Monday, August 10, 2009

Campaign Notes: DL 1-1

I thought I might jot down some notes here from our new Dragonlance campaign which started up yesterday with character creation and a very quick adventure. The "DL 1-1" in the blog post title stands for "Dragonlance Season 1, Module 1" which is how I number modules for my campaigns (like TV seasons as I've mentioned previously).

We're starting in a small community called Ironrock (as found in the new DL books from Margaret Weis/Sov Stone) in Solamnia, on the west side of the Vingaard Mtns. My brief ideas for the intro adventure were for the PCs to get masterwork weapons from the deity that chooses to use them in the upcoming War of the Lance (we're about a month out or so from meeting the Dragonarmy) and to start out slow so we can get a good sense of the setting. DL at this time (Age of Despair) is rather sparse on magical items which is a change from our planar campaign. I also wanted the players to get the same sense of awe and wonder I had when introduced to DL 25+ years ago. To that end, I read some passages from the original DL 1 and DL 5 supplements. I think the players appreciated getting some world info that their PCs would already know from the original source material.

Gotta run for now but I'll add how the adventure went later on.

Okay, I'm back. So, why did I choose Ironrock? Well, I wanted to have the PCs in an area that will be exposed to the war before the Chronicles events. I guess to me it feels best to not start in medias res. We'll have a few more modules to set the mood and get the players up to speed who are not as familiar with the setting before the poop hits the fan. Ironrock also, according to the War of the Lance sourcebook, hides a secret that none have yet discovered.

As for the adventure itself, we have Heather playing a minotaur fighter, Greg playing a Plainsman cleric (of Kiri-Jolith but no spells or clerical abilities yet as the gods have "not yet returned"), Brad as a kender "rogue", and Scot as a wizard. I decided to have everyone know each other as they have been part of the same orphanage for some time. The woman who ran the place decided to move on since the 4 PCs are now the only people there and they are young adults. Now they have possession of a two-room shack with a partially collapsed roof. The game began with the Plainsman and minotaur sparring outside against the backdrop of the mighty Vingaard Mtns. The kender is cheering on the warriors while the wizard observes on the far side.

The kender is then approached by two men--one in bright clothing and one in armor and armed with a longsword. The first is some sort of entertainer who is interested in magical goings-on in the area. His bodyguard is, well, a mean-looking guy. The bard-type figure also has a pet weasel which the kender immediately recognizes as a "long rat." Sensing danger, the sparring duo and the wizard prepare for combat. However, the only offensive maneuver from the bard is a juggling act for the kender. The PCs speak briefly to the bard and direct him to the Ironrock Inn for more information (as they have none).

Being the inquisitive characters that they are, the PCs decide to head the Inn soon after to find the two visitors questioning the innkeeper about the old crone who lives in one of the caves in the mountain. Scot's wizard nearly causes an incident when his detect magic is noted by the bodyguard. The spell picks up magical bracers on the bard before the man calls his bodyguard away from the cleric and minotaur who jump to defend the wizard from the aggressive guard. As it's clear the party won't leave them alone, the bard offers the kender (who sat at the bar with him and his weasel) a business opportunity to lead him and his guard to the old crone's cave. The kender, in true kender fashion, denies an offer of payment in leiu of simply having fun leading them.

The group hikes 15 minutes west to the crone's cave, a place which the PCs have only seen the outside of as the woman has consistently run them off every time they've drawn near. Today, no one emerges. The PCs are increasingly concerned that the duo means no good for the old woman so the cleric tell the kender to distract the two while he goes inside to ostensibly prepare the woman for her visitors. The kender juggles while the two strangers move away from the cave entrance. The cleric moves inside and is stopped at the first turn by none other than the crone herself. She quietly warns the young man that the two strangers are evil and they must be killed because desire the secret of Ironrock and she is its guardian.

As the cleric, minotaur, and wizard begin to plan their next move, the kender intentionally whacks the bodyguard in the head with his juggling ball. The guard draws his blade and tells the bard to "end this charade!" A battle ensues during which the guard nearly slays the minotaur (-8 hp before she stabilizes!). The bard color sprays the poor kender who is knocked out for the duration but is in turn color sprayed by the wizard. The cleric slays the guard before then dispatching the bard in a show of righteous finality. The "bard's" disguise self spell dissipates to reveal an older black-robed wizard.

After stabilizing the minotaur, the crone reveals that the secret of Ironrock has been protected so that the PCs can take possession of it when they're ready--this moment! Deep inside the cave, the crone leads the group to a blank wall. The wizard dusts off the wall to reveal a carving of a bison's horn--the cleric recognizes this as Kiri-Jolith's symbol. A search of the wall reveals two fist-sized apertures on the wall's bottom corners. After the LN-aligned cleric gets zapped by a magical trap, the good-aligned kender and wizard put their fists in the nooks and the wall opens upward like a door. Inside, a fountain of pure water is active. A half-submerged dagger is rusty above the water line but below is in mint condition. The PCs dip their weapons and armor into the sacred waters of Kiri-Jolith (war god) and find their arms and armor repaired and made masterwork quality!

The wizard takes a vial of black liquid he found on the evil wizard's body and places it inside a scroll case he fills with sacred water. The black ichor fights with the pure water but soon evaporates, prompting Scot's wizard to theorize the pair meant to poison the fountain. Once their equipment is dipped, the fountain suddenly dries up, leaving behind a medallion of faith at the fount's center. The cleric takes possession of the item and hears the words of Kiri-Jolith to go out and preach the faith and that this medallion will make others for those of like minds. Already a war-minded cleric, Greg's PC experiences an epiphany and changes alignment from LN and LG to better serve Kiri-Jolith.

Thus ends the first adventure of the new campaign!

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