Played another adventure last night, taking advantage of the week off from the usual Thursday night activities. I attached some pictures of my fancy new GM screen. I loved having it, I felt like it was easier to keep my maps and such hidden. And the kids were very impressed by how it looked too.
This adventure was called Curse of the Shadow Walkers. It opens with the heroes seeing a runaway card with a girl trying to control the horses. She calls for help as the cart speeds along the road and so the heroes try to help. Kira leaped across with ease (strength check) and Erin did too (dexterity check). Kai was a little concerned about his single die (intelligence not being much help for this) so he asked if Erin could throw him a rope. I had her make another dexterity check for this, which she passed, and then had him use the rope to swing over to the cart (requiring only a 3 instead of the 5 it would have been without her help). They pulled on the reins to get the horses to stop and then discovered that the girl’s brother was in the back of the cart, suffering from a nasty wolf bite. She was trying to take him to the doctor in town, but was very worried about her parents back at the farm house. Our heroes agreed to go help defend the farm.
There was a great moment here that was both amusing and a good reminder of the limitations of reading descriptive text. I read the whole pre-written thing (with some embellishment) about the clouds of dust kicked up by the horses, the wind in their hair, and the rattling wagon wheels. As they finally stopped the cart, Kai looked up at me a little perplexed and said “I don’t have hair”. It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about, but I realized the “wind in the hair thing” didn’t really apply to his mage with the shaved head, now did it. I quickly backtracked and explained “oh, right, well YOU just feel the wind on your face, everyone else feels it in their hair”. The pitfalls of playing with the literal mind of a 4-year-old.
So anyway, as they reached the farm and settled in for the night, suddenly a pack of wolves attacked the farmhouse where the animals had been sequestered, crashing through the windows and carrying off sheep, piglets, and goats. The wolves would run away with the animals in their mouths, but drop them when they took damage and turn to fight the heroes. This worked really effectively and created a nice sense of urgency to avoid the wolves running off with the animals. The climax to this encounter is that as the last wolf yelps and runs away, the door is broken down by a huge werewolf who grabs an animal and runs away before they can do anything. This had almost the feel of a videogame cutscene and I was worried about the heroes trying to take action during it, but they didn’t. The farmer’s wife tells them that there is an old lady in the forest who would know what to do.
So the heroes journey to the old woman and there’s a nice roleplaying moment. As usual, Kira does most of the talking. Hilariously though, she got a little stuck. She did a great job describing what had happened to the old woman, but when I asked “and what is it you want from me?” she couldn’t remember. Kai chimed in “we need to cure him!” She explained that the forest has wolfsbane, but it grows in shady spots, the same kind where spiders like to live. They journeyed through the forest, eventually encountering the spiders’ lair. I explained that the spiders hadn’t seen them yet, but were completely surrounding the patch of wolfsbane. The intent here is of course that they fight their way through, but Kira suddenly says “I’ll drink my invisibility potion!” And indeed, several adventures ago she had purchased an invisibility potion from Aeon Mageblood’s apothecary shoppe. It had sat unused and forgotten about for a couple adventures, or so I thought. Of course, in typical 4E/HeroKids style it gives a +2 defense boost or some such nonsense. Forget that. Invisible is invisible. She grabbed the wolfsbane and I explained the spiders seeming confused as it floated away through the air, but they just went back to doing whatever spiders do.
The final encounter is of course the big confrontation with the werewolf and a few wolves. In a twist of irony, the woodcutter who was hired to fix the broken door to the farmhouse actually turns out to be the werewolf. They come upon him in the evening, repairing the door. He says “isn’t it getting a little late for you to be out here?” and Kira immediately says “pff, no, we’re Hero Kids!” So as night falls, the heroes watch him transform, even though he doesn’t know he is cursed. They battle the wolves (who are trying to steal more farm animals) but also have to contend with the very nasty werewolf. He’s a tough monster and it should be a pretty brutal combat. The idea is that once he is knocked out, they can easily put the wolfsbane in his mouth. Erin tries shooting a wolfsbane tipped arrow at his arm, but it has no effect. So she decides to attempt to lasso him, just like she lassoed Kai over to the wagon. I make her pass a dexterity check 6 and it works, but only for the round before I have him break out. The kids run over and each try to make a dexterity check 5 to put it in his mouth, but it doesn’t work. He breaks free, the wolves grab some animals, but the heroes stay focused and attempt the same thing the next round. The lassoing check works again and this time Kira is able to stuff the wolfsbane down his throat. Despite his four health and regeneration powers, they defeated him with the only wound being the one Erin gave him on her wolfsbane arrow attempt.
They did the entire thing without using a healing potion and essentially cleverly bypassed 2 of the 3 combat encounters. These guys are getting too clever for me.
They did all say their ages and names and established that they are all cousins. Kira is KC (the barbarian brute), Erin is Clary (the archer) and Kai is Janklassin (the mage). Janklassin being a corruption of the name of his favorite author, Jon Klassen. Erin made herself 7 years younger than she is in real life. Each of the kids made themselves 1 year older than they are in real life. Which makes perfect sense.