Friday, March 25, 2022

Session 24 - The Seed of Chaos

Session 24 - The Seed of Chaos

Foreword: "0 is 1 and 3, and -1, but not 42! Blarg-du-larb-barb" - Thaddius the Prophet

Timekeeping: Session started on the 25/03/2022 and ended on the 1/04/2022. Downtime from 2/04/2022

Characters: Bale Tyrannus (1/2 O F2), Greg Chapel (H C2), Finin O'Conoghain (1/2 E C2/MU1), Fitzpatrick Bateman (H C1), Ruck Mudsplash (1/2 O F1)

I can't believe the Guru prefers Greg Chapels sacrifice to mine
Downtime: 5/03/2022 - 24/03/22
Finin O'Conoghain spent his money to level up his cleric class to level 2 - he said he was paying the Assassin's Guild to kidnap people for him to sacrifice.

Greg paid off his 750GP debt to the Guru of Globulah and got a new henchman he trained himself for 4 months - level 1 Cleric Fitzpatrick Bateman.

Session Report:  


The game opens up with Bale Tyrannus seeking out Winston Churchill for some work. I inform the characters who are in Thropsford that a few nights ago, on the 23rd of March, everyone in the city heard and saw 3 quick lightning strikes in succession north of the city. Churchill wants Bale to check it out, and bring back any living specimens from it. He definitely seems to know more about it than he's letting on. Bale tries to negotiate for his 3000GP training cost to be paid for, in advance of the job. The Bulldog doesn't bite, and the final ultimatum is that Bale will have his training covered if he does the job first.

The party gears up and heads due North - they ride for about 2.5 hours (15 miles through the sparsely populated plains beyond Thropsford) before arriving at a very abrupt and harsh border - for blighted marshland lay before them. There are scattered farms around, most look derelict and ill-maintained in this portion of the Kingdom. 

A side note - I am trying to be more clear/transparent about the game structure for different factors of the game, such as Dungeon Exploration, Wilderness Travel, etc. since the book gives very clear procedures for these. I have always used these methods, but how much the players understand has been limited - now I am being clearer. For example: You (supposedly) travel North for 5 miles, which took you all day. You can see marsh in every direction, yada-yada. This is all around a positive IMO - not least because PCs can now make meaningful maps that I can hold them to. If it's mapped wrong because they got lost that's their problem, rather than having no map because I don't provide enough info to begin with.

Anyway, the party heads into the swamp - they spend the rest of the day batting away huge marsh flies, mosquitoes, and hand-sized leeches which swell up like balloons before your eyes. Every step is into fetid quagmire, the air buzzing with irritating creatures, and no sign of wholesome life. The horses struggle immensely - and after hours of trying to make headway the sun begins to set and the PCs set up a dismal camp and spend a restless night. Before it was dark, they could still see the plains they came from to the south. Not much progress was made... Though the night passed without event.

26/03/2022 DM Note - employ Chainmail weather table in future

The party spends the morning having Fitzpatrick Bateman prepare and cast Purify Food and Water on a festering swamp pool. Everyone has a drink, fills up their water-skins, and heads out for another day of horrible marsh-tromping. I dutifully check to see if they get lost. They totally do, and realise it when they emerge back in the Thropsfordian Plains, but in a different locale to where they entered the marsh. They spy a lone farmstead and decide that they need to enact violence to help cope with the overbearing swamp. The party rolls up and stables their horses and knocks - a very senile old man answers. I couldn't repeat the conversations had with this man, only that they were utterly deranged and nonsensical - Finin casts Charm Person and finds out his name is Thaddius and apparently he had a Powerful Moment™ when the lightning struck. He rambles about festering cankers of Chaos that are growing and changing, inexorable links to said Chaos so that he may discern the precise site, some planar cosmology, and also tells the players his most valuable items are the deed to his farm and his great-great-great grandfather's pipe. The players persuade him to guide them to this place through the swamp. They make him sleep in the stable, while they rest inside. DM Note: I think I do not rule Charm Person critically enough, as it has a history of being a bit of a cheese ability at our table. At the very least, when a spell is invoked I ought to pull out initiative dice and have declared actions on the chance that the individual will get suss and retaliate. Admittedly the people they use it on have a tendency to already be senile.


Coming out of winter, I had Thaddius roll a system shock to see if he died during the night in the stable. He passed and the party heads out into the swamp once more. They notice some queer signs about the old man though - his hands randomly changing to bird talons, strange colours or lights bursting about him, weird words or phrases coming out etc. No method to it. Anyway, by evening, they actually happen upon a den of 9 Lizard Men! Their is a sickly countenance to them but nonetheless menacing in appearance - the players have surprise and Ruck Mudsplash looses 12 arrows in his 2 segments, killing 1 and injuring another. Greg began casting Bless while the rest of the party held fast. Having 2 segments to cast, his spell will go off on segment 8 of the first round. This matters as he is at the front-line. If the lizards close the distance before he casts it they may interrupt the spell!

The party declares actions and we roll initiative. Ruck is loosing more arrows, and I calculate how far the Lizard Men would have traveled by the time his shot went off. It is fruitless anyway, and 4 Lizard Men collide with the front rank of Greg, Finin, Bale, and his dog Douglas. I rule the PCs get first blow due to having actual weapons while the monsters are naturally-equipped. BTB monsters with natural weapons act simultaneously with their opponent (or on the segment indicated by the Defender's initiative die) but due to having a 3 attack routine these Lizard Men will always go first/last, with their 2nd attack depending on the initiative roll. This is wrong. Natural weapons only happen simultaneously on simultaneous initiative and Lizard Men have 1 attack routine. I mistakenly treated the individual attacks as individual 'routines'. I think in this session I actually played it this way, but thought I messed up when writing up the report...

Somehow Greg gets his spell off, and a mass melee ensues. The second rank are loosing arrows or throwing hammers, while the front rank is beating away at Lizard Men. Finin wipes the head off one with his 2 handed Flail, but the Lizards have also flanked them. They are doing some decent damage, and in a stroke of tragedy, Finin O'Conoghain falls to a 9 damage claw/claw/bite routine. Nobody else dies and eventually the sickly monsters try to Disengage-Retreat and are cleaned up by the party. Greg Chapel dropped to 0HP and went unconscious during the combat, but was stabilised by Ruck afterwards.

It was a heavy moment when Finin fell - he was an original founder of the Cult of Globulah, the default evil PC religion conceived many sessions ago. Oh well! Everyone in the party brutalises his body and eats it. Bale takes his spell-book and loose change. Then they go check out the Lizard Men huts. Inside are some dead bodies with evidence of armaments and 4 sacks with a total of 2000GP. They also find 2 gems and 2000SP, which gets ditched. DM Note: Be more vigilant with encumbrance. Not just weight but carrying capacity of vessels. Next session will need to do a full PC inventory check and recalculation to make sure everything is correct. Now, there was something else that was bizarre - Thaddius was acting stranger than usual. The Lizard hut melted away, then reappeared. He was talking to Greg about missing Finin, and asked some totally nonsensical riddle along the lines of 

"When the jacinth cracks, and 0 becomes 3, what does it mean to me?

Bale intuitively guesses the correct answer to be 0, and so Thaddius asks Greg to disrobe and places his hand on his stomach - impregnating him with some entity. Greg comes to term in moments, as his stomach bulges and expands - strange shaped extremities poke through his belly. In one sudden release, it departs his body through his mouth. A black and red shadow, which grows angel wings, then bat wings, before dropping to the floor and running on legs, with colours bursting from it. Greg is sad to see his son go. After this experience, everyone rests in the huts and decides to return to civilisation the next morning.


They safely make it back to the derelict farmstead and Thaddius is adamant about not going to Thropsford. The party rides back to Thropsford. Greg & Bale go to the Swan & Paedo - Greg goes to sleep for a week from the 29/03/2022, and won't be available for play/downtime until the 5/04/2022. There is some negotiation about how to divide up Finin's gold he had stored in the inn-room. It ends up being agreed as an even split.


Bale gets the gems valued - he nets 800GP for a slightly flawed Fire Opal, and keeps a 50GP gemstone. Next, he waits in the tavern for days when, on the 1/04/2022, one of Churchill's goons turns up and escorts Bale through a very disorienting and unclear route through the city to a warehouse in an industrial area. Winston is there - wants to know why Bale hasn't done the job yet. Doesn't care about his dead companion. Eventually a new deal is struck - Bale gets 500GP now and 500GP if he returns with Thaddius. Both parties are aware of the consequences if the deal is not held up.

Bale flies through the Thropsford plains to the house of Thaddius. It is in shambles - strange lights dance off the walls, invisible creatures swing from the rafters, light reflects in ways it shouldn't, queer sounds permeate. Thaddius is NOT going to Thropsford despite Bale's insistence that he saw a vision of him going there. Eventually even Bale is disturbed by the senile man and his survival instinct tells him to leave. Suddenly he is outside 30 yards. He looks to the farmhouse and it grows legs, before running into the marsh. Bale is shocked, disturbed, and dismayed. The ride back to Thropsford is uneventful, and he goes to Greg to negotiate the treasure divisions from the session, before we discuss downtime activities.

Treasure & XP: 2000GP, 800GP gem, 50GP gem exclusively to Bale, 500gp exclusively to Bale, and monster XP came out to:

Bale: 1574XP*

Greg: 1074XP*

Ruck: 537XP

Fitzpatrick Bateman: 537XP

*Had no effect as they were frozen at their previous XP total

DM Note: Need to keep track of when PCs have their XP frozen so a true total XP is retained until they train. Greg's value is in my documents since he has some XP for a special item he got

Player Performance Ratings: All Excellent

DM Note: Toying with idea of reducing training cost/modifying rating system so players can be given 'Standard' or 'Superior' ratings normally, with Excellent being for truly Exceptional play. As it is, I can't bring myself to give out anything other than Excellent's normally thus nullifying the utility of the Rating System and the power of Excellent PCs being able to self-train.

Downtime Requests: Bale is training from 2/04/2022 until 9/04/2022 and spent his 3000gp on hiring out stable areas, heavy warhorses, heavy lances, and experienced lancers to train against. His new weapon proficiency for level 3 will be Heavy Lance and he rolled 9 HP. Bale is also getting one of the gems he found, which is dark smoky black with red flecks, embedded in a ring, as it matches his dark black red-hued cloaks which him and his followers wear. Bale's Tyrants is back in business!

Greg will be going to Underland to try and negotiate a new training contract with the Guru, for he is exceptionally poor but also at frozen XP. Hilarious!

Comments: Lots of theatrics this session, with American Pyscho references rephrased to fit the campaign. Also, this session I began to feel more comfortable with some still-not-understood facets of AD&D combat, such as how to figure out when missile attacks happen relative to a charging opponent, and when/how a spell-caster might succeed in casting during melee. It's still not totally there, but definitely a step in the right direction. I am using the Item Saving Throw tables more diligently, and have been vigilant in PC food/water availability, but could improve on tracking Encumbrance, which was something we did very well at the start of the campaign but I feel is slipping to the wayside.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Session 23 - Mogwai's and Potato Hobbits

Session Number 23 - Mogwai's and Potato Hobbits

Forward: "It is what it is" - drunk tradie at a caravan park

Timekeeping: Session started on the 19/03/2022 and ended on 30/03/2022. PCs have downtime from 31/03/2022. They are all at Stoutholm in the hills south of Underland.

Characters: Sixtus Sunwalker (P3), Milton North (F3), Maethedir (F2/MU2), Finesstro the Nimble (MU1), Kovani (M1), Betanochin Wormington (Henchmen F1), Articulatus Superfluous (Henchmen MU1), Jake Mace (Henchmen M1)

Downtime Adjudication: A day or so ago I sent a blood moon calendar in the group chat and informed all the Globulites (PC Clerics who worship Globulah) that they would be getting Poor ratings if they didn't perform human sacrifices on these dates. They only have to make 2 this year. One player informed me he set an alarm on his phone. So we still had some PCs who hadn't had their hiatus downtime adjudicated. One character, Greg Chapel (Human Cleric 2) said he couldn't believe there was no Fitzpatrick Bateman cult member of the Globulites. I informed him there now was, and if he spent all his hiatus downtime uninterrupted (about 4 months) then he would be a level 1 Cleric of Globulah. Win-win all around.

Milton North was working off his debt for training costs to the Duke of Ardenward, earning 300gp a month as lieutenant. He got 4 months of work, so covered 1200/1500 of his debt.

Kovani the monk was rumour-mongering:

  • Apparently there is a strange archaeological dig-site in some badlands in the south, between Underland and Thropsford, where the workers are resigning due to nightmares
  • Villagers in the south/south-west of Underland are being harried by tall red monsters in oriental armour
  • There is a mystical desert to the west of Brill which is home to insect men
  • A dragon lives on Thunder Peak

I also trialed something different - palming off the DMG p35 Henchmen hiring to the PCs. Let me tell you, if you aren't using the DMG p36-37 alignment and racial modifiers for reactions, you're missing out. Bale Tyrannus, Chaotic Evil Half-Orc, realised that out of all 75 prospective henchmen he reached, due to his race and alignment (and minimal upfront offer) about 55 of his 75 prospects departed immediately after a short conversation with him. Nagora has written that the 1e rules imply a "sixth sense" for alignment, and using the aforementioned modifiers concretes that notion.

The awesomely procedural nature of almost everything in the DMG, from henchmen hiring to wilderness exploration, means you can give players freedom to do things themselves. This makes the game world a collaboration, takes the load off the DMs shoulders, and increases everyone's investment and care! We see it being done with great success in the Trollopulous campaign as Macho Mandalf carves out his own domain. A lot more can be said here, but I digress...

Session Report:  

The Good PCs were in play. Everyone discussed their copious amounts of rumours and information from the downtime, and basically unanimously agreed to go for the low-hanging fruit of an alleged wizard's tower in the hills south of Underland. We will see that this was not as easy as they may have thought. They head to Castle Ardenward, which takes about 2 days, camping on the road during the night. They had one encounter during the day with a merchant wagon, who inform them to be careful as the road is dangerous these days.

There were no encounters on the rest of their trip to the Castle, and while they are there they learn from the Baron that the wizard's tower was a childhood fable he heard, and that a young lad did go there once many years ago. Apparently he lives in the village of Arford about a day's walk towards Underland. They spend the night in peace

The 'heroes' make haste as they arrive at the backwater hamlet of Arford in the late afternoon. They spend the night at the makeshift tavern, tolerating the drunken stupor of a peasant who complains about giant ants taking away their sheep. He then asks that Sixtus Sunwalker bless the crop, the village, and his wife's fertility. Finesstro the Nimble tries to inform the peasant he may be able to help with the last issue, but eventually Good prevails and he leaves the issue...

The party learned that the man who went to the tower was called Egidius and he lived on the 'second last house on the left of Shanty Lane, the only lane in Arford'. What followed was a depressing interaction with a deranged man who lost his mind in the dark places of the world. The party insists they will conquer the place and end his nightmares. He eventually informs them that it is due south of Underland, over the bridge, through the plains, and among rugged and scrubby hills. There is a moment between him and Maethedir, as he says he was saved from the 'gibbering monstrosities' by folk such as he. With this information, the party decides to return their cart to Castle Ardenward and ride for glory!

Quicker travel without the cart sees the party making it about 2/3 of the way to Underland before resting for the night - it passes without event.

They make it to Underland and cross the bridge, now heading south. There is an interaction with a bridge-guard who was collecting tolls, but after some prying questions about the taxation and the mention of a paladin in their party, the guard lets them pass for free. They travel the remainder of the day south through the plains of rural Underland. They rest on a trail. No encounters

They continue south and make it to the hills. They are winning in terms of avoiding encounters, and by nightfall they find a water source and set up camp.

weird wizard tower door
The moment they entered the hills, and were no longer following a trail, wilderness travel rules for getting lost were in play. Somehow, however, they came atop a high bluff, and a few miles to the south-west, in a valley, they could see the makings of a black structure... So they rode to it. It is a couple of hours past noon when they hitch the horses to some cruel shrubbery, before analysing the structure further. It is about 30' in diameter, and emerges 5' from the earth as a tower would - though it is truncated and totally flat on top, except for an iris-valve door in the middle. The structure is made of a very dark grey/black stone. Sixtus touches the center of the metallic iris-valve and it spirals open, revealing a stairway into darkness. Hurriedly the party forms a marching order, lights a lantern, and descends into the black hole...


They reach the bottom, which is the entrance to a triangular room, and I call a roll for surprise. Nobody is surprised, so I state that they can see shadows at end of their lantern-light and hear some grunting. Actions are declared, and initiative rolled, when out of the darkness these pale, stocky, white-eyed creatures with sharp teeth and long matted hair charge towards them! There are 5 of them, 2 with hand-axes and 3 with long-swords. A grueling melee ensues, with Sixtus and Milton in the front smiting the creatures, while the Monk Kovani and Fighter/Magic-user Maethedir are defending the flanks with polearms. Blows are exchanged - the creatures are sturdy, and eventually Kovani is cut down below 0hp! Thus she dies! A character who had not seen many adventures, but had been in the campaign since the very first session.

so cute
The creatures are eventually slaughtered, fighting to the bitter end as they pass their morale checks. Sixtus heals Milton using his Lay on Hands, and the party investigates the room some more. It's a triangle with the point towards them. There's a corridor ahead, from which a chiming sound emanates, while to the left and right tunnels continue into blackness. They go ahead. After about 30-40' the chiming grows immensely, and dissipates another 30' beyond as they come to an octagonal room. There are some leaves and debris strewn about, but not much. They head back to the chiming noise and scan the walls - eventually feeling a loose flagstone. They pry it off - there's a Mogwai inside swinging a makeshift bell. The creature tries to flee, when Jake Mace scoops it up and nurses it to sleep. Finesstro takes the bell, and the party goes back to the octagonal room and rings it. They hear another faint ringing beyond the eastern wall. Searching reveals a small 2' tunnel at the base. Finesstro looks in it and sees the reflection from eyes back at him. He calls out to it and swings the bell. The eyes disappear.

The party backtracks to the main hall. They go take the right tunnel, which comes to a weird diagonal crossroads. To the right is a 20' wide tunnel that is cut off abruptly by a huge ravine which stretches beyond lantern light. Black stairs down are carved into the side of it. There is a short path to a door back the way came, only 45 degrees to the left. Similarly 45 degrees ahead and to the left is another corridor. Finally, the path they came in on continues straight. Everyone agrees that they want nothing to do with the stairs, and opts to suss out the door. Milton bashes it down when it's stuck, and a few loud bangs go off as he does. There are these huge industrial ovens/baking apparatus within which had presumably fired off. Finesstro the Nimble keeps trying to bell, but has no reply here. They search every oven and find a sack of 250 gold pieces hidden in one. 

go to sleep
Next they head to the other diagonal path, ahead and to the left. They come to a double door on their side. Sixtus and Milton both try it, and it is stuck, so they elect to bash it down. Milton knocks down his side, and is surprised for 2 segments as this haunting creature with no eyelids, pale face, and a slack, cut jaw leers and lunges at him. It deals 5 damage and Milton is paralysed! Sixtus tries to pull Milton back, and I rule that he succeeds but the creature gets a parting blow as per the fleeing from melee rules. It bites onto Milton and deals another 6 damage! Things are not looking good out of the gates, but as soon as Milton is ferried out of the way and the creature tries to pursue, it shrieks and flees in horror at the holy aura of Sixtus Sunwalker. The players were thinking about fleeing after the horrifying opening, now the tables have totally turned. Sixtus will not allow this creature to live. He enters the room - there is another one, and both are mocking the Paladin, but keeping 10' away at all times. Sixtus charges while the creatures are against the wall. I rule that they can attack since he broke the protective barrier by forcing it upon them. Betanochin Wormington, Finesstro the Nimble, and Maethedir follow in behind. Blows are traded, and Betanochin falls paralysed as well! Sixtus makes his save and Maethedir, who didn't need to make any saves when he was hit, disengages to try and cast sleep - but to no effect! Meanwhile, Finesstro is throwing daggers from the back, and eventually even the might Sixtus succumbs to the paralysing claws. But there is only one left! In desperation, Finesstro overbears the specimen, rolling over 100% outcome, and shoulder-barges the unholy monstrosity into the wall, cracking its sternum and smashing it's brains. 

The party recuperates. Sixtus and Beta recover, but Milton is still paralysed. They search the room, finding a hidden lever on the right wall. They evacuate, tying a rope around it, and pulling it. They hear some mechanism going off, and the whole wall slides away, revealing 10 copper pots about 3' high. They search them and find 100 platinum and 1000 copper, electing to take only the platinum. Finesstro rings the bell, waking the sleeping Mogwai which charges him. He kicks it, and the poor creatures vomits. Everybody is disgusted by this treatment. Finesstro lifts it into his robe and gives it some water. The thing starts going off it's nut. A weird cocoon begins to grow around its body. The wizard lobs it into the copper pot room and the pull the lever, hopefully sealing that horror away for good.

It was getting late, and the party had plans to recuperate in the wilderness before entering the dungeon again. So they leave, without event, aside from a swarm of bats flying through. Milton comes to, and the party ascends the stairs to a fine evening, as the sun is setting behind the hills. They rest. The next few days (27/03/2022 - 30/03/2022) are spent foraging, gathering water from the stream back the way they came, and having Sixtus use Lay on Hands to try to restore the party. They have no encounters! Until 28/03/2022, when Maethedir stumbles upon a quaint settlement of small, potato-looking men - they are Stoutlings! This changes the parties despondence about food and water, as a good reaction roll and like alignments secures the party relative safety. They rest here, and notice there are some ancient stone lanterns with glowing ores in them, which the Stoutlings say 'came before them'. It was also revealed that, such as all the Hobbit races of Holgard, they partake some form of mind-altering substance. In this case, it is a fantasy version of the blue asbestos - crocidolite. Nobody is game to try any, except Finesstro who has a very bizarre and stimulating trip. The morning after he tried to peek at the other MUs spell-book and was caught. He ultimately redeemed himself with an apology, and appealed to his 'drug-addled-state', though I am curious what precautions the other PCs will make now.

Treasure & XP: All PCs got 187XP, all henchmen got 94XP.

Player Performance Ratings: Everyone got an Excellent, though Finesstro toed the line a bit on his alignment, but ultimately his actions were in accordance with his Magic-User side and he tried to correct the situation anyway. I'm thinking of toying with the player rating/training costs so it doesn't cripple PCs to have a 'Standard' rating as the, well, standard. This would mean that Superior and Excellent is given to PCs who demonstrate good play beyond just what is expected. So far I've been too sympathetic to give anything but Excellent except in some edge cases which, at worst, warranted a Superior rating. This makes the rating system somewhat meaningless.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Holgard Campaign Session 22 - The Thropsford Fight Club

Session 22 - The Return

Foreword: This "session" ended up being 8.5 hours of catching up and downtime adjudication... For one group of characters.

Timekeeping: The campaign was on hiatus for approx 3 months, so for simplicity we went with 3 months downtime.

Characters: Evil PCs: Bale Tyrannus, Half-Orc Fighter 2 (capped at XP, trying to get money to level up), Finin O'Conoghain (Half-Elf Cleric 1/MU 1 - capped at XP for Cleric, needs money to level up), Jerry Narg (Half-Orc Assassin 1)

Session Report: We open up with a list of everyone's requests for the 3 months hiatus. Bale Tyrannus is doing security guard work around dodgy areas in Thropsford (the capital city). We discuss what each PCs ideal outcome or total failure would look like, and extrapolate from there. I then roll percentile dice for each week to see what category they land in - the table looked something like this:

d100 Result Outcome
1 Critical Failure Arrested, robbed, attacked
2-60 Failure No yield/work
61-99 Success 150gp/week
100 Critical Success 300gp/week  

I cannot attest to how effective, accurate, or fair this is. It worked though. I decided the work Bale was undertaking was dangerous, but due to his exceptional strength I gave him about 40/60 success/failure chances. He ended up with 750gp over the 3 month period. Not bad! Would've got XP too but he was capped. Hilarious!

Finin was hoping to develop the Cult of Globulah (religion him and other PC invented so have to build it up from nothing) and he rolled a whopping critical success! The net result was that he established a stall in Thropsford, gained 18 followers there, earned 200GP doing miracles/prayers for the peasantry.

Note Cult of Globulah Status
Underland Stall - 8 + Guru (lost 7 members over downtime due to both Clerics being elsewhere)
Thropsford Stall - 18

Finin also performed some magical displays and made 176GP demonstrating spider climb.

Now, Jerry Narg. He wanted to do some assassin work. I abstracted this out by using the spy rules on DMG p18/19 based on the level of the target for the job, and let Jerry pick his jobs. He failed heaps of them, got caught, almost killed, yet somehow weasled his way out of the consequences. His failures ended up with him losing a finger, nearly dying, but being revived by a pedestrian. He suffered permanent scarring and lost all his stuff. The Underland Assassin's Guild looked after him and gave him an ultimatum - a special in-house job - to eliminate a Curate who is building a following speaking out against the existence of an Assassin's Guild. Jerry scopes out the sect, views the movement patterns of the members, and succeeds in getting into position. He lunges for the holy man, who avoids the assassination attempt and tries to calm the crazed assassin and convert him, to be a turncoat against the Guild. Jerry runs away, steals a horse in the night, and flees Underland. He then signs up for the Unionised (and very bureaucratic) Thropsford Assassin's Guild, who offer him a new contract with a blood-binding, with the understanding that he will submit himself to the Thropsford Guild, who demand a hefty 50% income for all training, plus other Union member benefits. He's totally a pawn. Jerry suggests they open up a Fight Club for the important hostages they have that nobody wants to pay the ransom for. It's a total success, as we will soon find out...

Before that, Jerry tries out another assassination mission. He fails. The guild sees it might be better for him to join their "Young Assassin's" Program and get a bit better at his job, when it become obvious that Jerry's strong suit is infiltration and disguise-work. (This PC has a list of disguises with names. None of them are sensible names, but they are all legitimately different disguises. DM NOTE I need to check the disguise failure rules better for how int/wisdom affects it. Also the nitty-gritty of how much a disguise might weigh, how long it takes to adopt it etc. since it's a bit of a silly trump card atm)

New Patron?
He gets a spy mission. There is a merchant alliance developing in secret, and there seems to be some sort of shady dealings taking place which is subverting the majority of the merchants. A third party wants to know who is running it. Jerry's player gives me some good ideas about how we wants to approach it - so I don't bother using the abstracted rolls since we are playing it out. He scopes out the market square, and notices several stalls closing down within days as their clientele departs and their stocks disappear. Jerry ends up tipping one of these defeated merchants some money and beer at the tavern, and learns that three primary merchants are using thugs to force competitors to sell their stock to them for horrible prices. The head of this is Barrick, a large bald merchant. The Assassin's Guild informs Jerry they will be in touch with him once this information is given to the informant.

The net outcome for Jerry from all his downtime was 300XP, 100GP, and his debt for being re-geared by the Thropsford Assassin's Guild repaid.

Now, an off-the-cuff suggestion from Jerry ended up being brought up by the other PCs who liked the Fight Club idea. So it happens. It's the first time it's ever been run - it's in a derelict warehouse with hardly any people - a few assassins knocking off work, some scruffy people, and Winston Churchill with well armed guards besides him. The fighters are Big Boris Borgstrom and Little Lenny. Both are literally the extreme ends of the DMG random height/weights. It's an unarmoured match. The bets are on, and the DM (me) who has no idea about what is sensible, decides Little Lenny is 5:1 and Boris is 2:1. The players all bet on Little Lenny (Bale - 100GP, Jerry - 98GP (he paid for entry fees), Finin - 50GP). I let two PCs roll the stats for these guys and play them. Little Lenny gets annihilated from a lethal charging Overbear. Bale Tyrannus calls out to join, reckons he is a champion. I'm an idiot and make the odds 3:1 Bale Tyrannus, 5:1 BBB (Bale is a bit shorter but even heavier). So the players all bet on Bale (including Bale who puts 300GP on himself) and that's how the DM gave the PCs a free tripling of the money. What happened was both BBB and Bale charged to Overbear. I didn't know how to adjudicate this at all, so I just decided that since they both have 100%+ chance of success, I got them to roll their modified Overbear outcomes, and the loser would subtract it from the victor. Maybe I should have used dex to determine who gets the first overbear? I am also not sure how the follow up attacks are meant to play out but it didn't matter. Bale killed (yes, killed) BBB instantly. Then he stomped his head and ripped his femoral artery so blood blew everywhere. Winston Churchhill was very impressed, and asked if Bale would be interested in enacting violence in future for money, as he found it very rewarding. He also hinted at being something of a collector - potential wilderness work to recover items!

So now the evil PCs (minus a couple who were not present) are caught up. There was also some campaign events I divulged that had occurred over the downtime:

Campaign Events

The County of Burnett has withdrawn from the Iron Kingdom. The road between Thropsford (the Iron Capital), and Burnett is now totally un-patrolled.

The County of Halford to the south-west portion of the Iron Kingdom is reporting southern raids.

Warton, to the south-east, has been invaded by Goblins and is now "Goblin Town". No steps have been taken by the King, presumably because he is preoccupied with issues with Burnett. However, rumours are that the Goblins leader is amicable and communication is taking place.

The road between Underland and Thropsford has more bandit activity than usual. Mechanically, it is sparsely populated with more-or-less no-name settlements. 

A bizarre celestial event was seen in the western sky.

Local Events

Villages NW of Underland are suffering from a slew of abductions by Lizard-Men. Presumably the Lizard King is returning to his old ways.

Sunland has been expanding - a military force has been enlisted by Lord Bryne with work being done on a ditch and rampart around the town. The design is larger than what is currently inhabited to accomodate growth.

There are reports of raids on villages on the outskirts of Underland's borders, towards the southern hills.

Treasure & XP: Bale - 750GP, no XP due to cap. Finin - 376GP, with 88XP for MU, none for Cleric due to XP cap. Jerry Narg - 300XP plus (probably) some for assassinating level 0s but I doubt it's much. Will need to calculate at some point.

Player Performance Ratings: All Excellent

Downtime Requests: Downtime is caught up for Evil PCs (except for a few other players). The Good PCs also had their downtime set up but not resolved this time. I'll be doing that before next session.

Comments: Not much of a "session". I was hoping to power through downtime and actually play a game but it didn't happen. We had a lot of IRL catching up too, so was definitely more of a "campfire D&D" session. Bale's player said the ridiculous betting odds and having random observers enter is a good representation of the Fight Club's early kinks being ironed out. My one issue with this session was confusion with the ruling around two opponents charging to Overbear, and how Overbear follow up attacks work. Got some bedtime reading to do!