Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Ratpack – Session 09

[The Ratpack gets into a street fight.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened December 23, 2019.]

[I should have done this sooner – SPOILERS!  If you are likely to adventure through the Shattered Star Adventure Path from Paizo, this campaign will contain a lot of spoilers.]

Player Characters
Marativy – female ratfolk 1st level Ninja
Roscuro – male ratfolk 2nd level Monk
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 2nd level Summoner (Synthesist)
Zitch Grimreaper – male 2nd level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar

Played as an NPC
Winston – male 1st level Gunslinger


Day 6
As the fight starts
This fight was intense [so intense my pen ran out of ink half way through], with the Ratpack starting surrounded by the half-orc and his three muscular goons in the alley leading to the run-down building Natalia was last seen entering.  Roscuro, Templeton, Zitch, and Winston stood their ground and gradually defeated the goons with a mixture of tactics and Templeton’s Bleed effect on his claw attacks.  After nearly a minute of fighting, the Ratpack was standing, bloodied but victorious.  [I’m choosing to skip describing the fight, partly because it was long and partly because we kept missing our attacks, which is why it was a long fight.]

While this fight was going on, Marativy snuck around back and entered the building the goons were attempting to block.  Inside, she found the floors for most of the rooms had collapsed to the dirt underneath and were now open sewer pits, fed from sewer pipes projecting from the cliff face the building was up against.  While attempting to work out the best way to navigate the third room, Marativy was attacked by stirges!

Back out on the street, Zitch used his healing hex to heal up Winston to full health and Roscuro to a little more than half his hit points.  [Being the most pugnacious of the ratfolk, Roscuro tends to draw a lot of aggro in fights.]  After getting the healing and wanting to get off the street before the “city guards” arrived, the group ducked into the door the half-orc had exited [which was different from the door that Marativy entered].  This turned out to be an attached shed with no access to the rest of the building.  The ratfolk were frustrated with this.  Tempting fate by going out on the street again, the ratfolk scurried over to the other door, the one they saw Marativy enter.

The first room had no floor, just a pit of sewage with a board across as an impromptu bridge.  Two large sewer pipes protruded out of the cliff face that made up the south wall and sitting in each one was a goblin that started flinging sickening missiles of shit mixed with rocks at the ratfolk as they attempted to walk across the plank bridge.  They tagged Roscuro [of course], but the other ratfolk made it across safely.  Roscuro held position just inside the next room, crossbow at the ready in case the goblins pursued [they didn’t].

The next room had some flooring on along the west and south walls that lead to another door, which was open and the faint sound of flapping wings and Marativy cursing could be heard through it.  The rest of the floor was a sewage pit, except the northeast corner, which had some crates stored on a small remnant of floor.

Templeton pressed on to the third room and found Marativy fighting two stirges, one of which was already attached to her.  They fought the stirges.  Zitch went to help while Roscuro held the rear in case the goblins attacked [they didn't].  One of the stirges drained Marativy of a lot of blood [doing 1 point of Constitution damage] before Templeton killed both stirges.

The Ratpack converged at the door to the third room.  Like the other rooms, this room had little actual floor, just a morass of sewage.  The ceiling was missing here, just exposed rafters  and above those the roof.  Marativy had a grappling hook and rope in place to climb up [it was the noise of her first cast of the rope failing to attach that alerted the stirges].  All the ratfolk but Roscuro climb up to the rafters and into the attic space of the building.  Roscuro held position at the door, keeping guard against the goblins from room one [they didn't - very rude of them].

End of Session


Rat Whispers
[It was close to our normal stopping point when we got this far.  The next room would take a while to get through for reasons, so the GM asked if we wanted to stop here or run late.  We opted to stop here so Winston’s player would be present when we wrapped this up.  Marativy’s player was going to miss the game on the 30th due to work, which was unfortunate.  When the 30th came around, several other players could not make, so we didn’t play, which was fine as that meant all the players could attend.  Then I got a cold and as I host, the game was skipped again.  So Session 10 wasn’t played until January 13th, but we had all the players again, so win for us!]

[At some point Roscuro had Mage Armor cast on him, but I cannot find exactly when.  I have a note in red ink at the end of the session to remind me he still has it and I have a stand-up made with a folded note card with it and the bonuses.  Wish I could give credit to the correct player for casting it, but I don’t know who to credit.]

[Marativy earned enough experience points this session to level, but needs a rest before she gets the benefits from leveling.  This will not happen next session, much to her sadness.]


Ratpack
Session 01
Session 02
Session 03
Session 04
Session 05
Session 06
Session 07
Session 08


Session 10 [Not Written Yet]


Friday, January 10, 2020

Ratpack – Session 08

[The Ratpack get a solid lead on Natalia that leads to a tense stand-off.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened December 16, 2019.]

Player Characters
Winston – male 1st level Gunslinger
Roscuro – male ratfolk 2nd level Monk
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 2nd level Summoner (Synthesist)
Zitch Grimreaper – male 2nd level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar


Day 6
Late Morning
The Ratpack got back together at the Blue Rodent and compared notes, Templeton sharing what the Watch Captain had told us.  Exhausted after being up all night, the Ratpack called it a day and retired to their respective homes to sleep.

7:00 PM
The Ratpack, much refreshed, met again at the Blue Rodent and discussed their options over dinner.  It was decided that investigating the Tower Girls seemed to be the best option.

9:00 PM
The Ratpack arrived at the abandoned warehouse the Tower Girls were rumored to be renting.  It was a squalid building in Underbridge, right on the water where trash collected in an eddy. At the entrance was a sign over a plate, asking for gifts.  Winston put 5 gold coins on the plate and the Ratpack waited.

After a short wait Fenster exited the building and asked the ratfolk what they wanted.  Roscuro explained they were looking for information about the Tower Girls.  Fenster says he has information to sell, but he wants proper gifts, not “shineys”.  Winston took back his 5 gold coins and replaced them with one shot worth of blackpowder.  Fenster accepted the black powder and invited the Ratpack inside to talk.

The interior is the museum collection of a magpie.  Odd little trinkets or broken off parts of things are on display on every flat surface.  The Ratpack explained to Fenster that they were looking for Natalia specifically.  Fenster thought about it and then said he had information to sell, but Natalia owed him back rent.  If they would bring him five “gifts” to cover her debt he would tell what he knew.  The Ratpack agreed and left.

With a wide selection of junk washed up on the shore in the immediate vicinity, the ratfolk started searching through it for “gifts” Fenster might accept.  Zitch was particularly adept at this, finding 3 solid candidates for “gifts.”  Winston located one and offered one of his shot balls.  Roscuro and Templeton failed to find anything usable, but Roscuro suggested the key to the third floor at the siege castle might work if one of the other “gifts” was declined.

Winston and Zitch heard the sound of a party or drinking going on nearby during the search and wanted to go investigate that in case it was the Tower Girls and Natalia.  Templeton requested they wait long enough for him to summon his eildolon before they left.  They agreed, handing over their “gifts” to Roscuro.

Once Templeton’s eidolon was summoned, Zitch and Winston left, stealthily searching for the party.  Roscuro and Templeton re-entered Fenster’s building to make their offering and see what he knew.  Fenster was slightly taken aback by the Templeton/eidolon synthesis and claimed the synthesis was not covered by the original gift and not allowed in.  Templeton stepped back outside and Roscuro offered the four found “gifts” plus the shot ball.  Fenster accepted all of them and proceeded to tell Roscuro he had seen Natalia two days ago in Underbridge.  Curious, Fenster had followed her to a house on the eastern corner of Underbridge, right up against the cliff face.  As Natalia “disappeared” a week ago, this was after that!  Fenster explained he had seen her talk to people in the house before entering and she did not leave during the time he watched, which seemed to have been most of a day.  Roscuro had Fenster draw a map in the dirt of which house and Roscuro copied it onto some parchment.  It turned out to be in the same vicinity Roscuro had completely failed to diplomatically ask questions about Natalia a couple days earlier.  He then thanked Fenster for the information and left.

Meanwhile, Zitch and Winston found a group of lowlifes drinking and gambling a short ways off.  Staying hidden, they looked around and determined that none of the celebrants were Tower Girls and so left.  They returned just as Roscuro exited Fenton’s building.  Roscuro relayed what Fenton had told him and they all agreed this building should be investigated.

The Ratpack found the building fairly easily and spent some time observing the building.  It had two doors and appeared to be two stories tall and was down a short alley formed by the adjacent buildings.  The windows were boarded up, but that was not unusual in Underbridge.  We decided to have Templeton, still synthesized with his eidolon, hang back to keep a watch and so we wouldn’t look too threatening.  This backfired.

As Roscuro, Winston, and Zitch walked up, a burly half-orc stepped out one of the doors and told the group to go away.  Roscuro attempted to talk his way past but the half-orc wasn’t having it.  Zitch cast the evil eye on the half-orc and then hypnosis, which failed and human tough came out the door to back up the half-orc.  Roscuro, instead of leading with his fists, talks.  He has Winston throw 5 gold coins at the half-orc’s feet, which puts the fight on pause.

Roscuro explained the ratfolk were looking for a woman last seen here and he describes Natalia without naming her [I mean, who knows who else was listening].  Roscuro explained that he sought proof that she was still alive and the ratfolk would leave.  The half-orc sent the tough into the other door of the building to find out “what the boss wants done.”

Five minutes later, during which both sides stare at each other in the street, the runner returned.  He whispered the reply to the half-orc, but Winston heard him – “Who do they work for?” – and shared the with Roscuro and Zitch.  The half-orc asked the question out loud and in response, Roscuro covertly showed him Roscuro’s wayfinder, identifying him as part of the Pathfinder Society.

This did not seem to please the half-orc who then said, “The Boss is in a meeting.  Come back later.”  Roscuro had no intent of leaving so whoever was in that house could leave.  Knowing what the actual message from the boss was, Roscuro declined, saying, “Maybe you should actually go talk with your boss rather than lying.”  Not surprisingly, this made the toughs more hostile and the half-orc ordered Roscuro to leave now.  Roscuro again declined, stating he had nowhere else to be.  The half-orc called something out in orcish [which none of us understand] and two more toughs stepped out of the adjacent buildings, loosely surrounding the ratfolk.

And then the fight started.

End of Session


Rat Whispers
[The holidays disrupted both play and writing over the last two weeks.  Session 9 was played on December 23rd and will be posted next week, but Session 10 has not happened yet and will likely happen January 13th.]

[For whatever reason, this blog post just seemed to take extra effort to get it typed up.  I run into this occasionally where it takes extra mental effort to force myself to sit down and write up a particular set of session notes.  Usually it gets easier after breaking through the writing resistance.  Sorry for the delay in posts.]



Ratpack
Session 01
Session 02
Session 03
Session 04
Session 05
Session 06
Session 07


Session 09

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Ratpack – Session 07

[Busted!]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened December 9, 2019.]

Player Characters
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 1st level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 1st level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 1st level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Winston – male 1st level Gunslinger


Day 5/6
As the Puffy Pelican Burns
The Ratpack was just walking away from the Puffy Pelican as flames started consuming the abandoned tavern when a group of 4 armed and armored people ran up the street to them.  Their leader claimed to be part of the City Watch and wanted to know what happened.  Roscuro attempted to lie to them and stated that the group of ratfolk was just walking down the street when the building caught fire as they were passing.  The “guards” did not believe this for a second and immediately accused the Ratpack of starting the fire.

None of the ratfolk wanted to kill the “guards” if they actually were City Watch, but they also didn’t want to be arrested.  While most of the group could have escaped by taking to the rooftops, Zitch couldn’t and no one wanted to leave him behind.  Noticing that the “guards” only had two lanterns and seemed to be humans [assumption on my part – I should have asked the GM as two of them were elves with low-light vision], Roscuro attempted to knock out one of the lanterns so maybe Zitch could escape in the darkness.  This initiated a fight.

Two of the “guards” grappled Roscuro and tied him up with a rope before he could react [there was an issue here because we all had a poor understanding of the grapple rules].  Another grappled Templeton and knocked him out.  Winston ran for it and was pursued by the fourth one, one of the two elfs, to a nearby roof.  While the elf could climb well, Winston’s acrobatics allowed him to quickly escape across the rooftops.  Meanwhile, Zitch stepped back from the fight and then ran for it along the streets, ducking into alleys to get out of sight as soon as he could.  The “guards” took their two captives to Arvensoar, the garrison of the city’s watch and small military.  Both were put in holding cells for the rest of the night.  Zitch and Winston reconnected and followed the “guards” and then stayed nearby to see if they could help Roscuro and Templeton, staying in touch via the message spell.


Day 6
Morning
Sheila Heidmarch entered the holding area shortly after the sun had risen.  She asked Roscuro and Templeton if they had a good excuse for getting arrested.  Roscuro said he did, but the holding cells were too public to discuss it.  Sheila accepted this answer and proceeded to get the two ratfolk released.

Once outside Arvensoar, Roscuro explained what the group had been up to, what they had done and why, and how two of them ended up arrested.  He then asked Sheila how the “guards” knew to contact her as neither Templeton nor Roscuro had said anything to them about who they were working for.  She explained that the City Watch, when faced with an odd occurrence contacted the heads of several organizations in the city to see if they were involved and wanted to collect their people.  Roscuro found this peculiar.  Sheila asked if the group had questioned the Watch Captain.  Roscuro said no and doubted the Watch Captain would talk to two ratfolk his people had recently arrested.  Sheila suggested that showing him a wayfinder would make him more inclined to talk.  Roscuro also found this dubious, but accepted her suggestion.  They parted ways.

Mid-Morning
The Ratpack regrouped at the Blue Rodent and discussed what to do next.  Roscuro was dubious about talking to the Watch Captain but Templeton was willing to give it a try.  After strategizing a bit, Templeton and Zitch went back to Arvensoar.

At Avensoar, Templeton demanded to speak with the Watch Captain.  The person on duty refused to go get the Watch Captain, so Templeton slapped down gold coins and told the duty officer the coins were his if he went and got his superior and there were more coins for his superior when he or she got here.  Using this method, Templeton quickly got a meeting with the Watch Captain.

The Watch Captain was not impressed, but once Templeton showed his wayfinder, he was willing to talk.  [Note: the GM presented the Watch Captain as male and never gave a name.   Later reading of the Magnimar source book pointed out the Watch Captain has a name and is in fact female.  I have no control over this and don’t know if it will be changed.]  The Watch Captain asked what Templeton wanted.  Templeton explained he was looking for Natalia van Caskerkin.  The Watch Captain explained that she was a member of the Tower Girls, a faction of the Sczarni having a run of bad luck.  The Watch raided the Tower Girls’ base a month or so ago, then the Tower Girls had a run in with The Wreckwash Gang and lost their new base.  The Tower Girls seem to have moved into an abandoned warehouse in Underbridge owned by Fenster the Blight.  Fenster takes odd jobs if he likes the offered pay.  This pay is in items and knick-knacks as he refuses money.  The Tower Girls leader is someone named Ayala, but that might be a title as the person with that name has appeared as very different people over time.  The gang might have between 30 and 50 members overall.  Natalia seems to have disappeared about a week ago.

Templeton asked about the rumors of the Nidalese slavers and the possibility that they might have grabbed Natalia.  The Watch Captain was very dismissive of the rumors, stating they were false.  People are disappearing, but they all are found a week or so later with complete amnesia, trying to get along as best they can in their new circumstances.  The disappearances are happening all over the city and are usually socially lower-end people who were out on the street going somewhere or other.  Restorative magics have failed to cure the memory loss.  The issue has been happening for about a month.

Templeton also asked about Plutivarch Dramis.  The Watch Captain seemed to really have it in for Plutivarch, describing him as a “bastard child of academia.”  Plutivarch is a disreputable mage and “an asshat.”  The Watch Captain does not believe Plutivarch has any connection to the Nidalese.

Templeton ran out of things to ask about and so left.  He and Zitch returned to the Blue Rodent and reported back what they had learned to Roscuro and Winston.  This hardened Roscuro’s belief that the Watch were either the slavers themselves or in league with the slavers.  [This may just be a delusion on Roscuro’s part or not – we’ll see how it plays out.]
End of Session


Rat Whispers
[Remember when I said pay attention to the short time between when the fight started and the end of the session?  This is why.  To say the players were unhappy that a patrol of super-competent “guards” specializing in grappling showed up within a minute of the previous fight starting is a bit of understatement.  I don’t know if this scene was scripted or not, but if so, I don’t know what it was supposed to accomplish.  It felt very railroad-y to us and definitely changed our opinion of the City Watch and how we interact with them.  It is also the reason I type “guards” in quotes as Roscuro is definitely of the opinion that they ARE the slavers.]

[Marativy’s player missed this session and the next due to work reasons, but she should return for Session 9.  As is standard for our group, when a player cannot make the game their character fades into the background.  If there is a convenient place to “park” the character we will, but otherwise they are considered just off camera until the player returns.]

[Also, Roscuro, Templeton, and Zitch have earned enough experience points to level up and will be 2nd level after this.]


Ratpack
Session 01
Session 02
Session 03
Session 04
Session 05
Session 06


Session 08


Monday, December 23, 2019

The Aldelle Group - Book 2: The Gate Saga

Book 2 covers the further adventures of the Aldelle Group in what became The Gate Saga.  The write-up of Session 16 is where I started writing the notes as journal entries in my character's personal journal.  The devotionals to Ra quickly appeared and I finally found Harkaitz's "voice" as a character.

Part 1: False Starts in Terranor
Session 15 – Mystery at the Museum
Session 16 – Joining the Guild  [Start of Harkaitz's Journal]
Session 17 – Demons and Devils, Oh My!
Session 18 – Devils at the Gate
Session 19 – The Devil's Cave

Part 2: Against the Drow
Session 20 – The Forest of Angry Elves
Session 21 – Scouting the Barrow
Session 22 – First Steps
Session 23 – Sleeping Wednesday
Session 24 – "They trapped their own bedrooms."
Session 25 – Dragons and Goblins and Drow - oh my!
Session 26 – Shopping in Elftown
Session 27 - Descent into the Depths
Session 28 – Part 1: Storming the Gatehouse
Session 28 – Part 2: Sweeping the Barrow
Session 29 – Unexpected Allies
Session 30 – Entering the Vault
Sessions 31 and 32, Part 1 – Death of the Matriarch
Sessions 31 and 32, Part 2 – Return of the Vrock

Part 3: The Swamp Gate
Session 33 – Into the Uskar Desert
Session 34 – Into the Uskar Desert
Session 35 – Across the Waters and Into the Swamp
Session 36 – A Favor for a Favor
Session 37 – Tracking through the Swamp
Sessions 38 and 39 – The Swamp Gate
Session 40 – Swamp Revelations
Session 41 – R-and-R in the Forest of Angry Elves


Part 4: The Uskar and Mountain Gates
Session 42 – Into the Mountains and Split Session 43 – Across the Desert and a New Companion
Session 44 – Hiking to the Pyramid
Session 45 – The Pyramid, Top to Bottom

Session 46 – Bottom to Top Session 47 – Light and Darkness
Session 48 – The Thieves’ Bazaar
Session 49 – Temple to Throne
Session 50 – Wave of Undead
Session 51 – Mist, Fireballs, Statues, and Bone Heaps
Session 52 – Only the Penitent Man Shall Pass
Session 53 – The Unbeating Heart of Darkness
Session 54 – The Vampire Side-Steps Us
Session 55 – Lucien, Meet Ra.

Part 5: Reclaiming the Terranor Gate

Sadly, I never typed up my session notes for the rest of the campaign.  I got deep into writing my first novel and posted chapters of that for the next year [2012].  The last blog posting was on July 24, 2012, after Session 82, which was the last session of the entire campaign.

We lead an army made up of contingents from all those Harkaitz contacted, including the Drow and the surface elves and a couple of dragons.  I vaguely remember the fight being hard won and we secured the last gate, saving the world.

Book 3 of the campaign was our characters establishing a colony for the kingdom on a major island far to the north.  It wasn't as satisfying a campaign because we were too powerful for regular adventuring and the GM had no experience or guidelines for running a campaign where we settled down, established strongholds, and started doing the political end-game things D&D builds to.  To quote myself, "We learned why a fresh sandbox setting isn't quite so challenging to characters with tons of money and magic to throw around."
Thank you for reading this.  It was a lot of fun to play through.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed playing it.




Previous Parts of the Campaign
Book 1: Dyson's Delve
Intermezzo

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Ratpack – Session 06

[The ratfolk adventurers search for a lost snitch, finally get paid for the siege castle gig, and then things catch fire!]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened December 2, 2019.]

Player Characters
Marativy – female ratfolk 1st level Ninja
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 1st level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 1st level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 1st level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Winston – male 1st level Gunslinger


Day 5
After a night’s sleep, the ratfolk adventurers reassembled at the Blue Rodent.  In a private room Zitch cast identify on the ring from the Paradox Box and determined it was a ring of feather falling.  After a short discussion, the group decided to hand the ring to Marativy as she was most likely to need it.

The ratfolk then started strategizing on how they might track down Natalia/Kasadi.  Marativy remembered her as a lookout on the one job they worked together.  Marativy also suggested the group try looking around on Washer’s Row.  Some of the laundries there are fronts for a Sczarni group known as the Washside Wringers.  That area is also the base of operations for The Amazing Zograthy, an information broker and middleman between the Sczarni and other criminal organizations.

The group dispersed across the lower city to track down leads.  Roscuro attempted asking around Underbridge diplomatically but ended up talking with his fists, elbows, and knees and got no information.  [I rolled a 5 on the attempt.]  Marativy and Templeton went to talk with The Amazing Zograthy and for 50 gold coins he answered any question they put to him.  They learned a number of locals where disappearing and word on the street was that Nidalese slavers were grabbing people and smuggling them out of the city.  The slavers were known to operate out of an abandoned tavern called the Puffy Pelican.  Separately, Winston and Zitch learned the same information from other sources, but Zitch also learned that the local boss for the Nidalese was a man named Plutivarch Dremis.

The ratfolk reconvened at the Blue Rodent and compared information.  They had found out nothing about Natalia, but a lot about this slaver organization.  They speculated that perhaps the Nidalese had grabbed Natalia and this might be worthwhile to investigate.  As their information suggested the slavers operated at night, they decided to go back to Frederick’s place and see if they could finally get paid for exploring the siege castle and sell off the things they brought back.

The group went over to Roscuro’s parent’s home to pick up the chest of goods and hauled it over to Frederick’s in a fancier part of town.  This time Frederick was in the shop and the rude assistant was nowhere to be seen.  After exchanging pleasantries, Roscuro started showing Frederick what the group had retrieved from the siege castle, starting with the mended swords and shields.  Frederick easily contained his excitement at seeing them.  Roscuro then produced the shield with the dolphin heraldry and Frederick became noticeably excited at it.  Roscuro followed with the banner, the ledgers [the books not containing history], and the contracts [the scrolls that were not maps], all of which Frederick was very enthused about.  Roscuro then brought out the piece de’resistance, the wax seal.  Frederick was floored to see it.  He barely even noticed the jewelry Roscuro added at the end, agreeing to take all of it.

Frederick went into the back of his shop and brought out a small strongbox.  He presented it to the ratfolk adventurers.  Inside were 5000 gold coins, 1000 for each adventurer.  Roscuro did a quick visual check that the others accepted this and then thanked Frederick for his patronage, accepting the strongbox on the group’s behalf.

After that the group and Frederick worked out the process for delivering finds to his “VIP supplier depot” to avoid future unpleasantness.  Frederick also assisted the group in establishing an account at a nearby bank so they didn’t have to haul 5000 gold coins around town with them and make targets of themselves.  As the bank needed a name for the account, the ratfolk huddled a moment and settled upon the group name The Ratpack.  [Not the most imaginative names, but easily agreed upon and undeniably descriptive.]


After Sunset
After spending the afternoon doing some celebrating, The Ratpack made their way over to the Puffy Pelican in the Dockway neighborhood.  Their thinking was that the slavers might store “product” here and maybe, if they were lucky, Natalia might still be here.  Either way they might get a lead on the Nidalese slavers.

The Ratpack spent some time scouting out the abandoned tavern.  The windows and doors were boarded up and the wooden structure was built mostly hanging over the water on stilts.  After a time, several of the group noticed there was a faint light inside the building.  

Marativy took to the rooves of the surrounding buildings to try and get a better look at the interior.  From that elevation she could see the roof of the Puffy Pelican had holes and gaps in it.  With great stealth she moved over to the Puffy Pelican roof to look inside the structure.  She discerned that the interior was almost completely empty except for a hooded lantern that was shining a light out an open back window and into the bay.  She saw no one inside the structure but there was a side room with a door that she could not see into at all.

After checking the roof, Marativy climbed down and looked at the understructure.  There was nothing under the building except the wooden support posts and the waters of the bay.  There was no light shining down on the water, which suggested there were no trapdoors.  Learning this, Marativy returned to where the rest of the Ratpack was waiting and shared what she had learned.

The Ratpack, not the most subtle of groups, decided a simple, straight-forward approach would be easiest and quickest.  They would sneak around to the front of the side area, pry out two planks with crowbars, and take a look at whatever was in the side room.  What could go wrong?

Waiting only long enough for Templeton to summon and merge with his eidolon, they enacted their plan.  The group somewhat stealthily made their way to the front wall of the side room.  Zitch and Roscuro quickly pried out adjacent vertical planks, allowing them to see in.  The room seemed to be some sort of storage room in the past.  It now contained empty shelves and three crates on the floor.  Shrugging, Zitch pried another plank off the wall and squeezed into the room.  Roscuro and Winston followed with Templeton and Marativy keeping an eye out across the street.

Roscuro had time to open one of the crates, finding old serving ware, before an invisible assailant cast color spray on the trio [note: no Perception roll was made versus the sorcerer’s stealth nor for the casting of the color spray].  Luckily, only Zitch was blinded by the attack.  Templeton charged across the street and squeezed into the room, just in time for the now revealed sorcerer to again cast color spray [defensively], this time to no effect [we all made our saves].  Winston shot and hit the sorcerer with his musket, followed by Roscuro dumping a vial of oil on the attacker.  Marativy sprinted across the street to join in on the fight.

[At this point I realized my plan had a flaw – none of us had any fire to light the oil.  We would have to improvise.]

Templeton attempted a full attack routine on the sorcerer but missed all three times.  The sorcerer backed up into the main room and then cast magic missile at Roscuro, hitting with two missiles [I was now down to one hit point].  Winston reloaded his musket in the storeroom while Roscuro and Marativy joined the sorcerer in the main room...but both missed with their attacks.  [We were all rolling frustratingly low on our attack rolls, except for Winston who had to reload after every attack so couldn't press his advantage.]

Templeton decided to wait for an opportune time to attack, which allowed the sorcerer to cast a second magic missile, this time at Marativy [apparently, the sorcerer realized Roscuro had no flame to light the oil with while Marativy had a very sharp sword that needed no fire].  Winston, his musket reloaded, strode into the room and to the sorcerer and shot him at point blank range, blowing a hole in the sorcerer AND igniting the oil he was covered in.  Roscuro threw a second flask of oil on the sorcerer because F that guy.  Marativy tried to kill the caster with her sword but missed, allowing Templeton to decide that now was the time and step up and end the sorcerer with a final claw swipe.

The overuse of oil meant the wooden building quickly caught fire.  Rather than put out the fire [or the sorcerer], the Ratpack started leaving the building the way they had entered.  Roscuro delayed long enough to check the last two crates in the store room [both full of junk] before the rapidly spreading fire drove him from the building.

End of Session



Rat Whispers
[We were surprised by the power of the sorcerer.  At first we thought he was a wizard, which led us to overestimate his level and question the balance of the encounter.  On the other hand, we missed a lot due to low dice rolls, making the fight even more frustrating.  My advice here would have been to allow the players a Perception roll against the sorcerer’s Stealth when he snuck up on us, especially when he opened the door, then the Fort save against the color spray.]

[We know we probably lost a couple magic items by letting the sorcerer burn, but we hated that guy at the moment and we'll live with it.  Please note how little time elapsed between the start of the fight, particularly Winston's first shot with his musket, and when we were forced out of the building because of the flames.  Next session starts exactly where this one ends and... well, you'll see.]

[I changed the name of the tavern our characters congregate at.  Calling the tavern that a group of ratfolk meet at "The Rat's Cellar" seems like a funny history joke at first.  In hindsight, maybe not so much.  No reason to be a dick even accidentally.  I changed it to The Blue Rodent as a nod to The Blue Parrot from Casablanca, one of my favorite movies.  As I get time I'll go back and change it in the earlier session notes.]


Ratpack
Session 01
Session 02
Session 03
Session 04
Session 05


Session 07

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Ratpack – Session 05

[The ratfolk adventurers return to Magnimar and we start the actual Shattered Star adventure path.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened November 25, 2019.]

Player Characters
Marativy – female ratfolk 1st level Ninja
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 1st level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 1st level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 1st level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Winston – male 1st level Gunslinger

Non-Player Character
Balenar Foresend – male human bard, member of the Pathfinder Society and freed hostage

Day 4
Over breakfast, the ratfolk adventurers discussed what they wanted to do next.  They needed to take Balenar back to Magnimar.  They had explored almost every part of the siege castle except the blocked off stairs down to whatever lay below the ground.  Finally, many of the group were running out of rations.  This last item turned out to be the most significant and so the group packed up their camp.  The restored goods (books, scrolls, swords, shields) were packed up in the chest from the 5th floor to take back and sell to Frederick [the antiquities dealer they made a deal with in Session 1].

Roscuro took the time to put up some chalk signs.  The signs read:

“Property of Ratpack
Especially the 3rd Floor”

The signs were drawn next to the doorway to the spider room [first floor, north tower] and both visible doors on the second floor.  The ratfolk also removed all footprints leading to the library [first floor, south tower].

Once finished their preparations, the ratfolk and the human bard started walking back to Magnimar.

1:00 PM
Back in Magnimar, the ratfolk adventurers made their way to the local lodge of the Pathfinder Society.  Balenar explained what would likely happen and who they would end up speaking with.  At the lodge, the ratfolk waited in the lobby for half an hour until a human woman came out and got them.  They were escorted to an office and the woman introduced herself as Sheila Heidmarch, the local guild master.

Rather than pay the ratfolk for rescuing Balenar, she instead offered them an opportunity to join the Pathfinder Society.  Roscuro asked if he and his compatriots could discuss the offer privately and Sheila agreed to step out of the room as she needed to meet someone else for a moment.  On her way out of the office, Sheila indicated an odd box on a table was part of the job she was offering and then left.

Roscuro wanted to discuss whether the group should accept a job instead of a reward with the other ratfolk, but Zitch and Marativy were already checking out the weird box.  Roscuro sighed, realizing the group wasn’t getting paid in coin but accepting the job.

The box was a stone chest with runes inscribed on it.  Zitch identified the runes as Thassilonian and, despite being carved into the stone surface, they were movable on their surfaces.  The box detected as magical, with auras of abjuration and conjuration.  Zitch played around with the runes, spelling out different words.  When he solved the puzzle [not stating how due to spoiler], a seam appeared in the box.  Winston opened the box and two tiny dog-like creatures popped out.  Roscuro made a critical attack of opportunity on one and it stayed to fight him.  The other started breaking things in the office.

Not wanting to get blamed for the destruction, the group of adventurers attacked the creatures.  While the ratfolk often hit the creatures, they inflicted much less damage than they should have.  Roscuro remembered the cold iron short sword he had on him at about the same time Marativy accidentally dropped her wakizashi.  Roscuro drew the short sword and passed it over to Marativy who was better with it.  The cold iron was super effective and two swings later, but creatures were dead.  They blinked out of existence when they died, being summoned creatures, so when Sheila and an elf woman came charging in there were no bodies to show them.  Sigh.

Marativy explained what happened while Zitch healed Roscuro and himself [who were injured in the fight].  Sheila introduced the elf woman as Koriah Azmeren, the finder of the box.  Both seemed impressed that the ratfolk had opened it.  Opening the box seemed to qualify as a test for joining the Pathfinder Society and Sheila seemed happy that the ratfolk all accepted the job offer.  She also let the ratfolk keep the contents of the box [3 garnets, a silver dagger, and a magic ring – later identified as a ring of feather fall].

The job was to locate an informant of Sheila’s who had gone missing after reporting the Sczarni had found an important item.  Natalia was supposed to meet and provide details but never showed for the meeting.  Rumor had it the Sczarni were now looking for her.  Our job was to find her first, find the item for the Pathfinder Society, and not spill the beans we were part of the Society until after the job.  Sheila felt that if people knew we were part of the Society they might not be as forthcoming with information.  Roscuro had his doubts but agreed to the terms of the job.  Sheila provided each member of the group with a wayfinder [minor magic item and badge of membership], a potion of cure light wounds, and a set of clothes with the Pathfinder Society logo.  The clothing was returned for tailoring [ratfolk have tails that the clothes did not accommodate].

After leaving the lodge, the ratfolk went to a friendly tavern in Underbridge, the Blue Rodent.  They got a private room and spent an hour sorting out the loot from the siege tower.  They sorted out the stuff they wanted to keep from the stuff they were going to sell to Frederick.  Magic items were apportioned out to those able to use them best.  The items they were keeping but did not want to carry with them were put into a chest and dropped of at the home of Roscuro’s parents [he is the only member of the group with living parents].

3:00 PM
After dropping off those items, they hauled a second chest with the things they wanted to sell to Frederick to the address he provided earlier in the week.  This turned out to be a fancy antiques shop in the wealthier part of Magnimar.  Frederick was not in, but a young human assistant was.  When the assistant saw the ratfolk walk in, he gave them the stink eye.  In his haughtiest voice the assistant asked what possible business the ratfolk could have in this shop.  Not having any of that, Roscuro told the assistant they had a contract with Frederick, they had the items Frederick asked for, and that they were leaving with the items and would be back tomorrow.  As the ratfolk left, Roscuro added over his shoulder that the price just went up because of Frederick’s rude assistant.

The group headed back to Roscuro’s parents place to drop off this chest as well, taking care to not be followed.

End of Session


Rat Whispers
[So I think the Pathfinder Society is either very forgiving or really desperate based on how easy it was to join.  That or the plotline requires us to be members to proceed.]


Ratpack
Session 01
Session 02
Session 03
Session 04


Session 06


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Ratpack – Session 04

[The ratfolk adventurers finish searching the siege castle but get burned along the way.  Also, Winston is back!]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened November 18, 2019.]

Player Characters
Marativy – female ratfolk 1st level Ninja
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 1st level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 1st level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 1st level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Winston – male 1st level Gunslinger

Non-Player Character
Balenar Foresend – male human bard, member of the Pathfinder Society and freed hostage


Day 1
Late afternoon (Immediately after the fight with the troglodyte druid)
The ratfolk adventurers searched the body of the dead troglodyte druid and found two keys attached to its belt.  Zitch cast detect magic again and detected some inside the chest.  Neither key from the dead troglodyte fit the lock, but the chest turned out to not be locked.  Inside were:

  • 1 cold iron short sword
  • 15 cold iron shuriken
  • 2 vials containing identical non-magical liquid
  • 2 vials containing 2 different magical liquids
  • 1 wand that detected as magic
  • 1 amethyst
  • 247 gold coins

Templeton identified the non-magical liquids as high quality acid.  He and Zitch were able to identify one of the magical liquids as a potion of cat’s grace, but could not identify the other potion.  The amethyst was assessed as being worth 100 gold coin.

Marativy and Winston searched the veranda surrounding the fifth floor and found nothing but the shocker lizard sunning it self in the winter daylight [we learned that it was late winter from the DM this session].  The rest of the group spent a lot of time going over the throne looking for a key hole or any other hidden feature.  This turned out to be a waste of time.  As he and Marativy finished their search of the veranda well before the rest of the group finished their search of the throne, he spent the remaining time skinning the albino alligator.

It now being late in the day, the entire group returned to the second floor of the siege castle and set up camp in the south tower.  For some added security, the door to the east tower was wedged shut with some pitons, as was the door from the east tower to the north tower [from the north tower side].  Two-hour watches were set in this order: Zitch, Templeton, Winston, Roscuro, and finally Marativy.  While the bard seemed trustworthy, the ratfolk had just met him and were not quite ready to trust their lives with him.


Day 2
Over breakfast, the ratfolk made plans for investigating the locked third floor.  They believed that the switch located in the room they were camping in might connect to whatever mechanism kept Marativy from picking the lock to the third floor [she had been able to pick every other lock in the siege castle so this seemed possible].

The ratfolk packed up their camp.  Marativy stayed on the second floor while the rest climbed the knotted rope from the second-floor landing to the third-floor landing in the central stairwell.  Once the group was arrayed in front of the third-floor door, Zitch cast message and told Marativy the group was in position.  She flipped the switch and replied through the message that she had done so.  [The message spell allows the caster to send a secure message to a recipient within 100 feet and then get a reply.]

Up on the third floor, there was no observable effect to the switch being flipped.  Roscuro tried the keys taken off the troglodytes and one of them unlocked the door.  Zitch sent another message to Marativy that the group had unlocked the door and she should come up.  She replied she was on her way.  As she exited the south tower and entered the armory [the west tower, 2nd floor], a crossbow trap discharged at her.  Her reflexes were good enough to dodge the bolt.  She returned to the south tower, turned the switch off, and returned to the armory.  This disabled the self-reloading crossbow trap.  She reported this information to the other adventurers when she joined them on the third floor.

Roscuro opened the door to the third floor and peeked in.  The west tower and the south tower areas were joined to make one large chamber.  The chamber appeared to be a temple of sorts to Nethys.  There were two shrines or altars at either end of the figure 8 shaped room.  The southern area contained a white altar and rows of chairs facing it.  The western area had a black altar and some debris on the floor.

Roscuro asked Balenar what humans thought of Nethys.  The bard replied that Nethys was an old god still favored by wizards.  Nethys was dual-aspected, being a deity of protection and destruction.

Satisfied with that information, Roscuro slowly started approaching the black altar.  Winston and Marativy also entered the area, but Templeton, Zitch, and Balenar stayed in the stairwell.  About half way across the area Roscuro realized one pile of debris was actually two troglodyte corpses burned nearly to ash.  He immediately stopped and relayed this back to the others.  He then slowly and cautiously sidled forward another five feet.  There he could see a human skeleton in one corner and some words carved into the wall beside the black altar.

Roscuro sidled another five feet closer, which put him next to the altar.  He read the writing on the wall out loud to see if it had any meaning to the others.  Possibly coincidentally [that's my story and I'm sticking to it], the human skeleton in the corner and two others in the temple area animated and ignited with flames.  The skeletons were fast and the heat off them was intense, burning any ratfolk adjacent to them.  Taking the hint, the ratfolk fled the room as quickly as they could, with Zitch pulling the door closed once Roscuro, Marativy, and Winston cleared the room.  Roscuro and Marativy were burned, but not as badly as Winston [who was down to 2 hit points].  Balenar and Zitch used their healing magics on the burned ratfolk.

Not wanting to repeat that, the adventurers went to the last unexplored area, the first floor of the south tower.  The door to this area was blocked by rubble, which seemed normal as the siege castle had suffered an earthquake, but Roscuro was curious where the rubble had come from.  Looking around the door there was no obvious place the rubble would have fallen from as the ceiling was unmarred.  Strange.

Winston used his engineering knowledge to efficiently remove the rubble.  After a bit he noticed that, no matter how much rubble he moved, the rubble pile never got smaller.  Zitch cast detect magic and confirmed what Winston and Roscuro suspected – the rubble was an illusion!

Roscuro, Winston, and Zitch walked through the revealed doorway into the south tower.  Marativy, Templeton, and Balenar did not immediately see through the illusion but eventually saw past it and followed.

The south tower turned out to be a small library, containing books, scrolls, a reading chair, and a side table.  All of it looked fragile.  Zitch stated he had access to a mending spell and an identify spell, but needed time to commune with his patron.  While early in the day, this seemed the best option and was much preferred than attempting the temple of Nethys again.  The group made camp and the same watches were set.


Day 3
After an uneventful night, Zitch started casting.  He first identified the unknown potion, which turned out to be a potion of lesser restoration.  He then identified the wand as a wand of summon monster I with 9 charges left.  He then set to mending the reading chair [he wanted something comfortable to sit on while mending everything else].  This took several castings as the spell is weak and he had to mend each part separately.  He then mended the reading table and discovered a hidden drawer containing a wax stamp of the seal of the Band of the Phoenix [the group of adventurers that owned this siege castle several hundred years ago].

After that, Zitch started casting mend on the books.  As he finished with each book, Roscuro and Balenar skimmed it to learn what each contained.  The books fell into two categories: histories written 500 to 700 years ago and ledgers of jobs taken by the Band of the Phoenix and the details of what happened, how much the guild was paid, what was recovered, and other administrative details.  Roscuro took to reading the histories while waiting for the next book to be mended [I plan to spend a skill point at second level to buy a rank in Knowledge (History)].  Once the books were mended, Zitch cast mend on the scrolls.  These were maps and contracts [all dated 500 to 700 years ago].

While this time-consuming process was going on, Marativy, Templeton, and Winston started excavating the collapsed part of the stairwell.  Winston’s engineering skills paid off here, allowing the trio to move blocks larger than they normally could using ropes and improvised pulleys.  The stairs definitely continued down and they made noticeable progress clearing the steps by the end of the day, wearing out one of their ropes in the process.

End of Session


Rat Whispers
[So the burning skeletons were a nasty surprise.  We are not certain how we are going to deal with them.  The library find was a great stash of knowledge, but not experience points.  In fact, we earned zero experience this session.  Second level is still a long way away for us.]


Ratpack
Session 01
Session 02
Session 03


Session 05