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Good evening, afternoon, or whatever time it happens to be there, ladies and gents! I happen to be Andy, who happens to be a freelance web designer, musician, writer, and whatnot.

Roman Catholic, student of tabletop gaming, and someday soon I'll have my own designs in the field!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spark of Fae: There's a Zombie in your Woods

So, before the session recap. Highs and lows of the weekend.

High: Gaelic Storm played at an Irish fest, and because we got there just for Gaelic Storm (last act of the night), tickets in were only $5. It rocked. Seriously. I live for Irish music.

Low: Gaelic Storm's concert stole my voice along with my heart. It's interesting, to say the least...

High: Was part of Kenshi's surprise birthday party.

Low: This morning, I find out that somebody hacked my e-mail account and has been sending spam with it. BLAH.

So, then, on to the recap!

The Beginning of Things
All the players knew that we were doing a combat to kick things off, and mix the pot, and I think it worked decently well. The session began focusing on three characters: Kenshi's sellsword Jayth, Scribbler's witch-hunter Silas, and Adderfang's storm knight Augris.

Augris had washed up at the mouth of a river, after his encounter with the magic storm. He's been following the river ever since, drawn onward by a strange compulsion.

Silas has been told by his church to investigate the Fae Unsettlings, starting with Woodshire.

Jayth is after a bounty on Daelu the Deathwailer, who is purported to deal in necromancy.

The other two, Pock (the skald) and Falcon (the shifty knife-fighter) are at a tavern. Regrettably, they didn't get a lot of screen time. I still feel kinda bad about that, and I'll make sure they get to see some action next session. (Not combat, but...more of a centerpiece action thing) While the rest of the session was going on, the skald was entertaining the crowd, and the knife-fighter was pickpocketing.

Throwdown with the Fae
The other three characters all wound up moving towards Fae ruins on the north of Woodshire. Woodshire is a town divided in half (north and south) by a river, and the central tourist markets are on a large bridge that houses a variety of merchants. There's a monastery to the north of the river, and a strange mansion farther north, where Daelu is supposed to make her abode. That's the tip that Jayth followed, towards the mansion. Silas, going towards the woods, spotted Augris, who was being magically drawn towards the Fae ruins.

Jayth, waiting at the mansion, spotted the other two, and followed them. More importantly, she also spotted a glow in what they would discover were the Fae remnants. All three of them stumble upon a circle of essentially Celtic Knotwork, which is glowing. There's a woman standing in the center. Silas hides in the woods. Augris continues to stumble towards the circle, and he can tell that the pull is very strong.

Well, the fight begins when the woman brings up four Fae-looking undead from the ground. In game terms, I basically just made zombies. There were also a number of light wisps that flew around. Game-wise, they didn't deal any damage, but made attacks against Will to pull players around. ("Don't look at the lights!") The woman herself, I based off of the idea of a banshee. A scream (Close blast 3) that dealt a little damage and also slowed characters. The synergy worked pretty darn well.

Balance...oops
I neglected a couple things in my formula. First, we had a striker, a defender, and a quasi-defender. Second, we had three characters. Third, the paladin had (for RP reasons and slight synergy with race) switched his radiant damage to lightning or thunder. Killing at least one PC was very possible. This became readily apparent when a couple of the zombies ganged up on Augris, and Adderfang (Augris' player) came very near to depleting his pile of hitpoints. (We're using poker chips to track HP, and it works really well so far.) Needless to say, I sent the other two zombies after Jayth instead. Adderfang would have his hands full.

Scribbler mostly had Silas lie in wait, watching the magic-users duke it out. Kenshi was new to this combat thing, but that's okay. She's studying Jayth's character sheet now, to be better prepared. It worked out okay, though. She definitely made introvert jokes ("AAAAUGH! Physical contact!") when the zombies came for her character. Jayth handled them pretty well, though. He's a cool dude.

The banshee woman commanded the wisps to pull Augris and Jayth around, so that she could keep hitting them both with her scream, and then when she came within range, Scribbler brought Silas in, with a fierce smashing charge. He almost dropped her down in a single hit.

When Daelu did go down, I had all of the zombies get frozen up (save ends), just to let the players thin their numbers with ease. That was also part of compensating for too much monster at the start of the encounter that I threw in, improvising. I also had the wisps wink out when she went down, as well as when a player dropped a zombie with a crit (two nearby wisps winked out). From that point on, it was a quick mopping-up by the players.

The Aftermath
Scribbler had Silas take the woman's head as a trophy, for when he reports back to his superiors in the Church. Jayth took her hand, which had a strange design on it, to claim the bounty. Augris managed to find a weird magical stone that had been tied around her upper arm...

Loot will be coming to the players, I just need to figure that out. For the meantime, they have some plot hooks, and also things that will be redeemable for benefits later. (Help from the Church for an ongoing investigation, payment for the bounty, an enhancement of magic...though at what cost?)

I'm also resolved to remedy the "Sage and Haley didn't see much playing time" problem. That should be resolved better next time, as combat won't be coming again very often.

Plans
Next up, we're going to bring the party together, and have some investigation into the events of Woodshire...

Spark of Fae: My 4E Campaign!

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