Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Council of Thieves: The Six Trials of Larazod

After a bit of a rest from defeating the Bastards of Erebus our heroes are once again needed to aid the Children of Westcrown. This time we're helping a member of the Pathfinder Society to gain access into the old lodge in town that was sealed up. To get inside we need to gain access to the Mayor's house and loot his basement for the arcane keys. To get access to the Mayor....we need to put on a play. And its a bloody good time! Who survived? What are 'The Six Trials of Larazod'? Did Max really sleep with the donkey? And what is the name of our group of heroes???

The Players:

Jess - Naustia ( half elf Oracle of Life 3/ haunted curse/ healing machine)
Brian - Semkirk ( human Wizard 3/Orthomancer/insane/hairless/annoys all)
Matt - Capt. Maxmillian Wintrish (human Cavalier 3/unavailable this game)
Mike - Morris Seadrake (half orc Ranger 3/two weapon specialist/unavailable this game)
Bruce - D'in a Lorn ( half elf Rogue 3/information collector/was cast as Larazod!)
Me - Arghen (half orc Paladin of Cayden Cailean 3/bartender in Westcrown/got his zeal up this game)
Jim - DM (our DM/does DM things/rolls dice to hurt our PC's/enjoys his job...)

Well we got approached by a Pathfinder through our happy little rebellious group we (the heroes) have started associating with. She wants to hire us to get into the long abandoned Pathfinder lodge here in Westcrown. The lodge and Society was outlawed when the current ruling body came into power. You know that whole 'deprive the people of outside knowledge and make them wholly dependant on the monarchy' bull shit. Now the lodge is warded with all sorts of magic and whatnot and only the Mayor of Westcrown has the magical 'keys' to get us access. The keys are being stored in his heavily guarded estate in the basement somewhere (naturally). Some of the party starts discussing a B & E job but Arghen has none of that saying that there has to be another way other than committing a crime on purpose. There is.....and it makes breaking and entering sound like a sane choice in comparison. We become actors. Apparently the Mayor hosts after parties for a successful play at his manor and the cast is invited. Doesn't sound too bad right? Well.......

There is a production of a murder play in town (and yes its referred to a murder play as sometimes the CAST doesn't survive it to finish the play!) called 'The Six Trials of Larazod' and apparently it is one of the most heinous of those styles of plays. So bad in fact that most playhouses will not put it on. So bad that actors stay the hell away. So bad most performances don't survive act three! But it's still not as painful as Twilight (zing!).

So we decide to give this acting thing a try. We get up early and arrive to the tryouts before dawn....and we're at the back of the line. Apparently the director doing this play is quite well known and its inspired the local attention whores into preforming and for the lure of fame. While in line we start chatting that since we are a group we should probably have a name so we have a better chance of all being cast or put to work.
So we start chatting in character first and then it breaks into an out of character discussion where one of us mention that Brian (Semkirk) will want it to be tooth related. Off the cuff I say 'How about The Westcrown Fangs?'. I was expecting to get razzed for that but everybody just stopped and they all looked at me like that was we are The Westcrown Fangs. When Westcrown is getting pushed around we're the ones who bite back for the people.

So we go through the casting process in which Jim......hang on. There is something I need to discuss about book two of The Council of Thieves AP. The play in the adventure was actually written out as a seven act play and it is included in the module. It is wholly optional for the group to use it and just skip to the 'encounters' (combat and other fun stuff...) instead. However I play with crazy people and we actually did the play. We were cast in certain roles and we read all the lines and Jim tracked where the encounters happened during each act. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN TOO!

So we begin the casting process where Jim as the director had each of us do some strange things to see which role we would receive in addition to reading the first part the main character, Larazod. He has us each insult the director. No really, on the spot, Jim made each of us throw an insult at him based on what the director looked like. Bruce and Jess both tried (and did it in character), I passed as Arghen wouldn't just insult somebody which left Semkirk who blasted the director and had all of us howling with laughter and caught Jim a little off guard in a good way. Then there was feats of accuracy and strength while reciting a line. Basically it ensued us speaking a name then trying to hit a sandbag that was swinging down from the rafters to keep it from smacking us in the face. Arghen did great here and knocked the damn thing off the rope and into the empty audience seats. Some of the others ended up with a few lumps. Finally we read for Larazod. We each did it like our characters would. Din was reserved, Naustia was sweet sounding, Semkirk...well....he hammed it up like another Kirk (Shatner) and Arghen delivered it with a fiery zeal fueled passion. Jim had a rough choice as both Bruce and I (IMHO) nailed it. Eventually Din was cast as Larazod, Naustia cast as the paladin of Aroden and Larazod's friend (Jess also read for Larazod's devilish love interest too.....her talking provocatively to Bruce still haunts my nightmares), Semkirk was cast as Larazod's wizardly guardian and family friend. Arghen was cast as the honor bound infernal inquisitor who tortures the party at first and then joins them when he determines they are just and the corrupt judge wants the trials of hell to continue (I also read for the Bailiff and read the scene changes).

For the next week or so we rehearse and rehearse and rehearse. All the while the buzz among town kept growing at an exponential rate. Finally the night of the play was at hand.....and Jim got this smirk on his face.
Now I'm not going to recap the whole play as it takes too long but I'll give you the rundown on some of the events. Arghen whipped the other cast members in Act II. Yes I was actually rolling to hit and doing damage to them. In Act III we willingly had to have a rot grub burrow through our flesh and then had to cut it out (taking hit point damage and constitution damage too). Act IV had us climb into a tank of acid that looked like a beast (we had to survive in the beast's belly) where our gear was getting destroyed, we were getting eaten up by the acid and trying to not get sick all over each other. Act V had us fighting summoned devils on stage. Act VI had a massive battle between us and a few troll skeletons (that was pretty bad after all the other crap we went through....we third level characters were running on empty at that point). The final act was an epilogue where Jim got to play Asmodeus and send the judge to hell for heresy. The beast of that play was that we had to have our characters keep in character to the role they were cast in. For example if Semkirk got cast as the paladin he wouldn't be allowed to cast arcane magic. If Naustia was cast as a rogue she couldn't use healing magics. It was rough but we made it through.

We did so well we got a large chunk of coin for our part of the overall take. Also our popularity in town has increased dramatically. And we got our invite to the mayors multi-day (and night) party full of debauchery. Oh joy. A paladin at a kegger that turns into an orgy at night....but that is for the next session.

I want to thank Jim for letting us actually do the play. It was one of the more memorable role playing moments I've had in quite some time. Everybody that was present just nailed it that session, both with the actual play and with the role playing in general. We pulled together quite nicely and I think this group of heroes can go the distance with this AP. I am eagerly awaiting the next session.

*Morey and Max were both 'npc' stage hands during the play as their players weren't there that day.

** Max did not sleep with a donkey. Depending on how poorly we did during the open dress rehearsal there was a chance a local would have brought a donkey into the playhouse and let it loose. It didn't happen thankfully.