Friday, March 23, 2012

Swords and Wizardry White Box City Campaign: Lock, Stock and One Smoking Wand of Paralyzation

We resumed our on an off Swords and Wizardry White Box campaign last night playing as a group of thugs, the Weaselly Ferrets who control a four block area of a really bad neighborhood called the Devil's Breakfast table in the City of Vermistdadt in the Land of Moog.  Our previous explorations had mostly centered on delving in the ruins below the Sikorsky Building (a.k.a. Dyson's Delve) and during our last visit there, the group encountered a pair of Manticores on the third or fourth level and managed to slay them in a couple of tough fights and then found a wand of Paralyzation in one of their treasure hoards (though with limited charges).  However, on occasion, we have been tasked with "missions" by our Ogre boss Big Slick or his boss Oranishi (a.k.a. the Big Boss) which always turn out to be the most comical and entertaining game sessions and last night's session was one such adventure.

So in this episode, the Weasely Ferrets went "over the river" into the Dumfries on a search and destroy mission for our boss Big Slick and the Big Boss Oranishi. The highlight was the balls to the wall play of blasting everyone with the Wand of Paralyzation and the closing scene with Mr Green knee-capping the surviving ogre instead of ganking him so that he could tell the tale of who stole their Dreamweed which was totally something out of Goodfellas.  It was a fun session and without that wand, our plan (or lack thereof) wouldn't have succeeded mostly because we were seriously lacking in the fighter department - our only fighter was Snit the 2nd level halfling henchman and the rest of the player characters consisted of a 3rd level wizard, a 4th level wizard and two 3rd-4th level clerics.  The end result was well worth the price of two charges from the wand though and the story was reminiscent of some tale told about the city of Lankhmar and other heroes and villains in another world far far away...

Here's is a synopsis of events in the seediest, nastiest and meanest streets in all of the land of Moog, the City of Vermisdadt home of that group of rascals and cutthroats known as the Weaselly Ferrets who reside in the seediest and roughest neighborhood in the City of Vermistadt called the Devil's Breakfast Table:

Big Slick our Ogre boss had a job for us - go over to the Dumfries neighborhood (no small feat - five neighborhoods away through rival territory) and the docks accross the river and disrupt a shipment of dream weed arriving for one of our rival gangs.  He said either throw it into the river or abscond with some of it if possible.  He provided us with uniforms of the city guard and suggested that travelling there through the sewers might be the best course of action to avoid detection.

So while travelling through the rat infested sewers below the mean streets of Vermisdadt in the general direction of the river, we encountered a Chaos Minotaur wandering the filth infested tunnels and defeated it in a fierce melee.  The giant beast walked upon hooved feet, was missing its right horn and appeared to have some sort of glowing rune imprinted on its forehead almost like a miner's head lamp except that it was implanted into the chaos beast's head.  Poor little Snit the halfling took the brunt of its attack before the group managed to blast it in a fusillade of flintlock and magic missile fire whereafter it fell with a crash into the slime infested sewer.

Once the halfling's wounds were bound and he was healed up, we searched the body and found its loot - some gold, a scroll, a jeweled necklace and quite a bit of silver.  We kept most of the loot but put the silver in a bag, marked the spot and dumped it into the sewer to be retrieved later if possible (since it was a lot of coinage and very heavy), and threw the body into the center of the sewer to eventually be swept downstream into the river by the torrent of excrement and rainwater runoff from the filthy streets of the city above.  We followed the sewers until we came to where they emptied into the river and exited the tunnels in Butcher Town where we found a shady alley and donned our city guard outfits.  We weren't likely to be stopped there by the real city guard since that borough had its own police force and the queen's guard rarely went there.

So we crossed over the river on the bridge into the Dumfries neighborhood and Snit located the dock and mooring of the ship the Dirty Princess moored at an out of the way side dock in the warehouse district.  We boldly walked right up to the long shoremen unloading their cargo of wool or cotton onto the docks and Vortigern boldly pronounced "In the name of the Queen lay down your arms and surrender".  The two giant ogres amongst their number initially ignored the group but when the wizards started chanting and preparing to use the wand, our enemies won initiative and fired at the two with their flintlocks before they could cast sleep or use the wand on them and then charged the group to engage them in melee.  The other wizard, Greg the Green (a.k.a. Mr. Green), lost his spell but Vortigern moved off to the side away from the melee and paralyzed the group attempting to load up and make off with the cargo (they all failed their saves).

The group managed to kill a few of the gang members in melee but hardly scratched the ogres when more gang members or long shoremen came running from the gangway off of the ship towards the offloaded cargo on the shore to make off with it or attack the group.  Mr. Green managed to charm one of the gangsters that we were fighting and ordered him to go tell the thugs on the approaching horse and wagon to flee since the city guard was here.  Vortigern cast Phantasmal Force towards the gang plank that the men were crossing from the boat to the shore over the river and "summoned" a green dragon from the river to scare off the gang members coming from the boat.

They were initially startled and frightened by the illusory dragon but they made their morale check and attacked it and dispelled the illusion with one blow.  After the dragon disappeared, they started wondering where the dragon went and began looking in the water.  The result was a successful distraction since it delayed them from their initial goal of making off with their illicit cargo or attacking the group, at least temporarily.  From down the street the horse team with the rival gang members was approaching with the aim of offloading the cargo while the fight was going on, but the horse team failed their morale check upon seeing a giant river dragon crawling out of the water onto the dock as the horses reared up and sped away pulling the wagon behind.  The charmed gang member also failed his morale check and fled upon seeing the dragon.

At this point, Mr. Green started blowing on the guard's whistle he found in the pocket of his uniform (indicating more guards would arrive at any moment) and the ship's crew started ditching the rest of the cargo overboard, untied their moorings, lifted anchor and the ship departed from the slip and the remaining longshoremen and gang members fled as well.  Meanwhile, the two clerics and Snit were having a rough time of it having dispatched the other gang members but they had only hurt one of the ogres slightly and the other was unharmed and they were taking a beating.  They were hurt badly and wouldn't last another round so Vortigern used the Wand of Paralyzation for a second time on the melee including three members of our group (two clerics and Snit the halfling) and the two ogres.  The result was that one ogre failed his save, one made his save and one of our clerics was paralyzed but the other two made their saves and were still mobile.  The remaining ogre, seeing that his men were either all paralyzed, dead or fleeing turned tail and ran down the street to beat a hasty retreat.

Since our intended mission was more to hurt our rival gang than anything and show them who was boss, Mr. Green knee-capped the paralyzed ogre with his flint lock rather than killing him (so he would remember who stole their illicit goods and rightfully fear the Weaselly Ferrets), and we gathered up the dream weed from the bails of cotton and wool piled up on the dock and headed back to the sewer to make our escape.  We made it back to our turf to report the result to big slick and give him and the big boss a cut of the merchandise (the dream weed we had retrieved).  He asked for the uniforms back and congratulated us on a job well done - he particularly liked the knee capping job - he said it was a nice touch and would teach our enemies to respect us in the future...


  1. Nice recap man, really enjoyed the read.

  2. Cool, thanks. It was a fun session. It seems like the missions in the city are always full of hilarity and help to break up the monotony of the never ending dungeon crawl below the streets. Someday, we will find the entrance to Hollowheim but it still eludes us at this point and we've been playing this campaign on and off for quite some time...

  3. Great recap! From now on, you can just call Greg "Mr. Green". It's official.