This week, there were only two players due to Good Friday, but I ran the game anyway since I had already cancelled the week before. Again, the group was extremely cautious. Again, everyone survived, and furthermore they even found their first treasure!
Our roster consisted of:
- La Fleur, human wizard, 20 XP
- Roderick Clearwater, human rogue, 40 XP
The game started in Ansvell, where our adventurers had breakfast and learnt a little about entering the ruins: There are three entrances to the ruins, a rope bridge, a breach and the former harbour. The bridge is considered the safest and most travelled, guides have seen the adventurers they lead to the ruins attacked on their way into the ruins on the other entrances. On the other hand, the lizorcs guarding the bridge demand outrageous sums from travellers for entry, but uncle Murgin mentioned that they can often be bribed with fancy food and drink.
The players decided to buy some adventuring gears, which were in surprisingly great supply (with slight defects, though). The group brought several bags of caltrops, a healers kit, and two bottles of acceptable wine with accompanying cakes and cheese.
Uncle Murgin lead the group to the ruins, telling them a little about the swamp on the way and advised them to speak with the lizorcs. He would not enter the ruins, as he considered them to dangerous and prefered earning money as craftsmen and occassional guide. They also inquire about the swamp hags, and are told that those will contact anyone who leaves a message at one of the crow poles, small birches that are overgrown with an obligate hemiparasitic shrub of black colour.
The lizorcs turn out to have a very strong emphasis on the S-sounds and greedy: They demand 300 gold per person to pass. Roderick turns his charms on, however, and convinces them to let the group pass for a cake and some sugar.
For an additional offer of one bag of salt, the lizorcs tell the group some more details about the ruins:
There are four major lizorc tribes in the ruins: the Froggers at the harbour, the Beekeepers slightly north of the harbour, the Locusts in the centre, and the Spiders in the north. Explorers are quite a common sight, and they usually barter with the lizorcs. There is a large pyramide in the ruins, but nobody who went there ever returned.
With this information, and after climbing on a vantage point to get a general overview, the group pushes deeper into the ruins, heading south-west. After just a short while, they meet a rather hollow looking man with honey-coloured lips and teeth, who totters and pleads for some honey to clear his head. When asked about the honey, he tells them that his boss pays him in honey, but that he cannot work any more because his head is so clouded, and he needs honey to clear it. He offers to join the group, but they convince him that their chances will increase if they split up. Thus, they part ways, promising to whistle if he finds any honey, before stumbling back into the rubble.
Further on, the area changes a bit from rubble to vegetation, probably a former park. The group sees some of the Morgendornsträucher and keeps their distance. This leads them to a wide open plaza, with a couple of steles and obeliks on the otherwise empty place. A lizardman seems to be melted into one of the steles.
Roderick is extremely suspicious, and La Fleur does not even dare to attempt an Identify spell. Her attempt to render an expert opinion based on her magical education fails, the place is just to different from the things she is familiar with. She only recalled a clerical spell called ‘Meld into Stone’ that would produce somewhat similar effects, but nothing more.
Or rather, her player rolled a 1 on her Arcana knowledge roll.
Roderick considered the place a death-trap and decides to give it a wide berth, but La Fleur decides to sent her squirrel familiar onto the plaza. The squirrel touched the lizardman, and found itself in a shower of stone because the melted lizardman turned out to be extremely brittle. Afterwards, the squirrel flit across the whole plaza, without any negative results. Finally, the group dared to enter too.
Roderick’s player was very suspicious and insisted on leaving, even though La Fleur seemed not that certain. I had to encourage La Fleur’s player a little before she dared to tell her plan. It worked great and I am glad that she told it, because that way the group saw that not everything odd is necessarily dangerous. Sure, many odd things are dangerous, but no risk, no gain—and without La Fleur taking this (calculated) risk, the group would have missed its first treasure!
Inspecting the statue a little closer, they noticed the lizardman was holding a kind of sabre with a reddish metallic hue. Still somewhat suspicious, they pulled the sabre of the statue with a grappling hook and some rope, which resulted in nothing but a loud ‘clang’ when it fell to the floor. The group pocketed the strangely looking sabre, decided to inspect it more closely in a more secure spot, and went on their way.
The sabre they found was actually a Kopesh (or sickle-sword), but the name completely escaped me during the session.
Shortly thereafter, they met a small group of lizorcs that were gathering roots and herbs. With this encounter on the horizon, we finished the session.