The missing husband, part 2 of 2

Zombie Gnoll

Every-two-weeks-Friday-night games are gone in favor of weekend-game-whenever-we-can-make-it-fit-night game. We met up early, had supper. Theoretically discharged social energies, sent the kids to bed and got ready to play. More on that later on.

After their encounter with the group of kruthiks and zombies, the « heroes » rested up and… nearly decided to go back to the caravan and let the husband’s corpse rest wherever it may be.

A few of them argued that they should go back in the hole and solve this puzzle.

This is one of the problem I struggle with regarding the party at this point – they basically have no motivation to adventure. I have failed to pull it out of them and the core role-player of the group is playing a sociopath… which can be intimidating to the budding role-players. I love the sociopath PC, but we need to find a way to rein him in a little – to make him somewhat fit with the party… even if its a bit against his will. More on player/PC motivation to come…

Lord Adelinde’s note book contained cryptic notes leading to the location the heroes were already in. A few scribbled maps made them believe that they were near the adventurer’s quarry: Aararlo tomb.

Note to self: create names that you can pronounce… or at the very least, practice it a few times around.

According to the notes Aarlarlo was a legendary gnoll warrior that has been buried here with his treasures and a few servants. Lord Adelinde was persuaded that a valuable artifact was hidden here – though he did not write what it was.

The heroes decided to risk the adventure – perhaps the treasure would be worth it.

Rolen and Arkanys devised a plan where they would cover themselves in kruthik blood and carry body parts – the smell of the defeated kruthiks might help in fending off any remaining members of the horde. Kruthiks are in there for the food – if the prey is too strong, they’ll keep their energies for easier prey.

It did not take them long to stumble into a cave filled will young kruthiks, feeding on corpses at various stages of decomposition.

The critters rapidly sense the incoming footsteps… as well as the blood of their fallen elders. They fled the room in haste through various crevices in the walls, a flurry of wild clicks filling the air.

What they left behind is some kind of crude burial room. One gigantic coffin sounded by a few smaller ones. On the wall above the giant coffin hung a dream catcher.

A giant gnoll zombie – roughly twice the size of a regular human – stood among the corpses, surrounded by a batch of smaller zombies. It held a bastard sword in one hand and his eyes were aglow with hatred – something the heroes are not used to see on a zombies.

Following another one of Phil’s advise to change the flavor of the encounter, I used a solo monster instead of a group of monsters. I knew the fight was going to be easier than the first one. I wanted to give it a different feel to try and satisfy the more story-oriented players of the group.

Sensing something was odd with the dream catcher device, Arkanys quickly teleported in front of it and seized it. Something was afoul indeed: the device, usually used to keep evil spirits out, was actually rigged to keep evil spirits in! Over the years, the evil spiritual energy in the room was dense enough to raise the entombed into the horrors standing before the heroes.

While Arkanys was working the tribal macrame, the rest of the crew started to work on the zombies.

In no time – in great part due to Dali‘s magical prowess and the power of Iris‘ faith – only Aararlo and a corruption corpse were left standing.

Arkanys then slashed at the dream catcher – releasing a wave of radiant energy, burning at the remaining undead. The corruption corpse at his side was thrown 25 feet away from him – giving the Shadar Kai enough time to ready his blade and prepare his vengeance.

Followin up on some good advice from my friendly neighborhood ChattyDM, I made the room’s interactive element more interesting than the player’s regular powers. In this case, breaking the dream catcher did a level 5 turn undead – enough to get rid of the minions, seriously injuring the artillery and possibly hurting the solo monster.

Sadly, so to speak, the party managed to get rid of all the minions before Arkanys got to the dream catcher. Nevertheless, I feel the prop worked, even though it was less cool than I wanted it to be.

Aararlo, however was unfazed and used his necrotic tendrils to latch onto Marisol, crushing her in his deathly grip.

While Benerra, the death-dealing rogue was embedding dagger after dagger in the monster’s forehead from afar, Rolen shot at the abomination’s tentacles in hopes of helping Marisol free herself.

Arkanys made short work of the corruption corpse and turned around just in time to see the abomination fall from one well-placed arrow go straight through Aarlarlo’s walking corpse.

The giant rotter fell to the ground… only to rise back up a few seconds later.

He was left alone and we usually take the creature pieces off the board as soon as they are dead… so I basically raised him right after he fell.

In retrospect, I should have left them remove the piece from the board and just put it back in later – I wasted a good suspense moment which might have made the encounter something special.

With the might of the six heroes combined together, Aararlo was quickly put to the ground and dismembered.

Searching the room and the corpse, they noticed that what first seemed to be the dream catcher’s frame was actually a crude bow.

Rolen quickly established that it was Aararlo’s bow – a crude-yet-effective weapon that could cause terrible bleeding to its target.

The also found a healing potion and a nice cache of gold pieces, as well as a ring worn by one of the lesser zombies.

Dali noticed that the ring matched Lady Adelinde’s ring and the corpse was most likely her husband’s – the body which they were to bring back for last rites.

Deciding that they would not want to carry the damned thing – even less than subject the widow to the sight of a zombified and horribly mutilated body, the heroes decided to give it its last rites on site and keep the ring as proof of their deeds.

The fight was way more easy than I wanted to. The main reason being that this is the first time I ever used solo / elite monsters. Aararlo actually had 2 action points to use and he used none! He could’ve done some serious damage and at least threaten the group. Raising him at a more climactic moment would have been great as well.

Nevertheless, I had handled this well. The fight lasted about one hour of game time. While I had no other combat encounter prepared, I had a pretty cool role playing scene that would tie in mostly everything and should send the heroes packing towards the Oracle of Spellgard.

Next post will tackle part one of the more role-playing-oriented part of this session.

Zombie Gnoll, (c) Wizard of the Coast

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Les commentaires de 7 sur “The missing husband, part 2 of 2

  1. Thats the most disgusting Gnoll Zombie miniature ive seen…. i want one 🙂

    Also – im looking forward to the roleplay analysis =D

  2. This is gonna be a very tough challenge to overcome. Ive never managed to get over it im my own game with you guys.

    Its definately a RP killer tough. Am not sure what can work or not with our group. Were a bunch of mixed elements that are looking for different enjoyments out of our sessions.

    The following is no offense to anyone, its simply a cold analysis of our gaming group by my point of view.

    Isis – Martin : Is the rule lawyer profile. He RP better then im my game tho which is good. But i always figured Martin as our backup in case a rule need some clarification and frankly, correct me if im wrong here, he seems to enjoy this role. Something ive learned by playing with him is that you need to use his devotion to the rules to your advantage and RP wise, you have to provoke him alot to have him go in RP mode.

    Marisol/Roland – Marianne’s : Those two are there to have fun. One dont like troublesome play details, and the other – well trained by you – enjoy fighting and using her cool powers, even tho she doesnt know them all by heart just yet. You know your lady better then i do, so ill leave it at that – but for Marisol, we will have to convince her that her totally cool paladin isnt powerless as she think she is… (i know, since ive built it). Marianne like to be involved in some side-quest mystery and it helps her focus to try to solve riddles or to connect hints leading to quests completion. Maybe it was a mistake to put her in a leadership role as her profile is leaning more towards the Hero groupie profile. I am not suggesting that we should use another humping imp on her, but i am sure you can come up with your own mystery for her to solve.

    Rogue that i forgot name of – Josée-A. : Our rogue is a Follower profile. She will roleplay if the others are, and she will remain silent if were focused in a fight. But if the table turn goofy, expect her to follow this mood. Her playstyle is ok and like all the 4 girls, need to work on her cards memorisation, but i am sure Martin is working hard with her for that.

    Last but not least, you have Dali, my own gf. MJ is in the group to have fun and her profile fit exactly with the Investigator profile. Give her a mystery and an NPC to bug about it and your set. Plus, she made her mage with an attitude fitting mine so we could both RP some funny situation when the group would get upset at me for whatever reason.

    So in short we have :

    Rulelawyer
    Fun making
    Fun making / Hero groupie
    Follower (fun making too)
    Investigator

    And me… Theatrical.

    An interesting challenge here my friend 🙂

  3. @Arkanys Blackbane :

    Yup, that’s similar to my assessment.  Its actually a normal thing – especially with a big group: that’s 6 players! – to have wildly diverging interests.

    I’m trying to have every one of my session cater to most player’s needs with a focus on one particular style of play – this way, over the sessions, everybody should get their’s.

    The Kruthik encounter – very hard and crunchy combat challenge – was mostly to please the power/meta gamers and the strategists. (Martin & Steve rejoiced)

    The last session, I tried to add more story and social interaction elements to get to the players more interested in role playing and story.  (Steve and both Mariannes)

    I haven’t figured out exactly Josée and MJ’s – I’m tempted to believe that they mostly enjoy the social activity of being there, playing with their friends (and respective boyfriends).  Reading your description, perhaps I should have tried to pull her more into the « SCI » scene with Eldak…

    Of course, being a fully green DM (experience, schmexperience), I haven’t figured out the proper mixture.  I might have leaned to heavily on the role playing and lost the other players there. 

    I think I need to find a way to hold the attention – even if it means *gulp* asking for a bit more decorum 🙂

    Maybe skill challenges, or background music, or sound effects or more theatrics?

    Oh, and you – you’re an instigator.

    Look it up 🙂

  4. Instigator… well…ahmm ok yeah youre right. 😛

    Im gonna suggest an experience to Marisol next game. For the next session, im gonna switch char with her so she can see what her char is capable of. Im sure Arkanys will have a sweeter mood during that session under her command, but if youre willing, im volunteering for this task…

  5. I can’t wait to DM for you guys tomorrow. I hope you’ll go gently on me… but I won’t 🙂

    Are you ready for the Dungeon Reality Show?

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