Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Game Night #1 ~ Something Fishy

Session 1: “Something Fishy”
(Running Paizo Publishing’s AP Curse of the Crimson Throne: Edge of Anarchy)

·         Pint Hornswaggle, halfling rogue
·         Imilio Phillips, human Cleric of Cayden Cailean
·         Beebop, Gnome Summoner
·         Smog Whisprunner, human ranger (archery)

Curse of the Crimson Throne starts off interestingly enough . . . the PCs all have ties to a despicable, vile old rogue named Gaedren Lamm. Each of these connections comes through in the form of a trait that grants the player a small bonus, but a large hook into the game world. This sure beats the hell of starting off in an in.
The hooks for the PCs were:
·         Beebop – Despite studying in the Acadamae1, Beebop has developed a nasty shiver habit. Shiver is a hallucinogenic drug that is derived from dream spider venom . . . it is also a drug that Gaedren Lamm pushes, and has caused much strife in our gnome summoner’s young life (see also: expulsion from school).
·         Imilio – Imilio’s father was duped by Gaedren Lamm into selling fenced goods through his auction house. Once the law caught on this led to a swift reprisal . . . effectively ruining Imilio’s family name, family fortune, and causing the young rake to find his way. This way has led to four things: an intimate knowledge of Korvosa’s many taverns, an intimate knowledge of Korvosa’s young ladies, Cayden Cailean, and a burning desire to avenge his family name.
·         Pint – Despite visiting spending more times amongst Korvosa’s criminal element, Pint always avoided the temptation of shiver and other drugs. His brother did not. Falling quickly into debt and addiction, Yuril Hornswaggle became Lamm’s lackey . . . a move that has caused the halfling to steal from his own family. Yuril has gone missing, but Pint knows who is truly behind the disappearance.
·         Smog – Smog grew up as one of Lamm’s Lambs, a group of child thieves and cutpurses. His early years were filled with beatings and berating at the hand of Gaedren, they were also filled with nights sleeping on cold streets, and the death of too many friends, most fed to Gobblegut, Lamm’s pet croc. Smog finally escaped Korvosa but the damage had been done. Growing increasingly angry and insular, Smog mastered the art of killing so he may one day revisit the injustices he saw back upon Lamm a thousandfold.
To pull these hooks together, each PC receives a mysterious Harrow card2. These harrow cards contain messages that promise the PCs their shot at revenge on Lamm, if they meet this evening. The PCs of course do follow the instructions, meet the message-writer (a fortune teller named Zellara), and promise to vanquish Lamm that evening3.
Zellara’s instructions lead the PCs to an old fishery that abuts the Jeggare River.
The fishery is rundown and decrepit. On either side it is bordered by abandoned warehouses; a rickety dock wraps itself around the building leading to the back. Despite these options, the PCs, of course, jimmy open the front window and enter.
This would have been fine – Pint was scouting ahead and making excellent stealth rolls; so good in fact the guard dog did not even here him – but, then the halfling abruptly opened a door without listening on the other side and startled a middle-aged man scribbling papers and his guard dog.
The man immediately began shouting for help, while the dog lunged at the halfling.
So began a long encounter encompassing much of the building. It essentially went down like this:
1.       Dog holds off PCs for a few rounds while the middle-aged man, Lamm’s right hand guy, rounds up his thugs and the children.
a.       The dog was ultimately killed by Imilio, but not before it had dropped Rocksteady, Beebop’s eidolon. Of course, it had a lot of help from a critical fumble from Smog that planted an arrow in the eidolon’s back . . .4
2.       The PCs rush into the back room and engage in battle.
a.       The right-hand man lobs a few acid flasks to little effect before being put down by Smog’s arrows.
b.      A half-orc bandit nearly crushes a wounded Imilio, except for a critical fumble leaves him dazed . . . long enough to be put to rest by Smog’s arrows.
c.       Imilio convinces the kids to turn on the last remaining bandit, a gnome named Hookshanks. Between the party ganging up on him, and Beebop’s steady supply of summoned monsters keeping him locked in one position, he finally met his end at the tip of Imilio’s blade.
3.       The PCs spoke with the children to learn of the Gaedren’s whereabouts . . . they pointed downwards, as in underneath the fishery. They showed the PCs how a series of chains lowered into Gaedren’s room.5

The PCs regrouped for a second before clambering down the chains into Gaedren’s lair. This did not work out so well for the big guys in the group; while Pint and Beebop landed safely on solid ground, Imilio and Smog landed in the drink . . . a pool of water containing Gobblegut, an ornery croc.
Gaedren Lamm stood at the far side of the room firing off shots at the short heroes (including a nasty critical that resulted in a bout of filth fever for Pint6), while Gobblegut tore Smog and Imilio a new one, including knocking Imilio out of the fight with one powerful clamp of its jaws.
However, the battle soon turned as the Smog freed himself from the pool and added his bow to the attacks . . . Gaedren, cursing the hero’s names the whole time, tried to make a run for it, but the old man was much, much to slow to outrun the dog, summoned by Beebop, that tore out his throat.
The rest of the night went quickly as the PCs checked the rest of the fishery (disturbing some centipedes that nearly killed them . . .) and scoured the place for treasure.
In the end they found quite a haul7, including Zellara’s harrow deck, but they also found Zellara’s severed head . . . we ended the night with that WTF moment.
1 – The Acadamae is Korvosa’s school of magic.
2 – A harrow card is, for all intensive purposes, a tarot card.
3 – I am glossing over Zellara’s motivation (her son was murdered by Lamm, and her heirloom harrow deck stolen) and the fact that she gives the PCs a free harrow reading – it foretold of doom.
4 – Big thumbs up to Paizo’s Critical Fumble and Critical Hit decks. What was hilarious about this failure was that it was the very first attack roll of the campaign.
5 – I made a mistake as to where I put this . . . it should have allowed the PCs to arrive somewhat more stealthily (and definitely avoid falling into Gobblegut’s pool . . .  .). Still, it worked out fine.
6 – A Critical Hit deck result that worked perfectly . . . Gaedren’s lair is FILTHY, DIRTY, DISGUSTING – so to have a PC contract filth fever there works great.
7 – They always say take a published adventure and make it your own . . . you can do this in a number of ways.  Even small ways. For example, one of the listed treasure pieces is a crown worth 300 gp . . . well, I added an inscription detailing it as a dwarven crown of the Orkcleaver clan . . . One of my player’s most famous characters being the founder of that clan. Fun.

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