For this post I’d like to try something different: break down the session in a more mechanical way, rather than a storytelling way as I usually do. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Session #4 started with Ninetales the rogue and Nhat the sorcerer coming to their senses at the bottom of a dry well, battered and bruised (around 15 hp left each). After understanding where they were and seeing that their armor and weapons had been taken away, they started talking about an escape.
“Where’s the big guy?” Nhat asked, referring to the halberdier who was strangely absent.
“Who cares, we need to get out of here as fast as possible.” answered Ninetales matter-of-factly.
Ninetales, catching my cues a day earlier in the group chat about reading up on the climbing skill, changed up his character a little bit to give it Athletics proficiency (I always let my players modify their character in-between early sessions as they settle in the way they like to play, especially for totally new players who don’t know the game).
The rogue attempted a climb and rolled a critical fail! He ended up twisting his ankle, which put him down to 15 feet speed instead of 35. However the sorcerer had some medicine skills and with the help of a bone found on the well’s floor and some wrapping, reinforced the ankle, bringing the rogue’s speed back up to 25 feet.
A barbarian child appeared at the top of the well and teased the prisoners, throwing tomatoes at them to which the rogue responded by throwing another bone at one of the kids, hitting him square in the face. A good throw, considering the well was 15 feet deep! The kid came back later to throw his own feces at the rogue, hitting him square on the chest.
My player looked ashamed and disappointed.
When the kids were gone, the rogue tried to climb up once again. This time he managed to climb 10 feet up the stony, damp wall, before slipping and falling back down, taking more damage.
The players decided to rest so the sorcerer could get his spells back, and wait for the night. They watched as the sky, the only thing visible from their point of view at the bottom of the damp well, changed from blue, to orange, to warm pink, to black. As the night progressed, they could hear their captors nearby drink, belch, sing and play drums. They were celebrating!
A woman, perhaps feeling sorry for the pair, came and threw scraps of food down the well, which the “heroes” ate. Then, a warrior came to announced that in two days, the prisoners would have to fight each other to the death in the tribe’s death games, for the tribe’s entertainment.
Hearing this, the sorcerer wondered if the rogue would simply kill him right away and then try to negotiate his survival but Ninetales promised him they would both get out of the camp before the sadistic game commenced.
Suddenly as they were arguing, a piece of rope hit the rogue in the face. Looking up it seemed like someone was trying to help them out! Without skipping a beat the rogue grabbed the dangling rope and this time was able to climb out of the well. Finally safe on the ground, he took a second to analyze the situation.
The rope he climbed up with was tied to a nearby tree. To the north-west a man was standing watch on the rock, but his back was turned to the well. To the north-east, two men and their dog were sitting on tree logs, drinking wine and speaking quietly while their dog rested.
To the south however, a whole group of barbarians were celebrating, eating and drinking by a campfire. This worried the rogue greatly as he quickly whispered to the Sorcerer to hurry up and get out of that hole.
The sorcerer, doubting his abilities to climb, decided to tie himself up and with the help of the rogue pulling the rope, managed to get out. They followed the rope to the nearby tree and hid in the shadows, assessing the situation when they heard a woman’s voice.
They looked up in the tree to notice what they first thought was a child but then realized it was a halfling wearing light armor and a midnight-blue cloak
“If you guys wanna get out of here alive, find a better place to hide!”
“Why did you help us?” the rogue inquired, his voice but a whisper.
“We could always use someone of your… talents. Even if you’re a man”.
“For now go hide! Don’t just stand there!”
As soon as the halflind finished her sentence, the guard on the big boulder whipped around. “Huh?” he let out.
Ninetales, ever the quick thinker, grabbed a rock and threw it north, drawing the attention of the guard away… for now.
A bit of sneaking around, sticking in the shadows was done but before they were truly ready to leave, the pair of adventurers felt strange… they were in their underwear after all.
“Maybe we should get our stuff back” proposed the rogue.
They headed to the tent north-east, where an additional guard stood watch nearby. He too was distracted by a rock throw, while the sorcerer sent his viper familiar to invesigate the tent to see if their equipment was in there. However, the tribesmen’s dog spotted the magical reptile and went after it!
Fearing for his familiar, Nhat attempted to run to the tree just south of the tent where the two individuals were still sitting, but he was spotted on the way and did his best to hide behind the tree trunk, in the dark.
The two barbarians walked up to him. They couldn’t recognize him in the dark, and with a great roll of Deception, Nhat convinced them that he was one of their tribesmen and that someone had pulled a prank on him, stealing his armor. They laughed and offered him some wine, inviting him to come sit with them.
Nhat followed them. One of the two burly men wondered what was up with that pup in the tent and walked in to see the commotion.
Drinking by the torchlight, the wine-drinker soon noticed Nhat’s pointy ears.
“Elf! Yer a dirty elf! I’ll do you in!” the wild man screamed.
Nhat instantly pushed him on the nearby lit torch. He then grabbed one of these strange fist weapons the tribe loved to use that was lying around, which looked like long claws, and promptly stabbed the man through and through, killing him on the spot. When the claws pierced through and hit the rock under the man, my player winced.
Hearing a muffled scream, the savage man who had been in the tent came running out, to see in the dark the shape of his friend, lying face down on the torch.
“What the hell happened?” he screamed in fear, as he pulled his friend by the legs off the now extinguished torch making stinky smoke. As he flipped his friend around on his back he saw blood, glistening in the moonlight.
“You did this!” he roared, pointing at Nhat, who suddenly felt very small, and very naked.
It’s at this moment that Ninetales sprung out of the nearby shadows and brandishing a dagger that the halfling had given him, snuck up as fast as he could with his sprained ankle, and sliced his enemy’s throat from behind.
At that moment, the dog came running out of the tent but was hit by a tranquilizer dart, show from a blowgun by the halfling who had moved to the top of the nearby rock.
“You guys are not totally useless after all. However, you’re doing too much noise! I’m nost sticking around you! Come meet me by the giant wall, east of here… that’s the safest way to exit the camp. Then, we’ll talk more!”
The halfling, rolling a great stealth roll, seemingly disappeared… vanished.
Luckily, the group of partiers around the campfire, about 50 feet from the protagonists, hadn’t heard anything. The pair of escapees went back in the tent and found the barbarians’ old clothes, which they were probably wearing when they got teleported to the strange city. The rogue, using his disguise skills, made both him and Nhat look like they were members of this strange tribe. Cut-up clothes, messed up hair and a bit of green paint they found perefected the look. The pair was able to sneak out in the dark undisturbed.
Walking sneakily through what quickly became a jungle, they sometimes met a very relaxed guard, smoking tobacco in the dark. Nhat fantasized about killing them, burning their tents down, exacting his revenge but Ninetales keeping his blood cold and his mind clear, always calmed him down.
Soon enough they reached the base of the giant wall that circled the city, covered in vines. The halfling was there, as promised. She jumped down from the tree where she was hiding and with a big smile spoke.
“You made it! Very interesting! Well guys, now… you owe me. For saving your life! Follow me.”
We ended the session here. As the players excitedly let out a sigh of relief, they asked me how much experience they got.
“You guys reach level 3”.
They managed to contain their excitement, as we were playing in a coffee shop.
Thanks for reading!