So I really thought I was heading for a TPK tonight.

So I really thought I was heading for a TPK tonight.

So I really thought I was heading for a TPK tonight.

Our Heroes started out in dire straits: the fighter was playing Tyr with a bear-sized warg, the wizard was locked in another room, the druid was separated, and the rest of the party was about to be filled full of arrows by the goblins in the balcony.

Notable moments: 

* the barbarian climbing a dwarven statue to get to the balcony and attack the archers

* the bard using “goes to 11” to make the warg throw its rider

* the fighter disarming the wargrider (after being pierced by his lance), ripping the barbed spear out of his side, and impaling the goblin with it.

* Rats. So many rats.

* The wizard animating the warg’s corpse. “I choose that it doesn’t look dead.” “…it has no head.” “I put it back together.”

Battered and bleeding, they holed up to rest, failing to realize that one goblin had slipped away from the slaughter and gone to warn his masters…until the hobgoblins formed a shield wall outside the room they were in. Insults were thrown, bluffs were called, and the evil priest who has been behind much of the campaign so far arrives.

“You have been a thorn in my side for f—” he begins.

Wizard: “I took fireball last time I leveled up.”

Being a necromancer, the fireball was actually made of hellfire that burned the very soul of its victims, slaying all but the priest and the hobgoblin leader. The fighter made short work of the latter, but the priest took control of the ghastly green flames, turning them on the party, bringing the wizard within an inch of death and wounding the druid.

Barbarian: “I refuse to burn cowering in a room.” She charged through the flames, trusting to speed and rage to keep her alive long enough to reach her foe. And she did, cleaving him from skull to pelvis in a single blow.

It was epic.

Now they just have to figure out what to do about what’s beneath the dwarven mine…

The Wizard is Not Allowed to Feed Peasants to the Gryphons

The Wizard is Not Allowed to Feed Peasants to the Gryphons

The Wizard is Not Allowed to Feed Peasants to the Gryphons

We had an exciting milestone in my Dungeon World game on Friday: the players (OK, one of the players) actually made it to the dungeon. (For an example of the sort of things that have interfered with this goal in the past:

But I’m not going to talk about that. I’m going to talk about the wizard, who can consistently be relied on to roll <6 when trying to (ab)use his power for convenience. In this case, it was trying to get rid of the man who had come tracking the herd of goats that had been stolen from his elderly parents' farm the previous night.

(The PCs were behind the theft, of course. They needed the goats to feed the baby gryphons, you see.)

…maybe I should explain about the gryphons first.

So the wizard had to miss a session.  This was right after he cast Alarm again (see the link) without telling anyone. Of course the other players knew, and when his character was missing the next morning they were full of trepidation. I figured I would start him off with an Apocalypse-World style “love letter” when he returned.

So he wakes up covered in a corpse. Since he’s a budding necromancer this is not actually all that unusual, but this time he wasn’t involved in the making of it. He’s also got sticks poking into his back, and there are large eggs. One of them is rocking back and forth.

The corpse is the corpse of a cultist who had been carried off by a gryphon in the session he’d missed. He uses it to distract the hatching baby gryphons and…well, let’s just say his escape attempts gain him several XP and wind up with him running into town, wearing only a gryphon’s eggshell, and pursued by hornets.

The wizard (and possibly more importantly, the hornets) arrive just in time to help the rest of the PCs disrupt a bear-baiting that is a thinly veiled excuse for the fighter to take Animal Companion as a multiclass move.

Anyway, the Druid decides that a gryphon is just what they need to help them fight the goblins. Or maybe the cultists. I’m not sure which. I’m not sure the Druid knew either. But he said “I can talk to animals, so I can parlay with them, right?” “Sure,” I said, “but you need something they want as leverage.”

So they’re heading up to the mountain with a stolen horse.

(No, the goats come later.)

The horse belonged to the village headman, who they have taken an extreme dislike to after deciding that he was behind the death of the local witch.  They later discovered the actual culprits, but (in a stunning proof of the applicability of the theory of inertia to the field of social relations) still hate the headman.

The parlay…does not go well, and the Fighter winds up hitting the gryphon a little too hard with his giant meat tenderizer. And when its pointed out that the gryphon appeared to be a single parent, he decides that it is now the party’s responsibility to care for the baby gryphlets. So he and Nils…

…Nils. Nils is the other cultist, the one that didn’t get carried off by the gryphon. The druid has been brainwashing him (re-brainwashing him? Dude was in a cult…) and plans to teach him to be a druid.

So the Druid and Nils go get the gryphlets and they head back to the late witch’s cottage which they have been using as a base.

We are almost to the goats, I promise.

The thing about gryphlets is that they eat like birds. By that, I mean they consume a surprising percentage of their body weight in food each day. So the horse doesn’t last long, and they need another source of meat. Eating the fighter’s bear is briefly considered and then rejected. So the PCs decide to steal some goats.

The Druid has a plan, and the Bard decides to try out his boosted “Aid” ability, so they and the Fighter head off to find a nearby farm, where under the cover of darkness the bard sings some goatherding songs (Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo!) and the Druid turns into a goat to get them all to follow him. He rolls 7-9 so the elderly owners of the farm show up and…spot the Bard, who they believe is there to fix their wobbly stool.

(That is not quite as random as it seems. The Bard had earlier claimed to be—or was mistaken for—a furniture maker. I forget why. I think the PCs have forgotten too.)

Anyway the Bard manages to distract them from the departing goats and is then rescued by the Fighter, who claims that there is a problem at the furniture factory…shop…place. So now they’ve got a herd of goats, two baby gryphons, a bear, and an ex-cultist.

The Druid goes off to scout the mines where they believe the cult is at, and when the other PCs return from hunting goblins, they spot a strapping young peasant lad slowly coming up the path. The wizard turns invisible and sneaks up on him, seeing that he appears to be following the tracks of a herd of goats. One sudden appearance later and he confirms that the peasant is the son of the elderly couple and is looking for whoever stole his parent’s livelihood and left them to starve. He’s pretty determined.

“Aw man,” says the wizard. “OK. Charm Person.”


Now the obvious answer here is to have the spell entirely fail, or have it make the guy turn hostile. But that’s kind of dull and let’s be honest, he wouldn’t really be much of a threat. So instead, the spell works too well. The strapping young peasant lad is now completely and totally head over heels in love with the middle-aged, wild-haired cadaverous necromancer. And can’t bear to be parted from him. We’re talking Overly Attached Girlfriend Peasant here.

Thinking quickly, the wizard says, “I’ll show you where your goats are!” They’re almost to the hut when the rest of the party figures out what the wizard is up to and (after navigating the treacherous shoals of the moral crisis) decides that they really shouldn’t let him feed the poor ensorcelled dupe to the ravenous lionbirds. Instead, they force him to take the peasant and the two remaining goats back to the old couple (for a bizarre “meet the parents” scene).

It didn’t stick – the man opted to leave his family and follow the necromancer. (Barbarian, to the parents: “I am so sorry.”) So…we’ll see how that goes.

In the meantime, the Druid has found the missing silversmith and realized that the goblins and the cultists are working together. After a daring horse Druidback escape, they’re fleeing back towards the cottage, pursued by angry goblins.

“Why aren’t we playing this with Fiasco rules, again?”—me

I hear that there’s a revised version of the Barbarian floating around, and I’ve got a game starting in an hour.

I hear that there’s a revised version of the Barbarian floating around, and I’ve got a game starting in an hour.

I hear that there’s a revised version of the Barbarian floating around, and I’ve got a game starting in an hour. Take +1 forward to parlay if you can get me a copy in time!

So the wizard is not allowed to cast Alarm anymore.

So the wizard is not allowed to cast Alarm anymore.

So the wizard is not allowed to cast Alarm anymore.

(There’s an ever-growing list of who is not allowed to do what. For example, Gregor the Fighter is no longer allowed to trailblaze after last session’s hobgoblin ambush.)

Aelfwalch, who is an aspiring necromancer, has magic missiles that look like screaming skulls, so I was pretty interested in what his alarm spell was going to look like. As he paced the perimeter of the circle, ghostly hands and faces reached up out of the ground and then subsided, waiting. As he closed the circle, he rolled…

…a 6.

Well. He’s summoning spirits to call out a warning of danger, I think to myself, and I flip through the undead section. And oh look,, there it is—a spirit who calls out a warning of danger. I start to describe the translucent, cadaverous form rising up from the ground and I see the look of horror on the player’s face, and he’s way more into this than I would expect…

…oh, wait a minute. His master died under “mysterious circumstances” on the ship ride over, didn’t he? I add in some seaweed and ghostly water to the description and glance down at the banshee’s writeup. “A victim of betrayal (often by a loved one)”

Some things are just meant to be.