Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Flashpoint: To Dice With The Devil

The next few days of in-game time passed uneventfully.  This seemed to surprise the players who kept descending into out of character chit-chat at the start of the game before falling back to: “What happens?”  Then when I mentioned that the next few days were uneventful, they would cycle back to conversation and then confusion.  Finally we moved forward to Captain Pegsworthy blessing the ships by breaking bottles of Sagavan wine against their hull while offering a bit of Shackles folklore about good sailing coming to those who crack Tidewater Rock.  The crew filed that away as a possible future mission.

Lhye collared his giant wasp and chained it to a section of cleared land so that he could return with an Intelligence collar to make his steed capable of being trained as a steed.

The crew then came across the Famished Mane, a Chelish cutter, burning a pirate brig while locking the pirate crew belowdecks.  They snuck up to it and Lunjun took out the entire six marines with a single fireball.  Aren’t level one fighters a brilliant target at level six?

Lunjun then put together the alchemical apparatus together and, with Lhye’s help, then found the correct chemical combination for the right kind of steam to cause the encoded lettering to appear in the logbooks.  It looked like whatever had warped the spell writing onto the hull had also warped the logbook code, somewhat, so that part of the phrases had been replaced.  It was like two documents had been blended so, as an example, it was written:

Two caravels, Magnimar, merchant, silk bolts cold reaching of the eternal 42 crew.
One brig, Shackles, pirate, cannot be said but whispered what the unwholesome knew.
One galleon, Chelish, merchant, gems, statuary, paper but what can be lost can be found

One document was written in a mix of Aquan and Terran and appeared to be a document about the various ships seen in the Nidalese port, what they carried, and who their captains were.  The Aquan / Terran mix would have been the code used as both are rare languages for people to know.  The other document appeared to speak in a mystical and occult manner in a hitherto unknown language whose root languages were Sylvan, Celestial, and Infernal – the very same language muttered at them during the Proteus Incident.

The crew dropped off the Chelish ship with the Bonuwat.

They then arrived in Bloodcove to sell the Aspis ship, plunder and additional gear.  Lunjun bought a whole bunch of magical reagents so that he could make the magical gear for the characters at half price rather than force them to purchase it at full price.

I was tired and I made some comment about them getting 5000gp each rather than 5000gp to share. 

Proteus’ player playfully caught me out on it so I playfully threatened to lightning bolt him. 

Proteus player: “Will you then give us 5000gp each?”

Me: “It’ll be a god level lightning bolt.”

Proteus player, persistently: “So if I take a lightning bolt to the face, you’ll give us each 5000gp?”  *waggles eyebrows playfull*

Me: “Why am I the one more scared by this proposed deal?”

In the end, we decided to go for it and settled on 20d6 as the potential damage.  Most of the characters were quite below their required wealth levels anyway.  I gathered up 20 of those dice and divided them into two batches, in case he made his reflex check for half damage.  Proteus had an 8 on his reflex save.  He needed to beat a DC 18. 

On his first roll, he got an 8, but he used a special card that I give out as “congratulations, you had an awesome idea” rewards to re-roll that reflex save.  He got a 10.  I then offered him a choice between the two halves of dice: white / red or predominately blue / green.  He went with predominately blue / green because he was an undine.  We rolled that damage and it was a lousy 24.  He lived!  There was cheering all round.

Could've been so much worse...
Just to highlight how potentially deadly the encounter really was, I rolled the red / white dice to see what he would have been dealt if he'd picked the other set.  42 damage.  If he had picked that set, he would have had 4 negative hit points left before he was entirely dead and unsalvageable.  If he had taken the full weight of that 66 damage he would’ve been toast.

As it was, I now had to come up with a reason behind their sudden wealth.  I mean, after all the strange and terrible events, a giant lightning bolt could well represent a god noticing that evil bone in his hand and deciding to try to kill him so that was easy enough.  But the sudden wealth?  I settled on a ludicrously rich man with more money than sense purchasing the squidded / disguised Aspis vessel for 20,000gp rather than the expected 6000gp.  The players thus all have their 5000gp extra and I no longer have to worry much about boosting their wealth levels much for this level.

Oh, and I know it was a silly idea but the player was both keen and capable of dealing with the consequences of his choices.  Besides, Pathfinder is all about facing danger for gold.  This just raised the risks and reward by a lot.

So what do you think of that?  Dumbest thing you ever heard?  A fun event of the evening?  Should a Game Master ever stoop to accept a player’s bet?  And would you take that deal as a level 6 bard?


  1. *Pffft* I was never in any real danger, I'm far too 7331 to die like that. But in all honesty I really like my burgeoning Undine Bard Captain. Hell, I even have a MacGuffin nicely packed into my hand. However Proteus is a gambling,cheating, philandering, chaotic bordering on insane character. If he is to die, I can think of a better way than a bet with a god, even if he doesn't know he's making it ;)

    1. and yes, I realise it should be "1337" but I has no edit button. /cry