Monday, July 03, 2017

A Party O' Fools

My 2nd D&D campaign was 7 years after the first one, during one of my stints in the boonies. The nice thing here is I took notes during the campaign, though they're a little limited earlier. Either way, this is going to run a couple of posts, at least.

It was a more manageable party of six characters this time, pretty much all newbs, considering I constituted one of the more experienced players. Of the other 5, 4 had never played before, and the other hadn't played in years. The DM had played a lot, but never run a campaign of her own. She wisely started us at Level 4, on a campaign she thought would only take 3 or 4 sessions. Just a quick trial run.

It lasted six weeks, and probably over a dozen sessions. We tended to deliberate a lot before doing anything, and battles, as in the first campaign, took a while. If my first campaign had been your standard Big Event comic - the fate of the world at stake, everyone dying - the second one was more like the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League, in that there was a lot of comedy, and none of the heroes seemed to know what the hell they were doing.

I dusted the cobwebs off Will the Ranger and Oswald the osprey, for a tale set earlier in their careers. Still favoring the bow, just an ordinary one at the start, and a rapier. No whip; we only had space for two weapons. Besides myself, there was Crulin, the half-elf monk, Cora, a wizard, Nylis was an elf druid, Leah was a halfing thief, and Taug was a half-orc barbarian. How we formed a team, I don't know, we opted to not worry about it. This franchise doesn't need an origin movie!

We were hired to recover a missing relic of Pelor, your standard god of goodness and light, or maybe just Order, I forget. He wasn't my god. The DM played as a bard named Vera - who my notes describe as "flirty", I don't recall that - to clue us in on a large band of thieves that likely took the relic. I do recall Leah trying to pick some drunk's pocket during the exposition dump and being caught by her would-be victim, although he was too inebriated to get sore about it. Still, hardly an auspicious beginning. As we were entirely lacking in healers - though I grabbed a First Aid kit as a special item - the guy who hired us provided a drow cleric to keep us upright (also played by the DM)

We fought some goblins early on, no trouble. That night, we set up camp, and kept being attacked by wolves. The third time around, Cora was rendered unconscious, or else slept through the whole thing. We found out eventually our mistake was in not having a fire going. You could question whether that's the sort of thing to expect your mostly inexperienced players to know, but we survived, so no harm, no foul.

We wound up at the village of a bunch of elves, situated on a lake. They provided some helpful information about the thieves, such as that their ranks included a bunch of lizard-men, and their base was further north. Also, there was an interesting cave in some mountains nearby. As it turned out, it was time for some celebration the elves had every year, and they invited us to join in frolicking in the lake. A lake which was either enchanted, or laced with some sort of drugs. Taug, Cora, Nylis, and Leah jumped in, the first three immediately succumbing to the effects of whatever the hell is in the water. At which point they get involved in the orgy taking place. The thief complains at being left out, since her will was apparently great enough to shrug off the effect, so the DM rolled and stated that four elves approach the thief, which made her very happy.

Traveling together teaches you new things about people.

Crulin and Will both opted out. I don't know the monk's reasons, I was operating under the idea that a) Will had a girlfriend back home, and b) I don't know what kind of STDs elves might have, or if they do, but if they do, anything that could hang around despite the immune system of a race that lives centuries would probably cause a human's entire lower half to rot off.

Ridiculous logic? MAYBE.

The next day, with everyone basically recovered, we decided to check that nearby cave. The chief's son was only too happy to guide us there, as he was quite smitten with Taug after the night before. Taug insisted he had not slept with the 'pretty man-elf', so the DM rolled, and stated plainly, 'Yes you did.' So there you go.

The trip to the cave resulted in a fight with a giant spider and some of its babies, which went easily enough. It was at this point the DM possibly made a mistake. She rolled to see what loot we'd find, but didn't think to scale the results to characters of our level. So there was a Fire Staff, a Sack of Holding, and a Ring of Three Wishes. Which, if we'd been smarter might have ended the campaign right there, but we were leery of messing with wishes. Also, one of the corpses had a Longbow with +5 Frost, which Will grabbed immediately, turning Will into the biggest damage dealer. Taug could do more with a single hit, especially combining Berserker Fury with Cleave, but once I reached the point I could do two attacks per turn, and fire two arrows per attack, with Frost damage tacked on to every hit, I was racking up a higher cumulative total. Downside to that was, in later battles, the DM knew it, and Will became the primary target every time. But that's later.

Suitably powered up, we bid the elf farewell and continued north, eventually stumbling upon a small group of bandits. I don't have extensive notes, but some members of the party killed some of the thieves while helpless. However, they had a wizard in their ranks, who "decked" Crulin and Leah, which I'm assuming meant they were simply knocked over, since I know nobody died this early in the campaign. He turned invisible, but Cora cast See Invisibility, plus Oswald pretty much landed on his head. I had my bow drawn, but hesitated to kill a surrendered opponent, despite my teammates urging. Then the wizard admitted he would go on hurting people if we let him live, so I let fly.

Critical hit, instant kill. At least he got a quick death. Better than the poor thief the cleric used Death Touch on.

Next time: We actually reach the bandit fortress! Will we have any patience for puzzles? Will our thief be of any use whatsoever? Is Will, like Hawkeye Pierce, going to deal with the grim realities of the world he finds himself in by resorting to absurdist humor at inappropriate moments?

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