Sunday, February 28, 2016

Neoclassical Geek Revival: More actual play from a GM in the wild

Here is another play report from the ongoing campaign of one of the blog's readers:

"The mighty halfling barbarian is gone, having returned to his own lands. Or maybe he was just lost in a crowd. Either way he is gone, and has been replaced with an unbelievably old elven mage. He is, like, so old. He sometimes tells rambling, slightly incoherent stories that would have taken place before man came to these lands, and he seems like he might actually be that old.

The party was also joined by a mystical kung-fu monk from far away lands. He speaks excellent English, though his clothing and mannerisms seem very foreign.

Badger had a job about recovering naughty portrait of a local noble's daughter, but that sounded like a lot of creeping around people's back stairs and didn't interest the party.

Instead they intended to travel back to the dwarven ruin, so that they can re-forge the broken symbol of the monk's monastery. Or forge a new challenge symbol out of some meteoric iron. Or something involving the monk needing something forged, it wasn't quite clear yet but it was something that required the monk to work with the dwarven smith priest.

They stopped at the Maze and Tower inn again. The ancient elf has a platinum level membership at the brothel, and this week the party didn't bring the dumb-ass that killed their chickens, so there are no problems getting in. The elf claims to have known the wizard who originally had the tower built, and states that he's going to move in. None of the workers at the inn are bold enough to tell him no, but do make him promise not to break anything. Having a wizard nearby is always handy, and he has always paid his bills. Besides, the matron isn't convinced the Giuseppe (the name of the wizard who owns the tower) is ever coming back, it's been a long time. She still pines for him, remembers his soft hands, his delicate touch. She went on to an uncomfortable level of detail on the subject.

The front door of the tower is singed, but still very sturdy.The heavy padlock does not stand up to the dwarven smith's skillful hands, and the door is quickly opened. Inside is dark and covered with a thick layer of dust. There is a spiraling staircase going up to the next floor, some tables, chairs, and other furniture, and a fireplace. Sitting on a chair against the far wall is a massive teddy bear. Sitting there, looking quite out of place. The noblewoman (which is apparently what the backstory was settled on) decides that the teddy bear is the best thing ever, and gives it a big hug. The elven wizard is oddly wary of it, and the other two party members don't seem to care about it at all, and make their way up the stairs. The next floor is a well appointed bedroom. There is a large 4 poster bed, dresser, wardrobe, and bookshelf. There is a painting on the wall. It is very well done, but extremely pornographic. The books on the shelf include such classics as "The busty farmer's daughter", "Fifty shades of light black", and "The washer-woman's sapphic secret". The third floor is a kitchen and eating area, and the fourth appears to be some sort of work area, but it appears to have been recently ransacked, and is missing all equipment. While the rest of the party goes up the stairs the Elf stays behind and slashes open the teddy bear. Thrusting his hands deep in into the stuffing he searches. He knows that Guiseppe must have a hidden stash somewhere. A small backup, backup stash of snuff is eventually found in a teacup in the kitchen.

The party decided that the maze would be interesting to investigate, if for no other reason than they will be setting up in the tower and don't want anything sneaking out at night. The one window in the tower overlooked the maze, and one of the party had the brilliant idea of making a map. From this vantage point they were easily able to see all of the points of interest in the maze, and path a route to the center of the maze. Which is good, as none of them thought to bring a magical ball of thread to get them back out.

Venturing in, it quickly becomes apparent that the maze is infested with goblins. The first two points of interest in the maze turn out to be nothing but middens, piled high with broken pieces of armour, goblin shells, and other garbage. At one point the party is ambushed from behind by a trio of goblin archers. Their initial attack was even more pitiful than normal, as it's hard to make a good bow when you can't find any straight wood. The wizard was able to summon another wall of thorns to block the goblin's retreat, and the warriors made quick work of the would-be assassins. One of the goblins was captured, and interrogated for all that he knew. He quickly spill the little information that he had. He does tell of the monster at the center of the maze, though he has no details. With that the party is able to quickly get to the center clearing, no more goblins dare to attack them. The clearing is littered with fallen bodies, and crushed suits of armour. Across the way is a figure in plate mail, sitting on a throne, with a large hammer at it's side. As the figure slowly stands, the wizard encircles it with ring of thorns. How long with the brambles hold up against that mighty hammer? At this point, almost a dozen goblins pop out of their various hiding spots and attack. Unfortunately for goblins, without the armoured figure they are quite outmatched, and are quickly slaughtered. As the figure emerges from the wizard's brambles, the party is now waiting for it. The monk deftly plucks it's massive hammer from from hands, and the armoured dwarf is impervious to it's clumsy punches. A surprisingly deft stab from the elf sneaks through a crack in the figure's plate, piercing a vital spot. The figure collapses, revealed to be nothing more that group of goblins.

The lead goblin had a necklace made of gold coins and a handful of more coins are found in a chest. The haft of the figure's large hammer was made from flying rowan, a material with magical properties. The elf makes a necklace of goblins ears, and the party retires to the inn to celebrate. The matron throws them a small party to thank them for killing some of the goblins, a common nuisance for them. The dwarf sets up a lab on the top floor of the tower and inspects the blue powder that was previously recovered from the dwarven ruin. He is able to determine that it is indeed a magical material, but hasn't yet determined what it can be used for.

The party then debates what to do next as the evening concludes. Is there anything more in the labyrinth? Will they go it back to the dwarven ruin? If so what terrors did they awaken in their previous delve?"

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Neoclassical Geek Revival: Actual play from a GM in the wild

Here is a play report from the campaign of one of the blog's readers:

"Our game started in a large walled city-state. Being fairly large, it had both nice areas and slums. The streets are cobblestone and clean, like a movie around rich people. People are dirty, but it's obviously painted on dirt; they were still able to do their make-up and blow dry their hair in the morning. The dominant race is human, but elves, dwarves, halflings of all sorts, and probably any other race a player whines about playing exists. Sticking to most common stereotypes; the dwarves in the city are generally craftsman, while the elves are nobility or rich merchants mostly.

The party consists of a dwarven mage-priest to some kind of smithing god, a half-sized barbarian priest (riding a hunting goat), a bard who is trying to get more animals for his travelling show, and one player is playing lady warrior of some sort in-between extensive doodling. She hasn't figured out exactly who she is yet.

The party accepted a job contract from a direct copy of Badger (still named Badger). In short, their mission is to go to an ancient Dwarven ruin and retrieve some aetherium that is rumoured to be there. Badger doesn't know how much is there, or really what it is. He will pay its weight in gold, and has a map to where the ruin is.
The party asks for him to cover travelling expenses, he refuses, but gives them an old mare and crappy wagon to shut them up, and get them out.
The ruins were a 6 day trip away, mostly over well-traveled roads. The Bard is attempting to catch whatever small animals he sees on the side of the road, and fails. He got pretty close to catching a racoon one night, but the skunks just briskly walked away from him.

Two days out of town they came across the Maze and Tower Inn. It is so named because of the abandoned wizard's tower and the nearby hedge-maze of thorn walls. They learn in the inn that the maze contains a mighty undead dwarven warrior who guards his treasure. The inn is oddly busy, with a few mixed travellers, and at least 20 women working at the inn. The women are profoundly ugly. All of them. Like, supernaturally ugly, yet very friendly. The party either has no money, or is unwilling to spend any, and is unable to stay at the inn. The bard is spending his time trying to get the chickens to fly, and get the pigs to wear pants and walk on two legs. He does manage to kill a chicken in his attempts (angering the bartender), but does get pants onto the pig. The barbarian tries to convince the rest of the party that the women in inn must be some manner of monster as they are so ugly, and that they should burn down the inn. The rest of the party is slightly less psychotic, and decline to murder everyone in the inn. After that fails, he sneaks off alone to climb the tower. He finds the tower is indeed abandoned (at least the top level) where he steals some lab equipment, and a loose piece of paper with a spell (wall of thorns). He throws some lit candles around, then climbs back down and sets a fire in front of the wooden doors of the tower. Meanwhile the dwarf is chatting up a woman working at the stable. She hasn't had a dwarf before, and takes him inside to show him how a brothel works. She isn't impressed. The barbarian has just finished setting the fire, and convinces the rest of the party to leave now. The bard is unable to steal a pig as he has accumulated a crowd with his antics.

A few more days of travel, and the party arrives at the ruin. There is a path leading to an entrance in a cliffside, the large doors have long since been hauled away or otherwise lost. Right inside the door is foyer/staging area, with a camp with two bedrolls. They have been here for at least a couple of months. The immediate halls are well lit by gaslights, on the top level the party discovers two rooms labelled 'Security', each containing 7 large metal spheres, about 5' in diameter. The spheres are ornately carved in geometric patterns, and are not solid. The party spikes the opening mechanism for those doors. Also found on the first floor are several rooms with stone beds and shelves, and forge room, well stocked with all sorts of tools, and various bits of metals. They load their cart with everything they can move. In one of the hallways was a charred corpse - the party deduces that there was a gas leak that was ignited by a torch. There is an elevator at the end of the main hall on the first floor, which the party has quickly identified, because the players have figured out that this is a Skyrim Dwemer ruin ripoff.
The next floor is unlit, but the dwarven wizard priest casts the light miracle on his armour. The party encounters a natural cave, where the raw aetherium was mined. They do not explore the cave. The next room is a processing area where material is extracted; the party gets some traces and takes some more lab equipment. Further on they encounter a barred entrance. Oddly, the bars are too widely space to stop a normal sized person. Beyond the bars is a large shape, almost like a squatting giant. The dwarf wizard's bat familiar scouts around, and finds there is another room beyond this, with shelves. The wizard removes his armour to better cast a wall of thorns around the figure, and rest of the party sprints into room with shelves, and grab three metal canisters, each about the size of a mason jar. The spell seems to have awoken the figure in the room, but it is not able to break through the wall of thorns before the party is able to retreat back past the bars. They make it back up the elevator, deciding not abandon the dwarf who is refusing to follow until he carefully puts his armour back on . They quickly leave the ruin, the spiked doors are able to contain whatever the spheres in the security room turned into.

Since the player of the Dwarf Wizard Priest had to take his kids home the party fast-travelled back to Badger, where they turned in two of the three canisters for payment, the wizard keeping one. The party is back in town where they have a cart full of scrap metal and tools, as well as a horse and cart that they need to store or sell."