Friday, 4 November 2011

Slippy's adventuring log -- in memorium of a near TPK

DM's note: I've not run a session (yet) where a true TPK has occurred. I have however "participated" (shall we say) in the almost complete destruction of two parties of adventurers. Once was a group of 1st level scummers who perished battling lowly fire beetles. One character escaped with his life -- Slippy the ratman. In our game two days ago it happened again. This time with a more competent and experienced party, who met their doom at the hands of a co-ordinated attack of ghouls and gnolls. Again one character escaped with his life, and again it was Slippy the ratman.

Following are Slippy's notes on this grisly occurrence. The facts are, in places, grossly exaggerated, but as he says "a truer telling of the events that transpired there today will never be heard".

Written by Yves, Slippy's player.

Slippy didn't speak a word to the gatekeeper Olob when he returned to Lembde in the late afternoon, clad in his dented plate mail which seemed to be missing a few pieces, his trusty bowler no longer on his head at a jaunty angle. He pushed by the guards inquiring about his fellow travellers and made for the village tavern. Roughly throwing open the doors he flung some silver pieces in the direction of the bar and sat himself down at the nearest table while shouting: "Inkeeper! Ale for everyone!". He then looked around the tavern, his gaze shifting from one Red Man to the next, and then started yelling to no one in particular: "Gather round ye folk, for I have a tale of woe and sorrow to tell, a story of the bravest companions a ratman ever did lay his eyes upon." Without waiting for the Red Men to react he continued: "The story of Skarr, a finer ratwoman the sewers of S'raka haven't produced; of Blade, a fine and goodly fellow, blessed in the sight of men and gods; of Hjalhir too, a clever, scholarly man, brother to the great warrior Beomir of whose exploits even you must surely have heard; and Tal Copperhand the Dwarrow, known as Deepingdale to his friends, and to some as the drunken fool of Dreg. Employed by the Imperial Cartography Guild were we, as you well know, and for the greater glory of the Empire did we go to the cursed place known as the Chasm Deeps. We ventured far, ignoring the risk to our own lives, coming across such marvelous sights as the statue of Breets, and such bizarre spectacles as the magical mirror, undoubtedly the work of the treacherous Yellow Men, when we reached a large room, a barracks or dormitory it might have been, seeing as it were filled with bunk beds.” Here Slippy paused, for added dramatic effect as well as gulping down the pint of ale the innkeeper had put in front of him.

„It were in this very place we came upon a rough barricade, thrown up by vile Gnolls to bar our further exploration and mapping. While the warriors among us took up defensive positions, my good companion Tal the Dwarrow threw down some flaming oil, were it to frighten away the Gnolls or to deter their approach I do not known, for at that very moment much confusion arose and all hell broke loose. It was that fine fellow Blade who first spotted the roaming band of Ghouls - even more despicable since they were once Yellow Men - who caught us by surprise in the back. Blade was quickly beset by them and succumbed to the paralyzing nature of their cruel claws. At this moment yours truly nocked and loosed an arrow, but due to the shoddy craftmanship of the bow - which he purchased here in Lembde and for which he expects the bowyer will provide him full compensation, seeing as by this first event everything that followed transpired, and if the man can live with four deaths on his conscience and keep my gold then my hat is off to him, what a black soul he must have - anyhow this bow lost its string and fell to the floor. The Dwarrow rushes forward, taking no heed of the danger, to protect his scholarly fellows, while my brave halfling friend Skarr also unleashed a volley, unfortunately to little effect. Our scholar Hjalhir meanwhile kept working on his maps, because that's what he does, and nothing else, especially not accursed magicks. The fight turned sour quickly, my companions one by one succumbing to the Ghouls' crippling touch, which left your narrator on his own, warding off three Ghouls with naught but a dagger.“ Slippy continued, as he gulped down the remainder of the second flagon.

„Fortunately Blade, blessed he be, as I have mentioned earlier, by divine intervention recovered his wits and set about reviving the others of our little group, and it seemed the tide of the battle had turned in our favour. 't was around this moment however that fate spit us squarely in the face, for a group of ravenous Gnolls then entered the fray, jumping over the smoldering remains of the barricade. Your faithful Ratman took it upon himself to engage these vile curs, allowing Blade to see to the fallen. By very selflessly sacrificing a very expensive gold necklace I bought us preciously needed time. Then the story admittedly takes a slightly odd turn, as for reasons not entirely clear to myself - though I suspect the combat fatigue and large breakfast I had this morning to be the culprits - I fell soundly asleep, which my foes seemed to think was a very excellent idea because three Gnolls followed my lead.“ Slippy paused, cleared his throat and emptied the third pint before moving on.

„Next thing I remember I was being dragged away by one of the Gnolls who didn't feel quite so nappish, looking around to see, to my dismay, my companions once again struck down, being torn apart by the remaining Ghouls - at this point I should note there were probably a dozen of them, of which we killed perhaps ten, six of those I did in single-handedly - and my Gnollish captor continued to drag me off while yapping gleefully. Waiting for the most opportune moment, I then broke loose of his grasp, and, seeing that my comrades were in dire peril indeed, became so ferociously enraged that the Gnoll thought the better of it and set to running for his life. In my bloodlust the recollections have become a bit of haze, but I distinctly remember grabbing a long sword and tearing up their dung-covered lair, decapitating Gnolls left and right while I strategically beat a retreat to the exit, as to alert the rear guard which remained behind to look after our mules. According to them at least three Gnolls ran out of the cave with me in hot pursuit until I lost track of them, and collapsed quite exhausted, physically but mostly emotionally, struck by the loss of my equipment and also those guys I told you earlier about. So in short, as a truer telling of the events that transpired there today will never be heard, let it be recorded for posterity and recounted throughout the ages, the tale of brave Henry Slippums! Cheers!" And with that Slippy drank deep of his fourth pint of ale and he felt a whole lot better for it.

5 comments:

  1. Damn that d30 carousing table, I will go to my grave with the epitaph "the drunken fool of Dregg" - Deeping

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  2. I shall raise a glass in memory of such noble mappers.

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  3. As Akodo once said: "Sometimes running requires the greater courage."

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  4. P.S What really happened? Not that I'm thinking Slippy is lying about the events listed in that last paragraph or anything....

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  5. Well, this is what the omnipotent eye of the Dungeon Master observed that day...

    Slippy's tale is reasonably accurate up until the point where he fell asleep. The sudden sleepiness was (clearly) due to Hjalhir casting a sleep spell, targeted on the gnolls, but affecting enough hit dice that Slippy was in range as well. (Slippy didn't mention this in his recounting to the villagers, knowing that they hate witches and magic-users with a passion.) So the gnoll started dragging the ratman off to somewhere safe to snack on. Being dragged along by the arm soon woke Slippy up, but he pretended to remain asleep, saw that all his companions were now paralysed, and waited for an opportune moment to escape. After succeeding a DEX roll to suddenly break away from the gnoll's grip, he basically ran out of the caverns as fast as he could, dropping various pieces of equipment along the way until he reached full 120' per round speed and could outrun his pursuers.

    Sorry for telling the "less heroic" version of the story Slippy... however, you can be assured that your reputation in Lembde is forever safe -- they don't have internet access in the chasm (barbarians, I know).

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