Friday, 4 March 2016

[Actual Play] Cruth Lowlands Campaign: Session 6 - Grand Larceny and the Murder of Gnomes

Session 6 of the Cruth Lowlands Campaign took place yesterday. For previous AP reports, see here.

PCs Present:

  • Luke, playing Andy, a 3rd level Fighter
  • Jason, playing Mixaham, a 1st level Magic User, and then Naghmeh, a 1st level Magic User
  • Dan, playing Brother Ambrose, a 1st level Cleric, and then Sir Gareth, a 1st level Elf

Last session had ended with the PCs just entering a dungeon within a glacier, in search of an "ice spirit" to bring back to the Three-Faced Wizard, so that he could transform it into a magical oil which would freeze an underground lake. This needed to happen for....complicated reasons. 

The party had found a stone door, which they quickly pushed open, revealing a passage carved from stone, heading down underneath the glacier and the cold rock below. They followed this passage for some 500 yards, before eventually coming across a door to their left. After getting this open, they were attacked by two dwarf skeletons dressed in strange and old-fashioned banded mail armour; they quickly dispatched these and explored what was apparently a guard room beyond. This contained lots of weapons - odd-looking glaives, mauls and cleavers - which they thought might be worth money, but too heavy to carry. They went back to the corridor and followed it onwards a short distance, where they came across a stone ladder heading down a steep incline. Brother Ambrose volunteered to climb down. As soon as he did so - emerging on a landing of some kind - he was attacked by a winged, clawed, humanoid ice demon which came swooping up from the darkness and breathed a cone of ice shards at him. He was rendered unconscious by this, but not quite dead. [DM's note: 0 hp is unconscious; -1 and below is dead.] 

Andy and Mixaham, at the top of the ladder, saw this unfold. and surmised that this must be one of the ice spirits the Three-Faced Wizard had described. Mixaham had received a wand from the wizard, as well as a ring which was supposed to help control ice elementals. He zapped the ice demon with the wand. This withered it considerably, but did not weaken it completely, and it flew up and breathed another blast of ice shards. This killed Mixaham outright and badly wounded Andy. Andy decided to seize the ring from Mixaham and uttered the magic words ("I command thee!") which bound the ice demon to his will.

After reviving Brother Ambrose, the two remaining PCs decided they were in no shape to continue exploring these caverns, and in any case, Mixaham needed a proper burial. They also thought that since the ice demon was now their slave, they would keep him around, but punish him with a humiliating nickname. They decided on "Chucklefuck". Chucklefuck's first task was to carry as many weapons he could from the dwarf guard room stash, to be sold back in Riverfork.

They carried Mixaham's body, plus all the weapons, back to the surface, and descended the mountain in the night. The next morning they buried Mixaham with full honours, Brother Ambrose reading a special rite over the grave. Then they headed South towards Riverfork, abandoning their rescue mission of the river pirate, Hector, and leaving him to his fate with the kobolds. (See session 4.) They thought that the wand and ring, plus ice demon slave, were compensation enough for their troubles in the glacier caves, and, I think, wished they had never come on this wild goose chase up North. However, almost immediately they came across - by some strange twist of fate - Mixaham's sister, Naghmeh, who had come from Ylaurum to try to find her brother. Learning of his death, she decided to join up with these strange travellers. 

Things took a turn for the worse on the way back to Riverfork. On the second night of travelling through the hills, they were disturbed while Andy was on watch by noises some distance off. Andy sent Chucklefuck to investigate and within seconds there were sounds of a fight. Andy and Brother Ambrose charged off to support their ice demon comrade. (By this point they had stopped resenting Chucklefuck and were treating him as some sort of weird pet.) They discovered eight dark, diminutive figures who Andy immediately assumed were halflings. At this point Luke, Andy's player, revealed some of Andy's back story: he had previously been involved in the Halfling Wars, or "Halfling Nam" (YOU WEREN'T THERE, MAN), and whenever he was confronted with a halfling had horrible flashbacks and aggressive responses. However, he then realised that these enemies were not halflings, but in fact gnomes. And in the ensuing fight, the party seriously suffered from a lack of infravision. Only Chucklefuck could effectively see the gnomes, and while he blasted them with ice and then ripped them apart with his claws, they managed to kill Brother Ambrose and seriously injure Andy. [DM's Note: We actually thought Andy was dead too, at one point, but then realised he had recouped a hit points or two from resting on the journey back.]

But eventually Andy and Naghmeh triumphed, with two of the gnomes surrendering. Andy quickly got it from these gnomes that they lived nearby in a series of caves in some ravines, and had come on a raid in search of goblins to kill. (The tribe called "The Quiet Ones" who the party had heard about before.) The leader of the gnomes, a female, said that in exchange for her life she would reveal the secret entrance to her people's tunnels, which would lead to the tribe's secret treasure. The PCs noted the details down and then killed the two captives in revenge for Brother Ambrose's death. 

Back in riverfork, Andy, Naghmeh and Chucklefuck ended up back in Yokomosok's inn. (They fashioned a chain and leash for the ice demon to keep him secure in town.) Here, they met an old friend of Andy's from "Halfling Nam", an elf called Sir Gareth. Although an elf, Sir Gareth had renounced his racial heritage and chosen to live as a human. His aim in life was to marry into the human aristocracy and eventually have his own realm.

The bullywug bartender offered to give Andy some news in return for gold. This turned out to be a warning: armed men had come to the inn looking for him while he was away, and they were led by the hunter, Anacreon. Andy realised suddenly, with horror, that there were actually consequences to his and his comrades' actions. Anacreon, he remembered, was from the village of Lithakia. This settlement's population were in cahoots with the Cronus cult; this was the very same village whose priest had been murdered by Marm Jo'a in session 2 and the very same cult whose acolytes the party had massacred in session 3. Andy lapsed into depression at this news, and looking back over the course of the last couple of weeks. Was he cursed? All of his comrades kept dying. He began drowning his sorrows in Yokomosok's ale, before the conversation turned to what to do next.

The session ended with the party at a crossroads. They had visited at least three major cave systems: The Worm's Mouth, the tunnels under the Achelos Fort, and the glacier caverns near the Three-Faced Wizard's tower. But they had not explored them for any distance. It was also Andy's stated (and longstanding) aim to burn down the village of Lithakia, but there was also some notion to go on a grand campaign to the West against The Quiet Ones. First, however, the three PCs decided that they wanted revenge against the gnomes who had killed Brother Ambrose - and to get their hands on the diminutive humanoids' treasure... 


  1. It is great that the PCs actions have caused consequences which are already catching up with them.The best part for me as a DM is when they look really surprised at these consequences and then when you raise an eyebrow remember wait..didn't we kill these guys friends/allies/lord/slaves a while ago and take their stuff? Good times...

  2. A murder of gnomes? Screw ravens; can that be the collective noun for gnomes?