Havenshine AP report!
Priscilla the Irascible Barbarian, played by Liz
Shrike, Elven Ranger, played by Ravian
Ludwigron, Human Wizard, played by Barak
Felix, Human Thief, played by Louise, and
Baldric, Elven Bard, by Lilly.
Our story began in the entrance hall of a crumbling castle, where our heroes had crossed paths with six beastmen. One charged at Priscilla, who deftly cleft it in twain as the rest of the party wondered why the hell they had got themselves into this situation. The consensus was that they were after the head of the Albino beast of Nekesti, though Ludwigron mumbled continuously about some book he hoped to find, and Baldric secretly sought a cutting from the White Tree.
That’s when everything started to go wrong. Our group, bar one, had never played an RPG before, and the one thing I forgot to suggest was optimising stats. Their numbers followed their vision of their character, so when the dice rolled low (which was often) things went rapidly south. I don’t regret this at all. It was refreshing after min-maxed marathons.
Shrike had trouble with his first arrow and quickly found himself pinned to the wall by a beastman cur. Ludwigron used the dust and commotion as cover to investigate the portrait which he suspected to obscure a secret passage. He lifted it off the wall only to find more wall.
Priscilla cleft a second cur to bits as Felix tried to dive through the vine-choked window to the garden beyond. The vines had other ideas, and he found himself tangled halfway, a cur grabbing his ankle from behind.
Baldric loosed an arrow, wounding one cur, then drew his rapier to save Shrike. The sword missed both the beastman and the Ranger but jammed in the masonry. Ludwigron tried to cast Charm Person on that beastman, but failed, then panicked and broke the portrait over the beastman’s head. Shrike took the opportunity to duck and slide out from between the beastman’s hooves, only to find himself between that cur and two others charging toward the group. He drew his blade but little else before the cur struck the wizard and spun to face him.
Another arrow from Baldric was sent to save Felix by hitting the beastman’s arm, instead hitting Felix in the leg. Felix struggled against the vines to draw his rapier but the vines released a cloud of dizzying spores.
Priscilla swung her axe at the charging beastmen, killing one, but taking a horn in the forearm in return. The horn tore a ragged hole and blood sprayed out.
DM: “At least you earned a scar worth a good story”
Player: “I wouldn’t even bother talking about this wound”
Another beast fell, then Shrike called his eagle to distract the head wearing the portrait-frame while he lunged for the kill. The cur swatted the eagle away before succumbing to the blade in its stomach.
Ludwigron sent a magic missile resembling a grapefruit at the final beastman, killing him.
DM: “A rotten grapefruit?”
Player: “No, like, a really nice one”
It was then, as they extracted Felix from the vines, that they heard a sound from a hitherto unnoticed stair downward. Shrike sent his eagle to investigate, but only panicked cries returned. He lit a torch and led Ludwigron and Felix downstairs while Priscilla and Baldric remained behind to prevent unneccessary violence. If the Barbarian sees anyone else here, they’re likely to die.
DM: “So you’re hanging out with the fiddle-player?”
Player, sarcastic deadpan: “Oh, I am going to love that”
DM: “Which instruments do your people play?”
Player: “Xylophones of human skulls”
On a whim, I hadn’t supplied the reason they sought the beast’s head, nor asked them. Whenever a player asked why they wanted it, I had them roll to Spout Lore. EVERY ONE OF THESE ROLLS FAILED. By the end of the session, no-one knew why they had accepted this quest, or confessed to being the one who led the group there. I playfully suggested that the xylophone was missing a C#.
Meanwhile, Shrike found a white-furred, stitched-together abomination wrestling the eagle onto a necromantic workbench. Ludwigron cast Charm Person and asked the thing what it was doing here. The eagle escaped and a woman’s voice issued from the terrible mouth.
“Oh, just trying to put my life back together. After I upset that Death God, I really fell to pieces”
The voice dissolved into growls as she noticed the others on the stairs. Felix had pocketed a pod from the vine which he threw at the beast to buy them time. Then before it began its fully-bestial charge, Shrike called to Priscilla, who sprinted down the stairs and tackled the beast to the ground.
As Felix pocketed a treasure from the table, the others tied the beast up and Baldric blew halfling pipeleaf-smoke in its face to suppress the animal and further question the Necromancer he suspected to be within, based on the lore of the place. She longed to be restored.
Shrike: “Nothing else down here but skeletons and brown beast-bits”
Ludwigron: “Maybe we could transfer her soul into your eagle?”
Felix, whispering to Priscilla: “CHOP CHOP CHOP DONE”
In the end, they decided to drag the beast up to the courtyard, in case a soul-transferrence ritual brought the castle down around them. Priscilla smashed a step to disable the ward trapping them down there. The cracks in the masonry chased them upstairs, and they all broke into a run to get safely into the courtyard.
DM: “Barak rolled a three? Which wall do you NOT want to collapse?”
Barak: “The library”
DM: “The library wall collapses”
THE JAWS OF ALL PLAYERS HANG OPEN
Two walls collapsed, bashing Priscilla’s hands and burying the beast-thing completely, the rope trailing uselessly from the pile of stone. To Ludwigron’s horror, the library stair which had crumbled, his precious book most likely lost over the cliffside, into the sea below. He stood agape, clutching a torn portrait in a broken frame.
And that’s where we left it.