Children’s Crusade – Session 9

LARP: Sternenfeuer group from Germany

Assume the Dramatic Poses!

SUICIDE SQUAD – ATTACK!

Players Present:

  • Annie K.
  • Spencer
  • Rachael
  • Zachary
  • Anthony

Start time: 12:30, end time 4pm

Recap by Spencer –

Adventure Synopsis by GM Andrew:

The group resumes their travel riding the carriage with Roland riding the Bear. Roland Huntley spots off in the distance a three-armed giant creature standing over a toppled wagon, a dead horse and a couple of humanoids. He charges towards the creature after telling the group what he sees. Nikolai gets the carriage into a charge so he can fire his arrows. Tamlin rolls off the carriage onto a stump (Ouch, 5 non-lethal damage). Melinissa jumps off as a Leopard and climbs a tree. Leaving Julia in the carriage.

Battle:

Nickolai is taken down by thrown rocks from the three-armed giant. -2 HP – he’s disabled. Carriage is now driverless.

Roland charges into melee and is promptly taken down as the creature mauls him with the spiked clubs. -2 HP, the bear takes damage, but decides to run away. Bear down to 10 HP.

Tamlin decides to ignore his downed comrades and instead pelts the giant with spells, agitating the creature. It retaliates with well thrown rock. GM NOTE: I crit’d the blow and forgot to double the damage. But Tamlin was taken down by 27 HP, so technically he died during the battle, luckily the GM was distracted and that was the tally from both blows. Total HP -10 of -15 allowed.

Julia remembered that Tamlin had a healing potion in his backpack, administered it and then fled with him on the carriage. They regrouped farther down the road and Tamlin decided that it would be in their best interest to actually heal his friends.

END Battle

Discussing strategies then commenced, the group seemed to think bribing the beast was an option. They finally returned to the scene of the battle to find nothing except the broken wagon. Melinissa conversed with the dead horse’s spirit, it followed her at her request.

During the second night at second watch, Nickolai heard a wailing sound, and followed it for approximately 20 minutes. He discovered the source of the wailing was Wind Chimes. Annoyed, he took it down and then returned to camp to find everything gone! He couldn’t even find the wagon tracks.

Meanwhile, the others groggily woke up in the carriage, tied and gagged. Huntley was able to slip free of the bonds, and freed the others. Tamlin sent sting to paralyze one of the captors driving the carriage. Melinissa took out the other captor with her burning hands. They killed both captors, returned to pick up Nickolai and then headed to the city of Hilsfar.

End Game.

GM NOTES:

Team work was very much lacking in this adventure. The party blindly charged into a situation without knowing what they would find, and instead of falling back when the foe was found to be superior they still tried to take it on head on. Writing the log I recalled the critical blow that would have outright killed Tamlin – I’m not going to retcon the results, but that’s just a big point – Tamlin died. Without Tamlin, the party has no healer. Instead of aiding the others in their endeavor, he abandoned them to their fate, and when they returned badly injured he was more concerned with inflicting the most damage upon the creature instead of assisting the downed party members.

Party Roles are established by virtue of the character concept. The “Tank” character never once engaged the enemy, the ONLY character capable of even surviving the encounter was instead climbing trees and hiding in the forest.

Let’s review Character ROLES:

  • Julia Winters – Arcane Magic Support Fighter. [War Wizard in training]. You cast spells from the safety behind your comrades, and when your magic runs out and the enemy is weakened, THEN you engage them in melee. You’re a weak fighter still, use more magic to wear them down.
  • Tamlin -Divine Magic Support – Party Healer. Divine Casters are better at BUFFING their allies, you aren’t a Tank, you aren’t going to out-do Melinissa in raw tankness, and Julia is going to out magic you in raw damage output. Your strength lies in helping your allies, and ESPECIALLY keeping them healthy to survive the rigors of combat. In order to heal them you NEED to stay close to them. Your healing (Unlike Georgina) is TOUCH RANGE.
  • Melinissa- Combat Fighter Extraordinaire! She takes the fight to the enemy and lays waste to them. She can instantly heal her “host” of any damage up to 1d8+5 (NINE TIMES, that means she can heal 9d8+45 in a single round if she wants and with 41 HP, in her ‘normal’ form she has some serious staying power)
  • Roland Huntley – Scout, Information Gatherer, sneak attack specialist. You NEVER EVER take on a bad guy head on, your strength lies in flanking an opponent, or feinting to catch them off-guard. Leave suicidal charges to the tank types.
  • Nikolai Verburger – Mystical Archer – Flaming Sphere is a nice spell, but slowing or blinding opponents is a LOT more useful when the enemy is vastly SUPERIOR to you. Blinded Creatures have a 50% miss chance in melee combat and CAN’T Target anyone at range. You’d be more ideal sniping such creatures with some sort of cover. If the giant had been blinded, you’re allies would have fared a lot better in the battle.

Now, onto GM critique of the overall combat that took over an hour of game time and was painful to watch – Quoting stats from the monster manual, asking for remaining HP and otherwise not engaging the actual game is

  1. Annoying to the GM;
  2. Means you aren’t focusing on what the character is doing and finally;
  3. Isn’t respecting the atmosphere the Game Master is trying to create.

This is a role-playing game, filled with puzzles, mysteries and the occasional combat to test your mettle against the numerous evil foes that populate the world. Unlike other games, this one is supposed to challenge your intellect, make you think outside the box, and approach situations as your actual character, not the player who happens to control the character. The entire challenge of the ATHACH wasn’t to fight the beast, but to rescue the two people it had captured. Sure, with a concerted effort You MIGHT have bested it, but a suicidal charge with only half the group participating was doomed to failure.  None of the characters has EVER encountered the creature, nor did they have the required knowledge skill to have an inkling of what it was or it’s capabilities. This encounter should demonstrate quite clearly that you need to use TEAMWORK, you need to think before you act, and nothing is going to be a fair challenge in the fantasy world. And who cares if the monster manual says it an ATHACH has 133 HP, or an AC of 20. The book is a guideline for the “average” species of the creature, I bet you didn’t realize that the book also allows you to increase it’s HD to 28 which in turn increases it’s HP, it’s Saves and drat, Size, Damage oh and even it’s attack bonus.  There are extremely dangerous giants, and even deadlier goblins. Quoting Goblin stats would be like me saying Tamlin has only 4 HP and an AC of 11. Well, that’s the default stats of a human right, and obviously Tamlin is an average human? Lesson here – Ignore the book and pay attention to the game.

Point two – Descriptions matter. The group assumed that since they met three robed hooded lizard folk, that the kidnappers that were cloaked were the lizard folk, worse still, they were wondering where the third “monk” was. Wearing Hooded Cloaks is NOT the same as wearing Hooded Robes.

Point Three – Know your character and don’t try to play the other characters for them. Does anyone realize you all spent 20 minutes arguing back and forth over Melinissa’s abilities? Add to the fact, that everything argued over was blatantly FALSE! Wizards can’t heal, Melinissa can’t possess humans and pigs don’t normally fly. I also shouldn’t be waiting 5 minutes for a reply to what a character is doing in the middle of combat, I shouldn’t be interrupted by players trying to act out of sequence when it’s another players turn, I also shouldn’t be hearing other players telling each other what to do during combat. UNLESS the characters have mental telepathy, it’s established that unless you’re TALKING in character, any talking out of turn is not okay. And if you’re giving strategy tips in combat out loud, don’t be surprised when the opponent counters your tactics cause you just blurted out your tactical strategy.

Finally, if you’re going to use spells, KNOW their limitations and effects BEFORE you try to cast them. Asking the GM to look up spell after spell kills the pacing of the game, especially during a combat. All allowed spells are in the Players Handbook I and II, the Spell Compendium, and with permission, The Practical Enchanter. Any other source MUST BE APPROVED by the GM prior to the game session.

Reduce Person – Only Affects Humanoids – Giants and Aberrations ARE not Humanoids; Close Range is 25 ft, +5 ft per 2 caster levels.

My final thought, respect each other. You should all enjoy the game and allow the others to enjoy it too. Let’s have fun, and not bicker.

 

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Children’s Crusade – Session 8

Goblin held hostage

Image via Wikipedia

“Nickolai’s Redemption” or “Old Men have Strange reQUESTs”

Players Present:

  • Zachery
  • Anthony
  • Spencer
  • Annie K.
  • Rachael

GM: Andrew

We had a late start – Updating Character sheets and changes in the characters themselves.

Annie K. traded in Georgina for Melinissa; Spencer traded in Horace for Tamlin.

We started with the group having finished delivering the Princess to her betrothed in Phelan. Horace, Talios and Georgina were assigned to stay behind with the Princess till suitable replacements could be found. Meanwhile Tamlin and Melinissa were finishing up their duties and were ready to return home to Hilsfar (They had been investigating and making sure the area was safe for the last two years).

Once the reuniting had finished, they set out on the rode, with Horses, Bear and Carriage. They encountered an elderly man in the road, who was quite a character. He introduced himself as “Greybeard” but bemoaned the fact his beard was brown, but his hair was grey. Then he asked if the group could relocated his errant belonging sack. He fell asleep and it must have grown feet and wandered away. The group agreed to locate the sack. They located the tracks (Racoon) and followed them to an odd tree formation. Multiple trees had grown into one large structure, and across an archway were these interlaced vines. Melinissa spoke with the spirits she saw there, and learned only one “marked” may entered. Verburger entered, not being warned that there would be trials and tests.

Verburger finds himself in a dark room. He makes a light using his flame Arrow. He discovers he’s trapped in a 10×10 room. No Doors, no windows. All uniform gray ‘stone’. He tries to move and finds he’s stuck in the middle no matter how much he tries to run, charge or jump. He discovers the stone isn’t natural, his arrows stick into the “stone Wall”, and that his rope isn’t real. He finally decides to meditate, and is bombarded with images – reverse views of being assaulted, and other perceived wrong doings, and then metaphors for being inside a box. Eventually he shows his remorse and awakes in a room with filtered light and a sack.

Verburger re-emerges from the archway a mere 30 seconds later carrying the old man’s sack. His hair is no longer pink, and he no longer has a Donkey Tail. They returned the sack to the old man, who rewarded them with a ruby each – Tamlin turned down the reward. They traveled the rest of the day uneventfully before setting up camp. On the last watch, the bear “Large Paw” and Huntley heard noises – alerting his friends, Huntley was surprised when Arrows came flying all around them. A goblin voice called for their surrender which Julie agreed too (Jar-jar Binks moment – complete with hands in the air). A battle ensued with the five goblins. Julie fired her trademark Lightning Bolts, Verburger his Flaming Arrows. Melinissa was distracting them with her conjured balls of fire. Three of the goblins were frightened by the ventriloquism spell Tamlin used and tried to run away, “Sting” the psuedodragon paralyzed the leader, and then he was taken down by the Bear. The rest were quickly defeated. Tamlin put up a Zone of Truth  to ascertain any information from the Goblin Leader. They promised the Leader 250gp and his freedom in exchange for information. He gladly gave up a secret hideout and numbers of army and plans of conquest. Only Huntley saw through the lies, but didn’t mention it till they’d already freed and paid the goblin.

We ended the game promptly at 6pm.

Children’s Crusade – Session 7 (Guest GM)

GM: Christopher R.

These are stub notes, as this was primarily a dungeon crawl, there isn’t much to the roleplaying side of it. This was the first time for Chris to run a game.

Started with the group waking up to a page summoning to the king. How they had returned to Hilsfar is a mystery.

King requested they go check out the Catacombs

  • Discovered secret door
  • Find minotaur locked in a cage
  • free minotaur, minotaur wants revenge!
  • traps!
  • skeletons – defeated easily
  • Fight large skeleton
  • Fight tiny skeleton
  • Fight Trogs and Otyugh – eww.
  • Rescue Squire
  • Princess Kidnapped
  • Chase to Catacombs
  • Defeat the three remaining Trogs, get princess back!

End Game

Children’s Crusade – Session 6

Game start 2:30pm

Recap

Plans hatched for the escort of the princess to Phelan – [This consumed easily an hour and a half of debate, logistics of the soldiers, and which route would be best. Group decided to go with “Land” since their swim ability was rather low.]

No true deception measures used – only a false bottom safe box in the carriage. In case they decide to have the princess hide. And with that note, the 30 soldiers are assigned, 10 in front, 20 in rear. The group decides to have Nikolai on top of the carriage, Georgina and Julia end up inside the carriage, Talios is on the right of the carriage, Roland and Horace are of the left side, with Roland being further up.

First day – Roland is taken down by an enraged boar; within a few rounds, the group kills it and feasts. Georgina heals Roland.

First night – Second watch the horses are discovered untied, third watch the princess is discovered poisoned; Roland and Nikolai find tracks and follow them, but a growling bear scares Nikolai away [He only hears the growling and doesn’t even see what is causing the noise], Huntley is left behind and sees a bear, he stays still and gets inspected by the bear. He feeds it some boar steak and then starts to head back to camp, but the bear follows. The bear starts growling when torch light can be seen coming. The bear grabs Roland and takes him off the path, while Georgina, Julia and Nikolai go past. Nikolai finds the bear tracks, and they see Roland is unharmed and the bear is growling at Nikolai, always watching Nikolai and growling. Nikolai decides to head back. The others also head back, and Roland rejoins them, scouting from away from the horses.

Third day – a barricade by form of a fallen tree is found, a voice calls for the surrender of all valuables; while the others comply, Horace charges up the hill and confronts 5 Archers. A battle ensues. Roland rides his Bear Friend into battle and together they take down a bandit.

The rest of the travel is uneventful – The group successfully gets the Princess to the City of Phelan and she meets with her betrothed.

Party achieves Level 2 (WOOT!)

Children’s Crusade – Session 5

Money Bag In White

The Patrol Mission

The Man-at-Arms requested the group to his chamber. He seemed rather upset by the last mission results. One of the boys representing the king still has the Pink hair and the Tail of a Donkey. He’s received word that the Fey in the nearby locale are not happy and are causing trouble.

He decides a life lesson on the streets would be well worth it. He calls in one of his tougher and experienced patrol leaders – Lt. Dan. “Lt. Dan, I have some younglings I need to saddle with you. You’ll have them patrol the seediest parts of the town and let them see life outside of luxury. Give them the assignment and stay out of sight. Don’t interfere unless they are about to be killed.”, Lt. Dan looks rather perturbed about the assignment, but salutes smartly “If I may sir?” Duncan nods, “What have I done to deserve the baby sitting assignment?”, “Well, you’re the toughest and meanest soldier I’ve got, and you’ve never been a brown noser, which I like about you. You won’t kowtow to them or give them any slack. Now get to it. I’ll have the younglings sent to you within the hour. Also, take them on a tour of the countryside, I want them away from the palace for at least six hours.”

[Enter the group]

“I’m rather disappointed with the reports I got about your last mission assignment, seems you need to learn a thing or two about humility and such. You’re to report to Lt. Dan as part of his patrol unit. He has several patrols under him. He handles the slums and low side of the town. You’ll do as he says. Dismissed.”

The group reports dutifully to Lt. Dan.  Horace speaks up “Reporting for duty.” Talios speaks “What do you need us to do.” Lt. Dan holds up a hand “You’ll be your own patrol, I’ve made you this patrol route through the slums and seedy areas. Don’t kill anybody unless you’re in mortal danger. Anything suspicious report back to me. And one other thing, don’t let your money get stolen. Meet at the rendezvous point in two hours. Dismissed.”

The group heads onto the patrol route, they note the disheveled appearance of the area. Further in, they see a street performer juggling fire batons, while another man is working the crowd for donations. The groups devolves into a discussion on not getting robbed. Horace decides to leave 450gp of his 500gp with Huntley, so he can give 50gp to the performer. He does this, and Huntley spots a young girl with pig tails robbing from the hat. The group then takes an alley to avoid the crowd of potential pickpockets. Nikolai spots a stealthy person approaching; as soon as the man is close enough, he deftly slices the money pouch and causes it to fly into his hands with superb skill that is displayed only by a pro; however, Nikolai [rolls a 17 base for the counter] and is able to knock the purse out of the man’s hands. Though they give the man a gold piece and tell him to be on his way.

As they continue onward, Huntley sees the same pig tailed girl skipping along side of him, she starts a conversation, while Talios tries to butt in, she quips a few sly remarks, and gets Huntley to agree to meet her at the park after his shift ends. She skips away, and the group ever mindful of their money pouches, ask Huntley to check his; which both his and Horace’s pouches are missing [Remember, Horace gave Huntley his pouch for safe keeping]. The group gives chase, and are dumbfounded as the girl climbs the side of a two story building unnaturally fast. Nikolai tries to embed an arrow in the ceiling with some rope, while Horace and the others go to the back to force entry. Nikolai succeeds in getting an anchored arrow, but not before something cuts the rope. In frustration, he kicks in the front door, and sees the others coming in the back. They all head to the second story. Nikolai makes roof access by climbing out the window, only to find the roof is deserted.

They meet up with Lt. Dan’s patrol and head out to the outer perimeter. Talios spots the Big Bad Wolf, and a pack of wolves in the other direction. Lt. Dan sends his men to put out a Barn Fire, the group notices a damsel being carried off by green skinned men [Orcs]. Talios gives them several attempts to stop and talk, but three of the Orcs stop and brandish their short swords, while the fourth continues to carry the maiden away. Nikolai pelts the Damsel carrying Orc with Arrows, while the others bravely meet their foes in the field of battle.  The woman is rescued and the Barn Fire is put out.

The Group makes it’s way back, Huntley sneaks off to meet with “Sandy” the pig tailed girl, notices the group is following him despite his efforts to lose them, so he “disappears” and meets up with the girl. She talks with him, and returns his money pouch [500gp only] saying he dropped it when they had met. She gets him to agree to take her to the palace, where she inspects the gold-laced utensils carefully. She makes off with the utensils after giving Huntley a chaste peck on the cheek saying she’d like to visit him again.

We end the game with the group being called for an escort mission of the princess to her future betrothed. The group may choose the overland route by horse for seven days, or three days by ship.

Children’s Crusade – Session 4

We begin with the others seeing Talios Asrain returning, covered in white dust or powder. When asked he mutters something about skeletons and chalices.

The characters are given two objectives [Princess Willow asks them to recover her brush, which she thinks she lost during a recent picnic; Master-At-Arms Duncan, requests they check out a local village, reports of robberies and such.]

Simple enough missions for the young fosterlings. They set out, the group determines to find the Brush first, with only Nickolai objecting. They reach the picnic site, and discover some clawed feet of a creature. They followed the tracks to a cave. Inside the dark barrow cave, they discovered an undead creature with the Brush, a mirror and a rabbits foot around it’s neck. [The Wights and Skeletons attacked the group. Luckily Georgina was able to “turn” the some of the undead away while the rest were destroyed]. Horace grabs magic bracers, but seems to become obsessed with them. A potion of cure light, and 50 gp for each party member is also found.

During their travel to the city of “Sandoval” the groups spots a small draconic creature. The group rushes forward towards it and it takes to wing. Nickolai shoots it in the wing, and it dives into the trees. Their search is fruitless and they eventually resume their journey to Sandoval.

At the village, the group notices that Nickolai has Pink hair and a Donkey Tail. They learn from ‘Bram’, an elderly gentlemen at the inn,  that a wondrous bard came through about a month ago, along with a strange ragtag band. They also learn that one in that group also had had pink hair. They learn that the mayor keeps insisting he’s been robbed, but nobody believes him. They also discover that the “robberies” started about a week ago when the nearby forest grove was cut down, despite objections from the Herbal lady.

The group heads out to the grove. Nickolai discovers the remnants of a fey ring and felled trees. The group notices a goat-legged humanoid peeking out from a brush. Nickolai shoots a “slow” arrow at him, and he retaliates by playing a lullaby that put four of the party down. Then the “satyr” takes off. Nickolai chases after on his horse, ignoring the small arrows flying around his head and ignoring their poisons. Eventually his horse falls into a pit, while he leaps to safety. He takes aim at the nearest fey creature, when a lizard shoots out a tongue and effectively grapples him. A squirrel cleric then starts speaking to him, but when he fails to be reasonable and a little psuedodragon appears, the small cleric places a Mark of Justice upon him, and then the fey knock Nickolai out. The rest of the group is awakened by Georgina, and they proceed after Nickolai, and find him tied up and unconscious on the ground.

The group goes to set a trap for the “bandits” and ask what has been stolen. The mayor is very polite and willing to let them set things up in his treasury. Nickolai notices an amulet with old fey markings on it and recognizes it as heart wood, something the fey would want back. Without warning he does a flying tackle on the mayor who cries out for help. A guard enters and asks what is going on as he sees the mayor being tackled and the rest looking dumbfounded. Eventually Nickolai is grappled by his comrades and he explains what happened.

EPILOGUE: The mayor requests that Nickolai be removed from his town, and willingly gives up the amulet that seems to be the source of his troubles. He understands the fey are upset and will seek to enter into negotiations to restore the peace. Nickolai has been marked as an enemy by the fey.

Children’s Crusade – Session 3

Late Start for the Game – 2:45pm till 6pm.

Absent: Zachery. Allison filled in the missing spot.

Recap by Christopher and Spencer.

Bringing the kids up to speed on the events after the Tournament [See ‘Innocent or Guilty – Session 13?’ for full details] – Including a Duel between the Green Knight, and the scheduled Wedding later that evening. The Wedding was paid for by the Green Knight, who, though he won the duel, did not win the heart of the Girl.

Huntley gets a note saying his Contact – Sandarian, wished to meet with him in the Alley behind the “Prancing Pony” [GM was disappointed to learn that none of the kids have read the LORD OF THE RINGS]. Huntley meets with his reliable contact, who informs Huntley that TWELVE contracts have been taken out for the wedding tonight, and that the princess was one of those hits. He even knew that one of the assassins was a Half-Orc.

Huntley returned and informed the rest of the group. They scrambled to inform the Commander of the Guards, they went to the Library, but were unsuccessful in obtaining anything useful there; Huntley met with his Sage contact and was able to learn about orcs. They ever learned about assassin tricks, disguises and other sundry dirty items, such as poisons.

Fearing all the above, they took steps to plan how best to protect the exposed princess, whom is called ‘Willow’.

At the Temple they coordinated with the Master-At-Arms, whom informed them of the magical protections – Wall of Force to protect the Officiant, the Groom and Bride and of course the groomsmen and bridesmaids. They inspected the rings, and learned about the wedding being a double wedding – Duchess Chi and Liam Archon, the Green Knight and Lady Summers.

Talios and Horace set the princess between themselves; the rest were dispersed throughout the church. During the service, an old lady sitting next to Talios asked him to pass her offering. Suspecting poison when he took it and intending to pass it beyond the princess, he barely noticed the dagger aimed straight for Willow’s heart. Taking the certainly fatal blow in place of the princess, he purged the poison, but took the damage. The entire group converged and  in a mere 20 seconds, had the little lady laid out on the floor. Talios inspected the body, and upon removing the bonnet, the lady turned into a hideous half-orc man. Horace noticed a shadow pop out of the ground and intercepted it. Georgina brandished her Deity’s power and bade the creature to flee from her. It fled, and was struck down when the three characters near it – Talios, Horace and Julia, delivered fatal blows.

They waited till the end of the ceremony, discovered another ten would-be assassins had been captured or killed. They escorted the princess to the wedding reception, and the last attack of the evening came as an old man tried to stab Horace in the back. Horace’s counter was equally ineffective. The rest stayed with Willow. The Assassin fled, and the group stayed behind.

XP Given: 166.6667 [Total to date: 500xp]

GP: 200 gp