Session 2, Part 2

  By Shamus   Sep 20, 2005   12 comments

While Enoch translates the text at the library, the Eomer and Thu’fir gather at the blacksmith’s shop. Upon learning that the party had lost many of their basic supplies in the shipwreck, he suggests they help him with a problem he’s having.

Before the city fell, he had stored away a cache of weapons, armor, and other provisions in the case of invasion. When the attack came, it happened a bit quicker than he anticipated, and he didn’t have time to reach the supplies or distribute them. Worse, soldiers came and siezed his house and have been living there ever since. The supplies are hidden in a secret room in the basement, but he can’t hope to sneak past the guards to reach them.

The blacksmith suggests that the party try to sneak in and retrieve the items. If they do so, they can keep some of the stash for themselves. The only requirement is that they not kill any guards. If they do, the soldiers will simply retailiate by coming into town and killing people in order to exact revenge.

Eomer asks about what unforms the northerners used. It turns out they didn’t have proper fancy uniforms like the Alidians, but instead wore simple black sashes around their waist or arms.

Thu’fir asks what they have been fighting about. The blacksmith explains that the war was over territory. Apparently there is a valuable mountain here called Mount Khelberg. It seems to be a rich source of both gems and gold. The blacksmith explains that the mountain is the birthright of his people: King Lorman (their leader) is the great great great (etc) grandson of the first foreman of the miners. He dug the first shafts and the land should be his. This is why they attacked the Alidians.

Finally Eomer get back to the subect of the supplies they need to steal.

Gereg draws a quick map of his house.

In our session we use a poster-sized dry-erase tabletop battle grid. I can draw dungeons or whatever on it as we go, and then use it as a battlegrid when the time comes for combat. When Gereg the smith drew his map for the players, I just drew it on the grid. After the session I forgot to take a picture before erasing it. So, I created a rough copy on graph paper to post here on the site. Otherwise, the following text would just be too hard to follow.

-Shamus


A crude drawing of the layout of Gereg’s house.
Click for larger view.

There is a front door on the house that faces west, towards the town. Behind the house is a storm door that leads into the cellar. There is a secret door in the cellar that conceals the goods in question. Unfortunately, the door is barred from the inside, so they can’t just pick the lock to get in. Someone will have to sneak in the front door.

Right behind the house, about ten feet from the rear door, is the woods. Gereg suggests leaving the heavy items there in the woods where he can recover them later.

By this time the sun is going down. Eomer goes east through the woods to the backsmith’s shop, which is a ten-minute walk. Everyone else gathers at the tavern and waits with a glass of ale. (Skeeve has Tea, Enoch abstains.)

Eomer watches the building as the sun sets. It looks like there is a circle of tents in front of the house, and a number of guards are gathered there, talking. He sneaks up to the back of the house and peeks through the rear window with his mirror.

DM mistake. Looking back, would Eomer still have his mirror? They lost their backpacks in the shipwreck, and spent an awful night being beaten against the rocks off the coast. Assuming he even had it with him (and not in his pack) would the mirror have survived the harsh treatment? Since I didn’t challenge him on this, then I guess so….

-Shamus

A soldier is inside, working on something. Eomer can hear the banging of pots. This room is clearly the kitchen. After watching the place a bit longer, he returns to town.

They discuss their plans. Thu’fir suggests that instead of sneaking in the front door, they could just pull off the hinges. They worry that perhaps this would be too noisy. Enoch points out that he could create a zone of silence. This magic power of his will deaden all noise in a 20-foot radius.

They agree on this. Skeeve decides to stay at the tavern. He realizes they have no place to stay for the night. The soldiers tooks several houses, and the displaced families have filled the small inn.

Beck cuts in, suggesting they go in fighting. He’s clearly drunk. Thu’fir buys him another drink, and gives the bartender enough money to keep them coming all night. They slip out and leave Beck to his ale.

The guys made it clear they wanted to leave Beck (an NPC party member) behind. I don’t know why, but I didn’t want to force the character on them. So, I decided he got drunk instead. Looking back, this makes sense. He was first mate on Ocean’s Majesty for a long time. Most of his firends had been killed when the ship sank, and he hadn’t really taken time to deal with this yet. A good evening drinking goodbye to his lost mates was probably about right for him.

-Shamus

Eomer, Thu’fir, Enoch, and Thodek sneak through the woods to Gereg’s house. Enoch and Thodek stop well short of the house, not wanting to make a lot of noise in their heavy armor. Eomer moves forward silently and looks around.

Juding from the light, there is a campfire in front of the house. He listens carefully and determines that two guards are having a conversation. Using the mirror, he peeks in the window, but it is dark and quiet inside. He gives the signal, and Enoch casts silence on the door. Eomer takes the hinges off and Thu’fir takes the beam off. The beam falls soundlessly down the steps within the zone of silence.

Eomer sneaks in and goes to the secret door, which is a pegboard of tools. He moves one of the tools and finds it makes a very slight sound. The door is just outside of the silenced area! So, he needs to open a door which is covered in hanging metal tools, and he must do so without making any noise. He takes a deep breath…

…the door opens silently. He signals to Thu’fir, who is at the bottom of the steps looking in, letting him know where the edge of the zone is. They begin moving boxes. There are seven boxes of varying sizes, plus a sack and some other loose goods. Thordek and Enoch help move goods from the house into the woods, just on the edge of the zone. There are seven crates, a sack, a book, a lantern, and a longbow.

Can you spot the DM mistake?

It’s nighttime. Dark. They are in a basement. How can they see what they are doing? Eomer, Enoch, and Thu’fir are all human, and should be feeling around in the dark at this point. I never noticed these sort of errors until I went back and reviewed our sessions.

-Shamus

The goods unloaded, they realize that Eomer needs to stay inside when they put the door back on. If they want to hide all traces of their work, then he needs to place the bar on the door again, which can only be done once it’s in place and closed.

Enoch casts silence again, since he guesses that the five-minute duration is nearly up. They replace the door, attach the hinges, and Eomer places the bar on the door again. While this is happening, the members outside see a group of five guards head off towards town, carrying a torch. They conclude they can’t do anything about this now. They have to wait for Eomer.

Eomer, still inside, must sneak upstairs, out the front door, around the house, and meet them in back. He makes it upstairs and to the front door without difficulty.

Just before he leaves the house he pauses. He goes around into the kitchen and checks it out. He finds lots of dry goods. He also finds a sack of iron rations. He opens one, pisses on it, and then carefully re-wraps it and places it back in the sack.

He slips out the front door and rejoins the party out back.

While this was going on, Thu’fir had gone through the crates, suspicious of the smith’s story and wanting to make sure the story they had been told was true. He found the following:

  • 3 bucklers
  • 3 tindertwigs
  • Very large bundle of arrows
  • Several longswords wrapped in blankets
  • 30 iron rations
  • Another map
  • A purse of gold.
  • A very ornate horn
  • A pile of blankets
  • 3 iron skullcaps
  • 10 sets of heavy boots
  • 10 empty water skins
  • breastplate
  • Longbow
  • lantern
  • map case
  • several backpacks

They take enough backpacks, blankets and waterskins to supply the party. They take enough food to supply themselves for two days, and they take the horn. They leave everything else hidden in the bushes.

Continued in Part 3…
12There are a dozen comments.


  1. Laslo says:

    Regarding the mirror, you could assume it was a silver or steel mirror and not the glass variety. I would assume this type would be very durable :)

    No reason to explain why he has a mirror now :)

  2. Donateller says:

    After reading through the whole tale, this image stuck in my head. Needed to work on my perspective so I threw this down. Hope you don’t mind. And yeah, it does need some cleaning up.

    http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/59332122

    Didn’t know where else to post this.

  3. Dan says:

    I’m usually pretty generous with moonlight and a sort of “natural dark sense” inherent in every character. So yeah, you should have noticed the darkness, but it can be such a hassle to factor all the “sneaking around” variables required to make a scene “realistic” that actually seems more “realistic” to emphasize tension and difficulty, and not break that by throwing in extra steps that would have been hassles, not complexities. (How hard would it have been for them to swipe a lantern, temporarily, from the pub and light it in the basement? Not very, but annoying enough to break the real tension of getting caught busting into the store room.)

    I once ran a dungeon crawl where the players had been trapped, because the entrace collapsed. They worked their way through to a clan of ogres they weren’t prepared for, and fled the dungeon through the very same entrance that I had “sealed” and then promptly forgotten I’d sealed: a much bigger boo-boo than yours.

    The party burst away into the woods and re-grouped. Only later one of the players said, “Hey…wait a minute. Wasn’t that dungeon sealed off?”

    I was caught flat footed, but replied cryptically: “It was…it most certainly was…”

    Later in the session, I began to make cryptic in-game references to a servant of Cthulhu possibly having slept in the dungeon, and I don’t think the players ever caught on to my huge muckup.

  4. Turgid Bolk says:

    In the (sadly, few) games I’ve played, the players are pretty good-natured about DM mistakes or weirdness (what the heck is this water elemental doing in the forest?), and come up with their own explanations. I’ve never played such a tense scene, though. In fact the whole adventure so far seems very intense and dramatic, and I hope I have the good fortune to play one like this.
    If you haven’t done so already, post the rest of the campaign! I don’t want to be left hanging when I read to the end.

  5. Zerotime says:

    Why would Thordek and Thu’fir have to worry about their armour making noise? Didn’t they have to abandon it in the water while escaping the shipwreck?

  6. Jay says:

    I always assumed the mirror in the phb was steel, hence it’s high cost. Also, adventurer with a glass mirror=short shelf life for that glass mirror.

  7. WT says:

    Zerotime: In case you ever happen to come back to this page you read back in February, they saved their armor by using the barrel to keep themselves afloat.

  8. Seax says:

    It’s funny how difficult it is for PCs to deal with non-lethal situations..

    about the mirror, I agree that it shouldn’t have survived the hardship. a metal mirror works because it’s polished. I think it’s safe to assume that a storm and being shipwrecked will add quite a few bumps on the metal mirror, distort its surface, and render it useless. when something like this pops up, I usually let the player buy this mundane piece of equipment in retrospective, since the character knew what’s ahead, and would have probably prepared accordingly.

  9. Hmott says:

    Well, if it was polished metal, wouldn’t the player carry something to keep it polished? hmmm.. that would be a good magic item, magical mirrow polish.

  10. Trae says:

    I agree with Seax on the retrospective buying. If a character is known for always having a certain type of item, like a rogue with a mirror, and somehow he loses it, it would make sense that one of the first things the character would do once possible would be procuring a new one.

  11. Leyomi the Parodier says:

    Maybe the mirror was beaten metal? It seems like a metal mirror would have survived…

  12. sebcw1204 says:

    the 3.0 phb explicitly states that the mirror is polished steel, so it’s rather durable but somewhat lacking in fine detail. the equipment pages in 3.5 are rather vague as to specific mundane item properties. e.g. 3.0 states bullseye lantern uses a polished metal surface to reflect light into a cone, 3.5 simply states that it is a cone.
    this was probably done to streamline gamplay mechanics, but it somewhat hampers players who want to be creative with mundane items.
    i made a “flashlight” by using a polished steel bowl, a magnifying glass, and a lead sling bullet with continual flame cast on it. solder bullet into bowl slightly by using low heat, then rivet magnifying glass frame into bowl lip, (using chainmail type rivets). my DM liked my attention to detail, so he allowed me my continual bullseye lantern and even let me attach it to my crossbow’s multipurpose clamp alongside my dagger.

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