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A Red & Pleasant Land, Part 8: Random-encounter-dice-rolling-hot-streak

More rapid catch-up before this week's game. The next several campaign logs are going to be low on detail and entertainment value. All of my free time continues to go to HexPop! development. Basically going to do the bare minimum here to record session notes.

Prep Time

Yeah, that didn't happen. HexPop! prototype notebook is making it easy enough to run everything ad-hoc.

Players


  • Taybull Legg - Alistair, keeper of the buzzy boy
  • Jhovan the Wanderer - Alistair, seeker of cake recipes
  • Borus Bleeve - Borus the one-handed. Borus the hand collector

  • Events

    • Since the last session finished off in the middle of a dungeon, I gave the players a choice. Start off where you left off, but with no recovery to any ability damage? Or start back at home (Castle Cachtice), well rested, but with some random rolls to see what potentially bad stuff happened to you on the way home?
    • The players also had to consider that not everyone who played last time was here. Meaning not all of their expedition resources are still here. What condition is their expedition in? Do they still have the key resources to continue on?
    • The players decide to continue from where they left off. Ability damage wasn't too bad. They don't have any water, but they figure as long as they make it out of the current dungeon, they can probably find some.
    • Having been absent during the last session, Taybull Legg gets a roll on the "Where have you been?" table. Turns out that while everyone else was spending time with Leopold Ohn the Pale Knight, Taybull was spending time with a Pale tax collector, undergoing a brutal audit that cost him 20% of his wealth.
    • The party assesses whether there is anything more they want to explore in these blood sewers. They decide they are satisfied with finding the golden rattle Leopold was seeking. It is time to get on with their own quest to find the captured loach and learn what he knows of the Unicorn.
    • The party exits the blood sewers, swims their way back out the inverted blood pool, and makes their way out of the Watchtowers. But not before they encounter a pair of knights and their squires.
    • The knights greet Leopold. They are also members of the Pale House and inquire about the progress of his quest. Leopold informs them that with the assistance of these humans, he was able to acquire the rattle.
    • "'Assistance' you say? Did you remember to assess them an 'Assistance Tax'? Clearly that must be paid. Let's see... math math math... yes, an Assistance Tax of 17 shillings must be paid."
    • The players have no intention of paying. But it is also terrible circumstances for a combat. Perhaps they can talk their way out of it?
    • "My good sir, I do believe you have that written down backward on your ledger." (WIL save)
    • "That's strange.... I could have sworn I wrote it forwards last night. Ah, but a new dawn approaches. Perhaps my writing moved backwards in the night. So I suppose we owe you 71 shillings for 'Xat Ecnatsissa'."
    • Xats paid and rattles recovered, the players ask Leopold if he will now assist them on their quest to rescue the Loach. Leopold refuses -- he still must deliver the rattle to his King -- but he offers the services of the newly arrived Knights and Pawns. The question now is, how will they travel? Will these vampires actually be a burden with their inability to march outdoors in the daylight of over the water channels?
    • After some intense negotiation with the lead Knight -- an imperious 8000 year-old trapped in a bratty 14 year-old girl's body -- the vampires agree to ride in the wagon, covered in bedrolls.
    • The rest of the session is a long overland journey south. And I was on a hot streak for rolling encounter checks. They bumped into something in almost every hex.
    • The party encounters a village of strange, candy-hungry children in a village obscured in mist. They race their wagon through the village, escaping the horde of children running behind, screaming "Candy! Candy!"
    • The children find them later that night as they camped in front of an abandoned asylum. The part stands their ground and fights the children off. Borus starts collecting hands from the fallen.
    • The party finds a lone, riderless horse, obsessively charging back and forth down a jousting field. It has no opponent. Giving up a little food, the party befriends the horse and brings it with them. The ignore the door built into the side of a hedgerow near the jousting grounds.
    • The party bumps into an immense wall that is completely blocking their path. They decide to use the barrel of gunpowder they've been carrying since the Tower of the Stargazer to blow a hole in the wall. The Cheshire Cat shows up to watch the fireworks, although he is less than pleased that the party is destroying "The Queen's Property".
    • The party encounters a single vampire, a merchant of the Order of Diamonds. She is in panicked tears. She had been dispatched to collect delivery of a new cloak for the Queen of Hearts. But on her way home, an eel-like creature suddenly leaped from the water, grabbed the cloak, and disappeared into a nearby mirror. Won't the party help?
    • The party investigates the mirror. They are once again able to walk through the mirror to the "Quiet Side". But they are unable to find the eel creature.
    • Borus gets a genius idea. He walks through the mirror. The party prevents his "mirror twin" from walking out. Borus (missing a left hand) is now looking face-to-face at his mirror twin (missing a right hand). He pulls out his gun and shoots his reflection's left hand off and claims it.
    • The party decides there is nothing further than can do to help the Diamond. They sell her the duck they've been carrying, Fat Balto. Perhaps he can go through the mirror, swim in the channel, and find the cloak for you? They leave her to her likely-to-have-her-head-removed-by-the-Queen fate.
    • Finally, the party arrives at the location their map indicated the Loach had been taken to. An exposed section of the Interior -- a library -- stand in front of them.

    Questions before next session


    • What is the fate of the merchant? Can a single duck help her retrieve the stolen cloak?

    What worked well?


    • The HexPop! notebook worked great! A whole lot of overland encounters came up, but I never felt lost and never had to delay the game to do more rolling. Just had to consult the pre-rolled hex listing in the notebook.
    • The "expedition resource" management system is working out really well. They players are getting used to the idea of needing to assess the "resource health" of their expedition and whether or not they need to head back to home base and regroup.
    • Borus' hand idea was genius. So proud of that player.

    What didn't?


    • The players did seem to fall into a frustrate, "Are we there yet?" mood with all of the overland encounters. I need to figure out how to make the hexcrawl itself feel as important and interesting as the destination itself.

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