The lives of even the skankiest and most disease ridden trollops matter.
This session was a hot mess.
Two thieves and a paladin crashed the game out of nowhere. This was in addition to the usual crew that include Fluid the Druid, Torin the Ranger, Fagor the Half-Orc, and the Swoleceror. This was a bunch of players and I barely managed to get things under control for any length of time.
In the first place, the paladin had suspiciously good stats. Multiple 18’s. Just insane. I debated whether or not to let him in like that. He claims to have used some kind of online character generator. I am just not convinced that it’s doing anything remotely like the real method III. Ah, well. It’s only for a session. How much damage can a paladin do in a single session, anyway?
Fagor opened up the session clamoring for the report cards. Did the players that were leveling get E, S, F, or P ratings? Well this one cleric got an “F” for one session so he could not enter this session at level two like he had hoped. Oh, the howls of protest this elicited! I ruled that he still had training to do.
The Swoleceror was supposed to be stuck in the Swiss Family Robinson tree house the players built in the jungle near the huge ruined pile. I rule he somehow tagged along with the others last session just for the sake of getting everybody on the same page. He elected to cast Read Magic on the scroll the players had recovered. It had Feeblemind, Project Image, Zilifant’s Effervescent Protein Bomb, Ray of Enfeeblement, and Extension II on it. Scrolls. Scrolls!
The druid had left with the horses last session. I was sure he was dead because he’d run into orcs. We argued about this until I agreed to play it out at the beginning of this session. I’m like, okay… you ran into a crap ton of orcs. What do you do? He’s like… what’s the encounter distance? I’m like… uh… heck if I know. He asks if they are on horseback and I say no. I realize I have been outplayed at this point, so I tell him I am checking to see if the orcs can alert the Apache Indian scouts in such a way as to keep Fluid from breaking out. The dice say he is fine.
Now, I had thought that the druid was going to hang out in the jungles after this, but he shows back up in town. The player thought I had put his other character– the cleric still in training– out of this game which was not my intention. I decided not to fix this because there was just way too much “business” to attend to here. Besides, how much damage can a druid do in a single session, anyway?
So this rabble of seven adventurers with basically NOTHING in common has to figure out what they want to do. Total chaos! Torn the ranger tried to list off a few places they could go, but he was drowned out by the commotion.
Fluid the Druid
Fagor gets my attention and asks if there is some way to take advantage of the siege-time economy to make a lot of money. He wants to know if he makes a killing doing something like that if he gets experience. I tell him that the only purpose of the economic rules in AD&D if for me to arbitrarily take money away from the characters on a whim. Also, the experience for supposed to be for treasure recovered from dungeons. (Patron adventures would count, too, I suppose.)
The group decides to go talk to Prince Elric, the Melnibonéan ruler of Trollopulous. The players ask him how his debauchery has been going. Miserably, he says. They were expecting a shipment of fresh trollops from beyond the mountains of the southwest just before this wretched siege was instituted. Supplies are dwindling. Even worse, there is this beautiful naked woman with angel wings routinely swooping into the city and flying off with the city’s most salacious harlots. The value of Zanzel Malancthones trollop futures has gone negative. Food riots could begin any day now. His mutual funds are worthless. Prince Elric can barely enjoy his depravity under the circumstances.
Fagor is intrigued by the chance of smuggling in a fresh batch of slovenly trulls through the blockade. So much money could be made! But the rest of the party takes an interest in this flying naked woman thing. They ask Prince Elric if there’s anything they can do for him with this. He brightens at the prospect of having this tremendous headache taken off his plate and asks them what they desire. Chaz the elven thief says he would like to set up an autonomous zone within the city, but the other players over rule him, asking for money instead. He offers 800 gold each to the party if they can capture her alive and bring her to him.
With this amount of money on the table, the players are off.
The paladin takes this moment to explain that he was waiting in line behind the players because back at his order he was caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. In order to make penance, he was told to go get in line with the people seeking audiences with Prince Elric… and then aid the quest of whoever happens to be in front of him when he arrives.
Now 800 gold each is a tremendous amount of money. About half what is needed to pay training costs to go up to second level. Rather ridiculous. I felt confident with this figure because I didn’t think the party had any significant chance of collecting.
Now, the session was completely out of control up until this point. I sternly instructed the rabble to get their act together, elect a caller, and try to cooperate enough that something could actually happen. They tried to be reasonable for about three minutes or so and then we went back to the inevitable chaos that this particular group necessarily elicited.
The players asked me for more details about the patterns of this weird naked angel looking woman’s activities and they decided to ambush her in the early evening. Fluid the Druid announced that he was casting Animal Friendship on a dog and was going to have him sniff out the most licentious trollop in the city. I ruled that they of course had found a likely candidate, because after all, the odds of the players successfully accomplishing anything were next to nothing.
Fluid pays forty gold to her up front for the night and takes her to an outdoor cafe in the middle of Harlot Central. He attempts to persuade her to shack up with him out in the wilds, start a hippy commune. She flirts with him and leads him on in his quixotic aspirations. Meanwhile, the two thieves skulk in the shadows. The ranger and Fagor take up positions on a rooftop. The Swoleceror memorized jump so that he could (failing everything else) jump onto the naked angel woman thing as it is flying off with the evil trollop.
The players hash all of this out and get everything arranged as they like. They look around for a pimp, and spot a guy in flamboyant clothes, boots with goldfish swimming around in them.
The naked woman with angel wings alights right in the main square of Harlot Central. She/it walks towards Fluid the Druid’s table, then speaks in sonorous tones: “Dulcinea, the day of your doom is has arrived!”
Now, I granted the players something like surprise because of course they had no chance at all to effect anything. I was positive that this creature would at the very least get away somehow. I kick things over to the players to have them declare their actions. Most of the players are pretty cautious. The one thief asks if he can give instructions in the form of “if this happens then I do this and if this happens I do that.” I tell him those sorts of combat actions are pretty much foreign to AD&D. Just not that sort of granularity at all here.
The Swoleceror reads Ray of Enfeeblement off his scroll and rays of plaid shoot out of his hands, encircling the naked woman with angel wings and imbuing her with an unearthly glow.
Then, while the rest of the party held back, the paladin elected to charge in and overbear the naked woman with angel wings. He staggers her, which results in a followup attack. She is then knocked flat and is stunned for one round. (!!) Fagor and the ranger are heading downstairs in response to this turn of events. The next round there is a long argument about the grappling rules which I wade into and somehow manged to resolve. The paladin drives his knee into the naked angel-winged woman’s crotch and she takes an alarming amount of damage. She is freaking out Exorcist style due to her close proximity to the paladin.
The next round she gains initiative. This is the only moment she gets without suffering from stun effects. The paladin grapples her again. She then casts some magic on the group. Strangely enough, Fagor, the ranger, and the paladin all make their saving throws versus wands. The group doesn’t even find out what the effect would have been. Her followup attack never happens because the paladin stuns her yet again. Fagor leg drops onto her while the ranger puts a black bag over her head. (Combing through the nuances of these grappling rules took a VERY LONG TIME to sort out and adjudicate. I think I get the idea of them now. To the extent that anyone can.)
At this point, I throw up my hands in exasperation.
I read over the relevant monster entry and various spell entries again at this point to determine if there is anything I can do to salvage the situation. The players then chain her up and put her in a wheel barrel and head back to Prince Elric. I determine the one thing she could try under these circumstances and the players hear muffled sounds coming from within the leather bag. I roll the dice and… the effect fizzles. One of the thieves picks up a dagger and a rope that she’s dropped.
I reread the entries again to make sure nothing else significant can happen and then grudgingly let the players convey her to Prince Elric’s audience room. He is rubbing his hands together in anticipation. That one thief jerks a handful of feathers out of the thing’s wings. Elric has the treasure dole out 80 platinum pieces to each member of the party. The players correct him, that it should be 160.
I inform the players that they have completely ruined my story arc and we call it a night.
Too bad for Fluid the Druid, but the visiting paladin didn’t get around to casting Cure Disease on Dulcinea before leaving the campaign.
Cast o’ Characters:
Fluid the Druid — [Delve 9, 10, and 11] [Frozen at 2000 xp until he levels.]
Torin the Strider [Level 2!] — [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 6b, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11] 2250 + 800 = 3050 xp (levels at 4500) [Looks like a member of ZZ Top]
Fagor the Half-Orc [Level 2] [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 6b, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11] — 2000 + 800 = 2800 xp (levels at 4000) [His horns have grown incredibly large. Looks frightening and diabolical.] (His name means “astonishing hero” in orcish. For real!)
Hans Franzen the Swoleceror — (2 hits, Burning hands, Jump, Message, Read Magic, and Zilifant’s Effervescent Protein Bomb) [Delves 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 6b, 8, 11] [Frozen at 2500 xp until he levels.] [Looks like a member of ZZ Top] 670 gold. Training costs for level 2 paid! +1 hit point at second level!!!
Chaz the Elven Thief — [Delve 11 only] 800 xp
Some other Thief — [Delve 11 only] 800 xp (Has weird ‘weeping dagger’ and a rope that follows voice commands.)
Random visiting Paladin — [Delve 11 only] 800 xp
Experience and treasure:
The party picked up an even 160 platinum for each adventurer. One of the thieves picked up a weird “demon” dagger and a “demon” rope.
Day 1: The Hole in the Sky
Day 2: The Thing in the Sewer
Day 7: The Big Score part I
Day 8: The Big Score part II
(Day 9-14 — player characters all carousing¹; Keebler Khan fully recovered) <—- I day of real world time = one day of game time!)
Day 15: The Drums of the Dog People
(Day 16-21: More carousing, fasting, panhandling.)
Day 22-25: Altar of the Beast-women
(Day 26-31: Resting)
Day 32-33: The Pugs of Slaughter
(Day 34-39: Resting)
Day 40: The Overbearing of the Crystal Men
(Day 41-46: Resting)
Days 47-48: The Song of Fàgor
(Day 49-70: In shock from an awesomely weird adventure. Sad!)
Day 71: The Woman in the Ice
(Day 72-76: Resting)
Day 78-79: The Return to Trollopulous
(Day 80-85: Carousing in a besieged Trollopulous.)
Day 86: “You Just Ruined My Story Arc”
Dorkorus — Half-elf fighter/magic-user/thief — [Half brother to Keebler Khan, talked with a lisp!] Killed by a pug-man in the sewers of Trolopulous.
Dairage — Elf fighter/magic-user — Killed with his shield spell on, valiantly taking down the leader of the pug-men so that the party could have a chance to escape certain death!
9 Hapless men-at-arms!
Arthur the Gallant (7 hits) [Delves 2, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6a, 6b, 7, 8, and 9] XP: 122 + 753 + 351 + 54 + 766 + 8 + 80 + 255 + 0 + 195 = 2584 [Looked like a member of ZZ Top] — Killed in the sewers of Trollopulous while bashing a baby wererat with his shield.