Session 34: A New Party Arrives in Sunland
Foreword: Introduced a whole new cast to AD&D 1e - one had played as a youth, another in our usual sessions, two come from new school RPGs, and the final has never played a TTRPG at all. Not much adventuring took place as some time was spent creating characters but, as is true BrOSR custom, we forsook the session zero tradition of non-play and dove in!
Timekeeping: Session 25/03/2023 - 26/03/2023 Downtime from 27/03/2023
Caelius Drussus - Human Female Paladin 1 of Forseti - Lawful Good
Ithil - Female Elf Thief 1 - Lawful Neutral
Therrin - Female Half Elf Ranger 1 - Chaotic Good
Satra - Female Gnome Illusionist 1 - Chaotic Neutral
Man With No Name - Human Male Cleric 1 of God - Chaotic Good
Downtime Adjudication: No downtime
So we spend some time navigating the character creation process for everyone which lead to a very diverse "Fellowship of the Freaks" as Jeffro Johnson likes to call it. There was some pre-play discussion about the obvious conflict of having someone lucky enough to have the stats for a Paladin and other players wanting to be Evil or Neutral.
This is resolved, and, after what I will admit was a very surprising acceptance (or at least non-refusal) of 1e's restrictive character creation rules, we skip encumbrance this time and throw everyone into the game.
I introduce the region and the Town of Sunland - which has a deep history rooted in player actions. Some rumours and news I scratched on a notepad last week I announce to each character - temples in The Weald to the north, a ruined church with strange noises north-east, ancient wizards dungeons to the south-west, settlement expansions needing adventurer aid (with the promise of money) and so forth. Some of these come as consequences of the immense economic pressure from the Curse of Lamalla which is now vanquished.
The group has the same awkward tavern scene as is custom, since I forgot to say they all know each other. Some players decided they had been on many adventures together in the past despite being level 1 novices who have just started their profession, but anyway. Soon enough I have them all introduce their characters, and the Ranger says she's keeping an eye on some tensions in the bar brewing. The Paladin does the same and so two peasants start fighting, which the Holy Lady remedies. The Man With No Name is locked in deep contemplation of God by the fireplace, totally unawares of the rabble around him! The black armoured Elven Thief keeps an eye for any easy pockets to pick, and the Gnome Illusionist strolls in unseen due to her small stature.
Anyway after some awkward social interactions and a few rumours being brought to the table, the Thief convinces everyone that the low hanging fruit here is the Baron Ardenward's quest to map out the lands to the south-west for territory expansion. Now, the Thief spoke up about how it would be guaranteed funds for the Cleric to donate to his God, that the Paladin could bring about Good in the domain etc. and this seemed enough to convince everyone. They retire for the night - the Ranger sleeping in the stables, the Cleric sleeping beneath the Cross in the nearby church.
They follow the road north-west before veering south to the Lesser City Ardent. They approach the guard at the gate, and Man With No Name approaches with his donkey, named Goat, by his side and requests an audience with the Baron. The guard happens to be a God-fearing man and, with a superbly high reaction roll, insists he will personally see to an audience with the Baron.
The party enters the settlement and immediately feel tension in the air - the place is just brimming with people who look gaunt and stressed. It is clear that the carrying capacity of the settlement is at its limit. The main street is densely developed while there are huge smatterings of low quality shelters throughout the once open village green, which has now become something of a homeless ward. The Church stands resolute, with priests supplying what support they can.
It is a requirement of the Baron that the party enter without weapons - armour and shields are okay. Most of the group acquiesce except the Ranger who eventually concedes - but keeps her concealed dagger on her person. Good dynamic here between the Lawful and Chaotic party members.
They are escorted out of the village and make their way up the ridge-path to Castle Ardenward, which sits just before the Troll Crags. A stout looking garrison greets them, and the noble Baron himself awaits their entrance. He proposes the task:
- 500GP for each 5 mile hex mapped in the 30 mile campaign hex south-west of his domain
- 500GP for the locations of monster or human lairs
- 100GP for strategic locations, such as resources (woodlands, water sources, stone, etc)
After some negotiation, the party is also supplied a map of his current domain and will be escorted to the border when they are ready. Once they prove their worth in detailing at least one 5-mile-hex the Baron promises he will lend them steeds to aid in their quest. At this point, the party also hears from the Baron about a rumour he heard as a child of a dark and malignant wizards dungeon in that region, and that adventurers of high repute confirm its existence and its dangers. This interests the Illusionist greatly who sees the potential for magical knowledge. Baron Ardenward also tells them of the wizard Barbanikos who lives to the north-west, in Underland, who might know more...
With this, the party elects to rest for the night. The Ranger goes down to the Lesser City Ardent for a beverage, and the Paladin scopes the streets for any Evil, only to find despondent drunks drowning their sorrows at the state of their lives. The Illusionist, in true Chaotic fashion, decides that pretending to be asleep and then exploring the castle is sensible. Of course, the guard outside her room insists this is not a good idea, but with a successful surprise roll the Illusionist casts Hypnotism on the guard, who changes his stance and wishes the best of the Chaotic Gnome's nightly wanderings. These, of course, don't lead to much as the Gnome quickly realises the patrols and guards outside each room are not likely to approve of her lurking, and she quietly retires back to her room...
At this, it was getting late, and we decided to pack it up for the night - with the general consensus being to use downtime to send the Ranger out on some scouting expeditions, gather information, aid the village, and study the Church (as the Man With No Name wished to do).
Treasure and XP: None
Character Alignment and Role Performance Ratings: N/A for this session as no real "adventure" took place.
Downtime Requests: -
Comments: Interesting note about this session - it happened 2 days before the 2 year anniversary of the campaign, and introduced all new players in the same starting locale as the very first session, except shaped by the events of the campaign!