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Arivia
Great Reader

Canada
2869 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2016 :  08:25:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
(Psst. My players shouldn't read this! You know who you are!)

So I've been working on my own FR campaign for a couple months now. With some stuff going on in my life, it was the right time to go back to what really got me into the Realms . That means the 3e FRCS, the Silver Marches supplement, and Shieldmeet 1372 DR. I'm running it in Pathfinder, because that's my system of choice for most D&D games right now. I've set the game in Rivermoot, at the meeting of the Rauvin and Surbrin Rivers, and I've enlisted my good player group into doing as much of a full, deep-immersion Realms game as I can. Some of them have really taken to it, which is super exciting.

The party is:
Beatrice Brightblossom, a strongheart hafling warlord. She runs the Hearth and Harvest inn in Rivermoot with her husband and her seven children.
Bridonna Vysora, a fire genasi (ifrit) bard. Bridonna grew up as a foundling slave in Calimshan. She found a mysterious note telling her to seek out the Harpers in Silverymoon and fell into worshiping Oghma. She's headed north to find out the mysteries of her own past.
Helya Black-Raven, a jotunbrud Uthgardt ranger. Helya left the Black Raven tribe when they wouldn't let her join the raven riders due to their sexist traditions. She wandered out of the Black Raven camps in the Frost Hills looking for a new life.
Irierath Raerdrimne, a gold elf druid of Sehanine Moonbow. Irierath is the miracle child born to the dying House Raerdrimne of Evermeet. When she grew old enough, she was tasked with heading to the High Forest and trying to track down what extended members of the house might still be alive - forgotten in the mysterious Myth Adofhaer.
Mirin Winterwood, a tiefling witch. Mirin was a foundling raised by wolves and a traveling pair of druids, who discovered that Mirin had been claimed by a spirit of Akadi (an anemos.) Mirin now makes her living as a travelling herbalist and healer to Rivermoot and the surrounding towns.
Morn Tallstag, a Chondathan human alchemist. Morn used to teach at the new Conclave of Silverymoon, but something caused him to lose most of his memory and his identity. He's been working on barges along the Rauvin for the past month or so, and stopped in Rivermoot for the festival celebrations.
Paazrah, a kobold gunslinger. Paazrah was a member of secret Gondar cult among the kobolds of The Drinn, near Ascore. Paazrah discovered the stronger kobolds were going to smash her odd-coloured egg and fled in the night, her egg safe in a large knapsack. She's come all the way to Rivermoot to try and find some place safe.

Our first session was pretty short and simple. It was Shieldmeet, so I wanted to do some fair/festival events, and I wanted an opportunity for each PC to introduce themselves and show off a little bit. It was also my chance to really introduce the Realms, so I wanted to pack in unique Realms stuff right from the get-go.

So we began at Rivermoot's town square, where guest of honour Mintiper Moonsilver was reciting his Moonlight's Paean. (And yes, I did read it all out, commenting on the sacrifice the Moonsilver Men had made and how it had protected the Marches for years to come.) The Lord Warden Jalantha Esbraer (appointed leader from Silverymoon), thanked Mintiper, noted that she would be in her manor house to negotiate contracts and ask questions (an important part of Shieldmeet, although something I was skipping over), and started the festivities.

After that, we moved on to the festival events. There were seven, one for each PC to show off in. The PCs got 100 XP for each (so equivalent to a standard encounter) and each person who succeeded in their event received a 100 gp reward or so.

The first was the rodeo, which was setup as a showdown between Beatrice, loser five years running, and her nemesis, Valig Ulavarr, patriarch of the rock gnomes outside of town. Beatrice is built for mounted combat, so I wanted to give her a chance to show off her ride skill - and what better chance than a rothe riding competition? Opposed Ride checks against the rothe's CMB rolls as it attempted to buck them off. Valig had a lower modifier than Beatrice, since this was supposed to be her chance to show off, but Beatrice's player had a bad run of rolls and lost quickly. Valig pulled her up and shaked hands to the cheering of the audience - no hard feelings, just a chance for Beatrice to show off her skills when they come back in a year!

The second event was Irierath in a falconry competition. I was saving archery for Paazrah, so I had to think of something else, and this seemed the best fit. I was planning on Handle Animal checks to aid the falcon in attack rolls against rats, but Irierath didn't even participate! She backed out when she heard one of the competitors, Mallaug, was using an orphaned raven, and actually tried to help Mallaug's raven out. (By orphaned, I MEANT Mallaug had stolen the egg, but the player took it in a different direction so we're rolling with that. Now Irierath wants to make Mallaug into a Faerunian Doctor Doolittle.) Mallaug won, and his prize was an art object from Silverymoon - a kind of portable fishbowl containing two redflash fish from the River Delimbiyr.

(Disclaimer: Because I'm trying to really invest the players in the setting and the characters, I took this session as an opportunity to build up the people of Rivermoot and who the players were interested in. So I kept a good list of names and introduced a lot of people for the PCs to bounce off in future.)

The third event was Bridonna showing off her dancing skills. This one was more notable for what happened around it, instead of the actual event. Asilther (Mintiper's companion) was acting as the master of ceremonies, and saw Bridonna nervously preparing. Asilther confided in Bridonna about what she herself had faced in Calimshan as a slave, and really connected with Bridonna as the first friendly face she'd met since Bridonna came north. (Side note: I'd picked Mintiper just as a good lore figure to include, having Asilther and Bridonna line up was a happy, great coincidence.) Asilther provided Bridonna some backing music with a handharp as Bridonna amazed the townsfolk with her exotic far-away dance. After the performance Asilther gave Bridonna one of her signature black velvet dresses as a vote of confidence.

The fourth event was Mirin and a little event I called "Tymora's Keeper." One of the town youths, Ansal, had a small bag of valuables in hand, and paying 1 copper got you an hourglass's turn (30 seconds or five rounds) of chances to get it away from him. Mirin has a lot of enchantments, so I figured this was an easy chance to show off with a charm person spell. Instead, the player thought about it and declined, saying that would be a crime, and spent all her turns on unsuccessful disarm attempts. Honestly, I'd've gone with whatever she tried - she had web bolt, which could have worked just as well - but she never rolled high enough on her maneuver checks.

Fifth was another performance, Morn showing his alchemy skills off to the crowd. In front of a magician's bench of beakers, powders, and bubbling liquids, Morn conjured magical fireworks, sprays of light, and for his finale dramatically drank his mutagen, shrinking him to the size of a gnome! After the performance, Zaele Riverdown, who runs the alchemy shop in town, offered Morn a reward if he'd come and see her later. (The players laughed at this, thinking an old woman was coming onto him, but he'll really get a portable alchemist's lab.)

Sixth was Paazrah stumbling over the target shooting competition at the edge of town. The archers were a bit skeptical of her smokepowder musket, but allowed her to participate. She beat them all handily, although the deck was slightly stacked against her (with the far target being sighted at long range for shortbows, not muskets.) The old champion, Valadel the half-elf, apologized for the reward being useless to Paazrah (ten smoke arrows), and was a bit worried by how cold and clammy Paazrah the "halfling"'s hand was when they shook.

And the last personal event was the wrestling tournament. Starting right after Beatrice's defeat was the strength event of Rivermoot's festivities, a to the pin and hold for three breaths tournament. (This is represented in Pathfinder rules as pinning your opponent and holding the pin through an entire round, including your next action.) The wrestling tournament is normally popular, but this year's was especially notable for the surprise competitor: Helya, the seven-foot tall Uthgardt woman who took all of her competitors on easily. The final match was Helya against the blacksmith Jansslaur, who cursed her out for being one of the savages and told her he'd send her back to her darkschemes folk all red and sore! Helya obviously didn't take to that well, and went on the attack from the beginning. She was stronger and fitter than Jansslaur, and although he broke her grapple once, she eventually pulled him off his feet and slammed him on the ground to land her pin. For her victory, Helya won a 100 gp gold cup trophy.

After each individual event we took a break and returned for the final event - the three-legged race. This used the chase rules from Pathfinder, with each pair having one participant make checks to get over obstacles and the other one free to aid another or do something else to help. I paired the players off into groups of two - except there were only seven players! Why, someone would have to be matched with their rival - and Helya literally carried Jansslaur to victory in the largely physical-skills related race. Morn and Beatrice nearly kept pace, with Morn using his Throw Anything feat to toss a spiked gauntlet into a muddy pond and create a hazard for the other racers.

Just as Helya and Jansslaur were about to receive their prize, a shout was heard from across Rivermoot. "My baby! The goblins stole my baby!" And Beatrice's kids arrived on scene, yelling at their mom. "Mother! The goblins got Merine too!" Lord Warden Esbraer quickly organized the townsfolk into search parties, including our players chosen by chance, standing together. The seven headed off towards Rivermoot's graveyard together...and that's where we left it for our first session.

Arivia
Great Reader

Canada
2869 Posts

Posted - 12 Oct 2016 :  04:27:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our second session picked up a little bit after the first, with the party heading northeast of Rivermoot in pursuit of the goblin kidnappers. All of the party members were present this session.

I began in a forested area, the party having found a goblin patrol, their shields marked with paintings of red bones . They easily dispatched the patrol by alpha-striking the leader and pinning down the others, although Morn was pretty well riddled with arrows. They tried to interrogate one of the goblins but surprisingly none of the party members could actually speak Goblin (despite me providing a recommended languages list.) So I played nice and had the leader speak broken Common after they spent a couple spells to bring him back to consciousness. The goblin leader wouldn't talk about the kidnappings and said he didn't know anyone associated with them, but he did say they could find someone to help them in the "low place" to the northeast. (I had a separate path here if the PCs instead talked to the goblins because the players wanted more non-combat options, where the goblins would lead them to their tribe and be tasked in exchange for the kidnapped children.)

Heading northeast, the party found an abandoned goblin camp on a high stone rise. (One of the secondary camps noted in the Elminster's Ecologies Appendices.) There were smashed shields here like the ones the goblins they just fought had been using, as well as a torn scrap of blue linen from Merine's dress. (The player of Beatrice, her mom, was still finding his character's voice and could only muster a very bear-like GRRRRR at this discovery.) Irierath got a chance to show off her druidic values by tending to a wounded elk the goblins had left to die, and Paazrah found a stash of treasure. Inside that stash of treasure were three iron coins, new but crudely made, with a glaring eye on one face and crossed arrows on the other face. (Paazrah's player is into numismatics, so I've been drawing on coinage details to add to the game for him. No one was able to identify these coins as from the new mines at Dark-Arrow Keep, however. And why would goblins have orc coins?)

Helya followed a deer trail leading out of the camp only to realize the "deer" were obscured goblin tracks. The tracks lead to the "low place" the goblin leader had told them about, a jagged, stony ravine hidden among the trees. They followed the tracks to the bottom of the ravine, where they surprisingly split, leading in two different directions. Following one set of tracks, Helya found a hidden cave entrance. Then the party was approached by a ghost!

The ghost was Rorvarn Ironshield, of Clan Ironshield, which had built up much of the local infrastructure. Rorvarn explained that he had been buried in a tomb in this ravine after falling to orcs, but something had snuck into his tomb and stolen his axe. Bereft of his favoured weapon, Rorvarn had been wandering the ravine looking for it. He knew it was somewhere here, but not where or what had it - and he needed to find it to return to his eternal rest. All he'd seen was goblins recently, so he was glad to meet some friendly faces - and he promised the party the blessing of Moradin if they could return his axe to him. One more problem though: Rorvarn knew that there was some sort of guardian on his tomb, but not who or what it was, nor how to defeat or evade it.

After saying goodbye to Rorvarn, the party decided to camp out on the ravine edge, watching for movement in and out of the cave entrance they found. They saw a good number of goblins during the night, but none coming out of that cave, which confused them to no end. In the early dawn, a strange high whistling came from deep within the ravine, and the watch all made Will saves. Unfortunately Mirin and Beatrice failed, and started to wander off down into the ravine without stopping, entranced. Irierath had to tackle them and hold them to the ground to break the spell. They decided to head to the source of the whistling, which was a cave in the northern part of the ravine, near Rorvarn's tomb.

Paazrah walked in to scout - and immediately stopped when she saw two horse-sized marble snakes. Beatrice ran in on her wolf, Mr. Pickles, and dropped a sunrod so the others could see in the cave. Then I rolled two natural 20s in a row and crit Beatrice down and 1 hp away from dead. Mirin had to rush in to save her with a cure light wounds spell, and Mr. Pickles did a good job tanking while the party beat up the snakes. It was a tough combat, and the party spent a lot of resources, but they ended up with some good loot (including a masterwork shortspear and a wand of inflict light wounds) and experience.

Their next step was the cave entrance they found earlier with the goblin tracks leading to it. They ducked behind the tangle of felsuls, shimmied their way down the passage...and Helya felt the floor give way underneath her as a pit trap opened up! They had forgotten to search for traps! And the party could hear the sudden laughter of goblins in the darkness as the trap alerted them...and we ended on that cliffhanger. Next game is in a week and a bit, and it'll be exciting to see what follows.
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