Five bold adventurers took up the call for the 37th Rift City Campaign session. This was the third anniversary of the campaign as we started in August 2017.
Marching order was:
Berg (5th Level Dwarf)
Galan (5th Level Elf)
Gibbet (6th Level Thief)
Brigham (5th Level Cleric)
Shazam (2nd Level Elf)
Shazam hasn't been to many sessions recently and is therefore trailing a little in levels.
The party decided to head back to the cave entrance they explored last time. This is a little further on from where they have been going most of the time, they hoped it might mean more loot as the caves would have been raided less often.
They found their way in OK - nothing else had taken residence in the main room behind the cave entrance. Previously they'd encountered Carrion Crawlers there but this time it was empty.
Pushing on they came to a room (I think this one also had Carrion Crawlers in last session - this area contained a little nest of them) where there was a doorway they had not previously tried. I can't remember whether Gibbet found the trap but couldn't disarm it, or didn't find the trap (Gibbet in this session was really successful at not finding traps - made all his rolls, I think, on untrapped doors - but very bad at finding the traps on the doors that had them) - either way, an axe-blade swept out when Shazam tried to go through, and the noble Elf was no more.
I have a houserule called 'Elementary Staunching' that I've used in the last 4 campaigns I've started and discussed several times before on the blog (such as here). It is intended to make combat a little less catastrophically dangerous for PCs by giving them a chance to survive at 0hp until the rest of the party can at least try some battlefield first aid.
But... the party didn't do it. I'm a little surprised by that. Essentially, the view expressed was 'we're happy for Shazam to die because that way he's replaced by a higher-level version'.
That isn't the way this is supposed to work. Because of the stricture not to allow too much level-mixing, I ruled that new PCs begin at the lowest level in the party. I also have an 'exploration bonus' to XP to represent the exploration of new territory: this is based on the average that PCs need to reach their next level. Low-level characters drag down that average somewhat and make the bonus smaller. The upshot of the interaction between these two rules that it makes sense (from a certain point of view) to allow low-level PCs to die in order to boost the experience of high-level PCs.
That is not supposed to be how it works at all.
Anyway... Shazam died, and the PCs found a new, much higher-level, adventurer, Kraghelm the Dwarf, back at the town. I think this rule is potentially going to break the campaign.
More stuff happened. Oh, boy did it happen. But, actually, it's months ago and I can't remember what.
What I do know is that the party also went adventuring in session 38 (in September), where they visited the Bath-house of Blibdoolpoolp once more, and fought their way down corridors they've never visited before, in the furthest parts of Level 1. They do have a habit of attacking everything though, even things that aren't threatening them. Poor crystal statues...
In October (Session 39), they went down to Level 3 through one of the areas that they've been before. Marl was able to join the PCs for this one which was nice, as Marl hasn't been for ages. A highlight was a room with levers which they played about with until they opened a door. I think they sussed that the other levers opened other doors, but not that they were standing in the control-room of a prison complex. It didn't matter, they killed the prisoners (who were werewolves) anyway.
For the November session (session 40) Berg, Galan, Brigham, Gibbet, Karensa (who joined us for the first time in several months) and Kraghelm ventured down - in that order. They decided they'd dare to venture round the bend in the road and try their luck in a cave round there. That's supposed to be the scarier dungeon entrances, though I'm not sure completely certain what level they were on.
It didn't necessarily go well. Ascertaining from the number of statues in a cavern that there might be a Medusa about, there were in fact three of them. The PCs got surprise luckily but but even so, Kraghelm and Karensa were turned to stone and Gibbet bitten before the fight was over. Gibbet made his poison save so he was OK in the end (a bit hurty from the bite) but with no way to turn Karensa and Kraghelm back to flesh (you can't do that as a wizard until 11th level, apparently) the PCs lashed a rope round Karensa and dragged her back to town so Galan could claim she was legally dead and he was her heir. The statue of Kraghelm was left in the Medusae's cave...
The legal wrangling took as long as the adventuring. Galan also declared that as he now had 20,000gp in portable wealth he was off - as one of the characters that ages ago gave up a family secret, Galan has bee trying to amass some treasure to restore his family's fortunes and marry his lady-love Her family blocked the marriage alliance when Galan's family was ruined. He's hoping a bunch of cash (and jewellery, gems and a few magic items) might allow the clan to re-establish itself and regain its influence.
The net result is that there's going to be a lot of new PCs in coming months!