Thursday, March 3, 2011

Play Report: Rise of the Runelords, Session 5, Part 1

Warning! The following post contains spoilers for the Paizo's Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path for the Pathfinder RPG. If you think there is even a sliver of a chance that you may participate in this adventure path, it is recommended that you stop reading now. You have been warned!

P.S. - There will also be some foul language, because when we play, there is a lot of that type of language at the table...

P.P.S. - This post turned out quite a bit different than the way I initially started to type it up. I made a post over at the Knights & Knaves Alehouse asking for input concerning play reports, and the people over there were very helpful with giving me some direction and things to think about. My goal is to make a play report that is actually semi interesting and entertaining to read. I think there's still plenty of room for improvement in that regard, but please tell me what you think. If you think it totally sucks, I'd like to know that too.

Real Life Date: February 26, 2011
In-Game Date: Sometime in the fall.I looked at the Golarion calendar, and it has weird names, so we don't bother with it.

PCs Present

  • Senator, Half-Ogre Barbarian of Shoanti heritage (played by my 37-year-old brother-in-law Greg)
  • Master Choli, Half-Elf Cleric of Sarenrae (played by my 13-year-old cousin, Nicholas)
  • Runs with Apes, the Tiefling Druid that is ignorant of her fiendish heritage, and her pet ape, Uncle Reuben (played by my 27-year-old sister, Jen)
  • Loti, the Gnomish Sorceress (played by my lovely wife, Mary)

We didn't have a babysitter, so Mary spent about 80% of the time being a parent to our two-year-old daughter, rather than doing make believe adventures with us. But whenever she got the chance, she would come back to the table and say, "okay, what's going on?"

The group is accompanied by Orik Vancaskerkin, the human mercenary from Riddleport, who gave his allegiance in exchange for his life at the end of the previous session, after being beaten within an inch of his life and stripped of his valuable possessions.

Orik Vancaskerkin, Professional Scumbag

The party started out this session in the hallway outside the D4 sleeping quarters, after having spent the previous night in D2 with the door spiked shut. There were still corpses in the room of the bugbear and his 4 goblin lady-friends. For good measure, they stacked the corpses up against the door before going to sleep for the night in the piles of hay. That way, if anyone tried to come in while they were sleeping, at least there would be corpses in the way... 

I figured sleeping in the goblin lair would be risky business, so I gave them a 25% chance of someone trying to come in every 2 hours. Luck was on their side and they slept uninterrupted.

Thistletop Goblin Lair

They went into D6 and found a bunch of crap garbage no one was interested in. Greg did the old, "I search the room, I rolled a 15". I told him, "No way dude. You have to tell me what you are searching. If you need a more detailed description of what you see, just ask." This is a habit that has come about as the result of the Perception skill. I am doing my best to eliminate this kind of play because I think it's lame.

The group headed north (D7) where they were ambushed by a disgusting squid-like creature covered in eyes that dropped from the ceiling between Senator and the rest of the group. It sucked because they kept making their saves, so I didn't get the pleasure of inflicting anyone with Liquefy Organs, which I was really looking forward to. The thing's life ended with a powerful croquet shot from Senator's earthbreaker that sent it flying in the air to be impaled on a stalactite, a puddle of disgusting ooze dripping to form a large puddle on the ground. 

At this point I gotta pause for a second to talk about Greg/Senator. Greg is a total power gamer, and he plays  so he can build characters that kick people's asses. He got me to let him play a Half-Ogre, because it has a fucking +4 STR bonus. He's level 3 and his strength is like 20 or 22 or something retarded like that. Senator's weapon, the earthbreaker, crits on a 19 or a 20. He rolled a 19 and he looked at me and said, "I rolled a 19", with this fake dumb look on his face that he does. So I said, "Great, you crit!" And he rolled damage and it was like 37 or some ridiculous shit like that. It wasn't until after the session that I realized what he had done. See, in Pathfinder, there is a rule where you have to confirm crits. That means if you roll a crit, you have to make another attack roll that would equal a hit, or else it's just a regular hit. What Greg was thinking in his head when he gave me that dumb look was "I'm going to pretend I forgot about the rule about confirming crits, and see if he'll just give it to me." And I did. Pathfinder has a lot of rules, so it's easy to forget things like that. In hindsight, he did this to me probably five times throughout the session, and I never remembered about the rule until we were done playing. That fucker. He'll see. I'll get him back for it.

Alright, sorry about that - The crew went to work, with Senator severing the sharp end of the poisoned tentacle, adding it to his collection of body parts from the various beasts he's bested in combat, and Runs with Apes extracting some of the foul liquid from the poisonous tentacle into a vial for later study.

The group headed north to the next cavern (D8) to find a collection of corpses - mostly seagulls, but about a half-dozen goblin corpses as well, with shriveled skin stretched over their skeletons as if all their insides had somehow been sucked out (haha Liquefy Organs). They relieved one of the corpses of his magical dog-hide armor and a nice miniature shortbow.

I think this is when the pizza came, and we all took a break to go eat pizza and Mary suggested that we watch that episode of Community that featured D&D, since no one had seen it (except me and Mary) so we did, and we all laughed our balls off.

Next they went to D11 and to the west were a large set of solid stone double doors. The doors were covered with carvings of monsters of various horrid aspect, clawing their way from the pregnant bellies of women of all races. This caused a bit of headscratching, WTFs, and debate amongst the players. Greg wanted to go in right away because they were still fresh and pretty much had all their spells. Nicholas/Master Choli wasn't so keen on the idea, and wanted to see if there were easier pickings elsewhere before going in. He's weird like that. He's always hesitant to go into dangerous-looking rooms, but put a font of dark, bubbling, smoking liquid, or a jar of blood in front of him, and he will drink it every time, in hopes of gaining some kind of demonic super-powers or something. Of course, no one thought to ask the mercenary about what was in there...

They went in and surveyed the dimly lit room, while at the table we had a discussion about how to pronounce "brazier". Mary described her vision of flaming bras nailed to the walls. We also took a moment to look up what a "kukri" was, after I described what the statue behind the altar looked like, and the fact that it had a glowing kukri in each hand. The statue looked basically like the picture below, except it was a statue, so it was grey.

Lamashtu - Mother of Monsters

Nicholas/Master Choli couldn't resist the urge to head over to the "stone fonts containing frothy dark water", but his inevitable drinking of said water was interrupted when a couple of yeth hounds descended upon the party from the ceiling. I just described them as "creepy, hairless, otherworldly dogs". The first one let out a terrible baying sound that led to failed saves by Senator, Master Choli, and the mercenary. They dropped their weapons and fled the room at full running speed, and this fear effect was going to last 6 rounds.

We had a lengthy discussion about the nature of these dogs. The minis I used were for undead dogs, and thus the first question was, "are they undead?" "No." "Well how can they climb on the ceiling?" "Your character is wondering that exact thing as he is fleeing in terror down the halls!" Eventually, later in the fight, I referred to them as "the yeth hounds." "Oh! That's what they are!" Dammit! I do that shit every time!

Thus, the two lightly armored girl player/characters were left in the room with the vicious dogs. They took turns getting shat upon by the dogs. These dogs are crazy because you have to make a save every time you get bit and if you fail you take a -2 to everything for the next round. In addition to that, they get a free chance to trip you whenever they land a bite as well. Uncle Reuben dropped to negative. Loti/Mary dropped to negative, was brought back, and then dropped again. During all this we had to review the crazy rules about death and dying, because they are too complicated to remember. Then I killed my sister's druid with a devastating yeth hound bite. I said in a very serious tone, "I'm sorry, but you'll have to turn over your character sheet." and we all had a good laugh. She took over playing the mercenary for the time being. 

With Loti and Uncle Reuben knocked out, and Runs with Apes dead, the yeth hounds ran back out into the caverns to go after the others that were still fleeing in terror. Really they were just in the corners of the caves in D7/D8, running in place. If I made them run full speed away as far as they could go every round, they would have been back in town by now.

Master Choli just healed Senator while he went to town clubbing the dogs to death. I forgot that they dropped their weapons before fleeing, so they magically reappeared in their hands. I'll bet the bastards knew it too, and just weren't going to say anything unless I called them out on it, which I never did. 

They went and got Loti, healed up, and went to rest in the room full of torture implements (D10). I got my minis back, and the one that only stands on his hind legs was somehow all bent to shit, so his front legs were touching the ground. I bent him back and winced as I felt that horrible cracking vibration in the metal that happens when you try to bend a bent mini back into place. At any rate, it seems whole and the paint doesn't look like it cracked. They passed through a prison chamber with lots of torture implements in it on the way, but were largely unimpressed.

At this point Greg got excited about the prospect of making a new character for Jen. I told him she should just play that fighter guy for the rest of the day, so as not to kill the session. Making a Pathfinder character can take easily an hour or two. I really wanted to push Jen to play a fighter or a ranger, because she always takes an ultra-long time on her turns mulling over her spells. It used to piss me off, but I'm much more laid back about it now. I've kind of just given up and accept it as the way of things. I'd rather have her there playing with us, taking a long-ass time to decide what to do, than not participating.

So, we just started all dicking around, while Greg was making her a bard. He found that they added some 3rd-party goblin race to the site we use, and I was just like "fuck it, if she wants to be a goblin, she can". Greg and Jen love playing monsters, and that used to piss me off too. I've gotten over it. It's a game of pretend after all, and if they get their fun out pretending to be goblins and ogres rather than elves and humans, who am I to piss on their party? Jen was super-excited at the prospect of a goblin bard, and it would be easy enough to insert her into the adventure, SINCE THEY ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF RAIDING A GOBLIN LAIR AND KILLING ALL OF THE GOBLINS!

Then we sat back down to play for real, after about an hour of everyone milling about and bullshitting. They went to D13 and saw some paintings on the walls of goblins killing horses and dogs, and a giant 30-foot-tall goblin kicking lots of ass. I must not have done a good enough job explaining, because Greg says, "I look behind the paintings." I told him that the paintings were not hanging on the walls, but were painted directly on the wall! /facepalm

Jen also was commenting on how she liked her character (who she now named Barbara), but didn't know how she would ever find a mini for it. Then it dawned on me that I had one of these:

Goblin Warchanter Mini
It was perfect. It had a whip and a dogslicer, and it was female, just like her character. She was super-excited about it. The gods were smiling upon us at that moment.

So in the next room, there is supposed to be this wizard lady who happens to be black. I figured this would be a good spot to get Jen back in the game with her new character, since it was the room immediately before the descent into the 2nd level. In the adventure, this wizard lady is supposed to be just sitting here studying magic, waiting for the party to come beat her ass I guess. I changed it up a little and had her holding up a little goblin girl against the wall (Jen's new character, Barbara), choking her and yelling at her. On a meta level, we all new this was Jen's character, so the group came in and kicked her ass and we basically just hand-waved the fact that this was somehow a "good guy" goblin, and she joined the party.

Lyrie Akenja - Evil Black Wizard Lady

Then Jen commented on something no one really realized up until this point. She says, "You guys are terrible. Do you realize that you all just came in the room and saw a black lady and a goblin fighting with each other, and you killed the black lady? What the fuck?"

We all pondered this heinous act as her belongings were inspected and distributed amongst the group.

In the next episode, the party descends into the 2ndlevel of the Thistletop goblin lair...

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