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



  • Eadwyn_G8keeperEadwyn_G8keeper Member Posts: 541
    Bravissimo! Really a treat @Lemernis... I could see a whole new sub-category of Discussions. Journals in which Ooohs and Aaaahs are awarded to creative uses of Randomizing.

    Seems to me that there might be some tendency to mistake situations in which a strong intuition might surface in one or more members of Party for moments when a simple dice roll is as good as anything else... I mean inviting someone to join the Party is completely different from choosing a direction to explore. Keep it up!

    I think I will start a Journal but something really well-written, that might go a bit beyond the game so long as it does not violate any thing explicit satisfy my inner Skald...

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    @Eadwyn Thanks!

    Almost immediately after I started this experiment, I realized it wouldn't actually work very well at all in practice to randomize every decision according to dice rolls. That would just be too chaotic. And in fact, it would actually rob the game of emotional investment in roleplayed decisions.

    I found that it's much more satisfying to combine role playing with dice rolls (or more conveniently turning playing cards for simple yes or no outcomes). This actually opened up the game to a surprising new level of depth. That the characters could all behave independently, and react to each other independently, was kind of a relevation, actually. It does require trying to imagine what makes each character tick. Then for those decisions about which I find I can't quite be sure what a character might do... or for decisions that might just be fun to leave to chance... I use the dice or cards.

    I will tell you though, that to really live with outcomes when you follow what you imagine all the various characters would do (knowing only what they know--apart from you, the player)... and the dice and cards... can be really tough. Because all that metagaming you're used to that gets you equipment you need in order for the party to thrive... well, you're not doing that. You're still aware of all those opportunities as the de facto "DM.". If it seems plausible that the party could notice something that presents an opportunity, I'll typically use the dice or cards to determine if they do. Or, similarly, for someone in the party to notice this thing or that may in some cases be very much in character; and if I have a strong feeling about it, it can be RPed to happen. But it is most often the dice or cards that are deciding whether you'll have access to those things. And often you're not getting them.

    And this forces a whole different approach tactically. You'll see what I mean when I post what happens when the party exits the mine!

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    Out of the Frying Pan…

    We exited the mines to the golden haze of a late afternoon sun. The lower angle of the sun helped our eyes to adjust, though it still took several moments.

    It was now nearing sundown and we had at least a half days hike back to Nashkel ahead of us. We had however traveled for a full day in the mines through a massive network of caves—was no telling where we currently were. I therefore asked the group if they wished to camp at this convenient location, as the shaft exit was built into a rock formation that provided natural shelter. We could also climb back down the shaft if a retreat was called for.

    Otherwise, we would arrive back at Nashkel this evening after dark--perhaps traveling the entire night trying to find our way back to Nashkel. The group was unanimous that we should tarry no longer, and head directly back to Nashkel.

    [Here I think it likely that the group would probably opt to return forthwith to Nashkel. They had only just rested. And their journey from Nashkel to the mines had taken only four hours, so that would be their frame of reference. They would likely expect that most of the journey back to Nashkel would be still be in daylight. Anyway, I figured they wouldn't realize how far from Nashkel they actually were (and also how lost they would be). So I did not put it up for a vote.]

    [Does the group think to scout ahead? Black card = no... Ouch!]

    As we marched ahead we were immediately set upon by a band of four female warriors who instantly attacked us. One was clearly a priestess judging from her incantations.

    At this point Jaheira shouted out for the group to halt, and she cast her Engulfing Vines spell at our enemies. As she did so I quickly pulled forth the scroll of Grease Slick that I had acquired from Mulahey’s lair and incanted it.

    The two spells worked—our attackers seemed unable to move at all! We then were buoyed with optimism that our assailants could be easily defeated.

    Montaron flung a sling bullet at the enemy priestess to try to disrupt her spellcasting. And to our utter shock the priestess cast a spell that instantly killed Montaron where he stood. He instantly slumped to the ground like a child's rag doll. Xzar at first cried out at the loss of his fallen comrade, then tittered that he had “never loved” him. (Ahem.)

    I pulled forth another scroll, this time the one to Charm the target. I cast it at the dart thrower among them. This spell worked as well! So I ordered our Charmed opponent to begin attacking the priestess. (Perhaps the priestess might exhaust her spells as such.)

    This bought us a moment of time. Our attackers appeared to be immobilized for the moment. But now painfully aware that this band of enemies appeared extremely formidable, I called out for the group to retreat and seek refuge in some rocks a short running distance to our right. We would then try to figure out what to do next.

    We did so, hiding within a narrow rocky pass. It was agreed by all that we had little time to decide our next step.

    Imoen offered to try to sneak a hidden look at our enemy in order to size them up. She deftly crept around through the rocks in the direction opposite the one we came, and returned in short order to report that they were still held fast in the same spot, although very tightly bunched together.

    Imoen suggested that she, Xzar, and I use our ranged weapons to try to pick at least one of them off. Jaheira and Khalid said they thought this an acceptable plan; and they further stated that they would, for the time being, stay put hidden in the rocks to protect from that direction less they come at us that way. Their hand-to-hand weapons were useless for the time being anyway, Jaheira noted.

    The three of us with missile weapons then crept forward and began our assault on the enemy nearest to us.

    As we enacted the plan, unbeknownst to me Jaheira used the diversion we were creating to double back to where Montaron’s lifeless body lay and grabbed his sling, bullets, and potions. She then started slinging bullets at the enemy closest to her, the priestess who had killed Montaron. Khalid remained in a position behind the rocks that enabled him to rush either to his mate’s aid, or to ours, once the enemy was free from our spells to move again.

    One of the enemies yelled out to me, Imoen, and Xzar to identify ourselves, demanding to know if I was Oracos. I yelled back that I was not he. She laughed most evilly in response, and replied that as a priest of Cyric she could see that I was obviously lying. She added a bizarre comment that we were fools to challenge the “Iron Throne.”

    [Note: Not that it will really affect the roleplaying much, but here I could have drawn a card for whether the term "Iron Throne" even registered to any of them during a fight to the death.]

    Just then another spellcaster amongst the band of attackers began chanting a spell. So Imoen, Xzar, and I all beat a hasty retreat back into the rocks. At the same time, the priestess that Jaheira was attacking cast a spell at her. She too attempted to retreat back to the safety of the rocks.

    None of us evaded their spells. Those of us hidden within the rocks were pounded by a terrific blast from a hovering magical glyph that she sent hurtling through the air to follow us. And Jaheira to the south was immobilized by Tangling Vines cast by the enemy! Fortunately, Jaheira had run just far enough to be out of range of the still immobilized enemy’s spells or missiles. But Jaheira was nevertheless a sitting duck after our spells on the enemy wore off.

    Those of us among the rocks healed ourselves, exhausting most of the healing potions in our possession. (We still had three left by the time we were healed.)

    Without a word, Khalid gulped down his vial of Swiftness and ran to protect Jaheira. Not surprisingly, he too got trapped in the snarl of vines (as he no doubt knew was likely, but still hoping he could make it to her side to protect her at all costs). Seeing that Khalid had consumed the potion of Fleetness, Jaheira also consumed the one she had, but hadn’t used, for our battle against Mulahey. If either of them was then able to struggle free, they could come to the other’s aid, or both make it back to the rest of us.

    Soon both Jaheira and Khalid wrestled free of the vines and returned to join us in the rocks. Both of them were a bit injured, but neither severely so.

    One by one, we next crept through the rocks to arrive at a vantage on the other side from where we had entered the pass, from which we could either flee or continue the fight. If we were to flee, I asked how the group felt as to whether we should first attempt gather Montaron’s body and carry it back to Nashkel; as such we could seek to have him restored to the living at the temple, as we had done for Xzar. I said that I myself felt that we owed Montaron that much. We might not even have survived the mines without him!

    [Note: Since I'm doing this full-on with the roleplaying, carrying a body to a temple (even a halfling's) could actually be a very big deal. Lugging a corpse for a day or more? The game engine doesn't require that you carry a NPC's body around. But I will RP that they do. In many cases it will pose a huge difficulty. Therefore reactions from various NPCs to the question of whether to resurrect a slain NPC will be RPed according to how the individual relationships have developed to that point in RP; and if I don't have a clear sense as to what their feelings would be I'll draw a card.]

    With this Imoen agreed. Howver, Xzar said he didn’t care one way or the other—but if we did so, just don’t look to him to he carry the thief over his shoulder for a four hour hike!

    Jaheira bluntly said she was glad to be rid of him. Khalid remained quiet, as if struggling with his conscience. He eventually said that Jaheira spoke for the both of them, though, and remained silent.

    So the vote was evenly split: two for, two against, and one indifferent. I asserted that we should get Montaron’s body, since the vote was tied and I am the leader. I also pointed out that on Montaron’s body was still the powerful magical mace, which may yet prove useful to us. This was simply a bonus, however.

    The decision to try to retrieve Montaron's body still did not decide the issue of whether we would attempt to continue our fight, or flee. But Imoen and I at least felt it was the right thing to do.

    Imoen and I began our way back through the rocks to perfom the mission. At that point Jaheira sighed, as she rested on her staff. She said to hold up—and though it clearly pained her, she advised that she and Khalid would protect us as she had sworn to Gorion they would do. Even in this foolish decision.

    Xzar, preferring not to be left alone at this point, resigned himself to joining us as well.

    First, it was obviously smart for Imoen to scout ahead. She ducked around the rocks and in a few moments reappeared to advise that the priestess who killed Montaron was standing just around the corner. The enemy was apparently anticipating our return for the body of our slain comrade.

    We might attempt to draw the assassin away from the others, I suggested. Perhaps we could divide and conquer as we had done yesterday in the mine.

    Unfortunately these were no kobolds, Khalid observed. They seemed by far the most cunning and powerful adversary we had faced to date, Jaheira commented. No one disagreed.

    Jaheira noted that the enemy may still give us chase, even if we flee them now. Perhaps it would be better to try to face them down now, she said, though not with strong conviction.

    We also had exhausted all of our spells, Xzar observed. This was much the same as our encounter with the assassin Neira at the Nashkel Inn—except threefold, he continued. We had barely survived that.

    I commented that if we could sneak back and retrieve the body unseen, our plan would be feasible. However with the enemy standing guard over the body, it clearly is not.

    I concluded that for this fight it seems that we are currently outmatched. I continued that I deemed it wisest for us to return to Nashkel and there devise a plan to return and get Montaron’s body (and the mace). All nodded. We were in full agreement that this seemed the wisest thing to do.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • DelvarianDelvarian Member Posts: 1,232
    It's interesting reading this and knowing things that your characters don't. It makes me worry for them. I hope the next posting comes soon as I'm on the edge of my seat.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    Our Quest to Retrieve Montaron’s Body

    The journey back to Nashkel took much, much longer than we expected. We were nowhere near the trail that we had taken to the mines. The trek back took four times longer, in fact. We were also careful to try to avoid leaving too much of a trail, and so we walked within a stream for a long ways, and so forth.

    We arrived in the morning sore and weary, but thankful to be alive.

    As we walked through the village of Nashkel, in front of the soldiers’ garrison I noticed a large man with a most unusual purple-colored circular tattoo decorating his bald head, cooing at something cupped within his hands. Based on this first impression, he did not appear to be the model of mental stability. But he was huge in stature and looked to be strong as an ox. He wore the leather armor of a warrior, as many do in this wilderness. And strapped to his back was a mighty greatsword. Obviously not a local farmer, I shouldn’t think. A brawny fellow such as this could easily carry Montaron’s body back on such a long journey. I simply made a note of it for now. But perhaps we could hire him to help us, if he was still here after we rested.

    We found Mayor Ghastkill again standing in front of the temple. I shared the results of our investigation, and he was most pleased. He rewarded us with 900 gold pieces!

    We can only hope that now iron production may return to normal.

    Our party next stopped in at the store and I took another look at some of our items. Upon futher examination I was able to determine without the use of a spell or scroll that the short sword in Mulahey’s chest was of superior craftsmanship, but not enchanted. This we gave to Imoen.

    Imoen had been given several arrows by Montaron that he had looted from kobold corpses (he respected her skill with the bow) that appeared to have an enchantment of some sort. There was also a pair of boots and a ring that I would have to identify using spells. However, we did have one scroll with which to identify an item.

    So while in the store I cast my runes to see what we should use the scroll on.

    [Roll 1 d4 where 1 = boots, 2 = ring, 3 = arrows, 4 = reroll. Result: 2. The ring will be identified.]

    The runes instructed that we should now identify the ring. I chanted the scroll and the ring turned out to be called the “Ring of Sune” And quite a powerful item it is! The ring grants priests the ability to improve their memory to hold more spells between meditations. Naturally, this item went right onto Jaheira’s finger.

    We sold a few items that we had looted from our vanquished foes in the mines. A good deal of that plunder was unfortunately left on Montaron’s body, however.

    The elf who Montaron had released from Mulahey’s lair had, in his haste, left behind his own personal weapon in Mulahey’s chest: a moonblade. I have read of such swords. They are of use only to their owner. In fact, if anyone else ever tries to wield the blade, it becomes as heavy as a full grown horse (to an average human).

    The store owner was not interested in buying it. But since the sword’s elven owner may travel this way, I asked the owner if we might leave it with him. The merchant agreed.

    [Note: Now, as for the upcoming encounter with Nimbul… I struggled a bit as to whether to do a check re: whether they notice him behaving suspiciously in front of the inn. But honestly, it seems highly unlikely that they really would. So I think here too they are just going to have to get caught off guard again. Come what may.]

    As we emerged from the store and walked towards the inn, a hooded figure in green and black called out to us from the front steps of the inn. With a sinister and languid tone, he stated quite simply that he was going to kill me. I actually cursed under my breath at this development, as it seems the bounty on our heads sought by the criminal element is still going strong. And once again we let our guard down! (At the very same inn, no less.)

    Khalid and Jaheira wasted no time in charging at the assassin. Imoen fired her bow, and Xzar began hurling the mere handful of daggers he had left. I once again used the wand of magic missiles to try to disrupt our attacker’s spellcasting as he began some incantations. I succeeded in doing this twice.

    As we fought this enemy, the acolyte of Selune that we had seen a few days before outside the inn ran to Jaheira’s and Khalid’s assistance. Our rescuer demonstrated blazing hand and foot speed; although amazingly the assailant was completely unperturbed by his blows. The Selunite's strikes landed. But it was as if he were a nothing more than hovering insect to our attacker.

    Not a good sign, this.

    Our attacker cast his spells twice more. But my timing with the wand just missed on both occasions. With each of these spellcastings he shot pinkish-red energy bursts that went flying from his fingertips and instantly killed Khalid first, then Jaheira on the second casting of the spell. Although it was little consolation, the last missile from my wand arrived too late to save Jaheira but nevertheless slew our attacker.

    After the battle the man who had helped us (yet another with a bald, tattooed head, hmm) introduced himself. He said his name was Rasaad, and that he was a Sun Soul monk. We thanked him heartily for his assistance.

    However, then... and quite inappropriately in light of the slain comrades lying at our feet... he chose that moment to attempt to proselytize for his deity and monastic order! Imoen was definitely taken aback. Xzar actually laughed out loud at it. Perhaps noting this uncomfortable conversation, a man in the crowd began taunting the monk that he was all talk. Arguably, to his credit this Rasaad showed the self-restraint to ignore him. I told our benefactor that we were thankful for what he had done for us, but that unfortunately we must take our leave.

    As the monk walked back to speak with the crowd that had gathered Imoen whistled with a subtle eyeroll upward.

    We searched the body of our would-be assassin. From a letter in his belongings we read that his name was Nimbul—and that he had been hired to kill us by none other than a fellow named “Tranzig.” This was undoubtedly the same contact of Mulahey’s that may be found at Feldepost’s Inn in Beregost, according to Mulahey’s letters from “Tazok.”. The letter directs to kill not only me, but also my companions as well.

    Interestingly, this is not a bounty notice, as we have seen before. The letter references a specific contract with this individual to kill us.

    Xzar gathered up the items from Nimbul’s corpse. Nimbul had a pair of boots, a short sword, a ring, all of which appeared to be enchanted. He also had some standard throwing axes.

    Fortunately, Jaheira’s and Khalid’s bodies were in excellent condition, having been killed by magical spell energy versus damage from a weapon. We picked the bodies up, and also their gear (except for two shields that we had to leave for now), and lugged them to the temple of Helm.

    The priest averred that both of our slain comrades were resurrectable. We paid him and he then performed the spell.

    Once our friends were returned to life we told them what had happened. Khalid was disappointed with himself that he had been defeated. But Jaheira pointed out that with some magics there is little or no defense.

    Because we had a good sum of gold, we had both Jaheira and Khalid healed to full health. We also paid to have items identified. I did not want to have to rest twice before returning for Montaron’s body.

    Nimbul had in his possession a ring that helps the wearer see in the dark, which we gave to Imoen. He also had a pair of boots that protect against missiles of various kinds. This we gave to Jaheira. Khalid asked that she also then wear the belt he had been using that guards against missiles also, and she did accept it since she had been preferring to wield her staff rather than club and shield. Equipped as such, Jaheira should be very well protected indeed against arrows. Montaron had collected four arrows from the kobolds in the mines that had had an odd property I could not identify. It turned out that they burst into a magical type of flame internally, within the flesh, upon striking the target.

    [Note: Once a 'blued' type of magic arrow has been formally identified, I will just RP that they are identified thereafter, not wasting a spell or scroll on them. But the PC should soon have good enough Lore to ID them anyway.]

    From Mulahey’s chest there was also a pair of boots that protect the wearer from lightning. This we gave to Xzar, along with a potion from Mulhey’s chest to absorb lightning as well. Oh, and also—from Nimbul we took a scroll to summon a wizard’s familiar that we gave to Xzar, as my school of magic prohibits its use.

    We then rested at the inn. Uneventfully, thank the gods.

    We awoke quite late in the evening. Before we assembled at a table to discuss our plans, Xzar asked if he may to scribe his new spell right away. We allowed him a few moments to do so. Xzar was indeed able to learn it. He commented that he was eager to see how it worked after his next meditation period.

    We all had a seat at a table. It was now time to devise our plan of action to get Montaron’s body back.

    I put forth my plan to retrieve Montaron’s body. And it was a simple one:

    Hopefully the assassins have moved on by now and have not destroyed Montaron’s body out of spite. But should they still be there waiting for us, hopefully only one of them is within eyesight of the body. I now have two castings of the Blindness spell memorized. I will blind any of them that need to be rendered sightless in order for one of us to get at the body unseen. (If there are more than two within eyesight of the body this plan won’t work, obviously.) Then one of us will go sneak up and retrieve the body. This may work best if this person is Imoen, as she can move about more stealthily than the rest of us. But we shall see at the time.

    [Note: I think Oracos would float the idea of hiring Minsc here. But I don’t really see a way to do this given the game engine mechanics, i.e., without dropping 1) Imoen (not an option), 2) both Xzar and Montaron (because they are paired—and then Monty’s body might disappear forever once Xzar is dropped?), or 3) Khalid and Jaheira (because they are paired—and I don’t see a valid RP way to separate them).]

    [Oh, what the heck… Because Oracos would probably do so: Consider asking Minsc hire out to retrieve Montaron’s body? Black card = no.]

    We walked past the garrison and the large framed warrior I noticed earlier was still standing in front of it—now in the dark, though (odd). I considered asking him to hire out for our mission. But as I pondered this the man looked at us warily and turned his back. I took that as an omen to leave him alone.

    We made the day long journey back to the mine exit without incident, arriving in mid-afternoon. We approached the spot carefully, seeking cover behind the rocky mine exit. Imoen investigated and to our disappointment we found that the three assassins were still there. This worried me to no end. Perhaps they were using scrying techniques to track us… But I realized that, then again, if they did, then we were probably going to die eventually at their hands anyway.

    The three enemies had clustered together very tightly. But that was possibly fortuitous for our plan. Certainly better than how we left the scene, anyway. At that point we left them in two different locations within eyesight of Montaron’s remains.

    Xzar voiced that it would be preferable to attempt our plan at night. This was sound advice. We thought to go down into the mine to rest. But we found that the exit shaft had caved in since our departure the day before yesterday.

    It wasn’t safe to risk the wait for nightfall, we felt. There was therefore nothing to do now but proceed.

    Imoen snuck forward, inching ahead carefully with me following behind her. It appeared that they hadn’t yet noticed us. I cast my Blindness spell at the one closest to us, whom I recognized as Montaron’s slayer. She then saw me and began to cast a spell of her own. But I was the quicker and my spell indeed Blinded her! Imoen and I then both hastily retreated before whatever spell the priestess had started casting might find us.

    So far, so good! One down. Now if we could just repeat the tactic one more time!

    We knew we must act swiftly to blind another that was standing right next to her. The third member of their party appeared to be just out of view of Montaron’s body and apparently deep in meditation—or so we prayed.

    We repeated the tactic again. And once again with success! My ability to cast my Blinding spell was faster than whatever the enemy was attempting to cast. In both cases, once the enemy was blinded and we moved away, they could do nothing.

    Now our task was to retrieve the body. Hopefully we would avoid detection by the third member of their party who could still see. I said I would risk doing it. But Jaheira intervened. She said this is the sort of work she and Khalid were trained for. And she was as strong as Khalid. But moreover in a worst case scenario she could cast her Snarling Vines spell on them again. Khalid objected in a stutter that he should take the risk instead of her! But Jaheira moved quickly and decisively to retrieve the body. Khalid sputtered for her to stop, but she kept moving. There was then nothing for him to do but follow close behind her.

    The two of them returned in just a few moments, running past us like the wind, with Montaron draped over Jaheira’s shoulder, exhorting us to join them in flight! We heeded her words and sprinted after them.

    Once we had gotten far enough way that it seemed clear that none were in pursuit, we all paused to catch our breath. Still panting heavily, Jaheira related that she had managed to get to Montaron’s body—plus the mace, which fortunately the assassins had not taken for themselves (evidently lacking the skill to identify its powers?). But Montaron’s other gear and belongings were all strewn about him. Jaheira managed to grab Montaron’s gem bag. But before she could gather all his equipment, the other member of their party who still had her vision spied the two of them over Montaron’s corpse.

    And this warrior had a bow. She swiftly pulled an arrow from her quiver to notch on the bow. So Jaheira and Khalid hightailed it out of there.

    I speculated that perhaps their leader may have ordered the archer to remain with them. Possibly she feared that we had created a ruse to pull their archer away, thereby leaving the two blinded members of their party vulnerable?

    But in any event, we had succeeded in our mission! And we were all elated. Even Jaheira and Kahlid were in rather high spirits over the success of the maneuver.

    The slog back to Nashkel with the body was a less happy affair, however. I joked with my comrades that if I ever die that far from a temple, I hereby give them my permission to leave me in the afterlife.

    I insisted on carrying Montaron most of the way. Khalid spelled me on occasions when I could go no further and had to rest.

    We came to the town the following day. My back, shoulders, and legs ached as if on fire, and were nearly stiff as a board. I was as eager for a hot bath as I had ever recalled. But this would have to wait until after the priest had restored Montaron to the world of the living. And perhaps some other business.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    The Nashkel Fair

    Once we arrived back in Nashkel we took Montaron immediately to the temple and had him returned to life. Like Xzar, he had no memory of anything beyond the moment of death. The last thing he remembered was slinging a bullet at our attacker.

    Montaron looked to me with an expression that might have been gratitude… or which perhaps just barely betrayed a faint sense of indebtedness? At any rate, if this was his meaning he couldn’t bring himself to express whatever was on his mind.

    At the risk of being over-familiar I patted Montaron on the shoulder and welcomed him back to the land of the living. He merely grunted back, as he examined his body for wounds, and found none.

    We had Montaron restored to full health by the priest as well.

    We went next to the store and sold the gems taken from kobolds at the mines. We needed to outfit Montaron with new gear, but the merchant had no studded leather. Nor did he have a helmet in stock. Neither did he have any throwing daggers for Xzar, for that matter.

    We did buy Montaron a small shield, however. And Imoen voluntarily offered him her own studded leather, which fit him. As such we bought some plain leather armor for her. We presented as a 'welcome back' gift to Montaron: the superior short sword we got off of Nimbul. (Imoen quickly recounted to him the tale of that assassination attempt to Montaron.)

    Additional ammo was also on our list, so we bought that. But as mentioned, some of the things we needed this store did not have among its inventory. We asked the merchant if there was anywhere nearby where we could procure studded leather armor, a helmet, and throwing daggers. He advised that the carnival just to the east had some tents where armor could be purchased. It was only a short walk from here, he said.

    Imoen became rather excited at this idea, and pleaded that we go right away. Of course we had both heard wonderful stories of fairs and carnivals, she exclaimed. But neither of us had ever actually seen one due to our cloistered upbringing! Could we please go? Please?

    Aching though my muscles were, I figured we might make a quick trip. So with a visible spring in Imoen’s step we headed east to the fair grounds.

    The carnival was pretty big for a village the size of Nashkel. Fairly impressive, in fact. There was a large area set up with a stand of seats facing it, likely for the production of a theater play. Or perhaps circus acts? There were many colorful tents, and quite a number of people milling about, engaged in lively chatter about the iron crisis and the usual mundane affairs of daily life on the Sword Coast.

    As we approached the tents a noble approached us and queried why we weren’t better dressed! I feared Montaron might try to throttle him. But before we could engage him in any sort of meaningful conversation he wandered off.

    A halfling carny barker called out to us, skillfully managing to grab Imoen’s attention, and motioned us (her) over. And because at this point I had somewhat given myself over to the festive mood of the fair, I let him make his pitch. The little fellow tried to sell us a magic scroll for 500 gold (!) that would un-petrify a female warrior that had been turned to stone. I laughed that sadly, most unfortunately, we lacked the funds to purchase the scroll. Quickly judging that we weren’t going to bite, he just as swiftly turned his attention to other fair-goers.

    I did take a moment to wander over to inspect the statue out of curiosity. It was remarkably lifelike in its workmanship. The figure’s pose did not seem classic at all. Indeed, the statue was of someone who appeared at the ready to take an action of some sort that could only be guessed at. It seems that the sculptor who had chiseled such an artwork would have gone to extraordinary lengths to try to con someone out of only 500 gold pieces. The halfling’s claim that the statue was a petrified person was actually plausible. I have read of such enchantments, which may indeed be reversed.

    At any rate, it was certainly not worth 500 gold to test the halfling’s claim.

    We continued moving about the fair in search of the supplies we needed. We decided to try a large square tent just past the statue. There was armor for sale there as well, and we bought Imoen studded leather, selling her plain leather at a loss (ah well).

    We still lacked a helmet for Montaron, however.

    We tried the next closest tent to see if we could find a helmet. Inside was a modest assortment of weapons. Still no helmet, though.

    In the next nearest tent we again found no helmet. But we did find throwing daggers for Xzar. Jaheira pointed out that we had just learned the hard way that there are times when it is good for all to have ranged weapons. So we also purchased a sling and bullets for her, and a longbow and arrows for Khalid.

    Exiting the tent, a friendly carnival-goer struck up conversation with us, and mentioned that the play is quite good. He also recommended seeing a show put on by a wizard named the Great Gazib. Imoen begged with excitement that we go there next. So we wandered over to the open performance arena.

    The Great Gazib was quite the showman. His parlor trick was no doubt an illusion. But it looked impressive nonetheless. Gazib summoned an ogre out of thin air that in moments literally exploded into bits. We were at first shocked to be sprayed with its entrails. But before the shock could turn to anger the goo disappeared. Imoen clapped enthusiastically in appreciation. (Gazib repeated the performance for her one more time.)

    The next closest tent to visit was then one in which a merchant of potions offered to sell us a Strength elixir for 80 gold pieces. The price was rather steep, I thought…

    [Buy the Str potion? Black card = no.]

    We declined his offer on that one. He then mentioned that for 40 gold he had a potion that would make the imbiber “smart as Elminster.”

    [Buy the Int potion? Red card = yes.]

    This offer was more to my liking. We had the gold to spend. We were at a fair. We were all a bit worn from travel, but in rather good spirits overall. I dug out the gold from our purse, gave it to him and said, sure, hand it over.

    Upon closer examination of the potion I realized that it was useful for ensuring success when scribing spell scrolls. But it had a serious drawback: In exchange for an entire day of amazing powers of concentration, it made one weak as a kitten and foolish as a hen. I thought of confronting the merchant and trying to get my money back. But then I reflected that as the leader of this group, perhaps it was better not to jeopardize the party’s trust in my wizardly knowledge by revealing that I had been swindled. And the potion was actually not all bad. With it I could scribe anything, no matter how difficult the spell. If and when I ever get a number of scrolls to scribe, I can simply spend a full day in a comfortable bed at a posh inn as I learn the spells.

    Entering the next tent we stumbled onto a shocking scene. Apparently we had interrupted an attempted execution of some sort! A mage angrily accused a woman inside the tent with him of being a witch, and that she was doing all manner of despicable things to the village, including poisoning children, killing livestock, and seducing the young men. I did my best to speak sense to the wizard and get him to calm down. But he seemed deranged and could not be reasoned with. He instantly killed his victim with a spell, and proclaimed he would do the same to us. Then he closed his eyes and began to chant in a terrifying manner.

    [Note: I thought I had won this the first time without a casualty but Zordal cast Melf’s acid arrow on Oracos and it ended up killing the PC after the fight. This is a minimum reload game, not no-reload. I.e., I’ll reload if the main dies. So I had to play the battle over. I didn’t notice in time that the PC had been poisoned as such. Once I caught it, I had him gulp down an antidote of poison. But evidently not in time to save him. Oracos died about 3 seconds later. :\]

    Imoen fired the few arrows in her quiver that burst into flame when they struck; after which she switched to regular arrows. Montaron charged forward with his new short sword. Khalid also attacked with his sword. Jaheira cast her Despondence spell on him. Xzar cast his Life Leech spell. And I fired the missile wand—which had only three castings left!

    The wizard was seriously injured by this round of attacks. We had prevented him from casting his first spell, thank the gods.

    Jaheira then went after him with her staff. Everyone else continued as before.

    But this time we were not as lucky. The mage cast a spell that filled the victim’s very soul with sheer, abject terror so intense that the person entered a total state of panic. Three of our party succumbed to this magic: Imoen, Jaheira, and Khalid. They actually ran about the tent as if they believed they were on fire.

    The rest of us had only our weapons now. Yet I still had one more charge in my missile wand. I let it fly. The wizard collapsed dead to the floor.

    The spoils from this battle were quite good! The evil wizard’s poor victim (perhaps she was the owner of the tent?) had a robe with enchantments that I would require a spell to identify. Sadly, it could be of no more use to her now. The mage who attacked us had a robe to protect against lightning—this seemed to belong with Xzar’s boots, so we gave that to him. There was a potion to increase hardiness and performance in battle, which we gave to Khalid. And there were two spell scrolls. One for Armoring a mage, as we had seen before (we would likely sell this), and one for sending a burst of hypnotic, colorful light from the palms to incapacitate those who fall within its cone by making them faint. This spell I would scribe. Otherwise there was a poison antidote and an angel skin ring.

    After this excitement I figured we should call it a day. But Imoen again pleaded that we stay just a little longer in order to see everything. I still had the stamina left, and the gods know, the party has earned it. So we continued. None of the others seemed to mind, aware that there wasn't much left to see.

    In two large tents we found gambling wheels and other games of luck and chance. I tried my had for a bit and came out ahead. Imoen asked to try and quickly began losing, so the fun quickly began to wane for her.

    Upon entering the second of the two tents we were the targets of a pickpocket who took 100 gold from us. Imoen and Montaron deftly tried to grab it back from him as he ran off, but without success as he agilely pulled away. We all gave chase. But once outside the tent he must have quickly consumed a potion of invisibility, for he was nowhere to be seen.

    We all agreed that was quite enough gambling for the day!

    There were several more tents to explore. As we walked in their direction I saw Montaron lagging behind, and whenever possible opening chests or looking into barrels. I figured if he got caught he was on his own.

    [Note: And indeed, if Monty does get caught stealing while acting on his own, he might very well get removed from the party, even if only temporarily. I may draw a card for that. Depends on the circumstances, though.]

    We arrived at the last tent we hadn’t yet visited. Inside were people splayed about on silk pillows smoking the black lotus flower. I had read of such use of the plant at Candlekeep. Gorion had told me tales of people so taken with its pleasures that they lost interest virtually all else. An indulgence such as this was both a risk and a luxury that none of us could afford.

    It had been quite a day. Everyone agreed it was time to return to the inn for a well-deserved rest. And a hot bath, for some of us anyway.

    We made a quick stop at the store and sold the ring and Armor spell scroll (Xzar said he does not intend to join in any hand-to-hand combat now that he’s gained practice throwing daggers).

    Before retiring for the evening, I felt mentally alert enough to attempt scribing the Color Rays spell. Thankfully I was successful.

    But I might well not have been due to a disturbance in the background. As I was ordering the spell in my mind with the Weave, yet another quarrel erupted between Montaron and Khalid. This despite the events of the previous day.

    I told everyone to enjoy the remainder of the day and a good night’s sleep. After we were refreshed we would gather tomorrow morning at a table and discuss our future plans.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    Okay, a bit of discussion now about a recent development in the progression of the game:

    I think we're now at a point in the story where Xzar and Montaron, as Zhent spies who have completed their primary mission, would probably leave. And I don't think they would bother to say goodbye.

    That is, as I ropleplay them each individually that's what I, personally, feel they would most likely do.

    I believe that Montaron would also try to steal as many valuable items as he could as the party sleeps.

    Probably not everything—he wouldn't clean them out. But he'd take a lot:

    - all the potions but the cursed Int one from the fair (Xzar would probably say leave it)
    - all their gold (I'd EEKeeper it to zero)
    - the Stupifier
    - both Khalid's and Jaheira's splint mail
    - Khalid's helmet
    - all the letters and scrolls, except the letter from Roe to Marianne
    - Oracos' Knaves robe

    Oracos identified the robe from Zordal's tent. Unfortunately for CHARNAME, I can't really envision him sleeping in that robe in his bed. So that would be pilfered as well.

    As I have imagined Monty for this game, he has developed a bit of a soft spot for Imoen, or at leasts respects her skills (and if it is one or both it is much attributable to her very high Cha). So he would only take the antidotes of poison and healing spells she is holding. I also felt that Jaheira, although she would not sleep in splint mail, would sleep on top of the bed with her boots and belt on because she doesn't trust Montaron. And there is no way Monty would risk trying to remove the Ring of Sune off her as she slept. Imoen would also be wearing her ring of infravision.

    Now, an argument could also be made that Xzar and Montaron might opt to stick with CHARNAME's party and to try to dig deeper into the causes behind the iron shortage, and who is orchestrating it.

    CHARNAME is evidently an important figure in the plot, for whatever reason, and that bears investigation as well. I suppose as spies for the Zhentarim, Xzar and Montaron might see things that way. And they might then somehow try to send regular reports to other Zhent spies that could either be shadowing them, or found regularly at certain locations. But that sort of activity would (without a doubt, I think) pose too high a risk detection by the two Harpers, Jaheira and Khalid; and then reprisal by the Harpers, and then the risk of all that being reported back to the Zhent leadership. So I considered it unlikely on that basis.

    Anyway, I do think the most likely next turn of events for the two Zhents would be to disappear in the night, having stolen a great deal of items. It is perfectly in keeping with their respective alignments. Certainly for Montaron! Xzar, as Chaotic, might choose to stay. But I think his high Wisdom would have him fearing what the Zhents would do if went 'rogue' above and beyond their basic mission here. Again, mainly, they have completed their primary mission as spies. They now have enough information to follow on their own.

    Incidentally, in the morning Oracos was going to ask Xzar and Montaron if they wished to remain with the party, as the tensions between them and Jaheira and Khalid seemed to be getting out of hand; and as such it could be dangerous to all if they weren't acting as a solid team, etc. I would have drawn cards for whether each stayed. I was hoping they would both stay, or at least one of them (I could park one somewhere to separate them). And then I'd still get to see the fight break out between J. & K. and X. and M.

    But as I thought this through, and really tried to imagine what Xzar and Montaron would do in their own right, I came to the conclusion outlined above.

    So... I felt settled from a roleplay vanatage that this is what should happen. No need to draw a card for that. I did decide what I thought Montaon would steal from a RP vantage. And I drew a card for whether Montaron would succeed in the entire theft. (If I drew individual cards for each item, or all the items from each person, then one of the cards surely would have led to Montaron being caught. And as such, there would then be certain outcome of that, which didn't seem fair to Monty.)

    So here is part of what I was preparing to post in the next journal entry:

    [Montaron and Xzar abscond during the night, and Montaron attempts to steal a large number of items as they sleep.]

    [Is Montaron's attempt to steal the items detected by the party? Black card = no.]

    [Note: After the fact I realized I might also have framed the question: is Montaron's attempt to steal successful? But that's not how I formulated the question before turning the card over. ]

    But then, for the heck of it, precisely because I could just as easily have asked the question the other way, I went back to the save before all this takes place and had fun playing it out with Montaron getting caught stealing. I had Jaheira and Khalid attack the Zhents, and they battled it out. Soon Oracos and Imoen ran to their room and joined to help J. & K., when the two Harpers yelled why they were in battle (and Oracos and Imoen realized they too had been robbed). It was actually a surprising fight, with Jaheira, not Khalid, having a morale failure! But both J. & K. survived, despite the fact that they were fighting sans splint mail, and Khalid without a helmet. (And no potions either.)

    So I'm left with a choice as to which option I proceed with. In the former, they are robbed. In the latter they enjoyed a wild fight and get to keep their gear. If I'm going to be a stickler, I think I should go with the former. But the latter was really fun, and offers some good RP material to work with.


    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • RnRClownRnRClown Member Posts: 182
    You could draw a card to determine which choice to move forward with.

    The former does offer some better RP material and would no doubt lead to a more varied game (as how often does the party lose their equipment and their items to effectively start over).

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    Yeah, I kind of think having them just disappear into the night makes for a better story too.

    Since I have Jaheira sleeping on top of the bed, I can almost see Oracos offering her his robe to use as a cover. Plausible, definitely, although a bit of a fudge...

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    Treachery in the Night!

    Before retiring for the evening I cast a spell to learn the magics of the robe we acquired from our battle in the tent at the fair. It turned out to have an enchantment to protect against slashes from bladed weapons. Very nice! (And I look great in it.)

    We all turned in by late evening, after we all had a good meal and some libations.

    Unfortunately, the inn lacked a wash basin large enough for me to soak in. A proper bath was not a service they offered. But those of us who were inclined toward maintaining our hygiene washed up with large basins of hot water and soap.

    [Note: Now with their spying mission fulfilled, Montaron and Xzar abscond during the night. They have the information they need to report back to their superiors, and to pursue their investigation on their own. Montaron attempts to steal a large number of items as they sleep.]

    [Is Montaron's attempt to steal the items detected by the party? Black card = no.]

    I was sleeping well, but I was gently awakened in the wee hours of the night by Imoen. Jaheira and Khalid stood beside side her, and they looked clearly perturbed. Imoen’s face was glum. “We was robbed by those two good-for-nothins,” she said dolefully.

    Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, and still emerging from my slumber, I sat up. I asked her what she meant. We were robbed by whom?

    This time Jaheira responded. “Who else? Xzar and Montaron!” She leaned forward on her staff grasping it tightly with both hands as if it might have been one of our former comrade’s throats. “In hindsight I cannot say that I am surprised,” she added. “I should have said something to you about my suspicions. I had been worried about having them with us since I first saw them travelling with you,” Jaheira continued. “I happen to know that they have ties to an evil organization called the Zhentarim. They must have been sent to investigate the problem at the mines as spies.”

    “Why did you not tell me of this?” I asked, blinking as I took the news in, and the cobwebs began to clear from my head. “And how did you know this about them?”

    Jaheira hesitated for a second, and responded that she and Khalid had seen them before on the road conversing with someone she knew to be a Zhent. She said she could tell from the way the three of them were talking that they were not strangers who simply met up on the road. “But that is honestly all I really know,” she said. “All I can tell you is that your father was a dear friend of ours, and we swore an oath to him that if he was killed we would protect you best we could, come whatever may. I’m sorry that in this case we failed in that charge.”

    I nodded back to her, and shook and rubbed my forehead to wake myself fully. I told her we would talk more about it later. I was satisfied with her answer for now; although I suspect she may not be telling us everything, and this is a concern.

    “What did they take from us?” I asked.

    Imoen recounted the list. All of our potions were gone, except for the one I had purchased on a whim at the fair. Interestingly, they took the vial of substance used to contaminate the iron ore at the mine that I had saved as evidence. From Jaheira and Khalid they stole both their splint mail, and Khalid’s helmet (as Montaron had lacked one). From me they stole my newfound wizard robe (blast!). Naturally, they took the enchanted mace. All of the letters and scrolls we had in our possession were now gone, except for the letter Imoen had found on the road, from “Roe” to “Marriane.” This included the letters by Mulahey, the bounty notices, the scroll from Nimbul, and Gorion’s letter to me. Fortunately they did not steal my spell book or journal, and I have recorded much of the important information we have learned in the latter.

    And perhaps worst of all... although no surprise whatsover... as for our gold? Gone of course.

    Curiously, they left Imoen’s superior short sword, and her studded leather. She was wearing her ring that helps her see at night, so they could not take that (or dared not try). Jaheira advised that she still had her enchanted ring, belt, and boots—but only by virtue of her distrust of the Zhents; she wore them as she slept atop the bed rather than under bed covers.

    The two traitors didn’t bother taking the rest of our gear, such as slings, ammo, bows, shields, and the like. Perhaps they only took as much as of the highest value gear they could carry.

    And so we resigned ourselves to resting as best we could until sunup. (Myself, I barely slept another wink.) At dawn, in a rather somber mood we collected ourselves and walked into the bright morning sun, with our coin purse empty, and our bellies growling.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    Indeed it does. The race is now afoot to see who makes it to Tranzig first. :)

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    Our Next Move?

    We took a leisurely stroll up and down the length of the road in Nashkel as we talked about what to do next.

    If we are to solve the riddle of who is trying to kill me, clearly we should head now to Beregost and find this “Tranzig” at Feledpost’s Inn, I began. We know that Tranzig had hired Nimbul to kill us. Tranzig is an agent of the greater conspiracy to control the iron market in this region. Whoever is behind the plot, we had spoiled their plans to contaminate the iron ore at the Nashkel mine. So in that sense, it seemed likely that attacks on us are likely to continue—we are now more targets of their wrath than ever (although only the gods know why they sought my death even in Candlekeep). Viewed this way, if we are to have any hope of survival at all, perhaps we had better take initiative to figure out what in blazes is going on! Judging by the last two attempted assassinations, it would appear that we are probably not going to last much longer if this continues. Whoever wishes my head is sending extremely powerful magic-users and warriors.

    Jaheira reminded us that Xzar and Montaron know about Tranzig as well. If their plans involve seeking the man out as well, they would probably have beaten us to him by now. They had many hours head start even last night when we realized their deception. They could even be in Beregost by now.

    I was a bit crestfallen at this notion. It may well have been a great mistake not to immediately travel to Beregost once we realized we had been betrayed. But we were rather in a state of shock last night (at least I was). And I simply did not think of it. Evidently neither did anyone else. Anyway, there was no beating ourselves up about that now.

    Maybe we could travel somewhere far, far away and hide, and try to lay low, Imoen suggested. That might be safer.

    This had the ring of sound reason to it, to my ear anyway. If Tranzig was anywhere near as powerful as the assassins that were being martialed against us, seeking him out could prove very dangerous indeed, I added.

    And moreover, my father had even told us before we left Candlekeep that his plan was for us to either hide out in the wilderness, or try to disappear in the bustle of the vast city of Baldur’s Gate. So perhaps we could head to that great metropolis as well.

    Hence, I put the matter to a vote: Do we go to Beregost and try to find and interrogate Tranzig? Or do we attempt to hide out somewhere? (If we hide, we’ll address where next.)

    Jaheira and Khalid looked at one another for a moment, and then almost as if reading one another’s thoughts both nodded at one another. They responded that we should find Tranzig.

    Imoen said she thought we should try to hide somewhere!

    As for me, I was genuinely undecided at this point. I could see merits to both plans.

    To no one’s surprise I asked to cast my runes.

    [Given that we had two definite votes to seek out Tranzig, versus one to hide out, the question is: Go to Beregost and try to find Tranzig? Black card = no. We seek to hide somewhere.]

    I found a spot and cast my runes. The answer was clear that we should attempt to hide. When I told the group this result, Jaheira tilted her head a bit downward and arched an eyebrow up. It was as if to say, ‘well, if you say so, but probably not the best plan’. Khalid actually looked a little relieved at this, if I read him right. Imoen was clearly happy.

    As I gathered up the runes, I asked the next question facing us: where now do we go? Do we delve into the wilds? Or try going to Baldur’s Gate? Or does anyone have other ideas where to go?

    Jaheira offered a suggestion. She observed that I was a wizard. And as such there are things that might aid me such as scrolls, potions, and possibly other things. And particularly since I was a Diviner, didn’t it make sense for me to acquire magics to scry against those trying to kill me? We could then at least remain a step ahead of the enemy if they pursue us.

    She continued that in Beregost we had heard tales of a powerful mage with wares to sell nearby the town. The locals fear him, and spoke of fierce guardians defending his fortress. But we have seen how the local miners mistook kobolds for demons! Wouldn’t it make sense for us to visit this wizard and see magics what we can procure to better defend ourselves? Afterward we can hide wherever we like, she added.

    As we all mulled the plan over, the wiser it seemed. Everyone concurred it was a good plan. Some risk perhaps in remaining on a main road, but we had only one day’s travel before us as such. And of course we would be at risk in Beregost too (assassins would undoubtedly ask locals if they had seen us, and so forth). But overall the risk seemed worth taking. Back to Beregost we would travel.

    The next consideration that occurred to me was whether we should try to find some more hands to join us. I shared the thoughts I had had earlier about possibly hiring the large fellow loitering by the garrison to help us retrieve Montaron’s body, but that I had elected not to. If he was still there, we might still try hiring him. The problem was we had no more funds. Unless we sold off some of our more valuable gear.

    Really, no one seemed terribly comfortable with that plan. None of us were feeling particularly trusting about hiring anyone after what had just happened with our two former comrades at arms. They had noticed the man too, and none were impressed that he would be reliable based on the behaviors I had noted.

    So we were in agreement, with a plan forward that seemed to offer some measure of hope. This brightened all of our moods somewhat. Jaheira even seemed uncharacteristically chipper about it. (Maybe too pleased… She seems sincere in her allegiance to my father, and then to me. But I wonder now how much information she keeps to herself; and, as well, how much she seeks move things about as she sees fit.)

    Before departing we needed to buy armor for Khalid and Jaheira. The best choice for an item to sell to raise the coin was Imoen's Keen Night Vision ring. With a slight pout she agreed. She at least still had her studded leather and superior short sword, she acknowledged.

    The enchanted ring fetched 375 gold pieces. That was enough to purchase splint mail for both of our half-elves, and still left us with 149 gold.

    We decided that we were probably safer traveling under the cover of night. (In the dark Imoen could scout ahead with less risk of being spotted first.) And so shortly before sundown we were ready to be off. Just before dusk we hit the trail north up the Coast Way back to Beregost.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    The Road at Night Back to Beregost

    For our journey back we paralleled the road by traveling within eyesight of it in the wilderness. This worked until about half way where we were accosted by a small band of gibberlings who spotted Imoen. We killed them of course. But not before Jaheira sustained a significant injury, requiring her to use a spell to heal herself.

    The gibberlings had some useful treasure. A spell scroll of Firey Hands, and a scroll to Blind. They had a few coins as well. This got me thinking a bit…

    For it was at this point also that I recognized a stone waypoint marker that is near to the secret bandit cave we had found before…

    I asked the group if we should consider trying once more to loot the bandit cave. Risky, yes. But if it reaps the same reward it would be worth it. We could have Imoen at least try sneaking close enough to see.

    Imoen laughed! She asked where this newfound sense of courage and adventure in me was coming from! I smiled and noted that I honestly wasn’t sure. But once we arrive in Beregost, if we are to purchase spell scrolls for me to learn, we need funds! I jokingly asked Imoen how she felt about turning beds, washing sheets, and toiling in the kitchen for an inn again if we are to raise some coin. She gave me a smirk and chimed that my point was well taken.

    Jaheira and Khalid both gave their endorsement to the plan as well.

    Imoen scouted for a bit and upon her return she reported that to the south of the cave were numerous hobgoblin bandits roaming the area. She also spotted a hideous undead ghoul wandering the area, at first in the vicinity just to the north of the cave, but which later moved towards the pond (with the mysteriously partially submerged house).

    At this point Khalid switched to the bow, and Jaheira to the sling. It would be best to get off as many shots as possible against an approaching enemy before switching to melee weapons, they said.

    Imoen scampered to a location just north of the cave. She motioned for the rest of us to come to her location. But as she did a hobgoblin noticed her and fired an arrow at her. She was able to duck away from his line of sight behind the rocky entrance to the cave, and we met her there.

    Jaheira then signaled with hand gestures (both doing it intelligibly and making it look easy) that our choice was now to either try killing the hobgoblin that had just seen us, before he reports our presence to the others, or seek refuge in the cave. Lacking the same silent communication skills, I whispered as low as I could that I felt we must stop the enemy that had seen Imoen. Everyone else nodded in strong affirmation.

    But before we could even attempt to begin tracking him, the hobgoblin found us!

    The growling hobgoblin fired his bow at Jaheira. Everyone but me fired back with their ranged weapons. I instead used the scroll of Blindness we had just taken from the gibberlings and robbed the brute of his sight. Then I began hurling darts at him along with the others' volley of missiles. Khalid’s first arrow found its way straight into its skull at the bridge of its stubby nose.

    Khalid went to loot the bandit and stripped him of his gear. There was nothing noteworthy on him, just the usual equipment and a greenstone ring. But that would still certainly help raise funds.

    Imoen then steeled herself, and with a gulp darted inside the cave to peak around. She returned just a moment later. There were no bandits there, she reported. But neither was there any treasure.

    Khalid surprised us all by suggesting that before leaving this location, p-p-perhaps we might w-want to p-p-p-ick off at least a few more of the b-b-bandits... (Perhaps he was feeling confident after his amazing shot?)

    We all looked at one another in agreement. (Its amazing what desperation can do for courage and will.)

    I had a Slumber spell and a Color Burst spell memorized. We would have Imoen scout ahead and see what targets she might find. It was nearing dawn however, so we hadn’t much time to act in the cover of darkness.

    Imoen slipped into the shadows for a moment and returned to tell us that there were three hobgoblins directly south of the cave. They were standing close enough together that I could cast my Sleep spell on all three, she said. Or at any rate it could work that way, depending on how many of them fell prey to it.

    The dawn was approaching rapidly. Imoen quickly moved forward and then kneeled and slowed to a crouch. She motioned me forward to where I could see them, with me also advancing more slowly in a crouch. At her signal I slowly and quietly stood and at a barely audible volume incanted the spell.

    To our great pleasure, all three of the hobgoblins dropped instantly into a deep slumber (and their last one). They were dispatched in seconds when we hurled our missiles at them.

    The hobgoblins had a few gems on them in addition to the standard gear. There was one unusual item however: a pair of boots that seemed to have an enchantment. I could not yet tell what it was. But once in Beregost I would cast a spell to see.

    What attracted our attention to the boots was that they had runic symbols carved into the leather at the top. The boots seemed to visibly grow smaller when Jaheira pulled them from the bandit’s feet.

    By now the sun had just broken over the horizon. We moved quickly back to the main road, with Imoen leading the way. However we moved a bit east of the road, and continued just off-road with Imoen scouting ahead from tree to tree.

    Very soon thereafter we arrived again in Beregost in the early morning light.

    [Note: Everything that here happened was perfectly within character, I think. I responded to them getting seen by gibberlings, and everything flowed from there. It all made sense for them to do, I think. No need for any dice or cards. Although certainly in the back of my mind I wanted to the boots of stealth for Imoen.]

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    The last two entries illustrate just how powerful the tug of metagame knowledge is, even when trying to roleplay honestly from the standpoint of 'only what the characters know' about their world. As a player I know that the main character desperately needs spells at the very least, and there's also plenty of other useful stuff for him at High Hedge. Imoen needed the boots of stealth. There's no denying that these needs drove my imagination about what the characters would do next.

    The party also needs XP to level up. In RL everyone improves at anything we do by practicing it a lot. But in a case such as this where the stakes are literally life and death, with so little margin for error, I don't think it would occur to most folks (even neophyte 'adventurers' in this high fantasy world) to go out and 'hone their skills' and acquire equipment that makes them more powerful. This could dawn on them, before long, though, I guess.

    At the point that I roleplayed out the party's discussion of plans forward after Xzar and Montaron stole their gear, and then drew the card to hide out, the suggestion by Jaheira to seek out Thalantyr popped into my head pretty innocently in terms of the roleplaying. But as I saw it, her idea to try to get scrying magic came principally from her being a Harper spy. Getting scrying magic would help, yes. But it isn't her true motive. I see her as strongly suspecting now that the iron shortage could be a Zhent plot. And as a Harper she wants to follow the clues now to Tranzig.

    On the face of it, the idea to get scrying magic is arguably something that probably should have come from a high Int character (everyone else in the party has very high Int but Jaheira). Jaheira's Int is average. That said, her Wisdom is well above average (i.e., she's got good gut instincts, and she's savvy in a 'street smarts' way). But again, her motive is as a spy to follow clues, and not because she's a super genius.

    CHARNAME's idea to again trying looting the bandit cave, and Khalid's to then kill bandits there, was completely driven in reality by the wish to acquire the boots of stealth for Imoen. But as I RP'ed their passing by this location, I do think the PC could well have thought of their strong need to fatten their coin purse (he has both high Int and Wis). And characters do grow and evolve as circumstances unfold (arguably all the moreso, the smarter and wiser they are). Desperate times demand desperate measures...

  • WanderonWanderon Member Posts: 1,418
    @Lemernis - I concur and another aspect you may want to consider in your roleplay is that it is my understanding that these hobgoblins & bandits and such are not by any means native or normal to the area at least in these numbers and while the Harpers may be about balance I would see them viewing this "infestation" as threatening the balance and thus put the notion or motivation to culling them where ever possible fairly high.

    Great job - I fooled a bit with this idea last week and may continue to try to adapt it to a campaign as I watch your progress and think out how my own methods might work best for me. I definately agree that it would be very easy to go overboard with the card turning and end up going no where and also with the difficulty in keeping to RP and trying to put meta-gaming aside - as opposed to attempting to figure out how to fit the metagame options one would like into the RP - LOL.

    Looks like you are having great fun with it - I suspect part of that is due to the diligence you put into defining your character both prior to starting and as he grows into the tale.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    A Brief Respite in Beregost

    As we walked the street back up to the center of town, we were met again by the white bearded, red robed wizard who chatted with us briefly as we made our way from the Lion’s Way to the Coast Way.

    He introduced himself as none other than Elminster! If this is true, he is a legendary wizard of the Realms, credited as author of many an important scroll and known for epic deeds (indeed the monks at Candlekeep were constantly having to inspect submissions alleged to have been written by Elminster but which in fact were often the works of others). If it truly be this great mage, I consider it a privilege to have had the chance to meet him.

    That said, the chances that it is actually Elminster would seem to be remote, I should think. This man may just be mad.

    “Elminster” shared a little more with me this time. He said he knew my father! I pleaded with him to spend some time with me that I may learn more. But he seemed in a rush and said he could not. (I admit that raised some suspicion in me as to the veracity of his claim to be Elminster.) He had some interesting comments to make about my present ordeal testing me to know myself better. Almost regardless of who he is, I suspect that he may know much more about why all of this could be occurring than he will say.

    But I repeat… who knows who this really is. It is unclear to me whether I should be wary of him or not. My instincts say no. But that he insists on being so cryptic is troubling. If Elminster he be, the wizard gave us one extremely important bit of information. He advised that the “bandits we seek” are to be found to the northeast.

    I shall cast runes later to see if I should trust him or not.

    We next stopped at the Thunderhammer smithy to sell off the gear we had stripped from the hobgoblin bandits. He bought all but the ring (not interested in finished jewelry pieces, he) and thereby we increased our gold by a bit. We got another helmet for Khalid. Perhaps foolishly we sold off Khalid’s spare long sword, in case one was to break. We’re trying to raise all the coin we can…

    As we made our way to the Burning Wizard (though we may look around a bit to see if we can find the cheapest possible fee for a room) we were approached by a breathless little girl who told us that an officer of the Flaming Fist named “Vai” requests that we see her at the Jovial Juggler (the girl gave us directions). She commented that our adventure at the Nashkel mines is now widespread news, and we seem to be enjoying some celebrity from it.

    (This is actually bad news for our plan to hide from further assassins.)

    Given our recent experiences, there is no telling what to expect of this “Officer Vai.” She could indeed simply be posing as such, and in fact rather be just another bounty hunter or contracted assassin.

    For this too I shall consult the oracle.

    We discussed our options. Jaheira surprised me a little by suggesting that we stay at Feldepost’s. (One would think as a druid she would recommend camping in the wilderness near to town.) Khalid didn’t offer any thoughts, but nodded at Jaheira’s suggestion.

    Imoen said she felt it would probably be smartest to seek lodgings at an inn where no one yet seen us before. I observed that if we are indeed well known by now, then it probably won’t matter where we stay… Beregost is not a large town.

    Perhaps the oracle could decide it for us.

    [Which inn does the party stay at? Roll 1d4 where 1 = Feldepost’s, 2 = Burning Wizard, 3 = Red Sheaf, 4 = Jovial Juggler. Result: 1. The party lodges at Feldepost’s.]

    The runes pointed us toward Feldepost’s Inn. Jaheira joked that my divination skills were becoming more impressive all the time!

    As we stepped into the posh inn, Jaheira pulled me aside and whispered that as long as we were here, we really should try to find Tranzig. I reminder her that we had elected not to follow that course of action, but rather to get what spells I could use to help us detect further assassination attempts, and to try to either hide out somewhere in the wilderness or possibly travel to Baldur’s Gate and hide there (that is, just where was undecided as yet). She sighed and asked if she could at least look around on her own—she would be careful not to confront anyone or bring attention to us, she said. As leader I took a risk here and told her she may, acting on a gut feeling that she had the sense to investigate quietly.

    The innkeeper at Feldepost’s bought our greestone ring, raising our tally of gold pieces to 251. We found a modest room and I rested so that I could meditate and cast a spell to discern the enchantment on the boots we pulled from the hobgoblin. I cleaned them up a bit first, using oil available downstairs to refresh the leather.

    Jaheira and Khalid then went for a walk, stating they would be back soon, as Imoen and I rested in our room.

    Upon casting my divination spell, I ascertained that the boots were once known by the name “Worn Whispers,” and they give the wearer the ability both to hide skillfully in shadows, and also to move silently as a cat. These were obviously a boon to Imoen, whose skill under Montaron’s brief tutelage had improved steadily during the course of our adventure. The magical boots conformed perfectly to Imoen’s feet when she tried them on. Obviously very pleased at how they felt, she beamed that she couldn’t wait to try them out “in a sneak!”

    I then cast runes for the two earlier questions of the day.

    First, the question as to whether we may trust the news to seek out Officer Vai:

    [May the party trust Officer Vai? Black card = no. The party does not visit Officer Vai.]

    The oracle advised that this would not be a wise thing to do at this time.

    The second question for the oracle was whether to trust the man who said he was Elminster.

    [Is the man claiming himself to be Elminster to be trusted? Red card = yes. The party may fear no harm from him.]

    The runes at least showed that there was nothing to fear from the man, and to this extent I guess we may take him at his word. Perhaps he is Elminster after all. How exciting to have met him and that my father knew him!

    Or if he is mad, then at least he bears us no ill will.

    Imoen and I then went downstairs looking for our companions, but did not find them. We asked the innkeeper where we may find the local mage of which we had heard townspeople speak. He told us that the wizard’s name is Thalantyr, and he occupies a fortress to the east of town known as “High Hedge.” He is highly reclusive, the innkeeper added. Thalantyr scares the wits out of most people with his irascible demeanor, he said. “They’re all terrified that he’ll turn them into toads, or do something worse,” he laughed. “Adventurers sometimes seek him out. Townsfolk steer well clear of him, though,” he ended.

    I advised Imoen that I needed to rest again in order to prepare spells we might need should the mage be hostile. (Not that they would help us much!) I decided to memorize Sight Stealer and Slumber.

    During my meditations Jaheira and Khalid returned. When I finished my spell preparations I asked Jaheira if she had had any luck in her investigations. She advised that Tranzig had indeed been staying at the inn, but he had been murdered only two night's past. The man was already buried, unfortunately. Jaheira said she was able to check his belongings which had been thrown out in the back here at Feldepost's. But those consisted only of clothing. If Tranzig had possessed any items containing information that might be helpful to us, there was no such thing to be found. From what she could glean from the locals not much was known about him, she said.

    Jaheira went on to propose that she believed Tranzig had most likely been killed by Xar and Montaron. We all agreed that this was a good guess. But I pointed out that perhaps Tranzig’s superior Tazok might also have done so. Remember well that Mulahey had feared Tazok would kill him. And from the tone of Tazok’s letters such a fear hardly seemed far-fetched.

    Jaheira conceded that this was certainly possible. But she added that from what she knew of the Zhentarim, controlling the Sword Coast’s iron supply and using bandits to flood the area is exactly the sort of intrigue the Zhents would be involved in. And she restated that there was no doubt in her mind that Xzar and Montaron were Zhents. Xzar and Montaron were probably working for Tazok, she said.

    All very plausible, I agreed. But should this should alter our plans in any way?

    Imoen said that to her it mattered not that Xzar and Montaron had killed Tranzig. All the more reason for us to leave this area, she felt. Perhaps if we went to Baldur’s Gate we could even take a ship from that major port to some far off land, she said. I concurred with her that that might be a very smart thing to do now.

    But it was now the middle of the night. I said we should all get a good night’s sleep and we’ll visit the mysterious "Mighty Mage of High Hedge" tomorrow, as he is called by the locals.

    [Note: I Ctrl+Y'ed Tranzig. I'll just ignore the loot drop in his room.]

    As I slept I had a rather disturbing and particularly vivid dream. I saw the bloated face of Mulahey with dagger of bone hovering above him that I wanted to drive into him, but something stayed my hand. I cannot remember much more than that. Although as I awoke I thought I heard a voice telling me that I have much to learn.

    In any case, I sense that my new ability to heal has grown stronger. Perhaps Jaheira is right that a deity is granting me powers. I wonder if I shall learn to be a priest if this continues? If this be so, from what I have read at Candlekeep, I would have to halt my studies in magic in order to do so. As much as I would enjoy the favor of a particular deity, and to receive powers from one, I still do not wish to give up my studies of the arcane! And I'm experiencing no sense of a connection at all to any particular deity in having gained these new healing powers... It is all very strange.

    [Note: While the party sleeps Imoen heads out into the night to out to try her new boots. Naturally, she’s very pleased with how well she can hide with them.

    Montaron had given her a few tips about how to pick locks. So being a thief, after all, and because the party needs money, she tries her hand at a little burglary. She scouts the town and decides that she’ll only try robbing from one of the richest looking houses.

    Which home does Imoen attempt to burgle? Most of the largest (and then probably richest) homes (consisting of two stories) are on the north side of town. Roll 1 d4 here 1 = easternmost two story home, 2 = two story “duplex” that is furthest north, 3 = two story home directly across from the“duplex” i.e., (2), 4 = manor with stable and mill. Result: 2, the “duplex” two story home.

    Imoen successfully steals 13 gp from the upstairs. She’s just testing the water here. And she likes it fine.]

    The next morning as we were preparing to leave the inn, I noticed a minor tiff between Jaheira and Imoen. Jaheira sounded very cross with her, and Imoen seemed to be trying to ignore her.

    I asked what was wrong. Jaheira said that Imoen had disappeared for an hour or two last night, and she just wanted to know where she had gone. I asked Jaheira how she knew that. She responded that she woke up and saw that Imoen wasn’t there!

    Imoen at this point was looking rather uncomfortable. I asked her if it was true, and she said quietly that yeah, it was.

    So where had she gone? I asked.

    “Nowheres important, really,” she said, looking away.

    I looked at her again demanding with my gaze that her eyes meet mine. She looked back and said with a grin “I was out raising money!”

    At this Jaheira smiled and quipped “I hope not as some of the ladies that we saw wandering the streets when we came in last night!” Imoen smirked an insincere smile back at her. “I was just testin’ my new boots!” she said.

    “Fair enough,” said I. “But what did you mean by ‘raising money’?”

    “Oh, well… um… I thought I would see any of the rich folks in town had any spare coins that they might donate to help us,” she said.

    “You asked ‘rich’ people to give money to help us?” I asked, exasperated.

    “Yup!” she chirped.

    “Meaning you broke in and burgled houses?” I queried.

    “Well, yeah,” Imoen said with a shy smile. “Although the front door wasn’t even locked!”

    I looked to Jaheira and Khalid for a reaction, and they seemed mildly amused.

    I asked Imoen, just out of curiosity, how much did she steal? She replied she had only taken thirteen gold pieces, and then showed me the coins. They’d probably never even miss it, she said.

    Briefly entering my private thoughts about this, I found myself thinking that admittedly this did open up new possibilities to raise funds in our presently dire circumstances. If Imoen was to use this skill in a more purposeful way it could even make all the difference... One day we could return and repay whomever we had stolen from in this time of need. Maybe we could even keep a list…

    But I kept these thoughts to myself for now. A warm, sunny day beckoned us outside, and we were off to see a wizard.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    We Seek “The Mighty Mage of Beregost”

    The sky was sunny and blue, and filled with towering fluffy clouds. Off to the High Hedge we went.

    It was however more than just “a little to the west” of town. It was a full day’s hike! Fortunately the trip passed without incident.

    Upon arriving at the impressive stone fortress we encountered a dour looking elf standing nearby it on the trail. I wondered if this was one of the guardians of which the townsfolk spoke! For but the briefest of moments we eyed each other and seemed to size one another up. There was a ‘far off’ look in the elf's eyes… perhaps a look of determination… that did not really convey friendliness. I considered making an introduction.

    [Speak with Kivan? Black card = no.]

    But my instinct was, no, it would be better to continue on our way.

    [Note: I considered drawing a card to have Imoen scout, because of the report of 'guardians' to the fortress. But I figured at this point they would be lulled into a false sense of security by having seemed to have been allowed to pass by a sentry.]

    As we walked around the side of the fortress to we were ambushed by gnolls. These must have been the fierce guardians of which the residents of Beregost spoke! These creatures were gigantic—nearly twice our size! And they gripped enormous halberds.

    I cast my Sleepiness spell. But either I aimed it past them and they outran it as they rushed us, or it failed to work on them. Not a one fell into a slumber. I admit that at this point I feared we might have to run for our lives.

    But fortunately Jaheira and Khalid bolstered my bravery. Assuming their fighting stances, they dodged the swings of our foes’ mighty halberds, and then connected with parries of their own.

    Khalid and Jaheira were each equipped with shields; and they used the long sword and club, respectively. Imoen shot her arrows and I threw darts.

    I am hardly an expert in combat techniques. But even to my untrained eye the gnolls appeared to use a most unorthodox and awkward fighting style. First they lumbered towards one combatant, but then turned abruptly around to lurch at or chase after someone else. This did not seem to deter our melee fighters the slightest bit, however. But it did force Imoen and me to constantly seek new positions to avoid the terrible swipes of their halberds.

    We killed all four of them.

    One of the gnolls used a great sword, and he looked particularly fierce. He still fell to Khalid’s deft blade, however, for all of his massive size and strength.

    Once inside the fortress we found the wizard himself, who at first told us to be gone, which worried us. But after politely pressing just enough we got him talking. He was actually quite accommodating. A Conjurer is he, and an archmage at that. Although curmudgeonly, he was a rather interesting fellow with many tales of past adventures to tell. He seemed a bit world-weary in his outlook, and we smiled several times as his wit. He told us only a small bit of his past, when he adventured much many years ago. But even in that one can see that he has ventured to places so exotic that even the scribes of Candlekeep would find them obscure. Most fortunately, when I told him our tale he even seemed quite pleased to be of assistance. He indicated that even his sage advice in the use of magics and combat tactics was for sale.

    [Note: The manual gives quite a bit more background on Thalantyr.]

    Then he showed us an array of magic items that made my head swim! Most of it we could barely afford. There were potions of all sorts, and spell scrolls from many different schools. And the wands! Wands to cast all manner of spell. One such wand was the same type of missile wand that had saved us several times already. But much, much more powerful spells these wands were enchanted with. Wands to paralyze, to enchant into sleep, to terrify, to engulf with flames, to blast with lightning, to freeze solid—even one that turns enemies into rodents! And even more powerful items than this there were.

    A pity that many of them cost a king’s ransom. Although the spell scrolls and wands were not completely beyond our reach, eventually.

    I was a bit disappointed that the only scroll Thalantyr had for my specialization of Divination that would be of use to us now, was one to be able to see those who are invisible. That is clearly a spell we want! But I haven’t the ability yet to cast it yet even if I could afford it. The only affordable spell scroll that seemed useful to us presently was the Charm spell. That is the same one I was forced to use on the assassins outside of the Nashkel mines exit, rather than learn. It seems quite a powerful spell for a wizard of my humble level.

    There was also the spell that was used on us in the carnival tent in Nashkel by the crazed wizard, which Horrifies its vitcims. But although I may be able to memorize it, I lack the skill with the Weave to cast it just yet. Soon perhaps.

    Thalantyr purchased the gear that we took from the gnolls we killed (and he paid pretty well for them, too).

    We asked him if the gnolls that we had encountered outside were hired by him to drive off unwanted visitors. He laughed that, no, they were mainly just a nuisance in the area. He said our speculation was not far from the truth however. He admitted that he doesn’t mind them because they do cut down on pesky non-adventurers who might otherwise dare to visit him.

    Before leaving High Hedge I asked Thalantyr if I he would allow me to try to scribe my new Charm spell there, and he said by all means. It was a day’s hike back to Beregost. We had enough coin to purchase another scroll if I failed. Then we wouldn’t have to spend another day hiking here.

    Gods be praised, I scribed the spell successfully into my spellbook.

    I admit that I was disappointed that I could find no scrying magic that might help us now. But I felt fortunate to have found someone for once that we felt was an ally of sorts. A mentor of sorts for me perhaps, if only we were staying.

    We thanked our new friend and took our leave of the mighty Conjurer.

    We tried taking a slight shortcut back to the road to Beregost. Imoen scouted ahead and the way seemed to be clear. But as she motioned us to join her she was attacked by skeletons. We have seen ghouls in the region and now skeletons. So perhaps this is not so strange as it seems. Perhaps the undead roam this land in fair numbers? We were able to kill the creatures but not before one of them struck Khalid, requiring that Jaheira heal him again afterward.

    The journey back to Beregost saw no further attacks. We arrived very late in the night.

    I asked that we consider turning in at the Burning Wizard, since the cheapest beds there were ironically better than those at Felepost’s. The party agreed. So we rested there for the night. We would plan further tomorrow morning.

    [Note: It was actually that here as a player I was ready to turn in myself, so a quick decision here in-game by the protagonist was easy to ropleplay!]

    Before saying goodnight to all I pulled Jaheira aside and asked her to please not worry too much if Imoen “tests her boots” again. Jaheira responded that earlier her only concern was for my safety. If my wish is to have Imoen steal that is not for her to judge. I nodded.

    The conversation did not seem to be going well, so I left it at that. But Jaheira then mildly surprised me by adding that if some rich people lose a bit of wealth that the Zhentarim be foiled in its plots, that would be fair. She was a friend of my father's and seems intent about fighting these Zhents. She seems utterly loyal to protecting me. But otherwise I simply cannot quite get a bead on what her sense of 'right and wrong' is (if she has any at all).

    I also spoke with Imoen briefly before retiring. I told her that if she intends to practice burglary, just please, at all costs: Do. Not. Get. Caught. It isn’t worth the risk. First of all she is too dear to me. I could never forgive myself if she came to harm that way, and I had sanctioned the risk. But also, we can’t risk having her thrown in jail right now—we desperately need her skills!

    Imoen laughed and said not to worry. She said that no matter what, she could be trusted not to attempt more than she was capable of.

    “Really?” I asked.


    And on that not-so-restful note we turned in. I resigned myself to trust my best friend. Or at least her skills...

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • Eadwyn_G8keeperEadwyn_G8keeper Member Posts: 541
    Methinks you are perhaps not sufficiently RPing the game-fact that the Harper's, Jaheira and Khalid are probably far from ordinary Adventurers. They were Gorion's go-to choice when threatened with a potentially dire situation. The strangeness of that unexplained and precipitous departure from Candlekeep suggests that Gorion would have probably summoned folks from his A Team.

    I am also missing a certain grasp of what Oracos actually feels himself to be doing... Examples: A)-Surviving; B)-Avenging Gorion; C)-Investigating Gorion's Death; D)-Following up on Jaheira's original concerns about Nashkel Mines[???]; E)-Making a Name for himself in coming-of-age fashion; F)-Being a pawn of Fate/Gods; G)-Seeking to prove himself in case he should find some potentially powerful Allies; H)-Heroically restoring Order/Goodness in a Dark Age; I)-Vanquishing one or more powerful and deadly enemies he as yet knows little about.

    Good stuff! I want to make a hard copy to keep in my BG File.

    My own project of constructing a journal is beginning as an appearance of Jaheira at some undefined point in Time before a Harper's Assembly which is trying to reach a decision re Charname. She begins with her account of waiting with her husband Khalid at the FAI with increasing concern as Gorion's furtive party is almost a full day overdue. Of her first impression of Charname totally shaken by the encounter with Tarnesh [which he and Imoen survived unscathed even though Tarnesh got off Mirror Image] she has little to say. Just enough to convey that a certain Wildness was threatening to overwhelm Charname's sanity. A wildness of Powers unknown to the trembling but sturdy youth. From there she seques into the firstperson Journal which she has persuaded Charname to begin as a way of anchoring himself in this devastatingly changed situation. At all costs Charname must allow himself to fully experience what has happened else he may well become unhinged... [I am playing him as an F/M who really wants to be a Priest of Oghma [or at least thinks so; Wisdom-12] Like his kindly mentor Adelphus, recently expired [Tuberculosis during the winter Charname turned 18.]

    Charname is finding it very difficult to scribe into his Journal the fact that he has now Killed 2 people and seen the awesome Battle that resulted in Gorion's death though he cannot actually remember the end of it. Seized by terror he had, in trying sensibly to hide, run smack into a low-hanging limb which rendered him unconscious briefly...

    Finally he is able to begin writing his account by inventing his very own unbreakable personal code

    And approaching the secret he dared not admit. Of how it had felt to be standing there over the battered body of the Assassin with the Guards who had helped. Of the strange hope that his had been the fatal blow and, of course, not Imoen's arrow.. And of the terrible rummaging which followed. Thank Oghma for the wonderful Hot Springs room, food and Ale, lots of Ale...

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    @Eadwyn_G8keeper When you start peeling back layers for Khalid and Jaheira there are some contradictions.

    One problem from the RP standpoint with Jaheira and Khaild is the fact that they are level 1 adventurers: that doesn't square up very well with Gorion stating "they have long been my friends," and that they are Harpers. I realize them being level 1 is required for game balance. But at least according to level, for Harpers they are neophytes.

    Unfortunately we're not given much backstory on J. & K. Just the bio blurbs. We don't know how old they are, for example. Or how long they have been a couple. Yet "they have long been friends" of Gorion. And he is fairly advanced in age. (It's been a long time now since I played the Jaheira romance in BG2, but I don't recall that there was a notable age difference there. I guess I would put J. and K. somewhere at about 5-10 years the senior of CHARNAME? Maybe just a little older but not a great deal.)

    So it's not really clear how best to roleplay them for a game of this type. I chose to have the very concrete aspect of their starting level (level 1, 0 XP) be the springboard.

    Gorion has known them for a long time. So maybe he has nurtured relationships with them for a long time and only just recently recruited them as Harpers? I'm not sure how else to integrate their low level of adventuring skills!

    As for Oracos motivations: he is basically just trying to survive under terrifying and utterly bewildering circumstances. He has high Int and Wis. He has a love of wizardry. But as a Diviner his interest is in uncovering things, and perceiving deeper levels to things via the Weave. So he's more interested in magic as a means of gaining knowledge than for power or might. But anyway, he is mainly just using his wits to simply try to survive, first and foremost. The 'unlikely hero'.

    I can include more about what makes him tick if people like. (I haven't so far because I worried that I was writing so much that it might wear thin if I went too far with non-action.)

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • harvman11harvman11 Member Posts: 33
    Personally, I'm reading for the story-telling, so including more about the underlying thoughts and drives of the characters would be perfectly fine with me. I think my favorite parts are the conversations more than the battles, so that's not a big deal to me.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    Opening up character motivations more would enhance the story for sure, I agree. And the dialogue is great fun to write, so I'll start including more of that.

    I'm mainly just pounding the prose out here to illustrate the RP concept. But after the game journal is finished I could add descriptive passages, dialogue, inner workings of characters, and so on. This stuff just flows right out of me, so it would be a pleasure versus a chore.

    Honestly, I could even end up fleshing out the completed journal into a full-fledged fanfic novelization, once the game is done. Time and interest permitting. It will depend however on the sorts of plot twists that sprout from the RP technique I'm using. If the overall story that emerges is fairly gripping, then I will. If its meh then I won't.

  • EudaemoniumEudaemonium Member Posts: 3,199
    Secret Diary of a Bhaalspawn.

  • WanderonWanderon Member Posts: 1,418
    Ritualist Divinations of a Spawn of Bhaal in the Forgotten Realms - a Seer-ious Adventure... ;-)

  • IecerintIecerint Member Posts: 419
    edited March 2013
    I think using Jaheira as an infodump cover for the metagaming is fine insofar as it's been done so far. It's not unreasonable that she'd have the insight you've given her.

    Post edited by Iecerint on
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    How much Khalid and Jaheira know about key plot elements such as Bhaal, Sarevok and Rieltar, CHARNAME's mother (stuff that is related by the Planar in ToB), etc... and for that matter how much Gorion knew the Iron Throne being behind the iron crisis... is unknown.

    Elminster is a Harper, and as would be customary for him he seems to know much if not all (eg, he points the protagonist towards the bandit camp). I would imagine he probably knows the whole intrigue, or has most of it sussed out. And he was in correspondence with Gorion, and they are obviously old friends. So it's a safe bet, I think, that Gorion knew most if not all of what Elminster knew or suspected.

    But I think it would very weird for this story for Gorion to have shared everything he knew with Jaheira and Khalid. Because then those two would know all the things that the hero discovers as the game develops, but would be withholding it from him or her. I mean, yes, they are spies. But during the course of the adventure they also become close allies of the hero, fighting to the death alongside the protagonist throughout countless battles. That would just be too strange for my taste.

    Actually, for the purposes of this type of game it could be played that they do know some things. But how much is pretty much up to the player to have fun with.

    Anyway, I think it makes the most sense to have J. & K. to be
    • new recruits to the Harper ranks (Gorion fostered relationships with many whom he felt could one day be recruited)
    • in the dark about the plot (Gorion was taken by surprise with Sarevok coming to kill CHARNAME and didn't have time to share intel with J. & K.; also, this knowledge was reserved only for the highest level Harpers, not green recruits)
    • sleuthing out the mystery along with CHARNAME
    From the dialogues J. & K. have with X. & M., and fight that breaks out between those two pairs, it seems clear that J. & K. know (or have figured out) that X. & M. are Zhents. How they know this is not explained. The device I invented for this roleplayed game was that J. & K. spied X. & M. speaking with a known Zhent contact. Also, Xzar has an appointment to speak with Berrun Ghastkill (same as J. & K. do), so that would raise suspicions immediately.

    So... as I have it: Gorion only told J. & K. to please care for his ward if anything happened to him, and he was able to get word to them to travel to FAI. But that's all he shared with them, and all they know. That's how I'm playing them.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • Eadwyn_G8keeperEadwyn_G8keeper Member Posts: 541
    I can easily imagine a situation in which Gorion's long knowledge of Jaheira-Khalid began when they were children and J&K themselves are only @25-27. Arrangements which brought them to FAI could have been made via Pigeon-Mail carrying limited amounts of coded info because Gorion felt unsure about opening himself to anyone of higher level [other than perhaps Elminster] in the way that a more complete Telepathic contact would require, even given that Gorion would be fairly adept at maintaining sophisticated screens during such communions [reminiscent of Gandalf in LOTR remonstrating with Saruman over his use of the Palantir because "We do not know who else..."]. We tend to forget what the world was like before Postal Service, let alone telephones/texting... J/K might be a carefully chosen lower level couple precisely because Gorion felt that he could rely upon their unquestioning eager service while concealing the possible dimensions of what they might be involved in. In my journal meditations I find that BG offers little explanation for why Charname and Imoen don't simply take Gorion's body back to the Temple of Oghma for Ressurection---!! Perhaps Zarevok has carried off his head to prevent such a course. So Metagaming is somehwat implicit from the beginning IMO and to insist that the Pure Gamester can only respond to scripted cues which make comprehensively perfect sense is something akin to a Religion, a gorgeous Flag to wave...that does not actually refer to anything but is nevertheless a fun way to proceed.
    Anyhow, my Charname has cleared the Mines, done Bassilus, rescued Dynaheir etc. and put an end to the Bandit Camp. Now I find myself inexorably drawn towards falling in love with Mirianne in Beregost, planning a wedding and dedicating my life to restoring the Town to the kind of status it enjoyed during the School of Ulcaster days. Never have figured out what it was that had befallen Gorion. Probably nothing to do with me in particular. Sounds like a great way to earn a fortune in Real Estate appreciation with some very powerful allies.
    Wonder how things would develop from such a Mod??

  • IecerintIecerint Member Posts: 419
    Jaheira probably knows something about the area, is what I mean. Like, CHARNAME has always lived in Candlekeep, but Jaheira probably knows about the mage of Beregost and all that.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited March 2013
    That could be, for sure. I was mainly thinking Jaheira would try to steer the party go back to Beregost in order to follow the clues (i.e., find Tranzig) about the iron shortage.

    As for figuring out how to find Thalantyr, the way I played it here is that the party had spoken with the townspeople in the square and the Burning Wizard and they learned the tales of a the Mage nearby. (And they literally did this in-game.) Then later in RP I figured that the owner of Feldepost's could tell the party about Thalantyr. It isn't in the game. But he would certainly know of him.

    In hindsight I probably should have drawn a card as to whether or not the owner of Feldepost's would do such a thing, because Thalantyr is technically a rival magic dealer. Although honestly, Thalantyr's inventory is so vast and impressive it's really not like the owner of Feldepost's can even come close to competing with him for the serious buyer.

    Edit: Another thing I had forgotten from Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast is that Kelddath Ormlyr, the town's Governor at the SotM, is said to know Thalantyr well. In the game, the party can learn that there is a mage nearby from speaking with the townsfolk. Although the game doesn't feature an actual conversation for it, for a RPed game of this type if the party speaks to Kelddath it makes sense that they could ask him where exactly this mage may be found, and be told. And in the same vein, I'm sure the owner of any inn, or Taerom, could share the same information as well.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
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