Monday, 1 December 2014

Mad Archmage Campaign: Village Invasion

I realize these play reports may  not be the most exciting reading, but hell with it, I do need to document my campaigns like this, and it helps the players if this kind of collective memory is preserved.

In the meantime, I do have about three more meaty posts on the slow, slow go.

And still bummed I have to miss Dragonmeet this year.

Session, Nov 30, 2014

Fingauble, the wizard who had been paying the Lightning's Hand party to grant access to the library of the Mad Archmage, opened negotiations with the Muleteers for a cheaper deal if they could find out the secret to opening the doors, which he thought was a password. After reviewing their analysis of the 25 puzzle rooms he opined that they must have made an error somewhere, and that there should be a way to determine in what order the path adds letters of rooms to the word. The Muleteers inadvertently gave away their guesses about the password to the final interior door of the library, which Fingauble "charitably" repaid by casting a Detect Magic spell for free. Fingauble further agreed to give the party 50 pieces of gold and a scroll and holy robe that would help in fighting the demons in the upper castle cellars if they gave him the secret to entering the library.

The next day, Grimnir wandered off and the remaining Muleteers headed to the Castle to study the puzzle rooms. On the way, they were approached by a pack of five beak dogs, which their tame beak dog seemed all too eager to meet. As the beak dogs loped toward them, they staked down the tame dog and opened up with missiles. The pack charged and managed to seriously injure Erasmo's head and arm, also giving Titus a good scare with a near-miss beak to the throat, so that against such odds there was no such choice but to flee. The beak dogs soon freed their fellow beast and after a short test of dominance accepted him into the pack. With what remained of the day the Muleteers decided to make haste to the Grey City, leaving the still-injured Nixington and Erasmo in Garyburgh to heal more.

On arriving at the Silver Eel Inn these travellers found a large beer cart parked outside and a drinking contest about to begin courtesy of the Fickle Firkin brewery. The contest was eventually won by a dwarf (of course) but for a while Winmore held him neck and neck, and got a forty ounce bottle of beer as a runner-up prize. The members of the party were wheeled into their rooms afterward.

Back in Garyburgh, in the common room of the Wizard's Wench, as the end of the evening drew into sight, a peasant ran in shouting "Orcs in the fields!" The initial order of battle of the defenders of the village consisted of the barkeep and a following of drunkards; Captain Rurik and a detachment of six Grey City-State guards; the novice adventuring party Free Roamers, down to four active members after taking injuries in a fight with kobolds; the five-strong Lightning's Hand, their lightning wand, alas, depleted; and the weakened, leg-maimed Muleteer wizard Nixington.

The night was wracked by strong-gusting winds and rain. The defenders saw torch lights behind a line of trees and charged there, only to find the lights were an illusion, and came back to find the village green surging with Bloody Axe orcs, the same tribe seen and fought in the dungeons. Nixington, exposed, almost took an arrow. Spellcast and sound fighting held off the central thrust of the attack, but not before another Free Roamer went down injured. Fingauble came down the stair of the inn, grumbling about roisterers outside disturbing his sleep, opened a window and casually lobbed a ten die fireball into the midst of a cluster of orcs before heading back upstairs.

But on the flank, fighting between the houses, orcs slaughtered the barkeep and drunks, then outflanked and slew all but one of the guards. An old man was spotted at the back of their ranks, consorting with a baboon and two young, strong fellows - the same group the party had heard tell of before, travelling to Garyburgh and then vanishing. This old man was a spell caster, incapacitating foes with stinking vapors and placing a charm on Rurik. When the flanking group emerged into the square and saw charred bodies and smoldering grass, they beat a retreat into the night, Rurik among them.

In the morning after the slaughter, it became clear that no law or government would be left in Garyburgh, as Pennypacker the tax collector loaded a cart with worldly goods and family and set off back to safer places. For now, it was enough to bury the dead: 10 humans and more than 20 orcs. One captive orc commander remained to tell the tale.

1 comment:

  1. If we're recording things for posterity, here's the email I got as my sole report on events after missing the session thru work:

    Grimnir awakes in the cramped room in the Welcome Wench he shares now with Nixington and Winmore. He looks around for company, remembers the fate of Joris, and sees the other two are still snoring. Bloodspittle looks up with uncharacteristically worried eyes.

    Grimnir mutters a rune, Ansuz, the name of true speech. Bloodspittle growls,

    "The dead boar-man touched me with his eyes. He put a scent-mark on me, one I cannot roll off. Now the black father-hounds pursue me. I find it hard to stir. The scent of death and burning, wind from the south."

    Grimnir answers,

    "A good beast should bound beneath the open sky, should sleep beneath trees. Houses and mad delvings ill-suit you. We won't be needed while that man's leg clots and knits. Come range with me, you may shake this ill humour."

    Pausing to scratch "BACK LATER" on the inside of the door with his penknife, Grimnir with the dog passes out and south, over farmer fields, skirting the hills that march to the Castle, headed to the more southerly ridge where trees loom and the forest of Crown Leaf begins. Once he stops, hearing the keen screech of beaked hounds to the north and east.

    "There is no trouble, they will have made for the Grey City," he says to himself. But he didn't really recall what went on last night, so deep and early was his sleep. Some kind of thumping around, voices.

    Soon enough they are among the trees. Grimnir heads for a tall crown that caught his interest from below, a dark dome among the threadbare leaves of late autumn. It is an immense yew, the other trees making way before it to afford a view back north into the flats of Sandland, and far beyond, the slate-grey sliver of the lake. Five men couldn't gird that trunk. A high opening leads within.

    Grimnir and the dog sit together in the notch of the tree, listening to nature, reflecting, haunted by echoing demon-quirks. The day lengthens, leaden clouds tumble in from behind, obliterating the sunset. Grimnir dozes. He dreams of a mug brimming with beer, of having to drink again and again, choking, splashing in his face, waves of mirthless laughter all about ...

    A crash and a rattle wake him. The wind is howling, boughs above shedding and shuddering. A raw smell in the air, sideways rain and the dark hollow where lightning just ran.

    Only night, except that four miles away, wavering in the lashing storm, he can see tiny lights, moving slightly. "In Garyburgh? Night revelers?" He stands, watching, Bloodspittle moans beneath his feet, no better than before.

    Then, outshining the lights, a small red sun blooms for an instant.

    "Great Ygg and the Goddesses Three!" he exclaims. And sets off at a run down the ridge into the nothing black, spear fixed before him, bent-kneed and low-backed in the brutal wind, Bloodspittle loping behind him.