Session 33 - Grapplin' Rats, Ray Bans, and Colours From Out of Space
Foreword: A very profitable haul with a lot of epic moments and interactions.
Timekeeping: Session occurred on 3/12/2022 with downtime from 4/12/2022
Characters: Vic Sanguin [Half-Orc A3/F2], Gilthur Goldburrow [Dwarf F1/T1], Chut Grugly [Human F1], Sanguinus Extractus (pronounced Sangwenus) [Human Cleric 1 of Globulah] (new PC), 2 war dogs belonging to Vic
Monthly Upkeep 1/12/2022
Vic - 300gp
Chut - 100gp
Gilthur - 100gp
Finesstro - 300gp
Daubeny - 300gp
Vic Sanguin (DT 28/11/22-2/12/2022)
- Rested for 5 days
- Sought out a sage specialising in beast men in the city and paid him 100gp for short term employment of a minor question in his field asking about rat men. The Sage, named Olir Coban in the nobles quarter of Underland, informed the man he'd need a silver or magically enchanted weapon to kill these beasts if they are lycanthropes
- Bought 3 silver daggers (we decided silver items are 10x the cost of normal, extrapolating from the regular arrow to silver arrow price)
- Bought parchment and ink/quill for mapping (ink = 10sp for a vial, parchment = 1sp each) I'll rule that ink is replenished in upkeep as long as the vial itself is not destroyed. Ink encumbrance = 1/2 oil flask. Parchment encumbrance = 10gp and prone to damage (more-so if not in a scroll case)
- Bought 2 new war dogs
- Repaired armour in his dad's smithy and made 64gp (no XP).
- Learned from an adventurer having his plate fixed about a city in the desert to the north-west that is being invaded by insect men.
We have a new player in the group - Sanguinus Extractus the Chaotic Evil Cleric 1 of Globulah.
So this new player had been in one session of 1e at the start of the campaign, and died in 10 minutes when he tried to steal the Lizard King's drink. I informed him that being a CE Cleric, he should be impulsive, unpredictable, Evil, use his clerical spells and always have his deity in his mind. Laying the groundwork like this for a new player had a huge effect on how well their character performs for the character performance ratings.
A side note. I have noticed that new players without their own conceptions of the game take the game in stride for what it is when they see everyone just playing it. People with prior experience or their own TTRPG identity find it most difficult to play a new game as written. Having a new player turn up and telling him "As a CE Cleric you should be impulsive, Evil, and incredibly fanatical" works wonders. Anyway back to the report - from this point on I'm actually writing this on the 29/01/2023. So I am going to sacrifice some details which pertained to dungeon delving - exploring rooms, going down corridors etc.
The parties plan this session is to go back to where they cleared up to last session, find the rat lair, wipe it out, and get the supposed treasure the Mimic told them about. They checked out the chamber that the cultists were in and this time noticed a scrawling on the wall - a half open eye carved into the wall.
Nothing else came of this, so on they went, and at the precipice of where they got to last time, they noticed a room full of mould and gunk with spores in the air. They set it ablaze and heard squealing sounds - with charred husks on the floor that fell from the walls.
They continue further into the sewers and, when checking some doors and a barred grate, are assailed by a pack of giant rats! One of them is wearing a pair of Ray Bans which must have been dropped into the sewer by the Time Traveling Eshay (a PC one of my players demanded and I conceded that at every session he must roll a 1d100, and if he got a 1, then he could have the character).
|It even got grappled just like in Princess Bride
The party checks out the room the rats came from - it's behind the bars. They see some humanoid remains with pretty decent equipment. Chut, having exceptional strength, rises to the occasion (literally holding himself off the floor) and Bends Bars/Lift Gates. Once they are in, they fall to looting the deceased - which now, quite obviously, were a group of adventurers. They accrue some supplies, shields, etc. and Vic Sanguine tries to pickpocket a piece of jewellery but Chut notices him and they resolve this interpersonal conflict. Gilthur picked up a holy symbol that I can't remember the details of.
There's a few doors in this room - so the party stations a few of their thief-types at each one and try to hear for anything beyond. Gilthur hears the sound of a harp playing beyond the south western door. Nobody likes this. They bash the door down and find themselves in a corridor - they follow it to a totally empty room. Very suspicious!
Secret doors are in fact searched for, and Gilthur, the crafty dwarf, activates some sort of force-field pseudo-door which glows green just off the surface of the wall. He interrogates this further and finds some handholds which dispel it, and an opening appears. It's a staircase down. The walls of it are disturbing in their implication - clean, of strange iridescent colours nobody knows. The party debates whether to go down - the reasonable, self-preserving types know that this is a terrible idea while the new and impulsive Sanguinus insists that it's all or nothing in this adventuring gig. They decide to probe it out a bit, and go walking down for a LONG time. Some people begin to hear harp sounds, some don't. Sanguinus feels an incredible compulsion to keep going down when everybody else decides it's time to go.
There's a lot of arguing about heading back up to do the rat thing. The mostly Evil party doesn't really care if Sanguinus wants to go die in unfathomable depths, but Gilthur insists he behave rationally and back down. Sanguinus doubles down and begins his descent while the curious but afraid party agrees to wait for him at the top of the staircase.
The details of his journey remain a secret, but, after some considerable time, Sanguinus suddenly reappears at the top of the stairwell and insists everything is ordinary and that they continue on their adventure. Nobody buys this but he is so adamant and unyielding that they can do nothing but concede.
|Cool temple that has nothing to do
with this session whatsoever
They check out one of the other doors and after failing to pick the lock on it, Chut bashes it, but it's stuck partially open. There's a crew of Giant Rats waiting and one of them bites the dog again. These rats get absolutely ruined by the party (again). Another encounter foiled!
The new room they start checking out has another piece of jewellery on the floor, among some rat litter, like the one in the other room. These must be what the Mimic was on about. While the party is checking out other stuff, Giant Rats suddenly begin pouring into the room - a trap! They are coming from the rear and the front. The party is partially separated. Not only this, but climbing from the ceiling are two rat men! What will the adventurers do? Well, I don't have much written in my notes but the bitter defeat of the were-rats is still present in my mind. Events went something like this:
- Rats charge in
- Vic Sanguine immediately sets off an oil flask and scares off half the rats.
- The other rats are getting decimated
- Chut overbears a rat man
Things end up going south for rodent-kind when the Giant Rats flee and the rat-men beg for mercy - saying they will give treasure for their lives. Vic doesn't trust them, thinks they will either flee forever or bring reinforcements. Then, one of the rat-men, who calls himself Scritter-Scratter speaks the Lawful Evil alignment language. Vic, being Lawful Evil, recognises the cosmic link he shares with this creature and trusts them to hold up their end of the bargain. In short time, one of the rat-men returns with a small gem. The party has also ended up with all 3 of the supposed golden treasures the Mimic spoke of.
The party and the rat-men part ways - but not before Vic is given a code in case he needs to contact the rats again. Sanguinus also notes a common wristband each one was wearing.
At this point, the party decides to do some further exploring and end up finding a return path back to a previously mapped section of the sewers, thus expediting their return to the surface. They have their haul evaulated by Alfie Solomons and a deal brokered with an interested merchant. The gems/jewellery value tables in the DMG are tedious if you are pre-rolling a bunch of treasure but absolutely exhilarating if the party gets to roll it up themselves after an adventure. That's an understatement when, after 4 sets of rolls, the group ended up with 12750gp worth in 3 necklaces and a gem. After selling it, paying the evaluation fee, paying the brokering fee, and selling two sets of chain mail they found (thus allowing Vic to take his two shares) the party ended up with 11415gp.
I also had a chat with players about coming up with their own rumours, items, and quests to pay for training. As long as the quest is of suitable difficulty then I have no issue and in fact encourage them to make up their own trainer, the trainers location, and the quest they must do in exchange for class training. Already one PC has come up with a Swordsman who needs a lion's heart so he can have a Potion of Heroism brewed. That's an awesome quest!
Treasure & XP:
Vic Sanguin - 5862XP (note, capped Fighter XP from last adventure)
All other PCs - 3312XP
Character Performance Ratings:
Vic Sanguin - Excellent - Terrific balance of Fighter/Assassin roles. Adherence to alignment, on a level greater than himself, with the Wererat interaction was very impressive.
Gilthur Goldburrow - Excellent - Good balance scouting ahead to perform thief abilities while also performing as a 2nd rank long-reach Fighter. Very persistent and consistent about checking doors out before making noise bashing them down - this is good. Only point would be his insistence on stopping Sanguinus from descending the staircase (but I could see this being in his Evil self-preserving nature as opposed to compassion)
Chut Grugly - Excellent - Epic bend bars and lift gates, grappling giant rats, overbearing rat men, and stealing ray bans. Smashing down doors, cleaving beasts. Follows his principles without being guided by any moral compass - just one of order as he was raised by Mr Grugly. Would be nice to see him adopt a more directive/leader type role and perhaps look into men at arms etc.
Sanguinus Extractus - Excellent - Superb performance as a truly Chaotic Evil Cleric of the Blood God, Globulah. There are secrets that I cannot divulge here which lend to this Excellent rating but suffice to say that Sanguinus earned his keep this session. Would be nice to see some spell use and ordinarily that would be a penalty to the rating but I'm ruling it's outweighed by the other things that happened.
Downtime Requests: Downtime from 4/12/2022.
Vic Sanguin contracted a parasitic infestation and is going to be out of action from 4/12/2022 until and including 17/12/2022
Comments: Come up with Chut's downtime armoury work - extrapolate armourer hireling rules from DMG. Rumour-mongering procedure?
The way I treat gems for XP has never satisfied me. But now, after talking with another player, have come to a good conclusion:
- Players get gems/jewellery from an adventure. This gives NO xp until they have it evaluated.
- They pay an evaluation fee in town. This gives a 100% correct value and after payment the XP will be given to them. Now, they can either keep the item as a way of efficiently carrying wealth, or try to sell it.
Selling is where the merchant undercut comes into play. So although a gem might be worth 1000gp, someone might only be willing to pay 800gp. The players get the 1000xp for its value however.
I have been contemplating how to assess multi-class performances, and think that perhaps each class should be assessed individually but in light of the characters sum actions. This may mean players make a conscious choice to sacrifice performance in one class if another has more utility in the session. My justification for this is that, say you are a Fighter/Thief, fighting on the front lines and being a brawler is in direct conflict with your Thief training and inclinations. If the MC is rated as one homogeneous class composed of the singular relevant classes then they don't get marked down for the transgressions that individual classed characters would, but also get all the benefits of performing the roles of multiple different classes! I will await player input here anyway...