We played our second session of Sailors earlier this week in my "real" gaming group. Amusingly, the first play session had ended exactly where my kids ended their first session, right after the initial encounter with the Vine Horrors.
Like my kids, the grownups went right across the moat and through the gate. But unlike my kids, they didn't get lucky with the portcullis. It came down and impaled their halfling haberdasher, Randy, for 6 points. Since Randy had started with 5 h.p. and a pretty good luck stat, this was doubly painful.
Inside the courtyard, the player who's normally a party leader had all his characters hesitantly peer out from the gatehouse. He saw the well, the weeds, the mist rising from the sinkhole, and the tower, which half the party insisted (based on the rumors) was the place to go, since it was surely full of gold. But in yet another echo of my kids' sessions, another player struck off for the well, and once again, a series of party splits began.
No one fell into the well, though one character had to be grabbed with a Reflex save, and they all decided that it wasn't worth messing with. The guys at the tower played things very timidly, throwing rocks at the gargoyle and looking around for ways to climb to the battlements.
Halfling beggar: "Is there a way to climb the wall?"
Me: "It's covered in moss and vines, and though the walls are crumbling in other places, most of the stones seem to be in good shape here."
Halfling beggar: "But is there a way to climb it?"
Me: "It's made of stones, some a little crumbly, and it's covered in moss and vines."
Halfling begger: "Can I test the vines to see how strong they are?"
Me: "Make a strength check."
(Rolls an 18)
Me: "You easily yank the vine down."
The well-wishers catch up and decide to investigate the temple. They head that way as one of the other characters starts banging on the tower door -- not to try to break it in, just to deliberately get the attention of anyone inside. "Open up!"
I shift the action to the temple, because no one at the tower door is actually taking any actions. Our rutabega farmer tries to slide the bar from the temple door using his pitchfork. Someone else grows a pair and just pulls the bar loose. They see the statue, its pool of black ooze, and the scattered, scorched skeletons. In they go.
Wisely, no one approaches the pool to start with, skirting the outside walls first to plunder the skeletons as best they can. But one of the corpses lies right by the pool, and the ooze comes to life when they move up to search it. They kill the ooze without fatalities, though not without injuries. Steve the Urchin, down to one hit point, puts on a sooty chainmail hauberk, as do a couple of others.
What ensues next is a hilarious failure to understand the lack of a d20 search mechanism. I've described the temple, the rubble, the fallen beams, the bodies, and the golden censer.
"Is there anything on the bodies besides the armor and maces?"
"No, that's pretty much it."
"Can I search the pool?"
"Yes, but it's still very hot."
"I dig around and see if I can find anything."
"You don't, but your hands start feeling really uncomfortable and are all black and tarry."
"What about the statue?"
"What about it?"
"Can I search it?"
"Yes, you see that the eyes and fangs appear to be jewels."
"I'm going to knock the head off with my mace."
"Make a luck roll."
"You manage to knock the head off without knocking any of the gems loose. Which is good, because they would have been pretty hard to find in all the soot and rubble."
"Well, we searched the bodies, the pool and the statue. I guess that's it?"
"Wait, when you said that censer was golden, did you mean it was really made of gold?"
"I take it. Okay, is that all?"
"Well, you searched the bodies, the pool, and the statue."
"There's not anything else?"
"The room is full of rubble."
"Can I search the rubble?"
"Yes, you find a small iron coffer."
This has all been interspersed with hesitant questions and proposed but non-undertaken strategies for getting into the tower. Now that the temple has been scoured, I expect the party to regroup and get iin to fight the beastmen. But ...
"I think there's got to be something about that well. My characters are going back to the well."
The party splits again. This time, though, someone decides to take a smash at the door, and rolls a natural 20 on his strength check.
"The door bursts inward, revealing ..."
(I describe the interior of the tower, and initiative is rolled and goes to the party.)
"Uh, can I close the door again?"
"It burst inward. You'll have to step inside to pull it closed."
Gongfarmer McDonald steps in, only to be cloven in twain from above by the beastman champion's axe.
A pitched battle ensues, in which Steve the Urchin's hauberk is insufficient to protect him, and Tito the Squire likewise meets a bitter end. They free the prisoners, hear the tales of beastmen and the transformations of fellow villagers into new recruits. They search the hides and discover the cache of treasure. No one tries the black lotus oil. They wonder how much the fine green cloak is worth, and someone bemoans the fact that they don't have a haberdasher to tell them.
At the landing, the group is drawn by the passageway leading off to Felan's tomb, rather than the scattered coins. Lein the Astrologer deciphers the silvery runes on the door, and I recite the poem, ending with the list of four banes. I notice that no one is taking any notes about the poem. Hurricane the Ditch Digger forces the portal open, but the Astrologer has not stepped back. I roll a miss on Hurricane, but a hit on Lein. He saves! But the damage is max, and 10 points halved to 5 is far more than Lein's total -- a shame, since he had a 17 intelligence.
"I guess that was fire. What were the other three banes?"
Everyone looks at Lein's player, but he says, "Don't ask me -- my only guy who could read it is dead!"
In the icy tomb, the group comes close to losing more members, but manages to drag those frozen back out before death embraces them. Someone has the rather clever idea to spread the hides from the tower across the icy floor so they won't slip and slide. This gets my hopes up for rolling a 1 (no one did during the search of the tower), but the two characters they send back get lucky, and the rot grubs remain unencountered.
During the wait for the hides to return, the plundered treasure vault is discovered, and the halfling beggar almost gets killed by the trap, saving himself only by virtue of expending 11 points of luck on his Reflex roll.
They manage to free Felan's axe, though not his armor, and discover that the far door leads back outside.
Between the combats and the traps, though, they've managed to level up their first character: Hurricane the Ditch Digger becomes Hurricane the Warrior. He rolls 11 on the die, bringing him to 16 or 17 hit points in all. He's got a chainmail hauberk and the meteoric-iron axe.
The night ends there, with everyone else slavering for the next encounter, which will probably level up half the party or more.
Everyone had a blast, and we're all waiting for next week!