Sunday, January 13, 2013

In the Service of the White Queen

I woke up this morning with an apparently severe case of polyhedritis, possibly brought on by a flailsnail bite in the night.  And so, bereft of my usual gaming crew (they all have lives, apparently;  how dumb), I decided to run my first-ever online game via Google+.  While I need to process what worked and what didn't a little bit more, I can easily say that it was a fun evening and a very good substitute for the "real thing" of running a tabletop game.  Definitely looking forward to doing it again.

Four adventurers walk into a bar.  Trite, right?  Here's the thing--I was adapting to the format and technology, so I kept everything about the adventure as comfortable as possible so that my brain had some extra processing power.


We started everyone at 3rd level.

Scene:  The Wilderland Inn, a cold night just after New Year's Day.

The door of the inn flies open and a man wrapped in a weather-beaten cloak and carrying a sheathed sword in one hand stumbles inside.  A massive gash on his forehead gushes blood.  He slumps into the nearest booth and proceeds to pass out and bleed all over the floor and furniture.  While Nack the Monk is tending to the man's wounds, Orias keeps an eye out for suspicious characters and Brom and Henry run outside to see if the man's assailants can be found.  They see a couple of cloaked figures run off into the woods at the edge of the courtyard and give chase.

Meanwhile, Nack and Orias determine that the man (whose name we later learn is Aden) has actually been poisoned and is delirious as well as being almost out of blood.  A doctor is called for and Nack manages to secret away Aden's sword when his poison-fueled ramblings reveal that it is valuable and sought-after by the "Frost Witch".  More wrestling and shenanigans ensue when a dwarf from the tavern feeds Aden some Ouskae that sends him almost literally through the roof.  Eventually, Nack punches the poor guy in the back of the head as he's trying to run back outside, knocking him out on the Inn's front step.  With Aden unconscious, the Monk and Curmudgeon head outside and hear chaos in the woods.  At this point, Nack straps on the sword-belt and instantly becomes impervious to the winter cold.  Curious.

The woods lead to a ravine with a shallow creek running through it.  In the moonlight, we find Brom and Henry going head-to-head with a pair of goblin assassins and their warg steeds.  Nack and Orias join the fray, and eventually one of the goblins and both wargs are dispatched.  The second goblin-- whose name is really Skweek but who quickly earns the moniker "Gollum" for his whining and fightiness--is taken prisoner, tied up, and secreted back to Nack's room at the Inn.  (The party wanted to collect the warg hides but beat a fast retreat when additional howls make them suspect that reinforcements are on the way.)

Back at the Inn, the doctor heals up everybody (including Aden), and sleep, breakfast, and rumor-mongering is had.  Local gossip says a witch has taken up residence in an abandoned keep a few days southeast of the Inn.  Aden tries to find out what happened to his sword but Nack refuses to give any clues and then buys up all of the extra horses so no one (especially Aden) can follow the party on the next phase of their plan, which becomes... give the sword back to the goblin-employing witch and see if they can get a reward?  (Ah, sandbox games... you just never know what's gonna happen, do you?)

The party and their six extra horses take to the road and then, after a day or so, take to the woods when it looks like brigands are causing trouble on the road.  There's some mucking about in the forest--including a flyby by a youngish white dragon--before they finally make it to the ruined keep.  Just like the word on the street said, the keep is now occupied, staffed mostly by armed and cruel goblins.

Givre, the White Queen
After some wrangling with guards, Orias and Henry wait outside with the horses and weapons while Nack and Brom go in to meet the mistress of the castle.  They are led into a large-but-bare banquet hall and are soon joined by Givre, a 7' tall sorceress with pale, frost-tinged skin and a stunningly regal bearing.  She holds out her hand and... they give her the sword!  In exchange, she offers them employment (that thief Aden must die, she says) and a pair of magical silver daggers with sapphire-encrusted scabbards*.

And that's where we left off.  What happens next?  I don't think anyone knows!

*Winter Knives:  +2 cold resistance when the scabbard is worn. +1 to hit and damage.  Add 1d4 cold damage to a successful attack.

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