Thursday, September 23, 2021

ACKS Session 31: Smashing Altars [How to Run NPC Parties]

This session was played on 09/01/21 with the party adventuring for 5 days, ending in Turos Spen. Needing 1 day of Rest as per ACKS rules the PCs can make downtime requests and participate in session on and after 09/07/21.

Foreword

Jesus Christ is Lord.

Session Report

This was the first session back in action after the Desolation of Turos Tem. What is the Desolation of Turos Tem, you say? Well it's where an evil player controlled NPC (Patron) allied with another evil Patron and marched a monster army on the Players' original Session 1 Home Base "Keep on the Borderlands"... and took it. 


Discussions in the game chat for Downtime Requests were fast and furious in the week prior to this session. Lawful aligned Patrons and all PCs had something to say about the Desolation of Turos Tem. This was surely the turning point of the campaign. Nothing would ever be the same! Right?

Color me surprised that the PCs decided they would return to the introductory dungeon from the introductory ACKS Module the Sinister Stone of Sakkara. Okay, sure.

I'm not exactly certain of their motivation for this. Did a Patron put them up to it? Did they think the Big Bad at the bottom of the dungeon would be weakened after her involvement in the Desolation of Turos Tem? I have no idea. Players make their plans in a private chat away from my prying eyes. I can only speculate.

The party left Turos Spen traveling south to Turos Aster. There were no random encounters on the way. They picked up some other PCs in Turos Aster who had fled the Desolation of Turos Tem with the peasant refugees. Ratface (PC Thief Level 2) and Laru (PC Thief Level 3) were in Turos Aster. It seems Ratface had stolen some of the treasure in the Turos Tem vault during the army battle when Tem officials were busy elsewhere. Snuck a big chest of gold and silver right out of the keep.

(More info about what actually happened at the Desolation of Turos Tem will be in a special report on the blog sometime later. I'm gathering my thoughts on the matter and allowing enough time where information about the event will be common knowledge so Players [and Patrons] won't get an unfair advantage from reading about it here.)

They left Turos Aster the next day to enter the Viaspen Forest from the eastern edge. Just before doing so the PCs came across an NPC Party; The Claws of the Lioness. 

At this point I pushed back against my fear of running NPC parties. In the past I've always made bespoke Random Encounter tables and removed the "NPC Party" entry because it seems so overwhelming. "How can a DM really quickly roll up and then properly roleplay 4 to 8 NPCs coming upon the party all at once? All with their own weird personality quirks and such similar to the PCs themselves." I ignored those fears and leaned into it. 

To answer my initial internal objection to running an NPC party I simply used the one at the back of the "Sinister Secret of Sakkara" module. The ACKS writers put that there in case a DM wanted pre-rolled PCs for the intro module. But it could be used for an NPC party as well. Having it there with all the NPC equipment and a quick blurb about the NPCs' personalities was helpful. I advise DMs to roll up one or two NPC parties as game prep and keep them handy so you're not trying to do it during session time while Players yawn and wait.

My second objection to running NPC Parties as a DM was that I couldn't make them stand out. I decided to not even try. I just called the NPCs by their class and added more detail about what they were like if Players asked me for more info. As you might already know, Players don't actually care about NPCs. So that didn't come up much. I advise DMs to decide who the leader of the NPC party is and use him/her as the spokesman for the NPC Party during the initial encounter with the PCs.

The NPC Party was generally Lawful and they had a Friendly Reaction with the Player Party so, when the party offered to bring them along to go to the Dungeon, the "Claws of the Lioness" agreed heartily.

So now I had 6 PCs and 8 NPC adventurers. This session just became weird. 

I advise DMs to let the Players control the NPC Adventurers as much as you can and as much as the players are interested in doing so. Certain player groups will be more open to it than others. I tried to give some of the NPC adventurers to Players to control for the night but few took me up on the offer. I ended up having to roll attacks and such for most of the NPC Adventurers. One player showed up late and was just handed an NPC Adventurer to control. 

This all worked out pretty well and it might just have been the perfect session for such an odd occurrence of a PC/NPC Party Team up. The Dice Abide!

The Parties arrived at the "Blister of Doom" about a day or so later with no Random Encounters in the Viaspen Forest. They easily crossed Level 1 of the dungeon to get to the pyramid thing in the center with stairs going down to level 2.

A door was jammed wherein Virgil (NPC Dwarven Machinist Level 1) broke the PC party's crowbar when I rolled a 1 on the check to unjam it. This became his backstory: he's a clumsy moron. The them continued when he stumbled into a weird yellow mold creature that attacked him and the party on level 2 of the dungeon. He fell, seemingly dead, but the healers were able to get him back on his feet. Though he could no longer fight

The party easily dispatched the monster without further ado and explored deeper into the dungeon. Emptiness was the theme of this night of adventure. Room after room of level 2 of the dungeon was explored with no monsters in sight. They found a lake of blood with weird bloody vines growing out of it akira monster style. In the center of the lake was a tree apparently made of flesh and bone that was dead or dying. Nothing left to feed on? One player mentioned this description was quite spooky and the concept was very weird indeed.

For DMs reading this I will mention that the flesh tree thing was destroyed a loooong time back by a competing PC party called Pink Lemonade, setting off a spiral of events wherein the Big Bad (a Ruinguard named Zakiti) of the dungeon was quite angry and looking for vengeance against Turos Tem. The players I write about on this blog weren't even involved in the flesh tree's destruction, yet they had to live with the consequences in the form of a Dynamic Dungeon and a drastically changed campaign world when the leader of the dungeon decided to take to the wilderness. This is a form of PVP in Real D&D I outline in this blog post. I may be revealing too much behind the curtain to Players by telling this but I believe it's important to note just how dynamic this dungeon truly was thanks to BROSR play.

Everything in the dungeon not nailed down appeared to have been taken. What was indeed still deep in this evil place were two big evil altars. The Party smashed them both and acquired 100 and 200 XP respectively for all Lawful members of the party. Sorry Neutrals, pick a side!

One altar was covered with jewels with 2,000 GP in value. A pretty good take if it hadn't needed to be split 14 ways :(

The party eventually got to the chamber they believed the Big Bad RuinGuard Zakiti used until recently. In the center of the floor was carved an elevated ouroboros with a circular altar designed to house... something? Something that was no longer there.

In Zakiti's bedroom beyond the altar room Laru found a note Zakiti had seemingly written. It was in Ancient Zaharan so the thief gave it to Marn (PC Mage Level 3) who intended to read it later.

The party felt they had explored all this abandoned dungeon had to offer and decided to leave. On the way out they came across a small band of 5 orcs whom the 16 adventurers easily killed. One orc was captured and absconded back to Turos Spen for more questioning. Gaius (PC Fighter Level 4) planned to sell the orc as a gladiatorial slave. 

The PC party left the NPC party at the entrance to the dungeon since the PCs all had horses and wanted to travel back home faster than the 8 NPCs could go. The PCs told them to "look us up when you get to Turos Spen!" to possibly hire some of them as henchmen. I handled that later in downtime.

Afterword

So the dungeon was obviously mostly abandoned. I won't go into details why or anything but I will discuss my methods. I didn't expect the Players to go back here tonight. So I quickly decided since most of the creatures inside had left for Reasons that random encounters would be less frequent. Normal ACKS encounter rolls are done once every 2 turns (20 minutes) with a d6. On a 6 there is a random encounter. I rolled it once every 4 turns, instead. 

In hindsight I could have instead used a d12 and have one hit on a 12. I did that whenever the party listened at a door to ask "do we hear any monsters inside". 

The Party was inside the dungeon for a very long time in game world time. They traveled into about 10 rooms and across some really long hallways. They listened at almost EVERY door (which takes a turn). And after all that there was only 1 random encounter, the orcs.

Despite a lack of lethal combat we had alot of fun and it was very cool to expand my horizons by running an NPC Party without fear. In hindsight I also think this was a way for the Players to "wrap up" the intro module they began at the start of the campaign almost a year ago. Tie up loose ends, as it were.

Chanticleer had something similar when he ran his brosr version of "Waterdeep: Dragon Heist". A Patron (mine, bc I rule) and NPC were the ones who actually secured the titular dragon heist horde. But we couldn't carry it all. In a "Battle of the Five Armies" sort of way the PCs came in during a session AFTER the heist and carried out what they could. They also found clues about what myself and the NPC had done.

Session 31 seems similar. Smashing the altars was a major win for the good guys. It certainly spoke to one or two of the Players who, being Catholic Gentlemen, enjoy such goodly triumphs quite a bit. Will it make a big impact in the game world? I'm unsure. Perhaps those altars were very important to someone or something.

Perhaps not.

Time will tell.

I asked the players for their opinions on this session and what they found noteworthy. One mentioned he found it very tense and was "waiting for the other shoe to drop" wherein they stumbled upon some overwhelming odds hidden in the seemingly abandoned dungeon. Whilst I found it boring on my end I now realize players weren't sure about all my dice rolling. Each drop of the dice may have had them wondering if a powerful monster was going to jump out from the darkness.

Chanticleer, another player, mentioned he found the Dynamic aspect of the dungeon very interesting. I credit this to brosr best practices for DMs. The Real Time aspect of our gaming style, coupled with Patrons, made this dungeon change drastically during the course of the campaign. Nu-skoolers and osr types say they want a dynamic dungeon environment but the brosr is truly delivering on it.

Addendum

I'd like to thank all my players for their dedication and passion for this campaign. It is only due to all of them that this is the longest running long form #brOSR campaign. Thank you, friends.

Surviving PCs Present

BriarWhisper  (5% XP bonus) (Lawful) Elven Ranger Level 3. 455 XP gained. Total: 7,861

Daria (0% XP bonus) (Lawful) Bladedancer Level 5. 434 xp gained. Total: 14,100

Gaius (10% XP Bonus) (Lawful) Fighter Level 4. 477 XP Gained. Total: 11,331

Laru (5% xp bonus) (Neutral) Thief Level 3. 141 xp gained. Total: 3,200

Marn (10% xp bonus) (Neutral) Mage level 3. 147 xp gained. Total: 5,555

Xanthos (10% xp bonus) (Lawful) Cleric level 1. 477 xp gained. Total: 477

Deceased:

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.

Mandonio (L3 Fighter). Total XP 4,779. Charred to a leprous crisp by diseased Dragon breath in Session 22.

Corydon (L1 Joker). Total XP: 0. Burnt to a crisp by chimera breath so thoroughly his corpse wasn't even fit for the crows. Died with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. that's life and as funny as it seems... some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream... In Session 25.

Donny Keebler (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP 2,238. Had his legs burned completely off by chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Marina (L2 Fighter). Total XP: 2,204. Burnt into ash by a chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Gundro (L2 Gnomish Trickster). Total XP: 2,575. Had his mouth and tongue bitten off by a lizardman ambusher in the dank sewers below Cyfaraun in Session 26.

Polydoros (L1 Fighter). Total XP: 0. Had his legs ripped off and eaten by Akira monsters in the dark canopy of the Viaspen Forest in Session 28.

Odrum (L1 Explorer). Total XP: 287. Javelin to the heart from the hands of weird vine goblins hidden in the walls of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (L1 Mage). Total XP: 0. Fell off the side of Ferigno's lair 20 feet to his death in Session 30.

Blackmoon (L1 Assassin). Total XP: 768. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while stealing treasure from Ferigno's dragon horde in Session 30.

Xanthus (L2 Cleric). Total XP: 2,364. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while hanging out on the roof of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Alexa this is so sad play "Halloween Theme" from the "Halloween" official motion picture soundtrack

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

ACKS Session 30: Real Dragon Heist

This session was played on 08/25/21 encompassing 5 days of adventuring. Needing one day of rest as per ACKS rules the PCs involved can make downtime requests and adventure on and after 09/01/21.

Foreword

If you are not using Patrons in your D&D campaign you are really missing out. This session was only possible due to the various machinations of MULTIPLE Patrons; including MONSTER PATRONS. Do you have those nerdy players who are like "why can't I play a dragon?!" Well now they can.

FERIGNO THE GREEN DRAGON IS A PATRON NPC. 



And he has been for months. Players had no idea! Until this session. How?

Ferigno (Patron NPC, Adult Green Dragon) and Dairin (Patron NPC, High Level Mage) have been teaming up behind the scenes. And on 08/25/21 they were able to get organized enough to gather their various forces of monsters for an assault on The Keep of Turos Tem.

Remember when the OSR snarkily declared the titular Keep from the Keep on the Borderlands is the real target of opportunity in the B2 module? "It has more treasure! Less danger! PCs should attack the Keep! lololol". Yet they never actually had any session reports about how their players, or even the monsters, attacked The Keep.

The BROSR, thanks to mine campaign, can now declare we've done this. We've attacked The Keep on the Borderlands.

The Monster Host attacked and overran Turos Tem on 08/25/21 in what has now been titled The Desolation of Turos Tem. I will have a future blog post about the details of the battle, assault, aftermath, PC involvement etc. I think such info will be very useful for aspiring Elite DMs.

But for this session, the assault was still in the works. Legate Valerian (Patron NPC, High Level Fighter and Domain ruler) took his garrison of soldiers to meet the monster host in the field rather than let them hit The Keep directly. He asked the PCs to participate. Some did... during downtime.

So what did the PCs do during Session 30 while The Keep was being assaulted by a Monster Host which included Ferigno the Green Dragon?

"Well... Dubs... this means Ferigno is busy and not at his lair, right...?"

"Yeah... of course..."

"Then we're going to go to Ferigno's lair and take all his treasure while it's unprotected."

What could go wrong?

Session Report

The Players carefully decided on which PCs they would bring to this session. They started out of Turos Tem while Legate Valerian was calling to arms and about to take the field with his army. There ended up being about 120ish men up against a similar number of monsters, undead, abominations, or whatever.

Some Players wanted a particular PC involved in the army battle which would leave him out of session play. I was prepared to let the players control the Legate's army and run Heroic Forays and such like I did back in Session 27 when the PCs attacked Ferigno's lair with a bunch of mercs. I've allowed PCs to run the tactics and attacks for forces unrelated to their PCs in my face2face game; my most notable example of when the PCs in that campaign tricked a Giant Roc into attacking a Lair of Red Dragons. I let those PCs run the tactics and attack rolls of the Giant Roc while their PCs watched from a distance.

The Players in this campaign, however, realized that would eliminate their ability to sneak off with some of their PCs to heist Ferigno's lair. Once PCs were chosen from the stable available in Turos Tem the PCs set off north into the Viaspen Forest and towards Ferigno's Lair.

They arrived pretty quickly because this group wasn't leading slow mercenaries as the PCs often do. About two days later they had crossed the forest without any random encounters and were looking upon the Dragon's Lair.

Ferigno is somewhere around the red X

It hadn't changed much in three weeks. It was a gnoll palisade built around a weird pile of thorny brambles and a teepee of felled trees going some 100 feet into the sky above. The palisade of gnolls appeared from a distance to be abandoned. PCs had eradicated the gnolls there three weeks ago and apparently no others returned.

The PCs approached very carefully, having BlackMoon (PC Assassin Level 1) sneak up and look things over. He found the palisade much as the party left it three weeks ago. Many dead gnoll and human bodies lying around. The northeastern section of the circular palisade was burned up from the PC's assault back then. But no gnolls were seen about the leather tents and teepees of the gnoll encampment. BlackMoon waved them forward. 

The party found a door on the eastern side of the bramble lair thing in the center of the palisade. The whole "structure" was about 100' in diameter. The door was stuck and not locked. While the PCs worked on unjamming the door they heard movement inside the bramble structure and were certain they were being attacked by some sorts of creatures inside through spear holes in the walls on either side of the PCs surrounding the front door. Neither side was surprised.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (PC Mage Level 1) cast Wall of Smoke so the enemies inside the walls wouldn't be able to get a clear missile attack through the spear slits. The monsters got a couple of spear attacks off on the party before the spell went off and I don't recall the exact details. After Wall of Smoke was cast the PCs were safe from spears being thrown through the slits but some sort of weird spell took effect from the monsters or the area where vines grew up around the feet of the PCs, holding some of them in place.

One PC got close enough to the walls to look inside the large spear slits and saw a few dozen little goblin things covered with pulsing vines and with ghastly faces of death. Odrum (PC Explorer Level 1) eventually busted the door down and ran inside the structure. Upon seeing the few dozen viney goblins in powerful defense positions on either side of balconies overlooking the entry room, Odrum ran out of the structure. 

At this point the players debated trying to assault the structure head on. Odrum's player was advising the PCs all back out and regroup for another approach. Other Players were happy to assault directly into the entry room and take down the creatures who they figured wouldn't be too strong due to their small stature.

Eventually all PCs extricated themselves from the vines trapping their legs and retreated back to hide among the gnoll tents in the palisade and discuss options.

Xanthus (PC Cleric Level 2) Communed with his deity Istreus about what was inside the structure. The spell allows 3 questions. Istreus, the god of knowledge, is a bit of a know-it-all having seen the Logos and thus stabbed his own eyes out so he'd never need to look upon imperfection again. 

He informed the PCs there was a great deal of treasure in Ferigno's lair but that he also sensed great evil. He informed the Cleric there was only one other entry into the Lair and that was up at the top of the teepee where the PCs had once seen the dragon climb out of. Istreus lightly rebuked Xanthus for not sticking around Turos Tem to help defend the Keep from the monster host, as well. 

So now the PCs debated how to Heist the place. I went to get a drink and checked out tw1tter to see if any of my tweets had gone viral. I checked on my 3yo to see if he was sleeping ok. At a couple pretzels.

When I got back into things the PC's plan was to rip the doors off the palisade gates and use them as a ladder and bridge to go up the side of the bramble structure without getting ripped up by thorns. Then cross on TOP of the structure towards the felled tree teepee. Upon getting close to that BlackMoon would be able to use his thief climbing ability to go up the side of the teepee then rappel down from the top.

It took about an hour for the PCs to rip the doors off the palisade. While they were trying to create the ladder and bridge structure the weird creatures inside came to their side of the structure and tossed spears at them through spear slits on that side. Surerro (NPC Henchmen to Blackmoon) was killed by one such javelin while the PCs scrambled to climb up on top of the structure where the monsters would have no line of sight on them. 

As they were climbing up the side of the structure Odrum was also caught by a javelin coming from holes in the walls and fell to the ground dead full of holes.

On top of the structure things seemed safer. The surviving PCs waited as BlackMoon climbed the tree teepee then lowered himself down like Mission Impossible 1. When he reached the bottom he found that the trees had been leaned up against an old ruined stone tower. The bottom of the rope had a big pile of treasure and magic items on the floor in the base of the tower. 

The Players were hyped af. "Take it all! Lets go! Leave Odrum* to die and lets get tf out of here! haha!" 

*(Odrum's player said this.)

Blackmoon emptied a big crate of glass ware in the room so he could fill it with magic items and liquid treasure (GP etc). He tied the rope to the crate to be heaved up later.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder got impatient and attempted to climb up the teepee on the outside to see what was happening. He failed his Climb check (rolled a 1 iirc) and fell 20 feet down, landing on his crotch on a branch before flipping over and smashing his brains out on the top of the briar structure where the PCs had laid the palisade doors as a bridge. Ouch.

I was doing math on how many Turns Blackmoon's heist might take and rolling Random Encounter checks as appropriate. Blackmoon prioritized the magic items and I rolled "yes" on a random encounter about the time he had all of them in the crate.

*Badalamenti instrumental plays*

BOB from Twin Peaks came out of the eastern wall sporting a maniacal grin. Gaius (PC Fighter Level 4) made fun of me using such a seemingly nonsense comment/description. He often complains later that I forget to put his genius tier jokes in my session reports. So there it is.

BOB was angry and was coming at Blackmoon. The assassin won initative and threw holy water at the freakish creature which burned him up but not enough to kill him. BOB darted across the room and*i choked Blackmoon out leaving him apparently dead on the floor.

Gaius climbed the teepee on the outside easily (mogging on dead Garvin) and began to heave the rope up. The players with dead PCs were hollaring on the mic "YES! Take all the items and run! Heist!" This is the sort of thing that happens in Real D&D with real stakes.

Sadly before Gaius could heave the crate of magic items up to himself BOB came out from below Xanthus's feet and choked him out, the life drained from the cleric's eyes as his Levels were Drained, leaving him dead lying upon the roof of Ferigno's bramble structure lair thing.

Gaius was the only one left. Everything went wrong just like a good heist film. Could he pry victory from the jaws of defeat, also like a good heist film?

"So Dubs... how far down is it if Gaius just jumps to the ground and runs into the woods?"

"Forty feet down. So 4d6 damage."

"Ok so you'd have to roll max damage to kill Gaius with the fall. I'll jump and run."

I was agape. How could one PC be so based? 

It made sense that Gaius didn't want to take on the weirdly powerful BOB but here he was risking jumping to his death instead. Everyone held their breath and I rolled the damage.

It was alot but it wasn't enough to kill Gaius. He stumbled off into the woods while BOB howled angrily on the rooftops, too far away to close the distance before Gaius could attempt a Wilderness Evasion roll. Success. The fighter had shook pursuit.

Gaius had his horse and has successfully grabbed one of the other PC's horses to lead. He used the second horse so he could ride hard deep into the night.

Unfortunately Gaius got lost in the Viaspen Forest in the dead of night. He was on his was back to Turos Aster since Turos Tem was presumably fallen to the Monster Host. Being a fighter with no advanced wilderness skills to speak of Gaius prayed to The Seeker, to Mandonio (Deceased PC Fighter Level 3, Petty Hero of Turos Tem Legature) and Istreus to help guide his way out of the dangerous forest. His fatigued horses stumbled along ahead into the hot days and steamy forest nights with Gaius whispering desperate prayers to all forces who might hear him. Glowing eyes watched him from the bushes... or was it his imagination?

It's unclear of any of these figures helped the grizzled former Legionnaire in some way but Gaius did happen upon the edge of the forest some two days later, in the Turos Spen Legature. From there it was an easy trek to the Turos Spen Keep where he could rest and ponder his creeping survivors guilt.

Afterword

Some anti brosr nerds on tw1tter ask things like "how u can do real time when the game runs late and PCs still in the dungeon". Well this is how. The session had indeed run late. But it was clearly extremely important for me to run Gaiu's chance to get lost and random encounters. He was trekking home alone so a great deal of the encounters, if he couldn't Evade them, would be fatal. So even though it was late, I rolled it all. Every check. Players who had gotten tired logged off since their PCs were dead anyway.

This is how Real D&D is done. 

This poast has gotten long so I'm going to leave it there. The Desolation of Turos Tem and the PCs' responses to it will be outlined in a future blog post. God bless.

Surviving PCs Present

Gaius (10% XP Bonus) Fighter Level 4. 0 XP Gained. Total: 10,854

Deceased:

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.

Mandonio (L3 Fighter). Total XP 4,779. Charred to a leprous crisp by diseased Dragon breath in Session 22.

Corydon (L1 Joker). Total XP: 0. Burnt to a crisp by chimera breath so thoroughly his corpse wasn't even fit for the crows. Died with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. that's life and as funny as it seems... some people get their kicks, stomping on a dream... In Session 25.

Donny Keebler (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP 2,238. Had his legs burned completely off by chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Marina (L2 Fighter). Total XP: 2,204. Burnt into ash by a chimera fire breath in Session 25.

Gundro (L2 Gnomish Trickster). Total XP: 2,575. Had his mouth and tongue bitten off by a lizardman ambusher in the dank sewers below Cyfaraun in Session 26.

Polydoros (L1 Fighter). Total XP: 0. Had his legs ripped off and eaten by Akira monsters in the dark canopy of the Viaspen Forest in Session 28.

Odrum (L1 Explorer). Total XP: 287. Javelin to the heart from the hands of weird vine goblins hidden in the walls of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Garvin the Nutless Wonder (L1 Mage). Total XP: 0. Fell off the side of Ferigno's lair 20 feet to his death in Session 30.

Blackmoon (L1 Assassin). Total XP: 768. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while stealing treasure from Ferigno's dragon horde in Session 30.

Xanthus (L2 Cleric). Total XP: 2,364. Choked to death by BOB from Twin Peaks while hanging out on the roof of Ferigno's lair in Session 30.

Alexa this is so sad play "The Lonely Man Theme" from "The Incredible Hulk" original television series.

Dubzaron Session 64: Return to the New Badlands (and Operation Muscle Thunder)

Session Played on 07/06/22 and ending on 07/16/22. Actions available again on 07/18/22. Session Report The party was able to secure many tro...