Sunday, September 26, 2010

LL at Paul's: Hog wild.

Tally ho, Chaps and Chappettes!

Yet another week of rampageous action with th' ol' Labyrinth Lord campaign at my buddy Paul's.

So, when last we left our heroes, we were camped out in a spooky castle in the Dead Hills on our way to Elfhold to meet with Prince Gway and warn him about the eminent hobgoblin invasion of Restenford.

(Not knowing that in the meantime, said fishing village has been already overrun by hobs in a massive battle that has left the humanoid invaders leaderless and ogreless, with the Baron of Restenford holed up in the keep in the middle of hobgoblin country.)

We were all pretty banged up from some encounters with bugbears and an undead bone giant the day before, so we'd fallen back to the entry rooms of the castle and nailed the doors shut, hoping that trouble wouldn't find us while we healed and congealed and regained our spells.

Well, of course it found us. This is Labyrinth Lord, not Candyland.

A little bit into the first watch, the lights go out, like completely. Then somebody shouts out the usual boilerplate "WHO DARES INVADE THE SANCTUARY ETC. ETC." speech, and something big starts pounding on the double doors deeper into the castle.

Well, we all wake up from that, and general panic sets in with everybody going in every direction. Klint falls back to the outer room, that hasn't been effected by the impenetrable magical darkness. Jantz the Ranger tries to peek under the crack in the door, but only sees a sliver of light and some feet. The Deacon gets out his hand drill and tries to bore a hole in the door but it's not fast enough and the drill bit keeps getting knocked loose from the banging. We all huddle up with the archers. Kashim and Frog the Henchman and Amos and the elves we're traveling with all scrum up and ready their weapons.

Suddenly, the door bangs open and standing there is an impressive wizard in a pointy hat with a squad of bugbear goons, and he's pissed. He introduces himself as Tevlar the Mighty or somesuch and demands we buzz off.

Of course, being the well organized, machine like in our precision group that we are, every man jack of us starts blathering a different story to the angry man in the pointy hat, from offering to run errands, to veiled threats, to Lord knows what. I can't totally recall, but I think we need to work on getting on the same page when it comes down to negotiating with powerful and potentially fatal personages. One of us dropped Pelltar's name, which didn't help, as Tevlar said "Pelltar? Pelltar's a hack!" Rut roh...

So anyway, Tevlar decides he's had enough of us and lays a whammy on us with this wand of his. All of us except for Jantz and Klint, who'd been sneaking around to try a backstab, are afflicted with a spell that makes us flee in terror at incredible speed, and so it's a big ol' stampede out the door, and across the courtyard, which is now sprouting zombies and skeletons from the big burned area at it's center, and through the hole in the wall and down the hillside in the pitch black night in the Dead Hills.

Cut off from the rest of the group and surrounded by angry goons, our man Jantz does the only thing he can: grovels like a whipped dog at the wizard's feet. In his blubbering, he mentions the invasion of Restenford, which catches the wizard's attention.

Tevlar demands the whole story, which Jantz helpfully provides, then nods and tells him to begone, him and Klint, who he's noticed trying to flank him. When Jantz complains about the horde of undead in the way, the wizard shrugs and drops a fireball in the courtyard, making a zombie jamboree into zombie jambalaya. Yeah, this guy's kind of out of our league right now...

Not needing to be told twice, the remaining party members flee the castle, meeting up with the rest of us, who are all standing around bent over clutching at our sides and gasping for air, down in the valley on the road. We decide to move on a little and camp by the roadside, with some of the party vowing revenge for our ill treatment at the sorceror's hands.

The next day we've had a fitful night sleep and there's enough Cure Light Wounds to go around so everybody who's lookin' a bit peaked gets cleaned up a bit. We trudge on through the winding, eerie woods, talking about having to cross through even creepier, meaner, wilder woods, the Gloomwood, to make it to Elfhold.

Eventually, we come to a fork in the road. One fork heads toward our destination. The other is a short jaunt to a town called Greenwild. We decide that the loss of time heading over there will be made up by ditching our slow moving cart and draft horses, buying some extra horses for party members that might need 'em, and riding at speed to Elfhold. So we make a break for civilization.

We get there in about a day, and it seems like a nice little place, kinda woodsy but bigger than Restenford. We run into a bunch of local militia guys practicing in a field and introduce ourselves, asking about where we might put ourselves up for the night and whatnot. He obliges us, and we also fill him in about the trouble approaching Restenford. He agrees it's grave news, and says the CoC of Greenwild had been wondering why trade with the little fishing village we call home had trickled off. Bidding him good day, we made our way into town.

When we got there, we settled in at the inn, and did a little horse trading. We set our cart, with Garant and Darius, our hirelings, up for a month at the local livery stable, with orders that if we don't come back in that time they can consider their employment terminated and wend what way they will. We discussed with the Elves and Roger, and ended up parting company with all of the elves, save for their wizard Hearth (who is in fact a new player who just joined this session). He and the rest of us would escort Roger, Gway's spy, to meet up with his boss at Elfhold by passing thru the poorly reputationed Gloomwood.

So all our chores done, we settled in for the night. Time for some of us to pull out Jeff Rient's Carousing Rules and tie one on. So Kashim, desert dwelling dervish of debauchery that he is, fired up his party turban, and woke up the next morning buck naked in a local temple's sacred fountain with a bunch of pissed off priests standing around demanding restitution.

Now, the Deacon's policy with this has always been to slip the local bartender of whatever bar we're haunting a silver and asking him to let him know if any of the party get in trouble, and it paid off, more or less, that morning when one of the servers came up and whispered the news in my ear. I got up and told the party I was going to go for a little walk, and Hearth, our new elven friend, decided to come along.

Well, I hurried over to the temple, of some kind of harvest god who's name I can't recall, and could hear the argument from outside the gates. (Kashim's voice does carry.) He was still nekkid and shouting at an elderly high priest and his three acolytes. After I'd finished face palming,

I waded in.

First order of business, give Kashim something to cover up. Second, see what we could do the smooth things over. We were kind of running out of towns we were welcome in around here...

Well, it turns out repurifying the fountain is expensive, so we had a choice. Either the temple could keep all of Kashim's equipment, that he'd so thoughtfully left in their donation box during his drunken rampage the night before, or they could lay a Quest spell on him.

We told him about our urgent business to go talk to Prince Gway with the hobgoblin invasion emminent and all. He said that explained why trade had trickled off from Bridgefair, and told us about an acolyte of the temple, one Belinus Beechson, who'd gone to find out what the matter was and had disappeared somewhere around a place called Skull Hill. (Cheery!) So the quest would be for us to find this missing acolyte.

We explained we *really* had to go to Elfhold with the hobgoblins and all. He said that would be fine, the spell would kick in the moment we spoke to Prince Gway. If we didn't immediately go look for this Beechson sumbeech, Kashim would get a big ol' curse slam dunked in his pants. Or, we could part with all the fancy gear Kashim had left in the donation box: his armor, the Vadium Sword, the Ring of Water Walking.

Of course being greedy player characters, to whom fancy stuff is more important that life itself (vis a vis, for example, a certain thief's magic hat for which four men died to obtain), we chose to let 'em lay the delayed action mojo on Kashim.

Now we were on the clock, we mounted up and rode hard for the crossroads, then took the fork that would take us into the Gloomwood.

It was definitely gloomy, and also full of elven ruins, that Hearth would sadly point out to us as we passed. Lots of bad stuff happened in the past under these gnarly trees.

As it was getting on time to camp out, we came to a clearing, and found a ring of glowing mushrooms. Well, since when you're dealing in areas heavily trafficked by evil faeries, a bunch of glowing mushrooms is kind of nature's Hazmat warning tape, so we gave it a wide berth and moved on.

Since we had trouble finding a suitable clearing, we decided to just camp on the road, since odds were in this fantasy DMZ there wouldn't be much traffic.

Sometime around second watch, our designated watchers spotted a couple figures walking up the road. A couple of big, fat, ugly naked guys. No matter what genre you're operating in, that's bad news, but being cautious Gentleman Jack and Kashim (I think) approached them to talk while the third member on watch woke the rest of us up.

The slobbering goons demanded food, so Mister Getz gave them a ration. They refused it, saying they wanted real food. Meat. When our guys told 'em to beat it, the fat slobs squealed in rage and transformed into big mean boars.


So we all set to work hackin' and slashin'. Good thing we had a few magic weapons on us. The MVP in the fight was Klint, with his fancy bejeweled sword. He managed to get the drop on the beasties and stuck the pigs good, I think eventually killing both of 'em.

And that was about where we left it. There's gonna be a couple weeks off due to some of our members travelling, so this is where things sit for now.

All in all a good session, although I'm a bit concerned that Kashim's misfire on the Carousing table is making the rest of the party too timid to try it. I know I don't have a lot of room to talk, since I haven't rolled on the table myself. This is mostly because I see a large part of the Deacon's character as voice of reason/designated driver for the party. If I was playing a less "straight n' narrow" kind of character, I'd probably roll on the Carousing rules any chance I got. Kashim DID manage to gain a big boost of 700 exp out of it, probably the biggest Experience boost of the night, and he also gave us a new adventure hook, which is cool in my book. I guess it's just that I can tell when players start turtling, having been on both sides of the screen, and it's kind of unfortunate given how much enjoyable mayhem can result from these rules. Embrace the random tables, fellas! It's all in fun! I guess I'll have to break down and have the Deacon carouse a bit. It's out of character, in my opinion, but I guess I need to put my money where my mouth is.

Anyway, that's it for now. Thanks again to Paul for the usual fantastical fare, and thanks to the 10d gamers.

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