This is the first of my session reports for my new sandbox campaign. The players all took part in my previous 5e campaign, which was set in the same world. Now, we’re using BX/LL as a followup a few years after the events in our previous campaign. This is my first attempt at a true Sandbox game, having been groomed too much by 3.5/Mathfinder’s railroading mentality. I used Jame’s West’s Howler and a couple of NPCs from Jason Sholtis named “Shitbeard” and “The Appetite.”
Rivers of the Old Kingdom; or River to the Danger Zone
Session I Report: “Maps, Maps, Maps! and The Appetite”
Dramatis Player Character(ae)
Ridley, Chack (Level 1 Rat Bastard) – A bounty hunter who has recently been working alongside the notorious pair of ex slave-gladiators turned bounty hunters Shitbeard and The Appetite. When we begin Chack has turned in their most recent bounty to the authorities in the minor riverhold of Crumlicht, betrayed his partners, and R-U-N-N-O-F-T with all fifty gold of the reward money.
Thurl Bexl (Level 1 Magic-User) – Has plans to run a long con on a local wizard by the name of Armandos by posing as a new apprentice in hopes of getting his hands on a few spell books. Thurl (who is played by Joe Pesci, I’m assuming from the voice) was supposed to meet the wizard at an inn in Crumlicht called The Obtuse Wayfarer.
Victoire “Tom with an H” Mayore (Level 1 Rogue) – Recently having fled [redacted] following accusations of [redacted], “Tom with an H” spent the past few days slumming about Crumlicht in a well-worn fur cloak. He’s most recently found respectable if not entirely gainful employment cheating people in dice games.
Fernando Wyrdikiss (Level 1 Mongrelman Barbarian) – Hails from the Witchlands of Thaggis where his people were displaced two years ago by despotic usurpers from the Riverlands. He lived as a librarian in one of the mongrelmen’s ancient repositories of knowledge and isn’t quite a (mongrel)people person because of it – absolutely nothing to do with his half crab claw, half tentacle hand, coyote snout, fingered goat hooves, or numerous possibly vestigial ocular organs. He’s been living in a tented hole outside of Crumlicht for a while.
Filbert Canklegrab (Level 1 Cleric of the Sovereign Bastard) – Engaged upon a war of psychological attrition with the Crumlicht branch of the church of Ulesh, god of peace, serenity, and tasteful disdain for violence, by wandering into their temple and pissing on things, disrupting masses, and heckling them in the street. He’s been in the town for two months and has finally pushed them too far.
How it all begins… (and nearly ends)
Five acolytes from the temple of Ulesh cornered Filbert in his alley hovel, wielding table legs and candelabras, only to be confronted with flung dung balls and the sudden appearance of Fernando, who clove open the visual cortex of one of the white-robed, “non-violent” priests-to-be, and after a rabble-rousing proselytization on Filbert’s part, two of the young clergymen, who did not either die by axe or flee, found themselves deeply moved by the trollish commandments of the sovereign bastard. Meanwhile, one street over, Chack takes a turn from one street directly into the bountiful man boobs of The Appetite with his partner Shitbeard lurking nearby. Finding the two bounty hunters unreceptive to “reason,” Chack flings a sack of twenty gold into the street and makes a break for a dress shop, with The Appetite huffing along behind him. (Shit beard went for the money.) And across town, at The Obtuse Wayfarer, Thurl listens in as “Tom with an H” hustles the two mentally disabled miners in a game of dice, sees an opportunity to run a quick con.
Things get out of control. The group ends up at a local bar called Jeers, where no one bothers to remember your name, where they meet a large fellow named Gudrin O’Noggin and his skinnier, wily compatriot Rains Calibrin pouring over a map. Filber attempts to anger Gudrin, as the Sovereign Bastard would demand, and ends up being punched in the face. Fernando decides to attempt to acquire their map by trading one of his own, which he creates either using his Locate Object psychic ability or pretending to—it is unclear which. At the bar, “Tom with an H” and Thurl come up with a plan to make their own map to trade. Chack draws a copy of O’Noggin’s map
That’s when Shitbeard and the Appetite arrive. All hell breaks loose. Filbert dives into the privy after his acolytes arrive with their map. Maps switch hands. The PCs end up with all of them except for the one Chack drew, which he was able to switch out for O’Noggin’s real map.
After a bit more screwing around, the PCs steal a couple of boats and make a break for Fernando’s “hole” outside of town and spend the night therein. The next day they return to the town for provisions, planning to follow the map they stole from O’Noggin. “Tom with an H” catches glimpse of Shitbeard and the Appetite examining a wanted poster near the Riverwarden’s tower—it has a depiction of him with a reward for 200 gold. He’s wanted for “for assault on a noble scion and insults against a maiden’s character.” He rips it down and pockets it and heads out of town. The man Chack brought in with Shitbeard and The Appetite swings on the gallows.
Following the map, they head upriver the next day, avoiding any fishermen they come across, and head up a creek towards what locals call the Howling Hill. Outside they find the dead bodies of several grave robbers who wear reversed cloaks bearing the slavering crest of the Riverhounds mercenary company and the body of Gudrin O’Noggin. They loot his body, taking his elven chain and elven sword, and follow his blood trail inside the tomb. They fight a couple of giant spiders, find O’Noggin’s buddy Rains gibbering about “fingers that drink” and are attacked by a ghoulish, howling beast in a tunnel that fires poisoned darts out of holes at them. Things go stupidly well. Chack fires a precise shot at the “Howler” and nearly kills him while Fernando attempts to bring down the ceiling on the beast. The “Howler” attempts to drain Thurl’s shield spell and finds a face full of quarterstaff instead. Thurl’s hit brings it down.
Against better judgment, the PCs plunder the rest of the tomb, nearly being killed by a hill mummy’s life draining/rot touch—this is where the two acolytes meet their ends, their soul matter being drained from their cells by the mummy’s touch. After destroying the mummy, thanks to Filbert’s unfortunately helpful turning check, they devise a plan to keep the lid shut while attacking the second. Nearly poisoned by grave dust, they set for stabbing weapons into the ajar sarcophagus and eventually managed to burn the second mummy and kill it. They finish plundering the tomb and discover… another map.
They head back to Fernando’s hole to rest.