Date: Sunday February 19, 2012
- Dorf the Dwarf (Dan)
- Stikky Fingas - Human Thief (Allen)
- Torthorn - Human Cleric and Behemoth - Boar Hound (Dave)
- Graelyn Thorn - Human Magic User/Cleric (John)
- Dalia the Just - Gnome Fighter
After a few minutes to let the players introduce their characters, the crew set east from "The Realm" looking for fame, fortune, and glory to the east. Man once had firm control over these lands, but over time, many of the strongholds of law have collapsed into chaos. Bradley Keep is one of the last bastions of law under the rule of the king.
After a few days of travel, the group came upon The Heavy Betting Giant, a serviceable inn providing food and shelter to weary travelers, as well as the farmers and laborers living in the region. The party immediately notices a group of less than savory types at one of the tables towards the back of the room. They attempt to interact with the group, but quickly realize these ruffians would best be left alone. As the evening continues, Dalia performs a song for the patrons, and the group quickly wins over both the owner and patrons of the inn.
The ne'er-do-wells loosen their tongues as the liquor continues to flow. The party overhears an argument over whether or not Del Lorenzo was going to show up. Stikky immediately perks up, as he recognizes the name. Del Lorenzo is well known in certain circles for staging ridiculous break-ins...and now he's late. These guys were supposed to be breaking into an abandoned, lightning ravaged, wizard's tower to the north. They plan to wait a couple days for Del Lorenzo, and if he doesn't show, they'll investigate on their own.
The party decides to jump the claim first thing in the morning and get directions from the tavern keeper, who is happy to oblige. He warns them that the locals steer clear of the area. The group hired Larvay as a torch-bearer/porter, Linus the Courageous, a human fighter, and Gail, a cleric to join them. In the morning, the group of 8 head to the Tower of the Stargazer, just as the sun crested the hills to the east.
After an uneventful journey north, the group began investigating the area around the tower and discover the body of a man. Stikky immediately recognized the corpse as Del Lorenzo. Everyone was a bit intimidated by this discovery, particularly given DL's reputation. The group quickly entered the tower and discovered two entrances to the basement. They successfully navigate a secret door and end up in the in some sort of grim laboratory. Dalia noticed some strange mirrors in the back of the room and managed to survive some strange effects. Unfortunately, she wasn't as lucky when she got to the forth mirror and her duplicate exited the mirror and challenged her to mortal combat. Unfortunately, the party could not react in time, and after a few poor roles, the doppleganger overtook the gnome, striking her dead.
The party used a strange lift to enter the basement of the building finding a huge treasure hoard behind the a deadly energy field. After some trial and error with the levers in the corner of the room, the party secures the treasure, only to realize there is significantly more than they can carry out of the place. They leave Larvay and Gail (two retainers that had just met the previous day!?!) to guard the treasure while they investigated more of the tower.
On the fifth floor of the tower, they discover a huge telescope that allows them to view the surface of a far away planet. After fiddling with that for a while, they descended to level 4 and investigate a library. Finally, in the final room visited, a ghost materializes at a table and challenges them to wager their soul in a game to access to the Eldritch Library. Torthorn overcame the ghost (we went head to head with a game of Zombie Dice and the player beat me fair and square). We decided to wrap the game as the characters entered the library.
What will happen next? Will the retainers still be in the basement when they return? How will they get all the treasure out? What else will they discover in the tower? What will they find to the east?
I think all the players enjoyed the game. Running Tower of the Stargazer as an introductory adventure put a different spin on an opening game. There is very little physical conflict in the module. Only a few monsters exist in the module. The fun comes from the investigation of the various objects and devices found within. It was a novel experience for most of the players, as they were always expecting a physical threat to be behind the next door.
If you've read or played Tower of the Stargazer from Lamentations of the Flame Princess, please reserve any commentary or spoilers for a couple weeks, because my players are likely to read this and still have a few floors to investigate.