Castles & Crusades Diary: Barrowmaze, Session 54.

Summary:
Wereboars, wererats, and werewolves continue to swarm into East Tan in waves during the double full moons of Lunacy. Another character contracts the curse of lycanthropy and turns into a wererat!

(art by Karl Lindbergh)

Game Diary:
Last week was difficult and intense for the players, James (arcane thief) was bitten by a werewolf pack lord, turned into a werewolf, and then burned to a crisp by a player casting fireball to prevent the infection from spreading. Gimli (dwarven berserker) was also turned into a werewolf, but he survived the fireball and the players managed to put him in manacles and place him in a gaol cell in the barracks where he was watched over as the sun was setting at 21:00.

This week we continued right were we left off. It was now approaching 22:00 and the PC’s spread out to key positions around the East Tannery outpost. The tactic the lycanthropes took was to attack in overlapping waves so that the characters would not be able to congregate together and help each other out. This kept them spread out, and although the four players this session had 9 characters amongst them, in most cases only 3 or 4 characters were involved in a combat since the others had to fend off threats from other directions. The way I organized this was to run a combat and as we entered the third or fourth round I let the players know that something was beginning to occur in another part of the outpost and that the characters in that location were going to have to deal with it and would be unable to move to the current location of battle to assist. Then, when that battle came to an end several rounds later we immediately jumped to the other location for the new battle, and then three or four rounds into that I let them know that another location was beginning to see action and the characters there were now busy. Then, when this battle came to an end several rounds later we then jumped straight into the next combat. This went on for three hours – I was exhausted trying to run non-stop battles happening concurrently in real time, and like the characters in the adventure, I didn’t give myself or my players a chance to breath or rest in between!

So much happened in this four hour game, but I will just hit on a couple of the combat highlights.

At one point two werewolves and six wolves attacked the barracks (‘B’ on the map) to free Gimli, their freshly turned werewolf pack member. The battle was intense. The two werewolves worked at the two south doors with one finally tearing it off its hinges and they all swarmed in. There were 6 guards at the barracks helping defend the location, but in the end five of them had their throats torn out by the wolves and the sixth was turned into a werewolf and then killed by the PC’s. Gimli, who had been under a charm person as a way to try and keep him calm under the two full moons, was broken free of it by his werewolf pack members, he then activated his Odin’s Fury berserker ability, and began struggling to break free of his manacles. Fortunately for the group, after the werewolf/wolf group was defeated, Belden (bard), took out his piccolo and used his fascinate ability to calm Gimli’s nerves again.

In the north by the inn (‘I’ on the map) three wererats and three rats moved in to attack. PC’s who had owl and giant bat familiars managed to fly in and pick off the rats. Zen (monk) faced the three wererats, as well as three crossbowmen on large crossbow turrets built into the Army of the Light’s custom made ‘war wagon.’ The three wererats circled and flanked him and he was eventually bitten and failed his saving throw and immediately turned into a wererat under the two full moons. Now located in the center of the wagon, Balthatzar (elf/mongrelman wizard) was not taking any chances and launched a lightning bolt dead center on the wagon. The crossbowmen were fried to a crisp, the crossbow turrets were destroyed, and the war wagon was heavily damaged. Zen was still standing, however, and noticed Gnoosh (gnome rogue/illusionist) approaching up the central road toward him, he lept from higher ground to bite the little man. During these two nights of adventuring there was a Deck of Dirty Tricks card that would let someone to teleport to a previous location, but no one had thus far remembered to use it, until this moment. Gnoosh knew that if bitten he would probably fail his Con save, so he chose to teleport directly onto the wagon as Zen leaped down to attack him. Zen, caught by surprise, turned around to face Gnoosh who was standing were he just lept from, and Gnoosh hit him with a color spray, rendering him unconscious. Zen awoke in a gaol cell next to Gimli in the barracks, where Belden’s soothing piccolo toons calmed and fascinated him as well as the dwarf. Belden’s player said he would play throughout the night until the moons faded and the morning sun rose. It was now roughly 2:00 am, that would require hours of playing, I had the player make a roll to see if the bard could keep playing for several hours – he passed! For the rest of the night the lycanthropes kept their distance.

Over the next couple of days Llewelyn (elven cleric/wizard) attempted to remove curse (which required a spellcaster check vs. a challenge level due to the strength of this curse), he passed for Zen and he was returned to normal. However, Gimli’s bond with lycanthrope remains strong.