We had a really enjoyable 9th game session, where we managed to get closer to the kind of games that I would like to run, and where I (mostly) followed the ‘say yes doctrine’ for game masters. I also really enjoy the characters the players have made. I think they are a fun and dynamic group – and it works with 7 players, although it is hard to discuss plans where everyone gets their voice heard.
A few of the things that I would like to keep doing was:
- When the characters get an idea, go with it.
- If a spell or action seems like it should have an effect not written in the rules on a character or environment, go with it.
- Keep the players guessing and hungry for information.
- Keep making NPCs and monsters that fit with the story, and ignore the monster manual and rules (to an extent).
Events of session 9
In the session the characters met the elf woman, whom they suspected of being a hag, and notice that humanoid forms were inside the water, close to where they met her. After some conversation, where she confirmed that she had rescued the man-at-arms, Renald, and that they were in love. They exchanged information and they were invited into her lair, inside the giant tree stump, so they could meet him. They were very worried about giving information away, but as she did not speak any language that everyone in the group spoke, unified communication was a bit of a challenge.
Inside the giant tree stump, they can tell it is a big lair, with many rooms carved inside the tree, with platforms and bridges linking them. Inside the hollow part of the stump was also a camp of almost a dozen lizardmen, who were her allies. After they’ve made camp, she came down with Renald, and they exchanged more information about the land around them. For example, that a great dragon lives in the southern part of the forest, that there are plains to the west with hobgoblins and somewhere north a forest made from crystal. They challenged Renald, as they saw it as his duty to return to the settlement, but some could see that he was conflicted, but refused.
When they went to rest, the group sort of decided to break their word to her, that they
would maintain peace with her, when they entered her home. They used the newly acquired Alchemy Jug, to produce 4 gallons of beer, and the half-orc, the half-elf druid, who could speak with them, and the dwarf bard, who added a wineskin of brandy to the mix, went and partied with the lizardmen, who, unused to alcohol, got roaring drunk, with a couple passing out, and all the while the dwarf bard is using his bagpipe to mask the noise with his…music. The group arcane trickster sneaked up on the lizardman guard, standing on a platform above the whole thing. His sneak attack fails, but the bard manages to conceal his cry for help with his music, and they manage to overcome the (neutral) lizardfolk.
Subsequently, the party crashes into the bedroom of the (almost), unsuspecting couple. The witch orders her man to protect her, while dispels the grease cast at her feet and turns invisible and flee further up the winding passageways of the tree. A battle ensues. It is a complicated affair, but they pursue her to a menagerie of strange beings, including two cockatrice, a bear with poison fangs and a snake tail and a giant vulture. The hag, who finally shows her true self, tries to flee on the vulture, but is finally brought down, and the bear is killed as well, before we end the session.
Thoughts on the Encounter
All in all, a fun encounter, that highlighted the hag’s ability to deceive and spell bind. I ignored the rules as written about Charm Person, as I think it went against the story I had in mind (and why would people always know they’ve been under the influence of a charm spell? It seems pretty pointless to me then, unless it is simply to get past a guard or something). I also gave her more HP and spells, and plenty of weird pets, as a single monster quickly run out of HP against 7 PCs. As always, they also often had to make all kinds of saving throws (mainly Con). I think rolling a save highlights either a characters strength or weakness, and players either enjoy rolling something their character is good at, or dread rolling saves, when it hits one of their weak sides. This emphasizes the choices they’ve made in character creation, which I think is important.
It was wise of the characters not to take the fight up front, as outside, or flying on her vulture, her Call Lightning spell would have been a big problem for the 3rd and 4th level characters. I thought however, that her interest in learning more from them, outweighed her own caution of inviting an armed group into her home.
Next time, we will see what they find in the hags lair, and how the discussion about breaking their word ends up. Furthermore, the group has to figure out what to do next, as no one is there imposing another mission on them.