Derik Badman's Journal

Content Tagged "Play Reports"

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2020-01-14 07:10

We started _Waterdeep: Dragon Heist_ on Saturday with Ian DMing. As is traditional, the party started in a tavern, The Yawning Portal, one famous in Waterdeep mostly, I guess, because it has a big hole like a well in the middle of it that leads down to a dungeon beneath the city, the Undermountain. We were all there sitting around a big table to watching a celebratory send-off for a party of brave adventurers going down into the portal.

We all introduce our characters since this was the first session.

Mine is Ludo Travers, a quarter-orc rogue from the city itself he likes the finer things in life and is in love with an equestrian named Annaliese. He's uncomfortable about being kind of ugly cuz he's partial orc.

We also had Marfaen Grimm, a human woman, who had some kind of tragic child story and is now somehow cursed by spirits. That's Eric playing some kind of non-standard class called a Malefactor.

Bimpnottin "Nottie" Sniggleboom (a.k.a. Pimpbutton Snuggleboom) is a gnome who loves children, blowing things up, and working in a toy store. She is also a bard who plays the ocarina. She was very enthusiastic.

The half-elf monk, Fawzi Greynore, had come to the city searching for the fulfillment she could not get at the monastery where she had been living and studying.

And finally, a halfling druid, Ellai Rickzer, who was also from the city and had lots of siblings.

After introductions we watched the party go down into the portal. Not long after, a commotion started nearby as a bald headed dude with eyes tattooed on his head started a fist fight with a half-orc woman. He was backed up by four other guys. Ludo recognized his contact Yagra, so he leapt in to assist, stabbing the bald man once. A fight began. Ludo ended up stabbing one of the other brawlers, critically hitting, and killing him. Nottie cast a spell, some kind of thunderwave, that shot forward hurting both Ludo (ouch!) and some of the other brawlers, knocking at least one over, and killing another (or maybe the same one). Others in the party held back and observed. After another round a loud animal-like noise erupted out of the pit in the middle of the room and a large troll crawled out, holding a detached human arm wearing the same clothes as one of the adventurers that just went down the hole. Attached to the troll were a few stirges along for the ride.

This new arrival caused true chaos to erupt as much of the clientele fled the scene. This also caused more of the party to become engaged in the combat. The druid cast entangle which sprang up weedy growth around the troll and a few of the brawlers helpfully holding them in place for a time, giving everyone else the advantage of location and movement.

I forget all the order of what happened but one of the stirges killed one of the brawlers, and the remaining one ran away. The unlucky party member ran outside to get the attention of the city watch, who merely observed until the troll was dead, then arrested Yagra and her bald-headed opponent, who was pretty badly hurt by that point. Durnan, the proprietor of the tavern and a former adventurer, leapt from behind the bar with a greatsword and engaged the troll, doing significant damage to it, aided by a number of party members, mostly using missile weapons like thrown daggers. The final blow was struck by the gnome critically hitting with a thrown dagger, getting the troll in the eye and taking him down.

So we ended up killing two guys pretty quickly despite having a conversation before play about how doing that in the city was a bad idea because you'd get arrested. Thankfully the troll's arrival seems to have wiped away that issue, as we could just blame the troll and stirges.

Durnan thanked us for the assist, and back in our seats we were approached by a flamboyant man named Volo. Most everyone knows Volo because is famous for writing travel guides (over the years the publishers of D&D have published a few books with titles that begin "Volo's Guide to..."). He hired us to find his missing friend Floon. Volo and Floon had been drinking (and gambling) at The Skewered Dragon the other night and since then Floon has not been seen. Volo provided little in the way of leads or clues, but he's paid us 10gp each up front with 100gp each when the job is done, and it never hurts to help a famous guy who writes books.

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2019-12-09 08:48

Sunday we had our in person session. I continued running _The Cursed Chateau_ which [we started back in October](/entries/2019-10-27-09:01), uses the "we'll make up the characters as we go" method, which isn't turning out too bad, except in the first combat everyone basically had to figure out a number of attributes, so it probably would have been faster to decide some of those all at once in the beginning anyway. I guess it really wasn't much of a time saver. Maybe if we had at least just rolled attributes before starting.

The party had just entered the chateau and moved into a covered walkway at the back of the middle wing of the house. Three armchairs and two armoires animate and attack and that combat took way too long for how unimportant it was. There were some good ideas from the players, though, like sitting on the chairs and riding them like bucking broncos, or pushing over the armoires into an oil puddle on the floor and lighting it up. After awhile I not so subtle suggested that running away is always an option (this group has never really done that), so they moved out of the walkway, which causes the furniture to stop attacking.

The actress PC spied into the kitchen and saw the two servants in there, but did not enter. The party went up the stairs (it was a literal toss-up to decide on going up or down). In the library they met one of the insubstantial maids, and the dashing lord swashbuckler PC at least helped her in tidying up the place a bit. The maid was also questioned a bit, and the party did learn that the master bedroom is in the west wing of the house (they were in the east wing). They also learned that the master has other books in the study, after searching for anything of interest in this room. Someone thought to look for a family bible, which seemed like a logical thing, so I left them find that and discover how the current lord's parents had died when he was very young.

Crossing over to the southern wing, lookig for a way to the west they found the winter dining room, wherein one of the footmen was found. He offered to show them somewhere, but instead they convinced him the staff in the kitchen needed his attention. The next room to the west was a gallery overlooking the main dining hall. A dessicated corpse stood in front of a stained glass window. The dragoon captain looked at the window and managed to pass a save against its (unknown to them) magic (which was disappointing as the results could be pretty hilarious). The nun used her sling to break the window.

At a dead end for getting west, the party went back downstairs and tried the room below the winter dining room, this time a servant's quarters of some kind, empty of any inhabitant at the time. The next room over was the pantry, wherein one of the other maids, this was looking very ghoulish and crazy, was looking for... something... the party directed her one direction, she went the other.

The combat took up too much of the time. The random table you roll on when the party enters each room is... often pointless. Little things that have no significance, don't add much to the atmosphere, and have no real interaction to them. At least once it actually came up with one of the servants (all the other cases were ones where the servant was in a specific room x% of the time). But in all cases the servants disposition and interaction was pretty clear, which goes against the adventure's instructions about how the servants disposition should be randomly decided with a reaction roll. Maybe I was just finding specific ones that contradicted that.

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2019-11-17 07:41

The party: - Toadvine (my character), half-skorn (beastman) scribe specializing in animal lore with a crossbow and a scroll of sleep. (An uncharacteristically super smart but very weak beastman.) - Rohanna, a former shield maiden cultist, some kind of northern viking-like race worshipping a goddess, with a big shield, a battle-ax, some healing magic, and a desire to make her goddess happy by dancing and saying appropriate things. (Cultist is the ruleset's cleric.) - Arlen, a dwarf monk with a desire to vote for everything and fast feet who likes to talk to cats. (My impression is the monk is basically the classic D&D unarmed fighting monk.) - Dak, a human monk with a staff and a good length of rope.

We decided the monks knew each other from the monastery in Crow's Keep the city we started in. Rohanna and Toadvine met on the way to the city (both being from elsewhere), and Toadvine and Arlen met because they were both talking to the same cat.

The party was hired by the captain of the Hunter's Guild, Jaspar Hammond, to take supplies and head west into the Forest of Drellnor to ascertain if a party of 12 hunter's sent in search of "Big Beak" a giant owlbear were still alive and bring some kind of proof either way. If we wanted to return with Big Beak's head there'd be even more money in it for us.

The first day on the trail we heard an awful, moist chewing sound coming from ahead. The 2 monks scouted ahead (being skilled in Stealth) to discover a bear carcass being eaten by some kind of centipede creature. We circumnavigated that clearing and continued on, eventually noticing a man-made structure ahead. Once again the monks scouted ahead finding a small farmstead with a human who looked a lot like a hunter standing guard at the dilapitated gate.

Arlen revealed himself and talked to the man, explaining our mission. He let us into the yard. We met 6 men, all from the Hunting Guild. Toadvine, found all their names in his list of the hunter's we were trying to find. They told us about going to Big Beak's lair (a cave), getting surprised and that 6 of their comrades were killed by the owlbear. All that were left were men (and one wonders if that was a coincidence). We have supplies for the hunters and it is late, so they offer to let us stay.

The hunters say they are going back first thing in the morning to the owlbear's lair. Their plan seems to be "go at dawn, attack it." That makes us suspicious. Toadvine suggests getting in trees and just shooting at the thing from a distance. (Do owlbear's climb trees? We think it'd be too big.) The hunter leader seems uninterested in making plans. Like he just wants to run in.

Rohanna and Toadvine are both very suspicious. We try to get the leader to tell us what the hell is going on and what he is not telling us. He demures. The hunter's go into the one building to make dinner. The party investigates the other buildings. An empty chicken coop, a smoke house (recently used, containing some vittles), a house with a hole in the roof being used as sleeping space by the hunters. (For some reason we do not dig around in their belongings looking for clues. At this point it just seemed like maybe something had gone wrong and they were embarrassed or... they were just bad at hunting owlbears...)

We end up having dinner with the hunters, talking to them a bit. Rohanna charms one of the fellas, and he seems kind of freaked out about his colleagues' deaths, saying he didn't really see it. She convinces one or two of them to dance. Toadvine questions hunters about owlbear information and convinces two of them that owlbears get scared if you bark at them like dogs (this was either a morale booster or a cruel joke, I'm not sure which).

Arlen notices another room (down a hallway... never did figure out if there were other rooms, implied by the presence of a hallway), that has been used for dressing meat (maybe those little white chef hat looking things that you see on the legs of roasted turkeys in old cartoons). In the corner is a satchel, inside of which is a weird knife, two-pronged, made of cold iron (good for fighting demons and undead) and a black gem in it. Arlen being a dwarf obsessed with valuables decides "finder's keepers" and pockets it.

Later, we decide to bunk in the chicken coop. We investigate the knife and discuss our suspicions. Rohanna decides to take a watch shift outside (the other shifts being taken by hunters), and the rest of the party keeps their own watch inside the coop (still being suspicious these hunter's might decide to kill us in our sleep).

During Rohanna's watch (coincidence?) she identifies a humanoid with an unusual gait outside the stead (pause as DM walks, dragging one feet behind him across the room and back). The humanoid is circling around the yard. Rohanna warns... Arlen (I think?) who was on watch inside, and the rest of the party awakens.

Rohanna and Arlen head out of the yard to follow the traces of the humanoid, while Toadvine and Dak stay in the yard. Toadvine readies his crossbow. The humanoid comes into the yard and slips into the smokehouse. We block him in, and Arlen and Rohanna go in.

It's... an injured hunter!?!? He's scared. He appears to be stealing meat. He is suspicous of the two-pronged knife, and he's scared of the other hunters. Having expected something bad, we all quickly agree to follow him out of the yard and talk further away.

In the forest he explains his side of the story, which somehow involves the leader of the hunting party deciding to kill half the party with the weird knife and take their hearts for some nefarious purpose. Despite otherwise being suspicious of everyone we all just agree this guy seems to be truthful. Rohanna heals the guy, Farek(?), with her magic so he can walk better and we all head as quickly as possible back towards the city (unclear at this point whether we actually had our supplies with us or left them back at the coop).

As we walk most of us hear the sound of a large creature swiftly approaching. We ready weapons and a very large owlbear ("Big Beak" obv.) rushes in to attack. There is fighting, there is wounding, there is the danger the owlbear will owlbear-hug and completely crush someone.

Dak (I kept wanting it to be Dax like in Deep Space Nine) saves the day on that accord, by using his rope to lasso the owlbear's one paw/arm. He runs around a tree to keep the thing in place. With only one arm to use, the owlbear is slightly less dangerous to the melee combatants: Arlen and Rohanna. Toadvine keeps a distance using his crossbow to shoot (effectively), and Farek shoots his bow (not very effectively, as I recall). After a few rounds, Rohanna also attempts to rope the owlbear's other paw/arm. She manages to lasso it but fights against its massive strength unable to pin it. Eventually the owlbear is killed by a crossbow bolt to its femoral artery. It falls. We take the head (our proof) and continue rushing back to the city.

The Hunter's Guild captain takes Farek's and our story as truth and sends out a large party to find the remaining hunter's. We split our 600gp reward and go party, sleep, repeat.

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