June 30, 2014

Ancients & Aliens - Session 1: Niru

This was a few weeks ago, so the facts here may not be exact.  Four players for the first session.  They roll up some characters and we start our adventures with Allen the human professional (thief),  a halflingon named Rawwrg, Jakob the ratling, and a mutant named Ony who looks mostly human if you ignore the scaly legs and prehensile reptilian tail.

The party starts off in Niru as hired swords tasked with protecting the citizens who go out afield for their daily work.  The magi don't really micromanage these mercenaries that they've hired for one gold piece a day, they just require that you go out and do something to help keep Niru safe.  Some of the mercenaries that have been hired aren't well motivated, and rumors are floating around that some of these guys are just hiding out during the day and then coming back at sunset to collect the pay.  Even the ones who do go out to guard the farmers and lumberjacks will usually run back to town with the workers at the first sign of trouble.

The party chooses to protect the workers who are going out of town to collect some stone.  The remains of an old dwarven fort are only a few miles from town, and workers have been busy pulling stones from the crumbling perimeter walls.  The stones are put on wagons and then hauled back to Niru where the stonemasons are using them to build a new city wall that will hopefully encompass all the tents and hovels of the refugees from Kutha.  Niru currently has only a 10' high wooden palisade, and the space within is so limited that almost all the refugees are camped outside of that.

A few other guards are traveling with the workers and the slow moving wagons, so the four PCs decide to scout ahead and check the area before the workers even arrive.  They have to travel though a few miles of forest to get there, but the ruts from stone laden wagons lead them to the ruined fort without incident.

The ruined fort is up on a small hilltop in a big open clearing.  It's mostly just piles of rubble at this point, but the first and second floor of the main keep are still partially standing near the center of the ruins.  The surrounding area seems clear, so they start poking around the ruins and peek inside a window of the keep.  Nothing unusual.  While everyone else is talking, Allen heads over to the main entrance of the keep.  

Inside is a long windowless hallway with a some light coming in from the doorways of other rooms along the sides of the hall.  At the far end of the hallway is an orc sleeping beside the remains of wooden double doors, he is sitting with his back against the wall holding a spear and a shield.  Allen motions the other party members over, and as they begin to whisper a plan Rawwrg the halflingon charges forward with an ax in each hand yelling "Rawwwwrg!".  The others quickly ready their bow and slings as the orc wakes up, stands, and yells "Intruders!".  The dice start rolling and the first orc goes down, but about a half dozen of his buddies run into the hallway and join the fight.  Rawwrg is quickly surrounded.

Then the first critical hit of the campaign shows up, second round of the first encounter.  I pull out the Arduin crit chart and roll...  Rawwrg disarms one of the orcs by grabbing it's spear with his chest and refusing to let go, he takes d6+4d10 damage.  So endeth Rawwrg.  I felt kinda bad killing off Dave's character so quickly, but I guess the dice want what the dice want.

The fight is touch and go after that, but the other three PCs manage to survive, killing all of the orcs.  Bodies are looted, and a clay tablet is found.  It has traveling instructions and a crude map with a rendezvous point.  The workers arrive safely, and the guards escorting them suggest that the wounded party go and rest in town and to take their dead friend to the magi before he zombifies.

After returning to town the group is joined by Dave's new human Jedite character.  They meet Hessia the human supremacist and proprietor of a local tavern, The Weary Ass.  The ratling and the mutant decide to visit the other tavern instead.  After they heal up, the group heads out again.  This time to investigate some reports of giant toad activity in the swamp next to the old dwarf road.  They even talk two of the other watchkeepers into traveling with them to check it out.

http://elifsiebenpfeiffer.deviantart.com/Turns out that there was a harpy roosting up in swamp tower, a mostly collapsed structure about 100 feet or so from the road.  She was luring travelers into the marsh with her song and letting the giant toads have a free meal.  They had developed quite a taste for it and were starting to hang out near the road to grab their own meals.  She won't be singing anymore though, Allen shot an arrow into her throat  thanks to another Arduin critical hit.  Then one of the toads chomped on Allen a bit too hard and he died too.  Oh, and one of the NPCs got ripped in half by two of the other toads.  All six toads are dead now, and the party retrieved the two human bodies out of the swamp.

The magi examined the clay tablet that the PCs found on the orcs and have sent scouts out to check that area.  The scouts say that there is a gorge and collection of caves there, they also found orc and goblin tracks in the area.  Also, now that swamp tower is cleared out, some of the guards are being posted there during daylight hours.  It's a broken tower and only a little over 30 feet tall, but it gives a decent view of the old dwarf road and the surrounding marshland, so that side of town is pretty secure now.  They've built a ladder inside the tower and repaired part of the platform at the top.

The lamentation priests say that their rituals and dirges were successful and your friends will not rise again.  The bodies of Rawwrg and Allen were buried in the usual place.  The usual place being in the ground under the beds that they used to sleep in, so there was a nice service right there inside Watchkeeper Hall.  Then everybody helped cover the bodies with dirt, smoothed down the floor and moved the beds back over top of the graves.  The lamentation priests assure everyone that there is nothing to worry about, but if any of you feel the ground under your bed start to move then you should come and wake us up "just in case".

Sleep tight :-)

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