Friday, May 5, 2023

Dubzaron Session 93: The Desperate Battle of Fight 93

they fought gnolls
Happy Friday, everyone. I continued my lazy approach to BROSR style DMing back on 01/28/23 by not even showing up to DM or PC or anything. Personal stuff got in the way and continues to get in the way. Though these days I am running some PCs now and then in Dubzaron and may do some PC Journal style session reports when those sessions come up. Can't wait! 

This session report is by DM JB who is the second (but not last!) co-DM to take the Dubzaron Dungeon Master reigns. I believe this meant DM Brigadine was able to be a PC. Isn't that cool? If you want the best and most effortless campaign, a campaign where players can DM or PC as the needs and moods strike, you need to use BROSR methods like 1:1 Jeffrogaxian time and Patrons. 

I hope you enjoy the session report. I know I did. 

-DM BDubs

Session Report

Hi. I'm JB, the player that runs Daria Vaylas. Since Dubs stepped away I wanted to step up. Daria found a treasure map, so I made a dungeon to explore. This adventure was a good example of patron action generating missions for lower level characters. In this particular case, the depredations of the sorceress queen created a refugee crisis, as Drakon wished to save the lives peasants in threatened domains by evacuating them. I created about 8 pages of rules for handling refugees. Many have landed in Daria's stronghold, Iannavale. Daria is busy curing disease as many have gotten sick from overcrowding. 

Recently, in solo play, Daria found a map to a treasure worth 5d6x1000 gp. Due to many factors, including the refugee crisis, Daria is short on gold, and put out word: adventures who bring the treasure to Iannavale may claim half of it.

On 1.28.23 a group of cleric Baldwinning plus a plus of level 1's took up Daria's offer. They began in Iannavale and spoke to Daria's majordomo, Abacus. (Daria was away on session 91 and 92.)  He loaned then a chain mail armor +2 (2 stone), plus Daria's old light warhose, and 1000 gp for expenses. 

They knew the map the old, but didn't really know why it would be valuable. No one in the party had a way to decipher the writing on it. They just knew it was old and lead to something old.

I was impressed with the shopping the PCs did, but I'll skip that. Travel had a lot of encounters which they easily avoided on light horses. There was one night encounter with 4 Black Dragons which they also managed to avoid. (The dragons were not actually hostile. If there was real charisma based character in the group I would dock him for not parleying. But there wasn't.)

When the PC's arrived at the hex with the lair they did some lair searching in the grasslands. I described this particular bit of grasslands being more like a really large rocky hill. The first thing they found was a pool of water surrounded by a circle of stone, like a miniature "stonehenge." The PCs elected not to approach.

The PCs eventually found the location the map was leading to. The path went up, up, up into a rocky hill and then down so that there were cliffs on either side of the trail. They emerged from the trail into an open valley, about 1/8th of a mile long. Looking northwest, at the far end were 2 sets of cliffs. The first had gentle slopes on the north and south sides. The second cliff was 100 feet sheer and had three stone faces on them with open mouths and tongues sticking out. The middle face was in front of a stone plaza (not visible to the players) with some kind of stone monument in front of it.

The PCs rode towards the first cliff and were surprised by 10 gnolls who fired bows at long range. Braxton the mage was killed in that volley. The PCs were spooked and took off. They spent another hour or two looking for an alternative approach to the valley. I treated this like a lair search with a random chance of finding a trail into the south, west, or north. (They originally entered from the east.) While I grabbed a snack the players planned. When they discovered a trail leading to the southern part of the upper cliff they were thrilled. They assaulted that area.

Unfortunately there were 7 gnolls up there at well. Battle ensured. The players did well with flaming oil and improvised fire arrows. They set a tent on fire which alerted the gnolls on the cliff face below, who begin climbing up a rope ladder while this battle occured. But it also did some extra damage. 

The PCs downed 2 gnolls while taking 1 or 2 losses themselves. The gnolls did a fighting withdrawal. The PCs persued and met the gnolls at the top of the rope ladder, in a semi-circle around the mouth of the stone head. By now the gnolls on the bottom of the cliff heard the commotion and climbed up to assist. There were one or two more rounds of combat. The PCs did well with summoned berserkers but by then half the party was down from arrow fire. 

I had planned that on round 1d8 the elf mage in the stone head would emerge. And so he did on round 7. He destroyed the berserkers with a spell and moved to parley. The PCs used the time to check their fallen comrades. 

Turns out the elf mage really didn't care about the loss of two gnolls. Edit: the PCs will remember after the fact that the gnolls were not happy about this. He asked why the PC's were there and how they found the place. The PCs showed him the map. He asked if anyone knew ancient lore. They did not. He offered the PCs 1000 gp if they would bring someone who did. He revealed there was treasure here because it was the location of an ancient "tollhouse." He did not elaborate further. 

The PC's took the deal and returned to Spen without further incident.


Baldwinning the Crusader Level 2 lawful cleric. Fought bad guys and healed friends: E.

Dante the level 1 Mystic. Used mystical powers to fight worthy enemies: E.

Silas the Infiltrator. Level 1 Neutral Assassin. Failed to infiltrate. When the party returned only an hour or two later, of course the gnolls who were positioned on the top cliff were ready. I gave both sides a bonus to surprise and rolled a 2 for each. I think he could have looked for a still-higher approach to observe the enemy's pattarns or waited to do a nighttime attack or snuck in by himself to assassinate someone or at least observe their patterns or just wait a few days to do give them a false sense of safety. Instead he used himself like a fighter against an opponent that knew he was coming. However, searching for the alternative approach was a good idea. Grade: S.

DM Grade A/F:  I knew the players would search for an alternative approach. I knew they would fight the gnolls. I knew they would take a deal. Does this mean I was really good at planning or does it mean I railroaded the players? I honestly don't know. (The elf mage had a reaction of 9 but I didn't factor prior violence. Looking the rules for diplomacy... if he didn't consider the gnolls to be his friends then his behavior was still within the rules.)

PCs involved:

Baldwinning the Crusader Level 2 lawful cleric.

Silas the Infiltrator. Level 1 Neutral Assassin.

Dante the level 1 Mystic. 

Crowbait level 1 fighter.

Braxton level 1 mage.

Waylon lvl 1 mage neutral.

XP Earned: 

2 Gnolls: 40 xp

0%  13xp      5%  14xp   10%   15xp

1.28.23 - 2.3.23 Total, including rest

1.28. Begin in Iannavale. Talk to Abacus about mission. Get map. Travel to Tem. Do some shopping. Copy map. Leave map in Tem. Travel to Aster. 

1.29. Begin in Aster. Travel to hex 28.37.

1.30. Begin in hex 28.37. Travel to hex 33.33

1.31. Begin in hex 33.33. Travel to hex 33.37. Lair search for 1 hour. Find miniature circle of stones around a small pool.

2.1. Hex 33.37. Lair search for two hours. Wander into gnoll camp. Retreat. Lair search for 2 hours for alternative approach. Attack gnoll camp again. Talk to evil elf wizard.

2.2. Force march to Spen.

2.3. Rest

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