Sunday, January 22, 2017

DCCRPG - A Gathering of the Marked - Part One


A Gathering Approaches


Now that we finished The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk, our tour of +Jon Marr's delightful Sunken City Omnibus must continue forward.  The third adventure in the omnibus, A Gathering of the Marked, is a 0-level funnel that brings together a troupe of "marked" individuals, all being subconsciously driven towards a cursed manor in the Sunken City region.  

Rather than find a way to connect our previous characters, I opted to give my players the chance to create three new 0-level characters.  We agreed that whoever survived the adventure would be elevated to 2nd level, and be given the opportunity to take a place in The Free Company.  After reading A Gathering of the Marked I figured that we'd need more than one session to complete the adventure.  Most likely two or three.  So right now the plan is to let the players advance their survivors to 1st level at the end of our first session, and then 2nd once they complete the quest.  


For some reason, last night's game became a bit of a bloodbath... and not because of the adventure, but rather the party infighting.  Of the eight character deaths, four were directly as a result of the PC's going after each other.  What a shame.  This whole "second funnel' concept was to give the players another PC to use in future games.  A "character tree", akin to what the old Dark Sun campaign setting championed.  Unfortunately, some of the best and brightest PC's fell along the path towards the gloomy manor house in this first session. 


The Great SCOT Continues


The Free Company, our adventuring party happily enjoying the Great Sunken City Omnibus Tour, completed Perils of the Sunken City and last month moved onto the The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk.  If you're interesting in starting this story from the beginning, here are the previous tales:

This is an open door campaign, so we can always have new players join our group.  Here are our only rules from game to game:
  • Schedule five players for each event
  • Hold a sixth seat free for last minute additions
  • Players who complete an adventure have "dibs" on joining the next adventure
  • Players can bow out, and rejoin later with living or new characters so long as there is a open spot at the virtual table

As always, Die Rodney!

The Free Company Roster


In lieu of our typical characters, this week the players each rolled up a trio of 0-level commoners, peasants, and peons, each one bearing a strange mark on his head. 
 

  • +Alex Perucchini's 0-levels
    • Cousin Dan, Halfling Farmer
    • Gastronomix, Dwarven Prospector (advancing as a Dwarf)
    • Crazy Tommy, Radish Farmer
  • +Marc Plourde's 0-levels
    • Floyd Pink, Merchant (advancing as a Warrior)
    • John McIntyre, Trapper
    • Horace Goodspeed, Ostler
  • +andrew lyon's 0-levels
    • Nathe Mithsremmah, Caravan Guard
    • Mij Sllaw, Elven Chandler
    • Nej Sllaw, Herbalist (advancing as a Wizard)
  • +Craig McCullough's 0-levels
    • Garik, Mercenary (advancing as a Warrior)
    • Heribert, Jeweler
    • Maximillian, Butcher

A Gathering of the Marked, Part One


Twelve individuals use the Sending Stone on the outskirts of the Great City, to travel into the depths of the Sunken City.  Although none of the individuals know each other at first, they all bare the same circular mark on their forehead.  Several of the travelers hypothesize that it is the mysterious mark that generates their compulsion to travel to the darkest depths of the Sunken City, towards an unknown final destination.


Once they collect themselves, the party sets out towards an abandoned village.  Along the way, a spectral girl appears and points towards Garik.  She motions to be quiet, an then disappears in a puff of smoke.  She leaves behind a rough map of the region.  

Following the map, the party enters the old village.  All of the buildings are in complete disrepair, save for one.  On the porch of that last, intact house is a man holding a wooden pirate puppet.  A voice calls out to the party, but it seems to come from the puppet and not the man.  The man just continues to smile blankly, and rock the chair.  The puppet introduces himself as Commodore Teak, and he offers some wisdom concerning the town.  The party pays him no mind, and explores the town.

An old, graveyard themed tavern (complete with coffin tables), yields a few bottles of fine alcohol, yet the disembodied hand crawling around in the corner is a bit disconcerting.

After leaving the tavern, Horace Goodspeed decides that he wants Commodore Teak's hat.  The ostler marches right up to the puppet and grabs his nautical themed hat.

 "Wrong f***ing move, there sir!" the Commodore shouts as he chops off Horace's arm with one single swipe of a tiny cutlass.  The ostler falls to the ground and bleeds out.

The party moves on.

There is a large pit in the center of the village.  The Commodore calls out that the party needs to sacrifice one of their own into the pit to move forward.  Cousin Dan takes note that Nathe is standing too close to the pit, so he charges forward, pushing the poor caravan guard into the gaping maw.  Nathe screams out as he falls, but something catches him. 

A voice whispers, "grab my hand."

"What?" Nathe asks?

Again the voice whispers, "grab my hand."

Nathe reaches out, and grabs on to a wooden hand.

"Wrong f***ing move, there sir!" the Commodore calls, as his wooden head appears in the pit.  Nathe is then dragged deeper down.

As soon as this occurs, a series of shambling, grassy, horrors appear at the edges of the village, moving towards the party.  Everyone starts to run north.  Almost everyone makes it, as one of the horrors grabs Crazy Tommy, carrying him away.

After fleeing the shambling horrors, the party takes the path to the northeast and comes to a small lake.  Near the lake, a group of priests is kidnapping some fishermen.  The party intervenes, slaying the priests quickly, grabbing their gear, and then forcing the fishermen to give them a lift across the river.

The trip across the river is not without its challenges.  A terrible, tentacled monstrosity appears in the water!  The party tries fighting the beast off, but it succeeds in devouring both Maximillian and John McIntyre.

On the other side of the river, the party takes stock of their situation.  A small road leads to a dilapidated manor in the distance.  A fountain near to the path seems to be spewing some kind of "crablike" creatures, so the party decides to circumvent the threat, and try a rear entrance.  The path in the back of the manor is much steeper, and as the party begins to climb, they hear a pair of voices calling out from the bottom of an adjacent ravine.

The voices claim to belong to the bodies of two dead adventurers.  They each request assistance in being properly buried, and offer to give the party information pertaining to their trek, as well as directions to some hidden treasure. 


What happens next still does not make sense.

Mij helps to lower Cousin Dan (who the party already realizes is psychotic) to the bottom of the ravine with some tied off fabric.  Cousin Dan checks the bodies, realizes that he has nothing to bury them with, and asks for the rest of the party to pull up the corpses so that they can be buried somewhere else.  Mij refuses, and pulls up the fabric cord, leaving Cousin Dan at the bottom of the ravine.  Cousin Dan gets angry, and starts demanding assistance.  Everyone in the party watches as Mij continues to refuse.

Cousin Dan then takes a grappling hook and uses it like a claw to help climb to the top of the ravine.  He's cursing the entire time, threatening Mij.  Floyd Pink takes this as a threat to the entire party, so he stabs and kills Cousin Dan as soon as he reaches the top.  That's when the rock demon appears!

The battle with the rock demon is swift but terrible.  It kills Heribert outright, and Mij is killed by Mej, who fires into the melee.  The party does eventually defeat the rock demon, but in the end is left with only four of twelve adventurers. 

The team will need to convince the fishermen to tag along if their numbers are going to be reinforced!

Adventure Notes

  • Despite the loss of life in this adventure, I don't think A Gathering of the Marked is especially brutal by design.  Most of the killing occurred due to poor luck and/or choices along the way.  There were several opportunities for the PC's to make better choices, but they chose otherwise. 
  • I should also note that I didn't add much to this session.  Besides a few minor twists, I ran everything "stock," just as the Purple Sorcerer designed.
  • At the end of the session, I let the players level-up their survivors.  We got two Warriors, a Dwarf, and a Wizard.  They should compliment The Free Company nicely, if they all survive!
  • To add a bit more meat to the party, I also let the players roll up one additional 0-level character each, to represent the four fishermen saved towards the end of the session.
     

Quotes?


"I'm not gonna eat it, I'm gonna taste it.  Just gonna give it a little lick." - Horace didn't know that no one ever survived a funnel by licking stuff. 

Andy - "Lead the way sir."

Alex - "No, candlemakers first."
Andy - "I've never heard of that custom!"

"We just nominated you, old coot!  It's time to go in the pit, let's go!" - Cousin Dan to Ol' Gus.


"I was trying to get the testicles, but couldn't reach!" - Cousin Dan, after skewering a priest's thigh with a pitchfork. 


"I make it up there, you're dead!" - Cousin Dan to the rest of the party.  He didn't make it up there. 


In Memoriam 

  • Horace Goodspeed - Dis"armed" by Commodore Teak
  • Nathe - Pushed into the pit by Cousin Dan
  • Crazy Tommy - Dragged into the woods by Shambling Horrors
  • John McIntyre - Grabbed by the Tentacle beast in the water
  • Maximillian - Grabbed by the Tentacle beast in the water
  • Cousin Dan - Killed by Floyd Pink, while trying to climb up a wall to kill Mij
  • Mij - Shot in the back by Mej, who was firing into melee
  • Heribert - Pummeled by the Rock Demon