Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 1 – Moon Manor Ruins

[The adventure begins.  This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.]

Player Characters:
Jala – human female – a person of discretion, studying aspects of the Law [to avoid them] at the Dust Academy
Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer
Vargand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at the The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts
Zarek – fox male – a cerebrally-unfettered spell researcher [read: Mad Scientist] turned into a talking fox, studying Natural Philosophy at Monarch University to find a way to become human again
Ricky the Astrologer – human male – has a thirst for knowledge but doesn’t know what he’s searching for, currently studying Astrology at Monarch University
Nick Stalwart – human male – part of the Stalwart family of merchants, studying Mathematics at The Interesting Institute of Profitable People, a college at Monarch University

Non-Player Characters:
Lester “Les” Stalwart – human male, younger brother of Nick and general tag-along [DNPC]

Cromsday, October 10th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
The founding members of the Delvers Guild set out on the guild’s first official adventure – exploring and mapping the Moon Manor ruins on the other side of Dragon’s Bay from the capital city, Aegea.  Ricky the Astrologer did the research and suggested these ruins as an easy start, being relatively nearby and both unoccupied and unclaimed.

The Delvers assembled at the City Docks and caught the early morning ferry across the bay to Little Wytheford.  They saw many merchant ships and fishing boats out on the bay as they traveled.  Most of the Delvers napped during the trip  being students they were more accustomed to being up late and not waking before the dawn.  Jala and Ricky, in fact, had stayed awake just a few hours longer than normal rather than bothering to sleep before embarking.

The ferry put in at the River Docks at Little Wytheford at Noon.  The River Docks were just outside the town walls, actually on the Moofolk River [as opposed to the Guild Docks, which are inside the town walls].  Needing horses to get to the ruins in a timely fashion, the Delvers pooled their knowledge of the town and found they knew very little.  Nick noticed a building with his family name on it [he comes from a mercantile family] and went over to find someone who could provide him directions.  A few minutes later he returned with directions to a reputable horse trader [reputable for a horse trader anyways].  The group purchased five riding horses and one pack mule [with tack] using guild funds [and getting a guild discount – it’s good to be an official guild].

After placing their packs on the mule and setting up a place for Zarek to curl up on the mule [who was not entirely pleased with having a fox on its back], the Delvers rode across the eastern river bridge and followed the Moofolk River south for three hours before turning east on the far side of Faemount Mountain.  This brought them within sight of the Moon Manor ruins, where Ricky and Nick noticed a thin trickle of smoke above the ruins, as from a campfire, apparently coming from inside the supposedly abandoned ruins.

Despite being just a day away from the capital of the kingdom, the mountainous region was only sparsely populated at best away from the coast.  Not certain who might be camping on the back side of the mountain, the Delvers decided some scouting might be appropriate.  Jala volunteered to do so and used her Shadowwalk spell to teleport between lengthening evening shadows to approach the ruins discretely from the west.

The Moon Manor ruins had once been a walled manor owned by elves hundreds of years ago, before the rise of the Kingdom of Aegea.  At some point in the past the southern gate house, the southwestern tower, and the southern walls of the outer courtyard were attacked and destroyed, leaving low piles of stone sticking up out of the underbrush now growing over the site.  The ruins were on a raised platform, three to four feet above the surrounding area and the adjacent lake to the east.  Jala finished her series of teleports in the cover of this platform, peeking over it to look for the current inhabitants.  She could just see a fence blocking off the inner courtyard, which was covered in bushes and tall grass, but she could see no people.

Seeing no guards or sentries, Jala stealthily advanced on the ruins, sticking to the mostly there western wall until she found a gap.  The tendril of smoke seemed to be coming from inside the old chapel.  Jala could not see a doorway into the chapel from where she stood, so she advanced across the outer courtyard to the side of the chapel.  She could just hear the sounds of people inside the chapel.  There was a gap in the wall of the chapel that faced the courtyard, but that felt too exposed for Jala.  The building adjacent to the chapel was missing most of a corner and a wall and she thought it might present another entrance to the chapel, so she decided to sneak in that way.

Jala quietly stepped over to the gap in the wall of this building and stepped in…right in front of two sentries who were flabbergasted to see her.  Both sentries had a light bow and Jala’s instincts kicked in – she immediately turned and ran back the way she came, not stopping until she was outside the western wall and hidden behind it.  Then she listened.  She heard the two sentries scramble out into the courtyard and discuss between themselves if they should say anything to the others.  Jala did not stay to hear any more and used the cover of the surrounding brush and trees to scramble back to the rest of the Delvers.

After Jala reported her findings, the Delvers discussed their options.  They could camp where they were or approach the ruins and see if they could safely camp inside the ruins [their original plan] with the other people.  They decided to approach the people inside the ruins.  They preferred camping in the ruins over camping on some random spot in the brush.  If nothing else, they could evaluate whether the people in the ruins were competitors or some other danger or not.

When the Delvers entered the outer courtyard of the ruins, the found a group of people in the the sentry area.  Their leader called out, “Stop there or we’ll shoot you.”  While there were only two people with bows, the other four had swords at the ready.  The Delvers stopped and let Clarence do the talking.  Clarence and the leader of the other people discussed the situation across a distance of 20 feet.  Clarence told the truth of why the Delvers were there [to map and explore the ruins, something the other Delvers complained about later] and the other person, Jasper, mostly didn’t explain anything other than to ask if they were guards from one of the nearby coastal forts [most of the PCs are fully armored, albeit in various forms of leather armor].  Once Jasper was confident that the Delvers were not guards, he and the other swordsmen stepped back behind a wall to confer.  Zarek, realizing that as a fox he was short enough to be completely hidden by the brush growing in the courtyard, scooted out and around the standing gatehouse to the same gap in the wall Jala originally used to enter and exit the courtyard.  This gave him a better field of view to cast spells if things turned nasty.

The other people had not factored in the extremely acute hearing of Ricky, Zareck, and Nick [who made their Perception roll by 8, 5, and 5, respectively].  Those three heard Jasper decide to let the Delvers share the camp, but promising the others “if they have any valuables, we can kill them in their sleep and take it.”  Ricky quietly shared this information with the other Delvers as Jasper stepped back out into the open and welcomed the Delvers to share their campsite.  The Delvers accepted, cautiously.  When Zarek trotted up, he was mistaken as a pet dressed up in people clothes by Jasper’s people.  Zarek played along and the rest of the Delvers did as well, having pulled this prank on unsuspecting townsfolk in the past.

While both groups ate their dinners, Clarence chatted with Jasper’s group, subtly pumping them for information [using his Conversation skill].  He was able to confirm that Jasper’s people were bandits hiding out from the soldiers in the coastal forts.  They had been raiding the outer farms around Little Wytheford when they ran into a patrol and had to flee.  They holed up in the ruins to recuperate.  Two of the group were still too wounded to move around freely [making the total number of bandits here 8].  When he could, Clarence discretely shared this information with the other Delvers.

As the evening progressed, the tension started ratcheting up between the two groups.  Eventually Nick broke and cast Mage Armor on himself.  This startled the bandits, who were not expecting any kind of spellcaster.  One of the bandits was heard to whisper “I think they’re on to us” louder than he expected in the sudden silence.  Zarek took this as the sign to attack and cast his lesser Lightning Bolt spell at Jasper, staggering and heavily injuring the man.  The rest of the Delvers took THIS as the sign to attack and did so.

Over the next 12 seconds, the Delvers killed 4 of the active bandits with Zarek and Jala each taking an arrow wound and Ricky some minor damage [Stun only] in return.  Nick vocally confronted the last two bandits [ironically the two guards with the ready bows] and told them to surrender and become torchbearers for the Delvers or make peace with their immanent death [a solid Presence attack with tons of bonus dice for the high level of violence the Delvers had just unleashed].  The sentries took his words very seriously, put down their bows, and asked how many torches they needed to carry and did this take them off guard duty?

End of Session

[I'm using Dyson Logos' Griffinwatch Ruins map for the Moon Manor ruins.  The bandits were average humans with partial leather armor (covered shoulders to thighs).  They were not wearing their helmets when the fight started, which contributed to their quick loss.  The next session deals with the aftermath of the fight and further exploration of the ruins.]

Delvers Guild
Session A, Character Creation Part 1 
Session B, Character Creation Part 2

Session 02

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