide shaft going up and down; upwards the light of the sky can be seen.

The thief climbs down the shaft, and find that it opens up into another room off to the side after about 25ft down. Peeking in, two goblins and 3 dire rats lounge; the gobins are occupied in some game.

It's decided by the thief at this point that he's going to launch himself off the wall, swing past the opening, and throw a dagger at one of the goblins.  It's a James Bond sort of move, right? Everybody's all for it. Too bad he rolled a 5 to throw the dagger.

The thief swings across the shaft, momentarily coming in view of the room. The dagger flies from his hand, striking a wall nowhere near the goblins. They react as you'd expect; a slight pause as they try and comprehend where the dagger came from, then they rush the shaft opening. The thief is out of reach, however, and they quickly disappear from view. The party waits a few moments to see if they'll pop their heads back out, but they never reappear.

And I spend a minute or so figuring out how long it will take them to work their way up to where they know the party is at this moment, and who they'll draw with them, which unfortunately for the party includes the goblin subchief with this particular band.

They had brought only one henchman with them - one from a previous session with Wife, Eldest Daughter, and Youngest Daughter a few weekends back. (Youngest doesn't have the patience to play with the larger group; nor would she have the patience to let the group play without interruption). They decide to send him back to town at this point to town to report that they've possibly found who's behind the caravan attacks.

This will end up being a smart move considering how the rest of the adventure fares, and will come to fruition in the next session.

The party continues to explore. A secret door is noted; behind which lay 6 bodies, put to rest with care; each now a skeleton wearing ruined chain and holding rusted weapons; save one at the end, which holds a silvery sword. The sigils on the tabards of the bodies indicate some sort of templar order, but it's not recognized specifically.

They were killing it on secret door rolls this whole game - and that was including me rolling for them at times for not actively searching.

A second secret door reveals hidden silver ore storage - evidently someone's making a secret stash.

At this point, voices are heard, and the sound of running feet - the goblins have reached their area. Unfortunately for them, they split up, and only two make it to the party, who, having heard them coming, have secreted themselves back into the secret room and around the corner of the corridor. The ambush is successful, and just about as successful the second time; the second wave (who doubled back around) containing a few dire rats and the leader of the goblin tribe, himself a wererat.

For random campaign reasons that will be explained in my next Baleful Sky post, goblins are mutable enough to be susceptible to lycanthropy.

The party continues to explore back the way the goblins came from; they find the 'throne room' of the goblin chief; and the entrance to the second level. A secret door found on this level reveals a stone urn, covered in glyphs of warding in the language of the Old Empire. The party decides to leave it be; reclosing and locking the secret door (the thief rolls a natural 20 on the re-lock roll, jamming it permanantly).

They manage to take all the right turns, and find a different shaft heading down to the third level. Here, they drop a rope, the thief does some scouting, and the rest of the party finally heads down (leaving their rope behind)

The cacophony of active mining echos down these halls; and the miners are zombies. The party dispatches a few here and there, coming into a large gallery that's being cleared; 9 zombies in all. They...eschew tactics of any kind, and rush in; the zombies are put down but it was a tough go.

Bad rolls, and I needed to remind them about ranged weapons, evidently.

A bit more exploration and they find a chute leading down, in a room full of human bodies evidently meant for animation. They behead all of them, and send one head (aflame with oil) down the chute to scout the way.

To be fair, it was getting on hour 6 or 7 and there was some slap-happiness going on.

Nothing immediately shoots up; so they head down. After defeating some regular goblins in a barracks room, they come upon the mastermind of the operation; a human wererat. They've got the equipment to work him over pretty well, and they take him down to half HP in their first action. He immediately surrenders.

There's a bit of conversation about the who/what/where/why of the mine scheme; the wererat is a member of the family who once controlled this mine; and was banished long ago for various reasons.

The party learns there's a necromancer in the hire of the wererat on the level with the zombies - they'd managed to miss him.

The wererat, sensing some indecision about what's to be done next, throws himself on Eldest Daughter's royal mercy; seeking the King's justice. That buys him only a few more minutes - they party wraps him up in a carpet, and does a little conferring.

It's decided justice will be done right there and then. Eldest Daughter yells, 'Guilty as Charged!', and the eldest boy cuts the wererat's throat. 

Evidently murderhoboism runs in the families, but, really, what are you going to truthfully do with a lycanthrope?

The session ends there, with the party in the wererat's chambers, a bedroom and a treasure room full of purloined caravan items to be searched, a necromancer loose upstairs, and who knows what else in the rooms they haven't explored.

They've got to figure out how they're going to get all this stuff out of the mine, and what to do about the necromancer next session. I've got to go ahead and generate the treasure and figure up XP for what's been done so far.