The Wanton Imp

And so it begins...
Pre-first session

In the beginning…

Background

My games are normally light and fun, with lots of comic relief and some fun adventures. My campaign is home-brew and I run my own little world that has elements from Forgotten Realms, many books and movies, and the twisted recesses of my mind.

I like to keep groups small 4-5 players, I have played and GM’d larger groups and find them a little difficult to keep control of. Most times it is just a breakdown of focus. I like to run a more story driven game and player focus is needed to do that. To this end player investment into their characters background and motivations helps with story aspect.

Pre-Game

To get the players involved we had separate mini sessions to play through and develop the character histories. The players were asked what their class would be and what their future plans would be, not as a group but as individuals. The background was selected to fit with the future plans, a defining childhood moment, or family trait. The years from a first childhood moment to the age that the players chose to start at for 1st level were played out. Some of the characters got some special abilities, skills, items, or trinkets. These early activities also affected the starting coin of each character.

The Setting

When I started planning this campaign, I was planning on starting with an almost “Goonies” style adventure. The players all came up with very dark beginnings. Not just dark but witnessing the slaughter of whole families and communities as young children dark… Goonies would just not work for this group.

The Game Begins

All of the characters have found themselves in the town of Ecron’s Gate, a small port city run by a minor lord. Upon entering the town the adventurers (since that is what they now are) hear of different happenings in town and a few local rumors. Some have come to town with tasks in mind, some just for the new experience but all know that the paltry coin will not last long and they will need to find a way to make more…

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So it begins...
First things first but not necessarily in that order

After being drawn together at the Traveler’s Rest Inn, the adventurers meet Damystra, part time waitress, part time adventurer, and young blood mage. She has found a small job that she would like help with, it may just be rat catching but it pays well. For their own reasons the others, a young gnome monk named Boddynock, a half-orc diplomat, a human hunter, and a renegade drow sailor, agree to join her on the late night job.

While waiting in the inn for Dimystra to be off her waitress shift the others (still not a party…) overhear many rumors of local unrest. It seems a new group has sprung up to challenge the vaunted Grinning Ogre thieves’ guild in Ercon’s Gate. No one knows the number of or identities of the members of this new group. Whereas the location of the Grinning Ogre’s guild hall is an open secret, the location of this new group is not known. It is believed by many that the Guild would pay well for information on this new group, the civic guard would like information about both groups, and local businesses just want the thefts to stop and don’t care how. Listening for snatches of conversation the following is heard:

“…Black cloaked figures have been seen in the alleys late at night…”
“…I’m scared for the little orphans, hope they don’t get hurt if warfare breaks out…”
“…A dark wizard has stirred up the night creatures to take over the city…”
“…A traveling show recently came to town, it’s quite a show (Reagan’s Cirque du Faeles)…”
“…The civic guard are harassing anyone out and a bout, take care that they don’t think you a threat…”
“…This city is built on the bones of a forgotten settlement and is the reason for the trouble we are in…it’s a curse…”
“…This trouble is all due to the Wanton Imp…”

But what is true and what is just superstition and paranoia…time will tell.

So off the group goes to the vintner to rid his cellar of rats, at 2 silver a head it is not too bad for a quick nights work, right. Soon however, the party finds that rats of a more sinister nature have been using the vintner’s cellar for a smuggling operation. But is it the Grinning Ogre or this new group? Many tunnels to explore to know for sure, but hey they found and dispatched 30 rats so far, so they will still get paid.

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Boys Will Be Boys…
ROUS are not fun...

After the tussle with the swarms of rats, our group continues to survey the tunnels and hear voices in the distance. A gate trap in one of the rooms carved out of the tunnel walls has a captured a couple of rats of a different sort in the form of two street urchin, plus an odd surprise for our group. This gat trap is similar to a trapped room the group was in earlier so it is quick work to get the boys out. The boys were not willing to talk much but after some coaxing, and failed escape attempts, the boys informed the group that the thieves’ guild ran these tunnels and they were just here to pilfer some of the guilds goods.

A small whimpering could be heard in the back of the room. It was what seemed, at first, to be a small boy. After a bit of enticing to get the child out of it’s hidey hole, the group finds that this is in fact a humanoid rat child. It seems the he followed the boys and being smaller than them they had beat him up. Our hunter gives the boy a silver coin to test if he is a were-rat but the boy passe3s the test. His name is Timmins and he leads the party further into the tunnel. Near the cave exit Timmins shows them the back entrance to the warren of his people. The gnome monk, being the only one small enough, walks the boy the rest of the way home. After getting Timmins back to his family, Skret (Timmins’ father) and Whisker (one of the town protectors) follow back to than the party. Some quick negotiations and trade of information it is confirmed that the tunnels are one of the store areas for the Grinning Ogre thieves’ guild and that another group of Ratkin (skret’s true race) also live in tunnels under Ecron’s Gate. The other Ratkin that Skret will only refer to as Takers are not pleasant folk to begin with and have been acting even more strangely for the last month or so. Thanking him for his information the party said their goodbyes and decided to continue searching the tunnels.

After leaving the Ratkin and heading back for a different tunnel that forked off, the party is ambushed by eight ROUSes (giant rats). It was a hard fought battle as the rogue was felled by two of the beasts in the opening attack. The monk fought hard before he too went down. The giant rats soon learned that blade and axe is more than a match for teeth and claw. One hapless rat that thought the mage would be a safer target, learned that a bite on a blood means a mouth full of acid. A quick application of bandages and works from a healer’s kit stabilized the two downed members and the party works it’s way back to the vintner’s cellar to wait out the rest of the night.

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