Dragon’s Bend Sessions 1-4

I wasn’t going to do session reports for this campaign. Session reports don’t get many views. My players find them useful so I’ll start doing them again.

My post about the setting got some positive attention. Here are the highlights of our first four sessions.

We spent a lot of time in those first few sessions just talking and hanging out. All of us are busy. The game group is a major social activity for most of us. I think that we are finding our stride as group again and future games will be more focused.

Notes

  • We are playing Swords and Wizardry Complete.
  • 1 Silver Piece of treasure recovered and returned back to Dragon’s Bend = 1 Experience Point
  • Treasure awards will be 10 X less than the game RAW.
  • Starting Money is 3D6 x 10 Silver Pieces. Gear prices remain the same.

The outcome of that is that all the PC’s can barely afford the absolute minimum gear and weapons. They have to make some hard choices about what to buy. Dragon’s Bend is not a metropolis and the merchant’s that come here are not well stocked.

Photo by Zsofia Szalay on Unsplash

Session 1

Party: Cullen the ranger who wants to bring “civilization” to the steppe-people, Akiro the druid from the land far to the east of the steppe, Atticus the cleric of Hazud (god of stories and music) searching for old stories and music from the ancient times.

  • The party started in Dragon’s Bend learning about the situation described in my setting post.
  • They learn there is a river troll giving the fishermen trouble down river.
  • They decide to go out to the battlefield where Otkar fought the dog-people.
  • It is the burial practice of the steppe people to lay down their warriors in mounds with their weapons.
  • The party makes it out, digs through the pile of bones and corroding gear of the dog-men. The dog-men do not bury their dead. Otkar’s warriors had piled up the corpses as a sort of macabre monument to their triumph.
  • The PC’s don’t find much but use splintered shields and a smashed up helmet to start digging in the warrior’s burial mounds.
  • After several days of digging they acquire some used but serviceable gear.
  • On their way back, a half dozen bird-men hunting see the party and come down to talk.
  • The bird-man leader comes forward and demands the party give them something for fight.
  • Cullen the ranger parley’s with them. Cullen has a low charisma and low intelligence.
  • The bird-men are unhappy with the money Cullen offers them and attack.
  • The party is getting beat and good. Atticus and Akiro have to roll on the Death and Dismemberment table and both lose an eye.
  • Atticus decides they’ve had enough and quickly offer the bird-men a bigger bribe. They accept and fly away.

The party returns to Dragon’s Bend, quietly sell excess gear to the merchant Balassa. Balassa has a reputation of being something of a scumbag.

Session 2:

Player Characters: Daryl (Third of his name) Fighter looking to win fame, Atticus, Cullen

  • The party travels east toward the Red Fort.
  • For some reason that none of us remember, the party pays a fisherman to take them to the north side of the river. It was probably to avoid some danger. There is a very nasty ghoul hunting the river banks on the south side.
  • Party travels six hours and come across a bear getting a drink from the river.
  • They decide to kill it, skin it and carry the meat back to Dragon’s Bend. They’ll get a good price.
  • The party has good luck, no gets hurt in the fight and they make some money.
  • The fur trader, Andorhas, seems glum and his wagons are empty of furs.
  • The party learns that the draug that came to trade have had one of their number go missing. They are about to start murdering people in the camp if they don’t find him soon.
  • The party talk to the Draug, figure out where their friend was last seen and Cullen tries tracking him.
  • It seems the draug was captured and taken to the west of Dragon’s Bend. The party track them down a side path off the main trail.
  • The party follows the trail to a bandit camp (the difference between bandits and warband in these parts is slim).
  • The PC’s sneak up on camp guards and kill them. Spy out the draug and formulate a plan to sneak him out. There are too many warriors to fight their way through.
  • PC’s kill the guards coming for relief, disguise themselves as the guards coming back to camp (It’s dark now) and wait until most everyone is asleep to make their move.
  • They release the draug, steal some horses but no tack and get out of the camp quietly.
  • Once they are out of the camp, the run back to Dragon’s Bend and return the draug to his friends.
  • They find out that this is Gyala son of the chieftain of clan Neci. The bandits who kidnapped him thought they could get a good ransom. The leader of the bandits was not pleased because clan Neci are known for being…unpleasant.
  • The draug are happy to get their chief’s son back and give the party a bundle of furs.
  • The party go back to Andorhas tell him the tale and the draug will come trade with him now. He gives them top price for the furs and a little extra.

Session 3:

PC’s: Atticus, Akiro, Cullen

  • Party heads toward Red Fort on south side of river. Here’s an illustration by one of the players https://www.instagram.com/p/CTNejMKlPbr/
  • Come across a dead dog-man. Part of the corpse has been eaten and signs that another dogman was killed and drug away.
  • Party loots the corpse and avoids whatever it was that killed him.
  • Notice a small hut with windchimes made of wood, bone and stone across the river. No one was home.
  • Come to the Red Fort. The party notices that where the red tinged plaster has fallen down, near the walls of the tower, there are no plants within five feet.
  • Cullen sees footprints going to the fort, which is just a tower with a crumbling wall.
  • Cullen finds a tripwire of sinew across an opening in the wall. Steps over it and finds an alarm made with cast off manacles like the kind the draug use on the hill-people slaves.
  • Inside the courtyard outside of the tower, evidence of salvaged materials, cooking fire, a frame being used to butcher and skin game.
  • Akiro and Atticus inspect the red tinged plaster and collect some of it.
  • The tracks around the tower are strange. They are a mixture of human and animal like tracks of various types (cat, lizard, bear) as if they were on the same creature of roughly man size stature.
  • No one is home but the tower shows signs of inhabitants. Uncured raw deer pelts being used as bedding, the place smells like a dirty animal barn. Some meager possessions that look like they might have come from a wrecked boat from the river.
  • The dwellers return. A group of creatures with partial human characteristics and partial animal features show up with mix of simple weapons and they are unhappy to find uninvited guests. They don’t attack.
  • They speak the hill-folk language interspersed with growls, barks, hisses and whistles.
  • The PC’s learn these men were slaves being transported by draug across the river. A river troll came up, capsized the boat and killed the pair of draug warriors who owned the slaves. The slaves managed to get to the bank and ran. They found this fort and salvaged enough gear to find food and set themselves up. After several weeks of living there, they starting mutating into these monstrous forms. They believe they are cursed.
  • Akiro casts detect magic, finds a strange little trinket in a rubbish pile inside the tower. He notices the red plaster has a strong magic worked into it. Akiro tells them that he found the source of the curse and will take it away.
  • Knowing the only skilled wizard around is Vitallis about 3 days travel from here, the party head that direction.
  • No problems during travel to Vitallis. He lives in this huge structure that rises out of the steppe and doesn’t seem to belong there at all. It is a beautiful palatial building near a stream. Two minotaur guards with massive two handed axes stand guard. They ask what the party wants. They tell the minotaurs and one goes in.
  • Soon Vitallis, a sorcerer ox (see Frog God Games Monstrosities) comes out to talk to the party.
  • They tell him of what they saw at the fort and show him the plaster they collected and the trinket.
  • He tells them that the hill-men are not going to get better. The plaster crumbling off the wall caused the problem and the trinket provides protection from undead. He also offers to buy the sample of the plaster and says if they bring him more he will pay a very generous sum of coin for it.
  • The party returns to Dragons’ Bend to buy something to gather the plaster.
Photo by Kat Sazonova on Unsplash

Session 4:

Player Characters: Akiro, Atticus

  • The party pools their money and buy two horses, two sheep, a beat up old cart, a barrel of salt fish, a barrel of ale and two empty barrels.
  • The party heads to the Red Fort.
  • Along the way they have to run near to the river. A river troll leaps into their path but there is some distance between them and the troll. Akiro whips up the horses, nearly looses control of the wagon but they successfully evade and run away from the troll.
  • Arriving at the fort, they make an agreement with the mutant hill-men. The hill men will fill the empty barrels with all the plaster they can gather and in exchange, Akiro and Atticus will give them the food.
  • The mutants agree and load the barrels.
  • The party decides to go cross country, directly to Vitallis’ mansion.
  • The party comes across a large boar sunning himself by a watering hole. He seems completely unconcerned by their presence.
  • The party bring the wagon closer and shoot at the boar with bow and sling. They hit him once and manage to piss him off. He charges the wagon to go after the horses.
  • Atticus has to get off the wagon to defend the horses. Akiro keeps shooting (into the melee) and kills one of the horses. Eventually, he gets his rhythm and puts several arrows into the the enraged boar and it dies.
  • They butcher the boar, and horse, smoke and pack up the meat and skins from both. That takes few days.
  • They see a large insect like creature that burrows up from the ground on a ridge not far away. It looks around and goes back into its tunnel and leaves.
  • Just on the outskirts of Vitallis’ lands, three dog-men ambush the party. They don’t attack but they do have the drop on Akiro and Atticus. They demand payment for passage. The party agrees to give them a small amount of coin and some meat if they go away. The dog-men agree.
  • The party arrives at Vitallis’ house. The exchange is made. The PC’s ask the sorcerer if it is possible to restore their lost sight.
  • He tells them that the empress Zelaya was famed for having a fountain that could heal grievous wounds. The fountain is supposedly in her private apartment’s of her underground palace a few days to the south. Vitallis has been in the underground several times but never found the apartments. He says it is a big place and dangerous.
  • The party leaves. The same three dog-men try to ambush the party again, in the same place but Akiro and Atticus are ready this time and kill two with arrows and sling. The third one decides running away is the better choice and the adventurers let it go.
  • The party return back to Dragon’s Bend and sell the meat they collected from the boar and the horse.

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