Friday, December 17, 2010

Fighting Dragons at the Baranof

The Doctor was asking me if/when I was ever going to do another session report from my Thursday night games. I've just been too busy lately for blogging lately to really put together the straight session posts...I hope to get back in the swing of it here shortly.

However, I've got some free time this morning so here goes:

Last night so the joining of the group by a new, friendly face: Dave. Dave appears to be a nice enough guy, a coworker (or maybe the boss/owner) of Luke, Matt, Matt, Randy, and Josh. Anyway, I was happy to welcome him to the group.

Dave is about the same age as the rest of us (mid-late 30s), but his sole role-playing experience has been 3rd and 4th (!!) edition D&D. He picked up the B/X pretty quickly and only died twice during the session, and all-in-all he appears to have had a good time.

We'll get to that.

Vince wasn't present so the sole survivor of last week's debacle (Gordon the Dwarf Prince) was not available. Instead everyone was sporting a brand-spanking-new 1st level character. I decided to change up the rules a bit to increase player, I'm not getting soft. I'm just trying to get some people to 2nd level! The new house rules included the following:

- All characters would start with double max hit points at 1st level. Constitution bonuses/penalties were NOT doubled (so a fighter with a 13 Con would have 17 hit points).

- Clerics would use the same spell progression as in Labyrinth Lord (i.e. they would receive a single 1st level spell). In addition, a cleric with a Wisdom bonus would receive a number of extra daily 1st level spells based on that bonus. We had two clerics in the party, but as their Wisdom scores were 13 and 10, this did not "break the bank" so to speak.

- I did NOT add plate mail armor to the mix...though I considered it briefly. Folks seem to have come to terms with the chain+shield+helm (AC 4) being the best option.

- I removed the "bandage wounds" rule. The doubled hit points would include (abstractly) the assumption that characters were binding wounds and such between scrapes.

So, to slay the dragon.

When last we left our campaign, the PCs had just failed horribly to save some mysterious "emissaries" who had been kidnapped by goblins on their way from the capitol to Bastion. By "failing horribly" I mean they'd mostly died (we had one lone survivor) and completely failed to discover the captives, though they did locate the goblin outpost where the captives were being held.

Last night's session took place a couple-three weeks later and dealt with the fallout from the aborted mission. Turns out the "emissaries" were members of the royal family...the wife and eldest daughter of Baron Fauntleroy himself! Having been pining to see their "summer castle" in Bastion that had been off-limits since the beginning of the Goblin War, they thought they'd take advantage of the two year lull/peace to make the journey north. Despite the heavily armed escort, they never made it.

Needless to say, the Baron was pretty pissed at this turn of events. Once he found out what had happened and where the cave was, he sent his own troops to retrieve his family...only to find it was too late. Enraged beyond reason he blamed the whole thing on faerie-folk in general...the good and the bad...and ordered the "good faerie" refugees (elves, dwarves, brownies) expelled from his cities, including Bastion. About a week later, the goblins mounted an attack on the border town and without the faerie-help bolstering their ranks, got a little sacked and decimated, only barely managing to drive off the dark fae before the entire place got razed.

Unfortunately, the "victory" was a costly one in terms of man-power...most of their fighting force was expended, and Bastion is now a town "on the brink." If the goblins launch another attack before they find a way to reinforce, it's like the place will be over-run...and from there it's a short matter of sweeping through the barony and losing the whole territory.

What's worse, the baron in his grief is too short-sighted to provide any aid...or even give a rip...about what's happening with his northernmost township. Bastion can go to hell for all he cares.

The castellan of Griffons Crag Keep (in Bastion) has hit on a plan to hire some mercenaries from the southern barony of Balliwick to bolster defenses until they can get back on their feet. The Balliwick fighting men are kind of like Hessian dragoons...pretty beefy and willing to sell their swords to anyone for the right price. Unfortunately, hiring an adequate force for the right price comes to about 5000+ gold coins, and this is money Bastion doesn't have. The adventurers were put in the interesting position of being asked to go treasure-seeking in order to help finance the defense of the town.

See where the dragon comes in?

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting idea, but I was making it up about 40 minutes before our game session started, so if it seems half-baked...yeah, it was a bit. But the players seemed up for the challenge and started researching the best way to acquire some quick gold for their desperate leader. They figured the best thing to do would be to search the primeval wilderness of the northwest for the ancient ruins they'd heard legends of...though they hadn't the foggiest idea where to begin. Merkin and Flem (the clerics) started perusing the church records, but found they were mainly devoted to arguing points of Church doctrine. Tchaos the elf and Frezil the dwarf (who were still hanging out in Bastion despite the baron's edict) went drinking with Matthew's beefy fighter, looking for rumors of jobs and adventure. There was some talk about moving out of Fauntleroy and making new homes in Balliwick..."I hear mercenaries make pretty good money down there!"

Applescar the magic-user went to go consult with his mentor (in the Goblin Wars setting, there are no high level human magic-users so humans wishing to study magic need to learn it from the elves). Fufel the Fae was staying in a homestead some miles outside of Bastion and was in no mood to talk with his human student when he got there. Hanging out in the kitchen, an impish-faerie told him he knew where the human could get his hands on a pile of swag.

[okay, Adventure Creation 101: I am a lazy bastard with a lot of iron in the fire. Last week's dungeon was copied directly from one of the cave complexes in B2. Last night's adventure was kit-bashed like this: AB said, 'maybe we should fight a dragon.' I said, that's a great idea. AB then said, 'or a giant beagle.' I said, no. AB then suggested, 'or a giant beagle-dragon hybrid!' At which point, I left the room because he was annoying me. I pulled a copy of the old Fiend Folio off the shelf and opened it three times to random entries...these monsters: the quaggoth, the booka, and a third unnamed creature would become the encounters for the session. I did draw my own map this time, though]

The booka (or boggie or whatever it was), told Applescar how to find the lair of Snowfang the white dragon. Of course, there was the additional danger of the dragon's quaggoth followers, who worshipped the dragon and paid it tribute. But for hungry adventurers, there was plenty of gold to be had....

Asking why the booka was giving him this info, the mage was informed only that the Booka bore a grudge against the wyrm and had been waiting for heroes desperate enough to take a poke at the beast. The diminutive faerie vanished when Fufel came back in the room; asking his mentor about the white dragon: "Oh, yeah, he lives up north of here...doesn't come this far south usually as there's easier pickings in his own territory." The magic-user took the news back to the party and they decided to head out!
: )


  1. The magic-user's name is Apelskar (borrowing the name of an Ikea faucet line).

    The mercenary cost was much higher than 5000gp.
    15gp/merc/month x 6 months x 500 mercs = 45000gp

  2. Double starting hit points? And I was worried you might consider my suggestions too extreme for use.

    Say, by any chance is Baron Fauntleroy on the short side?

    It would explain a lot.

  3. @ Fumers: Yeah, I only figured the math out today myself (told you the adventure was half-baked). But last night I let you guys keep 1K out of the 6000 you brought back, so I'm ret-conning the story...Bastion got a discount and only picked up 300 warriors for 3 months (and they had SOME gold of their own to throw in the pot). However, you might need to make another trip back to Snowball's cave...
    ; )

    @ Grat Sax: He is a tall, imposing man who is vaguely imperious and notoriously short-tempered and hard-headed.

  4. Dave appears to be a nice enough guy, a coworker (or maybe the boss/owner) of Luke, Matt, Matt, Randy, and Josh.

    Owner? I thought they'd abolished slavery over there. ;)