Friday, February 7, 2020

Ratpack – Session 12

[Exposition is given and the quest…more or less starts.  But first, some shopping.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened January 27, 2020.]

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


Day 7
Morning
The Ratpack met at the Blue Rodent and ate breakfast together.  Fully rested and fed [and in two cases, leveled], they walked back to the Pathfinder Society lodge.  There they met with Sheila again to learn more about the red metal shard.  The shard was a piece of the “Shattered Star.”  When reassembled, the pieces become the Sihedron, a defensive magic item created by Emperor Xin, the founder of the Thessalonian Empire 10,000 years ago.  The Sihedron was broken when the Rune Lords rose up and took over the Thessalonian Empire, each keeping a shard.  In the intervening time, the shards went missing…until now.  The shards are considered major artifacts, granting power to the wielder and each providing guidance to the location of the next piece in a chain that eventually circles back.

Sheila strongly suggests that the Ratpack track down the remaining shards.  Rune Lords have reappeared in other places recently [see the Rise of the Rune Lords Adventure Path] and locating the Shattered Star would be a good defense against the Rune Lords if more re-appear.  Roscuro asked what support the Pathfinder Society would provide for this quest and the answer was “not much.”  Being Pathfinders ourselves, we could ask for help, but other society members were not required to assist us.  Additionally, there was no financial support either, nor would doing this help our standing inside the society as we needed to keep this quiet.  She did offer to research what Ioun stones fit each shard so the curses on them could be broken.  The Ratpack was feeling underwhelmed by the Society’s “support.”

Sheila also explained how to track down the next shard.  She had Marativy hold the red metal shard and concentrate on the location of the next shard.  After a moment of concentration, Marativy had vision of one of the Irespan pylons, The Crow, and the known entrance to it.  Consulting a map, the Ratpack decided they would need to rent a boat to go out and get it.

Having learned all they could, the Ratpack left the lodge.  They split up to get various supplies and run errands.  Roscuro and Zitch discussed looking for a handy haversack [a magic backpack that weighs 5 pounds no matter how much gear is in it].  They each have half the gold necessary and both agree keeping encumbrance down so the group won’t be slowed is important.  [Especially as the ratfolk movement rate is only 20 feet.]  Marativy decided to go with Zitch and Roscuro.  Templeton and Winston had separate errands to run and went their own way.

Not being local to Magnimar nor knowing where items such as handy haversacks might be located, Roscuro, Zitch, and Marativy headed over to Frederick’s shop in the Naos District to ask his advice.  Frederick was in and finishing up with a customer, so the ratfolk waited and looked around the shop some.  Frederick sells antiques to the wealthy and the shop had some nice wares, even though they were not what the ratfolk were looking for.

When Frederick finished with his previous customer, he came over and greeted the ratfolk.  Roscuro explained he and Zitch were looking for a place that sold magic items, but were new to the city and did not know where we might find such a place.  As Frederick was someone they knew and did business with, they were hoping he might have some suggestions.  This drew Frederick’s interest and he asked what the group was up to.  Roscuro explained that the Ratpack was going to investigate a nearby site that was recently uncovered and wanted a handy haversack to ease the expedition.  They had a lead but were uncertain what might be discovered at the site.

Frederick’s instincts kicked in and he asked if he might make a deal similar to the one he made with the Ratpack over things found in the siege castle.  Roscuro said he was interested, but there was a complicating factor – he pulled out his Pathfinder Society wayfarer by way of silent explanation.  Frederick’s eyebrows rose, but he nodded and suggested that the contract be amended to say he would have the right of first refusal [the option to make an offer or pass before anyone else saw it] on anything not already spoken for by the Pathfinder Society.  Roscuro looked to Zitch and Marativy for confirmation and they nodded.  Roscuro agreed to those terms and he and Frederick shook hands on it.

Frederick then drew up a letter of credit and recommended a shop named Tinctures and Tonics down the street.  The name of the shop was not as descriptive as it used to be, he explained.  They started out selling alchemical products, but branched out into wondrous items as the business grew.  Once the ink dried on the letter of credit, he handed it to Roscuro – it was for the amount of a handy haversack.  Apparently, Frederick was very pleased with how things worked out with the siege castle!  The ratfolk thanked Frederick and left the shop.

On the way over to Tinctures and Tonics, Roscuro asked Zitch if he was still interested in going half in on a second handy haversack if one was available.  Roscuro was willing to go half in for one for Zitch, that way both Roscuro and Zitch would have one.  Zitch was willing.

At Tinctures and Tonics, the ratfolk talked with a rather refined half-orc named Vof Glukron.  Vof was a co-owner of the shop and ran the shop side of the business, his partner handling “creations and acquisitions.”  Roscuro explained that they were looking to purchase two handy haversacks, if the shop had them in stock.  Vof went into the back to check and came out with two of them.  Roscuro used the letter of credit from Frederick to pay for one [Vof apparently knew Frederick, so there was no issue with the letter of credit] and then he and Zitch put down gold coin for the second.  The trio then looked around at the merchandise in the shop and also purchased 6 basic potions of cure light wounds [two per player].

After purchasing the handy haversacks and potions, the trio went over to an armorer’s shop to sell off the surplus weapons and armor they had recently acquired [from the toughs and Tower Girl they fought in the previous session].  Marativy upgraded her leather armor to a chainmail shirt.

At the end of the day, the Ratpack met up again at The Blue Rodent to discuss last minute plans.  Templeton was particularly leery of getting trapped out at The Crow by someone stealing they rented boat and wanted to get barrels to take as makeshift boats.  Roscuro countered by suggesting that the group get a barrel of potable water.  If something happened to the boat, they could dump out the water and use the barrel, but in the meantime they would have plenty of water and draw no undue attention.  Templeton agreed to this plan.  Winston, Zitch, and Marativy also used the trip to get the water barrel to resupply with trail rations as they were all out.


Day 8
Morning
The Ratpack rented a boat in the Beacon’s Point district and loaded it up with their barrel of water.  They rowed out to The Crow, one of the two furthest out pylons of the Irespan.  On the side of the pylon away from the city they found an opening that matched Marativy’s vision and rowed in.  Inside was a mostly flooded chamber with stairs climbing out of the water on the back end.  The ceiling was very high [the official description is “up into the darkness” so I don’t have a distance, but I bet they were not expecting ratfolk with 60 feet of darkvision].

In the back of the chamber was an alcove that countless generations of rich young people had used to get away from their parents and party.  The back wall of the alcove was recently broken open, exposing a short passage to another room inside the pylon.

Room 2 was rectangular and had three items of not: a door to the left, an alcove on the far wall, and stairs going up on the right.  The alcove had trash.  The door to the left opened on another room [Room 3], which was clearly being used as a privy.  Roscuro checked for secret doors but found none.  [He did contract Filth Fever, but the onset is 3 days, so he won’t realize this for another day or two.]  After searching Room 3, Roscuro cleaned his feet in the bay water in Room 1 [so he wouldn’t smell the privy all day or leave tracks].

The stairs up curved to the right and opened in a room being used for storage.  By whom the ratfolk still had no idea.  The crates appeared to have been in this room for a while as the ungol dust traps in them failed to activate and the ungol dust had gone ineffective.  The only way out of this room was another set of stairs in the far corner.  Those stairs turned left twice, making a U-shape, and opened to Room 5.

Room 5 was quite large and the walls were covered in murals of Thassilonian pilgrims and giants marching across the Irespan, back when it was whole [so thousands of years ago].  There are votive candle holders spaced along the walls and on the double-row of columns supporting the ceiling.  A set of wide stairs can just be glimpsed on the back wall, through the pillars.

Marativy drank a potion of invisibility and then snuck across the room to go investigate the stairs.  Roscuro quietly followed [he has the second highest stealth bonus and I rolled a natural 20 on the roll] while the rest stayed at the door.  As Marativy approached the stairs [with Roscuro about halfway across the room, amongst the pillars], she heard a surprised squeak and spotted a dire rat bolt for the stairs [not away from her invisible self, but towards the stairs - we also questioned how a dire rat made a perception roll in the upper 30s].  Roscuro saw the dire rat as it made it to the steps and threw a tanglefoot bag at it.  He hit the dire rat with the bag, but it was only slowed [it made its save].

This triggered a short combat as the Ratpack attempted to stop the dire rat from escaping.  Despite hitting it a couple of times [for a total of 4 points of damage], the dire rat still had twice the movement of the ratfolk [despite being the same size class as the ratfolk, Small, dire rats are apparently world-class sprinters] and escaped up the stairs.  Roscuro called off the pursuit.

The ratfolk regrouped and resumed exploring, moving up the stairs with stealth.

End of Session


Rat Whispers
[So the main quest of the Adventure Path has arrived and the PCs are not exactly revved to go.  The Pathfinder Society seems to be making assumptions.  If it weren’t for Frederick, we might have gone off and done something else.  This is an issue with a lot of published adventures – they assume the PCs will take up the adventure because of course they will.  It never seems to occur to the authors that maybe some characters need better motivation than that.  I saw this a lot in Living Greyhawk and I imagine it continues in Living Forgotten Realms (or whatever the RPGA is up to now).]

[This was a difficult blog entry to write.  Not due to content, it was just difficult to get myself to write it.  There was always something “more interesting” distracting me and mostly it was web surfing.  I’m glad to have finished it.  That said, there will be a delay before Session 13 gets written as we haven’t played it yet.  We had scheduling issues this week but should be good for next week.]

[Incidentally, the blog’s 10-year anniversary is coming up in March.  Haven’t decided what I’m going to do to observe its passing that yet.]


Ratpack
Session 01
...
Session 10
Session 11


Session 13 [Not Played Yet]


Friday, January 31, 2020

Ratpack – Session 11

[Day 6 continues…and finally concludes!]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened January 20, 2020.]

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


Day 6 (Still!)
Immediately after Session 10
As their opponents attacked, the Ratpack realized that only one of the four was an actual member of the Tower Girls, the leader.  The other three appeared to be hired goons as they wore nothing that identified them as belonging to the Tower Girls gang.  The leader jumped down to the street from the roof of the low building she was standing on and dropped a smokestick at her feet, obscuring our view of her.  Zitch put an Evil Eye on one of the goons [Goon 1, -2 to hit] and started cackling like a madman.  Winston shot a different goon [Goon 2 for 9 points of damage].  Marativy drank her potion of invisibility.  Roscuro noted and told her, “We’ll meet you at the lodge,” suspecting her plan was to leave with the red metal shard the Tower Girl wanted.  Templeton, merged with his eidolon, ran up the side of the building that Goons 1 and 2 were on top of, but it was too far to move and attack.

Zitch added another Evil Eye curse on Goon 1 [-2 AC this time] and continued to cackle, maintaining the Evil Eye effects.  Roscuro shot Goon 2 with a glancing blow [failed to confirm the crit and rolled 1 point of damage].  Goons 1 and 2 dropped their crossbows and drew maces to fight Templeton.  Winston reloaded and actively looked for the enemy leader, but could not locate her.  Marativy continued to slowly stealth away from the fight while invisible.  Natalia [who the GM suddenly remembered was there] cast a beneficial spell on Winston [granting him +2 on all his dice rolls next round – I missed the name of the spell].  Templeton made a five-foot step up the slope of the roof to get high ground on Goon 2 and managed to hit him with a claw attack that started the goon bleeding.

The Tower Girl boss reappeared in the fight, now on the opposite side of a building [cutting off our planned escape route] and getting a sneak attack on Winston [for 12 points of damage, leaving him with 1 hit point].  Zitch, Roscuro, Winston, and Natalia concentrated their attacks on the Tower Girl boss, putting an Evil Eye [-2 AC], 14 points of damage, and a Grease spell on her.  Goon 3 fired his crossbow at Roscuro who deflected the arrow away with his hand [first use of the feat in the campaign!].  Templeton and the two goons on the roof danced around and missed each other completely [Goon 1 bleeding heavily] while Marativy continued to stealth away [with a movement of only 20 feet, and having to move at half speed to maintain stealth, her escape took a while to effect].

The Tower Girl shot Winston again and knocked him unconscious.  Luckily, he auto-stabilized and did not bleed out any further.  Roscuro reloaded his light crossbow and shot her in return for a solid hit [6 hit points of damage].  Goons 1 and 2 both missed Templeton with their maces up on the roof, Goon 1 continuing to bleed heavily [6 points of bleed damage].  Templeton was able to get a bite on Goon 2 in return.  Goon 3, changed tactics and advanced on Roscuro with a mace, but missed.  Natalia pulled a hand-crossbow and missed the leader with it.

The Tower Girl advanced on Roscuro, flanking him with Goon 3, and hit him hard with her sword [11 points of damage].  Zitch put an Evil Eye on Goon 3 [-2 AC].  Roscuro stepped out of the flank and hit Goon 3 twice with a flurry of blows [for a total of 7 points of damage, but failed to drop him].  Goon 2 finally hit Templeton [10 points].  Goon 1 missed and finally died from blood loss.  Templeton bit Goon 2, which killed him.  Natalia administered a healing potion to Winston, which brought him back into the fight - he reloaded his musket.  Goon 3 stepped to put Roscuro back into being flanked, but missed with his attack.

The Tower Girl, with Roscuro flanked again, hit him with a sneak attack and dropped him to the ground [12 points of damage].  Zitch stepped up to Roscuro and fed him a healing potion with brought him back to the fight.  Roscuro acrobatically jumped to his feet without provoking an attack of opportunity from his flanking enemies and performed a flurry of [weak] blows on Goon 3 [for only 2 points of damage].  But, this allowed Natalia to move and flank Goon 3, killing him with her own sneak attack.  Winston shot the Tower Girl [for 9 points], allowing Templeton to come down off the roof next to her and claw and kill her.

With the hard fight completed, Zitch healed who he could and the Ratpack looted the bodies of their fallen foes.  Roscuro had Natalia cast Prestidigitation on each member of the group to clean the mud, blood, and shit off them so they could walk through the better parts of the city without drawing attention.  The bodies were dumped into the sewer inside the building the Ratpack had just exited [see Session 10].  The loot was stuffed into various sacks and the group fled the area, actively avoiding any city guard that might show up.

The Ratpack caught up with Marativy back at the Pathfinder Society lodge.  Marativy had located Sheila in the lodges library and was talking with her.  The group moved to Sheila’s office for a bit more privacy.  Roscuro flattered Marativy into showing Sheila the red metal shard.  Sheila’s face blanched when she saw it and she clearly recognized it.  Picking up on Roscuro’s unusual use of flattery when speaking to Marativy, she excused herself to get “something that would enhance the shard.”

Shelia returned with an Ioun stone and gave it to Marativy, pointing out that it would fit within a socket on the red metal shard.  Marativy slotted the stone into the socket and it clicked into place, turning the same shade as the shard, and suddenly Marativy was confused as to how she got to Sheila’s office.  The curse on Marativy from the shard was broken by the Ioun stone.

As the group was clearly still injured, Shelia provided enough healing potions to heal everyone in the group.  She promised to provide a full explanation for what the red shard was in the morning as it was quite late in the evening.  Tired, the Ratpack accepted this and promised to return.  Marativy held onto the red metal shard.

End of Session


Rat Whispers
[One of the reasons our characters agreed to come back was that it was late in the evening in the real world and some of us had work the next day.  The other reason was that Marativy and Winston had enough experience to level and needed to rest so they could do so.]

[This was a hard fight and definitely above the group’s weight class.  We estimated that the Tower Girl leader was level 4 and the goons level 3 based on abilities exhibited and damage it took to kill them.  I don’t remember the math exactly, but I believe that made this an EL 5 encounter and our average party level was 2.  And this is a scripted fight we could not avoid despite trying to by sneaking out a back wall.]

[Incidentally, the blog’s 10 year anniversary is coming up in March.  Haven’t decided what I’m going to do to observe its passing that yet.]


Ratpack
Session 01
Session 02
Session 03
Session 04
Session 05
Session 06
Session 07
Session 08
Session 09
Session 10


Session 12

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Ratpack – Session 10

[The Ratpack: out of the shithouse, into…another street fight?.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened January 13, 2020.]

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


Day 6
Immediately after Session 9
Satisfied that the shit-flinging goblins were not going to sneak up behind the group, Roscuro joined the rest of the Ratpack up in the rafters of the building’s attic space.  He climbed Marativy’s knotted rope up through the room’s missing ceiling.  The Ratpack could see that the ceiling was also missing from the next and final room of the building.  Creeping forward, they peeked in on the final room.

Like the last three rooms of this miserable building, the fourth room was missing most of its floor and the space below was a noisome mess of sewage from the upper city.  A single sewer tunnel led out one wall, under the streets of Underbridge, most likely to the nearby sea.  On the far side of the room, in what can only be described as a “fancy chair” was Natalia!  She quickly noticed the Ratpack and started an honest-to-gods villain monologue about taking over the Tower Girls and then the city and blah, blah, blah.  She was clearly insane with delusions of grandeur.

Roscuro interrupted her part way throught the monologue, stating “We don’t care.  We’re here to verify you are alive as you missed your meeting with Sheila.”  Slightly taken aback by this statement, she ordered the Ratpack to leave immediately.  Roscuro called a group huddle of the Ratpack to determine if they needed to do anything about Natalia or just leave and report back to Sheila.  Before anything was said, Natalia yelled, “That’s not leaving,” and called out orders in Goblin and two shit-goblins came out of hiding in the sewer tunnel and started flinging shitballs at the ratfolk.  Roscuro’s joy knew definite bounds.

Natalia cast a Grease spell on the rafters where the Ratpack was huddled.  Marativy stepped out of the area, drawing her wakizashi.  Winston and Roscuro didn’t bother, both shooting at the goblins.  Winston killed his, but Roscuro’s crossbow wasn’t enough to kill the goblin in one shot [only did 4 points of damage].  The goblin returned the favor to Roscuro, squarely hitting him with a shitball, sickening the ratfolk [again – I could just not make a save against these].  Templeton advanced on the goblin, approaching from above [because of the Grease spell, the goblin ended up being just out of attack range after a Move action].

Natalia cast Charm Person on Marativy, who failed her save.  Concerned because her friends were fighting, Marativy dropped to the ground right next to Natalia and started talking to her, trying to de-escalate the fight.  Roscuro winged the remaining goblin [failing to kill it because of the -2 to all rolls from the sickened condition].  The goblin flung another shitball at Roscuro, hitting him again [no extra effect other than doing 1 hit point of damage to the still wounded Roscuro].  Winston reloaded and Templeton switched targets to attack Natalia, missing with a claw attack.

Winston [ now reloaded] shot and killed the remaining goblin.  Natalia decided to leave through the sewer tunnel.  She hopped down into the sewage and moved past Templeton who landed several attacks of opportunity on her [he has the Combat Reflexes feat].  Once in the sewer tunnel, Natalia pulls out a thing made of red metal and sprayed flames into the room, setting a barrier of flames between the adventurers and herself!  Marativy leapt into the tunnel to follow her friend, missed the landing, but climbed out of the sewage and into the tunnel next to Natalia.  Templeton attempted to follow but was blocked getting out of the flames by Natalia and Marativy being in the way.  Oddly, he did not burn and realized the flames were illusions.  He called this information out to the others.

Winston, his shot blocked by Templeton’s Foo Dog form, moved to a better position and readied to shoot Natalia if he got a line of sight on her.  Natalia pointed the piece of red metal at Templeton and cast Charm Person on him, successfully charming him.  Marativy, ever the greedy, decided that the red metal thing was escalating things and needed to be sidelined.  She grabbed it out of Natalia’s hand [successful disarm]…and was immediately possessed by it [this was not immediately obvious to the other PCs].  Natalia suddenly looked around very confused.  When the charmed Templeton asked her what the plan was, she asked, “Have we met?”

Bleeding from Templeton’s attack [which she did not remember], she drank a healing potion and asked what was going on.  Marativy led Natalia out of the tunnel back into the room, announcing that she was suddenly her old self with no memory of what was going on.  This ended hostilities.

After talking with Natalia a bit, it was clear she has no memory of the last four days nor the red metal device.  She also did not have it on her person, which confused all the ratfolk [except Marativy, who failed to mention that she now had it].  The rest of the ratfolk suspected it fell in the sewage and had no interest in looking for it.

Wanting to avoid any city guard that might be waiting at the entrance to the building, Zitch and Roscuro begin prying wall planks out of the back wall.  Marativy found a small crate of loot.  Zitch went over to cast Detect Magic on the crate to see if anything was magical.  He was nearly blinded and stunned by an item radiating overwhelming magic…in Marativy’s pocket.  She confessed to having the red metal item and pulled it out of her pocket to show people.  Winston immediately shot it out of her had [successful ranged disarm attempt].  Being closest, Marativy was able to pick it up again before anyone else could get to it.

Upon seeing it, portions of Natalia’s memory returned.  While Marativy decided to climb a chimney-like structure to the roof to see where it went, Natalia quickly pulled together the rest of the ratfolk and explained what the red metal thing was.  She explained that it was part of a Star of Thassilon, it has a huge curse on it, and causes a case of Big Ego on whoever holds it.  If the group attempts to tell Marativy to do anything or act like she’s not in charge, Marativy will become hostile.

When Marativy returned, Roscuro asks her if she was ready to go to the Pathfinder Society lodge and get paid.  Marativy was very ready to get paid and agreed the Ratpack should follow her there.  When the group climbed out the new back exit of the building, a voice from above calls out, “Leave the girl and you can all walk away.”  It is the Tower Girls looking for Natalia.

Roscuro talked with them and learned they don’t actually want Natalia, they want the red metal shard.  Marativy used the shard's illusion power and sleight of hand to fake throwing the shard back into the building and into the pool of sewage that is the floor.  The Tower Girls attack the group anyways for “showing disrespect.”

End of Session


Rat Whispers
[Not much to comment on other than we are starting to get tired of the number of attacks this adventure has that use Touch AC.  Also, the other side getting the drop on us every time.]

[Incidentally, the blog’s 10 year anniversary is coming up in March.  Haven’t decided what I’m going to do to observe its passing that yet.]


Ratpack
Session 01
Session 02
Session 03
Session 04
Session 05
Session 06
Session 07
Session 08
Session 09


Session 11





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

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