Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Campaign Journal: Forest Sight-Seeing

Doh, just realized that my last entry was #500 for the blog. Nine years ago, I wandered into the blogosphere, for better or worse. It's been a good outlet for creativity, and even a bit of community.  I hope to keep my mind flexible enough to continue on with scribblings and crack-pot ideas for a while longer.... 

And now, on to our adventure:

Full table:

  • Frederick
  • Slick
  • Jax
  • Mareth
  • Rondel
  • Fulvus
  • Bonk
  • Henry Cee (NPC cleric)
Picking up where we left off last time, the party scouted the camp of the Chaos patrol from the woods. The camp was well-arranged, with several tents and brush cleared and pushed to the margins to form a rough abatis. A pair of guards watched the front. The party could see that they were mal-formed humanoids, similar to those they had encountered before. A pair of apparent leader-types conferred in the center of camp.

The party discussed options, deciding on two of the sneaky bastards (Slick and Fulvus) taking out the guards, and allowing for a surprise rush into the camp. Things went well until Fulvus stepped on a stick, betraying his approach. Slick took advantage of the distraction to shank his target. 

Battle closed, with the party squaring off against the mooks. Things went well, with Bonk even shrugging off a spell cast by one of the leaders, for a change. Minor damage was taken, with Bonk, as frontliner, taking the brunt of it between the foes' heavily-armored knight, and one weird naked dude who was running around... Fortunately everyone else avoided said naked dude and his acidic skin, with Jax putting him down without harm. The Chaos foes were fanatical to the end, with their shaman enlarging and attempting to wade into the fray. Tough to do when one of the thieves hamstrung him. 

Finally, the knight fell with a well-placed arrow through his visor, and the camp was empty.

The party dutifully went through everyone's pockets (except the naked dude) and recovered some loot, communiques from the gang's handler, notes regarding their intelligence-gathering, and a couple of fired clay balls that turned out to be one-time communication devices. The group did not take the bait and fire one off...

As they were finishing up, a second mutant patrol arrived, but were easily smoked.

The party commandeered the base camp for the night, fending off a few wayward zombies. They decamped in the morning, leaving heads on sharpened sticks, as one does.

Using their 'snake map' as a guide, the gang moved northwest, making good time. Around noon, the random dice had them set upon by a band of ne'er-do-wells, who rapidly realized that they were outmatched. A fortuitous '12' reaction roll, and the party now has a bunch of henches. The pot was sweetened by Bonk offering one bandit the scavenged armor of the Chaos knight, and Mareth subtly charming another... Goober got belly rubs.

I asked the players what their henches' names were:
  • Frederick - Redford
  • Slick - Flick
  • Mareth - Barley
  • Rondel - Salogel
  • Fulvus - Roderick
  • Bonk - Buford
  • Jax - Raspberry
Well, ok then. Anyway, we have a lot more damage for me to soak with baddies. I mean, support for the party.

The bandits had been ranging in the woods for some time, having had little luck along the trade road. There seemed to be an established group of highwaymen in the vicinity of Neuforde that prevented them getting much traction. The bandits had been avoided mutant patrols in the meantime. The party inquired as to their encountering any relics or towers in the forest.  The leader recalled some areas of interest to the northwest.

Scouting farther, and making dead-reckoning off the snake map and suspected landmarks, the group packed up and continued on. Jax climbed a couple of trees, and spotted a few stone columns in the distance. Jackpot?

They emerged to see said tower:

It stood about four stories tall, minus the stone spires on the top. Oh, and it was guarded by a large, shimmering(!?) bear.

The party approached cautiously (for once). "Nice Bear..." and all that. The bear didn't appear terribly aggressive, seeming to be more focused on interposing itself between the party and the tower (really, how many 8s can I roll in a row?). Finally, the commotion raised the ire of the tower's occupant, and someone shouted at the party to leave his bear alone and go away.

There was some back and forth with the irascible tower tenant, who was clearly out here alone in the woods because he wanted to be out here alone in the woods.

Finally, he allowed one party member to enter. Rondel had cast locate object, confirming that ruby glass was present in the tower, so he sidled past the bear and stepped in. Meanwhile the occupant told Brutus (the bear) to not take food from strangers, they didn't know where it had been...

The hermit's name was Thefri, a druid of some sort. He escorted Rondel to the tower roof, and showed him a ruby-glass hemisphere, similar to the one previously found. Unfortunately, this one, too, was damaged, but confirmed that this tower was a second in the old Barrier line.

Thefri descended to talk more with the party and hear about their investigations and encounters with the mutated humanoids. They shared the snake map with him, and Thefri suggested that it may have symbolized an older manifestation of the goddess Khador, in her Spring/regeneration guise. 

They discussed a few other theories regarding the Barrier and the "Keepers of the Light," its rumored guardians.

With that, dusk was falling. Thefri confirmed that the expedition could camp outside the tower for the night, and no harm would come to them. As sun set, he was seen talking to a few owls, who then dispersed into the woods.

DM Notes:
Well, the big fight at the beginning went relatively smoothly, although the party was never really at risk. Making up randomly-afflicted mutants using a couple of resources is always fun, though....

And those random encounter rolls (and reaction rolls), amiright? Well, we have a band of mooks for support, errands, remote work, etc. We'll see how the party chooses to utilize them. 

I wasn't sure of where the session would end up, but had prepped a list of the Barrier locations and maps for each one. So when the party rolled up on Ashryn Spire, I had at least a few notes on its occupant and what Barrier features it held. The rest fell to conjuring up a grumpy old man voice and scolding the party for trying to feed Brutus with their dirty hands.

Moving forward, I'll need to think about how to move things around - foreground and background. I don't want to fall into "tower of the week" and we have a lot of room for other investigation and potential contacts, allies, and foes. 

More lists to make...

No comments:

Post a Comment