Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pathfinder RPG: Session 15 - The Deadly Mine

Lexi, Elven Ranger-Rogue (played by Jojo, 10yo)
Sharpblade, Skeleton (Human) Fighter (played by Evan, 7yo)

Jojo is full of questions about pseudodragons and how to take care of one. I told her that pseudodragons eat almost anything, from fish to insects to small birds. However, they particularly like cheese, so Jojo makes it a point to pick some up from Sandpoint when they get back. The dragon is just big enough to occupy part of her backpack, and so it spends most of the journey being carried inside while sticking its long neck out the lid and over Lexi’s shoulder so that it can see.

“What are you going to name it?” asks Evan.

We toss around a few ideas, but in the end, Jojo decides to call it simply ‘Pseudo’.

The group of adventurers and guards arrive back in Sandpoint without much fanfare. Shalelu the elven huntress heads off with the guards to report back to the Sandpoint council, while Lexi and Sharpblade head off the the Rusty Dragon. Ameiko, the Rusty Dragon proprietor, screams with girlish delight the moment she lays eyes on Pseudo and immediately conjures up some fresh fish and cheese cubes from the kitchen for the little dragon.

“Uh, I ask Ameiko if I can keep some of the cheese cubes for later,” says Jojo. She is slightly concerned that the over-enthusiastic tavern owner will over-feed the little dragon, which looks sluggishly full and content from all the food and attention.

“Sure, she can spare some,” I assure Jojo. “Free of charge too!” Giving free imaginary food is a GM perk.

The Rusty Dragon is a great place to catch up on current news, and the adventurers listen to a group of locals talking about the missing ship that was supposed to bring a famous singer to Sandpoint. “It be supposed to be callin’ port last week,” says a sailor while swigging from his mug of ale.

“Is he a pirate?” asks Evan curiously.

“Uh, no.” Don’t all sailors talk like that?

The other big news at the moment is that a group of adventurers have cleared out the spider’s den under the Old Light which Lexi and Sharpblade had discovered with Kyra and her pathfinders a few sessions ago.

Mother Spider looks like this. But about 3 times bigger.
“They WHAT?” exclaims Evan. He was hoping to get around to clearing that spider’s den himself.

“Yeah, the Sandpoint council hired this group of adventurers, and they went down and cleared it out,” I reply off-handedly. “You guys aren’t the only adventurers in town, you know. Anyway, they killed the mother spider, and brought up the carcass. Everyone agrees that this is the biggest Grey Spider killed for miles around, and this guy who runs the local Academy has requested for the carcass to be kept at the Academy for study and display.”

The kids decide that they should check on Fastidus to see if he has made any progress on his study of the glowing ore, but when they get to Fastidus’s house, they find no one home.  “Maybe he’s just out for a while?” says Jojo. The adventurers stick around and wait for the old wizard, but there is no sign of the wizard when night falls.

The next morning, there is a light knock on the door. Lexi answers it, and standing outside is the short figure of Clara the cleric from the Temple of Sarenrae. “Oh! You ARE here!” she says with some relief. “I was hoping to find you and Sharpblade, and was told that you might be here! There is someone at the Temple who has requested for you both!”

So Lexi and Sharpblade follow Clara back to the Temple. The timid cleric leads them straight to the Infirmary, and there, lying on a wooden bed, is the Iron Hammer. “The Iron Hammer looks pretty badly injured! He has nasty scratches all over, and his leg is bandaged and has a wooden splint wrapped against it. You arrive just in time to see him hollering angrily at a frightened-looking cleric, ‘GET YOUR PANSY HANDS OFF ME! I TOLD YOU, I DON’T WANT ANY OF YOUR SO-CALLED HEALING MAGIC!”

“Iron Hammer!” says Jojo. “What happened to you!?”

The Iron Hammer sees Lexi and Sharpblade and barks out in relief. “Hah! They finally found you two!” The dwarf takes some time to prop himself up before addressing the adventurers. “I told you that I was going to find where those traitorous dwarves went! Well, I found out from a nearby road-side tavern that they had just passed there recently, on the way to check out an old mine. It seems that they are going there to do some prospecting for gold! So they are at the old mine right now! I came back as fast as I could to tell you guys about it.”

“Great!” says Evan. “So why are you all banged up?”

The Iron Hammer looks a little sheepish. “Well, I was so excited to get back as soon as possible that I hired a horse. I’m not that good a rider, and… I fell off the horse on the way back.”

“Some passing folk found him unconscious in a road-side ditch,” supplies Clara. “It looks like he’s broken his leg, but he won’t let us heal it.”

At this, the Iron Hammer gets all riled up again. “DON’T YOU KNOW WHAT HEALING MAGIC DOES TO BROKEN BONES!?”

“Uhh.. it heals it?” says Jojo.

“Yes, but the new bone is SOFTER than the OLD ONE!” bellows the dwarf. “I’m not going to have my leg going soft on me! It’ll heal naturally all by itself, thank you very much!”

The adventurers think they see Clara roll her eyes. “That’s just a myth,” she says to the adventurers. “There’s no proof that healing magic softens bones or anything. It’s just a superstition that some dwarves have.”

“ARE YOU CALLING ME A LIAR!?” shouts the Iron Hammer.

It’s apparent to the kids by now that the Iron Hammer isn’t going to be travelling anywhere for some time. They bid the dwarf good-bye and promise to ’sort out those mangy dwarves at the mine’ as soon as possible.

Adventure Notes: If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ve based this adventure off the Deadly Mine adventure, which is a free PDF for the Beginner Box from the ever-helpful Paizo site. Always up for some free adventuring content! Of course, I customised the plot hook to the adventure to suit this campaign, but the rest of it is the same. Well.. slightly the same. Oh yes, spoiler alert.

The kids decide to leave straight-away. I tell them that the journey to the road-side inn takes almost the whole day, and it is evening by the time they arrive. “Do you guys want to check out the inn?” I ask.

“No, let’s go straight to the mine,” they reply. So the adventurers by-pass the inn and follow the Iron Hammer’s directions to where the old mine is.

“It’s dark by the time you arrive at the mine. The entrance of the mine looks recently re-opened, and it looks dark and dingy.”

Deadly Mine Entrance
The adventurers cautiously enter the mine, and I describe the rock hewn walls of the entrance tunnel. When they get to the first intersection, I obediently read out from the adventure module, emphasis mine: “The rusty mine cart rails crisscross the floor in this area, leading west, north, east, and back south to the entrance. Dwarven boot prints are visible all over the dirt floor. The ground to the northeast was recently SCORCHED BY FIRE. A PATCH OF STONE on the northwest wall looks paler than the surrounding stone.”

Of course, my kids completely ignore the text and my emphasis. “Mmm.. let’s go east,” says Jojo.

“Umm.. you sure you don’t want to.. I don’t know, check out the scorch marks, or the patch of stone?”

“What patch of stone?”

I give up. Improvisation time. “You start to head off east, when suddenly Pseudo hisses warning. ‘…something outside! At the entrance!…’”

The adventurers cautiously back-track up the entrance tunnel and peer outside the mine entrance. “Outside in the dark, you see that a large figure is standing right outside the mine entrance! Lexi recognises the large shape! It’s the Earth Elemental that you met some time ago!”

Earth Elemental - friend or foe?
Delighted, but somewhat apprehensive, the elven rogue decides to head out and meet the Earth Elemental which is just standing there. “The Earth Elemental shifts as it sees you. It says in a gravelly voice, ‘Beware!’”

“You can talk!?” says Jojo surprised.

“Just barely,” I reply. “The earth elemental is hard to understand, but you eventually make out what it is saying. Apparently, there’s another earth elemental inside the mine. However, it is ‘Gold-sick’ and is extremely dangerous to anything it encounters.”

“Gold-sick, huh?” repeats Evan.

I nod. “It seems like the gold turns earth elementals.. sick. Hence, Gold-sick.”

“Right, dad.”

Apparently satisfied that it has delivered its warning, the earth elemental sinks down into the ground. The adventurers look at each other, and head back into the mine, following the east tunnel. “Some ways into the east tunnel, you see a short figure lying on the ground. It’s one of those three dwarves you’re looking for!”

This dwarf looks badly battered, and is unconscious. Jojo decides to wake him up with a Heal check, and she succeeds. The dwarf regains consciousness and looks surprised (and alarmed!) to see Lexi and Sharpblade. Nervously, he introduces himself as Grald, and says that he and his brothers were prospecting for gold further down the tunnel when they were attacked by a gold rock monster.

“That must be the gold-sick earth elemental,” says Jojo. “Pseudo, keep a close eye on him. If he tries anything, sting him.”

With that, the adventurers proceed deeper into the tunnel and eventually come to a cave-in. “Bits of rubble block the rest of this tunnel. On the ground, you see two more dwarves. One looks very dead, with his head smashed in. The other is badly beaten and unconscious, but still alive.”

Lexi moves closer to the unconscious dwarf and is about the perform another Heal check when there is a rumble of rock up ahead. “Rearing out of the tunnel floor is a huge earth elemental! There are streaks of gold running across its body, especially around its head and face! The creature snarls at you both and lunges forwards!”

Gold Elemental Lair
Sharpblade initiates the battle with three Magic Missiles which slam into the gold elemental as it charges forward. It hardly slows the creature down, however, and it pummels straight into Sharpblade with its flailing blocky fists. “Sharpblade is badly hurt! Another hit like that, you’re a goner!”

Lexi attacks with her fire daggers and although her daggers do little against the creature’s tough hide, the fire magic inflicts sufficient damage to make the creature snarl angrily. I remind Jojo that she should try flanking the creature to make good effect of her backstab ability.

Sharpblade gets a few blows in with his warhammer before a powerful backhand slams him off his feet and sends him crashing against the tunnel wall. “Sharpblade is down! That blow takes his HPs below zero!” Evan snorts in disgust.

Meanwhile, Lexi has manoeuvred herself into a good position and launches a flurry of dagger strikes. The creature snarls and tries to swing at her, but the nimble elven rogue ducks under and strikes again with her blades. “At last, the gold elemental staggers back, and before your very eyes, the creature crumbles into fragments of rock and dirt! As the rest of the creature disintegrates, you notice a smooth ball of stone rolling towards you.”

Lexi stops it with her foot and examines it. “It’s not completely a round ball - it looks slightly lumpy, like two ovals fused together at an angle.”

“Like butt-cheeks?” asks Evan, making Jojo giggle. Lexi decides to keep the strange rock before going to inspect the unconscious dwarf and her fallen companion. Before long, Sharpblade is back on his feet, and the dwarf (who introduces himself as Durn) is up also. They limp out towards where Grald and Pseudo are waiting, and soon the group is out of the mine.

“Lexi, in the distance, you see the familiar shape of the first earth elemental waiting for you.” The elven rogue makes her way to meet the creature. The earth elemental regards her and asks, “Do you have… his heart?”

“No, we have his butt,” says Evan cheekily before his sister shuts him up. Lexi offers the smooth stone to the earth elemental which nods in gratitude. “We will bury this, and in a hundred years, our brother will be with us again. Our thanks.” The creature sinks back into the ground. “In its place, you see a brownish-grey gem!” The elven rogue takes this before joining the others.

Grald squints at the gem in Lexi’s hand and says, “That’s an Elemental gem. They say that if you crush it, an elemental will be summoned. You must have done a great favour to your elemental friend!”

Favour of the Elemental
The kids ooo and ahh over the gem, and immediately resolve to collect more gems of different types of elementals. Jojo, in particular, wants to collect a water elemental gem which will almost certainly be blue.

It takes slightly longer to return to Sandpoint with the injured dwarves, but they finally make it to the Temple of Sarenrae. The Iron Hammer is shocked to see the two dwarves coming in with Lexi and Sharpblade and bellows angrily, “WHAT ARE THEY DOING HERE? THESE SCUM-SUCKING VERMIN SHOULD PAY FOR TRYING TO KILL US!”

“We have lost our brother,” replies Grald soberly. “We are truly sorry for what we have done. Perhaps we can make it up to you by sharing our findings with you of the gold seam we’ve discovered.”

“Gold, you say? Really?” says the Iron Hammer in an interested tone. He then shakes his head angrily, “No! I will demand a duel to satisfy my honour!”

“Well, you’re not duelling anyone with that broken leg of yours,” remarks Clara nearby with uncharacteristic firmness. “Anyway, these dwarves need some rest and attention, so we’re putting them in here.”


Adventure Notes:
It’s fun role-playing the Iron Hammer. I think every campaign needs a loud, abrasive dwarf.

And yes, the whole "healing-magic-phobia" thing was to get the kids to enter the mine without the Iron Hammer, who I felt would just get in the way anyway. Still, it worked out wonderfully, story-wise.

Plot hooks: Missing ship, Mother Spider defeated by other adventurers, Iron Hammer's duel

1 comment:

  1. In the full pathfinder bestiaries there are a lot of elemental monsters. Earth, Fire, Water, Air, but then you have mixed elements: Magma, Mud, Storm, Ice. Magma being Earth + Fire, Mud being Water + Earth. Ice is Air + Water. Storm is the only odd man out. Just being made of lightning storms from the plane of air.