This game session included all six players which was good and was mostly spent on catching with up the players who’d missed sessions, game talk and non-game chatter. There was also buying and selling equipment, which takes a while when everyone discusses available funds, what they really want and what they can actually afford. Masterwork weapons for the two main combat characters used up most of their funds.
We use Paizo Gamemastery Critical and Fumble cards in combats. On a confirmed critical, you have the choice of: do the normal additional damage, take a critical card and apply its effects, or hold a critical card (and discard later to turn a fumble into a miss). Fumbles automatically draw a card. Most of my players will hold a critical card if they can, but don’t usually take a card for its effects. Fumbles are generally amusing, because they are typically minor penalties and the monsters fumble as often (or more so) than the PC’s do. This session was not typical. No-one on either side of the table confirmed a critical, but we had four fumbles (three players and one dire rat). The curse on Seldrel was a spell fumble, and the worst of all in the session since a -4 penalty to all rolls at 1st level is really tough and it requires a 3rd level Remove Curse to get rid of. Even so, the player who drew it was good-natured about it and willing to continue play.
(11th Goodmonth. FalsHold basement.)
The group decides to leave the Hold. After recovering the furniture from the secret room, at the toll gate they are asked for 18sp and a “special”. There is some discussion on what the fey consider special, and a glowing stone is offered and accepted. (A stone with a light spell on it). Their mule is missing. Outside the keep, Winter is able to find and follow some tracks towards the SE ruined tower where they locate a nervous mule. All gear (bit, bridle, saddle bags, are gone.) Three of the twiggy plant humanoids attack the group, but are quickly defeated. They load the mule with chairs and the desk and elect to head to Falsridge. On the way Lanliss starts to feel ill. Merxif believes he has filth fever from the bite of a rat the day before. It’s getting dark as they arrive at the larger town. They find an Inn and sell the mule to the inn-keeper to help cover costs.
12th – The party spends the day looking around town. They get a good price on the furniture, buy a wand of CLW from the Temple of Rao. By selling the jewellery and things of value obtained they are able to purchase a MW Dwarven war axe (Hardaz) and MW mighty composite longbow (Winter). They enjoy reasonable meals and stay another night at the inn. With Merxif’s aid, Lanliss overcomes his disease.
13th – The group leaves early, heading for Falsford to locate their friends. The days travel is uneventful and they are met at the gate of Falsford by Sharra. She leads them outside town and close to the lake where they have a camp. The six friends spent the first night at an inn in town, but with very little funds between them decided it was cheaper to make camp outside after buying basic gear and rations. Half of the group have the skills to scavenge food and the weather is good for camping. Usko has considered heading to his family’s home in the Yatils to the north, but the rest of them would have too great a distance to travel home. For now, they will stay near Falsford to see if they can get work escorting merchants. If nothing comes up within a few days they will travel to Falsridge. The larger town may offer more chance of employment, and they can leave messages at the gate for the group. The party offer them 10 gold each to buy tents and help if other costs arise.
14th – On the old road up to the mountain they are attacked by a solitary wolf. The gatehouse of the hold is empty and two of the group note movement to the south east. They approach the well as Seldrel recalls the tunnel off the main shaft. Suddenly a brownish sphere with a large eye and small waving stalks on top rises out of the well and looks towards Hardaz, who pelts off back towards the gatehouse. The orb drops back down the well and Seldrel comments that he thought beholders were meant to be much bigger than 8” across. By the time Hardaz has conquered his fear, the group has decided that the small beholder-kin isn’t too dangerous and they have rope secured at the top of the well. Bacon climbs down and into the side shaft. An eye ray strikes him for no effect. He misses with a crossbow shot and moves forward as the eyeball retreats. Lanliss climbs down and enters the tunnel. Bacon looks around a corner, noting that the tunnel narrows even more, and the sides look smooth and slippery. He also realises that the floor hides a pit trap. Lanliss ties another rope to Bacon who tries to get across the pit. In the limited space Bacon’s weight drops the pit lid and he falls, but is caught by Lanliss before hitting the spikes at the bottom. He is pulled up and hit by a crossbow bolt. In the darkness he can now see a crossroad of tunnels and a wider chamber with tiny two ratmen (about a foot tall) busy reloading a heavy crossbow. He shoots at them and misses. He realises that he can load and fire faster than the rat-men and by waving his cloak around the corner draws another shot and again fires back.
The tunnel forward (2’ wide, 3’ high) so restricts actions that Bacon can’t clear the pit. They elect to retreat, instead going down the main well shaft into a large spherical chamber with two feet of water. There is a rounded hole in one wall, bounded by a brass ring with some mysterious markings. Both Merxip and Seldrel are lowered to look at the ring. They determine only that it is magical. While Seldrel is being lifted out an eye ray misses him. They leave the well.
Back down in the hold basement, they defeat a dire rat and pay 15 silver for the toll. There are odd noises and in an adjacent room they sight and defeat two more giant ants. Unfortunately, the ants have not uncovered anything valuable as they have moved northwards through the rooms and sorted through rubble. The party heads down stairs. At the base of the stairs and the entrance to a large room is a magical sigil engraved in the floor. Seldrel recognises the symbol of Meyaheine, a good human demigoddess of protection and justice. All carefully step around it and search the room that is scattered with damaged equipment, chewed bones and body parts. Some gold coins are found amid what appears to be most of a medium humanoid who was torn apart at least a week ago. Iron-bound wooden doors are a change from the empty doorways of the levels above. Moving south along a passage to an empty chamber, both dwarves note a secret door. Lanliss believes its safe and pushes it open. A large room is scattered with pieces of bone and four animated human skeletons turn towards him. Most of group push into the chamber and quickly destroyed them. During the combat, Seldrel drastically miscasts a simple spell and inflicts himself with a curse of frustration. Lanliss suggests heading back to town to counter the curse.