Monday, April 19, 2010

Campaign Switch: Bugbears for the Southern Reaches

Due to a lack of players for D&D 4E, I've shut down the Here Be Bugbears campaign. Really, it's as simple as that. Shame really, I liked running 4E.

At the same time, as I stated previously, I've started running a test in the Pathfinder RPG for a West Reaches campaign, which I am calling The Southern Reaches. I ran my test game back on the April 10 and the players were interested in continuing. I would have run it last Friday, but a 20-year high in pollen counts smacked down two of my players, so it was no go. No problem, gave me an evening to do some work on the campaign.

Saturday was supposed to be a meet-and-greet with some potential players for my Champions game. Didn't turn out that way for several reasons, but I did have enough players to run Southern Reaches again, and I did. We had our first PC death, just shy of second level. Lesson Learned: don't jump into the middle of a room of six morlocks (I'll go into details below).

I've also purchased an Ascended membership on Obsidian Portal for two reasons: able to set up more than two campaigns and access to forum creation. Communication between players is crucial for a West Reaches style game, both for keeping up player interest and the sharing of information. This last part is important as I'll run for whoever can organize a session and state where they want to explore, which means not everyone will be in every session and information could get lost or never learned. The unlimited number of campaigns means I can actually add the Southern Reaches as a separate campaign without deleting any of my other campaigns. Link is above and here.

So let's get to some adventure logs for the first two sessions.

Session 1: Following the Journal
The Adventurers:
Jericho Bladeraven – human fighter
Rupret Martynsson – human fighter
Agnes Sunbeard – dwarven rogue
Tycho von Helmont – elven alchemist
Su Bel – human cleric of Sarenae

The Adventure Log:
The adventurers arrived at the Iron Keep, home to the Iron Duke, whose lands comprise the Iron Hills, which contain the largest known deposits of iron. The adventurers were following text Agnes had found in an old journal indicating the existence of a tower deep in the Edgewood, a forest near to the Iron Keep. This tower was used as a depot for treasure and goods by an adventuring company three decades ago and might still contain treasure.

The adventurers made their way to The Spider's Bar (owned by a guy named Spider), the only place in the keep that serves adventurers instead of miners, and set up quarters there. In the common room, off to one side, they found a table with a map of the immediate area carved into the top. It indicated the location of a tower in the Edgewood with the notation "Drop-Off Tower (Treasure)". This greatly encouraged the adventurers as it matched up with the journal page and they made rough copies of the map for themselves.

The next day, the adventurers headed east, following the band of plains between the Edgewood and the sea. After a day of travel, they made camp on the edge of the forest at the point where they were planning on entering the forest. Near the end of Rupret's watch they were attacked by a giant stag beetle that wandered out of the forest. They manage to kill the beetle, but only after it nearly kills Jericho, trying to escape with his unconscious form. The next day the adventurers made their way through the forest, finding the tower they were searching for shortly after Noon.

The adventurers carefully searched the tower, and quite rightly. The first floor of the tower was home to a giant scorpion, which greatly wounded Agnes and nearly killed Jericho before the adventurers killed it. The second floor contained eight skeletons, apparently acting as guardians for the treasure on the next floor. Su Bel was able to quickly destroy the skeletons by channeling the divine power of Sarenae. Four locked and trapped chests were found in closets on the third floor. Agnes was able to disable two of them and avoid getting killed by the other two. In the chests were gold, an arcane spell book, healing potions, and some minor supplies. The fourth floor was open to the sky, water-damaged, and home to a lone gray ooze.

Having explored all of the floors above ground, and the stairs down being choked with rubble, the adventurers decided to head back to Iron Keep. Deciding to cut through the forest on the return trip, they ran afoul of an assassin vine and got slightly lost. They eventually made it back to the keep and split up the treasure amongst themselves, feeling well accomplished and with thoughts to return to the tower with digging equipment.

Session 2: Going Under Drop-Off Tower
The Adventurers:
Jericho Bladeraven – human fighter
Agnes Sunbeard – dwarven rogue
Tycho von Helmont – elven alchemist

The Adventure Log:
Tycho, having finally looked through the spell book, found three interesting margin notes:
  • "We first thought our tower was the Tower of Raan, but it is in the wrong place. Need to search the hills to the south."
  • "Still have not cracked the secret of the Illustrated Obelisk. Need to return to the Old Rocks for additional rubbings."
  • "I think the Caves ultimately lead to the Labyrinth of Qual. If so, will need to find a 'feathered key' to enter safely."

After purchasing digging equipment, Jericho, Agnes, and Tycho headed back out to Drop-Off Tower. They traveled through the forest for a full day (getting lost twice), arriving at the Old Road, where they made camp. The next day (after accidentally starting out the wrong way) the trio arrived back at the tower, finding some giant ants eating on the decayed remains of the scorpion.

Agnes suggested they take some of the doors up on the third floor down and install them at the entrance to keep at least the vermin out of the tower. Tycho and Jericho agreed and the three moved the doors. They spent the rest of the day cleaning out the debris in the stairs leading down under the tower, clearing the debris and reaching an open stretch by sundown. Rather than explore further immediately, the trio camped for the night, using spare doors to barricade the stairwell.

The next morning, the trio went down the stairs to explore. They found hallways covered in a strange purple fungus and some not so much. Being suspicious of the fungus, they followed the less covered hallways. At a crossroads, they found the edge of the fungus area, blocked off by a portcullis. Agnes and Jericho were able to force the portcullis open and the trio explored the "new" area.

Moving through some doors, the trio found what was obviously an ad hoc latrine (and smelled it). Tycho poked around in the feces, finding nothing of use. He did observe some foot prints that he was able to identify as morlocks foot prints – a nasty subterranean race. This was confirmed when checking beyond a secret door across the hall, beyond which were six very surprised morlocks.

Jericho waded in amongst the morlocks while Tycho threw in some bombs. Once the morlocks had recovered from their surprise, they crowded all in around Jericho and ripped him to shreds, dropping him quickly. Agnes pulled Jericho from the room into the hall (where he died) and Tycho slammed the door shut. Quickly searching Jericho's body for something useful, she found some tanglefoot bags and used them to temporarily seal the door. She and Tycho then packed Jericho's body back to the surface (to keep it from becoming food for the morlocks), barricading the stairwell.

They hiked north to the edge of the forest and buried Jericho's body with a view of the sea (but not his armor and gear). The next day they marched back to Iron Keep, arriving somewhat bedraggled and tired.

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