Sunday, February 7, 2016

Session Capture: Varens Session 4, Where in our heroes beat up a bunch of lizards.

Oh joy, you guys are a hoot.
I've written a few session captures before, but this is the first time I'm putting them on a blog. I dunno a standard formula to do this so I think I'll borrow the advice from here from Dungeon Fantastic for now. Experiment with that, and then season it as I feel appropriate. Let's see what happened in a very meta special episode where suspension of disbelief was only optional. Welcome to the country of Varens.

The Cast

  • Lemmy - Lemmy is a womanizing bard, who's handler is not available right now as he goes and tends to an apprenticeship program out of state
  • 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.
  • Stuart ("Corduroy") - 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.
  • Wynter - A scholar who has just wandered into the town of Wood's Edge.


Previously, Lemmy, Sophie, and Corduroy previously helped a traveling rich family on Thicket Pass, a dangerous shortcut through a nearby forest. After saving them it was requested that the group fetch a briefcase containing valuable documents that was thrown from the side of the carriage before they were attacked.

On Day 4 of our campaign, Sophie was annoying the snot out of everyone by getting up early. She was kicked out of the tavern early and decided to go do some morning chemistry to shake the sleepies away, she needed to stop by a shop to pick up glass bottles.
However, the shop keeper who sells empty bottles was mad at Sophie for some reason; well, the two of them fight for no discernible reason often. Sophie buys something cheap, shatters it or burns it, and asks for another. She says it shouldn't matter to the shopkeeper, he's making money whichever way she uses it. She manages to scrounge up some bottles anyway, who knows how. With bottles in hand, she travels outside of town to hunt for potion making herbs.
A traveler shows up at the edge of town and the town's guard, a dumb man named Kelly, and his old rude mother, Dick asks her to explain what she is doing, and Kelly concludes she might be a troll from the very vague answers given. "I have been traveling for 18 days," she says, and nothing more.
Corduroy hears this somehow, and thinks, "customer." He goes out to invite her to his inn, and also to to gather up Sophie who is now ok to come back to the tavern. Beatrix, the one-legged owner of the competing inn ominously mentions, "there is filth gathering up in this town, I see," and Sophie volunteers to clean it up as she reasons Beatrix must be talking about the remains of the fireworks and partying last night.
After cleaning, Sophie goes to look for some work, and finds a job; Percy, the owner of a document and book warehouse wants her to destroy some documents irrecoverably. She gladly accepts the job and decides to burn the pile right in front of the glass maker's shop. She invents a one use music box to play some annoying music loudly as she burned the documents. Realizing she had nothing to gather the ashes up after burning them, she asked the glass shop owner if he had any containers for sale, and he wouldn't sell her anything. Sophie somehow got Percy to give her a bag to gather up the ashes, and she said she had business somewhere else, so she could dispose of them far from town.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.
On Day 5 of the campaign, Sophie wakes up very early and wakens the guest, Wynter, and says its time to pay up or mosey out. Corduroy finding out Wynter is nearly broke decides to pay her upkeep out of pocket, and invites her to make some money with both Sophie and himself, by helping retrieve the briefcase from the forest. She vaguely mentions again she has been travelling for 18 days, but agrees to go with them.
On the way, Wynter's ability to speak with animals comes to light as she hears some rats plotting to attack the travelers, this ruins the ambush, and the rats are soundly defeated.
Pressing further into the darkening forest, Wynter notices that the party is being followed by dire wolves. The fight is long and arduous as the Damage resistance is nearly surmountable for two members of the team. Wynter is bitten during the fight. Finally, after some deceptive strikes, one of the wolves enters the death spiral of shock penalties and is defeated, and the party soundly defeats the other.
Sophie does first aid for Wynter, and then decides to burn the wolves bodies in a pit. Wynter is surprised by this, and requests that the wolves are at least skinned first. After the wolves are skinned, Sophie again proceeds to throw the dead bodies into a hole and start a fire. While the bodies are burning, she throws the ashes of the documents in along with them. She urges the party to wait until the fire goes out and then buries the ashes. She thanks Corduroy for forgetting to put the shovel away on their last trip home. As Wynter's wounds did not fully heal, Sophie uses one of her many potions to help heal the last bit.
Finally the party arrives at the scene described where the briefcase would be, but, for no especially good reason of coincidence, there also happened to be a large group of Dinomen around. Wynter was able to spot them before the Dinomen spotted the party. Sophie wanted to set an ambush and invented a tripwire with a rope that Corduroy had, and invented caltrops with the empty glass bottle from the potion that Wynter drank.
Corduroy asked the party if hey could just sneak around the dinomen and grab the case; it didn't seem like they knew about the briefcase. After arguing for a bit, the group decided the direct approach was best approach.
Sophie wanted to use a bonfire to attract the dinomen to her trap, and according to Wynter's mastery of strategy, it should have worked. However, the dinomen, for some reason didn't leave their post.
Sophie, angry her perfect trap was defeated, decided to take things into her own hand, and aimed at the more ornately decorated leader. She aimed to kill, but failed by a few hit points. The near fatal wound sent the leader into a retreat, but he commanded all his soldiers to attack as he retreated.
By happy coincidence, all of the dinomen came into the trap simultaneously, and they all failed a contest of perception versus Sophie's trap making skill, and all fell face first into a pile of glass. Although the glass did very little damage, the majority were mentally stunned and the battle was a curbstomp.
Sophie thought it would be a good idea to take one prisoner to find out more about the escaped leader, but the others just wanted them dead.
When digging through the bodies for treasures, Corduroy found a very mundane quart flask, but with nice inlays and trimmings, making it slightly valuable. Sophie heaped the dead bodies onto the still burning lure fire gleefully watching it all burn. Wynter found the documents and thought about reading them for a while, but restrained herself. Sophie decided to throw the empty briefcase into the fire, but Corduroy grabbed it out of the fire before it ignited.
The trip home was mostly uneventful, and they returned the documents unscathed and were paid as promised.

After Action Reports

  • I think it would have helped if I made time to have the new character sheet completed before the session.
  • I would like to understand the player's motivations better. It is hard for me to direct a sandbox without knowing what the player's want. I'm starting to put enough story fodder together to develop a plot for one character though.

Rules Commentary

  • Deceptive Strike (as everyone knows) is and was critical for winning fights.
  • I feel like it is hard to grasp what is fair and what is not with quick gadgeteer. It is an expensive advantage, so it should be a powerful ability, but I wonder if I'm letting it be too powerful even when following RAW?
  • After the session, I played around with some mechanics to find means by which Wynter could use a whip more effectively. 2 DR wolves were effectively show stoppers with the 1/2 armor divisors. I think Low Tech Companion 2 with a little bit of reverse engineering has lead me to some fair pricing for some slightly stronger whips with no armor divisor, and I'm playing with Kusarijutsu (me dumbly thinking a kusari and a whip are similar enough) from Martial Arts to figure out some helpful techniques for a whip user.
I somehow misplaced the small world map recently, so I have nothing to show for that, and I didn't think to take a photo of the map during the fights, so don't have that either. Gotta remember that for next time.

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