Something precious is lost, fate takes its toll, and the players finally get the chance to try and test their mettle and earn their sponsorship with “The Seekers’ Guild” in this Epic Experience. Adult language warning.
Lerissa was laid by the campfire, hardly able to remain awake now. The poison had taken its hold on her. The it was eerily quiet and no one could really sleep in worry for her, until the crunch of a branch came from just outside the campfire light. A man cloaked in green cloths approached with his arms up. Blonde hair slipped from under his hood. “I can help her.” He slowly reached for something at his side. Most of the party stood up, arms at the ready. The cloaked figure pulled out a vial filled with a clear green liquid.
They question him a bit but allow him to approach. “It’s antitoxin.” He gives it to her, it burns her throat but within minutes she’s feeling better.
I award the players at the end of every session with something I call fate dice. They do a number of things, providing buffs or debuffs and all that. I do this in exchange for feedback on the night. When Linda’s first character was on the verge of death, I asked the players for a vote. If 100% said that they would give up the first and second week’s fate dice, then fate will save Lerissa from certain death. If even one said no, then her demise would be left to fate. It was a unique way to handle the situation, this is only our second session in this campaign; and it was a simple fumble that nearly killed her… But it felt very rewarding and let her be back in on the next session.
After the mysterious stranger healed her, he revealed himself to be a concerned man from a rival adventuring party. He gave the warning “I’ve helped you, now you help me. If you know what’s good for you, you won’t proceed any further.”
They didn’t listen.
During their fourth day they ventured into what became a swamp, no real places to set a decent camp, it was 1-3 foot deep water and briarthorne patches everywhere. Eventually they stumbled too close to one of these patches and five blights revealed themselves. Two small sized ones, two medium sized ones, and a larger one. It was a close fight, with the blights spreading their tangling vines around, grappling people and forcing the players off of the crawlers. In a few rounds they were dispatched though. The player’s wonky bit of teamwork pulled them through. It wasn’t the cleanest fight they’ve had as a D&D group, but it worked. They proceeded to attempt to harvest the twisted hearts they were after, unfortunately they didn’t harvest anything else from what remained. They lost two hearts trying to cut them out, but recovered three with the help of the rogue.
They made haste to get back to campable terrain. On the second day heading back, the party was ambushed over night while over half of the party slept. Delvon and Aesir kept watch when two rugged looking humans approached the camp. “Hand over the hearts and we’ll be off.”
Delvon and Aesir nudged the party members around the campfire, but Rhogarr slept in solitude, further away, he couldn’t easily be woken. The thieves were warned that they were outnumbered.
“Hand over the hearts, and we won’t kill you.” An arrow sunk into a large tree trunk not far from Delvon.
“Arrows won’t scare us!” Delvon charged. (Initiative was rolled.)
“I’ll get this bitch first!” One of the men shouted and drove his sword down at Fia who hadn’t been far from Aesir. It was a critical strike, that split a gash open on her face and nearly knocked her out in one blow. Blood blinded her. Two more men came from the darkness, ambushing with short swords. By now, Rhogarr was awoken. Arrows peppered the party from two different locations. The party struggled at first… Until that fated moment.
You see, when a critical failure or critical success happens while streaming I host a poll and ask the viewers and party to vote on the potential outcome of the roll. Earlier that night, Delvon rolled a natural one on an attack which resulted in Rhogarr being knocked off the back of a crawler and into the muddy waters of the swamp. It was followed by a natural twenty, which resulted in the brutal killing of one of the blights.
He rolled a natural one on his attack. It resulted in the loss of half of his beard as the enemy deflected it with his shortsword. Then followed it with a natural 20 as his second attack. Which resulted in him powering his hand axe through the sword, shattering the sword, and landing the blade of the axe into the jugular of the enemy. The loss was too great and his rage took over as he hacked the corpse down. When he looked up the fight was over, he looked up for the archers and heard just one running away. He gave chase, but it was to no avail.
It was an awkward night, and a quiet trip back. The players made it back to Prime City within two more days. They exchanged the bluecaps they got as payment for the crawlers, went through customs and made it into Union City. They found out that they were, indeed, the first to arrive with the goods; thus they earned their sponsorship. I explained how that works, hunts and all, and what downtime options they had.
What have I learned from this session? Don’t mess with the beard. The party leveled up, and now the ranger took a level in barbarian. With that, I’m also making sure not to do anything outside of the game. Prices and lifestyles have been adjusted so now players will role play getting the things they want at the start of the night, as we also go over what happened during any downtime. I look forward to seeing how downtime rules affect the outcome of the next session. As the players go on the hunt for information on a mysterious white stag they suddenly remembered seeing on Prime, but only remembered it after they left.
Till next time,