Game Night: Sewer Soiree

ACT ONE – From the Shadows

Our second pathfinder evening started off with a casual trip. Seated in the back of a horse-drawn paddy wagon. In cuffs. I was honestly expecting the Barbarian to start a fight and planned enough guards to subdue the group if needed. Luckily, they decided to “go along” for the ride.

After some time sweating it out behind bars, Berric, whom we had saved the previous game session, argued in our defense. Eventually, Constable Jerrica Swan had us called into the hall, unshackled and fed. We were mildly interrogated while we ate. 

Eventually, we were hired to figure out what’s going on with the whole “banks and stores collapsing into the ground” thing and who The Dragon was. We were put up in a house that the previous group was using: turns out another party of adventurers were dispatched on the same mission we were about to undertake. 


We were given a few provisions and set to task, given the day to prepare. Ryan tried to make money through alchemy and failed his roll. Kera went out pick pocketing, failed at first and found easier targets after. Nate sold some gear he didn’t end up using and searched for affordable magic weapon upgrades, with none to be found. And my character? He drank. I mean, he went to worship his God… in a tavern… with wine.

That evening, we made for the ruin of the Tavern in the Hole and we proceeded to follow the underground tunnels in the direction that the Drow was seen taking hostages and the confiscated loot. 

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A couple twists and turns later, and our party came across our first encounter. We found a handful of various Kobolds led by a Dragon Mage fighting literal animated piles of filth. Otherwise known as Sewer Oozes. Tactically, we decided to let them fight each other. I wanted them to fight, though. So after the little scaled humanoids killed off the filth monsters, they started walking out of the chamber and towards the path that the party was lurking in. 

We fought them off, and it was a fairly easy encounter after the Oozes had softened them up. The last Kobold Warrior ran away with one hit point, his tail tucked between his legs. It was perfect, just as I wanted. 

We chased the Kobold headlong right around a corner directly into a spider’s nest. With a critical failure of his check, Nate Barbarian Tibbs found himself upside down next to the Kobold that was also stuck in the web. Everyone but Arlo (Ryan) got stuck next to it. Nice to know the group is collectively as smart as a terrified and dying Kobold. 

Guess what? There were Spiders in there, and Louise (Kera) got poisoned by a swarm. 

So, obviously, Ryan had Arlo tossed a flask of Alchemical fire. Everything got burnt at least a little. The spider web got burnt, the swarms of spiders got burnt up as well. The Giant Spiders took some fire damage. Both Daeneth and Louise also got a little toasty. The final Kobold lost it’s final hit point to the fire as well. 

When the fire burned the webs and the swarms, a captive was exposed in the back corner, along with a few corpses. Tibbs cut down the first spider, Ryan used a Mutagen and bit the leg off the second giant spider while it was attempting to eat the captive.

While I was planning the game, Kera was getting frustrated while fighting swarms of spiders in Baldur’s Gate 3 so, clearly, it was a requirement that we had to fight spiders. She remarked so during the game while glaring at me. As you can imagine, I am used to it.

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We freed the captive, who immediately chased down and finished off the wounded, fleeing spider. Turns out his name is Liestro, a fighter with a two-handed sword and wearing a suit of splint mail. The group rifled through the belongings of his dead comrades while Liestro killed the large arachnid. 

He seems particularly unamused that another team was dispatched to do the same job as he was, but not to find his team when they did not return in a timely manner. Some roleplaying happened and I guess a few of the team members were immediately suspicious of Liestro: they asked him a question about the house that they were recently put up in. I rolled a die, and gave a wrong answer. Tee Hee. Amongst themselves, the group wondered who he was working for. 

We patched each other up with some medicine skill checks, a lay-on-hands and some infused healing items. We rested a few minutes to get focus points back in case I needed to heal again and so Tibbs would be ready to bring the rage, then we moved on. There was a collapse in the tunnel and we had to climb a metal ladder out of the sewer. 

Nate used some skill checks to help us follow the light trail of sewer filth through the dock area of the city. I used the oncoming rain to hasten their journey, as it threatened to erase the tenuous trail our characters raced along.

As the drops of rain began to land around us, we found a culvert with a recently busted grate. Having grown up in the sewers, Kera used her lore skill, and her character surmised that from the t-junction, one direction seemingly going back towards the pile-in that we worked our way past. The other direction had faint signs of light and there was evidence of multiple somethings being dragged in that direction. 

Liestro follows the drag marks to the end to an opening looking down to where they had been hearing panicked voices, cries for aid, sloshing water and Kobold noises. As he was looking down and about to explain to the group what he saw, Ryan’s gnome tackled him with a crit, totally surprising him. Nate, being in command of the thoughtful half-orc, shoved Liestro down into the cesspool. We had saved him not so long ago, and now we forcefully dispatched him to land twenty feet below into a round basin rapidly filling with water as the rain outside picked up. 

The Barbarian found himself with a clear view of the scene: There were Kobolds waiting besides bound and gagged captives, with their hands tied to iron rings on the floor. A familiar Drow in black studded leather was joined by three duergar overlooking their trap. 

Our group has shoved their help into the danger. I laughed a little: I planned the encounter with him helping them. I gave them 6 turns to save the other captives from drowning. 

The Underdark humanoids watched while the kobolds fought the group. I had one of the three Kobold Warriors kill a captive to make sure the team knew shit was serious. The dragon mage shot magic missiles and arced electricity at the group, while the two scouts fired crossbow bolt after bolt into the team. 

I like a certain level of danger to my games, to me, the fun comes from forcing tough tactical decisions by my friends and waiting to see the outcome. The first encounter was a challenge but not deadly, the second was more for fun and story, and they were never in any real danger. This third encounter of the night was meant to stress them and stretch the limits of the level one characters. 

I decided that Liestro would not fight to support them, only to fight the closest adversary; they certainly hadn’t given him a reason to save them. They took some time alternating between fighting Kobolds and untying captives. Nate continued to hit like shit but kill something nearly every time he actually connected. 

As the Kobolds were about to be defeated, Arlo heard the Drow talk of being bored and ordered the under-dwarves to deal with the nuisance. Lucky for us Arlo knows the under-common language. Well, mostly he knows the swear words, you know…

The bombardier tossed a grenade from above as the sharp shooters dropped down into the pit. The first of the two shooters that got hurt used its natural ability to enlarge themselves and smashed my Liberator. It hurt. I went down and burned my hero point to stave off death.

Ryan ended up using a mutagen, biting someone to death, climbing up to the bombardier and shoved him down to fight the rest of us. He later got the opportunity to finish off the grenade dwarf, biting his arm off as he jumped down to the disgusting water the rest of us fought in. 

“I don’t like the look of that” remarked Nate as Liestro moved around the team while they were fighting the final duergar and slashed the barbarian across the back. 

Liestro caused massive damage to Nate’s barbarian, and he was forced to use his class ability to avoid dying. My Liberator ran up behind Liesteo, flat-footing him while I rolled a success in combat, bisected the last duegar. After many failed rolls that evening, Nate rolled a crit and slammed Tibbs’ greataxe into Liestro’s neck. Well, he’s dead, too.

The now-familiar Drow cursed at the team, and challenged us to join him for a little get together at Old Darthan Bay. The Drow that the team believes to be The Dragon teleported away, leaving us victorious if not critically wounded. Most of the hostages were alive, we lost one to a Kobold spear, and another to the rising water. 

Nate dragged a one-armed duergar back to the barracks as further proof of the underworld conspiracy and we called it a night and gave them their experience, getting the characters to level two.

The best part about all of this is the fact that Liestro was planned as support to make a tough fight manageable, and then turn on the PCs: he was going to seriously injure someone, and then use the potion of invisibility they found on his corpse to get to the barracks to take credit for saving the hostages. Afterwards, he would be a recurring problem, always a level ahead of our group and surrounded by henchmen. 

Well, guess that plan is as dead as Liestro is. I am ok with that, as my Liberator wants his armor…

I am fairly satisfied with the idea of getting about a level every other session. We have standing plans to play twice a month, and should get a level a month or so. Maybe a bit quick? Sure, but, ultimately we are adults playing regularly but not as often as we may like. It’s important to keep the players excited and feel some progression even though we will only play twice a month or so. There are ideas flowing around about other ideas for campaigns and while I would love to run one game for years, I don’t feel like that is sustainable. 

Bonus Side Quest – Mountaintop Menagerie

During the first two game sessions I set the framework for some sort of cult or conspiracy involving some denizens of the Underdark and some Kobolds that appear to worship someone or something named The Dragon. Game night three was upon us and I decided to step aside and put together a quick side quest. I would give the party a chance to fight some different foes and also to outfit the group a little better. 

We found out that Old Darthan Bay was a solid three-day trip from the city, but, the town of Bringham lay about 2 days out: a perfect place to rest up and prepare for what was likely an awaiting trap. Constable Swan lent us some horses and we were off.

We passed a group of Giants herding their animals, and the party was smart enough to let them be; while there was no reason to fight them, if we tried we would have died. As dusk fell we found a spot off the road that had previously been used to camp and set up watch shifts.

While on her watch shift, Louise heard something. In my head I set a goal to make three stealth checks to get there, discover what made the noise and get back. All went well until Kera rolled a natural one as she went to warn the group. A quick fight ensued with some highwaymen, led by  a Tengu rogue. The Rogue put it’s +1 rapier straight through the chest of our Rogue. Kera made a face, Nate laughed, and then we made quick work out of them. As you might guess, Kera took the sword for herself after.

We passed over some hills and into a valley below the mountains which was overlooked by an old watchtower. When we finally got to town the next afternoon, we learned that the Mayor’s daughter had been taken by the brigands that are holed up in the abandoned mountain keep. After some negotiations, the party agreed to help out for permanent stable services and room and board whenever we ventured this way in the future. In addition, we would get to keep anything of value we found along the way, other than the girl of course. 

We chose to approach mountain pass at Dusk, as a few rounds of questions to the right townsfolk informed us that the pass up to the Watchtower had defensive walls set up for defense in a few bottlenecks on the way up. The first defense Position was empty. When we got to the second, Kera sent her rogue sneaking up to the bickering guards and rolled a crit on her sneak attack with her newly acquired magical rapier and quickly dispatched the other guard after I softened it up with a crossbow bolt. 

At the third defensive outcropping, we managed to surprise the guards that seemed to be changing shifts. They were quickly and quietly dispatched, but a guard moving down the path came around the last corner, saw us and ran back to the tower while announcing the arrival of guests. He locked the door just as we got to it. No problem.

Nate busted the door down like it was not even attached to the door jam and we got into a scrap with some highwaymen. The fight on the first floor of the tower was easy, but the group made the mistake of continuing up the stairs while fighting, aggro’ing the rest of the guards upstairs and pulling the mini-boss. Wait a minute! Why is the “captive” wearing either armor and firing a bow at them? D’oh!

It was a tough fight up the stairs and it got tougher with the big man and the supposed captive joined in. The boss was armed with a +1 Bastard Sword and was 2 levels above the party, making it difficult for us to connect but easy for him to hit back. After Arlo got shot in the back, he tackled Thessera and put a knife to her throat. Bold. But Thessera didn’t fight it, and was even seen to shed tears, and the Bandit called out his bluff. Ryan didn’t open her neck.  

My Champion took some serious damage tanking the fight, and had to leave his destroyed shield behind, although, luckily, we found another shield amongst the loot. We barely made it. The encounter was tense and fun, with lots of tough tactical choices made, and close calls; if I recall correctly, each of us burned our hero point to survive and we burned through every healing item we had, but the awaiting loot was totally worth it. 

I got the sword that almost killed me. Ryan collected a +1 Kukri and some alchemy recipes. Nate snagged a convenient large size Greataxe that gives him a bonus to something that has hurt him. And we got a small pile of gold

Mwahaha. Now I have a recurring villain set up. One that has a pretty good idea where to find the bastards that killed his men and took the spoils of his local Thievery Ring. At least we are better armed for the encounters to come.

Next time, we will get to Old Darthan Bay and confront the Drow Spellcaster…

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Obsessive and neurotic collector of little plastic men, novels about the same little plastic men and paints to make the little plastic men pretty. Married to Kera, who puts up with him and pretends that she doesn’t hear him speaking to the little plastic men in between making pew pew noises in the hobby room. Requires adult supervision. A menace to himself but rarely to others. More beard than man

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