Thursday, May 16, 2019

Sorcery! #2 - The Manticora

Fighting the manticore in its lair
Campaign Diary

Our heroes were able to quickly defeat the owlbear that had attacked them, but the rigours of combat and the need to move camp afterwards meant they all got precious little sleep that night.

The next morning Glowulf called upon Fulkra, the god of travelers, to show him the safest path to their destination - for most of the morning they traveled without any trouble.

A little before noon they came upon a hut by the side of the road. Exploring it, they found a woman in a large cage inside it. They quickly learned that she had been locked inside by the elvins, and pleaded for our heroes to free her. Neither spell nor strength could unlock the cage, however, until Morgana remembered the key they had stolen from the elvin's hut the day before; the key fit the lock on the cage, and the grateful woman gifted them with several magical items before she stomped off to repay the elvins a favour.

Continuing the path they had chosen for the day, they arrived at the village of Dhumpus, where they managed to earn enough gold to afford rooms at the inn by digging cesspits. They visited the store at the village, and Valerian noticed that one of the swords on sale was an Analander royal guard sword... how did the owner come by it?

On the third morning of their journey they wasted much time doubling back on their track after discovering that the path would take them to a village stricken by a plague. It was nearly sunset when they came to the village of Birritanti. Once more they found work washing towels, for which they were granted a visit to the crystal waterfalls.

The next morning our heroes continued they journey towards Khare. Just before noon, Goncol noticed that someone had set an ambush in the path before them. They party attacked the ambushers before they were ready. As Goncol demanded to know why their ambushers were attacking them, a familiar voice called out in reply: it turned out the attackers were apprentice-assassins being coached by Flanker, whom Goncol knew from Khare. Flanker apologised for the attack, offered some gold to our heroes as compensation, and admonished his apprentices for their sloppiness.

In the afternoon they came upon another solitary hut by the side of the road. An old woman, introducing hereself as Mama Clay, invited them inside for tea. She laid five cups of tea on the dining table, and as she turned to refill the teapot, Goncol, suspicious of her intentions,switched his cup with hers. As the other heroes drank their tea, they all felt refreshed, but Goncol found his limbs losing all strength, and he fell to the ground, paralysed. Mama Clay chided Goncol for doubting her hospitality, and demanded magical items from the heroes before she would give them the antidote. The party grudgingly gave up two bottles of potion, and left hastily once Goncol was able to walk.

As the sunset our heroes arrived at Torrepani, the final village before the gates of Khare. Here they found the inhabitants in a state of despair, for a man-eating monster - a manticora! - had taking up dwelling in the hills outside the village, making all commerce impossible. The winged creature would swoop down from the sky without warning, and when it faced stiffer resistance than it had expected, it would simply fly away. Our heroes offered to rid the village of the monster, and was given food and lodging for the night.

The next day our heroes put in action the plan they had come up with the night before: Goncol and Glowulf set several traps in the canopy of the forest near the edge of the village, and they started roasting a goat in the nearby clearing, hoping to draw the manticore. Sure enough the smell of the roasted mutton attracted the attention of the manticore. Our heroes retreated into the forest, hoping to drawing the monster in after them. When it became clear that the manticore was a faster and tougher opponent than they had expected, Morgana cast a spell on Valerian, causing him to double in size - but when Valerian swung his sword at the manticore, he found his sword arm caught in one of the snares they had set! Alarmed, the manticore turned and fled to the open ground, where it took flight.

The party chased after the monster, and Morgana called to Pangara, the god of winds, to send a gust upon the it, causing it to tumble out of the air. Now on the ground, the manticore continue to flee on its feet, towards its lair in the hills. The party could not keep pace with the beast, but Glowulf was able to track it to its cave, where after a fierce fight, they were able to slay the beast. Valerian took the head of the beast as proof, and Goncol harvested the venom sac from its tail. Searching the cave, Morgana found a broken staff similar to the one she held - a Analander Sorcerers College staff, and the tattered remains of a sorcerer's robes.

Our heroes returned to the village and were welcomed as heroes. A feast was held in their honour. Tomorrow they would enter Khare, but for now, they would eat and rest.

Prepping and Running the Game

This session was also runned pretty much out of the book, but I did use it to do some foreshadowing, and lay the seeds for future encounters.

The party got a sense that perhaps they are not the first team sent out of Analand for this mission. This will become clearer as they progress.

To add another element of the original gamebook to the campaign, I made each of the players choose a god for their character, and allowed each character to utilise the priestly power associated with that god once per session. I am glad that two of the players have called upon their gods for favours - the more attached they are to their gods, the more fun it will be for me when their PCs are forced to convert!

The next stage of the campaign will see them in Khare. I plan to run this part of the campaign in a more free-form manner; Goncol is a native of Khare, so I plan to let his player know about the various locations in the city, and let him tell the other PCs where they could go to find what they need to find. This will make things less predictable for me as a GM, but I imagine it will be fun for the players, and especially for Goncol's player.


Phil Curran said...

That Reaper Bones Manticore painted up rather well.

captain arjun said...

I enjoyed painting it. :)