Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Northern Reaches: Session 3

This session was played on Thursday, October 28, 2010.

Featuring the PCs:


and the men-at-arms Corgax, Colmar, Hillgax, Murgar, Balson, the torch-bearers Untag and Margrim, and two wardogs Cerberus and Fenrir.

I'm going to start this session report by stating how proud I am of my players. Over the first two sessions, and coversations in and out of game, the players have been adjusting to old school play from 3.5 and 4E. They've experimented with flaming oil and holy water but only with limited success. They've also learned some hard lessons regarding combat - avoid full frontal attacks and only pick the fights you know you can win. Part of this includes fighting on your ground rather than the ground of your enemies, preparing in advance, and having an escape route in case things don't go your way. Keep this in mind as I overview the session.

Having covered most ofthe eastern portion of the dungeon, they now attempted to move to the unexplored western and northern half of the monastery. They've learned that the Iron God destroyed his own clergy by turning them into iron statues for their avarice and for animating the dead they were charged to protect.

The party entered a room with a dry fountain and with two iron statues of priests.

There were strange writings engraved in iron and stone on the walls and Binford the Acolyte was told to read the writing. He fell into a trance and could not be revived by the party!

After considering a couple strange plans that included dragging Binford around the dungeon or outright leaving their only cleric all the options, they fortified their position and waited for Binford to revive. Over two hours later Binford awoke from his trance having received heroic visions from the Iron God wherein he was depicted slaying the deity's corrupt priesthood. Fortunately no random monsters were encountered.

The party began this session having had a number of hirelings (4 total over two sessions) reduced to zero hit points but they all managed to make their save or die roll and revived to 1 HP. Their luck did not continue during this session. The party ran afoul of 8 giant rats. The torch-bearer Margrim was reduced to zero hit points and the following round a big cheeky rat ended his life with a mighty nibble coup-de-gras! Margrim's ignominious end shall be soon forgotten remembered in song as the first casualty of the Northern Reaches campaign.

After the fight with the giant rats, the party continued north and heard two seperate groups of goblins. They didn't know exactly where the goblins were located, but they thought it best to retreat to a location with a known means of exit. They called this their "safe room". Here they concocted a plan to lure the goblins into a trap. They decided to pour oil across a 10x10 section of the hallway adjacent to their safe room. Knowing the racial emnity between dwarves and goblins, they sent Murgar out into the hallway to scream obscenities at the goblins. These included well-known favorites as "Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries!" or "Gold! come get your free gold!".

After a few moments several sling stones buzzed near Murgar's head and he hi-tailed it back into the safe room.

They waited for the sounds of the goblins slipping and falling on the greasy oil. Colmar and Vith ran out, threw torches on the prone goblins, and ran back into the room.

By this time the general raucous got the attention of a large group of goblins who were now moving en masse down the hallway towards their position. To their credit the players fought the urge to enter the hallway and take the fight to their enemies. Rather, they waited for the goblins to come to them where they could concentrate their attacks on one goblin at a time and where the goblin horde was bottle-necked at the door entrance. The goblins were confident in their numbers and repeatedly made their morale checks. The party killed 15 total (without a sleep spell) before the chief, shaman, and body-guards decided the PCs were too much and it was time to flee the dungeon. Sadly, Balson, the farmer-turned-man-at-arms did not survive the battle.

After the battle, the party severed the heads of the goblins for return back to Threshold. Castellan Belrain pays 5gp per head brought to the city gates.

They then moved north to the goblin's base room where they pilfered the grave goods the evil humanoids had taken from within the monastery. Everyone agreed it was time to return to Threshold for tea, cake, XP, rearmament, and to hire some new cannon-fodder hirelings including Werford and Pelwin. Unfortunately they left their mule unguarded so they had to huff their gear back themselves. They honestly didn't think they needed to guard the mule as they "hadn't had to do that in other editions of D&D." Makes total sense but did reinforce to me some of the charm of the game that's been lost over time.

Overall another fun session. It was awesome to see the guys implement some of the strategies and approaches to old school play I'd been suggesting over time. The PCs are about half-way to second level. Leveling is a huge deal in this version of D&D so it would be really cool for them to make it to second level with, effectively, their first PC.


  1. Sounds like a fun session! I love the Northern Reaches :)

  2. Nice session, man. Glad they figured out the oil and fighting in defensive formation. I've been playing a lot of 4e and it's definitely and charge in and nuke 'em mentality.

  3. Awesome recap, and I love your Hirst Arts dungeon!