6 February 2013

Dungeon World - Session 4

This week we added a new player. He will be taking on the role of a stoic dwarven fighter and already has a rivalry with the halfling fighter and some trouble brewing with the bard. An interesting piece of trivia for our new player, he's a professional DM. I don't know how well he does because, well, I was too afraid to ask. I was a bit worried he would be snobby and critical of my skills, but he either kept it to himself or had a good time. I'm going to go with the second one if it is all the same to you.

Planning at The Sideways Stallion

The game began, as these things often do, with all of the PCs sitting around a table at The Sideways Stallion discussing where they would go now that they had finished their business in Sandover. The group argued for a little while before deciding that their destination would be Lambatar, a large city to the north. Their reasons for heading to Lambatar were twofold: a rumour of a beast terrorizing the countryside and an unlabled treasure map they had looted from the ruins might have something to do with lost vaults of treasure in the region. Very few adventurers can resist the lure of riches and fame and so the decision was made.

Preparation for their perilous journey (as Dungeon World puts it) took a few days and lead to the party putting the word out that they were hiring a quartermaster to look after their animals and traveling supplies. While there were a few interested parties, the group couldn't agree on who to hire and were just about to give up when none other than Jaim Sandover (Lord Sandover's youngest son) approached them in secret. Jaim wanted to join on as a way to escape his father and the dry future planned for him. After a brief argument the group decided to bring him on, a choice that I will surely exploit sometime in the near future. The next day the party sallied forth, heading north through hills, scrub and later into the rocky wasteland that surrounds Lambatar.

Bard Song: The Beast of Lambatar

I have this habit as a GM that whenever a player declares that they are singing a song, telling a bawdy joke or otherwise performing where I put them on the spot and ask them what song they are singing or what the joke is about. So, when the Bard declared he was singing while they traveled north, you can be sure that I asked what song he sang. His answer? The Beast of Lambatar. The song was a bawdy tale that reimagines the mythical beast that terrorizes the city as a kind of unstoppable Casanova.

Elf Facts

Another habit I have as a GM is answer player's questions about lore with questions. This came up for the first time in our Dungeon World campaign during this session when a player asked if elves had a better sense of smell than humans. My answer? You tell me, you're the elf!

I like to let players influence game lore as we go and this is a good example of one of the ways I do it. From this point on in our game elves will all have an excellent sense of smell instead of infravision.

Justice, Fire & Disagreement

Eventually the road to Lambatar hit a fork and the players, they took the road less traveled. Unfortunately, the road less traveled lead straight into the waiting ambush of the notorious highwayman The Scorpion.

The Scorpion opened with the classic line, "Your money or your lives." The party, however, was having none of that and made short work of his petty band of thugs. They evaded his nets, his poisoned arrows and even his six bandits. The Dwarf and Halfling fighters worked together to take down the majority of the thugs, but the Cleric stole the show when he clubbed a thug to death using his crystal orb/holy symbol.

When the dust cleared three bandits had broken and run for the hills only to be stopped with the Bard used his handy new Amulet of Rhissel to summon a wall of flame. Things then took a turn for the worse as the Dwarf and the Bard argued about what to do with the remaining bandits. The Bard wanted to give them Rhissel's justice and have them walk through fire to purge them of their crimes. The Dwarf thought that was violence and not justice and to prove his point he walked through the flames and feigned death. The Bard was unfazed and promplty pushed the bandits after him. One died, while the others suffered burns and were healed by bard song and then sent on their way with Rhissel's pardon. Something tells me this won't be the last time that the Dwarf and Bard butt heads.

The Maiden in the Cliff

A few uneventful days of travel later and the party was now working their way through the wasteland proper. Just when they were about to die of boredom they stumbled across a mysterious dwarven woman carved into a rocky cliff. The carving took up nearly the entire cliff and could be described as gigantic. This lead us to a quick round of...

Dwarf Facts

  • Dwarves live beneath the rocky desert that makes up the Lambatar region.
  • Dwarves have a patriarchal society.
  • Female dwarves have beards, but only as maidens. Upon marriage they begin shaving and their husband wears a matrimonial beard clasp. (That's how they knew the carving was of a dwarven maiden.)
  • Dwarves have many secret societies.
  • Dwarves build funeral statues.
  • Dwarves have darkvision.

Desecrating a Secret Dwarven Tomb

Further inspection of the cliff maiden resulted in discovery of a secret entrance, a place wear one could wade through the stone as if it were a kind of thick water. The group found that they could "swim" inside of the cliff and when they headed down they landed in a pitch black chamber. It was a good thing we established earlier that dwarves can see in the dark!

Inside the chamber were eight stone tablets with dwarven writing on them. The party tried to take them from the chamber, but found that as soon as they were exposed to sunlight that they started to turn to dust. They quickly returned them to the dark and the dwarf translated a heartbreaking tale of forbidden love and the death of an unlucky dwarf's wife-to-be. The Cleric and the Dwarf new from clues in the tale and the secret entrance that this place must have been constructed by a member of the semi-secret society of stonewhisperers. This, of course, lead the Cleric and the Dwarf to want to learn more about the place. The Cleric because he serves a god that collects and deals in secrets and the Dwarf because he was just plain curious.

Searching the chamber lead the Halfling to a secret door and the Bard to a trap. The trap was a nefarious one where ordinary stone would allow someone to pass part of the way through it (or all of the way), but once in the stone was unmoving leaving them sealed indefinitely. The Dwarf and Cleric argued about the secret to getting free from such a trap and the Cleric had the right answer, so it's a good thing he was the one the Bard listened to. Nearly drowning in stone was enough for the Bard and he retreated to the surface along with the Halfling to have an angsty conversation with Jaim Sandover while the Dwarf and Cleric continued to explore.

A few narrowly avoided stonemeld traps later and the duo have found their way to a stone room, filled with stone furniture containing one very dead dwarf. The dwarf rested in a stone chair with his head submerged in stone, an apparent act of suicide by stonemeld. The long dead dwarf didn't stay dead for long, though, and he was very angry at having both his lady love's memorial and his own rest disturbed. In a fit of poltergeistic rage he flung objects around the room and then possessed the cleric to use him as a channel for potent stone magic. Stony arms reached out from every stone surface and attempted to strangle both Cleric and Dwarf, luckily the Dwarf managed to evade the grasping hands long enough to keep both himself and the Cleric safe while the Cleric regained control and fired off a Turn Undead. The ghost returned to his corpse to cower in fear while our heroes hastily looted the small room, finding nothing of interest except for a small sphere. The sphere was carved with ancient dwarven runes and set off the Cleric's "secret detector".

The Cleric and Dwarf escaped the tomb only to stumble out into the light and find that the dwarven spirit had regained its senses and taken physical control of the stone maiden. She was swinging her chiseled arms out of the cliff face and trying to both smash everyone in sight and claw herself free from the cliff. The Cleric saved the day by casting the small carved stone into the light and watching it turn to dust. This seemed to appease the restless spirit and the party distanced themselves from the killer cliff as soon as possible. Nobody realized that the Cleric had enough time to use his orb to "scan" the stone sphere and send its secrets off to his patron.

Finishing Up

We went through the XP checklist and a couple characters leveled up. The Cleric asked me about the secrets of the sphere and I may allow him to get a compendium class out of it (Stonewhisperer). We'll see.

Alright, that's it. This little recap turned into a gigantic one. I hope I'm getting better at writing these session reports as I go, but I think next time I will aim for something shorter.


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