So it has nearly been 2 months since we’ve played… and we left on a pretty massive cliffhanger. Because of this, and introducing a new player/character to game, this was a pretty weird session. That all being said, it was good to be back. I’ll try make this a bit more concise than normal (he says every time.)
- So, to recap, Ziggy has just pulled off a heist on the Thornton estate (nabbing info and some loot), and Weezl is off magically growing a garden. Sam however is staring face to face with a Vrock – a big, vulture demon.
- In the shack with him is Innis and two other dwarven clerics of Waukeen, and Speck (the somewhat traumatised mage.) The building is an old warehouse that has seen much better days and demon is currently contained in a glyphed circle.
- What follows is horror and panic, with the clerics legging it from the building (with Innis’ blessing (pun intended)) and Speck doing the same. The demon tries to bargain with Sam, to get them to join forces, and when Sam strikes the creature, combat begins.
- After a flurry of blows, the demon settles into a fighting stance, drawing an “oh shit” from the table. Blows are exchanged, kung fu stances are swapped, and the whole time the demon tries to talk Sam into joining forces with him. There are times when the monk almost falters.
- The blows get heavier (with crazy consistent rolls from Matt) and he uses some potions and Wholeness of Body to perk himself up… but the creature eventually loses it- going into a frenzy – after screeching and stunning Sam.
- What follows are attacks with advantages and a critical hit. Grabbing the monk’s limp body, the vrock slams him into the floor and walls like a rag doll. In a final ditch effort, Sam grabs the symbol of the Covenant of the Dawn, feebly trying to push it into the demon’s face… but the demon recognises it and laughs cruelly as Sam’s consciousness fades. He rolls Death Saves in an attempt to come back by some form of miracle… but fails, his spirit heading back toward the Plane of Air… until it stops… grabbed by some force, yanking it away, back, into darkness… into… nothing.
So that was fucked up… and our first character death… and this is why everyone says not to split the party :/. In Sam’s defence though, he nearly solo’d that fight. It was very close.
- So, Donella (who now has a page: here) has been travelling to Sandhill from The Shimmering Gates. It’s been a long walk on short legs, but the night before she sees the sky doing some crazy shit but this only piques her curiosity.
- Her travel is peppered with conversation and performances, to earn a meal, information, or some coin, and eventually she meets a peculiar dwarf- one who was riding a large, glowing, dachshund. She finds out some information about the goings on in Sandhill and about the dwarf’s companions and eventually they part ways.
- Arriving in town leads to needing info and directions to food- and she gets directions to a nearby bakery. Charming the old lady owner, she finds out more about the town and eventually where an inn is- being pointed towards One-Eyed Jack. The woman gets her awkward grandson Benji to lead her there. And on the trek there, there is some conversation and Donella notices that some flowers are growing very rapidly here. It’s… odd, but she needs to know what’s going on.
- Getting to the inn leads to getting some drinks and offering to play for a room. At Thorne’s behest she shows off her skills with a mighty performance and impresses the dwarven matron- who gives her a key. Donella decides to freshen up and get some food.
- Ziggy does some quick disguise work and heads back into town, deciding he needs to find everyone and potentially get the fuck outta town. He finds Innis at the ruined shrine to Waukeen, and inquires about Sam but the dwarf is cagey- and takes the rogue to the old storehouse…. and there is no body. There are definitely signs of battle but as far as the cleric knows, Sam was carried off by the demon.
- Time is of the essence and Ziggy races off to get Weezl – who has been working on revitalising the plantlife of Sandhill. Seeing Ziggy she offers him a tomato and he relays the news. She has a similar reaction- they have to get to Hearthshire and get Sam.
- As they’re about to make their move to try find Akali, who they feel is their best bet for information, they notice Speck who does a terrible job of spying on them. He tries to make a run for it, but doesn’t get away. They ask about Sam and the man is suffering some trauma… he’s had 3 charges of his die in less than 12 hours, and he’s not handling it well. Ziggy offers some “god-wine™” and they now have a drunk, emotional mage on their hands. And they make their way to the Inn to try recollect themselves. Weezl leads the mage by the hand.
- At the inn the group notice a peculiar gnome, but they focus instead on Yuri who is flipping through a book and making notes. News is relayed and everyone is in varying states of distress. When they state they need to make a move on the capital, Yuri (who usually defers to Speck) straight up says they’re being insane. But they can get to Dannick and see what they can do from there.
- The group are then inspired (thank you, players, for helping me out here) and realise they need allies- so they do what people do these days: they crowd-source. And they get two interested parties, thanks to Ziggy’s meandering, impassioned, speech and Weezl’s distracting musical accompaniment. One is a drunken farmer, who passes out, and the other is Donella. NATURALLY, they decide to do a goddamn interview, because that happens every time.
- They discover, thanks to her own admission, she’s a capable thief, and a better singer. And, so, the two forest gnomes have a play off… with the bard’s +6 against the druid’s -1. And… somehow, this goes on for about 3 turns of contested rolls. Donella starts taking things seriously and Weezl ends up summoning headbanging rats. But in the end, they notice she IS good and she can do some magic, and she’s in. Why not?
- So, upstairs they collect themselves and BAMF themselves to Jaspitt’s place. While they’re there they torment the housekeeper Nathaniel and get an audience with the main man himself, and Excellence. They learn that they need allies and Shelter is a solid bet… even if The Fury (the duchess there) isn’t a fan of Jaspitt. They also learn there is a underground path that leads to the capital from that town. It seems like a solid bet.
- Speck is also asked to scry on the Sending Stone Sam was holding… learning that he was being carried, mid-flight, to Hearthshire. But, the pace is breakneck and the demon is already about half-way there.
- They learn Speck can teleport them near to Shelter in the morning. He needs rest first. They also remember that Dannick owes them a favour for getting him back into contact with Akali so they go to collect whatever “support” it was that he can offer.
- On the way to The Maiden’s Fancy, the group warn their new bard friend about Dannick’s “condition” (which doesn’t help later, in the moment, when she asks Weezl “what is wrong with him?” Skirting disaster.) But they meet up with the guild leader and get an audience with him. Very quickly he’s in “business” mode and the group share information. This ends with Dannick saying he’ll give his support when he can, but for now, they can have Speck (traumatised as he is. The man ends up comforting him, in his own way. Helping him gather himself somewhat.) And Dannick gives Ziggy a coin- similar to the ones they gave Akali. So they now have a direct line to the Masques’ leader. The man also wants to be told when the battle is to commence because it’s been too long since he’s been able to cut loose.
- The group actually joke with Dannick a little and honestly, it’s a bit unsettling. Kind of like Hannibal Lector making awkward jokes and finding them amusing.
- Also, on the way to the entertainment house, Yuri takes Ziggy aside- noticing his glances, and they talk business in regards to moving the jewellery. She’s happy for the distraction and says she can do it. Ziggy says she can take a decent cut, and she assures him she always does.
- Finally they talk about how they don’t know the fate of Sam and Dannick says that they usually scry on the targets of certain “jobs”. If it fails then they know the job was a success. So, Speck, settles into spellcasting… and quickly, with tears in his eyes, says it doesn’t work. He wipes his face and tries again desperately and just as quickly he’s left with nothing. Desperately he calls to Ziggy for the Sending Stone and this time… he gets something.
- The divination mage then recounts what he saw… stonework, and somewhere dark, and the broken form of Sam. Nearby is a demon and a robed figure. He swears he’s seen someone who looks like the man he saw, but he was older? Is this the man’s son? The man being the missing necromancer – Lucis. And the session ends there…
So that was the game. It was only about 3 hours, with a bunch of breaks, but it was a pretty crazy session. It was a bit hard to run, doing a lot of solo stuff, but people assure me that it still worked.
And with that, things are definitely ramping up. The final battle looms and the stakes have not been higher. And honestly, killing a character feels damn awful. I tried to emotionally prepare myself but damn if my hands still didn’t shake while rolling those dice.
Donella has been a wonderful, and bright, character to have along, and Sara is already rolling with the punches. I’m really looking forward to seeing how she changes the group dynamic. Plus, it’s nice having more positivity because I kind of don’t realise how dark my games are until after I run them… ha ha ha…
So! What will happen next? Will Dannick just murder everyone for them? Will the group actually kidnap the Duchess of Shelter’s child? No, seriously, Ziggy and Donella both thought this was a great idea despite Jaspitt’s protests… FIND OUT NEXT TIME!