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Dungeon Mastering By Dummies

Seventeen & Eighteen

by NotYetMousse
Aug 31,2005

 

Seventeenth Session

Jaj frees his owl during their training, and the party check their collective pockets for the gold left by the invisible creature. Each of them had assumed another to have taken the gold, thus walking out without a single coin.

Jaj's player wanted a better familiar. He didn't qualify yet, but he'd been bribing me so I allowed him to take it early. I said he could have his new pet soon as the training montage was over. He wanted to role play finding his new familiar. Let's see how this turns out.

The previous session one of the players decided to cash in a hand full of treasure cards, causing a normal monster that gives nothing to give obscene amounts of treasure that shamed their combined previous funds. Fortunately for me, none of them remembered to take it, allowing the various forest critters to bling out their claws and live the studio gangster lifestyle.

No one noticed the lack of funds till I'd mentioned it some time later, even though I made sure to mention the unusual crunching of metal beneath their feet as they left the forest.

Winter having set in, the party decides to 'stay home' till it thaws. Hikaru spends her time zealously cleaning the entire temple, Thomas does his clerical duties, taking donations seeming to be chief among them, and Jaj spends most of his time in the kitchen assisting the chef in cooking (his specialty being making shaved ice).

I asked each of the players what they would be doing as part of their training. Hikaru's player actually detailed this more than I will, possibly because he watches so much feudal period anime. Thomas's player states likewise, though less verbose, and using a fortune card had managed to make some money at the same time.

Jaj, however, decides that his class doesn't need to train and wants to go out on his own. It took about five minutes, and some blunt trauma, but he realized that even if his magic were a 'natural talent' that it doesn't get better just by saying so.

THOMAS!!!

This bellow can be heard throughout the temple, and most of Rivertucky. Jacob quickly runs to Thomas' quarters and tells him that his party have been 'requested' by Dominicous.

If you've ever watched TV you'll know what's coming up next. I know I should be ashamed, but I'm not. I just couldn't resist the obvious gag.

The trio enter Dominicous' office, seemingly unoccupied, only to fall down heavily upon entrance. That is except Hikaru, her training has provided her the skill to negotiate such dangers by leaping up and griping the doorframe with her feet. Dominicous swears at them, from under his desk, for making his office unusable. He then demands that they return to their mission; finding the lost armor of Fred, and not to return till they have done so.

After their dismissal, complete with threats and curses, Jacob informs them that a dwarf has been looking for them and is currently at the inn. Making their way to the inn, taking care not to be spotted, they find Gorin at a table with at least three dozen pints before him. Gorin invites them to drink with him, ordering a fresh round. Thomas and Hikaru take the offered drinks, sipping at them, while Jaj refuses his. Gorin's tale is that of his brother, who's been kidnapped by the orcs dwelling within the cave. Unable to return to his homeland due to the large number of orcs he drunkenly pleads for help. Thinking it over the group decide it's a worthy cause and help the dwarf to his room, who finishes off what remains of the drinks (his own and their's), tossing a hefty bag of gold to the waitress for the drinks.

A few things to note here. First, I have implemented drinking rules, well guidelines really, which I'll include at the end of this column.

Second, Jaj's player claimed his character worshipped the setting's version of Bacchus, yet refuses to indulge in wine, women, or song. I quickly ruled that living a lifestyle antithetical of your god's caused their disfavor. This particular disfavor was in the form of hangovers, with a will save to be nice.

Third is that Gorin, my free NPC, was the PC of a player who just decided not to come back to game. He becomes a more important to the plot than he would have as a PC, which I wasn't planning to happen. I'll try to explain where things went wrong in future columns.

The following day the trio, including a hung over Hikaru, return to the inn, retrieve Gorin, and prepare for the journey. While leaving town Thomas notices a wanted poster not starring their faces. This one is for Ted's head. The poster proclaims he is wanted for a 'daring midnight raid' on the temple for which a 1,000 GP bounty is offered. The fine print shows this to be from Fred Yurfberger's reelection committee.

In a bid to keep his seat as grand poobah of Rivertucky Fred sent Ted out of town to grab the PCs, then framed him for theft of the coffer the PCs had found near the start of the campaign. If Ted were to be captured and beheaded the village's population would be appeased and preemp any coup that Dominicous could attempt.

Gorin leads them out, stopping to get some tower shields before they leave. At the river he instructs them to place their shield in the water and stand atop them as a quick way of returning to the cave. The swift river current takes them down river at phenomenal speeds, so quick that Thomas and Jaj are unable to react to the bridge, being knocked down while Gorin and Hikaru safely duck. Within half an hour they enter the cave, and again Thomas and Jaj fail to react quickly enough, a natural bridge tossing them into the air, rolling down the cave, mildly bruised.

This act coined the term 'faster than random encounters' or FTRE, which to this day remains my favorite speed to travel. The bumpy ride softened them up better than a random encounter anyway.

Hikaru rushes to them, seeing if they need any aid. Gorin follows behind, draining a waterskin. While seeming familiar none of the heroes recall the route, allowing Gorin to lead them. Walking into a triangular room with a secret door (that's already been discovered), Hikaru charges the door, bouncing off painfully. Never one to be discouraged she gives it another try. Unfortunately the door opens just prior to her grand attack, a fearful orc looking into the business end of Hikaru's fist. Retaining her stride Hikaru drives her fist into the orc, the blow sending him into his allies and the walls, the resulting mash of people being reminiscent of a gambling machine from Hikaru's homeland.

The party enters the hallway as orcs file out from their rooms. Thomas summons a weapon to fight for them.

End session.

My brilliant plan to end on a cliffhanger succeeds!

Eighteenth Session

Roll initiative!

Oh wait, we already did that... Gorin savagely swipes at the enemy, only to miss them completely and slice into his comrades. The fight continues, Jaj hurling Magic Missiles in all directions, the orcs falling before him one by one till only he is left standing, his hair gently blowing in the breeze, the faintest bead of sweat forming at his brow.

Gorin was unfortunately ill suited to use his weapon of choice, a glaive. The close quarters added to the problem, and the fumble did not help one bit.

Well no, Jaj didn't slaughter the orc horde, it was more of a team effort, after which there was much searching and looting.

Looting orcs, normal orcs anyway, has always baffled me. No one with half a brain would give a common orc anything more valuable than some weak armor and a rusty weapon. Honestly, if you give a magic items to your orc servants you may as well give them to the 'adventurers' that are coming to slit your throat!

End session.

Bonus Section!

Not's quick and not at all gritty drinking rules.

Drinking is an unpredictable affair, thus whenever a character fails a Fortitude save against alcohol (which counts as a poison for any characters who have poison resistance) another player may dictate his next actions for a short period of time. After failing three Fortitude saves in a row the character has passed out. Stronger drinks count as multiple doses and each dose within the night adds 1 to the base DC.

The next morning if you failed any fort saves you make a will save against the highest alcohol save you had to make the previous night.

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