Sunday, February 14, 2016

Session Capture: Varens Session 5, Where in a bunch of lizards attack our heroes

It looks like someone used crayons!
100th post-a-versery. Today was almost nothing but fighting, are ya'lls ready for a rip-roaring hootenanny of inside jokes and incomprehensible half told tales? Today's episode is a tale of betrayal, weak crossbows, and a world record setting number of critical failures. Be amazed, or don't, I'm not your dad. Make your own decisions.

The Cast

  • Sophie - A young artificer girl, the opposite of self-aware, but wants to be recognized as a genius of her time. Her poor social graces put a damper on the possibility of that ever happening. She doesn't care. Results should speak for themselves. She and Stuart are long time friends. Sophie bought a contact in the name of Kelly, the town guard who works with his mother at the Southwest gate.
  • Stuart ("Corduroy" [That cartoon is made by the Brothers Chaps, look at it.]) - an Innkeeper saddled with the family business, but would much rather travel the world. He can't part outright with the family tavern out of respect for his family, but he needs to vet himself some people to take care of it in his absence, and gather enough money to pay them in advance as he doesn't know how profitable the inn will be in his absence, nor how long he'll be gone. Between sessions, Corduroy bought some rank in Merchant's House according to the rules of Dungeon Fantasy 17: Guilds.
  • Wynter - A scholar who has just wandered into the town of Wood's Edge, she is just going along with whatever Sophie and Stuart are doing. She's not from around here and doesn't know what's what, so unfortunately is using Sophie as a barometer for normal.


Hombrea looks something like this,
but less Pokemon and Undertale like.
Imagine brown fur and more luxurious
Previously, Corduroy, Sophie, and Wynter recovered some important documents from the spooky scary forest for a man they saved earlier, Gregory. They made it home safely, and were rewarded for their work.
Gregory who excused himself said he would like to prepare himself for travel, and so went to the warehouse district to check on his goods. Sophie began creating potions as she was wont to do and spread her backpack toolkit chemistry set across the bar, and quick gadgeteered herself a potion in unbelievable time, while Wynter asked her about the process. Corduroy went to visit the local merchant leadership to look for work [because Corduroy has rank in the merchant house now.] We introduce the character, Hombrea, a catgirl who is in charge of the guild, given to luxury and indulgence, but very intelligent with a grand strategic vision and an eye for people, and recommends that if he is looking for work, a safer path to the North-West mining town, "Fuheka." would be appreciated. This is local slang for Foot of Heaven's Curtain, Heaven's Curtain being the name of the mountain range, being unusually steep with smooth undulations.
After reflecting on this a bit, Corduroy returned to the tavern, and checked on everyone, and noticed that Gregory had still not returned. Worried, he asked her daughter where he went, "The warehouse district, he really wants to be ready to go early tomorrow morning, he's been grumbling he's been stuck here too long as it is."
That's when the klaxons started sounding, at about 2300 on day 5. Dick and Kelly were beating steel drums and shouting through the streets for everyone to evacuate through the East gate of town towards the river. There is no time to grab your belongings; leave immediately.
Corduroy, Sophie, and Wynter got up and ready to move, Corduroy helped all the guests in his tavern evacuate first and lead them to the East Gate. Sophie decided to go follow Dick and Kelly around to see if she could help her friend out. Wynter went with Dick. [I don't like when a group splits up, but sometimes it happens.]
Kelly explains to Sophie that there is a large marching from the southwest. Sophie and Wynter walk that direction and start to feel nervous when they can feel the marching reverberations through their shoes. They climb to the top of the gate and look out, there is arrayed two sets of 25 Dinomen soldiers to either side of the gate. Between the two and to the back is a sedan carrying two important characters. One is the injured Dinoman leader who escaped from the combat earlier that day. The more shocking person seated in a higher and more ostentatious throne wearing a crown of many jewels and bones and carved from the darkest wood was Gregory with a maddening grimace of a smile on his face
Wynter suddenly got a gut feeling that from the cadence and the reverberations of the steps, and from the way the troops were organized that this was not the extent of their plan [she rolled against strategy.]
She realized this display was a decoy and that most likely they were surrounding the town and preparing to attack from all directions at once.
Sophie asked what the guards were planning. Kelly responded, "we need to burn the whole thing down. We can't let them have this settlement, we need to evacuate the people and march to the nearest safe place."
Wynter didn't like that idea. Sophie being Kelly's friend got them to listen to Wynter's advice. She thinks she can save the city if they can protect one gate while they go through the rest of the settlement. Sophie, Wynter, and Kelly go, leaving Dick behind, looking for any stragglers to bolster the defense of the forest facing gate while travelling Eastward. When they get all the way to East Gate, what they see shocks them.
Meanwhile Corduroy is getting Greta and Gregor and all the staff through the West Gate and marching to the river. The bridge is out! The river is too wide and swift to cross as it is nearly at ocean. That's when they notice a group of 25 Dinomen each to the North and South. Greta begins running towards the northern group and Corduroy follows her trying to protect her when some blowpipe pygmy lizards blow darts at him, all missing, none aiming at her. "Get back with the other prisoners unless you want to die!" He is stripped of all his weapons (his crossbow) but they tie him up to his broom [not realizing it is one of his weapons as per the perks of being an innkeeper.] The gates are shut behind the people as everyone is bound and tied, or beaten into submission for resistance.
Sophie and Wynter notice two guards before the guards notice them, who were manning the now closed gate and handling prisoners who could not evacuate in time. So the two shoot from a distance. They miscalculated, and there were actually two more guards hidden from plain sight, and now the
The cobblestone lined path leading to the
East gate with tied up prisoners on either side of
the road. The two failed to notice the extra
Dinomen on top of the gate.
two lab jockeys were outnumbered two to one. One good shot left one of the three stunned, but as the three overwhelmed Sophie, her active defenses failed, and she took a severe wound to the torso. She began to all-out defend and use feverish defenses to regain composure as Wynter slowly plinked weak crossbow darts from her repeating bow at them. The opportunity to fight back presented itself when Sophie recovered from the shock penalty and one of the lizards took a small amount of shock from a dart, sending him into a death spiral as they focused on downing one each at a time. By luck and tenacity, they got out of the fight alive. Everyone unfortunately failed first aid on Sophie, so she had to use one of the potions she was making earlier after the fight to deal with the wounds.
When the two scientists got to the top of the gate, they saw the human prisoners being flanked by two groups of 25 soldiers. Wynter thought the best idea would be to somehow rescue the huge array of prisoners but had to figure out a way to keep the enemy soldiers from entering the gate. Sophie in a flash of brilliance and pyromania deployed a device she was tinkering with [using up two of her gizmos for the session] she invented an arrow that spilled Alchemist's fire gel as it was ignited and sailed through the air, creating a firewall to protect the road up to the waters edge where all the human prisoners were being kept. She succeeded in creating the firewall separating out a remainder of three enemy combatants from the rest of the group. They freed a few prisoners and Corduroy and instructed the prisoners to begin freeing everyone else as the three cast members reunited and fought a battle on much more even terms and easily won.
After everyone was back in the town, Sophie tried to set a trap near the gate [last gizmo,] but it blew up in her face shocking and stunning her [critical failure] but Wynter and Corduroy easily rescued her from the trap. not being deterred, she looted a chemistry shop for more alchemist fire that just happened to be nearby, and built another trap. The purpose was to take out several enemies at once because they couldn't continue fighting them hand to hand and hope to win.
Wynter looked over the gate one more time as the Alchemist's Fire began to die down, but got a bad feeling again looking at the army formations. This was again another diversionary tactic she believed.
The group decided to abandon this gate and again check on the main Southwest gate, but then they stumbled upon the session mini-boss.
9 enemy combatants: a Flesh eating ape flanked by 8 dinomen handlers. This is when suddenly Corduroy remembered the spirit box the group discovered from the first trip in the forest; it can summon an air elemental. Summoning the greatest spirit it could muster [using templates from Dungeon Fantasy 9: Summoners] and aiming straight for the ape, the entire party brought it to negative HP in one turn, but its high health kept it going. and now the enemies angrily rushed towards the party. They kept plonking arrows at it or magic in the case of the elemental but it didn't collapse until almost reaching the party. A large group gathered right in front of Sophie getting ready to swarm her, but she had dropped her bow and was preparing another Alchemist's fire grenade for this group. Miraculously, the grenade went off and soaked four Dinomen in one shot, while the cloud and Corduroy distracted the others. Wynter continued shooting arrows from her fast firing repeating cross bow as Sophie drew her sword and Corduroy drew his trusty broomstick. Sophie pushed one of the dinomen into the still blazing  alchemist's fire, as Corduroy beat another down with his stick. Wynter successfully shot one dead, and the remaining Dinoman was stunned. The group decided to take the dinoman and the flesh eating ape prisoner and tied the two together while they were unconscious. The party realizes they don't remember what happened to Gregor.

After Action Reports

  • It was remembered too late that wild talent, which both Corduroy and Wynter have could have come in handy. The party is thinking of using Wild Talent to leverage siege weapons (if they can find them) and beat large groups at a time. I suggested maybe leadership to coordinate a militia from atop one of the walls to shoot down on the invaders
  • Some of the combats seemed to take too long. Towards the end, I started letting the party down enemies faster. 
  • Luck was crazy awful, I think there were 7 critical failures last night.
  • Quick Gadgeteering is super powerful. Sophie isn't breaking the rules, but maybe it is meant to be that way for how bad she is at fighting.

Rules Commentary

  • I came up with a system for determining the health of the gate that Dick and Kelly are maintaining because I couldn't remember the rules exactly. It works ok, it just has a steeper slippery slope than the regular system I think.
  • I think its kinda cheesy to have to resort to this, but since fights were dragging out, I turned on the fodder rules for dealing with the weak dinomen, allowing them to be defeated with a single HP of injury. Some people were recommending I check the horde rules closely. I feel like they would only slow things down, but maybe I should check them again?
I included some map photos this time. I dunno if they help make the story any more clear or not, but there they are.

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