Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Lost Galmagia Write Up Session 1.2

 Aethra Chatoyant [Magic-User 1 – apprentice of a famous master / elf-sister]; Ayleton the Cat [Familiar 1 – animal familiar / ship cat of unknown port]; Oland [Rogue 1 – Spy / personal keyword not yet defined]; Dungar [Dwarf 1 – Dwarf-raised / Treasure Hunter]; Brömm [Dwarf 1 – Dwarf-raised / Bonded Clockwork Guilds-dwarf]; Azric [Rogue 1 – Assassin / leatherworker]; Richard Stockworth [Hairfoot Halfling 1 – Satyr / Tavernkeeper & Cook]

Over the next week the nascent adventuring party collects the last of what they think they will need beyond their personal kits. Mechanically I told the players they all had 50 SP in spending money and 100 GP of gear, and anything not converted to gear was lost. This made sure they actually were properly outfitted. Since we are using the D&D Expert Set equipment list pretty much unchanged aside from some tweaks for armor and weapons the players got to revel in a crowbar being 10 GP more than a 2 handed sword and other such lovely bits. In the end though they are outfitted with a mule (named “Donk”) and saddlebags, sufficient standard rations for everyone for a week and a week of iron rations to buy the group and extra day should things go wrong, 150 feet of hemp rope and 15’ of silk rope, a grappling hook, some spikes and a hammer, bunches of garlic, hawthorn, and wolfsbane, and a last minute donation to the local matriarch for a vial of holy water, just in case.

Richard informs his co-owner of the Axe and Thistle that he’s leaving the day before, making him the only person to know of their destination. Starting at dawn as the snakes said the party exited through the Gate Ward, taking a second to reflect on how small this town is and how pathetic for it to claim three-wards when the eight-ward city it overlooks was so grand in comparison. To avoid anyone knowing their plans they follow the west road first before cutting back overland to connect with the eastward switchbacks that lead down into the North Vale. The road is strong macadam, with the undergrowth only breaking through where thrown stones shattered it. Aethra comments on their wisdom in not purchasing the wagon for this trip; now once she locates a Reductions spell this road can be cleared of stones. Always looking to the future, our Ms. Aethra.

From one of the higher switchbacks the party is able to see a group of something sweep around the city. “Will we intersect it?” Azric asks. “No,” Aethra informs her, “But had we left an hour later it would have caught us in the open.” With some blessings from the humans for the wisdom of their gods (the dwarves, apostates all, refrain from comment in the common tongue) they continue. With 3 hours of daylight remaining they approach the city and decide to circle the ruins and enter through the main gate, as that places them closest to the Mages Ward, where they set up camp in one of the ruined towers, where the 15’-30’ rune-strengthened slabs of stone lay across one another to create lean-tos used by pilgrims and other nomads. (Richard recounts the story of the 4 score of pilgrims who left for the most distant Lost Umbriel; 7 returned and 2 of those were insane, but they did comment on using these for shelter.)

A quick survey of the area reveals no obvious dangers (Ayleton does detect a musky smell of things passing through here) but the Amber makes seeing tracks difficult. Rope is hung around the perimeter is set, watches are planned, and Azric uses her (ludicrously expensive) grappling hook to reach the top of the lean to. From there she can see that the garden to the ancestors ward has full recovered, but larger Cathedral Garden is non-existent. She also ascertains the lights moving at twilight in the Trade Ward, dozens of clusters of 3 lights a piece. None appear to be approaching and the night, while nervous, is quiet.

Early the next morning the group splits into 3 teams to learn a few things: Brömm and Azric confirm no rooms remain in the collapsed towers, but there are spaces where birds roost and evidence that anything of value has already been taken from the wreckage; Aethra plies her magical training on the Amber to confirm it can be breached by magic using spells that are too complex for her(and she is now determined to find); Richard and Oland made their way into the Sword Ward to reconnoiter, and by luck find the remnants of the watch tower containing an open stairwell that leads to a gated entrance. The pair wisely decide to retreat and share the information.

The party decides to skirt down to the Ancestors Garden to use its cover to view the Trade Ward (and collect firewood). Upon seeing nothing threatening they head into the trade ward to find the Customs House Ward. In so doing they locate no foorprints, acrid as well as musky scents, and the grand stairs down into the Customs House, inviting them below….


  1. Your listing the familiar as a full party member makes me wonder whether we've been handing familiars wrong all along. Since 3rd edition, they've been treated as extensions of their wizard's power, and as such sharply limited (and while useful in 3e, they were at least as much of a detriment mechanically due to their tendency to die and take piles of xp with them).

    But if one instead treats a familiar as a special follower whose relationship allows them to partially share in a caster's power, they're much easier to handle. They have their own attitude and personality (and grudges); can be well-treated or poorly treated, and could even gain class levels or be taken up as a PC if circumstances demanded it.

    1. Well, in this specific case Asha's 12 year old son Naveen REALLY wanted to play a cat, so he's playing his mom's familiar. The ability spread really isn't that different from a B/X Halfling (the cat can shape change to a cheetah form, so it's got combat potential).

      But in general yes, the rest of your comment is how I had intended to handle familiars: magic-users can skip the usual "what kind of henchmen do I find" process to instead summon things to serve as henchmen, and if they want they can bind one of those as a familiar to share powers.