Monday, October 10, 2016

Back at Hommlet / Post Moathouse Battle

Apologies for no recent posts regarding my Roll20 / ToEE campaign progress, but all my Roll20 campaigns have been on a month-long, self-imposed hiatus. And prior to that, the PCs had spent most of their time doing admin tasks. After defeating Lareth and cleaning out the Moathouse, they focused on disposing of the loot and informing the notable NPCs in Hommlet about the possible re-emergence of Evil in the region.

To back up a bit, I mentioned a few months ago that the players (through their characters) were not exactly meshing well with the power-broker NPCs in Hommlet. I could never quite be certain of the reason why, but here is my best guess: In their previous, introductory campaign (before coming to Hommlet), the PCs were treated like conquering heroes by the locals. This was because they had saved everyone from marauding goblins, and so the accolades they received were justified and well deserved. But then the PCs traveled well over 100 miles to reach Hommlet, and thus began the "real" campaign.

Upon arriving at Hommlet, the PCs were at first puzzled and then quickly became offended when the locals in this village did not immediately welcome them with the same adoration as did their previous hosts. For example, within 15 minutes of arriving in town the PCs demanded an audience with the Village Elder. And then they were genuinely offended when they were turned away at the gate of his walled farm yard complex. Because they were treated as conquering heroes at the last village, the PCs (players) could not understand why they did not receive a similar reception in Hommlet. It seems to have never occurred to (most of) the players that the inhabitants of Hommlet would have no idea who these people are and thus were suspicious of strangers who suddenly arrived in town and started issuing demands.


By the time Lareth had been defeated, the PCs had in the meantime managed to meet (and insult) every... single... member.... of the Hommlet Village Council (except for the Miller). They had also issued veiled (and sometimes not so veiled) threats to other notable NPCs, like the pawnbroker and the blacksmith. And finally, they openly admitted to killing the affable (if somewhat eccentric) Spugnoir, who, while not a local, had come to be well-known around town. They claimed to be justified in killing Spugnoir because he had seemingly defected and joined with Lareth. But all the villagers had to go on was the PCs word for it, and it was already well-known that most of the PCs (especially the party Mage) did not particularly like Spugnoir.

So, after defeating Lareth, the PCs returned to Hommlet with the spoils of victory (including Lareth's head and Spugnoir's dead body). Because they had set out at dawn and because the Moathouse is not far away, the PCs were back in Hommlet by noon of the same day.

The first order of business was to take Spugnoir's body to Jaroo, asking him to give the guy a decent burial. The PC Mage was particularly eager to see Spugnoir planted 6 feet under, and offered Jaroo the contents of Lareth's purse (9 pp) to do the job immediately. The other PCs continued on into town, but the party Halfling decided to go with the Mage and supervise the proceedings with Jaroo.

Jaroo is offered a rich donation to see to Spugnoir's burial
Once the business of seeing to Spugnoir's mortal remains was finished, the party Halfling went back to the Welcome Wench. He ordered up a round of drinks for everyone currently in the place and then began telling the tale of what had just happened (putting his own unique spin on events, as described in previous posts). The Dwarf and the Thief (who's player was absent this game session) sat quietly in a corner at the inn. But the players for the Mage and the Cleric were eager to begin disposing of the loot acquired from Lareth's lair.

The first order of business was to see what might be gotten for Lareth's silver serving set. Here we see the Cleric and the Mage at the Trader's, negotiating that deal:

How much would you give for this lovely silver serving set?
The traders low-balled their offer, so the PCs went across the street and ended up selling to the pawnbroker. Then it was off to the Church of St Cuthbert, because the PC Cleric had Lareth's suit of black plate mail (which he believed to be magic) but he wanted to get the abbot's opinion on if he could actually wear it without becoming cursed or something.

What can you tell me about this black plate mail, which I peeled off an evil cleric less than 2 hours ago?
Terjon told the PC Cleric he could wear the plate mail, if he first had the village blacksmith affix a holy symbol of St. Cuthbert to the breastplate. This the Cleric readily agreed to, and set about commissioning the work to be done.

Meanwhile, the Halfling's tale-telling had spread around town. By late afternoon the PCs had all re-gathered at the Welcome Wench. Ostler was asked to convene a meeting of the Village Council that same evening, so that the PCs could present to them the evidence they had gathered from Lareth's quarters. Ostler agreed and the meeting was arranged.

The Hommet Village Council meets in order to hear the PC's adventures and review the evidence from Lareth's quarters
The Hommlet Village Council met that evening, and heard the PC's story. They also reviewed various documents gathered from Lareth's quarters, detailing raids conducted in the area and inventory sheets of stolen goods sent to the Temple. The village council commended the PCs on their good work and singled out the Halfling for his heroics in finally killing Lareth. Everyone in town knew the story because the Halfling had spent all afternoon at the inn, buying drinks and telling it over and over again. However, there was one small problem...

The Council was uncomfortable over the circumstances surrounding Spugnoir's death. Jaroo, instead of burying Spugnoir, brought his body in to the Council meeting. The abbot Terjon used the spell "Speak with Dead" to hear Spugnoir's side of the story. Although Spugnoir admitted to turning on the PCs at Lareth's encouragement, the Council felt that he could have easily been subdued and brought back alive, rather than killed outright. Complicating the matter is that Spugnoir was sent to Hommlet by the Greyhawk College of Wizardry, as part of his training. And his untimely death (under suspect circumstances) could cause a diplomatic conundrum. So, the Hommlet Council decided upon a solution:

They directed that the PCs must, through the party Cleric's connections, arrange (and pay for) the resurrection of Spugnoir at the Church of St. Cuthbert in Verbobonc. Spugnoir would be banned from returning to Hommlet due to his treachery, but at least he could go back to his schoolmasters alive. This, it was believed, would defuse any potential diplomatic problems with Greyhawk and its school of wizardry.

The PCs balked at this suggestion, believing that they owed nothing. Spugnoir was a traitor, and that was that. There was even brief (out-of-character) talk of attacking the Hommlet Village Council over the issue. I reminded the players that this would be unwise because they were completely out of spells (due to their earlier battle with Lareth) and in fact some of the PCs were still not even fully healed from that battle. In the end, the PCs agreed to negotiate for a resurrection, but they still maintained that any diplomatic problems between Hommlet and Greyhawk were of no concern to them. They also reserved the right to refuse paying for Spugnoir's resurrection, if the quoted price was too high.

And this is where we left off...  It was at this point that I decided the campaign might need a major deviation from the published adventure. As written, the ToEE module clearly intends for Hommlet to be a welcome refuge from the rigors of exploring and cleaning out the temple itself. However, in this campaign, the PCs have developed such a hostile rapport with the locals of Hommlet that I don't see how they could ever look upon the village as a place of respite. And therefore, I decided that a change of venue should be made available to them.

More on that in the next post!