Second Session (11 page pdf) – “Carrion Hill” – The PCs discover that a cult seeking forbidden knowledge from beyond got more than they bargained for and have unleashed eldritch horror upon Riddleport. It’s a race through the flooded streets of Riddleport to see who can murder everyone involved first!
In this episode, I’m using the Richard Pett adventure Carrion Hill, transplanted from its setting in Ustalav to Riddleport. With, of course, my own special touch.
Hatshepsut is getting some more character development, which is good. It’s a little tough on me when there’s always like two (or more!) NPCs along with the party, but it also adds an additional dynamic I like.
The PCs are good and into the post-disaster devastation of Riddleport, it seems like I’ve successfully activated their imagination as to what a tsunami-ruined city is like.
Some DVD extras for you…
Paul (Serpent) was very unhappy about the high burst DC of doors and stuff. He’s a big strong Viking and yet can’t ever bust open doors. Sure enough, the burst DC for a “strong wooden” item (like the concealed shutters on the tannery) is 25, which is impossible even for someone with an 18 STR to make. It’s a fair point. It did allow Tommy to make about a dozen jokes at his expense over the course of the session, though. Oddly, Paul didn’t write any of those down in the session summary!
Wogan earned an Infamy Point for the extreme overkill of using Call Lightning to rid a tavern of a half dozen CR 1/2 giant cockroaches. After frying all the fleeing cockroaches, he and Sindawe wondered if the displaced locals would fall upon them as a tasty new food source. “The tsunami was only 24 hours ago, the populace is not quite to the point of gnawing on electrified giant bugs,” I informed the disappointed pair.
None of the PCs have much in the way of Knowledge skills, which makes for some hilarious discussions about religion, disease, and other subjects. They toss in what they think and make some Knowledge rolls, which usually go badly, and I give them information (or disinformation, depending on the check results) then we all toss in random other thoughts into the mix. Here’s an example of when they were all fascinated by Sindawe’s bout of diarrhea…
“Maybe it’s ghoul fever!”
“No, ghoul fever is a myth.”
<One PC rolls a Heal check>
“I think he just can’t hold his liquor.”
“He’s drunk way more than that before, I’ve seen it…”
“Well, this time he was drinking rag squeezin’s at the Dead Duck.”
“Maybe it’s cholera. Disaster area and all.”
<Another PC rolls a Heal check>
“I think it’s being caused by miasma. He needs to get some clean air.”
“So get out of Riddleport, you mean.”
“Do you have a fever? I check him for fever.”
“Is he flushed?”
“Uh, I don’t know, he’s black. How do I tell?”
“Can we stop talking about my poo issues now? I feel fine to go on, really…”
I started running Carrion Hill just last week, and I’ve stumbled over some serious design issues, but it’s still been good fun so far.
I had the ghoul try to talk to the players, since I knew they would hack it to pieces in a fight, but they simply surrounded it and hacked it to pieces as it talked to them. Then, since none of them knew any Aklo, or knew anyone who knew any Aklo, the cleric spent the next day spamming Comprehend Languages in order to read the book, while the beast ran around town unhindered.
Yeah, I knew my guys had some pet Aklo readers, so that wasn’t a problem. My main issue was that some of them spent a skill point last level to “learn Aklo” and I had to insist they were not yet fully literate in esoteric occult tome Aklo, but that between Hatshepsut’s broken Common and their broken Aklo they could totally make a go of it.
And I put in a bunch of ghoul mooks with the main ghoul in that encounter to mitigate the problem. Why anyone would put a solo rogue in an adventure is beyond me. Party charges up, party kills. Same deal with Keeper Hyve; there I just let it ride, though I added some traps. He’ll be the easy one, more for flavor than for threat – I am inserting “The Stink” from Dungeon for my “Keeper Crooge” addition and between that and Keeper Crove, there will be plenty of scary kill action. Some of the challenge is the timeline though – the creature is getting one guy about every two hours, so there’s no recharge time.
I never use scenarios as written, it’s just not cricket.
Yeah, I’m done with butting my head against absurd target numbers, bottlenecked investigations, and stuff that just doesn’t make sense, and I’ll be largely ignoring the written text in the second half. I would imagine it will go a bit better.
Oh, and with Keeper Hyve, they were VERY concerned that the strip over his mouth was there to keep something really nasty in. When they said that, I was like “OMG that’s a good idea.”
Yeah, that is a nice touch, and something I’d consider in future. Alas, Hyve was the one who got stomped while they waited around for the cleric to read the book.