We introduced three new players to the Oak Hill RPG Club this past Monday. Two, Aaron and Joy, have been away from the game since 3.5, while the third, Paul, was a first-timer. Joining them in the introductory session were my son Connor, Shaun (not pictured), Steve (Skyping in from Chicago) and Mike (Skyping in from his holiday in Ireland).
First, a quick recap:
“Winter can be hard in Vispania, especially in the far reaches of the kingdom’s northern duchies, but the cruel hand of the Frost Queen has been light thus far. Still, a gentle snow falls on the ruins of Argonrose, a tower that once held the secrets of the Warrior Priests of the Sacred Flame, but now serves as a respite for those on the Hillscrest Road, between Hommlet and Daggervale to the south.
A campfire, warm and inviting staves off the bitter chill, but food is scarce and rations are a pale substitute for fresh, roasted meat on a spit. A traveler’s approach bearing a recent kill is an invitation that is hard to pass over, even in these dangerous times when the uncertainty of the Crown makes beggars of nobles and farmers alike.”
Ziyal, a gender-fluid grave domain cleric of Dreigotter, was tasked by the High Kirk of Our Mother at Rest to secretly deliver a magical artifact to priests in the Shadow Kirk in the village of Hommlet, a three day journey from the small town of Fairion. Joining the cleric on the mission were Abraxas, a wizard charged with keeping a wary eye on the artifact in case something “arcane” transpired with it, and Jone Constance, a rogue who conned his way onto the mission under the pretense of being hired muscle.
The party set up camp in the ruins of Argonrose and were met by four travelers: Velius the Sorcerer, Acamus the Warlock, a spellbound paladin named Braxton, and Tim, a high-elf rogue archer. Presenting a felled doe as an icebreaker, the group gathered around a fire and feasted. Introductions were made, and Ziyal proselytized upon the virtues of the Dreigotter faith.
After the hearty meal, Velius and Tim took first watch. The sorcerer spied the approach of a wandering monk with an ox in tow, while the high-elf spotted an altogether different threat to the south — a band of orcs and goblins working in concert.
A battle ensued. Despite initial misgivings (and an assassination attempt by Jone), the party was aided by the monk Helmeister. In all, the group dispatched three orcs and seven goblins to the hereafter, but not before a single goblin escaped into the night with the artifact Ziyal was meant to deliver to the Shadow Kirk.
Helmeister identified the war party as a group led by a supposedly undead wizard holed up in a nearby cave. The session ended with our intrepid heroes dead-set on retrieving the stolen item from the depths of the wizard’s hide-out.
It was a great session, with a great mix of roleplay and dice-crunching. The new players caught on quickly and really brought their characters to life.
Shaun’s elven archer and Mike’s warlock were stand-outs from the martial side of things. Mike dropped four of the goblins while Shaun killed three goblins and was essential in taking out two orcs.
Joy cast Shield of Faith, which I allowed to enhance the entire party, granting them a +2 to their Armor Classes (the reason for which will be revealed later). She also made good use of her hand-crossbow, aiding in the defeat of the goblins.
Connor used several spells to dramatic effect, such as a timely prestidigitation and minor illusion. He seems quite taken with Chill Touch, which is a picturesque attack that has a great necromantic mechanic built into the backside of it. I see it becoming his signature move, especially at higher levels. It’s a great cantrip, often overlooked.
Steve held off the approach of two orcs attempting to pass through a breach in the ruined wall of Argonrose. Had they got through, the party could have been in serious trouble.
After an ill-conceived attack on Helmeister, Aaron redeemed the action by a bold leap onto a galloping horse being used by a fleeing goblin. By doing so, the goblin was forced to escape on foot which will make the next session play out very differently.
Paul made some interesting and valuable game choices, especially for a first time player. He used prestidigitation to good effect by using it to cause the campfire to flare to life and awake his comrades, as well as spooking the party’s horse with a slap on its rear to create chaos in the goblin ranks when he was down to one hit point.
The party worked well together and I thought everyone brought something valuable to their characters thematically. This should be an interesting campaign to say the least.
Plans for “No Quarter” have been shelved till late 2019, with this campaign taking precedence. I plan on seeing this group through to twentieth level with the idea being we parade through my versions of some classic D&D modules (Village of Hommlet, Into the Unknown, Keep on the Borderlands, and possibly the Slavers modules) ultimately culminating in Wizards’ next event storyline — Dragon Heist and Dungeon of the Mad Mage.