Friday, April 23, 2010

T1, part 3: A Feasting of Ghouls

We played our third session of The Village of Hommlet last night, with a cast of Gulwar, Amiculum, Ellimorell, and Rylin, halfling thief and newcomer to the party. The characters have found their local renown surging of late, and as such have been approached by a steady stream of prospective mercenaries and hire-ons. Rylin, hitherto working as a line cook in the Inn of the Welcome Wench, was one of these. With Dravin still ailing from the party's previous expedition (fell ill after being bitten by rats in the moat house), the PCs also employed the hulking fighter Kobart (arranging a wage of 5 gp/day through his associate, Turuko) and the self-proclaimed scribe, Spugnoir.

At the onset of the session, an ore trader arrived in Hommlet bearing the bodies of a local huntsman and his two adolescent sons, who had departed east along the road the previous morn in anticipation of Ulaa's Hunt, a scantly-recognized holiday in the region. The hunters' wounds indicated a grisly attack, and after [finally] meeting and consulting with Rufus at the estate of the village elder, the PCs chose to investigate. At dusk, they noted the local custom of food-sharing by candlelight in the wake of a significant death.

The next morning, the PCs visited the traders' establishment to replenish supplies before heading out, and on their way they encountered Rogar; curiously, the man had a long and newly-drawn scar across one side of his face. The warrior admitted to fighting, but would say no more on the matter. After he and Gulwar mutually apologized for their previous dispute, Rogar agreed to accompany the party east. Their venture lasted two days and uncovered no leads in relation to the murders, though the characters did encounter a clothier and his family (a wife and two cousins) traveling west, and escorted them to Hommlet.

Upon their return, the PCs and their three hirelings delved back into the moat house, opening a pair of locked doors on the dungeon level and discovering an assortment of armor, weapons, provisions, and a large pile of black capes and tabards bearing an unknown insignia: a yellow eye wreathed in flames. Intrigued, the PCs set shields face-down on the steps and piled them in front of the doors to serve as makeshift alarms, then proceeded to the secret chute uncovered in the torture chamber during their last visit.

Rylin scouted the bottom, some 30 feet down, noting what the group believed to be more zombies amid an earthy room lined with six-foot alcoves (crypts). After experimenting with various means of setting fires down below using two kegs of brandy found in the store rooms (these were marked as being from Dyvers), the party descended the chute, ready for battle.

That's when things got interesting. The zombies, four in all, converged on the friends immediately, paralyzing Rogar and Amiculum, to the group's horror. The melee then degenerated into a gruesome bloodbath and feasting for the ghouls (for that's what the creatures truly were): Rogar was half-eaten alive, Ellimorell was slain, and Amiculum fell, bleeding and burned. Kobart failed a morale check and fled up the chute, but Spugnoir cast sleep and the warrior plummeted back down to the stone floor, landing in a broken heap.

In the end, Rylin and Gulwar defeated the ghouls, the latter saving Amiculum from within hairs of death with his magic. Kobart and Spugnoir lived (Spugnoir actually never descended the ladder), and the survivors (five in all) hauled the mangled corpses of Rogar and Ellimorell back to Hommlet. That's where we ended.

This was an eventful session to say the least, and it ran great, even if the outcome was less than ideal for the PCs. I inverted armor classes on the fly, eliminating hit tables in favor of hit bonuses, and the change was well worth the minor up-front effort. There's not a ton more I need to streamline at this point, though I do need to make some alterations to our character sheet to avoid any confusion going forward.

Right now, I'm unsure if I'll make the move to C&C or just stay with OSRIC. There are cases for both at this point, though I'm probably leaning a bit toward the latter. I just need to think about it more in the coming days.

Not much XP was gained from this session. I'd already decided to grant Amiculum and Ellimorell a 1,000 XP boost, as in retrospect it was somewhat unfair to allow Dravin and Gulwar to begin the campaign so much higher. The party is also granted 1,000 XP for the cloak of elvenkind found in the previous session, though this award will only be split by the characters that played in that game. For this session, the ghouls are valued at 352 XP, and this award will be split equally between Rylin and Gulwar.

Updated XP totals should be reflected on the site shortly.


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