10 Oct

Q.V.C. Session 2…More the Merrier!

The second session of our Savage Worlds Fantasy campaign using the Vault of Larin Karr (from Necromancer Games) saw the number of players double! A doubling that actually doesn’t deserve an exclamation point as we went from two to four players but one needs to hype where one can hype, right? We were joined by Craig and Dave. Craig is playing an elven wizard named Ash. Dave is playing Otto, a monster hunter who is skilled with both blades and some spells. Both players have played very little Savage Worlds to date.

In the prior session, Jak and Olivia had accompanied a single wagon caravan to an inn a few days from their ultimate destination (the Quail Valley) where they spent the night. During the night, Olivia had a bizarre dream of being someone else and the next morning, all of the inhabitants of the inn were missing. Investigation and exploration showed that the events in Olivia’s dream were at least partially true. Then a couple dozen kobolds attacked! Ultimately victorious, the heroes questioned a kobold prisoner and learned some valuable information…leading them to search out Essma, a dryad. She, however, was missing but a forest gnome (Tyco) was rescued from hungry wolves and even more info was learned, including the possible location of the missing people and missing dryad!

That is where we more or less pickup after the break. This recap is from Rachel and my comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics]. There are spoilers for Bad Seeds from Dungeon Magazine #79 and possibly some for The Vault of Larin Karr.

[Because the recap is from Olivia’s (and Rachel’s) perspective, the early part of the session is not included. This is when Otto and Ash entered the campaign. Each had their own reasons for heading to the Quail Valley and had somehow ended up traveling together.

The pair arrived at the Hawk’s Shadow Inn one morning to find it the site of a recent battle. Dozens of dead kobolds were strewn across the ground outside of the significantly damaged palisade that surrounded the inn proper. A small number of kobolds were inside the courtyard along with some five or six human corpses. As the pair approached the front doors of the inn, they were accosted by a frantic voice demanding to know who they were. When Otto mentioned something about traveling on business with Lord Kyle (the Lord of Pembrose), Giles–yes, it was, of course, Giles–was relieved and opened the door for the pair. The merchant explained much of what had recently happened–including being “forced” to sell his healing potions at a fraction of their cost to Jak and Olivia.

Otto and Ash set off to see if they could find Jak and Olivia and assist in finding the missing innkeeper and patrons.

Now to Rachel’s recap…]

Jak and I (Olivia) had just left Essma’s tree, heading north toward the Nightshades’ Dragon Temple, when a voice called out, asking if we were the folks with Giles. We turned to see a human and an elf approaching, who introduced themselves as Otto and Ash, respectively. We filled them in on what had happened at the Hawk’s Shadow Inn and explained that we were off in search of a dryad named Essma, Gan the innkeeper, and the other folks who had been staying at the inn. Rurix was hiding behind a nearby tree and supplied a number of high-pitched interjections as we told them what had happened, often claiming to be speaking for Avandra, which Jak denied. Otto and Ash agreed to come with us to the Dragon Temple.

After traveling through some blighted, decayed looking forest, we found what appeared to be a very big turtle skull near the top of a hill. The mouth was closed but the eye sockets were big enough to walk through. There were vines hanging down in the eye sockets, which we feared might set off a trap when bumped. Otto poked at the vines with a stick and sure enough, a blade came down! It appeared clear after that so we went through the eye socket.

[Old school trap-finding at its best!]

The first room was a big domed chamber, with a passage off the far end that led to a rope bridge over a 30-foot chasm and stream below. We crossed the chamber and were about to start crossing the rope bridge when three viney ghoul-like creatures [ZOMBIES!!!] came up out of the mud on the other side of the rope bridge. We backed up into the domed chamber to fight them and were able to dispatch all of them. Three of the Nightshades showed up at staggered intervals, emerging out of the walls of the domed chamber. One bellowed at us for daring to enter the Enclave of the Twisted Root. The fourth one showed up after we had taken care of the other three. One caused vines to come out of the floor and restrain some of us, one sent a gale of leaves and large splinters at us, and another threw a rock at the ceiling, causing spores to rain down on us. We eventually took them all out but many of us were wounded and fatigued in the process. Ash had been incapacitated, so we spent an hour trying to rouse him and heal Jak and Otto.

[The spores caused a hacking and “fatiguing” cough but only one of the PCs succumbed to it.]

We finally crossed the rope bridge and I offered to take the lead heading into a smaller chamber with a viney plant in the middle of it. It had yellow flowers coming off it that very eerily moved and seemed to look at and track me as I entered the room. As I tried to go around the plant, one of the flowers shot spores at me and apparently hypnotized me, making me want to get closer to the plant. Fortunately Otto, Jak, and Ash came in and burned the plant and were able to snap me out of its spell.

[Fortunately?!? Wasn’t anyone curious as to what would happen if Olivia reached the plant? Let me just say yellow musk creeper and that it was probably a good thing that Olivia was kept from reaching the plant.]

We went through another passage that opened into a big cavern. There was a path through a “field” of mushrooms, that led to a ledge on the far side of the chamber with an altar on it. We made our way over there and found an unconscious Essma tied to the altar with vines whose thorns were sticking into her. We untied her and gently removed the thorns poking her.

[Essma remained unconscious after being freed and looked to be in bad shape.]

There were two chests near the altar, which we broke open. One of them was filled with teeth from various creatures and races (as far as we could tell) and the other had five wolfskin cloaks in it as well as an onyx dagger, a pouch of herbs that we could not identify, and two bowls made of insect carcasses.

There was a skiff at the edge of a pool of water at another end of this cavern. It that continued around a bend, so Jak stayed with Essma while the rest of us took the skiff in search of Gan and the other folks from the inn. We did not have to search too far—they were on a shore just around the bend. Luckily they were coming out of whatever spell they had been under when we got there. We told Gan and the others that we were getting them out of here and would take them back to the inn. It took a couple hours to get all of them to the cavern where Jak and Essma were as the skiff could only carry about 3-4 people at a time, but we all made it out of the Dragon Temple.

Jak and I took Essma and started heading toward her tree. As soon as we were out of the blighted part of the forest she started recovering and regained consciousness. We told her we were friends and were taking her to her tree. I told her that I had seen her in my dream and that Wes had been killed by Stix. Essma began crying and reached out to touch a tree as we passed, suddenly disappearing.

Meanwhile, Ash and Otto escorted Gan and the others back to the inn. Otto mobilized folks to set fire to the termites still on the palisade and then douse out the flames with water once the termites were destroyed. Jak and I got back a bit afterwards and advised Gan that he might want to thoroughly check and clean his kitchen, as we had seen the powder there that most likely put him and the others under some sort of spell. Gan was upset [and nervous] that we had been in his kitchen and we assured him we would not enter it again.

Jak and I asked Ash and Otto if they were traveling to Pembrose too, and suggested to Giles that due to his other men not surviving the defense of the inn, he might want to hire them to travel with us.

[Giles was quite willing to take on Otto but less enthusiastic about Ash. Ash is not the finest physical specimen…with the anemic hindrance and a Vigor of d4 (which has since been bumped to a d6). All agreed, however, that they’d head for Pembrose together after they had helped Gan get the inn back into shape.

That’s pretty much where we ended the session.

Converting the AD&D adventure, Bad Seeds, was quite simple. I substituted some “re-fluffed” wood wights (from the Hellfrost Bestiary) for the Nightshades, grabbed some appropriate monsters for the other creatures (e.g., zombies for the yellow musk zombies, and took a few notes in the margins of the photocopied adventure. It made for, in my opinion, a nice little story and adventure. Eventually, I’ll share with the players some of the “behind the scenes” stuff that goes on (e.g., why Olivia had the dream).

Beer Log: Here’s what we sampled this session using, as always, our hit, miss, crit, and fumble rating scale.

  • Funky Buddha Last Snow: RJ brought a growler of the stuff. Interestingly, the growler didn’t have as much of the vanilla, cocoa, and coconut flavors as prior bottles have had…it was mainly roasty with coffee notes. Still a solid beer but not quite as good as it has been before. A hit.
  • The Alchemist Heady Topper: Always a treat to have…floral, grapefruit, bitter…and quite tasty. A very solid hit. RJ showed up like an hour early so we broke this one out before the others showed up. Sorry guys…blame RJ! 😀
  • The Alchemist Focal Banger: While I’ve had Heady Topper a number of times, this is the first time I’ve had Focal Banger. I think I like it better than Heady. A great combination of floral and citrus in this one. A very solid hit.

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