Sunday, 15 February 2015

I Tie the Dead Rat to my Loincloth



  "I tie the dead rat to my loincloth." said Torad, the Barbarian played by Cindy during what was her solo session because the other player couldn't make it. (The person playing the Druid is no longer in the game and the one playing the Ranger will be back when her work schedule allows her to, which means that right now the game has two player characters.)
  It was supposed to be an easy, done-in-one adventure so that for the next session Torad would be back with Rhovanor, the elven Fighter/Wizard. I knew where the traitor would be hiding but for the rest I'd be winging it depending on what the player did and with the help of the Vornheim: The Complete City Kit.
  Torad was poisoned by the Drow priestess he used to serve (his character background is that he used to be a bodyguard slave until he messed up and was thrown in the gladiator pits) and he has two days to find a traitorous male Drow and bring back his head to the priestess if he wants the anti-poison. All they know is that the traitor is hiding somewhere in the traders' neighborhood, a black market mostly run by goblins and orcs who pay protection money to the Drow to be there. The place is dirty and consists mostly of rundown shacks and crooked houses. (Now that I'm writing this I wonder where they get the wood in the Underdark. The answers might become an adventure hook later on!)
  It was supposed to be simple and quick, but a lousy Charisma score and bad rolls caused Torad to get lost constantly and getting into futile fights.
  By the end of the session, Torad now has to:

- Bring the head of the traitor to the Drow priestess the day after tomorrow if he wants to have the anti-poison.
- Bring the traitor to a goblin gang boss with a blue hat and a crocodile for a pet BEFORE bringing his head to the priestess. (The goblin wants to have a chat with the traitor first for unknown reasons and it's the only reason why he released Torad after he and his gang shanked, beat up and captured the human Barbarian. Torad got lucky regarding the NPC motivation that I rolled randomly or he could have simply been stabbed to death right there.) The goblin is willing to pay Torad 750 gp in return. (Which I'll consider adventuring treasure for XP purposes, basically the worth of capturing the traitor.)
- Return to one specific shop the next morning for an anti-poison made by an orc poison seller who used leeches to analyze Torad's poisoned blood. Torad had to trade his armor for that service since he had no coin on him.
- Bring whatever the traitor had on him to a mute and crazed goblin contact who trades all sorts of random things, some worthless and others magical, in exchange for some information the Barbarian received from him. The contact also gave him a dead rat with a silver nail stuck in its head to help him out, somehow. He learned afterwards from a NPC that the dead rat is magical.
- Escape the bordello he got captured in while looking for the traitor in there after following some clues. The player missed the hints that the place was controlled by one of the Drow Houses...

  So what was supposed to be a quick done-in-one is now what will decide what will happen the next game session. I gotta say that I'm loving how things turned out, it felt like some Film Noir almost, with the hero struggling to get to the truth while dealing with dangers that are way over his head and plenty of gray areas.
  I also got to use the fortune teller table from one of the Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque books, that was fun. (It was from an old orc woman with one eye who sits on the floor near the poison shop.)
 
  Anyway, that brings us back to that dead rat. It has been taken away from him already but he could manage to recover it so I still have to take it into account. I figured it would be one of those magic items where Identify wouldn't be needed to use it, so it has to be a passive ability of some sort. As long as the silver nail remains in the dead rat, the magic works, but if removed the magic will stop and the rat corpse will decompose as normal over time. As for what it does... At the time I came up with that gift I imagined it would replicate the effects of Mage Armor, but since the player didn't get to use it yet (leaving it with security at the entrance of the bordello) and I have some time to reconsider... Does anyone have any ideas on what the dead rat could do? ;)