Tobold's Blog
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Zeitgeist: The Dying Skyseer - Session 10

In the previous session the constables of the Royal Homeland Constabulary had paid a local crime lord, Lorcan Kell, to hand over an important witness to their case, Dr. Wolfgang von Recklinghausen. As promised, Kell's men led them to the abandoned cave church in which the doctor was hiding, got their friends out who were guarding him, and even kindly disabled the traps in the place. So the group went in, advancing slowly and carefully, until they found the doctor. With some diplomacy they persuaded the doctor that they were real police, because he was afraid of "the monster" coming after him. By his description the monster clearly was the same shadowy man that had caused the group some trouble already, and who had killed Nilasa. The doctor then gave them the documents that the dying Nilasa had entrusted him with, mostly reports of the Danoran security chief Justin Brix about strange things going on in Danoran-owned factories in Flint. The accounts of materials going missing fit with Gale's information from the previous session which had told them that somebody was smuggling material into the parallel shadow realm Bleak Gate and was building something large there, presumably some sort of war machine or ship.

The paladin, who had stayed near the tunnel which was the only obvious way into the church, then noticed that a mage had appeared outside and through magic barred the entrance with steel bars. But a group of people then ran right through those steel bars into the church. They were trapped, and under attack. Well, or they would have been. The player of Aria the sorceress is famous in the group for always being the first one who wants to flee, always looking how to stay behind cover even if that cover is his group mates. So the fight hadn't even started yet when Aria was already climbing up the chimney of the kitchen, looking for a way out. While the others started fighting, Aria got out, tied a rope to a tree upstairs and came back down, their escape route secured.

The people attacking were two rogues, two mages, and the shadow man himself. As the shadow man was insubstantial, he only took half damage from everything. And he had abilities to go into stealth mode in combat, running around not just invisible but completely undetectable. So he got a few good hits in, and so did the rogues. For some reason I was rolling a lot of 20s (and a lot of misses), so the mobs did some serious damage. But then Eldion hit the shadow man with radiant damage, which stopped him from being insubstantial. It also dissolved his shadow skin, revealing raw muscles and flesh of a human without skin. Some hits later the shadow man was bloodied, which triggered an escape ability with teleport he had, and he ran away. The group quickly killed the rogues and intimidated the two wounded mages into surrendering.

Merian then went in the tunnel towards the barred entrance. But outside there were over a dozen more enemies, with the rogues shooting him with their pistols through the bars. So the way through the chimney that Aria had already secured was the obvious way to disappear. They climbed out there and didn't turn back when somebody called into the tunnel for them to negotiate. We ended that session there.

So I didn't get to do the negotiation, where the group would have had the opportunity to trade their lives by handing over the doctor and the documents. Sometimes having an escape artist in the group can save them from having to make difficult decisions.


In video games different endings are pre-programmed, never having played pen&paper myself I wonder if it is the same.

EG: if it came to the negotiation, would it have ended in either a group wipe or the doctors death and loss of documents, nothing else? Also: did you plan for the chimney to be a possible escape route and was it the only one available?

That's a thing I love about Doctor Who btw. As bleak as the situation looks, as lost as human kind may seem, there is always a solution. It's basically a kids program and you know beforehand that the good guys always win, but Doctow Who is great in telling the stories that lead to win.
No, then ending of an encounter isn't pre-programmed. They could have ended trading their witness and their evidence for their lives, or been burried in the cave until they found a way out. And there was a second hidden exit behind the curtain of the toilet. Our escape artist actually looked in the toilet for a way out, but not behind it. :)
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