This is a session that actually happened prior to my resent bouts of health issues, so you will excuse me if this is brief and lacking in a lot of detail. I had originally delayed writing about it because it was one of those highly emotional sessions that I had not yet come to terms with.
After playing a key role in the Battle of Redwraith, the players decided that ridding the area of the rogue slaad and his unit of giant frog cavalry was the highest priority of all the various things they could do next. They tracked the unit back to the Black Tower and the now wide open portal. It was at this point that they got greedy and paid for it.
Rather than focus on the task at hand, the party wanted to use spells like Detect Magic and Locate Object in order to find any thing of interest from the sea of dead bodies that now littered the landscape. The only problem was that the spell casters came prepared for battle, not detection. It was therefore decided to camp in order to get a different set of spells ready to scour the bodies for treasure.
During the night, a basilisk found its way through the portal. Two party members, including Ahkmed, failed their saving throws and were turned to stone. The creature was eventually felled, but everyone at the table realized that of the core group of characters that had been played at the table for the last several years, only Dn. Swibish remained.
It was decided that Hornet — Ahkmed’s Living Sword — would leave the group in search of a mage of great enough power to cast Stone to Flesh or otherwise find a cure for the petrified state of the two characters. In the mean time, the party buried the two six feet under, using the logic that this was the best way to preserve the two in the long term until such time that they could be cured.
This meant that two players had no characters to play, the party was in pursuit of a monster and was in the middle of nowhere with no easy access to NPCs or other simple ways to get new PCs integrated into the group. It was at this point that my players came up with their own creative solution to the problem. One rolled up an elf, the other rolled up a cleric — but they requested that the latter be an elf trained by the now retired Dn. Goram.
As you might recall, I struggled with the idea of allowing elves to be clerics when the party started various building projects in the Elflands. I was rather ambivalent about the idea — but my players so enthusiastically embraced the concept that I just couldn’t say no.
As a result, the two new characters are elves sent by Dn. Goram to find the party in order to bring them back to the Elflands on urgent business. They came by giant eagle (something Dn. Goram has access to) and we had a fun complication as well as new characters added to the party.
The session ended with several harrowing combats as the party pursued the rogue slaad into the depths underneath the Black Tower. The party found themselves slightly out of their depth, but with coordination and creative play, they managed to wriggle out of a pair of possible TPKs.
The session, therefore, began with a serious loss and ended with a very real high brought on by surviving a pair of battles that the party probably had no business getting into in the first place. I hated to loose Ahkmed, but his death only made the survival of the party at the end of the session that much sweeter. It is one of the things that I love about old-school play. The death of a character — even a high level one — can actually make a session better.
Now, only if our busy summer schedules can allow us to get together again to play, I can get back in the swing of things.
3 days ago