This session the players really “shifted up a gear”. I’m not sure exactly how &/or why but everyone seemed to be on fire and getting into the game. The characters were bantering with each other, and the players were seemed to be looking for opportunities to get involved in “the world” of the game.
In Game (session 4)
PCs present: Alette (Hunter), Estmund (Dolmenwood Knight), Prudence (Magic-User), Solvang (Magic-User).
NPCs: Fluff-Tail (Grimalkin)
After considering their dwindling finances, the party decided that further travel by mail-carriage too expensive. With too much of their remaining coin they bought a beast of burden (Milo the Mule) and headed north along Horse-Eye Road. As the trees enclosed them, the heard voices “Welcome to Dolmenwood mortals”. Prue opened her sense to magic to find the talkers – and was nearly overcome by so much magic floating about. Dolmenwood is known as an “enchanted wood”. Some trees had had faces carved in them – which had come alive and were happy to chat!
Around lunch they meet some friendly friars on the road who led them to their small monastery. The party spent the night in the Refuge of St Keye (clean & good beer). Over dinner they heard many tales of the saints and forest. The most interesting tale told of the ruined Abbey of St Clewyd. Many pointed looks were shared by the party. The Friar’s warned them to stay on the road, and to be on the lookout for a roving band of goatkin bandits!
In the morning they continued towards Prighorn. Just outside town they ran across a band of 9 Goat-kin. Solvang was quite fluent in gaff (their language) and bravely walked up and offered to help them in their difficulty. They were angry at being driven away from Prigwort by the local human toughs. All they wanted was some booze! – The party, trying to make some friends, offered to help buy 3 barrels of “honey drink”. The Goat-kin handed over a (large) bag of coins for the purchase.
Prigwort was a famous brewing town, and the party was spoiled for choice. They wandered between a half dozen places selling alcohol before finally settling on the “Clashed Antlers” brewery. After a lengthy tasting menu (leaving Estmund somewhat tipsy) they bought 2 barrels of mead, and one barrel of “Old Swythner” (honey spirits). Mr Blino (the proprietor) was so happy at these visitors spending so much coin that he threw in a night’s accommodation (and breakfast) for free. In the evening the party snuck out to the edge of town to give the Goat-kin their barrels of booze. They were ecstatic. Buck-nod (their leader) offers a future favour in thanks.
That night the boys got roaring drunk on cheap booze, making a valiant attempt to out-drink the locals (the “Bounderboys”). During the drunken boasting they heard of a “secret” place in the nearby swampy forest where treasure was just waiting to be dug up (if you were brave enough to ignore the spooky ghost stories)
The girls explored town – The various taverns were busy, but the market stalls had been packed away for the evening. A small tower caught their attention, the abode of Mostlemyer Drogue Esq. (consulting wizard, and member of the Enchanter’s Guild ). Sadly it was closed for business. On the lookout for more interesting stores, they came across an expensive looking place called “Brandybile’s, by appointment only” (tailor & enchanter). After following the directions on the plaque they went to the Wrinkled Medlar. Prue made an appointment for a date in 2 weeks – hoping to have enough treasure to buy something really fancy.
At the Table
This was a fun session. Again I saw the power of “reaction rolls”. The initial encounter was a band of “Crookhorns” (goat-beastmen) which I assumed would be a tense standoff or combat. Then the Solvang got a reaction roll of 14!! That one encounter set the tone for the rest of the session. Trying to turn it into a “friendly” encounter was a lot of fun for me – why would these guys be here at Prigwort? – to buy booze of course! – why can’t they do it themselves? – racist (specie-ist) locals!
The whole sequence of going from brewery to brewery, trying the local brews, and haggling for barrels was a lot of fun. Everyone was laughing at their antics, and they even got some local rumours and some new friends (Buck-nod the leader). I was very happy with the material Gavin has in his Wormskin #6 zine – which had a tone of fun, game-able content for Prigwort and boozing 🙂
Honestly this session was a bit of an eye opened. I normally like the sessions to be “the action” – dungeon, exploring, etc. But this was basically “downtime” just played out. Almost a pub-crawl. I introduced a taste of “carousing” rules (xp for wasting money w/ side effects) and I think everyone is looking forward to trying out a full “week long bender” once they have some real coin to spend. Also had some more hints of some player-driven goals – wanting to get some enchanted gear to order.
Buck-nod and his crew are a curiosity for me. A random encounter which has been elevated into a potential ally. But raises questions – why are they buying expensive booze, and how did they get the money?
Next time: Lost Children and Tracking