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"Let the Fates Decide" Game Journal (there will be major spoilers)

LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
I've started a game that will be determined much by chance. For a great many decisions I'm turning a deck of playing cards to answer yes or no, such that a red suit equals yes and a black suit equals no. For other types of questions I'm rolling dice. Eg, what direction might I go exploring? Roll a d4 where each number equals a cardinal direction. And so on.

So I figured I would play a Diviner. Seems fitting from a roleplaying standpoint. The dice were pretty good to me after 5 rolls.

Str 12
Dex 17
Con 11
Int 18
Wis 18
Cha 10

He scribes Blind, Identify and Sleep, memorizing the latter two.

Alright, I'm initially just testing this out to see if I really want to do it. From just outside the door of the Candlekeep Inn I roll a d4 which determines go North. Righto. Of course I run directly into Phlydia. Do I talk with her? I turn over a red card. So yes. She asks me to look for her book. Do I want to do it? I turn over another red card. So sure thing, Phlydia, I'll fetch your book.

I do this in earnest, roleplaying as if I'm really looking for the thing. (No dice rolls here, just looking where one would normally think to search.) And that takes me into the house where Shank is waiting. I had no weapons. I had Sleep memorized... but I figure, look, I'm a Diviner! What the hell do I know about fighting some guy who's trying to kill me? So I get the hell out of there.

I run towards a Watcher in front of the inn, assuming he'll do his job. Can you guess what happens? Bingo. He ignores the homicidal maniac on my tail. (Wth?) So I run into the inn. (Maybe Firebeard will help!) Again, they don't seem concerned in the slightest that a madman is chasing me around with a knife. (Hmm, maybe I wasn't so popular there in Candlkeep growing up.)

I run into the Candlekeep library garden, in the hope that either Tethtoril or Gorion will protect me. Shank is in hot pursuit. I run straight through the Chanters in a panic. They immediately scatter like a flock of frightened birds. That elicits a laugh right there. And for just a moment I seem to be outrunning my attacker. Maybe a Watcher finally responded! So I look back to see what's going on.

image

I actually just caught a glimpse of the Voice of the West whacking Shank with his staff. You see my Diviner there basically staring in disbelief.

So anyway, yeah, this game is definitely on. Right at the outset I experienced something I've never, ever seen before in the Prologue in countless playthroughs. So that's an auspicious beginning.

Edit: Here is a full narrative of the ongoing game in a Word document.

Addenda:

1) As I've commenced this game I realize the best way for me to employ this RP concept is to have many decisions simply flow from my conception of the main character. For example, there is no question but that this character would take Imoen along. That's just fundamental to who he is. But there are many decisions where the character might question what he might do next. And also, when questions aren't crucial then it might just be fun to leave them to chance. So those are the sorts of things being decided by the cards and dice by me as a player. From an RP standpoint the main character is then looking for omens, signs, and consulting various means of divination.

1) I guess at the end of the day that this character concept is Chaotic in practice, because you so often just can't predict what he will do next. (Nor can he, even if he faithfully and consistently follows divinations.) So I'm making him Chaotic Good. He is a prosocial and good hearted person. Although up for adventure and excitement he is not instinctively drawn toward battle. (He has high Int and Wis.) Beyond doing what is integral to his personality he will look to omens and such to guide his way. He is a pantheist (all the gods have something to offer, depending on the situation.)

3) One great thing about this RP concept is that you have to really pay attention to all the dialogue and narration, and the journal entries and even the manual (Manual 1 on the lore); and then really think about how the character would react, to decide what choices the character will make next. This means to try as much as possible to ignore the metagame knowledge I possess as a player and truly put myself in the shoes of each of the characters I'm controlling. For me this is a rediscovery of many basic elements to the story. This is all about how the story unfolds.

4) Although this is not a strict no-reload game, in the spirit of 'let the fates decide' I will accept all results to scribe spell scrolls and level-up HP dice rolls. If characters die I will not reload. If the PC (well, me playing as PC) has grown attached to a character who can be resurrected, he will do so. If the attachment is not so great, then he will cast his runes to decide.

5) I will try for the most part to leave the equipment that NPCs earn as spoils in their possession if they leave the party. In some cases I will ask for them to help us by giving us the item, and will draw a card as to whether they do or not. The exception to this rule will be an obviously selfish type such as Edwin or Montaron. I won't bother asking those types. The same idea also applies to NPCs who join with various belongings--those items stay with them. And during the course of the game, if I need a selfish NPC to share with another I will draw a card as to whether or not they will. (When there is a tactical advantage to do so, they might grudgingly agree.) I will also strive not to swap inventory items in the midst of combat. If a character needs a potion, then someone that has one will literally have to run over to the one who needs it, and hand it to them.

6) I will be roleplaying NPCs to the fullest extent possible as individuals, each with their own unique personalities and motivations, not just in relation to the unfolding events but also in relation to one another. I.e., relationships are going to form. And for each character decisions will be made that will affect everyone else.

7) I've added color coding to the 'out-of-game' comments enclosed in brackets: Green for when a yes answer is the result of turning a playing card (red suit), red for a no answer (black suit), and blue for dice rolls, party votes, and notes/commentary.

8) I'm using this dice roller from WotC.

Post edited by Lemernis on
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Comments

  • Jackkel_DragonJackkel_Dragon Member Posts: 102
    Chanter > Watcher in keeping the peace in Candlekeep. Go figure. I wonder if Gorion cares if you get knifed in front of him?

  • KidCarnivalKidCarnival Member Posts: 3,747
    Lemernis said:

    I actually just caught a glimpse of the Voice of the West whacking Shank with his staff. You see my Diviner there basically staring in disbelief.

    This beats @Oxford_Guy's throne (killed by Hull).

  • harvman11harvman11 Member Posts: 33
    edited March 2013
    I have to say I really enjoyed the read, though as someone who has written up detailed after-action reports about games like diplomacy, I definitely understand the effort it takes. As long as you keep posting though I'll keep reading!

    Cthulhus_Mum
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited March 2013
    Thanks! I'd like to keep it going because the whole approach has me getting into the game much more like a novel. (Well, the game pretty much is an interactive novel, actually.)

    I just hope that it takes me in interesting directions that I've never traveled before.

    I think I do have to be selective about what I leave to chance. (I.e., not literally everything.) I just hope I can find the sweet spot for actions based on some basic character (i.e., the main character being developed in terms of who he is) versus what may be left up to the four winds.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • IkMarcIkMarc Member Posts: 552
    Great stuff. I think it could be interesting with a chaotic evil or a chaotic neutral character. That might lead to some more irregular occurrences.

    Cthulhus_Mum
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    Yeah, that's very true. Chaotic Evil with this approach would be one wild ride.

    Cthulhus_Mum
  • WanderonWanderon Member Posts: 1,407
    harvman11 said:

    I have to say I really enjoyed the read, though as someone who has written up detailed after-action reports about games like diplomacy, I definitely understand the effort it takes. As long as you keep posting though I'll keep reading!

    Ditto! Sometimes the journaling can be a chore and take away from game time and I often find myself wondering if anyone besides myself is really interested in them - perhaps even more so in these days where video clips seem to be the prefered form of presenting something.

    In any event if you write them I will likely read them ( and if you make video clips I will likely not see them) - whatever you choose enjoy the ride!

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited March 2013
    One aspect that is turning out to be really fun and refreshing here is to use this method of cards and dice to determine the actions of NPCs. That sort of grew organically from the overall approach, and it's a fascinating new feature that I hadn't fully expected.

    I even did a party group vote for the first time this way, and that seemed to open up some new avenues for how the game might develop.

    This has all the party members behaving relatively independently. I'm still roleplaying them according to what I believe is in character for them when it's something obvious. But I'm finding that there's a mix of making RP decisions for them according to who they are, on the one hand, and having chance determine some of their behavior as well, on the other. It seems to roughly be about a 50-50 split so far.

    For example, we know from the coded banters that Jaheira and Khalid don't like Xzar and Montaron. I do not think Jaheira would be inclined to heal either of them. So I RPed having the PC ask her to do this once for Montaron so far, and the card I turned had her agreeing. But I think next I'm going to have to turn a card for whether she will agree to heal either of those two on a regular basis. Or I suppose I could also have the outcome be a little more diverse, eg, roll 1d4 where 1= heal them as needed, 2 = ask Jaheira how she feels about it each time (turn a card then), 3 = never heal them (make them use potions), 4 = reroll.

    Jaheira has aboverage Wis, and from a tactical vantage she would grasp that healing these Zhents would be "for the group." But from her point of view the good of the group could be to have them die as well!

    I was kind of hoping that I would be able to add Garrick to the party. But it literally 'wasn't in the cards' in this game. I felt from a roleplaying vantage that I couldn't really ignore Garrick's continued presence standing outside of the inn (what with the bounty and assassination attempts). So upon returning to the Burning Wizard to rest I felt compelled to draw a card re: whether to confront him. (As for preparing to fight Garrick, that was silly from a metagame perspective. But from the RP vantage: in for a penny, in for a pound. And a first time player wouldn't know what to expect from him.)

    It seemed quite a stroke of luck for the dice to have me staying in the Burning Wizard, and to get the Stupifier as well (the odds were against this). But I have no one in the party who has any proficiency with the mace.

    I guess I could turn a card for whether Khalid will attempt to practice with it versus wielding a sword all the time...

    What is the penalty for using a weapon that a character has no proficiency at all in? Or is it that there's no penalty but the wielder simply doesn't get proficiency bonuses? I've forgotten a lot of those sorts of details about the game, lol.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • WanderonWanderon Member Posts: 1,407
    You should be able to see the penalty in your character or inventory screen by equiping different weapons and seeing how the Thac0 changes - IIRC it may be different for different classes perhaps -2 for warriors and -4 for mages?

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited March 2013
    Okay, thanks. Yeah in this game the two characters that can equip Stupifer, both fighters (Khalid and Montaron; Imoen lacks the Strength to equip it), get a -2 THAC0 penalty when they equip it. I would imagine that the penalty is higher for clerics, rogues, and mages, as you said.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • WanderonWanderon Member Posts: 1,407
    Yeah I have seen a base Thac0 of 25 for mages weilding weapons they have no prof in I think.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited March 2013
    Ah, but wait--the mace itself confers THAC0 +1. The net THAC0 loss from equipping it was -2, so the base penalty must be -3 even for Fighters!

    But anyway, this is a pretty good example of the sort of decision I'm routinely making using this method:

    Khalid is most highly trained to use the Long Sword. Of any weapon, he has the greatest skill in using that one.

    But now, given the acquisition of this quite powerful new weapon (Stupifier), would Khalid attempt to learn how to use it?

    (In this case, I would not have the party leader assume to direct him to do anything. CHARNAME is a Diviner with high Int and Wis. He wouldn't presume because he knows nothing about the arts of martial combat.)

    So putting oneself in Khalid's shoes, what would he do? He himself knows that he will be more effective using a Long Sword. But this new weapon can also paralyze enemies sometimes. And that might actually prove more effective for the team overall.

    Would Khalid's general lack of confidence factor into his decision? (Actually, come to think of it, it might be kind of fun to see if he has a morale failure due to poor success using this weapon.) Or might he actually have decent confidence specifically for martial combat (given his overall education as a fighter)? Is his confidence based only in his specific training, and he'd be highly insecure using a weapon that he has next to no familiarity with?

    In this type of game when an answer isn't obvious I draw a card for yes or no. And here that could even be: Will Khalid dare try to use this weapon even for just a while? Y or N.

    Metagame-wise he should clearly stick with the Long Sword; and, should he remain with the party, continue on to gain High Mastery in its use.

    But from a RP vantage, based on what we know of the character (and/or can extrapolate, and then argue for), would he give Stupifier a try?

  • DelvarianDelvarian Member Posts: 1,232
    I'm really enjoying this thread, I find it far more interesting than the cannon books. I can't wait to see what sort of mischief Monty gets the group into next.

  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,400
    edited March 2013
    Heh, excellent read! I'm enjoying this. One small note though, Basilus is not a priest of Bane, Bane is long dead, IIRC slain in his battle against Torm's avatar back in the cahotic Time of Troubles. Basillus is one of the Cyric's boys and they are just not right in the head, an actual quote from an ingame rumour from commoners.

    I've been reading novels Avatar Trilogy, Prince of Lies and Trial of the Cyric the Mad, they are excellent reads and shed insight to aftermath of Time of Troubles, how Mystra, Bane, Myrkul, and Bhaal died, how Cyric and new Mystra became Gods, then Cyric's insane plan led to the destruction of Zhentil Keep and he lost his portfolio of Death to Kelemvor etc. Riveting stuff.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    Thanks @lunar, it's been a while since I looked at source books and I misremembered about Zhentil Keep. Post amended accordingly above.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited March 2013
    The Road to Nashkel (Part 1)

    And so it was that early that morning we altered our plans and resumed our travels south along the Coast Way.

    [Decide to have thieves scout ahead? Black card = no.]

    As we strode out of town I considered whether to send Montaron and Imoen ahead to scout. But I figured we should probably remain safe without a scout for a while yet, still not too far from the town. ‘Tis a warm, bright sunny morning. Songbirds are chirping and butterflies waft about back-lit by the sun. Not a definitive omen, no. But regardless, hopefully not scouting isn't too much of a risk yet.

    My decision turned out not to be the right one. For before long, as we made our way around a bend we happened upon an ogrillon. The giant lumbered towards us with a terrible growl and obvious intent to do us harm. As the creature approached us Jaheira cast her Sprouting Vine spell which unfortunately the beast outran and avoided. With a massive blow of the fist to Khalid’s shield, the wind was nearly knocked out of Khalid, and he was left gasping for air. Jaheira immediately used her remaining healing spell to save her husband. In the meantime others took the following actions: Xzar cast his Armor spell for protection (after his last incident he wasn't taking chances); Montaron quickly sheathed his sword and began hurling sling stones; Imoen shot arrows at the creature; and I threw darts at it. One of my darts to the creature's throat wounded it badly, and then Imoen’s arrow found its way straight into the brute’s chest, killing it.

    Lest there be more enemies ahead to catch us unawares, Montaron scouted ahead and found another ogrillon hopelessly trapped in the tangle of vines Jaheira had called forth from the ground. Montaron called out for those of us with ranged weapons to us join him and flank the creature from a spot where we could fire easily upon him. This Imoen, Xzar (using throwing daggers), and I did immediately.

    Imoen’s and Xzar’s aim were best. And the second ogre-orc fell to another one of Imoen’s arrows.

    Jaheira told us to wait for a bit for the vines she had called forth on the path to return to the earth, which we did. Then Montaron moved in to loot the corpse. He discovered on the creature who had charged Khalid a greenstone ring. And next to the creature we killed within the vines, we found a horribly pulverized halfling corpse. On that orgillon Jaheira found a letter addressed to a ‘Marianne’ from someone named ‘Roe’. The letter referenced a halfling courier, which seemed the victim at this apparent ambush site the ogrillons had established. The letter was dispatched from Amn, its author says.

    [Keep the letter in the hope of perhaps one day finding ‘Marianne’? Imoen and Khalid I believe would say yes. Xzar and Montaron I think would say no. Jaheira: black card = no. Oracos: red card = yes. A tie. Tie-breaker goes to party leader. We hold on to the letter.]

    Upon listening to the letter read aloud by Jaheira, Imoen suggested that we should keep it and perhaps see if we can deliver it, if somehow possible. Khalid agreed that this would be a noble thing to do if we can. Xzar paid attention just long enough to roll his eyes, and promptly returned to his inner thoughts and mutterings. Montaron laughed derisively that we should keep the letter for toileting purposes. Jaheira stated she felt that it was simply another distraction from the task at hand, so no, best leave the letter where we found it on the road and leave the matter to the Fates. Hearing Jaheira phrase it that way, it was clear to me that the Fates had selected us! So I advised that we will keep the letter and deliver it if we can.

    Not far in the distance to the west of the road we noticed a most peculiar sight. A house had somehow become mostly engulfed by a pond. The front of it was underwater, and the rear was yet above ground. What could have happened here? Had it somehow been moved from its foundation? How could a mere pond have risen so dramatically? Perhaps some magic was involved?

    If this be an omen it seemed an odd one. I did not speak my thoughts, but asked the group simply to please let me cast my runes. Jaheira seemed impatient at this but sighed and walked a few steps away to chat with Khalid who was carefully inspecting his shield for damage. The rest watched as I performed the divination.

    [Explore to the west of the road? Red card = yes.]

    The runes pointed clearly that we should investigate this new omen. I advised the party that I had sensed a reason to explore to the west where the partially submerged house was visible. The reason would be clear once we got there. (A leap of faith on my part!). Jaheira voiced that she was hardly thrilled at the idea, and that this excursion posed yet another delay. Xzar and Montaron seemed nonchalant about it, perhaps simply to be in opposition to Jaheira. Imoen happily chimed “I care not.”

    It was agreed that Montaron should scout ahead. Just as we were deciding this rain began to fall precipitously and the wind picked up. While the foul weather was uncomfortable, it was nevertheless welcome in order to help Montaron to reconnoiter undetected. Off the hin rogue darted, slipping behind trees as stealthily moved his way toward the house.

    During Montaron’s absence we were all somewhat surprised to witness an amusing bit of a tension arise between Khalid and Jaheira. Jaheira playfully mocked her mate for his stutter. Khalid rejoined that she needn’t be so “insufferable”—although she ended up spitting the word out for him due to his stutter. Most likely they were simply having a bit of fun with one another to bide the time. Yet things often said in jest…

    Montaron soon returned to report that just to the southwest of the house he discovered an undead creature. A ghoul he believed it was. This news rather tweaked Xzar’s interest, and he suddenly became eager to investigate should there be some Necromantic magic involved.

    Montaron added that the entire house seemed flooded, its structure entirely rotted out.

    We briefly discussed whether attempting to capture and interrogate the creature might yield a profitable result.

    [Attempt to speak with the ghoul? Jaheira and Khalid probably would say no, just kill it. Montaron would probably say kill it. Xzar might well want to speak with it. Imoen probably would be fine with whatever the decision. Still up to the party leader, though. Oracos: red card = yes.]

    Only Xzar was in favor of trying to question the creature, but I felt the gods had apparently pointed us in this direction for a reason. So I pulled a rune stone from my divination pouch that seemed to indicate that we should try speaking with the creature.

    That said, there was no telling how the creature might react. So we agreed that Montaron would slip behind the ghoul first. Then when we approached it, if the ghoul attacked us, Montaron could kill it from behind.

    As Montaron continued to establish position ahead of us, the creature kept moving to the south. I became concerned that the creature may be luring us into an ambush. But there was no way to communicate with Montaron now to change the plan.

    Finally the ghoul came to a rest and we were able to approach it with our plan intact. To no great surprise the horrid creature immediately attacked us as we approached. For this battle Jaheira had switched from club and shield back to quarterstaff. She and Khalid readied themselves in their combat stances as the shambling ghoul came upon us. As the ghoul approached it was slowed by an arrow from our ranged weapons, recoiling twice as our various missile weapons hit their mark. When the monster was upon Khalid, Montaron lept at it from behind and plunged his short sword into its back so ferociously that the blade broke. We commented on the weapons breakage as the creature lay at our feet, at the same time commending Montaron for his savage strike. But it occurred to all of us that the weapon shattering was more likely due to the tremendous brittleness of iron in the region.

    As Montaron looted the creature for a bloodstone ring, Imoen noticed that just to the west there appeared to be a cave entrance in the side of a small hill. Perhaps this is why the gods had led us here! I thought to myself; though I held my tongue from speaking the thought just yet.

    [Note: in retrospect I guess I should have drawn a card for whether this was noticed, but the cave seems prominent enough in-game for this to easily catch the eye.]

    Clearly we should investigate. The only question was whether Montaron would enter alone, or should Imoen join him were he run into any trouble. In either event, the rest of us would remain near to the entrance to rush in should there be a cry for help.

    [If a red card is drawn Montaron will scout alone. A black card will have both Imoen and Montaron scout the cave as a team. Result: black card. The two of them scout as a team.]

    I pulled another rune stone from the pouch and could see that the pair of them should investigate together. Jaheira’s facial expression suggested that she might perhaps be intrigued at whether my divinations might prove fruitful here.

    Only moments after disappearing into the cave, Imoen and Montaron returned to tell that that there they found five healing potions and a sizeable purse of gold inside. From their description, it seems the cave may have once seen an attempt at digging a mining shaft. But at any rate, if so, the effort was aborted.

    Our voices fell to a whisper at this news. As the cave now stands, a number of us conjectured that it may well serve as a camp for bandits who have infested the area. If this is correct, it was deemed prudent by all that Montaron continue to scout the area just a bit more in order that we are not caught red-handed invading a bandit camp. But that is of course only if bandits are in any way involved. If these supplies belong to someone else who means others no harm, then we can simply give the potions and gold back, I said. (Much to Montaron’s obvious disdain.)

    Sure enough, a party of four imposing looking hobgoblins lay just around the stand of trees where we hid.

    Montaron felt that we should easily be able to defeat them, adding that they probably have more treasure on them. As he had sized them up, he said, they could be well worth the risk. Jaheira seemed perturbed at the whole matter, aggravated that we were mulling such a choice when there was more important business awaiting us to the south. Khalid demurred to whatever Jaheira wished, once she decided. Imoen had no strong feeling either way, she said. Xzar I did not feel inclined to ask, given our last assault on a band of hobgoblin bandits.

    [Attack party of hobgoblins? Black card = no.]

    Since we had no clear consensus, I drew a rune stone. The omen was not to attack.

    I shared this portent with the party, but Montaron quickly asserted that we had voted in such a case before, and therefore we should now as well.

    So, still in whispers, I put the matter to a vote.

    [Attack hobgoblins near cave? Montaron is already a yes. Oracos divination rune said no, so he votes no. Xzar: black card = no, Jaheira: red card = yes, Khalid: black card = no, Imoen: black card = no. Result: We avoid them for now.]

    I vote no on the basis of my divinations. Montaron voices an emphatic yes. Xzar mutters nay. Jaheira, perhaps unable to stomach voting along with Xzar and Montaron says yes, we should kill them. Khalid, somewhat surprisingly says no. And Imoen votes no as well.

    Thus we headed back to the Coast Way, this time to the south of the submerged house, with Montaron again scouting in advance.

    Once we returned to the road I instructed Montaron to distribute the healing potions to all but me. He seemed vaguely irritated about it, but did so without an argument.

    Montaron scouted ahead, as we were clearly in dangerous territory. He quickly returned to report that man wearing the helmet of the Flaming Fist mercenaries was just ahead, likely patrolling the road. This certainly seemed safe enough. So we advanced and approached him directly.

    Jaheira was in the point position, and so the mercenary spoke to her. In an unsettling development, he immediately accused us of being bandits! Jaheira responded that we were most certainly not bandits. The mercenary then queried why he should believe us?

    At this point I chose to assert my leadership and interrupted.

    [Roll 1 d4 where each number equals dialogue responses 1-4. Result: 3. Why would bandits be walking out in the open?, etc.]

    I observed that if we were bandits it wouldn't make sense that we were simply walking the road out in the open. The patrolling guard was satisfied with this answer, and let us continue on our way.

    Just after this encounter ended the rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds. Perhaps lulled into a sense of security by the patrolling Flaming Fist mercenary we continued on our way without Montaron scouting in advance.

    This could have proven to be a costly mistake. For only moments after we resumed our trek we were assaulted from the side of the road by a hobgoblin with a bow. Perhaps he was following behind the mercenary awaiting just such a temporary relaxation of travelers’ defenses.

    The bandit’s arrow stuck Khalid in the hip just below his hip bone. And although the arrow did not penetrate his chainmail, the poison on its arrowhead did make its way into Khalid’s flesh.

    We turned towards the fiend, and Khalid, Jaheira and Montaron charged him as the rest of us let loose with our respective missiles. The hobgoblin ultimately fell to one of Imoen’s well-aimed arrows to its face. No one else was injured by him in the fight. Naturally, Montaron looted the corpse.

    Khalid was seriously afflicted by the poison however. He consumed two healing potions to withstand the toxins coursing through his veins. These did restore him fully. But as a result he was without any potions—and he is one of our two fighters taking the point position in battle. Imoen volunteered to give him two of hers (leaving her with just one).

    We then had some discussion about what to do next. It was apparent at this point that continuing on this road would be all the more dangerous if we do not rest and memorize spells. But where? Should we risk resting just off the road? For all we know the area may be crawling with hobgoblins.

    The cave we found would offer some safety—but for the fact that in order to rest there we would first have to kill the band of hobgoblins that are almost surely using it. And without resting to regain our spells we might not survive that fight. Especially since now we know the hobgoblins are using poisoned arrows...

    Jaheira proposed that we have Montaron scout to the east of the road. This seemed very sensible plan to all. And that is the course that we followed.

    Montaron looked around for a bit and found a stand of trees that seemed to offer a fair bit of cover. At this secluded spot the magic users among us then sat and meditated on our spells. Because of the great dangers we have encountered thus far, I chose to memorize two castings of the Sleep spell. Xzar showed similar prudence in memorizing two castings of his Life Drain spell. As has been her practice, Jaheira kept with her two castings of Heal and one of Twisting Vines.

    Khalid, Montaron, and Imoen stood guard as we entered out meditations. If bandits were roaming the area they evidently did not detect us. After the required period of time we had spells ready for casting, though it was late afternoon by the time we had completed our spell preparations.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
    lunarSniiiimonWanderon
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited March 2013
    The Road to Nashkel (Part 2)

    The journey slowly but surely continued for another four hours (thankfully uneventfully) as Montaron scouted ahead. Traveling at night provided the advantage that Montaron could scout ahead more effectively.

    All was proceeding well. We came however to a wide bend around a hilly cluster of rock outcroppings that forced a decision.

    Ahead on the road yet another band of hobgoblins lay in wait. To the east of the Coast Way Montaron explored as well, and he discovered a path that appeared to safely circumvent the ambush on the road ahead. Montaron hastened to add that he did not wish to advance too far and thereby risk becoming unable to make his way back to us (such as bandits suddenly appearing between him and us). Thus he could make no promises as to what lay further ahead on the path around the ambush on the road.

    One thing was clear to all, though. The road was as unsafe—and perhaps even moreso than the wilderness!

    I proposed that we take the wilderness route around and eventually attempt to make our way back to the road when it appeared safe.

    [Consensus to avoid ambush? Oracos and Imoen would say yes, I think. I believe Xzar would also wish to sidestep the ambush. Montaron: black card = no, Jaheira: red card = yes, Khalid: red card = yes. Result: we attempt to sidestep the ambush.]

    We proceeded cautiously, with Montaron still leading the way as scout. We came to a stand of trees and stopped. It seemed that we might end up very far from the road if we don’t try to parallel it. So Montaron scouted back in the direction of the highway, moving deftly in the cover of night along the jagged edge of a tall rock ridge.

    Montaron returned to report that he spotted a band of four kobolds blocking our way back to the road. They occupied a clearing that would make it virtually impossible to slip by them unseen. So our choice was to kill them or continue moving south off-road… and as such risk getting lost!

    [Vanquish the kobolds? Here I think all would be in agreement that not only can they can win this fight, moreover they should not risk getting lost in the wilderness.]

    For once the entire group concurred that we should attempt to remove our obstacle back to the road. We may perhaps do this quite easily with my Drowsiness spell. The plan was to have Montaron approach unseen as close to them as he could. The rest of us would follow single file along the ridge, attempting to stay hidden in the rocks as best we could. Montaron would signal to me when we were close enough for me to cast my Sleep spell without my being spotted. We would then see if I could put them all to sleep.

    The plan worked nearly to perfection. My spell put three of the four kobolds into an instant slumber. Montaron then crept ahead and snuck up on the one who was still alert. The halfling attempted his backstab. But the effort failed, as the kobold perhaps sensed him in time and dodged his blade. The rodent yipped and turned toward Montaron with his sword drawn. At that moment we sprang from the rocks and attacked as quickly and silently as we could. But before our weapons could strike our enemy, the kobold was slain by Montaron’s short sword.

    Montaron then wasted no time in executing the three other sleeping kobolds, with the other fighters joining in to complete the grisly task. As always, Montaron then looted them.

    At this point we had made our way back to within eyesight of the road again. Montaron crept a bit further along the ridge and glimpsed a hobgoblin at the southernmost position of the bandits’ formation. He doubled back and then moved south of our position to scout along yet another ridge. He shortly reported back that from there the way to the road appeared to be clear.

    We carefully followed Montaron as he brought us back to the road just south of the hobgoblin ambush. From a cluster of trees just east of the road we spied the bodies of slain travelers. Montaron darted across the road unseen in order to check their bodies, and appeared to have found something. He just as quickly slank back to us, and was greeted with an irritated expression on Jaheira’s face at the unnecessary risk our thief took. This Montaron ignored, and with a wink to me he put his finger to pursed lips in a silent ‘shhh’.

    Montaron continued to lead the way in the trees parallel to the road. He soon reported that there were two human bandits directly ahead, wielding bows. Monaron silently motioned for Imoen to join him in attempting to kill them from behind, which she seemed willing to undertake without trepidation. Jaheira and I momentarily looked at one another as to whether to stop this, and try to avoid the bandits entirely. But Montaron slunk forward before any discussion could take place, forcing our hand. Imoen quickly followed after him, herself hiding in the same shadows.

    This impulsive decision by Montaron did not pan out exactly as planned… The following reported to me afterward by Imoen:

    Imoen’s ability to keep herself hidden is not as strong as our little friend’s. The bandits had moved a bit west of the road to survey the view from atop a ridge—which would have allowed us to slip by them without a fight! Yet still Montaron pursued them. Imoen hurried after him, but her movement was evidently detected by one of them who promptly fired his bow in her direction. Imoen then scampered back into the trees and attempted to hide again. Fortunately, she was not followed; perhaps the bandit could not be sure of what he saw and concluded the risk of investigating further wasn't worth the risk.

    This distraction allowed Montaron to get closer to the two bandits, whose backs were turned to him. Were Montsaron to attempt to have rejoined us then, it is true that he might have risked being seen and becoming the target of their arrows. Montaron had no wish to evade them however. He motioned to Imoen to join him; which she did, this time remaining successfully hidden, and joining him behind the tree. Our pair of stealthy rogues snuck up behind the bandits and attempted to backstab them.

    They both failed in their attempts. We had followed Montaron and Imoen to just barely able keep them in view, espeically in the dark. But due to their stealth they quickly disappeared from our view.

    The rest of our party did our best to try to remain hidden in the trees. But eventually we could faintly hear that the fight was enjoined. So we rushed to their aid.

    With the entire group’s help the bandits were killed, though fittingly they succumbed to Montaron’s and Imoen’s swords, respectively.

    Montaron eagerly looted their bodies—and to my and Imoen's horror he removed their scalps! I asked him why, and he shrugged that sometimes when bandit activity is this bad the authorities will pay for proof of dead bandits. (Perhaps some scrying method might determine whether the scalp indeed came from a bandit? I chose not to pursue the matter.)

    They had an assortment of fighting gear, some gems, and a bit of gold. Montaron also found a scroll in one of the bandits’ packs. It appeared to be a spell. I asked Montaron if I may take a look at it, and he said that was fine; but if it was a plumb item then it belonged to him, since he took the risk. The scroll was indeed something incredibly useful to us: it was a spell to enchant a person into doing the caster’s bidding. Montaron eyed my facial expression and asked for Xzar to look at it as well. Xzar confirmed that it was a Charm spell, as I had said.

    I advised Montaron that the gold for anything the party sells shall be split evenly, and used as funds for all. But if he wished to give the scroll to Xzar he was free to do so. Montaron snorted at this and glared at me for setting this condition. He didn't challenge it, however. Montaron cast his eyes downward momentarily as he weighed his options.

    [Does Montaron give the Charm Person scroll to Xzar? I believe he would out of spite towards Oracos for being told he can't simply sell it for himself. No need to draw a card.]

    Montaron growled at “the mad wizard” to keep the scroll. He added sneeringly “Just make sure ye put it to good use,” which was vaguely disquieting in tone.

    I guess we will all have to see how Xzar does use it. I advised Xzar that once we finally arrive in Nashkel he can attempt to scribe the spell. But certainly now is not the time.

    I implored Montaron to from now on, please, despite his insatiable lust for treasure—and his admirable skills—to nevertheless refrain from taking any further unnecessary risks. Montaron glared back and did not say a word. But neither did he argue. It's rather hard to tell whether he will comply with the request. But at least for the time being we have little choice but to continue have him lead our way. Imoen cannot nearly match his skill in remaining hidden as she scouts. And I do not feel good about placing her at such great risk yet.

    We continued on the ahead with Montaron leading the way by hiding along the ridge west of the road.

    This time when Montaron returned, he sullenly reported that there were yet two more human bandits with bows ahead on the road. He reported that they were casually patrolling about, and as such we might be able to avoid them if we were lucky. I asked him to scout east of the road for a way around, and after what seemed an uncomfortably long amount of time he came back to advise that travel around a rather large pond and marsh would take us very far from the road. Montaron also noted that there was considerably less cover to hide in, were we to try skirting the pond and marshy area adjoining it.

    [Try to slip past bandits versus taking a long way around? Red card = try to slip by bandits. Black card = go around them. Result: red card. We try to skip past the bandits. Note: This, by the way, completed turning of a full deck of cards. I reshuffled the deck.]

    I pulled a rune stone from the pouch. The oracle directed that we try to move past the bandits on the road when they patrol far enough away. If for some reason we are seen by them, I will cast my second Slumber spell. And if needed, Jaheira can cast her Entanglement spell.

    Let’s just hope there aren’t more of them nearby within shouting distance!

    The plan was for Montaron to scout and bird-whistle to us to scurry past when the bandits moved far enough way. The more of us moving at once, the greater the chance we might make noise that would betray our movement. But that seemed a better gamble than the time it would take for us to try moving one by one.

    As we had hoped, the bandits moved off the road far enough away for us to try to run past them. Unfortunately, two things happened to upset the plan. First, we evidently made too much noise. And then one of the bandits fired an arrow at Khalid. Second, a foppish noble approached us on the road, excitedly praising our attire!

    We outran the bandits, thank goodness. And I was able to quiet the noble, who prattled on about being from Neverwinter and how famous a city it would be one day. Before we could even warn him of the dangers ahead he hurried on up the road (to a certain death lest he had magics on him).

    The problem was that we had last seen Montaron take cover behind a tree, still within striking distance of the bandits. And then we lost sight of him. We had since sought cover behind a few trees, but it was not much to hide behind. What could be holding Montaron up? Our plan had succeeded! Had he seen something further that prevented him from moving?

    [Have Montaron decide to try to kill the two bandits? Black card = no.]

    I was about to send Imoen to check on him, but at that moment Montaron popped up beside us.

    Thus we continued onward, traveling the Coast Way southward, with Montaron scouting the way. We had no further adventures with bandits, thankfully—nor of any other kind. But the journey was long and tedious, and took the entire night.

    We arrived at the outskirts of Nashkel on a sunlit morning, still in a wary state from our painstaking travels, but happy to finally relax a bit at our destination.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
    WanderonAnduinCthulhus_Mum
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited March 2013
    I know this is a lot of text, but I'm color-coding the mechanics to this technique so that folks can zero in on how it works. Then if you want to read more to get the full flavor of an associated event, you can. I expect most people will probably skim, and focus most on which actions I'm using cards and dice to determine. If you're reading the whole thing, bless your soul.

    One fascinating aspect to this experiment that comes as a bit of a surprise: the degree of autonomy that can be given to NPCs in their reactions to situations of all kinds. The journaling is actually forcing me to think of how I imagine they would (or might) each react in their own right. So apologies for putting forth so much content to digest, what with all the description of events and character reactions. But it actually does serve an important function in this process.

    In light of the recent discussions about alignment on these boards, I can say that with this approach that you can enjoy quite a lot of freedom to roleplay the NPCs alignments according to your own vision. I think I have done a fairly decent job at that thus far...

    The PC could perhaps be a bit more unpredictable as CG, I suppose. But he does have very high Int and Wis, so he's usually very comfortable making decisions without casting runes. He uses the runes as part of his wizardly path in life as a Diviner.

    In terms of realizing alignment, Montaron has been the standout thus far as impulsive and evil.

    Jaheira, as True Neutral, is a bit tricky to work with, what with the emphasis on balance and not seeing actions as inherently good or evil. I admit that so far so far I'm going mostly from her personality as bossy, with above average Wisdom. (I guess TN is supposed to be utilitarian about maintaining balance, which is pretty bizarre.)

    I think thus far both Imoen and Khaild have behaved suitably NG. They think more of others (or the greater good) than themselves, and are ever helpful. I.e., however you can do good, do it, regardless of the laws.

    I've not done much with Xzar because he has a core contradiction going on. On the one hand, Xzar has extremely high Wisdom (16). On the other hand he is mad. Those two things do not really square well up at all. He is Chaotic Evil, so he should be behaving impulsively and in ways that are anti-social. So I have to think of more ways that he could manage to actually demonstrate sound judgment/common sense that takes his insanity into account.

    On a related note, I'm kind of hoping that I get to see the fight break out between J. & K. and X. & M. CHARNAME's Cha is 10, there's a fair chance that it will.

    After the mines, I think the PC will likely cast runes to see who stays with him (other than Imoen--she will always be by his side).

  • DelvarianDelvarian Member Posts: 1,232
    I've been reading the whole thing, and enjoying it to no end. I'm interested to see what happens next, hopefully more NPCs will join you.

    Cthulhus_Mum
  • harvman11harvman11 Member Posts: 33
    I really like how your characters are actually semi-autonomous, with their own personalities/wants/goals. Next time I start a game (probably will be a while, in the middle of prelims right now) I'm thinking I'll play through like this. Maybe I'll even write it up, though I don't think I'd do nearly as well as you are.

    Cthulhus_Mum
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited March 2013
    I think I have the roleplaying dilemma for Xzar somewhat worked out... The only sense I can make of the contradiction between his bio and stats is that he would at times display flashes of creative brilliance; although perhaps also to almost as often have totally impractical plans. The good judgment that he does possess (Wisdom-wise) may simply be to keep quiet much of the time. Anyway, I'm going to begin having him pipe up occasionally with ideas that are so crazy they... just... might... work! (Note that he does have 17 Int as well.)

    Post edited by Lemernis on
    Delvarian
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited March 2013
    The Amnian Village of Nashkel

    Upon crossing the bridge we were greeted by an officer of the Nahskel Guard who demanded that we identify ourselves. Speaking for the group I replied that we were simply travelers seeking rest on our journey. He barked that tensions were running high in the region, and warned that we not cause any disturbances.

    We walked the road though town to survey its offerings, noting an inn, a store, and a temple of Helm with a cemetery. The road is constantly patrolled by the village guard.

    In front of the temple we were hailed by the village’s mayor, Berrun Ghastkill, who recognized Jaheira among our group. And from our conversation with him it does not appear likely that Amn is behind the iron problem, as people to the north fear.

    Berrun proceeded to tell us of the problems in the iron mines just southeast of the village. He reported that the iron ore in the mine is indeed being tainted somehow, causing the metal to become brittle and easily break, as we had heard the townsfolk of Beregost speculate. The mayor also told us that miners have been mysteriously disappearing. He said that all of his soldiers were deployed to protect caravans from the flood of bandit raids in the region, and asked if we were free to investigate the problem. I said that we would do what we could to help and Berrun promised that we would be the “toast of the town” if we could help solve the problems. He then took his leave of us.

    Montaron chided me for not negotiating a fee for our services. I was a bit taken aback that I had not thought of that. Jaheira simply laughed and advised that we return to the store to sell the gear we had looted from bandits along the way; then we should rest from our long journey before heading to the mine. All were in agreement.

    We sold the gems and gear we had collected for a rather good price. The storekeeper mentioned to us that he will pay a premium price for white wolf fur, and rumor has it that the rare creatures have been spotted to the southeast (the very direction we will be headed).

    In front of the inn we noticed a small crowd had gathered around a man who was proselytizing about the goddess Selune. Perhaps a priest?

    We entered the inn and before we could even sit down a warrioress bearing shield and club, and clad in chainmail, briskly approached us. She boldly announced that her name was Neira, and her purpose was to kill me in order to collect the bounty on my head. The woman referred to the “Lord of Shadows,” another name for the evil god Mask. She then quickly began an incantation and everyone in our party reacted to defend ourselves.

    Our assailant stood closest to Imoen, who had the instinct to run to the side and notch an arrow. Khalid, Jaheira, and Montaron rushed her and attacked with their weapons. I cast my Sleep spell, although Neira remained completely unaffected by it. Xzar incanted his Life Drain spell, which worked! The spell fortunately interrupted our attacker’s concentration from completing her spell.

    At this point I was hopeful that we might simply beat her down. But our attacker was unshaken. Masterfully parrying all thee of our fighters’ blows with her shield, Neria began her incantations anew.

    I turned to using darts and Xzar cast his second memorized Life Drain spell. His spell worked a second time—but not before Neira transformed the club in her hand into a magically glowing blue hammer that struck with terrific force.

    Neira then proceeded speedily to cast another spell. This time we could not disrupt her concentration and in a flash she paralyzed Khalid and Montaron where they stood, unable to move a muscle.

    The fierce assassin then beat at Khalid with her conjured hammer. And although Khalid’s shield was frozen in position to protect him, Neira hit him so hard that we feared his arm may have broken.

    It was evident however that the missiles we were hurling at Neira were beginning to hamper her. Jaheira seemed about on the verge of casting a spell, perhaps to heal Khalid. But Neira acted faster and cast another spell that immobilized Jaheira as well.

    The battle was looking grim at this point. Three members of our party were completely helpless before our assassin’s mighty hammer blows and magics. One of them badly injured. And yet there were still three of us unleashing darts, throwing daggers, and arrows—with a fair chance, it seemed, of one of those missiles eventually securing a kill. It then became a simple race as to whether we could fell her before she cast another spell or kill one of our fellows.

    To our immense relief one of Imoen’s arrows yet again found its mark just under her arm. Neira’s magic hammer suddenly again became a club that fell to the floor, along with her stricken body. She expired with a great gasp on the floor.

    Before long the Immobility spell that Neira had cast wore off of our three comrades and they were again able to use their muscles, shaking the stiffness out for a minute or two. Jaheira healed herself and Khlaid, the only ones among us to be injured in the fight. Jaheira this time looted the corpse of the woman who almost killed her man.

    We were all more than a bit rattled by this attack, even though our fighters shrugged it off with some bravado as just another battle. After a few moments of pretending it was nothing special, Jaheira noted that we had let our guard down. Even Xzar conceded that she was right.

    It seems that our risk of facing bounty hunters is growing. For we found on Neira’s person yet another bounty notice. This one was particularly disturbing in that it provided quite a bit more information about me. Once again it seeks to enlist criminals, and advises that a severe price will be paid for sharing the bounty notice with the authorities. The scroll states that I am the foster son of Gorion of Candlekeep. It notes that I was last seen in Beregost. (We were there only yesterday!) The bounty notice also added that I am accompanied by well-armed companions. And finally, it raises the bounty to 680 gold pieces.

    Among the gear on the assassin was an enchanted helmet that confers the ability to see in the dark. Not a terribly useful item for us, as it turns out, as neither I, Imoen or Xzar is inclined to wear one; and Montaron, Jaheira, and Khalid can all see quite well in the dark.

    Before retiring to rest we went next door to the store and sold the bounty hunter’s belongings. We were almost shocked when the merchant offered us 400 gold pieces for the helmet. After selling off her items we had over 1000 gold to spend!

    Before taking rooms at the inn to rest, Xzar attempted to scribe the Charm spell Montaron had given him—and he failed to maintain his concentration, so the spell was lost! Perhaps he was more tired than he realized. He stated that he felt highly alert after the tension of our journey and this surprise attack. but perhaps the events had worn on him more than he realized.

    Jaheira whispered to me some happy news: her nature deity had granted her the ability to cast one more spell between her meditations. She stated she planned to use this extra casting on a new spell that severely demoralizes enemies upon whom it is cast.

    We rested for a good while in beds at the inn. During this sleep I had a strange dream of Gorion, whom told me that I must leave Candlekeep and embark on a great new adventure. Well, that is certainly what has happened! When I awoke I found that I felt a new magical ability within me that I am eager to test: the art of healing. If this turns out to be true, I wonder what deity has favored me with such a great gift! A priest I am not! No doubt I’ll have the opportunity to test this possible new ability soon enough, the way things have been going.

    We headed out in the late afternoon, making a stop for supplies first at the temple. As we looked at the selection of potions and discussed other services available with the priest Nalin, Xzar emerged from his own thoughts long enough to join us and observe that yesterday Khlaid was seriously injured by a poisoned arrow. He added that had Khalid died it would have been no great loss. But he himself wanted protection from poison.

    Despite Xzar’s self-centeredness, his idea made sense—for the party, of course. Everyone else agreed that we should probably buy a few more potions, and several antidotes against poison. I therefore made the decision that we purchase one healing potion each for our three front line fighters, Khalid, Jaheira, and Montaron. We also purchased two more healing potions and distributed them between Jaheira and Khaild (Montaron already had two).

    As we walked the path from the temple door to the road, Khalid shared that he finds cities “intimidating” due to the throng of people. I smiled at him and nodded, saying nothing. It is true that Nashkel is a bustling little trade village. Hardly a metropolis however! This comment from Khalid elicited a snort of contempt from Montaron.

    [Notice Oublek and speak with him? Black card = no.]

    As we continued on the road through town, a heated argument broke out between Jaheira and Xzar. Jaheira accused Xzar of being “diabolical,” and on that basis insincere in his commitment to combat the evils besetting the region due to the iron shortage. Xzar angrily shot back that his interest in the iron shortage was no concern whatsoever of hers. The raw anger in this exchange was of such intensity that it seemed they might even come to blows.

    The tensions have been brewing steadily between our two pairs of traveling companions, and this time I found myself for the first time really concerned as to whether this could pose a risk. We need to act as a team; there is no room for ill will, else that strife could cost us all our lives. I decided to keep those thoughts to myself for now, though.

    [I don’t think that’s enough to consider dismissing Xzar from the group.]

    [I can see no roleplay reason that the party would pay any attention to Minsc at this point. I thought about maybe drawing a card as to whether he would stand out enough to attract attention, eg, seen talking to Boo. But I think at this point they would be pretty focused on simply getting to the mines, even so.]

    Post edited by Lemernis on
    DelvarianWanderonCthulhus_Mum
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited March 2013
    The Nashkel Mines - Part 1

    Our journey to the mines was uneventful. It took 4 hours. It was dark by the time we arrived.

    The entrance to the mine was stationed by guards who directed us to speak with the owner, Emerson. Emerson was a bit gruff about it, but he granted us one day to look around.

    Upon entering the mine we immediately happened upon a miner who told us that a fellow miner named “Ruffie” told him a tale of small demons leaping from the walls to attack him. Ruffie survived the assault, he said, but the guards who responded and allowed him to flee were all killed. He said Ruffie shouldn’t be too far away, and he may be able to provide more detail.

    An obvious clue to follow presented right at the outset of our investigation seemed a fortuitous omen! So we set about to find Ruffie.

    [Roll 1d4 where 1 =right, 2 = straight ahead, 3 = straight ahead to the left, 4 = far left. Result = 3. We go straight ahead and to the left.]

    Now where to look for this Ruffie… I close my eyes and seek an omen from the surroundings. The voice of a miner calling out to another resonates down the shaft straight ahead of us but a little to the right. So that is the direction we shall travel.

    The first miner we meet—even before we reach the shaft we planned to explore—turns out to be Ruffie. Unfortunately Ruffie has no more information to share about the incident than the first miner told us. He simply relates that demons pounced from the very walls. Not much help.

    We continue moving ahead. Given the dangers we have been warned of, I send Montaron ahead to scout. I tell him sternly not to attack if he spots any of the demons, but rather to return and report whatever he finds.

    A moment later Montaron reappears to advise that he found another miner ahead who told him that a pair of adventurers has already lost their lives down in the mines. The shaft came quickly to an end so he returned to our position.

    As we continue, we meet another miner who asks us to return a dropped knife to a friend of his deeper in the mines. We have too much before us to accomplish without running errands. So I politely respond that we haven’t the time.

    At this point we have three different mine shafts to choose.

    [Roll 1d4 where 1 = right, 2 = straight ahead, 3 = left, 4 = reroll. Result = 3. We go to the left.]

    I once again look and listen for a sign, and detect the creaking of wheels to the left. To the left then Montaron shall scout.

    Our thief soon returns to tell us in hushed tones that he has spied a single kobold ahead. There could obviously be more of them ahead, he said. Montaron added however that he wished to avoid risk being detected, which would likely have happened were he to have tried slipping past the creature.

    Could the demons Ruffie and the mayor speak of simply be kobolds? Here in the darkness of the mines they could certainly seem to leap from the very walls... Their eyes would shine red in the darkness, and their yips and growls could fill the imagination. I share this thought with the others and it is agreed that this would seem plausible.

    I recall from my studies in Candlekeep that kobolds tend to band together in groups...

    In a whisper I tell the group that we are faced with a choice of doubling back around this creature and seeing if there are more of them on this level, versus exploring deeper into the mine.

    [Proceed deeper into mine = red card. Try to double back around kobold = black card. Result: black card. Try doubling back around the kobold.]

    I pull a rune stone. The indication is to investigate whether there are more kobolds lurking behind the creature Montaron spotted.

    As we move back towards the entrance to double around, I note that the ore in one of the mining cars appears to be faintly coated with a greenish chalky substance.

    We met another miner who told us he believed the mine is now haunted by slain miners. He told a tale of having a conversation with one of the ghosts. But by the end of his story it appeared that he must have dreamt the whole episode.

    Montaron soon rejoined us to report that just around the bend lies a guard post. He spoke with the guards, one of whom told of recently seeing the ghost of a miner when patrolling the deeper levels of the mine. Jaheira noted that this is the second mention of ghosts now, in addition to demons. We conjectured that they may be one in the same. But Xzar spoke up that the miners that have disappeared could well be undead now controlled with Necromantic magic. And we all concurred that he may well be right.

    Montaron continued to tell us that the kobold appeared to have no companions, lest others of them lurk nearby invisible. I wondered aloud as well whether they may be using a hidden network of tunnels with access points in the walls that are cloaked with an illusion spell. We can at least test the premise, though.

    We agreed to have Montaron backstab the creature to see if others then somehow appear from the walls. I asked Jaheira to please give Montaron her potion of invisibility for this purpose. Should he be swarmed he will then have a means of escape. Jaheira looked unpleased about it but grudgingly did so.

    Otherwise the rest of us would stand back at the ready, and spring forth to fight the kobolds if a band of them emerged to aid their visible member.

    The attempt by Montaron to backstab the creature failed! The kobold evidently sensed his presence or smelled him (he does need a bath). The kobold turned to defend himself. So we rushed to Montaron’s aid. Before we could reach Montaron he again demonstrated his prowess with the short sword, ending the miserable creature’s existence.

    No other kobolds appeared. Unfortunately, none of us has the magics to dispel an illusion that would conceal a door in the walls of the mine shaft. But there appeared to be no obvious tunnel openings in the walls around that location.

    We returned to the spot at which we had advanced farthest earlier. The slope led straight ahead of us, so Montaron again scouted in advance around the bend in the shaft. Only a moment later he returned to tell us that the way opened to a deeper area of mine construction. So we proceeded downward and onward into the new level.

    As we entered the new level Montaron scouted and came upon a miner with whom he spoke. The man was in a panic that “yipping demons” were in hot pursuit of him. And sure enough a band of kobolds then sprang forth seemingly out of nowhere from the shaft forking to the left—an area that Montaron had only moments before peered into, and the shaft seemed clear, best he could see.

    The fleeing miner took an arrow to the back from one of the creatures, instantly killing him. At that moment Montaron rushed them to try to prevent them from using their bows, forcing them to draw swords instead—a courageous move due to the risk that some might fall back and pick him off with their bows. I cast my Slumber spell upon them. Jaheira and Khalid immediately ran to engage the yipping band of rat-dogs. Xzar hurled his daggers and Imoen fired her bow.

    My spell worked on two of them. The two who did not succumb quickly fell to our party’s weapons. The other two we dispatched in their sleep. They had nothing useful to us among their possessions.

    How had these creatures appeared so suddenly? Perhaps the kobolds are just very skilled at stealthily hiding, tucking themselves behind corners, and in general staying out of site… Yet some magics may be at work as well… It remains a mystery for now.

    We found ourselves at a fork in the mine. We can explore to the left or right. This time I asked Montaron to please scout ahead in both directions, starting with whichever side he preferred.

    [Here it doesn’t much matter which direction he chooses, since he’s checking both anyway. No need to draw a card.]

    When Montaron rejoined us after his exploration, he told us that to the left there was yet another fork. To the right of that fork he spied another kobold. To the right, a shaft branched off to the right back in the other direction; and straight ahead he could see what appeared to be slain bodies strewn about on the mine floor.

    This time I figured I would ask the group which direction they preferred to investigate.

    [I don’t imagine a clear choice for any of them here. So I drew cards for each, where black card = go left, red card = go right. Results: Imoen: black card, Xzar: black card, Montaron: black card, Jaheira: red card, Khalid: black card, Oracos: red card. 4 of 6 votes to go to the left. We go left.]

    Only Jaheira and I voted to investigate the massacre directly ahead. So to the left we headed. Here we decided to have Montaron see if he could pick off the lone kobold he had spotted with his sling; however this time Imoen would join him and fire an arrow to try to ensure a quick and efficient kill. Imoen is not as capable of hiding as Montaron, but she said she believed she could do it.

    They advanced stealthily and Montaron’s sling bullet killed the creature. Imoen scouted just a bit ahead and saw nothing. The two of them beckoned for us to join them, and Montaron proceeded to loot the body of the kobold he had just killed. But as he did so another kobold suddenly appeared just ahead. Montaron’s aim with the sling with this one was just as good.

    After this second kill, this time it was Montaron who scouted ahead, and he detected no more of the creatures. He found small purses of gold on both of them.

    Again Montaron scouted ahead. He soon returned to us and reported that he had found a main intersection of tracks and mining cars. Hiding behind the cars he spied another kobold. Beyond the sentry lay a scene of carnage with bodies of miners littered across a bridge over a watery area of the mine. It was too dark for Montaron to see if there were more kobolds there.

    The decision earlier was to avoid this area. I mentioned again that we might investigate, but the nods from everyone showed that the group consensus was that it would be wiser to continue moving around this area.

    Montaron’s feeling was that he could probably again pick this one off again with a lead sling bullet. If he failed he would run back to us and lead the kobold to us—plus and more that may follow.

    Montaron’s aim once again proved deadly accurate. The way was now clear for us to proceed forward. Montaron again reconnoitered ahead, following the track for the mining cars. He returned in a moment and whispered that as he approached the body of the kobold he had just slain in the hope of looting it, he saw at least two more of them in the passage through the watery area. He noted that we would have to be very careful and quiet to make it past these kobolds unnoticed. Montaron shot a disdainful expression at Khalid as he said this, as if to imply Khalid would be the clumsiest among us. Khalid smiled at me in response, ignoring him.

    We all made it past, moving one by one. At this point it seemed sensible to continue following the railed track. Montaron continued his scouting and reported back to us that within a shaft that branched to the left there were three more kobolds lurking. But not close enough to the track to see us pass. He said he found a guard station. The guard there told him that he had seen tracks that from the description were of kobolds—and touting the fact that he had more experience than the younger guards, to his credit he even identified them himself as such.

    Still following the track we continued ahead to just past the guard station. Montaron scouted some more and returned to tell us that a slain body of a miner lay just ahead. He said he would scout some more and return with another report.

    A few moments later Montaron reappeared to tell us that the way ahead was blocked by a band of five kobolds armed with bows.

    As the slope of the mine continued gently downward along the track in that direction, in order to proceed we must defeat them. We devised a plan that had worked for us already. Montaron would get as close as he could, and bring me close enough to remain out of sight yet to cast my Somnolence spell on the band. We would then try dispatching any that did not fall asleep with arrows, darts, sling bullets, and throwing daggers as Jaheira and Khalid rushed them.

    The strategy basically worked again, although not exactly as planned. Three of the kobolds fell immediately into a slumber, but two remained alert. Montaton used a sling bullet to kill the conscious one closest to us. He then checked a further ahead and decided to try backstabbing the other one that was still awake. The attempt failed, however. Montaron and the creature were then locked in a duel to the death, and the rest of advanced to help him. One of Imoen’s arrows again found its mark. We swiftly destroyed the three that we sleeping. They had some gold coins on them, but nothing more of interest.

    Montaron investigated just past us and returned to report that were about as many ahead of us. I had no more castings of the Slumber spell memorized. So we decided to see if Montaron could pick a few of them off first with his sling before the rest noticed.

    This time our stealthy little friend missed the mark. The kobold saw him and fired his bow, leading his fellow kobolds to join the attack. Khalid and Jaheira charged the pack, as the rest us used our ranged weapons. Jaheira and Khalid each killed one, and Imoen struck two down with her arrows.

    Upon looting the bodies Montaron found two vials of a greenish murky potion that we concluded was likely being used to make the iron brittle. We held on to one of them as evidence. One of the creatures had a spell scroll on him that conjured an oily slick from the ground to make enemies slip and fall. This spell I am forbidden by Mystra to learn according to my chosen specialization in the school of Divination magic. Montaron tossed it to Xzar, who looked somewhat pleased to receive it.

    Our tunnel opened to a new, deeper area of the mine. And immediately before us the tracks split three ways into three separate tunnels. I asked Montaron to scout them each. He soon reported that to the right, the track split again a short distance ahead but both tracks soon ended. Kobolds were stationed at the end of each. And both directly ahead and down the tunnel to the left, the tracks also ended abruptly. There were no kobolds visible in those latter two directions, however.

    I asked Montaron to scout ahead in the two tunnels in which he saw no enemies. After a bit of time he rejoined us and told that the way to the left held more kobolds in hiding. Straight ahead he had discovered a natural stone bridge over a chasm that followed our downward slope deeper into the mine.

    We proceeded to the stone bridge. Montaron said he would scout ahead. We waited in single file sticking close to the cavern wall, out of direct sight from the stone bridge.

    [Does Montaron notice anything unusual that might have him check for traps? Red card = yes. Montaron checks for traps.]

    I lost sight of Montaron as he moved ahead in the dimness. But Khalid and Jaheira reported to me that the thief took but a few steps and suddenly halted. He then he very quickly retreated back to us. Montaron whispered that the bridge was guarded by at least one kobold. As he said this, a kobold leapt at us from the direction of the bridge! Perhaps following Montaron, the kobold hadn’t bargained on an entire party ahead. It was momentarily shocked at the sight of us. Montaron seized the opportunity by deftly slitting the creature’s throat before it could make a sound.

    Montaron moved ahead to scout again. After a time he returned to tell us that he had found two traps on the bridge which he suspected just before he spied the kobold who attacked us. He removed these traps and the way forward was now safe, he said. Just on the other side of the bridge however were two more kobolds.

    We moved across the bridge we found ourselves in a great cave filled with a labyrinth of tunnels. This section of the mine was a natural unexcavated ernvironment.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
    Cthulhus_Mum
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited March 2013
    The Nashkel Mines - Part 2

    We hugged the side of the tunnel wall behind Montaron. Our plan was basically as before. Montaron would try to kill at least one from the shadows with his sling. We decided that since Imoen had proven herself such a good shot, she too may attempt to shoot at the other one from a hidden vantage.

    As our two rogues readied themselves to advance, a kobold spotted one of them and fired his bow. Fortunately the arrow missed and Imoen returned one, killing the scaly rodent.

    Montaron briefly scouted a bit more ahead. Upon his quick return he reported that kobolds were both directly ahead, and there were many of them on a bridge over a lava flow in a tunnel that branched off to the left.

    As he gave us this report one of the kobolds saw us and fired upon us. The kobold was immediately killed in answer by Montaron’s sling bullet.

    I asked Montaron to see if there was some other way around. After some time Montaron returned and advised that one of the creatures had spotted him and pierced him with an arrow in the upper chest. The arrow partially punctured his armor and forced the use of a healing potion. Monatron recounted that he slipped the creature. But angered by the incident, he returned to attempt to pick it off with his sling. In this he was successful, he reported. But two more kobolds saw him and gave chase, one of them clipping Montaron’s arm.

    The wound did not appear life threatening. But we needed our scout performing at his best. And also we don’t really want Montaron leaving a trail of blood. So I asked Jaheira to heal Monatron. She did so with a grumpy sigh. She sharply pointed out that Montaron’s imprudent actions had cost us scarce resources of a healing potion and spell, both. I reminded her that what Monatron was currently doing was indispensable for us, and his actions had been most brave, which elicited a smirk by Montaron at Jaheira. I quickly added that he Jaheira was right that he should avoid any unnecessary risks, however.

    Montaron concluded his report by stating there was no way around the bridge over the lava pool that he could see. He left again to have another look at the area to see what the enemy’s number is.

    Upon Montaron’s return he advised that he had spotted at least three kobolds nearest to our vantage on the bridge. He could safely advance no further than that however.

    Once again our plan was that we would attempt to pick off the ones closest to us. We would then simply have to hope that we could reduce their number enough to handle the ones that noticed their fallen comrades. Montaron crept around the corner but very soon returned to tell us that the three of them were too tightly grouped to pick any of them off. He said he would try to lure all three back around the corner.

    [17 (!) times in a row Montaron’s Hide-in-Shadows failed. We were attacked while waiting for him to stealth. The argument mentioned ahead did occur just before the attack however.]

    As Montaron seemed to be recovering a bit from his injury before proceeding, he and Jaheira broke into an argument. She made a joke about his appearance; and Montaron called her out to a fight right then and there. I intervened to tell them to stop at once. They did tone down their voices but continued to glare at one another for a brief moment.

    Just then a kobold fired an arrow from behind us that struck me in the shoulder with a searing pain. So intense was the pain that I feared I would lose consciousness. It was all I could to gulp down a healing potion, to assure that I didn’t pass out and be rendered unable to either defend myself or flee. Montaron instantly loosed a sling bullet that slew the creature as the entire party also directed attacks at it.

    [After another dozen or so failures at stealthing Montaron, I eventually figured out that it must be impossible to stealth right around the corner from the bridge over the lava flow. The party remained positioned there, but I moved Montaron a bit away to stealth and continued.]

    We followed this plan with Montaron singlehandedly killing the half dozen kobolds on the bridge with sling bullets. At two points Montaron retreated, assuming that kobolds would follow him, but none did. Perhaps they were immobilized with fear at watching their fellows mysteriously collapse. However Montaron’s activity did gain the attention of two nearby giant spiders that attacked the rest of our party, as we hid ourselves from view of the kobolds.

    In one of these attacks Xzar was injured quite badly. I asked Jaheira again to use her last memorized healing spell and she was clearly uncomfortable about doing so. She almost spoke against it. But she seemed to catch herself and think better of it. Instead she went ahead and healed the Necromancer as asked. I’m sure Jaheira realized that despite the animosity that exists between our two pairs of companions, all must work as a team in this dangerous mine in order for us all to survive.

    With the bridge cleared, we crossed and a short distance ahead we found a mine shaft entrance into yet a deeper level of the cave system.

    [Montaron thinks to check for traps here? Black card = no. Monty will take a hit from the first of the traps.]

    As we proceeded to the shaft entrance Montaron tripped a trap that shot a dart right into the side of his throat, and he was very gravely injured by it. In fact he looked on the verge of death, and croaked that he feared as much. But he managed to imbibe a healing potion before he collapsed. After he shook off the effects of the dart, he proceeded to find and remove two more traps before the entrance. A good lesson learned, he muttered.

    At the end of a short tunnel we emerged to another un-mined cavern area. Montaron scouted a very short distance ahead and found a kobold blocking our way. He advised to make ourselves ready, and he would cast a sling bullet at it.

    This time Montaron’s aim was not as precise. He missed. The kobold returned fire upon him, striking Montaron just above the knee. He yanked arrow out with a deep growl and used his last potion to restore himself. The rest of us attacked the kobold, and ‘twas Imoen whose arrow once again found its target.

    Montaron scouted further ahead and reported back ahead laid a natural stone bridge that crossed over a large pool of water. On the other side was a cave entrance that was guarded by three of the enemy. We waited around the corner, as Montaron continued his tactic of pickling off as many kobolds as he could with his sling. We were prepared in case any gave chase. But instead he was able to kill all three by slipping back into the shadows and attacking them one by one.

    Our scout then proceeded to the other side of the bridge and checked for traps. Finding none he slipped inside the cave and beckoned a moment later for us to follow. Just on the other side we heard the yipping barks of a kobold, so we quickly retreated back outside of the cave.

    Once on the outside Jaheira again erupted into an angry rant in hushed tones with Xzar and Montaron. It was unclear which one the comment was aimed at. But she angrily stated that their motives were suspect. This immediately made me concerned that perhaps she might believe were being led into a trap ahead through the aid Xzar and Montaron. But I realized that such suspicions were harmful under the circumstances.

    I told her to stop the bickering! I sent Montaron in ahead to investigate further and he reported that within the cave was a finished headquarters occupied by a half-orc in splintmail. However between us and the half-orc were four kobolds with bows.

    The battle capabilities of the half-orc could only be guessed at. But since this was a big unknown, I suggested that we rest first so that we may memorize more spells. As the meditations would take a while we should find an area that provides relative safety.

    Montaron therefore scouted around the curved edge of the cave wall on a path next to the large water pool. He returned to report that a grotesque undead creature stood there dumbly, probably a ghoul. Xzar again speculated that Necromantic magics may in some way be involved here.

    Montaron used his by now tired and true method of approaching in stealth and slinging lead bullets at the creature, then slipping back into the darkness. the ghoul eventually came lumbering at us, but it was so weakened by Montaron’s attacks that it fell to an arrow by Imoen.

    With the creature destroyed we were able to rest. But there was great risk in resting—that is, that our presence would be discovered. So I put the matter to a vote.

    [Do we rest? Imoen: red card = yes, Xzar: red card = yes, Montaron: red card = yes, Jaheira: red card = yes, Khalid: red card= yes, Oracos: red card = yes. Result: 6 in favor. We rest and hope for the best.]

    The vote was completely in favor of taking the chance to rest, to the person.

    We first simply moved around the corner a bit and attempted to sit down and rest. We were however soon discovered by kobolds. Fortunately we were able to kill all four of them without much noise.

    We then moved to the very end of the path by the water lest they swim up behind us. (Do kobolds swim? No one knew but still none of us wished to take the chance.)

    Our second attempt at rest resulted in being interrupted by a lone kobold scout that we killed easily.

    Just afterward Jaheira and Montaron had angry words yet again.

    The third time at attempting to rest was the charm. We completed preparation of our spells without any further molestation.

    AnduinCrevsDaakCthulhus_Mum
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