Actual Play – Death to the Stag Lord! (10/27/2013)

PathfinderCoreCoverGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Mia Blankensop, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

Woot, Mia joined our game. Her first time playing Pathfinder and I think she had a blast.

The Aldori family grows

In order to place Toti (Mia’s character) into the game, we spent some time doing more world building.  Dennis proposed, and Mia gleefully accepted that:

1. Toti is Domingo’s sister (we needed to place Domingo in the family tree as well), and

2. That they were both the children of Savia, the twin sister of Athon, lush, and black sheep of the family.

Awesome. We inserted a deceased father as well. Taldo Aldori, who married his 2nd cousin Savia and then died serving as an Advocate! We also established that Savia had long since given up raising her children and left that duty to Gloriana, thus Toti had spent many of her childhood years with Tad, Gloriana’s grandson, and our faithful cook!

Bringing us all together

Toti had been up in the north, performing religious duties, and when she returned, Bog summoned her and asked that she join the other daughters of Aldori. He was concerned that he hadn’t established a method of communication and was worried that his nieces had been go so long without word back. Toti accepted and with a large crate of ravens on a pack mule headed out for Oleg’s trading post.

A day into her travels however, she was caught by Domingo, strongly inferred that he was to go with her… and inspect things! She knew he was lying, but she really had nothing to say. So they arrived together, and what a mixed reception they received! Merrowyn hid on the room where she had previously been tormenting Oleg. Elara played with Kiri.  Only Miquela, our fearless leader stood fast to greet Toti and Domingo.

“Where’s your report?” He started as a way of greeting. Domingo asked for a report to take back to uncle Bog, clearly as a power play to make us feel and look incompetent. After some arguing back and forth Merrowyn shouted down “Why don’t you just give him the money?” Merrowyn, never being one to know when to keep her mouth shut just blurted out that they had several thousand gold for Domingo to take back to Rostov…

He was impressed, or at least couldn’t balk at that kind of money, and after much encouragement from Miquela, agreed to head back to Rostov with 4,000gp we had gathered. He was a duelist after all, not a woodsman. Not waiting for him to leave, we ate the lunch Tad had prepared and hit the road.

Wolves in the Woods

Camping by the patch of Moon Radishes, Merrowyn was on guard duty and she was talking to the sleeping Miqula. In between her aunts snores she reproached her for always underestimating Merrowyn, or for acting so put out by her presence. In the middle of this one sided communication, however, she heard something rustle and saw shadowy movement in the woods. Waking the camp, Elara spotted one of the, and Miquela spotted the other… Werwolves!

That fight was tough. Unlike our previous encounter it didn’t start and end with a one hit critical. In fact, there was a whole lot of just trying to hurt the beasts. Elara eventually cast a flaming sphere, which burned the beast mightily and sent it running (where we cut it down). Our enemies defeated we realized that they were werewolves… and that thankfully none of us were bitten… but then we realized that a week ago, on our way west, Elara had been bit… oh know, was she one of – HOLY BURNING BREATH OF GORUM- FIRE!

Firefighters we are not

In late summer, when everything was dry all it took was a small breeze to move the fire from the flaming sphere into a full fledged forest fire. We literally had to run through the flames to get in front of it and then worked our asses off to build a firewall and contain it.  Dennis handled this as a series of DC 10 constitution checks that we needed to make in order to put out the fire. Each round of checks (successes or fail) we took 1d4 damage, and we needed a total of 10 success to put it out.

Before the actual putting it out started some (Thanks Elara)  were able to grant aid by way of Knowledge (Nature) while others (Yep, Merrowny and Miquela)  just ran through the wall of flame (2d4 damage) to get to the front of it. That was after trying to get Horse to rider her around it (two failed Animal Handle checks and Horse did the smart thing and bolted).

Thankfully we put it out just in time to prevent the fire from spreading into the Fey-inhabited woods to the Northwest. When we finished Miquela found Perlavish on her helmet exclaiming  that he didn’t think “we” (including himself) could do it. Thanks Perl!

We then had amazingly comical scene of all the women tearing out of their metal armor down to their small clothes, baked like lobsters, and Tad getting all out his cold balm, all ready to apply it to Lady Miquela’s wounds when Toti channeled the power of her god and healed us all. Miquela called him off at the last moment. “Oh, thanks Tad, but I’m okay now.” Bemused as he was, and much more familiar with Toti than he was with anyone else, gently slapped her face, covering it in cool, slimy balm.

By the Pale Moonlight

Paranoid that Elara had been bit, we all started talking about what would happen if she was a Werewolf. Would she rip us to shreds? Should we tie her up at night? Surround her with bear traps?

Tad answered this question by putting tons of wolfsbane in our porridge every morning. Which was adorable because Lady Miquela took that to mean that he was upset about something (she didn’t recognize the spice, she just noticed it tasted bad, and Tad’s porridge never tastes bad).

After some days traveling south – and watching Elara very closely -we both decided it was probably safe to assume she wasn’t a werewolf and that we were upon the Stag Lord’s camp.

Down by the riverside

Of all things to find on the body of a werewolf, what we fond was a stately cummerbund made of blue silk and depicting dancing dolphins. It was in fact magical, an Aquatic Cummerbund, and with it Merrowny was able to swim donw the Shrike River into the Tuskwater lake and pop up on the shore behind the Stag Lords’ camp. She got out of the water, stayed low and crept along the camp to survey it.

She spotted a crumbling tower surrounded by a wooden palisade with only a single entrance. From inside she could hear one guard yelling at another to stay awake, he was on duty.  With as much information as she thought she could get Merrowyn scampered back up north to meet her family by the ford.

The Plan

Using the dust of disappearance found on Tartuk’s corpse, Toti diguised Merrowyn as Kettle and the other three as male bandits (since Kettle was the only female we saw in the group). As it started getting darker Toti cast a darkness spell in front of the gates and we snuck into the darkness, lit our lantern low and set bear traps all just in front of the entrance to the palisade.

After that we allowed the darkness to dissipate and then walked forward (carefully avoiding the traps) and called up the guard to “Open the bloody gates!” The guards, recognizing Kettle (Toti got a 35 on her disguise check, and I was rolling 25+ on my bluff rolls!) wanted to open the door (because they were afraid of her) but  also wanted to get the go ahead from their boss. Merrowny barked a few more threats (involving he removal of ears and the opening of gullets, and, terrified, they opened the door. Then she tore into them for not asking for he password! It was good times.

The gig went pretty well for a while. We met Dovan, a man who’s swagger gave Domingo a run for his money, and took a liking to Miquela dressed up a man. In a bit of panic Merrowyn said “he” was a new recruit named Marcus… Marcus the Mouth. Called so because he never talks. Ha! Passing Doven’s inspection we met up with the main rabble and another leader, the Stag Lord’s second in command, Akiros. He seemed unimpressed by Kettle, and saw right through Miqeula’s disguise, but this actually afforded us an opportunity to communicate with him, let he know we were up to something, but that it didn’t have to involve him. He continued to appear indifferent.

The gig is up

The Stag Lord is summoned but my dice finally failed me, or he just rolled phenomenally. The brute of a man walked out of his chambers, took one look at me and drew his bow “Who the hell are you?”  It was initiative time, and I beat him. “The woman that’s going to take your head!” And we did.

The fight was a tough one, but made much easier by the fact that Akiros turned to our side to prevent the release of a caged Owlbear and that Merrowyn got a crit and one-shot killed Doven. The Stag Lord dropped her after that, but with the healing ministrations of Toti, and a bit of rage, she was back in the fight! Miquela, Elara (and her burning sphere) and Merrowyn kept stabbing till the Stag Lord fell down.

Seeing their bosses defeated the rabble fled…right into the bear traps set out front. As a player I felt pretty horrible about that. It’s just a terrible way to go. Most of them were killed outright by the brutal traps. Yikes! One was merely maimed, which we were quite happy about, as that as our man… Fangrim Sneed!

Broody McBrooderson

After the fight we asked the one man who had stood with us what his story was. His name was Akiros but he really didn’t want to say more. Merrowny recognized his accent as Taldan (like really Taldan from the way south) and that got him talking some. Miquela drew him out some more by chiding him for being so morose. Finally, the absinthe intended for the Stag Lord got him talking enough to admit he is a fallen paladin. Though the previous god he served, and his crime against said god, he would not reveal.

Cleaning House

We looted that place… oh boy did we loot that place. We also considered that the building would make a nice stronghold should we muster the funds to make one. Hmmm…

Putting the Ferryman to rest

As promised we drug the body of the stag lord back to the river crossing to give it to the undead Davik Nettles. The spirit was finally put to rest and although his body turned to water… his magical spear was left behind. Go Elara!

Journey Home

We traveled back to Oleg’s, collected the bounty for turning in Fangrim Sneed (or the promise to receive the reward) and then alongside our pseudo-ally Akiros, made our way back to Rostov, carrying the head of the Stag Lord with us!

Loots Collected

Woot, we got tons of stuffs!

Qty Value Cash Value Kept by
Our total cash = 5123 (850 of that credit at Olegs). 5123
Money sent back to Rostov with Domingo for House Aldori 1 -4000 -4000
Longwords 2 30 18
30sp 3
Cummerbund, Aquatic, Stately cumberbun – Blue silk with Dancing Dolphins 1 2600 Miquela
Masterwork Studded Leathers 1 175 105
Daggers 3 6 3.6
Silver Stag Lords Pendant 4 80 80
Turquoise Earings 1 260 260
28gp 28
2pp 2
Short Sword +1 1 2310 Miquela
6pg 6
Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (CL5) 2 1000 (Divy)
Leather Armor +1 1 1160 696
MW Longsword 1 315 189
Composite Shortbow +1, Adaptive 1 3375 Miquela
Amulet of Natural Armor +1 1 2000 Merrowyn
141gp 141
Polished Azurite Crystal 1 9 9
Canellion 1 80 80
Hemitite 1 13 13
Shard of Obsidian 1 14 14
Red Garnet 1 100 100
Pewter Belt Buckle with twin Succubi 1 30 Merrown
Silver Charm Bracelent 1 60 60
Longbows 5 375 225
Longswords 5 75 45
Arrows 280 14 8.4
Short Swords 5 50 30
Spears 5 10 6
Leather 5 50 30
Stag Lords Helm 1 3500 2100
Trade Goods 1 6850 6850
4500cp 45
2052sp 205.2
894gp 894
21pp 210
Jewelry 1 2900 2900
Spear +1, Keen 1 8302 Elara
65gp 65
Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (CL5) 2 1000 (Divy)
Potion of Lesser Restorday (CL5) 1 500 (Divy)
Masterwork Club 1 300 Tad
 Total 16544.2gp

Thoughts on the game

Werewolves, when you don’t have silver weapons are rough! That was a good fight and would have been an even more brutal one if Dennis wasn’t rolling poorly. I love that our characters are seeing things we’re not quite ready to fight and struggling through them now. It will make it that much more rewarding when we bust out our Mithral Greatswords and hack those wolfies to bits later on.

Speaking of tough, it was great wondering whether Elara had been afflicted or not. I think the fact that the players knew added comedy, but took some of the tension out of it. Very fun when Tad was loading our porridge up with wolfsbane!

I expected the Stag Lord to hit harder than he did. Maybe he was more bad ass with a bow, or when he could get a sneak attack (or both with that helm)? We cut off (har har, literally cut off) both of those opportunities pretty quickly so I’m not sure. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Merrowny didn’t die (which seemed like a possibility) but I thought he’d pack a bigger punch. Maybe it was just him being described as this giant brute of a man, I was envisioning 18+ strength and barbarian raging.

We got to see some interesting tactics come up with spell use this game. Toti’s darkness allowed us to set the bear traps. Elara’s Frostbite fatigued the Stag Lord (which I wanted specifically because I thought he would rage), and Elara cast Burning Sphere to overcome the werewolves damage reduction. I was happy to see some different ideas tried out. I think if  made a Wizard character I’d try to scribe scrolls whenever I could just so I could try lots of different spells in different situations!

This is the end of module one. We’re heading back to Rostov and will start the Kingdom making portion of the game, which I’m looking forward to, but also really want to keep running around exploring hexes and going on crazy quests. Where are those Fangberries? What about that boar with the wanted sign? What was he story with the trapper that hated the fey so much. I totally want to find out while killing stuff and taking it’s loot.

Next session totally isn’t soon enough. I find that I watch the clock when we start. This session we were giving Mia the intro for a bit, then did her character’s connection to the family, and then did her intro story. It was 1:30 by the time we were all together. Time well spent, but I found myself wishing we could play longer. You all aren’t free this weekend are you?

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