Dragons in the Dark

S1E09: The Death of Emma Frog

 

Tags: H.A. A.B. E.C. L.C. A.J. O.R. Aranna Weaver, Astrologer Emma Frog, Hedge Wizard Ser Aust Booker, Knight Patrick Weaver, Soldier Lane Weaver, Soldier Myra, Mercenary Thistle Frog, Assassin Toaf Frog, Spy OSR


Thistle Frog (EB, played by AB), long-lost brother of Emma Frog (EC), is an assassin hired by the Dolmenwood Drunes to kill Aranna Weaver (AJ). Apparently, this was not purely business either. It’s personal. At one point, Aranna had accidentally pushed Toad Frog (another Frog sibling) off a cliff. This is all backstory I find out happened on a Messenger Kids group chat prior to today’s session. So at EB’s behest, Thistle begins the session by attacking Aranna. (It doesn’t end well).

After stabbing Aranna, Lane Weaver (AB) steps in front of his sister, protecting her. Aust Booker (OR) grabs Thistle from behind and cuts him. Lane, too, slashes Thistle. Thistle breaks free, shoves Lane aside, and makes another assault on Aranna. She is nearly dead when she fires an arrow at Thistle between his eyes. Thistle is dead.

Emma Frog (EC) enacts vengeance for her dead brother and rams her horns into Aust with a tremendous blow. Lane seizes her and holds her down while Aust gets up and grabs her legs. There are angry words exchanged. Eventually, they calm down and agree to stay cool. They let Emma go and they decide heading back to Mlurg Nar to chill and heal up is a good idea.

Thieves in the Night

But travel is never ever completely safe. It’s a day travel back to Mlurg Nar from the Hole in the Oak. And late at night, while Myra (LC) and Aranna are on watch, two men with torches approach. Aranna whispers to Myra to go wake the others. They grab their weapons. The two men tells them they want their gold. It’s funny because it’s two guys outnumbered by six. Nevertheless, the Snack Club are hungry for a fight. The two men start running. Aust rushes in and cuts one down. I ask them all to make a wisdom check. Aranna rolls my target number and would’ve noticed that five bandits are robbing them blind while they’re all occupied in this fight… but everyone is yelling at her to kill the last guy instead. So Aranna fires two arrows and does so.

When they return to their belongings… all their gold (473gp), jewels (fake) and a sapphire ring worth 1,000gp are gone. The Snack Club are defeated. Some are crestfallen and want to go home to Mlurg Nar to rest. Some argue with me. It’s funny because Aranna suspected something was up and that the two guys were a ruse, but The Snack Club are not very cooperative this session and argue a lot instead. It takes them a while before they finally realize they could track where the bandits went.

They do, and follow them all the way to a ruined, abandoned castle where the bandits lair.

Let’s Squabble in Front of Our Enemies

Emma and Aranna circle the castle to scope out the entrances and weaknesses. They discover four entrances. Aust keeps shouting that they should charge in. Lane is set to climb one of the seven turrets.

They argue for what must have been ten minutes on how to storm the castle… in front of the castle, and LOUDLY at that. Arrows start whizzing by their heads. Some of them get hit. They squabble some more. More arrows hit them. Why did The Snack Club not move into a safer location? Or out of earshot? I don’t know. So I fire more arrows at them.

I keep telling them to come up with a better plan. Some make up plans that are quickly shot down. Some make plans and are told it’s stupid. Some make plans and it’s completely irrational. I keep firing arrows. Lane argues that the 1500gp is not worth getting. They should fight the Dolmenwood Drunes instead. Aust insists on charging (but never does). Lane decides to put Knives at each of the four entrances. Nobody listens to him.

Finally, the Snack Club decide that this is a lost cause and leave.

Emma Frog’s Missiles of Death

The Snack Club rest in Mlurg Nar. They decide they must have magic weapons and remembers that Veleris Booker died in the forest in their fight with the Dolmenwood Drunes and they forgot to loot his body. So they travel to where they fought them and find the rotting corpses of the drunes and Veleris. They notice four men who see them, but run. Aust and Lane chase after them, but fail. They debate whether to bury Veleris’s body or not. While they’re debating, the men return, with friends. They’re firing arrows at them. Lane and Aust decide to sneak through the forest to flank them. Myra does the same…. leaving Aranna and Myra, the archers, along with Emma to distract them.

Anyway, Emma Frog casts magic missile and it’s one of the most devastating evocation in her history of spell casting. A green energy floods through her arms, building in potency until she creates eight little green fireballs in her palms and throws them. It kills eight bandits, charring them all. Everyone is impressed.

As The Snack Club loots their bodies, they don’t find treasure, but all nine archers are wearing capes with red claw brooches. Emma Frog recalls from her prison days that this is a gang of bandits in the Great Forest of the Eight Cities. It also comes flooding back into her memory that the Redclaws laired in an old, abandoned castle.

Back to Redclaw Castle

They’re back at the castle. This time, they’re all wearing the capes and brooches. For some reason, they think this will get them past the guards. Myra has decided that wearing the skin of one of the bandits is a good idea. The Redclaw guards call out to let them know they don’t recognize them. More arrows fly in their general direction.

Patrick turns into a fruit fly. Aranna decides to sneak away from the group to see if she can infiltrate the castle from a separate entrance.

Patrick is flying around. He flies into a room where bandits are sleeping. Turns into a leather jacket. Thinks it would be funny to bite them. He does. The bandit slaps at the leather jacket. I ask him to roll a dexterity check. I roll a 20. He rolls… a 20 as well. This is the luckiest thing in the world. And this is important. This is a very clear precedence on what would happen if Patrick decides to attack anything as a small insect… and as you’re about to read later, the lesson is not learned at all.

Outside the castle walls, Emma Frog casts magic missile into the arrow slits and injures the archers, only to infuriate them more.

Meanwhile, Aranna finds a tower with crumbling ruin where she could walk straight in. She does and is met by four large long-sword wielding man-o-wars. They ask her who she is. She lies and says she’s new. All four guards roll really badly and Aranna’s ruse works. They walk her to the front entrance to guard it as they’re being attacked.

Patrick flies out of the sleeping quarters, doesn’t explore further. The Snack Club, outside, are arguing again. There’s absolutely no cohesion and clear plan. I fire more arrows at them.

Finally, the Snack Club decide to leave. Again. They think coming back at night would be a better idea. (It is.) Patrick flies out to meet with them, leaving Aranna in the snake pit of thieves. Alone.

If You Can’t Beat Them…

Aranna finds the leader of the Redclaws, a man with a vulpine face named Grohl. She tells him that she used to be with a gang called Knife Twisters and they were broken up and they’re looking for a new gang to join. Aranna also volunteers she can let them know on her messenger stone. Grohl says, “A messenger stone? What a wonderful piece of device. As part of the Redclaws now, I think it should be fair that you contribute this item to the good of the group.”

Everyone is now screaming at AJ for giving up such valuable information.

The Snack Club return to Redclaw Castle and Grohl tells them that they must prove their loyalty in order to join them. (I guess nobody in the room recognizes any of the Snack Club.) Grohl tells them to bring the gang 100gp in stolen goods each in order to show their value. The Snack Club, instead of stealing, decide the most expedient way to win the Redclaw’s favor is to withdraw their own money from their bank.

Once in the gang, they’re assigned guard duty. Aust falls asleep on the first night and is reprimanded. Later, they’re given a task to rob a merchant caravan traveling from Mlurg Nar to Gnamph Nar.

The Greatest Betrayal

The Snack Club come up with a strong plan. Aranna and Patrick hide in trees. Lane and Aust are hidden as well, and will come out from the rear of the caravansary… while Myra’s job is to stand in front of the train and cry for help.

As the three caravans come rushing down the road, Myra steps out. But the caravan is not stopping. The driver is yelling at him to get out of the way. They’re not stupid. They are not stopping for anyone. So Emma steps out, casts magic missile and injures the horse in the front caravan. Four guards jump out. They are… former Knife Twisters!

Aranna fires an arrow at another horse. Emma casts magic missile at the final horse. All the caravans crash together. It’s a huge wreck of collision. All twelve guards are out now. The former Knives are, at first, relieved to see their former colleagues. But Aranna fires an arrow at one, killing him. The four Knives following the Snack Club are shocked at this. They scream at Aranna. Aranna tells them that they’re killing the ex-Knives. Her henchmen turn on her. Aust tells them that they’re part of a new gang now.

And what happens next is a massacre. They kill their own henchmen and several of the caravan guards. The rest of the Knives, seeing the situation lost, run away… screaming vengeance on the Snack Club. Aust, Lane and Patrick all decide to flip them off.

Patrick then turns into a peregrine falcon (not a hummingbird) and fly back to Redclaw Castle, hustles up a few horses, brings them back to The Snack Club. They harness the horses to the caravans and delivers a hefty 3,000gp of treasure to the Redclaws.

The Death of Emma Frog, Patrick Weaver, and Myra the Merc

Emma and Myra are put on guard duty that night. From the distant forest, six druids in green robes approach the castle. It’s the Dolmenwood Drunes. Emma is about cast a spell, when a Redclaw grabs her by the shoulder. “What are you doing? Those are our allies!” Emma excuses her ignorance, but is now sweating. If the Redclaws and Drunes are allies… what does this mean for them?

Meanwhile, Aranna wakes up in a cold sweat. Something is wrong. There’s a terrible feeling in her gut. She gets up and tries to wake Aust, and her brothers, Patrick and Lane. She slaps them awake. They tell her to go away. She tries to wake them up again. They go back to sleep. Aranna then leaves the barracks and goes to find Emma. She’ll understand. That’s when Emma tells her that the Dolmenwood Drunes are here and they’re allied with the Redclaws. This isn’t good. This isn’t good at all.

Back in the barracks, the door slams open. Grohl, four heavy man-o-wars, and the six drunes appear. Grohl asks the Dolmenwood Drunes if these are the people they’re looking for. They nod. The man-o-wars start binding Lane, Aust and Patrick in ropes. Patrick then runs into a fruit fly, and as you recall earlier, HA was given a very clear precedence of what would happen. A man-o-war claps his hands at the fly. Patrick Weaver is squished to death.

Aust and Lane are taken out of the room, escorted by the man-o-wars. Meanwhile, a few Redclaws approach the guard turret where Emma, Aranna and Myra are. The jig is up. Emma Frog, casts hallucination. It works! The Redclaws are confused, giving the trio just enough time to escape. They leave Redclaw castle.

But outside – they see the sextet of druids taking Lane and Aust to their caravan as prisoners. Emma, Aranna, Myra and (out of nowhere), Toaf Frog (HA) rushes out and they attack the Dolmenwood Drunes. Green magic missiles start flying… from both sides. Aranna is severely injured, she runs and hides. Toaf is also hurt badly. Only Emma and Myra are left. Meanwhile, Lane struggles out of his ropes, grapples a druid and strangles him. Myra, in all his bravery, had decided to run up to the drunes to attack in melee combat. This is a huge mistake. I repeat his decision to him, “so you’re going to run up by yourself to attack five guys?” LC replies, “yes”. I shrug. Three drunes beat Myra to death. Myra is dead. The other two drunes fire their magic missiles at Emma Frog. She… does not survive. Emma Frog, who has survived since session one, who has accumulated a treasure hoard of spells, who has saved the Snack Club multiple times with hallucination, magic bulwark, dimension door, and magic missileis also dead. Aust breaks free from his ropes, strangles a drune. Lane grapples another to the ground and beats him. Aranna fires arrows, but they all do one or two damage only. Aust grabs another drune and crushes him.

The Snack Club – or what’s left of them – have won another battle against the Dolmenwood Drunes. But at a tremendous loss. On this night, a Weaver and a Frog gave their life. Myra the Merc as well.

In Search of Magic Swords

The remaining Snack Club: Aranna and Lane Weaver, Aust Booker, and Toaf Frog run. The Redclaws are allied with the Dolmenwood Drunes… for purposes unknown to them. They charter a ship across the Inner Sea back to Lankhmar. They’re determined to get magic weapons. They will seek out Benson, Emma’s teacher, for help.

They arrive in Lankhmar and tell Benson of the sad news of Emma’s passing. Benson is devastated. Although he had only known Emma as a fellow magic user for a brief time, he had saw great potential in her and had hoped that one day she would join his school of the arcane arts.

He teaches Lane and Toaf dimension door. Aust asks Benson if he has the ability to turn mundane weapons into magical ones. He tells them he can’t. The Snack Club attempts to give him money and beg him to try. Benson tells him it’s not in his capability, but distraught over Emma’s death, he tries anyway. It fails. Aust’s sword is no more magical than a blueberry scone. Lane then asks if he knows of anyone who has this ability. Benson recalls a wizard in No-Ombrulsk… Snive Silvyr.

Benson casts dimension door to No-Ombrulsk and travel with them to meet Snive. Snive is very transparent. This is an expensive… and unpredictable… operation. Magical ingredients and his labor costs 1,000gp per enchantment. There is no guarantee of anything. The Snack Club is set on this. They believe weapons will save them. They withdraw 3,000gp from their bank to do this. This is the most expensive session in The Snack Club’s history. They withdrew 900gp to please the Redclaws. They withdrew 350gp to re-equip Lane and Aust, who were stripped as prisoners to the Dolmenwood Drunes. They spent 210gp to rest in Mlurg Nar. And now, another 3,000gp to enchant weapons.

The results of the magical casting are a positive though. Aust Booker’s longsword transforms into a +3 elf-bane that gives him the ability to fly as long as he wields it. Lane Weaver’s longsword transmogrifies into a +1 giant-slaying, armor-wrecking, demon-binding blade. Aranna Weaver’s crossbow metamorphosizes into a +1 giant-seeking, curving-arrow bow that regenerates its master with hp.

The Snack Club is ecstatic with their new weapons.

/end session

The Snack Club’s Portfolio

Stored in Wyrmskull Vault
(Deposited Year of the Worm, Month of the Eagle, Day of the Fox)

  • 19 Ice Necklaces x 200gp = 3,800gp
  • 12 Ice Jewels x 150gp = 1,800gp
  • 9 Chests of Gold = 4,296gp
  • 5 Opal x 200gp =1,000gp
  • 1 Ruby x 800gp = 800 gp

**EOM Interest = (117gp)

SUBTOTAL: 11,579gp

Hidden Cache in Great Forest b/w Mlurg Nar & Gnamph Nar
610gp

TOTAL: 12,189gp

Chekhov’s Ticking Time Bombs

NEW

  • Wow. Just wow. The Snack Club betrayed their former gang, The Knife Twisters.
  • And now the Redclaws (who are allied with the Dolmenwood Drunes) are probably after them as well.

OLD

  • Thork may be dead, but his wife Aranna isn’t. Her inheritance? 800gp of debt to the cult of Loki.
  • Emma Frog is dead, but her infamous mass prison break in Ilthmar will have consequences.

DM Notes to Myself

I… I just have no words for this afternoon. First, The Snack Club joined the Redclaws and decided this was a good home for them. I did not expect this. I figured they would start scheming and start looking for their lost treasure. They did not. And then when they were assigned to rob the caravans, I thought… let’s throw in a moral dilemma here. Let’s make them Knives. I figured they would plan something with their former allies. Maybe recruit them to attack the Redclaws. They did not. In fact, they murdered their ex-colleagues. Just like that. And then, when it was clear the Dolmenwood Drunes were coming for them…. Lane, Patrick and Aust decided it would be OK to ignore Aranna and stay asleep. I simply have no words.

But then again, the session started with them fighting each other. They still think killing Aranna will solve their problems with the Drunes (it will not). They keep insisting on running off to do their own thing and not planning together.

And now, they have magical weapons. I hope every member of the Snack Club is reading this… because allow me to be 100%, completely and absolutely clear: magic weapons will not save you. If you continue to not work together, if you continue to abandon your allies, if you continue to argue over plans instead of scheming together… you will continue to be punished. If you continue to rush into battle without tactics… if you continue to not protect your magic-users and archers… if you continue to stay in a fight even when it’s clear you’re outnumbered and outplayed… you will continue to be killed in battles.

Emma Frog should’ve never been left alone. A magic user is what’s called a “glass cannon”. They are fragile, but powerful. You protect them.

Myra the Merc should not have ran into a five-to-one fight. In what world do you think one person can take down five opponents? Opponents who have magic spells?

Also, Patrick Weaver turning into a small insect in a roomful of enemies? There are no words for this.

Finally – storming a castle by arguing loudly about how to do so… in front of said castle is not only utterly insane and stupid… it is mind-boggling.

I repeat: Magic weapons will not save you. You have been warned.