Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Arath Session 8

I’ve had a little time to digest ideas for this raid, and I also went back to Dyson’s site and found a map that would work. It is fantastic. 

The process of stocking a map I have made vs. one I’ve found is quite different. I am designing with specific things/factions/creatures in mind as I draw a map, but when I work with someone else’s, I have to figure out how things have used the space as it exists. It’s fun. I have a few ideas, but ultimately the dice will make the decisions.
The big idea (dice agree) is that this was a granary during the height of the Old Gallan Empire, some thousand years ago. At the time, the area of the nearby desert boasted fields of wheat. Now, all is ruin and dust, so the granary fell into ruin over time. The basement, which had largely been used for storage, has since been infiltrated by groundwater that has caused some of the foundation to crack and give over time, leading to significant collapse and instability. While the Jackal Weren prefer to stay above the surface, their leader and his band of goblins prefer life underground. Therefore, the bugbear leader Ragat and a small group of goblins populate the dungeons.
It is likely that the Faun offer some potions to Arath to help him on his way. They do. I roll two potions. A potion of sneaking is one (because they want to get by the various weren that populate the surface with minimal conflict). The other is a potion of heroism that will help when he finally does confront Ragat. That should do the trick.
Do Bika and Arath have an encounter on the way to the old granary? The dice say no. Okay then. They climb to the plateau on which the old granary sits. As they approach, Arath takes off an wraps up his armor (so it doesn’t clink) and Bika starts sneaking like she does. They have a minute once he drinks the potion to get to the entrance. Arath waits at the edge of the foliage as Bika does a recon pass using sneak. She is successful. She reports that there are about thirty jackal weren milling about (it is midday). They tend to avoid the stairs (in the middle of the granary), and the two should be able to sneak to the stairs following the line of the wall, which is falling into the shadow of the bright sun. They will enter through the gap in the southwest wall, hug the wall around and quickly descend the stairs. Arath makes his sneak check (having to use a luck point), but Bika does not – drat. They run to the stairs as a jackal weren starts calling out that there are intruders.
Shoot. That changes things pretty dramatically.
They get to the bottom of the stairs into the dungeons. The stairs are not trapped (whew), because they had no time to check for traps. Then end up knee-deep in water that has seeped into what was once a winery. Arath doesn’t pull out his torch (some sunlight is still coming in), but it is impossible to say which way they should go. I randomly determine they turn to the north and book it that way. They would get to the end of the end of the hall (and out of light for the most part – although sunlight glittering off of the water would illumine the chamber a little bit) and end up hiding behind the northernmost pillar. A handful of weren come down the stairs, sniffing around for them. It is likely that the weren would turn south, since 1) that is the direction to the boss, and 2) they aren’t very smart, so they would assume nobody would turn north. It also might be that there’s something in the north passage that is quite unpleasant that they avoid.
The good news is that the weren do turn south (there are three of them), to go and warn the boss that intruders are about. The bad news is that something wicked this way lingers. A ghoul has been chained to the wall here, and it normally spends its time floating in the water hoping something will be dumb enough to come up the hall. Something just did. Arath is trying to don his armor, and Bika is watching to the south with her bow out, so they are not watching around for a ghoul in chains to rise from the water and start attacking. The ghoul easily makes its sneak check, and will attack Arath first. He has not donned his armor yet. The ghoul hits with one claw for 4, and Arath fails his armor check (would have made it if he had, you know, armor on). He’s at 9 hits remaining. The ghoul wins initiative, and goes scratchy scratch at Arath. One claw hits for 3, and Arath again fails his armor check. He’s at 6 hits remaining. The good guys get to go. Arath misses, but uses luck and barely hits for 6. The ghoul makes its armor check, suffering 3 hits and is at 9. Bika misses with an arrow.
In round 2, everyone misses. Arath would hit (got a 12), but the curse he is under negates it. That’s one.
In round 3, the ghoul misses - but Arath hits for 6, and because it fails its armor check, the ghoul is down to 3. Bika hits for 2, and after a failed check this leaves the ghoul at 1.
In round 4, the ghoul hits with one claw, but a successful armor check leaves Arath down 2 more, now at 4. Arath hits for 6, and even though the ghoul makes its armor check, this is enough to kill it.
The commotion of this fight was not enough to alert the weren. Nobody heard, which is great news. Arath uses one of his two draughts of healing potion from his decanter, and is at 9. The ghoul has no treasure (darn).
This actually works out quite well for the heroes. They can wait out some time here if needed, and rattling the chains might be enough to scare off weren (or even goblins). The bugbear might be inclined to investigate despite rattling chains, but it is likely to scare off weren and possibly scares off goblins.
They rest here for an hour. They see the weren leave the passage without investigating this way. Arath is at 10 hits.
Another hour passes. Some goblins check around the southern parts of these halls, but never venture past the stairs. Arath is at 11.
In the third hour, they hear more sound, and can see at a distance that it is the bugbear himself with 4 goblins in tow. He carries a torch, and is looking about for the invaders. He’s calling out in a guttural form of the trade tongue that he will be cutting them up and cooking them on a spit. He’s a bit of a jerk, if you must know.
The good news is that they have gotten him to come to them. The bad news is that they have no escape plan if things go south. Things tend to go south…
The heroes prepare. Bika readies a faerie glow spell, while Arath drinks the potion of heroism and gets ready to jump into the fray.
It’s initiative, because the bad guys are on watch for the ghoul, that they expect will leap up at any moment. They remain at the distance of its chains, which is helpful. The good guys win initiative.
Arath charges 30’ to attack (losing 1 edge) while Bika throws the faerie glow. She fails her mind check, and the spell fails. Poop. She tries again (it took only one task), but fails again. Snap.
Arath has +1 edge still (the potion cancels the edge he lost for running 30’), and he hits for 6. The bugbear fails his armor check, and is down to 18 (!) … that’s a lot of hits. Bika fires her bow, but the loss in edges from trying the spell means that she misses. The bugbear misses. Whew. All four goblins also miss Arath, since they are so confused by what’s happening right now. I’ll take it.
Bika misses again. That suuuuucks. Arath would land a natural 12 for 8 damage, but the curse turns this to a 1. Two of the curses are burned. Everyone else misses (whew).
Arath hits with a 11 and the bugbear fails another armor check! It’s down to 12. The bugbear finally gets his bearings and lands a hit for 6. Arath rocks his armor check with a 12, but the curse neutralizes that, and he loses 6 hits, now at 5 hits. Two goblins are on Arath now (one hits), while the other two have switched to bows and are trying to take out Bika. They both miss. Arath fails his armor check against a goblin blade, and is down to 2. At least the curse is used up!
Arath drinks his final draught of healing potion, putting him at 7. He attacks and gets another 12, which finally counts! The bugbear fails its armor check, and is down to 4. Ermugurd. Bika misses again.. DARN IT, BIKA! A goblin stabs Arath for 4, but his successful armor check puts him at 0. Poop. Both goblins miss Bika, which helps a little… the Bugbear starts running towards her.
She lines up an arrow, and tees up the bugbear – and lands an 11! She pings him for 3 hits, and he falls after failing his armor check - the goblins immediately fail their morale check and flee.
Suh. Weet. Good thing Bika was here 😊
There is a small chance that the Bugbear is carrying all of his wealth with him. It doesn’t make sense that he would, but it also makes sense that he wouldn’t trust anyone, and wouldn’t want to leave any valuables where those skeevy little goblins could find it and steal it. Nope. It’s hidden somewhere else. They search his body and find nothing. They are going to keep exploring… after Arath heals. They can rest for 12 hours without interruption, and Arath is able to recover his full hits. They chop off and wrap the head of the bugbear in a satchel to present to the Faun, but they push his body into the muck near the ghoul. Between them, those two monsters were worth 15 xp. Not bad work so far. They ‘defeated’ the goblins, so that’s 4 XP more. Progress!
Their plan is eventually to emerge to the surface holding the head of the bugbear high as a warning (recreating the cover for my game, but substituting a bugbear for a medusa). Have to recreate those iconic images when you can.
In the mean time, they are going to explore these dungeons. There has to be some cool stuff down here… right?

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