Averted Loinclothing
By Dwip November 29, 2011, 6:55 am Comments (11) RSS Feed for this post

Loincloth [loin-klawth]
Verb, loin-cloth-ing, loin-cloth-ed.
Definition: to capture a party of PCs and leave them stranded without equipment in the Dungeon Master’s evil and devious dungeon.
Usage: “Oh man, we just got loinclothed again!”
Origin: Derived from the computer gaming practice of having naked PCs wear nothing but a loincloth.

So it’s not really a big secret that I’m a big fan of loinclothing my players from time to time. I’ve even dissected the last time I pulled it, early in this same campaign. Done well, it’s a useful exercise in forcing players to use their wits and scavenge equipment to survive and escape. Indeed, the whole reason for going through the A1-A4 Scourge of the Slavelords arc was pretty much to spring A4 on the players, which is a fairly epic loinclothing. I’ve wanted to do this ever since reading early episodes of The Adventurers 15 years ago or so.

We’ll come back to this in a while.

So a week or two before this last session (which was, itself, weeks ago now), we were all sitting around playing a game called Munchkin. It’s pretty good, and pretty silly. At any rate, at some point somebody pulls out a Volcano card. “Hey, we need one of those to use on Suderham!” says somebody else.

Those of you who have played through A4 know why this is funny. For the rest of you, we’ll come back to that in a while too.

In the meantime, our party remains:

Aukan, a 7+ foot tall goliath barbarian and ower of a life debt to Cujo the riding dog;
Davoren, human farmer priest/wizard of Helm the Watcher;
Gar Rotte, human thief;
Lord X, human paladin of Helm on a religious mission to protect Davoren;
Oscar the Magnicifent, halfling wizard, follower of Talos the Stormlord, and legend in his own mind;
Sancho, elven bard currently following Lord X and taking note of his crazy and somewhat unwise actions.

With NPC accompaniment by:

Yvette Tanislove, cousin of Lady Gilda and unwitting concubine of Lord X;
Glory, Lord X’s warhorse and 3 other assorted warhorses;
Cujo, Oscar’s riding dog;
Aukan’s 3 goats.

Before I begin, I’d like to make note of the fact that my notes contain the following two lines. I am unable to determine precisely what the joke was, but I’m sure that everyone else totally remembers, and anyway these are probable funny by themselves:

– “dire cheetah vampires”

– “bugbear werewolves”

In the event, when last we left off, the party had just come to the enterance canyon to Suderham. A short while later, they come to a gated stone wall blocking the canyon, with a bunch of slaver guards guarding it. Since they’re all disguised as slavers, this isn’t a big concern, though Lord X does have a certain amount of trouble with the whole acting thing.

One of the guards singles out Davoren of all people, which quickly turns out to be because the guard is actually Matthias, a tiefling rogue that the party made the acquaintance of back in Ithal’s Tor, the LAST time they got loinclothed. As it happens, Matthias since went to work as an agent of Amn, and was sent to sorta-kinda back up the PCs with intelligence. As it also turns out, the only people still in the party from that long ago loinclothing are Davoren and Gar. Many PCs have died to bring us to this point in our narrative. Since heavily traveled roads guarded by slavers are an awful spot for ruinions, Matthias directs the party to an inn, and tells them he’ll meet them there later.

(I’m circumventing a lot of A3 here – there’s an entire tunnel complex with gnolls that’s supposed to get you into the city without bothering the guards, and the party is supposed to spend a lot more time in Suderham searching than they actually are. Matthias is actually another NPC entirely in the module, who doesn’t show up until later, and then more cryptically. Since I didn’t think the players were going to go for the Slave Lords unless prodded, I decided Matthias would be a useful prod. I left out the gnoll caves entirely, since they bored me just reading them. Playing through yet another underleveled dungeon encounter, especially after all the recent combat, wasn’t interesting to me, and I didn’t think it would be interesting to anyone else, either, so it went on the scrap heap)

There’s an amusing bit here about the disguised PCs intimidating the crap out of a poor ferryman who tried to overcharge them for access to the city of Suderham, but I’ve forgotten the funny parts, so I’ll let the players tell it in comments.

Once inside the city, the inn is made for, and, base of operations secured, plots are hatched.

“Gar and Sancho go looking for a better bow.”

“Well, you’ll have to roll some Gather Information checks for it. There’s no fletcher in town per se, so you’ll have to find some mercenary or something who’s willing to sell.”

“Have you tried suderham.craigslist.org yet?”

Meanwhile, while Lord X starts drinking the inn (and Yvette does her unsuccessful best to keep him from doing anything TOO outlandish), most everyone else goes looking for Gilda Tanislove, the object of their long search. They find her fairly readily in the slave auction blocks, and purchase her freedom. They also hire some random mercenaries, put Aukan in charge, and send the whole group of them out of Suderham. The object of their quest complete, the inn is made for near dark.

Meanwhile, Gar, Sancho, and Oscar hatch another plot: they’ll buy a large supply of oil, plant it around town, and burn the whole place down. The oil buying and planting part goes off without a hitch, but not before alerting the slavers to the fact that hey, heavily armed strangers look like they’re going to start some shit (and neatly solving my problem of how exactly to arrest the players, which was going to happen later after a dungeon crawl in the sewers).

Since the slavers were pretty much following the party the entire time, Gar is quickly arrested (thanks to a hold person spell), while Oscar and Sancho escape the city entirely thanks to Oscar’s swan boat Quaal’s feather token. Meanwhile, more slavers burst into the inn to capture X. What they don’t realize is that X is a ludicrous, ludicrous man, and is essentially immune to the slaver guards’ attacks.

(That pile of minis you see in the picture up top? That’s all guards that X killed. Yeah)

Unfortunately for X, the guards, recognizing how outmatched they were, called for reinforcements, and the reinforcements they got were some of the Slave Lords themselves, who in short order feebleminded Davoren and flat out killed Lord X after a particularly brutal sneak attack by their rogue. Epic though X was, he turned out not to be epic enough to take on an entire party of equal level combatants and live.

(This was a miscalculation on my part – they were just supposed to capture him, but I rolled really, really well, and X hit -20 or something)

At this point, we had a discussion as a group. X was dead, Aukan was flat out gone, Gar and Davoren were arrested, and Oscar and Sancho were headed for the hills. We decided that this probably wasn’t the most optimal outcome for any kind of continuing game, so the party ended with one partial victory, one harebrained scheme, and one epic last stand. Then everyone rolled up guys for our forthcoming seafaring privateers game which I will no doubt discuss at some later point.

Now, to all that stuff I said I’d get back to.

The way it was supposed to go down was that, absent city burning plots, Matthias was going to direct the party into the sewers beneath Suderham, which were a fairly short but normal dungeon crawl in the 80s mold. At the end of this, the party would chance upon the Slave Lords’ keep, confront them, and get captured either by combat or extremely potent sleep gas.

At this point, and absent the Matthias bit I’m going straight out of the module here, the Slave Lords torture the players for a while (thus depriving them of spells), then toss them in caves under the city. Fortunately for them, Matthias managed to sneak them a couple of scrolls, which they could use once they scavenge some light. I won’t give away the rest of it, but the climax of the series has the players escaping from the dungeons at the same time Suderham’s volcano is erupting (Suderham being built in a caldera), which nicely shows why I had to prevent myself from reacting when they were talking about blowing up Suderham with a volcano during the Munchkin game. Come to find out that Suderham was going to blow itself up. While lava is streaming everywhere, the party is supposed to meet up with Matthias (and Yvette/Gilda, originally) near the docks, whereupon they all fight the remaining Slave Lords for possession of their yacht, which coincidentally has all their gear on it. Assuming victory, the players then sail into the sunset, backlit by the exploding volcano.

Could’ve been cool, but alas. The consolation prize is that this seafaring privateers game is shaping up to be pretty awesome. We’ll see how it goes, whenever I can stop playing Skyrim long enough to do some work on it. You know how it is.

Dungeons and Dragons Comments (11) Trackback URL for this post RSS Feed for this post
Comments on Averted Loinclothing
avatar Comment by Clyos #1
November 29, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Did we forget the use of Feeblemind? Also, you forgot that the giants were on fire.

avatar Comment by Dwip #2
November 30, 2011 at 12:20 am

“Unfortunately for X, the guards, recognizing how outmatched they were, called for reinforcements, and the reinforcements they got were some of the Slave Lords themselves, who in short order feebleminded Davoren and flat out killed Lord X after a particularly brutal sneak attack by their rogue.”

Note the word before “Davoren”.

What giants?

avatar Comment by Kyle Elliott #3
November 30, 2011 at 8:57 am

Haha! Oh yeah, I didn’t tell you guys? They are fire giants… OOF! SPLAT! POW!

avatar Comment by Clyos #4
November 30, 2011 at 12:13 pm

The giants that were on fire also built the city made of stone, so they wouldn’t suddenly catch their homes on fire.

avatar Comment by Gormican #5
December 1, 2011 at 5:25 pm

A couple things,
1. I tried to reason with Cole about the absurdity of thinking no one would notice the new party of adventurers that rolled into town traded out all the gold and gems in the bank then purchasing barrels of oil which he rolled around town and left in strategic locations.
2. Davoren and X had no idea he was pulling this
3. I fully expected those two to tear through any number of guards and escape. I didn’t expect all the slave lords to show up for a personal beatdown. Lightning bolt, Slay Living, High level warrior, and brutal sneak attack. You brought the house!
4. I actually enjoy a good last stand ending. It’s better than “and they all lived happily ever after”

avatar Comment by Kyle Elliott #6
December 6, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I want in on the next session… Anyone got digital rule books so I can familiarize myself with them and roll myself a character?

I require phone numbers to stay in more reasonable contact with everyone. I am tired of being a lurker, and not a poster.

avatar Comment by Dwip #7
December 6, 2011 at 11:17 pm

I don’t actually have PDF copies of the rules. I don’t remember if anyone else does. There is always the SRD, though it’s not quite as good as the real thing.

Best way to hit me up is IM or email (did I give you that?). I think I gave you my phone number, but I very rarely answer my phone, so.

Best case on the new “Yearg, we’re on a boat!” D&D session is probably January, with various boardgames and Mechwarrior/Battletech to fill the gaps. Maybe we’re playing this Saturday, maybe next one. Nobody tells me anything, so…

avatar Comment by Kyle Elliott #8
December 7, 2011 at 8:05 am

I do not have your email or phone number.

What ruleset are you playing with? So perhaps I can locate myself a copy.

avatar Comment by Dwip #9
December 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Well, I’m just falling down on the job, aren’t I.

Email is dwip at the blog address. I can give you my phone number via that.

Ruleset is D&D 3.5 (NOT 3.0). Your best bet for a PHB is probably Amazon. Matt’s Cavalcade of Comics over by Fred Meyers MAY have a copy, but it’s spotty since 3.5 is out of print now. I don’t think there’s anywhere else in Corvallis that would have a copy.

Being us, we’ve got umpteen other books to be used, but the PHB is the big one.

avatar Comment by Kyle Elliott #10
December 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I’m freaking bored. Let’s do something soon.

avatar Comment by Dwip #11
December 9, 2011 at 12:33 am

You should drop me an email so I have some way besides blog comments to yap at you.

Word on the street is my place, 4pm on Saturday. Be there or be square, or something. Considering that we’re playing Mechwarrior, it’s more like be a shattered, blackened hulk leaking coolant and autocannon ammo, but you know. That and “there” are kind of the same thing, right?

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