Neil: the rogue known as Jerry Sinfald. Explicitly not a ranger. Nate: the Cleric of Odin known as Oswynd. Pam: a Paladin of Odin known as Lanna. Not sure how that happened. I caved.
The characters above get 734 XPs each for the first night.
The name for the village where y’all start off is now and henceforth and forevermore to be permanently known as the Shire of York. It has a people count of somewhere between 500 and 1000 humans. There be no dwarves, elves, fluffies, furries, or “little people”. Just humans. The town exists in a small forest in a small valley surrounded on all sides by not-small cliffs that nobody can scale. It is watered by a small lake that is fed with fresh, clean water from below. The town is self-sustaining, which is good because there’s no access to the outside world. There is nobody alive today who has been out of this valley, and the characters’ grandparents only knew of rumors of the outside world.
There is an iron and silver mine about 1 mile out of town, and the only road in the entire valley goes between the town and that mine. The mine is very, very, very deep, but the vast majority of it is abandoned and nobody knows where it goes or where it ends. The town has steel technology, but it isn’t very rich in weapons or armor because the mine has been around forever and, well, it just ain’t as rich as it used to be.
There is a guard force in town that protects the town from wild animals in the forest. Pam’s Paladin was a member of this force, and so was Kim’s as-yet-unrolled fighter, and any other fighters that wish to join.
Odin was decided upon as the local deity. Thanks and/or abuse go to Nate. Hopefully we can worship Odin in the same way as Thor – with copious amounts of beer. Hey Nate, if you had to pick a D&D deity to analog to Odin, who would it be? This isn’t important for the party, I’m just looking for ideas for plot pointage later on.
The party congregates in the local bar, where rumors of a strange discovery in the local mine are overheard, along with calls for volunteers to explore this new discovery.
Enter the party.
There was a bit skipped here, which is entirely my fault, but the gist of it is the party went to the Town Leader and volunteered and learned more about what’s going on. It turns out that the diggers at the mine (at which roughly 16 people work every day, including the Head Miner, so it’s not all that active anymore) were digging an addition to a current shaft and broke through to a parallel shaft that doesn’t belong to this mine. The party is to explore this new shaft and find out if it leads anywhere.
The party sleeps, because they were just in a bar and they were presumably drunk to have signed up for a meat-grinder like this, and because setting out on an adventure at night in woods crawling with deadly things is just an all-round bad idea.
The next morning, however, strange rumors are heard of a pair of glowing red eyes seen out in the forest. Nothing like this had ever happened before. The party decides to investigate, but they find no clues.
Recently blessed into their second level by the great powers of the universe and duly bedecked with fancy weapons and armor (as far as Shire of York standards go), the Town Leader, henceforth known as The Magistrate, sends our hearty heroes off on a dangerous mission of exploring this strange new mineshaft.
The party travels to the mine, and is attacked along the way by a Dire Badger of DM Practice + 1. The party quickly did away with this weasley little thing and kept going. Once at the mine, they took a mining cart down into the mine and the diggers took them to the hole in the wall. Well, the entire mine is a hole in the wall, I suppose. But I recurse.
Once there, the diggers bid the adventurers and hasty adieu and wait for them to come back out. The party notes that the shaft looked very unused and covered over with dust, with the exception of a pair of footprints that looked to be made by a medium-sized humanoid. The shaft goes in both directions, one leading slightly up and the other leading slightly down. They decide to explore in the upward direction and so set off.
It doesn’t take long for them to run into a group of 3 skeletons carrying swords and shields. One of them was very strong and kicked the party’s collective ass, which completely surprised the DM considering they had just beat the crap out of a Dire Badger of the same CR. The cleric had to be carried back.
Wounded and completely freaked by the haunting appearance of walking skeletons carrying sharp objects, the party decides to fleeH^HH^H reconnoiter back in town and let the Magistrate know what’s going on. They go back to the diggers who were waiting for them and have them close up the hole and stand guard, and then they leave. They do not tell anyone at the mine what happened.
Once back in town, they inform the Magistrate, who agrees that the best thing to do is close up the hole to prevent any of these evil things from escaping and terrorizing the village. The mine must be a den of beasts more foul than anything in the valley. He thanks the party for their efforts and sends them off, back to their regularly scheduled drudgery.
Neil decides to explore the forest that night, he finds nothing.
The next morning, however, the party is summoned back to the Magistrate, who tells them that during the night the hole was reopened and the men stationed to guard it are missing. The party must go find them! They might be lost! The party, fresh from a nasty battle, asks the Magistrate to assign them a redshirt. He gives them another member of the town guard (Kim’s fighter) and sends them on their way.
So they go back to the mine. Talk to Head Miner, ride in the mining cart, jump through the hole, and follow the tracks of people being dragged. After a short while, they run into a small, lizard-like being. At first he is very shy and apprehensive about the party, but Pam’s diplomacy soon opens him up and he spills his small amount of motivation. He wants the party to kill the skeletons, and he opens up a little about how the skeletons are forcing his people (kobolds) to dig in the mine for silver. He is very happy when he finds out the party is there to kill skeletons and find their friends.
The party learns a few things from this kobold, whose name is Zero. They learn that there are many clans of kobolds in the mine, and that it is hugenormously big. They learn that when you kill skeletons, more come, which is why a kobold revolt won’t work and why he wants the party to do the work for them. They learn that his clan is tiny compared to the size it once was.
They give him a gold coin. He is very pleased. He leads them up the shaft a ways, past many side tunnels, and then splits into one of the side tunnels. He returns shortly and beckons to the party. He takes them to what is left of his clan, which includes the Chieftain who is very not happy about this. Zero translates for the party and the Chieftain (because Zero somehow learned Common). They party finds out the diggers are in another mineshaft, far away, and that there is a “dark one, with burning eyes” at the mouth of the mine controlling all the other skeletons. The party asks for a guide, and the Chieftain gives them Zero. Zero isn’t very happy about this, but he does it.
Zero leads them out into the mines again, and they start to pass other kobolds carrying empty bags, full backs, picks, shovels, and hammers. The other kobolds seem to shy away from the party, though. After a while, the party hears a large number of people approaching. Zero tells them it’s a work party, and they have to hide. They pick a side shaft and go down it a ways, and leave a torch near the entrance so they can see the work party go by.
30 kobolds go by, followed by 2 skeletons. The party, being awfully good, decide to kill the skeletons. They come up on them from behind and, well, it’s not much of a fight. Once the skeletons are dead, though, the 30 kobolds run off. The party continues upwards. They hear scuffling off in a side shaft and Zero tells them that the skeletons are angry, and are attacking the kobolds, probably because of the 2 skeletons that were killed the day before.
The party decides to investigate (awfully good) and find 2 skeletons watching over 8 or so kobolds mining a silver deposit in a shaft wall. They whoop the skeletons’ pelvises and the kobolds run off again, after Zero tells them that the party is there to kill the skeletons. Zero seems awfully happy about this, but he also seems to be the only one.
Neil picks up a chunk of silver ore.
Zero leads them on, down a side tunnel, for a long time. Then he stops and points at a branch and tells the party their friends are down there. The party goes ahead and finds a room with 4 skeletons and the 2 diggers, passed out. The party decides to attack after the skeletons see them and rush them, preventing them from getting entirely into the room. The fight must take place at the mouth of the room, where the skeletons have a big advantage.
The results are almost disastrous, although this is mostly due to phenomenal dice rolling on the part of the GM. These skeletons must have been ninjas in their previous life. Unable to move much, Nate takes a lot of damage and Neil gets down to -9. But the party wins the day in the end, and our heroes limp off with Zero to find a “safe” place to recover.
Unfortunately, the diggers are dead. Why they were in this room with 4 skeleton guards is a mystery, and one that will likely go unresolved.
Significantly more plot than I’d originally planned, and at least 50% of this was made up on the spot. I’d planned for you guys to either not get nearly as far (because sometimes 1 fight takes all night), or to get very far (and kill the dark one with burning eyes), but we ended up somewhere in the middle because it’s obvious that the party isn’t big enough or strong enough at this point to fight the dark one with burning eyes. We’ll need to have at least 4 people for that one, and probably have everyone at level 3. Even so, it will still be dangerous.
So, for the next game, more killing skeletons, which you will find in varying numbers. If anyone wants different weapons let me know, and I’ll have the skeletons deliver. The biggest problem we ran into in the first session was (aside from lack of having fully planned things out enough) probably the DR 5/bludgeoning that all undead have, so plan accordingly.
How deep in the mine are you? How much further to the entrance? Why are the skeletons making the kobolds mine silver? Who is controlling the skeletons? Is it the dark one with burning eyes? How deep does the mine really go? What’s down there? What will happen if the party takes too long to get back to the village? Will they close up the tunnel, assuming everyone was lost? Does the party want to go back to the village, or flush the mine of skeletons first so the village will always be safe? Or does the party want to do something else entirely? Who did Neil rob that made him want to leave town so fast?
How long has Yorkshire been sealed off from the outside world? What happened to cause them to be sealed off? Why did nobody ever come looking for them or open up the passage that was sealed? Where does the water in the small lake in the valley come from if it’s fed from below? Why does everyone think the rogue is a ranger?