The Keep on Yeoldelands – Session 2

Click here for the other sessions.

Catching up again on an earlier session. I’m currently limiting numbers at the table to 4 + GM for a few sessions so that we can all get used to each other – I find online gameplay caps out at 6 people working around each other – so Tarek Krel’s player sportingly stepped back to allow two new players to come forward. We’ll raise that limit in a few weeks’ time, but for now it helps having fewer voices and mannerisms to get used to at a time.

Expedition 2

17 June 2021

  • Rock Clementine (Dwarf 1)
  • Timur Tell (Magic User 1)
  • Utlaf the Stout (Dwarf 1)
  • Valeri (Cleric 1)

Learning that the keep guildmaster was offering a reward for information on and possible rescue of a missing merchant caravan, Utlaf and Timur roped in two new adventurers to sally forth from the keep. This crew decided to economise and forwent a guide in favour of Rock’s self-proclaimed exploration prowess and a crude map from the bailiff.

And find the way she did, but the route took them past a hole in a mound surrounded by a body of water. With Rock perched upon his shoulders, Valeru waded in to have a look. As they approached they were met by several pairs of eyes and some increasingly loud hissing.

Valeri backtracked and Rock let off a warning shot from her crossbow. This didn’t go down well a several lizard-like bipeds plunged in after them. With Timur magically blinding the foremost one, the party fled into the Darkwood.

Determined not to let these creatures get the better of them, and having made a bet with the corporal at the gate of the keep that they would make their way towards adventure and back, the party laid a trap and bait to claim at least one scalp as evidence of their endeavours.

It was a pyrrhic victory. Four bipedal lizards emerged into the killing zone and were taken down, but with some of the adventurers firing from the trees Utlaf was overwhelmed on the ground by sheer numbers. A moment of madness saw Timur charge in with his dagger – he too was cut down before he could climb up to safety.

Bloody and chastened, Valeri and Rock returned to the keep to claim their winnings, wondering whether the 7 gold coins had been worth two allies…

GM Notes

  • I hadn’t properly learnt my lesson from last time and started the session in the keep. There was a bit more direction for the players to follow – more hooks to follow up – but again a slowish start. Next time we’ll start at the beginning of the expedition itself and determine right from the off what the plan is.
  • I’m reminded why I veered towards single-roll attacks for Off-White Cube – when both sides are well armoured but unremarkable attackers there is a lot of ‘whiffing’ in OSE. Pretty much everyone needed a 15 or better, and several rounds went by when the action didn’t advance. I try not to describe them as misses. Perhaps it’s better to sum up the narrative of the fight at the end of each round rather than detail a blow-by-blow account.
    I don’t want the 5e solution of lowering the target number and increasing the number of hits needed to take out an opponent since that just reduces how much the action advances across the board, but when characters only have one shot-in-the-dark roll to make each round frustration can build up. As and when the players decide to hire some followers, it’s possibly worth handing them full control in a fight.
  • I felt the death / injury house rules worked well – they draw attention to the state of the character making a save vs death, whereas instant death at 0 hp can sometimes be missed amongst all the damage rolls. Utlaf’s player made the active choice to keep fighting his opponents even as he was forced through injury to drop more and more gear, which meant that the squishier party members didn’t get swamped themselves. A nice Boromir-esque way to go.

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