Finally! It’s been ages–more than a month–since we’ve had the chance to play a game in our regular D&D campaign, what with absences and trying Dragon Age. To celebrate the end of the semester, we took the afternoon off, with more junk food than normal and pizza.
Two of our players decided to try different character classes for a change. One was sick of being a cleric, so multi-classed into Assassin/Illusionist. The other was bored of being a thief (in two different games), so took a fighter, because it has more hp. These characters were already pre-rolled, so we got into the game fairly quickly, sending the old characters off on a sabbatical.
- Eenya: a barbarian wizard, who believes that she’s a lost princess.
- Garrik: a wizard with a pseudo-drake familiar.
- Fain: a shadowy stalker of the night.
- Cedric: a grizzled veteran from beyond the sea.
The first part of the session was spent further exploring the abandoned dwarven fortress we found (read: broke into and started looting) last time. The ogres/ogre magi from last time had been cleaned up, so the party proceeded with some caution, but found the top level to be entirely empty (with the exception of a green blob, and a beserk “I’M ON FIRE!!” dwarven mining construct). While trying to open one of the smaller chests found here, the lock-picking attempt failed, so the chest was smashed–revealing the shattered remains of an expensive, antique drinking horn. Oops. The next level (which is, by the way, Dyson Logos’ fabulous “Circle of Doom“–check it out, if you’re not one of my players) had a huge, deep shaft, spanned by bridges.
Since the first bridge in the level was broken, the party roped down to the next one around the circle, and began exploring there. They slaughtered a pair of Ettins, and then had to contend with the 14 or so gargoyles the male Ettin released just before being killed. Since only Garrik had a magical weapon, it took 3 fireballs to take them out. The rest of the loot was extensive, however: coins, gems, a lot of alchemical equipment (taken to be used by Fain in his poison experiments), a potion of some kind, and a magical (*cursed*) ring, amongst other things. By this point, Cedric was on 4hp, so the party decided to leave. An ogre mage gave them dirty looks from the other side of the shaft, but let them be (the party have already torn up several parties of ogre magi and cave trolls to date, so one can assume they’re quite infamous now).
Back in town, after selling loot and getting over the cursed ring, Fain’s player found he was ~60xp away from levelling up in Illusionist, so he tried to make a bit more money. Since it happened to be tax time (thank you, rollD12), he took to knocking the doors of dwarven forges on the riverbank, trying to see how much extra money he could extort. The biggest of the smithies turned out to be a bit of an obstacle, with armed guards, and a spiked back wall. In the rear courtyard, Fain found a whole bunch of dwarves working on what looked like a huge plate of armour. Sneaking in upstairs, a dwarven artisan was gold-plating a massive, odd-shaped helmet (a failed secret-wisdom check did not yield any results). Talking with the artisan, Fain found out a few tiny secrets, and then extorted enough money to level him, as well as getting the artisan to agree to make two sets of mithral armour from the bullion found in the fortress.
1. MAKE SURE YOU AND YOUR PLAYERS HAVE THE SAME SET OF ASSUMPTIONS!!! Fain’s player ended up spending more money than he would have normally, just because I assumed he was putting on the magical ring identified as a ring of invisibility. He said “I’m taking it”, and I took that to mean “I’m taking it, and putting it on.” Therefore, I started the curse right away. But he didn’t think he’d put the ring on, so when they got back to town, he got cure poison cast on him at great expense, because he thought the potion he tasted was poison. It wasn’t until an NPC remarked on the ring that he clicked. This sort of thing seems minor, but it pays to get it spelt out.
2. It’s a lot of fun, having a conspiracy going on behind the scenes of a campaign, dropping hints here and there. One thing that was particularly frustrating, while Fain was sneaking around the dwarven forge, was that he didn’t speak dwarven, so I couldn’t drop hints via overheard conversation. It’s also interesting to see what hints the players pick up on, and which they don’t. There’s one clue that I’ve been repeating for months now, and nothing. But they picked up who was behind the massive armour really quickly (but not who or what it was for). It’s that sort of thing that makes D&D really fun for me–not the fighting of massive monsters, but weaving threads together in a frantic state just before the PCs stumble across them, based on a few tosses of the dice, and then trying to make sense of what you’ve just said before they do. It’s like writing, but much more dynamic, in a way. I actually wish I could write like I DM.