…or, The Death and Resurrection of Lord General Varien.
See, I thought it was too easy. DMs are clearly not very smart… This is the first time we’ve come to game after missing a week since we started though, so maybe we were all rusty?
The PCs are exploring the empty colony of Varnhold (spoilers here, just so you know) and at the end of last session they’d just forded a stream and fallen in a pit trap… where they were stuck until last night’s session. After getting themselves out of the pit they were covered in mud and blood (the poor sorceress was down to 1 hit point before healing) and decided they’d go back to the stream to clean up — now we’d just done the recap about ten minutes before that and talked about the Chuul they’d seen lurking in the stream so they weren’t terribly surprised when it attacked. Even though the sorceress got paralyzed and chewed on a little, the cleric and the ranger took it down with little trouble after that… but the newly clean sorceress was now covered in paralytic Chuul secretions, so… another bath.
Then the party began to explore in earnest, except that I (again, dumb DM) made a mistake and mentioned that the ranger noticed that a thin stream of smoke, like from a single campfire, could now be seen coming from inside the fort on the hill…
So of course the party gave up on exploring and made a beeline for the fortress (I was off my game). When they arrive, they dispense with subtlety and simply head in the front gate and the Spriggan on watch calls the alarm and sets the “defend the fort” plan in motion. The party easily mops up the four in the courtyard but then has a heck of a time getting into the fortress proper — though the look on the ranger’s face when he got through the first door and realized that behind that was a tight hallway filled with loops for defensive shooting with another reinforced door at the end — well, priceless. They gamely battled on, calling out to one another and they gave good breach… they fought to the second floor and again Varien, Lord General of the realm of Kamelan, had the facepalm moment when he realized that the (forgive me, we couldn’t help it) “roof, the roof, the roof was on fire…” because the Spriggans were burning the place down.
Which again led to hilarity when they blamed the sorceress who had tossed a massive fireball on the roof earlier — and even more hilarity when they ran back out front, sorceress in the lead, and she took a massive crossbow bolt in the chest from the might Agai — leader of the Spriggans.
We are now referring to him as “the Mighty Agai” even though he is now deceased, because he then proceeded to batter in the skull of our poor hero Varien — who became our first Kingmaker PC death. They’ve had some close calls but Varien was dropped all the way to negative CON in one hit and just, expired.
The Sorceress (our Duchess) and the cleric (Varien’s cohort and girlfriend) went berserk and wiped out the remaining Spriggans — even pursuing the ones that began to flee when Agai fell and cutting them down… this party is not normally vengeful or overly violent (having worked toward nonviolent resolutions with the Kobolds and several other situations before — heck, the Sootscales even work for the Duchy now) but the death of Varien unhinged these two ladies and they were a little hardcore, to say the least.
Remember how I mentioned that I’d unintentionally created a situation where the PCs didn’t finish exploring the village? Yeah, that was my fault and I was biting my tongue in sad frustration as there is a freakin’ scroll of Raise Dead (and one of Restoration) in the settlement’s church. The cleric however, remembers that Varien worships Erastil — and the church here is a temple of Erastil — so they head back into the town to lay Varien to rest, search the church and discover the scrolls, leading to a last-minute miracle and Varien returning to life (and with a little TLC only carrying one negative level right now).
They then moved on to weather the next night in the Inn — and after a little more searching discovered the clues to point them to the Nomen Centaurs — and the stray cat hanging out in town, which the Duchess is now determined belongs to her… that’s right, a PC dies, righteous vengeance is rained down on the poor fleeing spriggans, a tower burns to the ground, a PC is raised when they thought he was really gone, and what is the most exciting part of the night?
Adopting a cat.
I love my players.
Til next time — thanks for reading.