These two factors conspired against playing my campaign until now — not that my campaign was not part of the plan, but he has been our GM for the Pathfinder game my group plays in addition to Labyrinth Lord. We all decided to allow him enough time to get what he wanted out of the campaign. Fortunately, we also wanted to see him get a chance to retire Dn. Goram before we all said goodbye (for now).
Beedo over at Dreams in the Lich House has been meditating upon the issue of the 15-minute wilderness encounter. He was wondering whether or not it is problematic that higher level characters can go nuclear on a wilderness encounter and thus move wilderness encounters away from the traditional resource management game associated with dungeon delving.
As I said in the comments of that particular post, I understand wilderness adventures to have a different set of resources than dungeons that need to get managed, and therefore don’t see the 15 minute wilderness encounter day as a problem. This session is a classic example of this type of resource management and the kinds of problems that need to be solved.
We spent a goodly amount of time bringing everybody back up to speed as to what was going on in the campaign world (especially after being away for so long). I enumerated several rumors/possibilities for adventure that the party then chewed on for quite some time. Though not entirely relevant for this session (as you will see), I list them here because they may be important for later session reports:
- Dn. Swibish received a “friendly” letter from an assassin sent by Redwraith to kill him. They (mistakenly) believe that he has not only grossly neglected his duties, but has aided and abetted the necromancer Xerxes. The note informed Dn. Swibish that the assassin had been recalled to Redwraith because an army of the Black Tower (the sworn enemies of Redwraith) was beginning to mobilize. Dn. Swibish was given this information in hopes that he would prove his loyalty to Redwraith by doing his duty by fighting against this army of the Black Tower and thus make his impending assassination unnecessary.
- The former Winter King paid Ahkmed a visit. He informed the dwarf that there were members of the Winter Court that had fled rather than face their former ruler and make a choice to either die or give up being an elf to become a Melltithian. Should any be found, Ahkmed was asked to kill them.
- In addition, the former Winter King asked to speak with Hornet, Ahkmed’s sword. She was given the opportunity to become a Melltithian herself. With Ahkmed’s consent, she did. In turn, Ahkmed was asked to seek out other Bane Weapons in order to allow the elves within to make the same choice.
- Ahkmed had been building an underground house in Headwaters. Unfortunately, all construction has stopped because an inter-dimensional portal has been uncovered. It randomly opens and closes. When something walked through and attacked the workers, the house was sealed shut until further notice.
- The party found out that the elf that they rescued from the Toadmen is a member of the Winter Court.
- One of the items that the party found in the lair of the Toadmen was an egg. It hatched. Fortunately for the party, it was Grak who claimed the egg, because he had convinced Fidgewik that he no longer needed his ring that protected him from petrification. This likely saved Grak’s life because what emerged from the egg was a cockatrice.
- Coleman the fighter is the proud owner of a boat (this is how he chose to convert is gp into xp). The captain he hired is an experienced merchant and has offered to begin making trading missions on behalf of his employer.
- The bishop of Trisagia sent a missionary to the Elflands to supervise the construction of the church Dn. Goram commissioned to be built there. As a result, several members of the Summer Court have converted, including one that was about to go through the ceremony to become a member of the Winter Court (because the vegan diet of the Summer Court was no longer able to give her any nourishment). As a result, she chose to die a natural death — something not seen in the Elflands for over a millennia. When the Winter Court found out that this choice was due to the new Istinite Church in the Elflands, they became very upset. Already shaken by the loss of their king and many of their most senior members, tensions in the Elflands are very high.
It was this latter situation that interested the party the most, because they figured they could smooth things over in the short term by returning the rescued elf, thus restoring a member of the Winter Court thought to be lost. Indeed, this did ease things in the Elflands quite a bit.
The party then decided to go back to the abandoned monastery and search for the Well of Chaos when a wilderness encounter entirely changed the complexion of the session. My random tables determined that a green dragon had recently decided to lair in the area. The party saw it flying overhead and proceeded to try and get its attention.
Unfortunately for Gillek, they succeeded. He failed his saving throw and was immediately killed by the breath weapon. Before the dragon was able to unleash another cloud of chlorine gas, however, Grak threw his cockatrice at it. Amazingly, the dragon failed its saving throw.
This is where the resource management of a wilderness encounter became important. Suddenly, the party had several competing needs:
- Getting Gillek reincarnated (he specified reincarnation rather than raise dead because his whole career has been about taking dangerous chances — like getting the attention of a green dragon).
- Getting a group of dwarves to cut the now petrified dragon into pieces so that they could be reassembled as a statue in the town center of Headwaters.
- Finding the lair (and therefore the treasure) of the dragon.
All of these required a different set of resources — the most important of which was time.
The rest of the session was spent planning on how they were going to spend their resources to get all of these things done (and then how to safely transport the treasure once it was found). For my part, this was really interesting and highly entertaining. There were a couple of other encounters that forced the party to defend their goals and their resources. The 15 minute nuclear blast that took out a dragon not only didn’t take anything away from the game, but added a whole bunch of interesting complications.
Gillek, by the way, was given a choice of rolling on the reincarnation table from LL or from the 1ed PH. Had he gone with LL he would have come back as a gnome. Instead, he is now a troll.
The session ended with Dn. Goram gaining enough xp to reach name level, at which point his player handed me the character sheet and declared that Dn. Goram is officially retired. As a result, for the first time in the campaign, there is now an NPC cleric with the ability to Raise Dead.