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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Feb 2008

    Default Re: DM's campaign log- Wrath Of The Righteous (PF & spoliers!)

    Ok, so we played yesterday. The session had one intense debate, and two big and somewhat confused battles. So, without further ado...

    Session 2, Part 1- Mongrel alliance, Mongrel clash

    Before the Session
    I asked the party to try and add a bit of background, in order to get a better feel to the characters. Some of them added information:
    • Andera Kanchar: (I was mistaken calling him Endare in the previous posts, but those are fixed now. Andera like Pantera. Confusing name). The character comes from Numeria. He was not deemed strong and sturdy, and so was not considered "Warrior/ crusader material". He was bold though, and went behind the enmy lines where he had the "chance encounter" with the mystery Desna worshiper, who saved his life. His boldness invited however a call to "The Black Flame", and organization of basically stealth demon killers, people who "think out of the box". His slew of ninja abilities represent this training, not an eastern heritage. He was sent to Kenabres to contact the local cells, but Kenabres fell before that.
    • Sena added a bit more info about an important character in his life- his Mentor John. This is a sort of a spiritual father figure to him, and Sena is highly influenced by him. One of the main mentors of his order, Sena regards his words highly. We agreed that John should be a sort of a philosopher warrior, compassionate yet stern, and very realistic, though spiritual. We know he has some divine connection, but not the exact class. We think level 5-6 if it would come to dealing with numbers. He asked me not to have John killed off the bat, which I respect and agreed to. The player wishes some roelplay experience with him. Also, the player seeks some ethical or morality conflict to his character. Need to think about that.
    • Mad dog: Her player finally had some time to read about the ranger class more, and a bit about the world. She wants Mad dog to be a cool, showing almost no emotions, big bad ass. She chose to say he came fro mthe outlying communities, that was infiltrated by cultists, who massacred most of the town, taking a great deal (Including her father and brother) as prisoners back into the worldwound. They performed some sort of a ritual on Mad dog (the champion path character trait) but he survived, and fled to the country side. For years he lived off the land, trusting only animals, not humanoids, and honing his hatred of demons. But he finally understood that he couldn't fight alone, and decided to come to Kenabres. When things went down fast...

    Welcome to Neathholme!
    Last we stopped the party Just came into the underground cavern, with the little lake, and the small island upon which the settlement of Neathholme stood. They traveresed by boat, and saw the few dozens of disfigured forms of the mongrelfolk, scurrying frightened into their houses. Horus rolled his eyes in disgust, while Aravash keep asking Harry to describe things.

    Mood music- Northern pastures by 2SFH

    Neathholme was a small place (The book says it has 38 people), and the party was led by Lann, their guide to the hut of Chief Sul, an overly fat, ratish looking Mongrelman. Andrew's player immediately called him "King Harry". (A character from the previous campaign who was nearly EXACTLY like him by some chance. ). We made a little conversation, with the chief welcomign the uplanders, asking them of the quakes, and they asking back. It was a fairly friendly conversation, though Aravash kept making remarks of wonder about "the primitive underlings", "the mole people speech" and other such remarks. There was a crowd gathering outside.

    They learned that by he mongrelfolk accord, the earthquakes hit most of the city, caving in many tunnels, quite a few of their people were stranded or blocked, and they were working on that. As Mad dog dropped the body of the cultist he carried around, The mongrelfolk said that there were quite a few "crusaders" in the tunnels lately. "False cultists!" Claimed Andrew, but Chief Sul's wife- the witch Opoli remarked "Not all of them looked false to us!", with bitterness in her voice.

    As Sena asked about a way out, Chief Sul grew grim, telling of a bad tribe that joined forces with some cultists, that blocked the only available way out. (*cough*railroad*cough*) "It won't be easy getting through them!" murmured Chief Sul apologetically. "It never is" answered Sena.

    Chief Sul went about that some of the inquisitors were sometimes in the tunnels, hunting them down, but that the new ones, the ultists, seemed to have been doing some thing else. "These are not Iomedae's warriors, at least not all of them, soem of them worship Baphomet." Added Andrew. Sena approached him, whispering that maybe he should try and persuade them to his side, when Andrew whispered back. "I was just getting to that".

    Social challenge time- The fate of the mongrelfolk!

    If you've read the module, you'll know there is no way the alliance cannot happen. In the module Chief Sul himself suggests the alliance and all the characters need to do is say "Um... ok?". Yet it is worth XP, and has some reprecautions later on. (And I have a few more ideas for other possible uses of the alliance). So I wanted to make it a challenge. There was an effort needed here.

    But D&D (And PF) usually resolve social issues with a single dice roll. Very little dram, very little tension. So I burrowed a mechanic from Fate Core- for social "combats", you do a Contest- in each "round", the two conflicting parties put their social efforts in, and roll against each other. If they succeed, they get a "win". the first to 3 "wins"... wins! However, you cannot repeat your previous point or strategy onwards. Depending on the crowd, motivations, needs and so on a speaker can gain a bonus to their roll (As to the diplomacy rules in our house rules).

    In this event Andrew (Diplomacy +8), helped by the party's effort. O nthe other was facing Opoli, chief Sul's wife (+6, but she also had a better reltionship than Andrew did. granting her a +2, making it even. I forgot about that in the game though ).

    Andrew began by Suggesting the Mongrelfolk join the fight against the demons, speaking of the Mongrelfolk chance to show the people of Kenabres, and end the persecution. Opoli launched after him, saying that they were hunted, persecuted, and driven underground for decades now- they are supposed to owe the uplanders now? (Both speeches drew upon motives. That was Opoli's main advantage, at least to start with. So they canceled each other out). Horus gave some remark that they don't need the wretched and misbigotten to join, they have enough trouble as it is! His words further upset them. Opoli's words proved more powerful, as the mongrelmen in and outside the hut murmured their anger. Andrew has failed to catch their attention.

    (Opoli:1, Andrew: 0)

    Sena, realizing the chance of failure, touched upon Andrew with his "touch of glory", instilling in him momentary greatness. Andrew tries to touch upon their ancestral pride- "You are the sons of the first descendents, the very first people who stood up to the demons, and fought them. Now that Kenabres is besieged, will you just let it crumble, will you just let it fall?" Aravash spoke out of turn "Indeed? The deformed tunnelers might be good! they are somewhat liek demons themselves, they could understand them better!" The party saw the faces of the mongrelfolk narrow, and started to understand the damage their allies were causing. Opoli however turned Andrew's words. "To go and fight? Yes, but with what? with the few dozens we are against the thousands of demons? With simple arms and armor we could scavenge? While the crusaders shoot at our backs? We are no warriors, we hide, we weather the worse, and we live!" Horus didn't help by spitting out "We do not NEED them! They will just be a burden, look at this wretched lot!" But Andrew's words lit an old flame in the mognrelfolk, and they could see their eyes lighten up, Chief Sul straightening a bit more in pride. Andrew was now listened to.

    Andrew: 1, Opoli: 1

    The party understood that Horus and Aravash were lowering their odds, but were confused at how to stop them. Mad dog tried a direct approach, and towered over Horus with a menacing glare. Horus however, was not easily intimidated, and exploded. "You DARE threaten me you big brainless lump?!" Horus' attitude jsut shifted another scale downward ("Enemy" on the house rules, in attitude, not practice). Andrew tried a sort of shared camaraderie, of the uplanders and the mongrelfolk against this evil, the Worldound, which will swallow them all. "Yes, you can stay, and hide, but the demons won't stop above. If upper Kenabres will fall, so will lower Kenabres. The time to make the stand against the horde is now, together, united!" Horus again exploded "United with them? With this rubble? We are losing time! This alliance will give us NOTHING!" Opoli seized upon this "You say united, yet even within your own ranks you are not. We shall ally with those who insult us? degrade us? Like you have done for decades? Humiliate us?" Sena partly panicked, and urged Lann "Say something!" Sena's pleading eyes worked, and Lann stepped forward. "They cuaght me and my party off guard, disadvantaged. They could easily have killed us, or past us by in their hurry. Yet they stopped and helped us, they saved Crel's life. These are good people.". Lann's words strengthened Andrew's speech, and the mongrelmen talked about raising arms. Andrew was winning them over.

    Andrew: 2, Opoli: 1

    Harry tried to talk to Aravash. "Please wise sir, I think it is best if we at this time let Andrew talk his piece, and support him with our silence," (One bad diplomacy roll later) "No young Harry, You are all young and impetuous, He will do well to listen to the words of his elders...". Sena tried to neutralize Horus. He turned to him and wispered angrily. "Will you stop this! You're hurting us! What do you want? They can help us!" Horus snorted "Making alliances takes time... a lot of time, which we don't have! If the alliance was worthy of anything, but it's not! I mean... look at this sorry group! Not exactly crusaders material!" Horus would not be placated.

    Andrew decided to let Opoli speak first this time. Seeing that she was losing the argument, Opoli launched one last attempt. "We cannot hope to fight the demons! They are more numerous, more powerful, and we haven't fought in ages! Going to fight will not be some glorious fight! It will be our death! It will be suicide! The Mendevian army will come to strike the demons down, and Kenabres will be saved. But will Neathholme? our people?" (At which point Mad dog was convinced by her! ) Andrew paused for a few moments, for a dramatic affect. "Yes, You could run, and hide. And perhaps you'll live. But I look around and I see children. Children born to the dark, who lived out of the sight of the sun for their whole lives. Used to life of scorn, life of ever caution, a life in fear... Would you let them live in fear, as you have, and die in fear? Or will you raise your spears, face your enemy, challenge your fears, and lead yourself to a new age, a new life, a new future?" (This tocuhed me and the others so, That I considered this another motive touched, gaining another +5)

    Opolis words of fear and terror held no sway against Andrew's message of hope and brightness. The crowd raised their voices, cheering loudly, and Chief Sul stood up. "It is settled then! We shall join the good fight above!"
    Opoli looked disheartened, and turned away.

    Chief Sul gave a few quick orders, then turned to the party. "I have sent messangers to the other tribes, to follow our lead. You can rest while we send scouts towards the bad tribe's territory". The party- "Other tribes?" (I think they just had This kind of moment )

    DM thoughts on the social challenge
    I think it worked quite well, and proved to be an interesting and tense social interaction. The module says that Horus and Aravhsial interupt, and I wanted to play that since it added a lot to the play. It did mean the party now kind of HATES Horus. (Mad dog's player wanted to ditch him. We reminded her she though he made a lot of sense last meeting...). I really like the contest mechanic! It can be used for other stuff as well, like stealth operations (With the opponent succeeding meaning not immediately finding the person out, but "homing in" on their location), and races and such.

    Well deserved rest and... LEVEL UP!
    Chief Sul said that he'll be sending scouts to see the location of the bad tribe, see if anything has changed. (This was a bit of an excuse for me to give the party a bit of resting time, plus I thought this would be a good place for simple interactions).

    About the alliance: The mongrelfolk did not want to be shot by Kenabres Crusaders' when they go above, so they asked the party to seek whatever leadership remains, and make the pact with them. Chief Sul sends his speaker with them- Lann! So another NPC joins the party. Chief Sul askes the party to take care of the cultists problem in the bad tribe. As they agree he gives them the tribe's healing reserves to help in this- 6 CLW potions and 3 Lesser restoration. The party distributes these, including one potion to Lann, and one to Sena. Lann's relationship goes up one scale.

    Why adding Lann?
    The mongrelfolk have some interesting roleplay and gaming potential. I already have some interesting ideas of how to use them in the future, and I don't doubt my players will have some ideas as well. I wanted to "put a face" on the mongrelman, by Lann.

    Also, If the party doesn't have someone to go back to the mongrelfolk once they make the deal, then they might need to trudge back. This way Lann does that. Yes, I know there are other solutions, but this feels better for me.

    The party sells a bit and buy a bit, mostly a breast plate for Andrew, and a scroll of sanctuary for Sena. He comes to Opoli however, trying to placate her. She tells him that she hopes this will end with s few dead as possible. He talks with her a bit, and learn she lost two sons. He warms up to her, and holds her hands, saying he will try to do as much as he can for the mongrelfolk. She is not relieved, but doesn't begrudge the party... too much. "We mongrelfolk rely on each other. As the tribe have decided, so I shall abide. I will do my best."

    As they try to sell some of their stuff they try to sell the brooch of the bat and the mushroom, which the mongrelfolk recognize, rushing to Chief Sul! He recognizes it as the brooch of his son, and is saddned by his death. Angry, he raches and hands Sena his +1 morningstar "Bash a cultist's skull for me, ok?" HE then turns his face, Opoli coming to comfort him. Sena seeks what to say, but doesn't find anything more than "I will do as you ask Chief Sul" and retreats in silence respectfully.

    Anevia comes to rest by Andrew, and congratulates him for his success with the mongrelfolk. "Who would have thought, that in this darkness we would find allies? Your words were quite inspiring, and uplifting. They gave me hope." She eases the strain on her leg. "Arabeth used to say I always have soem trick up my sleeve, and she is... right as usual. I have a few things which I though I could use, but in my condition you might use them better." She gives Andrew her 2 alchemist fire and 3 smoke sticks. The smoke sticks become important later on.

    Aravash stays by Harry. "I am more confident in this group abilities now. I was hesitant to harness my power to it, but I believe it could be done. Harry, if a dire situation occurs, try to direct me, perhaps my summons or other spells may help. Just make sure i don't harm the party. I... I do not wish to spend my power in vain, I do not know when I could red spells again." Harry agreed.

    Last but not least- the Xp from the negotiation enabled the party to level up! Changes for those interested
    • Andrew gains the second level of paladin powers
    • Sena doesn't change much, mostly trying to spread his skill points.
    • Andera takes the vanishing trick ninja trick
    • Mad dog gains the "cleave" ability of his "two handed" fighting style.
    • Harry learns hydraulic push and... some other spell I don't remember.

    About the "bad tribe" warren
    The "bad tribe's caves" are a small dungeon crawl, and this comprised the rest of our adventure. A few notes for those who know the module, and for those who don't:
    - There is one guard post, after which a small common room. From there the party can go south, towards the rooms of the main hold, and where the leader of the cultists (Hosilla) resides, or they could go North, towards the exit.
    - The rooms are adjacent to each other, SO I decreed (As I knew my party would expect), that this will be a responding place- people won't just sit and wait patiently till the PCs reach their rooms. This meant this could turn (And it did) into a flowing hectic battle.
    - With an added character (And especially Mad Dog the dealer of huge amounts of damage!) I needed to create more opposition- for challenge as well as for XP. I also got rid of nonsensical and meaningless encounters (An amoeba, 2 gars, and giant rats... really?) So you may see more opposition than it seems in the module. I will note it where I did).
    - At some points in the map (First guard post, guard post before Hosill'a chambers, and the last guard post) there are sort of broken lines in the map. I wasn't sure whatthese were, so decided that these are sort of loose barricades the mongrelfolk made out of wood and stone. They proved very important as choke points, but also as obstacle for climbing and such.
    - I apologize for the length of the battles, I tried to minimize it to the essentials, but this took a few hours in session time.

    The approach- The ruse turned to a rush
    Lann scouts ahead of the party a bit. (Andera was a bit upset to learn mongrelfolk have +13 to stealth!) As they all follow in line. We make jokes about "Fellowship of the ring" (characters at the moment!). They roll nicely for Lann's stealth, and he comes back, and I lay down the entrance to them. A very narrow long tunnel, ending in a small cave, with one door at it's back, and two mongrelfolk behind barricades.

    Now the party understood well that if they don't take these two fast and quiet, then the entire compound will be alerted. They also knew that if they get close as a group, their armor and light source will alert them far before they reach the post. They first thought that Andera might take them out, but he couldn't see in the dark, being human.

    They discussed a few options, when Andrew remembered his Aasimar spell like ability- Alter Self! (He is an angel kin Aasimar, he doesn't have Daylight). So a plan came- He will get close, Lann behind him, and LAnn will try and fool them, enough for Andrew to come close enough and surprise them. Andera and Mad dog would follow not far behind, being stealthy enough. The rest will rush ahead (Though they will be a few rounds behind) When they hear the commotion. This mainly reffered to Sena and Harry (Way to leave your casters behind! ) as they just told the trio of NPCs to follow slowly afterwards. Horus was about to say something but they shut him up.

    The plan worked quite nicely. Andrew turned his frame to a mongrelfolk, and approached, Lann closely behind him. Both were manage to fool the guards enough to get close and attack them! But they didn't kill them, and a small battle started, Andera comes in and jump hig over the barricade, and sneak attacks, Mad dog tries to do the same but fails. Lann flanked with Andera, but the mongrelman hits Andera hard for 7hp. This is the start of Andera's bad luck in these warrens. Mad dog impresses, and frightens some of the others with a lobotomizing critical. (The player is really into the gory decriptions). While Andera's luck is aweful here, Mad dog's luck is astounding! There are many more massive crits to come...

    Sena and Harry start running.

    Andrew left them and went through the door, seeing 3 other mongrelmen in various forms of getting ready. This was the main gathering room, with a southern door, a Northern door, and an eastern door (Which led to an empty pantry). Lann, Mad dog and Andera finished those outside quickly, and rushed in to help Andrew who was fighting the surprised and disorganized resistance. MAd dog severes an arm of a poor mongrelman , reaching for it's spear. The player adds "He looks at the dying corpse coldly, with hollow eyes, not breaking a sweat". Sena's player, sitting next to her, is adding diplomatically "You are... starting to make me nervous..."

    One of the two Faces Lann, and stabs him hard, for 9 damage (6 left), and hammers on the southern door. "Wendaug! Wendaug!" (This is a mongrelwoman ranger, the closest they have left for a leader of their own) But no answer comes... Meanwhile there are soem noises from the northern door as well.

    Fighting on two fronts

    They dispose of the two remaining, and Andera moves to the south door, Andrew to the north one, And MAd dog to the middle door, as Harry and Sena reach the outside room. Wishing to take his enemies by surprise Andrew opens the north door, and find two cultists- one of Deskari, wielding a Scythe, and behind him a cultist of Baphomet with a glaive. With them are two tieflings, though one is not yet ready. The door proves as a choke hold, as Andrew faces the tiefling, and one of the cultists uses command, trying to have him drop his sword. Andrew shrugs the effect easily.

    While Mad dog gets into the pantry, seeing some sort of a... nest for some beast, Sena gets in and casts bless, then moving to the other side of the southern door. with backs to the wall Sena and Andera listen- They hear some sort of a growl, and Sena's ears hear very faintly a bow being drawn. They await for whatever it is to come out.

    At this point the battle sort of seperates to two- On the north Andrew opens in the door with eh enemies, and LAnn and MAddog from the sides of the door, through cover. They manage to slowly whittle away their enemies, with some magic missile help from Harry.

    Meanwhile at the southern door Sena and Andera go "You open the door!" "No you open it!" Until Andera uses his vanishing trick and disappears. Openign the door he see an albnio monitor lizard blockingthe entrance and... A strange looking Mongrelwoman at the back, with 3 insectoid arms from her side and a stony lookign skin. This is Wendaug. She and her lizard waited here to block the path forward, but They don't see anyone! Wendaug shoots non the less and misses, and then Andera tries to tumble past the lizard, but fails, and the next round- fails again... The lizard tries to bite Sena through the corner, but the cover coupled with his high AC makes this almost impossible. Sena gets annoyed "Get past it!" But Andera's luck just proves futile (Even invisible). Then his invisibility ends and Wendaug shoots him, and he moves aside, wounded. Sena, worried, Takes out a smoke stick, breaks it and throws it into the room, blocking Wendaug's line of sight. The Southern room is covered in vapors, spilling out.

    Meanwhile Andrew his hit, but kills the tiefling and pushes in, then a cultists dies, andthey push further in, Mad dog and Lann as well. Andrew is hit a bit more, and seems to "have had enough", and smites evil the Baphomet cultist. There are carvings and statues in this room, like in the cave of ancestors, only these look older, and not well taken care of. There are steps leading up, and Lann whispers longingly "The way to the surface", but they have no time for that yet.

    Sena steps and smacks the lizard, and begin a small fight with it, within the cloud of vapors. Worried about what the archer might do, Andera tries another vanishing trick, and comes trying to jump over the lizard (Ninjas can really jump!) and gets behind it. It turns to strike it when Sena smashes it's skull against the door frame, dropping it dead. He looks at Andera "Now was that so tough?" Andera moves to where Wendaug was located, but sees she is gone. There is a hole at the side of the room however, wit ha rope ladder leading down.

    The party decides that this is enough for now. The archer have moved below, but they can't just rush after it. They knew very well that there would be an ambush below.

    Time to take a moment and think, They are not over this yet...

    Design and thoughts
    The party have acted really well here- They also got the surprise element, and stopped both approaches. I originally thought that the warrens would be alerted, and many of the enemies would have moved to the common room, attacking in unison, but there was no time for that, so in a way- the party DID take them in their separate rooms.

    I moved the monitor lizard to Wendaug's room, since without some blocking, Wendaug is easily beaten. And it seemed like a more fitting idea for a ranger. This worked quite well, Sena's "Smoke grenade" Was quite clever thinking.

    - 1 mongrelfolk in the 2nd room
    - 2 tieflings with the cultists, to act as cannon fodder.

    This concludes the first half (actually more like 2/3rds) of our session. In the next part the heroes go down the hole, and face the cultists leader (of the warrens)- The inquisitor Hosilla! (And her minions... ) A battle which the party barely survives...

    I hope I can write the second part this week, as time permits.
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2014-01-06 at 03:12 AM.

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