Can four strangers escape from prison? Will they free the witches, lepers, and spore-folk? Will they take over the fort and live like petty warlords???
This was a one-shot I made to relive those old fantasy video games that started with the player in jail. I divided the action into three parts: the Cell, the Jail, and the Fort.
- Gron, the gnome paladin who hates humans and loves trees
- Mezler, the goliath barbarian with a heart of gold
- Vicorin, the fallen aasimar death cleric who really likes sacrificing people to Set
- Burd, the dwarf monk who…does some questionable things
Play time: 4 hours
Our heroes awoke to life in the cell, patted their pockets for any assets, and met each other. They also met three NPC prisoners: angry Thomas, charming Angelo, and bandaged Emilia. Then they heard the Captain speaking in the hallway. In four hours, a slaver would come to buy all living prisoners, and the alchemist would come for the dead. Four hours to escape!
Mezler had a needle in his pocket and he tried to pass it down the line to Burd to use as a lockpick. But Thomas smacked it out of Gron’s hand. Then Gron tried to sweet-talk the local rats into helping, but they just wanted to eat the prisoners’ eyes. Vicorin spotted a giant centipede in the dark, so he killed it with a cantrip. Then the rats went for the centipede. Vicorin killed one of them too, and the other one fled.
Two of the guards, Bacon and Fleabag, came to investigate the sounds of magic, and then left.
Mezler then tried to yank his chains out of the wall. This noise brought another guard, Ogre, to investigate. The prisoners taunted Ogre into entering the cell to beat up Mezler, but the goliath managed to choke the guard into submission. They got his weapons and keys, and soon everyone was free!
Gron inspected Emilia’s bandages and chose to heal her disease, which turned out to be good old fashioned leprosy. She was so shocked by this, that she became his loyal follower.
Burd picked his own locks with a chicken bone, and then harassed Thomas quite a bit.
Our heroes slipped out of their cell to check out the room across the hall, and found a storage space. Gron opened a crate and loosed a swarm of moths that smothered their light source, plunging them into darkness.
Then Fleabag came to investigate the disappearance of Ogre. The team quickly tackled her, stripped her weapons, and shackled her in their cell next to Ogre.
Burd then went down the hall and found a woman with blotchy skin in a cloud of spores. Seeing nothing bad about this, he let her out and she started shambling toward the exit. Mezler checked out the supply closet while Gron looked into the last cell, where he found a skeleton shackled. A strange red light came from the skull.
About this time, the last two guards, Bacon and Glass, discovered the jailbreak in progress. They dropped an iron gate across the hallway and started shooting their crossbows at the prisoners. Mezler charged the bars and grabbed Bacon, using him as a human shield to fend off Glass. Then Gron discovered the Sanguine Firefly in the skeleton’s skull, and sent it after Bacon. When stung by the firefly, Bacon’s whole body began glowing red, just like the firefly.
Mezler quickly killed Bacon, which scared Glass into backing up. Thomas helped Mezler to lift the gate so Gron could sneak underneath and push the lever to open it completely. Soon the entire team was past the gate and Vicorin blasted Glass in a glorious sacrifice to Set.
Just as Gron was finding the team’s confiscated gear (and a glass eye for poor Emilia), the woman with the mushroom infection shambled out of the jail, heading up the stairs into the rain. Thomas saw this and ran out after her.
Somewhere during this, Burd took it upon himself to go back into the cell where Fleabag was shackled. He threatened her in very…unpleasant terms. She tried to act timid, but when he didn’t back off, she reverted to badass and punched him. So he slit her throat.
Now the team was ready to head up the stairs, into the rainy daylight…
At the top of the stairs, they discovered they were inside Fort Edgewild, surrounded by buildings, guards, and a spiked timber palisade. Mezler looked for tracks in the mud and saw that the mushroom-woman shuffled east while Thomas ran west, so Mezler led the team west, hiding behind the buildings near the wall, on the far side of the fort from the main gate.
Despite the archers in the guard tower, the team decided their best bet was to try climbing over the wall. So they waited until the mushroom-woman shambled into view on the far side of the fort, hoping she would provide a distraction.
When the mycotic shambler finally appeared, she was quickly attacked by the two razorback bloodhounds in the kennel nearby. Moments later there was a commotion in the stables and a guard dragged the dead body of Thomas out into the yard. Vicorin added to the confusion by using Thaumaturgy to make noises come from the jail, and several guards ran down to investigate.
Concluding that this was as a good a distraction as they would get, the team started throwing ropes at the wall. With mixed success. Vicorin was the first to the top, and he was promptly rewarded with a crossbow bolt in his thigh from the guard tower. But the death cleric made it safely down the outer wall.
Now on high alert, guards began closing in on the prisoners from all sides. The bloodhounds went for Mezler, but slipped in the mud and the barbarian was able to hold them off single-handed. On the other side of the building, Burd and Angelo held off the guards so Emilia could carry little Gron over the wall. He shielded her from incoming crossbow bolts, but they both failed their checks at the top of the wall and fell to the ground outside. Gron’s injuries were severe, while poor Emilia died on impact.
Burd covered Angelo’s escape, and then scaled the ropes himself. This left Mezler alone inside the fort. But the mighty barbarian powered up the last rope and was soon free!
The commotion in the fort went to eleven as the guards opened the gates, readied their horses, and released the hounds. The team fled into the woods, trying to move both quickly and quietly. Burd used his rations to throw the hounds off the scent, and soon the sounds of pursuit faded into the distance. But the group was a little too cocky as they emerged into a wide clearing by a stream and found the Captain on his horse!
Mezler, Gron, and Vicorin lunged into combat while Burd fell back and Angelo ran for his life. The battle was brief, but vicious, as the Captain parried their blows and dealt horrible wounds with his flaming sabre. But Vicorin dealt the deathblow, sending the Captain to the cold embrace of Set, and ensuring the heroes’ freedom… for now!
This session was a lot of fun for everyone. The players said they enjoyed all the problem-solving challenges, and the generally high stakes and high tension. I really enjoyed roleplaying all the guards and trying to figure out the “logical” responses to every action (and sound) that the party made. I do wish that the party had spent more time inside the fort, because I prepped a whole bunch of people and items for them to find and use. But all’s well that ends well!
Check it out: Escaping Edgewild