Last week was my first time running Ragged Hollow Nightmare since it was published. I thought I’d share how it went (and continues to go!).
Play time: ~6 hours
- Meyapue the Thief
- Garvin the Ranger
- Thorin the Fighter
- Lysander the Wizard
- Lothki the Artificer
To start things off, I decided not to trigger the big dungeon event at the beginning and instead let the players explore the area and get used to playing together first.
I told the group that they had all grown up together in Ragged Hollow. Last weekend they stumbled onto the trail of a thief, caught him, and earned a reward. So they spent the next week listening for rumors about lucrative adventures they might attempt the next weekend (today!). They heard the following rumors:
- There are giants / bandits in the southern hills.
- The goblins in the north woods eat children / sell magic fruit.
- The Windler House is full of traps and treasure.
They then noticed a smell from the well and rescued a diseased grung that was tainting the water supply. The artificer decided to treat the pustules using some sulfur and black powder, but he failed his Intelligence check and exploded the poor frog-man instead.
Feeling just a little guilty, they took the body to the temple for burial, but the clerics weren’t interested in the exploded frog-man. So they headed to the river!
To the Gloam Wood!
The ferry was in poor shape, and a few people fell into the freezing waters before they managed to get moving. The fighter did a great job pulling the little barge across the icy river, but the rope snapped! Fortunately they hooked a second rope to the far shore, melded the two ropes together, and made it to the north side.
Heading east into the Gloam Wood, the party encountered an Iridescent Ooze. They quickly dispatched it in globby fashion, but not without a few funny slip-ups. Then they reached the witch cottage, got very freaked out, and discovered the goblin Rask stuck in the thorn fence. They pulled him out, interrogated him, and demanded treasure. So he pointed them to…the treasure cave!
The treasure cave was, of course, the hag barrow. Upon arriving, the party was suitably frightened by the field of bones and bloody scrolls on the trees. They spoke to the emaciated goblin Flik chained outside the cave, and then went inside to kill the hag. Thanks to a few lucky rolls (and the fact that I was too conservative with my hag), the party prevailed in gruesome style and scored some magic loot (and regular gold!). They also decided to stop carrying around the dead grung, and laid the frog-man to rest in the barrow.
At the Goblin Market
Flik and Rask then led the party to the goblin market. There they bought enchanted apples, haggled with the bowl-maker and the sock-knitters, and then had a lengthy discussion with the satyr, who really wanted to see some violence. Just for funsies. He also dropped some juicy rumors about the Windlers.
Satisfied for the time being, the party returned to Ragged Hollow for a well-deserved rest. And rose to Level 3 in the morning!
Day Two: Ambush!
Refreshed and eager for mayhem, the party returned to the temple. They tried to investigate the history of the Windler House, but failed to learn anything useful from poor old Sister Ruth. After a brief debate, the team decided to head south and see about those giants and bandits.
On the road, they found some muddy papers and heard a moaning from the west, but couldn’t find the source. Then they reached a crude barricade built across the road, blocking commerce! Sensing an ambush, they hid and made various illusory sounds of horses and wagons to draw out the bandits. When this failed, they started to dismantle the barricade, and the bandits attacked!
In a matter of seconds, one bandit was at death’s door and begging to surrender. Then a second one lost his hand and gave up. A third one was terrified by an illusory hag and went running for his life. And the last two bandits were quickly felled as well. One of them blew on a strange flute just before he died.
The party decided to kill the surrendering bandit, and the crippled bandit. And then they heard a familiar moan from the west. The ogre had arrived! Summoned by the bandit’s whistle. I was extremely excited to beat down these cocky adventurers with my angry giant, but I was not prepared for how much ranged damage they were ready to deal out, nor was I ready for the freakin’ mechanical ram that the artificer had with him. Outnumbered 5.5 to 1, my ogre did not last long. And then, just to prove who was victorious, they shot the fleeing bandit from a hundred yards away.
So ended the session!
I was very pleased with the exploration and social encounters. Playing the devious Rask, the pathetic Flik, and the bizarre Master Neven were awesome fun. I just wish I had been more aggressive in the combats. Five level 2 players who know how to use their abilities are actually quite capable! I will definitely use more monster actions and lair-type actions to keep things dynamic next time. But the most important thing is that the players all said they had a great time. There were lots of, “I wonder what would have happened if…” conversations afterward.
More Ragged Hollow Nightmare as it happens!