Session was played on 01/12/22 with PCs adventuring for 10 days. Needing 1 day of rest, PCs can adventure and make downtime requests on and after 01/24/22.
Session ReportTreasure Map that led to where it (and other treasure) was found.
I point this all out to show one positive way that Patrons impact player decisions. If the Patron hadn't acquired and sold the PCs that treasure map then Session 38 would have been totally different. The Patron essentially created a hook. Saving me the trouble of making me one.
Additionally, the PC's goal this session, as far as I could gather, was to meet with Legate Victir of Turos Luin (NPC Domain ruler and Fighter level ???) about a mission he had. Said mission was to kill, capture, or recon a lizardman chief called The Scaled King (Patron Lizardman) who had recently given him and Turos Quelle trouble. Legate Victir is an NPC but his hook was created directly from responses to the action of the Scaled King Patron guy.
It took the party a few days to get to Turos Tem where they met up with Legate Acastus (Patron domain ruler and Fighter level ???). They were curious to get a sense of the new-ish Patron and how things were going in Turos Tem since the Desolation.
As I laid out in my Essential Guide to Patron Play, the DM will need to roleplay the Patron character as an NPC if the PCs meet with him during session play. And that's just what I did. The guy was effete with a bit or rouge and refused to entreat with any PCs of the cloth (Clerics, BladeDancers, Paladins etc). Suffice it to say the PCs found this odd indeed. Coupled with the fact that Acastus has failed to rebuild the Temple since the Desolation of Turos Tem and PCs certainly had their concerns about the guy.
Even so, Acastus was pretty forthcoming about recent events and his thoughts on Legate Victir of Turos Luin; calling him a bit of a warmonger but otherwise quite polite and helpful.
The rumor mill by this time had the following going around: "The Scaled King came from the Viamir Marshes after darkness fell on 01/11/22 with over 600 troops of lizardmen, skeletons, and some vampires and quickly overwhelmed the garrison of Turos Quell. Peasants report the Scaled King intends to occupy the Legature and has commanded the peasants to fall in line under his new rule."
PCs were shocked. Since the session proper started on 01/12/22 I decided this info wouldn't have become common knowledge around the region yet. But they didn't arrive in Turos Luin until 01/17/22, six days later, after Turos Quell was captured. So I reasoned they would actually hear about this major Patron action mid session!
This is how Patron play changes everything. Prior to learning about this PCs were discussing how they might go scout out the swamp and the Scaled King's village. They've been wanting to hit this location for a while since they believe it's where Dairin the Mage (Deceased Patron Mage Level ???) lost treasure is.
But now it's rumored the lizardman chief has 600 or more warriors under his charge. Including undead and vampires (???). Needless to say the Players blew up the mic with what they should do with this information. Should they continue with their original goal? Adjust the goal? Or scrap the whole thing?
I got a drink.
One of the more interesting things I heard them discuss was if the situation at Turos Quell and the Scaled King was even their problem. "Maybe we just leave it alone and let other Patrons or NPCs handle it. Go find a random lair to loot." Things like that.
I don't entirely disagree. As I've written before I don't think the PCs are really the rivals of Evil Patrons. The Good Patrons are rivals of Evil Patrons. And their clash to titans warfare and schemes play out in the background of PC session actions. With that said, of course, the PCs are the sorts of dudes all Patrons may look to hire on for extra help with schemes Patrons deem them suitable for.
So the PCs left Turos Luin with the plan to go to Siadanos to end the session so they'd be in position to think about in what way they may want to help with the Scaled King threat, if at all.
During the first day out from Turos Luin en route to Siadanos, they were attacked by a 12 headed hydra. Oh no they're doomed, right?!
The randomly rolled encounter distance put the creature like 300 yards away from the PCs. Meaning the angry hydra was angry enough to charge at the group to attack but it would be about 5 combat rounds before he got close enough to strike. The PCs came up with a pretty good plan where Marn (PC Mage Level 3) cast Wall of Smoke so BriarWhisper (PC Elven Ranger level 4) and many other bowmen could get attacks safely off from behind the smoke (allowing some to get Sniping damage due to being hidden). Additionally, many of the other PCs picked up their rarely used bows and let loose.
The hydra was dead before it could cross the field and get into melee with PCs. [EDIT: Players have corrected me to point at that Timur (PC Barbarian Level 2) made a successful melee killing blow on the hydra. EDIT 2: Gaius says it was actually Gaius who killed the thing. Which would be a challenge since he wasn't in the session.) One player said that the battle was like Pickett's Charge but the good guys won.
Because my players are #Elite they immediately wanted to know if there were a Lair nearby. In Adventurer Conqueror King System, and most TSR era versions and retroclones of D&D, Lairs are where the big treasure is kept.
My system for determining an answer to this question (because it always comes up) is to roll another Lair percentage check if the adventuring group can successfully Track. If this hits then the distance to the Lair is around 1 hex (6 mile hexes are used) per 1,000 GP of average treasure on the creature's treasure chart. ACKS gives an average number for each treasure category. Lastly, I require PCs needing to make another successful Track check each day of following the tracks or they lose the tracks or maybe they then realize there actually isn't a Lair for this monster and he was truly wandering.
Laru (PC Thief level 4) killed a water hydra for Legate Drakon a couple months back during downtime and he was telling the other adventurers all about the piles of treasure that are to be found in such a creature's lair. They were hyped to find it so off into the Lusaun Forest they went, following its tracks.
Unfortunately on day 2 of tracking to the Hydra's Lair they failed to make a successful check, meaning they lost the tracks. The decided to cut their losses and head through the forest northwest towards Siadanos and wrap for the night. But at the start of day 3 in the forest they realized they were lost. And they lost a day trying to get found again. Eventually they were well on their way to exiting the Lusaun Forest and getting to Siadanos to call it a night and end the session. But the dreaded manbearpigs attacked them during the last night of camping in the forest!
I think BriarWhisper and his elf crew were on watch, if I remember correctly, and were able to get some shots off on the bugbears before they converged on the party. Some were downs. Once the bugbears got into melee with the party they killed a handful of light cavalrymen and were threatening to put some PCs down. No PCs or henchmen fell, however, since the bugbears' morale broke and they decided to do a fighting retreat. The sub-chief leading them didn't want to retreat but he backed away with his crew.
|it was a super serious fight|
But little did the sub-chief realize that Laru and 5X (hench to Laru, Thief Level 1) used the confusion of the battle and the shadowy wood to get into a Backstab position. The subchief was shook after the two thieves let loose on him, but survived. BriarWhisper shot an arrow into the fray with Precise Shot and put him down.
At this point the bugbears went on full retreat. Players decided they wanted to run every one of them down. But killing the bugbears was a slow process and it was getting very late. I asked the Caller if he'd simply send the remaining Light Cavalarymen to ride them down and let me make a single d20 roll to see if the cavalry destroyed them. This is a mass combat rule from ACKS Domains at War.
Success. The Cavalry ran down all the manbearpigs and killed them all. Daria (PC BladeDancer Level 5) was discussing whether the party should then try to Track back to the bugbears Lair but I reminded them that beastmen lairs are villages with many warbands. There's likely be this many bugbears there or even 5 or 8 times more. Players decided against it.
They eventually gathered up all the little treasure the bugbears had and exited the Lusaun Forest and made their way to Siadanos for the first time in months, staying there to end the session.
Much of my session report above is really about Patron actions. The Patrons have been BUSY. Their actions and the consequences are very important to the campaign state and the sorts of things the PCs want to do session to session.
But I'd like to explore the PCs thoughts in this afterword.
One player pointed out that since Session 35: Elves in Vegas, the party has been very good about "minimizing our losses and maximizing our collective gains". To me this is the sort of thing PC play is really about in TSR era D&D, and certainly #brosr D&D. But it often takes time for a group of players to be able to see where the worthy risks and winnable rewards are hidden. I will agree that this group has gained a certain wisdom about this and the rewards have been steady for a while.
Another player mentioned that the hydra and bugbear fights were mirrors of eachother. "Both were near hits in opposite directions [...] in the first we totally trounced the hydra without loss [but] failed to find its lair after multiple, multiple attempts. In the second we were totally trounced by the bugbears and all could have easily died. But a lucky morale roll went our way instead and we survived."
That is honestly how this sort of gaming goes. The most important rolls were not the attacks on the monsters but the handful of d20 rolls that were used to track to the hydra's lair. Losing that meant losing he possibility of thousands of gold (and thus XP). Similarly the morale check(s) for the bugbears was more important than any single spell cast or attack made during the battle.
Surviving PCs Present
BriarWhisper: (5% bonus): Elven Ranger Level 4. XP gained 368. Total: 14,340
Daria (Lawful) (0% XP bonus): BladeDancer Level 5. XP gained 350. Total: 17,689
Laru (5% bonus): Thief Level 4. XP gained 368. Total: 7,752
Marn (Neutral) (10% XP bonus): Mage Level 3. XP gained 385. Total: 8,651
Timur (Neutral) (10% xp bonus): Barbarian Level 2. XP gained 385. Total: 4,053
Surviving Hench Present
Surefoot (hench horse to BriarWhisper), ShadowFeather (hench Owl to BriarWhisper)
MistWeaver (hench to Briarwhisper, Spellsword Level 1)
Raven (hench to BriarWhisper, Elven Ranger leveled up to 2 during this session)
Jane (hench to Daria, Cleric level 3)
5x (hench to Laru, Thief level 1)
Maro (hench to Laru, Mage level 1)
Zaidu (hench to Laru, Bard 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.
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.
Lord Zyklon (L1 Elven Spellsword). Total XP: 0. LORD ZYKLON DISEMBOWLED LORD ZYKLON upon finding himself on the losing side of the Desolation of Turos Tem.
Turin (L1 Cleric). Total XP: 0. Eaten by Wargs in Session 32.
Rat Face (L2 Thief) Total XP: 1,577. Seemingly grabbed in the dark by a Xenomorph in Session 36. In a sinkhole your party can hear you scream!
Smarticus (L1 Mage) Total XP: 0. Captured by a Xenomorph in Session 36 for all the party to witness. Taken deep into a sinkhole.
Hearticus (L1 Cleric) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 after projectile vomiting all over himself from the stink of sewer sludge.
Mickey Mouser (L1 Thief) Total XP: 0. Gored to death by giant horned beetles in Session 39 in the happiest place on earth: the Cyfaraun sewer!
Aenes (Level 1 Paladin) Total XP: 62. Swarmed by giant flies in the sewer beneath Cyfaraun in Session 40.
Alexa this is so sad play anything by old Hank