Thursday, 9 November 2017

That's a first: total party kill

Just when they have me resigned to the fact that even over-challenge-rating monsters cannot bring down even one of them, a couple of lowly Ettercaps bring down my entire group of regular players. May actually be the first time I wiped out the entire party - and I had to fight my instinct to have the monsters spare a couple of players all the way. New game: still Eberron, different continent.

From. Also I need this on a shirt.

No but seriously tell us about the party kill

First the group decides to go into a ready-to-collapse underground medical horror show (courtesy some wayward Halfling healers). They already know there's a rapidly regenerating troll down there. Rogue sneaks off and finds the troll at half hit point maximum and raiding the kitchen to restock calories after regenerating from a cubic inch of meat. Of course, he tries to one-shot the thing with three flaming arrows.

He's going to hunt down
their next characters.
Source: Caio Monteiro / DeviantArt

This, to put it mildly, does not go according to plan. The pretty wounded troll ducks into cover (darting out to grab a tasty chicken leg) and waits for regeneration to kick in. The rogue decides to walk up and stab him with a flaming arrow. The troll, not being stupid (actually a kidnapped envoy from very nice people would not say a bad thing about them lovely folks the three of them), is holding a readied action to clawclawbite the fuck out of anything that shows its face. And it shows its face and said face is ripped off and that's pretty much it for the rogue. Rest of the party rolls up and using judicious amounts of magic, mauls and firewood to kill the troll. Rogue miraculously does not die but is save via divine intervention, Blood of Vol style. Party cleric/wizard feels pretty good about those 1d4+2 hit points he tosses around the room into his body. Entire dungeon collapsed via explosive runes-based safety system. Suspicions of troll quietly regenerating below.

Travel actually was the safest part of the adventure

Players then decide to take a trip cross country to the Whisper Woods, where someone named the Seven dispenses prophecy. Run into a nice random encounter during a storm with a messed up Dwarf building a tower which is so unstable it will float up to heaven. Dwarf hireling is staring wide-eyed at the mad masonry while making "let's take our chances with the lightning storm" sounds.

No violence erupted. Was saving up for more violence later.

Hex map: Whisper Forest

Players roll up to Whisper Forest, which I've remade from the standard book, dumped pretty much everything already written about it, and turned it into "three evil fairy sisters inhabit these woods with their minions". Crazy coincidence: I've only taken the concept of "dangerous forest with prophetic witch" from the Eberron book, haven't looked at the map for months but somehow generated a forest pretty much the same shape as in the official map. Scaled to 1/4 size because  Huh.

Source: layout mine, ideas all over the place, map Hexographer

Party unwinds in local inn, where their necromancer picks up a nice countryman hireling who is totally not Ein Member of ze Emerald Claw, ach mein Herrgot nein! But secretly is.

Then into the woods it is, with first careful exploration of a densely webbed forest edge, then a run to a vacated shack where they get ambushed by 3 Ettercaps. They chose a pretty easy approach - there were wereboars and basilisks and Dryads and a shitload of Mephits and dark fairy-themed hexes in there. Somehow I get the idea the party did not see this encounter as easy, with them getting eated and all.

I should mention that one Ettercap is listed as a level 2 monster, the party consists of 2 PCs at level 4 and 2 hirelings at level 2. They get surprised, stuck to the walls of the shack with webs, then poisoned and clawed and poisoned so more. They never regain the initiative, some pop up after getting healed again and are then taken down hard, and in couple of rounds the party is dead - long live the party.

Ettercaps: these fuckers. (bilingual bonus:
in Dutch, "etter"means both "pus" and "dipshit")
Found at Ettercap Evolution /

Want to go back?

We break for dinner (goooood peanut soup) and a short scene where the players think they wake up in the desolate afterlife...only to discover they're back in a creepy Ravenlofty demiplane (like this but with a train station on the side of an ever-growing pit and a city hanging off of chains above it) and if they just make this tiny deal with the realm's Dark Lord...

New adventures forthcoming. Follow the hapless survivors of the Peryton Expedition!

In the end we decide to stick with Eberron, ditch 5th Edition for Pathfinder (more options for the players, more headache for the DM ;) and roll up new characters who are the only survivors of an airship crash in mysterious jungle/dark elf/giant-filled Xen'Drik.

Jungle trip! C'mon, it'll be fun.
Source: Igor Chakal / DeviantArt.

Where to find the new characters? Their airship The Peryton went down - possibly sabotaged - "right below the D", as the players spout out before checking the scale of the map. That's fine by me. Now they have to walk 2500 miles of hell-jungle to the outpost of Stormreach. Their posessions: a cracked sending stone which can maybe pass messages, a psion sage who fell of the airship but managed to cram part of his mind into his psicrystal, and a ring that turns the wearer into stone until it is removed somehow.

Happy camping.

So a Warforged Wizard, Indiana Gnoll and two hirelings
are stranded right below the D and have to make their
way back to civilisation. Or any kind of safety, really.

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