Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Ratpack – Session 17

[The Ratpack decides “it was a boring conversation anyway”.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened March 9, 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 3rd level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 3rd level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 3rd level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Winston – male 2nd level Gunslinger


Day 12
Late afternoon
Having reached a verbal dead end while negotiating with the increasingly aggravating mites, Winston shot one of them with his musket, exploding the mite.  [He rolled a crit, confirmed it, and then rolled maximum damage for a total of 40 points of damage to something that only had 4.]  This started a full on fight between the Ratpack and the [now] 8 mites and their 4 giant spider pets.

During the combat, Marativy was bitten by a spider and poisoned by its venom and lost 2 points of Strength.  The rest of the Ratpack took minor wounds but the combination of Protective Luck from Zitch and Roscuro and Templeton using their Bodyguard skills [from the feat each took at 3rd level] meant the mites and spiders missed more than they hit.

After the combat the chamber was searched and nothing of value was discovered.  Winston was able to extract three doses of spider venom from the spider corpses for Marativy to use at her discretion.  41 Tiny darts were also recovered.  Marativy drank the group’s last Potion of Lesser Restoration to recover the Strength lost from the spider bite.  Templeton also cast Lesser Rejuvenate Eidolon to heal up the damage his eidolon took in the fight.

The ratfolk took the western passage out of the room and found a set of stairs down to another sub-surface level.  How deep does this dungeon go?  Rather than start exploring another dungeon level, the Ratpack decided to try attacking the Large spider beyond the secret passage [see Session 16].  Templeton had an idea to save the ratfolk – he would summon fire elementals and send them in to fight the spider first.  By the time the spider dealt with them, it would be much wounded and the ratfolk could follow up and kill it.  [Narrator: It did not work out this way.]

When the ratfolk arrived at the widened part of the hallway where the secret passage was, Templeton dismissed his eidolon and summoned two fire elementals.  While Templeton was doing this, Roscuro opened the first secret door and went down the 20-foot passage so he could open the second secret door for the fire elementals.  Zitch put Protective luck on them and Templeton ordered them down the passage to attack the Large spider.

[NOTE: we messed up here – Summoners can summon multiple elementals as a class power but can only have one active at a time.  We missed that limitation until most of the way through the fight.  The Other GM let it ride rather than rewind the fight, mostly because it made little difference - small elementals are really weak.]

Roscuro opened the second secret door and let the fire elementals into the next room.  The Large spider was on the wall above the secret door and attacked immediately, taking out one of the elementals in a single blow.  Roscuro called back to Templeton and told him to start summoning more fire elementals quickly.  As the fight progressed, first Roscuro and then Marativy and Winston stepped into the room and started fighting the Large spider directly, flanked by mostly ineffective fire elementals.  The spider hit hard and by the end of the fight Roscuro was down to 2 hit points and Templeton had sent and lost 6 fire elementals.  [The monster took over 50 points of damage to kill and we still haven’t properly identified it.]

Zitch cast Cure Moderate Wounds on Roscuro which barely got him unbloodied [definition: at half hit points, a convention borrowed from D&D 4E].  Winston poisoned himself trying to extract the poison glands from the thing and drank one of the anti-toxin potions the group had to avoid the effects.  Meanwhile, the rest of the group searched the area.  They discovered two secret doors: one in the immediate area that connected to the giant ant nest and another at the top of the stairs up that connected to the crypt room.

Somewhat bloodied by the fight, the Ratpack took the stairs down the spider thing was guarding.  These steps went down to a lower chamber with pillars and two alcoves.  In one was a silver statue of a sphinx, in the other was the Mite King, sitting on a throne made from an upside down ogre skull.  The Mite King asked if the Ratpack were the adventurers he had sent for.  Roscuro immediately said “yes”.  The Mite King was pleased and explained that he needed help finding his favorite spider, which had a pouch on its leg, offering a diamond as big as his fist in payment.  [This would not be a very large diamond.]

The Ratpack thought back to all the spiders they had just killed and did not recall any of them having a pouch on any of their legs.  The group talked with the Mite King, at first not certain they were not just going to kill him, but then hoping to get some information about what might be in the next level down.  After a bit of directed discussion, the Ratpack convinced the Mite King that someone from the lower level had kidnapped his pet spider.  The Mite King offered a second diamond for finding them and “making them pay.”  Roscuro decided he could work with that and agreed to the deal, shaking on it with the Mite King.  The Ratpack left the Mite King.

Rather than go investigate the next sub-level with minimal resources, the Ratpack went back up to the Tower Girls’ common room and arranged to sleep there for the night.  [It was late, and we needed to wrap up the game for the evening.]

End of Session


Rat Whispers
[I realized as I started writing this blog entry that I had not updated the “played on” date for the last couple of session notes, so I went back and fixed them.  My process is to open the previous blog entry, Save As under the new session number, delete the previous body text, and then update things that need to be updated.  This keeps the constant material consistent (like PC names and classes) from blog entry to blog entry.]

[We’ve been meeting face-to-face, but recently Templeton’s player needed to switch to remote play due to work (he works at a hospital).  We are using Roll20 for a virtual tabletop and Discord for audio.  The Other GM’s laptop has good audio and microphone, so he can hear us and we can hear him.  We may have to switch to all remote play if/when gatherings become forbidden entirely, so this has been a good testbed.]





Ratpack
Session 01

Session 10
Session 11
Session 12
Session 13
Session 14
Session 15
Session 16


Session 18


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

10 Years of Bugbears for Breakfast

Ten years ago I posted my first real blog entry here on Bugbears for Breakfast.  It was a blurb for a new campaign I was prepping to run.  The campaign didn't last very long as the players decided they were not that into D&D 4E.  I can see their point, but I liked running 4E.  I still think it is a good fantasy RPG, it's just not D&D.

[The first actual post was mostly a placeholder/announcement post, stating the blog existed and why it has its name.  Not actual content, but it forced me to actually start writing and posting.]

After that I started documenting my next campaign, Southern Reaches, a Western Reaches-style game using the [at the time] new Pathfinder RPG.  That had staying power and started me on posting campaign journals for campaigns I was running or playing in.  I had a steady once-a-month group that meets one Saturday a month and eventually helped create a weekly group that still meets.

It took a while for me to learn to number session reports and add links to previous and following sessions.  When I first started blogging, the navigation tree over in the right margin was small and easy to navigate, so it never occurred to me that better organization would be necessary.  By November of 2010 I realized my error and started numbering session notes with the beginning of the Dyson's Delve campaign, which became The Aldelle Group.  I also started numbering my posts for Southern Reaches, but never went back to add the numbering to earlier posts.  I'll probably fix that when I compile the session notes for that campaign [now that I realize I started blogging it from the beginning].

In 2012 I wrote a sci-fi novel and posted status milestones for it.  I got ahead of myself and asked my readers for grammar fixes when I should have asked for content feedback.  I've tried to do re-writes since then, but never found the spark again.  It still lurks around in the back of my mind and wants more writing on it, but I haven't mentally got there yet.

I also planned to publish adventure locales and modules despite having little experience in book publishing.  In hindsight, I'm glad I delayed as publishing now is much easier and cheaper.  I set up an account at DriveThruRPG to publish the session notes from the Barrowmaze Using ACKS campaign, but ran into issues with getting permissions.  The PDFs are available for free from the sidebar of this blog as that is allowed, but I can't set them as PWYW, which was my plan.  Ah, well.  This year I'm going to publish sites from my Delvers Guild campaign as those are all my creations.  The NPCs and monsters are in HERO System, so I'll probably need to convert them to some version of D&D to make them more widely usable.  Still thinking over how I want to do that.

In 2013 I got back to posting session notes for games I was playing in or running or both [see the Pleiades Group Shadowrun campaign].  In 2016 I got laid off for the first time.  I limped along writing, but my heart wasn't in it, so in 2017 I wrote almost nothing I didn't have to.  In 2018 I got laid off a second time but decided that I wasn't going to let that stop me again.  Two years later, March has again rolled around, but instead of another layoff, we got a global pandemic.  This is slightly preferable, but only slightly.  I'm able to work from home.  In fact, as a contractor, it was expected that I would, so me going into the office regularly was considered a bit unusual.  Now I can't go in and wish I could as work has heavily filtered air and my allergies are killer this year.  Still happy to be employed, so I'll get over it.

I've also written some other stuff and posted it here.



So that's where I am now: still blogging session notes and employed at a job I like.  Hopefully the next 10 years will not be as bumpy as this 10 years has been.

Later!


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Ratpack – Session 16

[The Ratpack continues searching past the Siccarite Doors.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened March 2, 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 3rd level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 3rd level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 3rd level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Winston – male 2nd level Gunslinger


Day 12
Mid-afternoon, back part of the 1st floor
After following the secret door to the aquatic feeding area, the Ratpack backtracked to the amoeba room and actually searched it.  Part of the wall near the top of the western staircase was illusionary.  Behind the illusory wall was a 5-foot wide passage that led to a pillared chamber that opened on a cistern.  The walls, floor, and ceiling were covered by webbing, including a statue on the far side of the cistern.

Roscuro used his rat statuette to warn Jade that there would be smoke as he was about to burn more webbing.  Once she acknowledged the message, Roscuro lit and threw a torch into the chamber.  The webbing caught fire and started billowing smoke, so the Ratpack backed up to the amoeba room.  The smoke agitated the bats clinging to the ceiling here and so the Ratpack had to fall back further to the room with the secret door and the stairs down to wait.

Once the smoke had mostly cleared the Ratpack advanced to see the results.  All the webbing was burned and there was soot and ashes all over.  The water in the cistern was covered with a layer of ash and the statue was missing!  Worried that the statue had animated and was lurking, waiting to attack, the Ratpack went into a defensive combat posture.  They then carefully searched the area, looking for secret doors or the statue.  After some time, the statue was finally located down in the cistern.  It appeared that the statue was broken and the webbing was the only thing holding it in place.  Detecting no magic in the statues’ vicinity, the Ratpack decided they would come back for it later.

Before going down to a lower level, the Ratpack finished searching this level.  The passage west out of the amoeba room led to a changing room, suggesting the pool in the amoeba room was a bath of some sort.  It was also a dead end with no other hidden passages.

The Ratpack descended the stairs to a sub-level, below the water level outside the giant stone pylon.  The stairs opened on a large crypt, some 60 by 70 feet with sepulchers along the walls.  Six large, unusual mounds of dirt were located randomly in the chamber, nearly ten feet tall.  Roscuro and Winston entered the chamber to look around when giant ants started climbing out of the tops of the bounds.  They were giant anthills and the ants were hungry!

A total of seven giant ants attacked the ratfolk.  Zitch used Protective Luck hexes on the Ratpack, which kept the ants from hitting often.  By the end of the fight the giant ants were dead and only Roscuro and Marativy were injured.  Zitch used his healing magic on both, leaving Roscuro mostly healed and Marativy fully healed.  Zitch commented that the giant ants were not attacking like they typically do, but he had no explanation why.

The Ratpack decided to investigate the ant hills themselves.  The hills all connected and led to a central chamber where mites were found, digging away at the walls.  The mites fled down a side passage with Templeton in hot pursuit.  The rest of the ratfolk prepared cold iron weapons and shot anticipating the need as mites are a sort of fae.

Templeton caught up to the mites and grabbed one by the scruff, hauling it back to the rest of the ratfolk for questioning.  Roscuro questioned the mite, asking if it knew where the shard he was looking for was.  The mite claimed that the mites have no metal as it is bad for them.  The ratfolk felt the mite was telling the truth [good Sense Motive rolls were made].  They had Templeton release it and apologized for scaring it.  The Ratpack then left the somewhat confused mite and exited the giant ant nest.

Back in the crypt, the Ratpack followed a passage east and then south.  The passage widened at one point and a search turned up a small secret door.  The door led to a short passage that ended at another secret door.  Beyond the second secret door was another widened passage containing a Large spider [not a giant spider, something larger than that].  Stairs up and down could be seen at either end of the passage.  The Ratpack caught sight of the spider first and closed the secret door so it could not attack them.  Not wanting to tackle this monster while there was still places to explore, the Ratpack backed up to the hallway and closed the first secret door before continuing south.

That passage ended in stairs down to a sub-chamber [still part of this level but lower than the rest].  At the bottom of the stairs was a chamber with more mites and some giant spiders [9 mites and 4 giant spiders (which are Medium in size)].  Thick webbing covered the walls and ceiling but not the floor.  Debris was stacked up and webbed together to make crude furniture for the mites.  After a few failed attempts at talking, it was discovered that they only spoke Undercommon.  Luckily for the ratfolk, Winston and Zitch also speak Undercommon.  They translated for Roscuro, who asked to speak with the mites’ leader.  The mites huddled to confer and then one stepped up onto a spider and approached the ratfolk.  He said the king would not speak to the ratfolk as he was busy.  Templeton rejoined with “So you speak for your king?  Good.  We will speak with you.”

After some back and forth, the Ratpack explained that it was looking for a piece of metal and wanted permission to search for it.  The mite spokesman, somewhat belligerently asked what the ratfolk had to offer for the right to search.  This stumped the Ratpack.

End of Session


Rat Whispers
[The giant ant fight took some time and felt tough.  It was late when we got to the negotiations, so we decided to call it a night and resume the next week.  Hopefully we would have an idea of what we could offer the mites might want.]

[This sub-level felt a bit ad hoc to me.  Having the mites down here was interesting, but felt kind of pointless and just tacked on.  Maybe there will be a point – we’ll see.]


Ratpack
Session 01

Session 10
Session 11
Session 12
Session 13
Session 14
Session 15


Session 17


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Ratpack – Session 15

[The Ratpack resumes searching The Crow for the next shard.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened February 24, 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 3rd level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 3rd level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 3rd level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Winston – male 2nd level Gunslinger


Day 11
After getting the Abjurance Salt identified [end of last session], the Ratpack took the rest of the day off, visiting family or just running mundane errands.


Day 12
Morning
Refreshed, the Ratpack reassembled at the Blue Rodent for breakfast before rowing their rental boat out to The Crow.  After docking the boat inside the giant pylon, the Ratpack hiked up to the guardroom on the fourth floor and checked in with Sasha again.  Roscuro also activated the white rat statuette and sent Jade [leader of the Tower Girls – probably a false name given to hide her true name of Ayala] a message that the Ratpack was back and resuming their search of the pylon.

Upon receiving confirmation from Jade, the Ratpack descended the stairs to the fortified room on the third floor.  They took the south passage from this chamber to a 20-foot wide side passage.  They took the side passage, which was relatively short and opened to a large room the Tower Girls were using as a mess hall.  The group split into two search parties and both searched the entire room and find no secret doors or magic.

The group returned to the south passage that next turned east.  Part way down the eastern hallway was a doorway to a storage room.  In this room was a mix of crates and barrels of mixed age – some recent some very old.  The ratfolk searched the room first and then the crates.  One of the old crates contained a decrepit ungol dust trap that Roscuro set off.  When the mostly inert dust settled, the group disassembled the crate, convinced anything with a trap had something valuable inside it.  Maravity harvested the trap mechanism itself while the rest found a set of Thassilonian serving ware, specifically three brass platters and a ceramic basin.  Antiques that could be sold to Frederick!

Deciding that the old crates might hold something of use the cursory search did not find, the Ratpack set to taking all the old crates apart.  The noise of this drew some curious Tower Girls.  They asked what the Ratpack was up to and the ratfolk explained.  The explanation non-plussed the Tower Girls who walked away shaking their heads at the crazy ratfolk.  After taking the crates apart, a small antique box containing three vials of antitoxin was found.  The vials were distributed to Roscuro [who tends to find poisons the hard way] and Zitch and Winston, the team healers.  The antique box was put inside one of the handy haversacks for later sale to Frederick.

Looking at their map, the ratfolk decided that the hallways they had just traveled through were ripe to contain secret passages, so the group took the time to do a detailed search of them.  This detailed search turned up nothing useful, but at the end of the corridor [down around another corner] was stairs down to the second floor.  This floor completely searched, the Ratpack descended the stairs.

Floor 2
The stairs ended at a large chamber with a high ceiling that the Tower Girls were using as a common room.  There were some of them lounging on some rough furniture talking or sitting at a table playing cards.  A semi-secluded area at the far end of the chamber where the Ratpack had negotiated their deals with Jade.  The south wall had two oversized metal doors with Thassilonian runes carved into it and many fiery sets of eyes staring at the runes.  [Yes, this lede was buried by the Other GM.]

[The Other GM had not mentioned these doors when the PCs were here to negotiate.  If he had, we likely would have skipped all the other searching and started here.]

The Ratpack pretty much ignored the rest of the room and stared at the metal doors.  They appeared to be made from siccatite, a known sky metal and one that burned those that touched it.  Zitch could read the runes and the group deduced that the runes were a puzzle like the puzzle box back in the Pathfinder Society lodge.  After some discussion on a possible solution, Zitch volunteered to start manipulating the runes.  Doing so burned him, as expected, but not terribly so.

As Zitch started moving the runes around, the Tower Girls in the common room noticed and stopped what they were doing to discuss this turn of events amongst themselves.  Either this drew Jade’s attention or one of the Tower Girls went and fetched her.  She was present when Zitch finished solving the puzzle and the doors started noisily opening.  This drew the Tower Girls in.  Jade asked what the Ratpack had done.  Roscuro turned and asked, “We just found everything beyond these doors, right?”  Jade agreed that anything past these doors counted as found by the ratfolk for the purpose of the deal.  Satisfied with that, Roscuro explained what the Ratpack had done and how.

The area behind the doors was a large hallway, over 15 feet high.  The walls they could see were covered with brightly colored Thassilonian murals, clearly preserved by some kind of magic [Zitch verified this with Detect Magic].  The murals showed events prior to Earthfall, the disaster that ended the Thassilonian and Azlant civilizations roughly 7000 years ago.  The murals themselves were nearly priceless if they could somehow be removed and sold.  One of the murals showed Alaznist wielding a metal shard that was sky blue – clearly the shard the Ratpack was looking for!

Aware of their audience, the Ratpack indirectly discussed what to do next.  Searching for a secret door or compartment that might contain the shard was clearly in order.  After spending time searching, two things were discovered: there were no secret doors and the preservative magic ended just around the corner and the rest of the corridor was choked with spiderwebs.

Not wanting to deal with the webs [ratfolk are furred and webs are difficult to get out of fur], Roscuro prepared to throw a torch into the webs, but had nothing to light it with.  Marativy suggested lighting the torch off the big metal doors that burn anything touching them, which worked!  Roscuro then threw the now lit torch into the webs and everyone backed off smoke poured out.

After some time, the smoke dropped off and the Ratpack went to see the results.  The hallway was now clear of webs, but the walls and ceiling were covered in soot, including the preserved murals.  As the Ratpack observed this, they noticed that the soot on the preserved murals was slowly fading, as if being absorbed by the murals.  Handy.  Exploring down the newly cleared corridor, the Ratpack found another set of spiral stairs heading down.

The Ratpack descended the spiral stairs, searching for traps as they went.  The stairs ended at a hallway that led to a balcony overlooking a pool of green scum-covered water.  The floor was covered in guano from a moderately-sized bat colony clinging to the domed ceiling of the room.  A narrow crevasse in the far wall appeared to allow the bats access to the outside and occasionally water into the pool.  There were two sweeping sets of stairs down from the balcony to the floor of the room, one on either side of the balcony.

The Ratpack carefully descended the left set of stairs.  Winston, in the front [he has the best AC and most hit points of the group], reached the foot of the stairs and was peeking around the corner when a pseudopod from a giant amoeba struck out from the pool of water and grappled him!  During the ensuing short fight, a second giant amoeba also extruded itself from the pool and joined in the attack.  Marativy struck the deathblow on the first amoeba and Roscuro [after dropping his hanbō] struck the killing blow on the second one.  Winston was injured by the first amoeba but declined immediate healing.  [You’ll notice we didn’t search this room at all.  We correct that oversight next session.]

The next room appeared to be empty barring stairs down.  Something was heard to squeak with surprise/distress at the approach of the ratfolk, but it retreated down the stairs before anyone saw what it was.  The Ratpack broke into two teams to search it while Roscuro held position at the door [in case anyone or anything was following the group].  Two things were found: a secret door and Roscuro noticed a silver bracelet in the pool of water [rolled a natural 20 on Perception while on watch].  Templeton used Mage Hand to pull the bracelet out of the scummy water and it went into the loot sack.  The secret door was checked for traps and declared clear.  Before opening it and possibly needing to fight, Winston asked for some healing and Zitch cast Cure Light Wounds on him, bringing him nearly back to full hit points.

The secret door led to a small, dust-covered room with a passage south.  Tiny footprints could be seen in the dust.  It appeared someone very small periodically went this way, perhaps whatever had fled down the steps earlier.  The Ratpack advanced cautiously.

The passage south led to another empty room, but the back half of the room was sunken and water filled.  A tiny walkway hugged one wall over the water and then went out to a platform with a bucket on it, about five feet above the water level.  Templeton used his wallwalking ability to walk out and see what was in the bucket.  It appeared to be dead bats.  He cam back.  This appeared to be a feeding station for something in the water, something the Ratpack decided it did not want to mess with.  The group backtracked to the stairs down.

End of Session


Rat Whispers
[As commented above, the deal the Ratpack made with the Tower Girls saved us from a lot of combat and grief.  I’m very glad that the Other GM does not run opponents as killing machines.  Being able to negotiate deals is much more interesting than needing to kill everything.]

[There are some very nice touches in the writing of this adventure.  Putting the puzzle box at the beginning of the adventure so players would know what to do when the big metal doors appeared was a very nice touch.  The Other GM provided letter props for the players to manipulate while solving the puzzle, which worked really well.]


Ratpack
Session 01

Session 10
Session 11
Session 12
Session 13
Session 14


Session 16 [Not Written Yet]


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Ratpack – Session 14

[Deal in place, the Ratpack start searching The Crow for the next shard.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened February 17, 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 3rd level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 3rd level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 3rd level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar

NPCd
Winston – male 2nd level Gunslinger


Day 10
Morning
Zitch provided Roscuro medical care and healing herbs, allowing Roscuro to get over the case of Filth Fever he contracted searching the Privy room at The Crow for secret doors [back in Session 12].  Luckily the case was mild.

The Ratpack retrieved their rented boat and rowed out to The Crow to start searching for the second shard of the Shattered Star.  After tying up the rented boat in the landing chamber inside the pylon, the group made their way up and through the stairs and chambers inside the pylon to the large room with rows of pillars.  Roscuro called out to announce the groups presence.  Sasha, one of the wererats that are part of the Tower Girls padded out of the shadows in her dire rat form.  She pantomimed for the ratfolk to follow her up the long corkscrew stairs to the first guard room [we learned later there were several guard rooms].

In the guard room she transformed back to human form and talked with the ratfolk.  Roscuro asked if Jade had accepted the siege castle as meeting the terms of the deal allowing the Ratpack to search the pylon.  Sasha asked why Roscuro had not used the rat figurine to verify that.  Roscuro didn’t have a good answer so he pulled the figurine out and made use of it.  When it returned with Jade’s reply that the siege castle was acceptable, it also returned with a ceramic token that would prove the Ratpack had permission to search the Tower Girls’ current lair.

Saying goodbye to Sasha so she could resume her sentry duties, the Ratpack started their search for the shard, using Detect Magic as well as physically searching.  There were two passages out of the guard room and the Ratpack took the one east, knowing the one south eventually led to Jade’s meeting room on a lower floor.  The thinking was to be thorough and search each floor.

The passage east led to two barracks the Tower Girls used for those on guard duty.  Finding now secret doors nor any overwhelming magic auras, the Ratpack left this dead end and returned to the guard room.  The passage south led to another guard room, lit by a lone lantern.  An alcove hid a closed secret door that the Ratpack had passed through previously to negotiate with Jade.  After a few moments Marativy worked out how to open the secret door and the Ratpack passed through it.

The chamber beyond was as large as the two guard rooms combined, with two diagonal walls that seemed to funnel visitors to the passage out.  An alcove on the south wall held a pedestal that once had a statue on it but was now empty.  The Ratpack were convinced there was a secret passage somewhere in this oddly shaped room and spent an hour searching it in detail.  They found none.  Roscuro was certain that the diagonal walls concealed something, but was not ready to disassemble them, yet, so the Ratpack moved on.

The next room was the top of the exceedingly tall entry chamber.  Far below the ratfolk could see where their rented boat was moored, just over 200 feet below.  The Tower Girls [or someone else in the past] had rigged up a suspended walkway that lead through the center of the room and then off to the left, where there was another passage.  Out of thoroughness, Templeton was asked to wallwalk on the eastern wall and check for secret passages.  Nothing was expected, so it was a surprise when he found something.  It also appeared to be trapped, so he came back to assist Marativy getting over to it.

Marativy tied herself off to Templeton and attempted to ride on him [in his foo dog form] over to the secret compartment.  She slipped on the way, but the rope held!  Rather than climb back up to Templeton, she told him to just wallwalk over above it so she dangled at the secret compartment.  This worked and Marativy disabled the trap.  Inside the secret compartment was a metal coffer.  Marativy verified it was not trapped and then removed it, placing it in a sack.  She then checked the compartment for secret compartments inside it, but fond nothing.  She then had Templeton carry her back over to the entrance where the rest of the Ratpack were waiting.

Marativy carefully checked the coffer before opening it.  Inside was a pouch containing blue-colored salt that detected as magical to Zitch, but he could not identify it.  It was placed back into the coffer and then the coffer was placed into Roscuro’s handy haversack for later investigation.

The Ratpack then walked across the suspended walkway to continue searching for the shard.  The next room the Ratpack discovered was thirty feet square with murals of priests placing bodies in caskets on the walls.  A search of the room turned up nothing, so the ratfolk continued moving.  Past this room was a long corridor with sepulchers carved into the walls.  The sepulchers were clearly previously searched, but out of completeness the Ratpack searched them.  This was worthwhile as they discovered a pendant in a hidden pocket in the final sepulcher that had been previously overlooked.  Zitch estimated its value at 300 gold coin, so completeness paid off.

The next room had a tripwire that Roscuro triggered.  It rang some bells and two Tower Girl guards came running.  Roscuro held up the ceramic token and apologized to them.  That room was then searched, but it turned up nothing worthwhile.  In the passage past it was a demon-faced fountain where the two Tower Girl guards were sitting.  They explained it was the primary fresh water source for the Tower Girls.  Zitch looked it over and determined its functioning, which he shared with the rest over an impromptu lunch break.

The demon face was magicked to create water.  The basin was magicked to destroy water in it at a rate that was slow enough that it never overran with water but also never ran dry.  This was an incredibly wasteful amount of magic on the part of the Rune Lords.  The group discussed what would happen if a plank was placed to divert the water from the demon face to the floor.  Would it eventually produce enough water to flood the world?  Not an experiment we wanted to try.

After our lunch, we continued north.  The Ratpack followed a side passage to a mostly collapsed room.  The collapse was real [we checked], but while exploring the room they found a crate with some antiques in it.  Roscuro activated the rat statuette to ask Jade if the items in the crate were for sale or counted as something found [found things sold provided a bigger percentage for the Ratpack].  Jade’s response identified the items and stated they were to be sold.  As the crate was a bit bulky, the Ratpack decided to leave it here and pick it up on the way out.  Roscuro also had Zitch mark this room on the group’s map for later excavation.

The Ratpack backtracked and returned to the main corridor.  It ended in stairs down to a lower floor.  The Ratpack descended the stairs, searching as they went.  The stairs ended at a large room obviously set up for defense.  There were sturdy wooden tables on their sides as barricades defenders could hide behind and attack invaders coming down the stairs.  The Ratpack were very pleased to have made a deal with the Tower Girls and not had to fight their way down here.

A metal statue of a woman in Thassilonian dress, wielding a ranseur was in one corner.  There was a name plate in Thassilonian that none of the Ratpack could read, so Roscuro took a rubbing of the plate to ask Frederick about later.

Exploring north the Ratpack found an empty room with a window facing west, looking out on the bay.  Next was another empty room, then a room converted into a donkey rat corral [their pets we later learned] where they met the donkey rat wrangler, Karissa.  The items being used as food and water troughs for the donkey rats were items of Thassilonian make.  Roscuro asked about them and Karissa said they had been handy at the time but were likely to be left behind when the gang moved.  Roscuro said they might be valuable and the Ratpack could get a good price for them to be split with the Tower Girls, so yes, please, leave them out where they can be found after the move.  After the donkey rat corral was another barracks with a few Tower Girls hanging out.  Roscuro showed the ceramic token and the ratfolk quickly searched the room, pointedly ignoring the personal property of the Tower Girls.

The group backtracked to the defensive room and took the east exit.  This led to a series of food storerooms.  Two donkey rats were nibbling on a food sack and Templeton herded them out of the room and back to the donkey rat corral.  The first two food storerooms had no secret passages, but the third and empty room in the series did.  It opened to a 10 foot by 10 foot room.  The east wall had a fresco of a red-haired woman with a ranseur stabbing a demon-handed man who leaked black smoke instead of blood.  This jogged Marativy’s newly acquired history knowledge [side effect of the ioun stone in the shard she carries].  She recognized the scene as showing Alaznist killing Thybides, the Runelord of Wrath before her.  This helped identify the metal statue in the defensive room as being of Alaznist, the last Runelord of Wrath.  This made the fresco very valuable as there are almost no known images of Thybides in existance.

The Ratpack searched the small room for secret doors and discovered that the south wall was actually an illusion and instead it opened onto the tall shaft of the entry chamber.  Sticking they heads through the illusion and looking up, they could see the suspended walkway.  Far below them was the water where their boat was still tied up.

It was starting to get late in the day [and in the real world], so the Ratpack closed the secret door to this room and headed to their boat.  They stopped long enough to pick up the small crate of antiques along the way.  Once back on shore, the Ratpack took the crate over to Frederick’s warehouse and made use of the warehouse protocol to drop it off for later appraisal.  They were confident he would want to but the items inside.  [Spoilers, so I’m not detailing them – sorry.]


Day 11
Zitch prepared the Identify spell and cast it on the blue salt.  It turned out to be Abjurance Salt.  It would block evil or summoned creatures from crossing it if poured out in a line or a circle around the user.  There was enough of it for a circle with a five-foot diameter or a fifteen-foot line.  Zitch did warn that effected creatures could still make ranged attacks across it, it only stopped them from physically crossing it.

End of Session


Rat Whispers
[As commented above, the deal the Ratpack made with the Tower Girls saved us from a lot of combat and grief.  I’m very glad that the Other GM does not run opponents as killing machines.  Being able to negotiate deals when we want and can is much more interesting.]


Ratpack
Session 01

Session 10
Session 11
Session 12
Session 13


Session 15