Sunday, September 25, 2016

Strigastadt Play Report

This is like two months old at this point, but I'm gonna post up some older summaries I'd sent out to the group to get the blog caught up, and then start posting weekly summaries thereafter.

Background info: The group has now been back in Strigastadt for ten or so sessions, running a homebrew rule system I made based on WHFRP 1e and B/X, with other bits thrown in (variable spellcasting, advantage/disadvantage, etc). It's worked surprisingly well so far, with a few tweaks. They started out this foray to Strigastadt in a funnel, impressed into service in the sewer militia (a handy way to run a funnel in a city, sewer militia stolen from Heretic Werks). Each started with a secret objective, like half of which ended up unused but dangling hooks for later. With surprisingly few casualties they managed to escape.

Session recap 0.5:
In a shocking turn of events not a single person died! There was an encounter with what is now known as "grease dogs" which developed into a standoff situation, a surprisingly successful battle with luminescent beaked jellies, and an unfortunate discovery that another entrance to the depths had been breached and unseen (but apparently super sweaty) parties let through. While hunting for what they suspected was a party of deep dwarves, they ran into a large band of giggling feverlings who were initially scared off but continued to shadow the party's movements. They massed to attack when the party reached a dead-end shut by a bronze door with complicated mechanisms. Just before they swarmed, the locksmith figured it out and the party slipped through, finding a stairway up to a cellar with doors open to the night. Since they had heard noises indicating the infiltrators were not far ahead, they set off at a run to catch up. Things took a duplicitous turn when the lead party member mis-reported which alley they saw the escapees run down, and the hunted managed to escape into the night. A local group of watchmen was alerted and successfully convinced some awful monsters had escaped from the tunnels below, and a manhunt was begun. One unfortunate deep dwarf was caught out in an alley after collapsing exhausted from flight, and put to the question. In an antiquated dialect he claimed tens of thousands of deep dwarves were massing for an invasion and would attack should he not be released. He also mentioned something about enormous machines made to drive the populace insane. The party returned to their post below, and *someone* left the bronze door to the surface open as they passed...

A Deep Dwarf - illustration by the amazing Gary Chalk

Session recap 1:
Last session the party was released from the sewer militia after the corrupt judge was brought to justice, and returned to the streets above to seek out opportunities. Barbarus the linkboy [Jackson] got in deeper with the revolutionary Righteous Banner political party, offering to aid the cause in whatever way he could. Jafar the apprentice sorcerer [Mason] attempted to assassinate Barbarus' new political boss since he's more aligned with the traditional Strigastadt witch-nobility, but ultimately failed in the attempt (though he perhaps implicated the Blackbirds in the attempt). Garrett the smuggler [Alex] hit up his contact with the Blackbirds, a small gang that specializes in smuggling, who entreated them for aid in an upcoming rumble with the Blind Vipers.

A Blackbird
The Vipers, who each have pale blind snakes coiled around their necks and many rings on their fingers, had at least twice as many folks as the Blackbirds, so Garrett's contact Heleida was desperate for additional muscle. Garrett and Barbarus both offered to help, but Leonora the tobacconist [Bart] and Gin the fancy apprentice diabolist [Cambria] decided a better course of action would be to wait and break into the Viper's headquarters while they were distracted at the rumble. Through rumors the Blind Vipers had been connected to assassinations targeting the Righteous Banner, so Jafar decided he would side with them...

When the time came for the rumble on the bridge, Garrett and Barbarus bravely held the front line against the cudgels and blades of the Blind Vipers, but a party unknown assassinated their ally Heleida with yellowish bolts of corrosive energy from a darkened perch above. Leonora and Gin called off their plan when it became evident there were a few Blind Vipers left guarding their hideout, along with the rumor there may be a resident sorceress, instead winding up drinking at a tower bar overlooking the torchlit bridge throwdown, two of many curious faces watching from the buildings on either side. A bloody affair, Garrett proved his worth by repeatedly knocking opponents off the bridge to their deaths on the cobblestones below, until one Blind Viper managed to wrestle him off instead. The tides turned when the surprisingly staunch Blackbirds managed to down a full half of the Blind Vipers, including the lieutenant Billi, causing those remaining to retreat. Barbarus ended the fight winded and bruised, but luckily without any serious injury. While licking their wounds screams were heard in the streets below the bridge, and a cautious Leonora heard guttural noises and crunching from where the bodies had fallen... It seems the rumors of a marauding shaggamaw were not unfounded. Unfortunately, this meant recovering Garrett's body was an unwise proposition... Meanwhile things were escalating with the regrouped Blackbirds, where furious voices were raised against the drunken absentee leader, who hid from cowardice when the fight began. A coup against his authority may be staged at this rate.

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