Wednesday, December 23, 2009

S&W Game Play Journal: The Best Laid Schemes...

So we haven’t played in a long time, but the idea hatched in the last session was that the characters were going to lay a trap for local merchants by whom they’d been hired as guards (mostly to protect againt a known group of goblins). The idea was to have three party members lay in wait in darkness at a hairpin turn in the road and creek crossing - these party members would jump the merchants wagon (who couldn’t wait for a larger caravan) and an elaborate set of signals would provide communication between the two members with the merchants and the others which would culminate in the merchants being robbed but everyone remaining alive and well. It wasn’t clear at the outset if everyone actually intended for that to happen, but that was the plot they all agreed to with one another. The two characters with the merchants are Neutral in alignment btw, and the three who were to fake ambush them are all Chaotic.

Now Olav the (NPC) dwarf, an experienced (and trusted by the townspeople) caravan guard was along on the wagon. He was looking for real money here, having been talked into this scheme by Wagstaff the Thief, during a bout of heavy drinking. Since the last session (over several weeks), he’d been loaning his new comrades money to feed and shelter them. He was now half as rich as he had been since the fight with the rats, and the only reason he was entertaining Wagstaff’s idea was that the rat extermination job had earned him more in one day than a week had on the road as a guard (and they hadn’t even completed the rat job). He was also assured there would be no killing. Olav’s contribution to the scheme was to suggest the ambush location and convince the merchants when to depart in order for darkness and the rendevous point to be arranged properly. He’d heard that his proposed ambush point was also used by goblins as a location to raid traveling merchants, but he’d never had a problem in his guard duty, so he thought it very unlikely that the party would run into anything like this.

The day came for their evil scheme to take place - three had gone ahead the day before to hide at the ambush site, and Olav and Agnal rode on the wagon with the merchants - cloth merchants, as luck would have it...

(At this point I rolled to see if there was going to be any goblin activity at or near the ambush point on a roll of 1 in 6 - I rolled a one, so there were in fact goblins planning on going there near the same time.)

A couple of hours before the ambush was to take place, Snits the Elf, Berk the Fighter, and Agnal the Chaotic Cleric were hunched resting near the creek site when they heard voices coming closer. Agnal knows Goblinoid, and warned the others to get ready. They spotted four goblins approaching, hugging the road on either side of it. One was clearly slightly larger and it was he who was talking to the others, although what he was saying couldn’t be ascertained exactly at this distance.

Agnal then shouted out something to the effect of “Join us or die!”... the goblin lieutenant responded, “Why should we join or fear those that we cannot see?!?” Whereupon Agnal told the others to attack. Snits cast her Protection from Evil as Berk charged the lieutenant with his spear after missing him with a javelin. Agnal waited for the goblins to close. The goblin leader drew a short bow, and gravely injured Berk as he was charging, then slew him once he had closed and initially missed with his charge. Snits faired poorly, her attacking goblin scoring a lucky first hit. She was downed to zero one round later, her attacker running to join the attack on Agnal. Agnal had faired poorly too, and was reduced now to just one hit point. He surrendered and begged pathetically for his life just before Berk was slain by the leader.

The goblins dragged the lifeless carcass of Berk over to Agnal, as well as the unconscious and bloodied Snits to where he could see her. The goblins were obviously very pleased with their successful battle and also at having acquired the beautiful elven maiden. They applied first aid to her to keep her alive “for a few weeks” and asked Agnal why they should not kill him.

Agnal spewed a bunch of BS that even the goblins wouldn’t buy at that point. In the end they stripped him of literally everything he had on him, and told him to go back up the road to town as a mark of humiliation and as a warning or morale destroyer to the “huge party of dangerous adversaries” he’d tried to fool them into believing was coming very soon.

Shortly later, Wagstaff and Olav were surprised to see the naked and bloodied form of Agnal on the road, lumbering in their direction. Agnal’s story to the merchants was that he and his two (now dead and missing) friends had left town looking for better or more work (the merchants recognized him as someone they’d seen with Wagstaff and Olav at the local tavern) when they’d been jumped by goblins up the road. There was some discussion at that point whether they should continue and try to find a new route (and the remaining party improvise another ambush or some other trickery). The merchants, however, insisted on going back to town to join a larger caravan and to notify the militia of yet another goblin incursion.

Lesson here being, never split the party (even above ground). It’s possible an arrangement might have been reached with the goblins through another approach, but for now the party is back in town, poorer and down two of their number from where they were before. Needless to say, Olav is irate at this turn of events, especially since he will now never be repaid his loans to the former party members. Veritas only knows what the goblins are up to with Snit - one shudders to think. I suppose this is a bit of instant karma for these chaotic PCs, although it could have happened to anyone too (if only I hadn’t rolled that 1 on d6 early on). Berk chose to use the d30 on his spear charge, only to roll a 2. That could very well have killed him, although he does have a DEX -1 modifier and crappy armor already. It remains to be seen whether Olav will give up adventuring completely and turn into an honest working dwarf like his brothers, although something tells me his drinking may get the better of him again soon... As for Agnal, his self-esteem has hit a new nadir, this latest sorry event following on the heels of his public humiliation and exile from the previous settlement he'd tried to undermine. Wagstaff is happy to be alive and to have earned another gold piece for his time tonight - but money is running out quickly and desperation growing.


Zak Sabbath said...

It's nice to have PCs who make plans.

Rusty said...

...even when the plans come to nothing.

Nice summary. Sounds like an interesting and fun session, despite the death and humiliation.

Agnal must have looked like he had just completed a fraternity hazing.

Old4Eyes said...

Ouch - score one for the Goblins! Never underestimate a Goblin Archer.....B-)

ze bulette said...

Agnal is really becoming a fun character to watch - these experiences are only making him more bitter, evil, and unpredictable. We did have a good time tonight though, even with the turn of events.

SHARK said...

Awesome Blog, my friend! I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Keep up the good work!

Semper Fidelis,


Don Snabulus said...

Thanks for posting the adventure. Fun times.

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