Hiding Exploring Talking
Last night’s session at the open table involved a single quick & overwhelming combat, followed by retreat, leading into an entire session’s worth of sneaking about, making maps, and eventually: talking with underworld denizens!
Since the last post there have been several further expeditions, including one back to the delve beneath the watchtower, and then several closer to home, exploring the abandoned Rode Manor and the secret dungeon under its mausoleum. For details on all these, the campaign log is available as a summary, and the full chat records are archived on the discord server.
Meanwhile, I’d like to bring special attention to last night’s session 7. We’ve shifted to Thursday evenings for a few weeks, and some of the regulars are unable to make the game, so we were down to three players. We instituted a house rule allowing players to bring lower-level PCs from their stable as retainers, so the party consisted of 3 “primary” PCs, 2 additional PCs as retainers (semi-autonomous and subject to morale), and the kid torchbearer Tork.
Even with the retainers I think the party felt a little small, and thus cautious. The under-mausoleum had been explored a bit in the previous session, but had revealed itself to be well-populated and probably quite dangerous. The party proceeded with caution.
However, they almost immediately (second door opening) ran into a large group of the walking dead. Trying to make a fighting retreat (back to the first door), they were nearly overwhelmed when one of the retainers, Martel, went down with 0hp. Thanks to Alex’s Death & Dismemberment table from Halberds & Helmets fresh-faced Martel did not perish, but instead lost his (roll of 6, roll of 1) nose, which the dead tore from his face in the scuffle!
This terrible loss sufficiently spooked the party that they decided to break & run. They made it back to the first door, slammed it, held it, and spiked it.
And then ensued most of an entire session spent sneaking about and avoiding conflict. The party would creep up to a door, listen carefully, and either spike the door, or creep off again. The entire time they were taking careful notes, so as we neared the end of the session, they’d penciled in the locations of several factions, and identified several loops in the dungeon structure that would give them a tactical advantage if it came to conflict.
Two walking wounded out of five was enough to encourage this quiet, exploratory approach (rather than a more violent kick-the-door style).
As session end approached, the party opened a door to find a group of half-sized people on the other side. These were neutrals, and the reaction check was good, so a conversation ensued which set the tone for the rest of the session: talking to neutral factions about the layout of the dungeon, getting info, and making approaches to alliance.
So while the party found no treasure, they managed to explore perhaps a third of the level, and get a good idea for where the dangerous factions might be. They also identified some interesting doors behind which treasure might surely lie… And finally, because of their willingness to talk, they turned up a possible job with the wizard occupying the northwest quadrant of the level.
All-in-all I felt it was a session very well played on the party’s side, so I awarded an amount of XP just for the sake of exploration.
Many leads have been turned up, and we shall see which ones are to be followed next week.
If the above sounds interesting to you, there’s always room at the table if you care to join!
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