A quick update of the first session of the classic 1st Ed, AD&D module N1. Against the Cult of the Reptile God. We played using 5E rules, for what that is worth, set in the beautiful campaign setting of Parsantium. The players were 2nd level: Paladin, Monk, Sorcerer and Rogue. We also tried to video conference in Alan with his newly created Bard, but that presented some significant challenges. We will try again next time with some different technical experiments – I’ll write these up separately when we’ve cracked the problems.
After the lads had cleaned up the mess of the Daeva’s attempt to recover her physical form, they stooged around town for a month or two. The big city, Parsantium, capitol of the world, the Queen of Cities, offered them plenty of distractions to keep them busy.
One day, Lieutenant Saurish of the Tribunal approached them with a job. A citizen had been receiving disturbing letters from his sister up in a border town. There was nothing immediately actionable in the letters but they were suspicious. The party was invited to investigate; minimal expenses paid. Last minute shopping equipped the thief with a hand crossbow, much to the amusement of the rest: G75 ($1500) for that? Yeah, but it’s really cool…
Orlane (we agreed that it probably had a better Greek sounding name but I hadn’t bothered to translate the module very well) was up near the delta of the Istra (Danube) and was a reasonably old colony that had been ravaged by the hobgoblin invasion 100 years ago and was now recovering. New blood had flowed in, including the sister of the complainant. On questioning, the brother could tell nothing more. He was a simple monk/scholar who had turned to the authorities for help.
The names of cults and religions in the letters were researched and turned up some interesting clues. The cult of Manassangra was mentioned, as was the more benign cult of Ushas.
It was September, and the heroes decided to take one of the last galleys of the season that was going to Karjolat, and paid to have it drop them off at the mouth of the Istra. Attempts to find something to smuggle didn’t come to much as they realised they were not actually going to Karjolat but instead some back water village. None the less, they did conclude for future reference that they could possible make some money trading tea, medicine and spices to that far northern city. The trip was only a couple of days because the winds were strong.
The Istra delta was huge and boggy with many outlets to the sea and islands. It was a perfect haven for pirates, they saw, and could well be a fantastic place for a city to take advantage of the trade along the river. But now the villages were mean and broken down: depopulated after the hobgoblin hordes had passed through. The heroes collected what rumours they could (bugger all) and moved up stream.
At Orlane itself the heroes methodically walked the circuit around the lake and interacted with many of the local population. This gave them a good feel for the paranoid nature of many of the residents, and for the almost perverse friendliness of others. Finally they settled into the Slumbering Serpent (menacing music), and then sneaked out of the window in the dead of night to investigate the temple. And at that point we quit for the night.
Highlights of the session:
- Rogue tries to figure out how to rob a weapons shop, instead concluding that maybe buying might be safer, only to have buyer’s remorse once he’d shelled out the hard cash. He planned to rob the place and recover the cost but this came to nothing (but it was worth a laugh)
- Bard suggests negotiating a trade/smuggling deal to bring in banned goods from Karjolat to Parsantium, conscious that they weren’t going to Karjolat and that this would therefore put them on someone’s death list. It didn’t happen, but it was an impressive commercial scheme
- Sorcerer, notorious drinker, swears off wine, confounding the rest of the party. Deep suspicions form about whether he has been possessed
- Paladin, noted authority on all things, declares that in Karjolat they will not be interested in buying opium, instead that they might well be interested in invading Parsantine territory to stamp it out
- Monk reveals more about his tragic upbringing and strong Tiangao origins. This again raises the central mystery of the party and it’s place in the developing story: how come so many fae creatures have come together at this time?
- At the village, rogue attempted to sneak through someone’s yard, only to discover that there was no opportunity to hide and nearly got plugged for his trouble. Later redeeming himself he eluded the tailing farmer’s son. Later again he climbed on the roof of the Golden Grain taverna, but then in a final indignity he had a bad set of rolls and was ‘spotted’ by guard geese and they honked like mad
- In the Slumbering Serpent, paladin was gently informed that the belt buckle he had been using as an excuse to meet blacksmith/silversmith types – because that was the link in the original call to action – was actually a very tawdry piece and maybe he should just get a new one
- And finally, the likely lads were exposed to the casual racism of this setting. They were nice boys, but well, they were elves, you know? Now I’m not racial, but they’re sneaky aren’t they?, present company excepted, of course. Always sneaking about…