Friday, March 5, 2021

ACKS Session 12: You Only Live Once


Session played on 03/03/21

I don't even know what my dnd game is anymore. This session, most of the major PCs were stuck in Time Compression and would be unavailable to play until 03/15/21. So this entire party except Jack Filcher (PC Thief Level 1) was completely new: freshly rolled. 

the b team

So of course that means some of the players want to try to swing for the fences. To do something really insane and impact the campaign world. 

Problem was, they didn't exactly have the right party makeup or resources to engage in the bandit camp infiltration scheme they truly wanted to. But that didn't stop them from trying! 

All seemed completely lost. A TPK imminent, a complete wash of a night. Yet, as happens in True DND, a sudden amazing dice roll in a player's favor turned certain defeat into an amazing and unexpected victory. Eucatastrophe!

Session Report

The party consisted of a newly rolled Paladin (Swoleous Maximus), a Lawful Cleric of Ammonar (Damianus), a Gnomish Trickster (Yolo Baggins), and a Bard (Felix Trifolium). Jack Filcher, despite being a thief, was the leader of sorts thanks to him being the only veteran to the adventuring life.

So we all logged onto the voice chat and proceeded to talk and scheme. Scheme and talk. Then talk. Then scheme. About an hour. I didn't force them to make a decision and GO because I knew the Time Compression coupled with the upcoming World In Motion Events gave them many variables to ponder.

The party was particularly concerned with Inthorn's (High Level NPC Warlord) big camp of nigh 200 brigands. The players are still convinced that Inthorn, an old retired general of the Auran Legion, was cursed to be Chaotic due to a Helmet of Alignment change; thus leading to his recent brigandage. 

INTHORN. i'll stop using this pic when
someone does something about the guy

The players have been contemplating how to get the Helmet off the brigand warlord since they met him months ago. Tonight was no different. 

They convinced me that the Priestess Genelen of the Hospital in Turos Tem (NPC Priestess Level ???) may agree to go with them to the brigands (bringing her Remove Curse spell) since tonight's party had a Paladin and Lawful Cleric. Sure why not. I did a reaction roll (2d6+2 needing 12+... rolled 5) but turns out the Priestess was less impressed with this party than the last one. "B Team"? more like "begone, team". One day into his adventuring and Damianus the Cleric was already questioning his Empyrean faith. smh

Mandonio (PC Fighter Level 1) wasn't played tonight but his player gave some cash to Jack Filcher to buy some Carcass Scavenger poison (?????) which happened to be available from a shady dealer on a street corner in Turos Tem.

After which the party departed and traveled about a day into the Viaspen Forest. They stopped at Inthorn's brigand camp, finding them to be much the same as usual; some wenching and boozing. Hashtag just brigand things. 

They didn't appear to be preparing for a mass battle with the regular forces of the Turos Tem Legature. The party was aware the Legate was gathering his troops to attack Inthorn on 03/07/2021 due to some PCs being in the Legion. This is another reason the players wanted to hurry and do something about Inthorn. Perhaps prevent the battle and save their other PCs who could die off-stage. Jack was more interested in the reward for bringing in Inthorn dead or alive before such a possibility would become impossible due to war.

The players debated and schemed a bit about what they might do to the brigand camp but chose to stay cool and just sleep and hit up the Blister of Doom dungeon in the morning.

The next day they did just that. They entered the Buried Temple and went down the east corridor to a room with some stairs going to the Second Level. I couldn't believe it! I never thought they'd delve a level down!

Attack a 9 HD ettin? Sure np. But go down some stairs to a level 2 dungeon? Too dangerous.

It turns out they were right to be wary. 

They found a natural cave with bars on the west wall some 30 feet long. Only the Gnomish Trickster YOLO Swaggins could squeeze through. Swoleous failed to live up to his name and couldn't bend the bars enough for the human PCs to slip through.

On the other side of the bars YOLO saw the caves continue north and south, northward with the light sound of waves lapping a beach or stone walls. The rest of the party cheered on from the other side of the bars, keeping a healthy six feet of social distance. 

Ghouls got a surprise on poor little YOLO and, despite his having a Mirror Image spell active, the ghouls' many attacks paralyzed the gnome, leaving his heart still beating for good eatin' later on. Three of the four ghouls absconded with YOLO into the darkness. One was killed by the rest of the party's accurate archery.

So they left the dungeon and went back to Inthorn's brigand camp.

Around twilight the players began discussing schemes to assassinate Inthorn or his cleric or mage. But this time, they started taking actions and sort of free-styled a scheme as they went.

Jack Filcher poisoned some sandwiches and brought them to the two guards keeping an eye on the door to Inthorn's wooden shack inside the camp. They chowed down and were paralyzed in short order. Jack slit their throats were they stood. While he was trying to push the bodies into a dark corner of the camp, sadly, some bowmen guards on the wall saw him. Jack got the jump on one, killed the bowmen with a thrown dagger (natural 20 roll) but there were still three more bowmen guards with eyes on him from the wall.

One round of combat later Jack Filcher was dead, feathered with arrows, his body splayed on top of the guards he poisoned.

In the meantime Felix was on the opposite side of the camp regaling the brigands with epic tales of adventure and excitement. "Just sit right there and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip..." It proved to be a powerful distraction and the majority of the brigands responded slowly to the commotion coming from the gate.

Swoleous and Damianus were using some tar and military oil Jack gave them to prep tents to be lit up by cinders from camp fires when the time was right. Neither PC is sneaky at all so this was an all night affair of looking for lucky moments when no one was around or paying attention. When they heard the gate guards hollering about "Jack Filcher killed the General's guards!" they decided the time was now. Five tents went up like the nine hells. Some moments later the mess hall tent's cooking oil must have set off and it exploded, sending salisbury steak into the sky like beefy fireworks.

The Paladin and Cleric realized it was time to leave and ran to the gate. They tried to get the guards to open the only gate stating they "needed water from the creek to put out the fire!" but the guards weren't having it. (I rolled 2d6  needing a 12  for the guards to have a Friendly Reaction and fall for it and got and 11... so close!). They pointed arrows at the PCs who agreed to be taken captive without further violence. 

Felix the bard, meanwhile, used prestidigitation for a puff of smoke to slide off his makeshift stage, realizing the audience was getting to be a tough crowd. He watched the guard tower nearest to him and got lucky (1 or 2 on a d6 to see if the guards were not paying attention) as its guards descended their post to help with the fires. He climbed to the raised platform and hopped over the wooden wall and disappeared into the forest beyond, safe from a brigand beatdown. 

Now dear reader we have come to the craziest part. Crazier than all that, you say? Oh yes.

Broll (PC Barbarian Level 1) had installed himself as a spy on the brigands for the party about two months prior to this session. The player essentially shelved his barbarian PC, choosing to play other PCs as one after another of his other PCs died or were wounded enough to need weeks of bed rest. Now and then I messaged the player online with something like "Broll has some interesting info about the brigands, do you want him to try and get it out to the party?" I'd give him the chances he succeeded vs the chances he'd get discovered as an infiltrator and the player would make a decision and we'd roll some dice. Success meant new info for the party proper back in Turos Tem. Failure, thus far, had only meant Broll couldn't get a missive out to his friends. He had not been discovered as an infiltrator and was living the life of a lawless brigand quite well; easy enough for a Jutlander Barbarian tbqh.

During all this craziness I said to Broll's player (he was playing Swoleous tonight) "Broll would see all this craziness happening with the fires and he may decide to attempt to assassinate Olyma tonight rather than when the armies are forming for battle". He had already decided he would give it a shot before the Big Battle despite my giving him these changes: 1d20 roll. 20+ on the d20 = success. 11 or less = discovered as an assassin and executed.

But I told him tonight he'd have a slightly better chance of success but also a higher chance of being discovered. 1d20 roll. 19+ = success. 14 or less = discovered as an assassin and executed.

Just one roll to decide all this. Similar to Ad&D assassination attempts. I was not giving the player the option to PLAY Broll tonight because he decided to play Swoleous. It's my contention players shouldn't get to play two PCs at once. If you want a bigger force, hire some mercenaries or henchmen imo.

Broll decided to go for it. I waited until the end of the session to let him roll the assassination chance. The players all held their breath. Broll found his luckiest d20 and gave it a roll. 

"Oh man... I have to take a picture of this!" he exclaimed over the mic. "Did you hit it?" "you'll see"

We waited for a picture to load up on the chat room. Then it slides into the room and we see a picture of a d20 dice, with the 20 facing up.

Brilliant success! A night of foolishness and failure turns on a d20 roll! This is why we play this ridiculous game, folks.

Broll the Barbarian. Infiltrator and
Master Assassin.

I rolled that Broll killed the lady cleric Olyma whilst she was in a state of undress doing her makeup, lodging an axe in her head. Broll stoll the fancy d1sney princess tiara off her head, climbed the wall, and slipped out of the camp while the brigands were all dealing with the fires and arresting Swoleous and Damianus. He met up with Felix somewhere in the forest and they buddy-copped their way back to Turos Tem slapping high fives and laughing over their success.

They informed Legion about the situation at the brigand camp and, by all reports, Legate Valerian (NPC Fighter Level ???) intended to speed up his timeline and engage the brigands on battle much more quickly than previously planned, due to them being "weakened" by the party.

This was a wild session of mistakes and triumphs and it was all made possible because we are embracing the old Gygax ways and campaign assumptions. Follow the #broSR on tw1tter and you can learn how to run a similar campaign. You won't regret it!

Surviving PCs Present

Broll (10% bonus xp), Barbarian Level 1: 858 xp cut. Total: 1,072 

Felix Trifolium (5% bonus xp), Bard Level 1: 819 xp cut. Total: 819

PC's Captured by Inthorn's Brigands

Damianus, Cleric of Ammonar Level 1

 Swoleous Maximus, Paladin of Ammonar Level 1


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.

Alexa this is so sad play "rapper's delight" by sugar hill gang


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