Defense of Brookside

Game Master caster4life

The farming hamlet of Brookside has suffered some violent and mysterious attacks.

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Brookside Campaign Journal

Getting better at mass combat... phew. I created quite a mess for myself when I moved some text around for narrative purposes without thinking that it would swap rolls around. Things should be straight now but let me know if something doesn't make sense.


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Hi, GM - I think that it’ll make sense for Vors to step up and strike the leader, but I’m getting a little fuzzy on how many orcs are there. Am I seeing:
- Leader (on horseback, has taken a lot of hits)
- Karak (still on fire, has not been hit by weapons)
- 5 Orc (all wounded in some way: fire, traps, etc?)

Sorry - I’ll try to go back over the posts to see how many of them have been hit, and if you’d like Vors to make a heal check to figure out who is wounded instead of sharing that info straight, I’m happy to.

Also, just to share how I’m doing as a player, the death of these townspeople really hurts. I have a kid that’s 2 years old, and while I know that our own world holds even worse than this for even children as small as mine, I can’t imagine having to go through an event like this at that kind of age. Thanks for making the town worth emotionally investing in.


Brookside Campaign Journal

Yes Vors, your assessment of the situation is correct, though it's about to change a little bit due to what just happened at the south wall. You notice the orc grunts are attacking pretty recklessly and don't care a lot about defending themselves. The leader has also channeled on them so you could make a heal check to see how they are doing but it's not something you would automatically know.

No comment on NPC tactics. That's up to you to decide. It looks like you haven't taken an action for Vors yet, btw.

Thanks for investing emotionally in the town. That's the major point of this short campaign. I'm not trying to be emotionally manipulative when a villager falls. It's just a very sad part of this story.


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Whoops! That should have been Vors on the last attack against the leader. Roll to hit = 26, damage roll = 5.


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, HP: 75/75, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 7:12:4 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +4 (+6 when bluff/SM involved); Status: -
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +6, Disg +18, Escape A +11, Heal +18, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +15, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Just a note -- I'm at NorWesCon in Seattle, away from my usual haunts, and scheduled to GM today, tomorrow, and Saturday. I also have never been to this city before, so I'm likely going to try and squeeze in some touristy stuff with a local friend. I'll try to keep an eye on this, but I'll be quite busy for the rest of the week. If I am holding things up please feel free to bot me.

Targets in order of preference: anyone threatening to take out a PC imminently, the leader of the tribe, the melee orcs, the karak, the ranged orcs.


Brookside Campaign Journal

No problem, Mel. Thanks for the heads up.


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Just curious: Were Allen and Abigail Dorner adults / parents of Ursa? Or are all three teenagers in town?


Brookside Campaign Journal

Ursa is Allen's sister. Abigail was his wife. They have three young children.


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Ah, there they are. Didn't scan that far down the list. Thanks.

And crap. Hope Ursa makes it - my tactics aren't good for anything in this one. :(


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Brookside Campaign Journal

It's also a very tough fight, which I feel somewhat bad about. Thankfully, Thomas Nolton was very, very persuasive in Astin. Still, the cavalry is helpful but doesn't solve the problem for you guys.

And yes, Halak is determined not to die a prisoner.


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Yep - no chance that they'll miss except on a natural 1, and no chance of doing less than killing damage when they hit. It's actually pretty close to how (relatively) untrained villagers would do against orcs, I guess.


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Hi, everyone! Happy Easter - took me offline for most of the weekend. I'm just gonna go check the gameplay thread for the first time in three days. Nothing too crazy could have happened, right?

....


Brookside Campaign Journal

Hmm.... Maybe...


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Sorry for delay - will try to post first thing in the morning, but today has just felt behind the entire time and now I'm just keeping my wife awake. If you want to bot, feel free, Vors will attack the closest foe (hopefully the mounted leader) with a power attack, and get his fellow melee-ers to cut loose on the orcs nearby.


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Brookside Campaign Journal

It's not great being a melee character... especially when the opponents are orcs... rough time to be a Brooksider with a decent strength score...

This is surprisingly painful to run. I didn't realize I would feel the NPC deaths this much myself.


Brookside Campaign Journal

Acts 1 and 2 are over. We're now in the epilogue. You guys are handling gameplay very well. I'll only step in when necessary. Keep it up.


Male Human Shaman (Witch Doctor) 7 ----- AC 19, HP 45/45, Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +12, Init +2, Perception +23

Any chance of this game continuing past the epilogue? I've really gotten into the characters and storyline, not to mention the beloved town of Brookside.


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, HP: 75/75, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 7:12:4 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +4 (+6 when bluff/SM involved); Status: -
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +6, Disg +18, Escape A +11, Heal +18, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +15, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Aww, I was hoping to have a scene with Hirda over the bodies of her kinfolk -- try to talk her out of suicide. But it's certainly in-character of Hirda to hang back and not approach while Mel is there, so I'll "yes, and" that.

Perrin wrote:
Any chance of this game continuing past the epilogue? I've really gotten into the characters and storyline, not to mention the beloved town of Brookside.

I'd be on board for that if the GM is up to it. Mel has secrets that have not come out yet. But it feels like we're coming to the logical conclusion of the narrative.

GM, Vors, Hirda, what are your thoughts?

We probably need some or all of these scenes:

- Thomas Nolton's return, possibly with more reinforcements from Astin
- bury and/or cremate the dead
- Hirda's end (?!?)

If we're wrapping up, I think there needs to be some resolution of the conflict between Mel and Perrin. If we're continuing, we can leave that run with the two arguing back and forth in a semi-friendly semi-serious rivalry.


Brookside Campaign Journal

I think I'd be game for keeping those going but I'll have to think about it and hear from you guys. We could keep with the current method or replace level ups with conversions to heroic levels for less xp per level. Mostly, my interest in continuing depends strongly on the party's interest.


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Well, let's see how well Vors fares against Halak before I commit him to anything else. :)

That said, I think that as much fun as this has been, I know that Vors is DONE, as far as in-character reasoning goes. He retired from the army to have a quiet farming life, and unless something comes after him, he's not going to be going out to find trouble. Though there could be something to have him as a side PC, since he took up a leadership mantle, if that's a way that he could keep contributing.

However, it was his impassioned speech after Cyrus died that got a lot of folks in town to listen to him, so it's possible that the families who suffered deaths won't want anything to do with him. Eventual vendettas? GM's discretion. :)

- - -

Now Kelian, on the other hand... That young man might have gotten the adventuring bug out of this whole experience. If he nab's his dad's (well, Halak's) armor in the night, and takes up training more with the masterwork longsword? That's like every fantasy novel... ever. :)


Brookside Campaign Journal

I agree that Vors, in character, doesn't seem interested in anything more. I was thinking that exact same thing about Kelian as what you mentioned. Young enough to think that fighting is an adventure. And certainly wouldn't hurt to keep Vors around as a PC-controlled NPC. Let's see how it plays out. I'm also interested to see what the next day or two in game hold for Hirda and her motivations going forward.


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HP(48/50) Saves(F:8 R:1 W:4) AC(15/10/15)

It would be fun to continue, and I might be persuaded, but it feels like a good end. There would have to be some major justification for Hirda to want to undertake any adventure, even against orcs. Sounds like a spin-off with Vors' son, Mel, and Perrin might be the way to go, maybe recruit one or two new characters?


Brookside Campaign Journal

Might be. You mean new character(s) or new player(s)? Either way, let's keep discussing the possibility as we wrap up.

On a side note, I do not understand why a GM can't edit a post after 1 hr... Seeing my typos later just hurts...


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, HP: 75/75, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 7:12:4 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +4 (+6 when bluff/SM involved); Status: -
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +6, Disg +18, Escape A +11, Heal +18, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +15, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

I think the PCs time lines have gotten slightly out of sync -- it looks like Vors is still on the night of the fight while Mel, Perrin, and Hirda are on the next morning.


Brookside Campaign Journal

I was wondering if that was hampering you guys. Thanks for pointing out the issue, Mel. Let's continue as if it is morning. Consider Vors' conversation with Halak a retcon. There's plenty left to do still.


Brookside Campaign Journal

For ease of organization,

For those who can read Orcish:

here are the orc papers found on Gornak (first orc chief).

And here are the papers found on Ukar.


HP(48/50) Saves(F:8 R:1 W:4) AC(15/10/15)

I'll be away for a few days. Don't worry, Hirda won't go anywhere without saying bye first!


Brookside Campaign Journal

Glad to hear it, Hirda!

Right now, I'm waiting for Vors and Perrin to talk about what they're thinking and go find the others. Or do something else, if that's what they choose!


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Sorry, all - long weekend! I'm going back and forth in my head about what Vors would do here. WOuld he keep his plan to fight/kill Halak, or try to use the Orc as a resource to figure out what's going on with the larger picture. With Mel departing, and all of us failing our sense motives, I feel like he's stuck with fighting.

Oooo, or I could have Halak hide in the wood, and try to keep him honor bound to serve me (or Kelian?) to go and figure this out.

It's dark now - are any other townspeople nearby such that they would see Vors sparing his life? Might have to lie and say that he's already torched...


Brookside Campaign Journal

There are townsfolk who were guarding Halak still standing around. I assume you guys didn't leave him unattended.


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, HP: 75/75, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 7:12:4 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +4 (+6 when bluff/SM involved); Status: -
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +6, Disg +18, Escape A +11, Heal +18, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +15, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

You could ask Halak what he wants. I sincerely doubt the Brooksiders are going to be okay with keeping him around. Which would leave his options as A) death, or B) wandering the world as the sole survivor of his tribe.

In metagame terms, I think it depends on whether we want Halak's story to continue -- and that, in large part, depends on whether we are continuing or not. He's an interesting character, but the main reason I'm so surprised that he turned out not to be the puppet master is because that would have tied up everything so neatly in terms of narrative. The PCs discover that the whole thing was a power play by a scheming shaman whom they have already captured, and everything wraps up with either an execution (justice is served) or a climactic fight with the real BBEG. Everything made narrative sense. It would have been a satisfying conclusion.

Except that was incorrect, and Halak's not the mastermind, and all of a sudden nothing is resolved. There's a bigger schemer out there someplace, but we have no candidates for who it might be, very few clues, and no clear idea where to start looking.


Brookside Campaign Journal

Haha. Yes Mel, many of your theories have made a lot of narrative sense. I just stuck with what I had originally planned though several times I've thought Huh... that would be cool too. I do think you guys are on track to figure this out, though the ending isn't necessarily going to tie everything up. I intend it to either wrap up the role of Brookside or to pave a path forward, depending on whether or not we continue.

Speaking of which, Mel and Perrin seem firmly in favor of continuing. Vors seems inclined to do so as Kelian while Hirda seems to be leaning towards concluding her story. Should we continue with 3? Recruit a 4th or 5th? Wrap up at the end of this epilogue?


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, HP: 75/75, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 7:12:4 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +4 (+6 when bluff/SM involved); Status: -
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +6, Disg +18, Escape A +11, Heal +18, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +15, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

Continue with 3. At least long enough to figure out who's ultimately responsible for the attacks and Brookside and ensure they don't try it again.


Brookside Campaign Journal

I meant continuing or recruiting after the end of this part of the story. It will probably just be best to discuss it when we get there since you'll have more information then.


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Ok, guards around Halak makes sense.

I don't think I could pull him off, but it would actually be kinda fun to do 3 if I got to play Halak, as he, Mel, and Perrin head out to figure out what caused the ruin of his tribes, and the near ruin of Brookside. :)

Gah, decisions, decisions! And me coming down with a cold. Sorry I'm not moving this along, but I gotta make a choice. Ah well, here we go...


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Bah, wimped out. He healed me in the battle! For all Vors knows, it was Halak that kept him alive during the last part of the fight.


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, HP: 75/75, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 7:12:4 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +4 (+6 when bluff/SM involved); Status: -
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +6, Disg +18, Escape A +11, Heal +18, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +15, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

>.>

<.<

Err, GM ... animal messenger is actually an enchantment spell that targets an animal in the area. Not conjuration. So, your change actually makes it function exactly as it always did!

Um, except that it doesn't allow for a reply message unless there's someone on the receiving end to cast it again. Who would then need to know where to send the animal with the reply. Making it support return messages would be a pretty good change. ^_^;

Mel shuffles her feet uncomfortably.


Brookside Campaign Journal

Ah I see. Thanks. My wife and I both misunderstood that. Well maybe that helps a bit. Yes the version we are dealing with supports return messages without the recipient knowing where they are sending the animal back to.


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Sorry all. Virus. Surviving on nyquil. Hope to catch up in the morning. :(


Brookside Campaign Journal

Sorry to hear that. Sounds miserable.


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Yeah, even with the nyquil, sleep has been evading me. My post here might be a little loopy, but I'll try to catch up.


Brookside Campaign Journal

Oh man that's rough. When you need sleep to overcome the thing that's keeping you from sleeping...


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Yeah - seems to have gone better last night, as I didn't feel quite so wiped today. Here's hoping it's out of my system in the next day or so.


Brookside Campaign Journal

Good to hear it! Hopefully, yes.

Also good to see Mel's backstory coming into play.


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, HP: 75/75, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 25 Saves: 7:12:4 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +4 (+6 when bluff/SM involved); Status: -
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +6, Disg +18, Escape A +11, Heal +18, Kn(arc, nobles) +9, Kn(loc) +15, Kn(nat) +12, Kn(plan) +15, Kn(rel) +13, Kn(others) +8, Ling +7, Perc +18, Sense M +7, Stealth +25, Surv +5, Swim +6

It feels like we're not getting anywhere on this. But just charging in sounds like a profoundly bad idea. There could easily be more traps, we know nothing about the interior of the hill, most of us can't see in the dark and we have no light sources.

Hirda's the only one of us who can fight effectively in that kind of terrain, and she's been hobbled by a trap that we have no good way to remove at the moment.

Anybody else got any ideas? Because this is not Mel's kind of fight at all.


Male Human Shaman (Witch Doctor) 7 ----- AC 19, HP 45/45, Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +12, Init +2, Perception +23

Okay, tactics time!

I was thinking of throwing a web spell into the cave - not sure exactly how it'll work in a confined space like that, but it is a "spread" effect so it should be able to turn corners and fill up side tunnels we can't even see. Then we could have Halak drop one of those spider swarms on top of the caster, which is not only incredibly thematic but has the distraction ability that makes a great combination with grapple to stop him from casting or getting out. Even if he escapes the web he can't leave without risking getting caught again, and if he kills the swarm Perrin can just hit him with a pumped-up burning hands.

Alternatively, we could try using command to make him come out, wasting a turn and provoking attacks of opportunity in the process. The trouble with that is that as a caster his Will save should be pretty solid, making it kind of a toss-up. Maybe Vors could try to demoralize him first? But if it does work he'd be safely surrounded in the bright light of day, and in a field of grass so Halak can use entangle if he tries to run.

As far as light sources go, I do believe Hirda pulled out a candle a little ways back, which Perrin could hold so she doesn't have to take up a hand. And if we need something brighter, while Perrin didn't prepare his light spell today, Halak did - so all we've got to do is ask. Halak can also see in the dark, so he could help with taking the lead.

Speaking of Halak, he could swap out one of his spells for a spontaneous summon nature's ally to get something better suited for a fight inside the hill, like a small earth elemental or a couple of stirges. He could also just wild shape into something cool like a digmaul, which has scent to bypass visual illusions and can hopefully avoid most traps by climbing along the tunnel wall. Having an ally with 20 Str and four natural attacks who can still cast spells is never going to hurt.

As for Hirda's unfortunate trap encounter, she could eventually make the Strength check if all four of us used aid another at once, giving her a total bonus of +10. We could even throw in bull's strength from Halak and a guidance from Perrin if need be, but all of that would take time that we don't really have. We're probably best off just trying to subdue the illusionist first and deal with the trap afterwards.

I'd say a much more immediate problem is Hirda and Vors' confusion: Perrin's channel takes up his action and only alleviates it for one round... and he's only got two more to spend. Outside of that, it's a toss up whether or not they start trying to kill us. Any ideas on how we could get deal with it for good? It doesn't help that Perrin has no ranks in Knowledge (arcana) and didn't see it get cast, which means he has no clue how the spell works. But Mel might, once Vors and Hirda explain.

Oh, and I just remembered that one of those potions Perrin looted from Halak at the campsite was a potion of burrow, which might be helpful in navigating the hill. Unfortunately none of us really have senses that work while underground, so we'd still be going in blind. And I'm not sure whether knowing she can tunnel out through the walls would help or hurt Mel's claustrophobia, but there's that.


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Hi, everyone - I'll have more soon, but FYI that I'll be on the road today and tomorrow. Hope to update on the way.


Brookside Campaign Journal

Feel free to plan a little more. I'll move us along tomorrow if we're still somewhat unsure how to proceed.


M HP:47/47 | AC: 15 | Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +4 | Init -1; Senses Perception +4 Warrior 4/Expert 2

Hello, everyone, and sorry for my long absence. Two weeks ago, we found out about a happy change of employment for my spouse (primary wage earner), right before hitting the road to go on vacation and see family, and it’s given us a lot to think about and plan for re: this summer.

Well, after 2000+ miles of driving, apartment hunting, and catching up with old friends who are very excited that we’re moving back closer, we’re now settled in with our family for a couple weeks of visiting and approaching a more normal schedule. I hope to catch up with a post tomorrow, but - again - my apologies for delays that I’ve caused.


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Brookside Campaign Journal

That's all right, Vors. We all understand there are a lot of things more important than PBP. :) I should have just moved us along sooner to keep things smooth.

Glad to hear the happy news for your family!

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