Session 5 was the first not on a Thursday and was actually on a Saturday. The session began with 5 players with a 6th player joining in later.
The players were: Tiny Tracy Ulf Devin Graysmith (new character AND new player) Seb Shamos Berta (player joined later)
As with all sessions, this one begins at the opening of the gates of Castle Torrog. And as usual the winding path leads down the mountains, through the foothills and to the crossroads at the old damaged tower.
Now.... will they be tempted?
I described to the players the movement they saw at the top of the tower. Would they be tempted.
£$%* that was the response. I'm so proud!
The party decided to head north along the old path. After a few miles the path turned turned north-west and the party reached a T-junction. With a another path splitting off northwards into the foothills. The party noticed that the new path has had more usage, so they decided to go into the foothills. The party continued into the foothills until they noticed when rounding a hill; a makeshift watchtower rising over the crest - and on the watchtower, a goblin!
So Shamos -the sorcerer- stealthily moves forward to investigate.
And rolls a 2!
After failing his stealth roll, Shamos discovered that there were a further 5 goblins at the base of the watchtower and combat ensued.
To be honest, 6 goblins isn't too much of a threat for the party. But they are the beginnings of something larger.
During the 1st round of combat, a goblin disappeared back round the hill and out of sight, whilst various party members stormed over and around the hill toward the goblins. During the 2nd round, sounds of a ringing bell came from behind the watch tower.
A ringing bell. What could this mean? Something for the party to think about?
Combat didn't last too long and Ulf got to live the barbarian dream and Sparta-kicked a goblin.
So after combat, the party are what is best described as 'faffing' about at the watch tower and spot a group of 12 goblins coming toward their position. Rapidly they conceal themselves and await the arrival of the patrol, waiting to cunningly ambush the goblins.
And also forgetting to hide the bodies of the previous 6 goblins who were there.....
The goblins are not particularly perceptive and don't spot the hidden party. There are 2 party members hidden in the watch tower, holding up a corpse and pretending it's alive to try and convince the goblins nothing is wrong.
Oh Joy! Murderhobo humour!
The act doesn't last long, right up the goblins asked the hidden party members to identify themselves. Combat ensued. Initiative goes well for the party and someone casts a sleep spell, this pretty much defeated the entire band of goblins and they took a prisoner and decided to torture it for information.
You can see them literally slipping into murderhobo mentality and beginning to forget that they are in a west marches game.
The goblin provided the party with some information, he told them that were was a mining camp close by that had 'a lot' of goblins.
After this, the party decide to move away from the battle site by basically a quarter of a mile to a flat open site that will give them good visibility of the surrounding area.
Basically, on a hill.
The party decide to have a long rest.
A long rest will restore all their hit points, spells etc. This takes 6 hours.
Time to make a random encounter roll.
A 'hue and cry' has been raised by the party AND the patrol sent to investigate the hue and cry have disappeared: It means that I will roll triple the encounter dice.
So I roll 3d20 instead of 1d20, any results of 18+ mean an encounter will occur. It results in a encounter.
I decide that about 2 hours after the first patrol left the mining camp to investigate the warning bell and did not return, a 2nd patrol would be dispatched.
This 2nd patrol consists of 12 goblins and 6 hobgoblins and a hobgoblin boss (all 7 riding on worgs).
Since the party are only a quarter of a mile from where the warning bell was rung and are camped on open ground, they are easily spotted by the patrol.
The party realise that they might be in serious trouble.
Remember how the PCs lulled themselves into thinking this was like normal D&D.
The party contains a dwarf and a gnome, Tracy and Berta.
Dwarves and gnomes move slower than other party members.
The party decided to flee, they know that the goblins can keep pace with them and slowly catch up with the slowest 2 party members. So they decided to split into 2 groups. The main group of 4 will continued heading south, whilst Tracy and Berta went east. In response, the goblins chased Berta and Tracey. The hobgoblins and worgs chased the other 4.
Splitting the party...
So at some point the party have learned that the 2 lion statuettes they acquired can be turned into actual lions. They used the lions to slow down the goblins and eventually make good on their escape. Potentially losing the magic items which they've had to abandon...
Meanwhile, the other 4 try to escape the hobgoblins and worgs. Their problem is twofold: Firstly worgs move at almost double the pace of the party, secondly the hobgoblins riding the worgs are free to attack with their longbows (whilst the PCs can do nothing but run and lose ground on their pursuers). After a couple of rounds of bow fire, Seb is downed. At this point Ulf decides to turn and stand his ground, challenging the hobgoblins to single combat. Devin the paladin also halts with Ulf. Shamos keeps on running! Ulf made an impressive intimidation roll and the hobgoblin boss ordered his toughest lackey to engage Ulf in 1 on 1 combat. The hobgoblin banged his sword on his shield and stepped up. A few rounds of combat and Ulf is convincingly defeated.
Ulf did not manage to land a single blow. Hobgoblins wear chainmail and are quite hard to hit.
The hobgoblin banged his sword on his shield again and pointed it at Devin. A few rounds later, Devin too is defeated.
Once again the hobgoblin is untouched, he was feeling pretty chuffed with himself by now.
By chance, none of the 3 felled characters are dead, their injuries are all stable. So they hobgoblins claimed them as prisoners and departed.
Possibly more on the fate of these characters at a later date.
Meanwhile, Shamos had rolled himself in some dirt and mud he had found, hoping it would mask his scent from the worgs. Luckily for Shamos, now they've got a prize, the hobgoblins have forgotten about him. He does however earn the nickname 'Shamos the brown dragon'.
The remaining party members manage to regroup and retreat to Castle Torrog.
The game claims its first casualties (although they may be rescued, maybe).
Devin was lost in his first ever session, (And the player's first ever session too!). Ah well, he had a classic introduction to D&D!
The PCs still simply march everywhere and make no attempt to scout or approach a situation tactically. Ultimately, they still seem to be in the mindset that this is normal D&D.