The last couple of sessions have been a bit spares, as far as combat-type stuff goes. There’s been more of the politics going on.
–Helios, a devout cleric sworn to defeat the demons encroaching on this world.
–Ainia, a barbarian wizard convinced that she’s a lost princess.
–[part] Hyber, a disgraced dwarven general.
–[part] Lendai, pick-pocket extraordinaire.
A few sessions back, the PCs were carousing, and Lendai rolled a result (on a different table from Jeff’s, I think), which said that he woke up next to a body. I rolled d00 to see just how bad it was, and I rolled 100. So, very bad. Turns out that Lendai just killed a High Lord from one of the provinces.
Skip forward to last week’s session: the other nobles from that province turn up to Barros to demand recompense. At the guest banquet that the local ruler, Lord Sayle, holds (to which the PCs come along, of course), the son, Lord Thaen, of the dead lord accuses Lord Sayle of conspiring in his father’s death, and demands trial-by-combat. Lord Sayle is known to have fought 8 hill giants in close combat, and won. Not being that stupid, the young lord picks a champion from amongst the guests. The champion, the PCs have figured out during the course of the proceedings, is the minion of a noblewoman who is radiating an evil aura on par with the sun–a demon, or demon-possessed.
(As a DM, I figured that it would be best to roll the combat before-hand, so that I could narrate the duel to the players. I noted it down round by round, so that if the players wanted to intervene, they could, and I would know what was happening.)
The next day, a crowd gathered in the square on the north bank to watch the duel. The townsfolk are all ready to see their lord and hero crush this young upstart’s champion into the dust. The High Priest is going to set up a holy circle once the duel starts, to prevent “those of foul intent” from stepping over. The PCs, of course, are all ready for mischief of the worst sort.
To begin with, the duel goes quite calmly. A few harmless blows and parries are dealt. Then Lord Sayle gets his beat on: in three rounds, he knocks the champion, a sir Kez, to the ground (and down below half hp). Then, as Lord Sayle offers Kez a chance to surrender, Kez jumps to his feet, and knocks Lord Sayle halfway across the circle, dislodging his shield in the process. [The PCs cast detect evil again, and now most of the evil is coming out of Kez, big suprise]. Kex proceeds to beat Lord Sayle up, knocking him back and forth, so that Sayle doesn’t have enough time to even try to hit–Kez is becoming far too ferocious. [Helios goes to talk to the High Priest, and Ainia edges around to the pavilion where Kez’s mistress is with the young lord]. Kez delivers one last blow to Sayle, and the lord is on his knees, utterly out of breath. Kez rips his helmet off, and his face is disfigured, with glowing red eyes.
He demands (in an evil, echoey voice), that Lord Sayle ‘confess his sins’ in the matter at hand. Lord Sayle (rightfully) protests his innocence. Just before Kez delivers a final stroke, Helios holds him. The demon returns to the noblewoman, who then polymorphs back into her true form, Myrbis the Confessor, daughter of Eequor the Blue Lady of Dismay. She and her wizard consort start killing people.
In the ensuing battle, the demon is slain, as is the wizard. The characters are proclaimed as heroes of the town, and rewarded (Helios, in particular, receives a platinum holy symbol).
Temporally, it gets a bit confusing, because this was spread out over two sessions. In the first session, Hyber’s player (who turned up for the first time all year) had to leave before I could prepare for the big duel. But he didn’t want to leave without killing something, so we skipped ahead some, and went back to Zaedis’ Tower, so that he could have a crack at killing the scary tattooed guy who had intimidated them out of the tower a few sessions back. He succeeds, handily. Jeff Rients’ wizards-as-monsters may have a lot of firepower, but when it comes down to it, a dual-wielding barbarian with a Ring of Protection +3 is always going to slaughter 4HD, no matter what’s behind them. Once Hyber’s player left, the other players kept searching through the dungeon, and found the third key of four to unlock the DOOR that keeps teleporting around in an obnoxious fashion.
In the second session, with Lendai’s player instead of Hyber’s player (although Hyber was tagging along as an NPC), the PCs went about filling in the gaps in the map. They found their way into a maze full of traps–at which time, the mapper’s skill and design drawing proved very handy. After several pit traps (Hyber nearly drowned in a 20′ deep one full of water), the PCs found the DOOR, and tried one key after another, trying to get it to take them somewhere meaningful. On the third key, they guessed a password correctly (it was Zaedis–another example of poor password choice. People, we can learn from this), and found their way to the vault (which still needs the fourth key to open). Amidst all of this, they ran into three ornate stone doors, which were locked. Each time, Lendai failed to pick them (to be fair, there was a -2 penalty to it), so the players still have no idea what intriguing thing lies behind them.
So that’s the last two sessions. It sort of had to wait until both were finished, so that causality could keep up. Oh, and I was fiddling with my LEGO, and I was inspired to make something which is going to have to go into the game somehow: Dwarven War Mecha. I’ll post a pic of it, once it’s done.