Friday, November 28, 2014

Idalium Game 4: Thieves' House

Session date: Monday, November 24, 2014
Game date: Saturday, November 24, 207

Tod P. Quasit, Jr., Fighter 1, hp 5, xp 730/2000
Tyrriel, Elf 1, hp 3, xp 700/4000
Quazzle, Magic-user 1, hp 1, xp 670/2500
Caryatid, Magic-user 1, hp 4, xp 669/2500
Vito Aneti, Thief 1, hp 6, xp 356/1200

Brother Jibber, Cleric 1, hp 5, xp 325/1500
Wilhelm, Magic-user 1, hp 4, xp 323/2500
Twiffle, Elf 1, hp 1, xp 323/4000
Wilson, Thief 1, hp 1, xp 0/1200
Sprat, Thief 1, hp 3, xp 0/1200

In spite of a couple of colds and an impromptu request by a friend to help hang a door, the entire crew of regulars decided to play after all. I guess the fear of missing out on the XP from looting an empty bandits' HQ was just too strong. Sprat, the bandit, has been adopted as Vito's new retainer. He made his saving throw and broke free of Twiffle's charm, which means he is extremely resentful and distrustful of Twiffle. I'm looking forward to that coming up in play. Ylil, Caryatid's retainer, failed his morale check between sessions and left the party for a few weeks to try his luck with other ventures. (I said there's been a rumor going around the city that someone named "Paul" has started managing a gambling ring for the thieves' guild.) Caryatid took on a new retainer: Wilson the lumberjack thief. Not sure how helpful his background will be in the undercity.

During the week of downtime within the game, two of the magic-user characters opted to create scrolls of their spells (I've borrowed the Holmes Basic rule that allows scrolls to be created for 100 gp and one week per spell level). The party reassembled at the Rusty Lantern tavern, and proceeded again into the buried city of Ancient Idalium.

With Sprat as a guide, the group retraced their steps back to the bandits' mansion. As they approached the tavern where they had found a box of silver the previous week, they interrupted a group of rough-looking thugs mocking someone in the back kitchen room. "Haw haw! Just be glad that's all we took from you!" "Help!" called a plaintive voice from the back room. "Those guys just mugged us!" There was a tense stand-off for a few moments. The four bandits drew swords and snarled at the party, "This don't concern you. Just keep on walking." Tyrriel, as usual, eventually got tired of talking and cast Sleep. The party won initiative and all four bandits fell in a heap.

From the back kitchen a young man and two women entered the room. They were wearing plate mail armor, but also strange archaic-looking togas over the armor. They looked entirely too green and fresh-faced to be in the dungeon. It turned out they were in the undercity to conduct some sort of worship rites and rituals of "the old ways". They said they had been on their way back to the surface to show some holy relics to a sage, in order to learn more about the ancient rituals. When the objects the bandits had mugged them of turned out to be some rather embarrassing fertility totems or perhaps just erotic statuettes, Brother Jibber turned bright red and sputtered, "Do your fathers know where you are!??" The group tried to get more information out of the youths regarding their religion and temple, but they seemed wary about giving away too much. Eventually, the youngsters turned on the puppy dog eyes and appealed to the adventurers' heroic natures, and their totems were returned to them. Before taking their leave, the acolytes gave the group one of the statuettes in thanks for their help against the bandits.

There was some mirthful discussion at this point about the group's nature as "accidental heroes". There seems to be a recurring motif of walking in on a group of thieves who have just stolen something and then relieving them of their stolen property.

The group quickly tied the four sleeping bandits up with their own bootlaces and then hid their boots in the kitchen, and then moved on to the bandits' mansion. There, they discovered that the braziers that had lit the main atrium were all burnt out, and a strong smell of smoke and scorched food filled the air, barely covering the smell of the week-old bandit corpses that had been left behind.

The players systematically searched the mansion. A door was quickly closed on a room full of giant bats and their ammonia-reeking guano that littered the floor; likewise, a hissing cobra was quickly left in peace. In the bandit leader Cretch's bedroom, they found a large wooden chest. Vito carefully examined it and discovered a small hidden latch near the locking clasp. He held the latch in while carefully opening the chest, and was relieved to discover that the latch preventing a metal pin from crushing a glass tube of a green vaporous liquid. Within the chest they found hundreds of gold and copper coins, along with a velvet pouch of several gemstones, and several extraordinary pieces of jewelry: a crystal goblet and platter, inlaid with gold filigree and rubies, and an intricately engraved silver and emerald belt. In another room, they found Cretch's longbow and a quiver full of ten very well-made arrows, with distinctive green and gold fletchings.

The back of the mansion included a colonnaded courtyard, but curiously, the space between the columns was barricaded with planks and sheaths of wood to a height of six feet. Sprat told the group that he had been told that the courtyard contained strange mobile plants that could spray thorns at anyone who entered the courtyard. The group was feeling nervous about pushing their luck when they were already laden with treasure, and didn't even attempt to look into the courtyard, saving it for their next excursion, perhaps.

And so they quickly retraced their steps back to the Rusty Lantern, where they were roundly toasted by the regulars at the bar, as they tallied up their treasure haul and paid the Adventurer’s Guild their 10% cut. Ralph the owner updated their total take on the "scoreboard". The group had now jumped ahead of Rugger's Raiders in the rankings, a fact that they all expected to come back to haunt them. They managed to restrain their desire to immediately liquidate their jewelry for gold, and retained the various items of jewelry in order to see if they could find the original owner that Cretch's gang had burgled them from.

So, as expected, a low-risk and high-reward session for the players. Vito is in spitting distance of 2nd level, and one or two more successful delves like this one would put him over. This amuses me greatly, since Vito's first game was as a retainer and he was absent for the second game. Thieves just level up so much faster than everyone else in this system. It almost makes up for their extreme vulnerability. (Although, Vito's 18 dexterity and constitution help out greatly on that score!)

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