Come the end of a long May bank holiday weekend here in the UK and I've done very little gaming or blogging. Apart from the regular Friday session of 13th Age, I got my butt handed to me in Dawn Under, but that was about it. Excellent weather in Sussex meant I was encouraged to spend most of my time tackling the garden or lying on the beach, and highly enjoyable it was too. Decent weekend weather seems so rare in the UK that I feel the need to seize the opportunity when it appears.
I'm also very excited by the announcement by Wizards of the Coast that Battlesystem will be resurrected for the next edition of Dungeons and Dragons, rumoured to be released this summer. As readers of this blog will know, I've not only dabbled in fantasy wargaming over the last few years, but have also pondered how to include miniatures battles as part of an RPG campaign.
We again played 13th Age last week. The party had repaired to the elven court for rest and recuperation. While there, they prepared to take part in the retaliatory strike against the Three, which PC Amras, the elf wizard, had argued for in front of the Elf Queen's council. Having argued for it, of course, the party was then handed the job of carrying it out. In this particular case, it took the form of an assassination attempt on the mayor of a village controlled by the Three, who also happened to be a white dragon.
The prospect of going up against a dragon led to a quite lengthy planning session, which was somewhat reminiscent of my Shadowrun games in days of yore. We mined the elves for any intelligence they could provide on the town and its defences, which was limited. We knew the dragon had some hobgoblin bodyguards in place, and kept himself to himself for the large part. We also knew that he might be afraid of undead. Sartheen spent his icon roll for the Prince of Shadows to place an agent of the prince inside the settlement, actually a local merchant / fence.
All good planning sessions must come to an end eventually, and having blown about 30% of the session, we proceeded south on our mission. Amras had somehow leveraged his relationship with the High Druid to procure a tame white stage to use as bait for the dragon, and we'd also picked up a battle axe which we were going to claim was the original artefact Glazentorg, which the Three had sought to steal from the elves in the first place...
Arriving at the walled village, the party blagged itself inside by claiming to be on a mission to take Glazentorg to the Three. They booked in at the local inn, luckily avoiding a bar fight this time, and waited for Sartheen to touch base with his contact. The dragonborn learned that the white dragon had a gnome adviser who stayed in the town hall with him. Rather than wait to present the stag to the dragon in the morning, the party decided to strike under cover of darkness.
Amras used an illusion to make the party appear like a group of undead, then levitated them across to the roof of the town hall using a ritual (I'm still not entirely clear on how magic works in 13th Age - each class seems to have its own quite specific mechanics, and while I'm familiar with the Rogue and Barbarian, and to a lesser extent the Bard, I can't comment on the rest). Strange white mist was emerging through a large hole in the roof. The team decided to use ropes to abseil down into the room underneath and face whatever they found.
This turned out to be a white dragon, naturally. As ever at moments of extreme adventurer recklessness, this was about the time the GM started to roll quite badly, and Rarity's Curse of Chaos racial ability got an outing as the dragon choked on its own breath weapon. Sadly, Sartheen was rolling like a muppet, with a string of ones leaving him struggling to take down one of the hobgoblin bodyguards the dragon managed to call into the room. As a Rogue, once you lose momentum, many of your powers are inaccessible.
Jordan Young took a dragon claw to the face and got taken down to negative hit points - again, and was saved by a healing potion administered by Rarity - again. Powerful spells from Amras and Neon the warforged finally forced the dragon to reconsider its presence at the party and it tried to make a break for it, but failed as Amras nuked it with yet another combat spell. This is the second dragon the party has dispatched. With most of the hobgoblins dealt with, the team decided to leave the way they came, depositing the elven dagger they had been given as a message to the Three (Amras rammed it point first into a desk).
Rather than stick around for any retribution, the adventurers elected to leave by levitating to one of the township's walls and escaping into the night. It was at this point they realised they'd left the white stag in the inn's stables. Amras decided it would be better if this was retrieved, as otherwise the High Druid might throw a hissy fit if it fell alive into the hands of the Three. The party returned to the gates of the town, where they negotiated with the survivors of the hobgoblin garrison (who were all a little shell-shocked at the death of their boss), who duly returned it. Sartheen noticed the tatooed elven monk he'd met in the Queen's court lurking amongst the villagers.
The white stag was duly released back into the forest, and the group returned victorious to the elven court. It was now time to decide what to do next, and the topic of Jordan Young's lost treasure trove came up. Regular readers of this blog may know that the bard is the only survivor of an expedition to some unknown islands in the eastern sea. He also knows the location of a treasure trove there. Consequently, the team decided to head north, conveniently away from the Three, towards some ruins and the continent's chilly northern coast (the Grey Towers?) It is hoped that, despite the lack of major human settlement, a ship may be found there...
Next time I will hopefully have some cheat sheets produced for the Bard and the Barbarian to help with play in their absence.