Story Hour: Idylls of the Rat King **Spoilers**

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GenghisWayne
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Session #6

Post by GenghisWayne » Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:14 am

Session #6

For this session the party consisted of 5 adventurers:

Cerrac, an Elven Rogue - Level 3
Griff Roaringbell, a Dwarven Barbarian, Level 2
Osfrid, Crusader of Mitra, Cleric, Level 2
Drogo Steelhelm, Dwarven Fighter
X, a human Wizard, Level 2

Day 13, 24th of the Month of the Crimson Dragon

The party spent most of the day taking inventory of
their prizes and making purchases around town. X
tried to get appointment to meet Tavel, Master of the
Wizard School, in order to get some items identified.
However, Alf and Brogan, two of the King’s Guard
watching the gate to Tavel’s keep, rebuffed X and
Osfrid. Later, back at the Inn, Grisha confirmed the
group’s suspicions concerning the rogue guards as
Captain Bralan is having discipline problems with them.
Gani showed up at the tavern and mentioned about slow
progress in the mines, so the party set out the next
morning. [Gani replaced Lagleddin as head of the Mining Guild.]

Back to Level 3 of the Gannu Mine where the party
defeated Narzy the Gnome Necromancer. All in all, the
floor seemed deserted since Narzy’s demise. However,
in their search for a way to the fourth level, Cerrac
found a chute in the ceiling of a storage room that
led to an undiscovered secret room on the second
floor. Climbing alone up the chute, Cerrac found an
amulet and a treasure map to the Stoneheart Dungeon on
the long-dead body of a Halfling. [Plot hook to Tomb of Abysthor]

Eventually, they discovered the ladder down to 4th
level. They battled 2 wererats at bottom of ladder,
and killed a goblin that appeared to be sick in the
next room over.

A little uneasy after seeing the condition of the sick goblin,
the party happened upon Hogah in his lab. Griff ignored
Hogah's shooing and charged the wizard. Fortunately,
Drogo barreled into him disrupting his lightning bolt spell.
Next X, cast a sleep spell that did nothing but put Drogo to
sleep right in front of Hogah, and Griff's charge missed its
mark. On the next round, the old goblin backed up and
cast a lightning bolt; Cerrac and X made their saving
throws, but poor Drogo was unconcious and bleeding
once the ozone cleared the room. By the end of the
round, Osfrid and Griff had finished him off. Osfrid
quickly revived Drogo, and checked on the health of
his comrades. The rest of the party looted Hogah,
walking off with his Amulet of Natural Armor, and a
silvered dagger. X loaded up on spell components from
the jars in the lab.

[I think all the players knew they should just leave Hogah alone, but Griff's player roleplayed Griff appropriately and charged the goblin.]

A little shaken, the party pressed on. Defeating 4
dire rats in the next room encountered.

Finally the party came to a gilded door, and beyond
this they encountered Lawrence Gannu, the Rat King.
He was sitting on his throne playing a flute to 2 pet
Dire Rats. Following a quick introduction on
Lawrence's part, the party charged. Lawrence played
his pipes to summon more rats and, using a feather
from his hair, summoned a magical whip that attacked
Griff without success. X and Cerrac fire magic missiles
and arrows at the Rat-King while Griff pressed closer.
Drogo and Osfrid dispatched one of the rats. On the next
round, Lawrence created another whip, but neither of the
animated weapons had any success attacking the PCs.
By this time, Lawrence had taken a bit of damage from
more magic missiles and arrows, and Griff finished off
the Rat-King with a blow to through the clavicle.

The Rat-King lay dead, and the PCs had hardly broken a
sweat.

Not wanting to push their luck, the party moved back
to Hogah's lab, and held up for an 8 hour rest.
Nothing molested the PCs during their rest since they
where the only beings left in the mines.

[Well, except for Serrena, but the DM was the only one aware of that fact. :-)]

Day 14, 25th of the Month of the Crimson Dragon

Beyond the throne room, the group searched through
Lawrence's library. Cerrac discovered some notable
texts:

_Decline of the Thracian Empire_ which hinted at
vast treasures still undiscovered and left behind by
the Thracian emperors after losing their kingdoms at
the hands of the cult of Thanatos and their
rebellious, beastmen slaves.

_Legend of Rappan Athuk_ which described the
origin of the Dungeon of Graves, and main stronghold
of the priests of Orcus.

[Not very subtle plot hooks.]

Cerrac picked the lock to the vault beyond Lawrence's
bedroom. Next the party thief earned his keep as he
successfully foiled the traps on the three of the four
treasure chests contained in the vault. Fearing that
he may have missed something on the fourth coffer,
Cerrac had Drogo open the final container. A sharp
blade came swinging out of the ceiling at the dwarf
who managed to avoid losing his beard (or worse). All
in all, the party had discovered the following loot:
* 1050gp
* +1 Light Mace
* 6 Potions of Cure Moderate Wounds
* 600 pounds of stolen silver ore.

Next they headed back to town to claim their reward
from Gani. He was happy to pay them, and also bought
back the recovered ore at the agreed rate. Fisk
Hardseed beamed at the successful adventurers, and
again offered them a job as escorts for his next
caravan out of town. Upon hearing that Dwarfport was
offering bounties for dead goblins, Griff signed on as
caravan guard. Osfrid agreed to go as the caravan
would eventually get back to Thunderhold where he
wanted to speak to Br. Kaak regarding the Shrine of
Thyr.

Before leaving town, Griff decided to throw a party
for the village. He paid Grindan [owner of the Silver Cup Inn] handsomely for his catering and brewing services. Osfrid turned
his reward money over to Renna to build a shrine to Mitra.
The priestess of Athena agreed as the two gods are
known to be friendly to one another.

[Well, that wrapped it up. The party left plenty of loose threads behind in Anvil/Silverton; so they'll have a reason to come back if they want. In the meantime it's off into the Wilderlands for them.]

GenghisWayne
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Summary

Post by GenghisWayne » Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:33 am

Our group had a lot of fun with this module. Some of the more notable encounters were G'Zogah the mad goblin wizard, the stinking badgers, and of course, Narzy the Gnome Necromancer.

I was also impressed at how well "crafted" the adventure was from a PC advancement standpoint. The rewards and challenges ramp up from Level 1 (0 XP) to Level 3 or 4 if you are playing D&D 3.5 by the book. Also, the "toughness" is appropriate for beginning DMs and players (or those of us getting back to the game from a long hiatus). In other words, the dungeon is pretty forgiving. The levels are designed so that in most cases there's only one way to go down a level, and most encounters match the expected party level at that location in the dungeon. This makes Idylls a good "intro" module, in addition to being a low-level module.

The one exception to this is Serrenna. She'd be a TPK for sure. Luckily for my players they never found the map to her chamber, and I rolled low (twice) for the elven rogue to spot her secret door (and no, I didn't fudge) when they passed by (twice).

However, from this point on, I think I'll start placing challenges with an eye to verisimilitude and variety. If they're ever going to get the skills for places like Rappan Athuk, Tegel Manor, and the Crypt of the Devil Lich, these guys are going to have to learn to run. I might as well start the training sessions now :twisted:

Angulimala
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additional stories?

Post by Angulimala » Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:30 am

I'd like to hear more descriptions of games in which 'Idylls...' was used.

Does anyone have more stories to add?

Any other ways you enhanced the encounters?

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JediOre
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Post by JediOre » Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:38 pm

On page one of this thread I posted a couple of links to other threads that might interest you.

Just spend some time in the Dungeon Crawl Classics forum page. You'll find others who can cast light upon this module.

Gailbraithe
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Post by Gailbraithe » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:13 am

I played in a campaign of Idylls. My character was Jae Don, a monk/sorceror who was working towards the Enlightened Fist prestige class. The other characters were a Druid, a Spellthief, and a Wizard.

We brutalized Idylls -- we did the entire thing in three sessions/four game days, and never once left the dungeon. We just brought a lot of food in with us and spent a lot of time lounging about it the various secret rooms healing and resting. Gannu had no idea what was going on, since he couldn't find us, and we kept slipping up behind the new guards he posted at the entrance and killing them.

We dropped thunderstones down every mine shaft, and then my monk would just jump down, tumble, and start beating the crap out of whatever was down there (a monk with two Stone Fists and Mage Armor cast is SCARY). Our Wizard used Control Undead to take over the Ogre Zombies - this made Narzy's entire level a breeze, as we just hid behind the ogre and let it smash everything for us. Another tactic we used was buffing up to our max, then just running down halls, kicking in doors, and killing everything, then later, after the buffs wore off, going back and searching everything. I think we cleared the entirety of level two in this way in something like five-to-ten minutes of in-game time.

We fought Serena - my monk grappled her, then pinned her, then the rogue staked her (coup de grace), while the wizard was blasting away with magic missles and disrupt undeads. Took maybe three rounds. We had already figured out that she was a vampire and came prepared with stakes and hammers we stole from Narzy's mining operation. She was also a breeze.

All in all, I thought it was a good classic low-level dungeon, but needed more puzzles, and more challenging combats. We used pretty by-the-book dungeon clearing tactics, and barely worked up a sweat. Of course, we had a first time DM and four experienced players, so he was a bit overwhelmed at how very tactical we were.

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Warduke
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Post by Warduke » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:34 am

3 rounds? Serena should have gone gaseous long before the end. Sounds like your group's good tactics overwhelmed the GM. :twisted:

...btw, isn't control undead a 7th level spell? So your wizard was, what, 13th level?

Sorry. Just realized you meant command undead. :oops:
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Gailbraithe
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Post by Gailbraithe » Wed Nov 15, 2006 5:16 pm

Warduke wrote:3 rounds? Serena should have gone gaseous long before the end. Sounds like your group's good tactics overwhelmed the GM. :twisted:

...btw, isn't control undead a 7th level spell? So your wizard was, what, 13th level?

Sorry. Just realized you meant command undead. :oops:
Yeah, I think he forgot about that ability. Like I said, he was a first time DM. And yes, I meant Command Undead. Another thing that worked in our favor was a typo in PCGen -- the wizard played his spells from the spellbook that PCGen generates, and it claimed he got three rays from his scorching ray at third level, which made several of the fights brutally short. We didn't catch that until after the last session.

I've got a copy of Idylls, and while I haven't run it (I was strongly considering it for my new campaign, but I've decided to run Necromancer's Lost City of Barakus instead) I have read it all the way through. It's pretty well-designed, but it really does take an experienced DM to make it dangerous -- if the monsters aren't fairly proactive in establishing an active defense, they're no match for a average party. I'd tweak some of the monster encounters to give them a little more variety, but the NPC encounters are awesome. I love Gannu and his bard disguise, and wish the novice DM who ran this adventure for me had included that element.

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Warduke
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Post by Warduke » Wed Nov 15, 2006 5:36 pm

Gailbraithe wrote:Another thing that worked in our favor was a typo in PCGen -- the wizard played his spells from the spellbook that PCGen generates, and it claimed he got three rays from his scorching ray at third level, which made several of the fights brutally short.
laugh Scorching machinegun! Bummer to lose the ability. Hope the GM let you keep it since it was part of play already....
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