Session date: Monday, November 17, 2014
Game date: Saturday, November 17, 207
Tod P. Quasit, Jr., Fighter 1, hp 5, xp 357/2000
Tyrriel, Elf 1, hp 3, xp 342/4000
Quazzle, Magic-user 1, hp 1, xp 327/2500
Caryatid, Magic-user 1, hp 4, xp 327/2500
Vinnie De Veru, Thief 1, hp 5, xp 22/1200
Brother Jibber, Cleric 1, hp 5, xp 153/1500
Wilhelm, Magic-user 1, hp 4, xp 158/2500
Twiffle, Elf 1, hp 1, xp 158/4000
Ylil, Thief 1, hp 3, xp 150/1200
Vito Aneti, Thief 1, hp 6, xp 13/1200
Sprat, charmed bandit, hp 3
Despite an ominous weather forecast, we again had the full crew for our third session. The adventurers - who have taken to calling themselves "The Infestation Managers" - reunited at the Rusty Lantern tavern, bringing with them Sprat, the bandit that Twiffle had charmed in the last session. Sprat had provided them with information about the number of bandits in their mansion headquarters, and provided a rough map.
Once again heading into the basement of the tavern and paying the trapdoor toll of one gold daric per person, the group descended once more into the undercity. Their goal was to locate the bandits' hideout and capture or defeat them, although I don't think they were being quite explicit about that to Sprat.
They proceeded along the wide shop-lined avenue and discovered a large city square, larger than their lantern light could encompass. In the center of the square was an ornate (but non-functioning) marble fountain. At each corner of the fountain, a graceful statue of a woman stood, cupping her hand to ear as if listening. Sprat told the group that these magical statues would speak to you if you stood in front of them, and that you could leave messages that they would then repeat, if you spoke into their ears.
They stood in front of a statue, and it briefly came to life to speak words in the Ancient Idalian language that a couple of the characters knew only from their studies of books and scrolls. "Torelia, I injured myself on the bathhouse furnace at work. I have gone to the priests of medicine for treatment." It was sort of an Ancient Idalian bulletin board.
They spent some time standing in front of statues and listening to the messages. Some messages were in Common, including a mention of a looted bank to the southwest, and a person talking about finding the truth in the temple of statues, who sounded completely round the bend. Sprat told them that the southeast statue was often used by the bandit gang to leave messages for each other ("This month, parker the bona parle 'sardine' to get in the latty"), and Tyrriel left a message of her own: "The thieves' guild will pay 20 gold for any information about Cretch and will provide protection." Caryatid decided to brag up the party: "The Infestation Managers are totally awesome and should be trusted completely!" Players just love leaving graffiti in the dungeon.
All this goofing around with the statues attracted the attention of a group of gnomes, who emerged from the avenue to the east. Tyrriel offered the last of her wine, and the gnomes asked if they were the same adventurers that befriended their associate Pluck a couple of weeks earlier. They reiterated the offer of visiting them in the mines and then returned to their work. A rather lucky wandering monster roll for the players.
Onward the group went, following Sprat's directions. In an abandoned tavern, Ylil discovered a wooden coffer hidden in a cupboard under the bar. With his lockpicks, he was able to pick the lock on the coffer, revealing hundreds of silver shekels. They debated whether they should hide the box and return for it later, but eventually decided to bring it with them as part of a vague plan to lure the bandits off guard.
Eventually, they came to the bandits' mansion HQ. Sprat was told to knock on the door, and a guard spoke to them from behind the closed door. The group claimed that they rescued Sprat from being captured by the thieves' guild and that they had a box of silver to bring them. The guard suspiciously opened the door a fraction and looked them over skeptically. After a few tense seconds, he told them to leave their weapons outside and he would let them in. While they dropped most of their weapons (a few daggers were left concealed in boots), the guard closed the door again and went into the mansion, returning a few minutes later to unbar the door and tell them that Cretch was ready to talk to them.
Into the lion's den they went. In a large atrium similar to the one in which they had encountered the first group of bandits, but larger, they met a group of seven bandits and their leader, a rough, grizzled man in plate armor with a huge two-handed sword strapped to his back. Cretch told them to hand the box of silver over. There was a somewhat half-hearted bluff attempt by Vinnie to suggest to Cretch that their group should team up with his. Then Wilhelm intentionally stumbled with the box of silver, spilling coins all over the floor. Quazzle asked if he could use magic to help clean up the mess (wink wink), Cretch said, "No! Any funny business and throats are getting cut!" and then Wilhelm and Tyrriel lost their nerve and both cast Sleep on the bandits. Swords were drawn, but the party won the initiative and Cretch and the seven bandits around him slumped to the ground. Only the bandit who had escorted them in was still awake, and he screamed for help. The sounds of running feet came from several directions, and the battle was on.
Brother Jibber tried to get the front door guard in a chokehold. He squirmed away, but Vinnie landed a solid kick in the crotch with his hobnailed boot, leaving him a sobbing wreck rolling on the floor. Vito quickly grabbed a dagger from the guard's belt, and played dead on the floor as other bandits burst into the room. Quazzle and Tyrriel ran over to Cretch to kill him, only to be confronted with two bandits who ran in from that direction. Quazzle's life flashed before his eyes as the bandits raised their swords to strike him down, but in the chaos they clashed their blades together and got all tangled up.
Meanwhile, Caryatid and Wilhelm ran back into the street to fetch Tod and Ylil (who had waited outside to guard the weapons). They grabbed all of the weapons they could and ran back into the mansion to rearm their comrades. Tod and Twiffle formed a line in the hall as three bandits ran in from a side room and Twiffle fended off several attacks.
Four bandits ran at Vinnie, Vito, and Brother Jibber. Brother Jibber was still trying to get the guard in a chokehold, and used him as a human shield. One of the attacking bandits lunged at Jibber with his sword, but impaled his fellow bandit by mistake. But at the same time, another bandit put his sword through Vinnie, killing him with a single thrust! (Vinnie had very high hit points for a thief, but the bandit rolled maximum damage.) Vito lunged furiously from the floor, seeking to avenge his cousin, but the bandit twisted nimbly away.
Quazzle desperately cast Sleep on the two bandits that were attacking him and Tyrriel, while Ylil put his spear through one of the bandits fighting Brother Jibber. Tyrriel slashed the sleeping Cretch's throat and loudly announced this fact to the bandits. Morale failed them (critically, with a roll of 12!) and the room was suddenly filled with the clatter of swords dropping to the ground as the bandits raised their hands in surrender.
It was time to break for the night, so the group quickly searched the bandits, retrieving almost 2000 gold darics worth of assorted coins and gems. They found a set of keys on Cretch, and used them to lock up the mansion for later looting, and then led all of the bandits back to the surface, turning them into the "proper authorities" (i.e., the thieves' guild) for the reward.
All in all, a fairly successful expedition for the players, though Vinnie did become the first PC to fall in battle. His player quickly promoted Vito to be his PC. I'm not 100% convinced by the players' plan to gain entry without their weapons, but it did lead to a bit of amusing unarmed combat.
Next week should be a low-risk, high-reward session as the party returns to loot the now-empty hideout.