Thursday, 5 May 2016

[Actual Play] Cruth Lowlands Campaign: Session 10 - "Just forget about the 300 gold pieces..." (With bonus wrestling rules and Bullywug class)

Previous session reports for my BECMI campaign can be found here.

PCs present:

  • Jason, playing Naghmeh, a 3rd level magic user
  • Patrice, playing Dragosta, a 3rd level fighter
  • Luke, playing Andy, a 3rd level fighter

Hirelings and henchmen: Philemon (2nd level cleric of Zeus), Naomi (4th level elf), Yokomosok (1st level bullywug), Zoe (hireling)

The PCs began back in Riverfork, having fairly elaborate "She swallowed the spider to catch the fly..." plans. Their initial goal was to go to the village of Myrsina to take part in the wrestling tournament they had heard about. After that, the plan was to go to the halfling village of Mallowfern to get silver weapons from a trio of dwarf triplets, in order to slay the wear-boar leaders of a band of smugglers in a nearby river fortress, which was on the way to the Black Hawk Barony, which is where Andy and Dragosta want to go to receive Weapons Mastery training. Phew. In the event, basically no progress was made. But we'll get to that. 

They arrived at Myrsina later that day to find the hamlet flooded with visitors - several thousand, all come from miles around to either watch or take part in the wrestling. A mini tent-town had been set up to house all these people, together with food and drink stalls, archery contests, and everything else you might expect from a country fair. Andy and Dragosta both took part in the wrestling. Andy was ignominously disqualified in his first bout for cheating, but Dragosta got all the way to the final before finally being defeated. Here are the wrestling rules I came up with:

Quick and Dirty Wrestling Rules 
The aim is to beat your opponent's score by greater than double, at which point you win the bout. 
Determine which participant of the two is stronger. He rolls a d12. The weaker rolls a d10. 
In the first round, both participants roll. If one beats the other by greater than double (e.g. 9 against 4), he wins. Otherwise, the bout continues but the party who won the first round gets to roll an additional d6 and add it to his score. If in the second round there isn't a winner, things revert to d12 vs d10 and the process repeats itself.
You can cheat (declare what you are doing - e.g. a headbutt or bite - then roll twice the number of dice) but if you get a double, you are discovered and disqualified outright. 
Bob fights William. Bob has a STR of 14 and William 9, so Bob rolls 1d12 and William rolls 1d10. In the first round, Bob gets 9 and William gets 6. Bob wins the round but does not win the bout outright. Next round he rolls 1d12+1d6 against William's 1d10. Bob gets 6+2 = 8. William gets 5. The fight continues, reverting to 1d12 versus 1d10. And so on.

The tournament over, the PCs set about doing what it was really all about - carousing at the party afterwards. Andy spent handsomely, having borrowed 300 gp from Naghmeh for the purposes, and was the toast of the camp; he even successfully managed to flirt his way into the evil elf maiden henchwoman Naomi's affections. But Dragosta was fined for exposing her breasts too often and was forced to pay a fine of 250 gp (which was eventually reduced to 125 gp for her previous good behaviour). The next morning, with the party nursing hangovers, they set off for Mallowfern. 

On the way, Naghmeh announced she wanted to visit the Jann again. She had 1,400 gp left to give him in return for magical knowledge, and she also somehow persuaded Andy to relinquish his Ring of Ice Elemental Control to trade in to the Jann for cash. But the Jann simply gleefully swallowed both the money and the ring (after having announced it was probably worth 8,000 gp), and then offered to teach Naghmeh the Fireball and Web spells in return. Andy was outraged at the destruction of the ring for no apparent gain to himself, but Naghmeh very generously (?) waived the debt of 300 gp he owed her. Apparently feeling generous, the Jann took pity on Andy and told him where he might be able to find magical weapons: an abandoned castle, to the North of Riverfork, known as The Lost Twin. 

The party had heard about The Lost Twin before, but nobody (including the DM) could remember where or why. In any case, they knew that a few centuries ago it had been garrisoned by men loyal to the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, equivalent in power to Riverfork, but it was long abandoned (hence "The Lost Twin"). It was apparently a lair of undead and other evils. Feeling confident (especially with Dragosta's mighty warhammer, which was a bane of undead), the party decided to take a detour to The Lost Twin to see what they might find there. Before leaving, Dragosta asked the Jann if he knew anything about her warhammer; he told her that although it was powerful against undead, it was also critically weak against some other category of foe, although he did not know what type of foe this was.

Saying goodbye to the Jann, the PCs headed back to Riverfork and then made their way to the Lost Twin, which was a journey of a day and a half to the North. It was a large, dark-stoned castle, with several different entrances, which they eventually realised (after sending Yokomosok the Bullywug to scout around) was really three or four separate keeps, all clustered together. The party decided, based on instinct, to explore the South Eastern building.

They discovered a large open courtyard, overgrown with ferns and small trees, with a doorway leading to their right. After setting up a trap with a piece of string and some pots and pans to guard their rear, they headed inside. Here they found a room with doorways leading North, West and South, as well as a corridor in the South wall - from which emerged six scrawny, bestial, near-hairless things which had once been men. After Philemon was paralysed in the initial melee, the party quickly realised these were ghouls - and they were in serious trouble. Andy, Dragosta and Yokomosok were successively paralysed; Zoe was killed outright; and in the end it was only Naomi and Naghmeh's desperate efforts with magic and weapons alike which avoided utter calamity. 

Naomi and Naghmeh were now in serious difficulty. They couldn't move all the paralyzed bodies of their comrades, but nor could they stay where they were: they had used all of their spells for the day and Naomi was badly wounded. They ultimately decided to go back to collect their horses, bring them to the courtyard, load up their fallen comrades, and then retreat somewhere to lick their wounds. They knew that one random encounter could spell disaster and, sure enough, while outside the castle getting their horses they were stopped by four bandits on horseback - the world held its breath, but Naomi managed to intimidate them into leaving.

Eventually the party successfully extricated itself from the keep - though not without seeing more ghouls, who they were able to distract by tossing them Zoe's corpse. Some distance away, Naomi and Naghmeh waited for the others to recover, and then the party started plotting. They would go back to the keep well-prepared for ghoul activity, and clear it out. They would use meat to distract the creatures before attacking with holy water and fire and whatever else was necessary. This plan ultimately worked. They rested that night while Naomi and Naghmeh prepared the necessary spells and the others hunted a deer. Then, when dawn broke, they were back at The Lost Twin: they threw a deer leg attached to a rope into the ghouls' lair and then, while the ghouls were devouring the meat, launched some holy water grenades before attacking. In short order, all four remaining ghouls were killed and their lair was free to plunder.

One of the rooms was revealed to be the ghouls' latrine. Disappointingly for the DM none of the PCs succumbed to the evil stench here, but Andy did manage to fish out a gold dwarven belt buckle which clearly one of the ghouls had swallowed at some point and then defecated. In another chamber they found six large clay pots sealed with leather; suspecting a trap Dragosta used a long spear to poke at the seals while the others waited in the next room, and sure enough the seals on the pots turned out to be gas-trapped. Once the gas was dissipated, the party examined the pots and discovered three were full of copper coins and three gold. They decided to load up their cart with the whole lot, thinking that the copper coins might have value as antiques. 

Finally, the party discovered that another of the doors leading off the first chamber was magically sealed, and could not be opened by force. And with that mystery to solve, the session ended.

As a bonus, here are my rules for a BECMI bullywug class. I've had to introduce this since Yokomosok is now adventuring with the party as a henchman.

BECMI Bullywug Class 
Advancement as dwarf
Saving throws as dwarf
Can swim 150'
Can make a leap attack at 3rd level, doing double damage, to a range of 12', but is flat-footed in the next round
Has natural claw attacks doing d3/d3, advancing to d6/d6 at 6th level
Has natural AC 6

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