Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Ratpack – Shattered Star Book 2, Session 10

[Day 34 ends and 35 starts.  Nighttime dealings and a damned sarcophagus.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened March 8, 2021.]

[SPOILERS!  If you are likely to adventure through the Shattered Star Adventure Path from Paizo, this campaign will be spoilers all the way down.]


Player Characters

Zitch Grimreaper – male ratfolk 5th level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar

Roscuro – male ratfolk 5th level Monk

Swamprover – female grippli 4th level Wizard

Marativy – female ratfolk 5th level Ninja


Via Roll20

Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 5th level Summoner (Synthesist)

Winston – male ratfolk 5th level Gunslinger


NPCs

Auto – a clockwork servant fixated on Winston

Gridik Stormstride – male blue kobold 2nd level Wizard (Invoker)

Mel Sharples  – male halfling Cook (Expert of unknown level)

Alice Hyatt – female halfling Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)

Flo’ Castleberry – female gnome Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)



Autumn

Day 34, Expedition Day 4

2nd Watch

During the deep of night, Marativy and Roscuro were on watch when a goblin appeared, holding one of Marativy’s shuriken, asking what it was.  Not certain how big a threat the goblin might be, Marativy and Roscuro talked with him to see if there were any more goblins in the area.  The goblin introduced himself as Ret’skirt, a wandering merchant and he claimed he had been watching the Ratpack for the last day.  This was alarming to Roscuro and Marativy.  Observing Ret’skirt and his actions they were both of the opinion he was an Arcane Trickster of considerable skill.  Roscuro was not entirely certain if he and Marativy could defeat Ret’skirt in combat and glumly accepted that they would have to endure him.

Zitch and Templeton were woken up to see if they wanted to deal with the goblin.  The spellcasters were not woken up so they could get their needed sleep.  [Despite Swamprover's player complaining about being left out.]

Marativy, Zitch, and Templeton pooled the various items they had that the party wasn’t using to trade for two of the items Ret’skirt had for sale: a potion of cure moderate wounds for the group and a set of +1 leather armor for Marativy.  They traded away two wands [the wand of spiritual weapon and the wand of charm person] and the masterwork aklys taken from the Derro for the potion and armor.  They eyed the bag Ret’skirt pulled his wares from and he admitted it was a bag of holding [Type 2].  He wanted 5250 gp for it, which was much more than the ratfolk had.

Once the group had finished trading for the wares shown, Ret’skirt asked if there was anything else they might be seeking.  Zitch asked if he had a ring of sustenance and a carpet of flying, both of which were good asks.  Ret’skirt though a bit and then went rummaging in his bag of holding.  He eventually pulled out a small pouch that jangled.  From that pouch he pulled out a ring of sustenance.  He apologized for not having a flying carpet, but would look for one while he was wandering.  The ring was expensive and so the group traded off a pile of items for it, including the jade holy symbol taken from the dead troglodyte shaman.

Once the trading was done, Ret’skirt gave Zitch a magic card and told Zitch to write down anything the group wanted on it and Ret’skirt would find one and bring it to them.  He then packed up his wares into the bag of holding and left.  The rest of the night passed quietly.


Day 35, Expedition Day 5

Morning

While Swamprover and Gridik were memorizing their spells for the day, the rest of the group discussed moving the camp to a location closer to the dungeon to avoid losing hours just walking there and back.  After a short debate, the group agreed to move the camp to a location closer to the troglodyte cave.  Templeton and Winston were sent to scout for a new site while the rest of the group packed up the current camp.  [Packing up a camp always takes longer than you expect.]  Once packed, the entire group hiked two hours to the new site, about 500 feet from the troglodyte cave on the other side of a hill.

Noon

Once the new camp was set up, the adventurers went over to the troglodyte cave.  The beginning of a new barricade was in place, but none of the troglodytes objected to the adventurers.  Winston and Zitch finished curing the last two troglodytes of the filth fever and verified the rest were recovering from the disease's effects.  The adventurers then entered the deep tunnels to the chamber with the entrance to the dungeon.  They tied a rope to one of the columns in the chamber and climbed down to the actual dungeon.

The U-shaped corridor was as Swamprover had described, but the group noticed that the left branch had a gradual incline up while the right-hand branch sloped down at a shallow angle.  The columns along the center of the corridor were all sculpted to look like the Runelord of Lust.  [It was starting to get very tiresome to the ratfolk.]  Checking the area with Detect Magic showed protective enchantments on everything.

Then there was the sarcophagus across the corridor from the Ratpack’s entrance.  They all knew it was a trap.  Roscuro also knew the group was going to open it anyway.

With Templeton on one side, Roscuro and Winston on the other, and Marativy at the head [to disarm traps or attack anything moving inside], the sarcophagus lid was lifted and set aside.  Inside was the perfectly preserved body of a human woman that looks like all of the statues, wearing clothes and jewelry.  Swamprover cast Detect Magic and examined the body.  She found three strong magics: a necromantic aura, a strong illusion, and a necromantic enchantment.  She pronounced it a Clone [the results of a very high-level spell] and it appeared to still be viable.  This suggested that Sorshen might still be alive somewhere if this clone was never activated.

Marativy and Roscuro shrugged and attempted to relieve the body of its jewelry.  This triggered a reaction as the clone suddenly grew to giant sized, grabbed them, and crushed them near to death before they could react!  This turned out to be a very powerful illusion spell, Phantasmal Killer, and only Roscuro was affected.  [He took 35 out of 40 hit points of damage in one go!]  

Zitch healed Roscuro back to full health and the group discussed what to do.  Roscuro’s dander was up and he wanted to destroy the clone “so we won’t have to fight her twice.”  At first he wanted Winston to shoot the clone, but they decide that won’t destroy it in one shot and Winston might be hit with the Phantasmal Killer multiple times if he rapid fired.  The group discussed blowing it up with a black powder bomb or setting it on fire.  Setting it on fire seemed easier [and potentially safer].

Roscuro threw a vial of oil on the clone from a distance, but was hammered by the Phantasmal Killer again.  Zitch was only able to heal Roscuro most of the way up this time.  Templeton dropped his eidolon so he could cast a summoning spell.  He summoned a small fire elemental, but when he ordered it to attack, Templeton was hit by the Phantasmal Killer spell.  Zitch healed him up from the assault while the group talked the situation over.  Roscuro was ready to move on until he could think up a safer way to destroy the clone.

While Roscuro had been repeatedly triggering the trap, Marativy scouted the two ends of the corridor.  The right-hand path ended at a giant door [20 feet tall] made of red metal.  The left hand path ended at a balcony overlooking a subterranean river, flowing from left to right.  To the right she could see a sandy beach with two wooden boats beached on it.  The sandy area appeared to be where the red metal door led to, but she could not see the door on this side due to rocky outcroppings.

End of Session


Rat Whispers

[On one hand, Ret’skirt the wandering goblin merchant allowed the group to unload a variety of things they were not using for some useful magic items.  On the other hand, random NPCs that are super better than the PCs at everything are bad form for a GM (Ret’skirt had apparently been following the party through the tunnels and was never discovered or noticed).  Ret’skirt was a creation of the Other GM who felt this part of the adventure was a bit slow, so he added in Ret’skirt to liven things up.]


Ratpack

Book 1:

Session 01 – Start

Session 32 – Conclusion


Book 2:

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6

Session 7

Session 8

Session 9


Session 11 [Not Yet Typed Up]



Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Ratpack – Shattered Star Book 2, Session 9

[Day 34 continues.  Fighting columns and the entrance to the dungeon.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened March 1, 2021.]

[SPOILERS!  If you are likely to adventure through the Shattered Star Adventure Path from Paizo, this campaign will be spoilers all the way down.]


Player Characters

Zitch Grimreaper – male ratfolk 5th level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar

Roscuro – male ratfolk 5th level Monk

Swamprover – female grippli 4th level Wizard

Marativy – female ratfolk 5th level Ninja


Via Roll20

Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 5th level Summoner (Synthesist)

Winston – male ratfolk 5th level Gunslinger


NPCs

Auto – a clockwork servant fixated on Winston

Gridik Stormstride – male blue kobold 2nd level Wizard (Invoker)

Mel Sharples  – male halfling Cook (Expert of unknown level)

Alice Hyatt – female halfling Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)

Flo’ Castleberry – female gnome Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)



Autumn

Day 34, Expedition Day 4

Early Afternoon

Having killed all of the “bitey-pinchy bug” [they hope], the Ratpack searched the cavern.  Marativy scouted the southern part of the chamber, finding two different tunnels, each heading different roughly southern directions.  Roscuro and Winston assisted her afterwards checking the chamber for valuables and combined the found 18pp and 349gp.  Most of the coins were of Magnimar mint, but some were from Korvosa.

In the meantime, Zitch and the other spellcasters inspected the monument in the center of the room using Detect Magic.  They concluded that it held residual binding magic.  The monument once held something inside that powered an effect, but they have no idea what was held and what effect it generated.  They asked Marativy to climb up on the monument and see if it was hollow.  Rather than climb on it, Marativy climbed the walls of the cavern and part way across the ceiling.  She was able to get a look into the broken upper portion before slipping and falling.  While her ring of feather falling slowly lowered her to the floor, she reported that the interior had a gap sized and shaped for a human woman.  [Creepy.  Also note - the actual descriptive text said "an attractive human female".  So...big tits?  As none of us is playing a human, the "attractive" descriptor seems unneeded for us and the Other GM is slowly editing the text mentally to allow for no humans in the group.]

The Ratpack took the passage west, as that was the general direction they wanted to go.  [The Other GM asked us how we were determining directions underground.  We pointed out that each of us had a Wayfinder that acted as a compass.]  This passage was as long and windy as the previous one, with just as many offshoots that dead-ended [all of which we marked with chalk to simplify things later].  After nearly two hours of this the group arrived at a chamber of blue-veined white marble.  The chamber had 12 floor-to-ceiling statues of Sorshen [Runelord of Lust] holding gisarmes and supporting the ceiling.  In the center of the room was a 15 foot by 15 foot pit of blackness.  Well, the Ratpack assumed it was a pit.  It looked like a 15x15 foot square of darkness on the floor.

Zitch and Winston entered the edge of the chamber, careful to not enter the area demarked by the statues.  Zitch cast Detect Magic and observed the statues and the “pit”.  The statues all had preservative magic on them, but four of the statues had additional magics.  It was immediately suspected that those four statues would animate at some point.  The pit had three permanent spells on it: Deeper Darkness, Silence, and Feather Fall.

Roscuro advocated dealing with the statues before investigating the pit.  Once everyone was ready, he slowly entered the chamber, walking towards the pit.  Once he passed the line formed by the statues, the four statues with extra magic animated and moved to attack.  Swamprover cast a Magic Missile spell at one of them and her two missiles merely splashed off the statue.  This helped her identify the statues as Caryatid Columns, which are immune to most magics, break weapons that hit them, are constructs [making them immune to all of Zitch’s hexes], and have an unknown amount of resistance to damage.  She called this information out to the group.

Zitch cast Protective Luck on Roscuro.  The statues advanced and two attacked Roscuro, each hitting him once, nearly bloodying him.  Marativy flung a cold iron shuriken and hit for no effect.  Not liking the situation, Roscuro turned and fled, calling out for the rest of the group to do the same.  The rest of the group agreed with his assessment and ran as well.  Zitch, lagging behind the group, observed the statues stop their pursuit at the edge of the chamber and return to their original positions.

Zitch called this out and the Ratpack regrouped.  Swamprover suggested that Winston would be the best at defeating the statues as his musket did high damage, likely overcoming the damage resistance.  Additionally, his weapon would not be damaged by the statues at all.  Zitch pointed out that ,due to a twist in the passage, there was a chokepoint they could block and let Winston keep shooting at the statues safely.  If they piled their defensive magics on Templeton, he should be able to hold the statues at bay long enough for Winston to destroy them.  Winston and Templeton agreed to give this a try.

The Ratpack set up at the chokepoint and piled defensive magics on Templeton.  Winston rapid fired a pair of potshots at one of the caryatid columns.  One did minor damage and the other did much better, allowing the Ratpack to estimate the damage resistance [it was DR5].  As the statues moved to the attack, Winston got in another pair of hits.  There was a surprise when the statues were in position to attack – they had reach and could get to Winston!

Winston stepped back another five feet to [safely] shoot another pair of shots, finally destroying the first statue.  Templeton cast Haste on Winston so he could fire faster and then went to a full defensive stance.  This made it impossible for the statues to land any more blows while Winston gradually destroyed each statue in turn.  [It took Winston a total of 29 shots to destroy the four statues, including two misfires which wasted shots.  This was a large chuck of his remaining ammunition.]

Once the ringing from the repeated gunfire in a confined space allowed the Ratpack to hear again, they advanced and started searching the room for valuables.  Templeton cast Rejuvenate Eidolon twice to heal up his eidolon.  Zitch healed up Winston before joining in on searching the room.  They were able to recover all four masterwork gisarmes, two undamaged statue heads and enough undamaged components to assemble 70% of a complete statue.  They packed those components up to haul back for their patron.

The Ratpack next turned their attention to the pit.  Swamprover volunteered to lowered with a rope tied off to one of the remaining statues.  Roscuro coordinated with Swamprover a set of yanks on the rope to relay information [1 yank to start or stop feeding rope, 2 for “pull me up now”, and 3 for “I’m climbing up now”].  The rope was tied off to a statue and Swamprover.

The Ratpack played out the rope, slowly lowering Swamprover down the shaft.  The darkness stopped after 50 feet.  There was another 15 feet to the bottom of the shaft.  The bottom of the shaft opened on a tall U-shaped passage with the shaft at the bottom of the U.  The passage was well lit with arched ceiling and 25-foot tall statues of Sorshen down the center of it.  Directly across the passage from the shaft entrance was a stone sarcophagus.

Deciding she did not want to proceed any further without the rest of the party, Swamprover yanked on the rope three times and started climbing back up.  Feeling the yanks at the top, the Ratpack pulled the rope back up, speeding up Swamprover’s return.

Back at the top with the rest of the group, Swamprover relayed what she had seen.  This appeared to be the actual entrance to the dungeon the group sought, but they were all tired and low on spells.  The group decided to pack up stature parts and head back to camp, several hours away.

Returning through the tunnels took less time as they knew where they were going.  They arrived at the troglodyte caves in little over an hour.  There they said their goodbyes for the day and then hiked another three hours back to camp, arriving after sunset.  Luckily Mel had kept dinner warm [a stew] and good food and drink was to be had at the end of a successful day.

End of Session


Rat Whispers

[At this point my character, Roscuro, considers the expedition to be a complete success.  The group found an entrance to the dungeon containing the next shard, they’ve made contact with a local tribe they can introduce to the merchants, they have proof they found the dungeon, and they have enough treasure to recover expenses and show a profit.  When they sell the statue parts to their patron, she will gladly pay enough to fund the next expedition where the real profits will happen.  At this moment he is very content.]

[Hope he doesn’t get himself killed before they get back to Magnimar.]


Ratpack

Book 1:

Session 01 – Start

Session 32 – Conclusion


Book 2:

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6

Session 7

Session 8


Session 10 [Not Yet Typed Up]



Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Ratpack – Shattered Star Book 2, Session 8 – Parts 1 and 2

[Watches of Day 33 and start of day 34.  More ‘wisps, then fungus and bitey-pinchy-bugs.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened February 15 and 22, 2021, due to weather.]

[SPOILERS!  If you are likely to adventure through the Shattered Star Adventure Path from Paizo, this campaign will be spoilers all the way down.]


Player Characters

Via Roll20

Zitch Grimreaper – male ratfolk 5th level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar

Roscuro – male ratfolk 5th level Monk

Swamprover – female grippli 4th level Wizard

Marativy – female ratfolk 5th level Ninja

Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 5th level Summoner (Synthesist)

Winston – male ratfolk 5th level Gunslinger


NPCs

Auto – a clockwork servant fixated on Winston

Gridik Stormstride – male blue kobold 2nd level Wizard (Invoker)

Mel Sharples  – male halfling Cook (Expert of unknown level)

Alice Hyatt – female halfling Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)

Flo’ Castleberry – female gnome Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)



Autumn

Day 33, Expedition Day 3

Second Watch

During the second watch, Roscuro and Marativy noticed three bobbing lights south of the camp.  The two ratfolk discussed what to do.  Roscuro was of the opinion that unless the lights approached the camp there was nothing to worry about.  Marativy, ever curious, wanted to sneak over and investigate them.  Thinking that there was a slim chance the ‘wisps might indicate a portal into the dungeon was open, Roscuro agreed to Marativy investigating the lights.  He kept watch while she approached the ‘wisps.  Once she got near them, the ‘wisps moved to orbit around her, spaced approximately 10 feet away from her.  When nothing else happened, she walked back to the camp and the ‘wisps disappeared.

Ten minutes later, Marativy returned to the place where the ‘wisps had first appeared and they reappeared around her, slowly orbiting her at a distance of 10 feet.  When she approached the camp again, they stayed with her and one peeled off and started orbiting Roscuro.  Roscuro had Marativy hold position and attempted to walk around the lighthouse and break line of sight between the ‘wisps.  This caused the ‘wisp orbiting him to break off and return to Marativy.  Roscuro returned to where Marativy was standing and the ‘wisp resumed orbiting Roscuro.

With nothing happening to either Marativy or himself, they resumed their watch while the ‘wisps orbited them.  When their watch ended, Roscuro woke Templeton and Zitch and explained what was going on to them.  He and Marativy then went to sleep.


Day 34, Expedition Day 4

Dawn

As those asleep woke up, Zitch and Templeton explained why Marativy and Roscuro were being orbited by lights.  Marativy and Roscuro woke up to the smell of Mel cooking breakfast.  When the sun finally crept above the horizon, the ‘wisps disappeared.

End of Session 8, Part 1

[See Rat Whispers, below, for why we stopped early.]


Start of Session 8, Part 2

Breakfast

Over breakfast the Ratpack debated what to do next.  They seemed to have located two different entrances to the dungeon under the Lady’s Light.  One entrance was probably in the back of the hydra cave.  The other entrance was in the troglodyte caves, protected by violet fungus and “bitey-pinchy-bugs” in unknown numbers.  The debate was known value dangerous fight [the hydra] and unknown value less dangerous fight [the fungus and the bugs].  Roscuro advocated for the known quantity of the hydra, while Templeton advocated for the easier fights with the bugs.  Templeton and Winston pointed out that Auto should be able to clear the violet fungus himself with no danger from their flesh-dissolving powers as he had no flesh.  This carried the argument and the group decided to go after the unknown number of smaller things rather than the single 7-headed pyrohydra.

The Ratpack spent a couple hours marching over to the troglodyte cave.  Once they normalized with the stench, Winston and Zitch attended to the sick troglodytes.  The second treatment broke the hold of the disease on all but two of the troglodytes.  The previously sick started to recover from the ravages of the disease.  [Filth Fever causes stat damage and that takes time to heal.]

Medical ministrations over, the Ratpack went to the barricaded entrance to the deeper caves.  The barricade was carefully moved aside in case it was needed again later.  Marativy then scouted ahead, returning quickly to report the small cave with the violet fungus was just ahead, around a curve.

Winston and Auto advanced so that Auto could clear the violet fungus.  He quickly learned several things.  First, there was at least one shrieker amongst the violet fungus, which activated when Auto moved in to deal with the violet fungus.  Second, he learned that violet fungus was mobile as three ambulatory clumps of the fungus moved to attack Auto!  The violet fungus attacked Auto with multiple pseudopods each.

After killing one of the mobile fungi, Auto needed to retreat.  The damage he was taking rapidly overwhelmed his auto-repair function.  Winston held position, rapid firing into the fungal clumps and calling for help.  Zitch advanced far enough to put Protective Luck on Winston and maintain it.  Marativy advanced to attack the remaining violet fungi in support of Winston.  She killed one of the fungi before the other slammed her, withering her flesh [STR and CON damage].  As a result, she withdrew, but she gave Winston the time he needed to shoot and kill the last fungal creature.

After the unexpectedly dangerous combat, the group fell back to a nearby passage to heal up.  Zitch used three charges from the Wand of Lesser Restoration to fix Marativy’s wounds.  Swamprover cast Mend to repair Marativy’s leather armor [also damaged by the violet fungus attack].  Auto’s self-repair functions spent this time repairing the damage Auto had taken.

Healed and restored, the Ratpack was ready to advance.  Marativy scouted ahead [carefully stepping around the inert violet fungus].  When she returned, she reported a long winding tunnel ahead.  The group formed up into a single-file marching order and advanced.

After an hour or more following the narrow passage [and occasionally backing up when a dead-end side passage was followed], the group found a chamber.  Small albino insects covered the walls and ceiling and in the center of the chamber was a Thassilonian monument.  The monument was a very large and seven-sided plinth, with a different Sin Rune carved on each side.  Whatever statue had been mounted on top was broken off and nowhere to be seen.  The remnants on top appeared to be hollow, although the angle was not good to determine this clearly.

The group paused at the entrance to the cavern and Marativy stealthily entered the room to investigate further, following the north wall across the room.  She discovered several things: a passage further west, another passage south [hidden from view from the group by the placement of the monument], and a unusually large spider-like creature whose front legs ended in immense, grasping claws and not one but two powerful vertical mandibles [Albino Cave Solifugid for those curious].  Luckily, it had not noticed Marativy yet [due to her ridiculously high Stealth skill].  Marativy turned back to look at Roscuro and Winston, waiting at the cavern entrance, and attempted to warn them that she saw one of the “bitey-pinchy bugs” using hand signals.  Roscuro didn’t quite get the message other than Marativy had seen something [very low roll on Sense Motive].  Winston on the other hand understood completely and readied his musket.

A second bug arrived from a side cave to the southeast.  Roscuro and Winston could only see this one and assumed it was the one that Marativy had warned of; the actual first bug was moving around the monument and hidden from their view.  Roscuro used hand gestures to tell Winston to shoot the bug they could see and Winston did so with Rapid Fire, heavily injuring it.  The loud reports of Winston’s musket drew in three more of the giant bugs and the first one came around the monument where Roscuro and Winston could finally see it.  The five Medium-sized bugs closed in to attack.

Templeton flew up to the front of the group, anchoring the Ratpack’s line on the left.  Gridik cast Magic Missile, targeting the wounded bug with one missile and a fresh bug with the other.  [Gridik is now second level, but has the Gifted Adept trait, allowing him to cast Magic Missile as if one level higher, gaining him the second missile for third level casting.]  The first missile killed the wounded bug and the second wounded the new target.  Roscuro struck a flurry of blows on the wounded bug, nearly killing it.  This allowed Swamprover’s familiar, Snek [a Tiny desert viper], to cast a Ray of Frost spell and kill the bug.

Auto advanced to protect Winston and the clockwork servant, Swamprover, and Gridik piled attacks on the next bug, killing it.  Zitch added Protective Luck to Roscuro, which foiled all attempts by the bugs to attack him.  Swamprover eventually cast a Flaming Sphere on one of the bugs, allowing Auto to kill it.  Templeton fought and killed the remaining two bugs.

End of Session


Rat Whispers

[So Session 8 Part 1 happened the evening of The Winter Storm in Houston.  This is a screen shot from my phone after we stopped for the night.]


[While weather like this is not unusual in winter in other parts of the US or the world, it had been 30+ years since Houston saw temperatures this low.  As a result, no one has proper winter clothes and most houses do not have enough insulation to keep the heat in against this kind of cold.  This meant everyone in the state of Texas had their heat on or had space heaters running.  This caused power issues across the state, especially when about 33% of the power generators (mostly oil and coal burner) went offline due to lack of insulation on their fuel lines and tanks.]

[With the state of Texas having power issues, the stability of the internet also started to become shaky.  We attempted to play for an hour and a half, during which we only got 10 minutes of actual play.  We continuously had different people losing connectivity, resulting in some of the group not being able to hear or be heard by other parts of the group.  We would reconnect and get everyone for a few minutes and then someone would drop audio again.  We finally called it for the night to wait a week for better circumstances.]

[The following week, temperatures had climbed back up into Houston’s normal winter range (mid-50s F) and the power grid had finally stabilized, so we resumed play.  I was lucky and only lost power once during the four days things were bad, mainly due to the fact I’m on a power sub-grid with a fire department station, which makes our area a priority for power.  I also had my pipes replaced with PEX tubing several years ago, so I had no broken water pipes.  Some of my co-workers were not so lucky and had one or more rooms flood when one or more pipes in their house burst.  Some lost power for a couple days, some for only hours.]


Ratpack

Book 1:

Session 01 – Start

Session 32 – Conclusion


Book 2:

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6

Session 7


Session 9



Thursday, March 25, 2021

Some housekeeping and The Week Texas Froze

 I've done some housekeeping and corrected some of the in-game dates for the Shattered Star Adventure Path, Book 2.  I noticed an error had crept in and the numbering of the campaign days had stuck on Day 32 for a bit instead of moving to Day 33.

Session 8, which posts next week, covers two game session because of The Week Texas Froze.  That started February 15, which was a holiday here but no one did anything because of the weather.  This is what my weather app showed on the morning of the 16th:

The high listed is below the normal lows for this area, pretty much ever.  We usually only get below freezing a couple nights a year and usually for only a couple hours.  DAYS of this weather is not what Houston is built for and trouble ensued for a lot of people.

I was lucky and am very thankful for that.  My wife was a genius for switching our pipes to PEX tubes so none of our "pipes" burst, even though several had ice in them - we could tell as no water came out of them when the rest of the house had water pressure.  We spent the day with out water pressure several days in a row, but some water pressure returned in the evening each day, which allowed us to wash dishes and flush toilets.

That's it for now.  If you have any questions, please post them in the comments.  Thank you!



Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Ratpack – Shattered Star Book 2, Session 7

[Continuing of Day 33.  Fighting the shaman.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened February 8, 2021.]

[SPOILERS!  If you are likely to adventure through the Shattered Star Adventure Path from Paizo, this campaign will be spoilers all the way down.]


Player Characters

Zitch Grimreaper – male ratfolk 5th level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar

Roscuro – male ratfolk 5th level Monk

Swamprover – female grippli 4th level Wizard

Marativy – female ratfolk 5th level Ninja


Via Roll20

Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 5th level Summoner (Synthesist)

Winston – male ratfolk 5th level Gunslinger


NPCs

Auto – a clockwork servant fixated on Winston [whom we totally forgot about until Session 6]

Gridik Stormstride – male blue kobold 1st level Wizard (Invoker)

Mel Sharples  – male halfling Cook (Expert of unknown level)

Alice Hyatt – female halfling Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)

Flo’ Castleberry – female gnome Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)



Autumn

Day 33, Expedition Day 3, Continued

[The troglodyte guard we made friends with was named Sulgesh.  The shaman who seems to have taken over the tribe is named Uggillo.  The Other GM gave us these names before the session started.  He couldn’t locate them when we first started talking with Sulgesh and rather than slow the game while he looked for it, we just assumed it had been given and kept going with the role play.]

Roscuro and Zitch pulled Sulgesh aside to speak with him quietly.  The Ratpack was planning to go after the shaman, but they wanted to verify that doing so would not cause hostilities to resume between the ratfolk and the troglodytes.  Speaking in roundabout ways, Sulgesh agreed that he supported this, stating, “it would be best if there were not two factions in the tribe.”

Assured that killing the shaman would strengthen relations with rest of the troglodyte tribe, the Ratpack went in pursuit.  Taking the northern of the two east passages from the giant pit trap room, the Ratpack followed a tunnel the curved north and then west, ending in a large, long cavern lit by torches.  The shaman was standing on a bloody altar at the far end of the cavern.  In the chamber were 5 other troglodytes and a giant albino crocodile!

Marativy was scouting ahead of the group and hugging the left wall so none of the troglodytes saw her.  Roscuro was next around the bend and when he came into view, the shaman called out a threat in Common, ending with, “Prepare to be sacrificed!”  Roscuro’s response was an insulting, “Drama much?”  For the entirety of the ensuing fight, the shaman concentrated all his attacks on Roscuro.

Winston got early shots on the crocodile, heavily wounding it so Templeton was able to quickly kill it.  The shaman, boosted by Shield of Faith, Bears Strength, Weapon of Awe, and Mage Armor poured all of his anger and hate into attacks on Roscuro, heavily wounding Roscuro several times.  Zitch was just able to stay ahead of the damage Roscuro was taking with his healing magic.  Roscuro and Templeton stood shoulder to shoulder, fighting the shaman and the supporting troglodytes, bodyguarding each other as necessary to ward off attacks [each has the Bodyguard feat and can provide a +2 to adjacent allies AC].  The tide of battle turned as Zitch gradually put Protective Luck on all of the Ratpack [in 5E terms, it forces attackers to roll with disadvantage].  After Roscuro and the shaman traded blows, Gridik got the killing blow on the shaman with a Force Bolt [followed up with a short victory dance - the librarian is starting to get into the spirit of "adventures"].  The remaining troglodytes fell quickly after that to attacks from the rest of the group, Winston killing the last one. 

[There was more to the fight, but my notes are fairly basic here and I didn't get the timing of everything in order.  Marativy fumbled her sword twice but was able to hold off and kill two of the troglodytes despite this.  Swamprover ran forward to confront some of the troglodytes on the other flank and nearly got separated and killed by them until Winston and Templeton moved to assist her.  It was a close fight with Roscuro was down to 2 hit points at one point.  He lived due to Zitch’s healing protective luck and Templeton’s bodyguarding him, which caused the shaman several times during the fight.]

Once the fight was over, Gridik and Swamprover cast Detect Magic, first to determine what magics the shaman had cast upon himself [which is how we knew] and then to see if there were any magic items amongst his gear.  The shaman’s heavy mace was magical [+1] and he had a scroll of Cure Moderate Wounds.  We removed those and his holy symbol.  Marativy investigated the altar and the area behind it.  She found a poison dart trap on the altar and disarmed it, taking the poisoned dart.  In the area behind the altar she notices a loose stone, under which were 12 pearls [evaluated as worth 100gp each], several pouches of coins [total of 2400sp, 123gp, and 91pp], a jade holy symbol of the shaman’s faith, some bolos, and a monocle [later determined to be a Lens of Detection].

There was a discussion about whether or not this treasure was the shaman’s or the tribe’s and should the group turn it over to Sulgesh.  Roscuro was firmly of the opinion that the coins and pearls were valid loot for the Ratpack to keep, but he was willing to discuss the other items.  [Roscuro, as defacto quartermaster for the expedition was conscious that the expedition had not secured anything to recoup expenditures and/or fund the next expedition.]  Ultimately, the group settled on turning over the magic heavy mace, the scroll, the two holy symbols, and the bolos to Sulgesh.  Roscuro had the shaman’s head removed to take back to Sulgesh.  [I failed to note who actually cut the head off, but I think it was Winston.]

After the Ratpack cleaned up and healed up from the combat, they returned to the central caves of the troglodytes.  There they approached Sulgesh and delivered the shaman’s head and the agreed upon items.  Sulgesh took the heavy mace and the head but declined the other items as they were tied to the worship of Uggillo’s god and it would be better for the tribe to find a new patron deity.

Sulgesh also explained that the recovering troglodytes were also the tribe’s hunters and the tribe needed food.  The Ratpack volunteered to go hunt down food for the troglodytes and spend a couple hours catching enough game for the troglodytes for a couple days.  Winston also to time after the hunt to skin the albino crocodile.

End of Session


Rat Whispers

[This was a short write-up because the battle with the shaman took a good deal of time to play out, but it was a significant session for the PCs.  They now have access to an entrance to whatever dungeon is under the Lady’s Light, the primary purpose of this expedition.]

[Gridik leveled this session, so now he is a 2nd level Wizard (Evoker).]


Ratpack

Book 1:

Session 01 – Start

Session 32 – Conclusion


Book 2:

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6


Session 8 [Not Yet Typed Up]



Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Ratpack – Shattered Star Book 2, Session 6

[Start of Day 33.  Trog fight!]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened February 1, 2021.]

[SPOILERS!  If you are likely to adventure through the Shattered Star Adventure Path from Paizo, this campaign will be spoilers all the way down.]


Player Characters

Zitch Grimreaper – male ratfolk 5th level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar

Roscuro – male ratfolk 5th level Monk

Swamprover – female grippli 4th level Wizard

Marativy – female ratfolk 5th level Ninja


Via Roll20

Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 5th level Summoner (Synthesist)

Winston – male ratfolk 5th level Gunslinger


NPCs

Auto – a clockwork servant fixated on Winston [whom we totally forgot about until Session 6]

Gridik Stormstride – male blue kobold 1st level Wizard (Invoker)

Mel Sharples  – male halfling Cook (Expert of unknown level)

Alice Hyatt – female halfling Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)

Flo’ Castleberry – female gnome Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)



Autumn

Day 33, Expedition Day 3

Midday

At the mouth of the troglodyte cave, the Ratpack started their attack on the troglodytes.  Winston stepped forward and rapid fired his musket, killing one of the four troglodyte guards.  Roscuro switched to his light crossbow and loaded it.  Marativy stealthed into the side of the cave and was sickened by the troglodyte stench.  Templeton pounced forward and killed a second troglodyte guard before being sickened by the stench.  The two remaining guards counter-attacked Winston and Templeton, missing both.  Zitch cast Protective Luck on Roscuro while Gridik cast a Force Missile at the troglodyte attacking Winston.

Swamprover, having cast Mage Armor on herself, now moved to attack, casting Magic Missile at the troglodyte attacking Templeton.  Winston stepped away from his attacker and attempted to rapid fire again but his musket misfired and jammed.  Roscuro took the opportunity to shoot the troglodyte Winston was avoiding, hitting but failing to kill the troglodyte with his crossbow bolt.  Marativy moved to flank the troglodyte fighting Templeton and backstabbed it for a solid blow.  Templeton, sickened by the stench, missed with all of his attacks.  That troglodyte was emboldened and continued to attack Templeton, but the other lost its nerve and fled deeper through one of the passages at the back of the cave.  Zitch cast Ward on Roscuro, who entered the cave finally and was sickened by the stench [losing the just cast Ward].  Gridik used another Force Bolt and killed the remaining troglodyte guard.

Those members of the Ratpack not already in the cave entered it and became sickened from the stench.  After four minutes, all but Roscuro had normalized from the stench.  [I just could not roll high enough to make the save.]  Rather than lose even more time, Roscuro waved the rest of the Ratpack forward, accepting that he would not be fighting at peak health for a while.  [I did keep scrupulous track of the combat rounds as they passed, counting down to the next time I could roll another Fort save.]

Marativy snuck forward as the group’s scout, taking the right-hand passage of the two exiting the back of the cave.  Unfortunately, she was observed by the troglodytes waiting in the next cavern [natural 20 for the group Perception roll].  All six guards threw javelins at her, luckily only one hit.  Marativy stepped back quickly to call out a report that the tunnel was short and led to another cavern with more troglodytes.  Roscuro advanced to Marativy’s position, ordering the rest of the Ratpack to advance and attack.

Swamprover advanced down the adjacent left-hand passage and discovered more troglodytes in a side corridor that connected to the adjacent cavern and continued deeper into the ground.  The troglodytes attacked Swamprover and hit her with their javelins.  She responded with Flame Breath, scorching most of them.  Templeton cast Haste on the group and then moved to support Swamprover, attacking the scorched troglodytes there.

At the entrance to the cavern on the right and adjacent to the corridor Swamprover and Templeton were fighting in, Roscuro decided to push the battle to the troglodytes scattered around the far side of the cavern.  He used a ki point to enhance his leaping ability and leapt forward 30 feet, landing adjacent to one of the troglodyte guards and punching it hard.  Marativy attempted to match the leap, but discovered that the majority of the floor in this cavern was a single pit trap with the guards stationed at points along its rim – Roscuro had been lucky and landed on the one spot available to stand on.  Her ring of feather fall saved her from impalement on the spikes below and she immediately vaulted back up to the rim of the trap.  This broke the morale of the troglodyte guard who immediately surrendered, causing many of the other guards to also surrender.  One guard instead fled out one of the passages on the eastern edge of the cave.  In the meantime, Swamprover and Templeton killed the guards down the side passage to the west and joined back up with the rest of the Ratpack.  Winston immediately started clearing his jammed musket.

With Swamprover and Gridik as translators, Roscuro questioned the troglodyte guards.  [At some point here Roscuro finally made his Fort save and lost the Sickened condition.  Woot!]  The head guard (the one who had surrendered first) explained that the troglodyte chieftain had been killed in the battle with the boggards and the tribe shaman had taken over leadership of the tribe.  Additionally, the boggards had snuck into the troglodyte caves and broken all the eggs in the hatchery.  The shaman was now sacrificing those who had fallen sick after the battle to appease their god for failing.  Roscuro conferred with Winston and then told the troglodyte that the adventurers could cure their sick without sacrificing any of them.  The troglodyte guard decided this would be better and showed the Ratpack to the next cavern north, where the troglodyte sick were laid out [something like 10 to 15 troglodytes].

Winston and Zitch started attending to the sick, using their healing kits to the limit.  This helped the troglodytes sick with filth fever to start recovering [they all made the first of two saves necessary to shrug off the disease].  The head guard was pleased by this and explained that the one guard who fled east was loyal to the shaman and probably warning him.  During this conversation he also answered questions about deeper caves [we suspected there was a way into the dungeon under the light house here].  He said there was a passage that went much deeper, but there were dangerous “bitey-pinchy-bugs”  that way and the troglodytes had barricaded the tunnel entrance and cultivated some violet fungus on the other side to guard that passage.  Zitch opined these were "albino cave solifugids" based on the description.  The rest of us adopted the trog name for them as they understood it and didn’t Zitch’s name for them.

End of Session


Rat Whispers

[Everyone was healthy gain with negative test results for Covid at this point.  Marativy’s player had a worse case than I did as she lost her sense of smell and most of her sense of taste while she had it.  We both consider ourselves lucky in that we got minor cases of Covid.  I have friends elsewhere who got it much worse.]

[I was honestly surprised we ended up talking with the troglodytes.  The Ratpack’s original meeting with troglodytes was nearly a TPK, so no love was lost to them.  Apparently, when two of us jumped over the pit trap they realized we could bypass their major defense and they lost all heart.  On top of which, their morale was low because their god seemed to have abandoned them after the battle with this boggards.]


Ratpack

Book 1:

Session 01 – Start

Session 32 – Conclusion


Book 2:

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5


Session 7 



Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Ratpack – Shattered Star Book 2, Session 5

[Start of Day 33.  Boggards and Trogs.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened January 25, 2021.]

[SPOILERS!  If you are likely to adventure through the Shattered Star Adventure Path from Paizo, this campaign will be spoilers all the way down.]


Player Characters

Zitch Grimreaper – male ratfolk 5th level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar

Roscuro – male ratfolk 5th level Monk

Swamprover – female grippli 4th level Wizard


Via Roll20

Marativy – female ratfolk 5th level Ninja

Winston – male ratfolk 5th level Gunslinger


Not Appearing in this Session

Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 5th level Summoner (Synthesist)


NPCs

Auto – a clockwork servant fixated on Winston [whom we totally forgot about until Session 6]

Gridik Stormstride – male blue kobold 1st level Wizard (Invoker)

Mel Sharples  – male halfling Cook (Expert of unknown level)

Alice Hyatt – female halfling Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)

Flo’ Castleberry – female gnome Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)



Autumn

Day 33, Expedition Day 3

Having failed to locate an entrance to the areas below the Lady’s Light lighthouse in the vicinity of the lighthouse itself, the Ratpack decided it might be worthwhile to search further afield.  Additionally, they were still bound to make contact with any local tribes and set up a meeting with agents of Sabriyya Kalmeralm.  As a result the group decided to go speak with the boggards Malroux indicated lived to the south of the Ratpack campsite.  The boggards might also know of an entrance to the dungeon the ratfolk sought.

The Ratpack walked south from the campsite.  As they passed the place the giant frogs lived, they noticed the frogs noticing the group, but the frogs made no moves and so the group walked past them.  [This part technically happened at the end of the previous game session prior to us calling it a night, but it fits better here narrative-wise.]

Once the Ratpack got near the boggard camp, they could see the wooden shacks of a village.  The Ratpack approached openly [except Marativy who chose to stealth up separate from the group], doing their best to not appear threatening nor as potential victims.  The ground is first wet then has a foot of water on it.  As this is nearly chest high for Swamprover [the grippli is only 1 foot, 9 inches tall], Roscuro allowed her to stand on his shoulders.  Winston stepped into a snare trap as the group approached the village and had to be cut down.  Oddly, the boggards did not approach or even come out of their shacks while this was happening.

[Note: the color text describes there being a foot of water covering the ground over the entire village but the actual map of the village shows dry ground.  We asked the Other GM to verify the water was supposed to be there and he confirmed the text said there was water.  This is another time where the text and the map of a location do not match up in this adventure path.]

Reaching the edge of the village and still seeing no one, Roscuro asked Swamprover to call out a hello in the Boggard tongue.  Three boggard guards stepped out of some of the shacks and told the group to go away, no outsiders were allowed.  The Ratpack asked a few questions to find out how they might get to talk with someone, but the guards refused to talk any more and summoned additional guards.  The Ratpack diplomatically accepted this and walked away, except Marativy who stayed and observed what happened next from a concealed location.

After a short time, Marativy caught up with the rest of the group and reported on what she had seen.  The boggard leader came out of the largest hut and other boggards also appeared.  The leader talked emphatically at the other boggards before going back inside.  Marativy drew an excellent likeness of the boggard's leader.  Roscuro assumed the boggards would shadow the group for a while and he hoped doing so would convince the boggards that maybe talking to the ratfolk would be OK.

After a short discussion, the group decided to investigate a “cave with a monster in it” that Maroux had told Swamprover about.  The group followed the Slug River east.  Along the way a fording spot was found and marked on the map but not used.  A little further the group arrived at the point where they wanted to cross.  The river was 30 feet across there and it looked possible to swim.  Roscuro instead decided a raft would be better and so the group gathered wood to make a raft.  [Roscuro also estimated he could jump across the entire river by using a ki point, but that would put him on the far side of a river from his friends in potentially hostile territory and that did not sound wise.]

Raft constructed [thanks to Winston’s solid Survival skill check], the group moved across the river.  Another thirty minutes and they found the cave they were looking for.  Winston identified tracks on the ground as belonging to a hydra.  Scorch marks around the cave suggested that it was likely a pyrohydra!  After some quiet discussion, Marativy snuck into the cave to see what was actually there.  Inside the cave she found the hydra’s lair.  It appeared to be sleeping but had seven heads!  She quietly retreated and reported her findings.

The group discussed options.  Roscuro felt that the pyrohydra was just inside the group’s capabilities, but the group decided that they did not want to try it right now.  [This was because there were other places to look still and that Templeton’s player was not at the game, meaning Templeton was not available for the combat.  As he is one of our primary combatants, that put us at a disadvantage.]  The group returned to the river and crossed back across to the north side of it, where they hid the raft for later use.

As the group headed north from there, they found the source of the awful smell they originally noticed on the way in.  It was not the suspected troglodyte camp, but the site of a big battle between the boggards and the troglodytes.  The battle happened nearly a week previous and both sides had left their dead where they fell to rot.

Winston put his survival skills to use to read the battlefield and work out what happened.  Some of the troglodytes had wounds from steel weapons but boggards were known to fight with wood and stone, not steel.  It appeared the troglodytes took heavy casualties early in the fight but gradually turned the tide against the boggards.  A trail of boggard dead showed the boggard retreat path, indicating that the troglodytes won the battle.  Examination of the weapons left behind showed that the boggard arrows had a primitive kind of poison on their tips that would cause filth fever in any survivors on the troglodyte side.  Use of poisoned weapons was very unlike the boggards.  Roscuro’s theory was that the humans from Corvosa were aiding the boggards against the troglodytes, teaching the boggards new tactics.  It was possible the humans had abandoned the boggards part way through the fight, which is why the troglodytes won.

The Ratpack left the battlefield and walked north, searching for another hour before finding the troglodyte cave.  There was a rudimentary wooden barricade across the entrance.  The barricade was not solid - it appeared to be for restricting the number able to enter the cave, not keeping everyone out.

Marativy used stealth to approach the barricade unseen while the rest of the Ratpack stayed back.  When Marativy got close to the barricade, she noticed it was doused in oil.  She carefully and silently stepped partially through one of the gaps near the cave wall and looked into the cave beyond it.  She saw five troglodytes, two had lit torches and three had javelins.  It was clear they would light the barricade once attackers were passing through it and then kill the few inside the cave while the fire burned the rest.  Marativy withdrew back to the rest of the Ratpack and reported what she had seen.

The Ratpack discussed their options, including lighting the barricade pre-emptively.  It was decided to attempt negotiations first, then light the barricade.  Swamprover called out a greeting in Draconic [the language the troglodytes speak] to silence.  She then called out an offer to heal their sick.  This got a response of “Our gods will save us.”  At this point Roscuro was done with the trogs [the group had history with troglodytes and not liking them] and ordered the barricade lit.  Swamprover used Burning Hands to light it and it burned for five minutes before being reduced to ash.

After the fire burned out, Marativy advanced silently [she has a huge skill bonus to her Stealth roll so this was safe for her to do] and peeked into the cave.  She now only saw four troglodytes, all armed with javelins.  She returned and reported.  Winston walked up the the still hot remains of the barricade and made a final offer to heal their sick.  The troglodytes responded by throwing their javelins, on of which nicked Winston [for 2 points of damage].

The fight was on.

End of Session


Rat Whispers

[Yeah, we don’t like troglodytes at all after our first encounters with them in the siege castle.  This was going to end up a fight no matter what happened, but we felt obliged to offer assistance first.  Attacking a whole village/camp carried its own dangers and if we could safely gain access to the dungeon we would accept it.  But we really didn’t try very hard.]

[While this session we resumed face-to-face play with only some of our players remote, one of those players was remote because she caught Covid at work.  We were also down Templeton’s player for work-related reasons and it modified our decision making in regards to the pyrohydra.  I think we could have taken it as a group, but not without Templeton present.  Not everyone shares my confidence, so we went to see the trogs and fight them instead.]


Ratpack

Book 1:

Session 01 – Start

Session 32 – Conclusion


Book 2:

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4


Session 6