Cast of Characters
Kaolen Bearcharger, male human ranger (played by Jason Sproles)Gorgoth Khrem, male dragonborn wizard (played by Ben Moy)
Kedrick Killmeister, male human paladin of Erathis (played by Derek Beam)
Perrin Tuatha’an, male halfling bard (played by Christopher Schwartz)
In the fetid sewers beneath the city of Calatan, the adventurers sought the roots of the assassin’s guild plaguing the city. Having survived an ambush in the dank tunnels, they proceeded down a dark tunnel towards an odor of tobacco. There, set in a wall covered in mold and muck, they found an iron-bound wood door. Above the handle was carved the small symbol of a five-petaled flower: an oleander. Perrin attempted to pick the lock, but triggered a tiny golden pin that struck out and filled him with a debilitating poison. When he recovered, the companions bypassed the door.
Beyond, they found a well-appointed office that could have been at home in any manor in the city. At a large oak desk sat a well-dressed, muscular man of middle age. After he finished reading a series of papers, he calmly introduced himself as Sir Bram and greeted the Heroes of Calatan – for he already knew who they were. While he expressed disdain that they had bested his agents, he seemed unperturbed by their entering his chamber, and even thanked them for their earlier work in dispatching the assassin known as The Scorpion. As thanks, he offered them the gift of information: he would answer any three questions as truthfully as he was able.
The companions disagreed about the questions to ask, and grew increasingly hostile towards Sir Bram. They coerced him to answer more questions, until they finally seemed appeased, and he left. At that point, Perrin ransacked the master’s chamber, finding a box of treasure and what appeared to be a contract for the assassination of a northern merchant.
The companions left the safe house, and returned to the ladder that led to the hatch by which the oni they fought earlier had escaped. They headed up, finding themselves in what appeared to be the basement of the Prosperous Swan. They found a group of toughs there, and despite confused attempts at negotiations, a pitched battle ensued. After the deaths of his companions, the last assassin surrendered. Perrin abruptly took his leave, and the others escorted the prisoner to the Old Donjon in Old Town. With that, the rest of the party returned to the Wolf and Whistle, their task done for the night.
I was particularly excited about the encounter with Sir Bram, and ended up being very disappointed with how it played out in the end. Some of the players are dogged in always attempting to get full, unequivocal answers to every question they have, and seem unable to deal with incomplete information. My hope was that forcing them to work together and think carefully about which pieces of information they would get from a specific NPC would lead them to rethink this method, but instead I failed in this by letting them bully me somewhat and throw me off of my game plan. Part of it may have been my fault in not presenting the situation in the same way it appeared in my head – making clear how powerful Sir Bram was, more strongly hinting at the dangerous nature of the situation they were in, etc. – but my desire to leave an air of mystery and allow the players to feel in total control sometimes hinders me.
I was also disappointed that the PCs chose to ignore the other tunnel, which I thought I clearly presented as an interesting and important path to adventure and intrigue. Perhaps part of that was my fault, but I think it was largely a byproduct of the entire session falling apart at the end due to player tension and disputes.
On that note, there was a lot of interesting action and choices on the parts of the PCs, but there was also a growing thread of tension throughout the session that was frustrating, and it ended in another intense argument between several of the players. While there have been various contributing factors, this has been a problem over several of the last sessions, and I am highly concerned about what this means for the cohesion of the group and our enjoyment of the game. Suffice it to say, if we can’t find a way to resolve these issues soon, I worry for the future of the campaign.