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Rise of the Runelords campaign log (SWADE) 2019

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  • Rise of the Runelords campaign log (SWADE) 2019

    In order to familiarise myself with the changes to the core system in SWADE, I started a second conversion of the Rise of the Runelords adventure path by Paizo.

    I created three heroes; Sir Bland (of Generic) the aristocratic human fighter, Izad the lizard wizard and Merkin the Beard, dwarven rogue.

    The adventure begins in the town of Sandpoint, on the day of the annual Swallowtail festival. Merkin the Beard moves among the crowd of revellers, dipping into pockets and pouches as he goes (success on Thievery roll, +1 on his next Wealth roll). Izad scours the marketplace for a purveyor of arcane tomes (Streetwise) but fails to find one. Sir Bland of Generic is keeping an eye on the crowd but fails to spot Merkin. He does encounter a man-at-arms called Orik Vancaskerkin and the two share war stories over an ale in the Rusty Dragon.

    Evening settles over Sandpoint. A bonfire is lit in the centre of town and Mayor Deverin makes a speech to the crowd. Fireworks are set off, illuminating the town with flashes of colour. The heroes make Notice rolls. Izad and Sir Bland spot small, twisted humanoid figures creeping along the rooftops overlooking the square; goblins! Merkin is distracted by the glint of silver from a nobleman's bulging purse and does not perceive the threat (and does not get an action card in the first round of combat).

    Goblins swarm into the square, spreading chaos in their wake. The party take on and defeat a group of eight goblins; two waves of three and two more armed with bows up on the rooftops.After the initial combat encounter, Sheriff Hemlock asks the heroes drive the remaining goblins out of Sandpoint. To reflect a running battle through the streets, the Quick Encounter rules were used. The goblins were routed, but Merkin the Beard was wounded in the fighting.

    A cry goes up as someone notices that the Rusty Dragon is ablaze! Is that a woman trapped on the first floor of the burning building? Aldern Foxglove, a nobleman from Magnimar begs the heroes to rescue his wife from the hungry flames. Extinguishing the fire and rescuing people from the building was treated as a Dramatic Task. The party must accumulate nine successes over three rounds. Izad intimidates the locals into forming a bucket chain from the waterfront. Sir Bland wraps his cloak around his face and charges into the burning tavern. Merkin draws a club for his action card and does nothing, for fear of making things much worse with a failed roll. After three rounds, the party have (barely) earned the nine successes required to complete the task. The fire is extinguished and Lady Iesha Foxglove is rescued unharmed.

    Sandpoint is saved! There were some injuries and some property damage - but things could have been worse if the heroes had not intervened. Sheriff Hemlock deputises the heroes and asks them to watch over the town while he rides to Magnimar to request reinforcements to supplement the small town guard.

    The next day, the new lawmen are called to the Hagfish tavern to defuse a brawl. Merkin rolls Common Knowledge (with +2 modifier to reflect his criminal background) and knows the Hagfish is a front for the local Sczarni cell, led by Jubrayl Vhiski. Merkin hangs back and lets his colleagues deal with the situation. Sir Bland rolls Persuasion and Izad supports with Intimidate. The brawl is successfully defused.

    On the way back to the Sheriff's office, Sr Bland is accosted by Shay Vinder, the buxom daughter of the general store owner. She has heard strange noises from the cellar of her father's shop and fears a stray goblin may be hiding down there. She seems that only Sir Bland accompany her and the aristocratic fighter suspects she has an ulterior motive. Nevertheless, he checks the basement and declares it a goblin-free zone. Shay flutters her eyelashes but Sir Bland gently rebuffs her romantic overtures. He rolls Persuasion and gets a raise. Shay pouts but doesn't throw anything or hold a grudge. Shay's father appears and Sir Bland explains how he was looking for goblins. Vin is convinced.

    A servant from the estate of Titus Scarnetti asks the heroes to attend his master. Titus wants to hire the party as his personal goon squad. Sir Bland is not interested and leaves, but both Izad and Merkin might be interested. Titus explains that Benny Harker, the manager of the Sandpoint Lumber Mill has been embezzling profits, he wants the heroes to beat him up. Being greedy, Merkin is prepared to take any unsavoury job if the money is right. Izad doesn't care about the money and spends a benny to subtly influence the story; changing the reward from gold to a fragment of dragon lore.

    Izad and Merkin head to the lumber mill. Benny is there with a group of labourers. They take Benny into his office and start intimidating him (standard success). Benny admits he has been skimming gold off the mill's books, but has spent everything on gifts for his girlfriend Katrine Vinder (Shay's sister). The heroes suspect he is holding out on them and Izad casts Fear. Benny panics and spills his guts, the gold is stashed under a loose floorboard in his office (enough to increase one character's Wealth die by one die type). Merkin wants to keep the cash for himself but Izad wants to return it to Titus Scarnetti in return for the dragon lore. Merkin grudgingly agrees to return the gold on the condition that Izad gives him his share of the next treasure hoard the party finds. Izad returns the gold to Titus and is rewarded with one broken shard from an ancient draconian tablet. The tablet has been broken into (1d4+1) 3 pieces. Titus suggests he might be able to find more of the missing pieces if Izad continues to work for him in the future.

    Meanwhile, Aldern and Iesha Foxglove invite Sir Bland to join them for dinner, to thank him for rescuing Iesha from the burning tavern. After the meal, Sir Bland bumps into Orik and the two fighters decide to spar together. It is a close match (opposed Fighting, Sir Bland rolled 5, Orik rolled 6), but the man-at-arms wins. Sir Bland acknowledges his opponent's skill and looks forward to a rematch. He learns that Orik is originally from the city of Riddleport and used to run with a tough crowd.

    The next morning, elven ranger Shalelu Andosana returns to Sandpoint with grim news from the hinterlands. On route to Magnimar, Sheriff Hemlock was snatched by a gang of bugbear brigands and taken to Thistletop, where Chief Ripnugget and his new advisor are gathering an army of goblins large enough to overwhelm and destroy Sandpoint! The party prepare to travel to Thistletop. Orik pledges his sword arm to their cause and Sir Bland agrees to take him along.


    The heroes all gained one advance. Sir Bland increased his Fighting die d8>d10. Izad took new powers; Heal and Illusion. Merkin boosted his Agility d8>d10.

  • #2
    The party pack up their adventuring gear and head into the hinterlands with Shalelu as their guide. Overland travel through dangerous terrain triggers a draw from the random encounter deck. I drew the King of Hearts, meaning the party would bump into strangers on the road. I rolled 2d6 on the reaction table, the strangers would be neutral. Merkin hears the clatter of approaching hooves, with a raise on his Notice roll he determines it is a single rider travelling with haste. Sir Bland and Orik remain on the road, while everyone else hides in the foliage to either side of the wooded trail. A lone rider appears and slows to a trot as he spots the two warriors waiting for him, assuming them to be vagabonds. Fortunately, Shalelu recognises Dodd the Courier and he knows her. News is exchanged and Dodd recounts how goblins snipers are watching the road near Briarwood.

    As the party approach Thistletop, Sir Bland hears a goblin hunting party and their wolf mounts crashing through the undergrowth. Following the setting rule for Multiple Languages, each hero understands a number of languages equal to half their Smarts die. Sir Bland speaks the tongues of men, elves and dwarves. Izad understands Common, Draconic, Elvish and the arcane language of magic (reading glyphs, etc). Merkin the Beard speaks only Common and Dwarf. None of the heroes understand the goblin tongue, but Orik does.

    The wolves roll Notice and pick up the party’s scent. The hunt bursts into he clearing but seem surprised to find a group of adventurers ready to ambush them. Izad spends 5 power points to increase the area of his Fear spell to a large template (covering all five goblins and their wolf allies). Unfortunately, only one goblins fails his Spirit roll to resist the effect. The party make short work of the hunting party. One goblin tries to flee, but Izad take him out with a well aimed firebolt. Merkin draws a Joker during the combat, all the heroes gain an extra benny and the initiative deck is shuffled.

    After the fight, Sir Bland hears something rustling in the bushes and grapples with a goblin shaman. The goblin wants to talk and the heroes are prepared to listen, after relieving him of his staff. Orik translates. The shaman introduces himself as Gogmurt, former advisor to Chief Ripnugget of the Thistletop tribe. He has been usurped by a human woman with a demonic arm. Gogmurt wants the heroes to kill the devil woman so that he can reclaim his rightful place as the chieftain’s right hand. He can help the heroes sneak inside the goblin fort, suggesting two options;
    1: use a secret entrance via a flooded sea cave, or
    2: use the Disguise power to make the heroes look like goblins.
    After discussing the pros/cons of each approach (as well as how wise it is to trust the word of a goblin), the heroes opt for plan #2. Gogmurt can cast Disguise on three targets, Orik and Shalelu agree to hang back and keep watch. After returning his staff, Gogmurt casts the spell and Sir Bland, Izad and Merkin are transformed into squat, ugly goblins Orik translates that the deception will only last ten minutes, so there is no time to dawdle.

    The heroes enter the camp of the goblin army sprawled among the trunks of the Briarwood. They move purposefully toward the rope bridge that leads to the gates of Thistletop, the ramshackle goblin fortress atop a pillar of rock jutting from the sea. A trio of bugbears recognise Gogmurt and are surprised to see the exiled shaman back in camp. They bar the way forward and begin pushing the puny goblin spellcaster around. Izad is concerned that Gogmurt’s concentration could be broken at any moment and the Disguise spell will fail. The lizard wizard uses the last of his Power Points to cast Fear, but all three bugbears make their save and draw their scimitars!

    Merkin draws a Joker and makes a Wild Attack (+2 attack & damage, but Vulnerable until the end of his next turn). He slashes the lead bugbears femoral artery and the brute collapses in a spray of blood. The other two take longer to put down and Sir Bland is wounded in the battle. A group of goblins gather round to cheer them on. As the third bugbear is defeated, an arrow hits Gogmurt in the back of his skull, killing him instantly and breaking his disguise spell.

    “Intruders!” cry the assembled goblins, brandishing their weapons and surging forward to tear the heroes apart!

    Last edited by mikeawmids; 04-16-2019, 12:03 AM.


    • #3
      Sir Bland grabs a scimitar from the dead paws of a fallen bugbear to meet the goblin charge. Despite his injury, he is not about to give up without a fight. Being craven (Yellow Hindrance), Merkin is absolutely prepared to yield and throws his weapons to the ground in unconditional surrender. Merkin is awarded a benny for playing to his Hindrances. Izad is out of Power Points and grudgingly follows the dwarf’s example, better to survive and fight another day. Sir Bland curses his companions and tosses his new sword aside. The goblins bind the heroes and herd them across the rope bridge to the gates of the fortress. The other goblins jeer as they pass and throw all manner of horrible substances. Izad gets a look at the arrow that killed Gogmurt and recognises it is an elven arrow, similar to the ones Shalelu carried in her quiver.

      The prisoners are presented to Chief Ripnugget, who decrees they be locked in the dungeon until he devises a suitably gruesome means of executing them. Each hero is assigned their own cell in the goblin gaol, each more filthy than the last. Two of the other cells are already occupied, one contains the corpse of a halfling tinker waylaid upon the road, Sheriff Hemlock of Sandpoint languishes in the other. He has been tortured by the goblin gaoler (a sadistic wretch wearing an oily leather hood), but retains enough wit to recognise the heroes. The goblins searched the prisoners but failed to find Merkin’s lockpicks (dwarf’s Thievery versus goblin’s group Notice). The goblins did confiscate Izad’s staff and spellbook.

      “Ah! Good!” Chief Ripnugget exclaimed when he saw the hefty arcane tome, “More bog paper! We were running low! Take it to the privvies!”

      Recovering his spellbook is Izad’s #1 priority.

      The dungeon is guarded by the goblin gaoler (who is busy tormenting a house cat trapped inside a small wire cage) and two bored-looking bugbears. A third bugbear appears, carrying an unconscious and bloodied Shalelu. The gaoler opens up a cell and tosses her in with the dead halfling. When she wakes up, she cannot remember what happened or whether Orik was also captured. Chief Ripnugget and his new advisor, the human woman with the red demon arm come to visit. The devil woman introduces herself as Nualia and taunts the heroes for failing to save Sandpoint. Sheriff Hemlock remembers that the town’s previous priest (Father Tobyn) had a daughter called Nualia, but it was believed she died in the fire that burnt down the old chapel. Nualia grips the bars of the sheriff’s cell, her demon arm super-heating the metal until it glows red hot.

      After Nualia and Ripnugget leave, the party plot their escape. Merkin picks the lock of his cell without the guard’s noticing. Izad spends 6PP to conjure an illusion of Chief Ripnugget. The illusion orders the two bugbears to clean the latrines and they unhappily slope off to comply with the chief’s command. Izad spends another PP to maintain the spell and has the illusion order the dim-witted goblin gaoler to release the prisoners. As the gaoler fumbles with the lock on Sheriff Hemlock’s cell, Merkin emerges and knocks him out cold. Each hero is awarded a benny for breaking out of goblin gaol.

      The adjacent room contains torture apparatus, the heroes grab knives and metal brands (makeshift clubs) to defend themselves until they find where the goblins have stashed their actual gear. They also release the cat from its tiny cage. The only other exit from the dungeon opens into a dark, stone corridor, the heroes faintly detect the sound of waves crashing against distant rocks.
      Last edited by mikeawmids; 04-18-2019, 12:49 AM.


      • #4
        The heroes cautiously explore the goblin lair. Merkin spots light seeping out from under an unmarked wooden door and peeks inside the room. A human woman sits at a large table, poring over a pile of dusty scrolls. The party enter and the young scholar demands to know who they are, whilst menacing them with the business end of a glowing wand. The cat that the heroes released from the gaol slinks into the room behind them and jumps up onto the table.

        “Skivver!” the woman cries, dropping her wand and hugging the creature.

        Merkin pockets the wand and immediately forgets about it. The wand is an arcane device created by the woman and imbued with five of her total power points. The woman introduces herself as Lyrie Akenja, a historian from Magnimar. She and her feline familiar were snatched by goblins and bought back to Thistletop, when Nualia realised that she could read Thasillonian runes, she threatened to harm Skivver if Lyrie did not decipher a number of ancient scrolls. Apparently, Nualia plans to summon a demon called Malfeshnekor to destroy the town of Sandpoint. The heroes decide that they are not cool with that at all.

        Now that Lyrie and Skivver have been reunited, they want nothing more than to leave Thistletop. Lyrie leads the party to the room she had been assigned, close to Nualia’s own quarters and those of a mystery man in service of the devil woman. The man’s room Is unoccupied, but contains a journal speaking of the author’s childhood in the slums of Riddleport. Sir Bland makes a Smarts roll and realises that the journal likely belongs to their false friend Orik Vancaskerkin, who must have been working with Nualia and the goblins all along.

        The heroes find a storeroom where the goblins stashed their gear. PCs were allowed to spend a benny to add other mundane items to their character sheets, representing various items stolen from other travellers waylaid along the Lost Coast road. Sir Bland spends two bennies to ‘find’ a dented breastplate (AV4, torso only) and a healing potion to cure his one lingering wound from the last session. Izad’s staff and spellbook are not present and the lizard wizard is unwilling to confront Nualia without his magic.

        The heroes continue exploring and find the privvies. The two bugbears from the gaol are busy cleaning the stinking holes. They are using Izad’s staff of arcane might to poke a troublesome turd around the u-bend. His spellbook is also present, although several pages have been torn out to wipe goblin nethers.

        Sir Bland kills the first bugbear in a single blow! A closed cubicle door opens and Orik Vancaskerkin emerges; unarmed, unarmoured and unprepared to deal with a group of vengeful heroes. They have quite literally caught him with his pants down. Orik picks up the dead bugbears sword and prepares to defend himself. The bugbear holding Izad’s staff flails at Merkin, who is both soiled and shaken by the attack. Izad grapples the bugbear and wrenches the staff out of its hands. The bugbear immediately tries to snatch it back and Merkin stabs the brute to death while he is Vulnerable. Realising he can’t fight all three heroes at once, Orik attempts a Trick to cover his retreat; he attempts to slam the door of the toilet cubicle into Sir Bland’s face (Athletics versus Agility). The Trick fails and Orik is wounded by a Free Attack as he withdraws from melee. Orik flees and the heroes follow the trail of blood to the doors of the ritual chamber where Lyrie told them Nualia would be waiting….

        Last edited by mikeawmids; 04-19-2019, 08:14 AM.


        • #5
          Putting this game on hiatus, as I'm running a game with actual players (see Tales from the Mud Road thread), will return to this at a later date.