Continuing from the previous session, the party hopped a barge to be taken up river to Laketown in search of Anneles’s apprentice, Herah. The going was a bit slow as the bargemen poled against the current, which was fairly strong. They took frequent breaks where they pulled the barge over to the shore and rested a bit.
On one of these breaks they saw a group of farmers walking down the path that followed the river. Suddenly arrows began to come out of the nearby stand of trees and fall among the farmers. The farmers panicked and ran for the safety of the bargemen and the party. Lucky immediately sped off for the trees to engage the bandits there. Fen was more cautious but followed, covering the halfling with his bow. Gunnar stayed with the barge and Quinton bravely stayed right behind Gunnar.
The farmers reached Gunnar and Quinton and fell in beside them. Quinton cast Enlarge Person on Gunnar who then lumbered off in support of Lucky and Fen. Lucky reached the trees and engaged the first bandit she found. She took an arrow wound but gutted the poor bastard in one shot. The second bandit in the trees found that quite intimidating but not enough to run away. Fen loosed arrows but missed. Once Quinton was on his own, the lead farmer turned to the men with him and said, “Capture the gnome. Kill the rest.”
The two farmers standing next to Quinton immediately attempted to thump him on the head with a club. Quinton ducked one shot, got clipped by the second and then ran screaming in the direction of Lucky. Gunnar turned back to help the gnome but the lead farmer engaged him instead. Fen stopped firing into the trees and instead fired on the two men chasing Quinton. He missed again. Lucky killed her second bandit as Quinton reached her. Gunnar traded blows with his opponent and then killed him with his third strike. Lucky then proceeded to dispatch the remaining two bandits that were after Quinton while taking another wound along the way.
Checking the bodies, the party found each wearing leather armor. Except for the leader who wore scale mail under his tunic. There were a few silver coins to divide among themselves. The most interesting thing was a vial of liquid on the leader that had a terrible smell, like that of rotting fish. The dead leader reeked of the stuff. Quinton examined it and declared it to be some sort of potion that reduced the imbiber’s resistance to mind affecting magics.
The rest of the trip to Laketown was uneventful; although, they did spot what they thought was a dragon flying around the mountain peaks to the north. Laketown was a small village with a wooden palisade. It became very obvious that it mostly existed to trade fish and farm goods downstream with the larger Haven. Asking around they discovered that it had been a month or more since Herah had been in the village and that one of the barges that generally made the trip had been found empty and abandoned on the riverbank about a week ago. The part deduced that Herah had hitched a ride on the barge and then something had happened along the way.
They decided to hire a boat to take them back down the river to the place where the barge had been found. Before they could leave, Master Carmen, the Baron’s appointed administrator of the village, offered them gainful employment. Apparently the farms on the north side of the lake were slowly being flooded. The only information he had up to that point was a traveling wizard that said the flooding was due to “malfunctioning magic”. With that less-than-helpful information, Carmen wanted the party to investigate the problem and solve it if they could. The party, however, felt that it could not in good conscience abandon the search for Herah quite yet. She might be in trouble.
The next morning they sailed down to the place where the barge had been abandoned. Scouting about they found signs that someone had left the area and headed into the mountains, so they followed. Along the way they happened upon an ogre that had killed some sort of large land crab and was trying to crack it open to eat it. They attempted to converse with the creature but a battle ensued. Due to very fortunate rolling, the party thumped the ogre hard while only Lucky took significant damage. In the ogre’s bag they found some coins and a small Mana Crystal, which Quintin quickly claimed.
At the conclusion of the battle, Gunnar noticed a cloaked female watching the group from the top of a steep embankment. When she was noticed the figure moved away from the edge of the cliff and disappeared. The party followed her but failed to catch her before nightfall. As darkness fell, they took refuge in a shallow cave overlooking a small valley in the mountains with a small lake and forest.
During the night, Gunnar had a run in with some wolves that turned out to be traveling with a druidess. She wasn’t happy with Gunnar’s attempt to chop her friend into pieces but simply left the area instead of engaging the party over the incident.
And that’s where we left things.
Observations on the System
I felt like things went fairly smoothly this session. Combat was quick but engaging. The characters were very competent with a number of good options during a fight. They were not invulnerable though. That seemed to be hitting the sweet spot I was looking for. I wanted characters that were tough but who could be hurt.
The ogre went down quite quickly but I attributed that more to very poor initiative for the ogre and ridiculously good attack rolls by the party. Gunnar rolled 2 natural 20’s in two rounds. It’s hard to stand up to that kind of luck for long. We’ll see how fights like that go over the course of several sessions before tweeking anything too much.
One thing I’m considering adding as an optional rule is giving different weapons some small advantage/traits in specific situations in order to differentiate them a bit. For example, I might make large bladed weapons do 1 die size more damage against large creatures. Polearms might get the ability to attack over an ally and hit an opponent from the second rank (basically a reach weapon). That kind of thing. That way certain weapons would be better in specific situations.
**Note: Session #1 was actually chronicled in this post.