(Small Spoiler: For the next Session there is a number of different quests for the party to choose from - but you can only send one Party on one quest. So everyone cast a vote on what challenge the new set Heroes is about to take upon themselves.)
Didn't get the make a session yesterday because I'm coming down with a cold; but today I finished a quest and here come the results of that.
And I took the hint and checked, the Plague Doctor is indeed female (I couldn't tell from the sprite) and hence from now on this shall be reflected in the pronouns.
And before anyone gives me crap about abandoning the last quest:
So, we carry on with our tale:
(Hamlet Week 2)
Our freshly returned Heroes march past the Stage Coach and are unsurprised that a another number of recruits has appeared. Two Hellions and Leper have made the perilous journey to the Hamlet, seeking fame and fortune.
Listening to our Heroes recount of the previous weeks, one the Hellions decides she is unsuited for such adventures and takes the next coach leaving the Hamlet. The other Two take the tales as encouragement to join the ongoing battle against EVIL.
Enter stage left for...
StarSlayer, a Leper who has mistaken his terrible, wasting illness for a blessing from God, thinking himself to be the bloodthirsty and terrible incarnation of His vengeance...
... and the remaining Hellion, who as so far has not uttered a single word in the common tongue.
(This was a very fortunate haul actually - Lepers are excellent tanks and good for rightmost position on our party - this one can't Hew yet which limits his attacks the single target Chop-Attack; but that is fixable as soon as the Guild unlocks - and Hellions are good melee fighters for the 2nd position from the right, having a good high-risk-high-reward-kind of playstyle - the one joining this week especially as she has both the Breakthru and YAWP-Skill which hit multiple targets; YAWP is a stun on top of that)
On to organizing stress relief for the afflicted characters (at this stage we can't afford to send more than two characters into stress relief):
deathfun is given money to spend at the bar, hoping that the company of the townspeople might lift his spirits.
Lorric, being a God-fearing Crusader, cannot quiet his mind through any other means than prayers. Unfortunately for him, the Transept in the Abbey is occupied by the former Caretaker of the Estate.
Night falls over the Hamlet, which is still a run down sh*t-hole and shadow of the splendor that once was.
As the sun rises above the horizon StarSlayer, Lepanto, Scourge of Ages and the Hellion (who still has not grasp of the common language - who typical for these barbaric folk!) gather to outfit another forray into the Ruins.
(Using two Heroes with that high Stress-levels is not best solution in the book but I didn't want to launch quest with anything but a full party.)
Learning for the last quest, a few more supplies are bought (which turns out to be mostly redundant as the dungeon map is actually smaller than the last)
Once more our Heroes enter the darkness...
This part of the ruins must at one point have been a study or a workshop for the first thing the Party encounters is Alchemy Lab - oddly preserved in such forsaken envoirnment.
Scourge trusting in her education attempts to make something out of the contents of the Laboratory but only winds up inflicting Blight on herself (Damage over Time).
Only a few steps further a party of Cultist bursts from the darkness, catching our Heroes unaware and turning the careful positioning upside down.
Hellions are barbaric warriors who are able to utilize their savage fury in way unfitting of more civilised people - but still she gets results.
StarSlayer is able to show that despite his sickness his swordarm is still true and strong...
... yet because he cannot Hew (only chop) the final killing blow is landed by the Hellion.
The next room, an old study that has been looted a long time ago, is a junction. The Party decides to proceed South rather than West.
The southbound path is blocked by rubble - and once again being cheap comes back to haunt our Heroes: While digging by hand through the debris the resolve of Scourge and Lepanto are tested...
... Scourge who had been so valiant on the last quest now plunges into the depths of Paranoia ...
... Lepanto on the other hand proves to be Stalwart and immune to the pressing darkness of this dungeon.
No amount of mental strength however can help when our Heroes are not on the look out and get ambushed by the Undead.
The ugly face of Scourge's paranoia shows as she begins to refuse the healing touch of Lepanto.
The element of surprise might be an advantage for the Skeletons but StarSlayer's mights sword is clearly a match for the frail bones when it is combined with the gas grenades of Scourge which cause the third Skeleton to expire.
After such a series of blunders (being surprised twice by hostiles) loot is a balm for the weary hands and hearts of our Heroes.
In the next room the Heroes have a chance to scout ahead. Armed with this knowledge they press on.
The interactive instance right before the end of the eastern path is revealed as an Iron Maiden. StarSlayer peeks inside but the only things he can find are the stench of rot and decay - which the Leper is immune against.
Reaching the end of this path, the Party comes face to face with another group of Cultists...
It is the dark magic of the Cultist Acolyte and the dark vistas of reality which she shows StarSlayer, that push him over the edge as well....
... crippling fear grasps his heart and errode any courage the doomed man possesses ...
... but with a heavy blade it doesn't matter if the heart wielding it is strong; it's mass will do the trick just fine without courage.
Glimpsing a knife in the dark, Scourge darts forwards with her scalpel in hand and attacks a Cultist Brawler - the knife might have been a play of her imagination but the killing stab against the Cultist's neck is not.
The barbaric people of the Hellion have no love for witches and sorceresses (but druids and shamans are fine).
The final blow belongs to StarSlayer ... just the way he likes it.
Among the spoils from this encounter is our first Trinket - an optional item which gives are permanent bonus (and/or malus) when worn; this one is restricted to the Highwayman-class and it is not every good either.
Having backtracked to the abandoned study room, the party sets forth to the west. In the corridor they come across a Confessional, remembering the miraculous effect a confession had on Lorric, the party urge Scourge to go in.
As it turns out it was prudent choice as Scourge emerges without her lust for money (Plutomania removed).
Besides the Confessional the party encounters a Display Case for an important looking heirloom. But it is trapped and the heirloom cannot be retrieved.
Approaching the next room our Heroes encounter some rather perplexed Skeletons who quickly fall to the heroic onslaught.
Obviously the Undead inside this room were trusting on their sentires outside. Too bad for them.
The Skeleton Crossbowman's eyes might have long rotted away but his aim is still true.
StarSlayer is quick to enable her revenge.
The undead rabble won't be denied a good blow...
... but the Hellion answers in kind, making this an odd clash of civilisation and barbarism.
Ending this fight falls to the Hellion as StarSlayer cannot muster the strength for a strike of his own.
Having defeated the undead, the Leper makes his way the blessed fountain seeking healing for the godly presence he imagines to reside there.
If there truly was a divine energy in these waters no one will be able to tell but effect on StarSlayer is obvious (Healed).
And now fortune truly smiles upon our Heroes.
It might be a transgression against the Faith to dig through the ashes of a departed person but sometimes it reveals treasure. StarSlayer is pushed to the forefront by the others, trusting that no disease from the ashes would infect the Leper...
... turns out they were right. (This is the second time the Leper supposedly was infected by a lootable but didn't take any ill effects.)
The next room is empty but for webs of small spiders.
The spiders in these Ruins may be small (so far *hinthint*) but the Maggots are in turn bigger and more disgusting.
Some instinct drives the Maggots to target the Doc - do they know about the methods of the Medica?
Again, the Leper's heavy blade and the Hellions savage assault end the threat.
The folk tales have it that the barbarous folk is impervious to the myriad facets of madness that afflict civilized folk. But these tales are wrong and the strain of bloodsheed and darkness show in them like in any other human being: The Hellion too fails to resist the dark depths of her personality and egomania blooms in her soul.
Another heirloom on display, another trap - and no loot, again.
In the final room the party suprises the final set of enemies - Cultists and some Undead.
Seeking glory for herself and in utter contempt for the undead dandy hiding behind his masters, the Hellion rushes to the right most position and performs her Iron Swan-attack against the rightmost position of the enemy party - selfish but effective.
StarSlayer ends the Cultist Brawler after Scourge had weakened him.
After a disturbing series of misses by all party members but Lepanto (who had been healing everyone else) the Cultist Acolyte is finally felt in the 9th Round of Combat.
With his mistress beaten, the undead bodyguard is quickly dispatched as well.
The haul form this quest might not be as large as the last one but victory remains its own reward (also the quest rewards make more than up for the difference).
But loot is not the only thing our Heroes bring home to the Hamlet.
StarSlayer's eyesight has proven superior to most but his fear of all manner of creatures from the animal kingdom is revealed as well. (+ Accuracy, - Stress Resist against Beasts)
Though she still not understood in words and gestures, the Hellion's fancy for all things dead had become apparent. (Must interact with Corpses in the Dungeon)
If she had been devout before, the horrors of the Ruins have taught Scourge that no higher power exists in this world. (Cannot relieve Stress at the Transept or Penance Hall)
Lepanto has proven to be good explorer, although the Ruins are not her speciality. Her blood as it appears now is reluctant to close her wounds. (+ Chance of scouting in the Warrens Dungeon; - Bleeding Resistance)
(The Hamlet - Week 3)
Even on the hills that separate the fallen Estate from the Hamlet the Heroes can hears the sounds of a busy forge; in their absence of supplies have come in and Blacksmith's shop is back in business. The emblem of the Guild is visible from a distance as well. Life is returning to the community.
Together with Lorric and deathfun, the Party assembles at the Guildhouse. The trainers of the Guild will provide and invaluable service if they can be persuaded to stay, and so some Heirlooms are presented to the Guild representatives to encourage a long term investment.
But a long term investment is not all our Heroes desire from the Guild:
Lorric trains in the Battle Heal- (minor healing for single party member) and Holy Lance-Skills (forward move including attack against single target in enemy backrow).
deathfun trains the Wicked Slice-Skill (melee attack, possible from back row).
Scourge of Ages sets out to learn more about Battlefield Medicine (remove Bleed- or Blight-DoT effect)
Lepanto trains in the Illumination-Skill (ranged attack, increased torch level, inflicts Dodge malus)
StarSlayer learns how to Hew instead just Chopping (melee attack, hits both enemy front row targets)
The Blacksmith's shop might be up and running to meet the need of the community but so far it cannot produce any new weapons and armour.
Seeking for new recruits, our Heroes encounter the Jester FireSpawn and the Bounty Hunter Patriot. Both are delighted to join the upcoming quests.
Enter Stage left:
Patriot, a Bounty Hunter with a rule to refuse any job that does not involve killing. (Dancomania: Stress Level increases if someone else makes a killing blow)
FireSpawn, a fellow of infinite jest and true love for the spotlight. (Photomania: + Stress Resist if Light Level, aka Torch, is high)
Both are then turned over to the Guild to teach them some "essential skills":
Patriot learns Flash Grenade (Chance of Stun, Chance of Shuffle - which is to randomly move the target one position forward or back)
FireSpawn learns Harvest (Hit both middle positions of the enemy party) and Inspiring Song (Stress Heal)
(Next time: I'll try to summarize recruitment and training)
On to Stress Relief:
In the Abbey, the Caretakes still occupies the Transept - so Lorric is once again excluded from the Stress Relief. StarSlayer retreats to meditate and the Hellion inflicts harsh practices of physical cleansing upon herself.
In the Tavern, Scourge of Ages sits down with a cold one.
It the dim light of day, the Hamlet looks more lively than ever. Still, it was not been restored to beauty and industry.
With all matters taken care off - here are quest choices for the next foray into the dungeon, during which Lepanto and Lorric will show FireSpawn and Patriot the ropes of dungeon crawling.
Option A - Scout the Ruins I:
Option B - Skirmish in the Ruins:
Option C - Scout the Ruins II:
Option D - Skirmish in the Weald:
Which quest should it be?