Monday, November 7, 2022

Sunday Game recap: The Necromancer's Lament...

 Another Sunday game on the books - 

Tonight's band of miscreants: 

  • Jax and Goober - barbarian/wardog dynamic duo
  • Frederick - Increasingly insectaphobic thief
  • Pepto Von Bismol - Devo Dwarf
  • Rondel Keebler - Crumbly elf
New player showed up - is this a serious game? Well, judging from the existing player names and the fact that everyone gets a random hat, I'd say no. Geoff grabbed a blank character sheet and rolled 3d6 down the line, like a boss...
  • and our new chap: Tylenol - Painkiller Cleric

We started our scene in the fair village of Neuförde, did a bit of banking and real estate investment (the party bought a vacant house), and established a few NPC relationships (There's no thieves' guild, but the town halflings seem to know how to find or disappear things; and the weird elf twins are happy to identify unknown items). Tylenol was determined to be a colleague of the town's priests, and dovetailed in with the group.

The party had closed down the bar, as one does, when an alarm was raid of a raid on the town. Torches and a commotion were heard north of the bridge, and most of the party moved north to investigate, joining some of the locals in discovering a group of goblins raising a ruckus setting fires, and stealing stuff. They engaged in a brief skirmish, slaying a few, and chasing the raiders off. Tylenol sensed that this could be a feint, and stayed south of the bridge, alert for another incursion. Which occurred in the form of several shambling forms from the trees. Aided by a couple of NPCs, Tylenol called upon his god and turned several of the undead. Joined by the party, they killed the remainder. Some of the zombies were unusual, in that a couple were surprisingly fast, and one, when it struck Pepto, left him in a weakened state. Additionally, the undead were formed of deceased goblins and orcs, an interesting observation. The party discovered that the turned number had retreated across the river and slogged north, following the goblin raiders.

Realizing that an abandoned dwarven temple was a good candidate site for the raiders' lair, the party trekked out the next day after shaking off their injuries from the night before. Tracks indicated that the place was quite occupied, and the entrance now sported a deadfall trap. The PCs skirted it, taunted the carrion crawler in the chasm, and crept to the entrance. The door was readily picked, and the door flung open, surprising a goblin sentry. He was rapidly sniped, and disposed of via carrion crawler. 

I provided a sketch map of the previously-explored areas, and the party opted to investigate unexplored areas. Crossing a heavily damaged bridge, the party was ambushed by another goblin guard, but they dispatched him before he was able to retreat and get off a warning. Accessing some corridors and rooms, they found an empty galley and corridor occupied by a pair of dwarven statues, known by Pepto to be animated, provided the correct 'key' could be found to activate them. The party chose to 'walk' one to the top of a flight of stairs in the event they needed to flee and it could be pushed down on pursuers, since they didn't know what would activate it.

Finding a long corridor, a couple of party members saw a faint light and heard communication at the end. Fred stealthed to the end of the corridor, finding a crowd of goblins being berated by a cloaked figure. He returned to the party, indicating that this may the the leader of the previous night's raiders.

The party approached, although their clanking did alert a few of the goblins. As they approached, Fred took a pot-shot at the leader, wounding him. The leader turned, revealing to be a human wearing bone armor. In good bad-guy form, he cursed at the players, giving a monologue about how he wasn't to be fooled like his predecessor, and that he wasn't to be trifled with. Melee issued, with a couple players shooting the big-bad again, preventing him from casting. 

Somewhere in the middle of this, Pepto decided to try out his awesome new flail, recovered from another baddie. Um yeah, you feel like you never want to put it down. And subtract 2 from any to-hit and damage rolls. Dammit... Should have paid the elves to check it out...

He flailed gamely through the combat, and made a few hits, regardless...

Wounded, the necromancer retreated to a second corridor, snapping his fingers and calling for "Tiny."

"Tiny" - source

A number of zombies shuffled out to reinforce the rapidly flagging goblins. Tylenol turned a few, holding them off as the PCs attacked the rest. The next round something larger appeared, in the form of Tiny - an undead ogre. With Tylenol already occupied, the party turned on the new threat. Tiny waded in, backhanding the cleric, but was ganged up on by the crew. Two of the now-freed zombies were turned by Keebler's charmed acolyte, with the rest joining the fight. In the chaos, the party discovered that at least a couple of these zombies would burst into flame upon death, much to their chagrin (Jax' mohawk was quite singed). 

The zombies finally put down (and smoldering players put out), they pursued the fleeing necromancer.

Now, I had hoped to make him a recurring bad guy. But remember that deadfall? Well, since it was still in place, I decided to roll to see if our revivifying friend tripped it. It's only fair after all. Oops - forgot that tripwire was there....

The party found him mashed, and the remaining goblins fleeing into the forest...

Somewhere in the midst of all this, Geoff wrote a party anthem (to the tune of "I Think We're Alone Now"):

"Old dwarven cave
That's where the zombies went retreating
We're here to slay
'cause we gave them all a beating

We're charging in with our berserker rage
Trying to find the necromantic mage
Sneaking on down the stairs
Clearing out goblin lairs

Once we kill the wizard then we'll ask the DM for some treasure but he'll say
'I think it's all bones now...'."

Well, I was a bit more generous than that....

DM notes:
I really need to make the bad guys tougher...

Wanting to mix it up, I made up a list of expanded zombie traits (exploding, fast, slime, strength-draining, brute, and normal) and rolled randomly for the individual zombies, which added a bit of uncertainty as the party meleed with them.

I'm working up house rules as I play - mostly commonly-used rules from other writers, such as shield-sundering, potion-tasting, as well as some mechanics I'm toying with. Although I rely heavily on 2d6 reaction rolls on my side of the table, this game was the first time that I tried it with the players as a 'skill check.' There are plenty of 2d6 systems, but I have Eric Diaz' 2d6 blog article in my travelling DM folder for reference. We'll see how it works longer-term, but on the two or three occasions I used it tonight, I think it fit well.

Always learning...

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