Saturday, December 21, 2013

S&W in the Southern Reaches: Session 2 - Ogre Head

Last night six of us played in Erik Tenkar's B-Team S&W campaign. Included in the group was first-timer Doug Cole, who I bugged to join the game because we never get to game together otherwise. For an extremely exact summary, you can check Doug "Rul" Cole's take on the trip.

Irban and Mirado adventured together, along with Banduros the Ranger (not Banduros the Druid) once before, as described in my summary of Session 1.

Mirado the Bloody, Human Fighter (lvl 1) (me)
Bandorus, Human Ranger (lvl 1) (Ray)
Irban - Half-Elf M-U/Thief (lvl 1/1) (Jason)
Rul Scararm, Human Fighter (lvl 1) (Douglas Cole)
Starlander Bek, Elf M-U (level 4?) (Joe D)
Ellis, Elf Assassin (level ?) (Paul)

We opened up the session right outside our next dungeon. Long story short, when the A-Team accidentally wiped out all the high-level good adventurers, there was some spillover effects like undead arising and fortresses exploding. So we were standing at the entrance to a former "Adventurers Guild" HQ, or at least the underground bits that still remained after it imploded and/or exploded.

We lit up a lantern, set our marching order (fighters in front, mages in rank two, druid and later assassin in the back) and went in. We found a room with some boxes and barrels, and a door at the end as well as a tunnel out. Skylander used his wand of undead detection to sense undead in front of us, and powerful undead to the west. Some of us searched the barrels and boxes, Irbin checked the door, and Rul and Mirado went to watch the tunnel.

We saw, and were promptly seen by, a ghast. It loped at us and attacked - bad initiative roll meant it was on us before we could do anything. Its stench overcame Mirado and at least one other of us but Rul shrugged it off and speared the ghast to death. A quick once-over revealed nothing on the ghast, but Mirado's bloody thoroughness lead to hacking off the head and hands and feet of the ghast. Off came his head, and a gold necklace we'd overlooked in his loose and rotting skin. Nice. Into the stash.

We followed the ghast's path back through some newly dug areas. We found a dwarf, dead and partly eaten, and naturally we looted him of his mail armor and put it back by the entrance with other stuff we'd recovered.

Past the ghast was a lot of nothing and the bottom of a sinkhole with some scattered coffins. We looted them, but took a pass on a stone coffin sealed with magical seals and protection wards. I saw no profit in risking the trip opening the "vampire coffin" unless we decided to just do that and then return home. So we went on and tried the rest of the dungeon.

We went back and breached the door out of the first room, after Skylander poured holy water under it to back off any zombies. We went through and found a passage forward (partly blocked) and right (less blocked). We went right and found the zombies in a room. Instead of forming up, like idiots we just opened up on them with missile weapons. I wasn't even clear on this so I was still holding my sword and couldn't attack. Then the zombies rushed us and we fought a wild melee. A couple guys went down, severely injured - Banduros and Ellis (I think). We managed to kill all five zombies, although Mirado continued totally sucking in combat and I don't think he hit once.

We finished them off and found there was a secret door to the side and a mirror in the room ahead. I was just about to volunteer to go look into it when Irbin did . . . and the mirror spawned five Irbin-zombies. Skylander wasn't putting up with that crap so he webbed them. We tossed 3 or 4 flasks of oil onto them and toasted them.

Surprisingly, Irbin felt a wince of some kind as they died, and then gained 1 STR and lost 1 CHA. Gah. That sucked for him, but it would have been sweet for Mirado (ST 17, CHA 10 to 18/9 would have been fine with me.) Oh well. We took the melty-mirror, now non-magical, and headed through the secret door.

We looted a room full of weapons - and I took the only longbow there was in the room before Rul could. I'd pay for this later. Heh. We did find a magic dagger with fish motifs on it and let Skylander hang onto it.

We also found a tunnel to a flooded sewer-like brackish water filled tunnel. This room cost much dignity, and treated us to failed rolls, a naked Skylander, and a partly broken ladder. We tried to hook a rope across the river and failed badly, hooking the grapnel on something under water. Several terrible heave-hos later (I rolled, badly as usual) we found it was totally stuck. Skylander shucked his robes and dove in the water with the knife handy, rope around his waist. He even tried to breathe water to see if the dagger would let him do it. Nope. And the grapnel was stuck hard into a log.

We ended up crossing the old fashioned way - across the ladder and under fire. Goblins with slings attacked us, and two jumped Skylander and grappled him. We hauled back on the rope around Skylander's waist and pulled him free from the goblins and (I think) into the water. One goblin died and we followed, slowly, after we'd all crossed.

Beyond the "river" was an empty cave with a missile-firing position (empty), then a cave with abandoned food (a roasting boar, and some fish). After Skylander found his magic knife really filleted fish well, we headed out the only other way.

We came out into a cave with a big crab statue, with some stairs going up by it. There was also a big ogre with a mace, and 13 goblins.

The big ogre started to talk some shit about tribute, territory, or some other crap. Mirado learned to negotiate from Conan - "Enough talk!" The Ogre was demanding tribute, and Mirado didn't drag his ass down into the dungeon and start killing his goblins to bring money but to get it. So I threw my axe at him. The rest of the party followed suit, probably with the same idea. I hit him (barely) and did minimal damage (3, my minimum). But still, it was the start of a short fight with the ogre. Starlander threw a Sleep spell on the goblins and put 11 of the 13 down, asleep in the water. Gurgle, gurgle. The others fled, I think, even as the ogre charged and we rushed back. It swung a mace at us and missed, took some shots from the rest of the party, and then Mirado - having chistened himself "Mirado Ogre-Foe" seconds before - rolled a crit and a lot of damage. The ogre went down. Since I wasn't sure if there were more goblins, I figured the best way to deal with them was to march in swinging their leader's head by its hair. I hacked it off, then readied my sword and the head. It would prove an auspicious and surprisingly effective combo. Mirado re-christened himself Mirado Ogre-Slayer.

We moved on after looting (and slitting the throats of the goblins) and then up, shoving aside some thatch over the stairs with our spears. Sunlight!

We decided to go back to the start overland to avoid the ladder/water area. We went to the one area we hadn't hit before, and found a room padlocked shut with a warning note telling everyone to stay out (This means you!)

So we picked the lock and busted into the room. Beyond was a hexagonal room with a big chest and four miniature toy soldier looking automatons. They banged their miniature spears on the ground and a portcullis fell behind us. So they locked themselves in with us. They lasted all of two rounds. Skylander damaged one with his magic missile wand, then Mirado struck with the ogre head and bastard sword (dual-wielding) and crushed the damaged one and then destroyed the one next to him. Rul did almost the same, trashing one and damaging the next. It stabbed one Rul for 1 damage and then we trashed it. The portcullis raised, so we didn't need to go lift it.

Heh. The ogre-head was just for scaring the goblins, but it became something entirely more fun once I decided it was worth keeping out for the coolness factor.

Beyond it was a chest, possibly trapped (I got distracted), then we opened it and found a pile of coins as well as 3 potions (healing, extra healing, flying), leather armor, a bow (claimed by Rul since I grabbed the previous one), and a cloak.

We took the lot plus all of the weapons in the armory and everything else we could sell and went back to town to sell it. This was Skylander's idea, and it was a good one. We healed up and came back to open that sarcophagus, after some research that said the coffin was probably that of a morally flexible warrior of some ill repute.

That we did - with Irban the Slayer and Ellis behind the sarcophagus, Rul and Skylander and Bandorus by the exit, and Mirado crowbar-ing the coffin open. It popped open and cold wafted out. So did a dessicated undead warrior with a longsword (which we knew was magical, thanks to earlier Detect Magic by Skylander). We attacked. It was tough but Irban got the jump on it despite a terrible initiative roll by me, it tried to retaliate but couldn't hit Irban. The rest of us piled on. Magic missiles, sword blow by Mirado (eventually), an arrow from Rul, dagger from Ellis, and spear from Banduros. It sucked up about 40 damage before it dropped, only getting in one swipe and rolling a 1. We took its only loot - a sword - and dumped holy water on his corpse.

In the end, we did really well with loot - 4243 gp worth once we sold off the gems, jewelry, wine, glass vessels, weaponry, etc. The magical loot was even better - +1 leather (Irban), +1 cloak of protection (Starlander), a copy of the spell Invisibility (Starlander and Irban will learn it), +2 long bow (Rul), +1 dagger w/better crits (Ellis), and Woundlicker, a +1 longsword that vampires 1 HP per strike, but sucks out 1 HP on a 1 (Mirado).


Prior to the start of the adventure, I traded Mirado's ring of protection +1 (from the slain dwarf) to Irban for his ring of protection +1, saves only, 10' radius. My theory is that I'll eventually get magic armor (ring doesn't stack), and that a 10' radius lets me cover the whole front rank and second rank of the party and make me more valuable. Irban was good with that so we traded.

I'm risking a lot with that sword. My rolls this session with Rol20 weren't any different than last time - a pile of really bad ones punctuated by awesome crits and high damage. So I expect to lose a fair amount of HP now that I have it, but it's still awesome.

I leveled up to 2nd level (and I'm not far from 3rd, actually). I rolled my HP and got a 1+1 for Con bonus = 2. Ugh. But Erik told me he always lets people re-roll ones. I re-rolled and got 8+1=9 HP. Maximum, nice. So I have 18 HP now. I would have re-rolled with Luck if I'd rolled below 5, because it's too important not to. I finally feel like I'm not one hit from a new character, which is nice.

We need to coordinate a bit more when moving into contact - we suffered badly against the five zombies and had to use up our healing potions because we didn't stay in formation, or coordinate our attacks (maybe we all shoot the same 1-2 zombies, not attacking at random.) I'll try to pay more attention to that in the future.

Now, what to do with this ogre head?

Rul raises a good point - carrying an ogre head and making into a flail is pretty badass. But so is making it into a helmet. Hmmm . . . I'm liking the whole bit channeling Shagot the Bastard carrying the head. But it's not the most useful thing. If I could find a way to make it a magic head, that would be cool. But maybe a helmet. I need to think about this. Swinging the head = awesome, Ogre Skull Helmet = also awesome.


  1. Kill another ogre. Then you can have an ogre-head flail AND an ogre-head helmet. Actually, you could probably make the handle of the flail from the Ogre's humerus which would be humorous.

    The one thing that does disappoint me a little is that I'm not sure forming up will do much good. Long weapons like the spears we both carry only break initiative ties. Still, tactically we could have done better, I agree.

    1. Combat is really abstract in D&D and its successors. Not much way around that. But yes, we need to pay attention to concentrations of force, and try to put as many foes down each round as we can even if it means "wasted" damage finishing someone off. Better organized we'd have dropped at least two zombies before they got to us instead of being in a chaotic melee.


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