Sunday, October 9, 2022

Felltower - Prisoners of the Masters

The PCs surrendered last session to avoid all dying at the hands of the ones they call the Gith.

That was six months or so ago in game terms.

What happened in the meantime? Here is what I sent to my players.

Prisoners of the Masters

After your surrender, you were all quickly shuffled aside and surrounded by the norkers and the norker-alikes, which you later find out are called “Thorkers.” You were separated, blindfolded, and brought to a 20 x 20 room with no doors, guarded constantly by a mix of norkers and thorkers. Aldwyn’s corpse was left in place, and you don’t know what happened to it.

After a short time, one of what you call the Gith came in. He (?) was one of the more ornately armored, sword-carrying kind. He paced back and forth, speaking in some language you didn’t understand, gesturing accusingly. He didn’t seem to be asking any questions, just talking and often pointing at himself and speaking in a self-satisfied sounding tone. He rapidly shifted back to accusing gestures directed at you, and then back again. After a short time, he left. A little while later, another came in and did more or less the same. Once, one came in and spoke in oddly soft and accented Common and told you that any attempt at escape or resistance would result in the death of your companions, but cooperation would mean freedom and life under the glorious Masters.

After that, several norkers came in and held you while others beat you, or the thorkers held you until eventually you were paralyzed and then you were stabbed with one of the swords and your blood collected in a bowl and given to one of the Gith. Sometimes one of the Gith personally tortured you, with delicate sword slices or stabs while you were held down by norkers. It didn’t seem to have any purpose at all, and it was hard to read the expressions of the Gith behind their helmets and face veils. Ulf and Gerry, you were kept continuously gagged, and warned that any use of magic would result in the death of a companion. Not that this mattered – Gerry, your room was a Low Mana Zone and you were constantly watched, and Ulf, yours a Low Sanctity Zone. That plus Sense of Duty and the threat to your friends kept you from attempting a serious escape.

The next few months were a parade of the same thing – parades of different Masters lecturing you in their language, beatings and blood-draining. You could often hear the sounds of similar tortures going on in nearby areas. You slept on a cold stone floor. You were fed a diet heavy in meat, which clearly the norkers ate as well – rat, stirge, some odd worm-looking things, and other weird subterranean things. The norkers took care of your wastes, bringing you food, and supplying you with water. You felt less like prisoners and more like . . . a resource to be exploited. Most of the time you were weak and tired and low on blood and heavy on bruises.

In the last few weeks, the beatings, torture, and blood drain ceased. You were checked for injuries, your food supply increased. Finally, one of the Masters came and told you in accented Common that you were to be freed, to complete a mission for the Masters, after which you were instructed to return if you survived for your reward. You were not asked if you accepted or not . . . the Masters don’t seem to understand non-cooperation. You find yourselves together on a balcony overlooking a lower cavern area, guarded by Gith and norkers and thorkers plus a handful of golden swordsmen. Your equipment sits out of reach behind them, in a big pile.
. . . And that is where we will begin the next session.


- Aldwyn is dead. There wasn't a way to avoid that as he was dead already.

- As promised, any PCs who weren't already dead were neither mained nor killed.

- This will lead to more adventure, because it always should.

- Players hate to lose equipment, so I didn't take it all from them. They're losing some stuff, but not all of it.

- It didn't take much to make this happen. The six-fingered guys they call the Gith and whom their servants call the Masters have their own needs and wants and Disadvantages, and that dictated a lot of what happened.

- It didn't take much to keep the wizards and cleric from using their magic . . . careful watch, Sense of Duty with a credible threat to their friends, and a -5 to their rolls means it was a stretch to try to escape and likely to end very badly very quickly for all of them. I just needed to justify it, too - surrendering was an acceptance that they wouldn't be all like "But I would have escaped!" or "My guy would have died first!" - we're past that, and agreed tacictly that this was going where it went.

Overall, I'm pleased that my players were willing to take the risk of surrender, instead of playing chicken with the dice and trying to win a fight that was clearly getting less and less winnable. This should lead to a lot of fun, especially when they find out what the mission is!

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