Monday, January 26, 2009

A slight delay but more Kalamar

Last week, the plan was to play Palladium Fantasy, GM'ed by John on Friday and then I'd DM the game of D&D 3.5e Kalamar for in-laws plus 1 on Sunday. Unfortunately, Beth was sick on Friday and I stayed home from work to help take care of her and watch the toddler. So we have indefinitely postponed that game.

But we did game on Sunday. Patrick and Daniel, my brothers-in-law, and Lindsay, Patrick's girlfriend, came over and we played for a couple of hours. Beth was busy baking pizza, brownies, and cookies and didn't join us, so Daniel ran her character.

Here's the rundown of the group:
Patrick plays Darwin, a level 5 grey elven sorcerer, with a rat familiar named Brisby.
Daniel plays Raizix, a level 5 human fighter.
Lindsay plays Jelena, a level 5 wood elf ranger, with a wolf companion named Amaterasu.
Beth plays Ember, a level 3 druid/level 2 rogue wood elf, with a dog companion named Fang.

During the last game, the group had just finished killing off one and driving off another giant octopus from Ejja-Vonan. The Senojy has given the group help in terms of free camels and 4 guides to assist them. They set out east, following their guides.

Four things happened during this part of the adventure:
  • The group was attacked by a giant ant lion
  • Their main adversary appears to them
  • Some plants pose not a problem at all
  • 2 dozen cultists impale themselves upon the blades and arrows of the group.
The group travels along, and the first thing they come across is a sand dune with a glint of gold at the bottom of it. Wary, Raizix approaches on camel back. He stand up in the saddle, and can make out some gold coins. Concerned about quicksand (prompted by an earlier discussion about character and equipment weights), he asks the others what they think. They try to bring the coins up using rope. While this does avoid approaching the pit, it really doesn't have much chance of working. After a few tosses, a giant ant lion emerges from the hole, and starts charging.

Jelena peppers it with a few arrows, and Darwin tries to hit it with a scorching ray before it rips into Ember and has grabbed her in its talons. Raizix runs up and drives his sword right through its exoskeleton and kills it outright.

Darwin, being the lightest, descends into the pit to see where the ant lion came from. He finds a tunnel, and he throws a rag doll down the rough corridor after casting a light spell upon it. He approaches slowly until he makes out a skeleton and some bones. Jelena and Raizix join him, followed by Ember.

Ember checks for traps and deadfalls, and them approaches the skeleton. She finds a few weapons and gold coins. Two of the weapons are magical, according to Darwin: a spear and a battleaxe. He takes the spear, and Raizix carries the battleaxe.

Later that evening, the party come across a black tent with a camel next to it. 'Fortunes' is written on a wooden sign that is situated above the tent flap. Curious about this tent, Raizix approaches, calling out the entire time. "Oi! Hello!" There is no response. He uses his sword to lift the tent flap, and sees little inside, as it is too dark.

He enters to find colorful silks hanging from the ceiling, and a siloutte farther back in the room. "Hello?" Still no response.

He pushes farther in and sees a figure with a hooded cloak sitting in a chair. There is a table, with a deck of cards, which the hooded figure picks up and then motions to an empty chair. "Hmm, a mute fortune teller. This should be interesting." As Darwin approaches from behind, Raizix sits down.

The fortune teller shuffles the deck of cards, and then places them face up, one at a time. First, a dark tower. Second, a ship. Third, a large coin. Lastly, a skull on a black background.

"Death!" Raizix immediately springs to his feet, bringing his sword accross his body, and into the figure before him. He recognizes Daresh before she begins to disppear, laughing.

The tent then begins to collapse, and Raizix and Darwin rush out of the tent. The tent smolders and disappears, and the camel shrinks and disappears inside itself. Darwin quickly determines that this is the result of a spell, and that Daresh or another wizard must be nearby. The group climbs to the top of a hill, but see nothing that would indicate her presence. Unperturbed, the group continues on.

The next day, the group comes accross some vampire cacti, which Ember and Darwin burn.

Later that evening, they see in the distance the hills of where the blue dragon is supposed to live. They also see smoke. They go as a group to investigate, but a guard comes upon them. Jelena shoots him before he can raise an alarm. The guides recognize him from his clothing. He belongs to a clan that worships the Emperor of Scorn. They believe that the Dejy are superior to all others, and that means the group is at risk of being attacked, especially considering they just killed one of the tribe.

Recognizing that eliminating this threat now may be better than having it attempt to follow, they quickly begin shooting into the nomad camp. They quickly kill the two dozen remaning members.

Here's character sheets after xp and treasure:

Darwin (Brisby, rat familiar)
Jelena (Amaterasu, wolf companion)
Ember (Fang, dog companion)

I had a few problems with this part of the adventure. First, all the encounters were too easy. I'm not certain if this is because the PCs are too high of level or if the threats were just easily overcome. Plants for example, don't pose much threat if they can't move and if the PCs heed the warning of the guides. Also, 24 CR 1/2 warriors that don't wear armor is a little too weak. I assumed they were somewhat proficient with their quarterstaffs (value: 0), and wielded them as a double weapon as implied by their stat block. Due to the lack of equipment or good stats, I made them CR 1/4, because even a kobold is more of a threat than the tribesmen were. The only possible threat was the ant lion. Ember could have been more seriously injured if the initiative order had been different.

We also got a new table at IKEA earlier in the day which was a vast improvement over our previous arrangement.

IKEA table

Comments welcome!

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