Not much happened today. We had two folks who had to leave early ... so our DM helped by showing up 2 hours late. With -3 hours of game time we didn’t get much done except to finish up our last mission & have one small combat.
Same characters & players as last time.
So we start out in the woods “looking for mushrooms” and promptly run into trouble. After collecting just a few a group of Stormclaw Scorpions go after our little band. The Elf Ranger and my Eladrin Wizard spot the things trying to sneak up on us, but the two Dragonborn bruisers are clueless and surprised.
The Ranger goes first and hits one scorpion with an arrow. Then the Wizard gets to do battlefield control for the first time ever! Since they were bunched rather tightly together I used Icy Terrain along with my Wand’s accuracy power. Of course I roll a THREE on that first attack & miss even with the wand boost, but hit on the other two. Knocking two of them prone actually prevented 2 surprise rounds attacks against the Dragonborn.
After that I used Scorching Burst three or four times. The things had terrible reflex saves and I was usually able to target two at a time to spread the damage around.
The rest of the party did well with the defenders doing their thing, taking the attacks, while the Ranger did tons of damage with Twin Strike.
That was our one and only combat of the day.
Once the critters were disposed I assisted the Ranger in tracking down their lair. Inside we found the body of what looked to be a Human Rogue. Thanks to some great Arcana rolls we found 4 magic items on his body. Inside the enchanted boots we also found some dried herbs. The Ranger blew his Nature roll but I made some very nice rolls for Nature and Arcana to ID the herbs as having been magically treated to cause the kind of symptoms that we had observed in the wolves in our first encounter in session 1.
However since the dead Rogue didn’t match the description of our description of the orphan we found ourselves questioning the mayor’s story even more.
Even though the spoor was quite old, since there had been no rain for days we were able to track where the Rogue had come from and found ourselves in a small depression with a pool of water at the bottom ... a quick investigation showed that the water had been “treated” with the herbs that we had found.
I immediately started trying to evaporate the water with prestidigitation. We didn’t need any more animals drinking this stuff.
At that point we found ourselves surrounded by wolves ... much bigger and healthier ones than we had seen previously. They were at the top of the depression that we were in, one wolf at each of the 4 cardinal points. I guessed that we were about to find our quarry. The wolves threatened but didn’t attack. The Ranger tried to “make nice” with them to no apparent effect. The dragonborn and their wolves growled at each other each trying to out intimidate the other. Worried that they might attack and wanting freedom to be able to cast Sleep when we saw the “animal orphan guy” I used Ghost sound and my Nature skill to create a “howl” behind the wolf nearest my guy. I got the space I wanted as the critter turned and moved to investigate the sound.
Sure enough our target showed up next and I got ready for fight #2 of the day ... but a negotiation broke out instead. Sigh.
Turns out that Orphan guy’s parents had been murdered and that he had spent years tracking down their killers. As it turned out they were hired killers and, once they were taken care of, he had been able to find evidence that they Mayor had hired those men to kill his folks. Orphan guy had evidence of the hire and his parent’s old ledgers showing how they were slowly edging out the mayor back when he had them killed, providing the motive. Solid stuff.
Our group had a big debate about what to do next.
Our “Lawful Good” Paladin wanted to just challenge the Mayor and kill him. Never mind that the guards might then kill us next. He thought we could just throw our evidence at their feet and make it all good while they looked at the blood on our hands. His theory was that even if we died that we would have 100% for sure taken out the “bad guy” first so it would all be OK. I couldn’t help but think, “Not!”
Our Fighter wanted us to tell the Mayor that we had Orphan guy’s body outside of town and convince him to come see it. Never mind that we had been hired to bring back the head. “Let’s just tell him that we didn’t want to get hassled by the guards for carrying a human head into town.” Needless to say his “plan” had more holes than some types of cheese.
Our Ranger thought that blackmailing the guy might work. That we could tell him that we had killed Orphan guy but had found the incriminating evidence on him. Then we could offer to let him buy it from us. Ideally he would want to do so alone and we could dispose of him without getting killed by the guards in the process. This plan involved some wizard guy who could teleport being the messenger just in case it all went bad. Hmm. Somehow that just didn’t sound like a good career move.
My thought was that the rich merchant guy we had met back in the first session seemed pretty honorable, at least as far as human merchants went, and well connected to boot. The logical thing to do would be to show him the evidence we had. He would understand it’s importance better than most anyway. Then one of three things would happen. A) He would aid us in getting the mayor arrested. B) He wouldn’t help directly but could point us to the proper authority that could help. C) He would betray us to the Mayor. Honestly C didn’t seem like much of a problem to me. If he was on the Mayor’s side then taking care of him up front would just leave us with one less problem later on.
In the interest of making this all work while we lived to tell the tale I compromised. We would go talk to the merchant guy and then wing it after that if he didn’t help doing either the Paladin’s “plan” or the Ranger’s as deemed appropriate.
Orphan guy didn’t really care what we did, he just wanted the Mayor to die at the end of it all. He and his wolves were going to wait for us, and possibly the Mayor in a clearing just outside of town.
As it turned out the merchant was furious once he heard what we knew and had a chance to go over our evidence. He offered to take us to the local lord, an honorable man, and help us to get an audience with him. The Ranger suggested that we leave town separately and meet up outside & I made sure that we bought some stuff from the merchant so that we would have an excuse for our visit. One of the things I got was a Scroll of Animal Messenger to let Orphan guy know what was happening.
A hard ride later and we were at the Lord’s castle. It took some time but the merchant got us an audience. He was outraged when he learned what the Mayor had done and was grateful to us for letting him know instead of taking the law into our own hands. At this point I boldly asked the Lord for a favor. It seemed unjust that Orphan guy was an outlaw. I asked that he be pardoned if the Mayor was found guilty at trial. Something that seemed inevitable at this point as the lord was gathering his men to ride on the town. He agreed that this seemed just.
Our Ranger had a request of his own, even more bold than mine. He mentioned that the Mayor had offered to pay us in return for killing an “outlaw” and asked that we get the same reward for having found the real culprit. The lord agreed to that as well.
So we rode hard back to town, this time with 100 men with us. I left the clean up duty to my companions as I made my way to the clearing where we were supposed to meet our friend with the wolves. He was a bit disappointed to learn that the Mayor would be tried instead of just killed out of hand, but I pointed our the subtle irony of the man being caught by the same laws that he had misused. Then I let him know that he would be pardoned. If anything that was a bigger surprise and made the whole thing easier to accept. He thanked me and told me that if we ever needed help that he would do what he could.
And that was that. Our contact with the Lordling would lead to our next adventure but a shortage of time didn’t really let us get into it.
Mechanically I really enjoyed this session. In general being able to use Prestidigitation, Ghost Sound, Light, and Mage Hand at will is great, especially role play wise. I really felt like I was able to do Wizardly stuff at pretty much all times.
In our one combat it was neat to be able to use area attacks every single round. Having an AOE at-will is a really nice wizard perk. I liked Icy Terrian too. It’s a very reasonable low level encounter power.
I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to use sleep this time, but there is always next session.
Once again Perception was HUGE at the table. It's almost a must have skill for a Wizard IMHO.
For our next game we are leveling up to 5th and will be facing a good number of undead. Group wise both the Paladin and I will be taking the Initiate of Faith feat so that should help a bit with the healing. I really wish that one of us was playing a leader type though. I’ve been running a different 4e game with my kids and the leader really makes a difference there.