Telengard 2, Session 12: All hell breaks loose

Apologies in advance as this is both a very long and somewhat obscure post, even for a session report.  These session reports always leave out lots of stuff, but this time the party (and to a lesser extent the players, maybe) had a bit of a blow-up over the division of some loot.  Also, they resolved it by writing little snatches of in-character fiction, which I think is pretty damn cool.  So, in order for the player stories to make sense, I need to give a little more than the usual background.

The party left the upper levels of the Citadel of Chaos for this session, as we’d run out of time last session.  They knew the statues should still be inside, and that most of the inhabitants of the citadel had been slain, but with the paladin back at the table, they took a slow and cautious approach to ‘clearing’ the tower.  Generally the paladin would try to detect evil at every door, and those with evil would be explored first, after the rogue, assassin, and even the dwarf checked for traps.

I’ve been using a set of mini battle mats from a 3e era Dragon magazine that depicts a five story tower, and the layout is reasonably rational, with lots of barracks rooms.   Most of these were empty, apart from a pair of thugs who had been holed up there after the carnage last week, and a pair of wights on another level, one of whom was the infamous Gordo the Strong from the first campaign.  The dwarf ‘borrowed’ the assassin’s magic scimitar so he’d be able to fight the wights, which presaged the disputes over magic items to come.  The party found a few red pills, and could not resist using their player knowledge to recognize them as the same red pills Gordo administered after his week-long intense training courses to grant a +1 Strength.  Tucking these away, the party proceeded to the next level of the tower, where they faced a Bone devil.  I’d figured a devil of some kind was helping the chaos cultists (I am using a five point alignment system ala WFRP, so devils are just evil, not lawful evil), and bone devils are mere lesser devils, right?

The party was having a tough go of things at first, but the tide turned when the cleric entered the room and noticed some chalk markings all around the perimeter, which he promptly began rubbing out. The rest of the party was aghast, and now the devil was free to go wherever he wants…

Against all odds the rogue was able to decipher a chaos acolyte’s prayerbook and read a Command spell, which the devil, against all odds, failed to save against (I did not think to check if C&C allows this spell to effect 9 HD monsters but I was feeling a little generous since it was an interesting move and the cleric’s suicidal impulsiveness was at risk of killing the whole party).  He ordered it to flee, and it uses it’s teleportation power to do so.

At this point the party gathered what loot as they could, including the statues, and adjourned to the inn to divide up the red pills post haste.  This led to about 45 minutes of debate and argument about who who benefit most from them, what would be fair, and what would benefit the party the most.  This led to a vote, which Tom the dwarf player, summarizes below:

The tower was defeated, but the devil is running free. Three pills sat on the table (well six actually but some were partially dissolved); five faces glared at them.
“I want them all, after all they would help me the most.  I am the only one using a two-handed weapon.  They would give me the might of a stone giant,” said the dwarf said with avarice.
“I want them too,” said the paladin, giddy with greed.  “Why should you get them all?  It would be better for the party if it was spread around,” he continued, leaning on his magic sword and polishing magic shield.
“Well, I guess it would be only fair if all the warriors got one,” said the dwarf.
“No,” said the Paladin, “the barbarian is not here, so he is not entitled to a share.”
“Well what about the rogue, he could use some muscle.”
“It would be a waste I never fight,” the rogue said.
“With two pills I could have the strength of a Hill Giant.  I want two,” clarified the paladin, while leering down at the dwarf, “one will do me no good, nor will three, so you can have one.”
“But one would make me as strong a Hill Giant, and two will allow me to use my Battleaxe with a shield, and three will give me the strength of a Stone Giant.   Clearly none would be a waste if all three went to me.” The dwarf said with rock solid logic.
“Two for the paladin, one for the dwarf,” said the cleric, the second most unwise thing he proposed — the first clearly being his attempted deal with the devil.  Yet the statement was only the third most unwise thing he did that day.  The second was erasing the magic ward imprisoning the devil so he could try to strike a deal.   The dwarf simply looked at him, dressed in his chaos armor and wondered how the gods could favor him.  Surely they are not very observant.   But the gods are crazy, allowing his devout to talk of murder and rape with glee, and only judging actions.  As if talk and threats were not actions.
“Let’s put it to a vote!” said the Assassin with girlish glee while stroking the paladin’s thigh from under table.
“We rely pretty heavily on the dwarf to get us out of trouble,” said the rogue. “I say the dwarf”
“Well, if I were as strong as the dwarf I would fight more,” said the paladin. Flabbergasted the dwarf appeared to be the only one at the table to realize that he was as strong as the dwarf, and that the paladin already had the best armor and weapons.
“I side with the paladin,” said the devil’s man.
The assassin, feeling his thighs getting wet, said “I have the deciding vote!  We all know that I stand with distributing the magic fairly, so I choose to give two to the paladin and one to the dwarf.  It is only fair that the paladin gets our magic shield and sword and be as strong as the dwarf.  We should not want the dwarf getting too powerful, and dwarf, can you give me back my magic sword?”
‘Never draw a sword in anger,’ the wise men always said.  The assassin took that one step further and never drew a sword in combat; clearly he needed the weapon back.
After carousing to forget his woes, Grundel awoke later that night. By candle light he retrieved his Book of Grudges, a holy work passed down through the generations by his clan to a worthy dwarf warrior.  The book detailed every injustice his clan has suffered at the hands of others.  Tonight he would ink the day’s injustice.
Translation: The dwarf, already with a 19 Str., could have gotten a 22 Str. with a +5 to-hit and damage bonus with all three pills, or a 21 with a +4 and the ability to use a two-handed weapon in one hand with 2 pills, or a 20 and the +4 with one pill; the paladin had an 18 strength going into it, and one faction thought giving him two pills and one to the dwarf would be best for the party (two +4 Str mod fighting types).  The whole thing led to some hard feelings, as the fiction suggests, but no permanent rifts. The assassin’s player contributed a little addendum, and Tom replied in kind, which seems to have smoothed things over:

I walk to Grundle after a nights thought; he handed me the group’s scimitar earlier in the day with a bit of disgust. I might of been a little intoxicated when thinking to give the Paladin two of the three pills, I am not sure if the Paladin is a dedicated man of god. I am not much of a holy man myself, in other words I don’t actively pray. It is eery to hear how this Paladin talk… I have not met many Paladins so I can’t really judge his character. I also see a start in a division between the party and don’t want to take part of that. Back in assassin school they told me that I can assassinate my way out of any problem… I never was the best assassin but I can’t find a solution through killing here. The room is dark and I hear a hiss when the dwarf throws a piece of hot steel into a bucket of water.

“Grundle,” I say in a light tone, he turns to speak but I continue before he has a chance to tell me off. “I am here to attempt to come to a common understanding.” Grundle tightens his grip on the tongs holding the heated steel. It is easier to talk to him when he is hard at work,

“I was in the wrong on how I came about with the pills,”

CLANK*

“and not only that; the attitude we share with each other all the time.

CLANK*

“I have a feeling you are rooting for me to die”

CLANK*

I pause for a second to think about that comment,

“Actually I feel the whole group thinks that way,”

CLANK*

“CAN YOU STOP HAMMERING FOR ONE SECOND PLEASE! But that must be me thinking to much. I can tell their is some conflict between you and the Paladin but I think we need to band together to fight this horde. Or a least find a common enemy, I joined this group because I thought we were going to become a great team. I am not in for the riches, but the gold will help me achieve my goal which for now I will keep to myself. In the end it looks like we have factions in our own group, on one side you, the rogue, and to me the bard… where ever he went. Then on the other the Paladin, and the Cleric. You might group me on that side but I don’t seem accepted on either side, nor would I want to be. The barbarian doesn’t seem to take sides, but out of everyone he is probably the only person who truly accepts me. I know you gave this back to me, but I am not worthy to hold this weapon. I realized that my skills are rarely used, and my support is limited, I will start to prove myself” I lay the scimitar next to him

 “I am not taking this back, I never use it; if it is needed, someone who can actually swing a weapon should wield it. It is the party’s so I have no claim on it.” The dwarf stops his crafting and looks me straight in the eye and says…

The next email story:

Grundel Grudgebearer stops the hammering and says “An axe is not a hammer; a hammer is not a nail. An axe can fell a tree but bends the nail. A nail is small but can hold the roof. There is no way to make a board and place it without all three. It’s better to do nothing than to work without everything. Think on it”

 CLANK, CLANG, CLANG, CLANK, CLANG, CLANK

 The assassin turns to leave and the hammer stops. “Wait, it is not the Clang or the Clank that hammers the sword to it shape. It’s the way the steel sings together. A good beating makes it stronger,” says Grundel, turning back to the forge.

CLANK, CLANG, CLANG, CLANK, CLANG, CLANK

Still a little unsure, the assassin turns away again. The dwarf puts down the hammer. “What it all means is a majority makes a minority. Iron is strong, but add coal and you have steel which can bend but not break…awh let me put it terms a manling can understand. Being in the majority is good but it divides us. Being in unity makes us all strong.”

Raising the hammer once more the dwarf says, “The gods made men tall so it would be easier to blow the wisdom from their brain.” CLANK, CLANG, CLANG, CLANK, CLANG, CLANK

I guess I should also explain that the paladin and cleric, who are thrown under a bus in the above exchange, have in fact been playing pretty fast & loose with morality, although in all fairness as DM I have really been at fault too, giving very little direction to them about how they ought behave as supporters of the Lords of Light (the good pantheon), and no ‘consequences’ to their actions and words. I even failed to castigate the cleric for trying to cut a deal with the Bone devil, possibly owing the amount I’d had to drink by that time.

Oh, the bone devil? When the party returned to deal with him, he used his devil abilities (animate dead, invisibility, teleporting) to some effect but a series of good rolls, and good tactics, led the party to defeat it.  The d30 rule was instrumental, as usual, in concert with the C&C cleric spell ‘Sound blast’ which cases d8 damage over an area… swap in the d30 and the cleric gets to nuke something every session.

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Published in: on April 24, 2012 at 8:00 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. In hindsight I think I should have not told the party what they were, only I would have remembered. I have to start to be more deceptive.


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