This session took place on 11/15/23 through 11/16/23 needing one day of rest on 11/17/23 can take actions 11/18/23.
Norton L1 Thief (Neutral),
Trabajo L2 Florida Man (Neutral)
Tuck L5(6) Barbarian (Neutral)
Standing Mountain: Indian Jones (L2 Explorer), Red Sky (L3 Mage)
Tuck: Duck (?), Kanyezeus (?)
XP For Kills: 0
XP For Treasure: 9,000
XP For Magic Items: 4,438
Total Cuts: 12
PC Cut: 2,240 xp
Hench Cut: 1,120 xp
The players surprised me a bit tonight by having memed up a hook for themselves in downtime. They used some random encounters that happened during their city or wilderness downtime play and also did some rumormongering. The latter is where Dubzaron's game theory and shared "OUR campaign" world comes into effect likely more than the other (inferior) #brosr campaigns currently running.
I long ago encouraged players to collect rumors during downtime. Players asked for this in like session 2 downtime play and I obliged.
But found I never had enough good ideas or time to deliver the worldbuilding to the downtime rumormongering player every single time they asked. So I instead created a rumor "stacking" system wherein 2 or 3 rumors could be put together and the players themselves could tell me the general theme or crux of the rumor. In this way they are creating game world content and hooks for themselves that I then flesh out during session play.
The hook/rumor today was very, very stupid. "Well you see, Dubs, we learned of a weed farm in the swamp mountains which is drowning the market of Fishton with weed. We want to go check it out." uh ok? "Oh and Drakon offered us 5,000 gp to get him a meeting with the leader of the weed plantation. The guys name is uh Marijuanaman. Elves are probably involved." I facepalmed.
So as you might imagine the players can use my rumormongering meme system to exploit the game a bit. So far this sort of exploitation hasn't been too egregious. I feel this particular hook wasn't an exploit since, in session, I'd be creating what exactly is at the point of interest (POI) in session as my brainstorming and zeroprep mastery came to me, as shaded by the random encounter rolls I was making.
So how did I take this really stupid hook and spin it into gold? First I determined if elves were actually involved. Most peasants etc in my campaign world think elves are the fault of everything from cosmic war to a hangnail so I always give a chance elves simply aren't the problem; just blamed. I rolled like 50/50 and the dice told me "no elves". Ok. Next I needed to figure out who this Marijuanaman is.
Recently I realized that I am pretty terrible at classed NPC tactics and strategy. My DM skill leans towards really fast world building and rulings; not tactics. When I PC I tend to avoid martial characters most especially those who are going to lead troops, because my taste and skill doesn't lean towards positioning and battle planning. So I went to the ACKS discord and asked all the guys in the #poplarcrowd there if they had some PCs rolled up that I could place in a sort of rogues gallery for myself. A quick paragraph about the goals and tactics of the PC would really help me, as well. ACKSbros tend to spend alot of time building PCs and considering how all their class skills and equipment might be best used to own in a battle. One such ACKSbro, the fellow who ran the Scaled King patron about a year back, reached out to me and dropped me like 9 NPCs, including their main retainers, goals and most common tactic/strategies. Amazing stuff!
One such NPC was a Beserker dude named Kushta. I renamed the guy Kush to align with the really dumb "weed lmao" hook and started building Kush's plantation POI as the PCs adventured out to his location. Each time the players were debating what to do about a random wilderness encounter I was drawing up Kush's plantation and rolling to see what manpower and resources he'd have on hand. This is how you do zeroprep and don't waste the players time (although most dnd pcs deserve their time wasted; the "bejewled" loving, twitt3r scrolling, work call taking, smoke break announcing, che3toh stained, half inebriated, goofs).
During the travel south into the swamp mountains, the PCs encountered a whistling wind which spoke to Standing Mountain via telepathy and demaned he surrender a magic item to this wind "or you will die". It started with Standing Mountain because he and his henchmen were flying on the backs of giant hawks in the sky. Standing Mountain said "no" and I rolled reaction check: the thing (whatever it was) didn't become hostile. It then went to each leveled PC who had a magic item and made the same demand. Amazingly for the PCs I rolled no Hostile reaction check upon each denial to surrender magic items. The dice were in the PCs' favor tonight and that trend would mostly hold as you'll see.
Next they came upon some Weed Giants (tanned with dreadlocks) who were lost in the mountains trying to make their way back to Kush's plantation. I decided they were lost because they were Surprised by the PCs and had a generally positive reaction roll. The party approached and Standing Mountain spoke Giant and was able to talk with Cheech and Chong as giants.
"yooo man" they said "we're looking for Kush's place". "You mean Marijuanuaman?" "whooooa bro don't call him that he hates that name, you gotta kill him Kush"
And on the stupid dialogue and weed (lmao man) went until the final word was the 2 Weed Giants agreed to accompany the party to Kush's plantation and fight by their side along the way. Trabajo was really playing up his Floridaman class, being very excited to score some sweet illicit substances as soon as possible. His excitement and elaboration of his PC really helped me jump into the themes and feel of this stupid hook. Excellent PC play!
They came upon the plantation some hours later. I described it as a sheet metal pieces built into tree trunks and such to surround a plantation of weed of about idk like 3 to 5 acres. There wasn't really a defensible gate, per se, but there were some jutlanders (nordic sorts of barbaric dudes) standing at a makeshift gate at ground level. They had a weed giant with an iron collar nearby who looked half out of it staring at his hands and giggling to himself.
The party approached the gate and I rolled an atrocious reaction check which colored most of the rest of the session. These barbaric dudes knew exactly who Tuck the barbarian was and had zero respect with him.
Tuck was digging that his own people were controlling this plantation and decided he'd lead the parley. Well the guards, the main one get named Heinlan or something like that by the players, was clowning on Tuck the whole time. Calling him an oathbreaker, a coward, and my personal favorite (since Tuck is the mayor of Fishton under Queen Edelweiss of Fish City) called him a Broad Obeyer.
Tuck was exasperated and threatened the men at the gate who admitted "sure we'd probably die but we'd go to Valhalla and you'd go back to the Longhouse" or other similar jokes I can't exactly remember.
When asked if the party could meet with Kush, Heinlan and co said "maybe in a few days". During all this Norton the thief snuck into the plantation and was scoping the place out; determining how many buildings, what the troop numbers looked like, and such. He also copped a few loads of product into Standing Mountain's bag of holding. Norton also saw a tiger and a witch type lady in tiger skins in the makeshift mead hall in the center of the place. There were also more weed giants and about 30 fighting men.
The party went back into the wilderness to stew and develop a plan. The main point of contention is Tuck wanted to burn the place down because he was so mad at the gate guards. Norton and Standing Mountain were not into this because they didn't see the profit. Drakon wouldn't pay them for a meeting with a guy who no longer had a taxable resource. And if the plantation was destroyed they, the PCs, couldn't exploit it for their town of Fishton (Tuck is the mayor, remember).
The eventual plan was to send someone back to Fishton to fetch Tuck's army and they were working on that until Kush, a weed giant, and like 5 fighting men barbarians came out to parley with Tuck and co.
I really enjoyed this NPC. Probably my favorite all year.
"Tuck Oathbreaker, there is no reason for us to war. I would perhaps lose but you would take great losses. None of us would gain anything. Do not send for your troops as you, nor the elf you send to fetch them, will survive the trip back to Fishton."
Tuck made some comment about how Kush somehow spied on them and their plan and Kush called him gh33y.
"I have no interest in dealing with Drakon. I have made oaths to the dark gods and Kaleth of the bloodshot eye in particular and Drakon would not abide me to live. In death I'd be unable to flood Fishton with my devil weed and make a foothold for Chaos in your city. I propose you tax my product coming into Fishton instead."
Tuck threatened and blustered some more about how he'd easily kill Kush and how he (Tuck) had killed the chaos demon CTaylor (the Dubzaron verson of Cthulu mixed with Tayl0r Sw1ft which played out a couple months back before she destroyed Fishton).
"I know you attacked Lamalla and Cthaylor and I am not impressed. They are not dead as chaos will never be killed. I will find a way to wake Cthaylor and she and her swifties will kill you one day."
And on it went with Kush talking absolute mad junk on Tuck who did not demand satisfaction. The main roleplay element I leaned on was Kush making oaths to the chaos gods (as Chaotic alignment) and Tuck having made no oaths (as neutral alignment). Eventually there was an agreement made that Tuck would take 50% of the profit for the weed trade coming into Fishton and Kush suggested the party come into the mead hall to celebrate.
So, a chaotic aligned carouse is a bit, lets say "gross". It proved too much for most of the neutral aligned party. Debauchery and drunkness commenced. Kush and Tuck stayed mostly sober and kept eyes on another in case of betrayal. Trabajo hit the b0ng the weed giants were hitting and was shaking on the floor. The main thing that give PCs the ick was an adult Black Dragon showed up and the chaotic revelers were getting quite personal with it. Gross and terrifying in equal measure. Perhaps Kush was not exagerating that he was more powerful than Tuck believed?
Norton meanwhile had Invisibility cast on him from Standing Mountain and had snuck into the back rooms of the mead hall to burgle the place. This took up most of the remaining session time. Despite being a level 1 thief he was rolling very well; doing the following:
-picking a locked door into Kush's harem
-sneaking past the trollops therein into the back bedroom
-finding a secret door into a treasure room under the bed
-finding and removing a trap on a chest
He had grabbed up a footlocker at the base of the master bed when a secret door to the outside wall opened and Kush's witch came in. Norton successfully put the footlocker back in place without making enough noise to be noticed which likely saved his life. One might realize that you can't hide from a suspicious witch with invisibility. But she didn't become suspicious and instead went into the h4rem in the next room over.
Norton got down to Kush's secret treasury and scooped ALL his treasure into Standing Mountain's bag of holding, then escaped to the outside via secret door. He went and found the party and advised they get out of dodge before the missing treasure was noticed.
At this point I rolled a reaction to see if Kush would become suspicious of Tuck leaving the party suddenly (yes) and if he'd get his men together to pursue (maybe). On the trip home in the middle of the night I checked to see if the party got lost trekking over about 10 miles of swamp mountains (no), if they had any hostile encounters (no).
Then I was checking some stuff with possible pursuit from Kush. To my chagrin Kush either decided not to pursue or failed to catch up to or find the party. They successfully burgled much of his treasure.
Will he take revenge? Can he take revenge? This is the type of dynamic situation which BROSR campaigns are deservedly known for. I have some ideas about what might happen. You need to keep in mind that Kush is chaotic and likely very angry indeed. He has some weed giants, some fighting men, a witch, a black dragon, and a bad attitude.
But Tuck is in a town and has walls to protect him, other PCs watching out for him, and the threat of telling super Lawful Drakon about a Chaotic VIP a week or so outside his empire. Will Drakon care if he did? Fishton are decidedly Neutral lands.
Oh and don't forget about Cthaylor under the river just near Fishton. Could she have a part to play in all this? Will Travis Kelce be involved? Find out next time!
PC Class Grades and Thoughts
Norton L1 Thief (Neutral): E for Excellent. Despite being level one he was able to do the exact things an appendix n thief should do; burgle people, lie and cheat.
Standing Mountain L4 Elven Spellsword (Neutral): E for excellent. While he didn't really get into battle or clammer for it, he did use spells to great effect and reacted to the magic wind situation in a very elfy blase way.
Trabajo L2 Florida Man (Neutral): E for Excellent. He was chasing substances, asking to help with field work, and even (at the party) landed a beautiful mid amiga to call his own.
Tuck L5(6) Barbarian (Neutral): F for Fair. Gygax defines this grade as "more norm than deviations" but it would be worse than S (superior) for "deviations minimal but noted". Tuck's refusal to demand a duel or nigh immediate attack for all the times he was disrespected by fellow jutlanders is way outside of anyone's conception of a barbarian. You'd be unable to find an Appendix N or adjacent story where a barbarian sort of fellow allowed more than one or two insults before he simply attacked or (if more a calm and thoughtful) demanded a duel or somesuch. Conan would not put up with that, Skafloc would not put up with that, none of the 13 warriors would put up with that.