Friday, September 20, 2013

Dyvers Session 005: A Case of Mistaken Identity

If you're new to the Dyvers Campaign you can start from the beginning by reading the article The Dyvers Campaign Begins. You can also catch up on all the related campaign notes, session write-ups, house rules, and campaign fluff by reading the Dyvers Campaign Page.

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After the battle with the werewolf the groups' nerves were on edge. It didn't help that Jar'Kell, paladin of Heironeous, had fled before the battle in the grips of a violent illness; that had left them a man down during a tough fight.
"This mother fucker's a god-damned werewolf! 
Get this fool!"
With the dawning of morning they began to disassemble their campsite, only to be joined by the missing Jar'Kell. Silaqui the Sorceress was in no mood to mince words with the paladin, and spotting him first she made him hold at the edge of the encampment. There she had him strip naked so that she could begin to inspect him for bites, claw marks, and a large silver piece that she had shoved into the back of the werewolf during last night's battle while Yonkal the Artificer readied herself to strike him down if he resisted.

Together the pair inspected him their best but were unconvinced with their results so they asked the cleric Nef of Boccob (who had joined them that morning) and Gwaine, cleric of the Red Knight, to inspect the paladin. The two clerics moved slowly about the preening Jar'Kell until Nef had positioned himself behind the paladin - it was then that he struck. Swinging his heavy flail Nef struck down Jar'Kell proclaiming, "This mother fucker's a god-damned werewolf! Get this fool!"

That attack let loose the tension and resentment that had been bound up in the group, and before Gwaine could correct Nef's proclamation the paladin was down. Silaqui crouched over the unconscious paladin with her dagger at his throat as Gwaine vehemently argued that Nef was wrong, Jar'Kell was not a werewolf, he had fucking rabies. Silaqui would not be convinced until Nef confirmed Gwaine's diagnoses, and even after the cleric of Boccob had done so she got one last strike in against the foolish paladin.

The first room and already down a man
While the remainder of the party continued to fight amongst themselves over what to do with the damned paladin Elias the Monk sat quietly near the cavern's entrance and so was the first to notice the sounds from the mountain's top. There he heard a great commotion and he drew the groups attention away from their internal struggles and toward the greater problem at hand. Their own problems forgotten for the moment the group quickly decided on a course of action: into the caverns they would go and hope to sneak up on whatever is happening above.

Entering into the cavern they once again approached the underground lake and the canoes that had been set against the shore. This time they did not hesitate to enter them and pushed off into the unknown. In the first boat Elias the Monk and Silaqui the Sorceress rode, in the second came Nef, Cleric of Boccob, and Yonkal the Artificer, and in the final boat rode Gwaine, Cleric of the Red Knight, and Jar'Kell - who still slumbered in the boat.

The group moved along the wall and its massive relief of snakes, hybrid snake men, and of men being fed to some vile snake god. The walls seemed to writhe as they passed it, and perhaps it was some vile magic at work for they were distracted and did not see the gigantic crocodile that swam under them. 

It was too bad that they did not see it; for when it struck it shattered the boat Yonkal the Artificer and Nef, Cleric of Boccob, rode. Nef was knocked unconscious as he was thrown from the boat and within short order he was consumed by the crocodile. Meanwhile, Yonkal would be battling for her life against four smaller brutes!

From left to right, Biggboy (arm only), Kid Icarus, Master Planner, and the Glorious L

It was then that Elias the Monk sprang into action; leaping out of the boat and running across the large rock he vaulted onto one of Yonkal's assailants and began a battle deep under the water against a foe far more at home in those murky depths.While far above him Gwaine, Cleric of the Red Knight, strode across the rocky outcropping aglow with divine providence as he sought to aid Yonkal.
Great, devil-men, werewolves, and giant crocks. It's like we're in a fucked up version of the Wizard of Oz!
Gwaine would unleash his divine might against the crocodiles surrounding Yonkal as she made good her escape, but was unable to harm her assailants. Yet even as Yonkal made to higher ground all held their breaths waiting to find out Elias fate. 

For tense moments they scanned the waters only to find Elias had not surfaced. Then, just as hope began to fade, he burst from the water dragging his foe from the lake. And with the gentle patience that only a monk could muster, Elias calmed his foe and released him back into the wilds. 

"Great," said Silaqui the Sorceress, "devil-men, werewolves, and giant crocks. It's like we're in a fucked up version of the Wizard of Oz!"

What I've Learned

This session was a blast and after several sessions of feeling like I'm just one step off of my game I finally feel like I've knocked one out of the park. It really felt good to do that.

Couple cool things I've added to my game. When New Boy sat down at the table I presented him with a choice of envelopes. One would hold a full understanding of what happened to his paladin, Jar'Kell, during the previous night and the other would provide him with nothing. He, unfortunately for him, chose the one that revealed nothing.

That sort of choice seemed to really work well for him as it prevented everyone else from meta-gaming his responses and added a new level of tension to the proceedings that can often go missing without some form of private correspondence. 

I also provided 3 envelopes for the only skill check of the night that I could foresee: was Jar'Kell the werewolf. In the first envelope for checks with a score of 15 or less I wrote the message, Dude is absolutely a fucking werewolf. Get him yo! For checks of 16-19 I wrote, Could be a werewolf, could just be fucking sick with something foul. And for results of 20 or more I wrote, Dude has rabies - mother fucking rabies!

Biggboy, one sexy bastard.
 
I would be lying if I told you that those messages, which could only be read by people who made the check, weren't a hit. They had players laughing and they were able to add to the tension as Biggboy failed his first check and immediately moved to kill New Boy (which I predicted he would).

Really a lot of fun.

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