Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gaertorin: Reflection and Musings

As Gaertorin is laying by the fountain trying to sleep he begins to think about the day's events...

And Aginot was not worried about the dead. It is something evil and unnatural that is doing this, and it must be stopped. I lost my father to the undead already, I will not lose anyone else to them. What to do though? Is it wise to attempt to cross the desert during the day? We barely made it to the town, and had it not been for Carmen's decanter, I fear we may not have made it. If we go out at night we run the risk of encountering Anhktepot if we are to believe Isu, and encountering him could mean a swift death. It is not death I fear though, but undeath. I do not believe that Habbakuk would allow that for one of his faithful servants, but I have seen many things recently that I did not believe were possible before seeing them.

Valana's foretelling tonight was cryptic. I have never been good at deciphering prophecy and foretelling, but this seemed to me to be saying that we need to slay Anhktepot along with his undead minions. This is not a task that I relish, but I will undertake it if that is what is required of me. Perhaps I should discuss it further with Aginot, Leilana, and Carmen. Maybe they can make sense of this where I can see none.

This place that the mists have brought me to is more and more troubling each day. I wish Carmen and I could make our way home. However, I do not know where we are, so I cannot even begin to think of a way to get back. With each day, I become more certain that it will not be as simple as walking home.

As he rolls onto his side Gaertorin concentrates on his ring and begins to slow his breathing in an attempt to sleep. It is a gold ring, and on the top is a sapphire in the shape of a phoenix . As he is concentrating on the ring and slipping off to sleep it briefly flashes as if glowing from the inside. Gaertorin is left wondering if it was moonlight that caused that or something else as he drifts off to sleep.

RL #21: The Touch of Death

Safely removed from Gorgi, the party began to set up camp. As they did, a trio of lantern-lights passed along the road, though at too far a distance for their nature to be discerned. The companions took their sleep in turn, though Leilana was startled during her watch when she turned to see Valana suddenly awake and staring at her intently. "One of your company possesses something of great significance to my people," the gypsy uttered. "You."

Valana reminded the druid of the scroll she carried, stating that it was penned by a Dukkar, a rare male Vistani gifted with Sight, many generations ago. The author, Hyskosa, recorded six verses, prophecies that together foretold the unraveling of the mists, rulers, and of the world itself. One of these verses had already come to pass. Leilana pressed for more details, but Valana answered her cryptically, then fell silent.

In the morning, a low haze covered the ground, and Valana explained that she could lead the PCs through the mists to find her family. The party followed the gypsy into a thick fog, walking until the sun shone high and hot overhead, and the ground was covered with sand. The mists burned away to reveal a vast desert, with endlessly rolling dunes in three directions and a steep cliff face in the fourth. They were standing near a road that led to a small village.

Valana was distressed and unable to say where the party was, or why. With little other recourse to escape the oppressive heat, they walked along the road until they came upon a brown, withered hand emerging from sand along their path. They uncovered a corpse, a dried-out husk dressed in a tattered garment. Unsettled, they proceeded on to the village, arriving at a spring in its center as lithe, brown-skinned villagers outfitted in flowing white robes and headdresses looked on. Standing next to the spring was a woman wearing a gold-trimmed gown, a snake's head circlet, a gold medallion, and several pieces of ornate jewelry.

The woman introduced herself as Isu Rehkotep, servant of Osiris, god of the dead. She welcomed the party to the village of Mudar in the land of Har'Akir, and explained plaintively that the villagers were wary due to a series of recent kidnappings. When the PCs mentioned the corpse they discovered along the road, Isu bid them to take her to it, and they did. Upon returning with the body, a female villager rushed to it in hysterics. Gaertorin attempted to comfort her, but the woman shrieked at the intrusion and several men surrounded her and the weathered corpse, finally carrying it away from the spring. Isu invited the PCs into her temple to help answer their questions.

The temple itself was a whitewashed, sandstone building of elaborate architecture, with two great statues guarding its entry. The first, a powerful male figure with the head of a hawk, depicted Ra, the sun god; the second depicted Anhktepot, the last pharaoh of Har'Akir. While Ra's statue appeared to be immaculately maintained, Anhktepot's was damaged and worn.

Inside, Isu led the party through a grand hall adorned with columns, prayer mats and tapestries before passing through a curtain into the priestess's public antechamber. Isu's exotic pet cat, Bashet, paced the room (showing a particular distaste for Aginot) as the priestess told the legend of Anhktepot:

The pharaoh Anhktepot ruled centuries ago in the land of Har’Akir. This nation encompassed the entire Abal river valley in the great Akir desert. According to our beliefs, the pharaoh is the link between man and the gods. The pharaoh is himself a god of this land. The pharaohs ruled by the divine grace of Ra, the sun god.

Anhktepot greatly feared death. It was known that when a pharaoh dies, he becomes a servant of Ra in the underworld, exalted above all other servants. For some unknown reason, Anhktepot did not want to die. Maybe he feared the wrath of Ra should the sun god discover that Anhktepot had been a false pharaoh. Anhktepot commanded his priests to find a way for him to cheat death. Many slaves and prisoners died horribly as subjects in Anhktepot’s gruesome experiments in immortality.

Frustrated by his lack of success, the pharaoh had several temples burned and razed. He stalked into the Kharn temple, greatest in all of Har’Akir, and cursed the gods for not granting him his heart’s desire. Ra answered Anhktepot. He told the pharaoh that when he died, he would live, though he might wish otherwise. However, for cursing the gods, Anhktepot would suffer eternally. Ra did not say how this curse would be manifest.

Anhktepot left the temple elated but confused. He still did not know how to cheat death. That night, when he touched Nephyr, his wife, she died instantly. Everyone he touched that night died. His wife, several of his servants, and his eldest child all died by his hand. According to our customs, they were mummified and entombed in great buildings in the desert. The funerals took over a week.

Anhktepot soon understood that after the sun left the sky, his touch was death. So long as Ra shone upon him, he was safe. But once he was no longer under the sun’s watchful eye, whomever he touched died horribly.

Shortly after the final ceremony of his wife’s funeral, he was visited in the night. A mummy wrapped in funeral linens entered his chambers. By the vestments he knew it was Nephyr. Unable to speak, the mummy tried to embrace Anhktepot. Horrified, he screamed for her to leave him forever, which she did. Nephyr walked into the desert and was never seen again. Her tomb has remained open and empty through all these years.

Anhktepot was also visited by the mummified bodies of those he had killed. He came to understand that he controlled them utterly. They did his every bidding. He used their power and his own deadly touch to tighten the reigns of his evil power over Har’Akir.

He killed many priests, making them into his undead slaves. Occasionally he would find one of his mummies destroyed, burned from the inside out. Some scholars believe Nephyr was responsible for the destruction of Anhktepot’s mummies, but no one knows the true answer.

One day, the priests rebelled against Anhktepot and murdered him in his sleep. He was still the pharaoh-a god and blessed of the gods. The priests gave him a funereal befitting his station. Shortly after the funereal, the Walls of Ra appeared, cutting us off from the rest of Har’Akir. All that remains of the life we once knew is Mudar and the tomb of Anhktepot, which lies a short way through the desert. All of this happened many generations ago.

Occasionally the villagers say they have seen the mummified body of Anhktepot staggering across the sand dunes. They blame most of their ill luck on him and use his name to frighten small children. I don’t know what has happened to Har’Akir or if Anhktepot truly does walk the land as one of the living dead.

Isu offered the party a place to sleep outside, near the spring where they would be safe. Strangely, many travelers had come to Mudar in recent weeks, she explained, but most often, the heat of the desert claimed them. The spring's water was sacred to the village; all were welcome to drink it freely, but filling a decanter or taking water away from the spring was considered a serious crime.

Distraught by the day's events, Valana bade the PCs to participate in a fortune-telling near the outskirts of the village, away from the populace. The PCs agreed, and seated themselves in a small circle, out of sight of any villagers. Valana removed a deck of cards from a pouch around her waist. She asked each companion to shuffle the cards in turn, then entered a trance-like state and revealed the following:
Six of Hearts - "The card of the hex. A sign of mystery and events to come. Look for the sign of six. The king understands the hex as the knave does not. [The heart] is the symbol of loyalty betrayed." 
Queen of Clubs - "This card is the traitor queen. She who should serve has betrayed her lord." 
Four of Diamonds - "The sun shall set this many times before the king can be sought. This time is called the Night of Thoth." 
Four of Hearts - "A strengthening of the aspect of the Night of Thoth." 
Jack of Clubs - "This card represents evil personified. He attempts to overthrow the king. The queen now serves this knave." 
Four of Clubs - "A further strengthening of the sign of Thoth." 

Before revealing a final card, Valana asked each companion to shuffle the cards again.
Ace of Clubs - "A singular presence. A symbol of those who do not belong. They have a terrible task ahead of them. [The club] is the symbol of physical power. This card holds the power to destroy."

Upon finishing the last reading, Valana broke from her trance and collapsed, stating that she needed rest. The PCs helped her back to the spring, where they set watches for the night.

In the late evening hours, after all the villagers had retired to their houses, Gaertorin spotted a lone figured illuminated by the moonlight in the desert, stray ends of cloth fluttering in the breeze as it walked among the dunes. Shaken, the half-elf assured the safety of his companions; when he looked back again, the form was gone.

During the midnight watch, Leilana heard a rustling sound and turned to see a brown, withered corpse attacking her from behind. The druid screamed, awakening her companions as the creature raked across her neck and face with its claws. Injured nearly to unconsciousness, Leilana ran the creature through with her spear, and Gaertorin crushed its skull with his mace.

The party dragged the body to the nearby temple steps, and the final watch passed uneventfully. In the early morning hours, as the sun began to warm the village, Leilana turned her focus toward the spring and began to cast a spell...

DM's Commentary

I'd never have thought that Carmen's decanter of endless water would come in so handy when I arbitrarily gave it to her as an initial magic item. So awesome when things like that just work out.

The only other thing to mention is that these session recaps shouldn't dissuade players from taking in-game notes - names, maps, and especially specific events like the fortune-telling should be recorded in as much detail as you think you might need later on. This time, I did include the minutiae since Aginot already posted his notes as well, but please don't count on me to always provide this stuff later, otherwise I may start omitting them from my write-ups.

Aginot: Disarmed

Before settling down for the night, Aginot takes a few moments to ruminate near the spring over previous events.


Trickles of sweat run down the priests neck onto his back beneath his robe.  His matted hair, damp from that same sweat, bothers him incessantly.  It takes a great effort not to jump into the spring and cleanse himself.

Though the ever-present heat of Mudar forced him to finally remove his heavy overcoat of chain, it was not the catalyst.  He has seen much violence of late, enough to unsettle him, and the priest has given long thought to his companions, as well as his own role in the group's actions.  He rolls his shoulders, finally free of the ever-present weight of his armor.  The skin of his shoulders shows bruising where the armor rested and chafed, a result of the weakness that has been a part of him since childhood.  Aginot has always bruised easily, and his bones would break as a child if stressed.  It was a condition he learned to live with, the constant pain and discomfort becoming a part of him, never relenting.

Finally removing the heavy chain, however, was both a physical and spiritual relief.  Separating himself from the group for a short time, he uses his hands to dig a small pit in the sand near the spring, placing the armor into it.  Settled on a course of action, Aginot removes his pouch and dumps the contents onto the sand.  18 gold coins glitter up at him.  He counts out 17 of the coins, one for each life he has taken with violence, and puts them into the pit along with his chain armor.  The fact that one gold coin remains bothers the priest in a way that he can't shake, but he returns the gold coin, along with his other small coinage to the pouch, and covers the armor again with sand.

"Our debts are settled," he mutters on the way back to the others, unable to forget the single gold coin that remains in his pouch.

Aginot: Valana's Second Reading

While the memory is still fresh in his head, Aginot records his notes and thoughts regarding Valana's second reading of the deck.

The Mists are fickle, and they have brought us to Mudar, a village built on an oasis in the middle of the desert.  How we came to be here, no one knows...not even Valana, the Vistani seer.  But here we are trapped, for the blistering heat of the "Walls of Ra" prevents our escape.  It seems we have been brought here for some purpose, and at the moment, it seems that purpose is to rid this land of the curse of Anhktepot.

At our bidding, Valana did a second reading of the cards.  Here are my notes--I know not the full meaning of the reading, or how it relates to Leilana's scroll, but I have thoughts.

  • The Six of Hearts: "The king understands the hex, while the knave does not.  This suit is the symbol of loyalty betrayed."  I can only believe that the "king" is Anhktepot, but I know nothing yet of the knave.
  • The Queen of Clubs: "The traitor queen."  I think this to be Nephyr, wife to Anhktepot, but I know not the significance.
  • A Trio of Fours: "The sun shall st this many times before the king be sought.  This shall be known as the Night of Thoth."  I have no idea what "Thoth" is, but it seems now that we have limited time to accomplish our task.
  • The Knave of Clubs: "The knave, evil personified. He attempts to overthrow the king, the queeen now serves this knave."  More mystery, but it reinforces my feelings that we must seek out the Temple to Nephyr.
  • The Ace of Clubs: "A singular presence.  This suit is the symbol of physical power, the power to destroy."  Yet another mystery, I cannot guess at its significance.
I shall have to review Leilana's scroll again, if she will let me.  There is much yet to learn, and time is short.  I wonder what conclusions the others may have drawn from this reading...

Thursday, January 8, 2015

AD&D 2e: Ranger's favored enemy ruling

From the AD&D 2e Player's Handbook (p. 29):

In their roles as protectors of good, rang-
ers tend to focus their efforts against some
particular creature, usually one that ma-
rauds their homeland. Before advancing to
2nd level, every ranger must select a species
enemy. Typical enemies include giants,
orcs, lizard men, trolls, or ghouls; your DM
has final approval on the choice. Thereafter,
whenever the ranger encounters that enemy,
he gains a +4 bonus to his attack rolls. This
enmity can be concealed only with great dif-
ficulty, so the ranger suffers a -4 penalty on
all encounter reactions with creatures of the
hated type. Furthermore, the ranger will ac-
tively seek out this enemy in combat in pref-
erence to all other foes unless someone else
presents a much greater danger.

As we've been using the 2e rules consistently for character creation and advancement, this applies to Gaertorin. Through a bit of research, though, I'm going to agree with what seems to be a large segment of DMs that restricting the favored enemy to a specific "species" is sometimes too narrow to be relevant in a given campaign. As such, for Gaertorin, the rule will apply to a broader "type" of enemy, which will allow him to appropriately favor "undead." This should be a nice benefit to the party and is very much on theme for the character.

Gaertorin: Growing Up and Finding a Place

As a young boy, I enjoyed playing in the woods. My father, a retired soldier, encouraged me and taught me to hunt at an early age. He wanted me to become a soldier just like him. He rarely spoke of his time during the Chaos War, other than it made him the person he was.

I always loved those hunting trips with my father. One day while tracking a deer we encountered a pair of skeletons. Paralyzed with fear, my father told me to run. The last image I have of my father is him fighting the skeletons. I returned to my mother broken up, and relayed the story. Several neighbors teamed up to dispatch the skeletons if they were still around, retrieve my father's body, and provide a proper burial. I even saw a couple of nobles and generals at his funeral. What had he done to cause them to show up at his funeral?

After the funeral, I could not bring myself to hunt again, and the thought of being in the army was too overwhelming. How could I possibly follow in his footsteps? I continued to live with my mother for the next few years helping around the house, and performing odd jobs for neighbors and friends.

When I was older, I decided I needed to make a life for myself. I ventured off on my own with only a few belongings. While in the woods one night, I felt a presence unlike anything I knew. I packed up my belongings and started walking. I do not know why I went the direction I did, nor did I know where I was going. Early the next morning I found myself in a small town facing a temple to Habbakuk. Sure, I knew who the gods were, but I had never worshiped any of them.

However, I felt an urging to go inside, so I did. When I entered an older priest inquired if I needed any help. I told him my story of how I came to be here, and I saw understanding in his face. He explained that the presence and urging was Habbakuk directing me to the temple. We talked at length about Habbukuk and what he represents. I was intrigued, and asked to stay at the temple. I offered to work for my room and board. The priest warned me that the work would be hard. I was raised having to do many chores, so I told the priest that I could handle a little hard work. Little did I know that for the next three years my days would be filled with cleaning, serving, praying, and more cleaning. In that time I came to know Habbakuk better and even became a priest myself. During this time, I came to accept that death is a part of life, and that my father's death was natural. However, I came to abhor the undead that slaughtered my father, and they are certainly not a natural part of this world.

Many of the other priests would go out looking for new converts and believers, but I never did that. How could I convince someone to start worshiping Habbakuk, when it took his presence to convince me. Besides, I am the son of a soldier, who would listen to me talk the praises of a god that supports a natural cycle of life and death.

Two years later, the War of Souls came to our kingdom. The king implored all who were able-bodied to help. I offered my services as a healer and priest, nothing more. During this time, I provided rites and healing to many soldiers. I became friends with the scouts, as they all seemed to worship Habbakuk. After one particularly bad battle, the captain was short on scouts, and looking for anyone to help. One of the scouts must have mentioned my father's background to him, and my hunting trips. I refused at first pleading that I was a priest and not a soldier. The commander told me that he just wanted me to scout for him, not to fight for him. He badly needed a scouting report, and there was no one else with the skills.


I went on the scouting mission, and while I did not run into anything bad, I found that I could balance my priestly duties with the scouting. I spoke to my captain about going out more and more with the scouting parties. While I always attempt to avoid fighting it is not always possible. I had finally found my place. I spoke with the patriarch of Habbakuk about this and he told me that not all priests serve in a temple. I should serve in the manner that I was called.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Gaertorin: Thoughts on New Companions

This is a strange world that the mists brought me to. I am glad to be here and alive, rather than on the wrong end of a skeletons blade. I am also glad that Carmen was brought along with me. It is comforting to have a long time companion in Carmen at my side still. Unfortunately, we will not be able to bring word of my scouting to the Captain. I only hope that our disappearance does not lead the army astray.

I am not sure of my new companions. Leilana seems level-headed, and quiet. She is the only other elf/half-elf I have met here. It is nice that I am able to travel with another of my kind. She seems to know the way of the woods, and to be in communion with nature. Perhaps she would wish to learn more of Habbakuk. I will have to discuss this with her.

Aginot is brash at times, but I always tend to trust a holy man with good in his heart. I have not heard of this church of the coin in my travellings, but I confess to be a little ignorant of dieties other than Habbakuk. I will have to learn more about this church and why the coin hold such a place of honor.

Aginot: On Morality

Aginot takes some time to pen his thoughts on to a scrap of parchment, one of several that compose a makeshift journal of thoughts.

Alaric,

When you left us, you stole more than the mask.  I hope that the gods can forgive your transgressions, and that debts can be settled, but in my heart, I know it is more likely that you will fall to the darkness within you.  Should we meet again, and should you still bear the mask, it will be as enemies.

Despite your shaky moral foundation and questionable judgment, you brought a sense of balance to our group.  My own faith pays little regard to justice; a ridiculous term, subject to whims of the spirit and self-righteousness.  The Order, however, does concern itself with equity, and for all of your faults, you always tried to distribute your misguided justice equitably.  You would have made a good acolyte.

I fear, however, that our new companions Gaertorin and Carmen may not share this trait.  They are deadly, each in their own way, but they are seemingly indiscriminate in their lethality, and that makes me worry.

Consider the Talon soldiers, if you will.  The Talons as an organization are surely tyrannical in their motivations, that much is without dispute by anyone of a reasonable mind.  A single Talon soldier, however, is just a tool of his lord, and is not necessarily deserving of a knife to the back or killing blow while helpless.  There have been times where Talons have directly opposed us, and we fought with lethal intent, but it was to save our own lives.

In Gorgi, though I do not know the details of Carmen's assassination of the Talon she encountered, I witnessed Gaertorin crack the skull of a guard I had rendered helpless, killing him instantly.  Such actions create imbalance, and can only be answered with equal force, and I fear that we may not be up to the challenge should tides ever turn against us.

I cannot help but think that you would have handled the situation more responsibly, and it is for that, more than nearly anything else, that I regret your betrayal and desertion.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

RL #20: The Black Raven

Last night marked our twentieth Ravenloft session over the course of two and a half years, a pretty good track record in RPG terms. What's more is that the PCs are still fairly low level, so we have a long way to go before all is said and done.

In the Tally-ho Inn and Tavern, the party weighed its options at length. As they did, the pair of Talon guards from outside entered the taproom to the call of "The gypsy will curse us, you've doomed us all!" from a stumbling drunkard. One soldier approached the man, held him up with one arm and slugged him with a bladed gauntlet, laying him low. That quieted the patrons, but the whispers overheard from nearby tables were clear: the capture of a Vistani was a serious matter indeed, an order that would be given by no lesser than King Vlad Drakov himself. And why the carriage would be en route to the militant border-town of Stangengrad, no one knew.

Before long, the soldiers returned to the Black Raven with a gallon-sized tankard of mead for the dwarf. Not to be outdone, Aginot took it upon himself to purchase and offer up a five-gallon barrel in an attempt to win the men's trust. The effort proved fruitless, and the carriage was soon stabled for the night, along with the dwarf, the two Talons, and the two wolf-hounds. Carmen tailed the contingent, looking on as Valana was beaten to unconsciousness after she finally began to stir. A second pair of Talons helped secure the stable, then subsequently returned to the tavern.

The rest of the party took leave of the taproom, sneaking into a large, unlocked stable adjacent to the one that housed the Raven; Carmen, still invisible, lurked outside. The PCs plotted an ambush over the stable wall via the rafters, but as they did, their would-be victims detected the party's presence and took action: one Talon sighted Leilana through a hole in the stable wall with his crossbow, while the second led the dogs outside and into the party's stable, the dwarf lumbering drunkenly behind. Leilana was struck by twin crossbow bolts as the dogs rushed in, and melee ensued.

Carmen resisted the urge to call out a warning to her friends, knowing it would do little aside from exposing her position. Instead, she tactfully crept inside the Talon stable and stabbed the lone crossbowman from behind, canceling her invisibility but saving the party from additional fire. The soldier rose to his feet to assault the mage, but Carmen struck deftly again, laying the man low. A knock spell on the prisoner cage door and Carmen dragged the unconscious Vistani woman outside while her companions defeated the remaining enemies with sword and spell. Gaertorin cast cure light wounds on Valana and her eyes fluttered open, revealing her beauty.

The party made haste for the north gates, staying off the main road and bribing the gate-guards to exit the walls safely. Once outside, they fled into the night, finding sanctuary in a forest grove a half-mile from town, and in desperate need of healing.

DM's Commentary

This session ran pretty smoothly, with the party spending most of its time deliberating the optimal course against the Talons. There was a brief opportunity early on where Carmen (invisible) might have been able to steal the carriage while the first pair of guards were busy fetching ale for the dwarf, but the moment was fleeting and I'm not sure they'd have had time to execute the theft cleanly. I liked the direction the party was going when they snuck into the adjacent stable and plotted an attack from the rafters - unfortunately the stable walls were paper-thin and they just couldn't be quiet enough not to be heard with a Talon guard awake and on watch. If there's one mistake the group made this adventure, it was spending too long in the stable without action.

Mechanically, the party had some breaks, but made some sound decisions as well. Aginot's hold person spell was key, even though he unluckily rolled a '1' for the number of individuals he could target. Gaertorin reaped the statistical benefits of multiple attack rolls per round, and Carmen used good tactics to find advantage in melee combat, even as a lowly wizard. Leilana fell victim to some rather poor rolls - we had a critical moment where Aginot was at 2 hp and unable to escape one of the dogs, and Leilana needed any damage roll other than 1 (which she of course rolled) to kill it. Fortunately, the dog missed on its final attack and everyone survived, but it was close. On the plus side for the party, I made consistently bad initiative rolls for the enemies throughout the combat.

Someday I'm sure the numbers will get the best of the PCs and one of them will die horribly, but I'm glad it hasn't happened yet. You really have to play to your advantages, know when to fight and when to flee, and especially how and when to use your spells. AD&D doesn't offer much margin for error.

A Word About Morality

Ravenloft is very much centered around morality (or lack thereof), and frequently a situation arises that gives me a bit of pause. Last night, the party discussed the option of setting fire to the Talon stable. It could just be that the repercussions of such an approach were lost on the players at the time, but the party had witnessed a village fire spread quickly once before (in Chatain) and would do well to consider the potential loss of innocent lives and destruction of homes and property before heading far down so dangerous a path.

The other instance worth mentioning was Gaertorin's coup de grace against a magically held Talon soldier after the combat was effectively won. We talked briefly about how Alaric (a paladin) would never have allowed such an act, but a character not adhering to a specific class or code shouldn't constitute a free pass to look into a defenseless man's eyes and kill him without remorse. Now, in this specific case, I think the slaying was reasonably justified - it would be easy to argue that killing the soldier was in the best interest of not only the party, but the entire town as well. So it's not a matter of imposing any kind of penalty on the PCs - I just think these kinds of actions warrant enough in-game roleplaying to ensure that the moral aspect of the event isn't lost on anyone in the group. It's a delicate line to walk, and Ravenloft especially is known for acknowledging those that stray from a moral path - even in the heat of battle. Tread carefully...

XP

Some solid XP awards to hand out for this session:

  • Defeating the two Talon soldiers, dwarf guard, and two Falkovnian wolf-hounds - 500 XP
  • Rescuing Valana from the Black Raven and safely exiting the town gates - 1,500 XP
That's 500 XP each, and Carmen gets her 10% prime requisite bonus for Intelligence. Updated totals:

  • Leilana - 8,224
  • Aginot - 7,604
  • Carmen - 7,550
  • Gaertorin - 3,750/3,750
No new levels gained this time. I'll keep an eye on XP advancement over the next few sessions to make sure the story awards are sufficient based on the Ravenloft style of game (i.e., high roleplaying, relatively low combat and treasure acquisition). I can make adjustments if need be as time goes on.