Game Date: 8/14/2011
Davor (Ted): Half-Orc Sorcerer
Durp DuDerp (Cliff): Half-Elf Bard
Keyanna (Chere): Half-Elf Dragonblood Sorcerer
Moxie (Michael a.k.a. "Stud Duck"): Half-Orc Fighter
Snidely (Greg): Halfling Rogue
Nishallivexiania "Vex" Corman (Matt): Half-Elf Monk
Last session, we explored some of the lower level of the Dwarven Monastery to find several missing children. We ended the session after rescuing a couple of the kids from kobolds. Today we continued our search for the rest of the missing children.
First we found a room full of rows of cells. Each cell contained a skeleton. Whenever someone would try to walk past the cells, the skeletons inside would either try to grab them, or would throw their heads at the PC. Davor was nearly killed by some of these attacks. Once a few of the party members made it through the gauntlet, they heard a meowing from behind an anvil. It turned out to be one of the missing kids - Savram - who was holding a cat (actually a familiar).
In another room we encountered four ghouls eating a kobold. During the course of this battle, Vex was paralyzed, and Durp and Davor went down. Moxie finally finished off the rest of the ghouls, and we managed to get Durp & Davor back on their feet.
In yet another room, we found five kobolds, one of which had wings (Dark Talon). As in the previous session, some of the kobolds kept shouting "Glintaxe!" when they saw Moxie. One kobold critted Vex, causing her ongoing damage, and she spent most of the battle unconscious. Actually, a lot of the party spent a good deal of this session lying on the ground.
As the battle neared its end, Snidely was attacked by a Forge Spurned (Chain Demon). It was a tough creature, but we survived. Once it was dead, a few of us explored the smoky tunnels it had come from. They found a forge, and another one of the missing children. This left us with two more to find.
Next room, we fought several more kobolds led by a mystic. They hit Davor and Moxie hard, and they went down early in the fight. The kobolds closed the doors to the room, sealing themselves in with the downed Half-Orcs. Sensing a losing battle, Snidely fled down another hallway. Worried for their safety, Vex ordered the children to follow Snidely.
Vex was still at -2 hp from the previous battle. She was able to stand, but any strenuous activity required her to make a saving throw or else collapse from exhaustion. Nevertheless, she pushed open the door and finished off one of the kobolds. This still left four kobolds, and it looked like a losing battle until Keyanna cast a Sleep spell. This turned the tide, though one kobold did manage to escape out the side door.
After the battle, we got our fallen back on their feet, and Snidely and the children returned. Durp made sure to inform Moxie of Snidely's cowardice. This led to a fight between Snidely and Moxie, the Rogue taking advantage of the Fighter's rare moment of weakness. Although Vex and the children pleaded for them to stop, they couldn't prevent Snidely from killing Moxie. On Vex's next turn, she took the Halfling down with a well-rolled Flurry of Blows, and Durp finished off the dying Rogue.
With two party members dead, it seemed like as good a time as any to end the session.
We still have two children to find, including our ward Jevra. Those of us still alive are low on hit points. Vex is still at -2. Next session we will introduce two new characters to replace Moxie and Snidely. Michael will be playing a Halfling Barbarian, and Greg will be playing an Elf Sorcerer.
In-party conflict can be an awesome thing, provided that all members of the group are okay with it. The Tantris campaign I was in had a ton of it, and we all had a great time. We were very good at keeping our IC and OOC knowledge & feelings separate. My character was a goody-goody naive Cleric who'd had a sheltered youth, and was the type to see an advancing orc and say something like, "Sure, it's a big axe-wielding snarling brute... but maybe it's a big axe-wielding snarling brute in need of our help." Some of the other party members were low-life scoundrels, who were constantly doing shady things behind my character's back. Quite often I'd find myself saying things like, "It's okay if you do that, but please make sure my character doesn't find out about it." It was actually a lot of fun keeping track of who knew how much about what and when.
But in the Artifact Hunters campaign, we saw the flip side to in-party conflict. We had one player who despised all types of mounts and companions. He was constantly letting his OOC feelings on the subject influence his IC play. Things came to a head in one session when he tried to kill another player's giant slug mount. His character had no IC reason to do such a thing, and he did it while the rest of us were in battle, taking advantage of the owner's distraction when he should have been helping us fight. Now, I like it when people play their character's personality. Even playing a jerk can be entertaining as long as it's done just right, and as long as everyone in the group agrees it's okay. But in that case it was clearly the player's own prejudices influencing his character's actions.
Today's conflict was pretty good. Both players stuck to their character's personalities, they didn't appear to bring any personal grudges into the game, and they both left in a good mood. This is a fight that had been building for a while, and if it hadn't happened today, it probably would have happened eventually. And I have to admit, while IC Vex probably considered it a necessary evil, OOC it felt pretty good pounding Snidely's face.