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Thursday, July 26, 2012

What Have I Been Up To, You Ask?

Allow me to answer that with a pair of images:

Yes, in between all the usual madness that occurs here on a semi-regular basis, and all of the additional summer activities that we in central New York have to cram into a scant three-out-of-twelve-months of decent weather, I've been running the Usual Suspects through B2, in mostly-by-the-book Moldvay/Cook B/X fashion. (The only real change being that 0 HP doesn't mean dead - it means probably falling unconscious and drawing a card from the Critical Hits deck; sometimes death might be a kinder fate. Just ask Brother Zogtavius, whose "paper cut" - resulting in a -4 to all of his actions for four rounds, including turning undead - nearly resulted in a TPK at the hands of a horde of skeletons.)

So far it's been a blast:
  • Brother Pervius (and his shiny black leather armor) and Brad, son of Brad, of house Bradwarden were killed in action
  • Also lost in combat were the (mostly) loyal hirelings Radrick (the "corpulent," filthy, foul-mouthed female dwarf) and Leif, as well as several other "paid staff"
  • Dahlgren Blacktome, magic user, was blinded by a spitting cobra. His compatriots undertook a dangerous mission to locate some shrieker spores, with which a poultice was made and his vision restored; however, the scars remain, and his CHA has severely suffered for it. (How very fitting for a chaotic mage - see "brain waster," courtesy of the SLA Industries RPG.)
  • Orchid the Irish elf - succumbing to her greed, despite multiple warnings from the party good-guy, aforementioned Brother Zog - absconded with several cursed items from a temple of evil deep within the Caves of Chaos, resulting in her subsequent return to the Caves a week later as a servant of evil. This prompted a hasty nighttime excursion by her fellows during which her new horde of undead minions were put down (at the cost of two of Brother Zog's experience levels - at the claws of a pair of wights - and a near-TPK) and she was paralyzed, hog-tied, and dragged back to the Keep. She now resides in a padded cell in the Castellan's dungeon, where she awaits her forthcoming exorcism.
  • Orchid's one-time hireling, Hildgaard the magic user, has taken her old mistress' place in the party, where in spite of her flaky personality her charm person spell has become quite an asset. Except when she charmed Gribble the goblin, from which she learned that just because a creature will protect someone with its life doesn't mean it stops being an evil little psychopath. (The other PCs knew that they wouldn't survive a single night with that little maniac running loose in their townhouse. So, rather than wait to be chivved in their sleep, Brother Zog averted his eyes while Blacktome grabbed the little wretch and put him out of everyone's misery...)
When we last left our heroes, they had met their most dangerous foes yet: Walgort and Bigsby, the new merchant guild boss and banker (someone knifed the old banker the night Orchid went missing, and stole some items he'd bought from her a week earlier to boot). It seems there's been a rather large influx of cash into the Keep's economy over the last few weeks, as well as a boom in adventurers and the services that support them, and it was determined (although the party is uncertain by whom) that a merchant's guild would bring some much-needed stability to the Keep's economy. And that new 10% tax on all treasure passing through the Keep's gates couldn't hurt, either. Right? The PCs were upset enough over this turn of events, but when their former hirelings Snips the thief and Tenbar the dwarf were murdered and disappeared, respectively - their share of the party treasure unaccounted for - they positively knew that they had a pair of arch-enemies in Wolgort and Bigsby.

Further excursions to the Caves have thus taken a back seat to scouting the area for a good place to build their own stronghold. Of course, such an undertaking requires a lot of money, and although they have a good amount now, they still need much, much more.

So, back to the Caves they go...

. . . . .