Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In the Footsteps of Evil

The second part of my first session of 5E playtest write up, we pick up with our heroes washing up on shore having just escaped a slaver ship,

After a quick confirmation that all five of the escapees made it to shore the make a survey of what they have and it's not much - the storm-tossing cost them their weapons and then passing into this cove at low tide ripped out the bottom of their rowboat. Tebryn and Olam make improvised weapons from the oars while Roberto hands out the contents of his pack, collected under the god-touched daze that has just now lifted (though it is clear to the others that Roberto is now much more than the man they knew in chains on the ship). That pack contains things of nostalgic import for eachof them: Tebryn's scrolls of notes and revelations from his time in the wastes, Olam's playing cards, which unbeknownst to the others are a call sign to other members of his spy circle, The goblin tooth necklace that Brock constantly wore prior to his enslavement, Deldiira's woodcarving supplies that have been passed through her family for generations and Roberto's holy symbol, the red cord wrapped around the wrists and hands as a symbolic recreation of Ilmater's bondage.

Everyone scours the horizon and the coasts, ascertaining that they are in no immediate danger before Brock leads Olam to the treeline to scout there. They discover an unnatural rise at the edge of the sand which, when excavated, reveals a canvas wrapped cache containing no shortage of weapons, armor and equipment, as well as vestments to the faith of Talos, the storm lord and one of the gods of chaos. Tossing those aside they raid the cache to outfit themselves and feast on iron rations and deeply watered down wine. It's remarkably convivial and all offer prayers to Torm, Tyr and Ilmater for this providential bounty.

Climbing a tree and scanning about Brock is able to find evidence of elevated land and running water inland, and a likely trail heading in some hundred yards from their current spot. At their approach the trail reveals to Roberto and Tebryn's eyes that it is not just a game trail but has been expanded by man. Brock and Olam go one further, sure from the machete marks and regrowth that it was cut to its expanded form less than a week earlier. Someone, a worshiper of an evil god, was here, cached supplied and led a modest-sized party into the jungle. Seeing no other course the group cautiously follow.

Some distance later they spy two bodies lying across the trail, obviously days dead from the smell fo the rot. Olam and Roberto approach, and Roberto's medical training gives him enough time to note that these corpses were felled by arrows that were since removed but not enough time to mount a warning before arrows streak from the underbrush. Roberto falls, Olam is wounded and Tebryn rushes forward to shield the fallen cleric. Having identified where the archers were firing from Brock disappears into the underbrush on one side while Deldirra's fey enchantments send those on the other side into a magical slumber.

Tebryn lays hands on Roberto so Tyr's  blessing can restore him to consciousness and the cleric scrambles for cover as the archers to their left fire again. Olam charges their position, blocking an arrow with his shield before dispatching one goblin with his sword. The remaining one prepares to fire on him when Brock appears from the undergrowth and clubs him down with a crowbar. Tebryn runs to the other archers, dealing with one goblin before tying the other up for questioning.

The group takes a short rest for Roberto to recover and examine the bodies (both slain with arrows, both looted; this disturbs the players equilibrium, wondering what foul creatures would loot the bodies like that. They then armed themselves with the fallen goblins shortbows....). Brock, the only one with a common language with the Goblins, questions the survivor but his visceral hatred of the race causes him to permanently end the questioning before he learns too much - there are goblins here, they did attack the 'boat people' who he thinks are pirates, they were planning to ambush more of them when they came back through from the coast, they left the bodies there to bait the ambush and whoever they expected it wasn't our heroes.

Roberto shakes his head sadly at the waste, but Brock did find a path leading from the ambush site back into the woods, clearly to the goblin camp, and there is evidence that the Goblins pulled some bodies, likely survivors, away from the ambush, Roberto is unequivocal that those taken must be rescued, no matter who they are. Brock, seeing a chance to kill more Goblins in this, agrees wholeheartedly, and the group heads deeper into the island.