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Thursday, 3 January 2019

The Adventure Continues .... 14. Searching For Monty. (Henchmen AI, Area Enter & Red Leader Fixes)

We had another productive session, with very minor issues, which were not too dissimilar to last time, but with different objects. Thankfully, all issues encountered were easily overcome and did not impact play at all. There was one instance on an area transition at the start of the game when a player (WAN) dropped to desktop, but this was more likely due to the computer not having had a fresh reboot before joining the session. However, I have added some more area enter code checks that prevent over-activity on acquire/un-acquire, equip/un-equip checks when entering a new area. (See fix info below.)

The List of Fixes

1) AREA ENTER UPDATES: There were some situations (e.g. Entering a dark place with a lantern or torch), when the on area enter code did more repetitive checks than it needed to. This has now been trimmed to minimise checks, making for more stable area transitions.

2) NPC NAMES (AGAIN): I am still being caught by these module only fixes. This time the "Scourge Victims" that can be encountered had the default of "Zombie" overriding my names. These have now been fixed. I will continue to update these as I come across them. (Again: These are only noticed as fixed when starting from a fresh module.)

3) HENCHMEN/SUMMONED AI: I noticed that a PC's summoned creature appeared to be ignoring a combat situation and calls to fight, unless attacked itself. I checked the code and I believe I had the wrong function call in the section that mattered, and changed it to what I believe it should be. This should have fixed the problem. I will only report back if the creature (summoned or henchman) fails to obey calls to battle when next used by the players; otherwise assume fixed.

4) RED LEADER CONVERSATION LOGIC: Another logical flow issue with respect to the conversation that can be had with the Red Leader at the end of the Shoreline Road. This occurred if the PCs had acquired a permit before speaking to the Red Guard leader. A conversation node that should not have been available was. (It covered a similar conversation that the players would have already experienced for presenting the permit.)  This has now been fixed. Furthermore, I have added a "Nothing Thanks" to allow players to drop from the conversation immediately, rather than have to ask about the store and then drop out.

Sewer Spiders Attack The Heroes!
Heroes Search For Missing Monty.
Heroes Reach The End of the Road.
Heroes Encounter Scourge Victims ...
And A Battle Ensues!
The Heroes Discover A Cave!

The Adventure Continues ... 14. Searching For Monty.

Good Preparation Goes A Long Way!

NB: Contains spoilers for Option 1 background.

It was 10.00 a.m. and a lovely day outside, and so it was somewhat reluctantly that the heroes determined they needed to visit the stinking sewers one last time, for now at any rate. For although the sewer problem with the access units had been resolved, Helden was not happy about leaving a chamber they had seen hidden behind large spider webs. If there were spiders there, and large by the looks of the webs, then they needed to address the issue before it became a problem for the village. Taking no risk, Helden purchased an antitoxin potion from Orechin in case they did encounter spiders and risk being poisoned.

Next the heroes headed back to the sewer pipe that exited into the lake and entered the sewers again. Compared to previous visits, the sewers only echoed with the sounds of water flushes and pipe gurgles; there were no denizens left nearby to slow them down. Eventually, they reached the chamber with the webs and Helden hacked down the first web to gain entrance. No sooner had he done so, than the group found themselves being approached by no less than four of the large vermin.

The heroes were totally prepared for the encounter, and positioned themselves in the mouth of the tunnel, forcing the spiders to come to them and into the blades of Helden and Flint, accompanied by bolts and arrows from the clerics and Myara. And even before the spiders had reached the point of contact, they were welcomed by a fireball from Karasten, which immediately frazzled one, and did much harm to those that remained. Within only a few rounds, thanks to good preparation, the battle was over and the heroes were able to explore the cavern beyond.

The cavern turned out to be somewhat of a treasure cave. The first thing they discovered was a small chest at the base of where a well opened from above. Inside was a small note and nearly 500 gold coins. The note was from Grimbold: The heroes had finally found Grimbold's Gold, much to the delight of Threska, who felt her presence and perseverance had finally paid off. "From above to Below." said Threska out aloud before continuing to say, "And the reference to water must be about the well we are underneath". The augury clue they had been trying to interpret now finally made sense to everybody.

Continuing their search of the well cavern the heroes also acquired a living short sword on the remains of a skeleton they found here. The skeletal remains were too deteriorated to work out who it had been, but the rough size of the build suggested it may well have been one of the original dwarves who helped build the sewers. Myara was chosen by the group to take the Sword of the Sewers as her own, partly to help compensate her for the loss of her sickle earlier. She was delighted with her new treasure!

The final cavern explored, the heroes wasted no more time in the sewers and made a hasty retreat and quick exit into the fresh air. Glad to put the sewer work behind them, the heroes now looked at their notes to help determine what best to try to accomplish next. There was still plenty to consider: Rods for Ravel ... and rods for Orechin, the crypt of undead, the ants of Frank and a few others. However, it was the note about searching for Monty along the Shoreline Road that caught everyone's attention, simply because it meant they could stay out within the fresh air for the time being, a welcome break from the stinking sewers.

Helden led the party north and out of the village main, and further on towards the Shoreline road, the same road Vol have left them only a few days ago before they had come into the village. Continuing to follow the shore path and road, the heroes eventually reached the Red Guards who had camped along the road at the edge where the barrier prevented egress. After a quick chat with the Red Guard leader (who confirmed that Monty had not passed this way), and showing him their permit, the heroes quickly accepted the task of helping to keep unwelcome creatures away from the village by patrolling the grounds east of the lake and still within the barrier.

As they explored the area, still in search of Monty, they did indeed encounter a number of creatures, including bats, snakes, wolves and worgs, all relatively easy encounters since their own skills had improved greatly over the last few days. However, there was also one unusual encounter, with a group of people who had ignored the barrier and simply walked through it showing no concern. This caught the eye of the party straight away, and with Myara's keen sight, she could see that these people appeared to be suffering from what they had read about in a book they recently bought: The Scourge!

"Do you think we can cure them?" said Myara, who knew the answer really. Both Elana and Threska shook their heads in silence, confirming Myara's own saddened belief in the matter. "They're as good as dead already!" exclaimed Helden, who then went on to order Karasten to cast a web to help slow or stop their approach, as Threska summoned a dire wolf. Then missile weapons and distant spells rained down upon the poor victims until every last one of them lay dead. Respectably as they could, the heroes carefully looked over the bodies and relieved them of any items they carried that could be of any use. Along with some gold and gems, Helden picked up a strange box, inside which lay five wands. A note included with the wands explained that these were Trainee Wands, and a spell caster could make good use of these, if care was taken. Karasten instantly showed an interest and the party agreed that he could make use of this find best. So the wizard stowed them within his inventory, ready to look at them closer that evening.

The heroes continued to explore the area, hoping to discover Monty, but to no avail. However, at a spot where a villager claimed to have seen two strange men appear and then disappear, they discovered a cave entrance. It was quite possible that the villager, who was slightly worse for wear with alcohol, may well have simply seen these people "disappear" into the cave.

"It's possible that Monty may have gone this way", said Helden. The heroes looked and considered, but did not like the idea of entering the cavern just yet as they used many of their spells in the last few hours already. So, it was decided that they should return and rest before continuing the search in the cave. Along the way back to the village, Elana spied a ring glittering on the ground near the stream. It was an added bonus as the heroes returned home.

The heroes rested at the Bloated Buckle a whole day and night, allowing Karasten to work his magic and crafting with the new wands they had found. At the end of the 24 hour period, he had succeeded in creating four new wands of 25 charges each, failing on only one account. In his repertoire, he now owned a wand of Identify, a wand of Magic Missile, a wand of Acid Arrow, and a wand of Fireballs. Although of slightly lower power due to the nature of these Trainee Wands, the wizard was, nevertheless, delighted in his new selection of crafted wands.

It was 6.00 p.m. on the following day by the time the heroes finally left the inn. It was already getting dark and the heroes debated whether to return to the cave they had found the day before or consider something else. After checking their notes, they realised that Sebastion's Creations was nearby, and was on their agenda to visit to determine what had happened to a commission that was overdue. So, Helden led the way. Upon arriving and after a brief knock at the door, Sally, the wife of the artist called Sebastion, opened the door and let them in. Sally was obviously upset, and quite willing to confess the problems she had been experiencing with her husband, who had apparently locked himself in his studio upstairs and not come out in over a week! Sally greatly appreciated the heroes intervention and, at the end of the conversation, she decided to leave the heroes to deal with the problem alone, too upset to remain behind due to her husband's recent behaviour. Now alone in the house with Sebastion, the heroes had a brief recollection of what had happened at the Fairchild's residence, and hoped this was not going to be the same.

GAME TIME SINCE START: 22 Hours 54 Minutes.

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