AAR: Consequences of Illmire
In the last writeup, the party was surprised by an owlbear…
Clockwise from the top right, we have:
- Leithedir - elf/human ranger
- Vert - dwarven paladin
- Yentor - elf/dragonborn sorceror
- Corkas - elf/human cleric
I really like the sketches, so do my players. It was about the cost of a round of beer, and in Feb 2021, that is an option I do not have. 🍻
Anyway, the owlbear. It was spotted before its ambush and so did relatively little damage before fleeing, on fire. The party then proceeded south toward the King’s Highway, and moved west to Illmire. On the way one of the party was non-fatally sniped by an assassin, who ran off as soon as they finished the attack. The players searched but found little sign as to why it happened.
In Illmire they rested, and used their money to hire retainers. The townsfolk didn’t seem too relieved to hear of their recovery of treasure, and were only worried about reprisals. And about that point, it started to go wrong…
- The party decided to attack the camp again, reasoning that they’re still a threat to Illmire. The camp, that they’ve just put on heightened alert.
- The party decide to use tactics and sneak on a roundabout route back to the camp. They encounter a patrol, there being a number of them now, for some reason.
- The party fail to bluff out being a second patrol mixed up with the first, and start fighting them.
- The party kill most of but not all of the patrol, letting an archer get away. They interrogate their prisoner, getting a password that they argue about the likelihood of being correct, and a map to the camp.
- The party decide to (long) rest at the exact point where they have just fought the patrol. 🤦
- At the end of their rest it is morning, so they proceed with their attack under over of, uh, daylight. 🤦
- To catch up, they aim directly for the camp, ending up arriving at the same area of it they attacked before. 🤦
- They decide, therefore, to use the same sneak-up-the-walls plan. 🤦
- They fail their Stealth rolls.
To their credit, they did not complain about the resultant TPK. The well-reinforced bandits were stronger, and kept arriving until heroes started to fall. As soon as they could reach one unconscious player, they started taking them hostage until the rest surrendered.
Is this the end?
Always wanted an owlbear in a game, this was great. It was a little underpowered for the 4 lvl3 PCs without a proper ambush but that’s okay. Because it escaped, the party have speculated about it recovering and attacking them in every session since. It’s also established the danger of the wildlife, and isn’t a pack or swarm of things. I have rather set a theme otherwise, ahem.
The assassin encounter wasn’t quite as much fun as I’d hoped. Both encounters used the monster retiring early, as The Monsters Know What They’re Doing, however this second one felt a lot like half an hour of the party carefully trying to work out where the enemy had gone. Maybe I should have had a secondary lesser ambush perhaps? It would have taken longer, though. The players enjoyed it though, and the sight lines and SFX I’d added to the map1.
In Illmire, I actually made some mistakes of letting them spend their inordinate wealth on new weapons, until
the honest one of the players pointed out +2 weapons shouldn’t actually be for sale.
We agreed to retcon that.
Zach has mentioned on reddit that it is a weakness of the module that there’s not much to buy.
In OSR games, the money is also XP and as such is its own reward.
Actually another mistake is we forgot to use the retainers in the fight at the bandit camp, but that was a large enough battle on its own. The retainers were reasonably overpowered anyway, they turned out to have more HP than the PCs! I need to learn the 5e sidekick rules properly.
Finally, not quite related to the game itself, but the only problem with getting the characters sketched is now I’ll be more reluctant to kill them! And the players spotted this in a few seconds. Might need to kill one as an example to the rest. 😈