Second session with the Fearless Rat Catchers — now re-named The Fearless Rat Chasers.
Ricardo the Thief is now Level 1, the others are Nosek, the new guy, Zenny the cleric and party leader, Tor and Mustafa the thieves, Alexandru and Arnold the fighters, Lazaros and Ivan the Magic Users, and Kovaljev the brave, and highest level in the party as Cleric L3.
The GM reminded everyone of the rules and the suggestions for Old School Play:
- Have a plan
- Define leader, mapper, treasurer, and marching order
- Have the character sheets and notes ready
- Pay upkeep and manage resources.
Deserters don’t last
We returned to the Haunted Keep, but Kovaljev hesitated at the entrance. He did not want to crawl head first into grave danger again. The others started spreading out to inspect the general area in front of the keep, when suddenly noob Nosek deserted and ran away. He disappeared into the wood. (player exited)
Suddenly we heard blood-curdling screams of fear and pain, then nothing. Apparently he had met something unpleasant, and very close.
We quickly went into the keep after all, and into the courtyard. Fresh snow covered it, and we saw more foot prints and clawed foot prints, like last time, and like where the children had disappeared.
We moved forward, with three light sources, and went into the main hall again. Dead: still there. Dead Rat-men: also still there, partially rotten and eaten.
We moved in at glacial exploration speed and took a good while to go down to the wooden throne again, because we were mapping, so … because we, the players already knew the area, it felt sloooooooow.
West and east door, lots of pillars, all like we knew it. Finally we got to the chair and the thieves inspected it. There was also script on the throne, letters edged there in blood, but the magic users refused to inspect that. Instead, Ivan lit a lantern and veered off east, finding a skeleton (unmoving; he snapped its neck to be sure it stayed so) and checking out the walls. Lazaros did the same on the other side and went to the west, so they inspected separately.
Ricardo checked the floor, then tried to move the throne, but it was fixed to the floor with spikes. Tor and Mustafa helped unseat the spikes and so Ricardo was able to drag the chair off its position. Where it was, there remained a big pile of ashes directly under the throne … and three metal black chains with snake heads. Poked at with a spear, the metal snakes shifted in form and colour and turned into real ones. They coiled up defensively, ready to strike.
Again, like last time, people called for Ricardo to throw his torch at the enemies, hoping to set the snakes aflame. I refused, because I did not expect snakes to burn without any fuel, and I wanted to keep more light up, not douse it in a pile of ashes. The Fighters pushed hard for attacking and readied spears and missile weapons, even the huge handgonne, so Ricardo retreated a bit, for fear of bullets and arrows ricocheting all over the place.
The Fighters attacked the snakes, and killed them fast, but one of these magical vipers managed to slither forth and attack, among all people, Kovaljev the cleric, who was closest.
Once more, Kovaljev stood in melee, which he hated to do. But both of the snake attacks were misses! Kovaljev’s armor … or his destiny! … still holds up, even though the player still adamantly rejects any ideas of Kovaljev being more than just some random adventurer.
But it was always this way: The overconfident have no charm. The humble are where the best of the chosen come from.
Time will tell!
Meanwhile, Ivan found the remains of a small girl, but not from the village. There were just bones wrapped in a tattered, very old and faded fine dress, and a 130 gp onyx statue of a cat. A rich girl, probably a member of the old ruling family. With this onyx statue plus the old dress he ran in a wide circle around the center and over to Lazaros, who was busy checking walls, to talk it over.
The magic users inspected the southeastern end of the wall while the thieves removed the snakes, who had now turned back into metal chains … but broken. Under them, in the pile of ashes, was a huge pile of damaged low value coins, to the combined worth of 2gp. We decided to leave that heavy junk. But there was also a big, black, burned tome. It looked a lot like a magic book, so when Ivan ran westwards again, trying to get to the wall behind the throne to look for secrets there, we stopped him and asked him to take a look at it: “Can you determine if it is worth something? Is it magic?”
Ivan took it and stepped away from the group to inspect it alone. Boom!! Failed magic save. He was gripped by a curse, wobbled on his feet, broke down. The thieves quickly ran to knock the wicked book out of his hands, flipped it closed with a spear and stepped onto it. The vile whispering that streamed from it ceased, but Ivan stayed wobbly, and cursed: His healing would from now on take twice as long as for others.
Pah! No worries. We will make sure he does not get hurt, then that is of no consequence.
Again, it was noted that we had played for a long time, so our morale broke and we removed ourselves from the keep. Moving off, we noticed that the western door from the room was mysteriously open! And getting outside into the courtyard, we saw multiple clawed footprints streaming out of this room and over to the battlements. In other words, a whole group of claw people had walked right past us and our lanterns and torches and out into the open, without us being aware of it.
Creeped out, we ran through the main gate, and heard footsteps above us, behind the murder holes. Almost in panic we raced out through the gate and ran away, followed by unknown eyes behind the arrow slits of the battlements.
On the way north to the village we passed a lone polearm lying in the snow. Some blood was there too. But no sign of Nosek the Noob. The deserter was lost to creatures unknown, while Kovaljev was still with us. It will take more than magical vipers to bring Kovaljev down!
Nine survivors shared the profit, which is mainly the Onyx Cat. The magic users carefully inspected the black book, and found it contained some spells of Level 1 and 3. The book is obviously more useful to keep than to sell.
Everyone got a handful XP and a meager sum of gold.
But better than nothing, and so Ivan the Magic User gets hailed master of looting: the first actual piece of treasure has been found.
First Adventure: The Fearless Rat Catchers
Next Adventure: Arrow in the back
Photo by Austin Lowman on Unsplash