***This post contains spoilers***
Originally I had opened my table for 8 players. It filled, I got an e-mail asking to join in over the cap, and then had 3 cancel before the day. So when the game started, I had 5 players - Zach, Julie, Mike, Doug, and his daughter M. Everyone got 4 level-0 pregens. Unlike the last time, there wasn’t much time spent picking characters. A quick glance at the pile, and then grabbing 4 at random.
I gave the basic intro given, I asked them what path they’d like to use. They wisely chose the narrow path. No one was much interested in looking around outside the wall. (Note to self: have the PCs make a passive wisdom check to notice things). The bone strewn courtyard kinda freaked them out. They discussed heading straight for the inner keep but opted to check out the stables first.
It was about this point that Josh and Beth joined in. I really should have had the 5 other PCs give up a character each, and have everyone run 3 characters… Character deaths would quickly begin to whittle down their numbers anyway.
M had one of her characters enter the kitchen, once the hole was discovered. And, the vile drop crawler tried to eat her face. It failed, and unlike the last party that pulled back, there was a quick succession of characters crawling through the hole, popping up, taking a swing, and then getting shoved out of the way by the next character. One of the vile drop crawlers landed on a dwarf mushroom farmer, killing him instantly (first PC death of the morning). The number of missed attacks on that one landed on the poor dwarf’s corpse to the point where there wasn’t a whole lot left by the end of the fight.
One thing that cheered my old school heart, it only took them a moment to loot their companion’s corpse.
From the stable, they circled around the castle wall, checking out the collapsed tower, skipping Dr. Chadwick’s tower, and into the chapel. The party decided to all pray together, and I let them each roll once for their lawful characters. They also opted to leave the one farmer’s goose here until they found the princess.
The party then headed up to the upper courtyard, where the Hobyahs popped up out of the ground, and started attacking. Due to really good initiative rolls, followed by solid attacks, by the time it was the Hobyah’s turn, they were already down to half their number. I think I killed one or two PCs with the hobyahs. By this point the PCs had had enough, and were ready to find the princess.
One of the halflings went up to the keep door, and trying to look super cool, tried to push the door open/over one handed. This didn’t go well, and another character pointed out that the door opened out, not in.
Slamming my hand on the table was much less effective on a sturdier table.
The players divided up to search the great hall, discovering a fair amount of loot. The fairy princesses handed out the sword, shield and mirror. M’s characters (with the mirror) went straight up the balcony, and without waiting for the rest of the party threw open the door, and spied the pile of roses.
I was most impressed when she checked out the pile with the mirror. The rest of the part swarmed up the stairs and heroically charged the dragon. All except Julie’s characters, who, with the dragon distracted by the guy with the flaming sword, checked the doors to either side, first discovering the spinning room, then the room without the floor.
Again, super impressed when M ran over to look with her mirror, and saw the truth of the situation for herself.
The fight with the rose dragon… Ugh… I blame my dice. Multiple fumbles. Otherwise there would have been many more deaths before the flaming sword of truth wielding mercenary lopped the dragon’s head off. He put a rose on his lapel.
When it was suggested that maybe someone should try to kiss the princess before turning her over to Prince Charming, M (wisely) checked the mirror, thus ending all talk of kissing.
The party then took the princess to the chapel, and prayed for her. (Inventive, I liked it). The mercenary decided to head back for the gold from the spinning wheel. Of course I had him roll a agility check! And he failed, but made the save to only fall asleep. They collected him, and the princess, and returned the way they came.
Things with the Prince and Princess Aurora went was scripted, except the party decided not to heed the demon, and opted to attack the now undead princess. 1d16 damage didn’t even phase them.
2 attacks a round at 1d16 damage didn’t either.
Most of them chased her through the woods.
The halfling who stuck around the sleeping mercenary decided to take advantage of the chaos and snagged the prince’s syringe and box of 3 glowing blue vials. Like a dose of speed, he popped up, taking a hit on his physical stats. The halfling (little maniac) then stuck him twice more, using all of the prince’s serum.
I was flabbergasted.
All this going on while the rest of the party is beating down on the fleeing princess, and she’s killing on average 1 PC a round (usually whichever one was last to hit her). The PCs were helped by a trio of criticals (2 to the eyes!), but she just wouldn’t drop. The mercenary, took up the sword of truth, snagged the Shield of Truth, and stood toe to toe with the princess. This is about when the undead horde showed up, and most of the party was ready to flee. It probably helped that I reminded them that they had done more than twice the damage to the Princess than they'd done to the dragon, and she wasn't slowing down any that they could tell.
Josh (the merc’s player) engaged me in a whispered conversation, and then had the merc offer her his services.
And that’s where it ended. I had such a blast running this group through FT0. I told them that the group that gets to play FT1 isn’t going to be happy with their choices!
Mad props to Daniel Bishop for writing such an engaging scenario. If you're impressed (and you should be) go vote for FT0 for an ENnie under the Best Electronic Book category.