"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2E Rise of the Runelords - Session 7

Note that there are spoilers for Paizo's Rise of the Runelord adventure path.

Session 7: Assault on Thistletop – The Fire Goblin

This adventure was played on January 15th, 2010, and featured:
- Kobb “One Tusk”, the half-orc mercenary,
- Toran Stargazer, the young thief from Magnimar, and
- Asreal Nom, the human (Shoanti) ranger.

And also included:
- Kobb’s henchman, Kurzek Irontusk, a half-orc fighter/thief, and
- Toran’s henchman, Vicoren Shieldheart, a cleric of Desna.

And introduced:
- The Wanderer, the as yet unnamed Shoanti druid,
- Roland, the paladin of Iomedae, and
- Saphara, the female, half-elven magic-user.

Summary: The party sets off for the goblin lair of Thistletop to find Shalelu the elven ranger and to deal out some punishment for the goblin raid on Sandpoint only to come limping back to town defeated and bloody.

I. A Visit from Aldern Foxglove. While the other members of the party are defeating the Imp in the catacombs below the town of Sandpoint, Asreal the Ranger recuperates in the Rusty Dragon and idly ponders where he lost a sock. While sitting in the common room of the inn, Aldern Foxglove, the noble the party saved during the goblin raid on Sandpoint, enters the inn. The nobleman is wearing his usual finery, but Asreal notices that his pants, shirt cuffs, and finger nails are all very dirty. Aldern is very happy to see Asreal and once again expresses his gratitude for saving his life. He tells Asreal that he has been overseeing carpenters that are repairing his manor to the southwest of town. He also tells Asreal that he is returning to the city of Magnimar and would be very happy to provide hospitality to the party if they find themselves in that city.

II. The Party Returns. Shortly thereafter, the rest of the party returns from their harrowing battle against the Imp (see Session 6). While recounting their tale of heroism and valor to Asreal a pair of merchants enter the inn. They appear to be battered and bruised and ask about the location of the Sheriff. They describe to the party how they were traveling to Sandpoint from the east and were a couple hours away when they were ambushed by goblins. The two merchants were quickly knocked prone and the goblins managed to steal their prize horse. They claim that it was only the trouble the goblins were having manage the magnificent horse that allowed the two merchants to escape with their lives. They offer the party a reward of 300 gp if they are able to recover the horse.

III. Father Zantus’ Plea. Toran made his way to the Cathedral to ask Father Zantus for healing aid in the morning before the party sets out for Thistletop. Father Zantus asks Toran to return Father Tobyn’s remains if he has the opportunity and to show Nualia mercy if at all possible.

IV. A Narrow Escape. Kobb and Kurzek go on their own to make some final preparations for the short journey to Thistletop. Toran, Vicoren and Asreal go to see the Mayor. On their way, they narrowly avoid Justice Ironbriar by ducking into an alleyway. They speak to the Mayor about taking over the abandoned manor-house that was being used by the Green Dagger gang. The Mayor says that she would be happy for the party to have the house and fix it up. However, given Ven Vinder’s (who is on the town counsel) attitude towards the party (due to Toran’s dalliance with his daughter) and the recent controversy about the party’s vigilante actions on the docks (see Session 4), she is very sensitive about making the transaction appear to be fair from the town’s perspective.

V. Thistletop. After a short journey the party reaches Thistletop. The party begins exploring narrow passageways among the thick briars and nettles that grow in a dense tangle. They encounter goblins and goblin dogs which are quickly dispatched and find a lookout point that shows that the thick briar is on a Cliffside that falls 80’-100’ down to the sea below. From the cliff an rope bridge extends out to an oddly-shaped island upon which rests a fort-like structure. The party continues exploring the passages through the briars in search of a way to the rope bridge.

VI. The Fire Goblin. In a thorny chamber the party is attacked by a mountain lion. As the fighters and ranger fight the large cat a goblin shaman appears from a side passage and, using a magical wand , traps the party on this side of a wall of blazing fire. As Kurzek quickly closes with the goblin, the foul creature uses the wand again, this time to cast a fireball at the party. This magical explosion kills the mountain lion, Asreal and Kobb and knocks Vicoren unconscious. Toran and Kurzek are able to wound the goblin shaman who quickly surrenders and begs for mercy that was not forthcoming.

VII. The Rusty Dragon. Kurzek, Toran and Vicoran quickly flee back to Sandpoint and recover in the Rusty Dragon. There they are introduced by the Sage, Brodert Quink, to Saphara the half-elven mage with whom he has been in correspondence with regarding his research into ancient Thassilonia. Hearing of the party’s discoveries she has come from Magnimar to investigate for herself. She is accompanied by her half-brother Roland the Paladin. They also meet the Wanderer, a Shoanti Druid who came to Sandpoint in search of his friend Asreal.

Body Count: 10 goblins, 4 goblin dogs, a mountain lion, a goblin shaman, Kobb One Tusk the 3rd level Fighter and Asreal Nom the 1st level Ranger.

Treasure: From the goblin shaman the party recovered what were Identified as a Wand of Fire and two Potions of Healing.

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DM Notes:
- I continued to stress the impact of the party’s attack-first attitude with the Mayor’s reaction and Father Zantus’ plea. We will see if it sinks in following the deaths of two of the original PCs.
- The goblins were straight 2E goblins and the mountain lion was also straight from the MM. I have a feeling that much of Thistletop will be easy encounters broken up by a few hair-raising encounters.
- I spent more time making conversions of some of the classed goblins to be found in Thistletop. Using “Altering Monsters the Easy Way” from Dungeon Master Option: High Level Campaigns, I made the goblin shaman a standard goblin with +2 toughness and 4th level cleric casting ability.
Goblin Shaman (AC 4, Mv 6, HD 1+1, hp 8, Thaco 18, #AT 1 scimitar, D 1d8+2, SA cleric spells, SD nil, MR nil, ML 12) Equipment: scimitar, Wand of Fire (8 charges), 2 Potions of Healing.

Spells: 1- Darkness, Cause Light Wounds (x2); 2- Flame Blade, Speak with Animals.
The stats for the goblin shaman turned out much weaker than the 3.5E version. However, in the published 3.5 adventure he was equipped with a Wand of Produce Flame. I toughened him up considerably with a Wand of Fire (Burning Hands, Pyrotechnics, Fireball, Wall of Fire).

I gave the party some warning however. First he appeared on the edge of the battle with Flame Blade cast, then he used Fire Wall in a position to just trap the party and finally used Fireball as the heavy artillery. In that time only one character went to engage the goblin shaman.

The reward is that the party now has a Wand of Fire, albeit with only 4 remaining charges.

- Toran the thief is the only original and frequent character. Goalrath the elven cleric is also still alive but the player has been working shift work and unavailable for a while. This has brought one of the issues of an Adventure Path to the fore as some of the future plot elements somewhat rely on developed relationships with various NPCs. Its not a fatal problem but it will take some re-jigging to either redevelop these relationships with the new PCs or figure out different hooks.

- I started using Paizo's GameMastery Item Cards. When I sat down to work on converting the encounters to 2E, I went through the cards and picked out specific cards for mundane and magical items for the big encounters which I then handed out as the items were found. I liked the cards. I will have to ask the player what they thought.

- I was hoping to get further along in the adventure but we spent the last while generating the new characters and shooting the breeze so it was all good.

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