Gnolls, We Hardly Gknew Ye: Lost Jewels of Alcanse #3

Or, Session 3 Recap: The Lost Jewels of Alcanse

Our merry band of adventurers was eager to get to the ruins, so we hotfooted it down the long path to the east. The first day was uneventful, the first night was barely eventful (in the sense that Bardalph saw some creatures in the shadowy distance, but didn’t feel the need to tell anyone else about it). On the second day, the surroundings got more forest-y and dense, and so when Zyro’s raven familiar (hey, when did HE show up?) flew ahead and reported that something awaited us, we appreciated the tip. Still, the two creepy creatures that popped out of the woods were a bit startling. And despite our friendly gestures (i.e. not preemptively attacking them…that’s friendly, right?), they growled and pounced. It was not much of a fight though, and we defeated the creatures quickly. We deduced they were scouts, but we just stashed the bodies and continued on, because we wanted to get to those ruins!

And lo, we did reach the ruins not long after, seeing high but crumbling walls ahead: the perfect situation to send a raven familiar to scout, you might think. But Svela was not in the mood for excessive caution, so she just strolled right in, like an idiot. Fortunately, she heard something ahead, and checked the group’s progress, then snuck toward the noise until she peeked in and saw four more of those gnolls rummaging through a ruined camp (complete with the bodies of their victims). As a group, we pulled back to a defensive position and then a pseudo-stoned Bardalph got them to chase him into our trap! Except that these gnolls were a bit tougher than the scouts. Though the big leader dude got guiding-bolted and axed and poisoned in a very serious way (ouch!), their archer managed to shoot Svela right in the chest (ouch again! and….also dead.) Yikes, this wasn’t in the grand plan. Fortunately, Bardalph the cleric has a close personal relationship with….can’t remember who, actually, but whoever it was, they love to heal! A glowy sense of warmth called Svela back from the brink (thanks, oh holy one!) and allowed the others to finish off two more gnolls. At that point, the archer tried to make a break for it, but an arrow in the back ended his plan. Go team!

After the short but ugly fight, we inspected the room we discovered. Looks like the gnolls surprised a group of black-robed weirdos who were into the “smoky eye” look before they got killed. Now what are they doing here in the ruins? Hmmmm…. Anyway, looks like we’ve got a ready-made camp and some free weapons. We are happy to have a spot to rest before we delve into the already-surprising ruins!

(Player note: This session highlighted an issue experienced players can run into. Player Me knew the creatures we faced were gnolls and therefore 99% likely to be evil and non-negotiate-y. BUT, 2nd level Character Me had no direct knowledge of such creatures and no particular reason to think that a fight was inevitable. So how to play this ignorance in light of the secret knowledge I’ve already got? In this case, our group mostly played it for laughs, which it how we play most situations. As a player, I also chose to make a couple of dumber choices because they fit the brashness of my character and her lack of deep experience. It’s hard for perfectionist, always-looking-for-efficency me to knowingly make “mistakes”, even in a game setting where the stakes are both imaginary and very low. But this is one of the appeals of low-level campaigns for me. They are relatively stress-free for me as a player, and remind me that games should be, above all, fun. I usually play combat very cautiously, so dropping to zero is not a familiar feeling. But hey, it all turned out ok, and Svela lives to fight another day!)

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