2017-07-23

Decaying Lands 13: The Tower of Bremmlecht 02 - A Secret!

PCs Present & Played:

Barthelm Schade, Specialist 4 (James)
Caleb, Fighter 2 [farmer kit]
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Claus Drexol, Magic-User 4 (Vegas)
  Wiebke Bott, linklady from Bremmlecht
  Sandra Schöll, guard from Bremmlecht
Jewel, Really Good Dog 2 (Rudy)
  Buddy, ratter dog
  Fuckhead / Shado, grizzled mongrel
  Wimpy / Cpt. Foofamaloo, escaped housedog
Tenkos, Cleric 1 [plague doctor kit]
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 2 [bounty hunter kit]



We started the session back in the room with the muddy bloody rugs, blood trail towards the last closed door, and elaborate inlaid wood chair covered in shit. Jewel's player was back in the game after leaving early last time so we got a fair bit of dog-nosed investigation of the chair. Jewel was able to smell some things but didn't come up with much that was actionable for the rest of the party.

Tower level 01. Shit chair in the top left.

Caleb then tried to grab the chair and rock it around. The sides of the chair went all the way down to the floor, so he was looking for some way to move it or uncover a hidden trapdoor. He found the chair to be securely attached to the floor but discovered an angled slot hidden in the back, between the chair and the wall.

I made a drawing in roll20 to show my players the general setup (my lines are in black). They turned the wall into a dick. I've been there so I can't complain (not that I would).

This is what happens when players can draw things.

Caleb tried to fit his mailed hand inside but couldn't quite get it all the way in, just a bit too big. He didn't want to remove the mail, however, afraid that he would lose his hand as well. Viggo tried next, heedless of any danger, and found that the slot fit his hand like a glove. The inside was smooth as silk and the slot split into five smaller indentations, perfectly sized for each of the bounty hunter's fingers. They did not observe anything else to happen, so they started to speculate.

"Oh your dick! Put that in!"
"Yeah, put your dick in there, it's so silky."
"Do you have some kind of hydra dick?"

So I guess I need to write about something with a hydra dick now? Spoilers for my players, this chair was not made for a hydra-dicked being.

The next thing they tried was ripping the hands off the skeleton from the kitchen and putting them into the slot. The skeleton hand also fit perfectly into the slot, similar to Viggo's. Somebody asked Jewel if the chair was bad, and she nodded. Claus, contrary to his prior extreme caution, put his own hand inside the slot in the back of the chair. He also found the inside of the slot to fit perfectly around his hand, as though it were made for it, and it did feel incredibly silky smooth. Unlike Viggo, Claus also felt a tingling in his hand that lasted for several moments after removing his hand from the slot.

At this point, Barthelm cautioned against further investigation of the chair. "We can only push this so far, eventually somebody goes back for the rope if you know what I mean."

They followed the blood trail to the last door and into a stairwell, discovering another robed skeleton in the process. This one had a dagger, but little else, so they sent Fuckhead up the stairs to check before following up. The non-dog party members heard a bunch of barking between the canine people and Jewel indicated with a nod for others to ascend. They eventually all made their way up the stairs and found another skeleton. This one, however, was armed with a sword, shield, and chainmail. They were excited about the chainmail until they flipped the skeleton over and found the chain burst apart in the front.

They examined the shield and the armor, looking for some kind of indication of whose soldier this was. The shield had was emblazoned with the mark of the local lord of Bremmlecht. Oh, what's their name? Well I didn't make a name for them yet, but-

"It's Lord TAYLOR."

Everyone is getting naming privileges revoked.

Yeah okay, a soldier of Lord Taylor. Sure.

They scrounged a few more scraps of silver coins from this corpse and Barthelm leaned into the door, listening. He heard the whistle of a breeze but little else. He gently eased open the door on the landing, ignoring the stairs up for now and went into the darkened room. Seeing an open window with no curtain, Barthelm quickly assessed the room, grabbed a table near the window, and put it on end to block the opening.

More light discipline! This party seems to have it pretty together.

They brought in Weibke and her torch to examine the room. Barthelm (I think) was rocking a torch by now too for extra coverage. There were a few crates that they quickly ransacked. In the first, Claus found an abundance of very high quality black (x10 value) and colored (x15 value) inks. In the second, he found a number of plain wooden cases. Inside each case was what looked like a syringe with finger holes along the length of it.

"What could it be," they wondered?

They picked another door to go through. This time Jewel told the fancy-pants housedog, Wimpy, to go through. This dog actually had a name that people gave it ("Captain Foofamaloo") but Jewel refused to use it. Wimpy whimpered a bit but passed a morale check and went in through the door before whimpering some more and running back out. Inside a small side room they found a skeleton slumped against the wall with a dozen crossbow bolts in and around it. Barthelm quickly rushed in and stuffed the bedroll in the open window (more light discipline!), revealing a small coin pouch and a scrap of paper.

"Josef, you are a true servant to the Church. Thank you for you service. We will come for you shortly, remain strong."

The crossbow bolts and the mention of the Church must have made something click in Viggo's head because he started to talk about how incredibly dangerous everything could be in the tower. His previous experience was with more mundane challenges but now that they were messing with magical detritus he realized that he should be more cautious. Barthelm agreed, said they all needed to watch themselves (you don't get to level 4 in this game without being careful).

Jewel sent the ratter into the next room, taking turns with doggerlings. Buddy the ratter was businesslike and professional, responded with a "Yes boss" and a quick report of the room. Everyone else filed in, found a rack with leather straps on it, some shelves, and a crate with some more ink and syringe-like objects from before. They reasoned that the straps were to hold people down onto the table for some kind of strange torture.

They tried to press on into the next room with Caleb taking the lead (no dogs this time!) but the door had some resistance behind it. Caleb, beefy man that he is, heaved against it and pushed three more mailed skeletons out of the way. Nothing moved, so they took a quick survey of the room. There quickly saw three bedrolls and three skeletons but also an open window. Caleb quickly shoved the bedroll in the corner into the window to block their torchlight and, in doing so, uncovered a arced groove worn into the floor. He investigated further, found a hairline gap in the wall and tried to wedge a sword and a thieves' pick in their but to little effect.

Leaving the crack for now, they tossed the rest of the room. They didn't get much from the skeletons, maybe a few silvers from the mailed soldiers of Lord Taylor, but then they came to the two footlockers. One was in the north side of the room, next to two of the skeletons and a pair of bedrolls. The other was as far away from that as possible, on the side of the room near the other skeleton, the groove, and the crack in the wall. They went after the top footlocker first. Barthelm very carefully looked at it without touching, then poked it and prodded it before finally picking it up and examining the catches and gaps. He spotted a small needle inside of the locking mechanism and was able to warn Viggo so that he could deftly avoid it by springing it before picking the lock.

Inside the footlocker they found several matched sets of robes, some sundry personal effects, and a pair of spellbooks at the bottom. Claus was pumped! He would have to take some time to read the spells with magic but this is probably the least of what he was hoping to find in here. They found a few sheets of papers with different geoemetric designs and drawings on them inside as well. They tapped the bottom looking for a hollow compartment but came up with nothing.

The bottom footlocker didn't seem to have any needle or other obvious trap. It was still locked however, and this time it was Viggo who popped it open.  As soon as he began to lift the lid an ear-piercing shriek began to emit from inside. He quickly snapped the lid shut, hoping that no sound had escaped the tower, and thought about what to do. They talked about the possibility of bringing the chest elsewhere but they really wanted to open it now, so they took it into the central room to consider their options. They tossed the bedrolls in the bottom left room again and found a key but it didn't go into the lock.

Tower level 02. That's Caleb's Suzie to the right.
Impatience getting the better of the group, they told the doggerlings to leave the room and opened the chest again, enduring the sound to search the contents. Inside were some more robes, some silver, and another spellbook. Claus at this point might be content just to leave, although maybe I'm underestimating his greed. He only knows one second level spell still because they've never stopped anywhere long enough to They found more drawings too, although fewer than the other footlocker. This time their investigations into bottom of the chest paid off. Viggo (I think?) was tracing the bottom of the locker with a knife, poking and prodding. Imagine something like the knife game, but the bottom of the chest. He hit paydirt when the knife cut through a small square of fabric into a small switch which, when depressed, released a catch. In the hollow compartment, they found a brass door handle.

This picture is perfect minus the screw holes.

They quickly closed the chest and ran back into the room with the groove on the floor. A few moments of sliding the handle around the wall near the crack and boom, the handle was fixed in place. The door was heavy, scraping the ground as it opened, but when it was open they had revealed a previously unknown portion of the tower.

Annnd end session.

Sidebar: I've got a prep post drafted with how I put this together including (especially important) props for the cartographer of the map but I don't want to post it until my group has explored more. I will say that I got the map from Eneko Menica's feed and that he's a boss cartographer. I guess if my players really want to go hunting then whatever, it's their own fun they'd be spoiling!

2017-07-18

Decaying Lands 12: The Tower of Bremmlecht 01 - Approach

PCs Present & Played:

Caleb, Fighter 2 [farmer kit]
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Claus Drexol, Magic-User 4 (Vegas)
  Wiebke Bott, linklady from Bremmlecht
  Sandra Schöll, guard from Bremmlecht
Jewel, Really Good Dog 2 (Rudy)
  Buddy, ratter dog
  Fuckhead / Shado, grizzled mongrel
  Wimpy / Cpt. Foofamaloo, escaped housedog
Tenkos, Cleric 1 [plague doctor kit]
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 2 [bounty hunter kit]



The party left off having buried Jeremiah the blacksmith in a shallow grave in the woods near Hommlet. Barthelm decided (due to player real-life obligations) to stay behind and coordinate the construction of the promised wall and windmill while everyone else beat feet for Bremmlecht and its wizard tower. This marked the first time that their adventures were not solely driven by a desire to save Polde the farmer.

They arrived in Bremmlecht after a week of mostly uneventful travel. Just prior to entering the city proper they encountered a merchant on his way out. Viggo decided to flag down the man, looking to replenish the contents of his hip flask. He settled on some hard liquor from the swamplands and some fine Ghallian wine for his foreign friend Tenkos. The merchant, Scarus, also shared a rumor from excited travelers warning about murderous brigands back south before taking his leave to travel on.

Sidebar: The merchant was just another random encounter entry, but Viggo's player went all in on interacting him and it became a fun diversion and another fun NPC. I really appreciate how much my players tend to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.

Upon entering the city, Jewel immediately started scouting about for some dog rumors. This time I was prepared! Thank you very much to Scrap Princess for both the idea of crowdsourcing the rumors and this particular rumor itself.

ALSO go and vote for her and Patrick and Veins of the Earth for all the things.

Anyway, Jewel's doggy rumor was:

"Eating catshit means you can tell when a human is trying to trick you with food."

I think Rudy (Jewel's player) was somewhat less than thrilled about new dog-focused rumors. I was pumped because I had something to account for this new aspect to my game but then Jewel wanted to get some doggy hirelings. Confounded again! Rudy is slowly but surely pushing me into being a better referee. Thanks amigo.

Anyway, this request meshed very nicely with Claus's pronouncement upon entering the town: "If we're going to go into this tower, then now is a time for... hirelings!"

Sidebar: I was really pumped to have some hirelings, especially dog ones. This is the first time that the party has gone after extra help.

So Jewel wanted to recruit three doggerlings, promised a comfortable bed and plenty of food. We figured that was more than sufficient to attract some potential recruits. The only specific kind of dog she was looking for was a small, ratter type, so we rolled for that first. Next she came across a grisly mongrel who preferred payment of the physical kind (Jewel declined and repeated her food and shelter offer). Last was a soft, well-groomed, pampered looking dog. He had escaped from his owner, bored of the easy life,and wanted adventure. Jewel was able to convince all of them (roll roll roll!) and our first doggy hireling first was so far a complete success.

The human party members, especially Viggo, were coming fused by the sudden appearance of three strange looking dogs but Jewel told them to go over and lick hands and wag tails prompting Claus to praise her initiative in getting help and a big round of meat for all.

After that, they bee-lined straight for the neighborhood surrounding the abandoned tower, looking for an inn as a base of operations. They found The Bird's Cup, a reputable looking inn with a stable for their horses and place for their wagon. Jewel and her new posse stayed in the stables, Caleb stayed with them (he and Jewel are "best friends" per the class), and everyone else went inside. They had during the breakfast rush and discovered that this particular inn's specialty was eggs. There were tons of dishes with chicken eggs at the heart but also some plates coming out with pheasant eggs, quail eggs, and even Ghallian hen eggs.

Of course the real special, offered up to the table, was eagle eggs direct from the Dwarfgrave mountains! The proprietor's daughter had fetched them at great personal danger to herself. This was enough to draw in Claus, who had been ready to save some money on regular chicken eggs but now wanted to "taste the danger." While bonding over danger eggs, Claus told the waiter that they were on an architectural research mission from the university in Universitätsstadt (great name Vegas, thanks again). Then he gave the lad 15 sp to calm his fears and then another 15 sp to convince him that they certainly had all of the proper approvals from the lord and the church; that there was no need to mention this to anyone else; and that the party would very much like for this waiter to find some friends who'd like some extra money. The waiter agreed and said he's have something by dinner.

They passed some time, waiting for nightfall. Viggo canvassed the city with a crude sketch of his mark, Einrich Fassbinder, but had no luck. Claus and Caleb, however, passed the time in a more fruitful and exciting manner.

Claus had done some research and found that there were at least 36 possible solutions to the problem of Caleb's dead little boy! The least complicated one should only cost about 40,000 sp and have a "moderately okay possibility of success." The notes and tomes that Claus showed the giant farmer were scratches, nearly gibberish, but the magic user's voice carried hope and encouragement.

Caleb: "Really? I'll do anything to make my little boy come back!'
Claus:" Do you have any pieces of him left?"
Caleb: "Yes actually, I have a lock of his hair, is this enough?"

Claus made some notes, calculated costs, and then made some drawings. There was a progression apparent of a tiny piece of flesh becoming a tiny humanoid, then full grown humanoid, crazy illustration around its head, then little cartoon drawing of Caleb and a little boy. On the next page was someone who looked like Caleb with a goatee and a little boy, then a picture of goatee Caleb looking confused and the little boy is gone.

Claus narrated the progression, explaining the theory of the multiverse accepted within the academic establishment (probably heretical in the Church). The plan is to clone Caleb's little boy from his flesh to create a vessel and then find another, overlapping universe where the little guy never died. Take the vessel, take the essence from this other-little boy and "boop!" bring him into the vessel. He'd be exactly (for all intents and purposes" like Caleb's little boy, with memories of him to boot and no trauma! Start saving now!

Not all of the rest of the party took to this idea with the same fervor as Caleb, however.

Tenkos: "All the pain you're feeling now will happen to someone else in another world"
Claus:  "I.. um... hrm. Great thing is that he's already felt this pain, so maybe there will be some pain and confusion in another world but in the grand balance of things there's no change at all!"

Jewel has an amazingly insightful point about collapsing the multiverse in an infinite sequence of Clauses stealing other little boys...

But unfortunately she's a dog! Everyone just think she agrees when she starts barkety-barking. "Don't worry girl, we'll get him back! I miss him too." Caleb said we'll go and dig up the body if we need it! Claus clarified that we're not raising up the body, so it's not necromancy! Caleb didn't care though, necromancy included, just wants his little boy back. This farmer will go to any lengths to get back that little guy!

Sidebar: At first I thought this was just a really clever idea that Claus' player came up with, really getting into it! Then he explained to me that it's basically a description of the clone spell, which was even more awesome. That meant that Vegas took the time to go through spells and try to find something outside of the game, which is really lovely.

After dinner, the proprietor of The Bird's Cup offered some delightful complimentary custards to the group. The waiter brought them out but there were two women tagging along behind him. He introduced Wiebke Bott and Sandra Scholl then took his leave. Wiebke was willing to work as a linklady and Sandra as a guard. They haggled a bit, Claus upgraded Wiebke's pay so she would be willing to haul goods too, and they made plans to go out around midnight. The late departure was due to the fact that the "Church was explicit that we were not to alert the townspeople of any possible thing to be worried about while working in the daylight."

They approached the tower at midnight with a bare crescent of a moon, winding their way up the sloped path to the first obstacle. The Church had barricaded an early archway up the path with concentric diamonds made out of holy woods, restricting entry.

[picture of the tower, closeup of the wood]

Jewel and Buddy, the ratter that she recruited, squeezed their way through a corner and continued up the path. They came to the main tower door, crossed with chains and sealed with locks, but didn't see any tracks besides their own. They went back down to the rest of the party and Jewel's player had to leave the session a bit early so from here out there's no extra doggy angle.

After debating what they can do with the wooden planks Caleb got Weibke to help him tear it down "gently"with the intent to replace the wood once they are done exploring. They were mostly successful, only slightly damaging some of the innermost diamond of jobi wood in the process.

The three locks on the door were daunting (Barthelm has more Tinkering, I think), but Viggo had just learned some (2 in 6) and had a go at it. Shockingly, he rolled all 1s and popped open the large padlocks quite easily, "quietly stunned that it worked that well." Everyone else was incredibly impressed by Viggo's supernaturally smooth skill.

They sent in Fuckhead (he'd been trying to hump Jewel all session) to check out the entryway. He pissed on the door, then went inside, where they could hear him pissing on the floor. They got inside, had a look around in the shadows, and then closed the door before lighting the torch.

Light discipline! I was very impressed.

They saw some bars without much space, no doors, and some discolorations behind them. They tapped on the floors looking for hollows and saw that the next door was smashed, barely on the hinges, with a broken knob.

They opened the door and they went into the next room. The main feature were two stone statues, one of the Church's god Gesu, and another of a large cowled figure. They spent a fair amount of time investigating the cowled statue. It was taller even than Caleb, large as he is, and was so finely sculpted that it looked more like fabric than stone. The cowl hid an optical illusion; it appeared solid but in reality was completely hollow inside! Claus convinced Wiebke to put her hand inside but nothing was observed to happen. They looked for a maker's mark but could find nothing. Claus tried to pull the coat rack off the wall as well, looking for secrets, but it turned out to be a normal coat rack.

There was only one other door out of this room and everyone was terrified of it except for Viggo; he quietly but confidently opened the door into the next, larger area of the tower. They found a bunch of spoiled food and a large barrel of lamp oil ("Ooh, i bet that's worth some money!"). The most noticeable piece was a large, ornate chair on a dais, covered in shit. Literal shit, like someone went and specifically pooped on the chair. Fuckhead, despite his bluster, refused to go up on the dais with the chair. It was about this time that the party became more convinced that the place was assaulted SWAT style.

Leaving the chair for now they went through a door on the inner wall and into what appeared to be a kitchen. There was some more spoiled food but the main point of interest was a skeleton slumped over and into an empty wash basin. "I check its pockets!" Claus immediately rifled through the robes and boots of the skeleton to no effect. Caleb then checked the skeleton in more detail, looking for signs of trauma to the bones. He discovered that the tips of the finger bones were chipped and worn down. Disturbed, the farmer examined the wash basin in more detail and found a slight catch. He grasped and pulled, opening a compartment along the top of the basin.

Inside was an intricately detailed box made out of a dark wood that they'd only seen before inlaid on the dais chair from the other room. The reader might recognize it as ebony, but the party knows nothing of that.

What's in that box?

Everyone was terrified to reach in and touch the box, let alone open it, except for Viggo. The bounty hunter strode over, grabbed the box, and popped it open. There was a click, and the box opened to reveal the most ornate and gorgeous pistol that any of them had ever seen. It seemed be to functional as well, with one shot loaded and five in reserve. The party reasoned that the skeleton must have known the pistol was there and that they were scraping for the catch to get the pistol out and save themselves.

Sidebar: Did not take advantage enough of environmental rolls or check Weibke's torch for duration. Sloppy. This sloppyness continues on into the next session, too. Disappointed.

2017-07-10

Decaying Lands 11: Polde's Homecoming

PCs Present & Played:

Barthelm Schade, Specialist 4 (James)
Caleb, Fighter 1 [farmer kit]
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Claus Drexol, Magic-User 3 (Vegas)
Jewel, Really Good Dog 1 (Rudy)
Tenkos, Cleric 1 [plague doctor kit]
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 2 [bounty hunter kit]



I'd start this off with a spoiler warning about The Trail of Stone and Sorrow but this is so far off the end of that adventure that it's not even relevant anymore. Take this as one possible, absurd, end-game and then go buy it so you can run it for your players or give it to your referee to run because this is where you can take it.



This session picked up right where the last one left off, with Jeremiah the blacksmith on the front porch of Polde's house yelling at him. Barthelm immediately inserted himself and got up in Jeremiah's face right back, ended up looking like a Wolverine/Sabertooth matchup size-wise, except Barthelm is probably much dirtier and smellier than Wolverine.

After a few moments Polde's son Anton came running out along with his wife, Ivana. Jeremiah initially caught the boy from running to his father but backed down when Barthelm subtly (or not) threatened him. Claus brought the three Kosovels inside their farmhouse to get an explanation and shield Anton from the potential violence that was simmering. Jeremiah backed down, however, and the blacksmith retreated from the farmhouse in the direction of the town center with an "I'll get you!" look.

The folks remaining outside of the Kosovel house immediately started preparing for battle. Barthelm posted up on the roof after working with his comrades to place their bear traps just off the road on the town side of the house. Bear traps are standard operating procedure for them at this point but they did at least spare a thought for keeping Anton away from them. Jewel meanwhile went exploring about the farm, finding some cats in the barn! She immediately went into righteous slayer mode and brutally ripped the throat out of the first feline. The second managed to escape up the ladder to the top of the barn leaving Jewel to wait underneath, barking.

Inside the house, Claus caught Ivana's hint to have Anton show Polde around the recently fixed up farm and introduce his farther to their new animals. When the rest of her family had left, Ivana explained that Polde's disappearance coupled with the damage to the farm fences and loss of so many animals left her without many options. She couldn't afford to replace the livestock and couldn't work the farm by herself. Jeremiah swept in, sold off the stone statues, and raided Dr. Brenner's house. He claimed to have killed Brenner for doing dark magic and soon had enough money and influence to control much of the town. His influence got the town to stop shunning Ivana and Anton and his money got her farm back into working order. "It was either that or let my son starve."

At this point Claus brought Ivana back outside at the sound of a commotion. During Anton's guided tour of the farm renovations with his dad they came upon Jewel, barking over the barely recognizable corpse of Twinkle Kitty, one of the farm cats. Jewel followed the sobbing boy back to the front of the house, tail wagging the whole way. Caleb tried to scold her but couldn't stay mad at such a sweet face. To distract the boy instead, Caleb knelt Anton down and stood over him in his full plate and knighted him "Sir Anton of Farmhouse" with his greatsword. "Now ride my steed!" Anton was now distracted enough by his new title and riding on Suzie that the rest of the folks could focus how to attack the problem at hand.

Anton was excited!

There was a lot of back and forth planning and discussing going on at this point. Claus initially just wanted to leave, he even tried to convince Ivana that they should leave town and start somewhere new. When that didn't land, he was pretty nonchalant about "Well let's just go kill him!" which didn't exactly help with the "wizards are awful people" stereotype. Barthlem's plan is to tell the townsfolk that he was the one who actually killed Dr. Brenner (true) because "BAD wizards deserve to die" (emphasis his). Caleb meanwhile shared with Anton that he was looking for a wizard to "bring his boy back" which only confused the little guy more ("So wizards can do good things too?").

Anton was confused.

The group eventually settled on a preemptive strike. They would go into town, in force, and try to interrupt whatever Jeremiah was trying to put together. They wanted to go in, claim the credit for killing Brenner, and pass off Caleb as a knight from the city, which they had already kind of done with Anton. Tenkos demonstrated a bear trap for Anton too, which he loves, and then they told him that he got to announce "Sir Caleb of Teutonitopia!"

Anton was ecstatic.

Before leaving, they realized that Jewel was missing. Where'd that rascal get off to? Oh no, she went in and ate all the breakfast off the table and got blood everywhere. Oh that Jewel!

Their Plab B was 100% just to murder Jeremiah. I'm not sure if it was "murder and run away" or "murder and lie" or maybe "murder discreetly and cover up" because they never got that far.

They arrived at the town center to find a group of a dozen or so rowdy townsfolk clustered around the newly renovated smithy (with attached tavern). Mostly they were armed with pitchforks and clubs, although there was at least one sword in the group. Anton announced "Sir Caleb of Teutonitopia, from the capital city!" and Barthelm started to try and reason with the crowd by saying stuff like "Good people, they kill evil wizards and let bygones be bygones, they don't hold it over your head!" There was a lot of talk back, some yelling, and Barthelm accusing Jeremiah of being a bad guy. One of Jeremiah's apprentices, Tobias, was there and toeing the party line in support of his master. When things weren't going as well as Barthelm would have liked, and seeing Jeremiah approaching from across the town, Barthelm went all in: "I'll pay a gold piece to everyone that stands with us!" Tobias was instantly sold. He also promised to build upgrade their mill to a windmill and build a wall around the town.

Sidebar: LotFP uses a silver standard and on top of that 1 gp = 50 sp, so this is a fair amount of money.

Jeremiah immediately launched into accusations against Polde, calling him some kind of devil spawn creature. Polde countered by calling out specific people in the crowd with memories. Barthelm also claimed that Jeremiah was in league with evil magic users. Tobias subtly threw up three fingers, Barthelm nodded, and then Tobias launched into a tirade about how he saw some shady meetings but never wanted to say anything because he was scared of Jeremiah working magic.

At this point, sensing the changing tide, Jeremiah pulled out a longsword. Caleb immediately responded by tackling him to the ground, and Barthelm punched him for good measure. Caleb claimed to have been sent by King Heinrich IV himself to arrest Jeremiah for being in league with dark magics! They bound his arms, everyone went into the bar which formerly belonged to Jeremiah but now belonged to Tobias.

They took Jermiah down the road a bit, then into the woods. They dug a shallow grave, tortured him a little bit (Jewel bit off one of his fingers!) and then murdered the shit out of him. He really pleaded to be let go, but no dice. Before his death, he did divulge that he sold all the stuff he got from Dr. Brenner's house to two hooded and masked men named Manfred and Perminio. He had previously done business with them before by selling them blacked out armor, and they seemed very scary.

They went back to the smithy, cased it out and aggressively interviewed Tobias a bit but didn't get much more. They did find some hidden money, which they gave to Tobias to distribute to the townsfolk (more Barthelm promises) as well as an eight inch, cold iron key covered in hieroglyphs.

After they killed Jeremiah we all said something like "wow now you guys really are murder-hobos, it's your first murder." After the fact the rationale for murdering Jeremiah boiled down to "he was mean to a couple of us once and he wanted to get with Polde's wife." Totally justified.

I realized later when talking to Caleb's player that Barthelm has personally murdered a bunch of people already! Even directly the session before, murdering prisoners! I don't know what we were thinking. 

2017-06-26

Decaying Lands 10: Return to Hommlet


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PCs Present & Played:

Barthelm Schade, Specialist 4 (James)
Caleb, Fighter 1 [farmer kit]
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Claus Drexol, Magic-User 3 (Vegas)
Jewel, Really Good Dog 1 (Rudy)
Tenkos, Cleric 1 [plague doctor kit]
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 1 [bounty hunter kit]



First, to address the elephant in the room: Hommlet. This game / campaign has nothing to do with the Temple of Elemental Evil. I needed a name for a town for the very first (originally one-shot) session at the first IntroCONso and that's what jumped out of my brain. Now nine sessions later it's too late. I'd say it's about on par with when I asked Vegas to name the university city and he just named it "University City" in German ("Universitätsstadt"). At least we'll never forget what's important about it.



The last session ended with the party holed up in bottom of Captain Skovgaard's ship heading back to the port city of Letath, their entry back onto the continent from the Wandering Isles. During the downtime, Viggo once again began inquiring about Heidi, deceased former party member. The bounty hunter pressed Claus for more information about the woman because he's hunting her father, Einrich Fassbinder.

Claus and Heidi's players did a bunch of work for me, coming up with some relevant details. Turns out that Claus knew that she had three brothers and reminisced very fondly of her time with them and her father during her childhood. He did recall that she brushed off any talk of recent events and hadn't seen her family for a long time.

Claus didn't tell Viggo any of this though! Nope!

"You don't know anything about her? Nothing? No letters or journals or missives from her family?"
"Heidi? Oh, I don't even think she could read! Maybe? She was pretty good with a spear, at least."

As far as Viggo knows, Claus apparently picked up Heidi for protection when he was passing through the capital city of the kingdom, never getting very close to her. Oh, the seat of the kingdom's name? Didn't pick one yet... Hey Vegas, you want to come up with something?

"Teutonitopia!"

Note to self: Vegas' naming privileges are revoked
Well I guess we won't forget the name now.

Claus (or maybe Barthelm, he's kind of a bastard) asked about how much the bounty on Heidi's father is. The only answer that Viggo gave was that "if I ever find him it'll be my last bounty before retirement."

Sidebar: This just means we don't really know because we have to figure out how much money Viggo would need in order to retire. Huh.

Around this time the party remembered that hey, some people really hate them in the port city of Letath! Specifically, the crew of the first ship they chartered into the Wandering Isles, the Purple Marigold. Their captain was taken, screaming, by the wizards on the island of Wilhelm the Wily AND the party never paid the second half of the agreed upon fee. Claus, wearing a magenta cloak and pants, suggests that they wear disguises, do their business, and then make haste. They just needed to figure out a suitable disguise from what Captain Skovgaard had on her boat. Barthelm scrounged a top hat and Claus...

No one could figure out why Captain Skovgaard had this.
Unfortunately despite this brilliant disguises they were immediately recognized by the very same dockmeister that they spoke to prior to leaving while trying to find a suitable captain. Barthelm immediately shushed the man and passed him a pouch with 30 sp in it ("the universal traitor fee") and the man "forgot" ever seeing them. He did comment that Claus' disguise was terrible, however.

At this point the players, being in a town and all together for the first time since the beginning of the campaign, decided it was time to go shopping. They especially wanted to get some armor for Caleb, their new hulking warrior farmer, and Jewel, their cuddly wuddly little murder-dog. They didn't know that last part yet, but soon. We rolled some dice and figured it would take a week for someone to fit some leather armor for Jewel and about the same to fit a suit of plate for Caleb. Someone also wisely mentioned that they should get a carrying strap built into Jewel's armor so that they could more easily haul her up ladders and cliffs and whatnot. Because dog.

They found a not-to-nice not-too-crap inn to stay in and got to waiting. Caleb shared in confidence that he really joined up with them because he's hoping to find a powerful wizard that can bring his boy back to life. Non academic magic is heresy, scandal! Viggo visited an information broker that he's known for a while to drop off some payment and see if they had any extra information on his bounty, Einrich. Tenkos popped out during one day to find the local postmaster and sent some letters. While there, he noticed a sketch of a wanted man that looked very suspiciously like Barthelm. The poster said that "Hans Grubermeyer" was wanted for attempted murder and that there was a 400 sp reward for capture.

During this time, they collected some rumors, I rolled for random encounters. They didn't even ask about rumors but this is the first time that they've actually slept in a place with other people to gather them and I'll be damned if that rumor table is going to waste. Even the dog got to roll for rumors, which were going to be secret until we said that was too complicated.

Sidebar: This was when I started to realize just how much extra complication having a Really Good Dog in the game was going to potentially add, especially with someone as on point as Rudy. First thing he had Jewel do when they got to town was strike up conversations with some strays to get the local news. I was caught off guard and realized that I probably need a parallel Canine rumor table. This is hard.

Anyway, here's what they heard, dog included:

- The Princes of Ghallia have been secretly plotting a return to war with King Heinrich IV.
- To kill a dwarf you have to cut off their beard. Even the women!
- Lots of wizards had to leave tons of valuable magic and knowledge behind after the end of the war.
- Some of the Ghallish princes created the plague as part of a deal with the king of Teutonia to sell out their country for riches and influence.
- The King got the Church to decry most magics as blasphemy so that none would challenge him after the War.
- The plague spread so quickly through Iberika and Ghallia-That-Fell that hardly anyone made it out. Whole towns of rotten bodies and tons of valuables are waiting for enterprising individuals.

On the fifth night in the inn some travelers showed up claiming to have a specially trained lizard from the far south. They had collected quite a crowd of onlookers as they ran the creature through a variety of tricks with coins. It seemed like they were doing this to attract a buyer but those hopes seemed dashed when Jewel got jealous of the attention and started to perform the tricks better than the lizard was, even jumping up on the table and swatting at it. Everybody love a furry smart cutesy dog so the pair trying to sell the lizard lost their audience and the night continued.

Sidebar: This was my a dragon on the encounter table. You should go read Beloch Shrike's excellent post on building encounter tables. On this night I rolled a dragon and needed to figure out something that would fit in with that. Tricksy lizard that has an affinity for gold? Seemed like a good fit. Did that thing actually have any special powers? Guess they'll never know.

The week passed without obvious incident, although a fair bit of time was spent in real life shopping and calculating and figuring. When your players are discussing wagons and horses and food and encumbrance and one of them says "It's the getting-to-space problem!" you know that there might need to be some tweaks made. I want encumbrance and movement rate to matter but I don't want them to need a logistics specialist just to go from place to place. It's in the hopper for a closer look.

During the trip south to Hommlet they heard some really ominous wolf howls at night. This put the party on edge, especially the three that had been to Bottenburg, until Jewel listened in on the conversation. That's right, party member that speaks Canine! Jewel realized that the wolves were just doing normal wolfy stuff, nothing sinister, and calmed down. When she relaxed, everyone else did too.

The last night before reaching their destination, the last watch of the night, Caleb heard something outside the edge of his firelight. He didn't have much time to warn his party before four yelling figured charged out of the darkness and four more started peppering him with arrows. Two of the four charging in, however, ran straight into the party's bear traps! Because yes, they always setup bear traps when they camp for the night. At this point, they almost have enough bear traps for everyone to carry one.

Caleb's new plate mail deflected almost all of the blows but a hit from one of them charging nearly killed him outright, dropping him to zero. There's a lot of missing going around everywhere on both sides of the battle until Claus steps up and fires his pink lance magic missiles into Bernhardt, popping his head like an overripe pimple. Bernhardt was the first mate of the Purple Marigold and the rest of their assailants were crewmembers. However, with their new boss dead the rest of the crew tried to flee. The four archers got away with only a few nips from Jewel but the two surviving melee combatants were not so lucky.

Sidebar: I did the morale check backward, only one of the assailants should have failed. Will get it right next time, probably. This ended up pretty sweet.

The party didn't waste much time interrogating their prisoners before Barthelm callously murdered them. Claus got busy smashing up Bernhardt's head so that it looked like a mace killed him rather than anything magical. They cleaned up a bit and quickly left the scene, started the day's before the dawn had even fully come.

Sidebar: I used the treasure tables from Low Fantasy Gaming again to roll the carry loot for this crew. Wasn't going to give them anything special but then I ended up with a "curio" result again. They found a pouch of cold iron caltrops. The party is getting rich with random trinkets.

As they approached Hommlet Polde began to get more and more excited. When they finally arrived, he ran up to his home, shouting for his wife and child to come out. Instead the town blacksmith opened the door, shocked, and said "What the fuck are you doing here?!"



Addendum: This is that first interaction in Letath between Jewel and the local strays. It's technically got things the other players wouldn't know in it. I don't care about meta knowledge, my players seem to, so y'all don't read this, okay?

The important part of this conversation is that Rudy is killing it and I seriously need to step up my game.

add what you want there
(From Rudy): jewel would like to strike up a conversation with a local stray and learn of any possible canine local events or figures of note
(To Rudy): yes!
(To Rudy): i just realized i need a doggy rumor table
(From Rudy): her natural tone is high class and she cannot turn it off
(From Rudy): like nobleman style "hello peasant"
(To Rudy): they talk a lot about extra rats
(To Rudy): and that time that they spilled a lot of meat at the docks and everyone ate till they barfed
(From Rudy): jewel is unimpressed by this
(To Rudy): they are kind of annoyed with your tone
(To Rudy): but like your butt
(From Rudy): jewel asks if the rats have been appearing in mass from a specific point
(To Rudy): just rats, sometimes more rats sometimes less
(To Rudy): more rats is more cats to chase!
(To Rudy): a bunch of them want to make sex with you
(From Rudy): yeah that's not happening with these plebs
(From Rudy): growl growl growl!!!
(To Rudy): the chuch kicks any of us that come around
(To Rudy): but some of the guards are nice


2017-06-20

Decaying Lands 09: Return to the Wandering Isles

PCs Present & Played:

Barthelm Schade, Specialist 4 (James)
Caleb, Fighter 1 [farmer kit]
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Claus Drexol, Magic-User 3 (Vegas)
Jewel, Really Good Dog 1 (Rudy)
Tenkos, Cleric 1 [plague doctor kit]
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 1 [bounty hunter kit]

This summary will contain some major SPOILERS for the The Trail of Stone and Sorrow if you're paying attention. Maybe giving a warning makes the spoiler stand out more, but I'd rather link to a great adventure than not.



The ratman Brian that helped Claus and Barthelm deal with the feathered swine fled west as soon as they were out of the cave, leaving the two friends to carry the gravely injured and useless wizard Felix Longworm back towards their seaside rendezvous. Luckily for them, they met up with Caleb, Tenkos, and Viggo who were on their way west from Bottenburg. And Jewel the dog! She's so fluffy! Dirty, but fluffy. Everyone decides to be friends because it's expedient for the ref and the new folks help Barthelm and Claus get Felix to Captain Skovgaard's ship in time.

Captain Skovgaard's job is to bring Claus, Barthelm, and their haul from the feathered swine back to the island of Wilhelm the Wily. They were also tasked with removing a gate key ring from the intestines of Brian the ratman. Barthelm lies and says that Brian died first because he was a useles rat thing guy. Skovgaard was skeptical that Brian died so easily but since they did have the ring she didn't press it. She did question bringing Suzie the donkey ("Mule!") on board. Caleb's immediate angry response provoked little more than a shrug from the captain and a request that Caleb take care of the poop.

Sidebar: The players of Barthelm, Claus, Heidi (dead) / Viggo, and Helga (dead) / Tenkos have been playing for this the entirety of the campaign so far. They started off with a one-shot of The Trail of Stone and Sorrow and decided, against all odds, to be heroes in a Lamentations of the Flame Princess game and save Polde the farmer. They've spent the whole campaign up to this point trying to track down the wizard Wilhelm the Wily because of a vague notion that he can help them.

Wilhelm the Wily lives in the Wandering Islands so it takes several weeks of game time to successfully arrive. During the downtime, I get to sit back as ref and let the players do some planning and learning about each other. It's magical. Of note:

- The bounty that Viggo is looking for Einrich Fassbinder, the father of the recently deceased Heidi! (and the player's former character). The party gave the details of her death and the fact that she had three brothers, cementing Viggo's choice to join up.
- Friendly farmer Caleb found that their new dog jJewel has a really fancy collar with some Cronov (pretend Russian) written on it that says "Jewel - ALPHA" and an old noble family's coat of arms. Claus, as played by the rest of the party since his player was late, discovered that Jewel is incredibly smart (for a dog) and delighted in testing her abilities, understanding, and generally fawned over her fancy collar and how great she is.
- Tenkos is a plague doctor from a neighboring country that was nearly annihilated by some kind of super plague. What's he doing in Teutonia (pretend Germany)? Don't know but he keeps a vial of blood that he says has the plague in it.
- Felix Longworm has recovered from near death but is now crapping his pants that Helmutt, one of the inhabitants of Wilhelm's island, will be pissed that Felix didn't recover his loaned spellbook from the cave the feathered swine was brooding in.
- Barthelm explained what happened with the feathered swine.

Barthelm also explained about the island: there's a formidable keep populated by a ton of burly folk who don't talk and seem to serve Wilhelm the Wily. They never met anyone named Wilhelm but there were three people they actually talked to: Lars ("call me Larry!"), William ("please don't call me Billy..."), and Helmutt.  Lars seemed to be the one calling the shots despite being friendly, deranged, and unstable. Their plan was to give the gate key ring to Caleb while the rest of the party delivered the spoils from the feathered swine and hope that Lars and company upheld their end of the bargain and helped Polde.

As a last minute addendum right in the nick of time, Barthelm tells Jewel not to exhibit any special smart dog stuff around Felix or especially anyone on Wilhelm the Wily's island.

Sidebar: I was equally disappointed and pleased that they thought of this. It probably would have been catastrophic but it definitely would have been interesting. I love when players do smart things though, so maybe pleased wins out.

The arrival at the island and entry into the keep was tense. As soon as the ship had docked some of the Voiceless servants came and aggressively removed Felix, taking him into the keep. He struggled, and the party could hear his screams and protests, but they chose not to intervene. Lars welcomed them into the entry floor of the central tower. They enter into a large mess hall with William sulking at a table but Helmutt nowhere to be seen. Lars was immediately taken with Jewel and motioned for her to come over. Playing up her "normal dog" angle she instead vomited up some hay on the floor. At this point Helmutt entered from a stairwell but was crawling around on all fours, panting with his tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth.

Sidebar: Polde is a farmer. His dog ended up in his body, turned to stone. Polde ended up in the body of a creature that turns you to stone and swaps souls with you if you make eye contact. Helmutt forced eye contact when the party was here last, to bring beast-Polde to Wilhelm the Wily.

At this point Rudy (Jewel's player) threw me a curveball. Really Good Dogs can speak canine, so Rudy has Jewel ask this man-dog Helmutt all sorts of good stuff. She revealed some of her story and learned (at a minimum) how to get a good belly rub.  I try to roll with things but I had not expected this angle at all and probably did not handle it well. I had been curious to see how a Really Good Dog worked out in play and this was the first time I got an inkling of some of the extra challenges. It is awesome and I love it.

Barthelm interrupted the doggy banter by handing over the bag of worm cysts from the feathered swine and demanding to know where Polde was. Claus was more nakedly curious about how Lars & co. got the dog into the body of Helmutt when the last time they saw Helmutt he was a statue. The rest of the party seemed on edge and confused, probably realizing that they were in a very dangerous situation.

Lars was overjoyed when he inspected the bag of awful worms and jokingly fake tossed one to Jewel to play catch. This is what I used to help describe the worms:

worm heart thing from The Strain
At this point Polde came down the stairs from above and ran over to embrace Barthelm and Claus, crying tears of joy. Lars and William had not only returned him to his proper body but they had been quite hospitable to him, especially after Polde helped Lars to train the man-dog Helmutt. Claus wasn't as concerned with Polde as he was with concerned with a need to understand the magical process that got Polde back to normal, which Lars explained with some handwaves about how easy it was. Maybe Claus would stay on the island to learn? Maybe everyone should stay for dinner!

Sidebar: Claus' player only showed up around now, but Claus had done plenty in the session before now. Vegas has done such a good job of giving Claus personality and motivations that everyone else was able to call out very "Claus-y" things for the magic-user to do.

Barthelm seemed like he wanted to get back on the boat as quickly as possible but Viggo interjected that they would love to stay. Afterwards the rationale was that they definitely not piss off such obviously powerful wizards by refusing their invitation. Dinner seemed normal until one of the Voiceless started choking and coughing before falling backwards off their bench. Lars jumped up with glee and ran over, calling out to the party to come and see. His experiment with one of the worm cysts was even more effective than he had imagined and he cavorted at how quickly the worms spread when ingested directly.

The party's night in the barn was not a restful one.

Session ended with everyone (including Polde!) back on Captain Skovgaard's ship to cross the sea back to the mainland and finally get Polde home.

2017-06-05

Decaying Lands 08: Heartless Intro Session

PCs Present & Played:

Caleb, Fighter 1 [farmer kit]
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Tenkos, Cleric 1 [plague doctor kit]
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 1 [bounty hunter kit]

NPCs Encountered:


Farric Grosskopf, tracker
Frau Wetzel, nominal mayor of Bottenburg
Herr Grosskopf, father of Farric
Iris Kenefels, guide retired from lameness
Otto Ringesstadt, husband of Rute
Rich merchants
Rute Ringesstadt, leader of hunting party



This session is a bit of an interlude. Heidi and Helga's players both needed to roll up new characters and Caleb's player was new not only to the group but to RPGs in general so I wanted something smaller. There is one more player to add but they unfortunately couldn't make it that night.

These considerations unfortunately meant that whatever happened this session needed to be resolved by the end of the night so that these folks could meet up with the two survivors from the previous session. Because of that I felt like I had to push the players more than I normally would (i.e. almost never) and they didn't end up with enough time to fully explore all they would have liked. We did however end up with some really solid moments​ and one more player in the fold after after a great session so I shouldn't complain too much. I just felt dirty.

This play report will contain SPOILERS for Gift of the Silent God from S J Grodzicki's $1 Adventure Frameworks.



We started with some introductions and descriptions of the party and players to each other. My general rule is that the players can do whatever and go wherever they want. My one exception is that when we have new PCs is that they get integrated with a minimum of farting about with "but can we trust them?!" type business. They all decided that they were traveling together for safety because of the general lawlessness east of the Dwarfgrave Mountains. Good enough for me, lesgo.

Their first clue that something was wrong as they traveled west was a plume of heavy smoke rising above the village they were approaching, Bottenburg. As they approached, they saw a crowd of people in what amounted to the village square clustered around two large pyres. Caleb got closer and saw that the bodies were already quite rotten and bloated. The decomposition made him realize that the two had been left out for the evil to bubble out of their flesh and then burned to try to remove any last traces of bad luck that befell them. Despite the rot, he could see where claws and teeth had ripped up the bodies but the most striking wound was a huge hole in their chests, ribs burst open.

Meanwhile Tenkos and Viggo were off on the fringe of the crowd chatting with a grumpy man and his young son. Grosskopf was complaining about the superstitious townfolk and how they should be focusing on the missing hunting party. Apparently the town had been suffering from the depredations of a pack of deadly wolves for more than a month. An attack two weeks ago prompted the dispatch of a dozen of the town's best hunters and trappers to go out and deal with the threat but they should have been back by now. Grosskopf's son Farric was one of the main trackers to go out and he is anxious to find out what happened.

During the conversation we got something of a measure of the two adventurers. They both are hardened and seem to have "seen some shit;" this is in sharp contrast to their companion Caleb, a near giant of a man with natural strength venturing away from his farm for the first time. Grosskopf latched onto the capable presentation of Tenkos and Viggo, especially the plague doctor mask dangling from Tenkos' shoulder, and corralled them over to talk to Frau Wetzel, closest thing to a mayor the village has.

Frau Wetzel was engaged in a heated argument with two well-dressed merchants. The merchants had lost some of their own people along the roads near the village in the past few months and they were threatening to find an alternate route if Wetzel didn't take care of things. Wetzel latches onto the presence of three capable men and donkey~

"Her name is Suzie! And she's a mule, have some respect!"

Right, Caleb is quite protective of his companion. Anyway, the party manages to negotiate 100sp from the merchants to clear up whatever is plaguing Bottenburg and Frau Wetzel throws in some supplies and eternal gratitude if they can succeed. This translated into food and one "survivaly" item for each of the players. Tenkos and Viggo's players, having played in a variety of my games, immediately suggest two bear traps. They rounded out their gear with some snares and bait.

Frau Wetzezl suggested that they talk to the various family members to get some information. They started with Otto Ringesstadt, husband of Rute Ringesstadt, the leader of the expedition to kill the wolves. Otto was a mess. He seemed already like a sunken man, no confidence, and now that his wife was missing he was even more withdrawn. He sighed a lot and seemed to barely keep it together. He told the party about how broken his was had been after their children got picked for a culling during an extraordinarily brutal winter some years ago. Rute seemed to barely be hanging onto life until just the past few months when she found a new drive and passion for life again. When the wolf attacks got to be even more consistent she became determined to find and kill the creatures that had been preying on traveler and townsfolk alike and swiftly volunteered to lead the hunt.

Sidebar: Shout out to cecil howe for inspiring this bit with Let Us Not Die In The Dark Night Of This Cold Winter. I guess I laid it out pretty stark, with more detail than above, and now my players think I'm even more messed up than they already did. Which I guess is a bit, by now? That value isn't going to go down ever, I don't think.

The players asked whatever other questions they wanted of the various family members at large in the interest of time and went off into the woods in the general direction of the abandoned lodge that the expedition was to use as the base for their hunt. The took with them Iris Kenefels, a sister to one of the missing, as a guide to help them get there easily.

Ran with altered encounter tables from the adventure framework because of the less fantastic nature of the world that the players are running around in. Their first or second night Caleb heard something skulking off in the distance but it never came closer and they didn't investigate. The party did listen for wolf pack sounds but didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.

When they had nearly reached the farmhouse they found Arran, one of the missing townsfolk. He was frantic, trying to convince them to leave "or else the wolves will get you!" Arran claimed that the wolves had them penned into the walled farmhouse compound and that he had only ventured out because their food supplies were running low. The party remained unconvinced based on how insistent he was on them leaving and the fact that if the group could make it back to the town why couldn't the hunting party? After some pressuring he agreed to take them back with him to the farmhouse.

At the farmhouse it was plain to see that Arran was lying and Rute scolded him for doing so. Six of the original twelve members of the expedition were holed up in the small compound. Rute explained that they tracked the wolves to a cave but then they came out of nowhere in complete silence and started ripping people apart (think raptor scene with Muldoon from Jurassic Park). She blamed Farric, the son of the guy they originally talked to in town, for pushing down their guide Iris' sister and leaving her for the wolves while making his escape. Rute said that none of them could bear to return to town before finding Farric and getting revenge for his cowardice.

Caleb refused to leave his Suzie outside so he decided to sleep in the decaying barn with her and Iris. Iris and the mule had become close during the trip on account of Suzie carrying the lame tracker for the duration. Viggo and Tenkos opted for somewhat nicer accommodations in the farmhouse with the rest of the survivors. Of course, being paranoid adventurers (for good reason), the crew setup one bear trap in front of each building's door.

I lean on the dice a lot to help keep things surprising for everyone and this session was no exception. Farric's chance to show up popped during the middle of the night and everyone was awoken by the sounds of his frenzied screams as the bear trap near the barn door snapped shut around his leg. Rute led the rush out of the farmhouse and Caleb quickly jumped out next to the trapped trapper. Rute was howling about killing Farric but he countered that Rute and the other five had murdered everyone and ripped their hearts out. The only thing preventing Rute from killing him was Caleb's gigantic frame interposed between the two. Rute approached but Caleb popped her in the face and she lost it, screaming "Enough, kill the infidels!"

Caleb's hit rolls kept coming up crap but his damage rolls were monstrous; twice over the farmer could have finished off the crazed leader of their attackers. Tenkos likewise could have killed all five of the other attackers with a fancy firebomb but rolled a 1 on damage. Viggo got in and was doing some work but they weren't connecting enough with Rute or the rest of the attackers. Iris jumped into the fray too but again, only did 1 damage. Before too long Tenkos went down and things were looking pretty grim.

Sidebar: Before starting the session, I made an outline with all the names and people that I was going to need for the original twelve person hunting party. When we started the session with three PCs instead of four I thought that I had better cut down on some of the enemies because otherwise the intro session for new level 1 PCs would likely turn into a TPK, kind of defeating the purpose. When I actually ran it though I just read names and numbers from my outline though, so it stayed at six enemies. Oh well, no harm no foul.

The next shot at Rute got her low enough where she was thinking discretion was the better part of valor, however, and she booked it. This initiated a chase sequence! I think Caleb got up to Rute but again whiffed, leaving it all on Viggo. The bounty hunter caught up to her and nailed his attack roll with his 10' grappling hook, stopping her in her tracks. I think at this point there were only two other attackers left so the group bound the three survivors and went back to take care of Tenkos and Farric.

They paused long enough to search the grounds and heal up Tenkos. Since the adventure framework references treasure tables in Low Fantasy Gaming I went along with it and ended up doling out a pouch with a snowflake inside that never melts. Seems similar to the kind of curios in the 5E PHB but I'm curious to see what they might do with it.

They dragged Rute and the other two killers back to town and convinced Frau Wetzel of their guilt with the personal affects of the missing and consistent accounts from Iris and Farric. Viggo, Tenkos, and Caleb (and Suzie!) collected their reward and quickly headed out of town as the folk of Bottenburg set to tying a few nooses.


2017-05-19

Lamentations Campaign


Landing page for any posts having to do with my LotFP campaign Lamentations of a Decaying Land. Completely ripping this idea off of Peter Dell'Orto because that's how I got up to speed on his Felltower campaign and I love looking at his ever-expanding graveyard.

Current Party

PCs in boldNPCs in italics, levels are latest

Barthelm Schade, Specialist 4 (James)
Caleb, Fighter 2 [farmer kit]
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Claus Drexol, Magic-User 4 (Vegas)
  Wiebke Bott, linklady from Bremmlecht
  Sandra Schöll, guard from Bremmlecht
Jewel, Really Good Dog 2 (Rudy)
  Buddy, ratter dog
  Fuckhead / Shado, grizzled mongrel
  Wimpy / Cpt. Foofamaloo, escaped housedog
Tenkos, Cleric 1 [plague doctor kit]
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 2 [bounty hunter kit]

Session Summaries



Graveyard

PCs in bold, NPCs in italics

Buttercup, horse, shot by Barthelm while a wizard was trying to steal her
Heidi Fassbinder, Fighter 3, infested by worm tumours
Helga Frelse, Elf 2, fell to death in a rocky hole