Sunday 10 October 2021

Session 4: Two Spectacularly Bad Throws

The Wizard of Briar Mansion really likes mosaics


Welcome to session 4.

This session was played on 30/Sep/2021 and the PCs adventured for 1 day (again).

The party have settled into a pattern of hitting the same dungeon, what can I do?

Session Report

Three players again for session four: Clyde Foot the Dubiously Strong (Half-Elf Fighter) and Dorf, just Dorf (Human fighter), and Kevin the 53rd (Dwarf Thief)

Between sessions Dorf and Clyde had spent their down time on their side jobs which incidentally turned up the following:

Information, Dorf’s inquiry into the ‘tall hooded man’ who had been dealing with the goblins turned up very little since it was the custom of most local wagon merchants to wear hooded cloaks. The only other person who wears something like a hood is Thomias with his cleric robes and surely he wouldn't be involved in goblins and kidnapping.

Rumor, ships with the insignia of the Royal Navy have been seen leaving in the city in the dead of night heavily laden with troops. It’s clear something is going on, but what?

Over all, Since burying the three henchmen last session there has been a sombre mood over the village, even the rats seemed to be out in larger numbers than normal. Today it was raining again.

When rolling up the NPC party a few weeks back using the DMG tables, the leader came up as insane, a maniac in fact. I chose to incorporate this into the campaign using the event below.

Event, The NPC Party leader, Burghast, went mad overnight and tried to kill Glasses (the other NPC mage). Thigru had to choke him out to save the younger mage. He discovered a green pendant that Burghast was wearing. Thigru had seen the pendant before but never seen it this colour. When he tried to take it off, the same thing happened as with Arlina, leaving Burghast in some sort of coma. Glasses was still recovering and the other fighter, Danha, planned to keep an eye on them. Realising that Burghast's problem was similar to that which plagued Arlina, Thigru, along with the remaining henchman, offered to join the PCs again. Now both parties had the same goal of finding, and cleansing, the evil within the labyrinth.

It was raining so heavily that the bottom of the stairwell into the dungeon was like a waterfall and very slippery; but, with easy hand holds on either side, the party made the decent without incident and was able to take up formation and advance into the main entrance containing with the toad statue. Rats scuttled away from their feet as they went east and retraced their steps from last session until they reached the location of a secret door Clyde had noticed but not had time to explore.

The mosaic of a dancing girl, one among many, was holding her hands in a peculiar position, almost pointing at her head. Last week the party discovered another secret door that was similar, so, remembering this, they pushed on her head and a section gave way and the door pivoted 90 degrees. Continuing to explore they soon found themselves facing a room filled with giant rats. The rats' reacted cautiously to this large number of men carrying torches.

Dorf took the chance to throw a flask of oil into the room and hit the middle section squarely where he wanted. Next it was Clyde's turn to throw a torch in and complete the job. It was super easy shot; but, he rolled a 1. My starting position in this campaign with critical hits, or misses, in 1st edition was just to have 1's always miss/fail and 20's always hit/succeed; but, after some requests, now I allow things like double damage for critical hits. This applies to monsters as well and is on the whole not a clever thing for PCs to ask for since they are often outnumbered and so have a greater chance of receiving a critical hit instead delivering one, but I try to give my players what they ask for.

In this case with a critical miss I like to adjudicate for affect based on the situation, so I ruled that the torch flew straight backwards, not quite braining Thigru, before hitting the opposite wall and then falling to the ground sputtering uselessly. 

The now oily rats surged towards the party who considered from several choices: 1)  fight a bunch of angry oily rats 2) shut the door on them or 3) have a henchman throw his torch and then shut the door. They went for the latter even though that required winning initiative and had the biggest chance of back firing and... then won initiative! (could have been a TPK right there)

The second torch flew in the right direction and they shut the door just in time, letting the fire do its work while the rats screamed as it consumed them. After some minutes of this they found over a dozen BBQed rats and nothing much else in the room other than an exit to the east which they found led to a larger room featuring talking statues. Going from statue to statue gave them a steadily increasing amount of information that would lead them to their target, the evil that needed to be cleansed, and they also discovered a hidden compartment with 6 minor looking gems.

The PCs made their way south following the directions provide by a talking statue with a map (how trusting they are) and found themselves before a secret door, now obvious to them, hidden by a dancing girl mosaic pointing to her nose. This was in the room they were ambushed by goblins in last session with the huge descending staircase.

Everything happened when the party opened the secret door (by pushing on the nose of the mosaic dancer).

First, they was suitably freaked out at my description of two rats running away from them down the dark corridor suddenly seeming to: stop in mid air, writhe in pain, and start to dissolve as they began 'floating' back towards them! Kevin, who likes to eat while dungeoning it seems, threw the apple he was munching on and it too stuck in the air about 6 feet up and started moving back towards them. As the rats, and apple, entered the full light of the party's torches and lamps, they realised it was a gelatinous cube heading towards them. They visibly relaxed as the unknown became the known. 

That's when two Wererat Assassins launched their surprise attack from within a pack of rats that had stealthily approached while the party was distracted. Unknown to the party, these guys had been tracking them and planning to kill them for a few weeks. The one constraint on their contract was to kill their targets in the dungeon and not in the town. Last session was actually a full moon so they were more constrained in what they could do and chose to direct the goblins and see how the party reacted. The logistical problem they faced was this; Wererats prefer to fight with short swords, but, since they had to sneak into the dungeon in rat form they could not bring their swords with them. What would they do? They chose to source weapons from their victims, by assassinating the most exposed fighters who were carrying short swords, then taking them from their dead hands.

Cunning little buggers

I rolled for assassination twice and two henchmen went down immediately with slashed throats from Wererat claws, one dropping his lamp as he fell, which smashed, ignited, and, by pure luck, caught three rats with splash damage. One Wererat snatched up a fallen short sword from the floor; but, there had been a mistake, the other target they had killed was holding a spear instead of a short sword, so this wererat was at a disadvantage as the melee proper began. Still, it was nothing to worry about, they knew that they were immune to the normal weapons the party and their supporters were carrying.

What the assassins didn't know about was the ceremonial silver dagger Dorf picked up in session two!

The party quickly realised that the dagger had been worth keeping and went to work with it. They also, somehow, thought holy water might be effective and so they asked the NPC Cleric, Arlia, to throw their one and only flask (which they needed to cleanse evil once they found it) and it was time for the second spectacularly bad throw of the night. The flask passed between the two Wererats and skittered across the room after hitting the flagstones and, with a change of luck, making its save vs falling.

Not to be perturbed, Clyde raced off after the flask to have another try, while Dorf fought the two assassins with his silver dagger and the rest tried to keep the rats off each other (Kevin had a very close call here). Dorf got some damage in and this seemed to put the Wererats off their game, the one with the spear missed his target completely and impaled one of the rats instead. It then dropped the weapon in disgust to rely on its claws. The other Assassin got in a solid hit on Dorf but the cleric was ready to immediately heal him.

Next round Clyde triumphantly thwacked the Holy Water flask right in the back of the head of the uninjured assassin and...got it wet. I generously allowed for 1 hit point of damage here though since the flask was actually lined with silver.

Dorf then passed his dagger to the stronger Clyde and together they managed to defeat the assassins and rats in a knock-down-drag-out fight that saw another NPC henchman go to zero hp.

Addendum: It occurred to Clyde during the battle with the Wererats that, even though they were immune to normal weapons, he could try to grapple them. I had already been concerned about that myself but for different reasons! As it turned out, once Team Burghast had been added to the equation, which was a random event itself, I decided that the initially lone assassin would bring in a partner, so, in the event, Clyde thought better of trying to grapple two enemies.

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Post session downtime.

When the Wererats died they resumed their human forms, no one would have known the difference to look at them. However, Dorf recognised a distinctive scar on on of their faces. It matched the Inn keeper's description of one of the two lodgers that have been mysteriously not leaving their room in the Badger and Serpent for the last two weeks.

After a few more days when the lodgers hadn't paid and are were no longer eating the food Fineli provided, he agreed to let Dorf search the room. Inside were the usual sort of things travellers might have, along with a locked box under a bed. Sitting on the box was a sheet of parchment with a drawing on it. Dorf could make out that the shape was familiar, but the writing was in a language that no one in the party could read.

Those Wererats knew the Dungeon better than the PCs

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Treasure and Experience Total XP

Monsters 20 Giant Rats, 2 Were-rat Assassins, 1 Gelatinous Cube

Treasure 

The six ordinary gems turned into a gold mine using the DMG details here

3cp, 12sp,  3gp, and 5pp scooped out of the decaying body of the gelatinous cube.

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Session PCs

Clyde Foot (10% XP Bonus) Half Elven Fighter Level 1 952XP Gained. Total 1605

Dorf (10% XP Bonus) Human Fighter Level 1 XP 959 Gained. Total 1643

Kevin the 53rd (10% XP Bonus) Dwarf Thief Level 1 XP 959 Gained. Total 1091

Supporting Characters

Arlia Human NPC (10% XP Bonus)  Cleric level 1  291 XP Gained. Total 462

Team Burghast;  Thigru Fighter Level 2, 1 Henchmen 265 XP

Garion Human Henchman (10% XP Bonus)  Fighter level 1  291 XP Gained. Total 357

Flevion Human Henchman (10% XP Bonus)  Fighter level 1  291 XP Gained. Total 357

Campaign Grave Yard

The Unnamed Henchman, Fighter level 1 DECEASED. Killed by spider poison in session 3.

Waxxion Human Henchman, Fighter level 1 DECEASED. Had his throat torn out by a Wererat Assassin in session 4.


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2 comments:

  1. didn't 2 henchmen die from the wererats? u only listed 1 at the bottom. great session, great campaign!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback. I didn't count one of the henchmen kills in the graveyard because he belonged to the NPC party and not the PC party.

      Delete

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