Two weeks ago, I returned to the Saturday Night RP Game after having been away for several months due to some health issues and stress brought on by the constant requests of my boss to drive for him during December and January months. It was really nice to be welcomed back by the crew. The Bearded Lantern and his wife were glad to see me again and were happy to hear that my health was good. The Bionic Forearm was out dealing with his family reunion that weekend and the Security Officer was out with an illness, but I was told that I would get to meet the four new friends the Mercury Mercenary was going to bring to the game. I was thrilled in the sense that I would get to meet new friends and have some fun.
To be honest, I was a little hesitant with the idea of an evil campaign. I have tried to run a few and the best have lasted only a handful of sessions before degenerating into chaos. Personally, I believe I’m ill-equipped to run one of these potentially complicated and demanding games. I have seldom been one to play a character with a seriously lack of morals. Even the Princess, who is a selfish woman, has some sort of moral compass to guide her throughout her life. Being evil is not my thing. So when I was told we were playing such a game, run by the smooth talking and quick thinking Mercury Mercenary, he had to work hard to get me to join. Oh, he knew he had me at a point where we were starting a new game and storyline while playing Pathfinder as a player is also a delight. I asked him what he needed as far as characters and he said that we had a rogue, a necromancer, a skuld … a barbarian bard, I think, and a monk. I knew the monk would be run by the Bearded Lantern for no one places a monk better in my opinion. He had to work a bit harder, but he allowed me to do a 100% Pathfinder version of Caitlynn Wildfire as a barbarian. So I was set. The gaming group assembled and the newer members were introduced to me. A really good group in my opinion. Unfortunately for this journal, I’m still feeling my way with trying to decide on what nom de guerre to use for the new comers. Something might come to me while I write this one up, so bare with me. The really good thing was we got the characters set within an hour which is impressive since we had a total of seven people, the four newbies had to make their characters. That was fine and usually the case when we got a big group together. Something I had to learn to understand since I often sent out the e-mails on what was happening for the game BEFORE we assembled, usually 48 hours minimum before we started. Oh well. Still, they are consistent.
Surprising without too much straying from the topic, the Mercury Mercenary got the crew together and the game started. He pointed out that the five ... the rogue, the skuld,
the goblin gunslinger ... yes, you read that one right, the necromancer, and the monk were hired to steal a holy relic for 500 gold pieces a piece (I believe that was the original contract.) The religious order ... damn, I don't have my notes handy; sorry gang ... was doing the cross country tour, trying to bring in some extra gold by showing this off and administering to the people. I made a quip that no one here at the table would be able to touch the artifact (though I was corrected afterward; seems they could touch it, just not use it properly. An interesting change from the classic Dungeons and Dragons
games, but that's ok.) Now, according to Gerry (the Society of Shadows handler for the party), it was heavily guarded by seasoned guard, perhaps 20, with clerics and other attendants. Catching up with the caravan was easy enough, though the overlapping fields of patrols made it tricky to sneak in. The Magnificent Monk, run by the Bearded Lantern ... Brother Chuck (which delighted me since I have run with him before) ... and the rogue (I want to say a half-elf, though don't hold me to that) crawled in and hid underneath the wagons while the necromancer and the skuld awaited out on the edge of the encampment. The goblin gunslinger ... he's one of the best of the odd ball characters I have seen run in ages ... started his distraction. Ohmygad! The player was magnificent! He had all the right rolls, the perfect think on your feet
attitude, very flexible, and a good sport. I believe he ended up killing two horses, one guard and wounding about five, pretty much on his own. Unfortunately, the other two ... the skuld and the necromancer ... were too far away to really help, but they did their best. The three of them got captured after an hour of game play, then so did the monk and the rogue, mainly because they couldn't hold onto the undersides of the carts when camp was broken to get the injured back into the order's citadel. Also known as the Black Tower.
Pausing, the Mercury Mercenary told the crew that they were not to win that encounter and the fact that it went on for an hour was pretty damned good. Personally, I thought the teamwork could have been better, but in fairness ... they did the best with the situation. Besides, our original group was not always good with teamwork either. Especially when the Security Officer was there with his hard headed halfling. Experience points was awarded for the encounter and the party was bound and gagged for the trip to the Black Tower. At one point, the lad across from me ... a rather eager player ... asked about where my character was. I held up my hand and smiled to him, saying I would take this one for the Dungeon Master: "Oh, you'll know when you find me. Think of me as the surprise at the bottom of your Cracker Jack box." That got some laughs and the Bearded Lantern mentioned something about "Being on the Jazz."
The party was stripped to rags, searched thoroughly, and then shackled for storage in cells with just enough room to wander about, but without anyone else. If I remember right, about ten feet square with unbreakable shackles. I raised an eyebrow at the Mercury Mercenary and tapped my character sheet. He smiled and held up his hand, letting me know I'll get my chance. Everyone save the goblin gunslinger was treated humanly, but the goblin was wisely Hannibal Lector
masked and hung upside down ... to which thrilled the player. Really into his character this guy was. While they were being positioned, the door to one cell was opened and they got a look at me. Now, if you have been a reader of my journals and keeping up with the artwork, you know Cait ... however, this was a 100% Pathfinder
version and not helped out by a reminder of being a skin-walker by the Bionic Forearm. That's fine ... this was Cait as a Catfolk with a bit of human taint (which doesn't do anything save for a more human appearance. Stats and such are the same.) In short, there is room for improvement for another game.
Anyways, she was shackled with no mask and being taunted by a lad who would become known as Laughing Boyo
. Apparently, this fool had not been warned about me. Being the cat girl of this tragic comedy, he was taunting me about a saucer of milk, meowing at me, and even going as far as mocking me. Apparently, I had been her a while and had gotten into some trouble. Well, I decided to make an impression ... using a one-two approach I did an intimidation maneuver which also gave me a chance to test the strength of the shackles. Honestly, I was not expecting to get loose, but this fellow was going to learn why a few at the people at the table respected Cait.
Now, there was a bunch of groans from the four who had not gamed with me before. One said that I ought to break free and kill the guard. Another said something about a wasted effort on the intimidation. However, the Bearded Lantern just took a long drag on his cigar and said, "This ought to be good." For the intimidation roll, I lunged forward to give a go at the shackles, knowing the metal would make noise and the lunging forward might catch Laughing Boyo
off guard. My first roll for the night was a critical! A 20 for those of you who might not understand (in Villains and Vigilantes
it's a 1 for a critical success and a 20 for a critical failure.) Adding my +11 for intimidation pushed it up to a total of 31! Nodding appreciatively, the Dungeon Master described the guard soiling himself terribly and running out of the cell like a scalded cat ... as for the shackles, he said no roll was needed. Even with a critical, I had no chance at the moment of escape. A lot of WOWS! went up from the table and I got a fist bump from the eager player across from me. Ah ... the legend of Caitlynn Wildfire was growing once more.
Unfortunately, it would be months before we would get the chance of escape. Playing Caitlynn as she is can be tedious. She's not stupid, but she's not a soldier ... she's a powerhouse of a barbarian, but she's also a realist too. Waiting for the right moment is something she can handle. Besides, prisons and shackles are part of her lifestyle. The skuld who could not stand being jailed started to loose a grip on reality and started singing nonstop for days, pushing the others towards madness as well. No roll was needed for the players though. We did get one saving grace; an honest captain of the guard would allow us to be unshackled with a promise of good behavior. All I promised him was he'd have no trouble from me. Glancing at the Bearded Lantern, I noticed that he too was waiting for something to happen; though he did mention something I missed to the Dungeon Master (who, just to be sure you know, is the Mercury Mercenary.) It would take the group's handler, Gerry, to sneak in, drop a key into the necromancer's cell to get us loose. Now, I have to hand it to the necromancer, with some caltrops ... a light frost to the inner working of the locks, got him loose. Freeing Cait first, he went back to work on freeing the rest while Cait went to the end of the hall and watched for the guard. Freeing the rest was easy with some fantastic rolls! Once free, that was where the fun started.
Most of you know how a game rolls ... especially when you are dealing with a partying trying to use teamwork. In this case, we had to come up with a plan. We were three levels down and to get out we needed to go up into the citadel to get to an armory and then go down from there into the catacombs to make our escape. It took about ten minutes of kicking things around before we decided on freeing the other prisoners after hitting an armory. We would give them weapons and armor and give them a chance to win their freedom. In the middle of the chaos, we would go down into the catacombs. With getting our gear back ... I got my chainmail bikini, dagger, and battle axe back (not Hellbringer, but a good starting weapon) ... while everyone else got their stuff back. Then we got the hell out of there after the riot started.
Now, this was the end of the previous Saturday Night ... and what I mentioned in the journal before ... here's what happened this weekend.
Unfortunately, the player with the goblin gunslinger didn't make it; not sure why not right off, but that's ok. The Security Officer and the Bionic Forearm were back with the group. "They will be joining the group later," the Mercury Mercenary answered us. It made sense to the plot, though we would regret that later.
Getting into the catacombs was a pain. Apparently the entrance was hidden; this being a former castle for an important king of times long forgotten and this was his way of escape. We discovered three words on what appeared to be toggles, switches, or some sort of mechanism to open the entrance. Guessing and writing down the words to get it into order is what it took to figure it out ... also, I believe, we had to speak the words. Nevertheless, we got inside the entrance and down into the catacombs. The trek through the catacombs was tiring, but not too bad. We came into a room filled with bones ... two three feet tall piles of bones to either side of the entrance into the room and then the rest of the room disappeared into the darkness. For once, we moved as a team, and made our way across the room. In the middle ... well ... that was where we saw two more similar piles of bones in the other two corners. The room was about eight to ten feet high and about 100 x 80 feet. I wasn't too happy with this ... bones stacked into piles and arranged so neatly. Never a good sign. When we hit the middle of the room, it was filled with an eerie purple glow (
would just love this!) The bones started forming up into skeletal undead! And the doors to either end of the room slammed shut!
Gripping her battle axe, Caitlynn made one comment, "Prison is looking better by the moment."
The necromancer was able to take control of two of the skeletal monsters while the rest of us did what we could. Dammit! I couldn't hit shit! We went through several turns of action and I was slowly getting whittled down in hit points. "No one wanted to make a cleric!"
I grumbled after taking a total of 13 points from two hits from these boney creatures. "No multiple characters either!"
This one was directed at the Mercury Mercenary. The next wonderful thing happened; the mighty monk was knocked out. I think the necromancer and the skuld were also hurting; not sure about the rogue. With two hit points, I managed to duck a few swings and then get the killing strike to the main skeletal warrior who was cleaved in half ... I want to say it was a confirmed critical strike ... and the bones went back into their stacks.
Caitlynn fell to her knees. "Next time ... clerics!
We gained what looked like a cool looking longsword to which the necromancer claimed, though I thought of taking that for my first trophy. Oh well ... that's fine. Well, no it wasn't as we found out later. Going through the doors ahead of us, we stepped into a chamber of pulsing purple light. I looked at the assembled players and said, "I want to back to prison again!" That got some laughter. We waited for a few heartbeats and saw nothing forthcoming. So we entered. The purple light was coming from a giant crystal in the middle of the room which went up for about 30 feet I think. A loud booming voice said, "Free me and ultimate power shall be yours!" I glanced about the party and saw no one eager to run over there and free the nightlight from the crystal. Hefting the longsword, the necromancer lunged and shattered the crystal ... the purple light exploded throughout the room and then went Poof!
No power, no reward, no light. Looking at the remains, I mentioned to the Dungeon Master that I was going to use a rock as a scrapper, and sweep the shards up into a pouch. Tying that onto my hip (Caitlynn's hip ... I wish I had hips like that!) we looked about the room and found a way out. Meanwhile the necromancer wanted the pouch and I told him that it was safe with me. For the moment. He nodded, but didn't look happy.
I believe at this point the necromancer's player and the Dungeon Master went outside to chat for a bit. I think he touched one of the shards before I started sweeping them up into the bag. Though I know I need to keep an eye on him. The eager player was happy to back up my decision for the shards to remain in my care. I also reminded the necromancer that humans taste like chicken.
Getting out of the catacombs was easy enough. A climb up a ladder and passing through a magical barrier was all it took to meet up with the Bionic Forearm's druid and the Security Officer's sniper characters. Neither seemed too concerned about me, though after telling them, "Yes, I have a party of a crazy assed magic user, a thief, a monk, and a singing barbarian coming up with me" got me to keep from loosing more of my hit points. Two left ... very precious.
Now, a trip south was agreed on to get supplies and healed up. We were low on food and water when we arrived, but we managed to gain some money. Cait went and busted up some firewood for the inn which earned her 8 gold and a meal. The others restocked their supplies and the sniper managed to secure us a boat which would get us closer to a forest where we had learned the caravan with the relic was heading.
The boat ride was great for me. I got to sleep and heal. No one tried anything. We also had fish which was good for me too; love fish. Anyways, when we got to where we were going, the party decided to kill the boat owner and drop him into the water. I didn't see it, but I believe that someone mentioned that he attacked one of the party and was killed. Curiously skeptical about it, I just shrugged. The aspects of an Evil
campaign were reminded to some of the players. I think most of us were of some sort of neutral alignment with one who was lawful, I think ... that was the one guy, the eager player running the skuld, who made the comment about killing the guy. I think this was the point where I went inside to get a few bottles of water. When I came out, things were moving again and we made it to the town and sold the boat for what we could get for it ... 80 gold I think. Anyways, we got a lead on the forest and supplies of food and water and another jackass.
Then we were off.
We camped about a mile or so from the forest to which we were warned about wood elves ... to which I sang, "Heave ho splash plunk! Rolling down the hole!"
which got me a plot point. The wood elves were supposed to be harmless unless we hunted within the forest or damaged it in any way. To the north of the forest was a town of loggers who grew their own forest for the lumber they wanted to make Log Town, not very imaginative, but very descriptive to be sure. However, getting into the forest was troublesome.
During the night watch, we heard a scream from the forest and decided to investigate. Waking the party, the monk got our full strength up and going while I went to investigate. A step into the forest got me an arrow at my feet ... only by the grace of my feline luck saved me from being shafted. Caitlynn greeted the rest of the party and pointed to the arrow. It was laced with a paralysis potion. So, from here on out, anyone who stepped inside the forest got a arrow shot at them ... only good reflexes managed to save him or her. After about ten minutes of trial and error, I said that I was about to walk around the forest. "If we cannot go through it, we must go around it!" Caitlynn grumbled. That was when our druid (run by the Bionic Forearm) decided to do something stupid ... though I admired him for the start of what was to come. Taking a large shield, he went running into the woods. He got a good ways inside before getting shot. I reminded people that Cait moved at 50 feet per turn and the Dungeon Master said that running full out would allow Cait to move at 250 feet per turn. "Cheetara, eat your heart out!" I crowed as I blew through the forest. This managed to get the elves in the tree tops to shoot at me which also allowed the party to get position on them. However taking them out would take a bit. All I did was run back and forth for a few turns before running straight for another 250 feet which took me deeper into the forest. I found some remains of a flag belonging to the caravan. So I scented the area, making sure I knew what was here and what might have happened before running back to the party.
Meanwhile, the party was slowly taking out the wood elves which we learned was a patrol of four. Once done, we managed to catch one alive thanks to our rogue who climbed up after him and managed to knock him out of the tree. The skuld used featherfall
to keep the two of them from crashing and dying. Getting the elf out of the forest snapped him out of some sort of possession which really bothered me. As far as I knew, I had tracked something into the forest and further in ... something that was not elf or human or anything I could identify. After trying to stabilize the elf, we went back to town to alert the authorities. The thought was to get an army of guys to handle the elves. Once back into town, that was simple enough ... the evil
party got the religious zealots to go ahead and mount up an army: 60 mounted Calvary, guards, clerics and a high priest with retainers and other support members. And while this was going on, I was in the tavern drinking and relaxing.
The party also got in touch with Gerry who was not pleased. They were supposed to have handed this magical sword, the relic, off to him a month or two earlier and it was taking them much longer. Gerry cared not of their problems, listening to the various party members whine about the efforts. Personally, I was glad to be away from all of this. But they finally got an extra 500 gold piece reward each added to the reward ... that would make it 1000 gold for the theft. Personally, I thought it was far too cheep.
The trek with the holy army was quick and painless. Getting to the forest, the magic users set up an arrow proof barrier with their magics and we went into the forest unconcerned. We found the site were I found the flag quickly and I tracked the caravan to its final resting spot. No one was alive. Burn marks all over the place. Finding the sword's display box was easy enough until I sniffed it for the scent. That unknown was here ... and I alerted the rest of the party. The high priest didn't listen to the warning, saying the elves had it and off we went. "Nothing good is going to come of this," Caitlynn warned as she gripped her battle axe.
The army hit the wood elves' village around high noon and it was a slaughter. No one gave quarter. The elves wouldn't turn over the sword and the army was not about to stop. The elves backed up into the only building still standing which was some sort of temple. The fighting surged towards the building ... and that was when the doors exploded off and something came out. It was like watching a farmer harvest wheat ... a swing of a hand would swat elves and humans about effortlessly. People died horribly. And we as the party just watched the horror. I glanced at the Dungeon Master and he nodded. I knew this was whatever it was earlier. After slaughtering the army, the thing comes over to the party. The druid bows to the thing before it points at Caitlynn and then the Necromancer before handing the relic to the Necromancer. Then with a purple explosion, it changes to a bat and flies off.
Understandably, there is a bit of a pause as we gather up our characters' courage before we start searching for survivors. Any of the elves that did, ran off. None of the army was alive. The looting of the bodies start which is always something unsettling to me, but I do get it. They are dead; that's often the treasure you find. But still ... it unnerves me. So I have Caitlynn go into the building to check it out. Inside is like that one scene in Even Horizon
with all the eviscerated bodies all over. A blown hole in the floor shows what looks to be a coffin. Pulling that out, I open it up and sniff it. The scent of the unknown thing is strong here.
Caitlynn drags the coffin out of the building and shows it to the party. "Whatever it was, it was in here," the cat girl announced before being told to put it onto a wagon and the necromancer put the sword into the display box. That was when the party started informing Cait of what the thing was: a vampire.
This got some howls of rage from me at the Dungeon Master who knew this was going to happen. I hate vampires with a passion and yet I respect the power they have. Most of us are maybe second level at this point and there is no way we would have a chance with a vampire. Besides, I also know the Bionic Forearm ... he's always wanting to become a vampire. And the Necromancer ... well ...
With Caitlynn thoroughly pissed and wanting to rip something in half ... echoing my mood ... we break camp, heal at the spring where the original caravan was, and head for Log Town. The party set up the wagon in a secure place in town and Cait went to get a drink. That was when she spotted the tournament ring and the banner announcing the King of the Ring
match. Betting and drinking was encouraged and the entry fee was only 10 gold. So Cait entered. Ohmygawd! This was the most fun I could have! While not a normally violent person, I do love a good punch up. In gaming it's the best since no one gets hurt and the damage is all subjective. So, I start with a beginner lumberjack ... thickly muscled and good looking. I start to use intimidate (Why not? It works for the wrestlers!) and the guy's rattled. That's fine. Two rounds and I win. The next is a slightly bigger fellow. I give him a good roar which is a 26 on intimidate (not the best since I pumped up my bonus from 11 to 14) and he's shaken. One good shot and he's out. That was when the rest of the party heard this and came to see what the fun was. That is also when the betting started. The next lad was a lean Bruce Lee looking guy. This one took some work, but I TKOed him. Oh yeah, I was good and pumped now! The next guy was built like a brick shithouse, but slow. It took me a good bit of hits to do much to him. Finally I got him with a critical to the family nuggets. The last guy was a good mixture of lean and muscled with some skills. After a few rounds of swapping hits, he switches to two handed strikes. Oh yeah ... this is going to be fun! I'm not going to lie ... I expected each fight to be the last, but the point was to have fun and get some of that rage out. Finally, it would take two criticals to end this fight ... and I was fortunate that he was not hitting me often. I think he landed one punch around the start. I had about 11 hit points at the end and got 80 more gold pieces!
So, Caitlynn earns the Queen of the Ring
here at Log Town!
I do believe we ended out the night with a bit more of roleplay, but I'm a bit lost on that. I think the party learned that they had a new handler and that Gerry was no more. Something else was out there, waiting ...
And that is where we ended for the night.
I'll keep you posted as the game continues next weekend.
Love and Kisses,