Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Joesky Tax: A Game Anecdote

After a lot of lead-up, I'm finally running DA2: Temple of the Frog for the Sunday night crew. In an ideal world, I'd run the original version, but it requires so much work to bend it into shape that I might as well write my own adventure.

To explain the lead-up: the classic Crux of Eternity crew ran through a modified version of S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, and informed the local university about it. Since then, the university has been running a research program to fully investigate the crashed spaceship, and have subsequently learned that there are other pieces that were scattered across the Sorrowfell Plains when the thing passed through the atmosphere. The Sunday night crew has since been tasked with researching the other pieces. One such piece landed in the foothills of the Hoarfrost Ridge and allowed me to run Lost Laboratory of Kwalish. Another landed in the Bogbeast Fens and was discovered by cultists of Bobugbubilz, who proceeded to call it, "The Egg," and ascribed religious significance to it. Five years ago, this minor frog temple proceeded to become more organized and militarized, and is now proving to be a notable nuisance in the region with ties to slavers in the big city up north. (Which, if you know the adventure, you'll recognize as the basic setup of DA2: Temple of the Frog. Astute observers will recognize a couple of differences — like the whole thing about The Egg — which will likely be revealed with the fullness of time.)

In addition to the original goal from DA2 (rescue a high-value prisoner), the university has tasked the player characters with capturing any extraterrestrial technology they can find. The PCs decide to sneak into the City of the Frog — ignoring the original adventure's infiltration hook, assuming (probably correctly) that they probably won't be able to pass themselves off as slavers or wannabe frog-cultists — and they prioritize rescuing the prisoner because she and her men are skilled fighters, so they can outfit her and her men and double their party's fighting force.

The plan goes to shit pretty much instantly.

They sneak up the canals using a combination of water walk and control water and are almost instantly spotted. They switch from stealth to speed, and their main asset is that it's foggy and the middle of the night, so there's a lot of confusion, so they don't get murdered by crossbow bolts. They make their way to the middle of the town so they can cast locate creature on their quarry, hoping to find her in the warehouses and barracks.

She's in the basement of the Temple of the Frog, of course. The precise place they didn't want to go.

They cut west, get pelted by some crossbow bolts, use control water again to get over the wall, and are now in the courtyard of the temple. On the plus side, they neutralize the guards and the alarm is sounded, so no more guards can easily approach from the City of the Frog. The bad news is that they don't have a control ring to actually enter the temple, so they're just. Stuck there. With a temple full of cultists at their backs.

Their current gambit is to hopefully trick one of the cultists in the City of the Frog into approaching, then stealing a control ring to enter the temple. We'll find out how that works on Halloween!

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