Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Hexcrawl in Actual Play


Here's a sample from my campaign journal, again from the summer of '07, when I was running a lot of hex-based action. I use my campaign journals to keep track of dates, locations, and the players' most important actions. Its proved to be a great tool for running a cohesive wilderness game, and is also a good way a remembering some fun sessions that occured years ago!

Session Journal: 4436 Portly Pomp Month(4)

PP17 Hex8-3519 Party encounters Giant Slug en route to Onhir, just on the border of Arthiop mudflats. Slug injures Belegost with acidic spray. Magnus loses halbard in action, draws greatsword found in Witch-queens fortress. Kills slug in one great chop, which creates a blast like thunder.

PP18 Hex8-3411 Barrens devoid of usual dire rats. Reason becomes clear when party encounters large pack of Denuvian dragon-dogs, a reptile/wolf crossbreed not seen in great numbers since the days of the Orichalan empire. Unnaturally cunning and well-armored. Party decimates them with missle weapons and several spells from Rho.

PP19 Onhir Party met by borderwardens 3 leagues outside of Onhir. Forced to wait for special permission to enter city due to presence of the partys dwarven ranger Horthe. Permission given, elven slaves given into the care of Onhir.

PP20 Onhir Annual Beltene Fete of Brilliant Fire celebrated in Onhir. Party made guests of honor for return of slaves. Festivities include phoenix rebirth, ceremony of the fire witches, blessings of the groves by druidic circle. Other guests of feast include a visiting Antillian merchant and Lady Cilborith of Anatal. Party is gifted with masterwork strength bows by the Onhiri. Horthe adopts runt elven hunting dog (cooshee) as his animal companion.

PP21 Onhir Rho pays after-midnight visit to quarters of Cilborith to talk shop. Surprises assassin just entering sorceress' chamber. Kills him instantly with empowered fire spell. Cilborith rewards Rho with Pearl of Power 2, identifies partys takings from DCC17 for free. Notables include Thundering Greatsword (now christened "SlugBane" by Magnus), a type-2 Bag of Holding, a string of lesser Prayer Beads, and a ring of Counterspells. Antillian merchant and his retinue are discovered to have left mysteriously in the night, and a search of the assassins corpse reveals a tattoo consecrating him to Harmakhis.

PP22-30 Onhir Party spends next week or so recuperating, selling loot, repairing equipment, training, researching, and carousing. Also participates in Dire Boar Hunt in the forest, with Magnus scoring the killing blow. Rho and Cilborith spend much time together talking shop before she departs back to her small city in the Ered Perack.

Session Journal: 4436 Yellow Moon Dog Month
YMD1 Onhir Party departs Onhir in full strength, determined to reach CSIO by the War Festivals (YMD28 ) .

YMD3 Hex8-3408 Encamped for the night by River Magevin, 4 giant spiders steal silently into camp, drawn by the horses. Man-at-arms Nok on guard duty, takes poisoned wound while alerting camp. Party quickly roused, spiders killed or driven off without hardship. Wounded spider tracked to lair in the morning. Among the desiccated corpses hanging there is found a +2 Dagger and about 60gp worth of various coins.

YMD4,5 Hex8-3308 Party reached Bellystone Ford, invited to stay at Southmarch Castle under Lord Cairnols hospitality. Party treated to performance by some of the best bards in Altanis. Tibal participates on zither, only barely restrained from practicing his pick-pocketing arts on his fellow musicians by a stern eye from Magnus. A feast that night features flank of catoblepas, a rare and dangerous delicacy.

YMD7 Hex8-3105 Party climbs up into Black Baron Pass. Horthe soon notices trail of a band of ogres, probably lying in wait to ambush travelers through the pass. Stopping their party well before a natural ambush point, PCs leave NPCs behind with wagon and horses while they advance to surprise the ambushers. PCs assault ogres, driving them from the cliffs with little trouble. Horn sounds from wagon party down the trail. The party has been duped, a larger party of ogres led by a huge raging chieftain tears through the small caravan like wildfire. Party arrives to find their companions all dead or dying, only the cooshee pup still standing defiant. They rush forward into pitched melee. Magnus and Belegost are both taken down to negatives by the savage ogres, and Horthe is nearly felled as well. Things look ill until a well-placed Deep Slumber from Rho takes down the chieftain and a nasty sneak attack fells another ogre instantly. A few flee but are taken down by Rhos spells while Horthe revives Magnus and Belegost with a wand of CLW. One remaining ogre surrenders. The party takes stock of the damage: the wagon is smashed and worthless, at least half of their provisions are scattered and ruined, 2 horses slain, and they dig graves on the bluff overlooking the pass for 5 long-time NPCs: Dewer and Nok, the 2 men-at-arms, Ofreda the cook, Dalmidge the teamster, and Chuffrey the page (a teenage thief rescued from the streets of the CSIO) who actually put up a good fight against the Chieftain before meeting a gruesome end (-18hp!). Of all the supporting cast, only Sergeant Hancy (leads the partys men-at-arms) and the Cooshee are able to be saved by Belegosts healing magic. Gathering the surviving horses and provisions the battered party continues north with heavy hearts!


DMs notes
*I would have allowed the party's ranger to discover the tracks of the other ogres, thereby discovering the feint, but they never looked around, just took off - getting cocky!

*It took all of 3 rounds(!) for the ogres to decimate the party's caravan. Leaving the ogres 2 rounds to begin looting before the party arrived back on the scene, already a little battered from the first fight.

*The party's fighter, Magnus, actually fumbled his first attack against the ogre chieftain, and "SlugBane" flew out of his grasp. The ogre chiefatin then scored a critical hit against him, dropping him in 1 hit. The cleric Belegost got dropped by a critical hit from a thrown javelin. Fortunately, the elven wizard Rho had only engaged in melee in the first attack and so had a full complement of spells for the next attack, which made the difference between victory and a possible tpk.

*The sole-surviving NPC, Sergeant Hancy(War3) has been with the party since their 1st adventure "Whispering Cairn" and received enough xp in this fight to reach level 4. Most of the other NPCs were recruited during DCC3, and Chuffrey was "saved" from the mean streets on the way to DCC17. Ofreda was notorious for making stew out of every monster the party killed. Other than the ubiquitous "red-shirt" men-at-arms they go through all the time, they'll have a hard time replacing the rest of them, and a grudge against ogres for some time to come...

*The party is concerned about the assassination attempt on Cilborith, and wonder what the connection is to the temple of Harmakhis. They will be following up on this in the CSIO, especially Rho, who has taking the attack on his "girlfriend"(if you can call a terrifying 9th level elven wizardess "girlfriend") personally.

5 comments:

  1. All very interesting.
    --Nice journal. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This clearly demonstrates the value in that little bit of extra effort in campaign book-keeping. Tatters of scrawled noepaper (see my campaign kit!) cannot measure up to this). I'm particularly inspired by your systematic methodology. Might give this a try myself. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. What did you use for Onhir (if anything)? Did you use a map of your own design or something else?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think I just sketched out a rough map of the central area where the PCs were having a feast relative to the guest pavilions. The flavor text for Onhir was:
    "Rolling, garden-like farmland, lush vineyards, and blossomed orchards soon open up into a wide valley bordered to the SE and SW by the mist-shrouded trees of the Fogbound Forest. White marble walls and towers, nearly obscured by vines and foliage, convey a disorienting feeling of both great age, and impermeable timelessness at the same time. Eerie music floats on the air from unfamiliar and unseen instruments. Here and there, around the valley and seemingly at perfect ease and comfort, rare in this usually savage world, are small groups and individuals clad in pale, flowing garments, tall and graceful, and as ageless as the city beyond."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Al, my PCs are about to reach Onhir, I'll be using that. :)

      Delete

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