5 December 2016

Polyhedrals and Parenting - 2

After the success of my first foray into BFRPG and roleplaying in general with my two protogeeks, we have played twice since. The first of those included defeating a gelatinous cube with fire, large albino carnivorous apes, and a run-in with goblins that nearly got Emrim the thief killed. Very nearly. The two dwarves had limped back to Morgansfort to heal, catching a lift on a cart studded with goblin arrows. As well as cleverly trading their news for a free night's lodging, they cashed in the little treasure they'd found, re-equipped, and got lumbered with a young cleric and taciturn guardsman - both the head of the Watch and the chief cleric of Tah in the fort wanted their own man with the dwarves if they returned to the ruined fort in the river. Rumours of a great hairy beast bringing squabbling goblin tribes together were causing concern, along with several tales of itinerant clerics vanishing.

(Apologies for not referencing pictures - lots unattributed on searches I made)
Emrim (dwarf thief played by MiniRab#1) and Gremdullin (dwarf fighter played by MiniRab#2)

Today's session was demanded (really quite insistently) by MiniRab#1 and grudgingly acquiesced to by MiniRab#2, although he was fully in character in under five minutes. The cleric, Gerrard, is a little on the simple side and rather clumsy, but his innocence lends great efficacy to his healing prayers ("He's like an eager schoolboy" tutted Gremdullin - played by six-year old MiniRab#2 channelling his grandfather!), while Geoffroi mostly grunted and shrugged, occasionally swigging from his "water" bottle.

They were soon underway, travelling uneventfully through the late summer/early autumn coutryside back to the river, retrieving their hidden boat, and crossing to the island. The dwarves avoided rowing by claiming they needed to "keep a careful lookout". For what, I'm not sure...

Heading back down into the darkness, lit only by Gerrard's bobbing oil lamp, the dwarves led the way using their map to explore a hitherto bypassed side corridor. "What is that squeaking noise?" muttered Emrim the thief. They soon found out; they'd stumbled into a room being used as a nesting colony by stirges. Emrim poked a nest to see what they were and got viciously attacked for his pains.

Swords and maces flailed in the torchlight to bring down these carnivorous vermin, with Gerrard using his torch to knock the last one out of the air. This left the nests themselves, still containing verminous young. The grim task of disposing of these disease-laden monsters began (alongside retrieving the various shiny things the adults had acquired), but hard-hearted Gremdullin paused. He reached out and picked up the smallest , secreting it in his belt-pouch. "I'm keeping this one. I'm going to tame it and train it." There was no dissuading him. "I shall call him Royuem," he declared.

[MiniRab#2 is basically the lower-school incarnation of a PETA activist, but he kept it in dwarven character throughout]

Treasure distributed, they returned to the pit trap they'd skirted and deliberately triggered it to lower Emrim down on a rope. Using the swirling dust to spot a draught, the thief discovered a small hidden cache under a loose flagstone, nearly getting a crossbow-bolt to the face for his inquisitiveness - the hidey-hole had been trapped! The rubies inside were reasonable reward for his endeavours, and off they set again.

Now they moved purposefully, packs heavier with coin and treasure, as they retraced the last expedition's fateful last steps towards their goblin encounter. A glimmer of torchlight ahead alerted the four to trouble and Emrim snuck ahead, moving as quietly and secretively as possible.

Sadly, it seemed he overestimated his own abilities and, on reaching the corner in the corridor to peer round, found himself face-to-face with three goblins, one of whom extinguished the torch he was carrying while another promptly speared Emrim right through the guts and leaving the dwarf kicking out his last moments in the dust of the tunnel. [Down to 0hp from a single spear thrust! Oldschool rules punish over-enthusiasm in 1st level characters pretty brutally!]

"Nooooooo!" howled Gremdullin as his comrade from the goblin wars back home was cut down ahead of him, apparently on his way to join his ancestors at least a hundred years too soon. He sprinted down the corridor to his friend's aid, but tripped at the last moment and sprawled ignominiously in a heap [natural 1]. From his even lower than usual vantage point, he was able to see Geoffroi had kept pace, and kept his feet, neatly slashing the tip of his blade through the throat of the lead goblin. Gerrard was also alongside, already praying to Tah before he reached the stricken Emrim, his simple but unshakeable faith flowing through him in an almost visible outreach of Tah's healing power. The thief would live!

Hauled to his feet by Geoffroi, Gremdullin soon made amends, chopping at the foe with enthusiasm and skill. In moments, the three who'd ambushed Emrim lay dead and the rest had backed off. There was a tense pause. Then the leader of the goblins spoke up in heavily accented Common. "We are many. You are not. We fight, you die. Give us god-man," here he pointed at Gerrard, "and you live. Choose now!"

"Never!" roared Gremdullin, brandishing his sword in defiance. Abandon the saviour of his friend? Not by the beard of his ancestors would he consider such a thing! Emrim evidently felt the same as he darted to one side and shot his crossbow straight at the speaking goblin [natural 20!] piercing him through his open, lying mouth and to the spine beyond and sending the lifeless body of the tempter sprawling. The two fighters took their cue and charged the shaken goblins, cutting down two more.

One of their fellows decided to go for Emrim who had only a couple of moments to react. "Gerrard! Catch!" he shouted, throwing his crossbow to the unengaged cleric and snatching up his mace from its hook on his belt, ready to fight. It was a fine throw, the crossbow arching through the dungeon air neatly into the hands of the cleric, who did catch it... but dropped the lantern in doing so ("Sorry!") - the sudden darkness was almost absolute.

From being on the back foot, the goblins took advantage of the sudden darkness; they live mostly underground and can see well in the inky black of the tunnels they infest. Dwarves can see well in their mines, too, but both species need a few moments to recover their night vision; Geoffroi and Gerrard might as well have been blind. The cleric fumbled with his tinder and flint to relight the broken torch, while the guardsman swung wildly with his blade.

The battle was frantic and unskilled, both sides slashing and bludgeoning, their vision still poor as they adjusted to the dark. Geoffroi and Gremdullin both took wounds, the surprise of sudden pain almost as incapacitating as the cuts themselves. Geoffroi felt his blade bite deep into a goblin, it's strangled cry cut off mid screech suggesting its death, but he could not see. Behind him he could hear the fumbling and cursing of Gerrard as he failed to light his lantern. As silence fell, the lantern finally caught and blazed back into life, casting a warm glow over a scene of carnage. The three fighters were doubled over, breathing heavily after their exertions, and all around lay dead goblins, but not as many as they'd originally faced - some must have fled. Indeed, the door to the room the party had been making for was now ajar; it had been closed earlier.

Emrim and Geoffroi started to loot the bodies, finding a good couple of handfuls of coins, mostly gold to their surprise. Meanwhile, Gerrard called out in dismay "Gremdullin! What are you doing?" The dwarf looked round to face the other three, knife in one hand, bloody lump of goblin flesh in the other. "What? I'm feeding Royuem - if I've killed his parents I need to feed him." He leaned down to place the stirge chick on the body of one particularly shredded goblin corpse where it began to feed greedily until it was fully gorged. "Fancy a game of goblin-ball?" he asked Emrim while his chick fed, indicating the decapitated head of one goblin. "No!" insisted Gerrard, "That would be... wrong!" "Suit yourself," the dwarf shrugged. "Why don't we move on?" asked Geoffroi, swigging from his flask, to general agreement.

The obvious route was to follow the fleeing goblin through the open door. The room beyond was where Emrim had nearly died last time and he shuddered as they entered, but not from fear - there was a strong draft coming from an open secret door in the far wall. Cautiously they approached the opening, weapons at the ready. There was a dark and slightly damp hidden room, but no sign of the goblin(s) who seemed to have gone that way. There was a wooden chest which Emrim quickly checked for traps, picked the lock, and retrieved the coins from, pouring them into his sack.

He stood up, wriggled his shoulders to settle his sack. "Ok. Where next?"


That. Was. Awesome. I hadn't really anticipated them being so good at this, being so young, but it seems that structured collaborative storytelling is an innate "thing" that people do. Which is great. 

I am a happy geek daddy!

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