Play report after our first session of AD&D 1st edition. Written from the point of view of my character Weebrian Jig.
The personal diary of Weebrian Jig, Prestidigitator of the Illuminated Order of Mesmerists, Servant of the 7th Angle.
12. Readying 579CY.
Called as a representative of the IOM on official guild business to the Guildhall of Verbobonc. Met one Alderman Crow, the chairman of the town council, and the venerable Mellium, sage of Verbobonc. Also present were an unusual group of warriors (mostly of orcish blood, I remarked) and a druid of Gnarley. It was requested that myself, the warriors and the druid travel to the village of Hommlet, some two days' journey south of Verbobonc, to surreptitiously investigate the uprising of banditry in the area. It was suggested that we had been chosen for this task as we were relatively unknown in the region, and were to conduct our investigations under the guise of a travelling band of adventurers so as not to rouse fear in the village. It was hinted that this may have something to do with events 10 years past in the area involving a "temple of elemental evil" which was defeated. We were told that Lord Rufus and Lord Burn in the village know of our planned arrival, and may be spoken to in confidence.
After the meeting I invited my companions-to-be to the Rusty Nail, which, bearing in mind their "unusual" racial stock as well as the fact that they were outsiders to Verbobonc, I thought would be a safe place to take them in the city without risking any trouble. One of the warriors, a brutal looking chap, but who apparently had some noble heritage in addition to his orcish blood (must remember to inquire after this), initially refused to enter the tavern, deeming it in some way beneath his station. Tis indeed a homely establishment, not intended for nobility, but I make no excuses for having taken them there, as I had good (aforementioned) reason and besides know nothing of upper class establishments. In any case another of the warriors, a strikingly beautiful young lady, apparently a follower of St Cuthbert, persuaded this haughty nobleman to join us.
Unsure whether the orcish heritage of my companions bodes for ill or good.
13. Readying 579CY.
None of my travelling companions reported any unusual dreams, or any dreams whatsoever, despite my request. My own dreams were tranquil and featured (several times) the unusual image of a unicorn eating potatoes.
Was pleased to note that Wilstan, one of my warrior companions, performed an augury upon the morn of our departure, casting the entrails of a chicken upon the ground. However as I stooped to interpret the divination he thrust his boot into the guts and requested that we should all do likewise. Naturally I refused, somewhat mystified at his intent. I believe he is a follower of Rao, although I have not previously heard of such strange customs among the worshippers of the god of Reason & Serenity.
With horses provided by the city of Verbobonc, we set off upon our way, with grey clouds looming overhead. Leaving the safety of Verbobonc, I wisely clad myself in a plain black cloak, covering my IOM regalia so as to blend in with the everyday travellers of the road. Intended to reach the village of Etterboek by the afternoon and to overnight there. Along the road we encountered: Dwarvish merchants heading north to Verbobonc, a horned beast of some kind (spotted in the distance by the sharp eyes of Kazhireh, a female warrior, also of Gnarley), a thunderous rain storm, soaking us to the skin.
Stayed in the Golden Cockerel inn in Etterboek. An adequate, although expensive, establishment. No specialty desserts were offered, disappointingly.
14. Readying 579CY.
Set off early, on a clear windy morning, hoping to reach Hommlet by nightfall.
The road was not busy. The only people we encountered were two laden caravans escorted by two guards, apparently in a very great hurry. They briefly informed us that the road was safe and clear. This proved to be very much mistaken. I wonder now if they were lucky, mad, or treacherous.
I believe today I experienced my first taste of this "adventure" which my master has enthusiastically recommended to me. I remain unsure of the merits of this lifestyle, but am pleased to note that my training proved adequate to meet its challenges. Here is what came to pass.
As the road passed through a region of boggy ground, we reached a point where a huge tree had fallen across, blocking easy transit. Madrak, our half-orcish escort from the distant north, went ahead to investigate it, at which point a confusion of arrows rained down upon us. I believe Madrak was gravely hurt by this initial volley. I leapt from my horse and called Rotter to guard, and I too received a glancing blow from one of the missiles. After this initial volley, our attackers (who were quickly observed to be a band of orcs) charged at us, presumably believing us to be near finished. We were greatly outnumbered. My warrior companions fought well, obviously trained for this sort of eventuality, and the tide of the battle turned in our favour. I myself was forced to wait in hiding amongst the frightened horses, with the patterns of the chromatic orb and the spook phantasm urging to be released from my mind as I have never noticed them doing before. As the orc brigands rushed towards us my chance, and the test of my training, came. Launching Rotter to savage one of them, I focussed on another, and advanced boldly towards it uttering the syllables to conjure the nightmarish phantasm. The brute turned on his heels, fled and was soon decapitated by one of my companions. I was very pleased to observe the spell's remarkable effects in the heat of battle. A second orc proved an easy target for the chromatic orb, as he stumbled towards me. The light of the pearlescent orb hit him full in the eyes, blinding him and allowing me the opportunity to cast darts into his face, causing him to fall to the ground. I now understand why my master insisted that I spend such long hours playing the game of darts with the halfling patrons of the Rusty Nail. The practice has proved unexpectedly useful.
I am thankful for the presence of Rotter, who has proved his worth as more than just a sleepy beast of watch. I shall consider attempting to acquire further such hounds, as they prove faithful and vicious if correctly trained.
Subsequent to the battle, we gathered ourselves together and set about searching through the bodies of our fallen assailants (three of whom, unfortunately, managed to escape, despite the pursuit of Alric and Kazhireh). We discovered a total of 20gp in small coinage, a pouch containing 5 gemstones, and a sack with 8 pieces of silver jewellery decorated with gems. I am unsure what exactly we are required to do with this kind of loot, as surely it has been stolen from reputable merchants and locals to the area. I think that perhaps we should hand it in to the local constabulary, although I remember my master gleefully mentioning the riches he has gained from "adventuring", so perhaps there is some right for members of the Adventurers' Guild to keep possession of items acquired in such manner. I shall have to reread my contract of guild membership, and perhaps inquire at the guild quarters in Hommlet, if such an establishment exists.
It was also noted that the emblems on the orcs' shields identified them as members of the "vile rune" clan, a name which bears little significance to me.
Hurriedly we finished our journey to Hommlet, bearing with us a single still-living orc, whom Wilstan had wisely captured. I look forward to perhaps being able to test the worth of the hypnotism spell on the brute, if we get a chance to interrogate him. I think it may also be wise to "soften him up" first with an application of the spook phantasm. I have read that its effects can be particularly spirit-crushing if the victim believes he is unable to escape.
After several more miles of travel we reached Hommlet, and head straight to the chapel of St Cuthbert on the outskirts of the village. The resident clerics were glad to heal my companions' wounds, and Chryseïs (our St Cuthbert devotee) offered them one of the pieces of jewellery as thanks.