Sunday, March 26, 2023

Rescuing Brother Eustice, or, Flying Fire-breathing Centipedes, Oh My!

Oops - a week, and no brewery game recap? My dozen readers are disappointed... 

Last session, we were joined by:

  • Slick - Thief
  • Mareth - Elf
  • Frederick - Thief
  • Skuli - Cleric
  • Bonk - Fighter
I started out with a bit of world-building, sharing a in-process map of the inland sea and surrounding region where the characters are currently residing. There was a brief overview of the powers in the area, and how they may be encroaching on the frontiers surrounding Neuforde and its environs. Patrols from two competing duchies had been seen in the area, making probing explorations of the locals' attitudes and dispositions. That said, several new settlers and craftspeople had come to town, expanding its labor and skill base. Fixing that bridge had some benefit, after all...

World so far - PCs located about 1/3 way up
the west coast of the inland sea.

The PCs checked in on their friend Victor Matui, who was restoring his family stronghold off the main road. Victor shared a bit about his family's persecution at the hands of a competing religious faction, and his hopes to restore the family name. But strong walls in the meantime...

And, in the most-awaited part of the session, we determined Bonk's real name: Waegstan the Bo'sun. Recognized by a former crewmate, he was called out. (a few random rolls from a prepared table later) Waegstan had most recently served on a cog named the Gallarita hauling cargo around the inland sea. He had disappeared in port, and had been assumed a deserter. Obviously we still have a few gaps as to the incident leading to his amnesia, but we have something to start from.

OK, it was time to go explore.

The local priests, Nicolas and Eustice, have been preparing the new temple grounds for consecration by a visiting bishop of the Church of Garond. Eustice had learned of an old shrine to a forgotten or out-of-favor god, and was curious to explore it. Taking along a couple of guards/redshirts, he had left for what was to be a brief excursion. Of course he hadn't returned.

The party, itching to kill some stuff, err, rescue the good acolyte, agreed to go check out the situation.  En route, they were set upon by a band of goblins. Dispatching the pests with aplomb, the party went through their pockets. One had a habit of collecting pretty rocks. Fortunately one of these was a rather valuable opal. 

Arriving at the cave mouth to the old shrine, Slick scouted ahead and was set upon by a giant crayfish inhabiting a pond. Bravely retreating, he drew it out to meet the party. A few blows later, and it was set aside for the inevitable gumbo feast later. 

The party investigated deeper into the branching cavern, choosing to explore what appeared to be a finished shrine area. After some difficulties pushing on a "pull" door, they entered the main shrine, finding statues of a naked goddess and her companion jackal. More imagery of the goddess was seen carved into the walls, and two alters yielded secret compartments with an idol and some other valuables. 

Returning to the main cavern, the party found the burned and dismembered remains of one if the unfortunate guards, as well as several sets of tracks. They cleared an abandoned storeroom, then tried to break down a charred door. After failed breaching attempts, someone thought to call out Eustice's name. Barricade materials were heard being dragged away, and the besieged priest and surviving guard emerged.

They told of being set upon be a flying, fire-breathing beast from deeper in the cave that had done in two of the guards. Skuli offered the survivors some food and water, and the two were sent to the cavern entrance to await the party's further explorations. 

Continuing deeper into the caverns, the dismembered remains of the second mook were found by a pool. Just as he thought to look up to the ceiling, Bonk/Waegstan was dive-bombed by what appeared to be a flying centipede...

Artist's Rendition of Event

The beast struck him, and Waegstan found himself paralyzed (but still holding the party's lantern aloft). In the midst of the creeping, Frederick discovered that he had turned invisible (more magical fallout from slaying the Howler). Skuli attempted to wrestle the creature off Waegstan, and Slick and Mareth shot at it. Mareth rolled a crit, of course. Frederick got the critter with a poisoned dagger (and it rolled a 1 poison save, of course).

In response, it set Frederick on fire and attempted to flee. Skuli again grappled it, ripping off several wings and robbing it of flight. The creature disappeared out of the cavern, and the party awaited Waegstan's recovery.

After Waegstan had regained control of his limbs, the party retreated, finding the expired monster in the upper cavern. Cutting off its head for identification, they reunited with Eustice and packed the crayfish up for later feasting. 

The group returned to town, leaving the crayfish at the inn for preparation. The shrine was discovered to have been dedicated to an out-of-favor goddess of fortune, messengers, and merchants, Combris. Her idol was turned over to the "Temple Building Fund."

They took the monster remains to Victor's advisor, Furmin, for identification. After some inspection, he declared it to be a "chitin drake." Furmin noted that the creatures had been artificially bred as terror weapons in previous conflicts. The presence of one of these monsters was a serious concern, as they were not a natural being, nor had they been encountered for quite some time.

With that sobering news, the party returned to the inn for crayfish feed. Mareth and Slick both ended up over-imbibing from a stashed cask. (carousing table) Mareth found himself in a tree the following morning, and Slick discovered that his silver dagger had been liberated from his belt...

DM Notes:

OK. Some good worldbuilding, and a bit of character development. I'm lucky to have players (even occasional ones in my open table) who embrace their characters and are willing to explore both their PCs and the world. Since everyone here started with a two-sentence backstory, finding out what really motivates them has been fun. They have also become somewhat enamored with my extended halfling family of "legitimate businessmen" to the point that they have volunteered to drive any competing "businesses" out of town.

Damnit, they keep killing my monsters.

And, we have another mystery or hook. Something I didn't plan for until I was re-reading the monster description as I was describing it to the players. The chitin drake is a chimera of sorts, and we're probably looking at a name-level vivimancer out there somewhere breeding these things in their vats.

Oh, the monster is from Trilemma Adventures Bestiary. I recently rediscovered this book in my files, and will be utilizing it more in the future. Review upcoming. 

Map was snagged from Dyson, with sketched-out notes and treasure. (I'll probably give it a formal writeup later, as well).

Preparation was inspired by the usual muses:

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