Monday 31 December 2012

Actual Play: Somewhere North (session 3)

Yesterday I met up with noisms and Patrick to continue their adventures Somewhere North... Actual play report, and then some notes/thoughts at the end.

Previously (at the end of session 2, which I forgot to mention last time), Kolk the Artifex (Patrick) and Esa-Pekka (noisms) had really ticked off a greedy toll-levying village by cursing the village and surrounding area to silence. Forever. Hastening to the town of Rovaniemi, they set about installing themselves in some digs (above that wonderful drinking establishment The Knife & Cousin - thanks Vornheim!) and going for a lookaround. Esa-Pekka took a seemingly blank book to the grotesque and diseased Ungrall the Unctuous (a bookseller), who made a big noise about wanting to keep it. The contents could be revealed and read only under the light of a full moon. Ungrall sent his hulking servant Jonas after Esa-Pekka, but despite accusing him in public of being a thief, Esa-Pekka was shrewd enough to worm his way out of it. Meanwhile Kolk had acquired the services of Helvi Ritva, a cleric (NPC) of the spirit Ritva; the PCs planned to take her with them when they went to explore the tomb of the long-dead Dwarven King Oddli. Oddli's burial place is rumoured to be filled with treasure and undead monsters. The PCs know that some reindeer thieves are camped out there as well.

So, session 3!

Esa-Pekka and Kolk meet back at the tavern, and hire some retainers (more on them tomorrow), and then split up to run errands: Kolk is trading gems for cash, and Esa-Pekka is getting another sled and reindeer to pull it. Some guards from the silenced village have shown up looking for them, and Kolk splits up from his retainers, who draw away most of the pursuers, and then has a frantic dash through shops and back streets before making it back to the tavern - which is where another group of guards are waiting for Esa-Pekka. E-P has bought some new clothes, but the head guard sees right through them. A stand off almost turns violent, but the guards back down for today (until they have more men). After a few small negotiations with the town administration our heroes race south along the river ("We'll never go back to that town!" // the DM weeps over the hours of notes made), make camp with some moored fishing boats, then head west in the general direction of Oddli's Tomb. They leave town without getting word to Helvi Ritva.

They have heard that an enormous Banshee Wolf is attacking a small hamlet (that makes extremely expensive goat's cheese), and they stop there with the intent of spending the night and slaying the beast. A plan to set the 12-feet long monster on fire and then overwhelm it with strength of arms comes off - the players lose the hamlet's headman, and injure a few of their retainers, but all's well that ends well. As reward they received cheese which they could sell for a gold piece an ounce (using LotFP's silver standard, a gold piece is worth 50 silver pieces). As it is close to the full moon - when Esa-Pekka can both recharge the wand that he took from an evil elf AND read the book that Ungrall wanted - they decide to rest for a couple of days and heal up.

The Wand of Telekinetic Force recharges, and the book is revealed to have some incredibly powerful spells in it, which seem to decrease in power as they read from front to back. Esa-Pekka races to copy these into his spellbook, but is only able to capture five powerful spells (he has 11 levels to go before he can cast the weakest of them). He will have to wait until the next full moon to read more...

An uneventful journey later, and they are within sight of Oddli's Tomb! Years of erosion has revealed stonework from underneath a hillside. And there, walking up a path on the hill is a man, leading a stag... Which is where we left the session.

Treasure: expensive and tasty cheese... Hakalan Brie is prized in the region and priced at 50sp an ounce. 3d20 ounces seemed like a fair reward, I mean what are the odds that - oh. 43 ounces you say... So... over 2000XP. Ah.
Levelling up: both Esa-Pekka and Kolk went up a level; a second-level Magic-User and a third level Artifex/Specialist respectively.
Retainers: I'll introduce the other members of the party tomorrow, but recognising that having PCs with strengths of 5 and 6 had distinct disadvantages, the players hired a group of four fighters to join them and the two halflings Mumble and Crumble (who they had previously promised to take back to their home in the far north). This definitely helped when they fought the giant wolf.
DMing: Enjoying it. Wondering if the dangers/problems that the party are facing are challenging enough. Need to organise notes better! And have abandoned the cost for copying spells from spellbook to spellbook (essentially, now Esa-Pekka just needs to be able to act freely, and a higher level spell takes longer to copy than a lower level spell). Scrolls, if transcribed, still lose the spell.
The Players: Very creative ideas for solving problems. At one point I thought that Kolk was in a pseudo-feudal-medieval version of The Bourne Ultimatum... And am worried that Esa-Pekka's "vow of St Francis" (Kolk handles all of the money) conceals a deeper lust for magical power...

Looking forward to session 4!


  1. It looks like you've got the hang of it! My favourite aspect, I think, is the way you've added some extra twists on the magic items. The idea of a wand recharging on the full moon is great, as is the spellbook that's empty unless read by the light of the same moon.

    It all gives me an idea for a table of similar conditions.

    1. Thanks Kelvin! I wanted the items to be fairly powerful, but for the players to have to work to get the benefit. I'll put a description of the wand up in the next few days (along with animals). Another detail is that it has to be immersed in the user's blood under the light of the full moon to charge - and then can only be used by that person.

      Look forward to looking over your table!

  2. And am worried that Esa-Pekka's "vow of St Francis" (Kolk handles all of the money) conceals a deeper lust for magical power...

    There isn't a huge amount of concealment about that, to be fair.

  3. Dude, it's 'Kölk' your förgöt my ümlaut.

    1. Sörry, I'll try tö include your döts in future!

  4. "the DM weeps over the hours of notes made"- love it. Can totally relate. You just have to reach the elevated, zen-like state where your creations exist for their own sake. Or learn the art of Quantum Game Design i.e. unused content re-purposing.

    1. Yeah, I want to make sure that my players have a real choice about what they do, but balance that with giving them cool options. So if they don't enter the abandoned Dwarf Tower with the seven revenants wandering around (on the other side of the river from Rovaniemi guys!), then perhaps it will appear somewhere else as a part of a dungeon or something.