Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dwimmermount, Session 13

Session 13 of the Dwimmermount campaign was somewhat shorter than many, owing to some scheduling issues that kept us from starting play early. In general, we seem to average a session once every two weeks rather than every week as I'd hoped, but I fear such is the nature of gaming with people who have families and other responsibilities.

The characters lingered in Adamas, acquiring additional provisions for their return to Dwimmermount. Dordagdonar the elf, besides stocking up on scrolls, decided that the party needed to buy casks of oil, believing they'd be useful in clearing out the mold and fungus-infested rooms they've encountered in ever-larger numbers on their current level. Calculating just how much oil was in a cask and how much it would cost was an amusing exercise. The characters also had to hire some new henchmen to replace those slain in the last session. This resulted in the employment of two fighting men, Drogo and Osric, the latter of whom owns a sword +1 he said he acquired on a previous job. Prior to this point, the PCs had been passing around a sword +1 to newly-hired henchmen, but, since every henchmen to whom they've given it has died, they have begun to suspect that it might be cursed.

The characters also dithered somewhat about whether to seek out Archivist Saidon, the cleric of Typhon who had spoken to the alchemist Jasper shortly before his death. At first, they reasoned that the city-state's constabulary had already questioned Saidon and therefore they had no need to do so themselves. However, after judging the constabulary's lack of skill -- they were very obviously being shadowed by them throughout the city -- they decided to go ahead and speak with him at the temple of Typhon.

Typhon's temple was in a wealthy quarter of the city and was very impressive, seemingly designed to make one feel worthless and insignificant by its grandeur. The temple's doorman took the party directly to Saidon, who'd apparently been expecting them to arrive. He was a wizened old man wearing a voluminous robe covered in pockets of varying sizes. The PCs found him in a "museum" of sorts, filled with artifacts, relics, and the skeletal remains of strange creatures, where was devoting himself to re-arranging a display of ancient eating utensils. Indeed, Saidon seemed obsessed with such things, complaining about the difficulty in finding spoons in the city-state, as the local custom is to "drink" soups and stews.

Saidon proved strangely helpful and not at all what one would expect of a cleric of a god as cruel as Typhon. He explained that he had a standing offer to Jasper to bring him anything he encountered that might be of interest to him. When the alchemist came across the PCs' vial of azoth, he naturally brought it to Saidon, who was mightily impressed. Azoth, he explained, was very rare in the present age and was supposedly a key to the Thulians' might, as it acts as an enchanting agent, allowing magic-users to craft weapons and armor of great potency. It also has several other reputed uses, such as the creation of the elixir vitae and as an aid to apotheosis. Saidon expressed skepticism at both these latter uses, stating that such things were impossible, even in a world of magic.

Conversation with Saidon eventually turned to Jasper's murderers, whom the cleric identified, without explanation, as members of the Argent Twilight. Though the PCs didn't ask, they inferred that this was a cult of zealous worshippers of Turms Termax, dedicated to preserving certain esoteric secrets from unbelievers and whose methods included assassination. Saidon explained that the Argent Twilight was likely after the PCs now too and that they should watch their backs, particularly in Dwimmermount, which the cultists view as sacred to their god. Saidon then offered to purchase any more azoth or azoth-related items they found in the dungeon. He promised he would tell no one else of their discoveries and would pay well, as the wealth of the church of Typhon was at his command. He also warned the PCs, while wielding a spoon, not to cross him or they would quickly discover what it meant to run afoul of one dedicated to the god of order and judgment.

The party then took their leave of Adamas and returned to Dwimmermount, where they explored a new section of their current sub-level. Here they encountered a number of goblinoid creatures, including hobgoblins. This eventually led to a confrontation where the hobgoblins attempted to use some sort of "fire projector" weapon against them. Thinking quickly, they used the geography of the dungeon corridors to protect themselves and lure the hobgoblins into a trap. They also defeated several giant centipedes, whose poison they feared, based on past encounters with them. Before retiring for the evening, they acquired enough experience and treasure for Vladimir the dwarf to attain third level.

In this session, I abandoned D6 damage for all weapons. Oddly, it took some getting used to, as we'd all internalized the use of a single dice type for damage. However, I think we were all glad to see the use of more polyhedrals and I know the differentiation between weapons was appreciated. I haven't yet changed ability score or XP bonuses or saving throws. Those will come slowly over the next few sessions, assuming I make the changes at all. I'm still turning over ideas in my head and, honestly, I don't want my own largely-intellectual issues with these rules carry more weight than how the rules operate in play.

15 comments:

  1. Just visualizing the priest wagging a spoon at the players while giving them a stern warning had me laughing. Sounds like a fun session. :)

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  2. as the local custom is to "drink" soups and stews<

    Do I get a "no prize" for inquiring as to how they stir while cooking the soups and stews?

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  3. Two questions, James... 1) How many hours are you average sessions? 2) What level are your players after 13 sessions?

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  4. A session varies in length between 2 and 4 hours, typically, with 3 being the most common.

    Right now, the PCs vary in level between 2nd and 4th, with the cleric being the highest level and most of the others being either 2nd or 3rd level.

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  5. 2 and 4 hours, typically, with 3 being the most common<

    You seem to be getting a lot done in a couple of hours, so kudos for that. The players sound like they dilly and dally from time to time (always a by-product of good role play), so you must be good at moving things along.

    For most of my adult game life I had 5-6 hour games on weekends every month or so. Now it's three hours every couple of weeks. That was hard to adapt to, especially after a hard day at work, but now it works out pretty good with me getting used to it. Try to divide nights between combat sessions, and mostly role play/explore sessions.

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  6. When I last ran a campaign, our schedule was every other week for about 6 hours. Nowadays I'd have to wonder if we could keep that same pace. I have to admire James for even seriously attempting a weekly schedule.

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  7. This sounds a lot like the book I'm reading-- Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco-- secret entrances to the Underworld, Knights Templar, assassins, almost-forgotten religions, the quest for the philosopher's stone.

    Like everyone else, I'm impressed at how much you do in one session.

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  8. We run a 3 to 4 hour session once every other week. And we don't get diddly done...

    I'm not going to get into it, but I partially blame it on 4E's focus on melee as well as our DM.

    It sounds like you run a tight ship James.

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  9. The players sound like they dilly and dally from time to time

    I have no real "plan" for the game and its course is largely determined by player action, so a certain amount of dilly-dallying is inevitable.

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  10. This sounds a lot like the book I'm reading-- Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco-- secret entrances to the Underworld, Knights Templar, assassins, almost-forgotten religions, the quest for the philosopher's stone.

    Foucault's Pendulum is one of my favorite books, so I'd not be the least bit surprised if it's had an influence on Dwimmermount. I have a keen interest in occult esoterica and conspiracy theories. Most of my games include them to some extent and my current campaign is no different.

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  11. It sounds like you run a tight ship James.

    It's not as tight as it sounds. We have plenty of digressions, interruptions, and delays over the course of our sessions. However, I am lucky to have experienced and dedicated gamers in my group and we can get quite a lot done in comparatively short period of time, which is wonderful.

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  12. Argent Twilight

    heh. Sounds like a great session and an NPC they'll return to.
    Beware the ancient spoon, you really don't know where it's been.

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  13. @James and Foucault's Pendulum--

    Maybe you'll write a review from a D&D perspective?

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  14. Yeah, it's not that tight. We usually meet for about 6 hours, but only about half that time is spent playing most sessions. These days we generally meet, socialize, have a meal, then game.

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  15. Maybe you'll write a review from a D&D perspective?

    It's been years since I last read it and my recollection is that most of its cool ideas are easily obtainable from other less literary sources.

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