It’s D&D time with the kids again!
We quickly recapped our ongoing story:
There’s a merchant who has a magical gem he took from goblins. There are goblins who have taken over the town in order to find him and get it back. There are townsfolk in need of heroes to free their homes from the goblin invaders. And in the last session, there are a bunch of dead goblins in the street after the initial assault breaches the gate and gets the heroes into the town.
The kids’ characters have done some research, and they know about secret tunnels between buildings. They hope to use these to surprise the goblins. I remind them which buildings have tunnels and where they lead. Jonathan declares, “I have a plan!”
So they plan to bust into the nearest buildings (a collection of small stores), take out the goblins, move through the tunnel to Town Hall, wipe out the goblins, and then move to the Blacksmith’s forge to find and eliminate a purple goblin for a reward from the dead blacksmith’s mourning apprentice.
They figure if they do this, they will benefit and they will break the goblin invasion.
Deborah also suggests listening in on the goblins’ conversations to see what they can learn.
But first, they have to get into the building. And at this point, I remind them that they’re all standing outside a tailor’s shop, right next to the window where the goblins inside can surely see them.
Roll for initiative!
Beastly Tiger (Deborah’s hunter with a newly acquired magic hammer) launches himself through the window, executing a tuck-and-roll across the table on the other side to land with a crushing blow on the first goblin. The total damage of the hit is more than half of the goblin’s life, and we follow the suggested house rule that such a hit is an instant-kill on a monster. So this goblin gets pulped.
I place a little red glass marker and remove the goblin. “It’s a blood bubble!” Deborah cheers. Queasy Mom is not enthused. Blood bubbles are super gross.
Jami’s character Bethrynivere is up next. We’re playing a lot more by ear than by rules, so we both remember a different version of Bethrynivere had an ability that “commands” another player to make an attack — hence the “leader” role of the warlord. Bethrynivere does this (because we forget that this version doesn’t have that power), commanding Beastly Tiger to “Strike left!”
Deborah rolls a 20. The critical hit card we draw says “crushed knee” and gives a rough idea of how this affects the monster. But once again, the damage is enough to instant-kill the goblin. We decide that Beastly Tiger’s hit smashes the knee, spinning the goblin into the air, and it lands upon its head, incapacitated.
Another blood bubble is placed.
My goblins are up next. One of them, having seen two of his allies exploded in brutal fashion, dives out the other window of the store and finds the rest of the heroes. He takes a shot at Bethrynivere but misses.
A goblin sapper sets a bomb in the building, hoping to eliminate Beastly Tiger. Then he makes a break for it. Now there’s only one other goblin in the room with Deborah’s character.
Deborah declares she wants to grab the goblin, throw him toward the bomb, and then dive out the window to escape the explosion. We discuss ways to make this happen, and Jami finds one of her warlord’s powers is to draw attention to herself, essentially allowing her to move a monster toward her.
“I’m the one you want! Face me!”
The goblin moves forward a few squares, ready to hurl a spear at the warlord. Then Beastly Tiger grabs him.
Beastly is an athletic and acrobatic nightmare for monsters, and this is no different. I require a few rolls–one attack roll to grab the goblin, one for the acrobatic feat of flipping the goblin behind Beastly, one for the acrobatic attempt to dive through the window. I give the goblin a chance to avoid falling flat on his face (he fails).
A moment later, half the building (and the goblin) disappears in the blast.
The goblins outside have been eliminated, except for one: the sapper who set the bomb. He is hurt, but he’s running. Killbot, Jonathan’s dragonborn wizard, decides to wait until the sapper gets to the Town Hall. Jonathan asks what his character can see of the Town Hall: are there windows? There’s a window right by the double-door where the goblin is standing. The goblin pounds on the door, calling for his friends to let him in. That’s when Killbot strikes, with a magic missile blast of force followed by a bolt of lightning.
“The goblins inside can’t miss the flash of lightning and the thunder that follows, and they certainly realize that they no longer hear their friend’s cries for help. They’re going to come out and look for who did this.”
So Jonathan suggests that the heroes rush into the secret tunnel in the now-destroyed merchant shops, and sneak into the Town Hall while the goblins are outside, in order to set an ambush for them when they return.
Deborah still wants to eavesdrop on goblin conversations.
In the end, a compromise is reached. The heroes sneak into the basement of the Town Hall, and creep to the stairs that lead up to the main floor. From there, they can listen to the goblins.
Justin’s character, Clayface, is the consummate rogue–or “sneaky guy” as he would say. I have him roll a Perception check, and he rolls high. So I tell him that Clayface does some kind of Hawkeye-Avengers stuff where he listens closely with his ridiculously-high-for-level-1 Perception skill, and maps out roughly where all the goblins are by the sounds of their voices. He’s very satisfied with this.
Jonathan’s wizard is smart enough that he possibly knows some of the goblin language, so he interprets for the others. The goblins are concerned because this gem has a secret power that will allow whoever holds it to control the goblins somehow. They aren’t really out to attack the town. They’re running scared, trying to find and stop the merchant who has the gem before he figures this out. I tell Jonathan that there are some other complicated and unfamiliar words about “undead” in there, for foreshadowing.
I also tell them that the conversation dies down. They know a fight should start soon, with goblin guards at the top of the stairs. Deborah loves playing Beastly Tiger as a dimwit, so she has him say, “I can’t hear you. Keep talking!” Jonathan laughs and “rolls” for Beastly Tiger’s bluff attempt.
Appropriately, he rolls a 1. Deborah accepts this.
One guard gets smashed instantly by Beastly Tiger; the other escapes a near death when the string of Clayface’s crossbow breaks. (Justin also rolls a 1 when trying to attack the fleeing guard.)
Now the goblins know there are intruders, and they take up hidden positions. The heroes creep up the stairs and try to figure out where the goblins could be. I ask Justin to try another Perception check. He rolls a 19, and adds his high skill.
“You can hear their panicked breathing.”
The kids love it. I point out a couple of goblin positions, lurking under tables or around corners. But clearly there are fewer known locations now than there were before.
Beastly Tiger still has initiative (because I’d rather not reroll all of that), so he rushes in, with another acrobatic leap onto a table followed by a smashing attack with the hammer. I keep letting Deborah do this because 1) that’s how she pictures her character, and 2) since she ends up rolling twice for every attack, sooner or later, one of those maneuvers will end in spectacular failure. Last session, she tried to leap onto a rooftop and rolled a 1. I told her Beastly Tiger smashed his face into the overhanging beam as he tried to pull himself up. It was delightful.
Another goblin gets insta-smashed.
Another blood bubble is placed on the map.
Meanwhile, Jonathan puts out a treasure chest in a back room. He’s the one that wants to be a DM. He convinces Jami to send Bethrynivere that way, and she finds the chest along with a goblin mage. Those two trade shots, and then Killbot comes to Bethrynivere’s aid, blasting the mage with lightning.
Along comes Clayface, sneaking into a hidden position to strike with his Dragonfire Crossbow.
Early in the session, Justin remembered very clearly that sometimes the magic crossbow he got from the townsfolk will make a target explode. I remind him that it only happens when a monster gets killed by the crossbow. Sure enough, the goblin mage is almost dead, when Clayface hits it with a sneak attack that does bonus damage. I roll attacks against Bethrynivere, and it’s not enough to hit. She raises her shield just in time to avoid being hurt by the shower of fire, bone, and meat.
Another blood bubble is placed on the map.
Jonathan rushes his character to the chest, attempting to fling it wide open. I take advantage of his greed and attack him with a trap. I roll pretty high, and now his wizard is bloodied–half dead. And poisoned.
He expresses shock. “Killbot has never been bloodied before!”
That’s what you get for going after the treasure while enemies are still around!
Beastly Tiger picks up one of the two goblins left, and tries to slam it into the other. The attack fails, but my goblin also fails his attempt to keep his footing, and he lands on his face. Bethrynivere starts healing Killbot and Beastly Tiger, who has taken a few hits and is also bloodied.
The goblin on the ground crawls under a table and hides, and the other goblin takes another crossbow bolt from Clayface. Once again, the damage is more than half the monster’s total life, so this goblin explodes as the Dragonfire Crossbow’s magic kicks in.
Another blood bubble is placed on the map.
Jonathan has Killbot open the chest and claim treasure. I take out the deck of Wonderous Items or whatever it is (another Paizo is Eevil topic in the works), and I tell him to draw three cards. He gets a card of coins, a messenger ring (with a secret compartment to place a note), and a “helm pendant.”
I promise to tell him what each of these do, but I don’t get to it in time. (More suspense for the next session, perhaps!)
At this point, Jami has been quietly talking to a friend who tells us that this year’s last showing of Shakespeare on the Green – Julius Caesar – is tonight at 8 PM. We need to go very soon if we’re going to get there on time. I glance down at the map, looking for a quick end with a hook for the next session.
“As you approach the cowering goblin under the table, he cries out in Common, ‘WAIT!! I’ll tell you everything!’ “