Hero Kids

Maze of the Minotaur - Or Not?

So we played some more Hero Kids on Saturday. We picked up where we left off, with the heroes having just returned home after a night of braving the tomb of King Rothgar and acquiring some nice weapons. They agreed to head out of their house and into town to check out the shops but they were immediately accosted by a group of the local lord’s guards. They told them to halt because they were under arrest for breaking into the crypts and stealing items there. Kira briefly considered attacking them, but they were outnumbered and Erin told her that these guards were good guys. Kira said “King Rothgar gaves us these weapons!” but the guard captain responded “King Rothgar has been dead for 20 years!” and Kira tried to explain about the ghost. Kai tried to set them straight saying “We’re not bad guys, we’re the Hewos of the Wealm!” He passed a persuasion check and the guards softened a little bit, agreeing to take them before Lord Kingspirit to explain what they had been up to when they were witnessed breaking into the crypt.

Lord Kingspirit believed their story, but asked them for a favor to prove their loyalty. His gardens and hedge maze in back of his palace had been taken over by a Minotaur, and he wanted the heroes to brave the maze, and bring back some treasure to prove their worthiness. Lord Kingspirit’s guard Milo leads them to the maze and advises them that the Minotaur is a fearsome foe and it may be better to run if you see him rather than fight. At this point, I dovetailed into the module, which has me drawing from a stack of maze tiles and rolling for random encounters. They advise that if the lair with the treasure comes up too early, just re-roll and if it takes to long to come up, just force it to be the next one. They also say you can do the same for discovering the minotaur himself. Well, I rolled for their first tile and it was the minotaur. I could have re-rolled, but I figured it would be fine. It introduces their foe right away and they can run away and have the rest of the maze to still explore with him potentially tracking them down, or they could get into a big epic battle here and defeat him, still needing to find the treasure anyway. What I did not expect was the following:

Me: The minotaur raises his axe, snorting with steam coming out his nostrils, and charges you!
Kira: I shoot it with an arrow!
Erin: Wait a minute, Milo told us we might want to run away from him. Are you sure attacking is a good idea?
Kira: Hmmm…
Kai: I try to talk to him and tell him why we are there. I’m good at talking to people.
Me: Uh… okay, he’s currently charging you with an axe, so I think this is a difficulty 6. Go for it.
Kai: Rolls a 6

So the minotaur stops in his tracks and looks puzzled for a minute. Kai quickly explains that Lord Kingspirit just wants his garden back and they aren’t there to hurt him. So now I’m scrambling again and I have the Minotaur explain that he has nowhere else to live. He’s still a little grumpy and tells them to get out of his maze, and they agree to go and talk to Lord Kingspirit for him. So here we are now with my plans for the afternoon completely shot. I’ll have to turn this from the Maze of the Minotaur into the Cave of the Dragon or some such thing down the road. Way too many fun little encounters to just trash the whole thing.

Anyway, they head back to the palace and everyone is really doing a good job getting into character, more than they have in the past. A lot less of “I want to tell the king that we…” and a lot more of “Your Majesty! We…” So Lord Kingspirit agrees to hire some dwarves to build a new home for the minotaur. And Kira is giving him all these specifications like “It has to be made of hedges, he really likes hedges, it better be even nicer than the garden he’s in now.” How could he say no? Anyway, he tells them that by showing mercy to the minotaur they have proven to be true heroes and he believes their story of how they got the weapons.

But then Lord Kingspirit asks them for a bit more about their story and when he finds out that the weapons were given to them by King Rothgar, an expression of concern crosses his face. He claps twice and from the far end of the throne room, a small wooden door creaks open. Out hobbles an old man with a gray beard down to his waist. He’s leaning on a cane and just keep saying “Eeh? Eeeh?” as he shuffles painfully slowly towards them. He seems far less reverant towards Lord Kingspirit than anyone else, calling him “Sonny Boy” instead of “Your Majesty”, but it seems tolerated by the lord in a way that it would not be tolerated from anyone else. He inspects their weapons with a jeweler’s loupe, then pokes and prods them and inspects them again with a magnifying glass. He finally says “Yep! Cursed alright. Curse of anti-healing.” He explains to them that while they are in possession of these weapons, their healing potions and powers will have the opposite effect. While this CAN be useful as a weapon in some cases, they will undoubtedly want to lift the curse if they expect to heal by anything other than resting. This is especially tough on Erin’s character, who is a healer. He shuffles back off to his little wooden door and Lord Kingspirit explains further that King Rothgar was always a trickster. He probably didn’t intend them any ill will, but he probably thought it was funny. He then sends them out of his palace.

So now they are trying to figure out what to do. Erin has lore, so she decides to make a lore check to see if she knows anything about getting curses lifted. Looking through her book (and rolling well) she discovers that way out in the woods, there is an old crone named Chastity Magus who everyone just calls The Witch of the Wastes. Well, they don’t really like the sound of that, especially since all the locals seem to distrust her, but they agree to head off anyway. After avoiding an ambush from some bandits due to some good skill checks, they finally arrive at her hut. She, like King Rothgar’s ghost, seems to think the curse is hilarious even though the heroes aren’t laughing. She tells them she CAN lift their curse, but first they’ve got to do her a little favor. A giant lizard has been sneaking onto her property and scaring her livestock (which turns out to consist of 2 sheep and 1 pig in a small pen). So they follow the tracks and find the lizard, who turns out to be a baby dragon. I tell them he looks scared and that he probably was just playing, not realizing that he was scaring the sheep and pig. Then I tell Kai that since his character does look a bit like a dragon, the little baby comes over to him, snuggles up to his leg and says “Mama?” Kai is just beaming at this point, thinks it’s like the cutest thing ever and they of course the little dragon follows them as they leave. They go back to Chastity’s house, explain the situation and say that they will be taking her “giant lizard” home with them so she doesn’t need to worry anymore. She brews up a stereotypical witch’s brew in a black cauldron, tossing in eye of newt, frog’s blood, mushrooms, onions, and all kinds of other stuff they don’t recognize. She grabs three wooden mugs, dips them into the pot and hands one to each of them. “Drink it!” she says, “It tastes like hot chocolate!” Now none of them want to actually drink this concoction because as Kai said “We saw you put blood in that!” Chastity laughs, grabs an even bigger mug off the shelf, scoops it into the pot and drinks down the whole mug herself. This sets their minds at ease a bit and they drink. I tell them it absolutely does NOT taste like hot chocolate, but it’s not as bad as they might have thought and they feel warm inside. Kira says “so… how do we know if it worked?” Just then I have the little dragon nip at Kai’s hand, leaving a small bite mark. (He tells me this seems like only half of a wound, and bites one of his jellybean wound markers in half. I tell him, sure, that’s about right.) I tell him I think his dragon needs some training. But Erin tries a healing power and it does indeed fix his small bite mark immediately. The curse is lifted and of course the Heroes of the “Wealm” have had their names cleared in the eyes of the law, so we wrapped up for the day.

Next up is Kai probably needing to pay someone to help him with his dragon training a bit. This person will of course offer the others some pet training… for a price. I don’t want to dive right back into the “Cave of the Dragon” or whatever because I feel like that will be very obvious they are being railroaded, so my plan is to have them deal with their pets and then maybe jump into the Lost Village module.

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