A new campaign begins!
As an experiment, I am running this whole campaign at Level 3. No XP, no leveling up. Also, to create some group cohesion right from the start, I had my players invent a reason for being together and a common goal. All I told them is that they would be going to a small village. They decided they would all work for a nearby failing university, and their goal would be to fix up the village and build a satellite campus to raise the prestige of the university.
Yep. That’s what they came up with. In about three minutes.
So the adventure begins!
Play time: 4 hours
- Aoede the Creation Bard (Professor of Performing Arts)
- Atticus the Order Cleric (Professor of Law)
- Kaze the Kensei Monk (Visiting Master of Painting)
- Ormr the Totem Barbarian (Janitorial Arts)
- Teth the Mastermind Rogue (Bursar’s Office)
On the Road Again
We began at the end of their long journey from the aging city of Urva Songos to the pastoral village of Kettle. After three days of walking through the vast grassy plains with their associates, assistants, porters, and families, they were quite tired. And then three vulgranes attacked!
The huge saurian scavengers swooped down, trying to snatch up the mules and children. Ormr smashed the wing of the first, sending it crashing into the baggage train. Aoede sang the second one to sleep, and it crashed into the tall grass. A flurry of arrows downed the third and soon the monsters were all dead.
Teth harvested two brain nodules from the corpses, and the party continued on the road.
Welcome to Kettle
They arrived at the village of Kettle on the north shore of the sparkling lake Loge Varma. The large group waited on the road while a few individuals went to find the mayor. Instead they found a tidy village of impoverished fishermen and shepherds. They also spotted a nearby cemetery and a red maple tree inside a high stone enclosure.
The village leader was a tiny elderly woman named Perle, who ran a small tavern selling mutton stew and tuber vodka. She was thrilled to meet the newcomers and pointed them to some empty houses where they could stay. She also mentioned that if someone brought her some Vile Apples from the orchard, she could make her famous Vile Cider.
Ruffians in the Square
As the party was settling into their new homes, they heard cries for help. They ran down the road and found three young men attacking a merchant by a yellow wagon. Ormr grabbed the big one, Atticus froze the small one, and Aoede dropped the leader with some Hideous Laughter.
They tied up the ruffians and turned them over to some fishermen led by Dominic. These fellows dragged the ruffians to the lake and dunked them in the water, a local punishment. The criminals emerged from the water unconscious and bright red. The lake was boiling hot!
The party returned to the square to meet the merchant, Yossel. He explained that he mostly sold salt and hats and raw metal to the villagers, and bought their wool and fish to take back to the city. The professors were keen to hire Yossel to begin fetching tools and supplies from the city to help them build their new school.
That evening, Teth tried to turn the vulgrane brain nodules into a coating for his rapier. When the mixture was applied, his weapon hummed and her heard his dead grandmother’s voice in his head! He could now talk to his Babushka whenever he wanted for Advantage with History checks.
Foggy and Froggy
The next day, a dense fog obscured the lake. The party met with the young muscular blacksmith Lieber, who was mourning his dead father Nosson. His father had made weapons in the city, but grew to resent his role in harming people. So they moved to Kettle and he threw his Master Hammer and Tongs into the lake. Lieber asked the party to retrieve the tools so he could make them whatever they wanted.
Then the party walked around Loge Varma in search of a sick woman they heard about in town. She lived on a raft, but they could not see her through the fog. She said she had the Blue Death and no one should come near her. The group promised to find a cure and return.
Atticus then tried to Detect the Master Hammer in the lake as they walked back to Kettle. And he got a ping! The hammer was out in the water, in a big wet mound of some sort. Aoede magicked up some protective waders for Ormr, and the big janitor waded out to fetch the hammer.
The mound moved, revealing an enormous Dire Toad.
Hammer and Tongues
The party unleashed their spells and arrows at the enormous four-eyed monster. They blinded one eye, and hacked off one leg as the creature’s long tongue lashed out at them. The Dire Toad lumbered over and swallowed Ormr, but the barbarian fought his way out and the dying toad vomited up the contents of its stomach all over the shore.
And that’s how they found Nosson’s Master Hammer.
Teth harvested an eye and part of the brain, while Atticus cut out the monster’s vocal cords.
And that’s where we ended.
This was a great first session. It was mostly light and fun, introducing characters and beginning to explore a quaint village of nice people. We got through three combats pretty quickly, doing everything in narrative fashion with side initiative. Having 5-6 heroes makes it a challenge to keep the baddies alive and threatening. Encouraging the players to invent ways to make themselves and their tools more powerful seems to be fun for everyone so far. Hopefully next time they will discover even more ways to enhance their abilities.