Our second session saw the addition of another player and an elf to the quest to retrieve Hamlen's spiked club. I would give the elf's name, but no one remembers it (see below). The party quickly brought the elf up to speed and immediately returned to the frogmen sub-level.
The frogmen had used one of their own corpses to grow a young shrieker to warn them of the party's coming. In turn, the party was happy to use the young shrieker to lure the frogmen into the open and peg them with spells and arrows. The frogmen failed their morale and the encounter turned into a running battle.
The party found the frogmen's lair, which included a fast moving underground river, along with a fair share of booty. The spiked club was retrieved from the giant frog's gut only to be lost in the currents of the river (I love making up fumble results on natural 1s). Greed got the better of Hamlen, and they busied themselves with retrieving the treasure and getting it from one side of the river to the other.
Feeling quite confident after their victory over the frogmen, the party decided to have another go at the rats. It proved to be as short and bloody as the last encounter. The elf was overwhelmed and killed. Beating a hasty retreat, the party encountered some orcs who held a dwarven prisoner by the name of Thog. After his rescue, Thog explained that he was captured by the orcs in order to find false walls and hidden traps within the catacombs. The orcs were led by a female magic user wearing a golden mask, though she and the majority of the orcs did not descend into the catacombs. Although they had figured out how to get into the catacombs, the orcs had no holy symbol to open the secret door and get out. Thog happily joined the group. Beaten, battered and tapped out of spells and healings, the party decided to head back to Headwaters to spend their treasure.
The brothers Hamlen and Guron made a contract with some local carpenters to build a barn on their father's land. Guron found that the weapon smith at the Ft. Headwaters had a flail available and Hamlen discovered that the local leatherworker, a man named Tithian, could work with giant insect chiten. A suit could provide the protection of platemail, but was semi-ablative. Any natural 20 would decrease its effectiveness by 1 AC. Tithian had already started one suit, so Hamlen commissioned the rest to be finished by our next session. Turgon was anxious to copy all of the spells out of their fallen elven companion into his own spell book. When he discovered that the only way to do so was through a Read Magic spell, which neither spell book contained, he busied himself with purchasing the necessary materials to scribe a scroll to send to his old master in the City. He sent this package along with a request for a Read Magic spell with a caravan headed towards the City. He was told to expect a reply in two to four weeks.
I keep track of time outside of our sessions by equating 1 game day for every 2 real days that go by. We only play every other week — there is a 3.5 game that is ongoing that the group plays on the off weeks. Had we played every week, time would pass as 1 game day = 1 real day. This allows for natural healing between sessions as well as purchases like Hamlen's armor or Turgon's communications to proceed at a more natural/realistic pace and yet not interfere with the adventures.
Prior to this session, I downloaded Ruins and Ronins by Mike D. over at Sword +1. It is compatible with the Swords & Wizardry rule set, but with an Oriental setting in mind. Mike gave his fighter class a Cleave-like ability that we decided to try out, given that the magic users were a bit more powerful using the Vancian magic system of Spellcraft & Swordplay where casters get a chance to keep the spells they cast. This resulted in an interesting twist.
The players of both spell casters and the fighter all thought their characters were too powerful. I was quite surprised, given that the base classes in LL are much weaker than their 3.5 counter parts. In the face of the first character death, the players were beginning to embrace the challenge of surviving with a weaker character class than they were used to. Giving their characters more powers cheapened the experience. As a result, we've gotten rid of the cleave-like ability for fighters and we've scaled back the S&S magic system. I converted it to a d20 roll and failure by 5 or more results in a backfire. Alternatively, the players may choose to cast and forget, thus eliminating the roll, but sacrificing the ability to hold on to the spell to cast again. I was looking forward to see which option they would choose in coming sessions.
17 hours ago