Lexi, Elven Rogue (played by Jojo, 10yo)
Sharpblade, Skeleton (Human) Fighter (played by Evan, 7yo)
Evan starts off this session by asking, “That skeleton fire priest we just destroyed? Does it still have its robe?”
I reply affirmatively, and the kids immediately start arguing over who should take the robe and put it on. In the end, Evan actually makes a very good point that he’s a skeleton, and one skeleton pretty much looks like another, and so Sharpblade should wear the priest robe and act like a skeleton fire priest.
“I’ll also take the wand,” he says while Jojo pouts next to him. “Is it still blazing?”
“Nope,” I reply. “It looks like whatever the amulet said, it disarmed it completely.”
We had discussed at the end of the last session over what the name of the talking amulet should be. I said that it had to be a very long and complicated name. After numerous suggestions, we finally decide to call it ‘Fred’, which was short for some long complicated name that nobody can pronounce.
According to Fred, all the fire wands that the fire priests use had a disarm command phrase, and the one he had just used loosely translated to ‘Don’t burn the pancakes’.
The iron grate room proved no issue for the adventurers passing through. Once across the tricky grate floor, the adventurers pass through the iron door on the other side, and up the short corridor into the funnel chamber. Fire beetles still swarm the chamber, and the Iron Hammer laughs at the sight. “I’ve never seen so many in one place!”
|Back here again in the Funnel Room|
“Do we see the Animated Statue?” asks Evan.
I shake my head. “You look around, but you don’t see it anywhere.”
The three adventurers make their way cautiously to the pit. “You guys make it to the center of the room, just as you see something disturb the fire beetles in corner of the room.”
“Uh oh,” says Jojo.
The Animated Statue strides towards them, and stops in front of Sharpblade. It peers at the skeleton in the fire priest robes, and then demands in a grating voice, “Brzzachk-amu-gazzk?”
“Uh, Iron Hammer? What did he say?” asks Jojo.
The Iron Hammer coughs uneasily, “I’m, ah.. not sure. I only know a few words of the old language, and this is only vaguely similar.” He is startled when Fred the amulet speaks up. “He wants to know who are these people with you.”
“When Fred talks, can I make it look like I’m talking?” asks Evan.
“Then I get Fred to say that these are my servants.”
The Animated Statue considers this, and then nods and backs away.
“Phew!” says Jojo. “I thought we were going to have to run around and distract the statue while Iron Hammer gets his ore!”
The Iron Hammer grins. “Well, that was easy!” He eagerly drops into the pit, and the kids can hear him exclaiming at the sight of the ore. “I’ll just pick out a few chunks,” he calls out.
The Animated Statue tilts its head and asks another question. “He wants to know if you are here to replace the power stones,” translates Fred.
“Tell him yes,” say the kids.
Fred relays it to the statue which replies its grating voice. “He says that he and his three brothers have been waiting a long time for someone to come and replace those stones.”
“THREE brothers?” asks Evan amazed.
“Apparently, there were four Animated Statues once guarding this room. But this statue says that he hasn’t heard from his brothers in a long time. They were probably on the side of the room that has caved in.” I tell the kids, “Then the Animated Statue says something, and Fred, sounding very surprised, replies back with a question of his own. They both converse with each other back and forth.”
“Wait, what?” asks Jojo. “What’s going on? Fred, what’s he saying?”
“Oh,” says Fred, sounding a bit worried. “The statue just told me that we came just in time to replace those power stones because they are quite unstable. In fact, they could explode at any minute!”
“IRON HAMMER! GET OUT OF THERE NOW!”
“Just a minute!” calls out the dwarf below. “I’m almost done!” The kids are practically hopping until I say that the Iron Hammer finally climbs back out of the pit. “The Iron Hammer hefts his backpack behind him. He doesn’t notice this but you can see smoke coming out of his pack!”
Evan says, “I tell the Animated Statue to grab the dwarf and hold him upside down!”
“What’s the big rush- HEY!” The Iron Hammer is lifted up by the Animated Statue, and held upside down by his legs. “What are you guys doing!?” His backpack opens up, and the whole variety of things come toppling out; tools, torches, a change of underwear, and chunks of glowing ore.
“One glowing chunk lands on the ground, and it is vibrating madly! Smoke is coming out of it!”
“Uh oh,” says Jojo.
I look expectantly at the kids, but they just look blankly back at me. “What? You’re going to just stand there next to this thing that’s going to explode?”
“Kick it into the pit!” Sharpblade kicks the ore chunk into the pit.
“Immediately, an explosion rocks the bottom of the pit! The whole place shudders, and the room starts tremoring! I think it’s time to get out of here!”
The adventurers rush towards the room entrance, followed by the Animated Statue which is still holding a struggling Iron Hammer upside down in its grasp. I say, “Bits of rubble crash down from the ceiling. It looks like the rest of this room is about to be buried under tonnes of rock!”
“But what about the statue?” exclaims Jojo. “He’s too big to get through the door!”
“I tell him to smash his way out,” suggests Evan.
At this point, I realise that the kids want to TAKE the Animated Statue with them. Visions of them roving Sandpoint and the surrounding country-side with a huge Animated Statue lumbering alongside them set off alarm bells in my head. I know what my Chaotic Neutral kids were capable of. “The Animated Statue speaks, and Fred translates that it and its brothers were built to protect this room, and cannot leave under any circumstance.”
The kids are disappointed and are quite vocal about it, but I manage to distract them by saying, “Just as you reach the iron grate room, you see people standing at the iron door on the other side! It’s those three dragon parade dwarves! One of them lifts up his hammer and says, “So long, suckers!”, and smashes his hammer down on the iron grate floor! The other dwarves follow suit, and soon, half of the floor gives way and splashes into the murky waters! The dwarves laugh and leave through their door.”
Evan is shocked. “Why did they do that?”
“Because they REALLY want to kill me,” mutters Jojo. They retreat back into the funnel room which is still tremoring. “Ask Fred if there is another way out.”
The amulet answers, “There are two entrances into this room, but the other one is likely under all that rubble on the other side. However, the Fire beetles in this room reminds me that there used to be a Fire Beetle breeding room somewhere nearby. We used to breed them for cheap lighting, you know. Anyway, if these beetles are in here, then that means they must have found a way in from their breeding room.”
The adventurers survey the room, and then the Iron Hammer (who the statue has put down by now) points to a vent near the ceiling. “Look there! There are fire beetles going through that vent!” The vent is quite high to climb, and I was all set to get the kids to make some Climb checks, but the adventurers get the Animated Statue to give them a lift up instead.
The adventurers crawl into the vent and behind them, they can hear a big crash as the rest of the ceiling buries the rest of the funnel room. Crawling onwards, they eventually reach a crack breaching the side of the vent tunnel. The Iron Hammer points, “Look! There’s sunlight through that crack!” They all squeeze through the crack, and push their way upwards towards the light.
“You finally emerge into a dirty, garbage-filled alleyway. The Iron Hammer pulls himself out, angrily brushes the dirt off himself, and growls ‘Alright, let’s go find those dwarves and bash their heads in!’”
We had a lot of dialogue this session, but not very many dice rolls. Role-play, as opposed to Roll-play, I suppose.
Honestly, it wouldn’t have mattered who wore the robe - the Animated Statue would have recognised either the robe or the talking amulet. After this session, I did have some second thoughts about letting the kids leave the Animated Statue behind. It’s a good plot device, and the kids were somewhat emotionally attached to it. Perhaps a lead-in to a future adventure.
Plot hooks: Traitorous dragon parade dwarves
Interesting development. I've noticed that it's quite uncommon to have adventurers revisiting a dungeon with new equipment to explore it further. It has an element of computer games that is sorely missed in roleplaying.ReplyDelete
I think you should let the kids have the Animated Statue, but you may have to install a limiting factor to keep it from being abused. Something like aversion to sunlight or having to convince it to do tasks it does not normally do, for example.
I usually run golems in my homebrew campaign as something akin to robots--they must have papers or tablets with punched-in commands to function (usually inserted into a slot in the back of its head). Since the statue already responded, you can rule that any commands contrary to its original purpose have to be punched in the same way. That may require a side-quest to learn how to program it--but it's another hook. Those are always good.
By the by, I have noticed that you run most encounters on square-maps. I myself do the same, but for added integration, I give my players coin-vatars, or coin-avatars, since I do not have access to miniatures (and making them by clay proved to be much harder than I anticipated).
Maybe your kids will be interested in employing them. All my players (who were from 10-19) used them, and they all did like the customization.
The method of making one is simple:
1- Make a sprite (or find one), preferably one about a coin's diameter in width.
2- Print it out.
3- Attach/tape to a coin.
I usually upload my sprites on my Tinypic albums. Feel free to use one of the images there.
Note: When printed, they may need to be adjusted for size. I don't know what coins you use (or other heavy, size-appropriate item).
For kicks, I made a sprite for Sharpblade. (One with a helmet, and one without). I'm sure Lexi can use my Merisiel Iconic sprite as well.
Coin-vatars sound like a great idea. The Beginner Box comes with little cardboard stand-up figures, but we haven't been using those at all - I keep envisaging figures flying everywhere as the kids move them around. We did use the square-grid once using dry-erase markers to mark out positions. However, I've opted to keep things simple with just dialogue and drawings on the notepad.ReplyDelete
And I'm somewhat honoured that you spent some time coming up with a Sharpblade coin-vatar. Can't seem to access it though - something about no permissions :-p
Theater of the Mind kind of GMing, then? I roll with it most of the time, but I found that tactical issues spring up that way. The 'Kirthfinder' collection of houserules has less of a focus on tactical positioning (for example, flanking does not require the inevitable conga-line of death).ReplyDelete
As to the coin-vatars, think nothing of it. After reading this, I felt like it was drawing itself. Everyone has this idea that must be put to paper (or pixels, in this case).
Actually, I have a question: How much do you think RPG games influenced your children? I myself have found my siblings to be more creative, resourceful, and astute after playing them. Could you say the same?