Derik Badman's Journal

Content Tagged "Play Reports"

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2020-03-01 07:47

We had our regular D&D game yesterday, with Ian running the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist book for 5e. So here's what I remember...

We picked up where we left off, with the part in the Yawning Portal Tavern talking to Volo, a well known author who wants us to find his missing friend Floon Blagmar. Volo lets us know a few more things about Floon: he's not that wealthy and doesn't really live in the fancy area of town he uses as an address; he works as an "escort"; he was blackmailing some lord about some kind of indiscretion. We get him to tell us where Floon actually lives (in the Dock ward, not the nice area of town, but thankfully also right near the bar Floon was last seen at). Still tired and wounded from last session's fight we immediately run off to investigate rather than taking any time to rest (this becomes important later).

On the way to Floon's we are detoured by the city watch who have a section of street cordoned off after what appears to be some kind of gang massacre. Closer inspection indicates it's likely a mix of Zhentarim and Xanatharians. (The Zhentarim are like the lawful legitimate business-men gang and the Xanatharians are like the chaotic do whatever the hell they want gang. My character Ludo has a contact with the Zhentarim. I don't believe any of the characters have any contacts with the Xanatharians.)

As we detour we notice a weird shop with a stuffed (as in toy/plushie) beholder in its window and a sign that so "The Old Xoblob Shop". We know it is said that the head of the Xanatharians is a beholder, which tracks with the way they use eyes as symbols, so we go in the shop (or maybe everyone else is just curious, I thought there might be a connection). Everything in the shop is purple, like tons of purple, like obsessive purple. The owner appears to be some kind of goblinoid who is also... purple-y (I think it's a "xvart" which other than being small, purpleish, and into "X"s I recall nothing about). He is Xoblob, or rather Jim but when we took over the store everyone called him that so he just goes by it now. He has a lot of purple crap all over the store. We roll on a table to see what we find. Nottie the gnome buys a purple hat that folds up into a small square of cloth. Ellai the halfling buys a very large tooth that is partially painted purple. Marfaen the Unlucky buys a sequined purple glove (just one). Ludo the thief find an amethyst in the shape of some animal but decides not to spend his money. No obvious connection to the Xanatharians, but we note its location for later and continue on.

Our next stop is where Floon lives, a not very nice 4 unit apartment bulding. We bang on the door a lot and a woman on the second floor sticks her head out the window and starts talking to us. Floon lives below her on the ground floor, no he hasn't been home recently, no she won't let us in to leave a message. Nottie casts charm person on her and succeeds in making friends. The woman, later identified as Petunia, lets Nottie in and they go upstairs to chat. She learns that Petunia saw two well dressed men get ambushed by a group of thugs in the street the other night. The rest of the party, now in the front door (Nottie leaves it unlocked for them), try to get into Floon's door. Ludo critical fails picking the lock and thus breaks it and, thanks to Marfaen's unluck, also slips on some oil and falls down. Ellai tries a crowbar and also fails. Finally two of our sidekicks, gang up and break it open. We've really really ruined Floon's door.

Not much of excitement in Floon's place. A big bed with red sheets, a lot of perfumes and oils, lots of clothes (Ludo steals a nice outfit for himself). In a pocket, someone (I forget how) find a note indicating that someone named "Henrik" paid Floon money for something. Maybe that's the blackmailee. We continue on...

At the Skewered Dragon Inn (a place that oddly has an anchor stuck into its roof), things are lookig pretty rundown. A bunch of guys are drinking and look askance at us. Ludo buys drinks for the party with a big tip for the bartender, Brian O'Brien, and makes friends with him using his contact Yagra's name (this is a Zhentarim bar). He finds out Floon and Volo were here the other night. Volo left. Then Renare Neveremeber, wealthy son of the former, now disgraced, "open lord" (aka mayor) of Waterdeep showed up. He and Floon hang out and leave together. A bunch of Zhentarim followed them out. Brian is nice to enough to indicate they hang out or somehow are involved with a nearby warehouse.

It's now evening so we head to the warehouse under cover of darkness. We find one door and two windows. Marfaen scouts around and finds a larger door in a fence behind which is another large door and a window. Ellai notices a guard passing by in the street. Ludo decides to break in one of the window, jimmies the lock and opens it up. It looks like a warehouse office. Listening at the door into the main room we hear some shuffling around and opening of crates. We open the door and sneak forward, we are on a balcony opening onto the lower storage area. There appear to be a lot of bodies lying around as well as a few bird folk walking around with torches, apparently either looking for something specific or just looting the place. It's not totally clear what happened here.

In case they might be willing to talk, we send Marfaen (highest Charisma) down the stairs to talk, while the rest of us prepare to ambush the bird folks. She basically surprises them, and one immediately raises weapons to attack. We ambush and combat ensues. Ludo kills one right away with his bow. Fawzi hurts one with a dart. Nottie freaks one out with some kind of psychic attack spell. Ludo who was still injured from last combat is hit by an arrow and goes down. Fawzi, ditto and ditto. Someone takes out the second already injured bird folk. The other two surrender. Ludo's sidekick Pip uses her healing to fix him up a bit. Someone else uses medicine to get Fawzi up and about.

The bird folk seem to only talk by parrotiting things they've already heard. This is helpful as we learn that whoever was here kidnapped someone and that they "followed the yellow signs" in the sewers. The bodies appear to be, again, both Zhentarim and Xanatharians. In a closet Marfaen finds a wealthy young man hiding. It's Renare Neverember. He tells us about getting kidnapped with Floon by the Zhentarim, then the Xanatharians showed up and took Floon away, but he thinks it was mistaken identity and really they were after Renare. Apparently, Renare's father (former mayor) supposedly stole a lot of money ("dragons" the coin of the city) and there's some kind of artifact called the "Stone of Galor" that can be used to find the treasure, but... the stone had gone missing (the Xanatharians had it and lost it?)... So... Floon is in trouble cause he's not the right kidnappee and he's been taken to the sewers by a vicious gang.

We also find a secret door hiding some paintings and silver bars (we try to take them). At this point we also hear someone breaking down the door upstairs. We try to flee but the window is jammed shut and it sounds like there are people outside the other doors. A bunch of city guards show up, none to happy. Captain Bob Staggett of the city guard seems ready to arrest us until Renare uses his upper class credentials to get us off the hook, since we rescued him. Staggett gives us a strong warning and also a list of laws and punishments (yikes!). Somehow in here we here the name "Erstal Floxin" who is a Zhentarim somehow involved with... the warehouse? Or the kidnapping or something.

Outside we ask Renare about the sewers, he points out a nearby entrance, which, on closer inspection, was recently opened and not closed fully. We decide that's our next avenue but first we all go home, rest, and then meetup back at the Yawning Portal. Durnan tries to get Ludo to admit their secret mission. He does not.

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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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