|Sad Company earns its name in this session of A-d-n-wanna-be.|
AD&Wannabe is an attempt at incorporating everything I loved and adored about AD&D 2E into a 5E game. This is not an easy thing to do, as anyone who has played 5E can tell you, but I think the way I have done it works pretty well. In 5E the rate at which a character can recover from a rigorous adventure is just too rapid for my liking and as such I’ve messed around with the rest system and the way that hit die are used. I’ve also incorporated the massive damage and lingering injuries systems along with some tweaks to them.
These changes bring combat to a new level of deadly and coupling that with the players wanting a truly dangerous game, I’ve elevated all of my combat encounter well out of the range of the deadly tier for them. E.x. A Bulette is worth 1,800 xp and the parties deadly xp budget was a scant 1,600 at the time but I tossed it at them anyway. This resulted in a very near fatal encounter for a couple of the group but heightened the sense of danger for the rest of the adventure.
The campaign itself outside the rules changes lends itself to this type of game as it takes place in a world where monsters have been extinct for thousands of years. The story takes places in a corner of the world where monsters and natural disasters are beginning to plague it, bringing the players together in what is culminating in a current-apocalypse scenario where nobody knows what's going on but it’s pretty apparent that the world is ending.
-Craw, The GM
Tug(Hey that's me), the Dwarf Barbarian, Guin, the Human Gunslinger, Alarric, the Human Rogue, and Glar, the Half-Elf Cleric.
Well this episode takes a strange turn that no one could have possibly saw coming, except Alaric's dumb ass because no one else can read his beautiful-mind-esque decisions that are beyond any other being on the current plane of existence.
We rejoin our Sad boys where we last left them: Face down in a bar with Lucy Lawless. Tug is forcibly shaken awake and told to go see the mayor, Bale, as he has some important information to discuss. So he does the kind thing, leaving the entire bar faced down asleep, probably in their own waste, and scurries out.
After reaching the mayor's office, Bale immediately wanted to discuss a serious situation. Trying his best to get Tug to fess up to the Mithril that the party had obtained, but Tug didn't want to get his friends in trouble so he put on his bullshit hat and did his best to bluff his way out of it.
"Tug, I would like to discuss the current political shitstorm in Rosemountain"
"Yes sir, I didn't want to say anything because I didn't feel like it was my place but, Glar spoke with the High Cleric, Irene, recently and proposed the idea of building a church in Rosemountain and-"
"They did what!?"
Tug, carefully tumbling out of the way of the accusation by shifting blame onto someone else, and at the same time pretending that he thought this was what the mayor originally wanted to talk about. Now they've taken a different direction and hopefully gotten the heat off of his friends, and himself.
Bale was smart. He wasn't some passive idiot that sat around and knew nothing. He was the mayor for a reason, and was definitely onto Sad Company, whether Tug knew it or not.
After shifting and derailing the conversation, the mayor wanted to talk about something else, the real reason he sent for Tug. A string of disappearances in a fishing village near the lake north of Lilyport. Several people had gone missing as of late and it was starting to get fairly suspicious.
Tug being the diligent Dwarf he is accepted the mission, and immediately left to go find the rest of Sad Company. Before making it very far out of the room, Tug's Dwarf Ears managed to overhear the word "Mithril" being spoken by Andeen in the mayor's office. For convenience, the player behind Guin was not going to be here for the next two weeks so Guin is off doing his own experiments and whatnot.
So Tug returns to the Mithril Spoon, now humorous to the party as they actually have a whole bunch of Mithril. He finds the party still out cold. He goes and finds a jug of water, walks right up to Alaric and pours him a glass of it, then shakes him awake. Alaric awakes in panic, a clear sign of his internal turmoil and the suffering he has experienced, and then Tug moves on to Glar and does the same, waking them all up and then explaining the mission to the party. Disappearances, children, fishing village next to the lake. They all get ready, and head out.
The Mayor handed Tug a sack filled with 25 gold to cover travel expenses, and a map to the village, and they went and got a carriage to take them there. So off they went, Tug, Glar, and Alaric.
The journey there was simple enough, no strange beasties out on the road to give our sad boys any trouble. And so they managed to arrive in the fishing village later that night. Too late to make any real progress, the party camped out in a big stable of some kind and went to sleep. But before they went to sleep, once more the night got brighter, and brighter, and brighter. They could hear the sound of... fire? But from where? Looking outside they could see that this wasn't like what they had seen before. Not just a bright star in the sky, but rather a large roaring meteorite burning down from the sky. The nighttime was almost completely repelled and it looks very much day time. It wizzed past them, heading east and disappeared into the horizon.
By this point the party were more mildly annoyed than anything. They had seen these events a whole lot recently and it's starting to get very worrying. But they had sleeping to get in and they all went to bed.
Upon waking up, they met a ranger that operated from the village. He had been investigating the disappearances of the children and thought there wasn't much they could do. In fact, Tug was very suspicious that the ranger seemed so... pessimistic. He kept alluding to how it was so unavoidable, that there was nothing anyone could do. It was very strange for Tug.
They went off in search of the parents who recently lost their child, and found something strange with her testimony. She claimed that she was there with her child when all of the sudden she just felt so tired, so incredibly tired that she immediately had to sleep. Upon waking up, her child was gone.
Glar used his detect magic, but found that there was nothing magical about the rooms, but just happened to notice that his boots were glowing with magical essence. Illusion magic, to be specific. Upon telling the party this like goddamn 45 minutes later, seriously Glar you gotta keep us in the loop with this shit, Alaric immediately began to suspect that there was more to this ranger than meets the eye. Tug agreed, being suspicious of him already.
So Tug devised a plan. Thinking that this guy was responsible for the missing children, he had planned to take the remaining children and place them in one home, then tell the ranger that they were in the other home, and wait for him to make a move. Glar decided to stay with the children to make sure they were safe. Alaric uses his proficiency with the disguise kit to dress Tug up like a child, which is a little difficult as Tug is ripped as shit and also taller than a child, even with his dwarven little legs.
The plan set up completes, the gang all waits, and waits, and...
Glar, waiting with the children, is hit with some sort of... magic. He suddenly feels tired, all over his body. But being a half elf, he cannot be put to sleep magically. So he acts quick. Glar may be timid and quiet most of the time, but he's actually quite clever when push comes to think. He fakes like he's fallen asleep, and lays down on the floor. Pretending and holding a Guiding Bolt at the ready, he waits. Suddenly, directly in front of him, he sees a whispy figure come into view. Apparently appearing out of the ether is a beautiful woman, incredibly striking in beauty even if all he can see is her backside, which is actually just enough for him, he launches his attack and with a flick of her wrist, the Guiding Bolt flies off into the wall of the house, causing a loud crashing sound. And after simply bending down, giving Glar a good show in the process, she touches one of the children with her finger, and zap, they both immediately disappear.
The rest of the party hears this and immediately takes off running. Tug literally kicks down the door in the house he was staying and sprints off as far as his tiny little dwarven legs will carry him. Which sadly isn't as much as the others. Alaric, the ranger man, and Tug all arrive at the house and find Glar, and the rest of the children. He explains what happens and the ranger begins acting suspiciously. Alaric decides now is the time and demands to know what he isn't telling the rest of them, as he has acted quite suspiciously during this time.
He panics and goes invisible. Choosing now to strike, Glar stabs him but doesn't do much damage. Glar then hits him with a Guiding Bolt, revealing his visage enough for Tug to come in with the flat of his Greataxe and smacks him right in the head with it, bringing him down, hard. After tying him up and quite easily preventing him from escaping, Alaric immediately goes outside and pretty much raises a Lynch Mob(sans George Lynch) and riles them up for blood.
The rest of the party demand answers from him, though the party did gag him so there isn't really much the now constricted ranger can say. Which was really a major lapse of judgement form the party but what can you do. He struggles and struggles and the Sad Boys put the fear of Pelor into him.
After some inspiring speeches from Glar and Tug, they manage to acquire the services of two big hot bear looking boys to guard the prisoner, they finally managed to get some information out of him, this time after un-gagging him. He spoke of a game trail, and an hour away from the trail is a little cabin of some sort, and within he found a woman, a scary woman. He had agreed to some sort of deal, allowing this creature into the village to take children away for some nefarious reason or another.
The party had decided that they were leaving tonight. No more children would be harmed anymore. Tug had already let one die, as his plan had failed. He suspected the wrong person, though how could he have known? They had acquired 3 volunteers to join them in their travel. It unfortunately turned out to be just a little too far for the party to travel without becoming exhausted, so they set up camp for the night. They knew they were walking into a lion's den of some kind and wanted to be at 100%. The buck stops here.
But Alaric had other plans. As he took first watch, the rest of the party went to sleep, including the 2 guards for the ranger that Tug had paid, and the other 3 people. While they slept, he jammed a stick into the ground, tied a pot around it, went 350 feet away, and shot it with an arrow. The sound of this woke the party up, and as they looked at the broken arrow sticking through the pot, they figured it was probably just Alaric's target practice and that he was clearly still out there keeping watch.
That's what the characters thought. The players were sitting there listening to Alaric's plans but had literally no way of knowing what the fuck this was even supposed to be. I mean, even I, the genius that I normally am, was just utterly confused. What does that even mean? Putting a stick into the ground, tying a pot around it and shooting it with an arrow? That's how you communicate "No guys, let's keep going and go kill this witch"!?!?
After the last session in which the party had managed to get over their dictation of what the party will or will not do, and decided to actually talk things out and plan and ask each other what they think, this was very odd behavior for Alaric. He made a very strange decision, didn't even mull it over with the party, and then took it upon himself to carry it out.
It was also a foolish decision. Being the good rogue he is, Alaric found the game trail and in no time found this cottage/cabin/whateverthefuck. But there was this... wonderful smell in the air. Like a stew or something, and it smelled great. Upon sneaking up to it, he crit failed his stealth check and slammed into a pot that was lying on the ground. Odd, but apparently Alaric's fate was, strangely, tied to pots. Clearly revealing himself, he decided to speak out to the witch, and was invited in as a result. Upon entering, he found no one inside though he did hear the witch speak to him.
Investigating the area he saw a traditional cottage, nothing too out of the ordinary, but as he walked deeper into it and rounded a corner, his eyes saw the unspeakably horrible sight. The desecrated corpses of children, hanging from hooks, with several parts just cut right out of them. Pushing deeper he found a room filled with children giblets. The witch, or whatever she is, has been capturing, killing, literally ripping them apart, and eating them. The pleasant smell in the air wasn't stew, it was Stew, one of the missing boys from the village.
Alaric, sent into a righteous fury, readied his bow and began to move out of the room. As he rounds the corner back to where he entered, the front door slowly closes. He fires an arrow at it, thinking whatever is there is invisible, but hits nothing. After revealing herself, initiative is rolled.
After several rounds of desperate attacks and repositioning and trying to make the best of a bad situation, Alaric begins tossing oil flasks with the intent on burning the hut down and taking the witch with him. Unfortunately for him it doesn't quite work out, and so be begins a desperate escape. Jumping through the window and rolling quite impressively, he makes a sprint for freedom. But for Alaric, there is no freedom. The hag shoots her magic missiles, hits, and unconsciousness washes over Alaric.
And that's where the session ended, the first time. After sitting around thinking about what had happened, the players(Me and David) wanted to keep going. This was no place to leave a session, there's just too much riding on this.
The party wakes up hours and hours and hours later, as there was no one to wake them up for their watches. Thank fuck no giant bear managed to eat them in their sleep, as they would have been easy prey.
They wake up, not seeing Alaric, and still being unsure on what the fuck the broken-arrow-through-the-pot-tied-to-a-stick-in-the-ground messaging system was supposed to convey. They don't feel right. A stark unease takes the party as they venture to the forest and make their way to the cottage. Tug ritual casts Speak with Animals as he can do that now and speaks to a small bird who confirms the location of the cottage and leads the party there.
Upon walking up to the cottage, the party can see directly next to the door, tied to a human sized crucifix lays the body of Alaric dir Yrrinstadt. Tug, not even really sure what he is looking at, can't even begin to comprehend the fact that his friend is dead. After the rest of the people that had followed the party decided to back off and wait here, Tug and Glar immediately rushed into the cottage, with Tug kicking the door down and storming in.
They were quick to battle but unfortunately got a little bit fucked up because this witch throws dark. But Glar, because he's a fucking genius, cast Silence in the room. And due to the size of the cottage, it covered the entire cottage. So he positions himself in the doorway, summons a Spiritual Weapon while he is out of range of the silence, then swings it into motion. Due to some just terrible rolls by Tug, and some unfortunate misses by Glar, the Spiritual Weapon ended up pretty much solo'ing the entire boss. Ironic in a sense, as the death of one party member came from him trying to solo the boss.
They killed the witch, and after Glar looted her body, Tug chopped her body up into little pieces, then even smaller pieces, and then into what can only be described as a thick red paste of some sort. Tug was a soldier for a good chunk of time, and his credo was to never leave a man behind. So to find that one of his party members, for all he knows, decided to leave him behind and take on this beast himself, is deeply troubling. He knows that unless he gets enchanted again by some smoke man in his dreams, he probably won't leave to go fight it himself. Not after everything they've seen.
They loot the place, find a nice bit of materials, then explain the situation to the people outside. They weren't doing great with the fact that their children were no longer missing, but rather dead. After explaining to them that the situation inside is very bad, they all agreed that they don't want this to be the last memory of their children.
The three people that followed the party to hopefully avenge their children then began unhooking Alaric from the crucifix, and then as their job was now done Tug carried Alaric all of the way back to the fishing village by the lake.
The party explained the situation to the people, indeed their children were dead, but so too was the one responsible for their deaths, and soon the ranger was complicit will also face judgement. They don't have anything positive to give the citizens of this community except the hope that it won't happen again.
They load Alaric onto the carriage, thankful that this guy just decided to wait for them the entire time like a nice person, and Glar casts Gentle Repose on Alaric to maintain his body. Thankfully the witch didn't gut him or rip his body apart or anything, so it's still possible in some way to revive him, if the gods are feeling merciful.
They go back to Lilyport, feeling rejected, dejected, upset, now slightly more alone.
Once they get back they find the mayor and explain the situation to him, that it has been resolved and that some weird shape-shifting monster was responsible, and the sack of shit they brought with them was also responsible. Andeen, the guard captain can just see the guilt on his face and immediately drags him off, leaving just the mayor, Tug, Glar, and Bartholomew(Tug's temporary replacement). The mayor immediately tells Bart to fuck off so he can have a private meeting with Tug and Glar.
What happens next catches everyone excitedly off guard. Bale explains to the party that there have been a lot of strange things happening recently. Inexplicably strange things. He cites all of the incidents like the bright lights in the sky, the "monsters" that have been appearing and causing trouble for the citizens in the area, the recent literal fireball that streaked through the sky and landed off of the coast of Ashport, to the west. And he pulls out a chest of gold and hands Tug a letter. Inside the chest is 5000 gold, and a deed to a small village two miles north of Lilyport.
Our assignments: Use the funds strictly for the building of our base of operations, where we will then be tasked with investigating paranormal reports in the area. The piece of paper is a deed to the land with Tug, Glar, Alaric, and Guin as co-owners. We can only use the gold for building and maintenance of the land and the payment of anyone who would like to help us with it, and not for personal use.
Also we get to name the land, which is going to be pretty nice. We never told the mayor that Alaric died, because hopefully we can get him revived. It honestly doesn't look too hopeful, but Tug never leaves a man behind.