Monday, November 21, 2016

Do You Know the Way to Falach a'Bhaile

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
  • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
    • The Metal Man, construct
  • Airsen Birdmaster, Airwalker
    • Sara, Airwalker (deceased)
    • Erik Stein, Dwarven Vaultguard
  • Sneakily, Spy (retired)
  • ???, Elven Ranger

I forgot to get the Elven Ranger's name - sorry about that.

Moving on from the treasure cave, the group moved north to the rumored location of the great Gnomish City. Travel was easy, and the days were warm and pleasant; the area was covered in deep, lush grass - perfect farming land. They passed several farms on the way. They arrived in the area, and began to look about for the location of the city. Rig managed to locate a small burrow, and chatted with a sleepy giant python; the python pointed them slightly west, and went back to bed. Soon, they found a strangely wooded area; the nearby area was lightly wooded, but this area was very heavily wooded. After a little more searching, they found what they supposed was the entrance. The path was fairly obvious; thick trees lined the edges, and even thicker undergrowth filled the gaps between. The path was shaded by the forest, though plenty of rich, green light filtered through. They trudged along, with the ranger moving silently through the forest, acting as a scout.

The first sign of civilization was a statue - the face of a gnome, spitting water into a basin. And making a "Snoooort, haaaack" noise first. They camped there for the first night, and spent the night unmolested. In the morning, they continued their travels. Two hours in, the ranger suddenly exclaimed, "The map!" In their haste, they had neglected the treasure map, supposedly leading to the gnomish city. Quickly, they pulled it out, and matched the location of the statue. Perfect! They headed north, and ended the next day near the entrance of the... well, whatever it was. Meanwhile, they found a beautiful peach tree, overburdened with peaches, and ate their fill. Except Llarm, who had to nibble on iron-ration jerky.

Again, they slept peacefully; Rig, taking second watch, was approached by several creatures, grunting to each other. He addressed them in Bear, which seemed to silence them entirely; after further attempts at conversation, he tried again in Boar, which was indeed what they were. The three piggies (no, not those pigs - this was a mother pig and two almost-grown children) were heading north to get some peaches. Rig managed to quickly shuffle them away before Llarm awoke and tried to eat them...

They experimented with the letter, using the seal to open the doorway, and eventually heading through a winding passage to a single stump in a tiny glade. There, on the stump, they found a single orb, clear, with a dark center; after careful examination, the ranger carefully touched it, and felt a thrill of power from it; eventually, she lifted it, and managed to resist the sudden urge to peer within it. She wrapped it in the cloth that had once wrapped Ajeela's Eye, and stored it in her cloak.

Item found, the party realized they had run out of map; they trekked onward, finding a stream, then a fountain of a... er... squatting gnome, who was creating the stream... and continued on. They met two Treants, who claimed to be guardians of the Great Trees in the area. After a pleasant chat, the tree-folk moved on.

Finally, they arrived at the gnomish village - a wide door, set in a wall, and flanked by more impenetrable undergrowth. They surprised the guard, and tied him up with their magic rope; he awoke, announced the presence of the "Queen of Pies 'n' Bacon," and promptly fell over. Rig untied him, and he knocked on the wide door, where another guard lead them to a large, white room. Then vanished, when the door closed. There was a flicker of magic, and suddenly, everyone felt much different. Rig looked around, and found himself surrounded by gnomes! Were they hostile? Well, no... more like... confused. As they discovered, they had each been turned into gnomes themselves! With the additional ability of speaking gnome, too; handy, that. The non-sentient animals were also changed, though only in an illusory way; they resembled gnomes. Even flit, the tiny bat, looked like a wee flappy gnome.

The door opened, and they stepped out into the bustling city of Falach a'Bhaile. Rig asked a passerby where the leader was. The elderly gnome pondered the question, then replied, "Well. It's Sun Day, so that would be Rudolf. He's in the town square."

Oddly, they met their old friend Leif Airson again; he re-introduced himself, and joined up with the party to find the town square. Rudolf the Gnome was in the town square; the two airwalkers lifted Rig and Gróin up for a conversation. Caranthir, meanwhile, returned to the entrance to verify he was not going to be stuck as a gnome forever...

The party learned that there were three rules in Falach a'Bhaile:

  • 1. None but gnomes may enter Falach a'Bhaile; the penalty otherwise is instant death.
  • 2. Moon Day is Sale Day. If you sell anything, you must host a sale on Moon Day. Otherwise: death.
  • 3. (This rule is completely random, and has to do with whoever is leading the city that day)

The group then went shopping; while there were many interesting items, they decided to wait until Sale Day to pick anything up. The next day, they ended up finding a few wondrous items: various potions, and several strange magical items - among them a sheaf of Plus One arrows, an arrow of sleighing, a 6 Gone, a Rod of Marital Bliss (causes an hour of deafness when activated) and a gingerly-handled deck of (exploding) Trap Cards. The ranger, hoping for a pet, accompanied Rig to the pet shop; Rig purchased a panther (stats below), and the ranger bought one of the sales animals - a miniature giant ferret. With a bad temper.

The party decided it was time, and took a shortcut upon leaving, shaving two or three days off their travel time out of the forest. First, however, they stopped at the first of the four Great Trees - an apple tree - and stuffed their wagon full. They then journeyed south (avoiding some rather bad weather) to the Dwarven Hill Capital of Roundrock, where they saw the majestic (and enormous) Protector of Roundrock, the great stone giant...

Meanwhile, the ranger decided this would be a good time to bond with her pet. She asked Rig to tell it to be good, and if it was, it could come out of the bag. The ferret replied, "Good do! Me RUN AWAY!" The ranger carefully pulled the "pet" out of the bag it had been living in, and placed it on her shoulder. Where, of course, the ferret immediately latched onto her neck and bit as hard as it could, doing a point of damage. The ranger spoke firmly with it. It caused another point of damage. The ranger attempted to pull it off - nothing doing. It caused two more points of damage, upon which the ranger asked for some assistance. "Glad to oblige!" yelled Erik Stein, and swung his mace, dealing 4 points of non-lethal damage, and firmly dislodging the ferret. Who then needed immediate medical assistance.

Humorously, that was the entirety of combat experience to be awarded this session.

However, it wasn't the end of the story. As it turns out, Airsen purchased a huge stack of trap cards, and mailed half of them to the dwarves from the gnomish city, and half of them to the gnomes from the dwarfish city. Both were scrawled in various epitaphs, pledging to destroy the respective members of each city. The outcome of that folly will become apparent soon enough...

  • XP from (peaceful) encounters:
    • 1 giant python (350)
    • 3 boars (50 each)
    • 2 treants (1100 each)
  • XP from combat:
    • 1 miniature giant ferret (5)
  • Treasure: N/A
  • Total XP: 2705
  • XP per PC: 285
  • XP per Henchman: 142
  • Treasure per PC: N/A

GM Notes

So many plot hooks have been hooked! You see, a lot of actions in this world of mine are built off of triggers; sometimes, as complex as finding a powerful magical item, and sometime as simple as a single brief mention of a name, or even occupation. Sometimes it's sometimes simple - an upcoming encounter, say - but sometimes it's a cog in an an intricate working. A little from each category was triggered this last session.

Meanwhile, I rolled up the stats for the panther, and oh, boy! That fellow is FANCY! Strong, smart, very wise, tough, and really good looking, if a bit slow:

  • Str: 13 (+1)
  • Int: 14 (+1)
  • Wis: 18 (+3)
  • Dex: 6 (-1)
  • Con: 13 (+1)
  • Cha: 16 (+2)