In which our protagonists break an ancient rule of gaming, suffer the consequences, and the plot thickens in an... unplanned way
hey folks, we played yesterday and it was a blast of a meeting, although quite a bit of it improvised (but on a solid base, which makes good improvisation). due to the length, i again split the meeting to two sections. i'm reposting the map at the first spoiler since it becomes quite important!
hope you'll enjoy!
Um, what is our plan exactly?
SpoilerLast we saw the party they just exited the catacombs, planning on exploring the Fist Blockade next, and try and rescue Eric- the only one who suffered the sleeping disease but lived, although mentally unstable. on the map you see the village of Far Reach, benath it the HUGE apple grove, the catacombs are to the south east, kissing the mountains
(The Dm has informed us between meetings that the Fist is a sizable force. Lynn's acquaintance with the Fist suggested that a unit for these matters will include 50-100 level 1-2 soldiers, plus lieutenenats, a commander and some support. he also quite nicely said that he has no problem killing us all if we act stupid. )
Distraught by the grave Lynn assessed the situation and told the party of her thoughts on the force they might face. she seemed bothered. BAsically the Fist might move the blockade by 1 of three possibilities: the threat it has come for was removed, enough time has passed so it seems useless to stay or if the Fist were given enough... "donations".
the party discusses many options, including hoofing it back to town ("i'm not facing 50+ insane power hungry cue in many blasphemies i can't quite print here like HER, saving Eric or not!" said Glimji). but they needed a way out, so at the end this was the plan:
- the party will come closer to the blockade, about 2.5 hours walk from it. then Killpi and Glimji (who was not quite happy about this) will sneak their way towards the fort (using their superior low light vision over the humans) and learn what they can. then return. at morning Ayla (and perhaps Lynn who also didn't like the idea) will try to talk to the Fist officers, possibly their commander Alex, and at least let them talk to Eric. but no one in the party had ANY idea how to do that.
still in a sour mood, distrusting each other and not liking the options the party trudged until they reached the south west to the apple plantation, about 150m from the crossroads. as Teal'c started to put up the tents, They gave the two short guys some of their heating packs for the cold, and bid them fare well.
Spoilerit was at this point that we asked ourselves why oh why didn't we gather any info on the fort and the gap from the village, especially the hunter.
The Sneaky Duo
Spoilerthere was quite a bit of argument between the two how to approach the fort (the fort isn't listed on the map. but it's guarding the gap at the very bottom) Killpi wished not to waste time, and approach it hugging the eastern moutnins, but Glimji said "that is what they would expect1" and suggested the western mountains. "that is what they'll expect sneaky people to do!" said Killpi, but at the end they decided to follow Glimji's decision.
they have crossed to the other side and went south. finally they reach the gap at night. it's quite narrow, with various boulders strewn about. in the gap itself there is the fort, to the east of it, next to a great cliff above it, on top of which there is a sort of a gentle slope towards the valley. "they'll have guards there" whisper Glimji. on the west there is a steep slope, and after a bit of observation Killpi notices a carefully hidden guard tower amongst the trees.
when real life skills come in handy
Spoiler(it might be worhty of note to say that our DM and some of the players served some time in combative army units, and the DM especially is quite good at scouting, navigation and so on, and knows how to prepare accordingly... )
a bit more scouting noticed a sort of a querry in the western wall, building something? Glimji tried to use apples to seduce burrowing animals to talk to them, but it was just too cold. the two suspected more unseen forces. but they were about 300 m from the gap itself, and intended to learn more. "After you!", "no, after you!", "really, i bow to your expertise", "you show me too much honor, i insist!"
at the end Killpi with his superior stealth and perception led the way. the plan was to climb higher than the western watch tower, and perhaps get a look out to the fort itself. they moved slowly, taking their time, observing in the cold night air. getting caught would probably be fatal.
the good news, they got great stealth skills and rolls. the bad news, their perception is not so much. they got 150 m closer, but noticed nothing new except... for what seemed like a newly erected wall about 10feet tall, with some guard towers blocking the exit of the valley... The Fist seemed like serious business.
traps, snaps, and rustling bushes
Spoilera small discussion opened in the group (of players) at this point whether to explore further and risk it or go back. but in the end it fell to the two explorers, who seemed to like the thrill (despite Glimji's ramblings) who wanted to see in the fort.
as the duo climbed on, Killpi's honed senses saved his leg from stepping on an animal "close jaws" trap. he disarms it and takes it. on the way they find a few more traps but avoid them (Killpi takes one more_. but as they get close to the tower, Killpi steps on a trap and with only halfling quickness manages not to get his leg seriously wounded.
SNAP! echoes in the night, the tower suddenly has a light put on. "oh crap!" the two mouth simultaneously, and seek hiding quite fast. they expect people to arrive from the tower, but instead after about 2 minutes pass 3 soldier in Fist uniform come mumbling about the cold and "what animal is awake at these hours?"they look around a bit but don't seem to notice much, till they near Glimji's hiding (a low bush) when suddenly one looks straight at him. "what the hell?"
when the S**T hits the fan
SpoilerGlimji reacts on instinct and cast a sleep spell, that fell two of the soldiers, but not the one that looks like their leader. (the group: now that won't arouse suspicions". "it's from the cold!") this leader seems to draw soemthing, but it's hard to see in the dark exactly what it is. Killpi curses, and sneak attack shoots him, wounding him nicely. the soldier activated a Sun rod! suddenly the are is lit by bright light.
Glimji is baffled and tried to find a useful tactic While Killpi yells at him- "do something usefull gods damn you!" and shoots again. only since the soldier is aware now, there is no sneak attack and Killpi barely if at all penetrates his armor's damage reduction. the soldier tries to wake his fellows, and Glimji cast another sleep, droping the privates but not affecting the leader.
Killpi changes tactics a bit, looking surprised at Glimji and tha man. "what? my head! you... you charmed me? you charmed me?!" (laughter from the party, murderous looks from Glimji) Glimji is down to his last 1st level spell (we were in the crypt this day) and decides to go fro broke, as they start to hear shouts from the tower and the fort. he reches into his spell component pouch and throws colored sands, making bright multicolored light over the three soldiers. but his dice fails him again- once more the leader saves.
"mage! you will die for this!" yells the solder and rushes to Gimli (while Killpi yells: "he charmed me! grab the withc! burn the witch!")
two halflings, one twiceling
Spoilerthe Soldier raises a sword over Glimji, "surrender and throw your weapon, on the ground!" Glimji cowers and complies. "you too!" he shouts ad Killpi. Killpi hesitates, and tries to put on a show of throwing his corossbow and groveling on all fours, crawling to the man, "he charmed me, he charmed me". but this soldier, with Killpi's botls still in him doesn't buy the act and attacks Glimji, who very narrowly evades.
Killpi sees his ruse didn't work and whips out his spiked chain, but barely affects the soldier, due to no sneak attack and Armor DR (and small weapon) Glimji is out of 1st level spells. this doesn't look good...
BUT, there are 1st level spells, and Glimji dazes the soldier, and again while moving to a flanking position totally out of spells. but a flanking position is all Killpi needed, and the chain rips through the soldier, nearly killing him. this soldier seemed tough.
(at the table i immediately say: "kill him, and the two others. they know your faces" Killpi's player looks at me surprised "that YOU will tell me to kill them? that's not right, let's try this) "surrender" said Killpi with pleasrure "and we'll spare your life." the soldier nearly done, agrees and lay down his sword. "just so you know, we are fighting for the greater good!" (at which point i look at him surprised "that YOU would fight for the greater good?") the two take the weapon and start to run, as if their life dependent on it (which they did) and the soldier through one last dagger after them
crunch behind the encounter
Spoilerthese were 2 1st level fighters and another 2nd level fighter. the soldier stood up VERY well, but this is mostly due to poor rolls by Glimji's player's rolls, we make all the rolls, nothing is hidden. we were worried about his hitpoint, which seemed to be slightly above 20. that is till the DM mentioned the feat "toughness" multiple times.
Run you fools!
Spoileras they ran they heard shouts from behind, and saw quite a few torches in the night. they were unarmored, so they were just to the speed of the armored tall folks. but how long, how far could they run? and then they heard the barking of dogs, and the hoofs of horses. ("Soldiers and horses and hounds, oh my!")
"so, new character sheets?"
the two decides to make it as diffucult to the pursuers as possible, they head further up towards the western mountain rage, on as inhospitable ground as they can find. at some point they hear the hroses complaining, and hear some shouts of "on foot, take the dogs". they decide to make it even harder, and seek a cliff to go up. thankfully enough they are good enough climbers (or the DM had been a bit merciful) and they reached the top ok. after a few more exhausting hours in the freezing cold they seemed to have lost them. dawn was nearing, but what now?
Meanwhile at camp
Spoiler(by this point all of the group quite understood that thing got messed up seriously, but the DM seemed to roll with us, and so did we.)
Lynn seemed to have something on her mind, about half an hour after the two short ones left, she came to speak with Ayla and Teal'c. "Ayla, you are chosen by the gods, right? i'm not quite a fan of Kendra (goddess of love) but you'll do. and Teal'c, who doesn't speak much. i saw how you fight and how you avoided killing those village people. i'd value your opinion."
the two seemed attentive. "do you believe the gods speak to us? in signs, portens, or in choices they give us?", "the gods speak to those they have an interest in, in things important enough to them." Lynn snorted "i do n't think i am important, but i wonder- when i was in the fist i was charged to find a gnome sorcerer amongst halfling, as part of my unit. yet i... for some reason... chose to help the gnome and halfling. yet they proved treacherous, and i lost my position. i was expelled from the Fist, and brought shame to my family."
Lynn sighed "and yet this situation happens again- the Fist is looking for a magic user, and i am hiding a sorcerer and a thieving, scheming, conniving halfling. think about it! first he stole the elemental stone, then the issue with the laxatives, and what about Tom? what do we know? we found him with Killpi's bolts in his BACK, without an injury on Killpi, and he tried to frame him from the start! is this the kind of person we'rre associating with? should we not give them both over to the Fist"
Teal'c then spoke "i don't like them. but we're in a tough spot. you need to see if they can help our survival in this valley or not. i can't quite tell you so far. but when we can we should part ways with them."
Ayla was more reserved, but cautious in her words "I don't trust them, but from my acquaintance with the Fist i trust them less, and i would NOT give people away to them and their "interrogations". i suggest to find a way to reconcile your feelings, and give it time."
Lynn seemed more distraught and contemplative "very well, i shall think about this, lets see what they have to say in morning".
In my Defense
SpoilerThe idea was to provoke a bit more interaction and roleplay from Ayla and Teal'c' players, as they'll try to make Lynn be less judgmental and more forgiving, and closer to the Duo. i didn't quite expect Teal'c player to further the split, but it's her first play, and i'm afraid we're setting a bad example on how party should behave.
"By the time you read these lines..."
SpoilerAs dawn started to break, Ayla on guard sudenly heard quite a few horses. luckily the tents were in the woods, and the FIst horsemen (and horsewomen) didn't noptice them. they were riding to the village. "Damn! what the hell happened? Killpi, Glimji!"
she woke the two others. they concluded that something went wrong, and that the two have been either captured or they are pursued. they must look for the rest of them in the village. "we need to get away, to somewhere we can hide. there weren't many choices, and Ayla pointed out the Lizard's grove "it's the only lead we have, if we find there something that might be useful, perhaps that can help us."
they packed, and quickly left. In case Glimji and Killpi were alive, they left a note stuck by a dagger to a tree "we're at the source of the Green Gem". and went off.
Back to the Duo
SpoilerTired from the chase, having been awake and on the run all night, the two find a small unused cave, heat up as well as they can and fall asleep, two of Killpi's newly acquired traps at the opening.
"Where are we now?"
SpoilerThe Duo at the moment is located in the mountains just south of the lizard's grove. the trio is just moving from the crossroads on the road between the Fist ant Far Reach towards the lizard's grove.
Fight! and a bit more of Teal'c
Spoilerafter a few hours, while nearing the Lizard's grove, the trio goes through the snow they suddenly hear something, not being stealthy enough they explore, to meet a bunch of 8 orcs! "humans in wrong place! this is orc land!"
Teal'c (a half orc) seems tense, even slightly angry, but he speaks politely "we are lost, we did not mean to interfere, we're sorry". the orcs laugh "you be sorry llright... halfbreed!" gauging the odds, Lynn tries a different approach. "you orc know might! i offer you a chance to prove it! your strongest warrior, against ours!" but the orcs laugh at her. "we honor might in real enemy. you no enemy, you are garbage!"
at which point everyone have enough and the battle start. Lynn and Teal'c fight side by side, each despoing of an enemy a round (Teal'c cleave doesn't succeed) till the few remaining curb tail and run. Ayla heals a bit, and we even find a bit of coin on them.
however, we are more disturbed by the orcs presence here, so close to Far Reach. and Eric have spoken in his delusions of orcs, didn't he?
"You surprise me again Teal'c. you seemed disgusted by them." the half orc stays silent for a moment "they hurt my mother, my grandfather's honor. i don't like them. they are not my people." Lynn tries to goad Teal'c a bit more, but he stays silent.
The Lizard's grove
SpoilerThe trio reaches the grove (there is some discussion whether to go in, can we make it, but we decide we don't have any better lead) the place is quite pleasent, with lizard living in the trees, quite pastoral and nice. they spend the rest of their time searching for anything of importance for many hours, but fail to succeed. with some grumbling they decide to make camp near their entry point, as the sun start to descend
Frodo and Samwise (NOT!)
Spoilerthe duo finally awakes. "i had such a dream!" tells Glimji "we were fighting against the whole fort!". "I had a dream too" says Killpi "of someone using bright magic against the Fist and now they know our faces!" obviously, there was some resentment.
"so what now? where do we go? we have food, we have water, we have... each other?" said Killpi. Glimji began to hurriedly pack. they decided to try and find our camp at first, and then the village.
DM hurrying things a bit later, they arrived at the prior camp and find the note. but... they don't trust Lynn. "maybe she is trying to trap us? give us away to the Fist?" (Then they tried to sense motive the note, at which we all laughed)
Killpi suggests to perhaps seek the hunter, and gain any info from him on how to bypass the mountains. as some roll their eyes he add jokingly "let me complicate about this, i mean contemplate about this".
The duo decide that if Lynn tries to betray them, that they should have a code word for Glimji to cast a sleep spell on her. they decide the ever so popular- B*tch.
They decide to go to the grove (lamenting on how barbaric where these savages who killed and looted the orcs... after trying to loot them as well to no avail). so at the end of the evening, when they reached the grove they stumble upon the trio.
DON'T SPLIT THE PARTY!
A not so happy reunion
SpoilerLynn: "what the hell happened?!"
Killpi: "B*tch!" (looks at Glimji who rolls his eyes) "i said B*tch!"
L: did they see you? did you talk to them? did you fight with them?"
K: you know how hard it was? what it cost us? (looking at himself and Glimji) "um, we got better" (throws the traps on the ground) "it nearly killed us!"
L: "you STOLE from them?"
K: "i prefer took..." Glimji: "more like burrowed".
Lynn towards Ayla and Teal'c: "we are all doomed!"
towards Glimji: "did they see you do magic?"
G: "not exactly SEE... they were asleep most of the time"
K: except for the flashy multicolored spell?
Lynn: (face palms)
at which point quite hilarious accusations started all around. it was quite clear- our group held an arcane practitioner,, who spied and attacked the Fist, and we are all probably considered culprits.
As Ayla and Teal'c tried to weather down the storm, the party decided to get some rest, and try to figure out what to do in the morning.
so, i hope you enjoyed so far, i'll probably be able to write the second half later this week or on next Sunday. we felt this takes the adventure in a more complex and problematic route, but i think we're having great fun.
as always, if you have any questions ask. i'll be glad to answer.