On December 19th YV 540, the friendly opposition to the friendly opposition to the magic ban lands in North Shore, a human town on the Southern tip of the gnomish peninsula. Buying a couple weeks of rations, they set out on the main northward road. They are:
- Doane Six (ByW): Level 3 Nekolyn Monk
- Lamila (BiW): Level 3 Half-Orc, Half-Elf Fighter
- Benquil: Level 2 Spider Monkey Animal Companion
- Lucifer “Lucy” Underfoot (RiH): Level 3 Halfling Bard
- Gelda Roughsole: Level 2 Halfling Thief Follower
- Eymen Hunyadi: Level 1 Drow Padfoot Follower
- Rav Lugulu: Level 1 Goblin Chemist Follower
- Hilderek Ferlwinkle: Level 1 Gnome Tinkerer Follower
The road is fairly well traveled, though mostly by gnomes, and inns in guarded villages a day apart give them a place to rest their feet as they go. In a few days, the craggy hills they are ascending through become farmland as they enter gnomish heartland. On the 25th, they enter the city of Calrendink, a gnomish city with a high skyline and low doors.
In Calrendink, they resupply and Lucy checks in at a temple of Hilbrent. They learn that Ilgrind lives off the road continuing North to Raegandeag. The priest is short with them, referring to Ilgrind as a heretic. When pressed for directions, he only has “follow the sound of explosions” to say.
In the morning, they set out again, keeping an eye out for signs of Ilgrend’s home. One day as they go, a droning sound approaches. When it is pointed out to Doane, he recognizes it as a swarm of locusts, so they continue. Soon, though, the sound grows louder and the swarm comes into view, pouring down the mountain side toward them. An unusual fog permeates the swarm and they can feel a temperature drop. Lucy realizes the bugs are nearly a foot long.
They realize they need to take shelter and all eyes turn to Doane and his tree manipulation powers. He quickly draws two tower shields and a handful of spears from a nearby tree. The party nestles in under a second pine tree and in the moments before the swarm’s arrival Doane grows a few branches to thicken their defenses.
As the swarm passes around them, the shields and thick branches mostly hold the locusts at bay, though they have to stab a couple. As the deafening droning continues, the temperature continues to drop and soon Lucy is shivering and Eymen collapses. As the sound quiets, Gelda and Lucy both collapse as well. Finally, the swarm passes completely and Lucy’s conscious followers set about trying to revive him, arguing about applying an experimental warming gel.
Doane and Lamila intervene, directing them to start a fire that is soon roaring with a dead tree felled into it. Lucy awakes beside a bonfire and sets about healing Gelda and Eymen. They spend the rest of the afternoon by the fire, Lucy, Gelda, and Eymen recovering from their hypothermia. By morning, they are feeling much better and break camp, having collected several giant locust corpses.
The next day, the 31st, they see a trail diverging from the road with a sign warning away visitors. The Hilbrent symbol on the sign suggests to them that it might lead to Ilgrind, so they follow the trail down the gully toward the tendril of smoke there. They soon come to a shack slumped against the mountainside where Ilgrind, a gruff but eccentric gnome, eventually lets them in, sympathizing with their efforts but losing hope when he categorizes them as exiles like himself. They manage to reassure him that they are serious convincing Hilbrent and the other gods to lift the magic ban, but that they need help turning public opinion.
To that end, he suggests they could get attention for their cause if he can finish his airship (he wants man to travel as Hilbrent once did, flying at high speeds). Before he gets too excited, he wants to study the documents Doane has brought from Hilbrent’s tower, but he mentions his willingness to help supply them with special equipment (custom arrows and rounds) in addition to helping them with their mission, provided they are willing to help him get the materials he needs for his airship and the other projects. The biggest thing he needs is a non-volatile lighter-than-air gas he has read about in ancient gnomish documents that he thinks can be harvested in a gnomish mine that was abandoned when it was filled with explosive vapors. He also needs more mithril and aluminium for the frame, as well as other means for non-magically refining the lighter-than-air gas from the flammable vapors.
The actual action of this session was pretty short. We spent a lot of time at the beginning socializing and researching 0.45 ammunition costs in 1830, among other things. It’s a social game that we play primarily for the purposes of socialization, but it was less satisfying for it anyway. After all, we socialize by playing the game for a reason, otherwise we’d just meet and talk, right? Since I’ve been thinking about pacing anyway, I think I might do some writing about social pacing soon. I think social engagement might turn out to be a complicated topic.
How do you handle session start?