Friday, 4 January 2013

Actual Play: Somewhere North, session 4

Last night was the fourth session of the campaign. Ideas of stealth largely went out of the window, as Esa-Pekka (noisms) shouted "Halloooo!" at the probable bandits he saw on the hillside surrounding Oddli's Tomb. Külk (Patrick) was able to stealth up the hillside a little, and when the inevitable fighting broke out he was able to provide some sneaky covering fire before he was spotted.

After a brief but hard-fought combat, the party (two PCs and four retainers present) had massacred the bandits. The kill-toll was 11 to 1; while they had defeated the bandits and their leader Mad Aamos, they had lost their companion Eerik to a lucky hit from one of the criminals. He died in Esa-Pekka's arms, revealing that he was indeed a Dwarf and passing on some clues about Oddli's Tomb...

From here, things turned clever and cunning; the PCs quickly realised that the animated crystal statues guarding part of the tomb couldn't pass beyond it's boundaries, and so drew two of them to an opening on the hillside before pelting them with rocks. They were woken in the night by some Pugs (halfling-sized goblin-y creatures with screwed up faces and floppy dog-like ears), killed one and then used the other as bait to see if the remaining statues would attack it. The would. Again, they drew the statues out, and spent more time destroying them with rocks from a distance.

As the sun rose the remaining Pugs attacked. It was revealed that halflings have a natural hatred of Pugs, and vice versa. Kill-toll: 16-1 (plus six statues).

It was around this point that noisms had to leave, and so Esa-Pekka became an NPC, mostly guarding the camp they had made and keeping watch over the bandit prisoner they had. He fought when the party were attacked by eleven zombies that were guarding Oddli's bones (although his dog bolted) and when defending against some intelligent undead Dwarves, cursed to remain in the tomb, and fated for oblivion should they truly die. Alongside miscellaneous treasures and silver, they found Oddli's Sceptre and a heavy hammer bearing his symbol. Kill-toll: 31-1.

Leading off from Oddli's final resting place was a door. Marked in old Dwarven script, it implored disturbers to turn back: beyond lay the treasure hoard of Oddli, guarded by swift teeth that craved blood. Külk made the choice, and on they went, only to be faced with a terrible undead creation. Seven-feet tall humanoid, dressed in rags, crazed eyes, sharp teeth, sharp claws and very, very fast...

Had it not been for discovering that the heavy hammer would cause the creature to be driven back in fear, Külk might have been killed! As it is, they finally defeated it, but not before it tore Sanelma's throat out, thus ending her quest to restore her family's honour...

Final kill-toll: 32-2. RIP Eerik, RIP Sanelma.

Ah well: TREASURE! Some jewels, a couple of hammers that clearly have magical properties (although the party don't know what exactly) and a hoard of 3000 silver pieces. Not bad for a couple of days' exploration of a Dwarven tomb. Who says grave-robbing doesn't pay?

The Tomb of Oddli: I based this on "The Tomb of Oddli Stone-Squarer" by Roger Carbol that I found at the site for One Page Dungeons 2012. I tweaked a few things to make it more in line with the kinds of things that have come up so far in the campaign. The bandits played in to things nicely, and pugs made a good substitution for goblins. The creature guarding the hoard was great to bring in (I have had it on paper for weeks). A great little dungeon, very easy to tweak to my campaign.
Creative Players: When introducing the Wand of Telekinetic Force I imagined that it would be used in combat, or that it might be used to try and shift things in a dungeon. But in my conception I thought it would be used indoors. Those were the blinkers I had on. So when noisms said "I aim the wand at the bandit leader, and then fling him up into the air!" I burst out laughing. Similarly when Patrick started suggesting pelting the animated statues with rocks from a safe distance. (of course, more experienced GMs/players might think is par for the course; I'm still relatively new to it all) Very good.
Deaths of Retainers: Eerik was unfortunate; Sanelma was tragic. Poor guys. Nevermind, eh, two less people to pay...
Hammers: I don't want to introduce too many magical items into the world. But... Since the King was "Oddli" and since there were so many undead running around the tomb, I wanted there to be something that would connect with that. And likewise with the second hammer (much smaller, almost a mallet) it made sense that there was something else guarded by the fast undead. The PCs have inklings of the hammers' powers, but no actual knowledge of how they work. And also: I don't want to introduce too many magical items into the world, but magical items - things that DO something rather than just "give you a +1" - are awesome.

Am hoping that session 5 is soon...


  1. This looks like a fun campaign, whether you're a beginner or not. I'm glad you're enjoying it!

    1. Thanks Kelvin! It's the first D&D-esque game I've DMed; it's interesting how this whole world is growing out from a single setting I thought of (Evil Santa's house).