Monday, March 28, 2011

[D&D] The Mystery of the Missing Mage (part 3)

You could easily argue that I took it easy on the kids. I prefer to say that I role-played the orcs who were bright enough but not experienced with intruders in their lair, nor terribly efficient. They "deduced" that the door to the room where the players were sleeping had been locked from the outside, and didn't search it carefully. Since the room's occupants' bodies were already out in the hall, they were more concerned with searching the rest of the complex than exploring a seemingly-empty room. They made a cursory search, but the players had hidden themselves inside footlockers and under rubble and were not discovered.

Shortly after, they snuck out into the hall, led by the thief. She made a successful move silently roll, followed by a backstab for double-damage against the orc leader who had dispatched his men to investigate. They had to fight a couple other orcs who were nearby, but then escaped into an unused side-cavern.

Here's where I was especially nice. They were just getting creamed without a cleric to heal them, and I refuse to run an NPC if I can possibly avoid it. It's just too much of a hassle and it slows the game down whenever they get into a dynamic situation. And if I'm not careful, he ends up just becoming a walking magic item who does a little damage and can fire off a few heals every day.

So instead I added a half-dozen "minor healing potions" to the corpse beneath the yellow mold. I'd used these potions in the past (I think I'd developed a recipe that let the party's mage and, again primary healer in one of my major campaigns, create these potions from scratch using his healing and herbalism abilities. What I cannot remember is how much damage they healed - It was something like 1d4+1 or 2d3, I think) and they were just the ticket for low-level characters. They're even kind of nice for high-level characters who want to top-off or just be able to absorb one extra hit before they drop. This fortuitous discovery let them heal up and get ready to continue.

The remaining 3-4 orcs finished exploring their lair's top level and it was pretty clear to them that the enemy must still be inside. The dog whose chain leash controlled the main entry trapdoor was dead and unmoved, yet the trapdoor was securely closed. They returned to find their commander dead and a trio of intruders lined up at the far end of the hallway, bows, daggers, and darts ready to let fly. The party managed to kill two of the orcs in their free round of missile fire before the remaining two closed on them. About the same time, one last orc came up through the secret door to the lower level, placing him directly behind the party. Luckily the mage spotted him and was able to raise a warning. The warrior quickly cut down two of the three orcs and the rogue dispatched the other. A secret door beckoned to the dark depths below - the second level of the humanoids' filthy den!

Addendum: Hey - check it out, I dug around in my old files (from the Candlemir campaign, should any of my old players stumble across this) and I tracked down the Minor Healing Potion recipe. I made a few little modifications and here it is. I plan to add this as a scroll in an upcoming wizard's workshop where the players can find it. Since some were found in the current adventure, it would make sense for them to find it in the wizard's lair, assuming they find it.

Potion of Minor Healing

The following formula will allow you to concoct a simple, herbal healing potion from fairly common herbs:

Begin with 8 drams of distilled water
Add the juice of 14 comfrey berries
Boil - the steam must be collected and condensed, preferably in an alembic
Stir for 10 minutes, adding crushed root of woundwort
Pour in the condensed steam
Add 1/2 dram of mint juice
Allow to set for 3 days, stirring 4 times per day

The potion will heal 1d3+2 hp or bring a person to 0 hp if unconscious. However, every time (after the first) that a creature is brought conscious with this concoction within one day's time, a system shock roll must be made or they die. If used on a conscious individual, the only side effect is a slight dizziness (-1 to attack rolls) which persists for about 10 minutes (1 turn). It is impossible to consume more than 4 of these potions in a day's time. The body will vomit up any more than that.

Note1: to craft these potions, roll a blind herbalism check at a +2 bonus and consult the chart below:

Roll Result     Effect
Succeeds      2d3+2 vials of the potion are crafted.
Fails             1d3+1 vials of the potion are crafted.
Natural 20    2d3+2 vials of the potion are crafted. They appear to be fine, but are actually spoiled and are
                    poisonous. The drinker will take 1d3+1 damage, save vs. poison for 0 damage. The drinker will
                   cough up a foamy, bloody sputum that’s easily identifiable.

Note2: if a character is poisoned, a healer and herbalist who is familiar with the recipe for this potion, if tending to the victim, will add a +4 bonus to the saving throw. If they are not familiar with the recipe, the roll is at the standard +2.

Note 3: a character with both Herbalism and Alchemy makes their crafting check at +4, always produces the maximum number of units possible (no roll needed), and can make an Alchemy check to detect tainted results. (I'm pretty sure that Alchemy was a non-weapon proficiency I made up for my game. If I find it, I'll post it here sometime.)

Edit: Yep, I did find it and I wrote about it here.

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