Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

With too much prep work and last minute work-work to do for this week's holiday, I wasn't able to get the next set of session notes up.  Regular posting will resume next week.

See you then!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Ratpack – Session 03

[The ratfolk adventurers continue to clear out the siege castle.  Will it ever end?]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened November 11, 2019.]

Player Characters
Marativy – female ratfolk 1st level Ninja
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 1st level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 1st level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 1st level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar

Missed the Session
Winston – male 1st level Gunslinger

Non-Player Character
Balenar Foresend – male human bard, member of the Pathfinder Society and freed hostage

Day 1
Later, after Noon
Having freed the capture bard, Balenar, the ratfolk adventurers were aware there was a spell-casting troglodyte shaman still unaccounted for.  Marativy checked the door to the ruins of the east tower.  Instead of the sight of the horizon through ruins she found a closed off room the trogs had been using as their latrine.  Ugh!  And we thought they smelled bad on the outside…

The adventuring party reversed course.  We went through the troglodyte barracks [the west tower] and to the north tower.  Marativy and Roscuro stealthily approached the door the three trog reinforcements entered [Session 2] and peeked in.  The room had cracks in the outer walls that apparently let water in when it rained and the room was covered in a couple inches of reddish water with pieces of broken and moldy furniture sitting in the water.  Against the far wall was a giant toad that appeared to be asleep.  Appeared.

The ratfolk looked around for anything they could use to make a barricade to shoot over with and found nothing useful.  They instead took up firing positions at the door and attacked the giant frog with ranged weapons.  Marativy hit the frog once and missed once. and Roscuro missed twice before the frog hopped forward and grabbed Roscuro with its tongue, slowly dragging the monk towards it!  Templeton advanced on the frog to attack it while Balenar sung The Ballad of the Plucky Chicken to inspire the ratfolk in their fight.

Marativy drew her wakizashi and advanced on the frog.  Roscuro attacked the creature’s tongue with a flurry of blows to slight effect before the frog yanked him forward and swallowed the monk.  Templeton was able to get a solid claw attack in while Balenar continued singing.

Roscuro was attacked the creature from inside with another flurry of blows, one of which ruptured the frogs stomach, killing the frog and saving the ratfolk from being digested.

While Roscuro cleaned off as best he could, Marativy, Zitch, and Templeton searched the room for anything of value.  They located a small jade statue under some debris.  It appeared to Roscuro to have some religious significance, so it was put into the loot bag to sell to the group’s patron.

Marativy opened the door to the east tower and found the expected vista to the horizon.  She could see the walls around the room the trogs used as their latrine.  There was some extant flooring just beyond that and she investigated.  There she found the shocker lizard from the second floor sleeping while sunning itself.  She left it alone.

Still looking for the last troglodyte, Marativy and Roscuro stealthily ascended the central stairs to the fifth floor.  The door to the fifth floor was on the stairs before the fifth floor instead of on a landing.  Marativy picked the lock [on her second try] and the two cautiously finished climbing most of the way up the stairs.  The top floor appeared to be all one, cross-shaped room with the stairs appearing in the center.  Marativy and Roscuro stopped short of the lip and peeked over to see what was there.  Down the east arm of the room was a stone throne, upon which sat the trog shaman, waiting.

Suspicious, Roscuro tried to pantomime a message to Marativy and failed to convey his meaning entirely [I rolled another 1].  Unable to interpret Roscuro’s instructions to “steal second” into something useful, Marativy just shrugged at the monk.  Defeated by his poor pantomime skills, Roscuro descended the stairs and Marativy followed.

Back down on the fourth floor where the others had waited, Roscuro asked Zitch to cast detect magic and then climb the stairs to see if the shaman waiting there was an illusion or not.  Zitch agreed and he, Roscuro, and Marativy quietly snuck back up to the fifth floor.  Zitch looked around and verified there were no illusions.  Roscuro shrugged and then quietly asked Zitch to ask the shaman to surrender in Draconic [the language troglodytes speak].

Zitch did this.  Instead of surrendering, the shaman started monologued and started casting a spell.  Roscuro shrugged, recognizing a spell being cast, popped up over the stair lip and shot at the shaman with his crossbow.  He missed.  Marativy bolted out into the room, so when the shaman’s spell completed, she was not in the area of effect of the spider swarm!

The following fight was hard and a close thing.  Balenar used a sleep spell to stop the spider swarm.  The shaman had an albino alligator hiding behind the stone throne, which was called out to attack the ratfolk.  The albino alligator eventually dropped due to Templeton’s bleed attacks.  In response, the shaman summoned a giant centipede, which poisoned Templeton.  Roscuro got in a solid flurry of blows near the end and was taken to 0 hit points by a flame weapon in response.  Roscuro attempted to end the shaman but missed and slumped unconscious and started bleeding to death.  Marativy instead got the final blow in, killing the shaman after 8 rounds of combat.

Zitch immediately did a heal check on Roscuro to stop his bleeding.  The witch then gave the monk the last healing potion, which revives the monk nearly to full health [I finally rolled well].
End of Session

Rat Whispers
[A short session in writing, but the fight with the troglodyte druid was tough and lasted a while.  For 1st-level characters it was pretty epic and most of us were close to dying, my character closest, although I pushed my luck there.  Once again, Templeton's bleed effect on his claw attacks saved us by dropping the alligator.]

[Other GM is not keeping strict time, so I’m not entirely certain how late in the afternoon it is in-game.  Might be 1:00, might be 3:00.  Either way, after this we need to camp and rest.  We are out of spells, healing, and healing potions and many of us are still down some hit points.  Time to pick a room to secure and camp.]

Session 01
Session 02

Session 04

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Ratpack – Session 02

[The ratfolk adventurers further explore the siege castle.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened November 4, 2019.]

Player Characters:
Marativy – female ratfolk 1st level Ninja
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 1st level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 1st level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 1st level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar

Missed the Session:
Winston – male 1st level Gunslinger

Day 1
Having explored as much of the first floor as they could the ratfolk adventurers discussed how they wanted to approach the second floor of the ruins.  The options were to climb the rubble in the east wing to the remains of the second floor and open one of the two doors they saw there or use a rope and grappling hook to climb up to the second-floor landing in the broken stairwell.  After the majority of the group admitted they were terrible at climbing, the safest route was chosen.

The pack of ratfolk exited the castle and started clambering on the rubble of the east wing.  Marativy [a good climber] climbed up to the second floor.  She tied climbing knots in a rope and secured it with a piton.  This allowed the others to climb up, although it took Templeton two tries.  [We had the worst luck with the rolls.  Our target number was a 5 on a d20; my character, Roscuro, barely made that and Templeton rolled a natural 1 on his first attempt.  Eventually our dice warmed up, but it was a rough start.]

Marativy and Roscuro examined the door to the south wing.  While they were doing this, Templeton summoned his eidolon, merging with it into a foo dog synthesis.  The door was in good shape.  Zitch cast detect magic on it and determined it had some preservative magic on it.  Marativy picked the lock and opened the door.

The room beyond took up the entire second floor of the octangular south wing.  It looked empty, with dust covering the floor, but Templeton and Roscuro noticed some faint footprints in the dust near the door to the west wing.  The group cautiously entered the room and took a closer look at the tracks.  The tracks entered the room from the door to the west wing, went over to the west wall of this room, meandered a bit, and then returned to the door.  Zitch was able to identify the tracks as belonging to a troglodyte, known to be hostile and with a stench that was debilitating.  Zitch also suspected the tracks were about a week old, which was before the earthquake broke the east wing of the siege castle and provided common entrance.  As a group the ratfolk searched the west wall and found a concealed switch.  They chose not to do anything with it.

The rats went over to the door to the western wing and Marativy and Roscuro listened.  Roscuro heard the sounds of movement on the other side.  He did a dreadful job trying to pantomime the information to Marativy, but she understood him anyway [I rolled terrible on Perform but she rolled a natural 20 on Sense Motive].  Roscuro readied his light crossbow.

Marativy stealthily opened the door just enough so she and Roscuro could see through.  They saw three troglodytes standing by a mostly empty weapon rack on the far west wall.  They were looking directly at the door but had not noticed it was open slightly yet.  Roscuro placed his crossbow to the opening, took aim, and fired at one of the troglodytes.  He missed entirely, the bolt clattering against the wall behind them.  The trogs, being a bit slow, all turned to look what the noise was behind them.  Then the stench finally reached the ratfolk and Marativy and Roscuro were both sickened by it.

Marativy and Templeton entered the room and attacked the trogs while Roscuro attempted to shoot the third trog from the door.  Zitch cast her evil eye upon the various trogs during the fight.  After three missed, Roscuro gave up trying to shoot the trogs and charged into the room to attack with flurries of blows.  This was more effective, but Templeton’s claw attacks caused two of the trogs to bleed out and die.  Marativy and Roscuro teamed up to take out the last troglodyte.

Zitch set about healing the wounded as best he could, using up the last of his healing magic for the day [the trogs had been tough].  The group looked around the room.  There were two other weapon racks, all three having shields on display above them.  This room was clearly an armory, but all of the swords and most of the shields were worthless due to the ravages of time.  Only one light shield was even repairable and that only because it was a masterworked shield.  It went into the loot sack for later restoration.  Gradually Marativy and Roscuro got over being sickened by the trog stench.

There were two exits from this room, a door to the north wing and a door to the central stairwell.  The group opened the door to the stairwell to verify what was expected was there.  The door opened onto the lip of a landing, the stairs up and the stairs down collapsed to just below the first floor.  The door itself was in good condition and could be locked.  Roscuro pointed out that if the group needed to, they could hold up in one of these rooms fairly safely.

After closing the door to the stairwell, the group went over to the last door and listened.  They could hear something on the other side scratching at the door.  Based on some electric shocks he received while listening [and rolling a natural 20 on the skill check], Zitch suspected a shocker lizard was on the other side and wanted in.  Dubious of releasing a shocker lizard but wanting to explore the room it was in, the group made a plan.  They opened the door to the stairwell, they all retreated as far as they could from the door to the north wing, and Templeton used mage hand to open the door.  The hope was that the lizard was trapped and just looking for an exit.

Templeton used mage hand to open the door to the north tower.  The creature on the other side of the door was indeed a shocker lizard.  It started wandering towards the group of ratfolk.  Roscuro shouted, “No!” at it and the lizard stopped moving.  Templeton used his mage hand to move some food over by the lizard and then to the door to the stairwell.  The lizard looked at the food but did not follow it.  Roscuro yelled at it to “get the food” and then it went and ate the food.

While the shocker lizard was eating the food, the ratfolk sidled around it to the door to the north tower.  The north tower room was full of junk that had clearly been searched/looted long ago.  Marativy examined the door to the ruined east tower.  It was in good condition and lockable.

When the ratfolk returned to the armory [the west tower], they found that the shocker lizard had wandered off.  They closed and locked the “outer” doors [those leading to the ruined east tower] and locked them.  They then took their time throwing a grappling hook with the knotted rope up to the 3rd floor landing in the stairwell until it was solidly anchored [we took 20].  They then climbed up to the 3rd floor landing.  The door was locked and Marativy failed to pick it after several tries.  With no way forward, the ratfolk decided to go upstairs to the fourth floor.

[To clarify: the spiral stairs below the third-floor landing had collapsed.  The stairs at and above the third floor still existed and seemed to be sturdy or at least “sturdy enough”.]

There was a door at the fourth-floor landing.  Marativy and Roscuro listened at the door and heard snoring on the other side.  The ratfolk prepped their weapons and Marativy attempted to stealthily open the door.  It creaked.  Loudly.  On the other side were two sleeping troglodytes and two awake and aware troglodytes staring at the doorway.  Inured to the stench, Marativy and Roscuro were not nauseated by it [we both made our saves].

Marativy quickly stalked into the room to one of the sleeping troglodytes and, while the other two watched, cut its head off [she rolled a crit on the sleeping trog and killed it in one blow].  The first awake trog, realizing the ratfolk were not there to parlay, bolted to the door to the north tower, opened it, and yelled, “Intruders!”  Zitch cast Evil Eye on the second awake troglodyte.  That worthy threw a javelin at Marativy, but missed.  Templeton entered the room and and swung wide at the yelling troglodyte, failing to connect.  Roscuro, bringing up the rear, walked over to the last sleeping troglodyte and shot it with his crossbow.  The deeply sleeping trog kept snoring [it rolled a natural 1 to wake up, so even with the noise and being shot, it kept sleeping].  Over the next two rounds the ratfolk killed the yeller and the sleeper [the sleeper did NOT awaken] and Marativy and Roscuro were set to double-team the last living troglodyte.

Then the reinforcements arrived.

Three more troglodytes came through the door from the north tower and a single but larger troglodyte entered through the south door.  At this point the fight started in earnest.  Marativy killed the last of the original trogs.  Templeton held the three at the north door, but had to step back once and cast mage armor on himself.  The bleed effect from his claws helped tremendously during the fight.  After trading blows with Marativy and Roscuro, the trog boss got a solid hit in on Roscuro and sent the ratfolk to 0 hit points.  Roscuro was forced to crawl back to avoid a killing blow, but this left Marativy fighting without the swarming ability.  Luckily, her final attack was a critical hit and did enough to kill the boss trog.  By this time Templeton had killed the other three reinforcements through a mixture of bites, claws, and bleeds.

All the ratfolk were wounded and Zitch started healing them as best he could.  Roscuro drank one of the two healing potions provided by their patron and it healed him completely [rolled maximum on the healing for it – good stuff!].  The ratfolk closed and spiked the door to the stairs so they would not be disturbed.  At this point a voice from the south room called out in Common.  Roscuro talked with the voice while all the ratfolk looted the troglodyte barracks.  The speaker was a prisoner of the troglodytes and was wondering if the people he was speaking to would rescue him.  The ratfolk found 100 silver coin worth of trinkets among the troglodytes and a key on the boss trog.  Marativy claimed the key, but all the trinkets went into the loot sack.

Finished looting the barracks, the ratfolk investigated the southern room.  There they found a human chained to a wall, some troglodyte torture implements, and a chest.  Roscuro talked with the human while the others investigated the room.  The human introduced himself as Balenar Forsend of the Pathfinder Society.  He was in the vicinity when the earthquake happened and cracked open the siege castle.  The troglodytes captured him while he was exploring.

In the meantime, Marativy attempted to pick the lock on the chest and failed.  Frustrated, she tried the key taken from the boss troglodyte.  It worked and the chest opened.  Hearing the chest opening, Balenar asked if he could be freed and his possessions be returned [ratfolk have darkvision, so we were not using any light sources and Balenar was blind in the darkness].  He offered unspecified rewards and an introduction to the Pathfinder Society if the group would free him and escort him back to Magnimar, which sounded reasonably fair to the ratfolk.  Marativy used the key to unlock the chains and Balenar and Roscuro shook hands on the deal.

Balenar asked for his pathfinder [a wayfinding tool] and activated a light function on it, illuminating the room.  He let out a startled shriek when he saw the four ratfolk standing there and then immediately apologized for doing so.  While putting his gear back on, he asked how many troglodytes the group of ratfolk had killed.  After some quick counting on the ratfolk’s part, he told us there was a spell-casting troglodyte still unaccounted for.

End of Session

Rat Whispers
[There is a lot of things moving around inside of a castle that was supposedly sealed up for hundreds of years.  I’m just saying.  I’m curious to see if there is any explanation as to how the troglodytes got into the tower when it was sealed.]

[Sorry this is late – for some reason it took extra mental effort to sit down and write this one up.]

Session 01

Session 03

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Ratpack – Session 01

[A group of ratfolk adventurers decide to act on a rumors of a recently opened adventure site.]

[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game.  Game sessions happen once a week.  This session happened October 28, 2019.]

Player Characters:
Marativy – female ratfolk 1st level Ninja
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 1st level Summoner (Synthesist)
Roscuro – male ratfolk 1st level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 1st level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Winston – male 1st level Gunslinger

Day 1
Having all heard rumors that a formerly sealed siege castle near Magnimar was cracked open by a recent earthquake, a pack of ratfolk banded together to go explore and loot it before anyone else took the good stuff.  While walking along the road towards the siege castle, the group observed a fancy carriage flanked by two guards on horseback heading in their direction.  Seeing an opportunity to speed up their travel, Roscuro suggested the group try and hitch a ride.  Marativy opined that she did not believe the person in the carriage would agree to that.  “I wasn’t planning on asking,” was Roscuro’s response.

The group concealed themselves in some bushes and waited for the carriage to pass them.  As it did so, the ran out behind it and quietly climbed aboard the empty luggage rack in the back.

Except Roscuro, who managed to get his tail run over by one of the wheels of the carriage. [I rolled a natural 1 on the Acrobatics skill check.  Sadly, this would not be my last 1 of the night.]

Roscuro let out a large yelp involuntarily, alerting not only the passenger in the carriage but his bodyguards as well.  The two guards on horse back slowed their horses and swung around behind the carriage.  The person inside the carriage stuck his head out the side to see what was going on and saw two ratfolk clinging to the back of his carriage.  “What are you doing back there?” he yelled back.

“Abandoning a ship,” Roscuro relied, tenderly holding his tail.

“What ship?”

“The ship of walking all the way to the siege castle.”

At this point Templeton intervened and started doing all the talking.  As it turned out, the carriage rider was Frederik something-or-other [he did not give his last name], a famous collector of some note [at the very least Marativy had heard of him].  He was on his way to the siege castle to personally verify it was actually accessible prior to hiring adventurers to explore it for him.  He offered a deal: he’d hire us to explore the siege castle in exchange for right of first purchase at 250 gold coin of anything of note we found.  We could keep things “not of note” we found, but he’d also like the right to make an offer on any of that we decided to sell.  We agreed and he invited us inside the carriage.  The group of us swung around the sides and into the carriage at various levels of smoothness.  He was surprised to see five of us, not being aware of most of our party, but also liking our odds better.

An hour later we turned off the main road and followed a little used side road that eventually led to the siege castle.  Siege castles are magically-sealed castles located in various places in Golarion.  Most have been abandoned/sealed away for centuries and some rumored to be even older than that.  The magics are strong enough that it takes something unusual to access one, like an earthquake damaging one.

When the carriage came within view of the siege castle in question, the driver stopped it.  The passengers climbed out and looked.  The castle was definitely accessible.  It looked like a cluster of four octagonal towers with each “tower” sharing a wall with its two neighbors.  The lower floors of the eastern tower were heavily damaged, with partial floors still there and the exterior walls fallen to piles of rubble surrounding the first floor.  How the fifth floor was still up was a mystery.  It looked like it should have fallen and still might.

“This is as far as I go,” announce Frederik.  “I’m satisfied you can access the castle.  Find me at the address I gave you when you return to Magnimar.”  He reached into the carriage and pulled two vials out of a travel bag and handed them over to Templeton – they were healing potions..  “Use these if necessary.”  With that he climbed back into the carriage and ordered the driver to turn around and return to Magnimar.

With a shrug the five ratfolk resumed walking.  As they approached the siege castle, Roscuro noticed a small pack of feral dogs sniffing around the ruined east wing.  Not wanting to fight them up close, the ratfolk took cover behind some debris and shot at the dogs.  Winston killed one of the feral dogs and Roscuro, Marativy, and Zitch wounded the other dogs.  The dogs were spooked and ran away.

Templeton wanted to summon his eidolon at this point, which took a minute to complete.  While waiting on him, the others scoped out the ruins.  Most of the walls of the east tower were missing.  The third and fourth floors were only partial floors.  The second and third floors were more complete but also missing most of their internal walls.  The first floor was mostly full of rubble collapsed from the higher floors.  The connecting walls with the north and south towers could be seen.  On the second floor, two closed doors could be seen one door to the north tower and one to the second.  It would take minimal effort to get to them.  Where a similar door to the south tower would be on the first floor was blocked by rubble, but the matching doorway to the north tower was open.  One short discussion later the ratfolk started walking towards the first level open doorway to the north tower.

As the group approached the entrance to the north tower, the ratfolk formed up into a marching order.  Roscuro and Marativy were in front, Templeton in his Foo Dog form was next, Zitch and his familiar after that, and Winston following up in the rear.

At the entrance, the group paused to look into the room beyond.  The entire first floor was a single large chamber.  Everything was covered by a layer of rock dust and there were spider webs all along the ceiling.  While we stood there looking, the spider that created all those webs fired a blob of webbing at Roscuro and Marativy, entrapping them!

Winston hot the giant spider with his pistol while Marativy escaped the webbing and attempted to cut Roscuro free.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t as careful about what was webs and what was tail as Roscuro would have liked and sliced his poor abused tail.  The spider pounced at this point and bit Roscuro, but got a mouth of mostly fur [it rolled minimal damage].  Roscuro resisted the poison that came with the bite.  Zitch cursed the spider with the Evil Eye, which helped Roscuro land a flurry of blows on the spider with his hanbō [a half-sized staff that also doubled as a stout walking stick].  Templeton attacked the webs holding Roscuro, heavily damaging the web but not fully freeing his ally.

Winston reloaded his pistol as fast as he could.  Marativy made use of the ratfolk swarming ability with Roscuro, which allowed her to get in a sneak attack on the spider.  The spider bit Roscuro again, again with minimal effect and Roscuro resisting the additional poison.  Zitch healed Roscuro who was bloodied at this point and needed it.  Roscuro attacked the spider with another flurry of blows, nearly killing the spider.  Templeton removed the last of the webbing holding Roscuro in place.

Pistol reloaded, Winston stepped back from the spider’s reach and shot it, killing it.

While all the ratfolk caught their breath, Marativy asked if anyone knew how to harvest the poison from the spider.  Winston and Zitch were able to harvest the poison by pooling their knowledge.  Once that was done the room was thoroughly searched [we took 20].  The only thing of value we found was a locked jewelry box webbed to a shelf.  After cutting it free, Zitch said he recognized the writing on the box as elven, but he could not read it.  Marativy picked the lock on the box.  Inside was a pendant with gemstones on it.  Zitch verified it was not magical and Marativy assessed it as valuable, but could not estimate an accurate value other than “about 100 gold coin?”

There was a doorway to the west tower in this room.  The group opened approached it and looked into the next room.  This chamber took up the entire first floor of the west tower, but was empty.  There was a door to the south tower that was covered with rubble and a doorway to the central shaft of the castle.  We walked over to that door and discovered the square central shaft was a stairwell.  The stairs up to the second and third floor had collapsed, the top of the rubble was a foot lower than the floor, indicating that stairs down existed under all the rubble.

The ratfolk took their time searching the west tower room and the accessible part of the stairs.  After a thorough search, the only thing of value found was a blob of spider webbing containing bones and detritus wrapped up in a banner that was in surprisingly good condition.  It radiated a faint preservative magic and Zitch said the heraldry on it was the same as a famous hunting lodge from a few centuries ago, the Band of the Phoenix.

The banner went into a loot bag and the ratfolk fell back, burning all the webbing as they went.
End of Session

Rat Whispers
[This campaign is currently filling in for the Delvers Guild campaign until I can get more gate locations written up.  We are playing in Golarion, currently based in the city of Magnimar.  Other GM is running Master of the Fallen Fortress as an intro to the Shattered Star Adventure Path, so he’s moved where the fortress is located.  I’m just going to number the days until Other GM sets out a calendar of some sort for us to follow.]

[The game ran a bit long as the GM wanted us to finish exploring the west tower and the stairs area before we quit.  Next session we’ll have to decide if we are going to try the doors on the second level or attempt to climb up in the collapsed stairs area.]


Session 02