Played on 02/10/2021
My players played a trick on me.
All of my pre-session discussion (scheming) was about how they were going to assault the cave lair of an ettin deep in the Viaspen Forest. I had everything ready: stats for the monster, treasure, the creature's schedule (I knew they'd tried to catch it outside it's home or something or burglar him whilst away from home)*, everything!
*[FelixOscar ettin leaves the cave on a d6 roll of 1, checked once each day. 5 PM plus 1d12 to determine what hour he leaves because he prefers the dark. How long is he gone? Roll 1d6. 1: 1d4 turns, 2-5: 1d4+5 turns, 6: 1d4+1 hours. He notices the party, upon his departure, on 14+ on a d20 roll due to heavy armor wearers in group. Adjust this chance as needed if the party only sends a scout type to be near the cave for recon. None of this came into play.]
So, of course, the party trekked off past the lair towards the largest city some three weeks away, instead.
If you've been following this blog (why wouldn't you be) you know I've been using the Jeffrogaxian Method of Real Time Timekeeping. Meaning, if the PCs travel to a location three weeks away, those Characters will be unable to play in a session that takes place in 2 weeks or less in the real world. Additionally, this caused a few weird timekeeping rulings I had to make in session for outstanding hooks and World-in-Motion situations that I'll document in the session report below.
So instead of mine session being a straightforward beeline for the ettin lair, I instead had to make a couple dozen random encounter rolls, toss out quick descriptions and rumors from 3 lawful settlements the PCs passed through, and try to quickly describe the biggest city in my campaign region on the fly with minimal prep on that particular issue. Quick, describe the impression the PCs get upon first arrival at a fantasy roman city that was formerly built by elves some two centuries past before being conquered by the fantasy romans!
Then, when it was all said and done, the players decided they would, in fact, attack the ettin. Three weeks in the future!
It was frustrating, it was slapdash, it was amazing. It was real D&D.
Why did the party decide to travel to the city of Cyfaraun this session? Well, it's complicated.
Back in Session 5 the party stumbled across a powerful Brigand Camp led by a retired general of the Auran Legion. Mandonio (PC Fighter L1) and Gauis (PC Fighter L2) were certain the general must be under some form of enchantment to have turned to brigandage in his retirement. Yllmeeton (PC Shaman L1) seemed to confirm the theory by using Sense Power (Detect Magic style class ability) to learn that the fancy plumed helmet General Inthorn wore was quite magic indeed. It must be a Helm of Alignment Change!, the players theorized. It didn't help that Inthorn had a Chaotic Wizard retainer and a Chaotic Lady-Cleric Paramour.
So down the primrose path of PC scheming we go.
|Inthorn, the man of the hour!|
One: Mandonio, during downtime, seeks out a Remove Curse scroll to use and free the general. He also had a mock Fancy Helmet made up to "make a switch".
Two: Priestess Genelen of Turos Tem failed her Magic Research Roll to make the Scroll for the party. She needed three weeks to try again, if she'd even do so. She's not super high on our heroes, anyway.
Three: Genelen sent word to her mother superior in Cyfaraun that she needed such a scroll (pretty please!) and was told "nah, grrl".
Four: The party, after gettinglucky and selling some expensive jewel between sessions, was determined to go to Cyfaraun and simply buy the scroll with their phat stacks.
Five: Plan was to get the scroll, bring it back, walk into Inthorn's Camp, ?????, Remove Curse, Swap the Helmet, Profit!
Further, Mandonio and Gaius both got orders that the Legate's army at Turos Tem would be attacking Inthorn's Camp soon, maybe in 2 weeks or up to 6 weeks hence. So the party wanted to accomplish their
ridiculous scheme plan before the battle begun. Think of how many Legionnaire lives which could be saved! With Jeffrogaxian Timekeeping this becomes a bigger issue. Could their Legionnaire PCs die off screen between sessions?!
Oh, the only reason why Turos Tem was moving against Inthorn in the first place is because the party accidentally sent Inthorn's wizard a dragon to ally with and attack the town of Siadanos. Legate Valerian, being a vassal of the Palatine of Siadanos, was ordered to take care of the problem. Prior to the dragon attack, the Palatine was content to let Inthorn take a few merchant wagons here and there. No major action was planned. World in motion!
The gang left the border fort of Turos Tem on 02/10/21, traveling north and east along the fantastic Auran road which parallels the Krysivor river. Every 18 miles or so there was a border fort near identical to Turos Tem guarding over the river into the wild lands towards the Dark Wall beyond and to the east. Little guard towers dotted every few miles along the river which the party could see from the road, Auran military tasked with watching the river for monsters attempting to cross it and into the Empire. All the towers were prepared to send signals down the line so that the forts might be prepared and/or send reinforcement to the little manned forts.
|Follow along, kids!|
Turos Aster was the first stop for the party. They double timed it to that first fort and needed to rest a day, lest they travel with Fatigue (-1 to a bunch of checks, including attacks). Spending a day resting at the Travelers Inn they were reminded of a rumor that had made it's way some weeks back about a ruined fortress on the other side of the river which had recently been taken up by a violent tribe of manbearpigs. The Legate of Turos Aster was eager to have the nasty brutes removed for the former Auran fortress and was offering legal right to it and the land to any who could accomplish the task. Yllmeeton (PC Shaman Level 1) was eager to get on this mission as he wished for a home for his growing congregation of faithful followers (cult).
Turos Spen was the party's next stop some two days later. Again the fort was built on a hill, near uniform with whitewashed walls. They opted to only spend the night here then set off the next day. Their short time in Turos Spen allowed them to only hear rumors of a ruined Zaharan monastery across the Krysivor river and into the chaotic lands beyond. Word was it was destroyed but the catacombs the insane death worshipping Zaharans always keep at their old monasteries was still intact; full of gilded unholy symbols and wild magic items. Upon leaving Tuos Spen the next day and turning northwest at the crossroads the party even came upon a seemingly mid powered wizard named Weelen the Wizard leading a donkey cart with his servant and man at arms Grug. He and the party struck up a conversation where he revealed he was heading to the ruined monastery to seek out magic items and materials. "You should look me up if you wish to act as my retainers and share in the treasure! Ta ta!"
The party traveled northwest and arrived at Turos Orn some seven says later, the forts spaced out further upon getting distance from the Unbroken Line. The party spent very little time here but did hear rumors that the Keep was so ancient there was a deep an perilous dungeon right under ones feet! But the Palatine Valana Telpirion of Turos Orn, however, would take it quite ill indeed if adventurers were to sneak into the rumored dungeon without her permission.
The party achieved arrival in the City of Cyfaraun some nine days after their departure from Turos Tem. The only possible hostile encounter they had during their travels was with some wild boars who BriarWhisper (PC Elven Ranger L1) helped them evade.
|Cyfaraun. My description of it sucked.|
The massive rolling walls of the old elven city greeted them from across the hedge rows. They lined up with all the other merchants and such entering one of the half dozen gates and, within a few hours, were in the Temple District. This was perfect since they were looking to entreat with Daria's (PC Bladedancer L2) mother superior. The meeting went great and she agreed to set up a meeting with the head of the cult of Ianna wherein Daria could purchase the scroll of Remove Curse some days hence.
The party, at this point, decided to stay in the city a week to look for mercenaries to hire and buy a light repeating ballistae. The stayed at The Mink inn and tavern, one rumored to be controlled by a criminal syndicate. The PCs didn't poke their nose into that rumor (this time).
A week later Daria had 2 Light Cavalry, 3 Light Infantry, 1 artillerist to run her new toy, and 1 archer. They set off back to Turos Tem. The week or so trek back they encountered some merchant caravans but no hostile creatures saw fit to approach their mini army or donkey cart with ballistae installed.
Now, back in Turos Tem some 25 days later (03/07/21) it was time for the moment of truth. Did the party get back with their Remove Curse scroll in time to try and use it on Inthorn before the Legate's army moved against the brigands? I decided, since six weeks was the estimated time the forces would gather, I'd roll a d6 for each week the party was gone. One a 1, it was that week the Legate was moving against Inthorn. Check 1: no attack on week 1. Check 2: no attack on week 2 .... at this point the party was getting hopeful they may have time to try their scheme. Check 3: I roll a 1. The Legate's forces were moving the same week the party arrived back. But which day of the week? I roll a d7. One day before the party arrived!
If they moved quick they could possibly outpace the Legate's army and try the scheme just as the battle may be heating up! Now the players started to analyze their plan.
How were they going to actually get Inthorn alone and use the scroll? Didn't Inthorn have a chaotic wizard of extremely high level at his right hand almost all the time? (One play stated at this point "I'm not scared of the wizard. I'm TERRIFIED.") Maybe this plan wasn't all it was cracked up to be...
I'm not sure I had any hair left at this point, having pulled so much out.
They decided to just go after the Ettin instead. I mean, they had a bunch of mercenaries now right?
haha great guys! Lets do it! I was ready for this... maybe not 3.5 hours into a 4 hour session but cool cool.
Back north along the road to leave Turos Tem. Just past Turos Aster then northwest into the Viaspen Forest at about 1505. BriarWhisper knew just where it was, having spent a great deal of down time reconnoitering it.
The party arrived at the cave mouth and schemed how they might approach it. They laid out some net traps and such but the night was getting late and good planning was going by the boards. Eventually the plan involved Daria pretending to be a lost damsel in the woods or something (???)
The dumb brute with its Felix and Oscar heads came outside to see what the fuss was about. It talked in a language none by BriarWhisper understood but he was hiding in the brush hoping for some snipe attacks when the battle begun, in no position to translate for anyone.
The scheme did buy the party a surprise round of attacks which they mostly missed on. Then half of them won initiative and got a couple shots off. Puru (PC Mystic L1) ran into the cave to consider stealing some treasure while the party distracted the beast, but came back honorably to fight alongside the party, scrapping the burglary plan entirely.
Once the ettin engaged in melee with the mercenaries and Daria in the second rank, the bloodletting begun. Felix's fist punched a light infantry, killed him, cleaved, punched another light infantry, killed him, cleaved, punched a light cavalryman, killed him, cleaved, punched his horse, killed it, cleaved, punched Puru, felled him (exactly zero HP), cleaved, punched another light cavalryman, killed him, cleaved, punched his horse, hurt the horse but did NOT kill it. Cleave chain canceled.
Now it was Oscar's turn to attack. Oscar Head successfully landed a punch on Daria but did not fell or kill her. Phew!
Well, as my DMs can attest, a single big monster against an entire party (even one with 9 hit dice) will eventually go the party's way. And fast. With a second round of attacks the party was able to fell the beast and Daria's player said "I've never cried tears of joy in a dnd fight". Powerful!
Once again it was so ate by this point I told the players there was a ton of treasure but it was heavy. It would take time to get it back to Turos Tem. That I'd give them the XP and treasure numbers later. You'll see this below, dear reader.
The trek back to Turos Tem from the ettin cave carrying heavy loot took them three days. When all was said and done the party of characters played from 02/10/21 to 03/14/21. The PCs will not be available to play until 03/15/21. We endeavor to play a session each week so this is quite the sacrifice indeed.
True D&D is confounding and beautiful. Start your own campaign, today!
Surviving PCs present
[NOTE: there was a revision on 03/11/21 when the party sold an expensive scroll and made more xp]
XP for Each PC in Session 11 02.10.21
BriarWhisper (5% bonus) 2,4444.4 XP. Total 3,014 [LEVEL UP TO 2]
Daria (0% bonus): 2,328 xp. Total: 4,038 [LEVEL UP TO 3]
Marn (10% bonus): 2560 XP. Total: 3022 [LEVEL UP TO 2]
Puru (5% bonus): 2,444 XP. Total: 4,241 [LEVEL UP TO 2]
Yllmeeton (10% bonus): 2,560.8 XP. Total: 3716 (2,999) [LEVEL UP TO 2 BUT CAP AT 2,999 BECAUSE CANT LEVEL TWICE PER SESSION]
Marina (hench): 1164 XP. [LEVEL UP TO LEVEL 1 FIGHTER. Morale check at +1 + Yll ChaMod before she plays again to see if she stays on]
BriarWhisper, L1 Elven Ranger (5% bonus) 1680 XP. Total 2,250
Daria, L2 Bladedancer (0% bonus): 1,600 xp. Total: 3,310 [LEVEL UP TO 3]
Marn, L1 Mage (10% bonus): 1,760 XP. Total: 2,221
Puru, L1 Mystic (5% bonus): 1,680 XP. Total: 3,477 [LEVEL UP TO 2]
Yllmeeton, L1 Shaman(10% bonus): 1,760 XP. Total: 2,916 [LEVEL UP TO 2]
Surviving Henchmen Present
Marina (hench): 800 XP. [LEVEL UP TO LEVEL 1 FIGHTER. Morale check at +1 + Yll ChaMod before she plays again to see if she stays on]
Archer, Light Infantry, and Artillerist under Daria become Veterans
Coin Treasure Cuts for Session 11 02.10.21:
Each PC receives 400 SP, 200 EP, 400 GP
Daria: 220 SP, 110 EP, 220 GP
Yllmeeton: 340 SP, 170 EP, 340 GP
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
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.Alexa this is so sad play "lost highway"