Children of the Raven

Last week we started a new campaign, the Children of the Raven (a name that may possibly change, but which will do for now). Played the first session (did characters the previous week), and have the second one planned for tomorrow.

We’re using the Beyond the Wall & Other Adventures rules, and the players created their characters using the playbooks. Haven’t fleshed them out too much at the moment, but we have the following characters:

  • Callum, a Young Woodsman
  • Young Alf, a New Watchman
  • Magnus, a Self-taught Mage

They’ve also got a couple of allies as a result of their playbooks, a Scarred Veteran from another land who is another watchman, and a Strange Ally who is often unseen. They’ll be making an appearance in due course.

Setting-wise, well, at the moment that’s just a few pages of scrawled notes in my notebook and a couple of maps that need completing (one of their village, Gallows Hill, and the other the regional map). Basically civilisation one one side of a river and the faerie lands across that border (where an old, crumbling wall still stands) in the great forest. The village is basically the last settlement before the faerie land.

Once I’ve finished typing up my notes and drawing the maps, I’ll post them here.

We’ll be using a couple of house-rules too, the first of which is to allow the use of HD after a rest to recover hps, similar to how it works in The Black Hack and other games. It’ll work better than the 1 hp/day for the RAW.

The second (which may change) is how we deal with experience and levelling. At the end of each session, each PC gains an Experience, which is basically a short, one sentence description of an event they’ve experienced that session or a situation they’ve been in. If they find themselves in a similar position again, they’ll gain an advantage. Once they’ve gained a number of experiences to equal to their next level, they can spend them to level-up; effectively, learning from their experiences. Might change the frequency of this, if they’re levelling too quickly, maybe to one per ‘adventure’, or gained when they reach a place of safety and can reflect on their recent adventures (downtime sort of thing). That’s going to a work-in-progress.

For our first session, I pulled out my old, and I think my first self-published RPG adventure, Mischievous Monsters adventure, stuffed the maps into Roll20, and ran through the first part, where the PCs are in an inn that gets attacked by a bunch of rat-goblins. We ended that session as the PCs headed off to follow the tracks; I expect we’ll finished that small adventure tomorrow night.

I’ll be posting my play-reports here, rather than on Obsidan Portal like I used to, since I have a website that I should be using more. So, here’s the first session notes:

Mischievous Monsters: Trouble at the Inn

It was a warm Spring night, and the taproom of the Dancing Donkey was quiet. Aside from a couple of heavy-drinking mercenaries looking for work, and a trader on his way to Gallows Hill for the weekly market, three young men sat at a table chatting away: Callum, a young woodsman; Young Alf, a new watchman, and Magnus, a self-taught mage, all born and raised in the village of Gallows Hill on the very border of the great forest that is said to be the domain of faeries and foul beasts. The three best friends, having grown-up together, were talking about leaving the village and striking out to explore the world, seek out adventure and maybe treasures. They talked to the trader, who offered to pay them to escort them home, where they would then cross the river and see what mysteries and delights they could find in the forest beyond. Callum, who had ventured often in the woods, had hears of a few possible places, ancient ruins and strange monuments that were just a few days travel from their village. They three friends agreed to go off exploring just as soon as they reached home.

After that, they went off to bed, sleeping soundly in the dormitory. When, in the dead of night, they were woken by the sound of someone creeping to their room: three ratty fellows, barely two feet tall, humanoid, rats, dressed in tatty clothes and wearing flat-caps. Each wielded a dagger almost as long as they were, and all three hissed and giggled as they saw the three men wake up; one of the creatures had Magnus’ tortoise (Brian) in its paw, having just pulled the animal free from the mage’s pack. With a terrible grin, the rat-fellow fled out of the room, the others quick to follow.

Magnus immediately chased after it, whilst Callum and Alf grabbed their weapons and followed as best they could. Into one room Callum and Magnus chased one of the rat-fellows, cornering it as Magnus leapt over its head to block the window. The second was chased out of the window by Alf, who managed to jab it in the back as it ran; the third scampered off across the roof of the stables and climbed down; outside, and on the floors below, sounds of commotion could be heard, and the trader’s voice shouting for help.

Inside the room, the rat-fellow crawled under the bed with Brian the Tortoise clutched in its paws, refusing to give it up. Callum got down on his hands and knees and thrust his sword under the bed, eliciting a cry of pain and a yelp from the creature: who then overthrew the bed, forcing the two friends to leap back or be knocked back. Callum darted forward, cutting the creature, and Magnus stepped in close and whacked it across its shoulder; the critter bite him back, drawing blood. It ducked another sword thrust and chucked the tortoise at Magnus (who caught it) and took the opportunity to dive out of the room, back into the inn.

Meanwhile, Alf jabbed his spear at the creature, who grabbed it and tried to yank it from his hands. Instead, the watchman pushed with all his might, and thrust his spear through the creature’s chest, killing it and sending its body tumbling down the roof of the stables. Hearing the commotion downstairs, Alf raced down and commanded the two mercenaries (who had woken and were standing bewildered in the corridor) to follow him; they headed outside, to see several more creatures disappearing into the night, carrying goods they’d stolen from the inn and stables.

Back upstairs, Callum takes another swipe at the rat-fellow, wounding it. Magnus blocked the way out again, trapped the creature; he tries to blind it with a flash of Mage Light in its eyes, but the cantrip proved too powerful and the mage slumped, exhausted. But, wounded and trapped, the rat-fellow does the only logical thing, and surrenders.

They truss it up and take it downstairs to find the rest of the patrons already assembled in the taproom, along with the innkeepers and his wife. Aside from the two mercenaries and the trader, there’s also a wandering minstrel and an old man who they learn is a retired mage. Everyone, except the three friends, had something stolen. All were willing to pay someone to fetch them back, and the three friends took the challenge; they also managed to convince the mercenaries to come with them, after they rest and wait for sunrise, of course.

When morning came, Callum, Alf and Magnus, together with the two mercenaries (Horace and Jacob), and supplied with a couple of days food by the grateful innkeeper (Joseph), gather their gear and meet outside in the chilled Spring air.

The tracks of the creatures were clearly visible, and Callum, being an expert hunter, took the lead and they headed off the road and North.

End of Session 1