This session was played on 06/09/21 with PCs playing through 06/23/21. With a day of rest in Turos Spen the PCs can begin making downtime requests and playing in sessions on and after 06/25/21.
This session was a microcosm of everything I've seen in the campaign with regards to player triumph and catastrophe. The PCs successful returned to the Unicorn Pool with a different group of PCs to heal some Mortal Wounds. No problems at all up to this point. About an hour left in the evening to play so they decide to recon Ferigno the Green Dragon's Lair for next time. Suddenly... HAGS!
The Players' goal this session appeared to be:
-go back to the Unicorn Pool and let BriarWhisper (PC Elven Ranger Level 2) and The Dude (NPC Cleric Level 5) drink from it to heal their Mortal Wounds. BriarWhisper was blinded by a SoulEater and the Dude was struck dumb by same a few weeks back.
-Recon the Lair of Ferigno the Green Dragon
The players gathered a pretty large entourage of henchmen and mercs prior to this session. Nothing like last week, however, since their base town of Siadanos is a smaller market than Cyfaraun. They departed the town going east on the Auran Roads circuit on 06/09/21. Two days into their wet rainy trek some freaky magic dogs teleported, ripped one of their mules to shreds, and teleported away. The PCs chose not to take chase or try and find the hounds.
A day later, a few hours outside of Turos Tem, they noticed an oak tree with some peasant offerings at the base. Upon investigating they decided it was likely a nesting place for some hawks; a Lair in ACKS terms. Ashikata's (PC Elven Spellsword Level 1) eagle familiar confirmed this to be the case. The party chose not to engage and arrived in Turos Tem at nightfall.
The next day the party continued counterclockwise around the Auran Road circuit until they eventually turned north into the Viaspen Forest. They trudged a few hours through the forest and were nearly surprised by a scouting party from a lair of jackalmen. Congar (PC Barbarian Level 1 "Skysos" template) was the only PC that surprised the scouting party which included a shaman picking herbs and a gang of nine or so jackalmen warriors protecting him. Congar let loose an arrow at the shaman and missed. Upon all sides gaining their wits, the party decided to Evade the encounter and was successful. They did scope there to be a jackalmen lair at that location; it's wooden palisade topped with the skulls of enemies. The party marked this on their map and continued north.
After a few days in the woods they came upon the Unicorn Pool. The Unicorn was skittish but, upon The Dude hanging over his Crystal Bong as an offering, it allowed all Lawful PCs to approach and drink if they wished. The Unicorn stepped on and destroyed the Crystal Bong upon which The Dude admitted "yeah man I probably spend too much time with it if you know what I mean man".
BriarWhisper drank from the pool first and was freed of his blindness. The Dude drank and was no longer struck dumb from his past nightmares of the Soul Eater. Triumph! Surely this DM could not challenge such #elite #dnd play? These players have surely flubbed the Dubs.
The Players took a vote on what to do with their last hour or hour and a half of game time. The options were:
1. Go back to the jackalmen, kill them, take their stuff
2. Find the exact location of Ferigno's Lair and recon any info they could about it so that they'd be ready to come back with force with Team A.
Number 2 is what got voted on and the party set off west in the forest where the unicorn assured them Ferigno laired.
ACKS has rules for calculating the number of lairs in a 6 mile hex. It also has rules for finding said lairs. This is so the "Conqueror" stage of the campaign can be engaged in wherein PCs clear all the lairs from a piece of land to build their own keep etc on. These are the rules I used for the PC's finding Ferigno's lair the first time.
Assuming they were in the correct hex, the party begin to search and zig zag for the place. Xanthus (PC Cleric Level 1) used his Prophesize ability to commune with his deity and ask a few questions about where the lair was and what it looked like. The deity described it as massive trees laid as a teepee with an old ruined tower in the middle. He assured the cleric they'd find it today "unless you are truly fools".
The Find Lairs rules are a d20 roll done each hour to hit a particular number. They received a bonus to the roll for having air recon from Ashitaka's eagle familiar and Yllmeeton's (PC Shaman Level 3) owl familiar. I gave another bonus for BriarWhisper's ability to talk to animals.
Each check, unfortunately, also instigates a random encounter roll.
After about three hours of search the party had yet to find any lairs, most especially Ferigno's. But they did find some very comely trollops who were dancing about the forest about fifty yards away.
"Hello again," they whispered somehow loud enough to be heard "we are happy to see you and would love to offer you a deal..."
Before they could finish elaborating on their offer Yllmeeton released the houds; his 5 hunting dogs, at them. At this point the new player (Xanthus) was very confused by the Players violent reaction to some wemmenz. The legacy players talked over eachother and themselves to elaborate on the session sometime back where Hag's set upon their camp at night and nearly killed them all. This sort of passionate hatred for a villain only comes when you're playing real dnd, folks.
The fight was on!
Early in the first round the Hags all dropped their disguise of beauty and appeared or horrible hags: Rosie Odonnel, Oprah, and Carmella Harris! The horror!
Rosie shook her fat rolls at the front ranks, causing many of them to become afraid and run. This included Odrum (PC Explorer Level 1). He took off and the player was joking about how he has both the Run and Endurance proficiencies so he'd outrun anyone trying to help him and never tired enough to take a break. Longinus (PC Assassin Level 2) also tried to flee by Yllmeeton tackled him and was intending to cast Remove Fear the following round.T This was never accomplished, read on. The Dude had cast Bless on the party which gave them a +1 to save vs fear but most of those targeted by magical fear were still failing the save. One player commented "we need a more powerful bless!"
In the second round the dogs who were going to bite at Rosie were Feared off of her by Oprah. BriarWhisper, who had ducked into the bushes the round before, got off a beautiful Snipe attack on Rosie, rupturing one of her warts as it seeped with pus. But she continued to fight on. In fact... this is where things got bad.
Rosie flew (as per Fly spell) through the trees towards the PCs and started ripping the mercenaries apart. Two bowmen were killed by her brutal claws as she cleaved through their low HP totals with ease. She then ripped Longinus's face off and dangled it in front of her face looking at BriarWhisper saying "you're next, elf!". Longinus perished.
Next she picked up the corpse of one of the bowmen and used it as a club to hit Yllmeeton perfectly skull to skull. He died lying in the foliage of the Viaspen Forest. His henchmen Marina (Fighter hench Level 1) and Vincent (Level 0 hench) failed morale and backed away from the battle carefully.
From the trees some thirty yards away Carmella was making a magical speech about lgbbq rights and how The Dude and Congar should join her in being the change they want to see in the world. Both were charmed by her impressive magical political psyops and started walking towards her obediently. Totally MK. So sad.
At this point the surviving party members said it was time to "book it like lavar burton" and I laughed heartily.
They made an Evade check since none of them were engaged in melee any longer (Rosie killed all who were) and escaped into the forest and back home. I made the random encounter checks for the trek to Turos Spen but the dice had now become merciful. They were back home safely.
Hags just want to live, laugh, love. Yet the party keeps attacking them with dogs! What means?
The voice chat in the aftermath of this session was quite somber. The most interesting thing was that Yllmeeton's player asked if Marina could become a PC. I decided we'd use the Morale rules to decide. An average score meaning she continued as a PC but rejected Yllmeeton's diety, The Seeker, as being weak and getting the shaman killed. A really bad roll meaning she retired from adventuring to be a tradwife. A great score meaning she took up the mantle of The Seeker and continued the work of the cult!
Average roll. So this player now has Marina the Fighter as part of his stable of PCs. We all agreed she had a very cool backstory. Better than anything a nuskool gamer might write up for his in a dumb session zero.
I'm sure the new player we had on hand was quite confused by all of our foolishness. He did well to lurk a bit and learn the nature of this strange brosr style dnd campaign. This is what you do when you're new to such campaigns, kids. You don't demand everyone bow to your gaming needs. You treat it like going to a dinner party where everyone there are old friends and you're meeting them for the first time. Chill and listen. Jump in with jokes. Look forward to being the life of the NEXT party. This is a social #winningsecrets from me to you.
As far as the Hags and the PCs? They want revenge so badly. Yllmeeton died holding a STAFF OF HEALING; a very valuable magic item that is now lost to the players. Very sad. Real dnd is harsh but exciting.
Surviving PCs Present
Ashitaka (L1 Elven Spellsword) 0 XP gained. Total: 0
BriarWhisper (L3 Elven Ranger) 0 XP gained. Total:5,465
Odrum (L1 Explorer) 0 XP gained. Total: 0
Xanthus (L1 Cleric) 0 XP gained. Total: 0
Surviving Henchmen Present
Marina (L1 Fighter) 0 XP gained. Total: 1,620 [UPGRADED TO PC]
Vincent (L0) 0 XP gained. Total: unknown
PCs (NPCs) who may be captured
Congar (L1 Barbarian)
The Dude (L5 NPC Cleric)
Dama (L1 Venturer) played by RR. Current total xp: 75. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.
Darius LeVay (L1 Assassin) played by JB. Current Total XP:451. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.
Donald the Guardsman (L1 Fighter) played by MP. Current Total XP:570. DECEASED. Intra-party justice in Session 3.
Felix (L1 Thief) played by Nicholas. Current Total XP:431. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.
Hektor (L1 Paladin) played by Moai. DECEASED. Cause of Death: goblin warg rider throat removal surgery in Session 2
Leonidas the Inquisitor (L1 Cleric) played by RR.Current Total XP:498 DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.
Mard the Mage (L1 Mage) played by Nicholas. DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.
Yolo Baggins "My friends call me Swaggins" (L1 Gnomish Trickster) played by J. DECEASED. Paralyzed and eaten by ghouls in Session 12. Body not recovered.
Jack Filcher (L1 Thief) played by C. DECEASED. Shot full of arrows by Inthorn's brigands in Session 12. Body not recovered.
Swoleous Maximus (L1 Paladin). DECEASED. Captured then drawn and quartered by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.
Damianus (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Captured and beheaded by Inthorn the Brigand warlord in Session 12. Posthumously named "Petty Hero of Turos Tem" by Legate Valerian. Ashes offered a place of pride in the Hospital.
Bucky (L1 Barbarian). DECEASED. Became a illegal pit fighter during his downtime. Had two bouts to the death, winning the first and losing the second. Was killed by Young Jack Sparrow who sashayed into the ring, drank rum, and mogged on Bucky before putting a dagger into his ribs, killing him. This happened during downtime between Session 17 and 18.
Broll Wolf-Eater (L1 Barbarian). Current total XP: 1079. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.
Brother Franklin (L1 Cleric). DECEASED. Decapitated by a mad cultist of a Lovecraftian slime thing in Session 19.
Felix the Elder (L1 Bard). Total XP 825. DECEASED. Captured by mad cultists and fed to a Lovecraftian slime monster in Session 19.
Templar Flavius Africanus (L1 Cleric). Total XP 7. Killed by the claws and beak of mad harpies in Session 19.
Xendi (L1 Explorer). Total XP 6. DECEASED. Carried off by harpies after falling for their enchanting song in Session 19.
Yllmeeton (L3 Shaman). Total XP 4,563. Bludgeoned by the corpse of a bowmen by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.
Longinus (L2 Assassin). Total XP 2,036. Had his face ripped off by Rosie Odonnel hag in Session 21.
Alexa this is so sad play "lost highway" by hank