Last Sunday was the latest session of the Storm Point game, and the start of a new adventure.
This adventure came about because of one of the players wanting to do a little more with his backstory – he plays a dwarf, whose family was chased from the nearby dwarven city of Silverfalls when that city fell to monstrous invaders. His grandfather (several generations removed) and others died holding off the attackers long enough for the population to escape down a tunnel to a mine near Storm Point before collapsing the tunnel behind them. So, his player wanted to go to Silverfalls, find his grandfather’s bones, and bring them back to Storm Point for a proper burial.
I like this kind of jazz, especially coming from the players, so I jumped all over it.
I asked him to send me a short write-up on what he knew about the fall of Silverfalls, and the death of his grandfather; basically, I got him to write that bit of history for the world, with the understanding that what he wrote would be what the character knew, but not necessarily the whole truth of the matter. He gave me about a page of stuff to work with, so that was plenty.
I wanted to give the party some time between adventures, so I had a few weeks go by in Storm Point, as they enjoyed their new-found celebrity from their expedition to the Floating Islands. I also wanted to make the point that they were local heroes, now, having saved the city from invaders, built a hospital (another player idea), and brought back strange tales and treasures from the midst of the perpetual storm over the centre of Lake Thunder. I think it’s interesting – and gratifying - how the characters have reformed in the eyes of the town, from troublesome, dangerous outsiders to stalwart, adventurous defenders, and I wanted to help bring that point home.
I also wanted to start laying the groundwork for going to a bigger centre than Storm Point – specifically, to the city of Beylis, which I have decided is sort of like a fairy-tale Baghdad, ruled by the genasi, and full of magic and mystery. This is where I want to base the Paragon tier of the campaign. So, I had the representative from Beylis invite the party to give a presentation at their academy, which greatly intrigued them.
A bit too much, in fact. I hadn’t dangled the Silverfalls plot hook, yet, so the first question was, “Can we go there?” And I, not thinking clearly, said, “No.” See, I had an intro scene for the Silverfalls plot hook all worked out, and I didn’t want to derail it. What I should have said was, “Yes,” and then moved the intro scene to take place on the trip to Beylis. Oh, well.
Anyway, I launched the Silverfalls quest by having a wounded dwarf show up at their hospital, the last survivor of an expedition who had found a hidden tunnel into the depths of Silverfalls, but had been chased off by the foul beasts in the depths. They saved his life, if not his leg, and the dwarf gave them a map to the tunnel in repayment.
Investigating the ruins of a dwarven city got their eyes lighting up with visions of Moria, and gleaming with greed. It was good.
They depleted the party coffers buying supplies and healing potions, then got on their hippogriffs, and flew off across the plain to Silverfalls. They had to camp overnight on the plains on the trip, so I hit them with an attack by creatures that I knew would start them worrying – trolls*.
Now, part of the reason I used trolls was that trolls are a big bogeyman to low-level characters, and I wanted to show them how far they had progressed. If they can beat a troll, they’re ready for the big time. But trolls can tricky to fight because of the regeneration; if everyone has access to fire, the fight is a lot less challenging. To make things a little more challenging, I added a bulette to the fight, and had the first attack being it surfacing under their campfire, scattering and extinguishing it. Then the trolls charged in.
It was a pretty good fight, with people trying different things. The cleric even spent a few turns trying to rekindle the campfire so as to be able to burn the trolls as they dropped, but it didn’t wind up doing much good. It took them a few rounds to get organized enough to focus on the bloodchanter, to weaken the two trolls, and then to wipe out the bulette, with his nasty, nasty bite.
They succeeded, of course.
Next session is going to see them arriving at Silverfalls, and finding the hidden tunnel. I’ve got a few surprises planned for that.
*2 trolls, 1 troll bloodchanter, 1 bulette, 2400 xp, a level 9 encounter for 6 characters. Back