Ravenholme – Return of the Spiders

by JowieLimArt

More players are joining our server, which is a great thing – but I quickly encountered the issue that handling lots of PCs is easier face to face than on discord… This sessions started a little roughly until (i think) it settled a little bit and everyone got involved in the action.
This session was relatively easy to prep for me – I’d already created a bunch of NPCs for the Violet City (love the freebooters NPC generator) and the crew decided to return to the as yet unfinished dungeon i’d already made…
Good times.

===Session 7===
Players
Kutta (cleric) Subversive cleric of freedom & prophesy
Lothar (magic-user) Scarred magical assassin
Old Thomas (thief) Elderly “trade” expert
Renfield (fighter) Son of a famous explorer
Richard (fighter) – Loyal protector

We meet our crew deep in the relaxing atmosphere of the Silver Swan – and Silas pointing out that he is cutting them off from “entertainment” and only going to cover another week of accomodation.
Everyone looks at Andrew passed out on some cusions nearby.
They start discussing how to raise some coin, as they are all enjoying the stay in the Silver Swan and would like to keep it as a “company perk”.

Vijay Singh was visiting Silas at this time, accompanied by a friend (Kutta) looking for work. Kutta is a local to the Violet City, and on overhearing the talk about selling “strange magical metals” he comes over and introduces himself. He has better knowledge of interesting people in the city, and advises that they go and see one “mr Djaim” a collector of artifacts and oddities of the arcane persuasion. With no other leads, the crew head into town following Kutta.

They travel through some excavated tunnels and deep under the city – into the “Undercity”, which Kutta calls “The true heart of the city”. It is a confusing maze of tunnels and cavernous rooms filled with the poor and “untouchable” of the city. Everywhere they look are ragged folk and scuttling newt-folk collecting scraps. But cats are nowhere to be seen!
Kutta leads them to a curtained den, where a tiny wrinkled man is almost lost in his piles of …things…

by Jean-Baptiste Mong

Old Thomas, noting the layout and contents of the various stacks offers to lead the negotiations. Sanjay (how Mr Djaim introduces himself) is able to identify the strange potions that the crew had retreived from the dungeon (3 stimulants, 2 poisons, 3 restoratives, and 2 fast healing). He was even more interested in the containers – crystal forged by the Eld – and he is happy to rebottle the contents so he can buy the phials.
The others showed Sanjay the glowing stones they had also retrieved, and they were bought with only a little haggling… He excitedly asked if they had any more Elden Artifacts to sell, and if not, could they get some more?

Given that staying at the Silver Swan was jsut under 40c a week. Each. The crew decided to try heading back to the Spider Dungeon to collect more goodies. They got some supplies for a week and mounts, and headed back to the countryside. Along the way they had a surreal encounter with a flaming-lizard-person(?) who was ranting about some “Svaraku” who screwed up again, and after getting no help from the crew, threw down his weapons in disgust and stomped off into the countryside… Richard found it’s halberd a nice backup for his own.

During the nights, Renfield and Lothar bonded over old travelling stories, Renfield revealing a mysterious map he’d inherited from his father and a desire to explore it! At the sime time Kutta was having prophetic dreams(nightmares?) of a giant flaming spider dropping into a black pit. Upon hearing this prophesy the rest of the crew (or those that had seen the spider last time) declared it a good thing!

Once the crew arrived, Richard and Lothar led the way into the Spider’s cavern, warning against touching the webs too much. Old Thomas volunteered and took a rope across to the door – allowing the others to cross. This time the spider-centaurs were waiting for them, ambushing the crew as they were gathering materials from the lab. Lothar was grabbed from behind and quickly wrapped in threads – Old Thomas trailed after the retreating spider-centaur while Richard and Renfield pummeled the second spellweaving spider-centaur. Thomas watched while the first captor crossed a ruined library and opened a locked vault-door. At the moment the door opened he struck from the shadows.

In the aftermath Richard and Thomas searched the library, managing to even get a couple of well-preserved tomes (That felt like there was something alive and wriggling inside) and a familiar picture (of the ruins from Swordfish Island before they were ruins, also a remarkable work of art in itself made of glass!) But when they heard banging noises and scrabbling from beyond the vault door they decided it was time to leave – and hurried out.

Unfortunately their mild panic infected the others, and when crossing the rope to head back, Richard slipped, kicking the web in his struggles to not fall to his death, losing one of the ancient tomes to the depths… The vibrations called the giant spider up from the darkness. Richard froze, and everyone held their breath as the blind monster tugged at the webs trying to locate Richard… Then Renfield took out the last of his lantern oil and threw it at the spider’s face, follwed by his only torch. Everyone watched the twirling flame pass through the webs and land right on the spider’s already burnt eye-sockets. The entire thorax burst into flame!

The spider flailed madly at it’s face, trying to brush away the fire – but it lost its grip and tumbled down into the depths of the cavern.

Everyone took the opportunity to cross the rop and head outside. Fast.

The return to the Violet City was subdued. Everyone survived, but they felt defeated with only a book and a picture to show for it. (Although Lothar was ecstaic with the book! New spell “Bone Guard”. But that means not selling the book…)

But on return to Westport, the picture proved to be a real boon. Old Thomas wanted to give Ma Martel first shot at a purchase. The image was amazingly clear (photorealitic even!) and with Old Thomas extolling it’s virtues Ma happily parted with 1000c and was even more eager for additional Elder Artifacts! She even offered to sponsor guards and workers to help excavate the “Untouched Elder Tomb”.
But the crew didn’t take her up on that offer (not wanting to trust her with the location) but did hear some news of her troubles with a giant crocodile a few days upriver – blocking her lucrative agaru incense trade.
===End Session===

I really loved this session. Once more I am floored by how dramatic and cinematic the combat is in this game (and probably by extension all PbtA games?) Actually, not just the combat, but so many of the activities – the risks taken mean a lot to the players it feels.

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