Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Session 5: Did Anyone Bring Rat Poison?

As exploration of the dungeon continues it is becoming apparent that the degenerate humanoid inhabitants have been training various vermin to guard their halls, including borer beetles, giant spiders, and rats.  Indeed, the upper levels of the ruins of Thrace have been utterly infested with vermin, and stirges and rats have proven to be particularly lethal hazards to exploration.  Yet, a surreal encounter this session raises the question of whether something more sinister may be at work.

Opening a dungeon door, the party spied a nest of especially large and fierce-looking rats.  Having had enough rat-bites to last a lifetime they elected to spike the door shut then head back to camp to buy some flasks of oil and immolate them from afar.  Returning an hour later, the room was now empty; the rats having exited through the doorway on the other side of the room.  The party had counted on the rats staying put until they got back with the oil; they are just dumb animals, right?

Passing through the room and through the far doorway, the party found themselves in a narrow, labyrinthine passage.  As they slowly proceeded they heard a voice crying out for help, just ahead.  Ignoring the voice, they decided to explore a side passage and a few minutes later, heard the same voice crying out behind them.  Returning to the place where they heard the voice, they found nothing.  This same thing kept happening as they explored the labyrinth: voices in the dark behind them or around the next corner calling out for help, or persuading them to "come and play."  Yet they party was never able to find the source of the voices.

It turned out that the voices were those of the rats, themselves, who were attempting to herd the party into to their main nest, a great hall in which the party was attacked on all sides by a swarm of giant rats, led by an enormous, hideously mutated nest mother.

Ironically, the monstrous rat-mother was killed without her inflicting a single wound on the adventurers, though the normal rats proved a considerably more difficult challenge, and they inflicted some serious wounds before the characters managed to kill them all.

And, thus, the session ended with the mystery of the weird talking rats and their mutant nest mother, and what, if anything, they signify.

This session was also the first in the campaign in which no player characters were killed and it was a welcome respite to end a session with players high-fiving instead of rolling up new characters.

Rats.  Why did it have to be rats?


burned said...

I am still enjoying your session posts.

This reminded me of my own group. In the beginning, there were several times where the girls were faced with something in a dungeon, leave, form a plan and come back to realize that the place is not static.

They've since learned from experience, but you can always change things up to fool even the long time player.

Who would suspect that the rats were the ones speaking?

I look forward to reading more.

Sean Robson said...

Thanks, Burned. The characters spent a good five minutes discussing their plan to burn the rats right outside the door where the rats could hear them. Of course no one suspected that they were sentient rats; still it's best to take nothing for granted in a dungeon.

Dan said...

Sorry I missed it. :( I plan to be back at the table asap.

Anyone make it to 2nd level yet??

Sean Robson said...

Hell, no.

Dan said...

haha. Well maybe next time...

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