Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pathfinder RPG: Session 9 - Night Intruder

Adventure Notes:

Okay, I’m getting behind with the session reports. The kids and I play about one or two sessions per week, and if I’m putting out one session report per week (and skipping some weeks), it sort of makes sense that I’ll get further and further behind :-p Will try to keep you all updated though.

Lexi, Elven Rogue (played by Jojo)
Sharpblade, Skeleton (Human) Fighter (played by Evan)
Kyra, Human Cleric of Sarenrae (NPC, normally played by Mummy)
Skye Ironblade, Human Paladin? (NPC)
Bulk, Half-orc Fighter (NPC)
Puddlebug, Gnome Alchemist? (NPC)

Several things happen immediately after the adventurers come out from the tunnels under the Old Light. First, Bulk the Half-orc brings Skye to the Temple of Sarenrae to have her arm looked at as it was pretty banged up after her encounter with the Animated Statue. I conveniently make Kyra follow them as Mummy isn’t playing in this session.

Puddlebug the gnome tells the kids that he’ll meet them at the Rusty Dragon Inn tomorrow morning and heads off elsewhere. The kids bring the sample of the glowing ore to Fastidus who eagerly takes it down to his basement laboratory and shuts himself in. He obviously does not want to be disturbed.

What do you want to do? is usually a risky question to ask the kids, but I ask it anyway, “So guys, what do you want to do now? Wait till morning and meet up with Puddlebug?”

Evan speaks up first, “I want to blow up a house! Is that Yoo-hoo guy who runs the armour shop still open?”

This was definitely a new turn of events. I cautiously query Evan, “Why do you want to blow up the armour shop, Ev?”

“Because I want to be EVIL!”

Jojo rolls her eyes. “You can’t be EVIL because the game allows you to be Chaotic Neutral at worst, and we’re already that! There’s no setting for EVIL!”

“Well, Dad said that we can do anything in this game, and I want to become evil!”

I ponder a bit. “Well, Evan, it’s true that you can do anything in this game. But you can’t blow up the armour shop because it’s not open right now.”

Evan is somewhat disappointed, but the kids decide to wait till morning and meet up with Puddlebug at the Rusty Dragon Inn before deciding what to do next.

So the next morning, the adventurers arrive at the Rusty Dragon Inn to find Puddlebug already there, along with Bulk and Skye who looks a lot better after her visit to the Temple. The serious woman nods at Lexi and Sharpblade before speaking, “We’ve already briefed the mayor about our findings under the Old Light, and some groups will be organised to be sent down to deal with the spider den and the skeletons. That animated statue though, is a real problem.”

Jojo says, “The statue was trying to say something before it attacked us. Maybe we should find out what it was saying.”

Skye nods. “Yes, that might give us some clue on how to deal with that creature. Puddlebug has already started trying to decipher what language that statue was speaking in.” The woman motions to Bulk. “Bulk and I, unfortunately, are unable to stay to help solve this puzzle. We have been called elsewhere by the Pathfinder Society. However, Puddlebug has some news to share.”

The small gnome beams at the adventurers. “I’ve decided to stay in Sandpoint, and open a shop! And I’d like the two of you to be my very first customers! Free, of course!”

The kids are immediately interested. “What sort of shop are you opening?” asks Evan.

“Well, I’m an accomplished Artificer, which means that I can enchant items to make them magical! For you two, I’ll enchant an item of yours for free!”

“What sort of enchantments?” asks Jojo. “Can you do fire magic? Or electric?”

“Both,” says the gnome, somewhat smugly. “If you want, I can enchant those throwing daggers of yours with fire or electric!”

Jojo agonises over which enchantment she’d prefer until I tell her why not enchant some of her daggers with fire, and some with electric. So, soon enough, Lexi is the proud owner of four Flaming Daggers, and four Shock Daggers. She is concerned that the Flaming Daggers would set fire to her backpack when stored, but I explain to her that the magic daggers look normal and only flame up (or electrify) when she is about to use them.

Evan says that he wants his Half-Plate armour to be enchanted, and asks Puddlebug what sort of other enchantments can he do, and the gnome explains that he can do all sorts, depending on what ingredients he has on hand. “In fact,” he says, “You can tell me what sort of enchantments you’d like to have, and I can tell you what ingredients you’ll need to provide to me so that I can do it. It’s a bit like cooking, really.”

Jojo exclaims, “Ooo! What ingredients do you need to make an enchantment which can allows us to understand all creatures, including animals!? That’ll be awesome! And we’d be able to understand what that statue is saying too!”

I tell her that Puddlebug will come back to her with that one. Meanwhile, I'm straining to think up some interesting enchantments for Evan’s armour when I suddenly get a great idea. I open the GM Guide to the Minor Scrolls Randomiser table, and hand Evan the percentile dice. “Roll these three times, and I’ll look up this table to see what sort of enchantments Puddlebug can give to you.”

Rolling up Magic Items is more fun than it looks!
Evan rolls 89% and I check the table. “Oh, this is good - Puddlebug can enchant your armour with Invisibility! Basically, your armour can turn you invisible once per day for about 5 minutes.”

Evan thinks about it and shakes his head. “Nah, I want something cooler.” He rolls again and gets 15%.

I check the table. “Ah hah! You’d love this one - Cause Fear! Basically, Puddlebug can put a skull symbol on your armour, causing an opponent to quake with fear! Pretty awesome, eh?” I glance up and am surprised to see the kids looking quite unimpressed.

“Sharpblade is ALREADY a skeleton, dad,” points out Jojo. “If he wants to scare anyone, he can just pull his helmet off!”

Ah, right. “Okay, one last roll,” I say. Evan rolls 50% and I look it up. “Magic Missle? From an armour? Hmm…” Some inspiration takes hold. “Puddlebug can put this glowing stone on your chest-plate. And once per day, it can shoot out three Magic Missles which hits up to three opponents. Or all on the same one. You get to decide.”

Evan stares at me. “You mean, I get to shoot out a chest beam? Like Iron Man?”

“Uh. Well. Um. Yeah.”


Oh Yeah! Uni-Beam FTW!
I tell Evan that he needs to come up with a command word to activate the Magic Missles, and of course, he comes up with ‘Jarvis, Activate Magic Missles’.

Puddlebug tells the adventurers that he can have the armour enchantment done by later that afternoon, so Lexi and Sharpblade hang around the Rusty Dragon Inn to wait. “While waiting at the inn, you listen to the other patrons talking. Apparently, the talk of the town is all about the strange happenings that occurred last night. It seems that something has been seen prowling the rooftops at night. Something black with long arms has been trying to get into people’s homes.

“And it seems that the creature has been targeting the homes of magic-users. You know Sour Bill, the fat wizard with the water-walking boots who was the judge at the Festival’s fighting contest? He lives in a house (that’s really shaped like a tower, because, you know, wizards like towers), and something tried to break in from the roof. Fortunately, Sour Bill’s got magical home defenses that scared the creature off. And a visiting magic-user who’s staying at this very inn says that she was woken up in the middle of the night by something trying to get in through her window on the second floor. Thankfully, she cast a spell and it ran off.”

“Interesting,” says Evan. The kids realise that this is the same creature that escaped the Old Light in the previous session.

Being the fairly railroady GM tonight, I poke in a few more details. “You guys think about the only wizard you know, Fastidus, working all alone at home. Hopefully, nothing will happen to him.” I leave it at that, satisfied that the train will arrive.

Jojo waves her hand. “Fastidus? Oh, he’ll be fine. He works in the basement after all. And this thing is trying to get in through the roof.”

Evan tosses a suggestion. “Maybe, we can get Fastidus on to the roof. So that the thing can come and try to get him.”

“Oh, good thinking! And then we can trap it, or kill it!”

I stare at the kids, quite uncertain over what I’d just heard. “You mean,.. you kids want to use Fastidus as BAIT?”

The kids nod enthusiastically.

“Okay, well, how are you going to get Fastidus on the roof? You know he’s really busy in the basement.”

Jojo thinks a bit. “I’ll go down and ask him if he can help us find our lost cat on the roof.”

And so the dastardly plan is hatched, which I suppose is in line with two Chaotic Neutral characters. After the adventurers pick up Sharpblade's new enchanted armour from Puddlebug, they arrive back at Fastidus’s house. Jojo convinces the old wizard to help come up to the roof to look for a lost cat, one named ‘Black, Long-armed Thing’. One Bluff check later, the tale works exceedingly well, as apparently, the wizard is a cat-lover, and soon the old wizard is wandering around the roof of his house calling out, “Black, Long-armed Thing! Where are you!?” in the middle of the night, much to the annoyance of his neighbours.

Roof-top Recon
“Thankfully, the roof of Fastidus’s house is quite flat, and easy to walk around. There’s a chimney here, and the roofs of neighbouring houses. This is the street in front of the house, and the roof of the house across the street. You know, it’s a whole new world up here on the roof-tops. Sort of like that scene on the roof in Mary Poppins.”

Chim-Chimney-Chim-WHAT THE HECK IS THAT!?
Jojo decides to hide next to the chimney, while Evan patrols the street below with a ladder. I get them to roll Perception checks.  “For some time, nothing happens, aside from shouts from the neighbours to be quiet. Then, Lexi notices something move on the rooftop of the house on the opposite side of the street.” I give her one chance to warn Sharpblade about what she’s spotted, but Lexi opts to keep hiding instead.

“Suddenly, a black thing launches itself off the roof, over the street, to land on Fastidus’s house! You see that it is a short ugly creature, with long tentacle-like arms which end with flat fingers with little hooks! The creature snaps out one of its arms at Fastidus, and wraps its hand around the old wizard’s throat!” I show the kids a picture of the creature which I’d read up on from the Paizo site.

Here Kitty Kitty Kitty
I explain that this creature is called a Choker, a predator that lives in tunnels and dungeons waiting to catch unwary adventurers with its long arms. “In fact, it particularly likes to catch magic-users, which is why it has those long arms. It tries to choke the magic-user before he can even say any magic words to cast spells!”

Jojo nods. “That’s so clever! I’M THROWING MY FIRE DAGGER AT IT!” She rolls to hit, and misses badly. The creature must have spotted the flaming dagger hurtling towards it, and ducks its head out of the way in time.

Sharpblade is running to Fastidus’s house and placing his ladder against the roof. He climbs up in time to see the Choker fling out its other arm towards Lexi, wrapping its finger hooks around the elf’s arm. “Jarvis, actviate Magic Missles!” he commands, and three brilliant blue bolts surge out from his chest-plate and smashes into the black creature from behind. The choker bellows in rage, badly injured.

Lexi tries to stab the choker’s hand wrapped around her arm with her other hand, but in the struggle, only the flat of the blade glances the creature, barely damaging it. Sharpblade swings his warhammer at it, but smashes the roof instead.

Finally, Lexi manages to stab the creature’s hand with her flaming dagger. “The flame erupts from your blade, and races up the choker’s arm! The choker lets go of both its victims, and soon the whole creature is on fire! With a screaming wail, the choker collapses into a charred heap on the roof!”

Jojo is impressed. “Wow, I really like these fire daggers!”

Fastidus gets up, coughing badly, and tells Lexi that he’s found her cat, and that he’ll be down in his basement. The old wizard disappears back down into his house.

Adventure Notes:

On hindsight, I think most of us have used NPCs as trap-springers or mine-prodders before, regardless of alignment, so I suppose I can hardly blame the kids for using Fastidus as bait. Still, it was amusing to see them come up with the idea, and I ditched the original plan of them saving Fastidus from the choker breaking into his home.

Not sure why Evan wants to become an Evil character. Probably influenced by all that Sith stuff he's been watching.

The kids will probably get hooked into getting spell ingredients for Puddlebug in order to enchant more of their stuff. That's a great lead-in for more future adventures.

And I'm quite impressed over how rolling for random magic items works so well to jog some creative juices. I'm normally leery of randomly generated items and encounters. I'll have to do this more often. Do you do the same in your campaigns?

Plot hooks: What was that animated statue saying? Glowing Ore.


  1. Oh yeah, randomly generated wondrous items are my best friends for travelling merchants and old dusty magic shops. I pretty much let my players find enchanters for weapons and armor because they are more experienced than your children. But that's no reason I can't have a wily old shopkeeper with a random assortment of doodads that could be useful in just about any situation.

    1. Yes, my old RPG campaign from many years ago had the players scouring the land for enchantable materials to make into armour and weapons. We even homebrewed a sort of 'point system' where normal Iron is 2 (meaning that you could enchant stuff like +2 on it, or a Level 2 spell, or even a combination of two Level 1 spells into it), and Mithril is 6.

      I doubt the kids are ready to do the whole min-max thing just yet. So far, they seem to just enjoy the story and role-playing. I'm not concerned at the slightest though ;-)

    2. Enjoying the story should always be Priority Number 0. :). I'm trying to get my current group of min-maxing power gamers to realize that.