Tuesday, January 20, 2009

D&D: Party Fail

Technically, I could call it a Total Party Kill, since no one was left conscious at the end, and the opposition could summarily execute them on the spot, but I’d hate to have to start from scratch again, so it looks like the party is going to be captured, instead.

But that’s the end of the story. Let’s jump back to the beginning. In our previous session, the party had come upon the aftermath of an attack on a charcoal burners' camp on the road through the forest. The charcoal kilns were broken, most of the buildings were burning, and the human workers were apparently all dead. The only significant life was a small band of kobolds pillaging the camp. The kobolds spotted the party and a fight ensued with the party victorious (if rather badly hurt). They stayed that night in one of the relatively undamaged buildings of the camp. Last night’s session began with the party waking up the next morning.

After sorting themselves out, preparing new spells, and applying a bit of healing magic, they continued on their way back to town. That’s right: they left without conducting a search of the camp or looting the bodies of the kobolds or even wondering how nine kobolds managed to defeat dozens of humans, no matter how poorly they were armed. This would be big fail number one for the night. (Edit: Apparently they never got my impression of the number of people in the camp, so the small number of kobolds did not seem strange to them.)

They head back to town, passing a troop of cavalry on their way out toward the camp to see what the big column of smoke is all about; no big deal here. As they near town, however, they find a huge crowd of people lined up to get through the city gate: the city guards are on alert and checking everyone trying to enter. For those who don’t know, the government of this city is pretty xenophobic, anyone who isn’t a member of the Italian-looking majority is a second class citizen. The party includes two dark-skinned southerners, a half-elf, and a just-acquired pale blond northern boy. Needless to say, odds are good they’ll be turned away at the gate.

But all is not lost, a teenage boy approaches the group and offers to show them a secret way into town if they’ll take a package to his uncle for him. Credit where credit is due, the party is pretty suspicious and manages a line of questions that trips him up. He sprints away, but the druid sends her horse after him and he’s kicked unconscious (Edit: in the "my bad" department, he was originally subdued by a sleep spell, but he was technically immune to that spell; I concluded that there was no way he was going to outrun the horse, so that became his retconned undoing). A quick detect magic determines that there’s something magical about the package he wanted them to deliver. The teenage boy turns out to be an elf in disguise (the city government and the forest elves don’t get along at all, if you didn’t know).

Figuring that turning in this troublemaker would give them an excuse to proceed to the front of the line and ingratiate them with the guards, they head around the crowd to talk to some gate guards. Wanting to examine it for themselves, the party’s new sorcerer tucks the package under his cloak: big fail number two. The guards are not fooled, unfortunately, and insist on seeing what he has. One of the guards opens the package, and it explodes. Everyone in the group attempts a reflex save. One of them even passes it. Unfortunately, even with one of them taking half damage, none of them has enough hit points to remain conscious after the blast.

And with that, we have what amounts to a TPK. It would be a pain to make everyone roll new characters, so I’m assuming the guards will make sure they survive and then deliver them to some sort of prison. Now I have to decide where they’ll wake up and what sort of unpleasantness awaits them when they do.

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