Sunday, 17 May 2009

Total Party Kill!

We were down a number of players on our latest Labyrinth Lord game session, as Mike couldn't make it, and our newest player Kat and finally Ben dropped out at the last minute. On the other hand, we were rejoined by Nick and my old friend Chris. Small gamer groups like this are actually a mixed blessing; they are certainly easier to DM for but it does significantly weaken the party, as we shall see, in the following account of what happened...

The party did some trading, magical item identification and scroll copying in the elven town of Bramble and then set off for the courtyard, deciding (wisely) to stick to the roads as much as they can. They passed through Dewton, Lyorel and Veleye before finally going cross country in the Everleaf forest. Straying from the roads in Summit is dangerous - much of the country is wild and untamed whereas the roads are regularly patrolled by soldiers.

Travel is difficult. The weather has taken a turn for the worse, with high winds blowing and cutting movement rates down. Ranged attacks are harder to make on target for the wind is constantly blowing. Everywhere are leafless trees and dying flowers - not what is expected of spring. Perhaps something else is afoot...

The party come across a recent campfire, still smouldering, and see tracks that lead away from it, deeper into the forest. Thal (the Elf) discovers that the tracks are of different sizes but cannot determine what creatures have made them. The party decide not to follow them. The following day, as they set up camp, they are attacked by two torch wielding bandits!

A magical trident wielding barbarian and scimitar slashing dervish woman attack the party, given away by the light of the their torches which foil their ambush!

The bandits cause a lot of damage to the heroes but are beaten back. Afterwards, Akern (the mage) detects that the trident, which is made of bone, is magical and hands it to Thal to use in future battles. The party drink healing potions and continue.

The group reach the courtyard building and enter it. A careful search of the top floor reveals nothing amiss since they were last here - although the bookcase they placed over the trap door has fallen over. How did that happen...

Descending into the cave system below the courtyard, the party enter a large cavern with a pool of water occupying the center of it. The strange smell from earlier is a great stink here. As the party move to exit the cavern through one of the passage ways, two troglodytes, who were blending perfectly with the cave walls, step out of the shadows, snarling and attack!

Trogolodytes in the cavern!

A good fight ensues with the heroes using the terrain and their bows to good advantage. The party did not like the three attacks each trogolodyte had, though!

In a short time, the party emerges bloody, but victorious.

In another cavern, the entrance of which was blocked by a large stone, the heroes find two coffins surrounded by an array of items. These coffins are both locked with heavy padlocks on the outside. Nosing through the various stuff on the floor, they find garlic, stakes, a silver dagger, a wooden mallet, various holy symbols and some vials of holy water. A debate is held over what to do - should they break into the coffins?

Thal, as party leader, says yes, so breaks the first padlock and opens the coffin. Inside is a dead body, which he quickly stakes - and nothing else. He then proceeds to the second coffin and breaks the padlock off of it, too. Inside, is another corpse, which he quickly stakes. The party breathe a sigh of relief!

Inside another cavern with a floor full of assorted junk, the party begin to sift through it, when it begins to self assemble into a massive wood golem! Quickly, Thal pins it against the wall with his magical trident and destroys it in one hit!

The party get some good loot from this room, which Akern detects is almost all magical gear. There is a wand, a shield, a staff and a golden goblet. Thal identifies the staff as being a staff of healing - very nice. Akern uses this on Ginsese to get her back up to good fighting status and the staff runs out of charges!

The group decides that at this point, its a good idea to get Akern to the Tower of Sorcery so he can train to level up as he now has the required experience points. The courtyard is left for the second time and a journey is begun.

While passing through the Everleaf forest, the party realise that they are being tracked. They make out goblins in the trees, a wolf and giant spiders being herded by the goblins. The heroes could easily ride off, but Thal spots a couple of the goblins are carrying treasure chests and orders that the party stop and fight their hunters.

Our heroes ride out and meet the enemy they are being tracked by - a very brave decision indeed!

That is Ginsese on the camel by the way, she inherited it from a mage from the east when he died on a previous quest.

The enemy, arrayed against them, before the chaos of battle messed up their formation.

Quite a challenge, I'm sure you'll agree. I don't think we've had a battle quite like this one before. The heroes stayed mounted but did not use their mounts much and instead got pinned against the edge of the board and this was eventually their undoing.

To begin with though, things went amazingly well for them. Akern used his magic to create a vast illusionary fire engulfing the enemy. Almost all of the foe believed it was real and many of the goblins died of heart attacks, thinking the fire was killing them. Many of the spiders were injured, believing the fire was real and one did indeed die.

Ginsese was the first to fall to a spider's venom, collapsing off her camel after one of the spiders leapt at her and planted its fangs into her throat. That effectively destroyed the front line of the party, as she was the only one who had advanced on the enemy. The enemy closed in on the remaining two heroes and as Thal struggled to hold them off, Akern fled from the battlefield on horseback. Thal was overwhelmed by the remaining foes, splintering his shield in a vain attempt to stay alive, but was overcome by spider bites. He succumbed to their venom.

Akern returned to the battlefield, trying to sling the enemy from a safe distance, but a goblin sprinted over to his location and took one swing with its morning star, embedding it into the wizard's head - and creating our first true Total Party Kill.


Jenxstar said...

Hmmm Seems you forgot to mention the 8 skeletons that we totally destroyed in the coffin room.

The Recursion King said...

Oh yes, you're right, two of which tried to barge you past you but you wouldn't let them hehe

BTW if any of you guys would prefer to do the write up, that's fine by me ;-)

If you're on MSN tonight I'll try and send you the program you were after, my little ranGen [random generator].

Noumenon said...

The heroes stayed mounted but did not use their mounts much and instead got pinned against the edge of the board and this was eventually their undoing.Maybe mounts would work better if you didn't let the board restrict their movement -- it's supposed to help, not constrain. With mounts maybe they could have ridden around the enemy force shooting at them or at least escaped from the TPK.

The Recursion King said...

I agree, but that's really their fault: they deployed right at the edge to start with and therefore had nowhere to retreat to, sort of like having your back to a wall.

I think that player tactical improvements will emerge with time as they get more experienced. Incidentally I do allow them to retreat (flee) from battle by leaving the battle field, which one of them did (the mage), but he then returned.

So the fight itself was completely optional, they could have escaped at any point even before it began, but chose to stay and fight, then made a number of tactical blunders - such as not using the mobility of the mounts but staying still for about three rounds, enough time for the wolf to pin them at the edge of the board so the slow moving spiders could eventually get them.

Noumenon said...

What I mean is, why does the edge of the board have to be the edge of the battlefield? If there's a rock wall there, fine. If you're limiting your group to close-quarters encounters because you don't have enough tiles, I think you should let loose.

The Recursion King said...

Check the first photo in the blog to get an idea of the battle field size we use. A character can move four of those tiles in a turn; the goblins were moving at 3 and the spiders at 2.

Plenty of opportunity for ranged attacks - the majority of attacks party members engage in tend to be ranged.

EvilMudWolf said...

I have to say that you put up quite a fight you were only lvl 1's right? and you managed to survive for quite some time lmao ;) nice one guys :)