Thursday, December 9, 2010

Seasons Greetings from the Mad Archmage

As promised in my last post on the matter, I'm bringing you the latest holiday adventure news from  The Castle of the Mad Archmage by Joseph Bloch, aka. Greyhawk Grognard.  When we left off, our intrepid adventurers had, after slaughtering most of an orc outpost, formed an uneasy alliance with the surviving members in order to take on a hobgoblin posse on the 3rd level.  Since my memory of the exact events has eroded considerably, this will be a succinct report.

Bob and I decided that having a mission--in this case, killing off hobgoblins to foster an alliance with orcs--was not what where we wanted to take this game.  So we developed an exit strategy: the orcs drew up a rough map of the adjacent terrain, led the party down to the 3rd level, and... slunk away at the first sign of trouble. But not before they slipped a shiv into Quisling's ribs.  Quisling, an orc that we charmed during our assault, survived the attack and was very thankful to the party for nursing him back to health and saving him once again--or so he believes--from the treachery of his own clan.  He's such a sincere and trusting chap.

It was at this point that Godraviel, the elfmaid who had charmed Quisling in the first place, could handle the crushing guilt no longer and revealed to him the truth of the situation.  That is, he was under a charm spell and that we had killed his former colleagues and lied to him in order to secure his assistance in defeating the rest of his clan.  She told him that she was releasing him from the spell so that he could choose his own fate.  Since he was not actually released from her spell--I decided that it is not actually within her power to do so--and since she was so sincere in her speech, the end result was to further Quisling's infatuation with the elfmaid.  We rolled up his stats and made the orc a full fledged party member.  Now we have to figure out the characteristics of the Orc character race in S&W...

In the end, we did honor our deal with the orcs by killing the 12 requisite hobgoblins, but it cost us dearly, as Brodsky the cleric was left for dead and Glebberd the Halfregnome and Polvo the dwarf--who, through their quick wits and upbeat personalities have overcome their diminutive stature and become the very heart and soul of the party--were nearly done for as well.  On our way back to the surface, we ran into the Bandits again from our first encounter, and, pointing out that
  • we still didn't have anything worth stealing, and 
  • we would be back later, 
they agreed to let us pass, though they insisted, for inventory reasons, that Quisling must remain in the dungeon.  A quick sleep spell to even the forces and some tough talk from Polvo about where they can shove their dungeon rules, and the bandits agreed to let us pass, though, in order to allow them to save face, we paid 10 GPs for Quisling's liberation, and agreed to leave still-heavily-wounded Sigurd in their custody to assure our return to the dungeon.  Little do they know that everyone in our party hates Sigurd. 

From here on out, I'm running the bandits not as opportunistic ruffians preying on honest adventurers but as legitimate dungeon bureaucrats in the employ of the Mad Archmage.  Responsible for such things as dungeon inventory, revenue, and customer service, they can be counted on for dungeoneering assistance to adventurers--extra torches and the like, limited dungeon intell, or even a bunk to rest the wounded in--but who also require an accounting of monsters killed and traps sprung for re-stocking purposes; and exact a tariff for anything removed from the dungeon edifice.

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