2019-05-05

DF Whiterock Session 47: Pearls Before Ettin

Date:

2019-05-03

Weather:

Cool, light rain


Player Characters:

Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 294 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 357 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 340 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 374 points

Significant NPCs:

5 Giant Clams
Gar and Nar, Ettin
Huge wolf


The party started in Cillamar, but Zaber was nowhere to be found.  Probably curled up in a beer keg somewhere.

Polly bought a crowbar for humanely prying open giant clams and extracting pearls, and a box full of 7 chickens for feeding to giant clams.  Garreth heard that Lord Flitwick's bodyguard Gord was stabbed in jail.  Seépravir heard the King Mirias Stormwarden is going to be visiting Cillamar this summer.  Seépravir cast Seeker to see if Ashryn was working on her Smoke wand, and saw a vision of a stick and some golden feathers on a table.

Seépravir cast Lighten on Elias; Alertness, See Secrets, Keen Hearing, See Invisible, Invisibility, and Dark Vision on Polly; Dark Vision on herself, and Flight on everybody.  Polly cast Keen Vision on herself and Seépravir.  Once prepared, the whole grep flew to Castle Whiterock.  While Flight is only 5 miles per hour, it's unaffected by terrain, so this was a much nicer way to get to the dungeon.  They made it there without drama this time.

Once they reached Castle Whiterock, everyone went down one flight of stairs, walked across one dungeon level to the elevator shaft, and flew down to the river level.  Finding a skiff right where they left it, Garreth rowed toward the giant clams, while the others flew.  When they got close to the clams, everyone got back in the skiff, and Seépravir dropped everyone else's Flight spells, as well as Invisibility and Keen Hearing, to improve her chances of casting other spells.

Garreth put on the Ring of Swimming, while Seépravir kept the Ring of Water Breathing.  With everyone prepared to extract pearls from giant clams, Garreth rowed the skiff around the rapids and parked it near the clams -- and they started firing their natural harpoons at the party!  Garreth dropped an oar, Fast-Drew his Katana, and started showing off his Parry Missile Weapons skill by knocking down multiple harpoons, then dodged the one aimed at him since his parry was penalized a lot by previous parries.

Seépravir Great Hasted herself.  Garreth grabbed the crowbar in his other hand, preparing to go pry clams open.  Polly stood guard, but didn't want to hurt any of the clams unless absolutely necessary.  The final clam fired its harpoon at Elias, but Garreth was still within Parry Missile Weapons range and knocked it aside.  Elias took the oars (without any Boating skill) and attempted to keep the boat relatively stable.

Seépravir jumped into the water (using Flight as a poor elf's substitute for Swim), and cast Slow on the closest clam, but it resisted.  Using her second action from Great Haste she tried again, and succeeded.  Garreth jumped in the water too.

The four non-Slowed clams fired another barrage of harpoons.  Polly parried one with her rapier, Garreth dodged one, and Elias blocked one.  Seépravir Slowed two more.  Garreth swam up to a clam, preparing to pry it open.  The final clam (out of sync with the others) tried harpooning him, but he dodged it, with some help from Luck.

Seépravir cast Slow on another clam, then waited, intending to cast Stun when one opened its shell to shoot.  Garreth used the crowbar to try to wedge a clam open.  It failed to dodge (despite rolling a 6; clams are not very good at dodging), but the clam won the contest of ST and refused to be pried open.

A clam opened its mouth to fire a harpoon, and Seépravir reacted by Stunning it, catching it with its shell open, and spotting a pearl inside.  Then on her own turn, Seépravir cast Slow on a clam and Great Haste on Garreth.  Garreth dropped the crowbar, swam over to the open clam, reached in (using default Pickpocket skill) and grabbed the pearl, then waited for another claim to get caught with its shell open so he could try grabbing another pearl.

Seépravir paid 1 FP to cancel Slow on the clam whose pearl had been taken, and also dropped Alertness and Lighten, to reduce casting penalties.  She then waited again, preparing to Stun another clam when it opened its shell.  Garreth swam back to where he'd dropped the crowbar and retrieved it with his left hand.  All five clams fired their harpoons approximately at once, targeting Polly, Garreth, and three times Seépravir.  Polly parried, rolling a critical parry that I ruled gave her a chance to try to cut the harpoon cord if she wanted, but she didn't want to hurt the clam so decided not to.

Seépravir's wait triggered and she Stunned another clam right after it fired its harpoon, catching it with its mouth open.  Garreth's wait triggered next and he managed to grab that clam's pearl.  Seépravir dodged one harpoon, needing Luck.  Garreth dropped two pearls and tried an open-handed (with gloves) Parry Missile Weapons against the next one, and succeeded.  He tried parrying the next one too, but failed, so Seépravir had to dodge, which she did.  The harpoon continued and hit another clam inside its open shell -- oops.

Seépravir decided to try Wait one more time before retreating, preparing to Apportate a pearl out if Garreth managed to pry a clam open.  Garreth successfully pried, but neither of them saw a pearl inside.  Garreth moved on to the next clam, pried it open, and Seépravir Stunned it.  Seépravir was able to see a pearl inside, but Garreth was not, so some underwater gesturing commenced.  Eventually Garreth saw where Seépravir was pointing, and grabbed the pearl.  At that point Seépravir's Great Haste expired.  Garreth shoved a pearl inside his bandolier for safekeeping.

Another round of harpoons failed to hurt the PCs, and Garreth managed to pry open the last clam and recover its pearl.  At that point the only remaining business was retrieving the two pearls that Garreth had dropped.  He swam down and found one of them, but couldn't spot the other.  Keen-eyed Polly tried from way back in the boat, and somehow found it, several hexes away.  Seépravir cast Flight on Polly so she could go fetch the last pearl, while Elias started rowing away from the clams.  Eventually everyone got out of harpoon range, with four pearls gathered.

Seépravir wasn't happy with only four, and tried Seek Earth to look for other pearls.  The nearest pearls it found were up and west, far away.  This convinced her that the fifth clam really didn't have one, and the group decided to continue boating north toward the huge cave.  They managed to navigate the waterfall and tie up the boat without problems, then walked through the tunnel to the big cave, then south past the pyramid to the field of large stalagmites they had spotted before.

Nothing attacked the party on the way to the stalagmites, and when they got there, Polly started exploring.  She noticed that some of the larger stagmites had caves dug out of them, which looked like long-abandoned living space.  Then she heard loud, low voices coming from the south.  Seépravir cast See Invisible on Polly just in case, but the voices soon turned out to be a quite-visible two-headed giant, walking toward the group.

Somehow, Polly decided to talk to the ettin rather than shooting it.  Unfortunately for her, they didn't share a common language.  But some of the ettin's words were Orcish, which Garreth spoke, and Garreth was eventually able to converse with the two heads.  As they started talking, a huge wolf (even bigger than the ettin) crept up around the stalagmite it had been waiting behind, to stand next to the ettin.

Seépravir noticed that the ettin was wearing a magic ring (actually, about bracelet-sized for an elf), but was polite enough not to try to steal it.

A very long and painful conversation ensued between Garreth and the two ettin heads, Gar and Nar.  Gar and Nar weren't always in agreement and occasionally needed to stop talking the Garreth to punch each other.  But the party was able to extract some facts, like:
  • The big pyramid door opened and the golem inside died.  (This was not news.)
  • The trolls had been trying to open the pyramid forever but never did.
  • This was the only ettin left in the area because the others went west to work for duergar.
  • There were some young, hard-drinking, rock-throwing giants to the west.
  • There are lots of annoying stirges in the cave, who probably lair somewhere up high.
  • There's a big turtle, either fast or slow, in the river to the west.
  • There are a lot of edible lizards to the south.
  • There's a tribe of lizard rats with a sword on a bridge over the river to the west.
  • Trolls come back to life after you smash them.
  • There are neat paintings on one of the stalagmites that you should see.  They were painted either by ettin ancestors, or by Nar.
At some point during this long conversation, a stirge dove down to try to suck some blood, but the giant wolf jumped up and caught it out of the air with one bite.  Polly rewarded it with one of the chickens that the group had forgotten to feed to the giant clams.  The wolf liked the chicken, so Polly eventually gave it all the chickens.

Everyone followed Gar and Nar to look at the stalagmite painting.  It featured a human with a robe and a staff using some kind of magic powers to move the black pyramid into place, while guarded by ettins.  Seépravir noticed some faint writing under the painting.  Elias cast Gift of Letters, which revealed that it said "West equals South" in Draconic.

At that point the ettin got hungry and announced its intention to go eat some lizards.  With their new friend(s)? departing, the group decided to go back to Cillamar.

GM's Comments:


This was our first death-free session.  Only one combat, and it was non-lethal.

The "fight" against the giant clams took forever, because the PCs had decided to harvest the pearls without hurting the clams.  Only Seépravir and Garreth really had much to do, so Polly and Elias mostly just watched.  If the players had demonstrated a foolproof strategy (Missile Shield, for example), I would have just handwaved some of the detail and let them have the pearls, but they were in danger of getting harpooned the entire time, so I couldn't.  But in the end they never actually got harpooned, though it took a couple of uses of Luck.

I was quite surprised that the PCs made friends with the ettin and his giant wolf pet, rather than starting a fight.  Once in a while, something in the dungeon is happy to talk rather than fight.

Because we spent so much time playing with the clams, not much new ground was covered this session.  But the pearls were worth enough to more than cover everyone's living expenses, so it was technically a profitable delve.

Next time, we'll see if the PCs keep exploring the giant cave, or go another way.

1 comment:

  1. 3 of 5 party members have Sense of Duty nature, so we try not to hurt the poor Nature

    The clams we did a better job at protecting than the Ceiling Snakes

    The Ettin wasn't an enemy so he didn't trigger Bloodlust (one of the confusingly named disads, should be No Quarter or something)



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