Wiltshire session 4

Session four began with the party leveled up (all 2nd now), but down the cleric and druid whose players were traveling for work and tuckered out from the last day of school, respectively. They returned to the dungeon, having sold the various artworks they’d looted and learning that they depict Bishop Wittenmane, who used to be seated at Sarum Cathedral long ago and who had a mixed reputation as a miracle worker and bogeyman to local children.

The party found th riddle door closed again, and this time it asked: “A vessel have I, that is round as a pear, moist in the middle, surrounded with hair; and often it happens, that water flows there.” After a few guesses ineligible for print, and a list of possible answers being provided when I realized how hard this one was when you don’t have a multiple choice as I did when I selected it, they got through.*

Retracing their steps, they delved deeper, first finding a room filled with jars containing the heads of long-dead men (presumably the bishop’s enemies). Disturbing the jars (to loot some jewelry, including a fine ring) opened a secret door. Beyond that they discovered a pair of rooms with what appeared to be taxidermized monsters: a saddled hippogriff  and winged snake. The snake turned out to be alive, was quickly dispatched by the fighter. They took the nicely tooled saddle as loot and spotted a secret door, leading to a partly flooded room with demonic tapestries. Beyond that lay a hall and antechamber, guarded by a vicious two-legged cat-beast. It damaged the fool and the fighter, but was finally defeated. The palmer was able to heal up the party using the miracle-working rules from Trinity (this is a playtest as well as a game after all). The door lead to another antechamber which emanated intense fear, causing the fighter to flee and the fool to run around in circles making a great deal of noise. The palmer chased after the fighter and brought him back, by which time the fool settled down too. Not wanting to risk facing the fear spell again (as the palmer tried and failed to cast Remove Fear, meaning he couldn’t attempt that miracle again today), they backtracked to another door they’d skipped.

This led to a burial chamber decorated like the cloister of an abbey, with a sarcophagus topped with the image of a nun on top. The palmer rushed in, and this caused several grylli to appear! The stone image of the nun became a gryllus in a nun’s coif and wimple, murmuring incomprehensible prayers, while three other grylli appeared from the decorated walls. Things went poorly for the party — the nun-gryllus cast sanctuary on herself while the others swarmed the palmer. On the party’s turn, the fool threw some well-aimed darts, killing on gryllus, but the fighter was unable to strike at the nun due to her spell. Things went even worse when the nun hopped atop one of the grylli fighting the palmer and cast Cause Light Wounds, sending him into negative HP. The fighting continued, with the fighter dropping another gryllus, but the nun cast darkness on the fighter, making his position untenable. The fool and fighter began to withdraw, leading to a low-speed chase. The grylli managed to find the fighter, though, and brought him down after a few more rounds. Thus the fool was the sole survivor.

All rolling was open and I was really rolling well, while the party was having worse luck. The encounter would have been a lot easier with more of the party present, of course.

The players started rolling up new characters: the fighter made a ranger (which for the medieval campaign is reskinned as a member of a secret militant order that vows to protect Christendom from monsters; anti-giantkin abilities transferable to another monster type of the player’s choice, since humanoids are not common or even known except as bogeys); the palmer hasn’t decided on a class yet.

New monsters:

Spiked cat-beast. AC 6, HD 3, attacks: two claws  (d6/d6), bite (d4), tail swipe (d4), explosive diarrhea (5′ cone, save vs Breath Weapon or take d4 damage + nausea lasting one turn, character is at half STR). It can make two attacks per round — typically leaping with two claws; if either hits it is latched on and attacks at +2 thereafter. Anyone wounded by the beast has a 25% chance of catching a parasite or disease.

Gryllus, common. All attributes as a Hobgoblin, but they may leap onto each other two high, thus fighting the same foe from one square (an advantage in tight areas like dungeons, and potentially allowing twice as many to swarm a foe a foe as would otherwise be able in open areas). Attack is a bite (d8); possibly some might be armed with spiked helms (damage variable).

Gryllus, abbess. Undefeated, so stats not yet revealed, but obviously able to cast three first level spells in an encounter.

Playtest notes: 1. The Palmer’s ability to cast spells is based on rolling a d20+level+piety+CHA bonus (AD&D reaction mod/5) versus 12+the spell level. Failure means that spell can’t be attempted again that day. I originally had it that one failure meant no further miracles can be attempted at all that day, but this had foiled all the palmers efforts to cast anything the first two sessions. This might need adjustment at higher levels though. 2. The fool’s lack of thief skills until 3rd level is too restrictive for such a poor combatant. I had been modeling it on an assassin’s thief skill advancement, but in hindsight the assassin’s backstab and assassination abilities, as well as shield and weapon use, seem to be better compensation than the fool’s social interaction and missile combat advantages. Plan: give them everything but Find/remove traps and Read languages at first level, but still no backstab and no using scrolls.


*An eye. “Round as pear” is kind of confusing.

Published in: on May 26, 2023 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

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