Tuesday, March 15, 2011

[D&D] The Mystery of the Missing Mage (part 2)

Since I started writing about getting the kids going on their new Dungeons & Dragons adventure (in both senses of the word - their "adventure" of playing a new game and the adventure titled "The Mystery of the Missing Mage"), I figure I may as well continue on and talk a bit about the playing.

The players:

My daughter, the thief, is a coward. She's fairly loathe to put herself in harm's way, and will gleefully let her brothers' characters die if she must. I have to point out to her from time to time that "they're the only thing keeping you alive. One of them is the only healer in your party (a mage with healing proficiency is literally all they have) and the other guy both takes and deals all the damage. If they die, what's going to happen to you?" at which time she usually bucks up and goes on the offensive in the least hazardous way she can manage. It's really very funny to watch her play.

One of my sons, the mage, alternates between reckless abandon and sheer terror. He feels especially vulnerable and worthless once he runs out of spells - just like every other player who's ever run a first-level mage. Sometimes he's ready to charge in with his figurative guns a'blazin, but then yesterday he was feeling so worthless and fearful that he literally had his character run to the far end of a hallway and watch the battle from there. Granted, he couldn't resist throwing some darts and ended up being fully engaged, but his initial reaction was to grab some popcorn and enjoy the fight from a safe distance. When he finally gets to recharge his spells, I fully expect him to be filled with piss and vinegar once more.

My other son, the warrior, is, well, a warrior. He knows no fear unless his siblings instill some in him. He can't wait to wage into battle, his gleaming sword covered in gore. His solution to whatever problem they're having is to attack, smash, or ignore it. It's not too unlike his actual personality, truth be told. Of course, he's utterly malleable to the wishes of his siblings - whatever they suggest, he immediately and enthusiastically parrots.

I began the game with an introduction explaining where they had come from and how they'd gotten where they currently were. Since the mage and the thief are both elves, I made them cousins and explained that they'd been sent from their forest village to live with a mutual uncle. The ex-adventurer runs an academy for fighters, and had taken them in hoping to train them. They were both pretty hopeless, the thief being incompetent with anything other than her shortsword and daggers, and the mage barely managing to swing a large stick (quarterstaff, actually) without clubbing himself of a cohort. Ultimately, the thief was allowed to go learn from the master thieves in another town, and the mage was sent to train under an arch-wizard friend of the uncle. The final player, the human warrior, was a natural fighter. He was sent to serve as a cadet in the guard of a nearby lord to complete his warrior training.

The three friends met at a tavern in a town near to their uncle's home. They had planned to catch up on their adventures, spend the night at the inn, then travel back home the following morning. Instead, they were deluged with the hand-wringing fears and concerns of the locals. Livestock had disappeared, things were heard moving in the forest at night, and finally a young girl had disappeared from her father's farm only the night before. Something had to be done!

So off they went. They hadn't asked any directions, hadn't really inquired where they needed to go, they'd simply bargained for their reward and then charged off... where are we going?? Okay, back to the inn to ask directions.

Somehow they managed to find the cave where the adventure was to take place. The thief scouted inside, creeping up the dark hallway with only her infravision to light the way. She heard movement up ahead, followed by a rumbling from behind, so she hid in the shadows.

The rumbling, it turns out, was a heavy wall of solid rock that was closing down across the entrance to the cave, sealing it completely. The warrior and the mage quickly ran inside before it closed, then made their way in the dark, hand in hand (since the warrior could see nothing in the utter blackness). They walked right past the thief, who had forgotten she was hiding in the shadows and scared the pants off her own party. But there was still the sound from up ahead in the darkness.

It turned out to be a giant, two-headed dog-bear (or bear-dog. I dunno - the module just called it a "guard beast". You figure it out. Regardless, at 1 HD, it wasn't worth the massive XP specified in the adventure). It advanced menacingly on the party, clearly preparing to attack. True to his nature, the warrior charged ahead, rolling a natural 20 (a guaranteed hit, plus double-damage!) followed by maximum damage! He clove the creature into puppy chow, and the party continued merrily on their way.

Up ahead, the atypically-brave thief for whatever reason decides to lead the charge, kicking in a door. Which leaves her at the mercy of the orc guard who was coming to check on the noise from the next room. She's quickly reduced to 2 HP and beats a hasty retreat, hiding behind the big warrior (played by her little brother) who handily destroys the guard.

The next two rooms are both filled with orc families - adults, women, and children - which the party engage one room at a time and cheerfully slaughter. In the process, the mage uses the last of his spells, the warrior loses a third of his health, and the poor thief is still at 2 HP (the mage blew his healing rolls on both the fighter and the thief). They're determined to catch some sleep, however none of the rooms they've found have doors on them, and they're rightfully concerned (because I suggested it) that they might be attacked by the friends of the orcs they just slew if they decide to spend the night in their home. Besides, they can see another door just a few feet up the hall, and this one has an actual door with a lock and everything.

So once more into the fray they charge. I make some strategic suggestions which they eagerly adopt. This time, they open the door and let whomever's inside come charging out to them. It sort of works, and allows the thief to execute her first backstab, perched above the door jamb. There are four orc guards in this room, and they handily slay three of them. The fourth runs away, however, and they make no move to chase him or even determine where he went. In fact, the thief is so desperate to get her health back - and the mage is so intensely focused on getting his spells back - that they barely remember to lock the door before flinging themselves onto the beds inside the room and going to sleep.

So, naturally, they're awakened a short time later by the friends of the one who got away...

To be continued.

No comments:

Post a Comment