Session 8

July 12th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Special thanks go to Jesse H. for writing this fantastic recap of our Clayfinder (Pathfinder) session.

As the curtain rose, our heroes found themselves in mortal peril within the back alleys of South Derriksport, a besieged town at the southern tip of the Kingdom of Nara.  The kingdom’s Prince was on the verge of defeat at the hands of a flame-throwing mage.  Silas was trading blows with an equally matched orc opponent, and while each in turn had pressed the attack, neither had landed a hit.  Qunso had been enlarged by Carix’s magic and lay prone on the ground, the repeated target of vicious attacks from a nearby orc.  Kasyc slumbered inconveniently at the far end of the alleyway until the robed mage shot him with with a magic missile.  As he awoke to the pain of the magical strike, Silas managed to draw first blood against his orc opponent.  Carix had been busy fending off the attackers with repeated arrow strikes.

Little Paw, Brother, Runebeard, and Pitwick had found themselves transported to a different alley than the others.  Hearing the sounds of combat drift around the corners of the alleyway, Brother and Runebeard set off running, eventually rounding the corner to find their companions engaged in combat.  Just as they arrived, Qunszilla – who until this point had been fading in and out of consciousness – was scooching across the ground when his large orc opponent landed another strike.  As so often before, Qunszilla fell unconscious.  Carix buried another arrow deep into the flank of an approaching goblin, but the robed mage answered with a spell that caused the entire alleyway to explode into a tangled mass of spiderwebs.

Kasyc took to his feet and escaped the entanglement, but the unconscious Qunso wasn’t so lucky.  Both he and his attacker were pinned in place within the sticky threads of the web attack.  Unfortunately for the goblin mob, so were the rest of the attackers.  Prince Derrik took the opportunity to call forth a burst of healing energy that reinvigorated himself and brought Qunso back to his senses, if only to find himself stuck to the ground.  Silas capitalized on the webbing by slicing into his captive prey.  Brother marched up the the edge of the webbing where a small goblin hung impotently within its threads.  He raked it with his claws.

While the rest of the party was fighting the goblin mob, tiny Pitwick skulked around a distant corner.  Looking cautiously around, he spotted the robed mage.  Mistaking her for being alone and unable to see Kasyc, Pitwick cast a sleeping spell targeted directly at the mage.  Unfortunately, the  spell had no effect on the mage.  Doubly unfortunate, it had a tremendous effect on Kasyc who stumbled forward, swung uselessly at the mage, and then fell forward into a slumbering heap for the second time that morning.  Spotting Pitwick, the mage took to her heels and fled the scene.

At the opposite end of the alleyway, Prince Derrik fired off an arcing blast of lightning at Silas’ orc target.  The bolt landed square in the monster’s chest and electricity immediately coursed throughout its body.  Much to everyone’s surprise, it then caused the beast’s chest to explode in a shower of gore and foul smelling blood.  At Silas’ elbow, Runebeard hefted his great ax high over his head, and in a single blow, cleaved the small tangled goblin in half, its insides spilling out across the ground.  With no more concern than as if parting a curtain, Brother tore a path through the center of the cleaved goblin and waded deep into the webs.  Their sticky bindings were no match for his brute strength and he quickly made for the orc menacing Qunso.  With a roar, Brother let loose a horrific flurry of furry claws and the last of their foes was torn to ribbons in no time.

With the mage gone, the spiderwebs quickly dissolved.  Little Paw roused the sleeping Kasyc and the heroes gathered to heal their wounds and regroup.  Ever the trickster, Pitwick – who until now had not been seen by half of the group – decided the best plan of action was to disguise himself as Lord Takeo and rejoin his companions doing his best impression of godliness.

“Well done, everyone!” the diminutive god said to his confused audience as he donned a pair of parchment wings.  The Prince was not impressed.

“Now is not the time for merriment,” he sighed with crossed arms.

Carix stood beside the Prince, befuddled by his dismissive attitude towards his own god.  Apparently Carix had been completely taken in by Pitwick’s ruse.  Despite repeated attempts by the Prince to convince him otherwise, Carix could not accept that Takeo was in fact merely their resident halfling showman.

As the two bickered, a nearby shop door opened and a nearly naked man stepped out into the back alleyway.

“Please!  Follow me!  I’m here to help you!”

Kasyc, the eternal skeptic, was true to form.  “Look, I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but why should we trust you.  You’re naked.”

Their new arrival introduced himself as Carl, a recent slave escapee.  Kasyc was quick to turn angrily towards the Prince.

“Oh, so you allow slave labor in your lands?”

The Prince frowned.  “No, ” explained Carl, “No, the forces that attacked this town enslaved me.  I recently escaped and have joined with the rebellion.”

“Oh,” Kasyc mumbled.  “Oh, I … I misunderstood.”

Little Paw addressed Carl.  “How many of them are there, these attackers?” Carl proceeded to tell of how eighteen ships, each laden with roughly one hundred goblins, mages, slaves, and drow elf masters had landed a fortnight ago and had taken the town.

Qunso, still enlarged by Carix’s spell, had been keeping watch over the rooftops at the far end of the alley.  As Carl told his story, the albino giant worked to get his companions’ attention.

“We have company coming,” he said.  “Dozens of them.”

“Please, follow me!” Carl implored again and led the group into the storefront from which he had emerged, including Qunszilla who squeezed in through the doorway despite his size.  Once inside, Carl barred the door and moved quickly to a bookcase on the far side of the room.  He ran a finger across the spines of book after book until he came to his intended target, then snatched the book from the shelf, tossed it to the ground, and merely pulled a lever buried behind it.  Instantly the bookcase swung aside to reveal a hidden tunnel.  With Carl leading the way, the group poured into the tunnels that had been constructed over the last few weeks by the rebellion forces.  Pitwick spotted a passing rat and an idea seized hold of him.  Removing his pipes, the small bard played a lively tune and, before long, three rats were literally dancing behind the halfling and following his every move.  Little Paw was enraptured by the small creatures and quickly charmed one of the murine trio.  With a quick scamper, the little rodent was soon riding atop Little Paw’s shoulder as the druid herself rode upon Brother’s back.  Despite the piping and the rat charming, somehow Carix would still not accept that Pitwick was impersonating Takeo.

The bizarre procession wound their way through the tunnels until they came to a heavily barred wooden door.  Carl quickly approached and rapped loudly on a metal slide set at head level.  Instantly the slide drew back to reveal a questioning set of eyes.

“Who goes there?”

“Quick!  It’s me, Carl, and I’ve brought the Prince!”

“The Prince would never stoop so low as to come down here among this rabble.”

At that, Prince Derrik strode purposely forward.  “Open the door.  It is I, Prince Derrik van Nara and we have come to join with the rebellion.”

The eyes widened in surprise and instantly the door was thrown open.  Inside was a ragtag group of tired looking peasants and soldiers.  Some were armed.  Most were not.  They were filthy and huddled in the corners tending to wounds of varying severity.  They had clearly been on the losing end of many recent battles.  A well-armored knight dashed forward to great the new arrivals.  “Your Highness, it is a great relief to see you.”

“And you, Ser Saban,” the Prince said, recognizing the young man from the court nobility.  “Please tell us what has happened to the town.  Any news of my cousin, The Count?”

“No, Count Hightower’s keep has been besieged.  No one has been able to make contact for many days and nights.”

“Have you sent word to my father, the King?”

“We have sent word via messenger, both on foot and by horseback and also by way of carriage pigeon.  We have not yet received any response.”  Ser Saban went on to tell of how the evil forces had landed on the outskirts of town and distracted the city guard with empty boats.  While the guard faced what they thought was an invading fleet, the true invasion came from the outside woods.  The city never stood a chance.  As the survivors formed a rebellion that fought small skirmishes trying to win back their town, the monstrous army was razing the Derriksport to its foundations, burning all buildings to cinders.  Little Paw’s charmed rat scurried over to Ser Saban where it patted him consolingly on the shoulder and then returned to its perch atop the druid atop the bear.

There were many questions asked and answered from a flurry of voices.  “You know,” mused Carix, “it might not be a bad idea to allow this civic renewal project.  This kind of grand civil improvement might be just what this town needs.”  The Prince and Ser Saban ignored the elf, though Kasyc nodded in agreement.

“But, come!  Please, eat and rest,” pleaded Ser Saban.

“He didn’t answer my question,” Little Paw said defiantly to the Prince.  She sat atop Brother’s back with her arms folded, as did the rodent upon her shoulder.

“What was your question?”

“Is there food for Brother to eat?”

The Prince sighed.  “Ser Saban, is there food for our … bear to eat?”

Before he could respond, Pitwick piped up.

“He can eat my rats!”  Without another word, Pitwick set to playing a lively tune on his pipes and all of the rats throughout the tiny space gathered into a small cluster, laid down on their backs, crooked their paws and stared vapidly at the ceiling.  Before long, Brother had eaten a very satisfying docile snack.

As the rest of the group ate, they concocted a plan to make their way to the castle and attempt to restore contact with Count Hightower.  Pitwick explained in verbose detail how he could disguise himself as a goblin and sneak directly past the waiting guards, so long as they didn’t inspect him too closely.  Carl explained that he could speak goblin, and through magic, Pitwick and Carl devised a plan whereby the two would never been more than 120 feet from each other, communicating telepathically if need be in order to allow Pitwick to have a goblin translator at his aid.  The rest of the group would follow along at the outlier mark as Pitwick scouted ahead, signaling for the group as needed.  It was agreed all around that it was a fine plan, but one that would work best at night when they had the cover of darkness for assistance.  And so the companions rested.

As they rested, Little Paw talked with Carl in an attempt to better know their new acquaintance.  “Have you ever fought before, Carl?”

“I have,” the nearly naked man said sheepishly.  His eyes avoided hers.  “I have done … many things … in order to survive.”  Little Paw ignored his blushing and the two went on to discuss his fighting style.  Carl mentioned that he was most comfortable with a spear, though that spear had recently been taken from him.

“A quest!” shouted Qunso as he stood to his feet, now returned to regular size and perhaps slightly inebriated from their meal.  “A quest to find Carl’s spear and clothing!”

“But, I prefer the arcane,” Carl clarified, “and am more likely to use magic than my spear.”

Conversation and food gave way to drowsing by the fireplace.  In time, the sun had set and the band of heroes suited up on their way to to enact their plan.  Carl led the way through the tunnels and the group soon found themselves emerging into a deserted back alleyway.  Without so much as a goodbye, the brave little halfling set off to scout the nearby streets.  He found two major thoroughfares.  The first was large and well lit from a series of wall-mounted torches.  At the center of the first road stood a large fountain.  Two monstrous guards chatted easily in the roadway about the finer points of henchmaning and pillagecraft.  Pitwick snuck easily across the intersection of their roadway and his alley and moved on to the second thoroughfare.  This street was smaller and crooked.  In the middle of the road stood two goblins flanking a large wine cask.  The cask blocked the road and served for all intents as a toll crossing.  Pitwick settled on trying to sneak his way past the two guards down the larger street.  With a flourish, a daub of paint, and a slouching posture, the sly bard transformed himself into a perfect approximation of a goblin. At the far end of the alleyway, his companions watched on.  Inspired by the halflings handiwork, Qunso set about trying to disguise himself as one of the evil forces’ human slave masters.  Disguised as he was, Pitwick was able to stroll casually past the two oblivious guards.  Unfortunately, he discovered not one, but two more pairs of guards at the far end of the fountain.  Between the two pairs and mounted to the fountain itself was a red iron bell that the city guard had originally installed to aid with the city’s protection.  Now these monstrous usurpers were using the bells as a perverted signal system to call for onslaughts of elite guards.  Unsure of exactly how to proceed, Pitwick decided to merely lurk inconspicuously by the fountain as he telepathically strategized with his companions.

As Pitwick investigated the roadways, the remaining heroes were taking in their surroundings and expanding their plan.  The nearby buildings were only one story high and it was quickly decided that ranged cover could be given to Pitwick if a few party members scaled to the rooftops.  It was also decided that Carl could cause a distraction by acting, quite naturally, as a runaway slave.  This distraction would allow Pitwick the chance to hit some of the guards with a sleep spell as his companions covered him from the rooftops.  In a flash, Silas Timrin scaled the nearby buildings and hid himself among the shadows.  Carix and Kasyc were quick to follow and the three archers were soon perched high above the torch lit street.

Perhaps because he felt left out, but also perhaps because his brain was simply driven by instinct rather than reason, Brother the Bear also decided to scale the nearby buildings and take to the roofs.  As the rest of the companions cringed, the giant bear clambered up onto the rooftop amidst a noisy racket.   Unsurprisingly, the monstrous guards all noticed the sound of a nearby bear climbing up the side of a building and turned to face the rooftops.  Carl, however, picked that exact moment to rush forward and cause his distraction.  The nearly naked mage rushed frantically around the corner, looking over his shoulder and jibbering a string of panicked nonsense.  When he neared the guards, he spun around to face them and dropped to his knees.

“No, no!” he cried.  “Not more of them!” and he began to blubber into his hands.  The distraction seemed to work, as the two nearest guards slowly approached the runaway slave.  As the orc and goblin guards drew near, the curtain fell for the evening …