Steven, playing Bassianus, student of the martial arts at the Fexactium Sword School, and estranged from his family of Quaros military elite until he can prove himself, living in the Gloaming
Esteban, playing Konton, mutated drow elf orphan with natural abilities as a sorcerer, working odd jobs at the Arcane Sciences Academy but barred from classes there, treated as an outcast most places, but he has a few friends in the Gloaming
Konton was in the Gloaming, minding his own business, when two thugs started harassing him. Push came to shove, and it turned into a brawl. Bassianus happened to be nearby and came to help. Bassianus feels protective over the people of the Gloaming.
They readily subdued the thugs. Though a thug had grabbed Konton, the sorcerer was able to blast the roughs with psychic energy, forcing one to his knees in tears. Bassianus’ fighting skills were too much for the other mugger, who ended up in an arm lock.
2 goblin warrior (level 1 skirmisher), reskinned and nerfed (melee attacks only)
They wanted to find out why the attacks happened. There was a quick interrogation. Konton pressed them with intimidation and sorcerous magic. Bassianus tried a slightly softer touch, but wasn’t very effective. The thugs were close to spilling everything, but Konton let them go. He’d heard enough to form his own theory.
Skill challenge using Obsidian rules, DC 18. Konton used Intimidate for 1 success and a sorcerer power for 1 automatic success. Bassianus tried to use Streetwise but it came off more like Diplomacy, and failed. He also tried to use Intimidate, but it also failed.
The Obsidian skill challenge rules are fantastic. They feel very organic in play. It’s easy to role-play freeform until the DM calls for a skill check, then get back into role-play. Even when players angle to use their best skills, I think they find it very difficult to game the system. Evidence Steven angling for Streetwise but ending up with Diplomacy.
For vanquishing the thugs without killing them, Konton and Bassianus earn a +5 intimidation bonus to Intimidate checks against these two thugs.
Bassianus took their swords and sent them on their way, then donated the swords to the Fexactium Sword School where he trains.
Bassianus got half the value of the weapons in gold pieces as “favors owed” by the sword school.
They stopped in at the Golden Beam, the local watering hole, listened to the sounds of a beautiful elven singer, and chatted with their “old friend,” Mariquus Landera, the compulsive gambler who runs the place. Mariquus convinced them to play a low-stakes game of “rings,” his favorite betting and bluffing game. Bassianus won, taking 5 sp from Konton and 16 sp from Mariquus.
This was a quick Bluff check for each player, highest takes all.
Cut forward a few days. Bassianus discovered a body in an alley. It was the corpse of the son of Senator Vetur Harascus, who maintains a centuries-old family home in the Gloaming. Bassianus carried the body to the senator’s house and tried to get in, but the janitor and guards at the front gate wouldn’t let him through. Worse, they seemed to think he’d done it. Bassianus managed to calm them down. They took the body into the manor house.
Diplomacy check. Rolled well, so he calmed them down, but didn’t make the 25 DC needed to get inside the building and see the senator.
They saw many more pairs of thugs in the Gloaming, harassing people but giving the adventurers wide berth.
Bassianus eventually met up with Konton, again at the Golden Beam for drinks, and they discussed the increase in violence in the neighborhood. A bar patron overheard them and added that it seemed like a lot of people were moving out and shops were closing down. Hell, even the sword shop closed! This especially annoyed Bassianus.
Information given freely to the players, but I was going to give them the extra “people moving out, shops closing” bit only if they made a Streetwise check. Both players failed. But then Esteban said that Konton was talking loudly enough to lure nearby patrons into the conversation to find out if they knew anything. This was so startlingly clever that I said it worked, and they earned the additional information.
The pair decided to go check around the Gloaming to see for themselves if the neighborhood was being abandoned. They got sidetracked when they stopped in at Mama Lusia’s.
Mama charmed the boys in her usual way but also scolded them for drinking so much. When Bassianus asked for some of her special cookies and cakes, she chided him, asking what he’d done for Mama lately. Of course, Mama always has chores for young adventurers, and before they knew it, they were in her basement to clear up a “bug problem.”
The bug problem turned out to be an infestation of giant ants that had chewed through a wall and a floor to get into her bakery. Bassianus and Konton climbed down a rope through the chewed hole in the floor and ended up in someone’s dark, musty, abandoned attic. Within a few minutes, they encountered a giant worker ant. Bassianus confidently charged and attacked it before realizing there were three more workers and a soldier nearby. The two heroes were quickly surrounded by skittering bugs.
The workers fell quickly, but the soldier proved to be very tough. Its grasping mandibles and acid blast overpowered Bassianus, who fell unconscious. However, by that time, he had already done the soldier considerable damage. Konton mopped up quickly and carried the fighter to safety.
4 hive worker (level 1 minion), 1 hive soldier (level 3 soldier)
In the aftermath, Konton found a painting on an easel covered with a sheet. He also found the hole in the wall where the ants had entered this attic from an alley in the torchlit neighborhood below the Gloaming.
Bassianus needed some rest, but he healed up eventually. Mama Lusia was obviously concerned and very grateful for their help. She’ll be happy to share her magical treats with the adventurers now.