Thursday, 11 September 2014

13th Age - of shadows, mazes and talking dogs

Last time, our 13th Age party lost its Bard, Jordan Young, who was beheaded by a barbarian (a bit like Saint Denis really). The survivors of this bloody contest decided it was time to leave town with the wooden box that we believed was the source of the geas that bound the Blue to the service of the Emperor. This turned out to be easier said than done, as strange shadow creatures emerged from, to way lay us. It quickly became apparent that they were part and parcel of the city's defences. Not only that, but Shadow Port also had the uncanny ability to move streets around, making our efforts to reach the edge of town null and void (something like Brighton & Hove Council, in fact).

How the permanent residents manage to put up with the regular re-jigging of their streets is anyone's guess (I'm talking about Shadow Port here, but the same goes for Brighton). Our navigation was made harder by assaults from yet more shadows, forcing us to take to the roof tops in our bid for freedom. Eventually we were compelled to seek refuge with a priest who used talismans to keep out the shadows (and lamps too...obviously). We suspected he might be a cultist of a sleeping sea god with a strange, tentacled face, but he seemed affable enough and ready to help.

We also decided to try to accomplish our mission by destroying the wooden pyramid, but having done so, Sartheen didn't feel particularly different. Had the geas been lifted? There was a long discussion about this which went largely nowhere.

Taking the priest's advice, we decided to head for a tower in town belonging to a wizard called Hallas, in the hopes that he might be able to advise us (we felt we'd exhausted the priest's store of knowledge by this stage). En route, we were attacked by an odd fellow in black armour made from cured hobbit skin, with a flaming green skull where his head should be. I seem to recall that there was a suspicion he may have been sent by the Lich King to kill one of the party members with whom the LK had unsettled business. This was not Sartheen, hence the details are a bit fuzzy...

Our dynamic assailant became the victim of what is technically termed hideously poor dice rolling by the GM, from which our GM luckily suffers quite regularly, even more than me. A battery of low rolls left our undead attacker nothing but a vacant suit of armour lying in the street. Said armour was appropriated for us, but ethical qualms remain about its provenance. Sartheen stuck with his elven leather armour, which is quite nice, thank you.

After that somewhat random attempt at mugging, we proceeded to Hallas' tower, where, following no response to knocking, shouting and ringing of door bell, we entered. Here, Sartheen revealed - again - that 13th Age rogues are not necessarily the best spotters of traps, as he triggered one after another fire traps on the stairs of the tower. This is something anyone coming to 13th Age from Pathfinder needs to bear in mind. Rarity took over trap finding duties, but this still didn't prevent Sartheen from triggering another.

At the top of the tower, we confronted Hallas, who seemed a bit vague, other than to tell us to s*d off. He didn't seem interested in helping us. Indeed, he also had a talking dog which threatened us too. All very rude. Eventually this discourse degenerated into a fight, as by this stage the party was tired, hungry, down a man, and just keen to get out of Shadow Port by any means necessary. We didn't bargain with the tower being attacked by a shadow beast the size of a mansion, or Hallas being 'inadvertently' killed by one of our spell slingers (I can't remember who, but think it might have been Amras). As it turned out, Hallas was the key to the geas, being the anchor to the Arch Mage's spell. He was not really a wizard at all, more a simulacrum, as far as I understood it. Ho hum, anyway, the Hallas 'thing' checked out, as did the shadow beast (did I mention our GM's propensity for rolling '1'?)

With the tower collapsing like the proverbial James Bond secret base, it was time to scoot out of Shadow Port before someone asked any probing questions. Before leaving, we discovered a statue that turned out to be a petrified half orc paladin (who must have asked Hallas directions or some other such appalling sin). We revivified him, and high tailed it. Sensibly, he came with us.

The city was still making stringent efforts to prevent us leaving, and we had to run down some more shadows before exiting its precincts. Once out of there, we were faced with going back to the portal, which led to the Blue (not a prospect relished by Sartheen or anyone else for that matter), or finding some other way off the island that Shadow Port sits on. Luckily Sartheen, a former member of the Shadow Port thieves' guild, recalled that some smuggler friends of his had been executed a while back without anyone bothering to retrieve their boat (a 6 on his Prince of Shadows relationship dice, although after the events in this chapter, I'm thinking he'll need to revise that relationship from friendly to ambiguous at the very least, while his standing with the Three may well have been augmented).

We finished this arc of the campaign with our hardy heroes sailing to Glitterhaegen. It seemed like a good place to pause, as the summer holidays were upon us, and there were dark mutterings about test driving 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons, which was due out in August.

That's it in a nutshell really. I will include my thoughts on 13th Age in a future post, but hope that we will be able to resume the campaign at some point in the future. Bear in mind, of course, that this all began as a test of the rules using the published scenario in the rule book, and you can see how we have been able to run with the story telling elements in the game. But that's a discussion for another time.

1 comment:

  1. That's a good point about the test-driving. I had forgotten that the campaign had all spun out of that starting adventure.